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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Coco Power

July 31st, 2009
05:36 PM ET

Coco Chanel. How important was she? Did she have more impact than most world leaders?

I don’t know much about fashion but I did learn how powerful it is today. I went to a regular high street store in London with a fashion expert for the programme. He showed me how in almost every corner of the shop you could find something linked to Chanel; a little black dress; a tweed jacket; the trim on a cardigan; a rack full of fake pearl necklaces; a dark toed-shoe. All these things were either inspired by, or popularised by, Coco Chanel … decades ago. It is fascinating to me that most women in the western world probably have at least one thing in their wardrobe that they think of as classically simple but is, in fact, classically Chanel. It could be nothing more than the cut of a collar but there it is, tucked away in the outfits of millions of women as they go about their day. That means Chanel affected the lives of most women in the western world and many beyond. It may be cosmetic but it also affects the way they feel. How many world leaders can claim to have had such a widespread, and lasting, impact on humanity? Just a thought …

Your comments below, please! We'll read the best ones out on air tonight at 9pm London time.

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Filed under:  General

Six Degrees: Sarah Palin to Michael Schumacher

July 31st, 2009
11:52 AM ET

Reckon you know you way around this week’s news and personalities? Then see if you can take up our Six Degrees of Separation challenge.

All you need to do is connect two newsmakers who have hit the headlines in six moves.

This week we want you to link now-former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who resigned her post over the weekend, to legendary Formula One driver Michael Schumacher, who announced his return to racing this week.

Leave your submissions in the comments section below. On Friday the Connect the World team will pick the most creative connection, with Becky announcing the winner on the show.

Last week’s winner was Sally, who connected footballer David Beckham to astronaut Neil Armstrong. Here’s how she did it…

David Beckham has been interviewed by...

...yours truly, Becky Anderson, who attended a journalism school named for...

...Walter Cronkite, who was succeeded on CBS by...

...Dan Rather, who was once attacked by a man shouting "What's the frequency, Kenneth? which was immortalized in song by...

...Michael Stipe, who donated more than $80,000 to the Democratic Party last year, just like

...Robert Zemeckis, who attended the same university as...

...Neil Armstrong.

Reckon you can better Sally? Then try your hand at connecting Sarah Palin and Michael Schumacher. Remember -– you need five other people between those two, no more, no less. If you want your friends to take the challenge as well, then click the “share post” button below.

To see previous challenges, click here. Happy connecting!

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Right to Refuse?

July 30th, 2009
03:27 PM ET

Is it right that a soldier refuses to go on fighting in a war that (s)he does not believe in, and then publicizes the fact? That's what Lance Corporal Joe Glenton from the British Army has done. He is refusing to go back to Afghanistan and, in the full glare of the media, delivered a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to "bring our soldiers home" from the mission which he claims is being fought in the interests of U.S. foreign policy. His opinions are in stark contrast to his superiors who may accept the mission is not perfect, but who also say there is no better alternative.

The rights and wrongs of the argument over the mission are one thing, the other is whether L/Cpl Glenton is right to let personal feelings and opinions get in the way of his role in the military. If he is allowed to get away with it, where does it end? Every member of the military could come up with one reason or another for avoiding combat. The reality is you sign up to do your duty, not question it. Or are things changing, and for the better?

Take a look at my interview with him below. Your comments have been pouring in - Keep them coming!

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Filed under:  General • Video

Rocking Soviet Style...

July 29th, 2009
05:25 PM ET

Mikhail Gorbachev's not the first statesman with a penchant for crooning a little now and then, but very few politicians actually go so far as to record an album. Gorbachev's CD is entitled ‘Songs for Raisa’ and is dedicated to his wife, who died from leukemia in 1999. 

Now, while he insists it was recorded as a one-off for auction, the team here at CNN in London think he's a bit of a star in the making.  If he could persuaded to cut a new CD, we'd want to hear the former-Soviet leader cover: Back in the USSR, Rocking in the Free World , and Give Peace a Chance.  What would you want Gorby to cover?

You have precisely three hours and counting to get your best suggestions to us either by email: connecttheworld@cnn.com; on twitter: cnnctw; or of course, you can leave us a comment below. 

We'll air the best tonight on the show at 9p London time.

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Filed under:  General • Video

What's Next in Afghanistan?

July 28th, 2009
04:01 PM ET

Operation Panther's Claw is over, and the British military is declaring it a "tactical" success.  So, what happens next? 

I've been talking to U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who says the Taliban in Helmand province have been driven back in confusion and that NATO forces now have the upper hand.  Now, Ambassador Holbrooke says, it's time to talk to the enemy. 

You can almost hear the sigh of relief in Whitehall, London.  Britain’s been calling for talks with the more "moderate elements" of the Taliban for some time.  Indeed I'm told President Hamid Karzai has had such an initiative underway since 2005, but it has lacked money and support from the U.S. and NATO.  So things on the ground may now change, but has this shift in strategy come too late? 

Poll after poll shows that support for military action in Afghanistan is dwindling by the day.  I put that to Ambassador Holbrooke, who wouldn't be pinned down on a time-frame or an exit strategy for U.S. engagement in Afghanistan, suffice to say that he agrees with U.S. officials who say they must see visible, tangible progress by the summer of next year.  When I pushed him on what he meant by that, he simply said: "You know it when you see it".  So, will the US still be on the ground in two, three or four years time?  That's for soothsayers, Holbrooke told me.  "We're not going to repeat the abandonment of Afghanistan that happened before in 2004-2005," he said. 

Should the U.S., the UK and the Karzai government be talking to the Taliban?  And if not, why not?  Who should we blame for the mistakes of the past?  Are you more or less confident that we'll see peace in Afghanistan in our lifetime?

Email me: connecttheworld@cnn.com – and we’ll use as many of your replies as possible on air.  Tune in to the show – Connect the World – at 9pm London time.

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