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CONNECT THE WORLD

Killed By Their Comrades; Pope Visits Cuba; Tiger Gets A Win; Screening for Dope; Dominique Strauss-Kahn Charged in Connection to Prostitution Ring; North Korean Dominates Summit in Seoul; Range of North Korean Missiles; Options for Dealing With New North Korean Threat; South Korean Concerns; Obama Tells Russian President European Defense System Talks After US Elections; Freedom Project: Slavery's Last Stronghold; Update on Strauss-Kahn Charges; James Cameron Dives to Deepest Point on Earth; Parting Shots of Next Pavarotti

Aired March 26, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET

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


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNTIONAL HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, killed by their comrades -- three NATO soldiers are shot dead in two separate attacks in Afghanistan.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

FOSTER: Working alongside Afghans is key to NATO's exit strategy.

Tonight, will these deaths further undermine the West's withdrawal plans?

Also tonight --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Think again, said President Obama, if Pyongyang moves a long range rocket to a launch pad.

And a giant dive for mankind -- film director James Cameron resurfaces after making an historic voyage to the lowest point on Earth.

We begin in Afghanistan, where three NATO soldiers were killed today, not by enemy fire, but by men they believed were allies. NATO says Afghan security personnel turned their guns on the soldiers in two separate attacks. These insider killings appear to be a troubling trend, now accounting for 16 coalition deaths this year.

CNN's Sara Sidner has the latest from Kabul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So as we understand it, they -- these were two separate incidents. One happened in Eastern Afghanistan. That's the latest incident, where we are getting information from the International Security Assistance Forces that one of their own was killed by a policeman who was an Afghan police officer. There is very little information on exactly how that came about and why it happened and what preceded the incident.

We do know a little more about another incident today that left two British members of ISAF dead at the hand of an Afghan National Army member. Apparently, there was some kind of argument before this all happened and they ended up being shot dead.

That is all we have on those two cases, but it certainly doesn't look good when you start talking about transition, when you have people who are supposed to be getting and taking the reins of Afghanistan from those who have been here now for 10 years, obviously, some dissention and some issues that are coming up. It doesn't make people feel good to see this.

FOSTER: Yes, and in that wider context, I know that General John Allen has been speaking today about that.

Did he have -- shed any light on how things have been impacted and what effects all this is going to have?

SIDNER: He's very clear in saying, look, if there's an investigation going on right now that involves Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, who was accused of massacring 16 civilians and actually charged, though, with 17 murders. That has caused a lot of speculation. The U.S. has charged him with 17 murders. The Afghan government says there were only 16 people killed in the incident.

General John Allen was asked about this point blank and here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JOHN ALLEN, COMMANDER, ISAF: The number increased was based upon the initial reporting by the Afghans. And so we should not be surprised that, in fact, as the investigation went forward, that an -- that an additional number was added to that. So that -- that is something that we understand and we accept. And as the investigation goes forward, we'll -- we'll get greater -- greater clarity on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: So just to clear up what he said, he seems to be saying that the Afghan government initially said there were 17 dead and that's the number that they've gone with, but he is going to try to clarify, because we have the paperwork from the Afghan government that lists 16 names of the deceased.

Now, moving forward from that, there is more information. And that involves the amount of money that has been given to the victims, the U.S. and Afghan officials say that around $860,000, the equivalent in cash, has been given to the victims' families, $50,000 per person who died, $10,000 per person who was injured.

We were able to speak with a couple of the family members of the victims who were killed who said that they never received any money, causing more confusion in this case.

But the Afghans and the U.S., both say that money was handed over. It was compensation for those who died. And that's the end of it -- Max.

FOSTER: Sara Sidner.

Now, the wife of massacre suspect, Robert Bales, says she can't imagine him committing such murders. In her first TV interview since the killings, Carolyn Bales told NBC News that her husband loves children and would not do that. She also talked about his mental health and the possible effects of his multiple deployments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY NBC NEWS)

MATT LAUER, NBC HOST: Is it possible, in your mind, that this is just the stress of war?

KARILYN BALES, SERGEANT ROBERT BALES' WIFE: That's -- that's what I thought of. Yes. It -- it seems like this mission was different than the Iraq tours. So more intense.

LAUER: Do you believe that your husband ever showed signs of PTSD prior to this deployment or during this deployment?

BALES: I Don't know a lot about the symptoms of PTSD, so I wouldn't know. He doesn't have nightmares, you know, things like that. No dreams.

LAUER: Trouble concentrating?

BALES: Un-unh.

LAUER: Erratic behavior shifts, anything like that?

BALES: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, the massacre was a further blow to already strained U.S.-Afghan relations. Here's a reminder of recent incidents that have outraged the Afghan people.

Just last month, riots broke out across Afghanistan after a group of U.S. soldiers burned copies of the Koran. The U.S. called it an accident and apologized but dozens of people were killed in the violence.

A month earlier, a video circulated showing U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. And in March last year, a radical U.S. pastor carried through on threats to burn a Koran, triggering deadly protests in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military says it can't discount the possibility that revenge may have been a factor in today's insider killings of NATO troops.

So what can the U.S. and Afghan governments do to strengthen their ties and, once again, instill trust?

We're joined now by two guests with good insight on these issues.

P.J. Crowley is a former U.S. assistant secretary of State and Zahir Tanin is the Afghan ambassador to the United Nations.

If I can start with you first, Zahir, can we -- can we read into the latest round of incidents that there's some sort of tit-for-tat revenge going on here?

ZAHIR TANIN, AFGHAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It is not just revenge. It would be -- it would be difficult to see it only through -- through that. What happened recently had an effect on the -- on the psyche of people, on the understanding of people. But there are different reasons for -- for an -- what -- they call it inside attack in Afghanistan, when Afghan soldiers killed NATO soldiers.

Maybe it is revenge, but at the same time, I think there is a sophisticated infiltration of the Taliban. There is also, as a report last year indicated, by NATO itself, mistrust by -- between the -- the soldiers of -- of both sides and sometimes maybe arrogance, rude behavior play a role. And at the same time, I think there were some individual personal grievances.

So it is not the Taliban only. It's not only the revenge. But it is a combination of different factors that may -- might have contributed to these inside killings.

FOSTER: And the impact there is mistrust. You've talked about it there.

P.J. Crowley, mistrust not be -- not just between the troops on the ground, but developing between the two countries.

P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, certainly, we have to be concerned about public opinion in the United States, in Europe and in Afghanistan. Foreign forces have been in that country for a long time. I mean this is one of those situations where I -- I think it -- it's actually remarkable that foreign forces have been in Afghanistan for a decade and continue to have significant public support, obviously, not necessarily unanimous public support.

I think the ambassador gave a very good summary of -- of the dynamic that we're seeing right now. It's, at one level, understandable given the -- the friction that has built up over time, the pressure that -- that leaders are under. But I -- I think it's -- it's all the more important that both people in Afghanistan and people in the United States and in Europe focus on the long-term. This is -- this is one phase of an operation that will come to a conclusion around 2014. But what Afghanistan and the rest of the world are building is a long-term partnership. And -- and we have to -- that -- that needs to be the -- the emphasis that carries through these difficult times.

FOSTER: Yes, just talking about this latest spate of incidents, do you think it does represent a deep mistrust that's just emerged through these incidents or do you think we just got into this nasty little cycle that can be broken and that will build trust back up for the drawdown, P.J.?

CROWLEY: Well, I think the trust comes with a -- a firm understanding of -- of both what -- where Afghanistan is going and what kind of support it needs, you know, from the United States and from, you know, the rest of NATO.

Some of this friction is perfectly understandable. The -- the Afghan government is anxious to take full responsibility for its sovereignty and its security. It's unable to do that today. And -- and that actually does, sometimes, breed, you know, frustration and resentment.

That said, you know, there -- there are -- there certainly is -- are reasons for the international community to continue to support Afghanistan.

And -- and so I just think that as there is a consensus and as there is progress going forward, you know, I think that will, more than anything else, take care of -- of this friction that we do see right now.

FOSTER: Mr. Ambassador, I'm wondering what this means for the drawdown.

Is it a sign that perhaps the drawdown needs to take place sooner rather than later, to get rid of this tension?

Or does it mean that foreign troops should stay longer, actually, to try to create a more stable security environment there?

TANIN: A situation which can be stable is not necessarily about a longer stay of the forces in the battleground. I think we agreed to have a transition and this transition is, first off, all about an end to the military phase, to combat operations of the foreign forces in -- in the near future.

But I think Afghanistan still would need to -- to have the support of the international forces while the Afghan forces should be ready and willing -- it has the willingness to be ready to take their primary role.

But at the same time, as P.J. said, I think it's important to -- to focus on the trust.

Who is the partner of NATO in the United States and Afghanistan?

It's the government of Afghanistan. While this holy Koran burning incident happened, this was the Afghan forces, the Afghan Army who -- who - - who came first, who saved the lives of Afghans, who tried to save the lives of foreign forces, who -- who tried to bring stability.

So I think it is not as -- as keeping the forces in the villages and the field for long. It is keeping the -- the commitment for long. And this commitment should be not only wording commitments, but a commitment to enable Afghanistan to stand on its feet and to deal with security issues itself.

FOSTER: OK, Zahir Tanin and P.J. Crowley, thank you both very much, indeed for joining us on the program today.

Our top story tonight, troubling developments for NATO. Three soldiers killed today at the hands of Afghan security forces in two separate attacks brings the total of such deaths in Afghanistan to 16 this year alone.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, tough talk for North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There will be no rewards for provocations. Those days are over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: The U.S. president's strong warning for Pyongyang. We'll show you what prompted his words.

Plus, Pope Benedict arrives in Cuba amid questions about what message he will deliver to the once atheist state.

And a movie director resurfaces after plunging to the deepest point on the -- in the Earth's oceans. What James Cameron saw, when CONNECT THE WORLD continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER:

FOSTER: You're watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Max Foster.

Welcome back to you.

Now, the pope has arrived in Cuba on the last leg of a tour of Latin America. It's the second papal visit in the island's history.

Patrick Oppmann is in Havana and joins us now live -- Patrick.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And a stunning juxtaposition of world figures, as Pope Benedict made his way down the people runway, touched Cuban soil and met with President Raul Castro. So here we have the head of the Roman Catholic Church next to the head of a secular, once officially atheist country. And the pope, in some brief comments made in very clear Spanish that were carried on Cuban state TV, said that Cubans need more reconciliation, more liberty and need to look toward tomorrow, toward a brighter future to, as he said, expand their horizons.

Max, the pope will continue in Santiago -- Santiago today, throughout today, to the east of the country, where he'll deliver a mass, where they expect thousands of people to attend. And then tomorrow, he will come here to the capital of Havana, the capital, where, again, he will meet Cuban President Raul Castro. And tomorrow in Havana, he's also expected to meet with former President Fidel Castro -- Max.

FOSTER: Patrick, thank you very much, indeed.

And here's a look now at some other stories connecting our world tonight.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is ordering a search for Islamic extremists in the aftermath of a shooting spree that killed seven people. He's also barring Qatar-based cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, from visiting France for an Islamic conference. Now, 23 -year-old Mohamed Merah was killed on Thursday in a stand-off with police. He claimed to have ties to al Qaeda. His brother is charged with complicity in the seven murders, but denies any involvement.

London police are hoping a taxi driver can shed light on the would-be killer of a former Russian banker. German Gorbuntsov was shot on Tuesday as he walked into an apartment block. Detectives want to speak to the cab driver who picked him up in the financial district. Gorbuntsov remains in critical, but stable condition. He reportedly owned banks in Russia and Moldova.

The European Union is calling Senegal's presidential election a great victory for democracy in Africa. Opposition candidate, Macky Sall, won over incumbent -- the incumbent in Sunday's runoff election. There's been fears that the 85 -year-old Wade would try to cling to power, but he conceded defeat to his former protege.

We're going to take a short break.

But when we come back, is Tiger Woods the odds-on favorite to win another major?

Why his play at the weekend has many believing he's ready.

Stay with CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.

Now, after years plagued by injuries and scandal, Tiger Woods pulled away from his competition Sunday to capture his first PGA Tour win since September, 2009. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida by five shots and appears to be regaining the form that once made him the clear world number one.

Don Riddell joins us from his new home, CNN Center, for more on the return of Tiger -- Don, how big is this win for him, then?

DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm not actually living at CNN Center, Max. But you're right, I'm --

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: No, I know you've got a home separately.

(LAUGHTER)

RIDDELL: Listen, this was a huge win for Tiger Woods. Many people had completely written him off over the last few years. And, of course, we all know how spectacular his fall from grace was. And he hadn't won a PGA Tour event for some 30 months.

But he did it. And he did it in pretty spectacular fashion, Max, over the weekend, winning by five strokes in the end. And his timing is absolutely brilliant, because his next event is the Master's, the first major of the year. That is an event that he's won on four previous occasions. And he's now the bookies' favorite to win for a fifth time at Augusta here in Georgia next week.

And do you know what?

He may very well just do it. He's got the experience. We know -- we all know that. And judging by the way he was playing over the weekend, you know, his driving was great, his putting was great. His all-round game, he finally seems to have got it altogether. And we really could be looking at the genuine return of Tiger Woods now.

FOSTER: Yes. And good for him.

But also good for golf, right?

RIDDELL: Absolutely. I mean especially in the United States. He really was the star. He's a mega star. He was, you know, a global mega star. But there's been no other American golfer to match him. And during his kind of lean years, all the new stars, they're European. And I think the -- the PGA Tour really needs a home grown American star. And none of those have emerged during Tiger's absence. So I think it's great for American golf that he's back.

And if you just look at the viewing figures over the weekend, when he was doing well on Saturday, the audience figures for the broadcast that they were showing that tournament went up by 53 percent.

So I mean an awful lot of interest in Tiger Woods and in Tiger Woods' doing well.

FOSTER: An amazing story. and in terms of football, Don, it's all about Manchester United tonight.

RIDDELL: Well, it is, although I'll bring you another headline in just a moment. But Manchester United are playing Fulham in the Premier League at home, at Old Trafford. As you can see, they're winning that game. Wayne Rooney scored three minutes before half-time. They're into the second half. If that result stays as is, United will return to the top of the table -- and, Max, just as I sat down to speak to you, I was told that the Inter Milan coach, Claudio Ranieri, has been fired from his position at the San Siro Stadium. Inter are really struggling in Italy this season. They're eighth in Serie A. They've been on a pretty miserable run of results.

So Claudio Ranieri fired in Italy this evening. We'll have more on that for you in "WORLD SPORT" in about an hour's time.

FOSTER: Yes, and just a quick word on the Olympics. We're obviously gearing up for that later. And you've had some behind the scenes access on how those drug cheats are going to be caught out.

RIDDELL: Yes. Well, I mean there's been organizers of every Olympics, and in particular, the next Olympics in London, 2012, this year, always hoping that there are no drug scandals that mar the Games.

But if any athlete is caught cheating this time around, they're really confident there will be at a new state-of-the-art lab.

My colleague, Ben Wyatt, has been taking a look at how the testing works.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WYATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Olympic Games may be synonymous with achievement, but drug taking athletes like Marion Jones, Ben Johnson and Arina Korjenenko (ph) have shown that not all stay within the rules. That's why London 2012 organizers have been driving home the message that dope cheating in July will be harder than ever before.

(on camera): (INAUDIBLE) for the first time in history, a private company called GlaxoSmithKline is helping out with the Olympics project. I've come down to East London to their laboratories to find out more about the science of screening for dope.

(voice-over): During the period of the Games, this $30 million facility will see 150 scientists manning the laboratory 24 hours a day. Samples of blood and urine from the athletes will be delivered direct from the Olympic Park to a lab technician like Sarah, that will scan the individual's details into the lab's records.

The samples are then given to someone like Paul, who cracks open the airtight seals. This allows Elizabeth to separate the liquids into individual vials ready for testing.

The list of IOC banned substances is a long one and the man responsible for finding them is Professor David Cowan, a specialist drafted in from King's College, London, and the director of the whole operation.

(on camera): I know there are kind of key performance enhancing drugs that will probably be top of your list to find.

How many substances in all would these machines detect in blood or urine?

PROF. DAVID COWAN, DRUG CONTROL CENTRE, KING'S COLLEGE, LONDON: Well, across the range of instruments that you see in the lab today, we reckon we can pick up even things you hadn't thought of. We can do a sort of what is known as data mining approach, where we can look for things that we hadn't -- we hadn't of thought of.

So I think we'll soon be away from the days of designer beating the analysts. And I'm hoping this will be the Games where we actually prove that.

WYATT: And I suppose it's only fitting for the Olympic Games that the testing is going to be speedy and efficient.

COWAN: Well, under the World Anti-Doping Agency code, the normal turnaround is 10 working days. During the Olympics, it's one working day.

WYATT: One working day?

COWAN: Twenty-four hours is when we turn around the results.

WYATT (voice-over): Faster testing and quicker results is the promise of the lab. And GlaxoSmithKline are also quick to defend their role of support.

KERRY O'CALLAGHAN, GLAXOSMITHKLINE: We're working very hard at GSK to ensure there is absolute clear water between what we're doing in providing the buildings, the technology, the machinery and the actual testing that goes on during the Games, which is solely the remit of Professor Cowan and the scientists from King's College. So there will be no GSK scientists in this lab during game time.

WYATT: What do you think GlaxoSmithKline will bring to this project?

O'CALLAGHAN: We expect about half the athletes who are taking part to be tested. But really importantly, every single athlete that steps on the Olympic podium will have been tested and proven clean and healthy by this laboratory.

WYATT (voice-over): Like all good scientists, it seems the London 2012 team have certainly done their homework. It remains to be seen if any athlete dares putting their expertise to the test.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

RIDDELL: Well, they certainly would be foolish to do so -- Max, that's it for the sport for now. But join us for "WORLD SPORT" in exactly one hour's time. We'll have the latest on Claudio Ranieri for you then. He's been fired by Inter Milan this evening.

FOSTER: OK, Don, thank you very much, indeed.

And still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, is North Korea losing the power to scare its neighbor?

As world leaders sit down in Seoul, hear what a young South Korean really thinks about Pyongyang's politics.

Then, we're off to the country that was the last in the world to abolish slavery, but where freedom, for some, is still just a pipe dream.

And the view from the oceans' depths -- why Director James Cameron says it's like being on another planet.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Max Foster, these are the latest world headlines from CNN.

Insider killings have claimed more lives in Afghanistan. NATO says three of its soldiers were shot to death in two separate attacks, apparently by Afghan security forces. Two soldiers were British. The nationality of the third hasn't been disclosed.

Pope Benedict the XVI is now in Cuba. During his three-day stay, he'll meet with President Raul Castro and say Mass in Santiago to Cuba and Havana. He is coming from Mexico, the first leg of his tour.

In the aftermath of a shooting spree that left seven dead, French president Nicolas Sarkozy is launching a search for Islamic extremists throughout the country. The brother of gunman Mohamed Merah is charged with complicity in the murders. He denies any involvement.

Concerns about North Korea are taking center stage at a nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea. The North is said to be moving forward with a plan to launch a long-range rocket despite warnings from the US.

And this just into CNN: French media are reporting that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged in relation to an alleged prostitution ring. Last month, Strauss-Kahn was held for more than 24 hours by police in Lille and questioned about his alleged involvement.

His attorneys released a statement in November calling the allegations against Strauss-Kahn unhealthy, sensationalist, and not without a political agenda. The prosecution probe nick-named "the Carlton Affair" by the French press kicked off in October.

Again, French media are reporting Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged in relation to an alleged prostitution ring. Stay tuned for details as they become available to us.

Now, more on North Korea. President Barack Obama promises there will be repercussions after Pyongyang announced it would carry out its planned launch in mid-April. North Korea says it's just a satellite, the South says otherwise.

As the US aims pointed words at North Korea, CNN's Paula Hancocks reports on how Pyongyang has taken over the summit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea is dominating conversation in Seoul. Although not on the official agenda of the nuclear security summit, the threat of a rocket launch was enough to make Pyongyang the most immediate concern.

US president Barack Obama spoke directly to North Korea's leaders Monday.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek. They have undermined it. Instead of the dignity you desire, you're more isolated. Instead of earning the respect of the world, you've been met with strong sanctions.

HANCOCKS: Mr. Obama insisted the days of rewards for provocations are over, but it's still not clear where the Washington-Pyongyang deal stands. North Korea, also known as the DPRK, had agreed last month to allow UN weapons inspectors back into the country and promised no more nuclear or missile tests in return for US food aid.

The food aid appears to be on hold, but according to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, talks to send IAEA inspectors back in are not.

YUKIYA AMANO, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: We're having to suddenly stand our contact at rapier level, and they are keeping contact with North Korean mission in Vietnam. Nothing has been decided yet, and so we need to consult with the DPRK, as we allow the other parties of the six parties talk.

HANCOCKS: Weapons inspectors were kicked out of North Korean in 2009 after the collapses of six-party talks with the US, South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia.

US scientist Siegfried Hecker visited the Yongbyon nuclear power plant more recently in 2010, invited Pyongyang to see its secret uranium enrichment program. He's convinced he was not shown everything.

SIEGFRIED HECKER, NUCLER SCIENTIST, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: When I saw the sophistication and the scale of that uranium facility, Yongbyon, in a building I had been in before that housed something totally different, it was clear that they started the program long before the time that they had said, which was April of 2009. So, my conclusion was they had to have another site someplace else.

HANCOCKS (on camera): Pyongyang has already transported its long- range rocket to the launchpad it will use in the northeast of the country, a clear sign that calls from global leaders to abort this launch are falling on deaf ears.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: So, how far can North Korea's missiles actually travel? Well, the Scud D has a maximum range of 700 kilometers. For the No-dong missile, it's 1,000 kilometers. Then, it's 2200 kilometers for the Taepodong-1, and the Taepodong-X has a maximum estimated range of 4,000 kilometers, which means it could reach India, central Asia, and the Philippines.

Experts say the Taepodong-2 has the farthest potential reach, perhaps 6700 kilometers. That's striking distance of Australia, Guam, and possibly Alaska or Hawaii. Just so you know, this missile has never flown successfully in previous launches.

Well, Bill Richardson is the unofficial US envoy to North Korea. He's been to Pyongyang at least 40 times going back to 1990, so he knows better than most what goes on inside the dictatorship. In 2010, CNN went with him to North Korea's capital.

And tonight, Richardson, who is also the former governor of New Mexico, joins me live from that state's capital, Santa Fe. Thank you so much for joining us.

This sort of sense that a rocket could reach Hawaii and is being put in position is frightening for the world to hear. How realistic is the fact that it could hit Hawaii?

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, it is realistic. Negotiating with North Korea -- even though you've mentioned I've been there many times, which is true, and dealt with them, is like a comedy where you don't know at the end of the comedy whether you laugh or cry. They are very inconsistent, unpredictable. You don't know what they're going to do next.

There is a possibility that they may back off and not send that rocket. Now, I think that's highly unlikely, but I think they need to be tested. But obviously, I think President Obama is right to show indignation.

They made a deal with the United States and others that in exchange for food aid, they would freeze their nuclear development on many fronts. They obviously don't want to do that. At the same time, the North Koreans have sent a positive message saying that they would allow nuclear inspectors to come in.

So, they're playing games, they're being crafty. You don't know what they'll do next, but clearly, many of us had hoped that the new leader of North Korea would be a welcome step, but it looks like it's the old days of negotiating that are still persisting.

FOSTER: If Americans feel under threat, people around the world feel under threat, and there is all this uncertainty. What's your advice to Washington right now? Are you advising them to perhaps come up with a possible plan, put military assets in place that puts America in a position to respond if there is a rocket flying over the waters?

RICHARDSON: Well, I'm not advising the Obama administration but, if asked, I would say test them, find out if they back off. Maybe they will back off. Because the stakes are very high. They won't get food aid. They will continue to be isolated.

If they don't back off, I just think the next step is to try to persuade China to really, really put pressure on North Korea, because China never really does. They fear an exodus of North Koreans going into China. They're the country with leverage over North Korea because they give them food and fuel.

But it doesn't hurt to talk directly to the North Koreans. They want to talk to us. They think they're the big boys in the region, and continuing to isolate them, even though they give you very good reason, is not the way to go with them, because they have nuclear weapons, they have all these missiles, they have 1.2 men in arms.

They're hostile, their leadership is uncertain. We have vital interests in Asia, we have 28,000 American troops, the stability of our friends in South Korea and Japan. So, we have to keep watching them. We have to keep trying. But recognize that if you keep negotiating with them, it is going to be frustrating. That doesn't mean you stop negotiating.

FOSTER: What's your concern about the Obama administration's strategy right now? What's the risk with their current strategy?

RICHARDSON: Well, the risk is that the North Koreans will shoot the missile, and I believe they will. I think the Obama administration is playing it right. They're saying they're not going to reward bad behavior. That makes sense.

But maybe the North Koreans are going to back off, and it is good that they're going to allow inspectors in. So, take that offer. Put that offer into your pocket, let the inspectors come in. Hold off on the food aid. Find ways to continue putting pressure on them, mainly through the Chinese, and hope for the best.

This is not an easy situation, but I think the president is handling this right. We have to back South Korea. But to continue to isolate them, punish them, that's happened before, and it hasn't worked. So, you don't have too many good options.

FOSTER: OK, Bill Richardson, we really appreciate your time on the program. Thank you very much, indeed.

So, how do South Koreans feel, living with threats coming from north of the border. Well, I asked a young South Korean, who's grown up with the political bluster from Pyongyang.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAEHWAN CHO, SOUTH KOREAN RESIDENT: There is so many stresses from North Korea. Actually, the South Koreans are used to hearing about the North Korean stress, provocations, any other stress. We hear some news numerous times, and we experience.

And during my whole life, and I was a military son, we've been working as a whole time when I was a military -- I was an interpreter during that military exercise, so we've experienced so many kinds of how to respond to this kind of threat, so we are not worried about it.

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FOSTER: While the world is focusing on North Korea, Mr. Obama told Russian president Dmitry Medvedev he would need more time to focus on the missile defense system in Europe.

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OBAMA: This is my last election. And after my election, I have more flexibility.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: I understand. I transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.

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FOSTER: Fascinating hearing, isn't it? It's the frank exchange that was caught on camera after the US president said in a speech that he would revitalize talks on nuclear arms reduction with Russia.

If you think slavery is a thing of the past, then think again. Up next, we'll head to the West African country of Mauritania, where the shackles have yet to be broken.

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FOSTER: Well, it has been described as slavery's last stronghold, a country where, despite abolishing the practice in 1981, up to a fifth of its people are still not free. Two CNN reporters traveled to the West African country of Mauritania as part of our Freedom Project to highlight the horrors of modern-day slavery. Here's what they discovered.

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JOHN SUTTER, CNN DIGITAL REPORTER: It was a -- a really long process for us to be able to go to Mauritania to report on this story. It's not something that the government wants, foreign journalists to be there talking about it.

The thing about Mauritania that really caught my eye was sort of the statistics about it. We talked to the UN's expert on modern slavery. She says that 10 to 20 percent of people in Mauritania are in a form of slavery today, which I just thought was sort of mind-blowing. It's also the last country in the world to abolish the practice.

EDYTHE MCNAMEE, CNN DIGITAL REPORTER: Mauritania is an instance of slavery by dependence, where people don't necessarily know that they shouldn't be in this position, and that's kind of a unique and very old- world form of slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): But the multigenerational slave, he is a slave even in his own head. He is totally submissive. And unfortunately, it's this type of slavery that we have today.

SUTTER: This is why inspections we do, there are people in Mauritania who are enslaved today in a very real living with a master, serving their family, working on their land herding goats and that sort of thing.

And there are people who've escaped from slavery and then who go back because they can't find a way to survive in the free world. So I think there's some people who question how free someone is if they -- even if they've escaped.

MCNAMEE: When we walked around with our fixer, the man on the ground who was showing us where the city was, helping as a translator, we'd go to some of the markets and he would say, look at that person. That person's dressed in this way, they're doing this job. Chances are, they're a slave. And you wouldn't know it.

Since the families go back together for generations, that one family is living next to another family, and they grow up kind of like as extended family.

SUTTER: Yes.

MCNAMEE: And they're maybe not treated very poorly. They're just not paid for what they do. So, it's this really big gray zone of I guess what it means to be a slave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think about slavery. Yes, I think about it. Because I can't forget it at all, because my brothers and sisters are still there. So, I can't forget about it. Also, a person like me will never forget about the torture he has suffered. I will not forget.

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FOSTER: You can discover much more about John and Edythe's journey in a special CNN Freedom Project documentary called "Slavery's Last Stronghold." That's Thursday morning, 8:30 in London, 9:30 in central Europe.

You can also find out how one Mauritanian woman took her first steps towards freedom on our website, that's cnn.com/freedom. There, you'll also learn about ways to help. It's all part of CNN's fight to end modern-day slavery.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, exploring the Earth's final frontier: the discoveries to be made at the bottom of the ocean.

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FOSTER: Returning to breaking news we are following for you out of France. French media reporting that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged in relation to an alleged prostitution ring. The probe kicked off in October. Last month, the former International Monetary Fund chief was held for more than 24 hours by police in Lille and questioned about his alleged involvement.

In a statement, his attorneys have rejected the allegations, implying there is a political agenda behind them. Stay tuned for more details as they become available to us.

The Oscar-winning director of "Titanic" and "Avatar" is making history in another arena. James Cameron plunged to the deepest-known point in the world's oceans in a one-man submersible. Erin McLaughlin reports on what he found there.

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ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A glimpse of another world. Rare images of the deepest point on earth, filmed by one of Hollywood's most renowned directors.

James Cameron is stunned by what he describes as his most challenging project yet, plunging deeper than the deepest shipwreck.

(PEOPLE CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome back, mate!

JAMES CAMERON, FILM DIRECTOR: Man, this is a long way down. When you go past Titanic, and then you go past Bismark, then you go past where the mirrors can go. And then you're still only halfway there or two thirds of the way there.

MCLAUGHLIN: Cameron is the director of such blockbusters as "The Titanic" and "Avatar." And he emerged from his latest project with yet another story to tell.

CAMERON: When I came down and landed, it was very, very soft, almost gelatinous, flat plain. Almost featureless plain. And it just went out of sight as far as I could see. I didn't -- I didn't see fish, I didn't -- the only free swimmers that I saw where these small anthropoids that are shrimp-like animals.

MCLAUGHLIN: Nearly 36,000 feet into the ocean, about 11,000 meters, the bottom of the Mariana Trench is 50 times the size of the Grand Canyon. A place where two crustal plates meet, where man of the world's earthquakes and tsunamis are thought to originate.

CAMERON: There's so much seismic activity down there. This is where all that energy is released into the ocean that goes out. Anybody that lives around the ring of fire in the Pacific rim has got a vested interest in understanding what's going on down in these deep trenches.

MCLAUGHLIN: They voyage is completed in a 12-ton submersible called The Deep Sea Challenger, packed with electronic equipment including sonar imaging, computers, HD cameras, and navigation tools.

CAMERON: I'm pretty much like this for about ten hours.

MCLAUGHLIN: The vessel is capable of resisting enormous pressure.

CAMERON: Every single thing you try to do gets more difficult the deeper you go. There's more pressure on everything, all your tolerances change. The whole sub actually squeezes down almost three inches in length when it gets to the bottom of the ocean just because of the pressure. The sphere that I'm in actually shrinks. The window that I look out actually pushes in toward me.

MCLAUGHLIN: The trip was meticulously planned with the help of the National Geographic Society and a team of scientists specializing in extreme depth. The images from the journey captured in three-dimension to be crafted into a feature documentary.

James Cameron is the third person every to complete this journey. In 1960, Swiss oceanographer Jacques Picard and US Navy lieutenant Don Walsh explored the trench. They made it to the ocean bottom in what was essentially a 150-ton steel balloon filled with gasoline. Their plexiglass windowpane cracked under the immense pressure on the way down. The trip lasted 20 minutes.

James Cameron spent hours exploring, though his voyage had its own technical difficulties.

CAMERON: We have a big science team with us, and they want -- they want samples. They want rocks, not just images. So, when my manipulator kind of froze up on me, when the hydraulics ruptured, I saw a bunch of hydraulic oil going in front of my window, so I knew -- I knew things weren't going so well in the hydraulics system. I couldn't take the rock samples that they needed.

MCLAUGHLIN: Cameron's passion for the sea and for exploration is evident in his life's work. He gained credibility as an explorer in Discovery Channel's "Titanic Dive." He visited the wreckage more than 30 times, and documented his two-mile or three-kilometer down to volcanic seems in the sea floor in "Aliens of the Deep."

It's the deep ocean exploration that he says he is truly passionate about, his journey to the Mariana Trench regarded as an important next step for science.

CAMERON: Here in the 21st century, when you can go on Google Maps and you can zoom in on any part of the world no matter how remote -- Papua New Guinea, the Congo, Antarctica, anywhere, and see it -- the last frontier that really exists for us that's unmapped and unseen is the deep ocean.

MCLAUGHLIN: That is, until now. Cameron and his team are planning at least three more trips to the ocean's deepest depths.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.

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FOSTER: Tonight's Parting Shots, now. Is this the next Pavarotti?

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(JONATHAN AND CHORLOOTE ANTOINE SINGING OPERA MUSIC)

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE, "BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT": Jonathan, you are a future star.

(CROWD CHEERS)

JONATHAN ANTOINE, CONTESTANT, "BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT": Thank you.

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FOSTER: The booming voice of Jonathan Antoine, a 17-year-old from Essex in England. He had the judges -- excuse me -- judges on "Britain's Got Talent" comparing him to the opera legend that was Luciano Pavarotti.

What you're looking at right now is being called a Susan Boyle moment. She rocketed to fame three years ago on a big voice and an unconventional appearance. Now, here comes Jonathan.

When we -- when he first came on stage over the weekend, judge Simon Cowell prejudged the teen, but once he sang, Cowell changed his tune. Good on him.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. The world headlines are up next after this short break.

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