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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.

Connector of the day: Rosi Sexton

October 28th, 2009
10:57 AM ET

Where does one begin to define Rosi Sexton: PhD, businesswoman, writer or mother? But despite all these feats, Sexton may be better known for her accomplishments in a sport that has been derided by some critics as the equivalent of human cock-fighting. She is the most successful professional female mixed-martial artist and cage fighter in Britain.[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/28/art.sexton.jpg caption="Rosi Sexton has lost only one of the 10 mixed martial arts bouts of her career."]

Rosi Sexton has lost only one of the 10 mixed martial arts bouts of her career.

Having already received her doctorate in integrated computer science from the University of Manchester as well as a mathematics degree from Cambridge, Sexton is in the final year of an osteopathy course at Oxford.

While balancing a full academic load, Sexton finds time to run a gym in Oxford, write a regular column and feature articles for a magazine while looking after her four-year-old son.

But as Sexton would reluctantly admit, nobody can multi-task quite like her. Sexton has fought Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) matches since 2002 in the U.S., UK, Costa Rica, Russia, and Canada. Her most recent fight was on June 19, 2009 which she won resoundingly. She has lost only one of her 10 MMA bouts.

Unsurprisingly, Sexton has neglected other hobbies amid her busy life but has hinted she hopes to be a concert pianist once again. Until then, she will be appearing on the show later this week as Connector of the Day to talk about how she engages in a violent sport whilst balancing career, hobbies and motherhood.

Send your comments and questions to us and we’ll put the most interesting ones to Sexton on this Thursday’s show.

Connector of the day – Michael Vaughan

October 27th, 2009
04:55 PM ET

In 2005, Michael Vaughan became the first captain of England’s cricket team to win the coveted Ashes series against Australia since Mike Gatting in 1986-87.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/27/art.michael.vaughan.jpg caption="Vaughan's finest hour came in 2005 after England's Ashes win over Australia."]

In his five-year spell as skipper of the national team, Vaughan developed a reputation as an astute on-field tactician as well as a talented batsman.

Indeed his batting proficiency saw him climb briefly to the top of the Test batting rankings during the 2002-2003 season.

Earlier this year, Manchester-born Vaughan decided to retire from the game altogether after a combination of injury and loss of form prevented him from making his Ashes swansong against the touring Australians.

But the record books will show he was England's most successful Test captain of all time with 26 wins from 51 matches.

Michael will be appearing on the show later this week as our “Connector of the day,” and will talk about his career, the current state of the game, and moves to expand its global profile beyond the Commonwealth countries that current dominate the Test scene.

Send your comments, questions to us and we’ll put the best ones to Michael on the show.

Connector of the day – Florence and the Machine

October 27th, 2009
02:22 PM ET

As the title of their hit song "Rabbit Heart 'Raise it Up'" suggests, British band “Florence and the Machine” have indeed raised their profile considerably in the last year.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/27/art.florence.welch.jpg caption="Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine performs at the 2009 Mercury awards."]

Even before their album “Lungs” debuted quietly at number two on the UK music charts the week after Michael Jackson’s death in July, Florence and the Machine had already attracted considerable attention.

The band’s focal point, singer-songwriter Florence Welch, received a Brit Award for Critics’ Choice and a Mercury Prize nomination.

Like many performing artists, the discovery of Welch’s talent happened by chance. Almost three years ago, while an art student in South London, Welch was overheard singing at a local pub by indie-DJ Mairead Nash who liked what she had heard. Nash invited Welch to sing at an open-mike night the following week at another local pub.

Not having a stage name, or much time to rehearse prior to Nash’s gig, Welch improvised on stage with her vocals and with her stage name. It has been rumoured that the name Florence and the Machine was conceived on her way to the pub that evening.

Welch has since evolved into an emerging popular artist playing before crowds much larger than her local pub, having performed at the Glastonbury Festival and before a nationwide audience on the BBC’s Electric Proms program.

And Florence will be joining CNN Wednesday to talk about her music, her recent success and the band's curious name.

Send us your comments, questions for Florence and we’ll do our best to use them on Wednesday’s show.

Hard times for porn industry

October 27th, 2009
11:18 AM ET

From banking to manufacturing, virtually every sector of the economy has at some stage been adversely affected by the global downturn.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/27/art.porn.piracy.jpg caption="Many in the porn industry blame piracy, particularly online, for falling revenues."]

The adult entertainment industry was viewed by many in the industry as “bullet-proof” when it comes to recession, but this opinion has shifted over the past 12 months.

Mark Kernes, editor of Adult Video News, has been covering the world of porn for over 30 years. He says the industry in the United States was worth around $6 billion before the recession but now estimates filming on new productions is down by as much as 50 percent.

“"It’s the first time I am aware of that the industry has been affected by a downturn in the general economy,” he said.

"At its height I would say there were about 5,000 people employed in various positions, from warehouse people to executives. And perhaps another thousand performers."

But this has changed, he says, with staff being cut and performers now earning much less as budgets are slashed.

Leading porn producer Wicked Pictures has also pointed to the damage being done by piracy, with products being leaked to the Internet and viewed for free.

Do you think the adult industry can recover? Should we care? Send us your comments below.

Filed under:  General

Connector of the day – Maria Shriver

October 26th, 2009
05:17 PM ET

Married to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver is the first lady of California, an award-winning journalist, best-selling author and social campaigner.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/26/art.shriver.jpg caption="Maria Shriver is known as the First Lady of California."]

Distinguished by her family background, she is a member of the prominent Kennedy clan - daughter of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargeant Shriver, the niece of President John F. Kennedy.

While she supports her Republican husband in most of his political endeavors, Shriver publicly endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during the U.S. elections.

Unfortunately she made the news for the wrong reasons this month when she was caught using her cell phone whilst driving. The gossip columns did not miss the fact that it was her own husband’s law that she was violating!

On a more positive note, Shriver will be talking to CNN Tuesday about her latest project – hosting the annual Women’s Conference in California, a forum to “inspire, empower and educate women to be the architects of change,” according to its Web site.

One of the main issues on the agenda is climate change and how women can be at the forefront of initiatives to combat this critical issue.

She is also the founder of the We Connect campaign which aims to help working families of California become more financially secure by connecting them to programs and resources across the state.

If you have a question for Maria about the conference, her career in journalism, her social causes, or what it’s like to be married to Arnie, comment below and we’ll put the best of them to her in the show.

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