Return to Transcripts main page
Yemen's Political Unrest; Dominique Strauss-Kahn Complaint in France; Mexican Authorities Capture Founder of Zetas Drug Cartel
Aired July 5, 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: Welcome to NEWS STREAM, where news and technology meet.
I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.
Just when it looked like his legal problems might be easing, Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces another accusation.
Inside the fight to stop human trafficking. We join a police unit to see what it takes to investigate crimes of forced labor.
And ahead of the final film, the stars look back on a decade of working on the "Harry Potter" series.
Now, we begin in Yemen, where after months of anti-government protests, the country's opposing political sides have reached a stalemate. Now, the embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been in Saudi Arabia for just over one month now and receiving medical treatment. The vice president is in charge of the interim, but as Nic Robertson reports, one powerful new opposition leader is proving to be a formidable force when it comes to Yemen's future.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Opposition banners call for peace, "No for civil war." But reality is Yemen is at a stalemate, a nation teetering on the brink of chaos.
New government demands President Saleh remain in power until a replacement is elected fly in the face of an already signed deal he step down. What happens next depends much on arguably the country's second most powerful man.
(on camera): I'm going into General Ali Mohsen's compound now. It's like an army base. In fact, it used to be an army base. You've got the military vehicles up here, all the soldiers on duty are in uniform.
(voice-over): He switched from army to opposition three months ago.
(on camera): General Ali Mohsen is still effectively the commander of the First Army Division. He took the whole division with him when he deserted the president.
(voice-over): Overnight, Mohsen brought muscle to the calls for peaceful reform. Now the opposition does nothing without his approval and his rejecting talks to keep the president in power.
ALI MOHSEN AL-AHMER, YEMENI GENERAL (through translator): This is a French bull that we must follow because there are agreements that sides have signed. And it is compulsory that all sides agree on its specifics, not changes its points.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Government loyalists say they won't shift their position either. They'll wait for the opposition to crack first, put the pressure on the opposition to feel that if they don't sign up, then they'll be the ones responsible for starting a civil war.
(voice-over): In an interview with CNN, Yemen's vice president made news, saying he has the power while President Saleh is in Saudi Arabia recovering from an assassination attempt to cut a deal. General Mohsen doubts it.
(on camera): The vice president has said that he has full power to negotiate, and he can sign any document, that the president is out of the country, he's sick, he's incapacitated. So why can't you just do a deal with the vice president?
MOHSEN: Our brother, the vice president, is wise, and all respect him. But in truth, he does not act with full authority as president of the republic of Yemen.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Both sides claim war can be avoided but appear deadlocked, all because President Saleh refuses to budge.
(on camera): The feeling of stalemate is heightened by government jets taking off to attack targets not far from the capital. Not exactly clear exactly what they're hitting. The capital itself, surrounded and cut off from the rest of the country. Government checkpoints on all the roads in and out of the city.
(voice-over): They tasted war here before. None have the appetite for a repeat, but no have the recipe for peace either.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Sana'a, Yemen.
STOUT: And in his exclusive interview with CNN, General Mohsen also said he wants the Gulf Cooperation Council to begin implementing its plan to remove President Saleh from power so that the country can hold new elections, and that he's counting on help from the EU and the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHSEN: We need the intervention of our friends, and quickly, because propagandas might take place against the country. It could put the country into a severe security stalemate. The entire region will be affected security-wise.
ROBERTSON: What are you doing to make sure that the dialogue continues and that violence doesn't break out?
MOHSEN: Honestly, we met with the U.S. ambassador. We met our British friends and the British ambassador. We also met with U.N. Representative Omar, and we met with the Gulf ambassadors. We met with our brother, the vice president, and we also met with officials with the ruling party.
We also asked for our friends, the Americans, to intervene, because they are guarantors in this initiative, because it really helps Yemen to ensure a unique, civil, democratic nation so we can be stable and secure. So these peaceful demands, the people must help with these peaceful demands, whether friends or neighbors, to help Yemen pass to safe waters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: And while Yemen's opposition may seek a safe and peaceful transition of power, the country's future still rests largely in President Saleh's hands. And at this point, he remains defiant, saying he still intends to return.
Now, in Syria, we are hearing more reports of a violent government crackdown on civilians. Activists say 100 Army tanks surrounded the outskirts of Hama on Monday and that security forces moved in, raiding homes and arresting dozens of activists. But opposition officials say residents fought back. Now, three people were killed in the clashes.
Now, twin bomb blasts have taken a deadly toll in Iraq. They happened near a government building just north of Baghdad. At least 35 people are dead, 28 are wounded. Police officers are among the causalities. Officials say the attack began with a car bomb and then followed with a roadside bomb.
Let's move on to the new twists of the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Now, just as his New York sexual case appears to be on shaky ground, he could be facing legal problems in France. Now, this time, allegations against the former International Monetary Fund chief come from French journalists Tristane Banon, who says that he tried to rape her some eight years ago.
Now, this revelation, it comes just days after prosecutors in the New York case against Strauss-Kahn admitted they had serious concerns over the credibility of their key witness. Now, Strauss-Kahn's lawyer has filed a counter-claim against Banon for what he calls false declarations, but Banon's claim is to be launched with prosecutors today, and it's up to them to decide whether there's a case to answer.
Our Jim Bittermann is following this story for us from Paris. He joins us now.
And Jim, CNN has spoken with Banon's lawyer. What more is he saying about what happened to his client?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, he constructs a story that suggests that there was attempted rape eight years ago. One of the problems though for him is going to be to prove to the prosecutor that, in fact, there's enough evidence to take -- file charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to get the prosecutor to do that. And we're talking about something that happened eight years ago, so it could turn out to be kind of a he said/she said kind of a story.
And as a consequence, I think we'll have to wait and see what the prosecutor does. It could take a while for the prosecutor to evaluate the evidence and the information. But the complaint is supposed to be filed this afternoon.
Now, Tristane Banon, when this happened eight years ago, says that she was going to file, but that her mother talked her out of it. Her mother was sort of a middle level Socialist Party worker, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, of course, at that point was an up-and-coming Socialist Party leader. And as a consequence, the mother said no, it's probably a good idea if you don't file charges and talked her daughter out of it.
Now the mother says she regrets that, and the daughter has gone ahead and filed these charges after the turn of events in New York -- Kristie.
STOUT: Now, Jim, will the case in France be heard by follow-up from the case in New York and that accuser's credibility issues?
BITTERMANN: Yes, exactly. Well, I mean, that's one of the things that they wanted to see, was how this case played against what was happening in New York. And I think the lawyer explained to us a little bit about why -- this is Tristane Banon's lawyer -- why in fact she is taking these charges to court now.
Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID KOUBBI, TRISTANE BANON'S LAWYER (through translator): I can confirm the instructions given by my client, Ms. Tristane Banon. Those instructions are extremely clear. They are to file a formal criminal complaint for attempted rape against Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
The facts state back to the start of 2003. These facts are of an extreme gravity. There was an extreme violence which is particularly remarkable in this type of case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BITTERMANN: And, in fact, he's got to go for attempted rape in this case because if it's anything less, any kind of a sexual assault charge, for example, the statute of limitations would have run out. So, for attempted rape, the statute of limitations is 10 years. So, in fact, Strauss-Kahn could still face charges on that if there's enough evidence and the prosecutor believes that it should be taken to court -- Kristie.
STOUT: All right.
Jim Bittermann, joining us live from Paris.
Thank you very much for that, Jim.
Now, Strauss-Kahn, he stepped down as head of the IMF in May to battle the sexual assault charges against him in New York, and now filling his shoes is Christine Lagarde, the IMF's first-ever female chief. The former French finance minister officially takes over the reins today. Now, she will serve a five-year term after beating out Mexico's Agustin Carstens to take the top job.
Now, let's take you back to Syria. Our Arwa Damon has just spoken to the country's foreign minister, and she joins us now on the live from the capital, Damascus.
And Arwa, what did the foreign minister tell you?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, to start off with, when it comes to what is happening in the vicinity of Hama, he's saying that there is no military operation that is taking place there. He was insistent that the government is not going to be targeting peaceful demonstrators, that it does not have a policy of targeting peaceful demonstrators.
Now, the foreign minister, Walid Moallem, is quite well known now for the fact that he recently made a statement when he said that Europe has ceased to exist for Syria. And he reiterated that point, saying that the relationship with Europe was not a necessity for Syria's survival, that it had been in this situation before, that the country would simply look to the east, to China, look to the south, the Gulf states, and try to build up its relationships there to try to stave off the potential, possible economic impact of the sanctions that have been imposed on this country by the European Union and by the United States.
He simply said that when it comes to the relationship with the United States, that that has always been a very sensitive one. And he said that that in fact was not a case of it being a relationship between Syria and the U.S., but it revolved around Israel and the peace talks. And he said at this stage, the peace talks between Syria and Israel was effectively collapsed, nonexistent.
He also was talking about this upcoming national dialogue conference. This is a very significant conference for the Syrian government, and it's meant to take place on Sunday, on July 10th.
And this conference, Kristie, is meant to be laying out a roadmap for various reforms that the Syrian president recently announced -- that the government is planning on revising, possibly, even, according to the foreign minister, redrafting the constitution. They're also planning on setting up a new media law that would allow some more freedoms. He said they're also planning on setting up a multi-party system, and said that people would be able to go out and vote freely for whomever they wanted to represent them in parliament.
He said that he believes that once these reforms were implemented, there would no longer be a need for demonstrations. He also said that he was absolutely confident that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would not fall -- Kristie.
STOUT: Wow. Quite a show of confidence there. Thank you for sharing those key takeaways from your discussions with the foreign minister of Syria.
Arwa Damon, joining us live on the line from Damascus.
Now, coming up next here on NEWS STREAM, Mexico's drug war has been raging for years. Tens of thousands of people killed. We'll tell you why Mexican authorities are now celebrating a major victory.
Now, meanwhile, in Venezuela, it's party time. President Hugo Chavez is back on home soil as the country celebrates its 200th birthday.
And we continue the CNN Freedom Project with a look inside one of the largest trafficking rings ever discovered in Europe.
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now, Mexican authorities are claiming a major victory in the country's drug war. Federal police say that this man is the latest high-profile cartel leader they've captured.
Rafael Romo explains why "El Mamito" was wanted by Washington and Mexico City.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): He was one of the most wanted men in both Mexico and the United States. Authorities say that Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar was also one of the leaders and founders of the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Zetas. The chief of the anti-drug division in the Mexican Federal Police says Rejon was also behind the murder of U.S. immigration agent Jaime Zapata.
RAMON E. PIQUENO, MEXICAN FEDERAL POLICE (through translator): On behalf of Los Zetas, he was in charge of the north-central part of the country where San Luis Potosi is located. When Jaime Zapata was murdered on February 14th, "El Mamito" was in San Luis Potosi coordinating actions perpetrated by Los Zetas.
ROMO: Zapata was killed and another American agent injured when they were ambushed on a highway in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi as they traveled from Monterey to Mexico City.
The U.S. had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Rejon's capture. Mexican authorities say Rejon is the third most powerful leader of Los Zetas, the drug cartel created by deserters of the Mexican army's elite forces in 1999.
Rejon is also being investigated for the deaths of dozens of Central and South American migrants whose bodies were found in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas in a ranch located just 100 miles south of the U.S. border.
PIQUENO (through translator): The capture of "El Mamito" is emblematic because he's one of the original Zetas. There were only two remaining and he was one of them. His capture speaks of the methodical and dedicated work by our intelligence units.
ROMO (on camera): Officials also call the drug lord's capture a triumph for the Mexican government, but acknowledge that Los Zetas still have a presence in multiple Mexican states. The criminal organization has also extended its reach to Central America, especially Guatemala, a country that is being used as a transit point for illegal drugs from South America headed for the United States.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
STOUT: Now, Venezuelans are celebrating their nation's bicentennial and the return of their president, Hugo Chavez. Now, the somewhat slimmer leader showed up in Caracas unannounced on Monday after spending weeks in Cuba for medical treatment.
Mr. Chavez told his well-wishers he faces a battle for light. Now, the speech lasted about half an hour, and that is uncharacteristically short for Chavez. The 56-year-old says he's under strict supervision by his doctors. Now, they performed emergency surgery last month to remove a cancerous tumor.
Now, it is unclear if Mr. Chavez will take part in today's bicentennial events. Luis Carlos Velez joins us live from Caracas.
Luis, any idea how will Hugo Chavez mark the bicentennial today?
LUIS CARLOS VELEZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello. Good morning, Kristie.
It's 7:45 here in Caracas, Venezuela. The time difference, it's quite different from the rest of the world here in this country.
The answer is no. We don't really know if President Chavez is going to attend this big military parade that is scheduled to be happening at around 10:30 local time here in Caracas, Venezuela.
But President Chavez is a man of surprises. As a matter of fact, he arrived to Caracas yesterday in a surprise visit. It wasn't scheduled for the president to come here, and he acknowledged that he has cancer a week ago.
I'm going to show you the headline of the most important newspaper here in the country. And it basically -- it's talking about President Chavez' health. It says, (SPEAKING SPANISH). That, in English means, "President Hugo Chavez promises to defeat cancer."
That's the main question over here, because as you said, President Hugo appeared in public yesterday. He talked for about 30 minutes. He gathered thousands of people, of his followers, in the main plaza in Caracas, Venezuela, but he didn't answer many questions. Like, for instance, where is the cancer located and how bad is it?
However, he acknowledged that he was in intensive care for about four days. This is a little bit of what President Chavez had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELA (through translator): How much time has just passed? How many days? Ten days. It is incredible, I tell you, that I was there.
You wouldn't believe it. It is like a miracle, but I have to be careful to the extreme with this process of recuperation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ: Then the main question remains -- it is the following -- is President Chavez going to attend this military parade? The answer is we don't know -- Kristie.
STOUT: It was interesting to see that footage of Hugo Chavez speaking. He spoke for 30 minutes. He was unassisted. At one point, lifting the heavy flag with his own hands.
From what you were able to observe, and from your sources, what more do we know about the health and the overall condition of Hugo Chavez?
VELEZ: That's the very, very blurry point here in Venezuela. You know, his followers and part of his team always say that he's in a very good condition, that he's going to be able to continue managing the country from here, from Caracas, Venezuela. They haven't been able to say if he's going to go back to Havana, Cuba, to continue his treatment, his cancer treatment.
However, you know, the Venezuelan government hasn't been very clear at all in this story. This past week, when President Chavez acknowledged that he had cancer, his own political group used to tell Venezuelans that the president was OK and that nothing was going on.
So, whatever they say right now, there's a lack of credibility to what the government has to say about President Chavez' health. So that's the big question that remains here. But when you see him in front of thousands of people, he seems to be strong and with very high spirits -- Kristie.
STOUT: So a lot of suspicion among the people there about just how healthy he really is.
More on the general reaction there to the return of Hugo Chavez. State-run media may call it a triumphant homecoming, but among the people there, are people fearful about what's next and the country's future?
VELEZ: Overall, Kristie, people here are very happy. You have to take into account that President Chavez has around 61 percent of popularity.
Yesterday, after President Chavez arrived here to Caracas in a surprise visit, we went out to the streets to talk to people. And basically, everybody we talked to or everybody we found around this area was really happy to see President Chavez back here in Caracas, Venezuela.
And then we went to (INAUDIBLE), where President Chavez was going to speak, minutes before the president's address to his people. And we talked to people over there, and they were really, really, really, really, really happy.
So, you know, the main important point for Venezuelans, most of it for his followers, is that President Chavez is here and he's ready to manage the country and to be the president of Venezuela from here, from Caracas, the capital.
STOUT: All right.
Luis Carlos Velez, joining us live from the capital of Venezuela.
Thank you very much indeed for that, Luis.
Now, while he may not be out and about, President Chavez is celebrating Venezuela's bicentennial on his Twitter page. Now, he posted well wishes just a short time ago. And earlier, he wrote about his return, saying this: "Here I am at home and very happy."
This page has been closely watched for clues about his health. Now, his sudden silence both online and on TV sparked rumors about his condition. And you see Mr. Chavez hosts a program called "El Presidente," and he intends to tweet every day. But after June the 24th, there was no activity on his account, and it stayed that way for nearly three weeks.
Still to come here on NEWS STREAM, heavy rains have caused chaos in southwest China. Torrential downpours swelled rivers and triggered dangerous mudslides. We'll bring you the latest.
STOUT: Now, ahead here on NEWS STREAM, CNN's Freedom Project goes undercover. We'll take you to Spain for a look at what one region is doing to fight human trafficking.
And only three days to go, the Atlantis team is preparing for the very last shuttle mission. We'll take you live to the Kennedy Space Center.
STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching NEWS STREAM. And these are your world headlines.
Now lawyers in France are expected to file a criminal complaint against Dominique Strauss-Kahn today in an alleged 2003 attempted rape. Now French writer Tristan Banon says that the former IMF chief attacked her 8 years ago. Strauss-Kahn's French lawyer says he has filed a counterclaim against her focusing on false declarations.
Now police in Iraq say at least 35 people have been killed in a double bomb attack. The explosions went off near a local government building just north of Baghdad. 28 people were wounded. A number of police officers are among the casualties.
Now media reports say a Japanese man admits he raped and killed 22 year old English teach Lindsay Ann Hawker who was found dead in a bathtub in 2007. But he says the killing was an accident. Tatsuya Ichihashi was on the run for two years, even undergoing plastic surgery in a bid to avoid detection.
Now Japan's reconstruction minister has been forced to resign only 9 days after he was appointed to the post. Now Ryu Matsumoto offended officials in an area hard hit by the March earthquake and tsunami by saying would not arrive unless the local municipality came up with reconstruction ideas of its own.
Now 27 million people, now that is the shocking number of people who are victims of human trafficking right now. And the figure comes from the U.S. State Departments 11th annual trafficking in person's report. Now police last week is the most comprehensive analysis of global trafficking. And all this week, we're going to take you inside one of the largest trafficking rings discovered in Europe. It's in Spain.
So here is what the U.S. State Department had to say about that country in this year's report. Now Spain is rated as a tier 1 country, meaning it fully complies with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Now prostitution is one of the issues that the government is fighting. Now there are anywhere between 200,000 to 400,000 women in Spain engaged in prostitution. And about 90 percent -- 9, 0 -- are victims of forced prostitution.
So how is Madrid, how is the government going after these human trafficking cases? Well, last year the Spanish government prosecuted more than 200 suspects. And they convicted about 80 possible trafficking offenders. Now those convicted, they spent anywhere between 2 to 9 years in prison.
Now as part of CNN's commitment to the fight against human trafficking, the human trafficking unit for the police agency in the Catalonia region of Spain has given us unprecedented access to their operations. And with them, this week, we'll be showing you what it takes to investigate crimes of forced labor and forced prostitution.
Now, to give you a better idea of where the Catalonia region is located and why it is such a hotspot for traffickers, now take a look at this map. Now Catalonia is right on the coast. Human traffickers bring victims in through the port in Barcelona. Now authorities tell us some victims are brought in on boats, they're transferred to cars and trucks and taken straight into the big city of Barcelona where it is easier to hide.
Now Martin Savage begins our reporting.
MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are aspects in the fight against human trafficking that might seem exciting: busting down doors, rescuing victims, but before agents get to this point, they go through months, sometimes years, of investigation.
Behind this sleek exterior lies the headquarters of the Mosses D'esquadra, or the Autonomous Police, the police agency for the Catalonian region of Spain.
And in this office are the 15 agents dedicated to human trafficking. They work undercover, so we can't show you their faces.
Sub-Inspector Xavier Cortes is their boss, the man behind the mask. He helped form the Central Unit Against of Human Beings four years ago. And he says you first need to know the unique challenges of fighting human trafficking to understand his unit.
XAVIER CORTES, SUB-INSPECTOR MOSSES D'ESQUADRA (through translator): Research techniques are different than a regular criminal investigation such as the solving of a robbery. To investigate criminal organizations, what one cannot do is solve the crime. You can locate and dismount the organization so that their objective is different. You get to know who are the members, how they live, how they interact, and how the organization is organized.
SAVAGE: This investigation board shows the intricate process of exposing a criminal ring.
For these men and women, working in this unit means months of evidence gathering with never-ending hours of investigation. That fosters dedication that bonds the agents together as they work on some of the toughest cases in organized crime.
CORTES: These investigations are very long. Very long meaning no less than 7 or 8 months. But always around 1 year. It's a year of pure dedication and then always available with our normal schedules.
SAVAGE: This unit has rescued dozens of women and children in forced prostitution. And in their largest bust yet, helped to free 450 victims of forced labor.
Many of their successes come from the use of informants, a tricky yet very necessary part of breaking a case.
CORTES: Considering in the past (inaudible) cases, criminal organizations doing the trafficking of people that operate in Catalonia, are organizations from foreign countries. It is almost impossible to get agents to infiltrate them. If we, however, have people of their own nationalities, with their own particular interests working from the inside or us, we are able to often gather vital information.
SAVAGE: The informants usually have good reason to see the organization brought down, they are often victims. In fact, most of the cases are the result of an escaped victim who came into a police station to make a report. Some have even stayed in a bad situation just to make sure agents have what they need to make the bust.
The Catalonia region where the Mosses D'esquadra operates has both a blessing and a curse. Barcelona, the largest city in the region, draws tourists with its nearly year round pleasant weather. But walking hand in hand with the tourists, are criminals hoping to make money off of them.
CORTES: The number of people that come here attracted primarily for the party concept that foreigners bring, come looking for recreational activities. Unfortunately, some of these recreational activities that tourists look for is sex.
SAVAGE: Tourists looking for sex can find it along the highways, in brothels or clubs, on busy city streets. The legality of prostitution in Spain is complicated and it hinges on whether these women want to sell their bodies or whether they're forced to. Figuring that out is one of the human trafficking unit's biggest challenges.
Martin Savage, CNN.
STOUT: And tomorrow here on NEWS STREAM, Sub-Inspector Cortes explains why investigating forced prostitution in Catalonia is a unique challenge.
SAVAGE: Because it is legal to prostitute yourself, Inspector Cortes says many women come to Catalonia knowing that's what they'll be doing. Usually a bad economic situation or the desire to help family back home pushes them to it.
CORTES: What they do is contact groups that have control of the areas and that emerge in prostitution here in our territory. And they create a contract and say, you will come here and I will take a percentage of your earnings.
SAVAGE: Cortes says the problem arises when the women arrive on Spanish soil, sometimes they're locked up in apartments for weeks at a time and told they have an enormous debt to pay off for bringing them there.
They're families back home are threatened. And if the women fight back, the sexual aggression begins.
STOUT: A preview there of part 2 in our four part investigation. We'll bring it to you here tomorrow, but can't wait that long? Tune into prism. That's at midnight here in Hong Kong, 5:00 pm in London right here on CNN.
Now 12 jurors in Orlando, Florida just sat down with a second day deliberations in the Casey Anthony trial. Now they will decide if she killed her toddler and covered it up or if, as the defense claims, the girl died in an accident. Now the jury failed to reach a decision after six hours of deliberations yesterday. And if Casey Anthony is found guilty of first degree murder, she could face the death penalty.
Now still to come on NEWS STREAM, the final four have arrived at Kennedy Space Center, but as they prepare for NASA's last ever shuttle launch, we ask what is the future of space flight?
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the countdown clocks at Kennedy Space Center are set to start ticking a little later on Tuesday. And that will culminate in NASA's last ever shuttle launch. With one chapter closing, a new era in space travel is ready to take off. John Zarrella has more.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Elon Musk runs SpaceX, Richard Branson heads Virgin Galactic, both are using their considerable wealth to back bold attempts to make space travel as routine as boarding an airplane.
RICHARD BRANSON, CEO VIRGIN: People used to say that it would be impossible to build your own space ship and your own space ship company and to be able to take people into space. And, you know, that's the kind of challenge that I love to sort of prove them wrong.
ELON MUSK, SPACEX: I want to see a future where we are exploring the stars, where we're going to other planets, where we're doing the great things that we read about in science fiction and in the movies.
ZARRELLA: There are several companies, some big, some small, who see as NASA moves on to distant planets, that weightless region just above the atmosphere, just out of reach right now, becoming quite possibly a good investment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NASA is still in there, still going to develop a heavy lift rocket, but we've also got this hopefully flowering the private space flight. And that's what's going to get us the Hiltons and the Hertz rentacars and whatever in orbit.
ZARRELLA: SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are on the verge of not just opening, but stepping through that door to the future.
MUSK: We want to make space accessible to everyone. I mean, that's a revolutionary change. But it's incredibly exciting. And it brings space, the possibility of space travel to all Americans which is fantastic.
ZARRELLA: Next year Musk hopes to begin carrying cargo to the International Space Station eventually astronauts, a commercial company replacing the space shuttle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Confirmed, docking is complete.
MUSK: We believe we can send astronauts to the space station within three years of receiving a NASA contract to do so.
ZARRELLA: But unless it's safe, NASA administrator says no U.S. astronaut will be on board.
CHARLES BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: I cannot allow them to put us in jeopardy by not focusing on crew safety and the like. That's my job.
ZARRELLA: The stakes are high. There is no turning back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome the future of space travel.
ZARRELLA: With shuttle retired and astronauts left to riding Russian space ships, NASA is counting on commercial companies to get it right, make it work. And the more we make it work, the more affordable it will become.
BRANSON: That's the end of a particular era. And it's up to individuals like myself if you are in a position to be able to achieve wonderful things not to waste that position.
ZARRELLA: Of course right now the focus is not on the commercial companies, that's going to come soon enough. Right now the focus is on the final space shuttle launch scheduled for Friday, 11:26 am Eastern time here at the Kennedy Space Center. The countdown clock for that final mission, the countdown is going to pick up at about 1:00 Eastern time here in the United States this afternoon.
And Kristie, the future is anything right now but crystal clear, that's for sure.
STOUT: Private companies are going to take over space exploration, but what's next for NASA? I mean, what is NASA's post shuttle plan?
ZARRELLA: Yeah, you know, private companies will take over the low Earth orbit -- going to the space station, space tourism. NASA is going to continue doing what NASA does best and that is pressing outward, going back to what they did in Apollo when they went to the moon.
You know, the plan is that by 2026 NASA will have humans on an asteroid, shortly thereafter perhaps a Mars mission. That's the plan right now.
Of course, you know, it's certainly is reliant heavily on a national will here in the United States and money. And both of those things are still questionable right now -- Kristie.
STOUT: John Zarrella joining us live from Kennedy Space Center. Thank you very much indeed, John. We'll be checking in with you later this week.
And while we're looking forward to the next step for space flight, we also want to take a look back and share your shuttle memories with us. Just log on to iReport.com. So far, we have even received pictures of STS One, that is the first ever shuttle mission.
Now for the day's top sports stories, starting with the future of two global football stars Alex Thomas is in London to tell us what's going to happen to ManCity and Arsenal's club captains -- Alex.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, the futures of both Carlos Tevez and Cesc Fabregas remain up in the air, but we might be getting to the end of what have turned into two long running transfer sagas.
Tevez is back home in Argentina playing at the Copa America, but he has released a statement making it clear that he wants to leave Manchest City, no surprise to the English Premier League club. Tevez has been unsettled for some time.
He says the main reason he wants to go it to be nearer his two daughters who live in South America.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Cesc Fabregas is having talks with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger today as he continues to negotiate his exit from the Emirates Stadium.
It's thought the Gunners will reach an agreement with European champions Barcelona this week, which will see Fabregas return to Spain to the club he played for as a boy.
Meanwhile on the pitch, 2010 World Cup semifinalists Uruguay were in action at the Copa America, the oldest international football tournament on the planet. They're one of the top three seeds along with host Argentina and the holders Brazil. But they went a goal down in their opening group C match on Monday night against Peru. Michael Guevara's pass beating Uruguay's offside trap leaving Paolo Guerrero to round the goalkeeper and put his side 1-nil ahead.
If you remember, Peru finished bottom of the South American qualifying group ahead of the 2010 World Cup. So no surprise they're resistance was broken just before half-time. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez hitting the equalizer.
But after the break, World Cup golden ball winner for the best player, Diego Forlan, had a great chance to give Uruguay the lead. He blasted his left foot shot over the bar.
And at the other end, Peru could have pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament so far if Guerrero's diving header had found the back of the net. It didn't.
There were no more goals.
Uruguay starting their Copa America campaign with a 1-all draw.
Now just a month after his controversial reelection as FIFA president, Sepp Blatter has been photographed meeting one of the few world figures who's equally notorious. After shaking hands with Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, one British newspaper's cheeky headline read corrupt dictator meets Mugabe.
Having some fun at Blatter's expense, although we should point out that FIFA's president was there to announce a crackdown on match fixing. He also met the other head of Zimbabwe's government, the far less controversial Morgan Tsvangirai.
Some claim England's media have it in for Blatter after the country's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup. On Tuesday, a government committee accused FIFA of trying to, quote, sweep all allegations of misconduct under the carpet.
That's all for now, more stories in world sports in just over two-and-a- half hours' time, Kristie.
STOUT: Alex Thomas, thank you.
Up next, good-bye to Hogwarts, hello Hollywood. As the Harry Potter saga comes to a close, we ask its young stars what's next?
STOUT: Welcome back.
Now the cast of the Harry Potter movies have packed up their broomsticks and waved their last wands. The final film in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 comes out in international release next week. Now it is a sad time for fans, and the films young stars you saw grow up on camera.
Becky Anderson went to meet them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a wizard, Harry.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The words that marked the start of a multibillion dollar movie franchise. In a film that changed the lives of three British school children forever.
DANIEL RADCLIFFE, ACTOR: Hermione, when have any of our plans actually ever worked?
ANDERSON: Now, 10 years since cinema audiences first fell under Harry Potter's spell, the peoples of Hogwarts are saying good bye. In a film that's darker, and more dramatic than any that have come before.
TOM FELTON, ACTOR: I think there's a slight undertone of severity and seriousness with the fact that people are losing their lives. It's kind of no longer innocent charms and spells, it's things are kicking.
EMMA WATSON, ACTRESS: The scale of it and the impact that it has, the drama is just kind of amazing.
ANDERSON: In the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Harry Potter must confront the evil Voldemort in battle for the future of the wizarding world.
For Daniel Radcliffe, this was one of the toughest roles of his wizarding career.
RADCLIFFE: I mean, it's like I'm a different actor I think in part 2 from part 1. Part 2 is the only film out of all seven that I can watch and go I am really happy with my performance in it. And not that there's stuff I wouldn't do different, but like overall I'm pleased with the work I've done.
ANDERSON: The action packed finale throws off some long awaited romances. And an unlikely hero.
For the actors who grew up at Hogwarts, it's a highly charged farewell.
RUPPERT GINT, ACTOR: You find yourself getting a bit choked up at the end.
RADCLIFFE: It was the end of an era and the end of -- it feels like we're suddenly moving beyond our adolescence, childhood.
WATSON: I started when I was 9. And I'm now 21. And it's been everything. It's where I went to school, it's where I met my fans, it's where I learned everything that I know, it's you know it's kind -- it's the whole thing.
ANDERSON: This may be the end of an era at Hogwarts for this young actress and her friends, but they their Hollywood education has only just begun.
Becky Anderson, CNN, London.
STOUT: Now in the U.S. it is tradition to celebrate July 4th with hot dogs, hamburgers and fireworks, but this man, he takes it to the extreme. Joey Chestnut was just crowned the world's hot dog eating champ for the fifth straight year by consuming 62 dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
But while he was chowing down in Brooklyn, New York Takeru Kobayashi, meanwhile, he was stealing the unofficial world title across town in Manhattan. Now he scoffed down 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. But Kobiashi can't be called the official champ, because he wasn't registered in the major league eating event.
Now he is still our over and out there winner, though, or at least his waistline is. Now Kobayashi, he was a lean 140 pounds before the event, but after the event he was 158 pounds. That means he packed on a whopping 18 pounds all within 10 minutes.
And that is NEWS STREAM, but the news continues at CNN. "WORLD BUSINESS TODAY" is next.