CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NEWS STREAM

Rupert Murdoch Grilled by Parliament; Atlantis Returns to Earth for the Final Time; Food Shortage Grows Critical in Somalia; China's Godfather of Hacking

Aired July 21, 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.

The final touchdown: Atlantis arrived back on Earth, ending the U.S. space shuttle program.

Tens of thousands stream out of Somalia attempting to escape a growing hunger crisis.

And we introduce you to China's self-proclaimed godfather of hacking.

Welcome home Atlantis, and thanks for the ride. The U.S. space shuttle program has now come to a complete stop. Now the journey ended before dawn at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After touching down, Commander Chris Ferguson thanked the thousands of people who worked on the shuttle over the last 30 years. Now he was the last astronaut to exit Atlantis and he spoke just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS FERGUSON, ATLANTIS COMMANDER: You know flying in space is a real dream, but flying in space it has a lot more to do with who you do it with than what you do. And these three folks -- Rex, and Sandy, ad Doug, I'll tell you, a commander couldn't ask for three better people to go and perform an aggressive, and to a certain extent a historic mission. I mean, there was a...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STOUT: And let's look at some memorable images from Atlantis's final mission. It was the last shuttle to dock with the ISS. You can see a bit of the space station right here. And that eerie green glow from Earth that you see on the picture, that's the southern lights.

Now space station astronaut, Mike Fossum took this self portrait on the mission's only space walk. And that is the ISS reflected on his visor. And you can see his hands down here.

And Fossum said, "it was humbling to be one of the last two space walkers to work in a shuttle cargo bay.

And he wrote in a blog post, "someday you will tell your grandchildren about these amazing machines we used to have. We paid dearly in terms of sweat, blood, and money for what we have learned over the last decades. Our future may present us some challenges, but we press on because we must."

Now the Atlantis crew, they left behind this, an American flag. Now it flew on the STS1, the first ever shuttle flight. It will remain on the International Space Station until the next crew launched from the U.S. can bring it home.

Now it is unclear when that might happen. For now, the U.S. has no way to lift humans into space. NASA's flight controllers have worked their final shifts.

Ed Lavandera spent the morning at mission control in Houston, Texas. He joins us now.

And Ed, when Atlantis touched down, what was the mood there in mission control?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it was a fascinating place to be here this morning. It really is as you're sitting -- standing over mission control watching it. It is kind of an iconic scene as you watch the men and women who have been supporting the space shuttle mission for so many years work. And it really wasn't until about 45 minutes after the space shuttle had landed that all of the crew -- all of the officials there in that mission control room had gone through their final checklist that they needed to go through to make sure everything had landed smoothly and properly and was left in perfect condition for the Space Shuttle Atlantis, and that's when things started to get emotional.

The flight director, Tony Ceccaccci, spoke directly to all the people who worked in the room there in mission control, all the people who had supported these shuttle missions. This is what he told the folks here just a little while ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY CECCACCI, NASA ENTRY FLIGHT DIRECTOR: ...a privilege and honor to have worked with each one of you and had been part of this outstanding team of individuals so dedicated and passionate about the work they do. Each one of you should take great pride in the (inaudible) you know that you had good reason for the success of the space shuttle program.

30 years ago, the dream had just begun (inaudible). As Columbia's nose touched down and began Puddy's (ph) service team to prepare for deceleration, the shuttle (inaudible). It was a moment for the history books.

Today is also a moment in the history books. Those books will talk about the amazing work of the flight control teams over the past 30 years, the work done in this room and this building will never again be duplicated. I (inaudible) compliments toward the shuttle program will become the next set of shoulder of giants for the future programs to stand on.

Hold your heads up high with pride as we close out the space shuttle program. You have earned it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: And then after Tony Ceccacci, the flight director, had given that short speech to his staff there, his team there working this final shuttle landing, all of these NASA employees started filling up mission control. It was quite a scene. They brought in a cake in the shape of a Space Shuttle Atlantis. There were hugs, cheers, even a box of cigars that were brought in and passed around many of the folks who worked here in mission control. The emotion of this moment really setting in.

Remember, it's here in Houston where mission control is, where there are so many NASA employees. This is the city where the astronauts live, where they train. In fact, they'll be back here tomorrow afternoon to a heroes welcome -- Kristie.

STOUT: That's right, it's not just NASA, but Houston will be forever changed after this.

Let's talk about the future of NASA. This is the end of the space shuttle era, but is there a new era ahead for NASA?

LAVANDERA: You know as of now no one really knows what they will be. And they talk here in terms of this is a time of transition. And, you know, there's a lot of different ideas that have been floated around as to exactly what kind of direction the space program will head in.

But one thin is certain when you talk to the folks here that they value, they view that what their doing and the continued exploration of space is something that is vital and they will continue to argue and push for that.

So, even though the space shuttle program here is ending, when you talk to folks here who work at NASA, they hardly feel like their work is over. It might be the end of the space shuttle era, but they do not feel that this is the end of space exploration, it's just a question of how that will be reinvented and what it will look like in its next generation.

STOUT: You know, it's wonderful and heartening to hear that they have so much optimism. But you're thoughts on what will be the real local impact and the economic impact of the end of the shuttle and people living there in Texas. I mean, scores of people have been employed in shuttle operations. What's going to happen to them?

LAVANDERA: Well, immediately the people who will be most affected are contractors that work with NASA. You know, a great deal of the people that work in mission control, these final shuttle missions -- I believe the last number I heard was about 2,000 people would be losing their jobs. A lot of those, if not -- all of them I believe, will be contractors that are contracted out by NASA.

So the NASA community will still be very strong here in Houston. This is -- the grounds that we're at, this building behind me, is the building that houses mission control, but this is a vast campus with a lot of engineers, a lot of people who work in many different programs and many different ways to support the NASA mission.

STOUT: All right. Ed Lavandera joining us live from Houston. Thank you, Ed.

Now you may remember that Discovery was the first shuttle to make its final flight. Now Discovery will be sent to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. It could reportedly head there as soon as April.

Now Endeavor is destined for the California Science Center in Los Angeles. And the museum has to pay nearly $29 million for its relocation and preparation.

Now as for Atlantis, the most recently retired orbiter isn't going anywhere. It will get a permanent home at the Kennedy Space Center.

Now still ahead here on News Stream, dealing with the worst drought in decades. A low rainfall and widespread food shortages are crippling parts of eastern Africa. We'll take you there to see how people are coping.

Plus, after two years on the run it is finally life in prison for this Japanese man. And we will hear from his murder victim's family.

And it's all about hacking lately. We have seen how it can damage jobs and reputations, but could it also start a war?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Now to the severe drought in eastern African. Now desperate Somalis are dying on the roadside as they walk for weeks in search of food and water. The UN has declared a famine in parts of Somalia amid the worst drought there in 60 years.

Now back home in lower Shabelle, here in the south of the country are experiencing a famine for the first time in almost two decades. And the UN says that without international aid and quick, it could spread to the rest of the country within months.

Now according to the World Food Program, more than 11 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan are in desperate need of food. And in their desperation, many Somalis are leaving their homes behind in search of lifesaving food and water.

And many are heading here to Dadaab in eastern Kenya. Well, with more than 10,000 Somalis arriving every week, its camps are over flowing. In fact, Dadaab's camps are already at four times their intended capacity.

Our Ed McKenzie is there. And he joins me now live. And David, what kind of conditions are you seeing there at the camp?

David?

ED MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the conditions are terrible. If you look behind me, this is an extension of Epo Camp (ph). It's part of a developed complex. People here have been here for some days, in fact some weeks, and basically this is the kind of conditions that they are living in. And not just here, but all across the horn, people are in dire straits.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCKENZIE: Driving through bone dry northern Kenya, deep into Tucano. In the remote village of Kapua (ph) their angry. With the world focused on famine in Somalia, they want to tell their stories.

Outside of the media glare, people like Alice Kordette (ph) are barely surviving. She lost all her livestock months ago through the drought. A proud nomadic herder her whole life, now she depends on food aid.

"This is the worst year that I've ever seen," she says. "There's been no rain. And because of that, no water. And animals have all died. Now there's no food."

It's so bad, she must feed Emanuel (ph) wild fruit and dirty water, which makes him sick. He was born with a twin sister, Miriam (ph). She died in May.

"I'm doubly cursed," says Alice, "because I gave birth to twins during a drought. And Miriam (ph) died because of it. She died of hunger."

The world has focused on this drought on the horn of Africa, but here in northern Kenya it's part of a downward spiral. The rains are becoming less frequently, the droughts more often. This is a chronic emergency.

Tony Lake, the head of UNICEF, says we need to focus on the big picture.

ANTHONY LAKE, UNICEF: While there are a lot of lives that are endangered here, there's also a way of life that endangered here as well. And it's a damn shame.

MCKENZIE: But it seem like to me that this is an extremely vulnerable population when compared, say, with the world's population. How would you assess the posture of the horn of Africa?

LAKE: This is the most fragile situation I've seen anywhere.

MCKENZIE: The dry season will last here for several more months at least. The longer-term view is also grim. The people of Tucana are asking one thing, don't forget them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCKENZIE: Well, Kristie, it's important to remember that this is a crisis of the region, not just of Somalia. The 11 million, that number that's been thrown around a lot, doesn't just -- isn't contained in Somalia, that's the whole region -- Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, and northern Kenya.

But I can tell you right now this place is absolutely awful. The wind is blasting through. The dust is just in your eyes. And, you know, we've just been here a few hours. I cannot imagine what it's like for people to move into these ramshackle huts that they've tried to construct here.

It's just a very terrible humanitarian situation that needs help now.

STOUT: yeah, ramshackle huts inside the world's largest refugee camp where you are there. And you're saying that tens of thousands of people are waiting outside the camp just to get in. So what are the United Nations and other aid groups doing to help them?

MCKENZIE: Well, Kristie, I don't know if you can hear me, there's a dust storm coming through. But yes, the United Nations are trying to push for this camp, the Epo (ph) extension, which is just down in that direction. It has latrines. It has a hospital. It's ready for people to move in to there, but there's been ongoing wranglings with the Kenyan government for some years now, in fact. They say that they have security concerns about opening that camp, which is some distance behind me.

But essentially the people here that we're speaking to -- you know, even the guy here holding the light. They want people to try and get in, move into those camps, have some kind of dignity as USAID puts it.

But certainly, the main thing to bear in mind here is accessing Somalia right now. The aid groups have to get into Somalia, to get into those al-Shabab controlled areas that the militant group controlling parts of southern Somalia where the drought is centered. And if they do that, they might mitigate this crisis.

But as you saw in the piece and the comments from Tony Lake, head of UNICEF, this is a big picture issue. The crisis will pass at some point, hopefully if the right thing is done, but in the coming months and years we need to figure out how to solve the problems caused by climate change, high food prices, and sporadic rain that is just affecting the horn and other parts of the globe.

STOUT: That's right, the need there in Dadaab and across eastern Africa just so massive. Thank you so much, David McKenzie, for being there and sharing this story with us and around the world. David McKenzie there live in Dadaab.

And for much more on the devastating situation in eastern Africa, check out our Impact Your World site at CNN.com/impact. You will find a lot of information there as well as ways you can take action and make a difference.

Now and we just saw and heard just that desperate situation in eastern Africa, let's get more details with Mari Ramos at the world weather center. Mari, don't know if you had a chance to catch it just then, but we saw quite clearly, the dust storm across the camera, across David McKenzie as he was reporting, those are the type of conditions that brought about the famine that we're seeing today.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, you know, for the UN to declare a famine, you have to have at least 20 percent of the population without any access to food and water, which is an essential item. When you have a drought situation like this that is affecting such a widespread area, water is a critical thing.

And I want to go ahead and show you right over here in our Google Earth map that it's not only Somalia that's been affected. That's the worst hit area, but the drought affects other areas across the region, other countries -- Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and even as we head over into Sudan we're seeing some serious problems there with this drought situation.

I want to kind of give you a time line of how this developed for Somalia in particular, though. This huge drought of 2010-2011. Let's go ahead and start in September, that's when the short rainy season begins. It's called the dire, that's what the short rainy season is called. And this year -- or I should say last year, it was one of the driest on record. And that brought on a whole slew of problems. It was the second year in a row that they had not only a poor harvest, but also poor livestock production.

A lot of the people here have livestock that they grow for food, for money, and for milk. And that brought a food shortage already all the way back last year.

Then as we head into the new year, that's when we have the long dry season. And this is a very concerning time. They also call it the lean season, because there's usually food shortages around this time.

Well, with what was happening already with the crop failures that we were starting to see the year before, and then again as we headed into January and through March, that problem just became more as we started to see those massive migrations of people going into refugee camps like the one David was just reporting from there in Kenya.

Then we head now into March and June, that's when the rainy season is supposed to begin again. This is a longer rainy season. And it's called the goo (ph). Well, they had a late start to this rainy season. And in some cases, they had less than 30 percent of the rainfall that they normally get. Not only was the rain sporadic, it was very erratic according to the UN. So many areas didn't get any rainfall at all. So that made the situation even worse.

And then finally, remember I told you about the livestock? Well, whatever livestock people had, in some cases the death of the livestock was more than half. So half of their livestock was already dying, that's how we end up now.

As we head now through the rest of this rainy season, we're actually expecting the rainfall to be pretty normal as we head across Somalia and even into some parts over here of southern Ethiopia, northern Kenya and Uganda. We're expecting slightly above average rainfall as we head through the next few months. And that's good news there when it comes to the drought situation and food crisis that is ongoing.

But in Somalia proper, the UN is saying that even though we're expecting average rainfall, the July harvest is expected to be less than 50 percent. And that has to do a lot with not only the rainfall, Kristie, but also because so many people have moved, the displacement may -- there's nobody to cultivate these crops anymore. There's less pasture. And of course you still have all of the livestock that died, so there's less births for livestock and less milk available for people.

So unfortunately it's a very serious situation.

Kristie, back to you.

STOUT: All right, Mari Ramos there. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now in Japan, there is finally a bit of justice for the family of Lindsay Hawker, the young British woman who was raped and murdered there in 2007. Now Kyung Lah reports on the case that has rattled the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Holding up pictures of their murdered daughter, Lindsay Hawker's parents called the verdict the end of their years' long nightmare.

BILL HAWKER, LINDSAY HAWKER'S FATHER: We've waited a long time for today. We've waiting four-and-a-half years to get justice for Lindsay. And we have achieved that today. And we're very pleased.

LAH: The sentence: life behind bars for Tatsuya Ichihashi for the rape and murder of the 22-year-old British woman. The crime captivated Japan from the beginning, a young foreigner who came to the country to teach English. Hawker ran into Ichihashi, who was seen with her in this surveillance video at a Chiba area coffee shop in March 2007.

Prosecutors say she gave him one English lesson in the cafe that day, then went to Ichihashi's apartment to be paid. Police later found her naked body on Ichihashi's balcony in a bathtub buried in soil.

For two-and-a-half years, Ichihashi was on the run, slicing his own lower lip with scissors and cutting off two moles to alter his face. He took construction jobs to pay for more plastic surgery. But wanted posters plastered across the country showing his possible altered appearance led to a sighting. And police caught him in November 2009, ending the highly publicized nationwide manhunt.

At the sentencing and verdict, hundreds of spectators lined up around the Chiba district courthouse.

"This crime shook Japan to the core," says this court spectator. He adds, "this is unforgivable."

Inside the courtroom, Ichihashi was motionless and unemotional as the judge read his verdict and the sentence, life behind bars. Seated nearby, Hawker's parents, the suppressed sobs.

HAWKER: Thank you, jury.

LAH: Then to the media, Hawker's parents and two sisters thank the country for not giving up on the manhunt.

HAWKER: Lindsay loved Japan and you have not let her down. Thank you.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Chiba, Japan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now ahead here on News Stream, through the eyes of a hacker. Now China's self-proclaimed godfather of hacking introduces us to the underside of the cyber world next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you are back watching News Stream.

And with so much attention on hacking lately, some are concerned about the damage it is doing in cyberspace and the impact on relations between China and the United States. Now Eunice Yoon gets insights from one of China's top hackers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Behind closed doors, many suspect a war is brewing between America and China, with the battle lines drawn in cyberspace. Yuan Tao trains the next generation of warriors as the self-described godfather of this country's hacker world.

A decade ago, Yuan, code-named Eagle, says he hacked and shut down the White House web site, one of his casualties he says, during that era's U.S.-China cyber wars.

"It was a way to make our voices heard," he says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where we have friends.

YOON: Oh, this is where you have friends. Hacker friends.

These days it seems everyone is hacking, yet Chinese hackers have been blamed for high profile attacks, targeting governments, financial institutions, and Fortune 500 companies like Google. Yuan says he doesn't know anyone who was involved in those attacks. And in fact there's no evidence any were launched from China.

But he and other IT specialists here understand what motivates many Chinese hackers, a key driver they say, growing pride in China.

ANDY MOK, CYBER SPECIALIST: One motivation for Chinese hackers is nationalism. And where they identify with China as a country and a government whereas most American hackers might actually have a negative bias towards quote, unquote patriotic causes.

YOON: Yuan has done his share of nationalist hacking. During his hay days, he used technologies to identify weaknesses on web sites and computers before infecting systems with a virus or trojan horse.

Did you ever feel bad about it?

"You feel like you are the freest person and you have the power," he says, "to change the world."

Many experts believe that China's hackers are some of the most sophisticated in the world, but the government here says that it's cracking down on their illegal activities with a contingent of cyber police.

The government have vehemently denied it's behind any cyber attacks and says it's unfairly singled out by its critics.

MOK: It then plays into this larger narrative, based in the U.S., of the China threat -- you know China posing an economic, you know perhaps a longer-term military threat.

YOON: Yuan now works at an IT company in Beijing's version of Silicon Valley.

"The government didn't support us," he says. "But," he says, "it didn't, and couldn't stop them either."

Eunice Yoon, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now Yuan maybe a godfather figure online in China, but he is certainly not alone. There are several types of hackers in China. And people differentiate them with colors. Black hackers refer to computer experts who use their skills to find holes in networks for people to fix. They do not attack networks to steal data, just to expose security flaws.

Then you have gray hackers, or hei kung (ph), are people who do actively attack and invade. And they act with malicious intent to destroy networks and to steal information.

Red hackers, or hong kur (ph), refer to Chinese hackers who use their skills for patriotic reasons. Their goal is to strengthen and defend domestic network safety or attack anyone they see as China's enemy. Now hong kur (ph), they first emerged in May 1999 after a NATO attack hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. In response to that attack, the group declared war on several U.S. government web sites.

And finally, there are the white hackers, bi kur (ph), and they are hackers who no longer hack. Instead, they usually pursue a legitimate career in computer safety.

So there you have it, an overview of Chinese hackers by color codes.

Now still ahead here on news Stream, the U.S. will never fly another space shuttle, that doesn't mean NASA is done exploring. We'll examine the future of space flight as we honor the end of an era.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: This is CNN, the world's news leader. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

Now the investigation into illegal phone hacking continues to grow in the UK. The now defunct News of the World has been at the center of the probe, but the British information commissioner's office tells CNN that police are now scrutinizing other newspapers as well. They've also increased their investigation team by 15 officers to a total of 60.

And it is life in prison for 32-year-old Tatuya Ichihashi, the Japanese man who admitted to raping and strangling a British woman in Japan, after dodging police for two years has been found guilty and sentenced. Now Lindsay Hawker's body was discovered in March 2007 battered, naked, and buried in sand in a bathtub at Ichihashi's apartment. Now Ichihashi went to extraordinary lengths to avoid arrest, even altering his face through plastic surgery.

Somalia's president is making an urgent appeal for international aid in an exclusive interview with CNN. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed warned the situation is very severe. Half the country's population is affected by the famine. Many Somalis fleeing to refugee camps in Kenya.

The Shuttle Atlantis landed at Florida's Kennedy Space Center before dawn today, bringing down the curtain of NASA's 30 years shuttle program. Atlantis lifted off on its final mission on July 8th and returned to windless, clear skies. Now the end of the shuttle program leaves the U.S. without any vehicles to carry humans into space.

And this was a sentimental journey for the U.S. space agency. Our John Zarrella filed this report from Kennedy Space Center.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The 135th and final space shuttle flight coming to an end in the pre-dawn hours here at the Kennedy Space Center. Just before sunlight, the Shuttle Atlantis, commanded by Christopher Ferguson, coming in in a perfect landing here at the shuttle landing facility. And as wheels touched down and then Ferguson brought the vehicle to wheel stop, he had some poignant words on the end of an era.

FERGUSON: Flying in space is a real dream, but flying in space it has a lot more to do with who you do it with than what you do. And these three folks, Rex, and Sandy, and Doug, I'll tell you, a commander couldn't ask for three better people to go and perform an aggressive, and to a certain extent, historic mission.

ZARRELLA: It took about an hour-and-a-half for the astronauts to get off of the orbiter, but as soon as they did, they were greeted by members of the NASA family, administrator Charlie Bolden meeting them, the launch director, Mike Leinbach (ph) also meeting them. And then Commander Ferguson went to the microphone and talked about what an extraordinary journey it has been, this shuttle program, and how he was now looking toward the future.

FERGUSON: We're going to put Atlantis in a museum now along with the other three orbiters for generations that will come after us to admire and appreciate. And hopefully I want that picture of a young 6 year old boy looking up at a space shuttle in a museum and say, you know, daddy I want to do something like that when I grow up. Or I want our country to do fantastic things like this for the continued future.

And if we set those steps right now and they continue with that next generation of space explorers, then I consider our job here complete.

ZARRELLA: Atlantis will be towed from the runway over to what's known as the orbiter processing facility where thousands of shuttle workers will be allowed to go out and look at the vehicle one more time up close.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now let's bring in a former NASA astronaut now. Leroy Chiao flew on four space missions. He is now vice president of a company working on private space flight. Leroy, welcome to News Stream. And first, you've got to tell me your reaction on a gut level, on a human level, how did you feel when Atlantis touched down earlier today?

LEROY CHIAO, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, it was definitely a bittersweet moment. You know, I came in to NASA in 1990 right in the beginning of the heart of the age of shuttle operations and flew three of my four space missions on shuttles. And so watching Atlantis touch down and watching the wheels stop for the last time in the program you know brought a tear to my eye.

STOUT: And you were a member of the Augustine committee which ultimately decided to end the U.S. space shuttle program. So what was your thinking during that process?

CHIAO: Well, actually the Augustine committee was charged with coming up with options for the new administration. We didn't make any recommendations. And one of the option paths took the shuttle -- kept the shuttle flying at a low rate. Unfortunately, that was not part of the new space policy that was rolled out last year, so we didn't actually make that decision.

But it was difficult for me to see that the shuttle was going to come to an end and that we, in fact, are going to have this gap as we call it, at least five or more years during which time we will, the American astronauts, will have to fly to the space station with the Russians. And we will have no capability of our own, the United States that is, on launching our own astronauts.

STOUT: Now you retired from NASA in 2005, but are now working with a private company involved in commercial spacecraft, It's called the Excalibur Almaz project. I believe you still have me on the line. Tell me about your work in that private sector.

CHIAO: Yeah, I work for a small company called Excalibur Almaz. And we are trying to bring private commercial spaceflight into a reality, including human space flight. And so we've been working with the Russians. And we've been -- it's really an international effort. And we've been talking to NASA. We're expecting to get an unfunded space act agreement with NASA pretty soon. And we're in continued discussions. And we will try to work with NASA in the future. We hope to be able to be part of the effort, the commercial effort, that is to be transporting cargo and humans to the International Space Station.

STOUT: And when will the private sector be able to fly a manned vehicle into space? Can you give us a time frame?

CHIAO: Well, that's an open question. You know, the estimates from some of the companies are sooner rather than later. Maybe three or four years. But personally I think it's going to be a little bit longer, just having been in the business for awhile and knowing that you can't always expect the most optimistic schedule to work out. So I'm going to guess personally around five or so years before we see the first commercial human spaceflight capability.

STOUT: And where should we go next? The moon? Mars? Deep Space? An asteroid? What do you think should be our priority?

CHIAO: Well, part of what we did on the Augustine committee was address questions like that. And part of the reason we put forward options to turn over the taxi service, if you will, from the service of the Earth to the International Space Station to the commercial sector is we said, look, the technology has been around for a long time. We've been sending astronauts to space for 50 years. And it's time to give the commercial guys a chance to succeed and then NASA can focus resources on beyond low Earth orbit exploration.

To that end, the United States is still building what was called the Orion spacecraft. It's now been renamed the multipurpose crew vehicle. But the purpose of that vehicle is going to be to explore farther beyond low Earth orbit.

The exploration plan that was rolled out in the space policy is called the flexible path option. And what that is, it's a matter of building up infrastructure and hardware and capabilities to go out sustainably, explore sustainably farther and farther to places like you mentioned, like a near Earth object like an asteroid, going back to the moon the test hardware and operations construction techniques. And then eventually venturing out to Mars and the moons of Mars and finally the surface of Mars itself.

We did not set a date of when we're going to be able to get to Mars. The idea being that we didn't want to just focus on getting there maybe once, take a picture of a flag and boot prints on the moon -- or on Mars, and then never go back. So the idea was to build up sustainably an exploration program that goes beyond low Earth Orbit.

STOUT: Now you flew four space missions. Did your -- this is a personal question -- did your experience in space fundamentally change you? Did it change you for the better?

CHIAO: Well, I think nobody can fly into space and not be altered or changed or affected in some way. And I think it affected individuals differently. In my case, it definitely did affect me. And I think it made me think about what was really important about life.

Looking down at the Earth, the colors are really bright and vivid. And it's amazing to fly over areas of the earth. I mean, everything looks very peaceful and nice. But of course, intellectually I knew that as we flew over certain areas of the Earth that there was war going on, strife, hunger, and famine. And people were dying just right at the moments when we were flying over.

So it was difficult to kind of resolve that in my own head. And it made me appreciate life a lot more. And it made me kind of a bigger picture person. You know, I used to be bothered by a lot of small things. And now those things really don't bother me at all.

STOUT: A perspective changing, a life changing experience.

Leroy Chiao, otherwise known on Twitter as AstroDude, thank you so much for joining us here on News Stream and take care.

Now whenever the next NASA vehicle gets off the ground, now the mission will likely include a crew patch like these. Now this is a tradition that dates back to the Gemini program. And these are the emblems for the last mission of each shuttle -- Columbia, which exploded shortly before landing in 2003. This one is for Challenger.

Now an apple, you can see it right here, that was placed next to school teacher Christa McAuliffe's name. Now many people, including myself, still vividly remember where we were 25 years ago when Challenger exploded seconds after launch.

And these three patches right here, they are the final emblems of the remaining shuttles. You've got Discovery, Endeavor, and of course Atlantis.

And the last one, right here, it commemorates the entire shuttle program.

Now NASA chose the design through a contest for employees. And the seven stars on each side of the patch represent the 14 astronauts that were lost on Columbia and Challenger.

Now one company is crowd sourcing its tribute to the reusable rocket ship. Now there are four days left in the threadless challenge. It has received dozens of designs for the theme Final Frontier. And they range from funny to geeky and to what's also being called astronaughty.

Now the winner of the contest will get a patch just like the ones we showed you, the ones right here that is flown in space.

Now it's time for a look at the sport headlines. And the final of the Copa America has been set. Pedro Pinto joins us now with that and more -- Pedro.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I do, Kristie. Paraguay joins Uruguay in the title match of South America's top football competition. What's curious is that the Paraguayans have not won a single game at the Copa. They drew all of their three group matches and have now advanced past the quarterfinals and semi-finals on penalty shootout.

The Paraguayans rolled their luck against Venezuela in Mandoza on Wednesday night. They were very fortunate to come out on top against a team that had never made it this far in the tournament. Venezuela hit the woodwork not once, not twice, but three times. Alejandro Moreno's header coming off the crossbar in the first half. It was nil-nil after 90 minutes.

And in extra time it was Rincon who was denied by the post.

And then later, off a free kick, Juan Arango hit the upright as well before Paraguay finally clears their lines.

Now bad luck for Venezuela who then have their hearts broken in the penalty shootout. Justo Villar with a big save on Franklin Lucena. That set up Dario Veron for the decisive penalty and he made no mistake. The defender beats Renny Vega to send Paraguay to the final of the Copa America for the first time since 1979. And like I mentioned earlier, they will now take on Uruguay in Buenas Aires on Sunday.

Now because of the Copa America, many top European clubs have been preparing for the new season without many of their South American stars. That hasn't seemed to bother Real Madrid at all. They won again on their tour of the United States. Then again it does help when you have Christiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star hits a hat trick for Real as they beat Chivas of Guadalajara in their preseason friendly in San Diego, California.

He sent out a warning sign in the first half. His shot after being put through my Mesut Ozil hit the side netting.

But Ronaldo who set a new scoring record in the Spanish league last season got his bearings right in the second half, converts from close range after a pass from Karim Benzema. Knocks that into the back of the net.

He made it 2-nil from the penalty spot after had been brought down.

He wasn't done yet. The Portuguese star finished off his half with a blast into the lower right hand corner of the net. If you're counting, that was three goals in just 9 minutes.

Real Madrid easily beating Chivas of Guadalajara 3-nil.

We're making one final stop at the Tour de France where riders faced the first of three poll days in the Alps on Wednesday. Overall leader Thomas Voekler spent most of the 17th stage from Gap to Pinerolo in Italy at the front of the peloton. Older Alberto Contador lost some time when he was caught right behind an accident on a descent. He did avoid any kind of trouble, though.

Sylvain Chavenel lead a breakaway, but he was caught by Edvald Boassen Hagen. The Norwegian then powered past the Frechman and secured his second victory in a stage at the series tour. Behind Contador tried to make up some time, went hard on the descent to finish strongly and gained some seconds on Voekler. Although, the Frenchman still holds on to the yellow jersey.

And today's stage is happening right now. We'll have an update for you on the next addition of world sport.

That is all for now. Back to you in Hong Kong, Kristie.

STOUT: Pedro, thank you. And ahead here on News Stream, the situation in Syria seems to grow more complex by the day. Now activists are refusing to back down despite what they say is a continuing government crackdown. And now the Syrian government finds itself in unfamiliar territory. We'll explain next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now there seems to be no end in sight to the month's long conflict that is rocking Syria. Now tens of thousands of protesters continue to pour into the streets. And the government crackdown has not quelled their anger. Arwa Damon talked to one activist.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lela (ph) did not shoot this video, but she claimed she was present when this all unfolded. Taking cover, risking her life, to observe it firsthand, she says, violations by the Syrian regime.

It was far from the first time this 30-something year old human rights activist and lawyer witnessed such horror.

You went to 20, 25 different demonstrations -- at least -- in different parts of Damascus and the suburbs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the suburbs and outside of Damascus also.

DAMON: How many of those demonstrations that you went to did you see this happening at, did you see security forces shooting at the demonstrators?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the time. Every time.

DAMON: She also visits wounded demonstrators, documenting their stories. Sharing the details, she says, will put their lives in danger.

Lela (ph) is not her real name. She, too, is a target and was once detained for 48 hours. But remains relentless. And along with tens of thousands of others as posing an unprecedented challenge to the Syrian regime. For the first time in 50 years, the old method of militarily putting down, or buying off opposing voices isn't working says base political analyst Rami Khouri.

RAMI KHOURI, POLITICAL ANALYST: So there's a kind of slightly schizophrenic response, which is I think a function of the regime not really knowing how to deal with this kind of mass political challenge.

They've never faced anything like this before. They don't have the tools to deal with this kind of approach. And that's why you see these apparently contradictory political and military responses that don't seem to make sense.

DAMON: The government, he says, realizes that there have to be a political solution, hence the national dialogue conference and talk of significant reforms. But at the same time, the regime continues down the military track, refusing to let up, continuing to target what it says are armed groups fueled by foreign powers.

In homes, along with the crackdown, activists fear that the government is stoking sectarian tensions as yet another resort in a desperate bid to cling to power.

The feeling among many activists we spoke to is that this spiral of demonstrations and violence is likely to continue for months until the Syrian economy begins to significantly buckle.

KHOURI: So the combination of internal economic stress and external political pressure I think will force everybody to finally look for a political way out of this. It's hard to see a political reform process that can actually satisfy either side completely. It's very difficult. And what you have is an existential challenge to the nature of this government and regime done by people who are prepared to risk their lives.

DAMON: What we are witnessing now is a historic new phenomenon, Khouri says. It's the birth of the Arab citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You asked me about why I'm going out, it's really risky, because this is our country in simple words. This is our country and this is our responsibility to make it better.

DAMON: Arwa Damon, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Very brave voice there.

And up next here on News Stream, on the internet some have called her Crouching Wendy, Hidden Tiger. You know who I'm talking about. Rupert Murdoch's wife is being lauded around the world all because of this slap. Well, we'll have more of media mogul wife who is making the headlines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STOUT: Welcome back.

Now you probably heard of the many counterfeit goods available in China: fake bags, fake watches, fake iPods, but what about a fake store? Now this might look like an official Apple store, but it is not. Now a blogger who goes by the name of Berdabroad (ph) took these pictures in Qinming (ph), China. Just one problem, according to Apple's web site it has only four stores in China -- two in Beijing, two in Shanghai, none in Qinming (ph).

Still, as you can see, it is a very convincing fake. You have the wooden tables, what looks like a Genius Bar, employees there even wear similar blue colored t-shirts similar to real Apple Store employees.

But there are a few giveaways. And here's one of them. Take a look at the sign. Real Apple stores don't normally have the words Apple Store underneath the glowing logo.

Now the UK's phone hacking scandal has dominated news coverage over the past couple of weeks, but now it isn't Rebekah Brooks or even media mogul Rupert Murdoch in the limelight, but Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng.

And Stan Grant reports, she's been all over the internet after springing to her husband's defense at a Parliamentary hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the slap that's been heard around the world. Wendi Deng putting herself between her husband Rupert Murdoch and a protester armed with a shaving cream pie. The image has gone viral. Suddenly, it's no longer Wendi, the so-called gold digger, but as some are now calling her Crouching Wendi, Hidden Tiger.

Taiwan-based Next Media has her as a cartoon hero, the ultimate Asian tiger wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...should defend her husband.

GRANT: Chinese microblogs have gone into meltdown. One slap for Wendi, one knock-out blow for the pride of Asian women.

As one writes, "the harder she slapped, the more we can tell how eager she was to protect her husband. She's still a woman who longs for love."

This from another, "people are starting to see the gold digger differently. Wendi Deng has redefined tiger mom."

But still others can't get past how this young Chinese woman snared one of the most rich and powerful media moguls in the world. "If Murdoch was just one poor old man would Wendi Deng stay with him and have his babies? Everything between them is about money."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I used to think Deng (ph) only loves Murdoch's money, but her move yesterday was fast and it was a kind of instinct. So I think maybe we have some misunderstanding about her. This maybe actually true love. She might really love him.

GRANT: "I admire her courage," this man said. "She did it out of her obligation and responsibility as a wife. And she did it very well."

Rupert Murdoch was certainly singing his wife's praises in an interview on China Central Television just last month. A tough woman, he called her. The 80 year old gushing about meeting Wendi when she worked for one of his companies, Star Television, falling in love with a woman nearly half his age and his efforts to convince her to marry him.

RUPERT MURDOCH, NEWS CORP FOUNDER: I fell in love with her and I asked her, and she said no. And it took me a long time to persuade her.

GRANT: They married in 1999, after Murdoch divorced his wife of 31 years. They now have two daughters. Wendi's own romantic past has raised some eyebrows, including a former marriage. And there have been reports of Wendi's sometimes strained relationship with Murdoch's other children.

But as the pie man found, nothing comes between the slap down sister and her mister.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STOUT: Now time to go over and out there, or should I say up there. Now everyone wants to leave their mark on the world. And one man in the Middle East did, quite literally. Now take a look at an island in Abu Dhabi. You can't see it from here, so let's go in just a little bit closer. Now can you see it yet? Well, wait, it's upside down. Let's spin it around for you and right there, Hamad. That is the name of an Arab Sheikh.

The Daily Mail reports that the United Arab Emirates so-called rainbow Sheikh ordered his name be carved in the desert. And each letter is 1 kilometer tall with the whole word some 3.2 kilometers long.

What can you say? Some people just love to get noticed.

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

END