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CONNECT THE WORLD
North Korean Leader Promotes Son to General; Viewers Asked to Make Global Connections Between Canada and Ivory Coast; P. Diddy Talks About His Booming Business; Who Should Represent Earth If Aliens Make Contact?; Construction Resumes on West Bank Settlements as Moratorium Expires, Threatening Peace Negotiations
Aired September 27, 2010 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, GUEST HOST: We've shown you allegations that children are being employed as workers at Delhi's Commonwealth Games site. Now our own reporter digs deeper and speaks to parents of the kids she found at construction sites. As world teams get ready to shift their focus to sports, we ask the powers that be how they'll address the plight of India's improvised children.
It's a story that goes beyond borders. On CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.
Well, with a few blips here and there, it seems like New Delhi is sorting out the problems it has with infrastructure, as it hosts 71 countries for the biggest ever sporting event in that country. But there's one issue there's been around before the games it will be around long after everyone leaves and that's poverty and child labor.
I'm Max Foster in London with that story and what's being done about it.
Also tonight, Becky is in Berlin catching up with the German chancellor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): It's not guaranteed that the growth we're experiencing now will continue over years, but I think overall, we've acted smartly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Angela Merkel on her role in jump-starting the economy and her country's reunification and Germany's role in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN COMBS, RAPPER: One of the things that I -- I say to -- to young people that -- that want to follow in my footsteps is I say you actually have to be crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: That's the secret to be a successful rapper, business and star guru, Diddy, Sean Combs, is answering your questions tonight. The Connector of the Day -- that's all coming up in the next 60 minutes.
Construction sites are no place for children. But as India rushes to get the Commonwealth Games back on track, it seems some parents have no other option but to take big risks with their little ones' lives.
Sara Sidner has this report for us now from New Delhi.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Commonwealth Games Beautification Project in Delhi has an ugly side -- it is plain to see from sunup to sundown -- tiny children all over the Commonwealth Games construction site.
(on camera): There are dangerous everywhere on these sites for children -- heavy piles of brick, huge machinery and sharp pools. The law says these children -- they shouldn't even be here. The contractors are supposed to provide a safe place nearby for these kids, but they rarely do.
(voice-over): From site to site, the parents tell us they have nowhere else to take their children, no matter how small. "I have to work, so I bring them with me. Who shall I leave them with?," mother of two, Lal Kuwar, tells us.
(on camera): You're not afraid of getting hurt...
LAL KUWAR, MOTHER: No.
SIDNER: -- of her getting hurt?
SIDNER (voice-over): "No. We watch them while we work. It's not like we just let them be. They sit on the sides," she says. So Kuwar's children and other migrant workers' kids hang around the site while tools fly and cars speed by. Sometimes on these sites, you see children as young as two appearing to work. But this child is actually playing with a tool - - the only thing available to him.
However, 11-year-old Batinder (ph) says he does work. He's not paid by the contractor, but he carries bricks to help his mother after school every day. "My mother gives me 10 rupees for helping," he says.
Shireen Miller, with the International Organization, Save the Children, says what you are seeing isn't the rigid definition of child labor, but it is how child labor often starts.
SHIREEN MILLER, SAVE THE CHILDREN ADVOCACY DIRECTOR: It's not necessarily a child being employed for a certain task and being paid a wage. That is not how it -- how it works. But on the other hand, it's very risky for them. It's extremely hazardous. And as soon as they can do something, they would be put to work.
SIDNER: While we filmed workers on this site, the subcontractors showed up, telling us to go away.
Instead, we turned the camera on him.
(on camera): Why haven't you provided a place for these kids?
You're required by law.
(voice-over): "It's not like we only work in one spot. Sometimes we work here for short periods of time," he says. "If this was a long-term project, then would have a place for these kids to stay, study, eat. There's even a canteen. But on the road, you tell us, can you build a house on the road?"
He says he doesn't employ the kids and can't stop these very poor families from bringing them.
(on camera): Aren't you worried about the children's safety?
They're sitting on your construction site. They are sitting on your construction site and could get hurt.
"Yes, I worry when there are little kids," he says, but adds, "this is just how it is for the poor. What safety can there be for the poor? You tell us. There's no safety for the poor. This is life. Life just goes on."
That attitude gives you an idea of why this scene is common all over the city. Not just because of the Commonwealth Games' last minute frenzy to fix things up.
DUNU ROY, ACTIVIST & URBAN PLANNER: It's around on every construction site, no matter where you go. But it gets highlighted because this is a special occasion.
SIDNER: Dun Roy has spent much of his life fighting for migrant workers' rights. He reiterates under the law, young children are supposed to be provided a place like this.
Back in 2008, we visited one of the few daycare centers set up for children of Commonwealth Games migrant workers, just outside the main stadium. The parents go to work in the stadium while the children are cared for nearby. This one was put in place by a charity called Mobile Creches.
"We like it here. Our children can also study," this mother of four says. But this is the exception, not the rule. Child advocates say normally, everyone from the government charged with protecting these children to the general public simply accepts this as normal -- at least for the poor. And as long as they do, they say India as a whole has no chance of living up to its potential of being a world class economic power.
Sara Sidner, CNN, New Delhi.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: Well, you heard from some of the children in that report, saying that what Sara witnessed wasn't necessarily child labor.
Well, human trafficking expert, Siddharth Kara, says he has evidence that the practice has been taking place in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games.
He spoke to Becky last Thursday and told her about what he had documented during a trip to India back in July.
SIDDHARTH KARA, HUMAN TRAFFICKING EXPERT: In some cases, the children were just living in the construction area. Maybe they were playing in the dirt, etc. The photos that I sent and the 14 cases out of the hundreds and hundreds of children I saw, these are ones where I felt I had reliably documented child labor, meaning children were working -- picking up hammers and banging stones, laying planks and marble in front of the stadiums for the entryways, planting grass and little flowers along the roads to beautify them hours and hours at a time.
So these cases are ones where I reliably documented children seven, eight, nine, 10 years old, were working alongside their families, again, in this mad rush to get the construction completed.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Did you sit and watch these kids working over a period of hours?
KARA: Absolutely. Hours and days. This is what I mean when I say reliably document. I didn't just show up, watch for a few minutes and then carry on to the next site. It took me several days just to document these 30 or 40 cases, because I'd sit for hours in the heat that they were working in, and the humidity and dust and grime, to make sure there's actually labor going on here -- for hours and hours on end. It's not just a kid playing in the dirt or using a hammer as a toy.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: Siddharth Kara there of Harvard.
Now, earlier, we spoke to the secretary-general of India's Human Rights Commission, K.S. Money.
We asked for his reaction to the evidence obtained by Siddharth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K.S. MONEY, HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: The national Human Rights Commission certainly would be worried about child, you know, rights. Wherever there is a report of child rights violations, the Commission would be concerned about that. They will take notice of this and we generally seek explanations from the concerned authorities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: We also asked the secretary-general whether he had received any formal complaints about child labor during the construction of the facilities for the Commonwealth Games.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONEY: What I recall is that there was a complaint. That contained a number of, you know, com -- allegations of violations of human rights and violations of labor laws. And on this, we had sought the report from one of our special reporters, Dr. Michla (ph). And Dr. Michla is already a member of a committee appointed by the Delhi High Court. The High Court of Delhi had an, in a writ petition, constituted a committee look -- to look into some of these complaints.
I don't recall anything specific to child labor. There certainly was allegations of violations of, you know, labor laws about the wages that are being paid, living conditions of workers, etc.
But I can't recollect because of this -- you know, as soon as the report was received, that was sent for examine by Dr. Michla, who, in any case, was already looking into this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: So we asked what could happen once the high court has considered the report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONEY: Well, certainly, if there are violations of, you know, like the -- if there are cases of child labor, certainly, under the act, you have to take action. The specific act under which you have to penalize, you can also levy a fine from the employer. You -- then you're also to rehabilitate the child labor, which is something which the commission has been doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, the claims that children as young as seven have been put to work on Commonwealth Games projects has got many of you talking on our blog.
MikeP2 writes: "Having grown up in India, I've seen kids used as bonded labor and also working with their parents, a common practice, instead of going to school."
VP6148: "There is a reason why these kids are with their parents and that is, they have nowhere else to go. They are not working. Who, in their right mind, is going to have a 10-year-old do construction?"
And Lion007 writes: "Ours is a poor country, but people are proud. Our citizens and their children don't mind working and earning instead of begging or living on welfare, like the people of America."
And Godsdisciple says: "I don't understand why so many of my fellow Indians are trying to justify child labor. It's true that some of the pictures might have been taken out of context, but that doesn't mean that child labor doesn't exist. On the contrary, India is the home to the largest number of child laborers in the world.
We're going to stay with this story in the coming days for you. If you'd like to join in the conversation, do go to our blog, CNN.com/connect. Have your say there. We'll have more on this story over the next few days.
Now, up next, it overcame a rocky start to claim the title of Europe's top economy. Germany has a lot to be proud of today, as it gets ready to mark 20 years of reunification. Yet gaps still linger between East and West. We'll hear from Chancellor Merkel straight ahead.
And once again, it's time for you to make the connections and tell us what two very different countries have in common.
FOSTER: Twenty years ago this week, more than four decades of bitter division came to an end for East and West Germany. Reunification got off to a rocky start, but it wasn't long before Germany became a key global player.
Diana Magnay reminds us how the barriers came crashing down.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fireworks light up the night sky as the bell tolls for a united Germany. It's the early morning of the 3rd of October, 1990, almost a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the architect of unification, surveys a dream come true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MAY 1990)
HELMUT KOHL, FORMER GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): German unity and the unity of Europe are two sides of the same coin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MAGNAY: For almost 30 years, the Wall was the symbol of division between East and West -- a death strip running the length of the city. But in the summer of 1989, change was in the air. More and more East Germans were fleeing to the West via Hungary. Hundreds of thousands demonstrated in cities like Leipzig for economic and political freedom. Their leaders did nothing to stop them. Finally, with the winds of perestroika and glasnost flowing in from Soviet Russia, the wall fell in a peaceful revolution.
ARND BAUERKAEMPER, HISTORIAN: And the GDR could no longer exploit its position -- its position at this seam line of the cold war vis-a-vis the Soviet leadership. So the GDR leadership, if you like, fell into a trap. They were abandoned.
MAGNAY: Even as souvenir hunters chipped away at the symbol of East- West divisions, the idea that the two Germanys would end up as one wasn't set in stone.
DAGMAR SCHULZE HEULING, HISTORIAN: The opposition of the GDR, who was very important for the process until November 1989, lost its influence because they -- a lot of them wanted to reform the socialism, wanted to make the GDR better. They didn't want a unification.
MAGNAY: In early 1990, East Germans voted for the first time in free elections, helping to bring Kohl back into the third term.
In July, the ostmark was replaced by the West German deutschemark and Kohl worked with world leaders to set aside their differences on how a united Germany might look.
Months later, it became a reality, though 20 years on, as the old East still struggles to match the West economically, questions linger over how united Germany really is.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Berlin.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: Well, Becky spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on a range of issues, including the unification. And we'll hear from her in just a moment.
But first, a quick reminder of just how important Germany is on the world stage. Germany is Europe's largest economy and the leading exporter of machinery, vehicles and chemicals. For example, in fact, it's the fifth largest economy now in the world.
Germany is both a member of NATO and a strong supporter of the United Nations. The country is one of the largest net contributors to the E.U. budget and a strong supporter of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Germany is the third largest troop contributor after the U.S. and the U.K.
Many consider a reunified Germany a success story. A German daily recently summed it up with a headline that read: "The Whole World is Amazed at Us."
But the nation also certainly has its share of challenges.
And let's go to Becky now, who's in Berlin, with the details of her talk with Chancellor Merkel -- Becky.
ANDERSON: That's right, Max.
When the Wall came down in 1989, it was by no means certain that the East and the West would come together. Twenty years ago, at the end of this week, they did, ushering in, of course, a new dawn. But reunification hasn't been cheap and the Western German taxpayers have paid billions of dollars in what's known as a solidarity tax. And yet, unemployment remains significantly higher in the East and wages remain significantly lower.
So when I sat down with Angela Merkel earlier on today, I asked her to describe how she saw the results of reunification.
This is what she told me.
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I wouldn't calculate this in fiscal terms. I would just say that we're pleased that the Eastern states have become much stronger, that a lot has been put into action and that Germany has become cultural richer. So I think it's a wonderful story.
ANDERSON: Helmut Kohl's great vision was for a unified Germany inside a united Europe. Today, Europe is anything but united, with countries like Greece and Spain and Ireland still beset by serious structural problems. Europe is showing signs of strain.
What's the long-term fix?
MERKEL: I think that Europe today is a lot more united than it was 20 years ago. The whole Lisbon Treaty is an expression of cohesion. And in the same way as there are often discussions in Germany between the federal government and the federal states, so there is a similar kind of discussion in Europe.
But that also shows the riches and the strength of the EU. And on the larger global questions like environment, financial systems, raw materials or energy politics, Europe, with its 500 players, can play a much more meaningful role in the world than any single member could play alone.
ANDERSON: How united is Germany, really, in 2010 or 2010?
Immigration is a hot button issue here, as it is across Europe. And relations with the Muslim community here in Germany are tense, to say the least.
MERKEL: We've taken a remarkable step forward here in Germany. Before, we spoke of multiculturalism, parallel societies or even in my own party, there were those who spoke about guest workers who would soon leave Germany.
We've all understood now that immigrants are a part of our country. They have to speak our language. They have to receive an education here.
And so when I look at the difficulties of other countries, I think, yes, we also have problems, but they're not unique.
ANDERSON: A year ago, you said Germany faced the biggest economic challenge since reunification. While the German economy has certainly bounced back remarkably well in the past year, the Eurozone and U.S. economies are struggling.
How can you at this point about a double dip recession?
MERKEL: I don't think that we'll have a double dip recession. I think we'll experience sustainable growth. In some areas, that may be a bit slow. It's not guaranteed that the growth we're experiencing now will continue over years. But I think, overall, we've acted smartly. G20 worked together well and I'm definitely optimistic that we can get through it, if we regulate the markets prudently and when we find the correct exit strategy after those expensive stimulus programs.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: So no double dip recession, she says, but no real wild optimism about the future for global growth, as it certainly stands today.
And what of reunification 20 years on?
Well, she says, she admits that things were tough to begin with. But Angela Merkel says that Germany is now reaping the benefits. And, of course, for somebody who grew up in East Germany, well, she would know better than most -- Max.
FOSTER: Becky, thank you very much, indeed.
Now, braided, straight, curly -- whatever your fancy, really, the industry making sure Nigeria is a cut above the rest and why it's attracting a lot of foreign attention.
That story to come.
So, too, the rapper whose star just keeps rising. We talk to Sean Combs about his multi-million dollar empire.
FOSTER: Well, this week, we're taking a special look at an economic and political powerhouse in West Africa. It's part of CNN's I-List series, our monthly look at innovative people and places around the world.
So far, we've been to France, Bahrain, Georgia, Poland, Macedonia and Oman. And this time around, we're taking you to Nigeria, a country with one of the more -- with one of the most developed economies in Africa. It's also the twelfth largest petroleum producer in the world.
But as Christian Purefoy reports, one industry in particular really is turning heads.
CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A woman's hair is her crowning glory. And in Shamsadeen Dua's business, a crown is a waiting. And business at this small market stall in Lagos is booming.
SHAMSADEEN DUA, WIGS & WEAVES MARKETER: I can do hair. I can -- it's like look, ladies face like this. I will look there. If they want, I will give them so that when we make their face fine.
PUREFOY: The chic style for Nigerian women is wigs, weaves and braids. And for advertising purposes, Shamsadeen says he wears them himself. The latest styles come from magazines or movies.
(on camera): Why a wig or a weave?
Why not your natural hair?
CAROL KERSON, CUSTOMER: Well, there are times I just get tired of it. You know, you just get tired of it. You just want to cut some of it off. So you just like have something to wear.
PUREFOY: To show you how popular wigs and weaves are in Nigeria, you only have to step into any busy street and do a head count. So we've got one, two, three, four -- sorry, ladies -- five, six, seven, eight -- eight out of eight women wearing wigs and weaves.
(voice-over): At this national braiding competition, the best of Nigeria's hair no idea is on show. And it's an industry attracting a lot of foreign attention. Japanese braiding company Kanekalon, has seen sales soar with its investment in Nigeria.
RYUICHI MARUYAMA, KANEKALON MARKETING: Oh, the last five years, it has increased a lot -- a huge increase.
MARUYAMA: Because the economy of Nigeria, even Africa, is growing fast and the people's awareness for the beauty for hair is enormous.
PUREFOY: So it -- how important is this market for your business?
MARUYAMA: Without Nigeria, without Africa, we cannot survive. This is our core market.
PUREFOY (voice-over): Whether it's wigs, weaves or braids, hair stylist Osas Overnsari charges about $20 a session. Over 15 women a day will pass through his salon and many will be back in two weeks to change their hair again.
OSAS OVERNSARI, HAIRDRESSER: The longest I have braided, it would be like five hours, the longest time.
PUREFOY (on camera): How...
PUREFOY: -- how long will this one take?
OVERNSARI: This one was like one hour, 50 minutes.
PUREFOY (voice-over): Straightening hair gel can burn your scalp and braids can be very painful. But the results, say the customers, are worth it.
FIONA OLA, CUSTOMER: It makes me look gorgeous. It makes me look good. I'm a young girl. I need to look very, very good.
PUREFOY: An industry making sure Nigeria is a cut above the rest.
Christian Purefoy, CNN, Lagos, Nigeria.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: Well, do stay tuned all week as we explore the country's dynamic industries and diverse cultures. Nigeria is claiming its place on the world stage. Find out how all this week on CONNECT THE WORLD.
Tonight, though, we'll be right back with the world headlines and lots more.
FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, take the country that has the longest coastline in the world and the one that helps feed our love of chocolate. Stay tuned to our Global Connections challenge, where we ask you to join the dots.
Plus, whether it's Sean, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, or just Diddy, our Connector of the Day is a global superstar with a booming business.
And who should greet aliens if they landed on Earth? You may think it should be the pope, the US president, maybe even P. Diddy could do the job. Turns out it's none of those, though, and not even the lady touted at the weekend for the job. We'll get to the truth somehow for you.
All those stories ahead in the show for you, but first, let's check out the latest headlines this hour.
The son of ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has been given his first official title. Reuters quotes North Korea's state news agency as saying Kim Jong-Un has been given the rank of general. Kim is widely expected to take over for his father as the country's next leader.
Many world leaders are criticizing Israel's refusal to extend a freeze on settlement building in the West Bank. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to quit peace talks if that happens, but now says he's waiting to talk with Arab leaders before deciding the next step.
Former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic returned to court in The Hague as his war crimes trial resumes. Karadzic is facing charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The charged partly come from the Srebrenica massacre that left thousands of Muslims dead.
Those are your world headlines. It's time now for Global Connections.
It's time to join the dots between two countries that at first appear to be worlds apart. This is where we ask you to get on board and help us make the Global Connections. We thought this week's challenge was going to be particularly tough, but here we are at day one, and already you've made some fascinating cultural, economic, even personal links.
We'll tell you how to get involved in just a moment, but first, we've chosen two countries that each provides a treat to anyone with a sweet tooth. We begin on the Ivory Coast, the world's top producer of cocoa beans, the main ingredient in chocolate. Only 30 percent of the population there is Christian, yet the country boasts the largest church in the world. It's the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, all 30,000 square meters of it.
The Ivory Coast is just one of three African countries to win an Academy Award for the best foreign film. The war movie, "Black and White in Color" took that honor back in 1976. And on the sporting front, Didier Drogba is one of several sporting players -- football players who have made it big on the international pitch. He found less acclaim, though, as a rap singer under the name Drogbacite, I think. Can't even remember the name.
Now, far across the Atlantic sits Canada. It boasts the longest coastline in the world, extending more than 200,000 kilometers. That's nearly four times longer than the next nation on the list. Now, I mentioned a sweet tooth a moment ago. Canada also leads the world in maple syrup production. Last year, the country produced more than nine million gallons of the sweet stuff. That's enough to fill 13 Olympic-sized swimming pools. And, speaking of Olympics, Canada thrilled the home crowd in Vancouver early this year by winning 14 gold medals.
That's more than any other nation in a Winter Games. Those just some of the unique things about Ivory Coast and Canada. There are, of course, many more, and one man who can help us out a bit on this is Tom Hall. He's editor of "Lonely Planet." Thanks for coming in to join us.
TOM HALL, EDITOR, LONELY PLANET: Thank you.
FOSTER: First of all, just tell us a couple of things about those two countries, apparently unlinked, that maybe we don't know.
HALL: When I was looking into Canada, it felt very familiar. But the first thing I found out, Canada has the world's longest land border with the United States across the bottom and across Alaska, too.
The Ivory Coast, probably best known for their football team, as you mentioned. Known as the Elephants. I didn't know that was their nickname.
FOSTER: The Elephants, of course. At first glance, the countries look like they've got nothing in common. But what have you found out? Are there some interesting links?
HALL: Well, there are interesting links. You might think if you got on a plane from Abidjan to Montreal, say, you wouldn't think there's very much in common. But, really, there are a couple of things that stood out.
You mentioned sweet tooth. But I'm going to go for another of the Ivory Coast exports. Coffee. And they're one of the world's largest producers and exporters of exporters. And Canadians are absolutely mad about coffee. And in terms of the consumption per capita, they actually rank very highly in the world.
FOSTER: It's amazing just how these links come up to us, isn't it? Share some of the links that you've come up with. We don't want give too many away, because it's for the viewers, really. But you're the expert on this. What sort of interesting direct links can you come up with?
HALL: Well, I'm sure lots of your listeners -- viewers would have come up with the French language. But I went for borders. We talked about Canada's border with the United States, how long it was. Look at the Ivory Coast. And that's got an absolutely fascinating border. Five countries neighboring it, and then a sea coast. Really quite unusual, but it's the sort of thing you only really find in that part of West Africa. So, brilliant borders is my connection.
FOSTER: OK, good stuff. So you've enjoyed finding out about these two countries, have you? Or, I guess you -- all the information was there, but you just have to put it together.
HALL: Finding the connections is a great challenge.
HALL: So it'll be fantastic to see what people come up with.
FOSTER: Yes. We will be bringing that to viewers later in the week. Thank you very much, Tom.
Now, as I said a few moments ago, we are already getting some terrific submissions. Beyond the colonial ties with France, of course that we've mentioned, we've also heard about Canadians involved in a UN mission in the Ivory Coast. And conversely, Ivorians who are working as French teachers in Canada.
As always, we really like to hear your personal stories as well. Do you have links to both countries. Do make your connection. Just log onto cnn.com/globalconnections and join in the discussions.
Up next on CONNECT THE WORLD, the bad boy made good. Sean Combs, Puff Daddy, or just plain P. Diddy. There's been a string of names and a string of hits for our Connector of the Day. Find out how this Grammy-award- winning artist made his way out of Harlem into mega-stardom and richness.
FOSTER (voice-over): Whether you know him as Diddy, Puff Daddy, or Sean Combs, you're bound to recognize his face.
As a rapper and entrepreneur, Diddy has established himself as one of show business's true jack of all trades.
In the early 90s, he put himself on the map with the establishment of Bad Boy Records, and it didn't take long for him to become a household name. Today, he is one of hip hop's most versatile stars.
In addition to his performing persona, he's become a prominent businessman. His clothing label, Sean John, has become a celebrity favorite in the United States and is making its European debut this month.
Whether it's music, fashion, or the big screen, he'll make you pay attention. Sean Diddy Combs is your Connector of the Day.
FOSTER: It's been 12 years, now, since Diddy first launched his fashion label back in New York Fashion Week all that time ago. Sean John line is now worth half a billion dollars, would you believe? I spoke to him a little earlier and began by asking him why he thinks the fashion arm of his empire has been so successful.
SEAN COMBS, GRAMMY AWARD WINNER: It was fashion for men that was timeless fashion. It wasn't based on trends. And it was clean, it was sophisticated, it was aspirational. But yet, it still had an urban edge. Once it hit the stores, it was flying out of the stores.
And then, we really became known for our runway shows, which were very exciting. Brought a lot of excitement back to entertainment. And it coined the phrase "fashiontaiment." And my constant was always -- and my constant still to this day is, I get dressed for my girl. I get dressed -- I want her to say that I look nice.
It's been an extraordinary ride with Sean John. It's been -- most people call it a phenomenon. To come from the inner city of Harlem, New York, into -- being a kid growing up walking down Fifth Avenue, window shopping, not really having enough money, to actually buy the clothes on Fifth Avenue, to actually opening up a store on Fifth Avenue. It's something that I'm very proud of and my team is very proud of.
FOSTER: It's very hard to move between continents with fashion, isn't it?
FOSTER: Because tastes differ.
FOSTER: How can you translate that success -- and it's an undoubted success, half a billion a year, it's unbelievable. How can you translate that to a completely different market, which is Europe?
COMBS: Our mission was to conquer the US, which we have, and then go to Europe. And we're actually looking -- pursuing and looking for the right partner, the right strategic partner in a different global territory. We have been able, in the US, to break down color barriers. To break down stereotypical barriers.
A lot of people, if they see somebody of color, they may think, "Oh, it's the baggy clothes, or it's the hip hop clothes." And when you see our line, which hopefully we'll get to show your viewers, it's directly the opposite. It's pure fashion, it's elegant, it's edgy, it's sophisticated, it's fun.
And it's so important, what I do every day, I take it as important because it breaks down those stereotypes. The suit I'm wearing, it's a suit like yours, right?
FOSTER: Yes. It's beautiful. Tailored.
COMBS: Yes, tailored. It's not extra baggy. It's not sagging off my butt.
COMBS: I make clothes for everybody.
COMBS: I make clothes for all colors, and people that listen to all types of music. It's just fashion. Fashion has no color lines.
FOSTER: Your business interests actually go across music, fashion, movies. You've been very successful. Michelle has written to us, saying, "You have been a creative entrepreneur for years. What keeps you inspired to advance with new, varied projects?" I guess I can add to that the fact that, how'd you manage to make everything work well? Is there one, overriding thing you're doing with your brand, as it were?
COMBS: Yes. I would say to Michelle that it's all in the product. I think that your success really relies on your product, whether it's my fragrance, whether it's my music, my television shows, my movies, my fashion. It's all in the product.
I try to make things that you don't have to see the logo, you don't have to see the branding. When you see my collection, people would assume, seeing it for the first time, that it would have a bunch of logos on it. And it just doesn't. I have a concept that if you see it from fifty yards away, it should attract you, it should make you want to get closer to it, because of the way the product looks. Once you look at the label, that's the surprise.
FOSTER: Patricia wants to know what business advice could you give to a young generation trying to become entrepreneurs out of the recession?
COMBS: Really take the conservative approach. If you have a great idea, you'll be able to get the information without putting everything on the line. This is a very dangerous time. And there's a way that you can pursue your dreams and also at the same time not lose it all if it's not successful.
FOSTER: Dapo asks when you first started Bad Boys Records at the age of 24, did you imagine you would be so successful? A lot of the question are along these lines, because you're talking about the techniques for business. But, actually, where did you get that confidence as a young kid in New York?
COMBS: One of the things that I say to young people that want to follow in my footsteps is I say, "You actually have to be crazy. You can't believe in the reality that's presented in front of you. You have to believe that you're going to be as great as you can be."
In our society, it's not -- we're not inspired to do that. We're not inspired to dream big.
FOSTER: So, what inspired you? What got you going?
COMBS: I would say I was probably crazy.
FOSTER: You still crazy?
COMBS: Still crazy.
FOSTER: You're just crazy.
COMBS: We're crazy in a positive way. You have to -- you think about --
FOSTER: You're talking about risks? You're a risk-taker?
COMBS: No, I'm talking about crazy.
COMBS: You know, a young kid from the inner city, just with a single mother, just saying that one day he's going to be one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. That would be a cra -- that's like a crazy concept. And you have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in that. But most importantly, you have to do the work that it's going to take to get to that point.
FOSTER: But did you know we're going to be this successful when you were young?
COMBS: Yes, I did. Yes, I did.
FOSTER: So you'd have that at the back of your mind all the time.
COMBS: Yes, I did. I was crazy. And I still am.
FOSTER: Crazy Diddy, speaking to me earlier on. Now, from a man famous for his lyrics to a man famous for his prose. Tomorrow night, we'll be connecting you with Khaled Hosseini. The acclaimed author of "The Kite Runner" is seeking asylum in the United States and is believed to be the first to fictionalize Afghan culture for a western audience. Is there something you would like to ask this well-known writer? If so, do head to our website, cnn.com/connect, and don't forget to tell us where you are writing from.
Onto different matters. If aliens arrived on Earth and asked, "Take me to your leader," how should we respond? Well, earlier today, we thought we had the answer, but turns out, it was just science fiction.
FOSTER: What started out as a great Monday morning story has turned out to be science fiction, unfortunately. A newspaper report over the weekend claimed the United Nations was poised to appoint an alien ambassador charged with greeting extra terrestrial visitors who might land on Earth. But the Malaysian astrophysicist at the center of the story denies she's adding alien greeter to her resume.
Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs -- there is one -- says she won't be talking at an upcoming conference about her alien ambassadorial skills. Rather, she told "The Guardian" newspaper her topic will be near-Earth objects, not close encounters with little green men.
UFOs have fascinated us for years, of course, or decades. When aliens visit Earth in the movies, they're often driving that distinctive flying saucer. From "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Independence Day," "Mars Attacks," this is how UFOs tend to look when Earthlings catch them on camera. Shaky, fizzy images with bright lights and saucer-shaped objects.
Fraud, foolishness, or proof of alien life? Whatever you think, it is news to many that the United Nations even has an Office for Outer Space Affairs, which is, in fact, responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
Joining me now is author and journalist, Nick Pope, who used to run the British government's UFO Project at the Ministry of Defense. Thanks so much for joining us. I presume you thought this story was ridiculous from the start?
NICK POPE, AUTHOR, "OPEN SKIES, CLOSED MINDS": Well, it's half true, you know. The royal society had a discussion meeting earlier this year called "The Detection of Extraterrestrial Life, and the Consequences for Science and Society." One of the questions asked was, who speaks for planet Earth? And Dr. Othman simply said, "Well, look. Maybe the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs should have a role in that."
FOSTER: Which would mean her.
POPE: It would mean her. So I think what was an intriguing possibility in the mind's eye of the media became a certainty. But scientists are thinking about these sorts of issues. If we pick up a signal, do we reply? If we reply, what should we say?
FOSTER: Who replies?
POPE: People are looking for signals using radio telescopes. If we find one, one of the big issues, and Stephen Hawking has talked about this recently --
FOSTER: A Cambridge professor.
POPE: Absolutely. Has said, "Maybe we shouldn't reply at all, because look what happened when the European explorers encountered the Native Americans. Didn't come off too well for the Native Americans." But all these issues, now, the scientific community are beginning to think about this. And I think that's interesting.
FOSTER: And is the information, the research, coordinated in a way that, if a signal did come through, you'd all be discussing it? And you would, perhaps, put together some sort of response and decide who it would be. Is there any sort of setup or a committee of any kind?
POPE: Well, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence have something called the declaration protocols, which is really more about verification than anything else. But these issues, these next step issues -- Should we reply? What should we say? The Royal Society going to be discussing that at their meeting next week, which I'm going to be attending.
FOSTER: OK. And just to give us a bit more background about your experience in this. You were in charge of all of this, effectively, for the British government. You came to the conclusion, eventually, from an impartial point of view, that there are UFOs like these come -- or have come?
POPE: Well, I'm not sure about that. I'm convinced that --
FOSTER: You didn't write off some of the examples.
POPE: I couldn't write -- exactly. The politician's answer.
POPE: I'm convinced there's life out there. Not sure if we're being visited, but some of the UFO sightings that we investigated, we couldn't explain in conventional terms.
FOSTER: OK. And so, if you had enough resources at the time, how much more would you have researched that, and what do you think your conclusion might have been?
POPE: Well, I don't think there's a manager anywhere in the civil service who wouldn't say, "Please, can I have more resources --"
POPE: "If available. I would've liked to have, obviously, hooked up much more with the astronomical community. And it's interesting, the Royal Society, when it's discussing this, brings together a multidisciplinary group of physicists, cosmologists, but even theologians, social scientists. People are talking about the religious implications of this, even.
FOSTER: OK. So, when the Royal Society does meet and discuss it a bit further, do you think there is a will within the scientific, theological communities, as it were, to have some sort of representative? It would be the UN, wouldn't it?
POPE: It probably would have to be the UN. I don't think it could be a political leader. It couldn't be a religious figure. It would have to be someone who could genuinely say, "I speak for the people of this planet." And the UN is probably it. Which is where we come back to Dr. Othman. And maybe she is the right choice after all.
FOSTER: Who's fighting it? There must be someone fighting it. This is politics, after all.
POPE: Well, I don't know. Maybe one of her colleagues was a little bit overenthusiastic about translating this speculation that the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs might have a role into a certainty. I don't know.
FOSTER: Yes. Promoting the department. Thank you very much. That's great.
Don't go away. We'll be right back with tonight's Parting Shots. Some good ones for you tonight.
FOSTER: An activist has high hopes for the latest attempt to break the Gaza blockade. This ship is now heading toward Gaza after setting sail from Cyprus. It's carrying humanitarian cargo and ten Jewish passengers and crew. A Jewish organization sponsored the mission with a message that not all Jews support Israeli government policies. They say they want to deliver the aid, quote, "in a non-violent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest." But Israel is promising to divert the ship if it continues on course.
There's new controversy on land as well, and it's the focus of tonight's Parting Shots. As you can see, the bulldozers are back in the West Bank. Israel resumed settlement building just hours after a ten-month freeze expired, despite international calls to extend the moratorium to give peace efforts a chance.
Settlers gathered to watch new ground being broken there and celebrated by releasing thousands of balloons into the air that carry the colors of the Israeli flag. Other settlers demonstrated with banners and signs. This man's message was aimed at US president Barack Obama, reading "If Islam can build anywhere, why can't I?" referring to the proposed mosque and Islamic Center near Ground Zero in New York.
And not all Israelis agree with the end of construction curbs. Here you can see Peace Now activists facing off with settlers in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly threatened to pull out of peace talks if construction resumes but, today, he said he won't make any hasty decision. That gives international mediators at least another week, scrambling to save the latest round of talks that began early this month at the White House.
Much of the world is hoping these negotiations won't follow the path of every single Middle East peace effort before it. A path to dead ends and failure.
Now, what will the Palestinians do? Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas says there will be no decision without consultations. He's in France, where he met with President Nicolas Sarkozy. The French president joined the growing number of leader expressing disappointment that the construction freeze wasn't extended.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT (through translator): We both agreed that the settlements' construction should stop. Netanyahu gave a ten-month moratorium freeze when there was no negotiations at that time. It is from a priority to give another three or four months when the negotiations are ongoing so we can make the process easier and we can discuss the core issues in more depth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: President Abbas plans further talks with Arab leaders in the coming days. Mr. Sarkozy says he'll ask President Abbas, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Egyptian president Mubarak to meet for peace talks in Paris next month.
A story full of connections. I'm Max Foster. That is it for the show on TV, but do stay connected with us online. "BackStory" is next after this check of the headlines.
The Venezuelan president's ruling party has lost its super majority.