CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Greek Prime Minister Pleads for Support; Interview with Stefanos Manos; Interview with Robin Niblett; Pakistani Cricket Players Sentenced; G20 Focuses on Greece; New ECB President Announces Rate Cut; US Markets Respond Positively to G20 News; Sarkozy Pushes for Financial Transaction Tax to Aid Developing Nations; First Day of G20 Unusually Tumultuous; Big Interview With Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak; Growing Tensions in Middle East Over Iran's Nuclear Ambitions; Youth Unemployment Staggering in Europe; Young People Hold Town Hall in Marseilles

Aired November 3, 2011 - 17:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, a plea for support from Greece's prime minister, as he heads for a crucial vote of confidence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE PAPANDREOU, GREEK PRIME MINISTER (through translator): From the moment we had the -- the dilemma between consensus or referendum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, as George Papandreou asks Greece's parliament to stand united, I'll ask a former Greek finance minister whether consensus really is on the table.

Well, live from Cannes in France, at the G20 summit, I'm Becky Anderson.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And live from London, I'm Max Foster.

Also tonight, as fears grow over Iran's nuclear ambitions, Israel's defense minister refuses to rule out military action.

And as cricket's biggest corruption scandal rolls on, three of Pakistan's top players begin a new life behind bars.

ANDERSON: Well, we begin with high anxiety over the Eurozone debt crisis here in Cannes.

Dramatic events in Athens overshadowing today's G20 meetings as the Greek prime minister went to his parliament not once, but twice, to address the uproar over his call for a referendum on a hard-fought European bailout deal.

Now, in the first speech, Mr. Papandreou didn't exactly explicitly cancel the referendum, but said he's ready to drop it if the Greek opposition will support the bailout's tough austerity measures.

Well later, the prime minister called for immediate talks with the opposition, saying national unity is paramount.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE PAPANDREOU, GREEK PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We all have to take these steps together, to show that we are decisive. And if we don't all work together, we won't be able to achieve it. So we are prepared to suffer without fighting to get -- to go ahead with acts (ph) on our targets. I keep on saying that since day one. National unity is the - - the most important tool in order to get out of this crisis.

People start displacing (ph) because I --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, back at G20 summit, the architects of the bailout deal kept up the pressure. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it's actions that count, urging Greece to quickly approve the bailout deal.

French president and G20 host, Nicolas Sarkozy, added this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Now, to speak about Greece, what can I say?

Simply put, things are progressing. We're taking a great interest and total attention to what's going on in Greece. And I think the message that was sent to the entire Greek political class yesterday by Germany and France together has helped the sort of realization of how things might develop. And I think that in Greece, they realize this. And we think everybody is very interested in seeing that happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, as dramatic as today was in Athens, just wait until tomorrow. That's when Mr. Papandreou faces a vote of confidence that could collapse his government.

Well, Jim Boulden has been following developments all day.

He's with us tonight in Athens, joining us live from there -- what a day, Jim.

You couldn't have made it up, could you?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, you couldn't make it up. And I'm not sure it's actually finished. Maybe it's finished for the next few hours. But what we had, of course, is, as you said, Mr. Papandreou speaking twice in the parliament here. The second time, asking the opposition to come back.

We haven't heard yet from the opposition. We'll probably hear tomorrow when it comes to the voting.

But let's hear a little bit of how passionate the opposition member leader was, Mr. Samaras, when he went before parliament a few hours ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTONIS SAMARAS, GREEK OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): We're asking you to resign in order to give the power to Greek people, to give the power to the new go -- new prime minister, to negotiate the new measures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOULDEN: Well, Becky, let me just add to the confusion, if you don't mind. One of the latest theories is that Mr. Papandreou could actually win the vote tomorrow night, win the vote of confidence and still step down, that maybe, just maybe, that there's some power paly going on behind, where he would feel victorious for winning that, but then there would be a national government, a national unity government formed late on Friday night, Saturday morning. Just one of the scenarios here that has to play out over the next 24 hours. We just have no idea what will happen until that happens -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Jim Boulden for you in Athens.

All right, well, so much has happened since last week, when European leaders finally reached a debt deal after months of tough negotiations. You could almost hear the palpable sigh of relief in markets around the world.

But as my colleague, Max Foster, reminds us, they were in for a rude awakening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was no question that bulls were out in force in the European market. It's kind of a relief rally. But they're rallying to the highest levels that we've seen in about 12 weeks, so there's definitely some substance to it.

Of course, the driving force was the bailout plan for Greece. Hopefully, this will put this halt to the sovereign debt crisis that we've been talking about now for the last couple of years.

FOSTER: That was last week, when European leaders thought they were all on the same page.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION: The package we have agreed tonight, this (INAUDIBLE) package, confirms that Europe will do what it takes to safeguard financial stability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Then, late Monday, the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, delivered his bombshell -- the plan would be put to a referendum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Yesterday, the Greek prime minister took the initiative of announcing a referendum. This announcement has surprised the whole of Europe. France wishes to restate that the plan adopted unanimously last Thursday, by the 17 members of the Eurozone, is the only possible route to resolve the problem of the Greek debt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: The relief rally was over for the market. Stocks tumbled as fears intensified that Greeks would reject the bailout, leading to a default which could taken down other debt-ridden countries.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARROSO: I want to make a very urgent and heartfelt appeal for national and political unity in Greece.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: The announcement also took Greek citizens by surprise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Confused.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Totally confused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a new way to commit suicide, for my country, for the European citizens, for the group -- for Europe or so- called.

FOSTER: The calls for the Greek prime minister's resignation grew louder as the days marched on. By Thursday, his referendum gamble had lost him the support of at least three members of his ruling party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAPANDREOU: I have said -- I have said over and over again in Greece that we need a wider consensus. I have tried for a wider consensus with all the parties. I have talked many times with the leaders. And if there was a wider consensus, obviously, we would not need a referendum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Papandreou now faces a crucial, no confidence motion in parliament on Friday.

PAPANDREOU: I want the Greek people to speak. And the Greek people will speak soon.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: All right, well, the Greek prime minister is facing a vote on his own future, with a wafer thin majority.

Let's take a look at where things stand in the country's parliament, shall we?

Mr. Papandreou's PASOK Party leads by a thread in the 300-seat parliament. It's got 152 seats. Now, you need 151, you can do the math -- for a majority. So you can see just how tight that is. Other parties include New Democracy, which is the second largest party, with 85 seats. Well, a former Greek finance minister says Mr. Papandreou's call for a referendum was, quote, "a very irresponsible, reckless decision which has serious risks to Greece."

Stefanos Manos is the former finance minister.

And he joins us now from Athon -- Athens.

"An irresponsible, reckless decision with serious risks for Greece."

Sir, explain.

What do you mean?

STEFANOS MANOS, FORMER GREEK FINANCE MINISTER: Well, we're -- we're - - we saw it last night in Cannes, where the French president and Mrs. Merkel indicated to Mr. Papandreou that unless he -- he drops his referendum idea, they would stop all help to Greece. And that would mean default for Greece within the next 30 days.

So that -- that (INAUDIBLE) --

ANDERSON: OK, let's get really --

MANOS: -- that's the result --

ANDERSON: -- specific stories.

MANOS: -- of that decision.

ANDERSON: -- I want to back up. Let me -- let me just stop you there. Let me back up. I just want to ask you some very specific questions.

Will Mr. Papandreou survive this vote of confidence tomorrow, to your mind?

MANOS: I don't know about that. It's very tight. If -- if he survives, it's going to be by a very thin margin. And if he loses, it's also going to be with -- by a thin margin. So I cannot answer that, that this won't --

ANDERSON: All right --

MANOS: -- it -- it's --

ANDERSON: -- perhaps you can answer this question.

Should he step down --

MANOS: (INAUDIBLE) --

ANDERSON: -- at this point?

Should he resign at this point?

MANOS: Well, I think he should resign or his party should get together and replace him, something that they can do. I mean if a majority of the parliamentarians in the Socialist Party decide that they've had enough of Mr. Papandreou, they can replace him with a different prime minister.

They did that --

ANDERSON: A very passionate speech --

MANOS: -- in the past (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: -- by the leader of the opposition today, Mr. Samaras.

Let me just stop you there for a moment.

A very impassioned speech by the opposition leader, who said he should step down today and the country should be allowed to vote once again, a snap election.

Mr. Papandreou, earlier today, called that a catastrophic event, if it were to happen.

As you looking for a snap election at this point?

MANOS: No. Well, it -- it's not going to be more catastrophic than the -- than the referendum. But it, again, it would have a similar effect, because whilst we -- the -- the country goes for the election, I'm fairly certain that the Europeans would not release the funds. And, again, Greece would run the risk of -- of default, not the risk, the certainty of default.

So a snap election at this point is a very dan -- is a dangerous development which I would not recommend. It -- we might have an election, let's say, in four months time or five months time.

ANDERSON: OK. Let me ask you this, because Mr. Papandreou spoke for 45 minutes today. He was then questioned. He's speaking again this evening. And we'll see this vote tomorrow.

It was a long speech. And some would call it rambling.

Did you hear him say that the referendum was on or off at this stage?

MANOS: Well, I don't -- I didn't -- I do not recall hearing something specific. But I can tell you that my -- my forecast is that there's not going to be a referendum period. One should not concern oneself with a referendum. It's over. So there is not a --

ANDERSON: How concerned are you about Greece --

MANOS: (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: -- and Greece's reputation at this point?

MANOS: Very much, because Greece's reputation, its prime minister's reputation, its opposition leader's reputation is they're all now in shambles because of what's happening. Perhaps a few people have noticed that Sarkozy yesterday made clear that again the release of funds would require also the complete approval of what's happened in Brussels by the opposition party.

ANDERSON: Fascinating there.

Stefanos Manos, a former finance minister and a member of the here opposition party.

We thank you very much, indeed, sir, for joining us this evening.

It is a mess, as you can see.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from Cannes, where we are monitoring the G20 Summit.

When we come back, protecting the euro at all costs -- we take a look at the the extraordinary warning from some of Europe's top leaders for Greece to shape up or ship out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A very warm, wet welcome back from Cannes here, the site of the G20 summit in France.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Now, tonight, as the crisis in the Eurozone is front and center, the message to Greece is loud and clear -- play ball. For the first time European leaders have admitted what was once unthinkable -- that Greece could be kicked out of the Eurozone.

Only last week, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, called the idea a catastrophe for Europe and the world. But last night, the game changed. After hearing the latest bailout deal would be put to a referendum in Greece, the priority became saving the currency, not rescuing the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARKOZY: We have said clearly that we want Greece to stay in the euro, but, of course, the precondition for that is that they wish to do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, it's tough talk from France and Germany, but can it be backed up by action?

CNN's Jonathan Mann takes a look at the big question with an ever bigger pile of cash.

Should Greece, can Greece, I mean will Greece return to its own independent currency?

Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the time the people of Athens built the Parthenon 2,500 years ago, they were already using a currency called the drachma. Athens has changed some since -- the temple is still there, but the drachma is gone, abandoned in 2002 in favor of the euro.

The euro was supposed to work wonders -- a common currency bringing more trade, prosperity and stability to its 17 countries, especially the ones with weaker economies. Governments in places like Greece would have to be smarter and stricter with their money, but the payoff would be higher living standards for their people.

It didn't entirely work out that way. Greece ran up huge debts and hid them. Now, it's in economic upheaval and the promise of the euro may be too hard to keep. There's no plan for anyone pulling out of the common currency, but can Athens do it anyway?

ANTONIS PAPAYIANNIDIS, EDITOR, "GREECE'S ECONOMIC REVIEW": To go back and not to have the support of the Eurozone, not to have the support of the discipline that the euro and its mechanisms have put to Greece, it would have been starting all over again from, let's say, back to the '40s or to the '50s.

MANN: But there are two sides to the drachma today.

STERGIOS SKAPERDAS, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR: With the grand drachma, you would have increased competitiveness very fast. Employment would start increasing a few months after getting out of the Eurozone. And the fact that you will get -- the decisions will be made by your government and yourselves instead of some bureaucrats in Brussels or Frankfurt. And that can have a -- an important effect.

MANN: Greeks aren't the only ones having the debate. All of Europe is watching, wondering and betting the future of its currency.

Jonathan Mann, CNN.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, it might be a mess, but is it inevitable at this point that the Greeks might actually pull out of the Eurozone or be dumped out of the Eurozone?

Let's speak to Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House in London.

I mean, Robin, you couldn't make this up. I mean there are, what has it been, since Monday, when the Greek prime minister called this snap referendum -- and we still don't know whether it's actually going to happen at the beginning of December. I mean the world has been awash with discussion as to whether Greece will stay in the Eurozone or not.

What's your betting at this point?

ROBIN NIBLETT, DIRECTOR, CHATHAM HOUSE: My bet is that it stays in the Eurozone. I think we're in a game of high stakes poker between the Greek prime minister and Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.

I think Sarkozy was right when he said that if Greece goes out of the Eurozone, it would be a catastrophe, because the losses that would have to be realized by French banks, ultimately, German banks, could knock France's AAA rating off. That then cause them to question the size of the European Financial Stability Facility and then the extension of the euro crisis, I think, goes, potentially, into Italy.

But I think they are gambling that, actually, the Greeks would be more scared of being chucked out of the Eurozone and therefore they're playing high stakes poker and they've -- they've applied the ultimate threat.

But as far as I can see, the Greeks are buckling.

ANDERSON: Right. OK. Because, you know, we all heard Sarkozy speaking on Wednesday night at the unofficial beginning of this summit, when they had hauled the Greek prime minister in for a real dressing down.

Was he calling the Greeks' bluff when he effectively said, listen, you know, it wouldn't be the end of the world if Greek -- if Greece weren't in the Eurozone?

NIBLETT: Yes, I -- I think he's -- he's definitely calling Greece's bluff. He's now put the boot on his foot and said let's see how you like the pressure, because, ultimately, if Greece were to drop out of the euro, despite your previous report, or at least one view of it, you know, Greece is not going to suddenly become more competitive with the drachma, because they're not producing enough things. People don't want to buy what they buy. They don't -- they have an inefficient economy which won't be competitive even with a more competitive, lower valued currency.

ANDERSON: Robin, remind us how we have got here. When I talk back to the Maastricht Treaty at the beginning of the 1990s, there was so much goodwill and optimism about the -- the European Union. Then we moved into the monetary union. There was much discussion about whether that would work with it -- without sort of fiscal sort of coordination, but we moved on. Now much talk that we can't do this without a federal Europe, without fiscal coordination once again.

How did we get here?

NIBLETT: Well, I think we got here because ultimately the members of the Eurozone have been able to disguise, or at least some of them have been able to disguise their loss of competitiveness by being inside a Eurozone that treated all of their debts as if it was the same.

And what's happened is that over this time, countries like Greece, but also Italy, Spain have been disguising and hiding their loss of competitiveness under a single interest rate.

What they're having to do now is the markets have woken up, that, actually, they don't have growth without credit. And credit is not available the way it was back in the early 2000s. The world has a much tighter supply after the global fiscal crisis. Money is not being doled out. People can't borrow their way into growth.

And people are suddenly saying, hold on a minute, if you can't borrow your way into growth, how are you going to achieve growth when you've got 120 percent, like Italy, of your -- of your GDP as debt?

And so people are calling into question what I think is a credit- driven form of growth in half of the Eurozone. And then the countries like Germany, which are competitive, are doing very well selling to the un- competitive -- the un-competitive ones in a single currency zone.

The situation was untenable.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Yes. Great analysis, as ever. Always a pleasure. A regular guest on this show, Robin Niblett of Chatham House.

We welcome your thoughts.

You are watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD here from Cannes and the site of the G20 summit.

I'm Becky Anderson.

I'll be back later in the show.

For now, though, let's cross to Max Foster in London.

FOSTER: Becky, coming up after the break, the judge called it a sad day for cricket. Three Pakistani players get punished over a spot fixing scandal.

Details in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Three Pakistani cricket players have been jailed for their involvement in a spot-fixing scam. Mohammed Amir, former captain, Salman Butt, and Mohammad Asif, received sentences totaling four years for their part in the scandal involving a test match against England last year.

CNN's Phil Black has been in court.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Salman, are you going to say sorry today?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The judge said Salman Butt, Pakistan's former captain, was most responsible. He was the players' leader and the orchestrator of the conspiracy, the judge said. That's why, of the players, he received the toughest sentence -- two-and-a-half years.

Butt's wife gave birth to their second son in Pakistan two days ago. He doesn't know when he will hold him.

PAUL HARRIS, SOLICITOR FOR SALMAN BUTT: On behalf of Salman Butt, I simply want to confirm that we will be appealing his sentence and lodging grounds of appeal against the sentence within the next 24 hours.

Thank you very much.

BLACK: Mohammad Asif only bowled one no ball, or illegal delivery, as part of the fix. For that, he received a one year sentence.

Bowler Mohammed Amir was just 18 at the time. The judge described him as uneducated, unsophisticated, impressionable. Amir was the only player to admit guilt. But the judge said imprisonment was still necessary to deter other young players. He got six months.

Mazhar Majeed, butt's British manager, was the man caught in the sting that started all of this. The British tabloid, "The News of the World," recorded this video of Majeed taking $140,000 to guarantee fixed play in Pakistan's fall test against England last year. Most of that money has not been recovered. The judge said Majeed meant to take the biggest share.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going through your mind at the moment?

BLACK: He was sentenced to two years and eight months.

All four could be released once half their sentences are served.

(on camera): The judge, Mr. Justice Cooke, said the players' prison terms would have been much longer if they weren't already serving five year bans from the sport. He said that punishment is considerable, ending the careers of butt and Asif. Amir is young enough to come back, but it won't be easy.

He said imprisonment was the only option because of the seriousness of the offenses, undermining the integrity of a sport once associated around the world with fair play.

Phil Black, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: The story has generated an awful lot of hype on social media, as you can imagine.

Let's take a -- a look at what cricket fans have been Tweeting about around the world.

From New York, ansser13 posted this message about the jail sentences: "Unprecedented, but sends a message that fixing in cricket will be punished."

From England, adllray questions whether these players are the only ones involved in scams: "How many past and present have been? How much circus cricket have we watched?"

Well, Belle31 in Toronto, Canada disagrees with the sentencing: "No matter what anyone says, jail terms for delivering no balls is just baseless and untenable."

Just ahead on this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, we'll bring you the top headlines this hour.

Plus, Becky will have more from the G20 gathering in France.

ANDERSON: Here in France, Bill Gates tells me why he addressed the G20 leaders here today on an issue that he says is being neglected, as the world's leading economies struggle with their own debt. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: You're watching CNN, the world's news leader. This is CONNECT THE WORLD, and these are the headlines this hour.

Greek prime minister George Papandreou has again pleaded for the opposition to begin unity talks, but earlier, the country's opposition leader said no, that's not going to happen, and he repeated his demands for staff elections. Mr. Papandreou's government faces a confidence vote on Friday.

Opposition groups say Syrian troops have killed at least 18 people in the city of Homs. It comes a day after the government in Damascus pledged to end its crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators. This video is said to be from Homs, but CNN can't independently confirm it.

Three Pakistani cricket players have begun jail sentences for their involvement in sport-fixing scams. Mohammad Amir, former captain Salman Butt, and Mohammad Asif were found guilty of conspiring to bowl deliberate no balls at a test match against England last year.

Attackers struck the entrance of a contractor in Herat in Afghanistan then stormed the compound and took hostages. They exchanged gunfire with Afghan forces for several hours before they were killed and hostages rescued. Two security guards died.

Back to our top story in our special coverage, now, from Cannes with Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Max. A country that is not even part of the G20 dominating day one of the summit here in Cannes. Leaders of the world's major economies are focused on Greece, where political drama has thrown the fate of the euro zone rescue deal into doubt.

US president Barack Obama said there was no question about the summit's number one priority.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The most important aspect of our task over the next two days it to resolve the financial crisis here in Europe.

President Sarkozy has shown extraordinary leadership on this issue. I agree with him that the EU has made some important steps towards a comprehensive solution, and that would not have happened without Nicolas' leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, in Athens, meantime, Greek prime minister George Papandreou backtracked on his call for a referendum on the bailout package. Instead, he's asking the opposition to work with him on implementing the deal. Mr. Papandreou faces a vote of confidence in Parliament tomorrow.

Well, just days into his new job, ECB president Mario Draghi has announced the first European Central Bank's rate cut in nearly two and a half years. The court-appoint cut to one and a quarter percent is a measure to stimulate an economy that Draghi warns could slip into a mild recession by the end of the year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIO DRAGHI, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK: The economic outlook continues to be subject to particularly high uncertainty and intensified downside risks.

Some of these risks had been materialized, which makes a significant downward revision to forecasts and projects for average real GDP growth in 2012 very likely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the US markets responded fairly positively to the litany of headlines coming out of Europe, and it was such a confusing day. Alison Kosik explains why from the New York Stock Exchange.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Investors here on Wall Street regained confidence in a European bailout plan Thursday. After Greece appeared to fall back in line, stocks rallied for the second day.

At the close, the Dow surged 208 points to 12,044. The NASDAQ and the S&P 500 gained solidly, as well.

The rally got a kickstart from the ECB's decision to lower its key interest rate for the first time in two years. The rate cut is likely to result in more lending and borrowing in Europe, and that typically leads to increased consumer spending, a great sign for the huge number of US companies that depend on revenue from Europe.

More news out of Greece gave US markets an extra jolt late in the day. Investors latched onto reports that the Greek prime minister would not put the rescue plan up for a vote.

In general, though, the markets seemed to respond only to the positive rumors out of Europe Thursday and seemed to look past any of the negative ones.

Finally, more positive economic data also helped sustain the rally. New claims for unemployment benefits fell by 9,000, slipping back below the key psychological benchmark of 400,000.

It's the latest in a series of upbeat employment reports released this week ahead of the all-important government jobs report. That report is due ahead of Friday's opening bell.

Analysts are predicting the report will show the US economy added just under $100,000 jobs in October, which would be right around the number added in September. And unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 9.1 percent. It's been there, stuck there, since July. Becky?

ANDERSON: All this focus on the woes of the world economy is diverting attention and money, of course, away from other causes. Earlier, Bill Gates expressed his frustration to world leaders here that aid to poorer countries is being neglected.

He was invited to speak by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who has reaffirmed his view that a financial transaction tax could be -- just could be -- a creative way forward for funding in developed countries. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLAS SARKOZY, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): We have to look at new and innovative ways of financing development in these countries, and France has been calling again for an FTT, a financial transaction tax.

And I'm certain that it is technically possible and the commission has done a great deal of work on that that's been successful that it would be very important to have it, financially, because of the crisis.

And I think that morally, this tax is something that we just can't overlook in our search for solutions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: I've got to say that that was one of the few issues that was actually marked today aside from the European debt deal crisis and the Greek debacle.

Earlier, I spoke to Bill Gates and asked him if he thought a financial transaction tax would work. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL GATES, FOUNDER, MICROSOFT: I think each country will decide what they want to do about taxes, and there won't be some synchronization where they'll all decide at once.

However they raise the aid money is OK with me. For a lot of countries, a financial tax might be a way that they can maintain their aid commitments, and so that's why it's on a table for people to look at.

There are a few countries who are saying they might go ahead with it even though it won't be a universal adoption.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Bill Gates getting a seat at the top table today. Neither myself nor my colleague, here, CNN's Ali Velshi, were lucky enough to do that. But we've been watching events for you --

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

ANDERSON: -- so we've been keeping up, and it's been one of the most tumultuous days I can remember in covering a summit like this.

VELSHI: Sure.

ANDERSON: Primarily because much of what was happening wasn't here.

VELSHI: Right.

ANDERSON: It was elsewhere, of course.

VELSHI: It elsewhere involving a party that's not part of the G20. Normally these things are quite predictable.

But watching this from the outside must have been similar to what it was like to watch the US debt crisis where people around the world are saying, why can't you guys just get this together? Doesn't sound that complicated.

You absolutely know that in the end, there has to be a solution, and there are four or five roads to it. Why not just get one done?

ANDERSON: I hate to say this tonight, but listening to Mr. Papandreou in what was a pretty rambling speech --

VELSHI: Right.

ANDERSON: -- over 45 minutes, it did beg the question no wonder Greece is in a mess at the moment.

VELSHI: Right. Very complicated situation, remarkable internal squabbles about the things that every major country is dealing with, right? The how to balance government cutbacks and spending cuts and deal with budgets and deficits and debts.

But it does -- the combination of a complicated political situation and those struggles and a people that's not on side with the government is making this a very difficult thing to deal with, and it's spilling over into the rest of the world.

ANDERSON: You and I asked ourselves as we were listening to Papandreou's speech today, is he holding a referendum or isn't he? Let's remind ourselves, back on Monday, he made this shock announcement --

VELSHI: Right.

ANDERSON: -- after everybody thought a European debt deal had been signed, sealed, and delivered --

VELSHI: Right.

ANDERSON: -- that he would put this to the people of Greece.

VELSHI: Right.

ANDERSON: What did he say today? Have we worked this out yet?

VELSHI: Here's -- we've parsed this. You and I have been back and forth all day, saying, what? Is this thing on or is it off?

Here's the best we seem to have come up with. He is saying to the opposition, to people who are opposing this, if you cut a deal with me, it doesn't go to the people. If you don't cooperate with me and you don't cut a deal, I'll take it to the people.

But within 18 hours, we're going to have the third trench of this very complicated confidence vote. So who even knows by tomorrow night whether he's still going to be the prime minister of Greece?

So, at this point, a lot of the betting is that they're going to pull this referendum back, and the markets have been reacting to that in part today, partially because of that rate cut. But unclear.

ANDERSON: Meantime, there are other stakeholders here, let's remember, Bill Gates being one of them.

VELSHI: Right.

ANDERSON: The financial transaction tax, at least a nod and a wink was given to that --

VELSHI: Yes.

ANDERSON: -- by Sarkozy today. About an hour or so ago in "Quest Means Business," I spoke to the head of one of the world's biggest unions. He's also here. He got a seat at the top table today.

VELSHI: Right.

ANDERSON: He got to talk to Obama and Sarkozy and various others. His point is simply this: it's about job creation --

VELSHI: Yes.

ANDERSON: -- going forward. He said he at least got them to acknowledge that that was important. But that's what this conference was supposed to be about, wasn't it?

VELSHI: That's right. Sustainable growth, and sustainable growth depends on three things in life. It depends on the ability to borrow money to function, to buy a house, to do things like this. It depends on the ability of capital markets to make money for you as an investor.

But those two things are still secondary to jobs. There -- you can live without owning a home. You can rent a home. You can live without retirement assets, you can do it different ways. Nobody can live without a job unless you marry rich or you're a movie star.

And so, everybody is dealing with the same issue. If you have jobs, you have demand and you have growth and you get yourself out of debt.

But if you are cutting back on your spending and you're eliminating jobs -- people forget this -- government cutbacks, spending less means layoffs. And that's what Greece and Italy and America are all facing right now.

ANDERSON: You make it sound so easy. You need a seat at that top table. I'm going to suggest that tomorrow.

VELSHI: Good to see you.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

You're watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson, live in Cannes at the G20 summit. I'll be back later with more from that summit. For now, though, it's back to my colleague Max Foster, who's holding the fort at CNN Center in London. Max?

FOSTER: Indeed I am. Here I am. Becky, thank you so much. Reports that Israel is contemplating, at least, a military strike against Iran. Up next, my Big Interview with the Israeli Defense Minister, who tells me no option is off the table when it comes to Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Flying in for tough talks, Barack Obama arriving for the G20 summit in Cannes, where Greece and the euro zone aren't the only issues in town. The US president says Iran's nuclear program continues to pose a threat.

His comments come as the International Atomic Energy Agency prepares to release a report next week on Iran's capabilities.

There are a number of reports that suggest Israel is talking more and more about a military strike against Iran. Earlier, I spoke to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and asked him where Israel does stand.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: The Iranians are determined to turn into a military nuclear power. They are ready to deceive, to defy, and to deter the rest of the world from doing something about it.

And I think that the determination of the international community to do something about it, to block it, to prevent Iran from turning nuclear by sanction, diplomacy, or whatever other means is extremely necessary.

FOSTER: Are you considering any form of military action right now? Have you discussed it in the cabinet?

BARAK: I don't think that -- I didn't discuss it with Hague, I'm not going to discuss it with Hammond --

FOSTER: With your prime minister?

BARAK: And within Israel, we have our discussions for years now. It's not -- nothing is really new. We always prefer that it will be solved by diplomacy, but as we see moving forward, we keep saying the same all along the years recommended to our colleagues or friends in the world. Take whatever action you can think of, don't remove any option from the table.

FOSTER: Is consensus in the cabinet moving towards military action?

BARAK: No, I don't -- I don't think that it's a subject for discussion in the opening cameras -- in front of the cameras. It's a kind of public debate, probably here, in the United States, in Israel. And duly so, because a nuclear Iran could become a major challenge to any conceivable regional as well as world order.

FOSTER: Are you trying to convince other cabinet members that they should consider military action?

BARAK: No, I don't want even to recommend. I want to work on in Israel, probably like here, as the cabinet meetings are not a subject for direct discussion in the public.

FOSTER: In terms of any military action, would it be possible without the support of the United States?

BARAK: I don't think that we are in the stage of discussing any kind of military action, and I don't think that if and when we have to discuss it, it should be discussed the way that we are talking now.

I think that we have to concentrate on the fact that accepting a nuclear Iran will change the Middle East in a dramatic way. It will put an end to any conceivable counter beneficial regime. It will end up with intimidation and coercion of local players under the Iranian influence.

It will spread terror all over this parcel and terror all around the region, and it will give them certain kind of immunity, the kind of which North Korea enjoys right now.

All these developments are quite disturbing if you look at what they are doing. Ultimately, they are not producing a Barbie doll, but trying to produce nuclear weapons and heavy missiles that can reach, within a decade, not just the Middle East but well into Europe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well, we'll get an update on Iran's nuclear program next week when the nuclear watchdog the IAEA releases its report.

For more on the growing tensions in the region and beyond, Kevin Flower now joins me from Jerusalem. Obviously, you're following the defense minister's comments all the time. Do you notice anything different today?

KEVIN FLOWER, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Max, I would say that the Israeli defense minister didn't necessarily break any new ground, but what he did do in this interview was try and distance himself somewhat from rampant media speculation here and some rather breathless reporting over the last week that has suggested that he and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, have been actively lobbying members of the cabinet to support an Israeli military operation against the Iranian nuclear program.

Now, all of this is set against the backdrop of some recent military exercises by the Israeli armed forces. Yesterday, we saw a daylight test of a propulsion system of a long-range ballistic rocket. This was visible from the streets of Tel Aviv.

And there were also in the last week F-16 exercises in Italy to practice long-range missions, the sorts of missions that can't necessarily be flown over the small airspace of Israel.

So, all of this has led to a lot of media speculation, a lot of commentary that some sort of Israeli strike was imminent or that the planning was very actively being considered right now.

Now, so, what the Israeli prime minister -- rather, the Israeli defense minister did here was slightly distance himself from it. He said there's nothing really brand new being discussed here. He suggested that Israel was not having active conversations with the American government about an imminent military strike.

But what he did do, Max, was repeat what has been a mantra here from the Israeli government, which is that all options remain on the table when it comes to Iran, including the military option, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Kevin, thank very much, indeed, for your analysis.

Now, that's it from London. We're going to join Becky again, though, live from Cannes in France. She's at the G20.

ANDERSON: That's right, Max. Coming up, we're going to tell you how you can get your voice heard here on CNN about the financial issues that are causing so many of us so much strain. That after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: While the world's political leaders are hunkered down here in Cannes trying to cut a deal, many of their constituents are struggling to make a living. That's you and me. And for this lost generation, the figures don't lie.

In Spain, a staggering 44 percent of people under the age of 25 are out of work. In Italy, it's 28 percent. France doing slightly better, coming in at 21 percent.

I want to hear from you, the people who are affected. Tell us what's happening in your life. Go to our webpage, ireport.cnn.com, or you can also find the link on the CONNECT THE WORLD's Facebook page.

Today, our digital producer Phil Han is in Marseilles trying to talk to young people at the town hall-style meeting organized through social media. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREGOIRE CHAUBIN, TOWN HALL ATTENDEE: Of course I want to be in the euro. I think it's super important for the country because we are all just one right now.

So if we begin to break all the agreements, I think we're just going to lose our credibility about the economy and the rest of the world, so -- for many Europeans, we should keep our union.

PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: What about you, do you agree?

TIM LATAILLIDE, TOWN HALL ATTENDEE: Actually, I think the same, because I really think that the euro zone must be very linked. And if any country leaves the euro, it could be a very -- a disaster for the economy.

MICHAEL BRUNEL, TOWN HALL ATTENDEE: I have the same feeling as my friends here in Europe. I'm in master of science, here, and we are all a little bit aware of all the economy state right now, and I think we have powerful politicians in our country, and I'm sure we can trust them.

HAN: Who do you think is to blame? Or do you disagree?

KAREEN MOUACI, TOWN HALL ATTENDEE: I totally disagree. What's the purpose of the euro money? It's to make the European continent stronger. But what we have now is the loss of credibility on one side and on power on the other side.

So, what's the point of keeping the euro? We might try to find another solution, which could be an exit from the common currency. Why not?

HAN: And who do you think is to blame for all of this?

MOUACI: The banks first, because it's the same thing that happened in the US with the sub primes. A lot of money is given to people who couldn't really afford it, and now we have to pay for the mistakes we didn't make, us particularly.

CHAUBIN: And about the future, I'm kind of worried because nobody knows what's going to happen. Everybody is just waiting for the French and German governments to take responsibility and to decided for everybody.

So, I don't know, but in my opinion, we should stay on the currency we have right now.

MOUACI: Sure, we are kind of worried about our future, but tomorrow is not only a threat, it might be an opportunity. So, let's wait and see.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Phil Han talking to youngsters in Marseilles as he makes his way through Europe asking people under 25 how they're doing and who's to blame for this mess.

If they thought they were drawing a line down the during debt deal when they arrived here at the G20 summit in Cannes, well, world leaders were sorely mistaken, and the crisis rolls on into Friday. Greece standing at the very front and center of that crisis, Papandreou the prime minister there, will face a vote of confidence tomorrow.

Will he survive that? Will Greece call a staff election or will they, indeed, call a referendum on this European debt deal. Lots of questions still to be asked. We're in Cannes. We'll try and get you as many answers as possible Friday.

That's it for this Thursday edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, a special edition from Cannes in France covering the G20 summit. Thanks for watching. Max will be back with the world news headlines followed by "BackStory." That's up next here on CNN.

From me and the team here in Cannes, it's a very good evening.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END