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CONNECT THE WORLD

Protests in Madrid; Austerity Versus Stimulus; Arab Leaders Urge Assad on Peace Plan; U.S. Atheists Use Billboards to Spread Message; Debate Over Effectiveness of Billboards; Concerns Over Foxconn Labor Practices; Big Interview: British Collector of Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia David Gainsborough; Parting Shots of Elephant Escaping Bath

Aired March 29, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, worlds apart, and we're not talking geographically as the U.S. economy shows real sign of recovery.

News today that Europe is all but grinding to a halt.

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

ANDERSON: On a day tens of thousands in Spain vented their anger over yet more cuts, we'll debate whether Europe instead needs a spending boost to kick-start its economy.

Also this hour, the gadgets produced here help enhance our lives. Now how the lives of thousands of Chinese workers could be about to take a turn for the better.

And the billboard challenging the belief of America's faithful. Freedom of speech or a step too far?

Well, tonight austerity versus stimulus. It's far more than a political debate. A top economic watchdog warns it's having a profound effect on the economic recovery story which is unfolding on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or the OECD for short is out with a new report showing a speedier growth rate for America while the forecast for Europe's richest nation is -- well, in a word, -- dismal. It said the looming worry now is a big one. A possible two-speed recovery.

Europe's depressing lack of progress is translating on to the streets, I'm afraid. Fires again burning today as white, hot anger erupted across Spain this time. Fury over more planned austerity cast fueled full-blown general strike.

As the first one against the country, their four-month-old conservative government the politicians may change, I'm afraid the problem remained the same, the same staggering jobless rate for more than half its country's young people looking for work.

And the government plans to take (INAUDIBLE) off another austerity budget tomorrow.

CNN's Madrid bureau chief Al Goodman on the streets of the Spanish capital tonight, assessing the mood -- Al.

AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID BUREAU CHIEF: Hi, Becky. Well, there was a union protest on these streets that started four hours ago and you can still see the remnants of it after the main unions held their protests that drew thousands of people crowding these streets. There was another protest by the economic protesters who started last May in Spain. Many of those young people, they also were against the government but they don't especially like the unions, they came after.

Now we've just seen the riot police move right by us here at the top of the program, which is kind of uncanny because we saw the riot police 15 hours ago at 7:00 this morning, 15 hours ago when we started covering this strike at a different location here in Madrid -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Al, those taking to the streets today certainly making their point. But is the government even listening or perhaps more to the point can it afford to listen at this point?

GOODMAN: Well, they don't appear to be listening. As a matter of fact, the labor minister a few hours ago said that the reforms are unstoppable. That was her words and we are expecting, as you mentioned, the government is expected to unveil its budget. Remember they're just elected a few months ago this is its first budget on Friday and that is expected to include more austerity cuts. They've already done a $20 billion package a few months ago of cuts and tax increases.

And what analysts say is that they'll have to do at least that much on Friday in order to sort of hit the European Union's target for deficit reduction as a percentage of GDP -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Al Goodman on the story out of Madrid for you today.

Al, thank you for that.

A telling-tale now from a young Spaniard who's living with the fallout from that austerity that Al has been talking about last November. CNN went on the road to see how people across the Eurozone were coping with such high unemployment. Now we met a woman called Christina Parra in Barcelona. We caught up again with her when 2012 was, well, effectively brand new in January.

Here's how her life had changed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINA PARRA, UNEMPLOYED: One thing, we have -- we have the training, we have the education and there are no jobs. So people are really -- at my age they are really frustrated with the situation. My situation is complicated since last time we spoke. I had a job in the city and my contract ended so now I'm looking for a new job. Hopefully better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right. Well that was the backend of January this year. Here's what Christina told us just a few hours ago today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARRA: Well, I was just hoping to find something related to what I studied so I don't just throw my four years of university (INAUDIBLE). But there is none. There are no jobs for professional workers and you didn't really have to a lot of (INAUDIBLE) which is really difficult in this early year. So now is the tourist season so I guess in Barcelona at least I don't know (INAUDIBLE). It will be -- it will be -- it will be possible for me to find a job related to a tourist, you know, not just --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Christina really reflecting what we are hearing from youngsters across Europe at this point. Effectively feel that they're at a loss. And the OECD isn't surprised by that. As I've mentioned tonight its latest numbers appeared to show that there is a two-speed recovery happening at this time.

Let's start off with the U.S. here. North America is leading the economic upturn. New figures show that the U.S. economy is growing faster than had been expected. It's a rate of about 2.9 percent this quarter. Canada also expects to have fairly strong growth at 2.5 percent in the first two quarters of the year.

Let's get you to Japan where we see a moderate rebound. Still recovering from last year's devastating tsunami, of course, expected, though, to push ahead now with a 3.4 percent growth this quarter. Those are great numbers and 1.4 percent next quarter.

We'll compare both of those to what is the Eurozone here. Members failing to kick start their economies. France, Germany, and Italy's forecast are quite frankly dire, well, actually shrink by 0.4 percent next quarter and it will grow 0.9 percent.

We took that austerity versus stimulus debate because that's what they see, of course. The Americans have tried to spend their way out of this, whereas the Europeans, of course, tried to cut their way out of this. So we took that debate to the experts.

Investment broker Peter Schiff that runs Euro Pacific Capital. He believes cutting costs is the only way to rescue failing economies. And Peter Morici is international business professor at the University of Maryland. He's a regular guest here on CNN. He says spend your way into prosperity. That is the only way to go.

Well, I started by suggesting that the playing field wasn't necessarily leveled when the global recession broke. So does austerity's broke argument effectively really hold any water. After all, some European economies like Greece were effectively bankrupt even before this downturn in 2008.

Here's how Peter Morici answered that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER MORICI, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Well, they surely were bankrupt before the recession if you really look closely at them. And they were spending too much money and in the wrong ways. There's certainly the retirement ages need to be raised and the labor laws, which have very little to do with spending, need to be changed so the markets are more flexible and people work longer.

But now this massive spending cuts, while they put those things in place, you know, is really tanking their economies and it is going to make it difficult to sustain those reforms. You know it's going to be difficult to win elections if you're a government if you have 25, 35 percent unemployment. There's limits to what austerity can do for you in that regard.

ANDERSON: Peter Schiff --

PETER SCHIFF, CEO, EURO PACIFIC CAPITAL: I would say the problem is the suspending cuts are too small. We need deeper spending cuts so that resources can be freed up to the private sector to make the investments that are needed.

ANDERSON: Let me put this to you, Peter Schiff.

MORICI: I don't know that you can do that.

ANDERSON: Let me put this to Peter Schiff. At the Chancellor of the Exchequer here, George Osborne, who has been a massive austerity fan over the last couple of years since the government has been -- has recently in the past week or so lowers its taxes, for example, on the middle class. He will be looking to that as a sort of dose of stimulus to a certain extent.

Now Europe, of course, sits outside of the crisis in the Eurozone. You say the Eurozone hasn't been austere enough but surely, when you see the strikes in Spain, when you see the pain that the Greeks are going through, isn't stimulus now, combined with austerity the way to go in Europe?

SCHIFF: Well, absolutely not. I mean just because people who have been living off the public, who've been feeding off the public trough, are upset that they're going to have to take less, yes, they're going to go and protest. They feel entitled to the spending. But the countries are broke. The taxpayers can't afford it.

ANDERSON: So what do you do?

SCHIFF: The fact that they're upset and complaining that -- you know, that's part of the process. That's a good thing. Let them complain. You know but you can't just simply, you know, give them more money because they're complaining about a loss of benefits. Where's the money going to come from? Are they just going to print it? Are they going to destroy their currency?

That's what we're doing in America. We're going to destroy the dollar. We're going to suffer dramatically because we are not having those protests. I would rather have Americans protesting now who are losing government benefits than have them protest in the future when the dollar collapses and it's a real mess.

ANDERSON: Mr. M.

MORICI: The reason the American dollar is losing its value over time is because the economy is not growing and that has much more to do with the structural issues we have -- the large trade deficits, the dependence on foreign oil and so forth -- that we could correct and this administration refuses to address.

The burden of health care, which has been addressed but in the wrong way. Those things are slowing American growth. At the end of the day, the value of the currency is going to be determined by the real economy. Its ability to produce goods and services. That's why, for example, if the Greeks went back on the drachma, it wouldn't be worth very much because after all these years of misappropriating --

SCHIFF: We agree on --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: I'm going to stop you there. Final words -- hang on, guys. Final words. Stimulus or austerity? What works, Peter Schiff?

SCHIFF: Well, we need real austerity, not phony austerity. We need to shrink government, we need sound money. We need to let the market set interest rates not the bureaucrats, which means a higher interest rate. We need to let assets reset if that means lower home prices, lower stock prices. That's part of the recovery. Anything the government does that inhibit that process is going to make it worse.

ANDERSON: Mr. Morici.

MORICI: Well, there's limits to the virtues of stimulus. We've run it out in the United States. We're not restructuring as we should so stimulus is being abused here. In Europe, austerity is being abused. You know, it's one thing to restructure labor markets, to require people to work longer, you know, before retirement, it's another thing to so dramatically cut government spending, the economy collapses and then the political will for change evaporates with it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: That's the debate. Our top story tonight, little has challenged policy makers on both sides of the pond since the financial meltdown in 2008. More than these double-edged savior of austerity versus stimulus.

Now one world's leading economic think tank says it's clear a stimulated U.S. economy is taking off raising concerns of a two-speed recovery that could lead Europe in its wake for years to come.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. And live from London, I'm Becky Anderson.

Still to come, the Arab League summit delivers a strong message to Syria's president. We're going to get you live to Baghdad with that summit's going on with the latest.

France's scathing new report. Details of harsh working conditions across (INAUDIBLE) plant.

In China, we'll take an in depth look and examine the global reach of that Chinese (INAUDIBLE).

And a close look at the most curbs in Hollywood. What Marilyn's dresses reveal about her true side? That and more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, welcome back. You're watching CNN and well, I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.

Now special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria drew reaction from two summits today. The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, told the BRICS Summit of Converging Economics in New Delhi that -- well, he supports Annan's effort. While the Arab League summit in Baghdad, leaders urge President al-Assad to carry out the plan without delay.

CNN's Arwa Damon joining us now live from Baghdad.

Arwa, President Assad's remarks the type of peace plan ending so-called terrorist acts characterizing Washington at least as discouraging. Any real surprise there?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, not really, and that is probably because Washington views Assad as being an individual who at this point in time has very little credibility. We've heard these types of pledges from the Syrian government on numerous occasions in the past and at best they've only partially complied with whatever plan that has been put forward.

Now in this case, the Arab League was in fact discussing Syria as one of the main issues on its agenda. We heard from Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Wednesday, who interestingly said that they would be -- that they had reached an updated and distinct resolution on Syria, but what we ended up with at the end of the summit was something that was quite significantly weaker.

The Arab League putting forward what they're calling a Baghdad declaration. It has 49 points addressing a wide variety of issues and only two of those points are, in fact, related to Syria. They speak about the same issue that we have been hearing time and time again the need for an end to the violence, the access of humanitarian aid, allowing journalists to enter.

They also endorsed Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan as well. But again, as was highlighted by a number of statesman who joined the summit, what's going to be key is, in fact, seeing whether or not the Syrian government does in fact implement this plan. And that would in pure and simple terms mean that as a first step they would need to withdraw tanks and troops from villagers, towns and cities across the entire country -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon in the story, in Baghdad today. Arwa, thank you for that.

A look now at some of the other stories that are (INAUDIBLE) on world tonight.

The gunman accused of shooting dead seven people in southeast France is being buried near the city of Toulouse where he carried out those attacks. At least according to the French TV channel BFM-TV. Mohammed Merah's funeral was to take place earlier today in Algeria at his family's ancestral home. But according to his father Algerian authorities refused to accept his body.

Now the mayor of Toulouse said a funeral in the city would be inappropriate but President Nicolas Sarkozy said he wanted it done quickly without controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT (Through Translator): As head of state, I would have preferred that Mohammed Merah be arrested alive. The police did a remarkable job and I consider that any debate about that question is shameful. I prefer that he is buried without further debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the U.S. military says American investigators, they haven't yet gained access to the scene of a deadly shooting spree in Afghanistan which could make it more difficult to prosecute the soldier accused of the killings there.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales has been charged with 17 counts of murder. He's yet to enter a plea. His lawyer says the prosecutors, they now do face a very difficult job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN HENRY BROWNE, ATTORNEY FOR STAFF SGT. ROBERT BALES: It's not a traditional crime scene. There is no crime scene. The military has not even been back to the villages where this allegation stems from. They haven't been back there. So there's no crime scene, there's no DNA, there's no fingerprint. There's no confession.

It's -- you know, the Afghan people traditionally, I understand, and understandably buried their dead very quickly. And so it's going to be a tough case for the prosecutors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the owners of a North Sea oil platforms be gas and some days may have actually found the leak's origin now. (INAUDIBLE) Total says the gases escaping from the deck of what is known as a well-ahead platform and not from under water. The company says it's now trying to decide whether to plant a hole through a relief well or let the gas blow itself out.

We got a young fisherman lost for sea for 28 days has returned home to Panama. Eighteen-year-old Adrian Vasquez wearing a hard in these pictures. He was fishing with to friends buck in February. But the engine of the boat they were in coughed out and they drifted almost a thousand kilometers living off just raw fish and rainwater. Now his two friends sadly died of dehydration along the way but he was finally picked up when another boat sponsored his off the Galapagos Islands.

Remarkable stuff.

Well, an American billionaire says he found the rocket that launched man's first trip to the moon. Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos used deep sea sonar's to track down Apollo 11's space engine and discovered them on the floor of the Atlantic more than 4,000 meters down. They've been lying there since Neil Armstrong's historic moon mission in 1969. Bezos now plans to bring one or more of the engines back to the surface to properly set it on one of those auction sites. He doesn't own -- anyway, we'll take a short break.

When we come back a day after the world's number one tennis player lost her first match of the year, two former world number ones met in Miami. That and more coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Twenty-four minutes past 9:00.

Well, there about in London, former world number one tennis player Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki battles for a spot in the Miami Masters Final earlier.

Don Riddell at the CNN Center with the details. Don't keep us in suspense.

DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much. Good to see you, Becky.

Yes, Maria Sharapova is actually through to the final of the Sony Ericsson Open even in Miami. She's actually may be her final here three times already. She's lost all of them but she's back into the final for a fourth time to have another go and she -- well, the better of the former world number Caroline Wozniacki.

Sharapova is having a really good year but she had a really disastrous game here. She actually managed to double-fault three times despite starting well in that set, she went on to lose that set. Wozniacki won it by six games to four.

Sharapova recovered after that, though. She got her game back together and she took the second set by six games to two. And she continued that good form on to win the match in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Great recovery from Maria Sharapova.

And she's already played in a couple of finals this year. She's back up to second in the world rankings and is really getting her game together.

This of course, Becky, coming just a day after Victoria Azarenka, the current world number one, had her 26th match winning streak brought to an end. She couldn't make it 27. She was beaten by the seven seed Maria Bartoli.

ANDERSON: Yes. Very competitive, Don. Well, it's the middle of the tennis season. Let's move on to golf. We're just a week away from the Masters. The LPGA's first major. They're well underway.

RIDDELL: That's right. Yes. The first major of the year in the women's game taking place over in California. The Kraft Nabisco Championship. We've got a surprise leader at this stage. The Australian Lindsey Wright 67 today, a five-under-par score. She actually came fourth at Mission Hills there three years ago. She has made a great start today.

And it was a good day for the Australians, though, because her compatriot, Karrie Webb, was also playing well. Here she is on the 11th from the edge of the greens, sinking her birdie par. Webb finished in a tie for six at one-under-par.

A lot of interest in the young star, Lexi Thompson. She's only 17 years old. She played her first major when she was just 12. She won in the LPGA Tour recently but an example today of how hard it is at this level. A couple of bogies back to back for Thompson there. She ended the day at even par.

So that's -- that's not bad, Becky, on the first day. Three more rounds to go. A lot of golf still to be played.

ANDERSON: Seventeen years old and a par round. I think that shows a maturity --

RIDDELL: I'll take that.

ANDERSON: Yes, I'll take it any day. Ever. Once in my life.

Thank you, sir.

Don Riddell is at the CNN Center for you with your sports news. Back at the "WORLD SPORTS" an hour from now.

And still coming in the show CONNECT THE WORLD.

The Foxconn report is out. And the findings, well, they are troubling. What does it mean for the Chinese manufacture and its biggest customer Apple.

Also ahead, atheism and appetizing. Controversial billboard urging non- believers to come out of the closet.

And Marilyn's revealing froth. What does it tell us about the Hollywood starlet 50 years after her death on this the anniversary year. I'm going to speak to a British collector who owns most of them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson, these are the latest world news headlines from CNN.

The Arab League is calling for a peaceful end to Syria's crisis saying that the regime and opposition factions should begin serious dialogue. The League also wants Syria's president to honor his commitment to a peace deal.

The man blamed for a recent killing rampage in Southern France is being buried in a cemetery near Toulouse. Mohamed Merah's relatives originally wanted his funeral in Algeria, but the Algerian government refused.

Spanish unions on strike over government labor reforms and austerity cuts. The prime minister of Spain's new conservative government prepares to unveil its 2012 budget expected to contain billions of dollars in new spending cuts.

And a just-released report criticizes working conditions at Chinese technology giant Foxconn. The Fair Labor Association found a host of violations, including employees having to work more than 60 hours a week. Foxconn is the world's largest supplier to Apple and makes components of many other big name electronics companies.

Your headlines this hour.

"You know it's a myth" and "You have a choice." Atheists in the United States are using billboards to spread that message, targeting religious communities where they suspect nonbelievers are suffering in silence.

Needless to say, it's not going over so well. As Richard Roth reports, some people view it as an attack on their most fundamental values.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSLIM CALL TO PRAYER)

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The call to prayer at an Islamic Center in Paterson, New Jersey. Just a few blocks away, a billboard that doubts -- some might say mocks -- that faith. The sign describes Islam as a myth in both English and Arabic. And not surprisingly, it's provoking emotions.

KEVIN DAWD AMIN, MUSLIM: It bothers me because my -- because in my heart, I believe and I love God Almighty.

MUHAMMAD SHARRIFF ABDULLAH, MUSLIM: It's just their opinion. They have to prove it. In their search for proving it, they'll learn better.

ROTH: David Silverman is president of the American Atheist Group, which paid for the billboard. He says it's not meant to offend, but to reach out to like-minded atheists.

DAVID SILVERMAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ATHEISTS GROUP: These communities are especially insular, and so the atheists in those communities feel especially isolated and alone. The purpose of the billboard was to tell those atheists that they are not alone.

ROTH (on camera): The atheist organization tried to put up a similar ad targeting this Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, New York community on a nearby building. But just before it went up, the landlord refused access.

SILVERMAN: Because he didn't want atheists on his building. That is bigotry. That is prejudice. And if something like that were to happen to the Jews, they would be enraged.

ROTH (voice-over): The billboard was relocated more than a mile away on a highway far from the community, but it still has people upset.

AARON AKSELRUD, NEW YORK RESIDENT: It's almost an in-your-face attitude, which I feel, once again, demonstrates a complete lack of sensitivity.

DAVID NIEDERMAN, RABBI, UNITED JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS: The insult of religion and especially the desecration of name of God is not acceptable universally. So, the answer is, upset.

ROTH: Back at the Islamic Center in New Jersey, the Imam considers the billboard as an opportunity for discussions between believers and non- believers.

MOHAMMAD QATTANANI, IMAM, ISLAMIC CENTER OF PASSAIC COUNTY: Let us come and discuss it together. America was built on faith, on religion. You can chose any religion you like, it is a freedom country. But God is in our mind, our heart. And if you read the fathers of this country, they wrote, "In God we trust."

ROTH: The faithful, Jews and Muslims, may trust, but the atheists question signing up for religion.

Richard Roth, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, supporters of these billboards correctly point out that they have a constitutional right to free speech. But are atheists really helping their cause with what are, let's face it, confrontational methods?

I'm going to hear from both sides of the debate, now. We're joined by Larry Taunton, author of "The Grace Effect," from Birmingham, Alabama. And Sara Yasin is the -- is in the studio. She's with the Index on Censorship and believes freedom of speech is a vital part of living in a plural society.

Yes, that might be, but these billboards are upsetting people. There are people around who see these billboard and they just say, "This is not right." Why do it? Why flaunt this message?

LARRY TAUNTON, AUTHOR, "THE GRACE EFFECT": I think this is an effort --

SARA YASIN, INDEX ON CENSORSHIP: But --

TAUNTON: I think this is an effort, really, not to engage in any kind of meaningful dialogue. But rather, this is an effort to inflame. This is the same group, David Silverman, who is head of the American Atheists, this is the same group that just this past weekend had the so-called "Reason Rally" on the National Mall in Washington, DC --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: All right --

TAUNTON: -- where they were calling on atheists to ridicule and --

ANDERSON: Larry.

TAUNTON: -- sow contempt.

ANDERSON: Sure, Larry. OK, I'm going to bring you in, Sara. But everybody has a choice, and our viewers will be watching this tonight, many of them saying, and religion is a choice.

TAUNTON: Yes. Yes, of course, it is a choice. And atheism is a choice. And while they certainly have the right to post these kinds of messages, one wonders why atheists feel the need to proselytize.

ANDERSON: Sara?

YASIN: You know what? As a native of North Carolina, you drive around the highway, you see all sorts of billboards promoting religious messages. And you know what? I have no problem with that because I live - - I am an American, and I believe in free expression.

And I believe that atheists have just as much of a right to put a pro- atheist message on a billboard as any Christian organization --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: They are pretty inflammatory, Sara, though, aren't they?

YASIN: I don't think they are. You drive on a highway and you see any of these kinds of billboards, they say similar things. Yes, maybe you are pushing -- maybe you are being controversial by calling someone else's views a myth. But as far as -- as far as the right to express that view, that's a given.

Now, do people have the right --

(CROSSTALK)

TAUNTON: But, when you do it --

YASIN: -- to be offended?

ANDERSON: Go ahead, Larry.

YASIN: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: Go on, Larry. Go on, Larry.

TAUNTON: Well, I was just going to say, in Jewish neighborhoods, in Muslim neighborhoods, you don't think that that's an effort to be inflammatory or offensive? I think that's the whole point. Sure, they're trying to be inflammatory and offensive, and I agree that they have the right to do it.

But the -- what's the point in all of this?

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: Larry, what --

TAUNTON: It's just an effort to upset --

ANDERSON: Larry, what about --

TAUNTON: -- religious people.

ANDERSON: -- what about the narrative that goes, "We're doing this to reach those who feel isolated within what are very religious communities"?

TAUNTON: I think that's an excellent point, and I even think it's a legitimate endeavor. Undoubtedly, there are unbelievers within these communities who do feel isolated, and perhaps have expressed some doubt and have maybe even been persecuted upon some level.

But really, is a billboard like this a meaningful way of addressing that? I think the imam in your piece really hit the nail on the head when he said, in effect, why don't you come and let us reason together? That is what America has been based upon.

ANDERSON: Larry and the imam make a good point, Sara.

YASIN: I do think that the billboard does create conversation in a way. We're talking about it right now. Personally, I grew up in a tight- knit Muslim community and the point where I felt like I actually engaged with faith and really thought about it and understood it, it was the points when people would try to debate with me and engage with me.

And sometimes that was -- it was a bit confrontational. But I've always been taught that sometimes the beginning point isn't the most desirable way to enter the conversation, but eventually you'll get there.

And I stand by it. We had Jehovah's Witnesses coming to our doors and giving us pamphlets in Arabic. And I mean --

TAUNTON: Do you think that the owners of these billboards have the right to say, "No, you can't post your message on our billboard"?

YASIN: Sorry, can you elaborate on that?

ANDERSON: Larry's asking you, Sara, whether you think that the owners of these buildings have the right to say, "No, I don't want that billboard posted on my building." Because that is what happened in one of these cases.

YASIN: I think that if it's a public space, then they should be allowed to post the message. But if it is a private owner of a building, then that's a completely different conversation. But --

TAUNTON: That's interesting to me, because I had an organization that just this past year, we submitted an ad for the Super Bowl that promoted a very soft, a very gentle Christian message that was rejected. And American atheists were very supportive of the rejection of that. So, I'm hearing some contradiction in this.

ANDERSON: Larry, Sara, I'm going to have to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed. The debate, I know, continues. We appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.

Going to have to take a very short break at this point. Still ahead, though, a new report sharply critical of Foxconn's labor practices is out. We're going to bring you exactly what it means to you watching wherever you are in the world. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with us here on CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. Troubling conclusions in a new report just out on Foxconn. The Chinese tech giant is among the world's most profitable companies and the top supplier of components to Apple computer, for example.

Now, the report on its labor practices is drawing intense scrutiny across the world. It's something we here at CNN have been investigating since word first surfaced of harsh working conditions inside Foxconn's factories.

Now, I want to show you just the global reach of the company and why this is such a big story. The company is headquartered in Taiwan, but it's China's largest exporter. It's also one of the biggest employers, with more than 1.2 million workers worldwide.

Foxconn assembles 40 percent -- four-zero percent -- of the world's consumer electronics, including those Apple components I mentioned. Many of its employees in China work six days a week, up to 12 hours a day, and on average, they make between $350-odd and $450 a month.

Concerns over working conditions came to light after a spate of suicides in 2010 at Foxconn's Shenzhen plant. Well, the company says it will comply with the Fair Labor Associations work hour standards by July of next year.

Meantime, Apple's CEO made an appearance at a new Foxconn plant. Tim Cook toured an iPhone production line, and yesterday, as Apple faces its own set of questions about Foxconn, he made that appearance.

I want to bring in Felicia Taylor from New York with more on what this -- this report has uncovered. Felicia, there does appear to be a very extensive investigation here. What did the company come up with?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, they found that there were some violations that were definitely reported, including excessive overtime, blocked exits, a lack of protective equipment. And unbelievably, 43 percent of the workers spoken to have actually witnessed accidents.

Now, the reason this is all so very important is that China is the second-biggest market after the United States for Apple, and this company, Foxconn, is its largest supplier of components that make up the iPhone, the iPad, et cetera. So, that's why this is important.

And now, they've made some groundbreaking commitments. According to Foxconn, it intends to reduce working hours to those legal limits. It will also help out with pay, improve safety, and better worker representation.

It's also said that now it possibly will build additional housing for its employees, increase the workforce, the number of employees that it has, and have more canteens, more facilities for dining.

So, that's significant. And it even possibly raises the question, does China continue to be such a boon for companies to outsource workers to as opposed to having less expensive and employees and workforces there.

So, it's interesting that this has come out. And obviously, Tim Cook having visited the plant just the other day, is also interesting. And he issued a statement that says, "We care very much about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any issue with working conditions is cause for concern."

And immediately, this report was only released about 45 minutes ago, and Apple has already issued its statement saying that "We appreciate the work the FLA has done to assess conditions at Foxconn, and we fully support their recommendations.

"We think empowering workers and helping them understand their rights is essential. Our team have been working for years to educate workers, improve conditions, and make Apple's supply chain a model for the industry, which is why we ask the FLA to conduct these audits. We share the FLA's goal of improving lives and raising the bar for manufacturing companies everywhere."

So, clearly this story has come to light because there were excessive work conditions, and now, obviously, those things have to be amended.

ANDERSON: Yes. You and I know -- and our viewers will be well aware, if they're regular viewers of this channel -- that this was a massive story around the world.

The FLA, now, out with its -- the results of its investigation. Foxconn with their -- on their side of the story say, "Yes, you know what? We're going to -- stand by what you suggest." And as you've just rightly pointed out, Apple already out with a statement.

How, though, do the FLA think they are going to go about enforcing what they have found?

TAYLOR: Well, that's a very interesting question, because it's unknown how long or how much money they're going to dedicate to this, and how quickly they can start to implement these things.

The other thing that I think is interesting about this story is the FLA, the Fair Labor Association, is supported -- although it's a non-profit organization -- it is supported by its members, and Apple is one of its members.

So, there have been criticisms against the FLA for not actually enforcing enough work to be done. So, there are definitely critics out there that don't believe that this is going to be enough, or that they're actually going to enforce these rules in a fair -- fair amount of time.

ANDERSON. Yes. All right. Felicia, always a pleasure. Thanks for that.

Not just Apple, I've got to remind you. Foxconn also assembles consumer electronics for other countries, including Amazon, Dell, Hewitt- Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony. The company also does business with IBM, Cisco, and Microsoft.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. We've got a connective story if ever there was one. Coming up next, remembering an icon. Marilyn Monroe's biggest fan opens his closet to reveal some of the star's most famous gowns.

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ANDERSON: Well, it is 50 years this year since the death of one of Hollywood's most glamorous icons. Yet the intrigue, the fascination surrounding Marilyn Monroe endures. In tonight's Big Interview, we bring you a man who is arguably one of the starlet's biggest fans. He does, after all, own one of the biggest collections of Monroe memorabilia in the world.

I caught up with David Gainsborough as he opened a London exhibition of some of his most prized Marilyn possessions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURENCE OLIVIER AS PRINCE REGENT CHARLES, "THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL": I ordered a cold supper, because then we can serve ourselves, and that's so much more fun, don't you agree?

MARILYN MONROE AS ELSIE, "THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL": Oh, yes. Much more fun.

OLIVIER AS PRINCE REGENT CHARLES: That is a charming dress.

MONROE AS ELSIE: Well, it's very old, I'm afraid.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Old, maybe. But the gown worn by Marilyn Monroe in "The Prince and the Showgirl" is now priceless, at least to British collector David Gainsborough, who owns it.

DAVID GAINSBOROUGH, BRITISH COLLECTOR: Just see how small she is. So, when people start telling me, "Oh, she was a big size and I was the same size as her," believe me, they weren't. When she died, she was very, very small when she died.

ANDERSON: The dress is among many Monroe costumes that Gainsborough is showing at London's Getty Images Gallery. They're part of an exhibition celebrating the life of the star on the anniversary of her death 50 years ago.

And her petite gowns are particularly revealing.

ANDERSON (on camera): These are all designed by pretty much the same --

GAINSBOROUGH: Yes, Bill --

ANDERSON: -- designer, yes?

GAINSBOROUGH: -- Bill Travilla was a great dress -- this is the one that, of course, the one that "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

JANE RUSSELL AS DOROTHY SHAW AND MONROE AS LORELEI LEE, "GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES" (singing): We're just two little girls from Little Rock.

GAINSBOROUGH: We did have a look at the skirt, there. Some of the sequins began coming off, and some -- a very big expert in the businesses said, "Are you sure this was made Bill Travilla?"

I said, "What do you mean?"

"Because there's a very nasty, cheap glue stuck these -- "

I said, "Well, Bill Travilla wouldn't do that. They're all hand- stitched on."

I made some inquiries from the studio and found out that in actuality, Marilyn -- it was a big number, she would often tread on it, some of the sequins and the petals would come off, so of course, Hollywood being Hollywood is, "We're not waiting for Bill Travilla at $100 an hour. Get the Yoohoo glue out."

And so -- some were set with a rather nasty Hollywood glue that's been on there for 50 years.

ANDERSON: Takes nothing away from the dress, though, does it?

GAINSBOROUGH: No, it doesn't. The dress is still sensational.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Perfect for Monroe. As Gainsborough learned, the dresses were designed to be a tight squeeze to the point that the star had to be helped onto the piano for this famous scene in "Some Like It Hot."

MONROE AS SUGAR KANE KOWALCZYK, "SOME LIKE IT HOT" (singing): You had your share.

GAINSBOROUGH: But this was very often with Marilyn, you have plunked her on her chair. Every contour had to be made to make her look good. Because what -- what the studio is selling is sex. They were saying, "Honey, we're not interested in your artistic interpretation of this role, just give us some sex." And that was it.

Marilyn fought that all her life. She did not particularly want to be a sex symbol.

ANDERSON: The retired investment banker bought his first Marilyn dress in 1991 and now boasts one of the largest collections of Monroe memorabilia in the world.

ANDERSON (on camera): Why the fascination with Marilyn Monroe?

GAINSBOROUGH: I think probably when I was a kid living in Margate in Kent, which was a very dreary town, we're talking, and I was born in 1940s, Marilyn was coming along in the 50s, and by God was it dreary. Was England dreary.

And yet, you go to the cinema and you would see Marilyn Monroe, glamorous, dresses, sex appeal, and the cinema in those days, in the 50s, as a kid, I lived in the cinema. I just loved seeing Marilyn on the screen and just fell in love, well, with the image.

ANDERSON: You've never met her -- or you'd never met her.

GAINSBOROUGH: No.

ANDERSON: What would you have said to her if you had?

GAINSBOROUGH: Gosh, I'd have probably asked for an autograph or something. I -- something --

ANDERSON: Or a dress.

GAINSBOROUGH: Or -- yes, or a dress. "Yes, have you got something to give me," or something like that. And knowing her, she would have, because she was not interested in money. She died $35,000 in debt. If it hadn't been for Joe DiMaggio, she would have had a pauper's grave.

ANDERSON: It's not just Marilyn that you collect, of course. You're a prize collector of other dresses, other collections.

GAINSBOROUGH: I found out, I collect things, I'm -- I think as a kid, I collected marbles and stamps and all the things, and comics.

ANDERSON: David, you sound as if you've never grown up, and yet --

GAINSBOROUGH: No, I haven't.

ANDERSON: -- of course, this is -- this is, one assumes, now a fairly professional collection and one that you make money out of.

GAINSBOROUGH: Well, I'm not making money, because I don't sell anything. In actual fact, I get poorer. In actual fact, I've had to build on three rooms into my house just to put the stuff in. And the Marilyn collection, I mean, I think is insured for millions and millions, but they all tell me this.

I said, "But I'm not going to sell it," so it doesn't matter, just as long as I pay the premiums if anything goes wrong. But I don't want anything to go wrong. I just -- I want them to be there. Although I don't see them every day, I like to know they're there. If I do want to have a look at them, I'll have a look at them.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And while he may not balk at paying a small fortune for Monroe memorabilia, the same can't be said for this dress, famously modeled by Kate Middleton at university, where she first met her future husband, Britain's Prince William. The Gainsborough family bought the frock at auction for more than $120,000.

ANDERSON (on camera): So, where is Kate Middleton's dress, which of course, you bought.

GAINSBOROUGH: Ah! Well, Kate Middleton's dress, I think, is underneath my nephew's bed at the moment. Yes. I think probably the least said about that the better. It was a horrendous price. It was done with my nephew and his consent, because he wanted to get into the collecting world. Goodness knows why.

I said, "Look. You've got a crazy uncle, you really don't want to go this route. Be a lawyer, or an accountant, or a TV presenter. You'll make tons of money and be greatly loved and admired. You don't want to be some wacky collector." So, I don't -- but I think he's picked up some genes from me.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: What don't you have that you wish you did?

GAINSBOROUGH: I -- do you know what? When I came here to Getty Images the other day, there's a bicycle of Marilyn and Arthur Miller when they came over here, and I bought quite a few things from the housekeeper at the house whom Marilyn gave things.

I said, "I'd love that bike. The bike that Marilyn -- "

Oh, my God! I'd be on that bike morning, noon, and night, I can tell you what. I'd cycle all over Jersey on that bike, if I could find it, so if anybody knows where it is, make me an offer. Come and see me.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Character. My goodness.

Well, you'd have thought an elephant would like getting wet, well, not this two-ton terror. Our Parting Shots for you this evening. Meet Baby, a 40-year-old Asian elephant. She escaped from her circus handlers when they were trying to give her a bath.

She broke loose, charged through a barrier, and then went galloping 200 meters down the local High Street, astounding local folk in Blackpool. Baby was eventually coaxed back into the arms of her handlers and is now returned to circus duties.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. The world news headlines up here on CNN after this short break. Don't laugh.

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