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CONNECT THE WORLD

Weak Jobs Numbers Problem For President Obama's Reelction; Andy Murray Makes It To Wimbledon Final; Libya Holds First Election Post- Gadhafi; Challenges Face Libya Eight Months After Gadhafi; James Bond Celebrates 50 Years on Silver Screen; Eye on Ukraine: Art in Sand; Parting Shots: Ping Pong Pensioner

Aired July 6, 2012 - 16:00   ET

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


JIM CLANCY, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, Syria's president suffers a significant blow say western officials after a high ranking general defects.

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

CLANCY: Tonight, as diplomats make another push for peace, we'll look at whether the Syrian regime is unraveling at the seams.

Also this hour, the name is Bond, James Bond. At the ripe of old age of 50 has 007 still got a license to thrill at the box office?

And, cheers of joy in Andy Murray's hometown. He becomes the first British man to reach the Wimbledon singles final in 74 years.

We're going to begin our report with the first major crack in the Syrian president's inner circle. This man, brigadier general Manaf Tlass has defected and is believed on his way to Paris. Not only was he a commander in the elite Republican Guard, he was also a childhood friend of President Bashar al-Assad. A Syrian journalist and opposition activist tells CNN he defected because he is outraged over the government's brutality and says Tlass isn't ready to join the opposition just now.

Still, western diplomats say it is a major blow to the Assad regime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURENT FABIUS, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): This very day it has become clear that resistance is showing progress on the ground and on the same day again we are told of the -- are apprised of the defection of someone quite important in -- very close to Mr. Bashar al- Assad which means that his close entourage is beginning to understand that the regime is unsustainable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: The Tlass name is infamous inside Syria and in the region. The general's father was none other than defense minister for Hafez al- Assad and the family has long been a symbol of Sunni Muslim partnership with the Alawite dominated regime.

Earlier, we got more on the significance of all of this from our own Ivan Watson.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the first time since this uprising began more than 16 bloody, deadly months ago that we've seen a high ranking member of the inner circle abandon the regime. So that is a significant development. Mustafa Tlass, or rather Manaf Tlass was a princeling you could argue, a member of the aristocracy. He was a brigadier general in the Republican Guard and more importantly he was the son, one of the sons of Mustafa Tlass who was defense minister in Syria for more than 30 years.

So this is a development, the fact that he has left. It will be important to see whether or not he comes out in public endorsing the armed opposition in Syria. It'll also be important to see how the opposition reacts to his apparent defection, Jim. Some voices that I'm talking to, some opposition figures, already want to bring him up on charges of crimes against humanity and the other atrocities that the Syrian security forces are accused of by none other than the United Nations human rights council.

CLANCY: Now there's some who think that he was not in full agreement with the regime and pursuing its course of action against the opposition in the streets. That's not been entirely confirmed. Perhaps we'll hear more. But he was a part of an aristocracy that kept him apart from this revolution on the streets.

WATSON: Absolutely. I interviewed his brother about seven years ago who painted himself -- his name is Baras Tlass (ph). He painted himself as a pro-reformist. He was a businessman. And he was talking about needing to end corruption in Syria. He was accusing the government of some of the corruption and saying there were political problems.

He told me he was hopeful that there would be many changes, this was at a time when people were still talking about a possible Damascus spring in Syria in the earlier years of Bashar al-Assad's rule. That clearly hasn't happened. And the 16,000 plus people killed in the last 16 months are testament to that fact. I don't know whether the other brother Manaf Tlass felt similarly and is genuine about this.

I do know that he told a journalist, a Syrian journalist Omar el-Muqta (ph) who talked to him on the phone Thursday night that he is defecting because he can no longer stand by the killing of the Syrian people.

But the fact that such a high ranking person has defected now only after 16 months also highlights the fact that this has been -- you can call it a peasant revolution. It's been from the grass roots up. It's been village to village, town by town, farmers, university students, laborers. It hasn't come from the top down -- Jim.

CLANCY: Ivan Watson reporting there for us from Istanbul.

Let's get a little more perspective now on just how big a blow this defection might be to the Assad regime. Our next guest says it's psychologically important, but won't likely bring down the president. Ted Kattouf is a former U.S. ambassador to Syria. He's now president of the non-profit group AMIDEAST.

Thank you so much for joining us, Mr. Ambassador. Let's begin right there. Why is this perhaps more symbolic than significant?

TED KATTOUF, PRESIDENT, AMIDEAST: Well, I think you and Ivan Watson described it very well, it's the Tlass family that's provided a certain veneer of legitimacy for both Hafez al-Assad and now Bashar al-Assad. As you said, they had almost become aristocracy of the Sunni community.

For many years a Tlass was the minister of defense. And he was a teammaker for Hafez al-Assad in the coup of 1970. And later he gave legitimacy to the son succeeding the father even though the son was too young to be president according to the constitution.

CLANCY: Ted, you know, people today have been talking about oh, this will begin -- it's a house of cards. The seams will come apart and all of that, but I'm not quite convinced of that, because this man being Sunni, very important in the regime, but that inner circle seems to be made of its mind.

KATTOUF: Well, you're quite right, Jim. And you know the area well. It's not clear that Manaf Tlass is playing any kind of an active role in the last months in Syria. Indeed, he appears to have been sidelined some time ago if at least some reports are to be believed. And we can't get inside the man's head, either, to know whether he did this for opportunistic reasons or out of actual conviction.

But the fact of the matter is, is that this is now becoming much more characterized by sectarian issues. And I'm afraid we're entering into a period where it's virtually a sectarian war between an Alawite dominated army and security services and as Ivan Watson said a grass roots Sunni movement.

CLANCY: All right. Stay right there. Bear with me, because I want to talk a little bit about the friends conference, the Friends of Syria conference took place in Paris this day. The defection was welcomed there. Dozens of Arab and western diplomats met in Paris. They were discussing ways they can turn up the pressure on the Syrian regime.

Perhaps more notable than who was there was who wasn't there -- namely Russia and China, two of Syria's only remaining allies were no-shows. The top U.S. diplomat said those government must pay a price for standing with the Syrian regime.

Listen what Hillary Clinton had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: That's why the entire world is now looking to those few nations that still have influence in Damascus. They need to step up and use all their leverage to make sure Assad sees the writing on the wall. Sitting on the sidelines, or even worse enabling the regime's brutality, would be a grievous mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: Ted Kattouf, you know as we see the meetings, some people are still talking about intervention, but really what do you see as the way ahead? Isn't it convincing someone to convince Bashar al-Assad it's time to go?

KATTOUF: Yeah, I think that's right. And I'm in complete agreement with the secretary. The rest of the world, the Arab League, the Islamic organizations has to do more to make this costly for Russia and China to continue their support of Bashar al-Assad.

If they withdrew their support, Bashar would have to reconsider his position as the head of this regime. And then there might be a chance to work out some sort of a power sharing agreement between the more credible elements in the military and the populous at large.

I'm not a fan of the U.S. just jumping in with both feet.

CLANCY: All right. Bottom line there from Ted Kattouf, the former ambassador to Syria. I want to thank you, sir, for being with us on Connect the World tonight.

KATTOUF: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

CLANCY: And you are watching Connect the World live from the CNN Center. Our top story tonight, a defection in the ranks. Yes it is significant. Brigadier General Tlass has abandoned the inner elite there in Damascus, but it remains symbolic. And because he's a Sunni Muslim it may not really affect the overwhelmingly Alawite golden circle around Bashar al-Assad. The fact is that inner circle has clearly chosen to ignore the west, humiliate the UN and wage war on their own people. We'll wait to hear what the general has to say for himself.

All right, still to come tonight, the pressure is on for U.S. president Barack Obama and how. Four months to go until the election, the latest job numbers, oh, they're cause for concern.

Libyans getting ready to do something many thought they would never be able to do and it could change their lives forever.

Plus, after 50 years, he still likes his martini shaken not stirred. All that and much more when Connect the World continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Jim Clancy. Welcome back everyone.

Disappointing news out of the U.S. economy today, 80,000 new jobs were created in June. Now that fell short of the projected 95,000 they had hoped would be created and less than one-third of the jobs added in the first quarter of the year. In fact, it was also less than the number of people who joined the Social Security disability program last month, a key indicator of unemployed who have given up. Investors weren't impressed either. Global markets closing in the red.

With only four months until the U.S. election, it is worrying news for President Obama. And it should be. The U.S. president is out there putting his spin on the report.

Dan Lothian was with him today. He joins us now live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Obama is finishing up his bus tour -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is. And he's asking voters here to give him a second term, but it's a difficult request for the president because unemployment remains high at 8.2 percent. Although here in these battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania the unemployment rate has dropped during the president's first time. 7.3 percent in Ohio, 7.4 percent here in the state of Pennsylvania.

But the president is touting what his administration has been able to do, which is he says boost manufacturing investment and to relieve the pressure from those who had been laid off and had been trying to get employment in the auto industry.

Now today as those dismal numbers came out, the president really seemed to downplay those numbers or sidestep those number. The only remark that we got from the president, or reaction was, quote, it's still tough out there. But he pointed out that at least the economy is moving in the right direction, because the president was talking about the private sector gains that have been made -- 20, more than 20 months of private sector gains, Jim.

CLANCY: All right. Dan Lothian reporting there from the campaign trail with President Barack Obama. You just heard the latest from the Obama campaign.

There's a lot of lofty rhetoric out there. You heard that Barack Obama, as Dan was telling us, didn't really talk about the numbers. But boy his opponent sure did. Mitt Romney, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a time for America to choose whether they want more of the same, with their unemployment above 8 percent month after month after month is satisfactory or not. It doesn't have to be this way. America can do better. And this kick in the gut has got to end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: Mitt Romney there knowing he doesn't have to really say anything about the numbers. Everybody knows them. Everybody knows that it's bad news. And they speak for someone with a new idea of how to get America back to work.

We talked above 8 percent, it's gone on longer than we have seen unemployment in the U.S. in decades above 8 percent.

I want to take a look now at how important these numbers are ahead of the U.S. presidential vote. According to the recent CNN/ORC poll, 48 percent of registered voters chose Mitt Romney when asked who would better handle the economy. 47 percent chose President Obama. It's close.

But when we ask independent voters 52 percent picked Mr. Romney over President Obama. Now that's significant, because their votes are likely to be the deciding factor in who wins the vote in November, especially in swing states like Ohio and Florida.

I want to take a quick look now at some of the other stories that are making news connecting our world tonight. More grim news out of the economic sector, the International Monetary Fund warning it will lower its forecast for global economic growth. Managing director Christine Legarde said debt problems in Europe remain a pressing threat. Speaking in Tokyo Friday, Legarde pushed for more reforms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE LEGARDE, IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR: We believe that more needs to be done in order to really complete the architectural job of the EuroZone. The monetary union, the banking union, followed by a fiscal union.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: A recount of more than half the votes in Mexico's presidential election confirming Enrique Pena Nieto the winner. According to the Federal Electoral Institute Pena Nieto won more than 38 the first set of the vote. He won't be celebrating quite yet as an investigation into a alleged election irregularities begins Monday. An official announcement on who won won't be made until early September.

News from the Freedom Project, Chinese authorities breaking up two major child trafficking rings in a massive operation that spanned 15 provinces. The Xinua news agency reports 181 children were rescued in the sting, more than 800 suspects arrested. The illegal rings were allegedly arranging the sale of babies, that's a widespread problem in China.

You can learn much more about CNN's fight to end modern day slavery by visiting our website. Go to CNN.com/freedom, there you will find the facts about modern day slavery and what people around the world are doing to stand up and fight it. It's all waiting for you at CNN.com/freedom.

We're going to take a short break right now, but when we come back Murray mania, it's sweeping England tonight, hey it's sweeping our control room. Here what the tennis star did on Friday that a British player hasn't done for decades.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. Welcome back. I'm Jim Clancy.

For the first time in 74 long years a British man is going to be heading to the final. Andy Murray thrilled the home crowd at the All England Club, winning his semifinal match at Wimbledon in four sets over Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 25-year-old from Scotland will face Swiss powerhouse Roger Federer in the final come Sunday.

OK, so let's go now to a joyous All England Club and bring in CNN's Amanda Davies. This is an amazing feat, but one that's so long overdue. No reason -- no explanation needed for the celebration I guess.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No, indeed not, Jim. Yeah, thanks very much.

Andy Murray said afterwards he was feeling a little bit of relief and a little bit of excitement. I can tell you the British tennis fans here are feeling a whole lot of relief and a whole lot of excitement.

As you said they really waited a long time for this. And British male tennis players over the years have really put them through the wringer. 11 different British men have tried and failed to repeat the achievement of Buddy Austin all those years ago back in 1938 when he reached the final two years after Fred Perry, of course, won the title here at the All England Club.

Despite the terrible weather overnight here, hundreds of fans camped out in their tents in the fields just along for me to get their hands on one of those day passes into the grounds of the All England Club, because people had suspected that this could be the year that Andy Murray would do it because he was facing the fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. In the past, he'd played the likes of Rafael Nadal. He played him twice in fact in the semifinal here.

So people were hoping that this was the year, but they could never be social with the British tennis player. But afterwards they all said it was well worth the wait.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to say it was amazing (inaudible). Fantastic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am so excited. I have been a huge Andy Murray fan since sort of 2005 when he got to the third round in his first tournament here and ever since then I followed him every year, every tournament. To beat Tsonga, to be in the final against Federer, the probably Wimbledon crowd's two favorite people at the moment, it's going to be massive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, let's hope it gives another boost to British tennis, because they need it. There are a lot of aspiring tennis players in the crowd today, so that was -- professional players that is. So it's really, really gratifying for everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIES: Well, Jim, the fans here have been celebrating. We saw pictures of Any Murray's parents celebrating in the player's box. And there were a whole lot of fans celebrating in Dunn Lane (ph) in Scotland as well. That, of course, the part of Scotland that Andy Murray and his family are from, where he grew up before heading to Spain to hone his trade.

They have been through this journey those years with him, but Andy Murray keen to say the celebrating stops now, because he's still got a very important job at hand, and that is of course the final on Sunday against the six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

CLANCY: Amanda, I've got to ask you about that, because I mean, Federer obviously great, great tennis player. What are the odds -- I mean, the pressure is going to be so much on Murray, but it -- who does grass help?

DAVIES: Well, people thought -- you know, this is Andy Murray's backyard, this is his home tournament, Wimbledon, but we've heard so many times in the past that Center Court here on the gass is pretty much Roger Federer's backyard, because it is his favorite surface. This is where he has dominated for so long, winning those six titles.

But he hasn't won a title here since 2009. Some people had written him off, because he hasn't won a grand slam title since the Australian open in 2010. He's 30 years of age. But, you know, he is the star here. He knows that victory on Sunday will see him equal Pete Sampras's record. It will also take him back to the world number one spot.

Andy Murray has beaten Federer more times than Federer has beaten Andy Murray, but crucially Federer has won every time they've met in a grand slam. So it'll be very interesting to see how this one plays out.

CLANCY: Amanda Davies, I want to thank you so much. I wish I were there with you, because it's been one exciting day, can't wait until Sunday.

All right. Brits have plenty of reason to celebrate. Think about it, it's been 35 years since a British player even made it into the finals. That was back in 1977 when Virginia Wade won the top prize. 1977 also the year of the Queen's silver jubilee. Well, 2012, another jubilee year, this time her diamond, marking 60 years on the throne. So is it a royal stamp of approval for Andy Murray? Well, only time is going to tell. We're sure the queen will be rooting for him. I think we can say that.

Still to come right here on Connect the World, after four decades of Moammar Gadhafi it's a major milestone for Libya, voters going to the polls.

Every man wants to be him, every woman wants to be with him, the legacy of James Bond as he celebrates 50 years on the silver screen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JIM CLANCY, HOST: A warm welcome to our viewers around the world, if you're just joining us. I'm Jim Clancy, and these are your headlines.

We are learning a little bit more about the top general who defected from Syria. An opposition activist says Manaf Tlas fled because he is outraged over the government's brutality. Tlas was a commander in the elite Republican Guard.

A new US unemployment report shows America's economy added 80,000 jobs in June. President Obama says it's a step in the right direction, but his rival, Mitt Romney, says America can do better. With more Americans entering the workforce, the new jobs didn't really make a dent in the unemployment rate. It held steady at 8.2 percent.

A Libyan Air Force helicopter carrying ballot boxes from Benghazi has come under attack. One person was killed. This comes a day before Libya holds its first election of the post-Gadhafi era. It's still not clear whether the ballots were compromised.

Britain's long drought at Wimbledon is over. Andy Murray is the nation's first men's finalist in 74 years. He defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets. Murray will face Roger Federer in the finals on Sunday.

More than eight months after the death of Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans are heading to the polls to elect a national congress, a transitional one. This is the first general election since Gadhafi seized power in a 1969 coup.

Last year's uprising saw a summer of NATO-led bombings aimed at helping the rebels oust Gadhafi and his circle of supporters. By the time the general was found and killed, opposition forces had the support of foreign powers for some time. But now, one of the greatest problems is getting those former rebel forces to disarm.

Now, these elections are just the beginning of a formation of a functioning state in Libya. Jomana Karadsheh reports form Tripoli on the challenges that lie ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN PRODUCER: Take a look around. This is Tripoli's Old City. Almost a year after the fall of the Libyan capital, life seems like it has gone back to normal. But the country's problems are far from over, and the challenges are enormous.

The biggest challenge is security. An estimated 200,000 Libyans are armed. Most of them are part of regional militias who, at times, have turned their weapons on each other. In the south, recent tribal and ethnic clashes have claimed scores of lives. In the eastern city of Benghazi, radical Islamist groups have carried out brazen attacks, bombing Western targets.

And that is just security. We're a few minutes from the heart of Tripoli. Take a look at this. Piles of trash on this road. So, it is no wonder that most Libyans want better basic services. And topping that is health care, health care that is lacking on just about every front.

Libya's post-Gadhafi government inherited a state with no real institutions, and there are high hopes for change riding on this election. But nothing, of course, is easy. There is also the political challenge. These are the faces of Libyans hoping to be part of the country's first elected body in 47 years.

After the decades of Gadhafi's cult-personality dictatorship, most of these faces are virtually unknown to the population. No one knows who or what political forces will emerge from this election. Whoever they may be, they are going to have to work together, set aside their differences, and agree on a government and a constitution and try and lead Libya down the road to democracy.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Tripoli.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Despite those challenges, it seems many Libyans have high hopes for this election. We talked to a young American-Libyan activist in Benghazi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HODA EMNEINA, MEMBER OF LIBYAN YOUTH MOVEMENT: For most Libyans there is -- there's all kinds of excitement. Throughout the city you see the campaign posters and people passing out pamphlets and fliers. Even in the homes, when you go for visits, there's chatter: who you're voting for and which party they like best. So, people are hopeful for the most part.

There also are those who aren't quite happy with the way the seats were distributed to the country, so there are still protests happening in some parts of the east that I've seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: All right. The people on the streets are happy enough, but the people at the top, I guess, a little bit nervous right now ahead of the vote. Earlier, we talked to the head of the UN support mission in Libya, Ian Martin, asking him if he thought violence was likely to mar the election.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IAN MARTIN, UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR LIBYA: Even today in Benghazi in the east of Libya there are demonstrations by those who have called for a boycott of the election as well as by those who very much want the election to proceed.

Most of the country is peaceful. There are other areas where there have been recent local conflicts. So, I think as in any post-conflict election, one must be prepared for some difficulties. But the election operation has gone extraordinarily smoothly in many ways, until one or two recent acts of disruption.

CLANCY: Security is the issue in the minds of many. Some think that the cart has come before the horse. We're having an election here still while there's no control of arms that are out there, miss -- surface-to-air missiles are missing, we've got arms in the hands of people all across the country. Do you think that it was too early for these elections?

MARTIN: I think the argument actually goes the other way. Of course it's understandable that people would say it would be better to have security first and then have an election, but I think a democratically- elected government is necessary in order to deal with the future of the revolutionary brigades and to bring about integration and demobilization.

The interim government's been able to take some steps in that direction, but many of the people in the revolutionary brigades are waiting for this election to recognize the authority of a government that has the democratic legitimacy that they fought for.

CLANCY: You're said to be an expert in a very difficult subject: post-conflict planning. But let me ask you, are you optimistic about Libya? Are you optimistic about this vote?

MARTIN: I think one must expect Libya to go through a difficult period and, indeed, it is going through a difficult period, and you have to put that in the context of the devastating legacy of 42 years of the Gadhafi regime, which has left Libya without any of the functioning institutions of a modern democratic state.

They can't be created overnight. A new army can't be created overnight, an effective police force can't be created overnight.

But again, I think if one either compares the situation now with what many of us who were looking at Libya this time last year feared might be the situation when the fighting ended, or indeed look at the number of other post-conflict countries at an equivalent period since the end of the fighting, I think there's quite a lot to be optimistic about.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Well, we can only wish Ian Martin and, indeed, Libya success in this weekend's vote.

When we return on CONNECT THE WORLD, he's been thwarting villains, he's been wooing women for half a century. Yes, we take a look back at the man with a license to kill.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. Well, if you just tuned in, you're here for the -- well, the fun story of the day. We're going to tell you about the world's most famous spy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EUNICE GAYSON AS SYLVIA TRENCH, "DR. NO": Mr?

SEAN CONNERY AS JAMES BOND, "DR. NO": Bond. James Bond.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: And with those immortal words, the man a license to kill began life on the silver screen. This is a clip from the very first Bond film, "Dr. No." That was released -- can you believe it? -- all the way back in 1962, 50 years ago.

Although the face has changed in the past half a century -- this is Pierce Brosnan in the 1995 film trailer for "Golden Eye" -- Agent 007 has always remained true to form, though, outfoxing every villain you could through his way, undressing every beauty who crosses his path, and always with a martini, shaken, not stirred.

To celebrate the milestone, an exhibition has opened at London's Barbican Centre, showcasing some of the most famous memorabilia and iconic images.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(JAMES BOND THEME MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: Just some of the scenes that, at the grand old age of 50 has enabled Bond to rack up some most impressive numbers. Total gross income across 23 films now stands at more than $4 billion.

In that time you could say he's gotten away with murder, having been shot at 4,662 times. I don't know who counted. And the man in the crossfire most often is Roger Moore. He spent 12 years on Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Now, after so many years in the limelight, Bond has developed something of a cult following. You'd expect that. Remmert van Braam is the founder of the Bond Lifestyle website, the second-most visited website in the entire world. He joins me now, live, from Antwerp in Belgium. Thanks so much for being with us. What so fascinates people with the character of James Bond?

REMMERT VAN BRAAM, FOUNDER, BOND LIFESTYLE: Thank you, Jim, for having me. Well, I think Bond has an enduring appeal because he's, first of all, like an ideal man. He's a style icon, has always been and will always be.

People -- guys want to be like him, the girls want him. Even if you don't want to be like him, you have to admire him for his skills, his style, and his, well, his general militias. Everything he does, basically.

CLANCY: Let me ask you this. You sell a lot of gadgets and goods and the Bond Lifestyle. That's what your website is about. What's the most popular things. What are people most interested in?

VAN BRAAM: Definitely the clothing. The clothing items, the shirts, the suits, the shoes, are by far the most popular. I think also --

CLANCY: Not the spy gadgets? I would've thought the spy gadgets would get something.

VAN BRAAM: The spy gadgets also, for sure, indeed. I focus more on my website on the products that you can actually buy, so they're not made up by Q in his lab, but actually are real products, and that's why I think a lot of people come to the site, too, to have an idea of what Bond is wearing and what they can buy, too, to become more like Bond.

So, the clothing items, the watches, the gadgets that are maybe accessories, like cuff links, the bracelets, this kind of stuff, that's really the most popular by far.

CLANCY: OK. You -- we always wonder -- I always wonder who was the most popular of all the actors who have played James Bond, and we did a little bit of a poll here, asking our viewers to vote at CNN online.

The results seem to be clear. Sean Connery by far the most popular Bond with around 65 percent of the vote. Roger Moore coming in at a distant second with only 14 percent. I'm wondering, does that -- do you see a reflection of that on the website.

VAN BRAAM: Not really, because I think most products that are now popular and the people are looking for are actually the more modern products used by Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, especially. A whole new generation is much more focused on, I think, the newer Bonds.

Sean Connery and Roger Moore, of course, have more clout because they're around longer, they're seen by more people.

CLANCY: Well, Remmert, you bring up a good point because it doesn't seem to end, does it? It's outlasted Sean Connery. Is this going to go on forever?

VAN BRAAM: I think so, yes. I don't see any end. I don't see any -- it only rises in popularity. I don't see any problem continuing for a long, long time.

CLANCY: All right, Remmert van Braam, founder of the Bond Lifestyle website. Give it a visit, and you can pick up some pretty fantastic clothes and some pretty expensive watches, right, Remmert? Thanks.

VAN BRAAM: For sure.

CLANCY: All right. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, it's written in the sand. Our Eye on Ukraine series ends with a most unusual and extraordinary form of art. Stay with us, you want to see this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: Ah, that's the music that tells us, all this week we've had our Eye on Ukraine, from the stunning sites of the Crimean hills to the footballers of the future, spurred on by Euro 2012. Welcome back, everyone, glad to have you with us here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Tonight, we're going to go back Ukraine and discover an unusual -- I can -- I think I can actually say a mesmerizing form of performance art. You can see how landscapes take shape, how faces age and change, in the medium of sand. CNN's Jim Boulden shares with us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KSENIYA SIMONOVA, SAND ARTIST, WINNER "UKRAINE'S GOT TALENT": It was a sort of relaxation for myself. I never thought of showing it. My name is Kseniya Simonova, I'm a sand artist, winner of "Ukraine's Got Talent."

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What are you trying to say with your art. Now that you've done it for four years, you've said to me before the money is not important, it's pure art. What does that mean?

SIMONOVA: I have been thinking long about what it means, and every day I'm thinking about it. I want -- I have too many things in my head to be told for my very short life, and I'm very afraid not to have enough time. Because sometimes people have problems with ideas. I have problems with time and with -- maybe with my own health.

So, pure art is the start of the thing -- of the inner world which lives inside of my brain. People think that it's sort of being crazy, but my sight is the sight of a person who sees in the air things which are rapidly changing.

BOULDEN: So, what got you onto "Ukraine's Got Talent"? Did someone have to talk you into it?

SIMONOVA: My friends saw the advertising for the casting. It was the first auditions of "Ukraine's Got Talent." Nobody knew what it was.

So, I said -- my husband said, "Why not? Let's try. The people need this sort of out. The people need this sort of creativity to look at."

BOULDEN: You did the semifinal, a seven-minute-long story of a soldier, and that video went viral in Ukraine and, of course, in Russia, to a level you'd never expected?

SIMONOVA: I never expected. I -- it will be even watched by somebody, except the audience in the shooting hall.

The story which was told in the semifinals, first of all, it was called "You Are Always Nearby." And it's a story based on the story of my great-grandfather, who was killed in Vasylkiv (ph) in 1943 during the war when he was protecting his motherland.

BOULDEN: Since you've won "Ukraine's Got Talent," you've performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London, you've performed before the king of Thailand and leaders of many central Asian nations. What is that like?

SIMONOVA: The heads of different states are the same people as the audience in my country and the audience in every country, because they have eyes, they have brains, they have hearts, and I never divide them from other people.

BOULDEN: Most artists don't destroy their work on live TV.

SIMONOVA: I'm very happy to destroy it because it makes me creating new positions, new views. It's so much more than my own imagination.

BOULDEN: Do you know how you're going to end one of your sand arts?

SIMONOVA: No. I never how I'm going to end. But as well as the prose. I never know how I'm going to end the prose story.

Friends will always be and will always help. Why not? It's my second life. It's -- it was obviously was me like my organs and my heart.

(APPLAUSE)

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CLANCY: Now, I told you you wanted to see that incredible art. That's a light table and more sand obviously makes the darker lines, and then she clears it off to make the lighter lines. Just an incredible performance.

Well, you want to talk about that story a little bit? I want to hear what's on your mind. In fact, the entire team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you. Go to facebook.com/CNNconnect. Have your say.

Hey, let's talk about Murray at this -- Andy Murray at this weekend's final, Roger Federer, who do you think's going to win that? We've got all kinds of stories to talk about. We can talk on Twitter, as well, CNNconnect, @CNNconnect. Share your thoughts with us there. We can talk about Syria and so much more. Join us.

Well, finally, age is no barrier to talent. In tonight's Parting Shots, a sneak peak at Becky Anderson's interview with a pensioner who's proving you're never too old for Gold.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This -- this old gal, I should -- I don't care how good she is, I should get her. She can't move.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you participating in this competition? You are so old?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not that old.

(CROWD CHEERS)

LES D'ARCY, PING PONG CHAMPION: Les D'Arcy's not old. There's no stronger or fitter or man that sooner or latter, no amount of wins, he's a man who thinks he can.

I don't want to grow old, watch television, and just die.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What is it that you love so much about ping pong?

D'ARCY: I think it's because of the friends you make all over the years and all over the world.

ANDERSON: But you want to beat these guys, right?

D'ARCY: Aye. I mean, he's you're enemy, isn't he?

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CLANCY: "I'm not too old!" You can watch that full interview on Monday -- love that woman -- when CONNECT THE WORLD kicks off a nightly snippet of Olympic spirit, and that was it.

I'm Jim Clancy. That's been CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for being with us. Headlines are up next after a short break.

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