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CONNECT THE WORLD

Ban Ki-moon's Invitation To Iran Derails Sryian Peace Talks; Russia Looking For Woman Militant Planning To Attack Sochi; Report Documents Syrian Prisoners Starved To Death; Iran Nuclear Deal; India's Carpet Trade; Art of Movement: Cycling Champion Mark Cavendish; Comet Probe; 100 Happy Days; Think Happy: Take Time for Yourself

Aired January 20, 2014 - 15:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And tonight, a diplomatic mess: just days before Syria peace talks months in the making has an invitation extended by the UN secretary-general to Iran convince the Syrian opposition that the talks are a nonstarter.

Also, CNN has access to a shocking report that alleges systematic abuse in Syrian jails and the pictures that back up the claims.

Plus, new evidence that beautiful carpets woven by brutalized slaves could be on sale in some of America's best known stores.

And, a deep space wakeup call: a long dormant spacecraft phones home and gets ready for its next big mission.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening from London. There is less than 48 hours to go before an international peace conference aimed at ending Syria's three year civil war kicks off in Switzerland. And two major developments are dominating the headlines.

First, CNN has received access to an investigation by some of the world's most respected and experienced international prosecutors. And what they found point to commission of crimes against humanity taking place in Syrian prisons. More on that in a moment.

Also at issue, the UN's last minute invitation for Iran, one of the Syrian government's closest allies to take part in the peace talks. And that has angered the Syrian opposition. They've talked about boycotting the meeting if the UN doesn't take back that invite. And that announcement is expected to happen tonight.

A lot of moving parts this hour as you can see, as Nick Paton Walsh reports even if a meeting does go ahead there is not much hope for real change on the ground.

(BEGIN VIDEOATPE)

BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: The goal of the negotiations is to establish by mutual consent a transitional governing body with full executive powers. It was on that basis that Freign Ministe Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role.

WALSH: And with that invitation from UN to Iran, talks that were probably never going to bring peace to war-ravaged Syria may not even happen at all.

The Syrian oppostion, distant too and renounced by many rebels doing the fighting, said they would suspend their decision to attend.

The U.S. said Iran shouldn't be invited unless it accepted talking about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stepping down.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There is no political solution whatsoever if Assad is not discussing a transition and if he think he's going to be part of that future. It's not going to happen. The people who are the opponents of this regime will never ever stop.

WALSH: But Assad, in an interview on Sunday, said any talks should focus on fighting terrorism and not on him leaving power, which he didn't plan to do anyway.

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (through translator): Any political resolution that comes out of Geneva talks without considering fighting terrorism will have no value. There cannot be political work while terrorism is widely spread, not only in Syria but also in neighboring countries.

WALSH: Amid the brutality, talks were always going to be flawed and a long- shot, but the first of their kind and better than nothing at all, some said.

RAMI KHOURI, POLITICAL ANALYST: It may have a very small incremental game step by step, humanitarian issues, refugee issues, something else. It may clarify the players. Despite all of this vague aspects of this process, it's worth being there and I think everybody should be there to test it out.

WALSH: After nearly three years and 120,000 deaths, Syria's war seems to find new horrors to quickly outstrip the old.

It was just four months ago that sarin gas was used on children. Today, rebels are dying in in-fighting against al Qaeda and starvation as the regime's newest weapon of war, says the UN.

The regime said it let aid into one besieged county this weekend. Tiny steps amid endless disarray in the Syrian oppostion who could barely muster an approval vote to even attend Geneva.

There is huge U.S. pressure for them to attend even if these political negotiations endlessly find new ways, often of their own making, of unraveling.

An opening to peace, unlikely, just if they happen better than the alternative of nothing at all.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: All right, that said Nic Paton Walsh.

We're going to have the latest from inside Syria and Fred Pleitgen in Damascus in a moment. First, though, Nick is standing by and the Lebanese capital Beirut.

Listen, at this hour, we haven't heard from the UN about whether they will disinvite the Iranians. The SNC it appears still swaying on the side of we ain't going to pitch up if the Iranians are there and indeed if Assad is there.

What do you understand to be the very latest, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPNPONDENT: Well, we are waiting for Ban Ki-moon to speak.

The Syrian opposition their deadline passed about an hour ago and we didn't see any other conditions for their attending being met. So our key issue now is what is Ban Ki-moon actually going to say? Is he going to disinvite the Iranians? That could still get the Syrian opposition to attend. That's of course what everybody would like to see. That's what the U.S. pressure has been about trying to achieve.

The key deal, though, is the other option he faces is he is actually going to call the conference off? We believe it's too late or impossible to disinvite the Iranians.

That's what we're waiting for, that's what it really hinges upon.

But Becky, let's take us both back 24 hours, literally. There was much muted jubilation that there was enough pressure to get the Syrian opposition to attend. I mean, a massive task ahead of the talks, but still some happiness that that could possibly happen. That's collapsed since Ban Ki-moon invited the Iranians. We're now in, as you said earlier, hours now until these talks should actually start and real uncertainty if they'll go ahead.

And then of course you have the key issue, nobody there seems to agree what the platform for the talks are. Are they going to begin speaking given that both sides, the regime and the opposition, are totally on opposite positions as whether the talks could really be involving President Bashar al-Assad stepping aside -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is in Beirut for you this evening.

Lest we forget, we are talking about millions of people displaced in Syria, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands dead. Remember that, that's why this story this week is important.

Ahead of those peace talks a new report alleges torture and killing of prisoners by the Assad regime. It was written by a team of international prosecutors.

Among the findings, it states that there is clear evidence of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian regime.

The authors say their source is a defector who had been in the Syrian military police, an insider they claim who is codenamed Ceasar who smuggled out tens of thousands of graphic images of corpses emaciated and severely beaten.

Now the six-man panel was made up of British and American lawyers who have been lead prosecutors in UN war crimes tribunals as well as three forensics experts.

Chrsitiane Amanpour spoke to three members of the panel about what they found. And we have to warn you, the images you are about to see are disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Then let me go straight to these images and to Stuart Hamilton, who is the scientist who looked at these things.

We've seen these horrendous images, figure number one, according to your report and how you list them, I mean, this is reminiscent of the most horrific state of affairs, crimes that we've seen in history.

Tell me -- tell me what this is.

DR. STUART HAMILTON, U.K. FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I mean, this is in essence a person who has been starved. They -- you can see quite clearly how prominent the ribs are, the loss of muscle mass. This is not just somebody who's thin or somebody maybe hadn't had enough food because there's a war going on, this is somebody who's been really starved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Viewers in Europe and Latin America can see that interview coming up in just under two hours' time.

Well, for more on this, let's cross to Fred Pleitgen who is in Damascus this evening.

Fred, you've seen the images. Any reaction at present from the Syrian government?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, there' not been a reaction from the Syrian government, Becky. Also, one of the reasons for that is of course many of the people who generally comment on international affairs for the Syrian government are actually on their way to Geneva at this point in time, but it's certainly something that will be promptly debated here in this country, because one of the things that people on this side of the equation, ones that support Bashar al-Assad and the ones that are in (inaudible) talk about it a lot, that (inaudible) artibrary detentions that do happen here in the country.

There are a lot of people that you speak to on that ground with that (inaudible) in the past who have been detained, who themselves have been detained for a period of time, it seems to be one of those gray areas here in this country that's almost out of the control of the authorities and there's no transparency whatsoever. There's (inaudible) who I have spoken to say that they (inaudible) in detention who has spoken of appalling conditions, very little food, very little space. And also, of course, of a lot of uncertainty. So certainly the images that we've been seeing are ones that probably, as horrible as they are, will not surprise too many people here on the ground.

And the big question, of course, are they going to change people's thinking about conflict as well. We haven't got any reaction.

As I said, this is certainly something that mainly Syrians are going to be talking about, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fred is in Damascus. And apologies for the quality of that line.

So those images from a report commissioned by a leader firm of London solicitors acting for Qatar. We're going to discuss that and whether the Syrian National Council will head to Geneva or will it boycott this Geneva II meeting altogether. Those questions, they are expected to answer shortly.

For more on that, let's cross the Monzer Akbik, the SNC's chief of staff. He joins me now from the Turkey city of Istanbul.

Before we talk about the Geneva II meeting and your attendence or not, firstly your reaction to these images from this report. It's got to be said, backed by the Qataris, which is a country we know is very pro-the opposition in Syria.

But your reaction. Have you seen the images? And your reaction if you have.

MONZER AKBIK, CHIEF OF STAFF, SYRIAN NATIONAL COALITION: Yes. First of all, you know, I'm with the coalition, the national coalition, not the council. Anyway, council is part of the coalition. Coalition is larger umbrella.

I have seen the report. I have seen the pictures. We have always talked about, you know the crimes against humanity that...

ANDERSON: All right, OK, I'm going to try and get that guest back up for you, because this is an important conversation. I think we've got him back.

And we were discussing this images that have appeared exclusively on the Christiane Amanpour show tonight. And we're also going to talk about whether the SNC indeed will pitch up to the Geneva II meeting.

And I think, sir, I can see you talking. I am not sure if you can hear me. But I think -- OK. This line isn't good.

You know what I'm going to do, I'm going to take a very short break. When we come back, more on this story.

Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with me in London.

Now why while we try and reestablish our guest this evening in what is a crucial story, our top story tonight, whether or not a Syrian opposition will be at the table for these crucial talks on peace later on this week, we're working on that connection for you. As soon as we get that, we'll bring that guest from the SNC back.

Some other developing news this hour to report. And there are reports secuirty services in Russia are hunting for at least one woman who may be planning to attack the Winter Olympics in Sochi. CNN has confirmed that police have handed out flyers like this to hotels in the area asking staff to be on the lookout for the woman. She is named as Ruzana Ahmed Evna Ibragimova (ph).

Now these images are currently circulating on social media and on local television in the area. The woman is believed to be from Dagestan and a widow of a militant from the caucuses.

Now, this shows her with a sign declaring her birthday as June 3 at 1991. While this document is said to be a wanted person alert distributed by the Sochi regional interior ministry and the Sochi ministry of transport.

Well, for the latest, let's cross to Phil Black who is in Volgograd, the scene of two recent deadly bombings. Phil, what do we know at this point?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this notice that has been distributed to hotels in the Sochi region, as you say, tells them to be on the lookout for this woman Ruzana Ibragimova, a 22-year-old from Dagestan.

Dagestan, we know, is the heartland of Russia's ongoing Islamist insurgency. They say that she is the widow of a known member of a militant organization. And that she had received information, which indicates she may have traveled from Dagestan to Sochi somewhere between January 11 and the 14 and that she may have been or is being used by an illegal terrorist organization to plan a terrorist act somewhere in the Olypmic region of Sochi.

They then go on to give a series of visual clues, some of them quite distinctive, which they say identifies her. She's said to be lame in her right leg. She cannot bend her left elbow. And she has a distinctive large scar on her left cheek.

Now, she is the sort of terrorist operative that is usually described as a black widow, that is the widow of a late militant who has, for one reason or another, picked up her husband's cause or in some way been radicalized perhaps with the purpose of seeking revenge. And if all of this is true, it means that a suspected terrorist has entered Sochi only a relatively short period before the start of the Oympic Games at a time when the security posture in Sochi is said to be incredibly tight, when all the entry and exit points to the city, it's supposed to be monitored with a specific person of preventing someone like this from getting into the city with the purpose of threatening the Olympics, causing harm or causing some sort of disruption, Becky.

ANDERSON: Right, more on that story as we get it. For the time being, Phil, we thank you for that. Phil Black there on the story.

Right, let's cross to Istanbul once again. Monzer Akbik is the SNC's chief of staff. He's joining me now from the Turkish city.

And I've got a very simple question for you, sir. Given the situation in Syria, the enormity of the importance for peace, is this SNC going to pitch up at these Geneva talks this wek or not? Simple question.

AKBIK: Yeah, well, you know, the agreement was very clear that Iran was not going to be invited. And it was actually not invited. And therefore everything was OK until just last night when Mr. Ban Ki-moon, he suddenly announced that he invited Iran, which is not at all an honest broker to the peace talk...

ANDERSON: With respect, sir...

AKBIK: ...this is make us suspend -- yes.

ANDERSON: Yeah, with respect, before the invitation extended to Iran by the UN secreatry general, there was much confusion as to whether the SNC would go given that there was an Assad delegation. So it's not strickly true to say you were on your way until this happened, is it?

Are you telling me tonight that all bets are off, you won't be at the table?

AKBIK: No, actually we have sent only the letter to Mr. Ban Ki-moon after our vote a couple of days ago. And we confirmed that our attendence. And of course we took all that time because of what you have just mentioned in your report, the people in Syria are so emotional about all these massacres and crimes that Assad did nad it is very important -- very difficult for them to go and sit with the criminals.

It was a pragmatic decision that we took eventually with responsibility. But you must understand that it was really a very difficult decision for the Syrian people to take.

ANDERSON: OK. So, what do you know about whether the UN will indeed disinvite Iran or not? We've been told to expect a press conference from Ban Ki-moon tonight. Can you add any details on that?

We're struggling, aren't we tonight? But it is an important interview. Let me just see whether I can get our guys here to reestablish.

Can we reestablish? Or shall we take a break and come back to this? Let's take a very short break. We'll try and get back to this. Got a number of other questions, not least how you can effort peace if you haven't got everybody around the table. It's a good question and one that the SNC certainly needs to answer tonight.

We'll try that again. We're going to take a very short break.

Also coming up, a controversial hunt for dolphins sparks debate about animal cruelty in Japan.

Plus, it's the biggest investigation yet into slavery in India's carpet industry. Find out what it uncovered in 10 minutes time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Hundreds of dolphins have been rounded up by local fisherman in western Japan to be killed or sold into captivity. This is know as Taiji Cove hunt. The annual practice is long been a source of controversy. Japan defends what it considers a local tradition, while animal protection groups criticize the hunt as inhumane. This report from Paula Hancocks.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANCOCKS: Japanese divers wrestle with bottle-nosed dolphins, selecting some to be sold into captivity, others to be killed for meat. Activists say more than 250 dolphins had been lured in from the sea and trapped here in Taiji Cove, some with clear injuries after trying to thrush through the fisherman's nets, an annual ritual, which sparks annual condemnation.

MELISSA SEHGAL, SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY: The slaughter process, which is called pithing where they hammer a metal rod into the spinal cord of the dolphin. These dolphins do not die immediately, takes up to 20 to 30 minutes for these dolphins to die where they bleed out, suffocate or drown in the process of being dragged to the (inaudible) house.

HANCOCKS: Japan rejects the international criticism, insisting that it is an ancient local custom. And local officials insist that it is no different to the slaughter of other animals for meat.

Taiji's town mayor tells CNN hunting is done within the legal quota given by the prefectural office. This is based on national scientific research for each species. We have fisherman in our community and they are exercising their fishing rights.

U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has also waded into this controversy saying in a tweet that she is, quote, "deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive-hunt dolphin killing."

Academy Award Winning documentary "The Cove" brought dolphin hunting practices into focus around the world in 2009. Although most cinemas in Japan did not show it.

CNN has previously filmed the killing of the dolphins in Taiji Cove, a pactice which turns the water red with blood. The town mayor says these days about half of the dolphins rounded up are in fact released from captivity and a less crude method of slaughtering is being used, a claim that will be watched closely in the activists in the coming hours and days.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, this story has got a lot of comments on the website on all sides of the debate. You can also find this opinion piece by marine lawyer Zach Smith (ph) talking about how consumption practices in the United States may have had an impact on the lives of marine mammals around the globe. Do join that conversation. Have a read. Get involved. Find out more on CNN.com/international.

Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, the shocking conditions faced by thousands of carpet workers in India. Some just children. The full story up next.

Also, the need for speed. How Mark Cavendish stays ahead of the game. We hear from the cycling superstar.

And nearly 800 million miles from Earth on a groundbreaking mission, the Rosetta spacecraft wakes up after years of sleep. That coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: The Syrian National Coalition will not go to the Geneva II peace talks unless UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon rescinds an invitation to Iran to take part in the negotiations. That is according to the SNC chief of staff Munzir Iqbiq, who spoke to us here at CNN a short while ago. These are your headlines this hour.

The diplomatic moves ahead of those talks come as a new report alleges torture and killing of prisoners by the Assad regime. It was written by a team of international prosecutors and states there is clear evidence of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government. The report is backed up by thousands of photographs of bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody.

There are reports security services in Russia are hunting for at least one woman who may be planning to attack the Winter Games in Sochi. CNN has confirmed that police have handed out fliers to hotels in the area asking staff to be on the lookout for the woman named as Ruzanna Ahmed Ibragimova. She's believed to be from Dagestan and a widow of a militant from the Caucasus.

A European spacecraft has reached a key milestone in its mission to plant a robot on a distant comet, resulting in celebrations back on Earth. The Rosetta Probe beamed a signal back to Earth today earlier. It had been in a dormant state for more than two and a half years in outer space.

The US State Department calls it an, and I quote, "unprecedented opportunity to resolve global concerns over Iran's nuclear program." A landmark interim agreement took effect today, and a UN nuclear watchdog says Iran is holding up its part of the bargain. Chief US security correspondent Jim Sciutto joins us now with the details.

Jim, we know that there was a bit of a false start at the beginning of the day, but it certainly looks as if Iran is coming good on its promises on stopping its -- or at least for a period of time temporarily stopping its enrichment of uranium. What does it get in return at this point?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it -- they're going to get a few things in return. Starting today, it's things like an end of the embargo on the import of auto parts key to Iran's auto industry. Airplane parts, which is a big deal there because of concerns about safety for Iran's aging fleet.

And also starting today, Iran able to do some exports of petrol chemicals, earn some money. Not oil money, which is really their biggest earner, but at least something, it's a step forward.

And then as they continue to comply over the next weeks and months, every three or four weeks or so, about half a billion dollars in Iranian frozen assets overseas will be released to Iran.

At the end of six months, that'll add up to about $4.2 billion plus an estimated $2 billion in other trade, like the auto parts and petrol chemicals. So, you're looking at about $6 billion, $7 billion in total economic relief in return for Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal.

ANDERSON: Jim, walk me through what we often refer to as what is a diplomatic sort of disco dance when we're talking about foreign relations here, because Iran coming good on its side of a bargain which has affected these sanctions relief today, which will be a huge relief to many people in Iran.

And yet you hear quite fiery rhetoric on what is the other story that has an Iranian connection, as it were, that being whether or not the Iranians should be at the table for these Syrian talks later on in the week.

The US being incredibly outspoken via Secretary of State John Kerry today about the importance of them not being allowed to attend. That doesn't do an awful lot, does it, to improve relations at what is an incredibly important time?

SCIUTTO: No, no. You're right, it's a day of extremely sharp contrasts. On the one hand, you have the first day of this very hard-fought, hard- negotiated nuclear agreement, something that hasn't really been done in more than ten years, with Iran complying.

You've got IAEA inspectors fanning out to nuclear facilities across the country, they're watching the Iranians as they, for instance, disconnected cascades of centrifuges that had been enriching uranium. So, that's happening today, that's a very good sigh.

On the other hand, two days from now, you have this conference in Geneva about peace in Syria, where Iran is a very big player, the principal backer of Bashar al-Assad and his forces. You had the surprise yesterday of the UN Secretary-General inviting Iran to those talks, something that the US had said could not happen unless Iran met certain conditions, which the US says Iran has not met.

So, once this invitation came out, the US immediately said that invitation must be rescinded. So, you have the contrast between the good progress on the nuclear side and, really, these talks regarding Syria, of which Iran is a very important player, virtually in disarray. It's an incredible day -- an incredible day of contrasts.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating stuff. But Jim, always a pleasure. Thanks very much, indeed.

Carpets woven by slaves could be on sale in America's best-known stores. Amazing but true. That is, at least, according to the findings from the largest investigation into slavery and child labor in India's carpet industry.

Now, based on several thousand workers documented across nine states in Northern India, 45 percent of carpet workers are estimated to be victims of forced labor as defined by Indian law, and 20 percent are estimated to be under 18 years old.

The report also found cases of human trafficking and of bonded labor, of appalling working conditions and chronic underpayment of minimum wages. Well, the report says it is reasonable to suggest that many aspects of the supply chain of handmade carpets from India to the United States are tainted.

Siddharth Kara, who led this research and is one of the world's foremost experts on modern-day slavery spoke to me about what he uncovered. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIDDHARTH KARA, LEAD RESEARCHER, TAINTED CARPETS REPORT: Cases of child labor and child slavery and human trafficking that we documented, I have to confess, are just the tip of the iceberg, because our research teams took a lot of risks to try to document -- and I personally took a lot of risks to try to document these cases, and the ones we were able to document were really just the bare minimum. We were often turned away, violently, by guards.

But when we were able to document these cases, I can remember going into a shack in rural Bihar and finding more than a dozen, two dozen young boys, age 8, 9, 10, who were held locked inside the shacks working seven days a week, sleeping right next to where they work on these carpets, and completely held in servitude.

Adults as well. Many migrants take an offer -- what they think is a good offer with good wages working in carpets and they will migrate from Nepal or eastern states of Jharkhand and Odisha, into the heart of the carpet belt. And once they're there, again, locked inside, given paltry wages if that, not allowed to leave, not allowed to take other employment, and work seven days a week, 14 hours a day.

ANDERSON: How big is the hand-tufted carpet sector globally?

KARA: Well, we estimate there's roughly 2 million workers in the industry as a whole, and our prevalence estimate based on this report is that about 45 percent of those people are caught in some form of forced labor, 20 percent -- one out of five -- are child laborers.

The production of these carpets, it's a multibillion-dollar industry. So the retail value of the carpets that were exported from India, handmade carpets, to the United States, for example, last year would be between $2 billion or $3 billion. So, it's a multibillion-dollar industry employing a couple of million people with a fairly shocking rate of exploitation as far as our research has uncovered.

ANDERSON: You have suggested that a boycott of handmade carpets from India isn't the way forward. If not that, what?

KARA: Well, my fear vis-a-vis a boycott of handmade carpets in India is that of course there are some carpets, plenty of carpets, that are not made in these conditions, and an outright boycott might harm many of the workers who do get whatever meager wages they get and rely on that to survive.

So the short-term consequences, the immediate consequences are the people who we're trying to protect, who are the exploited workers, could be worse with an outright boycott.

So, what I'm arguing for is that we convene a protocol. Take my team at Harvard, industry here in the West, in India, retailers, exporters- importers, as well as governments, come together and create a carpet protocol that is focused on enacting the kinds of policies, laws, and inspections required to address the findings of this report.

So, I mentioned inspections, which is another very important thing. These supply chain inspections need to be significantly increased and made independent, looking at all forms of labor exploitation -- penny wage exploitation, outright down to child labor -- so that we can verify that the carpets being made are not being tainted and consumers can make enlightened choices.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Siddharth Kara speaking to me about his new report into slavery in India's carpet industry. Now, we contacted some of the exporters and importers mentioned in Siddharth's report. One told us that the company, and I quote, "does not employ in any way forced, bonded, or child labor and has an extensive system in place to prevent the exploitation of any workers."

The company says it, quote, "monitors not just its manufacturing facilities, but conducts thousands of in-person checks on every loom producing rugs."

Another said in a statement, "We clearly deny any engagement of slavery or forced labor of any sort in the supply chain of our company. The purpose of our company is to make a happier life for the thousands of people who work with us as a choice, but not by force." A third company told us they do not tolerate any form of forced labor, bonded labor, child labor, or human trafficking.

Now, the statement goes on to say that "the report highlights disconcerting labor practices that are, unfortunately, still prevalent in various parts of the Indian economic system, and we recognize that there are deep-rooted social, economic, and cultural factors that perpetuate these unjust practices. As a socially responsible company, we believe that it is our moral obligation to put that to an end."

Well, CNN, as you know, if you're a regular viewer, is doing all we can to shine a light on the horrors of modern-day slavery. We call it the Freedom Project. To read about how we're giving victims a voice, head to cnn.com/freedom. We'll do more on that story, of course, in the weeks ahead.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. There is no easy road to success, it seems, especially when your job is to stay ahead of everyone else. Coming up, we join cycling legend Mark Cavendish to find out what it takes to be the fastest.

And what made your day today? We'll be looking at the secrets of maintaining happiness on what is supposed to be the bluest day, Blue Monday, beginning of the year. That's just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Mark Cavendish is considered one of the greatest cyclist of all times, wearing a winning jersey in all the major road races. But what does it take to be the fastest? Well, CNN's Nick Glass traveled to Spain to join the master in training.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the mountains in southern Spain, pro cyclists from the elite Belgian team, Omega Pharma- Quick Step. Imagine cycling around the world. That's pretty much the distance these guys do every year in competition and training.

Their star rider is British, from the Isle of Man, and is modestly known as the fastest man on two wheels.

MARK CAVENDISH, TEAM OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP: I believe I'm amongst the greatest sprinters in the history of cycling, you know? So there's not much more to prove there.

GLASS: Cavendish has been world road race champion. He's won 25 stages of the Tour de France. No other current rider comes close. Physically, he's a man apart. Small, just 1.75 meters, pocket-sized, but oh-so-fast and quick- thinking in a sprint.

CAVENDISH: I'm very, very different. I don't work on being as powerful, I work on more leg speed. The big strong guys, it's like winding up a toy, letting it go, and it will gain speed, whereas I'm more a kick and I kind of hold it from that. I'm small and and more aerodynamic. I get to my top speed higher and quicker and hold it there.

GLASS: We waited on the plane by the reed beds on a straight section of public road. The boys were sprint training directly into the wind, heads down, teeth gritted. They can do over 70 kilometers an hour.

Road racing often comes down to a bunch sprint. Cavendish must conserve energy during the race by tucking into the pack or peloton, protected from the wind by his teammates.

ROLF ALDAG, SPORT MANAGER, TEAM OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP: This guy who's riding in the front who's setting the pace, he has to work 100 percent, and he is about on 80 percent, so he already saves 20. Saves another 10 percent. So, let's say he's on 70, and he is reduced the maximums.

GLASS (on camera): How much energy are you saving your main guy?

ALDAG: He's just roughly pulling a little more than half of what the guy in front does, so that really, really is a lot.

GLASS: That's a huge saving.

ALDAG: Absolutely. And again, that's why it makes it a team sport.

CAVENDISH: I always believe I have a nose for finding the right way through peloton, a nose for knowing where I have to go. The amount of tactics that come into play and the time you've got to make that decision is pretty incredible, and it's not just one decision in a race. It's happening constantly.

GLASS (voice-over): Cavendish, you sense, isn't quite satisfied with his place in the cycling pantheon. He wants to be out there on his own as the greatest sprinter of all time. And that means securing more wins and the prize that has so-far eluded him, wearing the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.

CAVENDISH: Above everything, I want to go to the Tour in July, starting in the UK, and win the first stage, wear the yellow jersey, and then win multiple stages after that. When I think about a race, it's an emotion that I don't get with any other bike race, any other thing in life.

GLASS: Cavendish knows he can't win the Tour de France. He doesn't have the right physique. He falls behind on the mountain stages. But with a great team to help, he can still triumph in the sprints. The Manx Missile, as he's called, unleashed over the last 200 or 300 meters in a blur of pumping legs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, coming up after this short break, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Statistically, today is the most miserable day of the year. We are, though, beating the blues by thinking happy. Hope you are. That is just ahead. And a stellar sleeping beauty. The space race that's been years in the making. That's next.

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ANDERSON: Now, if you think getting up hard in the morning is tough, well, try waking up after two and a half years in outer space. That is what a European spacecraft has just done, reaching a key milestone in its mission.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, let me tell you, there have been huge celebrations in the control room in Germany when Rosetta, as it's known, beamed a signal back to Earth literally saying hello to the world. This is just a couple of hours ago.

The probe was launched in 2004 and is now nearly -- get this -- 500 million miles from Earth between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn.

Now, scientists are hoping it will be able to put a small robot on a distant comet, and they are pretty pleased about the day's result, as you can imagine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREA ACCOMAZZO, SPACECRAFT OPERATIONS MANAGER: There's a big success for everybody. Now we've got it back. Now it's up to us to drive it to the comet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, this is indeed Rosetta is 100 percent certain we've achieved the mission for today?

ACCOMAZZO: Yes, indeed, indeed. That's the one. That's the one. That's the right one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, controllers now have a busy two years ahead of them as the probe approaches its target. Let's bring in Dr. Paolo Ferri, who is head of the European Space Agency's mission operations. He's in Darmstadt, Germany, the center of today's operations. And sir, before we talk about what happens next, just describe the feeling in the room when that contact was made after so long.

PAOLO FERRI, HEAD OF ESA MISSION OPERATIONS: Well, after two and a half years, we had a window of one hour where we expecting the signal, and the spacecraft decided to make us suffer after the two and a half years, also at least three quarters of an hour. So, it came almost to the end of the window.

We were very tense. We kept telling ourselves it was nominal, but we started to get worried. The feeling was incredible, eventually. It was more relief than happiness in the beginning.

ANDERSON: Paolo, when you talk about you had a window where you knew this dormant spacecraft could or might talk to you, just describe in words of one syllable that people like myself, who really don't understand the machinations of space and spacecraft, what you mean by that. How did it wake up and how did it talk to you? And why did you know it was going to talk to you?

FERRI: Two and a half years ago, when we put it into this mode, we set a timer, like a wake-up timer --

ANDERSON: Ah.

FERRI: And this timer was set for a certain very specific, very predictable time. But after this time was set, the spacecraft started to do things autonomously, and some of them had a predictable time. Some others had some inaccuracy on the duration. And those are the ones that basically made our expected arrival time within a period of one hour.

ANDERSON: Now, let me just ask a very stupid and naive question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. It must've been really tired, this spacecraft, if you decided to put it to bed for two and a half years. Is it normal to make a craft like that dormant? Or put it to bed, as it were?

FERRI: It's not normal. In fact, this is what makes -- yes, this is what made this day very special, because we didn't put it to sleep because it was tired, but because it was getting to distances to the sun which had never been reached before with a solar array. So, a spacecraft which is solar powered.

So, we could not keep all the systems active. And in fact, we had to switch off 80 percent of the spacecraft and keep just a couple of heaters and a computer on.

ANDERSON: All right.

FERRI: So, that was the main reason, and --

ANDERSON: All right.

FERRI: -- and this is not done normally.

ANDERSON: No, no, no. And I'm glad, because these things cost an awful lot of money. We don't want to just put them to sleep every so often. All right, listen. Our viewers will be fascinated to know what happens next. Where does this spacecraft go next? Who drives it, as it were, and what might we discover as a result of its movements?

FERRI: Well, the objective is to get close to a comet, a comet nucleus. The comet is called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a complex name. This comet is flying very far away from the sun, from the Earth. At this moment, it's about ten million kilometers away from the spacecraft.

So, the coming months, we will get closer to the comet. We will have to learn from scratch how to fly, because flying around a comet, nobody's done it before, and it means flying in a very unusual environment for space flight, with gas and dust and not much gravity to keep your orbits stable. That's the first thing we have to do.

Finally, we will also -- we'll spend almost two years around the comet, but we will also send a little landing module to the surface. Also never been done. We have to really find out how to do it.

Why do we do that? We do it because this is really the best and the new mission on comet science. We will find out eventually, after these two years, what a comet is like, what it is made for, what is the lifetime of a comet from far distances from the sun --

ANDERSON: Wow.

FERRI: -- to close distances. A revolution in cometary science.

ANDERSON: This is remarkable. Viewers, when you get into your cars tonight and you drive home safely, of course, you have to consider that there is a man at the European Space Agency who has the responsibility of driving this spacecraft 500 million miles away in order to achieve what our friend here tonight is explaining. Sir, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Today is Blue Monday, statistically believed to be the gloomiest day of the year. Christmas long over, of course, motivation is low and for many, New Year's resolutions have already been broken. But one website is encouraging people to take action to keep happy. One Hundred Happy Days, asking people across the world to post an image of what made them happy each day for 100 days.

Now, shrugging off Blue Monday, Jodie Morrison tweeted "Blue Monday? Blue sky Monday more like. Don't let a statistic get you down."

For Jess Davies, a swim followed by a nice hot chocolate made her day. For Tom from Suffolk in England, it was morning frost on his stroll to the office. Isn't that beautiful? What do you do with your farm? I don't know.

And one studious Twitter user said "Bought my first textbook for the year. Can't wait to get stuck in." Hash tag #NerdAlert, hash tag #100HappyDays.

Well, if you've still got the January blues and are struggling to make New Year's resolutions stick, we may have a prescription for you in CNN's Think Happy series. CNN's Zain Verjee talked to author Helene Lerner about the importance of setting aside time for yourself. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 2014, a brand-new year. But you've got those credit card bills now and you have to shed the holiday weight, and resolutions, are you even sticking to them? Here's how.

HELENE LERNER, CEO, REATIVE EXPANSIONS, INC.: I don't think we dream big enough, and I think when we make a resolution that's not connected to what we're passionate about, the first obstacle that comes our way, we're going to quit.

I think we need to take reflective time, maybe getting up a little earlier in the morning or late at night, if that's better for you, if you're on that kind of rhythm, and really go inside ourselves and say, what is it that I want to do? What makes me tick? What excites me?

And then start visualizing that, identifying it, and attaching a goal to it. That's a resolution. And it's going to be easy to get off focus because, especially women, we always do too much, right Zain?

(LAUGHTER)

VERJEE: Yes.

LERNER: We're doing, doing --

VERJEE: We've got to keep track of it.

LERNER: And they're -- that's right. And they're always asking us for more and more and more. And one of the ways that we can take for ourselves and follow what our own intuition is and what we're seeing is a vision for us is to use a two-letter word. And Zain, do you know what that two-letter word is?

VERJEE: Me?

LERNER: Well, I'll tell you.

(LAUGHTER)

LERNER: It's me. Actually, that's a very good two-letter word. But it's also no. N-O.

VERJEE: Oh, right.

(LAUGHTER)

LERNER: In other words, can you help me with this new project? No. Can you do this for me, Mommy? No. And that doesn't mean that we're not going to say yes. But if we're saying yes all the time to everyone else, and we're not taking that time that we need to take a look at really what connects us, what turns us on, what do we want to achieve, we're not going to have that resolution.

And one other thing that I want to say about New Year's resolutions that stick is that don't give up. If there's something inside you that says this is the year to do this, there are going to be obstacles coming your way. There are always obstacles, there's always resistance.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: That was CNN's Zain Verjee talking to Helene Lerner. Great words from the author of "In Her Power: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self."

Well, what's your personal key to happiness? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, facebook.com/CNNconnect. You know the address, @BeckyCNN is where you can get me on Twitter, @BeckyCNN. Instagram, just search for Becky CNN. You can watch my daily preview of the show there.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.

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