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CONNECT THE WORLD

Interview with Hugh Robertson; Occupy Wall Street Marches to the Brooklyn Bridge; Squatting in Barcelona; Syria on Brink of Civil War; Syrian's Arab Spring Looking Bleak; Russian Ambassador to UN Calls on All Sides in Syria to Stop Violence; Freedom Project: Growing Up a Modern-Day Slave in the US; Eye on Azerbaijan: Preparing to Host Women's Under 17 Football World Cup; Big Interview: Fashion Designer Kenneth Cole Raises AIDS Awareness

Aired November 17, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOL CAMPBELL, ENGLISH FOOTBALLER: Every time I hear more coming out, you know, I'm listening here and there, I feel sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MONITA RAJPAL, HOST: Players and politicians speak of their disgust after the president of football's governing body tells CNN racism on the pitch should be forgotten for the handshake. Tonight, Britain's sports minister tells me it's time for Sepp Blatter.

Live from London, hello.

I'm Monita Rajpal.

Also tonight, a mass demonstration descends into scuffles on the streets of New York. We head live there as protesters attempt to occupy more than just Wall Street.

(VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: As Russia warns of civil war in Syria, I'll ask its ambassador to the U.N. whether it's time to take action.

From football players, fans and even the British government tonight, calls are growing louder for the head of world football to resign. Sepp Blatter is facing a firestorm of controversy after an interview with CNN on Wednesday when he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: There is no racism. There is maybe one of the players toward the other, he has a word of a gesture which is not the correct one. But, also, the one who is affected by that, he should say it's a game. We are in a game and the end of the game, we shake hands. This can happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: His remarks quickly ricocheted around the world, sparking anger and disbelief from people involved in football and beyond.

The British prime minister condemned the remarks, saying: "It's appalling to suggest that racism in any way should be accepted."

And the U.K. minister for sport called for Blatter to resign. Earlier, Hugh Robertson told me how he felt when he first heard what the FIFA president said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUGH ROBERTSON, U.K. MINISTER FOR SPORT AND OLYMPICS: Well, I was horrified, is the short answer to that. I only heard about this late last night, when I got back from a regional visit inside the United Kingdom, talking about London 2012, a project that is all about bringing people together to celebrate sport. So to find the head of the global body responsible for football saying that somehow racism is a sort of issue that can just be sorted out with a handshake at the end of the game is clearly not the sort of message that were looking to encountering in the school.

RAJPAL: And the fact that he's saying it on -- on a show which is seen around the world, what kind of message do you think that sends?

ROBERTSON: Personally, I think that sends an extraordinarily damaging mess -- message out. It's, in fact, factually wrong in this country, because race in -- racism is a crime. So if people commit it on a football pitch, as anywhere else, they can feel the full force of law, go to court and if found guilty, they will be punished.

So to say that it can be sorted out by a handshake is factually wrong in this country.

But in my view, it's morally wrong, as well. And racism is a problem in sport globally. We need to be doing everything possible to be sending - - to send out a message that it is unacceptable in football, in sports and in society as a whole. And we rely on people like Sepp Blatter, influential people at the top, in his case, at the top of the most popular sport played anywhere in the world. We need people like him to be leading by example, to be taking a strong line and making it absolutely clear that this sort of behavior is unacceptable.

RAJPAL: What do these statements say about what kind of a leader Sepp Blatter is?

ROBERTSON: Well, not very much is the -- is the short answer. I mean it, in a sense, it says quite a lot, but it doesn't leave a great impression.

I -- as I say, I find it extraordinarily disappointing that a man in his position is not taking a firm line on this. Actually, FIFA, in many ways, deserves enormous credit for some of the things it did around the last World Cup in South Africa, taking it to a nation like South Africa, taking football out to new frontiers, where it can expand, where it can be played bmp.

It would be so much better if they had somebody at the head of the that organization who could build on those successes, who could communicate those sort of values effectively, rather than the sort of stuff that we heard yesterday.

RAJPAL: Do you believe, Minister, do you believe Sepp Blatter should step down?

ROBERTSON: Yes, I do. And I've believed that for some time. I think -- I think FIFA, which, as I say, is the global body for the most played game anywhere in the world, needs sort of inspirational tough leadership. And it needs that -- the sort of leadership that will move it on from the sort of organization it's become, slightly marred in corruption, synonymous of a lack of transparency and accountability, into a body that really runs the global game in a way that we can all be proud of.

You know, I want a -- a really powerful body running football that can take all the benefits that come from football and sport in general, projects those on a global stage and get more and more young people playing the game, developing themselves through the game, learning all the lessons that -- that come through football, using football as a really powerful agent of change.

That's the sort of role I want from FIFA.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

RAJPAL: Well, that's Hugh Robertson, the British minister for sports, speaking to me ear.

He is clearly not alone in his feelings, as players and leaders from the world of football joined the chorus condemning the FIFA president.

Patrick Snell joins us now from CNN Center with more on that -- Patrick.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Monita. So much fallout, so much to bring you up to date with. Criticism just keeps on pouring in after those remarks from Sepp Blatter, to which he has so far, at least, refused to out and out apologize for, or even back away from.

The chief executive of the U.K.-based Professional Footballers Association just the latest now to call for Blatter to step down over this controversy.

Let's take a listen to what he said earlier this day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORDON TAYLOR, CHIEF EXEC, PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLERS ASSOCIATION: I feel, bearing in mind what -- what he said on such a serious issue of racism, when all the players and the campaign in this country and others countries in the world, it's not gone away, but we wanted to eradicate it and to talk in such a -- an inexcusable, condescending manner that, if you're on the receiving end of it, just shake hands and get on with it, is not what we're about. We want racism eradicated in football and to set an example to the rest of the world.

And as a result, I just feel his comments are so out of time and out of tune and out of place and out of order. FIFA has been largely unaccountable and not responsible for its actions. But I do feel it is -- it is really -- it's time to go. It's so serious a matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: Well, after Sepp Blatter made those comments, FIFA posting this photo on its Web site showing the FIFA president embracing a South African politician.

Now, Manchester United footballer, Rio Ferdinand, who is a prolific Twitter, blasted the photo on his Twitter account, writing: "FIFA clears up the Blatter comments with a pic of him posing with a black man? I need the hand covering eyes symbol."

Well, Blatter himself firing back, responding in a way with the words, Tweeting back: "The black man, as you call him, has a name, Tokyo Sexwale. He has done tremendous work against racism and apartheid in Africa."

Well, earlier Thursday, another footballer who's been subjected to racist chants from fans in the past telling CNN "WORLD SPORT" that Blatter's comments on racism make him feel sick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMPBELL: When it gets to a level of racism, it's -- it's a different galaxy. You're over the threshold and it's unacceptable. And for him to - - to -- to come out with those kind of comments and not retract them is -- is laughable. It's unbelievable in this day and age. He is the head of the world football association -- the world football body. And for him to say those kind of comments is basically allowing for grassroots, kids, Sunday league kids, you know, playing football, all the way up to the top of the tree, the top leagues around the world, that you can actually -- you can actually readily abuse someone, like, you know, an opponent and shake his hand afterward or her hand afterward, and it's OK.

It's just, you know, you can't -- it's unacceptable. For me, the longer he actually stays in his position, I think FIFA becomes weaker, for sure.

Every time I, you know, more comments came out and I listen in here and there, I feel sick. For me, I'm just empty.

What am I playing football for all those years to -- to -- to break down barriers, to -- to enjoy and play football and to win games and, you know, enjoy sports?

For me, he -- he's the top -- he's the pyramid and for him to say that is definitely out of touch, for sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: Well, the views of former England national defender, Sol Campbell, there -- Monita, back to you.

RAJPAL: All right. Patrick, thank you very much for that.

Well, Sepp Blatter's remarks have evoked strong responses from football fans around the world, ranging from disbelief to disapproval, to even a bit of understanding.

We asked three fans from different parts of the world to share their thoughts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN MELMOTH: I mean, to be honest it's -- it's sort of no surprise, I suppose, because Sepp Blatter is generally renowned as a bit of a moppet.

(LAUGHTER)

MELMOTH: And he said various things in the past about like homosexuality and like getting more sport -- by winning football through making them wear tight shirts and things like that.

So this is just a kind of, you know, another -- another string to his not very flattering bogue (ph). So, yes, I mean it comes as no surprise. But it is really disturbing that somebody in such a high position that has those kind of views.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LANCE POTOCKI: Yes, I just think, you know, he's trying to say that, at the end of the day, they've provided sort of a -- an industry, an environment that -- that doesn't support racism at all. But, you know, it's a competitive environment. And at the end of the day, people -- I mean he doesn't know who might say something that they regret later. But they're not necessary -- it's not necessarily like racist.

So I think people are more just blowing out of proportion what he's trying to sort of maintain, which is, you know, football is not really a race -- racist sport, but people, you know, they get aggressive, they get competitive and they say things that might vilify someone to get a bit of an advantage. And -- and, you know, as long as, on the whole, it's not a racist sport, then I think people are just sort of jumping on the back of what is rather a harmless comment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN TANAKA: Well, I mean I think it's really naive of him to say that he denies that there's any racism going on on the pitch. I mean, obviously, it's sort of there. You know, unfortunately, racism exists around the world. So, you know, it's definitely going to happen during any kind of competition where you have a minority, you know, group playing a game.

I mean he's really not a liked person. So I definitely think this was like the last straw. You know, maybe it's time for him to step down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: And there is much more on the latest Blatter developments in our next live "WORLD SPORT" show in juts over an hour from now.

But first, we're live to New York, where more than 100 people have been arrested in a stand-off between police and protesters. Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want the world to know that despite being evicted, they want to be silenced .

And protesters were back on the streets of Europe's debt hot spots, as the fight against austerity heats up.

Plus, more deaths in Syria, as the regime defies calls to end a bloody crackdown. We see how eight months of unrest could slide into civil war.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: Hello. I'm Monita Rajpal in London.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Here's a look at some other stories making headlines tonight.

Anti-capitalist protests in New York today look set to reach a climax, with demonstrators planning to march over the Brooklyn Bridge within the hour. Take a look at these pictures of a stand-off between protesters and police at the dismantled Occupy camp at Zuccotti Park.

Others tried to march toward the New York -- New York Stock Exchange. Police say seven officers were injured and at least 175 people arrested.

Well, let's get the very latest now live from CNN's Maggie Lake, who's at Foley Square -- Maggie, tell us, how are the crowds looking where you are?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Monita, right now, we've got a group -- and I'm going to have you take a look while I set the scene -- a group of, a coalition of unions and community groups that are here surrounding it. They are now going to be joined in a very short time by, by some estimates, thousands of protesters that -- that gathered around Union Square and are coming here as a next location.

This is -- Foley Square is not very far from city hall. We are ringed by the courthouses. It's about a half a mile from Zuccotti Park, which is where we were earlier today. It is also not far from the Brooklyn Bridge.

After a rally here, they are going to have a people's march over the Brooklyn Bridge. You may have heard someone doing a mike check on amplifiers. It's not something we hear very often in the Occupy movement. That is because the union has a permit for that.

There is no permit, however, for the march over the bridge. And that is where we anticipate there may be another point of conflict with police.

As you have mentioned throughout the day today, starting with the very early march toward the New York Stock Exchange and then again when the crowds of protesters returned to Zuccotti Park, they have -- there have been flare-ups and confrontations with the police. About 175 people have been arrested throughout the day on this day of action. And seven police officers, we understand have been injured in that.

It has been the sort of theme throughout the day.

Some people a little bit disappointed, perhaps, that the protests have taken this turn. Others tell us it's a show of force and there is a lot of distrust with the police, certainly tension between the two.

Right now, that is not the case. Would have the barriers up around this that have been in place throughout and the police are sort of drifting.

These are plainclothes police. I would expect, as the crowds converge here, those protesters who have been protesting in front of various subway stops throughout the five boroughs, as they start to come here, you should see the riot police at events surrounding them all day come along with them -- Monita.

RAJPAL: All right, Maggie, thank you.

Maggie Lake there at Foley Park in New York.

The man suspected of shooting at the White House will be charged with an assassination attempt against President Barack Obama or a member of his staff. Oscar Ramiro Ortega Hernandez has agreed to be extradited to Washington. He was arrested in the state of Pennsylvania just days after at least two bullet struck the White House.

The UN's nuclear watchdog wants to send a high level delegation to Iran, saying the country has a case to answer. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency spoke to reporters, evoked the most damning report to date on Iran's nuclear ambitions. The IAEA is expected to adopt a resolution Friday that expresses deep concern about Iran's defiance of international demands.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YUKIO AMANO, IAEA DIRECTOR GENERAL: The information indicates that Iran is carrying -- has carried out activities preliminary to the development of nuclear explosive device. And with this information, I believed that it is the role of the director general to alert the world.

Sitting on the information is not the option.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: A drug smuggling tunnel has been discovered under the border of the United States and Mexico. Authorities seized 14 tons of marijuana and made two arrests. They say the tunnel connected two warehouses in Tijuana and San Diego, California.

Fashion label Marc Jacobs was forced to cancel a press event in its London store this week after its entire spring-summer 2012 collection vanished. The company says the collection, made up of some 46 looks not yet available in stores was stolen from a train traveling between Paris and London, sparking worries that counterfeiters may be planning to make copies of the designs.

Still to come, redesigning an iconic symbol. Designer Kenneth Cole tells me about the new accessories he hopes everyone will be wearing.

And activists in Spain are finding a unique way to protest against austerity and help the homeless, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: Fears that debt contagion will spread through the economies of Europe may be coming true tonight.

First it was Italy. Now,

Now both France and Spain are seeing a worrying spike in borrowing costs. Worldwide, stock markets were wary after ratings agency Fitch warned U.S. banks could be exposed to Europe's debt dramas.

A leading bank economist says the grand plan by European leaders to stop contagion just hasn't worked.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN KING, CHIEF ECONOMIST, HSBC: Well, the original idea was to put a firewall around Greece, to basically say, well, if things go wrong in Greece, it's not going to have a huge impact on the rest of the Eurozone.

Unfortunately, what's happened, particularly around about the time of the G20 meetings is that Merkel and Sarkozy have basically said well, there's a chance that Greece will have to leave the euro and to leave the EU. And once that story came out, it became obvious to the financial markets that if Greece could leave, then perhaps anyone could leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: Now, the interest rates Spain has to pay on its debt reached a 14 year high today, just days out from the country's elections. Now, last month, the amount Spain had to pay for -- let's see if this works here.

All right, let's try that one.

Now, last year -- last month, the amount Spain had to pay for its money borrowed and payable in 10 years' time was around 5.5 percent. And that -- today, that jumped to almost 7 percent.

Now, if we look over the end of the day bond prices for the past week, we can see the upward path toward the 7 percent mark. That's a real worry because that's the level at which other Eurozone countries asked to be bailed out.

Now, where we look at Italian bonds, which finished today at 6.8 percent. But earlier, they yet again reached the 7 percent mark for a time.

Italy's new prime minister is trying to prove he is the man with the plan to sort out the country's unaffordable debt. Mario Monti passed his first hurdle today, winning a confidence vote in the Senate.

He has presented his book balancing program to lawmakers. Mr. Monti plans to increasing revenue by fighting tax evasion and organized crime and changing real estate and wealth taxes.

Italy's pension system will also get an overhaul, but Mario Monti doesn't expect the reforms to be easy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIO MONTI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We have to operate in order to meet the EU request. It is a very ambitious plan to try and resolve, in such a short time, all these problems that have -- that are deep-rooted and that will take time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: But Italy's new prime minister hasn't got everyone's support. As he gave his speech, protesters were on the streets of Milan and Turin and Rome. They're angry that an unelected government of technocrats is pushing through austerity plans.

And police in Athens fired tear gas into crowds of protesters outside parliament. Fifteen thousand people marked the anniversary of a student uprising by voicing their discontent over the unity government's harsh cost cutting measures.

And, of course, we are keeping a close on protests in New York City. At least 177 people have been arrested in what Occupy Wall Street activists are describing as a mass day of action.

Now, in Spain, people are finding a new way to protest against government austerity -- squatting. That's how they're doing it. Activists in Barcelona have taken over an abandoned bank building to use as housing for the city's new wave of homeless.

CNN's Dan Rivers has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An unremarkable apartment block in Barcelona. But behind the turning autumn leaves, evidence this isn't just another vacant relic of Spain's property bust. This is now an austerity squat, taken over by a group of racial protesters, the indignant ones, determined to fight government cuts.

Inside, a soup kitchen for hard up families -- food donated by local businesses. They call this Building 15-0, liberated for the needy on the 15th of October.

As the election approaches, the indignados are angry and clear about who they blame for Spain's problems.

MARI CARMEN MARTIN, ACTIVIST (through translator): Activist Mari Carmen Martin says they picked this building because it belonged to a bank. And since the working class saved the banks with their own money and the banks haven't given them anything in exchange, he says it's a legitimate target.

Juan Moreno is one of the residents. He shows me his new home. His family is one of 11 occupying these half-finished apartments.

Inside, it looks comfortable, but there's no heating and the nights are getting colder.

Juan is a former waiter who hasn't worked for three years -- not unusual in a city where unemployment is running at 20 percent. Now, his government handouts have been cut completely. He says this accommodation keeps his family off the streets. If Spain's center right People's Party wins, he fears austerity will accelerate. He says, "The situation is very bad and it's about to get worse. The politicians will have to implement more cuts, but here, the people will not stop and watch, we're going to fight," he says.

Fourteen-year-old Maria is ashamed to appear on TV. None of her school friends know she lives in a squat.

MARIA MORENO, BUILDING RESIDENT (through translator): I'm worried I am not going to have luck.

How am I going to look after myself?

There are no jobs. There's nothing left.

RIVERS: This from a 14 -year-old, it speaks volumes of the despair pervading even the children in this building.

(on camera): Behind each door in this building is a family which has run out of options. They've already had their lives turned upside down by austerity. The prospect of more cuts is simply too much to bear.

(singing)

RIVERS (voice-over): In the stairwell, Gabriel Perez (ph) sings a gypsy lament.

(singing)

RIVERS: He, too, is out of luck -- evicted from his last house, his job running a market store brings in half what it used to. Spain's battle to control its deficit is being felt painfully by the squatters and the indignados.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Barcelona, Spain.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

RAJPAL: A spiral of violence in Syria leads Russia to warn that its long time ally may be heading for civil war. We'll talk about the uprising with Russia's U.N. ambassador straight ahead.

Plus, the horrifying story of a young women who can barely read or order food in a restaurant -- how her childhood was stolen, coming up later in the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MONITA RAJPAL, HOST: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader. Here are the headlines this hour.

The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, is resisting growing calls for him to step down, including from the British government. Blatter sparked a firestorm of controversy in an interview with CNN on Wednesday when he claimed that racism on the football pitch should be forgotten with a handshake at the end of the game.

Anti-capitalist protesters have clashed with police in New York City as they mark two months of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Police say they made at least 177 arrests and seven of their officers were injured.

An annual march in Greece's capital turned into a demonstration against the government's proposed austerity measures. Protesters clashed with riot police, who fired teargas. Several arrests were reported.

A man arrested for allegedly shooting at the White House will be charged with attempting to assassinate the president or a member of his staff. The man was arrested in the state of Pennsylvania just days after at least two bullets struck the White House.

Those are the headlines this hour.

More attacks today by army defectors in Syria as one world power warns the country may be headed for full-scale civil war.

Opposition activists say rebel troops used rocket-propelled grenades to attack a government youth office in northwestern Idlib province. Now, this video is said to show a different attack by army defectors in the city of Homs.

Activists say the Free Syrian Army ambushed government troops. The foreign minister of Russia, one of Syria's few remaining allies, says the increasing violence looks like civil war. In just a moment, we'll speak live with Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin.

Well first, though, a reminder just how the uprising got to this point. Anti-government protesters had high hopes when they first signed up for the Arab Spring, but it is now almost winter, and the picture is far, far more bleak. Rima Maktabi brings us more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(CROWD CHANTING)

(SHOUTING)

RIMA MAKTABI, CNN MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Images like these come out of Syria daily, sometimes hourly.

For the past eight months, those in Syria who dare to protest against President Bashar al-Assad's regime face the wrath of his security forces.

(GUNFIRE)

MAKTABI: From the beginning of this uprising back in March, when the Arab world was basking in the glow of the Arab Spring successes, the Syrian people felt brave enough to take to the streets and try their own hand at freedom.

It has not been realized. Instead, the UN says 3,500 people have been killed. Some rights groups say it is much higher, not to mention the injured, the arrested, the refugees that fled. Numbers that are yet unknown.

The Syrian regime has barred most Western journalists from the country. The Assad name in Syrian history goes a long way back in the people's memories. Bashar's father, Hafez al-Assad, is infamous for his own brutal crackdown on a Sunni Muslim uprising in Hama in 1982. Tens of thousands were killed.

To some observers, history is repeating itself. From his power seat in Damascus, Bashar unleashed his lawyer security forces to quell dissent in every corner.

First came Daraa, 22 people were reported killed. The city went on to suffer a two-week siege by the military. Teargas, gunfire, tanks -- nothing was spared. It was the point of no return. From Jisr al-Shughour in June, to Homs in August, tanks stormed the city, leaving 80 dead.

In November alone, activists reported 400 kills. This week, 80 were killed in a single day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're shooting people and target -- targeted building and innocent people. They don't differentiate between man or woman or child.

MAKTABI: As the number of dead increase, so have the calls for Assad to go.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN; PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (through translator): Bashar al-Assad should see the tragic end that meets leaders who declare war on their people. Oppression does not create order, and a future cannot be built on the blood of the innocent. History will remember such leaders as those who fed on blood.

And you, Assad, are headed towards opening such a page.

MAKTABI: The Arab League gave Syria a roadmap to stop the killing. Then, a deadline.

SHEIKH HAMMAD BIN JASSIM AL THANI, PRIME MINISTER OF QATAR (through translator): If they do not abide by the decision of the League and abide by the agreement of the League and stop the killing and allow media in and release political prisoners, this will complicate matters, and we do not wish or hope for this.

MAKTABI: The threats are louder, but the death toll mounts.

Rima Maktabi, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Well, Russia says the world should call on all sides in Syria to stop the violence, suggesting the country's now on the brink of civil war. We want to talk about this with Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, who joins us tonight from New York.

Sir, thank you very much for being with us. Why is it that we are hearing from --

VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: My pleasure.

RAJPAL: -- countries around the world, former allies of Syria, also, saying it's time for Bashar al-Assad to step down, for the violence to stop, the cracking down on protesters to stop, yet Russia isn't saying anything to Syria at this point?

CHURKIN: Well, Russia has been talking to Syria more than anybody else in the past few months, an we have been urging them to step up their reform process. We have been urging them to show restraint, to respect the demands of the demonstrators.

But also, we have been talking to the opposition, urging them to enter into dialogue with the authorities, because without that, the possibility of major confrontation and civil war in the country, with the prospect of its disintegration can be very real.

And we are one of the countries where, incidentally, I've referred to Russia as an ally. We're not an ally. We're a neighbor, we're a friend. We've had very close and friendly relations with Syria and Syrian people for decades. So, we want that country to avoid further trouble and major bloodshed.

So, our pitch to both the government and the opposition and to the Arab League, in fact, is that dialogue should be started and that democracy can only come about through democratic dialogue and the process of democratic reforms.

RAJPAL: But sir, with all due respect, dialogue isn't working. The Arab League had tried a dialogue with Syria, and that's not working. And now, they are -- there have been calls --

CHURKIN: Well --

RAJPAL: -- that potentially that there could be a UN Security Council resolution, which Russia has stated, along with China, that they would veto or abstain. Well, that's not actually --

CHURKIN: Well, we --

RAJPAL: -- taking any sort of real, concrete action.

CHURKIN: You know, the Arab League from time to time has tried to do the right thing. And it should be helped to do the right thing.

The problem is that over the past few weeks, the moment they were trying to do something positive to resolve the situation in Syria, they had -- they were receiving a slap on the wrist from regime changers. And this is a very dangerous course of action.

Now, they have decided once again, in fact, for the second time, to deploy a monitoring mission in Syria. We believe that should happen. They should go ahead, in fact, and do it, deploy that monitoring mission.

And also they should implement another decision they have taken, and that is to organize dialogue between the government and opposition in Cairo.

So, we hope they will carry out their own decision, and we hope that the opposition will accept that proposal, and that the government will enter into that dialogue constructively with a view to expediting democratic reforms and answering to the calls of the Syrian people of changes in the way that country operates.

RAJPAL: What's more important to you, sir? What's more important to Russia, the lives of Syrian people, their happiness, the democracy, or maintaining a friendship or trading partner?

CHURKIN: The happiness of the Syrian people. In fact, these days, one has to be very careful about big words. I am concerned when I hear for in some incidents in the Arab League statements, a reference to protection of civilians. Because after Libya, it has become a code word for foreign military intervention.

Protection of civilians in Libya cost us somewhere from 30,000 to 50,000 civilian lives. We don't want a repetition of this story in Syria. We want Syria to be peaceful, we want Syria to maintain territorial integrity, and we do not believe that this policy of pushing the country towards civil war can produce any good results for the Syrian people.

We are trying very intensively and actively in our contacts with Syria, with the Arab League, with our Western partners, unfortunately, some of them seem to be hell-bound on that theory of regime change.

Incidentally, with a very clear strategic interests. Because in other places where we have also situations of bloody conflict, they behave differently. For instance, in Yemen. More people have been killed over the past few months than in Syria.

But somehow, the strong common voice -- and it's a good thing -- of the international community is that a political solution should be found there, that there should be dialogue with the opposition and the matters should be resolved peacefully. So, if it's true with Yemen -- for Yemen, why it's not true for Syria?

About Bahrain, Secretary Clinton said recently that endless protests breed extremism. So, she called for the opposition to enter into dialogue with the government. If it's true Bahrain, why cannot it be true for Syria? We believe it is.

RAJPAL: OK.

CHURKIN: We believe that the international community should not apply double standards. We believe that it is not the role of the international community or the UN Security Council to push countries toward civil war.

The role should be to help various political parties in a country reach a peaceful resolution of their differences.

RAJPAL: OK. Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the UN. Sir, thank you very much for your time.

When we come back, CNN's Freedom Project reveals a story of a young woman whose childhood was taken from her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

"ISABEL", DOMESTIC SERVITUDE VICTIM: I was so, so sad. Very, very sad. It hurt -- it hurt me. It hurt me. It was terrible, it hurt me so bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJPAL: The horrors of being trapped in a live of slavery, up next on CONNECT THE WORLD.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: Forced to live in terrible conditions and endure horrendous treatment, slavery steals lives and is by no means stuck in the past. CNN is joining the fight to end this despicable practice by bringing you the victims' stories.

It's a crime which is never far away and, as Martin Savidge reports, it's happening in the unlikeliest of places.

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MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In her 20s, "Isabel's" grown up a Southern California girl. Yet, she can barely read.

ISABEL: This blue truck turns --

SAVIDGE: She doesn't know how to drive, only recently learned how to order at a restaurant, and didn't know how to use money.

ISABEL: The first time, I remember, I just walked out of the store because I didn't know how. And I was embarrassed.

SAVIDGE: It wasn't a medical or mental problem. It wasn't because she comes from another country. It was because of something her parents did when she was very young in Taiwan.

SAVIDGE (on camera): You were sold by your family.

ISABEL: Yes.

SAVIDGE: Do you know why?

ISABEL: I know why. My family was poor.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): So poor, she says, her mother wanted to sell Isabel's younger sister.

SAVIDGE (on camera): So, you offered to sell yourself. In other words, tell your mother to sell you rather than your baby sister.

ISABEL: Yes, because I love my sister. I remember, she was just a little baby and my mom said they want to sell her. And I told my mom, I said, "No, you want to sell her, sell me, because she's so little."

SAVIDGE (voice-over): In the end, she says, her mother sold them both into slavery to two wealthy Taiwanese families.

SAVIDGE (on camera): How old were you?

ISABEL: I remember around that time, I was only -- I was seven.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): So, as other children went to school, Isabel cooked and cleaned. Her bedroom was the garage, her bed, the floor. Food, whatever the family didn't want.

ISABEL: Every time she gave me food, the food was sour, and she made me stay in the corner. There was no table.

SAVIDGE: And there were the beatings, she says, often with a spatula. Once, when she was accused by her owner of drinking a cup of tea, a toilet bowl brush.

ISABEL: She grabbed the toilet brush, put it in my mouth and then twisted, and it hurt my mouth like -- I was so, so sad. Very, very sad. It hurt -- it hurt me. It hurt me. It was terrible, it hurt me so bad.

SAVIDGE: Eventually, the family moved to the US and settled in in an upscale Southern California neighborhood. Isabel may have made it to the land of the free, but for her, nothing changed.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Did you ever go see a movie?

ISABEL: No.

SAVIDGE: Did you every play with other children?

ISABEL: No.

SAVIDGE: Birthday parties?

ISABEL: I never had a birthday.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): By her teens, she would escort the family in public. She thought of running away, she says, but never did.

Victims services expert Heidi Thi says that's not uncommon.

HEIDI THI, CSP VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: She would tell you that she didn't know where she would go if she didn't speak the language, if she didn't know anybody else, if she didn't even really have any sense of where she was.

SAVIDGE: But on one such outing, Isabel met a woman.

ISABEL: She did not say much. She just said, "This is my phone number. Everything you need, just call me."

SAVIDGE (on camera): So, she suspected something was wrong.

ISABEL: Yes.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Eventually, they made a plan. As Isabel took out the garbage one night, the woman and her husband pulled up in their car.

SAVIDGE (on camera): You ran to the car.

ISABEL: Yes, I run, run, run, run. Run to the car. And my heart was like, it couldn't stop beating. You know? I was so scared.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): To this day, Isabel still fears retaliation from the family she escaped, which is why "Isabel" is not her real name. But the dramatic turnaround in her life is real.

She has her own apartment, where she babysits children. She goes to school. And the woman who had no childhood dreams one day of opening a daycare center.

THI: She knows who she is, she knows what she's worth, that she's valued, and that she has potential, and that she can do things on her own.

SAVIDGE: One goal, though, stands out above all the others. And it may shock you. She wants to find her mom.

SAVIDGE (on camera): This is the mom who sold you.

ISABEL: Yes.

SAVIDGE: You want to find her?

ISABEL: Yes.

SAVIDGE: And what would you say when you found her?

ISABEL: I find her, I'll say, "Mom, I love you so much. I always wanted to find you."

SAVIDGE (voice-over): She has no idea where or even how to look. But for the first time in her life, she's free to try.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Anaheim, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD. Meet the young football players kicking tradition out the window as Azerbaijan gears up to host a world event.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RAJPAL: All this week, CNN's Eye On series is taking you inside a country making its mark on the world stage. Azerbaijan is preparing to host the Women's Under 17 world football championship. CNN's Jim Clancy went to find out how preparations are going.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For young women all over the Muslim world who love sports, this may be the field of dreams.

Still learning football basics one year ago, Azerbaijan's women's Under 17 squad has been transformed into a determined team of high achievers.

SHAFAG NASIROVA, AZERBAIJAN UNDER 17 WOMEN'S FOOTBALL TEAM (through translator): Every day, we are practicing and getting ready for the World Cup. We believe in ourselves. We believe we can do it. We will raise the name of Azerbaijan.

CLANCY: FIFA officials were in Baku to inspect some of the stadiums still under construction for the kickoff of the Under 17 Women's World Cup. Five or six of these stadiums, all capable of seating at least 16,000 fans, must be ready by next September. The consensus, Azerbaijan's LOC or local organizing committee, is well on track.

OLIVER VOGT, COMPETITIONS MANAGER, FIFA: For us, for FIFA, it's a pleasure to work with the LOC in Azerbaijan because when you see how much motivation, dedication, enthusiasm they have for this event, it's a pleasure to see. And the FIFA team, it's really behind it and trying to help them as much as possible.

CLANCY: Of course, it isn't about a single tournament. FIFA and Azerbaijan's own football federation are just as concerned about the legacy that will build the sport here.

ELKHAN MAMMADOV, GENERAL SECRETARY, AFFA: It is about the future. It's about having the legacy in the future for the whole country, for girls, for men, for boys, and for the society in general.

CLANCY (on camera): FIFA had very clear intentions when it awarded the 2012 Under 17 Women's World Cup to Azerbaijan, an Islamic country. And these young women, who come from all over Azerbaijan, know that they in particular have something to prove.

AMINA HEYDAROVA, AZERBAIJAN UNDER 17 WOMEN'S FOOTBALL TEAM (through translator): It is true that there are few Muslim countries with girls soccer, and it is a first. A great chance given to us, and we have to be proud of this fact.

We are hoping that other Muslim countries will follow us down the road. Therefore, we have to train and perform so that we can inspire others.

CLANCY (voice-over): These young women more than anyone else seem aware of the role they are playing. Their sacrifice in time away from their families and a tough schedule as they maintain their studies.

VOGT: I visited -- I had the chance to visit them, and they are so excited and already nervous to play such a great event in their own country. And for every sportsman, it's the best that can happen, to be involved in a World Cup in your own country.

CLANCY: The notion that football is only for boys isn't even a consideration on this field.

NASIROVA (through translator): It is the wrong idea. It is impossible. If soccer is a sport, then anyone can play it, and I think girls can play soccer, too. Whoever has the skill and desire can do it. They may not be girls' soccer in most Muslim countries, but we are here to take the first steps.

CLANCY: And what a first step. Eighteen teams from around the world, millions of fans watching here and on global television, and a chance to literally help change the world of sport.

Jim Clancy, CNN, Baku.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Well, from football to the world of fashion, now, and over the years, designers have used their talents to highlight many serious causes. Among them, Kenneth Cole, who has spearheaded the campaign to raise awareness of AIDS. For tonight's Big Interview, he tells us why he believes it's time for a wake-up call.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a deadly disease, and there is no known cure.

RAJPAL (voice-over): Grim and hard-hitting, the first AIDS awareness campaigns were difficult to ignore in the 1980s.

But now, three decades on, many of those who have been at the forefront of fighting the virus believe the message has been lost on the younger generation. Among them, fashion designer Kenneth Cole.

KENNETH COLE, DESIGNER: The problem is that we've become desensitized, and we read every day about people living with and people not having died from, and we become -- and we come to think that maybe it isn't as severe or maybe the risks aren't as great.

But they are, and they're as great as they've been.

RAJPAL: Cole was one of the first public figures to raise awareness about AIDS and has worked to break the stigma surrounding the virus. Among his most famous campaigns, a t-shirt he designed and inscribed with the words "We all have AIDS."

COLE: The reason I started doing it is because nobody was speaking about AIDS then, and -- because you couldn't, and it was inappropriate to speak about AIDS. It was perceived as inappropriate to speak about AIDS then.

It was a very personal circumstance, and if if you were, you would have been perceived to have been one of the at-risk communities, and nobody wanted to put themselves out there. Maybe because I wasn't, I was OK doing it.

But I -- I made this meaningful public commitment then, and I did a campaign with a lot of very public people, all for the future of our children, to support AIDS research. And it changed me in a profound way.

So, it's a journey that I've been on, and I was hoping it wouldn't be this long. But I'm still here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope you're staring at my chest.

RAJPAL: And he is still rallying celebrities to join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to have fun if you're not wearing one.

RAJPAL: This is part of a new AIDS awareness campaign, "Come Together," spearheaded by Cole, MTV, and the American Foundation for AIDS research.

COLE: They came to us, they came to AMFAR, they came to myself and asked, "We would collaborate -- work together on re-energizing, re-focusing their target audience, which in fact is one of, if not the highest at risk group right now, it's 15 to 25-year-olds who are contracting more than 40 percent of the infections today, daily, worldwide.

So, how do we speak to them? How do we let them know AIDS has not gone away, AIDS is not cured, AIDS is still something they need to understand, they need to live with?

Today, still 40 -- 34 million people today are living with the virus. For every person that -- that gets treated, another two or three are getting the infection. So, how do you tell people how they can protect themselves, how they can act responsibly?

RAJPAL: The new campaign is not as alarming as the ads of the 80s, but Cole believe his approach is effective.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can all come together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come together.

RAJPAL: The campaign is not only designed to increase awareness, but also raise funds for further research. To that end, Cole has refashioned the iconic AIDS ribbon in the hope it will become the must-have accessory.

COLE: We know what we need to do. We now just need to apply ourselves and we can -- we can get there. We can treat people, we can prevent people from contracting the virus. We can treat people who have the virus, and people don't have to die from AIDS today.

There's been huge progress, even just this past year, and we're very enthusiastic and we believe we're going to see a cure in our lifetime, but people have to do the right thing today if we're going to get there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's encourage others to join in.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RAJPAL: Designer Kenneth Cole. And I'm Monita Rajpal. Thanks for watching. Up next, the world headlines and then, "BackStory."

END