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U.K. Phone-Hacking Scandal; Casey Anthony Verdict; Al Qaeda in Afghanistan

Aired July 6, 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, we take you to a remote part of Afghanistan, an area outside U.S. control and a safe haven for al Qaeda fighters.

Will it be third time lucky for Pyeongchang? In a few hours, the South Korean city will find out if it will host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

And this might look like tuna sushi, but we'll tell you what it's really made of.

But first, we begin in the U.K., where a British tabloid is under increasing pressure amid allegations it may have broken the law to get (AUDIO GAP). It may have hacked into the phones and voicemails of a murdered teenager and the grieving families of 7/7 bombing victims.

Now, the police have not commented, but at least one advertiser is now abandoning the "News of the World" and others are reviewing their position.

Now, Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a thorough investigation. Right now he's been taking questions in the House of Commons. And once that wraps up, members of parliament are set to hold an emergency debate on the latest allegations.

Now, the reports allege that victims may have had their voicemail accounts hacked, and it is unclear exactly how the security might have been breached. But we do know that the act is illegal.

Dan Rivers joins us now from outside parliament.

And Dan, what more are the families of the July 7th victims saying about these allegations?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think just adding to the feeling of revulsion and shock across Britain about what allegedly this tabloid newspaper, the "News of the World," has been up to over the past few years. Not only have they been supposedly hacking into the mobile phones and message services of celebrities, sports people, politicians, the royal family, but also murder victims and the victims of terrorism.

It is now something that has gone beyond a media story here. It is a deeply political story now.

As you said, there is an emergency debate being held right now in the House of Commons behind me to discuss whether the media is out of control, or aspects of the media are out of control, and what they're going to do about it. And there is also commercial fallout now as well. Several advertisers, including the Halifax (ph) and Ford, have pulled their advertising from the "News of the World," as such is the outrage here in Britain about phone hacking.


RIVERS (voice-over): The murder of the 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002 was a crime which appalled Britain. Last month, her killer, Levi Bellfield, was finally convicted. But now this story has collided with another major criminal inquiry that's dominated the news for years -- phone hacking.

The scandal relates to the illegal tabloid practice of accessing cell phone messages left for celebrities in order to get stories. Now it seems Milly Dowler's phone was also hacked after she had gone missing. It's even claimed journalists deleted messages from concerned friends and family to free space on the mailbox and mine more messages for stories.

While in Afghanistan, the British prime minister, David Cameron, was quick to condemn the behavior.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: On the question about the really appalling allegations about the telephone of Milly Dowler, I mean, if they are true, this is a truly dreadful act.

RIVERS: The lawyer representing Milly Dowler's family says they're starting legal action against the paper.

MARK LEWIS, DOWLER FAMILY LAWYER: The family are completely horrified. I mean, they thought this was all over.

RIVERS: Until now, the hacking of Prince William's phone in 2005 was the first known case resulting in a "News of the World" journalist and private detective being imprisoned. But then other victims emerged. Sienna Miller was told her phone had been hacked in 2006, just one of dozens of celebrities targeted.

In January, 2011, the former "News of the World" editor, Andy Coulson, who had already resigned from the paper over the scandal, was forced to stand down again as communications director for the prime minister amid more allegations.

Now news Milly Dowler's phone may have been hacked in 2002 suggests the "News of the World" was involved in this illegal practice much earlier than previous thought. It's putting huge pressure on Rebekah Brooks, who edited the paper in 2002 and now runs the parent company, News International. In a statement to colleagues, she denies knowing about phone hacking, saying she's "sickened" by the allegations, adding, "If true, the devastating effect on Milly Dowler's family is unforgivable."

Her former boss, Les Hinton, has already been quizzed by a powerful committee of politicians, telling them phone hacking was the work of a lone or rogue reporter.

LES HINTON, FMR. EXECUTIVE, NEWS INTERNATIONAL: And I believe he was the only person, but that investigation under the new editor continues.

RIVERS: But the committee chairman has never been convinced.

JOHN WHITTINGDALE, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Well, we set up a time that the claims that were made to us, that this was the activities of one reporter and nobody else had any involvement. We said then that we didn't believe that.


RIVERS: So now this emergency debate is under way here in the House of Commons. The prime minister, David Cameron, has already been closely questioned by the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband. Here's what the prime minister had to say a few moments ago.


CAMERON: We are no longer talking here about politicians and celebrities. We're talking about murder victims, potentially terrorist victims, having their phones hacked into. It is absolutely disgusting, what has taken place. And I think everyone in this House, and indeed this country, will be revolted by what they've heard and what they've seen on their television screens.


RIVERS: Ed Miliband was quick to ask if there would be a public inquiry. The prime minister said there would be, but only after the police inquiry has been concluded. And Ed Miliband accused the prime minister of being out of touch with the mood of the public.

There's also another interesting political dimension to this. The former director of communications for the prime minister, Andy Coulson, used to edit the "News of the World." He was forced to resign over these phone hacking allegations and was forced to step down again as spin doctor for David Cameron -- Kristie.

STOUT: Dan Rivers, joining us live from London.

Thank you.

Now to the U.S. The murder trial that riveted the country for months has taken -- some are calling another unexpected twist. Now, Casey Anthony, the young woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, has been cleared of all major charges, including first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse.

Now, it took the jury less than 11 hours to reach that verdict.


KAREN DELPILAR, COURT CLERK: "As to the charge of first-degree murder, verdict as to count one, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty, so say we all." Dated at Orlando, Orange County, Florida, on this 5th day of July, 2011. Signed, "Foreperson."


STOUT: Now, Anthony was only found guilty on four counts of lying to police. Now, she faces sentencing for those charges on Thursday, which carry a maximum one-year jail term each. But since Anthony has already been in jail about three years, legal experts say it is possible she could be freed immediately.

Now, David Mattingly has been following the case, and he joins us now live from Orlando, Florida.

And David, when the verdict was read, take us back. What was the reaction like inside, outside the courtroom?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Outside the courtroom there was shock and surprise, because this case has had so many twists and turns that were unexpected. Yesterday's verdict proved to be the biggest surprise of all.


DELPILAR: "We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty."

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Tears of joy from a young woman on trial for her life. Casey Anthony, the mother so many saw as a child murderer, avoids the death penalty and may soon walk free.

Also vindicated, her much criticized attorney, Jose Baez.

JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY'S LAWYER: While we're happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case. Caylee has passed on far, far too soon, and what my driving force has been for the last three years has been always to make sure that there has been justice for Caylee and Casey, because Casey did not murder Caylee. It's that simple.

MATTINGLY: But how the jury rejected the prosecution's claim that Casey killed her child Caylee with chloroform and Duct tape and dumped her body in a swamp is a mystery. Afterward, not one of the 12 jurors would speak. Prosecutors appeared stunned.

LAWSON LAMAR, STATE ATTORNEY FOR ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We're disappointed with the verdict today and surprised because we know the facts and we put in absolutely every piece of evidence that existed.

MATTINGLY: But it wasn't enough. Casey Anthony's parents, enduring accusations on the stand of lying and her father accused by Casey of molesting her, left quietly, showing no emotion.

Their attorney released a statement: "Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the jury made a fair decision."

Deputies patrolled the neighborhood where the Anthonys live.

The Orange County sheriff appealed for calm.

SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We ask for your continued peaceful acknowledgement of that verdict.


MATTINGLY: And now Casey Anthony will be back in court tomorrow, facing those misdemeanor charges of lying to authorities during this investigation. She could face a maximum of four years for those violations, but it's believed that it's very possible she will walk out a free woman after already serving three years in jail just waiting for this trial to happen.

STOUT: And David, beyond Thursday's sentencing, what is next for Casey Anthony? Could she profit from her story?

MATTINGLY: There will be nothing stopping her from signing any kind of book deal, movie deal, selling her story to anyone who might want to interview her. Because she has been acquitted of all these charges, there is nothing stopping her from doing that. But at the moment, she is still behind bars, still awaiting her freedom, so we'll have to see what happens tomorrow, what the judge decides on whether or not she can actually go free tomorrow.

STOUT: David Mattingly, joining us live from Orlando.

Thank you very much indeed.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, Yemen's power vacuum leaves room for al Qaeda to advance. Now, the terror group is also said to be on the rise in Afghanistan. The Taliban as well.

We explore what that means for U.S. troops preparing to leave the country.

And the scene of forced prostitution in Spain. Find out how authorities in Barcelona investigate one of their biggest challenges.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, the U.S. military is pointing to the remote mountains of eastern Afghanistan as once again providing a safe haven for al Qaeda militants. Now, they say both al Qaeda and the Taliban are using the region to train and to plan.

Nick Paton Walsh has more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost a decade in, the hunt for al Qaeda in one part of eastern Afghanistan looks like this: Americans pushing the Afghans to the front, taking the high ground in hills impossible to police. The pressure for less Americans here is extreme, but the Afghans only mustered five men for this patrol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you shoot, all right, it's got to be five-to- seven-round bursts. Then go.

WALSH: And, despite this training, are barely after (ph) policing the local villages, let alone taking on the very terrorist network America came here to eradicate.

(on camera): Well, it's here that Afghanistan's future looks a lot like its past. American control does not extend up into this valley, and high on those ridge lines they found safe havens for al Qaeda.

(voice-over): U.S. and Afghan officials have revealed to CNN they located here al Qaeda fighters using these secluded Alpine villages for training and planning.

In June, hundreds of Americans were airlifted in 9,000 feet up, but they faced fierce resistance and a longer, nastier fight than planned. U.S. officials say they killed 120 insurgents and top leaders, many Taliban, but several of them Arabs linked to al Qaeda, damaging their network. Yet, the clashes reveal that al Qaeda, for years, said to be mostly across the border in Pakistan, is again a concern back where they started, in Afghanistan's hills.

We push down into the Wata Pur Valley, still an insurgent stronghold. High-tech American attack helicopters buzzed overhead until militants shot at them from up the valley.

SECOND LT. TREY VAN WYHE, U.S. ARMY: It's uncharacteristic for the Taliban, I know, from around here. They're getting people gutsy. Right past there, usually our patrol isn't on pushup too far past that, because if you push up any farther past that, you're going to take enemy contact. It's pretty certain.

WALSH: The Afghans clear about who lay and wait for them ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's very dangerous. There are Taliban, Arabs, Pakistanis there.

WALSH: At the foot of the valley, the American base is often hit by potshots, sometimes from lone gunmen up high, who they then mortar. Al Qaeda's return to these remote hills could tie America's hands, making it harder to justify pulling back from here.

The terrorist network that made America's case for invading, slipping back in just when America makes its case to leave.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kunar, Afghanistan.


STOUT: Now, in Yemen, the government says Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda have taken advantage of the protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh to gain a bigger foothold in the country. Now, the government and the opposition are blaming each other. And as Nic Robertson shows us, many people are getting hurt.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten-year- old Mohammed Ali Zakar (ph) is one of the casualties of Yemen's new war with al Qaeda. He lies in a hospital in Aden, barely alive. His head is gashed open; his left arm and leg broken.

"He was playing outside our house," his father tells me. "Then a government jet dropped a bomb."

The hospital corridors outside Mohammed's (ph) room are crowded with casualties. This father tells me his 18-year-old son was caught in a blast a few days ago, as government forces battled al Qaeda in Zinjibar, capital of neighboring Abyan Province. More than 200 such casualties in the past month. Doctors are stretched.

DR. ABDUL FATAH, ORTHOPEDIC TRAUMA SURGEON: It's very difficult for us, because it's the first time to working with war injured, war worn.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Western diplomats say al Qaeda is fighting like it's never fought before, no longer hide (ph) and run tactics, but fighting and taking control of towns and villages in its own name, and then staying there to set up their own administrations.

(voice-over): In a nearby nearly derelict school, families fleeing Abyan have similar accounts. Amina Ali (ph) shows me how they escaped from their house, crawling on their hands and knees. She says al Qaeda came to them, told them to leave, not to come back.

According to U.N. officials, more than 50,000 have fled so far, and they are still arriving.

GUILLAUME FARDEL, UNHCR ADEN: It's around 700 people in this specific school. In Aden, in the city, we have today 46 schools. And most schools are opening day after day.

ROBERTSON: Not all the displaced agree the Islamist rebels, less than an hour's drive away, are al Qaeda, but all accuse government officials and security forces of fleeing before al Qaeda arrived, allowing them to close in on Yemen's main port.

(on camera): Yemen's vice president says the government has lost control of several nearby provinces to al Qaeda, but there's a very real fear that the group might try to encircle the city, even try to take control of it. If it did that, it wouldn't just interfere with important international shipping lanes, but potentially the group a base that it's never had before.

(voice-over): But now, both government and opposition are playing the blame game.

GEN. ALI MOHSEN AL-AHMER, OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): Al Qaeda came and took over because no one was there to stop them. No military, no security. The government called them to come in order to scare the West and neighbors and friendly nations.

ABDU GANADI, DEPUTY INFORMATION MINISTER (through translator): Ali Mohsen should not play around with this point. He has old ties with al Qaeda. They're joined against the president, not in getting rid of al Qaeda.

ROBERTSON: As the politicians score points, the casualties of Yemen's crisis continue to roll in to this and many other hospitals, and al Qaeda exploits the country's dissent into chaos.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Aden, Yemen.


STOUT: Now, still ahead on NEWS STREAM, three cities are hopeful, but only one can be the favorite. Will Pyeongchang prove the pundits right and become the host of the 2018 Winter Games?

The announcement is just minutes away. We'll check out the bids.


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

Now, in less than three hours from now we will know who will host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Now, Pyeongchang, South Korea, is seen as the favorite. South Korea has never hosted the winter games before, despite two previous bid attempts.

Munich, Germany, is also in the running, and if tapped, it would be the first city to ever host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

And if Annecy, France, is chosen, it would be the fourth French city to host the winter games. The last time France held them was back in 1992.

Now, the International Olympic Committee will begin voting soon in Durban, South Africa. But in the meantime, we have correspondents standing by in all three Olympic hopeful countries. We've got Paula Hancocks in Pyeongchang, South Korea; Matthew Chance is in Munich, Germany; and Jim Bittermann is in Paris France.

So let's start with Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, there's about 3,000 or 4,000 South Koreans here who are just hoping here in Pyeongchang that it is going to be third time lucky. This city and this country has tried for the best part of a decade to secure the Winter Olympics.

Now, this time around, the third time around, the president has become very much involved. He's front and center of this particular bid. He's really stuck his neck out for this particular bid, and he says because he believes it can win.

Now, the things that are in South Korea's favor and Pyeongchang's favor is the fact that all the venues are around about half an hour away from each other, no more. That's always a plus when it comes to Olympics.

Many of the scaffolding is already in place. The ski jumps are in place. And they say 13 venues are already built. There's only six to be constructed. So they have that in their favor as well.

Also, President Lee Myun-bak has been saying that he hopes the issue with fair play will be a factor, the issue of continent rotating. It's only ever been in one Asian country, and that was Japan back in the '70s, and also in 1998.

So they're hoping that the International Olympic Committee will decide it's time for it to be in Asia once again. They're hoping that they'll want to boost the winter sports in Korea, and also in Asia as a whole.

So, here, we have passion and we have kimchi. What do we have in Germany?

I'll hand you over to Matthew Chance.


Well, here in Munich, there are great celebrations going on already, at least festivities going on here in the main square, the center of Munich. And that's in anticipation of that Olympic committee decision.

What the organizers are trying to emphasize here are the environmental provincials of their Olympic bid for the winter games in 2018, because many of the structures, many of the buildings that will be needed to host the various winter sports in the Alpine resorts around this area of southern Germany have already been constructed. At least many of them in the previous Olympics that were held in this country in 1972.

There were very ill-fated Olympic supports (ph). There were a number of Israeli athletes, 11 athletes, were killed there by a Palestinian militant group.

This time, the hope is the situation obviously being much better. It's a very environmentally-friendly bid, because the infrastructure won't need to be built again. It's already there. It just has to be renovated.

So that's something that the organizers here are very hopeful the Olympic committee will look at and focus on when they finally make their choice.

But there are, of course, rival bids to the bids in South Korea and here in Munich, and of course that means France and Annecy.

There, in Paris, in the French capital, we've got our correspondent Jim Bittermann.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Matthew, here they're emphasizing that environmental-friendly attitude as well, but they're also saying that this is going to be a sustainable ski area, a sustainable winter sports area. Already, the Alps, where they'd like to hold the Winter Olympics, is the largest winter sports area in the world, the most attractive in any case. Ten million people come from 100 countries each year to visit the Alps, and this would be right at the heart of the Alps.

Now, they also emphasize that it's compact, there's only two venues where the events would take place. One of the things they don't talk a whole lot about is some housing problems, but they figure that they can win those over.

They've got about half of the structures built that they would need to build. They've got a $5.25 billion budget to operate the Olympics, but also to build the infrastructure that's needed.

So, basically, France likes to think that it could get the Olympics again, but as you mentioned, Kristie, at the very beginning, the fact is that they've had a Winter Olympics here before, and it seems probably a little unlikely that the Olympic committee would go to them again -- Kristie.

STOUT: All right. Jim Bittermann, along with our Matthew Chance and Paula Hancocks.

Thank you very much, indeed.

And CNN will have live coverage of the decision. Plus, we will have our correspondents there in France, in Germany, and South Korea, back live for reaction. That's later today at 4:00 in the afternoon in London, which is 5:00 in France and Germany, midnight in South Korea, and 11:00 in Hong Kong, which is midnight, again, in South Korea, only here on CNN.

Now, ahead, fighting prostitution on behalf of its workers. We will go to Spain, where a special police unit is tackling the problem of women being forced into the sex trade.


STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong.

You're watching NEWS STREAM, and these are your world headlines.

Now, British Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for an independent inquiry into the phone hacking scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch's media empire, but only after the police probe is complete. Now there are new allegations that News of the World listened into private messages on the phones of crime victims and bereaved families.

A U.S. jury has found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her two year old daughter Caylee in 2008. The 25 year old Florida mother was also acquitted of aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. Now jurors did find her guilty of lying to the police. And she'll be sentenced for that on Thursday.

Now Japan says it will run stress tests on all its nuclear plants following the devastating earthquake and Tsunami in March. Now a series of computer simulations will show how each facility is able to deal with natural disasters. Now the government says the test needed to be done as soon as possible.

Now this week, we have debuted Freedom Project Undercover. It's a new series of reports on the struggle against human trafficking through the eyes of police. Now their work is critical to the fight against human trafficking, freeing victims and bringing criminals to justice.

Now yesterday here on News Stream, we introduced you to the human trafficking unit for Mosses D'esquadra. Now the police agency for the Catalonia region of Spain. And the unit has given CNN unprecedented access. And today they explain their biggest challenge: forced prostitution.

Martin Savage reports.


MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in southern Europe. Besides its obvious beauty and mild weather, discounted travel packages make it an appealing spot for a quick getaway. It's the largest city in the Catalonia region and it keeps the human trafficking unit for the regions police agency, Mosses D'esquadra, very busy.

Traffickers like the region, too, not for the same reason as the tourists, but because of the tourism industry. Vacationers can become clients for prostitution. And traffickers also use tourist visas to bring people into the country.

Sub-Inspector Xavier Cortes heads up the human trafficking unit for Mosses D'esquadra. He is the only face we can show you. His entire unit works undercover.

He shows us this map, breaking down prostitution in Catalonia. Flags represent where the prostitutes and their pimps come from: Bulgaria, Albania, Nigeria, and elsewhere.

XAVIER CORTES, SUB-INSPECTOR MOSSES D'ESQUADRA (through translator): There are parts of Barcelona controlled by Nigerian groups. Within Barcelona, there are also areas controlled by Albanians. And now we are finding that the most extensive phenomenon is an expanding face and is now generating our most worry is the arrival of Chinese controlling prostitution.

SAVAGE: Fighting these groups is one of the biggest challenges for the human trafficking unit. Investigating forced prostitution is very tricky in Spain. Prostitution is not legal, but it's not illegal either. Forcing someone to solicit themselves is illegal. A woman can sell herself, but one cannot become a licensed prostitue.

CORTES: You cannot act in any case because her, because she is exercising her right to prostitute on her own free will. Unless you can prove that another person is benefiting of the prostitution of this woman. Our goal is to locate people who exploit women.

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 over the areas and that are 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.

CORTES: Make no mistake, these members of the organization have absolutely no consideration for the integrity of these women that they exploit. The tactic of subjecting them to constant sexual abuse is a way to get them to lose their will and make it so over time they see more and more clearly that there is no way out.

SAVAGE: The worst cases, Cortes says, are the women forced to operate along the roadside with no access to sanitation. Cortes have seen women seven months pregnant forced to stand for 10 to 12 hours at a time selling themselves.

And then, there was the worst yet, which led to the bust of an Albanian prostitution ring. Dozens of women were freed in raids on three clubs. It started when a young woman was found on the street near death because she'd been locked up for two years and contracted hepatitis from constant unprotected sex.

It's these stories that propel Sub-inspector Cortes and his team on their mission.

Martin Savage, CNN.


STOUT: Absolutely chilling stories there. And our special series Freedom Project Undercover continues tomorrow here on News Stream. And we've shown you how police in Catalonia are tracking their biggest challenge: forced prostitution. But that is not the only type of human trafficking we have to deal with. Now in part 3 of this four part series will be riding along as they bust a massive forced labor ring, the biggest case the unit has ever cracked.

Now here's a preview.


SAVAGE: This chart shows a tangled web of labor exploitation, 80 sweatshops filled with workers that Cortes says were brought over from China on tourist visas. Their passports were taken. They were shoved into deplorable living conditions and forced to work to pay off the cost of bringing them to Spain.

It took three years to pull all these details together, exposing just how large this web grew.

CORTES: We could see that the head of this workshop wasn't the time the owner of the van utilized by four workshops to carry their clothes. But at the same time, the policy holder of that vehicle was responsible for this other workshop and in the same way that the workshop was responsible for paying the water of three workshops over another area of the town.


STOUT: And that is an excerpt of part 3 of our series. You'll it tomorrow right here on News Stream, or later today on Prism. That's at midnight in Hong Kong, 5:00 pm in London on CNN.

Now still to come on News Stream, NASA's next move: how the space agency plans to keep an eye on the past to transition into the future.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Facebook is set to make an announcement today, an awesome announcement. Now that's all founder Mark Zuckerberg would say about today's event. Now here's the invite. And some say the chat bubbles you see here are a hint.

Now reports say that Facebook will be adding video chat in partnership with Skype. Now we're not sure how it will work, but we can get a clue from what a Facebook's rivals: Google.

Now their new social network, Google+ includes a feature called hang- outs, that video chat for up to 10 people. If you take a look, this is a live video chat in Google+ with my producer in the control room. And -- hello there -- it's running in the browser, not in a separate program like Skype.

Now this is important, because if you're video chatting with someone on Facebook, then that's more time you're spending on Facebook, which means ads on Facebook are being seen for longer than other sites, allowing them to charge more from advertisers.

And that is one of the reasons behind Google+. Now last September, the online traffic analyst ConScore (ph) said that more people spent time on Facebook than on Google sites. So both could be looking to video chat as the new glue to make sure their users stick around.

Now many people are keeping their eyes on the skies over Florida. Now Space Shuttle Atlantis is set to launch on Friday, but weather forecasts are currently unfavorable. Now the liftoff, whenever it happens, will mark the end of an era for NASA. And the U.S. space agency is already looking toward new horizons.

John Zarrella joins us now live from Kennedy Space Center with more -- John.


Well, you know, NASA has already been talking about what they want to do next and that is to go to an asteroid, or go to Mars. And they are actually, even though they haven't developed the rocket ship that's going to be necessary to take them there, they're already working on what they're going to do when they get there.


ZARRELLA: Surrounded by the blackness of deep space, 117 million miles from Earth, is the asteroid Vesta. Images captured by a NASA probe.

In the not too distant future, U.S. astronauts could be looking out their window at a sight just like this.

MIKE GERNHARDT, SHUTTLE ASTRONAUT: I can either float along it, or I can have a tether to me and then I can sample rocks, I can chip a rock.

ZARRELLA: Astronaut Mike Gernhardt and his team are working on the kinds of equipment and techniques they'll need for human exploration of an asteroid as early as 2025, before either the moon or Mars.

GERNHARDT: What we're doing is building an simulated asteroid under water.

ZARRELLA: And this is not some high tech laboratory, it's Key Largo, Florida.

Beneath the surface, at the site of an undersea habitat called Aquarius, they have created an asteroid proving ground in the near weightless environment of water.

GERNHARDT: We work there. We live there. We can put anchors. We built a rock wall, like a climbing wall. We can climb up that wall in zero gravity.

ZARRELLA: With the shuttle era over, NASA is going back to going outward, what most everyone agrees is does best. An asteroid could be the first stop, a baby step, because there's no gravity, and an asteroid would be much closer, it's simply an easier first mission than Mars.

So once you get to Mars, or the moon, or an asteroid, how are you going to get around? Well, how about this? A multimission space exploration vehicle.

In five years, Gernhardt hopes to see his vehicle attached to the space station's robotic arm with astronauts living in it and space walking from it. A good test.

But before it can go any further out, like to an asteroid, there's one big problem -- getting it there.

Jeff Greason was a member of President Obama's blue ribbon committee on the future of exploration. Greason worries it may never go anywhere.

JEFF GREASON, SPACEFLIGHT COMMITTEE MEMBER: It's a very expensive thing for NASA to maintain. And the result of that, as I see it, is that if NASA does successfully develop this launch vehicle, there will be no budget to do anything with it.

ZARRELLA: The man commanding the last shuttle flight worries too. Talk of trips back to the moon and on to Mars have always been, well, just talk.

CHRISTOPHER FERGUSON, SHUTTLE ATLANTIS COMMANDER: Mars is always 20 years in the future. It's been 20 years in the future for the last 30 years. I'd like to see how committed we are this time.


ZARRELLA: Yeah, it's funny. I actually got to drive that space -- that little moon buggy or asteroid buggy around. That was a lot of fun, I've got to tell you, Kristie, driving that -- I didn't crash, either, which is I guess a good thing. Don't want to ruin the NASA hardware.

STOUT: No, you don't want to do that. And you've had some incredible access over the years covering this story. I mean, this is an end of an ear for NASA, also for its shuttle crew and for fans. What's next for them?

ZARRELLA: Yeah, it's an end of -- it's the end of an era for me. I'm wondering what I'm going to do next without the shuttle program. But there will be plenty of space events to cover -- commercial space events.

And you know it's funny, I talked to the NASA launch director, Mike Leinbach who is going to be, you know, handling this -- the Atlantis launch. And I said to him for a documentary that I did. I said, Mike, what are you going to do after the shuttles stop flying? And he said, well, John -- he said I'm the launch director. There won't be any launches to direct. So I don't know.

So I guess that's kind of where a lot of people are in that same boat, kind of wondering what is next and what are they going to do next?

STOUT: Yeah, they're quite literally up in the air. John Zarrella joining us live. Thank you very much indeed.

And of course, John will be part of our special coverage for the launch of Atlantis. Anderson Cooper will be joined by former NASA astronauts. So tune in for Space Shuttle Final Mission happening Friday, 10:00 pm here in Hong Kong, but 6:00 pm Abu Dhabi right here on CNN.

Now ahead on News Stream, looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to sushi in Japan. We'll tell you why fish isn't the only thing on the menu anymore. And what that says about traditional gender roles.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now the capital of Honduras is trying to reduce traffic accidents using an approach we've never seen before: mimes. Yes, street mimes in full make-up and costume. Raphael Romo brings us the story.


RAPHAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: AN SUV, a motorcycle, and a cargo truck trying to cross an intersection at the same time without stopping: a typical day on the roads of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras where police haven't been able to put an end to this vehicular nightmare.

Could humor be the answer? A few young people wearing make-up, costumes and funny hats think they can make a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's like a jungle out here. So this is good for pedestrians. We teach them to follow the rules. And we teach drivers to respect pedestrians.

ROMO: The project is called Mimes for Traffic Education. And authorities say it's no laughing matter. The mimes use an in your face approach in an effort to shame both drivers and pedestrians into complying with traffic rules.

LEONARDO MONTES DE OCA, HONDURAN MIME SCHOOL (through translator): We teach by amusing people. In Honduras, there's no respect for pedestrians. But pedestrians make mistakes too. Some think that it's only drivers who don't follow the rules, but we have to educate both pedestrians and drivers.

ROMO: But working at intersections in Tegucigalpa is not a joke, even for these mimes who sometimes have to run for their lives. The reality is they have no authority. And it's up to drivers and pedestrians to pay attention or ignore them completely, which is often the case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Drivers don't respect pedestrian walkways and that's why we have so many accidents. On the other hand, we also have the problem of jaywalking, or failure to use pedestrian bridges.

ROMO: The Mimes Project is a funny answer to a very serious problem in the Central American capital. It's estimated that more than 600 people die each year in Tegucigalpa in traffic accidents. And ultimately, the project's goal is to save lives by creating a culture of respect for the rules of the road.

Raphael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


STOUT: That was a bizarre story, at least for me.

Now let's switch gears entirely and bring up Mari Ramos. She has some amazing pictures of a dust cloud in Arizona. Mari, what you got.


You know what, yes, this is really amazing. And these thunderstorms that form sometimes in the desert create what is really an amazing sight. Take a look over here at these picture that we have from Phoenix, Arizona. Check it out, that is a wall, a wall of sand that moved into -- into Phoenix, Arizona. The wind was howling sometimes as high as 70 kilometers per hour.

What happens is when you have these thunderstorms that fall -- and there you see the rain that came right after -- they create very strong winds ahead of it. And the wind sometimes can be very strong. It did cause some damage. It caused huge travel delays. That sand got everywhere across the area. But fortunately, it's over now. And it should be a better day today.

But, as you come back over to the weather map, you notice that we do have some scattered thunderstorms still again for today. So, maybe we'll see something like this again. It's really amazing when something like that forms, to see that you know you associate that with more places in the Middle East, but it does happen here in the desert southwest of the United States as well.

I want to take you to the southern hemisphere, talk a little bit more about the situation in Argentina and Chile. Yeah, winter right? It's cold. Look, Santiago, only 2 degrees, 1 degree right now in Buenes Aires. La Paz 1 degree. And it's this area right in the border between Chile and Bolivia where it looks like this, rare snowfall coming along. Even though there are high elevations here, Antofadasta is one of the driest places in the world.

So to get this much snowfall, believe me, it's a big deal. It's closed some of the passes between the two countries. And it's even shut down one of the world's largest copper mines -- well, at least it's impeding some of the work that goes on there normally. This is very unusual to see this much snowfall in the area. They're talking about record setting snowfall again as we head through the next couple of days.

What's going on here? Well, here's a little bit different. We have an area of low pressure -- well, that's absolutely beautiful there, though, right over here. And it's actually up into the upper levels of the atmosphere. And then you have the jet stream across this area. That's going to bring you those very windy conditions and the snow and the higher elevations across this area, kind of reinforcing that cold air that's already in place across the region.

Staying in the southern hemisphere, wow, strong winds for you here across southeastern Australia yet again. We had in some cases winds that were topping 100 kilometers per hour. And Kristie, check out the snow reports, 45 centimeters in Charlotte Pass and 50 centimeters there in Perisher.

It's amazing, but for the ski resorts, this is a bounty. Really, really good stuff once you're able to get there.

Let's go ahead and check out your city by city forecast.

OK, Kristie, so you know I'm kind of a little space geek. And you know that I've been waiting for this space shuttle launch, this final launch for a long time. People are coming from all over the world to see this, right? Well, we'll have to see what mother nature does, because the weather plays a huge factor, of course, when they're going to launch the space shuttle. They're sending humans up into space, right? Right now it looks like we may get some rain showers.

Look, this is the forecast for Friday around the time of the launch, which is around 11:30 local time. We're expecting some scattered thunderstorms. Are they going to be close enough to the launch pad that we may run into some problems?

Temperature is not going to be a problem, wind is not going to be a problem.

When you look at the shuttle criteria for launches, one of the most important things is that there cannot be any rain at the launchpad or in the flight path, that's this one number three right over here, no lightning and now cumulus clouds. And we have the remnants of a weak tropical wave that's going to be moving through here, so for those of us -- you know Melissa, one of our writers from the show flew from Hong Kong for this -- Melissa, let's keep our fingers crossed. Come on, we don't need the rain. 40 percent chance that weather could be a problem.

STOUT: That's right, we got a couple members of the News Stream team that are watching the forecast very closely. Melissa, and of course you Mari Ramos. Thank you very much indeed.

Now up next, in Japan sushi is king, but lately the country has been adding a new twist to the traditional taste, serving up raw meat in some restaurants instead of fish. And Kyung Lah reports, it's actually proving to be most popular with women.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The proper slice and molded rice for the picture perfect sushi, except this isn't raw fish, it's raw meat -- horse meat, pork, and chicken, says chef Kensuke Onishi (ph), all raw and uncooked.

Gobbled down by eager customers packing Miku Sushi restaurant. Miku Sushi means meat sushi, no fish allowed. And in an odd way, the battle between meat and fish parallels the Japanese battle of the sexes. Aia Kanazowa (ph) goes raw three times a week here.

"I'm a carnivore girl," she says proudly, a buzz word labeling Japan's young, aggressive women.

Carnivore girls call the shots in love. They're independent and opinionated. Raw meat eaters.

A direct contrast to Japan's so-called herbivore boys. Translated in Japanese, sex means relationship in flesh. So herbivore boys are less interested in sex. Born out of two decades of Japan's economic stagnation, traditional masculinity and career don't drive herbivores. For a country aging at the world's fastest rate, with one of the lowest birth rates, herbivore boys embody the nation's societal fears.

What is a carnivore girl?

"Carnivore girls are the reaction to herbivore boys," says this group.

"It's the upheaval of the gender," says this girl.

Restaurant manager Hiroaki Tota (ph), sensing a marketing opportunity, his Twitter talking up his new raw meat sushi bar.

You made this place trendy?

"You can say that," he says. "We're riding off the buzz of the carnivore girls."

Half of his customers are women. The restaurant expanded to four locations and is now looking into franchising.

Trends or not, since we're talking about the handling, the ingesting and the serving of raw meat, it begs the question is it all safe? Well, Japan has some of the highest food safety standards in the world. And this restaurant says in eight month it's been open, it's not had a single reported case of food poisoning.

But there have been scandals, four people died at a different restaurant chain two months ago after eating spoiled raw beef, prompting this sushi restaurant to take raw beef of its menu. It's sticking to raw horse meat, chicken, and pork for now.

American Matt Hipple (ph) says he's still not worried about eating an entire meal of uncooked meat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's lots of really odd things about Japan. Raw meat is only one of many. So, just localize yourself, go native a little bit.

LAH: And why not? Fellas, have you seen how many girls are in this joint?

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


STOUT: Not too sure if I could go there.

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