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CONNECT THE WORLD

Cost of Wheat Rises as Russia Extends Export Ban; Doubles Duo From India and Pakistan

Aired September 3, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(MARKET REPORT)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Rioting in the capital of Mozambique over scoring the bread crisis, highlighting a global rise in the cost of wheat, as Russia extends a ban on its exports. Tonight, how one country's domestic policies can have a dire impact globally.

On CNN, this is the hour we CONNECT THE WORLD. Very good evening from London. From Mozambique to Serbia, Egypt to Pakistan, food prices are soaring. And the repercussions are becoming deadly. I'll ask the U.N.'s food chief what can be done to ease the pain.

I'm Becky Anderson. Also tonight, where politics fails, tennis, it seems, succeeds. A doubles duo from India and Pakistan have a message for the world.

And some Friday fun for you, the part of the show where you get involved; Global Connections. You can see Brazil's Rio on the left, Nigeria's Lagos on the right. What connects them? You've been debating that question on our website, CNN.com/Connect. And this hour, we're going to reveal your answers. Fascinating stuff. You will not want to miss that.

First up, though, this evening, in a country where more than half the population lives below the poverty line, every cent counts when food costs rise. We begin tonight in Mozambique, rocked by deadly riots over the soaring price of bread and other staples. Nima Elbagir is following the story for you from Johannesburg.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in the third day of violent protests over the rising cost of living in Mozambique. Seven people have been confirmed dead. Nearly 300 people have been injured. Although the Mozambican police say that the situation is increasingly under control, there are fears over the potential for further protests.

This isn't the first time Mozambique has been rocked by violent clashes. In 2008, there were riots over the rising cots of fuel. The Mozambican government did step in that point and institute a state sponsored subsidy. That subsidy ended last July, and that's really why we're now seeing such a huge hike, because Mozambique has been cushioned from the rising cost of wheat and fuel that has been buffeting the rest of the continent and the rest of the world.

Mozambique also struggles because it lies in the shadow of the South African power house. Mozambique brings in most of its imports from South Africa. But over the last year the Mozambican Metical, the local currency, has depreciated massively against the South African Rand, and that's obviously been pushing up the price of imports.

The Mozambican president has now addressed the nation and said these rises are here to stay.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Johannesburg.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: It's not just Mozambique. Rising prices for food are a problem for families all over the world at present. In fact, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says that global food costs are at their highest levels in two years.

That's due in large part to surging wheat prices, which is up by more than about 50 percent since May. Wheat is more than an ingredient in bread, of course. It's also feed for livestock. So higher wheat prices have helped push global meat costs to their highest levels since 1990.

Let me give you an example of that. Lamb prices are at a 37 year high. Well, the news got even worse this week when Russia announced it's extending a ban on wheat exports for another entire year. Matthew Chance tells us why Moscow is taking what appears to be quite a drastic measure.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Russia's extension of its ban on grain exports is putting further upward pressure on global food prices. The country is, of course, one of the world's biggest wheat producers. But it's just emerging from its worst heat wave and drought in 40 years, terrible weather conditions that have devastated crops across fertile areas of western and central Russia, fueling government concerns here that Russia may not even harvest enough grain to meet its own domestic needs.

Initially, the ban on grain exports was to be enforced until the end of this year. Now the Russian prime minister, mindful that food shortages could have severe political consequences at home, is extending that ban for at least another 12 months. Let's listen to what he had to say.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER: I think it has to be pointed out that we can only consider the cancellation of grain exports ban after near year's harvest is gathered and there is clarity regarding the grain balance.

CHANCE: Well, that may satisfy the concerns at home here in Russia. But, of course, with the million tons of grain the country usually exports no longer on the global market, there are renewed concerns of food shortages and higher prices elsewhere.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right, joining the dots for you on this story; many countries rely on wheat imports from Russia to supplement their food supply. One of them is Egypt, actually the biggest importer of wheat in the world. Now, half the population there depends on subsidized bread to survive.

Well, the loss of Russian wheat is compounded by natural disasters in other exporting countries, like Pakistan for example. Severe flooding could force it to cancel plans to export more than two million tons of wheat. The crops of another big exporter, Australia, have been hit by locusts and drought. And Canada's output of wheat could be hurt by excessive rains.

All these things then threatening supply, while demand, of course, continues to climb. Some people fear we could see a repeat of 2008, when food riots swept across the world.

But our next guest says we haven't reached crisis level yet. Abdolreza Abbassian is a senior grains economist with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and joins us this evening.

Sir, when you see the pictures out of Mozambique, it looks like we are moving towards a global food crisis. So why do you say hold on in there for a moment, as it were?

ABDOLREZA ABBASSIAN, U.N. FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORG.: Well, Mozambique -- obviously, there is a major problem in Mozambique. It has a lot to do with macroeconomics. It has a lot to do with the devaluation and the problems that Mozambique has been experiencing for some time, particularly about the fuel costs. And you know the devaluation of the currency has made imports expensive for everything.

So I would say that as bad as the situation is, it really is not representative of what the current market situation is. And really it can not be yet compared with the situation two years ago.

ANDERSON: But it does highlight what is becoming an increasing problem, doesn't it?

ABBASSIAN: Yes, it does. It does remind us the bad days of, you know, two years ago, where really the situation got out of control. We are not there yet. But wheat prices have risen rather sharply. Extension of the ban is not going to make this any less painful.

And the anxiety that is out, that is going to keep pressure up on prices. So as long as it remains with wheat, I think we can pass through these hard times. I hope that it will not spill over to other commodities. Then, of course, we will be talking about something more serious.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about one government who is taking it upon themselves to do something about this. That is the Chinese government. They have ordered action to cool food price rises, by raising production of certain staples in China. Would you urge other countries to do a similar thing?

ABBASSIAN: Well, China is a huge country. If China can feed itself, it will do a tremendous benefit not only to its own people, but to the world community in large. Some smaller countries, they may be better off importing if they can organize themselves. They may not have a really comparative advantage to produce more.

So size matters. And I think countries like China and India, their self-sufficiency programs have actually paid off quite nicely so far. But for some smaller countries, often self-sufficiency alone may not be the way forward. You know, water resources and a lot of other constraints they may have may actually prevent them from becoming self-sufficient.

ANDERSON: The cost of producing food is rising faster than the cost at which food is being retailed. Of course, that is also putting a squeeze on farmers' margins, which has to be a concern. When does that become a critical food security issue?

ABBASSIAN: Well, really, we will have a critical food security issue when I would say we simply run out of grains. Now, fortunately, agriculture is cyclical. Usually, high prices will lead farmers to produce more. But farmers have to be assured that they will actually get the return, that they will actually benefit from high prices.

ANDERSON: That's a problem, isn't it?

(CROSS TALK)

ANDERSON: If they can't retail at a higher price, then that will be a squeeze on their margins. That becomes a problem.

ABBASSIAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. And this is why market transparency and free trade can actually help to boost not only farmers' income, but also all food security.

ANDERSON: Let's just close out with a sense from you as to which countries are at gravest risk of food shortages as we see the price of wheat going higher day by day.

ABBASSIAN: I would say the lower income food deficit countries. There are some 80 of them. So there are plenty of them.

But I would say the countries in sub-Saharan Africa are very vulnerable. They're countries which import food almost entirely. And the high prices for them, you know even a few percentage -- here we're talking about much higher than that. That means a heavy burden on their balance of payment, and that means cutting somewhere else. And some of those countries simply do not have much to cut.

ANDERSON: Out of Paris this morning -- this evening, the U.N.'s chief on food. We thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Well, we've been hearing from you on this story, particularly in Mozambique, where we've received some fascinating i-Reports we've got from you. Here's one from Phil in Africa.

He's on the road to Matola (ph), about 12 kilometers outside Moputo. He says prices on basic foods and fuels have gone up, but the minimum salary has laid the same. To compare, a 50 kilogram bag of flour costs 700 Metical last month. Today it will cost you 1,050.

And these shots from Phil a bit later on, on a road to an area known as Muchaba (ph). He says the fear here is mostly of having your car vandalized, split and set on fire. And he says there are rumors that the riots will go on for at least three -- three more days, unless the government does something positive.

Well, do keep sending us your i-Reports. We love to hear from you if you've been witnessing some of the stories that we've touched on, or going to touch on tonight. You can also send in your comments, of course, to CNN.com/Connect.

Coming up next, they live in extreme poverty and face discrimination almost everywhere they go in Europe. But are they breaking the law? We'll look at the plight of the Roma people. That is just ahead here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson this Friday. Protests are expected across Paris tomorrow, as unions and civil rights groups rally against the government's anti-crime proposals. Now, President Nicolas Sarkozy has tried to tighten security after a wave of violent crime. And he's focusing on a popular target, the Roma people, who camp out in France.

Here's CNN's Jim Bittermann.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE):

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the far Eastern edge of the European Union live some of the far poorest Europeans, the Roma, the Gypsies of Romania. For centuries, the rest of Europe had seen the Gypsies come and go. But when Romania joined the European Union, the Roma acquired the right to come and stay.

And in the Romania village of Calveni (ph), the preferred destination is France. Those who have been there, like Natalia Byku (ph), tell stories about how rich it seems.

"They throw away food," she says, "three or four days, even a week before the expiration date." Food for the garbage bins that her family lived on.

No wonder the six of them traveled back and forth to France for the past three years. Now, though, she is not so sure. A few days ago, they returned home to Romania, afraid the French were about to expel them.

It's no wonder they were frightened. For weeks, the French news has shown the scenes of police dismantling illegal Gypsy camps and sending their occupants back home. Nine thousand have been expelled just this year.

But it's only part of a tough new line on immigrants. After anti- police attacks, the parliament is considering laws to take away French citizenship from naturalized immigrants guilty of crimes like attacks on police, polygamy or female circumcision.

But some believe blaming immigrants for security problems flies in the face of the democratic fundamentals of liberty, equality and fraternity the French take such pride in.

The crack down so angered human rights groups that 50 of them have banded together for a weekend protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's policies.

JEAN PIERRE DUBOIS, HUMAN RIGHTS LEADER: Every citizen has equal rights. Unfortunately, our president -- our present president has said a lot of things that are completely contrary to these principles.

BITTERMANN: And opponents accuse Sarkozy of racial politics, using the get tough policies on immigrants and Roma as a way of strengthening his political support on the right and far right, something the government denies.

(on camera): While public opinion polls indicate that a small majority of the French approve of the government's security policies, they have drawn criticism and concern from international organizations, including the European Union. Now a court in France has stopped an expulsion of Romas on the basis of the fact that simply illegally occupying land is not a threat to public order.

(voice-over): The outcry prompted government ministers to try to explain their policies, insisting that they are only strictly enforcing E.U. rules limiting visitors without resident permits to a three month stay.

And since other countries have expelled thousands of Roma over the past few years, they believe France is being unjustly singled out.

PIERRE LELLOUCE, MIN. OF STATE FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS: I think it's not just unfair, it's -- I'm shocked by it. I'm shocked by a lot of stuff. When I see where the criticism come from -- but, you know, being a member of government, I have to be diplomatic.

BITTERMANN: Meanwhile, back in Calveni, while some Gypsies are frightened by the French policies, others are intent on exercising their European rights, planning their return to that promised land in the west, evidence from one of the key arguments from government opponent, that the crack down is useless because no one can stop the Gypsies from coming and going, as they always have.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Let's take a look at the Roma population across Europe, shall we? According to the Council of Europe, the greatest numbers are concentrated in Eastern and Central Europe, shown here in red, particularly Romania, where they make up more than five percent of the population. They make up less than five percent of the population in countries shaded in orange, including Turkey and Spain.

The number fewer still in the yellow shaded countries, like France, Russia and Ireland. But even those places with larger Roma populations, like the Czech Republic, Roma are still often treated like second class citizens. Here's CNN's Saloon Tuni (ph).

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): This is how many of the 250,000 Roma in the Czech Republic live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are houses with mold and fungus and so on and so forth. There are houses with leaking roofs. There are houses with no plumbing. There are houses without a toilet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When communism fell, rents sky-rocketed. So Roma were pushed into new ghettos. Facing job discrimination, up to 70 percent are unemployed, many Romas survive on black market jobs or public assistance.

KUMAR VISHWANATHAN, AID WORKER: The whole society points fingers at the Roma, saying look how badly they live; they are responsible for the state of affairs.

It's very important to show that we are doing something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kumar Vishwanathan runs a local NGO trying to help.

VISHWANATHAN: This is the Kufsinuq (ph) family. It's a Roma family. The grandmother of this household wants to speak to me because there are ten people living in this little single room flat. So it's quite a big crowd of people in this small space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many Roma children were sent to special schools for the mentally disabled. The white majority accuses Roma youths of committing petty crimes. All this makes them easy scapegoats.

VISHWANATHAN: Many people from the majority think to -- think that violence against the Roma is acceptable. These boys who do these violent attacks are good boys. I think it's a very dangerous moment in history now. And the neo-Nazis are using this. They are the tools which are carrying -- the tools that are carrying out a public order, a public demand, to get rid of the Roma.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, my next guest says the way that some E.U. countries are treating the Roma is increasingly aggressive and illegal. Rob Kushen is the executive director of the European Roma Rights Center, and he joins us live now from Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Why do the Roma, Mr. Kushen, migrate to western Europe?

ROB KUSHEN, EUROPEAN ROMA RIGHTS CENTER: Well, there are two reasons, principally. Roma are leaving Eastern Europe because they face discrimination at home, as well as structural poverty. So they're going to France and other countries in search of a better life.

ANDERSON: All right, well we've just seen reports on how the Roma are treated in France and, indeed, in the Czech Republic. Your organization I know has filed an appeal to help Roma in another E.U. country. I think we're alluding to Denmark here. Tell me more about that.

KUSHEN: Well, unfortunately, the French policy and practice here is not unique in the European Union. Starting with Italy in 2008, which essentially declared Roma to be a security threat and promulgated a series of emergency measures, and continuing now to countries such as Denmark, which last month summarily deported a number of Roma back to Romania.

Today, the European Roma Rights Center filed the initial legal appeal on behalf of ten of a group of 23 Roma who were expelled by Danish authorities back to Romania -- violation of European law.

ANDERSON: I want to talk about what rights they should or do have under E.U. and international law. But why do they -- let's be clear, these expulsions come amidst public outcry about public security, effectively. A common perception is that the Roma are predisposed to crime and other anti- social behavior. Why do you think that is?

KUSHEN: Why do you think that's the perception? Well, I mean, it's a perception which, unfortunately, has been stoked by high government officials, including the interior minister in Italy, now the president of France, even the foreign minister of Romania, who now is defending the Roma population in Romania, but in February was making some of the -- stereotyping characteristics of Roma people.

And politicians do this for a number of reasons. It feeds a public mistrust and encourages public mistrust of Roma.

ANDERSON: OK. All right, well I take your point. Under E.U. and international law, what rights do they or should they have?

KUSHEN: Well, first of all, they have the right to freedom of movement. Any citizen of an E.U. member state has the right to travel and reside in another E.U. member state. There are certain restrictions on that right. France, unfortunately, has chosen to apply some interim restrictions to citizens of Bulgaria and Romania, which essentially make it very difficult for citizens from those countries to find employment in France.

So it's a little bit --

ANDERSON: Sorry, I'm going to have to cut you off. Is there a solution? Is there anywhere where the Roma feel safe and are treated well? What is the solution, ultimately?

KUSHEN: Well, the solution is manifold. It's a complex problem, the problem of Roma exclusion. It has to start with the political will in countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, and other countries with large Roma populations, including France, which has 500,000 travelers, to treat these people as full citizens, and to give their children an education, to provide housing and job opportunities for them, and to treat them as full members of society.

Right now, we've seen certain lip service paid to that and to protecting the rights of Roma. But we have not seen effective government policy, or a real commitment to overcoming some strong public prejudice and popular opposition to the basic right, for example, of a Roma child to study in school next to a non-Roma child.

ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there, sir. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Fascinating stuff, joining the dots on a story here on CONNECT THE WORLD. Rob Kushen for you.

After the break, we are reigniting the science-religion debate with a little help from Stephen Hawking. I'm going to tell you exactly what the leading physicist said that has prompted one of your biggest responses on our website yet. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: He is one of the world's greatest living scientists. Right now, Stephen Hawking is also one of the most talked about people on the planet. So just what has he done? Actually, it's more like what has he said.

In his latest book, "The Grand Design," he argues God did not create the universe. Given the existence, he says, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.

Religious leaders in Britain, as you might expect, have hit back at those claims. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, told the "Times" newspaper, "physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing."

And Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks also responded in the "Times," "science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation," he writes. "Well, the Bible isn't -- simply isn't interested in how the universe came into being," he said.

Well, this story has prompted one of the biggest responses on our website we have ever seen. More than 15,000 comments and counting. Let's see what you have been saying.

Wisdom4U2 writes, "Hawking wasted his time and energy to come up with that nonsense. Actually, he just proves the point, and that is he lacks wisdom. Wisdom is not knowledge. You can have lots of degrees and not make any sense at all. Educated fools."

PapaPromo says "Hawking stuck to his black hole theory for 30 years before admitting he was wrong. I hope he has another 30 years to admit he's wrong about this one too."

Another person writes into us, though, says it's all a PR exercise for his book. Quote, "this appears to me to be kind of sensational advertising that somehow has dreamt up to bring Stephen Hawking back into the limelight."

And MicMaster -- someone who goes by that name -- says "how many times have we found out we don't need a god to explain something. And how long will it take us to realize we don't need on to explain anything?"

I had the pleasure of interviewing this brilliant man last year at Prep Cambridge University. I want you to play just a little part of that interview now. I asked him about why his outlook for humanity is so pessimistic and what his solutions are. Here's what he had to say to me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN HAWKING, PHYSICIST: I see great dangers for the human race. There have been a number of times in the past when the survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuba Missile Crisis in 1963 was one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future.

We shall need great care and judgement to negotiate them all successfully. But I'm an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe as we spread into space.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, one of the world's leading physicists there, when I spoke to him back in 2009. You can watch him "LARRY KING LIVE" next Friday, right here on CNN. Tonight, we'll be right back with you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You are back with CONNECT THE WORLD this Friday. I'm Becky Anderson in London. Coming up, our ongoing investigation into the world of human trafficking continues. We're going to show you how some women in Nepal never had a chance to escape the sex trade.

Then, all week, we've been asking you to get involved in our Global Connections segment. And tonight, we're going to reveal one of the most intriguing connections, a guilty pleasure that links Brazil and Nigeria.

And an incredible story of survival and spirit. We'll show you how this woman is staying strong after a horrific and random act of violence.

Those stories are ahead in the next 30 minutes here on CNN. First, let me get you a very quick check of the headlines this hour.

This is new video after a strong earthquake struck New Zealand. The US Geological Survey says the 7.0 magnitude quake was centered 55 kilometers from the city of Christchurch. This is the country's second- largest city. There are reports of widespread but minor damage. No serious injuries reported at this time, and there are reports of widespread aftershocks. A fire official the feeling as, quote, "like a freight train running through the house."

A cargo plane belonging to the shipping company UPS has crashed in Dubai. United Arab Emirates official WAM news agency says that the bodies of the two crew members have been recovered. The plane was leaving Dubai airport en route for Cologne in Germany. These are iReport photos at the scene, taken by John Halachin (ph).

The Pakistani Taliban are claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing during an al-Quds day rally in Quetta. Police say at least 59 people were killed, some 160 others were wounded. A senior Taliban member said the group was retaliating for the killing of Sunni religious leaders by Shias.

A new drill has arrived on the scene of the mine collapse in Chile, which has trapped 33 men deep underground for almost a month. Owners of this new drill say it could reach the miners in about two months.

We are getting a terrific response from your on our ongoing investigation into human trafficking. The shock over what is being uncovered, plus some pretty smart comments about what can be done.

We are following one of the world's leading experts on the subject, Harvard University's Siddharth Kara, as he crisscrosses southern Asia. Now, he takes us inside India's carpet mills over the past month, and to the shipping industry in Bangladesh's -- or on Bangladesh's coast. But what he's finding in Nepal, well, it almost defies belief.

I spoke with Siddharth on Thursday. He told me about an entire social class of young women practically destined from birth to be trafficked into the sex industry. Here's what he had to say. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIDDHARTH KARA, HUMAN TRAFFICKING EXPERT (via telephone): I traveled into some deep, rural areas in the foothills of west Nepal to where these Badi villages are to learn more about this practice. And as you rightfully said, this is a caste-based form of trafficking for sex work.

And the story that these men and women describe to me in these villages is that, for as long as anyone can remember, when a Badi girl hits puberty, she's sent to sex work. There's really no other option for her.

Now, in the old days, this was just her village, for the locals. But, as time passed, they would go into transit towns, border towns, the capital city, and also to India. And as you can imagine, this practice was, of course, quite stigmatized.

This is what they explained to me and, with the help of some NGOs, they've tried to shed this work. But things are very difficult for them. These are very poor people, there's a lot of caste-based biased against them. So, a lot of women reluctantly conceded they've gone back into sex work, and some of the younger children, 13 and 14-year-olds, who are at that ripe age, are being pressured by some to enter into commercial sex work.

ANDERSON: How have you documented this?

KARA: Of course, I didn't visually see Badi in commercial sex work. I'm talking to Badi former sex workers and some current sex workers who are describing the practice to me. And it's not just one time, but in several villages. You have to hike for, sort of, one hour from one village to the next.

But village after village, the evidence mounts. And, of course, a lot of NGOs work with these people and have a lot of documentation of this practice that goes back decades. If you come to Nepal and say "Badi," people will say, "oh yes, they're the sex workers. Their children go into sex work." Or their children to sent to India for sex work. And it's strictly caste-based. This has been their fate, and they have struggled to find another fate.

ANDERSON: You've also uncovered the story of the Kamalari.

KARA: Yes. The Kamalari, another caste-based form of exploitation. In this case, it's internal trafficking for domestic servitude. When a girl gets to about the age of eight, nine, or ten, the trafficker or agent comes into the village and says, "Look, I've got a Kamalari option for you." He takes her to an upper caste home in a big city. He'll sell the child for maybe $50 or less to that family.

They often also go into hotels and restaurants and, from that point on, it's outright domestic slavery. They work 12, 14, 16 hours cooking, cleaning dishes, dusting, whatever you can do in a home or a hotel, paid almost nothing. Sometimes, families are sent maybe $5 or $10 a month. And this is their fate.

ANDERSON: This is remarkable stuff. Last week, you were investigating the sex industry in Nepal. You wrote a blog for us, and it's been generating an awful lot of comment. Let me put a few of those comments to you now.

Someone named kkrimmer asks, "Why doesn't the government put posters in rural areas and try to educated people about sex trafficking and the conditions young women have to work in?"

KARA: Actually, the government of Nepal and several other south Asian governments have done just that. The problem is, people are more desperate than awareness can overcome. People know the risks of, when an agent comes in and, maybe, offering you a deal, that it may not be exactly what it -- what he's explaining.

But look at their alternative. They're in some sort of caste that has no other options. Or they're absolutely impoverished. And when their alternative is so bleak, you can preach awareness from dusk until dawn, but their options are so bleak, they literally are on the first bus out of town if you give them a deal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: On the Trail of Human Trafficking reaching out to Nepal's government for a response to that story. So far, we haven't received one, but human trafficking is a story all of us at CONNECT THE WORLD are committed to following.

As you saw, we want to bring you into the discussion. Head to cnn.com/connect, there you'll find Siddharth's exclusive blogs and have a chance to leave your own questions and comments. What form does human trafficking take where you live, and what needs to be done to stop it? On the Trail of Human Trafficking begins at cnn.com/connect.

That's one project online that we're pursuing. Another invites you to make some truly Global Connections. Each week, we pick two countries that seem to have little in common. You tell us what they share. I have to say, the connections you built this week are enough to have us dancing in the street. That is just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Historical, cultural and, above all, personal. These are the Global Connections that we are asking you to build. Each week, we're choosing two countries that at first glance may not have much in common. You tell us where the connections lie.

This week, we are focusing on two giants on their respective continents. Nigeria and Brazil. You told us about shared religious beliefs, about a common love of the great game, and about your own, more intimate ties. All good reasons to celebrate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Here are a few examples from the hundreds of comments you sent in. Most everyone knows about Rio's Carnival, but Bola from Lagos, Nigeria points out that Brazilians aren't the only people taking to the streets in celebration.

BOLA ADUWO, LAGOS, NIGERIA: Returning Brazilians brought back with them was the love of the Carnival. What's here in Lagos, we call it the Fanti. They block the street and they dance, they sing, they dress up in different costumes, they eat food.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Georglyn, from Atlanta, was one of the many viewers to mention the unique religious ties between the two countries.

GEORGLYN MARSHALL, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, US: Yoruba tribe and their indigenous religions, where they worship the gods of Oshun and Orisha, and it's very popular in the Bahia region of Brazil.

And you can see the connection also through their dress. The Yoruba women of Nigeria are known for their fantastic fashion. They wear a big head wrap called the gele. And if you watch the women of Bahia when they dress up in their ceremonies, they will have big head fashions. They dress in all white, though, but they're very fashion-forward.

ANDERSON: The Candomble religion, Georglyn describes, was first brought to Brazil by Nigerians 400 years ago. It was part of the very early slave trade. Simisola tells us how the lifelines of this connection are still alive today.

SIMISOLA MARINHO, NIGERIA: My great-great-grandfather, Joaquim Marinho, was a freed Brazilian slave who left Bahia, Brazil in 1863. His son, Antonio Joaquim Marinho emigrated to Lagos in 1886. Together with many other returnees, Antonio established a vibrant community of Afro- Brazilian families in the heart of Lagos City.

ANDERSON: And who can ignore the football connection?

PASCAL PACHMANN, BRAZIL: In Brazil and Nigeria, from your early years and when you grow up there, I think that everybody just -- they play football. That's all they do every day. When they're done with school, even in school in the recess breaks, they go out, they play football. It gets -- it's almost like a religion there.

ANDERSON: And for some of our viewers, the connections are more personal.

LEKAN ADAMS, NIGERIA: My name is Lekan Adams. I live in Lagos. I went to Brazil, and I was there for about six years, and I have a daughter -- we have a daughter, my wife and me. And she is both Brazilian and Nigerian. And that, for me, is a good connection to Brazil. Unbelievable connection, because she every day reminds me of my spirit.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: But all of the connections you made, the one that really jumped out at us focused on Brazil's telenovelas. Now, these are the daytime dramas that follow a cast of rich and beautiful characters. And it turns out, they're absolutely loved in Nigeria. Here's a sample of what we mean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (through translator): We have a fiance for you, Maria.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (through translator): Let me show you a young man before you make up your mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (through translator): Do you think you can move to another country in one month?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER (through translator): Even in a week, Raj.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER (through translator): If you marry a foreigner, you will be banished from our family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, I guess some stories just translate well, don't they? Since that was the connection that many of you highlighted, we brought together two people tied to their countries' television industries. Virginia Cavendish, she's a telenovela star herself in her native Brazil, while Namure Edoimioya is the assistant general manager of Nigeria's AIT Network. I began by asking Virginia what it is about Brazilian soap shows that makes them so popular around the world. This is what she told me.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VIRGINIA CAVENDISH, BRAZILIAN SOAP STAR: We have great cast of actors, wonderful writers and directors as well. And by desire, we found a way to do a great soap opera.

ANDERSON: Namure, you can hear what Virginia's saying, and it's no wonder they're so successful in Brazil. So why do you think, Namure, that the Brazilian soap operas go down so well in Nigeria?

NAMURE EDOIMIOYA, ASSITANT GENERAL MANAGER, AIT NETWORK: They're very popular in Nigeria because of the storyline. The Nigerian -- the average Nigerian woman is able to associate with the rags-to-riches story. The love, the passion, the suspense.

The suspense is something else, especially when one episode ends, they're waiting for the next one, and everybody's talking about it.

ANDERSON: You work in the industry yourself. You've been around for a long time. Have they been on for a long time in Nigeria?

EDOIMIOYA: From the 80s, late 80s. We had the first one, "Wild Rose." That was on a national -- Nigerian Television Network, NTA. And after "Wild Rose," we had others, and then it ceased, and came back about five years ago.

ANDERSON: Virginia, have you ever been to Nigeria? --

CAVENDISH: Oh, no.

ANDERSON: Did you have any idea that you've got this huge fan base there?

CAVENDISH: I think this -- our supporters are so great. And I think the last one who passes in Nigeria was about a black woman, I don't remember. And she is a friend of mine, and she has told me that was impressive when she arrived there to see everybody.

ANDERSON: Namure, do you think that Brazilian soap operas on Nigerian television will last?

EDOIMIOYA: For us in the broadcast industry, when it comes to content, it is cheaper. You can buy a title from between $500 to $1000, and it depends on the year of production. But when you want to do a very good soap opera, a Nigerian soap opera, it is very, very expensive.

ANDERSON: There's such a difference in the language. That's not a problem?

EDOIMIOYA: Oh, no. It's not a problem, because there is this English dub over it. And it is well-done. It's taken to the lab and it is properly processes. So, in watching the soap operas, because you hear the English voice, you don't bother about the fact that it was -- that it is an English dub over it. So you -- because of the storyline as well, it actually helps.

ANDERSON: Does this make you feel, Virginia, that you should take a trip to Nigeria at some point soon?

CAVENDISH: Oh, I would love to. I would really love to go to there to see. Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Good stuff. And I'm sure, Namure, she would be more than welcome, wouldn't she?

EDOIMIOYA: Oh, she will be. We have a lot of them here. There's "Paloma," there's some, there's "Isara," (ph) there's "Passions," there's some of the other more titles that we've seen before, and we just can't wait to see some of them come around. I'm sure people would really, really love to see them. Especially the fine guys. The very handsome ones. And the pretty ladies.

ANDERSON: So who are you going to bring with you? Which of your co- hosts, Virginia, are you going to take with you? Which man?

CAVENDISH: Malvino Salvador.

EDOIMIOYA: Was it the guy that was in "Second Chance"?

CAVENDISH: In "Second Chance?" Antonio Fagundes.

EDOIMIOYA: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVENDISH: Antonia Fagundes -- so that would be OK?

ANDERSON: I feel like a travel agent sitting in the middle of you two.

EDOIMIOYA: That would be awesome.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Our Global Connectors for us this evening. I want to take a moment to go through some of the connections I got via Twitter. My personal address, of course, is @beckycnn.

Blinksforreal (ph) points out that "Geologically, Nigeria and Briton" -- sorry, "Brazil were once on the same land mass." Adeeraries (ph) says "they share an increasingly educated youth population, with a strong desire to succeed." Sunu Horan (ph) says, "Football, Carnival, and a history of slavery connects the two countries." And Koloa Sinoa (ph) says "some parts of Brazil also practice the same traditional religion."

So those are the connections that you made for us, linking Nigeria and Brazil. We're going to feature a brand new pair of countries on Monday. One has stark beauty reaching towards the Arctic Circle. The other, lush rain forests straddling the Equator.

Now, if you want a peak, you can check them out on a special section of our website, cnn.com/globalconnections. Those are the stories that you have that build bridges between them. We'll air some of the best of them at this time next week. Again, this address is cnn.com/globalconnections. It's your challenge, so go on, get on with it. We'll be right back tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is a story of an unlikely pairing hoping to make peace for their countries through sport. Richard Roth meets the tennis doubles partners making quite a statement both on and off the court.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are called the Indo-Pak Express. Unlike the rocky relationship between the two neighboring nations, this India and Pakistan pair avoids conflict.

AISAM-UL-HAQ QUERISHI, PAKISTANI TENNIS PLAYER: Me as a Pakistani and him being an Indian can do so well on the court and be friends off the court, there is no other reason why other Pakistanis and Indians can't be friends.

ROTH (voice-over): They reached their highest seeded ranking, 16th, at the US Open. The Asian doubles team reached the finals in the run-up, Pilot Pen Tournament in Connecticut. This unique pair of a Muslim and Hindu care about their backhands, but also, brotherhood.

ROTH (on camera): So, do you think sports could possibly make a difference here?

QUERISHI: Definitely. I think any sport, you can send a very positive message of all kinds. I think Nelson Mandela did it in his time, and Arthur Ashe, also.

ROTH (voice-over): They made their message quite public at Wimbledon. Jackets proclaiming, "Stop War, Start Tennis."

SHAYAMAL VALLABHJEE, STRENGTH AND MENTAL COACH: Hopefully, it opens doors and opens minds, and people listen.

ROTH (on camera): Of course, if you win the US Open, there will be a full peace agreement on all fronts between Pakistan and India, Kashmir will be settled.

(LAUGHTER)

ROHAN BOPANNA, INDIAN TENNIS PLAYER: I don't know. I don't know about that. That's a lot more deep stuff going on about that.

ROTH (voice-over): Their matches around the world attract plenty of Indians and Pakistanis, who root for the team.

QUERISHI: It was great to see all the Indian supporters. Most of them bring Pakistani flags on their faces, holding Pakistani flags and cheering for the same team. That's a moment I will never, ever forget in my life, being so many Indians supporting us.

FAZAL SYED, FORMER DAVIS CUP PLAYER: It's great that two people from across the border are doing something great for sports and for their individual countries. It brings people together, and that's what's more important.

ROTH (voice-over): Speaking of borders, the players want to stage an exhibition match at the only foot crossing border between the two countries. Now, Pakistan especially is reeling.

QUERISHI: We've been having terrorist attacks, and all the flooding, and now recently you have the cricket issue, also. And me winning more and more matches with him, and him helping me out sends some good news back home from Pakistan, you know?

ROTH (voice-over): Born just 13 days apart, they first met as friends. And now, it's a partnership.

BOPANNA: I think it's just the fact they we need to really practice well and work as a team together.

QUERISHI: So we complement each other. And his trainer calls us, "The Nukes are on the loose." Because both are nuclear powers, so --

ROTH (voice-over): Do they agree on everything?

QUERISHI: He likes all the spicy food. I can't take spicy food at all.

BOPANNA: That's a huge difference there.

AJ SINGH, TENNIS FAN: It's excellent for the game, it's excellent for the two countries. If tennis players can come together, I think other people can come together also.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: Thank you.

ROTH (voice-over): Richard Roth, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: That's a good CONNECT THE WORLD story, isn't it? And just to update you on their progress at the US Open, the boys won their second round match today in straight sets.

We're going to take a look now at another pair helping to cross political and religious divides. This time, singing for peace.

(MUSIC)

ANDERSON: This is Israeli superstar Noa and Arab-Israeli singer and actress Mira Awad at last year's Eurovision song contest. And they reached the finals, singing for Israel, "There Must Be Another Way." I like that song, actually.

Coming up next, a remarkable story of resilience and humor after a horrifying random attack. We're going to hear this woman's story just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: We are going through the lens tonight into North Korea and the speculation the leader Kim Jong-il is making arrangements to prepare his son to succeed him as leader of the Communist state. In a visit clouded in secrecy, this grainy image was taken from Mr. Kim's recent visit to closest ally, China.

So, who is his son? Well, he has been hidden his whole life, even from the North Korean public itself. But this undated image shows someone who, many believe, is Kim Jong-un. He's the youngest of three sons, his exact age not known, though he is believed to be in his late 20s.

Well, it could be a first in the Communist world. You may remember Fidel Castro passed on leadership to his younger brother, Raul. But if Kim Jong-un succeeds his father, this will be the first time dynastic rule has been extended to a third family member. North Korea and its leadership in our World in Pictures this evening, closing out with Castro, of course.

Well, finally tonight, an inspiring story of humor and resilience after an horrific attack of violence. This is 28-year-old Bethany Storro. She lost most of her hearing after a childhood illness. But on Monday, she was celebrating a new job and a new home. Then, seemingly, randomly, an attack in broad daylight.

A woman approached Storro outside a Starbucks and threw a cup of acid in her face. Storro says she had never seen the woman before in her life. Doctors say the acid was as strong as hydrochloric or sulfuric acid, and Storro now has second-degree burns covering her face.

But in a news conference on Thursday, she maintained a strong spirit, and even a sense of humor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETHANY STORR, ACID ATTACK VICTIM: Yesterday was a really hard day for me, because I was stressed out about the surgery, I didn't know what was going to happen, and I was scared if it was going to hurt and all that stuff. And I had a lot of people I had to talk to, so I was under a whole lot of stress. So that was a hard day.

But I feel OK today. I had the medicine and so, I feel really good. I have my ups and downs. I think about what happened, and I get frustrated and ask why. Of course, all of the typical questions, "Why did this happen to me?" And then I'm OK. I'm sorry.

I have an amazing family and friends that love me, and I'm blessed. I'm trying to stay positive. When I'm a happy person, I like making others laugh, because I'm just hilarious. I mean, hello.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Maybe it's fate or just luck, but Storro's eyes were actually protected from the acid by the pair of sunglasses she'd purchased only 20 minutes before that attack. We wish her the absolute best.

I'm Becky Anderson. That is your world connected. "BackStory" is next after a very quick check of the headlines for you.

END