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Turkish Prime Minister Bans Twitter; Search And Rescue Teams Prepare For Another Round In Indian Ocean; Six Months After Westgate Attack; Gunmen Open Up Inside Kabul Hotel

Aired March 21, 2014 - 16:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Could it be a new clue in the mystery of flight 370? A British newspaper obtains a transcript of communications between the pilots of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

That's as teams in the south Indian ocean gear up for a third day of searches for two mystery objects.

Also ahead...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We actually managed to show as (inaudible) hard time bring our hands together and stick together.


FOSTER: Six months on from the attack that changed the lives of so many in Kenya. We hear how one man turned tragedy into inspiration.

And facing up to cancer, we speak to the woman at the center of a campaign that proves less really is more.

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

FOSTER: Well, we are learning new information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 just as teams gear up for a third day of searching in the South Indian Ocean.

At this hour, we're waiting for the British newspaper, the Telegraph, to publish what it says is a full transcript of the communications between the pilots and ground control. The paper says the 54 minute log appears perfectly routine with two possible exceptions. Meanwhile, no sign yet of any wreckage in the South Indian Ocean. Planes and ships have failed to locate two mystery objects spotted by satellite on Sunday.

Australia's prime minister says it's one of the most inaccessible spots on Earth, but promises they will keep trying.

We're covering this story from all angles for you tonight.

Let's start with Kyung Lah. She's live in Perth, Australia where the air search missions are based. And you've been getting updates, haven't you, Kyung, but really we've still got nothing solid.

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nothing solid, although on day two the people who were aboard at least the Royal Australian Air Force plane did return saying that they had very good conditions out in this area. The 600 square kilometer swath that Australia believes this debris, which may be connected to the missing plane, is located.

So excellent conditions. They did only spend about two hours there, because you have to fly four hours to that location, two hours there searching, and then four hours back.

And so there are additional reinforcements coming today. There are Japanese and Chinese. There will be a warship arriving from China shortly. And Australia expects this warship to arrive in the next 24 hours or so.

So more reinforcements hoping to cover more ground. We are, Max, just about two hours away, we believe, from the first plane taking off. We have not been able to get a more definitive time from the Australian government, but if you look at what happened yesterday, they have generally been having the first plane take off in about two hours from now -- Max.

FOSTER: And you describe the weather, it's vital, isn't it, in this effort, because they describe this area of sea as very treacherous. So even if they do find something it's going to be incredibly difficult to recover anything from there.

LAH: Yeah. And let's talk exactly why weather is so critical, not just for the planes themselves, but because whitecaps -- trying to cover sea visually by plane, using some of the technology that's aboard, trying to pick up any of the pinging from the flight data recorder that might be on the plane. If you have whitecaps there, visually that makes it much, much more difficult.

So conditions yesterday, good, they're hoping that they're going to have the same conditions today.

Weather, though, in this area of the world some of the most treacherous, some of the most difficult anywhere on the planet -- Max.

FOSTER: Kyung in Perth, thank you very much indeed.

We're going to go to Richard Quest. He's got more on those communications transcripts.

The Telegraph here in London says they've got them. What do you expect them to show?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I've got the Telegraph website in front of me, Max, it talks about the last 54 minutes.

Well, bearing in mind the flight was 38, 39 minutes in when it lost contact, one assumes that they're also talking about the pushback, the taxi, the takeoff, the climb, the -- into the cruise.

What I -- the Telegraph themselves admit that there are two anomalies in this -- what they call things that are odd, one of which is that apparently one of the pilots -- the pilot doing the radio checks did a repeat call. He gave the height and the altitude again only having previously done it six minutes earlier, Max.

I have to say, I don't find that particularly unusual. It might be because one had forgotten about it and he did it again. We don't know the full scope of it. But, Max, what I do expect this to show is an entirely normal flight with entirely normal radio checks until things went wrong. But I don't expect these transcripts to give any indication of what that will be.

FOSTER: OK, Richard, thank you very much indeed. It will be interesting to hear the voices as well, but we don't think we've got any access to the actual tape.

And as if the search weren't difficult enough, experts say all the garbage floating in the ocean is complicating efforts to find any of the wreckage. One says it's like looking one piece of debris among billions.

CNN's Joe Johns has a look now at the enormous resources being deployed in this search.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive sea search that requires an equally massive amount of resources on land, air and sea. It starts in space. Satellite images transferred to the Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organization. The pictures of possible plane debris captured March 16, but it took them four days to sort through the volume of the imagery. China also held satellite images before releasing them to the public.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, FORMER AIR FORCE COLONEL: Part of it is not telling the other guy what you got. And the reason for that is there's some capabilities that a lot of countries want to keep hidden. The -- one of those capabilities is how fast can you take a satellite image and actually analyze it and use it in an operational sense? Many countries see that as a very closely-guarded operational secret.

JOHNS: The search from the air, equally complicated. Three Orion military intelligence planes -- two from the Royal Australia Air Force and one from New Zealand -- have been dispatched with large area search sensors and radar. Planes capable of low-level flight and able to stay airborne for up to ten hours. The U.S. Navy has sent a P-8 Poseidon with a unique capability.

LEIGHTON: This aircraft can, in essence, be the controller of a fleet of drones. It can go up above 20,000 feet or even depending on what they're doing, and then it can control a fleet of drones as they look at very specific areas of the ocean.

JOHNS: It's also a war-fighting plane, but in this mission it's the plane's underwater detection capabilities that are especially important, including dropping sonar buoys to try to locate debris.

The Australian Air Force is providing a C-130 transport plane, but Leighton says it probably won't be used for transport.

LEIGHTON: What they can do with these aircraft is they can use them to determine the types of things that they might see in the electromagnetic environment. So for example, if there's a black box out there.

JOHNS: Merchant ships have also been dispatched. The Norwegian car carrier Hoegh (ph) St. Petersburg was the first to arrive at the place where the two objects were spotted by satellite.

And with all the search vessels, support is needed. Australia has deployed the HMS Success, the largest ship ever built in that country for its Navy, officially called an oil replenishment vehicle, capable of getting food and fuel to other ships in the region.

In the event wreckage of the plane is found in the southern Indian Ocean, underwater search and recovery will be challenging, too. Robotic submersibles would likely be required to attack underwater terrain that can go as deep as many thousands of feet.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Still waiting on those transcripts of the last hour or so on the aircraft, the conversations between the pilots and the ground, air control as well. We're waiting for that to be published on the Telegraph website. We'll bring it to you with Richard as soon as we get it.

And each day that passes with no answers, the agony only deepens, of course, for the families with loved ones on board that flight. Ahead in the show, we'll go live to Kuala Lumpur where some are sharing their heartbreaking stories.

Still to come tonight, Turkey's prime minister moves to shut down Twitter, but can the social media site really be silenced?

Six months after the deadly attacks at Nairobi's Westgate Mall, we'll bring you the story of one man who has been called a hero for his actions there.

Also ahead, raising money for cancer research one selfie at a time. We'll explain what's behind a new campaign coming up on Connect the World.


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

Now the Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the agreement officially making Crimea part of Russia.

The annexation was unanimously approved on Friday by Russia's upper house of parliament. Ukraine and the west reject the move.

Earlier, Putin retaliated to U.S. sanctions by placing penalties on U.S. lawmakers and businessmen. We'll have much more on this story with the latest news from the diplomatic standoff over Crimea later on in the show.

The Turkish government, meanwhile, has at least partially blocked Twitter sparking outrage amongst users. The country's prime minister spoke out against the social networking site at a campaign rally. He says Twitter ignored court orders to remove web links.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (through translator): Can you imagine there are international conspiracies? Twitter (inaudible), we have a court order now. We will wipe out all of these. The international community can say this, can say that, I don't care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is.


FOSTER: Well, hours later Twitter users in Turkey began to experience widespread disruptions. Twitter is offering a work around so users can send out tweets with their cell phones, though.

For more on the ban, let's turn to Umur Birand in Istanbul. He's a Turkish journalist and anchor of the program the 30 Second Day on Turkey's CANLD (ph). CANLD (ph) is a subsidiary of a TV station CNN Turk's parent company.

Thanks so much for joining us.

We better explain how this all started, because people have been posting things on Twitter which have upset the government.

UMUR BIRAND, TURKISH JOURNALIST: Well, actually it started in 2013 during the Gezi protests. The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan actually blamed Twitter and told them they were actually trouble for mobilizing protesters during that time.

And since that on, he's never -- he didn't have a love affair with the social media, especially Twitter, quoting on and off how much, you know, it was just really, really empty and people could say whatever they wanted.

The only problem here was is basically every time there was a court order there's nobody, there was no Twitter representation in Istanbul, in Turkey. They weren't able to go anywhere with that. And because of that - - I believe also because of the frustration -- they decided to do the only thing possible is to ban it.

Even though they did ban it last night, Twitter users have been able to go around this ban and including the president of the Turkish Republic, Abdullah Gul, which he tweeted saying that a ban on Twitter was not a good thing. And tweets have increased by close to 150 percent since last night.

So people have been able to around it by either changing their DNS servers and going around the system.

FOSTER: Exactly. It has backfired, hasn't it, on the decisionmakers in this. It hasn't worked. And Twitter has actually been helping people get around the technicalities here as well.

BIRAND: Well, it has -- it has backfired and it hasn't. For the first time in many, many years -- actually for the first time ever, Twitter actually was able to bring lawyers in to Ankara in order to speak to Turkish government officials in order to lift this ban. So it actually did work. The backfiring part -- please don't forget that there's only 10 million users here of Twitter users who are using this not as a tool of free speech, but more as a channel for entertainment.

So I think the rest of the population really doesn't mind what Twitter does to them or it doesn't do to them. At the end of the day, the prime minister did hint out that he was going to do something about this. Whatever means he had he was going to uphold the court's decisions, even saying -- going as far as say that he's going to show the power of the Turkish Republic to the people and he actually has done that. They're able to sit down and talk with Twitter officials finally.

FOSTER: It's a fascinating story. Umur Birand, thank you very much indeed for bringing us that.

Now police in Kabul are sorting out what happened in a deadly attack on a luxury hotel that left at least nine civilians dead. Security is on high alert in the Afghan capital after four teenagers armed with pistols hidden in their shoes entered the hotel and started shooting indiscriminately.


RAM RAMGOPAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thousands gathered at a historic shrine in northern Afghanistan on Friday to celebrate the start of the Persian new year. But the mood was far from celebratory in the capital Kabul a day after gunmen killed nine people in an attack on a luxury hotel.

Authorities say four teenagers armed with pistols entered the Serena Hotel (ph) and started shooting, killing five Afghan civilians and four foreigners.

Security forces killed the attackers during a gun battle.

Afghan officials showed reporters photos of the dead attackers and the guns they used.

But it's not clear how they were able to slip past dozens of armed guards at the heavily fortified hotel.

SEDIQ SEDIQQI, AFGHAN INTERIOR MINISTRY SPOKESMAN: We are still investigating exactly how these four attackers were there gun were able to enter (inaudible), which was secured by the security arrangement by the hotel itself.

RAMGOPAL: Sadar Ahmad (ph), an Afghan reporter for the Agence France Presse news agency was among those killed, along with his wife and two children. A third child of theirs was seriously wounded.

A friend and colleague calls it a tragic loss.

MUSTAFA KAZEMI, WAR CORRESPONDENT: Hi behavior, his character unquestionably good, very, very humble person and was very, very war and cordial with every person. He (inaudible) make friends with.

RAMGOPAL: The Taliban has said it carried out the attack. And security is on high alert in the capital.

Many Afghans fear the violence will only get worse.

MOHAMMED NAHIM, KABUL RESIDENT (through translator): We are concerned after the attack in such an important place close to the presidential palace. It's really horrible for me and the other people in the country.

RAMGOPAL: This is just the latest in a string of deadly incidents ahead of the country's presidential election set to take place next month.

The Taliban has vowed to kill anyone associated with the vote.

Ram Ramgopal, CNN, Atlanta.


FOSTER: A deadline set by students occupying Taiwan's parliament in protest has passed without a response from the government. Hundreds of students have barricaded themselves inside the building for the past four days. They're calling on the government to scrap a controversial trade agreement with China that was signed last year. They say the deal is harmful to Taiwan's economy and gives China too much leverage.

The second day of Michelle Obama's trip to China found her with that country's first lady. Peng Liyuan. Education and people to people diplomacy are the focus of this trip, according to officials. There was a visit with students, a calligraphy session, some ping pong and then off to the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing.

Mrs. Obama's two daughters and her mother are accompanying the U.S. first lady on hat week-long visit.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, six months since tragedy hit Kenya. We speak to a man who risked his own life to save the lives of others.

And can selfies contribute to a cure for cancer? Surprisingly, the answer seems yes,. That and much more after this short break.


FOSTER: Well, it's been six months since the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya was taken over by armed militants.

The resulting siege left dozens dead and much of the complex in ruin. After experiencing a personal tragedy, NAME knew he had to help at Westgate. He ended up putting his own life on the line to help save others. Take a listen.


DHARMESH BULSARA, WESTERGATE RESCUE VOLUNTEER: In six months it's been a change of attitude for people. We actually managed to show as Kenyans that during hard times we do bring our hands together and stick together.

My name is Darmesh Bulsara. I was part of the Westgate rescue. I had a family. Tragically, I lost my 16 month daughter in a car accident. That just happened three weeks before that.

She did motivate me, my daughter, to go in there and help out wherever I could.

As soon as I reached there, I started asking around where is help needed? Between us and a few police officers and a few of -- a few other civilians, we got together, joined forces and we went in and started combing the basement and every other location that we could reach to get out any survivors. And we got them out.

The most difficult part was trying to pass certain areas where we had bodies of dead people who were shot and you could actually see they were trying to make their way out, trying to run for cover and they didn't really make it.

We had to walk over them to get inside to actually get those guys out of the place. Seeing quite a bit of dead bodies, putting away little children bodies into cars, it's really difficult, quite traumatizing.

We had food cooking 24 hours, we had tea, coffee, everything. Everybody was pitching in something or the other, bringing in water, people are bringing in food, bread just so that these few days that the officers were actually doing the entire operation were well fed, well taken care of so that they can carry out their work.

It was surprising how we as Kenya get together in a few moments and hold strong throughout the entire process.


FOSTER: There's more on today's anniversary on our website. We ask people touched by the tragedy in Kenya to share their thoughts today using the hashtag #westgates6months. That's the number six. You can read those comments and of course share your own. That's at

And many people have already been sharing their fears and hopes six months on from that attack.

Some are still afraid to visit shopping centers in the wake of the siege. And this tweet says, "I have a permanent phobia for malls after the Westgate incident. I avoid malls at all costs and only go if very urgent."

There's also this comment, "I'm a little more aware of my surroundings, especially in malls. I only spend minimum time there nowadays."

And others are reflecting on today's anniversary with both sadness and hope. This woman says, six months since the Westgate attack happened. Time flies, but the souls we lost there will never be forgotten."

And this tweet reads, "I hope Kenya feels the immense love from the rest of the world and is stronger than ever as the healing continues."

We'll have the latest news headlines just ahead.

Plus, as Russia adopts Crimea, Kiev signs a deal with the EU. So what happens next? We'll have more on that after the break.

And is there such a thing as a selfless selfie? We'll tell you why pictures like these are raising millions for cancer research.

Also ahead, as the families on board flight 370 wait in anguish, they're getting no relief from the press. We'll have a report from Atika Shubert who is in Kuala Lumpur for us.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. Russia completed its annexation of the Crimea region today after parliament rubber-stamped the deal with President Putin signing it into law. In Crimea, Russian troops continue to block Ukrainian military bases even as some forces pack their bags and awaited orders from Kiev.

Turkish media and even the president of Turkey are all coming out against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's order to shut down Twitter. The government's at least partially blocked the social media site after Erdogan accused it of violating a court order. Twitter says it hopes to access the service in Turkey, and that will be restored very soon.

The US first lady is in China for a visit focusing on education and people-to-people diplomacy. Michelle Obama spoke Friday with China's first lady, Peng Liyuan. There was a visit with students, a calligraphy lesson, some ping pong, and then off to the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing.

The British newspaper "The Telegraph" says it has obtained the full transcript of communications between the cockpit of missing Flight 370 and ground control. It hasn't released it yet. But the paper suggests the conversation was perfectly routine, with two possible exceptions.

Families with loved ones onboard, meanwhile, are still desperate for answers. Atika Shubert is in Kuala Lumpur tonight with more on that part of the story. Atika?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, families are having this agonizing wait for information. It's been two days, now, search planes have gone over the area where that suspected debris was seen, but still no confirmation that it's wreckage of the plane.


SHUBERT (voice-over): For those who wait for Flight 370, the hours are long. The day begins at dawn in Perth, Australia, when the first planes take off to search the vast stretch of the Indian Ocean. It takes eight hours to fly to the area and back, leaving only two hours to search for the wreckage. Often, they return empty-handed.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, they can only wait. On Friday, at the airport mosque, special prayers for the lost plane and missing passengers.

SHUBERT (on camera): Some of the families are staying here at the Everly Hotel, but few venture outside. Frankly, because of us. This is the only way out, and the press are camped here every single day.

SHUBERT (voice-over): This father can barely have a cup of coffee without being mobbed by press, but he patiently answers questions as best he can.

"I truly hope that all the passengers are safe," he says. "And we are grateful to both Malaysia and Australia for searching for the plane. And if they have, indeed, found it, then I will accept it."

Every day at 5:30 PM at the Sama-Sama airport hotel, Malaysian officials hold a daily press briefing to a conference room packed with media from around the world. Every photo they hold up triggers a barrage of camera flashes, lots of questions, few answers.

HISHAMMUDDIN BIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIA TRANSPORT MINISTER: It's very, very difficult because the one question that they really want to know is the answer to which we do not have, which is where are their loved ones and where is the airplane?

SHUBERT: About an hour's drive from the airport, an oasis of calm. Some families were housed here. They walk the grounds expressionless, whether hoping for the best or bracing for the worst.

By evening, the search planes have returned Pearce Air Base in western Australia. Nothing found yet, but they will return to search tomorrow. One more day of waiting that blurs into the next.


SHUBERT: Of course, while the search goes on, the investigation continues, but still no leads there either. One of the things they're looking at is this flight simulator that was owned by the pilot. Now the FBI has the flight simulator and they're going over some of the data that apparently was deleted about a month ago. But at this point, CNN understands, nothing conclusive has been found yet. Max?

FOSTER: We're expecting to see a transcript as well very soon that's being published in a British newspaper, a conversation between the pilots and ground control. Presumably, the authorities there have already had access to that, so they're not going to learn anything particularly new, but there might be some interesting tones in there of the language perhaps?

SHUBERT: Well, this is such a mystery that every little detail, no matter how small, is being completely scrutinized. And so this is why there's so much interest in this transcript. I have to point out that we have not been able to independently verify this transcript, but there's huge demand out there to know what was going on in that cockpit in the hour before it veered completely off course.

We know, of course, that the cockpit -- the copilot's last words were "All right, good night." And that seems to be verified by "The Telegraph" in this transcript. But otherwise, nothing unusual at all so far.

FOSTER: Atika, thank you very much, indeed.

Now, there are scenes of celebration in both Crimea and Russia tonight marking an historic day of reunification. Firework displays lit up the skies of Moscow and Simferopol. President Vladimir Putin formalized the annexation of Crimea by signing it into law.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, Ukrainian prime minister -- the Ukrainian prime minister has sealed a deal to build closer ties with Europe. It's the same EU pact that triggered protests in Ukraine back in November in the first place, which of course spiraled into the current crisis. Here's what Prime Minister Yatsenyuk had to say about the agreement.


ARSENIY YATSENYUK, PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE: This deal covers most existential and most important issues, mainly security and defense cooperation. This deal will establish a joint decision-making body, which is to facilitate the process of real reforms in my country.


FOSTER: Well, Nina Dos Santos was in Brussels, where the EU heads of state were meeting early on Friday.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a stroke of their pens, EU leaders forged closer ties with Ukraine. With another, they severed links with more members of Vladimir Putin's inner circle, upping the pressure to withdraw from Crimea.

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: A sham and illegal referendum has taken place at the barrel of a Kalashnikov, and Russia has sought to annex Crimea. This is a flagrant breach of international law and something we will not recognize. This behavior belongs to the Europe of the last century, not this one.

DOS SANTOS: Facing urgent calls to prevent Russia from claiming more land in the east, Europe targeted another 12 individuals with asset freezes and visa bans, bringing the tally so far to 33.

Among those earmarked, the speaker of Russia's upper house, a deputy prime minister, a famous broadcaster, and two commanders of the Black Sea Fleet, all key to the Kremlin, but many already blacklisted in the United States, and no heads of industry.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): How far will the European Union go?

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I cannot pre- judge now at this moment. But I can tell you, based on my experience and also in the active participation in all these meetings, is that I saw strong determination all member states. It is true, to be honest, that among 28 countries, there are different sensitivities.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): What's next for Europe? Well, sources say more moves by Russia could prompt an arms embargo and broader financial sanctions, not to mention a major push to reduce the EU's dependence on Russian gas.

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE, PRESIDENT OF LITHUANIA: I think that we probably are heading towards some kind of elements of Cold War. I do not think we are yet threatened by the military war, but some economic elements of economic sanctions, economic disturbances, trade barriers, probably will be used.

DOS SANTOS: For now, Europe is still looking for a diplomatic road map to peace, while Russia redraws its borders. And though the talk is getting tougher by the day, so too, it seems, are the decisions.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN, Brussels.


FOSTER: Well, Nina also managed to catch up with Vitali Klitschko. He's the former heavyweight boxer who's played a major part in the protest movement in Ukraine. He told Nina he thinks Putin's sights are set far beyond Crimea.


VITALI KLITSCHKO, UKRAINE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The main goal of Russia is not Crimea. It's not Kharkov region, not Donetsk region, or not Lugansk region. The main goal is capital of Ukraine, Kiev, and control whole Ukraine.

Because we know and we listen a lot about that, the idea from Russians to rebuild Russia empire without Ukraine is impossible for doing.


FOSTER: Well, as the diplomatic standoff continues, life for the people of Crimea is changing. Ukrainian troops remain in place there despite the annexation by Russia. I spoke earlier to our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh. He's in Simferopol.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the ground, we've been to one air base, spoke to a commander there who was quite clear he was still loyal to Kiev and he claimed he had hundreds of men listening to him.

They're very much surrounded by Russians, though, meters away, in fact, and he said he was waiting for Saturday morning, tomorrow, to find out whether or not he was supposed to stay, according to Kiev, or pull his troops back to the mainland.

Still tension high here, though, for those who remain behind. Some trapped on a ship, we saw, in Sevastopol Harbor, but also signs of the practical changes Crimea's going to have to go through in the months ahead to become part of Russia. I should point out, not something the rest of the world recognizes.

People queuing for Russian passports today, all of them avidly sure that they were going to be better off under the Russian government than under the Ukrainian one, but Ukraine also, as you know, Max, making a significant move itself, signing paperwork with the EU for an association agreement.

That doesn't bring them into the EU, far from it. It just kind of ends that debate that started all this months ago whether Ukraine was going to shift westward or eastward. Max?

FOSTER: Has everyone got what they want here? If Russia now has Crimea in its eyes and Kiev has a closer relationship with Europe, is everyone happy? Is that the end of the story, in a way?

WALSH: Far from it, really. In many ways, it feels like the beginning of something here. There are many people in Crimea not happy about what's happened. We'll have to see what they do, whether they leave or stick it out. Or even feel they want to resist Russia's control here, a very hard thing to even imagine doing.

And of course, Russia, in the eyes of many Western officials, this isn't really the beginning -- isn't really the end of matters, this is, perhaps, the beginning. Lots of Western officials sounding a warning that Crimea is the beginning of Putin's plan here.

Now, US military officials very concerned at what they say are 20,000 troops massing on Russia's side of the border with Ukraine in the east, adding these troops are motorized, so can move very fast, indeed.

And of course, echoing in everybody's ears are the words of Russian officials that they reserve the right to protect compatriots in eastern Ukraine, ethnic Russians, that is, who they say are under threat from extremist or fascist aligned to the new Kiev government. I should point out, there's no independent evidence there's much of a threat there at all.


FOSTER: Nick Paton Walsh. Now, after this week's annexation of Crimea, all eyes are on the Russian president Vladimir Putin. But what will his next move be?

To learn more, do visit our website. You can read this piece, which asks whether the Russian president is just an opportunist or a visionary looking to restore a greater Russia. Follow the links on our homepage at

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, the Chinese businesswoman who rose from rags to riches to become a top CEO.


FOSTER: Zhang Xin rose from extreme poverty to become one of the, well, just one of the handful, really, of self-made female billionaires in China. She is the CEO of Soho China, one o f the country's largest real estate companies. Pauline Chiou met Xin in Beijing to hear how she overcame the hardships of her youth to become a hugely successful businesswoman.


PAULINE CHIOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Travel to Beijing or Shanghai these days and Zhang Xin's work is all around you.

ZHANG XIN, CEO, SOHO CHINA: This one is the tallest building we've ever built. Nobody really came up with three manmade mountains, right? So that's where we started. We said, ah, this is amazing.

CHIOU: Her ambition and creative vision is the force behind Soho China, one of the country's most prominent property developers, known for its large architecturally daring projects, 16 in Beijing, 12 in Shanghai, and one in Hainan.

Zhang founded Soho with her husband, Pan Shiyi, in 1995, a far cry from her first job on a factory floor.

ZHANG: I think everybody comes from nowhere. That's the thing about China, right? Everybody comes from -- nobody comes with money. My -- our generation. We were lucky to be alive.

CHIOU (on camera): What is it about China and the women of your generation that allows them to achieve that highest level?

ZHANG: I think women of our generation went through cultural revolution, went through hardship, went through coming from nowhere. And suddenly see China's been given so amazing opportunities.

So, women just seized the opportunity, or people just seized the opportunity, and in this regard, I think women in China are getting more opportunities than outside. And that's why you see more self-made billionaires, woman billionaires, than elsewhere, I think, in the world.

CHIOU (voice-over): Zhang brought to the table experience in banking and a love of design. Her husband had ambition and business savvy. Together, they built Soho China into a company worth more than $3 billion. To rise to the top, Zhang says women must be fearless and go for their dreams, even if it means resisting social norms.

ZHANG: Hardly any men, no matter how well-to-do, you wouldn't think that, oh, I'll stay at home. But a lot of women, despite being very smart, very well-educated, still at some point decide, oh, it's more comfortable to stay at home. Those are the real barriers stopping women to go far.

CHOIU (on camera): When you go into a room for negotiations, I imagine you're walking into a room of mostly men and probably men who are mostly older than you. As a woman, as the CEO of Soho, how do you approach that situation when you walk in the door?

ZHANG: I don't think about -- those are the moments that I don't think about myself as a woman. I'm just coming in to do a deal, I need to get it done.


FOSTER: Well, coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, a new campaign is using fresh faces to raise money for the fight against cancer. We'll explain when we CONNECT THE WORLD after the break.


FOSTER: Now, a new trend is taking social media by storm and raising millions of dollars, actually, for cancer research. The campaign asks women to post pictures of themselves without makeup. As Isa Soares explains, men and women of all ages are getting into the fresh face fundraiser.


ISA SOARES, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bare-faced and unmasked, hundreds of thousands of women across the UK have been ditching their makeup bags to raise awareness of cancer.

No one quite knows how this social media craze started, but this photo by Amanda McDonald, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, and her husband wearing her wig, is believed to have been among the first to use the hash tag #nomakeupselfie.

AMANDA MCDONALD, FIGHTING CANCER: My friends were doing this and supporting this as a gesture to me going through the treatment. And there must be so many other people who are going through this as well. And it just seems to have spiraled and gained a momentum that nobody could have imagined.

SOARES: The explosive social media campaign meant charities, such as Cancer Research, were bombarded by queries on how to donate with each selfie. They responded with an informed no makeup selfie tweet.

AARON ECKLES, CANCER RESEARCH UK: It's not something that we started, it's not our campaign message, but at the same time, if that's what people are trying to do, we really -- we appreciate that sentiment. The fact that we've raised over 2 million pounds, that's over $3 million US, it has just been incredible.

And it will go towards things like clinical trials, it'll go towards research projects around the UK that are aimed at helping beat cancer sooner and bring treatments to patients faster.

SOARES: The viral campaign has attracted all age groups, each one posting a selfie, then nominating other friends to join in. Now, even men are taking part, by piling on makeup. But the fun and social aspect of the selfie has attracted attention from around the world.

ECKLES: We've seen people in Canada, in the States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland as well, just lots of people asking us how they can get involved. I've texted codes not international, but people have been getting involved in our website and signing up.

SOARES (on camera): Selfies may be seen as self-indulgent, but with one woman being diagnosed with breast cancer every ten minutes here in the UK, these bare faces all reveal a selfless concern for others.

Isa Soares, CNN, London.


FOSTER: For more, I'm joined by one of the women behind this campaign, model Amy Willerton. Thank you for joining us. And we say it like that as if it's some sort of organized campaign, but it's actually completely disorganized, isn't it? How did you get involved?

AMY WILLERTON, MODEL AND CAMPAIGNER: Well, my story is very strange. I was literally in the bath, saw on Twitter that this was going on, and just thought wow, what a fantastic way to promote cancer awareness. So, I just took a quick selfie, and next thing I know, it goes kaboom.


FOSTER: Let's have a look at the selfie we're talking about here. So, it was a -- you were on Twitter, were you, at the time and you heard about the campaign and thought you'd have a go?

WILLERTON: Just sort of saw lots of people reposting these. Obviously, lots of the men were posting these makeup. So I just thought it was a really fun way to promote it. And what's really nice about it is that it wasn't started by the charity, it was just started by people wanting to promote cancer awareness.

FOSTER: And the charity in the UK who's benefiting from this has sort of jumped on it. But they're just blown away by the impact. I think something like $3 million has been raised so far.

WILLERTON: That's amazing.

FOSTER: And in terms of the amount of times your selfie here has been retweeted and reposted, have you got any sense of --

WILLERTON: I have no idea --

FOSTER: -- how often it's been used?

WILLERTON: -- but it's certainly got enough attention to get me here, so --



FOSTER: And in your work, you wear makeup, of course.


FOSTER: So, were you afraid of doing this?

WILLERTON: No, not at all. I much prefer the natural look. I'm -- on an everyday basis, I don't really wear a lot or little to no makeup, really. And so, when I am at work, I'm so caked in it that actually the idea of taking a no makeup selfie was nice, to be able to say hey, people - -

FOSTER: Was it sort of liberating in a way --

WILLERTON: -- this is me.

FOSTER: -- that you could just be natural?

WILLERTON: To be honest, I actually do a lot of no makeup selfies.


WILLERTON: People just think that I'm wearing makeup. I don't really know why. It's quite funny. It's some -- I just think it's a really nice thing to do. You want to promote self-confidence and being comfortable in your own skin, and I've done the pageants for years, and I do want to sort of set a good example, and I want people to just feel like they can just be themselves.

And whether you want to wear makeup or don't want to wear makeup, just do what's best for you. Because --

FOSTER: Is there something in this with the amount of makeup people are wearing these days?

WILLERTON: I think it's an individual thing. I really do. I mean, I'm a girly-girl. I love getting dressed up and putting my makeup on. But at the same time, I love sitting in my pajamas with no makeup on and cuddling up on the sofa. I love both.

I think it really -- beauty is subjective, and so, I think as long as you're being yourself and you're just doing what's best for you, then it's a positive thing. Just don't let what's the media and what's surrounding you influence who you are.

FOSTER: Because a lot of people are afraid of going out without makeup, aren't they? A lot of women are afraid of not wearing makeup in public.

WILLERTON: I completely understand that. I went through having awful acne as a teenager, and for years, you would not catch me dead outside without being caked in it. I was getting to the point where I would walk into restaurants, I would sit in a certain chair to make sure that I wasn't in incorrect lighting so that people couldn't see all my spots. Honestly, it's -- there is such a need --

FOSTER: You wouldn't have done this then, though, would you?

WILLERTON: -- to feel that -- No. I wouldn't have done that then. And I actually -- part of me wanted to post a picture of myself without makeup when I had acne, and I might do that, actually. I might do that just because I suppose people sort of said, oh, it's easy for you, you're a model, you can post a picture of yourself and people -- it's normal for you.

And I thought, well, actually, not really, no. I've had braces, glasses, bad acne, I had it all as a teenager. So --

FOSTER: Yours was a knee-jerk reaction, you just did it. But there are a lot of women out there who said the language around it --

WILLERTON: To read that.

FOSTER: -- is that "I finally built up the courage to do this."


FOSTER: "I've been thinking about this all day."


FOSTER: So -- and you, you've obviously helped build that momentum.

WILLERTON: Yes, well, that's such a nice thing, though, isn't it? That actually, this campaign has actually encouraged women who may not have ever thought to do something like that to really come out of themselves and be natural.

FOSTER: You do a lot of charity work, more traditional charity work. Are you -- what do you think has been the secret of this campaign? Because it wasn't an idea, it just sort of emerged, and it has been explosive, hasn't it?

WILLERTON: Yes. It's been amazing. As I said, I think it's the fact that it came from the people, and I think we've all sort of joined up in a little community and all felt like we're one soul building towards this message.

And I think what it represents, the no makeup or the makeup for the men, of course, is just kind of exposing a more vulnerable side. In the same way that we're all vulnerable to cancer. And I think that's kind of where it's come from. But I just -- I think it's amazing. I think anything that promotes a good cause is great.

FOSTER: We should talk about the men.



FOSTER: Because the women not wearing makeup is actually quite serious, isn't it?


FOSTER: The message behind it. And the men are having a laugh, presumably. Or they're desperate -- desperately trying to wear makeup after all these years.


FOSTER: We've got an excuse.

WILLERTON: They love it. They've been secretly trying to plan this for years, and they finally got around to it.

FOSTER: Well, I can give them some tips.

WILLERTON: Oh, I'm sure. I'm sure.


FOSTER: Only at work I wear makeup, of course. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us --

WILLERTON: Thank you.

FOSTER: -- and congratulations on a phenomenal campaign.

You've been watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Let's recap our top story for you. Britain's "Telegraph" newspaper claims it has the transcript of the final 54 minutes of communication between the missing Malaysia Airlines plane and ground control.

The report says most of the account is routine, except for two things, that the cockpit repeated its altitude twice in six minutes and the suspected directional turn and loss of communications happening during the handover between the Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control.

We're bringing you more on that as we do get it. It will, I'm sure, be published in the next hour or two as the paper version comes out.

The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you about makeup, airplanes,, have your say there. You can also tweet me @MaxFosterCNN, your thoughts, please, @MaxFosterCNN. Thank you for watching. That was CONNECT THE WORLD.