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CONNECT THE WORLD
As Rhetoric Heats, North, South Korean Joint Industrial Complex Remains Open; Egyptian Comedian Bassem Youssef Detained For Insulting President Morsy, Islam; Indian Court Denies Patent Extension For Novartis Drug Glivec
Aired April 1, 2013 - 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, a victory for patience, or a blow to innovation. In a landmark ruling, India's top court rejects the patency bid for a new version of a lifesaving cancer drug.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome to you.
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ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There was an IED maker in this area with a number of associates.
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ANDERSON: An exclusive inside view of life on the Afghan battlefield.
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DAVID BECKHAM, PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN MIDFIELDER: I love French food, I must admit.
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ANDERSON: Football star David Beckham on his life as a Parisian.
Well, it's a huge blow to big pharmaceuticals, but supporters say a landmark supreme court ruling in India will save countless lives across the developing world. The court today rejected a patent bid by Swiss drug giant Novartis for an updated version of a cancer drug. Now Mallika Kapur kicks us off this evening explaining the significance of the decision in human terms.
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Loon Gangte got some worrying news about his health in 1997. Doctors told him he was HIV positive. The medicine regimen he needed was unaffordable, upward of $12,000 a year.
LOON GANGTE, GENERIC DRUGS USER: All we say is have a nice prayer, eat good food, do exercise this -- the only medicine that they can give.
KAPUR: Until a generic version of the medicine became available in the Indian market for a fraction of the price. Gangte says it's the reason he's alive today.
But big pharmaceutical companies who are increasingly focusing on India to drive sales aren't pleased. India's generic drug industry supplies much of the cheap medicine used across the world.
Swiss giant Novartis wanted India to grant patent protection to the new generation of Glivec, one of its key cancer drugs. Generic versions of the drug are widely available in India. After a seven year legal battle, India's supreme court finally handed down its verdict on Monday. It turned Novartis down, saying the new version of the drug is not different enough to warrant a patent.
It's a big blow to western pharmaceutical giants. Novartis said the ruling discourages innovative drug discovery, essentially to advancing medical science for patience. Health advocates are claiming victory.
ANAND GROVER, LAWYER, CANCER PATIENTS AID ASSOCIATION: This is a great judgment. The court has correctly understood that (inaudible) is vital for making sure that you have good quality, safe and efficacious drugs.
KAPUR: Many in India pay for the cost of health care themselves.
MEENU WALIA, DHARAMSHILA HOSPITAL: You have patients who actually don't even -- don't even have enough money to rent a house, probably to meet the need -- the basic needs also. And that (inaudible) from cancer. And that is very important have cheaper drugs on the market.
KAPUR: The generic drugs have help Loon Gangte live a normal life. Since he started using them, he's had two children, neither of them nor his wife are HIV positive. He says generic drugs have saved not one, but four lives. And he hopes they can save a lot more.
Mallika Kapur, CNN, New Delhi.
ANDERSON: Well, dozens of countries have granted patents for the newer form of Glivec, the drug at the center of this ruling. But Indian law allows patents for only -- for new medicines and crucially it bans pharmaceutical companies from extending their patents on existing drugs by making slight tweaks. This is an industry practice known as evergreening. Well, supporters say the law prevents a series of unwarranted patents that block generic manufacturers from making vastly cheaper versions of a drug.
Well, Novartis says the ruling will discourage research and innovation, essential to advancing medical science, they say. That is the view, as well, of our guest Erik Gordon, a biomedical expert and clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business tonight.
How, though, do we weigh that against the benefit of providing poor people with access to lifesaving generic drugs? Well, Aziz Rehman is an intellectual property adviser for Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, also joining us this evening.
And Aziz, let's just start with you. It's a classic argument, one that holds a lot of water around the world. Without big Pharma developing and producing drugs, there will be no generics. So why this sort of ruling and why now?
AZIZ UR REHMAN, MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES: I think one thing should be very clear, that this judgment is not about -- that judgment against all sort of patents. There are patents and there are patent applications by big pharma in India. And they were granted a number of patents, and even the company Novartis, they filed patents and they got patents on different other drugs. So this particular decision is about -- about a specific case where a (inaudible) patent is rejected by the Indian patent office and now on the basis of section 3-d of Indian patent law. And now the supreme court actually confirms that rejection (inaudible) right. And that was the right interpretation of law.
On this question that -- yes, please?
ANDERSON: Sorry, let me just bring in Eric in here, because this isn't a decision that big pharma is going to like. But let's just take a look at the numbers, Eric, just to clarify for our viewers here what we're talking about numbers wise and human wise. Over 16,000 patients in India use Glivec. And the vast majority of those get it free of charge.
Novartis says, though, by contrast generic Glivec is used by more than 300,000 patients, that's according to industry reports. The numbers really speak for themselves, don't they?
ERIK GORDON, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Yes. And the interesting thing about this case is Glivec is widely available at generic prices, prices set mainly by Indian -- the Indian generic companies.
What's interesting here is on the one hand the new and improved -- at least that's Novartis's claim -- the new and improved version is not really any different than the old version, so it doesn't warrant patent protection, but on the other hand people are clamoring for it. The generic companies want to make it and patient advocates want it.
So which is it? Is it better or isn't it better?
ANDERSON: This process of evergreening is one that we've heard and read a lot about during this case. When we talk about evergreening, Erik, and I'll come to with this in a moment, what do we really mean -- how different would a drug be in order for it to be deemed a new drug as it were?
GORDON: So, even in the U.S. we have the questions about whether evergreening should be allowed and to what extent. And even under U.S. patent law a new drug has to be new and non-obvious. So if the change is just a minor change, that really was obvious to everybody, it doesn't get patent protection anywhere.
So the question is actually the same. Is the drug significantly different? And that can be just in terms of dosage, because a drug that you take once a day can indeed be quite a bit more effective than one you take three times a day, because people don't forget to take their doses.
ANDERSON: Aziz, pharma companies that actually do discover and develop new drugs will effectively shift their focus, won't they, more towards drugs that will be sold mainly in countries where the patent protection is stronger? And that can't be good news for many millions of people around the world.
REHMAN: Yeah. And in fact this is happening already. And this is precisely what they are doing.
So, if you see the difference in pharmaceutical and biomedical research and development, so there is a very clear bias towards those diseases, which are prevalent in rich countries. And that's why the big question about this whole framework of incentive based on intellectual property and patents. And that has failed both on account of innovation and access as poor patience all around the world are concerned.
And in MSF, we really promote alternative incentive models. And we invite stakeholders to engage in this investment.
ANDERSON: Right. But that sounds very technical. What is the answer here, effectively? How do you encourage and motivate big pharma to produce life saving drugs if they're not going to make any money out of it?
REHMAN: That's my point, that big pharma is already not investing a lot in the area of neglected and tropical diseases in the areas where the poor patients all around the world, they are suffering, because their business model is based on patents and monopolies by having high prices or by getting high prices, they recover what they invest plus their profits and premium. And that's why they look mainly towards rich markets. And they're already not doing enough for poor markets. And this is something we accept.
ANDERSON: Erik, you're going to say that's not fair, aren't you? You're going to disagree.
GORDON: Well, it is a problem, but the answer isn't to expect somehow drug companies to be able to invest in this innovation and magically be able to keep doing that year after year and decade after decade by taking away patent protection.
The money that goes into the research and development has to come from somewhere. So there could either be government granting agencies or some sort of magic money tree, but absent that, there simply isn't money available to do what really should be done and what the drug companies agree should be done.
ANDERSON: And Aziz, as governments and foundations simply don't have enough in their coffers, some people might say that MSF -- and I'm not saying this -- but some people might say that MSF go after multinationals that they don't like very much and have a go at them effectively. Is that something that you would support, an argument that you would support?
REHMAN: No, exactly, absolutely we don't support this, because we don't have any list of the good, friendly multinationals -- or the multinationals against which we go, because we don't get any funding from those companies. And for all of them, they are just equal for us. And we just comment on their policies from access point of view.
GORDON: I think the drug industry actually has a lot of admiration for MSF and the amazing work they do around the world. Their model that -- for attacking patents doesn't seem to work. We don't have an alternative in place that would replace the patent system, but I don't ascribe, and I don't think the drug industry ascribes evil motives to MSF. They actually do extremely good work all over the world.
ANDERSON: Aziz, Erik, always a pleasure. Thank you for your thoughts this evening.
You're watching Connect the World live from London. Our top story is tonight a landmark legal decision in India that could affect access to life saving drugs for many of the world's poorest in dismissing Swiss drug maker Novartis's attempt to win patent protection for its cancer drug Glivec. India's judges have struck a blow to western pharmaceutical firms targeting the country to drive sales and have lent a victory it's got to be said not just for local makers of cheap generics, but for the provision of desperately needed affordable drugs all over the world.
You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you live from London. Coming up later in the show, the TV star whose interrogation by Egyptian authorities is raising serious concerns about press freedom. What his story says about the rule of President Morsy.
As Nelson Mandela is treated for pneumonia in hospital. We visit his hometown to find out how it shaped its use.
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PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: How many tattoos do you have?
PINTO: All right. Favorite one?
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ANDERSON: We get up close and personal with Mr. David Beckham.
All that and much more after this.
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Now, tensions between North and South Korea remain at boiling point. South Korea has declared that any more provocative move by its northern neighbor will be met with, and I quote, a strong response. President Park Guen-hye was speaking after North Korea's Kim Jong un said Saturday that his country had entered into a state of war with the south. That was in reaction to newly imposed UN sanctions and joint U.S.-South Korean military drills. On the weekend, the U.S. said it sent F-22 fighter jets to its main base in South Korea.
Well, despite the current tensions between the Koreas, it appears to be business as usual at the joint industrial complex that the two countries share. Located in Kaesong in North Korea, hundreds of southern workers continue to cross the border every day to go to work. Our Jim Clancy has this report from the border.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're located right now at the Inter-Korean Transit Office. This is a highway that links North and South Korea. And this highway matters. This is where trucks carrying goods go into North Korea just a few miles beyond this point. Inside North Korea is the Kaesong Industrial Park, that's a park that employs hundreds of workers from South Korea, but more than 50,000 from North Korea. Those jobs are important. And forging a link between the two sides.
They're also an important bellwether. Despite all the UN sanctions, the missile tests, the atomic nuclear underground tests and all of the fiery rhetoric that we've heard from North Korea, this highway has remained open. That's why so much of South Korea's news media have showed up here today to document how it remains open.
Many people consider this to be the real test of North Korea's intentions. So long as this highway remains open and the Kaesong Industrial Park remains operating, the prospects for peace are just a little bit better on the Korean Peninsula.
Jim Clancy, CNN.
ANDERSON: Well, it's a gamechanging deal for long haul flights. Emirates and Qantas have now completed their alliance. They celebrated the deal with a double flyover across Sydney harbor. Two Airbus A-380s flying in formation for the very first time.
Now that deal means Emirates and Qantas will together run almost 100 flights per week between Australia and Dubai. It also opens up Emirates routes in Europe and the Middle East to Qantas passengers.
Emirates president Tim Clark says this is more than just a simple alliance. He sat down with John Defteros in Dubai and says this was a deal like no other.
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TIM CLARK, EMIRATES PRESIDENT: It's the first of the type of partnership -- this type of partnership which is to the scale that it is. We have never gone into another carrier's territory, so to speak, and effectively worked with them to handle a large proportion of their international operation as we have done with Qantas. It was a very, very neat fit.
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ANDERSON: At least three people have been killed in Timbuktu as French and Malian soldiers sweep the city for Islamist militants. It comes after a fierce weekend of fighting when militants tried to retake the city in Northern Mali. Militants have controlled Timbuktu for about 10 months until French and Malian forces drove them out, you may remember, in January.
When massive military spring cleaning has begun in Afghanistan, thousands of tons of armor, ammunition and supplies are being taken out of the country as international troops prepare to withdrawal, but fierce fighting continues in eastern Afghanistan where Anna Coren has been embedded with U.S. special forces. This is her exclusive report.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As rounds of gunfire ring out in the distance, U.S. special forces run straight into the thick of it. They're the military's elite, and this is what they're trained to do. They don't just fight back, they hunt down the enemy.
We come under heavy machine gun fire less than 400 meters away. An income round flies close overhead. We take cover behind a mud-brick wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep going.
COREN: With the attack coming from three different directions, special forces spread out across open farmland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Around the backside. Right on the back side.
COREN: Their only cover in this fertile valley, low lying ditches and sparse undergrowth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. This is what we're going to do. We're going to keep continuing up this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) riverbed until we get to the left side. We want (inaudible) and flank it with us, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) let's roll.
COREN: For a brief moment, they paused. A special forces operator targets the enemy firing position with a 40mm grenade launcher. But the firefight rages on.
We got intelligence that there was an IED maker in this area with a number of associates. We've come into these open fields, The soldiers are taking fire. We don't know where the enemies, but do know that there's a Taliban stronghold about a kilometer from here at the base of these mountains.
With enemy fire getting closer, special forces are exposed as they move along the banks of the river.
A soldier reloads, preparing for another assault.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, move it.
COREN: We run towards the compound where insurgents stage one of their attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Push it down this way, all right? Let's go.
COREN: They quickly secure the area not knowing what's behind these walls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody looking back that way?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope.
COREN: Movement inside has everyone on high alert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody just ran across the door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yep.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And back again.
COREN: Soldiers locate the enemy firing points with spent cartridge cases littering the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're Taliban, which we're getting reports that they probably are. Then they may not necessarily live in these areas, which means that when they go into other people's compounds that they make it -- some intel relayed back to us. That's what we're hoping on.
COREN: Apache helicopter gunships circle the valley searching for the enemy who have made their escape. But they've already vanished, blending back into the community and the landscape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I admire our resiliency and their conviction for sure. There's a degree of mutual respect, but you know, it doesn't -- it doesn't mean we want to kill them any less.
COREN: While America's war may be finishing up soon, these brave soldiers know it's yet to be won.
Anna Coren, CNN, Nidrab (ph), eastern Afghanistan.
ANDERSON: Well, most foreign troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 under a planned security transition. The United States still has about 68,000 troops gradually drawing those numbers down, though.
United Kingdom has 9,000 but plans to bring home 4,000 this summer. Germany has 4,400, says that will be cut to around 3,300 in a year. Italy with the fourth highest troop numbers totaling just over 3,000.
Live from London, this is Connect the World. 23 minutes past 9:00 here. Coming up as Nelson Mandela recovers from pneumonia, we'll visit the town that helped shape the former president.
ANDERSON: Right. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.
Members of Nelson Mandela's family have visited him in hospital. The former South African president was our guest after doctors reported an improvement in his condition over the weekend. He's been in hospital since last Wednesday recovering from pneumonia.
Dan Rivers has been in Qunu where the Nobel laureate spent much of his youth and has returned in his retirement.
DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's about as far from the world stage as you can get, the wide open rolling hills of the (inaudible) where Rolihlahla Mandela, later to become Nelson Mandela grew up.
He was born in the village of Mvezo, the site of his hut is now a tourist center. Age two, Mandela moved to nearby Qunu, regarded as his spiritual home.
His early years were spent out on the felt (ph). He was a herd boy tending sheep and cows in the fields whilst now a weekend chore was a full- time job for five-year-old Nelson in the 1920s.
Little remains of the school in Qunu where he later learned to read and write. You can just trace the curve of the classroom now overshadowed by the museum dedicated to his life.
And it was in this building that Nelson Mandela was first given his name Nelson by his teacher. In his auto-biography he also talks about how poor his family were. They couldn't afford the school uniform. So he ended up attending the first day in an old pair of his father's trousers, cut off at the knee and cinched at the waist with a piece of string.
He said he was never prouder to wear any other uniform than that one.
Age nine, Nelson Mandela was brought here after his father died. It's called The Grand Place in Mqhekezweni. Home to a local tribal reagent, Nelson was placed in his care. He used to eavesdrop on local politicians talking under these trees, perhaps the first stirrings of his political consciousness. This local historian says Nelson Mandela's decision to leave behind his beloved Qunu was unplanned.
ZIMISELE GAMAKHULU, LOCAL HISTORIAN: Moving away from here was never his intention until the time that there was an arranged marriage for him and justice (ph) the regent's son. So they decided, no, this can't happen. So they decided to run away to Jobek (ph). And then that's where everything started having for him in Jobek (ph)
RIVERS: The woman whom eventually entered an arranged marriage to Mandela's friend Justice is 92 year old Nozolile Mtirharha. She's never talked on camera before.
NOZOLILE MTIRHARHA, FAMILY FRIEND (through translator): I never thought Nelson would become so famous and become president. Mandela's mother told me of his arrest. It was a sad day when I heard he had been sentenced to life.
RIVERS: It took 27 years for Nelson Mandela to be released from prison and four more to finally ascend to the presidency.
But the boy from Qunu came back, retiring in this modest, but comfortable home in the village where he could once again look out at those stunning vistas and reflect on his long walk to freedom.
Dan Rivers, CNN, Qunu, South Africa.
ANDERSON: The latest world news headlines are just ahead.
Plus, he's known as Egypt's Jon Stewart. Up next, the TV satirist who says he's not intimidated after hours of interrogation.
Making the Sun less smutty, or is it destroying an institution? We look at the future of page three.
Plus, what you really want to know about David Beckham. What haircut he regrets and what he thinks about Tom Cruise? We ask the questions and he played ball. The answers in around 20 minutes time.
ANDERSON: At just after half past nine in London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. The top stories for you this hour.
Health advocates say a Supreme Court ruling in India will save countless lives in the developing world. The court today rejected a patent bid by Swiss drug giant Novartis for an updated version of a cancer drug. Now, the ruling means that much cheaper generic versions can still be sold.
The US says that while it takes seriously any threat from North Korea, it sees no large-scale mobilizations or positioning of forces by the Communist nation. This after Kim Jong-un declared that the North was in a state of war with the South. South Korea says any provocation will be met with a strong response.
Two men are under arrest and police are searching for a third after a tourist couple were brutally assaulted on a minibus in Rio. Investigators say the woman was raped and both were robbed and beaten and then left stranded. Another woman says the same men attacked her a week ago.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela remains in hospital receiving treatment for pneumonia. South Africa's presidency reports that no significant change in his condition after some improvement over the weekend. The 94-year-old has been hospitalized twice over the past month.
Egyptian authorities are continuing to investigate the TV star Bassem Youssef. The popular television satirist was released on bail on Sunday after interrogation about accusations that he insulted President Mohammed Morsi and Islam.
In an exclusive TV interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Bassem says he's not intimidated. More on that in a moment. First, though, Ian Lee takes a look at his story and the events of the last few days.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A welcoming more suited for a rock star than a wanted man. Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef arrives at the high court in Cairo.
LEE: A mob of admires chants his name as he struggles to enter the building. The public prosecutor summoned the comedian for questioning about accusations that he insulted President Mohammed Morsi and Islam. Here, Youssef pokes fun at Morsi speaking English on a trip to Germany on his show, "The Program."
BASSEM YOUSSEF, HOST, "THE PROGRAM": "Yaani, gas and alcohol don't mix.
YOUSSEF (through translator): "Isn't that the law? Freedom comes with responsibility." He's got a point.
YOUSSEF (in English): Gas and alcohol don't mix.
YOUSSEF (through translator): Just like English and Arabic don't mix. And just like religion and politics don't mix."
LEE: Millions tune in weekly to watch the Jon Stewart of the Middle East. He's even met the man he calls his main inspiration. But his popularity by pushing the boundaries of free speech comes with a price: Youssef faces more than a dozen lawsuits over his show, which the prosecutor says is insulting not just only to the president, but to Islam itself. And Youssef is a practicing Muslim.
YOUSSEF: You want to go to prison?
YOUSSEF: You want to go to prison? Oh yes? So cool.
YOUSEFF (through translator): More importantly, I just want to thank the people that stood by us and defended us.
LEE (on camera): Recently, many people critical of the Morsi government have either been arrested or brought in for questioning, a tactic reminiscent of the Mubarak regime. The question is now, will the Morsi government get away with it.
H.A. HELLYER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Whether they release him today or they keep him, this makes them look incredibly bad and can only be interpreted as harassment or trying to stifle any freedom of speech in this country with regards to the presidency or, indeed, authority in general.
LEE: Despite the pressure, Youssef has remained defiant throughout.
YOUSEFF (through translator): In any case, I know that we are a satirical show and we should probably ease things down a bit, but today we're going to talk about an issue that's pretty serious. It will cause waves and might not be so funny.
LEE: Youssef was released after his questioning by the prosecutor, a free man after posting a $2200 bond.
Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.
ANDERSON: Well, Youssef says that he'll take satire to a higher level after being interrogated by the Egyptian authorities. Have a listen to what he told Christiane Amanpour just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Five hours of interrogation, more than $2000 in bail, possible trial, who knows what next. Are you changing the tone of your show?
YOUSSEF: The tone of my show is actually getting higher and higher and higher. And I'm not intimidated, I'm just exhausted by this. So, I am not going to let this drain me.
I'm just going to continue and -- continue with the show, continue with the same high tone of the show. I'm not going to back down, I'm not going to actually -- we're not going to relax about what we do -- we're going to have fun doing it, as usual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All right. He want to have fun doing it, he says, as usual. Let's bring in Ragia Omran, who is a human rights activist and lawyer. Ragia has in the past represented clients for allegedly criticizing the authorities, joining me now from Cairo via Skype. This is a man who says he's not going to stop, so he's going to need a lawyer, isn't he?
RAGIA OMRAN, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND LAWYER: Yes, Bassem has a lot of support and a lot of lawyers. I also represent many of the activists who may not be as well-known as Bassem.
Recently last week, Alaa Abd El Fattah, who is a blogger and has been arrested and jailed under the Mubarak regime and under the military rule, and last year was also -- last week was also facing charges by the public prosecution very similar to those charges to Bassem.
ANDERSON: All right, Ragia. This is Cairo Egypt, not somewhere else, which is a sort of democratically free country, and I say that with the greatest of respect to Egypt.
The constitution, though, guarantees freedom of thought and expression, but -- and let's just remind our viewers -- Article 31 also bans, quote, "insulting or showing contempt towards any human being, insulting of religious messengers and prophets is also explicitly prohibited."
Article 11, another source of concern for human rights activists, it empowers the state to safeguard, quote, "ethics, public morality, and public order."
The guy has been released on bail. He says he's not going to stop. What sort of defense could you provide for a man whose work is effectively unconstitutional?
OMRAN: Well, it's -- at the end of the day, it's "The Program," it's a TV program, it's a comedy, satire. His material is all based on actual footage. He doesn't make anything up. I think the current government and the leadership --
OMRAN: -- unfortunately, they have put themselves up for this criticism. We've had Morsi in power for the last eight months, and I think every single decision he has taken he had to come back upon because of popular -- repression against him or -- discussions relating to --
ANDERSON: All right. Let me ask you very briefly, because this Skype isn't working very well -- let me as you very, very briefly: is there anything in what he says that you think is damnable, as it were? Can you understand the government's -- complaint? Let's put it that way.
OMRAN: Basically, this is a move --
OMRAN: -- of the lawyers related to the Islamist parties in an attempt to --
ANDERSON: OK, we're going to have to leave it there because you're, unfortunately for our viewers and for you, the technology is letting us down somewhat tonight. You've got the point there of the human rights activist as we watch and wait to see what happens to Bassem Youssef.
I remember, I was interviewing him just before the election when he said he'd be disappointed if President Mohammed Morsi became president, because he thought there would be less material to play with. I'm sure he would support me in just -- relating that story to you.
Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up after the break, a British institution to some, outdated and sexist others. We look at page three as some suggest its days are numbered.
ANDERSON: All right. Do you recognize this newspaper? Well, it's the "Sun," a common sight at newsstands here in the UK, but if I were to turn to page three -- which I won't this evening -- you would see something that has caused controversy on and off for decades: the nude model.
Now, more than 40 years after page three and its contents were -- first went to press, has page three finally had its day? Nick Paton Walsh has more.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Britain's "Sun" newspaper, beneath this blurring, has had a less than subtle trick on its first inside page that's kept sales perky since 1970: page three, nudes among the news. A decades-old institution to some --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to look at, yes. It's there, why not?
WALSH: To others, decades out of date.
WALSH (on camera): Perhaps it made commercial sense in the 1970s, but now, the internet gives people anything they want whenever, and struggling newspapers are trying to lure women readers, not offend them. Enough so that the "Sun's" troubled owner is thinking again.
WALSH (voice-over): Rupert Murdoch, reeling from phone-hacking scandals, tweeted recently he might replace page three nudity with, quote, "glamorous fashionistas" like those now on the Sun's weekend pages. Too late for some.
LAURA ASHTON, CAMPAIGNER, NO MORE PAGE 3: It's exploitative, it's from the 1970s, and the girls back then were very young that they were putting in the newspaper. They're not that much older now, but it really feels very outdated, that kind of sexism.
WALSH: Long ago, page three could launch a woman's other talents.
(MUSIC - "TOUCH ME" BY SAMANTHA FOX)
WALSH: Sam Fox sang her way to the top of the pops after dropping her top. One former model who page three defined tells us it's time it went.
LINDA LUSARDI, FORMER PAGE THREE MODEL: In England, I will always be known as Linda Lusardi the page three girl. It's time for it to go. Things have moved on so far with the internet and everything else that I don't feel we really need that in our national newspapers anymore.
WALSH: For some women, it ended less glamorously, being chased by comedian Benny Hill, some talking of a curse of page three, its exploitation, and obviously, sexism. The "Sun" has toyed with this idea before, but now, amid scandal, might want a fresh start.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Well, the No More Page 3 campaign has been gaining ground. So, what's it mean for the "Sun" newspaper if it decides to change the page's content?
I'm joined now by media and PR guru Richard Hillgrove. And of course, there are other newspapers around the world who do a similar thing. Richard, decisions to effectively drop what is an institution in the UK, good one or a bad one?
RICHARD HILLGROVE, OWNER, HILLGROVE PR: I think it's a dangerous one. I think when newspapers start succumbing to pressure groups or the public, to cave in and lose this sense of identity, the "Sun" -- page three is very carry-on, it's funny. It's a big part of its -- its personality.
ANDERSON: Is it caving in, or is it that, Richard, that -- Richard -- Rupert Murdoch simply doesn't care enough for his newspapers anymore?
HILLGROVE: Well, that's what we discussed before, but I believe that he doesn't care. I think if it looks like he's caving in, he thinks that's a plus point for him. He knows the money's coming from television. He's putting investment into regional television in the northeast of England.
He's doing a trial because he sees regional newspapers diminishing. He probably sees the "Sun" newspaper losing more circulation. It's already on a slide. And the future is tele-visual, screen-based, iPads, SmartPhones, and he doesn't really care.
ANDERSON: Let's not dismiss out of hand the power of the newspaper. It is the country's best or second-best-selling newspaper, and something like 4.5 million people, at least, read it. I'm not saying that they buy it, but their eyeballs get to it.
So, maybe paged in the campaign is having an effect on the "Sun's" advertisers. There is that argument, of course. What about the readers? We hit the streets of London to find out if the newspaper is more appealing with or without page three. This is what people said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd still buy it, because I like the sport and some -- but page three, some people are offended by it, obviously. There's a religion in it, but I don't see a problem with it, to be honest. I'd still buy it because of the sport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not a "Sun" reader, but I don't think it'd make much difference to me. To each their own. If they like to read a paper with that, they can.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess it would change what we know the "Sun" for, because the "Sun" is that kind of paper, so -- it wouldn't shock me, but it wouldn't make a difference personally to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: It's like asking people whether they voted for Berlusconi. Nobody admits to it.
ANDERSON: Nobody admits to actually reading the "Sun," it seems, but nobody that we spoke to, at least, seemed particularly bothered about showing girls showing -- or not wearing any clothes on their top on page three.
HILLGROVE: I think it's just very dangerous that you've got a situation with Leveson who's come in and crushed the media. The media's lost its voice, the "Sun" in particular.
ANDERSON: This is, of course, the hacking campaign and --
HILLGROVE: Well, the hacking, but I mean it's against the law to hack before the Leveson inquiry, and now it's just got more teeth, and everyone's on this sort of mission to bring down institutions and media institutions in particular.
So, you've got your hacked off on one side, now you've got this group trying to take page three away because it's wrong. The concern should be more the content on the internet. We're quite happy for young people to look at hardcore with not much regulation, and that's just -- just a bit of fun.
It shouldn't be up to groups -- pressure groups, lobbying and trying to dismantle things from news organizations. It's a sign of the times, and it's a real slippery slope, I can tell you that.
ANDERSON: Some people suggesting that it was at the behest of the advertisers who said, listen, we're not interested in this anymore. So, it really was a question of money at the end of the day, potentially, for Murdoch's group.
If not page three and what it has shown to date, what else, then? Is it -- surely page three is one of the best environments for some of your greatest news, as it were. So, is it going to be sleaze, is it going to be more gossip, is going to be more celebrity, which the "Sun," of course, is very good at?
HILLGROVE: I think the "Sun" has already shown since Leveson that it has been sterilized somewhat. You've got the "News of the World" being shut down, you've got the "Sun" taking a real punch. You've still go this whole hacking thing going on.
So, the journalists are very wary. There are a lot more press releases leaking in. There's not a lot of investigations going on. I think this is part and parcel of a sanitized, sterilized media. And the "Sun," which was always brash and symbolic and cheeky and got to the point, has been completely -- comparatively silenced. Murdoch doesn't care. He's making a lot more money from Sky.
ANDERSON: Interesting. We thank you for coming in.
HILLGROVE: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Richard Hillgrove on the show tonight, a man who has regularly appeared not on page three but in the "Sun" newspaper, is what we're going to do and discuss -- we're going to discuss, not do -- after this short break, Pedro and Becks talk face creams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I wear face -- facial cream.
DAVID BECKHAM, PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN MIDFIELDER: I wore mine. He used to steal the lot.
PINTO: OK. I'll get that back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: What's that all about? Coming up in 60 seconds as we ask Becks the questions you really want answered. That after this.
ANDERSON: All right. David Beckham is gearing up for his team's Champions League quarterfinal clash with Barcelona on Tuesday. He's made a very big impression playing for Paris Saint-Germain, and there is even some talk they might try and keep him longer.
But what about the real questions, like what's his favorite tattoo? Pedro Pinto sat down with the star and put him to the test in a round of quick-fire questions. Have a listen to these.
PINTO: You've lived in a lot of different places.
BECKHAM: Right. What are we doing?
PINTO: Seen a lot of different cultures, tasted a lot of different foods. What's your favorite type of cuisine?
BECKHAM: Favorite type of cuisine -- oh, my goodness. I love French food, I must admit. Obviously living here at the moment, but I've always loved French cuisine.
PINTO: Any dish in particular?
BECKHAM: I like snails, actually.
BECKHAM: I like snails.
PINTO: Escargots, yes?
BECKHAM: Oddly enough.
PINTO: Yes? I'm from Portugal, we eat that a lot, too. Favorite city?
PINTO: All right. Favorite stadium to play in?
PINTO: The haircut you most regret?
PINTO: The Mohawk? You really don't regret that?
BECKHAM: It was great at the time. You obviously didn't like it.
PINTO: Hey, I got -- I could never pull it off.
BECKHAM: I don't know.
PINTO: How many tattoos do you have?
PINTO: All right. Favorite one?
BECKHAM: My children's names.
PINTO: Any one -- any tats that you regret?
BECKHAM: They all have a meaning, so -- I think that's important about tattoos. As long as they have a meaning, you'll never regret them.
PINTO: What's the most impressive mobile number you have on your phone?
BECKHAM: Um --
PINTO: Someone you could just dial up. Obama?
BECKHAM: That would be telling. That would be telling.
PINTO: I'm not asking for the number.
PINTO: But you know a lot of -- a lot of big celebrities.
PINTO: What's one of them --
BECKHAM: I'm sure you can work it out.
PINTO: OK. But I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say that you've got Tom Cruise's number, for example.
PINTO: Who's more famous, he or you?
BECKHAM: Him, without a doubt.
PINTO: Ah, come on.
BECKHAM: Without a doubt.
PINTO: In Asia even?
BECKHAM: Of course. Everyone loves Tom. He's an amazing person.
PINTO: Who's better-looking?
BECKHAM: Him, without a doubt.
PINTO: Come on.
BECKHAM: He is. Have you seen him in person?
PINTO: No, I haven't, actually.
BECKHAM: Well, wait until you see him.
PINTO: OK. I spoke with Roberto Carlos when he moved out to Russia, and we were talking about different guys in the dressing room. I asked who's the vainest player you've ever shared a dressing room with, and he said you.
PINTO: Are you the vainest --
BECKHAM: Is that what he said?
PINTO: Yes, that's what he said. That's what he said. I do have the tape to prove it.
BECKHAM: Oh, my goodness --
PINTO: Who's the vainest --
BECKHAM: I can't believe --
PINTO: -- just the creams and -- look, I wear face -- facial cream.
BECKHAM: I wore mine. He used to steal the lot.
PINTO: OK. I'll get that back to you.
PINTO: All right. Who's the vainest player you've every shared a dressing room with?
BECKHAM: Roberto Carlos.
ANDERSON: Let's get more on Beckham from "World Sport's" Don Riddell. Beckham, Don, clearly still a great ambassador. How much can he do for PSG, though, as a footballer. I'm just thinking I can't imagine him actually thinking that he would be up against Barcelona anytime again. Could you?
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, no, and here we go. It's a huge game for Paris Saint-Germain --
RIDDELL: -- of course, Beckham's helping them get all the publicity and the PR. He could, yes, play a really positive role for them in this tie, as you mentioned earlier. He's made a good impact for them -- for the team since joining from the LA Galaxy.
This is a huge opportunity for Paris Saint-Germain. They haven't been this far in the European Cup since 1995. That's 18 years. Obviously, they want to make the most of this opportunity and go even further.
But at another point in that interview, which you'll see later on "World Sport," Beckham does acknowledge that Barcelona are pretty much the best team in the world right now. So, it's going to be a big task.
But he's a huge figure to have in the dressing room, even if he's not coming on and playing a full 90 minutes. He's a great figure --
RIDDELL: -- to have in the dressing room. He's been there, he's done it, he's won this competition before. He's much more than just a brand ambassador for Paris Saint-Germain. He brings a lot more to the table.
ANDERSON: Yes. Forgive me, indulge me a little, but you know what I'm going to do, because I did meet him, of course, when he joined the LA Galaxy back in -- what was it? -- 2005. One of the best times in my life, moments of my life.
So, we'll just remind ourselves with a quick question from me to him. There's a point to this, hold on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Tell us what soccer really means to you.
BECKHAM: It's my passion. It's what I know. The only thing that is bigger than soccer and my career is my family. It's what I've done my whole life, it's what I've always wanted to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: It is what he's done all of his life, and his family, he's made his family sort of move with him as part of that. Many people talked about him going back to Paris simply because -- or possibly because Victoria Beckham would enjoy it there with her clothes rage, of course. She's a fashion designer. Is this his last club?
RIDDELL: Well, we'll see. What is he, now, 38 years old? It would be hard to see him carrying on beyond Paris Saint-Germain, but then, of course, that depends on how long he's going to stay there.
He signed until the end of the season, but if he keeps impressing him, why wouldn't he extend that contract and see where that goes? But it's hard to see him playing much longer. But in the rest of the interview you're going to see in "World Sport," he says, look, I've kept myself fit and healthy.
He hasn't actually officially retired from the England team because he thinks that there's a chance -- a chance -- that one day they might want to just call him up and have him play again. He didn't want to have to come out retirement, he'd rather just say yes, sure, I'm ready. So, he's a very positive guy.
ANDERSON: Well, the play they played against Montenegro the other night, which I was watching, they might just need him back, because I we played a horrible game. But anyway, there you go. If we get through to the World Cup, we'll all forget about that. If we don't, we'll remember it of the rest of time, and maybe we should bring him back at that point. Thank you sir.
RIDDELL: All right.
ANDERSON: Don Riddell in the house, of course. As he said, back with "World Sport," much more of that Beckham interview a little bit later on.
In tonight's Parting Shots, have you been fooled by April the 1st? Well, because there are plenty of pranks online, all in honor of April Fool's Day. Tonight, we thought we'd close out searching Google by smell alone. Too good to be true, right? Well, Google Nose was introduced by the tech giant, along with G-Mail Blue, a Google treasure hunt, and an announcement that YouTube was closing down, apparently. Let's move on.
Twitter got in on the fun, saying it was going to start charging users $5 per month to use vowels in their tweets. And I will admit to you, I bought that one. Didn't pay my money, but I bought it.
Virgin Atlantic announced a glass-bottom plane to spot your home from the sky above. Ikea offered up a flat-packed lawnmower, perfect for small outdoor living spaces, she says with a Swedish accent.
And finally, with a royal baby due in July, car manufacturer BMW announced the post-natal royal automobile, or Pram. This soft-topped convertible comes available in princess pink and royal blue.
But of course you won't be getting your hands on any of these because -- and I wish you a happy April Fools Day. From us and the team -- me and the team, at least, here in London, it's a very good evening.