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CONNECT THE WORLD
Moammar Gadhafi Determined to Hang Onto Power; Mubarak's Wealth
Aired February 28, 2011 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: As Gadhafi reportedly ratchets up the attacks, so the world ramps up its rhetoric. Hillary Clinton says it's time for the Libyan leader to go now and vows that nothing is off the table to force him to do so.
(INAUDIBLE) -- John Galliano's mouth gets him into trouble again. The fashion designer's extraordinary rant.
And he's the first proficient professional cricketer to come out, so why aren't more athletes prepared to tell the world that they are gay?
These stories and more tonight, as we connect the world here on CNN.
Well, under pressure from the outside world and from rebels closing in on Tripoli, Moammar Gadhafi looks increasingly isolated, yet he remains determined as ever to cling to power.
we're going to go live to Libya in a moment for you.
First, though, world powers are considering a range of options to oust the Libyan regime. U.S. President Barack Obama met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon shortly after the U.S. government announced record breaking sanctions. The U.S. secretary of State, meantime, told the U.N. Human Rights Council earlier today that it is time for Gadhafi to go now. We're going to hear from Hillary Clinton.
And we'll also talk with the head of NATO about the possibility of a no fly zone over Libya.
Well, while diplomats talked about ways to end the fighting, a Libyan jet reportedly went on a bombing run. Witnesses say a military base that stores ammunition was hit in the town of Ajdabiya. That's an area under control of the rebels. In fact, much of Eastern Libya is in the hands of the opposition.
But their gains in the west appear far from secure. The regime appears to be trying to retake the towns of Misurata and Zawiya, near Tripoli, Gadhafi's last real base of power.
This new amateur video is said to show a helicopter firing on Misurata, Libya's third largest city.
Gadhafi, though, also losing control of Libya's crucial oil fields. The EU's energy commissioner says that the majority of oil and gas installations are now in rebel hands.
Well, the streets of Tripoli are very quiet today. But our Nic Robertson says that's because many residents are living in fear.
He filed this report a short time ago.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can see there where tires have been burnt in the road, but the cleanup has been effective. The city returning back to some kind of normality.
But I met a man just a few minutes ago on a street corner here. He told me, they're too afraid to come out at night and protest now. He said they're living in fear. He was so afraid of talking to me, he told me to turn my microphone off.
He said a week ago, they managed to get to general strike, the center of Tripoli. He said they thought they had won, the protest. And then after that, he said, they realized they hadn't. The heavy crackdown came. He says now the anti-Gadhafi movement in the capital, Tripoli, has lost its momentum because, he said, the international community looked like they were stepping up to support the protesters. He said they eased off and now the government have clamped down.
The city, he said, looks like it's returning to normal, but they're very afraid, too afraid to come out and protest.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: All right, that's the picture in Tripoli from Nic Robertson.
At the beginning of this show, you saw some shots which are reportedly that of a bombing run in Eastern Libya.
Our own Ben Wedeman says he saw a military jet flying overhead and then heard explosions.
Ben joins us with more -- joins us now, sorry, to tell us more -- but, Ben, what do we know at this point?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know is that the apparent target of this air raid was a camp where a lot of ammunition is being held. And we're also told there's a lot of heavy equipment, including tanks.
According to the guards at the front gate of that camp, there -- about four or five bombs were dropped within the compound. And while we were there, we did hear some secondary explosions.
Now, what happened afterwards is that basically the military in the area, who, of course, are in the anti-Gadhafi camp, fired fairly wildly in the air using anti-aircraft guns. However, by then, the planes had long gone. But there were sort of wild rumors flying all around among the crowd, among the soldiers, that three more planes were on the way.
So it does show that Moammar Gadhafi can still extend his power via air to the eastern part of the country. And it -- we saw that nerves are very on edge at the possibility that he may start taking more offensive action in this part of the country.
We also saw a depot where they were keeping some tanks, about 10 Russian T-54s. Those date back to the 1950s. We were told that -- that they're fully operational. But the problem is the tank drivers fled to Tripoli -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben, we're talking about -- and it's -- and it's difficult to assess, really, across the country, who's in control where.
But when we talk about the opposition loosely, as it were, in control of some areas, who are we talking about?
What's the profile of that opposition at this point?
WEDEMAN: It seems to be a mixture of citizens who have had no previous experience in politics -- I mean, for instance, here in Benghazi, the people who are actually running the show are, by and large, lawyers, judges, businessmen, doctors and others who are just trying to organize the city's affairs.
But increasingly, we're seeing people who had a high profile in the old regime, like the old -- the interior minister and the justice minister, who deflected to the anti-Gadhafi camp, playing an ever larger role in sort of trying to solidify an opposition bloc in the eastern part of the country.
Which raises concerns among those who don't have a history of involvement in politics because they're very worried that the new regime may end up looking an awful lot like the old one -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, 14 days in, things still very, very unclear.
Ben Wedeman on the story for you there in Libya.
Well, let's get you more now about the world's efforts to break Gadhafi's grip on power. The United States has frozen at least $30 billion in Libyan government assets. It says that is the largest amount ever blocked under any sanctions program.
The E.U. also turning the screws, imposing sanctions of its own. It's banning the sale of arms and ammunition to Libya, while freezing the assets of Gadhafi and five family members.
And speaking today at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for Gadhafi to leave power now. She also said all options are on the table for ending the crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: As we move forward on these fronts, we will continue to explore all possible options for action. As we have said, nothing is off the table, so long as the Libyan government continues to threaten and kill Libyans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The big question this hour, what are those options?
Well, the United States also says it's repositioning its naval and air forces in the region just in case.
Let's get more on that from our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence.
What's the U.S. doing at this point?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Becky, right now, two major U.S. warships and all the ships that accompany them are now closer to Libya than they've been at -- than at any other time during this crisis. The U.S. says Kearsarge, which is an amphibious assault ship that can carry up to 2,000 Marines, that has now moved up to the northern edge of the Red Sea, near the Suez Canal.
Trailing behind it, to the southern part of the Red Sea is the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.
So two major ships now closer to Libya than at any other time. They are there to give the U.S. options. Basically, if it was ever decided to do a -- a no fly zone, to try to impose a no fly zone or to assist with humanitarian relief.
ANDERSON: All right. So that's the picture as we know it from the U.S. and its repositioning, as they call it, in the region. The United States and NATO also have military bases in Italy, which has now broken its ties with Libya. The Internet government has suspended a treaty it signed three years ago that includes a non-aggression clause.
Let's bring some of this together, shall we, and talk about some of these options?
A short time ago we spoke to the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, about potential international action in the region.
And I began by asking how likely he thought the option of a no fly zone was.
This is what he said.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Obviously, it's an option that has been discussed. But at this stage, the U.N. Security Council has not mandated to take action in that direction. A no fly zone is not a part of the U.N. Security Council resolution and a -- a far reaching approach like that would require a U.N. Security Council mandate.
ANDERSON: What if the U.N. told you they need a no fly zone?
RASMUSSEN: Well, it's -- it's a hypothetical question at -- at this stage. But, of course, if the issue is raised, if there is a request, then the NATO council will consider it. But that's not the case for the time being.
ANDERSON: If there were a request, how long would it take?
RASMUSSEN: As I told you, we have started preparations for all eventualities. But I think it's a bit premature to outline any time line.
ANDERSON: For NATO to impose a military -- a no fly zone at some stage, one assumes that would have to be done from Italian bases and Italy, this weekend, renouncing its -- its treaty with Libya, effectively paving the way, if need be, for military action.
How significant is that?
RASMUSSEN: Well, it's for Italy to -- to decide. Until now, a number of allies have taken steps and they coordinate with each other. We follow the situation. But at this stage, they have not requested any active NATO involvement.
ANDERSON: So if Libyans who feel very much under pressure from the administration which still exists there are watching this show today, what are -- what sort of message do you want them to hear from NATO?
RASMUSSEN: It's outrageous what we have seen from the Libyan regime, the actions they have taken against their own people. We are now seeing a wind of change blowing through the region, and I think the leadership of Libya should accommodate the legitimate demands of democracy and freedom in Libya.
So I would very much urge all parties involved to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.
ANDERSON: So it's clear, as he said, and as Clinton -- Hillary Clinton said earlier on today, nothing is off the table, the world trying to talk as one. Stay tuned for much more on Libya as these options begin to play out, including the humanitarian impact, of course -- how neighboring countries are coping with the influx of refugees. That coming up next on this show.
While turning to Egypt, where authorities are taking action against former President Mubarak and his family. We're going to bring you the details on that.
And in sport, the first active professional cricketer to announce he's gay gets the backing of his teammates. Tonight, one of the best known athletes of all time weighs in on this story.
This hour, Martina Navratilova joins me live.
All that coming up after this.
ANDERSON: Well, some 50,000 refugees are now thought to have fled Libya across the Libyan-Tunisian border. Many Tunisians are standing shoulder to shoulder with their neighboring protesters. But the exodus is a strain on any already fragile country.
Coming up on the show, we're going to go live to border for the latest situation for you on the ground.
I'm Becky Anderson in London at 15 minutes past 9:00.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
Here's a look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.
And Egyptian authorities are taking action against former President Hosni Mubarak and his family. Their property and assets are being frozen and they are being banned from traveling outside the country.
Our Nima Elbagir joins us with more from Cairo.
And apologies, I think the delay on this is quite long.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it was a move that many here in Cairo can't actually believe is going ahead. This is in response to a court case being brought by a former member of the Egyptian parliament. And one of the reasons that the investigation is moving forward so quickly and the authorities took the action to seize Hosni Mubarak's assets is because the case being brought is so incredibly detailed.
The former M.P., Mustafa Bakri has -- he has account details, he has details of alleged funds, alleged property deals. And he says that he has been told by the prosecutor general here that they're expecting that as soon as Saturday we will hear whether a criminal prosecution case will be brought against President Hosni Mubarak and his family.
There is a travel ban in place, but not only in the context of Hosni Mubarak, his wife and his two sons, but it even extends to their minor children, Becky.
So a really momentous moment here in Cairo post the revolution.
ANDERSON: What remarkable stuff.
Nima Elbagir in Cairo for you.
Well, the United Nations is accusing Belarus of shipping attack helicopters to Ivory Coast despite an arms embargo against the West African nation. A U.N. spokesman says the first delivery arrived in the capital on Sunday. It's thought that the weapons will be used by forces loyal to the self-declared president, Lauren Gbagbo, who is clinging to power despite losing last November's election.
Well, the first Westerner to be tried in Iraq since the war there began has been sentenced to life in prison. British contractor Daniel Fitzsimons was charged with murder after shooting dead two colleagues in Baghdad in 2009. The 30-year-old plead not guilty, claiming he shot the two men in self-defense. The judge said he didn't give him the death penalty because of his young age.
Bernard Madoff is speaking to the press again. For the second time in less than a month, the man who confessed to running the largest Ponzi scheme ever uncover in the U.S. has granted a jailhouse interview, this time to "New York Magazine".
Now, in the interview, which was recorded on audiotape, Madoff says that the victims of the Ponzi scheme were, quote, "greedy" and he says, in many cases, his investors did well by investing their money with him.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
VOICE OF BERNARD MADOFF: All the A and, B clients, all of -- all of my friends, everybody else, you know, it was the people that came in very late in the game that -- that got hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
MADOFF: So -- so I -- did I make a lot of money for people?
Yes. I made a lot of money for people.
You know, did people lose profits that they thought they made?
Yes, you know.
But did they lose capital?
I'm sure -- I'm confident that when this thing is all finished, very few people, if any, will lose their principal.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff.
In the interview, Madoff citizens U.S. financial regulatory reform. The legislation put in place after the global financial crisis, he calls "a joke" and says, quote: "The whole government is a Ponzi scheme."
Well, two NASA astronauts conducting a six hour walk in outer space. The first time since the Shuttle Discovery blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday -- you saw that live here this hour -- that the astronauts have been outside the International Space Station. During their spacewalk, Astronauts Steve Bowen and Alvin Drew are preparing for the installation of a new and permanent storage chamber on the space lab.
Well, the exodus from Libya prompts action from the United States -- how Washington is trying to help with the crisis.
Plus, the strain it's putting on neighboring Tunisia.
And mobbed by the press in Paris, designer John Galliano is in serious hot water after alleged remarks in a Paris bar. We are less than 60 seconds away.
Stay with us.
ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD.
I'm Becky Anderson in London for you, keeping track of what is going on in Libya. The United States sending humanitarian lee -- teams to the country's borders with Egypt and Tunisia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that Washington is setting aside an additional $10 million for aid, including medical supplies.
Well, Libya has been long a transit and destination country for refugees, but the escalating violence is forcing thousands to flee to neighboring Tunisia and to Egypt. Egyptian officials have told the U.N. that 55,000 people have crossed the border since February the 19th. The majority are Egyptians heading home.
Well, on Saturday, the Tunisian government said 40,000 refugees have arrived from Libya since February the 20th. A further 10,000 are believed to have made the journey in the past couple of days.
Well, Ivan Watson reporting from the Tunisian-Libyan border for you.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is part of the exodus from Libya -- foreign workers, most of them Egyptians, who have been flooding across the border into Tunisia and are now left sleeping in the dirt while they wait to find some way to get back home.
They've just completed the most dangerous leg of a long and difficult journey. One Egyptian engineer says Gadhafi's soldiers robbed him on his way to the Tunisian border.
(on camera): And why did the soldiers take your laptops and cell phones?
SADDIK AL-MASRI, EGYPTIAN ENGINEER: They don't -- they don't give you a chance to ask him, because he take a (INAUDIBLE) and if you speak to him, you'll be killed.
WATSON: A gun?
He was pointing a gun at you?
AL-MASRI: Yes. Yes, a gun. He pointed a gun like this and he make (INAUDIBLE) like this.
WATSON: The green flag designates the start of Libyan territory. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people gathered in the no man's land in between waiting for permission to cross the border. And they've been streaming in periods through. You can see people waiting to be registered over here. This is just the beginning of a flood of humanity -- tens of thousands -- that have crossed across the Tunisian border in just the last week. And the fears are that it will get much, much worse.
(voice-over): The new arrivals sit in rows on the asphalt, waiting to be processed.
(on camera): How many people have crossed the border?
LT. COL. BALTAGI KHALED, TUNISIAN MILITARY: Thousands and thousands of people. Each day, the number is great -- is greater, yes.
WATSON (voice-over): The Tunisian military is on the scene, providing tents for shelter, treating the sick and feeding the growing numbers of refugees. Tunisian volunteers are also coming to the rescue -- convoys of Tunisians coming to help their neighbors in this time of need and staging a rowdy show of support for Libya's bloody revolution.
WATSON: In the past six weeks, Libya's neighbors, Tunisia and Egypt, experienced their own historic revolutions. But both countries are now politically unstable. Their shaky governments will need all the help they can get to deal with the growing flood of refugees on their border.
Ivan Watson, CNN, on the Tunisian-Libyan border.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: Well, it doesn't stop there. This story has tentacles across the region.
The island of Malta has become a hub for Libya's foreign workers. That is because of its location. You can see it here from this map. I'm going to show you now just how near it is.
Governments all over the world are landing planes and docking ships on the island. And that is where we find guide -- Diana Magnay, who joins me with the very latest this evening.
What do we know?
Who's there and where are they going, I think more to the point?
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky.
Well, it is amazing the numbers of people that have come through this island in the past week. Twelve -- just under 12,000 by the government's latest reckoning. And today alone, there were just under 5,000 Chinese workers who docked here in Malta in three different ships.
What happens is that they stay on board because of immigration issues until government chartered planes can fly them out.
But that's happening pretty fast. There's a pretty quick through flow show. In fact, half of those Chinese workers have already flown out by the end of the day.
We also had HMS Cumberland, the British ship, crossing back on a second trip from Benghazi, with a whole load of British and other foreign nationals coming from over there.
But you do get the impression that the flow of especially European nationals is beginning to abate somewhat. And, of course, we don't have any commercial flights operating anymore from Tripoli. So you are just seeing military planes bringing people back through -- Beck.
ANDERSON: Is it clear -- I mean if it's military planes, one assumes that they are -- that those are planes dealing with their foreign nationals, as it were. So I get that, the Chinese, the Brits we've seen come through, as well.
Is it clear that there are others in Malta who might be migrants as opposed to refugees?
MAGNAY: I think at this stage, that is extremely unlikely. But there is a definite concern that Malta, these Mediterranean islands, Lampedusa, Cicely, might become hubs for refugees and -- and -- and migrants from sub- Saharan Africa, who, a lot of them, are sitting in Libya now, hoping that at some point, they can cross the Mediterranean and come into Europe.
And remember, in 2008, Italy signed a treaty with Libya basically to patrol the Mediterranean and to stop these flows of illegal immigration into Europe. Now that treaty has effectively been suspended. Italy is saying that it doesn't -- it doesn't -- it cannot really have a treaty together with a state that it doesn't believe exists at the moment.
So at some point, certainly Malta expects to see a flow of illegal immigrants. This is something that Italy has been talking about and had been worrying about.
I think we want to see it for a couple of weeks, at least, because the seas right now are extremely rough. So you're not going to see those small boats trying to leave the shores of Libya and come over. But I think it is something that Europe will have to anticipate and brace itself for going forward -- Beck.
ANDERSON: Yes, you make a very good point.
Diana Magnay therein Malta.
All right, Di, thanks for that.
Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, the rant from an exclusive designer and why Oscar winner Natalie Portman's choice of dress on the red carpet got caught up in the high fashion controversy.
All that coming up after the break.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back.
It's just past -- or just before, in fact, half past the hour.
This is CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN.
I'm Becky Anderson in London.
Coming up, the face of Dior dons a different designer Oscar night -- has Natalie Portman's choice of dress got anything to do with a high fashion controversy?
That's coming up.
Then the English cricketer who has announced that he is gay. It's a first in the sport. And we find out why he has decided to come out now.
And we speak later to celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck. He cooked up a feast for the Academy Awards last night. We ask, are the Oscar nominees a fussy bunch of eaters?
Those stories are coming up this hour.
First, though, let's have a -- let's get you a check of the headlines.
Libya's regime is, apparently, fighting to take back several towns seized by the opposition. This amateur video is said to show a helicopter firing on Misurata, near Tripoli. A military jet also reportedly bombed an ammunitions depot in rebel-controlled eastern Libya.
Egypt's attorney general has decided to freeze all properties belonging to the former president, Hosni Mubarak, and his family. The attorney general also banned Mubarak and his family from leaving Egypt.
Offers of government jobs and unemployment benefits are not pacifying protesters in Oman. After a weekend of demonstrations and clashes that left at least one person dead, crowds came out for a third day on Monday in the industrial town of Sohar.
A British contractor has been sentenced to life in prison in Iraq. Daniel Fitzsimons was charged with murder after killing two colleagues in 2009. He was the first westerner to be tried in Iraq since the war began.
And it was a good start to the week for US stocks, the Dow jumping about 97-odd points. A report showing an increase in the income and savings of the American people helped lift the mood somewhat there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN SPEILBERG, PRESENTER, THE ACADEMY AWARDS: And the Oscar goes to -- "The King's Speech," Iain Canning, Emile Sherman --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, it was a big night for the British film, taking home four out of the eleven Oscars that it was nominated for, Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor, Colin Firth winning the statue for his depiction of King George VI in a tale about the late monarch's battle to overcome a speech impediment. And the acclaim was not lost on the British actor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN FIRTH, OSCAR WINNER, BEST ACTOR: I have a feeling my career's just peaked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And while there was plenty of glory for "The King's Speech," the queen of the night was Natalie Portman, the pregnant star picking up the Best Actress gong for her role as a ballerina in "The Black Swan."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIE PORTMAN, OSCAR WINNER, BEST ACTRESS: This is insane. And I truly, sincerely wish that the prize tonight was to get to work with my fellow nominees. I'm so in awe of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: But the actress had little to say about her choice of dress. Portman, the -- who is the face of Christian Dior donned a different label for the night. As Hala Gorani now reports, the decision is prompting questions about whether or not she was protesting against racist comments made by Dior's top designer.
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is one of high fashion's golden boys. British designer John Galliano. He's been called a genius. He's been called an inspiration. But now, some are calling him a vile racist.
The head of French label Christian Dior, Galliano was arrested last week for allegedly hurling racist and anti-Semitic insults at a couple dining at La Perle Brasserie in Paris. Christian Dior suspended him Friday, pending an investigation.
And if it seemed things couldn't get worse for Galliano, Monday, they did. Britain's "Sun" newspaper obtained a video of what it says is another incident at the same cafe in October.
JOHN GALLIANO, FASHION DESIGNER: I love Hitler. People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would be (EXPLETIVE DELETED) gassed and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. You have a problem?
GALLIANO: With you? You're ugly.
GORANI (voice-over): In the tiny world of high fashion, allegations of Galliano's slurring racist insults spread like wildfire. And at Sunday's Oscar ceremony, Best Actress winner, Natalie Portman, the celebrity face of Miss Dior perfume was asked about the controversy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the face of Dior, why didn't you wear Dior, and what are your thoughts on John Galliano's suspension and this -- allegations that he made anti-Semitic remarks.
PORTMAN: I don't --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait.
PORTMAN: Oh, OK.
GORANI (voice-over): But her people didn't let her touch the haute couture hot potato.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just going to do Oscars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
GORANI (voice-over): John Galliano's lawyers say they will fight charges of insult and defamation. But for the Dior brand, the scandal is damaging, and the label's parent company acted quickly.
JAMES FALLON, EDITOR, "WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY": I don't think LVMH could afford to wait until six months down the road to see the facts that came out. Especially with the bloggers and the tweeters and the internet and all of that, as it already has, gone crazy with the various accusations..
GORANI (voice-over): If convicted of those charges in the latest incident, Galliano faces fines and even jail time. But, perhaps, for one of the most famous and successful designers in fashion history, it is not the loss of his freedom, but of his reputation that will be hardest to recover from. Hala Gorani, CNN.
ANDERSON: Well, CNN has reached out to Galliano's lawyers, as you would imagine, and left several messages. We haven't heard back. Meanwhile, his attorneys have filed a counter suit against the couple at the center of last Thursday's incident for defamation, injury, and menace.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Coming up, fighting a different kind of discrimination, the English cricketer, Steve Davies, has announced that he is gay. Why he and other sporting starts hope coming out will be a game changer. A tennis legend and former basketball star give us their thoughts, up next.
ANDERSON: Well, he's likened it to a tougher test than facing the fearsome Aussie batsman Brett Lee, but for this international cricketer, it's a battle that's now finally out in the open. England's wicket keeper, batsman Steve Davies, has become the sport's first active professional player to announce that he is gay.
The 24-year-old told a British newspaper he's gone public because the more people do it, the more acceptable it becomes. Sounds very sensible to me. For more on that, let's bring in Pedro Pinto. In a way, I wonder why this still makes the headlines. But it does, and so, it's a story, of course. Sadly.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It does. And I think it makes the headlines most of all, in this case, because this is a player who's still out there playing. He's still in action. I think mostly we've heard from other former athletes that choose until they retire to announce that they were gay.
And I think it still takes a lot of courage for someone to come out, Becky, because it's still the sports industry. And if you look at various games, it's such a macho-oriented mentality around them, that for someone to come out, it really does prove that you need to have a lot of courage to do it.
Now, Steve Davies is only 24 years old. He's played for England. And overall, the reaction has been very positive. And I think we can have a look at some of the reaction that we have received on Twitter throughout the day.
The first of them from a former England captain Michael Vaughan, and he really expresses thoughts that we've seen throughout the day on Twitter, on articles around the world, on blogs. And fortunately, Becky, I'd say it is something very positive. There's the reaction from Michael Vaughan.
TEXT: "Steve will get a huge amount of support for having the courage to come out. I am sure it's a relief for him now that he is not hiding anything." Michael Vaughan, Retired English Cricketer.
PINTO: The England Cricket Board also released a statement to show their support for their player. And there's that particular statement.
TEXT: "Steve Davies is supported by cricketing community. England and Surrey wicketkeeper Steve Davies has received widespread support." England and Wales Cricket Board.
PINTO: And last but not least, Stephen Fry, the actor who's, of course, openly gay himself, has come out and said that, in a way, it's not a big deal, but of course, it is a huge deal after all when you mention it in the world of sport.
TEXT: "Brave, charming, modest and inspiring. No big deal yet, of course, a huge deal. Top man Steve Davies." Stephen Fry, British Actor and Comedian.
ANDERSON: Yes, respect him, to a certain extent, as we said at the beginning of this. I want to introduce our viewers to two athletes who kind of know what it's -- is like to come out. On the phone from Aspen, Colorado, tennis champion Martina Navratilova, who came out, of course, in 1981. And joining us from Manchester, England, former basketball player John Amaechi, who became the first NBA player to acknowledge that he is gay.
Martina, we'll come to you. First, John, what were you frightened of?
JOHN AMAECHI, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I think there are some very practical concerns, in terms of coming out, especially in America, where it doesn't diminish the fact that what Steven Davies has done is remarkable, but the fact is, in America, there are still 30 states where you can be fired for being gay.
And that doesn't matter whether that job is professional athlete or file clerk or -- it doesn't matter. So, there are actual logistical problems in the way, meaning you could come out one day and then, next day, find yourself without a job.
ANDERSON: Martina, it does seem quite remarkable that 20 years after you were prepared to actually talk to the world about how you felt about your sexuality, people are still concerned about it. Your thoughts on what we heard from Steve today?
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA, FORMER TENNIS CHAMPION (via telephone): Well, it's funny, now that you mention it, that it's been 30 years, and I don't think about that it's been that long. But I would have thought that change would have come a little bit quicker.
But still, it's good that, yes, it's making news because he's still active and he's actually a young guy. But each coming out, with every athlete, the news will be lesser. It's going to be less of a big deal, and that's exactly what John and I am trying to fight for, that eventually it's a non-issue, that's what we want, it to be a non-issue.
Right now, it's still an issue, so -- but with each coming out, it gets easier for the next one to do that, and it also helps the young kids growing up who have any kind of questions about their sexuality come to grips with it without so much stigma and so much negative influence on that.
PINTO: Martina or John, I wanted to get in here and ask one of you a question, and it doesn't matter who, really, responds. But how has the perception of gay athletes changed over the last couple of decades?
And, as far as I'm concerned, it really doesn't matter to me whether the sportsmen and sportswomen I'm covering are gay or not. To many fans, it doesn't, as well. But you two feel particularly that the problem is it still does matter to many people out there, and that's why athletes have to come out and make these statements, so to speak?
NAVRATILOVA: Well, it seems the athletic world is the last bastion where it's really not OK to be gay. For women athletes, it's different. People almost assume that if you're in a really athletic sport that you must be gay to begin with, whereas guys in the macho sports of basketball, football, European football, it's assumed that, of course you must be straight, because gay guys couldn't play that well.
But it's more difficult for the -- I think the athletes on team sports to come out, because if they have a homophobic coach, which actually, there was a woman coach in America that openly said she would not be getting lesbian players on her team, and if she knew of any, she would let them go. So, it's still tricky for these team sport athletes to come out while they're still competing, because they may not be able to play.
AMAECHI: Yes, I think the reality is that Martina's absolutely right. It's very true that there is a much larger proportion of people who don't care anymore. There are a lot of fans, it's just a non-issue. The problem we have is that the people who still care very much are those people who are very much in power.
The people who -- one of the few in number group of people who have more power than some of these multimillion pound and dollar athletes themselves are the people who hire them, the people who choose them, and the people who coach them. And many of these people still haven't moved as far in terms of their understanding of equality as the fans who watch the sport.
ANDERSON: Why do you think that is, John?
AMAECHI: I think it's because a lot of these organizations are bastions of old school thoughts. It isn't a question that these are macho sports. These are board rooms of multimillion pound and dollar global industries. And the board rooms at these industries that we call sports are -- they love the fact that they've held onto power, and they --
Let's face it. There are some of these board rooms and coaches who have not yet got their mind around the idea of gender equality and race, never mind sexuality. So, they've got a long way to go.
PINTO: Martina, I wanted to ask you as well --
PINTO: The difference that you've seen in the reaction from your time to now. Because, as we had a chance to check on Twitter nowadays with social networking, we can really get an immediate reaction. But it was very positive and out there from what we've been reading all day, people are encouraging him. How was the reaction when you announced your sexual preference?
NAVRATILOVA: Well, actually, it's not a preference, it's orientation. Preference would suggest that you have a choice. So, the choice is not there. But of course it was much more negative. I think the percentage of people that are accepting of gays and lesbians is much, much higher nowadays than -- as Becky said, people don't seem to care that much anymore.
But that is because more and more of us are out there being public and coming out to our friends and families, so now it's much more difficult to be prejudiced against gays and lesbians, because now we actually know these people.
But it was -- I think for me, the reaction, I had some boos and jeering from the fans. Or not clapping, or clapping more for my opponent. And also, of course, it cost me millions of dollars in endorsements that never came my way because of that. I don't think that would be the case nearly as much anymore. But that certainly was the case 30 years ago.
PINTO: It's incredibly sad that you would see reaction like that, and I would like to think that, because of sexual orientation, that we don't get that reaction anymore. Even if a sport is seen, as John mentioned earlier, to be still ruled by people who are from the old school, so to speak.
ANDERSON: Yes, and I was just thinking as Pedro was talking there, and just listening to Martina, John, what is remarkable is, as Pedro said at the beginning, there's so many people in the past have waited to finish their careers, to a certain extent.
I know in your book, "The Man in the Middle," that you wrote that, to a certain extent, you were never really a basketball man at the end of the day. You were just very good at it. And it seems a shame that one has to wait until one has finished one's career.
And what Steve's done, of course, is just hit the nail on the head as Gareth Williams, the rugby player, has done recently in the UK as well. Do you hope to see more people just nailing this and saying, "For goodness sake, this is the way it is, I'm playing, I'm just going to get on with it"?
AMAECHI: Absolutely, I would love to see more out athletes. But what I am concerned about is that when you talk to people about coming out, whether they be a 16-year-old girl from the west country somewhere or an 18-year-old boy from some urban kind of nation, or a professional athlete, you want them to make sure that they are emotionally, psychologically and, sometimes, physically and economically safe before they make these decisions.
AMAECHI: And it's not that I discourage people from coming out, but I want people to take inspiration from Gareth Thomas (sic). I want them to take inspiration from Steve Davies. And inspiration from people like Martina who did this way before it was even remotely safe to do this.
But then, I want them to look at their circumstance, and we have to be honest. The chairman of the PFA said as late as the end of last year that he still didn't think it was safe for an academy player in a football academy in Britain to come out.
And I just think that, as long as those people will know that they'll be safe, know that they'll be cared for, know that they'll be embraced, like we have seen in these quotes from Steve Davies, then, they should do it.
But we shouldn't forget that, if you check online at "The Daily Mail," where they reported on this story really nicely, actually, and then look into the comments. There are, I think, verging on the thousands right now that give a slightly different pitch as to how people feel about the LGBT communities.
ANDERSON: Yes, and I feel -- I saw that reflected even on our own Facebook site here on this shows. Martina, your last thought.
NAVRATILOVA: Excuse me?
ANDERSON: Just -- just your final thought, as it were. We're going to have to move on at this point.
NAVRATILOVA: Bravo to Steve. Again, as John said, if it's safe for these athletes to come out, please do. You will feel so much better about it because the burden that you carry with you by trying to stay in the closet and pretending somebody -- that you're somebody that you're not, it's so heavy, and really, if it's safe to come out, please do.
Nobody -- I don't know of one person that wants to go back in the closet. I would encourage people to come out as long as it is safe.
ANDERSON: Martina Navratilova and John, out there in Manchester in the UK, I'm sure it's a grim old evening up there. It certainly is down here in London. We thank you both very much, indeed, for joining us. I'm sure it's much nicer in Aspen, in fact, tonight. Pedro, thank you, as well.
Next up, we've got another Academy Awards treat for you. We connect with the man who brought the Oscar celebrities Black Swan Paella, and the rest of the world gourmet pizza. Stay with us for your gourmet Connector of the Day. Did I pronounce paella? That was a good pronunciation.
ANDERSON: All right, well, we know who took home the Oscars this year. And now, you're going to meet the award-winning chef who tickled Tinsel Town's taste buds at last night's official post-ceremony dinner. The American president, movie stars, rock legends, his flavorsome food is favored by them all. Let's get you connected with the chef to the celebrities.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Fifteen hundred guests accustomed to the very best in fine dining. For the past 17 years, Wolfgang Puck has been in charge of feeding the guests of the Academy Awards.
It all began on the Sunset Strip during the early 1980s in a restaurant called Spago, the very first opened by Puck. The Austrian- American chef quickly gained a reputation for innovative cuisine, serving food that, at the time, was considered novel. Sushi, linguine with thyme and goat's cheese and, most notably, smoked salmon and caviar pizza.
Indeed, Puck is credited with kickstarting the gourmet pizza trend, but beyond that, he's become an award-winning chef with a restaurant and catering empire that includes 21 fine dining restaurants that reach across the US and, this year, expand into Singapore and London.
Eat, love, live. That is Wolfgang Puck's trademarked philosophy. Central to it, a pledge to create his culinary masterpieces with ingredients that are locally, sustainably, and humanely produced. I spoke to this master chef ahead of the governor's ball on Oscar night and began by asking if the red carpet starts were a fussy bunch to cook for.
WOLFGANG PUCK, CELEBRTIY CHEF: I think most of them are pretty easy because they know we serve good food.
ANDERSON (on camera): You moved to the United States in the 1970s. What are your memories of the food there back then?
PUCK: Well, the United States in their -- it's a little bit similar to the UK, I think, so when the 70s or 60s, there are very few good restaurants, mainly French restaurants, but no local chefs, not much local ingredients. Everything had to be imported and so on.
And today, it's exactly the opposite. And I think I found that true in England, too. I was in London a few months ago, and I ate the Fakhreldine, I ate downstairs at Shanghai Tang, and a few other great restaurants, and they also have great food.
ANDERSON: Yes, well you get into restaurants that we can't get into. But Wolfgang, I guess that's understandable. What makes a successful restaurant?
PUCK: Well, I really believe a restaurant has to have great food. It can be simple grilled meat or fish or whatever it is, so it has to great food, great service, a great ambiance. And also, I think, interesting customers. It helps the restaurant go to another level.
ANDERSON: Jurgen, one of our viewers, asks, "How does your food improve the world?"
PUCK: I really think we have improved food in Los Angeles, because when I opened Spago in 1982, there were all these -- there were few of the stuffy restaurant which served fairly good food. But I think we really had the first restaurant where it's fun and where people had great food.
So, I didn't want to say, when you have great food, it has to be serious, like going to church, a serious place. People should have fun in a restaurant, I always believe, and I think we have so many friends from England who come here, like I talk to Elton John the other day, and he said, Cut in Beverly Hills is his favorite restaurant, and he can't wait until we open Cut in London. The same thing with Michael Caine. So, we know a lot of people from England.
ANDERSON: Wolfgang, have you ever thrown anybody out of one of your restaurants? And if so, why?
PUCK: Well, only once, all at the beginning. Somebody insulted me when I opened Spago and told me "this restaurant" -- like one of the first weeks, I put all my money I had, I borrowed money from the bank, and I had no money left. And I said, if this doesn't work, I might have to go back to Austria.
And this guy comes in at the beginning of the restaurant, like the first week or second week, and he told me, "That's the worst restaurant, I don't like it, you're going to close down." He told it, actually, to a waiter to tell me.
Needless to say, Spago became a huge success with all the Hollywood people and everything, and we had great food and great service, naturally. And he -- this guy came back three months later, and I remembered him, and I said, "You know, for you, the restaurant is closed, so get out of here. Thank you, very much." The only time.
ANDERSON: Lovely. We got a question from one of our viewers, which is a very basic question, but it's probably one that many of our viewers want an answer to. Edward asks, "What's the right way to boil an egg?"
PUCK: You can boil it in many different ways. It depends how you like it, if you want it soft boiled, hard boiled, whatever. I think if you want it hard boiled, if you cook it for about eight minutes, you don't want to overcook it, and then put it under cold water so you can really peel it.
If you want to cook it two or three minutes, like the way I like it for breakfast, so you put it in boiling water for a few minutes and take it out and put it one second under cold water so you can peel off a little bit. The peel -- if not, you cut it off.
ANDERSON: All right, good stuff. Given what you've just said, what do you cook when you get home, Wolfgang?
PUCK: You know what? I go with my children, Oliver and Alexander, and we go to the farmer's market every Sunday, we go home, we steam great vegetables, grill some chicken. Or I make some scrambled eggs with truffles, like right now, truffles are in season, so that the kids love.
My two boys are four and five and sixteen, but they love scrambled eggs with black truffles for Sunday morning brunch or for Sunday morning breakfast. But we always go and get, also, carrots, asparagus, and broccoli, and great raspberries at the farmer's market.
ANDERSON: My goodness. His kids aren't fussy eaters, are they? Well, acclaimed chef Wolfgang Puck, your Connector of the Day today. Of course, cooking for the stars last night.
And tomorrow night, an A-lister who's been there to enjoy a Puck- inspired Oscar feast or two. He may play some dark roles, but Kevin Spacey is widely regarded as a champion of the stage and screen. He has two Oscars under his belt, and has played an iconic London theater. Find out tomorrow night how he is also helping bring new talent into the limelight.
You can always, as ever, get involved in what is your part of the show, Connector of the Day. Head to the website, cnn.com/connect.
And before I go tonight, I just want to bring you back to the top story, the unrest in Libya. Some truly amazing sounds straight from the lips of Moammar Gadhafi. He sat down with journalists from Britain's BBC and the US-based ABC for an interview. In it, he appeared to either not know that demonstrators have taken to the streets throughout Libya, calling for him to end his 41-year-old rule, or he has decided simply not to accept it. You can decide for yourself. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER: They love me, all my people with me, they love me all.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, ABC CORRESPONDENT: But if they do love you --
GADHAFI: They will die to protect me, my people. No, no. Some people --
AMANPOUR: If you say they do love you, then why are they capturing Benghazi and they say they're against you there? Why are they --
GADHAFI: It is al Qaeda. It is al Qaeda. It is al Qaeda, not my people. It is al Qaeda.
AMANPOUR: Al Qaeda?
GADHAFI: Al Qaeda, al Qaeda, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Al Qaeda, al Qaeda.
GADHAFI: They came from outside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Moammar Gadhafi. The Libyan leader, speaking to the BBC and to ABC news. All right, I'm Becky Anderson. That is your world connected here on CNN. Thank you for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break.