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North Korean Leader Orders Rockets Set To Standby; Afghan Local Police To Fill Void After U.S. Troops Leave; Pervez Musharraf Granted Protective Bail Against Pending Charges; England Fans Accused Of Racist Chants Against Own Players
Aired March 29, 2013 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MONITA RAJPAL, HOST: I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. A rally in Pyongyang as North Korea's leader puts the nation's rockets on the ready. How is this playing out in the region?
Also, one day after calling on the world for prayers, South Africa says former president Nelson Mandela is in good spirits.
And all aboard the ISS Express. We'll tell you about the first crew to catch the fast flight to the International Space Station.
North Korea is ratcheting up the rhetoric once again. State run media says leader Kim Jong un has ordered rockets to be put on standby, ready to attack U.S. targets.
These are pictures from North Korean state television today. They show a gathering of military officials and civilians to support what was described as the victory against the U.S. and all other enemies.
And these pictures show Kim being briefed by his military generals. He's quoted as saying the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation.
Now, this comes a day after the U.S. flew stealth bombers over South Korea as part of joint military exercises. They are capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear weapons. North Korea's state news agency described the drill as a threat by the U.S. to start a nuclear war.
Now we want to bring you a closer look at that photo of Kim's briefing with the generals and what North Korea's plan could be. The Title of the map in Korean reads -- well, it reads "Plans for the Strategic Forces to Target the Mainland U.S." And you can see a line leading to what appears to be Hawaii, California, and the mainland U.S.
Now North Korea state media says U.S. military bases in Guam and South Korea are also targets.
CNN's Jim Clancy is watching developments and he joins us now from Seoul -- Jim.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Monita, everything that you have recounted there really sums up a day of intense rhetoric. And there's a lot of people here in the region that are very concerned about it. We heard from the Russians, the Chinese and others. Let me just go down the list here beginning with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.
He said, "military muscle should not be pumped up. And the current situation should not be used as a pretext for resolving some geopolitical task by military means."
And then the Chinese weighed in. And this is very significant. A Chinese spokesman saying simply, "we hope that the relevant parties can work together to turn around the tense situation in the region."
People are concerned this could spin out of control, Monita. And specifically I think China was sending the U.S. a message not such a good move to put B-52 bombers and B-2 bombers, both nuclear capable aircraft, in the skies above South Korea on practice bombing runs. That was certain to ratchet up tensions. But there was also a message in there for Pyongyang that it's time to dial back all of their rhetoric.
Regarding the U.S. it was a response that came from the Pentagon spokesman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: No one wants there to be war on the Korean peninsula, let me make that very clear. That being said, North Korea has engaged recently in a string of provocations, overheated rhetoric, and none of that is helpful to stability on the Korean peninsula or the region. And as our solemn obligation to protect our alliance with South Korea, the South Korean people and our forces in South Korea as well as our other friends in the region like Japan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: All right. Now from the outset, we said that there was an order by Kim Jong un for his strategic forces, the missile forces, to activate, to go on the ready. And indeed, according to news sources here in South Korea, there are signs that there was increased activity, military activity around some of those sites.
Now amidst all this relentless rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang that only seems to get more ominous, there may be a note, some breathing room here, in Kim Jong un's statement. It leaves an impression that it would take some kind of outright action by the United States on a major scale in order to provoke a response by the north. Meantime, the north today seemed to be satisfied with what you mentioned earlier, a huge victory celebration with tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians pledging their loyalty to the dynasty of Kim Jong un -- Monita.
RAJPAL: Jim, thank you for that. Jim Clancy there live for us from Seoul.
Let's take you to South Africa now and the latest on Nelson Mandela's health. The South African government has just issued a statement. It says the former president is in good spirits and making steady progress. The 94 year old anti-apartheid icon remains under treatment at a hospital in Pretoria. He is battling a recurring lung infection.
It is the second time this month that Mandela has been hospitalized. CNN's Robyn Curnow is live for us in Pretoria. And Robyn, we say he's in hospital in Pretoria, but do we know that for sure?
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, we don't, actually. And, you know, the last time I spoke to you about an hour-and-a- half ago we were outside a private clinic in Pretoria. We've actually packed up and now set up outside this military hospital in Pretoria.
To be honest with you, none of us, none of the media is really any wiser as to where Nelson Mandela is. He could, in fact, be in Johannesburg.
Now why all of this secrecy? Why do we not know where he is? Why this media blackout?
Well, if you speak to his family, they say it's about protecting his privacy, his dignity. Also, remember, Nelson Mandela is looked after as a former president by the military. He has military doctors. And of course he falls under the care of the military. And of course in any country, the military as an institution is not known for being very transparent. So I think that together gives you some indication of why we have not a lot of information about where he is.
In terms of the updates for his health, well a source close to the family telling me the government, the military essentially is doing the best they can. He's getting the best care.
Of course, great news apparently also that he's eaten a full breakfast this morning.
Either way, though, this is just the latest in a number of health scares over the past few years. Take a look at this.
CURNOW: These are the most recent pictures of Nelson Mandela, taken by CNN at his 94th birthday party in his home, surrounded by his large family. He looked bewildered, uncertain. So different to the vigorous man who fought so hard, endured so much.
The former South African president has seemed frail and unsteady on his legs for some years now. Public appearance became increasingly rare, too much effort for a man in his 90s. Those he did make, Mandela sometimes dozed off during speeches and seemed confused.
His last official appearance was in 2010 at the closing ceremony of the World Cup in Johannesburg. Since then, he's been in hospital four times. In December, Mandela was treated here for a lung infection and had surgery to remove gall stones.
Now, he's back in hospital, rushed there in the middle of the night, again suffering from a lung infection, say officials, although he's now responding to treatment, they say. President Jacob Zuma, though, has asked South Africans to pray for him.
CURNOW: And at these Good Friday church services across the country, people have indeed been praying for Nelson Mandela this day, not just South Africans, also President Mandela is in the thoughts and prayers of President Barack Obama who has sent his good wishes and expressed how much Mandela meant to him.
So, this is not just concerns coming from South Africans who of course hold Mandela so dear, but of course many around the world, including President Obama who feel that he is an icon and he is a man whose life continues to be honored.
RAJPAL: All right, Robyn, thank you very much for that. Robyn Curnow reporting to us there live from Pretoria.
Coming up here on News Stream, as U.S. forces prepare to pack up and leave Afghanistan, a question mark remains over the country's ability to protect itself.
And tracing Syria's weapons. We'll speak to one man who was watching YouTube videos to identify the firepower being used in that nation's bloody civil war.
Plus, the protectors of our oceans. How coral reefs play a vital role in the health of the high seas. All that, coming up next right here on News Stream.
RAJPAL: We are getting reports of a string of deadly explosions in Iraq. Iraqi police are saying at least 18 people are dead and nearly 85 others wounded. They say one blast targeted a Shiite mosque in the northern city of Kirkuk. Car bombs also struck three Shiite mosques in Baghdad today on what is the Muslim holy day of prayer.
As U.S. led NATO troops prepare to leave Afghanistan by the end of next year, there are some serious concerns about security. Afghan forces are being trained to better protect their own country. Anna Coren traveled to eastern Afghanistan with U.S. special forces who are charged with getting that job done.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Snow-capped mountains pierced the sky as arid rocky terrain gives way to lush, green valleys. This stunning landscape bordering Pakistan has been a playground for the Taliban and insurgency. It's witnessed some of the fiercest fighting in America's longest war.
We have flown to Shinua (ph) with U.S. special forces to see firsthand the progress being made in eastern Afghanistan. The elite task force has the job of training up the Afghan local police, also known as the ALP. It's become a major priority with America's accelerated withdrawal.
But the first step is getting permission from the tribal elders.
General Amizad (ph), the chief of the program, makes a passionate plea explaining why the ALP is essential to the town's security.
"We have to provide security, my brothers. It's up to you. It's the only way our homes and villages will be safe from the insurgents."
So far, 14,000 ALP have been established throughout the country in addition to the 350,000 army and uniform police. They're given three weeks training and AK-47s and a monthly wage of $180. They then spend time refining their skills with special forces.
GEN. SCOTT HOWELL, SPCEIAL OPERATIONS JOINT TAKSE FORCE-AFGHANISTAN: The enemy fears, because it's very difficult for the Taliban to come inside a village and establish themselves as a local when all the local security are from the area as well. So it's very clear they recognize immediately you're not from here.
COREN: An hour into the shura, the elders give their blessing, endorsing the ALP.
But like everyone else, they're concerned about what the future holds for their country.
"We can make it as a country, but you cannot desert us. Alone we fail, together we stand."
Because we are so close to the Pakistani border, places like Shinua (ph) province has been a safe haven, if not a thoroughfare for the Taliban. It is hoped that the ALP will put a stop to that.
As the Chinooks arrived to take us back to Kabul, a harsh reality soon sets in. Shortly after takeoff, a villager killed a U.S. soldier who had been providing protection on the ground, a tragic reminder that despite the inroads and the deadline, this war keeps on raging.
Anna Coren, CNN, Chinua (ph), eastern Afghanistan.
RAJPAL: The Pakistani Taliban are claiming responsibility for a suicide attack near the U.S. consulate in Peshawar. The bomb rode -- the bomber rode a motorbike to a checkpoint and blew himself up. At least 10 people are dead and 31 others injured, including paramilitary troops who were stationed at that checkpoint. The bombing comes as Pakistan prepares to hold historic elections in May, marking the first democratic transition of power.
Well, former president Pervez Musharraf recently returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile saying he plans to take part in those elections. Today, however, he was in court where a judge has extended his protective bail, meaning he can't be arrested in cases that are pending against him.
Saima Mohsin explains.
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: General Musharraf has been granted that crucial protective bail extension he needs to avoid the embarrassment of arrest in any of the three cases that he's facing charges in. Until he appeared in the relevant court, he arrived at the Sindhi Court here in Karachi this morning flanked by his security guards, by members of the local media. And beyond that, lawyers who were in the courthouse chanting slogans against him.
Let's not forget, one of the cases that he's facing in Pakistan is that of the illegal detention of the supreme court judges whom he held under house arrest when they refused to take oath under a provision constitution order, which he imposed when he announced a state of emergency back in 2007.
And as he walked through the courtroom this morning, beyond the chanting of slogans, someone even threw a shoe at him. We're not sure if, in fact, it did hit him, but that just shows you how unpopular he is right now in Pakistan.
He did go into the courtroom. He got protective bail in all three cases, the others being but not providing adequate security for Benzair Bhutto when she was assassinated under his watch, and for the murder of Akbar Bugti, a senior Baloch leader, who was killed during a military operation when President Musharraf was in power.
So he's facing some very serious legal challenges. He still has to appear in court. But for the time being, he's avoided any kind of arrest.
Saima Mohsin, CNN, Karachi.
RAJPAL: Still to come here on New Stream, a rocket's fast trip to the International Space Station, cutting down the travel time for astronauts and cosmonauts. We'll have details of that record flight up next.
RAJPAL: You are looking at a video rundown of all the stories that we're covering for you in the show. We've already brought you word of what's said to be the improving condition of South Africa's Nelson Mandela. Later, we'll tell you how a British blogger is affecting Syria's civil war. But now, let's go to the International Space Station. The three new arrivals at ISS are the first crew to take the express route, so to speak. They docked with the station less than six hours after liftoff.
Now let's put that in perspective for you. In six hours, an average person could walk about 30 kilometers while a car could go about 560 kilometers, and if you're traveling on a commercial airplane, well that would take you about 5,500 kilometers. But the Soyuz orbited the Earth four times in six hours.
That's -- obviously we'll tell you more about that coming up a little bit later on in terms of what the weather will also hold for you wherever you're going this weekend, but for now all week CNN has been taking you on a journey to explore our oceans. We've been following CNN special correspondent Philippe Cousteau as he explores the Great Barrier Reef and explains its global impact. Today, he SCUBA dives with scientists.
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: We're headed 15 kilometers north of the Heron Island research station to a section of the Great Barrier Reef known for its clear visibility. Ideal conditions for my first survey behind the SVII.
So Christophe, the average dive, one probably covers about maybe 100 meters in terms of area. We're going to be traveling upwards of 2 kilometers.
CHRISTOPHE BAILHACHE, CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY: Yeah.
You're going to be driving this scooter.
BAILHACHE: Basically as we talked about the other day there's eight speed on that scooter. And this scooter is going to quite fast, particularly in a (inaudible) about 2 kilometers an hour. And that is on about the third gear.
COUSTEAU: Christophe wants me to experience a full survey, that means seeing more coral today than I ever have on any other single dive.
When the 500 year old giant peridies (ph) (inaudible) four meters high and five meters wide, to seemingly endless beads of branching and plate corals, some two meters in size.
One hell of a dive, man.
COUSTEAU: Put everything into relevance in terms of being able to travel and see ecosystems change in a way. I mean, it's all one single coral ecosystem, but the different types of coral changed, the different types of topography changed, and it was -- really gave a sense, a broader sense of what these systems look like as opposed to getting a snapshot of 100 square meters in a typical dive. Being able to cover almost 2 kilometers gives an appreciation of just the scale and the magnitude of the diversity here.
BAILHACHE: What's really exciting about this project is the fact we want to be able to roll this out globally. It's not only about the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, it's about all the other reefs around the planet, some of which are really, really destroyed. And we want to make sure that we dover these as well.
RAJPAL: Philippe Cousteau there taking you underwater and above it for a unique perspective on how coral reefs impact the world's oceans and all of us as well.
It's a CNN special Going Green; Oceans. See it tonight at 11:30 here in Hong Kong, that's 3:30 for you in the afternoon in London.
Well, it's been gray and rainy for us here in Hong Kong, but Mari Ramos at the world weather center, I guess when you put that in perspective for those in Europe and what they're dealing with, we cannot complain.
MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Not too much. But you know what, Hong Kong last night, Monita, it was really rocking and rolling, I know. You had the severe thunderstorm warning overnight and all the way up into the early morning hours. Very strong winds, up to 70 kilometer per hour wind gusts were forecasted in the Hong Kong area. Some areas got some pretty heavy rain, too, not just in Hong Kong where you had 47 millimeters, 47 millimeters of rain in just a period of a few hours throughout the evening hours last night. Strong gusty winds. Also, there were a lot of travel delays in this region as well.
Notice over here, almost 100 millimeters of rainfall. And as we head into areas farther to the south, a similar situation there. So you kind of get the picture here.
We have a cold front that's coming through and this is going to keep things a little bit unstable over the next 24 hours, but it's early, still. We are, you know, at the end of March, beginning of April, and look what happens with the weather in Hong Kong when it comes to the rainfall. We start off January and December, actually our -- the areas, or the month, I should say, where you have the least amount of rainfall. But then it very quickly escalates as we head into the summer months.
So, you know, I think what we had last night and what we're going to have over this weekend is just a little bit of a taste of things to come.
I know, Monita, you just moved to Hong Kong. So, I don't know, it's going to get -- get used to it, let's just say, to have the umbrella handy.
This is the weather system that was affecting you last night. You can see it stretching all the way back over here toward Japan. Pretty unstable weather back in this area.
The Korean peninsula not looking bad right now. We do have another weather system coming along here across the west. This one moving over Beijing right now. That's helping with your air quality, kind of move and shake things around a little bit. So that's good.
But it will bring you some rain and thunderstorms. And maybe we could even see a little bit of blowing sand and dust, perhaps not in Beijing proper, but it's definitely something to watch. Behind that, we'll get a little bit of a cooler air mass starting to move in. However, in the south, that wet weather pattern will continue.
And in the southern portions of the continent, as we head across southeast Asia and even into south Asia for you guys in Bangladesh and India and Sri Lanka and Myanmar and all the way back over to the south and east, it will continue to stay very, very hot.
We've been talking quite a bit about the weather in Europe. Here's a picture from Spain. Yeah, some areas flooded. Still a lot of standing water. This is a picture taken a couple of days ago.
You know what, this rain, though, overall has been quite beneficial for Spain. We're calling it drought aid, because Spain has been in a drought for quite a long time. Actually, much of southern Europe has been in a drought for quite a long time. But when we look at the month of March, it is one of the wettest months on record. Pretty much every major city has 300 to 400 percent their monthly rainfall for the month of March. And this has really helped fill up the reservoirs and the river basins.
And people are pretty happy with this right now overall. I know it hasn't been good as far as getting outside, but look at that. In Madrid, they had 67 millimeters of rain against a monthly average of 26. In Barcelona here to the north, they had 139 millimeters of rainfall compared to that 42. And Seville even had even more.
In the UK, the problem has been, of course, the cold temperatures. The March on route to be the coldest, of course, since 1962. And Easter Sunday could be one of the coldest on records also. That temperature of 3 degrees, that's your high for today in London. And I think it's going to pretty much be like that, everybody across Europe remaining quite, quite cold. Back to you.
RAJPAL: All right, Mari, thank you very much for that.
Syria's civil war rages on, but what kinds of weapons are fueling the fight? Coming up here on News Stream, we'll introduce you to one British man who has identified them by watching endless hours of YouTube videos.
Plus, Pope Francis prepares for his first Good Friday mass as leader of the Catholic Church. We'll take you live to Rome.
RAJPAL: Hello. I'm Monita Rajpal in Hong Kong and you are watching News Stream. These are the headlines
The South African government says Nelson Mandela is in good spirits and responding positively to treatment for a recurring lung infection. The 94 year old former president and Nobel Laureate is receiving care out of Pretoria hospital. He was admitted late Wednesday.
North Korea says it has put rockets on standby to strike at U.S. targets, including the U.S. mainland. According to state media, leader Kim Jong un is accusing Washington of reckless provocation. On Thursday, U.S. stealth bombers flew over South Korea as part of joint exercises with the country.
Someone threw a shoe at Pervez Musharraf Friday as the former Pakistani president arrived at a Karachi court seeking bail extensions. It's not clear who threw the shoe or if Musharraf was hit, but the act itself is considered highly offensive. Later, the court granted a bail extension for Musharraf, preventing his arrest in pending cases against him.
Cyprus has no plans to dump the euro currency. President Nicos Anastasiades says the recent negotiated bailout has contained the island's financial troubles. Speaking in Nicosia he said the government will not experiment with the country's future.
Well, as Syria's civil war grinds on, the European Union may reevaluate its arms embargo. It expires in May, but French president Francois Hollande now says he's not ready to begin shipping weapons to the rebels. He says France needs to know exactly where those weapons are headed first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): There cannot be delivery of weapons at the end of the embargo. Since it's at the end of May, if there no certainty that these weapons will be used by legitimate opposition members and cut from any terrorist grip. For now, we don't have it. So we will not do it as long as we don't have certainty that there is total control of the situation by the opposition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJPAL: Well, an opposition activist network says another 20 people have been killed across Syria today. One British blogger has become an expert on the weapons being used in Syria's civil war. Atika Shubert reports he's tracking arms from the comfort of his home far from the conflict.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 3,000 miles away from the fighting in Syria, Eliot Higgins of Leicester, England is a stay at home dad with an interesting hobby: he tracks the weapons of the war from his suburban home sifting through hundreds of battle videos posted online.
ELIOT HIGGINS, BROWN MOSES BLOGGER: When the Syrian air force started using helicopters, I was keeping an eye on that. And then I saw my first partly exploded bomb and identified that. And that was really the start of focusing on weapons identification.
SHUBERT: Eliot have never been to Syria. He has no military experience or any background in weapons. But when he lost his admin job, he used the extra hours to start a blog under then handle Brown Moses after a Frank Zappa song.
HIGGINS: I have to look at my 18 month old daughter all day. So, I'm sort of checking my emails on and off every so often to see if anything is coming through, just keeping an eye on Twitter. And then once my daughter is in bed in the evening I'll sit down, I'll -- I've got a list of about 450 YouTube channels that are used by activists and (inaudible) in Syria. And I'll work my way through those channels and keep an eye for what's interesting. And then see if I can work a blog post on what I've seen.
SHUBERT: From his living room with only online videos, Eliot has shown the Syrian army's use of cluster bombs despite official denials. And he has shown a trail of Croatian weapons supplied to Syrian rebels by Saudi Arabia with the consent of western allies. An investigative expose published in The New York Times.
HIGGINS: And it shows a Croatian RBG six grenade launcher. And one thing I was trying to figure out was the specific type...
SHUBERT: And I mean that's really amazing, because a lot of this video that we're looking at in those -- for example those bolts that you pointed out, I mean, they're on the screen for maybe a second.
SHUBERT: So you really have to comb through these videos to get these details.
HIGGINS: I think once you've done it for as long as I have, stuff that stands out, you know, really, really stands out, what might look just like a flash of a green tube to someone I think, you know, that's got a -- the end -- the black end makes it look like an RBG 22.
HIGGINS: And unerring eye for detail that has put this unemployed dad in very high demand with Syria watchers.
Atika Shubert, CNN, Leicester, England.
RAJPAL: Christians around the world are marking Good Friday, that's when they believe Jesus Christ died on the cross before being resurrected. Many have gathered in Jerusalem to walk at the Via Dolorosa towards Jesus's burial place. The mini-pilgrimage is known as the Way of the Cross.
And in the Philippines, about two dozen men were nailed onto crosses to reenact Jesus' crucifixion in what is considered an extreme display of devotion.
Pope Francis will be presiding over Good Friday observances for the first time since becoming leader of the Catholic Church. Let's take you now to Rome where CNN senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann is standing by -- Jim.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, Monita. In fact, the pope is going to get into action about four hours from now. He's going to start with a prayer service at St. Peter's Basilica where he'll reflect and recite passages from the Passion of the Chris, sort of the detailed story of Christ's last moments on earth before he was nailed onto the cross, died, and was buried and then according to Christian tradition was resurrected three days later.
In any case, that will be the pope's activities from St. Peter's.
And then, he will go a few hours later across town to the coliseum. And he'll do the stations of the cross himself, the 14 stations of the cross. We expect that at least part of the way he'll be carrying a symbolic wooden cross the way that Jesus did according to the Christian tradition through the streets of Jerusalem, Monita.
RAJPAL: So much of this papacy so far, at least for the last couple of weeks, as he has been pope has been marked by how much he's doing things differently this time around, different from his previous -- from his predecessor I should say. Are we expecting anything different this time around for these services?
BITTERMANN: Well, I think we'll be surprised. I think there's some expectation that I think from this point onward that the pope is going to be doing things differently. He's going to be simplifying things. He's been telling it just in the first 10 days in office here. He's been telling his clergy that he wants to see them get out of churches, get out in the streets, get out with the people.
He's been saying he wants them to minister to the poor and -- just as he did last night in Thursday observances. He went out to a prison and washed the feet of the poor and also washed the feet of a nonbeliever, a non-Christian in any case, a woman.
So he is changing things. He's doing things differently. And a lot of it is aimed at simplifying what he calls the vanities that are sins of the church, the vanities being the sort of trappings of power that he believes are -- have sort of encroached on the Catholic hierarchy. And he's urging, and I think living by example, and sort of urging his fellow clergy to do the -- act the way he does and that is to simplify things and do things in a way that people can identify with.
RAJPAL: All right, Jim, thank you for that. Jim Bittermann for you there live for us from Rome.
Do join us for an Easter weekend special. CNN's Ben Wedeman takes us inside the selection of a little known Argentine cardinal as leader of the Roman Catholic church. To learn about this man who is now the first Jesuit pope, see it tonight at 11:00 here in Hong Kong. That's 7:00 pm for you in Abu Dhabi. Only here on CNN.
Coming up on News Stream, shocking allegations of unsafe conditions and workers forced to toil day and night. Investigators say they've found several illegal sweat shops in Argentina. And a human rights group says a major clothing manufacturer may be linked. We'll have details on that next.
RAJPAL: It's a high street fashion giant with stores in shopping centers across the globe, but now Zara is once again coming under scrutiny over how its clothes are made. Rafael Romo investigates as part of the CNN Freedom Project.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The workshop was a cluttered mess, authorities finding sewing equipment only meters away from bunk beds. At another sweat shop, investors found worn mattresses, unsanitary conditions, and all kinds of fire hazards. A human rights group says 21 mostly migrant workers live there, working shifts of up to 16 hours under conditions of slavery.
GUSTAVO VERA, DIRECTOR, LA ALAMEDA (through translator): These images show these places were in a dreadful situation. There were loose cables, flammable materials, plenty of dust and overcrowding. They were really living there like Animals.
ROMO: Gustavo Vera s the director of La Alameda, a human rights organization in Argentina dedicated to fighting modern-day slavery. La Alameda shot this video after a police raid at three workshops. And as you've seen the images as evidence in a federal complaint against three clothing manufacturers, Zara, Irish, and Cara Cruz.
There's no evidence that the companies own or directly operate the workshops, but Vera says there's definitely a link.
VERA (through translator): They found labels. They also found designs which prove that all of these three workshops worked for Zara.
ROMO: CNN requested interviews with all three companies. Cara Cruz said it has not been legally notified about the case and it has no knowledge of any links with Clandestine workshops.
Iris and Zara have not returned our calls. Both Argentina and Spain are on holiday for Holy Week.
But Inditex, the Spanish clothing giant which owns Zara, told Spanish newspaper El Pais that they're surprised and indignant about the complaint. "We have no knowledge of the facts and we don't know what they're referring to," Inditex said. "We have no tolerance when it comes to situations like this. We regularly audit the 60 providers we have in Argentina."
This is not the first scandal Zara faces regarding workshops where their clothes are produced. Back in 2011, the clothing manufacturer was fined $1.8 million by the government in Brazil after an investigation showed dozens of Bolivian and Peruvian migrant workers were producing clothes for the firm in conditions of slavery.
After the scandal, the company said that Zara has unveiled a series of new internal and external initiatives to reinforce control over the production chain. Now a major Zara store in Buenos Aires has been targeted by human rights groups since the most recent allegations surfaced.
Argentina has begun to crack down against trafficking. Last year a series of unconnected raids against other companies, also in Buenos Aires, targeting 12 sweat shops, 23 Argentine and Bolivian nationals were arrested, 76 immigrants from Bolivia, who were forced to sew clothes around the clock, were liberated during the operation.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
RAJPAL: Well, Zara's corporate owner Inditex is the biggest fashion clothing retailer in the world. The company generated nearly $3 billion in income last year. Zara opened its first store in Spain in 1975. It now has more than 1,700 stores in 86 countries and more than 120,000 employees worldwide.
We're learning chilling details about the gunman who carried out one of the worst school shootings in U.S. History. It took shooter Adam Lanza less than five minutes, five minutes, to kill 20 children and six adults and Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14 last year. He then killed himself. Authorities have unsealed the search warrants for this home that Lanza shared with his mother in Newtown, Connecticut. Nancy Lanza was the first person whom Lanza shot on that December day in her bedroom.
According to the search warrants, Adam Lanza lived as a virtual recluse. He kept a gun safe in his bedroom. Investigators also found 1,600 rounds of ammunition, some of it in a shoebox. And they found Samurai swords, knives, and a starter pistol, that's in addition to the semiautomatic rifle and handguns Lanza took to the school.
Now polls are suggesting support for stricter gun control laws in the U.S. maybe waning some three months after this Newtown shooting. And gun control legislation that's working his way through congress has been weakened. Jessica Yellin reports both developments have left the White House disappointed, but still pushing for action.
JESSICA YELLIN (voice-over): Surrounded by mothers of shooting victims, President Obama tried to shame Congress into passing legislation that would curb gun violence.
OBAMA: The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in Newtown happens and we've moved on to other things?
That's not who we are.
YELLIN: Next month, the Senate will vote on a measure to expand background checks on gun purchases to make it illegal to buy guns and resell them to criminals and increase funding for school safety.
OBAMA: None of these ideas should be controversial.
Why wouldn't we want to make it more difficult for a dangerous person to get his or her hand on a gun?
YELLIN: On a conference call Wednesday, Vice President Biden assured gun control supporters something will pass.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we're on the verge of getting a serious, thorough, universal background check system in place. And it will -- emphasize, it will save lives.
YELLIN: The president pointed out 90 percent of Americans support background checks.
What he didn't mention -- support for stricter gun laws has fallen 10 percent since the Sandy Hook shootings, now at 47 percent, down from 57 percent in December.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My sister loved teaching.
YELLIN: But supporters of gun safety are keeping up the pressure. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the $12 million ad campaign funded by New York's Mayor Bloomberg, launched this new spot today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a 911 call that there was a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
YELLIN: Something else the president didn't mention, Wolf. The legislation the Senate will take up next month will not include an assault weapons ban. It also will not include a limit on those high capacity magazine clips the White House once considered so important, Both disappointing developments for gun control advocates.
Jessica Yellin, CNN, the White House.
RAJPAL: England's football association could lose millions of dollars if the nation's fans are found guilty of racism. Alex Thomas will explain that later on News Stream and also show you how Rory McIlroy's struggling to regain golf's world number one ranking.
RAJPAL: World football's governing body is considering another case of racism at an international match, although the alleged culprits are a surprise. Let's join Alex Thomas for more on that and the day's other top sports stories.
Hello there, Alex.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: High, Monita. England's football association is facing the embarrassment of its national team playing a match behind closed doors and losing millions of dollars of revenue if the country's fans are found guilty of racism. England's supporters have been reported to FIFA for racism and zenophobia during the World Cup qualifier in San Marino last week. The complaint comes from FARE, the Football Against Racism in Europe campaign group.
It says FIFA are investigating. Other countries have recently had to play without fans after being found guilty of similar offenses.
In this instance, England fans are accused of chanting about brother's Rio and Anton Ferdinand. Rio, the Manchester United defender and a former England captain missed the game in controversial circumstances. Writing on Twitter he said earlier on Friday, "you expect and accept banter from fans on the terraces as its part of what makes the game great. But racism is not banter. And from your own fans? Wow."
Now, having been told jokingly by Tiger Woods to pull his finger out of a delicate part of his anatomy, Rory McIlroy is struggling to do so at golf's Shell Houston Open. McIlroy could move back above Tiger to the top of the world rankings if he wins in Texas this week. However, the young Northern Irishman didn't make a great start hitting this shot at the par 5 eighth hole in the water. That dunking resulted in a double boogie as he covered the front nine in three over par.
There were two other drop shots on the back nine, but also four birdies. McIlroy ending his opening round with a score of 73, one over par. That was nine strokes behind this man, D.A. Points, the overnight leader. Nine birdies in his round. He's top of the leader board, eight under par. No Woods this week.
Andy Murray has beaten Marin Cilic in straight sets to reach the semifinals of the Sony open in Miami as he seeks to replace Roger Federer as world number two. He'll face Richard Gasquet next.
While in the women's singles the final will see Maria Sharapova face Serena Williams. Williams producing an awesome displace in her semi to dispatch world number four Agnieska Radwanska. Her power enabling Serena to break the Poles serve at will it seemed during the opening set. She won it by 6-0.
Radwanska did eventually get on the score sheet in the second set, taking three games, but it's the world number one Serena Williams who won the match 6-0, 6-3, setting up that showdown with Sharapova.
We'll have another update in a couple of hours time and a full World Sport show in just over four hours. For now, back to you in Hong Kong, Monita.
RAJPAL: All right, Alex, thank you very much for that.
You know, America's fascination with UFOs apparently is as strong as ever, who knew? Brian Todd reports on a decades old FBI document that still holds lots of interest.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's called the vault, the FBI's digital reading room, where any of us can go online and view the bureau's most notorious cases. Guess which is the most popular file? John Dillinger's? Jimmy Hoffas? Nope.
JOHN FOX, FBI HISTORIAN: Since we opened the vault, it's been this memo about flying disks or flying saucers, and it relates to an allegation that we heard from a third hand, you know, saying that the Air Force had found a couple of saucers out in the New Mexico desert.
TODD: No, no, can't be. I mean, most people want to read about Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone, right?
FOX: You would think so but this memo itself has gotten over a million page views in two years since we put it up. Al Capone, doesn't make our top 50.
TODD: The memo's all of two paragraphs. Agent Guy Huddle, then head of the FBI's Washington field office, writes that an Air Force investigator stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape, with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter.
Not only that, each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape, but only three feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.
John Fox is the FBI's historian.
(on camera): This was never followed up on, right?
FOX: No. In fact it says right here. No further evaluation was attempted concerning the above.
TODD: Why not?
FOX: From what's written here, from what we can read, it certainly looks like they thought that this was third hand information. That this was not necessarily a hoax, which it could well have been, but that, you know, someone was simply reporting hearsay.
TODD (voice-over): And it was more for the Air Force to look into, along with countless other reports of UFOs in Roswell, New Mexico, and elsewhere. Reports that were never substantiated. One reason the memo from Agent Huddle went viral is because when the FBI vault was set up online two years ago, tabloids seized on that memo saying it appeared to back up theories that aliens exist.
(on camera): And it's not just the guy Huddle memo that's a favorite. There are hundreds of other pages of memos and files in the FBI vault. In the "Unexplained Phenomenon" section all about alien and UFO sightings that are more popular online than the FBI's files on Bonny and Clyde, serial killer Ted Bundy and other famous cases.
(voice-over): Cases involving Osama bin Laden, investigations into the murders of civil rights leaders, all part of FBI lore. Fox says out of all the strange cases he's come across...
FOX: The descriptions here of, you know, 50-foot-diameter saucers and human shapes three-foot-tall metallic clothed aliens, that's unique.
BRIAN: And we can say, a little frustrating for FBI officials who tell us it diverts attention from all the work they've done, all the dangers they've faced through the years to capture fugitives and solve the nation's most difficult crimes.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
RAJPAL: Well, before we go, what may be the worst burglary attempt ever is caught on surveillance tape. This would-be thief strolled up to a convenience store window in Reading, California, peered in to look around, giving the camera just enough time to catch a good shot of his face. Then walks away, only to return with a stocking pulled clumsily over his head. He takes another quick look around, then hurls a rock at the window, but he's so startled by the alarm he sets off, he trips while fleeing the scene, then trips again. Police are asking for the public's help in identifying this would-be robber.
Can't imagine it would be hard.
That is News Stream for this Friday. I'm Monita Rajpal. The News Continues here at CNN. World Business Today is next.