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CONNECT THE WORLD
Vote on US Debt Deal; Japanese Markets Rise at News of Debt Deal; Escalating Violence in Syria; Hama Crackdown Triggers Torrent of Western Criticism; Path of No Return in Syria; MTV 30 Years Old; Video Kills the Radio Star
Aired August 1, 2011 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Down to the wire -- partisan politics in play, as the U.S. debt deadline looms. Well, a last minute deal may be averting disaster, but it's not yet sealed. We're live in Washington with the latest and we'll assess the spill-over effect of any deal on the global economy.
Syria under siege -- pressure grows on world leaders to condemn the crackdown after a brutal weekend of bloodshed.
And the man behind the music -- 30 years after the launch of MTV, the story of its inception and its expansion and its influence on the world.
These stories and more as we connect the world.
First up this hour, a last minute debt deal goes down to the wire in Washington. High stakes and high drama right now on Capitol Hill. Both the Senate and the House getting ready to vote on a plan to raise the government's borrowing limit just hours before the deadline to avert an unprecedented default.
President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders have signed on, but we are still waiting to see if the rank and file fall in line.
Sources telling us here at CNN, the Senate is likely to approve but the vote could be a squeaker.
Well, the drama taking place in Washington, but the whole world has a stake in the outcome. In a few moments, we're going to go to Maggie Lake in New York with some market reaction for you.
Then Jim Boulden is in London with me to look at how Europe is weathering the uncertainty.
And later this hour, Kyung Lah with reaction from across Asia.
First, let's get right to the action on Capitol Hill.
Richard Quest, my colleague, is live there in Washington -- what's the latest, Richard?
RICHARD QUEST, HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": The latest is that meetings of the various caucuses continue, but, of course, no leader in either House or Senate is going to dare bring it to a vote unless they're pretty sure they've got the numbers.
And if you look at the Senate, both Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, both leaders of the Republican and Democrat Parties, they're pretty sure that they've got the numbers and that they can pass it, assuming that there is that some procedural filibuster or some sort of procedural thing that gets in the way of that.
It is the House where there will be problems, more than likely. It is the House where strong, right-wing Tea Party Republicans are going to object. And Democrats, who believe the spending cuts are too severe, and there are no tax increases.
In that scenario, it is up to the speaker, John Boehner, to try and offer up the compromise -- the votes necessary to pass this legislation.
And this is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We've worked with our members and listened to the American people. They have a real interest in making sure that we don't get into this spot again. You know, we ought to have a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.
And I think if you look at the -- at the structure of the balanced budget issues in this agreement, it gives us the best shot that we've had in the 20 years that I've been here to build support for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, to put the kind of fisc -- fiscal handcuffs on this Congress that are sorely needed.
If we had been operating under a balanced budget amendment, we would have never gotten ourselves into the mess that we're in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, that's John Boehner.
Over in the Senate, Harry Reid, who actually -- the problem with Harry Reid is he keeps talking about the importance of this for the global economy, but he hasn't as yet -- well, he has the majority in the Senate, brought it to a vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I am a long time member of Congress and I never count my votes until they're cast. So I'm hopeful, but, you know, we'll have to see. The Republicans are going to have to produce some votes and we're going to have to produce some votes, but I'm not here to declare victory. We have to get this thing passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: That's the point -- the Republicans are going to have to produce votes, the Democrats are going to have to produce votes. In the Senate, they can probably do it, almost certainly they can do it. In the House, that is highly questionable -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Effectively, the White House has given this the nod.
For our global viewers who don't really, you know, aren't really minded by the machinations of all of this, are we looking at a triumph of compromise or a travesty of capitulation from those at the top of the U.S. administration?
QUEST: Both is the shortened and helpful answer.
Of course, it's a compromise, but who compromised on what?
And I would say -- all right, you want me to come off the fence here. The Democrats have probably compromised more than the Republicans. That's probably the truth. There are no tax rises in this. The best they've got out of it is that there will be no debt ceiling argument next year.
But the truth of the matter is, the Republicans are probably -- and the right-wing Republicans -- simply by forcing this issue, have managed to get the upper hand.
ANDERSON: Yes. Fascinating stuff.
All right, Richard, thank you for that.
Richard Quest is on Capitol Hill this morning -- or this evening.
Now, the exact details of the plan haven't been released to us here at CNN yet. But we are learning more about the shape of the bill.
Now, take a look at this, for example. The tentative agreement between the White House and Congressional leaders would see $2.4 trillion leaders.
Let's just get the number up for you. $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. These are the interesting points.
The first round is this, it will be $917 billion in mostly discretionary programs. That would take effect immediately. And $350 billion of that would come from cuts in defense.
Think about it as you will.
The second round of savings would total roughly $1.5 trillion. Now a 12- member Congressional committee would make recommendations ranging from changing Medicare to an overhaul of the tax code. That's going to hurt the Democrats, of course, as they move into 2012.
They have until November the 23rd to find savings and if they don't, all Congress -- or Congress doesn't agree, automatic cuts would start in 2013.
Well, Wall Street, of course, has been hanging on the every word from those in Washington over the past, what, 48 to 72 hours. But even with news of this compromise deal, the Dow extended its losing streak today just.
Let's bring in Maggie Lake outside the New York Stock Exchange.
Buy on the rumor, one assumes, sell on the facts, although the Dow just closing down today -- Maggie.
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky.
But don't let those numbers fool you. This was a very volatile day. And I'll tell you what investors think of this situation in Washington -- deeply disappointing. We were expecting a relief rally when we walked in this morning. That quickly was erased. We actually swung about 300 points on the Dow. A very weak reading on manufacturing, the lowest in two years, shows just how fragile this economy is.
At this point in time, it needs a pass forward. It needs a real long-term plan on deficit reduction, not this dysfunctional mess in Washington.
I talked to a veteran trader inside just a short time ago. He said, in my 30 years, I've never seen anything like this. Now this cloud of uncertainty continues to hang over the market. In their minds, this deal just kicked the can down the road farther.
So there's a lot of...
LAKE: -- disappointment and disgust inside among the trading floor.
ANDERSON: Maggie, let -- let's just have a look at the numbers for a moment. $90 billion matures on Thursday. $30 billion in interest is owed by August the 15th, I believe. Across the whole of August, there's something like $500 billion worth of debt that matures. And the top three holders of U.S. debt, as you and I know, are natural sellers at this point.
I'm surprised that the global market -- markets didn't drop further, aren't you?
LAKE: Not really, because when you talk to everybody, the only but you get, Becky, is that things are bad here, but they're worse everywhere else. Europe still looks like a mess. Traders don't think the emerging markets can hold up if the U.S. and Europe would crater in a -- in a serious way.
So because of that, that does put a floor under things.
I asked if the selling is going to continue. People say yes. Volume is not there, uncertainty hovers. Remember, it's not just the debt ceiling that -- which I will mention. The scars of what happened with that TARP bailout plan, why they thought it was going to pass and it didn't, are still very fresh.
So nerves are high as we enter this evening. But even if they get past this mess, the threat of a downgrade looms. And someone said to me, with the economy so weak now, that will push up borrowing costs. And it's the last thing this economy needs.
So, again, that's where the concern is. But you're not seeing a -- a more marked, you know, sell-off in U.S. assets because of what's happening every else -- everywhere else in the world -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes. Maggie Lake on Wall Street.
Maggie, thank you for that.
Well, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are entirely happy with the debt deal. That is, nobody got everything they wanted. But our next guest says there are some winners as well as losers in all of this.
Bill Schneider has been analyzing U.S. politics for decades. Many of those years, of course, he spent with CNN.
And he joins us now from Washington.
All right, Bill, it doesn't look great so far as the headlines are concerned, if this bill gets signed off on.
So who does win at this point?
BILL SCHNEIDER, U.S. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, if you talk about policy, Republicans get more of what they want on policy. They get a lot of spending cuts phased in in two stages and no tax increases which -- which is what they bargained for all along.
The Democrats do look better politically, I think, because the president made himself the great compromiser. He presented himself as the adult in a roomful of squabbling children.
SCHNEIDER: So I think he's better positioned politically.
But the big losers are the American people, because the Congress is about to vote for an austerity plan which can make this already fragile recovery even worse.
ANDERSON: Does it worry you that -- and this is certainly how it looks from the outside looking in, Bill, that this whole process has exposed a chasm in U.S. politics. It's really exposed the differences between where the Democrats stand on one side and where, certainly, the far right Republicans stand on the other?
SCHNEIDER: That chasm has been growing now since the 1960s. You know, the president of China visited Washington a few months ago and it occurred to me that in the 1960s, the Chinese had a Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. They got over it.
In the '60s, the United States had a great American cultural revolution and we're still fighting it. Those divisions have just grown bigger and bigger and bigger over the years. And now we see what they've resulted in -- almost complete gridlock.
ANDERSON: Good or bad for the U.S. economy at this point, and, indeed, good or bad for America full stop?
SCHNEIDER: Americans are very embarrassed. They -- they're very angry at the government. They see themselves as humiliated in the eyes of the world.
Is it bad?
Of course it is. This is an austerity program that could happen much too quickly. The only way to deal with the deficit is, first, make sure the recovery is on a strong footing, that the economy is growing. Ronald Reagan said back in 1985, the only way we really know how to deal with debt in this country is economic growth. That's still true.
ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff.
Bill, always a pleasure.
We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us tonight.
Well, the debt deadline weighed heavily on investors across Europe today. It wasn't their only concern, though, about the U.S. economy. You know, one would hate to be in the market at this point.
Jim Boulden is here with me tonight in the studio to talk about what was a dismal showing for European stocks today.
Let -- let's start with the reasons why European markets dropped, which weren't anything to do, I believe, with the U.S. debt deadline.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think they went up in the beginning because of the U.S. debt deadline compromise. And if you look at the German DAX, for a good example, they really kicked off in the morning, followed what happened in Asia, which was a relief rally -- I love that term. Then we got this number out of the U.S. that said that manufacturing isn't very good. In fact, it had a terrible July.
That was the excuse -- boom, everyone started selling again. The banks here started falling heavily. Then they said, wait a minute, we still have a doubt problem in Europe, don't we?
Don't worry about what's happening across the way, we haven't really sorted everything here. Italian banks -- some of them down 5, 6, 7 percent. The -- they fell off the cliff the last 30 minutes of trading in Europe. God knows what they're going to do tomorrow morning.
ANDERSON: What nobody needs across the global markets at the moment is -- is a disaster out of the U.S. tonight.
ANDERSON: And a disaster would be if the House didn't vote on this bill, because we believe that the Senate will.
But going forward, are global investors still convinced that the U.S. is worth a punt?
BOULDEN: Oh, yes. It's still AAA rating. It still is the country that everyone says if it can get back on track and get the growth going again, that that could really...
BOULDEN: -- yes. But as Bill Schneider just said, what if they do this?
What if they cut all this and then the country goes back into a recession?
That's what people are worried about. We only have, at the moment, in the Western world, Germany as the stellar performer. You can't just rely on Germany.
ANDERSON: And the problem is absolutely just what you suggested, that there is -- there is a probability or a likelihood -- maybe it's not that high -- but there is a likelihood that the U.S. could hit a double dip recession again.
ANDERSON: What would that do to the rest of the world?
BOULDEN: You look at what the U.S. can do, what it can't do. At the moment, it's growing anemically. But, OK, the euro has been pretty strong lately. We've got growth out of Asia, obviously, in China. But if the U.S. isn't going to buy all the stuff from China, if the U.S. goes back into double dip, we do have another stimulus program?
Well, we can't, can we?
There's no way Obama could put another stimulus package again. He's not going the cut the taxes.
So what do you do?
As we going to get another QE3, as we call it, out of the Fed?
Do we then have interest rates being cut?
Well, we can't, because the interest rates are so low, we would -- we could -- could go back to where we were in 2009.
ANDERSON: I read -- and, finally, quite interesting an article today where you said that investors are looking not to sovereign debt these days as the sort of most risk averse or risk-free buying environment, but to -- to some corporate debt. And there's a myriad of companies who just -- who are doing quite well.
Apple has more cash...
ANDERSON: -- available to it, for example, than the U.S. economy has at the moment.
ANDERSON: It's about $45 billion that -- give or -- give or take.
Is this a watershed moment in -- in global finance?
BOULDEN: If the U.S. is downgraded, yes. If they can skirt that and come up with some kind of agreement six months down the road for the next set of debt, not go into a recession, not have a recession here in the U.K., which would also be a problem, the interesting thing to me is the Swiss franc has become this safe haven, not just gold. But when people start putting their money into Switzerland, we know that people are worried.
ANDERSON: But you and I have known for 17 or 18 years -- we've been doing this job for so long. It all...
ANDERSON: -- it always, it goes back to gold and the Swiss franc, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
ANDERSON: Good stuff.
Jim, thank you.
Well, our top story this hour, the world watches and waits as Washington scrambles to avert the first government default in U.S. history. Two crucial votes coming soon on Capitol Hill. And we will, of course, here on CNN, continue our coverage of the debt crisis as we move through the following hours.
You're with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.
I'm Becky Anderson.
Seventeen minutes past 9:00 in London.
Still to come, misery on two fronts.
In Mogadishu, Somalia's famine victims flock to the capital as the militants close in. That is just after this short break.
Plus, sweet redemption for Serena Williams. The former world number one charges back into the winner's circle. We're going to have the day's sports news in about eight minutes.
Stay with us.
ANDERSON: It's 19 minutes past 9:00 in London.
I'm Becky Anderson.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.
A look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.
And new violence has erupted in the Syrian city of Hama. Local residents have told CNN that government tanks are shelling the area and activists say five people died earlier in the day after the military shot protesters.
Now, this latest unrest follows a violent few days in Hama. There are different reports about how many people were killed. Some human rights groups say as many as 100 people died over the weekend after tanks rolled into the city.
CNN is unable to independently confirm the death toll.
Well, Monday marked the beginning of Ramadan in much of the Muslim world. But in shattered Somalia, already coping with a famine, of course, it's also marked the beginning of a new assault by militant groups.
Nima Elbagir is there and she reports from Mogadishu for you.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Al Shabab militant group began their now annual Ramadan offensive here in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, trying to retake African Union and Somali government positions.
The Somali government, supported by African Union forces, now control eight out of the 17 districts that make up Mogadishu. And all this, of course, comes as tens of thousands of Somalis are fleeing to Mogadishu from the territory in South and Central Somalia held by the Shabab.
After the militant group issued an edict banning foreign aid groups from operating in their areas, the new offensive has exacerbated concerns that aid delivery will be disturbed and that the much needed aid and much needed respite that these displaced people have been hoping to find here in the capital will now still be out of their reach.
Nima Elbagir, for CNN, in Mogadishu.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: Well, Norway's prime minister and members of the royal family there have attended a memorial service for the victims of the twin terror attacks. The parliament speaker read the names of all 77 people killed in Oslo and on Utoya Island. A national day of commemoration will be held on August the 21st.
Meanwhile, a British newspaper is shedding more light on how the suspected killer prepared for the attack. Britain's "Sunday Telegraph" says Anders Behring Breivik purchased bomb making chemicals and other equipment through the online auction site, eBay.
Well, two years after they were sent to an Iranian prison, a pair of American hikers could soon find out if and when they'll be released. Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were jailed in 2009 on charges of crossing the Iranian border illegally as spies.
Now, they've been told that a verdict on their case is set to be reached within a week.
Sarah Shourd, who was a third hiker freed last year, has been urging Iran to release the two men.
Well, Europe's largest bank has announced that it will slash 25,000 jobs by 2013. That is on top of 5,000 jobs that HSBC has already cut this year. The bank posted a payroll tax profit of $11.5 billion for the first half of the year. It didn't specify whether the job cuts -- or where they will take place.
So America's leaders finally have a deal.
But can they persuade their parties to back it?
In just 10 minutes from now, we'll head to Washington, where the future of the world's biggest economy remains far from certain.
First, though, after a disastrous year and near death experience, Serena Williams bounces back with some sweet revenge. That's up next.
ANDERSON: Well, she may have started the tournament a lowly 169th in the world rankings, but at the Stanford Classic in California, Serena Williams proved that she is well on her way back to the top. Seeking revenge against the same opponent who knocked her out of Wimbledon, Serena confidential beat Marion Bartoli in straight sets.
After almost a year out to recover from a foot injury and a blood clot in her lung, Serena said her comeback was only just the beginning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: I feel really good. I -- I'm happy to walk away with a win. I haven't won a tournament in a while. So it's -- it's really good. But I'm not finished. I don't feel that by any means am I finished. I feel like, OK, let me just dust my shoulders off and keep the pressure on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: She is not finished, she says. So Serena now fights back to reclaim her crown at the U.S. Open, which we, of course, are just weeks away from.
To discuss that, I'm joined by Candy Reid at the CNN Center.
Now, when Serena says she's not finished, you sort of -- you kind of believe her, don't you, really?
CANDY REID, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, you do. Absolutely.
REID: Becky, I mean experts and players alike, they're both predicting that now, at this point, Serena Williams is a big U.S. Open favorite.
And isn't that remarkable because the tournament, the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford University was only her third back, her first on hard court since that injury. She cut her foot, you might remember, in a Munich restaurant shortly after winning Wimbledon in 2010.
When I met her in December, she had a -- a big cast on her foot. It was serious, just from that glass.
And then, of course, came the blood clot. She had to go for emergency surgery. She was rushed to hospital. She was said it was a near death experience.
She came back at Eastbourne. She did OK. She just came back at Wimbledon. She got to the fourth round, when she lost to Bartoli.
Now, in her third tournament back, she won it all. And she beat the likes of Mara Schiavocampo. She lost just four games to the Russian. She beat Sabine Lisicki, who reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon, for the last of just three games. And then she took out Bartoli in the final.
Bartoli, for one, is saying Serena is the one to watch at the U.S. Open.
She's already won at Flushing Meadows three times before. She's got 30 major titles in her hands. This girl can win 10 more, if you ask me. She's got enormous upside and she's the most athletic, the most powerful player on the women's tour. And she loves it, too -- Becky.
ANDERSON: OK. What you're saying is don't write her off?
ANDERSON: OK. Yes.
Listen, I've been watching the cricket, which has been absolutely fantastic. And some sportsmanship returning to the -- the English game, as it were.
REID: Well, and absolutely fantastic, isn't it?
I'm sure in London there, you've just been overshadowed with it.
I mean it's all over the newspapers, isn't it?
It was the incident with Ian Bell. He was batting with Owen Morgan on Sunday. Owen Morgan appeared to hit what was a four. Everyone thought it had gone over the boundary rope. And Ian Bell started walking back to the clubhouse, because it was tea time.
Well, the Indian fielder realized it hadn't actually gone over for a fall, so he threw it back in. They ran out, Ian Bell. He was out on appeal.
Well, they went into the clubhouse. India said it just didn't feel right. India actually walked out and everyone was booing and jeering them and the umpires. But then Ian Bell walked out and resumed batting. And it had been announced that India had withdrawn their appeal. They said it just wasn't right and that he continued batting on.
A wonderful show of sportsmanship. Of course, you know, in India, people are like, hmmm, you know, he -- they shouldn't have done that.
Yes, they should.
So it's a big debate and one, I think, that will run on for some time.
REID: Now, Becky, we've got some other...
REID: I'm sorry. Carryon.
ANDERSON: Go on. I was going to say it just wasn't cricket, was it, if it hadn't turned out the way it did?
Go on. You've got some other headlines, I know.
REID: Yes. Thank you very much.
Yes, the former German international Jurgen Klinsmann is now formally in the U.S. hot seat. He's already looking forward to, he says, World Cup qualifying for Brazil 2014. At a press conference in New York, the World Cup winner said that though USA soccer had come an awful long way, he was excited for the chance to advance the Americans globally.
Klinsmann was named to the post on Friday, one day after the firing of Bob Bradley, who saw his USA side lose to Mexico in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup finals. Klinsmann, who's been living in California with his American wife since he retired from playing in 1998, will make his debut as the U.S. coach on August the 10th, when the Americans, ironically, play host to Mexico at Philadelphia in a friendly. It will be awfully interesting to see how that one turns out.
And finally, the Volvo Golf Champions Tournament will not take place in Bahrain next year. The European Tour made the decision because the Gulf kingdom still hasn't fully resolved the issues which led to civil unrest in the country earlier this year. That trouble led to the cancellation, of course, of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix. And now, a very unfortunate Gulf tournament has followed suit, although the European Tour says it will return to Bahrain sometime in the future.
Now, later on our half hour show, "WORLD SPORT," Don Riddell talks with Jurgen Klinsmann about his new job.
And we get both the English and Indian perspectives on the return of sportsmanship in cricket. That's in about an hour's time, Becky, on "WORLD SPORT".
That India-England cricket, people will be talking about the second test, I think, for years to come -- Becky.
ANDERSON: We're just hoping we can do it -- we can do it again and again and even again.
Anyway, they're doing well.
All right, good stuff.
Candy Reid with your sports headlines.
Just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, a check of the top stories here on CNN just before half past nine.
Plus, a deal but it's far from signed, sealed and delivered. We're live in Washington, waiting for U.S. lawmakers to vote on a plan to avoid default. That's coming up in about six minutes time.
And escalating violence in Syria. Regional expert, Fawaz Gerges, joining us here on the program to talk about a country which, it seems, is on the brink of civil war.
And later in the show, a cult TV station marks a milestone. Our big interview tonight is with MTV founder Bill Roedy. Find out what is next for the channel.
(MUSIC - "VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR," THE BUGGLES)
ANDERSON: Thirty-one minutes past nine in London. I'm Becky Anderson, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the world's news leader. Let me get you a check of the headlines this hour.
Two crucial votes coming soon in Congress as the clocks races towards a US government default on its financial obligations. The House and the Senate will vote on a compromise bill that raises the debt ceiling and calls for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts.
Residents of Hama report fresh gunfire a short while ago. They say the Syrian military is firing into residential areas to keep protesters off the streets. The UN Security Council is set to discuss the crisis shortly.
Witnesses say Egyptian security forces have cleared the last demonstrators from Cairo's Tahrir Square, beating those who would not leave voluntarily. Protesters say they are frustrated by what they see as the slow pace of change since the revolution.
And famine victims in Somalia are facing even more misery, with the militant group al-Shabaab launching an offensive. African Union officials say there's been heavy fighting northeast of the capital, Mogadishu, and the groups are preparing for more attacks.
That comes as Muslims around the world start marking Ramadan, and that has got some governments, at least, worried. The holy month is also a time of higher attendance at mosques, and recent protests have begun following prayers.
Those are the headlines this hour.
I want to get you more on our top story, this hour, the US debt deal. Dan Lothian standing by at the White House. Dan, what do we know at this point?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that the deal was done last night, at least the agreement between the leadership and this White House.
And so, essentially, if you want to think of it in sports terms, the ball has been moved right down to the goal line, but now it's for congressional lawmakers to actually move it across that goal line and, essentially, score the goal, which is this deal that raises the debt limit but also has deep spending cuts as well.
The issue is, are there the votes to make this happen in the House? You have John Boehner working very hard on Republicans, and here from the White House, you have the Vice President, who's been up on the Hill, meeting with both the Senate and the Democratic caucuses to explain this agreement to them, to answer questions.
And the selling point, at least according to the White House spokesman, is that this deal is the best deal for the American people, that they turn out to be the winners, here.
But some Democrats, liberal Democrats -- in fact, I was just listening a short time ago to some members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who are very unhappy with this agreement and say they simply will not vote for it because they want to see the wealthiest Americans take more of the burden, here, and there's no mention whatsoever of any revenue or tax increases, which is something that's been very important to them.
So, a lot of last-minute pushing and pulling going on up on Capitol Hill, but what we're hearing from sources is that there is the will and certainly there are the votes, there, to eventually make this happen.
ANDERSON: All right, Dan. Dan Logan (sic) is at the White House for you.
The US national debt, of course, is owned, you may know, predominantly by Asian economies. Take a look at this. The top three owners of US treasury bonds, China right up there, and Japan following closely behind.
So, it's easy to see why they are watching this whole saga play out with interest. In Tokyo, investors, at least Monday, breathed a sigh of relief as news of the deal came through.
But with only three and a half hours to go until Tokyo's markets, of course, open again, we're going to have to wait and see where the bar in the room had sell on the fact is what we see play out there. Kyung Lah reports.
KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nothing lost in translation here. Tokyo's market closed up, higher than it has in weeks, clearly stating "crisis averted," a sentiment echoed through Japan's government.
YOSHIHIKO NODA, JAPANESE FINANCE MINISTER (through translator): "We've heard an agreement's been reached by the president, Democrats, and Republicans," says Japan's finance minister. "We're expecting that this will erase anxiety about the future. It's good news."
LAH: That good news hit the airwaves just before markets opened in Tokyo. Stocks surged and leveled off as President Obama announced the agreement.
NAOMI FINK, JEFFERIES, LTD: I think this is a double sigh of relief. The only thing is that the long-term question of how the US is going to resolve its debt situation still remains unanswered. So, I think markets are still looking for further answers on that front.
LAH: Markets like the Currency Exchange. The US dollar was up sharply in morning trading versus the Japanese yen. The dollar ticked up one yen by the middle of the trading day in Tokyo and, for companies like Toyota, a stronger dollar means more corporate profits when funds are repatriated in Japan.
That slight rise in the dollar in real money terms means Toyota saved $385 million US just on today's midday rise on the dollar.
But there's the bad news. By the end of the close of Japan's market, the dollar fell back to where it started the day, erasing those gains.
FINK: I suspect that Congress is also watching this, that Congress knows that if it fails to reach an agreement, then they might undermine confidence in some of their investor base abroad, and that's increasingly an important part of the US's investor base.
So, they probably will take this into consideration and possibly this will influence the decision to compromise.
LAH (on camera): If the debt deal fails to reach the finish line, analysts say Asia-Pacific has already gotten a taste of what can happen. Any renewed confidence in the US economy, any gains made by global markets on good news today, can be gone tomorrow.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
ANDERSON: Well, watch those markets as they reopen for Tuesday. We all know how well these stock markets can be volatile. Looking ahead to Friday, they could come under pressure again when US job numbers are out, so watch for that. It's going to be a long week on these markets.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up this Monday evening, new protests in Syria and new bloodshed. The Syrian government's crackdown on demonstrators continues as the holiest month in the Muslim calendar begins. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: All right, 40 minutes past 9:00 in London. I'm Becky Anderson, this is CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.
The Syrian military is stepping up its assault on the city of Hama in the country's west. Now, there's been a second day of violence as the regime toughens its crackdown on anti-government protesters, there.
Now, local activists say at least five people died across the country on Monday after the army started firing at demonstrators.
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ANDERSON: Well, this follows a violent weekend in Hama. This is some of the latest video out of the city to be posted online. Syrian security forces reportedly storming the city on Sunday.
Amnesty International says at least 52 people were killed. Some groups put that number at over 100. CNN cannot confirm the death tolls or the authenticity of these images. State-run media say security forces were responding to armed groups that have been terrorizing residents.
We've got a resident of Hama on the line with us now. We're not naming this person for his security, but sir, what is happening on the ground as we speak?
HAMA RESIDENT: Well, actually, about -- right after the breakfast today, they started to shoot the tanks, the machine guns on the tanks, they start to shoot, like an air raid building, they were available to shoot.
In old neighborhoods, they start to target the mosques, they start to target the hospitals, they start to target flats, apartment buildings, everything. They were trying to deny people to go to the prayer.
Today is the first day of Ramadan, and we have a prayer right after the evening prayer, which as we call it, the Tarawih prayer, and they are so scared. The government's so scared of that, because there's all the gathering, the people that gather there at the mosque. So, they are trying to put people away from gathering together and then start protesting after that.
ANDERSON: Right, they say --
HAMA RESIDENT: And I have --
ANDERSON: Let me stop you there for one second. They say they are responding to armed groups that have been terrorizing residents. Your response to that?
HAMA RESIDENT: Well, this is the story from the very beginning of what happened. They pretend that there are armed groups and gangs and Islamic extremists here and there, which there is nothing.
This is a made-up story from the government. There is nothing at all. This is the people, we are the people, here, we are the residents of Syria, we are the residents of Hama, and we've been attacked by our army, and they were the ones that are supposed to protect us.
They started to shoot at the hospital. They start -- to bomb some places around the hospital. They -- snipers, today, everywhere. No one would be able to walk around the city.
People, they are really desperate and they need their food, and they couldn't get any food today, especially today, we are fasting.
ANDERSON: If you had to describe life --
HAMA RESIDENT: And it's no --
ANDERSON: -- what is it, some hundred, 140 days on from the start of this crisis? What would you say? How would you describe how life is on a daily basis at this point?
HAMA RESIDENT: I don't know. Actually, we are really confused. The president, he always -- he wants to fix things, that's the way how he says it. And he sends us tanks and army and security forces and start killing people at their homes.
I don't know. There's no response. He's trying to pretend there's nothing going on, and he always makes up this story that we are germs and we are extremists, we are armed gangs, which we are not. We are just the residents of Syria, we are the residents of Hama.
There's a slaughter going on here in Hama. There is more than seven people got killed right after the breakfast today.
ANDERSON: We're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us with what is an eyewitness report out of Hama in Syria tonight.
Well, CNN is currently not allowed inside Syria, but our Arwa Damon has been monitoring the situation from neighboring Lebanon, and she joins me now from CNN in Beirut. Day one of Ramadan and no respite from the shelling in Syria, Arwa.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, Becky, it most certainly would not seem as if the tanks have stopped firing.
We just heard from that one resident of Hama, there, and we have been speaking to a number of residents throughout the day, and what appears to have transpired is that at some point last night, the tanks, the military has said it entered Hama on Sunday, withdrew, and they appear to have stationed themselves on the outer periphery of the city.
And that is when, as we have been hearing, at around 9:00 local time, a few hours ago, the tanks began firing, heavy machine gun fire was heard.
We heard from resident who lives in a neighborhood very close to two hospitals that one of the hospitals caught fire.
He wasn't entirely sure what the extent of the damage was but, according these activists and residents, the message from the government is pretty clear. Get off the streets and stop demonstrating or else you will face the military wrath, whether it is Ramadan or not.
The activists had been planning Friday-style mass demos following the traditional prayers that take place once an individual breaks their fast, the government trying to keep the situation under control, but activists just as determined, Becky, to continue to take to the streets.
What they are asking of the international community, though, is a stronger stance.
ANDERSON: Arwa Damon, reporting for you from Beirut. Recently, of course, been in Syria, witnessed exactly what has been going on there as the crisis continues. Arwa, thank you for that.
The deadly crackdown in Hama has triggered a torrent of Western criticism. The US president has called the situation "horrific." The EU wants to slap new sanctions on Damascus, and even Russia has joined in the chorus of condemnation. Not long after we come off air, the UN Security Council will actually discuss this crisis this evening.
All of this comes, of course, as the Muslim world begins the holy month of Ramadan. Fawaz Gerges is a regular guest on this show, a big thinker, as we call him, a professor of international economics at the LSE, recently been speaking to people, I know, in Syria, as well.
Has Assad, do you think, chosen a path of no return at this point?
FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: There is no return. It's all- out war, Becky. This is a fierce struggle to the bitter end, both camps are going for broke.
I think the strategy of the Assad regime is to crush the protesters before the thick of the Ramadan, the holy month of reflection and prayer and fasting, because the regime is terrified that more people will come into the streets, and what he wants to do is to strangle the baby before the baby matures.
ANDERSON: How do you think Ramadan will affect the momentum at this point?
GERGES: It is critical because the opposition strategy is to use Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam, to bring more people into the streets to create the critical mass that tips the balance in their favor, in the favor of the protesters.
And this is why it's all-out war, because the Assad regime cannot afford more people on the streets, and this is why it's all-out war.
I think there is no return. I think it's a deadly embrace, and the next few weeks will determine whether the regime will survive or not.
ANDERSON: How will what we've heard from the West, from the US, from the EU, from Russia, even, affect Assad's thinking at this point, do you think?
GERGES: Not much. Because Assad and Syrian authorities are fighting for their very survival. Two variables will affect the survival of the Syrian government.
Becky, I don't know if you know, more than 50 percent of the Syrian people live in two cities, Aleppo and Damascus. And so far, the silent majority that lives in Aleppo and Damascus has not actively joined the protesters. The next few weeks, we'll see whether the silent majority will decide that time is over.
And the second factor is the economic situation. To what extent is the worsening economic crisis will convince the silent majority to finally throw its lot with the protesters.
ANDERSON: How would you describe the uprisings across the region? Is Syria just part and parcel of what called -- what we started calling some six months ago the Arab Spring, it's now become a very hot summer?
GERGES: Well, Becky, what has happened, really, is a major wrench. But you have three types of changes in the region. You have revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, regime change. You have regime resistance and civil war, you have Libya, you have Yemen, and now Syria seems to be on the brink. And finally, you have regime reforms, like Morocco, Algeria, and Jordan.
So, even though the Arab uprisings are still unfolding, you have really different types of basically changes and transformations in the Arab world.
Unfortunately, in the case of Libya, in the case of Yemen, in the case of Syria, you're talking about, really, upheaval. You're talking about civil war, you're talking about regime change. You're talking about massive, massive use of force by the regimes in order to strangle the baby that is the protesters in these countries.
ANDERSON: I can't believe we're sitting here talking about this still, but as you said back in January, there will be a terrible hangover from what was some pretty great pictures that we saw at the beginning of all of this. Fawaz, thank you for that.
Next up, we're going to rewind the clock to another social revolution. We're going to take you back to the 80s in just two minutes time. Find out how video killed the radio star, but became a channel of change.
(MUSIC - "VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR," THE BUGGLES)
ANDERSON: We have witnessed uprising after uprising across the Arab world this year and a social revolution not seen since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Now, if we look at both of these pivotal events, technology has played, of course, a key role.
In 2011, social media has helped spread the calls for change. Back in 1989, it was MTV that was giving a generation its voice. And today, the global music network marks 30 years since it first broadcast, and tonight's big interview is with the man who turned it into a channel of change. Have a look at this.
NEIL ARMSTRONG, ASTRONAUT: We've gone from main engine start.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.
ANDERSON (voice-over): This is how MTV was launched, a minute after midnight on August the 1st, 1981.
Since then, the pioneering music video channel has planted a flag in almost 200 countries. The mastermind of this global expansion is the former MTV chief executive, Bill Roedy.
BILL ROEDY, FORMER CHAIRMAN, MTV: The thing that really made us different from everything else was respecting and reflecting local cultures.
So, unlike one cola or one burger, we have different products, depending on where you go around the world. In Indonesia, you'll see call to prayer. I just came from the Middle East, Qatar and Dubai, we have call to prayer, we have interpretation of Ramadan in a youthful way.
In India, we play Bollywood songs. In China, we have marching music. So, it can be very different.
ANDERSON: And long before Roedy helped turned MTV into a cable television empire, he served as a US soldier in Vietnam and Italy. Television, he decided, and music were more powerful political tools than weaponry.
ROEDY: Well, I simply said I wanted MTV in every household. And my mantra on distribution was aggressive, creative, relentless. So, we didn't wait for cable to be built. And where there was no cable, we worked very hard to get the direct-to-homes satellite business working.
And then, when there was neither one of those two, we went on terrestrial TV, sometimes in just blocks, putting in a patchwork of networks together. Sometimes we were lucky to get a frequency.
So, the whole thing was distribution, and I wanted to be everywhere. And that was, really, a very simple vision, yet it proved to be somewhat controversial later because, obviously, being a public company, shareholder value, you will want to be primarily in the places where you make money. Where you have a profitable business.
Some of the areas that we went to didn't make money right away. Obviously, Eastern Europe before capitalism came, it was very difficult to make money. Same thing for the Soviet Union. China early on, even India.
ANDERSON: But these countries possessed the young and socially-mobile audience, which Roedy was determined to tap.
Within two days of MTV's launch in East Berlin, the wall came down, and the channel became a symbol of the change sweeping the region.
ANDERSON (on camera): 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of MTV. Talk me through that period.
ROEDY: Well, contrary to popular opinion, we didn't bring the wall down.
ROEDY: I was in East Berlin, and it was a remarkable time. We started on Astra satellite in January of 1989, and that was significant because suddenly you could buy a dish, 60-centimeter dish, not a meter and a half.
The key decision for us back in January of 89 was flicking the switch. So it was free. So, anywhere that you could buy a dish, and now suddenly across Europe you could buy a dish, you could receive MTV.
STING, SINGER (singing): I want my MTV.
ANDERSON (voice-over): MTV spoke to a generation that remembers the Live Aid concert, the end of the Cold War, and the emergence of HIV.
ANDERSON (on camera): What do you hope your legacy will be? I'm wondering whether part of that might be a lot of the what might be considered corporate social responsibility work you did. For example, in Africa, you did a lot of work on getting the AIDS/HIV message out, for example. How important was that?
ROEDY: First of all, I'm way too young to have a legacy.
ROEDY: But that's kind of you to say that. I think probably two things. One is representing this amazing diversity in the world, not having one product, and not, oh, I don't know, importing into a country. Actually taking out, exporting out.
And I really believe passionately that the world is a diverse, rich array, and it shouldn't be one country dominating. It shouldn't be cultural imperialism. And I passionately believe in that.
But number two, as you say, because we have this amazing distribution and this vertical connection with young people, let's use that as an opportunity. In our case, HIV was a very easy choice because over half of new infections are 25 and below and people listen to -- young people tend to listen to MTV.
So, we had to do it in creative ways, of course, think out of the box, but delivering those prevention and stigma messages was really an opportunity, a tremendous opportunity for us to help fight he epidemic and save lives.
ANDERSON (voice-over): MTV has been criticized for moving away from its 24-hour music platform. That, says Roedy, is the nature of evolution and survival.
ANDERSON (on camera): You did pioneer such a significant part of the industry during a specific era, but things have moved on. What happens next?
ROEDY: I do believe TV anywhere, TV everywhere, perhaps less bundling. No one really knows all about this.
The traditional model may be under some threat, but there's all sorts of things that are being implemented, everything from Windows, so the programming is on the internet first and then on your traditional TV. Pricing, tiering. The most important thing is, I think, is there's going to be an integration and coming together of all.
No one knows how it's going to shake out, but it'll probably be much different, and it'll probably be much better for the consumer because you're going to be able to get any show you want anywhere on any platform anytime.
ANDERSON: Bill Roedy. The man makes a lot of sense.
When MTV launched 30 years ago, the first video chosen for broadcast was symbolic of the time. So, for tonight's Parting Shots, I thought it seemed only right to kick back for a moment, turn up the volume, and remember how video killed the radio star.
(VIDEO - "VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR," THE BUGGLES)
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, thanks for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. You're watching CNN.