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NEWS STREAM

Ivory Coast Conflict; Tensions in Jordan; On the Libyan Frontlines

Aired April 1, 2011 - 08:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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

I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

Political impasse. There are violent clashes in Ivory Coast as the loser of a presidential runoff continues to cling to power.

In Japan, a town that is no stranger to tsunamis, where even a huge seawall could not stop their homes being swallowed.

And this man is carrying the hopes of a billion people. India's Sachin Tendulkar hopes to lead his country to cricket World Cup glory.

Now, residents of Abidjan say they are afraid of all-out war, as the two men claiming Ivory Coast's presidency clash for control. Heavy fighting has been heard as forces loyal to internationally recognized Alassane Ouattara are said to be attacking the presidential palace. And some Abidjan residents doubt incumbent Laurent Gbagbo will go down without a deadly battle. Mr. Gbagbo has remained defiant since November's election, and forces loyal to his rival, Ouattara, are determined to finally push him out of power.

We want to show you where all of this is taking place.

Now, Abidjan is Ivory Coasts' main city. It's sitting on the coast, but it is not the political capital. Now, that is further north. Ouattara's forces captured Yamoussoukro earlier this week, along with key cocoa- producing areas and port cities.

Abidjan is the country's commercial center and home to the presidential palace. Mr. Gbagbo has refused to leave the building.

Now, the internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara, has been based at the Golf Hotel instead. A U.N. peacekeeping force says that pro- Gbagbo forces have stopped their siege Now, pro-Ouattara troops have taken control of the state-run television station.

Mr. Gbagbo's personal residence is nearby. It is also under attack, and Mr. Gbagbo was apparently not there, but it is unclear if his family was at the home.

Now, the African Union has called on Mr. Gbagbo to relinquish power. The AU's main negotiator says the will of the Ivorian people must prevail.

Christian Purefoy is following developments from Lagos, Nigeria. He joins us now live.

And Christian, what is the latest on the fight for Ivory Coast?

CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is enormous pressure bearing down on Gbagbo to relinquish power. The rebels, Ouattara's supporters, seem to be seizing the main ports. They've taken over most of the country by most reports. And now, as you said, they're attacking key installations, key government buildings in the main commercial capital, Abidjan, which is where the seat of power of the country is, if you like.

We've got reports that they're going off state television, for example. But perhaps the most important thing for the whole conflict is that yesterday, Gbagbo's chief of army staff defected. We've got reports that he is in the South African Embassy.

That is extremely important, because it leads Gbagbo with a leader, if you like, for his main military force, the army. And we've again got two reports of huge defections going on. That leaves Gbagbo with very little to fight back with, if you like, because, also, over the last couple of months there's been enormous economic sanctions against him. He's been running out of money, and this could explain why so many people have been defecting to the other side, to Ouattara, because, simply, Gbagbo has been unable to pay the checks -- Kristie.

STOUT: Gbagbo has been losing critical support.

Now, last night here on NEWS STREAM, a Ouattara government spokesman said that it will be "only hours, maybe days" before Gbagbo falls. Now, after four months of fighting, are we finally nearing the end?

PUREFOY: I think a lot of people, obviously, especially hope that this is nearing some sort of end. But Gbagbo has been clinging on to power now for 10 years, during which time, you know, he's canceled and postponed elections, and he didn't stop with the last election. So -- and he certainly hasn't -- doesn't seem to have given up at all, even when everything seems to be crumbling around him.

The concern now, Kristie, is that things could turn very ugly. Amnesty International put out concerns that Abidjan could slide (ph) into some sort of bloodbath between pro-Gbagbo supporters, young men on the streets going after the rebels, and that it could divide the country. Gbagbo supporters are predominantly in the south and Ouattara's forces are predominantly in the north.

At the moment, it has to be said, that is looking unlikely. If anything, it seems to be one of the better conclusions that this could have come to. Again, it could turn very, very ugly, but the fighting has been predominantly limited to Abidjan. There is fighting across the country, but most of the violence taking part at key installations, not across the whole city.

Obviously, it's a nightmare for people living there. But for someone who is just not refusing to relinquish power, this probably seems for Ouattara the only way to get in (ph) -- Kristie.

STOUT: And Christian, for the sake of the people of Ivory Coast, let's hope it doesn't get any uglier.

Christian Purefoy, joining us live.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is promising concessions to a public poised for major protests this Friday. Anti-government demonstrators have been planning what they're calling "A Day of Martyrs," putting pressure on a regime that's been slow to yield to calls for change.

Now, these amateur pictures, they're said to be from the city of Latakia on Wednesday, and they show an elderly man who was apparently shot. Assad has demanded an investigation into the killing and wounding of civilians and soldiers since the troubles began. He's also ordered a salary hike for state workers and has vowed to look into lifting Syria's decades-old emergency law. But this may not go far enough for many disgruntled citizens.

Now, witnesses say tens of thousands of people have turned out for pro-and- anti-government demonstrations in Yemen's capital, Sana'a. This follows months of unrest with anti-government protesters calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. This, in spite of Mr. Saleh's promise not to run for president in the next round of elections.

In nearby Jordan, tensions remain high despite a promise by the king to listen to the grievances of his people. King Abdullah says that dialogue is crucial to maintaining national unity. He also says he's not afraid of reform. Many Jordanians, they want actions rather than words, and unrest in the country has already erupted into violence on the streets.

Now, as we've seen throughout these uprisings across the Middle East, Friday is a key day for protests. And to give us the latest on today's demonstrations in Jordan, let's go live to Stan Grant. He is there in Amman.

And Stan, what have you been seeing there?

STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Two kinds of protests here today, Kristie. One you could characterize as the loyalists. These are the people who have been carrying pictures of King Abdullah, saying, "Long live King Abdullah," very much out in support of him. The others you could call the reformists, and we've seen them here today, a collection of leftist groups, a collection of Islamist groups, youth groups in particular, with youth being such a huge percentage of the population here in Jordan.

They turned out, and they're calling for democratic reforms. They want to see electoral reform. They want us to have more of a say in the running of the country, more freedom of expression.

Now, both groups are not anti the royal regime. They are not looking for the ouster of the king, but they are looking for different types of reform.

Now, there has been a very, very strong police presence here on the streets today, between 600 to 1,000 police, some of them in full riot gear, trying to keep the two protest groups apart. The violence flared last week when the two came together and clashed. And of course we saw those bloody scenes.

They want to avoid a repeat of that today, and so far the heavy police presence has been able to keep the two groups apart. And we haven't seen a repeat of that violence. But certainly, as people are gathering here, they're taking a break for a moment. The numbers have been increasing throughout the day. Still not at a critical mass, but the numbers have been increasing and calling, Kristie, for these reforms that they say are well overdue.

STOUT: OK. So there are anti-government protests today, as well as pro- government demonstrations. There were violent anti-government protests last week.

How did Jordan come to this? I mean, surely, the regime must have watched the events in Egypt and Tunisia. So why has it failed to manage the discontent there in the country?

GRANT: And the people I've been speaking to, Kristie, have directly addressed that. They're saying they want to see Jordan avoid what has happened elsewhere in the country, but they want more than talk.

The big criticism of the regime, of King Abdullah, has been that they have not been able to live up to the promises of reform. Now, remember, of course, that he sank his cabinet, he sent (ph) a new prime minister in short (ph) here as well. But it still has not been enough to placate the protesters. They want to see real reform, and they want to see it now.

But what we're also seeing here, the roots of division starting to appear in the country as well. The government has been blaming last week's violence on what they call Islamist roots. There has been a strong pro- Jordanian lobby here, and they are starting to divide themselves from the Palestinian population. The Palestinian population in this country, thought to be over half of Jordan's population.

So we are starting to see those divisions as well between Jordanians and Palestinians. And the concern amongst people here, that some elements may try to whip up those divisions to try to create more violence. But the real emphasis here at the moment is on reform, and they want to see that reform soon, before it reaches the stage that we've seen in Egypt and Tunisian, Yemen, and now, of course, in Syria as well -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Stan Grant, joining us live in Amman.

Thank you very much indeed.

And as we continue to monitor the situation there in the Middle East, we'll of course bring you the latest information as soon as we get it.

Now, don't miss the "IDESK" with Hala Gorani. Now, she will be live from the Jordanian capital throughout the hour. That starts 10:00 p.m. here in Hong Kong, 4:00 p.m. in central Europe.

Now, in Libya, forces under Colonel Gadhafi are tearing through what were once some of the country's most prosperous cities, forcing citizens from their homes and forcing rebel fighters further east. While Gadhafi's troops seem strong, his political inner circle is anything but.

Now, British officials are still speaking to the former foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, who arrived in London after defecting from the Gadhafi regime. "The Guardian" newspaper also reports a senior adviser to one of Gadhafi's sons is holding secret talks in the U.K. capital.

Now, political developments will offer little comfort to rebel fighters on Libya's frontlines. Having worked hard to take several key cities last week, the opposition has faced the torment of watching them fall again in recent days.

Our Ben Wedeman is following their faltering campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is some of the heaviest firepower the anti-Gadhafi forces have, multiple rocket launchers, mortars, heavy machineguns. All in action on what is at best a very shaky frontline east of Brega, a strategic refinery town that has changed hands six times in the last six weeks.

Brega is once more under the control of Libyan government forces. And the rebels say even with a no-fly zone and NATO air and missile strikes, they're still no match for Gadhafi's men.

"This is useless," says fighter Salah bin Gazan (ph), giving me his antiquated Soviet-made machinegun, adding that, "It's only good for pigeon hunting."

(on camera): The fighters fire their weapons all day long, but by the afternoon they start to run out of ammunition, which, of course, means they have to retreat.

(voice-over): Dramatic advances are followed by dramatic retreats. High morale doesn't really make up for lack of progress and organization. The supply of ammunitions hasn't been running out -- at least not yet -- it's replenished each day when the rebels move to the front. But logistics and supply, so critical to any military force, are a slapdash affair. The provision of fuel, food and other supplies is more a personal than a group responsibility, all of which underscores a basic fact -- the rebels don't have a strategy.

Ibrahim says he was in Libya's special forces 10 years ago, and admits that even with better weaponry, the military opposition Gadhafi is leaderless at the front.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Group by group, you know. Every group together and going, but don't have command here to take these people and make a plan for them or something.

WEDEMAN (on camera): There's no plan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up until now, no.

WEDEMAN: So is somebody thinking of a plan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe. Sure. Have somebody, but I don't know why he don't come up until now. Why he waiting? Waiting for what, I don't know.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): The rebels need to come up with a plan soon because they won't be able to win this battle by bravado alone.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, outside Brega in eastern Libya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now, up next, more confusion over radiation readings in Japan. TEPCO says radiation in groundwater near a troubled plant has spiked, but the government says more tests are needed.

We'll bring you the latest.

And in London, anarchists are planning to spoil the royal wedding day. A look at what the royal security detail will be up against.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, Japan says tens of thousands of residents evacuated from their homes near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may not be allowed to go back for months.

Now, this is video of a pump spraying water onto reactors at that nuclear power plant. Just after midnight on Friday, TEPCO said radiation levels apparently spiked in groundwater near the plant. Japan's chief cabinet secretary later said that more testing is needed to confirm the actual level. He also says tests are being read on meat, chicken and pork from the region. That's after elevated radiation levels were found in beef from the area.

Now, one century ago, a Japanese coastal town was ravaged by a tsunami. Paula Hancocks visits the fishing village that was leveled 100 years ago, only to be decimated once again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fishing of Ryoishi is no stranger to tsunamis. One hundred years ago, a wave destroyed the town and is believed to have killed 90 percent of its residents. So they built a wall to make sure the sea would never again swallow their homes and families.

(on camera): The villagers had complete faith in this tsunami wall. It had recently been made even higher. It's currently 9.3 meters. That's around 30 feet. And they believed it would stop any tsunami, but it didn't.

(voice-over): Awasaki Takeshi (ph) used to live in the hills, but he moved to the coast after the wall was built. He says it made him feel safe. He breaks down when he remembers the wave coming over the wall as he ran to the hills with his wife.

He tells me, "This isn't a bad place and tsunamis don't happen that often, but after seeing the great wave, my wife has decided we should not be here." Takeshi (ph) also lost his boat and his livelihood fishing for abalone and sea urchin.

Fishing was one of the biggest employees in the Wate (ph) prefecture. Ninety-six percent of the boats have been destroyed.

He ties up any fishing gear he can find just in case. But at the age of 77, it's doubtful he'll build up a business again.

More than 40 people are dead or missing here. The grim search for bodies is not over. As survivors move away, it's hard to know if this village, completely rebuilt after one tsunami, can find the strength to start again.

Sifting through the debris of their lives, his neighbor finds a clock. It stopped at 3:22, the exact moment his life changed and countless others ended.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Ryoishi, Japan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And to find out how you can help victims of the devastation in Japan, go to CNN's "Impact Your World" Web site. You'll find information on what aid groups are doing on the ground and how you can get involved.

Now, turning now to Mexico, where a wave of drug violence has swept the tourist town of Acapulco. Violence is taking a toll on the local economy, but as Rafael Romo reports, some tourists say they won't be scared away.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PASCAL CLEMENS, RESIDENT: I came to Acapulco, like, 17 years ago.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pascal Clemens says he immediately fell in love with Acapulco after arriving here for the first time in the mid-90s. The German realtor speaks of sunny beaches, friendly people, cool breezes, and, above all, spectacular weather.

CLEMENS: It's not only good, it's excellent. It's outstanding every day. Have you seen any rain here?

ROMO: That's one of the main reasons why countless foreigners have made Acapulco their paradise for decades. Actor John Wayne owned this hotel in the '50s, and Johnny Weissmuller, who played "Tarzan" in Hollywood films, spent the last four years of his life here. The Mexican beach resort is full of luxury homes overlooking the bays and mansions with private gardens.

According to local officials, at least 3,000 foreigners, including Americans, Canadians and Europeans, call Acapulco home. A recent wave of drug violence is keeping some tourists away, especially spring-breakers, who were a no-show this year. Violence is apparently having only a minimal effect on the real estate market.

CLEMENS: Right now the market is down in terms of sales, but the prices have maintained surprisingly stable.

ROMO (on camera): The current situation is also affecting the rental market. This $1.6 million home with two pools and six bedrooms used to rent for about $1,000 a day. Now it's $700.

(voice-over): But Natalie Farmer, a Canadian who spends weeks here very year since she was a little girl, has kept coming.

NATALIE FARMER, TOURIST: I've always felt safe here and, you know, you certainly don't go looking for trouble, and you stay within the compound. And you go out in groups. And I think it's safe.

ROMO: Officials say they're working hard to turn the tide of violence, increasing police and military presence.

MANUEL ANORVE, RESIDENT (through translator): Acapulco is standing on its feet, and of course the three levels of government are working together to solve these problems. But I will say it again, Acapulco is bigger than its problem.

SHANA DEWALE, BELGIAN TOURIST: I see more violence in my country, in Belgium, than I see here in Acapulco. I never saw anything here as a tourist. I love it. I come every year, and it's the best vacation I have.

ROMO: Joyce Patterson, an American who teaches at a local college, has been living in Acapulco for 35 years.

JOYCE PATTERSON, ACAPULCO RESIDENT: There's a phrase that we use here that's called (SPEAKING SPANISH), that once you're here, you won't want to leave because we've got the beach, we've got the breeze.

ROMO: She says she's concerned about the violence, but is not about to pack her bags anytime soon.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Acapulco, Mexico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: All week we've been bringing you stories from China's online world. And up next, using a microblog to seek the truth. We'll look at how protesters in China use the Web site Weibo to reach out to the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Broadcasting live from Hong Kong, you are back watching NEWS STREAM.

And all this week we've been looking at the Internet in China. We've explored ways netizens get around the great firewall and prominent companies like Baidu and Taobao.

And today we're looking at one more, Sina Weibo. Now, these photos of a recent protest in Yunnan province were posted to the popular microblogging Web site. Now, some of them show uniformed soldiers and armed personnel carriers rolling in to disperse angry villagers. Images of local protests like these are getting widely distributed thanks to mobile phone cameras and social networking tools.

Let's take a closer look at Sina Weibo.

Right now, Weibo is said to have up to 100 million users, and it's growing fast. Sina said that they are adding 10 million new users a month.

While from the outset, Weibo may look like a lot like Twitter, it actually offers users a lot more functionality. Now, let me show you by taking a look at the profile of the Chinese actress Yao Chen.

Yao Chen has more than seven million followers known as fans on Weibo. Now, celebrities and their infighting (ph) and hobbies have really helped rive Weibo's popularity. And right now, Yao's commenting about a new development at Baidu.

Now, in general, Weibo is far more interactive. Yao's fans can comment directly on her microblog, as well as re-tweet (ph). Now, Weibo posts are limited to 144 characters, but you can say a lot more in Chinese than in English within those restrictions.

Now, let's have a look at what is trending today on Sina.

And the Qingming Festival is the top trend. Now, that festival is on Tuesday and is traditionally a day when the Chinese sweep the tombs of their ancestors.

And Hong Kong actor Leslie Cheung is also trending because he committed suicide eight years ago today.

And one term that is seemingly always trending on Weibo, "iPhone," in at number three.

Weibo content is actively censored by the Chinese government. Monitors remove posts or keywords that refer to prominent political dissidents or protests, even the current uprisings in the Middle East. And when "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof opened a Sina Weibo account in December and began by posting about the banned (INAUDIBLE), his account was deleted in less than an hour, something he told the world about on Twitter.

And still, Weibo users say the level of discourse there feels more open to them than other forms. They use creative metaphors or posting techniques to push the boundaries of what can be talked about online in China. Internet watchers credit Weibo for keeping certain topics like corruption in the public discourse.

So now you know that Weibo is much more than a Twitter knockoff, but that can't be said for many other Chinese Web sites that bear more than a striking resemblance to their Western counterparts. Just take a look for yourself.

Now, this is tumblr. This is the popular microblog platform. And here to the right, that's DianDian. It's a tumblr copycat in China. It's even got the very same background colors, sort of slate blue.

And the next one here is foursquare. It's the popular location-based social networking site. And next to it is the Chinese version. It's called Maopao (ph). And as you can see, they're virtually identical from the sky blue and lime green corporate identity, to the live stream of recent activity there. Even the rundown on the operating systems on the right of their pages, virtually the same.

And it doesn't end there. The so-called attack of the clones is also on the iPhone. Now, this is a look into the photo-sharing app Instagram. And here is China's answer to that. It's called Maopao Pai Pai (ph). And if you scan the interface at the bottom, each icon and function is virtually the same.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, pomp and anarchy. As police tighten security ahead of the royal wedding, anarchists are plotting to disrupt the event.

And nice work if you can get it. What will the markets make of the monthly U.S. jobs report? We'll give you the numbers.

And we'll also tell you about the baseball player trying to strike out child slavery. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Your watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

In the Ivory Coast, residents brace for more violence in the battle for the presidency. While some in Ouattara's camp says his rebel forces are patrolling the streets in Abidjan with heavy fighting in some areas. And the African Union is calling on self-declared Laurant Gbagbo to give up power. International leaders recognize Ouattara as the nation's democratically elected leader.

Battles over key Libyan cities continue to rage as more cracks appear in Colonel Gadhafi's inner circle. Rebel forces remain under intense pressure from government troops while The Guardian newspaper is reporting that a senior adviser to one of Gadhafi's sons is in London for secret talks.

In Egypt, thousands of demonstrators are in Tahrir Square to oppose a law that would criminalize protests. The youth coalition tells CNN that the protest is an effort to reassert their movement after the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

In Japan, TEPCO says radiation levels spiked in groundwater near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Japan's chief cabinet secretary later said that more testing is needed. Officials now say the people evacuated from homes near that plant may not be allowed to go back for months.

And the monthly U.S. jobs report is in. The U.S. economy created 216,000 jobs in March. The labor market is usually front and center for investors, but right now it is taking a back seat to spiking oil prices and the long-term impact of the crisis in Japan.

Now we're under a month until the British royal wedding, planners are doing all they can to make sure that the day goes off without a hitch. But if recent events are anything to go by, the threat of a violent minority disrupting events is very real. Dan Rivers talks to police about keeping the anarchists at bay.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the nightmare scenario for those planning the royal wedding: anarchists attacking a car carrying the royal family. On this occasion it was Prince Charles and Camilla, but this is the same car that will be used to take Kate Middleton to the wedding, and anarchists are vowing to do their best to interfere with the event.

CHARLIE VEITCH, ANARCHIST: For the royal wedding we're going to see what we call a disruption spectacular.

RIVERS: Charlie Veitch is an ex-city banker who was laid off and is now a committed anarchist protester. He was among this student protest against austerity cuts last year and is warning there will be more of the same on April the 29th which he describes as.

VEITCH: The shock and awe campaign. It will involve a lot of fireworks. It will involve a lot of people dressed in black. It will involve a lot of very, very loud music.

RIVERS: Security expert Roy Ramm shows me the aftermath of the latest protest.

ROY RAMM, SECURITY EXPERT:: You see them here doing this kind of damage, which is just a pane...

RIVERS: I think it's just one window of the hundreds around here.

RAMM: Oh, absolutely.

RIVERS: He says the royal wedding presents an incredibly difficult challenge.

RAMM: The police have got a job to get the public in close up to the wedding, but they've got to keep the people who want to cause disorder and damage like you're seeing here away from the royal wedding. It can be immensely disruptive.

And you know it's a very unenviable position that the police are in.

RIVERS: The big problem for the police is getting enough evidence to stop the anarchists doing something before they get to the wedding route. There is talk of using stop and search powers. The problem is, who do they stop and search? Experts say intelligence before the big day will be crucial.

Anarchist web site are already humming with reverences to the wedding.

VEITCH: There are plans which are being passed around online in encrypted forums and through encrypted e-mail which the government cannot hack to basically disrupt the procession route as well.

RIVERS: But knowing exactly where to deploy riot police is tough. The protesters could strike at almost any location in central London.

COMMANDER BOB BROADHURST, MET POLICE: There's a lot of chatter out there, no real intelligence. But we must bare in mind that people have a right to come and protest.

RIVERS: The anarchists will have to blend in with a crowd like this. And these staunch royalists could be the best defense the police have.

ANDY HAYMAN, FRM. ASSISTANT COMMISH. MET POLICE: I don't think it will be very easy for the anarchists to infiltrate. The great majority would stop that happening.

On the other hand, if there was a pot of paint that was thrown at the royal VIPs that would be a worldwide embarrassment.

RIVERS: An embarrassment that the police are desperate to avoid, one that the anarchists will consider a huge victory.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Turning now to the CNN Freedom Project. And for those of you who have not been following the series, we're giving victims a voice and calling the culprits to account and supporting the organizations fighting to end modern day slavery.

And today, Mark McKay introduces us to a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants to find out how baseball is playing a part in ending child trafficking.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For Major League Baseball pitchers it's all about the strike, throwing that perfect pitch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strike.

MCKAY: But off the field San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt is looking to strike out child slavery.

JEREMY AFFELDT, PITCHER: To see what they've done to those kids and how they treat people it was devastating to me. And I want to try to figure out how I could use baseball to get the word out, you know, use my platform on what's going on and fight some of the injustice.

MCKAY: Affeldt teams up with a non-profit group called Not For Sale, founded four years ago by Dave Batstone, a professor at the University of San Francisco. His organization launched Free to Play as a way of encouraging professional athletes to support the global anti-slavery campaign.

DAVE BATSTONE, FOUNDER, NOT FOR SALE: So I think everyone has this kind of gut sense that it's wrong to hold someone captive, to take away their future. So it's not that controversial a subject, it's more about what can I do about it?

MCKAY: Last season, Affeldt donated $20,000, much of that coming from the $100 he pledged for every strike-out he pitched during the season. Now he's upping that to $250 per strike out.

He's also raising awareness by recruiting teammates and opponents, tapping St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holiday who has pledged $500 for every home run he hits.

AFFELDT: I mean, you have so many different nationalities represented here. I mean, we're going -- we have got some of the Asian ball players, we got some of the Latin guys. I mean, we've got all these guys that there is slavery in all these countries.

MCKAY: Not For Sale has built some medical clinic, safe house, and dormitories for former child slaves in northern Thailand. Here kids are now free to play on newly built basketball courts.

And in Peru, the group help launched a surfing program for street kids.

Last season the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. Affeldt hopes the buzz surrounding his team will bring attention to a problem which many only rarely think about.

AFFELDT: It wasn't right in the 1800s. It's not right now. And there's more slaves, you know now when there was when it was legal. And to me, I don't get that.

MCKAY: A baseball player hoping to end modern day slavery one strike- out at a time.

Mark McKay, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: And if you want to get involved in Not For Sale's efforts and the Free to Play program you can find out more at Notforsalecampaign.org.

Now we're staying with sports after the break. India and Sri Lanka prepare for the Cricket World Cup final as the hopes of a billion people rest on the shoulders of this man.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now it is the match that millions are waiting for. The co-hosts India and Sri Lanka are preparing for Saturday's Cricket World Cup final. Kate Giles is here to preview the big match -- Kate.

KATE GILES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right Kristie. You know one thing weighing very, very heavily on the minds of the Sri Lankan fans right now, and that is the health of their star player Muttiah Muralitharan. Now he is their record holding spin bowler. And he really is key to their game. But his fitness has been an issue during this tournament. He struggled with both hamstring and knee injuries.

Now Sri Lankan fans will of course be very, very keen to know whether he will be passed fit to play for this match. But they have at least have some encouraging words from the team's coach, Trevor Bayliss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TREVORY BAYLISS, SRI LANKA COACH: Well I think the chances are good. I mean, he came through bowled his 10 overs in the semifinal. And he came through that -- came through that OK. He's obviously (inaudible) pulled up a little bit stiff and sore, but the character of the man and his will to want to play cricket and obviously win another world cup, I wouldn't be -- I wouldn't be surprised at all if he plays.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GILES: Now Muttiah is retire after this tournament. So this will be his final bout. And it really should be a very spectacular one.

The world's best bowler will be taking on the world's best batsman, that's Sachin Tendulkar of India.

Now Murali is the greatest wicket taker in cricket history. He's the record holder in both test and one day cricket, an incredible 1,334 wickets in all for his country.

But, of course, if anyone has the ability to handle him it's the little Massa (ph), Sachin Tendulkar. Now he has scored more runs than any other batsman in the world. In test cricket he has made 14,692. And he's scored 99 international centuries. So now the world cup final in front of his adoring fans in Mumbai. He will be going for an unprecedented 100.

Now if that's not pressure enough, India are of course desperate to end a 28 year wait for their second world cup title and become the first country to win it on home soil. Now it is you have to say pretty much impossible to understand just what Tendulkar means to Indians unless you have been there. Here is Alex Thomas from Mumbai.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Brilliant yet humble, Sachin Tendulkar's fame has nothing to do with hype and everything to do with achievements. By the time he retires, India's so-called little master, or rival Australian legend Don Bradman as crickets greatest ever batsman.

Like the Don, Tendulkar became entranced by the sport at an early age.

SACHIN TENDULKAR, CRICKET PLAYER: I remember when I first held a cricket bat when I was probably four or five. And the love for cricket only grew bigger and bigger after that. And it hasn't stopped. Every outing is a special one. And that is what I have dreamed of as a kid. And I'm living that dream.

THOMAS: Saturday's Cricket World Cup final will be special for Tendulkar, because it's being held in his home city. Like these youngsters, Sachin learned to play the sport in this park. And while he's one of the most popular players in the world, here in Mumbai it's not exaggeration to say that he's worshipped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sachin is god for us.

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: He's a legend of the cricket.

THOMAS: Tendulkar's cricketing ability helped him get into this high school at the age of 11. A silver jubilee booklet mentions how Sachin was taught to hit boundaries because he was too small to run in his pads. We were treated to more Tendulkar anecdotes by his proud former science teacher who is now head of the school

KRISHNA SHIRSAT, TENDULKAR'S FORMER TEACHER: Everything is so in spirit, everything was of cricket. He was (inaudible) cricket, but whenever he used to come to the school he concentrate. He was very sincere, hard worker, and he used to complete the work.

THOMAS : Tendulkar was only 16 when he made his test debut for India. And since then he's scored more runs and more centuries than any cricketer in history.

MAHELA JAYAWARDENE, SRI LANKA VICE-CAPTAIN: What he has achieved as a cricketer is phenomenal. But same thing as a person. I think he's a fantastic guy, especially with 1 billion people's expectation on his shoulders. That's something that you have to admire.

THOMAS: In a country where cricket is regarded as a religion, Tendulkar is a sponsor's dream. His achievements have made him an icon and a rich man, but no one ever calls Sachin a publicity seeker. More often, he described as quiet and down to Earth. Which is probably why he spends a lot of his money here, next to what is simply called the dumping ground in the destitute Mumbai suburb of Gbandi (ph), the Apnali (ph) charity runs half a dozens centers aiming to help poor families. It's backed by Tendulkar and run by his mother-in-law.

ANNABEL MENTA, TENDULKAR'S MOTHER-IN-LAW: He's a person who believes strongly in helping those less fortunate than he now is.

THOMAS: He's a great cricketer, what's he like as a son-in-law?

MENTA: Oh, he's a great son-in-law. He's the most lovely person. Very quiet. Very shy. Very modest.

THOMAS: Most of these kids don't realize Sachin's connection with the work being done here, but they love him all the same.

CROWD: Sachin, Sachin, Sachin, Sachin.

THOMAS: Ultimately, Tendulkar's appeal comes back to his cricket. And winning the world cup final would cap a marvelous career.

Alex Thomas, CNN, India.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GILES: So that right there, Kristie, is the man that India are counting on.

It all starts in -- let me calculate -- about 20 hours from now.

STOUT: All resting on him. Kate Giles, thank you very much indeed.

Now this next report, it is the one that Wall Street has been waiting for. The big U.S. jobs report has just been released. And our Carter Evans is crunching the number in New York. And Carter, the jobless rate in the U.S. has fallen, but not by much.

CARTER EVANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not by much, but it was expected to stay the same, so it's seen as good news. It fell from 8.9 percent to 8.8 percent. You know, we were at 9.8 percent not too long ago, so we've seen a pretty big drop over the last several months.

The economy added 216,000 jobs in the month of March, that is more than expected. Analysts were expecting around 185,000, maybe up to 200,000. So it's better than expected. In fact, the private sector added 230,000 jobs, but the government cut 14,000 jobs. And that's how we ended up with that 216,000 number.

Now to make a significant dent in the unemployment rate in this country we're going to need consistent gains of 250,000 jobs a month. Analysts have been saying this for years now, but we're finally starting to get up to that level -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yeah, and Carter it was only four months ago when the jobless rate was at 9.8 percent. So what is behind this recent improvement?

EVANS: Well, you know, we've seen increases in job hiring. We've seen increases in hiring. Companies are looking ahead to the future and they're seeing that things are getting better. We are seeing a lot of people getting hired in the retail sector now, because consumers are starting to come back and spend money. We're also seeing for the fifth consecutive month additions in the manufacturing sector. And that is really good news as well showing the production is still increasing here in the U.S.

STOUT: All right, Carter Evans live in New York. Thank you.

And don't forget that Carter will be back next hour along with the rest of the World Business team. They've got plenty more of the U.S. jobs report.

Now also given us the rundown on the unsettled oil markets and explaining the long-term economic impact of the disaster in Japan.

That starts in less than 15 minutes from now.

Now straight ahead here on News Stream, southern Thailand mops up and takes stock after fatal flooding. We'll go live to the CNN weather center. Mari Ramos for the very latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back to News Stream.

Now there has been fatal flooding in Thailand. Let's get the details now with Mari Ramos. She joins us from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Indeed Kristie. The -- unfortunately the rain continues to fall across portions of Thailand -- peninsular Thailand is the area that has been affected the most. We've been telling you about this all week, because the heavy rain began on Saturday.

Let's go ahead and roll the pictures and we'll show you what's going on.

Now in some areas as you can see here the water, people just kind of trying to get around, but you can see the water in some cases up to their chest and even higher. People just trying to deal with it as best they can. Even though the heaviest of the rain has already stopped, it is very difficult -- like these women right over here just trying to stay dry. You pay someone to kind of haul you on a boat or a raft or something. Vehicles are having a very difficult time to get around, because many roads are waterlogged like the ones that you see there. Extremely dangerous to try to cross roads that are flooded, because you never know how strong the current might be, if the road is even there. And most of the accidents, unfortunately, happen with people on the roads or in cars.

Reports also of people that have been trapped at airports, many even under water in some of those smaller villages. So it is a huge concern. And authorities are just trying to get to some of the hardest hit areas even know. Eight provinces in total have been affected.

Now, let's go ahead and look on the satellite over here. The north of Thailand is actually OK, it's down here along the peninsular areas -- and right in between Myanmar and Malaysia, this is the area that has had in some cases up to 20 times their normal rainfall for this time of year happen in just a period of four to five days. That's why it is so bad across that region.

That area of low pressure that has been bringing all of this rain is moving now out into the southern portion of the Andaman Islands here. But the rain showers are going to remain. They're going to be generally light, but because the ground is so saturated it actually that water hasn't even drained, any amount of rain that falls here could st ill be a problem. And there's also the threat for mud slides.

And scattered rain showers, maybe 1 to 3 centimeters possible, some locally heavier, but overall the rain should be starting to move out as of yesterday already, so seeing a little bit of an improvement there.

A little bit of energy coming across here, northern parts of Japan through Hokkaido and also northern parts of Honshu. Not bringing you a lot of weather here. The wind throughout the day today will be variable across the area here near Fukushima, light scattered showers possible. And then this front, the one that I just showed you, will be moving through and that will keep the wind generally offshore as we head into the weekend.

So a little bit of good news there when it comes to the weather.

Let's go ahead and take a look now at -- are we going to see the roll, or we going to head back to Kristie?

Oh, the roll then. Let's go ahead and look at your city by city forecast.

All right, let's take a look at some stormy conditions moving across the Mediterranean. With everything happening across Libya, Kristie, whenever the weather gets like this it really kind of throws another aspect to the situation here. We've had some very strong winds over the last 24 hours.

This area of low pressure that's here just moving into the Aegean Sea will continue just very slowly just kind of drift a little bit more to the north and east. It will remain breezy. It will remain showery across this area, but not as windy as what we've had in the last couple of days. It will be cooler particularly on this side over here with wind coming out of the north.

So definitely something we're monitoring. You can see it again right over here in the southern part of this -- the bottom part of your map.

We have some rain showers and some windy conditions moving across the U.K. Temperatures overall across Europe are actually not doing too bad. A little bit cooler than they have been in days past, but overall staying close to average as we head into the weekend. So not expected to be too bad.

I'm going to leave you with a really cool picture as we head into the weekend, Kristie. Check this out. Let me see if I can pull that up -- it's not coming up. Let me go and see if I can find it.

We have -- we've had some pretty strong storms across portions of the U.S. -- here we go -- this is the vehicle assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center and check out those crowds. Isn't that amazing? They've actually had severe weather two days in a row around central parts of Florida, including a tornado that touched down yesterday near Tampa. The storms today have cleared out, but I just thought this picture was so amazing. Look at that, it almost looks like a wave coming across here.

Let's go ahead and head back to you now.

STOUT: Well, it looks like a movie set to me, completely Gothic there. Mari Ramos there. Thank you so much. Have a great weekend. And take care. Mari Ramos.

Now it is time for us to go over and out there. And in the spirit of April Fool's Day, we bring you some of the best pranks. Now, if you've noticed any of your co-workers waving at their computers today, this may be the reason why. Gmail motion claims to be the latest advancement in communication technology. Just gesture to your webcam and it lets your e- mail know what to do and what to type. It is fake, but it's pretty funny to watch.

That's not the only practical joke from Google, though. Now personally, I find this next one rather painful, typeface nerds out there, you want to look away right now. If you enter a web search for Helvetica, everything on your screen turns to Comic Sans in a cruel, cruel twist. Google, remember your motto is no evil.

And finally, forward for sale, a report in the Independent Today says Christiano Renaldo has agreed to act like a patriot and let his cash poor country of Portugal peddle him to neighboring Spain. The world's highest highest paid player would fetch more than $226 million letting Lisbon pay down its debt. The story is not true, but perhaps not a bad idea?

And I have to add just one more than we just saw, YouTube's top viral videos on 1911. It includes parodies of viral videos irritating orange becomes irksome citrus, and Rick Roll becomes Ruth Roll. And my favorite, keyboard cat becomes flugelhorn feline.

And that is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.

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