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CONNECT THE WORLD

WikiLeaks Set to Release New Documents on War in Iraq; Reintegrating Fighters Into New Afghanistan; Reaction to France's Approval of Pension Reform

Aired October 22, 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: And they're back -- WikiLeaks is promising what it calls a major announcement. Already, NATO says it could have very negative security implications. From the corridors of power to the Pentagon, all the way to the streets of Baghdad, the world awaits information that we weren't supposed to see.

Going beyond borders on the day's biggest stories, on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

Already reports are emerging the latest round of WikiLeaks' contains startling new information about the war in Iraq.

I'm Max Foster and we'll have details live from London, Baghdad and the Pentagon.

Also tonight, France's upper house of parliament approves an unpopular decision to reform pensions. That's despite days of strikes and protests across the country. We'll have details live from Paris.

Together again -- they're calling it a return. We'll look at why Wayne Rooney is staying on at Man United for at least another five years.

And how you've been linking Poland to South Korea. It's our final week of global connections. We're going to show you what links two seemingly unconnected countries.

First, though, Afghanistan. First there was Afghanistan, rather, now Iraq. WikiLeaks is set to release another war diary that could reveal a secret, uncensored history of virtually the entire Iraq conflict.

The whistleblower Web site is promising a major announcement soon.

Let's get the latest from Atika Shubert.

She's been following this all day for us.

She's here in London -- Atika, what can you tell us?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, it does appear that a release seems to be imminent and it could be the biggest leak of U.S. military documents in history. The Pentagon certainly is bracing for what they expect to be four -- up to 400,000 documents on the war in Iraq from the front lines.

Now, exactly how does WikiLeaks get this information, where does it come from, how is it verified?

Well, the Web site says the information should really speak for itself.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHUBERT: (voice-over): This is WikiLeaks -- it has no office, no paid employees. Its location listed as "everywhere." It campaigns for total transparency. Its tag line -- we open government.

Its fundraiser, Julian Assange is a former hacker turned activist. He has been described as elusive, with no permanent home, popping up around the world with nothing more than a backpack of clothes and a notebook computer. Twitter is his main mode of communication to WikiLeaks' followers.

But WikiLeaks is taken seriously. It has leaked thousands of documents, most recently the Afghan War Diary, about 76,000 classified U.S. military war records from IED attacks to civilian casualties, giving an unvarnished picture of a war that is not going well.

Perhaps leading Assange to make bold statements like this.

JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: People should understand that WikiLeaks has proven to be, arguably, the most trustworthy news source that exists because we publish only -- we publish primary source material and analysis based on that primary source material.

SHUBERT: WikiLeaks has faced several lawsuits, but none have questioned the authenticity of the documents.

And where does WikiLeaks get its leaks?

The Web site says it doesn't know. Assange and others created a system for whistleblowers to submit information anonymously and in encrypted form -- shielding the identity of the leak from everyone, especially WikiLeaks.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

SHUBERT: Now, once this new release is out on the Iraq War, some of the things to look for, perhaps, at least one of the main highlights to look for might be the civilian death toll. This is something the Pentagon has -- hasn't always fully explained, hasn't fully gone into detail about. So a lot of people will be looking to see whether or not these documents reveal anything more about numbers, but also the circumstances of civilian deaths, did they happen because of sectarian violence or because of U.S. military incidents?

These are all questions people will be having, you know, what was the real toll on civilians during the war in Iraq?

FOSTER: Atika, thank you very much, indeed.

Back with you as you get more information on that.

Well, the -- the documents are expected to reveal the names of Iraqis who've secretly cooperated with the U.S. military, leading to fears of reprisals. Even so, some Iraqis support the release, saying the truth about the war should come out.

Well, Mohammed Jamjoom joins us now from Baghdad.

What are Iraqis telling you -- Mohammed?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, while Iraq's government has so far not issued any official statement about the possible release of these documents, we spoke with Iraqis here who told us a variety of things. The -- the responds so far have been mixed.

HAIDER FADEL, BLOGGER (through translator): If these documents are not leaked, it means the truth will be lost. And that means there will be no transparency. And if there's no transparency, then what's the point of freedom of expression that we claim that we have here in Iraq?

It's important for the public that these documents be leaked. True, it will cause anger. But the anger should be expressed in a peaceful way.

HASHEM HAMZA, SHOP OWNER: We're wondering about the timing and the motive behind why these 400,000 documents would be leaked at this time. However, if these documents are leaked, I expect them to cause big scandals for U.S. troops and the war that launched in 2003.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

JAMJOOM: And one human rights activist we spoke with said it's very important for these documents to be released so that Iraqis can compare what's in these documents to incidents that happened here and get to the truth behind those events that happened during wartime -- Max.

FOSTER: There's some reports, Mohammed, we've been hearing, that Iraqis are in danger here, they may seek or be given U.S. protection.

Is there anything in that?

JAMJOOM: Well, Max, the Pentagon has stated that there are many Defense Department experts who have been poring over these hundreds of thousands of documents they believe may soon be released by WikiLeaks. They say that in those documents, they contain the names of Iraqis who have cooperated with the U.S. government. But the U.S. military is saying so far, they are not notifying the Iraqis whose names they have seen and who they have reviewed in those documents, the rationale behind that being they don't want to notify these people, tell them about this, give them concern and then find out that these names aren't actually listed in these documents that may be released.

Now, the military has also said that once they know about the documents that have been released and see the names that may be in there, they are ready to contact these people and provide them with protection if it is necessary.

Now, earlier in the week -- earlier in the week, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, expressed concern for the safety of Iraqis whose names may be listed in those documents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN CROCKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: I'd really be worried if, as looks to be the case, you have Iraqi political figures named in a context or a connection that can make them politically and physically vulnerable to their adversaries. You know, that just has an utterly chilling effect on the willingness of political figures to talk to us, not just in Iraq, anywhere in the world. And I think a hugely irresponsible step on the part of -- of WikiLeaks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JAMJOOM: And just a short while ago, the Pentagon issued a strong condemnation of the release of any classified military documents -- Max.

FOSTER: We'll hear more on that in a moment.

Thank you very much, indeed, for that, Mohammed.

Well, NATO is also quite worried about the release of these classified Iraq War documents, warning it could put lives at risk.

Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke to reporters just today in Berlin.

FOSTER:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: That may put soldiers, as well as civilians, at risk. So this is the reason why we take that situation seriously. Such leaks are very unfortunate and they may have very negative security implications for people involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, the Pentagon in the U.S. was taken by surprise when WikiLeaks revealed documents on the Afghanistan war back in July. Now, however, it says it's prepared.

Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence, joins us with details.

Prepared to what extent -- Chris?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, the -- basically, the 120 people that they brought together from all parts of the military to look over those Afghanistan documents. Over the past month, they have been poring over hundreds of thousands of documents related to Iraq that they think could be part of this WikiLeaks, you know, release.

Now, the question is, how do 100 people even come close to reading 400,000 documents?

Well, how it works is they start out with key word searches, looking for certain names and places. That then zeroes them down into certain areas in which they can look at more detail. And then that information has already been passed on to U.S. Central Command.

Mohammed kind of touched on the process from Iraq, you know, what's going on here in the Pentagon in relation to the U.S. military not notifying these Iraqis. I asked a Pentagon official just this morning, I said, well, the extremists, the insurgents are going to be reading these documents at the same time you are here at the Pentagon.

He said he is confident that the military can not only notify these people fast enough, but also be in a position to protect them.

As to the potential damage, Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell said it could be big -- emphasis on could. He said: The ) "Just as with the leaked Afghanistan documents, we know our enemies will mine this information looking for insights into how we operate, cultivate sources and react in combat situations. This security breach could very well get our troops and those they are fighting with killed."

FOSTER: And, Chris, you refer there to the Afghan leak.

How is the Pentagon viewing this leak as opposed to that earlier leak, which it wasn't, perhaps, as prepared for?

LAWRENCE: Well, earlier you guys brought up one key difference in that the Pentagon was caught unaware last time. They didn't know the names were going to be included.

This time, they're aware and they're going through these documents, looking for these names and identifying them beforehand.

Obviously, this is a much bigger dump of information. But at the same time, when it comes to danger to U.S. troops, there's fewer than half the number of U.S. troops in Iraq as there are in Afghanistan. And they're not involved in daily combat operations like they are in Afghan.

You know, the bottom line, the worst fears that the military had about these leaked Afghanistan documents really have not come true so far. At one point, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said that WikiLeaks would have blood on its hand. But just this morning, when I asked a senior Defense official if there was even one incident where a person's name had been leaked, if that person had been killed, he said there is no incident to speak of -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Chris Lawrence, thank you very much, indeed for joining us from the U.S.

There will be more on this story, of course, as we get the details that we are told are coming out very soon.

Now, from that potential storm brewing, we head to France next, where fury has been ruling the streets. The pension reform bill has just passed the senate.

But will this finally ease the tensions or escalate the protests?

We'll be live in Paris for some answers on that.

And you've been building the bridges and now we'll show you the creations. We've got Poland and we've got South Korea in focus for you -- our very last on the global connections.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Well, the U.S. and NATO are holding urgent talks with Afghanistan's government to try to stop development agencies from having to pull out of the country. They fear a ban on prevent security companies could leave many foreign organizations with little choice but to leave.

President Hamid Karzai claims the private contractors are a risk to national security and has ordered unregistered firms to be shut down by December the 17th.

Now, losing development staff would be another setback for the war torn country. And all this week, we've been looking at some of the challenges facing Afghanistan in its desperate search for peace and stability.

On Monday, we took a trip to the U.S. state of Iowa to see how American farmers are sharing the secrets of their success with Afghan and Pakistani politicians.

Then we headed straight to the battlefields in Kandahar, where U.S. troops are using the latest technology to combat roadside bombs, which cost just a few dollars to make.

And on Wednesday, we met the Jordanian Army's secret weapon against the insurgency, an imam who's using nothing but his faith to tackle the Taliban.

And yesterday, we heard from the boy mechanics of Tarbul the ), forced into work to support their families, but still dreaming of a better life.

Now, one of the coalition's aims is to create a brighter future for young Afghans, in order to stop them falling under the influence of the insurgency.

As Barbara Starr now reports, those that do are now being given a second chance to turn their backs on the Taliban.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Sharif the ) says he was turned over to U.S. Special Forces by the Afghan police, suspected of insurgent activity.

(on camera): Not Taliban?

SHARIF (through translator): I'm not the Taliban.

STARR (voice-over): These men are about to be released from U.S. military detention. The Americans say they are insurgents.

(on camera): A show of hands, how many men here were either Taliban or insurgent?

(voice-over): Not unexpectedly, the men all say they're innocent. The military says they're no longer a security risk. The men pledged to renounce violence. Village elders are here to take them home.

Over 200 men have been released this year. It's part of a broad reintegration effort, getting insurgents to reject the Taliban and rejoin mainstream Afghan life. Reintegrating fighters across Afghanistan is now part of General David Petraeus' counter-insurgency strategy, focusing on improving life here. Military officials estimate there are as many as a million disaffected young men in the region ripe for Taliban recruitment. And stopping Taliban influence is job number one before U.S. troops can come home.

Afghan General Marjan Shujan oversees the ceremony. He says there was plenty of evidence the men here did commit crimes and even though they're being sent home, he will follow them.

"It's part of our program to follow the case," he says.

Everyone acknowledges some detainees could wind up going back to the Taliban. It's a risk the alliance is willing to take to reintegrate as many as it can.

(on camera): Why is it so important?

MAJ. GEN. PHIL JONES, DIRECTOR, ISAF REINTEGRATION CELL: Well, it's how wars end. And it really is. And as -- as anyone who has said, for the president nine years, that these wars -- any wars end through a political process. There has to be an accommodation. There has to be a settlement. You can't fight this out.

STARR (voice-over): Even as these men return to their villages, there's an effort to convince other insurgents still out there on the battlefield to come in from the cold.

Barbara Starr, CNN, at the U.S. detention facility, Harwan, Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: Well, we head to France next, where fury has been ruling the streets. The pension reform bill has just passed the senate.

But will the -- will that move finally ease the tensions or will it escalate those protests?

We'll be live in Paris with those answers for you.

And better the devil you know -- Wayne Rooney names his next club.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Defying mass strikes, riots and fuel blockades, tonight, the French Senate has passed President Nicolas Sarkozy's fiercely contested pension reform bill. The vote is expected to all but seal the deal, which will see the retirement age raised from 60 to 62.

The nationwide protests have shaped up to be the president's biggest battle during his first term in office, staking his credibility on a reform he says is essential to reducing France's public deficit.

Let's get more now on the reaction to the senate's approval with our senior international correspondent, Jim Bittermann, in France -- so, on the face of it, Jim, a great triumph for the president.

But will it stop the protests?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it may be a very pyrrhic victory, Max. The fact is that it probably will not stop the protests. There are plenty of signs that the -- there are -- the strikes, for instance, at the refineries across France, all 12 refineries have been shut down. Those strikes will continue. And the unions have called for two more strike days, one next Thursday, one on November 6th. Students are calling of a day of demonstrations on -- next Tuesday, even as this law is signed into -- into fact.

So it -- it's my not be a very long lasting victory. One of the things, though, that I can -- you can already sort of see the way the government is going to take this into account. Eric Worth the ), who was the front man for the bill, the labor minister, he was the front man for this piece of legislation. And he said today, he said: The ) "I can understand demonstrating before a law is passed because you want to change it, but once a law is passed, it's up to the government to enact it. That's democracy.

So you can sort of see what the government's tone is going to be on this. They're going to say, look, it's law so now everybody back to work.

But I'm not sure that's going to work -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Jim.

Thank you very much.

Well, not everyone in France is against the pension reform bill.

In Paris, CNN's Phil Black met one business owner who thinks raising the retirement age is business friendly. Not only that, he says the protests have had little effect, beyond grabbing headlines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Anger on the streets, the country's fuel supplies strangled, images of a country in crisis. It's what the world has seen of France over the last week.

Businessman Pierre Demonsant says it's not the France he's been living in.

PIERRE DEMONSANT, CEO, PLANISWARE: Everybody could take the metro. No problem in the metro. We had some meetings in Europe, in the U.S., we could take a plane. Everybody was coming to work. So, I mean there is a big advance between what you see in the media and the reality of the situation.

BLACK: He's right -- to a point. There have been isolated hot spots and problems, like long waits to fill the tank. But French life has largely continued unaffected. The strikes and rallies are in response to the government's plans to delay the retirement age by two years.

Demonsant says it's a traditional French reaction to social change.

DEMONSANT: It's like a child when she's upset and say, "Mommy, I want that." I want it done OK. I mean it will be done and then -- and we continue to move forward, you know.

BLACK (on camera): So you -- you think the French people are like a little child throwing a tantrum?

DEMONSANT: Not -- well, yes, just a bit.

BLACK (voice-over): His business, Planisware, develops software that helps big companies manage innovation projects. He started with seven people 15 years ago. He now employs 130 with offices in France, Germany and America.

(on camera): Did you vote for Monsieur Sarkozy?

DEMONSANT: Yes.

BLACK: Why?

DEMONSANT: Basically, you know, I like this idea of -- of trying to help the business. And I want to reduce the spending, you know, try to -- to have a more future, you know, more -- more liberty with jobs, try and reduce taxes on -- on (INAUDIBLE) and so on.

BLACK (voice-over): And Demonsant believes the president is being business friendly by increasing the retirement age because it fixes the pension deficit without raising taxes. He says he knows many people who support the plan -- some of them work for it. They insist they haven't been coerced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And people work 35 hours per week here. We have an excellent health care system. Maybe the French people can't have it all, you know, and it's time for some cuts to protect what's left of, you know, the social system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I think that if, with the pension reform, we are able to secure future pensions of this country, then I think that that will be great.

BLACK (voice-over): Opinion polls show a big majority oppose the changes. But there are those who believe it's the latest move by the French government to open the economy and support the country's entrepreneurs, which, after all, is a French word.

Phil Black, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: Well, France isn't on its own in all of this.

Let's take a look at other austerity measures in the Eurozone, starting with the most recent belt-tightening right here in the U.K., not in the Eurozone, but certainly in the EU.

Britain announced the steepest spending cuts in 60 years, with 490,000 jobs to be lost from the public payroll over four years, an extra $11 billion taken from welfare and a rise in the state pension age to 66, not just 62, starting earlier than planned, in 2020.

Germany plans to reduce its federal budget by $95 billion over the next four years through a series of spending and welfare cuts and cuts to its armed forces, as well.

Spain aims to save almost $20 billion over the next two years by slashing spending, including cutting civil workers' pay by 5 percent.

Greece is getting a -- a three year, $151 billion rescue package from its European neighbors and it plans to cut civil service pay, including pensions, and increasing taxes.

A big project for Europe over the next few years.

Up next, one minute he was off, the next he's staying put.

So what's behind Wayne Rooney's U-turn at Man United?

We'll have that and the world's headlines, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, our final Global Connections challenge for you. We'll see how you came up with creative links between two countries that, at first, may seem worlds apart.

Also ahead, a dramatic change of heart for Manchester United's star striker. We'll see what lured Wayne Rooney to stay put.

And talk about staying power, this flick is the longest-running film in the largest film industry in the world. We'll look at the secrets of its success.

All those stories ahead in the show for you. But first, let's check the headlines this hour.

WikiLeaks is poised to release hundreds of thousands of secret documents on the Iraq War. The US Defense Department is condemning the online publication of classified papers and also has a team of experts going over what's expected to be released.

As expected, the French Senate has passed its version of the controversial pension reform measure by a vote of 177 to 153. Anger over the move to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 has been seething in the streets of France for days now.

Haiti is struggling to contain a fast-moving cholera outbreak north of the capital. The disease has killed at least 138 people already. More than 1500 cases have been reported. Hospitals are overflowing, with long lines of sick people outside.

Protests by Tibetan students are reportedly spreading in northwest China. They are demanding the right to study in their native language, saying the Chinese government is trying to wipe out their culture by limiting Tibetan language in schools. An official told CNN the new education policy is in line with relevant national regulation.

A few days ago, Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson couldn't have been further apart. But today, it was a very different story, after the striker signed a new contract, which will keep him at Manchester United for another five years.

It's about -- it's an about turn from earlier this week, when Rooney announced he wanted to leave the club. A shocked Ferguson told the media that he didn't know why.

So, was it just a case of Rooney playing hardball? To tell us about him, joined by "World Sport's" Don Riddell. Don.

DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Max.

FOSTER: We've got to read between the lines, haven't we? We've only got two statements to go on. But what do you reckon?

RIDDELL: Well, it's been quite something, hasn't it? Very few of us actually thought that he was going to be still at Manchester United by the end of the week. Most of us thought he'd already played his lost game.

And he really upset pretty much everybody this week with a statement where he came out and said pretty much the club has lost its ambition. And Rooney was also questioning the skill of his very own teammates. So he really didn't make too many friends with that statement. And it is just incredible to see this photograph, now, of Alex Ferguson with his arm around Rooney --

FOSTER: That's the moment they signed, isn't it?

RIDDELL: That's just after they signed this new five-year deal. We don't know how much it's worth. But it is just incredible to see that they've kissed and made up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE ROONEY, STRIKER, MANCHESTER UNITED: It's been difficult for me and, I'm sure, for the club as well. But I thought it was in -- for me, I felt I had to get my point across, and we finally came to an agreement which, I think, is best for the two of us, for me and the club.

ALEX FERGUSON, MANAGER, MANCHESTER UNITED: We've all been hurt by the events of the last couple of days. But I always feel it's a quality in a person who says they're sorry and then realized he's made a mistake. And that happens, particularly young people. And I admire that in people. So, the job now is to put it behind us, get Rooney back on our pitch and playing the way Wayne Rooney can play and we know we can play.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: So he remains a United player, but it'll be a least another three weeks, max, before he's back out on the pitch, because he's still carrying an injury. Significantly, he's going to miss the Manchester Derby in about ten days time. Of course, a little speculation that he was going to be going to Manchester City. And when he does get back on the pitch, he'd better be good.

FOSTER: Yes. Because -- yes.

RIDDELL: Because he's not been this season. He's only scored one goal. Granted, he's been injured. But he's clearly lost his form and his confidence. And, given how many people I think he's upset at the club this week, he owes them.

FOSTER: And Sir Alex does make, generally, good decisions. I think we can agree. But he's -- this story, or this saga, isn't just this week. Rooney has been in the papers for however long now. So, hopefully, we'll reach the end of this. But how did we get to this point, do you think?

RIDDELL: Well -- what boiled up at Old Trafford this week, really, was the culmination of a perfect storm. Earlier in the year, he got injured. There's speculation that Ferguson rushed him back into the team which, then, really didn't help Rooney's situation. He lost his form, he lost his confidence.

Then, he went to the World Cup. England, as we all know, had a disaster. Rooney just looked a shadow of his former self. Then, he came back, and just as we were getting into this season, there were all these newspaper allegations that he had slept with one or possibly more than one prostitute while his wife was pregnant. We understand that that did not go down at all well at Old Trafford. We understand that Ferguson was absolutely livid with Rooney.

So, increased strain between the two. Rooney, then, got injured again. And on this occasion, he then publicly contradicted his manager by saying, actually, "I wasn't injured at all." So this whole thing just built up into a point where Ferguson felt as though he had to come out this week and say, "Look. This is what is really going on behind the scenes."

Because, until today, Rooney's contract was going to expire in a year and a half's time. Right now, he's worth $80 million. And if he went all the way to the end of that contract, he could leave the club for nothing. So, it really all boiled up into quite a big situation this week.

FOSTER: Yes. And we should mention, it's all been very carefully media managed. And that sound bite we heard from Wayne Rooney was from MUTV, wasn't it? Because he wasn't speaking to anyone else.

RIDDELL: That's right. And if you want to watch those interviews, you can watch them all on MUTV.

FOSTER: Yes. Let's get some fan response, now. Today's news has received a mixed reaction on the web. We've had lots of reaction to it. Supcal asks, "Did anyone ever think it's a conspiracy theory? Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson acting a piece of drama so the owners will pay some money for Man U to buy some new players."

It's an interesting idea, that, because I think they're suggesting that Ferguson and Rooney worked together to get money out of the owners.

RIDDELL: Well, that would be incredible. What we've seen at the club already this week were events I don't think any of us thought we'd ever see. It appeared as though the club was airing its dirty laundry in public. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say they worked together, but you're right.

It is a nice theory, because the Glazers are in control of the club, this American family that owns Manchester United. The club are in a massive amount of debt, something approaching 750 million pounds. There's a lot of fans that aren't happy. Rooney wasn't happy. He said so in his statement, that the club have lacked ambition and aren't bringing in big players. So, it's a nice idea, but I don't buy that one.

FOSTER: OK. Don, thank you very much, indeed.

Now, we're going to move on, because we set you a challenge and, again, you have delivered. Up next, your very last Global Connections. We'll take a look at how you joined the home of the largest population of European bison, bizarrely, to the country with one of the world's biggest rice plots, with a predicted surplus this year of more than a million tons. Find out who they are and just how you built those connections. It's an incredible final Global Connections in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: For eight weeks, now, we've been spinning the globe, joining two countries which, at first, may seem worlds apart. Tonight is our final challenge, where you make the links, though. And we'll reveal the Global Connections.

On the first stop, we're in one of the powerhouses of eastern Europe. Poland was the only member of the EU, in fact, to avoid recession in the recent financial crisis. Then, we're heading across the continent to South Korea, one of the world's leading economies. That's a simple connection that we've made. Let's see how you've brought these two countries together, though.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER (voice-over): Clearly, we left the best for last, because the connections were endless. Andrew starts us out with a Korean link in the heart of Poland's capital.

ANDREW CUTLER, AMERICAN: I have been teaching in Seoul, South Korea, for about three years. I teach at a university. And, actually, my great- grandparents were from Poland. One of the highest buildings in Warsaw, the Warsaw Trade Tower, was actually lent out by Daewoo in Korea as a place to help manufacture its cars.

FOSTER (voice-over): From land to sea, the connections continue.

HEE JAE, SOUTH KOREAN: Another connection between Poland and Korea is that they're both prominent players in the shipbuilding industry. Korea has one of the biggest shipyards in the world, while Polish shipyards were the birthplace of the Solidarity movement.

FOSTER (voice-over): They might be called different names, but Cori points out that these edible treats are remarkably similar in both countries.

CORI, CANADIAN: The pierogi, the Polish are very good at them. And so are the Koreans, so, they both make them. They're a little different, but it's a to-go food kind of thing. You grab them and feed them and stick them in little bags and eat them on the train or on the bus.

FOSTER (voice-over): From decadent eating to decadent treatments.

PIASECKA, POLISH: Another connection between South Korea and Poland is spa centers are really popular, and people like to relax in spas. However, in Korea, these are big saunas.

FOSTER (voice-over): Spas aside, Jason tells us that people in both countries know when to put their work hats on.

JASON JEON, SOUTH KOREAN: So, I think the greatest connection between South Korea and Poland is the number of hours of working overtime. I think South Korea and Poland spend enormous amounts of time working overtime. I saw a recent survey by the OECD from 2004 saying South Korea works 30 -- approximately30 percent more than the average American, as an example.

FOSTER (voice-over): Nae points out a musical legend that lives on in both.

NAE SONG PARK, SOUTH KOREAN: Chopin is from Poland, and he's very popular in South Korea. A lot of South -- people in South Korea are into playing piano, and Chopin is one of their favorite composers for sure.

FOSTER (voice-over): Michelle shows us a living connection.

MICHELLE HONG, AMERICAN: I'm Michelle Hong from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is Josephine Hong Grannon (ph) and this is Charlotte Hong Grannon (ph). I'm Korean, and my husband, Alex, is Polish. Our twin girls are 15 months old, and one thing that I know that I have proof of that is common between Korea and Poland is that grandchildren are so precious. These girls of the apples of both grandparents' eyes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Some really great personal stories there for you. Another popular connection you kept telling us about, though, was religion. Now, Poland is 90% Catholic, one of the highest rates in Europe, while South Korea is home to the world's largest Christian congregation.

We thought we'd follow your lead on this, so we invited onto the show Josef Zycinski. He is the Roman Catholic archbishop of Lublin in Poland, and Dr. David Cho, the founder of that congregation I just mentioned, the Yoido Full Gospel Pentecostal Church. Now, Mr. Cho has some 800,000 followers in Seoul, would you believe? So, I began by asking him about what he attributes to having so many parishioners.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CHO, FOUNDER, YOIDO FULL GOSPEL CURCH: From 1961 until now, the church has been growing so fast, that the two years before, we had 780,000 members. The church is growing individually, in our church. Generally, Korean churches are growing very fast, and we have tremendous hope for the future.

Monsignor Zycinski, two very different cultures, two very different countries. But you think there are links between those two countries which somehow explain why Christianity is so popular in both of them.

JOSEF ZYCINSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP: Yes. I would say that when reading the information about the Korean culture and tradition, I find many others who look for the European concept of human dignity, of human person. And, in their opinion, these concepts can not be formulated or developed in Buddhist traditions.

Another analogy with Korea, it is the Nelson Mandela of Asia. We have Lech Walesa, who also got the Nobel Prize, who defended human rights, who suffered, and you have Kim Dae-jung, who remains, in many aspects, close. And the same Christian inspirations are important for both of them.

FOSTER: Pope John Paul II, the towering figure, really, in Polish Catholicism. But Dr. Cho, on his visits to South Korea, he had a big impact as well, didn't he? Do you remember them?

CHO: Ah, yes. We respected him very much. That's all because I could not have contact with him. He was so watched by the personal protectors that I could not even come near to him because so many people are surrounding him, that you cannot easily touch him.

FOSTER: Monsignor, John Paul II would have had a huge impact on Catholicism within Poland, and very much kept the religion alive. But he must have increased links with Poland to all sorts of countries around the world. Was it interesting, looking at the relationship between Poland and South Korea through Pope John Paul II?

ZYCINSKI: I would say that there were some elements in common in the Pope's teaching. For instance, when he visited Korea in 1984, in one of his sermons, he emphasized the importance of the poor workers. Poor workers should be treated as persons.

This personalistic dimension of human existence was first by him also in Poland, when he defended the workers rights and argued during the martial law. "When you cannot speak for yourself, I must present your views." And then he gives beautiful solidarity.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Fascinating, isn't it? That is the end, though, of our journey here on Global Connections. We've had a great time sharing all of your stories and your links.

Here are some of the ones we especially liked in Brazil and Nigeria. You found they both share a love of soap operas, including the telenovela, a daytime drama in Brazil.

In Sweden and Malaysia, they have constitutional monarchies in common.

And finally, you found China and Turkey are linked by the oldest commercial trade route, that is, the Silk Road, which used to span between the two.

You can check out more of these incredible stories at cnn.com/globalconnections. We'll be posting some new interviews on the site next week, so keep an eye on it. And while you're there, don't forget to test your knowledge on these countries and take the quiz. Tonight, though, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Now, in high-stakes Hollywood, new films usually stay in cinemas for only a few months before being yanked out to maximize those DVD sales. But audiences in India have helped to buck that trend, because one movie there is so popular, it's been shown in theaters every day now for 15 years, would you believe? CNN's Mallika Kapur reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's opened to packed houses, rave reviews, and adoring fans. That was back in 1995. This is 2010. Fans are still buying tickets to watch "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge," usually abbreviated to just DDLJ, a Bollywood film that played at Mumbai's old-fashioned Maratha Mandir Theater every day.

Some die-hards, like this woman, have watched the award-winning blockbuster 30 times. "It's a love story," she says. "It reminds me of my husband, who is no longer alive, so I keep coming back."

There are regulars, and there are first-timers, like this man, who's visiting Mumbai. "It's pretty good," he says. "The story is interesting."

But some find DDLJ dull. "It's really popular," says the projectionist, who has loaded the film each day since it began playing here. "Last week, we had a full house for three days. It's a great family film adults love it, children do, too. Some even prefer it to school."

The film is playing because it's still economical to do so. Tickets are cheap, 20 rupees, 50 cents for the daily matinee.

PRAVIN RANE, MARATHA MANDIR CINEMA: Last ten years it was profitable. But the last four or five years, now it is no profit, no loss.

KAPUR: You're breaking even?

RANE: Yes.

KAPUR: So the day you start making a loss, what will you do?

RANE: Well, we definitely discontinue.

KAPUR (voice-over): Until then, it will continue to make history each day. DDLJ is the longest running film in the world's largest film industry.

KAPUR (on camera): The storyline is quite simple. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy is reunited girl, there's love in the air, there's music on the screen. It's a classic Bollywood romance, and fans say, that's why they keep coming back. Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well, Mallika's one of them. And if you can believe it, even 15 years on, DDLJ is not the longest-running film of all time, because that title goes to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." The cult classic premiered in 1975 and has been running regularly at theaters all over the world since then.

A close second is the film "Romance on Lushan Mountain." It debuted in 1980 and has been playing at the same movie theater in Lushan, China, four times a day ever since.

But those film records pale in comparison to the longest running play. That would be Agatha Christie's "Mousetrap," which has been performed continuously in London since 1952.

And the one that tops them all is a television show that began so long ago, it nearly predates television itself. The American soap opera, "Guiding Light" began as a radio program in 1937 before making the switch to television in 1952. But after 72 years on air, it was canceled just last year, would you believe?

Attachment and devotion from fans is often what fuels the popularity of these programs and, earlier, I spoke with a "New York Times" film critic, AO Scott. I began by asking him what makes these long-running film so very popular?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AO SCOTT, FILM CRITIC, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": These aren't necessarily even movies that people think of as great movies or their favorite movies, but movies that they relate to, that they connect to, and that connect them to the people around them, so that it becomes a way of going out with all your friends and seeing this movie.

And sometimes, making fun of it, or having an ironic relationship to it. But participating. There's something, I think, participatory about the experience.

FOSTER: They're not often the great movies, but are people discovering something new every time they go back to the movie, or is it just reminding them of something? Or is it escapism, do you think?

SCOTT: I think it's partly -- it's a slightly different experience, a slightly different -- because there is this participatory aspect. Thinking of "Rocky Horror Picture Show," where people have now for more than 30 years been dressing up in costumes and going out and acting out and singing along.

So, as with any live performance, there's an element of spontaneity and surprise, and it's different every time. And I think that it's both, in a way. It's familiar, you know what you're going to see. But the circumstances that you see it, who you see it with, what happens when you see it, is going to be different.

FOSTER: But it makes you wonder what is a great movie, because, by one definition, it's the greatest movie ever, if it's the longest running movie, isn't it?

SCOTT: I think that definition is valid, because I think that there are movies that work -- kind of that exist as works of art in a way independent of their audience. They're there for all time to be discovered. A movie like "Citizen Kane," which was not terribly popular when it came out.

Nor was "Rocky Horror Picture Show." It was a flop in its regular commercial release, because to see it in the ordinary schedule -- to see it in the middle of the afternoon or at a matinee wouldn't be the same at all. It was only after a kind of a midnight movie cult grew up around it that it's specialness, in a way, came to fore.

FOSTER: What is the greatest movie of all time?

SCOTT: I never have a good answer for that question. The greatest -- my favorite movie tends -- of all time tends to change from week to week according to my mood. I --

FOSTER: "Citizen Kane" is the one that always comes up, isn't it?

(CROSSTALK)

SCOTT: So I don't know what the greatest is.

FOSTER: When we ask that question?

SCOTT: Yes, it is. "Citizen Kane" is sort of the respectable answer. It may be the right answer. I like "City Lights," I like "The General," Buster Keaton's "The General." The first two "Godfather" movies, maybe, are up there. But as I said, it's -- the judgment of critics and audiences and history is always changing.

FOSTER: Have you got a hunch about any recent movies that are going to stand the test of time?

SCOTT: I think, from my point of view as a critic, I think some of Clint Eastwood's recent movies, I think, "Mystic River" and "Million Dollar Baby" are movies that will be around for a very long time.

I think that probably "The Lord of the Rings," Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies are built to last, connected immediately with a very large audience and will be rediscovered again and again and will exist the way that Tolkien's books did, to find new generations of fans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well, he's put on record "Lord of the Rings" will stand the test of time. We'll wait and see. But nothing connects the world like a good film, and AO Scott of "The New York Times" there.

At just a few minutes to go, now, our Parting Shots are up next, so stick around for that after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Well, it's easy to start feeling a bit grim in the northern hemisphere this time of year, but we're fighting that for you. Tonight, we want to leave you with some Parting Shots that are best described as brightness.

This is what autumn or, rather, fall, brings in the Rocky Mountains. The aspens, there, in their full glory. Stunning scenes.

Campbell Pond in the South Mountain Reservation of northern New Jersey also pays spectacular tribute to the colder months.

And here in the UK, the colors are also incredibly vibrant right now. It's the Glasgow Necropolis you're looking at there, reputed to be the most haunted in the country.

The Guggenheim Museum in New York is being lit up like a giant bulb. A series of YouTube videos were beamed onto the iconic building in those colorful shots are tonight's Parting Shots for you. Amazing scenes.

I'm Max Foster, that is your world connected. "BackStory" is next, right after this check of the headlines.

END