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Australia Committed To Finding MH370; U.S. Could Release Convicted Spy Jonathan Pollard; GM's CEO Apologizes For Deadly Defect

Aired April 1, 2014 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight, searching the high seas: more than three weeks after a Malaysia airlines plane was lost without trace, we'll look at exactly what we do know about the flight's final moments and ultimate fate.

Also ahead...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm bubbling over with anger. I am overwhelmed by anger.


FOSTER: Families who blame a faulty ignition switch for the loss of their loved ones wait for answers from car giant General Motors.

And as Gmail turned 10, we ask why its users at internet giant Google just can't live without it?

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

FOSTER: And more than three weeks after Flight 370 vanished, Malaysian authorities are correcting a critical piece of information. Today, they released the full transcript of communications between the pilots and ground control. It shows the final words in the cockpit were "good night Malaysian 370," not "all right, good night," which we were previously told.

Experts say the new version isn't unusual, but the discrepancy could undermine confidence in the investigation.

Another important development. A Malaysian government source now says the plane's turn off course is being considered a criminal act, either by one of the pilots or someone else on board.

Still so many questions and not one scrap of debris. Search teams will head out soon for another day of scouring the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

Will Ripley is aboard an Australian navy vessel that's heading to the search zone. He tells us about the challenges ahead.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have moved about 12 miles offshore here in the Indian Ocean to give you a sense of what the weather conditions can be like. And believe it or not, this is considered a clear day.

We have swells, we have waves, you have to hold on to something on the boat just to stay standing. Captain Ray Ruby, I can't believe that this is a clear day.

RAY RUBY, CAPTAIN: Yeah, well you saw last night was like glass. This is just a normal day. I feel sorry for the guys on the Shield heading out to the wreck zone, because we're at idle. We're running along about five knots. Those guys are punching at 15 knots so every wave is straight over the top.

RIPLEY: Even for a large ship like the Ocean Shield?

RUBY: Large ship, it'll just be over the top at three times the speed we're doing.

RIPLEY: How large are these waves?

RUBY: These are only a meter-and-a-half with a wind chop on top. They're not bad. You know, when the guys get out further, they'll be up to five, six meter waves plus swells.

RIPLEY: Wow. So literally waves that are the size of many buildings here.

You certainly have to hold on. You deal with the windy conditions as well. Just imagine if there were a storm moving in and all of a sudden your visibility drops down to zero, you can have a ship very close to you that you can't even see in just a matter of seconds. It's really incredible the conditions out there, the conditions that the Ocean Shield is facing right now as they move towards the search zone.

Will Ripley, CNN, off the coast of western Australia.


FOSTER: Now some families with loved ones on that flight are sharing their grief, trying to console each other as they want for answers. But one family is waiting alone. Sara Sidner has that part of the story.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of all the grieving families of missing flight MH370, the family of 18-year-old Pouria Nour Mohamadi (ph) is suffering alone. Nour Mohamadi (ph) and his friend, Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza, were two Iranians on the flight. Nour Mohamadi's (ph) family has stayed away from the epicenter of information, not attending briefings or getting the counseling by Malaysian airlines.

In this case, the airline says it has not been in contact with the families. Their case, it said, is in the hands of investigators.

Nour Mohamadi (ph) and Reza boarded flight MH370 with stolen passports, able to pass through security without a problem. At first, they came under suspicion, but they were cleared of having anything to do with the plane's disappearance.

On Facebook, his mother pours out her grief.

"From the moment I became a mother," she says, "all I wanted and asked from god was to not see my children die before me, but of course that didn't happen."

We tried to talk to Nour Mohamadi's (ph) mother, but she did not respond to our calls or email. We managed to get in touch with Nour Mohamadi's (ph) friend who said good-bye to him at the Kuala Lumpur Airport on March 8. He refused to show his face for fear he will be harassed by authorities when he travels to and from Iran.

He says Nour Mohamadi (ph) and his friend Reza are from Christian families, though Nour Mohamadi (ph) was not particularly religious.

Nour Mohamadi's (ph) Facebook message four days before he got on that plane shows him standing below the iconic Malaysian skyscraper with the words, "feeling excited."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he was so sad and he was asking me when my son was (inaudible) he was happy. He was enjoying. And I said, yeah, as I see he was happy and he was (inaudible), he was OK. And then he just say thanks god.

SIDNER: He says he saw the plane ticket with another man's name on it and questioned Nour Mohamadi (ph) about it. Ultimately, Nour Mohamadi (ph) would only say he was trying to leave Iran forever to live with his mother in Germany.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said there's more freedom, there's more freedom there.

SIDNER: Instead, he disappeared with the other 238 people aboard flight MH370. His mother left these words for her missing son, "I dedicated my life to my son," she says. "And all I wanted for them to be happy in life. I wanted them to live a free life. I had prayed that I would see him again, but that didn't happen. We will see each other in eternity now."

Sara Sidner, CNN, Kuala Lumpur.


FOSTER: Well, it seems every day we learn new information about flight 370, but sometimes that information contradicts what we've been previously told, confusing matters instead of clearing them up.

Let's bring in Kyung Lah now to go over exactly what we do know at this point. She's live for us in Perth in Australia.

Kyung, this plane has been missing for more than three weeks. We're going to remind viewers of some of what we know about it and the investigation. First off, whereto we stand when it comes to the plane's final movements?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that the plane was taking off everything appeared normal, that it took off as planned. The last voice transmission from the cockpit we've learned from the Malaysian authorities now is good night Malaysian 370. That's a fairly standard signoff. And that its last known position was over the Strait of Malaka, that's the last time it was seen on radar, some were in between there. After that the transponder was turned off, the ACAR system was turned off. And the estimate is that it disappeared somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean, Max.

FOSTER: And when it comes to the search area, it's changed repeatedly in recent days, in recent weeks actually as well. What's the latest on where they think this plane is?

LAH: Yeah, it's really hard to track. At one point it was in the northern part of the Indian -- the northern part and then it was now the southern part of the Indian Ocean. It moved late last week from further southwest, closer northeast to Perth. IT is now this stretch of an area right off of Perth. And that's really where the concentration is right now. It's a much calmer section, Max, of the Indian Ocean. So that's the good news as the search planes take off from Perth.

FOSTER: And that deliberate turn that we heard about from the Malaysian government, the plane taking a deliberate turn. What more do we know about the investigation into what happened on board?

LAH: Well, the very latest that we're hearing from Malaysian authorities, Malaysian authority -- someone who is close to the investigation tells CNN that at this point they are considering that deliberate turn a criminal act. And that whoever did it knew how to fly a 777, knows the inner workings of a plane and that it was someone on board - - that is something that we've heard repeatedly from the Malaysian authorities, Max.

FOSTER: And the pilots, obviously so much focus on them. But no evidence against them so far. What do we know about them?

LAH: We know that the Malaysian authorities have interviewed a number of the family members of both the pilot and the co-pilot, but so far no smoking gun. They even took the flight simulator out the pilot's home. This is something that got a lot of press initially, that the pilot had a simulator that he had built in, assembled inside his home, but even that, there's so far been nothing that point to either of these men as having any sort of ill intent as far as moving this plane deliberately into the ocean.

FOSTER: Kyung Lah, thank you very much indeed for joining us from Perth with what information we do have.

The global resources of CNN are covering the story from every angle for you, and you can find out much more on our website. has a special section on the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. You can see a time line of events around the plane's disappearance, get the latest on the search and read about other famous aviation mysteries. Follow the links from our homepage at

Coming up, as the U.S. tried to convince Israel to release more Palestinian prisoners as part of a peace negotiation, Israel wants the United States itself to release a high profile prisoner. New information tonight about convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

Serious safety flaws discovered a decade ago: questions are now being asked about why GM took so long to issue a recall. U.S. lawmakers are grilling the CEO right now.

Happy birthday to Gmail. It's 10-years-old. It's the biggest email service of its kind, and it's free -- well, sort of. We'll explain later in the show.


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

Now to a setback for the Middle East peace efforts. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was supposed to continue his shuttle diplomacy tomorrow, meeting with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, but reports say he's now called off that trip. Kerry spoke a short time ago, saying there are still a lot of possibilities regarding the peace negotiations.

One possibility could be the release of Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. intelligence agent convicted of spying for Israel.

U.S. officials say the White House hasn't yet made the decision.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has more now from Jerusalem.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: ...of this emerging deal, as it was described to me, would include the release of Pollard by the 14th April, Passover. In exchange, the Palestinians are demanding that the prisoner release, the fourth prisoner release since last summer should go ahead. The Israelis are saying they may also release an additional 400 prisoners they say do not have blood on their hands.

The Israelis say they will possibly implement a -- not a freeze on settlements, but will show great restraint on the construction of new settlements in the West Bank, although this emerging deal does not include East Jerusalem.

But to complicate matters further, we just heard within the last hour from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who in a televised address say accused the Israelis of playing games with the peace talks and following a policy of procrastination.

He also said that he's signed a document to start the process for the Palestinian Authority to join 15 international organizations.

So it's not at all clear whether this deal will actually go ahead.



FOSTER: Well, meanwhile Kerry is accusing Russia of challenging what he calls self-evident truths of the 21st Century. He spoke a short time ago in Brussels where NATO foreign ministers are being meeting for the first time since Moscow announced it was annexing Crimea.

Kerry says the move violates the principle that European borders would not be redrawn by force.

He adds that NATO rejects the idea that the recent referendum Crimea held calling for annexation made it legal.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Happy that yesterday Russia made an announcement, President Putin made the announcement initially that they were going to move a battalion back and that's obviously small compared to the numbers that are deployed, but it is a welcome gesture in the right direction.

The question now is, is there a way to build on that in order to be able to find a way to move the masses of troops back and truly deescalate.


FOSTER: We'll be looking at that role NATO can play in the standoff. Coming up later in the program, I'll speak with the alliance's former supreme allied commander General George Joulwan.

In Tunisia, two policemen have been sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of raping a young woman in September 2012. The case drew widespread protests after the victim was initially accused of immoral behavior. Those charges were then dropped.

According to the woman, three men attacked her and her fiance whilst they were in their car. She said two of them took turns raping her whilst the third held her fiance back and tried to get him to withdraw money from a bank cash machine. That police officer received a two year sentence for -- officer received a two year sentence for extortion.

We'll clarify that for you.

West Africa is struggling to contain a, quote, unprecedented epidemic of Ebola fever. The group Doctors Without Borders says the disease has killed at least 78 people in Guinea, but deaths have also been reported in Sierra Leone and Liberia. They are suspected to be linked to the epidemic.


MICHEL VAN HERP, EPIDEMIOLOGIST (through translator): We are facing an epidemic of an extent that has never been seen before, especially if you look at the distribution of cases by area. We are facing the most aggressive strain of Ebola, called Zaire strain, this is a strain that kills more than nine people out of 10.


FOSTER: There are no treatments or vaccines for the highly contagious disease.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, GM says sorry on Capitol Hill. The new CEO of General Motors apologizes for a botched recall over a deadly defect. We'll have the details after the break.

Anger from the Kremlin: Russia fights back against Ukraine's cooperation with the west. We'll have a report for you from Moscow.


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

Now General Motor's chief Mary Barra has said sorry to the victims of a deadly defect in some of the automaker's cars. U.S. lawmakers are now grilling Mary Barra over GM's botched response. The firm found a faulty ignition switch in some of its models that can suddenly turn the car off. 13 deaths are linked to the defect that forced GM to recall 2.6 million cars. That came a decade after GM first was told of the fault. This is what Mary Barra had to say a short while ago.


MARY BARRA, CEO, GM: As soon as I learned about the problem, we acted without hesitation. We told the world we had a problem that needed to be fixed. We did so because whatever mistakes were made in the past we will not shirk from our responsibilities now or in the future.

Today's GM will do the right thing. That begins with my sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this recall, especially the families and friends who lost their lives or were injured. I am deeply sorry.

Our customers who have been affected by this recall are getting our full and undivided attention. We are talking directly to them through a dedicated website with constantly updated information and through social media platforms. We've trained and assigned more people, over 100, to our customer call centers. And wait times are down to seconds. And of course, we're sending customers written information through the mail.

We've empowered our dealers to take extraordinary measures to treat each case specifically.


FOSTER: Well, General Motors is an American icon with a massive global reach. It's partners build and sell cars and trucks in 35 countries worldwide. GM brand include Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC. Those are better known in North America, but Europeans will recognize its Opel brand, while Vauxhall is a big deal here in the UK. Holden represents GM in Australia and New Zealand, while across the Asia-Pacific region, the automaker is responsible for the Baouin, Jiefang and Wuling brands.

Back in the U.S., General Motors says Mary Barra met some of the families of people whose deaths were linked to the defects.

CNN's investigations correspondent Drew Griffin has more on their fight for answers and action.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN COORRESPONDENT: Ken Melton will never forget the night four years ago now when he got that call. His daughter Brooke, just 29, had crashed her 2005 Chevy Cobalt into another car on a rain slicked Georgia highway. Police said at the time it was her fault. She had lost control.

KEN MELTON, DAUGHTER DIED IN CAR ACCIDENT: Even though I knew she was gone, I reached over, I kissed her forehead and whispered in her ear and I know she heard me. I whispered in her ear, Brooke, I will vindicate your death.

GRIFFIN: Today, that father's promise to his daughter has been fulfilled. GM has now recalled 2.4 million cars because of problems with the ignitions, including the 2005 Chevy Cobalt that Brooke was driving.

The cars have a fault ignition switch. The switch can slip into accessory position, which cuts power to the engine, cuts off air bags and causes vehicles to lose power steering and anti-lock breaks.

That's what investigators say happened in Brooke's accident.

In a statement that has only reopened Ken Melton's pain, the new CEO of General Motors now admits the company knew about the problem years before his daughter died.

BARRA: While something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened.

GRIFFIN: CNN has learned General Motors is now facing a criminal investigation into the handling of the deadly defect. The company admits 13 people have been killed, but GM president Mary Barra has said that GM has not identified who those people are, even to their own families. And there could be even more than 13.

According to the Center for Auto Safety, the government's own files show as many as 303 accident related deaths where General Motors air bags did not deploy, though we don't know why they didn't inflate or what caused the accidents.

It turns out the executives at GM weren't the only ones who knew and did virtually nothing about a known deadly defect. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, the actual government agency tasked with keeping us safe on the roads, knew all about the deaths but says it didn't detect a trend, so failed to act.

CLARENCE DITLOW, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR AUTO SAFETY: It was sitting there in front of the government and they didn't do anything about it.

GRIFFIN: NHTSA has released a statement trying to explain how it missed the deadly defect, saying that the data available to NHTSA at the time did not contain sufficient evidence of a possible safety defect trend that would warrant the agency opening a formal investigation.

WELTON: I'm bubbling over with anger. I am overwhelmed by anger.

GRIFFIN; Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: The latest world news headlines just ahead.

Plus, east versus west: the struggle for control of Ukraine intensifies as NATO puts its relationship with Russian on hold. We'll have a report from Moscow.

And leading the way, how Jessica Parker is putting her touch of the silver screen into the soles of her shoes.

Tiger Woods is out of the U.S. Masters before it even begins. We'll tell you why the world number one will miss the tournament in Augusta.

All that and much more when Connect the World returns.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories at this hour. The coordinator of the international search for Flight 370 says it could drag on for a very long time. Planes and ships scoured parts of the Indian Ocean again today, but no sign of any progress. The US black box locator is still en route to the search zone.

A deal is in the works to salvage the Middle East peace talks. It could also result in the release of an American spy. Jonathan Pollard has been in prison for nearly 30 years for leaking classified documents to Israel when he worked as an intelligence officer for the US Navy.

General Motors chief Mary Barra has said sorry to the victims of a deadly defect in some of the automaker's cars. US lawmakers are now grilling Mary Barra over GM's response. Thirteen deaths are linked to the fault that forced GM to recall 2.6 million cars.

In Tunisia, two policemen have been sentenced to seven years in prison over a rape case that drew widespread protest. The victim was initially accused of immoral behavior. Those charges were then dropped. A third police officer received a two-year sentence for extortion.

NATO and Ukraine have condemned Russia's annexation of Crimea and called on Moscow to abide by international law. This comes as foreign ministers from the 28 NATO member states kicked off a two-day meeting in Brussels, their first since Russia wrestled the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine last month. NATO's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, says Russia has a lot to answer for.


ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: Russia's aggression against Ukraine is the gravest threat to European security in a generation, and it challenges our vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. A vision that we have built since the end of the Cold War.


FOSTER: These developments are likely to cause further tensions, and Russia has certainly not welcomed the news. Phil Black sends us this report from Moscow.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: NATO says it is intensifying cooperation with Ukraine, but suspending military cooperation with Russia. Ukraine's parliament has passed legislation saying -- allowing for foreign forces to conduct training exercisers in Ukraine.

Russia's response to all of this is we've been here before. A statement from the foreign ministry says the last time Ukraine tried to get close to NATO, it resulted in frozen relations between Ukraine and Russia and pretty prickly relations, too, between Russia and NATO.

The statement says that ultimately, the quality of Russian-Ukrainian relations will be determined by Kiev's foreign policy, and that includes the potential for economic cooperation as well, which hints at the possibility of a financial penalty in the event that Ukraine does move closer to NATO.

Now, NATO's eastward expansion is known to be a major irritant to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. He spoke about it at length most recently in the context of Russia's policies in Crimea. But at the moment, no one is seriously talking about Ukraine joining NATO.

Instead, Ukraine is clearly looking for ways to ensure and improve its security while NATO -- in particular, the United States -- are looking for ways to send a powerful message to Russia that says Russia just can't do whatever it wants in Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, Russia's state-owned natural gas giant, Gazprom, had done the expected and ended a significant price discount for Ukraine. The end of the discount will see prices rise by around a third. The discount was secured by former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych when he negotiated a broader financial bailout package with Russia back in December.

But since then, Yanukovych has been driven from power. Gazprom says that this decision to end the discount isn't political but necessary because Ukraine isn't paying its bills. It says Ukraine owes around $1.7 billion for Russian gas.

Now, a new bailout package from the International Monetary Fund will cushion this economic impact for Ukraine, but that same IMF package will also ensure that ultimately, Ukrainians are paying a lot more for natural gas to heat their homes because a very strict condition is the Ukrainian government must stop subsidizing domestic retail gas prices.

One small consolation for Ukrainians: summer is coming. So in the immediate future, they're not going to be needing a lot of natural gas to warm their homes.

Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.


FOSTER: There have been conflicting reports on the numbers and movements of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine, so here's a look at what we do know. US officials say that Russia may have up to 40,000 troops along the border in and around Rostov, Kursk, and Belgorod.

They also believe that Russia may move towards three eastern Ukrainian cities, which are Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk, to establish a land bridge into Crimea.

Ukraine, on the other hand, puts the number at more than double that, saying that Russia has up to 88,000 troops and it's flying drones in the area. But Russia says it's merely carrying out snap military exercises in its southern and western districts. And on Monday, it also said that one battalion was heading back to Samara from Rostov.

But will NATO's support help Ukraine or will it cause the crisis to worsen? I'm joined, now, by General George Joulwan. He is a former NATO supreme allied commander. General, thank you for joining me. First of all, how much coordination is there between Russia and NATO? How much of a threat was it to Moscow that this coordination would stop?

GEORGE JOULWAN, GENERAL, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: In the last, I would say, 20 years, there's been a tremendous amount of coordination with Russia. In 1997, when I was there, we approved the NATO -- what was called the NATO-Russian founding act where there was a great deal of interest and, I think, progress made in dealing with Russia militarily, economically, politically, and diplomatically.

FOSTER: So, that now has stopped temporarily, so that's one message to Moscow. It's shrugged that message off, as you probably expected. In terms of an incursion into Ukraine outside Crimea, what role should NATO have there?

JOULWAN: That's very difficult. I think that what has to happen is that, I would say, some sort of contingency plan needs to take place, and it doesn't just have to be military. It can be sanctions, it can be diplomatic. But I believe that going into eastern Ukraine will be, I think, a violation much more than Crimea.

Crimea itself is a violation of international law, but going in and seizing control of the eastern part of Ukraine will be even worse. And I think the alliance is standing firm with -- very important -- 28 nations, there is consensus on these measures.

What will be done with those is yet to be seen. I just hope when Putin makes his next move that there will be solidarity amongst the alliance.

FOSTER: Well, if we look at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, as we're calling it, it's an alliance of 28 countries across Europe and North America. It stretches from Alaska to Turkey. The aim is to promote stability in the North Atlantic.

And Ukraine is currently not part of NATO, but recent events have led to increased cooperation between the two. That's the point, here, isn't it? Isn't NATO getting involved in something that has nothing to do with it because Ukraine isn't part of NATO?

JOULWAN: Well, I mentioned the NATO-Russian founding act. There is also a NATO-Ukraine commission. And part of the partnership for peace arrangement, which had at one point over 40-some nations with NATO, they can come -- nations can come to the alliance in time of difficult when their territorial integrity or sovereignty is threatened.

So, this was an attempt to try to create a Europe whole and free where intimidation would not work, and there would be consensus on what could be done to prevent it from happening in the present as well as in the future.

FOSTER: In terms of any NATO military response, when would you expect that to kick in?

JOULWAN: Well, I think you're going to see some movement because there are large Russian populations in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and I think you're going to start seeing beefed up air defense in the Baltic countries. That's already taken place.

We're going to see some -- we've had yearly exercises in the Black Sea with the Black Sea nations. I think that will continue. And you may see some exchanges between Ukraine and the NATO nations in terms of military- to-military contact.

All those are signals. But what is going to be very important when -- and I believe he will make his next move -- when Putin makes his next move, the alliance needs to anticipate that and react very swiftly and strongly when that occurs.

FOSTER: Is there a sense here that, obviously, if it goes on to a country like Latvia, that's a whole different story, if there is some sort of incursion into Latvia. So, is NATO looking ahead to that possibility and thinking we need to sort of stop this before it's even started, therefore, that's a justification for stepping into Ukraine?

JOULWAN: Yes. Now, remember, Latvia is a member of NATO. And they do come under the Article 5. I believe President Obama and Secretary Kerry and the Secretary-General of NATO have made it very clear: Crimea is one thing. Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania are others. That would be a clear violation of Article 5 of the NATO treaty.

FOSTER: General Joulwan, thank you very much, indeed. We're going to see what happens in the coming weeks. It's a very interesting time and appreciate your context on that.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. From show business to shoe business, Sarah Jessica Parker tells CNN the story of how she turned into a real-life Cinderella. That's up next.

Now, if you don't have it, you'll know someone who does. Gmail is the biggest e-mail service in the world. We'll look back at its decade of dominance.


FOSTER: Sarah Jessica Parker shot to stardom by playing a shoe-loving writer in the hit series "Sex in the City." Years later, the American actress has turned fiction into reality. She spoke to CNN's Maggie Lake about her new role as the Queen of Sole.


MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Actor, producer, style icon. Sarah Jessica Parker is one of the most recognizable faces in the world.


LAKE: Parker started her acting career as a child, honing her talents on the stage, television, and in film.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER AS SANDEE, "LA STORY": Big S, small A, small N, big D, small E, big E.


LAKE: In 1998, Parker became an international sensation after she landed the role of New York columnist Carrie Bradshaw in the groundbreaking television series "Sex in the City." For her, the success of the show meant more opportunity and responsibilities outside of acting.

LAKE (on camera): You've talked many times in your life about your acting career. Where do you think you get the inspiration for this business side of things?

SARAH JESSICA PARKER, ACTRESS: When I first started doing the television series "Sex in the City" and Darren Star said to me, "If you'll consider this, you can be a producer on the show." And I'd never produced in television, I'd never produced in cinema. And so, although I was sort of daunted by the idea, I was immediately excited about learning.

And I think once that became a huge part of the time I spent on "Sex in the City," I loved being part of the conversation. I loved being responsible to and for people. I loved the demand and the challenges of budget and people's job and the hours they worked. And so, what I was surprised to discover is that I liked business.

LAKE (voice-over): Her role as the leading lady on "Sex in the City" solidified her as a fashionista. Earlier this year, she partnered with the CEO of Manolo Blahnik to launch her own shoe line.

PARKER: I have always felt that there was this group of 10 million women that had committed to me for a number of years, and I wouldn't be having this opportunity if it weren't for the dedication with which they committed to that show I was on and the character I played, who loved shoes.


PARKER: There were three really important things to me if I was able to do this: the single sole, colors as neutral, and price point.

LAKE: This Renaissance woman seems to be living the ultimate dream.

LAKE (on camera): Do you feel like you have your dream job or you're living your dream? Or is this the sort of dream that keeps evolving?

PARKER: I always feel as if I'm having unthinkably fortunate opportunities presented, and that's why it's hard to say no to them. Sometimes when I think about the phrase "a dream job," it suggests that this is it, and then once it's run its course, that's it, the dream is over. And I love the idea of there is a whole world out there of possibilities and interesting things.


FOSTER: Well, for more on Leading Women, visit our website. You can learn more about other female world leaders and browse past profiles of women making their mark in fields from finance to the arts. That's at

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, he's competed in the US Masters every year for the past two decades. Now the four-time winner has pulled out. We'll tell you why Tiger Woods won't be playing at Augusta next week.

And turning 10. Gmail hits a major milestone. We look at the hidden costs of the free service.


FOSTER: In sports news, Tiger Woods has pulled out of next week's Masters at Augusta after he had to have surgery on his back. The world number one had an operation on a pinched nerve that had been hurting him for months.

It'll be the first time in 20 years that Woods will not play in the event. He's won it four times. Don Riddell is live for us in Atlanta with details. Don, a big disappointment for the fans.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely a big disappointment for the Masters Tournament and the PGA Tour, of course, as well, because he's going to be out potentially for several months. But most importantly, a huge disappointment for the world number one Tiger Woods.

As you say, he's played in the Masters every year since 1995. It's -- what? -- six years now since his last Major win, but there's still an awful lot of excitement every time Tiger tees up the ball. He remains the biggest star in world golf. So, hugely disappointing news all around.

Of course, this is the latest in quite a long line of injuries that Tiger Woods has had. He's now 38 years old. Remember, he's had his knee operated on four times, he's had Achilles surgery several times also.

So, the question at some point, Max, is going to be asked as to how much longer can he continue playing at the highest level, and is he going to be able, ultimately, to challenge Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 Majors titles? He's four back on 14 at the moment. He hasn't won one since the US Open in 2008.

It's not even clear how many Majors he's going to be able to compete in this year. The US Open is in June, and it's not entirely clear whether he's going to be back and able to play in that, Max.

But we're hearing from his statement that he could be starting with intensive rehab within one week. Depending on how things go, he could be chipping and putting in three weeks. But in his own words, he is out for several tournaments now.

FOSTER: Well, good luck to him. We should talk about football as well, because Champions League in action tonight. Some good matches?

RIDDELL: Yes, the second half has just got underway in two of the quarterfinals. The big game, really: Manchester United versus the reigning European champions Bayern Munich at Old Trafford. That game is goalless.

As expected, Bayern really did dominate the first half action, there, with 73 percent of the possession, but they were unable to get a goal. As it happens, the best chance fell to United's Danny Welbeck just before halftime, but he probably took a bit too much time with his shot, allowing Manuel Neuer to make a save.

It remains to be seen how much Untied will regret that missed opportunity, because they are not considered likely to get through this tie. They've had an absolutely miserable season domestically in the Premier League, and Bayern have been absolutely dominating in Germany, where they've already won the Bundesliga title.

The other game in Spain is also goalless. At the Nou Camp, it's Barcelona nil, Atletico Madrid nil. This is a clash between the top two sides in Spain at the moment. They've never met before in Europe, as it happens. Fairly even so far, but goalless in that game as well, Max. The second half in both games has just kicked off.

FOSTER: OK, Don, thank you very much for that. Now, the world's largest e-mail services turned ten years old today. I'm talking about Gmail, Google's popular online e-mail. Gmail boasts more than 500 million users, according to estimates. It's free to sign up and there's no charge for its use.

Regardless, Gmail has helped Google to rake in nearly $17 billion in revenues, and that's across all of its products, for the last quarter of 2013 alone. And this is where it makes its money: data and advertising.

Gmail scans your e-mails for keywords that identify topics. It then matches the e-mail up with a related ad, and that information can also be used to build user profiles for marketing purposes.

We asked you on Facebook what you thought of Gmail, and here's how you responded. Seemin Suleri Miller says, "I like it because it's simple and safe. I don't like it because there's a lot of spam you get."

"Gmail is reliable," writes Mahesh Mote. "Even I don't know what it does with my information. As like you all, I never read the terms and conditions."

Joel PhatJoe Eze says, "It's fast, lots of space. I love how you use it with other Google services."

And let's discuss this with Alex Wood from Tech City News. And that's part of the point, isn't it? That you can link it with these other services? In fact, Google makes you link it with YouTube, for example.

ALEX WOOD, EDITOR, TECH CITY NEWS: Absolutely. I mean, Gmail has been a core part of all of the services that Google has been offering. If you look back, in 2004, ten years ago, think about what kind of e-mail we were using back then. When Gmail launched, it was audacious, the idea that you could get 1 gigabyte worth of space completely changed the market.

And I think the really key thing to remember is that it locked people into a world of Google, because they had that amazing service from the e- mail.

FOSTER: Just talk about how they do make the money and how technically it works.

WOOD: So, as you mentioned, advertising is one of the key ways that they make money. But also, one thing that's often overlooked is there are millions and millions -- around 5 million people, estimated, that are actually paying directly for the service as well, because --

FOSTER: And to avoid adverts in the process?

WOOD: Exactly. And a lot of these people are small to medium-sized businesses, the kind of business that we cover, along with universities as well. And what you've got to bear in mind is that if you remember, again, back to the early days of e-mail, how much of a nightmare was it to be able to actually search?

Google has the world's most amazing search. And they built that into the e-mail, and that has got people hooked.

And so, businesses around the world are looking at this, because it's costing around maybe 5 pounds, maybe $7 US a month per user to be able to set up enterprise-level e-mail for their company. When they're small, and they grow with that, and then they grow and they grow, and they're locked into Google's world.

FOSTER: How does Google make it profitable for them, then? Because surely the costs of putting all this on and this endless sort of capacity in terms of space, it must be huge.

WOOD: Absolutely. The costs involved in actually storing all that data -- the average Gmail user has sometimes thousands of gigabytes worth of space.

But my company is a great example of it. You get locked into it, because then you start using Google docs, and then, so you stop using Microsoft Office. You move over to all of their Google services. I pay Google the best part of hundreds of pounds a year now, just for the extra storage for my company.

And so, what Google has created is not just a Gmail service, but actually a whole --

FOSTER: It's a gateway into the rest of the stuff.

WOOD: Exactly.

FOSTER: Let's look at how Gmail stacks up against its competitors, briefly. Gmail has 105 million monthly users in the US. In distant second, Yahoo, 82 million users, Outlook nearly 30 million. AOL e-mail just shy of 20 million.

So, it's a hugely powerful service. Do you think there's something bigger here, though, that they want Gmail to be at the center of everyone's online lives, not just their Google lives, as it were?

WOOD: I think the whole conversation in technology at the moment is about a land grab. You look at the way that Facebook's behaving at the moment, they want you to sign in through Facebook for everything. Google through Google Plus and lots of other services they're creating.

It's all about getting you to have that central point where you sign in, use your information, they capture that, and you live in a thorough Google experience on the internet. So, I think you're completely right, it's about owning things.

FOSTER: They've been quite honest, haven't they? Unlike Facebook, sometimes, about how privacy is being invaded. We can say that, because they scan the e-mails. But they say you're getting something in return for that. But how much -- how much of a concern is that invasion of privacy with Google e-mail, specifically?

WOOD: I think when they first launched, they had a lot of criticism about it, and people found it very uncomfortable, this idea of computers reading through your e-mails, and who has permission for that?

It's interesting, I think, that society has got used to that idea over the last ten years. But after some of the outbreaks with NSA and a lot of the discussions about privacy, it's really interesting, if you look at their competitors.

So, Microsoft with, now, what's called, they really market hard on this idea that our service doesn't read your e-mail, you can feel safe with us. And I think it's interesting that the whole market is moving towards a more greater consciousness of privacy as an issue.

FOSTER: But these aren't people looking through the e-mails, are they? As you say, it's computers looking for keywords. So, actually, there isn't a huge amount of concern if it specifically is just that.

WOOD: You're completely right. I think some people have maybe a legitimate concern that they don't know, at the end of the day, when you're not paying for something online, I think -- and I have a great phrase that I think, if you don't want something to be known publicly, do not put it on the internet.

If you're that worried and you're not paying for a service, I think that's a dynamic that a lot of users need to get used to the idea that your security is not always paramount. And you are putting it in the hands of another organization.

FOSTER: The concern might be that security services might decide to go to Google to read your e-mail. How easy is that for them to do, technically?

WOOD: It depends on the jurisdiction. But as we've seen most recently with the NSA leaks that have been happening, it seems like it's happening a lot more than we ever imagined. So, for that reason, I think a lot more people should be paying attention to these kind of issues and more careful about what they do online.

FOSTER: But they're all susceptible to that, I guess, aren't they, at court order?

WOOD: Yes.

FOSTER: OK, well, Alex, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

WOOD: Thank you.

FOSTER: The team at CONNECT THE WORLD want to hear from you,, have your say. You can also tweet me @MaxFosterCNN, your thoughts, please, @MaxFosterCNN.

In tonight's Parting Shots, it's April the 1st, in case you haven't noticed. And you know what that means, it's April Fools Day.

Among the pranks we've seen today, we can now reveal, was this announcement from CERN, the famous European physics lab, where the world wide web was born, saying that they will switch their website to Comic Sans, the widely ridiculed font used in a presentation announcing the discovery of Higgs boson.

Online store Think Geek says it's selling a version of language software Rosetta Stone for Klingon, the fake alien language from "Star Trek." But nobody seems to have put as much work into April the 1st as Google, who we've been talking about. Many of Google's sites have their own jokes today.

YouTube released this video looking ahead to what they think this year's biggest viral trends will be, like "clocking," where people stand around with their arms mimicking the hands of a clock. Then there's an unorthodox job announcement. This, from Google Maps.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At Google, we seek to hire the most exceptional people. Today, we're announcing a new job role and challenge: Pokemon Master.


FOSTER: You've missed the deadline, unfortunately. I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you very much, indeed, for watching.