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About-Face on Prostate Screening Recommendation; Training the Afghan Army; Bin Laden Raid Fallout; Where The Jobs Are; The Help Desk; Modern Day Slavery; Training Afghanistan's Air Force; NASA's Next Mission To Mars
Aired October 7, 2011 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Want to get you up to speed.
The September jobs report, it's in, and it's good enough to push stock prices up today. But it's not good enough to push the unemployment rate down.
The Labor Department says that the economy created 103,000 new positions last month, but the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent. Since April, the economy is averaging 72,000 new jobs a month. It takes twice that just to keep up with population growth.
The Occupy Wall Street protests gaining traction across the country. Rallies have been held from Jersey City, New Jersey, as well as New Orleans and Sacramento, California. Occupy Wall Street wants to focus attention on the big pay gap between corporate executives and ordinary workers.
A train derailment caused almost everybody in Illinois in this town to scramble overnight. Several tanker cars filled with ethanol exploded. Authorities called for all 800 residents to evacuate. Now, the Red Cross set up a shelter at a nearby high school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASEY KELLY, AMERICAN RED CROSS: No one is being forced out of their homes. The authorities are just suggesting that people leave for safety reasons, just until the fire and the wreck has been contained and taken care of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: The sheriff says the burning ethanol poses no real danger, but authorities say they didn't know what kind of chemical brew they had on their hands when they asked those folks to evacuate.
Well, experts from the L.A. County Coroner's Office are on the stand today in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor. Conrad Murray is charged with manslaughter, and jurors are getting a tedious explanation of the drugs found in Jackson's body. There were at least five, including the anesthesia the coroner says killed him. Well, the doctor who performed Jackson's autopsy could also testify today. (CHANTING)
MALVEAUX: Protesters in Syria poured into the streets after Friday prayers, demanding democratic change. And once again, Syrian soldiers opened fire. At least eight people have been killed today, and one human rights group says after seven months of anti-government protests, the number of dead is more than 3,000.
Three women are going to share the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. They are journalist and protest organizer Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee. The Liberian leader says that the Nobel Peace Prize is a tribute to the women of her country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF, LIBERIAN PRESIDENT: Women from all walks of life who challenged the dictatorship of former president Charles Taylor and who have stayed out in the sun, in the rain, fighting for peace in our country, all of this is (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: It is worth noting that the Yemeni recipient is the first Arab woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Congratulations to all of them.
Well, in Thailand, authorities say that this year's heavy monsoon rains have killed 244 people. Forecasters say it's not going to take much more rain to put the capital, Bangkok, under water. The floods have wiped out the livelihoods of millions of Thai farmers. And factories, historic temples have also been damaged.
Men have been warned now for years not to neglect prostate cancer screenings. Well, now CNN has learned that a task force is about to recommend just the opposite, that men not get screened for the disease.
Our CNN's Elizabeth Cohen, she is with us.
Why do we believe that this recommendation has made this -- done this flip-flop here?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's been years in the making, actually.
There is evidence out there that shows that when you test men for prostate cancer, big groups of men, you are going to catch some aggressive prostate cancers that could kill men, but you're also going to catch many, many more that are actually prostate cancers that are so slow-growing, that it would never even hurt the man. And then you go to treat them and you do more harm with the treatment.
Treatment for prostate cancer can render a man impotent or incontinent. It can, in the extreme, even kill him if he goes and has the surgery where there is a complication.
Now, I'm going to give you some numbers, and I think these numbers will help explain why they made the decision that they made.
If you screen about 1,400 men, what you're going do is you're going to find 48 men with prostate cancer, but you're only going to save one of them. The other 47 men had slow-growing small cancers that never would have hurt them in the first place.
MALVEAUX: So, that one person saved, obviously, they're like, that's pretty important to me.
MALVEAUX: Who is making the recommendation?
COHEN: The recommendation is coming from a group called the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. They made big news two years ago with mammograms. They told women in their 40s they don't necessarily need mammograms.
So, what's interesting here is that on this task force, there is not a single oncologist, there is not a single urologist. And so that has many people scratching their heads, like, how do they know?
COHEN: They're public health people who are accustomed to reading studies and evaluating studies and that kind of thing. But they definitely are being criticized, especially by urologists, for coming up with this recommendation without even having oncologists or urologists around. They're the ones who treat prostate cancer.
MALVEAUX: So tell us how it's related to health care reform, because there's some who look at this and say, hmm, is this about cost?
COHEN: Right. Some people will say that this is about health care reform, but it has been said over and over again that this Preventive Services Task Force is separate from the Obama administration. It's a part of the federal government, but it works independently.
In fact, some people on this who have been associated with this group have said that actually, the Obama administration tried to suppress this because it was so controversial. The mammogram decision was so controversial, that there's a man who was associated with this project who said the Obama administration didn't want this to come out at all because they got so much grief the first time. The administration says that that's not true, that they never tried to suppress it.
But it is coming out about a year or two later than many people expected.
MALVEAUX: OK. Elizabeth, thank you so much. COHEN: Thanks.
MALVEAUX: Here's what's ahead "On the Rundown."
First, an update on Afghanistan 10 years after the U.S.-led war began.
And a doctor in Pakistan may face charges of treason for helping the United States find Osama bin Laden.
Then, a look at jobs that are available in this tough economy, what it takes to get hired.
And tracking factory slaves in Malaysia, it is part of a CNN investigation into modern-day slavery.
MALVEAUX: Ten years after the start of the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has some 90,000 troops currently in the war zone. President Obama's drawdown is under way. He called for 10,000 American troops to be home by the end of this year, another 23,000 home by September, 2012, and a steady reduction of U.S. forces to continue until only a small residual force is left by the end of 2014.
I went to Afghanistan to see for myself how the U.S./NATO mission is going, whether the U.S. and international forces are confident that they can train the Afghans, get them up to speed to take over their own security by the end of 2014. That is when American combat forces are pulling out.
I discover the challenges are immense, the training is not at all what you would expect. Eighty-six percent of the Afghan army recruits can't read, write or count. American trainers are starting with the basics.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): The mission now is for Afghans to take over their security by the end of 2014 so that U.S. and NATO troops can get out. On the ground, at the Kabul military training center, U.S. and NATO trainers are frantically trying to get thousands of raw recruits up to speed.
(on camera): Where these folks are standing in this training exercise is significant. Six months ago, American trainers were standing up front. They've since been moved to the back with interpreters to be on standby in case they're needed. But up front, the Afghans are training the Afghans.
SGT. ADNAN TRTKOVIC, NATO TRAINING MISSION: And most of the time, we don't have to intervene. But if there's something that they cannot usually associate (ph) with weapons, maybe heavy weapons, then we step in and resolve the issue.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): The race is on to train the Afghans sufficiently before U.S. troops are scheduled to pull out in just over three years' time. Critics charge that NATO is putting quantity over quality.
PHILIP GIRALDI, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM SPECIALIST: Everything is a numbers game, and that's essentially what we're seeing here. You know, this is like a big machine which takes in these Afghan recruits and spits them out at the other end, and it doesn't really matter how good they are or how effective they are.
MALVEAUX: Colonel Mike Minor, a top adviser to the Kabul training mission, defends the program.
COL. MIKE MINOR, CMDR., KABUL MILITARY TRAINING CENTER: What we've tried to do is build an army quickly, and you know, we're on track do that. Once we have an army at a certain level, then we'll be able to sustain that and improve the quality.
MALVEAUX: But the challenges right now are immense.
(on camera): Eight-six percent of the Afghan recruits are illiterate. They can't write their names, they can't add or subtract even at a kindergarten level.
(voice-over): That's why the U.S. and NATO mission launched an all- out literacy campaign last November to make sure every recruit has at least the basics.
Hamidullah Ghaufouri couldn't even write his own name when he signed up for the Afghan army. Now he's proud to be reading at a 2nd grade level while supporting his sick father on his soldier's salary.
HAMIDULLAH GHAUFOURI, AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY RECRUIT (through translator): Before, I wasn't able to read the signs. I wasn't able to write letters or sentences. Now I'm able, even right now, if I want to go to the doctor, I can see the sign and read it.
MALVEAUX: For Mohammed Ismail, it's much more personal. His older brother was killed by the Taliban.
MOHAMMED ISMAIL, AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY RECRUIT (through translator): Even my parents told me that you are joining the army. You will be going to the same way. But I told my parents, No, I would like to serve to my country from this way.
MALVEAUX: Sergeant Jesse Finley, a U.S. member of the training team, says the Afghans have a lot of heart but don't always stick around.
SGT. JESSE FINLEY, OFFICER TRAINING ADVISER: Getting that retainability is very difficult, too, because some of them just want to go back home. You know, get a little pay (ph) and go back home.
MALVEAUX: But their home, Afghanistan, is at a critical turning point, its future uncertain.
MINOR: This war is not over, no. No, it's not over yet. It will be over when the Afghan people decide it's over.
Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.
MALVEAUX: So there is tremendous progress that is being made when you consider that 30 years of war has devastated a whole generation of Afghan people. But there are also some serious questions about whether the Afghan army is going to be ready to lead in just a couple of years.
There are tribal tensions among Afghans that make some worry that the Afghans armed and trained may turn on each other once international troops leave. There is still problems with Afghans deserting their posts and questions about whether the funding for the Afghan army is going to dry up, leading some recruits to give up the fight against the Taliban.
Well, I'd like to bring in our CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen, to talk a little bit about this. He joins us from D.C.
Peter, in talking with a lot of the American soldiers, it seems pretty clear, and it's not a surprise, that they're on board with this mission to train the Afghans, take over their own security, so they can leave, leave the country in good enough shape to take on the Taliban. But there's certainly things that are out of their control. We're talking about the possibility of those tribal tensions leading Afghans to turn on each other, the possibility the Afghans are going to desert their posts, perhaps the Taliban will reemerge.
What do you think the military can do in the short time it has before 2014 to address those kinds of problems?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, they're all serious problems that you've hit. And I think that the U.S. military has a much better plan over the last couple of the years to deal with some of those problems in terms of trying to increase the retention rate of recruits, trying to increase the professionalism of the army.
One thing that they're doing which is very important is basic literacy. If you're a soldier and you can't fill out some basic forms about what you're doing, that's a problem.
Of course this is a country with a very high illiteracy rate, but they realize, particularly for the NOCs, that you need literacy training. So -- but none of these things of course are going to magically transform the Afghan National Army into something that's highly effective any time soon.
I mean, my big concern is I haven't seen any evidence the Afghan National Army is really able to operate independently in large-scale operations. And that's something we're going -- that's something they're going to need to be able to do once the U.S. and NATO presence ends there at the end of 2014.
MALVEAUX: And, you know, Peter, it's interesting, because some of the folks there who I spoke with are a little nervous about the fact that the American international forces are going to be leaving. They're still not confident enough yet at least to believe that they can do it on their own.
But we know that the Obama administration is dramatically cutting the funding for the training mission. Do we think that this tremendous job can be done with less money?
BERGEN: Well, you know, I mean, we're all going to have to -- budget cuts are coming everywhere, so this is just a fact of life. Money being thrown at the problem isn't necessarily the way to solve it.
I mean, if -- there's one thing very practically important, which is to get more Pashtuns from the south to become part of the army. Right now a lot of them feel intimidated to join the army. There's only, like, three percent of the army is Pashtuns from the south. The aim is to get it up to six percent, I think, readily soon. So those sorts of things are not so much dependent on money, they're really dependent on establishing more security in the south, getting people from the south to join the army.
MALVEAUX: That's a very good point.
Let's talk a little bit about security, because it was two days after September 11th, the 10h anniversary -- I was there -- when the Taliban attacked the U.S. Embassy. We have since seen high-profile attacks, even the assassination of the Afghan official who was in charge of negotiating the peace talks with the Taliban.
So we hear the military, they downplay these attacks, Peter. They say this is high-profile incidents, they're desperate, they're not significant militarily. But, you know, in talking with the Afghan folks, they certainly had a huge psychological effect. A lot of people very nervous, very uncertain about their future.
Do you think in that sense the Taliban is winning?
BERGEN: I don't think the Taliban's winning, but, I mean, my main concern, Suzanne, is that the assassination of somebody like Burhanuddin Rabbani, the leader of the High Peace Council that you mentioned, and other senior officials from other ethnic groups is sort of the beginning of an incipient civil war. I mean, these are the opening moves that the Taliban is making to prepare for the civil war they hope to establish once the United States and NATO has left.
And we're beginning to see -- these kinds of measures by the Taliban, I think, are designed to sort of set the stage, but they -- they're knocking off the important leaders of the opposition that they know that they'll have to face once the United States and NATO leaves.
MALVEAUX: Peter, let's turn to Pakistan, Afghanistan's neighbor.
Do you agree that the bigger problem now is really not Afghanistan, but Pakistan, that their intelligence agencies are cooperating with the Haqqani network, that al Qaeda there, funding the Taliban attacks against their neighbor in Afghanistan?
BERGEN: Well, I mean, the statements of people like Admiral Mullen I think speak for themselves in terms of there is a strong belief in the U.S. military the Pakistani intelligence agency is helping the Haqqani network. The Pakistanis will say, for their part, sure, we have contacts with the Haqqani network, as we would with a lot of groups that we are interested in trying to control or manipulate.
So somewhere in there between those two positions is the truth of the matter. And, of course, we've had reports now that the United States has been engaging in secret talks with the Haqqani network. So it is extraordinarily complicated.
The bottom line, as you know, Suzanne, having spent a lot of time there now, is everything that Pakistan does is their concern about India. Now you've got an Afghanistan and India who have just signed a recent agreement for a strategic partnership. That's going to increase Pakistanis' concerns about the future of Afghanistan.
They're not going to take Haqqani network as a card off the table. It doesn't make any sense from a strategic point of view.
BERGEN: All right.
Peter Bergen, thank you so much for your analysis, your insights there on this 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.
Well, a man who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden at this Pakistan compound could now be charged with treason. We're going to go beyond the headlines with Michael Holmes.
MALVEAUX: We're now going beyond the headlines.
According to "The Guardian" newspaper, the CIA was able to track down and kill Osama bin Laden, in large part because of a Pakistani doctor. Well, now a government commission in Pakistan has recommended that that doctor be charged with treason.
Michael Holmes, he's joining us with the story.
So, Michael, tell us a little bit about what the fate of this doctor is and why this is happening now.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
His name, by the way, is Shakeel Afridi. Now, he's been in jail since Bin Laden was killed.
You may remember that, according to several reports, the CIA recruited this doctor. And what they wanted him to do was run a vaccination program in Abbottabad, the town where Bin Laden was hiding out with his family. The reason they wanted to do that was -- well, what they did was they got a couple of nurses to go from house to house to house, including their house, and offer free vaccinations. What they wanted to do was, from the needle, get DNA evidence to prove one way or the other whether the Bin Laden family was in the area, because the U.S. already had DNA from a relative of Bin Laden who died in the U.S. -- I think it was back in 2000 -- and this would have been a way of confirming they were actually there.
Now, Afridi allegedly ran this program. He has been in the custody of Pakistani security forces since July. And as you say, now we've heard from Pakistan's Information Ministry that a commission looking into the whole issue of Bin Laden's death and why he was living there, et cetera, has recommended that Afridi be charged with treason.
MALVEAUX: So what can the United States do to intervene on his behalf, if at all?
HOLMES: Not a lot.
HOLMES: Not really, no. The backstory to that is, of course, the Pakistanis were annoyed beyond belief.
You have the U.S. flying in Special Forces, going in, raiding a house, finding Bin Laden down the road from a military base. It was embarrassing. And they saw it also as an invasion of their sovereignty.
Now, we've spoken to a U.S. official who says that the U.S. government has repeatedly asked for Afridi's release since he was actually taken into custody, but declined to comment on the actual treason charges. So diplomatic stuff at play there.
MALVEAUX: So how does this play out now? What happens to this guy?
HOLMES: Well, the commission's recommendation of treason is just that, it's a recommendation. It's not binding.
The government doesn't have to act on it. The judicial system doesn't have to act on it. And we don't know whether they will or not. But as I say, there is a lot of politics at play here.
MALVEAUX: And tell us a little bit about Osama bin Laden's wives. They are in Pakistan. They weren't allowed to leave. Now they are able to leave to their home countries. Is that right?
HOLMES: Yes. Well, I think Pakistan would like them to leave to their home countries as well. Remember, they came from outside Pakistan.
There were three wives there. Eight of Bin Laden's children were in the compound in Abbottabad. They were taken into custody after the U.S. SEALs went in and took out Bin Laden.
Well, the same panel that recommended the doctor be charged with treason has also recommended to basically lift the restrictions on the family and say that they can now go. They've contacted Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where the wives were from, and they are arranging repatriation. So I think Pakistan would like to be -- get them out the door.
MALVEAUX: Rid of them.
HOLMES: Yes, send them back to --
MALVEAUX: And they're not charged with anything, are they?
HOLMES: No, they weren't charged with anything. No, not at all. Not at all. Charged with being married to Osama bin Laden.
But, in a way, as I say, you've got to remember, the Pakistanis are miffed -- that's one word we could use -- that this happened on their -- under their noses, you know, down the road from this big military base, and then you've got U.S. Apaches flying in and landing.
MALVEAUX: Yes, it's created quite a bit of tension, too, for the Obama administration.
HOLMES: Yes, exactly.
MALVEAUX: All right. Michael, thank you.
HOLMES: Nice to see you. I haven't seen you since you got back from Afghanistan.
MALVEAUX: Good to see you. Appreciate it. Good to be home.
Millions of Americans lost their jobs in the recession, but there are still some jobs that are out there. We're going to tell you where to look.
MALVEAUX: Here's what's ahead "On the Rundown."
Next, millions of Americans are out of work. We're going to tell you where the jobs are.
And then, factory workers who have to pay their employers. That's right. An eye-opening CNN investigation into modern-day slavery.
And then we're going to take a look at the U.S./NATO mission to build an air force in Afghanistan.
And a bit of a surprise on the economic front today. The economy gained 103,000 jobs last month. It was more than expected. Still not enough, however, to keep pace with the population growth. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent.
Now, despite these tough times, there are some jobs to be found. Our CNN's Christine Romans shows us what's out there, how much money you can expect, if you qualify.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Fourteen million Americans are out of work, and if you're one of those 14 million, you're thinking about, where can I find a job today, what industries are hiring? Well, there are three million jobs open right now. Three million.
Here's a look at seven jobs, seven categories in high demand even now in a stagnant economy.
The first one is retail workers. Average pay here, $25,000 a year. So you're not going to send a kid to college. But retailers are looking to hire about half a million temporary workers with the holidays coming up. That's according to the National Retail Federation. The major chains often hire these temp workers then full time after the holidays. We definitely saw that last year. So retail workers, there are jobs there.
Commercial truck driver. We've been hearing about this for a couple of years now. Maybe 350,000, 400,000 of these jobs available over the next few years. Average pay better than retail. If you can pass the commercial license test, can you drive a truck. Your license will depend on the class of vehicle that you know how to drive. So, there you go, short-term on-the-job training.
Next one here, industrial engineers. Sounds hard. Guess what, it is. And it takes an education, but the pay is commensurate. Manufacturing and electrical companies are fighting tooth and nail for people with these skills. These are people who can look at the manufacturing process at a car factory, for example, and figure out ways to streamline things and increase efficiency and increase the bottom line. Online job postings are up 28 percent over the past four months according to monster.com.
Here's the next one, software engineer. You hear us talk about this all the time. Average pay is pretty good here, too. If you know how to write software, build a mobile app, code a website, chances are you're going to be able to find work here. The Labor Department expects very strong growth in this sector over the next few years.
Health care. Nurses. Pay there can be even better than this with more training. With so many aging baby boomers getting older and needing medical care, the Labor Department expects the need for registered nurses to grow by about 22 percent over the next six years.
Here's a smaller job category, but interesting nonetheless and hiring, professional cook. We're talking about top chef type people. Professional cooks, hot commodities at hotels and restaurants, often swept up by the competition at the drop of a hat. So there are job openings here. Not as many as retail and say truck drivers, but they are there.
And finally, accountant. One of my favorite job categories because of the pay. Also because of the flexibility of moving around the country. Even though there are tons of people graduating from business school with degrees in accounting, these jobs are still hard to fill because they're often very specific for each state and industry. Monster says online job postings for these jobs are up 12 percent or so over the past few months.
So for more information on these industries and job openings, you can go to cnnmoney.com.
MALVEAUX: A train carrying ethanol overturns in Illinois, forcing authorities to evacuate an entire town.
But first, here's some free money advice from the CNN Money desk.
CARTER EVANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Time now for "The Help Desk" where we get answers to your financial questions. With me now, John Ulzheimer, he's the president of consumer education at smartcredit.com, Manisha Thakor is a personal finance expert.
So Mike in Mississippi says he's recently retired. He's got significant savings. He has no debt except his mortgage. He wants to know if he should put the money in his retirement account or is the market just too volatile right now?
MANISHA THAKOR, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: Well, if he is retired, unfortunately, the government requires you to actually earn income in order to contribute to an IRA or other type of retirement account. So right now the question that may be more appropriate to ask is how to allocate those investments in a volatile market.
Question number one is, how much do you need in your emergency fund. Set that aside. Question number two, how much do you need for nearer term expenses over the next one to five years. There you can use very short duration bond funds.
After that, depending on your risk appetite, you can start stepping in to the market. And I'd recommend target date retirement funds. Nice, set it and forget it, age-appropriate asset allocation.
Paul in Boston says he graduated with a master's degree but he's currently unable to find full-time work in his field. His student loans will come due at the end of November, but he's not going to be able to cover the cost of the loans and living expenses. He's got $46,000 in a 401(k) from a former job. It would cover almost all the loans. Should he cash out? John.
JOHN ULZHEIMER, PRESIDENT OF CONSUMER EDUCATION, SMARTCREDIT.COM: I never ever suggest that you cash out your 401(k) and I'm not going to start now. Absolutely not. However, since the six month deferment window is about to expire and he's going to start getting invoices for those student loans, he has got to figure out a way to make the minimum payments while he figures out a way to get on his feet and get a job with sufficient incomes so that he can continue to make those payments without tapping into his future retirement nest egg and stealing, essentially, from his 401(k). Leave it off-limits.
EVANS: That's the absolute last resort.
ULZHEIMER: It is not an emergency yet.
If you've got a question you want answered, send us an e-mail any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MALVEAUX: Checking stories making news across the country. One Bank of America customer is taking action against the bank's new $5 fee for debit card users. Twenty-two-year-old Molly Katchpole walked into a branch in Washington, cut up her debit card, closed her accounts and delivered a petition with 150,000 signatures on it asking the bank to kill the fee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOLLY KATCHPOLE, FORMER BANK OF AMERICA CUSTOMER: They didn't really have a lot of a reaction. I think they were a little bit taken aback, but it was kind of just a normal transaction. I went in, I gave them the petitions and then I closed my bank account and that was kind of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Authorities have evacuated a small town about 120 miles southwest of Chicago after part of a freight train carrying ethanol derailed last night. As many as nine of the cars have caught fire. Some have exploded. The fire is now under control, but it is still burning.
A Halloween display scared some folks in North Carolina so much they called 911. They reported seeing what they thought was a bloody body beneath a tractor. It was just somebody getting into the spirit of the spooky holiday.
And imagine having to work for someone and pay them at the same time. That is the reality for some factory workers in Malaysia. A CNN special investigation into modern day slavery. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MALVEAUX: Following the trail of modern day slave labor. A CNN exclusive investigative report for CNN's Freedom Project. Our Dan Rivers takes a revealing look at how factory workers in Malaysia have to pay their employers in order to be free. In the final segment of his series, Dan follows the supply chain from Southeast Asia to Europe where products made by virtual slaves are sold.
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Our investigation started in Cambodia, where a mother pleaded with us to help find her daughter, Chinari (ph), trapped in a factory far from home. We tried approaching the employment agency that spirited her abroad, only to be briefly locked up ourselves. But in Malaysia, we found Chinari, who told us she's unable to leave until she pays off a supposed debt.
CHINARI (through translator): And I want to go back home, but I don't (INAUDIBLE).
RIVERS: Now, I came to find out how this is allowed to happen in modern day Malaysia. I've come to speak to a labor expert who doesn't pull his punches.
PROF. P. RAMASAMY, LABOR EXPERT: This is a modern re-inventing (ph) labor.
RIVERS (on camera): Slavery?
RAMASAMY: Is a -- you can say modern forms of slavery, you know. And where (ph) theoretically these things are not allowed. But then in, you know, actual reality, these things, they are widespread. We do not have the kind of powers to actually stop certain things and that power actually belongs to the federal government.
RIVERS (voice-over): Malaysia's government declined to be interviewed, but a local opposition politician did agree to speak and was candid about who he believes is to blame.
LIM GUAN ENG, CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG: For example, when you talk about the passports, these are falsified. She's not 21, but she is below 18. But how could the country issue a passport with this false information? So it is just not the private recruiting agency in Cambodia, but also the Cambodian authorities.
RIVERS: It's not clear where the false passport came from or if anyone from the Cambodian government was involved. The government refused an interview, but we were determined to follow the supply chain to find someone who would take action.
JCY supplies components to a number of big companies, including Western Digital, whose hard drives can be found on shop shelves in the west. So Chinari and her friends are part of a complex chain, first recruited in Cambodia by the umer (ph) at the agency, which in turn passed them to a middleman at this factory which provided labor to JCY, which in turn makes components for Western Digital. Their products are sold on high streets around the world. It's this supply chain which keeps Chinari shackled to her job.
So I've traveled back to London to follow the trail to the consumers.
RIVERS (on camera): We've come to the heart of London's retail electronics business to find out if people care about the conditions of the workers who make the products that are sold in shops up and down high streets across Britain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's appalling. And, you know, it made me think twice. But, unfortunately, when you go into a shop, you're talking to a sales person who understandably they've got a job to do and they're probably not going to be to be able to answer those questions. I mean it is appalling.
RIVERS (voice-over): I checked in one shop and the man behind the counter knew nothing about where or how the hard drives were made.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just sell them, basically.
RIVERS (on camera): Yes. Yes. So most people don't really ask questions about, you know, how it's manufactured or where or --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
RIVERS: The ethical dimensions of it really. They're not that bothered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not really.
RIVERS (voice-over): We showed our investigation to Harriet Lamb, the executive director of Fairtrade, which endorses ethically made products.
We saw a number of young women. I tried to talk to one, wondering if these were workers about to leave for jobs abroad.
RIVERS (on camera): Do you think one day that kind of scheme could be implemented for the electronics industry? Do you think there's potential that -- I mean I'm not saying necessarily you, but a similar organization could do something similar in electronics saying, yes, this is ethically manufactured.
HARRIET LAMB, EXEC. DIRECTOR, FAIRTRADE: Absolutely. And I'm afraid the kind of abuses that your film have exposed show the need for that. And actually if companies can't be trusted, then we're going to have to have some kind of scheme where the public can go in and say, yes, the companies really have taken responsibility. They haven't said, oh, well it's someone else, it's someone else, it's someone else. Sorry, that's not good enough. But they have actually taken responsibility and it's been independently checked. Now the Fairtrade movement started in food. There's actually no reason why those principles can't apply to any sector of the economy.
RIVERS (voice-over): Western Digital also declined an interview, but said in an e-mail they're an industry leader on the labor standards code called the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition and demand all their supplies adhere to it, but they add --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN's recent inquiry accelerated our scheduled audit of a second JCY facility, which was completed last week. We reviewed our findings with JCY management and we are partnering with them to put corrective actions in place. Absent effective and sustained improvement, other actions would be taken up to and including discontinuing our relationship with that supplier.
RIVERS: Their supplier, JCY, told CNN they try to resolve workers' grievances fairly and employees are free to leave their company at any time.
Chinari tells us since Western Digital's corrective actions, her pay has increased significantly and her working conditions have also improved, including proper breaks during her shifts. But she is still trying to pay off her debt to the agency and is still unable to get home.
RIVERS (on camera): This hard drive has come literally halfway around the world from a factory in Malaysia to an electronics store here in London. But despite our investigation, Chinari and her friends remain stuck in that factory unable to leave until they've paid off their debt and unable to get back home to their village in Cambodia and their families.
RIVERS (voice-over): I wonder how many other young people will end up like Chinari, forced to work for years away from home, surrendering their freedom.
Dan Rivers, CNN, London.
MALVEAUX: You can watch Dan's exclusive reports again at the CNN Freedom Project website. That is cnn.com/freedom. It gives victims a voice, exposes the traffickers behind this multi-billion dollar business. Also shows you how you can help to put an end to modern day slavery.
Well, 10 years after the start of the war in Afghanistan, had a chance to see the progress for myself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: We're seeing (INAUDIBLE) Afghanistan from above is critical to its security.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: I'll show you what I saw recently as the U.S. military tries to train Afghanistan's air force, including a woman who's training to be a military pilot, defying tradition.
MALVEAUX: The war in Afghanistan today hit the 10 year mark. U.S. and NATO allies pride themselves on having control over the skies. There are no enemy fighters in Afghanistan airspace, but Taliban militants are still able to shoot down aircraft with rocket propelled grenades. Training Afghan pilots has mostly taken place in the United States and Europe, but now part of the U.S. NATO mission is to build up an Afghan air force in Afghanistan itself. I took to the skies with General William Caldwell to see for ourselves how challenging that mission is.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Getting around Afghanistan is tough. It's the size of Texas, but has poor roads, extreme weather, and rugged terrain. Travelers are often the target of insurgent attacks.
MALVEAUX (on camera): Seeing (INAUDIBLE) Afghanistan from above is critical to its security. They have to come out and try to get supplies to those remote places. A helicopter is essential. And is the Afghan pilots.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): We are taken on a training exercise aboard a Russian-made MI-17, often used for battlefield operations. On this day, we fly across a huge lake 20 miles east of Kabul. It's a desolate area, but strategically important for supplying those fighting the Taliban.
MALVEAUX (on camera): This is unbelievable. We just went about 30 minutes or is on this helicopter ride across Afghanistan and Jalalabad Road is what we followed. But we're here kind of in the middle of nowhere.
Tell me a little bit about the mission. Americans alongside the Afghans flying these things?
LT. COL. JOHN CONMY, 438TH AIR EXPEDITIONARY SQUADRON: Well, and it's not only just the Americans and the Afghans, it's Americans in our squadron, Croatians, folks from the Chez Republic and from Hungary, all of which are providing training in the helicopters that you see there. So it's been the ride of my life so far with respect to the job.
MALVEAUX: Mine, too.
CONMY: Yes. But it's just been a phenomenal job.
MALVEAUX: And we saw some pretty rough terrain. Explain to us how important it is to have these helicopters in and out. I mean it seems like it really is the best way to learn about these mountains and how to supply these routes. Yes? CONMY: Yes. The options that you have are a donkey possibly or helicopter. A lot of times, again, as you can see with the rough terrain, especially as you go out to the northeast of where we are, it just gets worse.
MALVEAUX: How important is it to make sure that the Afghans are able to fly these helicopters? Not only these helicopters, but some more advances aircraft, too?
CONMY: Well, the -- it's a fairly expensive asset. I mean it's $12 million each one of those helicopters that we have up there. And, you know, they need to make sure and the leadership of Afghanistan wants to ensure that the people that we have flying can handle that $12 million asset.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Afghan Sophia Ferosi (ph) is training to become one of Afghanistan's few female pilots. This is her first time ever on a plane. It's a C-27. She tells me she's excited. American Master Sergeant Erin Manley shows off the plane's capabilities by opening the rear ramp. Sophia gets to sit with the pilots. A bumpy ride makes her queasy, but she quickly recovers.
On landing she tells me she's not deterred. She feels great. Her American mentor is proud.
MASTER SGT. ERIN MANLEY, 538TH AIR EXPEDITIONARY SQUADRON: It's great that -- that you to take this and run with it and build a foundation for future females in Afghanistan.
MALVEAUX: She is certainly paving the way. There are approximately 200 Afghan pilots and the U.S. and NATO want to double that in four years. This is, admittedly, the elite of the elite among Afghan security forces. It is going to require the most time in training before Afghans are up to speed to protect their own skies.
Well, a new rover will soon be on its way to Mars. Chad Myers is going to fill us in on this fascinating mission.
MALVEAUX: An upcoming NASA mission to Mars getting closer to lift-off. It includes a new rover, "Curiosity," that will have a unique way of landing on the red planet. Chad Myers joins us.
Hey, Chad. Tell us a little bit about this. Pretty cool.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Lots of moving parts on this guy. Yes. Almost over engineered, this thing, I think, but we'll see. Remember the rovers. They were driving around. They were supposed to last for six months. They lasted for years and years and years.
MYERS: Well now another one is going November 25th. How long do you think it will take to get to Mars?
MALVEAUX: Geez, I don't know.
MYERS: What do you think?
MALVEAUX: Days? Weeks? Weeks.
MYERS: Eight and a half months.
MALVEAUX: Months. Oh, my goodness.
MYERS: Eight and a half months for this thing after they blast off. It will blast off November 25th. The secondary stage will shoot the satellite, shoot the lander eventually away. And it's moving at about 13,000 miles per hour when it finally hits the Martian atmosphere and begins to burn up as well.
Then all these technical things start to happen. They start to -- they put a parachute out to slow it down to about mach-2. And then rockets come up and slow the whole thing down. And as they slow it down, it will land on its wheels, they hope. Remember that first one didn't do so well. It kind of was a bouncer and didn't -- it didn't land very well. And there's a lot of moving parts and a lot of moving parts on this.
The coolest part, they have found a striation kind of area that they think may have different layers of levels. You take a look at like a road that gets cut through the rock. You'll see the different layers. Well, those are different years that the layer was made. They're going to try to take this. They're going to dig into it. They're going to dig into the soil. And as they do, they're going to put it into analysis. They're going to tell us if there ever was life on Mars. Not now. We haven't seen any life now. But was there maybe like 300 million years ago? We'll have to see.
MALVEAUX: Yes. Do you think so, Chad?
MYERS: I do.
MYERS: You bet.
MALVEAUX: Me too, I suspect.
All right, thanks, Chad.
CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, Suzanne. Thank you very much.