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CONNECT THE WORLD
Turnout Lower Than Expected In Egypt Presidential Elections; FIFA Plans Goal Line Technology Test During England Friendly; Radiation From Fukushima Plant Spreading Across Japan Through Building Materials, Food; Nuclear Expert Says Radiation in Rocks Not Major Concern; British Government Demanding Access to Tapes Made by Northern Ireland Militants; Big Interview with "Nightingale" Baaba Maal; Baaba Maal Performs Live in Studio
Aired May 24, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Yes, it does. Tonight on Connect the World, the polls have closed. Now the counting begins. Young and old, women and men, Egyptians have had their say, but will their voices be heard?
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: As Egypt enters a crucial period. One of the country's best known writers will tell me about her hopes and fears for the future.
Also this hour, (inaudible) play it safe and now their homes are contaminated: how the radiation has spread from Japan's nuclear disaster.
And he's one of West Africa's most celebrated musicians, Senegalese Star Baabal Maal singing live in the studio.
All right. Kicking off tonight in Egypt. The last ballots have been cast and now the counting begins. The polls are closed in what is a landmark presidential election. We don't yet have official turnout numbers for the authorities at least estimating around 50 percent of the 50 million eligible voters cast their vote or ballots over the last two days.
Now preliminary results are expected from the weekend. If no candidate gets a majority, the top two will compete in a run-off next month. The winner, of course, replacing Hosni Mubarak ousted in a popular uprising last spring.
Well, the election gave Egyptians a pretty clear choice for their future, two of the top four frontrunners are Islamists while the other two are secularists who served in the old regime.
Hala is in Cairo. How soon, Hala, do you think we will get an indication of how this vote has gone?
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the election commission has said that on May 29, which is next Tuesday, results for the first round will be announced. And if there is no clear winner as you mentioned, then there will be a run-off on June 16 and 17. There is really no expectation that there will be an outright winner in the first round. 50 percent of the vote plus 1. There are, after all, 13 candidates, 11 running, and a handful of frontrunners, about four or five candidates who are considered frontrunners. You mentioned a couple of Islamists, and a couple of old regime members.
Now voting today was a little bit more subdued from what we saw in polling stations across Cairo. And turnout, as you mentioned there, at 50 percent at 9:00 pm local, which is perhaps a little bit lower than some had forecast.
Well, Ben Wedeman was out today at polling stations in Cairo. And he joins me now live with more on what he saw. And you also -- we've been talking about these four main candidates, but there's a fifth one as well that seems quite popular among those people you spoken with.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I was amazed, Hala. We spent a lot of time in Chubrakhaima (ph) which is a northern suburb of Cairo and lots of people were saying they're going to vote for Hamdi Sabahi who is a leftist Nasserist candidate. And I think what it tells you is there is a real rejection of the idea that anybody from the Mubarak regime is going to have a place at the table in post-revolutionary Egyptian politics. And, you know, he is somebody who -- even in Arabic they call him a dark horse. Really came from behind. We don't know -- because of the lack of clarity in the opinion polls here, we don't know if he is going to come to the fore or not.
But what's really interesting when you step back, regardless of who wins, for most Egyptians they're savoring the fact that this election, given this country's thousands of years of dictatorial legacy they stepped back.
GORANI: Starting with the Pharaoh.
WEDEMAN: Starting with the Pharaohs. For them, this whole exercise is truly amazing.
WEDEMAN: Even at 70 years of age, Nadia Fahmy is still learning. Today, how to vote for Egypt's next president. She waited two-and-a-half hours outside the polling station in the upscale Cairo neighborhood of Garden City to ensure she was the first to get in and vote.
NADIA FAHMY, FIRST-TIME VOTER: Sure, sure it's the right step. I mean, now at least we have confidence. We think that it's going to be a proper vote and that's why we're out here.
WEDEMAN: For the grand dammes of Garden City elections are at last worth the effort.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since I was born in 1948 (inaudible) anybody.
WEDEMAN: The choice facing Egyptians is fairly stark between candidates who want to go down an islamist path and those who want to follow a more secular, civil route. I ask Amel Shoukerostum (ph) which way she wants to go.
"Civil," she says. "If the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power," she worries, "they'll persecute minorities." She voted for former foreign minister Amre Moussa, one of the leading candidates on the secular side.
Ali Ahmed Ali, a lawyer at the health ministry, is voting for Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate.
ALI AHMED ALI, CAIRO RESIDENT: Not personal reasons, but I vote for him because they proved they can handle the country. They can handle the law. They work with the parliament very good. This good for my country, that's all.
WEDEMAN: A clear winner is unlikely to emerge from the field of 13 contenders in this, the first round of voting. The only real clarity to emerge so far is that Egypt has indeed discarded the tawdry, staged politics of the Mubarak era.
"For 30 years we were completely blind-folded," says Samir Moudweli (ph). "We didn't know what was going on behind our back."
Under Hosni Mubarak, voting days were raucous, noisy affairs complete with paid musicians and often paid voters.
In the new Egypt, process is relatively calm and quiet. The lines are orderly. Voters largely patient and in good humor still learning something new after more than 5,000 years.
WEDEMAN: And of course Hala if there is no clear winner we'll be doing this in three weeks. So come back again.
GORANI: Right. And the electoral commission said that vote count would start half an hour to an hour after the close of the last polling station, which was an hour and 10 minutes ago.
So Becky, right now the vote count is under way. If the turnout is 50 percent we're talking about 25 million ballots. It's going to take a few days. Back to you.
ANDERSON: All right. Thank you for that. Hala Gorani and Ben Wedeman for you out of Cairo tonight.
So many sacrifices were made, of course, for this day. Hundreds lost their lives in the revolution and uprising that paved the way for Egyptians to think the impossible. My next guess spent days in Tahrir Square last year, a Booker Prize nominated novelist and author of "Cairo: My City, A Revolution" amongst others. My guest tonight is Ahdaf Soueif. Also renowned political and cultural commentator.
I read your op-eds regularly. You've kept me grounded about what's been going on over the last 18 months in your country. You voted today.
AHDAF SOUEIF, AUTHOR: I voted in London a few days ago.
ANDERSON: With a sense of pride and accomplishment?
SOUEIF: Well, you know it's kind of hard because it's good that you have a number of candidates and it's good that you have a procedure which seems likely to have been conducted fairly and so on, but the conditions in which we vote are less than one would have hoped for. We are still under the command of the military and that is why a number of really -- you know the most revolutionary, if you like, of the revolutionary, have boycotted the elections because they're conducted under the aegis of the military.
So, you know, it's...
ANDERSON: What you say bares working with a little bit here. And let's start at what is a very, very important issue. Will the military cede authority at the beginning of July to whoever wins this election?
SOUEIF: Well, of course they are supposed to. Whether they will or not is an open question. And also what conditions. I mean, obviously some kind of negotiation process will start. We know that there are particular things that they would like to keep in place. One is the secrecy of their budget, another is their economic interests, their jurisdiction over land, their -- you know, various things.
ANDERSON: They run the place, let's face it.
SOUEIF: They run the place. Yes.
So, you know, how much power will they cede, will the place be run by the president and parliament and a government or will it continue to be run by the military from behind the scene of what looks like a democratic front?
ANDERSON: And that is a big if at the moment and one of the reasons why many people I know in Egypt today aren't on the street celebrating as they were back in January of 2011, because this is sort of gray area at present. Not everybody is convinced that things will be good going forward.
Let me ask you -- let me ask you another question here. What do you see the future for Egypt?
SOUEIF: I think in the long-term I'm completely optimistic. Basically we have now -- we've had a revolution. We've rediscovered our sense of agency. We are articulating what we want and what we don't want. And actually I think maybe we're even on the path to exploring different morsels of running a society which have not been tried before. So -- and I mean, in the whole world.
And so I think that -- I mean, obviously we're in a very interesting time. And I think that the future is good.
ANDERSON: You say we. And then I look at the turnout, which is some 50 percent, or possibly less. So we're looking at less than half of those who could vote voting. Why?
SOUEIF: Well, I mean you have various factors. You have -- you have the people who are boycotting. And then you have people who don't believe in the process and believe it doesn't make any difference. And then you have the usual apathy which there's always some apathy.
So it's not brilliant. And when you compare it to the numbers that turned out for the first exercise in voting, which was unfortunately it was the referendum on the -- the referendum in March of last year. There I think the turnout was 80 plus percent. So some disillusionment has set in. But that will be corrected if we get the next step right.
ANDERSON: On balance, I get the sense that this is a good day as far as you're concerned. Thank you very much for coming in.
You're watching Connect the World live from London.
Our top story this hour, in Egypt the polls are closed and the counting is underway. On paper we're witnesses a revolution the likes of which Egyptians can only dream of a year or so ago. But I think ballots are confused a bit, a palpable sense of concern that all is not well beneath the surface, a fear that what looks like the dawn of a new democracy may be more complicated than many had hoped. Our guest say at least tonight with a positive outlook.
Still to come, they were told they were safe, but now people in Japan have discovered they've been exposed to radiation despite living far from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
And more than 30 years after a six year old boy disappeared sparking a national missing children's program, a New York man says he was responsible.
And he plays for the good and the great, including Nelson Mandela. Tonight he plays for you, live on set. Baabal Maal joins us in the studio.
All that and much more when Connect the World continues.
ANDERSON: Well, a warm welcome back. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you. Welcome back.
A look at some of the stories that are connecting our world tonight. And in his first TV interview since getting to the United States, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has spoken to CNN about his ordeal of fleeing house arrest. Take a listen to some of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: When you were released you were under house arrest. What was that like?
CHEN GUANGCHENG, CHINESE DISSIDENT (through translator): I want to correct one thing here, when we talked about my situation and the future, let's not use the word house arrest, but instead let's use the term illegal detention. It's hard for me to describe what it was like during that time, but let's just say that my suffering was beyond imagination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the human rights activist arrived in the United States last week bringing an end to what was a diplomatic firestorm between the U.S. and China. And you can watch that full interview with Chen on AC360 that's at 1:00 am on Friday here in London, 8:00 am Friday in Hong Kong -- 8:00 am Hong Kong.
And Connect the World will bring you the interview on Friday, a show that's 9:00 pm here in London, 10:00 in Berlin. Set your watches everybody.
A new round of talks in Iran's nuclear program will take place in Moscow next month. The announcement coming after two days of intense negotiations in Baghdad, which ended with no agreement. Six international powers have been trying to convince Iran to stop enriching Uranium. The country did prevent a plan on enrichment at the talks, but speaking to CNN's Hala Gorani, their chief nuclear negotiator said enrichment itself is non-negotiable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAEED JALILI, IRANIAN CHIEF NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR (through translator): We are seriously in favor of fighting the weapon of mass destruction, therefore we believe that we should be granted the rights -- our rights in order to implement and utilize the peaceful nuclear energy including enrichment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says there is no plan B for stopping the violence in Syria. He's been speaking to my colleague Chriatiane Amanpour a little earlier. And as a UN panel concluded the gross violations continue unabated in the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: But what is the plan B? How to take up this matter, as you said? What will be the absolute solution to stopping this carnage?
BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: At this time, we don't have any plan B. The joint special envoy Kofi Annan has proposed the six peace proposals among which a complete cessation of violence is number one. Unfortuantely, this has not been implemented with a deployment of monitoring missions we have seen some dampening effect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The UN has no plan B: Ban Ki-Moon to Christiane Amanpour. You can see that full interview in around 40 minutes here on CNN -- 10:00 London, 11:00 in Berlin.
Well, dozens of African migrants were injured after a race riot broke out in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. About 1,000 Israelis took to the streets to demonstrate against migrants and aslyum seekers from Africa. Now witnesses say inflammatory speeches turned the march violent with some protesters attacking Africans and vandalizing shops and property.
More than 30 years after the boy's disappearance, a man in New York claims he killed six-year-old Etan Patz. The boy was abducted in 1979. He was one of the first missing children to have his photo displaced on milk cartons. Asking for information in his case sparked a nationwide missing child movement.
Susan Candiotti has been following developments in New York. And she joins me now.
So long and so hard for his parents. And today we almost get closure to a certain extent. What do we know?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, you put your finger on it. Is this the break that Etan Patz's family has been waiting for for more than 33 years as well as the police? It's just too early to say. But we do know this, police now have in custody, though he has not yet been charged, a man who claims, according to a source, that he killed Etan Patz long ago, that he strangled the boy -- this is his claim.
Now police have him in custody since Wednesday. He has not yet been charged. This is a man who owned a small store kind of like a convenience store in the very same neighborhood where Etan Patz's family lived so long ago. And his parents of course still live there.
And the reason this might be significant is that the author of a book on Etan Patz investigation had written that the day that the boy disappeared he had said to his parents when he was -- before he walked to the school bus stop that he might be spending a dollar the he had just received at a small store to buy a soda during -- at school that day. Is there a connection? We don't know yet. But as we said, we hope to learn more as the hours and days go on.
Back to you, Becky.
ANDERSON: Susan, one of those stories that resonates around the world wherever our viewers are watching. Thank you for that.
We're going to take a very short break on this show. When we come back, it's unlike any other motor sport race in the world, the Monaco Grand Prix. We're going to look ahead to Sunday prestigious Formula 1 race after this short break. Do stay with us.
ANDERSON: Well, in the world of racing it doesn't get any bigger than this. The glitz and glamor is Monaco. It's the Grand Prix. It takes place this weekend.
Well, McClaren's Jensen Button and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso were fastest in Thursday's practice. It's all about the glitz and glamor of the racing on the banks of the Mediterranean. Mark McKay isn't there, nor am I. So we're going to talk about it through gritted teeth. He's at CNN Center and I'm in London.
The race Sunday there's ben some news made off the track today, though, isn't it?
MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Our colleague Amanda Davies is there, though, Becky. And yes there was news as Amanda sat down with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. They had a one-on-one chat. Mr. Ecclestone exclusively told Amanda in the interview which was conducted earlier today that he is anticipating every team to keep participating in the sport even the German based Mercedes racing team who are reportedly contemplating their end to F1 involvement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE ECCLESTONE, F1 CEO: Well, we just got the deeper now to all the current teams to sign up to 2020. And then another 10 years after that. And then forever.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: So is that you saying that the concord agreement has been signed, everybody is agreed.
ECCLESTONE: Everybody is agreed with it.
DAVIES: Including Mercedes?
ECCLESTONE: You'll have to wait to see if Mercedes -- I'm confident that everything with Mercedes will be fine.
DAVIES: There has been suggestions that Mercedes were threatening to pull out of the sport. Have those concerns gone away as far as you're concerned?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKAY: Much for from Mr. Ecclestone in the Friday additions of World Sport. And that was a longer interview that Amanda conducted with the F1 supremo and we'll be showing you more of that on Friday's additions of World Sport -- Becky.
ANDERSON: All right. That's F1. And because we're not there, let's move on shall we. One day we'll get there.
Goal line technology in football -- some like it, some loathe it, but it may, I think at least, be closer than we think, right?
MCKAY: At least the testing process. Yes, it's right around the corner. In fact, June 2 England will play a friendly at Wembley Stadium against Belgium. It'll be their final game before the euros begin Euro 2012 of course.
Hawkeye technology will be watching players' every move. Of course this technology has been out there with tennis and independent testers will roll it out during this friendly at Wembley, but the match officials will have no active data collected and no impact on goal line calls.
Of course, isn't it interesting, Becky, that England will have this test happen because they were at the very epicenter of goal line technology and the controversy of such. Remember the 2010 World Cup, England fans certainly will. Remember that fondly or maybe not? Frank Lampard's disallowed goal against Germany, if it counted it would have been 2-2, but instead there was no goal line technology there. And England is still made to remember.
So we'll see where this testing goes.
Of course Becky you recently sat down with the head of the English Premier League. He had something to say about this technology, right?
ANDERSON: Yeah, I did. And quite frankly he said there's no argument against it, as it were, literally no argument. What he said, Mark, is they are at this testing stage as you suggested. And it may not be until the season 2012-2013 or later that we actually get this technology. But Scudamore, Richard Scudamore is absolutely determined that we will get it at some point soon.
Which I think is good, because you just said, do you remember that? Are you asking me if an England football fan, do I remember?
MCKAY: I would hope you would want to forget that.
But since we bring up goal line technology, how could England fans not remember that?
ANDERSON: Yeah, exactly.
All right, mate, thank you for that. Mark is at CNN Center. World Sport of course in an hour.
This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.
Imagine you're enjoying life in a new apartment, then you discover that the concrete is made of contaminated materials. You'll see residents in Japan who thought they were safe. That's up next.
And almost 15 years after they agreed to stop fighting, will tape recording of former militants in Northern Ireland threaten what is the fragile peace there?
And he's not just a music icon, we talk politics, human rights, and development with our Senegalese star Baabal Mall. He is a world star. He's on CNN, Connect the World. And that is coming up in the next 20 minutes. Please stay with us.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Welcome back, and for those just joining us, a very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson, these are the latest world news headlines here on CNN.
Polls are now closed in Egypt, the first ever democratic presidential election. Authorities estimate 50 percent of eligible voters turned out to choose a replacement for Hosni Mubarak. Preliminary results are expected this weekend.
Talks concerning Iran's controversial nuclear program have ended in Baghdad. No concrete results were reported from the negotiations between Iran and representatives of what were the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, the G5 plus 1. The two sides will meet again next month in Moscow.
New York's mayor says police have a suspect in the case of Etan Patz, but the investigation isn't over. A man named Pedro Hernandez has given a statement implicating himself in Patz's disappearance in 1979.
And a judge in South Africa says the ban on a controversial painting would be difficult to enforce. The ANC party has been in court trying to get a picture showing Jacob Zuma with his genitals showing removed from public display. The hearing has been delayed, and a new date hasn't been set.
Those are the headlines this hour.
They thought they were safe from the threat of radiation, but now people in cities across Japan are worried that they could be in danger. Contaminated rock from a quarry near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has been shipped, were told, across the region and as CNN's Kyung Lah now reports, it's ended up in the concrete used to build people's homes. Have a look at this.
(WOMAN YELLING IN JAPANESE)
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One mother's rage. Local government representatives have finally shown up to talk to Ayako Yaegashi, her husband, and two young children, months after a horrific discovery at their apartment complex. This brand-new building's foundation is radioactive. The city's experts found a level ten times higher than average exposure in Japan.
But this city is supposed to be in a safe area, 40 miles away form the so-called danger zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant. So, how did this happen? This cement came from this quarry, just miles from the crippled nuclear plant.
When the triple-meltdown happened, radiation rained down on the quarry. The radioactive rock was then shipped across the country and used to build this apartment building.
Residents from the first floor have all moved out, but Yaegashi lives on the third floor, where the government keeps trying to tell her it's safe.
LAH (on camera): Do you feel nervous even just standing out here?
LAH (voice-over): "Yes, I'm worried," says Yaegashi. "Radiation is invisible. It could be airborne right now, it could be coming out of the ground. We don't know."
LAH (on camera): It's not just the apartment building, but contaminated rock from the quarry made its way to nearly a thousand different locations across this entire region. It's right under my feet in this new section of this little canal. Just an example of how radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster has worked its way into ordinary life here in Japan.
LAH (voice-over): Radiation-tainted straw was fed to cattle, which became tainted beef that ended up in supermarkets and restaurants across Japan. Radioactive particles flew across the country and landed on green tea fields in south Japan, which ended up in tea cups. And airborne radioactive particles appear to have entered a baby formula factory. Formula which ended up on store shelves.
All these scares have led to the opening of nearly 100 independent storefronts across Japan, where residents like Yuki Kubo can test food and soil for radiation.
"I can't believe the government, I don't believe them," she says. "We have to protect ourselves. That's what we've learned from Fukushima."
Japan's government is constantly monitoring radiation in the air, ground, and water on a local and national level, but Ayako Yaegashi is a living example that the government can't control the spread of radiation everywhere.
"Never listen to what the government tells you," she says. "If you do, you'll pay." She and her family go back inside with little relief from the government. They'll try to handle this crisis on their own.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Nihonmatsu, Japan.
ANDERSON: At ten times the average radiation levels in the country, how worried should families like Ayako's be? I'll bring in David Brenner, who is director for the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University to answer that. It's a pretty simple question. I would expect that they should be really concerned, shouldn't they?
DAVID BRENNER, CENTER FOR RADIOLOGICAL RESEARCH, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I don't think they should be so concerned, Becky. If you were to do measurements on houses in -- on the East Coast of the USA, you'd also see variations just like that, factors of ten differences --
BRENNER: -- in low-level radioactivity. Different rocks have different amounts of radioactivity in them. There is certainly contamination from Fukushima all around Japan, but I really doubt that this has actually much to do with that.
ANDERSON: All right. Let's just remind our viewers that we are all exposed to radiation on a daily basis.
BRENNER: Yes, we are.
ANDERSON: It's, of course, measured in units called a sievert. The average is -- I think I'm right in saying three millisieverts a year. But at the time of the Fukushima disaster, radiation levels were measured as high as 400 per hour.
Just over a year later, it's a different story. The WHO didn't take measurements inside the 20 kilometer restricted zone, but in the area between 20 and 30 kilometers away, people are exposed to radiation doses in between 10 and 50 millisieverts per year. For the rest of Fukushima, it's less, between 1 and 10. Most of Japan, between 0.1 and 1.
For neighboring countries and the rest of the world, it's pretty small, isn't it? Just set what we are learning from Japan, and specifically Fukushima, within the context of what we know to be the rest of our lives, as it were, for those of us who aren't watching from Japan.
BRENNER: Well, we are exposed to radiation, as you say, all the time. So, these are very small additions to the natural radiation exposure that we have anyway. The numbers that you gave are actually just for the first year after the Fukushima event. But we also have to think, actually, about lifetime exposures, the next 30 years, shall we say?
BRENNER: And those doses are going to be somewhat higher. Still, on the low side. We're still not talking about high risks. We're talking about low risks, but we are talking about a lot of people exposed to these low-radiation risks.
ANDERSON: And David, as you speak, I'm considering just how this really stacks up a year or so on to a disaster like, for example, Chernobyl?
BRENNER: It's a little bit smaller than Chernobyl. It's certainly the same sort of thing. It's probably, in terms of doses and ultimately, risks, perhaps about five times smaller than Chernobyl. And the real reason is that most of the radiation coming from Fukushima ended up in the Pacific Ocean, whereas Chernobyl is landlocked, so all the radiation fell on land.
The material that fell into the Pacific Ocean will get into our ecosystem eventually, but it will take a very long time for that to happen.
ANDERSON: All right, David, we're going to leave it there as we show our viewers some video of exactly what you are talking about at present, that being the 1.5 million tons of tsunami debris moving across the Pacific Ocean.
Thousands of pieces of plastic and household goods are expected to make landfall starting early next year. This animation shows the path of the debris as it moves across the northern Pacific.
The items do pose a danger to marine life, but experts don't think on the whole they are radioactive, although you heard our guest tonight drawing some question marks as to just how dangerous this stuff could be. Quite remarkable, isn't it? Fourteen or so months after what was the tsunami and earthquake there in Japan.
Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, four decades after she disappeared, could secret recordings with former terrorists in Northern Ireland shed any light on this woman's murder? That up next.
ANDERSON: Ten years ago, former militants in Northern Ireland agreed to go on tape and tell their stories. They were promised that the recordings would remain secret until their deaths. Well now, the British government is demanding access to them, as officials believe that these recordings may hold the answers to unsolved murders.
CNN's Nic Robertson has met the man behind the archive, and he joins me, now. Nic, what are we learning at this point?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a point of contention right now, whether or not the police service in Northern Ireland, who've demanded these tapes through a treaty between Britain and the United States, which has put the attorney general of the United States in the position of putting a subpoena on Boston College, which is where these tapes have been held.
It's still going through the US courts whether or not these tapes or some of these tapes with the stories that have been told on them make it -- make their way back to the police.
But the center of the reason the police have asked for these tapes is the murder -- abduction and murder of one of the most notorious killings in Northern Ireland, that of the widowed mother of ten children, Jean McConville.
She was taken from her home in December 1972, and this implicates one of the most popular, perhaps the most important Catholic politician in Northern Ireland, Gerry Adams. The allegations say that he was involved in her murder. He's always denied that. So, this is a very, very big issue that's currently going through the courts.
ANDERSON: Nic, let's see your report.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Anthony McIntyre is the researcher who gathered the IRA interviews for the Boston College archive. He began three years after the peace deal.
ANTHONY MCINTYRE, RESEARCHER, BELFAST PROJECT: I wanted to get as many historical voices heard as possible and to get an insight into why people who would behave peacefully in a normal society turn to violent methods.
Well, that was me back in 1988 in a very relaxed pose in the prison classroom.
ROBERTSON: McIntyre isn't just any researcher. He was in the IRA, spent more than a decade in the infamous Maze Prison.
MCINTYRE: I got out at the very end of 92, December, in the last week of December, 92, Christmas week.
ROBERTSON: After getting out, he earned a PhD and persuaded his former comrades the benefit of telling their stories.
MCINTYRE: I thought I was doing something good for the community, for society, and for academia and the production of knowledge in general. I think it's also important from a point of view of truthful cover.
ROBERTSON: The agreement McIntyre made with his former IRA pals and Boston College, their interviews would be held until they were dead, because the IRA demands a vow of secrecy on pain of death.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MCINTYRE: Do you have a problem with committing all this to a secret tape to be used only after you have died?
BRENDAN HUGHES, FORMER IRA LEADER: I don't have a problem with that. If I did have a problem with that, I wouldn't be sitting here talking into the microphone.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: This is the audio recording of McIntyre's interview with his former IRA cellmate Brendan Hughes. Hughes died in 2008, which is why his secret interview can be heard.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HUGHES: A lot of the stuff that I'm saying here, I'm saying it in trust, because I have a trust in you. And I have never, ever, ever admitted to being a member of the IRA, never. I've just done it here.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: Hughes was the IRA commander in Jean McConville's neighborhood the night she was abducted. He says he knows who was responsible for her killing.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HUGHES: I knew she was being executed. I knew that. I didn't know she was going to be buried or disappeared, as they call them now.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: But Hughes' voice from the grave is creating a firestorm. Northern Irish police detectives are now demanding Boston College hand over some of its secret tapes where Jean McConville's killing is mentioned.
For McIntyre, release of the tapes is extremely personal. It could mean death. In the IRA's eyes, he could be considered an informer, a crime seldom forgiven.
ROBERTSON: And it's not just McIntyre's life who could be in danger, here. Any of the former IRA members whom he interviewed could also be targeted, accused of being traitors. There are also recordings by some of the loyalist paramilitaries there, concerns that perhaps the police would eventually get onto those particular recordings, as well.
So, there is a concern that this will cause instability in the peace process, the peace process is fairly robust. But this would just be a little setback for it.
But a lot of people like Jean McConville's family today are looking at these tapes, and they believe and hope that perhaps if they can get their hands on the tapes, they will really find out who actually killed their mother, Jean McConville, and those people will face justice for those killings.
So, a lot more information out there in this report.
ANDERSON: Nic, the Secrets of the Belfast Project, that is "World's Untold Stories," this Saturday on CNN. Always a pleasure, my love, thank you.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, the global superstar Baaba Maal performs for you right here on CNN. We'll be right back.
(MUSIC - BAABA MAAL)
(MUSIC - BAABA MAAL)
ANDERSON (voice-over): He's known as the Nightingale. Baaba Maal is one of West Africa's most celebrated musicians.
A folk hero in his home country of Senegal, he's performed to audiences all over the world, from African villages --
ANDERSON: -- to Nelson Mandela. Born into a fishing family on the shores of a river in Senegal, Baaba Maal's music speaks to his roots --
ANDERSON: -- crossing languages and combining African rhythms with Western beats. But Maal has never forgotten the power of his worldwide fame to bring social change. He's an ambassador for Oxfam, and as drought and food shortages threaten millions of people in the Sahel region, he's urging world leaders to prevent a crisis. Your Big Interview this evening, this is Baaba Maal.
ANDERSON: I hardly need to introduce him again, an icon of Western African music, he's played for numerous heads of state, including, as you saw, Nelson Mandela, and he's even been nominated for a Grammy. And now, he is sitting with me here on the set.
You're in London headlining and managing what is a month-long festival. This is -- this is a music festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad, of course, leading up to the Olympics. What's the goal?
BAABA MAAL, SENEGALESE MUSICIAN: To show African in a very good and positive way, to see Africa that can project itself in the future with music, art, and culture, debate, and everything good that comes from Africa and from its diaspora.
ANDERSON: According to your West African tradition, you were born to be a fisherman, of course, in Senegal, not a performer. How did you get to where you are, and how did people that you grew up with react to your ambition to be a performer?
MAAL: My ambition was so strong that they couldn't stop me, I think. And also, the fact that I went to school gave me a good strength to be standing up and to get my rights. So yes, I'm a musician, and I wanted to travel all over the world with this kind of music.
ANDERSON: And those sort of rights are something that you are now passionate about for many people across the world, but particularly in the region that you've come from, and particularly for women, I know.
MAAL: Yes, you know, we are facing something really critical where it's at a kind of a food crisis in the Sahel, and women are the front line when it comes to babies being killed, and I need something to be done. I'm just adding up my voice to make everyone to see that we can bring something.
ANDERSON: Remind us, we're looking at pictures of you in the Sahel today. Remind us what the story there is.
MAAL: Yes, it's because of the lack of rain, lack of support to these wonderful families. And these people, they need help from everyone, and I went there with Oxfam and we found that if we have to do it, we have to do it now. We have to help now, because with no support, these people can't make it.
ANDERSON: Those human rights issues, I know you feel completely passionate about, alongside the passion you have for music. If you had to sum up how music makes you feel, what would you say?
MAAL: I feel proud to be a musician, that music -- because music makes me travel all over the world and meet some great people, like Nelson Mandela, who gave me good advice that musicians have the ability to bring their voices where their voices --
ANDERSON: He said that?
MAAL: Yes. The voices of the politician cannot get to that level. And we should use that power to promote good things for the world.
ANDERSON: Baaba Maal, your song tonight is "Tindo," it's from your most recent album, "Television." It's subtitled, "Song for Women," and it is about women's rights. I'm going to let you go and set up in the studio while I just talk our viewers through a couple of other issues here.
While he sets up, a reminder that if you want to see him perform live, you can catch him at the Africa Utopia stage in London's South Bank, as part of the capital's 2012 festivals.
And of course CNN will be covering all of London's momentous events for you, from the queen's Diamond Jubilee, kicking off, of course, June 3rd weekend, to the Olympics and Paralympics, kicking off July 27th.
It's an incredibly busy summer for London, and tell -- I want you to tell us what you are looking forward to most, facebook.com/CNNconnect. You can always tweet me, @BeckyCNN. Your thoughts, please, @BeckyCNN.
Well, he is ready. It's time now to hear Baaba Maal perform live for you here on CNN.
(MUSIC - "TINDO" BY BAABA MAAL)