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Italian Prime Minister Resigns; The Legacy of Joe Frazier

Aired November 8, 2011 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, a prime minister bows to pressure. As confidence in his leadership crumbles and borrowing costs soar to another record high, a crunch vote tells Silvio Berlusconi what many had already knew -- it's time to step down.

Live from Rome, I'm Becky Anderson.

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

Also tonight, overheard in Cannes -- the private conversation between these two presidents that's rippling across the Middle East.

And a 500 -year-old secret unlocked -- how a tiny detail on this painting proves it was done by Leonardo da Vinci.

ANDERSON: First up this evening here in Rome -- first up this evening, his economy is on the brink, his support dwindling. And now Silvio Berlusconi has said he is stepping down, stepping aside from this government.

But not yet -- not quite yet, at least. Despite surviving countless confidence votes, in the end, it was a ballot on the country's budget that sealed his fate. The vote was won, but the Italian prime minister acknowledges that he has lost his majority, with more than half of the country's lawmakers choosing to abstain, the budget passed with just 308 votes, eight short of the 316 needed for a majority.

It's been a very chaotic and fluid night so far as the news is concerned here. Last we saw of Silvio Berlusconi, he was leaving the president's residence here in Rome.

My colleague, CNN international correspondent, Matthew Chance, has been covering this story for some days now, joins me.

What a day.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been absolutely a -- a roller coaster, hasn't it?

We had no idea right up until the last moment that Silvio Berlusconi we go to resign. All the people that were talking to us from his office were saying he was going there to discuss, you know, sort of informal talks, almost, about the budget and how it was going to be implemented.

But, you know, there was this this feeling after a vote so crucial as this, he wasn't going there to talk about the weather. He was going there to discuss the future of Italy. And that's what happened.

ANDERSON: He acknowledged that he had lost his majority, but he wants to see these austerity measures passed in parliament, does he?

So between now and September the 1st, 2nd or 3rd, Silvio Berlusconi will still be prime minister here in Italy?

CHANCE: Well, that's our understanding at this point as you -- as you quite rightly said. Things are moving at a -- a sort of dramatic pace and things could change tomorrow when we wake up in the morning. But, yes, certainly, he seems to have extended his period in office for a certain amount of time, perhaps several weeks. But the key thing is, I think, for the opponents, for the international financial markets, as well, even though it's going to be a bit of uncertainty up until he leaves and perhaps even when he leaves, because we don't know what kind of a form of a government is going to take over afterwards.

I think the big, obviously, the big issue is that he will be stepping aside. This figure, who's lost all credibility in terms of the financial markets and amongst Italians. You've been out there on the streets, Becky, speaking to Italians. I find it very difficult to meet anybody who's got any -- anything nice to say about him.

ANDERSON: Interestingly enough, again, because this news is so fluid tonight, we know he's going, but we don't know what happens next. There could be a ion government, a government of technocrats, possibly, or, indeed, an election.

I -- I think I'm right in saying that would be the 62nd election since the Second World War here. So it's sort of something the Italians are used to. But it's not necessarily something that Italians wanted, perhaps as early as January.

CHANCE: You've obviously been counting the elections since then. I've not been around that long. But let me tell you that, you know, the thing is, what -- what the international markets want, what Italians want, as well, is some kind of stable form of government that -- that's going to be able to, you know, bring the economy back into shape. The financial markets are going out of their minds thinking that Italy is not going to be able to push through on its commitments if it's an election that means -- that brings a stable government to this country, then so be it. But, you know, actually, there's no indication that an election is going to produce the kind of stable government the country needs.

ANDERSON: There are no knowns. There are a lot of unknowns and there are still some unknown unknowns, to quote somebody. I can't remember what his name is now.

And who cares?

Matthew Chance, our senior international correspondent, joining us this evening.

Well, even before today's vote, Italy's woes -- its economic woes were stacking up. I wanted to show you a chart and just give you a sense of how the markets have been assessing the situation here in Italy.

The yields on 10-year government bonds over the past five days. Have a look at these charts, if you will. The yields are what investors, of course, charge Italy on its current debt, to loan it new money. And when I say new money, it needs -- it's got $2.5 trillion of debt. And it -- its borrowing costs just keep rising.

As you can see, the cost of borrowing soaring today, no exception at all. Earlier in the day, the yield to a new euro era high.

And as you look at these charts, just consider this. At 7 percent, you'd be looking at something like 5 percent or more on the spread between German bund and Italian bonds. And it's the German bunds which are the real sort of threshold as far as the markets are concerned. And that number is just -- well, it's out of this world. 7 percent is an unsustainable number, as far as the markets are concerned, as far as borrowing costs are concerned. They say that's simply not good enough, not sustainable, and Italy would suffer.

And it's not just the government that would be hit hard.

Earlier, I visited a local restaurant.

Have a look at this.


ANDERSON: Here in Italy's grazie, it's no secret that Italians love their food and the wine. And that is giving Silvio Berlusconi some hope.

Just last week, about the state of the Italian economy, the prime minister said restaurants are full, Italians are well off, what's the problem?

Well, the problem is this. The markets beg to differ. Earlier on Thursday, the yield on the 10-year Italian government bond went to an all time euro era high. The problem there is as government borrowing costs go higher, so, too, do the interest rates on corporate loans.

Take this restaurant, for example. If the costs of Lorenzo's mortgage here goes higher, his restaurant will, in the end, go bust. And that is what is happening here with the Italian economy, which is on the brink. The problem is, are we looking at a country with no more la dolce vita?


FOSTER: So why are the markets so down on Italy right now?

Well, the answer is this. Italy's government debt, which, in 2010, stood at 1.8 trillion euros, or $2.5 trillion. But other countries have high government debt.

So why is Italy so worrying?

Well, take a look at this. It is the scale of Italy's government debt compared to the three countries who've already received bailouts. As you can see, it's greater than Greece's, Ireland's and Portugal's all put together. So if Italy needed a bailout, the amount needed would be far greater.

It's worth pointing out, also, that Italy has been running a high government debt for years without any problems. But the fear of contagion in the Eurozone, coupled with the low growth rate, has given the bond market serious cause for concern.

Now, a statement released by the president's office confirmed that Mr. Berlusconi will resign after key economic reforms have been approved.

And Atika Shubert now takes a look back at his time in power.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi once called himself, quote, "the Jesus Christ of politics" as well as "the best political leader in Europe and the world."

So how did he end up resigning in disgrace?

Well, Berlusconi made his name as a billionaire media mogul, at one point, the richest man in Italy. He was first elected prime minister in 1994, only to be quickly removed when his ion partners pulled out.

But ever the political operator, Berlusconi came back to be elected to the top job twice more, in 2001 and 2008, the country's longest serving prime minister since World War II.

Political stability delivered, but scandal was never far behind. Berlusconi surrounded himself with beautiful women in parliament and in his private life. Allegations of an inappropriate relationship with an 18 - year-old aspiring model, which he strenuously denied, triggered a painfully public divorce.

For a while, his popularity and his flippant sense of humor remained intact. But revelations about his infamous bunga-bunga parties, allegedly stocked with beautiful women, who may or may not have been paid for their presence, landed him in court on charges of corruption and paying for sex with a minor. The woman involved denied she had sex with Berlusconi. And he said, "I've never paid a woman and never understood where the satisfaction is when you're missing the pleasure of conquest."

But his off the cuff remarks were also often a national embarrassment. He welcomed the newly elected U.S. president in 2008 by complimenting Barack Obama on his suntan. And his moments caught on camera ogling various women made his critics cringe.

But it was figures of a different kind that ultimately brought Berlusconi down. With government debt equivalent to 120 percent of its GDP and borrowing costs of nearly 6.5 percent, Italy teeters on the edge of an economic crisis. Berlusconi promised to crack down on tax evasion, raise the retirement age and introduce other austerity measures.

But with Berlusconi himself once charged with not paying taxes and his ion increasingly beset by bickering, skeptics say he won't deliver.

The public mood in Italy has darkened. Two years ago, an angry protester smashed his face with a statuette, leaving his face bruised and bloodied. This year has seen protests by thousands of women angered by his sexual peccadilloes. At one point during an investigation into whether he was being blackmailed, police recorded him saying, quote, "I am getting out to mind my own business from somewhere else. And so I'm leaving this crappy country of which I'm sickened."

In the end, the great survivor succumbed to a growing number of swirling crises.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, joining me now to discuss what has been quite the most remarkable day in Italy and Italian pockets -- politics, are two members of parliament.

With me here is Frederica Mogherini from the opposition Democratic Party and Deborah Bergamini, who is a member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party.

Ladies, I just want to get a sense first and foremost from both of you, were you in parliament today and how did you vote?


DEBORAH BERGAMINI, MEMBER OF MR. BERLUSCONI'S PARTY: Well, I was in parliament, of course. And I voted in favor of the approval of this safe balance law. I'm in full coherence, of course, with -- with my party.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI, OPPOSITION PARTY MEMBER: I didn't participate in the vote. I was in parliament, but we decided that it was fine now for Berlusconi to realize that he has no majority anymore in parliament and that he's part of the problem rather than being part of the solution.

ANDERSON: What was the atmosphere like in parliament today?

MOGHERINI: Well, quite nervous, I must say. Quite messy. Of course, there was a lot of nerves during the day. Many colleagues were not sure what was going to happen, so the atmosphere was quite tense.

ANDERSON: Did you vote with your heart or with your party today?

BERGAMINI: No, I voted with -- with my heart, also, because the safe balance was doable somehow. I mean otherwise, not voting it would have been -- would have meant paralyzing the whole system of the state. So, of course I voted with my heart.

ANDERSON: It was important, Frederica, wasn't it, that the austerity measures got through, because those are critical for Italy going forward. And yet it was important, I guess, to you that you gave Silvio Berlusconi a decisive thumbs down. This is a man that you want out of Italian politics at this point, do you?

BERGAMINI: Absolutely. I think we are now at the turning point. It's not formal yet, but it's announced. So it's politically done. Now we need to do is quickly and to give Italy another different season of stability and of change.

ANDERSON: My worry tonight is that we have absolutely no idea what happens next. We know that Silvio Berlusconi has said -- acknowledged that he's lost his majority and says that he will step down after the vote goes through in the senate -- one assumes it will -- and that he can get these austerity measures on the go.

So when will all of this happen?

BERGAMINI: Well, I think it's in the interests of everybody that this happen as soon as possible. And this is quite clear. I had Berlusconi on the phone an hour ago or so. And my feeling is that he has really, really

--- his humor was good. So I believe that what he -- he has wanted to do is assure -- the reassuring of the markets and of the European institutions in a short lapse of time. And then he's ready to resign. I believe that this resignment for him means going to elections. That's it.

ANDERSON: Elections -- as elections as soon as possible, possibly then looking toward December or the beginning of January here.

You were shaking your head as -- as your colleague here on the other side of the political sort of arena was talking then. I mean Silvio Berlusconi wants to mark the fact that he's got these austerity measures through. But the markets certainly don't want any more uncertainty. And they want to see Silvio Berlusconi go, don't they?

BERGAMINI: Absolutely. The point is that today, the -- the parliament passed, actually, the budget. But they didn't pass the austerity measures. The austerity measures are not there yet. We are talking about something that doesn't exist yet. And I have some doubts that the majority that hasn't produced anything until now is going to do something tomorrow.

So this is my worries. And I hope that now, there will be a new sense of responsibility and they will deliver something in a very short time. I think that already one week could be enough.

About elections, I believe that Italy cannot afford elections now. It would be good for us, because we would be in government in a couple of months. But I think we cannot really afford another time of instability, of -- of fights. I think we need to do the reforms that are needed and to give stability to the country.

ANDERSON: With a technocrat government or a ion, one assumes?

MOGHERINI: A large ion, a transitional government that makes a couple of reforms. What Europe needs, what the market needs, maybe, in an -- maybe in a wise way, in a way that makes Italians feel that they are -- they are protected, also.

ANDERSON: Italians need to feel protected at this stage.

I'm going to have to stop you.

We're going to have to take a very short break.

But we appreciate you being here.

I know we've had technical problems tonight. And it's been a little cold setting up here. But -- and I know you were tired after the vote today, as well. But we do very much appreciate you joining us here on CNN this evening.


ANDERSON: Thank you.

We are going to take a very short break.

For the time being from us in Rome.

We're going to hand back to Max, I believe, back in London -- Max.

FOSTER: Yes. Hi there, Becky.

An update from another country that's crucial to the Eurozone's finances coming up. Greece is almost ready to announce who will head a new crisis ion. But the drama is not over yet. I'll be back in a few moments with details on that.


FOSTER: I'm Max Foster in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Here's a look at some other stories we're following for you this hour.

A private conversation between two presidents has gone public, revealing some disparaging opinions about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A number of journalists at last week's G20 summit say they overheard an exchange between Mr. Sarkozy and Barack Obama, who were unaware the microphones were on. The French president reportedly said, quote: "I can't stand him. He's a liar," referring to Mr. Netanyahu. Journalists say U.S. President Obama then responded, "You're tired of him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day."

The White House believes and the Elysse parent -- palace aren't commenting on that.

Now, it's being called the most damning report on Iran's nuclear program ever issued by the IAEA. The UN's nuclear watchdog says there is credible evidence that Iran has worked on designing a nuclear weapon and those efforts may still be underway. Iran has always said it -- its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes. And in a speech broadcast today in Press TV, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the IAEA of fabricating evidence.


PRES. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRAN (through translator): They have appointed a man as the chief of the IAEA who has no authority. He even violates the agency's rules. The Americans have fabricated a stack of papers and he keeps speaking about them.

Why don't you do a report on the U.S. nuclear program and its allies?

Present a report on the thousands of U.S. military bases where Washington has nuclear arms that threaten global security.


FOSTER: Well, the U.N. says Syria's brutal crackdown on dissent has claimed at least 3,500 lives since the uprising began in March. That figure includes 50 people over the past week after Syria had agreed to an Arab League peace proposal. Opposition activists and some Western governments are urging the Arab League to take action against Syria for failing to honor its commitment.

Sexual harassment allegations are piling up against a U.S. presidential hopeful, Herman Cain. He denies all of them, but now he's not just facing anonymous accusations. Sharon Bialek went public on Monday, the fourth woman to accuse the Republican presidential candidate of inappropriate behavior. She says he groped her after a dinner back in 1997 when she was asking him for career advice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARON BIALEK, CAIN ACCUSER: You know what I want to say to Herman is if not for yourself, OK, to come forward and admit this, what is his wife going through?

You know, I -- that's who I feel for the most in this whole thing.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He mentioned his wife. He said his wife doesn't believe you either and she's supportive of him...


COSTELLO: -- and...

BIALEK: I -- I -- I hope that's the case. But I have to believe she's going through her own personal turmoil.


FOSTER: Well, Mr. Cain says he'll address the new allegations at a news conference scheduled to happen in around 45 minutes from now.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

When we come back, paying tribute to one of the all-time greats. He was the first fighter to debate Muhammad Ali, landing what may be the most memorable left hook in boxing history. We take a look at the legacy of Smoking Joe Frazier.

Then, the find of a century.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the art historical equivalent of the gold medal. And like many gold medallists, they don't repeat their achievements. And I don't -- I'm not expecting to, either.


FOSTER: The lost Da Vinci -- in 30 minutes, why this work from the Renaissance master is only showing its face now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here's Joe Frazier coming into the ring.


FOSTER: Well, he was the relentless rival of boxing great, Muhammad Ali. Tonight, we pay tribute to one time undisputed heavyweight champion Smoking Joe Frazier. He has died at the age of 67 after a short battle with liver cancer.

Now, despite his passing, Frazier will live long in the annals of boxing history. He was Ali's opponent in what is widely regarded as the greatest fight of all time -- their final duel in 1975, known as the Thrilla in Manila.

For more on the legacy that this boxing icon really leaves, "WORLD SPORT'S" Mark McKay now joins me from CNN Center.

You know, a true part of sporting history, this guy, right?

MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it, yes. Called the boxer's boxer, Max.

He was a gritty --- he had that left hook which you talked about just moments ago, a left hook which flattened opponents, really, at a dizzying rate as he worked his way up through the heavyweight ranks. He was part of the heavyweight heyday, Max, during the '70s and 1980s. And, of course, he was intertwined with Muhammad Ali, these two fighting a -- a trilogy with - - with Frazier beating Ali in that first one, that Fight of the Century in New York back in '71.

Thirty-two victories in the wing -- in the ring for Joe Frazier. In his latter years, he was willing to teach the sport to the new generation of boxers. He owned a -- a gym in Philadelphia.

Joe Frazier being remembered for sure tonight.


Thank you very much, indeed, for that. An incredible story about -- and we'll be following that more on "WORLD SPORT" a bit later on.

Still to come, Greece is under intense pressure to put a political crisis behind it and get on with the business of austerity.

So what's taking so long to announce a new government?

An update in Athens straight ahead for you.


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

Italy's prime minister says he will step down once key economic reforms have been approved. It comes after Silvio Berlusconi lost his majority during a parliament vote on the country's budget.

The presidents of France and the US were reportedly highly critical of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in remarks overheard at last week's G20 summit. Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly said, "He's a liar," to which Barack Obama reportedly replied, "What about me? I have to deal with him every day."

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it has serious concerns about Iran's nuclear program and that it has credible information that Tehran may be developing nuclear weapons. Iran's president calls the report a fabrication.

The UN says the death toll from Syria's eight-month crackdown on protesters has now topped 3500, more than 60 of those since the regime agreed to end the violence.

And astronomers are polishing their lenses for a close encounter that you don't see every day. An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will pass closer to our planet than the moon. NASA says it won't collide with Earth. Even at its closest approach, it would be more than 324,000 kilometers away from us, thankfully.

Those are the headlines this hour. I'll have more from London later, but now it's over to Becky, who's in Rome. Becky?

ANDERSON: All right, yes, you're back with me here in Rome on a day that we have learned that Silvio Berlusconi will be stepping down as Italy's prime minister, but not yet. Not yet, at least.

Between now and possibly the beginning of December, when he gets a vote on austerity measures through the Senate, the upper house, here, he will remain as prime minister. He says that he will resign that position once he gets those austerity measures through.

It's been a messy old day, chaotic old day here in Italy, and the focus, of course, has turned quickly of late in the financial markets, but Greece still front and center when it comes to its own politicians struggling to get their own house in order.

Greek politicians, though reportedly close to announcing the head of a new crisis coalition tonight that will steer the country through what are painful, swinging austerity measures there in Greece, as well.

Reports suggesting one man, Lucas Papademos, is the frontrunner for prime minister. He's a former vice president of the European Central Bank, and we are expecting a formal announcement sometime today, but midnight now fast approaching in Greece.

Let's bring in CNN's Diana Magnay live in Athens tonight. Di, what's the holdup at this point?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Beck. Well, you can understand that there's a lot of negotiation to be done for whoever is the next prime minister, because they'll have an incredibly difficult four- month tenure to push through.

And if that is Lucas Papademos, who's an economic heavyweight, he needs to be sure that he has the right players in place, in his cabinet, to push through what's required of him by the euro zone leaders.

And another second point, really, is that nobody in any of the parties involved in these negotiations really wants to be all that closely associated with the very tough austerity cuts that this new government is going to have to push through the parliament.

And that's probably why you're seeing such reluctance, certainly from the opposition conservative New Democracy party, to put their name in writing to the requirements of the euro zone leaders.

That's the problem. Antonis Samaras, who's head of New Democracy, says he's already given a verbal commitment to the terms that were laid out on October the 26th between the EU and Greece, and he doesn't want to have to put his signature to it.

So, these are all matters that have to be worked through, and you can therefore understand why it's taking quite a long time, Beck.

ANDERSON: All right. So, what's your best guess at this point, as far as timing is concerned?

MAGNAY: Well, as you said, it is approaching midnight. We were told on Sunday that we could expect a new prime minister and a new government to be announced by the end of day on Sunday. It's now end of day on Tuesday.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if these negotiations do push through into Wednesday. The finance minister has made it very clear that Europe is looking for some kind of cross-party support, cross-party backing, for this new government as soon as possible, but these things take time.

And we haven't seen any real unity from this government and the opposition party over the last couple of years. It is now surprise that it's still taking a lot of time to find unity at this point.

Whether or not it is Lucas Papademos, he has a very, very tough road ahead, and although he is the main sort of -- name who's in the running right now, there is every chance that he won't decide to go ahead with it simply because he doesn't have the players in place.

But there is no doubt this is what Europe wants. They have made it quite clear that the referendum that the Greek prime minister called last week has shaken confidence in Greece, and that Europe wants to see that confidence restored, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right, OK. Well, no line drawn in the sand as of yet in Athens tonight, nor are there any lines in the sand drawn in Rome. Diana, thank you for that.

Diana is just, as you see, in Rome, there -- sorry, in Athens, there. She sort of wrapped up another assignment for CNN assessing the problem of youth unemployment across Europe, and it is -- the numbers that are pretty dreadful.

We're talking about Spanish unemployment at around 44 percent for the -- for those under the age of 25. In France and in Italy, also particularly bad numbers hovering around the 20 percent level.

She and our Digital Media Producer, Phil Han, took a trip across the euro zone in the past four or five days. They did some 2100 kilometers to talk to young people at sort of town hall-style meetings. Have a listen to some of what they found.


MAGNAY: We're going on a road trip, we're starting off in Berlin, going to Munich, Milan, Marseilles, and Barcelona, ending up in Spain, where youth unemployment is at a staggering 48 percent.

PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER (voice-over): Well, good morning from Berlin. It is 8:00 in the morning and we're just getting ready to head off to Munich. It's a good six-hour drive along some of these streets, but I think we will be going down the Autobahn, which should be a bit fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The amounts of money are just insane. It's like ridiculous you can't even -- every day you hear different numbers, you hear, yes, now it's 50 billion more they need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no money in Italy. There is no opportunity, or just a little opportunity. It's difficult.

MAGNAY: So, we're en route to Marseilles, we're about to hit the French border, or soon, I hope. And it'll be interesting to see what the French youth think about all of these problems, having been already to Germany and Italy, which are kind of two opposite ends of the spectrum, and France kind of sits halfway in the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED M ALE: Of course I want to be in the euro. I think it's super important for all the countries, 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 in the rest of the world. So, for me, a European, we should keep our union.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I totally disagree. What's the purpose of the euro money? It's to make the Europe 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?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got five million people without work, so if we want to be a country as five years ago, so one of the best countries in Europe about offering good quality of living, a lot of things have to change now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, in Spain, we have -- we have the training, we have the education, and there are no jobs, so people are really -- at my age, they are really frustrated with the situation for them.

HAN: And what about your friends? Are they struggling as well?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. People are having troubles, like they have to stay longer with their parents, they don't quite find a job that can fully -- provide their needs of -- the needs to be independent from the families and that's really frustrating.


ANDERSON: Well, our special town hall meetings may be over, but we do still want to hear from you wherever you are in Europe, whether you're underemployed, unemployed, or currently working.

Tell us how the economy is affecting your bottom line. Head to and do upload your video. That's Do join this debate.

I'll be back later in the show with more on the turmoil engulfing Italy and Greece, of course. But for now, Max, back to you in the studio.

FOSTER: Becky, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, the next installment in our special Gateway series. Underground Zurich Central Train Station, a flurry of orange vests are hard at work. How they're transforming this major travel hub, next right here on CNN.


FOSTER: When it comes to trains, the Swiss are very happy to jump onboard. They're amongst the world's top train travelers. That's putting pressure, though, on Zurich Central Station.

But underground, a major transformation is going on. In the next episode of our Gateway series on the world's major hubs, Becky puts on her hard hat to investigate.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Each day and night, an army of orange-vested men swarm over Zurich Station. They clean, maintain, and repair, keeping this important hub functioning.

Today, they're working on one of the nearly 800 switches that enable 3,000 trains to run along smoothly every day.

JAN PEACH, MAINTENANCE TEAM, ZURICH CENTRAL STATION: What we are doing right here now is maintaining the engine for this point. This is actually what makes the point go left and right.

They have safety guards at any time which are looking for us to communicate with switch towers.

As you can see, there's always trains rolling left and right.

ANDERSON (on camera): The Swiss are among the world's top train travelers, second only tot he Japanese. Last year alone, each and every one of them traveled around 2,000 miles by rail, and most of those journeys happened during morning and evening rush hour.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Passenger flows have increased by 30 percent over the last seven years. 350,000 people depart, arrive, or change here daily. Even the signature double-decker trains are struggling to cope.

DANIELE PALLECCHI, SPOKESMAN, SWISS RAILWAYS: You can say Swiss are train addicts. So, we have to enhance the capacity of the whole system that we are building now, these cross-city links.

ANDERSON: A new railway line, the cross-city link, will be over six miles long and will form an integral part of the Swiss network's inter-city access.

This is Switzerland's biggest urban project.

I met up with Roland Kobel, the project director.

ANDERSON (on camera): How challenging an engineering project is this?

ROLAND KOBEL, PROJECT DIRECTOR, DML: It's the most challenging job you can imagine. Almost every section of engineering is realized here. We have tunneling, we have open cuts, we have deep borings.

ANDERSON: What I find remarkable is that, as this project goes on, the station is fully functioning above it.

KOBEL: That is a must. Swiss federal railway's job is to transport people. Our second need is to construct a new railway, and both have to function in the meantime.

ANDERSON: Let me try and give you a sense of the scale of this project. We're now inside the tunnel here, so we're 52 feet below the surface, 60 meters or so, and that is the old station above me. And this is just a tenth of this entire project.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The new underground through station, or Lowenstrasse, is the heart of the cross-city link. Here, two new platforms will serve four tracks that will eventually be connected to the main station.

ANDERSON (on camera): So, above us is the station. This will be two tracks here, another track on each side of what will be the platform. Where's the river?

KOBEL: The river is 100 meters in front of us, and there coming from the right side over the new station and going to the left side. And the river is like the ham in a sandwich, above this station and under the existing one.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Over the past four years, men and machines have been digging under two rivers and a fully-functioning rail hub, creating a hole the size of two football fields.

ANDERSON (on camera): As many as a half a million people will use this station by 2020, and when completed, the cross-city link will match that increase by doubling the capacity here.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Swiss railway reps say that while works on the cross-city link continues full bore, disruptions are negligible, with 98.5 percent of passengers still reaching their destinations on time.

As night falls and travelers disperse, flashes of light are visible along the railway tracks. The work of the orange army goes on.


FOSTER: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Up next, we bring you a rare look at the painting that everyone's talking about right now. The lost Da Vinci shows its face. Find out how it was unearthed right after this short break.


FOSTER: It is being lauded as the exhibition of the century. London's National Gallery is making history this week as it opens the most comprehensive display of Leonardo Da Vinci works ever seen.

Each night this week, we'll be bringing you special reports on this major coup for the art world. Tonight, Nick Glass begins our coverage with a rare look at the centerpiece of the show, a long-lost Da Vinci known as "Salvator Mundi."



NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is this the most thrilling art discovery of our time? A Leonardo painting of Jesus Christ, the first discovered Leonardo to be accepted by scholars in over a century.

ROBERT SIMON, NEW YOUR ART DEALER AND DA VINCI EXPERT: This is the art historical equivalent of a gold medal, and like many gold medallists, they don't repeat their achievements, and I don't -- I'm not expecting to, either.

GLASS: Five hundred years ago when Leonardo painted his Christ, Manhattan was little more than forest and wetland. Of course, it's changed a little since then.

And it's where, two months ago at a secret location, we were privileged to be among the first to see the painting.

We were also extremely lucky to see the painting before it was covered by glass. Jesus Christ looks directly back at us and beyond us. Like the few others who'd seen him, we felt he had a spiritual presence.

And he'd been transformed. This is how he looked in a black-and-white photograph from the early 1900s.

In his research, Robert Simon, who's well-connected in the art world, discovered that the image had been very popular during and after Leonardo. He tracked down some 20 versions of varying quality, evidently copies of a master work.

But what was intriguing about this painting was that the artist had done something copyists don't do. He changed his mind about the detail.

The word in Italian is "pentimento," a change of heart.

SIMON: It was a kind of a crucial moment, and that was when a pentimento was discovered. And it really had to do with at this spot here, this thumb. The artist had originally positioned the thumb at a different angle.

GLASS: The art dealer wrestled with his thoughts.

SIMON: In this kind of internal dialectic and argument with oneself, really understanding the reason for it, is that Leonardo painted it. And it was a very frightening moment, actually. The presence of the pentimento was for me, really very convincing bit of physical evidence that was indeed the autograph paintings.

GLASS: This was the moment when hopes increased dramatically. In 2008, the painting was taken to the National Gallery in London, and a group of Leonardo specialists gave their blessing.

GLASS (on camera): You have academic scholars from Italy --


GLASS: -- from Oxford, standing in front of what we now know to be a discovered Leonardo. What was said? How did they react?

SIMON: Well, they -- seriously, if they had the kind eureka moment, they -- I think each kept it to themselves. It had the -- perhaps the tenor of a group of specialist surgeons around a patient. So, I don't think -- and perhaps with the patient in the middle of the room, one didn't want to say too much.


FOSTER: Well, CNN provides you rare access to this amazing Da Vinci discovery. Nick was up close, as you can see. It's our special, "Leonardo: The Lost Painting." It debuts Friday, 4:30 in the afternoon in London, 5:30 in Berlin, 8:30 Abu Dhabi right here on CNN, and well worth a watch.

Well, from the Italian master Da Vinci back to our own Becky Anderson, who's in modern-day Rome.

ANDERSON: Who are you calling an old master? Thank you, Max.

It's been a quite tumultuous day here in Italy, the end of an era for one of the most colorful politicians in European politics as Silvio Berlusconi is stepping down as the Italian prime minister. But not tonight.

Earlier today, he lost his majority in Parliament, but won a vote to push through an austerity plan, austerity measures much-needed here in order to tackle what is a $2.5 trillion debt, with borrowing costs soaring through the roof towards a level that is simply unsustainable.

Silvio Berlusconi says that he will go after he pushes these austerity measures through the upper chamber, and that could be anytime between tonight, tomorrow, possibly next Tuesday, possibly as late as December.

The betting is, then, that there will be either a coalition government or, indeed, a snap election as early as January.

The financial markets, well, they will be pleased to see the back of Silvio Berlusconi, I'm afraid, for his sake, at least. But I'm not sure that they'll be pleased to hear the news that there could be an election here as early as January. Sixty-one governments, remember, since the second World War, and now things changing once again.

And Silvio Berlusconi has spoken once since his decision to step down, the president of Italy telling us that about three hours ago. He's spoken once, and this is what he said.


SILVIO BERLUSCONI, PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY (through translator): Parliament today is paralyzed as far as the lower house is concerned. In the Senate, the center right still has a good majority.

However, with the defection of seven members of the ruling majority party today, the government does not have the majority we thought we had, and so we have to take account of this situation realistically and look after the Italian situation and what is happening in the markets.


ANDERSON: It's the end of an era in Italy, the end of an era in European politics. I'm Becky Anderson in Rome. Max will be back with your headlines followed by "BackStory" after this short break. Good evening.