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Libyan Civil War; France Backs Opposition in Libya; Risk of Military Intervention

Aired March 10, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

NATO considers possible military options as Libya's civil war claims more victims.

Changing roles for a spiritual leader. The Dalai Lama says he is retiring as political head of the Tibetan exile movement.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): If we refuse to work, they would poor hot water on us. In such awful ways they'd try to hurt us. They treated me and my whole family as slaves.


STOUT: And freed from the shackles of forced labor. We'll meet the women who are now free to live their own lives.

As Libya's civil war escalates, there are signs it is sinking into ever darker territory. Women and children being killed by pro-Gadhafi forces. That's according to one Western journalist. Another international journalist, captured and beaten.

Opposition fighters ill-equipped to withstand government attacks as the international community debates what to do next.

Now, the eastern city of Ras Lanuf remains a key flash point. Our own reporter on the ground tells us that he saw planes flying overhead, followed by a series of loud booms near the city on Thursday.

And this was the scene there on Wednesday after an oil storage tank caught fire. Rebels continue to defend themselves from aerial attacks, but they are heavily outgunned.

Now, CNN's Ben Wedeman is in eastern Libya and has the latest on battles going on right now. He joins me on the line.

And Ben, describe the latest fighting, especially around Ras Lanuf.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're a couple kilometers to the east of Ras Lanuf. We've been hearing fairly steady bombardment coming from that area. It's the second sort of mass bombardment of the town this morning. There was another one about an hour and a half ago.

We saw as rounds, at least mortar rounds, were landing inside the town itself. One of those rounds hit a hospital. Another hit a mosque where people were praying inside.

The hospital staff has fled. And basically, all the civilians are now out of this town. It appears that government forces are moving on to the city.

I spoke to one witness who said he saw Libyan government tanks heading towards Ras Lanuf. There seems to be an intense gun battle going on there at the moment.

Many of the opposition forces have pulled out to a checkpoint to the east of the city. But what is clear, Kristie, is their control of Ras Lanuf is tenuous at best -- Kristie.

STOUT: So, Ben, is this a turning point for the rebel movement? They earlier lost Bin Jawad. They could be losing Ras Lanuf. Are they losing serious momentum?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly they are. If anything, they're being gradually pushed back by the superior firepower of the Libyan army. And, of course, the Libyan air force. Just about a half an hour ago, an air force jet flew over our head.

There's lots of anti-aircraft in this area, and they were booming away, trying to shoot it down. But so far, they've had relatively little luck, although one of their planes crashed the other day. We went to the site of the crash, but there's no idea if it was shut down or it crashed as a result of mechanical failure. But yes, what is clear is that the momentum of their offenses in which they were able to gain control of Ras Lanuf has come to a halt -- Kristie.

STOUT: The rebel leader has been pleading for a no-fly zone. We heard that in an interview between him and our Arwa Damon. But just how effective would that be?

WEDEMAN: Well, it certainly would allow the opposition to operate a little more freely. What you have to realize is this is open desert territory. There's nowhere to hide. There's only one main road going from Benghazi to Tripoli, and anybody on that road is an easy target for Libyan helicopters and fighter bombers, which we've seen in action quite a lot over the last few days.

So everybody you speak to certainly out here at the front is insistent that they desperately need some sort of no-fly zone to provide minimum protection -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Ben. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Ben Wedeman, joining us live near Ras Lanuf.

Now, there has been much international debate about how to handle this situation in Libya. One possible tactic mentioned repeatedly, the establishment of a no-fly zone.

Now, the opposition leader, as we just discussed, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, has said it is time for the talking to stop and urgent action to be taken. Now, the man who was once Colonel Gadhafi's justice minister talked exclusively to Arwa Damon.


MUSTAFA ABDUL-JALIL, FMR. LIBYA JUSTICE MINISTER (through translator): It has to be immediate action. The longer the situation carries on, the more blood is shed. That's the message that we want to send to the international community. They have to live up to their responsibility with regard to this.


STOUT: It's little wonder that Abdul-Jalil wants immediate action. Footage, apparently taken at a pro-Gadhafi rally, was accompanied by an on- screen banner claiming that a reward of more than $400,000 is being offered for his capture.

Abdul-Jalil may be heartened by the French position on Libya. On Thursday, President Nicolas Sarkozy gave the opposition movement official recognition.


ALI ESSAOUI, LIBYAN NATIONAL TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL ENVOY (through translator): France has expressed its satisfaction at the creation of Libya's Transitional National Council. And after this meeting with President Sarkozy, I can tell you that France has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.


STOUT: Now, recognition is one thing, but protection is another.

Jim Bittermann joins me live to discuss the significance of today's development -- Jim.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kristie. In fact, that's what we'll all be watching for over the next few days, exactly how significant this is.

Basically, what happened after that meeting at the Elysee Palace a short while ago is that the French have agreed to an exchange of ambassadors. There's going to be a French ambassador in Benghazi, a seat at the Transitional National Council. And there's going to be someone from the Transitional National Council who's going to become the ambassador here in France.

So, from a diplomatic standpoint, the French are the first to recognize this Transitional National Council that's fighting against Gadhafi, Moammar Gadhafi, and has been for the last few weeks. From a real practical standpoint, however, there's a little bit of a discussion going on in French circles, because when you ask the French -- there's a public opinion poll that's just out today that indicates that 63 percent of the French do not want to see any kind of armed intervention that would involve French troops or United Nations troops in Libya.

So, from a real boots on the ground standpoint, the French are definitely against it. But from a diplomatic standpoint, there seems to be a lot of action.

Alain Juppe, the foreign minister here, said just a bit ago that European countries should take concerted efforts -- make a concerted effort to recognize the Transitional National Council and further destabilize Gadhafi if it's possible. And, in fact, there is an informal meeting with the European foreign ministers going on right now to see what kind of joint action they can take -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Jim Bittermann, joining us live from Paris.

Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now, a no-fly zone will be just one of the options on the table as Western powers meet to discuss a course of action for Libya. NATO defense ministers are gathering in Brussels, and they're all too aware of the risks involved in military intervention.

Now, Phil Black joins me live from the Belgian capital.

And Phil, what is the latest word from the NATO meeting.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, NATO defense ministers have just started their meeting in the building behind me, and they're here today to talk about their military options. But despite those strong calls from Libya's rebel leaders for some sort of military intervention from the West, you can almost be pretty certain today that NATO is not going to endorse that sort of action, certainly not at this meeting.

We've already heard from the NATO secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has said that NATO does not intend to intervene. And it will certainly not conduct any sort of operation without a United Nations mandate.

So, the answer for the moment is no, not yet. They are not going to act on their own. You're not going to see the sort of NATO-led military effort that we saw in Serbia in the late '90s without any sort of U.N. backing there.

But it is not a no, never, ever. Anders Fogh Rasmussen has left the window open just enough. He has said that in the event that the Gadhafi regime continues to kill its own people, he cannot believe that the international community, the United Nations would stand idly by.

In addition to that, NATO has stepped up its surveillance of Libyan air space and the Libyan coast. It's now watching that 24 hours a day. But as I say, today, do not expect a definite answer on any sort of NATO military response to this crisis -- Kristie.

STOUT: Now, right now on our screens we're looking at live pictures of this NATO meeting under way in the Belgian capital. But what can we expect from tomorrow's meeting of EU heads of state and their recent European responses to Libya?

BLACK: There's a lot of diplomatic agitation taking place in Brussels about Libya over the next 48 hours. And yes, European heads of state travel here tomorrow. And it is the European leaders that have been particularly vocal and, in fact, agitated most on this, because for them, this is a first-rate issue.

This is taking place in their neighborhood, their back yard, really. The events in Libya stand to affect European security and prosperity most intimately.

And so we know that it has been the British and French governments who have been lobbying for some sort of U.N. resolution advocating a no-fly zone. As you were discussing with Jim, the French government has now formally endorsed and recognized the Libyan opposition movement as the only legitimate representation of the Libyan people.

We've also seen a vote in European parliament yesterday advocating a no-fly zone. So lots of momentum, lots of movement, certainly a lot of talk. But at the moment, we still realistically stand a long way from any sort of firm decision on military action, on military intervention in Libya itself -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Phil Black, joining us live in Brussels.

Thank you, Phil.

Now, Colonel Gadhafi has made his views on foreign influence clear. He doesn't want any international interference in Libyan affairs. And three BBC journalists found this out at great personal cost.

Now, the group says that they were seized on Monday near Zawiya. Each of them was bound and blindfolded, and one was beaten.

Now, here they tell how they feared for their lives.


FERAS KILLANI, BBC ARABIC CORRESPONDENT: I thought at this moment that if they decide to do this, they would do it. I can't do anything. I just closed my eyes and asked my God to help me.

GOKTAY KORALTAN, BBC ARABIC CAMERAMAN: And they started shouting, "Boru (ph)! Boru (ph)! "Go! Go!' And I thought they were going to shoot us from behind. It didn't happen, but I was thinking, this is the end.


STOUT: Now, the men were released after 21 hours. They say that a man apologized and said it was all a mistake by the military. He also warned that the journalists should not have ventured out without permission.

Now, as we continue to unravel the hidden layers of modern-day slavery, today we look at how the things you might buy come with a high human price. Later this hour, we'll bring you the final part of Sara Sidner's series on bonded labor in India. It's a look at one village's fight to break free.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "We fought amongst ourselves," she says. "We organized and formed a group. We started saving."

And now former debt slave Fulwati Devi (ph), who was once relegated to the lowest rung in Indian society, is her local village representative.


STOUT: And we'll bring you the rest of that story later this hour, right here on NEWS STREAM.

Also coming up, we will go back to the streets of Cairo, where new clashes in Tahrir Square have left scores injured.

An announcement on the Web site of the exiled Tibetan spiritual makes a political statement. We will tell you just what the Dalai Lama has announced.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, the Dalai Lama has announced that he will retire as political head of the Tibetan exile movement. On his Web site, he says, "Tibetans need a leader elected freely by the Tibetan people." Still, he says he will continue to lead Tibetans in other ways.

From Beijing, Eunice Yoon reports.


EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: China has long reviled the Dalai Lama. The authorities here believe that he's a separatist, and his decision to step down and dissolve his political responsibilities was only met with disdain.

At a regular press briefing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had this to say about the exiled Tibetan leader --

JIANG YU, CHINESE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (through translator): The Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long targeted the splitting up of China. For a long time he has been the leader and mastermind behind political activism. He has said many times in the past few years that he plans to retire. I think this is one of his tricks to deceive the international community.

YOON: The Dalai Lama made his announcement on the 52nd anniversary of the uprising of Tibet against China. He says that he's going to maintain his role as a spiritual leader, but he will make way for a young, freely- elected leader to take on his political responsibilities.

This is largely seen as a symbolic gesture. The government in exile has made little progress in Tibet's struggle against Chinese rule.

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.


STOUT: Now, funerals are being held in Egypt today for victims of religious fighting. Thirteen people were killed in clashes between Coptic Christians and Muslims on Tuesday. The fighting came after a Coptic church was set on fire last week.

On top of this, Cairo's Tahrir Square has seen new and violent clashes. Now, you're looking at the scene Wednesday, after gangs armed with machetes and knives attacked pro-democracy activists. Now, the protesters say the gangs are supported by remnants of the Mubarak regime's security apparatus.

Now, meanwhile, Mohamed ElBaradei now says he will run for president in the country's upcoming elections. He served as director general of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency from 1997 to 2009. And he and the agency won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Now, joining me now with more on today's funerals and other developments is our Nima Elbaghir. She's in Cairo.

Nima, could today's funerals be a flash point for more religious violence?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been a growing concern here, Kristie, that there's a security vacuum, that things are starting to feel a little bit out of control. You know, in addition to the sectarian clashes that led to that death toll you were talking about, we've had almost nightly protests in front of the state TV building by Coptic Christians.

You know, we had the Tahrir Square clashes yesterday. The army eventually moved in and had completely cleared Tahrir Square. The army is now pushing through a draft proposal to try and outlaw what they call thuggery and any incitement through violence by gangs, as they're referring to them, and saying that they will seek the highest possible means to punish them to the fullest extent of the law. But there is a growing sense here that people are scared.

You know, the neighborhood watch committee that we last saw during the power vacuum in the last days of President Mubarak's rules, they're returning. You know, this evening, in Zamalek, one of the more upscale neighborhoods here in Cairo, there's a huge meeting at the local country club, because people are so scared that the police, the security apparatus, even the army are not effectively able to take control of the situation here -- Kristie.


Nima Elbagir, joining us live from Cairo.

Thank you for that.

Now, as we reported earlier, NATO officials are right now meeting in Brussels. In fact, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary-general, is speaking live. Let's listen in.


ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: We stand ready to help. Time is of the essence. But today we should also look at the longer-term prospects for North Africa and the Middle East.

We welcome the start of the democratic transition in Tunisia and Egypt, two of our valued partners in the region. We need to consider what more we can do to assist them and other members of our Mediterranean dialogue if they so require.

It is my strong conviction that time is on the side of democracy. In the long run, no society can ignore the will of the people, because the desire for freedom resides in every human being, regardless of whether they live in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.

We are currently seeing the start of a new era of freedom which can generate peace, prosperity and progress. It can burst boundaries, barriers and borders.

Remember, just over 20 years ago, many countries in Central and Eastern Europe faced similar turmoil and similar challenges. They are now stable democracies, strong allies sitting at this very table.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a great amount of pressing work today, and we need to get on with it. So may I kindly ask members of the press now to leave the room?

Thank you.

STOUT: All right. Comments there live from Brussels.

You heard the secretary-general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, making statements there before launching meetings today. Of course, high on the agenda, Libya and the decision whether or not to consider imposing a no-fly zone.

Now, just now you heard from the NATO secretary-general. He said, "We stand ready to help, and time is of the essence." But he offered no details as to what.

We will continue to stay on that story.

You're watching NEWS STREAM. We'll be back right after this.


STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching NEWS STREAM.

Now, for NASA's workhorse, it is the end of an era. The space shuttle Discovery has completed its 39th and final mission.

Now, the ship has logged 238 million kilometers in orbit. Crowds on the ground cheered as the space shuttle Discovery touched down for the last time on Wednesday.

And this is how NASA called it Discovery landed just before noon at Kennedy Space Center.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And nose gear touchdown and the end of a historic journey.

And to the ship that has led the way time and time again, we say farewell, Discovery.


STOUT: Farewell. Now, Discovery's next mission is expected to be to a museum.


STOUT: Coming up next, we'll be looking at how what we buy might come with a high human price. We'll be calculating our slavery footprint.

And in just a few minutes, we'll bring you the final part of Sara Sidner's series on bonded labor in India, and we'll also hear what the country's labor minister has to say about her report.

That is next.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines.

Now France has recognized Libya's opposition as the legitimate government. President Nicolas Sarkozy met envoys from the Libyan National Council earlier. Now at the same NATO is discussing right now whether to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Now CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman is meanwhile reporting explosions that sound like new air raids this Thursday on the town of Ra's Lanuf.

Now Yemen's president is promising to hold a vote on a new constitution after weeks of anti-government protests. Amnesty International says at least 30 people have died in demonstrations in the past few weeks. Now President Saleh has refused to step down, but says he will not run again for the presidency in the next election.

The Dali Lama like the look of retirement. Apparently he's stepping down as the political head of the exile Tibetan movement, but his spokesman says he will go on pushing the Tibetan cause as its spiritual leader.

At least 16 people have been killed in an earthquake in southwest China. A 5.4 magnitude quake hit near the Myanmar border. More than 160 people were injured and houses have been destroyed. Aftershocks are still jolting the area.

Now this week we are launching a yearlong initiative on the horrors of modern day slavery. We're calling it the CNN Freedom Project. And today we take you to India where entire villages are bound in forced labor. And some families work for generations to pay off minor debts.

Now in the first two parts of our series on bonded labor in India, Sara Sidner took us inside a labor camp. We then followed a rescue mission to save children trapped in forced labor. And today we bring you a story of hope. Now Sara Sidner has this report on one village that broke free from its bonds.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jan Debhi (ph) works every day bent over a gas burner. She and her neighbors spend hours hand making intricate glass beads in a village with no electricity. And she says they are perfectly happy. Dehbi (ph) and her friends are working for themselves instead of landlords who treated them as property.

What made you feel like a slave? How were you treated?

"They would take us like this and drag us away. And they would say work. Work here. They wouldn't allow us to leave. They would say, you owe me money so you can't leave," she says. "If we refused to work, they would pour hot water on us. In such awful ways they tried to hurt us. They treated me and my whole family as slave."

Now she and the rest of the villagers here are free to make their own lives.

SUPRIYA AWASTHI, FREE THE SLAVES: Free the Slaves' goal is to eradicate slavery from the world.

SIDNER: Supriya Awasthi works for the international organization Free the Slaves. She says this village is typical. It took about three years to free all the inhabitants from India's equivalent of indentured servitude.

How do you free a village?

AWASTHI: We start the task with opening a school in a highly prone village which is under the bond.

SIDNER: So somewhere for their kids to go first.


SIDNER: That informal education center is often irresistible to parents whose children otherwise would never have a chance to be literate. Jan Debhi (ph) is proud her daughter attends the school. It's a seed planted in the mind of the parents that grows into a full understanding of their right.

And then they, too, learn skills that enable them to be independent. In this village, the ladies have learned to make beautiful jewelry.

Freedom in these villages means being self-sufficient. And these ladies have certainly learned the art of selling. They recognize somehow who loves jewelry and will pay for it.

In another village, education has meant another kind of transformation.

"We fought amongst ourselves," she says. "We organized and formed a group. We started saving."

And now, former debt slave Fuwati Debhi (ph) who was once relegated to the lowest rung of Indian society is her local village representative. She won an election over those who had run things here for generations. Now, she helps give other workers in the village the courage to speak up and demand their rights. No small feat in the war against modern day slavery.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Putar Fetesh (ph), India.


STOUT: Now those are voices from a freed village, but earlier Sara Sidner reported on villages that are still enslaved. Now Sara spoke with a man who is second command in India on labor issues and he said that the problem is more complicated than simply prosecuting the land owners involved. And he told her this, quote, "if we really want to eliminate this problem of bonded labor we have to eradicate poverty from that country."

India's labor secretary watched Sara Sidner's first piece on bonded labor in India. Sara joins me now live from New Delhi. Sara tell us his reaction to those stories.

SIDNER: He said that they are aware the bonded labor exists in this country, that the Labor Ministry knows about it, that they have laws that have been enacted years ago as we mentioned in the piece more than 30 years ago, that absolutely outlaw this practice. The problem is, he says, that even if they prosecute people who do this, or save people from this horrible situation, they often return because of poverty. So that's why you heard him in that quote saying that basically that poverty has to be eradicated first.

When we asked him, though, if he thought what the NGO's say is modern slavery, if that's what actually happening is bonded labor is modern day slavery. He said absolutely not. He did not see a connection. And we pressed him on it. He said this is bonded labor. It's a legal term. And that's what he's sticking with. He is very adamant that he does not believe it's slavery. However, Free the Slaves and other non-governmental organizations are very adamant just the same way he is that this is modern day slavery because people simply cannot get out of it. They are kept in difficult conditions, some of them say they are beaten and that to them constitutes slavery -- Kristie.

STOUT: So the government is watching your reports on bonded labor in India. They are aware of the issue. They are reacting to your reports. But what about the people of India? And will they be discussing the issue more and demanding more from their government to do something about it?

SIDNER: Well, it's an interesting point, because some of what happens here is that people have become quite used to seeing this. There are those in this country, and you know it's an enormous country of more than 1.2 billion people, so there are people who completely deny that this exists and there are others who are actually used to seeing it. Because as we have talked about throughout this series, this is very easy to see in certain states where poverty is a real issue. It's very easy to drive down the road, say in the winter time, and in some villages see people working in bonded slavery. They will admit it to you. It is not exactly a hidden.

So there are, though, people in India who are trying to fight this, who are very adamant that this has to end, that this nation is rising as a world power and it cannot become a world power according to many if it doesn't deal with the issue of bonded labor and more largely the issue of poverty -- Kristie.

STOUT: Well, Sara, thank you so much for your series of reports this week and for fixing the world's attention on the issue of modern day slavery in India. Sara Sidner joining us live from New Delhi there.

Now a question, as a consumer who do you know if you're buying products of the result of slavery, of forced labor? Now Justine Dillon is a musician turned activist and the executive director of the Fair Trade Fund. He's also the director of Call and Response, the documentary on human trafficking. Now today, he's working on a tool that can calculate your slavery footprint. Interesting concept.

He joins us now live from San Francisco . Justin, welcome to News stream. And tell us how do you calculate a slavery footprint?

JUSTIN DILLON, MUSICIAN: That's a great question. To be honest, we're still figuring that out.

What we're talking about, and what your piece was addressing, is that we're seeing slavery at really the bottom end of the supply chain. We're seeing it at the commodities level. And what we need to recognize first of all as consumers that we're connected to that supply chain. I need to understand that, that the coffee I drink, that the clothes that I wear, even the car that I drive and the phone that I talk through is all connected to those commodities. So it's really answering the question, what am I pretending not to know when it comes to slavery and my consumption habits.

So what we're doing with slavery footprint is we're going through over 400 different products, we're breaking them down by commodities -- whether it's cotton, or our tin, or tantalum, whatever it is that makes up the commodities that we purchase individually every year and we're going to be able to give every consumer or every citizen a diagnostic tool to be able to allow them to understand how their consumptive habits actually affect the issue by how many commodities and what types of commodities they purchase in a given year.

More importantly, we're going to give them opportunities to then offset that slavery footprint, because it's not just about awareness it's really about citizen consumer action. So that's really the motive behind Slavery Footprint.

STOUT: You know, how prevalent are products made through slavery. I mean, can I find them at the super market, at a toy store?

DILLON: Absolutely. We don't have to just go to markets in the street and think that it's such at a granular level, this is in all the products that we use. So electronics is a huge offender. What I think the mistake that we sometimes make as consumers is that we want to go look for the bad companies first and not think about our own complicity. And I think that's what we're trying to do with Slavery Footprint is educate consumers that we really are at the very end of the supply chain. And companies will listen about these problems if we start to talk about them.

And so what we're trying to do, not only with Slavery Footprint, but with our own consumer advocacy campaign on is to be able to raise our hands as consumers and say, you know we want to work with companies not against them to handle these issues that are problems inside the industry, not necessarily specific companies. We think this is something we can work together on and not against each other.

So the question is not so much which companies are good or which companies are bad, I think the first question we need to ask is what can we all do together to fix the industry-wide problems where slavery exists.

STOUT: Now you're working on an app to help consumers calculate their slavery footprint. When will that be up and running?

DILLON: It's a gargantuan task. We are putting together algorithms and technology, and more importantly we're trying to make it interesting for people to use, because it's not necessarily the funnest (sic) thing to find out how you're affecting slavery in the world. But the campaign and the application we're hoping is going to be up sometime in the summer.

STOUT: Final question for you, Justin, you're a musician so what inspired you to do this and to join the fight to end modern day slavery?

DILLON: I had the opportunity to play music around Eastern Europe and Russia knowing very little about this issue just a few years ago. And I came face to face with girls who were being trafficked or were about to be trafficked. I think what it came down to me was here's something that I can read about or hear about on the news, but yet I see and face it right in front of me. And it became a very zeitgeist moment for me where I said this is an issue that not only I can see and touch, but actually I'm somewhat complicit and this affected me.

So it became a moment for me to go, I'm not part of this narrative and if I don't join this narrative there's parts of this issue that won't ever be solved. We're all connected to this issue. And so it was just my way of stepping up, doing what I know how to do -- playing music and then making a film and doing what I can do to end this thing.

STOUT: Well, Justin, thank you for taking that experience and turning it into real action. Justin Dillon joining us live from San Francisco. Thank you and take care.

Now on air and online, you can access more stories and videos on modern day slavery at There are also many ways that you can get involved as well. Free the Slaves is the advocacy group that we heard from in Sara Sidner's report. You can find out more about them, the group and how to help them at

Other worthy charities are also helping fight slavery like, and the Indian branch of Save the Children which you can find at

Now we have a lot more ahead here on NEWS STREAM. Keep it here. We will be back right after this.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now we are 50 days away from the much publicized royal wedding between Britain's Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton. And CNN's royal watcher Mark Saunders is among those counting the days. He joins us live from Buckingham Palace to tell us where things stand.

And Mark, give us an idea of the meticulous planning underway.

MARK SAUNDERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, meticulous is the right word. At the moment the planning is concentrating on Westminster Abbey, which is obviously the venue where the actual wedding will take place. We understand earlier this week Katherine and William had a rehearsal at the Abbey with Prince Charles in attendance.

Now when you think about it, the Abbey, the service is going to be the main point for this wedding. That's the feature presentation for most of us. So they've really got to get that dead right. I understand Katherine has been practicing her wedding walk. St. James' Palace just up the road here might suggest she's going to have a long train. But they really are making sure the choreography is perfect for that service.

STOUT: And what are some of the concerns leading up to the wedding?

SAUNDERS: Well, the main concern at the moment is Katherine's continued weight loss. Some weeks back it was suggested that she was losing weight quite dramatically, but it was just considered part of what do brides go through? The other day in Belfast, she was described as looking painfully thin. And indeed one member of the public said to her don't lose any more weight. And she said, it's all part of the wedding plan.

Commentators today in most of the newspapers are suggesting that the weight loss is now becoming quite dramatic. Obviously, we remember the awful bulimia that Princess Diana suffered prior to her wedding. One hopes that the repeat is not going to happen here.

Kate is looking thin, but I think that on the day she'll probably overcome that and be looking great.

STOUT: Yeah. I hope so indeed. Mark Saunders joining us live in London. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now what is called a royal peculiar. Now we'll have a special role to play come April 29th. Westminster Abbey has been the setting for countless state occasions back 1000 years. As Max Foster shows us, for many it's beautify remains timeless.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If Britishness can in part be defined by its royalty, then this church is as British as they come. Westminster Abbey is what's called a raw peculiar, that is it comes under the jurisdiction not of the church, but of the queen herself. She was crowned here, as were all heads of state going back to 1066. Prince William's Uncle Andrew was married here and William walked here to mourn the loss of his mother, Diana, whose memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey.

The couple told an aid that they chose Westminster Abbey not just because of its thousand year raw history, but also because of its staggering beauty. And once you're in here, you really do get a sense of what they're talking about.

Elaborate moldings decorate arches and columns holding up a towering vaulted ceiling. Kate will likely be aware of how the long single narrow aisle was designed to help make the space feel even bigger.

Once she's inside the church, Katherine will come through the choir screen there with her father, past the choir stalls where the choir will be standing. And we expect her to come up here to the high alter where she'll meet William and be married.

SARAH HAYWOOD, WEDDING PLANNER: A cheer will go up as well, of course. When they both said "I do" and he proclaims them husband and wife, I suspect they will hear the cheer outside. And maybe that's the moment for them to acknowledge that around the world people have been watching with them. And I would imagine even the most cynical among us surely when you see a couple exchanging their wedding vows, your heart does melt a little bit.

FOSTER: Westminster Abbey is a church steeped in British history. But for William and soon Kate, that also means family history. Their wedding will be a personal event in the most public of settings.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


STOUT: And we've got the latest from the Cricket World Cup and football's Champion's League, plus a night of buzzer beaters and record breakers in the NBA. We'll get you the latest sports upsets and updates.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now if you're feeling pretty down about your finances, it may be best to just look away now. Now this year's Forbes rich list has been revealed. And there are more billionaires than ever before -- 1,210 individuals boast a total net worth of $4.5 trillion. And the wealth, it's spreading. Now the U.S. is still accommodates the bulk -- more than third of the world's billionaires, 413 in total, with 1,500 billion dollars between them. Now Europe has traditionally held the number two spot, and with 300 billionaires, including 101 alone in Russia it's certainly not lacking. But this year, the region where I'm in, the Asia-Pacific region has leapfrogged its western neighbor. There are now 332 billionaires in the region. But not one of the top five lives here.

Now the Mexican telecomm tycoon Carlos Slim is top of the tree. His net worth grew by more than $20 billion in the last year. And he now boasts $74 billion. In second place, they got a familiar face, Microsoft founder Bill Gates comes in with $56 billion. Now his friend and fellow philanthropist Warren Buffet is right behind, the investor has a net worth of $50 billion.

Now Europe's richest individual is the luxury goods supremo Bernard Arnault. The LVMH chief boasts $41 billion.

And in fifth place, Oracle's top man, Larry Ellison, the third American in the top five.

And here's another American that you might recognize, the Facebook found Mark Zuckerberg. He may only be number 52 on the list with the personal wealth of $13.5 billion, but no fewer than five other people associated with Facebook join him in the rundown. You can bet they'll be getting a few more friend requests maybe later today? Bad joke.

Now let's head over to sports headlines. Nearly half a century since their only other appearance in the competition, Tottenham are certainly making a mark on the biggest competition in club football. So let's join Alex Thomas in London for some Champion's League news and other sports headlines -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, after their north London rivals crashed out of the Champion's League a day earlier, Tottenham's fans gleefully chanted "are you watching Arsenal?" At the end over their victory over AC Milan. Wednesday night's second leg match finished nil-nil, but Spurs went through 1-nil on aggregate with Tottenham scoring in the first leg in Italy proving to be crucial as AC Milan pushed forward at White Hart Lane. Brazilian forward Robinho nearly finding the net on more than one occasion, but the seven time European champions and Series A leaders couldn't get the breakthrough and it's Spurs who go through to the quarterfinals.


HARRY REDKNAPP, TOTTENHAM MANAGER: If you'd have said two years ago you'd be last eight in the Champion's League I'd have thought you were crazy. I mean, it's been a fantastic achievement from the players who took us this far in the competition so far. And we've enjoyed every minute of it. And we deserve to be here. We won our group. We beat AC Milan over the two games. We didn't concede a goal to them. Two clean sheets. I mean, it's a fantastic achievement.


THOMAS: Now Zimbabwe are facing a massive run chase against Sri Lanka at the Cricket World Cup. The African nation winning the coin toss, deciding to field first in the Group A match at the Pallekele International Stadium. And boy did they regret that choice as Sri Lanka's opening batsman smashed an unbeaten stand of 282 runs. Upal Tharanga and Thillakaratne Dilshan both hitting centuries as Sri Lanka made 327 for 6 from their 50 overs. A short time ago, as you can see there, Zimbabwe, not a bad response -- 48 without loss after 9 overs.

Now it was a whirlwind Wednesday in the NBA. Records and buzzer beaters. And a big night for Minnesota Timberwolves' star Kevin Love.

Earlier in the week Love equaled Moses Malone's record of 51 consecutive double-doubles. And Love went one better here, his tenth rebound of the game came when James Posey's miss and his tenth point of the game from the free throw line. Both of those coming in the second quarter. The fans loved it, they knew what it meant. And they loved it even more when the Timberwolves went on to beat the Indiana Pacers 101-75.

A host of other thrilling finishes in the night's other games. In Memphis, let's take a look at Carmelo Anthony faking and then hitting the jumper in the final second to clinch victory for the New York Knicks 110-108 they beat the Grizzlies.

And there was an equally close call in Toronto between the Raptors and Utah Jazz. Al Jefferson scoring 34 points including the game winning tip in at the death. The Jazz winning 96-94.

That's it. More sport in a couple of hours' time, Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Alex, thank you and take care.

And now time for us to go over and out there with a little bit of match making. You've probably heard the saying opposites attract, but it's OK to have something in common with your partner, right? Sure, but what if that something is the way you look? Now a new web site is set to launch this month that pairs singles with their spitting images. They can follow the footsteps of famous couples like actors Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal pictured here.

Now the founder Christina Bloom came up with the idea for after being told that she and her ex-husband looked like brother and sister. Is it just me, or is the fact that he is her ex- husband just a pretty bad omen for the entire enterprise? Just putting it out there.

Now that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.