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Hillary Clinton Visits Myanmar; Natalie Wood Death Inquiry Reopened; Reaction to Sepp Blatter's Apology; Freedom Project: Hundreds of African Refugees in Egypt Freed by Captors; Nigerian Woman Trapped in Domestic Servitude in US; Scientists Confirm Sub-Atomic Particles Travel Faster Than Light; Impact of Findings on Laws of Physics; Eye on Azerbaijan: Carpet Artisans; Azerbaijan's Unique Folk Music; Parting Shots of Police Chasing Dog on Arizona Highway

Aired November 18, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After years of darkness, we've seen flickers of progress in these last several weeks.


ZAIN VERJEE, HOST: A major shift in relations with Myanmar, as the U.S. president sends his secretary of State on a visit. Tonight, an expert on the region tells us why this is so significant for the isolated country.

Live from London, I'm Zane Verjee.

Also tonight, an apology from the president of FIFA, but no resignation. Now, one of the most famous footballers in the world speaks out Sepp Blatter's future.

And breaking the laws of physics -- the researchers who say they've proven -- again -- that Einstein was wrong about the speed of light.

It will be the first visit by a top American diplomat in more than a half a century. The announcement of Hillary Clinton's trip came on a day which saw democracy in Myanmar take a step forward. A spokesman for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi announced her return to Myanmar's political process. She'll stand as a candidate in the country's next parliamentary elections, showing progress in efforts to bridge the divide with the military-backed government.

It comes just 12 months after chi was released from house arrest. She had been kept there by the military junta for 15 of 21 years. Her freedom was granted days after national elections, which her party boycotted, and the military declared as a landslide victory.

Well, critics dismissed the vote as a sham, but a year on, there are signs that change could be coming to Myanmar. It follows some pretty remarkable steps, which made Mr. Obama take one of his own, as CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Flickers of progress after years of darkness" -- dramatic words from U.S. President Barack Obama as he opens a diplomatic door to Myanmar, previously known as Burma.

OBAMA: Of course, there is far more to be done. We remain concerned about Burma's closed political system, its treatment of minorities and holding of political prisoners and its relationship with North Korea. But we want to seize what could be an historic opportunity for progress.

HANCOCKS: Mr. Obama says he'll send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Myanmar next month, the first visit by a top American diplomat in more than 50 years.

The country has changed in ways thought impossible just a year ago. Last month, around 200 political prisoners were released, although around 2,000 more are believed to still be behind bars.

The new government, headed by President Thein Sein, has opened up dialogue with opposition leader and pro-democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi, a woman who spent years under house arrest by the nation's former military dictators.

The U.S. president spoke to Suu Kyi for the first time Thursday, asking if she supports U.S. reengagement in her country. She said yes.

Human Rights Watch says while progress has been made, it's too early to know whether it's window dressing or real change.

But some experts believe it is the carrot that's needed.

JIM DELLA, GIACOMA INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Ahead of the visit and after the visit, it would be probable that the government of Myanmar will continue to accelerate the changes. We could see more prisoners released. We could see restrictions on freedom of expression lifted. And we could expect to see that more space given to the opposition.

HANCOCKS: Heads of state at the ASEAN Summit agreed Thursday to allow Myanmar to assume chairmanship of the group in 2014.

SURIN PITSUWAN, SECRETARY-GENERAL, ASEAN: I think it's -- it's the beginning of a new chapter of the region, because integration of Myanmar into ASEAN more effectively, and Myanmar into the international community, will be a benefit for -- for everyone.

HANCOCKS (on camera): The changes in country and the changes in the attitudes toward the country have been remarkably fast. Myanmar was internationally shunned for two decades due to its dreadful human rights record. Experts now say that this move is bold, but also risky, if Myanmar doesn't follow through on promised reforms.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Bali, Indonesia.


VERJEE: Speaking in Indonesia, Hillary Clinton told CNN that her trip would test whether Myanmar's rulers are really serious about change.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: One of the reasons that I'm going is to test what the true intentions are and whether there is a commitment to both economic and political reform. I've talked to Aung San Suu Kyi. The president has. We've had many interactions with her through top officials, along with others. And there certainly does seem to be an opening.

Now, how real it is, how far it goes, you know, we're going to have to make sure we have a better understanding than we do right now.


VERJEE: My guest tonight has dedicated his life to studying the whole region and has worked in Myanmar.

David Steinberg is now the distinguished professor at Georgetown University's Foreign Service School.

And he joins me now from Washington, DC.

Great to have you on the show, Mr. Steinberg.


VERJEE: How significant is this?

STEINBERG: I think this is terrible significant and I think it is very well timed, because it supports, in fact, the reformers inside Myanmar. And that is important.

VERJEE: Why would the junta, in the first place, allow Aung San Suu Kyi, potentially, because into the political process?


STEINBERG: Well, I think they want the legitimacy that comes from a multi-party system. I don't quite say democracy yet, because the military has effective control over the essential elements of power in that society. But it is real progress. It's the best we have seen in that country for 50 years.

VERJEE: What are some of the flickers of progress, beyond what we're seeing today, that the junta and the civilian government have made over the years that brought us to this point?

STEINBERG: It starts with the inauguration of the president, of President Thein Sein, where he said we have to do more on health and education. We have to get rid of the corruption. We have to do things on minorities.

And since then, they have -- are beginning to reform the labor laws so that they can have labor unions. They've invited dissidents back. They've established a human rights commission. They've had a poverty seminar on trying to alleviate the dire poverty in that country. They've invited the IMF in to help on getting a currency control system to work.

So many, many things have happened in this society.

VERJEE: How much influence does the United States have, really, have, really, over Myanmar?

Do India and China have more?

STEINBERG: We don't have influence over individual events so much. But we do have a presence and a point where we can help the Burmese continue what has been their neutral policy since independence. They don't want to be too dependent on China. They are dependent, in many ways, of course.

But the U.S. has a role to play. We have a moral position. And we can, in fact, contribute to the legitimacy or the illegitimacy of a government in -- in that country.

VERJEE: You know Aung San Suu Kyi very well. You've known her for many years.

What does it mean to have her back in the political process? how will that impact the political landscape of Myanmar?

STEINBERG: I think it will impact a -- a great deal. Whether -- I mean she has said that she will run. Importantly is the fact that the National League for Democracy is now legal. That is something that the United States wanted.

Her decision to run, of course, is a very individual one. She is highly intelligent. She is working very hard for her party. And I think she will do well.

VERJEE: You've been to Myanmar. You've been going since the 1950s, for a very long time. Give us an idea of what it's like there, what it's like for people to live and work there.

STEINBERG: Well, it was supposed to be, in the '50s, the future richest country in Southeast Asia. It had a parliamentary system. It had natural resources, a well-educated population. And all that went. And it is now the poorest country in the region.

So life has been very, very difficult for a large segment of the population, especially difficult for the minorities that live on the periphery, on the borders of that country.

Now, since the spring of this year, there is a great degree of freedom. It's not quite free yet, but people talk about politics where they were afraid to talk about it before. There's less censorship.

Aung San Suu Kyi's picture is in the newspaper, which it never would have been allowed for many, many years. And you're beginning to have a market system. It's not quite developed properly yet, but it's coming. And so this is a critical moment to come in and say let us help the people who are interested in reform so that the reformers will remain in -- in authority and they won't reverse back into an authoritarian government.

VERJEE: David Steinberg, a distinguished professor at the Foreign Service School at Georgetown University, joining us from Washington, DC.

Thank you so much.

Our top story tonight, the party of Myanmar's pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has announced that she will stand as a candidate in the country's next parliamentary elections. It comes on the same day that the U.S. president, Barack Obama, says his secretary of State will become the first top American diplomat to visit Myanmar for more than 50 years.

Hillary Clinton's trip is next month and CNN will bring you full coverage.

Coming up, return to Tahrir Square -- why tens of thousands of protesters stormed the center of Cairo today, nine most after they drove their president from power.

Then, one of football's most recognizable players -- David Beckham speaking out about the ugly side of the beautiful game's racism.

And faster than the speed of light -- the microscopic neutrinos that may turn everything we know about physics right on its head.


VERJEE: I'm Zane Verjee in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Here's a look at some of our other stories.

Syria has agreed in principle to allow 500 observers into the country. That's according to a senior Arab diplomat. It's part of an Arab League plan to check whether President Bashir Assad's regime is taking steps to protect civilians. And activist group says 17 people were killed by security forces on Friday. Syria hasn't yet signed off on the Arab League plan.

A live debate between two rival politicians on Lebanese TV turned from throwing insults to throwing objects. Just take a look at this video. Things, well, they got pretty heated up when a former MP, Moustafa Alloush, and Baath Party loyalist, Fayez Shukur, went head-to-head over their opposing views on neighboring Syria. One threw a glass of water and then he had to be stopped from throwing his chair.

Still not seeing eye-to-eye over how to solve the European debt crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the British prime minister, David Cameron, remain at odds over the introduction of a financial transaction tax, treaty change and intervention by the European Central Bank.

But in a meeting in Berlin, the British leader said that they agree that discipline and a bazooka is needed to stem the crisis.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITAIN PRIME MINISTER: My German isn't that good. I think a bazooka is a super buffa (ph), am I right in -- so, no. Someone is shocking their head.

Look, the point that -- the chancellor and I would agree about, whatever you call this, is that we need to take decisive action to help stabilize the Eurozone. And that has to consist of the things that we have spoken about, decisive action on Greece. Any European Financial Stability Facility that is with detail and meaning and power and punch behind it, and, also, the recapitalization of the banks. But I very much agree with - - with what Angela has been saying, that a long-term solution to this problem also has to involve proper rules for fiscal discipline in European countries.


VERJEE: No bazooka in Italy today. But Italy's new prime minister has won a key vote of confidence in the country's lower house of parliament. Politicians voted overwhelmingly in favor of Mario Monti's government, which has been tasked with cutting the country's massive debt burden.

Italy's Senate approved the new cabinet yesterday.

Meanwhile in Spain, opposition supporters have attended a rally in Madrid just ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections. The opposition Conservative leader, Mariano Rajoy, is widely expected to be elected as the next prime minister.

Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square. They want Egypt's military rulers to make sure power is quickly handed over to a civilian government. Ager is growing over the moves to make the army's budget exempt from parliamentary control. Elections are scheduled to start later this month and end in March.

A 30 -year-old Hollywood murder mystery is now back in the headlines. A cold case -- the death of movie star Natalie Wood, has heated up again.

As Jonathan Mann explains, it comes after investigators received new information about the night she drowned.



JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of Hollywood's classic leading ladies, one of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries -- authorities in Los Angeles say they've reopened the investigation into the death of actress, Natalie Wood.

JOHN CORINA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Recently, we have received information, which we felt was substantial enough to make us take another look at this case.

MANN: Star of such classic movies as "West Side Story" and "Rebel Without A Cause," Wood drowned 30 years ago, Thanksgiving weekend, during a boating trip off the California coast.

Her husband, Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken were on board at the time.

The coroner ruled Woods' death an accident, but the circumstances have always been mysterious. The boat captain, Dennis Davern, co-wrote a book about the night that Wood drowned. He said her death was a direct result of a fight with Wagner.

DENNIS DAVERN, FORMER CAPTAIN OF THE "SPLENDOUR": Then the argument went to the aft deck and they argued back there for a little while. And then it became silent.

I was trying to believe that maybe she really did -- and just in a rage, maybe she just really got in the dinghy and went ashore.

And I said to Robert Wagner, I said, Well, you know, let's -- let's turn on the searchlight to see if we can see her.

And he says, no, we don't want to do that right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Robert Wagner a suspect?


MANN: Wagner's publicist says in a statement: "The family fully support the efforts of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood-Wagner is valid and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death."

Jonathan Mann, CNN, Atlanta.


VERJEE: Coming up, the latest on football's racism row. FIFA's president faces up to calls for him to resign over his controversial comments.

Then, just forget everything you think you know about the laws of physics. A team of researchers says if their new findings are correct, a whole brave new world could lie ahead.



He said sorry, but he won't say good-bye. FIFA President Sepp Blatter has apologized for his dismissive comments about racism in football. But he is refusing to resign.

Earlier in the week, he told CNN that racism wasn't an issue in the game and on field abuse could be resolved with a handshake.

Today, Blatter addressed the outrage against his remarks by reading out a statement on the BBC.


SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: I'm sorry and I regret that my statements earlier this week have resulted in an unfortunate situation and has taken this damage.

I am committed to the fight against racism and I have no doubt about that. And I want to make it very clear, I will not stop until we have stamped out of football, racism.


VERJEE: But some of football's leading stars seem to have little faith that Sepp Blatter is the man to do that. Former England player, Ian Wright, has pulled out of hosting a FIFA awards ceremony next year because of the president's comments.

And now, David Beckham has revealed his thoughts.


DAVID BECKHAM, FOOTBALL STAR: I think the remarks were appalling, personally. I think that there's a lot of things that has gone on, a lot of talk about the racism in -- in the last couple of months.

I think the FIFA have done amazing things through racism, through stopping racism throughout soccer, throughout sport. And I think they've made huge strides.

So, you know, I'm not going to get into Sepp Blatter's comments too much. But, you know, there's a lot of people doing a lot of hard work around stopping racism in -- in the game. And we want that to continue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But given these -- these statements, do you think there's a possibility that he's lost touch and he should resign?

BECKHAM: I think that a lot of people are saying that. You know, I'm not going to sit here and say that. But I do think that something has to happen because those kind of remarks from a man that is so high up in the game, you know, he's obviously not right. I mean it's obviously something that I personally don't agree with and I think everyone else doesn't agree with, you know. Things can't just be sorted out by a handshake. It's as simple as that.

So what will happen in the future with Sepp Blatter, I have no idea and, obviously, I have no power and control over that. But, you know, all I care about is keeping racism out of soccer and out of sport, you know, because it's not just in sport, it's in life in general.

So it has to be stopped and, you know, we're -- we're part of that.


VERJEE: "WORLD SPORTS'" Pedro Pinto joins me now.

Sepp Blatter made his controversial comments in an interview with Pedro on Wednesday, who broke the story -- Pedro, is his apology enough?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN "WORLD SPORT" ANCHOR: It depends who you ask, really. I think that the English media has been very critical. They've been outraged at what was said, even the reaction which we've heard so far was from an English player, David Beckham. And Ian Wright pulling out of hosting the Ballon D'Or. He's -- he's English, as well.

I don't think it's enough, if you ask the -- the media here. I think a lot of the managers have come out and said -- including Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, and Andre Villas-Boas, the Chelsea manager, they've come out and said, look, the man can make a mistake. He's apologized. Let's move -- move on from there.

I have known Sepp Blatter for many years. I think it was a mistake, what he said. He knows it's a mistake. But he's also always fought for equality in football. And he was the first man to take the World Cup to Africa.

VERJEE: But sticking with what some of the newspapers are saying, here is a sense of it.

Let's first take a look at the "The Independent." This is the headline. It says: "FA" -- that's the English Football Association, "Has A Moral Duty to Force Blatter's Removal." The comment piece says: "Blatter, who understands everything about the value of money and how it can shape people and apparently nothing about the meaning of racism, should be driven out into the wind and the sand."

"The Daily Telegraph" has an opinion piece and it really goes for him, saying: "How predictable. How depressing. Sepp Blatter continues to take the lead role in FIFA's remake of walking with dinosaurs. His views on racism are so prehistoric and so odious that it begs the question, how does the Blattasaurus cling to power?"

And, finally, this headline in "The Daily Express": "Blatter Must Fall on His Sword." The comment piece says: "Sepp Blatter must resign from his position in charge of world football not just because of his outdated, remote and ignorant views about racism on the pitch, he has to go, also, because he is so out of touch."

Are we seeing this kind of response in other parts of Europe and around the world?

PINTO: No, we're not. We're not because of various reasons. The first is that the two cases of player-on-player alleged racism that happened were here in England, in the Premier League. And the timing for Sepp Blatter was horrible, Zane, because the interview that he did with us took place on the same day as the English Football Association decided to charge Luis Suarez for alleged racist abuse in the Premier League. That's the first case, is proximity.

The other is a cultural way of looking at this problem. A lot of nations maybe have different standards for what's acceptable or not. And there's also a code in football and in -- in football journalism -- and I won't judge whether it's right or wrong -- but -- but -- that says that -- that sports really has been a market where a lot of this kind of behavior has been accepted.

So maybe it's the case of a lot of other countries, as well, re- examining what they think is OK, what they think is not and maybe there would be a similar reaction in Italy...

VERJEE: Right.

PINTO: -- or in Spain or in France if there were similar cases of alleged racism on the field.

VERJEE: When it comes to the man himself, the man in charge, he makes racist statements, he makes homophobic statements, he makes sexist comments, but he's still in charge.

PINTO: Well, the English Football Association has done, they think they have a little bit too much power and -- and they don't. Because FIFA is -- is a democratic organization and it would have to be the executive committee to want to oust Sepp Blatter.

And what I would say regarding that is that the English Football Association that's led this charge, they should also look a little bit at themselves, because they allowed the manager, Fabio Capello, to play John Terry in -- in a recent friendly. And John Terry is the player who is in the center of this alleged racist abuse.

So if they cared so much about that, they should have done something for one of their players who allegedly had this conduct not to be allowed to represent his country.

VERJEE: You'll have more on "WORLD SPORT?"

PINTO: A lot more. And reaction from other parts of the world, as well.

VERJEE: Pedro Pinto, thank you.

Still to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD, freedom for hundreds of African captives -- how an investigation into organ snatchers may have saved lives in the Sinai Desert.

And still faster than the speed of light -- scientists rerun an experiment and they get the same explosive results. We're going to bring you the details and how they could shake up our thinking.

Plus, the revival of a national tradition almost lost during the Soviet era.


ZAIN VERJEE, HOST: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Time now for a check on the world headlines.

The party of Myanmar's pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi has announced that she will stand as a candidate in the country's next parliamentary elections. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to the country next month.

Tens of thousands of protesters returned to Egypt's Tahrir Square on Friday. This crowd rallied against the interim military government. They want a speedy shift to civilian rule.

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog has this warning for Iran: cooperate or face sanctions on an unprecedented scale. The IAEA approved the resolution expressing deep and increasing concern about the unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program.

A source close to Joe Paterno tells CNN the former Penn State football coach has a treatable form of lung cancer. Paterno recently lost his job at Penn State amid a scandal over a former assistant coach accused of child sex abuse.

Those are the headlines this hour.

Some good news to report tonight. Hundreds of African refugees being exploited by human traffickers in Egypt have been released by the Bedouin captors. It follows the recent broadcast of the CNN Freedom Project documentary called "Death in the Desert."

CNN's Fred Pleitgen explains some of the latest developments in this special investigation, which he uncovers evidence of brutal atrocities.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): African refugees enslaved. Women raped, and organs stolen. All while being held captive by Bedouin smugglers in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. Unmarked graves of dozens who never made it to their goal, a new life in Israel.

Unspeakable horrors uncovered in the CNN documentary, "Death in the Desert," which aired in early November.

But since then, aid agencies report that scores of refugees have been released from Bedouin custody and have made it across the border to Israel.

WILLIAM TALL, UNHCR: What we've seen is, I would say, quite a substantial increase in the number of people that have crossed since the beginning of November. What we've heard was about 1,300 from basically the first two weeks of November, which is over -- well over double the normal rate.

PLEITGEN: The UNHCR says it's unclear why so many of the refugees are all of a sudden being released. Sinai is a lawless area where the Egyptian state has little authority, so it's difficult to know what impact the CNN documentary had.

But a chief for the Sawarka tribe says shortly after it aired, Egyptian intelligence officials put pressure on human traffickers, and more than 600 African refugees were released without having to pay the massive sums normally extorted by criminal Bedouin gangs.

That matches what the UNHCR is hearing from the refugees who made it to Israel.

TALL: Their routines were paying $20,000 a month, money was being extorted out of them while they were in Sinai, they were there for long periods, they were very ill-treated, often tortured. Women, systematic sexual abuse, consistent, very credible testimonies.

Whereas some of these people that arrived recently in the past couple of weeks, they report having spent far less time in these centers in Sinai, these camps, and often paying far less money, $2,000, $3,500, which is far less than the average pre-November.

PLEITGEN: Whatever the reason, it seems clear something major has changed in Sinai, and people like Hamdi al Azzazy, who runs the New Generation Foundation for Human Rights, which tries to help African refugees in Sinai, says it's about time.

PLEITGEN (on camera): So, would you say that this is modern-day slavery?

HAMDI AL AZZAZY, NEW GENERATION FOUNDATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: It's more than slavery. It's -- it's terrible. You can't -- you can't accept. If you tell any person about the stories there, nobody can accept your talking. Because they will answer you, "No, you are joking. It is not the truth." Is it the truth? Somebody do that in this time in the world?

PLEITGEN (voice-over): It's unclear whether the increased number of refugees now crossing into Israel really marks a turning point in the treatment of Africans fleeing the turmoil in places like Sudan and Eritrea. But at the very least, it seems a few hundred of them have had a smoother and safer journey to what they hope will be a better life.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


VERJEE: You can see a presentation of the CNN Freedom Project documentary "Death in the Desert" Sunday night at 9:30 in London, that's 10:30 in Berlin, right here on CNN.

It's easy to imagine that slavery only happens in faraway lands like deserts, but the reality is, it could be happening way closer to home in your town, in your neighborhood, in your street. CNN's Gena Somra met a young Nigerian woman who was promised a better life in the US only to find herself a victim of domestic servitude.


"LAOME," DOMESTIC SERVITUDE VICTIM: I choose, with a spoon, wire, auger, anything.

GENE SOMNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Laome" was just 17 years old when she agreed to leave home in Nigeria to become a nanny for this woman, Bidemi Bello, a wealthy Nigerian-American who promised Laome a chance for a better life in the United States.

LAOME: Then she told us that she's looking for a babysitter. I would stay with the kids. Then, after that, I would go to school."

SOMNA: But when she arrived in Atlanta on a fake passport arranged by Bello, Laome says she found that she had instead become Bello's slave.

Laome agreed to talk to us, but only if we would conceal her face and not use her real name. Even though Bidemi Bello is now in jail, Laome says she is still afraid of her, and afraid of what could happen to her family back home.

Bello, she says, instilled that fear in her right from the beginning, abusing her almost every day.

LAOME: As soon as I wake up at 6:00, she'll tell me to go outside in the back yard. She had a fence. She'd tell me to wash it with bleach. So, I washed the fence with bleach every day.

Then, she would tell me after that I should mow the grass. I don't use a lawnmower. I use my hands to pull the grass up, even when it's winter or summer. I don't ask why because I was scared of her. Every single thing, she would beat me.

SOMNA: Miserable and homesick, Laome recalls what happened when she made the mistake of breaking a Bello rule, when she answered the phone when her parents called to check on her.

LAOME: Throughout that day, she beat me 24 hours in her bedroom. She's in the bed, she told me to stand there. Nothing. Nothing is on, underwear, nothing, naked. She told me to stand there, then she started beating me, said, "How dare you pick up the phone?" Every day, my eyes swell up, my body have marks all the time.

SOMNA: But Laome says the abuse wasn't only physical. She says Bello also saw to it that she would feel less than human.

LAOME: The food I eat is spoiled food, it had mold. She would tell me to put it in the microwave and now warm it. And I would eat it. And if I throw up, throw up vomit, then she would tell me to pick it up from the floor and put it back in my mouth and swallow it.

SOMNA: Afraid of being jailed for her fake passport, Laome says she felt trapped, had no hope, and just wanted to die.

LAOME: I felt like killing myself. All the time, I would put bleach, the same bleach I used to wash the fence, I would pour ti in the cup to drink it. Like if I kill myself, I'd rather be OK than this, because I cried like a baby all the time.

SOMNA (on camera): The turning point for Laome came when one of Bello's friends visited the home in this comfortable north Georgia neighborhood. The friend noticed Laome's numerous cuts, bruisings, and swellings, and became so alarmed she helped arrange for Laome's escape.

But within the year, Bello had again brought a young Nigerian girl to replace her, and prosecutors say the cycle of torture and abuse began again.


SOMNA (voice-over): After a year and a half, the second victim we're calling Dupe also managed to escape, finding refuge in a church. But she also got help from the FBI. Because of Bello's threats, Laome and Dupe were initially afraid to talk to the FBI agents. US Attorney Sally Yates says that's not unusual.

SALLY YATES, US ATTORNEY: They're afraid to come forward because they're afraid they're either going to be jailed because they're here illegally, or that they'll be deported. And for example, that's what happened in this case, they were threatened with having to go to prison. That won't happen.

SOMNA: For Laome, scariest was testifying against Bello in court. But in the end, she says she knew why she had to do it.

LAOME: I don't want to see her any more because it makes me scared. Then later on, I'm like, you know what? If I do this, there's somebody outside there, the same thing, and they're looking for help. So, if I do this, they will know what to do.

SOMNA: With the trial now behind her, Laome says she is finally free. The US government has given her a visa allowing her to stay, and she's looking forward to the future in the United States she dreamed of.

Bidemi Bello now sits in prison. The house where she held Laome and Dupe has now been sold. Found guilty of human trafficking, Bello now faces 11 years behind bars and, after that, she'll be deported back to Nigeria.

Gena Somra, CNN, Suwanee, Georgia.


VERJEE: You can learn more about the CNN Freedom Project on our website. Go to, and then there you can get facts about modern-day slavery and what people around the world are doing to fight it. There's also a section that shows you how you can help. That's all at

Now, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, right? Well, we may actually have to think again. There's now even more evidence that suggests that the conventional wisdom could, in fact, be wrong. What scientists have discovered and what it could mean for all of us, coming up next on CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN.


VERJEE: Everything we know about physics could still be all turned on its head. Back in September, scientists said that they discovered sub- atomic particles that can travel faster than light.

Now, they've gone back to the lab, fine-tuned the experiment, and the result? Well, it seems to confirm the startling finding, as Atika Shubert explains.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Do they or don't they? Those pesky neutrinos are back, and stubbornly refusing to obey the laws of physics and slow down.

Remember this? In September, scientists announced some shocking results. They shot a particle beam from Switzerland to Italy in 2.4 milliseconds. That's what it should take for a beam of light to cover that distance.

But neutrinos, those tiny sub-atomic particles with virtually no mass and no electrical charge, well, they managed to arrive 60 billionths of a second faster than light.

Pandemonium in the world of physics, and here's why. Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. It's the bedrock of physics, Einstein's theory of relativity. The fundamental principle, nothing can go faster than the speed of light.

Without that universal speed limit, physics as we know it would unravel, allowing for such mind-bending stuff as time travel.

SHUBERT (on camera): Of course, the problem with time travel is something called the Grandfather Paradox, which means, if I travel back in time, and then I accidentally kill my grandfather, which means, Atika, you would never have been conceived and, therefore, could not travel back in time to see yourself.

SHUBERT (voice-over): So, you can see why scientists went back to measure and remeasure, tweak and re-tweak the tests. And on Friday, they announced this. Those speedy neutrinos are still faster than light.

So, is "Back to the Future" suddenly a real possibility? Scientists say two other labs in Japan and the US are now conducting separate tests. But we won't get the results until next year.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


VERJEE: Physicist Martin Archer from London's Imperial College joins me now in the studio. If they're right, what does it mean?

MARTIN ARCHER, PHYSICIST, IMPERIAL COLLEGE, LONDON: Well, Einstein laid the foundation of physics over a hundred years ago, and everything we've done since then has been based on that.

So, if the foundations of physics are wrong, that has shattering capabilities in terms of what we understand about our universe. So, it's one of those really extraordinary results, as Carl Sagan would say, requires extraordinary evidence. And I'm maybe not sure that that's the case here.

VERJEE: So, what's the extraordinary evidence that we need to see? I mean, independent groups need to go in there, do the same sort of experiment and see if they get the same sort of results. So, what's the benchmark where we go, OK, wow?

ARCHER: Well, the thing you said, yes, independent results. That's how science works these days. Somebody will do an experiment and they will make a result. It's brought up to scrutiny with the scientific community, which has already been done since September. They've made some changes now, they're getting the same result.

But we need to see other people replicating that result. If we see over and over again in lots of different ways, then we can be more sure about what's actually going on here. Because all the evidence beforehand, before last September, seemed to say Einstein has been right.

VERJEE: What were the critics saying to defend that? What were the critics saying that were the loopholes in this experiment, and will they be convinced?

ARCHER: So, the one thing that the people have actually addressed was one of the criticisms which was they were using quite long pulses of neutrinos or protons to generate them.

So, if you can think about it as if you have a siren, and you played it for a long time, you'd have to worry about when it started and when it finished, and you have to build up this picture in neutrinos, they're hard to detect.

So, what they've done this time is they've used really short, like electronic bleeps worth of neutrinos, and so they've done it that way, which is a bit more robust. But they're still getting the same result.

VERJEE: Is it something worth focusing on that this is science happening in the 21st century, we have different tools, different capabilities now? Is this something that scientists are looking at? And why it may be problematic?

ARCHER: Well, definitely. We are at the forefront of physics and really pushing the boundaries. The result here is billionths of a second. That's what we're talking about. So, the fact that we can start to talk about measuring such minute things is great, and it's also great to open up into the public and see what scientists do from day to day and how the process works.

We don't know everything yet, but we're trying to work it out.

VERJEE: Well, we think we know everything, sometimes, don't we? Well, is the scientific world panicking or are they excited?

ARCHER: I think most good scientists are skeptical. That's how science works. You have to really hammer it home for you to understand and know that you've got something right. So, I think most good physicists are skeptical.

But the people from the experiment, they've been skeptical themselves. They can't find flaws with their method. They think they're doing the good science, and that's why they've -- they're publishing it.

VERJEE: Martin, if Einstein was here today, what would he say?

ARCHER: I think he would be appalled that people are saying that he was wrong.


VERJEE: But he may be excited. As a scientist, as professional --

ARCHER: Yes, no. As a scientist, he should be very excited, because he was always looking for the next theory to make. So, if he proved he was wrong, then he could try and find out what the real trick was.

VERJEE: All right. Physicist Martin Archer form London's Imperial College. Thank you so much for your great explanations.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. When we come back, telling the story of a nation stitch by stitch.


VERJEE: Capturing the spirit of Azerbaijan, this is the work of photojournalist and philanthropist Reza. It shows the country's changing landscape over the past 20 years.

Welcome back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

All this week, we've been keeping our eye focused on Azerbaijan. It's situated on the banks of the Caspian Sea, its capital is called Baku, and it's more than 5,000 years old.

Over the past few days, we've looked at how this country is increasingly making its mark on the world stage, from its schools dedicated to creating grandmasters of chess, to its bid to create inland caviar farms. Azerbaijan is one of the world's leading suppliers of that delicacy. It's also the host of next year's widely popular Eurovision contest.

The story of Azerbaijan is really one that is so full of texture, and as Jim Clancy explains, its colorful tale is still being captured by some of the country's most traditional artisans.


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The history of Azerbaijan's culture isn't only found in books. It is stitched into the richly-colored fabric of the nation's carpets.

"This is the ancient culture of our nation," master carpet designer Eldar Mikayil Zadeh tells us. "Our roots, our traditions have lived for centuries with our grandmothers, grandfathers. I only add small stones to the huge wall that has been built before me," he says.

"In many ways," he tells us, "the collective work seen in carpets is the mother tongue of Azerbaijan."

Zadeh's works are on display in museums around the world. They tell the story of how Azeri carpet-making involved entire families, men who would tend and sheer the sheep of their wool, women who would spin and dye that wool, and then, in winter, weave it into carpets, saddle bags, or containers to hold food and personal belongings.

At Azerbaijan's carpet museum in Baku, the tradition comes alive, along with a realization that it can never be taken for granted.

CLANCY (on camera): The most incredible thing is that this was an art almost lost during the Soviet era because they got rid of hand-weaving and went to mechanized weaving.

ROYA TAGHIYEVA, DIRECTOR, AZERBAIJANI STATE CARPET MUSEUM: Yes, yes, yes. It is no good time for our art and for our people art, of course, because many traditions of what we are making, spinning, and dying, was lost.

CLANCY: The carpet museum plays a crucial role in trying to revive those traditions, teaching the methods passed down through centuries. Azeri carpet-weaving dates back thousands of years. The technique stretches beyond modern borders into Tabriz in northern Iran and across the entire region.

The center of a carpet is seen as the source of positive energy. Borders, often embedded with designs representing dragons, are to protect that inner source of energy. The whites, rich blues, and especially reds are seen offering the owners good fortune.

TAGHIYEVA: And the red is very famous color because the red symbolizes life living, beginning, as --

CLANCY (on camera): So, a perfect gift for a birth? For a wedding?


CLANCY: You're starting out, you get a red carpet.

TAGHIYEVA: Yes, yes, yes, also.

CLANCY (voice-over): Making one of these fine carpets is no rush job.

TAGHIYEVA: Maybe two or three weavers can do it for today only one centimeter of carpet.

CLANCY (on camera): Really? It takes every day --

TAGHIYEVA: Every day --

CLANCY: Just one centimeter.


CLANCY: I work all day --

TAGHIYEVA: Yes, yes.

CLANCY: -- for one centimeter?

TAGHIYEVA: One centimeter.

CLANCY (voice-over): By his own reckoning, Eldar Mikayil Zadeh says he's made three carpets in the last three years, no more. His design ideas come to him in dreams sometimes, and perhaps he sums it up best when he describes the painstaking work as a labor of love. A love for his country and for the universe.

What the world derives from the beauty of an Azerbaijani carpet is truly what the weavers have put into it, generations of technique and a true love of their culture.


VERJEE: And the homage to that culture doesn't end there. Azerbaijan also has its own style of folk music known as mugam. One of the country's best-loved mugam singers, Alim Qasimov, invited Jim into his home in Baku,and he shows us his art.



CLANCY (voice-over): If mugam is performed by the right people, Qasimov tells us, it can separate the person from their physical surroundings and take them on a journey into the spiritual world.


CLANCY: As important as the singer is to mugam, so too are their traditional instruments. The music is enticing, rhythmic.


CLANCY: And for Alim Qasimov and his daughter, Ferghana, a family passion.


CLANCY: Qasimov says singing mugam takes him to a spiritual plane, and that only by leaving the physical world can he take the audience around him through the door that leads to that spiritual state.


CLANCY: Qasimov brought his grandchildren into the living room and encouraged them to sing folk songs.


CLANCY: The same songs that have been passed down by other grandfathers and cherished through the centuries. Mugam, the traditional, mystical music of Azerbaijan.


VERJEE: You can head to CNN's Eye On website for so much more on Azerbaijan, including how the country got its name and the plans in store for Baku. The country's capital might have an ancient heart, but it is getting a remarkably modern face. For all the details, go to

Finally tonight, police officers, they're often called to accident scenes to help keep people safe and restore order, but one officer in the US state of Arizona went far above that job description this week, and he has the starring role in our Parting Shots tonight.

The scene unfolded after a car crash on this highway when a dog escaped from its owner's car. It led police on a chase across three lanes of traffic, and if you can look at this, it caused quite the chaotic scene.

Finally, one officer managed to corner the small Yorkshire terrier, which was, apparently, not very grateful to be rescued and, in fact, tried to bite the officer. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

I'm Zain Verjee, thanks so much for watching. Up next, we've got the world headlines and then "BackStory" after this short break. Stay with CNN.