Return to Transcripts main page


Haiti Faces Third National Emergency; Internet Used to Inspire Terror Attacks; New York City Council May Ban Sexually Harassing Behavior

Aired November 5, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Thousands are forced to fend for themselves, as Hurricane Tomas bears down on Haiti. And this may be part of the reason reconstruction money pledged here months ago still hasn't reached the country. (AUDIO GAP) the largest donor, the United States.

Where's all the money it pledged?

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

It looks like we're going to end the year talking about the same thing we began with it, Haiti suffering, that is.

So should the world have acted sooner to help the country get back on its feet?

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

Plus, is the American Constitution helping radical preachers to spread their messages of hate?

And it's the board game that truly goes beyond borders -- why the world is celebrating a milestone for


Remember, you can connect with the program online via Facebook. Just head to

It's already one of the most vulnerable countries in the world. First Haiti was hit by a devastating outbreak, then a cholera outbreak. Now, as if all that wasn't enough to deal with, thousands of survivors living in flimsy tents are staring a third national emergency in the face. The country is beginning to feel the brutal force of Hurricane Tomas.

Forecasters are expecting as much as 38 centimeters of rain to fall and many are worried about the threat of flash floods and mudslides.

Earlier, I spoke to Sophie Chavanel in Port-au-Prince.

She is from International Federation of the Red Cross.

I asked her how bad the situation is right now.


SOPHIE CHAVANEL, INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE RED CROSS: Yes, what I can tell you is that we have teams on the ground in Chacman (ph) and Jacai (ph), in the southern part of the country. And they've receive a lot of rain and there was heavy wind blowing all day.

There are still reports of floods in Chacman (ph), Lecaix (ph), as well as in Leocan (ph), which is the epicenter of the earthquake. We have emergency response teams on stand by right now in Leocan, in Chacman, ready to go to do some assessment on the ground.

Here in Port-au-Prince, it's stopped raining right now, but it doesn't mean we've avoided all threats to Haiti. So far, it's been raining for the past 12 hours in Port-au-Prince. So we know historically that rain can do a lot of damage here in Port-au-Prince and across the country.

FOSTER: You've been talking about past history and the experience of this.

But what's so difficult now is, of course, these vast numbers living in tents. And that makes them a lot more vulnerable, doesn't it?

CHAVANEL: Yes. Well, after the earthquake and even now, now it's 10 months after the earthquake, there's more than one million people still living in tents in Port-au-Prince, as well as in the provinces. This is on top of all the people who were already living in really difficult conditions in Cite Soleil and -- and in many parts of the -- the capital. So, of course, a lot of people are very vulnerable.

In the last few days, we've had hundreds of volunteers going into camps, trying to encourage people to seek shelter with families, with friends, to go to higher ground. But, of course, we have to be realistic. There is more than one million people still living in tents in Port-au- Prince. The situation is extremely difficult and there is not enough shelter for everybody.

FOSTER: And if reconstruction had happened at a greater pace earlier on, I presume they would be less vulnerable.

CHAVANEL: Well, of course. But there is so much to do here in Haiti. Even before the earthquake, a lot of people were living in really difficult conditions -- extremely difficult conditions. Just -- just one figure is that 70 percent of people -- 17 percent of people had access to clear water to their homes. It makes -- it makes these people extremely vulnerable. So even before the earthquake, the -- the infrastructures were really poor. The situation was extremely difficult.

And now we have the results of years and years and years of non- investment in the (INAUDIBLE) and in solid infrastructure. Of course, we would like the reconstruction to go faster. We would like to help the most vulnerable people on the ground. And there's been progress on the ground, really. But there is so much to do in Haiti. And -- and the road to recovery will be a long one in Haiti. It's not something that's going to be done in one years or two years.

FOSTER: Well, there's an immediate concern, of course. And that is where this storm is going -- how big is the impact ultimately going to be?

Guillermo is tracking Hurricane Tomas from our International Weather Center for us.

And he joins us now with the latest -- Guillermo.

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Max, we have it actually leaving many parts of Haiti, still affecting the north, as you see. Also, look at the size. It's sort of shrinking in the latest loop, as you see, because of the interaction with Eastern Cuba and also with parts of the island in here and with the Turks and Cacois, because they are going to get the brunt of it. The system is not going to weaken much. It has weakened such -- just a tad. And I was comparing this with the latest that we have. It is barely a hurricane, at 120, but because of the interaction with the land. But then it's going to go up a little bit again. It maintains the category one status.

Now, let me translate it into what's important to know in here. Translation speed -- 22 kilometers per hour, excellent news. It's moving rapidly to the north. Excellent news for Haiti. Excellent news for Port- au-Prince, because even though we still see rain, we will see rain for one more day, no more than that, because it's moving very, very fast.

This -- then it's going to stall out in here, but Haiti will be out of the question, not affected by it anymore.

Turks and Cacois is expecting the impact of it, and, also, the terrain. That's another aspect that will have to entertain. We have seen roughly 20 centimeters and as our latest guest was talking about, there are -- there's more than a million people there exposed to the elements living in flimsy tents. Well, these rivers are going to get the rain not only -- the -- the water not only coming from the rain, but also from the mountains, all that, that will cascade down. And that is the main problem.

So, look, so many people in here, so much rain.

But tomorrow will be a better day and the day after tomorrow will be much, much better -- back to you.

FOSTER: Guillermo, thank you very much, indeed.

ADRUINO: You're welcome.

FOSTER: Well, 10 months after January's earthquake, tens of thousands of Haitians are still living in tents, simply not able to withstand severe weather.

So what's being done to get the country back on its feet?

Well, at an international development conference in March, more than $6 billion was pledged to help Haiti rebuild. Now, it's worth remembering here that in addition to the emergency aid money that had already been donated, that in addition to that, the emergency money, what we're talking about here is the reconstruction fund. The U.N. special envoy to the country, Bill Clinton, has been tracking the top 23 donors. And in 2010, they pledged just under $2 billion. By September, only $730 million had actually been sent to Haiti. That's under 38 percent of the total.

The U.S. originally plend -- pledged to spend more than $1.1 billion during 2010 on redevelopment. By September, none of that cash had left the country.

Venezuela had pledged almost half a billion dollars for 2010. By September, it had only transferred 7 percent of its -- of this, just $33 million.

And the European Commission pledged just over $200 million in 2010. By September, only around $45 million had been distributed in Haiti.

So, there's really only one question -- what's the holdup?

Joining me on the line from Washington, from the -- for the U.S. perspective, is Mark Toner.

He's a spokesman from the U.S. State Department.

Thank you so much for joining us.

How much of the reconstruction money from the U.S. has actually made it to Haiti?

MARK TONER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, it's -- it's -- it's best to imagine the reconstruction money in two tranches, actually, a separate $1.1 billion. And that was in immediate humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake, was spent in Haiti. Now, what we're talking about now is an additional 1 point -- I believe $1.15 billion in reconstruction money. And that's the one that's still working its way through Congress.

And -- and it's common, when you're talking about these large sums of money, that, you know, Congress wants to see that it's not going to be misused, that it's going to be accountable -- you know, there's -- there's some kind of accountability process in place. We need to -- to address their concerns and then the -- the supplemental money will be I said.

And we believe it will be -- it's just a matter of -- of a short time.

FOSTER: Is it a short time, though, because this is a country which everyone accepts, even within the country, has a problem with corruption?

There's a lot of hoops to jump through. It's not going to be simple.

You're never ever going to, you know, to convince everyone in Washington, are you, that the money won't be used in some sort of corrupt fashion?

So the money is not going to be there very quickly.

TONER: Well, actually, on the contrary, we're taking steps to address Congress' concerns and we're doing it meth -- in a methodical way. There is a reconstruction commission that's been set up that looks at long-term projects.

You know, part of the problem, as I think one of your correspondents stated, is that, you know, a lot of infrastructure was already in bad shape prior to the earthquake. And this will need to be built -- rebuilt from the ground up. We're identifying projects. We know just -- the U.N. General Assembly, last month, they identified a hospital that they're going to rebuild for Port-au-Prince. That's going through.

So aid money is getting through. There are some Congressional concerns. We're meeting those concerns and we're working to get the rest of the reconstruction, that second tranch of $1.15 billion to the people who need it.

FOSTER: Our correspondents also told, though, that these people in Haiti are more vulnerable because they're in tents.

And they wouldn't be in tents, would they, if the reconstruction money had got through?

How are you -- how are you couching that to Congress when you're speaking to them (INAUDIBLE)?

TONER: Well...


TONER: Well, that's -- look, you know, that's -- I -- I'm not sure I agree whole -- wholly with your -- your statement. You know (AUDIO GAP) you know much of the shelter for these people was destroyed in the -- in the earthquake. It is a huge task to rebuild shelter for all of these people. You know, there -- there has been some progress...

FOSTER: But more of them would be

TONER: -- certainly it could be faster...

FOSTER: -- wouldn't they?

TONER: -- but I find it...

FOSTER: More of them would be

TONER: I -- I -- I just don't agree with the idea that reconstruction been -- gone through, that we'd have shelter for all these people.

FOSTER: Well, no, not all of them, but a certain preparation of them would have shelter...


FOSTER: -- and they wouldn't be in tents right now.

TONER: Well, the other thing is -- you know, the other thing that's important to note here, too, is -- is with Hurricane Tomas is, you know, we did anticipate this. We -- we're -- we were well prepared. We've got supplies prepositioned. We have the Iwo Jima, the USS Iwo Jima prepositioned to help out. And we're just, you know, we actually anticipated a possible hurricane strike on Haiti. And so we've got a lot of supplies in place. And hopefully, as your -- as your forecasters said, you know, it -- it's moving out now and -- and we -- we're past the worst of it.

But we are ready to -- to deal with the aftermath.

FOSTER: Yes, fingers crossed.

Just one last word.

When is your best estimation for Congress to put this money through so the -- the reconstruction money, which hasn't actually left the U.S., can actually get to Haiti?

TONER: Right. Again, $1 billion already spent in immediate assistance. This extra $1.15 billion, the supplemental, it's -- we believe it's -- it will be a short time before we can address Congress' concern and get it to the Haitian people who need it most.

FOSTER: Mark Toner, thank you so much for joining us from the U.S. State Department.

TONER: Thank you.

FOSTER: Appreciate your time on the program.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Still to come, Barack Obama leaves domestic political troubles behind. The U.S. president heads to Asia. His mission -- to generate more American jobs and to win back voters.

But next up, extremists get savvy -- how jihadists are exploiting loopholes to spread their message.


FOSTER: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the Yemen parcel bombs plot and for a bomb that downed a cargo plane near Dubai Airport in September. The terror group posted its message on various radical Islamist Web sites.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Max Foster in London.

And the Internet is increasingly being used by terrorists to reach beyond borders. Extremists have published an online hit list of British politicians, for example, who supported the Iraq War.

That page has now been removed, but as Phil Black explains, not before it inspired an attack.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): These CCTV images show Muslim woman Roshonara Choudhry with a knife in hand moments before attacking a British member of parliament. She stabbed Stephen Timms twice in the stomach before she was restrained. The 21-year-old student admitted she wanted to kill him because he voted in parliament in favor of the Iraq War. Timms survived. Choudhry was jailed for life.

It's a scenario that has security officials increasingly concerned -- the so-called lone wolf -- an angry individual motivated to violence by the underlying (ph) teachings of extremists.

Roshonara Choudhry says she was inspired by the preaching of Anwar al- Awlaki. Al-Awlaki is the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based terror group suspected of building the printer cartridge bombs recently found on two freight aircraft, as well as the so- called underwear bomb, which failed to detonate on a passenger jet last Christmas.

But security officials are worried about al-Awlaki's ability to influence individuals well beyond Yemen's borders. He received a special mention in the first ever public speech by a head of Britain's intelligence service.

JOHN SAWERS, MI6 CHIEF: From his remote base in Yemen, al Qaeda leader and U.S. national, Anwar al-Awlaki, broadcasts propaganda and terrorist instruction in fluent English over the Internet.

BLACK: Al-Awlaki's material is easy to find -- it's all over YouTube. Members of U.S. Congress have lobbied the site to take it down. YouTube says it's now doing that.

This was another site that influenced Roshonara Choudhry -- After her conviction, it posted this message: "We ask Allah for her action to inspire Muslims to raise the knife of jihad against those who voted for the countless rapes, murders, pillages and torture of Muslim civilians as a direct consequence of their vote."

And it published a list of all the members of Britain's parliament who voted for war in Iraq. It included advice on how to meet them personally and how to buy a kitchen knife online.

This Web site was hosted in the United States by Blog Spot, part of Google. So there was little Britain could do about it except appeal to American authorities. But somehow, the list of names was taken down. Then, hours later, the Web site itself disappeared. The Google message says it's not longer on the server.

RevolutionMuslim has long been controversial, but always justified its existence under America's First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and religion.

DAVE CLEMENTE, CYBER SECURITY EXPERT, CHATHAM HOUSE: Up until now, it appears that it has been used as a loophole and that they've used U.S. -- U.S. First Amendment rights to spread their message. Some of it does seem to be predominantly targeted toward a U.K. audience. But with this recent post listing the 395 MPs that voted for the Iraq War, it appears that they have crossed the line in -- over into an incitement toward murder.

BLACK (voice-over): Experts believe this loophole can't be easily closed, but they expect governments to try because experience has now shown Web sites hosted in one country can spill blood in another.

Phil Black, CNN, London.


FOSTER: And jihadist propaganda is also becoming more sophisticated in the recruitment of homegrown terrorists.

As Kate Bolduan explains, the al Qaeda magazine, "Inspire," is written in English and speaks directly to Americans.

We should note that in this story, we're quoting directly from the magazine to give our viewers a sense of the specific threat being made. At the same time, we're not giving information that al Qaeda and its affiliates don't already know about.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Imagery promoting a deadly message -- killing terror tips on how to wage violent jihad. The 74-page second edition of the al Qaeda online magazine, called "Inspire," aims to recruit Americans to kill Americans -- the "Ultimate Mowing Machine", reads the title of one article suggesting how to carry out individual attacks. Quote: "The idea is to use a pickup truck as a mowing machine, not to mow grass, but to mow down the enemies of Allah."

GOV. TOM KEAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: And what al Qaeda is looking for right now is not their additional recruits that they used to do in places like Pakistan and other places in the Middle East. That's a very dangerous theater for us and a very hard theater for us to intercept, particularly if they have an American passport.

BOLDUAN: Another article takes direct aim at the nation's capital. Quote: "A random hit at a crowded restaurant in Washington, D.C. at lunch hour, for example, might end up knocking out a few government employees."

Intelligence officials believe Samir Khan, an American citizen now living in Yemen, is a driving force behind the publication and pens his own essay in the new edition, "I Am Proud to Be A Traitor to America."

Fran Townsend, former homeland security adviser to President Bush, says while the magazine's message isn't new, the way they're getting it across is.

(on camera): So what is different here with this magazine?

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: These are guys who have either been born here or lived in the United States who speak idiomatic, colloquial English, who can appeal to Americans to join their cause. They know how to persuade them. They know how to speak to them. And they know how to really inspire them to become a part of it.

BOLDUAN: (voice-over): And top U.S. officials like FBI Director Robert Mueller say the Internet acts as an accelerant for terrorist activity.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: Consider the impact of someone like Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born and Yemeni-based extremist. Ten years ago, al-Awlaki would have operated in relative obscurity. Today, on the Internet, he has unlimited reach to individuals around the world, including those here at home.

BOLDUAN: (on camera): A U.S. counter-terrorism official tells CNN they're aware of the publication, saying it aims to provoke the murder of innocents and hardly lives up to its name, "Inspire".

Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Talk -- to talk more about the rise of online extremism, I'm joined now by the Internet law expert, Professor John Palfrey from Harvard Law School.

Thank you so much for joining us, Professor.

Have you noticed a big change in the way al Qaeda, for example, and terrorists are using the Internet in recent time, you know, in the last year or so?

PROFESSOR JOHN PALFREY, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: I think it's quite clear that everyone realizes the power of the Internet as an amplifier. And that goes for activists in a democratic setting and it goes for terrorists. So I think it's certainly the case that this is being used as a recruiting tool for good things, and, unfortunately, for very bad and upsetting things, as well.

And there's no doubt that the Internet is increasingly important in all of our lives. And terrorists have taken note of that, too.

FOSTER: Because it allows them to get into a country like the United States very easily, without physically being there.

PALFREY: It certainly allows a way for somebody anywhere in the world to reach potentially anyone else on this worldwide network. So if there are two billion people who are on the Internet and a couple billion more who have cell phones, they could be reached, in theory, from somebody who had no way to reach them before the technology existed. So that's true.

FOSTER: And they would be tempted, I presume, to spread their messages in countries that are unlikely to take those messages down.

PALFREY: I think there's something to that. I doubt it's quite as calculated as that. It seems to me this is an almost free way to reach out and that there is, certainly, a sense that it's hard to take down every single message on the Internet. So you're right that in some place, that the material is less likely to get taken down than in elsewhere in the world.

FOSTER: And America is the classic example, isn't it, because due to the Constitution, the government isn't likely to step in to take down what's seen as an expression of freedom of expression.

But is there a line when that becomes incitement, where the government can step in?

PALFREY: Of course, though I take issue with some of the statements so far in this program in the sense that while there certainly is a classic free speech, free expression type case and certainly the United States has a very strong First Amendment, there are two things that are important to note.

One is, the First Amendment doesn't regulate whether Google, not yet a government agency, can, through YouTube or Blog Spot, take these things down. Most of the sites, like Facebook or Google or others that reach all around the world have terms of service that say they can take down messages if they want to or anything that they deem to be inappropriate. So that's one important note.

The other is, of course, that the First Amendment doesn't protect certain kinds of speech. Hate speech, incitement and so forth are not given the same kind of protections under the First Amendment.

So in a case like this, it sounds like the government of Britain may have reached out to the government of the United States, which may have reached out to Google. And that would be perfectly lawful under the First Amendment given the incitement that appears to have been on that site.

FOSTER: So you don't feel that the First Amendment is any way providing a platform to terrorists and their message?

PALFREY: I think that's completely the wrong way to see the First Amendment. I think the First Amendment is a protection for lawful speech that we have for hundreds of years believed important to our democracy. I don't think it is something that is a shield for terrorists in the way that it's being portrayed in this instance, no.

FOSTER: OK, Professor Palfrey, thank you very much, indeed, for your insight on that story.

Appreciate it.

Now, still to come, before the Internet, we had board games, of course, if you remember them. But after 75 years, Monopoly is still the one to win. We go around the world to collect $200.

And a bid to end street harassment, as well. We're looking at that today.

Could catcalls and wolf whistles be outlawed in New York?

That story is next.


FOSTER: Unwanted sustained attention -- all week on CONNECT THE WORLD, we've been exploring harassment and how victims around the world are -- are fighting back against the -- this tool of sexual discrimination.

We began with Harras Map (ph), a Web site in Egypt where women can instantly report cases of groping and other threats.

We start with a blogger speaking out for gay rights in Uganda, where lawmakers are considering the death penalty for homosexual men and women.

Then in New Delhi, we went aboard the women only train, set up so ladies can get from and to without being sexually harassed.

And tonight, this trail of harassment brings us to the streets of New York. The city council is looking into a ban on catcalls and other lewd behavior.

Let's speak now to New York City Councilor Julissa Ferreras.

She chairs the committee investigating this problem.

Thank you so much for joining us.

All right, first of all, if you're going to look at this problem, you have to categorize it, don't you?

So how would you define catcalls, harassment, this type of harassment that we're talking about here?

JULISSA FERRERAS, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: Well, we held a hearing a couple of weeks ago. And basically the issue is really facing more the young people. What we found is that we had 60 women come out to a hearing that was held on a Thursday at 1:00. And what we realize is that women were being catcalled at ages 12, 14 and 13.

So we're trying to protect our young people and also trying to promote a campaign or a public service announcement, which is what we're looking forward to doing, just letting men know that it's not welcome. And most, at -- at best, it's threatening, and at worst, oftentimes women have been groped or -- or even some have led to some type of sexual encounter.

FOSTER: Is there some -- this -- a lot of this stuff will be done in good jest. And a lot of it is malicious.

Where do you draw the line?

FERRERAS: Well, I think it is on the basis of the woman, if it's welcomed or unwelcome. We have the First Amendment right. Clearly, we're not going to legislate on whether someone can speak to someone else on the street. But there are women that feel harassed. And we need to speak to both the police department, so that if a woman goes to the police department, they can say we feel harassed and we'd like to file a report.

There's no reason why a 14-year-old on her way to school has to pass the mechanic shop or a construction site and be harassed by the same man on her way to school.

FOSTER: And let's talk about that example, then, because I want to see how you can police it.

So if you have a report like that, how do you then take action?

FERRERAS: Well, there are rules for harassment. Clearly, anyone that feels threatened, they can file a report with the police department and it's about also speaking to the police commissioner and ensuring that for violations, the proper violations are in place.

But we're also calling on the Department of Education to provide a harassment-free zone around the schools. It's something that already works. It's something that's in place for drugs. There's drug-free zones around public schools. And we're asking for the same to happen with harassment.

FOSTER: But you would need a police officer, wouldn't you, standing there to police it?

FERRERAS: Well, no. I think this is something there will be a community involvement. We can -- it will be also partnered with an education campaign. Oftentimes, it's the businesses in the area where these men hang out around. And also, there are police within the school already. So it's about bringing awareness to them and being able to empower them with the right tools to be able to report this.

FOSTER: You clearly think this is a big problem to be looking into it.

How much harm do you think is done to women in New York because of this?

You know, how -- how -- how are their lives being affected?

How are their emotions being affected?

How can you categorize that?

FERRERAS: Well, you know, that's really interesting and I think that's what I got most from the hearing. Women were talking about how they learned -- well, in my case, I learned how to speed walk at the age of 14 because there was a pervert outside of a bodega in my neighborhood. And we heard this across the board. I had a 16-year-old come to testify about a man who was masturbating after catcalling her on a platform on the train.

Women are really scared. This is becoming something of -- of a threat and women want to be able to feel safe. It's about providing safe streets for women in New York City.

FOSTER: OK, New York City Councilor Julissa Ferreras.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us on CONNECT THE WORLD.

FERRERAS: Thank you.

FOSTER: And coming up on the program, after a turbulent week in U.S. politics, Barack Obama takes off. What can we expect from his ten-day tour of Asia, though? And we reveal a nutty security measure in place in Mumbai.


FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, after a difficult week at home, President Obama is on the hunt for more jobs for the American people. Why he's going to Asia for that, up next.

Here's a question for you board game fans. Were you the dog, the top hat, or did the battleship rake in the money for you? A popular game -- can you guess it? -- is turning 75.

And music with a message, winner of six Grammys, John Legend answers your questions as our Connector of the Day.

All those stories ahead in the show for you. First, a check of the headlines.

Haiti's begun to feel the brute force of Hurricane Tomas. The storm's fierce wind and rain has triggered mudslides and flash floods. There are already reports of destroyed homes, drowned -- or downed trees, and flooded rivers. News agencies report three people have been killed.

In northwest Pakistan Friday, prayers were shattered when explosions hit two mosques. At least 67 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew the roof off a shrine near Peshawar. The Taliban is claiming responsibility. Later, militants tossed grenades into another mosque, killing four people.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have claimed responsibility for last week's parcel bombs. The explosives were sent inside printers sent from Yemen bound for the US. They were intercepted in England and in Dubai. The group made the claim on various radical Islamist websites.

Indonesia's Mount Merapi became even deadlier on Friday, with an eruption that killed at least 69 people. A total of 113 people have died in the area in the past two weeks now. Thousands more have been forced to get out.

For a short while, at least, President Barack Obama will be able to leave his political problems behind him. Right now, he's on his way to India as he begins a ten-day tour of Asia. There, he'll spend three days in Mumbai and Delhi. He'll meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speak to India's parliament, and attend a state dinner.

The US president then visits Indonesia, a country where he spent part of his childhood. Whilst there, Mr. Obama will meet with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

And the next stop is South Korea and a G20 meeting in Seoul. Talks are planned with South Korean's president Lee Myung-bak and China's premier, Hu Jintao.

Japan is the final stop for an Asia-Pacific leaders' summit. Mr. Obama will also meet with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, and Australian prime minister Julia Gillard.

President Obama is due to land in Mumbai in around five hours from now. Security's tight with Indian police joined by teams from the CIA and the FBI. Even a US warship will be on hand. Fears about security haven't stopped a little bit of Obama mania hitting the streets, as you can see. As Mallika Kapur now reports, the US president's visit coincides with an important Hindu festival.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm on Marine Drive, a road that runs along the coast of Mumbai. This is where Mumbaikars come every day for their morning and evening walks, sometimes just to sit here and gaze at the sea.

Today, thousands of them have come here to celebrate. They're celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights. It's one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar and, as you can see, it is being celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm here, with people lighting firecrackers, fireworks. And this is going to go on all night.

The celebrations are in sharp contrast to what happened here in Mumbai two years ago. In fact, we're standing just a stone's throw away from the Oberoi, which was one of the hotels attacked on November 26, 2008.

Now, terrorism is very much on the agenda for President Barack Obama. One of the first things he will do when he arrives in Mumbai on Saturday is to meet with survivors and with people who lost family members in those attacks.

One of the people he will be meeting is an American lady called Kia Scherr. She lost her husband and her young teenage daughter in those attacks. We met up with her earlier, and we asked her what she hopes to say to the president.

KIA SCHERR, MUMBAI ATTACK VICTIM: First, I would thank him for the beautiful condolence letter that he sent to me when he was president-elect in December of 2008. It was a very heartfelt, sincere letter that was a great comfort to receive at that time.

I would also share with him that if we take a stand to honor the sacredness and oneness of life in ourselves and in each other, then we can create a positive outcome to a terrible tragedy.

KAPUR: One he's done commemorating those terrorist attacks, President Barack Obama will spend a chunk of his time here in Mumbai meeting with business leaders. He then flies to New Delhi on Sunday to meet with India's prime minister and other political leaders. Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


FOSTER: During that trip, of course, he'll be meeting -- President Obama will be meeting Hu Jintao, China's president.

Coming up next, do not pass go. Do not collect $200, or pounds, or even yen. It's the 75th anniversary of the classic board game Monopoly. We're going to show you how it's adapted and enjoyed all over the world.


FOSTER: Living on some of the most -- on the world's most expensive streets may not fit into your budget in real life, but for 75 years, one of the most famous board games in the world has made it possible.

On this date in 1935, the American company Parker Brothers marketed the game Monopoly for the first time. And all these years later, the classic game is still entertaining and frustrating millions of us.

The story actually inspired a lively discussion here in the newsroom today, because it turns out that since many of us grew up with the game, many of us also grew up thinking the version we played was the same everyone else played in other countries around the world. Not so.

For example, in the United States, where Monopoly was invented, the game is set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the most expensive property is Boardwalk.

The British version, played in England and the rest of the UK former colonies, like Australia and India, these players all set their sights on the posh neighborhood of Mayfair.

In France, the game is set in Paris and it pays to own Rue de la Paix.

And the Japanese actually use an American version, with the world "Boardwalk" written in Japanese characters.

But across the world, the variations go far beyond the property names. We have reports tonight from Russia, China, Cuba, and Jerusalem, but we begin with some of the most expensive and the most competitive Monopolists in the world. Here's Kyung Lah in Japan.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Monopoly is more than just a board game in Japan. I'm Kyung Lah in Tokyo. This is still one of the top-selling board games here, 40 years after it was first imported.

But there are so many hardcore fans that there's a Japan Monopoly Association. There's even a yearly national championship, and it's fierce. These four you're looking at are Japan's top players. Just one qualified for the world championship in Las Vegas.

Now, in honor of the 75th anniversary, Takara-Tomy, who makes the Japanese version, is holding a design contest. And you can see, these designs are uniquely Japanese, from one on the natural hot springs, the bubble economy, anime, to "find me a wife." Whoever wins the contest gets a board designed in his or her honor.

So, in this highly digitized society, how can a board game still be so popular? Because this is one of the few moments where you can have an analog time to communicate.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Matthew Chance in Moscow, where the game of Monopoly has an unusual history. Up until 1988, it was banned in what then the Soviet Union for ideological reasons, the Kremlin discouraging its Communist citizens from playing such a capitalist board game.

Since the Soviet collapse, though, it's gained in popularity. There's a version with Russian street names and a token in the shape of a bear instead of a boot. Most popular, though, are these new Russian children's versions, this one called "My First Monopoly." The company clearly hoping a whole new generation of Russians will be converted into little capitalists. Lenin and Marx would have been appalled.

STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is the Monopoly China version. We've searched all over town for this, and it comes at a price tag of about 400 yuan, roughly about US $70. This is actually the second one we bought. We bought an earlier one, and it was missing all the cash and the cards and the dice. I assume that's the recession version.

The famous Monopoly Board, you're not going to see Kings Cross or Euston or Piccadilly on this one. What you do see is Shenyang (ph), Jian (ph), Wuzi (ph), Pyanjo (ph), Sinzin (ph), of course, where China's capitalism, I suppose, really started.

So here, of course, is the money. This is in Chinese renminbi. Now, of course, the undervalued currency, if you listen to the Americans and others if they had their way, we take 20 percent of that and throw it away.

Remember the old pieces that you used to use? There was a car and there was boat and there was, famously, a shoe. Well, now you have rollerblades and you have a mobile phone and a laptop. I'll start with the car. So, put the car here on Go, Chinese Monopoly. Look at that. Eight. I've landed on Shian (ph), price tag, one million yuan. The most famous capitalist game comes to Communist China. As Deng Xiaoping famously said, "Getting rich is glorious." I'm Stan Grant in Beijing.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Shasta Darlington in Havana. Monopoly had a big following here in Cuba until Fidel Castro came to power. According to popular myth, he outlawed the game and ordered all known sets destroyed.

We couldn't actually find proof of that, but it is true that it disappeared off of toy store shelves. It was replaced by this game here, a Cuban invention called Eternal Debt. Now, here, the goal isn't to amass property and wealth. Instead, the players are third world countries, and what they're trying to do is topple the IMF.

Now, in this game, you won't be sent to jail, but you could land on this space here, and then you'd be toppled by a military coup. There are two stacks of cards that you get draw from. One is called "IMF Conditions." If you draw this card, for example, it's time to pay up. Interests on your IMF loans have just gone up.

Over here, these are the "Solidarity" cards. If you get this one, you get to collect $300 because Colombia has just given you a gift of a coffee shipment. This one here says El Salvador is paying all of the players $200 to help finance their freedom fighters.

Now, the game did catch on in Argentina as well, but even here in Cuba, it was never quite as popular as the traditional Monopolio.


FOSTER: So, even in places where playing Monopoly is discouraged, people have found ways to enjoy the game. That's also been true throughout history, when similar games have provided life lessons and distractions from the outside world. CNN's Kevin Flower had two men in Jerusalem who played Monopoly under terrifying circumstances just a few years after it was first invented.


KEVIN FLOWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are not your ordinary Monopoly players.

FLOWER (on camera): So this is the game?

DAN GLASS, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: This is the game, yes.

MICHA PAVEL GLASS, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: Monopoly from Theresienstadt.

FLOWER (voice-over): Brothers Micha and Dan Glass were happy schoolchildren in 1938, until the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia a year later turned their lives upside down.

FLOWER (on camera): Your world changed.

MICHA GLASS: Completely. Changed completely.

DAN GLASS: You can't understand. It's no -- everything changed.

FLOWER (voice-over): The boys were sent to Terezin, a Nazi-run Jewish ghetto. And for tens of thousands of Jews, a first stop en route to the death camps further east. Amidst the horrors, a Jewish artist designed a makeshift version of a famed board game, and the unofficial yet recognizable Ghetto Monopoly was born.

MICHA GLASS: The buildings, the huge buildings, the big building, we are named after German cities, so we have Hamburg, Magdeburg, and so on. And these are the properties.

FLOWER (voice-over): Fashioned from cardboard and drawn by hand, the game was made as a distraction for Terezin's thousands of children, and used as a tool to teach them about life and death in the ghetto.

Transactions were conducted with worthless paper money, and the game's board pieces and properties served as a grim reflection of the reality faced by the camp's prisoners, where over 35,000 died in subhuman conditions.

Sima Shachar is a researcher who has studied life in the Terezin ghetto. The care and attention adult prisoners paid to children, she says, was an important way for them to maintain a sense of humanity and purpose.

SIMA SHACHAR, BEIT THERENSIENSTADT: Maybe give some kind of happiness to create such a game like Monopoly. For a little bit, you can forget from everything. But you are coming back to the reality at the end.

FLOWER (voice-over): The brothers Glass survived that reality, and with them, they took their game. Fifteen years ago, they donated it to Israel's Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, so the world could see and remember.

MICHA GLASS: Because there are many, many people that they think that there was not a holocaust. And we had a very happy family before the war. And after the war, there was nothing.

FLOWER (voice-over): For both brothers, the game brings up difficult and painful memories, but through it all, they are able to see the silver lining.

FLOWER (on camera): What is it that was good about it?

DAN GLASS: That was good? That I'm standing here with my brother. And what I told you, that I have a family, a big, loving family.

FLOWER (voice-over): Two survivors who hope a game will help people remember. Kevin Flower, CNN, Jerusalem.


FOSTER: Up next, a rise to success many of us can only dream of. We put your questions to our Connector of the Day, John Legend, and talk to him about his new album.


(MUSIC - "Yes We Can")

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes we can, to opportunity and prosperity.


FOSTER: This week, we've had some fantastic music icons on the show, and we end tonight with one of the industry's latest stars. As promised, your Connector of the Day.


(MUSIC - "Green Light")

FOSTER (voice-over): John Legend's path to stardom is one most musicians can only dream of. The soul singer started his career in college when he was tapped to collaborate with hip hop artist Lauryn Hill. It didn't take long for the music industry to realize what they'd found and, soon after, Legend was signed to Columbia Records.

His first album, "Get Lifted," earned the singer six Grammy awards, including Best New Artist. The next two albums were greeted with equal acclaim and solidified his start status.

The Ohio-born singer has also been an outspoken Obama supporter, and was the opening act at the Democratic Convention in the fall of 2008.

(MUSIC - "If You're Out There")

FOSTER (voice-over): He's also lent his voice to numerous philanthropic causes, including work in both Tanzania and Haiti. Today, he's out with his latest work, a collaboration with The Roots entitled, "Wake Up."

He talked to me about the political messages infused in his music.

JOHN LEGEND, ENTERTAINER: America's number of people in poverty is higher than it's ever been this year because of the recession and also because of a growing gap in income equality in this country. And so, a lot of people are poor, a lot of people are frustrated, and so, I think a lot of these lyrics resonate with those folks

And then, we also, like you said, talk about the war in Vietnam. But not so subtly, we're commenting on other wars of choice that America's gotten into since then, the war in Iraq in particular.

FOSTER: You've been a great supporter of Barack Obama.


FOSTER: You've performed at Democratic conventions. A lot of Americans --


FOSTER: From what we understand are very disillusioned with the Democrats. You're not disillusioned, then?

LEGEND: No, I think most people really, if they analyze what's really the source of their disillusionment, I think more than anything, the source of it is the fact that the economy is not good. And when we're in a recession, we have high unemployment, the poverty level is as high as it is, as I said before, then you blame the guy who's in charge.

It's a natural response, but I don't necessarily think it's an accurate response. Accurate to the policies that got us into this situation.

FOSTER: I want to put some viewer questions to you. We've had loads of viewer questions, and a lot of them are about your collaborations. I know that you've collaborated, haven't you, with Kanye West and Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, some really --


FOSTER: Really big names. Greg V asks, "One of your greatest talents is in collaboration with other legendary artists. If you could make music with anybody, living or dead, who would it be?"

LEGEND: Oh, I wish I could've done a song with Nina Simone. I love Nina Simone, I've been a big fan of her work for a long time, and we actually covered Nina Simone on this album with a song that she actually covered as well, but we were influenced by her version. "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free." But I'm a big fan of hers, a disciple of her music, and I wish I could've jammed with her a little bit.

FOSTER: Lefty Young's one of our viewers, asks, "Where do you draw inspiration from before you write a song?" We talked a bit about the politics, there. That's obviously driving you right now. Is that the only driver?

LEGEND: Well, clearly I've written a lot of love songs and songs about relationships, and I try to tell stories that relate to real life. So, things that I've experienced, things that I've talked about with my friends, things that I've witnessed.

When I'm writing, it's never strictly autobiographical, because I always want to reserve the right to be creative and to make the songs as interesting as possible, regardless of whether or not I experienced everything that I talk about in the songs.

But that being said, it's all informed by my real life, and all informed by the things I think about and things I talk about.

FOSTER: Something you're very involved in away from music is education. You support some schools, don't you?


FOSTER: In Harlem. From what I've read, you're quite critical about teaching. Do you blame the teachers for some of the problems in the American system?

LEGEND: I'm not critical about teaching. I've said many times that the key to running great schools is making sure that there's an effective teacher in every classroom. That's the most important factor in determining whether or not kids will learn and whether or not a school will be successful.

And so, all I've said is that we need to make sure that principals and school leaders have the power to run their schools in the most effective way they can. And that means making sure they have the power to hire and retain the most effective people they can in their classrooms.

FOSTER: Greg V asks, "Throughout your career, you've masterfully transcended genres, covering everything from soul to hip hop to reggae and more." It's true, isn't it? You've covered the lot. "What type of music would you like to tackle next, if there were any left?"

LEGEND: Primarily, I consider myself a soul artist and will always consider myself that. And so, I think my next album will be a soul album. But like I said, I'll always collaborate with other artists in other genres on their projects and on special projects. And who knows what'll be next?

I think that's the joy of music, is that it is a collaborative process and the privilege of being an artist is that we get to be creative and have fun and experiment. And so, I'm going to enjoy that.


FOSTER: John Legend speaking to me earlier this week and wrapping up your fantastic week of musicians we've had on the program, also featuring Seal and the iconic Neil Diamond. Who knows what'll come next week? Tonight, though, we'll be right back.


FOSTER: In our Parting Shots tonight, the Chilean miner who's emerged from the dark into the spotlight. Edison Pena helped entertain the trapped men during their 69-day ordeal, leading sing-alongs to Elvis tunes, he's a big fan.

He also earned the name "The Runner" by jogging through the mine's dark tunnels as he and 32 others awaited rescue. He was the 12th miner to be rescued after 69 days underground, and has now risen to further stardom with a whole new mission. He's in New York to run the marathon. Edison's not sure he'll make the distance because of a knee injury sustained underground, but it didn't seem to bother him too much during an appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman."


(EDISON PENA, TRAPPED MINER singing "Suspicious Minds")




LETTERMAN: Oh, my goodness.


FOSTER: Now, imagine that underground. An Elvis-style Parting Shot for you tonight, courtesy of Chilean hip-swiveling runner, miner as well, Edison Pena.

I'm Max Foster, that is your world connected tonight. "BackStory" is next, but we're going to check the headlines for you first.