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CONNECT THE WORLD

Mexican Newspaper Calls on Cartels to Stop Attacks on Journalists; Anti-Japan Protests Across China

Aired September 20, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR, CONNECT THE WORLD: An unprecedented media message: You are the de facto authorities. That's what one Mexican newspaper is telling drug cartel in a plea to end the attacks on journalists.

But what's happening the city of Juarez don't stay in Juarez. Tonight what Mexico and the world can do about a global nexus of drugs and death.

Going the beyond borders on the stories the matter on CNN this the hour we CONNECT THE WORLD.

They say this is no surrender but when he media decides to reign in their coverage of cartel related deaths in one of Mexico's most dangerous city you got to wonder where this story goes next.

I'm Becky Anderson in London with the story and its connections. Also at this hour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Anti-Japan protests across China. But what - it's what Beijing is calling a seriously damaged relationship marked an even deeper regional risk. A CNN exclusive French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy catches up with our team at the UN summit.

Plus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they didn't make it easy for and I didn't want them to. I wanted a PHD to be real and it was. So there were about three moments where I really wanted to give up. I just felt why am I putting myself through this hell.

ANDERSON: Well he's got a PHD but you'll know him as a guitar God. Brian May of Queen is answering your questions as your connector of the day to day. And keep connecting with the show I'm on twitter. The address @beckycnn.

Do log on and join in the conversation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well first up this hour. What do you want from a Mexican newspaper has declared it is prepared to negotiate with drug cartel in a bid to protect its news team. Rafael Romo reports on the rare front page letter and the reasons behind it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN, SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Twenty-one year old Luis Carlos Santiago had been working as a newspaper photographer for only six months. He was shot multiple times at close range inside a car he drove to a shopping mall in Ciudad Juarez.

The most dangerous city in Mexico. His funeral was attended by many of his fellow journalist from El Diario Juarez's most popular daily. All of us at the newspaper want this case to be solved immediately says the Daily's publisher who wonders why police haven't been able to solve a crime that happen in a shopping mall full of customers and equipped with surveillance cameras.

This was a direct attack says one of the investigators in charge of the case. Adding the car didn't have tinted windows and the assailants would have been able to clearly see who they were shooting at.

In an unprecedented move the newspaper published and open letter addressed to drug cartel the same day the photographer was being buried telling them among other things you are at present the defector authorities of this city.

The letter also says that the legal institutions have not been able to keep our colleagues from dying. But in an a new development to the case authorities now say that Santiago's killing didn't have anything to do with organized crime but with personal problems.

His murder is not related to his work as a journalist said a spokesman with the State's attorney's office with knowledge of the investigation. Two years ago Armando Rodriguez a crime beat photographer from the same newspaper was gun down as he was leaving his house to take his daughter to school.

The young girl wasn't hurt. Authorities are also investigating whether the photographer's murder might have been a case of mistaken identity. The day he was killed Santiago was driving a car that belong to a human rights activist who has been the target of death threats in the past.

Rafael Romo, CNN Atlanta.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Ok that's the story. We going to speak to the editor El Diario about his unprecedented op-ed in just a moment. Firstly, I want to remind you just how much influence these Mexican drug cartel really have.

It extends well beyond Mexico's borders. Take a look at this they play a key role in the smuggling of cocaine. Follow the red lines and you can see how it's funneled up from Central and South America.

Mainly from Columbia. The production of marijuana shown here in green has increased in Mexico and along with heroin and methamphetamine is a growth industry. Now all moves across the border into the United States.

Where Mexican drug cartels have criminal and been - criminal reign in at least 230 American cities. The cartel has also infiltrated Australia and the lucrative European market where drugs are smuggled via Africa an Italian organized crime groups.

So all right those are the facts. Despite the growing reach of the cartels Mexican politicians claim they are winning the drug war. Yet here we have an Incidra Da Horas (ph) a newspaper known for its aggressive coverage of drug violence.

Assigning power to the cartels and offering to negotiate. Well I'm joined on the phone now by the editor of El Diario, Gerardo Rodriquez. Sir we thank you for joining us. You say the cartels are the de facto authorities in the city. Can you describe what you mean by that?

GERARDO RODRIGUEZ, EDITOR, EL DIARIO (via-telephone): Yes hello. Well we have asked the Mexican authorities to every level of federal, local and state government to guarantee the security for journalist and the people in general in Juarez and the state of Chihuahua in generally Mexico.

But you know there seems to be no progress in any of the investigators. Since so far two journalist who were killed. So through violence what we are saying is that through owners of the Juarez town are they violent criminal gangs.

So what we're asking is - we're asking them why are you killing us for doing our job?

ANDERSON: Well you've acknowledged that the recent said death of the member of (INAUDIBLE) is probably not cartel related. Still 22 journalists I think killed in the past four years. I mean in publishing this letter what do you expect to get from the cartels?

I know you are asking them what do you want from us? But what do you expect to hear?

RODRIGUEZ (via-telephone): Well, we want to have international attention. Because when we go to the authorities we cannot - we don't have any, any, any trustworthy resolutions. We think the cartels have taken authorities on all levels.

And so we don't know who to go for when they are killing us and we don't understand their message when they kill us. I think - we think, we don't know exactly if they - when (INAUDIBLE) was killed (INAUDIBLE) his picture ID from the newspaper and his companion she was also wearing she was also shot.

And so you know who ever did it they knew that they were working. And so and what we don't understand is why in this (INAUDIBLE) we didn't ask for why are we the enemy? And so we hope that to get the international support.

ANDERSON: Well you are the enemy you are aggressively reporting on the story I guess. So the cartels don't want you to report on. And people will have respect for you for that. You say that this is not a surrender.

With due respect that's certainly is what it sounds like. You say that you're going to reign on your, on your coverage. Are you giving up entirely?

RODRIGUEZ (via-telephone): No we're not going to give up. We want just to make better decisions for the security of our reporters. If we (INAUDIBLE) that we're doing or what they want from us and you know then we can make better decisions for the safety of our very courageous reporters.

ANDERSON: Yes. With that we're going to leave you there. Sir we thank you very much indeed for joining us with this story this evening. (INAUDIBLE) of El Diario. I want to bring in former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda and he's joining us from New York.

You've been on this show before. You just heard and what the editor of El Diario has to say about effectively publishing a letter to the cartels to say today saying that we'll negotiate with you. Your thoughts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JORGE CASTANEDA, FORMER MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well Becky, I think the first thing is that this is not really that new in Mexico in the since that different sectors of Mexican society over the past 30 or 40 years have been negotiating with different cartels at different times.

What I think the editors of El Diario Juarez are doing is basically saying - telling the cartels who are killing each other in Ciudad Juarez look what do we need to do in order for you guys to fight it out as you have to but not mess with us.

We're not interested in messing with you. Don't mess with us just tell us? But try not to kill our journalist anymore because we really see no reason for you to kill them or for us to pick fights with you. That's what they're saying and this not an unreasonable thing Becky.

ANDERSON: When we've spoken in the past you said this war on drugs is unwinnable. You say part of the solution is the criminalization or legalization of drugs. Is negotiation also a way for it? And I ask that Jorge considering what Hillary Clinton had to say recently.

Have a listen to this when she was talking about what she alluded to as an insurgency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: These drug cartels are now showing more and more indices of insurgency. You know all a sudden car bombs show up which weren't there before.

So it's becoming - it's looking more and more like Columbia looked 20 years ago where the narco traffickers controlled certain parts of the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: In the past when she's talked about insurgencies and I'm alluding to Afghanistan and the State Department has talked about talking to the Taliban. Is it worth converting with the cartels at this point? Negotiating with them?

CASTANEDA: Well Becky first of all I think Secretary Clinton's statement is very inaccurate. There is no insurgency in Mexico. The fact that insurgency and drug cartel often use the same instruments of settling scores among them may make them look the same but they are not the same.

Columbia had and has an enormous guerilla army fighting against it and has the para-military groups fighting against it. In Mexico there are no gorillas there are not para-military groups and there is no insurgency.

So I think the first point is that she's simply wrong on that statement. Now the real issue is what does negotiate with the cartel mean? What the newspaper is saying negotiation means we're willing to adjust our coverage to whatever you think is necessary in order for you not to kill our journalist.

For a Mayor, negotiation can mean something else. For a Governor of a state in Mexico it could mean a third thing. For a businessman having to pay protection by doing so he's negotiating it can mean something else.

The main point Becky I think here is that a negotiation does not have be a deal. It doesn't have to be explicit. It doesn't have to be out in the open but it's a pass it understanding between two parties which now the El Diario Juarez is very courageously is making public.

It's making it no longer toxic but quite explicit. It's a risky stance on their part. Very bold one.

ANDERSON: Would it be fair to say that there is - there is likelihood that there is already negotiations loosely terms between cartel and local politicians?

CASTANEDA: Absolutely. And as I said I think this has been going on Becky for 30 or 40 years. Perhaps the mess Mexico is in today is precisely because President Calderon declared this failed war on drugs which in a sense made it impossible to keep negotiating or to keep rather than negotiating having the tacit understandings the (INAUDIBLE) which existed no longer be functional.

And that has led to this war, which the government is not wining and in which is becoming more and more absurd Becky. When you read the White House's report on drug us in the US last week which shows that between 2008 and 2009 drug consumption in the United States increased almost 10 percent.

So why in the world is Mexico fighting this war when all of the drugs go to the US and more people than ever are consuming drugs in the US?

ANDERSON: Yes that demand, supply equation is an important one and its one we've discussed before. Now listen, finally if you listen to officials in Mexico you might be forgiven for believing they're on a roll. Last week the government for example announced that another one of the country's most wanted bandits of for what it's worth let's call him that.

Had been captured. There are officials in Mexico who say we're winning this.

CASTANEDA: Well I'm sure they are that's what officials do. When I was one I said the same thing and you always have to put good face on it and grin and bare it and say things are going very well. I think the issue here is first of all know one else believes it anymore in Mexico.

But the public opinion polls show support for the president but total skepticism about who's winning the war. Eighty percent of Mexicans say the cartels are winning the war.

But more importantly Becky regardless of whose winning and who's loosing what is the cost for Mexico? Is the cost worth paying? Is it worth it for the El Diario Juarez to have it journalist killed?

Is it worth it for Mexico to have had 28,000 people die, 40 billion dollars spent, human life rights violation all across the country and a terrible deterioration in the nations image just to have more drugs as you yourself pointed out marijuana, methamphetamines, and heroine growing in exports to the United States.

So it's not a question of winning or losing. It's a question of cost and benefit I think.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. Ok always a pleasure to have you on the show. We thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight out of New York. The former Mexican Foreign Minister. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Up next, a collision at sea is straining ties between Asia's top economic power houses. We're going to see how the incident could go well beyond the simple territorial dispute. Reflecting bigger ambitions about regional dominance. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well an incident near a tiny uninhabited island chain has triggered the worse diplomatic dispute between China and Japan in years. Beijing has now cut off high level contact after Japan not only refused its demands to release a Chinese boat captain but extended his detention. John Vause up first. The following developments from Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN, SENIOR INTERNATONAL CORRESPONDENT: Relations between Beijing and Tokyo now appear to be at their lowest point in years. It got a lot worse over the weekend when a court Okinawa, Japan ruled that the captain of the Chinese fishing trolley will be detain for another 10 days while he's question by Japanese authorities.

Who are investigating a collision between his boat and two Japanese patrol ships in a disputed part of the East China Sea? The reason why that is causing so much concern here in China is because the captain is being dealt with under Japanese domestic law.

It's being seen in this country as an attempt by Japan to extend their claim to a disputed part of the East China Sea which China also believes it has sovereignty over it. So as a result China has now suspended (INAUDIBLE) contact with Japan.

So to talks aren't expanding aviation routes and cooperation on coal and there's a warning of further so-called strong countermeasures to come. In a statement from China's Foreign Minister reads in part the Japanese bare full responsibility and should immediately and unconditionally release the captain and Japan shall bare all the consequences that arise.

The Japanese embassy here in Beijing told CNN on Monday that the Ambassador has spoken by phone to China's Deputy Foreign Minister and he urged China to quote act calm and cautious and to avoid making this situation worse. John Vause, CNN Beijing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Alright. Keep an eye on your connect line above me because our next guest says the real story here goes far beyond this one incident at sea and has important regional implications. Sir Gordon Chang is a regular guest on this show columnist at Forbes.com and also author of the "The Coming Collapse of China."

He was a big thinkers and joining us tonight from New York. So what's going on Gordon?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA: Well I think that this is not just China taking on Japan this is China taking on Japan at the same time its taking on all the countries in the South China Sea.

It's taking on the South Koreans and the Americans in the Yellow Sea and all of this is occurring while China is sending its troops into disputed territory with India. So this looks like China's Hubertus (ph) moment.

People use to say that Chinese foreign policy was very clever because they would pick off one neighbor at a time. But now China seems to be picking quarrels with all the neighbors and the United States.

ANDERSON: All right with that in mind stay with us for a moment as we look one possible consequence of regional anxiety over China if indeed that's what we may be seeing here. An arms fines spree.

According to Time Magazine countries across South East Asia are stock piling sophisticated weapons. Now Time says, Indonesia has just received the last of six Russian fighter jets worth $300 million.

Thailand meantime, has received the first of 96 Ukrainian armored personnel carriers and it's expecting six Swedish fighter jets and two other aircraft next year. Now tiny Singapore will reportedly soon launch the second of two Swedish attack submarines worth about $128 million.

While Malaysia has already spent $1 billion on (INAUDIBLE) Spanish submarines of its own. An impressive arms stock piling indeed. But can we attribute it all to fears of China?

Gordon, can we? Are you there? I think we may have lost you.

CHANG: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: I was just delineating that this impressive stock piling by countries in the region. Japan recently bemoaning a lack of transparency the Beijing defense policy and military activity. Saying its lack of openness is not yet of the expected level of what would be a reasonable international society.

Should they or anybody else also be surprised?

CHANG: Well no they shouldn't be surprised because China has made it very clear what its territorial ambitions have been. It's just that very recently within the last year it's been pressing all of its claims with great vigor.

And that's why countries in the region and the Japanese as well have been beefing up their militaries. And now countries are starting to look to the United States to help support them in what are increasingly nasty disputes with the Chinese overseas and borders.

ANDERSON: Which brings us of course back to US presence in Okinawa and the Japanese plea for continued help by US military forces. And how bigger role or potentially bigger role with the US play going forward do you think?

CHANG: I think it'll play a much larger role. The Japanese are going to down play their dispute over that base in Okinawa the (INAUDIBLE) base. We're going to see the South Koreans as we have over the last year and a half move much closer to the US.

And what was really a very stunning development in July is countries in ASEAN looking to Secretary Hilary Clinton for a lead in containing the Chinese in the South China Sea. This is really a very new Asia that China confronts.

And now it's going to have to pick a quarrel with everybody at the same time is having troubles. Because everyone is starting to look to the US for support. So Washington will be a much bigger player in the region going forward.

ANDERSON: Yes, watch this space. Gordon Chang as ever a pleasure to have you. Sorry that your -- that you're having difficulty in hearing some of that but you did a grand job as ever. Gordon Chang for you. One of your Big Thinkers on this show. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Joining the (INAUDIBLE) on the day's biggest stories. More after the break. Unveiling some of the planets pioneering green solutions. This tourist attraction may soar high above Paris but it's just as popular from the ground.

What can they see? And more importantly what can they learn? Find out after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Now tonight the balance between modern society and Mother Nature and the impact of our ecological footprint. All this week we are going green as we look at just how we are changing the planet and the people who are turning things around.

We're going to begin our joining about 150 meters above Paris where one of the world biggest hot air balloons is proving to be quite the echo attraction. Jim Bittermann plunge aboard for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When it comes to air pollution Paris isn't much different than any European city. It has its good days and its bad days. But unlike else where you don't need to be a scientist to tell them apart.

All you have to do is look up for what has to be the largest air pollution indicator anywhere. The Airfare. Not some new cologne but a huge helium filled balloon which displays exactly what condition the air is in.

It was originally design as a tourist attraction and does indeed attract plenty of them for our ride 500 feet over Paris. But two years ago its operator had the idea to display with banners, flags and LCD screens during the day and internal lighting during the night the green to yellow to orange to red color codes that summarize the city air quality.

It was a perfect fit. Long before there was population in Paris there were balloons. In fact, the first human flight took place in this city more than 200 years ago. It took off from the park right over there.

And of course, a balloon is the ideal platform from which to keep tabs on the population levels in the city. In fact, one of its owners says it symbolizes eco friendliness.

MATTHIEU GOBBI, GENERAL DIRECTOR, AEROPHILE: The balloon itself is a sign of respect for the air, a respect of nature. The balloon is very friendly. There is no noise, there is no acceleration, there is no motor.

You know there is - we don't burn any fuel. We just fly naturally.

BITTERMANN: Although the balloon itself is occasionally used for air quality measurements to check on differences of pollution at various altitudes for example. Most of the hard data on the State of Paris air is gathered by dozens of censors located within 60 miles of the city center.

Some are so well camouflaged you can walk right pass them on the street and probably never know it. The sensors continuously record levels of particles in the air as well as its chemical mix.

The information goes to the city's air pollution agency when it's passed on to a European wide air quality network. But more importantly it's used to determine pollution alert levels. Which is serious enough can lead to restrictions on driving and warnings for those with breathing problems.

KARINE LEGER, AIRPARIF: Every big city in Europe that's facing the big challenge to lead the European regulation. For instance in Paris along the traffic we've reached levels that are twice higher than the regulation and that's really a big challenge

BITTERMANN: At city hall the Mayor's specialist on air quality says that the polluted air in Paris potentially shortens the lives of the millions of city residents by nine months on average when compared to people who live in the country side.

DENIS BAUPIN, DEPUTY MAYOR FOR CLIMATE: All the scientist says that or most two or three thousand people who die every year inside of Paris and the suburbs. Because of air pollution.

BITTERMANN: And so the city has gone to some lengths to improve the air, including constructing more public transportation like Tramways, backing a bicycle lending scheme and discouraging automobile traffic.

Something that has reduced the number of cars coming into the city each day by a quarter. Raised and lowered by a small electric wrench the Airparif is probably one of the city least polluting transportation systems.

But its operators say its real value is raising public conscious about pollution.

JEROME GIACOMONI, PRESIDENT AEROPHILE: Every morning we have three classrooms coming from the school of Paris. And they come in the balloon as a fun flight and that's so they learn about equality.

BITTERMANN: It's estimated that at any given moment 400,000 people are within eyesight of the pollution indicators on the Airparif. A balloon that has given new meaning to the word Air Ship. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well from a birds eye view of Paris. The tropical regions of South America. Tomorrow we'll be looking at the disappearing Atlantic forest and the efforts on the way to preserve what's left.

That's Tuesday on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Tonight, we're going to be right back with your world news headlines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Just after half past the hour, you're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you. Coming up in the next 30 minutes, what does India and Germany -- or what do India and Germany have in common? We're asking the question, and you are helping provide the answers. It's all part of our weekly Global Connections challenge.

Then, an exclusive interview with France's first lady. Hear what Carla Bruni has to say about the comment that has raised eyebrows at the White House.

And then, the legend that is still rocking, Brian May is your Connector of the Day, and he's got some advice for the younger generation.

Those stories ahead in the show. First, I want to get you a very quick check of the headlines at this point this hour.

World leaders at the United Nations to discuss progress on eradicating global poverty, hunger, and disease. They're attending a millennium development summit ahead of the opening day of debate for the 65th UN General Assembly. Goals include cutting global poverty in half and reducing infant mortality.

Sweden's political landscape is modeled after Sunday's elections. The ruling center-right coalition has won another term, but it doesn't have a majority. And the far right, Sweden Democrats have won a place in the national parliament for the first time.

Fresh controversy over the cricket series between England and Pakistan. The head of Pakistan's cricket board is accusing English players of taking money to lose Friday's one-day match. But he didn't produce proof and later said that he was merely quoting bookies. England's captain says he's surprised, dismayed, and outraged at the comments.

Those are your world news headlines. Time now for our Global Connections.

We haven't even formally revealed this week's countries, and already you're coming up with some really impressive Global Connections for us. This is where we pick two places that may appear to have very little in common and invite you to build the links for us. Whether it's an historical tie or your own personal experiences, we want to hear from you. I'm going to tell you how you can take part in a moment.

First, though, we're taking you from one country that helped to define mathematics to another that revolutionized the spread of such information. We begin in India. Now, traders like these at the Bombay Stock Exchange attest to the country's rising financial might.

But India's always had a head for numbers. It was an Indian mathematician that conceived of zero. India also takes credit with inventing the game of chess. Its earliest form appeared around the sixth century.

One of India's best-known attractions is, of course, the Taj Mahal, but did you know it took 20 years and 20,000 people to build?

Over in Ger -- in Europe, perches Germany where Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century. A complete copy of the Bible he produced would be worth up to $35 million.

Not only does Germany boast more zoos than any other country in the world, Berlin is the world's largest. You're looking here at Knut. He is the popular bear that used to be such a huge attraction when he was a little fellow. Not quite as cute anymore, but still as popular, we're told.

Well, nothing little about Cologne Cathedral, and it's always been one of Germany's biggest tourist draws. When it was finished in 1880, it was the tallest building in the world. It still boasts the largest facade for a cathedral anywhere.

Those sort of records make India unique and Germany, of course, unique as well. But that's just the beginning. For more on that, we're joined by our friend Craig Glenday, he's editor in chief of Guinness World Records.

Welcome back. You were with us a couple of weeks ago. You did some fantastic stuff for us. But before we make the connections, how did you find this challenge this week?

CRAIG GLENDAY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS: Interesting. Again, two completely different countries.

ANDERSON: Yes.

GLENDAY: But fascinating. I mean, two countries I love as well, both this year, I've been to the countries.

ANDERSON: Yes.

GLENDAY: And Germany, for example, let's take Germany first. I went to the place, and yet, the Germans spend so much money trying to leave it as tourists, $80 million -- $80 billion, in fact, was spent this year trying to leave Germany. The biggest tourist spenders in the world. Ten percent of all the money spent on tourism is spent by Germans.

It's one of the most connected countries in terms of the internet, so there are more websites per Germans than any other country in the world.

ANDERSON: Really?

GLENDAY: So, it's very well-connected.

India's -- India's becoming more connected like that. I think the largest telecoms growth in the world. This year I think it was something like 10 million new subscribers have signed up for mobile phone services each year, and that's a huge thing. So these are two giants of countries. So yes, it's a fascinating week.

ANDERSON: They do, though, feel like polar opposites. Did you find that when you were doing this research?

GLENDAY: Yes, very definitely. Germany has this kind of -- very kind of boring tact to it, but it's actually a vibrant country, it's very interesting.

But what's interesting, I find, is that Indians is constantly beating German records. So a German will set a record, and then, within a year, an Indian will have smashed it, so --

ANDERSON: Can you give me an example?

GLENDAY: There's a classic, stuffing straws into your mouth. A German held the record originally, beaten by an Indian. Although, it's held by a Brit now.

The largest pen every made, by a German, beaten within a year by an Indian. So, I wonder what it is. I've only found one case of the opposite happening, where India had the largest -- it was the longest barbecue marathon, a whole 24 hours of just cooking meat, only to be beaten by the Germans, who did 28 hours. They're getting their own back eventually.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: I think you're right. Let me say, to a certain extent, they're polar opposites, and to many people, I guess, that would be the story. But you've done some research on how they are actually connected.

GLENDAY: Yes, there's a couple, again, I think that might catch viewers. One is the largest object to ever be moved by air. So you have a huge power station in Dusseldorf, has to be in New Delhi. How do you get it there? You fly it. So, an Antonov is the largest aircraft. It just goes inside. And it flew, then. And that's been held since 1993, that record stood. So, that's good.

And also, the largest green diamond, the sister diamond of the Hope Diamond, the very famous Hope. It's a beautiful green diamond called the Dusseldorf Green. It's in Dusseldorf, of course, now, but it was it found in India. So there's another great -- I think a very unique connection, so --

ANDERSON: Excellent, too.

GLENDAY: That sort of thing.

ANDERSON: And you've been to both countries yourself, you say, recently. This is also a connection.

GLENDAY: That's right, yes.

ANDERSON: We thank you for that, Craig.

GLENDAY: Thank you.

ANDERSON: You've made a -- made the challenge a challenge, I guess, for our viewers. As I've said a few moments ago, we are already getting some terrific submissions, from German companies operating in India, to the growing popularity of Indian Yoga and Ayurveda medicine in Germany. And as always, we want to hear your personal stories, as well.

So log onto cnn.com/globalconnections and do join in the discussion. It's a challenge for you. The results out on Friday. You can make it if you send in your submissions early on this week.

Next up, our Connector of the Day, a member of Queen, and one of the great rock guitarists of all time. But Brian May isn't just good at strumming on stage. More on his out-of-this-world passion, up next.

(MUSIC - "We Will Rock You")

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Rocking on stage with his trademark curly locks, it couldn't be anyone other than Brian May, the legendary guitarist from the hugely successful glam-rock band, Queen.

With a powerful sound, including May's distinctive guitar solos, Queen enjoyed hits like "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You."

(MUSIC - "We Will Rock You")

ANDERSON (voice-over): As a musician, May's career spanned an impressive 40 years, and he's worked with a whole range of stars, including Eminem and Shirley Bassey.

Recently, he teamed up with singer and actress Kerry Ellis to produce her album "Anthem."

(MUSIC - "Love It When You Call")

ANDERSON (voice-over): Brian May is your Connector of the Day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Yes, he is, and I caught up with Brian and Kerry Ellis recently and asked them to tell me about the new album first. This is what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN MAY, MUSICIAN: We've been working on it for years, which sounds strange but, of course, we've both been pretty busy, Kerry in musical theater, who's risen to the top of her game, and me doing all kinds of stuff to do with Queen and "We Will Rock You" and stuff. But the album's done, and I'm incredibly proud of it. I think I've never been more proud of anything that I've been involved in.

ANDERSON: Abdulhameed says he's big Queen fan. He's from Saudi Arabia, loves your work, both of you. He's had a chance to see the Queen Musical, "We Will Rock You," and wants to know if there's a planned movie adaptation of the musical.

MAY: There is, actually. Yes. Ben's already written it, and I think it's great. It's slightly different. It's a little harder-edged than the musical, which is in the theater. But yes, we have it. It's just a question of getting the right windows of opportunities to mount it. To actually get all the, you know, the money together and the studios together. But yes, we've -- we will make a "We Will Rock You" movie.

ANDERSON: So --

KERRY ELLIS, SINGER/ACTRESS: I have said, you know, come on. Put me in.

(LAUGHTER)

MAY: We couldn't afford that, are you kidding?

ELLIS: Let me do it.

ANDERSON: Well, we look forward to it anyway. Do you know when it -- do you know, is there any dates yet?

MAY: No, but probably, you know, it'll be a couple of years in the making.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right. Here's more of the viewer questions in, because we've had lots of them. Laura Davis says she's a huge fan of both of yours, asks what track on the new album you're most proud of.

ELLIS: Well -- because it's, obviously, we're very close to all of them. It just depends on the day of the week what I favor. But it usually comes back to "I Loved a Butterfly," which is just Brian and myself at the end. And it's just because it's so simple and it's just the two of us, and I just think it shows the essence of the whole album. Because it's so grand and epic and huge, and then, right at the end, it just brings back to the two of us, which is the essence. So it's cool.

MAY: That's really interesting, I didn't know that.

(LAUGHTER)

MAY: It's really -- Kerry actually kind of fought me on that, because I was going to develop it like I do. You know, I love putting sort of sound tapestries together, and she said, "No. We keep that just you and me." And she was right. It's great. Because the rest of the album is massive. It is huge, all of the elements in it.

ANDERSON: And Stewart says to Brian, "You're an inspiration." And he asks, "If you have one message for the next generation, what is it?"

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: I didn't mean to make you feel old at all with that question by any stretch.

MAY: I would say, just make things better. Don't, you know -- clean up the mess that our generation has made, if you can. Be kind to animals, because I think it's long overdue. Especially wild animals. I think there's such a terrible situation in the wild. We never give respect to them.

People call animals "vermin" or "pests," sort of. And they're creatures, like we are. We just a bit cleverer at covering the world with concrete. That doesn't mean we're more important, necessarily. That's my message.

ANDERSON: I was thinking, you'd make a great Miss Universe with a message like that.

(LAUGHTER)

MAY: Yes. And my favorite color is --

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Steven Hartman has written in, he's -- a question to both of you. He says, "Who or what are your main musical influences?"

ELLIS: Wow. Well, mine -- I think, probably the reason why the album is so diverse is because of my musical history. It ranges from people like Liza Minnelli and Elaine Paige and Barbara Streisand to -- I listened to Queen and rock bands from an early age. And then now, I might listen to Beyonce and Alicia Keys. So it's so varied. That's why this album had to harness all those different genres of music.

ANDERSON: Fabulous. I can't wait.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: If you need a great marketer, the two of you are there, and you've made the album. Who do think most influenced you, Brian?

MAY: I'm a Beatles person, and a bit of many things from when I was growing up. Back to Lonnie Donegan in the early days. But the Beatles are still kind of the Bible to me as regards to making records.

ANDERSON: Ben Wick has written to us, and he says, "At what point did you," and by that, he means Queen, "realize, 'Damn. We're going to be quite a big deal.'"

MAY: That's an interesting point. It's very similar to what I feel with Kerry at the moment. There's a point where the snowball starts rolling, and you've been working so hard internally with this sort of pressure to push things out. Then suddenly, you realize there's people out there pushing for you. You feel that response coming back. And I feel that right now with Kerry.

And I remember that with us. We played a gig at Imperial College, and for the first time, we turned up, and everybody knew the songs from the album. And it was, like, "Whoa. They know who we are!" You know, and they actually wanted -- and they understand what we're at. It's a very exciting moment. It was very early on for Queen.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you a question I know many people want answered. Mel asks quite simply, "What was it like working with Freddie, and do you miss him as much as all of his fans do?"

MAY: Yes, of course. We miss him every day, yes. He's part of my tapestry of life, really. It was amazing. He was exceptional beyond belief. Not just as a singer, but as a creator. And again, very lateral. There's that thing, creative people need to sort of hear voices somehow. And Freddie, whatever it was, he would get these messages, and suddenly you'd think, "Where'd you get that, Freddie?" It's amazing. He was great.

ANDERSON: As a singer, there's somebody who must have inspired you.

ELLIS: Absolutely. And, you know, to be working with Brian is just - - it's an absolute dream. To be part of that kind of history is just incredible.

ANDERSON: Christine for you, Brian. "Which was more of a personal challenge for you?" she asks. "Achieving success with Queen or completing your PhD?"

(LAUGHTER)

ELLIS: Very similar.

MAY: Very hard to say.

ANDERSON: Show your old stand, I think, here.

MAY: But it's really -- yes.

ANDERSON: Did you enjoy the PhD?

MAY: I did it, but it was tough. I had to kind of shelve all my sort of achievements in life, if you like, and almost went -- personally, I had to go back to school, almost. You go back to college and you have to just be a student. It was tough. And they didn't make it easy for me, and I didn't want them to. I wanted the PhD to be really. And it was.

So, there were about three moments where I really wanted to give up. I just thought, why am I putting myself through this hell? Because you're up all night wrestling with things that -- well, in my case, wrestling with things that I'd stopped doing 30 years ago. And it was hard to get back into it. But I'm really glad I did it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Brian May, Kerry Ellis, you're Connectors of the Day today. And tomorrow, get your dancing shoes on. DJ Erick Morillo will be in the house. He's the famous boy around the clubs worldwide. But he doesn't just spin the decks. We talked to him about delving into the fashion industry and his plans for a children's charity.

Remember, you can send us in all your questions for what are your Connectors. It's your part of the show. We always say that, but it is. And suggest famous faces that you want to see on the show, cnn.com/connect. Do remember to tell us where you are writing from. That's where you can make your submissions, questions, comments, whatever you like. Tonight, we'll be right back with an exclusive interview with France's first lady.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson in London. Now, it is a daunting challenge that world leaders are uniting to face. They're gathering in New York right now for a UN summit on the so-called millennium development goals, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger top of the list.

Here's French president Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, arriving a little earlier. Mr. Sarkozy pledged to boost aid to the world's poorest by 20 percent over the next three years and proposed levying a tax on financial transactions that would go towards ending poverty.

We caught up with the French first lady, Mr. Sarkozy's wife, who is accompanying her husband at the UN meeting. CNN's Hala Gorani with what is an exclusive interview with one of the most talked-about ladies in the world. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is one the most talked-about women in the world. Carla Bruni, France's first lady, a former supermodel and current pop star.

Her life, from the glamorous years on the catwalk to her colorful love affairs, to her position as Nicholas Sarkozy's third wife makes soap operas appear boring.

And last week, two biographies added to the already intense media interest in Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, telling stories of Bruni, behind the gilded doors of the Elysee Palace, allegations that she obtained taps on rivals' text messages, that Michelle Obama told her that life at the White House was hell, or that she is only obsessed with money, power, and fame.

So, how does Carla Bruni respond to all the rumors and talk? We met her in New York City, where she is talking about her role as ambassador for the Global Fund Against AIDS. She insisted on appearing alongside the fund's head. I asked her first why she chose this particular cause.

CARLA BRUNI-SARKOZY, FIRST LADY OF FRANCE: To me it's important to do something while I stand by my husband while he's the president of France. And when I met Michel Kazatchkine and I saw the most amazing work that the Global Fund was doing, achieving every year, how many lives it's saving every year. So I'm deeply concerned by the work that can be done on mothers and young children and babies.

So, little by little, I thought I could bring, maybe, some attention to the work that the Global Fund does, and that's how we started working together. And that's why it's important for me.

GORANI (on camera): Now, we were talking about your celebrity status, and how you're lending your celebrity to the Global Fund, and I've got to ask you about some of the things that were said about you in France last week in some of those books.

And the reason I'm asking is because it made such news in the United States, that there was that book where it was relayed that you said Michelle Obama had told you life in the White House was hell. Did she actually say that to you?

BRUNI-SARKOZY: I'm actually happy I can directly answer to you. Of course Michelle Obama never said such a thing. I'm happy tell you very frankly that this is not an authorized book. No one -- not only one that came out about me was authorized. I never read the book, I never knew about the book. But I do live in France, and France is a free country where anyone can fantasize and print it.

So, of course I could do something legal. But first of all, it gives a lot of publicity to all those books. And second of all, it's not in my principles. I'm a Democrat, I believe that everyone is allowed to say and write and say what they want.

But I'm happy to dissociate myself -- dis --

GORANI: Disassociate?

BRUNI-SARKOZY: Disassociate myself, not only from that book, but all books. And, of course, Mrs. Obama never said such a thing. How do you even believe it.

GORANI: Because the authors are saying, "Well, she cooperated with us, she gave us hours of interviews."

BRUNI-SARKOZY: And that's a lie. I never cooperated with that book. I know the authors because they're very famous journalists, and they're always in our surroundings. This has been happening to me nine times in France.

GORANI: Nine times that -- ?

BRUNI-SARKOZY: That had books coming out where the people said, "Yes, we had interviews," and this is a lie.

GORANI: And be --

BRUNI-SARKOZY: But to me, it's quite a good occasion to say that it doesn't really matter, you know? It doesn't really matter. I just wanted to say that whatever is written in that book, I haven't read it, of course.

GORANI: Are you going to?

BRUNI-SARKOZY: Oh, no. I don't have time. We taking care of things so important.

GORANI: And those stories -- just because this is an opportunity of using secret police files to spy on people's text messages, things like that. None of that --

BRUNI-SARKOZY: To tell you the truth, I never read -- I haven't read that book.

GORANI: Right.

BRUNI-SARKOZY: And I haven't -- I'm not responsible for what's in it. But it's hard to sue, and it's not a very democratic thing, so I never do it.

(CROSSTALK)

GORANI: So, you just choose --

BRUNI-SARKOZY: Not by principle.

GORANI: You choose to ignore it and --

BRUNI-SARKOZY: I have no choice.

GORANI: Just let it pass. And when you go back to Paris, I know you don't live in the Elysee. Has it been everything you've imagined, being first lady of France?

BRUNI-SARKOZY: How can you imagine such a thing? It's -- I never imagined such a thing in my life, no. It was not -- well, I didn't project myself. Because it all happened so fast.

GORANI: I remember you once saying in an interview, "I want the French to be proud of me."

BRUNI-SARKOZY: I hope so. I hope the French people will be proud of me. I remember this. It was not this -- I do as much as I can. And it's an incredible adventure, and it's an incredible experience. And also, I like to be with my husband. I like to be near him and try to help him.

GORANI: What's it like, accompanying your husband on these trips? We saw you at the UN, and you're so physically close. You're a very affectionate couple.

BRUNI-SARKOZY: We just met.

(LAUGHTER)

BRUNI-SARKOZY: We're brand new -- houses.

GORANI: You're newlyweds.

BRUNI-SARKOZY: We're -- yes. We're three years. Of course, all this pressure that he has on his shoulders makes us even -- maybe even makes us -- brings us even closer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy there with my colleague, Hala Gorani.

Well, before we go, our World in Pictures, or Parting Shots, as we're going to start calling it, is also about the UNGA leaders coming together to discuss the millennium development goals. But with the UN's deadline just five years away from the MDGs, the question remains, can the goals be met?

Every leader in attendance, like Iran's controversial president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will get a chance to address the body. He will be speaking tomorrow.

Remember this? At last year's event, the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez attacked America's position in Cuba. Who's going to be the most memorable speaker this year? And will anything actually get done? Watch this space. We're going to cover the UNGA for you all week.

And, I'm Becky Anderson. That is your world connected this evening. "BackStory" with Michael Holmes, I think, tonight is coming next up. First, a very quick check of the headlines after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END