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British Acid Attack Survivors Flown Out Of Zanzibar; President Obama Addresses NSA Surveillance; Doctor Responsible For Baby Trafficking Arrested In Chongqing

Aired August 9, 2013 - 16:00   ET


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, HOST: Hello, I'm Fionnuala Sweeney and you are watching Connect the World from CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

For more on what President Obama had to say, we're joined by Celeste Wollander. She's an international relations expert and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. Thank you for joining us.

Now question when it comes to foreign policy that it seems that Russia is the overarching priority right now, given particularly what's happening in Syria and any U.S. attempts to resolve that.

CELESTE WALLANDER, PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Yeah, I think that's right. And we've seen the focus in the Obama administration's foreign policy on working with Russia wherever possible. Syria is obviously a key issue. The president's priority for reducing -- further reducing nuclear weapons, obviously turns on the relationship with Russia since Russia is the main partner.

So across the board, when you look at important international issues that the Obama administration is working on, having a working relationship with the Russian government is really important.

SWEENEY: Well, speaking of that working relationship, of course, so much depends on the rapport between President Obama and also President Putin of Russia. Let's listen, first of all, to a sound bite from President Obama moments ago in that news conference about his relationship with the Russian president and then ask you for your thoughts.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What makes us different from other countries is not simply our ability to secure our nation, it's the way we do it, with open debate and democratic process. In other words, it's not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs. The American people need to have confidence in them as well.


SWEENEY: All right, obviously, not there on his relationship with Vladimir Putin, but certainly on something else that has caused concern in the United States, but also overseas in terms of the White House foreign policy in relation -- and relationship with Germany, for example.

Celeste Wallander, this issue of surveillance, huge in the United States as we know, but also having a reaching impact deep into Europe and elsewhere.

WALLANDER: That's right. I mean, the information that came out took a lot of people by surprise. You know, there are multiple issues bound up with this. I think that the president has been very clear that he takes this seriously. The proposals that he's outlining to increased transparency so that the American people have confidence is really, you know, in the best traditions of American democracy values and processes that we share with our European partners and allies.

And so this is clearly a step to be responsive and accountable as a president should be in a democracy.

SWEENEY: And he did speak about how when he was senator he called for transparency, but there's no question that this review of surveillance would be ongoing at all if it wasn't for Edward Snowden.

WALLANDER: Well, that's correct. And the president addressed that as well. There are ways to do this that are consistent with the law and obligations.

When you take an oath to -- and -- which is necessary to have access to classified information, you take -- you promise to secure and not to release that information.

There are ways for government whistle-blowers, legitimate government whistle-blowers who see wrongdoing to bring that to the attention, say, of members of congress who have security clearances and various ways. So the president didn't deny the fact that having this conversation about the NSA and its procedures is totally appropriate for the American people, but he pointed out that Edward Snowden is accused of breaking the law and violating his obligations, and that he should -- if he believes that he was right in doing that, he has the opportunity to stand up in court and defend himself.

SWEENEY: So Celeste, obviously you and Julian Assange wouldn't be on the same page. And there are those who would say that Edward Snowden is a patriot. This, of course, something that President Obama was asked about in the news conference and with whom he strongly disagreed. Let's listen in.


OBAMA: No, I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot. As I said in my opening remarks, I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks. My preference, and I think the American people's preference, would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws.


SWEENEY: Now this is something -- whatever Snowden has done -- that's caused great problems for the White House. Now this is something, whatever Snowden has done, that's caused great problems for the White House in terms of its relationship with Germany, one of the strongest, if not strongest economy in Europe and one of the strongest economies of the world.

But going back to the foreign policy issue, particularly with Moscow, so much as we were saying earlier, Celeste Wollander, goes back to that relationship, the personal rapport, between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. And before I ask you about that personal rapport, let's listen to what President Obama had to say about questions along those lines.


OBAMA: I don't have a bad personal relationship with Putin. When we have conversations, they're candid. They're blunt. Oftentimes they're constructive. I know the press likes to focus on body language and he's got that kind of slouch looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom, but the truth is that when we're in conversations together oftentimes it's very productive.

So, the issue here really has to do with where did they want to take Russia?


SWEENEY: Well, hardly a description that's going to appeal to Vladimir Putin and improve relations.

But let me ask you on a positive note where is the common ground, or is there common ground at all, between Russia and the United States at the moment?

WOLLANDER: Well, the clear evidence that there's common ground between the United States and Russia is the fact that despite the cancellation of the presidential summit in September, Foreign Minister Lavrov and Russian Defense Minister Shoigu were in Washington today meeting with their counterparts with Secretary of State Kerry and with Secretary of Defense Hagel. And they had extensive conversations on all the key issues that we would want them to be having conversations about -- strategic stability and nuclear weapons, Syria, Iran, the whole range of security issues that the United States and Russia need to work together on to contribute to global security, to contribute to European security and that our European allies and partners expect the United States to be talking to Russia about.

So the cancellation of the summit was, you know, by general agreement entirely appropriate, because the kinds of agreements that the Obama administration is hoping to achieve with the Russian government aren't ready yet. We're not to the point where the presidents -- where it merits a presidential meeting. But the work is going to continue between the United States and Russia on these key issues. And we saw that today.

SWEENEY: Let me ask you a wider ranging question about U.S. foreign policy at the moment. And I'm particularly interested in the United States relationship with Egypt, something I remember the cheers for President Obama just on the eve of President Mubarak stepping down as president there two years ago. And now this is really a country and a man that is vilified on all sides in that country. Is this largely as a result, do you think, of President Obama initiating a policy, which seems to be this phrase that was used very much last year, leading from behind, allowing other countries to take care of their own democratic issues or problems?

WOLLANDER: I think it's less that that particular -- that phrase or that approach, and more that the challenge that the United States and other countries are dealing with, which is transformative change throughout the Middle East.

The countries in the Middle East are going through dramatic social, economic, and political change. And the U.S. is supporting the change towards democracy, towards pluralism, towards integration. But that is a - - that is a path of fits and starts and it's one that's been plagued by violence in so many countries. And Egypt is unfortunately one of the clearest cases of that...

SWEENEY: But if I may jump in there. It always seems that the attitude in Egypt, one of the more stronger allies of the United States in that part of the world, has almost become as anti-Obama as it was anti-Bush maybe 10 years ago.

WOLLANDER: Well, unfortunately for, you know, the president is the leader and the face of a country. And I think that the disappointment with -- the unfortunate disappointment of so many in the region and in Egypt in particular gets focused on the leader.

But -- and, I'm sure that President Obama doesn't welcome that, it isn't something that anyone would want to happen in American relations with a strong partner such as Egypt. But I do think that we need to focus on the longer-term development in the region. And the United States and our partners and allies throughout the world need to be focused on the messages of democracy -- respect for human rights and political rights and thinking about ways to help these countries develop economically and really meet the demands of their citizens. And as long as the U.S. government and President Obama is focused on that, I think his legacy will be a positive one.

SWEENEY: All right, we have to leave it there, but Celeste Wollander, thank you very much indeed. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia and also an Obama foreign policy adviser, thank you very much.

WOLLANDER: Thank you.

SWEENEY: Now still to come tonight, the U.S. closes another diplomatic facility, this one in Pakistan. We'll explore what's prompted this sudden move.


SWEENEY: And welcome back. You're watching Connect the World. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney.

There was fresh violence in the Pakistani city of Quetta of Friday. Police say militants fired bullets into cars near a mosque killing 10 people on the Muslim holy day of Eid. It follows a violent day on Thursday where 30 were killed, at least 40 more were injured in a suicide bombing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has evacuated staffers from its consulate in Lahore, Pakistan. Officials say there was a specific threat, but didn't say if it's linked to other threats that have shut facilities in the Middle East and Africa.

John Boone of The Guardian newspaper has more from Islamabad.


JOHN BOONE, THE GUARDIAN: U.S. diplomats in the Pakistani city of Lahore were ordered to leave the city after specific security threats were received against the U.S. diplomatic mission in that city. They have been moved to Islamabad. And it's unclear when they will be able to return to work.

The U.S. consulate on Friday in Lahore was due to be closed anyway for the Islamic holiday of Eid. Nonetheless, security officials with the embassy felt that this threat, the details -- we have no real sense of -- but they were told that it would be unsafe for them to remain in their homes in Lahore and that they should move to Islamabad.

Even though Lahore is regarded as one of the safer cities in Pakistan, it has its fair share of problem. A USAID contractor was kidnapped in August of 2011 by al Qaeda. He remains in captivity. And one of U.S.'s most wanted men lives openly in the city despite being implicated as the mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai.

Hafiz Saeed lives openly, and in fact led Eid prayers in the city to hundreds of his supporters outside one of the major cricket stadium in Lahore.

John Boon for CNN in Islamabad.


SWEENEY: Turkey is urging its citizens to leave Beirut after two Turkish pilots were kidnapped in Lebanon's capital. The men were snatched from an airport bus by gunmen while traveling to a hotel on Friday.

Lebanese media say the gunmen are demanding the release of nine Lebanese Shiite Muslims kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border last year.

In Egypt, thousands have rallied around a Mosque in Cairo in supporter of ousted President Mohamed Morsy. The rally took place despite a warning from the interim prime minister of an imminent crackdown on protests.

Marchers began after Friday afternoon prayers on the second day of Eid.

Meanwhile, outside Cairo, security sources say that police used tear gas to break up clashes between Morsy supporters and opponents.

An air strike in Egypt's Sinai peninsula has killed several militants. Security sources say the militants were killed as they prepared to launch a rocket into Israel. The source of the strike wasn't clear. Some sources said it was an Israeli drone strike, while other said the Egyptian military carried it out.

And an update on a story we're following out of China. It is part of our Freedom Project. A look at efforts to fight human trafficking and modern day slavery.

A doctor there is now under arrest, accused of selling newborns to human traffickers after allegedly convincing families to leave the children in her care. Authorities say she would tell the parents that their babies had health problems. Five other suspects have also been detained in what is a widening investigation.

CNN's David McKenzie now.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This baby trafficking scandal in western China is escalating not just a few families, at least 55 families have come forward, according to state media, to say that their children might have been taken by a doctor in this region.

They came forward to us to say how shocked they were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I definitely want to see severe punishment for her. I want to see the doctor hanged.

MCKENZIE (on camera): One of the questions I have is how could these young mothers give up their newborns to a doctor without asking too many questions. Well, this could be one of the answers, the doctor grew up and lived in this village. She had many family ties. So the villagers implicitly trusted her.

(voice-over): And now it seems they didn't trust us. Local Communist Party officials telling people not to talk.

(on camera): So the government has put a tail on us. They obviously don't want people talking about this issue to the international media. And every person we try and go and talk to, they then come in and try and intimidate them to stop them from talking.

The car is kind of hanging back a little bit behind us, the gray car there.

Chinese state media has portrayed this as a rapid response by the police to localized issue. But human trafficking is a huge problem here in China. In fact, the U.S. State Department recently downgraded the country to its worst possible rating. And it's in poorer communities like this that people are the worst affected.

David McKenzie, CNN, Chongqing Province.


SWEENEY: Well, now an update in the story, China's state run media reporting that three infants, a boy and twin girls, have been rescued. It appears that girls were split up and sent to different provinces.

Stay across this and all the other stories we're following as part of our freedom project by logging on to Find out how you can get involved in the fight to end modern-day slavery.

Well, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. And coming up, a horrific attack in idyllic place after two young women were injured in an acid attack. We'll bring you the latest on the investigation.


SWEENEY: Hello, and welcome back to Connect the World. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney.

Two British teenagers who were injured by an acid attack on the African island of Zanzibar have returned home to the UK. The young women, both aged 18, were volunteering on the island as teachers. Authorities are offering a $6,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Erin McLaughlin has the latest on the police investigation.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORREPSONDENT: 18-year-old Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup arrived back in the United Kingdom today. They landed at a military base in western London before being brought to this hospital in Chelsea which has a specialist burns unit.

Now, yesterday I spoke to a family friend who told me he has seen pictures of the two young women following the attack. He said that they were quite seriously injured, adding, as is the case with any burn victim. There is a concern over permanent scarring.

Meanwhile, in Zanzibar the investigation continues. Five individuals questioned today, all five were released. No arrests made so far, as officials there trying to piece together who was behind Wednesday's evening attack. The two young women had been strolling through a very touristy section of Zanzibar when, according to eyewitnesses, men approached them, spraying them on their chests, hands and face with acid before fleeing on motopeds.

Now it's not clear as to why this attack happened, what their motivations were, although there is concern over rising anti-western sentiment in Zanzibar, which is a predominately Muslim island, something that authorities are very concerned about, considering that the island relies heavily on the tourism industry.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


SWEENEY: Well, the Zanzibar government says it will regulate the sale of acid and step up police patrols in tourist areas. But as the executive director of the acid survivor's trust explains, acid attacks are a problem far beyond the island.


JAF SHAH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ACID SURVIVORS TRUST INTERNATIONAL: We estimate approximately 1,000 cases in India each year, approximately 300 attacks per year in Pakistan. Bangladesh last year saw 75 attacks.

It's prevalent in South Asia, Africa and Latin America. The vast majority of victims are women and girls.

Common reasons for acid attacks are often rejection of marriage proposals, rejection of sexual advances, dowry related disputes.

Most victims are attacked on the face. It's a deliberate attempt to disfigure and maim. Many victims are blinded in either one or both eyes.

Unfortunately, acid is very easily available. You can buy a liter of acid over a shop counter for as little as $1.

In the short to medium term, laws are necessary to control the acid, provide appropriate compensation to survivors and prosecute perpetrators. But in the long-term, there needs to be a behavioral attitudinal and change. So there's a zero tolerance towards violence against women.


SWEENEY: Truly horrifying.

The latest world news headlines just ahead, plus they train day in and day out for four years waiting for their moment. Now, some say Olympic athletes should back out of Russia's tough homosexuality laws. We'll speak to a four-time champion.

Plus, remarkable finds at the largest engineering project in Europe, some of them are rather gruesome.


SWEENEY: This is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories this hour. President Barack Obama has promised more transparency in US surveillance programs. In a White House news conference, he said he wants to restore the public's trust. There has been controversy over the surveillance programs after intelligence leaker Edward Snowden revealed details to the media.

Most of the staff at the US consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, have been evacuated because of what the US State Department says are specific threats against the facility. A senior US official says these actions aren't connected with the ongoing terror threat in Yemen and across the region.

Turkey is urging its citizens to leave Lebanon after two Turkish Airline pilots were kidnapped Friday. Militants stormed their bus near the Beirut airport. A group has claimed responsibility. It called for the release of nine Lebanese pilgrims who were abducted in Syria last year.

Zimbabwe's prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, is challenging last week's presidential election in court. The nation's electoral commission declared President Robert Mugabe the winner, but Tsvangirai calls the election fraudulent and stolen. His party's appeal calls for a new election within 60 days.

Now, Russia will host the World Athletics Championships this weekend amid a sea of criticism over civil laws in the country. Last month's new anti-gay laws were enacted which prohibit talking about or promoting homosexuality in public.

Russia insists its laws will not infringe on international events. Many in the West feel they are a step backwards, but as Matthew Chance reports, the new laws seem to reflect a decades-old direction.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gay rights marches routinely broken up, new laws making illegal the spreading of what Moscow calls gay propaganda, violence against sexual minorities. If much of the world is becoming more accepting of gay rights, Russia appears to be bucking the trend, and many Russians wouldn't have it any other way.

PETER TATCHELL, GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: There are many people in Russia who don't agree with these new anti-gay laws. They have a live-and-let- live attitude. But they are a clear minority. Their voices are not being heard. What we're hearing is the voice of the very vociferous anti-gay majority. They are the ones who've been given a platform by the state media. Its their views that are being listened to.

CHANCE: Homophobia in Russia has a long history under the old Soviet Union and Stalinist laws that sent homosexuals to the gulag. Even after same-sex relationships were decriminalized in the 1990s, it's unclear if all those sentenced were released.

In recent years, a resurgence in the Russian Orthodox Church, outspoken in its conservative opposition to homosexuality, has bolstered the public's opinion. They've watched gay rights being embraced in the West, and they don't like what they see.

CHANCE (on camera): But moves to curb gay rights in Russia are part of a wider rejection of what the Kremlin and many Russians see as Western liberal values. Human rights groups, aid organizations, journalists, they're all seeing their activities in the country increasingly curtailed.

CHANCE (voice-over): After members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were imprisoned for playing an anti-Putin ballad inside a Moscow cathedral, there was outrage in the West, though many Russians supported the heavy sentences.

Crackdowns on NGOs that receive funding from abroad have also been popular. Liberalism, broadly seen as a good thing in the West, is viewed very negatively by many Russians.

ALEXANDER NEKRASOV, FORMER KREMLIN ADVISOR: Russia could suffer and lose nearly 100 million to this liberalism. Stalin and Lenin were the biggest liberals at the time, and then they went -- became dictators.

So, Russia cannot accept certain views at once. It needs to change gradually, and I think that the West is trying to impose, now, its own values and ideas. So, I think there's a problem here. Yes, there is a cultural difference. Yes, there is.


CHANCE: A cultural difference that's proving increasingly difficult to bridge.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


SWEENEY: A top Olympic official says that Russia's anti-gay laws pose, quote, "no problem whatsoever" to holding the Winter Games there. Despite growing calls from protesters to boycott Russia's Olympics, the IOC isn't budging, and it seems the athletes aren't, either. Don Riddell has more.


DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 25 years since a country boycotted an Olympic Games, and it's unlikely that any athletes will skip the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But that doesn't mean they're indifferent to the host country's new law, which effectively bans the campaign for gay rights. Some athletes say they can do more for the cause by competing.

BLAKE SKJELLERUP, NEW ZEALAND SPEED SKATER: I'm fully against a boycott. The Olympics have been very important to me, and I know that a lot of people like myself have worked very, very hard for these Olympic Games.

And I think it's important for the world to show up in Sochi and to be united on this issue, to bring light to it, and to bring about a conversation and an education about what is actually going on.

JOHNNY WEIR, US FIGURE SKATER: My sheer presence is already propaganda. First of all, I'm a figure skater. We wear very elaborate, crazy costumes, which has been alluded to in Elton John's case in Russia as of late as being propaganda.

And I'm married to a Russian-American man, I'm a figure skater, I'm very well-known in Russia. So just my sheer presence is a big statement going against this anti-propaganda law.

RIDDELL: The International Olympic Committee forbids any kind of political statement or protest. Meanwhile, on Saturday, the World Athletics Championships get underway in Moscow. Earlier this week, the IAAF, athletics' governing body, called on Russia to reconsider its views on homosexuality, but said, like the IOC, that it does not want to raise political issues during its events.


SWEENEY: And that was Don Riddell reporting. Well, gay rights laws vary widely around the world. Same-sex marriages are recognized within 14 countries and same-sex couples have some or all of the same rights as marriage in 17 other nations, 59 countries have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

But 76 countries still consider homosexual acts illegal. That's about 40 percent of UN member countries. And homosexual acts are punishable by death in 5 countries and in some parts of Nigeria and Somalia.

Well, it isn't the first time cultural politics and the Olympics have collided. It probably won't be the last. But in 1936, African-American athlete Jesse Owens competed in the Games in symbolic defiance of host Adolf Hitler's Nazi German regime.

And in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Americans Tommy Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in support of the Black Power movement.

Our next guest is a four-time Olympic gold medalist. He's also openly gay. Greg Louganis is joining us now from Los Angeles. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us, all the way, there, from LA on the west coast.


SWEENEY: Anyone of a certain age will remember you competing in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, of course. You'd competed in the Olympics before that. But could I ask you, what did it feel like to be gay, in the closet, and a competitor in Seoul at the time?

LOUGANIS: Well, it was challenging. I was out to friends and family, so they know -- they knew who I was. So it was just my policy not to discuss my personal life with members of the media. And at that time, the members of the media respected that. And -- but this is a new day and age --


LOUGANIS: -- and with all of the things that are going on, it's -- it goes beyond national pride. This is a human issue. Children are --

SWEENEY: Do you equate the --

LOUGANIS: -- gay children are being born in Russia every day.

SWEENEY: Do you equate, first of all, before we get specifically to Russia, what is often equated in the United States, homosexuality is often equated with liberalism, or at least the push for gay rights. But obviously there are plenty of homosexuals, I gather, who would be Republican voters, conservative voters. How do you view it?

LOUGANIS: Sure. It -- just because I'm gay doesn't mean that I'm ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative. I am my own person. I was born gay, that's how God made me, and I'm a child of God. And we all are. And so, it's a birthright to love and be loved, and --

SWEENEY: Do you think that the distance that has become -- has -- the distance that has been made by the gay rights movement since 1988, for example, it's a very different world now to be gay in the Western world.

Did -- when you were competing back in 1988 and to those years and not openly gay, in a very different world, obviously, without Facebook, et cetera, did you feel that you had to hide your identity because of just pressure from other people or different countries in which you might be competing, for example? Was it easier in some countries than others?

LOUGANIS: It was -- more -- coming out and understanding who you are as far as your sexual identity and coming to terms with that, because we didn't have positive images, during that time, of gay people and who they are. A lot of the images I didn't relate to of what gay meant.

And I realized -- and I think more people are realizing it's a broad spectrum. The LGBT community is a broad spectrum. It's not a lifestyle. My lifestyle I would describe as being athletic, going to the gym, staying healthy, and taking care of myself and my fiance. And so, it's really -- those are our family values, and they're not dissimilar from traditional family values of man-woman.

SWEENEY: Right. Let me --

LOUGANIS: And there are -- yes?

SWEENEY: Let me jump in there, if I may, and ask you, in the last hour, President Obama has held a news conference in which he has urged against there being boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I presume you are on record as agreeing with that.

That is also very different from maybe 20,30 years ago, when a government would take a decision and that was it. If the government decided the United States was not going to compete in the Moscow Olympics of 1980, then the athletes had to go along with it.

LOUGANIS: Right. I competed on both sides of two boycotts. I competed in 76 Montreal and then the boycott 1980. And then Americans forget that the Eastern bloc countries were not here in 1984. And then I was able to continue on through to Seoul, where the entire world came together.

There is a big difference that everybody be present and be who they are and be proud of who they are. And I think that many of our young athletes coming up are very socially well-connected and aware of the issues that are -- the things that are happening in Russia, so --

SWEENEY: You're against the boycott. You've helped to sign a pledge. But if you were to be able to have a word with Vladimir Putin, what would you say to him?

LOUGANIS: I would ask him, would you imprison your -- your children, your friends, family? There is a gay child born every day in Russia, and it's those children that need our support and need help, and accepting themselves for who they are. I was born gay.

SWEENEY: And you would say, presumably, that this law is about protecting minors, not about defaming homosexuality?

LOUGANIS: OK, what are you protecting minors from? Are you protecting minors from love? Love is love. All love is equal, whether it be between a man and a woman or a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Love -- it's a birthright to love.

SWEENEY: So, there's another way for people to campaign against what's happening in Moscow in Russia, but can still compete in the Olympics without a boycott of the Olympics.

LOUGANIS: Yes. Yes, I -- definitely. I don't believe in boycotts. It's -- if you're absent, then you're absent. The record books aren't going to show -- they're going to show Aleksandr Portnov as Olympic gold medalist in men's three-meter 1980 Olympics Moscow. It's not going to say that Greg Louganis wasn't there. So, your absence is -- you're absent.

You need to be present. You need to be accounted for and shine. Be - - have that opportunity to shine. And just be who you are.

SWEENEY: On that note, we leave it there. Greg Louganis, thanks very much, indeed, for joining us from Los Angeles, there, with your views on what is taking place in Russia at the moment.

LOUGANIS: My pleasure. Thank you.

SWEENEY: Now, the question is, what do you think about all of this? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, Have your say.

Live from CNN Center, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. London's Crossrail project has been a dream come true for archeologists. Amazing finds, it seems, from the city's Roman history next.

And we'll take you to Belgium, the site of one of the world's biggest music festivals. Stay with us for that and more.





SWEENEY: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Fionnuala Sweeney. Europe's largest engineering project is underway in London. Crossrail's underground line will span 20 kilometers across the center of the city. Now, during the tunneling phase, archeologists have a rare opportunity to excavate some of the city's oldest sections, and Dan Rivers gives us a glimpse of their historic finds.


DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crossrail is the largest engineering project in Europe, more than 40 kilometers of new track across London. And while the tunnels are being dug, extraordinary finds are being unearthed.

This is the remains of a cemetery dating to the 16th century. It includes mass graves of plague victims near the Priory of St. Mary Bethlehem. Later, it became a psychiatric hospital known as Bedlam, the origin of the English word meaning chaos.

JAY CARVER, ARCHEOLOGIST, CROSSRAIL: Well, this map shows it quite nicely, 500 years ago.

RIVERS: Lead archeologist Jay Carver shows me a 16th century map displayed around the site, giving an idea of the jumble of buildings and churches crowding this part of East London.

CARVER: It's about a two-acre plot of burials made between 1569 and the early 18th century, around 1714, something like that. So, 150 years of burials packed into about a two-meter-thick layer that we've uncovered in the Crossrail station works just next door to us here.

RIVERS (on camera): And if you wander around London armed with this map, you can still see glimpses of 16th century London. But the real discoveries now are being made underground in the Crossrail excavations

RIVERS (voice-over): Like this exquisite Venetian gold ducat coin, pierced to be worn, perhaps, as a broach or pendant.

CARVER: So it's been lost somewhere, it's been scooped up in someone's shovel, put on a cart, and dumped here, we think.

RIVERS: London's roots go back to the Roman settlement of Londinium, and the Crossrail diggers have even found traces of a Roman road at the site.

CARVER: So, we've excavated a part of this road, which demonstrates a very well-constructed road with a very good engineering design. We've got archeology on this particular site and are going back at least 2,000 years to the Roman period. Gives a fascinating kind of time slice through London's history.

RIVERS: Incredible to think the finds that have survived disasters like the Great Fire of London in 1666 and centuries of rebuilding, only now being rediscovered as the city is redeveloped once again.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


SWEENEY: And coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, we'll take you to one of the biggest electronic dance festivals in the world. It's called Tomorrowland.





SWEENEY: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. It is the season for music festivals in the northern hemisphere. Millions from around the world make annual pilgrimage to these marathon events, and in tonight's CNN Preview, Becky Anderson takes us to one of Europe's most famous, which this year is spreading its wings.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On this edition of CNN Preview, we're in Belgium to experience one of the most famous electronic dance music festivals in the world, Tomorrowland.


ANDERSON: For many revelers, the party started on one of Tomorrowland's branded trains. They travel to every continent, 180,000 fans from 214 countries dance to 400 DJs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, everybody, if we all feel like one, raise your hands in the air and let's party!


DAVID GUETTA, DJ/PRODUCER: I really feel like part of the adventure, because I've been playing each year from the first time. So, I think it's almost nine years or something like this. And I really saw the festival growing, and I really grew myself at the same time. So, it's like, really, like a little family feeling.

And right now, this is probably one of the biggest festivals in Europe and maybe in the world, and I think in terms of production and the type of shows, the decoration, the stage, it's really, really one of the top, top festivals.



STEVE ACKI, DJ/PRODUCER: There's nothing as multicultural and global as Tomorrowland, than there is anything that I've every experienced in my life. I've never seen or been part of anything this global.

Tomorrowland to me represents the world. So, when you look out in that crowd, and people are holding up their flags for eight hours to make sure everyone knows that Japan's here, Australia's here, England is here, Belgium, Holland, wherever.

MARTIN SOLVEIG, PRODUCER/DJ: It doesn't compare to many other things, because there is really, as in most of these festivals, there is a special experience that is worked around, especially with the decorations and all of that.

In the end, it is also a very strong part of Tomorrowland's personality, the way they design everything. And so, it brings a little something special that no -- that I think you can't really find anywhere else.

ANDERSON: From inside this high-tech control center, organizers ID&T want monitor everything from audio to security. They even have their own weather man.



ANDERSON: After eight successful years in Belgium, this September, organizers ID&T are taking the party to America, to Chattahoochee, just outside of Atlanta.

HARDWELL, DJ/PRODUCER: America is ready for everything. It's the land of opportunity. So, for Tomorrowland, it's good to be finally in America and have TomorrowWorld there. Yes, we already have -- of course, we have Coachella, EDC, Electric Zoo, Ultra, but the only one that was missing was Tomorrowland.



CARL COX, DJ/PRODUCER: I think they'll do very well in America, for sure. Especially when they bring the spectacle of what the production is all about. Because that's the thing that sells particularly now above and beyond anything.

You take any promoter anywhere in the world that does festivals themselves, you stick them in front of main stage or my own stage, even, and if they see what's being created, it's fantastic.

SHAWN KENT, PROJECT MANAGER: TomorrowWorld is important to America on the electronic music scene because it's such an incredible festival, it's an incredible experience that hasn't been seen at this level in the US to date.

TomorrowWorld is a 21-plus festival. That was a very important decision for us. We aim with TomorrowWorld to show to the American people, to parents, to journalists that electronic music culture is an adult event, that it's something people of all kinds of ages can enjoy.




SWEENEY: And if you want to hear more from the artists taking part in the Tomorrowland festival, head to

Now, in tonight's Parting Shots, we've got news of a possibly pregnant panda. Edinburgh Zoo says its giant panda, Chan Chan, is showing signs that she's pregnant. She was artificially inseminated in April after a couple of unsuccessful tries to mate naturally.

And now, zoologists say that Chan Chan's behavior has changed. She's moody, off her food, and is showing signs of nesting. That and some positive-looking medical results all point to her expecting a cub. And if so, it would be the first giant panda cub born in the UK. Keeping an eye on that.

I'm Fionnuala Sweeney, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you very much for watching.