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Obama Defends Cyber Surveillance Program; Dresden Fights Back Floodwaters; Surveillance Scandal and China-US Talks; Topics of China-US Talks; Gateway: Transcontinental Railway Links East and West; Entertainment Preview; French Open; Parting Shots: Environmentalist Rescues 200 Sloths

Aired June 7, 2013 - 16:00   ET


JONATHAN MANN, HOST: The U.S. president says Uncle Sam isn't Big Brother.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody is listening to your telephones.


MANN: Barack Obama defends surveillance programs snooping into phone calls and emails.

Also ahead, Russians react to the news that President Vladimir Putin is now officially a single man.

And in sport, Rafael Nadal serves up a stunning win to reach his first grand slam final in months.

Thanks for joining us. U.S. President Barack Obama says you can't have 100 percent security and 100 percent privacy. He's defending two government surveillance programs that just came to light causing a public uproar. One program mines the phone records of U.S. customers, the other monitors the online activity of people around the world who may be unwittingly using U.S. based internet servers, that includes their emails, documents, photos, even social media posts.

Mr. Obama calls the programs a modest encroachment on privacy necessary to prevent terror attacks. Today, he sought to clarify their scope.


OBAMA: When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That's not what this program is about. As was indicated what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people's names. And they're not looking at content.

Now with respect to the internet, and emails. This does not apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States.


MANN: Now those remarks were clearly meant to reassure Americans, but probably won't put others around the world at ease knowing that their emails may end up on somebody's computer in Washington.

Barbara Starr is following the story for us from the Pentagon and joins us now.

Barbara, we learned first of all about the phone records that are being harvested for data, but now this is other program called PRISM. It seems much bigger and much more invasive. What can you tell us?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, a lot of confusion and concern about it, as you said Jonathan. Most of those internet companies involved are saying publicly they don't know anything about PRISM, that they do respond when federal courts seek warrants for information, but they are not anticipating in just some generic internet harvesting program, if you will, that's called PRISM.

But it raises a lot of questions. The president taking the extraordinary step there, as you saw, of addressing this and acknowledging that it is taking place.

For people living outside of the United States, they are -- that use the internet, they're well aware that a lot of communications traffic circumnavigates the globe essentially. It gets moved through various servers, circuits, channels, IP addresses, that sort of thing. So a lot of it winds up coming through the United States at some point one way or the other. And the question may be, is that how they're doing it?

People can't control, necessarily, where they're internet traffic goes, but the U.S. government can reach out and try and grab it in cyberspace. And I think that's the concern that so many have.

MANN: And just to be clear, the president was trying to reassure Americans that nobody is listening to their phone calls -- they're not doing that, they're just tracking them on a mass scale -- and that no one is reading their emails. They are doing that, aren't they, just to non- Americans, people living outside the United States in theory.

Is Washington reading the whole world's email?

STARR: Well, pretty doubtful that Washington has the organization or capacity to do that, I would think. I don't think it quite goes that far, because of course you might have the technological ability in the U.S. government, in the U.S. intelligence community to gather all this stuff up. The big challenge has always been how to prioritize it, sort it, understand what you have and search out those little nuggets of potential terrorist activity. That's what the government says it's really after. It's not trying to snoop on people or spy on them, but look for those little tidbits that ring alarm bells that there may be terrorist activity going on.

A lot of people already pointing to things like the Boston Marathon bombing. The suspects in that case clearly used their cell phones, clearly used the internet, were all over various communications devices, and yet even if it was picked up, no body picked up their intentions.

So, this is an issue where you might have a lot of capability, but maybe a long road before you can stop something.

Government says they have, but we haven't seen the evidence of it.

MANN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks very much.

Well, the revelations are renewing a heated debate over how to balance personal liberty with national security. We're joined now by a former CIA operative who says this time maybe Washington has gone too far.

CNN contributor Robert Baer is in Irvine, California.

And just to be clear, thanks so much for being with us. You used to be in the spy business. You spent a long time in the spy business chasing the bad guys. What's your sense of this program, because that's presumably what the president says it's for.

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, I've never seen anything this big, ever. I mean, you know, capturing most of internet traffic which passes through this country, putting it in databases, whether they're actually looking at it or not doesn't matter.

And secondly, we have to remember that this stuff is being held at the NSA, the National Security Agency, that's an arm of the Pentagon, it's not an arm of the Justice Department or the FBI. And in this data, we have to keep in mind is searchable. They may not be looking at it today, but some time in the future they will be able to. And people are really worried about abuses.

MANN: Now, you're talking here about the internet surveillance that's going on. This is in a sense a week where we're learning about two kinds of programs, the internet surveillance and also what they're calling data harvesting off phone records, which is to say they say they're not listening to the phone records, but they're collecting information about which numbers are dialing which numbers when for what duration.

You have, I gather, some experience with that. Tell us about it.

BAER: I worked for the UN for awhile on an assassination investigation. And we were able to take the metadata, the time of calls and the location of the cell phones, put it all together and essentially come to indictments on the assassins.

MANN: Now this was a big case. This was a big case you were working on, let's just be clear about that. This was the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, right?

BAER: Yeah. And it was brilliant. I mean, these -- the Lebanese put this together. They used a thing called Analyst Notebook. They identified all of the assassins. This stuff is brilliant. And I can see why in a criminal investigation you would use it.

But what disturbs me is if you take this metadata and keep it stored, it's like keeping a file on everybody. And it's just a short step to identifying, putting a name to phone numbers. And this is what people have them scared.

And the press, in particular, is scared that this administration, or future administrations are going to come after them using the same metadata to identify their sources. It may not be happening...

MANN: But isn't this kind of intelligence work murky at the best of times? I mean, these are the kinds of questions that give rise to practices like waterboarding, or off record prisons, or the kinds of things that the government of the United Kingdom is accused of doing in Northern Ireland, the French have been accused in the past. How does this compare when you look at the real world of trying to get secrets to save lives?

BAER: Well, I don't know that it really has saved any lives. The government says it has. I mean, what have really gotten out of this? You do have to look at Boston. I mean, there were signals all over that these guys were up to no good. And they had odd connections. And yet the same data didn't point to them. And even after a Russian warning, it still didn't help.

So I just wonder about the utility of it right now.

MANN: Let me make a comparison on that very note. This is information that's taken from us without our permission, but you can think of all the people who volunteer information about themselves on Facebook, or every time they use a credit card or do business with a major merchandiser, that information is also collected and the commercial world finds that a really useful way to predict behavior, presumably this is the same but with much more at stake, lives at stake.

BAER: John, I don't think -- I think it's very invasive. If I have your cell phone number within minutes I can get your credit card numbers, where you ate dinner last night, what you did the week before. I can reconstruct your life from this same data and use it against you at some point. It's -- this is what has people scared and legitimately.

MANN: Robert Baer, former CIA operative, now a prolific author most recently of "The Devil We Know" dealing with the new Iranian superpower.

Thanks so much for talking with us.

BAER: Thank you.

MANN: Coming up later on Connect the World how the surveillance scandal could undermine Obama's attempts to press China's president on his nation's cyber attacks.

Also ahead, the Turkish prime minister calls on protesters to stop the protesting. And he's defending his government's crackdown.

Plus, the queen's husband has surgery in London. We'll find out how Prince Phillip is doing.

All that and much more when Connect the World continues.


MANN: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann. Welcome back.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is defending his government's handling of nationwide protests and urging citizens to stop the demonstrations that began last week and have rocked the country.

Let's get more from Ivan Watson in Istanbul. Ivan, Erdogan is not backing down, is he?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. That's right, it's Friday night in Istanbul's Taksim Square. And there's a big party going on here. I've seen dozens of Chinese lanterns slowly wafting up, perhaps Joe can catch one up there -- over the square as people are here listening to the music and dancing and just generally hanging out and having a good time. And there's no police presence here whatsoever.

Now the European Union's commissioner for EU enlargement, he visited Turkey today. And he had some criticism, saying that Freedom of expression should be defended in Turkey, suggested that it was very important to have an investigation into allegations of excessive use of police force. The Turkish government says it has launched that investigation. And the Turkish prime minister responded saying that he has been trying to reach out to different sectors of society. Take a listen.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Regarding Taksim Square, there is great disinformation about this issue. We are all aware of this. We have no problem in terms of democratic demands, but you need to know who your counterpart is. But there isn't any counterpart here. Since we formed a government, we have carried out negotiations with all the sections of the society.


WATSON: Now, Erdogan's supporters, John, early this morning before dawn, they gave him a hero's welcome when he returned to Turkey, to Istanbul, from an oversees trip. And I talked to some of those supporters and they really did not have very nice things to say about the demonstrators here in Taksim Square. They called them provocateurs.

And when I asked the people who really had great enthusiasm and love for Erdogan whether they were afraid that their gathering might get tear gassed like so many opposition protests have been tear gassed over the course of the last week. They said, no, because we're not vandals. We don't break things.

Well, looking at the situation here, there has been violence over the course of the past week, but this is overwhelmingly peaceful. There's no police presence whatsoever. And the crowd is governing itself very well.

In fact, some women sometimes complain in this neighborhood that they get groped by men at night, especially a Friday night. And the female friends that I have say there has been none of that kind of harassment over the course of the past several days since the police withdrew from this area and the demonstrators took over -- John.

MANN: It's calm. It's peaceful there. But I'm wondering how isolated it is. Is there anyone outside of that square putting any pressure on the prime minister to back down, anyone beyond the ranks of the protesters that is sympathetic to what they're demanding?

WATSON: Well, certainly we've had groups from the arts field, from the labor unions, from universities coming out and voicing their opposition to the Turkish prime minister. Within his own party there has been some divergence of rhetoric coming from his deputy prime minister and from the president Abdullah Gul who have taken a much more conciliatory position and also adopted some self-criticism versus the prime minister himself who has said, OK, there may have been excessive use of force, but he has refused to apologize at all. And his supporters say they don't want to see him step back, it's impossible.

So, there does seem to be either good cop or bad cop, or maybe some divisions within the ruling Justice and Development Party itself as to what's going on.

It's interesting as we look at this scene and the very tranquil images of Chinese lanterns burning and slowly wafting over the square instead of the tear gas that we saw last weekend, take a look at the video that the city municipality published last month when it published its plans for the redevelopment of Taksim Square, this animation that I saw last year when the construction first began here and I was puzzled, as were all the business owners and residents of this square as to what the plans were exactly, because nobody really reached out to the community here in the center of the city telling them what was planned to be built here.

You do see some green spaces, but you also see the reconstruction of the 19th Century Ottoman barracks that Prime Minister Erdogan has really staked his government on over the course of the past week.

This gives you a sense of what he had planned and something that the crowds here have really objected to. And it's a Friday night, so people are partying here.

John, back to you.

MANN: You're making friends. Enjoy the party. Serious stuff, but at least a chance to relax a little bit there in the midst of it.

Ivan Watson in Istanbul, thanks very much.

A developing story now we're following closely, reports of a shooting at a college in Santa Monica just west of Los Angeles. If you know the area, we're talking about Santa Monica College itself. Law enforcement officials say at least three people have been wounded, two are said to be in critical condition, one is described as being in serious condition.

A suspect has been taken into custody, but the college is in lockdown. And all of the schools in the district are on lockdown as well.

Police are investigating whether or not there was a second shooter who may still be at liberty.

We'll of course update you on details as we get them.

Buckingham Palace says the queen's husband and consort is progressive satisfactorily after abdominal surgery. 91-year-old Prince Phillip was hospitalized Thursday. CNN royal correspondent Max Foster has an update now from London.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a day after the duke was admitted to this hospital the operation has been carried out. And a brief statement said it was an exploratory operation following abdominal investigations. We're told the results have now been analyzed and at this early stage he is progressing satisfactorily.

He's still expected to be in for two weeks.

This is someone who is nearly 92 years old who went under general anesthetic. And the recovery is very, very important.

I'm told by a royal source that he's actually comfortable and everything went as planned, so that's the best that they can hope for in this situation. He will be in, though, for those two weeks. And they'll monitor him, make sure no infections set in and make sure he's OK.

He won't be happy to be in hospital. He doesn't really like being in these places. But they're going to keep him here, certainly because this is a big operation for an elderly man.

The queen is being kept informed, I'm told. And she hasn't visited, but she was just down the road carrying on with her official engagements -- opening the new BBC headquarters today. Lots of people there expressing their concern to her about the condition of the Duke. She actually looked quite relaxed and happy on that occasion.

So things aren't at a heightened level of concern, but certainly the situation is being monitored.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


MANN: Chinese state media are reporting that at least 42 have been killed in a fire that started on a bus in the southeastern city of Zemin (ph). At least 33 people were hurt. The bus was traveling on an elevated traffic lane during rush hour -- look at this -- the cause of the fire still not known.

The United Nations is warning the number of Syrian refugees could reach 3.5 million by the end of the year. The word comes as the UN launches its biggest humanitarian appeal ever. The agency hopes to raise $5 billion for those in need inside Syria. It's expecting more than 6 million people there will need assistance by the end of 2013.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: It's the result of a brutal war, a brutal war that is not only making the people suffer, it is making the collapse of a state and the destruction, the physical destruction of a country. You're talking about 6.8 million people inside Syria needing assistance, but have a staggering escalation in the number of refugees.

We have today 1.6 million, but we are having 200,000 new refugees every month, which makes us forecast 3.5 million refugees in the end of the year.


MANN: The coming days could bring Hungary its worst flooding ever. The Danube river is expected to surge near the capital on Monday. Significant flooding is expected in low lying areas around Budapest. Emergency crews have sprung into action in preparation. Parts of Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, have already been swamped by all the rising water.

Live from CNN News Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the Russian President announces his marriage is over. What's next for Vladimir Putin and what's been the reaction to the news around the world.

And why two of the world's most powerful men are leaving Washington behind.


MANN: Welcome back. You're watching Connect the World.

There has been a huge reaction on social media to the Russian president's announcement that he and his wife have ended their marriage -- from humor, to bitterness, even speculation, thousands of people are making their views known online. We'll have more on that in a moment.

But first this word from Phil Black.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started as a pretty ordinary Russian version of date night, going to the ballet. But there's never been anything ordinary about Russia's first couple. During a break they walked into an empty room to stand in front of a camera and review the show.

"Excellent," they said.

Then the reporter asked a question, many Russians have been wondering about for a long time. "Is it true you no longer live together?"

PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): This is true. All my activities and work are related with the publicity, with the total publicity. Some like it. Some don't.

BLACK: Not the clearest answer. So, Lyudmila Putin had to spell it out.

LYUDMILA PUTIN, VLADIMIR PUTIN'S EX-WIFE (through translator): Our marriage is over because we barely see each other. Vladimir is completely engaged with his work. Our children have grown up. They're living their own lives. So, it just happened we both have our own lives.

BLACK: This breakup appearance was the first time they've been seen together since Putin's inauguration as president over a year ago. Over the 13 years, he has dominated political life in this country, sightings of his wife have become increasingly rare.

In 2008, a Moscow newspaper reported he was planning to divorce her and marry the Russian Olympic gymnast. Putin angrily denied that and the newspaper shut down soon after.

This time, as Lyudmila Putin confirmed the divorce, she explained, she doesn't like flying or publicity. That had to be a big problem if you're married to a plan famous for traveling across the world's largest country attracting lots of attention with highly publicized, tough guy stunts.

Despite those differences, their marriage lasted just short of 30 years. They have two adult daughters. Lyudmila Putin says her soon- to-be ex-husband is a loving father and someone she'll always be close to.

Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.


MANN: On the streets of Moscow, mixed reaction to the sad news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't believe it, because it is a good family. He is an example to all Russians. He simply cannot do this. And I think they have children growing up and everything is fine with them. This is fake. Don't believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): How is it possible that the president divorced his wife? I don't know. Well, as a man I understand you, Vladimir Vladamuravic (ph). But I really don't know. it might be bad for the image, but all in all this is life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): So what? It's his private affair. It doesn't matter that he's a top official. It's his personal matter. It's his life. I hope it will be better for him if he thinks so. Together or not, I wish happiness both to him and to her.


MANN: Absolutely.

But let's see what you, our viewers, are saying about the break-up. Some of the comments we've been getting on sympathetic.

One viewers writes this, "whatever their problems, at least they kept it discrete and handled this in a tasteful manner."

True enough.

Another comments, "it's totally natural for people to get divorced, even for a president. Better to face it than hide it."

A similar thought from another viewer who says, "the marriage is over. It happens every day no matter who you are."

Some comments, though, a little sarcastic like this one, "now Putin is free to pursue his lifelong dream of bear wrestling."

The latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, more on what the leaders of the two superpowers will be talking about in just a few hour's time.

Also, it's the powerhouse behind China's economic boom. We take you to one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The starting point of a modern-day silk road.


DAVID FORD, SINGER: I still drive myself to my gigs. I set up my own stuff, you know. I don't have roadies and technicians and things.


MANN: Singer David Ford gives us a lesson in how to do it old school. That's coming up, a CNN preview.


MANN: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. US president Barack Obama is defending newly-disclosed government surveillance programs. He says they monitor phone data and internet activity to prevent terrorist plots. Mr. Obama says the programs strike the right balance between respecting personal liberties and keeping the nation safe.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I think it's important to recognize that you can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a society.


MANN: Chinese state media say at least 42 people are dead after a rush hour blaze. The blaze began on a bus on an elevated traffic lane. At least 33 people aboard were injured as well. The cause of the fire is not known, but a passenger said she smelled gasoline while onboard.

Hungary is bracing for heavy flooding in the days to come. The Danube River is expected to surge near Budapest Monday. Several neighboring countries have already been swamped by the rising waters. Earlier, Matthew Chance showed us the scene in Germany.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Dresden, it seems that the flood defenses in the center at least have been successful because even though the floodwaters have risen to their peak height, about 7 meters higher than they normally are, the flood defenses have not been breached beyond these areas that you can see here.

And this was a park alongside the riverbank. And you can see, it's submerged to a very high level. You can just see some of the road signs poking up outside of the -- above the surface of the floodwaters.


MANN: Xi Jinping is making his first to the US as the president of China. He's in California for a two-day summit with Barack Obama. The leaders have opted against the formal trappings of official Washington, meeting instead at a secluded California estate.

That visit begins in just over two hours from now at the historic Annenberg Retreat in Sunnylands. Some call it the Camp David of the West Coast. Earlier, our White House chief correspondent Jessica Yellin told Nina Dos Santos about the damaging effects the US surveillance scandal that we've been telling you about could have on the Chinese-US talks.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In essence, he's not embarrassed. That he is in compliance with US law, that the US Congress has been briefed on all of this, and that what he is engaged in, what the government is engaged in, is overseen by both court and the federal -- the congressional checks and balances. I don't know that that will satisfy any foreign government, though.

The distinction the president will try to make is that the US's accusation against China is that China is stealing businesses, US businesses' intellectual property for profit, and that's undermining businesses here in the US, whereas the government of the US is observing what suspected terrorists are doing. You could call it a privacy violation, but they're not actually stealing any information and then using it for profit. I don't -- I'm not certain that that won't fall on deaf ears, Nina.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, the Chinese are very, very good at manipulating news like this to their own benefit. Is there any indication some might think that the Chinese will say, well, look, they're not being clear with their own people and they're accusing us of censorship on the internet and following people?

YELLIN: Well, there's an obvious attack to make here and an accusation that America, which prides itself on being democratic and protecting of individual rights and privacy, here is engaging in the kind of behavior they typically accuse other closed governments of doing. So, it's a -- it's a clear irony that this comes out just as President Obama is meeting with President Xi.

I would point out that both leaders do want this meeting to be a success, at least they are looking to find a way for both countries to have -- reengage on issues ranking from North Korea, Syria, Iran, to some of the business issues that have typically focused on trade and now are turning to cyber, to create a more -- equal partnership where they talk as leaders who can understand one another.

Now that the Chinese leader is a much younger, more sophisticated person, President Obama in particular is hoping he can forge a connection with him.


MANN: Jessica Yellin talking to our Nina Dos Santos. Well, from cyber hacking to Washington's so-called Asia Pivot, the two leaders certainly have a lot to talk about. Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has more.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's just become president, and his nation is on the rise. So what can President Obama expect when hosts Xi Jinping this week?

WENRAN JIANG, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA: The most concerned issue, I think, on both sides would be the hot-button issue, to quote cliche, that both the United States and China are going to a new cold war.

ROBERTSON: The two men did meet last year. Back then, President Xi was just vice president. Now, he has the power to throw Obama's pivot to Asia off balance. US allegations of Chinese cyber warfare are just one of the several serious wobbles that needs stabilizing.

JIANG: The Chinese read it just the other way around saying what Americans are hyping up in the cyber warfare is just simply a preparation to hype up his own budget on the cyber warfare capabilities and therefore in the future blocking China's rights.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Whether it's concerns over cyber warfare, naval deployment, or trade, President Xi is striking at his uncertainties far faster than his predecessor. Both of China's last two presidents waited more than three years before going to visit their US counterparts Even so, analysts here describe President Xi as "cautious."

ROBERTSON (voice-over): They also say he's a pragmatist, which in the context of US relations, raises the question, why did he send his only child to Harvard? Perhaps happy memories of his week spent in rural Iowa in 1985 studying American agriculture courtesy of the Chinese government. Last year, he went back to visit the family who took care of him.

Other clues to the man, to paraphrase an old saying, could come from behind him. His wife of almost three decades may be that great woman.

Ten years his junior, Peng Liyuan not only holds the civilian rank of major general but has been a popular singer since before their marriage, a few years ago, even performing in New York.

Peng is also becoming a fashion icon. Her choice of handbag as much in debate in Beijing as America's first lady's dresses are discussed in DC. This, too, marks President Xi as breaking from the mold. Previous Chinese leaders wives were so far behind their husbands as to be invisible.

How all this will shape his two days with Obama is hard to know, but if talk turns to much-hyped Chinese Dream, the conversation may be short. President Xi has been clear: it's a strong nation and a strong military. From where he stands, the American Dream is fading, and on this, anything less than agreement could herald some unsettled nights.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Beijing, China.


MANN: Something else the Chinese first couple may find unsettling is the fact that Michelle Obama won't be attending the summit. America's first lady has said she can't leave her daughters alone during their final week of school.

That's being interpreted as a snub to Peng Liyuan, who will be spending the two days alone. Our Patricia Wu will have much more on that story when the two men meet in just a few hours' time.

Live from CNN Center, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. It was the match everyone was waiting for, and it wasn't even the final. We have the latest from the French Open.

And spanning six countries and 11,000 kilometers, when we come back, we'll see how an epic journey begins. The Gateway, next.


MANN: Welcome back now to a glimpse through the Gateway to a modern- day Silk Route, a pioneering transcontinental railway linking East and West. It begins in the Chinese heartland in city of Chongqing, and then travels through six countries and six time zones before the journey ends in Germany, 11,000 kilometers later. Becky Anderson begins her trip in the city power China's economic boom.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPONDENT (voice-over): A rail yard in Chongqing in southwest China. Our journey begins here with the loading of 42 containers destined for Germany. This is no ordinary train.

ANDERSON (on camera): The freight train is just being secured. It's packed to capacity with computer products, and in less than an hour's time, it'll start its transcontinental trip.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The train will move along more than 11,000 kilometers of track spanning six countries and two continents. The final stop, Duisburg in Germany. This modern-day Silk Route originates in Chongqing, a city of 13 million people and the country's new trading hub with the West.

ANDERSON (on camera): For 3,000 years, Chongqing has been a trading post, sitting as it does on the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers. Until very recently, this was just farmland. Now, it's one of the fastest-growing cities on Earth and a powerhouse behind China's economic boom.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The result of a social experiment called the Go West Initiative aimed at driving workforce and businesses into the Chinese hinterland.

MU HIUAPING, DIRECTOR, CHONGQING ECONOMIC AND INFORMATION COMMITTEE (through translator): Chongqing is the biggest municipality in the western regions and serves as a junction between the East and the West. It now only takes 16 days to get from Chongqing to Europe. Many manufacturers, who used to ship goods by sea, are now using the railway leg in Chongqing.

ANDERSON: This highly-focused strategy has attracted foreign investors, like Hewlett-Packard. More than a half of HP's global laptop production happens here.

ANDERSON (on camera): Every 12 seconds or so, the workers on this assembly line are installing the motherboards, the memory chips onto devices like this. This is the hardware for the HP laptop. They can do as many as 60,000 of these a day.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And since 2011, about 4 million HP products have made their journey from Chongqing to Western Europe by train, a direct link that is cheaper than air freight and faster than sea routes.

TONY PROPHET, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, PPS OPERATIONS, HP: The route through Pakistan, which was a tradition of the old Silk Road, that route really didn't exist on scheduled rail service. But for us to be able to have -- and its current disadvantage, being landlocked in Chongqing, into advantage, your proximity to Europe via a land route was a big deal to us, and we think over time, it will be a real competitive edge.

ANDERSON: At the rail yard, the locomotive pulls in, a sign that the journey is about to begin.

ANDERSON (on camera): One train, 42 containers carrying goods made in China to the center of Europe, the very embodiment of a modern-day Silk Route.


MANN: Join Gateway next week, as the train crosses into Kazakhstan, the world's largest landlocked country.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, the godfathers of heavy rock. We speak to music legends Black Sabbath. Yes, they're still at it, and they have a long-awaited new album.

And not quite Black Sabbath. Have a look at these. Cute, cuddly, and how would you like to look after 200 of them? One woman is doing just that.


MANN: Welcome back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, and now it's time for CNN Preview. My colleague, Becky Anderson, is back with a weekly roundup of music and entertainment news.


ANDERSON: Welcome to CNN Preview. Well, this week, we take a look at two contrasting sides of the music business: the long-awaited return of one of the biggest bands in music history and a critically-acclaimed troubadour struggling to make a living out of his musical passion.

ANDERSON (voice-over): It's been 35 years since Ozzy Osbourne recorded with Black Sabbath. But the godfathers of heavy metal have returned with a new album entitled "13," led by the single, "God is dead."


OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK SABBATH: Black Sabbath was a wonderful band that was created from London. We were four guys who had a dream and it came a bit true bigger than our wildest expectations. It's been the best thing that's ever happened to me, Black Sabbath.


GEEZER BUTLER, BLACK SABBATH: Especially after we tried it in 2001 and abandoned it because it just didn't live up to what we thought it was going to be and we thought, well, that's it. We've tried. It -- forget doing a new album. We're never going to be able to do it. And this time, it felt totally different.

OSBOURNE: But also, there's a lot of pressure involved, because it's been like 35 years since we last did a studio album. So, it's a -- the longer the gap, the more pressure comes on because you think it's got to be up high.

and thank God we got Rick Rubin, because Rick Rubin knew exactly where he wanted to take us. The first thing he wanted and one of the first things he said to us was, "Don't think heavy metal."


ANDERSON: The band will spend the summer touring North America before heading for Europe in November, finishing with hometown gig in the British city of Birmingham.


ANDERSON: The story of British singer-songwriter David Ford is one which every aspiring musician should study.


ANDERSON: Despite critical acclaim for his music, he's fallen short of a big-time breakthrough on several occasions, thwarted by bad decisions, bad luck, and on one occasion, a pair of ill-fitting trousers. But he's battling on, driving himself around the US with his guitar and inspirational new album.


DAVID FORD, MUSICIAN: I still drive myself to my gigs, I set up my own stuff. I don't have roadies and technicians and things, and it's still that same exciting adventure as when I was 16 and my band first got its gig in a local pub down our way.

For me, happiness came when I stopped trying to have a career in the music business. When you start out, and certainly when you first get a record deal, you imagine that that's it, fame is going to be the next stop.


FORD: Sometimes you're playing a show and just everything is on fire, electric, and you can't put a foot wrong, and the audience feel it, and it's an absolutely incredible experience, and it's -- it's one of the things that I love about music is the opportunity to keep putting yourself in a position where that might happen every night.


ANDERSON (on camera): That's it for this week's edition of CNN Preview. We'll leave you, though, with a selection of sights and sounds from the global premier of "World War Z."

BRAD PITT, "WORLD WAR Z": It's massive, it's global, it's -- it is the most intense thing you're going to see all summer.

We've got a big show, Muse has come out to support us tonight, and -- to unleash this thing, so, we're thrilled for that.

MATT BELLAMY, MUSE: We're very honored to get Muse's -- part our songs on the album. We were influenced by that kind of apocalyptic stuff, and I actually read "World War Z" when we were making the album, so it's a perfect fit, really. I'm really happy it's been used.


MANN: It was billed as the real final of the French Open, and it lived up to expectations. In a match lasting more than four and a half hours, Rafael Nadal took on Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. CNN's Amanda Davies was there.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: There had been talk of a French Revolution, but the Spanish had other ideas. You wonder, though, how Sunday's final will match up to what we witnessed here on Friday.

They'll have to pull out all the stops to even give us half the show that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal put on in their semifinal. That neither head home with silverware after that seems criminal. In fact, both should be given trophies.

But that's not how this game works, and after nearly five hours and five brutal sets, it's the seven-time champion Rafael Nadal heading into Sunday's final, and Novak Djokovic heading home wondering what might have been, his wait to complete that Grand Slam haul goes on.

The wait for the French goes on as well. It will now be 26 years since they had a French man in the final here at Roland Garros. Jo- Wilfried Tsonga wilted under the pressure and David Ferrer did what he does best and finally booked his place in a Grand Slam final. After five semifinal defeats, the Nearly Man has finally booked his place in Sunday's decider.

Amanda Davies, CNN, Paris.


MANN: And in tonight's Parting Shots, sloths. They're cute, they're furry, they love to cuddle, but how many people would really want to be in charge of 200 of them? That's what happened to environmental activist Monique Pool in Suriname when she rescued a group of sloths after their natural habitat was ripped apart.


MONIQUE POOL, GREEN HERITAGE FUND SURINAME: The one that you see here is the three-toed sloth. Has three toes on all four legs. Relaxed animals. Sometimes they play with each other. They're very, very easy to live with.

The babies want to be held a lot because normally they stay with their mothers for 12 months. The three that are left, we just try to give them a lot of love and -- you know.

Somebody called me from the animal protection society, the chairman, and she knew there were 14 sloths in an area that was going to be deforested.

Aye yi yi.

So when we saw sloths, we would wait until the tree was pushed and then we would just take them out of the trees. However, there were more than 14 sloths, there were more than 200. So the new habitat where they're going is protected, it's supervised, so they will be safe.

Most animals came and went within a week, so I would have had -- I had nights with 30 to 40 animals here. I always think that finally the last one is gone, but I get regular rescue calls. There are like two to three animals passing through here on a weekly basis.


MANN: Saving the sloths. Tell us what you think about Monique's campaign. The team at CONNECT THE WORLD always wants to hear from you. And you'll also see some new photos of Becky doing some of her reporting from Istanbul. She's on her way back now, but check it out, let us know what you think. You can tweet us always @CNNconnect.

I'm Jonathan Mann, you've been watching CONNECT THE WORLD. From the team here at CNN Center and in London, thanks for joining us. The news continues right here on CNN after this short break.