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Pope Francis Issues Dream for Church's Direction; U.S. Fliers Defy China's Air Defense Identification Zone; Anti/Pro-Government Protests Grow in Bangkok; Behind the Scenes at CNN Heroes All-Star Event; Prince William Sings Karaoke; Massive Storm Causes Flight Delays Ahead of Thanksgiving in U.S.
Aired November 27, 2013 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULINE CHIOU, HOST: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.
Message to Beijing, the U.S. sends unarmed military planes into China's newly declared air defense zone.
Plus, protesters in Thailand try to keep he pressure on the prime minister. Demonstrators target more government buildings.
And the fight against human trafficking, why it's become an increasingly high tech struggle.
Escalating tensions with an apparent act of defiance by the U.S. following China's declaration of a new air defense identification zone over a large part of the East China Sea. The U.S. and Japan are both criticizing the move. And to underscore that, the U.S. flew two unarmed bombers through the air space, ignoring China's demands that the planes identify themselves and submit flight plans to Chinese authorities.
We'll have more on that later, but first why the new zone is stirring up old tensions. CNN's David McKenzie is live in Beijing with more. David, what has China said about the U.S. ignoring this zone and sending those jets over?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically China is saying we're watching you. They say that the unilaterally declared air defense identification zone was in place, that it was working. The defense ministry has reached out to us and others here in Beijing saying that they were aware of the planes, that they could identify who owned the planes and they gave pretty detailed accounts of where they went and how long they're in the disputed zones.
So, really China is ratcheting up the pressure saying that this is all part of their sovereign right to defend their country. Listen to the ministry of foreign affairs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QIN GANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): China's imposition of the East China Sea air defense identification zone is exercising our legitimate self-defense rights. We have notified relevant countries and relevant issues before making the announcement. We are willing to work together with relevant countries to strengthen communication in order to maintain regional peace, stability and flight safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Well, the issue there is that China is saying it can act in its own defense and points out that other countries, like the U.S. have similar zones around its territorial waters, though analysts, Pauline, do say that this is -- it might be less necessarily about it's own self- defense and more about stamping its authority on the region.
Of course, inside this zone are the -- according to the way Chinese say it -- the Diaoyu Islands, which it says are part of its territory. That's, of course, disputed. Japan calls them the Senkoku Islands and they say that is their territory.
So certainly it could lead to potential dangerous situation here in east Asia.
CHIOU: Now, David, if it is partly about those Diaoyu Islands, which is what China calls it -- and Senkoku, which is what Japan calls it -- are they really that valuable? Because some of these islands are just barren rock.
MCKENZIE: Well, the islands are barren rock, but there are two things that make these important. One is national pride, of course. Japan and China have a long troubled history and both countries lay claim to those islands for some time. It all kicked off most recently late last year when Japan bought the islands from private owners and said that they would administer them.
The U.S. has generally kept out of this issue, though of course the U.S. is a very key military ally to Japan. And it's called China's move unhelpful saying that it potentially could be a dangerous situation.
Also, the newly minted U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, weighed in on this issue. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROLINE KENNEDY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN: As Winston Churchill said, we arm to parlay. In dangerous times, the United States has always stood for the principle that disputes should be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue. And we are ready to assist this process in every way we can.
As Secretary Kerry said last weekend, we hope to see a more collaborative and less confrontational future in the Pacific, unilateral actions like those taken by China with their announcement of an East China Sea air defense identification zone undermines security and constitute an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea. This only serves to increase tensions in the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Well, certainly the U.S., China and Japan probably don't want any kind of military confrontation, but the worry is this could lead to some kind of accidental confrontation. There are already many times that the Japanese scrambled their F-15 jets to the disputed areas to meet Chinese military planes. And now with China laying claim to this area as part of its own defense strategy, certainly the worry is it could lead to some kind of mistake that could pull the three super powers as it were when it comes to economies and the super powers of this region into some kind of issue.
So, certainly worrying times in the East China Sea.
CHIOU: Right. And there are economic repercussions with the three being major trading partners.
Now, David, both Japan and the U.S. have their own air defense identification zones. So why are they objecting to China setting up their own?
MCKENZIE: Well, it's not so much the zone itself that I think is an issue here. Many people do -- many countries do have these zones, Pauline. The issue here is that Japan and China's zones overlap in this case and that both lay claim to territory which the other says is nothing to do with the other. So really it's more about the diplomacy than about the issue of self-defense.
These islands, these rocks in the sea as you describe them, uninhabited kind of specks of land out in the ocean, but the possibility is there for strong natural resources, fine, that puts the economic angle even more directly into play here. But that could be only many years into the future.
It's really also about China expanding its military muscle in the region. Xi Jinping, the president here, has certainly taken control of the military, unlike his predecessor did in his early days in office.
So it's as much about China also trying to put itself into the world stage from a military standpoint. And though China's military assets at this point cannot match the U.S.-Japan alliance, it is all about this brinkmanship, though again it's a dangerous game indeed.
CHIOU: OK, David, thank you very much for putting it into perspective from both China's side as well as Japan's side.
Well, China's air defense identification zone also covers a South Korean ocean research center on a wreath in the Yellow Sea. Defense officials from both countries are expected to discuss this overlap later on this week, but South Korea's defense ministry spokesman has said the government will fly over the area without informing China.
And Australia summoned the Chinese ambassador on Tuesday over this very issue. In a statement foreign minister Julie Bishop said Australia has made clear its opposition to any coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea.
Now the United States sees this as much more than a territorial dispute between China and Japan.
CNN's Barbara Starr joins us now live from Washington to give us the perspective from the U.S. Now Barbara, what exactly is the message the U.S. was sending by flying these B-52s all the way over from its base in Guam?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pauline, I think the U.S. military, the U.S. administration was basically saying we're going to do it. You know, you can put your restrictions up there, but we are not going to change the way the United States military operates at any point just because China says so. So that means they flew through the zone, essentially, with these two B-52 bombers, not identifying themselves, not filing a flight plan, not declaring their transponders, none of the measures that China wanted.
Look, the reality is everybody knows China can track airplanes and the U.S. military would have tracked the B-52s through radar and kept a very careful watch from a distance to see if China was launching any airplanes to come after them. Everybody watches everybody else out there.
So, nobody was really looking for a military confrontation, per se, but this is really message sending on all parts by all parties. The concern, as David McKenzie just said, is that this not get out of control and there not be some kind of incident that nobody wants to see happen -- Pauline.
CHIOU: Yeah, and also from the U.S.'s point of view, Barbara, is this more about not just sending a strong message, but really sending a message standing with its ally that it's supporting Japan, or is the U.S. making a broader statement that the Obama administration really is serious about making this pivot to Asia?
STARR: Well, I think it's actually probably a bit of both. Japan is one of the U.S.'s closest allies in the Asia-Pacific region. And this clearly was an effort to make sure that China understood that that alliance with Japan, that military alliance remains very strong and unshakable. But there is this so-called Asia pivot by the United State military, more focus on Asia, more focus on the U.S. military presence in that region, for the simple reason that China is trying to extend its military muscle and the U.S. wants to be there to support its Asian allies.
As David was talking about, this is the economic powerhouse region. So any military destabilization has real potential economic consequences and that's one of the reasons the U.S. is pressing for stability and a bit of calmness about all of this -- Pauline.
CHIOU: OK, great perspective as always. Thank you very much Barbara Starr there live from the Pentagon.
Now, if you have questions about the controversial air zone that we've been talking about, we do have some answers on our website. You can also learn more about disputed islands in the East and South China Seas. Most are uninhabited rocks, but the area could be rich in natural gas and also oil. You can find out more at CNN.com.
Some news is coming into us from Latvia. The prime minister there Valdis Dombrovskis has resigned, this comes in the wake of that deadly supermarket collapse in the capital of Riga last Thursday. 51 people were killed when the roof of that building caved in. It was the deadliest accident in the country since it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991.
You're watching News Stream. And just ahead this hour, angry protesters in Thailand surround more government buildings. We'll have the latest the push to unseat the Thai prime minister.
In Syria, the situation is increasingly grave for children. Authorities are now rushing to stop the spread of polio.
And a special report from CNN's Freedom Project. We'll tell you how criminals are using technology for human trafficking. Stay with us.
CHIOU: You are watching News Stream. And you're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today.
We have already told you about the controversy surrounding China's newly declared air defense zone. Later, we'll bring you reaction to the pope's call for change in the Catholic church.
But first, let's go to the Thai capital of Bangkok. Anti-government protesters there are continuing their push to remove prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Part of that is a debate underway right now in parliament. Lawmakers are considering a no confidence motion as the opposition tries to bring down the government. A vote is expected tomorrow, Thursday, but given her party holds a majority there is very little chance that motion will actually succeed.
Let's take a look at some of the sites where protesters have been gathering in the past couple of days. Demonstrators are still occupying the finance ministry building that they stormed on Monday. It is located in central Bangkok not far from parliament house and many of the city's popular tourist attractions. The agriculture and interior ministries were also surrounded.
Red-shirt supporters of the government are staging their own protests gathering at a football stadium about 12 kilometers away.
And today the department of special investigation became the latest target of anti-government protesters and that's where our own Anna Coren filed this report.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the latest show of political turmoil here in Thailand, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Bangkok demanding the resignation of Thailand's prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government. They say that she is just a puppet for her older brother Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted from power during a military coup in 2006.
Well, these protesters say they want an end to the Thaksin regime and an overhaul over the Thai political system.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm (inaudible) that Thailand to be red, yellow, I don't like it. I think (inaudible), you know, we have three colors -- blue, white and red together, not red, not yellow. It is together, same color, it's Thailand.
COREN: Well, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is refusing to go anywhere, instead calling for dialogue to end this political crisis. She has, however, given authorities more power to deal with these demonstrators, although insists that no force will be used against these people.
It was a different scenario back in 2010 when at least 90 people were killed during street protests that lasted two months, shutting down parts of Bangkok.
Well, so far these demonstrations have been peaceful. No acts of violence have been reported, and that is something that prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra desperately wants to avoid.
Anna Coren, CNN, Bangkok.
CHIOU: Now we move on to the situation in Syria. As the civil war continues to devastate the country, another crisis is unfolding there. After the break, we'll tell you why the World Heath Organization is raising the alarm about the reemergence of a deadly virus that's spreading.
CHIOU: In Syria, state media are reporting that the government will send a delegation to an international peace conference in Geneva in January. The so-called Geneva II conference, this is supposed to bring the Assad government the opposition groups to the negotiating table, but it's still unclear which opposition groups, if any, will actually take part. The Free Syrian Army says it will not attend, citing doubts over the talks potential for success.
Well, adding to the misery on the ground in Syria is a polio outbreak which is spreading. The World Health Organization says 17 cases have been confirmed so far. Fred Pleitgen has more now from Damascus.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The vaccine is bitter. Little Inua (ph) cringes as he swallows, but it's key to combating a polio outbreak in Syria.
"We heard of the outbreak and that the government is giving vaccinations, Inua's (ph) father says. And so I went to get my son vaccinated as fast as possible.
At Damascus schools children sing before getting the polio vaccine.
The World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that the disease has spread to the Syrian capital, this after more than a dozen cases were found in northeastern Syria last month.
(on camera) : This is part of a massive vaccination campaign in the wake of the polio outbreak. It doesn't just involve the Syrian government, but also the World Health Organization and UNICEF as well.
But doctors say they're not only trying to reach children in the government controlled areas, but are also going into dangerous zones controlled by the opposition.
(voice-over): The outbreak is the first here in almost 15 years. And the WHO warns that the virus is spreading as people flee their homes trying to get out of harm's way.
As the fighting intensifies, opposition areas especially have seen the collapse of the healthcare system.
Government forces have laid siege to many rebel controlled towns. And activists say food and medicine are not reaching those who need them most.
It's impossible to independently verify horrifying images of malnourished children like these posted on social media. But an opposition leader contacted by CNN says the situation in the besieged areas around Damascus is getting worse by the day.
"Medical supplies are the most needed," he says, "because a person can manage hunger, but cannot bear illness or see his children suffering from a wound from shelling. We are forced to support the free army to break this siege."
The government for its part blames rebels fighters for the shortages. A top Syrian health care official told me many hospitals and other medical centers throughout the country have been destroyed by the fighting.
AHMAD AL ABOUD, DIRECTOR OF PRIMARY HEALTH CARE: We (inaudible) and other charities to repair these centers or hospitals or to put like building, any building to doing as centers to provide the care to the children of (inaudible)
PLEITGEN: While both sides point the finger at each other, it's clear who is suffering the most: Syria's children threatened by war and now also by disease.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Damascus.
CHIOU: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is praising the nuclear deal his nation reached with world powers as a positive first step. Foreign minister Javad Zarif is set to go before parliament today to explain this agreement.
Mr. Rouhani addressed the nation on the 100 day mark for his cabinet. The interim deal rolls back Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the easing of some sanctions. Mr. Rouhani says while progress has been made, there's still a long journey ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Our nuclear right will be operational with more strength and clarity, even the right of enrichment which is a part of our nuclear rights will continue. It is being continued today. It will continue tomorrow. And our enrichment will never stop. This is our red line. The enrichment in Iran will never be stopped and this is our red line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is warning congress not to push for any new sanctions while negotiations on a long- term deal with Iran continue over the next six months. He sent a videotaped message saying that threatening new sanctions would jeopardized future talks.
France says it's sending hundreds of additional soldiers to the Central Africa Republic. A United Nations official warns that the country is now giving way to complete chaos. France says the troops' mission will last about six months and will be coordinated with the UN as well as the African Union.
This latest crisis follows decades of instability and unrest. Vladimir Duthiers is covering the story from Lagos, Nigeria and he filed this report.
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: The rationale and the reason that France has decided to sent more troops into the Central African Republic is simple: the cycle of violence between the Musim minority now in power and the Christian majority could become a genocide.
Now since March, thousands have been killed after a coup deposed President Francois Bozize and replaced him with the rebel commander Michel Jotudiah (ph). Now since then, the UN says 460,000 people, close to 10 percent of the population, have fled their homes and more than 1 million are in dire need of food aid.
And here's what French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Drian had to say about the situation.
JEAN-YVES DRIAN, FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The Central African Republic is in serious condition. The state is on the verge of collapsing and the country itself must not collapse. There are extortions, massacres, military chaos, which comes with the collapse of security.
DUTHIERS: A situation that is so serious that the president of the republic called on the United Nations about it last September and there is going to be a UN resolution in the coming days.
(on camera): Now France has historically played an active role in supporting its former colonies, most recently the latest action in Mali back in January. This would see them sending another 1,000 troops into the Central African Republic to support the 400 troops that are already in country in an effort to prevent the total collapse of a nation which could spread and destablize neighboring countries.
Vladimir Duthiers, CNN, Lagos,
CHIOU: Pope Francis has presented his plan for radical reform of the Catholic Church. We'll tell you more about that coming up next on News Stream.
Plus, how technology has changed the way human traffickers work. A special report from the CNN Freedom Project.
CHIOU: I'm Pauline Chiou in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines. Two U.S. Air Force planes flew into air space that China calls its air defense identification zone. It covers a chain of islands which have long been claimed by both China and Japan. The U.S. jets were unarmed and on a training exercise from Guam.
Protesters in Thailand are vowing to continue their demonstrations against the government. They've been surrounding key government ministries and offices in a bid to shut them down and oust the prime minister. Yingluck Shinawatra faces a no confidence vote in parliament tomorrow, Thursday.
Latvia's prime minister is resigning following the collapse of a supermarket roof that killed at least 51 people in the country's capital last week. It was the deadliest incident in Latvia since it gained independence. Valdis Dambrovskis had been in been since 2009.
Italy's Silvio Berlusconi is bracing for what could be another big blow to his political career. You are looking at live pictures of protesters gathered outside his house right now in support. The Italian senate will vote later on today on whether to expel the former prime minister from parliament following his conviction for tax fraud in connection with his Mediaset television empire.
But the billionaire media mogul and divisive political figure isn't likely to step away from the political spotlight even if he is stripped of his seat in parliament. He has called on supporters to rally outside his residence in Rome. And we are bringing you these live pictures of that now of the demonstration outside of his house. His supporters feel a clear sense of injustice and say Berlusconi has been unfairly targeted.
Well, staying in Italy right now, Pope Francis held his weekly audience at St. Peter's Square today, one day after his call for sweeping reforms in the Roman Catholic Church. In a bold new document released on Tuesday, he lays out his vision for the church, his message stop obsessing about rules and procedures and focus on reaching out to the poor and the marginalized.
The document is sure to shake up the status quo, it's called the joy of the gospel and is his first major work as pontiff. In it, he says he prefers a church that is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets rather than one that is confined.
He criticizes the global economic system as unjust at its root and attacks unfettered capitalism as, quote, a new tyranny in which financial speculation, widespread corruption and tax evasion reign supreme.
And while he reiterates the church position that it cannot ordain women, he does call for a more incisive female presence in the church, especially where important decisions are made.
There are more than 1 billion Catholics around the world and many have applauded the pope for what they say is a really positive step.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a bit shocking and breaks away from the tradition, but I think that the pope is reestablish old values of the Catholic Church, so I'm actually very -- I'm extremely pleased of all the changes and what's happening in the church.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Him asking us to look at certain thinkings we have, or thoughts we have about the Catholic Church, my initial reaction would be that it's a suggestion to look at what we believe so far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He's fighting for a new church, to create a new type of church that is more for the poor. If you think about it, now it's more governed by money than by religion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): If he changes the church, he can help people and make people recover their faith that has been lost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's a little more flexible and not so closed off to new ideas does make me more interested in getting closer to the church.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I used to listen to the pope I just changed the channel and everything, but now I really want to listen to what he has to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: So there you have it. You're listening to Catholics from around the world.
For more now on this major documents, let's bring in our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman from Rome.
Ben, what kind of impact will some of his very strong words have both inside and outside the Vatican?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly within the Vatican it's really going to shake things up, but it's important to note that what's in this latest set of statements he's issued, is really a collection of statements that he's made since he was elected to the papacy last March. But the fact that they're now in a book for everybody to hold and see certainly reiterates that he's very serious about his message, his message of change.
Now as we heard from that collection of voices just a moment ago, ordinary Catholics seem to be by and large very enthusiastic about his message of getting the shoes of the church dirty, focusing on the concerns of ordinary people, about inequality, consumerism and what not.
The question is, within the church itself -- and it is the world's oldest bureaucracy -- how willing are those who staff that bureaucracy, how willing are they to make those changes? And we have yet to see. There have been some voices suggesting that his economic message is a little too radical for some, that his willingness to bring in people who have been excluded from the church, gays for instance, there are those who are not so happy about that message.
But certainly, from ordinary Catholics what we're hearing is a wave, a groundswell of support for this message of rejuvenation, change, openness at the moment, but we shall see -- Pauline.
CHIOU: You know, Ben, one of the voices we just heard before we came to you really struck me was a woman there in Sao Paulo who said that in the past when she saw the pope on television she would just change the channel, but with this pope she really wants to hear what he has to say. And that really speaks to his charisma.
Now, Pope Francis hasn't been pontiff for a year yet, but he seems to have made such a huge impact on individuals. When you hear about incidents where he calls people on the phone to reassure them, or he meets with them one on one. You're there in Rome. What's your impression of him as a pontiff, as a leader for the Catholics?
WEDEMAN: Well, certainly if you look across the world stage, he is one of the few world leaders that's talking about things like economic injustice and inequality. And it certainly is making a difference. People are listening to what he says. And certainly, you know, I've been coming and going from Italy for now 30 years, but this is one pope who when he speaks, people listen.
To use a rather overused phrase, certainly we for us as journalists, we have to pay close attention to what's going on in the Vatican. And specifically to what he says, because he has struck a series of messages that people are listening to. And he's also a pope that understands the importance of communications, not simply making a speech at the Vatican, but calling up people on their cell phone and speaking to them directly, making a direct connection with the head of this ancient institution and ordinary people, ordinary Catholics who -- many of whom, as that woman pointed out, had become rather indifferent to what the church had to say.
CHIOU: Yeah, so interesting and so colorful to hear some of those anecdotes about him reaching out to individuals who are suffering just calling them on the phone at home.
All right, Ben, thank you very much for our perspective there. Ben Wedeman there live from Rome.
Well, the CNN Freedom Project shines a light on the victims of human trafficking and those fighting to help them. Earlier this month, we told you how Google and Microsoft unveiled new technology to help block child pornography images from Internet searches. That news came on the heels of the arrest of hundreds of people around the world in a Canadian investigation of a child pornography ring. It allegedly used the Internet to distribute images.
Activists are acutely aware that human trafficking is now fully integrated into the digital age. Chris Wheelock begins a series of reports now looking at the problem and the response.
CHRIS WHEELOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In just 20 years, computers and mobile phones have become part of the fabric of our 21st Century world. Technology has changed the way we communicate, conduct business, even entertain ourselves. The same technology advances have also changed the way criminals operate.
MARK LATONERO, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, USC ANNENBERG SCHOOL: It is facilitating communication in almost every aspect of our social life both good aspects and bad aspects. And one of the negative aspects is human trafficking.
WHEELOCK: Mark Latonero is the research director at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. For the past three years, he's been investigating the global issue of technology and human trafficking at the request of the U.S. State Department.
LATONERO: Technology has been used to facilitate the human trafficking trade both domestically and internationally. And it's doing that through websites, online classified sites, mobile phones, even video games and social networking sites.
WHEELOCK: Criminals are using technology to recruit girls into forced prostitution.
BRIAN PEAGLER, INVESTIGATOR, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPT: If you have an individual who is trafficking in human beings...
WHEELOCK: Brian Peagler is a human trafficking investigator for the San Francisco Police Department.
PEAGLER: ...can happen at some of the best Catholic high schools here in San Francisco, or a much more common places -- foster homes, online, chat rooms. There's no place that in my investigations that I found that is out of bounds, if you will, for recruiting.
WHEELOCK: Compliments and online small talk give way to offers to make money. Police and people who work with victims tell us drugs, physical abuse and threats usually follow. The girls become hopelessly trapped.
RONALD HOSKO, ASST. DIRECTOR, FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIV: We saw here within the last year a group called the Underground Gangster Crips here just in the D.C. suburbs. That was a group that was using social media to come in and recruit girls into prostitution, which became forced prostitution.
WHEELOCK: The leader of that gang was one of 150 pimps and operatives arrested in a three-day roundup in 76 U.S. cities that focused on human trafficking called Operation Cross Country Seven.
The gang leader was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to more than 40 years in a federal prison. 105 sexually exploited children were freed during the operation.
HOSKO: We are working with our partners to aggregate data and understand where we should be and when we should be there.
WHEELOCK: One of the most important partners is the technology industry. And Microsoft is among the giants at the forefront of researching the problems of technology and trafficking to help find solutions.
SAMANTHA DOERR, MICROSOFT DIGITAL CRIMES UNIT: People across the product teams who may have an interest in understanding the role that their technologies might play both in facilitating and being able to disrupt kind of across the company. But, again, because we're all in this learning phase, it's tough to say yet what our role is going to be in the future. But we know that we -- we know that there's something here, there's something important to look at and understand.
WHEELOCK: Chris Wheelock, CNN, Atlanta.
CHIOU: And tomorrow, we take a closer look at what Microsoft's digital crimes unit is doing to fight the use of technology in human trafficking.
Americans are gearing up for Thanksgiving, but some terrible weather might mean not everyone can get home for one of the biggest holidays of the year. Tom Sater will have the latest on the weather conditions next on News Stream.
CHIOU: Parts of the U.S. are dealing with extreme weather, something that's hitting Thanksgiving travelers very hard. 95 flights remain canceled on Wednesday after more than 270 were grounded yesterday. More than 43 million Americans are en route for the Holiday period.
Now the powerful storm started in California before moving east. Rene Marsh has more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the end of the day, no one can control mother nature.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The ripple effect of this nasty nor'easter causing problems into the night for air travelers, the timing and shear size of the storm could not be worse.
ROB YINGLING, METROPOLITAN AIRPORTS AUTHORITY: A storm this large throughout the East Coast is going to have some effect on the flight system.
MARSH: With just hours before Thanksgiving, delays and cancellations adding up quickly as the storm pummels some of the nation's busiest airports. On average, one in 10 flights go through New York airports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With 80 percent of our airplanes touching the congested northeast. We're acutely aware that things can go wrong relatively quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those planes aren't trying to land.
MARSH: Some flights circled airports in the south on Tuesday until they could land. Low clouds and heavy rain delaying one in three flights taking off late from Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The weather here delayed her flight.
MARSH: Some air travelers deciding to change their planes in hopes of beating the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was very happy I booked the day I did, because if I booked tomorrow it would probably get delayed.
MARSH: The Peterson (ph) family planned on driving from north Virginia to Massachusetts, but changed their minds after seeing the forecast. They got a last minute flight instead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was painful. We could have gone to The Bahamas for a lot less, I think.
MARSH: Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate with a great Thanksgiving escape. Once we get through today, forecasters and travelers alike look ahead to Sunday, the busiest travel day of the year.
CHIOU: And that was Rene Marsh reporting.
So it is Wednesday morning in the U.S. If you're going to head out it's better to start early if you have to.
Tom Sater is live at the world weather center with more. Tom, I hope you're staying close to home this Thanksgiving.
TOM SATER, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: I'm staying right here. I'll be with you for the next 24 hours.
Here's how things are looking, though, the western U.S., central U.S. seeing pleasant conditions, but let me show you what it looks like on an interesting little computer app called Flight Explorer. In the light blue, these are all flights that are in the air, even the shaded ones are low level, so they're either landing or they're taking off.
Now, granted, the western U.S. is still asleep. It's about 5:30 in the morning. They're waking up. But you can start to see, we have right now just under 3,000 flights in the air. It's going to get up to around 5,400, 5,500 hundred in the next few hours. These are trans-Pacific flights, international flights, coming into the L.A. area.
So, again, our problem is going to be in the northeast corridor and as we continue to watch what is left of this system, it's really going to be about the wind. We had a little bit of snow deep south, we'll talk about that. The icing is still a concern in the high terrain. So anyone who is traveling east to west is going to, you know, put up with some icing, high elevation snows 15 to 20 centimeters, even up to 30 centimeters in a few locations. We still have watches and warnings and the high terrain up into upstate New York, Buffalo over 30 centimeters already, about a foot. Flash flood watches and warnings, and that includes metropolitan area from Philadelphia Interstate 76 is closed down westward, a four vehicle fatal accident. Eastbound is closed down in one direction because of severe flooding.
You can see the rainfall. Visibilities are low.
The wind problem I think is going to be the bigger issue, but look at the cold air catch up. Atlanta, sleet, freezing mix, so a little bit of snow in some areas. That's far south for this.
The system moves northward.
It's really the winds, I think, that are not going to cause so much in the way of cancellations of flights, but it will be delays. And it only takes one to push back the next one and the next and there it continues.
But here's where we're going to find some pretty strong winds. In fact, over 80 kilometers per hour from New York City in toward the Boston area. These are major hubs, including Philadelphia down into Dulles, again Reagan National.
So when you put a couple of these flights behind schedule it's going to toss thousands of people behind schedule. Hopefully everything will start to work a little bit better and unfold better as the day unfolds here in the U.S.
CHIOU: Yeah, OK.
And then we have to look forward to Sunday, which is another big travel day. And we'll check in with you about the weather forecast then.
OK, thanks so much, Tom.
Well, it is almost time for what's become an annual rite right here at CNN, our all star tribute to our CNN Heroes, a celebration of the top 10 heroes of the year and their extraordinary work helping others. This star- studded gala airs on Sunday December 1 at 8:00 pm Eastern time. Our entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner takes a peak at the preparations for this huge event.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, everybody, I'm Nischelle Turner, and I'm going to give you a backstage look at what it takes to put this whole CNN heroes awards show together. You ready for this? This is going to be cool. All right, come with me.
This year, we're back in New York, baby, at the American Museum of Natural History where the very first CNN heroes took place seven years ago.
KELLY FLYNN, SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS, CNN HEROES.: And I can't believe it's been that long. And we're thrilled to be back here. It's iconic and beautiful.
TURNER: And the first stop of the night for these everyday heroes and celebrities -- the red carpet.
Wow, look at it in here. Look at all of these lights. You know, work like this takes hundreds of people to set up working around the clock. And then the centerpiece of the evening. This year's CNN heroes will be honored right here in the whale room where one of the museum's biggest treasures will be watching over us all night. I'm talking about this lady right here. But that's not all that has to be done to get ready for this special event. 51 tables to set up. Nine cameras to put in place and one giant video monitor.
JEFF KEPNES, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CNN SPECIAL EVENTS: You wouldn't believe just really what it takes to put something like this on. And, you know, we had two days to bring it in and set it all up.
TURNER: Transforming this beautiful room from this. To this. All to honor ten everyday people who are changing the world.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN HEROES, AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE: It's just a nice thing to honor these people. These people, they don't get the limelight. They don't get honored. They don't have celebrities saying their names and praising their work. It's a nice thing for them. It's a nice pat on the back.
TURNER: A pat on the back from CNN becomes a very special night of inspiration.
CHIOU: So that's a quick look behind the scenes. And don't miss the show. CNN Heroes, and all-star tribute, an evening that's sure to inspire. And the encore airs on Monday, December 2 at 7:00 pm Hong Kong time.
Well, the U.S. president has a very important decision to make, which one of these turkeys gets a reprieve from becoming Thanksgiving dinner? Coming up on News Stream, we'll tell you why this year the public has a say.
CHIOU: In London, Prince William showed off his karaoke skills at a royal gala on Tuesday night.
There he is getting into it with country pop star Taylor Swift and rocker Jon Bon Jovi sharing the stage with the prince.
The event at Kensington Palace was for a charity close to Prince Williams' heart. Max Foster has more.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it really was a glittering affair here at Kensington Palace. Jon Bon Jovi receiving an inspiration award for his work with the homeless in America. And Taylor Swift flying in hot on the heels of her success at the American Music Awards.
TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER: I actually just kind of came right off stage after the AMAs and got on a plane and came here.
FOSTER: What was it like meeting Prince William?
SWIFT: Oh, wonderful. He's so cool.
FOSTER: Was he as you expected?
SWIFT: He's funny.
FOSTER: You've sung about being a princess before, the fairy tale. Is it what you expected here at the palace?
SWIFT: I think I really love the romanticized version of life when I write songs. I like to make it more daydreamy than it is. I don't typically write about every day occurrences or things that aren't, you know, life in slow motion and movie scenes and things like that, because I just kind of would rather see love that way. But, you know, as far as actually getting to be at a palace I have to say it's -- it really lives up to your expectations.
FOSTER: On homelessness, obviously it's a cause particularly close to the Duke's heart.
JON BON JOVI, SINGER: Like I said, our foundation in America deals specifically with the homeless issue. And it's very simple, we didn't need a scientist to create the cure and it just took money and will power.
I realized in a nutshell that we could really affect the homeless issue if, in fact, you know, we had the right people. And so for eight years now we've built 350 houses. We've had a restaurant for three-and-a- half years that feeds those in need.
CHIOU: So impressive. And that was Max Foster there.
Well, as we mentioned, millions of Americans are traveling for Thanksgiving. The holiday has its origins in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Back in 1621, the governor planned a festival to give thanks for a good harvest and 90 Native Americans attended.
In 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation called for -- calling for a national day of sincere and humble thanks. But its unique date is thanks to President Abraham Lincoln, he proclaimed the last Thursday of each November a national day of Thanksgiving.
Most people today also get Friday off. The four day weekend makes it ideal to travel and visit family.
Well, people traditionally eat a big turkey dinner for thanksgiving. And U.S. President Barack Obama will spare a turkey's life at the White House today. And as Jeanne Moos reports, the public has a vote.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What did one clumsy turkey say to the other at a Washington photo opportunity? Pardon me.
There they were in the ballroom of the posh Willard Hotel. Amid dangling chandeliers their snoods dangled as the press tried to get them to talk.
It's Caramel versus Popcorn. The White House is running a contest asking people to vote on which should be the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Some are comparing it to the "Hunger Games."
JENNIFER LAWRENCE, ACTRESS, "HUNGER GAMES": There's 24 of us. Only one comes out.
MOOS: But in this case, both come out alive. But only one gets the presidential pardon publicly.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are hereby pardoned.
MOOS: The other is an alternate.
(On camera): Our money is on Popcorn. Plumper. With a more robust gobble.
(Voice-over): Caramel and Popcorn join other illustrious duos.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Pumpkin and Pecan. Biscuits. Gravy.
OBAMA: Cobbler and Gobbler.
BUSH: Flyer and Fryer.
MOOS: Caramel and Popcorn come from a Minnesota farm where 20 finalists were trained in this cottage. John Burkel practiced lifting them onto this table so they wouldn't do this when their big day came. But Popcorn and Caramel seemed more relaxed than their human owners.
The kids taught the photographers to whistle and trill to get the turkeys to gobble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you and I speak turkey.
MOOS: The turkeys made the 1500-mile drive to Washington in 27 hours. They've already outlived most of their compatriots.
JOHN BURKEL, RAISED CARAMEL AND POPCORN: Truth is, on my farm, I've never raised them past 14 weeks. Because we eat them.
MOOS: Occasionally a pardoned bird gets peckish. Pardon-in-chief expresses ambivalence.
OBAMA: Thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha, because I was planning to eat this sucker.
MOOS (on camera): And then there was the turkey that didn't get pardoned, the one that met his demise behind Sarah Palin's back.
(Voice-over): It happened as she was giving an interview at a turkey farm shortly after she and John McCain were defeated. We'll spare you the gruesome part.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Well, this was -- this was neat.
MOOS: The people will decide whether Popcorn or Caramel gets the glory this year. At least this government Web site is working. It's no turkey.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHIOU: And on that note, that is News Stream, but the news continues right here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.