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Syrian Peace Plan; Interview with Ausama Monajed; Will Benedict Meet Fidel?; Amnesty International Report on Executions; Death Penalty in Middle East, Africa, and US; Human Rights Activist Comments on Death Penalty Report; Leading Women: Back to Roots and Making a Mark; "Titanic" 3D London Premier; The Future of 3D Films

Aired March 27, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, a new peace plan for Syria. President al-Assad accepts a deal to end the violence, as he makes a rare appearance in the battered city of Homs.

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

FOSTER: The Syrian government may be saying yes to peace, as it has done before, but the violence is still raging on. Tonight, what chance this plan will make any real difference.

Also tonight, Pope Benedict arrives in Cuba's capital, but questions swirl over whether he'll meet with former President Fidel Castro.

And stars hit the red carpet to the world premier of "Titanic" like you've never seen it before.

Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Syria appear to be paying off, at least on paper. Now, we're waiting to see whether the government keeps to its word. The regime of Bashar al-Assad has accepted a U.N.- backed peace deal brokered by Special Envoy Kofi Annan.

President al-Assad apparently wanted to project a position of strength as the news surfaced, making a highly symbolic visit to Baba Amr. The neighborhood in Homs was once the heart of Syria's resistance, until it was overrun in a fierce government offensive.

Today, the president praised soldiers for what he considers a job well done.


BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SYRIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): First of all, may God give you strength. I would like to begin with a word of praise for you. You are the guardians of the homeland, the armed forces that defend the nation. I normally am present with the armed forces, but I am usually wearing my military uniform, but this time it is a civilian visit. But I can't make this visit without stopping to see your accomplishments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My sir, we are at your service for the civilians we are seeing them return because of the sacrifices by the armed forces.


FOSTER: Well, Kofi Anan called Syria's acceptance of his peace plan an important first step, but says implementation is what really matters.

We're covering this story from all angles.

From Beirut, Ben Wedeman is monitoring the latest developments out of Syria, while Richard Roth is following diplomatic developments at the United Nations.

We also have a special guest, Ausama Monajed, to give us opposition reaction to the deal. He's spokesman for the Syrian National Council.

Let's start, though, with Richard, to tell us exactly what this peace agreement requires -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this plan has been on the table by Kofi Anan, the U.N. and Arab League envoy, for weeks now. But after visiting Beijing and Moscow, two main defenders at the United Nations of Syria, by blocking resolutions against Damascus, the key aspects are now going to be really given a look, after the Syrian government has given its OK.

If we take a look at some of the three key central parts of this plan, number one, inclusive Syrian-led political process to address aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.

Number two, a commitment from both sides to stop all violence and the government to pull back troops -- this timing is a big issue there -- and a daily two hour truce to allow humanitarian aid and to evacuate the wounded.

Kofi Anan and many others know this is really a process. There's a big step forward with Syria saying yes, for now, on these proposals -- Max.

FOSTER: Richard, but you in a moment.

But President al-Assad has made cease-fire promises before, only to break them. No one is more aware of that than the Syrian people themselves.

Let's bring in Ben now for the latest on the ground -- and a very interesting day unfolding, Ben, in Homs.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly. We saw this video of Bashar Al-Assad going to Homs. He rarely ventures out of the Syrian capital, rarely, in fact, out of the presidential compound in Damascus.

As we saw, he's trying to put forward a -- a sort of showing that he's a leader in command, so to speak, and in control.

But if you look at the broader picture in Syria, yet another quote, unquote "normal day," in a sense, death tolls over 50, according to opposition groups. And even in some parts of Homs, where it was -- it is relatively peaceful, it's still a very grim existence in a town that's quickly becoming a ghost town.


WEDEMAN: (voice-over): The sound of gunfire is the only farewell this family hears, as they pack into a car to leave the Homs neighborhood of Karm el-Zeytoun. There's little time for one last look back at a home they have no way of knowing when they'll see again. The reassuring routine of daily life is a faded memory.

In footage obtained by CNN, much of Karm el-Zeytoun appears to have been abandoned. The young men who have stayed behind live a precarious existence. They've knocked holes in the walls to move from house to house, to avoid being exposed to government snipers.

"here, there was a bakery," says this man, "but it stopped working because there are no supplies."

And there's no electricity, rarely any running water and rotting garbage is strewn in the streets.

Residents are getting by on old bread, which they first put in the sun to dry then break up and mix with warm water. These men say it's been two weeks since they were able to get to a bakery.

Shelling is sporadic. The voice here explains that this fire was caused by a mortar round. The building's inhabitants have left town.

One of the men describes, off camera, how Homs' sectarian fabric is being torn asunder.

"Our Christian brothers," he says, "have left because their homes and churches were being hit by bullets and mortars."

A large cloth has been strung across the street to block the view of snipers. Nearby, three men from the Free Syrian Army take cover behind a sandbag barricade and through a hole in the barricade, you can just see how close Syrian government forces are.

Just a few families remain.

"Here are four children," says this man. "There are two others. You can count them on your hands."

The last shell-shocked children left in a ghost town called Karm el- Zeytoun.


FOSTER: That's the situation on the ground.

We're going to get back to Richard now for reaction from the U.S. to the Syrian government accepting this deal -- what have you heard, Richard?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's reaction from a lot of capitals. But the U.S., of course, a key player. And U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in effect, saying Damascus is going to have to prove now its words.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Given Assad's history of over promising and under delivering, that commitment must now be matched by immediate actions. We will judge Assad's sincerity and seriousness by what he does, not by what he says.


ROTH: Other countries, key countries, Moscow, a spokesman for the foreign ministry saying that this agreement, through Damascus, with the help of Russian influence.

Germany's ambassador at the U.N. saying Syria has a credibility gap. Everyone saying they will now be tested to live up to this.

And, of course, Max, big questions on timings of withdrawals and where are the monitors to really observe any the report pullouts -- back to you.

FOSTER: Richard, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from the U.N. -- Ben, the question is, then what chances, what indications do you think there are that there will be implementation of this plan?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Max, we just have to look at the track record of Bashar Al-Assad. In November, the Arab League put forward a very similar so-called action plan to resolve the conflict in Syria.

Syria agreed. It took weeks of dithering to work out the fine details. I was speaking with officials at the Arab League and they were really tearing their hair out, trying to get the Syrians to basically implement -- at least agree to implement to what -- what they had agreed upon before.

And when that dithering was done and Arab monitors arrived in Syria, it was quite a chaotic situation. And they really did nothing, in reality, on the ground, to stop the fighting. Most observers would probably say that, if anything, the Arab League mission only made matters worse. The Syrian government continued, and, in fact, ratcheted up its campaign against the opposition -- Max.

FOSTER: Ben, Richard, thank you both for joining us.

Now, many opposition activists are demanding nothing less than the removal of Bashar al-Assad, saying calls to negotiate with him are too little too late considering how many thousands of people have lost their lives. The new peace deal, though, does not require a transfer of power.

Let's bring in Ausama Monajed.

He is a spokesman for the opposition, Syrian National Council.

Thank you very much, indeed for joining us.

First of all, just your broad, brief reaction to the plan.

AUSAMA MONAJED, SYRIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL: Well, again, the problem is that Assad is -- has not only lost his legitimacy, but that he cannot really -- this regime cannot fulfill their obligations. They agreed on this plan on paper because Russia and China were behind it and they can't say no to a Russian-backed plan. But yet again, another plan and another window of time that passes by the regime utilizes in order to kill more people and try desperately to quell the uprising but with no -- with no success.

FOSTER: So you're not...

MONAJED: This regime has a plan.

FOSTER: -- you're not signing up for the plan?

MONAJED: This regime, they stopped -- the Assad regime tried to -- to -- I mean they stopped the state of emergency in our country last year only to make things worse. They said they are going to release political prisoners even in March last year and that never happened. They said they will allow peaceful protesters to protest peacefully and with no attacks and only to see snipers on rooftops killing women, men and children.

FOSTER: I understand...

MONAJED: So this...

FOSTER: -- but yet...

MONAJED: -- regime has absolutely no -- no -- we cannot trust this regime by -- by...


MONAJED: -- any chance. We've...

FOSTER: That's clear. You're...

MONAJED: -- this plan stops...

FOSTER: -- you're trust in the regime...

MONAJED: -- stops short...

FOSTER: -- is clear. I just want to know if you're signing up to the plan, the Kofi Annan plan.

Will you sign up to it?

MONAJED: We are supportive of the Annan plan, but we have been saying very loudly and clearly, since the beginning, that Assad has to step down in order to pave a road to a diplomatic or a political solution. There is...

FOSTER: But you're not signing up for the plan because...

MONAJED: -- this regime was prepared to...

FOSTER: -- Annan isn't requiring Assad to step down and that's what your precursor is...


FOSTER: -- to any sort of negotiations, isn't it?

MONAJED: Again, if -- if this plan doesn't include, at the very beginning, that Assad relinquishes his power or steps down, it has absolutely no meaning. It's only a -- a waste of time...

FOSTER: Well, it doesn't. So you're...

MONAJED: -- and energy...

FOSTER: -- so you're saying the plan...

MONAJED: -- and their resources.

FOSTER: -- doesn't have meaning?

MONAJED: Well, at the moment, we -- we're trying to push for it to include that Assad steps down and the Syrian National Council official position is that we will -- we will attack (ph) it, even if it doesn't include Assad stepping down. We will say -- we will ask the armed resistance in the country to stop attacking or defending, even using any kind of military resistance for 48 hours and -- and to -- in order to expose the regime. And we are going to say, all right, let's release all political prisoners.

Anyone who knows how this re--- Syrian regime thinks and functions, and knows Syria well, and follows the details of what's happening know that there is no way they can release all political prisoners. We have now about 200,000...

FOSTER: We -- we know that it's a very, very complicated...

MONAJED: -- prisoners in prison.

FOSTER: -- situation. And Kofi Anan is trying to go in there to try to do the -- the best, I presume, that he -- he can. And he's come up with a plan. And Al-Assad says he's signed up to it. But now, the opposition, you, are saying you won't sign up to it.

So there is no progress here. This always saw these stumbling blocks all the way along. It might not be a perfect plan, but you're not going to go with what you've got whether or not you have...

MONAJED: Because the points...

FOSTER: -- to deal with Assad.

MONAJED: -- the points of reference are different. Annan's mission is to stop the killing. Our mission is to topple this regime and get rid of Bashar al-Assad and have a free, democratic Syria afterward. And Assad's mission and objective is to stay in power.

So we have three different points of reference here. That's why Annan's plan may not be perfect, although we -- the SNC will back it. We'll see how we can expose the Syrian regime in -- in front of the allies, the Russians and the Chinese, to say we've fulfilled our part, despite the fact that we do not think this is going to bear any fruit. And yet the regime that you back and you support is not doing its -- its part. And, clearly, your position, Russia and China, should side with the Syrian people and not with the murderous and butcher regime like Bashar al- Assad's.

FOSTER: Ausama Monajed, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us, from the Syrian National Council.

Appreciate your time.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, will the head of the Roman Catholic Church meet with one of the 20th century's communist crusaders?

We'll take you live to Havana, Cuba.

Then a TV network makes a decision on controversial images allegedly filmed by a French jihadist.

And get ready for "Titanic" in 3D. We're at the red carpet premier in London.

All that and much more when CONNECT THE WORLD continues.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN.

And this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Max Foster.

Welcome back to you.

Now, Al Jazeera says it will not air controversial footage allegedly connected to a French jihadist. French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the video should not air out of respect for the victims.

This is how suspect, Mohamed Merah, appeared in a different video that French television released. Al Jazeera says it has received footage showing images of the seven killings blamed on Merah. French commandoes killed Merah last week during a siege on his Toulouse apartment.

To Cuba now and a question -- will Pope Benedict XVI meet with Fidel Castro?

There's speculation that he might, as he tours Havana.

Let's go live to Cuba's capital and CNN's Patrick Oppmann -- anything in there -- Patrick?


Yes, so this is what we know. In about three hours, Pope Benedict is scheduled to meet with Cuban president, Raul Castro. Church officials had previously said that Raul Castro family members had been in -- had been invited to the meeting, including Cuban former head of state, Fidel Castro.

So just imagine the significance of this, if this meeting does happen. You could have not one, but two leaders of a communist country meeting with a pope. It's -- it's a pretty unprecedented situation, especially when you add in the fact, another leader who's in town and there's also been similar speculation about the fact that he could meet with the pope today, as well, in that meeting, and that's Venezuelan head of state, Hugo Chavez, who's in town for cancer treatment.

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

Now, here's a look at some other stories connecting our world tonight.

Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn say there's no significant evidence the former IMF chief knew that women were being paid at sex parties that he attended. Strauss-Kahn is currently under investigation for aggravated pimping, as French police look into high profile prostitution rings in Lille. Strauss-Kahn was released under a $133,000 bail on Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and Pakistan can achieve a balanced approach to relations. The remarks came as Mr. Obama met with Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, on Tuesday. It is the highest profile meeting between the two countries since a string of damaging incidents last year, including the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in NATO air strikes. Mr. Gilani said he welcomed the comments.

A U.S. man has pleaded guilty to hacking into the e-mail accounts of Hollywood celebrities. Prosecutors say Christopher Chaney accessed photographs belonging to stars, including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and forwarded them onto celebrity Web sites. A nude picture of Johansson was later circulated on the Internet. He faces up to 60 years in prison and a fine of more than $2 million.

We're going to take you to a short break now.

But when we come back, a scrappy little team from Cyprus has an opportunity to create one of the biggest upsets in Champions League history. We'll tell you how they're getting along against Spanish giant, Real Madrid, next.


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

Welcome back.

I'm Max Foster.

Now, the Champions League is down to the final 18s in this season's competition. And if you had bet that one of the teams to make the course finals has come from Cyprus, you could have won quite a bit of money, let's say.

Let's bring in Don Riddell from CNN Center for the latest on the match and how is Cinderella doing then against the mighty Real Madrid?

DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Max.

Up until seven minutes ago, they were actually doing really well. But Real Madrid have taken the lead in that game on 72 minutes, through Karim Benzema, his 26th goal of the season.

Up until that point, though, APOEL Nicosia had performed admirably. Remember, they are really, you know, they are really a -- a minnow team. To have got this far, it's quite incredible, when you consider their annual operating budget is something like $13 million. Real Madrid's most expensive player earns $16 million every single season.

So perhaps you would expect Real Madrid to win, but Nicosia have held them for most of the game. But it's now starting to look like the result you would expect, Real Madrid winning by a goal to nil, at this point with some 11 minutes remaining. Remember, this is only the first leg. A second leg will be played in Madrid later on.

FOSTER: And we need to know, don't we, Don, the last English team in the competition is playing in the other match.

How are Chelsea doing in Portugal?

RIDDELL: They're doing very well. They'll be pleased with the results as it stands. Well, the latest score, 1-0 to Chelsea. They're beating Benfica in Portugal, away from home. Salomon Kalou scored the Blues goal. He was set up by the Spaniard, Fernando Torres. So Chelsea winning that game.

If it stays that way or if Chelsea can improve that position, they'll be very pleased with that. They'll be taking a 1-0 advantage and a valuable away goal to the second leg, to be played in London.

FOSTER: And, Don, before you go, I've got to talk -- we see these hideous pictures coming out of Brazil.

RIDDELL: Yes. This is just awful. Remember, the World Cup is going to be played in Brazil in just over two years time. And there's a lot of concern about the violence that seems to be plaguing the football there on an almost weekly basis at the moment.

These are the latest pictures from a riot involving some 500 fans over the weekend. And, sadly, a 21 -year-old Palmeiras fan was killed after he was shot at point blank range. And this was a clash between Palmeiras and Corinthians involving some 500 supporters. It was the second football- related death in just a week. The police, as you would expect, are investigating. They believe that this riot was pre-planned and they've seized computers belonging to some of the fans involved to see if they can determine how this riot actually was organized and how it came to pass.

Locals are saying that there's really nothing to worry about with the World Cup only two years away. They're saying that these are kind of local clashes, domestic disputes involving local fans. But, of course, from the outside, the football fans who are going to Brazil in two years time, this really does look quite worrying.

FOSTER: OK, Don, thank you very much for that.

More from you, as well, a bit later on "WORLD SPORT."

Thank you for joining us on the show.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, a jump in executions in the Middle East, as human rights activist, Bianca Jagger will be with us live in the studio.

Plus, it broke the billion dollar barrier at the box office. Now, moviegoers will get to see "Titanic" like they've never seen it before.


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.

Syria has accepted a U.N.-brokered peace plan that calls for an end to the violence. But Western leaders say the regime will be judged by its actions, not words. President Bashar al-Assad visited the town of Homs today, once a symbol of opposition resistance.

Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Havana, the last leg of a Latin American tour. The pope begins -- began in -- his Cuba trip in Santiago de Cuba. He held mass then later visited the Shrine of the Version of Charity, the country's patron saint.

President Nicholas Sarkozy says France will jam any broadcast of a video purportedly made by serial killer, Mohamed Merah. Commandoes killed Merah last week in Toulouse after he killed seven people and taped the shootings. The Al Jazeera TV network says it has received the video, but it won't air it.

Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn say there is no significant evidence the former International Monetary Fund chief knew that women were being paid at sex parties that he attended. Strauss-Kahn was formally warned on Monday that he is under investigation for aggravated pimping.

Now, is it the death knell for the death penalty? Well, fewer countries are using it, but those countries with capital punishment on their books are executing prisoners at an alarming rate. That's the big headline out of a new Amnesty International report.

Now, first, the numbers. Only 20 countries out of 198 carried out executions in 2011. That's down more than a third from a decade ago. Let's break it down, though, into regions for you. There we are.

If we look at the Middle East and North Africa, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, they signed the most death warrants. But Belarus is the only country in Europe that carried out the death penalty in 2011.

And in the Americas, the US is the only region, really, to carry out the death penalty last year, but the number of executions is actually falling there. It's a very different story over here in China. According to Amnesty International, China executed more people than the other governments of the world put together.

More, now, on the death penalty in three key countries. We have team coverage for you, here. Nkepile Mabuse is in Lagos, Nigeria, Ralitsa Vassileva reports from the US, but let's kick off with Mohammed Jamjoom on the Middle East, reporting from Abu Dhabi.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Four countries -- Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran -- accounted for 99 percent of all recorded executions in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011.

Now, in Iran, Amnesty International had credible reports that a substantial number of executions were not officially acknowledged. Here in the UAE, Amnesty International says that over 30 death sentences were imposed in 2011, and that one person was executed, the first execution in this country since 2008.

NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Nkepile Mabuse in Lagos, Nigeria, where more than 900 people are believed to be sitting on death row. Now, Nigeria is one of 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that has retained the death penalty.

According to Amnesty International, the government has placed a moratorium on executions, but that hasn't stopped the courts from sentencing people to death. One such sentence was handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeals last year.

Now, most of democratic sub-Saharan Africa has abolished the death penalty. According to Amnesty, 22 executions were carried out last year in Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia. Here in Nigeria, those opposed to the death penalty argue that the criminal justice system here is so flawed that the rights of the innocent cannot be guaranteed.

RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ralitsa Vassileva in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the scene of protest over the death penalty last year, specifically over the case of Troy Davis.

CROWD (chanting): We won't let Troy Davis die! Stand up! Testify!

VASSILEVA (voice-over): Davis was executed for killing a police officer, despite doubts about his guilt and an international campaign to save his life. Davis was one of 43 prisoners executed in the US in 2011, 34 states in the US still use the death penalty, but only 13 states put prisoners to death last year.

So far, it's not become a major issue in the current presidential campaign. President Obama and the top three Republican candidates have all said in the past they support capital punishment.

VASSILEVA (on camera): The US was the only G8 country to use the death penalty last year, but the number of executions and death sentences has gone down from previous years.


FOSTER: I'm joined here in our London studio by former actress Bianca Jagger. For more than three decades, she's been a voice for human rights and civil liberties. She not only works with Amnesty International, she also runs the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. Thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.

You've read many of these reports over the years, haven't you? What do you make of this one?

BIANCA JAGGER, THE BIANCA JAGGER HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION: Well, on the one hand, it is -- it gives us hope that one day we will see the abolition of the death penalty and cancel our goodwill ambassador to abolish the death penalty.

But on the other hand, we see that some countries have increased the executions that they have, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia and Yemen and Iraq.

FOSTER: It's interesting, isn't it? Because the number of countries over time is reducing, that use the death penalty. But in the countries where they are using it, they're using it more, it seems, in many of them.

JAGGER: In many of them.

FOSTER: China, for example.

JAGGER: Well, China is in the south and unfortunately we do not know how many exactly. But it's certainly more than the entire world combined.

FOSTER: They think it's underestimated, that figure.

JAGGER: Well, it's not underestimated. It's that they have a total secrecy and don't allow us to see. But one good news is at least is that the US have reduced to 43 the executions. I witnessed an execution of an innocent man in the year 2000, and this is a lot less.

And of course, we already have this last year there was the abolition in the state of Illinois, and there was a moratorium in Oregon, and there will be a -- in California, they will decide whether they will abolish the death penalty.

FOSTER: But do you think, now, there's a change in attitude in the US, or just the fact that certain states are giving it up, and other states, there just haven't been as many executions? Because --

JAGGER: I think that the fact that the -- the studies and the reports have shown that innocent people were executed and that you have so many people have walked out from death row having been proven to be innocent, that has made people reflect upon.

Because even if you support he death penalty, you're not prepared to support the death penalty if you know that the people who have been executed or that have been condemned to death are being condemned to death because they're poor, because they're members of a minority, and particularly because they cannot afford an adequate legal counsel.

FOSTER: What about the argument that these are national systems, they are legal systems, and these countries are well-regarded around the world, and you shouldn't be interfering in their legal systems? It's how it works there.

JAGGER: Well, thank God that is not the case, because human rights are universal, and therefore --

FOSTER: So, you have a right to judge the --

JAGGER: Absolutely. I mean, I'm not --

FOSTER: -- cases in the US and China.

JAGGER: I'm Nicaraguan, I'm British, and I have worked on the death penalty with Amnesty International and with the Council of Europe and my own foundation for many, many years. And we have seen that -- we have seen improvement.

And fortunately -- and I hope one day we will see the abolition of the death penalty in the US, because it's the only country in the Americas, the only country among industrial nations who are still executing. Japan has the death penalty, but they haven't -- the didn't execute anybody, even though they have people on death row.

FOSTER: Are you broadly positive about your campaign over time? Do you think you are making a difference?

JAGGER: I think we have to think that we are making a difference, even though I'm very, very troubled by the fact that Iran is executing juveniles. I'm very troubled by the fact that Saudi Arabia executed two people for sorcery. This is in the 21st century. I mean, it's barbaric. The death penalty is barbaric anyway.

It's -- I'm very concerned by the fact that you're still executing people because of -- because they've been accused of or been unfaithful to the husband, and that often women are the victim of those executions.

FOSTER: Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

JAGGER: Thank you.

FOSTER: Now, she's a Leading Woman at the top of her game. Up next, how fashion designer Carolina Herrera plans to stay there.


FOSTER: One is a leading force in the world of technology, the other is a fashion designer extraordinaire. Both Leading Women are at the top of their fields, and both the subjects of our new series.

In a moment, we'll discover how Carolina Herrera made her mark on catwalks across the globe, but first, tech executive Weili Dai heads back to her roots to show us where it all began.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before Weili Dai became a tech powerhouse, this is the San Francisco, California neighborhood where her life in the US began, after she left Shanghai, China, as a teenager.

WEILI DAI, CO-FOUNDER, MARVELL TECHNOLOGY: I went to Lincoln High, and they actually taught English as a second language, because when I came here, I spoke only a few words, very little English.

STOUT: After high school, it was off the University of California at Berkley, where she studied computer science. It's also where she met her husband. They went on to co-found Marvell Technology, a company that makes chips that power devices, such as BlackBerries and game consoles.

On a visit to Berkley, we stop at the research center that now bears Dai's family name and her husband's, testament to their more than $20 million donation.

DAI: UC Berkley is dear to my heart. My husband and I were always, always believing education. The only little thing we can do is giving back to help school.

STOUT: The couple's rise and the success of Marvell haven't been stumble-free. 2008, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, charged Marvell with providing false financial information relating to stock options. The company admitted no wrongdoing, but ultimately settled with the SEC and paid a fine.

Dai says she's not allowed to talk about the case, but refers to that period as a "tsunami," but managed to remain positive.

This award-winning executive has two sons, is athletic and enjoys cooking. She defines her life and business credo with two words: fair and care.

DAI: I'm one of the leaders for my company, but I also see myself as a caretaker. So, that to me, it's in the gene of woman.

STOUT: But that doesn't mean women shouldn't be tough or ambitious.

DAI: The contribution to the world is already huge. But having said that, it's not enough. They need to participate more and they are to believe in themselves that without them, the world is going to move a lot slower.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Felicia Taylor. Fashion designer Carolina Herrera also believes in pushing beyond yesterday's success.

CAROLINA HERRERA, FOUNDER, CAROLINA HERRARA NEW YORK & CH: I feel that I have done nothing else. Look, I want to do more. But I think we have arrived to a place where it's wonderful because it's recognized everywhere in the world.

TAYLOR: She's referring to her billion-dollar fashion label, now found in more than 100 countries. She's managed to do all that with a family that includes four daughters, 12 grandchildren, and a husband of 43 years.

HERRERA: We women manage to do many things at the same time, and everything works.

TAYLOR (on camera): You have a huge family life. You have a very good marriage, and I've seen you together, you're very much in love still.

HERRER: But you know what? Without my husband, I don't think I would have been sitting here talking to you, because he was my great help. He is my great help. Because he supports all my ideas and he likes what I'm doing.

TAYLOR (voice-over): Herrera's strong sense of family and impeccable style goes back generations. She grew up in Venezuela, lived on an estate, and at 13, her grandmother took her to her first couture show.

Herrera would go on to not only wear fine clothes, but design them for women around the world.

TAYLOR (on camera); What does it take to be a leader in your industry?

HERRERA: There are a lot of leaders, women leaders. The only thing I see is that they don't have to act like a man. You can be very feminine and be a leader. Christine Lagarde, she's very chic and she dresses very well, and she's a woman. And she has a lot of power.

TAYLOR (voice-over): After 30 years in fashion, Herrera is still in demand, and her fall 2012 collection another success.

TAYLOR (on camera): So, what happens now? What is the feeling for Carolina Herrera?

HERRERA: I feel very well because I'm -- everywhere went very well. Everybody was perfect, and the music was great, and the production work, and the whole thing worked. And then, when it's over, I say good-bye.



FOSTER: You can check out our website for more of their advice. Weili Dai says women should embrace their inner geek. That's at

Next month, we will spotlight two new industry leaders for you. Felicia Taylor profiles Google executive Marissa Mayer and Becky visits renowned French chef Anne-Sophie Pic.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, a start- studded evening in London for the premier 3D release of "Titanic." We'll have a report from the red carpet.



GLORIA STUART AS OLD ROSE, "TITANIC": And it was. It really was.




FOSTER: Fifteen years after its debut, you can relive the first movie to break the billion-dollar box office barrier in 3D. The updated "Titanic" will open globally on April the 6th, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking in the North Atlantic.

And "Titanic" in 3D had it's premier earlier tonight in London. The red carpet featured many of the stars of the 1997 release. Our Neil Curry was there.


NEIL CURRY, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: James Cameron's week started at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean at the foot of the Mariana Trench. Less than two days later, he's here in London on firmer ground, walking the red carpet to promote his beloved film, "Titanic."

JAMES CAMERON, DIRECTOR, "TITANIC": I finally got to show it to people and it was well-received. I just felt so good. It was such a relief for everybody who had worked so hard on the film. We all just got to breathe again.

We thought we were doing something that was going to be good, but we'd been so pilloried throughout the process.

CURRY (voice-over): Fifteen years ago, this film made box office history, amassing $1.8 billion. It's also made stars out of its lead actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

KATE WINSLET, ACTRESS: It's a wonderful film. I think that is -- that's the thing I'm proudest of. It worked. And people still love it today, which is why it's been re-released in 3D and still seems to capture people's hearts. So, it's wonderful. It doesn't happen all the time.

CURRY: Converting the film to 3D took 300 graphic artists more than 750,000 working hours.

JON LANDAU, PRODUCER: We did it for a new audience to come and experience "Titanic" on the big screen, and we did it for the fans for the experience of their first time all over again, because it's a new experience.

The 3D is about the drama. This is something that people don't understand. They think 3D's about action. It's not. It's about enhancing the intimate moments in the performances.

CURRY (on camera): "Titanic's" movie legacy is colossal, breaking box office records and amassing awards. Yet this week, the films achievements are in danger of being eclipsed by the underwater exploits of the film's director, James Cameron. Both made a journey to the bottom of the ocean, but only one returned.

Neil Curry, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Since "Avatar" smashed "Titanic's" box office record, studios have released a glut of 3D movies, but is it too much of a good thing? Phil Han takes a look.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER (voice-over): Get ready to put your glasses on again. Several new big-budget 3D films are hitting screens in the coming months. These include box-office hopefuls like "The Hobbit."

IAN MCKELLEN AS GANDALF, "THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY": I'm looking for someone to share in an adventure.

HAN: "Prometheus," and a re-released "Jurassic Park." Unfortunately for many film studios, it may not have the payoff they were expecting, even with the higher ticket prices.

While more 3D films then ever were released last year, earnings from those films dropped a staggering 18 percent. Those films brought in just $1.8 billion, compared to $2.2 billion in 2010. Moviegoers may have had enough. Could it be just another fad?

ZOE SALDANA AS NEYTIRI, "AVATAR": You knew this would happen?


HAN: Many studios may have taken inspiration from the highest- grossing film of all time, "Avatar." The 2009 3D film grossed over $2.7 billion worldwide, almost a billion more than second-place 2D "Titanic."

But there are another six 3D films in the top ten list of box office winners.



HAN: Last year, Martin Scorsese directed his first true 3D film, "Hugo," which used the latest in 3D technology. It made just over $170 million at the box office and was nominated for Best Picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never before has the color camera captured such savage jungle violence.

HAN: But the first 3D film ever was "Bwana Devil" in 1952. It was revolutionary at the time, but the fad soon passed. The golden era of 3D films only lasted until 1955.

TOM HANKS AS WOODY, "TOY STORY 3": We all knew this day was coming.

WALLACE SHAWN AS REX, "TOY STORY 3": We're getting thrown away?

HAN: Now, with new technology and millions of dollars at stake, studios are betting big on 3D, the sequel.

Phil Han, CNN, London.


FOSTER: What will happen next with 3D films? I want to talk about that with Richard Gelfond, he's the CEO of IMAX, and he joins me from CNN New York.

It's an interesting point Phil made there, wasn't it? The first 3D movie back in the 50s. And it's come and gone ever since. This latest resurgence, do you think it's here to stay?

RICHARD GELFOND, CEO, IMAX: There's no doubt in my mind it's here to stay. The difference this time around is technology. The last time around with 3D, certainly you had the cheap plastic glasses, and you really didn't have the ability to create this transporting experience.

With the new tools that the filmmakers have created, including Jim Cameron, when he made "Avatar," he designed special cameras, have created an experience that's just very different than it was in the 50s.

FOSTER: You talk about those special cameras on "Avatar." They obviously weren't there for "Titanic." How on Earth do they make that 3D, and is it ever going to be as good as a film that's filmed in 3D?

GELFOND: That's a very philosophical question. The question, really, I think from the consumers is, is it good enough? And there's no doubt in my mind that "Titanic" will be good enough.

There are different ways to convert a movie from 2D to 3D, and Cameron spared no expense in doing this version. In fact, of all the films I've ever seen converted from 2D to 3D, this is the best version.

And in certain respects, you can spend a lot of money or not a lot in filming or converting, and the amount that he spent here is seen on the screen. And I think it's going to work with consumers.

FOSTER: There's a real profit here, isn't there, going back over those classics and making them 3D? This is something -- I know it's an expensive process to go through, but it's not as expensive as producing a whole new 3D film, and you could -- you've got a guaranteed fanbase already.

GELFOND: There is a profit in it, but you have to remember one thing, the marketing costs to relaunch a movie like this are huge. So, "Star Wars," I don't remember exactly the number, it did about $50 or $60 million here in North America, but there were high launch costs, so I'm not sure whether it's profitable.

I think this one clearly will be profitable, because it's been so long since people have seen it, and they are putting a lot of marketing behind it and releasing it worldwide. But I don't think it's a no-brainer. I think it's a film-by-film basis.

FOSTER: One thing that puts people off is those glasses, let's be honest. Is this ever going to catch on properly until the glasses have gone?

GELFOND: Well, I'll answer it in reverse. The glasses aren't going to be gone for a very long time. You may be able to get a small screen, an iPhone without glasses, but it's going to be a long time before you can get an IMAX without glasses. Just the laws of physics don't address that right now.

So, yes, I think the answer's clear, it will be a big thing before the glasses have gone. "Avatar's" the biggest movie of all-time. I think there's room in the movie landscape for 2D movies. Obviously, "The Hunger Games" this weekend was big, "The Dark Knight Rises" is going to be big.

But I think there's also, clearly, an appetite for 3D. In one of the intros, you mentioned "The Hobbit" this year. That's in 3D, "The Avengers" is in 3D, and "Spider-Man's" in 3D, and clearly, "Titanic" is, so I think there's room for both.

FOSTER: Give me a genre where 3D is never going to be as good as 2D.

GELFOND: I think in certain cases of outstanding vistas, like really looking at long shots where you really want to see a landscape. One thing about 3D, surprisingly, is it creates a certain intimacy. It brings the image in to the viewer, and it creates this one-on-one relationship.

I think in certain instances, where you're looking at a big outdoor nature scene, I don't think it's as good in 3D as it is in 2D.

FOSTER: OK, Richard Gelfond, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us with that.

Now, it's easy on the taste buds. Some say it's good for your heart. But now there's evidence it may help keep you trim. This is an extraordinary story of the day.

We're talking about a favorite indulgence around the world, and that is chocolate. A US survey shows that a little of what you fancy can help you stay slimmer than the folks who refuse the sweet stuff. That's even thought the chocolate-eaters consume more calories. A lot of people are going to find that news very easy to digest. And it's certainly the talking point today.

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