Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Egyptian Parliament Holds Symbolic Session; Freak Accident Ends Cricket Legend's Career
Aired July 10, 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: Tonight on Connect the World, a political game of chess. You're looking at live pictures coming to us from Cairo's Tahrir Square. Thousands back on the street as Egypt's highest court overturns an order by the president.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: Tonight, how the balance of power in Egypt is shifting once again and what that means for the country's bumpy road to democracy.
Also this hour, the French president's plan to tax the rich and why targeting the wealthy may not be a money spinner (ph).
And aiming for gold: 17 days and counting, the archer shooting for her sixth Olympic games.
First up tonight, a leadership crisis in Egypt takes a dramatic new turn. The highest court has just reasserted its authority after President Mohammed Morsi reconvened parliament today defying an order that disbanded it. Let's get right to Ivan Watson in Cairo.
Ivan, somewhat confusing turn of events. Give the details if you will for us.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No problem, Becky. First I'm going to direct you to the live images of the crowd of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood who have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The Muslim Brotherhood exerting a show of people power as it continues to engage in this power struggle with other aspects of the Egyptian government.
Basically what we have right now is these people coming out in support of the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi who has been in office now less than two weeks after his election. And we also have right now an argument going on right now between different branches of the Egyptian government over whether or not the parliament, which was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, whether or not that parliament should have been dissolved.
WATSON: The generals and the judges said no, but the president from the Muslim Brotherhood said yes. And in the end, riot police let lawmakers through for a session in parliament. This was the first meeting of parliament since Egypt's highest court dissolved the elected legislature last month. Tuesday's session lasted less than an hour.
But this looks like different branches of the Egyptian government fighting each other.
MOHAMED ANWAR AL SADAT, PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Well, this is a revolution. And you have to expect that there is -- these things happen.
WATSON: The recently elected president, Mohamed Morsi, is asserting himself against the generals who have ruled Egypt since last year's revolution. Morsi's sometimes colorful band of supporters argue he is defending millions of disenfranchised voters who elected the Islamist dominated parliament.
WALID AMER, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SUPPOERTER: They said they want to cancel the parliament. How can you do this? How can you cancel the authority of 30 million people?
WATSON: But critics say the last thing Egypt needs is more upheaval.
FATHI DESOUKI, PARLIAMENT MEMBER (through translator): The decision by the president has split the Egyptian street in an unprecedented manner and has caused an untimely crisis.
WATSON: Egypt's power struggle is being fought in parliament and in the courts.
The scene here at the administrative court building is much more tense as you can hear the crowd here chanting the name of the president from the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi whose lawyers are defending him against multiple court cases against him and his decision to reinstate the parliament.
On Tuesday, the angry crowd hurled abuse and water bottles at one man they accused of being Falul (ph), a remnant of the old regime. The tense standoff abruptly ended when judges decided to postpone the verdict for a week.
Brinksmanship and street theater, some of them tactics both sides are using in the struggle for this country's future.
WATSON: So Becky, the latest development in this debate over the parliament is that the constitutional court has ruled the president's decision to reinstate the parliament, has ruled that basically wrong.
In the meantime there are these competing court cases in different courts in the land -- the constitutional court, the administrative courts, and perhaps soon the court of appeals where the different power blocs are basically suing each other and the lawyers are duking it out there. The main point, I think, is that we haven't seen violence erupt. The lawmakers were allowed to go to parliament even if today will be the only session that they'll have for any time in the near future. For now it seems that the generals and the judges and the president have been able to pull back from the brink and stop a repeat of the violence that we have seen in the streets of the city so many times over the last tumultuous year-and-a-half -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ivan Watson in Cairo for you this evening. You're looking at pictures there of Tahrir Square. Ivan, thanks.
Well, let's use these scales to illustrate just how the pillars of power in Egypt have been weighted to date. Now on the right SCAF and the supreme court sitting just here; on the left you've got the president and parliament. At least before Morsi reconvened the assembly on Monday, most experts would have weighted the scales in favor of these guys on the right. So given today's turn of events has anything changed?
Wael Abbas is an award winning Egyptian blogger and Arab Spring activist. And I've got a question for you tonight -- Johnny who was on this show -- has the balance of power in any way shifted, do you believe?
WAEL ABBAS, EGYPTIAN BLOGGER: No, I don't believe that there has been no such thing as a shift of power between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military council and that's why the Muslim Brotherhood have ordered their followers to rush to Tahrir Square. And they are now protesting in large numbers in support and solidarity with Morsi and his decision and with the parliament. And I believe that Morsi is powerless and the parliament too is powerless. And that's why they need support from the street, that's why they need to convince the people that the Egyptian people are behind them and supporting them.
Because even though they have these institutions -- the presidential institution and the parliament -- they don't have any powers that can make any changes -- changes in the country. And the military council still have everything in their hands.
ANDERSON: So Wael, what would it take, then, for my scales to be weighted perhaps in this direction, at least back to the middle or towards the president and parliament and what we would see in the west, at least, as a more democratic process going forward?
ABBAS: What could have changed this? If things were done on the terms of the revolution, not on the terms of the military council. The military council enforced -- a constitutional declaration on everybody and the Muslim Brotherhood were the biggest faction that welcomed these constitutional declarations and they played by the rules of the military council. And they already knew that they will have no powers even if they had the parliament, even if they had the president. But if the -- if it was made fair from the start with the terms that were imposed -- with terms that were imposed by the revolution things could have been much, much better now.
ANDERSON: So what do you want to see going forward for the good of the nation, Wael?
ABBAS: Well, I want to see a real presentation of the revolution. There were sacrifices and people who were courageous and sacrificed their lives and others who are still waiting to do the same to make this country a better country. But what we have seen throughout the last year-and-a- half or two years is that the -- those -- some opportunists have jumped in front of the cameras and they have taken the scene and they have claimed that the whole revolution or they are the ones who started the revolution, which is not true at all.
ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Our top story tonight, the struggles of power in Egypt intensifies as the Supreme Court rejects the president's decision to call parliament back into session. No one said it would be easy, but it seems the bumpy road to democracy just got a whole lot bumpier.
Still to come, their countries are separated by a channel of water, but why are leaders of Britain and France appear worlds apart when it comes to taxing the rich?
He has lost his job and now he is losing a lot more than that. What Barclays' rate fixing scandal is costing the former chief exec.
And swapping the rally track for the streets of San Francisco, but a fasten your seat belts, this video coming up.
All that and much more when Connect the World continues.
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Welcome back.
Now the International Criminal Court has handed down its first verdict, sentencing Congalese warlord to 14 years in prison for using child soldiers. Thomas Lubanga is charged with recruiting kids into his rebel army, using them to fight and kill during a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our report David McKenzie with the full report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the ICC's first sentencing in a decade of existence, notorious Congalese warlord Thomas Lubanga met his fate on Tuesday at The Hague. Prosecution has asked for at least 50 years for his role in recruiting child soldiers under the age of 16, deploying the children, boys and girls, in a brutal ethnic conflict for personal gain.
JUDGE ADRIAN FULFORD, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: In accordance with the majority decision, Mr. Lubanga is sentenced to a total period of 14 years in prison for which the time commencing with his surrender to the court of the 16 of March, 2006 is to be deducted.
MCKENZIE: That means that Lubanga will serve roughly seven years in a jail for his crimes. The judges found that the prosecution did not prove that Lubanga had ordered sexual and physical abuse of the child soldiers and criticized the former chief prosecutor for withholding evidence from the defense. The prosecution says it may appeal.
The sentence is a major step for the court that's been criticized for running slow and expensive trials. Without a police force, the court is unable to get many of the accused into the courtroom. In some cases, that means that they can continue to commit atrocities.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Lubanga's chief of staff Bosco Ntaganda back in early 2006. He is currently still in the Congo leading a group of rebels in civilian areas, threatening to take the capital of North Tibu (ph) this week, a team that while today sentencing is a step towards international justice, it's just the first of many difficult steps.
David McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.
ANDERSON: A look at some of the other stories that are connecting our world this evening. And we're following an emergency summit in Brussels EU finance ministers have agreed to offer Spain a $36.9 billion lifeline from a bailout of its troubled banks. Now it's a move that they hope will prevent Spain from needing a bailout itself. Say (inaudible) an extra year to meet its debt and deficit targets. This is positive news for investors with all the major European markets closing on the up.
Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond will forgo hefty bonuses valued up to $31 million. He'll still, though, receive a year's salary worth $2 million. Today Barclays chairman Marcus Agius appeared before a parliamentary committee to say what he knew about rate fixing. He also answered questions about the former CEO and circumstances in which he resigned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCUS AGIUS, FRM. CHAIRMAN BARCLAYS: He went because it became clear that he had lost the support of his regulators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And can you tell us in sentence why you resigned?
AGIUS: I resigned because I felt responsible as the ultimate keeper of the bank's reputation, further action was taken. And that the -- at that point, the alternative was seeking the resignation of Bob Diamond, something which our shareholders did not want to see. And we believed at that time that Bob Diamond continued to have the support of his regulators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The former Barclays chairman there.
Well, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has been cleared of two major corruption charges. An Israeli court acquitted him of charges that he received bribes from a U.S. businessman and defrauded Israeli charities. He was, though, convicted of a lesser charge of breaching the trust. Ehud Olmert says he will, quote, learn lessons from his trial.
Well, captain of the English football club Chelsea took to the stand on Tuesday once again to defend himself against racial abuse charges. John Terry told a London court he was, quote, angry and upset when he thought he'd been accused of racism by a QPR player -- football player Anton Ferdinand. He says he was repeating what he mistakenly thought Ferdinand accused him of saying as they traded insults in a football game?
And the Olympic flame was given royal seal of approval. Earlier today Queen Elizabeth welcomed the torch relay into Windor Castle. The torch, carried by 74-year-old Jena McGregor into the castle where she was greeted by the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The torch relay is making its way across almost 13,000 kilometers of Britain before the games start 17 days from now on July 27th.
Those are your headlines this hour. We are going to take a very short break, not a long one. When we come back a South African cricket legend forced to call it a day thanks to what was a freak accident on the pitch.
ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Just about 21 minutes past 9:00 here. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson for you.
Mark Boucher holds the record for most dismissals in test cricket I'm afraid will never play four South Africa again. The wicketkeeper has been forced to retire after what was a freak accident during his country's tour of England on Monday when a bale flew off the stumps and hit him in the eye.
Let's bring in Patrick Snell from the sports department at CNN Center.
Patrick, this is a terrible end to what was a glittering career for him wasn't it?
PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, absolutely shocking and it's really sad as well for cricket lovers the world over, Becky. This is a freak incident, a freak accident really involving a legendary player on the world stage. Boucher has been around. He's 35 years of age now. And this has certainly brought forward his retirement a little earlier I think than he would have liked.
It's just -- yeah, what can you do. What happened was the bale just flew up -- this is a game against Somerset, the English county team -- and look, it lead to treatment on the pitch. You can see him there prostrate on the ground. They rushed him off to a hospital in Torrington (ph). He underwent surgery there on a lacerated eyeball. The good news is he has at least been discharged from hospital and will be traveling home on the earliest possible flight.
But this brings an end to a -- a shock end, really, a sudden end to his test career. It's really sad to see. You know, he's the three time South African player of the year.
I think, you know, when I heard the news I was in shock. I grew up certainly in recent years learning about his young talent and then seeing him mature as a player and becoming one of the most respected figures in the game, Becky. And I think that's going to be one of the key legacies he leaves behind.
ANDERSON: Yeah. I'm surprised he was as young as 35 as it were, because I feel as if he's been around forever. He's such a fantastic sportsman.
There are though some, including a former Indian wicketkeeper, Patrick, who was saying he should have been wearing a helmet. Do you think that is fair criticism?
SNELL: Yeah, I don't feel personally it's terribly helpful right now, to be honest. You know, I recall Paul Townsend (ph) the former England wicketkeeper back in the day suffered an eye injury as well under slightly similar circumstances. But I think, you know, when you're keeping, when you have a soft bowler who is -- a slow bowler who is coming in to bowl, wicketkeepers traditionally are a lot more comfortable standing right up close to the stump. They feel comfortable. They're in their comfort zone. They're not troubled by pace. And he will have made a really, really important judgment call before that over was bowled. And he would have felt very comfortable not wearing a protective headgear for that particular bowler.
Bowlers, as you'll know well, a bowler he was comfortable with as well.
I think this is a freak incident. And I don't think right now it's particularly helpful to coming out with the judgments like that.
I mean, yeah, of course hindsights is a wonderful thing.
ANDERSON: Yeah, no I agree with you.
Mark, if you're watching, we wish you absolute best.
Patrick, I'm told I need to fasten my seat belt for this next bit of video. So carry on as I don't seem to have one on me.
SNELL: I don't have one either. I guess we're both in the same boat, if you like. But you and I may recall that old TV show on the streets of San Francisco, if anyone has been to that part of the world -- I was there recently for the U.S. golf Open and I can tell you, look, it's kind of crazy. What we're seeing here is a guy by the name of Ken Block. He's a professional rally driver. And he's putting those well known streets of San Francisco to the test, weaving in and out of those famous tram (inaudible) and the Golden Gate Bridge area as well. Spectacular. Would you believe it was for a movie, of course, that is being made.
Hundreds of thousands basically involved in viewing it online as well. It's quite incredible video. He is one brave guy. And if I could strap myself in, I would.
And as I say having been driven around normally in that part of the world it is an up and down experience. Sensational video stuff there.
ANDERSON: Absolutely fantastic.
SNELL: There's the Golden Gate Bridge, yeah.
ANDERSON: Great stuff.
Patrick, back with World Sport in about an hours time. Pat, thanks for that.
Still to come on Connect the World, a warm welcome for France's president. But why Francois Hollande is hoping Britain doesn't give all of its countrymen the red carpet treatment.
Aiming for gold in her sixth Olympic games, British archer Alison Williamson hopes the home advantage will fire her to victory.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson. These are the latest world news headlines for you from CNN.
Huge crowds gathering tonight in Cairo's Tahrir Square in support of President Mohamed Morsi whose decree to reinstate parliament has been struck down by a high court earlier today. That news came just hours after lawmakers gathered in Cairo defying that order to disband.
The International Criminal Court has sentenced notorious warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in prison. In March the court found him guilty for recruiting and using child soldiers to help fight a brutal war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
France's president has insisted that his plans to increase the top rate of income tax to 75 percent will not drive business abroad. After meeting Britain's prime minister in London, Francois Hollande said David Cameron's been joking when he recently pledged to roll out the red carpet for French tax exiles.
Well, joking aside, right now, the global economy needs growth, doesn't it? And to achieve that, businesses need to invest. But Mr. Hollande's critics say his tax plans would encourage industry leaders to invest elsewhere. As Jim Bittermann reports, it's not just France's rich who could be looking for new life abroad. Have a look at this.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the past two days, the new government of the new French president has been talking, exchanging views with trade unions and business associations in what is being called a social summit.
The idea is to get players in the French economy onboard with the change that is about to come, as Francois Hollande's socialists, now in control of the government, the National Assembly, and the Senate, set about undoing many of its predecessor's economic plans and initiating new ones.
Specifically, there will be increased taxes on dividends and stock options, increased taxes on accumulated wealth, on some capital gains, on financial institutions and oil reserves, on foreign-owned holiday homes, and a restoration of the tax on overtime work.
All of it will just add to the impression that France is one of the highest-taxed countries in the world. Tax attorney Pierre Appremont says the wealthy long ago abandoned France or otherwise got their money out. Now, it's the middle and upper-middle classes who may leave.
PIERRE APPREMONT, TAX LAWYER: The difference today is we see people who expect to be rich one day, and they decide to become rich in an another country than France because they will pay too much tax, and they consider maybe they are not very welcome. As Mr. Hollande says, "I don't like rich people."
BITTERMANN: Appremont estimates that tax rates on salaries here will go as high as 60 percent, 65 percent on property income.
PASCAL FERRON, PRESIDENT, FIMECOR: Well, they are preparing payrolls, revising accounts.
BITTERMANN: And Pascal Ferron says it will not be just the rich who will pay more taxes under Hollande's proposals, but everyone. Ferron, who runs an accounting and audit firm, sees it from all sides. His clients are worried about the impact of the new taxes, and with 200 employees of his own, he worries, too.
FERRON: The clearest impact is to reduce our net margin. And you know, the net margin for all the middle-sized companies like we are is between 0 and 5 percent. When you've got an increase in social charges, wages, and tax, that would be something like 2, 3 percent of the turnover. At the end, it means that divide by two the final profit.
BITTERMANN: The British prime minister raised eyebrows and anger in France when he said last month that French companies which want to relocate in Britain would be given a red-carpet treatment. But on the grassroots level, Ferron says it could happen.
FERRON: Too much tax is too much tax. So, instead of creating jobs, it might destroy jobs.
BITTERMANN (on camera): And given that unemployment in France is now running around 10 percent, no one here wants to destroy jobs, especially not the new government, which the business community is predicting will be forced to deal sooner rather than later with the reality of its tax program.
Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.
ANDERSON: I'm going to discuss this with an expert, but before I do, how would a 75 percent top rate of tax compare with other leading economies? Let me give you a sense, here. Here in Britain, for next year, tax on earnings over $230,000 will be cut from 50 to 45 percent. Some stimulus, there, as far as the Chancellor of the Exchequer is concerned.
In the US, the top rate of federal income tax is 35 percent. Do remember, though, state income taxes could add up to 11 percent on top of that.
In Germany, taxpayers had a top rate of 45 percent. Japan, including local taxes, the top rate is what most people would see as a whopping 50 percent.
But not if you earn over a million euros in France, as you can see. A top rate of 75 percent would make France one of the most expensive places for the rich to live.
Well, my next guest says higher taxes for the wealthy can make a bad situation worse, but not in every country. Let's get him to explain.
Peter Morici is a regular guest on this show, a professor of international business at the University of Maryland, and previously, he served as Director of Economics at the US International Trade Commission. So, well-versed in all matters economic. Joining me tonight out of Washington.
He's looking to cut about 7.5 euros or about $10 billion off the budget deficit. Got to do it somehow. There's only about 3,000 households who earn over a million euros in France. Does this really matter? Is this a bad thing or a good thing, do you think?
PETER MORICI, PROFESOR OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Well, if it drives those households to Britain, it is a bad thing for France, and it sends a terrible message abroad that France is not very hospitable to profits and to people who are entrepreneurs and so forth.
It won't have a positive effect. This is not, say, Sweden, where there's a consensus for high taxes and where people have confidence the government is run well. In France, they're doing this because the government isn't run well.
ANDERSON: Right. Somebody has got to pay for these economies to get themselves out the messes that we are in, and in France, Francois Hollande says that should be those who are earning over a million dollars plus, plus.
The Laffer Curve, and I'm thinking back to Economics 101, I don't want to get too bogged down in theory here, but there is a point at which, isn't there, whether it's just exiles looking to leg-it from the country, there is a point at which theory tells us that you can tax people too much.
MORICI: Absolutely. In America, the taxes are much higher than you even describe, because we have an enormous estate tax. So, older Americans, like myself, are -- I pay 50 cents on the dollar with estate tax on everything I earn, and then I put it in the bank. I'm not going to use it.
Now, I'll die in a few years, maybe 10, 15 years, and my son and daughter will inherit it, and they'll pay another 55 percent if the Bush tax cuts are -- expire. So, for every dollar I earn, in the end, my heirs get 25 cents? It discourages a lot of older people from investing and taking risk, and they're the ones with the capital to do it.
ANDERSON: In a fairly naked attempt to woo the middle classes, Obama going the other way at present. He's going after an extension to the reduction in taxes on those earning under $250 grand. Do you know what? They would be considered high-earners in most of Europe, do you realize that?
MORICI: Yes, I would. And I would point out that 42 percent of Americans don't pay any income tax at all. The income tax is largely paid by the two middle quartiles of income. The very wealthy -- Warren Buffet has a lower tax rate than I do, not just his secretary -- than I do. Because investors have options.
Mitt Romney had options that the rest of us don't have. There's lots of ways of paying much lower taxes if you're in the investment business than if you're making money the old-fashioned way, writing columns as I do, sitting behind a microphone as you do, or all the many people that support us.
ANDERSON: Look. We know that Hollande is going after graft to the detriment, to a certain extent, of stimulus at this point. Where do you see Europe headed going forward? Are we going to see a sort of tax-and- spend initiative? The sort of pine -- pump priming these economies in a sort of old-style Keynesian way? Or will we be looking for a much leaner way of doing this, do you think?
MORICI: In the near term, I think that France is going to be in the lead. There's a sense that austerity has gone too far. But I want to be careful not to put Europe all in one basket. Britain is not inside the eurozone and so forth.
However, the debt inside the eurozone is really burdensome. Long term, I don't see how the Mediterranean economies, the four big Mediterranean economies, can become viable without about a 50 percent write-down on their debt.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Peter, always a pleasure. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Peter Morici out of the States for you this evening.
Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, telling stories through the medium of chocolate. We're going to hear from an entrepreneur who's come up with a more indulgent way of getting her message across to all you greedy ones out there. Stick around.
ANDERSON: Chile and bacon mixed with your chocolate. Your Leading Woman this week describes her chocolate company as a real experience. I caught up with the chocolatier who told me how she uses her sweet creations to tell us stories from around the world.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Her gourmet chocolate is sold in 2,000 stores worldwide, including eight boutiques dedicated to just her brand, Vosges Haut-Chocolat. And she's just launched a less expensive, more mainstream sister brand, Wild Ophelia, that's sold in 10,000 grocery stores around the US.
To hear her describe her company is to understand she is no ordinary entrepreneur. This is someone who's found her passion.
KATRINA MARKOFF, FOUNDER/CEO, VOSGES HAUT-CHOCOLAT: Posh is an experiential chocolate storytelling vehicle that's meant to be indulgent and sensual and opening to the mind.
ANDERSON: Her experiential chocolate netted a profit of more than $30 million last year, a 50 percent growth from the year before. This "Fortune" Magazine 40 under 40, "Bon Appetit" Food Artisan of the Year, and mother to two-and-a-half-year-old Rohan, is Katrina Markoff.
While you can't say that everyone loves chocolate, it's probably fair to say most people like chocolate. Whether you like it or love it, the confection holds a seductive power for this chocolatier.
MARKOFF: I decided in the beginning I was going to open people's minds to new ideas, I was going to break down stereotypes through chocolate.
ANDERSON: The flavors Markoff combines will either make your mouth water --
MARKOFF: The new Smoke and Stout, smoked stout with rogue chocolate ale.
ANDERSON: Or leave you confused.
MARKOFF: And this one is wild Tuscan fennel pollen. It's hand- harvested from Italy.
Everything we make has guided tasting notes, how you should eat it, close your eyes, take three deep breaths. Now, be aware of how does it look, what does it smell like, how does it feel? And that kind of stuff is what really engages me deeply in sort of that passion of the experience of chocolate.
ANDERSON: Her experience with chocolate didn't begin until after she graduated college. She never even liked it as a child. She was a chemistry and psychology major, and in her last semester, she realized cooking was her passion. Three days after getting a diploma, Markoff flew to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu.
MARKOFF: It was this amazing experience, being 22 or however -- 22, and living in Paris, and being in this food mecca.
ANDERSON: It was there that she says she discovered chocolate at a restaurant in Paris's Place des Vosges, an experience so life-altering, that it later inspired the name of her company.
MARKOFF: When you bit down on this molten explosion of chocolate, I cried out, "Oh, my God, this is amazing!" There's a whole experience of chocolate I don't even know about.
ANDERSON: Yet, it was much later that she would be inspired to start Vosges Haut-Chocolat, after a chef who was mentoring her told her to travel, using her palate as her guide. She bounced from country to country for nine months and found herself back in her small apartment kitchen in Dallas staring at the many exotic spices she'd picked up along the way.
MARKOFF: And I made a curry and coconut truffle, and I decided that I needed to pay homage to the Naga people and call it Naga. And that's when the epiphany occurred. It's like everything made sense in sort of that moment. There was this illuminated path that said, just use chocolate as a medium to sell stories. And so, that's what I did.
ANDERSON: She brought her chocolate stories into work at her uncle's mail order business. Her first step was convincing people to try her unconventional concoctions.
MARKOFF: And I got some woman to try it, and her face went from sort of disgust and worried to, "Oh, I'm surprised," to "Oh, my God, this is actually good!"
ANDERSON: In 1998, she moved to Chicago and started selling her chocolates as gifts under the concept, travel the world through chocolate. Soon, the high-end department store Neiman Marcus bought her creations. Then, other stores joined in. A catalog followed, an online presence, and now, her mass-produced line, Wild Ophelia.
ANDERSON: Markoff's passion for her creations is clear, but there is a business to chocolate.
MARKOFF: And then bacon bar. I thought everything was going fine, I had noticed it was a little crunchy before.
ANDERSON: In the coming weeks, we'll learn the tough decisions she makes as a CEO.
MARKOFF: Love that!
ANDERSON: What she looks for when she creates a new flavor combination, and her biggest surprises as her company grew.
ANDERSON: Welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD, and all this week, we are turning the spotlight on Green Pioneers. Today, with 17 days to go until the London Olympics, we're going to meet the man who's making sure the city hosts the world's first ever sustainable Games. Have a look at this.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Organizers say it will be first sustainable Olympic Games ever.
MCLAUGHLIN: The first time that social, economic, and green considerations were taken into account when planning every aspect of the world's largest sporting event.
David Stubbs was part of the team that drafted the London 2012 bid. He said the plan for a sustainable Games was a key reason London was chosen to host the Olympics. Stubbs was charged with making sure the bid's lofty goals became a reality.
DAVID STUBBS, HEAD OF SUSTAINABILITY, LONDON 2012 GAMES: If we can put sustainability at the heart of a project which is the largest logistical exercise in peacetime across 26 different sports all happening at the same time, thousands of people attending and millions of billions, even, watching. If sustainability can be part of that, you can do it anywhere.
MCLAUGHLIN: The Olympic Park was a derelict wasteland when CNN first met Stubbs in 2005. What was once a contaminated industrial site has since been transformed into lush grounds with premier sporting facilities, and it has all been done with sustainability in mind.
STUBBS: There's a huge emphasis on reuse and recycling, and all the buildings that were knocked down, all that rubble was sort of crushed up and use as the filling of these gabions for the new bridges.
MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): And you have widened the river around the park.
STUBBS: Well, this particular river here, we've -- is much wider than it used to be. It was quite small, a narrow canal with straight edges, hard edges, which we've now peeled back several yards wider, and that allowed us to put in this softer landscape along the edge, which is great for birds and other wildlife.
The site is crisscrossed by rivers and canals, and most of these were badly polluted. Just opening up these rivers, cleaning them up and creating a sort of a shallower profile in the wetlands further up have allowed large areas of wildlife habitat to be created. At the same time, that's providing flood mitigation benefits for thousands of properties in the local area.
MCLAUGHLIN: And then you have the Aquatic Center.
STUBBS: It's one of those buildings of great architectural design, but you do not want to build a permanent venue so big just for the Games. So, we've got these temporary wings on the side, which both sides together provides an additional 15,000 seats. And that is great for the Games. But afterwards, we bring it down to 2,500 seats in legacy mode, and it's basically a facility for the local community.
Let's go and have a look at some of the gardens, shall we? Because I think one of the key things at this site is how you've got this parkland, natural parklands as well as more formal gardens, which just create a fantastic character to the site. And I think unlike previous Games, people are going to really feel they're in a park.
MCLAUGHLIN: So, a major part of a sustainable Games, obviously, is the centerpiece of the Olympic Park, which is the Olympic stadium. Talk a little bit about how this stadium was constructed in a sustainable way.
STUBBS: That was one of the lightest-weight Olympic stadiums in recent times. In fact, the lightest-weight one, so a lot less materials in it. Less materials means less impact, less cost, and so on.
Originally, the roof across the whole line, it was a perfect circle. But it meant especially adapted steel tubes to create that upper roof truss. Then, somebody said that there's a load of surplus pipes from a gas mains project lying around which are no longer needed. And they could be used instead.
And we looked at it, and essentially we were able to use these existing materials, which is a lot cheaper, not creating new -- you're not manufacturing things, so there's a lot less impact in terms of carbon and energy and so on. But it's not exactly a perfect circle.
MCLAUGHIN (voice-over): It may not be perfect, but it is certainly more sustainable, and that is the point of David Stubbs' work for London 2012, to create a lasting and positive impact on a city, a blueprint for sustainability to be followed for years to come.
Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: All right. And this month, CNN taking a look at people around the world who put their passion into action to change the planet. These people we are calling Green Pioneers, and they'll be profiled in a Going Green special, Friday, 4:30 London and at the time -- well, you can work it out wherever you are watching in the world.
In tonight's Parting Shots, an Olympian who knows a thing or two about a good shot. British archer Alison Williamson won bronze in Athens, but she is now hoping the home advantage will get her to gold.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Not one, not two, not three, four, or even five. British archer Alison Williamson is aiming for gold in her sixth Olympic Games, a target she never imagined she'd hit.
ALISON WILLIAMSON, OLYMPIC ARCHER: Not at all. I didn't think I'd live to 40 when I was 20. No, you just don't think that far ahead. When you're 20, 40's really old. But I don't feel that way now. I feel as young as I did then. And I'm as excited about the Games, and I'm really keen to do well.
ANDERSON: In a career that spanned two decades, Williamson estimates she's shot at least a million arrows. It's a level of dedication that won her a bronze medal at the Athens Olympics, a prize she narrowly missed out on winning again as part of the British team in Beijing. And that disappointment is part of what's still driving her four years on.
WILLIAMSON: I just feel a little bit fresher. That has to sort of do it this time. And with the Games being on home soil, it's going to make a big difference.
WILLIAMSON: I do, I think it would be -- I just think it would be so much fun to -- I was part of the torch relay and seeing all of the local communities get behind that, as well.
And just imagining all the Union Jacks in the crowd and family and friends will be there. In the Games in the past, my mum and dad came to Sydney to watch me compete, but that's the only Games they've been able to get to.
ANDERSON: And at this elite level of the sport, every little advantage counts. Williamson will also have experience on her side this time around. But on the day, what is it that will make the winning difference?
WILLIAMSON: In the Olympics, you're talking about the elite of the elite, and in archery, there's going to be 64 women all thinking they've got a chance of being on the top of that podium. And realistically, a lot of them do.
And it is on the day who can maintain their composure, their concentration, their focus, and produce the excellent execution that's needed to get the arrow in the middle each time.
ANDERSON: Watch this veteran in training, and you'll see she rarely misses that target.
WILLIAMSON: Leading into London, I feel probably -- not relaxed, because I'm working hard and there's still a lot of training to be done between now and then. But I just feel like -- yes, I hope now the experience will pay off. I have learned and I do know what's expected.
If it was my first Games, I would -- I think I might be a little bit overwhelmed by it all. But this time, I do feel quite calm and ready, prepared.
ANDERSON: Wishing all the athletes as they arrive in the UK the very best of luck. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. World news headlines up after this, don't go away.