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Occupy Protesters Evicted; Diplomatic Fallout for Syria; Driving Out Drug Gangs in Rio de Janeiro; Gizmodo Reviews Amazon Fire; Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand Uncertain About Future; New York Mayor Bloomberg Discusses Decision to Evict Occupy Protesters

Aired November 15, 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.

And we begin in New York. The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were evicted from their protest site, but the mayor says they will be free to return there later.

The former college assistant football coach accused of sexually abusing children speaks out.

And Amazon releases its new Kindle. We'll find out whether the Fire is the new tablet to beat this holiday season.

Laying down the law and kicking out Occupy Wall Street protesters, New York police, in riot gear, swept overnight into Zuccotti Park to evict demonstrators.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!


STOUT: Now, this is the scene before sunrise. And demonstrators linked arms in defiance, shouting, "The whole world is watching!"

Now, many protesters did leave. Others who refused to go were arrested.

In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the situation had become too hazardous for nearby businesses, residents, and the protesters themselves. But he insisted demonstrators will be allowed to return without tents or sleeping bags.

Let's tell you more about exactly where this has been happening.

Now, Zuccotti Par, is in downtown New York. It's just a few blocks north of Wall Street, the heart of the financial district.

On September the 17th, Occupy Wall Street protesters set camp in the park, and it rapidly became a sea of tents, tarps and signs, and celebrities. Now, protesters also set up a communal kitchen, medical tent, and a library. And one demonstrator says that library was trashed when police moved in today.

Police and sanitation have also torn down the tents and tarps, but demonstrators are not being deterred. Some have headed north, to nearby Foley Square, and they set up camp there.

Police also set up barricades around Zuccotti Park, sealing off access. And Poppy Harlow tried to get into the park earlier. Take a look at what happened.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's about 2:50 a.m. We've been down here for about an hour now.

We started hearing reports of police evacuating Zuccotti Park at about 1:30 a.m. We've been trying multiple times to get anywhere near the park. We're a few miles away.

What you can see is a lot of NYPD officers lined up. They're not letting anyone in. They're letting some protesters out. They have riot gear on, obviously.

We're not told why, if it's for safety reasons, why we're not let in. We still haven't gotten an answer.

I did speak to one protester. What he told me is that NYPD came in around 2:00 a.m. He told me that the police started tearing down tents, saying that they had to clear out the park, that it was a fire hazard. He says the police told protesters they would not be allowed back in with tents, et cetera, to set back up again. What he also told me is the movement is strong, the movement will continue.

We're going to make our way down, try and see if we can get in any way to the park. I've seen a few protesters getting arrested, put in NYPD trucks. And I'm told also that a few protesters have banded together and that they're staying in the park for now.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: We are the 99 percent!

HARLOW: What happened? You said you just left the park. It's about 3:00 a.m. Tell me what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sleeping when I heard all sorts of shouting and screaming going on. Woke up to see the cops were surrounding the park, barricading it.

I couldn't hear the orders through the microphone. It wasn't until, like, 20 minutes later when I found out what exactly they were doing, trying to kick us all out, telling us they were going to remove all of our stuff if we didn't take it voluntarily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoe me what a police day (ph) looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: This is what a police day (ph) looks like.

HARLOW: Things have escalated here in the last two minutes. It's about 3:05 a.m.

Take a look at the police over here. You have police in full riot gear.

We're about a block and a half from Zuccotti Park. None of us are being allowed near the park.

You came down here in the middle of the night. You were not in the park, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. My friend called me and said that they were raiding the park, and he was insanely afraid of what they were doing to his friends.

HARLOW: What do you mean?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sat outside the park at the moment, and he had seen that other things were going on. He knew about what happened the police in other occupation movements where tear gas was used, rubber bullets were used, and he was severely concerned about the safety and the well-being of his friends.

HARLOW: For the record, we haven't seen any of that down here yet. It's 3:10 a.m.



STOUT: We will hear live from Poppy Harlow in a few minutes, and she will have the latest on this rapidly developing story and the situation in Zuccotti Park.

Now, the Occupy movement may have started with Wall Street, but it has since spread across the U.S. and around the world. And the next big showdown with authorities could come in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia's mayor says the city is running out of patience.

They've already seen violent clashes in California, the city of Oakland, torn down tents at one protest on a Monday. And police will patrol around the clock to enforce a ban on camping there.

And the Occupy movement has caught on in Moscow. According to the group's live stream page, its next big event is planned for Saturday.

And in Germany, there have been demonstrations outside parliament in Berlin, as well as the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. And in London, an activist group has gathered near the city's stock exchange. They are camping at St. Paul's Cathedral to campaign for social and economic justice.

Now, the man nominated as Italy's next prime minister is still trying to secure enough support to take the job. Mario Monti is holding final talks to form a government. That could happen later today.

Monti and economists will then have to haul Italy out of its debt crisis. Italy is struggling with low growth and one of the highest national debts in Europe. Italy's borrowing costs have climbed again. Ten-year bond yields are back above the 7 percent mark, and that is not sitting well with investors.

Europe's major stock markets are down. Wall Street futures are pointing in the same direction.

Now, ahead here on NEWS STREAM, Syria's neighbors lose patience with the regime. But will Damascus bend to outside pressure?

Plus, cleaning up Brazil's capital. Rio's special forces tackle crime in one of the city's infamous favelas.

And a former college football coach says he "horsed around" with young boys, but Jerry Sandusky says he is innocent of sexual abuse charges.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, as promised, we want to take you live to downtown New York. Poppy Harlow has been following events at Zuccotti Park for us, and she joins us now.

And Poppy, will the Occupy protesters return and try to retake Zuccotti Park?

HARLOW: I think there's no question about it. From the protesters I've talked to all night, Kristie, to the ones I've been messaging with all morning, they have moved a few blocks away from here, waiting for this park behind me to open. It was cleared out as police came in about 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m. in the morning, Eastern here in New York, completely cleared everyone out, broke down all those tents, swept the park clean. I think we have some footage that we can show you of this.

And protesters were incredibly angry. You had some of them refusing to leave, even locking themselves up in the middle of the park. They were eventually forced to leave by police.

I can tell you that the New York City police department tells us there have been 100 arrests of Occupy Wall Street protesters overnight. They also tell us that no police officers were injured.

But as you can see, police in full raid gear. I was in the middle of a very big confrontation just a few blocks from here at around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. in the morning, when things really escalated. But as the sun rose, police were able to get the protesters out of the streets and able to get traffic moving down here.

We're right by Ground Zero. We are right by the New York Stock Exchange, a very busy part of New York. And now you have many, many police officers and many private security guards in those yellow vests that are watching this park. And we are now waiting for it to open.

But look. It looks like as we're reporting to you live, protesters have just been allowed back. It looks like the park has just reopened.

It is 8:00 Eastern here in New York, Kristie. We're going to get to that, talk to the protesters, and we'll keep you posted all day live from Zuccotti Park -- Kristie.

STOUT: OK. So, just to confirm what you told us just then, they have cleaned the park overnight and the protesters are being allowed back into Zuccotti Park. Will that continue to be an epicenter of the Occupy movement in New York?

HARLOW: That's a very good question. So, what can happen now is that they are allowed to protest in this park, but there is a sign up that is mandating from the private company that owns this park, and also the city of New York, Kristie, that there will be a 10:00 curfew, that protesters are not allowed to bring in any tents, not allowed to bring in sleeping bags.

But if you can judge from the voices that we're hearing in this park right now as they reopen, they are not going to let this go easily. These are determined protesters. Many have been there for two months, since the beginning.

This is going to be a battle -- I think that's a fair word -- between the city of New York, the company that owns this park, and the protesters that want to stay in it and mark their ground and camp out overnight. They're being told that it's illegal, that they're not allowed to do that. We will see what happens when the sun sets tonight.

STOUT: OK. No tents, no sleeping bags, but the protesters have returned to Zuccotti Park.

Our Poppy Harlow, joining us live from New York.

Thank you very much for that update.

Now, the Arab League votes to suspend Syria, and then Jordan's king suggests that President Bashar al-Assad should resign. Fresh signs that pressure is growing within the Arab world for political change in Syria, but Damascus is resisting.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government forces battled anti-Assad militants Tuesday in towns south of the capital. With international media banned from reporting in Syria, video like this is regularly smuggled out. And this offers a glimpse of the turmoil inside the country. Now, the U.N. says some 3,500 people have died since the uprising began earlier this year.

And for the latest on the diplomatic fallout for Syria, I'm joined live by Rima Maktabi, at CNN Abu Dhabi.

Rima, first, what are you hearing about the latest violence happening inside Syria?

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the numbers are soaring. Day by day, we hear of more casualties, more people died.

Just as the king of Jordan was telling President Assad, if I were you, I would have stepped down, by two hours later we heard about nearly 30 people killed in Daraa. And this town is quite significant because it's by the border with Jordan.

So, obviously, protesters are becoming more angry, and they're calling for change and pressing for that. Definitely, the international pressure is helping. However, who is helping the civilians on the ground? This is what everybody is asking -- Kristie.

STOUT: Pressure is on Damascus right now from the Arab League, the king of Jordan. What impact is it having on the Syrian opposition? Is it unifying and galvanizing the movement?

MAKTABI: When I talk to Syrian opposition, I hear a different viewpoint. But definitely, there's a mood of happiness. There's a boost inside there. And when I look at social media, also, I see a lot of nice comments.

However, the main question is, who is going to protect these civilians, and what is the next step? Is this resistance going to be armed more? Who's going to help with arms? Who's going to help (ph) with money if Assad refuses to step down?

So, it's an issue of practicality, really, rather than just political statements -- Kristie.

STOUT: And what impact is all the diplomatic fallout having on Bashar al- Assad? How isolated is he at the moment and how much support does he have left?

MAKTABI: Very isolated internationally. However, let's remember that the two major cities in Syria, Damascus, the capital, and Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, has not seen major protests so far.

In these two cities, the merchants and the middle class live, and they are still supportive of Assad, along with some minorities like the Christians and the Alawites. So, he does have some internal support, and we've seen protests in favor of Assad, and they were attacking even embassies.

STOUT: All right.

Rima Maktabi, joining us live from CNN Abu Dhabi.

Thank you.

Now, the process of cleaning up one of Rio de Janeiro's most notorious slums has begun. Brazilian security forces stormed the Rocinha favela on Sunday, aiming to drive out drug gangs. And Agence France-Press reports that similar operations are planned in dozens more of the city's shanty towns.

Shasta Darlington visited Rocinha, where residents are adjusting to the new normal.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They peer in windows and don't stop to chat. Rio de Janeiro's special forces are on the move a day after seizing control of Rocinha, the city's biggest shanty town.

"Today, a lot of the drug dealers are gone, others are hidden," says a policeman. "And it's now that we're going to find them and the weapons."

Three thousand troops invaded Rocinha in a predawn raid on Sunday as part of efforts to eliminate crime and drug gangs ahead of the World Cup in 2014. Not a single shot was fired, easing tensions inside the hillside slum.

(on camera): We're right here at the base of Rocinha, where, as you can see, the butchers are back to work, the food stalls are opening up. Talking to residents, they feel that life is not only back to normal, it's better than normal. They feel safe.

(voice-over): Motorcycle taxis are up and running. We catch a ride up the winding chaotic streets, where we can see first hand the challenges ahead: mountains of trash in public squares, tangled masses of electrical wires overhead, and poverty living in dark allies.

"Before, this was called a favela because it was full of criminals," says Juliet (ph). "Now things have to be done to call it a neighborhood."

For decades, favelas were neglected by officials and police. Drug gangs helped fill the void.

"The system trapped young people in a life of crime," says longtime resident Ramundo (ph). "But it's also true that they helped people when they needed it."

Now residents want to make sure the invasion will do more than just pacify the slums for World Cup tourists.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.


STOUT: A Brazilian flag now flies above Rocinha to mark the area as officially pacified, or under security forces' control.

Now, on Sunday, police seized automatic guns and other weapons, and AFP says that motorbikes, pirated CDs, fake police uniforms and ninja masks were also confiscated by officers, along with a big haul of illegal drugs. Police arrested two of the favelas' top suspected drug traffickers just days before they moved in, and they found Antonio Francisco Bonfim, also known as "Nem," in the trunk of a car. According to residents, a luxury three-story house with a private pool and gym and views overlooking the shanty town had been his home until his arrest.

And AFP reports that police commandos, they have been guarding the home and pool of Sander Luiz de Pala Amarim (ph), another suspected drug kingpin.

Now, ahead on NEWS STREAM, the man at the center of child sex abuse allegations speaks out. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky admits he "horsed around" with boys, but says he is innocent of wrongdoing.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now, in the United States, the former Penn State University assistant football coach accused of sexually abusing young boys insists that he is innocent. Jerry Sandusky is on bail after being charged with molesting children he met through a charity he founded. In an interview with the U.S. network NBC, the 67-year-old denies he is a pedophile.


JERRY SANDUSKY, FMR. PENN STATE ASSISTANT COACH: I say that I am innocent of those charges. I could say that I have done some of those things, I have horsed around with kids, I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their leg, without intent of sexual contact.


STOUT: Now, fallout from the scandal has cost a few careers. Penn State University's president and head football coach were fired over their handling of the allegations. And now the charity Sandusky founded is also examining the past.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than a week after Jerry Sandusky's arrest, the charity he founded to help kids at risk, The Second Mile, is now investigating itself. Jack Raykovitz has been removed as CEO. He's been with the organization for 28 years. The Second Mile also hired an outside law firm that includes former Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham.

We briefly caught up with the new man in charge.

(on camera): Can this organization survive?

DAVID WOODLE, THE SECOND MILE: I think that it is a challenge that we're looking at right now. I think that it would be unrealistic for me to say that it's not going to be a tough challenge. What we're doing is we're meeting with all the people we sponsor and all the people that sponsor us.

SNOW (voice-over): Jerry Sandusky's role at The Second Mile changed in 2008, the organization says, when the former Penn State defensive coordinator told them he was being investigated, but said that there was no truth to sex abuse allegations made against him. Since then, Second Mile says he's had no involvement with programs involving children. Sandusky still maintains his innocence.

In a statement last week, former the then-CEO said he had no knowledge of the allegations outlined in the grand jury report. And now that he stepped down, and an investigation announced, those at The Second Mile hope to learn more.

truTV correspondent and attorney Jean Casarez says, like the university, The Second Mile could face civil lawsuits.

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION," TRUTV: The civil suits, they haven't even begun to be lined up yet. We have just learned that victims may be getting civil attorneys now. And how many more victims are there that have not surfaced?

SNOW: Despite all the turmoil, there are some who feel Second Mile is still worth saving. Pat Sullivan is the principal of a small local high school where he says some of his students have benefited from a Second Mile leadership program.

(on camera): Given what's happened, should this organization survive?

PAT SULLIVAN, GRACE PREPARATORY HIGH SCHOOL: It's going to be disappointing if it doesn't. I know there is going to have to be structural changes at the leadership position for it to survive. But it's affecting, impacting, hopefully, in a positive way, thousands -- at last count 100,000 kids a year.

SNOW: Unlike some of the other investigations under way, there is a timeline for answers. The charity says it hopes to disclose its findings by the end of the year.

Mary Snow, CNN, University Park, Pennsylvania.


STOUT: Now, ahead here on NEWS STREAM, a life of toil and abuse in Lebanon. Is the country doing enough to protect migrant workers subjected to horrifying abuse?

That's next in the Freedom Project.


STOUT: Welcome back.

Now following the overnight eviction of hundreds of Occupy protesters from New York City's Zuccatti Park, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is addressing the media. Let's listen in.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: ...and guaranteeing the protesters' first amendment rights. But when those two goals clash, the health and safety of the public and our first responders must be the priority. And that is why several weeks ago the city acted to remove generators and fuel that posed a fire hazard from the park.

Over time, I've become increasingly concerned as had the owners of the park, Brookfield Properties, that the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protesters and to the surrounding community. We have been in constant contact with Brookfield and yesterday they requested that the ctiy assisted in enforcing the no sleeping and camping rules in the park.

But make no mistake, the final decision to act was mine and mine alone.

The park has become covered in tents and tarps, making it next to impossible to safely navigate for the public and for first responders who are responsible for guaranteeing public safety. The dangers posed were evident last week when an EMT was injured as protesters attempted to prevent him and several police officers from helping a mentally ill man who was menacing others.

As an increasing number of large tents and other structures were erected, these dangers increased. It has become increasingly difficult even to monitor activity in the park to protect the protesters and the public. And the proliferation of tents and other obstructions created an increasing fire hazard that had to be addressed.

Now some argued to allow the protesters to stay in the park indefinitely, others had suggested that we just wait for winter and hope the cold weather drove the protesters away. But inaction was not an option. We could not wait for someone in the park to get killed or to injure another first responder before acting. Others have cautioned against action, because enforcing our laws might be used by some protesters as a pretext for violence. But we must never be afraid to insist on compliance with our laws.

Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest, but rather to break laws, and in some cases to harm others. There have been reports of businesses being threatened, and complaints about noise and unsanitary conditions that have seriously impacted the quality of life for residents and businesses in this now thriving neighborhood.

The majority of protesters have been peaceful and responsible, but an unfortunate minority has not been. And as the number of protesters has grown, this has created an intolerable situation.

No right is absolute. And with every right comes responsibility. The first amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out, but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others. Nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law.

There is no ambiguity in the law here. The first amendment protects speech, it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space. Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.

Let me conclude by thanking the NYPD, the FDNY and the Department of Sanitation for their professionalism earlier this morning. I should also not that last night I spoke with Governor Cuomo to inform him of our course of action and he offered any help if we thought it was needed.

Thank you all.

And I will be happy to take a question or two. Sir.


BLOOMBERG: No, because -- I don't feel bad, because they can come right back in, at least they could have until a few minutes ago when we believe an order was issued, which we will go to court this morning to clarify. Before this order was issued, we had every intent to let them right back in and to let them protest.

I think you have to distinguish between what we're trying to do and what was done in many other places. In many places, they were prevented from going back in after the safety conditions were improved to protest. Quite the contrary, here we welcome them back in. If they want to protest, they have a right to do so. Brookfield Properties has a legal obligation, an agreement with the city to let them. And has said that they are happy to have them there to express their views.

But that is not the same as taking over the park so that other people cannot get in and express opposing views or similar views or not views whatsoever.


BLOOMBERG: We do no of one incident...

STOUT: That's New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking live, addressing the situation in Zuccatti Park after that decision was made to evict the Occupy protesters overnight. He said that decision to evict them was his and his alone. The mayor also said the health and safety of the public and responders must be protected. He cited the recent injury of an emergency worker there at Zuccatti Park. And he also said that now the Occupy protesters will have to occupy with the power of their arguments.

Zuccatti Park has since been reopened this morning. The protesters have returned, but no sleeping bags, no camping allowed.

OK, and today's Freedom Project report, some migrant domestic workers are living a life of terror and fear in Lebanon. They've been subjected to horrifying treatment. And the abuse is so rampant, a number of countries have even banned their citizens from working in Lebanon. Some workers say they have no other choice to feed their families.

Arwa Damon met with several women who told her what they are enduring.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they beat me like that, I always go to the toilet and I cry. That's why I ran away.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Monette (ph) left her two small children and husband in the Philippines to work as a maid in Lebanon hoping to pull her family out of extreme poverty. Instead, the 26 year old was forced to flee to a safe house that provides refuge for victims like her.

She and the other women here don't want their real names used, or their identities revealed. Their afraid for their safety.

The safe house is run by Karitas Lebanon Migrant Centers (ph), a charity that has been lobbying for and providing help to migrant domestic workers in Lebanon since 1994.

The workers often find themselves victims of a judicial system that fails to protect us in a culture where abuse against them is endemic.

NADIM HOURI, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, LEBANON: It's serious enough, because on average one worker per week is dying in Lebanon most often by committing suicide or trying to quote, unquote escape from their employer. It's a terrifying statistic. And it has caused capitals in countries where these workers are coming from to take notice, because one of the ambassadors of (inaudible) told me, I'm not longer running an embassy here, I'm running a morgue.

DAMON: There are an estimated 200,000 migrant workers in Lebanon, a large number for a country with a population with just 4 million.

Abuses against them so common that the Philippines, Nepal, and Ethiopia have banned their citizens from coming to Lebanon as migrant workers. Although many are so desperate, they find a way around the ban.

Like Hanna (ph). She says she had no choice but to come to Lebanon three years ago to support her family in Ethiopia after her father died. Her first employer sexually harrassed her.

"I couldn't be the way he wanted. I came only to work, not to do anything else," she tells us. "He would offer money, offer me things, if I would accept."

Eventually his wife found out about her husband's advances and Hanna (ph) says he beat them both.

She went to the Ethiopian embassy, but was so desperate for money she took another job at another household rather than return home. There, she says, she suffered both physical and verbal abuse which she would have been willing to endure if she was at least being paid her salary. Now, emotionally exhausted, she just wants to go home.

According to Human Rights Watch, the enslavement of migrant workers begins the moment they land in Lebanon. Standard procedure at the airport is for Lebanese authorities to to hand over the worker's passport to the employer, allowing the employer full control.

The majority of workers are never allowed to leave the house on their own. And according to Human Rights Watch, either they're paid late or not at all.

HOURI: In many ways, they're treatment is akin to modern slavery. There are no doubt some of them have wonderful experiences, but to many of them this is indentured servitude for a number of years. And the state, the Lebanese state, similar to state's in this region instead of protecting these workers they rush to protect the employer.

DAMON: Lebanese labor law has no protection for migrant workers.

For its part, the government has stated that it intends to improve conditions for migrant workers. The ministry of Labor set up a hotline, but the phone hardly rings, and most workers are not aware of its existence.

And in January of 2009 the ministry implemented a standard contract that is intended to guarantee things like on-time payment and days off.

BOUTROS HARB, FORMER LEBANESE LABOR MINISTER: All of this has been already (inaudible) and we are implementing these measures in order to avoid them, to give the feeling to the domestic worker that is protected by the law.

DAMON: However, Human Rights Watch says the contract falls far short of protecting the workers. For example, the right to leave the house remains in the hands of the employer.

Sinetta (ph) from Botswana had contemplated jumping six floors to escape. Her employer, she says, used to lock her up, smash her head into a wall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; I don't do nothing. The chairs falling down. I'm crying. There's nothing to do, because there has been (inaudible). He don't want me to do nothing. I don't (inaudible). I stay like an animal. Even I bleed, she don't care.

DAMON: After she finally ran away, she ended up hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for two weeks.

Carita (ph) says it's been successful in helping Sinetta (ph) obtain her salary. And points to a greater level of cooperation with Lebanese authorities.

However, much, much more needs to be done to guarantee migrant workers their basic rights.

These women all came to Lebanon expecting to break out of the confines of poverty. Instead, they find themselves in a different type of jail.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Beirut.


STOUT: And Freedom Project continues tomorrow, Wednesday, right here on News Stream.

I'll bring you an update on a story that shocked the world. Shweyga Mullah was a nanny for Hannibal Gadhafi, Moammar Gadhafi's son. And when she refused to beat Hannibal's child, Shweyga says Hannibal's wife tied her hands behind her back and poured boiling water over her twice.

Only now is she beginning to rebuild her life after being flown abroad for treatment. Wednesday on News Stream, her next steps toward recovery.

Now ahead on News Stream, we'll meet a group of desperate migrant workers from Myanmar whose jobs in Thailand are now in danger because of massive flooding. Stay with us.


STOUT: Now we have heard a lot about the plight of Bangkok residents in recent weeks as these record flood waters take a heavy toll on the Thai capital, but there are many migrant workers in Thailand whose fate maybe even more uncertain. And Liz Neisloss has their story.


LIZ NEISLOSS, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exhausted, worried, these 150 Burmese migrants have endured a frightened journey. As the floods entered the southern province, factories filled up and were shuttered. Stranded with no pay, they fled, finding a haven in this temple.

Run by a monk from Myanmar, an activist for the workers' cause, he tells me the flooding left them frightened and open to exploitation.

ASHIN VAYAMA, BURMESE MONK: So they're afraid to stay and they're afraid to move is their great problem.

NEISLOSS: Here, they get familiar food and can speak their language. But Thai officials want to move them, to gather all Burmese migrants in one shelter. The workers don't want to go, fearful that when the floods subside they'll lose their jobs or have to leave the country.

Nun Wi Lang (ph) and her three sisters came to Thailand illegally, she says, by paying bribes to the Thai border police. They stayed at the toy factory where they worked until the waters reached their chest.

"If I can work in Thailand I want to stay. We have no money. Our mother and father are dead and we must send money back to family.

Diplomats from Myanmar, also known as Burma, arrive. They want the workers to be able to stay in the temple.

NAING TAN, DEPUTY BURMESE AMBASSADOR TO THAILAND: During flood, everybody face problem. At the time, you know, Thai government will help to the Thai nationality, Thai people. And Myanmar workers have the second class, so they will priority to the Thai people.

NEISLOSS: He tells workers Thai officials will soon arrive to move them. It's a rare moment for them to be heard.

"If the Thai government really helps the migrant workers we should be able to stay," this worker says.

There are stories circulating of demands for money by mafia style gangs.

VAYAMA: I don't want to tell you, because I live (ph) here. So maybe -- maybe (inaudible) I think. So (inaudible) the higher authorities all know this.

NEISLOSS: The diplomat from Myanmar is more blunt.

TAN: They're faced with police or immigration at the time they have to pay some money some time the police and immigration they take all of their money.

NEISLOSS: A Thai government spokesperson told CNN the government has heard these allegations before, but there's been no official complaint from the government in Myanmar.

"The problem doesn't start in Thailand, it goes all the way back to Burma. This isn't possible without both sides exploiting the workers."

There's a meeting of all the parties, a decision is made. Those who are here, working legally can stay at the temple. And the Thai government will find them temporary jobs, but undocumented workers will be deported. This means Nun Wi (ph) and her sisters will be sent home.

In the aftermath of devastating floods, there will be no shortage of work, the dirty and sometimes dangerous clean-up these migrants are willing to do.

Liz Neisloss, CNN, Na Hatchi (ph), Thailand.


STOUT: Now has begun shipping its new Kindle fire. And looks set to heat up the tough tablet market. And just ahead, we'll talk to Gizmodo's editor-in-chief whose already got his hands on one.


STOUT: Consumers will finally get their hands on Amazon's new tablet which is being shipped out this week. The Kindle Fire is bigger, more capable version of Amazon's popular eReader along with eBooks. The Fire's color touchscreen allows it to play movies and TV shows, songs, magazines, and even some Android apps. And it's drawing comparisons to the dominant tablet on the market now, Apple's iPad. But the Fire is a very different device.

Now the Fire is significantly smaller with a seven inch screen. It also doesn't have as much storage space as an iPad, but that's because Amazon is touting it as a cloud device. And Amazon will store your books, songs and movies online and stream them to the Fire as needed.

Now the biggest difference is price. The cheapest iPad costs $500, the Kindle Fire just $200.

Now let's get more now on the Kindle Fire from a man who has been lucky enough to play with one for a few days now. Joe Brown is the editor- in-chief of Gizmodo. He joins me now. Joe, good to see you.

So the Fire, what does it look like? How does it feel?

JOE BROWN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GIZMODO: It looks like this. So I've got it right here. And it's really a nice device. So a lot of people are saying that, you know, the Fire has less -- pardon me a second while I get back to the home screen, cancel. So it's got the same touchscreen as -- so basically the Fire is a smaller tablet which has a really streamlined interface. You see right here, it has like a little bit of a newsstand metaphor. You can actually scroll around to see what you've got and CNN wi-fi is totally messing with me.

But it's basically a seven inch tablet so it fits in your hand really nicely. It's got a really good looking -- really good looking touchscreen. And its' a little bit heavier than, you know, you're actual just black and white Kindle.

Some things that really cool about it, like you mentioned, it's $200. Now it doesn't have a fast processor. It doesn't have a ton of RAM or a ton of storage. But you know what, you don't feel it so much, because the interface is really, really lightweight. So the things that it does, it does very smoothly.

It has a little bit of a hiccup when it comes to turning pages. And some of the sort of techier (ph) people out there have really honed in on that, but for regular people you're not going to notice it.

STOUT: Yeah. I also here it has a rubberized back, so very different from the back of the metal iPad that I'm holding right here.

Now the pricepoint, you mentioned $200. That sounds amazing, but when you use it, does it feel like Amazon had to cut some major corners just to make it so cheap?

BROWN: Well, you know, it's not -- I mean, one of the major, big differences between this and the iPad, it seems very obvious is the screen size. And the screen is the most expensive component of these tablets. So by going to seven inches instead of the nine inch screen on the iPad you're saving some money there.

The others ways that Amazon is cutting costs is there's no GPS in this like you'll have in your iPad. There's no Bluetooh. There's no camera. Each one of these components adds a price to the -- adds cost to the tablet.

So by cutting these out, you're already coming down in price.

Then there's the process, another really high tech item. By going with the 1 gigahertz processor, the Amazon Kindle is able to stay less expensive.

It does not feel cheap, though. And I can't emphasize that enough. For 200 bucks this thing feels like a bargain. And indeed it is, because Amazon is losing money on every single one they sell.

STOUT: Apps. Have you trawled around the Amazon Android app store? What's there? What's on offer?

BROWN: Well, you know, there are some favorites. Everybody talks about Angry Birds, it's there. Cut the Rope, another really fun game is there. You can get Facebook. You can get a lot of the sort of more common apps that people want to have.

And Amazon has had this app store going since early spring of 2011. And they've been slowly building up apps. And the reason has been the Fire's imminent arrival. So you're not going to find some of the more boutique apps like I have a Bluetooth thermometer that I use in my iPad. They don't have that in the Amazon app store yet. But it's getting there.

And Amazon has other things they want to sell you besides apps like books. And if you have Amazon Prime you can stream movies and watch TV shows. And you can buy MP3s. There's a lot to do and get and explore on the Fire. It's a really mature ecosystem that Amazon gives you a really nice way of accessing with this device.

STOUT: Wow, quite a positive review there from Gizmodo. Joe Brown, thank you so much for joining us here on News Stream. Take care.

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