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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.

Connectors of the Year

December 30th, 2009
05:47 PM ET

This year we had some pretty interesting, controversial and exciting Connectors of the Day and as 2009 draws to a close we take a look back at some of our most memorable guests.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/30/connectors_blog_art.jpg caption ="A look at some of our most memorable guests."]

We will feature country pop star Taylor Swift, actress Emma Thompson, author Paulo Coelho, musician KD Lang, controversial author and academic Richard Dawkins, and former death row inmate John Thompson.

Tell us who your favorite Connectors of the Day were in 2009 and why you enjoyed them so much.

Please leave your comments below.

Filed under:  General

Tech toys – the best and worst of the decade

December 30th, 2009
03:40 PM ET

It has been a decade of explosive innovation with some unforgettable technological breakthroughs.

The noughties saw social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter take over the web giving users the ability to communicate with friends, share video and photos and update people around the world of their "status".

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/30/blog_tech_art.jpg caption ="The Apple iPhone was one of the most popular tech toys of the year."]

In 2009, video sharing site YouTube surpassed more than one billion video views per day and brought fame to people like singer Susan Boyle after more than 120 million people viewed her audition for TV show "Britain's Got Talent" online.

One of the biggest tech hits of the decade was of course the Apple iPhone. The smartphone revolutionized the way people interact with their mobile as the iPhone enabled people to download a variety of applications, listen to music, take pictures and scan the internet.

The decade also saw online music sharing, motion sensor video games and flat screen televisions take the stage - just to name a few.

Looking back on the noughties, the decade also brought some pretty forgettable gadgets.

Who will ever forget the all important answering machine or even the phone book? Remember when we used to listen to music through a Discman and go to CD stores to buy music?

We'd love to hear what you think about some of your favorite tech gadgets of the year and also some of your most memorable tech toys from the past decade that are little more than paperweights today.

Let us know what you think and post your comments below.

Filed under:  General

Revenge punishment - does it work?

December 29th, 2009
11:35 AM ET

Fazeelat Bibi used to be the family jokester, but a chilling act of violence ruined the 22-year-old’s face, destroyed her life and killed her spirit.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/29/art.nose.cnn.jpg
caption="Fazeelat rarely ventures out of her house after the attack."]

It all happened in a small village outside of Lahore, Pakistan. Her attackers live right across the street from her house - and are family.

Her cousin Sher Mohammed wanted to marry her, but Fazeelat’s elder sister was already married into the family and was being mistreated so she rejected the marriage proposal.

A month and a half after the proposal, Fazeelat was on her way home with her brother and elderly father when she was suddenly attacked.

"Five people jumped out of the crops and I recognized them and I begged them not to beat me, but they said they were going to kill me," Fazeelat said.

One of her attackers was Sher Mohammed – the man who wanted to be her husband. During the attack, Fazeelat's nose was sliced off and her ear was slashed.

Police have so far arrested three of her five assailants, including Sher Mohammed.

The judge who ruled the case ordered that Fazeelat's attackers be subjected to the same mutilation. They were also ordered to serve life in prison and pay a fine equivalent to $8,300.

What are your thoughts on this controversial story?

Do you think it's fair that her attackers got the same punishment that Fazeelat was subjected to? Does it deter people from choosing violence or do you think it will make revenge related crimes more common? Does an eye for an eye work?

Please leave your comments below.

Filed under:  General

Airport security faces new challenges

December 28th, 2009
11:39 AM ET

Thousands of airline passengers around the world are facing mounting delays and increased security measures since a failed terror attack on a U.S. jetliner over the Christmas holiday.

Airport officials have raised the security alert for people traveling to the United States and passengers were being subject to body frisks and luggage restrictions.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/28/blog_art.jpg caption="Travelers face new security measures in the face of an alleged terror attack."]

Many airlines are only allowing travelers to have one piece of hand luggage and passengers are being warned that they will not be allowed to leave their seats one hour before landing in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security in the United States has significantly increased the number of air marshals on flights, a department official told CNN.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the ranks of the marshals have been increased by cutting vacations and leave and by pulling in air marshals from instructional and administrative posts.

A lone suspect allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan on Christmas Day.

The device apparently failed to detonate and the suspect was subdued.

We’d like to know what you think about the possibility of new delays and security measures at airports.

Are things going too far in the name of security or is it all justified if it prevents an attack? Are you willing to put up with hand luggage restrictions and body frisks? Are you more scared to fly now?

We’d like to know what you think below so please post your comments.

Filed under:  General

China stands firm on death row Briton

December 23rd, 2009
01:37 PM ET

Chinese authorities are set to go ahead with plans to execute a 53-year-old British man convicted of smuggling four kilograms (nine pounds) of heroin at Urumqi Airport in September 2007. [cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/23/china.death.row.art.jpg caption ="Briton Akmal Shaikh is due to be executed on December 29th."]

A final appeal to China’s People’s Supreme Court to pardon Akmal Shaikh has been rejected as have repeated representations from the UK’s Foreign Office in recent weeks. Even the intervention of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown appears to have come to nothing.

As things stand Shaikh will be executed – the first citizen of the European Union to suffer such a fate in over 50 years reportedly.

But Shaikh’s supporters say that he is suffering from mental illness and should be pardoned.

Reprieve, a UK-based legal action charity, say that Shaikh – who reportedly suffers from bipolar disorder – has been refused a proper mental assessment by the Chinese authorities and that his condition hasn’t been taken into consideration during his trial and sentencing.

The charity commissioned its own preliminary psychological report which suggested that Shaikh was likely suffering from “some form of delusional psychosis."

Reprieve say that Shaikh was lured to China by two men who were promising to help him launch a pop music career.

Shaikh’s children say their father has been “seriously ill for much of his life” and they called for the Chinese people to show “compassion and humanity.”

But a spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN in October there was no evidence of Shaikh’s mental illness.

"The British Embassy and a British organization proposed to have a psychological exam but could not offer any proof of mental illness," the spokesman said. "The defendant himself said that his family does not have a history of mental illness."

"This case has always been handled according to law. During the trial, the defendant has been guaranteed his legal rights," Jiang Yu, spokeswoman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Tuesday.

We’d like your thoughts on this case. Do you think Chinese authorities have a duty to reexamine the mental wellbeing of Shaikh before condemning him to death? Or are they right to ignore the appeals? Do you think the death penalty a fair sentence for drug-smuggling?  Post your comments below.

Filed under:  General
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