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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.

Did Pastor promote homophobia in Uganda?

February 26th, 2014
02:17 PM ET

Earlier this week, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law, introducing life imprisonment for those who engage in "aggravated homosexuality."  Just one day later, a tabloid newspaper in Uganda published a list of the country's "top 200 homosexuals."  Surveys show that 96% of the Ugandan public says society should not be accepting of homosexuality.

But where has this anti-gay sentiment in Uganda come from?  One source may be that of American evangelical Christians, who have assumed a growing influence in the country and advocated against gay lifestyles.

One of the most well known is American pastor and lawyer Scott Lively.  Becky spoke with him about his missionary work on Connect the World.  She began by asking Lively for his reaction to the new law in Uganda.

"I have mixed feelings about that," Lively said.  "I support parts of it, the parts that have increased penalties for homosexual abuse of children and intentionally spreading AIDS through sodomy.  But the parts dealing with simple homosexuality I don't agree with.  They're far too harsh."

Lively said that Ugandan culture and history itself was the main source of the anti-gay sentiment seen there.  "No American evangelicals taught the Ugandans how to be against homosexuality," he said.

When asked whether he was an extremist, Lively replied that "an extremist is in the eye of the beholder."

Filed under:  Activism • Africa • Analysis • Becky's Interviews • Global Connections • London • Religion • United States • Video

Wildlife poaching: Jackie Chan's new foe

February 14th, 2014
01:58 PM ET

Movie star Jackie Chan has faced many foes in his illustrious career, but now he has a new one – wildlife poaching.

He tells Max Foster that he became aware of the cause in an unexpected way – as a result of all the exercise required to keep his famous physique in top shape.  People would give him tiger oil, a product extracted from tiger bones, to heal his injuries and initially he didn't question their advice. "But I never got healed. It always hurt."

Chan later met a doctor, and asked him whether tiger bone was actually effective at healing injuries.  "Nonsense", the doctor replied.

As a result of these experiences, Chan has lent his support to a documentary, 'Tools of the Trade', that highlights the illegal trade of animal products.  These products are commonly used in traditional Asian medicines.

He says that many people still believe that animal products have almost magical medicinal qualities.   "When you eat pig's brain it makes you clever, when you eat pig's knuckle it makes you strong... No! Where are those things coming from?"

And his response to that couldn’t be clearer: "When you destroy the animals, you destroy yourself."

Filed under:  Activism • Celebrity • Poaching

Ex- IOC official: Judge Sochi later

February 6th, 2014
03:39 PM ET

Issues of politicization and questions of preparation are a staple of any Olympic Games, but in the end they'll be "defined by the seventeen days of sports performance". That's what Michael Payne, former marketing director of the IOC, told Becky when she spoke to him live from Sochi.

"There's always an awful lot of background chatter in the lead-up to the games. What we're seeing here from the IOC standpoint is frankly nothing new."

Answering the question of whether facilities would be ready on time, Payne stated that "Even before Lillehammer, probably the most successful Winter Games ever, the week before was not a pretty picture... Certainly the feedback you're also getting from the athletes who are coming into town is seeing facilities like they've never seen before, very positive feedback from the athletes' village. The media/TV facilities and press center is also getting very high reports."

Becky also asked Payne about the activists who are calling for boycotts over Russia's anti-gay laws. "The politicization of the Games has been there for the last century. I think President Bach has been very clear in the IOC leadership about the IOC's values and that all athletes, no matter what gender, what sex, what position are welcome, and they've received all the assurances and everything from President Putin. But I mean it amuses me, this gay debate. You go back to the Games in Atlanta – two years before the Games in Atlanta when they had the Volleyball Cobb County there was far more draconian proposals coming from the local community, anti-gay, and a whole boycott of sponsor products back then, so it's not exactly a new issue."

Filed under:  Activism • Becky's Interviews • Olympics • Russia • Sochi • Sport

Ukrainian Journalist: "The people are not satisfied"

January 29th, 2014
04:33 PM ET

As the Ukrainian government backs-down with the repeal of the anti-protest law and the resignation of the Prime Minister, CNN's Diana Magnay spoke to Mustafa Nayem, a journalist and activist, about why the opposition are still not happy.

Nayem said that this law is too late. During the 12 days of protest, he says, five protesters died, more than 30 were arrested, and it seems to him like the government have "hostages", because they are telling the protesters to clear the streets if they want those people to be freed.

The aims of the protesters seem to have developed and altered in the last few months. Nayem says that this doesn't reflect inconsistency, but rather a growing awareness of what the Ukrainian government is capable of.

"I'm a journalist so as journalist first of all I want to know who is responsible for shooting on my colleagues." Though he says that brutal force was used against people, no one from the militia has been held guilty. "A lot of my colleagues they were crippled, injured on these protests, and no one is responsible for this."

Because of this, he says that the situation has shifted. "It's not about that what was two months ago. Now we know on what they are capable. They have this law, and it doesn't mean that they will not adopt it again."

Filed under:  Activism • Ukraine

Gordon Brown: Syrian kids are forgotten victims

January 29th, 2014
04:11 PM ET

An ambitious 'timeshare' plan, launched by the UN, aims to enroll 400,000 Syrian refugees in school before the spring. With the support of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, the concept would see exiled Syrian children being taught in existing Lebanese schools for only $400 per person per year.

Becky spoke to Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former British Prime Minister, to find out more.

He said "100 years ago we established the principle that in a conflict the Red Cross would provide healthcare. Then Médecins Sans Frontières did even more in the 1970s and '80s when they introduced their service that kept health services going even in the worst and most intolerable conditions. Now we've got to establish the principle that even if you're in a difficult area, and there is no more difficult area than the Syrian peninsula at the moment, once you're in the area you can still provide some of these services, and we want to see education provided for as many children as possible, and then a root to jobs, and then a return to normality as quickly as possible."

While private individuals can contribute to funding the plan, Brown emphasized that it's important to get governments involved too. "Any pressure that ordinary citizens can put on this will make a difference."

Becky then asked what advice he had for the participants at the Geneva 2 peace talks. "To work harder to achieve a settlement. But at the same time to recognize that even if we achieved a settlement, which will be very difficult in the next few months, the humanitarian needs go on. These are the innocent victims, but often forgotten victims of a crisis. We know that more than half the refugees are children. We know that they have been pushed out of their homes already, but we know also that they're lacking the food and the shelter, as well as the education, and we really have to take humanitarian aid more seriously."

Filed under:  Activism • Becky's Interviews • Middle East • Syria
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