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CONNECT THE WORLD
The Future of the Liverpool Football Club; Toxic Oil Spill in Hungary; Bully-Proofing Children; Rescuers Could Reach Trapped Chilean Miners Today, But There's a Catch. Former Colombian Hostage Ingrid Betancourt Shares Her Experiences. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister and International Olympic Committee Head Meet in Unlikely Place -- a Football Pitch. New Film Shows How Two California Surfers Help Bring Peace to Palestinians Through Surfing. Two Viewers Make a Global Connection from the Heart. Parting Shots of the Nobel Winners. Viewer Comments on Vatican's Statement Against In-Vitro Fertilization.
Aired October 6, 2010 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: The English football club, Liverpool, is to be sold to new American owners.
They have a position of proven success, bringing the World Series prize to Boston's Red Sox within two years of buying the team.
But in England, they'll compete with the deep pockets of Emirati sheikhs and Russian billionaires. Tonight, why the smart money is on clubs that are currently making a loss.
Going beyond borders, on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.
England's Premier League is a playground for the world's rich and famous. Liverpool has seen offers from China, Syria and the UAE. They all fell through, though. But this time the fans are quietly confident.
I'm Max Foster in London.
Also tonight, she was held by the FARC guerrillas for longer than she could have imagined.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INGRID BETANCOURT, FRENCH-COLOMBIAN POLITICIAN: I thought it was going to be for weeks, months, but never years -- never six years-and-a- half.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Ingrid Betancourt -- how she survived captivity and how she's moved on -- one-on-one, as your Connector of the Day.
It's a race against time to mop up Hungary's toxic sludge. The E.U. is warning it's a problem that could cross borders.
And our special series on a universal problem -- bullying. We're going to show you how a bully-proofing course may be able to help.
That is CNN in the next 60 minutes.
Well, Liverpool are a club down on their luck. They're currently languishing third from the bottom in the Premier League. And with debts running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, there was very little for fans to cheer about -- until now, as Alex Thomas now reports.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Less than four years after arriving as Liverpool's new owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett appear to leaving amid controversial circumstances. The board has announced it's selling the club against the Americans' wishes and there will be a legal battle before the deal goes through.
MARTIN BROUGHTON, CHAIRMAN, LIVERPOOL FC: I, frankly, am very disappointed that the owners chose to go down this route. It was their last opportunity to go out with their heads held high and they chose not to. In essence, when I took the role on, I got firm undertakings -- written undertakings to me -- to the bankers with RBS, that the only person who could change the board was me and that the owners would do nothing to frustrate the sale.
THOMAS: If the sale is completed, Liverpool's fans won't be sorry to see Hicks and Gillett go. They've staged protests as the club has dropped into debt and a lack of investment in players contributed to failure on the pitch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That, the problems of the club, on the field, off the field and it's all down to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you're not welcome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you're actually messing people's lives off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Personally, I'm a comedian. But I've never seen anything as folly as what you've created in this city.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're giving all Americans a bad name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, for the sake of everybody, walk away.
THOMAS: Celebrity Liverpool supporters joined other fans on this video urging Hicks and Gillett to go. Now their wish may be granted.
JASON MCATEER, FORMER LIVERPOOL PLAYER: It's not about wherever they're from. It's about whether they're the right owner for Liverpool football club. The last thing we need now is someone who comes in and does what Tom Hicks and George Gillett have done again. We need people who will come in and run the football club properly and that be them American or be them from elsewhere.
THOMAS: Liverpool's prospective new owner is New England Sports Ventures, a group headed by American businessmen John Henry and Tom Werner. Since they took over Major League baseball franchise, the Boston Red Sox, the team has won the World Series twice.
At a high profile sports and business conference in London on Wednesday, top executives were planning to discuss the race to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Instead, the talk was all about Liverpool's imminent sale.
BERNIE MULLIN, FORMER ATLANTA HAWKS PRESIDENT: John Henry has a great reputation. Obviously, he's done a fantastic job with the Red Sox. You've got to hope that they're not buying an asset at a fire sale price to flip it, but they really understand how iconic the Liverpool football club is. And I certainly do, having grown up in Liverpool.
DON GARBER, MLS COMMISSIONER: It's a -- a model ownership group. They understand the sports business. They understand, importantly, they own a very traditional brand. It is very similar to Liverpool. It's had struggles on the field this year, but -- and -- and there had been 80 years before they won a World Series.
THOMAS (on camera): Chelsea and their billionaire Russian owner, Roman Abramovich, have been one of the teams that have dominated English football over the last decade. And yet all the delegates at the conference here at Stamford Bridge are talking about Liverpool.
Can they repeat the success the Blues have enjoyed under new ownership?
(voice-over): Like the Red Sox, Liverpool is a sporting brand in urgent need of revival. With just one win from seven matches, the team is currently third from bottom in England's Premier League. Once the ownership battle ends, the fight to bring back the club's glory days begins.
Alex Thomas, CNN.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: Well, Liverpool already have American owners, but they weren't the first foreign businessmen to be involved with English Premier League clubs. In fact, half of the league's 20 teams are now foreign- owned. And Liverpool's fierce rivals, Manchester United, also have owners from the U.S. American billionaire Malcolm Glazer took over the team in 2005 and has since gone on to three league titles. The Glazer family also own the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Across town, Manchester City became the nouveau riche of world football when the massively wealthy Sheikh Mansour from the United Arab Emirates moved to buy the club in 2008. Currently, champions Chelsea's rise to power started in 2003, when they were bought by Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich. The oil tycoon went on a spending spree, bringing in some of the world's top players.
Well, as Alex mentioned, Liverpool's potential new owners have already proven they can get results. For 86 years, the Boston Red Sox failed to win a single World Series. After being bought in 2002, though, they've since won it twice.
To find out more, let's cross to Richard Roth.
He's been looking at that side of things from New York -- hi, Richard.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Max.
Yes, they did not win the title in baseball for 86 years. But they were never relegated. Well, that's because in baseball in America, nobody gets sent down to a lower division. That's the why the rules are.
Instead, as you mentioned, they won it twice. They have Curt Schilling, their best pitcher, who may go to the Hall of Fame. The big parade in Red Sox land in 2007. There's John Henry there briefly. We saw him with the trophy.
That's the name of the -- the leader of this new ownership group that might come in and take over Liverpool. John Henry made his money in stock trading, futures trading, hedge fund managing. There he is. He's got his hand in car racing. He's done very well by the Red Sox. They -- the fans there will tell you that. He revolutionized the team, how they were managed. He put some new renovations inside famed Fenway Park in Boston, two titles very quickly.
One -- I asked one American sports analyst, on the business side, to tell us more about this John Henry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL KAPLAN, "SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL": He moved digits in the ether, basically. He -- he was -- he was a master at -- at time -- timing the markets. That -- that's where he made his -- made his money. That was -- he was very behind the scenes, not high profile. He initially owned the Florida Marlins in Major League baseball and then, through a transaction orchestrated largely by the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, he -- he flipped the Marlins to a different man and he bought the Red Sox.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: John Henry's Red Sox have been so successful that the fans are not rioting there, Max, even though the team did not make the play-offs starting today in America -- back to you.
FOSTER: Richard, thank you so much.
So what's in it, then, for these new owners?
Well, Manchester United made a pre-tax profit of just over 48 million pounds last year. Using today's exchange rate, that's around $76.5 million.
But the majority of Premier League sides were in the red. Current leader, Chelsea, wracked up a loss of a little under $71 million before tax and Liverpool's parent company fared worse, recording their highest ever pre-tax loss of more than $87 million. And Manchester City's losses before tax came in were more than $147 million.
So with so many clubs losing money and so many owners with deep pockets, why would an American company want to take over Liverpool?
Well, Michael Stirling is the managing director of Global Sponsors and he's an adviser to several of the key football clubs in this country.
Thank you so much for joining us.
First of all, what is the attraction of a -- a football club to a multinational business when football clubs actually don't make much money even when they are making money?
MICHAEL STIRLING, GLOBAL SPONSORS: Well, large multinationals have a different approach toward running a business than an entrepreneur might. They have a corporate approach toward generating revenues. And part of that is having methods and systems that are quite proven.
So what we've seen is that entrepreneurs come in and they tend to take a short-term approach. They gear themselves up quite highly. And as a result of that, there isn't the kind of methodology that seems to be consistent.
If you look at the new purchases of Liverpool Football Club, they're sending out the right messages straightaway. They started today, from a P.R. perspective -- we're going to be paying off the debt. And they're trying to win the fans over.
And then the next stage would be to develop a business plan, which would probably be over a five to 10 year strategy rather than some of these entrepreneurs that come in for two or three years and flip the business.
FOSTER: And it is interesting that a company is trying to take over the club instead of an individual who may see it as a trophy, for example.
STIRLING: Yes, I think you're entirely right. I think that we -- what we would -- what we're likely to see more of is large corporates moving in to take over the entrepreneurial space once a company comes in and shows that they can make it work.
FOSTER: How are they going to make money?
How do they make money with the Red Sox, for example, and how can they transfer that to the U.K.?
STIRLING: Well, they're two different businesses, fundamentally, I suppose, if you took baseball and football. But the fundamentals would be entirely the same. Revenues come from three streams. These tend to be from stadium receipts, from sponsorship and merchandising and the final part of the equation is from the likes of...
FOSTER: TV sponsors, TV deals...
STIRLING: TV -- television, right. Entirely right. And then what -- what happens is that the new enterprises, they use a new methodology, which is to use like data information and using the brand as a platform and a marketing tool.
FOSTER: Because if there's one thing these clubs have got, it's a brand. They may not making huge amounts of money, but they've got a massive database of very loyal fans.
STIRLING: And the challenge is to try and get them to spend money.
FOSTER: And how do they do that, then?
STIRLING: Merchandising is one of them. But one of the key things that businesses are starting to do is rather than actually developing the entrepreneurial ideas, they'll license out their brand and name to franchisees that will come and acquire rights from the club.
FOSTER: And am I right in saying that there's only a couple of clubs, really, that have that global reach where you can make huge amounts of money...
FOSTER: -- Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea is getting there, I guess?
STIRLING: Yes. And they have Steve Barcelona (ph).
FOSTER: And they're truly global brands, aren't they, I suppose?
They run an American baseball team, for example.
STIRLING: That's entirely right. What we're seeing is that the real opportunity is toward the Far East. The European market is quite saturated. So what we would anticipate the Red Sox owners to do is to really focus on building where the economy is growing worldwide, toward the Far East, and to some extent, perhaps try and build up the football brand in the States, as well.
FOSTER: OK. Michael Stirling, thank you very much.
Well, Liverpool fans from across the world have been heading to John W. Henry's Facebook page to show their support.
Mohamed Hazren writes: "Build a -- build and strengthen our beloved Liverpool FC just as how you have rebuilt the Boston Red Sox, Mr. Henry."
Andy Cavanagh has a message for the potential new owner: "If you are honest with the fans and in this for the long haul, you will earn our respect."
And Thomas Lupton suggests: "Take advantage of the worldwide brand LFC can become," as we've just been talking about. "Return us to the top of the gable with smart investments in honorable players."
Chris Van Veen says: "Folks in Liverpool need to study what Henry's ownership did for the Boston Red Sox. He looks at his role more as a -- a proud custodian than anything else. And a study of the Boston Red Sox will confirm that."
And Ahmad Alenezi from Kuwait simply writes: "Thank you, Mr. Henry. You'll never walk alone, to coin a liberal phrase."
Well, up next, the toxic sludge spill in Hungary -- why neighboring countries are increasingly worried. A live report for you up next.
Plus, your Connector of the Day -- an emotional Ingrid Betancourt answers your questions about her time in captivity in the Colombian jungle -- an extraordinary account of her time as a hostage coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD.
FOSTER: Rivers and lakes in 12 European countries are in danger of being contaminated as toxic sludge from a factory in Hungary heads toward the Danube River. That's the warning, at least, from E.U. officials. At least four people have been killed. They were killed on Monday when a reservoir at a metals plant burst.
Ralitsa Vassileva has the latest for you.
RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People scrambled to get out of the way of a sudden deluge of toxic red sludge that hit three villages in Southwestern Hungary. Children were among those killed when an aluminum plant reservoir broke Monday afternoon, spilling at least one million cubic meters of thick red mud. Authorities now say the reservoir has been plugged and the seepage has been stopped, but there are serious concerns about what has already leaked out.
FLORA HEVESI, JOURNALIST: The government reacted promptly by declaring a state of emergency and sending catastrophe protection troops. What now is very important is to stop this contaminated water from reaching nearby rivers.
VASSILEVA: The toxic sludge has already contaminated 40 square kilometers and even reached the Marcal River. Disaster crews are pouring several tons of plaster into the river to bind the toxic mud to prevent it from spreading.
But Hungary's environmental minister has called the spill, quote, "an environmental disaster which could potentially endanger the Raba, which flows into the Danube River."
If it reaches the Danube, the spill could spread contamination to other countries downstream. Several people are still missing and more than 100 were injured, many of them burned when they came into contact with the sludge. Scientists say the red mud is an aluminum production waste product that contains heavy metals and is toxic.
Ralitsa Vassileva, CNN, Atlanta.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: Well, this show, of course, is all about interconnecting our world and how interconnected the world really is. So it's just -- let's just take a moment then to look at how much of an international waterway the Danube really is.
Here, you can see the river flowing through Europe. And this animation then zooms in to show the -- the connecting Marcal and Raba Rivers. As Ralitsa mentioned, the contaminated sludge has already reached the Marcal and the Danube originates in Germany's Black Forest.
South of Hungary, it connects to Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine and then Moldova before reaching the Black Sea.
So if this toxic sludge reaches the Danube, this disaster won't just be Hungary's to deal with.
CNN's senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, isn't far from the mess in the town of Kolontar.
Just describe what you've got in front of you -- Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, I'm looking at a mechanical digger that's been picking up -- or it is picking up a sort of plastic and chemical mix and dumping it into a small fast flowing stream. We're told this is one of the streams that carried this sludge away from the -- away from the -- that reservoir that burst its banks.
And just to give you an idea of what I'm looking at here, this river is about, I would say, eight feet below me, yet all around me -- and I'm looking at the fences of houses, I'm looking at the -- at that -- at the fence along the side of the bridge, that's covered in red sludge.
So that gives you an idea of how much the water rose in this -- in this stream and as it flooded into the town here. So what this digger is trying to do is to slow down the flow of this stream, it's to try and neutralize the chemicals in it as this stream then heads on to feed in toward the other rivers, ultimately, the Raba and then the Danube.
So this is sort of the front line of the fight to neutralize the river. And looking at the river, it's just flowing at a very fast pace here along us -- between the sort of concrete banks. It's a very fast flowing little river right now.
FOSTER: Is it your sense, Nic, that this mission to stop the Danube being contaminated is -- is, you know, almost impossible?
ROBERTSON: It's clearly a difficult task. The government is clearly putting its shoulder behind it. And they're also saying that they believe that they have the professionals and -- and the ability to do it.
From where we stand right now, watching -- watching the diggers literally lifting while we've been talking, this is the third -- third sort of dump that it's putting in the river right now. It's about to drop in, about 10 feet below the -- the way the dumper itself there -- it's hitting the water. It does seem to be a very difficult process. I am no chemist. I don't know the volumes or concentrations of the chemicals they're adding or the volume of water flowing by. But it is a very rudimentary process.
Literally, the chemical and plaster mix is piled up at the side of the road. It's clearly been dumped there off the back of a truck. And this is a JCB digger that you might see at the side of the road digging a hole for workmen. This is -- this is not high tech -- this is not a high tech process...
FOSTER: Nic Robertson...
ROBERTSON: -- by any stretch of the imagination.
FOSTER: Yes. OK, Nic Robertson in Kolontar.
Thank you very much, indeed.
We'll be back with Nic this time tomorrow. This is going to be a crucial 24 hours, not just for Hungary, but for a large part of Europe.
Now, coming up next, our week of special coverage on bullying around the world continues. We're going to show you how a bully-proofing course teaches kids confidence in conflict resolution, just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RENER GRACIE, CO-CREATOR, GRACIE BULLYPROOF: Good. Good. Tackle, tackle, tackle. Good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: All this week on CONNECT THE WORLD, we're taking an in-depth look at the problem of bullying all over the world. And some treat is as a normal part of growing up. But for others, it can have lifelong and even fatal consequences.
We began with the story of Tyler Clementi. He took his own life in New York just last month after his university roommate streamed video of a sexual acounter -- encounter with another man on the Internet.
On Tuesday, we got some expert advice for parents who want to protect their kids from bullies at school.
And tonight, we're going to look at how kids can protect themselves. A new program in California says it can help bully-proof children by teaching confidence and a few quick moves.
Here's CNN's Casey Wian.
GRACIE: Listen to me, hamburger head. This is my school, leave your hamburger at home next time.
Yes. Good. Good. Tackle, tackle, tackle. Good. Nice.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nine-year-old Trevor Robertson is one of 60 students in a jujitsu class that says it can bully- proof kids.
GRACIE: Very nice.
MARGARITA ROBERTSON, ENROLLED SON IN "BULLYPROOF" PROGRAM: Trevor had to transition into a different school and he had a hard time fitting in with some of the kids.
GRACIE: Good, Trevor.
WIAN: Now, Trevor's earned a new stripe on his belt and new confidence.
GRACIE: Very good job, you guys.
TREVOR ROBERTSON, GRACIE BULLYPROOF PROGRAM MEMBER: I was at soccer camp. An older kid, he was kind of picking on me. And then he tried to push me. So I got his arm and I put it behind his back and I asked him if he would stop. And he said, yes. And he didn't bug me.
GRACIE: Redirect. Lay down.
WIAN: At the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy just outside of Los Angeles, students learn that physically subduing a bully is the absolute last resort.
GRACIE: And be respectful and calm.
WIAN: And they should never go looking for trouble.
GRACIE: If the bully's aggressing and harassing you, talk to them with confidence. And we teach them how to do that -- eye contact, stand strong, what to say.
If the bully still persists beyond that, you have to tell the teacher and -- and get the parents involved, get this principal involved, get the school administrators involved.
Should he punch me in the face?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: No!
GRACIE: No. Of course not.
Should he tackle me?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: No.
GRACIE: If it ever becomes physical with the bully, we give the child the resources to defend themselves without ever becoming violent. Neutralize the threat and end it.
Nice, good, tackle.
WIAN: Michelle Hie was bullied when she started kindergarten last year.
WILLIAM HIE, DAUGHTER TARGETED BY BULLIES: She'd come home with, you know, her pants kind of like dirty, her sunglasses kind of like broken. So when we asked, "Hey, what happened here?," she really said, "I just fell." OK. I didn't want to say anything else. But then I noticed the -- the -- kind of like the attitude change. OK. It's kind of like angry.
GRACIE: Get off of me. Get off of me.
WIAN (on camera): Does she have any problems with bullying anymore?
HIE: Actually, no. She -- she kind of like knows what to do. That's a good thing.
WIAN (voice-over): As part of this year-long class, children are also taught responsibility, respect, citizenship and manners.
GRACIE: If you want something say please. If they give it to you, say thank you. If you don't want something, what do you say, Mark?
MARK: No thank you.
GRACIE: No, thank you. It's the only way.
We're teaching these kids how to fight fire with water. It's really the humble approach. And, again, it can't be more emphasized that the more a child learns how to defend him or herself, the more confident they become. And the more confident they become, the less likely they are likely to ever be targeted by a bully.
WIAN: The academy has heard complaints from schools with zero tolerance policies for violence -- even in self-defense. As a parent, I asked Gracie how he would advise my son.
(on camera): And I don't want him to go against the school, but I want him to be able to protect himself.
WIAN: So how would you handle a situation like that?
GRACIE: It makes sense why the school says that no one fights at all. You throw a punch or you kick a pow, you kick someone or you respond to a fight, everyone's in trouble, everyone gets suspended.
The problem is the bullies violate the rules and the kids who are the victims now of the abuse, the violation of the rules, are too scared of the policy to stand up for themselves.
WIAN (voice-over): He stresses the goal is to avoid conflict by giving kids confidence.
GRACIE: Thanks for coming, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Thank you.
WIAN: Casey Wian, CNN, Torrance, California.
FOSTER: Well, we want to tell you now about a new project that tries to help kids who are bullied specifically because of their sexuality. It's called "It Gets Better" and it incles -- includes videos from many gay celebrities with messages of support for young gay people.
And fashion consultant, Tim Gunn, got involved this week with a very personal message revealing his own suicide attempt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM GUNN, FASHION CONSULTANT, "PROJECT RUNWAY": You may be thinking, what does Tim Gunn understand about my anguish, about my despair, about how I'm feeling, about my particular time and place in the world right now?
Well, I'll share with you. As a 17-year-old youth who was in quite a bit of despair, I attempted to kill myself. And I'm very happy today that that attempt was unsuccessful. But at the time, it's all that I could contemplate.
You have a lot of -- I get very emotional -- people really care about you and I'm included in that group. So reach out, get help. You're not alone. It will get better, I promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, the co-creator of the "It Gets Better" project is Dan Savage. And he will be joining us on Friday as our Connector of the Day, as we wrap up our special coverage on bullying. He'll share his struggle as a gay teenager and he'll answer your questions.
We want you to get involved at our Web site, CNN.com/connect. And we'll use your questions and comments during our interview with Dan on Friday at this time.
Now, you also don't want to miss today's Connector, Ingrid Betancourt. She spent six years in the Colombian jungle, a captive of leftist rebels. But her ordeal isn't over yet. And at least it isn't in the courts. The former presidential candidate takes your questions, ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD.
FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD.
I'm Max Foster in London.
Coming up, rescuers could reach the trapped minders in Chile soon. But there's a catch. We'll get the latest live from the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETANCOURT: Once they deprive you from -- from your freedom, they -- they take with that your identity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: An emotional story from your Connector of the Day, Ingrid Betancourt, of the year she spent as a hostage in the Colombian jungle.
And it's not every day that Palestinian Authority prime minister and the head of the International Olympic Committee meet on the football pitch. We'll reveal all, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD.
All those stories ahead in the show for you, but first, let's check the headlines this hour.
Hungary says it'll soon -- it's too soon to tell how long it'll take to clean up all that toxic mud. But an official says they are investigating who's responsible. Four people were killed when the reservoir burst at a metals plant, sending rivers of red mud into nearby villages.
Two attacks on NATO oil tankers in Pakistan on Wednesday. The Pakistani Taliban are claiming responsibility for the first one, in the city of Quetta. Hours later, police say militants set 17 parked tankers on fire in the northwest.
And one of England's most storied football clubs looks set to change hands. Liverpool FC's board of directors has approved the sale to the US company that owns baseball's Boston Red Sox. The Premier League must approve the sale, and a board membership dispute must also be resolved.
The deeper the drill goes, the higher hopes rise. Crews working to rescue trapped miners in Chile say they're making progress and could possibly reach them within days. Let's get an update, now, from Karl Penhaul. He's there nearby. Hi, Karl.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Progress is very good, Max. And here, behind us, that's where the drilling is going on around the clock. Plan B drill, the drill that is closest now to the miners covered 53 meters in just 12 hours.
The good news is, it's got just 100 meters to go. You do the math. If it goes in a straight line from here on in, it could get down to the tunnel where the miners are 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 -- the government's not saying. But certainly, the families' hopes are very high. And today, we saw the arrival of a new piece of key machinery. Again, the families now believe that the beginning of the end is here.
PENHAUL (on camera): These are relatives of the 33 trapped miners, and they're celebrating. They're celebrating because today, more machinery is arriving, more machinery that indicates that the ordeal for the 33 trapped miners could be nearing its close.
What we see here, the structure -- is the structure arriving on a 15- truck convoy. The structure of the winches. The winches that will be used to hoist the rescue cages, now dubbed the Phoenix Capsule, back to the surface.
This is Lila Ramirez. She's the wife of the oldest miner down there, Mario Gomez, the most veteran miner of all the 33. And she says that she's delighted to see these winches arriving. She really believes that it marks the beginning of the end, and that she believes there will be a surprise in store. She believes that her husband and the other 32 miners will be home much sooner than expected.
PENHAUL (on camera): Using this structure with a winch attached, the rescue capsule will be dropped half a mile underground, and each miner will be loaded aboard, one by one, and then hoisted back to the surface at speeds of 40 miles an hour, 60 kilometers an hour. That means to get from the refuge where they are now back to the surface, that journey could be just 15 minutes.
PENHAUL: Now, government rescue officials have said that there are no guarantees that this rescue will be complete by the 17th of October. That's a key date, because it's when President Sebastian Pinera is due to depart for a political tour of Europe. But all the signs now seem to be in place to indicate that the rescue will happen before then, and that President Pinera will have this political good news to take on tour with him, Max.
FOSTER: It's great to hear some positive news on that story. Karl, thank you so much for joining us in Chile.
Up next, what it feels like to be held hostage for over six years in the Colombian jungle. Ingrid Betancourt talks about her captivity, the daring helicopter raid, that rescued her, and what life is like now. She's your Connector of the Day, just ahead.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: It was hailed as an unprecedented rescue operation when, in July of 2008, the Colombian military plucked 15 hostages from the hands of FARC guerillas. Ingrid Betancourt was one of those hostages. A former presidential candidate, Betancourt had been held in captivity for more than six years, suffering abuse and malnutrition at the hands of her captives.
The escape began in early June, when military personnel fooled FARC rebels into thinking they were transporting the hostages from one rebel site to another.
Following her rescue, Betancourt returned to France. She's since won numerous awards, including the prestigious Legion of Honor. And this month, she's releasing her autobiography. Freedom against all odds, Ingrid Betancourt is your Connector of the Day.
FOSTER: And Becky spoke to Ingrid Betancourt earlier. She started by asking how difficult it was to write the book.
BETANCOURT: It brought me to very deep memories, to places I thought I had forgotten. And to situations that were very painful.
ANDERSON: You were out campaigning in a FARC-controlled region when you were abducted. You've been accused of not heeding warnings at the time. What's your response to that?
BETANCOURT: Well, it's very simple. Colombia was a war zone. Anywhere that you would go, it was a risk. And I had been everywhere in Colombia. They didn't warn me. I think that was how they rewrote the story, because the government at the time withdrew my security. And I think they thought that because I had that media attention with my abduction, this can backfire, and they feel like perhaps they could be accused of lacking -- whatever.
And so, they said that I was imprudent, that I had warnings. And the truth is that I were -- I had no warnings. This was a zone completely controlled by the military. The president was in a state of mind trying to explain to the country that the FARC had been evicted and that the military had control of the zone. And for what I could see, there were military everywhere.
We went through a checkpoint, and at that checkpoint -- if it was so dangerous, like afterwards, they pretended they knew. They should have stopped me and stopped everyone.
ANDERSON: And so began six and a half years of captivity.
BETANCOURT: And so began an incredible ordeal. And I didn't have at the moment I was abducted, the thought that I could be staying all that long in that situation. I thought it was going to be for weeks, months, but never years. Never six years and a half.
ANDERSON: Todd, one of our viewers, has written in. He says, "Was there ever a moment when you lost all hope and thought, perhaps, that death would be preferable?"
BETANCOURT: Oh, yes. I had that. It was a moment where -- well, in -- at the last period of the abduction, I became very ill. And the commander, the FARC commander, didn't want to give any medication. And they just left me in my hammock for months. And I remember that there was a companion, another group of hostages, that had died the same way. They let him die. They never gave him any medication or anything.
And because I was so much in pain in my body, and I was kind of unplugging mentally, in the sense that I couldn't just concentrate on anything, I thought that, perhaps, it was a good moment to just, you know - -
ANDERSON: In the book early on, you say you decided that even though you had lost your freedom, you wouldn't lose your identity. Can you explain what you meant by that?
BETANCOURT: Well, I think it's the first danger you encounter in a situation like that. Once they drive you from your freedom, they take with that your identity. Because we are what we choose to do, in a way. Our choices. And once you don't have any more choices, then you begin thinking, "Who am I? Do I have a reason to live? Is it me, or am I becoming something else?"
And because you reflect on your -- inside of you, the way you are treated, and we were humiliated, we had all kinds of very cruel situations to bear, it comes to a point where you can begin thinking that you are what they want you to be.
So, for me, it was important just to preserve my dignity in the sense of preserving my soul, preserving the things that I thought were important to me to keep. And that was a struggle.
For example, because in that strict terms, it's always difficult to understand, but I remember there was this roll call. And they were asking us to -- with numbers, and say them, so further for them to know if we were all still there, that there was nobody who had escaped.
And so, one of my fellow hostages began, "One," the second, "Two," "Three," and when it came to me, I couldn't say the number. I just said, "Ingrid Betancourt." And then, I had this kind of silence. And then I explained, "Look, if you want to know if I'm here, just call me by name."
ANDERSON: Your relationship with the other hostages has been much discussed. You've been accused of pulling rank. You yourself, in the book, admit that you weren't popular.
BETANCOURT: No, I wasn't.
BETANCOURT: I think it's very human, in a way. You see, we are packed in a very small space, forced to live together 24 hours a day. Brush into everyone and annoying with our presence, with our -- because we're taking space.
And then, there is on the radio, we hear the news, and they talk about the hostages, and the only name that comes up on and on and on is mine. And they were really annoyed. They would turn the radio off, and they would say, "We're fed up with your name. Why -- what do you think you are? You think because your name is on that you're the princess here?"
And I had no -- I felt it was so aggressive, because I wasn't painted like all of us. That -- when I tried to explain, "Look, I'm not asking for this. I don't want this. I'm not choosing to be on the news." Just -- you know, perhaps it helps everybody that they talk about us.
ANDERSON: Keira asks, "What was it that got you through, do you think, all those years in captivity?"
BETANCOURT: I think it -- I mean, to put it in just one word, I think it was love.
ANDERSON: When you describe, sort of, daily life, I can't quite get my head around that. I know what my daily life is like now, I know what -- well, I imagine what your daily life is like now as well. And our viewers will find it difficult to just grasp the fact that you were there for so long. What did you do on a daily basis?
BETANCOURT: At first, nothing. Because I just -- you don't have anything. And I wasn't creative enough to just fill my day something. When we were reunited with more hostages, there was this kind of thing that I remember. The need of just sharing memories.
But after six months of sharing memories, the guys always tell the same thing, and you know the story, and you know when you have to smile, or when you have to laugh, and you know the end. And you just listen because you know you'll have your time, too. And you will -- I mean, they will be forced to listen to your thing, you know? And I think it was a kind of -- therapeutic a little bit exercise.
ANDERSON: Annie finally says, "You've got a foundation to offer help to those in need. Has it helped you in your own healing process to be able to extend some help to others?"
BETANCOURT: Oh, I think it's crucial.
BETANCOURT: There's nothing better and more rewarding than to just be able to give back, I think. Gratitude comes, also, with extending the hands for those who are like you were before.
FOSTER: Ingrid Betancourt, speaking to Becky earlier today.
Now, tomorrow, an act just was born into fame. Liza Minnelli, no less, joins us in the hot seat. The daughter of Judy Garland. She's known to many for her Oscar-winning role as Sally Bowles in the film "Cabaret." The star will be answering your questions tomorrow, though.
This is your part of the show, so do get involved by sending in your questions for all our Connectors. Head to cnn.com/connect to find out who's coming up in the show. And do remember to tell us where you're writing from.
Up next, it's not easy fielding an Olympic team when your athletes have no home country. Just ask the Palestinians. Up next, the head of the International Olympic Committee makes a personal appeal for Israel to ease up on travel restrictions.
FOSTER: Winning competitive matches is hard enough, but for Palestinian Olympic athletes, just being able to attend the Games, not to mention team practice, is quite a challenge. The International Olympic Committee chief says they deserve freedom of movement, and he delivered that message in a visit to the region. Paula Hancocks reports.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not every day the Palestinian prime minister kicks off an international game of football. Or passes to the head of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge.
But this was no ordinary match between Jordan and Palestine. It was just one stop on a whirlwind Olympic delegation tour of Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel.
Earlier in the day, Rogge paid his respects at the grave of late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. At the nearby al-Amari refugee camp, Rogge watched some local sports enthusiasts. Along the way, he was told about the difficulties some professional athletes face from Israeli authorities when trying to travel out of Gaza or the West Bank for competitions.
Rogge announced he will invite both the Israeli and Palestinian Olympics delegations to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss freedom of movement for athletes.
JACQUES ROGGE, IOC CHAIRMAN: There have been briefs about the difficulties for athletes who go abroad or come back from international matches, but also for the restriction on importing sports equipment. We are going to try to address that.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): This stadium has only been open for two years. International matches at home are still a novelty for Palestinians.
SALAM FAYYAD, PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER: Having a normal -- we're having a football match underway right now between Jordan and Palestine. That by itself is a remarkable happening. Just about everything of this time appears to us Palestinians as quite remarkable.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): More building to come. Rogge opened the site that will become the headquarters of the Palestine Olympic Committee. The captain of Team Palestine was missing at this match. He was unable to get a permit to leave Gaza. But Palestine still managed to beat Jordan two- nil, much to the delight of the home crowd.
HANCOCKS (on camera): There is no denying Palestinian passion when it comes to sports. Especially when it comes to football. But for thousands watching this match tonight, they also hope that this high-profile visit will put all Palestinian sports on the international map. Paula Hancocks, CNN, at the Al-Ram stadium just north of Jerusalem.
FOSTER: Well, one particular sport gaining popularity in Gaza is surfing. Palestinians weren't always able to ride the waves, mainly because they didn't have boards. A new film shows how two surfers from California stepped in to help.
MATT OLSEN, CO-DIRECTOR, SURFING 4 PEACE: My name is Matt Olson, I'm a member of the Surfing 4 Peace community.
ALEXANDER KLEIN, DIRECTOR, "GOD WENT SURFING WITH THE DEVIL": My name is Alexander Klein. I'm the director of "God Went Surfing with the Devil."
OLSEN: There's such a huge population of surfers in Israel, and next- door in Gaza, there are so few. But they share the same waves -- literally, the same waves. The same waves that hit Gaza hit Israel just a few miles to the north. You can at least share resources if we can't share the experience of, say, riding a wave together, which is the ultimate form of sharing for a surfer.
KLEIN: So, by getting these guys in Gaza surfboards, it gives them a huge reason to live, and something to be excited about every day. And guys who surf, they don't want to fight. They don't want to deal with violence.
What do you think of the plan to bring surfboards to Gaza?
EFRAIM SNEH, FOUNDER OF YISRAEL HAZAKA PARTY: It's an excellent idea. You will find many surfers in Gaza. The Gazans love the sea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are always at the beach. We love the sea and always think about the sea.
OLSEN: So, when they heard of an opportunity where surfboards were needed across the border, with neighbors, essentially, they said, "We have to help out. It doesn't matter what the politics are behind it."
For two years, we've been trying to get this shipment of surfboards in. And surfboards have been on the list of prohibited goods under the conditions of the Israeli embargo on the Gaza strip.
KLEIN: I talked yesterday with our contact at the Paris Center about permits. And she said she's still in the process of -- she needed some more information, birthdays and stuff like that. So I gave her all that stuff, and she said she's not optimistic about it.
OLSEN: Literally overnight, in the course of 24 hours, we went from absolute denial of permission to full permission and expedited process, all the paperwork ready to go, and they were on a truck on their way into Gaza.
It was something that was pretty overwhelming for me. I know a lot of the surfers were pretty choked up when they got the boards, because they literally couldn't believe that this had happened.
KLEIN: I think if a guy has a surfboard in his hand, there's no way he's going to drop that surfboard to pick up a rifle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the water, we don't ask any other about politics, you are Arab, you are Jew, we don't speak about this.
OLSEN: What's great about creating surfers in Gaza is it has a ripple effect, too. They bring their cousins in and their families in. And they bring other guys out surfers, and those guys get stoked and want to surf.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD (through translator): I don't have my own board. I borrow boards from others. If I had my own board, I'd go to the beach every day.
OLSEN: There's no animosity towards Israel with any of the Palestinian surfers. They all wanted to travel there, they all wanted to surf there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's going to take time to achieve peace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love each other in the water. It's not like out of the water.
OLSEN: Both sides want peace. And I think the surfers really are beacons of light. Hopefully one day, people will be surfing from Israel into Gaza and vice versa.
FOSTER: Amazing. I'm Max Foster, we'll be right back with our Parting Shots and some Global Connections for you, so stay with us.
FOSTER: In this week's Global Connections, we are -- or you are joining the dots between two countries, which at first seem to share very little in common. This week, we're traveling to opposite ends of the famed Silk Road -- China and Turkey. Lots of you are getting on board and coming up with connections for us. You've even been sending in some wonderful personal stories.
Love is in the air in this week's Global Connections. We're connecting a couple about to tie the knot next week in Istanbul. Right now, Deniz Tura is there getting ready, and her husband-to-be, Dirk Matten, in in Toronto. Here's how the couple are connecting China and Turkey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENIZ TURA, BRIDE: I have friends all over from -- including China and all the way through China to Turkey and the countries in between. So my friends are coming, three of them from China, one from Ganju and two from Shanghai. It will be their first time in Istanbul. I'm so looking forward to welcome them.
DIRK MATTEN, GROOM: I would like to say hello to my wonderful fiancee, Deniz, in Istanbul. Unfortunately, I have to leave for work in Toronto here. After that, we are looking forward to being mostly in the Beijing area, get lost in the Forbidden City of Beijing and have a wonderful time in a very exotic place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, the stories we love to hear about, the personal ones, the Global Connections from the heart. But they don't have to be dramatic. Maybe a little bit of the countries' shared history or culture, or even your company does business in both. I want to hear from you. Go to cnn.com/globalconnections to take part.
Now, their brilliant ideas led to discoveries that benefit the world. Tonight's Parting Shots pays tribute to the Nobel winners announced so far this week. Starting with scientists praised for producing great art in a test tube. Richard Heck of the United States and Ei-Chi Negishi and Akira Suzuki of Japan shared the 2010 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. They invented a tool kit, effectively, to manipulate carbon atoms, paving the way for revolutionary plastics and new drugs to fight cancer.
On Tuesday, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov picked up the prize for physics. The Russian-born scientists invented a graphene, the thinnest and strongest manmade material in the world. And here you see an artistic impression of a corrugated graphene sheet. The material is expected to lead to better computer touchscreens and solar panels.
Interestingly enough, this isn't Geim's first brush with fame or even an international award. He's also well-known for this floating frog experiment, which won him the Ignobel ten years ago. The joke prize is dedicated to silly science, but the frog's suspension in a magnetic field led to the serious realization that anything, even people, are magnetic, if you have a big enough magnet.
And Monday's Nobel for Medicine went to British doctor Robert Edwards for his pioneering work on in-vitro fertilization. You may know him as the father of the test tube baby, Louise Brown. She is now 32 years old. Edwards has helped millions of infertile couples around the world experience the joys of parenthood. Yet some critics, like the Vatican, are upset with the Nobel committee's choice. They say Edwards' work devalues embryonic human life.
So, those are our Parting Shots. Your Parting Shots. Let's look at a few others, now. Feedback on the news of Edward's Nobel. Now, viewpoint1 writes on our blog, "Dear Pope, you are entitled to your view, but you need to look at the big picture. If my family wants to have kids, we will do what we can as long as we're not hurting anyone."
And from a jslam, "So four million babies were born to mothers who want them and are willing to pay good money to have them, and that's a problem?"
Tatangko says, "I think the church would do better to focus on world hunger and abuse of women rather than wasting its time fighting against birth control. It is the 21st century, hello!"
I'm Max Foster. That is your world connected today. "BackStory" is next. We're going to check the headlines before we go tonight.