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Syria Announces Extension Of Ceasefire In Homs; Belgian Parliament To Vote On Euthanasia For Children; Russia Passes Ban On Same-Sex Adoptions

Aired February 13, 2014 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: The revolving door of Italian prime ministers looks set to turn once more. This man Enrico Letta, the latest victim of political infighting. Tonight, a look at the consequences both near and far of the country's political uncertainty.

Also ahead, as Belgium votes to legalize child euthanasia, we bring you the emotional debate by those for and against the practice.



JACKIE CHAN, ACTOR: If you're buying rhino horn, you may be paying for more than just horns, you're paying for guns, bullets...


FOSTER: I speak to fighting legend Jackie Chan about his campaign to knock out wildlife poaching.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.

FOSTER: Following two major stories for you out of Europe tonight. In Belgium, parliament has approved a controversial bill getting terminally ill children the right to die. We'll get to that in just a moment, but first we're going to go to Italy where politics are in a state of flux as the prime minister is pushed out of office.

Enrico Letta announced earlier he'll hand in his resignation to President Giogio Napolitano on Friday. It is the culmination of a tough few days for Letta. And earlier, his own party voted overwhelmingly against him for the party leadership.

The 39-year-old mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi is he heavy favorite to replace him.

Let's go straight to Rome where Barbie Nadeau joins us.

Thank you for joining us, Barbie. What exactly happened here? Is it just a classic case of infighting? A rival coming along and having some success in the party?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Matteo Renzi is a very interesting character on the horizon here in Italy. He won the center-left -- the Democratic Party leadership in a primary here. He really is an interesting character, because he sort of alienated a lot of the people on the extreme left in his party, but he's managed to get a lot of support from the right, including some people who have lost faith in Silvio Berlusconi.

So going forward, he's much more of a centrist than I think Italy has ever seen in their left candidate.

You know, he took a very calculated risk by trying to -- maneuvering to push Letta out of government and it worked for him. We'll see tomorrow when Letta hands in his resignation if Napolitano, the president of the republic, gives him the mandate to create a government. That's what everyone thinks is going to happen.

But you know Italy hasn't had an elected leader since 2008. There were last elections February of last year, the end of February, those were inconclusive, that's why Letta came to power in April of last year. He slowly, slowly, slowly people were turning against him, said he was moving too slow in economic reforms. People didn't really like his brand of politics. He was a little bit on the fence on a lot of different issues.

If Matteo Renzi is able to pull off some of his promises here, it's an interesting time for Italy. He's 39-years-old, that's the youngest person we've seen in this sort of position of power.

You know, he's never sat on a national election. He's not a member of parliament, all those things will work against him in some areas and possibly work for him in a lot of other areas. He's a breath of fresh air in many ways, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Barbie, thank you very much indeed.

Well, even a casual observer of Italian politics will tell you that government turnovers in Rome are more than the norm than a political shock. Since 1992, Italy has had eight prime ministers. All of the men seen here. Only two of them, Romano Prodi and Silvio Berlusconi were elected to office after they won parliamentary elections with their parties, the rest were appointed to the office as part of coalition arrangements.

And this is the man whose tipped to become the country's new leader. Barbie was talking about him. He's Matteo Renzi. And he's 39-years-old. He'll be the youngest Italian prime minister ever.

Now the carousel of politics is worrying when you consider Italy's economic size. It is the third largest in the EuroZone after Germany and France. And it's carrying a staggering amount of government debt, 133 percent of GDP. Growth has been poor for years as well.

I'm joined this evening by research director of the International Economics at Chatham House, Paola Subacchi. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

I guess one thing that's a concern here is this challenger is untested. He hasn't got a popular mandate, so we don't know whether or not the country is actually behind him, which is important right now when the country is suffering.

DR. PAOLA SUBACCHI, CHATHAM HOUSE: It is very important. And in fact, as you said, it had -- it doesn't have a political mandate.

The country seems to like him, because he's young, because he's energetic, and because there is this untested assumption that somebody knew and young and energetic really changed the country's fate.

FOSTER: With youth, you also get inexperience. And he hasn't got any experience of being in parliament, has he? So there's a lot about Rome he doesn't understand.

SUBACCHI: He doesn't have an experience of being in parliament. He doesn't have experience of government. He doesn't have experience of being in Europe and in the world. And Italy is an important country, you said it's the third largest economy in the EuroZone, so there would be -- and Italy will have the presidency of the European Commission -- or the European Union in the second half of this year. So again, we need an experienced prime minister to carry out...

FOSTER: So he's coming in because people want a fresh face. He hasn't got experience -- political experience in Rome. And he's taking on this very unwieldy coalition at a time when the economy is in a really poor state.

So, do you think he's the right man for the job?

SUBACCHI: Well, he's somebody who could do a good job, but I dispute the way he -- if, if -- because there's still a big if about whether or not he will become the prime minister of Italy. But he will become the prime minister (inaudible) the way he gets into that role. It's not the right way to do it. It really, it doesn't give country the confidence it needs in the institutions and in the political debate. And first of all, I'm not sure if he has a coalition which will allow him to carry on this role.

FOSTER: He's obviously a very good politician to have done so well in these sort of extraordinary circumstances in Rome right now and with the level of experience. But actually what it's about right now is the economy, isn't it? If you can turn around the economy, then obviously you're going to do well as a prime minister, particularly in Italy right now.

What does this mean for Europe, do you think, when it's such a player in the economy in Europe?

SUBACCHI: Well, Italy, as I said, has allowed public debt. It could be still unstable in terms of financial markets, markets might not believe then the government has a plan to get Italy out of the current mess. If they believe so, it might be really problematic.

FOSTER: Paola Subacchi, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

SUBACCHI: Thank you.

FOSTER: We'll have much more on this coming up on Quest Means Business as well. Host Paula Newton looks at what political instability in the EuroZone's third largest economy will mean for the block as a whole. That starts in less than an hour.

Still to come tonight on Connect the World, does a terminally ill child in intolerable pain have a right to die? We'll tell you about a landmark vote on child euthanasia.

Plus, after pummeling America's south, a powerful winter storm is now heading northeast. We'll bring you the latest on that just ahead.

And the rope, a sponge, and a very, very big void. Stay with us as we meet the extreme cleaners of the Burj Khalifa.


FOSTER: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.

Now Belgium appears set to become the first country in the world to remove all age restrictions on euthanasia. Its parliament has adopted a bill that extends the right to die to terminally ill children. The measure was fiercely contested by critics, but did have wide support from the Belgian public. It now goes to the king who is expected to sign it into law.

Let's get the very latest now from Diana Magnay. She's been following developments for us in Berlin.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There was no medicine that could save Ella-Louise from a rare genetic mutation called Krabbe disease, which destroyed her nervous system.

Heavily sedated in these final days of her short 10 month life, no food or water to try and speed up inevitable.

LINDA VAN ROY, ELLA-LOUISE'S MOTHER: The whole period of sedation you always need to give more and more and more medication. You starting asking questions and they say, what's the use of keeping this baby alive.

MAGNAY: Linda wishes she could have administered a fatal dose and spared them both the pain of those final days, which is why she's campaigning for a chance to Belgium's end of life and euthanasia laws.

VAN ROY: We want for those children, who want to be able to talk about euthanasia and to ask those questions. And if they really want to say stop, this is it, I don't want it anymore, they can have a choice.

MAGNAY: Pediatricians like Gerland Van Berlaer say it will simply legalize what happens anyway.

GERLAND VAN BERLAER, PEDIATRICIAN: Doctors do terminate life of children as well as adults and but today it's done in, let's say in a gray zone or in the dark, because it's illegal.

MAGNAY: But critics question whether children can reasonably decide whether to end their own lives.

Isabella Saccovic has Huntington's Disease. She's just under 18. In the last few years, she's lost the ability to walk, eat or speak properly. But she can still think for herself.

IWONA SACEWICZ, IZABELA'S MOTHER (subtitles): Do you know what euthanasia means?


IWONA SACEWICZ (subtitles): No.

(subtitles): Euthanasia means if you are unwell, you are so unhappy that you don't want to stay here, you want to leave, go high a bout, to God. But if you leave, you leave forever, you can't come back. What do you think of that? is it good or is it not good?

IZABELA SACEWICZ (subtitles): It's not good.

IWONA SACEWICZ (subtitles): It's not good.

MAGNAY: Her mother Ivana (ph), struggles to look after both of her children and keep working as a cleaner to keep the money coming in.


IWONA SACEWICZ (subtitles): If we had help, you wouldn't think of death for your children.

MAGNAY: She thinks the senators inside these walls should focus instead on better support for families like hers, especially like Izabela pass into adulthood when the care options shrink further.

One of the main arguments is that this is more a matter of principle than anything else, that only a very small number of children will ever in practice ask to end their lives through euthanasia. But if you look at the Netherlands where since 2002 children with parental consent have been allowed to request euthanasia. Since then only five children have ever done so.


FOSTER: Diana is joining us now.

Diana, this debate for people outside the country just seems so complex. Is it resolved in the country?

MAGNAY: No. But the majority of Belgians are for the idea that children, like adults, should also be allowed to die with dignity, that is very much the sort of overarching argument of those who believe that this should be an option

There are, however, strong contingents there, also -- and most recently a group of pediatricians, some 160 who signed a letter and submitted to the parliament saying we see no need for this law. Palliative care, the end of life care and the medicine that we can provide at the end of life is such that no child should be in intolerable pain. And furthermore, they say, adding to the pressure in those terrible final few days or weeks is too much for a child to bear.

The final argument being that a child doesn't necessarily know what death is, let alone be given that choice.

But, you know, you could argue this for days. I've also spoken to palliative nurses who say that children at the end of their lives are very -- who are facing imminent death, are very much more aware of what death means than an adult, a healthy adult, Max.

FOSTER: Well, in order to try to appease some of the detractors on this, supports say the number of caveats will prevent abuse of the euthanasia law. The restrictions include the child must be terminally ill, experiencing constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be eased. He or she must fully understand the meaning of euthanasia, verified by a child psychologist or psychiatrist, and the consent of parents or guardians is also required. But the question, Diana, is is that really enough to convince quite a large group within the country that will never be sold on this?

MAGNAY: Well, I think those who will never be sold will never be sold point blank. Euthanasia is not a topic that people kind of tend to decide that they're pro or against. At some point you make your call and you stick with it.

Critics will say that those criteria aren't followed enough.

But at the end of the day what we're talking about is a really small number of people -- children with terminal cancer, for example, in the final stages of their life. And an important distinction that this law makes is that it should be children suffering intolerable physical pain. And for adults, euthanasia qualified for those, too, who are suffering psychological pain. That takes you down a whole new direction, which can be extremely problematic, because people with depression, then, in countries like Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, can ask to die simply because psychological problems. With children, that has been ruled out.

But it will just be a very small group of people. If you look at the Netherlands, for example, where since 2002 children over the age of 12 with parental consent can ask for euthanasia. Only five children have ever exercised that right.

So it makes you wonder, Max, why the Belgium parliament has put really quite so much effort into passing this legislation which is just for a very few people, more a matter of principle than anything else.

FOSTER: Diana, thank you very much indeed.

Well, most of the countries that some degree have legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide are in Europe. Point out where in a special interactive feature on our website and see which ones are currently debating.

You'll also find compelling opinion pieces with for and against the controversial practice. It is a top story on our website right now, in fact, at

Still to come on Connect the World from ice and snow across the eastern U.S. to floods in Britain, a lot of people are coping with some very nasty weather. We'll tell you how bad it's become next.

And one place where they'll not be complaining about too much snow and that's Sochi. I will tell you who is taking the victory poses at the Olympics today and the feat they accomplished.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

The powerful storm that battered America's southeast is now blasting its way east -- northeast across the country. Forecasters say it could be the biggest storm to hit America so far this winter.

Right now, more than 770,000 people across 14 states are without power. More than 6,000 flights have been canceled on Thursday. Road conditions are perilous and at least 10 deaths have been blamed on the storm.

New Yorkers are preparing for up to 15 inches, or 38 centimeters of snow. CNN's Maria Santana joins us now live from White Plains, New York.

And often it affects the city so badly. So are they prepared?


Well, people have been taking these storms in stride. We have seen so many, one right after the other, that right now it's actually difficult to be prepared because people can't find the supplies that they need -- shovels, salt bags, to try to deice their front steps, or their lawns. So it's been very difficult. And, you know, people here say that this has been probably one of the worst winters that they can remember in history -- you know, for many, many years now.

But right now in White Plains, we have seen about a foot of snow already accumulate here. It's now -- we're in a lull right now. And this is actually a good thing, the city says, because they've been able to come through wit the plows and actually clean the streets. The snow was falling so fast at one point that they just couldn't keep up. They would come through and then it would just pile up again.

So, one thing that they're concentrating on right now is that right after this little bit of rain that we're getting now, this is going to turn back into snow. So we're going to get more snow on top of the foot of snow that is already on the ground. And of course this is going to create messy conditions on the road, so they are trying to just clean the streets for the morning commute so that people can actually get to work tomorrow.

FOSTER: Well, that's it. And so many flights have been affected as well, haven't they? So many canceled today. And this is the commercial heart of the U.S., the biggest economy in the world.

How badly do you think all of the transportation, the business side of things is going to be affected?

SANTANA: Well, interesting fact that has come to light today is that Thursday, today, has actually been labeled as the worst day -- it's turning out to be the worst day for airlines this year. Some 73,000 flights have been canceled, the U.S. flights have been canceled since the beginning of the year. All the major hubs, some of the major hubs in the United States, whether the northeast or the south, they're all being affected by this storm.

And this has caused the airlines so far $200 million, some 5 million passengers have been affected by cancellations. The cost to them has been about $3 billion.

I mean, an interesting fact that I heard today is that this year's rash of flight cancellations is the worst to hit the United States since the entire U.S. airspace was shut down after the September 11 attacks. So it's pretty, pretty bad for them. And the winter is not even over. We may be expecting more snow. Who knows?

FOSTER: Maria, thank you very much indeed for joining us. And good luck with the storm, of course.

As the U.S. deals with that snow and ice, on this side of the Atlantic, the UK is struggling with record floods and hurricane force winds.

These images are from the flooded village of Datchet just west of London, tens of thousands of people have been left without power across the UK.

Now, a new adoption law in Russia expands a previous ban on same-sex adoptions. The resolution has been amended to disallow adoptions both from same-sex couples and adoptions by single people who live in country's that allow same-sex marriage.

Phil Black has more from Moscow.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The decree was signed by Prime Minister Medvedev on the 10th of February, just a few days after the start of the Sochi Olympics and published on the government site on the 13th of February. It states that no longer will people who are officially part of a same-sex marriage be allowed to come to Russia to adopt children, nor will single people be able to do so if they come from countries where gay marriage is officially recognized.

The idea has been discussed before and increasingly suggested as increasing numbers of countries have signed onto the idea of recognizing gay marriage.

Some of those countries, particularly the European ones like France and Spain, are among those with the highest rates of adoption when it comes to Russian children. And the idea of restricting single people from adoption who come from these countries that recognize gay marriage, that is an attempt to prevent a situation where a man or a woman could come to Russia, adopt a child, return to their homeland with the child and later down the track enter a same-sex relationship.

Russian authorities have complained about this happening before. And they really don't like it.

Up until now, there has been no official restriction on gay people getting involved in international adoption in Russia, but adoption agencies in Moscow have told us that unofficially there has ever been suspicion that an applicant was gay, then inevitably their application would prove to be unsuccessful.

The Russian government says this restriction, as with the controversial gay propaganda law, which makes it illegal in this country to talk to children about gay equality, the Russian authorities say this new restriction on adoption is necessary in order to protect Russian children. But human rights activists say just like the gay propaganda law, this new restriction is an attempt by the government to link the ideas of pedophilia and homosexuality in the public consciousness and they believe that ultimately it will only lead to greater intolerance, discrimination and violence across Russian society.

Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.


FOSTER: Staying in Russia, President Vladimir Putin is backing the Egyptian army chief Abdul Fatah El-Sisi in his bid for the presidency there. Putin congratulated the current Egyptian defense minister on his candidacy on Thursday after the two men held talks in Moscow.

Some believe Egypt's relations with the U.S. have cooled after Mohamed Morsy was ousted but authorities insist that's not the case and they're merely diversifying their interests.

There are some new faces around the table at the Syrian peace talks in Geneva. U.S. and Russian diplomats joined the negotiations hoping to help break a stalemate between the Syrian government and an opposition delegation. UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called today's meeting useful. He also praised an extension of the ceasefire for the devastated Syrian Homs. It gives relief workers three more days to evacuate civilians and deliver humanitarian aid.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has defended his government's decision to release 65 prisoners. The U.S. embassy in Kabul has criticized the prisoners' relief saying the men are dangerous insurgents.

Speaking in Ankara today where he was meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, Mr. Karzai said the U.S. should respect Afghanistan's sovereignty.


HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: If the Afghan judicial authorities decide to release a prisoner, it is of no concern to the U.S. and should be of no concern to the U.S. And I hope that the United States will stop harassing Afghanistan's procedures and judicial authority. And I hope that the United States will now begin to respect Afghan sovereignty.


FOSTER: Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead for you. Plus, Jackie Chan joins the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. My interview with him coming up.

And a good day at the Olympics for the U.S. ski team. We'll tell you which medals they took home and bring you an update on the overall standings.

And whatever you do, do not look down. We meet the men who keep the world's tallest building squeaky clean.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. The Italian prime minister, Enrico Letta will hand in his resignation on Friday. A vote today saw his own party vote overwhelmingly against him. The mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, is expected to replace him.

Belgium's parliament has passed a landmark euthanasia bill. It would extend the right to die to children, regardless of age, but there are strict restrictions. The measure now goes to the king, who is expected to sign it into law.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai says his government's decision to release 65 prisoners is no concern to the US, and he says the US should stop harassing the Afghan judicial system. Washington says it deeply regrets the release of the former inmates, whom it considers to be dangerous insurgents.

A major winter storm system has moved to northeastern United States, dumping large amounts of snow on Philadelphia, New York, Washington, and Baltimore. Nearly 6,000 flights have been canceled nationwide.

The biggest US cable TV provider, Comcast, has made an offer to buy the country's second-largest operator, Time-Warner Cable. If approved by regulators, the $45 billion deal would make the new company the dominant provider of cable television and internet services in the US.

Here in London, a global summit has reached a landmark agreement to stamp out the illegal wildlife trade. It is the most high-level conference ever on the issue. World leaders gathered to discuss ways to end the slaughter of endangered animals for their bones, hides, and tusks, an industry that fuels criminal activity worth over $19 billion a year.

Key actions were agreed upon, including amending laws to make poaching a serious crime. Prince Charles made a speech to open the summit. He called for high-level action to be matched on the ground to halt the demand for illegal wildlife products.


HRH PRINCE CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: There is not a moment to lose if we are to save the species whose loss will not only diminish us all, but also expose their abandoned habitat to ever-greater risk of destruction with dire consequences for humanity.


FOSTER: Well, the meeting of political leaders is being backed by a celebrity campaign for the charity Wild Aid. Prince William, David Beckham, and NBA star Yao Ming, have all added their voices to the effort.


DAVID BECKHAM, FORMER FOOTBALLER: Imagine if all the people in the world could fit into one stadium.


HRH PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: Sadly, all the wild rhinos in the world can, with room to spare. For some species, it's almost too late. There are only seven Northern White Rhino left.

YAO MING, NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER: But we could fill this stadium and many more if we could stop the illegal trade.


FOSTER: Well, several African heads of state are in London for the summit, including the presidents of Botswana, Tanzania, and Chad. Their countries are among those most-affected by poaching. In Chad, our Arwa Damon continues her in-depth reporting on the deadly ivory trade. She finds that there's a long road ahead to end this brutal industry.




LABUSCHAGNE: Yes. Let them go.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rian Labuschagne, Zakouma's park director, tells us not to move. It's our third attempt to film the calves.

LABUSCHAGNE: She's calmed down. I still don't see her calf. They must be all inside.


DAMON: The adults are all traumatized, survivors of a poaching spree carried out by Sudanese gunmen in mid-2000.

LABUSCHAGNE: This is an example of all the basic weapons that are being used in the conflicts around the CAR in Darfur.

DAMON: Ninety percent of this park's elephants were slaughtered in the span of just a few years. Until now, the remaining herd too distressed to mate.

LABUSCHAGNE: There's a baby. You see, there's one on the right? As you can see, there are some very small calves there. The rest are all adults, and there's a whole generation that's missing.

DAMON: Lost to the merciless ivory trade.

The terrain here is crisscrossed with ancient trading routes, still used by nomads. Rugged and lawless, it is ideal for poachers, operating in small groups, using advanced military tactics and technology.

LABUSCHAGNE: They've got all the firearms strong enough to kill elephant. They shoot as many as they can, cut the ivory within an hour, and then go out. If it's a big group, they would stockpile ivory, they would then call in help, camels usually, to carry the ivory out.

DAMON: Sudanese poachers have already done their damage, and the non- profit African parks is managing to keep the remaining 450 elephants safe.

But with poaching and conflict so closely intertwined, the war in neighboring Central African Republic brings with it renewed threats.

IDRISS DEBY, PRESIDENT OF CHAD (through translator): Fighting has no boundaries. There were always weapons and fighters around us, and now there are more.

DAMON: And the crisis is already here. The majority of repatriated Chadians have roots back to the area that borders the park. Like so many others, for 29-year-old Amin Younes, it's the first time he's coming to his native land, his wife and three-year-old daughter brutally murdered in CAR.

"I didn't have the courage to look at them," he tells us. "My heart wouldn't let me look at them." He's hoping for work in agriculture, but the influx of refugees, some of whom have weapons from CAR, is a concern to local leaders.

There aren't enough jobs here to go around, and poaching is lucrative, especially for those battle-hardened.

"We do have concerns that some were involved in the fighting," Ammar Mohammed Ali Fadel tells us. "We are worried that they will stir up trouble if we are not careful."


DAMON: African parks is training up a rapid response team. One of Central Africa's largest herds is secure for now, but the ivory trade is a key source of funding for conflict, and this park is surrounded on all sides.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Zakouma National Park, Chad.


FOSTER: Since Arwa filed that report, the Sudanese government has responded to CNN. The minister of information told us that Sudan has forces along the border with Chad, and they would not allow this illegal trade.

Nations around the world have already begun cracking down on the trade of wildlife products. The United States just announced a ban on all buying and selling of elephant ivory. Crucially, China and Vietnam are represented at the summit in London this week. They are two key consuming countries of illegal animal products.

Earlier, I caught up with one of China's most famous exports, actor Jackie Chan, to hear why he's also joined the campaign against the illegal wildlife trade.


FOSTER (voice-over): Movie star Jackie Chan has played so many interesting roles in his career, from action to comedy. Chan, famous for his high-flying stunts, has another very important role now: to stop wildlife trafficking. As global leaders meet in London, I caught up with Chan to discuss why this matters to him.

FOSTER (on camera): What was the culture around a lot of these products involving endangered animals?

JACKIE CHAN, ACTOR: I think when I was young, I just followed the old tradition. When I get hurt, we do a lot of exercising, your jumping punch. When you get hurt, OK, we have some tiger -- what? Tiger oil from tiger bone. After you get some, you get healed. But it doesn't -- I never get healed. I always hurt.

FOSTER: There's fantasy around the healing properties of a lot of these products.

CHAN: I met some doctor, and I asked the doctor, is it true, this kind of tiger bone can really help me? He said no, nonsense.

FOSTER (voice-over): Chan says he wants people to understand that it's just a myth that animal products can be used as cures. As part of that message, he's even lent his support to a documentary, "Tools of Trade," highlighting the illegal trade of wildlife products.

CHAN: You eat pig's head, brain, it makes you clever. When you eat pig's knuckle, it makes your feet strong. No! Where do those things come from?

FOSTER: Wildlife poaching kills tens of thousands of endangered animals every year. Celebrities like Chan insist that action needs to be taken now.

CHAN: I want to speak the truth. Look, that's how you hurt the animal. We already hurt enough. We destroy the Earth, we destroy it, now we destroy space. We destroy anything. We should stop anything we can to tell them stop, stop doing it.

FOSTER: Chan's message is all-too clear.

CHAN: Stop killing the beautiful animals in the world. And when you destroy the animal, you destroy yourself.

FOSTER: Tackling the illegal wildlife trade may not be easy, but to Jackie Chan, it's a passion and a mission.

CHAN: When the buying stops, the killing can, too.


FOSTER: Well, do you have strong opinions on poaching? And what do you think is the best way to tackle it? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD would love to hear from you. Have your say, go to CNN -- actually,, or you can tweet me @MaxFosterCNN.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Photos dredged up from years ago create an Olympic-sized headache for this Lebanese skier. We'll have the story and her exclusive response next.


FOSTER: Russia and the US have both kicked off the race for gold in the men's Olympic ice hockey with victories. Paul Stastny scored twice to help take the US to comfortable 7-1 win over Slovakia. For the home side, victory didn't come quite so easily, though, with opponents Slovenia briefly threatening to upset things before Russia sealed the win with a 5-2 lead.

The US also dominated in the men's skiing slopestyle today, taking the gold, silver, and bronze medals. Joss Christensen led the podium sweep in style, pulling off some daredevil tricks to wow the judges. And at the end of the day eight of the Olympics, Germany still leads the medal table with seven golds, Canada second, US down in fifth position even after today.

Our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh joins me now from Sochi. And there's one story making the headlines off the slopes.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Max. Remarkably, often these events tell you a lot about the countries that athletes come from rather than just the sports themselves. One particular example is the case of the Lebanese skier Jackie Chamoun.

Now, three whole years ago, when she was just 19, she very briefly appeared in a topless photo shoot in her native country of Lebanon for an Austrian skiing calendar. Now, those photographs, just ahead of the Olympiad here, have resurfaced, along with a revealing video of the shoot behind them, causing outcry in her country.

Now, we caught up with her, and she spoke for the first time about her feelings about what's happened to her over the past few days.


WALSH (voice-over): Days ago, Lebanese Jackie Chamoun was just another skier. Then these pictures, shot three years ago in Lebanon for a skiing calendar when she was just 19, surfaced online, with a more revealing video of the making of that calendar.

Lebanon's conservatives erupted in outrage, the minister for sports even demanding an investigation. Chamoun was under the wrong spotlight. But in her first interview, she's defiant.

WALSH (on camera): Do you now wish you'd never gone to the mountains that day for that photo shoot?


WALSH: You still would have done it.

CHAMOUN: I mean, I wish the making of wouldn't go out.

WALSH: Right.

CHAMOUN: But I don't regret doing the calendar.

WALSH (voice-over): And to Lebanon's minister for sports, who was offended, what does she say?

CHAMOUN: I cannot say anything about political leaders.

WALSH (on camera): Why not? He said lots of things about you.


CHAMOUN: He can say whatever he wants, but I don't like to criticize anyone anyway.

WALSH (voice-over): In polarized Lebanon, conservative outrage was fought with the liberal outrage, many asking why this brief nudity mattered at all in a country where bombs and sectarian violence infects life daily.

Hundreds of Lebanese women and men began posting pictures of themselves naked with the hash tag #StripForJackie in solidarity. Chamoun is grateful.

CHAMOUN: I would tell them just to be free, but to not strip completely naked on film. And I saw this movement engage with our creative formula. Lebanese are just stripping and doing funny pictures. This is so amusing and funny, that I think that at some point, they will also --

WALSH (on camera): It has to stop.

CHAMOUN: It has to stop. It has to stop.

WALSH (voice-over): Not what she's saying to the conservatives so angered by her.

CHAMOUN: I wanted to apologize to them.

WALSH (on camera): Why apologize to them?

CHAMOUN: Maybe it's too much to apologize and I shouldn't apologize, because I don't think also that I did something wrong by doing the calendar. I don't want to upset them.

WALSH: Well, shouldn't they come to the modern times, rather than you go back to the past?

CHAMOUN: Yes. I admit, they should. But it's going to take time, and it's not --


WALSH: In many ways, this is an extraordinarily difficult time, in fact, for a 22-year-old woman who simply came here to focus on her skiing and then found these, frankly, very old and not particularly interesting pictures thrusting her into the spotlight.

She doesn't, she says, had recent offers of modeling in the past few days. When we spoke to her, looked a little bit tired, frankly, and just seemed to want to get back to normal life. Max?

FOSTER: And there's a huge amount of concern about the security around this event, but actually, it's been a general success, hasn't it, with the sport taking precedence over the last few days?

WALSH: I think that's fair, Max. We certainly see things getting underway, certainly, and the focus has been, really, on the condition of the slopes. When I started work today, I was standing here in a shirt. It's been extraordinarily warm for the past few days. That affected the snow. They've started using their snow supplies from last year.

In fact, we drove up into the mountains to meet Ms. Chamoun earlier on today, and it was a remarkable drive, very little snow across a road which previously had been almost blocked or logged by it. I think the concern is we need to see cold weather coming in the days ahead. It's begun to impact the events themselves.

They say it's going to get a cold snap on Monday, but really, I think, many people waiting for that and, of course, debating the choice of why put these Games in the only place in Russia at this time of year not guaranteed to be under a few inches of snow. Max?

FOSTER: OK, Nick, thank you very much. The only area where they're hoping for a cold snap. If you can't wait for more on the latest Olympic news, then do check out our live blog on the website. It's got up-to-the- minute updates with all the fun, sports, and analysis you could need to find out what's happening there and what could happen next.

Plus, pictures and tweets from our dedicated team on the ground. You've got Sochi covered from all angles. Again, that's

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, in 1945 Berlin, 3.5 million people lived in a divided city. We'll have a preview from CNN's landmark "Cold War" series, next.

And a job that requires a good head for heights, you could say. We get behind the scenes with window cleaners at the world's tallest building just ahead.


FOSTER: Twenty-five years ago this November came one of the most significant political events of the last century: the fall of the Berlin Wall. CNN's documentary, "Cold War" series, recounts the struggle between Communism and Capitalism that defined that era. Today, we have a preview of episode four, where post-war German finds itself divided and struggling.


KENNETH BRANAGH, NARRATOR: Berliners were a beaten people in 1945. Their fate was in the hands of the Russians, Americans, British, and French, their conquerors.

Germany was divided into four occupation zones, Soviet, American, British, and French. Three and a half million Berliners lived in a city 110 miles behind the Russian lines. Berlin was linked to the West by a highway and a railway, which ran through the Soviet zone. The city itself was divided into four sectors, Soviet, American, British, and French.

MIKHAIL SEMIRYAGA, SOVIET MILITARY ADMINISTRATION (through translator): Berlin and Germany were the only places where the two sides came into contact, that is Soviet troops and troops from the allied countries.

In other places, we didn't have direct contact between our two armed forces. That was one of the reasons why Berlin became a battlefield for the Cold War.

BRANAGH: Berliners have lived a precarious existence for years. Food was at near starvation levels, and currency was worthless. The black market was king.

ELLA BAROWSKY, BERLIN COUNCILOR (through translator): We bartered everything. A non-smoker who got cigarettes with his ration card would gladly take them because he could barter them for something more useful.

Naturally, we all did it. Cigarettes were our currency. The black market was the only thing that kept us alive.

BRANAGH: British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin had a plan for Germany. He didn't like the Germans, but believed that European recovery depended on them.

ERNEST BEVIN, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We have to try and recreate Germany on a democratic basis, give her a chance to live. At the same time, make sure that the security of the rest of Europe is preserved and that aggression cannot take place again.


FOSTER: Do tune into CNN this Saturday for the next episode of CNN's landmark "Cold War" series. Visit -- or revisit a pivotal time in history, as the iron curtain divides a world struggling to recover from the ravages of war. That's the next "Cold War", Saturday, 8:00 PM in London, 9:00 PM in Berlin right here on CNN.

And finally, in tonight's Parting Shots, a job that is not for the faint-hearted. We go to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, where a group of men literally hang out every day scrubbing down the world's tallest building, and Jon Jensen went to meet them.


JON JENSEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When they built the world's tallest building, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, it was covered in 24,000 separate panes of glass. Depaq Gaul's (ph) job is keeping them clean. "The work is interesting, and the view is beautiful," he tells me.

Depaq is one of around 60 migrant workers, mostly from Nepal, India, and the Philippines, who clean windows here. And in this dusty desert climate, there's plenty of work for them. They start at the very tip-top.

JENSEN (on camera): We're standing on the 159th floor of the Burj Khalifa. That's about 35 stories higher than most tourists get to go. Doesn't sound that high, perhaps. But if you come over here, take a look over the edge, I think you might change your minds.

JENSEN (voice-over): It's more than 2700 feet, or nearly a kilometer, straight down. Certainly not a job for the faint of heart, especially when you're repelling.

Depaq had never seen a building even half this height before, let alone climbed one. But his brother said he should leave Katmandu and give it a try.

So, he watched some videos, including this one, with Tom Cruise swinging off the side of the building.

But for these guys, this is no action movie stunt. Safety comes first, and while they trust their equipment, harnesses and ropes are checked and double-checked. Wind speed is also measured, because up here, one big gust could be dangerous.

"The wind can toss you around the building from right to left," he says. "If it's too strong, we don't work that day."

When the inspections are done, they stop out over their edge and get down to business. It'll take them three months to clean each and every window, and then they start all over again. The building's contractor, though, says rope access is still the most efficient way to get the job done.

For Depaq, it's also a decent living. As a new recruit, he can make over $600 a month, much more than he'd earn as a construction worker building skyscrapers like this one.

"My mom always asks me why I do this and says it looks dangerous," he tells me. "She wants me to come back to Nepal and get a regular job, but I tell them no, no, no, I like it, and this is a good living. And," he says, "just another day at the office."

Jon Jensen, CNN, Dubai.


FOSTER: Makes your stomach go funny, doesn't it? I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you very much, indeed, for watching. "Quest Means Business" with Paula Newton is coming up right after this short break.