November 27th, 2014
02:24 PM ET

Ferguson puts focus on U.S. racial divide

The situation in Ferguson, Missouri is a reminder of the deep racial division in America.

Protesters in Ferguson and across the United States feel that Michael Brown was singled out by police because of his race.

CNN contributor L.Z. Granderson says there is a lack of trust between minorities and police, as well as a lack of empathy between blacks and whites in the country.

It's a problem he's experienced way too often.

"I've lost count the number of times I've been pulled over by a police officer," he tells me from Ferguson. "The first time that an officer pulled a gun out on me, I was 12 years old. He told me I looked like someone."

"We're talking about a 30 year gap in my life in which I continue to look like someone that police are interested in," Granderson says. "I have never committed a crime. I have never been prosecuted. But I keep feeling I am being persecuted."

Here's Granderson on the racial divide in America and the anger surrounding the Ferguson grand jury decision.

Take a listen. It's worth your time.

November 26th, 2014
02:31 PM ET

Jimmy Lai tells HK protesters to retreat

As Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement stretches into week nine, more barricades are coming down in the district of Mong Kok. So should pro-democracy protesters withdraw or wait it out?

One high-profile supporter is urging student leaders to stand down.

"It's about time we retreat," says Jimmy Lai, a fervent China critic and media mogul. He has been working from his protest camp in Admiralty since the start of the action.

Lai calls the Umbrella Movement a "war" that will extend far beyond the battle of the last two months.

He fears that growing public resentment to the protests, which has caused major traffic disruption throughout the city, will damage the pro-democracy movement.

According to a poll released by the University of Hong Kong last week, 8 out of 10 people surveyed think the demonstrators should leave the streets and go home.

"If we will lose the moral high ground, it will be very difficult for us to come back later," Lai tells me.

Click on to hear Lai's call for the protesters to retreat, regroup and return at a later time.

November 13th, 2014
05:44 AM ET

Hope and change in Myanmar?

When the U.S. President first visited Myanmar two years ago, the country seemed on the cusp of a major political transformation.

But the mood is different as Barack Obama returns for his second visit.

"The hope and optimism we had in 2012 is gone," Irrawaddy magazine editor Aung Zaw tells me.

Zaw says there is a general impression in Myanmar that the reform process has stopped, and Obama needs to convey the message to the government that reform must go on.

Beyond the disappointing state of political reform, Myanmar’s leaders have been criticized for their oppressive treatment of the Muslim minority group, the Rohingya.

The Rohingya have been denied citizenship by their own government.  Scores have been living in a displaced persons camp for more than two years.

"The plight of the Rohingya will be a big challenge for Obama," says Zaw. "That's the reason Obama made a phone call to (President) Thein Sein before flying in."

Click on to hear more from our conversation including Zaw's very direct criticism of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her inaction in regards to the Rohingya.

November 13th, 2014
03:48 AM ET

How deep is your data trail?

So I just cleared my Google search history.

I took a peek at my search log ahead of an interview with data privacy expert and Harvard Fellow Adam Tanner, and was simply stunned by the depth of my data trail.

Some companies say they collect user information to provide them with better services.

Tanner says, "They know where you live, work, go to university and they also know sensitive things like what religion you belong to - all with the goal of selling things to you."

As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. And in this networked age, we're paying with our personal data.

But Tanner says, "There should be choice and transparency. You should know what you're getting into, and what you're getting in exchange."

November 8th, 2014
12:14 PM ET

Hope After Haiyan: building back better and safer

When I think back to Super Typhoon Haiyan, I often think of this image. It was captured from space by American astronaut Karen Nyberg.

Haiyan was one of the world’s most powerful storms in history, and you can see its sheer strength in that snapshot from orbit.

The super typhoon generated a storm surge as high as five meters. It roared ashore and wiped entire communities away. In the end, more than 6,000 people were killed and almost 4 million people displaced.

But Haiyan's legacy is more than a death toll. It’s more than shocking pictures of the storm’s strength or the devastation it caused.

It’s about the fate of millions of already impoverished people who lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.


October 24th, 2014
02:41 PM ET

Watch Mark Zuckerberg speak Chinese

In case you missed it, here's Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking Mandarin Chinese at Beijing's Tsinghua University.

Zuckerberg surprised the audience by speaking and answering questions in Mandarin for almost 30-minutes.

His heavy accent caused a few moments of misunderstanding - like when he tried to say the word "billion" but it came out as "eleven."

But no matter. It was an inspiring effort!

October 23rd, 2014
06:51 AM ET

Anson Chan's message to Beijing

For four weeks now, pro-democracy demonstrators have blocked major roads and highways in Hong Kong.

It's a sight that's become the new normal in a city known as a hyper-efficient financial hub.

Parts of the central business district have transformed into a tent city - a hotbed of political activism while both sides refuse to back down.

The protesters want true universal suffrage. They don't want Beijing to vet who can stand in Hong Kong's next leadership election.

But Chinese authorities say there is no way Beijing will take back its decision on 2017 elections.

That’s not acceptable for former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, Anson Chan.

"We need a new chief executive who at long last will stand up for Hong Kong’s best interests,” she says.

Anson Chan was the second in command in Hong Kong's colonial government and after the handover. In recent years, she's taken a high-profile role in the campaign for universal suffrage.

I spoke to Chan about the way forward for Hong Kong and passing the torch of democracy to a new generation.

She also has this message for China:

"I would like to say to Beijing - trust the people of Hong Kong, trust our young protest leaders. They are our future, and use Hong Kong as a testing ground for introducing full democracy."

Click on for the full interview.

October 13th, 2014
12:58 PM ET

Sachs: Ebola is a controllable epidemic

An American nurse has become the first person to contract Ebola in the U.S., raising fear and alarm about the outbreak in the West.

In the Ebola hotzone of West Africa, desperation grows as thousands of people are struck by the deadly virus - including healthcare workers on the front line.

The outbreak may be spreading, but professor and senior United Nations advisor Jeffrey Sachs tells me Ebola can be controlled in 6 months.

"This is a controllable epidemic but the epidemic has so far outrun the control efforts," he says.

"This is logistics, it's equipment, it's basic health protocols, it's diagnostics. All the pieces of a basic control system that need to be rapidly scaled up."

Watch the video to hear his recommended next steps, and what is at stake for Africa and the world if Ebola is not contained.

September 2nd, 2014
10:57 AM ET

China's propaganda war in Hong Kong

These are highly charged political times here in Hong Kong.

Beijing announced on Sunday there would be no open elections in Hong Kong, paving the way for China to remain the political power over the territory.

During this time of intense political discord, a gripping image from 1967 is a reminder of the fraught relationship between Hong Kong and Beijing.

It's a Chinese propaganda poster issued during the Leftist riots to stir people in Hong Kong rise up against British rule.


Recently on display at Hong Kong's Picture This Gallery, the poster depicts an angry, muscular crowd wielding placards and other objects as weapons.

In the bottom left-hand corner, weak cartoonish figures depicting the colonial government are being beaten and kicked out by the crowds.

"This was produced in China, probably smuggled into Hong Kong and used to try to rally support among patriotic Chinese living in Hong Kong," Bailey tells me.

The poster was part of an exhibition of Chinese propaganda that include a Norman Rockwell-esque public service announcement and a red balloon-strewn commemorative poster of Deng Xiaoping and the Hong Kong handover.

Bailey says the 1967 Hong Kong posters generated the most interest in his gallery and will find a new home in a museum.

Take a tour of these Chinese propaganda posters with the video above.

August 5th, 2014
01:58 PM ET

Shadows over U.S.-Africa summit

It is indeed an historic occasion.

U.S. President Barack Obama is hosting the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington.

But the leaders of Sierra Leone and Liberia are not there. They have opted to stay at home to battle the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

"The timing is very unfortunate, and no one would have wished for this," author and academic Howard French tells me.

"Having high-level discussions between the U.S. and Africa on business and investment are infrequent. So to the extent that this distracts from that I think will be regretted all around."

The summit is a much-needed opportunity for the U.S. to reset relations and economically engage with Africa.

"Africa is in a very particular moment, economically speaking," says French. "The continent has been growing very fast. Demographically, there's a bulge in terms of its youth population. And Africa needs partnerships."

Africa's biggest trading partner is China. It has invested deeply into Africa as a source of customers, natural resources, and jobs.

Howard French refers to Africa as "China's Second Continent" as more than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved there.

But will China's engagement with Africa lead to prosperity or exploitation?

Click on to hear more from our wide-ranging conversation on what's at stake for U.S.-Africa relations in light of the Ebola outbreak and China's head start in the region.

« older posts