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American Clergyman Plans to Burn Korans on 9/11

Aired September 7, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET



TERRY JONES, PASTOR, DOVE WORLD OUTREACH CENTER: That is very, very important, that America wakes up. It's very important that our president wakes up. It's very important that we see the real danger of -- of radical Islam.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: An American clergyman tells CNN why he plans to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday. Well, that's the anniversary of 9/11. But this year, it's also the day that marks the end of Ramadan and the Muslim festival of Eid. The debate over the place of Islam in America is getting dirty. And from Alabama to Afghanistan, it is making a lot of people very angry.

Going beyond borders on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

Well, it's almost as if the stars are aligned to create a massive controversy in America.

This hour, what will it take for cooler heads to prevail?

I'm Becky Anderson in London joining the dots on the day's big stories for you.

And this is a story that really resonates with you. Dozens of you are Tweeting me, atbeckycnn. Keep them coming. We'll put your questions to an expert big thinker.

Also this hour, if these trapped miners knew who'd been called in to help, they'd probably heave a sigh of relief. We'll hear what advice NASA is offering the Chilean government.



EVANDER HOLYFIELD, BOXER: Well, I never did go in retirement. It's just the fact that they took me off the shelf.


ANDERSON: They call him the real deal for a reason. Evander Holyfield is a multiple boxing world champion. And tonight, he's answering your questions.

First up, it is a calendar clash of the highest sensitivity. On Saturday, the United States will remember the September 11th terror attacks. But this year, the anniversary also marks Eid, when Muslims around the world celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Well, it comes amid a tide of anti-Muslim sentiments over plans to build an Islamic prayer center near Ground Zero. The rising tensions prompted interfaith leaders in the U.S. to come together and call for tolerance.


DR. INGRID MATTSON, ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA: Having spoken to many families across the country over the last few weeks, I have heard many Muslim-Americans say that they have never felt this anxious or this insecure in America, since directly after September 11th.



DR. GERALD DURLEY, PROVIDENCE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: As the legislators in this great country, we have come together in our nation's capital to denounce categorically the derision, misinformation and outright bigotry being directed against America's Muslim community.


ANDERSON: Well, Muslims living in America face a delicate balance on Saturday. Many are planning to temper their celebrations, and, as Mary Snow found, in some cases, even depart from tradition.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice over): Afternoon prayers at the Islamic Center of Long Island. As Ramadan draws to a close later this week, these worshipers are being advised to tone down what is usually a celebratory occasion.

SAJID SHAH, PRESIDENT, ISLAMIC CENTER OF LONG ISLAND: After 30 days of fasting, you know, this is the month -- this is the end day for our celebration.

SNOW (on camera): How will it be different this year?

SHAH: This year will be a little different. You know, we are not celebrating what we're supposed to do -- the normal way we do exactly...

SHOW: Because?

SHAH: Because of 9/11.

SNOW (voice over): The end of Ramadan, or Eid, depending on the moon Thursday night, falls on either Friday or Saturday, which is September 11. But many Muslims have decided to mark it on Friday. Imam Al-Amin Abdul Latif is the head of the Islamic Leadership Council in New York, an umbrella group of Muslim organizations.

IMAM AL-AMIN ABDUL LATIF, MAJILIS ASH-SHURA: I guess people may think that -- look at Eid as being inappropriate, you know, against, you know, against people who may be celebrating.

SNOW: One Muslim group, for example, celebrates Eid at Six Flags park. This year, organizers have been careful not to schedule their events for September 11. It comes against the backdrop over anger about the proposed Islamic center near ground zero and protests at other mosques around the country. Muslims are trying to send out their own message, like this public service announcement created for grassroots efforts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to take over this country.

SNOW: One Muslim leader who works with an interfaith youth group in Chicago says he feels the attitude toward Muslims this year is unlike any other.

EBOO PATEL, INTERFAITH YOUTH CORE: Frankly, I have not felt this fearful. A mother came up to me at my Muslim house of worship earlier this week and said to me, Eboo, when will my eight- and 10-year-old sons stop being bullied on the playground because of their names, Ahmed and Akbar?

And what I said to her is very soon, very soon. Because the forces of inclusion in America have always defeated the forces of intolerance. And they will defeat the forces of intolerance again.

SNOW (on camera): This 9/11, this mosque in Westbury, New York will dedicate a peace garden with other clergy. But it has also asked local police for protection following a suspicious incident of broken windows at the mosque.

(voice-over): Imam Latif says his group has also decided not to hold a counter-protest Saturday supporting the Islamic center near ground zero after the families of 9/11 requested they not hold the rally.

LATIF: We're encouraging our people to be calm, to be patient, but to be firm and be strong and to reach out, you know?

SNOW: And this Islamic center, for one, is opening its doors to hold open houses with the aim of promoting understanding.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


ANDERSON: All right. One Christian church in Florida, though, is going another direction, declaring September 11th International Burn a Koran Day.

CNN spoke to the pastor of that church a little earlier on.

And here is part of that exchange.


JONES: It is very, very important that America wakes up. It's very important that our president wakes up. It's very important that we see the real danger of radical Islam.


JONES: And that's what we're talking about.

CHETRY: Well, we...

JONES: And, actually...

CHETRY: -- we...

JONES: -- everyone should be in agreement with us. CHETRY: We have to go...

JONES: There should be no disagreement there. We are not against Muslims. We're not against the mosque. We are against the radical element of Islam. Even moderate Muslims should be on our side...

CHETRY: No, no, no...

JONES: -- with that particular case.

CHETRY: -- no moderate Muslim is going to be on your side when you're burning their holy book. I mean, that just sounds silly.

JONES: It's not -- of course, it's not silly. You -- they can separate themselves from that...

CHETRY: You're burning their holy book. They're supposed to be on their side?

JONES: -- and you can say...

CHETRY: I don't get that part.

JONES: Well, let me...

CHETRY: Listen...

JONES: Let me finish.

CHETRY: This...

JONES: You can say, you can say we are not for the burning of the book, but we are for what this man is stay saying. What he is doing, we're not for that.

CHETRY: Don't you just...

JONES: We don't believe in burning our holy book...

CHETRY: Just reasoning this through...

JONES: We don't believe in burning the Koran.

CHETRY: -- don't you think you could possibly reach...

JONES: But what he is saying...

CHETRY: -- out to more people...

JONES: -- we are...

CHETRY: By not burning...

JONES: We are actually for that...

CHETRY: The Koran on September 11th?

JONES: We are against radical Islam.

Excuse me?

CHETRY: I said, don't you think you could possibly do more good about bringing attention to your concerns over radical Islam by not burning the Koran on September 11, by saying, you know what, we're going to take the higher road here, we're not going to do this?

JONES: At this time, no.


ANDERSON: Pastor Terry Jones only represents a small congregation, but his plans to burn the Koran have reached Afghanistan, sparking street protests in Kabul, as you see here. The U.S. military says the desecration of the holy text will not only fuel anger, but also endanger the lives of American soldiers.


LT. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY: We're over here to defend the rights of American citizens. And we're not debating the First Amendment rights that people have. But what I will tell you is that their very actions will, in fact, jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we're trying to accomplish. I would hope they would understand that there's second and third order -- second, really and third order affects that will occur that will affect that young man and woman who is out there on point for America, serving their nation today because of their actions back in the United States.


ANDERSON: Let's bring these strands together, shall we?

We've got three boiling issues here -- the debate over the Islamic prayer center project near Ground Zero, the dilemma over Eid celebrations coinciding with the 9/11 commemorations and the controversial plans of a Christian church to burn the Koran.

Well, our next guest is a man who is uniquely qualified to speak on all these angles.

Akbar Ahmed is one of the world's foremost scholars of Islam.

He lives in the States. He was once the Pakistani ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Sir, we thank you for joining us, as ever.

A pleasure to have you on the show.

With regards to anti-Muslim sentiment, is the U.S., do you think, headed for a perfect storm?

AKBAR AHMED, AUTHOR, "JOURNEY INTO AMERICA," FORMER PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO THE UK: I think so, Becky, unless saner voices prevail and we come back from the brink. The problem is that a lot of Americans, after 9/11, continued not to understand what Islam is all about and Muslim leadership really failed to explain Islam, its history, its culture, to mainstream Americans. So that the gap that had widened between Muslims and non-Muslims after 9/11, that gap was never really fully bridged. And, therefore, you have this cast American population, something like 75 percent who actually oppose the building of the Islamic center in New York.

ANDERSON: You heard one Muslim leader in Mary Snow's report, certainly downplaying concerns, saying -- and I quote -- the forces of inclusion have always beaten the forces of intolerance in the States.

You don't sound as if you share his optimism.

AHMED: I don't because a lot of the Muslims, like myself, are hoping, on an optimistic note, that things will somehow muddle along or eventually will overcome these obstacles. But I am also a realist in terms of my scholarship, Becky. I've just conducted a major study of America. And there are forces in any society, not just American society, where you have a majority confronting a minority which is not trusted, where -- which is creating a lot of doubts, big question marks over it. And then the minority begins to do things which, to the majority, as in, in this case, the Islamic center in New York, seem to be deliberately provocative.

And that is raising the temperature in America. So a lot of Americans are saying, we have no objection to mosques, but this is what we consider hallowed ground. This is almost sacred to us.

So I think there is a failure of Muslims to fully understand the cultural sensitivities of the majority of the people of this country.

ANDERSON: With regards to the potential burning of Korans in the Florida church on Saturday, I've got a Tweet here from one of our viewers. Asinang (ph) Tweets me tonight, saying: "This is just another plan to prevent the Muslim world as a terrorist. Muslims are going to be made after the Florida case then others are going to blame them."

Does that worry you?

AHMED: It worries me because, unlike Imam Rauf, who began with wanting something in a positive sense, bringing people together, the pastors are both men of God, Rauf and the pastor, Terry Jones, had no such illusions. He was actually out to defame, denounce, attack Islam as the religion of the devil and so on. So his burning of the Koran is going to upset every Muslim. It's not a question of nationality. It's a question - - it's a question of religion.

So whether you are supporting the mosque in New York or not, anyone -- any Muslim who hears about the burning of the Koran is going to be extremely upset. And the problem is, as General Petraeus has correctly said in Afghanistan, that then the reaction in Muslim countries, especially countries where there are American troops, against American troops.

So the pastor is also playing against his own team. And you're talking about connecting dots, Becky. I mean think of the God of Abraham of this fine, this subtle, this delicate sense of irony that you have got a man of peace in New York wanting to bring people together and it's created so much division. You have the pastor here wanting to burn a Koran and he's under pressure not to burn it by the leading American general in Afghanistan.

ANDERSON: You're talking about the ramifications there outside of the States. I want to bring you back just to America for one moment and finally to ask you how you think one might reconcile Islam and America in 2010?

AHMED: I think, Becky, we have to go back to -- to those extraordinary founding fathers, to go back to the fact that our founding fathers had a vision of society -- which included Islam, by the way -- of a society with respect for other religions and each other, of cultures, of peoples. This was embodied both in the "Declaration of Independence" and the Constitution. These are extraordinary documents.

Americans need to read their own founding fathers and Muslims need to read the founding fathers and the preservation of religion, specifically Islam, the respect it gives -- the founding fathers give to the prophet of Islam. Adams calls him one of the greatest truth seekers of history. Franklin calls him a model of compassion. Jefferson owns the Koran and has the first IFADA at the White House. These are extraordinary figures and not many Americans know about these things.

So, again, it rests on understanding, on knowledge, on reaching out to each other. These are difficult times and these are trying times. And they could become violent times unless we all, Muslims and non-Muslims, pull back from the brink.

ANDERSON: Concern being voiced by your big thinker, an expert on the subject tonight.

It was a pleasure, as I say, Ahmed.

We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Well, the anti-Islamic backlash extends beyond American shores. Another man weighing into this debate is the controversial Dutch politician, Geert Wilders. Now, he is scheduled to join a rally in New York on Saturday opposing the building of the proposed Islamic prayer center that we've been talking about tonight near Ground Zero. Well, Wilders used his anti-Islam stance to win seats in the E.U. elections, of course, last year. Political parties from the far right have been gaining ground in Europe. Recent controversies include bans on veils in part of Europe, starting with Belgium. France could pass a similar law later this month. And several other European countries may also follow suit. And last fall, Switzerland voted to ban the construction of minarets. Supporters of the ban say the tall spires are a sign of encroaching Islamism.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

After the break, back in the headlines again, but this time it is all about the Gulf. We're going to tell you who's made the cut for this year's U.S. Ryder Cup team. And guess what Greg Norman has to say about one particular choice. Find out after this.


ANDERSON: Well, let's face it, he hasn't had the greatest year either on or off the courts, but his erratic performances haven't been enough to keep Tiger Woods away from playing his sixth Ryder Cup. He's been announced as one of Captain Corey Pavin's wildcard picks.

Now, there was a big question mark surrounding Woods and whether he would be included. The world number one has struggled this season, following the sex scandal which erupted late last year.

Well, we're going to hear from our sports correspondent, Pedro Pinto, in just a moment for more on this.

But let's have a listen to Pedro's interview with the U.S. skipper, where he asked him to explain his controversial decision and if he ever considered leaving Woods out of the team.


COREY PAVIN, U.S. RYDER CUP CAPTAIN: I considered everybody as potential picks. And as I said earlier, I did not call him and ask him until last night. We had had conversations the last few weeks. Obviously, I was pretty pleased to see his game coming around and playing a lot better.

Having said that, there were a lot of other players I was looking at, as well. And, you know, the four picks were important and, again, those -- those -- each player is an individual player of the 12. And every one of them is very -- is just as important as another.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Be as honest as you can, Corey.

How much of Tiger Woods' pick was it for a sporting reason and how much was it because there might such be -- be such a big backlash if you didn't select him in the end?

PAVIN: You know -- you know, my job is -- is to -- is to form a team that I think has the best chance to win in Wales. And that was -- that's my objective. All the other outside factors are -- are not part of my thinking. Other people can think whatever they want, but I'm the captain of the team and I'm -- I'm trying to form the best team that I can form.

And, obviously, in my opinion, I thought that putting him on the team would -- would make the team better.


ANDERSON: Well, you just heard what Corey Pavin had to say about picking Tiger Woods. Not everybody will agree. I want to find out whether you do in a moment.

First, I spoke to Greg Norman earlier on.

This is what he had to say.


GREG NORMAN, FORMER WORLD NUMBER ONE GOLFER: And I think Corey Pavin would have been crazy if he didn't have Tiger Woods on the team. And I think, Becky, for one -- just for one reason. You know, if you needed somebody to be on the 18th green on Sunday afternoon, having to make a six foot putt to win the Ryder Cup for the USA team, in -- in Europe's backyard, you'd -- you'd pick Tiger Woods hands down, because he's done it more successfully than any other player on that team, probably any other player who could have possibly been on the team. So you'd pick him just for that one deal.

And the other thing, too, is you can -- you can hear the difference in Tiger two weeks ago in Akron, Ohio when he played and he played terrible golf. He said, oh, I don't deserve to be on the team and, you know, I'm playing terrible. Yesterday, he gives an interview and he says I want to be on the team. So he knows in himself that he's turned his game around a little bit. He's got a few things ironed out in his private life and it makes his life -- his mind a little bit more softer. He looks softer right now on the golf course within himself. He's more amenable with everybody around him.

So it was a logical choice. He would have been crazy if he didn't pick him.

ANDERSON: All right, Pedro, so Greg says he should be on the team, he is on the team.

Do you think he should be?

PINTO: I think he should, overall, maybe not only on sporting merits, because he doesn't have a great Ryder Cup record. He's lost more matches than he's won overall, even though he's got a decent recorded in singles.

But can you imagine if Corey left him off the team after the first day the United States already down to Europe, everybody is going to start asking him about Woods. The second day, the same story. If they lose the -- the event, then all the talk is about Tiger.

So I think it's a good move to include him. He's played all right this season, even though he hasn't won any tournaments. Over the last couple of weeks, he's turned up his game a little bit.

So I think to not have the Tiger Woods sideshow going on, it's the right move to include him in the team.

ANDERSON: Yes. All right. This is on European soil. It's at Celtic Manor.

Does that give the European team an edge?

PINTO: Definitely. The last Ryder Cup, we saw the American fans going crazy, going nuts. They had lost the last three. It was for pride. And what we see here, Becky, a lot of times in the Ryder Cup, is a football kind of crowd. It has nothing to do with the polite golfing clap that we see week in, week out on the PGA Tour or European tour. There's singing, there's chanting and -- and there's a lot of passion.

So definitely the Welsh fans and all the English fans and all the European fans will be traveling there and -- and trying to pull the Europeans through, because there's this huge rivalry. You know, this has been going on for decades and there's a lot of bad blood between these teams, let's not forget that.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about who's won and who's lost in the past.

Who's got the upper hand, as far as the results are concerned?

PINTO: The United States have won 25. They've only lost 10 times. So historically, they have the advantage. But over the last few years, the Europeans have really come back strong. They've won five of the last seven. So there was a lot of talk, Becky -- this is interesting -- about how the Europeans had a lot more camaraderie on the team, they got on a lot better, while the Americans more individualistic. The PGA Tour is all about the money. They make millions and millions of dollars, prize money a lot higher than on the European tour.

So all the Americans are like, I made this here, what did you make?

And Tiger Woods also criticized for his ego, for not gelling with the rest of the team.

So I -- I would say that when you look at these two teams, it will be curious to see whether Woods has changed since all the -- all the scandals he was involved in.

ANDERSON: Pedro, for those who don't watch golf on a regular basis, what makes this competition so special?

PINTO: What makes it so special is that they are playing for their countries and they're playing for their continents. And when they put on that Ryder Cup team shirt, it's a whole different ball game. It all starts with a huge ceremony on the opening day with speeches about what it means to play for your nation, for your continent, in the case of Europe. And that is the X factor for me and the reason why I watch the tournament is to see how emotional the players get. Because normally -- and you know when you watch golf, players are very composed. They rarely show a lot of emotion.

In the grand slams tournaments majors, maybe a little bit. But the Ryder Cup, you're -- you're playing for your country and you don't want to let the fans down, especially when you're playing at home.


ANDERSON: Interesting. Well, you heard some of my interview there with golfing legend, Greg Norman.

We're going to hear more from the great white shark tomorrow, when he answers your questions as your Connector of the Day.

You can get involved by asking our Connectors questions. And that is And, of course, CNN will be bringing you all the Ryder Cup action, which tees off in Wales on October the 1st.

President Hamid Karzai has made a type of hat called the Tariqul famous. It's more than a fashion statement, though. It's a powerful message. Up next, we continue our theme week on the global influences of fashion.


ANDERSON: Well, from the runways to the high street, Fashion Week is instrumental in shaping people's wardrobes around the world. And as London and New York gear up for their catwalk shows, all this week, we're taking a look at fashion and its global influences.

We kicked off on Monday in Istanbul, where being a conservative Muslim woman doesn't necessarily mean being unfashionable. And nor should it, of course. Well, it's not just religion that shapes fashion. In Afghanistan, local traditions and history are big influences.

Jill Dougherty now on how fashion can send a very powerful message.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Afghanistan, almost everyone wears a head covering -- scarves, turbans, hats. They've done it for thousands of years. Each headdress has a history and each sends a message that non-Afghans often don't understand or misinterpret.

On the streets of Kabul, a lot of people wear turbans. This man tells me: "It's the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, so we wear it, too."

Another head covering you see a lot is the pakul. This man from the north of Afghanistan says he wears it because he's a mujahed (ph), who fought against the Soviets. And that's what most of them wear.

Cultural expert Habibullah Rafi says the pakul comes from mountainous Nuristan province and is made of wool. When it's cold, he says, they can roll it down over their ears to keep them warm.

(on camera): Now, let's look at the karakul.


DOUGHERTY: So where does this come from?

RAFI: It comes from a good (INAUDIBLE).

DOUGHERTY: (voice-over): The man who made the karakul famous around the world is Afghan President Hamid Karzai. As a Pashtun from the south, he'd normally wear a turban, but he chose this as a symbol of national unity, because the hat is traditionally worn by Tajiks and Uzbeks in Northern Afghanistan.

(on camera): So this is a skin, the actual karakul skin?

(voice-over): The way the hats are made is gruesome -- by killing a baby lamb as soon as its born and sometimes before.

(on camera): Who wears that?


DOUGHERTY: But not the bride?


DOUGHERTY: Just the girl. So you put it like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like this one here.

DOUGHERTY: Just a little like straight on like that?


DOUGHERTY: (voice-over): In another shop, we find these jeweled wedding hats worn by women from the Hazari ethnic group from Western Afghanistan. But Afghan hats are no laughing matter to Habibullah Rafi. The Taliban, he says, wear turbans and scarves but so do many peaceful Muslims. What Westerners don't always understand, he says, is not everyone who covers his face is a terrorist and certainly neither is every Muslim a terrorist.

(on camera): Can it be these other colors?

(voice-over): In Kabul, scarves are not only an Afghan tradition, they're also a fashion statement for young men.

(on camera): Only old men wear this, yes?

OK. And then the young guys wear hot pink, yes?


DOUGHERTY: (voice-over): Mohammed Wasim (ph), a university student, wears skinny jeans and sneakers. But like some young Afghans in Kabul, he also wears a traditional Afghan scarf tied around his neck as a fashion statement.

MOHAMMED WASIM: Most Afghans love their own culture.

DOUGHERTY: He shows me another way to wear a scarf. No, he is no terrorist. He's just keeping the dust of Kabul's streets off his face.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Kabul.


ANDERSON: Well, the world is awash in iconic head gear. The sombrero, of course, is a national and cultural symbol of Mexico. It's made of either straw or felt and it's generally used for celebrations.

The conical Asian hat originated in East and in Southeast Asia. Known in Vietnam as non la, it's usually worn for protection against sun or rain.

The akubra is a brand of hat from Australia. It's felt with a wide brim often worn by hunters and farmers.

A ushanka is a Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied at the top or at the chin to protect from the cold. And much needed there in the winter.

And then there is the Tam O'Shanter, a Scottish style hat originally worn by men. I'm sure it's not worn by many women around the world.

But anyway, there again, more on fashion around the world tomorrow.

Up next, NASA experts usually help astronauts high above the Earth. But now, they're turning their attention to those miners trapped in a Chilean mine.

What can NASA do to make things better for those men?

That up next.


ANDERSON: The world is awash in iconic headgear The Sombrero, of course, is a national and cultural symbol of Mexico. It's made of either straw or felt and is generally used for celebrations.

The conical Asian hat originated in east and southeast Asia. Known in Vietnam as Non La, it's usually worn for protection against sun or rain.

The Akubra is a brand of hat from Australia. It's felt with a wide brim, often worn by hunters and farmers.

A Ushanka is a Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied at the top or at the chin to protect from the cold. Much needed there in the winter.

And then there is the Tam O'Shanter, a Scottish style hat originally worn by men. I'm sure it's not been worn by many women around the world. But anyway, there you go. More on fashion around the world tomorrow.

Up next, NASA experts usually help astronauts high above the Earth. But now, they're turning their attentions to those miners trapped in a Chilean mine. What can NASA do to make things better for those men? That up next.


ANDERSON: It's just after half past nine in London. You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, they've been confined deep underground for more than a month. We're going to tell you how NASA is now trying to help those trapped Chilean miners survive their ordeal.

Stomachs in the spotlight this evening. A new study raises questions about a popular diet. Is it really a healthy way to shed weight?

And your Connector of the Day, former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield this evening. Why he is back in the ring at the ripe old age of nearly 50.

That's your fill in the next 30 minutes. Before that, a quick check of the headlines this hour.

Plans by a church in the United States to burn copies of the Quran have sparked protesting in Kabul. The top US general in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus says the act would not only fuel anger, but also put the lives of American soldiers at risk.

Another deadly day of violence in northwestern Pakistan. Officials say 20 people were killed and up to 98 wounded in a car bombing. Among the dead were nine women and six children. Earlier, a Taliban spokesman said the group was responsible for a Monday attack that left 17 dead.

Australia's election deadlock is over. Julia Gillard won the backing of two key independents on Tuesday, allowing her to hang on to the prime minister's post. Her Labor Party's one seat majority coalition ends the country's 17-day wait for a winner and for a functioning government.

It is a remarkable story, 33 Chilean miners still trapped underground after more than a month. Well, now they're getting help from an unusual source. A team from NASA is sharing expertise gained in space exploration to help the miners survive their ordeal.

The rescue effort could take up to four months, and that means the men face big challenges, both physical and psychological, before they can be brought to the surface. The NASA team includes two medical doctors, a psychologist, and an engineer. They say so far, the men seem to be doing fine.


AL HOLLAND, NASA PSYCHOLOGIST: The miners were in excellent spirits. They had done a lot for their own health before they were even found. They had organized into groups, they had established a hierarchy among themselves, and they'd done a lot in terms of taking responsibility for their own fate. These are all very positive signs.


ANDERSON: Let's find out more about NASA's plans to help the trapped miners, shall we? For that, we'll go to Copiapo in Chile, where Patrick Oppmann is standing by. What can you tell us, sir?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If there ever was a "Houston, we have a problem" moment, it was probably this, Becky. And when the phone rang at NASA and it was Chile asking for help in how to advise these miners in dealing with the months of isolation, NASA said they jumped at the chance not only to aid and assist here, but also study the situation and learn from the experience these miners are going through. An experience that NASA scientists say is unique even in their studies of long-term isolation.

The four scientists were here and advised the Chileans, were greeted with open arms, and then were back in Houston today, where they gave that press conference.

What they told the Chileans was to have the miners as you said, organize themselves into groups, organize themselves into 11 three-man teams, set up day and night schedules so they have some sense of normalcy. Obviously, they're underground. There's no day or night for them.

And then, finally, NASA was advising the Chilean government on building -- the building of this capsule. Once they finally dig down to the miners, these three dills, one of which will eventually reach down to the miners, probably in about two months time, and start pulling them out. They actually have to design a capsule, sort of a cage, that doesn't exist now, and begin this process of pulling them out one at a time.

Even that won't go very quickly. It will still be about a two-hour ride from the mine depths up to the surface for each one of those miners. There's 33 miners, Becky, so that process could take over two days. Even the final stages of the rescue will be very time consuming.

ANDERSON: That sounds like a very rocky ride for those miners, Patrick.

OPPMANN: It's going to be so unpleasant, Becky, that NASA's not only recommending that the miners be blindfolded on that ride to the surface, but also be given some sort of relaxants. Basically, drugged so they'll be calmed down. Because otherwise, the final moments of their captivity might just be the very worst.

ANDERSON: Amazing stuff. Patrick, we appreciate your time this evening there from Chile. What a remarkable story.

It is a question of diet. With obesity a global concern, just what should we be eating? We're going to explore that connection coming up.


ANDERSON: You're looking at a group of Chinese rappers. Their band name in English means "A Thousand Pounds," their combined weight. Even their signature song was called "So What If I'm Fat." But now, this group sings to be slim.

As you can see here, they've checked into a fat reduction hospital southeast of Beijing, and they may stay there for up to a year as they try and lose almost half of their total body weight. They start their day with acupuncture to reduce their appetite, and with a three-hour daily workout.

"Diets" -- for most it's an evil world -- word. A reminder of an uphill battle that we all face on the quest just to stay in shape and keep healthy. For many of us, we've tried a diet or two or three maybe, and we'll try them again as we found out what works best for us.

But what do we actually know of the long-term side effects of eating or denying ourselves a particular food group? Monita Rajpal takes a closer work at the Atkins diet.


MONITA RAJPAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you look at 35- year-old Tiana Harilela, you see a vibrant, healthy young woman. But like millions of people around the world, at one point in their life, Tiana was unhappy about her body and wanted to lose weight.

So she tried the very popular Atkins diet for three weeks. A diet which meant, for her, consuming three to four servings of red meat a day. But the good feelings of being thinner were short-lived.

TIANA HARILELA, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: I'd lost all this weight, I looked good, which is enough to make most people continue. But for me, I just -- it wasn't working. And I realized, I noticed signs in my body, like the skin not looking so good, I wasn't glowing as much. And physically, my body was slimmer, but I wasn't having the energy that I needed to continue my day.

RAJPAL (voice-over): While there have been various debates surrounding the benefits of Atkins, a new study published by the US Annals of Internal Medicine found that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet based on mainly animal proteins, i.e. meat, resulted in higher mortality rates in both men and women.

RAJPAL (on camera): This is the kind of meal that we're talking about here. One that is animal-based, meat, high protein, very low in carbs. And then there's this one, too. Very high in protein. It's beans and legumes, still low in carbs, but considered the healthier option.

RAJPAL (voice-over): The study followed the lives of 130,00o people between the ages of 34 and 75. What they ate and how they lived, if they exercised and/or smoked, and/or drank alcohol was all documented.

BRIDGET BENELAM, NUTRITION SCIENTIST: If most of your protein is coming from just meat, then that really isn't giving the overall balance of nutrients you need, including things like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

There's certainly a place for meat in a healthy, balanced diet, and all the recommendations we have around reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease say that you can include meat in a healthy, balanced diet. It's really just getting the balance right.

RAJPAL (on camera): The study, which spanned 20-26 years, found that a low-carb diet based on vegetables that were high in protein, i.e. tofu and legumes, showed lower rates of mortality and cardiovascular diseases. But for Tiana, whose diet now consists of the philosophy of everything in moderation, it all boils down to how she feels.

HARILELA: I went from being pretty much a carnivore to a vegan, and now I've found a balance in between them.

RAJPAL (on camera): How do you feel?

HARILELA: Amazing.

RAJPAL (voice-over): Monita Rajpal, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Most people associate the Atkins diet with a high-protein eating plan. For its part, Atkins says nothing about its eating plans can be deduced by this study. In a statement to CNN, the company says, "Major clinical research has demonstrated the health benefits of low-carb diets, including several dozen articles on the Atkins protocols that, quote, 'demonstrate positive results in terms of weight-loss, as well as improvements in lipid profiles, reduced inflammation, and better blood sugar control.'"

How big a health problem is obesity? That's just being overweight. Globally, there are at least 400 million obese adults in 2005. According to the World Health Organization, by 2015, that number will climb to 700 million. Forty-six percent of Americans are obese. That is among the highest rate in the world.

It's also a severe problem among Pacific Island nations. Eight out of the top ten overweight countries are actually in the Pacific, including the tiny island of Nauru, with an 83 percent obesity rate there. Argentina also ranks in the top ten, with a 37 percent obesity rate. Just some facts for you.

As the old adage goes, we are what we eat. And now we're going to take a look at just how true that is. With me now, the author of "The End of Overeating," David Kessler, who joins me from San Francisco for more on the psychology of eating. Why is it such a big problem for us?

DAVID KESSLER, AUTHOR, "THE END OF OVEREATING": Food is a very powerful stimulus. It's much more powerful than we realize. If you really look at what's happened, certainly in the United States, what did we do? We put fat, sugar, and salt, we put it on every corner, we made it available 24-7, we made it socially acceptable to eat any time, we made food into entertainment. We're certainly living in a food carnival.

And when you realize that what food and food cues do, they activate our brain. They arouse the brain. There's that focused attention, where you're thinking about the food and nothing else. You eat the food, right, and you have that momentary pleasure. The next time you get cued, the next time you see the food, or the sight or the smell, you do it again. And every time you do it, you strengthen the neural cycle, the neural circuit.

So you're in this constant cycle of this cue-activation, arousal, reward. And there's really never any satisfaction.

ANDERSON: David, enter the diet, of course, given what you said. The debate still rages about what the right amount of protein in our diet should be. And various other things. Are we any closer to getting an answer on what our diet ought to be? Is there a diet solution out there?

KESSLER: Let's get one thing very straight. Diets -- sure, they work in the short-term. But in the long term, they can't work. I mean, if you're talking about getting weight off, sure you can deprive yourself for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. You struggle with it. But then, you're going to gain back the weight? Why?

Because once your brain has those neural circuits, once those neural circuits exist, that old learning is there. They never -- old learning never really goes away. All you can do is add new learning, new habits.

So if I go on a diet, I haven't changed my -- how my brain works. I haven't changed what I respond to. After that diet, I go back into my environment, I get cued again, my brain gets activated, what do you think's going to happen? Of course I'm going to gain back the weight.

So you really have to look at food in a much different way. You can't just look at it in terms of diets. This is about what we eat and what we eat for the long term. In the end, it's what's important for you. What are you going to enjoy? What's going to nourish you? What's going to satisfy you? Not what's going to stimulate.

ANDERSON: People pay a lot of money for the sort of advice that you're giving us tonight. The problem is this. They listen, or we listen, we know what you're saying, we know that diets don't necessarily work. We know we put the weight on afterwards. And we keep doing it. Why?

KESSLER: Because my brain is being activated. We are all wired, Becky, to focus on the most salient stimuli in our environment. What do I mean? If a bear walked into the studio right now, you and I would focus on that bear. For some people, the salient stimuli could be alcohol, it could be tobacco, it could be illegal drugs, it could be sex, it could be gambling.

But what's the most socially acceptable salient stimuli? It's food. And what is at the core of that food? It's fat, sugar, and salt. It's much more powerful, and our brains are being hijacked. And unless we change what we really want, how we look at food. What psychologists call a critical perceptual shift, we're not going to really change the emotional core of how we respond to food.

That's why you've got to find what you like, what -- and it can't be from the outside. Books can help jump-start it. But you've got to decide what you want in the long term.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. David, appreciate your thoughts tonight. For many of us, it's going in one ear and coming out the other, I know. But every time we hear it, it ought to make some sort of impact on us. David Kessler, joining us this evening. Thank you, David.

As our Connector of the Day, world heavyweight champion David Haye recently said he wouldn't want to take on 47-year-old Evander Holyfield. He wouldn't want to hurt him, he told us. We'll hear what the Real Deal himself had to say about that. Up next, Holyfield answers your questions.



ANDERSON (voice-over): Often referred to as the "Real Deal," Evander Holyfield isn't shy of a good fight. He's the only boxer to win the WBA World Heavyweight title four times.

Bidding for his fifth crown, he took on Nikolai Valuev in December 2008. He was defeated by the Russian after a majority decision by the judges. Still gunning for title number five, then, there's plenty of speculation about who Holyfield will face next in the ring.

This month, the 47-year-old is swapping is gloves for a fistful of cards. Holyfield headed to London to compete in Poker in the Park, a two- day event for enthusiasts. The Real Deal, hoping to be dealt a good hand, Evander Holyfield is your Connector of the Day.


ANDERSON: Recently, I caught up with the Real Deal and asked him why -- started by asking him, at least, why he's getting into poker at present. This is what he told me.


EVANDER HOLYFIELD, PROFESSIONAL BOXER: I'm a positive thinker. It's just like, even in the cards, you get two cards, but it's up to you to think about what's possibly going to be the next cards that are going to allow you to be better than other people. Even in boxing, you play the hand that you're dealt.

ANDERSON: Do you think you frighten people at the tables, being who you are?

HOLYFIELD: I wouldn't think that, because I'm a nice guy. I'm sure - - if there's a guy afraid of me, there's something wrong with him.

ANDERSON: You are coincidentally in London around the same time that David "The Hayemaker" Haye will announce who his next opponent is. Now, I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago. He says he wouldn't fight you, even if you wanted to fight him. He says you're passed it, you're over the hill. Do you want that fight?

HOLYFIELD: I would like to fight him, because he has a title, not so much as an individual. Just -- my goal is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. To have the title that he has. And, unfortunately, if you're in the game of boxing, if you're on top of the hill, someone is trying to take what you have. That's just the nature of the game.

ANDERSON: Would you beat him?

HOLYFIELD: I believe I will. I'm thinking that I have more knowledge, so I'd be able to wrestle it away from him.

ANDERSON: You're a lot older than him, aren't you?

HOLYFIELD: Yes. He's closer in age to my son.


ANDERSON: Bjorn, one of our viewers, asks, "Can you match the Russian giant, Mr. Valuev," whom I believe is something like seven foot. You've just said you're 6' 2", so he's a lot bigger than you. I guess he's asking, effectively, who your next opponent is going to be.

HOLYFIELD: I did fight Valuev. And I felt that I beat him. I believed that I did a little better than what David Haye did. David Haye won the rounds and he won the title, but I guess out of 12 rounds, I must have beat him about 11 of the 12 rounds.

ANDERSON: James asks, "What made you come out of retirement?"

HOLYFIELD: I never did go into retirement. It's just a fact that they took me off the shelf. Then I did the "Dancing with the Stars," and it was so big that somebody told them, "If that man can get that many people to try to see him dancing, you'd better give him an opportunity to get back at boxing." And they gave me the test, and I passed the test. So I've been back in boxing.

ANDERSON: Michael asks, "What was the hardest fight you have ever fought?"

HOLYFIELD: That's hard to say, because I've fought a lot of good fighters, and I would say the fight with me, with Dwight Muhammad Qawi in 1986, was a 15-round fight, and I'd never been past 8 at that time, and I had to 15. I made it, and I got the decision. But I remember, that fight was so tough, I had to go the hospital after the fight for dehydration, exhaustion.

I remember telling my manager, "They can have this belt, but I don't want to fight no more."

And he said, "Hold on, don't tell nobody, don't tell nobody that. Get some rest first."

ANDERSON: How did Tyson stack up against the others that you've fought?

HOLYFIELD: I guess it's not fair, when I think about Mike. Mike is the guy that --

ANDERSON: Bit your ear. Not good.

HOLYFIELD: Well, he's definitely the one that bit my ear, but he's the guy that actually gave me more confidence to beat the big guy. Because Mike wasn't bigger than me. Mike hit harder, and he was short. But he was a small guy.

You thought Mike was 5' 10". Mike was 5' 10", his arm reach was 74. Mine's 77. And Mike would be able to jab those big old guys who were 6' 5" and 6' 6", and they outweighed him by about 15 to 20 pounds, and Mike would just beat the daylights out of them. And I kind of figured, shoot, if that small man can do that, I can do it, too.

So Mike was kind of inspiration, me believing that I could actually be the heavyweight champion of the world.

ANDERSON: Would you be surprised if you saw him back in the ring at anytime? Listen, you're back. You're 48, you're pushing 50. You're back. You say you never went away, but -- would you be -- he's not coming back, is he?

HOLYFIELD: I don't know. They were trying to get us to fight, and I was looking to fight him, because I figured, if you come back, I'm better than I was then. They were paying us -- they were going to pay us handsome for the fight. But Mike told me, he said, "Look, my heart is not in it. And I couldn't muster myself to get back in and go do that again." So I was OK.


ANDERSON: Evander Holyfield. Well, he may just have to get in line to fight David Haye. The Hayemaker, who was our Connector of the Day on Monday has just announced that he'll defend his world heavyweight title in a clash against gold-medalist Audley Harrison.

Haye opted to face Harrison after failing to secure about against either of the Klitschko brothers, a point Haye touched on in our interview with him yesterday. Billed as the Battle of Britain -- Clash -- CNN will be sure to bring you all the action.

From the boxing ring to the putting green. As I mentioned earlier, we are talking with the Great White Shark tomorrow. Greg Norman will be in the hot seat as the golfing world prepares for the Ryder Cup.

Who do you want to see as your Connector of the Day? Do send us your ideas. Head to the website, Remember to tell us where you're writing in from. It is your part of the show. Tonight, we'll be right back.


ANDERSON: Strikes and protests as we go through the lens for you this evening. Millions of Londoners faced travel chaos as underground train workers called a 24-hour strike. Commuters were forced to look for alternative ways to get to and from work. Doesn't look as if they're moving very far at all, did they?

It's a similar story in India, where millions of trade unionists have brought parts of the country to a standstill. They're protesting against the rising cost of living and alleged anti-labor policies.

Next up, an end in sight. Public servants' union in South Africa has put its three-week old strike on hold. Workers marched through the streets demanding higher pay. They are now said to be considering the government's latest offer.

And finally, one of our iReporters sent us this image of national strikes in France. Public sector workers there protesting government plans to raise the retirement age. The iReporter pointing out that they look more like a street party than a street protest in Paris.

Workers making their demands known in your World in Pictures this evening.

Before we go, your comments on what has been a controversial top story tonight. The commander of US troops in Afghanistan says a Florida church pastor or clergyman's plan to burn the Quran on Saturday will put American soldiers overseas at risk. The clergyman says he's taking the warning seriously but, for now, plans to go ahead with the protest of the September 11th attacks.

Now, here's what some of you've been saying on this. Marilyn45 says, "Not a good idea. It will cause many more problems here and, indeed, abroad."

Blogger alboze writes, "Burning the Quran is a mistake, but so is ignoring requests not to build the mosque near ground zero," one of the other stories that we were covering tonight.

Somebody who goes by the name of Imboredashec says, "I hardly every hear a condemnation when we see Muslims around the world burning the American flag." Interesting point.

And brianb1972 says, "What I find ridiculous is that we expect any type of religious leader to be tolerant of other religions. Religion is about as intolerant as it gets."

You've been tweeting me on this as well @beckycnn. Get your voice heard on CNN. Head to the website,, on Twitter @beckycnn. We do read everything that you send to us, we try to get as much out, of course, on air as we can.

I'm Becky Anderson, that is it for the show on the tele. You've been connected. Stay with us online. "BackStory" is next, right after this very quick check of the headlines this hour for you.