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U.K. Tabloid Scandal; Atlantis Still Scheduled for Liftoff; South Sudan Independence

Aired July 8, 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 newspaper may be closing, but the fallout continues. The British prime minister promises a full inquiry into the "News of the World" scandal.

And astronauts prepare for liftoff, but will weather delay the last-ever launch of the space shuttle?

Now, the phone-hacking scandal in Britain now has the prime minister on the defense, as a man widely believed to be his former communications director, Andy Coulson, is taken into police custody. Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for full inquiries into allegations that "News of the World" was involved in a legal phone hacking.

At a news conference earlier today, Mr. Cameron laid out his vision for the investigation into the scandal.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: But my starting presumption is that it should be truly independent. Independent of the press so the public will know that newspapers will never again be solely responsible for policing themselves, but vitally independent on government, so the public will know that politicians are not trying to control or muzzle the press. That must be free to hold politicians to account.


STOUT: Cameron also defended his decision to hire former "News of the World" editor Andy Coulson has his communications chief. Coulson resigned from the Downing Street post in January and is now believed to be in police custody in connection with the phone-hacking scandal at "News of the World." Now, police would only confirm they've arrested a man his age. They won't name the suspect.

CNN's Dan Rivers is in London. He joins us live now.

And Dan, what more can you tell us about the reported arrest of Andy Coulson.

DAN RIVERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand he may be in a south London police station right now. He voluntarily went to the police station in liaison with the police to answer questions. So they didn't sort of go and do a dawn raid or anything. This was in agreement with the police that he should go in and answer questions about this phone- hacking scandal.

In the last few minutes, another man believed to be from the "News of the World" has also been arrested as part of this ongoing police investigation. We think that may be the royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, who has already served prison time over this scandal.

So it's clear that this police inquiry is now kicking up a gear and they are starting to bring people in for questioning, with the view possibly to laying formal charges against more people. The big question though is for everyone here in Britain, what will happen to Rebekah Brooks? Will that mean that she, too, is going to have to answer questions with the police?

She's the chief executive of the parent company. She, like Andy Coulson, has always maintained that when she was editor of the paper, she knew nothing about phone hacking. But those claims are at odds with the increasingly lurid accusations and allegations that have come out over the last week suggesting that phone hacking was systematic across the "News of the World" on a number of stories, including under her editorship of the hacking into the voicemail of a dead, murdered 13-year-old school, Milly Dowler. And then the journalists were alleged to have deleted certain messages in order to keep on harvesting information.

So, it's difficult to imagine how this could get any sort of bigger or worse. It's gone right to the doorstep of the British prime minister, David Cameron, as well. He hired Andy Coulson as a communications guru, and now that decision is being heavily criticized here.

STOUT: Yes. And given that link between the British prime minister and Andy Coulson, just how politically damaging is this for David Cameron?

RIVERS: Oh, it's acutely embarrassing for David Cameron. I think his critics will show it shows a real lack of judgment in appointing Andy Coulson, because at the time, it was well known, this phone-hacking scandal. It had been swirling around for years. It wasn't something that was completely unknown.

David Cameron said, well, look, I thought I'd give the guy a second chance. He resigned once as editor. I wanted to give him a second chance to prove himself. There were no complaints about his ability to do the job as communications director, and he gave me assurances that he knew nothing about it. Well, now those assurances are sounding like they may not have been completely correct.

We have to wait and see. And it's important to stress though that, at the moment, Andy Coulson is only being questioned by the police. He has not been charged. And at the moment, as far as we're aware, he's maintaining his line that he's maintained all along, that he knew nothing about what was going on in the paper when he was editor.

STOUT: All right.

Dan Rivers, joining us live in London.

Thank you, Dan.

Now, we are less than four hours away from the scheduled final launch of the 30-year U.S. space shuttle program. Atlantis is sitting on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew have donned their orange suits and should be beginning to board right about now.

Now, the 12-day mission led by Commander Chris Ferguson will carry supplies and spare parts for the International Space Station. And NASA says that at this point, there is a one in three chance that Atlantis will blast off this Friday.

You're looking at live pictures there from Florida, the astronauts getting into the shuttle, preparing for takeoff.

Now, stormy weather is threatening to delay today's launch. NASA says Atlantis narrowly escaped damaged from two lightning strikes on Thursday.


STOUT: Now, the launch of Atlantis, it marks the end of an era. The space shuttle program, yes, it's an American initiative, but it has global appeal. And for millions of people around the world, the shuttle has represented the next phase of space travel.

For a start, the shuttle is the world's first reusable spacecraft. After each mission, the orbiter and rocket boosters are refurbished for later use, reducing some costs and allowing shorter turnaround time between launches.

Now, the shuttle has been referred to as a sort of space truck carrying cosmic cargo. It has carried supplies and parts for the expansion of the International Space Station and to repair the Hubble Telescope.

And if you are in need of more proof as to how inspirational the shuttle program has been, check this out.

Now, this is not a U.S. shuttle, but as you can see, it's very similar. This is the Russian version. It's known as the shuttle Buran. Now, that program has been shuttered. But now the U.S. will have to rely on this, the Russian Soyuz rockets, to take their astronauts into orbit, because as the space shuttle program ends, there is still no replacement for it in sight.

A shuttle takeoff is quite a spectacle. You have hundreds of thousands of space fans. They have traveled to Florida to watch Atlantis blast off. And many have headed to towns like Titusville or Cocoa Beach, which flank the Kennedy Space Center to soak up the atmosphere at very close quarters.

And Titusville is where we will find our very own astro enthusiast. Mari Ramos has taken her family down to Cape Canaveral for the launch. And she joins us now on the phone.

And Mari, you are there with scores of other shuttle fans. Describe the atmosphere.

MARI RAMOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, there are literally thousands and thousands and thousands of people here at the Kennedy Space Center. It's almost like a party.

People are very excited of just the anticipation. You can feel the anticipation. Everyone is very calm. They have their lawn chairs, they have their sheets to lay on the lawn, and just kind of waiting.

And we got here about 3:00 this morning, and there were already people here. We were by no means the first ones to arrive. And it's really fascinating to see so many people waiting.

There are huge screens that have been set up all around the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where we can follow what is happening with the astronauts. For example, right now, we can see that they are getting on board the shuttle. We can see them strapping into their seats. They're explaining everything that's happening, so you really feel like you're part of it.

STOUT: You know, Mari, you and your family, you got there 3:00 a.m. local time. That's more than eight hours ahead of launch. But you mentioned there are thousands and thousands of people there. So did you manage to get a good viewing spot? What is it like where you are?

RAMOS: You know what? We got a great viewing spot.

We ended up going a little bit farther away from where the screens have been set up, and we got almost like a little hill, like a little knoll that faces the area where the space shuttle is going to take off. And I've never seen a space shuttle launch from this location, but I asked around to other people that have been, and they told me that that was a good spot to see it because there's nobody else in front of you, and you only have a tree line in front of you.

However, Kristie, in about an hour, we're going to board a bus that's going to take us even closer to where the shuttle is going to take off. And that one will take us right across an area that's called the Banana River. And we are going to be literally about five miles away from where the shuttle will be taking off. And the only thing in front of us -- we're going to have a great view -- the only thing in front of us will be the water, and then the land, and then the shuttle.

And I've got to say one more thing, Kristie. Right now something amazing just happened. The sun came out from the clouds.

STOUT: Oh, that is so great to hear. That's wonderful to hear.

RAMOS: Just now.

STOUT: I was going to ask you about the weather there. So the sun is coming out.

We are looking at these live pictures of the crew getting fitted out, getting kitted (ph) up. They're preparing for liftoff. But as you've been hearing, there is a chance that the weather may not cooperate.

If today's launch is a no go, what will be your plans? What's going to happen?

RAMOS: Well, with that, I couldn't hear the last part of your question.

STOUT: I'm sorry. If today's launch does not happen, what will you and all the other space fans there -- what are your plans? What do you plan to do?

RAMOS: Well, I think people that are here, we all understand that there's a lot of things that can happen that could be a reason to scrub a launch. There could be mechanical trouble. The weather is one of those huge things that's monitored very, very closely.

So I think people understand, when you get your tickets to come here, you know that there could be changes. They tell you over and over that there could be changes.

And the tickets themselves are actually good for their mission specific. In other words, they're good for STS-135. So, whether it launches today, they scrub it today and they're going to try tomorrow, our tickets are good for tomorrow. We get to come back -- or the next day, or even on Monday.

So, in that sense, you get to come back until it launches. It's for that particular mission. So that's pretty important.

And so one of the things that the mission managers had said is that all they need is an opening. They just need a hole in the clouds and no precipitation in the flight path. And if they can get that, even with a very small 30 percent chance, they say you know what? We can see a space shuttle launch today.

So we're hoping.

STOUT: Well, let's hope that they get that opening at 11:26 a.m. Eastern Time, as planned.

Mari Ramos, joining us on the line, one of the many thousands and thousands of well-wishers, space shuttle fans, there to witness this historic event.

Thank you, Mari.

Now, still ahead here on NEWS STREAM, a new nation on the map. We'll go to South Sudan just one day before it declares its independence.

And we'll be taking you to Egypt, where tens of thousands of people have again gathered in Tahrir Square, demanding faster reforms.

And then we go inside a raid on a forced labor ring. We will show you what we found when CNN's Freedom Project went undercover.


STOUT: OK. Welcome back.

Now, Yemen's injured president appeared on television for the first time since his compound was attacked last month. And speaking from Saudi Arabia, President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he is on the mend since being badly burned in the attack. He says he's had eight surgeries.

Now, in the appearance, he welcomed talks with opposition forces, but he also indicated he would strike back at his attackers, saying this: "We will face the challenge with a challenge." Now, Saleh did not say when he would go back to Yemen.

And turning now to the birth of a new country.

Now, after half a century of civil war and a trail of failed peace agreements, Sudan will officially split in two on Saturday, when South Sudan is born. In the new capital, Juba, they are putting the final touches on planned celebrations. And the Sudanese president, Omar al- Bashir, is due to attend from Khartoum, along with dozens of African heads of state and world leaders.

The U.S. administration of George W. Bush brokered a peace agreement that led to this day. That was back in 2005. And officials say he wanted to stop the region's humanitarian crisis.

CNN's Nima Elbagir has spent the past week in Sudan. She is now in Juba. She joins us now live.

And Nima, South Sudan, when it becomes a new country, it will be one of the poorest nations in the world. So what are conditions like for the people there?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: South Sudan will come of age at the bottom of pretty much every single human development indices (ph) there is. They have horrifically high rates of maternal mortality. Out of every seven children, one will not make it past their 5th birthday. And this is the issue here.

In addition to the conflict that is resurgent along that disputed border line between North and South, there are also the challenges inherent to the fact that North and South Sudan have been at war mostly on southern Sudanese territory for the better part of the last half a century, Kristie. So, moving forward, you have a country that talks about its annual budget currently being at about $1.5 billion, telling us that they need to raise at least $500 billion over the next five years just to meet their infrastructure needs.

So there's a lot of concern that South Sudan and the southern Sudanese government could perhaps be setting themselves up to fail -- Kristie.

STOUT: The ongoing violence you mentioned just now at the border between North and South, it has created a refugee crisis. It has forced thousands of people to flee.

Now, when the new borders go into place on July the 9th, what will happen to these people?

ELBAGIR: Well, we've just been hearing that, actually, what will happen post-independence is -- what is being negotiated at the moment is a demilitarized zone along that area. There has now been a U.N. Security Council resolution that has been agreed to bring in Ethiopian peacekeepers to push out both sides that have been mobilizing their forces, both the North and the South of Sudan, in that disputed border region of Abyei, where a lot of the displacement we've been seeing that you mentioned coming into the South is from.

But then, you know, that is another concern that, really, is this just a divorce in name only? If you haven't managed to even draw the borderlines between your two countries, let alone split assets -- we've been in Juba for the last week, and we've been seeing these incredibly long fuel feuds. Oil is actually a resource of the south, but because of the way the infrastructure has not been built up here, it needs to go north and then come south, which really is -- it doesn't bode well for the attempts to bring in the crucial investment that southern Sudan is going to need, Kristie.

But today, this is what we've been hearing from everyone that we've been speaking to -- give us today and give us tomorrow to celebrate. And then the day after, we're going to go about the business of creating a state.

STOUT: Yes. This is what I found remarkable. I mean, given so many challenges -- you mentioned some of them just now -- the violence, the refugee crisis, the infrastructure need -- the mood there, is it still hopeful? Are people excited about what is going to happen in the days ahead, about the independence?

ELBAGIR: People are incredibly excited. They really do feel like this is a coming of age. That, for so many years, because of the oppression that they say they felt at the hands of the North, because the sense that they felt that they were not given access to equal opportunities, they weren't given access to development resources, that they weren't first-class citizens, as they say, in their own country, now this will be their country.

Yesterday, we were speaking to the minister of health, and I think he put it very succinctly. He managed to really contextualize what a lot of people have been saying here. "We know it's going to be hard. We know there will be challenges. But they will be our challenges" -- Kristie.

STOUT: Incredible.

Nima Elbagir, joining us live from Juba.

Thank you very much for being there covering this story, and for giving us this update.

Now, the advent of the world's 196th independent country, it will bring the biggest change in Africa closest to home.

Now, Sudan, to the north, will still be called Sudan, but it will no longer share borders with Uganda, Kenya, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now, Sudan will also cease to be the continent's largest country by land mass. That title will now go to Algeria.

Now, in Egypt, protesters have been pouring into Tahrir Square. They say that reforms are not happening fast enough. And as the demonstrations swell, we'll be going there live.

That, up next, right here on NEWS STREAM.


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

Now, in Egypt, tens of thousands are pouring into Cairo's Tahrir Square after Friday prayers. Demonstrators are angry about the slow pace of reform since Hosni Mubarak was pushed out of power. Recent anti-government demonstrations have turned into violent clashes. Last week, armed men attacked protesters there in Tahrir Square.

Some groups protesting on Friday say that they will stay for 18 days since that is how long the revolution lasted.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Cairo, where he's watching the protests grow. He joins us now live.

And Fred, how many people are there in the square? And what is the level of anger there?


Yes. I mean, there are at least tens of thousands of people here in Tahrir Square. All of this started very, very early in the morning here, where around 8:00 a.m. Cairo time, you already had about 2,000 people on Tahrir Square. And as you said, a lot of them say that they are in it for the long haul.

We talked to one of the organizers of the protests who said that they will stay until their "demands are met," was the exact quote. And of course that list of demands is very long, as you said.

The anger here is at a very high level, with many people saying that the momentum of the revolution is not where people wanted to see. And one of the big issues that people have is that they believe that the current military council and the current government here in Egypt is not doing enough to prosecute former officials of the Mubarak regime, and also police officers who, in the days of the revolution, in some cases, shot and killed protesters.

It was a very big demonstration and clashes in the town of Suez, just two days ago, when people there got a verdict where police officers who were on trial were let out on bail who were accused of killing protesters. So that's one of the many list of demands. There are others.

I want you to listen in to some of the people who we were able to speak to on Tahrir Square and some of the frustrations they have with the pace of the revolution.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here to support the first revolution. You know? There's some sort of betraying or deviating from the right course of the revolution. That's why we are here to highlight our aims, our goals, why we carried on the revolution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here today to prove that there is no democracy. And we haven't got out of surgery (ph) yet. Just, I think, is regrettable for us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): To us, it feels like Mubarak is still there. He might not be the president, but very little has changed. It is still like a dictatorship. There is no freedom.


PLEITGEN: And so that's one of the things, what that last lady there said. That is really on many people's minds.

Many people feel that not much has changed since the Mubarak government fell. Many people, of course, saying that a lot of those who are in the military council of course worked very closely with the Mubarak government for so many years. And they feel that the military council is probably dragging its feet, especially prosecuting a lot of the people who used to be in the Mubarak government. Of course, Mubarak, himself, as well.

And if you looked at Tahrir Square, down there right now, you can see among those many, many people, there's also a lot of tents, which gives the indication a lot of people here are in it for the long haul, are willing to stay at least several days, and are very, very angry at this point in time -- Kristie.

STOUT: Fred, it's clearly quite a scene behind you. Anger has returned to Tahrir Square.

Fred Pleitgen, joining us live from the Egyptian capital.

Now, just ahead here on NEWS STREAM, we'll be live at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew of Atlantis is getting ready for the last flight of the U.S. space shuttle program. That is if weather holds out.

You're looking at live pictures there. Preparations under way.

You're watching NEWS STREAM.


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

Now it is believed the former communications director for British Prime Minister David Cameron has been arrested in connection with the phone hacking scandal rocking News International. Now police would only confirm a 43 year old man is in custody. Andy Coulson was editor at News of the World when people working for the paper hacked into private phone messages. News International has said it is shutting down the paper.

Now Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh has spoken on TV for the first time since he was wounded in a bomb attack last month. The state's message to the Yemeni people, he did not say when he would return from Saudi Arabia where he is currently undergoing medical treatment, but he did say he will not step down.

United Nations security council is expected to vote on a resolution on Friday to send some 7,000 peacekeepers to South Sudan. The new country is splitting from Sudan on Saturday after voting for independence earlier this year. Now U.S. diplomats say the Sudanese government in Khartoum wants UN peacekeepers out of the disputed state of South Kordofan as well as other areas.

And you're looking at live pictures here on your screen as NASA prepares to launch the final mission of the 30 year old U.S. space shuttle program. Now liftoff of Atlantis is scheduled in three hours time, but it could be delayed by stormy weather conditions around the launchpad in Florida.

So let's get straight to the Kennedy Space Center now. John Zarrella has attended around 75 launches and he is eagerly awaiting this one. And John, the weather and yesterday's lightning strike, how is all that affecting the scheduled launch today?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, NASA is pressing ahead. They really think they have a shot at this. They decided about, oh, about an hour ago that they had a good enough shot to get off, that they were going to continue on, which meant that the astronauts, they headed out to the Launchpad. They came down from the checkout building, got inside the astronaut van, and made their way out to launchpad 39a where the shuttle Atlantis is waiting on them.

And the vehicle is in good shape. There are no issues with Atlantis.

And right now the astronauts are on board. The last of the astronauts, Rex Walheim, mission specialist, is getting ready now to get in the vehicle. Again, there are only flying four astronauts on this flight. Usually they fly seven, only four on this final flight.

The commander, Chris Ferguson. He's already on board. Pilot Doug Hurley already on board as well as the mission specialist Sandy Magneson. The last one to get on, again, will be Rex Walheim.

So they're proceeding on as if they're going to go. And what's going to happen now is, it's going to be a real-time call. We may not know until just minutes before the scheduled launch time whether they will actually be able to get off the ground. Just looking for a hole in the clouds, a little bit of good weather and good fortune in order to get Atlantis off the ground -- Kristie.

STOUT: You know, John, we've been looking at these live pictures of the Astronauts and the NASA crew onboard Atlantis. We are still three hours from the planned launch time, do you have any idea of what's happening right now? What kind of preparations they're undergoing?

ZARRELLA: Well, right now the bottom line is the crew is suiting up, or is suited up and they are getting on board. The hatch will close in about 30 minutes or so. And they will be then inside, they'll be going through their final communications checks, vehicle checkouts. And the weather team on the ground here and over at the Canaveral Air Force Station will be very carefully monitoring the weather as well as all of the other people involved, monitoring the different systems on board the vehicle, making sure there are no problems. So that will be what will transpire from now on up until launch time.

But what they're going to be watching the most closely, is of course, the weather because that's he concern.

The vehicle appears to be in perfect shape. No issues as far as hardware or software are concerned with the shuttle itself.

STOUT: You know, we still don't know if this launch is going to be a go or a no go. But if today's launch is scrubbed with will be the next window of opportunity?

ZARRELLA: Well, now that they have gone ahead and the astronauts have gone out to the launchpad and have gotten onboard, now the turnaround time will be Sunday. Now, they could come back and say, well, we think we can still go tomorrow. But generally speaking whenever they do this, whenever the crew goes out to the pad, gets on the vehicle, and because of the nature of the timing of this mission, they've got all these workers in here, they've got to turn everybody around again. They like to stand down and go and take one day off, give everybody a rest, come back Sunday.

Now, if they think their better weather opportunity is going to be tomorrow as opposed to Sunday, they might go ahead, even if they scrub at the 11th hour, they might still go ahead and say, look, we're going to try and go tomorrow.

But generally speaking they'd stand down and wait until Sunday.

STOUT: All right. John Zarrella joining us live from Kennedy Space Center, thank you very much for that. Take care, John.

Now NASA's space shuttles have carried humans into space for decades, but they've also vaulted some unusual stowaways into the outer limits. For example, snails. NASA studied snails to find out how inner ears adjust in space. It was easier than using mammals, because snails are more practical space travelers.

Now who else made the journey to space? Mice. Now they were studied so that scientists could look into sleep patterns. Now the mice, they had mesh cages to give them a better grip. And they also had special pressurized water feeders. You can see them here getting very hygienic welcome home.

Now the Shuttle Endeavor also took this onboard. This was a female frog taken to space in 1992. It was a study on the effects of amphibian fertilization in microgravity.

Now astronauts have also taken tadpoles into space. And it turns out that tadpoles, they swim in loops up in orbit instead of in straight lines.

Now in 1984, NASA showed a little bit of moxie with their pet companies. The Challenger crew took honey bees up in their shuttle, a dicey move in the name of science.

Now turning to business news for a minute and the eagerly awaited June jobs report is out. The U.S. economy added only 18,000 jobs in June -- 18,000, that's it. That is far fewer than economists expected. The unemployment rate also rose and stands at 9.2 percent.

Now we will have complete market reaction to that jobs report on World Business Today. That starts in less than half an hour right here on CNN.

Now when South Sudan's independence becomes official on Saturday, the so-called lost boys of Sudan will also celebrate, many from afar. Now they were just children in the 1980's and early 90's when the violence of Sudan's civil war forced them to flee. Now many walked hundreds of kilometers to reach safety.

Now CNN's Anna Coren spoke with one survivor who shares his story.


BOL ABIAR, FORMER SUDAN "LOST BOY": I left Sudan in 1991, you know, the story is different. When something happened, people often run in different way, you know. I left with my family and my mom and my brothers and a sister. We flee to the point that we reach (inaudible) in Uganda, that's (inaudible).

After that, you know, we moved to Kenya. We lived in (inaudible).

And in 2007, we were united with our brother Daniel (inaudible) public education. And so that's how far I went today's point.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Before we get to you moving to the United States, tell me about what it was like living in that refugee camp. Did you ever have hope that your situation would change?

ABIAR: Well, (inaudible) today and tomorrow most of the time. It has been like that.

Well, and I was not ever a boy, you know, but at least god was there to (inaudible). But it was not everybody, you know, like Somali (ph) condition like (inaudible) things like that, but all in all it is god that can protect and (inaudible). And well obviously you're living a lie.

COREN: You moved to the United States -- Denver, Colorado, in 2007. And that is where you are speaking to us from today. Tell us about the work that you are involved in and how you feel about your country becoming a new nation.

ABIAR: Well, absolutely. I'm actually grateful on every -- it is like you know like getting a letter of (inaudible). And most of the time, you know, when you get that letter done you are happy, because it is a right that has been denied that we are finally got. At this point, you know, me and everybody we are happy there. We get our freedom that. And those years we have died have actually been rewarded, because we will get our independence in two days time.

So I'm happy, likewise, to everybody else.

COREN: Bol, tell us about the challenges that South Sudan faces. We know that it has been in war for decades, you know, two generations. So tell us about the obstacles ahead for this new nation.

ABIAR: Well, the challenges are more, you know, a birth of nation is like birth of a child. When a child is born it has to go through its changes to become a person like me, well in southern Sudan just get born, you know. Like in two days time, or even today, and still we have to learn how to speak, how to eat, how to work, and how to crawl.

It will take some time, but I'm positive that half is better than nothing so we have our land. We have that freedom, so we will be able to establish, you know, how to rule, and how to establish schools, hospitals and roads.

So it will take a time, but I'm hoping that we will be a good nation like the rest of the world in some time to come.

COREN: Bol, do you wish that you could be there to actually witness this historic moment?

ABIAR: Well, people always say the home is the best. Well, here I'm almost getting everything that I've always dreamed about. But, you know, home is the message is where I belong. And this moment I wish I could go back to Sudan. But I'm positive sometime I will go back there and live.


STOUT: Now join us this weekend on CNN as we bring you complete coverage of South Sudan's independence celebration and ceremonies.

Nima Elbagir will be live from what will be the world's newest country. That's Saturday right here on CNN.

Now still ahead on News Stream, we will go inside a massive police raid on a forced labor ring in Spain as part of CNN's Freedom Project Undercover.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now all week we've been featuring a new series Freedom Project Undercover. It's part of CNN's commitment to revealing the struggle against human trafficking through the eyes of the police. Now CNN has been given unprecedented access to the human trafficking unit of the police agency for Spain's Catalonia region.

Now yesterday, Martin Savage took us inside one of the unit's biggest cases, a massive forced labor operation. But now we find out what agents discovered when they moved in for the raid.


MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These officers of Mosses D'esquadra, the police agency for the Catalonia region of Spain, are preparing for their biggest raid ever. 900 officers are about to hit 80 Chinese textile factories with hundreds of suspected forced labor victims at the exact same time.

Getting to this point took three years and thousands of investigative hours, all documented in these case files.

XAVIER CORTES, SUB-INSPECTOR MOSSES D'ESQUADRA: My operation started because two Chinese citizens who had long been subjected to labor exploitation in sweatshops decided that their life situation had reached such an extreme point they had to leave and showed up in the police station to file a complaint.

SAVAGE: The complaint hit the desk of Sub-Inspector Xavier Cortes. And his undercover human trafficking unit started the complex process of building the case. For three years, agents monitored workshops, listened to phone taps, watched movement, some even going undercover to sweatshops posing as potential clients looking for cheap labor, all to connect just how many people were involved and how many victims were being forced to live and work in nightmare conditions.

Once a judge was satisfied with the evidence gathered, it was time to move in.

900 officers with Mosses D'Esquadra hit 80 workshops at the same time. They found dozens of workers in each shop crammed in together. 450 victims in all, brought over from China on tourist visas, then forced to work to pay off the cost of bringing them to Spain. They were sleeping, working, eating all in the same room.

CORTES: In some cases, the mattresses were placed in the middle of the machinery and they slept there. And the next morning they returned to work. And in some extreme habitats, they are shaped as if they were bunk beds with a false wall that was behind a cover.

SAVAGE: And yet as shocking as these conditions were, there would be another surprise. Investigators say the clothing labels were of popular brands, not counterfeit, but items found in major department stores throughout Europe and possibly beyond.

CORTES: What we have found is that the current companies perfectly legal outsource other entrepreneurs in charge of the clothing. These entrepreneurs sub-contracted to other entrepreneurs in China.

SAVAGE: Hundreds of clothing labels from small, local companies to multinational named brands sewn in the sweatshops for half the price and half the time.

Inspector Cortes says when his agents approached the department stores, they claimed they had no idea this was going on.

150 people were arrested, a raid so successful the trials are being conducted in three parts. First, for those accused of involvement of administrative duties, such as paying bills and renting workshop space. Then, the 100 or more people who face criminal charges for violating the rights of the works.

And on trial right now, what Inspector Cortes calls the snake head, the leader of the Chinese criminal organization whose accused of bringing the workers to Spain illegally. All have pleaded not guilty.

A huge coup for Mosses D'esquadra and the human trafficking unit.

CORTES: There are vital situations absolutely extreme that no one would want for themselves, nor their families, not their (inaudible), it has created an additional responsibility and gratification when you complete an investigation.

SAVAGE: But not one to rest on its laurels, the team is back at work ever vigilant for those trying to profit off the misery of others.

Martin Savage, CNN.


STOUT: And if you have missed any of our reporting this week or any week, you can now catch up with the special 30 minute program, it's called The CNN Freedom Project. It's Saturday night -- 9:00 in London, 10:00 in Berlin right here on CNN.

Now still ahead, they are teammates, but also rivals. Up next, Don Riddell meets McClaren's dynamic duo of Formula 1 world champs.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now just over 60 years ago, the British Grand Prix Silverstone essentially launched the Formula 1 world championship. And today's top teams are back there again this week as Alex Thomas can now tell us -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and a bit of a sort of history side to it, because although it's an annual event, it is very exciting always to come out to the British Grand Prix, a popular track with many of the drivers. A revamp circuit this year, millions of dollars plowed into updating the facilities at Silverstone.

Red Bulls driver and world champion Sebastian Vettel still the man to beat. But many of the home fans, you know, Kristie, will be secretly hoping that either of the McClaren drivers, Louis Hamilton or Jenson Button, can be victorious. And we sent our Don Riddell down to meet the pair earlier on this week.


DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Guys, we're looking ahead to the British Grand Prix. Is that an exciting race for you?

JENSON BUTTON, MCCLAREN DRIVER: It's a busy race isn't it?

LOUIS HAMILTON, MCCLAREN DRIVER: No, it's very special because you got the home crowd support. And I remember going there last year and just seeing a sea of rocket red caps, our team's cap, so.

BUTTON: It's a massively special grand prix for us. You know, when we go there, the support we have is just mindblowing. And it's kind of -- for me, it's very, very surreal. I went there years ago before I even got into Formula 1 and to think I go there now and I have the support that people like Damon Hill and David (inaudible) had back in the day, it's very special.

RIDDELL: It's great to have the support. Isn't it a bit of pressure as well? They're very demanding, the British fans, aren't they?

HAMILTON: Yeah, I know, but we are as well, you know. We want to do the best job we can, so I don't feel there's more pressure at the British Grand Prix than any of the rest. I mean, you probably want to do a little bit better, because it is your home grand prix, but I don't think there's any other pressure.

RIDDELL: You two are good mates. You're quite competitive as well, though. You've won the British Grand Prix. Is that sometime you remind Jenson of?

HAMILTON: No, I don't rub it in.

BUTTON: I know he has.

RIDDELL: He doesn't have to say it.

HAMILTON: No, no. We don't -- he doesn't rub his world championship in on me and vice versa. You know, Jenson has achieved a huge amount in his career way before I ever got there as well. So, of course, he's probably not had the car to have won the grand prix in the past, but his time will come. And I hope whenever the case, I'm there to back it up and vice versa.

RIDDELL: To fight for him.

One thing that really interests me about you guys is that you're really good mates, or at least you certainly seem to be good mates. And that doesn't apply to every team.

BUTTON: Yeah, he's already started, so I need to.

HAMILTON: Yeah, I'm really starting acting now. But it all started out with our relationship, you know, just the acting has been such an important part, this practice that we have to help him out...

BUTTON: I'm going to Bollywood, definitely.

HAMILTON: Don't know how he's going to -- I think he's going to have to paint his face a little bit.

RIDDELL: I think you'll fit right in.

But listen, you kind of put him out of the Montreal Grand Prix, didn't you? You're still mates after that?


BUTTON: Yeah, the good thing was that we had the break in between the two races, so.

HAMILTON: It was good for him, it wasn't good for me.

BUTTON: Yeah, I got to go upstairs and first of all just to say sorry didn't even know he was there.


THOMAS: Louis Hamilton and Jenson Button just displaying that delicate mix, Kristie, between being competitive and getting on with your teammate.

STOUT: Yeah, they seem to be friends to get on OK, but not all driving teams are so harmonious are they?

THOMAS: No, certainly not, because at the end of the day they've got two things to balance. Formula 1 is a slightly unique sport in that respect, you've got two world titles every season. One for the drivers, and one for the teams. So Louis Hamilton and Jenson Button have to win for each other. They are both former world champions and they would dearly love to be so again. But at the same time, they're trying to help their team, McClaren become the chief constructor for the season -- the best team for the season. So they need to cup their points together if you like.

And interestingly, both those two drivers have different heroes. I think Jenson Button's hero is Alain Prost, the Frenchman that was so big at the end of the 80s, early 90s and his great rival was Ayrton Senna who was Louis Hamilton's hero. It's why Louis has a yellow helmet, because it's what Ayrton Senna used to use.

Louis Hamilton knows all about not getting on with his teammate, though, because was paired with Spain's Fernando Alonzo, again a former world champion. They didn't get on at all. And that has led to Louis Hamilton being a bit of a hate figure back in Alonzo's home country of Spain, Kristie.

STOUT: All right, Alex Thomas joining us live from London with that. Thank you very much indeed Alex.

Now it's time to go over and out there, or should I say up there, because we're talking about the space shuttle program again.

Now Atlantis is set to take a four member crew in supplies in part to the International Space Station. It will also carry an iPhone into space. But previous shuttle missions have carried far more weird and wonderful cargo. Now fans of Star Wars, they celebrate the meeting of fact and fiction when a light saber flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Now the prop was in fact the light saber that was used by Luke Skywalker in George Lucas's Return of the Jedi. Its deep space flight helped to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars trilogy.

And "to infinity and beyond." Never had Buzz Lightyear's catch phrase been so appropriate. An action figure of the Disney Pixar character flew to the International Space Station in May 2008. The intrepid figurine spent 468 days on the orbiting outpost. And he starred in NASA's educational videos before hitching a ride back to Earth aboard Discovery.

And then you have this man, Gene Roddenberry. Now he was immortalized after his death thanks to the Shuttle Columbia. It flew home some of his ashes into space. Now I suppose it's only fitting since he created the sci-fi series Star Trek. The canister orbited in deep space 160 times before being returned home on the Columbia.

And finally we have to show you our favorite bit of space cargo: Lego. Now not this model, it belongs to my over protective producer, but Endeavor and Discovery have both taken Lego sets into orbit. I hope for their sakes that they didn't lose any of these smaller pieces in zero gravity.

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