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18 Deaths From E. coli Outbreak; Mladic on Trial at the Hague; President Saleh Injured in Attack

Aired June 3, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: It's a killer bug with victims in 10 countries around the world. We still don't know the source of the deadly E. coli outbreak.

On this show tonight, we talked to one of the world's best scientific minds and ask why it is taking so long to find out.

Mladic in the dark. The so-called butcher of the Balkans dismisses the genocide charges against him as obnoxious.

And the Bahrain Grand Prix finally get the green light. Why human rights activists are outraged?

Those stories and more tonight as we "Connect the World."

Well, 18 dead and more than 1,800 infected. The toll is mounting and spreading, crossing continents and seas in what has become the deadliest E. coli outbreak on record and still scientists are baffled. We are no closer to knowing, of course, let alone finding a way to combat the mutant super bug sweeping Europe. Now finding victims in the United States as well. Patients are being treated with blood transfusions prompting Germany, which has been worst hit to appeal for donors to boost the national blood stockpile there.

And appeal has also gone out to the EU for aid as farmers in Germany, Spain and in Portugal are forced to watch their produce rot amid export bans. (INAUDIBLE) not coming (INAUDIBLE) enough and there are fears that the outbreak is yet to reach its peak. Our Frederik Pleitgen is covering the story in Germany. He joins us now from Hamburg. Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. And Hamburg is, of course, the epicenter of the deadly E. coli. The hospital that I'm standing in front of, the university clinic here in Hamburg is treating about 100 people and they say at least 70 of those are extremely severe cases where people are in a coma, where people are suffering from things like kidney failure. Now today, we were able to get access to the laboratories here where they are trying to find a way to treat this bacterial infection. Here is what we saw.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): This is the frontline in an effort to combat the deadly E. coli outbreak. Scientists at the Hamburg Medical Center test samples to see if they contain the dangerous bacteria called (INAUDIBLE).

BRIGITTE WEISS, MEDICAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANT: This is a plate for E. coli and you see a brown colonies, red-brown colonies. It's typical for E. coli.

PLEITGEN: More than 100 are currently being treated at the Hamburg clinic for the new E. coli strain. Several have died. Hamburg is one of the hardest hit areas of the bacterial infection but now a team of scientists at the clinic with help from Chinese researchers have managed to identify the E. coli's genetic code.

Dr. Holger Rohde is in charge.

DR. HOLGER ROHDE, HAMBURG UNIVERSITY CLINIC: By analyzing the molecular basis of pathogenesis, we can also identify (INAUDIBLE) to specifically combat these infections.

PLEITGEN: But the doctors say they still need to find out where the deadly E. coli comes from after Spanish cucumbers have been ruled out, some believe vegetables from Germany might be the culprit. But Dr. Rohde concedes the source of the infection is still very much unclear.

ROHDE: It's diffuse. We don't know where it comes from so the (INAUDIBLE) could be everywhere and so everybody is really upset.

PLEITGEN: What's also scaring people many of the E. coli cases are severe. Doctors in Hamburg say a lot of those diagnosed suffer from kidney failure and even seizures and that in many cases the damage will be permanent.

DR. JOERG DEBATIN, HAMBURG UNIVERSITY CLINIC: We saw patients who are really getting very sick in a very short amount of time and will require intensive care therapies. These stations generally have kidney symptoms as well as neurologic symptoms that we are focusing on.

PLEITGEN: And while the hospitals says there have been fewer new infections in the past days, they still believe the deadly E. coli bacteria is active. The only advice they give to the public is not to eat raw vegetables and hope the scientists here make progress fast.


PLEITGEN: And Becky, that is, of course, because it's so difficult to treat this form of E. coli. One of the things that doctors here told us is that at the beginning when they were just sort of confronted with this new bacteria, they tried to do the thing that doctors often do, they try to treat with antibiotics. But they say they soon found that actually made the infections even worse. So they're saying right now, all they can is hope for these effects to subside. There really isn't sort of treatment that would attack these bacteria directly. So right now, it really is a gain to see if they find the source of all of this and are able to cut off that source. So more people don't contract this form of E. coli. Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. It seems more questions than answers. Fred, thank you for that. Not knowing that is what is, of course, fueling the greatest fear and even if and when, of course, is eventually found. As Al Goodman reports it's too late for many farmers who are already facing the devastating effect.


AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Farmer Manuel Sanchez says his cucumbers are safe.

Spain and Germany and the European Commission now also agree. Spanish cucumbers did not cause the E. coli outbreak. Germany initially said the deadly had been traced to Spain and then later reversed itself. But many consumers still seem too nervous to buy them.

SANCHEZ MORENO, CUCUMBER FARMER (through translator): Germany is to blame because it said it was the cucumbers from here in Al Mario (ph) without any proof, he says. Germany created this problem.

GOODMAN: Which he and other export farmers are paying for with a huge drop in sales.

(on camera): At this time of year, they'd be harvesting 300,000 cucumbers a week right here in this greenhouse to put in these kinds of crates for export but right now, they're having to throw it all away.

SANCHEZ MORENO (through translator): The importer won't take this, he says. One day sitting here with high heat this is no good. It must go to market the same day it's picked.

GOODMAN (voice-over): At the nearby growers cooperative, which usually exports the cucumbers, visitors are routinely required to put on hygienic suits. Ironically, to protect the fresh produce from outside contamination. Fear that contamination might be originating with the cucumbers sent exports plunging.

PACO SOLA, GROWERS COOPERATIVE (through translator): Right now, business is practically stopped, he says. We've shipped some melon and watermelon and some tomatoes in Spain but exports to Europe are completely stopped.

GOODMAN: Idle machines where several hundreds usually toil. A half million dollars in losses in just a week. In this business, the lucky ones who are working get just a few hours a day, not a full shift.

OTTO CAICEDO, ECUADORIAN IMMIGRANT: Economically, you stop paying for many things because there's less money, he says. You can't make the monthly payment for the house, it's everything.

GOODMAN: Spanish produce exporters say they're losing $290 million a week in the midst of Spain's deep economic prices with 21 percent unemployment. As they chill this produce so they can hold it a few days longer, some hope for compensation from Germany but they aren't betting on it.

Al Goodman, CNN, (INAUDIBLE), Spain.


ANDERSON: Well, the European Union is the world's biggest exporter of food. The economic impact is likely to spread far beyond Spain. Let me take you exactly what was going on at present. This is Russia, five percent of cucumbers and 11 percent of tomatoes are imported from the EU, not an enormous amount but it is refusing to lift the ban on its - that it imposed on all EU produced vegetables.

We'll take you to Austria here, which is saying - stuff going on there. Inspectors are being sent in to more than 30 supermarkets to check out produce delivered by German companies.

In the Czech Republic here, also pulling suspect vegetables off their shelves as well.

We'll get down to the UAE. We reported this before. I just want to remind you of this, beyond Europe, the United Arab Emirates has closed its borders to cucumbers from Spain, Germany, Denmark and indeed, the Netherlands. And finally, not a country, of course, but an airline, American Airlines announcing that it won't be serving any green salads or tomato garnishes on its flight from Europe.

Well, it maybe months. We may never know. That is if you're the head of the German health body (INAUDIBLE) the source of this outbreak. Let's get professional opinion then of a leading expert on infectious diseases, Dr. William Schaffner from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, joining me live from the university, Nashville, Tennessee this evening.

Professor, the German health body suggesting we many never know what is going on here. Can we get to the bottom of this?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Well, I would be disappointed in that opinion because I would think with really careful, thorough, rigorous public health investigation, we ought to be able to find out the vehicle and track it to its source. It's been done many times in the United States with the appropriate techniques.

ANDERSON: Do you think we're still in an incubation period at this point? Or are we likely to see the peak of this outbreak anytime soon?

SCHAFFNER: Well the difficulty is we don't know what the source is and it is a continuing source, we could continue to consume or encounter the source and have cases beyond going. So I really think it's imperative to find the source, trace it back so we make sure it doesn't happen again.

ANDERSON: German scientists, I believe, claiming they've decoded the new strain's genes with the help of Chinese lab, interestingly enough, and what does that actually mean?

SCHAFFNER: Well, what it means is that they have been able to determine the exact kind of strain it is and the kind of toxin that it is producing and this is a wonderful fingerprint if you will of the organism and so you can see that our laboratory techniques are working fine. What we need is now the cooperation of our public health authorities to do their job.

ANDERSON: If not cucumbers from Spain, then what is the likely source?

SCHAFFNER: My goodness, the most common source for this kinds of outbreaks is indeed fresh produce but it could be other things that we don't expect at the present time. Every once in a while we find an unexpected vehicle for food-borne disease. So careful investigation has got to get us to the source.

ANDERSON: It is taking a long time. It is destroying lives. Fred reporting that there were people in comas behind him in the hospital that he was standing outside in Hamburg. It's destroying the economies of many - of the farmers who fill this produce across Europe. Why can't we in this day and age identify the source, the problem and a cure straight away?

SCHAFFNER: Well, it takes a great deal of work and from time to time even in the United States, where we are very practiced in these techniques, it has taken over a week or two for us to pin things down exactly. So we need a little bit more patience and we need to keep encouraging them. I'm sure they're working on it 24 hours a day.

ANDERSON: Dr. Schaffner, we thank you very much, indeed for joining us this evening on "Connect the World," your expert on the subject tonight. Quite remarkable story isn't and it continues.

"Connect the World" here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson.

In London, it's 13 minutes past nine. Coming up, Yemen's wounded president addresses the nation amid fears the country might be sliding towards an all-out civil war and when a war crime suspect, Ratko Mladic try to drag out his trial. Will put that question to the man who served on the legal team prosecuting one of his former allies. All, after this.


ANDERSON: A warm welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London. You are watching "Connect the World." Here's a look at the other stories that we are following with you this hour.

And a fast moving story out of Yemen this Friday night, just a short time ago. State TV aired an audio speech by the president. Ali Abdullah Saleh was slightly injured in an attack on the presidential palace.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom spent much of the early part of this shake in Yemen and tonight he is covering the story for you from Abu Dhabi. What do we know at this point?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, all day we heard from government officials in Yemen that President Ali Abdullah Saleh would be giving some sort of a press conference. He would be appearing in front of cameras to address the nation, to talk about the attack that he sustained earlier today at his presidential palace. Now at the end of the day, he didn't actually appear on camera. There was an audio message reportedly of him that aired on Yemeni state television a short while ago. Included in that audio message were this "I want to thank the courageous security forces in confronting the vicious act by a criminal gang that has nothing to do with the peaceful demonstrations that are going on in Sanaa in what is described as Change Square."

He also said "I thank all the sons and daughters of the nation who wanted to check on my well being and I want to tell you that I am well if you are doing well." Now, even though President Ali Abdullah Saleh had reportedly spoken to the country, many in Yemen are wondering how bad his health is right now because he did not appear on camera. Government security forces said earlier he sustained a slight injury to his head but because you haven't seen pictures of him, it's really adding to the speculation in Yemen as to how much injury he actually sustained, now vulnerable he is right now and how vulnerable his regime is because it was a shock to everybody that this attack took place and that whoever attack his compound was able to get that close. Government forces blaming it on tribesmen. The tribesmen saying it wasn't them but nonetheless, the fact that his attack happened in the mosque in his compound really raising fears at how vulnerable his government is right now. Becky.

ANDERSON: Mohammed Jamjoom reporting for you on the Yemen story from Abu Dhabi this evening. Mohammed, thank you.

Well, former presidential candidate John Edwards says that he has done nothing wrong - he's done wrong. Sorry. But he's never broken the law. This comes after he pleaded not guilty of allegations he used campaign money to cover up an affair. Edwards who was indicted on six counts including conspiracy, issuing false statements and violating campaign contribution laws. He could face up to 30 years in prison and fine of up to $1.5 million.

The White House is trying to ease fears of a double dip recession after a dismal jobs report earlier today. The U.S. government says only 54,000 jobs were created in May. Economists were expecting a gain of 170,000. Unemployment rate also edged up to 9.1 percent. Now, White House officials acknowledge those numbers are bad but they say that bumps on the road to recovery are to be expected.

Well, Greece looks set to get its next aid installment from international lenders, the IMF and the European Union, concluded their review of Athens' accounting, saying that Greece is showing progress. The international groups want greater say in Greece's economic reforms. All those reforms are causing turmoil at home. Protesters have been demonstrating against planned austerity measures and trade union protesters occupy the finance ministry building as you can see in these pictures.

One of the world's leading advocates of assisted suicide has died. Pathologist Jack Kevorkian claimed he helped 130 terminally ill patients kill themselves have been in the hospital with kidney problems. He became known as Dr. Death in the U.S. and was charged with murder many times. He was 83 years old.

On a dramatic debut at the Hague, the former general accused of genocide. Ratko Mladic calls the charges against him obnoxious. Telling a war crimes court he was simply defending his country. A full report here on CNN straight ahead. Don't go away.


ANDERSON: No apology, no admission of wrongdoing. No hint of any remorse. Ratko Mladic showed only contempt for a war crimes tribunal today as he made his first appearance at the Hague. Well, the former Bosnian Serb general is accused of genocide and ethnic cleansing during the 1990s.

Nic Robertson now reports Mladic (INAUDIBLE) his actions to self defense.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): he arrived wearing a military style hat, frail but brimming with vitriol.

RATKO MLADIC, WAR CRIME SUSPECT (through translator): I am General Ratko Mladic.

ROBERSON: Although physical infirm, his right arm and hand appearing limp, he glared and scowled as Judge Alphons Orie read the 11 charges of war crimes.

JUDGE ALPHONS ORIE, INTL. CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA: You Ratko Mladic are charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war.

ROBERTSON: Mladic sneered at families of victims of the Srebrenica massacre sitting in the gallery as those charges read out.

ORIE: Within days of the attack, Ratko Mladic (INAUDIBLE) formed the objective, to eliminate the Bosnian Muslims (INAUDIBLE) by killing the men and boys and forcibly removing the women, young children and some elderly men.

ROBERTSON: Mladic showing signs of his former self was openly combative, telling the judge, he'd never heard of the charges before, demanding time to consider them.

MLADIC (through translator): I would like to receive what you'd read out just now, these obnoxious charges leveled against me. I want to read this properly to give it some proper thoughts together with my lawyers because I need more than a month for these monstrous words, the ones that I've never heard before.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Inside the public gallery, I sat behind families of victims of Srebrenica. They cried. They called (INAUDIBLE) at Mladic. They made gestures towards him. He returned those gestures like this, telling us we were small. He smiled at them and did the same thing back. He could have not shown any less contrition, in fact, open defiance.

ORIE: Mr. Mladic, if you want to consult with counsel, you have an opportunity to do so.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): When the judge told him he could discuss his medical conditions in private, he gave a triumphant wave to the gallery and clapped.

After a 22 minute discussion, the session resumes. Mladic weighing out his defense.

MLADIC (through translator): I do not fear any journalist or any people, any nation or any ethnicity, I defended my people and my country.

ROBERTSON: It's the same defense he used during the three-year Bosnian war. The man dubbed the butcher of the Balkans is already making it clear, he'll fight to the bitter end.

Nic Robertson, CNN, the Hague, the Netherlands.


ANDERSON: Well, he declined to enter a plea today. Maybe he declines again at his next court date in July, the judge will enter a not guilty plea on his behalf. Well, many suspect Mladic will try and drag out this trial like his allies in the war, Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic did before him.

Let's talk about all of this with Mark Vlasic, tonight joining us from Washington. He served on the legal team prosecuting Milosevic in Hague as well as one of Mladic's deputy commanders. He was Mark, cooperating today but he clearly wants to spin this trial out. Will he be allowed to do that?

MARK VLASIC, MILOSEVIC TRIAL PROSECUTION ATTORNEY: I hope not. I'm confident the judges are going to try to put keep in a box and make sure he plays the role of a defendant as opposed to a politician trying to preach to an audience back in Serbia that hopefully is tired of the same old lies of Serb nationalism. He is tried as an individual. He is not being tried on behalf of the Serbian people. I think it's important to recognize that he is being tried for his crimes and personal crimes for what occurred at Srebrenica and the rest of Bosnia during the war.

ANDERSON: He said he's never heard these allegations against him. How defiant do you expect his defense to be?

VLASIC: I'm a little surprised to hear that he's never heard of the crimes against him. He's not the first person to be tried for the Srebrenica genocide and for the other crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia. So we'll see how this plays out. And in terms of his next steps, I imagine he's going to try to delay this. This is his moment in the spotlight. He's been living in hiding for years and I'm sure he's relishing the chance to be in court and feel the cameras on him again. He spent some time in front of the cameras after the fall of Srebrenica and was very clear about what he intended to do to the Muslims there and so we'll how he (INAUDIBLE) on TV, in the courtroom at this time.

ANDERSON: We remember his allies, Milosevic, of course, dying, Karadzic, his trial just continues. These things go on and on. How robust is the case against him and how long do you think this could take?

VLASIC: I think it's a very strong case against him so I'm looking forward to seeing how it proceeds. Again, there's been a couple of cases regarding the Srebrenica's case before this and there have been a number of convictions and so this case is a strong one. With respect to how long it will take, I think it will probably depend on the accused. One of the reasons the Milosevic case took so long was the fact that Milosevic was ill during the case and oftentimes when his wife come to visit in the early stages before she was indicted for murder, he would just call and set conjugal visits with her. And so I think it's one of those things for this case is - hopefully, the judges will keep the case focused and there will be as little delays as possible.

ANDERSON: Is this -

VLASIC: Recognize that this tribunal looks to insure the defense has - is met with any request that they can reasonably afford so it's not seen to be some sort of a (INAUDIBLE) tribunal. The defense really has a great chance in these cases.

ANDERSON: Is this a man who is fit enough to stand trial at this point?

VLASIC: I mean, I'm not a medical doctor but from the reports I've heard from the doctors who see him, he seems to be in good health. Obviously, he's been living on the run for a while. So it'll probably take some time for him to recharge his spirits but as seen from his day in court today, he got stronger as the trial went on. So I'm confident that if the doctor say he'll be well (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: Will he be forced to have a legal team represent him or will he be able to do it himself?

VLASIC: That's an excellent question. That's an issue that confronted the tribunal in Milosevic's case. If you look at the laws from Yugoslavia during the war, frankly, if you're charged with a capital crime, you're usually appointed a lawyer. You have to have a lawyer and in the case of Milosevic, he, of course, wanted to defend himself. That, of course, caused some complications in terms of making the trial that much longer because Milosevic's won't have a chance to question the other witnesses and the court appointed (INAUDIBLE) which basically had their own questioning of the witness. So it made the trial go about one third longer because of that. So, hopefully, Mladic will have his own counsel and that won't be a concern in this case.

ANDERSON: Good stuff, Mark. We thank you for joining us this evening, our expert on the case.

(INAUDIBLE) on headlines are less than 90 seconds away plus the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead but this story goes far beyond the race track from the moods of the drivers to the pressing concerns over human rights. We're going to bring you the very latest on that after this.


ANDERSON: You're back with "Connect the World." It's just about half past nine, out of London. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, a race in Bahrain gets reinstated. We're going to take a look at the controversial Formula One decision.

And a terrible crime committed in plain sight.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD at just about half past nine out of London. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, a race in Bahrain gets reinstated. We're going to take a look at the controversial Formula One decision.

And a terrible crime committed in plain sight. CNN's Freedom Project focuses on bonded labor this week, showing you why it's more common than you might think.

Those stories ahead in the next 30 minutes. First, a quick check of the headlines for you this hour.

The weeks are stretching on and still health authorities remain baffled by an E. coli outbreak that is now the deadliest on record. The lethal strain sweeping Europe has killed 18 people and infected nearly 2,000, with victims now reported in ten countries.

Yemeni state TV aired an audio message from President Ali Abdullah Saleh hours after his palace came under attack. Mr. Saleh reportedly suffered a minor wound and several body guards were reportedly killed.

Syria saw renewed bloodshed on Friday. A human rights group says pro- regime forces assaulted demonstrators in western Syria, 34 people were reported killed. This comes as the UN announced that more than 1,000 people have died since pro-democracy uprisings erupted there in March.

And war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic made his first appearance at the Hague earlier today, calling the genocide charges against him "obnoxious." The former Bosnian-Serb general told the judge that he's gravely ill and needs more time to formulate a plea. His next court date is set for July.

And a former US presidential candidate, John Edwards, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he allegedly misused campaign funds. He told the media, quote, "I did not break the law." Prosecutors say he used the money to cover up an affair with his mistress.

Those are your headlines this hour.

Courting controversy. The Formula One bosses say that they are going back to Bahrain. The Grand Prix there back on in the 2011 calendar, now set for October.

Well, the Middle Eastern country was due to host the opening race of the season's F-1 championship earlier this year. It was postponed after violent clashes between Bahrain security forces and pro-democracy demonstrators, in which 230 people were killed.

Well, the World Motor Sports governing body, the FIA, decided to reinstate the race after last month's fact-finding mission to Bahrain. Before coming to air, I sat down with Don Riddell, who's one of the sports team here, and asked about the mood of F-1's teams and drivers.


DON RIDDELL, SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's my understanding, Becky, they don't want to go. The teams all had a meeting in Monaco last week at which this was discusses, and they -- and the word to come out of that was that they did not want to go to Bahrain.

They're now faced with the decision where the sport has said, "We are going to Bahrain on the 30th of October."

I think it's quite telling that Red Bull, the top team in F-1 at the moment, has released a statement today saying, "Red Bull acknowledges the decision to go to the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2011. We will go through the correct channels and discuss this decision within the appropriate forum with the other F-1 teams and our fellow FOTA members."

So, that seems to me, Becky, as though this is really the start of this story rather than the end of it.

ANDERSON: Yes. What sort of recourse do teams and drivers have? Any?

RIDDELL: It's a bit tricky within Formula One. It's going to be a real test for the Formula One Teams Association, FOTA, as to how united they can be. I think if all 12 teams can get together and say "we're not going," then that will be fascinating, and they will have quite a lot of power.

But if they can only get 10 or 11 teams together, they might as well not bother.

ANDERSON: How important is it for the FIA themselves that they get back into Bahrain and get things going again?

RIDDELL: Well, I think it's quite important for the future of the sport in terms of sponsorship, money. Taking these races to these circuits is really where a lot of the revenue comes for Formula One. So, I think it's very important that they are seen to be honoring their contracts, there seems to be racing in Bahrain and, of course, they have relationships and a potential future with the Middle East in the region.

So, I think it is quite important for the top tier of Formula One but, as I said, the teams don't particularly buy it. And especially not in this instance, where you have, of course, a huge moral dilemma as to whether they should be going. Damon Hill has been quoted earlier on, has been absolutely against this decision to race there.

And of course, then, we have the safety concerns as well. One of the reasons they didn't race earlier in the season was because they realized it would be a magnet for protests, and is that going to be any different? We've had people in Bahrain e-mailing and messaging the teams directly saying please don't come, don't come to Bahrain.

So, if they do go, what's going to happen? And are these teams going to be insured? Who's going to cover them to actually go to Bahrain? So I think there's an awful lot, still, to be worked out.


ANDERSON: Even as the country lifted its emergency laws this week, it is still cracking down on the country's major Shiite political opposition movement. A street protest also being stifled as we hear now from one of my colleagues, Leone Lakhani.


LEONE LAKHANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The reinstatement of the Formula One race in Bahrain comes amidst a tense atmosphere. People there are really eager to see their country return to some form of normality, but the reality is quite different.

The Formula One decision comes as the government continues to crack down against an opposition movement and stifle protests.

On Wednesday, the government lifted a state of emergency, which was imposed in March, and the king invited all the parties to a dialogue in the coming weeks.

But opposition and human rights groups say more than 1,000 people are still being detained, including four members of Bahrain's largest opposition group, the Wefaq party.

Now, the crackdown in Bahrain began in March, a month after anti- government protests swept across the country, leaving dozens dead.

On the streets of Bahrain today, residents tell us, it seems normal on the surface, but people are still very nervous. They say they're careful about what they say because they know they're being monitored, and they know a crackdown is still underway.

The Formula One race brings in half a million dollars, and the government is eager to have it back in place, but amid such a tense atmosphere, the biggest concern will be security and safety, and that will be the biggest challenge. Leone Lakhani, CNN, Dubai.


ANDERSON: We are on the road back to reconciliation. That is the view of the man who runs the Bahrain International Circuit. Zayed Alzayani told CNN's Alex Thomas earlier that things, well, are different now.


ZAYED ALZAYANI, CHAIRMAN, BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT: We chose to postpone the event and not cancel it, and now having moved forward and things having calmed down in Bahrain and with the lifting of the national security and the easing of the travel advisories from foreign countries, we are in a position to host the event again.

The launch of the dialogue by His Majesty, which was done a few days ago, and it was well-received by all members of society, including the opposition.

For us, the Grand Prix is a moment of national pride. It is an event that is welcomed and endorsed by everyone in Bahrain. We've enjoyed wide support since the announcement came out, and even before, when we saw the major opposition, even the -- the major opposition party, Wefaq, showing statements in favor of having the Grand Prix back.

It is a great economic boost to our economy, which has suffered over the last few months. Generally, we enjoy revenues of about half a billion dollars from the Grand Prix, which are really spread amongst different sectors of the society in Bahrain.

So, it's been a good day for us here in Bahrain, and we welcome the news.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I don't think anyone would dispute how beneficial it is to Bahrain's economy, but you'll know yourself -- you only have to look at social networking websites to see that there are plenty of people in Bahrain who are not happy at this decision. What do you have to say to them?

ALZAYANI: Well, equally, there are a lot of people who are very happy about the decision. I think you will always have people on both sides. I think the majority is happy, by far the majority is happy, and that is evident even when we look at statements issued by the opposition.


ANDERSON: Well, you would expect the IC chief to be pleased, even relieved. But there are plenty of people who are, frankly, appalled at the decision. Activist Ricken Patel is the founder of the online campaigning network Avaaz.

Now, he is calling on Red Bull and the other F-1 teams to boycott the race, saying their reputation will suffer otherwise. Well, he's live at CNN's New York bureau for you this evening.

You were looking for 300,000 people to sign up. You got more than that, actually. You're pushing towards 400,000. Why is this so important to you?

RICKEN PATEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AVAAZ: Well, this decision to hold Formula One in Bahrain was really a kick in the teeth to the Bahraini people, because we've seen just an awful standard of brutality set there.

Today, a young girl was killed. On Wednesday, they used shotguns against peaceful protesters in the streets. And when those protesters are wounded, they couldn't go to the hospital safely because the regime agents wait at the hospitals and take not only the patients, but the doctors and nurses that treat them off to prison.

This is the kind of brutality we're seeing, and the granting of this kind of prestigious sporting event is an awful source of legitimacy for what's gone on here.

ANDERSON: It's slightly --

PATEL: Bahrain isn't fit for a holiday, let alone a sporting event like this.

ANDERSON: It's slightly unfair, isn't it, though, to accuse the teams of reputational damage given that they are told by the FIA what they need to do and where they need to race? It's not up to them. It's the FIA, not the teams, the Red Bulls or the drivers, at this point.

PATEL: Certainly, but I think sport has a great history of being able to drive human rights and concerns for democracy, and sporting events and the kid of isolation we saw with South Africa was able to end Apartheid.

And there's a way in which -- we've received a lot of requests and a lot of support for this campaign from within the industry, and we've seen veteran drivers, like Damon Hill, and current drivers, like Rob (sic) Webber, really push this -- say that they support this campaign.

So, there's a way in which, by pushing for the teams to do the right thing, we're able to give strength to them to be able to stay out of Bahrain and to make sure that the brands that are plastered all over their cars and covered with the blood of the Bahraini people. This really is not a good opportunity for sponsors to be associated with this event.

ANDERSON: And I must put it to you that there are many, many people in Bahrain and across the Middle East who do want the Grand Prix. The hash tag #bahrainwantsf1 trending very much in the Middle East and in southern Europe today. And many people suggesting that this will be a cohesive event.

PATEL: You know, I think that there is support. This has been a great source of pride in the Arab world, and there are those that want to see this event there. But what we've seen overwhelmingly is the position of the Bahraini people, where they have come out, they have protested day after day.

And the calm that you see in the streets in some places shouldn't be mistaken for a peaceful calm. There's a type of rein of terror right now, that if you protest, you're immediately arrested, you're immediately taken off to prison. And it's the kind of seal of legitimacy that's given to that situation that we're really calling attention to, here.

ANDERSON: All right, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us this evening. Interesting stuff, Avaaz, there.

Well, you are definitely talking about the decision to bring back the Bahrain Grand Prix. And as CNN's Ben Wyatt shows us, Formula One insiders, they aren't mostly keeping mum. Have a look at this.


BEN WYATT, CNN DIGITAL SPORTS PRODUCER: The decision to race in Bahrain following the unrest was always going to be a controversial move, but among the many F-1 drivers and teams that are on social media, there's been a very muted response today.

In fact, only one of the drivers from the grid, Red Bull's Mark Webber, had anything to say. He posted this on his Twitter account, "When people in a country are being hurt, the issues are bigger than sports. Let's hope the right decision is made."

Another F-1 insider who had something to say today was Martin Brundle, a former driver and now broadcaster, who wrote, "I've read copiously both sides of the Bahrain story, talked to friends and associates who live there, thought long and hard about it, it's a mistake to reinstate the Grand Prix."

These thoughts were mirrored with some of the comments that came into the "World Sport" blog. This one from Roy said, "Greed, plain and simple. I will be boycotting all future F-1 races. I hope others do the same."

Miguel wrote in to say, "It seems like money is going to crunch human rights again. Let's hope the drivers and teams are more intelligent than the FIA," that's the world governing body of motor sports.

And finally, from Muhammed Ali, he wrote in to say, "I am from Bahrain. The only reason I may support the F-1 Grand Prix taking place is to let the press in. There have been some really tough restrictions for media to come and show the truth."

Interesting, also, that after the decision was announced, you can see Bahrain was a trending topic on Twitter in many regions of the world. But the more positive backing of the Grand Prix coming back, this hash tag, #bahrainwantsf1 much more located to the Middle East and southern Europe, suggesting that there's probably more people against it than for at the moment.


ANDERSON: All right. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. After the break, trapped by a mountain of debt and a job they cannot possibly leave, the CNN Freedom Project investigates bonded labor in Afghanistan.


ANDERSON: CNN's Freedom Project is devoting an entire year to revealing the dark world of modern-day slavery. We want to give victims a voice, and we want to expose the perpetrators behind what are oftentimes horrific crimes.

This week, we have been investigating bonded labor or debt bondage, where labor is demanded as a means for repaying a loan.

In Afghanistan, we found an entire family working to pay off generations of debt. This type of slavery is spread far and wide. In the US, we talked to victims of trafficking from West Africa, their dreams of a better life cruelly destroyed.

Then we took you through a gripping journey towards freedom in Israel, and that for some ended in rape and torture.

Well, tonight, we're looking at how one artist is turning a tragic tale into a heartfelt tribute. The story begins with the illegal practices of gang masters, known to exploit vulnerable migrant workers for cheap labor.

Seven years ago, on the shores of Morecambe Bay here in England, 23 Chinese workers harvesting cockles drowned against a rising tide. Their fate was sealed, but thanks to an artist called Ann Carrington, their deaths certainly won't be forgotten.


ANN CARRINGTON, ARTIST: I wanted to talk about what was happening in my home country, and for a lot of people, that's a complete surprise, that we actually, 200 years after the abolition of slavery in the UK, we still have slavery on our doorstep.

Twenty-three Chinese workers drowned on Morecambe Bay, a traditional seaside town, and I wanted to make a piece which was a reaction to that. So, I've made a coin. And the reason I've made a coin is because their lives were reduced to commodity. People that could be bought or sold.

So, I've made a coin, we have the value on the coin, which is 15,000 pounds, which was the payment that -- that's what they paid for their passage to the UK. That was the bonded debt.

The image is of an imagined -- one of the imagined Chinese workers, it's not a direct portrait, it's an imagined portrait, of one of the ladies that died in the tragedy, built up from chains. Chains are an obvious metaphor for slavery, but also because the female victims were identified through their jewelry.

In this case, the tragedy goes on and on, because the debt to the snake heads, who are the gang masters, has still not been paid. So the gang masters are still pursuing the families of the dead for the debt.

I thought as an artist, I could come here and approach the issue from a different perspective and open people's eyes to what's going on.


ANDERSON: And you, too, can take a stand and do join the fight to end modern-day slaver. Get involved. It's a CNN year-long Freedom Project. All you have to do is submit a photo or a video of yourself, just like these iReporters have done. Take a look at this.


TEXT: Taking a stand

TEXT: Subjectify is taking a stand to end slavery.

TEXT: I'm taking a stand to end slavery.

TEXT: I'm taking a stand to end slavery!!!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Venatius, and I make a decision to stand against slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I am taking a stand to end slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am taking a stand to end slavery.

TEXT: I'm taking a stand to END SLAVERY, will you?

TEXT: I'm taking a stand to end slavery.

TEXT: I'm taking a stand to end slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe in equality for all, and I'm taking a stand against slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am taking a stand to end slavery. Thanks, Larena, iReport for CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am taking a stand to end slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Brittany, founder of the Red Thread Movement, and I'm taking a stand to end slavery of Nepalese girls in Bombay brothels.

TEXT: Taking a stand to end slavery.

TEXT: I'm taking a stand against slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In life, we must be up-standers and not bystanders, and that's why I am taking a stand to end slavery.

TEXT: I'm taking a stand to end slavery

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We stand here today as a family to say no to slavery. No to slavery for children and no to slavery entirely.


ANDERSON: Well, the paper airplanes that you see in our Freedom Project animations represent our theme of spreading awareness about modern- day slavery.

Now, we are engaging you to make your own paper airplanes in our new Freedom Project iReport challenge. This one is from Pol Henrotte in Luxembourg. You can make your own that incorporates statistics, messages of hope for victims, and spread the message by passing those planes on to a friend or, indeed, a stranger.

Many iReporters are already onboard, and you can be, too. Go to to find out more about that assignment. It's an important one to get involved.

Next up, what a stunt. Phil Han takes us through the very best of the bunch on the web this week. Amongst them, a record-breaking daredevil. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, Sony just can't seem to get a break from hackers these days. A group calling itself Lulz Security announced a fresh attack this week after claiming it stole the personal details of more than a million users from the website It is the second cyber attack on the Japanese company's systems in as many months.

So-called "hacktivists" cracked the PlayStation network, you may remember, and you'll certainly know if you are a user of that back in April.

Well, stunts -- it's pretty much been the hot theme on the web this week. Phil Han with the highlights for you.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Great week on the web, with lots of standout stories from the online world but, first, this video is one of the most popular from YouTube over the past seven days. It shows the world's first ever triple back flip on a BMX bike.

Now, more than five million people have viewed this, but in case you missed it, here's a look.

HAN (voice-over): New Zealand BMX rider Jed Mildon was the first person to ever complete the triple back flip. Mildon sped down a 60-foot high ramp in front of hundreds of people during the Unit T3 Mindtricks BMX Jam in New Zealand.

Mildon practiced for months on this trick and, thankfully, someone from the Guinness Book of World Records was on hand to approve the monster jump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go at five, four, three, two, one!

HAN: Off to another record-breaking jump from the past week, this looks like the Hot Wheels toy has come to life. The yellow driver of Team Hot Wheels broke the world record for a distance jump in a car at the Indianapolis 500 from last Sunday.


HAN: Tanner Foust and his car dropped a startling 10 stories down 90 feet of track and soared a ridiculous distance of 332 feet through the air.

HAN (on camera): We've had lots of news of football over the past seven days, but here's a look at how a small-time football match resembled more like a European championship.

HAN (voice-over): This everyday game between 14-year-olds in Denmark was suddenly transformed as hundreds of fans and supporters streamed onto the local pitch, complete with bands, cheerleaders, and even media, the stunt was aimed at building hype for the upcoming Under 21 UEFA Championship.


HAN: And finally, many of us are familiar with flash mobs, and usually the goal is to make as much noise as possible. Who can forget the legendary flash mob from 2009 at London's Liverpool Street Station. That video sets the bar for flash mobs, with nearly 30 million views on YouTube.

Now, if you ever wished you could mute out city noise, this flash mob from earlier this week does just that. Twenty-three actors performed in New York City, and every few minutes would go from annoyingly noisy, to pure silence.


HAN: In just two days, that video already has more than half a million hits.

HAN (on camera): Well, that was a look at some of the best stories from the week on the web. If you think I've missed anything, send me a tweet or visit our Facebook page. I'm Phil Han for CNN in London.


ANDERSON: Yes, he is. Finally on this Friday, a surprise for some would-be terrorists who were souring the web for tips on how to build bombs. They found scrumptious recipes for cupcakes instead.

Turns out, British intelligence agents had hacked the al Qaeda linked online magazine, "Inspire." A page titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mum" was transformed into a site promising treats for, quote, "today's sweet-toothed hipsters." It's our Parting Shots for tonight, a clear message to make cupcakes, not war.

And just before we go, a reminder of how you can keep in touch with us on our Facebook page, it is Facebook -- bring it up, maestro. Lots of good material, videos, comments, and articles there for you. Get onboard, and get the fans up and running.

I'm Becky Anderson. Thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" is up after this short break. Stay with us.