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Gadhafi Arrest Warrant Sought; IMF Chief Charged; Endeavour Preparing to Launch

Aired May 16, 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.

Now, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requests an arrest warrant for Moammar Gadhafi, saying there is evidence that the Libyan leader has committed crimes against humanity.

The head of the International Monetary Fund is set to appear in a New York courtroom on charges he assaulted a hotel maid.

And the crew of Endeavour are on board and ready to go. This space shuttle is set for its final launch this hour.

Now, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is facing a possible international arrest warrant. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says there is evidence Colonel Gadhafi has committed crimes against humanity. Luis Moreno-Ocampo is also requesting arrest warrants for Gadhafi's son and the Libyan leader's brother-in-law.

The ICC's chief prosecutor held a news conference a short time ago.


LUIS MORENO-OCAMPO, ICC CHIEF PROSECUTOR: The office present its evidence to the judges, and it's requesting the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant. The evidence shows that Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered attacked unarmored Libyan civilians. His forces attacked Libyan civilians in their home and in the public states, shot demonstrators with live ammunitions, used heavy weaponry against participants in funeral processions, and placed snipers to kill those leaving mosques after the prayers.


STOUT: So what is next for the International Criminal Court? Our Nic Robertson is in the Netherlands, at The Hague, where he spoke with the ICC's chief prosecutor, and he joins us now live.

And Nic, what did Mr. Moreno-Ocampo tell you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I asked him about the numbers of people -- he said that he had received calls in the last few days from senior officials in the regime in Tripoli. He said that he had received calls from people there offering support and help for his case. And I asked him the details about that.

He said he couldn't give any details about what they said or who they might be. I asked him for numbers -- was it five, was it 10? How many people. He said it was a figure less than 10.

I also asked him why in this particular -- because in the documents he puts forward, he lists not only Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam, and Gadhafi's brother-in-law and military intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi, as people at the heart of the regime, and are controlling and playing major roles in carrying out Gadhafi's orders. But he also said that Gadhafi's other sons, Muatassim, a national security chief; Khamis, in charge of the 32nd brigade, a feared military brigade; Mohammed, another son, he said, in charge of communications, and issued SMS phone warnings for people not to protest, not to trust the government red lines (ph), even singling out Saadi Gadhafi, as well, another son, he says, involved within a group in the army.

I said, "Why haven't you chosen to issue or request arrest warrants for these people as well?" And he said what he's doing at the moment is going after these top people, the three most senior people that are criminally responsible. In the case of Saif al-Islam, he said he has evidence to support his accusation that Saif al-Islam recruited mercenaries to come to Libya as early as January this year, a month before the hostilities began - - Kristie.

STOUT: So those are the reasons why the chief prosecutor chose those three individuals in particular.

Now, the ICC has no police force to arrest suspects. So does it have any teeth if an arrest warrant is issued? What leverage does it really have to use against the Libyan government?

ROBERTSON: Well, certainly Libya itself is not a signatory to the Rome (ph) statute of 1988 which creates and gives the ICC, the International Criminal Court, its power. So it doesn't expect Libya to begin turning over these officials themselves. And, indeed, the Libyans have said they won't be doing that, they'll be moving on with business as normal and ignoring what the criminal court here is saying.

But he does expect in the long run that once Gadhafi is removed from power, then the responsibility will be on the countries that Gadhafi may try to flee to, to turn him into the criminal court. And he said he does expect him to appear here ultimately.

However, he also said that -- in the case that some people have said, look, by calling for arrest warrants for Saif al-Islam and Abdullah Senussi, who are two key potential negotiators here, he wouldn't close the door on any potential negotiations that the U.N. is even trying to do now to bring about a cease-fire in the country. And to that he said, look, negotiators need to be very creative in situations like this.

He is doing his job. It's up to negotiators to be creative, to find solutions to this situation where, effectively, the key members of the regime here will see that even if they stop fighting, they're only going to end up in an International Criminal Court. And his implication and what he said was that they may be able to find a way out even with the warrants that he is calling for here -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Nic Robertson, joining us live at The Hague.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, this is not the first time Libya's leader has come under international condemnation.

Let's take you back to 1979. That's 10 years after Gadhafi took power. The U.S. designated Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Then, in 1984, Britain severed diplomatic ties after a police officer was shot and killed outside the Libyan Embassy in London.

Now, two years later, the U.S. cut commercial trade and froze Libyan assets after a disco bombing in Berlin.

Now, in 1988, Libya's world standing fell even further after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. It killed 270 people. Libya refused to hand over suspects for trial.

So, in 1992, the United Nations imposed a ban on travel and arms sales. And Tripoli turned the suspects over seven years later.

And then, in 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. The U.N. lifted its sanctions as a result. And later that year, Libya renounced weapons of mass destruction and opened up to international inspectors.

And then, in 2004, the United States and the European Union lifted many sanctions against Libya.

By 2008, world leaders were shaking hands with Colonel Gadhafi at the G-8 Summit.

A year later, he was elected the head of the African Union and addressed the U.N. General Assembly for the first time.

Now, Tunisia and Italy, separated by the sea, but linked by a human chain of desperation. We will take you to an Italian island that has become a refuge for thousands escaping the turmoil in North Africa.

Also ahead, the head of the International Monetary Fund, handcuffed and charged with attempted rape. We'll go live to New York, where Dominique Strauss-Kahn is getting ready to answer those charges.

And it is all systems go for Endeavour's final launch. And we're counting down as the shuttle crew prepare to make history.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, let's stay with our top story. An arrest warrant has been requested for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Now, let's go now live to Libya for reaction there to the ICC prosecutor's news conference.

Our Nima Elbagir is in Tripoli. She joins us now.

Nima, what is the reaction there to the ICC announcement?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the official reaction is that they have no reaction. They say that they're not a member state of the ICC, that they had reservations even before all the incidents began, and that they believe that the ICC has no jurisdiction on them in this issue.

They say that they will be dealing with the U.N. Human Rights Council, with whom they have already sent dossiers of evidence detailing allegations of NATO violations of the U.N. Security Council resolution. So they believe that the ICC will have absolutely no impact on them. They said that they're moving forward, trying to seek a cease-fire, and will be dispatching all of their international obligations through the U.N. Human Rights Council -- Kristie.

STOUT: Nima, there has been much speculation about Moammar Gadhafi's health, whether he was injured in recent NATO strikes. What can you tell us about his condition and the whereabouts of Colonel Gadhafi?

ELBAGIR: Well, that speculation doesn't look to be going away any time soon. The last we heard from Colonel Gadhafi was a few days ago, and that was an audio broadcast. That was after a NATO strike on his Bab al-Azizia compound. So, although Colonel Gadhafi had actually taken to the airwaves to say not only that he was alive and well, but to send a message that NATO that he would, even if he were ever struck, live on in the hearts of the millions of Libyans, all that has really done is increased the speculation.

Now, foreign ministry officials that we've been speaking to have been very keen to dampen that speculation. And when I asked whether he was still involved in the day-to-day running of the country, they said he was speaking to African presidents, he was actually discussing the next African summit with them, still receiving condolences, they said, for the death of his son, Saif al-Arab.

So they say as far as they're concerned, they are concerned. Although, of course, Moammar Gadhafi is no longer and has not been for several decades on the cabinet, that he is still -- sorry, overseeing the cabinet, I should say -- he is still heavily involved and liaising with cabinet members. So really a very sturdy show of indifference here, Kristie. And it tends to paint it, at least business as close to usual, as they're getting during this NATO strike.

STOUT: Our Nima Elbagir, live for us from Tripoli.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, hauled from a plane and charged with attempted rape, the head of the International Monetary Fund is preparing to appear in court in New York to answer charges. Now, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was marched from an Air France flight to Paris at JFK Airport just moments before it was to take off on Saturday.

Now, police say he apparently left his hotel in a hurry and headed for the airport after sexually assaulting a hotel maid. According to police, the woman in question says Strauss-Kahn was naked as he chased her down the hall of her suite before trying to assault her. Now, he will appear in court in New York to face charges of attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment.

Now, let's get the latest now from New York and the fallout in Paris. Richard Roth is in Manhattan for us, and Jim Bittermann is standing by in the French capital. We first go to Richard.

And Richard, what is the reaction there in New York? And any word, latest word, on the arrest?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dominque Strauss-Kahn will be in a New York state court in a couple of hours for arraignment, the beginning of the legal process after the initial charges were filed against him by New York police.

The reaction for people who are aware of him and among the Americans is pretty much astonishment. The New York City tabloid newspapers are having a field day, using all kinds of language on French double entendres with Dominique Strauss-Kahn and what is he alleged to have committed.

The IMF leader will be in court, represented by attorneys. He was walked, as they say, before cameras Sunday night in New York City.

He had agreed to forensic and physical examinations, and those tests are being studied now. That is what caused the delay on Sunday. But he went through what's known as a perp walk, the so-called perpetrator walk, though his lawyers say he is innocent of the charges -- Kristie.

STOUT: And now we're waiting for his arraignment. Richard, stand by.

Let's go to our Jim Bittermann in Paris.

And Jim, what has been the general response to the arrest of one of France's legal global figures?

It seems that we lost -- OK, we lost Jim Bittermann there.

We'll go back to Richard there in New York. We'll try to reconnect that line in Paris.

And Richard, have you heard anything more about the woman at the center of the case?

ROTH: Well, the New York City police describe her only as a 32-year-old black female. New York City newspapers are reporting that she is an African immigrant to the country, 32 years old.

The police say she went into the room, the suites the Hotel Sofitel in the Times Square district of Manhattan, to clean the rooms. And she was surprised to find a naked IMF leader.

The woman says she was chased down and then sexually assaulted, that he tried to rape her. She rushed to the front desk. He had left his cell phone behind, according to police, and went to the airport, where he was taken calmly out of the first class section of an Air France jet. We believe his passport has already been taken away. There will be a lot of interesting developments in court as to whether he will post bail, where he will go after this, or whether he will be remanded in custody if the police -- the judge agrees, consider him a significant flight risk -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

And we have indeed reconnected with our Jim Bittermann in Paris.

And Jim, reaction there to the arrest of one of France's leading figures?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Among the sort of folks on the political left here, there's a great deal of sadness today. That perp walk that Richard was talking about hit the French television about 5:30 this morning. And the picture of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who many thought was going to be the next president, walking in handcuffs between two police officers, just reduced some people to tears.

One person at the Socialist Party headquarters said it was "unbearably cruel" to see those pictures. The Socialist Party is in some disarray, trying to figure out what to do next. But they want to make it clear that, as they put it, they're not decapitated and they're not handicapped by this. They're going to come up with a presidential candidate.

And at least one person said at least it's happening now, 11 months ahead of the elections. We have time to bring some order back into the left presidential candidacy and find someone to replace Dominque Strauss-Kahn. But, clearly, they had their hopes on Dominque Strauss-Kahn to unseat the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and now it looks, for all intents and purposes, that he will not be presenting himself as a presidential candidate in France -- Kristie.

STOUT: Yes, major political ramifications here.

And Jim, what have you been learning about Mr. Strauss-Kahn's history before the arrest? Namely, previous charges of predatory behavior toward women.

BITTERMANN: Exactly. One of the things that's happened just lint he last 24 hours or so is that the mother of a young lady has come forward. She's a leading socialist herself. She's the president of the Conseil Regional out in one of the regions in France.

And she says that her daughter was attacked by Strauss-Kahn nine years ago, and that she talked her daughter out of reporting it to the police at the time. Now, though, she's saying that her daughter may reconsider and bring legal action in France. So, that action in New York may not be the only legal problems that Mr. Strauss-Kahn is facing -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right.

Jim Bittermann, joining us live from Paris.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, a statement from the IMF says that the fund "remains fully functioning and operational."

And "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" will explore the economic implications of Strauss-Kahn's arrest from the currency markets to the European debt crisis. "WBT," it starts in about 45 minutes. That's 9:00 p.m. here in Hong Kong.

Now, a Malaysian opposition leader is being called to defend himself against sodomy claims. Now, Anwar Ibrahim is accused of sodomizing a former male political aide in 2008. The judge for the Kuala Lumpur high court says he found the witness to be credible. Anwar has denied the accusations, saying the government is just trying to end his political career.

Now, he will have to defend himself in court on June the 6th. If he loses, Anwar Ibrahim faces up to 20 years in prison. He previously served six years on the same charges, but was released early in 2004 after a court overturned his conviction.

And meanwhile, in China, there is word that detained artist and activist Ai Weiwei is alive and apparently doing well. Now, his mother tells CNN that Ai Weiwei's wife, Lu Qing, was finally allowed to visit him on Sunday. Now, it was the first time anyone has seen or heard from Ai Weiwei since Chinese authorities detained him some 43 days ago.

Last week he missed the opening of his latest artist installation in London. And Beijing still refuses to release information on where the artist is being held or, more importantly, why.

Now, this woman may not be a familiar face in Thai politics, but she is now the opposition candidate for prime minister. And you will definitely recognize her last name.

And still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, the countdown is on for Shuttle Endeavour and its crew. We'll be going live to Kennedy Space Center next.


STOUT: That is a beautiful sight. You're looking at NASA's space shuttle Endeavour. It is sitting on the launch pad at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. It's due to launch at four minutes to 9:00 local time. That is in just over half an hour, and we will bring you the launch live right here on NEWS STREAM.


STOUT: Now let's go back to the shuttle launch, and it is very special for several reasons. John Zarrella is watching the final preparations now. He joins us now live from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

And John, I'm always nervous before a launch. Is it good to go?


Right now everything is looking good. No repeat of the problems that they had two-and-a-half weeks ago. And as you mentioned, significant on many fronts here, certainly because this is the 25th and final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour. When they finish this mission, Endeavour will have flow 115 million miles and will have flown 139 different astronauts into space.

Of course, Mark Kelly is the commander of the space shuttle. And as most people know, his wife, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was gravely wounded back in January. She has been recovering in Houston, and she has flown here to watch her husband command this flight today.

She'll be sitting just, oh, about 300 yards from us, up on top of the launch control complex, with the families of the other astronauts who are on board the vehicle. And as I said, the astronauts are all on board. We're counting down.

They got up early this morning, as you might expect, over in the operations and checkout building, where they had breakfast and then put on their flight suits, which they'll wear during the period of ascent, about that eight to 10 minutes it takes to get into orbit. And then, after that, they took the elevators down the stairs, and the traditional walkout with hundreds of NASA employees waiting outside the building as the astronauts came out and waved, and then got on board the astrobus to make their way out to the launch pad.

So, again, now we're counting down, about 25, 26 minutes to go before liftoff of Endeavour on its final flight, a 16-day mission to the International Space Station.

One other note, Kristie. They're going to be carrying in the cargo bay there the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a $2 billion instrument that, if it works -- and scientists say it will -- it could give them new insights into the origins of the universe -- Kristie.

STOUT: You know, it's incredible, the mission that they have ahead of them. And it's wonderful here that Gabrielle Giffords is there for this launch. Truly an emotional moment.


STOUT: Now, John, when is the space shuttle Endeavour scheduled to return to Earth? And after touchdown, what's next for it?

ZARRELLA: Well, a 16-day mission. It will be back, at this point, 16 days. So we're looking at about June 1st for landing, hopefully, here at the Kennedy Space Center.

After that it will be decommissioned, and it's going to go out to the California Science Center, where it will be permanently on display. And another point. If the launch goes today, a very historic moment here tomorrow, about 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time here.

The shuttle Atlantis is going to roll from the orbiter processing facility over to the vehicle assembly building, where it will be turned upright and assembled to the external tank and all. And that will be the final vehicle that will every fly sometime in mid-July we're told -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. John Zarrella, joining us live there.

Thank you very much indeed.

Coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, a tale of two villages: one a picturesque port town, the other a launch pad for thousands fleeing poverty and instability in North Africa.

And violence breaks out at Israel's borders. We will bring you the latest from those deadly Nakba Day clashes.


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

Now the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court is requesting an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi for suspected war crimes. The ICC prosecutor says evidence shows Colonel Gadhafi personally ordered attacks on civilians. The ICC is also investigating Colonel Gadhafi's sun and brother-in-law.

Now International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is expected to appear in a New York court today on charges of attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. Srauss-Kahn is accused of attacking a maid in his hotel room on Saturday. His attorneys say he is innocent.

And we may soon have some answers about why Air France flight 447 crashed two years ago. Now French air accident investigators say that they have recovered the complete contents of the flight data recorder. Now they also have the last two hours of cockpit conversation. 228 people on board the flight died when the aircraft went down in stormy weather on June 2009.

And Kenyan Olympic champions Samuel Wenjiru has died at the age of 24. Police say the marathon runner jumped from the second floor of his home late on Sunday after his wife caught him with another woman. And he died of his injuries. Wenjiru was the first Kenyan to win the marathon gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Now the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa is a picturesque Mediterranean port, but as North Africa erupts with the Arab Spring, little Lampedusa has been besieged with boats crowded with refugees from across the sea. Ivan Watson has more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT; This is the story of two villages, separated by the Mediterranean Sea, but linked by illegal immigration that's fueled by poverty.

Zarzis is a sleepy fishing port on the coast of Tunisia. We visited last March when thousands of young Tunisian men used Zarzis as a launchpad to smuggle themselves to Europe. They fled by boat to escape rampant unemployment, one of the triggers of the revolution that overthrew Tunisia's president last January.

The fishermen here say it's a 16 to 24 hour journey by sea from this port to the Italian island of Lampedusa. And nearly everyone we talked to here says they know at least one person who's tried to make that journey.


WATSON: Every day.


WATSON: This Tunisian fisherman angry that young men risked everything to find jobs in Europe.

"They're sick," he said. "They think it's paradise over there, but the unemployment in Italy is even worse than over here."

It's around 260 kilometers, or 161 miles from Zarzis to the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. The population less than 6,000.

Imagine, over the last three months more than 30,000 people, most of them Tunisians, arrived here on overcrowded boats like this. Police take them to holding camps like this old NATO military base.

Some Tunisians get sent back home, while other immigrants are shipped off on ferry boats to other camps around Italy. Left behind, graveyards with dozens of wooden fishing boats abandoned after the journey from North Africa.

This local fisherman says Lampedusa is overwhelmed.

"The port is full of broken boats," he says. "They're polluting the sea here."

Lampedusa's economy depends on summer beach tourism, but these days it seems like there are more police and soldiers on the island than tourists. Tourists are canceling reservations in record numbers, scared off by the flood of immigrants.

Are the people here angry at the immigrants?

TOMMASO SPARMA, HOTEL OPERATOR: Not the immigrants. We are angry with the government for the most.

WATSON: 25-year-old Tommaso Sparma accuses the Italian government of not doing enough to help. And like many here, he sympathizes with the boat people.

SPARMA: We know what it means to leave -- to go somewhere to work, to find a job, to find a better life.

WATSON: A message of tolerance from one village to its much poorer neighbors in another village across the sea. Ivan Watson, CNN, Lampedusa, Italy.


STOUT: An international peace group says Israeli naval forces fired shots toward a Malaysian ship carrying aid to Gaza. Now the MV Finch (ph) was carrying materials to help rebuild sewage systems. The group says the Israeli navy forced the ship to retreat to Egyptian waters. Israel says its forces fired warning shots in the air after the ship's crew failed to respond to calls to turn around.

Now the day that Palestinians call the catastrophe brought protest and bloodshed to Israel's borders. At least a dozen people were killed in clashes between pro-Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops.

Now two protesters died on Sunday fighting in the Golan Heights area. At least 10 people died in clashes along the line of demarcation with Lebanon. Almost 300 more were wounded. Now there were also clashes between protesters and police outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

Now it all happened on what Palestinians call Nakba Day when they mourn the founding of Israel in 1948. And CNN's Kevin Flower was at one of the protests. And he filed this report.


KEVIN FLOWER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was supposed to be a peaceful rally by Palestinians marking the Nakba. Hundreds gathered to march on an Israeli checkpoint that separates the West Bank from Jerusalem to commemorate the displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes 63 years ago.

The violence began before any of the marchers made it to the checkpoint in scenes reminiscent of the two Palestinian intifadas, hundreds of young Palestinians let loose a deluge of rocks on Israeli security forces, while heavily armed Israeli military units responded with volley after volley of tear gas shells and rubber bullets.

Scores were wounded and emergency response teams struggled to keep up.

So scenes of violence like this are playing out not only in the West Bank, but in the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, and along the Syrian and Israeli border as thousands of Palestinians come out to mark Nakba Day.

In Gaza, Palestinians marched in numbers by the towering concrete walls that mark the border with Israel and were held back by Hamas security forces.

But most worrisome to the Israeli government were the scenes along its northern borders. In Lebanon, thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese massed along the fence that separates the two countries. And in Syria, thousands more gathered on the border with the Israeli controlled Golan Heights.

Israeli military said scores of the demonstrators tried to infiltrate Israeli territory and that its soldiers opened first to turn them back.

COLONEL AVITAL LEIBOVICH, ISRAELI MILITARY SPOKESPERSON: This was well planned by the Syrian regime who wish to turn away the international attention from the vicious acts that have been taking place in the Syrian cities themselves and turn them to the Israeli-Syrian border.

FLOWERS: Despite this, many Palestinians are hopeful that increased pressure in the form of mass protests will bear fruit as it has in some Arab capitals.

FADI QURAN, PALESTINIAN YOUTH ACTIVIST: We were inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and in Tunisia and by Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement in the past. And we decided we are going to follow the same method to achieve our goals and to achieve our right of return so that we can again pursue opportunity with equality, with justice and be free.

FLOWERS: Until then, Palestinians are planning more protests against Israeli policies. And both sides are expecting more violence.

Kevin Flowers, CNN, at the Kolandia (ph) checkpoint.


STOUT: Now the Nakba protests underline the precarious nature of long-term peace in the Middle East. Now this image shows Israel's controversial separation barrier. It's a physical reminder of the region's divisions. And on the barrier you can read the graffiti. It says, "like the Berlin, someday this wall will be only in museums."

Now this next photograph, it gives you a sense of protests from the Israeli military perspective. Now near Ramala on the West Bank, soldiers, they get into position here in the foreground and to the right you can see the devastation. It is so apparent, debris and tires are scattered along the road, fires and tear gas clogging the skies.

Now let's zoom in on the pent-up frustrations of the Palestinians now. Now here's a demonstrator and he is jumping over a fire during clashes with Israeli police near Ramala. Now thick, black smoke partly conceals him and his surroundings.

And away from the streets, the casualties of the clashes. They are overwhelmed by tear gas. And here they're being treated by medics in a makeshift clinic.

Now it is the final countdown to the next to last shuttle mission. The clock is ticking. In about 15 minutes, Space Shuttle Endeavor will take off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. And we'll bring it to you live.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now nobody can touch Novak Djokovic this year, but could the Serbian beat the king of clay on his own surface again? Kate Giles is here with the answer -- Kate.


It's funny, isn't it, because we're so used to talking about Raphael Nadal as the man to beat at the French Open, the man to beat on clay, on his favorite surface, but this year we're coming up to Roldan Garros is just a few -- a couple of weeks' time now with a very big question mark hanging over his dominance on that surface and at that tournament in particular. That's all because of the one man that you've mentioned there Novak Djokovic.

Now at the final of the Rome Masters on Sunday, Nadal and Djokovic met for the second successive time in a tournament final, that was after Djokovic triumphed just last weekend over Nadal in Madrid.

Djokovic actually came in on the back of a very long and late three hour semifinal match with Andy Muray on Satruday night, but no signs of tiredness for the Serbian. They stayed close in the first set. And this right here would be set point for Djokovic. He handles the pressure very nicely with a lovely backhand winner past Nadal to win the set six games to four.

Well, the Spaniard has been pretty much unbeatable, of course, on clay since he won his very first French Open title in 2005. But Djokovic seems to have found the formula, the Serbian won the second set as well, 6-4, 6-4 taking out the world number one for the second time in seven days.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC, TENNIS PLAYER: Well, you know, I tried not to think about my physical condition or how long can I go for, just play point after point. And I managed to recover really well and I managed to get maximum out of my abilities today. And it's incredible success.


GILES: Well, Djokovic is certainly the man to beat on the men's tour right now. The Serb has gone 37 games unbeaten this year, that's what's in just five behind John McEnroe's record of 42-0 which he set at the start of the 1984 campaign.

This was the fourth final this year that the world number one Raphael Nadal has lost to Djokovic. Nadal was beaten at Miami, Indian Wells, Madrid, and now Rome. The last two of those, of course, it's worth noting on clay which the Spaniard has so traditionally dominated.

The 37 wins for the world number two mean lots of titles and a nice bit of cash as well. The Rome Masters is his seventh trophy in 2011.

All right, Sunday in Chicago a game one of the best of seven NBA Eastern Conference finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. Now this is the match-up that a lot fans had been hoping for, it pits the league MVP Derrick Rose and his boys against Miami's big three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh and the other two round out that Heat roster.

Well, the Heat lost all three of their regular season games against Chicago. They've managed to keep the score tight early on in Chicago. Here's some of the action. Taj Gibson of the Bulls there with a huge dunk on Dwayne Wade.

Now here's Chris Bosh for the Heat after a nice pass from LeBron. Bosh had 30 points for Miami, LeBron just 15. The score tied at 48 at the half.

But the Bulls again pull away in the third quarter. Derrick Rose came with a 3-pointer from the top of key. Luol Deng added another. Chicago outscoring Miami 24-15 in that third quarter.

Now in the fourth, C.J. Watson there for the Bulls making that 3-pointer to beat the shot clock. Chicago up 83-66.

Then later in the fourth, Derrick Rose making a pull-up jumper. 28 points from the MVP on the night. And Chicago were up by 14.

And now in the last minute, Taj Gibson with a huge put back dunk. The Heat had unraveled from the third quarter on. Chicago win game one 103-82.

Now game two which is what we're all going to be watching out for is back in Chicago again on Wednesday. So we'll have to see whether the Heat can steal one on the road -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Wait and see. Kate Giles there. Thank you very much indeed.

Now we are just minutes away from the final liftoff of Space Shuttle Endeavor. Now here is a live look at launchpad 39a where the six member crew, they are strapped in and they are ready to go.

We're back in 60 seconds.


STOUT: It is the final countdown for Endeavor. You are looking at live pictures from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on a relatively clear Monday morning in the United States. NASA's space shuttle Endeavor is set to launch any minute now. And we will bring it to you live when it happens.

Now before Endeavor embarks on its final voyage, John Zarrella takes a look back at the space shuttle's history.


ZARRELLA: Endeavor, the newest of the orbiters, might never have been built if not for a terrible accident. In the aftermath of the loss of Challenger in 1965, President Reagan promised the disaster would not stop the journey outward.

RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews.

ZARRELLA: A year-and-a-half later congress authorized the construction of the new nearly $2 billion space plane. Endeavor's first flight, 1992.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And liftoff of the maiden voyage of Endeavor on a satellite...

ZARRELLA: This will be its 25th and final flight. Along its journey, Endeavor made numerous construction trips to the International Space Station and handled the first Hubble telescope repair mission.

Barbara Morgan, the first educator in space, flew on Endeavor. Morgan was the back-up to teacher in space Christa McAuliffe, who died on Challenger.

The shuttle fleet has had both a tragic and triumphant past. And for 30 years has been America's signature flying machine.

MIKE FINKE, ENDEAVOR ASTRONAUT: It has a glass cockpit. It has a robot arm. It can fly to Hubble space telescope, or the station. It can land anywhere on the planet that has runway. It is an amazing piece of equipment on any scale.

ZARRELLA: When Endeavor returns from its final flight, commander Mark Kelly jokes there won't be anything missing.

MARK KELLY, ASTRONAUT: You know, when you fly an airplane to the bone yard out in the desert, you know, they say you're not -- don't take anything off of it, get the brief ahead of time. I'll do the same thing with my crew. You've got to leave -- you know, make sure it all stays intact for the museum. We're not going to be signing our name on anything.

ZARRELLA: Perhaps just the guest book at the California Science Center where Endeavor will be placed in retirement.

John Zarrella, CNN, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


STOUT: Now some of the Endeavor crew have been tweeting ahead of this last launch. Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly posted this on Thursday. He wrote, "this is not a drill, I am back in Florida for launch." And that is a reference to the April 29th attempt which was scrubbed just hours before liftoff.

Now the crew, they woke up at around midnight local time. The pilot, Gregory Johnson tweeted this, quote, "good morning. I'm really excited and charged up for this mission. Slept great, enjoyed an amazing coffee and breakfast with my crew at 0100."

Now Johnson's meal included eggs, bacon, and fruit, but his crewmate went a different direction. Now mission specialist Mike Finke, he posted this picture of his special sendoff. And you can see, lobster tail. Before liftoff, you must have a very strong stomach there.

That is not all that Finke shared. Now he also took to Twitter. And he tweeted this, quote, "took my last shower for a few weeks. The flight docs gave a good look over. My only issue too much boyish enthusiasm, no known cure."

And we want to share just one more. Now you may be familiar with the astronaut's bright orange launch suits, but here is a look at what is underneath. It's looking pretty good there.

Now they'll be lifting off in just a matter of minutes. Let's watch the countdown with our very own astro aficionado Mari Ramos joins us now from CNN Center. Mari, you are such a space fan. Watching this, the final flight for Endeavor, how are you feeling?

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: You know what, this is very exciting. What we're looking at right now, you see how they're starting to move the rocket booster there. The engines of this space shuttle doing a final test. That steam that you see there, Kristie, coming out. This is very exciting, of course, is actually -- they try to burn off a little bit of the excess fuel that is at the bottom of the launcher to try to prevent any sparks from starting a fire.

All of the things that you are looking at right now are all preplanned, of course, very methodical checklist that is continuing right now.

We saw the orbiter access arm moving about just a little while ago. That was that shot that you showed us right before the break of kind of moving around. The auxiliary power unit should be starting up as well.

We are less than three minutes away. So you're seeing that -- the gas coming out from the bottom. A little bit of cloud cover there, but it does look absolutely fabulous, Kristie.

STOUT: And Mari, I heard that there's some pretty expensive equipment on board the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Can you tell us a little bit more about the mission for the Endeavor and the crew?

RAMOS: Definitely. They are going to be there 14 days. And this is the 36th mission to the International Space Station. The expensive equipment that you're talking about, it's called an alpha magnetic spectrometer. And it's actually a consortium of countries, about 16 countries have cooperated in this. And what they're hoping to do is study particle physics.

You're seeing there the top, this is kind of the beanie they call it, sometimes, that holds the space shuttle in place. It's starting to move away. This is the last piece of equipment that will be moving away from the space shuttle before launch, by the way, Kristie.

So anyway, the other thing that they're taking into space this time around -- do you remember Dexter? That's the -- that arm, the robotic arms out into space that helped build and rebuild the International Space Station. Well, they're taking spare parts for Dexter as well, Kristie.

STOUT: And this is not the final space shuttle launch. It's the last one for Endeavor, but there's one more to go, right?

RAMOS: One more to go. And that's expected to happen in the next couple of months. They haven't -- they do have a target date already, but they haven't finalized that yet. Of course, with this one, like you said, we had a little bit of a delay. Look at that, one minute and 15 seconds left to go for this, the final, Endeavor launch.

STOUT: All right. Well, with just one minute to go now, let's listen in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Closing liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen filling drain valves.

Standing by for the handoff to Endeavor's onboard computers.

T-minus 31 seconds. And the handoff has occurred.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Firing chain is armed. (inaudible) pressure water system is armed.

8, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2, 0. And liftoff for the final launch of Endeavor.

Expanding our knowledge, expanding our lives in space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston -- Endeavor -- run program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger roll, Endeavor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston is now controlling Endeavor to roll over onto its back. The roll program underway as Endeavor begins test down position on course for a 51.6 degree, 136 by 36 (inaudible) mile orbit.

Three engines now throttling down as Endeavor passes through the area of maximum dynamic pressure on the vehicle in the lower atmosphere. Approaching one minute into the flight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Endeavor, go at throttle up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Roger. Go at throttle up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Endeavor's three main engines now back at full throttle. All three engines in good shape. Endeavor is already traveling 1,300 miles per hour at an altitude of 11 miles down range from the Kennedy Space Center, now 12 miles.

At liftoff, Endeavor fully fueled weighed 4.5 million pounds. It's already lost half that weight in propellant now burned that weight. Next event is burnout and separation of the twin solid rocket boosters. That upcoming here shortly at the two minute 3 second point. Those boosters are burning 11,000 pounds of fuel per second.

And standing by for separation of the solid rocket boosters.

STOUT: And my heart always skips a beat when I watch a shuttle launch, but this one particularly poignant as U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords is witnesses this event. And we are all witnessing live the final launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor, the youngest shuttle in the fleet.

And that is News Steam, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.