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Mexican Activists Want President Calderon Tried in International Court for War Crimes; Mexican Drug Cartel Violence; Chances of Complaint Against Calderon Going Through; Scientists Decode Black Plague; What We Learned from Evolution of Plague; Eye on Macedonia: Project Links Grads with Jobs; Parting Shots of Surprise for Young YouTube Sensations; Amnesty Report on Libya; Interview with Guna el-Gamaty; Battle for Sirte; French Prosecutors Drop DSK Case; World Cup Semi-Finals

Aired October 13, 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: Scenes of war are never pleasant, but as the fight to overpower the last of Gadhafi's loyalists drags on, allegations surface about the treatment meted out by Libya's rebels.

Live from London, I'm Becky Anderson.

Also tonight, could the president of Mexico be charged with war crimes?

How his fight to beat the drug cartels has one group seeking his trial before the ICC.

And what the teeth of this 700-year-old skeleton tells us about an ancient plague that still claims 2,000 lives a year.

Well, it started in Benghazi and spread eastward across Libya. Along the way, indelible images of Libyan rebels, often outgunned and outmanned, battling Moammar Gadhafi's troops, gaining ground and ultimately toppling their defiant former leader.

Six months on, they've been hailed across the world as heroes.

But there are troubling allegations tonight that some of these rebels have abused and even tortured prisoners.

Well, it's all in the Amnesty International report out today. The group looked at conditions stretching back to August and found this -- some 2,500 suspected Gadhafi loyalists have been detained, usually with no reason provided. Many report beatings and two guards admitted they beat detainees to get them to confess.

Well, up to half of the prisoners were sub-Saharan Africans suspected of being mercenaries. And Amnesty says they are treated worse than others. Well, the organization says most are held without legal orders and have no access to lawyers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANA ELTAHAWY, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Many of them have complained to us that their homes have been raided by unidentified armed men who -- and that their arrests were really more like abductions. They were taken without arrest warrants. They were beaten upon arrest and sometimes on the first days of detention.

They were beaten with whips, sticks, belts. Myself, I was sitting in a detention facility and I could over here the sounds of whipping and a detainee screaming in pain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, some very troubling allegations there about six weeks ago.

Our Nic Robertson talked with frightened prisoners who described extremely harsh conditions. I'm going to show you just part of that report now. It's important to note this all happened within the time frame of Amnesty International's report.

Here's Nic from back in late August.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): They are frightened, up to 15 crammed to a cell, the stifling heat amplifying their fear. They are Libya's new despised African migrants, rounded up in their droves, accused of being Gadhafi loyalists.

In this rebel jail, they are disproportionately represented, the vast majority of 300 inmates.

This Ghanaian prisoner says he was on his way to his day laboring job when he was picked up.

IBRAHEEM ENAS AFSENI, AFRICAN PRISONER: Yes, I'm afraid, because what are they saying?

They're saying we have worked with Gadhafi. We do -- we are not working with Gadhafi. We are here struggling to get money and go back to our country.

ROBERTSON: The man in charge of the jail, a computer sciences graduate with no experience at managing inmates, admits half the prisoners are probably innocent.

ALAA AL-AMEEN ABU RASS, PRISONER MANAGER: I'm not allowed to -- to leave them, because I didn't bring them here. Someone else bring them here and he signed for this. So he's -- that -- that's the one is responsible about to release them or not.

ROBERTSON: A few hours later, he's replaced by professional jailers. But prisoners say nothing else changes.

(on camera): The shambolic situation here is symptomatic of the chaotic transfer of power across the country. But amidst it, there is an undercurrent of retribution that runs rife. Many believe the Africans here are Gadhafi's mercenaries, where, in reality, hundreds of thousands were in the country before the war, working as simple day laborers.

You only have to look at how the Libyans are being treated to see the difference.

(voice-over): Their conditions almost luxurious by comparison -- fewer to a cell, more space to move around, better access to the scant water supplies.

Regardless of nationality, what unites the prisoners here, however, is fear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if they'll kill me or I don't know what will happen. They might shoot me. I don't know what's going on.

ROBERTSON: Their jailers promise justice. But amidst the appearance of prejudice, it may be hard to find.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Tripoli, Libya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, OK, from back in August, that's the report, of course. Disturbing scenes there.

I want to discuss this in detail with Guna el-Gamaty.

He's a former coordinator of the National Transitional Council who's heading back to Libya this month.

Guna, before we talk, I want to read the official response that we got a bit earlier from the National Transitional Council here. It's from Lieutenant Colonel Mustapha Nooh, head of operations and security in Tripoli. And he says this: "Yes, there have been infringements related to beating detainees under arrest, but I would not call it torture. These are isolated incidents caused by rebels who were emotional due to the fighting and losing friends or relatives in the war. But it's not organized beatings and not designed to extract confessions."

He went on to say: "Members of my team were present with the Amnesty International and other organizations and allowed them to visit all the prisoners in Jadida Prison and other places of arrest. We have nothing to hide."

They may have nothing to hide, but these are not going to look good, are they, when the international audience is watching and -- and a hearing from Amnesty International, there are allegations of torture and beatings from -- from Libyan rebels at this point.

GUMA EL-GAMATY, FORMER NTC COORDINATOR: Well, first of all, this is not the official policy. This is not the new discourse that Libya stands for. We stand for respecting human rights. We have been victims of human rights violations for 42 years by Gadhafi. And Gadhafi was the one who ordering, as an official policy, all these violations.

We want to restore Libya to respecting international standards and respecting all basic human rights. These isolated incidents by individuals belonging to volunteer groups are not welcome. They are condemned. They will be investigated. And those involved will be held accountable.

ANDERSON: They may not be welcome. You say those involved will be held accountable.

Are you surprised, though, to hear these allegations?

EL-GAMATY: I'm not surprised. You know, when we have a large operation of thousands and thousands of freedom fighters who have been apprehending the Gadhafi loyalists and -- and Gadhafi militants and putting them in prisons and trying to extract information from them, vital information that could lead to more sleeping cells and more pro-Gadhafi people hiding around Tripoli, obviously, some of them get -- get -- resort to these unacceptable...

ANDERSON: Just tell me tonight, you're not belittling these allegations of torture?

EL-GAMATY: No, I am not. I am not belittling them. I'm not denying them. I am saying that our -- the justice minister, the NTC justice minister, Mr. Al-Alagi, wants the record to state, to recognize that these things are they. He is investigating them fully. And he will put an end to it.

ANDERSON: Stay with me, Guna.

I want to move on tonight.

We're going to examine the situation in Sirte for you, which is obviously the day's story. For weeks now, Moammar Gadhafi's hometown has been in the crosshairs of NTC forces. But they haven't been able to fully capture it from pro-Gadhafi fighters.

I want to bring in Dan Rivers from Sirte.

And I'm fascinated by the fact that this Sirte fight continues.

How are so few, Dan, able to hold out against so many?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is amazing, Becky.

Basically, they hold probably a few city blocks in District 2, not much territory at all. But what they've done is deployed snipers and machine gun nests on the tops of buildings. And as -- every time the revolutionary fighters that we're with here try and advance into District 2, they come under sustained and quite accurate fire, which is forcing them to retreat backward.

They've been responding with very heavy artillery fire, etc. To try and flush them out. But at the moment, the battle for Sirte is continuing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RIVERS (voice-over): The bombardment has been relentless. Anti- Gadhafi troops have been using heavy weapons to force back the last vestiges of the old regime, occasionally capturing men they suspect of fighting for Moammar Gadhafi.

This man is pleading for mercy, claiming he was forced to stay in the city and fight.

The NTC is already busying itself with removing all traces of Libya's ousted leader, here torching a sign proclaiming Sirte as the City of Arab Culture, 2011.

But now, it is the epitome of conflict. Gadhafi lavished untold sums on his hometown, trying to turn it into a pan-African capital.

Hard to imagine now, isn't it?

Amid the fighting, prayers. The NTC fighters seem devout and determined. This man even going into battle in his wheelchair, his trusty assault rifle across his lap.

But this is dangerous. The wounded stream back from the front line, some apparently seriously hurt. Like the troops we're with, we try to stay out of the line of fire.

Sometimes the bullets come out of nowhere, comfortably close. Even battle-hardened soldiers flinch.

But there is no doubt which way the momentum is going.

(on camera): Well, this appears to be the last stand of the pro- Gadhafi groups, who are outgunned and outnumbered. They have their backs to the sea and nowhere to run.

(voice-over): On the outskirts of Sirte, we find evidence of atrocities. Here, a dozen bodies bound and some apparently shot in the head. It's not clear who murdered these men or whether they were civilians or fighters, but they were certainly wearing civilian clothes.

ABDULLAH AL-MANGHOOSH, HOSPITAL OFFICIAL: We are here to check. We don't know what happened. We don't know the story. But, clearly, they are revolutionary fighters.

RIVERS: Nearby, more bodies, with the battle echoing around us, the horror of this conflict is laid bare as it nears its end.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

RIVERS: Well, we've just got word from the field hospital nearby here, today's casualty figures, seven dead, 46 injured. That is a fairly typical toll for this battle that has been raging for days now here, Becky.

But at the moment, there's no real sign of them being able to shift those last few hundred fighters from District 2.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Yes, remarkable stuff.

Dan, thank you for that.

Thank you for that.

Dan Rivers reporting for you.

Guma is still with me here in the studio.

I know, Guma, that you are getting ready to go back to Libya for the first time in 31 years, which must be -- it must feel quite remarkable. And I'm -- I'm absolutely delighted for you.

You're going back to get involved in the sort of narrative and dialogue for Libya's future.

What are your -- what do you think the country's biggest challenges are at this point?

EL-GAMATY: I think the biggest challenges are two, Becky.

One is how the NTC and any transitional government can manage the high expectations the Libyan people will have in the coming months. People will want results and they want these results delivered quickly and the government might not be able to live up to that so quickly. So that's the first challenge.

The second challenge is really, after 42 years of no culture or no practice of any form of democracy whatsoever, how -- how can we instill a culture of democracy, when people can easily resolve their differences through debate and measful -- peaceful terms -- and recognize that they have to always reach a consensus and a compromise and agree on things and not everybody insisting on their own way or their own idea.

ANDERSON: You must be concerned about the sort of rogue groups that you alluded to earlier on, that you, yourself, were blamed for some of what the Amnesty report has been suggesting this evening.

EL-GAMATY: But I'm not so worried about that, because all these voluntary groups, including the freedom fighters who are moving around Tripoli now and looking after various sites, they are willing to come under the supervision and command of a proper government, a ministry of defense, ministry of interior, you know, a proper national army.

But it's up to a national transitional government to come in and fill the facts...

ANDERSON: Sure.

EL-GAMATY: -- and fill the vacuum very quickly and take over running the country and start building state institutions very quickly.

ANDERSON: The rest of the world is waiting for the day that Moammar Gadhafi is found and wherever he is in the world.

How big a deal is that to you, as a Libyan, and to your Libyan friends, who live in the country now and look toward Libya's future?

Where is he?

EL-GAMATY: Well, they...

ANDERSON: The first question.

EL-GAMATY: Well, you know...

ANDERSON: And how much does it matter?

EL-GAMATY: -- judging by the false alarm and the false celebrations that went on last night when people falsely heard that Mutassim was arrested, I think if Gadhafi gets apprehended, you can bet that the whole of Libya will just erupt into a huge celebration. it's going to be very symbolic and very significant. It's the symbolism of it. Gadhafi can do nothing now to reverse what happened in Libya. He can never gain power again. He cannot spoil the revolution or the party for the Libyans.

But to see him apprehended and put on trial would be hugely symbolic. It would make a lot of people very, very happy to see that, at last, justice has been served.

ANDERSON: Where do they think he is?

EL-GAMATY: I think he's hiding somewhere south of Sabha, between -- that area between Sabha and the Chad border.

ANDERSON: You think he's still in Libya?

EL-GAMATY: I think he's still in Libya. He wouldn't dare go into another country for the fear of being handed over to the ICC or back to Libya.

ANDERSON: Guma, always a pleasure.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

EL-GAMATY: Thank you, Becky.

Thank you.

ANDERSON: Good luck.

EL-GAMATY: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good being with you.

Recapping our top story this evening, a troubling report from Amnesty International says that Libyan rebel fighters abused and sometimes tortured captured Gadhafi loyalists.

Meanwhile, fighting rages on in Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte. We're going to follow this story as NTC troops try to fully capture Sirte, something they say must happen to complete the liberation of Libya.

Well, don't go away because we've got a -- a jam packed program for you this evening.

Up next, why Dominique Strauss-Kahn's French accuser won't get her day in court.

And later, keeping their eye on the ball -- we're in New Zealand, find out France is gearing up for a World Cup showdown.

And in 30 minutes, find out how ancient teeth have helped scientists crack the code of the black death.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

A very warm welcome to you.

Let's check some of the other headlines that we are following at 18 minutes past 9:00 here.

And just two days after rejecting it, Slovakia's parliament has approved a plan to increase the Eurozone's bailout fund. On Tuesday, the no vote brought down the government, prompting a snap election earlier next year. Slovakia was the last of the Eurozone's 17 member states to endorse the proposal.

Well, U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that any members of Iran's government found to have taken part in a plot to kill a Saudi ambassador must be held accountable. During a news conference with South Korea's president, Lee Myung-bak, Mr. Obama criticized Iran for what he called its reckless behavior. The pair also welcomed a free trade deal designed to increase U.S. exports to South Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We agreed to move ahead quickly with the landmark trade agreement that Congress passed last night and which I'll sign in the coming days. It's a win for both our countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, two medical aide workers have been abducted from the world's largest refugee complex in Dadaab in Kenya. Now, the Spanish woman, who worked in logistics for Medicins Sans Frontieres, were taken by gunmen from a new camp in the area.

A Spanish spokesman for the ambassador to Kenya says that there are working with foreign ministry officials to secure their release.

Well, French prosecutors have decided to drop the attempted rape case against the former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. A French journalist accused him of trying to rape her in 2003.

Our senior international correspondent, Jim Bittermann, has been following the story in Paris.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Basically what the prosecutor said was that there wasn't enough in Tristane Banon's complaint to bring attempted rape charges. She said that back in 2003, Dominique Strauss-Kahn attacked her in an apartment in Paris. And there was, according to the prosecutor, evidence that a sexual aggression had taken place.

The problem for Tristane Banon is that sexual aggression, the statute of limitations is three years. For attempted rape, it's 10 years. So she went for attempted rape because the statute of limitations had run out on sexual aggression.

So the prosecutor basically has said that no charges will be pressed against Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Now, right after this ruling came down from the prosecutor's office, Tristane Banon's lawyer came out in front of the press and said that basically, my client, he said, is full of disappointment and full of joy. Disappointment because the attempted rape charges were not pressed, but joy because of the fact that Strauss-Kahn has been labeled with these charges, at least the prosecutor found evidence for charges of sexual aggression.

Now, coincidentally, on this day, Tristane Banon published her book about what's happened to her, what's taken place in her life from the day that Strauss-Khan was arrested in New York until she filed these complaints. This book called "The Ball of the Hypocrites," it's the hypocrite's ball or dance of the hypocrites, depending on how you translate it, basically goes into exactly what she thinks about the Socialist Party and some of the ruling class here in France, because of the way that they defended Strauss-Khan and didn't come to her defense.

She wrote the book in three week's time. She never refers to Strauss- Kahn exactly in the book, but she just refers to a person that she calls the baboon and the pig, which is obviously a reference to Strauss-Kahn.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, it's a race against time in Thailand, as workers reinforce protected floodwalls in Bangkok to try and save the capital from catastrophe. Large swaths of Thailand are already underwater in the nation's worst flooding in decades. And it's a regional disaster.

Well, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos also affected.

Now, the flooding has also created a crisis for these elephants -- 15 of them, seven mothers and their babies stuck in a breeding sanctuary. It's been a struggle to get them urgently needed food and fresh water.

Ooh.

Well, if your BlackBerry still isn't back up to speed, it should be soon. Officials at Research in Motion say global services are fully restored after a three day disruption. And what a disruption it was.

The company founder has revealed that a hardware error caused the outages and apologized for the glitch. Millions of users worldwide had problems with their text messaging and Internet services.

You will be well aware if you are one of them.

And BlackBerrys return to service could hardly come -- oh, sorry -- could come at a handy time for rugby fans. They are eagerly anticipating this weekend's World Cup semi-finals in New Zealand. We're going to head there for you in a moment for a preview.

Plus, a move to bring criminal charges against Mexico's president. We're going to tell you why a group of activists blames Felipe Calderon for the nation's escalating drug violence.

All that coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, phones off the hook -- the "out of office" on. For rugby fans, this weekend is about one thing, the World Cup semi-finals. The drivers start Saturday, when Wales take on France.

Alex Thomas is in New Zealand and he's watching the teams prepare.

Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Welsh choir in fine voice in Auckland, bursting with national pride on their team has reached the semi-finals for the first time since the maiden Rugby World Cup in 1987. Wales is the surprise success story of this tournament, with a secret bout ahead of their clash with France.

(on-camera): How big is this game?

Looking around the room, it feels like the eyes of the world are upon you. And I guess in some ways, they are.

SAM WARBURTON, WALES CAPTAIN: Yes, I don't mind, really. It's going -- it's where you want to be as a player, I guess. We all would have loved to have made a semi-finals place. If you told us we were going to reach that in the summer, we would have loved it. So everyone is really happy over here at the moment this week. And as I say, everyone is buzzing with confidence after last weekend's performance. Everybody is looking forward to the game.

THOMAS (voice-over): Warburton is the youngest ever World Cup captain. His team is relaxed and confident, although reports of an alcohol ban are wide of the mark.

WARREN GATLAND, WALES COACH: We have no (INAUDIBLE). We're not worried about the (INAUDIBLE). We've have had our problems in the past, but these guys have been great and basically it's -- in this campaign, for Wales and that's what's been important.

THOMAS: The Welsh camp doesn't agree that France, notoriously unpredictable, are due a bad game after knocking out 2003 champions, England, last week. And LeBeau are certainly enjoying themselves.

(on-camera): We've had torrential rain here all morning. And we wondered if France were going to train at all.

What if one of the star players slipped and hurt himself before such a crucial match in France's rugby history?

But you know what?

They're on a high and they want to exploit it.

(voice-over): The French, though, are well aware of the threat posed by a team they call the All Blacks of the Northern Hemisphere.

IMANOL HARINORDOQUY, FRANCE NUMBER 8: They are young -- young people who -- who can play like they want and I think they -- they -- they play free when they are -- they are free when they're on the ground. And that is the most (INAUDIBLE) thing for France on such a (INAUDIBLE).

EMILE NTAMACK, FRANCE BACK'S COACH: We are under pressure. We know that. We know the -- the Welsh team is one of the best teams since the beginning of the tournament, yes. And I'm not sure we are properly (INAUDIBLE).

THOMAS: France is the first team to lose two full matches and reach the World Cup semi-finals. But they want to go further.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody want -- want to go to -- to the final to play -- to play this final. It's -- it's one -- one moment in your life. It won't happen on the week or in my life, I think it is the last time I -- I am (INAUDIBLE) to play a -- a final of -- of the World Cup.

THOMAS: For Wales, it's the dream. For France, the rev (ph), a chance to lift rugby's biggest prize, something neither country has ever done before.

Alex Thomas, CNN, New Zealand.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, let's set it all up for you, shall we?

Pedro is in the studio with me.

Yes, how do these -- how do these teams stack up?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, they -- they've made the semi-finals in -- in different ways, as Alex mentioned. France lost twice in the group phase.

ANDERSON: Yes.

PINTO: And if you have a look at the numbers that both of these teams have put up so far in the competition, you see that, really, Wales have been doing a lot better.

Let me just give you an idea. Look at the points scored and conceded -- a 144 point differential for Wales. Only a 35 point differential for France.

And look at the tries, as well, 26 for Wales, 15 for France, nearly half of them, six, scored by one man, Van St. Claire (ph).

So it would be fair to say that on form, Wales should take this. But sometimes form goes out the window in the World Cup, doesn't it?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Don't we know that in England?

PINTO: Yes, you do.

ANDERSON: Well, we've won.

What about the other match?

I mean is -- if this wasn't good enough, we've got another match stacking up for this week and this is going to be fantastic.

PINTO: Yes, the atmosphere down there...

ANDERSON: Yes.

PINTO: -- should be incredible, because you've got two intense rivals, neighbors, New Zealand and Australia, going head-to-head. Curiously, New Zealand, they've won 67 percent of the matches that both of these teams have played. They've played so many times, over 150 times.

However, twice they faced off at the World Cup. New Zealand have choked. They do have the reputation for being a little bit of chokers at the World Cup.

ANDERSON: Yes.

PINTO: They've lost twice to Australia, back in 1991, also in 2003.

I'm really getting excited about these two matches. And -- and that rivalry on Sunday should be incredible. Alex...

ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE).

PINTO: -- is going to soak it all up.

ANDERSON: You just want to say, I'm getting really excited.

PINTO: Yes, I am.

ANDERSON: About this.

(LAUGHTER)

PINTO: It's true. I'm not lying to you.

ANDERSON: It's just a way -- it's just the way he does it.

If you were a betting man...

PINTO: Yes?

I would go for France, because even with mutinies and mustaches and everything like that, I'd still go for them and New Zealand.

ANDERSON: All right, good.

I'll hold you to that.

Thank you.

PINTO: OK.

ANDERSON: Pedro.

And you can see him again in an hour from now, of course, on "WORLD SPORT".

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, Mexico's drug war has killed thousands. Now there is a push underway to try to get the International Criminal Court involved. That is straight ahead.

Plus, getting up close to some 700-year-old skeletons. How their teeth are revealing crucial information about the Black Death.

And you'll need a smile after. We're about to make sure you stay tuned for a mini pop star in the making, whose performance led to the biggest surprise of her life. This, I promise you, is simply priceless. It's ahead, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Just after half past nine in London, you're back with CONNECT THE WORLD and me, Becky Anderson, here on CNN, the world's news leader. Let's get you a check of the headlines, shall we, this hour?

After days of steady gains, fighters aligned with Libya's National Transitional Council are pulling back from one hotly contested neighborhood in the city of Sirte. Agence France Presse reports that they have encountered heavy resistance from pro-Gadhafi fighters in their efforts to control the seaside town.

Well, the US State Department says Washington has had what it calls direct contact with Iran about the alleged plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States. A spokeswoman declined to provide any further details about the level or the contact or, indeed, who spoke to who.

French prosecutors say they don't have enough evidence to file attempted rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Additionally, say prosecutors, the three-year statute of limitations may mean that they have no case. Writer Tristane Banon says the former head of the International Monetary Fund tried to rape her in 2003.

And big water worries in the Thai capital. Workers are rushing to reinforce protective flood walls with sandbags as residents try to get out of harm's way. Record monsoon rains, floods, and mudslides have already killed more than 280 people worldwide.

Well, a group of activists in Mexico say that they are planning to ask the International Criminal Court to try the president, Felipe Calderon, for crimes against humanity.

Now, they blame his military strategy against the drug cartels for tens of thousands of deaths in the country. Journalist Ioan Grillo has covered drug violence for the past decade, and he joins me out of Mexico City.

Now, who is this group, and how strong are their claims, do you think?

ION GRILLO, JOURNALIST: Well, their first claim, that Mexico is in a major crisis, is a very strong claim. They're saying that the government has, effectively, lost control.

Civilians are suffering, major problems with violence everywhere, mass kidnappings, they can't even go about their daily life. A lot of civilians can't even take their children to school because they're worried about groups of gunmen by the school gates.

However, trying to get the International Criminal Court in this is going to be very tough. They're saying both President Felipe Calderon and the major drug traffickers are to blame. They're saying the government has unleashed soldiers on the civil population who have killed people and themselves carried out massacres.

Now, it's very hard to find real, hard evidence for this and to compare Felipe Calderon as a democratically-elected president supported by the United States with someone like Colonel Gadhafi.

So, I think it's going to be very tough to get the International Criminal Court involved in a very complicated conflict.

ANDERSON: And to be fair, this certainly is -- this may be more of an attempt to draw attention to the horrendous situation in Mexico.

Any reaction, Ioan, to -- from the government to this? Given that there was a big cartel bust today, I guess they're defending their strategy, which is, effectively, about getting results on some level.

GRILLO: That's correct. The government has responded, it released a press statement, and it said, look, the Mexican government is abiding by international law, the criminals are the ones who are carrying out the violence and there's no argument to take us to the International Criminal Court.

But as you say, it really is a call of desperation, a call to grab attention to the situation. In some ways, it's like an SOS to the world, it's like saying the world has got to pay attention, now.

We've seen in Mexico mass graves with 200 corpses. We've seen single massacres with 72 people killed. The situation has really gone beyond the pale. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had a group throw 35 corpses on a busy junction during rush hour.

So, civilians are -- really are very desperate and are saying to the world, please come, pay attention to the situation. We need some help.

ANDERSON: Ioan, thank you for that. Out of Mexico City this evening for us.

The level of violence, of course, in Mexico is truly shocking. Many Mexicans live each day and every day in fear. And that is why so many are angry with the Calderon strategy.

Now, the Mexican president launched his crackdown on drug cartels five years ago. In that time, it's more -- estimated that more than 35,000 people have died violently.

In fact, there aren't many days that go past without hearing about another gruesome murder. Thousands of teachers have taken to the streets recently to protest against the violence. Last month, five decomposing heads were found outside an elementary school.

And you may remember the horrific discovery of dozens of bodies that Ioan was alluding to in the state Veracruz, the corpses just dumped on a buys street.

There is no doubt drug-related violence is plaguing Mexico City -- or Mexico as a country, but what chance does this move by activists have of going any further? Good question. I'm going to get more on the international law and how complaints are submitted to the ICC. Now, I'm joined from Miami by the international criminal defense attorney, Frank Rubio.

And I'm sure our viewers, when we alluded to what was going on tonight, the very notion that Felipe Calderon, a man who is -- he will say, doing is utmost best to try and defeat these drug cartels. The very notion that he would be dragged in front for the ICC would seem inconceivable to most people. Is it -- is it realistic, this?

FRANK RUBINO, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it's totally unrealistic. I think it absolutely cannot happen.

The fact that Mexico may be losing, quote, "the war on drugs," the fact that Mexico may have violence running rampant in the streets, at worst-case scenario would be the fact of, shall we say, ineptness, incompetence, malfeasance, misfeasance? But it would never raise to the level of criminality.

In other words, to charge Calderon, you would have to show that he knowingly, intentionally not allowed this, but supported it and caused it.

ANDERSON: To be fair, these same activists -- and we're talking about thousands of people, it's not just NGOs and aid workers who are working in Mexico, but intellectuals, as well. We're talking in the thousands here. To be fair, they're saying that they would also name a number of the drug cartel heads in the same admission to the ICC on war crimes.

But their notion is this. Some 50,000 people, potentially, have lost their lives in a war which Calderon militarized in 2005.

RUBINO: But the fact that Calderon can't control what is happening in his country does not raise to the level of criminality. It may surely raise to the level of incompetence, it may raise to the level that his policies are inept.

But they would have to show to the satisfaction of the prosecutors of the court that Calderon was knowingly, intentionally -- and not even allowing this to occur, but encouraging it to occur, that he was actually part of the drug cartel and part of this violence, which is ridiculous to assume.

ANDERSON: Would this be wasting the ICC's time?

RUBINO: Well, the ICC will never file this case. In other words, a criminal case in the International Court -- in fact, in any criminal court -- a party, be it a citizen, a government, whoever, doesn't just go and file a suit against someone like you would a civil action.

A criminal action requires convincing the prosecutor, which is the charging body, to go forward and charge the person, arrest them, and bring them before the court.

No competent prosecutor is going to believe that the president of Mexico is causing these people to be murdered intentionally. They may believe, again -- and I'm repeating myself -- that he may be inept, he may be incompetent in handling the situation. But that's a long way from knowingly, intentionally causing these deaths.

ANDERSON: Frank, always a pleasure. We thank you for that. Frank Rubino out of Miami for you this evening.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, 40 minutes past 9:00 in London. When we come back, unraveling an ancient genetic code from a bacterium which caused the deaths of millions, tens of millions in Europe. We take a look at why scientists now know the Black Death was the mother of all plagues. That after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: It's a modern-day scientific breakthrough with answers to an ancient puzzle. Using 700-year-old DNA, scientists have been able to reconstruct the entire genetic code of a disease which wiped out up to half of the population of Western Europe. Essentially, they've decoded the Black Plague. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Here in medieval London, terror stalked the streets. It came in the form of a rat. Black Death was transmitted by rats, a deadly plague that stole the lives of more than 100 million Europeans, nearly half the population, in just five years, between 1347 and 1361.

Now, it's back. Or at least, its DNA is.

Scientists have now reconstructed the entire genetic code of the Black Death using old skeletons. Now, plague pits were dug all over London, including here, by the Tower of London, to bury the thousands and thousands of victims.

Well, I'm off to see one of those corpses and to find out what scientists hope to achieve by recreating the disease.

So, this is our skeleton, and what I do understand from this latest report is it was the teeth that were used.

JELENA BEKVALAC, CURATOR OF HUMAN OSTEOLOGY MUSEUM OF LONDON: That's right, yes. Because normally when they're taking samples, structural samples, they'll tend to take a tooth and they'll sometimes take samples of bone and maybe like some fragments of rib.

And so, yes, it's from that that they then were able to get this information about the DNA and actually to try and find the pathogen.

ANDERSON: And what are the consequences of what they've found?

BEKVALAC: Well, it'd be quite phenomenal, really, because if I'm looking at the skeleton and I'm analyzing a skeleton, if you have a disease that is acute, such as the Black Death, it kills you very quickly, I can't actually see any physical evidence of that on the bones itself. I would need something, unfortunately, that was chronic, so, long-term.

So, I can tell you that this is a male and age and other diseases they might have suffered from, but not what was potentially the Black Death.

So, having this research carried out is phenomenal because it provides us information that I wouldn't be able to give you otherwise. So, it gives us this greater, deeper insight. And also, hopefully, if they can do that and extrapolate that information from more individuals within the site, then we have a better idea about the nature of that disease and information about it.

ANDERSON: Exciting stuff. I'm fascinated to see that this chap still has his teeth 700 years later. What's that all about?

(CROSSTALK)

BEKVALAC: Yes, yes. He's got some lovely teeth.

ANDERSON: They used that, of course, didn't they, in this report?

BEKVALAC: They did, yes. We've got a few there in the bag that you can see because they've come out.

But what's fabulous with the teeth is that they're really nice, sealed units, so you've got less chance of having any contamination.

And also, you find in the medieval period, you've got wear because of gritty dough as opposed to all the sugar that we have later on. Although he does seem to have suffered slightly there from a bit of decay, so maybe he head as sweet tooth.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: With full genome in hand, what can we learn or gain by understanding the evolution of the deadly pathogen. With me now is Hendrik Poinar, he's the principle investigator on the project from Canada's McMaster Ancient DNA Centre in Hamilton in Ontario.

It is fascinating stuff, there. I was with a curator of human osteology from the Museum of London who was just fascinated to hear what you'd learned through the DNA from the teeth of one of these old skeletons.

And we talked about the consequences there, but let me take you back a step. Why did you conduct this research?

HENDRIK POINAR, PRINCIPLE INVESTIGATOR, MCMASTER CENTRE: I think there were a couple different reasons. One was we were very interested in actually confirming the agent of the Black Death, that is what was the pathogen that caused this massive killing in medieval Europe in 1346.

There had been a bit of controversy as whether or not it was a type of virus, a hemorrhagic fever, or this Yersinia pestis bacteria. So, that really began in the mid-90s when we began this project.

But then subsequently, we sort of improved methodologies and sequencing capabilities so that we were hoping that by actually getting the blueprint of the entire pathogen would we be able to address questions about its adaptation to a human host, whether or not changes in the genome might account for the actual increased virulence, which we saw and which you mentioned.

And then, whether or not modern-day antibiotics and medical facilities would be able to cope with the pathogen in today's day and age.

ANDERSON: Sure, because let's remind ourselves, correct me if I'm wrong, but there are some 2,000 people a year who still die of the bubonic plague.

POINAR: No, that's correct. So the WHO listed as that type of mortality are across a single year, so it's not that it doesn't kill, it still does today, but it's very less virulent and has a much lower mortality rate than the ancient one did.

ANDERSON: All right. I want to just explore the nature of these sort of ancient diseases and how often it is that researchers like yourselves would take the time to explore them.

And whether diseases like the bubonic plague -- and we've suggested some 2,000 people a year do die of it, but that's a very small number compared to that in the past -- but whether these diseases do, potentially, come back and what we can do about them.

POINAR: Well, I think this is a perfect example of why it's important to actually build a time machine of sorts and travel back and extract this genetic information, which is now housed meticulously in those teeth that you were commenting on a second ago.

And by understanding how they might have been so deadly, we can be assured that we'll be prepared for a possible emerging or reemerging infection, right?

And so -- this is actually one of the first pestis pathogens or plague genomes that must include somewhere within its genetic codes the adaptations from a rodent to a human form. And so, we're very interested in can we understand how that adaptation takes place? Over what period of time, and that thereby allowing us to understand better -- be better prepared for future emerging or reemerging infection.

ANDERSON: And how often do diseases reemerge? I'm thinking of tuberculosis, for example, as a good example, I think, of a disease that we thought we'd really combated, come to terms with this sort of thrown into the garbage can of history, as it were. And it now seems around the world, again it's a virulent disease.

POINAR: That's right. Well, what happens is in all forms of animals and pathogens, we go through evolutionary changes, so we know with the flu, it takes a simple recombination that can lead to something like the 1918 flu, which is a recombinant of two forms.

So, there's always the possibility that reservoirs may actually accrue changes, which then can lead to highly virulent forms that reemerge.

And so, what -- understanding the diversity that exists in the biosphere and having monitoring programs out there to actually look for these circulating pathogens is exceptionally important to be one step ahead of any kind of emerging infection that comes down the road.

ANDERSON: We appreciate your time this evening. And thank you.

Fascinating. Plenty more on CONNECT THE WORLD this evening, including a sassy young girl -- there she is -- who becomes an internet sensation. You can't help but smile in amazement when you see this video. I'm going to bring you the whole story and the video up next. Do, please, stay with us here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: As day turns to dusk in Macedonia, this is, in fact, the biggest cross in the world., situated on the top of Vodno Mountain in the capital of the country.

Well, all this week on CNN, we've got our Eye On series revealing insights into Macedonia's business, culture, and people.

And given tough economic times, it won't come as a big surprise to learn that the country is struggling with unemployment, 30 percent out of work.

It is especially difficult for young people. But one project is helping to link graduates with jobs. Jim Clancy reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nineteen- year-old Vladco Georgiev (ph) considers himself a lucky man in Macedonia today. He has a job, thanks to an internship program that connected him with Ruen International Technologies, a French company that makes clutches for cars, trucks, and tractors.

"We had three months of internship, and after that, we were offered a job by Ruen," he says, adding, "We're very lucky to work here."

He's not the only one. On the factory floor, an aging workforce produces after market clutches for export to Russia, South Africa, and across Eastern Europe. Ruen benefits from the internship scheme sponsored by USAID, by finding young employees who can operate increasingly sophisticated machine tools.

IRINA GAPIKJ, MARKETING MANAGER, RUEN INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES: It's helping us to go through this whole process of recruiting new, younger, well-trained people.

CLANCY: The initiative is called My Career, a web-based portal using internships to help generate jobs like these in Macedonia.

JOSEPH LESSARD, DIRECTOR O ECONOMIC GROWTH, USAID: We've just passed over 2,000 interns that we've placed in a variety of companies here in Macedonia, and interest is growing all the time.

CLANCY (on camera): There's another dimension at work on this factory floor. It's not just an internship program matching young workers with employers. It's also giving Macedonia's schools vital information needed to retool the education system to match the needs of industry.

GAPIKJ: It gives the company the chance to evaluate the capacities of the students, but it also helps the schools to improve their curricula and to improve their programs in order to have better qualified students.

CLANCY (voice-over): The My Career initiative spans jobs in agriculture, banking, trade, and service industries. Already, they'd helped place hundreds of high school and college graduates into employment.

Vladco has now been on his job for 18 months. He's from this area in eastern Macedonia and is very proud of his work and a recent promotion. Even with official unemployment standing at more than 30 percent, he's got an optimistic message for Macedonia's young people.

"They must always try to find a job, and they must never lose hope," he says, "because there is always hope."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Our Eye on Macedonia series, which will close out on Friday.

Now, what does it take to become an overnight sensation? I'm talking more than seven million YouTube hits, a trip to America, and an appearance on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show." And to top it all off, a performance with your idol.

Our Parting Shots, tonight, I'm going to bring you two British girls who know exactly how it's done. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOPHIA GRACE BROWNLEE, EIGHT-YEAR-OLD: Hello, everybody. It's Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie Grace McClelland singing "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj. Let's hit it now!

(SINGING "SUPER BASS")

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, let me tell you, that got the attention of the American talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who brought the two girls onto her show on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": You are Sophia, right?

BROWNLEE: Yes.

DEGENERES: Do I call you Sophia?

BROWNLEE: Yes.

DEGENERES: Sophia Grace?

BROWNLEE: You can call me Sophia Grace.

(LAUGHTER)

DEGENERES: Sophia Grace. All right, I will. And you're Rosie.

ROSIE GRACE MCCLELLAND, FIVE-YEAR-OLD: Yes.

DEGENERES: Hi, Rosie. Rosie, you're five?

MCCLELLAND: Yes.

DEGENERES: And Sophia Grace, you're --

BROWNLEE: I'm --

DEGENERES: Eight. All right. I heard you do an American accent.

BROWNLEE: Yes.

DEGENERES: Can I hear it?

BROWNLEE: OK. Hey, Sophia, hey, Rosie, I can't believe we're on the "Ellen Show."

(AUDIENCE CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And of course, what's an appearance on "Ellen" without a surprise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEGENERES: Come on out, Nicki!

(MUSIC - "SUPER BASS" BY NICKI MINAJ)

(AUDIENCE CHEERS)

(GIRLS SCREAM)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Isn't that -- isn't that just lovely?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Wonderful. How about that?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. Thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Don't go away.

END