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Impact of Foreign Troops in Afghanistan; Afghan Government Attempts to Bargain with the Taliban; Rescue of Chilean Miners Imminent

Aired October 11, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET



PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: As Afghanistan's president confirms to CNN that his country is negotiating with the Taliban, we'll get reaction from across the border in Pakistan. And we'll find out what this means to U.S. families waiting for their troops to come home.

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

In an interview with CNN, Hamid Karzai said he wanted to invite the Taliban back to the Afghan family.

But are they willing to give up the fight?

And can an agreement over foreign forces ever be reached?

Joining the dots in London, I'm Max Foster.

Also coming up on the program, the world watches as last minute preparations are made to free the trapped miners in Chile.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds good. It sounds really good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want to go on the Internet and check out their friends. That's what the Facebook is going to be about and talking about.


FOSTER: He's the man behind "The Social Network," but does his film really show how Facebook rose to fame?

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin answers your questions as our Connector of the Day.

Remember, you can connect with the program on our own Facebook page. Just head to

We begin with the most detailed description of the talks with the Taliban to date from the president of Afghanistan himself. Hamid Karzai spoke to CNN's Larry King about a strategy of inclusion -- an effort to end the war through dialogue instead of military means. President Karzai talked about the peace council he kicked off last week and compared some Taliban fighters to wayward children who must be brought back into the fold.


PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman talk, in that manner, not as a regular official contact with -- with the Taliban, with a fixed address, but rather unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time. Now that the peace council has come into existence, these talks will -- will go on and will go on officially and more rigorously.

The Taliban, those of whom -- who are Afghans and the sons of Afghan soil who have been driven to violence by various factors beyond their control and beyond ours, caused by circumstances in Afghanistan, we want them to come back to their country. They're like kids who have run awry and -- and away from the family. And the family should try to bring them back and -- and give them better discipline and -- and -- and incorporate them back into -- into -- into the family and the society.


FOSTER: Well, the president -- President Karzai -- also discussed the U.S. troop drawdown, expected to begin next summer. He says the Afghan people have been abandoned before and he hopes it won't happen again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE") KARZAI: When we defeated communism with the Soviets, the international community supported us. But then after their defeat, we were abandoned and forgotten immediately, including by the United States. Now, that fear lingers on in the Afghan people.


FOSTER: Well, quite a delicate balancing act for the Karzai government then, juggling what he calls his people's fear of being abandoned with the Taliban's demand that all foreign forces leave the country and stop interfering in Afghan affairs.

Ivan Watson looks at a possible consequence of growing resentment over the foreign troop presence.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Taliban is spreading through Northern Afghanistan and the Afghan government says men like this are the foot soldiers of the growing insurgency.

Kari Mohammed Amin, shot in the arm and caught carrying a weapon, police say, while attacking a polling center during elections last month in the northern province of Badakhshan. Amin denies he's a Taliban fighter. He says he accidentally got caught in the middle of an hour-and-a-half long gun battle between Taliban and government forces and was later arrested.

On October 3rd, the governor of the northern province of Kunduz sounded the alarm in a phone interview with CNN. He claimed 40 percent of his province was overrun by Taliban militants. This past Friday, just five days later, Mohammed Omar was dead -- murdered by a bomb while praying in a packed mosque in another northern province. The blast killed at least 20 people.

The governor and Afghanistan's new counter-terrorism chief were high school classmates. The counter-terrorism czar claims the Taliban assassinated his friend because he was pushing for a tougher fight against the Taliban in Northern Afghanistan.

Omar's death highlights the disturbing spike in insurgent attacks in the north over the last year -- a region that was long considered a safe haven from insurgents.

I asked the suspected Taliban fighter why he thinks the Taliban appears to now be growing in the north.

"Probably it's because of the presence of foreign forces," he answers. "We are all Muslims who have to obey the Koran," he adds, "for example, the Koran says you should fight jihad against Jews and Christians."

Police say 40 percent of the suspected fighters detained here come across the border from Pakistan. Twenty-eight-year-old Amin normally teaches at a madrassa in Pakistan, but says he was arrested here while on vacation.

"Nonsense," says this police interrogator. "This man is an ideological criminal," he says.

Before he leaves, Amin asks to deliver this message to the American people: "The reason for the war here is the presence of foreign forces," he says. "If you want to see peace in Afghanistan, you should leave us alone."

A prisoner's careful words of defiance that suggest the battle for Afghanistan's north has only just begun.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Kabul.


FOSTER: Well, neighboring Pakistan is keeping a close eye on Mr. Karzai's attempt to make peace with the Taliban.

But does it support those efforts?

Our next report takes a look.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Frederik Pleitgen in Islamabad. And officially, the government here in Pakistan says it supports the efforts by the Karzai government in Afghanistan to have peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, as well.

Now, we know that in the past, a high level Pakistani delegation has even traveled to Kabul for talks with Afghan government officials and some former Taliban to try and work out some sort of a solution to end this conflict.

Now, the interesting thing, however, is that Pakistan has often been accused of playing a double game in this conflict, especially the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, have -- has often been accused of even supporting the Taliban and, in many ways, trying to stop the pre--- peace process.

However, the U.S. government says there is nothing to support any sort of notion that the ISI is, in fact, trying to get in the way of these peace efforts or even encourage the Taliban to do attacks. They think that it might just be some low level ISI operatives who are trying to get in the way of making peace happen in this region.


FOSTER: Well, let's get some perspective on this now, on the Afghan government's attempt to bargain with the Taliban.

We're joined by Matt Waldman.

He's an imen -- an independent Afghanistan analyst who once worked as a foreign affairs adviser in the European Parliament.

Thanks for joining us.

Let's just, first of all, clarify what the Taliban is, because we often specify it a bit too much. So when we talk about the Taliban, who are we talking about?

MATT WALDMAN, INDEPENDENT AFGHANISTAN ANALYST: Well, we're talking about a series of different insurgent groups who are opposing international forces and the Afghan government and principally three main groups, Hizbul Islami (ph), which is one insurgent group led by an old warlord. Al- Hekmatyar is a Haqqani group which is based in -- in -- in Northwest Pakistan, which has been the most ruthless of -- of the insurgent groups. And then there's the Quetta Shura led Taliban. That one, of course, Mullah Omar, the head of that group, that have, perhaps, have the biggest presence inside Pakistan...

FOSTER: Does any...

WALDMAN: -- and inside Afghanistan.

FOSTER: Does anyone represent all three groups?

WALDMAN: Well, Mullah Omar is -- is the sort of symbolic leader of all of those groups, but there is certainly quite a degree of segmentation between them.

FOSTER: And when we hear President Karzai talking about talks with the Taliban, how positive are the Taliban about them, do you think?

WALDMAN: Well, I mean, I've spoken to Taliban commanders in the last six months, in fact, nine of them. And -- and I think there's a great deal of skepticism on their part about the potential for talks with the government. And, of course, they are deeply mistrustful of the Afghan government and of international forces. And, of course, they -- as they see it, they're fighting to rid the country of foreign forces for Sharia law and for the better and a different government.

Now, until they see progress in those respects, I think it's very unlikely that they're going to come forward into a genuine and substantive dialogue. Of course, we also know that the preconditions that have been set down by the international community, that they abandon violence, that they sever their ties with al Qaeda, that they accept the constitution, in their eyes, that would be surrender.

So I think there's real questions about how far the talks can go in those circumstances.

FOSTER: Well, they probably aren't going anywhere at this point, are they?

It's just President Karzai suggesting that they are.

WALDMAN: Well, I think -- I think that's right. I mean what we've seen is ongoing contacts. And, in fact, there's been happening for several years now. And because these leaders, it's -- in fact, it's traditional in Afghan society for enemies to e in contact with each other over the course of the dispute. So it's not that surprising.

I don't think we can say that there are substantive, structured negotiations underway. And certainly the -- the Taliban will not welcome being compared to wayward children, as we heard in the report just now.

FOSTER: Yes, he doesn't seem to be saying the right things always, to the Taliban, does he?

He does want to bring them in.

And isn't it in the Taliban's interests to string this one out, because the longer -- or the closer they get to troop withdrawal, the more powerful they become, don't they?

WALDMAN: Well, I think there's some truth in that. Of course, it's difficult for them because they are taking a lot of hits at the moment. They are being degraded by international forces, who are killing a lot of the commanders.

But, on the other hand, President Obama has announced the impending withdrawal of -- of forces and many of the Taliban believe that that will happen, although gradually.

And as you say, yes, they -- many, I think, believe that they can outlast the international presence.

FOSTER: And how much pressure -- we know about the pressure on -- on President Karzai.

But how much pressure on the Taliban leadership to get involved in talks?

WALDMAN: Well, from -- from the inde -- I mean I...

FOSTER: From their supporters?

WALDMAN: Yes, oh, from their supporters, I mean I -- I think there is not a lot of pressure for talks. I mean, I think generally, if you talk to Afghans -- in fact, on, you know, both ordinary Afghans and in the Taliban, there is a sense that -- that talks are not necessarily a bad thing, but it -- but it -- I think there are real questions about the intention on both sides.

So do the government -- do the Afghan government really want to move forward with talks, because, of course, that potentially leads to power sharing?

In other words, they would lose some of their power and their influence and the potential for profit making that comes with the current presence of international forces.

And do the Taliban really want to move forward when they think, at the moment, that they're doing very well. Of course, they're expanding as you -- as was just mentioned on your report -- up into the north of the country, into the center, into the west. And -- and, in fact, they're killing more foreign soldiers now than ever before.

FOSTER: OK, Matt Waldman, thank you very much, indeed for coming in with your perspective on that.

You can watch CNN's full interview with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, on Tuesday, "LARRY KING LIVE," 10:00 in the morning in London, 11:00 in Central Europe and 17:00 in Hong Kong, right here on CNN.

Now, edging closer to freedom -- the operation to rescue the trapped miners in Chile is in its final phase.

But what do you make of a story that captured the world's attention?

We'll find out.

Plus, a real challenge for you in this week's global connections. We want you to link the country that's home to the world's largest living organism and one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.


FOSTER: The final countdown is now on. After more than two months trapped half a mile below the ground, the operation to rescue 33 miners in Chile has been set to start at midnight, as Tuesday becomes Wednesday. Engineers have lowered the test capsule, Phoenix 1, into the rescue shaft. It reached just meters from where the men are trapped.

If all goes according to plan, they hope to hoist the first miner out of the San Jose mine on Wednesday, but before this, an as yet unidentified team will be lowered into the chamber to help with the operation.

Here is Chile's mining minister explaining that process.


LAURENCE GOLBORNE, CHILEAN MINES MINISTER (through translator): They are going to be informed at last minute. All the rescuers have to be prepared to fulfill that role. The final person is the one that is in best conditions to be able to take on this task.


FOSTER: Well, workers have also been busy putting in steel tubing to reinforce the path the rescuers plan to use.

Let's get an update now on how this extraordinary operation is expected to play out with Patrick Oppmann from Camp Hope at the mine in Chile -- Patrick.


And just think, in 48 hours time, we could be looking at live pictures of those miners at long last leaving this mine. It's an incredible thought after so many months. It's over two months of -- of these men surviving underground, helping with the rescue, really fighting to survive what no one else has ever had -- had to go through, this record amount of time under the earth.

The rescue operation is imminent, officials here say. But today, in between all the preparations for that rescue operation, family members of the rescuers looked back and paid a little bit of respect for the drill that made this all possible.


OPPMANN: This is a Tandy (ph) drill. It's leaving the mine site so a platform can be put into place for a rescue capsule to lower down to the trapped men. So it's getting a hero's departure, (INAUDIBLE) clapping, shouting out their appreciation for the progress. For these family members, this is the drill that rescued their family members, drilled the hole down to them and they want to send it off with the appreciation of a job well done.

You can see the drill directly behind me. Police are keeping the family members and the media away. The family members just want to come up and touch this drill. They want to give it a hero's departure. They're shouting its name. They're calling out their appreciation for everything that it's done. This is the drill, they believe, that will finally lead to the rescue of their trapped miners, their beloved miners. And it's being sent off in great style.


OPPMANN: And now that a drill hole has been completed, rescuers have been building (ph) to started pulling those miners up one at a time through a rescue capsule. It's not going to be a pleasant ride, though, Max. We're expecting this capsule, as it's pulled up, to turn slowly about 10 to 12 times. The rescuers are so concerned about how -- the -- the effect on the miners, they're putting them on a liquid diet starting some time tomorrow, that will help combat the nausea, as well.

This is just going to be even tighter quarters for men who already had to endure the most claustrophobic situation imaginable.

They will have some communications systems. There will be a live video feed coming from that capsule. So officials on the surface will be able to see and communicate with them in the capsule. But, really, if anything goes wrong during that ascent, it will be up to the rescuers to figure it out, to work through any of those possible glitches.

Luckily, though, Max, there's also an escape hatch that, if anything goes seriously wrong, could lower those men back down to the mine -- Max.

FOSTER: Yes, just give us a better sense, Patrick, of how far they have to travel up that horribly narrow tube.

OPPMANN: It will be about -- at least a 10 minute ride. They're so concerned about these men standing straight up with their legs locked that they've actually been giving them special training classes to work up their legs a little bit, make sure that the blood flow continues in the body so they don't pass out.

But, you know, there will be bumps -- they have wheels on the side of this capsule to guard against some of the bumps.

And, you know, Max, we're hearing a helicopter go overhead. They've been doing this all day long. It's part of the preparations to rescue the men. What they're going to do when they get them finally to the surface, have them checked out by doctors. They've put them in some of these small Huey helicopters and ferried them in about four at a time to a local hospital. There, they'll spend about two days getting every imaginable test, being checked out to make sure they're completely healthy -- Max.

FOSTER: Patrick Oppmann in Chile.

Thank you very much, indeed, for that update.

Hopefully it will be over soon.

The head of Chile's state cooper giant, though, says the rescue effort has put his country at the very forefront of such operations. Codelco's chairman says state-of-the-art technology is being used this way for the very first time.


GERARDO JOFRE, CODELCO CHAIRMAN (through translator): Worldwide, mining will be able to make use of the technologies we have used here for drilling and for access to the miners. And this also marks new -- new frontiers, because never before has it -- has this technology been used to go down so deep.


FOSTER: Well, both the rescue workers and family members have been receiving tremendous support from around the world. And you've been writing to let us know your thoughts about this on our very new Facebook page. It's been up for only a couple of days and already we've had a huge response to this story in particular.

Here's what you've been saying.

Rafizal Rahman, in Malaysia, says: "I always keep up to date with the rescue operation. Congratulations to engineers and workers who are working nonstop and the miners for being patient and keeping their faith all the time."

Buslslwe from Durbin in South Africa writes: "I take my hat off for all the doctors, and especially the technical teams working tirelessly night and day."

And Peter Aiyelo from Nigeria adds: "It's great news for the world. At least we won't lose to the mine."

You've also been leaving us lots of comments on our blog at Crystal Riddick says: "My dad was killed in the coal mines of Virginia in 1978. I've been watching the coverage with undying hope. Good job, everyone."

Don't forget, you, too, can get your voices heard on CONNECT THE WORLD and also be one of our brand new Facebook friends or likes -- whatever you call them now. Sign up. Just head to

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

After the break, we're putting cannabis in the spotlight, as Americans prepare to head to the polls, we take a look at the why the marijuana debate is back on the political agenda. And we'll put your questions to Connector of the Day, Aaron Sorkin. That's the screenwriter of the new Facebook film.

What does he make of the social networking phenomenon?


FOSTER: Well, it connects our world yet divides our population -- is cannabis a healing herb or is it a dangerous drug?

Tonight and all this week, we're devoting special coverage to the marijuana debate.

Does it have medical or medicinal benefits?

And is there big business to be made from legalization?

We begin in the U.S., where pot and politics are taking center stage.

CNN's Joe Johns that's a look at why the drug is back on the ballot, as Americans gear up for their highly anticipated mid-term elections.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not one, not two, not three, but four states have initiatives on the ballot this fall that would change their marijuana laws in big ways. And one of those initiatives, the one in California, Proposition 19, it's called, would pretty much legalize retail sales of the drug for recreational use.

That's right, if the voters go for it, what once was called the gateway drug, the so-called evil weed that led to cocaine, heroin, ruined lives and sent thousands upon thousands to jail, could suddenly, after all these years, become OK to do for fun in California.

The three other states with pending legislation -- Oregon, South Dakota and Arizona -- are looking to either legalize marijuana for medical purposes or to modify the medical marijuana laws they already have in place. It turns out, coast to coast, 14 states and the District of Columbia already allow medical use, which is something a former national anti-drug czar sees as a problem.

To him, this stuff is like booze and if legalized, it will have the same negative effect on society.

JOHN WALTERS, THE HUDSON INSTITUTE: An intoxicant does make people feel usually euphoric. In fact, it's part of the pathway to addiction. That doesn't mean there's medical Jack Daniels or that there's medical meth or medical crack or medical heroin. This is -- this is a sham.

JOHNS (voice-over): OK. So how did we get here anyway, especially considering all of the reminders we've had about the evils of marijuana -- the old black and white movie "Reefer Madness," warning the public about it?


JOHNS: Or former First Lady Nancy Reagan's famous "just say no to drugs" campaign in the 1980s.

Criminologist Peter Reuter says attitudes have changed about marijuana, especially since medical marijuana, though controversial, has become a legal reality.

PETER REUTER, EXPERT, DRUG MARKETS & DRUG POLICY: It does give an aura of usefulness to this drug which previously, in every public presentation by any official agency, was always very negative.

JOHNS: Use of the drug hasn't exactly skyrocketed recently, but the one thing that has changed is the economy. Money-hungry states are looking for new sources of revenue and already wondering whether pot is the next cash crop.

REUTER: Governments certainly, if they become promoters of legalized marijuana, the legislatures start -- well, I mean it's clearly for -- in most cases, would be for revenue reasons.

JOHNS (on camera): Still, some predict legalization in California could cause chaos, starting in the courts. Such a state law, if passed, would clash with federal law, launching a big battle that could end up in the Supreme Court.

(voice-over): But at least for now, it's all just a pipe dream, with a lot of speculation, though the world of drug enforcement could look a lot different when the smoke clears on election day.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


Well, let's take a quick look, then, at where some other countries around the world stand on the issue of legalizing marijuana.

In South America, Argentina decriminalized small scale use of marijuana last year. Colombia and Mexico also allow personal use. In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana. And whilst it's technically illegal in the Netherlands, police there don't enforce laws against marijuana use and personal use in small amounts is also tolerated in Belgium.

Now, tomorrow, we're back in California for a tour of America's first cannabis college, would you believe?

That's right, in the city of Oakland, you'll find Oaksterdam. They teach students how to grow, cultivate and legally sell pot. Oakland even taxes marijuana sales now and plans to make more money on cannabis, if that's Prop 19 passes next month.

That is tomorrow, right here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Coming up, your global connections challenge -- what links Angola and Australia?

You're already coming up with some terrific connections, unbelievably.

Up next, the founder of Wikipedia digs into his treasure trove of facts.


FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, we'll introduce two countries that may seem to have nothing, almost, in common and ask you to find the links. Our weekly Global Connections challenge is straight ahead. It's a tough one.

Also, it's rare enough to see Kim Jong-il in public, but unprecedented to see Kim Jong-un. We'll look at the significance of all the pomp and circumstance in Pyongyang.

And later, "West Wing" was a hard act to follow, but its creator, Aaron Sorkin, is out with a captivating new film about Facebook. He'll take your questions, as well, as our Connector of the Day.

All those stories ahead in the show for you, but first, let's check the headlines this hour.

US military is launching an investigation into a failed hostage rescue in Afghanistan. British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed in an explosion last Friday. Earlier, NATO and British officials have said Norgrove's captor set off the explosions, but new information indicates a US special forces grenade may have killed her.

Investigators have arrested the CEO of the aluminum company at the center of Hungary's toxic sludge disaster. He faces charges of public endangerment and harming the environment. Workers have tried to prevent a further spill, fortifying a cracking wall at the plant where a reservoir burst last week.

Israel's prime minister said he will ask for another freeze on West Bank settlements to keep peace talks alive if Palestinians unequivocally recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians are rejecting the call, saying it would compromise the right to return of Palestinian refugees.

And New York police say a garbage bag containing military-grade explosive C-4 was found in a cemetery in the lower east side. The explosives were not wired to detonate and were carted away by the city bomb squad.

Those are your headlines. It's time now for Global Connections.

Just two more weeks left in our Global Connections challenge, and the ties you are building are as strong as ever. After crossing the Silk Road last week from Turkey to China, this week we decided to span an ocean, including a trip around the Cape of Good Hope.

We begin in Australia, a country that recently elected its first female prime minister, Julia Gillard. Back in 1902, Australia became the second country in the world to give women the right to vote after neighboring New Zealand.

Off Australia's coast is one of the wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef. All told, it's 340,000 square kilometers. That's only slightly smaller than the whole of Germany. Taken together, the reef is the world's largest living organism. Back on land, Australia is home to more dangerous species of spider than anywhere in the world.

Across the Indian ocean and on Africa's west coast, though sits Angola. Here, you'll find an economy growing at around 7 percent, by far one of the fastest growing in Africa. To say it another way, that's ahead of brick giants Russia and China and just a bit below India.

Speaking of money, Angola's currency is called the Kwanza. As far as we can tell, it's the only currency in use anywhere named after a river. And Angola's favorite sport is basketball. They country's team is easily the best in Africa and is ranked 13th in the world. As a matter of fact, these images are from Angola's match against Australia in the World Basketball Championships held in Turkey last month. Australia, ranked higher, won.

Those just some of the unique things about Angola and Australia. To help us a bit more, I spoke with someone with a wealth of facts up his sleeve. He is Jimmy Wales, as the founder of Wikipedia. He's got all sorts of information at his finger prints, and earlier, I asked him what he made of this week's Global Connections.


JIMMY WALES, WIKIPEDIA FOUNDER: They're very -- very, very different places. It was really hard to find connections or to think about connections because there's so many things that are different between the two.

Of course, there are some similarities as well. The populations are not that far apart. Similar, 18.5 million, 22 million. Similar size in terms of number of people but, beyond that, there's just so many, many things different about the two.

FOSTER: What sort of difficulties have you had connecting the two?

WALES: Well, it's interesting, because they're located in very different places, have very different histories, different language, different culture, different economies. They don't necessarily trade all that much with each other directly, although, of course, there's some between almost every place in the world. So it was sort of a mental challenge to think about and hunt for some intriguing connections.

FOSTER: But as we found out during this series, you can always connect two countries, can't you? So what have you managed to dig up?

WALES: You can. I think I've got a couple of things. So one, it actually -- it struck me how much impact China is having on both of these very different places. China's become a big supporter of Angola with very large infrastructure loans, and they're buying a lot of oil from Angola. So that's been really important.

And in Australia, they've also just recently signed a $40 billion deal for natural gas. So, China's hunger for natural resources seems to be impacting both of these countries.

And then, the other one, which I think is kind o interesting, is that on November 11, 1975, both of these countries had a major event in their history. November 11, 1975, Angola formally became independent of Portugal. And, of course, very quickly after that descended into a civil war, which lasted for decades and really set the course of the country and left it -- well, as it is today, only now beginning to recover.

And on November 11, 1975, the governor general dismissed the prime minister in Australia in a fairly remarkable event in that history. But, of course, the differences, Australia being a country of laws, they had a constitutional crisis, they got it all sorted out and, of course, there was no civil war and all those sorts of things.

So, two major political events, one led to complete destruction, and the other was just part of the ongoing workings of democracy.

FOSTER: That's a good connection. Do you think the viewers are going to have their work cut out this time? It's the hardest one so far, probably, isn't it?

WALES: I think it is the hardest one so far. But it's actually a fun one to go through, to think about, because it does challenge you to look for interesting kinds of connections. And also to learn about things you wouldn't have known about otherwise.

FOSTER: As you've been going through the site on Wikipedia, have you found anything particularly surprising on these two countries that you didn't realize before you started looking?

WALES: One of the things I didn't realize was that they have similar fossils. That the fossil structures and things like that are similar between the two countries. So, that's -- I don't know. It's interesting. It's sort of something I would never have expected.


FOSTER: There you are. And just as a -- to clarify, the Angolan economy growing faster than the Russian and Brazilian economies, not the Chinese one.

Some interesting links, as you've seen there. And you're already coming up with some great links of your own as well. On the website, we've heard how animals are both symbols of Australia and Angola, and Australia's -- Australians hold the kangaroo close to their hearts, of course. The Angola, the country's national symbol is the giant sable antelope. You're also telling us about both countries' strong mining sectors.

As always, we'd really like to hear your personal stories as well. Do you have links to both countries? We're challenging you to make those connections. Just log onto and join that discussion.

You are with CONNECT THE WORLD, going beyond borders on the stories that matter. Stay with us. We're back in just 60 seconds.


FOSTER: A rare appearance by North Korea's reclusive leader. Kim Jong-il, seen here attending a massive military parade in the capital of Pyongyang, with an even rarer appearance by his youngest son and potential successor, Kim Jong-un.

Dignitaries from around the world, along with CNN and other western media, were invited to the country for the first time in years to witness the festivities. Our Alina Cho was in Pyongyang and gives us a rare glimpse inside one of the most secretive societies in the world.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The most reclusive dictator in the world opens his arms and his doors to the world. An unofficial and elaborate coming out party for Kim Jong-un, the hermit nation's hidden prince, the son of Kim Jong-il, who one day will become its leader. This is the world's first glimpse of him in action after being named a four-star general last month.

Just after touching down, we're whisked to Pyongyang's May Day Stadium for the first event, the masked games.

CHO (on camera): There are 100,000 people performing in a massive display of coordinated songs, dance, and gymnastics. They've practiced eight hours a day, every day, for year. And there's never a guarantee that Chairman King Jong-il will be in attendance. Tonight, he is.

CHO (voice-over): What's different this time is that Kim Jong-il appears alongside his son. When the show is over, North Koreans in the audience applaud not for the performers, but for their leader.

Next up, a massive military parade, billed as the country's largest ever. A goose-stepping show of firepower by one of the largest armies in the world. Kim Jong-il, said to be in frail health and rarely seen in public, shows up again, for the second time in two days, walking unaided, but with one hand on the railing.

"Monsair (ph)," this woman says. "Long live the general, and long live his son." Here, Kim Jong-il flashes a rare smile as his son jokes with elders. The crowd goes wild, jumping, clapping, even crying. Then, as night falls, yet another spectacle.

CHO (on camera): Tonight's event, called the soiree, is the third such event in less than 24 hours, and it is pure pageantry. Take a look behind me. The colors, the choreography, literally thousands of dancers in traditional dress. The media has been invited as guests. This is the invitation. But make no mistake, the real guests of honor are up there in the balcony, Kim Jong-il and his son, the heir apparent, Kim Jong-un.

JORGEN MELSKENS, DANISH ACTOR: I think it was fantastic.

CHO (voice-over): This man, an actor from Denmark, one of a handful of private citizens invited by the North Korean government, is among those watching.

CHO (on camera): But what about all of the reports of oppression and the people starving and --

MELSKENS: I can't see it. Maybe it is there, but I can't see it. I can just see lucky people.

CHO (voice-over): This secretive nation will soon close its doors again, leaving many questions about its future. How will the young son rule? How long can North Korea continue as an isolationist state? The world's eyes are watching as North Korea begins its transfer of power. Alina Cho, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.


FOSTER: It's fascinating to see inside, isn't it? And as Kim Jong-il moves his son into position to succeed him, North Korea's closest ally has sent the new ruling lineup an invitation. Stan Grant has more, now, from Beijing.


STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): China's decision to invite Kim Jong-un along with his father, Kim Jong-il, to visit Beijing further enhances the young Kim's status as the obvious heir apparent in North Korea. Of course, it comes after he attended military parades in North Korea during the weekend along with his father.

Now, the China-North Korea relationship, we all know, is a very intimate one. It's often described as being like lips and teeth. China, of course, has been trying to bring North Korea back to the six party nuclear talks to try to bring an end to North Korea's nuclear program. By bringing Kim Jong-il here, obviously, that is going to be very high on the agenda, as well as solidifying this relationship and any discussions about what it may mean with the eventual transition of power in Pyongyang.

So, Kim Jong-il and the leadership arriving soon in Beijing. Beijing not going into details about what will, in fact, be discussed. But there's a lot of symbolism here and, once again, underlying that this move towards a transition in North Korea is certainly well underway. Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.


FOSTER: Time now for a few of your comments on North Korea's military show and China's reaction. The blogger rezlimey says, "It was sickening to watch all the embellishment taking place when," as he says, "the real people of North Korea are starving to death."

Someone who goes by the name of bailoutsos writes in, "I want to protest against China and its support of North Korea. Stop buying Chinese goods."

And blogger musis says, "How nice of them to put this on for their people while," as he believes, "they live in darkness and they starve."

If you want to have your say, just go to and you'll find a link to an area where you can give your comments.

Now, the film about Facebook, now, seems to be making a lot of friends. "The Social Network" went straight to number one at the US box office. Up next, the man who wrote the screenplay. He's your Connector of the Day.



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Aaron Sorkin is one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents. With numerous awards to his name, Sorkin has achieved a level of fame rarely seen by screenwriters.

He's well-known for the television drama "West Wing," chronicling the world of a US president. But it was his 1993 theater drama "A Few Good Men" that first got heads turning. The play was eventually made into a film and put Sorkin forever on the map.

Today, he's out with his most anticipated work yet.

(BEGIN FILM CLIP - "The Social Network")

MARK ZUCKERBERG: People want to go on the internet and check out their friends.


ANDERSON (voice-over): "The Social Network," a film based on the creation of Facebook, covers its take on the rise of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

(BEGIN FILM CLIP - "The Social Network")

ERICA ALBRIGHT: They've got 2200 hits within two hours?

MARK ZUCKERBERG: Thousand, 22,000.


ANDERSON (voice-over): The film has received nearly unanimous praise from the critics and has topped box office in the US. Making dialogue sing, Aaron Sorkin is your Connector of the Day.


FOSTER: Becky recently caught up with the screenwriter. She began by asking him why he decided to tackle the top -- tackle the topic of Facebook.


AARON SORKIN, SCREENWRITER/PRODUCER: It didn't feel to me like the Facebook story. I don't know much about Facebook, and I still don't. Technology has never been that interesting to me.

But in this story, what I saw were elements that are as old as storytelling itself. Of friendship and loyalty, jealous, betrayal, power, class. Things that Aeschylus would write about, and that Shakespeare would write about, and that Paddy Chayefsky would write about. It was lucky for me that none of those people were available, so I got to write about it.


SORKIN: And to set such a classical story against such a modern backdrop was irresistible to me.

ANDERSON: Got a question from one of our viewers asking how much creative license you really took. Question from Andrea.

SORKIN: OK. Andrea, I want to make a couple of things clear, that this is a true story. It's nonfiction. Some of the facts are in dispute, and any time there's a -- we present a fact as a fact in the movie, but that is in dispute, we make it very clear to the audience that that fact is in dispute.

This movie -- there are two checkpoints. One, I have a moral compass that tells me that I can't play fast and loose with the lives of real people and, in this case, young people. I'm not going to make up anything that's damaging to them, or that sensationalizes anything.

But the other is a legal responsibility. It's against the law for me to make up something that is both untrue and defamatory. A legal team the size of the London Philharmonic vetted the script to within an inch of its life.

That said, if I can just finish, people don't speak in dialogue, and life doesn't play itself out in a series of connected scenes that form a narrative. That's something that a writer does. That's what Peter Morgan did in his wonderful script for "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon," that's what Bill Goldman did with "All the President's Men," that's what happened with Steven Zaillian and "Schindler's List," "Lawrence of Arabia."

So, when you go to the movies, and it begins with the words "The following is a true story," I would look at that movie the way you would look at a painting and not a photograph.

ANDERSON: Very good point. The viewers were get it when they see it --


ANDERSON: I know. Has Mark Zuckerberg responded in any way to this movie?

SORKIN: You know -- I'm more concerned, of course, with the audience at large than Mark. But I was really pleased that last Friday, the movie opened in the US on October 1st, and I was pleased that he shut down the Facebook offices in the afternoon. He surprised everybody by doing this, the media as well as his own employees. He bought out a movie theater, he took everyone to see the movie.

As it happens, Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Mark Zuckerberg, his cousin is a senior staffer at Facebook and works very closely with Mark. So, Jesse got an e-mail from his cousin saying that Mark truly enjoyed the parts he agreed with.


SORKIN: And I honestly --

ANDERSON: And didn't walk out.

SORKIN: And didn't walk -- Not only didn't walk out but -- this will be more meaningful to people after they see the movie. He took the entire staff out for appletinis and made appletini the official drink of Facebook.


ANDERSON: They'll get that. Grace from New York asks, "What, if anything, scares you the most about our increasingly connected world?"

SORKIN: OK. Well, before, Grace, I answer the question, I want to make it clear that you do not have to agree with me in order to enjoy the movie. That this movie is just as much for people who have never heard of Facebook as it is for people who check their status uptight -- updates ten times a day.

But Grace, the thing that concerns me -- and I accept everything that's wonderful about social networking -- but the thing that concerns me is that it may be replacing actual networking. That is it possible that social networking is to socializing what reality TV is to reality.

Is there an insincerity there? Is it a performance that we're putting on when we put a wall post up that says "Had a girls' night tonight, split five chocolate desserts, better hit the gym tomorrow." Are you trying to sound like Ally McBeal there, because you know that that's a beloved character? The 30-something single woman making it on her own and she's got to watch her calories?

There's an insincerity to that. We're not showing our flaws. We're reinventing ourselves as something that we'd like the world to see us as, but something that's a little bit less than human.

ANDERSON: Do you enjoy a poke or appreciate a poke on Facebook these days?

SORKIN: I'm not on Facebook. I thought you were going to ask me something else.


SORKIN: And, you bet. But I'm not on Facebook.

ANDERSON: And, of course, you're well-known for "The West Wing." There are many people who wish Jed Bartlet could rule the world. What's your take on the current Obama administration? And, indeed, on the threat from -- well, the Tea Party?

SORKIN: My take on the Obama administration is that they are like the hotel housekeeping staff that has to come in and clean up after Led Zeppelin's been in the room. It's a very difficult job, and it can't happen overnight.

My take on the Tea Party -- I want them to buy tickets to the movie as much as anybody else, but I can't be asked that question without saying that it is generic and terribly, terribly mean-spirited, bigoted, and unsophisticated anger being directed scatter shot.


FOSTER: The great Aaron Sorkin there, speaking to Becky a little earlier.

Tomorrow, a British photographer and filmmaker is your Connector of the Day. From poverty to child soldiers, Tim Hetherington has captured some of the world's most thought-provoking images. Send us your questions. Remember to tell us where you're writing in from. Head to We'll be right back.


FOSTER: Time now for our Parting Shots. "The Simpsons" animated cartoon is known for controversial social commentary. So is British artist Banksy. What happens when they come together, then? Well, look for yourself.

This dark opening sequence, directed by Banksy, took "Simpsons" viewers by surprise on Sunday. It shows laborers in Asian sweatshops working on Simpsons programming and merchandise. They toss kittens into wood chipper to make stuffing for Bart Simpson dolls. And they use a chained unicorn to punch holes in "Simpsons" DVDs. It is extraordinary. Ostensibly, that was Banksy's way of poking fun at the reports that the TV show outsources some of its animation.

So, who is Banksy? Well, he's never revealed his real name or his face, preferring to let his art speak for him. Banksy began as a graffiti artist in Bristol, western England, spray painting subversive and satirical works around the town.

Now, it's -- he's experimented with other mediums as well. This is the parody of the decline of London's telephone booths. Note the ax in the pool of blood. As Banksy grew in fame, so did his fan club, though. This anti-establishment artist is now the darling of, well, the establishment. His works have been seen in major art galleries around the world.

These installations were part of an exhibit at the Bristol City Museum. The subject matter include the commentary on our welfare, the state of politics. From a chicken watching her newborn nuggets to a British parliament filled with chimpanzees. Banksy always makes his mark as, arguably, the world's most famous guerrilla artist. He referred to that at the time, as I remember.

Now, this Banksy sequence on "The Simpsons" has also been creating quite a stir on our website. Take a look at what you've been saying.

Jackson says, "Inspired, and a reminder of the days when they were almost always that topical and politically minded."

Dyson says he watched it in shock. "Obviously, something was different. I'm glad there is news about it to shed some light on the subject." A lot of people would've been very confused, I bet.

Terri, too, was shocked when -- and baffled by the opening. "Panda's being whipped? Half-dead unicorns? Yes, I know the reality of sweatshops, but is that really appropriate for 'The Simpsons' opening sequence? Hardly."

Don't forget, have your say on this or anything else you've seen tonight. Just head to our website, for the program page. Now, I'm Max Foster, that is CONNECT THE WORLD. "BackStory" is next, but we're going to check the headlines first.