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Protests Bring Athens to a Halt; A Business Leader Calls for A Plan to Break Up the Eurozone; Interview with Iain Begg; Travelers Evicted; Woman Who Launched Tunisian Revolution; Tunisia in Transition; French First Lady Gives Birth to Baby Girl; Colombian Anti-Drug Fumigation Hurting Legitimate Farmers; Plan Colombia Pros and Cons; How Plan Colombia Affects Other Latin American Countries; Big Interview: Piano Virtuoso Lang Lang; Parting Shots of Basketball Player Dunking Over Mom

Aired October 19, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET



SIMON WOLFSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NEXT GROUP: The complexity of what would need to be done were the euro to fail is enormous. And if it`s done badly, it could be catastrophic.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Its people are angry, its governments seem powerless to act -- tonight, as a business leader calls for a plan to break up the Eurozone, we`ll look at why it`s so tough to just cut and run.

Live from London, I`m Becky Anderson.

Also tonight, as Tunisia prepares for an historic election, we`ll hear from the woman whose confrontation inadvertently helped spark a revolution.

And --


ANDERSON: -- World Cup excitement reaches fever pitch in New Zealand. We`ll head back to where the careers of many of the rugby legends began.

Kicking off this evening, protesters flooding the streets of Athens earlier today as one of the largest strikes in the last two years brought the city to a grinding halt. Police clashed with some of the demonstrators near the parliament building, where Greek officials are expected to pass another round of harsh austerity on Thursday.

Meanwhile, government offices, schools, train stations, airports, buses, shops and bakeries shutting their doors, as nearly 100,000 people took to the streets.

Well, Diana Magnay has been among the protesters in Athens all day and she joins us now live.

But you and I have covered several of these protests in Athens since the crisis began.

How did today`s mood compare to previous protests -- Di?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, there was more people, less violence. But even though the violence, as you know, is perpetrated by a small minority of people and it`s really reflected in the anger, the sort of violence and the anger that people here feel toward the politicians currently debating that latest round of austerity, toward other people across the Eurozone, you know, the kinds of things that people were saying to me is those punks in their meeting, the lawmakers, are destroying my children`s lives.

They`re not just useless, they are malicious, said another man, that, really, the entrenched interests that have meant that this country has sort of fallen further and further into this debt crisis, the fact that (INAUDIBLE) continues, the fact that there is corruption at the highest levels, the fact that there is an entrenched system of patronage within the public sector, those are things that people do not see disappearing. And they feel that whilst the work, whilst the middle class are being squeezed to the point of their very existence being at stake, that the rich are still managing to get away with it, basically, in their -- in their eyes -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Di, these protesters, of course, protesting these austerity cuts -- stand by for a moment. I want to get a sense of just how swinging stringent these measures that are being voted on tomorrow are. Thirty thousand civil servants will be suspended as part of the new package. And after a year, they may be laid off altogether. Everyone in Greece will now be taxed on income above $7,000 a year. And monthly pensions worth more than about $1,300 will be cut by 20 percent.

And the government is planning a broad range of other tax hikes, wage cuts and public sector lay-offs.

What chance these measures get through, Di?

MAGNAY: They`re widely anticipated to go through. The parliament has already voted on the broader package in today`s session. And tomorrow, they`re looking at the specifics, specifics that you`ve mentioned.

Also, interestingly, you know, one, for example, about changing the constitution so that it is no longer constitutionally enshrined that a civil servant should have their job for life.

And the irony is that these are actually measures that are beginning to chip away at higher earners, to make higher earners pay more tax, to try and -- and challenge the inefficiencies and bureaucracy of the public sector.

So, really, what people are demonstrating out on the streets today is not so much this specific raft of measures, but just the whole of the last two years and the fact that they feel as a society that they`re incapable of coping with this kind of austerity anymore, if there is no prospect of growth.

And remember that this is a country going into a fourth consecutive year of recession -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right.

Diana Magnay in Athens reporting on the mother of all strikes.

Di, thank you for that.

All of these austerity measures necessary for Greece to secure its next tranche of aid, of course, and avoid a default. Well, even more unthinkable, a departure from the Eurozone.

But ideas that once seemed inconceivable are now being discussed in very real terms.

A British businessman has offered $250,000 to anyone who comes up with the best way for one or more countries to quit the Eurozone.


WOLFSON: A lot of people recognize that the euro might fail. No one really wants it to fail, including me. I don`t want the euro to fail. But if it does fail, we need a plan. And, at the moment, no one is talking about it.

And the complexity of what would need to be done were the euro to fail is enormous. And if it`s done badly, it could be catastrophic.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, if any country wanted to leave the Eurozone, it would have to address a huge number of complicated issues, not least departure would even be legal.

Let`s take a look at the situation in Greece.

So, would a departure from the euro be legal?

According to the Eurozone treaty, technically the answer is no. But if Greece wanted to go back to the drachma, there really isn`t anything that anyone could do about it.

Well, the next big question, where would it get all those drachmas from?

Well, it would need to print millions of notes virtually overnight and deliver that money to every bank, business and ATM in the country.

The next unknown, well, it`s how Greeks themselves will react.

Remember this scene from "Mary Poppins," where people start to panic because they think their money is no longer safe, a run on the banks?

Well, the same scene could play out in Greece, with millions of people demanding their savings right away.

And what if you are, for example, Greek, but you have a loan from somebody in Germany which needs to be paid back in euros. All of those loans would need to be restructured, or, as they say in the markets, forgiven.

And then this -- the spread of the problem. Some economists say that if Greece is going, stronger Eurozone countries like Germany and France -- and perhaps not that strong these days -- should exit first, leading, well, one assumes, to a meltdown of the entire euro currency.

Well, any country that did drop out, of course, would regain control over its monetary policy, giving it a chance to set its own interest rates once again.

Along we are reinstated devalued currency, they would, theoretically, at least, help kick start a debilitated economy.

But if Greece went down that road, where would it start?

Well, I put that question to Professor Iain Begg from the London School of Economics just a short time ago.

Listen to what he said.


IAIN BEGG, EUROPEAN INSTITUTE, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: If a political decision could be taken to enable Greece to leave the euro, it would have to start by trying to freeze all the deposits in Greek banks, because if they don`t, almost overnight, the banks accounts would be emptied when people transfer their -- their current euros to another country where they wouldn`t have -- have the risk of them being devalued.

Then, you`d have all the physical changes of trying to introduce a new currency, transforming bank software, adapting all the slot machines, everything that has to do with existing notes and coins.

Third, you do have all the ramifications about how to secure president a -- a new legal framework to deal with existing debt that would be far from trivial, because debt denominated in euros and then going to be repaid in drachmas, new drachmas, would create a huge problem, because the expectation is that the new drachma would devalue hugely against the existing euro, so that the capacity to pay of Greeks, Greek households, would be severely diminished.

That, in turn, would risk causing bankruptcies. Bankruptcies are defaults. They become bad debts for the -- the holders of those -- those debts, which are other European banks, even American banks.

ANDERSON: So this couldn`t be done overnight.

And, indeed, would it be possible to sort of create a firewall around all of this activity in order that -- because currency spectators out there had no idea that this was going on. Surely not.

BEGG: Completely impossible. As soon as you saw the first signs of it, money would pour out of Greece. And that would almost have a -- a self-reinforcing effect, because as soon as one lot sees their money going, the others will say, will we want to join in before the run on the banks becomes so huge, we can`t get our money out.

ANDERSON: But with people watching this program tonight who perhaps are -- don`t live in the Eurozone or -- or the European Union, who will be saying why didn`t those who were planning a single European currency think of this?

BEGG: Well, they did, which is why once you join, is supposed to be irrevocable. You -- you do not go backward. It would be a bit like, for American viewers, saying what is California joined the dollar zone?

And nobody talks about California exiting the dollar in spite of its severe fiscal problems.

So you have to look at it that way around. Once you have the currency, going backward is far more difficult than joining in the first place.

Now, what should have happened with Greece is much more hesitation for letting Greece in. But we`re over that and we had to live with it.

So the -- the problem now is dealing with it rather than saying what should have been.


ANDERSON: Yes, don`t look backward, look forwards. But, well, I guess what we`re doing is looking forwards and looking over a precipice at this point.

Our top story tonight, the Greek parliament will vote on a fresh round of austerity measures on Thursday, without which they won`t get the next multi-billion dollar help they need to avoid default. They`ve already approved the overall bill, but tomorrow will bring a second vote on specific measures.

And as we`ve seen, the streets of Athens today deeply, deeply unpopular measures amongst many Greek People. They are, though, expected to pass.

And for a reminder of how we got into this mess and details of how affects you no matter where you live in the world, a plethora of great analysis on Do check that out.

This is CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Eleven minutes past nine in London

I`m Becky Anderson.

Coming up on the show, lions, tigers and grizzly bears on the loose in Ohio, where they were. Find out how local police justified their decision to kill most of them.


ANDERSON: And as New Zealand prepares for Sunday`s big rugby final, we look at how the sport has brought different communities together.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is it. Like this is what it feels like. This is what it looks like. And -- and I just sat there at their farm, just almost ashamed, because like I was there. Our mission is to end displacement, we`re watching it and we can`t stop it.


ANDERSON: The desperation of one filmmaker as he witnesses a family lose everything -- why some Colombian farmers are falling victim to an anti-drugs policy.

CONNECT THE WORLD back in 60 seconds.


ANDERSON: Fourteen minutes past 9:00 in London.

You`re watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

I`m Becky Anderson.

A look at some of the other stories that we are following for you this hour.

And Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish militants in Iraq after 24 of its soldiers sere killed in one of the most deadliest Kurdish attacks in years. Members of the Kurdish Workers Party who are fighting for autonomy in Turkey fired rockets at security forces and military sites in the southeastern town of Cukurca. The Turkish retaliation began soon afterwards. U.S. President Barack Obama and European leaders have condemned the attack, in which 18 soldiers were also injured.

Well, France`s foreign minister calls the death of a woman held by Somali militants "barbaric." French and Kenyan officials say militants kidnapped 66 -year-old Marie Dedieu from her holiday home on a resort island this month and then took her to Somalia. They say Dedieu was wheelchair-bound, battling cancer and that her abductors likely withheld her medicine.

Well, after a violent showdown, police say they are now in control of Dale Farm, the controversial Travelers Site in the U.K. at the center of a long legal battle. Seven people were arrested and at least one mobile home was set on fire, as police evicted those living in illegal homes on the compound east of London.

Residents say the move threatens 83 families with homelessness.

CNN`s Nima Elbagir has the story.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It`s been a decade long legal fight. But even for those activities still up in the scaffolding and still chaining themselves to the barricades here at Dale Farm, the fight to save Dale Farm is all but over.

This fight here in Essex, in Battledon (ph), just on the outskirts of London, is a green field site. And that`s always been the contention of the local government, that these buildings were never meant to go up.

Here, they have given limited planning permission, they say, for some of the Irish traveler community to settle here. But when others joined them and the plots grew too big, they sought legal action.

But this case has become about more than just local government and local planning commission issues. At one point, even the United Nations called upon the government of the United Kingdom for a stay of execution. They say that for the Irish traveler community, for the gypsies here, life is difficult enough.

Local governments in the United Kingdom actually get given grants to provide settling sites for Irish traveler communities. And yet many of them are reticent, in spite of that, to provide homes and welcomes to these communities.

And that is why, gypsies say, they are so fearful of moving from Dale Farm and so worried of where their next welcome could come.

Nima Elbagir, this is CNN, at Dale Farm.


ANDERSON: Well, U.S. Republican candidates are trying to get back on message today after some, well, let`s call them testy moments Tuesday at a debate hosted by CNN. One of the most vicious exchanges was on the issue of immigration, when Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is lagging in the polls, attacked the perceived frontrunner, Mr. Mitt Romney.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATEAnd Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year.


ROMNEY: Rick, I don`t think I have ever hired an illegal in my life.

This doesn`t --

PERRY: Well, I will tell you what the facts are.

ROMNEY: Rick -- again.

PERRY: You had the --

ROMNEY: -- Rick, I`m speaking.

PERRY: You -- your newspaper -- the newspaper --

ROMNEY: I`m speaking.

PERRY: The newspaper --

ROMNEY: I`m speaking.

PERRY: The newspaper --

ROMNEY: I`m speaking.

PERRY: It`s time for you to --

ROMNEY: You get 30 --

PERRY: -- tell the truth.

ROMNEY: You get 30 seconds --

PERRY: It`s time for you to tell the truth, Mitt.

ROMNEY: This is the way --


ROMNEY: -- the way the rules work where is that I get 60 seconds --

PERRY: Well, no, what the American people --

ROMNEY: -- and then you get --

PERRY: -- want the truth.

ROMNEY: -- and then you get 30 seconds to respond, right?

PERRY: And they want to hear --

ROMNEY: Anderson --

PERRY: -- you say --

ROMNEY: Governor --

PERRY: -- that you knew --

ROMNEY: Would you please (INAUDIBLE).

PERRY: -- you had illegals --

ROMNEY: Would you please wait --

PERRY: -- working --

ROMNEY: Are you just going to keep talking?

PERRY: -- at your --

ROMNEY: Are you going to let me finish --

PERRY: Yes, sir.

ROMNEY: -- with my, what I have to say?

Look, Rick --


ROMNEY: -- Republicans follow the rules. It`s been a tough couple of debates for rick. And -- and I understand that. And so you`re going to get --


ROMNEY: -- you`re going to get testy.



ANDERSON: Well, police in Ohio were forced to shoot dozens of exotic animals earlier today after they escaped from a preserve following the death of the owner. Residents in Zanesville were warned to keep to their homes as police hunted down more than 50 lions, tigers, leopards and grizzly bears. Police believe all but one are now accounted for.

The animals` owner killed himself after setting them loose.

The local sheriff justified his forces` action.


MATT LUTZ, MUSKINGUM COUNTY, OH SHERIFF: We had animals outside that fenced area along the road that were trying to get loose. I had deputies that had to shoot animals with their sidearms at close range. That`s how volatile this situation was.

We are not talking about your normal, everyday house cat or dog. These were 300 pound Bengal tigers that we have had to put down.

When we got there, obliviously, public safety was my number one concern.


ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff, huh?

Well, first it the was dress that set tongues wagging. And then it was the growing bump. France`s first lady, well, she just couldn`t hide it.

So nine months later and after a reported check-in to a maternity clinic, you can imagine what the talk is now.

Is Carla Bruni Sarkozy about or has she just given birth?

Well, President Nicholas Sarkozy has left the clinic in Paris. He has, of course, got pressing business in Germany, where he is attending crunch talks on the Eurozone debt crisis.

I`m Becky Anderson.

You`re watching CONNECT THE WORLD out of London for you.

Nineteen minutes past 9:00.

Coming up after this short break, we visit New Zealand as the excitement mounts ahead of Sunday`s Rugby World Cup final. And find out just why the sport means so much to the fans.


ANDERSON: And driven to succeed -- Sivkar Langlang (ph) joins our debate on whether genius is a case of nature or nurture.



ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back.


I`m Becky Anderson.

France has named an unchanged side for the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand on Sunday. Their coach, Martin Econal (ph), insisted France can pull off an upset despite being massive underdogs for the match in Auckland. They were soundly beaten by the All Blacks in the group stages and only just beat Wales to make it to the final.

I`m joined by "WORLD SPORT`S" Patrick Snell now.

Do France`s claims stack up at this point?


Yes, I mean they do make the All Blacks some favorites, no question about that, to win the final. But don`t rule out the French. Yes, they skate -- scraped past the -- the welsh team, the very youthful welsh team, who ended the game with only 14 players.

But this is a team, you know, this is a French team that shocked England earlier in the tournament for the quarterfinal stages.

Now, if you believe some of the reports that we`ve read, they were falling apart at the seams.

Is it kidology (ph)?

Well, I specifically don`t think so. But I think the treatment of the French team from their head coach in the aftermath of that semi-final victory, when, basically, some of his players defied orders and went out for a night out, that didn`t go down too well with the French head coach and he publicly criticized them and he certainly, I think, regrets that criticism now, judging by these words, when he actually labeled them spoiled brats.


MARC LIEVREMONT, FORCE COACH (through translator): I think the players have been committed for some time now. I think I said those things to put pressure on the players, to motivate them. And when I read my words in the written press, I realize I might have been better keeping my big fat mouth shut. I think what we need to do now is to focus on our solidarity and aggression in the run-up to this match.


ANDERSON: This is like a French farce, isn`t it?

New Zealand must, though, be out and out favorites, aren`t they, Patrick?

SNELL: They really are. And even the park where the final will be played, that is an absolute fortress for them. Australia, the Wallabies, who they beat in the semi-final over the weekend, hadn`t won there in a quarter of a century. It`s extremely hard to go there and get any kind of result.

The fact that they don`t have Dan Carter playing, he was injured earlier in the tournament, does not seem to have affected them, Becky, in one little bit. They have the inspirational Richie McCaw back as skipper. He`s been a big boost to them.

And there is no question in my mind that they`re going to win this one pretty comfortably. The French have never won the Rugby World Cup and I think it`s a case of they`re going to get well beaten again.

I am predicting, already, something in the region of an 18 point victory for the All Blacks.

So I think that`s going to be relatively easy for them. I think they are going to go on and win their first World Cup title, Becky, since 1987.

But I talk about New Zealand as a nation, they are just so passionate about rugby there. It`s almost a -- a kind of a religion, if you like, of sorts.

Sunday`s final is going to be an immense day for the country, no question about that.

Now, CNN`s Alex Thomas is there for us.

Has been taking a look at why the sport matters so, so much.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a country regarded as rugby mad, it`s almost too much excitement for the four million people who live in New Zealand today. Their famous team is one win away from becoming world champions for a second time. And even the legendary players who lifted the trophy at the first World Cup in 1987 didn`t think they`d have to wait nearly a quarter of a century to see it happen again.

WAYNE SHELFORD, 1987 WORLD CUP TEAM MEMBER: I want this team to win it. I think it would be great, you know, then when all of us old guys, we can move on, you know, because we called out and want to bring that (INAUDIBLE) from the early seven teams that won a World Cup, these guys can win it, but something will (INAUDIBLE).

THOMAS: The All Blacks` players are already stars here, but winning the World Cup will make them national heroes. And if you travel around the country, you`ll understand why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) do it for each other.

THOMAS: New Zealanders` passion for rugby is clear to see.


THOMAS: This is the 87 -year-old Northern Roller Mills Tournament.


THOMAS: It`s had the same sponsor all that time -- an under 13 events where rugby careers are born.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was hard. We played a tournament before losing. It`s just twice as hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s way, way hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put him on the ground!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hit it, Net! Hit it!

THOMAS: Only the dedication of relatives and volunteers make a tournament like this possible. It`s not some expensive academy, but it works as well as one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s one thing about rugby, it keeps our boys committed, it keeps them out of trouble. It keeps them fit. And it gives us something to do with our weekends, basically.

It`s the one place where all the nations that live here will come together and we`re just staying as one.

THOMAS (on camera): In a country that`s famous for churning out rugby talents, this tournament is the ultimate breeding ground. What we have here is more than eight decades of team photos with a list along the bottom of the competitors that have gone on to play for the mighty All Blacks, including legendary names like Colin Meads, Michael Jones, Grant Fox, even Warren Gatland, the current Wales coach. In total, seven of the current All Blacks squad used to play here.

KIERAN READ, NEW ZEALAND RUGBY FORWARD: Parents and volunteers are -- are hugely important to -- to New Zealand rugby. You know, at that age, it`s -- it`s all about the people who -- who put on the hard yards and, you know, the clutches. The parents who have given you the game. So it`s, I think for every kind of kid growing up playing rugby, it`s those folks that -- that help you get where you are today. So it`s, you know, they do a great job and it`s pretty important.

THOMAS (voice-over): This exhibition on Auckland`s waterfront has given international visitors a glimpse of native Maori culture and it matters to New Zealanders how that part of the country`s past fits together with the rest of its society. Rugby has been one of the most successful ways in which this nation`s disparate communities come together.

SONNY BILL WILLIAMS, NEW ZEALAND RUGBY BACK: Everyone understands it. And I think that`s what we`ve embraced as a team, that, you know, that the whole of New Zealand is watching us and -- and loving us and -- and wanting us to do -- do really well. So I think we all know that. And as a team and as individuals, as well, you can just see it, you know, when we walk down the streets and the amount of support we have got is just -- it has been crazy. And it`s been really, really cool to be a part of it, you know. So it`s something that I`m going to cherish for the rest of your life.

THOMAS: And so will the next generation of New Zealand`s rugby players, who are looking to emulate their All Blacks` heroes.

Alex Thomas, CNN, New Zealand.


SNELL: A lot of future young starlets amongst that lot, I wonder, Becky. We shall see in the years to come.

Make sure you join me for "WORLD SPORT" around one hour from right now. The latest from a busy, busy Wednesday in the European Champions League -- Becky, back to you.

ANDERSON: Good stuff, Pat.

Thanks for that.

His sports roundup there.

Now, when we come back, it was the uprising that launched the Arab spring.

But how did it really begin?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just because I wore a uniform, I became a scapegoat for the status of the old regime.


ANDERSON: As Tunisia heads toward an historic election, we look at one woman`s role in an act of protest that cemented a revolution.


ANDERSON: It`s half past nine in London. Wherever you are watching in the world, a very warm welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the world`s news leader. Let`s get you a check of the headlines, shall we, this hour?

Clashes broke out between Greek protesters and police today on day two of a two-day general strike. As many as 100,000 people hit the streets to protest a new round of austerity measures due to begin -- be approved, at least, on Thursday.

Turkey striking back at militants who killed 24 soldiers on Wednesday near the border with Iraq. The prime minister said Turkish forces were in hot pursuit of the perpetrators.

The French foreign minister has declared a French woman abducted from her Kenyan holiday home dead. Armed men kidnapped Marie Dedieu from her home in October and took her to Somalia. She was in poor health and used a wheelchair.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Kabul in Afghanistan. She`s set to meet with the president tomorrow to discuss Kabul`s relationship with Pakistan. The Afghanistan stop comes one day after Clinton visited Libya.

And a royal visit down under. Britain`s Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Canberra today for her 16th official visit to Australia. A recent poll of the Australian population found that support for the royal family is on the rise.

Those are your headlines this hour.

Well, it`s the birthplace of the Arab Spring and the test case for a challenging transition. Tunisia will soon hold its first free elections, building a path from dictatorship to democracy.

Let`s kick off this part of the show with CNN`s Ivan Watson who takes a look at where the journey began with the woman whose confrontation with a vendor helped launch Tunisia`s revolution. Have a look at this.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What did you think when you heard that this man had burned himself?

FEYDA HAMDI, MUNICIPAL HEALTH INSPECTOR (through translator): I felt that they`re going to put all the responsibility on me. I didn`t know, but I thought, "I`m going to pay for it." I was scared. I couldn`t stand on my feet.

WATSON (voice-over): At first glance, Feyda Hamdi does not look like a villain. But that`s the role she was cast in. As a municipal health inspector in the town of Sidi Bouzid, she confiscated the produce of a fruit vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi. The vendor later set himself on fire in protest and eventually died of his terrible wounds.

Bouazizi`s last desperate act of defiance turned the humble fruit vendor into a hero for Tunisia and the Arab world. In the town where it happened, locals claim Hamdi drove Bouazizi over the edge.

ZIAD FATMI: The woman come and slapped him.

WATSON (on camera): The woman slapped him?

FATMI: Yes. The woman slapped him and he`s -- and the woman slapping in Muslim countries it`s the end of the world.

WATSON: Do you know who this woman is?

FATMI: She actually works at that building.

WATSON (voice-over): But Hamdi says the rest of the world has got the story of Mohammed Bouazizi all wrong. At the little square where she famously confronted Bouazizi, Hamdi tells me she was just doing her job, enforcing a law that banned street vendors from working here.

HAMDI (through translator): When I tried to confiscate his fruit, he cursed at me and pulled my hair and grabbed my shoulder. No, I didn`t slap him, I could never do that, because I am an Arab woman and a Muslim, and that`s impossible in our society.

WATSON (on camera): The story of the fruit vendor who set himself on fire in protest has now become a legend, a myth that helped spark revolutions across the Arab world. But here in Sidi Bouzid, the place where it all started, very little has changed.

WATSON (voice-over): Nine months after the revolution, Sidi Bouzid still suffers from the same high unemployment that helped spark the uprising.

As for Hamdi, after spending nearly four months in prison, she`s back at her old job in the Sidi Bouzid municipality, though she says she`s too afraid to wear her old uniform in public.

HAMID (through translator): I`m as much a victim as Mohammed Bouazizi. Just because I wore a uniform, I became a scapegoat for the mistakes of the old regime.

WATSON: Tunisia`s just days away from an historic election, but Hamdi says she won`t be voting, even though the rest of the world will closely watch the Arab world`s first post-revolutionary election.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, Tunisia may have ignited the so-called Arab Awakening, but will it succeed as a model for democratic revolution? Fawaz Gerges is professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics, one of our panel of big thinkers here on this show.

What chance Tunisia can transition to a functioning democracy at this point?

FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN POLITICS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Becky, of all Arab and North African countries, Tunisia is equipped to transition to a pluralistic society.

The building blocks are there. A sizable middle class, a vibrant civil society nourished by a solid education system. One of the oldest labor movements in the Arab world and probably the developing world. A vibrant women`s movement. Also, many political parties.

So, the building blocks are there, but there are, of course, vulnerabilities.

ANDERSON: Yes, you`ve just come back from North Africa. What are the challenges, then?

GERGES: Major vulnerabilities, in particular, economic and social vulnerabilities. Fragmentation of the opposition forces. There`s no consensus among the political forces about the future. That is, the model that they would like to have.

You have major economic difficulties. Remember, Becky, since the revolution in January, we`re talking about unemployment. The employment rate has doubled. In fact, 50 percent of educated females are unemployed now.

Poverty is really throughout the country. In the countryside, the conditions are grim. There`s no hope, no sense of hope. So, there are some major, major vulnerabilities in the country.

ANDERSON: Given all of that and the challenges that Tunisia faces, my sense is that it is so important that Tunisia provide a successful framework for the region.

GERGES: I think it will. And the reason why I`m very hopeful, even though the social and economic conditions are very grim, even though the power structure`s still there. Many people are deeply suspicious that the same people who governed the country for almost 50 years are still there.

But the reality is, Tunisia is going about democracy a step at a time. Remember, the elections are not about a parliament. The elections -- the role of the parliament will be to write a new constitution.

After the constitution is written, there will be parliamentary elections and presidential elections. So, what the Tunisians are trying to do is to really take their time to write the constitution and go back to parliamentary and presidential elections.

ANDERSON: How is what is happening, there, in Tunisia stack up against what you see happening elsewhere?

GERGES: Well, the situation is different in Egypt. The situation is different in Libya. You don`t have a sizable middle class in Egypt. The military is fully in charge in Egypt, unlike that of Tunisia.

There is no vibrant civil society in Egypt as it is in Tunisia, and in particular, middle class. The economic conditions in Egypt are much grimmer, which is very sad.

And the military, really, the military in Egypt seems to be unwilling to relinquish power, even though they promised.

So, the reality is, of all Arab countries, all African -- North African countries, not only Tunisia has the best chance, but it also has a chance to provide a model for the Arab world, in particular if the transition succeeds.

ANDERSON: We started talking about what we were -- then became the Arab Spring about this time last year, of course, when the Tunisian story broke. On reflection, when you look back on it, you were quite pessimistic about just how successful the Arab Spring would be in various different places.

When we were speaking around this time, Christmas and into the new year, on reflection, now, is it more positive than negative, do you think, what you see in the region?

GERGES: Absolutely, regardless of how long it will take. Transitions, Becky, are very messy. Very prolonged.

Remember, that part of the world, the Arab world and North Africa, have been governed -- has been governed by dictatorships for many years. No institutions. Economic and social conditions are truly dismal. On average, you`re talking about 40 percent of Arabs who live either in poverty or below the poverty lines.

ANDERSON: These facts sound terrible, don`t they?

GERGES: Truly unbelievable dictatorships. So, the reality is, I`m delighted that Tunisia is going to have elections in a few days. And then, of course, it`s going to have parliamentary and presidential elections. Even if it takes five years, six years, seven years, ten years, it tells me that Tunisia is going the right way.

Egypt is going to go the right way, even though the process will be messy, will be difficult, will be prolonged. And remember, Becky, there will be setbacks.

The Arab Middle East is not an exception to the rule, whether it was in Latin America or Eastern Europe, that the reality is there is no return to the old order. The old order is dead for good.

ANDERSON: Fawaz Gerges, a regular guest on this show, as ever, a pleasure to have you on.

Just wanted you to get some news just coming into CNN. French media say sources close to Carla Bruni say that the first lady has given birth to a baby girl.

A busy day for the family. She entered a maternity clinic in Paris earlier, and her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, flew to Germany for talks on the euro zone crisis.

Well, the baby is the couple`s first. CNN trying to confirm this. We will bring you more details, of course, as they come in.

Imagine watching your livelihood completely destroyed in under a minute. Up next, a documentary shows how some farmers in Colombia have been left with nothing because of the government war on drugs. That`s next, right here on CNN.


ANDERSON: All right. In Colombia, one of the successful drug- fighting tactics is fumigation. Coca fields killed by spraying them from the air with herbicides. You may have heard of this strategy before.

Some farms growing legal crops, though, are accidentally being hit with devastating consequences. Senior Latin American Affairs Editor Rafael Romo joins me, now, live. This is quite remarkable stuff, isn`t it?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: That`s right, Becky. And the bottom line is that if a legal crop -- we`re not talking about illegal crops, here -- a legal crop is sprayed by mistake only once, it can be ruined for many, many years to come, which means farmers whose fields get fumigating with herbicides have to move to a different location or to the cities to find a different way of making a living.

A new documentary shows the story of Abelardo Joya, a Colombian farmer who was forced to leave his fields behind.


DAN ROGE, DOCUMENTARY EDITOR AND CO-DIRECTOR, GIVE US NAMES: We`ve been getting ready for a year. So, I`m elated.

ROMO (voice-over): Dan Roge is one of the founders of Give Us Names, a non-profit organization that is trying to turn an international spotlight on the plight of displaced farmers in Colombia. Tonight, they`re releasing their first documentary, "Leaving La Floresta."

The film follows Abelardo Joya and his family, who are among nearly 3.5 million internally displaced people in Colombia.

ROGE: And hopefully, it`s -- all of the effort is going to completely transform their lives.

ROMO: Documentary co-director Caleb Collier says the non-profit wanted to find a social injustice it could tangibly help.

CALEB COLLIER, DOCUMENTARY CO-DIRECTOR, GIVE US NAMES: We kept researching the top humanitarian crises in the world, and Colombia kept coming up again and again on the top of that list.

ROMO: Displacement is when extreme poverty, war, or violence forces people to abandon their homes. The United Nations says this happens in Colombia more than anywhere else in the world. Give Us Names wanted to help those displaced by crop fumigations.

Aerial fumigations are largely funded by the United States through Plan Colombia, a $7.5 billion program started in 1999 to support Colombia`s efforts to combat the illegal drug trade. Fumigations wipe out cocaine supplies at the source. Strong herbicides are sprayed on fields of coca plants.

JAMES STORY, DIRECTOR, NARCTOICS AFFAIRS SECTION, US EMBASSY, BOGOTA: The aerial eradication program run by the government of Colombia has been extraordinarily successful.

ROMO: James Story is the US embassy`s director of narcotics affairs in Bogota. He says coca cultivation has dropped 40 percent since the spray program started, and cocaine production is down 60 percent. He said planes only occasionally miss their mark.

STORY: If your neighbor is growing coca, every attempt possible is made to spray only the coca itself. There is some drift that happens. It`s very minimal, within 150 meters.

ROMO: After several research trips to Colombia, members of Give Us Names were introduced to Abelardo Joya. In September of 2010, Joya`s small farm, where he cultivated cacao, or chocolate beans, plantains, and yucca plants, was inadvertently fumigated.

ABELARDO JOYA, FARMER (through translator): They`ve destroyed our food. That`s the only thing they destroy, because our food crops cannot resist the poison they drop.

ROMO: The documentary reports that the Joya family`s livelihood was ruined, and they abandoned their farm to move to the city, where Joya now works in the sewers.

As Joya`s wife, Olga, packed up the farm for good, the men from Give Us Names were able to witness displacement firsthand.

ZACK MELLETTE, BUSINESS OPERATIONS, GIVE US NAMES: It was like, this is it. This is what it feels like. This is what it looks like. And I just sat there at their farm just almost ashamed, because I was there. Our mission is to end displacement, we`re watching it, and we can`t stop it.

ROMO: Give Us Names says it wants to share Abelardo`s story so others won`t have to share his plight. The film explores cooperatives where displaced farmers can find a new place to grow legal crops.

COLLIER: We recognize that we`re not international developers. We don`t have a whole lot of knowledge or experience in this level, so we`re working with Colombian organizations, Colombian farmer-led organizations around the countryside to work towards projects that invite farmers who are either displaced or who are currently growing coca to come in and give them an alternative.


ROMO: Accion Social, the Colombian government entity that assists displaced people, told CNN it does not consider fumigations to be one of the causes of displacement in Colombia.

At the US embassy, James Story says it`s very difficult, very difficult, to count legal farmers displaced by governmental coca eradication because there may be other factors as well. Story said the number is less than one quarter of one percent of displaced individuals, which is less than 9,000 people altogether.

He pointed out that they`re eligible to apply for economic redress. Becky?

ANDERSON: All right, Rafael, I want to -- I think it`s important to point out that aerial fumigations are just one part of Plan Colombia, aren`t they? The money has been mostly used to help the country strengthen its police and military.

Advocates say the plan has helped the country strengthen democracy and government institutions. They also argue it`s increased the Colombian government`s ability to fight so-called narco-terrorism.

Now, while the UN says coca production fell 15 percent in 2010, critics do argue the plan has failed to reduce production in the region. Some say attacks against drug traffickers have simply moved coca and poppy crops elsewhere.

And this is the thing, isn`t it? Rafael, how would something like Plan Colombia be -- what would you learn from a Plan Colombia for, for example, Plan Mexico?

ROMO: They are very -- there are a number of differences between the two countries. In Colombia, they were dealing with guerrilla paramilitaries, and traffickers. In Mexico, you have at least half a dozen major drug cartels fighting among themselves and also the Mexican army. So, it`s a very different dynamic.

It`d be great if you could also spray the cartels in Mexico, but that`s just not the case, Becky.

ANDERSON: Plan Colombia pushing production into other countries. We know that. What`s the state -- or the States, at least, doing about Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, where we`ve seen the most vicious, vicious violence on the streets, of course?

ROMO: Not only the countries that you mentioned, Becky, but also Central America. A recent report by the United Nations says that Honduras is the country with the highest homicide rate in the entire world, followed by El Salvador and Guatemala.

So, that tells you that as authorities have had success in Colombia and Mexico, to a degree, then the drug trafficking operations are moving into Central America in addition to the countries that you mentioned in South America, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, the story in Mexico, of course, is very different to the story in Colombia. While Mexican cartels aren`t fighting over production, of course, they`re battling over -- to control smuggling routes. And as you say, you can`t spray the cartels.

If there`s a lesson to be learned from Colombia`s experience, surely it is that as long as there is demand for drugs, somebody will supply them.

ROMO: That`s right, Becky. And that`s what both President Calderon in Mexico and President Obama in the United States have talked about. That idea of co-responsibility. If Mexico is shipping the drugs to the United States, the reason is because there`s a big demand in the United Sates.

But one thing that I noticed in Colombia when I was there in January of this year is that a strong military presence in the jungle in some of the areas that used to belong to the traffickers has had an impact, has had an effect on what`s happening there.

And now, you see farmers transferring or switching to legal crops instead of coca plants, which is what they used to do before.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Rafael, as ever, always a pleasure. Thank you very much, indeed. Talking about how we just see a push from Colombia into Mexico and what may be learned from the Plan Colombia initiatives.

Next up on CONNECT THE WORLD, the Chinese superstar who discovered his piano talents at the age of two.


LANG LANG, CLASSICAL PIANIST: That doesn`t mean child prodigy makes careers. It makes lovely stories.


ANDERSON: Lang Lang is tonight`s Big Interview as we continue to ask the question, is genius a case of nature or nurture?



ANDERSON: Nature or nurture? We are investigating the key to genius all this week on CONNECT THE WORLD. And to help us consider the question, we are speaking to superstars such as soprano Hayley Westenra, who discovered her pitch-perfect voice at the age of six.

And we`ll introduce you to the amateur golfer who is testing the theory that anyone can achieve greatness, it just takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice.

And in tonight`s Big Interview, a young man who has taken the world of classical music by storm. Lang Lang was considered a prodigy, but has revealed he was also hothoused throughout his childhood. The strict practice regime put him under so much pressure that at one point, Lang Lang tried to damage his hands so that he could no longer play the piano.

Max Foster, my colleague, spoke to the virtuoso Chinese musician about his road to international stardom.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Morning, Mr. Lang Lang.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is the jet-setting star credited with helping to inspire a renaissance of the classical piano.


FOSTER: His distinctive, if not flamboyant style, has attracted fans and critics alike. But love him or loathe him, Lang Lang is a phenomenon, ambitious, trend-setting, global.

LANG: Funny thing, you know, of course, I started career first in America. Obviously, when I was in China, I was sort of a child prodigy. But it doesn`t mean child prodigy makes careers, as you know. It makes lovely stories.

And then once you`re -- you turn teenager, the world has been changed. It`s not because you are young. You need to really play well.

FOSTER: It was this performance at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics that shot him to international stardom.

FOSTER (on camera): What was that like? Were you nervous?

LANG: I was quite excited. And actually, I was nervous for the first time, when I had a first rehearsal. And then I realized, why should I be nervous, because I --

FOSTER: You mean before?

LANG: No, no. Because I was babysitting the little girl next to me. And she was really funny. She asked me, "When are we finished? Why are we sitting here?" She said, "Oh, it`s too hot here. I want to go home."

FOSTER: It`s too hot.


LANG: So, when you`re sitting with such adorable kids, you don`t feel nervous at all. It`s like, that`s fun.

FOSTER (voice-over): Indeed, Lang Lang dedicates much of his time to encouraging young musicians to follow the classical path. His success has prompted some 40 million children in China to take up the piano in what`s been dubbed "the Lang Lang effect."

LANG: I started when I was two, playing piano, after I was watching Tom and Jerry cartoon. The cat`s capture, more precisely. It was the least work. And then, I started first recital when I was five, and by then, my father was quite strict.

FOSTER (on camera): Pushy? Pushy?

LANG: Yes. That --

FOSTER: Did he hothouse you, would you say?

LANG: Yes, I would say my father was pretty pushy in the beginning, and then getting more pushy later.

FOSTER: I know it came to a head, didn`t it? Your father`s pushiness at one point, where you fell out with your piano teacher.

LANG: Yes, that was horrible, so let`s talk about something, not that. Yes, it was an awful experience. But from that point, he changed a lot, and we became more understandable to each other.

FOSTER (voice-over): And now, 27 years since he was first captivated by Tom and Jerry playing "Hungarian Rhapsody Number Two" --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Concerto Number Three," take one.

FOSTER: Lang Lang has released a tribute album to composer Franz Liszt, and is touring in celebration of his piano hero`s 200th birthday.

An inspiration to millions, sellout concerts around the world, and his own private jet, Lang Lang`s success is extraordinary. But is it a case of nature or nurture?

FOSTER (on camera): You are a world-class musician, and you`re a big megastar, now. So, those -- that early form of teaching arguably worked for you, didn`t it? I know you mentor young children now on music. What are you encouraging them to do? Is it right for them to be hothoused?

LANG: There are a lot of things I go through in the past which I felt was necessary, like hardship of practice. But there are a lot of things -- I mean, I wouldn`t say a lot of things, but there are a few things, I would say, that are unnecessary. So, from this point on, I try to help kids to get working in the right direction.

FOSTER: Are you saying that they should have more choice, basically, about what they do and how they practice?

LANG: There`s certainly not just one way to be successful. So, we need to learn from each other, from the professional musicians --

FOSTER: But they want to be you, don`t they? These young kids?

LANG: Right, yes.

FOSTER: They want what you`ve got.

LANG: Yes.

FOSTER: Which is virtually impossible to get.

LANG: I believe if you work in the right direction, if you get the right movement in your life, you will achieve it.


ANDERSON: Lang Lang, there, talking to Max Foster about what it takes to be, not just a success, but a genius.

Tomorrow night, a man who is testing a theory about that. This is golf amateur Dan McLaughlin. Now, he`s given up his day job to find out if 10,000 hours can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Tomorrow night, we`ll see if his dedication is paying off.

Well now, from sheer genius to our Parting Shots of, well, sheer guts. If your son comes up to you and asks for a little help with his college assignment, maybe after watching this, you`re going to think again before saying yes.

This is the six-foot, five inch American Josh Thompson who thought he`d use his mum for a slam dunk. Josh certainly got her attention and almost half a million hits on YouTube.

The Wagner College forward tried this stunt at his school`s Midnight Madness basketball event. She`d have probably been a bit mad, too, if he got it wrong. But he didn`t. Of course he didn`t. Oh!


ANDERSON: I`m Becky Anderson, thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BACKSTORY" will follow this very short break. Don`t go away.