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CONNECT THE WORLD
U.S., U.K. Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Afghan War; Interview With Bill Gates
Aired July 20, 2010 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Terrorists trained in Afghanistan and the tribal regions along the Pakistani border have killed innocent civilians in both of our countries.
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BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: In Washington, the leaders of the U.S. and the U.K. reaffirm their commitment to the war in Afghanistan. While on the ground in Kabul, a global meeting focuses on who takes over once the troops are gone. But for all the boots on the ground, it's the fight for hearts and minds that really matters. Tonight, we ask why more aid has gone to Iraq and Bosnia than it has to Afghanistan.
On CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.
Well, leaders from dozens of countries are in Kabul today and each of them has a stake in the stability of that landlocked country, Afghanistan. New developments there and the global connections.
I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.
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DAVID CAMERON, BRITAIN PRIME MINISTER: Let us not confuse the oil spill with the Libyan bomber.
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ANDERSON: Britain's David Cameron explains why the Scottish government released a man he believes should have been left to die in prison.
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BILL GATES, MICROSOFT CO-FOUNDER, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: We are much closer. And I would love to eat my hat if we had a -- a vaccine out in five years. The best case is probably more like an eight year time frame. And even that is -- is not necessarily what will happen.
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ANDERSON: Well, you asked for him as a Connector of the Day. So you've got him. Bill Gates reveals just how close we are to a vaccine for HIV/AIDS.
And do keep sending us your suggestions for Connectors and your comments on the stories that we're covering here on CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm on Twitter atbeckycnn.
The special relationship strange but still strong -- Barack Obama and David Cameron reported common ground as they emerged from their White House meeting earlier today. Key issues included the economy, the Lockerbie bomber and the war in Afghanistan.
Well, to that end, both men talked of progress and a far reaching purpose in this prolonged and increasingly unpopular war.
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OBAMA: This is not an easy fight, but it is a necessary one. Terrorists trained in Afghanistan and the tribal regions along the Pakistani border have killed innocent civilians in both of our countries. And an even wider insurgency in Afghanistan would mean an even larger safe haven for al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates to plan their next attack. And we are not going to let that happen.
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CAMERON: We also agreed on the need to reinvigorate the political strategy for Afghanistan. Insurgencies tend not to be defeated by military means alone. There must also be political settlement. And to those people currently fighting, if they give up violence, if they cut themselves off from al Qaeda, if they accept the basic tenets of the Afghan constitution, they can have a future in a peaceful Afghanistan.
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ANDERSON: Well, David Cameron and Barack Obama speaking on the day an international conference in Afghanistan kicks off. More than 70 nations attended. The big issues were the money and security.
Atia Abawi is in Kabul for you.
ATIA ABAWI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another day, another conference on Afghanistan. But this time, the Afghans were the hosts. Kabul was virtually shut down to ensure the security of ministers and officials from more than 70 countries and organizations. Among them, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who warned about the dangerous of dealing with the Taliban.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: An Afghanistan that is stable and secure and peaceful is in everyone's interests, particularly women and children. But it can't come at the cost of women and women's lives.
ABAWI: At the conference, President Hamid Karzai set the target -- that Afghans would lead and conduct all military operations by the end of 2014.
PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: I committed to having the ability, by 2014, meaning another five years, which, by now, is almost four years, to reach a level of strength and ability and capacity within our forces to provide for all security.
ABAWI: He also wanted 80 percent of aid to be channeled through the Afghan government in return for tougher action against corruption.
He got 50 percent. And the international community made it clear that the commitment on corruption must be kept.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: We have to make sure that the Afghan people trust their own government. And to that end, we need a determined fight against corruption. We have to make sure that the resources provided for development in Afghanistan are spent effectively.
BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Also, we want to see the coming parliamentary elections on September 18th to be transparent and democratic and credible ones.
ABAWI: The Afghans say corruption isn't their problem alone, pointing to a U.N. report that says nearly 80 percent of aid money is spent by the donors themselves.
Pressed by reporters, including CNN, on that issue, the U.N. secretary-general had little to say, until pressed by President Karzai.
KARZAI: Mr. Secretary-General?
She was asking about corruption in the international community.
MOON: Of course. I am certain (INAUDIBLE) so much as you.
KARZAI: I -- I'm going to (INAUDIBLE).
MOON: (INAUDIBLE) to be fair.
ABAWI: A sign of tension even if the moment was almost comical.
(on camera): The conference ended later in the afternoon, with some questions answered about the future of Afghanistan and others left open, including the most important question of all, which is, will the Afghan government and security forces be ready to take over from the international community in four years time?
Atia Abawi, CNN, Kabul.
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ANDERSON: All right, well, earlier today, an example of the challenges facing Afghanistan's military. An Afghan soldier killed, two American civilian trainers and a fellow soldier in Mazar-e-Sharif. The shooter dying when you break it down.
The international community has provided $36 billion in aid to Afghanistan -- this is aid to Afghanistan -- since 2001. That translates to $292 for every Afghan citizen. That is less assistance per capita than other post-war nations. For example, Iraqis received about $1,500 each in aid in the first five years following the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Bosnians rated -- they got about $585 per capita.
So you see billions of dollars spent over the years. And as you heard in Atia's report, not all of it being spent winning hearts and minds.
I want to discuss these huge aid programs.
One of our big thinkers, Eric Margolis, joins us from Toronto.
Eric, before we join the dots on this story and talk about aid, give me what you've heard from the leaders of the U.S. and the U.K. today, with regard to Afghanistan.
Do you see any significant change in strategy?
ERIC MARGOLIS, CONNECT THE WORLD PANELIST: Oh, there is on the part of Washington. Washington's going to make a major push to try and buy away significant parts of the Taliban, just as it did with the Sunni resistance forces in Iraq. I don't think it's going to work.
I think that Prime Minister Cameron had the right answer in -- in -- in pressing for a political settlement, saying the only way this was going to end is through a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement, something that Washington doesn't want to hear, but even Mr. Karzai has been saying of late.
ANDERSON: Yes, that would be reconciliation, not reintegration. I mean you hear the Richard Holbrookes of this world saying, listen, we'll talk to the lower ends of the Taliban. That would be reintegrating some of these characters. But reconciliation, as we saw, for example, in Northern Ireland some years ago, simply isn't on the table, as far as the Americans are concerned at the moment, is it?
MARGOLIS: Oh, not for now, for sure, because many politicians have so demonized the Taliban and its allies that they can't now be seen to suggest talking to them. And U.S. mid-term elections are coming up, too, which put -- produces political paralysis in the country.
But nevertheless, more and more Afghans are now saying that they've got to end 30 years of war by some kind of settle -- settlement, possibly brokered by the Saudi Arabians.
But the problem is that there are outside forces who are stirring the pot in Afghanistan, who don't want a settlement to happen.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about the issue of aid here. It's an interesting fact, and one our viewers may not have known, that the world has given more aid per capita post-war to Iraq and to Bosnia than it's giving to Afghanistan. This is the way one wins hearts and minds.
So why do you think the math works out the way it does?
MARGOLIS: Well, Becky, that's an interesting point. I think there are a couple of reasons for this.
First of all, the Afghan government has not been capable of -- of making significant donations of aid around the country. They've been able to pay off tribal leaders, but not to use aid in significant projects.
The other thing is the Afghan government doesn't control more than half of the country. Some people say it's even 30 percent that they control. So it's harder to spend the money around, too.
And a lot of the money just vanishes. It either goes to the -- back to the donors, as we just heard, or else it goes into the pockets of different people. And -- and Washington is making a concerted effort now not to give aid directly to the Karzai government, but to spread it through US-controlled entities in Afghanistan, like all these NGOs and so-called contractors and CIA and different local warlords.
ANDERSON: I know you've spent an awful lot of time in the region. It's one of the reasons, of course, that you are a big thinker for CONNECT THE WORLD on this issue.
Given what you know, given those you speak to behind the scenes in Washington and elsewhere, how long, Eric, does the international community continue to provide assistance, both militarily and financially, to Afghanistan?
MARGOLIS: Becky, I would say probably another two years. Public opinion in the United States has now turned against the war. Even the Pentagon admitted that there are hardly any more -- any al Qaeda left in Afghanistan. President Obama is under fire in his own party. But he doesn't want to withdraw because of the elections coming.
So -- but most people feel the writing is on the wall. President Obama's statement that they were begin -- going to begin withdrawing within a year certainly shook a lot of people. The Pakistani and Indian governments have concluded a year ago, according to my sources, that the U.S. and its Western allies would eventually withdraw from Afghanistan. And the war is going badly and the U.S. is fed up with the Karzai regime and vice versa.
There's not much positive happening, except for the advent of more American reinforcements.
ANDERSON: Yes. Watch this space.
Your big thinker on the issue tonight.
Eric Margolis joining us from Toronto.
Eric, always a pleasure.
Well, he's one of the most famous men in the business world. You'll know who he is. People say one of the most generous philanthropists of our time. Your Connector of the Day today is Bill Gates. And he's answering your questions. His assessment of the fight against HIV/AIDS is up next.
ANDERSON: (voice-over): For years, he was the world's richest man and he could have kept it all. But Bill Gates believes in giving back. The Microsoft founder has become one of the world's greatest philanthropists and his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation boasts nearly $34 billion in assets, making it the largest charitable foundation in the United States.
A significant portion of its funds go to the fight against HIV/AIDS, an issue Gates has worked on for some time. In 2008, he paired up with Bono's Red Campaign to raise money and awareness for the pandemic. And this week, he's played a key role in the Vienna 2010 AIDS Conference, where he said he believes the world is moving closer to an effective vaccine.
Giving back in the biggest of ways -- Bill Gates is your Connector of the Day.
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ANDERSON: I want you to consider the numbers. AIDS has killed 25 million people since the pandemic began 30 years ago and there are still 33 million people around the world living with HIV/AIDS. And to date, there is no cure and no vaccine.
Well, you asked to hear from him, so today your Connector of the Day is Bill Gates, who explained to me just how far we've come in the battle against HIV/AIDS.
GATES: Well, what's amazing is that we've still got over five million people on treatment. And that's a huge increase. And it's based on a lot of generosity, a lot of good execution. We also have a lot of progress in the science. We don't yet have a vaccine, but we have good progress there. We have some new prevention tools, like a gel that women can use that is very likely to be available in -- in the years ahead.
ANDERSON: You've called for greater funding and better prevention.
Can you enlarge on that for me?
GATES: Well, the -- there's an opportunity to take the dollars and have more impact because we've seen some programs are using innovative approaches. We need to measure those and spread those around. The funding still needs to go up, but that's been tough, as, as governments are cutting their budgets, global health aid has been one of the things, which unfortunately means that the poorest are -- are suffering because of the -- the events in the rich world.
ANDERSON: With regard to funding, there are those here at the conference who have been talking about criminal negligence.
Would you use that turn of phrase?
GATES: No, I -- that's not the phrase I'd use. I'm not sure that motivates the donors and I think you've got to acknowledge that substantial generosity was forthcoming.
ANDERSON: Which countries are doing a good job from a donor perspective?
GATES: Well, by far, the most generous on AIDS is -- is the United States, through its PEPFAR program. It's, by far, the biggest and its donation to the global fund, which is the largest. So, you know, the U.S. picked up on this under President Bush and that's continued. There are people who are unhappy that it's not increasing much now, because the overall global health budget has not -- not been increasing much. And, you know, I -- I know those dollars are -- are very successful, so certainly in the U.S., I tell the success story, because I do think this is money well spent.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about vaccines. In 2005, I think I'm right in saying that you said you would eat your hat if a vaccine were developed in the next decade.
Are we any closer to getting a vaccine at this point?
GATES: Yes, we are much closer. And I would love to eat my hat if we had a -- a vaccine out in five years. The best case is probably more like an eight year time frame. And even that is -- is not necessarily what will happen. You know, nobody knows for sure, but we understand the virus far better. We have some new antibodies. I was sitting with a -- a group of researchers this morning and it's very exciting.
So the fact that atrala (ph) had some effect is good. We're on it. You know, we just need to keep going and do more trials.
ANDERSON: We have had three vaccine concepts and four clinical trials in humans completed in the last 30 years since the virus was identified and yet still no vaccine.
GATES: Well, I'm probably more impatient than most on this. And, you know, I'm looking at, OK, why does it take that long and are we working in parallel?
Are we doing the right things?
A vaccine for AIDS is a very complex thing. It's a disease of the immune system, which is what you stimulate in the -- in the case of a vaccine. So it's made it hard. There's been some surprising results. Some of those now have been surprising on the positive side. The third trial we did had some effect. The second one looked confusingly even to have a negative effect.
So taking the information from the trial that completed in 2009, there's about three or four trials that will get started in the next few years. And they won't take as long. They're designing them to be more like a three or four year time frame. And the data from that will let us do another round. And that's where you get kind of the best case. If you could just two -- do two more rounds, you might have something that would have substantial effect.
ANDERSON: N.M. has written to us and asks: "If a vaccine were to be available, who would get access to it and who would control it?"
GATES: Well, vaccines for public health emergencies like AIDS are -- will be made for everyone. And fortunately, vaccine manufacturing is simple enough. All we need to do is invent it and then -- then we'll get it rolled out.
ANDERSON: And James wants to know where a future vaccine would be deployed first.
GATES: Well, there -- there'll be trials to prove it out. So you'll have participants in the trials. But once you have a trial that proved that it's safety and effectiveness was very strong, then you'd make it available worldwide. The places where it has the greatest impact are -- are where you are at the greatest risk, which includes Africa and a lot of other communities around the world. But it -- it would be available to anyone who wanted it.
ANDERSON: And Anna wants to know what is more satisfying, being able to give so much money to a cause like this with your foundation or creating Microsoft?
GATES: Well, I've been very lucky. I've had two jobs that were absolutely fantastic. I think when I was young, writing software, staying up all night, you know, dreaming about the personal computer I wanted and I thought would be great for everyone, that was the perfect thing for me. And now I've -- I've switched. I'm totally full-time on the foundation. You know, I'm loving advocating for these causes. I'm making sure that the money our foundation spends is -- is used in the best way possible.
And I come to events like these and I learn and I'm reminded why it's so important. I love doing this work. And, you know, I'm -- I'm doing my best and -- and enjoying it.
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ANDERSON: As I said, Bill Gates was one of your suggestions for Connector of the Day. Many thanks for that. Do keep the ideas coming. CNN.com/connect is where you can leave those ideas.
And in the hot seat tomorrow, the real life Indiana Jones. We talk to the famed Egyptian archeologist, Zahi Hawass. So send us your thoughts on all of our Connectors.
Who do you want to see on the show?
And remember, do tell us where you are writing in from. Head to CNN.com/connect.
And that tonight, at 22 minutes past 9:00 in London, we will be right back.
ANDERSON: And do remember, you can connect with this show as it rolls online via Twitter. My personal address is atbeckycnn. I've been checking it throughout the show. We always check it, so do let us know what you think of the show or suggest ideas for future Connectors. Log on. Join the conversation. And do remember, we also want to know where you're writing in from.
Now, one thing that we all need to remember on Twitter is -- well, to be careful what we Tweet. It's a lesson Sarah Palin is learning after the former U.S. vice presidential candidate seemed to get her words just slightly muddled. Rather than hold her hands up in defeat, though, Palin has embarked on an epic attempt to spin the situation in her favor.
Have a listen to this report from Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't bother looking this one up in a dictionary.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: They could refudiate what it is...
MOOS: Excuse me?
PALIN: Refudiate what it is...
MOOS: Not only did Sarah Palin say it, she Tweeted it while discussing the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero. "Peaceful Muslims, please refudiate."
(on-camera): Now refudiate sounds suspiciously like an actual word that Sarah Palin probably meant to say...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Repudiate. Repudiate.
MOOS: But having said refudiate, she wasn't about to repudiate it.
(voice-over): Instead, she raised the ante with this Tweet, "refudiate" "misunderestimate," "wee wee'd up. English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too. Got to celebrate it!"
PALIN: Refudiate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They misunderestimated...
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody in Washington gets all wee wee'd up.
MOOS: Talk about wee wee'd up, film critic Roger Ebert Tweeted, "Urgent to Sarah Palin USA: Shakespeare would rather have died than coined the meaningless non-word misunderestimate."
JAMES SHAPIRO, AUTHOR, "WHO WROTE SHAKESPEARE?": Shakespeare would have been howling in laughter at this one because she exemplifies just the kind of character that he loved to make out the comic butt.
MOOS (on camera): Oh, wow.
(voice-over): Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro was referring to malapropisms by some of the bard's comic characters that reconfirms that Shakespeare did coin lots of phrases and new words, like hot-blooded.
SHAPIRO: There's just a huge gulf between making up words and butchering them.
MOOS: Next thing you know, Shakes-Palin is the rage on Twitter, telling the Palin story in Shakespearean terms, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous liberals or to quit half term and by opposing rake in speaking fees.
Sure, anyone who's on camera all the time flubs it, be it mispronouncing navy corpsman three times.
OBAMA: Navy corpsman, Christian Bouchard. Corpsman Bouchard. Corpsman Bouchard.
MOOS: Or putting an "S" on Twitter.
OBAMA: She visited the headquarter of Twitters...
MOOS: But Twitters is now full of Tweets about refudiate. You can plaster it on hats and mugs and greeting cards. Humorous Andy Borowitz joked, "Palin says refudiate appears in fictionary, calls critics incohesive."
To refudiate or not to refudiate, it's enough to get the bard...
OBAMA: All wee wee'd up.
MOOS: The bard of Wasilla.
Jeanne Moos, CNN...
PALIN: Refudiate what it is...
MOOS: New York.
ANDERSON: Well, to refudiate or not to refudiate, as Jeanne says, Twitter users are having a whole lot of fun with Palin, comparing herself to the "Hamlet" playwright himself. Hordes of you are offering revamped classic Shakespeare quotes, ala Palin.
Here are a few of them.
Mikebender says: "But soft, what yonder window breaks? It is the east and I can see Russia from my front porch."
Pdenlinger also picks up on the Russia theme and writes: "I can refudiate Russia from my backyard."
Aaron Bieber had a go. He says: "What's in a name? That which we call a pig with any kind of lipstick would look so sweet."
Jaydaagupta refers to Palin's daughter in his essay: "The fault, dear Bristol, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we misunderstimated."
Someone calling themselves Normative writes: "To suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous liberals or to quit half term and by opposing rake in speaking fees."
And finally, ATL Cheap simply writes: "Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin is hilarious."
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.
I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.
Lost more ahead on the show.
Your headlines, though, are first, in 60 seconds.
Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London. You are with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Coming up in the next 30 minutes, risking their lives for a chance at a better life. The dangerous journey asylum- seekers make getting to Australia.
Plus, when man's best friend becomes man's meal ticket. Our theme week this week on pets takes us to China.
And as British prime minister David Cameron faces tough questions on the release of the Lockerbie bomber, we're going to explore the story's global connections for you. Joining the dots on CONNECT THE WORLD, a story that takes us to 30 countries.
All these stories are ahead in the next half hour. First, a very quick check of the headlines for you.
More than 70 nations at an international conference in Afghanistan endorse the plan by President Hamid Karzai for his government to take control of security there by 2014. The conference urged the Afghan government to reform its financial system and reduce corruption.
Testing will continue for at least the next 24 hours on BP's well cap in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists are now considering pumping mud into the well, the idea behind the so-called "static kill" is a permanent seal to the well.
We're learning that a magnitude 5.8 earthquake has hit Iran's Gulf coast. Almost 1000 meters -- sorry, kilometers southeast of Tehran. The US geological survey says the quake struck at about 11:08 PM local time and was almost 37 -- 34 kilometers deep. I've got to get my numbers right here. We are working to confirm reports of any casualties or damage, and we'll bring that to you, of course, as soon as we get it.
Asylum-seekers are shaping up to be the key issue in Australia's upcoming elections. Both the new prime minister and her opponent say that they are going to tighten the rules on who is allowed into the country. We're going to start this part of the show with a look at the personal and political sides of asylum. Here's Anna Coren.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a long, treacherous journey made by thousands of asylum-seekers each year in hope of a better life. Crammed onto small, leaking fishing vessels in Indonesia, many hand over their life savings to people smugglers on the promise of reaching Australian waters and being granted refugee status.
Riz Wakil, an Afghan who fled persecution from the Taliban in 1999 is one man who successfully made that trip aboard a rickety boat.
RIZ WAKIL, FORMER ASYLUM-SEEKER: One of those things that I don't want to remember in my life is that trip we made. When I saw the boat, I asked the guy, I said, "Look, is this the boat we are going to make this journey to Australia?" He said, "No, no, don't worry. This is not the boat. The big ship is waiting somewhere in the sea for your guys."
COREN (voice-over): But there was no big ship. For the next 11 days, he and the other 73 on board drifted at sea before being picked up by authorities and taken to a detention center for processing. That's where he remained for the next 9 months before being granted asylum.
The father of one who's expecting his second child in a matter of days, says the people who make this journey are desperate.
WAKIL: People like myself, they die every day, every moment in Afghanistan. Every second day. Because with the threat, with the constant threat that what will happen to them, what will happen to their family tomorrow, next day, next hour.
COREN (voice-over): The immigration debate has been reignited in Australia with the upcoming federal election on August 21. Responding to concerns about the flow of people heading into Australia's northern waters, the leading parties are toughening their stance. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is seeking a regional solution that will discourage people smuggling.
JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: I have discussed with President Ramos Horta of East Timor the possibility of establishing a regional processing center.
COREN (voice-over): Opposition leader, Tony Abbot, has proposed turning the boats around and sending them back.
About 80 boats have reached Australia's waters this year. The government says that's a record. Most of the migrants aboard have been Afghans and Sri Lankans. Up to 90 percent of those who arrive by boat are granted asylum.
COREN (on camera): This is Villawood Detention Center on the outskirts of Sydney, the largest facility on mainland Australia. It currently houses approximately 260 detainees. The government claims the average amount of time spent in detention ranges from three to six months. But there are cases of asylum-seekers being held for more than two years.
COREN (voice-over): The reason, officials say, many have either destroyed or lost their identification papers, taking authorities longer to process them. Advocacy groups say other centers are simply overwhelmed by new arrivals, who have risked everything for asylum.
PAUL POWERS, REFUGEE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA: The whole process of entering Australia by boat is, in a strange way, somewhat of a self- selection process. And what we're seeing over the last decade or more is that asylum-seekers entering by boat are far more likely to be found to be in need of protection than asylum-seekers who enter Australia by plane with a temporary visa. And that's basically because it's a desperate measure for desperate people.
COREN (voice-over): Wakil has been in Australia for more than 10 years now, and feels it's important to share his story and tell Australians they have nothing to fear from migrants.
WAKIL: I'm Australian citizen now, and I'm really proud of it, to be an Australian citizen now. And in the community, I don't feel any kind of -- any fear of that people are scared of refugees. Unfortunately, in Australian politics, refugee issue has lost its human face. And it's just become a political football.
COREN (voice-over): Anna Coren, CNN, Sydney, Australia.
ANDERSON: Asylum is a hot-button issue, but so, too, is immigration. This week, Britain, for example, clamped down on the number of non-EU immigrants that it will admit in the future. The immigration minister here says the cap is meant to help the country cope with newcomers.
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DAMIAN GREEN, BRITISH IMMIGRATION MINISTER: Immigration's been running at higher levels than ever in Britain's history for most of the last 10 years. And that's resulted in a lot of stress and strain on public services. So this cap on work visas is one of the ways the new conservative-liberal coalition is going to bring about a reduction in that immigration to the level of tens of thousands, with which Britain can comfortably cope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, last year, Italy passed a new tough anti-immigration law. It allows illegal immigrants to be fined nearly $13,000 and detained for up to six months.
In the US, Arizona has that nation's toughest immigration laws. It's aimed at identifying, prosecuting, and deporting illegal immigrants. Well, the Obama administration plans to fight that Arizona law.
To look at more at what is a controversial measure, Casey Wian's been covering the story for CNN. He's in Los Angeles today. Casey, where do things stand right now on this issue in Arizona?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, for a couple of months now, we've seen protests in the street from both sides, supporters and opponents of this controversial law. Now the battle has moved into the courts. This week, there's a key court hearing on Thursday in Phoenix to decide whether this law is, in fact, constitutional.
There have been no fewer than seven separate lawsuits filed over this controversial law. We've had lawsuits filed by civil rights groups, by two police officers who don't want to enforce the law because they believe it infringes on their rights. There's even been a lawsuit filed by a man who lives in Washington, DC, all the way across the country, who's of Hispanic heritage. He says he's afraid that if he travels to the state of Arizona, that he will be stopped and detained by the police there.
The biggest lawsuit, of course, the one that is drawing the most attention and could sort of set the standard for what happens with this law, is by the Obama administration, the lawsuit that you mentioned. That will get its hearing Thursday in Phoenix. The administration argues that it's the federal government's responsibility and right to regulate immigration, not the state's.
Now, the state of Arizona, the governor and supporters of the law there say the federal government hasn't done its job in securing the borders and enforcing the nation's immigration law, so the state has no choice but to step in and try to do it itself. Becky?
ANDERSON: Casey Wian's on the story for you out of LA, the story out of Arizona, of course, tonight. Can't think of a story which is more connective and more important for this CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Casey, we thank you for that.
I'm Becky Anderson in London. We're going to move on. Prime Minster David Cameron speaks out on allegations that BP played a key role in the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Side-by-side with President Obama, Mr. Cameron called the decision to free Abdel Baset al-Megrahi completely wrong. But does he think that BP was involved? We're going to hear from the prime minister himself next, here on CNN.
ANDERSON: Side-by-side at the White House, British prime minister David Cameron and US president Barack Obama held a news conference just a short time ago. Mr. Cameron is facing fairly tough questions on Scotland's controversial release of the Lockerbie bomber. US lawmakers want an investigation into allegations that BP lobbied for Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's early release so that the energy giant could secure lucrative oil deals in Libya.
Both leaders say letting al-Megrahi return to Libya was the wrong thing to do.
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DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Let us not confuse the oil spill with the Libyan bomber. I've been absolutely clear about this right from the start.
And in our meeting, we had what we call a violent agreement, which is that releasing the Lockerbie bomber, a mass murderer of 270 people, the largest act of terrorism ever committed in the United Kingdom was completely wrong. He showed his victims no compassion. They were not allowed to die in their beds at home, surrounded by their families. So in my view, neither should that callous killer have been given that luxury.
That wasn't a decision taken by BP, it was a decision taken by the Scottish government. We have to accept that under the laws of my country, where power on certain issues is devolved to Scotland, this was a decision for the Scottish executive, a decision that they took.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think all of us her in the United States were surprised, disappointed, and angry about the release of the Lockerbie bomber. The key thing to understand here is that we've got a British prime minister who shares our anger over the decision, who also objects to how it played out.
And so, I'm fully supportive of Prime Minister Cameron's efforts to gain a better understanding of it. To clarify it. But, the bottom line is that we all disagreed with it. It was a bad decision.
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ANDERSON: We've heard from Obama there and Cameron. The dramatic saga of the conviction, detention, and eventual release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber connects over 30 countries and spans, let me remind you, more than two decades.
ANDERSON (voice-over): It begins in tragedy. Pan Am Flight 103 took off from London's Heathrow Airport on December the 21st, 1988. Destination, New York.
But about an hour into the flight, the jumbo jet exploded 31,000 feet above Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 250 people on board and 11 on the ground. The victims were mostly American.
British authorities cited an explosive device as the cause of the crash. The evidence, fragments of a circuit board and a timer.
Investigators from the US, Britain, and Germany questioned over 15,000 people in more than 30 countries, and eventually, the investigation led them to Libya.
British and American officials accused Abdel Baset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, both Libyans, of being intelligence agents and masterminds behind the deadly disaster. The two were indicted on 270 counts of murder on November the 13th, 1991.
Nearly eight years later, under immense political and economic pressure, Libya handed both over to the United Nations. Their trial brought them to Camp Zeist, a former US air base 20 miles south of Amsterdam, where they were prosecuted under Scottish law in a UN court. Fhimah was acquitted of all charges. Megrahi convicted and jailed for a minimum of 27 years to be spent in a Scottish prison.
When Megrahi was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, Moammar Gadhafi and his son, Saif, lobbied officials in London and Scotland for his release, which didn't happen until August, 2009, when Scottish authorities allowed Megrahi to return to Libya on compassionate grounds. Doctors said he had just a few months to live. Very nearly a year later, Megrahi is still alive.
ANDERSON: Libya is standing firm behind his release. Saif Gadhafi, the son of the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, was seen as instrumental in bringing al-Megrahi back home. He was Connector of the Day back in May here on this show, and he then addressed the controversy. Have a listen to what he said.
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SAIF GADHAFI, MOAMMAR GADHAFI'S SON: First, I think he's innocent. Second, one day the whole world will discover the truth about Lockerbie. Third, he's a very sick man, has cancer, and he really -- very serious condition.
And so it was really immoral for the people to be unhappy with me and unhappy with his return to Libya. The man is very sick, he went back home, and the people are angry with me. I don't know why. And he was released. They used honest decision from the authority in this country. After all, we didn't kidnap him. It was a very legal process.
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ANDERSON: Saif Gadhafi talking to me back in May, closing out what you can see as your connective tissue on a story that started in Washington earlier today, but has extended across the years.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. For some, dog, family is their best friend. For others, sad to say, a selection from an ala carte menu. Just ahead, we investigate China's market for dog and cat meat, from cage to kitchen.
ANDERSON: Right. All this week on the show, we are putting pets in the spotlight. So far, we've seen how feeding our furry friends could be taking a bit of precious global resources. One theory even says the carbon paw print of a large dog is twice that of a gas-guzzling car.
And talking of gas, we do know that cows and sheep produce a lot of methane. But what we discovered on Monday is that the key to reducing those emissions could be -- wait for it -- curry. Ingredients like turmeric and coriander, to be precise, work a bit like an antibiotic to help reduce the amount of methane that animals produce.
Well, in China, there's a more troubling tale to tell. Man's best friend, who, sadly, can become man's favorite meal. As Emily Chang tells us, the country's taste for meat extends to eating cats and dogs. So we must warn you, you may find this report slightly disturbing.
EMILY CHANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crowded in cages, penned behind bars, all for sale.
CHANG (on camera): There are several cages here full of cats, presumably just waiting to be sold.
CHANG (voice-over): This isn't a pet store. It's a wholesale meat market in southern China, where eating cats and dogs is common practice.
CHANG (on camera): Frozen dog legs. Thirty-six Yuan, so that's about $6 for, looks like a lot of meat there.
CHANG (voice-over): At the Han River Dog Meat Restaurant, diners can have it almost any way they please.
CHANG (on camera): So, on the menu they've got dog steak, dog soup, dog and tofu, and many, many other dishes. And when we asked them which one is the most popular, they said everything is popular here.
So, he's chopping up the dog meat. Never seen this before. It looks a lot like pork, I would say. It's a little difficult to watch.
CHANG (voice-over): But dog meat is good for your health and metabolism, the hostess tells me. In the summer, it helps people sweat.
Still, these local restaurants may have to find a new specialty. New legislation, pending review by the Chinese government, could make eating dogs and cats illegal.
"This ban on eating cats and dogs would demonstrate that China has reached a new level of civilization," said this professor, who's leading the campaign.
While many cats and dogs are specifically raised to be eaten, animal rights advocates say there's always a chance they're someone's lost or stolen pet. The Chinese government ordered dog to be taken off the menu during the Beijing Olympics to avoid upsetting international visitors. And with living standards rising, China's growing number of pet owners are throwing their support behind a potential ban as well.
"I would never eat dog meat," this woman says. "It's so cruel."
But experts say any law against it could take as long as a decade to pass. Until then, it's ala carte, to the kitchen from the cage. Emily Chang, CNN, Guangzhou, China.
ANDERSON: Well, cat and dog meat notwithstanding, there are plenty of other delicacies, as they're called in some places in the world, available around the world that you might find a bit weird.
Like your food fresh? Well, in Korea, octopus can be served up sliced and seasoned and squirming on the plate.
Well, for your next course, a Sardinian specialty, casu marzu, translates as "rotten cheese." And it is exactly what it is. It's riddled with insect larvae and has to be eaten with the maggots inside. It's banned for health reasons, but you can still buy it on the black market, apparently.
In the Philippines, you can eat your chicken and egg at the same time. Balut is a dish consisting of a fertilized egg boiled just before hatching. Diners tuck into both the yolk and the meat inside.
And for dessert, alligator cheesecake, how about that? Baked up in New Orleans, Louisiana, the toothy reptile is paired with sausage and shrimp.
My next guest has feasted on some, shall we say, pretty unconventional foods in his time. He's even carved out a career traveling the globe doing just that. Andrew Zimmern is the co-creator and host of a show called "Bizarre Food." It's on the Travel Channel. He joins me now from Helsinki, Finland. And I understand, he's been eating poisonous mushrooms today.
And you are fit, it seems, at least, to appear on the show. How's that?
ANDREW ZIMMERN, HOST, "BIZARRE FOOD": Eight hours and ticking, I'm still here. Yes, they call it Finish Fugu. It's a false morel, and it has to be cooked, boiled, two or three times before it can finally be dried, and then sauteed. Again, it was paired with reindeer. It was pretty tasty.
ANDERSON: What did it taste like? Tell me.
ZIMMERN: Very much like a typical mushroom. Very earthy, loamy, tasted very much like the soil in the forest. A lot of foods, especially the ones that look the most heinous, actually taste fairly benign. The casu marzu, for example. I think I ticked off -- I think I've eaten every single one of the items that you described just a few moments ago, and most of them actually taste very, very benign.
ANDERSON: All right, let's go through some of your top five, that I know that we've got, for the viewers' purposes at least, the list. And I'm going to take you through some of them. I think, top of the list. Weevils and rats. Where and why?
ZIMMERN: Oh, gosh. Eight or nine different countries I've eaten them. Most famously and with the greatest variety in Udon Thani, just across from the Laotian border in northeastern Thailand.
Most foods, and these especially, are foods born of necessity. People have no other food source, it's a reliable source of protein and, quite frankly, people are hungry. Meat is meat. If they've been eating, for example, sugar cane or rice grains, or other healthy foods, there's really no difference between an animal like that, say, and rabbit that you might have, or free-ranging chicken or any other bird or small, little ground animal in the wild.
ANDERSON: Right, OK, I get that. I can just about buy that. What I don't get, and I think it's fourth on your list, is two-year-old, oaked, sour, rotting fish. Am I right in saying it's called surstromming?
ZIMMERN: Surstromming, yes. I just actually ate a fantastic version of it at the Swedish embassy in Washington, DC, for an upcoming show this fall. And that shocked even me. The amount of pressure and gas that builds up -- It's actually a canned product, so it's held stable under pressure, and the gas release actually caused the liquid that was in the can to almost explode out of it. And even the Swedes that were there say they don't eat it without mixing it with copious amounts of potatoes and sour cream. It's really the only way that they can get it down. It was pretty nasty.
ANDERSON: All right, very, very briefly, you've got about fifteen seconds. Tell me, what's the worst you've ever eaten? Something you spat out and said, "I'm not going to do this."
ZIMMERN: Whole aloe -- aloe leaves in tonic. It was impossible to have something in my stomach, my mouth, and still in the glass at the same time.
ANDERSON: And with that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Join us again when you've been on your travels and you got something even more disgusting to tell us. How about that? Come back when you've got something more disgusting to tell us. We very rarely say that to a guest on this show.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Tomorrow, we meet some seriously pampered pooches. The US economy may have gone to the dogs, but it seems some pet owners will spare no expense to make sure that their animals live a life of luxury. From stays in canine hotels to treats from special doggie rotisseries. That's up next. Tonight, you're with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson, and we're near the top of the hour. Your headlines coming right up.
ANDERSON: Money makes the world go 'round and provides inspiration, it seems, for tonight's World in Pictures as we go through the lens.
This is the new symbol for the Indian rupee. School children posed in its shape. India hopes the rupee will gain the status of the dollar, euro, and other top currencies.
Well, in Hong Kong, they've just unveiled new $1,000 bank notes. Five denominations will be introduced over the next year.
Commerce on a smaller scale in Afghanistan as President Hamid Karzai and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tour a craft bazaar.
And in Indonesia, a reprieve for the world's most expensive coffee. At almost $9 a cup, it's made from the droppings of a cat-like animal called a civet. You may remember, we tried it here in the studio. Indonesia's highest Islamic body considered and then dropped a proposed ban over concerns the coffee is unclean.
Money and commerce in your World in Pictures this evening. I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected this Tuesday out of London. "BackStory" is up next here on CNN, right after a check of the headlines.