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CONNECT THE WORLD
The Latest on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti; The Power of the Fan
Aired October 25, 2010 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZANE VERJEE, HOST: Thousands suffer an outbreak of cholera in the town of St. Marc in Haiti. It's just a few miles from a violence capital still recovering from a deadly quake. Only a third of promised reconstruction money has actually reached Haiti.
Tonight, we're asking if the world is to blame for a nation's misery.
Beyond borders on the day's biggest stories, on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.
Haiti's earthquake was a natural disaster, but its cholera outbreak is a manmade one. Almost a year since the world promised a Marshall Plan to rebuild Haiti, not enough has been done.
I'm Zane Verjee in London.
Now, I've blogged about this on Facebook.com/zanecnn. So really, what you need to tell me is what you think.
Weigh in on this, OK?
And I want to read our your comments a little bit later.
Also tonight, a secret no more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: We are grateful for the Iranian help in this regard. The United States is doing the same thing. They are providing cash to some of our offices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: Why Afghanistan received bags of cash from Iran and what the U.S. is going to do about it.
And remember this?
Once upon a time, it was the coolest thing in town, right?
Do you remember what it is?
Well, it connected the world. Now, it may go extinct.
Haiti's cholera outbreak has claimed another six lives over the past 24 hours. While the death rate seems to be slowing, the U.N. is warning that the disease could still spread nationwide, infecting tens of thousands of people.
Paula Newton is in Petite Riviere. That's close to the Artibonite River, where the outbreak is believed to have originated -- Paula describe what it's like there.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, behind me is the Artibonite River. And it is one of the main arteries here. People all around me still working in this water. They're actually (AUDIO GAP) for construction materials. They sell it. I have seen children even up to their eyeballs in this water, even though it is very likely to already be contaminated with cholera.
Those are the kinds of things that have to stop in this country if we're going to avoid the kind of scenes that. You're going to see right now from St. Nicholas Hospital in St. Marc's.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON (voice-over): Even those already struck down retreated with a sense of urgency here, as cholera stalks Haiti for the first time in a half century. Many of its victims arrive at this rural hospital struggling to stay conscious, to stay alive. And they continue to pour into St. Mark's Hospital hunched over, moaning, trying to be seen and heard above all the chaos and confusion.
(on camera): As you can see down here, even children are just sprawled out in the open air, just waiting for something -- for someone to come and help them. There are many people here just lined up. We've spoken to many people who haven't had care for several hours, in some cases, one or two days. The staff here doing the best they can, but as you can see, people continue to line up.
I want you to follow me now into the triage area.
(voice-over): A concrete driveway passes for a treatment bed here. This hospital is still undeniably overwhelmed, as patients lie in agony.
There is a sense of shock here that so many could become so violently ill without warning. Cholera savagely saps the body of fluid and although many feared it would prey on earthquake-ravaged Haiti, this rural area north of Port-au-Prince is outside the quake zone.
But many victims from that disaster have returned to their families here and medical experts say the sanitation systems could not handle the influx.
Specialists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are now trying to track the origin of the cholera and contain its spread.
DR. ERIC MINTZ: And they did it with remarkable speed.
NEWTON: We tagged along with Dr. Eric Mintz from the CDC team as he inspected the treatment center and offered cautious optimism.
MINTZ: -- fatality, the proportion of people that are dying from cholera is decreasing. People are continuing to come in ill with severe diarrhea, but they're coming in earlier, they're getting treated faster and as a result, more of them will survive.
NEWTON: That means the health crisis here may now be stabilizing, but that's in stark contrast to what many are still suffering through here -- unbearable pain with only the most basic of medical care to offer relief.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
VERJEE: CNN's Paula Newton reporting.
Well, you know, an outbreak of cholera had been feared for a very long time. Just after earthquake in January, CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, went to Haiti. And he warned the world of the dangers that could lie ahead.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a tent. This is what it's like to be displaced after the earthquake. Just everywhere you look, there are tents like this. And this was one of the things that people are most concerned about when they talk about a potential second wave of deaths. They're worried about infectious diseases, in part because of the living conditions like this -- people living in very close quarters. There's a concern, could you start to spread disease like typhus, could you start to spread respiratory illnesses?
Keep in mind, we are talking about Haiti here. Even before the earthquake, about 45 percent of people did not have access to clean drinking water. And, of course, this is how they're living, in very close quarters. If a disease outbreak were to occur, it could spread very quickly from person to person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting back in January.
Now, nine months on, tens of thousands of Haitians are still living in tents.
So what's actually being done to get the country back on its feet?
At an international development conference back in March, more than $6 billion -- yes, $6 billion -- was pledged to help Haiti rebuild. That was in addition to money that had already been donated.
The UN's special envoy to the country, Bill Clinton, has been tracking the top 23 donors. In 2010, they pledged just under $2 billion. By September, only $730 million had actually been sent to Haiti. Now, that is under 38 percent of the total.
The worst offender was the United States, which originally pledged to spend more than $1.1 billion during 2010 on redevelopment. By September, none of that cash had left the country.
Venezuela had pledged almost half a billion dollars for 2010. By September, it had only transferred 7 percent of this. That makes it $33 million.
And the European Commission pledged just over $200 million in 2010. By September, only around $45 million had been distributed in Haiti.
Now, some have called for an approach like the Marshall Plan, which helped Europe's economies recover after World War II.
But is there really a similar will to rebuild Haiti?
Let's ask Jeffrey Sachs.
He is one of the world's leading economists.
And he joins me now from New York.
It's so great to have you, Mr. Sachs.
JEFFREY SACHS, DIRECTOR, EARTH INSTITUTE: Thank you.
VERJEE: Is the world to blame?
SACHS: I'm sorry?
VERJEE: Is the world to blame?
SACHS: We -- we are just not doing what we need to do. And it's a tragedy, obviously, that the earthquake happened in January and there are hundreds of thousands of people who have not been looked after. And all the big words of the politicians have really come to so little.
But this is par for the course. There are people suffering in Pakistan. There are people suffering elsewhere. The international system is -- is basically breaking down -- meetings, big announcements, big donor commitments, politicians taking credit for saving this place and that place.
Now, when you come to the ground, what do you have?
You have a cholera epidemic.
So this is actually par for the course. I've watched this day in, day out all this year, that the major countries -- the United States and -- and Europe just haven't done what they said they'd do.
VERJEE: Is it realistic to expect that they will, with -- with a recession, the loss of jobs, disaster fatigue, as you point out?
Two wars are on. And on top of that, say, the United States is facing a mid-term election and -- and they may not want to even spend the political capital on something like -- something like this.
So is it realistic to have any expectation?
SACHS: You know, I -- I don't know whether it's realistic or not. I can tell you it's shocking to leave a whole country in such desperation. But it's even more shocking to pretend that you're going to help, to make big announcements, to set up big commissions and to have high political figures from the United States deeply involved and then not follow through.
So if the United States had said, look, we're not going to do anything, that would at least be one thing. But what has been said instead is oh, we're -- we're here to save you, we're here to help you and then it's just been handled without the follow through, without the professionalism.
Back in January, I recommended a very simple way to proceed and that was that the countries that pledged to support would put money into a bank account and it would be managed professionally by the Inter-American Development Bank.
But that's too simple, because then you can't have all of the show. You can't have all of the announcements. You can't have all of the flags waving.
VERJEE: OK, it's simple, you say. It -- it's practical.
But where are you going to get the money for this given the current global situation?
SACHS: Look, we're -- we're wasting so much money right and left. We're spending $100 billion in Afghanistan right now. We wouldn't be able to find $1 billion for our own neighborhood instead, for an earthquake that claimed 230,000 lives, left 300,000 people injured, left more than a million people without shelter?
Our Pentagon spends $2 billion every single day and then when it comes to actually responding to one of the biggest disasters in human history, zero.
SACHS: Those are choices that we're making. And, by the way, our bankers, it's no secret, have walked away with tens of billions of dollars of bonuses, which our government didn't ask for, back again.
So there's plenty of money around. It's the choices we're making that are so disappointing.
VERJEE: What can people watching this program around the world do to help?
SACHS: Well, if you're an American citizen, it's ask your government to follow through on the big promises that were made. That's most important.
Of course, I would say for individuals that want to make an individual contribution, contribute to UNICEF. Contribute to the World Food Program. U.N. agencies are there. They're desperately trying to help. They're under funded because the real support that was promised has not come through.
So UNICEF would be a -- a wonderful place to give a contribution. You're sure that it's going to reach intended -- the -- the people that are suffering and for whom it's intended.
VERJEE: Jeffrey Sachs in New York.
Thank you so much for being on CONNECT THE WORLD.
It is always a pleasure.
Well, we're going to keep following Haiti in the coming days here on CNN. Afghanistan's president, meanwhile, is saying that he sees nothing wrong with accepting money -- bags and bags of cash -- from Iran. Coming up, Hamid Karzai responds to reports of a secret slush fund. We're going to ask whether Washington should be worried.
Also ahead, even for a country accustomed to violence, two massacres leave Mexico on the edge. We're going to begin a week long look at the drug wars and their victims.
VERJEE: The and all this week, we are fueling the debates on the future of clean energy, from the ultimate eco-friendly car that runs on thin air to the mineral that could change the auto industry -- it is cutting edge science that may transform the world.
Tonight, we begin in Kobe, Japan, where it's not only the atmosphere at football games that's turning out to be pretty electric.
Kyung Lah that's a look at the drive to use the power of the fans.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the game of football, there are few certainties -- except for this.
LAH: Fans on their feet pounding, jumping, never stopping for two hours -- energy for the players on the field. But Mie Kiyota, who works for the Vissel Kobe team, saw something else.
"There has got to be some way to harness their energy in some sort of eco-friendly way," she thought.
It turns out there is. In Japan, the J.R. East train began capturing the energy commuters made while walking through the turnstiles and at Kokwio Station's (ph) main Tokyo headquarters, the company is developing its own floor panels which capture the energy of human foot traffic.
So Kiyota convinced the team to join in the emerging kinetic energy panel field. Vissel Kobe bought 24 panels, which landed under the feet of the fan section, where Kazuya Yamashiro is glad his girth is helping the environment. "I'm bigger than the other fans," he says, pointing out that he's able to produce more energy with each heavy jump.
The power cord, says Kiyota, carries the fans' energy to a power box, to batteries.
(on camera): The amount of real energy produced in this testing base is actually quite small. Because the last game was a tie, these three AA batteries were charged.
(voice-over): But the stadium is using the energy produced for a real purpose -- to power flashlights for the night games -- just the beginning, pledges Kiyota.
(on camera): Do you envision a day when this entire stadium will have this type of energy flooring?
"I think so. I hope one day this system will be in every seat, producing more clean energy."
The team hopes football stadiums around the world will see Kobe's small experiment and want to jump in. The biggest stumbling blocks right now, practicality and price tag. Panels to cover 24 seats cost the team nearly $30,000. And when the home team loses, like today, there's less fan energy produced, "Which inspires us to play better," says Vissel player Teruki Miyamoto. "It's just extra incentive to try and win," he says.
In a game where you often lose, it's a winning outcome for fans and the planet.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Kobe, Japan.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
VERJEE: Today's renewable sources meeting tomorrow's challenges -- we've got plenty of great stories coming up on theme week. And we also have the sneak peak into Jay Leno's green garage. Earth's Frontiers checks out his fleet of more than 200 cars, including his latest creation, a biodiesel ecojet car. It's pretty cool, OK, so make sure you find out what that's about this week on CONNECT THE WORLD.
Coming up, a friendship that has Washington really worried -- Hamid Karzai responds to reports of a secret slush fund from Iran.
And thanks for the memories and lots of chewed tape. We rewind back to when cassettes were cool and wave good-bye to the Walkman.
VERJEE: It's not often we hear a head of state acknowledge that he gets bags of cash from other countries. The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, is confirming reports that Iran makes regular payments to his government. He says there's a legitimate reason and says Iran is not the only donor.
From Kabul, here's Barbara Starr.
BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: How often do you publicly hear a head government say to a room full of reporters that he's taking bags of money?
Well, that is what has happened in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai, at a press conference, confirming to reporters that he has taken bags of money, his chief of staff has, and that the money has come from Iran and the United States, that it's being used for a variety of purposes -- to pay office staff. The president saying even to pay outsiders.
No real clear indication exactly how the money is being used and whether every -- anybody is really watching over it.
Have a listen to what President Karzai had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARZAI: The cash payments are done by various friendly countries to help the presidential office and to help dispense assistance to -- in various ways, to the employees around here, to people outside. And this is transparent and this is something that I have -- I have also discussed with -- even when we were at Camp David with -- with President Bush. This is nothing hidden. And we are grateful for the Iranian help in this regard.
The United States is doing the same thing. They are providing cash to some of our offices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Now, Iran and Afghanistan, of course, are close allies and neighbors in this part of the world. But the question, of course, is what Iran wants from Afghanistan in return for those bags of money. That is something that may be a very significant concern to the United States.
Barbara Starr, CNN, Kabul.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
VERJEE: "The New York Times" first reported the story and revealed some pretty interesting details. It says when President Karzai was wrapping up an official visit to Iran back in August, his personal plane waited on the tarmac for Iran's ambassador to Afghanistan. That ambassador finally showed and reportedly handed Mr. Karzai's chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, a parting gift, which was a plastic bag bulging with euro notes.
Earlier this year, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, received a pretty warm welcome when he visited Kabul. "The New York Times" says he brought two boxes of cash with him, one for the presidential palace and one for chief of staff Daudzai.
So does Iran expect to buy influence with all that cash?
Mr. Karzai says Iran just wants to have good relations. But the U.S. fears that other motives are at play.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
P.J. CROWLEY, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We do not question Iran's right to provide financial assistance to Afghanistan, you know, nor do we question Afghanistan's right to accept that assistance. What we think is important is Afghans having the ability to shape their own future, without negative influences, you know, from its neighbors.
And we'll let the government of Afghanistan, you know, speak to how they spend, you know, financial assistance received from other countries. But we remain skeptical of Iran's motives given its history of playing a destabilizing role with its neighbors. We hope that Iran will take responsibility to play a constructive role in the future of Afghanistan.
I mean our assistance is focused squarely on helping the Afghan people and the Afghan government improve the quality of governance, security, justice, jobs and services and give the Afghan people a meaningful alternative, you know, to the Taliban recruiting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, do you have any concerns about the Iranian contributions?
CROWLEY: I just mentioned that we have concerns about the Iran...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the...
CROWLEY: -- the broader issue of -- of how -- what Iran -- what role Iran hopes to play in Afghanistan. Now we -- we recognize that Iran is going to have a relationship with Afghanistan. But we're skeptical based on their track record.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
VERJEE: Let's bring in Daniel Markey now.
He's worked at the State Department and he's a specialist on South Asian affairs.
He's now a senior fellow at the Council On Foreign Relations.
Daniel, we just heard the State Department spokesman acknowledge the fears about Iran's gift to Kabul.
Can the U.S. do anything or do they just have to sit on the sidelines and -- and watch the money go?
DANIEL MARKEY, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT POLICY PLANNING STAFFER: Well, certainly, the United States can't do a lot to stop bags of money flowing into the Afghan government. But it could do a lot to shift its political strategy and try to diversify its range of partners well beyond the Karzai government and the -- and his inner circle.
VERJEE: Well, President Karzai is saying, you know, too, that the -- the U.S. knew about this and we're hearing that the U.S. is handing over cash like this, too, in Afghanistan.
So, you know, they're saying it's a -- he's saying it's no big deal.
MARKEY: Well, it certainly looks bad. Symbolically, it is a big deal. The U.S. government can't be happy to hear that these kinds of things are happening with Iran on the other side. Even though it already knows about them, it coming out in public doesn't look good. And if the United States is providing assistance of this sort, it's also providing a heck of a lot of assistance that's going through normal channels. And for Karzai to say that this is transparent funding and normal accounting proceeds just doesn't -- doesn't sound right at all.
VERJEE: Part of the reason this is such a big deal is that some of this money is going to the Taliban.
MARKEY: Well, the -- the Iranians have, by a number of accounts, been providing assistance for the Taliban in a variety of ways, including direct assistance of -- of lethal materials. So this wouldn't be the first time that we've heard of that sort of thing.
And it's also clear that Karzai has a variety of not at all constructive individuals who are around him, including those who are reportedly the ones who are most responsible for doling out the cash and from receiving it directly from the Iranians.
So there are several different problems here.
VERJEE: Should the U.S. trust Karzai?
MARKEY: I think the United States needs to work with Karzai. He's the man on the scene. But I think, as I said before, the United States needs to also work with a variety of other important Afghan partners. It's not clear that Karzai can deliver, even though he's nominally the president.
This is a relatively weak government and there are a variety of other Afghans who, early on, after 9/11, came together in a national unity effort and have since departed the scene. They've left Karzai's side. They've been kicked out of the government. They've run against him on the presidential campaign.
These are people who could be very constructive as parts of the Afghan national unity government and they currently have very little role to play. And we're seeing -- I think this is just one indication of that, the stories of corruption or another. There have been a variety of weak and...
MARKEY: -- and unfortunate episodes of late.
VERJEE: President Karzai said something pretty astonishing about these bags of cash today.
You know, now that we all know about this and that this is happening and has been happening, is it just going to keep on going?
And do you expect that there will be any more transparency, checks and balances, accountability or not?
MARKEY: Well, I think, no. At -- at some level, there will be bags of cash following around Afghanistan for some time to come. It's the nature of a -- of a very weak, under institutionalized system and one where a lot of regional players want to have influence. So you see bags of cash from Iran, you could probably see them from Russia. You'd probably see much worse things coming from Pakistan.
So it's just a matter of how different countries are exerting their influence and this is one example of it.
VERJEE: Some good perspective and insight from someone who -- who has been at the State Department.
Daniel Markey now with the Council On Foreign Relations.
Thank you so much.
Still ahead tonight, just when it seems the violence can't possibly get any worse, the drug wars claim even more victims. We are going to take a look at the daily violence in Mexico and see just how hard it can be in some areas just to stay alive.
VERJEE: Hi. You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD.
I'm Zain Verjee in London.
Coming up, another massacre in Mexico's most dangerous city leaves behind more heartbreak and fear. This time, even the authorities are stunned by the viciousness of the attack. From cutting edge to a gadget that just doesn't cut it anymore -- why the Walkman is making its final bow.
VERJEE: Hi, you're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Zain Verjee in London. Coming up, another massacre in Mexico's most dangerous city leaves behind more heartbreak and fear. This time, even authorities are stunned by the viciousness of the attack.
From cutting edge to a gadget that just doesn't cut it anymore. Why the Walkman is making its final bow.
Plus, images from the war zone. Photojournalist Tim Hetherington answers your questions as our Connector of the Day.
All those stories ahead in the show for you but, first, let's get a check of the headlines this hour.
Health officials in Haiti say the cholera outbreak there is stabilizing, with the death rate dropping off. But aid workers say the disease is still a serious risk in the squalid tent camps in Port-au- Prince, where tens of thousands of earthquake victims live.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai says a report that his government receives bags of money from Iran is true, but Mr. Karzai says the payments are transparent, and that the US provides the same kind of cash assistance to his government.
The youngest detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison has pleaded guilty to murdering a US soldier and supporting terrorism. In the first military commission trial there since Barack Obama became US president, the Pentagon says Omar Khadr, a Canadian, will probably be sentenced this week.
No damages or casualties are reported from a 7.5 magnitude quake in Indonesia. It struck just off the western coast of Sumatra. An initial local tsunami watch was issued, but then it was soon lifted. People reported shaking as far away as Padang.
Now to Mexico, where dozens of people were killed over the weekend in two separate massacres. All this week, we're taking a daily look at the violence that is just plaguing Mexico. Much of it's connected to the brutal drug wars. Rafael Romo joins me now from CNN Center with more on this. Hey, Rafael.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Zain, there were two massacres in two border cities in as many days, leaving 27 people dead. In one incident, a house party full of teenagers was targeted. In the other, heavily armed men stormed a drug rehabilitation center.
ROMO (voice-over): The morning after the mass shooting, neighbors quietly came out with brooms and water hoses, anxious to remove the blood stains from the streets and walls around their houses. This is Ciudad Juarez, the most violent city in Mexico. But even authorities seem stunned by the viciousness of this latest attack that left 14 people dead and many others wounded.
CARLOS MANUEL SALDAS, CHIHUAHUA STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL (through translator): It's deplorable that criminals no longer have respect. This kind of violence is deplorable. I can't believe that a nine-year-old boy is among the wounded. I can't believe that two girls, ages 14 and 15, are among the dead.
ROMO (voice-over): According to authorities, those killed were young people, teens and adults no older than 30. Among the wounded were children as young as 7 and 11. They were attacked by a group of armed men who stormed a house party, shooting victims with assault rifles favored by drug cartels in the area.
SALDAS (through translator): I can't believe that six women were killed. They were only trying to get together with friends to have a nice time, the way we all do here in Juarez. And in Chihuahua, our state is going through some difficult times.
ROMO (voice-over): All of a sudden, this survivor says, he heard gunshots and people screaming. He ran into his home and locked himself in a room with the children. So far, more than 2300 have died in suspected drug-related violence in Ciudad Juarez this year.
CESAR DUARTE, GOVERNOR OF CHIHUAHUA (through translator): I'm insulted and offended. We will take responsibility for the investigation of these actions. As the governor of this state, what affects our people is my personal concern.
ROMO: The shooting in Juarez happened only a day after 13 people were killed in Tijuana, another border city. Four heavily armed men stormed into a drug rehabilitation center, killing people ranging in age from 19 to 56. Local media are reporting the incident may be related to a drug bust last week. The Mexican army confiscated 134 tons of marijuana hidden in a warehouse, and the shooting might have been in retaliation for this incident. Zain?
VERJEE: It's getting more outrageous and just really disgusting. A drug rehab center as a target? Has that ever happened before?
ROMO: It has happened before, unfortunately, Zain. There was an incident back in June were 19 people in a drug rehabilitation center in Juarez, the same city that we're talking about, were killed. Then, last year, in this same city, in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, 27 people were killed in two separate incidents also in drug rehabilitation centers, Zain.
VERJEE: Rafael Romo, thank you so much. We're going to be checking in with Rafael all week as we take a closer look at Mexico's drug wars. Let's look for now, though, at the drug roots.
Take a look at this, OK? The red arrows in this map show the flow of cocaine coming up from Central and South America, specifically Colombia and also from Venezuela and Brazil. Marijuana, shown here in green, is also grown in parts of Mexico, and then it's funneled into the drug pipeline. Tons of marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs are trafficked north. They eventually cross the US border in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and to Texas.
Coming up next, it was once groundbreaking technology. You may remember it, right? I do. Have a little bit of nostalgia over it, but now, it's just become a collector's item. We're going to take a look back at the era of the Walkman. Remember that? Could it make a comeback? That just ahead.
VERJEE: Well, it is the end of an era. Three decades after it transformed the music industry, Sony is retiring its classic cassette tape Walkman. But even though it was once a real groundbreaking invention, so many people are telling us they won't even notice that this is gone.
VERJEE (voice-over): Thirty years ago, it was cutting-edge technology.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is our first Walkman.
VERJEE (voice-over): Now, it's nearly forgotten.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you know what a Walkman is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't know what a Walkman is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Did you ever use one?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a CD? Will it play CDs? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Or tapes.
VERJEE (voice-over): That's right, tapes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world's smallest cassette player.
VERJEE (voice-over): In the past 30 years, Sony has sold more than 200 million Walkmen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty years ago, yes, yes, and I did use a Walkman, and it was good.
VERJEE (voice-over): But now, it's pulling the plug.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no use for them anymore. Except in -- maybe in museums.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used to have one, when they were in fashion. But I don't have one anymore. Just go and buy MP3s and download them, and iPods.
VERJEE (voice-over): Sony stopped producing the Walkman in Japan. The last batch was made in April. They times, they are a-changing.
Sony revolutionized the electronics industry with the Walkman in 1979. It was the first ever portable music device. As cassette tapes gave way to CDs, Sony followed up with the Discman.
VERJEE (on camera): But when Apple burst into the market with its first iPod back in 2001, there was no turning back. In the nine years since, Apple has sold about 275 million iPods, making it the undisputed leader in portable music.
VERJEE (voice-over): Sony says there's still some demand for the classic Walkman in parts of Asia and the Middle East. To accommodate those customers, it will produce a limited number of Walkmen out of China.
But many music lovers went digital a long time ago and say they won't even notice the Walkman is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walkman's with cassettes, right? No, I don't even have any cassettes anymore.
VERJEE (voice-over): Like crimped hair and Pac Man, a classic of 1980s culture now banished to the history books and the memories of nostalgic fans.
VERJEE: Well, people may not have too much to say about the Walkman itself, but as soon as the social media world learned that it's just not going to be on the shelves anymore, music lovers sang a sad song. CNN's digital producer Phil Han tracked this story online today, and he took a look at some of the other products that have bitten the dust.
PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER (on camera): As news of the demise of the Walkman spread Monday, it soon became one of the most popular topics on Twitter. Here are some of those tweets.
Sonia Moreno in Spain tweeted, "I didn't know Walkmans were still being sold, and now that I know they're retired, I'm sad."
Burak Isik in Istanbul, Turkey, tweeted, "Atari, Commodore, Polaroid, and now Walkman. Eighties generation feels the loss."
Sabrina in New York tweeted, "Indeed, it is a sad day. I feel like I should dig out my old Walkman and hold a funeral for it."
And finally, Dwight in Washington's tweeted, "As my son would say, 'What's a cassette?'"
Well, it turns out, the Walkman has always been a hit online. This commercial debuted in 1985, but since being uploaded to YouTube in 2007, it has been viewed more than 147,000 times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Sony sound, you won't lose a thing. The new Super Walkman. Indisputably the world's smallest cassette player.
HAN: But the Walkman isn't the only obsolete product that remains popular online. Some of you may remember Betamax video players. They competed for supremacy with the VHS player as the industry standard back in the 70s but, unfortunately for Betamax, they lost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a Sony Betamax and the portable Sony videotape camera, you can do just that. You can record what you want, when you want. And watch what you want, when you want. It's the best family entertainment on television.
HAN: But today, a Betamax is more a relic than entertainment unit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the best birthday I've ever had.
HAN: But it's the near death of the classic Polaroid camera which really highlights the power of the internet. Polaroid once reined supreme among the amateur photo set, but after digital cameras took over, Polaroid's sales plummeted, and in 2008, the company announced it would stop making the film.
But thanks to a huge response on social media, there's still hope. An online campaign to save the Polaroid included Facebook groups and YouTube videos begging the company to reconsider. A site called SavePolaroid.com helped lead the push, and in October 2009, Polaroid announced it would, in fact, bring back the instant film camera. So, if your favorite toy is about to get the boot, think about turning to the internet for some help.
VERJEE: I may do that. Thank you, Phil Han. I need help. I used to think this was so cool. So, is there any hope for the classic cassette Walkman. To answer that, I spoke to someone who grew up on digital music. 15-year-old journalist Scott Campbell swapped his iPod for a Walkman for a week last year, and he actually wrote about what that was like. It was so interesting to listen to. Here's what he has to say.
SCOTT CAMPBELL, TEEN JOURNALIST AND PHOTOGRAPHER: Well, it was certainly very interesting. It was something very different from having an iPod because, obviously, it's bigger and it only plays tapes, which was something to really adjust to. In fact, I didn't even know that tapes had two sides --
CAMPBELL: I was just so used to CDs, with just the one side, and finding out that they had two sides -- and I think there was something else with the switch. I thought that one of the switches was a type of music, but it was for different types of tape, apparently.
VERJEE: I remember thinking I was so cool with one of these in the 80s, listening to my Walkman. Did you find it hard to use? What about the headphones? Did you find them uncomfortable?
CAMPBELL: I think the sound on the Walkman, it was very kind of crackly. And there were a lot of pops and things like that, that obviously you don't get with iPods now. And no headphones will improve something like that.
VERJEE: If you went to a shop today and you dropped in from another planet and you saw the Sony Walkman, what would you think? Would you buy it?
CAMPBELL: I think that I probably would if I had never seen any other device before. If the thing was -- I think at the time it was, obviously, as you were saying, a really kind of big, important music device, whereas nowadays it just looks like the equivalent of a kind of video player. Nobody really uses it at all.
VERJEE: Are you sad that the Sony Walkman is becoming extinct?
VERJEE: What? After your glorious week-long experience? No?
CAMPBELL: Yes, exactly. It was -- seeing other people's reactions is what was very interesting, and a lot of people wanted to try it out at school, certainly, because it's something we've never seen before, and tapes for something would be -- I certainly remember them from when I was young. And I do know, people just were very interested in it.
Where some people thought it looked pretty weird. Which it does look quite weird in that bit. But, yes, a lot of people were really interested, actually, that are my age. But I think after a while, that interest would begin to disappear, just because it's --
VERJEE: Did they make fun of you, did they tease you and go, "Here's that guy with that huge box on his --" I don't know. Did you attach it to your belt or something?
CAMPBELL: Yes, exactly. People -- some people said, "Why are you wearing that?" and things like that, as if I were some sort of outcast for wearing this cumbersome box. And just to play a cassette, they thought was stupid. Because nowadays we don't really do things like that. We just press "play" on the iPod, and that's it. Whereas, I had this massive box of tapes as well, which looked really stupid. I think it looked stupid, even.
VERJEE: Scott, do you have anything you want to say to the Walkman, to Sony, on this historic occasion?
CAMPBELL: On this historic occasion? Well, Walkman, certainly, it was really good at the time it was released, but nowadays we just need it smaller and we need more capacity.
VERJEE: Scott Campbell. Here in my hands, as I've been showing you, I have the Sony Walkman. Now, we got it in central London, but I tell you, it was so hard to find. First, we asked all around our bureau, and no one on the CNN staff in London even had one. So the, what we did was, we stepped onto Oxford Street, which is one of the busiest shopping streets in Europe. No luck there. We called dozens of stores all over London. One salesperson told us to check the British Museum.
We finally found this one in a small shop in an area of town known for electronics. It was the only one, so we scooped it up. Guess how much it cost us? $40. By the way, for about $10 more than that, you can get an iPod.
All right, so, up next, from a dying music scene to the art of photography, and how to bring your subject to life. Up next, our Connector of the Day, the talented Tim Hetherington tells us all about his award- winning work. Stay with CNN.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Photojournalist Tim Hetherington has traveled the globe, documenting some of the world's toughest political situations. He lived and worked in West Africa for eight years, focusing extensively on the political upheaval and civil war in Liberia.
He then turned his attention to Afghanistan, where he spent the last five years capturing some of the most famous images of life on the front line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not ready for this.
ANDERSON (voice-over): And now, the award-winning photojournalist has the new film "Restrepo," which follows a platoon of soldiers through the dangerous Korengal Valley of Afghanistan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I fear to go in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to die here.
ANDERSON (voice-over): In addition to being widely acclaimed by critics, the film, which Hetherington co-directed with journalist Sebastian Junger, won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
A true insider's point of view, Tim Hetherington is your Connector of the Day.
VERJEE: Becky caught up with Tim while he was back in London, and she started off by asking him what his inspiration was to make the film.
TIM HETHERINGTON, PHOTOGRAPHER/FILMMAKER: "Restrepo" is named after the medic of a platoon that we followed. We followed Second Platoon of Battle Company 173rd Airborne, based in a six-mile long valley close to the Pakistan better. And the medic got killed very early on in deployment. Juan Restrepo was shot through the neck, bled out. And the men went and founded an outpost, and they named that outpost after him.
But we also kind of thought that the name "Restrepo" was somehow emblematic of something larger. It became emblematic of the sense of loss that every soldier would go through, the struggles that every soldier goes through.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "RESTREPO": I don't know, they've still got us out here, OK? This is our enemy. All right?
UNIDENTIFED MALE, "RESTREPO": Sorry --
ANDERSON: Did you feel that the soldiers ever felt it exploited, or that you were ever exploiting the soldiers by filming them in what were their most vulnerable moments?
HETHERINGTON: You could say that all journalism is a form of exploitation, and that all journalism is also a form of collusion. It's better -- all journalism is based on trust, and all journalism is in bedded, to some extent. This interview has been embedded and is based on those things, also.
The soldiers accepted our presence there. At first, there was a very prickly relationship between us and them, as always happens when the press and the military interact. But after a bit of time, they realized that we were there for the long haul. We were going to go to every extreme that they would go to, and they opened up to us. And I think the intimacy that we attained with them is something that's probably one of the most remarkable things about the project.
UNIDENTIFED MALE, "RESTREPO": Where Restrepo died, we shot off flares. Kind of raised one up, say a prayer, say a few words in your head, and you move on.
ANDERSON: Let's get some viewer questions out. Taylor Martin has written and asks, "How do you interact with your subjects?"
HETHERINGTON: I'm six foot three, and I stand out, so there's no way of hiding or pretending to lurk in the background. I'm -- I guess that I try and interact with my subjects and be as close to them as possible, become part of the fabric of their lives so that, in the end, you become almost invisible to them, although they accept your presence.
So, I would never be somebody who's stealing stuff, as it were. I'm not interested in that. I'm not interested in catching people out. I like the process to be much more transparent and for people to be at ease at what they reveal.
ANDERSON: You've been in some very precarious situations. How does this project compare, for example, with your project in Liberia.
HETHERINGTON: All wars can be precarious, and they each have their own logic and their own dynamic. I think that the Korengal in Afghanistan is what the military would call highly kinetic. When we arrived in the Korengal Valley in the end of October, 2007, a fifth of all fighting in all of the country took place in that valley, 70 percent of American bombs were being dropped in that valley. So, it was a very kinetic place and, therefore, very dangerous.
But on the other hand, being embedded with the US military is really being like in the back seat of a car. It's going in a direction, you're inside of it, and -- being in Liberia, we had to make much more of our own decisions. We were embedded with a rebel army there, but it was much looser and, in some ways, much more kind of -- much more difficult to know what was going to happen.
ANDERSON: Jim Manico says, "Have you ever taken risks to get a good shot that on hindsight you think was crazy?"
HETHERINGTON: Often when I'm working in a very pressured situation, I can almost flick the off switch and go into a default of filming. And later on, I come to, and it shocks me what I've done. And that's just something I've been able to do. And that's, perhaps, why I continue -- why I realize that I'm good at what I do.
But it does have the side that it is very dangerous. I remember being in the Korengal in firefights and realizing -- a guy said to me while I was filming close range, and he said, "Do you see the tracers pass between our heads?" And I hadn't. And later on, I saw the trees behind me all shot up, and I realized we were very exposed. And I'm in default, and that can be a funny thing later to understand.
ANDERSON: What drives you to conflict settings, do you think?
HETHERINGTON: Really, my work over the last ten years has been an examination of young men in conflict. People think that I'm a journalist or a photographer or a documentarian, but there's a larger examination going on my work.
What was interesting in Afghanistan was the guys that -- some guys had a tattoo gun, and they started to tattoo their bodies with symbols from war. And it absolutely blew my mind that in Liberia and here in Afghanistan were these psychic traces of war. And these young men actually were linked, although they seemed from totally different cultures, they really are used by the states as instruments of war. And it's reflected in their culture, and I found that really interesting. And my work is really about an examination of those things.
VERJEE: Tim Hetherington talking to Becky Anderson. Now, I've got some good news for you. We have some incredible guests coming up as our Connectors of the Day, OK? We are really excited by these names, so we decided to call it Hollywood week. If you recognize any of these A- Listers, then you're in for a pretty good treat. Because we are putting them in the hot seat to answer your questions.
First up, the actor who saved presidents and then became one. Do you know who he is? Harrison Ford. On Wednesday, it's the Academy award- winning Michael Caine. And then, on Thursday, we're talking to Bourne trilogy super spy Matt Damon. Look at these guys, aren't they hot? It's a triple feature you do not want to miss.
We really want you to take part in this, so tell us what you would like to ask these A-Listers. Anything you want, anything you've been curious about, be a little bit creative. Anything at all. Go to cnn.com/connect and send in your question, and then join us here all week long for CONNECT THE WORLD. Tonight, we'll be right back.
VERJEE: It was a big hit in the 1980s, but it is still fondly remembered by so many of you. Before we go tonight, let's take a look at what you've been saying on my Facebook page about our story on the death of the Walkman.
Keira Rodriguez says this. "The obit. Love it! I think I have mine in a drawer somewhere. It was a faithful companion for a while, but it was time we went our separate ways."
Christo Sheppard writes this. "Change is good, Zain. No more rewinding, fast-forwarding the tape to get to my favorite song."
Kenneth Brix agrees and says, "I won't miss it. It's had its time. Now for the iPod."
Finally, it's a little bit of nostalgia from Joseph. "I wish I still had my old Walkman. I am going to miss them."
By the way, guys. Guess what my very first tape was that I put inside a Walkman? It was Madonna's "True Blue."
We'd love to hear what you think about this and what you'd miss the most about the Walkmans. Just leave your comment on my page. Go to facebook.com/ZaineCNN, and don't forget to become a fan, OK? I'd like that.
It's now time for our Parting Shots, and tonight, we just couldn't resist showing you some of our wild weather around the world. Just check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFED MALE: We are in a tornado. We are in a tornado! We are in a tornado! We are in a tornado! We are in a tornado!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: Incredible. That is just a little too close for comfort, right? This is amazing video taken in Rice Texas by an emergency management coordinator, Eric Meyers. This is a tornado that is ripping the roof off an elementary school as it rips through an 11-kilometer strip of Navarro County. This was shot on Sunday evening.
And the storm that you're seeing in this video left so much destruction in its path. You know what it did? It even flipped over an 18-wheeler truck and knocked train cars completely off their tracks.
Now, to the super typhoon Megi in the Philippines. Some kids in a town just north of Manila are finding it really difficult to stay dry. They also need to be leery of this. Just one of the many sinkholes in the roads that have opened up. This one is in eastern Ilan county.
Take a look at this picture, now, OK? It really shows Meg's might. It's an infrared image that's taken on a Japanese satellite, and you can see on it that Megi has actually weakened to a tropical depression. It's sitting over China's southeast coast.
In nearby Thailand, they've been hit by two weeks of flooding because of the heavy rains. Here, there's a villager that you can see, trying to wade past a Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya province. That water level, as you can see, is almost up to his shoulders.
And finally, officials in Indonesia are on high alert over Mount Merapi. They say that the volatile volcano in central Java could erupt at any time.
I'm Zain Verjee, that's your world connected. "BackStory" is next, after the news headlines.