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Evidence Reveals Coordination Between NewsCorp, British Government Officials; Syrian Army Punishing People Talking to UN Observers

Aired April 24, 2012 - 16:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, the phone hacking scandal takes a new twist as fresh evidence appears to show just how much access to Murdoch empire had in the heart of the British government.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.

Tonight, as a British minister faces calls to quit over his alleged links to the Murdochs, investigators for the U.S. are keeping a very close watch.

Also this hour, east Africa on the brink as South Sudan accuses the north of a declaration of war.

And a soul singer who is putting his heart into the global fight against malaria.

Well it began as an inquiry into phone hacking by newspapers. Today, it started shining a light on the relationship between one of the world's biggest media moguls and the British government, a relationship that goes right to the heart of British politics. And now there are calls for a key minister to resign.

In a moment, we'll be talking to Dan Rivers who was at the inquiry today. Then, we'll be live from New York with Maggie Lake on the impact on the Murdoch empire in the U.S.

First of all, Dan, just bring us up to date on a quite extraordinary day at the inquiry.

DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Max. Don't forget this story started with the revelation that the News of the World had hacked into the phone voicemail of a murdered school girl. There were then a series of increasingly alarming revelations and events including the closure of the News of the World, the resignation of the CEO of News International, Rebecca Brooks.

And then last year that rather humiliating appearance by the media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his son James in front of a panel of politicians. Well today James Murdoch was back here in London for another grilling, this time at a judicial inquiry at the high court behind me. And this time the focus was very much on the link between his father's media empire and the British government.


JAMES MURDOCH: I swear by almighty god that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

RIVERS: It's not the first time he's been grilled on phone hacking, but this time James Murdoch was under oath. Both James and his father Rupert have consistently denied they knew the scale of phone hacking, a position reiterated by James Murdoch in front of the judicial inquiry today.

MURDOCH: And I was not told sufficient information to go and turn over a whole bunch of stones that I was told had already been turned over. I was given repeated assurances as I've said that these practices -- that these -- that the news room had been investigated, that there was no evidence.

RIVERS: But now there is a fresh scandal, this time concerning the Murdochs attempt to fully take over the British broadcaster BSkyB. 18 new emails revealed by the inquiry show Murdoch's News Corp. had a close liaison with the minister who had a responsibility for approving the takeover.

And this is him today, Jeremy Hunt, accused of passing the Murdochs information that could have helped their company in the deal that he, Hunt, was supposed to be neutral on. One email from News Corp's director of public affairs, Fred Michel says managed to get some infos on the plans for tomorrow, although absolutely illegal.

It was sent the day before Jeremy Hunt was supposed to address the British Parliament on News Corp's efforts to take over BSkyB.

BEN BRADSHAW, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: He has certainly misled Parliament which is a resignation issue. His position is totally untenable. And I'd be very surprised if he stayed in the job more than a few hours. The question of whether he has broken the law, one of the emails referred to information that had been passed by Jeremy Hunt's office to News Corp, to the Murdoch empire, as completely illegal.

RIVERS: But Jeremy Hunt insists he's done nothing wrong.

JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH CULTURE SECRETARY: I'm confident that when I present my evidence, the public will see that I have behaved with absolute integrity and scrupulous objectivity throughout the whole process.

RIVERS: On the one hand, the Jeremy Hunt affair is not interesting unless you are fascinated by the minutiae of British politics. But on the other hand it is interesting, it shows the stranglehold it is alleged that the Murdochs had on power here in Britain, begging the question what was the situation in other countries around the world.

It was also revealed that the British prime minister met James Murdoch with other executives in September 2009 at a pub called The George. David Cameron, who wasn't yet prime minister, was told the Murdoch paper The Sun would back his party. But James Murdoch denied he promised a return favor at a later date.

MURDOCH: There was absolutely not a quid pro quo for that support. The Sky transaction was entirely separate. I simply wouldn't make that trade. It would be inappropriate to do so. And I just don't do business that way.

RIVERS: James Murdoch has already resigned as chairman of BSkyB and News Corps. bid for it has been abandoned. But now the political fallout will have far reaching consequences and is threatening Jeremy Hunt who is also responsible for this summer's Olympic games.


RIVERS: Well, Jeremy Hunt remains in post still this evening asking for his appearance here at the Leveson inquiry to be brought forward. Meanwhile, everyone is waiting for Rupert Murdoch himself to make an appearance tomorrow morning -- Max.

FOSTER: Dan, thank you very much indeed for that.

Well, the Murdoch media empire stretches across the globe. And this inquiry is being watched closely in the United States where News Corp. owns, among others, The Fox News Network, and The Wall Street Journal. Maggie Lake is New York outside the News Corp. headquarters for us right now.

What reaction there from the U.S. and Americans, Maggie?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Max. U.S. officials are watching this entire saga, not just today's proceedings, the entire saga very closely and carefully, because if it is proven that employees for British entities owned by News Corp in the UK bribed Scotland Yard officials as part of a phone hacking program, it could be that News Corp is in violation of something called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, that makes it illegal for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials in order to further their business interests.

Now if News Corp has run afoul of that. They can face very severe penalties, very severe fines, and in the most extreme case it may put their broadcast license in jeopardy.

Now experts I spoke to said that they do not think that that will happen. They don't think that's probable, but they do say that it's possible of the fines. And if they do face a multimillion dollar fine, Max, certainly that's only going to ad to the very hefty legal bill News Corp is faced with as a result of this phone hacking scandal -- Max.

FOSTER: Maggie Lake in New York. Thank you very much indeed.

Well, joining me now to explore today's revelations is the British opposition politician who has been instrumental in bringing the scandal to the public eye, Tom Watson. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

This started off as hacking, but now it's a political story, because Jeremy Hunt, a cabinet member has been dragged into this, of course. You're an opposition MP, let's clarified that, but what does this say, do you think, about the Murdochs relationship with government?

TOM WATSON, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: They're almost operating like a shadow state. You know, they've got this web of connections across every government department. And I think what shocked people today was the level of offline activity between lobbyists for the company and special advisers working for ministers. And where Jeremy Hunt is on very, very thin ice tonight is just the frequency of contact and the candor that is revealed in the emails.

FOSTER: There's a debate about that, isn't there, because he would suggest that perhaps it's the age that we're talking. And he's going to try to go to Leveson himself, he's trying to bring that hearing forward. So, you know, he hasn't been proven guilty quite yet.

But what should we be concerned about in the emails, about the sort of contact that takes place more broadly between the Murdoch corporations and British ministers and British government?

WATSON: Yeah. Well, what it shows is the Murdoch empire has got a grip on many of Britain's public institutions. We've seen the sort of London police brought to its knees by the hacking scandal over the last 12 months. We've seen the criminal justice system tested. We've seen prime ministers relationships with Rupert Murdoch sort of put under scrutiny. And then tonight we've seen the sort of political classes, the aides to ministers working to the aides to the executives.

And, you know, I don't think it's an understatement to say that even the most cynical Leveson watches were shocked by what was revealed today.

Now I've been on this investigation for three years. And I couldn't believe what Robert Jay was revealing in front of James Murdoch. The level of contact is so deep, you know, the tentacles of the company seem to be getting to all levels of government. And that's really what's under scrutiny in the UK today.

FOSTER: Big test, I guess, tomorrow when Rupert Murdoch, the head of the empire appears before Leveson. What are you hoping will be answered there, because you've questioned Rupert Murdoch yourself in a separate investigation. What are you hoping will be answered this time around?

WATSON: Well, what I think is very interesting about the strategy that James Murdoch pursued today and I'm sure will be followed by Rupert Murdoch tomorrow is in many senses the only defense they've got is to turn on their former political allies in government. And James -- Jeremy Hunt is a victim of that today.

Now Rupert Murdoch knows a lot more politicians over many, many more years than his younger son. There are 25 years worth of relationships with prime ministers that Rupert Murdoch can talk about candidly if you chose to. And that really could be dynamite if he goes down that route.

FOSTER: Isn't it a bit of a witch hunt, though? There's a legitimate reason for chief executives to meet with senior politicians. And certainly media moguls on the level of Rupert Murdoch. So in this witch hunt, the fact the meetings took place isn't wrong in itself, is it?

WATSON: I think it's the frequency and the fact they were offline. You know, one of the things that came out today was the prime minister did talk about the deal with James Murdoch over dinner at Rebecca Brooks' home near Christmas Day.

Now I'm the former civil service minister. I can tell you that the strong advice from any civil servant to a minister would be when you're having that level of contact and those kind of discussions, you always have a civil servant with you because they can write an impartial note of the meeting and that protects the minister in situations like this.

Even the prime minister broke that golden rule of government in the UK. And you know -- and that's an example of just how powerful the company are in this country.

FOSTER: Tom Watson, thank you very much indeed for your time.

WATSON: Thank you.

FOSTER: Our top story tonight, details of the relationship between the Murdochs and the British government emerging at the media ethics inquiry in London. James Murdoch says the contact between News Corp and politicians was above board, but tonight there are calls for a minister's resignation.

Tomorrow, even more revelations are expected as the company's founder Rupert Murdoch is next to give evidence.

You're watching Connect the World live from London. Still to come, the world's newest country is accusing a neighboring state of declaring war. We'll see why hostilities are escalating between the two Sudans.

It was one of the worst oil spills in modern history and now it's being revealed someone was concealing information. We'll have the latest on a former BP engineer facing charges of destroying evidence.

And we'll hear from a young American soul singer who is taking up the global fight against malaria. That, and much more, when Connect the World continues.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

South Sudan says a new bomb attacks on its territory amount to a declaration of war and is promising to fight back unless Sudan stops the violence. Salva Kiir made the remarks in China, the country with strong ties to both Sudans. He blames Khartoum for multiple air strikes in the south's oil producing region.

Today, Sudan's foreign minister suggested his country may be willing to talk about key disputes but the Sudanese president said this only yesterday.


OMAR AL BASHIR, PRESIDENT OF SUDAN (through translator): There will be no negotiations with those people. Our talk with them will be through guns and ammunition because this is the only language they understand. They understand nothing except that.


FOSTER: Well, we'll have much more on the story in 15 minutes, including a detailed look at the issues threatening to reignite war between the long time enemies.

Here's a look now at some other stories connecting our world tonight. A spokesman for Kofi Annan says the Syrians who talk to UN observers are in danger of being killed. The remarks come as Anna, the UN, and Arab League envoy -- and Arab League's envoy for Syria addresses the security council. He's expected to say the Syrian military has not pulled its heavy armor out of cities. The spokesman said Syrians who talk to UN truce mediators are harassed and in some cases killed by Syrian forces.


AHMAD FAWZI, KOFI ANNAN'S SPOKESMAN: They are entering areas where there has been conflict like Homs and Hama. And when they go, the guns are silent. We have credible reports that when they leave, the exchanges start again, that these people who approach the observers who may be approached by security forces or Syrian army and harassed or even arrested or even worse, perhaps killed.


FOSTER: The outgoing Dutch prime minister says a general election is likely to be held on September 12. Mark Rutte tendered his resignation to the queen on Monday after his cabinet failed to agree of a series of austerity cuts. But they have until the end of the month to bring its budget deficit within the EU's limit of 3 percent of GDP. Speaking earlier, Rutte urged Mps to react responsibly to the nation's economic crisis.

A former BP engineer has been charged with destroying evidence about the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Kurt Mix allegedly deleted hundreds of texts between him and a supervisor. They included information on the amount of oil being spilled during the DeepWater Horizon disaster. BP said it is cooperating with the U.S. and other official probes into the oil spill.

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko has been on hunger strike for five days. According to her lawyer, she refused to eat after being beaten by prison guards. She claims three men tied up her arms and legs, covered her with a sheet and dragged her into an ambulance. Her trial over alleged corruption has strained Ukraine's relationships with the West.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has been on state TV to dismiss rumors that he died whilst receiving cancer treatment. In a live phone call on Monday, Mr. Chavez said he planned to be back home on Thursday after his latest round of treatment. The president blamed opponents for rumors about his health after he did not appear on Venezuelan TV for eight days. Mr. Chavez said he even had to call his mother to prove to her he was not dead.


HUGO CHAVEZ, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): But truthfully rumors sometimes hurt. Look at my poor mother. Yesterday I returned her call. I called my mother because she was so nervous. And truthfully, you could feel it in her voice, her voice was broken.


FOSTER: Officials with Mitt Romney are forecasting a semiofficial victory on another big day in the U.S. primary season. Republicans are holding presidential nominating contest in five states today. 24 delegates are at stake. And the expected frontrunner will get most of them. Romney will also make a nationally televised speech later today with the title a better America begins tonight.

We're going to take you to a short break now, but when we come back, could the reigning European champions Barcelona be out of this year's competition? We'll have the latest on their semifinal with Chelsea next.


FOSTER: I'm Max Foster.

One of the teams who will play in the Champion's League final will be determined in a very short while. Either Barcelona or Chelsea will be heading to Munich on the May 19, the other will be out of competition.

Let's bring in Don Riddell from CNN Center for the latest on the match. You've got to tell us who has got the upper hand, Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well incredibly, Max, Chelsea have the upper hand. They're losing 2-1 against Barcelona tonight, but it's two-all in aggregate. If it stays like that in 10 minutes time, they would go to the final on the away goals rule. And what is incredible is that they've played more than half the match with just 10 men.

Barcelona have scored through Busquets and Iniesta, but you can see there Chelsea's captain John Terry being sent off towards the end of the first half.

If Chelsea goes through, what will be crucial is a goal from Ramirez. He chipped the goalie at the end of the first half and it really is a backs to the wall job from Chelsea given that their other center half Gary Cahill went off injured in the first half. Then their other center back and captain John Terry was sent off as well. And Chelsea are just hanging on.

And if they make it, Max, it will be an absolutely phenomenal achievement. Barcelona are the defending champions. They're considered to be one of the greatest teams ever assembled. And Chelsea are on the brink of putting them out of the competition.

We'll see how they go. Join us in an hour on world sport to see who won the game.

FOSTER: You know, definitely.

The second topic, Don, sad but hopeful. This amazing story of the London marathon runner we were talking about yesterday. The donations just keep coming, right?

RIDDELL: Yeah, this is the 30-year-old marathon runner Claire Squires who was only known to her family and her friends in her community on Sunday, now the entire world knows her name. As I said to you yesterday, Max, she was only trying to raise a few hundred pounds for the Samaritans, but the donations are coming in from all around the world. The last time I check, more than 500,000 pounds have been donated, as you can see 534,000 pounds, that's over $800,000.

And you can see the second number there, Max, 47,000, that's the number of people that have donated. Her story really has captured the global imagination. I was looking at this donations page last night. And I saw that 150 pounds had been pledged by someone from Tokyo in Japan. And it's being revealed, really, that this girl was just, you know, a great girl. She was warm, loving, caring. She was absolutely selfless. She was always doing things to raise money for charity. And her spirit really is what's really fired the public imagination.

Her family say they've just been overwhelmed with the support that's been shown from all around the world. And they're now going to use this money to set up a foundation in her name and then pass that money on to other good causes, not just the Samaritans.

So I mean, just a desperately sad time for the family, but her legacy really is just incredible.

FOSTER: Yeah, and it'll keep going up I'm sure.

Don, thank you very much for that.

Join Don, of course, with a full wrap of tonight's Champion's League match on World Sport in around an hour from now.

Still to come on Connect the World, weeks of cross border fighting could escalate to all out war in Sudan and its newly independent neighbor.

And he's a corporate strategist turned musician. Now (inaudible) is using his talent to help fight the global epidemic of malaria.


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

News Corp executive James Murdoch said again he didn't know much about the level of phone hacking by journalists in the company. He testified at a media ethics inquiry in London on Tuesday. Meanwhile there are calls for Britain's culture minister to resign after emails revealed extensive contacts between him and one of Murdoch's employees.

The president of South Sudan says Khartoum has effectively declared war by bombing territory in the south. Salva Kiir on the visit to China says his country will fight back unless Sudan stops the violence.

A spokesman for special envoy Kofi Annan says Syrian forces are punishing people who cooperate with UN monitors. He said once monitors leave the city, bloodshed resumes. Activists say nine people were killed for talking to observers on Sunday.

A former BP engineer has been charged with destroying evidence about the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Kurt Mix is accused of deleting hundreds of text messages that allegedly included information on the amount of oil being spilled.

Nine months after a peace deal divided Africa's biggest country, it appears two longtime enemies are once again on the brink of war. South Sudan and Sudan have been fighting for weeks over disputed border regions. The conflict escalated when the South recently seized the Heglig oil fields claimed by Sudan.

Khartoum threatened to overthrow the South's government, saying it was dominated by poisonous insects. South Sudan eventually retreated under international pressure, but now it says Khartoum is bombing its territory and promises to fight back unless the violence stops. David McKenzie has more, now, on a conflict threatening to spiral out of control.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The immediate aftermath of an airstrike. The target may have been a key bridge near Bentiu, a town near South Sudan's border. But the result, more civilian bloodshed. A 10-year-old boy, charred beyond recognition, the latest victim of a bitter dispute.

A dispute many thought would end after South Sudan's military, the SPLA, withdrew from an oil field claimed by Khartoum.

MAC PAUL, DIRECTOR, SOUTH SUDAN'S MILITARY INTELLIGENCE: The issue that was threatened by the government and the council of ministers for the withdraw from Heglig, and we withdraw, but there has been continuous complications from the Sudanese army and its militia force, Popular Defense, and southern militias towards our borders.

MCKENZIE: The SPLA took the Heglig oil fields earlier this month. They say this edited video shows at least part of the operation. The occupation drew swift international condemnation, with the UN Security Council threatening sanctions.

Under intense pressure, the South announced a withdrawal, and Khartoum was quick to declare victory.

DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN, SUDANESE AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: And a great honor for me and with great jubilation I would like to convey to you that our heroic armed forces, Sudanese armed forces, have chased out the aggressors today.


MCKENZIE: When South Sudan split from the north last year, issues of border demarcation, citizenship rights, and oil sharing were left unresolved. Most of Sudan's oil is in the South, but it's shipped and controlled through the north. Oil cooperation has broken down completely.

Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, has used the Heglig dispute to rally domestic support in a country still smarting from its divorce from the South. Visiting the gutted facility on Monday to a hero's welcome, there was little talk of peace.

OMAR AL-BASHIR, PRESIDENT OF SUDAN (through translator): There will be no negotiations with those people. Our talk with them will be through guns and ammunition, because this is the only language they understand. They understand nothing except that.

MCKENZIE: Sudan denies that it is bombing the South. New satellite images from the Sentinel Project, an independent monitoring group, shows Sudanese fighter jets, bombers, and attack helicopters allegedly positioned within easy range of South Sudan and its oil fields.

MCKENZIE (on camera): Sudan's official news agency is reporting that the government is enacting special laws to, quote, "severely punish anyone found collaborating with the South." While both sides say they want to talk, their rhetoric and action seem to be pulling them further away from the negotiating table and closer to all-out war.

David McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.


FOSTER: To understand the current hostilities, it's crucial to know the long history of conflict between the people of Sudan and South Sudan.

The region was wracked by more than 20 years of civil war, ending in 2005 with a peace deal between Sudan's government and Southern rebels, fueled by religious and ethnic differences and a struggle for control of the regions oil. Some 2 million people were killed in that conflict.

Separately, Sudan's government has also been blamed for violence and the continuing humanitarian crisis in Darfur. That led the International Criminal Court to charge Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir with war crimes in 2008.

A watchdog group says it has evidence of wrongdoing by both sides of the latest hostilities. The Satellite Sentinel Project was conceived by US actor and activist George Clooney and Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast during their visit to Sudan in 2010.

We're joined now by a spokesman for the Satellite Sentinel Project, Jonathan Hutson. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us, Jonathan. So, if you can give us a sense of what's going on in terms of the stoking of the conflict there.

JONATHAN HUTSON, SPOKESMAN, SATELLITE SENTINEL PROJECT: Well, Max, right now we're seeing bombs and bombast. There's escalation of conflict on the ground and an escalation of bellicose rhetoric from both sides.

Satellite images also indicate that both sides have violated basic laws of war. On the Southern side, we see visual evidence of looting by the Southern army, the SPLA. On the Northern side, we see visual evidence of indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas, and they've also damaged the disputed oil field at Heglig, over which both sides are fighting.

The satellite imagery indicates that a key part of the oil infrastructure has been damaged and, according to Harvard Humanitarian Initiative analysis of these digital globe satellite photos, the part of the oil infrastructure that was wiped out by an apparent explosion would likely cease the oil flow in the area. So really, both sides are losing civilians and both sides are losing the ability to profit from oil.

FOSTER: You're already talking, though, about a potential genocide, because you're concerned, aren't you, by some of the language that's being used?

HUTSON: When President Bashir called South Sudan's ruling SPLM party "poisonous insects," he was engaging in the type of eliminationist rhetoric that we saw prefecatory to the genocide in Rwanda, when minority ethnic members were referred to as cockroaches. In the Holocaust, Jews were referred to as vermin to be exterminated.

So, we've seen this type of rhetoric. It happens in 100 percent of genocide cases that first there is eliminationist rhetoric, and then there is eliminationist or genocidal action.

FOSTER: I guess the international community is concerned about getting involved, here, because this was actually a very hopeful story not long ago when you saw the birth of this newest country in the world.

But things seem to be escalating so quickly. What role should the international community play and who should be playing it, crucially?

HUTSON: The international community, particularly with the leadership of the United States and China, should address the underlying conflict drivers. You mentioned that the Sudans were torn apart by 23 years of a bloody civil war that ended in 2005 with a peace deal.

That comprehensive peace agreement promised that three underlying issues would have been resolved by now. They have not been resolved, and those are: they need to agree on how to demarcate the border, how to share oil revenue, and what to do for the participation of minority populations in governance within Sudan.

Right now, Sudan within its own borders has a civil war because they haven't yet settled political participation issues with Darfuris as well as minorities who live in the border areas of Abyei, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile state.

FOSTER: OK, Jonathan Hutson, appreciate your time. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

This news just coming into CNN. Apple has just released its earnings report and here are the numbers for you: $39.2 billion in sales. That's nearly a 60 percent increase from last year. Just keeps go. Earnings nearly double to $11.6 billion.

Apple was the biggest drag on the tech -- tech-heavy NASDAQ index on Tuesday, though. It shed around 2 percent in very volatile trading. We'll wait to see what the markets make of that tomorrow and overnight in Asia.

Football news also. Just moments ago, Chelsea are going onto the Champions League final, an extraordinary result. The semifinal ended up 3- 2 aggregate after a 2-2 draw today. In the final on May the 19th, Chelsea will play the winner of the other semifinal between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, the latest in our series on Leading Women. We meet one of the most powerful female executives in the tech industry and a three-starred Michelin chef. These high achievers up next.


FOSTER: They've both achieved tremendous success, but it hasn't always been easy. Tonight, our Leading Women tell us about some of the challenges they faced and the lessons learned. Take a look.


FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After graduating from California's Stanford University in 1999, Google exec Marissa Mayer says she had 14 job offers.

MARISSA MAYER, VICE PRESIDENT, GOOGLE: I think the quote might be interesting for that reason. Here's a frame, here's how you move it. Does that make sense?

TAYLOR: She chose the start-up search engine for a very clear reason.

MAYER: I felt like the smartest people were there. I felt like it was a risk, and I felt like it was something I wasn't really prepared to do.

TAYLOR: She remembers an intense and grueling environment, but didn't mind it.

MAYER: For my first five years at Google, I pulled an all-nighter in the office at least once a week. And I think that that intensity was something that was really important and key overall to the success and growth of search, and I also think it was important to the growth of the web.

TAYLOR: Mayer would like to see more women in the IT industry.

MAYER: There is such a stereotype of the hacker. The pasty-skinned guy with the thick bottle glasses, the pocket protector, the blue glue coming off of the monitor. Right?


MAYER: And people think that if they're going to be good at this, that's what they need to do. And I think one of the things that I feel is really important is for women to be able to see a multiplicity of different role models and say, oh, you know what? You can be good at technology and like fashion and art. You can be good at technology and be a jock. You can be good at technology and be a mom. Being able to see, you know what? You can do it your way. You can do it on your terms.

When they get their plans in the box, and they just go, ching-ching --


TAYLOR: In more than 10 years at Google, the company says Mayer has launched some 100 features and products. And as one of the most powerful women in high-tech, the multimillionaire is a familiar face on the tech circuit, like at this appearance in Paris during Le Web, Europe's biggest tech conference.

Mayer has achieved great success on her terms by stretching herself.

MAYER: I got four pieces of advice. One is, work with the smartest people you can find. They really will elevate you. Two is, do things you're not ready to do, because in the worst case, you'll fail and you'll learn that that was beyond your abilities, but in the best case, you'll surprise yourself and actually be able to do it.

Then, there's the inverse that, which is work in an environment where you're extremely comfortable. And then, my final piece of advice is work for people who believe in you and invest in you.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Becky Anderson. World renowned French chef Anne-Sophie Pic is the only living female with the coveted three-star Michelin honor.

Born into a family of famous chefs, her professional journey was still an uphill one, and a surprise even to herself.

ANDERSON (on camera): You consider yourself self-taught.

ANNE-SOPHIE PIC, CHEF, LA MAISON PIC: Yes, definitely. Definitely. But it is -- it was difficult at the beginning for me, because it's like you have to climb a mountain, you know? You don't know where to go to begin with.

ANDERSON (voice-over): At the start of her career, Pic felt being a woman would be an inconvenience, as she put it, in a physically grueling male-dominated workspace. Now, though, she's an advocate for helping other women on their path.

PIC: I'm very attentive to the women in the kitchen because physically, they can be tired before men, and mentally, I think they are strong.

ANDERSON: Pic credits one of her toughest life moments for giving her the drive to succeed. She took control of her father's kitchen without formal training, motivated to gain back one of the Michelin stars his restaurant lost after his death.

PIC: It's like a respect of my father's memory. It was important for me to have the third star because it seems to me that I lost his star in 1995, and that I have to gain it again for him.

ANDERSON: Her secret to success, Pic says, is reshaping a weakness into a strength.

PIC: People who used to work with me, some of my sous chefs, always told me that it was interesting to work with me because I was open-minded. I was not like this. I was open because I was not taught by someone telling me, "You don't have to do that." So, it was very wide, very -- for me.

ANDERSON: At 42, Pic now sits at the top of the culinary world. As she looks to the future, she hopes she's remembered one day for her unique style.

PIC: Professionally, probably will be recognized my combinations of flavors and to my style of cuisine, of course, for itself, I think it's the same. To marry flavors, I would like people to think about me in these terms.


FOSTER: You can find out more about all of our Leading Women on our website, and read all about their journeys to success and their tips on staying at the top of your game.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, he's seen the toll firsthand, now Aloe Blacc tells us why we have reached a critical point in the global fight against Malaria.


FOSTER: It's that time of year when the world takes stock of its fight against a disease that threatens almost half of the global population. We're talking 3.3 billion people at risk of malaria. Let's take a look at the latest research.

According to the World Health Organization, 216 million people fall ill with malaria each year. Out of those cases, 655,000 prove fatal. That, believe it or not, is an improvement. Mortality rates have dropped 25 percent since 2000. And 35 out of the 54 countries effected by malaria have seen a 50 percent reduction in deaths, largely due to dedicated investment and resources.

Now, a progress, yes, but we are still a far cry from the global goal of near zero deaths by 2015. To that end, a young American singer has taken up the fight. In tonight's Big Interview, Aloe Blacc tells Becky why we can't afford to drop the ball.



ANDERSON (voice-over): It's the song that cemented Aloe Blacc's career in the music industry. The American soul singer wrote "I Need a Dollar" after he was made redundant from his job as a corporate strategist.

ALOE BLACC, SINGER: "I Need a Dollar" was inspired by a CD that I was listening to of chain gang workers. It was filed recordings of these guys who were singing their songs about their own personal issues, what got them incarcerated or what they're going through.

And I decided that I wanted to write my own chain gang song, and that's were the inspiration came from for "I Need a Dollar." And it's, I think, something that everybody can relate to at some point, no matter what part of the economic strata you're on, you understand the concept of needing a dollar for whatever reason.


ANDERSON: At the time, it spoke to those suffering through the financial crisis, but the two-time Brit Awards nominee has found a new audience in Ghana, where more than a quarter of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.



ANDERSON: Aloe has recently returned from the African country, where he visited schools and clinics as an ambassador for Malaria No More, a campaign dedicated to all but eliminating malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.

ANDERSON (on camera): Tell me what you found in Ghana. Just describe the trip.

BLACC: What I found were very happy people who were living with very little. Thatched huts with dirt floors, and people that are kind of just getting by with the bare minimum. And in order to get by, they need to be healthy. And when they get sick with malaria, they can't work, they can't feed their families, and that's the toughest -- I think the toughest part of it.

ANDERSON: You met a lot of kids when you were there.


ANDERSON: What did you ask them, what did they tell you?

BLACC: Well, I went to a classroom in Ejura, which is an area in the Ashanti region, and I asked about 35 kids in this classroom, age 13 to 17, how many of them had ever had malaria, and every single child raised their hand in the classroom.

And I was awestricken, because I never imagined that all of them had it. I thought maybe their parents, maybe their sisters or brothers, but each kid.

ANDERSON (voice-over): It's estimated that malaria kills more than 655,000 people a year, mostly young kids, mostly in Africa.

BLACC: How do you get malaria?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: You get it from mosquitoes.

ANDERSON (on camera): Why get involved in this campaign?

BLACC: Malaria is a disease that we can fight and we can end. Just this year -- or last year, Morocco because malaria-free. And I think the same thing can happen in Ghana, where I visited, and in other parts of the world, where malaria is still affecting people. It's killing a child every minute.

ANDERSON (voice-over): But a mosquito net can mean the difference between life and death.

BLACC: So you tuck it underneath the bed. Underneath the mattress.

ANDERSON (on camera): Did the trip change your perceptions of Africa and its economic prospects, for example?

BLACC: Yes, absolutely. I mean, before I thought to myself that things can happen much quicker if somebody just pumps a bunch of money into Africa. But it's not about that. There's more than just money. It's going to take education and awareness.

People need to change culturally. If they're not in the habit of sleeping with a mosquito net, they need to understand why it's important, and they need to change their habits. And that's really what is happening now. The young generation is recognizing it.

And after speaking to these beautiful young kids and learning that they've all had malaria, but now they all are sleeping under nets, they are forging the change.



FOSTER: Well, have a thought on that or any of the rest of the stories we covered tonight? Well, the team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you. At CNNconnect, you'll find us on Twitter and you can also find links to much of the content on our show, as well. Have a look and have your say. We'd love to hear from you.

And finally, in tonight's Parting Shots, an image of the day, really, a very lucky escape for a teenage girl in China who literally fell through the pavement into a six-meter-deep well. CCTV captured the moment, as you can see.

The street swallowed her up, and a passing taxi driver came to her rescue, thankfully. He climbed down the hole by clinging to a cable and stayed with the girl as the ground fell in. She was in a terrible state, as you can imagine.

Passers-by called the emergency services, who arrived with a ladder and pulled the pair to safety. The girl's family used this video to track the driver down and thank him for his heroic deed. You can never be too careful, can you?

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