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U.S. Ratchets Up Pressure on Iran; Myanmar Releases Political Prisoners; Time To Shake the Money Tree; BlackBerry Outage Spreads; BlackBerry Maker Doesn't Know Cause of Problem; Technology Dependence; Gateway: Restoring Azerbaijan's Silk Way; Eye on Macedonia: Film Director Milcho Manchevski; Parting Shots of Family Lost in Corn Maze

Aired October 12, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET



HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Should be held accountable for its actions.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The U.S. says Iran should have to answer for its actions.

Bust just how high up did an alleged plot to kill a Saudi ambassador go?

Live from London, I'm Max Foster.

Also tonight, with BlackBerry users up in arms over a global meltdown, we'll ask, are we too dependent on our devices?

And why Liverpool wants to play on its popularity abroad to keep the club at the very top of its game.

Well, a day after the startling revelations, the U.S. moves to ratchet up pressure on Iran. Diplomats are burning the phone lines, calling on other nations to hold Tehran accountable for the alleged plot to kill a Saudi ambassador on American soil.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voice the U.S. position loud and clear.


CLINTON: This kind of reckless act undermines international norms and the international system. Iran must be held accountable for its actions.


FOSTER: Well, Saudi Arabia's embassy in Washington called the alleged plot "a despicable violation of interestingly norms, standards and conventions." The U.S. attorney general and prosecutors left no doubt that they believe Iran's government had some form of involvement when they dropped this bombshell yesterday.

Hala Gorani has details.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first thing we'll do is make sure the entire world and all the capitals of the world understand exactly what the Iranians had in mind. It's an outrage that violates one of the fundamental premises upon which nations deal with one another.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The outrage the U.S. vice president refers to, an alleged murder for hire scheme targeting the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. on American soil. The point man inside U.S. borders, authorities say, 56-year-old Manssor Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen who holds an Iranian passport.

The alleged plan, hire a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the assassination of Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir for $1.5 million.

PREET BHARARA, U.S. ATTORNEY: When the confidential source noted that there could be 100 or 150 people in a fictional restaurants where the requested bombing would take place, including possibly members of the United States Congress, the lead defendant, acting on behalf of a component of the government of Iran, said, "no problem" and "no big deal."

GORANI: But authorities say Arbabsiar's contact was, in fact, an informant with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Help from the Mexican government led to his arrest.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: They not only got a confession from him -- and we see that in the -- in the complaint -- but they also got dozens of intelligence reports and leads.

GORANI: But Arbabsiar allegedly did not act alone. His accused co- conspirator, Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of the Quds Force, a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard that is suspected in attacks against American troops overseas.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-MI), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This is a group that we know about, the IRGC, and its work with the Quds Force. These are folks that are bringing weapons systems into Iran to kill U.S. soldiers.

GORANI: What is unclear, did the Iranian regime know about or approve the plot and at what level?

An Iranian government spokesperson says the allegations are an attempt to distract the American public from domestic issues.


ALI AKBAR JAVANFEKR, IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN (through translator): History has shown that both the U.S. government and the CIA have a lot of experience in fabricating these scenarios. And this is just the latest one.


GORANI: Tensions between Saudi Arabia, a Sunni kingdom, and Iran, a Shiite regional superpower, are at fever pitch, both vying for influence and control in a new Middle East, shaped by revolutions and uprisings. Many say this latest development will only add more uncertainty to an already volatile region.

Hala Gorani, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Well, listen now to the chilling words from one U.S. lawmaker about potential repercussions of the alleged plot.


REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: The Iranians have crossed a red line. I mean if this had been carried out, you're talking about an act of murder carried out by a foreign government on our soil of a foreign diplomat. Basically, this would have been an act of war.


FOSTER: Well, the Pentagon specifically downplayed any military action today, saying with respect to this case, it is a judicial and diplomatic issue.

Already, the U.S. announced it will slap sanctions on Mahan Air -- that's an Iranian commercial airline -- claiming it assisted the Quds Forces linked to the plot.

I want to bring in Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence -- and, Chris, an Iranian general has, well, in the Revolutionary Guard, calls a plot allegations baseless, commercial, but I guess no one is laughing there in Washington right now.


I mean, in fact, the White House is now calling this a dangerous escalation by the Iranian government, an -- an attempted assassination. A senior administration official who is knowledal -- knowledgeable about the current -- most current information coming out of this case -- says that while they do not have evidence and they do not know for sure whether this goes along the way up to the level of, say, President Mahmoud Abbas or Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, they do believe that it does reach into the highest levels of the Quds Force, that -- that element of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

There is a suspicion, a strong suspicion, that the Quds Force commander was directly involved in this plot.

Listen a little bit to some very blunt words from the White House spokesman earlier today.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We consider it what -- what it was, which is an attempted terrorist act to assassinate the Saudi ambassador here to the United States.


LAWRENCE: And, of course, the U.S. is now urging its allies to impose any and all sanctions on Iran that they possibly can -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Chris, thank you very much, indeed, for that.

Well, as far-fetched as these allegations do sound, it's not the first time that Iran has been implicated in an overseas terror plot. Investigators in Argentina are convinced that Iran masterminded two bombings in Buenos Aires.

The first, in 1992, targeted the Israeli embassy, killing 29 people and wounding another 240. Two years later, the bombing of a Jewish community center killed 85 and injured hundreds more. And a German court concluded high level officials in Iran's government approved the murders of four Iranians in a Berlin restaurant in 1992.

Now, even those -- even given those past attacks, this alleged plot involving Mexican drug dealers and a high level Saudi target on U.S. soil seems mind-boggling.

So why would any faction in Iran risk possible retaliation from both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia?

I want to discuss this with Raymond Tanter, who served on the National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan and Alireza Nader. He's an international policy analyst for RAND Corporation.

Both of them, by the way, authors of books that address Iran and the region's volatility.

First of all, Raymond, if I can ask you, Chris suggesting there that the commander of the Quds Force knew about this.

Could it have gone higher than him?

RAYMOND TANTER, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, it's inconceivable to me that the commander of the Quds Force could know something and that either the president's office, President Ahmadinejad, or the supreme leader's office, Ali Khamenei, would not be involved. And if you ask what is the motivation for high level individuals involved being involved, well, they had plausible deniability. The Islamic Revolutionary -- the Islamic Republic of Iran rarely takes actions directly. They be -- they use proxy forces to do so. They used the proxy forces in Iran in order to -- in -- in Iraq, in order to go after American troops there. They used proxy forces in Lebanon to seize Americans and hold them hostage there, proxy forces in Saudi Arabia (INAUDIBLE)...

FOSTER: So was it the president who ordered it?

TANTER: -- power in 1996.

FOSTER: Are you saying President Ahmadinejad ordered this?

TANTER: I don't think that President Ahmadinejad ordered it, but I think there was a wink and a blink out of the supreme leader's office. This is too serious an action for there to be a rogue trader, if you will, involved in this kind of an enterprise.

FOSTER: Alireza, what do you think?

Does this have the markings of the most senior approval?

ALIREZA NADER, RAND CORPORATION: Well, we don't know at this point. If you look at the Quds Force, it's relatively small. It's disciplined. And it is under the direct authority and supervision of the supreme leader. We have to ask, would Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, order for the Saudi ambassador in the United States to be assassinated?

How would this serve Iran's interests?

It's hard to see that the Iranian leadership would think this would serve Iran's interests in any way. And when you look at -- at the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards, they tend to use proxies, yes, but they use true and tested proxies like Hezbollah or Iraqi Shia insurgents they've trained in Iranian camps. And Iran's terrorist actions are tied to very specific objectives.

So I think there are a lot of unanswered questions at this point.

FOSTER: But if it wasn't an order from the top, where would it have come from within the system?

If the commander of that Al Quds Force approved this, would he do it on his own?

That's inconceivable.

NADER: It's -- it's -- it's very difficult to tell at this point because a lot of the evidence hasn't been made public. I think as this case develops, we'll -- we'll know more about it.

Is it possible that there are individuals acting in a rogue fashion, acting independently?

Possibly. But it's hard to tell at this point.

FOSTER: OK, Raymond, what about the involvement of this drug cartel?

It seems, you know, you couldn't make it up, could you?

But I know that you think it's logical.

But why -- why would that be?


Well, look, there was a bank robbery named Willie Sutton. And someone said, Willie, why do you rob banks?

He said, well, that's where the money is. Well, if you ask, what proxy force can slip into the United States, conduct an assassination and get back across the border, that's the drug cartel.


Because they know how to do it. They know how to come in, go out and they know how to kill people.

So I don't think it's so fanciful. I don't think that it's fanciful at all that -- that the supreme leader's office would be involved. In the Mikonos Restaurant incident in Berlin, the supreme leader's office was probably the -- the -- the authorizing force to kill four or five Iranian dissidents, some of -- most of whom were Kurdish Iranians.

So I think that there's a -- a good chance that Khamenei said that this is the time to give the Saudis a strike in the great Satan's homeland.

FOSTER: Alireza, even, whatever the politics behind this, it's not going to work in their favor, is it, taking on two of the world's greatest powers, Saudi and the U.S.?

I mean surely any country doing that, no matter how they feel, is completely, I don't know, you could say slightly crazy.

NADER: Right. And Iran knows this. It's under immense international pressure. And it faces a lot of domestic instability. It has a very divided political system.

So we have to ask, why would Iran invite more international pressure?

Why does it want the -- the world to turn against it for this alleged plot?

Again, it doesn't meet Iran's strategic objectives. It is a rival of Saudi Arabia, for sure. And relations between the -- the two -- the two countries have become very tense in the last few months over Bahrain.

But there are ways to retaliate against Saudi Arabia, whether through rhetoric or striking at Saudi targets in the Middle East. It's a target- rich environment.

So why Washington, DC?

FOSTER: Now, Alireza Nader and Raymond Tanter, thank you very much, indeed, both of you, for joining us on the program.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD from London.

And ahead this hour, Myanmar's military rulers released hundreds of prisoners.

Just who are they, though?

And why were they freed?

We'll have the answer to that for you.

Plus, from the pitch to your TV screen, Liverpool make a financial power play for a bigger piece of the Premier League's broadcast fees.

And the BlackBerry blackout spreading -- we'll tell you the latest regions to be hit by service disruptions.

We'll be back after a short break.


FOSTER: I'm Max Foster in London.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

And here's a look at other stories we're following for you this hour.

A surprise guilty plea in Michigan from the so-called underwear bomber just one day after his trial started. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab plead guilty to all eight counts in his failed effort to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day, 2009. Explosives sewn into his underwear partially ignited, creating a fireball. Passengers aboard the Amsterdam to Detroit flight managed to subdue him and put out the fire.

He'll be sentenced in January and could receive life in prison.

Jose Manuel Barroso wants a permanent European bailout fund sooner rather than later. The European Commission president says he wants more firepower to fix Europe's debt crisis, as he laid out his comprehensive five point plan to Brussels.


JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Stronger monitoring and surveillance could be included as part of the Stability and Growth Pact. But yes, it's definitely more than just a farewell. It should have real firepower. We should maximize its capacity. And to further consolidate the expression of unity and responsibility inherent in these (INAUDIBLE) social mechanisms, we must accelerate the adoption and the entry into force of the permanent ESM.


FOSTER: Thousands of former prisoners in Myanmar are enjoying their first night of freedom. Their release on Wednesday was part of a mass amnesty announced by the country's military rulers. But all of the inmates freed, only a small number were political detainees.

Jonathan Mann has the details.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of men and women, young and old, walked out of the infamous Insein Prison. More than 6,300 inmates freed in a mass amnesty granted by Myanmar's government, among them, a comedian and activist who goes by the name Zarganon (ph). He had been behind bars since 2008. But he was one of only about 150 political prisoners to be released Wednesday. Human rights groups report more than 2,200 other critics of the government remain behind bars.

ANNA ROBERTS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BURMA CAMPAIGN UK: It is nothing new. And I think what we were expecting and what we were hoping was for a much more significant number of political prisoners and for, you know, senior figures to be released. And -- and that hasn't happened.

MANN: Nobel Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, herself freed last November after 15 years under house arrest, called for the release of all political prisoners. Suu Kyi met with Myanmar's president in August and there is some cautious optimism the new civilian government is taking steps toward promised political reforms.

JIM DELLA-GIACOMA, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: There are major changes underway in Myanmar in the way that the country is governed. The prisoner release is part of a -- a larger set of moves that have accelerated in the last couple of months since July.

MANN: The U.S. says the prisoner release is a dramatic development and could lead to Washington improving ties with the isolated and heavily sanctioned military regime.

Jonathan Mann reporting.


FOSTER: It is already New Zealand's largest ever environmental disaster at sea. And now authorities fear the situation could get even worse. Cracks have been found in the hull of a container ship leaking oil after it became stuck on a reef. The Liberian-flagged Rena is listing badly in rough waters and there's -- there's a risk it could break apart.

The ship's captain has now been arrested and charged. If convicted, he faces a possible fine or up to 12 months in prison.

The British government is pushing to change the rules of secession to the throne to eliminate gender bias. The proposed rules would make the first child born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge the heir to the throne regardless of the baby's sex. Currently, the rules favor sons over daughters. Prime Minister David Cameron said he would push the issue forward at a meeting of Commonwealth heads of state later this month.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITAIN PRIME MINISTER: In terms of the consultation, what I've done is I've written to the heads of state, the -- the prime ministers of the other realms concerned. We will be having a meeting about this at the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference. It isn't an easy issue to sort. For many of them, there may be issues and worries about starting a parliamentary or other legal process.

But I'm very clear, it's an issue that we ought to get sorted and I'd be delighted to play a part in doing that.


FOSTER: Who will capsize and who will cruise to victory?

In just a moment, we'll hear from a former rugby star on who he thinks can seal the World Cup's success.


FOSTER: Well, they play in the world's richest football league and rank amongst the top ten earners in their sport. But for Liverpool Football Club, well, it's ta -- time to shake the money tree.

The club's managing director wants a bigger slice of the overseas broadcasting pie. Ian Ayre says it's only fair, as the Anfield club generates more interest in regions such as Asia.

Now, the rights are currently sold as a joint package worth $5 billion for a three year period and the proceeds shared equally across all 20 clubs.

Now, for more on this story, let's go to "WORLD SPORT'S" Patrick Snell, who is at the CNN Center -- and Patrick, there's concern about this already in this country because the rich clubs are already rich, but they're going to get richer.

Where does it leave the -- the poorer clubs?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Max. And that is the big concern. You know, Liverpool haven't even won the English Premier League, the new era of English Premier League, if you like. They last won a league title back in 1990.

But despite that, they still have huge worldwide appeal, there's no doubt about it. And they're looking to tap into the market in an even bigger way.

But I can tell you, they are meeting opposition from the big two, if you like, Manchester United and Chelsea are opposed to this. They're not opposed to the fact that they feel that the English Premier League rights overseas should bring in more money, but they do feel that it should be continued to be structured and dished out in its current format. So Liverpool already have a battle with that.

Let me just tell you briefly what Ian Ayre said. And this is the -- exactly what he -- he bought out, trying to draw comparisons with the other big clubs in Europe.

Ian Ayre is the Liverpool's managing director right now. And he's basically saying: "If Real Madrid or Barcelona," the big two in Spain, "or other big European clubs, have the opportunity to realize their international media value potential, where does that leave Liverpool and the likes of Manchester United? We'll just share ours, because we'll all be nice to each other? The whole phenomenon of the Premier League could be threatened," end quote.

So that's the viewpoint of Ian Ayre. Liverpool basically wanting a bigger slice of things, Max.

It's going to be very interesting to see how this one is going to go. I personally don't think it's going to advance anymore. As I say, Manchester United and Chelsea, and, of course, the rest of the clubs, the smaller clubs that really do depend on these cash flow from the TV rights, absolutely crucial for them that it stays in place -- Max.

FOSTER: They are under pressure, all the clubs, aren't they, to -- to meet these salaries that the players have got.

But how much -- how much does Liverpool actually need this money?

Why are they chasing this right now?

SNELL: Well, basically, Liverpool have fallen behind, if you like. Even in their own domestic Premier League, they are considerably behind the -- the big two, the big three, if you include Arsenal, as well.

I'm going to show you a little comparison now.

Manchester United are the most valuable footballing franchise in the world. Their value is a staggering $1.86 billion.

Liverpool, they're not exactly paupers, by any means. But they're at number nine, according to that rich list, at $552 million.

So there's a big gap. And Liverpool are desperately trying to sort of arrest the success of Manchester United in recent years. United have gone on to win 19 league titles overall. And that's one ahead of Liverpool.

But as I say, Liverpool haven't won a league title since 1990. So they're desperate to claw back. And part of the issue that they have, Max, is that their Anfield stadium is relatively small in comparison to Old Trafade (ph). At around 45,000, they're somewhat limited in trying to compete with United and also Arsenal, as well, their new Emirate Stadium holding in the mid-60s. So basically, they're trying to play catch-up. As I say, they're not exactly paupers, but they are trying to play catch-up in a big way -- Max.

FOSTER: And we should talk about rugby before you go, Patrick.

The All Blacks from Australia, that's one to watch, isn't it?

SNELL: That is an extremely pulsating game Down Under, no doubt about it. The semi-finals for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the host nation. The All Blacks taking on their big rivals, Australia. These games coming up on the weekend.

The other semi-final, of course, featuring a couple of six nations rivals, as Wales and France go head-to-head, as well. The ever so youthful welsh team doing their nation proud.

But, you know, there's one man in particular who knows exactly what it takes to win a Rugby World Cup. He's been talking with our Alex Thomas.

Let's hear from him now.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his playing days, there were few better on dry land. However, Lawrence Dallaglio was out of his comfort zone when one of the Rugby World Cup sponsors took him sailing this week. Not completely uncharted waters, but a challenge. Like the one facing Wales and France, the first of this weekend's semi- finalists.

LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO, RETIRED ENGLISH RUGBY UNION PLAYER: I don't think anyone would have necessarily predicted that those two teams would have been in the semi-finals, but they both deserve to be. The Wales have been playing spectacular rugby, an unbelievable performance against Ireland.

France put maybe not quite so, but have shown that -- that sort of spirit that perhaps people were suggesting was lacking in their team. And -- and they knocked out English and, you know, what a -- what a disastrous campaign it's been for England, really.

THOMAS (on camera): Australia, for one, had a real sort of gritty attritional victory.

DALLAGLIO: Well, I mean, you know, in my opinion, it was a phenomenal victory, really. A 73 percent or something like that, possession to South Africa and yet they couldn't get over that Australian line. And the rear guard effort from Australia was magnificent. I mean every single person and, you know, James O'Connor stepped up and -- and slotted that winning penalty. So fantastic.

But it will be a very different battle against the All Blacks this weekend. They've obviously got to contend with, you know, playing the hosts in -- in -- at the (INAUDIBLE) Eden Park, the fortress that is Eden Park.

But obviously it's a host without Ben -- Ben Carson, one of two sort of selection and injury worries at half back.

So, again, Australia have got every chance of getting through. And, you know, if New Zealand were to win, then you'd have to say that the momentum that they would gather from that victory would be very difficult to stop in the final.


SNELL: And you can hear a lot more from that interview when you join me for "WORLD SPORT," just over an hour or so from right now.

We'll be joining our Alex Thomas and the team on the ground in Auckland, New Zealand -- Max, for now, it's back to you there in London.

FOSTER: And out at sea.

Thank you very much, Alex -- Patrick, rather.

Now, coming up, Blackberry blackout -- if you're one of the company's 17 million users, chances are you know what we're talking about right now. The latest efforts to repair the damage -- the huge damage, just ahead.


FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader. Let's get a check of the headlines for you this hour.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Iran must be held accountable for its actions. Her warning comes a day after the US revealed details of an alleged terror plot. The US accuses two men linked to Iran of conspiring to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US on American soil. One of the men, a US citizen, is under arrest. Iran calls the allegations baseless.

The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a commercial airliner with a bomb in his underwear in 2009 pled guilty today to all charges against him. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab told the US court that he wanted to kill everybody onboard to avenge the killing of Muslims.

The latest iPhone will hit shelves in two days, but for existing Apple customers, a new software update is available right now. The iOS5 is a free download that comes with 200 new features and enhancements for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

One of Apple's main competitors, BlackBerry, is trying to repair a massive disruption, meanwhile, to services across the world that appears, actually, to be getting worse.

North American customers are the latest to be hit by the outage, which began on Monday and is now affecting e-mail browsing and messaging for millions of users.

A short time ago, the managing director of Research in Motion for the UK and Ireland had this message for customers.


STEPHEN BATES, UK MANAGING DIRECTOR, RESEARCH IN MOTION: At this stage, we understand the frustration our customers have, because BlackBerry is used as a communication vehicle for people to connect with their friends, their family, and their work colleagues. So, we understand the importance of that system working in real time.

And we do see some improvements. We have seen a marked improvement in the through put of both business and consumer e-mail through our systems.

And we still don't think we're out of the woods yet, and our team is working -- is going to continue working night and day until we can get to that resolution point.


FOSTER: Let's have a look, then, to see how this BlackBerry crisis really did spread. Well, it all started on Monday, and that was day one. We're actually at day three already.

And this is the statement we got from RIM on Monday, and this says, "We are currently working to resolve an issue impacting some of our customers in the EMEA region." Some people thinking that wasn't enough.

Day two, it spread to South America, and this is what the company said on day two. "We are working to restore normal service as quickly as possible." So, they're getting stronger with the language.

But when we get to day three, this is a real problem point, we'll explain in just a moment, because this is when it hit North America. "We are working night and day to restore all BlackBerry services to normal levels."

Now, the service outage has been a massive problem for BlackBerry users all over the world who rely on their devices, and the US is a particular problem, because that's where half of the customers are.

I hit the streets today really to assess the damage to the users.


FOSTER: Lois, we found, by chance, in you the smart phone expert, because you've got an iPhone and a BlackBerry. First of all, why have you got both?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think it's cool. BlackBerries are cool, iPhone is cool. I didn't have an iPod, it broke, so I got an iPhone. BlackBerry use it for GPS.

FOSTER: You had the BlackBerry first.


FOSTER: And you kept the BlackBerry when you got the iPhone.


FOSTER: For what reason?


FOSTER: So, it's the messaging service --


FOSTER: -- that you've really missed --


FOSTER: -- these last couple of days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, definitely. Not being able to pick up my phone and text someone when I want to. And just be able to check what people are doing, updates and stuff, is not cool.

FOSTER: And what sort of disruption has it caused, apart from being annoying. Give us an example of something that's gone wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've missed a meeting, an opportunity to go to Mahiki tonight with my friends --

FOSTER: A bar in London.


FOSTER: A very cool bar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A very cool bar. And on the night, there was a couple of people there that would have been nice to meet. So, not having my BBM services, my friend wasn't able to get through to me.

FOSTER: So, are your friends completely frustrated by this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone's frustrated. Everyone. No one can talk to each other. Fair enough, we can call each other, but it's just -- efficiency of being able to just pick up text quickly and continue what you're doing, not having to stop and make a phone call, which is a problem, really, I think.

FOSTER: And what have you learned about your dependence on smart phones?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really, my day does revolve around them.

FOSTER: Did you realize that before?


FOSTER: Tim, you've only got a BlackBerry, so you're fully vulnerable to this crisis, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I suppose I am, yes.

FOSTER: And what problems has it caused you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I always use my GPS on the BlackBerry and I trusted that it would work this morning on the way to work, and it didn't. I got lost and I was late for work, unfortunately.

FOSTER: Did it surprise you how dependent you were on the GPS on your phone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've become embarrassingly dependent on my BlackBerry, and it's quite sad. It's only now that I realize how dependent I really am.

FOSTER: Is it this sort of crisis, as they're calling it, that's made you realize?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I suppose --

FOSTER: You didn't realize before?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it's -- maybe it's a good thing, in away, that it's kind of woken me up and made me realize that I probably need to pay attention --

FOSTER: Wean yourself off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to the world around me a bit more. Yes, exactly, exactly.


FOSTER: We'll be speaking more about BlackBerry dependence with a leading psychologist in just a moment, but right now, we're going to speak to Dan Simon. He's at the technology capital of the world, Silicon Valley in California with the latest on this.

It seems as though RIM haven't taken this all that seriously up until today, but has it changed, now?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me say this. This is a problem of the highest magnitude for RIM, the maker of BlackBerry. They just held a news conference a little while ago and guess what? They don't know what's causing this problem. We're on day three, and they haven't quite figured it out.

They know that there's a problem with their infrastructure. They're calling it their "core switch" problem. But what's causing it, they do not know.

One thing they did rule out, Max, is they say this is not a hacking problem. But to say that this is a public relations nightmare for the company is an understatement.

FOSTER: OK, Dan, thank you very much, indeed. We're following this story all the time, of course. And in a society that revolves around constant communication, weaning ourselves from our BlackBerries may be easier said than done.

But how did we become so addicted to the technology in the first place? Joining me in the studio, now, is psychologist Linda Papadopoulos. And thank you so much for joining us, because we've all had these problems in the last couple of days, haven't we?

LINDA PAPADOPOULOS, PSYCHOLOGIST: My gosh, it's been amazing, the trauma that it's caused. It is like an adult security blanket. And it's understandable. It's something that we use to communicate.

For most of us, we have our family albums on, we have intimate details about ourselves. So, it's no longer just a means of communication.

In fact, there's lots of psychological studies that show that it's a way of helping us even in difficult social situations, not just because we can't find our friends, but through avoidance. We actually avoid people by playing with those phones.

If they're not working, all of these tools that we need just to get through the day all of a sudden aren't there.

FOSTER: When you speak to younger generations who have grown up with smart phones --


FOSTER: -- they seem really surprised that how dependent they were on this system. It's a really interesting change, isn't it, in recent years?

PAPADOPOULOS: It is fascinating. And I think one of the things that we're realizing increasingly is the same with the internet, it's sort of a teenager. Well, smart phones are children as well, in the way that we use them.

We need to kind of study them in relation not just to how we use them, but also in terms of how it's affecting social behavior as a whole, not as individuals.

And yes, we going over study after study about how attention spans are lower, but I think, as well, one of the big things that they do is that they provide a sense of security.

Not just because I can get through to you or I can find my way to work, but it's almost a sort of -- it's part of our little alter-ego, whether we're kind of tweeting about what we're doing, because our identities are now so online-offline, or whether we're posting on Facebook.

There's a real sense that without this little part of me, literally this part of me, that I don't feel complete.

FOSTER: But it's not the objects that we're attached to, is it? It's what the objects allows us to do? What is our relationship with the service?


FOSTER: How would you describe it?

PAPADOPOULOS: Well, it is the capability, but also, I find it fascinating how there can be, like, 50 iPhones, you kind of know which is yours, even when the screen's not on. So, yes, it's not the object per se, but it's -- it's what it allows us to do or who it allows us to be.

I almost think, as well, that there's a whole kind of etiquette about what it says about you how quickly you respond to texts or whether you sign off with a kiss or not. There's this whole kind of -- meanings about who we are based on how we use this technology.

FOSTER: Just speaking to a couple of people outside, the guy who was late for work because his GPS didn't work and the student who couldn't meet up with her friends because her BB messenger wasn't working.

It has had an impact on a lot of people's lives. Do you think people will learn something from this experience?

PAPADOPOULOS: That would be nice, but I don't think we're going back. And I think that's the thing, we've become dependent on technology.

I remember reading this really interesting anecdote about when writing was introduced into ancient Egypt and one of the kings said now people will get very lazy because they won't have to remember anymore.

So, I think with these technologies, we do become lazy. We just expect, I meet you, I like you, I'll BBM you or I'll Facebook you. There's none of that -- back in my day, we'd actually have to take out a pen and paper and exchange numbers.

FOSTER: In terms -- on the most basic level, people use it to arrange to meet up with people and perhaps to tell them if they're late or they got lost or whatever.

But have people become a bit too relaxed almost? Should they not sort of live up to their commitments, or am I getting a bit sort of philosophical right now? But people don't -- they sort of agree to things, but know they can pull out, whereas before when they just had a phone line, that wasn't the case, was it?

PAPADOPOULOS: That's a really good point and, indeed, there has been research to show that it's much easier to lie when it's not face-to-face, it's much easier to kind of stretch the truth, to cancel, all of these things. In fact, it's even easier, we know, to kind of not be as -- not be as nice. So, absolutely it has shaped the way we relate.

FOSTER: Linda, thank you so much, it's been a fascinating theory, certainly, from a psychological point of view. Linda, thank you for joining us, as ever.

Now, weaving a new silk road. Up next, how modern commerce is replacing the spices of old in Azerbaijan. Our look at the world's major hubs continues on the Gateway. We'll be back in just 90 seconds.


FOSTER: An oil hotspot providing a valuable link to the western world. In Azerbaijan, black gold has been flowing for centuries.

As part of our Gateway series, now, that takes you behind the scenes of some of the world's busiest hubs, Becky has been discovering how the country's oil makes its way to global markets via the second-largest pipeline in the world, from the port of Baku through Georgia and into Turkey.

And it's not just oil that flows through Azerbaijan. As Becky has been finding out, the country is hard at work repaving a century's-old trade route.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Azerbaijan, a central stop on the old silk route. And her in Baku, these once well-worn cargo routes are being restored and repaved, opening up overland trade routes from Beijing to Brussels.

JOSEPH OWEN, COUNTRY MANAGER AZERBAIJAN, WORLD BANK: The road to development begins with the development of roads. So, clearly it's a very crucial element of allowing the flow of goods between people so that markets can function.

ANDERSON: And markets like this have existed for centuries, centers for trade, packed full of basic goods for sale. Business thrives, thanks to the seamless transportation of goods from A to B.

ANDERSON (on camera): This newly tarmacked road is a great example of how Azerbaijan is spending heavily on its transport infrastructure, and it's all part of a huge investment program into a corridor that stretches from Europe to Asia through the Caucasus here in Baku.

The project? Well, it's to reopen the old traditional silk route.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The ancient silk way is a network of trade routes, which have existed for thousands of years, stretching form East to West, bringing economic gain to the towns and cities in its path.

ALTAY GOYUSHOV, HISTORIAN, BAKU STATE UNIVERSITY: And so, it was some kind of hub which connected the whole world in the second part of the sixth century. So some of the rulers of Iran, they closed one of the silk roads, because they didn't want to allow the goods, gold, through Iran to the Byzantium.

That's why by then, it became a very important route.

ANDERSON: Today, the region is focused on the TRACECA Project, a transport corridor of Europe, the Caucasus, and Asia.

AKIF MUSTAFAYEV, AZERBAIJAN NATIONAL SECRETARY, TRACECA (through translator): Azerbaijan is located in the very center of the TRACECA Project, but it's a gateway to both Europe and Asia.

ANDERSON (on camera): From Baku to Georgia, from Russia to Iran, repaving works are crisscrossing the country of Azerbaijan, partly funded by the World Bank and by the European Union, which is looking to boost trade with this region.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Just three hours drive outside of Baku, and work is underway. This is the Sahil to Tagiyev highway. When finished, it will connect two major arterial routes.

ZORAN VESELINOVIC, SUPERVISING ENGINEER, AZERBAIJAN: This road, before the construction, was in a very poor condition. Now, with the reconstruction, we expect that it will have an enormous impact on connection of China and Russia and Iran and so on.

YAHYA KUPELI, STEAMROLLER OPERATOR (through translator): I like to work. It's a nice thing. Creating a masterpiece is a nice feeling. We make it, and we just leave it behind.

ANDERSON: Another few hours down the road is Kurdamir, a busy truck stop.

NERIMAN AHMEDOV, TRUCKER (through translator): Thirty-four years I've been on these roads. Russia, Europe, Italy, I've seen it all. I carry electrical raw materials, wires, cables, and so on. I spend most of my life in this truck.

ANDERSON: These truckers carry their cargo for thousands of miles.

ANDERSON (on camera): The port of Baku is where many of the truckers receive their goods, and then they'll make their onward journey, as long as their tires are fixed. Of course, this chap sorting his tire out. Hassan, my friend, is one of these truckers. Hassan, what are you picking up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We're picking up construction materials. Wood, sand, pebbles.

MUSTAFAYEV (through translator): There's been a huge growth in cargo transportation since the launch of the TRACECA Program. In 1995, only 335,000 tons of cargo were delivered to Europe via Azerbaijan. This grew to 85 million tons in 2010.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The repaving and restoration of the silk route is essential, as local governments come to the same realization as their ancestors, the value of good transport links between East and West.


FOSTER: Well, up next on CONNECT THE WORLD, a young country making its mark on the world. We've got our Eye on Macedonia for you. Just ahead, how a filmmaker who grew up in the capital rose to the top of his profession.


FOSTER: Ukraine, India, Georgia, Poland and, now, Macedonia. CNN's Eye On series reveals insights into a country's business, culture, and people, little gems that you might not be aware of.

Macedonia's capital city, Skopje, has remained a major transport or trade route for over 2500 years. A devastating earthquake destroyed much of the city, though, in 1963. Interestingly, this railway clock remains stuck at 5:17. That's the exact time that the quake hit.

Last month, Macedonia celebrated 20 years of independence from the former Yugoslavia, but despite being young, the country is making its mark on the world stage. Felicia Taylor introduces us to an Oscar-nominated filmmaker whose homeland is at the very heart of his career.


FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Milcho Manchevski has lived in New York City for 25 years. He says the sights and sounds inspire him to create.

MILCHO MANCHEVSKI, FILM DIRECTOR: It's sort of the obvious thing, since the energy -- it's the social space. There's so much social space, you can be anyone you want to be, and people leave you alone.

TAYLOR: His list of works is vast, ranging from award-winning feature films, rap videos, TV shows, and even commercials about his homeland of Macedonia. Manchevski is just about to go on tour for his latest feature film, "Mothers."


MANCHEVSKI: The reason the film is called "Mothers" is because the film tries to ask questions about the nature of truth. And mothers are those who teach us first to tell truth and to tell lies.

TAYLOR: His first film, released in 1994, was what catapulted his career. "Before the Rain" was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Lion for best film in Venice.

MANCHEVSKI: It was all of a sudden. There I am, people sending my scripts back in the mail unopened, unread, and a few months later I'm in meetings with studio heads and Nicole Kidman and Warren Beatty.

TAYLOR: Manchevski was born in Skopje, Macedonia, and started writing when he was a young boy, winning awards as early as age 12. But it was the United States where Manchevski was able to realize his possibilities, which is where he came as a teenager to study film and begin his career.

MANCHEVSKI: There's something about that promise of reinventing yourself, which I guess all the immigrants who ever came to the US were probably thinking of. It's like, OK, and now, for something completely different. And starting over and just trying to re-imagine things.

TAYLOR: Manchevski starts over every time he sits down to write a new script or peer through the camera lens as a director.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Driver. With the right hand, reach through the window and open the door.


TAYLOR: And when it came to an episode of "The Wire," a gritty series confronting drugs and gang warfare on HBO, he took on the project as a hired gun.

When a chance to direct a rap video came his way, he embraced it, featuring a little-known band at the time called Arrested Development.

MANCHEVSKI: They're all about community, and there's something softer and heartfelt about what they do, and I could really relate to it. So, we went down to Atlanta and shot it around Atlanta.

TAYLOR: But it's Manchevski's homeland of Macedonia that remains the primary location for all of his films.

MANCHEVSKI: I love seeing and hearing familiar things, and I think all of us do. There's something comforting about recognizing a building or a corner, about hearing a language that you haven't spoken in months. About running into someone you haven't seen since high school.

So, there's something beautiful about it. It's something very comforting and very human about it.

TAYLOR: A man who offers us his own beautiful vision of his homeland.

Felicia Taylor, CNN, New York.


FOSTER. Beautiful pictures, there. Now, an autumn tradition in the US is the focus for our Parting Shots, meanwhile. Every year, farmers make massive mazes out of cornfields. Little kids love it and the adults do, too.

But this maze in the northeast state of Massachusetts proved a little too much for one family. Look at that. Despite maps and guide posts, Dad and Mum got lost along with their young children, and they panicked just a bit and ended up calling the police.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really scared. It's really dark, and we've got a three-week-old baby with us.


FOSTER: Feel for them, don't you? Well, the police called in a search dog. Turns out they were less than eight meters inside the maze, though.

Now, the farmer says no one's ever really got lost in there before, perhaps a compliment to him, in a way. He made it pretty complicated. That's what a maze should be.

Anyway, I'm Max Foster, thank you for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" follow this short break.