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China's Fury Over the Nobel Peace Prize; Cleaning Up the Toxic Spill; Interview with Creator of "It Gets Better" Project; The Final Push to Reach 33 Trapped Miners in Chile; Making Global Connections Between Opposite Ends of the Silk Road; Boston Red Sox Owners Get Green Light to Purchase Liverpool FC; Manchester United's Ryan Giggs Shares About a Career That Spans Two Decades; Viewers Comment on Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo; World Championship of Sand Sculpting in Parting Shots

Aired October 08, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Blasphemy -- that is how Beijing is describing a Chinese dissident's Nobel Peace Prize win. Well, the award is announced by a committee in Oslo, so China has summoned Norway's ambassador to Beijing, saying relations between the two are damaged.

With the world's foremost award for peace now the basis for a geopolitical spat, tonight, a look at the ramifications.

Going beyond borders on the day's biggest stories, on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

Well, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is an independent body, but its members are drawn from Norway's political class. If Beijing believed it could lean on Oslo to put pressure on the committee, well, it was wrong.

With the story and its global fallout, I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.

Also tonight, they're just a few meters away -- after two months of drilling, Chile's trapped miners will soon have a passage to freedom. our special series on bullying continues tonight with the story of a global movement to prevent victims from giving up.

And it's Friday so it must be time for Global Connections. Tonight, you're telling us about the links that you found between China and Turkey. It's part of the show that you get involved in.

That is CNN in the next 60 minutes.

Well, he lost his freedom for daring to demand human rights and democracy. But China couldn't keep his ideas confined to his cell. Prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize -- an honor some believe could mark a turning point in global scrutiny of Beijing.

Stan Grant is there to kick us off tonight.


STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lui Xiaobo has a spirit that can't be shackled by prison bars.

LUI XIAOBO (through translator): If you want to be a person with dignity," he says, "if you want to be an honest person, fight for human rights and free speech, being imprisoned is part of that undertaking. There is nothing to complain about.

GRANT: Lui was speaking to CNN before being sentenced to 11 years in prison for what China calls "inciting subversion of state power." The writer and literature professor is acknowledged as one of the key authors of "Charter '08." It's a manifesto released in 2008 calling for respect for human rights and democratic reform. The Charter reached a nationwide audience on the Internet, gathering thousands of signatories. To the Chinese government, this was a threat it could not ignore.

Liu and other leaders were rounded up and arrested, his wife enduring the sacrifice with her own defiance.

"It shows they are very fragile," she says. "They are afraid of a pin, a voice, a different opinion. I think they are more afraid than us."

Lui Xiaobo has challenged the Communist Party before, spending five years in prison for supporting Tiananmen protesters in 1989.

(on camera): The Chinese government had hoped it could silence Lui. It has campaigned against awarding him the Nobel Prize, saying he's in jail for violating Chinese law and unworthy.

(voice-over): His lawyer now fears what may come.

"Winning this prize doesn't necessarily help Lui Xiaobo get out of jail sooner," he says. "Winning the prize surely won't help reduce his sentence."

But the Nobel Prize ensures Lui's message has now gone global and his struggle, he knows, will outlast any prison sentence.

"If you can be well in prison," he says, "face it with a calm attitude. You can persist on this road and walk it to the end."

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.


ANDERSON: Well, the Nobel Committee says Lui received his prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights, saying there's a clear connection between human rights and peace.

Well, China, no surprise, was furious. Government censors pulled the plug on CNN as the award was announced and it remained blocked out for much of the day. The only report most ordinary Chinese saw came on state TV, which aired a foreign ministry statement. It read, in part, "The Nobel Peace Prize is supposed to be given to people who promote national harmony, international friendship, disarmament, peace. Well, Lui Xiaobo is a convicted criminal sentenced to jail for violation of Chinese laws. His acts are in complete contradiction to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize."

Well, that was what was said.

Well, quite a different reaction today in the West, where many leaders are praising the award and calling for his release.

Well, last year's Nobel winner, U.S. president, Barack Obama, says China has made dramatic economic progress in the past 30 years. But he says political reform has not kept pace and basic human rights must be respected.

Well, French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said the award, quote, "embodies the defense of human rights everywhere in the world," praising the Nobel Committee for sending a strong message.

And Britain's foreign office says: "The decision shines a spotlight on the situation of human rights defenders." It says it will continue to press for Lui's release and for freedom of expression worldwide.

Well, Chinese officials had warned the Norwegian Nobel Committee not to award him the prize. After it did, Beijing summoned Norway's ambassador in a huff, suggesting relations between the two countries will suffer.

Well, CONNECT THE WORLD had secured an interview with Norway's foreign minister. Thirty minutes ago, though, his people called to say the minister was no longer available.

So you know, Norway is negotiating a bilateral trade deal with China. If it goes through, it would be the first between China and a European nation. So watch this space.

Well, we also tried to get a -- a Chinese official on the show for you tonight. No luck there. We did, though, recently get some insight into Beijing's views on human rights when CNN's Fareed Zakaria talked with the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, his first interview in two years with a Western journalist.

This is what he said.


WEN JIABAO, CHINESE PREMIER: (through translator): I believe freedom of speech is indispensable for any country, a country in the course of development and a country that has become strong. Freedom of speech has been incorporated into the Chinese constitution.

ZAKARIA: Premier Wen, since we are being honest, when I come to China and I try to use the Internet, there are many sites that are blocked. It is difficult to get information. Any opinion that seems to challenge the political primacy of -- of the party is not allowed.

I don't think you know all about China on this point. In China, there are about 400 million Internet users and 800 million mobile phone subscribers. They can access the Internet to express their views, including critical views. I often log onto the Internet and I have read sharp critical comments on the work of the government, on the Internet. (END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: China's premier, Wen Jiabao, there in his first interview with Western journalists in two years on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" show here on CNN back in September.

Well, we've seen the official response from China today. It was that Lui is a criminal. His actions contradict the purpose of the Nobel Prize.

With that in mind, then, can we expect this award to alter China's behavior in any way?

Well, Gordon Chang is our big thinker tonight, a regular on this show. And I'm going the wrong way. He's over here. Gordon Chang is over here for you. He's in Boston, Massachusetts for you this evening.

Gordon, good to have you.

You're going to tell me that they've overplayed their hand, but that doesn't surprise you, yes?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA": Yes, these days Beijing thinks that it owns the century. Well, if it owns the century, then it should be able to get its way. And it was not able to get its way with the Norwegian Nobel Committee. So that has enraged officials in the Chinese capital.


CHANG: And, you know, that's why we have all these bellicose words.

ANDERSON: Now, the prize might embarrass them, but will it make China change its ways at all?

CHANG: Well, you know, it's certainly changing the Chinese people, because, you know, a lot of Chinese people will be watching the television and scratching their head because they have never heard of Lui Xiaobo. And they're going to start asking.

And, also, that we have seen on the Chinese Internet in QQ, which is the instant messaging system, the chat rooms and the billboards, basically everybody is saying this is terrific for China.

And so you have, now, a big divide between the Chinese people and their government. You know, something may not happen this month or even this year, but you can see that Chinese society is moving in a direction that the Chinese government is very fearful of.

ANDERSON: Out of interest, what do you think will happen to Lui Xiaobo himself now?

CHANG: I think that the government -- you know, his lawyer is absolutely right, this is not going to help him in the sense of his sentence is not going to be reduced. It may even be lengthened. But, you know, on the other hand, ultimately, Lui wins. It may not be this year, it may not be next year, but I -- I think that, clearly, the government is on the back foot here.

ANDERSON: Meantime, he's still banged up, of course. This comes right in the middle of China's negotiations -- really crucial negotiations with Norway over a big oil deal and a big bilateral trade deal -- the biggest that you -- any one European country has ever had with China.

Should the Norwegians be concerned about this deal now, do you think?

CHANG: I think they should be a little bit concerned. There is going to be a lot of huffing and puffing and a lot of bluster. These negotiations are going to take longer than they looked like they were. But nonetheless, I think that, basically, Beijing is going to make an economic deal, because, at the end of the day, they have very little choice.

ANDERSON: Gordon, the prize itself does have a bit of a credibility problem of -- of late. Didn't Tom Lehrer give up writing satire when Henry Kissinger won it, because he said the truth was satirical enough. And Obama, of course, not particularly a popular choice for many last year.

Perhaps ignoring this announcement would have been more sensible for China, given this credibility gap for the prize itself, wouldn't it, rather than a -- got into play, as it were?

CHANG: Yes. Clearly, Beijing just should have not done and not said anything. I think that last year, they were actually thinking of a Chinese dissident, if not Lui, then some of the others, because this was the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen last year and everyone expected a Chinese to win the prize.

And I think that, basically, Obama got it because the committee just realized that it did not want to anger Beijing.

But with Beijing's really hostile and aggressive comments over the last couple of months and some of the things that it's done, it just guaranteed that, you know, somebody in China was going to get the prize.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating.

Gordon, always a pleasure.

Thank you, on a Friday evening, particularly, out of Massachusetts this evening.

Gordon Chang, one of our Big Thinkers on this show.

Well, as news organizations like ours cover this story, Chinese authorities are wiping Lui Xiaobo's name from history. When you type his name or Nobel Peace Prize in search engines in China, you'll get an error page. Beijing has also blocked access to social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube.

But a few tech savvy users have learned to circumvent the censors.

Here are a couple of Tweets that we found from earlier today.

"We finally have our own Mandela and Aung Sang Suu Kyi," says ZiYi64 (ph).

And this from Joe Yang: "How come I feel today is the real national day?"

Well, you can Tweet me directly @beckycnn. Let us know what you think about this story. We're also on Facebook. Just search for CONNECT THE WORLD. CNN Connect is the Facebook site.

Coming up, as Hungary gets to grips with its toxic sludge, there is some good news for neighboring countries and why celebrities are speaking out to show bullying victims that life can get better.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

I'm Becky Anderson.

It's 14 minutes past 9:00 in London on a Friday evening.

Seven people are now confirmed dead after toxic sludge leaked from a reservoir in Hungary. The spill put neighboring countries on alert after it leaked into Europe's second longest river. Tests, though, taken earlier today show the Danube may be safe from harm.

But as senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, reports, the cleanup operation has a very, very long way to go.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is where the water is being tested. It's got a high alkali content. That's what's made it so caustic. Those men are testing it to see what level it's at now. And this is some of the mixture of plaster and chemicals that's quite literally been taken up by a digger, dumped into the river down here to try and improve the quality of the water -- to try and make it less caustic.

But if we go over here, you can see some of the clean-up that's going on just over the road.

One of the things that's changed in the past few days here is the police have got a checkpoint further up the road, stopping too many vehicles coming through the town.

But here, if you look over here, more people in white coats. That's another thing we're seeing a lot more of. But here's the clean-up going on -- quite literally scooping up the red sludge, putting it in this big dump truck here to try and take it away. And in the background over there, you can see the house. They're having the logs removed -- the contaminated logs stained red, as everything is around here.

This is about five miles, eight kilometers, downriver from the spill. And you can see how wide the swath of land and vegetation that was cut by this toxic spill when it happened. I mean, you look at the vegetation now, you can see it's all dying off.

But if you want to see just how contaminated the river water still is, look down here at this spring -- a freshwater spring right down here -- clean water coming out, flowing into the river. And it stays clean for just a few seconds after it hits the river. And you can see that murkiness in the water there. And that gives you an idea just how contaminated the rivers still are.

Greenpeace, the activist environmentalist group, say the government here has been underreporting how bad the situation is.

Nic Robertson, CNN, several miles, several kilometers, downriver from the toxic spill, Hungary.


ANDERSON: Startling.

Well, Hungarian officials are saying the alkalinity of the sludge in the Danube has a pH of 8.5. Now this chart that. You're going to see behind me shows the range of pH, from zero, meaning maximum acidity, to 14, meeting -- meaning maximum alkalinity. Now, 13, as you can see there, is how the sludge started out, roughly equal in alkalinity to bleach, whereas nine, near where it is now, is the equivalent to baking soda. The scale is logarithmic and each value is 10 times greater than the one below it. So pH 13 is 10 times more alkaline that pH 12 and 100 times more alkaline than pH 11. A healthy level for water is about 6.5, I'm told.

Well, most fresh water fish live in the six to seven range. And some can survive in the five to nine range. But changes -- rapid changes in pH can be fatal.

Well, you have been having your say on the toxic spill on the Web site.

Zolapdrew believes "countries affected by this spill should also conduct their separate, independent tests to confirm that the Danube River is safe."

Sheridan412 says: "If the present government says it's safe, I believe them. If the previous government would say this, I would start to pack."

Smart2010 -- well, Smartegg2010 offers this advice: "If you want to know the chemical composition of the sludge, you can read the results of the tests taken by Greenpeace on their Web site. According to that article, the sludge is more toxic than it was thought to be before."

And Danceonedge writes: "Yes, sure. And the oil spill didn't hurt the Gulf either. How long can a civilization last if it keeps poisoning its water supply?"

Good point. If you'd like to join that conversation, head to the Web site,

You're with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.

Coming up next, words of encouragement for young people bullied because of their sexuality. I'm going to talk with the creator of the "It Gets Better" project as we wrap up our week of special coverage on bullying.

That is just ahead.


ANDERSON: Welcome back.

Now all this week on CONNECT THE WORLD, we've been examining the problem of bullying all over the world. Some people treat it as a normal part of growing up, sadly. But for others, it can have lifelong and even fatal consequences.

Well, first, we brought you the story of Tyler Clementi. He took his own life, you'll remember, in New York last month after his university roommates streamed video of his sexual encounter with another man on the Internet.

We also got some expert advice for parents who want to protect their kids from bullies in school and showed you how even small kids can protect themselves by learning confidence and a bit of control.

But as the tragic story of Tyler Clementi illustrates, sometimes bullying just becomes too much for kids to handle. According to the University of California, suicide is the third leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 24. That translates to thousands -- thousands of adolescent suicides each year in the U.S. alone.

But there's one group of young people at higher risk than all the others and that is young, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender GLBT kids. In fact, they are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual young people. And overall -- get this -- one in three gay adolescents has attempted suicide, according to one expert report.

Those are shocking statistics. Well, often a suicide attempt comes as a result of bullying. And that's where the new project, "It Gets Better," is trying to help. Thousands of people from celebrities to ordinary men and women have recorded messages of encouragement and support for young gay people who are being tormented because of their sexuality.

Well, in just a moment, we're going to hear from the creator of the project, Dan Savage.

First, though, let's take a look at his message.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're in high school, if you're in middle school and you're finding it difficult to go to school, to be accepted by your family, I'm here to tell you, it gets better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a lot of -- I get very emotional -- people really care about you. And I'm included in that group.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know what it's like to be bullied and teased every single day. And I know that it may seem like there is no chance of happiness left, but I promise you, there is a world full of acceptance and love just waiting for you to find it.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gets better.



ANDERSON: "It Gets Better" -- a project started by Dan Savage.

I began by asking him, when I spoke earlier on today, what's surprising particularly moved him from the various submissions they've had -- and they've had hundreds -- tens of thousands.

This is what he said.


DAN SAVAGE, CREATOR, "IT GETS BETTER," AUTHOR AND SEX ADVICE COLUMNIST: You know, what really blows my mind is that so many gay and lesbian adults were really hanging back and waiting for permission. And it wasn't just me. And somebody just had to say it. If it wasn't me, somebody was going to think about it.

What's really moved me, though, are the e-mails from the parents of bullied 14, 13 and 15-year-old kids who are still trapped in these schools where other kids, straight kids, feel they have license to abuse gay and lesbian children, who are writing me and thanking me and telling me that they're sitting their bullied kids down in front of the computer to watch these videos together and that they're really helping their kids get through this tough time in their lives.

ANDERSON: That it brilliant.

It's the tragic timing of the Rutgers University student suicide that has really put this issue front and center, just a couple of weeks after you and Trevor posted your video.

Greg writes us. He wonders whether you think that this is now a tipping point in the fight against homophobia?

SAVAGE: I think it may very well be. What we have to realize, particularly here in the United States, is that the rhetoric of the religious right has consequences for children, for people. You know, there aren't very many gay and lesbian people -- adults -- in Greensburg, Indiana, where Billy Lucas was being terrorized and bullied to death.

But there are gay and lesbian children in all these places. And when young, straight children see their parents voting against gay and lesbian civil rights and listen to their religious leaders claiming that gay and lesbian people are trying to destroy the institution of marriage, destroy the family, mom and dad can only abuse gay people at the ballot box and from afar. But their kids go to school with kids who are gay and they feel they have license to abuse them with their fists and with their words in person. And now we see the result of that.

And I think we are reaching a tipping point, a similar one to the one we reached with race. You used to be able to go on TV, you know, and say - - within my lifetime, in my living memory -- I remember watching people go on TV and argue for segregation and against interracial marriage. And those positions were treated as respectable and reasonable political points of view.

Not anymore. And we're reaching that tipping point, I think, with gay and lesbian civil rights, that we're going to -- those beliefs are no longer to be entertained, bible or no bible.

ANDERSON: But a really interesting question here for you from Lucy, who says: "Do you respect people's rights not to come out?"

She says: "There are some people who'd rather just not deal with the public spotlight, but it doesn't mean that they are ashamed."

SAVAGE: People have a right to come out or not come out. And that's their own free choice. I'm not conducting an outing campaign. And I do believe that outing is a -- a legitimate political act if somebody is, you know, an elected official and is secretly gay and stumping against gay people and advocating anti-gay policies, then it's legitimate. That personal hypocrisy is totally illegitimate and that person is a legitimate target of an outing campaign.

But people have a right to make their own choices and to come out or not come out. And a lot of the videos are actually encouraging people who are 15, 16 years old not to come out...


SAVAGE: -- to perhaps wait, to assess their personal situation, their parents' bigotry. You know, 40 percent of homeless teenagers in the United States are gay and lesbian teenagers who have been thrown out of their homes because they were outed or came out to parents who rejected them. So kids do need to think of that long and hard before they make the decision to come out themselves.

ANDERSON: Yes. Dan, many, many of our viewers wonder how bullying should be prosecuted.

What is your thought?

SAVAGE: You know, if a 16-year-old boy goes to a shopping mall and beats up a little old lady, he's arrested and prosecuted for assault. But a 16-year-old boy who goes to school and beats up a 13-year-old boy because he thinks he's gay is not arrested or prosecuted. They should be arrested and prosecuted. We need anti-bullying programs in the schools. We need gay-straight student alliances in the schools. We need the Trevor Project, which does 24 hour suicide counseling for gay and lesbian teenagers. And we need anti-bullying programs in the schools for straight kids, who are also bullied.

But we really need to start treating these incidents like the crimes that they are and holding bullies accountable and also school administrators accountable. Just like the Catholic bishops who didn't take reports of child rape by priests to the authorities, school officials who don't report physical assaults to the authorities themselves should face prosecution.

ANDERSON: Dan Savage making a lot of sense for you today.

And you can watch all of the reports that we've featured this week plus find resources and a way to get involved at

Well, up next, as the rescue of 33 miners inches closer in Chile, we'll hear from their loved ones on the long wait so far.



I'm Becky Anderson in London.

It's just about 9:30 here.

Coming up, the final push to reach 33 trapped miners in Chile. We're going to go live to the mine for an update on the drilling operation there. Could it be the beginning of the end?

Plus, a modern-day journey down an historic route. We're joining the dots between two countries at opposite ends of the Silk Road, and we'll reveal the connections that you've come up with.

And a green light for the owners of the Boston Red Sox, the latest on their attempt to snap up English Premier League side Liverpool FC.

All those stories are ahead in this show. As ever, though, at this point, let's get you a very, very quick check of the headlines.

China is calling this year's Nobel Peace Prize blasphemy. The award went to one of the country's leading dissidents, Liu Xiaobo, who's currently serving an 11-year jail sentence after demanding democratic reforms. Western governments are praising the decision and urging China to release him.

A bomb blast killed an outspoken governor and 20 other worshipers at a mosque in northern Afghanistan's Takhar province during Friday prayers. Mohammed Omar, governor of neighboring Kunduz province, has survived several previous Taliban assassination attempts.

Another member of the Obama administration is calling it quits. National Security Adviser General James Jones stepped down earlier today. Barack Obama called him "a steady voice on key issues." Jones's deputy, Tom Donilon will take over. The shuffle comes just one week after the US president's chief of staff resigned.

A rescue drill is now just about 40 meters away from the trapped miners in Chile. The country's mining minister says it should reach them within 24 hours. Efforts to lift the 33 men to the surface could begin as soon as three days later.

For the miners' families, the last 64 days must have seemed like a lifetime, a nightmare. But now, they could be just hours away from the news that they have been desperately awaiting. Karl Penhaul joins me now from the mine in Chile. What do we know at this point, Karl?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the drill bit is now about 40 meters away from the ceiling of the mine workshop. That's the point that it has got to break through, and that will mark the countdown to the final rescue operation.

Now, of course, it hinges a little bit, the timing of that, on whether they have to encase the rescue shaft with steel tubing. That to prevent rock falls as that rescue cage, dubbed the Phoenix Capsule, is hauled back to the surface.

But if all goes well and they don't have to encase the entire length of the rescue shaft, then probably two days after breakthrough, the miners can begin to come back to the surface and back home. But as the minutes -- as the hours tick by, it seems to me that the anxiety among the families is only growing.


PENHAUL (voice-over): Day fades into another night.


PENHAUL (voice-over): But at last, the anguished wait may be drawing to a close for families of the 33 trapped miners.

LILA RAMIREZ, WIFE OF TRAPPED MINER MARIO GOMEZ (through translator): "Waiting's like a bad itch that bothers you every minute of every day. You get a knot in your stomach thinking this is the final phase. The only thing I want to do is take my husband home and forget this ever happened," she says.

PENHAUL (voice-over): She's waiting for veteran miner Mario Gomez, the oldest of the 33. Close by, Jessica Yanez mounts a vigil for her husband-to-be, Esteban Rojas.

JESSICA YANEZ, PARTNER OF TRAPPED MINER, ESTEBAN ROJAS (through translator): "All this time, I feel I've been dreaming. But when I wake up, I see it's all reality. My stomach hurts, and my head hurts, thinking I have no choice but to carry on waiting," she says.

PENHAUL (voice-over): The roll-call of all 33 names is painted on this rock. The families of miners Claudio Yanez and Dario Segovia have huddled here every night for two months to sprinkle the embers with sugar. A ritual to bring them luck.

CRISTINA NUNEZ, WIFE OF TRAPPED MINER CLAUDIO YANEZ (through translator): "This is an eternal wait, but I must be patient. There's only a little while left," she says.

PENHAUL (voice-over): The rescue may be now just days away, and Alberto Segovia isn't sure he can find the words to welcome his brother home.

ALBERTO SEGOVIA, BROTHER OF TRAPPED MINER DARIO SEGOVIA (through translator): "When the moment comes, I think I'll forget everything I'd planned to say. I'll just tell him what I feel in my heart," he says.

PENHAUL (voice-over): But Jessica knows there are two things that cannot go unsaid.

YANEZ (through translator): "The first thing I will tell Esteban is that I love him, and that he must never go back down into the mine," she says. "There are many ways to earn a living without killing yourself."


PENHAUL: Now, of course, the question on everybody's lips right now is what day, what time, are we going to have the miners back here on the surface. And the health minister a short while earlier said that he believes that extraction and the first miner could be back on Earth, back on the surface here by Tuesday. And, so, that will mean that Tuesday could be the first day of the rest of these miners' lives, Becky.

ANDERSON: Crossing our fingers for them, and CNN's team there will be on the spot as that happens. Karl, as ever, thank you for that.

As the rescue effort inches ever closer to the trapped miners, we caught up with one of the men at the heart of the operation. Brandon Fisher is one of the number of Americans spearheading Plan B, the drill team, which is now just about 40 meters from those miners. He spoke exclusively to CNN's Patrick Oppmann.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did you always think that you guys would be the ones to pull this off?

BRANDON FISHER, MINE DRILLER: I felt since we've been here we've had a good chance of it. You can't predict the down times, the breakages, the formation issues. I felt since we got here, that as long as we had some luck on our side, that we would have a real good chance of poking through first.

OPPMANN: When you break through, what's that going to be like? Have you thought about that moment?

FISHER: Yes, I've thought about that moment quite often. I think it's going to be an absolute overwhelming sensation. And at the same time, I think it's going to be a tremendous release of stress and everything that we've been going through here. I think it's just going to be a huge sigh of relief for everyone on here to know that we finally made it through whenever that happens.


ANDERSON: The US is not the only country helping with the drilling. A team from NASA has been on hand to help keep the men physically and mentally fit, as well as giving advice on how to reintegrate the miners back into normal life. Canada has also been taking a leading role in the rescue effort, providing a rig and a drill to help drill the escape shaft.

Once the rescue begins, the world's eyes will be fixed on the mine with around 3,000 journalists expected to descend on the site. The miners are going to be given media training to prepare them for all the attention.

Our Global Connections segment is up next for you. From one end of the ancient Silk Route, where a great wall speaks of imperial might, to another with a famed city that bridges continents. It would be downright unfashionable to miss what turned out to be the biggest connection you made. That's just ahead.


ANDERSON: You've joined us at the part of the show where we take two countries which, at first, may seem worlds apart, and I challenge you to join the dots for us. You've come up with some amazing links for this week's Global Connections.

First up, bridging the gap between Europe and Asia, it's Turkey. The second stop the most popular nation on Earth, China. What you came up with did really impress us.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Your Connections this week were endless. Here are just a few of the great ones.

MURAT CAMOGLU, TURKISH: Hi. My name is Murat Camoglu. I'm from Istanbul, Turkey. The connection between China and Turkey is cuisine. Turkish kitchens are one of the three great cuisines of the world besides Chinese and French.

In Turkey, kebab are really big. The meat kebab. And there's more than 20 ways to prepare different kebab. And actually, in China, in northern China, when I was there as well, I saw a Kebabish, which is very Turkish.

ANDERSON (voice-over): According to Pam, it's more than just food on the dining table connecting these two.

PAM SMITH, AMERICAN: One of the things that obviously occurs to me is the beautiful pottery from a place called Iznik in Turkey. It's in northwestern Turkey, and it has in the motifs on its special pottery, which it derived from China in the 15th century.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Mehmet points out a connection in the form of a barrier.

MEHMET R ELMAS, TURKISH: The connection I have found between China and Turkey is the Great wall, which many people consider it as a symbol of China's mighty glory, even though we Turks strongly believe that it is a symbol of the Chinese fear of Turks, who were then called Mongolians.

ANDERSON (voice-over): But that wall didn't stop connections between two of Asia's most influential cultures, says Mo.

MO OZEDEMIR, TURKISH: Turks are Asian. We are absolutely the same mentality. We come from that part of the world, we are the Mongols, the Huns that come from there. Probably in Asia, one out of every four persons is related to Genghis Khan. I'm an Osman Turk, my parents are both Osman Turks, it goes all the way back -- I can trace my family back to Mongolia.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And Jurgen says there's a growing awareness in Turkey of the ancient Chinese philosophy of Confucianism.

JURGEN BRUL, SUDANESE: There is a Confucius Institute in Turkey where the people can learn Chinese language and also learn something about the culture in Turkey.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And Deniz points out a common ceremonial tradition.

DENIZ TURA, TURKISH: I recognize that one point, one common thing that China and Turkey have are all the bride dresses are actually red originally.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Ayca sees a modern connection between two of the world's great cities.

AYCA RODOP, TURKISH: They both have the capital cities, all the world's major cities, the best ones are those that have water running through them. And that's probably because of the great trading culture that goes on in those cities, Shanghai like Istanbul.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Nabeel felt a mutual embrace from both countries.

NABEEL KHALID, PAKISTANI: My name is Nabeel Khalid. And I am from Lahore, Pakistan. The similarities between the two nations is that both Chinese and Turkish are very friendly people. They are very welcoming, very warm, and very easy to be friends with. And they hold a particularly soft spot for Pakistanis generally.


ANDERSON: One of the connections that you made dealt with China and Turkey each having world-renowned textiles industry. Makes sense, of course, considering that they sit on opposite ends of the famed Silk Road. So, with that in mind, we've connected two leading names in the fashion world for you.

David Tang is the co -- founder of the colorful fashion house Shanghai Tang, and is one of Hong Kong's best-known businessmen. Ece Ege is the woman behind one of the most famous fashion brands in Istanbul. She's also a winner of the prestigious Femme Honneur, an award given to successful women in France. So I began by asking David Tang about the importance of the Silk Road from China's perspective.


DAVID TANG, FOUNDER, CHINA CLUBS: If I remember my history correctly, that the Uyghurs, who are now the indigenous population in western China in Xinjiang, was in fact a confederation of Turkish tribes. So there is, in fact -- I don't know whether you know a central connection between Turkey - - the Turkish and the Chinese in the Uyghurs, whom we now control, as it were.

But the Uyghurs were very prominent, and they were great traders. And in summertime, for example, they had warehouse full of silk, ornaments, wool, and so forth. And, of course, lots of people traded horses, animals, and so forth. So, it was like the Piccadilly Circus of the world in the first century.

ANDERSON: Ece, you grew up in Bursa in Turkey. And, of course, that was an important stop on the Silk Road, or the Silk Route.

ECE EGE, TURKISH FASHION DESIGNER: Yes. The Silk Road started from Xian of today in China, and running to Persia, brought raw silk to Anatolia and especially to Bursa, the famous city of silk manufacturing, where I was born and brought up, by the way. And I remember when I was a child, my father used to bring me to this market where there was silk auctions, and it was so amazing and entertaining to me.

And later on, when I was grown up, I bought the silk fabrics of my first -- very first shirt collection and then I created the -- my first collection.

ANDERSON: Are there other ways that you see Turkey influencing -- sorry, China influencing your work?

EGE: I'm constantly inspired from Chinese culture and the traditional costumes in my previous collection. I always designed using Chinese prints and beautiful fabrics, color combinations. Oh, Hanfu -- Hanfu was designed by the yellow emperor's wife more than 3,000 years ago, which includes all the other Asian countries traditional costumes, like kimono.

And later, Caftan, also an empire, was also inspired from Hanfu. So mutually, elements of Chinese and Turkish fashion are influenced by each other.


EGE: That's great. And still today, these two things, Caftan and Hanfu, let's say, is permanently existing in the modern fashion world.

TANG: The Hanfu -- coming to that particular garment, of course, you see enormous sleeves and so forth. But I think they were for a reason, because it really was to show off. Because they -- it's almost as if they couldn't have enough just on their body, so they made --

ANDERSON: Bat wings.

TANG: The sleeves into a huge -- a sort of huge bell bottom jeans lily effect in order to show off the intricacy of the weavers. And how incredibly rich they could become.


ANDERSON: Well, there you have it. A connection with ancient routes linking Turkey and China.

Next week, we've got another challenge for you. For a sneak preview of the two countries we've chosen, head to You'll also see how you can take part in that discussion. We're looking for historical ties, cultural links and, of course, your own stories. Those are the ones we like best. The address again, Tonight, we'll be right back.


ANDERSON: The potential new owners of Liverpool Football Club have won approval from the Premier League to continue with the takeover process. On Wednesday, Liverpool announced the sale of the club to the owners of the Boston Red Sox.

Now, you'll remember, CONNECT THE WORLD led that day with the story. Many Liverpool fans very excited about the deal, and that is because recently there hasn't been much to cheer about. Liverpool is under a massive pile of debt and languishing third from bottom this season in the Premier League.

But before Reds fans can start dreaming of trophies once again, a courtroom battle is looming. Current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have mounted a legal challenge to the proposed buyout. They say the $476 million offer dramatically undervalues the club.

The financial health of another American-owned English club is also in focus today. Manchester United has revealed a record loss of $137 million. Now, that is despite an unprecedented operating profit of $160 million. The disparity, I'm afraid, is largely caused by one of finance charges and interest payments. Man U was bought by the US-based Glazer family in 2005, CEO David Gill insists the Glazers are not in the same position as fellow- Americans and Liverpool owners Hicks and Gillett.

With all the money involved these days in football, loyalty is rare. There are not many athletes who spend 20 years with the same team. In fact, there are not many who spend all that time at the top of their games. Except for, though, Man United's Ryan Giggs. He's been speaking with Alex Thomas about what can only be described as an incredible career.


RYAN GIGGS, MANCHESTER UNITED PLAYER: I've been so lucky, to be part of United's most successful time.


GIGGS: We had it rammed down our throats when Liverpool won everything, and I grew up as a United fan hating that.

FERGUSON: His consistency and quality mark him down as the best player ever in the Premier League. There's no question about that.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Can you take us back to 1990? What was it like then?

GIGGS: Day to day, it was completely different, obviously. We didn't have Carrington, we didn't have the facilities that we have here. It was at the old training ground, the Cliff, which has just got unbelievable history. The Busby Babes trained there, Best, Charlton, Law. And you could just feel the history within the building. But, obviously, time moves on.

Back then, 17, 18, I would get to training, we would start at half ten on the pitch. I would be there at maybe ten past, quarter past, so you could maybe spend a little bit of time in the gym, and then you'd be home for, like, half twelve, 1:00. Now, it's completely different. We have massages, we have pools, we have all the facilities you can think of.

THOMAS: Is it easier being a player now, or back then?

GIGGS: These days, is it harder? Probably. Because of the scrutiny that you're under. One good game, and you're a world beater. And obviously, then, they bring the money into it. So you have a couple of bad games, should he be earning this money?

It does boil down to probably the character of the individual, but you do need help. I had good people around me. I had the manager, I had Brian Kidd, I had Eric Harrison, all these coaches when I was a young player. And I had Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce when I came into the first team.

I've got people who keep my feet on the ground. So you do need that help, because at 17, 18, you're scoring goals for the first team, you're playing while everyone's patting you on the back. It is very easy to get carried away.

THOMAS: When you look at -- back at the career, and looking at all the memories and the photos and stuff, who are your sort of biggest friends in football?

GIGGS: Scholes, Nev, Nicky Butt. Paul Ince I was great friends with because he helped the transition from coming from a youth team to first team, helped me in that respect, and we just clicked.

THOMAS: What else do you want to win before you call it quits?

GIGGS: You want to win everything, I think, every game that you enter. Every game, every trophy that you compete in, you want to win. You can't always do it, but you've got to just try your best to win.

THOMAS: That's it. You're only allowed one more.

GIGGS: Only allowed one more?


GIGGS: I would say Champion's League. I bet you change it. I mean, tomorrow I could say the League, because it -- the League and the Champion's League are obviously massive.

THOMAS: Is it possible to win the Treble again?

GIGGS: It's possible, but it's difficult.

THOMAS: Harder than in 99?

GIGGS: I don't know, I don't know if it's harder. I think it was hard then. It's just -- you need everything to go for you.

THOMAS (voice-over): There's no doubting how successful Giggs has been at Manchester United, and it's in stark contrast to his international career.

GIGGS: You grow up watching the World Cup, European championships, and you want to be part of that and it just wasn't to be. But I enjoyed it. I enjoyed playing for country, I enjoyed playing Cardiff, I enjoyed going away and training with different players. Because I'd never experienced that before, obviously, playing at one club. But, yes, it was a major disappointment.

THOMAS: You've got such a vital role to play here, are we're going to have to wait before we hear if you're going to have any involvement with the Wales set up?

GIGGS: I would love to be part of a team that took Wales to a major championship. And whatever role it will be, I don't know at the moment. I'm concentrating playing on the football, and that's all I can see at the moment. But in the future, hopefully, yes. I've been in football since I've left school, and I've enjoyed it so much, it's given me so much pleasure, that I want to carry on and be involved. I don't know how, I don't know in what sort of capacity, but I'll definitely be involved, yes.


ANDERSON: Ryan Giggs, what an incredible football lover. Still to come, the reactions -- or your reactions to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded today and your Parting Shots. Those coming up. We've got a range of ways you can connect with this show. Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and the website. You can see the addresses on your screen.

Try the Facebook page, if you haven't become a friend of the show yet. We put that live only 24 hours ago. I know, I know, we were a bit late on it. But you know what? Get involved, become a fan, We've got about a couple of minutes left after this short break. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: China calls him a criminal, but too much of the world, he is a hero. Reaction pouring in about this year's choice for the Nobel Peace Prize, jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. We wanted to hear your thoughts, so we pulled some of the comments from our brand-new Facebook page,, that's CNNconnect.

Tim writing to us there, "With all the technology and transparency today, we as a species should no longer allow the subjugation of one of our own by anyone else. Xiaobo deserves the Peace Prize and more."

And from Mengot on the site tonight, said "China needs the world more than the world needs China. Congratulations, Liu, this is your second birth. Make the most of it for your people and for your country."

And finally, from Keira, "If anything, it'll shine a spotlight on human rights in China, or lack thereof. Congrats to you, Liu. He's in prison for speaking his mind, not murder. The government needs to get over it."

Get your voice heard, or do visit us at CNN CONNECT THE WORLD on Facebook. New site for you there, another way you can get involved with the show, there's Karen, one of our producers. Lots of things on that site for you. Go and have a look.

Before we leave tonight, we have to get you a few Parting Shots, of course, as ever. Today's, well, they're a little dirty. This is just one of the masterpieces on display at the World Championship of Sand Sculpting. This year, it's held in Washington state, the event's first ever foray in the US. These pictures were snapped by one of our iReporters who says she was wowed by all the artistic creations.

Master sculptors from all over the world come to compete. Organizers say they must have the physical ability of an athlete and the precision of a surgeon.

Look at those. That's remarkable, isn't it? This sand man appears to be missing some pieces. That is, apparently, part of his charm. The level of detail is amazing.

And interestingly, this competition is not taking place on a beach. They type of sand needed for carving is not native to Washington state, so it's not allowed on its coastline. The venue, actually, an old parking lot. Little matter when the sand is the star.

Amazing creations sculpted with only sand, a little water, and a lot of imagination. Your Parting Shots for this evening. I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected. "BackStory" is up next right after a very quick check of the headlines for you.