Tune in at 16:00 London, 19:00 UAE

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.

Was the war in Iraq worth it?

August 31st, 2010
02:01 PM ET

Military combat operations in Iraq will be officially coming to a close on August 31 and the day will mark the end of a lengthy and bitter conflict that has divided people around the world.

U.S. President Barack Obama will be marking the end of the war by personally thanking members of the military for their contribution and will also mark the milestone with a speech from the Oval Office.

Even though the official combat mission is ending, roughly 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in the country until the end of 2011. Their mission will be to train, assist and advise the Iraqis.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki proclaimed Iraq as "sovereign and independent" during a national address Tuesday to mark the official end of the U.S. combat mission in his country.

Al-Maliki praised the strides made by Iraqi security forces in fighting terrorism, attributing their efforts to making the U.S. drawdown possible.

"If these security achievements were not real, we would not have been able to move to executing the bigger and more important step, which is the withdrawal of American forces that is happening today," he said.

"This withdrawal would not have happened without the sacrifices of all the Iraqi people and the heroics of the army, police and security forces and the tribesmen who supported them.

As Iraq marks this important day, CNN International's "Connect the World" is bringing you a special one hour program dedicated to bringing you the answers of whether the Iraq war was worth it.

More than 4,000 U.S. troops have been killed so far and 316 members of the coalition have also lost their lives.

Reliable numbers on civilians killed are difficult to determine, but according to the human rights group "Iraq Body Count," between 97,000 and 106,000 Iraqis have been killed since 2003.

The war has also cost the U.S. government more than $700 billion according to the U.S. defence department.

We want to know what you think.

After more than seven years of conflict, was the end result worth it? Was the ousting of Saddam Hussein and the establishment of a democratic government worth the loss of life?

Let us know what you think and please leave your comments below - be sure to also include where you're writing from. You can also tweet CNN's Becky Anderson @BeckyCNN if you want your tweet read out.

Tune in on Tuesday August 31 at 2100 London time, 2200 central Europe time or 1600 New York time.

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Filed under:  General

Global Connections: What's up with Brazil and Nigeria?

August 27th, 2010
02:40 PM ET

On the surface, both Brazil and Nigeria may seem like they have absolutely nothing in common, but if you dig a little deeper, you'll soon realize that they have a lot more connections than you may think.

Know anything about Brazil?

Know anything about Brazil?

We've chosen the South American powerhouse and African stalwart as our very first pair of countries in our brand new segment on CNN International's "Connect the World," that we're calling "Global Connections."

One of the most beautiful countries on the planet, Brazil is the land of carnival, rainforests, beaches and football, while Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country, famous for oil and Nollywood films.

So what on earth could the connections possibly be?

Well, that's why we are going to be relying on you.

In this new weekly segment, we'll be choosing a new pair of countries every seven days and that's why we will need you to get in touch and post comments and video.

Can you find something to connect Nigeria to Brazil?

Can you find something to connect Nigeria to Brazil?

The connections can be anything from culture and geography to music and the economy.

We also want to hear your personal stories too. Perhaps you have a family member that moved from one country to the other years ago and you want to get in touch? Maybe you visited one country years ago on holiday and something special happened? Whatever connection you think there is, we want to know.

We've even teamed up with local Nigerian radio station the Beat 99.9 FM and Nigeria’s No.1 entertainment, lifestyle & fashion website Bella Naija.

This is your chance to have your voice heard on CNN.

All you have to do is leave your comments below on what connections you think exist and then one of our team members will be in touch.

You can also post your video responses directly to our very own CNN iReport page which you can visit by clicking here.

Now it's time for you to get involved - get connecting!

Global view on gay marriage heats up

August 11th, 2010
03:41 PM ET

(CNN) Supporters of gay rights are still celebrating a federal judge's ruling in California that struck down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

The ruling has raised emotions in not only the United States, but in countries around the world.Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, while civil unions are permitted in New Jersey.

Worldwide, 10 countries have legalized same-sex marriage - most recently Argentina at the end of July. 

Many other countries have approved civil unions and registered partnerships and still others are debating a legal status for gay people. 

Despite the growing number of countries, predominantly in the west, that allow same-sex marriage or recognize civil unions, homosexual behavior is still illegal in countries like Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. 

As the debate heats up, Connect the World held a special edition of our program alongside a very lively online chat.

Here are some highlights from our special show as well as how the online chat went below. Feel free to continue the discussion by leaving your comments below.


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Filed under:  General

Have you ever lost your cool?

August 10th, 2010
04:12 PM ET

Flight attendant Steven Slater has been bailed after grabbing a beer and leaving his job via the plane's emergency slide (NY1)

(CNN) - At one time or another most people have found themselves in job they loathe, but few would have quit in such spectacular style as flight attendant Steven Slater.

After being inflamed by a passenger's failure to apologise for banging him on the head with a suitcase, authorities say the Jet Blue steward grabbed a beer and triggered an inflatable emergency chute for his dramatic exit from the plane, and employment, at a JFK Airport terminal in New York.

And that was only after he shared a few expletive-filled words with the entire cabin over the intercom. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly but it delicately when it said it appeared Slater was quitting during his intercom flameout.

Bail set for cursing, beer-grabbing flight attendant

Have you ever lost your cool on the job?

Better still, have you ensured your place in workplace folklore by leaving in such spectacular style it's been gossiped about for years? Share your stories with us and be sure to tell us where you're writing from.

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Filed under:  General

Are you in favor of or against gay marriage?

August 9th, 2010
01:36 PM ET

Are you in favor of gay marriage or are you against it? (Getty Images)

(CNN) Supporters of gay rights are still celebrating a federal judge's ruling last week in California that struck down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

The decision was a major victory in a case that both sides say is sure to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court and could result in a landmark decision on whether people everywhere in the United States should be allowed to marry people of the same-sex. 

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, while civil unions are permitted in New Jersey.

Last week, Mexico's Supreme Court, on an 8-2 vote, upheld the constitutionality of a Mexico City law that took effect in March. 

Worldwide, 10 countries have legalized same-sex marriage - most recently Argentina at the end of July. 

Many other countries have approved civil unions and registered partnerships and still others are debating a legal status for gay people. 

Supporters of gay marriage believe it is a universal human rights issue and gay and lesbian couples should be entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples. 

Some opponents argue that the institution of marriage is a religious one and, as such, should exclude same-sex partnerships. 

Other opponents argue against gay marriage on the basis of tradition or concerns about parenting. 

Despite the growing number of countries, predominantly in the west, that allow same-sex marriage or recognize civil unions, homosexual behavior is still illegal in countries like Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates. 

As the debate heats up around the world, we want to hear from you. 

CNN International will be bringing you a special program dedicated to the issue on Thursday, August 12 at 2000 GMT on Connect the World. 

We want to hear your thoughts on the issue from around the world and would love to share them on our show. 
 
If you are interested in appearing in our special program to voice your opinion, please let us know, otherwise please leave your thoughts below on the issue. 
 
Remember to tell us where you're writing from too. 
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