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CNN Presents: TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People Of 2004

Aired April 18, 2004 - 20:00   ET


CAROL LIN, CNN HEADLINE NEWS, ATLANTA: I'm Carol Lin at the CNN Center with the top stories this hour.
Spain's new prime minister keeps his word. A day after assuming power, he carries out an election pledge and orders the country's troops out of Iraq.

The U.S. says it will continue cooperating with Spain in fighting the war on terror.

"Washington Post" reporter Bob Woodward writes in his latest book that President Bush told his inner circle in January 2003, he had decided to go to war with Iraq.

However, on CBS's "Face the Nation" today, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice disputed that account. She says Mr. Bush did not make the final decision until he ordered military strikes three months later.

Tonight at 10:00 Eastern, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, gets down and dirty about the television interview. He's going to be talking about Woodward's book, "Plan of Attack." Join me at 10:00 Eastern.

But right now, CNN PRESENTS "TIME 100."

ANNOUNCER: They are leaders and revolutionaries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was told from very early on that he was the son (ph) of (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ANNOUNCER: Scientists and thinkers.

JILL TARTER, ASTROBIOLOGIST: We are human, and we are limited by what we understand.

ANNOUNCER: Heroes and icons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't change the world, but I know people who can.

ANNOUNCER: The most powerful people in the world today. They are TIME Magazine's 100 for 2004.

AARON BROWN, HOST, CNN PRESENTS: What began as a TIME Magazine millennium special, a celebration of the lives and legacies of the 20th century's 100 most powerful people, has become an annual event.

The TIME 100, 2004 edition, is no retrospective. It is an exploration of the most powerful and influential people in our world today.

Welcome to this special edition of CNN PRESENTS. I'm Aaron Brown.

In TIME's judgment, they are the 100 best and brightest of today - in industry and society, in politics, science and the arts. And we'll reveal a few from each category over the next hour.

We begin with artists and entertainers, and the driving force behind "The Apprentice" and "Survivor," the king of reality TV, Mark Burnett.

Here's CNN's David Mattingly.



DONALD TRUMP, STAR, "THE APPRENTICE": Robin, let them come in, please.

MATTINGLY: Time for the weekly meeting with "the Donald."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't fire a psycho like that. Are you kidding?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But look at his face.

MATTINGLY: Six business students and about 20 million other fans parked in front of the TV, right where TV producer Mark Burnett wants them to be.

Just an hour before, another network - another Mark Burnett production.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Survivor All Stars."

MATTINGLY: With another 20 million some following.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, whatever works.

MATTINGLY: He's got America by the eyeballs, captivating viewers with a fanatic, friendly genre - reality TV. A genre that continues to be rejittered (ph) and redefined.

TRUMP: "The Apprentice."

MARK BURNETT, TELEVISION PRODUCER: They are unscripted dramas. Everything is storytelling and character development. All I do is tell those stories without scripts and without actors.

MATTINGLY: The stories he tells - adventure seekers marooned on a far-off island, entrepreneurs after the American dream - all have plots that parallel his own life story of risk all or gain nothing.

BURNETT: "The Apprentice" is really my American dream show. I mean, I lived the American dream.

MATTINGLY: Burnett grew up in a working class neighborhood of inner-city London. His father says Mark never wanted to settle for a 9-to-5 job.

ARCHIE BURNETT, FATHER OF MARK BURNETT: No, no, he said. I've got something else in mind. So the next day he walks in and he says, "I've joined the paratroopers."

I said, "Do what?" He says, "I've joined the paratroopers." And I said, "Well, you'll find something very hard now."

MATTINGLY: In 1982, Burnett was shipped to the South Atlantic and the Falklands war.

BURNETT: The Falklands war made me realize the glory of war isn't real. And one day seeing, over one night, I think, 20 of my friends in body bags.

MATTINGLY: Two hundred fifty British soldiers died retaking the windswept islands.

Burnett and his comrades were welcomed home as heroes. But Burnett was hungry for something beyond England.

In 1982, ready for another risk, he took a chance on America.

BURNETT: But I have no money, no green card, no nothing. The only job I could get was a live-in person doing something like a chauffeur or something. There were no chauffeur jobs.

The only job available I got through a friend of mine was a nanny. So I'd be going from commando to nanny in 24 hours. Unbelievable.

MATTINGLY: Later, the commando-nanny would master his marketing skills by selling tee-shirts on Venice Beach.

BURNETT: I learned Americans are into results.

Americans don't really care where you came from, what your family did, which school you graduated from. They care about whether you can deliver the results.

That's what makes America the country it is.

MATTINGLY: By the mid-1990s, Burnett had combined his marketing savvy with his love of adventure, and came up with his first TV success - the "Eco-Challenge" games.

BURNETT: Three, two, one!

MATTINGLY: Teams from around the world compete for cash prizes in the annually televised event. Burnett has competed in adventure racing himself - not always with success.

During a grueling race in the jungles of Borneo in 1994, he was tested. The man who later would put people's pain on camera threw in the towel after five days.

BURNETT: Extremely disappointing for me. We came here after last year hoping to win. And, obviously, it was not even close.

And I'm really questioning my sanity at this point, and why on earth - I'm doing this for the third year in a row. And this is, like, insane.

MATTINGLY: But defeat didn't temper Burnett's gamble on adventure.

He later wagered his money on the American rights to a new type of television format, then dangled the island-based show in front of the networks. CBS took the bait.

LESLIE MOONVES, PRESIDENT & CEO, CBS TELEVISION: Frankly, one of the reasons we bought the show is partially because of the idea, but partially - a great deal because of Mark Burnett and our confidence in him. Mark Burnett, as you know, is a very confident guy. He's very cocky.

And in this business, you're really sort of entrusting your air time and your money to somebody who's going to do the job. And I think Mark Burnett is capable of just about anything.

MATTINGLY: Many reality TV shows have come and gone since the first "Survivor" contestants were left stranded before all of America. But Burnett has proven he can outlast, outwit and outplay them all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And your favorite reality-based television program for this year is - "Survivor: The Australian Outback."

MATTINGLY: Every year since its TV premier, "Survivor" has won the People's Choice Award. And it has been nominated 13 times for the Emmy, winning twice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These faces tell it all.

MATTINGLY: Now in its eighth series, "Survivor" features an all- star cast. And the show continues to rank in Nielsen's top 10 for primetime programs on the broadcast networks, regularly jockeying with Burnett's other mega-hit, "The Apprentice."

BURNETT: "Survivor" is outlasting all the other unscripted shows, based upon storytelling and character.

TRUMP: Don't you think it's over?

BURNETT: "The Apprentice" will go eight, nine seasons - character and story.

People are trying to do stunt TV. It's short-lived. Story, story, story.

TRUMP: You're fired.

MATTINGLY: The public remote control says Burnett knows a good story.

And so do the networks. NBC landed Burnett's upcoming TV venture, "The Contender," a nationwide search for a real-live Rocky. All for a reported $2 million plus per episode.

SYLVESTER STALLONE, ACTOR: See you on "The Contender."


ANNOUNCER: J.K. Rowling is living a fairy tale. The creator of schoolboy wizard Harry Potter is the first billion-dollar author, and last year topped the list of highest earning British women, wealthier than even Queen Elizabeth. Not bad for a former single mother on welfare.

Rowling, who is credited with getting scores of kids interested in reading, wrote the first Potter book in a coffee shop while her daughter napped.

J.K. ROWLING, AUTHOR: I thought I was writing quite an obscure book. I never expected it to have broad appeal.

ANNOUNCER: Rowling couldn't have been more wrong. So far she's written five books. The latest, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," broke publishing records set by previous Potter books.

Harry's transition to the big screen also captivated audiences. The first two movies - "The Sorcerer's Stone" and "The Chamber of Secrets" - grossed nearly $2 billion worldwide, and the third will be released in June.

After bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy to life on the big screen, 42-year-old Peter Jackson is riding high in Hollywood. The final movie, "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kings," made Oscar history this year by winning all 11 awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director.

PETER JACKSON, FILM DIRECTOR: It obviously just speaks to one fact, that people enjoyed the movie that we made, on all levels. And I'm obviously incredibly appreciative of that, because it's what you dream about when you're making a film, that you just want people to enjoy it.

ANNOUNCER: It took Jackson seven years to complete the trilogy, all three parts of which met with critical success. But he little big budget picture experience prior to this project.

In 1994, he directed the acclaimed movie, "Heavenly Creatures," and before that was largely known for his low budget horror movies.

Up next for the director, a remake of "King Kong." (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: David Neeleman is one of the most fascinating entrepreneurs in America. He has taken a little airline, Jet Blue, and built it into the envy of the commercial airline business.

And he's done it with a very simple philosophy - never, ever disappoint a customer.

Here's CNN's Jeff Greenfield.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CO-ANCHOR, CNN PRESENTS: It's 8:00 p.m. on a Thursday evening, when David Neeleman arrives at JFK Airport.

DAVID NEELEMAN, CEO, JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP.: One, two, three, four - you want to check that or take it out?

GREENFIELD: In about 90 minutes, JetBlue flight 87 is supposed to depart for Salt Lake City.

NEELEMAN: Flight's a little late today? Because ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, had an inbound ...

GREENFIELD: For other passengers, a late arrival may mean a missed dinner date or even a missed connection.

With Neeleman, an on-time arrival is personal, ...

NEELEMAN: We're getting ready to go.

GREENFIELD: ... because he is the man who founded and runs JetBlue.

NEELEMAN: Hi, how are you?

GREENFIELD: The most remarkable success story in modern American aviation.

In less than four years, JetBlue has gone from a startup airline with two planes and one route - JFK to Fort Lauderdale - to more than 57 planes, servicing 23 cities.

In 2003, while established airlines staggered under huge losses, JetBlue earned more than $100 million. United and Delta, weary of JetBlue's success has started up their own low-fare airlines - Ted and Song.

And in a recently released survey of air travelers, JetBlue had the highest quality rating of any airline in the United States. Neeleman says he knows why.

NEELEMAN: I think the key is, is the combination of low fares with high quality service. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's easier, more comfortable, more enjoyable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My only complaint is, their planes are now full.

GREENFIELD: He eagerly demonstrates those service touches that have delighted low-fare flyers from the very beginning.

NEELEMAN: We spent a lot of money to make sure we had extra-wide overhead bins. We took out a row of seats in the back and spread out everything behind the exit rows, and gave it even two more inches than we have here.

GREENFIELD: Some of these touches come with a practical advantage built in.

Why leather seats? Is it - was it like just a status thing? Or more?

NEELEMAN: No, I - leather seats cost twice as much as regular seats, but they last twice as long. And they're a heck of a lot more sanitary.

GREENFIELD: And the signature touch of JetBlue - live television.

Was this something that was part of the plan from the beginning?

NEELEMAN: Yes. You know, I wanted to put something in the seatbacks that would keep people's attention. You know, since the '50s, when jet aircraft came out, nothing's changed on this airplane. One of our folks brought this to me, and I said, this is perfect.

GREENFIELD: Neeleman's passion for the company he built is not a sometime thing. He flies on at least one flight a week.

NEELEMAN: We're boarding.

GREENFIELD: And is ...

NEELEMAN: How's the section?

GREENFIELD: ... literally a hands-on CEO.

NEELEMAN: There's a bad one right there.

I do it every week, regardless if there's a camera there or not. And I do it for a couple of reasons.

Where are you guys going?

Number one, to stay in touch and listen to what my - our customers are saying.

Everything go good on check-in? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything perfect, excellent.

NEELEMAN: The other reason I do it is because I want my - our crewmembers to know that we really appreciate what they're doing. And I am not above doing their job and hanging out with them.

GREENFIELD: If David Neeleman seems like an unorthodox executive, chalk it up to life experience.

He's the son of a foreign correspondent, born in Brazil, raised in Salt Lake City. And he says he still carries with him lessons learned in his youth, first, in his grandfather's grocery store.

NEELEMAN: I used to stand on a milk crate and check people out. And, you know, I never want to disappoint a customer, and I learned that from my grandfather.

GREENFIELD: Then, as a Mormon missionary in Brazil.

NEELEMAN: I totally believe it's true. I would not be the CEO of JetBlue if I had not had that experience.

JetBlue today is hopefully a better company because it has a better leader, because it has a leader that really cares about people. And I learned all of that when I was, you know, in the Favelas in Brazil as a 19-year-old boy.

GREENFIELD: The climb up the business ladder was hardly straight up. He was a poor student. In fact, he had attention deficit disorder before anyone knew what it was.

He dropped out, took to selling timeshares and condos. That led him to several successful ventures in the travel business, including a stint at Southwest, the pioneer of the current low-fare airline business.

By 1999, he was ready to start something on his own.

NEELEMAN: JetBlue Airw - that's pretty cool, huh? We couldn't get any bigger than United, so that was the directive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good day, ladies and gentlemen on flight number 81, service to Fort Lauderdale.

GREENFIELD: His employees - they're all called crewmembers - almost all part of JetBlue's profit sharing and stock option plans. And they're shielded by a no layoff policy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have your confirmation number?

GREENFIELD: His home-based reservation agents are better able to combine work and family while JetBlue saves a bundle on office space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Thanks for calling JetBlue.

GREENFIELD: Along with all the airlines, JetBlue was severely challenged by September 11th. For Neeleman, the response was immediate and groundbreaking.

NEELEMAN: The day after 9/11, when we got all our planes down, I called and said, I want to get a door on this airplane.

And so, we were the first airline to do it. So we have this reinforced armored cockpit door. Plus we have now camera surveillance. So, we're the only airline to have that.

GREENFIELD: But 9/11 also led to a major blunder. JetBlue had violated passengers' privacy by sharing information with government agencies.

Neeleman insisted that the airline come clean.

NEELEMAN: You know, we screwed up. And the lawyers were all saying, don't say that. Don't say that, you know. That will give lawsuits and all that. And I said, well, we did.

But telling the truth was more important to us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to do it on a per hour.

GREENFIELD: This is a message Neeleman often takes to business schools and other audiences. Not just airy words about integrity, but tough words about the lack of it in too many American businesses.

Just listen to how he explains why there's no first class in JetBlue.

NEELEMAN: You know, a lot of airlines, by creating the first class cabin, they squish everybody else into the back. So, 12 people are happy. They don't have TVs, but they're happy.

And the rest of the people are miserable. And we just don't think that's the way to run an airline.

GREENFIELD (voice-over): At 43, and the father of nine children, Neeleman has thoughts about changing his life at some point. But for now, ...

GREENFIELD: You love to come to work.

NEELEMAN: I get a thrill out of this. I really do. And if I don't like coming to work, then I'm not going to be effective.

How's it going?

And I want to be effective. And I want people to love what that do. And that's one of my biggest goals with JetBlue, is that I want people to want to come to work.

I'm going to wake up in the morning and say, I get to go to work. I love my job.

ANNOUNCER: To Howard Schultz, chairman and chief global strategist of Starbucks, it's about more than just the coffee. It's about creating an intimate experience as soon as you walk in the door.

Inspired by a visit to Milan, he realized that coffee houses make great meeting places, and the city supported a lot of them.

So in 1987, when he bought the tiny coffee bean seller Starbucks, he began to make his vision a reality. Now Starbucks is worldwide, from its more than 5,400 stores in the U.S. to Asia to Paris. And for Schultz, this is just the beginning.

HOWARD SCHULTZ, CHAIRMAN & CHIEF GLOBAL STRATEGIST, STARBUCKS COFFEE COMPANY: I believe very strongly in the destiny of Starbucks. I believe that we can become one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world.


ANNOUNCER: He prides himself on treated his employees well, providing them with stock options and healthcare benefits and being environmentally conscious.

Besides his Starbucks empire, Schultz is also lead owner of the NBA Seattle Supersonics. Not bad for a boy who grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn.

Warren Buffett, the billionaire nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha, he's also known for his folksy style and love of Coca-Cola. In 2003, "Forbes Magazine" named him the second richest man in the world. And through his company, Berkshire Hathaway, he controls one of the most liquid sources of capital on earth.

But his approach is simple, some even call it quaint.

WARREN E. BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY, INC.: If I find a business that I understand that's selling for less than it's worth, I'll buy it.

ANNOUNCER: In the late '80s, critics said he was losing his touch when he stayed away from technology stocks. But when the dot com bubble burst, Buffett was still standing.

This year, Buffett entered the political arena, serving as Arnold Schwarzenegger's economic advisor in the California governor's race. And at 73, the man dubbed greatest investor of all time isn't slowing down. He's still looking for his next lucrative deal and doing things in his own unique way.


BROWN: Jill Tarter is someone who definitely believes the truth is out there, that we are not alone in the universe.

She has devoted her life and scientific career to searching for any signs of cosmic intelligence beyond our own.

As CNN's Miles O'Brien explains, she is listening to the stars.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it started off ...

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Jill Tarter is a patient listener, but refuses to listen to conventional wisdom.

For more than a quarter century, she has tried to answer a fundamental question. Are we alone?

TARTER: This is the oldest unanswered question, which is why I love working on it.

And we live in the first age where we can try and do an experiment to get that answer.

JODIE FOSTER, ACTOR: Little green men.

O'BRIEN: She's the real-life inspiration for the Jodie Foster character in the movie "Contact." There, she is portrayed as a stubborn crusader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are brilliant, driven, a major pain in the ass.

O'BRIEN: She pleads guilty, without apology, to the characterization, her drive rooted in a life-long passion for space.

TARTER: It might have been the Saturday morning cartoon shows, or something, that I watched. But I spent a lot of time walking the Florida Keys with my dad, looking at the sky at night.

Quite reasonable that those stars could be someone else's suns.

O'BRIEN: Born in upstate New York, Jill Tarter was a self- described tomboy. She studied engineering at Cornell and astronomy at Berkeley.

And that's where she found the inspiration for her life's work - an engineering study called the CYCLOPS Report. For her, it might as well have been a Bible.

TARTER: Wondered how you could detect extraterrestrial intelligence. And it came up with this idea of a huge array of radio telescopes. I read it from cover to cover. I just couldn't stop, because before now, nobody had been able to try and use our technology to find someone else's.

And suddenly, I was just hooked.

O'BRIEN: She was hooked on a scientific field that didn't really exist.

The basic premise - if there are intelligent civilizations out there somewhere, might they not transmit a radio beacon to the cosmos? WUFO, if you will.

And if aliens are broadcasting, shouldn't we try to tune in?

TARTER: So, let's see what's in here.

O'BRIEN: Jill Tarter wanted to build a career doing just that. But many of her peers warned her it was a road to scientific obscurity.

PAUL DAVIES, PHYSICIST & AUTHOR: I was a student in the '60s in London. And I got really interested in the idea of life elsewhere in the universe.

And not only did my student colleagues, but professors and, in fact, anybody I spoke to thought this was totally crazy, that no one believed that there was life beyond earth. But, in any case, it would be a huge conjecture, that you would be mad to make that the subject of a scientific career.

O'BRIEN: But over time, Jill Tarter found a lot of company here on earth, if not beyond.

In 1984, she co-founded the SETI Institute in California. SETI stands for search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Today she is the lead researcher for SETI, which is funded by private donors. The field that is her passion has moved from the fringe toward the mainstream. And she is a scientific rock star.

CHRIS CHYBA, SETI INSTITUTE: I've known Jill as long as I've been in the field. Now, you can't start in the field of what's now called astrobiology and not know about Jill Tarter.

TARTER: What you see is a spherical reflector. Everything focuses at a point.

O'BRIEN: We caught up with Jill Tarter at the world's largest radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. She and her team use it to search for an alien beacon.

There are at least 200 billion stars, give or take, in our own galaxy - just one galaxy. And so far, searchers for extraterrestrial intelligence have examined a grand total of 10,000 stars.

I guess that puts it in some perspective, then.

TARTER: Well, when we say we haven't begun to search, that kind of gives you a feeling for what we're talking about.

O'BRIEN: But how do they know what frequency the aliens might use? Or if they use radio waves at all? They could use laser beams or something we can't even imagine. And why would they bother to send a beacon at all? We could if we wanted to, and yet we don't.

The questions go on and on, which leads us to the critics who say Tarter is casting too narrow a net for an elusive prey, using human technology to reach a life form that is probably anything but.

We seem to be looking for ourselves. Is that because that's the only thing we know, and therefore, that's what we should look for? Or are we putting on blinders that may be limiting our ability to see what's really out there?

TARTER: Sure. I mean, we would love to get out of our skins as humans and think totally rationally outside the box or the body, and be able to say, well, in the abstract, this is what we should look for.

And we try and do that. But, in fact, we can't conceive what we can't conceive. We are human, and we are limited by what we understand at the moment.

You've got to have two orthogonal coordinates that you can ...

O'BRIEN: Jill Tarter says she is content to advance her field by finding better, faster ways to look. She knows she may never get a payoff on the bet of a lifetime. So be it.

For her, there simply is no other question worth spending a lifetime trying to answer.

TARTER: For me, the important thing about detecting another intelligent species, somewhere else in the universe, is that it holds up a mirror to the earth.

And it says, OK, humans, you're all humans. And the differences between us and that life form are vast. And they should trivialize the differences among humans that we find so hard to live with these days.

Is the director here?

O'BRIEN: In the refrigerator not far from her computer, there is always a bottle of champagne - to be opened when they hit the cosmic lotto.

For now the bubbly remains on ice. And Jill Tarter (ph) keeps listening. Wondering if this will be the night.

BROWN: From the bazaar reign of the world's most mysterious and unpredictable leader, to a rock star with a passion for activism. Our look at "Time's" 100 for 2004 continues in a moment.

But first a few more influential players among "Time's" top scientists and thinkers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANDRA DAY O'CONNER, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: In my lifetime, I have seen unbelievable changes in the opportunities for women.


MATTINGLY (voice over): So says the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointed in 1981 by Ronald Reagan, Sandra Day O'Conner is now known less for being female, than for her judicial decision-making. She is at times, the crucial key-swing vote on some of the most controversial issues of our time.

Standing firmly in the middle of the courts for more conservative, and for more liberal justices. From decisions on abortion, to affirmative action, the Florida recount vote, to campaign finance reform. O'Conner's vote has determined the outcome.

The 74-year-old as come a long way. When she graduated from Stanford Law School in 1952, her only job offers were as a legal secretary. She went on to serve as Arizona's first female State Senate Majority Leader. And sat on the state's Court of Appeals, before being appointed to the nation's highest court.

Dr. Lee John Wook (ph) took over the reigns as the Director General of the World Health Organization last July with an ambitious goal. To eradicate AIDS. Saying preventing and treating the disease may be both the toughest and most urgent assignment the world faces. His plan is large-scaled and comprehensive, $5.5 billion to make HIV AIDS drugs available to three million infective patience by the end of 2005.

But already it is facing financial problems. And critics say Dr. Lee may have been to hasty in announcing the initiative. Lee is also taking on the shortage of healthcare workers around the world. And must also deal with disasters like the Iranian earthquake, and outbreaks like the recent bird flu epidemic in Asia.

Dr. Lee began a five-year term as Director General in July of last year. He has worked at the WHO for more than two decades.


BROWN: Welcome back to this special edition of CNN PRESENTS. Fact and fiction collide when it comes to Kim Jong Il. He is a virtual deity in North Korea, and utter peril (ph) almost everywhere else in the world. He is mysterious and unpredictable. And Kim has made little secret of his nuclear ambitions.

And those ambitions have transformed him from a reclusive dictator, into a truly dangerous and global wildcard. Here's CNN's Michael Michler.


MICHAEL MICHLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He is the last Stalinist, and the sole ruler of what is perhaps the world's most isolated country. With his bouffant hairstyle, platform shoes, and throw back suits, North Korea's great general, Kim Jong Il, can seem cartoonish.

JEROLD POST, FORMER CIA ANALYST: He has great insecurity about himself personally. He's only five foot two. Weighs probably 175 pounds. Wears four-inch lifts in his shoes.

MICHLER: But whatever his appearance, whatever his insecurities, Kim Jong Il is no joke. He is serious, deadly serious. He has the fourth largest military in the world. And now it is believed that he also controls a viable nuclear weapons program. A program that might well make North Korea the newest member of the atomic club. A member with a history of selling secrets to the highest bidder.

JAMES WOLFSTHAL: The concern is that North Korea could turn into kind of a nuclear K-mart. Where they could sell nuclear material to Iran, or even God forbid, to small sub-national groups, al-Qaeda, other terrorist organizations.

MICHLER: These are the most familiar images out of North Korea. It's great leader looking down on (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Main Square. At columns of soldiers are grand spectacles. Beneath such pageantry (ph) however, lies a nation in distress. Impoverished, starving, and dominated by a fanatical military. And Kim Jong Il's own eccentric cult of personality.

MIKE CHINOY, CNN SENIOR ASIA CORRESPONDENT: In many ways, North Korea resembles a religious cult as much as a country in which life and ordinary people is organized around mass worship of the great leader.

MICHLER: It is a cultive personality started by Kim's father, the first leader of North Korea. But perfected by the son.

POST: One of the challenging aspects of trying to profile Kim Jong Il is separating the man from the myth.

MICHLER: Officially, Kim was born on a sacred Korean mountaintop. Amid double rainbows, and bright stars.

JAMES LILLEY, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: He was not. He was born probably in the Soviet Union when his father was a major in the Soviet army.

MICHLER: After World War II, the Soviet Union put Major Kim il- Sung (ph) in charge of Northern Korea. In 1950, he launched an invasion of the south, clashing with U.S. and Western forces. After three years, and two million dead, the war reached a stalemate.

While most Koreans led aster (ph) lives under his father, Kim Jong Il did not.

POST: It was told from very early on that he was the Son of God, and in effect, the daunting challenge.

MICHLER: In 1964, the younger Kim graduated from Kin il-Sung (ph) University, with a degree in political economy. What followed was a long period of grooming for leadership. DR. KONGDAN OH: In Korea, we have the expressions (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and dog (ph) sun (ph). So he felt like he is a dog sun (ph) compared to his tiger (ph) father.

MICHLER: Though Kim operated more or less in the shadow of his formidable father during the 70s and 80s, he does appear to have been quite active. And quite ruthless behind the scenes.

Western intelligence has long blamed Kim for a number of deadly terrorist attacks. A 1983 bombing that killed several South Korean cabinet members. And the downing of the South Korean airliner in 1987 that killed 115.

In 1984, it was North Korea that was in mourning. Kim il-Sung (ph) died of a heart attack. People wept in the streets as Kim Jong Il took his father's place as Head of State. And by this time, it was a state in mere total collapse.

CHINOY: It got so bad that a very proud government, which has had a philosophy of Jucha (ph) or self-reliance, and not asking for anything from the rest of the world, was forced in an unprecedented step to ask for international food aid.

MICHLER: In return for concessions on North Koreas developing nuclear program, Kim Jong Il received massive food and oil shipments from the U.S. He even went so far as to open up a dialogue with some of his former foes in Asia.

And in October 2000, a high point. As then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright became the highest-ranking American official, to ever visit (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MICHLER: But Kim Jong Il's apparent willingness to engage the outside world came to a screeching halt when President Bush put North Korea on America's most wanted list.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: North Korea has a regime arming with missiles, and weapons of mass destruction, while starving it's citizens. States like these, and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil. Arming to threaten the peace of the world.

MICHLER: In October 2002, the U.S. said that North Korea has admitted to having a secret nuclear weapons program. Sparking even more angry threats from (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The Democratic People's Republic of Korea will immediately revive the old Soviet designed nuclear reactor, and resume construction of other nuclear facilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MICHLER: Since that ominous statement, North Korea has pulled out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. And the U.S. now believes that Kim Jong Il possesses at least one or two nuclear devices. But would he actually use them?

KONGDAN OH: North Korea leader is smart and strategic and brilliant. I don't think he is stupid (ph) to use nuclear bomb for any country. Because he knows that by triggering one bomb means the end of North Korea.

MICHLER: North Korea's economy is deteriorating. It has almost nothing to export, other than it's military prowess (ph), and the willingness to use it. For Kim Jong Il, brinkmanship may be the only ace in a very poor hand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE CORRESPONDENT: Pope John Paul II has reigned over the Catholic Church for the last 25 years, becoming the third longest serving pontiff in history. He has confronted communism, survived and assassination attempt, and taken his message on the road traveling tirelessly throughout the world, and speaking up passionately on issues he believes in. Becoming the most well traveled Pope in history.

Known for a demand for discipline, he stayed firm following the traditional Catholic stances on issues such as sexuality, divorce, abortion, and the role of women in the church, prompting criticism that he's out of touch with modern life.

His reign has seen it's share of change and controversy. The most recent one being the sexual abuse scandals in the United States. The 83-year-old suffers from Parkinson's among other ailments. And though he has sometimes appeared frail and sickly, he's still speaking out and shaping the future of the Catholic Church.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE CORRESPONDENT: Lance Armstrong is considered one of the most inspiring athletes of all time. Winner of the Tour de France. Member of the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team. And he is a cancer survive.


LANCE ARMSTRONG, YOUR DE FRANCE CHAMPION: I will always be a cancer survivor. And the more I can do for the illness, the more I can spread the word, that's what I want to do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE CORRESPONDENT: In 1996, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Which then spread to his lungs, and brain. He beat the odds, and not only lived to tell about it, but returned to cycling, winning the Tour de France five times. One of only five men ever to do so. He started the Lance Armstrong Cancer Foundation, and has since been an active spokesman and role model for cancer patients everywhere. Armstrong has had his share of controversy recently. Fighting rumors of performance enhancing drug use. Something he delantly (ph) denies.

Now divorced, he balances training with being a father to his three children. And this summer, he will attempt a record-breaking sixth win of the Tour de France.

Known for both her beauty and brains, Jordan's Queen Rania is an eloquent and passionate spokesperson for her country. Committed to bridging the gap between the Middle East and the West, she and her Husband, King Abdullah II have friendly ties with the United States. And are recognized for their modern approach to governing.

Rania has not been afraid to take on controversial issues at home, speaking out for women's and children's rights. She has taken on taboo subjects like child abuse, and a practice known as honor killings. The custom of murdering frame relatives who have committed adultery, or lost their virginity before marriage.

In what many call a fairy-tale life, Rania, a Palestinian from a middle-class family fell in love with a prince. She became Jordan's queen in 1993, when from his deathbed; King Hussein (ph) unexpectedly named his son successor. They now have three children. And Rania considers motherhood her most important role.

BROWN: Lance Armstrong, and Queen Rania, two of "Time" magazine's leading heroes and icons. Another on the list this year could have very easily made his way onto the pages of "Time," is one of today's top artists and entertainers. Because Bono is both. A celebrated artist and a passionate activist. Here is CNN's Daryn Kagan.


DARYN KAGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He's the activist dressed in rock star clothes. U2's lead singer Bono demands attention. And his fans comply. World leaders listen too. And AIDS stricken Africa is what he wants on their agenda.

BONO, U2 LEAD SINGER: These AIDS drugs, these antireteral (ph) viral drugs, they are great advertisements (ph) for the U.S. for Europe. Paint them red, white, and blue.

KAGAN: Last year the work of activists like Bono paid off.


BUSH: I asked the congress to commit $15 billion, and turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa, and the Caribbean.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BONO: This is the biggest increase in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) assistance in 42 years. It's an incredible thing that President Bush has done. I'm normally on here giving out (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and oops.

KAGAN: For Bono, his life's work is all about the possibility. A theme that can be heard in the songs he sings.

BONO: Music is more about soul and spirit, than it is (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And you can conquer (ph) it like politics. I would (ph) not be able to perform the way I perform. I have to kind of step inside the songs, you know?

KAGAN: Yet to truly step into Bono's world, you have to know where and how it began. In the Irish neighborhood of Belliman (ph) wedged between countryside and city.

BOB GELDOF, MUSICIAN: He was brought up in an area of Dublin that is a fairly normal area. It's beside a pretty crap (ph) area. But Dublin is quite like that.

KAGAN: Number 10, Cedarwood Road. As a child, he wasn't Bono, but Paul David Hussin (ph), the youngest of two boys. His father was a postal worker delivering the daily mail. While his mother took care of the home.

From very early on, the youngest Hussin (ph) was a dreamer. Emulating his distant hero, King, Dill ion, and Ali. Cultural icons who fought for social change.

BONO: And when I was younger, I used to kind throw rocks and stones at the bad guys as I saw them, in the political establishments that people were in. And they were it turns out, quite easy targets.

KAGAN: Bono is longer throwing rocks at the political establishment. Instead, he's joined forces, calling on politicians to drop the debt of third world countries, and increase aid to Africa. Even if that means a little friction among friends.

KAGAN (on camera): There are members of U2 that would just assume say; can we just play the music?

BONO: Yes, there is a bit of that. They fully support what I am doing, the just wish it wasn't so un-hip (ph). And they just wish that some other people weren't uh-oh, we're hanging out with -- we're so uncool.


BONO: It's worth our time and effort. And it's an everyday holocaust. We must always remind ourselves of the situation in Africa. Because I think history and indeed God will judge us very harshly if we continue to ignore it.

KAGAN (voice over): Bono reckoned with his riches in May of 2002, when he and then U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil traveled to some of the most economically ravaged parts of Africa. It was a first hand display of aid dollars in action.

And a heart breaking tour of continued need that drives Bono's message today.

BONO: It is just simply unacceptable to let people die for lack of drugs we take for granted over here, and drugs that cost nothing to produce. That is what's getting me going.

KAGAN: Everyday, HIV AIDS kills 6,500 Africans. Partly because they can't afford treatment, or don't have access to the drugs necessary to keep them alive. Bono believes rich nations have a moral duty to change that.

KAGAN (on camera): This is not the kind of issue that most rock stars are drawn to.

BONO: Right.

KAGAN: Why are you drawn to it?

BONO: The relationship between the so-called first and the third world is just so screwed up. I mean, it's a shocking statistic when you tell Americans or Europeans that the richer they get, the less they give.

KAGAN (voice over): It's a far cry from stadium rock concerts. In the developing world, Bono is relatively unknown.

BONO: When I'm on these trips, I don't feel I am an entertainer, I'm an activist. And deep down I am very very serious about these things, and I am very angry. Some people say to me, you are being used. I say, I'm here to be used. And I can't change the world. But I know people who can. That's probably the deal here.


BROWN: Icons, entertainers, titans thinkers, revolutionaries. Five categories, a 100 of the most interesting and influential people in the world today. We've introduced you to but a handful. For the complete list, you can pick up "Time" 100 for 2004 on newsstands starting tomorrow.

And that's it for this special edition of CNN PRESENTS. I'm Aaron Brown. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you next week.


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