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FBI Investigates Murdoch Subsidiary; Interview with Tom Watson; The Resignation of Liam Fox; Air France Flight 447 Cockpit Transcript Published; Air France Condemns Transcript Publication; Rugby World Cup's Ultimate Sporting Rivalry; Wales Faces France in Bid for First World Cup Final Appearance; Rugby Fans Go Head-to-Head; Eye on Macedonia: Gypsy Queen Esma Redzepova; Parting Shots: Clock Ticking for Big Ben

Aired October 14, 2011 - 16:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Under pressure over the phone hacking scandal, now the FBI investigates one of Rupert Murdoch's firms over claims it used illegal tactics to try to put a competitor out of business.

Live from London, I'm Max Foster.

Also tonight, the final words from the flight deck of Air France Flight 447.

So are we any closer to knowing why it plunged into the Atlantic?

And quick on their feet, but will it be enough to see off their bitter rivals?

We're in New Zealand, as Australia prepare to take on the All Blacks.

As the "News of the World" phone hacking scandal toppled the 168 -year-old tabloid and rocked Rupert Murdoch's media empire, it also sparked an investigation here in the U.K. and intense scrutiny of parent company, News Corporation.

Now, CNN has learned the FBI is investigating one of News Corp's American- based subsidiaries.

New information paints a picture of ruthless company willing to engage in corporate espionage, computer hacking and threats to destroy its U.S. competition.

In a moment, we'll discuss this with British politician, Tom Watson, a man who championi -- championed the phone hacking probe here in the UK.

First, though, Drew Griffin joins me with this CNN exclusive -- Drew.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max, we've learned the FBI has opened this preliminary investigation into the company called News America Marketing that handles consumer marketing and promotions. And the federal investigation could have political implications here in the U.S. because News America is part of that same media empire that owns Fox News, "The New York Post" and "The Wall Street Journal".

News America marketing has spent more than a half billion settling lawsuits brought by competitors. And now we've obtained exclusively videotaped depositions from those lawsuits. And the tapes are a fascinating window into just how News America Marketing has been doing its business.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): The hacking scandal in the British tabloid press may seem distant to most Americans, but not to Antonia DeMatto.

ANTONIA DEMATTO, FORMER FLOORGRAPHICS V.P.: When the news broke in the U.K. It was a little bit like reliving it.

GRIFFIN: The former employee of the advertising company, Floorgraphics, was floored...

RUPERT MURDOCH, CEO, NEWS CORP: I didn't know of it.

GRIFFIN: -- watching James and Rupert Murdoch try to explain the hacking and espionage that took place at their British newspapers, because she insists it happened at a Murdoch company in the U.S. Too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Floorgraphics has increased the presence of your product beyond your shelf facing.

GRIFFIN: Floorgraphics was a fast-growing New Jersey startup that put ads on floors in supermarket and retail outlets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Win the war, brand the floor.

DEMATTO: They were making breakthroughs in the marketplace. And we thought we could build a really fantastic company.

GRIFFIN: Floorgraphics was competing with the Murdoch's News America Marketing when DeMatto received this in her mail at home. Addressed to her personally, a series of press releases touting how News America was taking away business from her company, Floorgraphics. The releases also went to the homes of her colleagues.

Her question then, as now, how did Rupert Murdoch's News America marketing get the names and home addresses of a competitor's employees?

DEMATTO: I think the creepy part of it is how they got the information.

GRIFFIN: Simple, according to News America Marketing. They had hired a former Floorgraphics sales executive. And that new employee, now a News America marketing vice president, was basically using "the same contact information he used to send cards at holiday time." And News America Marketing says the company's top manager had no involvement.

DEMATTO: The anger-inducing unethical part is how they used it. The absolutely infuriating part is that, apparently, this happened many times, with no one stopping to say, you know, should we really be mailing this out to the people in graphics, to the receptionists?

GRIFFIN (on camera): It turns out DeMatto was caught up in a war -- a business war declared here, at what used to be the Dish of Salt Restaurant in Manhattan.

In 1999, Floorgraphics founders George and Richard Rebh came here for a business lunch to discuss what they thought would be a future partnership or business arrangement with a potential competitor. They sat down with this man, Paul Carlucci, the CEO of News America Marketing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had you met Mr. Carlucci previously?


GRIFFIN: In this videotaped deposition obtained by CNN, George Rebh says he was astounded by what Carlucci had to say.

REBH: And he said -- again, words to the effect, "Then you should know that I work for a man who wants it all and doesn't understand anyone telling him that he can't have it all. And know this, if you ever get into any of our businesses, I -- we will destroy you."

And based on who we knew him to be and the references to the company that he worked for, we knew that that was a -- a very serious challenge to our business.

GRIFFIN: The man Carlucci worked for, Rupert Murdoch.

REBH: So after a couple seconds, I said to Mr. Carlucci, "So let me see if I understand this. You can get into our business and compete with us, but if we were to get into yours, you'll destroy us." And he said, "That's right."

GRIFFIN (on camera): And according to this Floorgraphics lawsuit, Carlucci's company made good on that threat. Floorgraphics claimed News America Marketing conducted, quote, "a deliberate and malicious campaign" to put it out of business.

(voice-over): And some of that alleged activity was illegal. Floorgraphics said someone at News America Marketing hacked into the Floorgraphics computer system, stealing confidential client information. It happened not once, but 11 times in four months.

DEMATTO: I think one of the worst parts of the story here is that when this was all happening, Floorgraphics tried to bring it to the attention of the authorities. And they tried to bring it to the attention of their representatives in Congress, who, also, to their credit, tried to bring it to the attention of the authorities. And none of these investigations went anywhere.

GRIFFIN: While the criminal investigation went nowhere, Floorgraphics' civil case against News America Marketing did. In 2009, News America paid out $29.5 million to buy the company's assets, which included a provision prohibiting the Rebh brothers from criticizing the company. News America Marketing says this was an isolated incident and it conducted a "...thorough investigation in order to identify who was responsible," but "...there was no way," according to the company, to determine who had actually accessed the Floorgraphics confidential Web site. It says it "...condemned the access of the site, which was in violation of the standards of the company."

DEMATTO: I think the story here is a lesson that -- that anyone who has children or has raised a pet knows. If you reward bad behavior, if the authorities ignore it, you'll get more bad behavior.


GRIFFIN: One of those members of the U.S. Congress, Senator Frank Lautenberg, did try to get the attention of the Justice Department here in the United States back in 2005 when he learned of the computer hacking at Floorgraphics.

Well, today, in the wake of what's happened in the U.K. He's again called for an investigation. But it is News America Marketing's alleged questionable business practices, Max, that are most troubling to its competitors.

When I come back, News America Marketing's CEO, Paul Carlucci, in his own words and dodging questions -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Drew, stay right there.

We're going to come back to you for more on that.

We'll have much more in part two of Drew's exclusive report. And we'll get reaction from British M.P. Tom Watson.

This is CONNECT THE WORLD from London.

We're back after a short break.


FOSTER: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD and part two of a CNN exclusive on News Corp's business practices in the us.

Part one focused on an investigation of a News Corp subsidiary and claims that the media giant plays dirty. Some even allege illegally in the quest to dominate or monopolize his businesses.

Drew Griffin joins me once again -- Drew.

GRIFFIN: Max, in 1999, two brothers who helped found this company called Floorgraphics thought they held an edge over News Corp's advertising firm. That was, they say, until they became a target of Rupert Murdoch's ruthless business strategy.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): It was just lunch, a meeting between the leaders of two companies involved in grocery store advertising. George and Richard Rebh built a company called Floorgraphics. Their lunch was to be with Paul Carlucci, who was running the ad company, News America Marketing, a subsidiary of News Corp

The Rebhs expected a friendly meeting to discuss a mutual business relationship. Instead, the short meeting, according to the Rebhs, involved a threat -- News America Marketing would destroy Floorgraphics.

In this deposition obtained by CNN, Rupert Murdoch's Paul Carlucci denies he threatened anyone, but also denied he even had lunch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recall saying that you worked for a guy who has to have it all?

PAUL CARLUCCI, NEWS AMERICA MARKETING: I've never said that comment. That doesn't sound like me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that you supposedly said that to the R-E-B-H, Rebh brothers, when you had that luncheon with them over at the Chinese restaurant?

CARLUCCI: I never had lunch with the Rebh brothers at a Chinese restaurant.

GRIFFIN: That, it turns out, was a technicality. Carlucci was answering the question honestly. There was no lunch. There was a meeting.

CARLUCCI: I do recall meeting them at the Dish of Salt.


So you did have a meeting with them at -- at the Dish of Salt, is that right?

CARLUCCI: We had a very brief meeting in the afternoon, yes.

GRIFFIN: I see. So it was not a luncheon meeting, but a -- an afternoon meeting, is that right?

CARLUCCI: That's correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the reason you were denying my prior questions is because I used the word lunch?

CARLUCCI: That's correct.

GRIFFIN: George Rebh testified the meeting was so hostile, he and his brother left before lunch was served.

(on camera): We wanted to talk to the man you just heard from, Paul Carlucci. Since that no lunch meeting, his star has continued to rise here within News Corp Not only is he still CEO of News America, but since 2005, he has also been the publisher at "The New York Post."

(voice-over): Greg Curtner is the attorney who took Carlucci's deposition. He says it is clear the head of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, knew full well the tactics his deputy was using.

GREG CURTNER, ATTORNEY: I have looked at the evidence. It's clear to me that Mr. Rupert Murdoch is aware of what's going on, on a day-to-day basis, in his businesses. Mr. Carlucci reports to Mr. Murdoch.

GRIFFIN: And Curtner says it's clear how News America operates -- win at all costs.

CURTNER: I think the best answer to that question is out of Mr. Carlucci's own mouth. "I work for a man who has to have it all and does not understand being told that he can't have it all." That's the culture shown in time after time, business activity after business activity, lawsuit after lawsuit.

GRIFFIN (on camera): The Floorgraphics case was not unique. There were two more high-profile lawsuits, both involving companies in the in-store advertising market, and both with similar allegations of unfair business practices.

(voice-over): News America Marketing settled a suit filed by Valassis Communications for $500 million. In another suit, $125 million was paid to Insignia Systems, Inc. Combined with the Floorgraphics payout, that is a whopping $654.5 million to settle lawsuits claiming News America dealt in unfair, unethical and even potentially illegal business practices.

We asked News America Marketing why it paid so much. Again, the answer was simple: "A number of our competitors have been unable to compete, so they resorted to litigation as a business strategy rather than compete. News America Marketing continues to vigorously disagree with the claims that were made against it in these cases."

Curtner points to this videotape of a News America Marketing sales meeting, designed to tell employees their goal was to destroy his client, Valassis Communications.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we never would have been able to push Valassis to what we hope is the brink of utter desperation.

GRIFFIN: In this tape, it is Paul Carlucci telling his sales groups, Rupert Murdoch himself is driving the aggressive tactics. CARLUCCI: Last night, Mr. Murdoch was saying, now you've got to really go after them. That was half the conversation all evening.

GRIFFIN: Not only did News America Marketing have issues with its competitors, but some clients were also concerned about how it did business.

DEBRA LUCIDI: She does not appreciate...

GRIFFIN: In this deposition, Debra Lucidi (ph), one of those clients, reads an e-mail between her and a subordinate discussing their dealings with the company.

LUCIDI: "This is the way they have been across the board. Adding insult to injury, have had huge issues related to accuracy of placement of in- store vehicles. Feels like they are raping us and they enjoy it and there's no desire to work with us in partnership to grow our business."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To whom is this -- that referring?

LUCIDI: News America.

GRIFFIN: Curtner says all the litigation is much more than an expensive business dispute.

(on camera): So you could argue, if you were News America, that $650 million and north of that, as you indicate, could be the cost of doing a business?

CURTNER: I don't think anybody thinks a quarter or three quarters of a billion dollars is a cost of doing business. As a matter of fact, if you think about the legal fees that they have paid out and everybody else has paid out, it's staggering.

GRIFFIN: Yet the man who cost them all this money was promoted.

CURTNER: When asking about the character of a business, the character of a corporation, it is what happens after they are brought to the bar of justice and after some of the marginal dealings are disclosed?

Are the people responsible still in office? At News Corp, the answer is yes.


GRIFFIN: Max, we know the FBI has opened an investigation. We can't tell how far of it it's continuing. Federal authorities very quiet on what, if anything, they are finding as a result of that investigation -- Max.

FOSTER: OK. We know you'll keep on top of it.

Thank you very much, indeed, for your reporting, Drew.

We're going to talk about this now with Tom Watson, who's in Manchester.

He's a Labour MP who played a key role in bringing the phone hacking scandal here in Britain before parliament.

You questioned Rupert and James Murdoch back in July.

Thank you so much for joining us, Tom.

Do you recognize the sorts of things we're hearing about -- about the culture in News America and the culture of Murdoch's U.K. businesses, which you've been investigating so closely?

TOM WATSON, BRITISH M.P.: Yes, the parallels are remarkable. What you see is a ruthless attitude to commerce, allegations of illegal intrusion and covert intrusion into privacy and personal information. And you -- and questionable tactics of corporate governance. And it raises yet more questions over the leadership of this organization, I'm afraid.

FOSTER: But can we really generalize across News Corp, when you've primarily been investigating one newspaper and a very large stable and Drew has been investigating one company of many subsidiaries in News Corp?

WATSON: In the end, it comes down to corporate governance. That's -- that is the -- it requires the stamp of leadership at the top of the company.

You know, we've had phone hacking in the UK. We've had allegations of computer hacking. You've seen these commercial espionage allegations in the US. Only this week in Europe, we've seen a circulation scam involving "The Wall Street Journal" that has led to a very senior News Corp executive having to resign.

You know, at the end of the day, somebody in this company has to take responsibility for it and that's probably the chairman. He's responsible for setting the tone of the way that his operatives do their business.


WATSON: And there is a News Corp AGM next week. He's up for reelection. I think that will be many more questions on both sides of the Atlantic about whether shareholders are going to force Mr. Murdoch to take responsibility for corporate governance.

FOSTER: And we know that some of those shareholders have expressed their concerns about the leadership. And -- but I just want to get back to Drew's report. In there, you heard the allegation that Murdoch is aware of what goes on in his businesses. So that's what's going on in America.

You questioned Rupert Murdoch. He didn't really suggest that he knows about everything that's going on in his business. He didn't know about phone hacking.

But what's your impression?

WATSON: Well, there's an old maxim in politics and business, that you can delegate power but not responsibility. And if he didn't know what went on, he certainly knew afterwards. And there is very, very clear evidence in the U.K. now that there was an awareness of wrongdoing that went be -- beyond a single individual, which was the company defense for many years, that senior executives in the company knew about it and failed to act.

That -- this seems to be the case in the Floorgraphics case that your journalist, Drew, very clearly drew the parallels with the U.K. on. And, you know, it's yet more question. And -- and, you know, I'm afraid there is a collective amnesia that seizes the executives in this company when wrongdoing is disclosed. Nobody knows anything about it. Nobody can remember anything. It's simply unacceptable that a company of this size uses that defense.

FOSTER: He's very, very loyal to his executives, isn't he?

We saw there how Carlucci was promoted, effectively.

And you had the same experience, didn't you, with the -- the News Corp executives in the U.K.?

When they get into trouble, actually, Murdoch backs them. But that could be good leadership, as well, until things are investigated.

WATSON: Well, look, in the U.K., we found that a rogue inve -- a rogue private investigator who had been to jail for a serious crime for seven years was then rehired on a contract by the company for at least two years. He was targeting high profile individuals. And when we asked the chief executive of News International, she knew nothing about it. You know, they literally didn't know who employed this character.

Now, you know, there comes a point where people have to act, that either politicians act to legislate or shareholders act to put a company in good order.

There are clearly very big questions about the corporate governance of News Corp that institutional investors have a responsibility to sort out if the executives on the board do not act.

FOSTER: Tom Watson, M.P. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Manchester, in Northern England.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

In just a moment, calling it quits for blowing political and personal lines, Britain's defense secretary folds under pressure over ties with close friends and self-styled advisers.

Then, there's the chilling final words of the man at the controls of the doomed Air France jet. Find out what went on in the cockpit just moments before it plunged into the sea.

And later in the show, four teams, one dream -- to win the Rugby World Cup. We'll have the latest from New Zealand after this.


FOSTER: I'm Max Foster in London. you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

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

The United Nations says the number of people killed in Syria since protests began in mid-March has passed the 3,000 mark and the UN's top human rights official is urging the international community to take immediate protective action before a full blown civil war breaks out. This video is said to come from the city of Daraa, showing new street protests after Friday prayers.

Britain has named a new defense secretary after the resignation today of Liam Fox. Fox resigned after days of relevant revelations about his -- his ties to a close friend who also served as an unofficial adviser.

For more on this story, CNN's Nima Elbagir joins us now from Downing Street -- Nima. NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, it wasn't the news the prime minister was hoping during -- ahead of the weekend, when many in the British minister of Defense were hoping they would be able to announce that Sirte had finally fallen.

No, it's the timing he was hoping for. But now that it has happened, he's moved very quickly to put in place a safe pair of hands, Philip Hammond, the Transportation secretary, someone who's perceived to be very close to Cameron, has stepped in, and the prime minister is hoping that this will bring to an end days, if not months, of speculations over the relationship between Liam Fox and Adam Werritty.

The final speculation that is seen to have been the straw that broke the camel's back was this revelation of their involvement in a private investment firm that was looking to bring in private finance to put in place development in Sri Lanka against the U.K. government's own guidelines. The government is seeking an independent inquiry into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

One government insider told me that it was almost as if he was running a shadow foreign policy.

The hope is that come Monday, when Cameron returns to Ten Downing Street, he'll be able to talk about some good news out of Libya -- Max.

FOSTER: Nima, thank you very much, indeed.

Now, the family of Gilad Shalit is preparing for his return. Israeli media reports now say he's expected home on Tuesday. The Israeli soldier has been held for more than five years by Hamas militants. But under a deal announced last week, he'll be released in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Doctors Without Borders has evacuated some of its staff working in Kenya's sprawling Dadaab Refugee Camp after the abduction of two of its workers. The two Spanish women were taken on Thursday. The aid agency says it's set up a crisis team and is doing all it can to help authorities find them.

Apple fans are snapping up the newest version of the iPhone faster than ever before. The iPhone 4S broke an Apple record for pre-orders and long lines formed for the store release on for instance morning. Tech pundits predicted less excitement for the 4s, but iPhone enthusiasts say they're eager to try out the improved camera and voice-activated digital assistant, whatever that is.

I'm sure I'll work it out.

Now, coming up, the -- the final words heard on the cockpit voice recorder before the crash of Air France Flight 447. We'll speak to a former pilot about what we can learn from this.

Then a match for the ages -- Australia visits its archrival, New Zealand, to battle for the Rugby World Cup.

And the leaning tower of London -- why engineers are concerned Big Ben could one day end up in the Thames.


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

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has won a crucial confidence vote in Parliament despite growing discontent within his own party. Mr. Berlusconi is facing corruption and sex scandals and a chorus of criticism over his government's handling of the economy.

More political backlash over the jailing of Ukraine's former prime minister. The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland say if Yulia Tymoshenko isn't freed, they'll oppose Ukraine's efforts to integrate into the European Union. A court sentenced Tymoshenko to seven years in prison for abusing her powers in a 2009 gas deal with Russia.

Residents in Bangkok are scrambling to get to higher ground and protect their property to avoid devastating floodwaters that are headed their way. Monsoon floods have left more than 280 people dead across Thailand.

Police in San Diego, California are breaking up a protest sympathetic with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Meanwhile, the original protesters in New York have avoided a showdown with park owners who backed down on a plan to clear the area for cleaning.

The manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's former doctor may wrap up as early as next week. Court is not in session today because of a scheduling conflict with some of the witnesses.

A transcript of the final minutes of Air France Flight 447 has been published for the very first time, revealing confusion and disorientation in the cockpit and troubling details about the flight's final moments.

The transcript appears in a book about the 2009 crash written by a French aviation author, and it supports the official conclusion that pilot error was to blame.

Before today, only a partial transcript of the cockpit recordings had been released, and the words exchanged between the pilots in the final minutes of the flight had never been made public.

Using today's transcript along with what we already knew about the movements of the plane, our own Richard Quest was able to piece together a simulation of the final minutes of that doomed flight.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The new transcript gives a much wider understanding of what was happening in the cockpit at the time. It doesn't add much to what the pilots were doing. We know that already. But it does give us a vision into the confusion that was taking place at the time.

When the incident first happened, there were two co-pilots at the controls. The captain was on his rest break. He was called back and, apparently, it took him some time to get back to the cockpit, and that's commented upon.

When the captain comes back into the cockpit, the plane is already climbing. And in fact, we have the pilots saying, "Climb, climb, climb, climb!"

And the actual pilot at the controls, "But I have been pulling back on the stick all the way for a while."

"No, no, no, don't climb," says the captain. And that's a clear first indication that one of the three in the cockpit knew that actually instead of climbing, they should have been going down.

Some further inputs are made to the controls, and that climb eases out, but not for long, because pretty soon, the climb comes back, and the plane is well and truly in the store and falling by thousands of feet every minute.

So, right towards the end, "No, no, no! Don't go up! No, no! Go down, then!"

And then, just seconds from the crash when, frankly, it's way too late for anything to be done, the plane is doomed, the pilot says, "Dammit, we're going to crash, it can't be true."

And perhaps the most telling statement of all from the cockpit comes from one of the pilots, "But what's happening?"

Richard Quest, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Well, Air France has harshly criticized the book that published these new transcripts, calling it "sensationalized staging." The airline said in a statement, "Air France wishes to express its emotion and its complete disapproval of a publication of an unverifiable version of the cockpit conversations of the AF 447."

The French agency that investigates plane crashes has also condemned the book saying, "This transcription mentions personal conversations between the crew members that have no bearing on the events."

Well, I want to discuss this further with Todd Curtis. He's an aviation safety expert joining me live from Boston in Massachusetts in the US. Thank you so much for joining us, Todd.

The transcription may not have any technical details, which is useful, but they do give a sense of the emotion. If we consider that pilot error was to blame, it does show us something, doesn't it?

TODD CURTIS, AVIATION SAFETY ANALYST: Well, it shows that the pilots, when they're in a very stressful situation, with a lot of things going on, not all of which were clearly understandable to the pilots.

And that's common with a lot of aircraft crashes in that, in the final minutes of flight, when things are happening and happening quickly, decisions have to be made, and the pilots may appear to be confused because of the words they're saying.

But actually, if you look at the total actions are taken, actions which were detailed in some of the interim reports by the French investigative agency. It was clear that they were working very hard at solving the problem they were in.

FOSTER: It does show us, doesn't it that -- well, I guess the real-life example of a crash that was caused by pilot error and their state of mind, there, so we can learn more about how to train pilots, how to teach pilots to deal with these crisis situations.

So, there is a reason for publishing this, isn't there?

CURTIS: Well, there's a reason for publishing the transcript and the other data from the French investigative agency.

I don't see a real reason for the latest book, that is, the transcript, even if it's true, even if all of the words are accurate, a lot of the things that have been published, the excerpts I've seen weren't really relevant to the situation, weren't really relevant to understanding why the aircraft was in the position it was in, or understanding what the pilots were doing.

Certainly it was dramatic. And certainly you can see the stress, you can see the tension in the words of the book. But that's more appropriate for a movie, not for an accident investigation.

FOSTER: OK, so sensationalized, as Air France was calling it. But do you think we've learned anything from this book in terms of fresh detail which is useful for future safety?

CURTIS: Well, what we've learned is one person's interpretation of the incomplete data, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Because no one person in the investigative process, not people on the inside of the process, no people on the outside, ave the full story. So certainly, we can have an insight from this author.

However, I'm more inclined to rely on the insights from the French investigative authorities, who have had three very extensive interim reports so far, and haven't yet published a final report. Only then will we have some understanding if there is a combination of pilot error, system error, or system design.

It's really unclear at this point, and this new book doesn't make the final answer that much clearer to me.

FOSTER: So, what is it you're really holding out for? What's the piece of information that will really help you understand what went on that day?

CURTIS: Well, it's not any one piece of information. It's probably several pieces of information.

Because one thing that's very clear from the transcripts and the analysis that have been released so far is that the flight crew had some confusion as to what state the aircraft was in, either the physical attitude of the aircraft or the systems of the aircraft and how they were behaving.

There was confusion as to whether the instruments were giving them proper data, whether they were in a control mode that allowed them to manually control the aircraft and get out of the situation they were in.

And these are things that will take a while to unravel, and it may be months, even years before we have a full understanding of what went on.

FOSTER: OK. Todd Curtis, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from the US.

Just recapping this story for you, a new book published today contains cockpit transcripts from the final moments of Air France Flight 447, revealing confusion around the pilots about what was happening.

Before today, only a partial transcript had ever been released. Both Air France and French investigators have condemned the release of this transcript. The investigators say the true and complete analysis of the flight will be contained in their final report, which is due to be published in June of next year.

Just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, the clash of the Titans of the Rugby World Cup semifinals, New Zealand's All Blacks are counting on home pitch advantage as the Wallabies of Australia try and break a 25-year losing streak at Eden Park.

And it's kept time in London for more than 150 years, but there are fears Big Ben could be leaning towards a very different future. Find out more in just a moment.


FOSTER: It's about as big a sporting rivalry as you could possibly get, New Zealand versus Australia in the Rugby World Cup. These regional competitors are the top two teams in the world, and as Alex Thomas explains, for both sides, this Sunday, defeat on that day is simply not an option.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With rugby's poster boy already ruled out of the rest of the World Cup through injury, New Zealand couldn't afford to lose their other mega-star player. Captain Richie McCaw will start the semifinal against Australia, but he's far from fully fit.

GRAHAM HENRY, NEW ZEALAND COACH: Try him very little, and we'll try him very little today. I think the big thing is he's got to take the track, and he's got a niggly foot, and the more we keep him off it the more chance he's got of playing 80 minutes on the weekend, so, it's as simple as that, really.

THOMAS: In the absence of Dan Carter and another injury, Colin Slade, young Aaron Cruden will play in the All Blacks' crucial fly-half position. It'll be only his eighth international appearance.

CONRAD SMITH, NEW ZEALAND RUGBY CENTER: He's coming to the sod, not a lot expected of him, it's good for him, whereas I think he'd put a little too much on himself, like the last time. It's easy to do when you're playing in that position, your mum's expecting you to run the team. But at the moment, I think he's in a good space.

HENRY: He's a bright rugby player. He knows the game well. He's kept on a lot of teams that he's been on, so he directs the traffic well.

But it's a big game, isn't it? It's the biggest game that he's ever played in, and it's the biggest game a lot of them played in, quite frankly.

THOMAS (on camera): New Zealand have been unlucky. Injuries have definitely weakened them, although they remain the only unbeaten side left at this World Cup. They'll enjoy colossal home support, although as one All Blacks player pointed out, the fans don't put points on the board.

THOMAS (voice-over): While the All Blacks shoulder the weight of a nation's expectations, Australia's confidence is on the rise. They've got over their shock cruel defeat by Ireland and are one of the few sides not overawed by New Zealand's reputation.

THOMAS (on camera): Australia have lost nearly 70 percent of all the rugby matches they've ever played against New Zealand, and they haven't won at Eden Park stadium, the semifinal venue, since 1986.

But in World Cups, the Wallabies' record against the All Blacks reads played 2, 1-2.

DAN VICKERMAN, AUSTRALIA LOCK: I think there's a mutual respect. New Zealand, as I said, is a proud rugby nation. They're a fantastic rugby nation, and they've got a lot of magnificent players.

And on the flip side of that, Australia -- Australian rugby players, we're very proud of what we've got.

THOMAS (voice-over): Australia's players want to win this rugby World Cup just as much as New Zealand's, but in one sense, they have less to lose. The Wallabies are already two-time world champions, while the All Blacks are fully aware they haven't lifted rugby's biggest prize since the first ever World Cup nearly a quarter of a century ago.

Alex Thomas, CNN, New Zealand.


FOSTER: We need to talk more about this. Pedro's with us. You couldn't make up this rivalry, could you? It's the ultimate rivalry.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It is. They're the two best rugby nations on the planet. They're neighbors. We could say that they hate each other when it comes to sport, not talking about the whole politics and social phenomenon, but at least on the rugby pitch, they hate each other. And they're coming up against each other one more time in the rugby World Cup.

Now, Australia has knocked New Zealand out at this stage twice before. In the overall scheme of things, New Zealand have a better record, because they've played 142 times.

But when it comes to the World Cup, the All Blacks are accused of choking all the time, and the pressure will be huge this time around, Max. And I'm really sorry that I'm not there. I wouldn't mind switching with Alex Thomas for a couple days.

FOSTER: Some rivalry there, I'm sure, as well. "I want to go." "I want to go."

PINTO: Yes, to watch this match.

FOSTER: The other advantage New Zealand have got is that all these injuries, right, on the other side. So, you've got this fly-half everyone's looking at and talking about.

PINTO: Well, the problem right now is that injuries through a tournament like this start to take their toll. I don't need to tell you how physical of a game rugby is, and even with matches a week apart, the players can't - - can't recuperate.

For New Zealand right now, they're going with their third-string fly-half, Aaron Cruden. And when the tournament started, this guy was chilling out, drinking beers, watching his team play on television.

Now, he's going to be part of the semifinal, the biggest game of his career in the most important position for the All Blacks.

He's admitted that he's a little nervous. He's not trembling right now, but he might be when kickoff comes around, because he's never played in a bigger match in his career.

And when you think that Dan Carter was the star, and then you have Colin Slade coming in, there was no chance this guy even thought he would be part of the tournament. And now to start in the semifinal, it's crazy. I think Australia are going to try to take advantage of that.

FOSTER: The other match is interesting, as well, though, isn't it? France and Wales. Maybe it's because I'm English. People didn't expect the Welsh to get this far.


FOSTER: They don't get the support, I see. But that's going to be an interesting match, isn't it, right?

PINTO: It's the first semifinal, we can't forget about it, even though the other one is more high-profile so to speak. It's taking place on Saturday. Both matches at Eden Park.

Wales can make the final for the first time ever. France are aiming to make it there for the third time.

Now, we've been getting some rugby fans to talk to us. We found two die- hard rugby fans on Twitter. They went head-to-head saying why their teams are going to win and what the score will be.


TIM NOBURY, WELSH RUGBY FAN: I'm a massive Welsh fan, and of course we can go all the way. Do you know what? I'm not even sure who we're playing. Oh, we're playing France. But even if we had our girls under 16 team, I'd be 100 percent confident that we were going to win.

So, bit of an unfair question, but we're actually so strong at the moment. I just love watching us play. The confidence is running through, and not just the team, but our country, as well. We're all so excited about it.

And of course we're going to win. Not only that, we're going to win the World Cup, actually. It's ours. I've got a party planned already, so yes.

We're actually getting a little bit arrogant, that's how good we are right now. So, it's a great -- it's a great time to be a Welsh fan and a great time to be a Welsh rugby supporter.

DOMINIQUE AUDOIN, FRENCH RUGBY FAN: Hi, I'm supporting France, obviously, and there is no doubt that we're going to win.

And then it's the final against -- hopefully against New Zealand, and you know what happens when France play New Zealand in an important game. It's obviously France that wins.

So, it's a really great situation that we're in at the moment.


PINTO: Should be a great clash out in Auckland, and we'll have a lot more on the rugby World Cup coming up on "World Sport" in about 45 minutes time.

FOSTER: Look forward to it. Pedro, thank you.

Now, one lady who will be watching tomorrow's rugby match very carefully is Hayley Westenra. She is the New Zealand-born soprano, and she'll be singing one of the anthems at the grand final. The 24-year-old former prodigy is among the Big Interviews we'll be bringing you next week when we investigate whether being brilliant is a case of nature or nurture.


HAYLEY WESTENRA, SINGER: I wasn't very sporty. There are lots of -- those things are like, no, not for me. Singing was it.

LANG LANG, PIANIST: It doesn't mean child prodigy makes careers. As you know, it makes lovely stories.

DANICA MCKELLAR, ACTRESS: You're all smart, you're all geniuses, and I'm going to show you how to find that.


FOSTER: It's a great series. Hayley Westenra, Lang Lang, and Danica McKellar. Join us next week when we look at what it takes to be brilliant.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, the life-changing performance which transformed a young gypsy into the queen of Roma music. We'll have our Eye on Macedonia, coming up.


FOSTER: Sunset in Skopje, Macedonia, a young country with a rich culture and a rich history.

Several Macedonians are already making their mark on the world, as well. One of the country's most famous singers is known by millions as the Gypsy Queen. Her career spans 55 years, includes more than 15,000 performances. That's only part of her story. Atika Shubert reports.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Esma Redzepova is royalty. She has a crown and a title, but most of all, a voice.

Esma is Queen of the Gypsies.

She was born in Skopje to a Roma family, the fifth of six children. Her father cleaned shoes for a living, but loved music. He taught Esma the complicated rhythms that became the song she says she wrote at just nine years old, "Caje Sukarije," Beautiful Girl.


SHUBERT: Her luck break came in 1954 when she sang that song for a local radio station.

She told us, "I won first prize and a large amount of money, but I hid the prize money, because my family didn't want me to sing. When I got back, my mother gave me a bath and she found the money in my clothes. She asked me, 'Where did you get this?' And I had to confess."

That broadcast changed her life. Musician Stevo Teodosievski was listening and instantly signed her up, becoming her mentor, manager and, later, her husband.

They toured the world. Once, they drove through Iran and Afghanistan to the world's first Roma Music Festival in India.

She says they arrived just two hours before her performance and were astonished to hear groups from Hungary, Turkey, and Greece all singing her songs.

"When I finished my performance," she said, "the crowd stood up and applauded with their hands and feet. Everyone understood what I was singing, and the crowd surged towards me, and everyone wanted to take a picture. I was named the Queen of Roma Music."

Since then, she has met dozens of prime ministers, presidents, and Hollywood royalty Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

"I had a concert for them, and I must admit," she says, "as he approached me, Richard Burton congratulated me, and I used the opportunity to steal a kiss."

Esma also wanted a family, but when she realized she could not have children of her own, she and her husband adopted, one by one, 47 children in all, raising them to become accomplished musicians still touring with her today.

"When I was in second grade at school," she explained, "I received from the Red Cross one scarf, a hat, a pair of socks, and gloves. They were red, and I still love red. When they gave these to me, I said to myself, as the Red Cross helps me, one day, if I have the opportunity, and if I have more than I need, then I will share what I have."

"I'm very happy that we have done a good deed," she says. "Not only that we created great artists, but that they are also great human beings."

In 55 years of singing, Esma has done 15,000 performances and is planning a new record, book, and tour for next year.

When we visited her, she performed for a meeting of Roma leaders from across Europe, a queen among her adoring subjects, a living legend in Macedonia and far beyond.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Skopje.


FOSTER: Well, in tonight's Parting Shots, you've heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but now there's another landmark that's gone askew. Big Ben, here in London. And it seems the clock is ticking for one of the city's most famous landmarks.


FOSTER: Well, there it is, instantly recognizable, of course. But rumor has it this whole tower is toppling over. And what's worse, it's toppling over this way. So, I do feel a bit vulnerable right now. Anyway, to get to the bottom of these rumors, I'm going to climb right back up to the very top.

The first thing to say is we've just climbed 334 steps. And yes, I am feeling it. The second thing to say is that when we talk about Big Ben, we're talking about this. It's the bell. Big Ben is not the tower, it's not even the clock. It's the bell. It's a common misconception, but now you know.

Well, this is an iconic image. It's the clock face here at the tower, looking at it from behind, obviously. And a vast clock face it is from this angle.

Jonathan Prew, thank you so much for joining us. You're the principal surveyor here, and you're the expert, so tell us. Is the tower leaning or isn't it?

JONATHAN PREW, PRINCIPAL SURVEYOR: Yes, the tower is leaning, but just by a very small amount.

FOSTER: How much?

PREW: Well, at this level, here, where we're standing, it is about 267 millimeters, which is about that much.

FOSTER: But as I understand it, it's leaning more every year. So, it's a growing problem?

PREW: It's gradually leaning, but it's leaning at a very small amount. It's less than a millimeter per annum.

FOSTER: And at what stage, then, do we get to the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

PREW: Well, if nothing happened, it's over 4,000 years.

FOSTER: So, nothing to worry about right now.

PREW: Nothing to worry about now.


PREW: The foundation underneath us is clay. And we think that it's a variation in thickness of the clay beneath the tower which is compressing at a slightly different rate from one side of the foundation to the other.

FOSTER: The ground is moving slightly.

PREW: That's right, yes. And this tower weights 8,500 tons, so it's going to sort of have an effect.

FOSTER: The question the world wants an answer is, do you have a solution if it suddenly lurches to the right?

PREW: We don't think there's any likelihood of a sudden lurch. We have these tubes buried in the clay beneath us, and through those tubes, we can pump cementitious grout. And that will actually make the tower come back upright.



FOSTER: What do Londoners think about their famous clock tower tilting into the Thames? Well, I hit the streets to find out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A bit worrying, to think that that's tilting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perfectly straight. You'd have to be drunk if you thought it was tilting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's just slightly to the right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To the left, please.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- I mean to the right.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, as long as it's not falling on our heads, it's OK.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: It looks like it's going to tilt.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Which way is it going to tilt?



FOSTER: That was animated. I'm Max Foster, thank you for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break.