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US Urges Russia to Back UN Actions Against Syria as Death Toll Tops 5,000; China Criticizes Canada's Withdrawal from Kyoto Protocol; Grenade and Gun Attack in Belgian City Square; Palestinian Flag Raised at UNESCO

Aired December 13, 2011 - 16:00   ET





MAX FOSTER, HOST: Stepping up the pressure. The US leans hard on one of Syria's last remaining allies as the UN claims 5,000 people have been killed in the crackdown. Tonight, the case for and against a more forceful international response.

Live from London, I'm Max Foster. Also tonight, the missing link in the Big Bang theory. Scientists believe they're closer than ever to learning exactly how the universe was created. Plus --


GOK WAN, STYLIST: Women have stamped their stilettos, ripped out their hair extension, pulled off their lashes and their nails and said, "Hold on! Enough!"


FOSTER: The man who's made a career telling women how to look good naked tells us how his tough childhood made him the superstar that he is today.

One of the few nations to support Syria's regime is under more pressure tonight to condemn it. The United States is urging Russia to back United Nations actions against Bashar al-Assad's government.

The comments at the State Department came after the United Nations announced the death toll has now topped 5,000. Russia accuses Western nations of taking, quote, "immoral stance" on Syria, saying they should also condemn armed opposition groups.

The UN Human Rights Commissioner calls the situation inside Syria "intolerable."


NAVI PILLAY, HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, UNITED NATIONS: It is rather shocking that when I reported to the Security Council on the 18th of August, I reported 2,000 civilians killed, and today I've reported that the figure exceeds 5,000.


FOSTER: Well, there's an added element to all of the violence. Army troops fed up with the regime have defected and now they're fighting loyalist forces. Activists say it led to more deadly clashes today. Our Rima Maktabi is monitoring that and other developments for us from CNN Abu Dhabi.


RIMA MAKTABI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Violence in Syria is going into a different level as the Free Syrian Army, which is a group of army defectors, escalates its military operations against the government security forces.

These images of protests are coming out of Idlib. After nine months of daily killing, protesters still brave the Syrian regime security forces and call on their president, Bashar al-Assad, to step down.


MAKTABI: But Idlib is not as peaceful as it may look in these images. Activists as well as state news agencies reported clashes between the Syrian army and armed groups loyal to the Free Syrian Army, clashes that left at least 20 people killed in Idlib only, seven of them were pro-regime security forces. Also, some innocent civilians were caught in the crossfire and killed.

Meanwhile, the violence continues across some cities in Syria, specifically Homs.


MAKTABI: Which has been witnessing continuous battles for months. CNN has not been granted access into Syria and cannot verify the authenticity of these YouTube videos uploaded by activists from Syria.

In the latest briefing, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights estimated that 5,000 people have been killed in Syria over the past nine months. These numbers were totally dismissed by Syria's ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, who said that these figures are incredible allegations.

But as diplomacy moves slowly on the Arab and international level, the Syrian opposition is calling for a plan to protect civilians. Any plan that spares the lives of people.

Rima Maktabi, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


FOSTER: Meanwhile, as the violence rages on, there's a big problem facing the opposition, how to treat the wounded. As Jim Clancy explains, it's not a particularly easy or safe task.


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a hospital in Lebanon, volunteer Syrian doctors wrap fresh bandages over this man's leg, shattered by a bullet during street demonstrations in his village six weeks ago.

His treatment and that of scores more like him is often only possible because the bleeding was stopped at a makeshift field hospital in Syria before he was evacuated outside the country.

"If it weren't for the emergency care I got," another patient here told CNN, "I would have bled to death."

Wounded Syrian demonstrators fear arrest, torture, and death if they seek treatment at state-run hospitals. Instead, they rely on the clinics that have been set up in private homes in Syria.

"MOHAMMED," SYRIAN BUSINESSMAN (through translator): For me, like everyone, all those who help all the people of Homs are heroes. Every man with the courage to say "we want freedom" is a hero.

CLANCY: This young Syrian businessman we'll call "Mohammed" is a hero to many. He has asked not to be identified because he fears reprisals. Having fled Homs just a month and a half ago, he understands the dire humanitarian situation in the city.

"Conditions are really bad," he says. "There are shortages of food, medicine, fuel, and heating gas. There's no electricity. But medical aid is the most crucial," he stresses, "because the wounded can't get help, and there's no solution on the horizon."

CLANCY (on camera): Trying to meet those humanitarian needs isn't easy, particularly when it comes to medical supplies. This is just an apartment bedroom outside of Syria that has become a center for shipping medical supplies into Homs.

CLANCY (voice-over): Mohammed and other refugees have developed an underground network that stretches across the Middle East. Blood bags, syringes, antibiotics and more are gathered up to be smuggled across the border into Syria on donkeys or motorbikes. Ultimately, they will be distributed to any of 40 or 50 constantly moving aid stations inside Homs.

There's no shortage of doctors, nurses and medical students risking their lives to help. But without equipment like x-ray machines, a reliable blood supply, and more, Syrian demonstrators are dying of wounds that would otherwise be non-life-threatening.

"The injured cannot survive this," says Mohammed. "At the end, they're going to die. Yes, there are makeshift hospitals, but they're trying to storm them and break the equipment."

The wounded are grateful for the underground medical network, but bitter the world at large only looks on at their plight. Said one, "If we wait for the Arab League, we'll all be dead."

Jim Clancy, CNN, Tripoli.


FOSTER: Let's take a look at the efforts by the world community to isolate the Syrian regime. So far, the European Union has imposed ten rounds of sanctions on Syria. The Arab League has suspended Syrian membership.

But despite what you heard earlier from the UN about the dire humanitarian situation, the UN Security Council have not passed a resolution condemning the Syrian regime. That's because Russia and China vetoed a European-led draft solution in October.

I want to delve more into the international response to Syria. A bit earlier, I discussed it with Oliver Miles. He's a former British ambassador in the Middle East, and Mousab Azzawi, he's a human rights activist. I asked Mr. Azzawi to describe just how desperate the situation is inside Syria right now.


MOUSAB AZZAWI, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, the situation there, if you want to define it by two words, it's a humanitarian crisis. From a human rights perspective, the people there live without gas, electricity, without clean water and most of the cities -- the flash points.

And when the mercenaries and the security forces go to the houses of the activists and the houses of the general people who participated in the uprising, they take the blankets out and burn them out.

The people, they are dying from the freezing weather, there. And I need to add to that, which is a very big risk for the people, because the doctors, who've got a duty of care towards any patient to treat, an doctor treats any wounded person because he participated in the demonstration without reporting that to the security forces, he will be arrested. So far, we have --


FOSTER: The Syrian government consistently saying that there is violence in the country, but it's being carried out by armed terrorists, not by government forces. What evidence have you got that that's not true?

AZZAWI: Well basically, we rely on documentation, and we had so far 4,879 names known by their full names, the date of their death, documented by videos when they -- for their corpse, and also testimonies from the families of these people, these civilians who have been killed and a small letter from the doctors who signed the death certificate for them.

Out of them, there are 306 children --


AZZAWI: Out of them, 324 people killed by torturing --

FOSTER: OK, Oliver Miles --

AZZAWI: -- and 159 --

FOSTER: Oliver Miles, how bad does it need to get before there's some sort of foreign intervention?

OLIVER MILES, FORMER UK AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA: I think that's the wrong question. I don't think that foreign intervention is going to work. I think the situation in Syria is absolutely dreadful, and if I could think of a way that the British government or any other government or the United Nations could intervene effectively, I would be all for it.

But I can't see that. I think that intervention would probably make things worse --


FOSTER: They intervened in Iraq, they intervened in Libya --

MILES: -- several people say that --

FOSTER: Why is Syria different?

MILES: Well, Syria's different in many, many ways. I mean, it would take all evening to answer that question, but let me just take two points.

Difference from Iraq, Iraq when invaded by a foreign government and seven years later, eight years later, is in ruins. Libya was not invaded by a foreign government.

Libya, there was an uprising which, so far, seems to have succeeded in overthrowing a tyranny and is on the way to building something to replace that tyranny.

Syria's not like that at all. Syria bears no resemblance to either of them. Syria is a larger country than Libya, it's a more complicated country than Libya, and it doesn't offer any scope for foreign intervention, in my opinion.

FOSTER: Dr. Azzawi, this is a message that Syrians are hearing all the time, and how is it being accepted there, would you say?

AZZAWI: Well basically, all of these messages are participating in the bloodshed in Syria, and from a human rights perspective, can I ask this question? When they -- when the international community went to Libya to protect the civilians, were they deceiving the international community and the audience, and they went not for to protect the civilians?

Because if the principle of protecting civilians is the motivation of the international community, what happens in Syria is no different from what happens in Libya. It's the same atrocities, the same tyranny, and the same crimes against humanity committed there.

Why so far we could not have those key players in the regime referred to the ICC? So, I think this is -- this is very pragmatic message.

FOSTER: OK -- OK, let Oliver Miles answer that question, because it was pointed to his comment.

MILES: Yes. Well, I sympathize very much with your feeling and, as I've said, I think what is happening in Syria is absolutely terrible. But why is the situation different from Libya?

Well, to start off with, when the foreign forces started to -- the air forces started to take part in the Libyan struggle back in March, I think it was, they had a clear mandate from the United Nations, which meant that under international law, what we did could be argued to be legal.

There is no possibility whatsoever that we will get a mandate from the United Nations to intervene in Syria as things stand at the moment --


FOSTER: Dr. Azzawi, we've got this --

MILES: -- the Russians and the Chinese have vetoes --

FOSTER: Yes, sorry. I just want to ask Dr. Azzawi, we've got this emergence, haven't we, of an opposition group of defectors know as the Free Syrian Army? It's an armed group, and its got its own response. Do you think that is going to actually be the -- the force of change in Syria, assuming that you're not going to get the foreign intervention that you want?

AZZAWI: No at all, because the number of the Syrian Free Army without being supported by the international community is so small now, and the big risk is, when these peaceful demonstrators are tempted by the Syrian Free Army to hold arms, and then we move to a state of militarizing the uprising, which is a very big risk.

The people in Syria trying hard to stick to the principle of peacefulness, but I don't think that will last forever. But we're -- if we will have militarization of the uprising, then we will heat to a civil war.

And I think this is the last thing the international community wants to see in Syria because any civil war in Syria would be spreading very quickly to the neighboring countries and eventually to the sources of the West in the Gulf. I mean Saudi Arabia. And then they have to pay more than what they have to pay now to restore the situation and get it back to normal.


FOSTER: Well, recapping tonight's top story, then, more pressure on Russia to support action against Syria's regime. We heard the US position, urging Russia to back a resolution in the United Nations.

We also looked at current sanctions and discussed what more could be done to end the bloody nine-month-long uprising that was claimed -- or has claimed, now, more than 5,000 lives, according to the UN.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. Still to come, a surprise twist to the child sex abuse case against a former US football coach. Hear what Jerry Sandusky told reporters.

Under fire for pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, China speaks out on Canada's controversial decision.

And why scientists think they're close to answering some of the biggest mysteries of the universe. That and much more right ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN, the world's news leader, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD, welcome back.

Now, China is criticizing Canada for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. China, one of the world's biggest producers of manmade greenhouse gases calls the decision "regrettable."

Canada's Environment Minister says the cost of meeting obligations under Kyoto is just too high. He also says without the world's two largest emitters onboard, China and the US, the protocol can't work. But Peter Kent did say his country remains committed to tackling climate change.


PETER KENT, CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTER: We remain committed to negotiating an international climate change agreement that works. This means getting a pact that involves all major emitters. We will work toward this in the coming weeks and months. It will not be easy, but it is important.


FOSTER: Well, he made the announcement after returning from a UN climate conference in South Africa, where Canada and 193 other nations agreed to seek a new climate treaty. Much more on this story coming up in 15 minutes for you here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Here's a look, now, at some other stories we're connecting -- that are connecting our world this hour.

Four people have been killed and at least 119 wounded in a grenade and gun attack in the Belgian city of Liege. Two teenagers, a 75-year-old woman, and the attacker died during the assault on a crowded square. Police say they don't know what motivated the attack at this point.

The Palestinian flag has been raised above a United Nations agency for the very first time. In a ceremony in Paris attended by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, the flag was hoisted above the UN's Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Palestinians were admitted into UNESCO in October, prompting the US to suspend its funding in protest.

Security cameras in eastern China have captured an act of goodwill after a five-year-old girl was run over by a car. Passers by rushed to help the child, lifting up the car and freeing her from underneath. The girl was taken to hospital in Wentzhou City and released without serious injury.

Her rescue follows an international uproar over the death of a Chinese toddler two months ago. After she was run over in a market, 18 people walked past her without helping. That girl later died of her injuries.

The former Penn State football coach accused of sexually abusing boys shocked a Pennsylvania courtroom today when he waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the case. Prosecutors had planned to put 11 witnesses on the stand on Tuesday, including some of Sandusky's alleged victims.

But today's development means the case now moves straight to trial. Sandusky's lawyer and Sandusky himself explained their decision earlier today.


JOE AMENDOLA, JERRY SANDUSKY'S ATTORNEY: All that would have happened today is that the commonwealth would have had an opportunity to basically recite the allegations contained in the presentment that has been presented and filed against Jerry Sandusky in this matter, which really would have left us with the worst of all words.

We would have heard a recitation of the allegations without realistically being able to cross examine the witnesses who testified as to their credibility.

JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER PENN STATE FOOTBALL COACH, ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY MOLESTING YOUNG BOYS: Stay the course to fight before court. We await the opportunity to present our side. And we couldn't do that today.


FOSTER: James Murdoch has written to a British parliamentary committee saying he didn't read an e-mail chain which indicated that phone- hacking was rife at the "News of the World."

The set of e-mails discussed a threat to sue the newspaper and were forwarded on to Murdoch by its editor, Colin Myler in 2008. Although Murdoch admits replying to the chain, he says he didn't read all of its contents.

Well, he is the man with the golden boot who kicked England to World Cup glory. Up next, why Jonny Wilkinson is calling time on his international career. Then --


WAN: Phones are a technical device used to call one another. It's not a fashion accessory. Take it off your belt if you're not an electrician.


FOSTER: Changing women's lives one frock at a time. Celebrity stylist Gok Wan on what turns him into the fashion police. He tells all to Becky in the Big Interview. Do stay with CNN.


FOSTER: Well, it was the heart-stopping kick that changed the face of rugby union in England, and more than eight years on from that World Cup victory over Australia, sports stars have been paying tribute to the player who scored the winning drop goal.

Jonny Wilkinson may be retiring from the national side, but it appears his impact on the game will not be forgotten.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London, welcome back. I'm Max Foster, and "World Sport's" Don Riddell joins me in the studio, now. His career is not over entirely, right? It's just the national game.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He's still playing for Toulon in France, but he's called time on an international career, which has been absolutely phenomenal. He played in four World Cups, set so many records. And as you say, he's made an impact for which he will always be remembered.

Remember, Wilkinson first represented England back in 1998. Max, he was just 18 years old at the time. He's one of the youngest players ever to play for his country, and some of his teammates at the time remember his mum and dad helping him into the training camp and taking his bags up to his room, and they all had a bit of a giggle.

But he ended up being England's record point scorer. In total, he scored 1,246 points in 91 test matches. That's only four behind New Zealand's Dan Carter's historic total.

But sadly, injury blighted much of his career. In one spell, Wilkinson played only 15 hours competitive rugby in 18 months as a succession of injuries, including shoulder trouble, knee ligament damage, and even a lacerated kidney laid him low.

And Max, if he hadn't been laid low for all that time, heaven only knows what kind of records he could have set, but as it is, he's made a huge impact, both on English and world rugby.

FOSTER: Absolutely. And a big reaction from the whole rugby world.

RIDDELL: Absolutely. I mean, he started playing when the professional era was still pretty new in rugby, and he really took it to a whole new standard. He was just so utterly dedicated and so consistent that he really raised the bar for himself and those around him.

And one man that remembers him particularly fondly is Clive Woodward, who was the England coach when they won the World Cup in 2003.


CLIVE WOODWARD, COACH OF 2003 WORLD CUP CHAMPION TEAM: I think we'll all look back at Jonny's career and just regard ourselves extremely lucky, whether we're players or coaches, to be around him when he was at his very, very best. And he was just always -- just a great, great part of the team. He was the ultimate team player.

But when you look to see what he did individually, how he took his own game to a whole new level, I think he inspired a whole group of players, but also a whole -- all of English rugby, and almost world rugby. I think he took rugby to a whole new level.


RIDDELL: That drop kick against Australia in Australia in 2003 was just a huge moment, and it really was a mark of the man, because it was deep into injury time, and it was one of those chances you get once in a lifetime. So much pressure, but he took it absolutely brilliantly to knock it over the posts and win the World Cup for England.

His teammate, Mark Cueto, praised Wilkinson on Twitter saying "Jonny Wilkinson, what a legend! Unmeasurable what he and the '03 boys did for English rugby. Congrats on an amazing career." And just accolades like that coming in from all over the place, Max.

FOSTER: But they can still watch him play.

RIDDELL: Absolutely.


FOSTER: For the French side.

RIDDELL: He's not -- he's not done entirely.

FOSTER: Don, thank you. In about an hour from now, do check out "World Sport" with Don. We -- we'll be spending a day -- or you'll be spending a day with the Red Bull racing team, is that right?

RIDDELL: One day it was.

FOSTER: Yes. Some job that is. Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, the worst-kept secret on climate change politics is out. Canada deals a blow to the Kyoto global treaty. Details just ahead.

Also, how scientists are getting closer to a breakthrough discovery in fundamental physics.

And a little later, an unlikely style guru who transforms lives. Gok Wan is our big interview. Stay with CNN.


FOSTER: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. Time for a check of the world headlines this hour.

The US State Department is urging Russia to back United Nations action against Syria, but Russia says any UN resolution must condemn armed opposition groups as well as the regime. The United Nations now says the Syrian uprising has claimed 5,000 lives.

Iran is brushing off a US request to return its captured military drone. Iran's Defense Minister says the aircraft now belongs to Iran. Iranian officials add that Washington should apologize for violating Iran's air space.

Police say a gunman killed three people and wounded at least 119 in a grenade and gun attack on a crowded square in the Belgian city of Liege. CNN's Nic Robertson is there, and he joins us now on the line. Nic, what do we know about who did this and why?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): A young man, 33-year-old Nordine Amrani. Police are still investigating exactly what took place and exactly what his motivations were.

The security cordon that was around the Christmas market, the police have just removed that security cordon in the last few minutes. The autopsy on Amrani's body will include, we're told by a security source, a check to see if he was on drugs at the time.

They say there is no connection between this incident and Islamist terrorism. They do say that this man had served 40 months of a 58-month jail sentence on charges ranging from growing and supplying cannabis through weapons racketeering.

And we also understand from a security source that he'd been told today to report to a police station on counts of sexual harassment and suspected rape. The police are not saying if those -- if his questioning today or the questioning that he was expected to attend today is linked directly to his killings.

But the area where those killings took place, I'm looking at it now, deserted apart from a few policemen, but the area where Amrani threw the grenades and fired on that crowd gave him a huge vantage point over them. He was looking down upon them from perhaps about 15 feet up on a walkway above the crowded market, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Nic, thank you very much, indeed, for that.

Well, Canada has become the first country to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The news didn't come as a big surprise, but it did deal a symbolic blow to the already troubled global treaty. Margo McDiarmid reports.


MARGO MCDIARMID, CBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Environment Minister Peter Kent was barely off the plane from South Africa's climate conference when he confirmed what everyone in the environmental world already expected.

KENT: We are invoking Canada's legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto.

MCDIARMID: Bottom line is, the Harper government has never liked the Kyoto climate treaty and has said for years Canada won't meet the targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It's getting out now to avoid stiff penalties that Kent said could cost the country $14 billion.

KENT: Canada is facing radical and irresponsible choices if we're to avoid punishing multimillion -- multibillion-dollar payments.

MCDIARMID: Opposition parties say it's not really about the money. Getting out of Kyoto means Canada doesn't have to report its rising greenhouse gas emissions.

MEGAN LESLIE, NDP ENVIRONMENT CRITIC: We don't have to file every year to show how we're not meeting our targets. That's what this is about. It's about hiding our failures.

MCDIARMID: This leading energy economist says the Harper government's claim to the world that it can still meet its own targets to cut emissions is questionable.

MARK JACCARD, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY: We're one third of the way there, and emissions need to be going down already, so the policies the government has put in, the actions it's taking, are not on that path to meet that target.

MCDIARMID: There could also be some trade fallout for Canada leaving Kyoto. The EU is now talking about a border tariff on any products from countries that don't aggressively put a price on pollution.

MATTHEW PATERSON, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA: Given that the government isn't going forward from Durban and said it wants to be part of this sort of group of countries trying to develop a treaty, I mean, that would be a perfect scenario for the European Union to say, well if we want you to be serious, we have to threaten you with this tax.

MCDIARMID (on camera): The government supports the agreement reached in Durban yesterday to negotiate a whole new climate treaty by 2015. Proof, it says, that it's committed to the environment, just not Kyoto.

Margo McDiarmid, CBC News, Ottawa.


FOSTER: The Protocol was hammered out in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, 192 countries have ratified the agreement. The US signed it, but never formally ratified the treaty, withdrawing, in fact, in 2001. Worth remember that 100 developing nations, including China and India, are exempt.

The new deal, agreed on Sunday in South Africa, extends Kyoto, which was due to expire at the end of 2012. It also brings in major emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, including the US, China, India, and Brazil.

And as Margo was reporting just there, the parties have agreed to discuss a legally binding pact by 2015. Former UK deputy prime minister John Prescott helped negotiate the 1997 Kyoto agreement. He joins me now in the studio. And I remember you coming out, you were one of the key architects. It was a --


JOHN PRESCOTT, FORMER DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF THE UK: Yes, I'm really sad we couldn't do it.

FOSTER: -- massive moment.


FOSTER: A real achievement.

PRESCOTT: I believe Canada signed for a six percent cut then.

FOSTER: So what do you make of the state of what you created those years ago now.

PRESCOTT: Well, for example, in my own country, we achieved twice the level of the Kyoto target with two million more jobs, so it is possible to make the change.

FOSTER: It has made a change.

PRESCOTT: Oh, yes, absolutely. Europe achieved it, and a number of other countries did. But it only applied to industrial countries, 40 of them. This is 192, it's a lot more.

Canada was onboard to begin with, but I did visit Canada in -- I think it was in 2006, and met Rosa Ambrose, I think she was the environment secretary. She didn't last 12 months. But she told me quite clearly that the -- this government, the Harper government, were not going to observe Kyoto.

So, what they did, instead of meeting the 7 percent goal, which other countries were doing, they burst ahead, got a 17 percent plus, and took no notice, and intended anyway to leave Kyoto.

And for them to talk about, now, "I believe in the new agreement," can you trust a government that couldn't even actually achieve what it was supposed to do under Kyoto one, now promising to do something by 2015? Well, it'd have to be a remarkable transformation from what they are at the moment.

FOSTER: It was incredible what you did agree, but was it too ambitious?

PRESCOTT: No, because it was only the 40 countries. It was ambitious, there's no doubt about it. America signed but didn't join. Bush didn't believe in that.

FOSTER: Which undermines the whole thing, as the biggest emitter.

PRESCOTT: No, it didn't. No, no, because we got the protocol without America, first point. So, we achieved what we said to reduce greenhouse gases by --


FOSTER: But by enough? And China's not signed on.

PRESCOTT: Well, now, there was a plan for that. This is what's so remarkable about this agreement. What I was concerned about, and I think Canada leading with America and Japan wanted to say they don't want a Kyoto two.

What the success of this is is to have the negotiations, which took four years from 1997 with the first Kyoto, and go on to the -- about 2015. That's a real move forward, and it must involve all nations. And we'll know by 2015 how people have achieved their voluntary targets. Don't think Canada will be up there high on the list, will they?

FOSTER: In terms of the problem with the current system, people say there is a problem, and what -- it's fundamentally flawed and you shouldn't have this big, overarching treaty. You should have a voluntary system, work from the --


PRESCOTT: Well, that's what we've got. That's what we've got at the moment is a voluntary system. We had the treaty up to 2012. Our fear was that America and Canada were trying to bust that. They lost that argument at Durban.

So, we're continuing with the principles of it, but we've agreed, now, all nations -- that's quite substantial, 192, not 40, to achieve a target by 2015 and implement in a legal framework, another difficulty, by 2020. That's a major step forward.

FOSTER: So, there's progress and it's -- Durban was good, and it's built upon what you created.

PRESCOTT: Yes. It collapsed when the leaders came and thought they could sort it out in two or three days. Damn nonsense. So, we then went to -- to Cancun, where we got a bit more stability into the system.


PRESCOTT: Durban platform, which they talked --

FOSTER: Now, let's talk about Copenhagen.

PRESCOTT: Copenhagen was a mess.

FOSTER: John Prescott, thank you, as ever, for joining us.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, the search for the subatomic particle which holds the answers to some of the biggest mysteries of the universe. Scientists think they nearly found it. We'll have details next.


FOSTER: Scientists believe they are close to detecting a key subatomic particle which could explain some big mysteries about the universe. The Higgs boson, also known as the God Particle, is believed to hold the answer to what creates mass. There's no proof yet that it even exists, but as John Vause reports, scientists in Europe are thrilled that they've narrowed the search.



JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Applause for a major moment at the CERN lab in Switzerland, where scientists say they've finally found hints of the elusive Higgs boson particle.

ROLF HEUER, DIRECTOR GENERAL, CERN: There are some intriguing fluctuations. However, we still need that data of the year 2012 to make a definite answer on the Shakespeare question of the Higgs boson, "to be, or not to be?"

VAUSE: Finding the so-called God Particle has been the priority of researchers working at the European Physics Research Center, home to the Large Hadron Collider.

Now, they point to results from experiments using the world's largest atom smasher hinting at the creation of the Higgs boson particle in some collisions between protons. They stopped short of calling this absolute proof, but say they've narrowed the search significantly.

FABIOLA GIANOTTI, SPOKESWOMAN, ATLAS EXPERIMENT: We need more checks, we need more scrutiny of our data, and we need definitely more data to reach a firm conclusion.

VAUSE: Physicists say the Higgs boson plays a fundamental role in our understanding of how the universe works.

MARTIN ARCHER, PHYSICIST, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: We've had this great theory to describe all the interactions of particles, but it couldn't describe mass. So, 50 years ago, someone came up with that. That's the Higgs mechanism. And we've been looking for it ever since.

VAUSE: And what if its existence is confirmed?

GUIDO TONELLI, SPOKESMAN, CMS EXPERIMENT: Finding the Higgs changes our vision of the world, matter, and the universe.

VAUSE: Scientists say a definitive answer could come within the next 12 months.

John Vause, CNN, Atlanta.


FOSTER: Well, finding the Higgs boson would have huge implications for fundamental physics and our understanding of the universe. Ryan Nichol from University College in London joins me now to explain one thing, which I still haven't got my head around. What exactly is it, and can you do that in laymen's terms?

RYAN NICHOL, PARTICLE PHYSICIST, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: I can do my best. So, right now we have this model of particle physics, we call it the standard model of particle physics, and it beautifully explains everything there is out there, with one small hole, and that's we don't really have an explanation for mass.

At least that was the case in the 1960s, and Peter Higgs, along with a few other physicists, came up with this idea of this mechanism that creates a Higgs field that gives everything mass. So, as particles move through this field, they acquire mass.

And the Higgs boson is the sort of -- the characteristic particle associated with this field. So, if we could detect this Higgs boson, we would prove that this Higgs field exists, and then we'd have an explanation for why particles have mass, which is clearly a big, important part of physics.

FOSTER: It is fascinating and the top academics in the world were gathered, weren't they, at CERN to sort of get this information? But what does it -- why do we care? Why does it matter?

NICHOL: Right now, we're missing a theoretical explanation for the most basic thing out there. We don't have an explanation for why things weigh stuff. So, we don't have an explanation for why a bag of sugar weighs something.

FOSTER: Why do we need that?

NICHOL: Because if you don't understand how things work on the smallest, most fundamental level, you're never going to be able to make the next generation of scientific breakthroughs. So, the knowledge of electricity and knowledge of photons has led us to have things like computers and our cell phones work.

And so, if we get this knowledge of how mass works, maybe we'll have the next generation of scientific discovery.

FOSTER: But it's not going to change anything massively, is it? Because you've got your theory about how it works, you're just proving the theory right or wrong. So, you're working on the theory, and it looks like it's correct.

NICHOL: Well, I mean, right now, the jury's definitely out. The results that were shown today were really nicely down that line in between is it -- does the Higgs definitely exist or is it definitely wrong?

And in the next year, CERN, the guys at the LHC will ask that question, does the Higgs boson exist, or is it completely wrong? And both of those would be really big, exciting breakthroughs for us.

FOSTER: If it doesn't exist, does that blow out all sort of scientific theory up to this point.

NICHOL: No, not all of it. It just means that this one thing that we've been pinning our hopes on for explaining mass is wrong, and so we'd have to go down to the next theory in the model in our sort of -- in our collection.

FOSTER: And what's that? Dare I ask?

NICHOL: Well, there's lots of different examples of possible theories. One is something known as technicolor, where you end up with this complicated interaction that gives everything mass.

But essentially, if you ask 1,000 theoretical physicists for their opinion on how to do something, you'll get 1,000 different answers. Now, chances are, one of those is right, but it's the job of the experimentalists to work out which one is correct.

FOSTER: Did you get excited when you heard the latest data from CERN?

NICHOL: It was certainly exciting watching it --


NICHOL: -- and it was really exciting, the fact that it caught the public's imagination and there was lots of press about it. And so, I was tuning in, watching the webcast with everyone else today. And I think it's -- we're right on the cusp of a really exciting measurement. So, next year, we'll either know the Higgs boson exists, or we know it won't.

FOSTER: That'll be the big announcement.

NICHOL: Personally, I'm hoping for the latter, because it's much more exciting if we throw out the old theory and have to get a new one in.

FOSTER: OK, Ryan Nichol, thank you very much, indeed, for joining me.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back --


WAN: Dad still thinks that I'm going through a phase. Dad still thinks that this whole fashion thing and this whole TV thing is a bit of phase. And if I ever turned around to him and said, "Dad, I'm going to open up a Chinese takeaway on the High Street in Leicester, and I'm going to serve sweet and sour pork and fried rice," then he'd be made up. It would be almost like the emperor had arrived.


FOSTER: He is the man who helps us all look good naked. Gok Wan tells Becky what it took for him to be the -- to be as comfortable in his own skin. That is the Big Interview, and it's next.


FOSTER: Respect yourself. It is the mantra of the man who loves fashion fixes, the British High Street and, most of all, women. From Leeds to London and beyond, Gok Wan is a transformer.

For Becky, the unlikely style guru opened up about bullying and why his dad still hopes that one day he'll go back to Leicester and sell Dim Sum. Gok Wan, tonight's Big Interview.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the outrageous stylist who strips us down.

WAN: And that is going to be really, really tough for you, but I think you should just get your kids off, and let's have a good look in the mirror.

ANDERSON: And shows us how to look good naked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's sort of confronting your demons, really, isn't it? It's far easier to hide them then it is to actually take a good look and accept them.

ANDERSON: Body image demons are something Gok Wan himself has battled. As revealed in Channel Four's "Too Fat, Too Young," this style master was obese as a teenager.

WAN: I remember the teacher saying, "This afternoon, you're doing PE." And I got so upset I wet myself and had to go home. I was so scared of doing PE, I felt so terrified of anybody seeing me in sports gear or in the showers or in the changing rooms.

ANDERSON (on camera): You transform people's lives, and you are living proof that lives can be transformed. What was the -- what was the key moment for you, do you think?

WAN: It was when I was 13 years old and I was quite severely bullied for being overweight and for being effeminate and mixed race. One day, this particular -- it just got too much, and I kind of remember walking out the school gate thinking, this is never going to happen to me again.

And I walked into school the first day of term -- the following term, and the entire school stopped. It was almost like Hollywood moment. The entire school stopped, they turned around, and who is this still big, still camp, still mixed-race Chinese guy walking into the school? Oh, my God, it's Gok!

And the bullying stopped. And at that point, I realized the power of image, the power of personal branding, and how much if you feel good about yourself, if you are in control of your aesthetic, than you can possibly be in control of what other people think of you. And that was a massive learning curve for me. Huge moment in my life.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Twenty years on, Gok is bit in a completely different way.

WAN: Girls, the naked revolution has begun, and I'm on tour with my very own Gok Squad.

ANDERSON: His TV shows are a global phenomenon, with "How to Look Good Naked" and "Gok's Fashion Fix" shown in more than 100 countries around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: Ladies love watching Gok.

WAN: Have you ever had any confidence at all, do you think? When you think about it now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I've never had any confidence about my body or my looks.

ANDERSON (on camera): What are the classic complaints that we have that you hear time after time after time?

WAN: I'm too fat. My tummy area, because of things like childbirth and menopause and growing old and stuff like that. Hate my leg, hate my -- I mean, everything. I mean, it literally -- I think that if I -- there is no cure, that's the thing. And so, every woman will hate at least one part of their body.


WAN: I'm stepping up my campaign to persuade you lot to forget about plastic surgery and embrace your lumps and bumps. And yes, that includes cellulite.

We after three all shout, "You're gorgeous." One, two, three --

CROWD: You're gorgeous!


ANDERSON: When was the first time that you really decided that it was women you wanted to help out?

WAN: Oh, I've always loved women. I've always -- for a gay man, I've always loved women. I've surrounded myself by female relatives, by my teachers, by my friends, and always really enjoyed the sensitivity and the emotion that you get from female company and conversation.

And boys have always been too much of a distraction for me, I suppose. I wanted to kiss the boys but never talk to them. And I still do, actually, approaching 40.

ANDERSON: Did Mum and Dad buy into all of this at the beginning?

WAN: They didn't -- do you know what? Mum and Dad really didn't notice so much about my relationships when we were growing up.

ANDERSON: Are they proud of you?

WAN: Yes, immensely.

ANDERSON: Do they tell you?

WAN: Hugely. Yes. Constantly. Really proud. I mean, Dad -- I think Dad still thinks that I'm going through a phase. Dad still thinks that this whole fashion thing and this whole TV thing is a bit of phase.

And if I ever turned around to him and said, "Dad, I'm going to open up a Chinese takeaway on the High Street in Leicester, and I'm going to serve sweet and sour pork and fried rice," then he'd be made up. It would be almost like the emperor had arrived.

ANDERSON: Women have been pushing their bodies, of course, into fashionable shapes throughout the centuries. Iron and whale bone corsets, to surgery and radical diets. Why do we do it, Gok?

WAN: I think women have been told for years and years and years and years and years, hundreds of years, that they have to look a certain way.

And if they don't look a certain way or appear to look a certain way, they're never going to be successful, they're never going to find a partner, they're never going to have children, they're never going to really be happy.

And what women haven't really realized, the people that have been telling them this have probably been quite overweight guys, sat in offices, wearing very cheap polyester suits, making -- calling all the shots for media and High Street and advertising and stuff.

These guys have been doing all this stuff, and so these women -- women have been running around for ages going, "Well, I must do this. Get nose done, get hair done, have extensions, get my nails done, buy this.

But then, all of a sudden, in the last decade, women have stamped their stilettos, ripped out their hair extension, pulled off their lashes and their nails and said, "Hold on! Enough, Polyester Man, overweight, behind a desk in an office somewhere. I'm not doing this anymore. You're not going to tell me. I'm going to make my own rules."

And so, I think I hit that just at the right time, as if by fate, really, by zeitgeist, and it all came together in one big, huge, slightly camp, slightly effeminate, half-Chinese explosion. And women suddenly turned around and said, "Actually, we trust you, Gok."

ANDERSON: If you were a fashion policeman for one day, what would you fine people for wearing?

WAN: I would definitely walking shoes in the High Street, the kind of shoes that you would have to go over potholes or through the Derbyshire -- you know the ones I'm talking about. And there is one brand in particular they make, and they are the most revolting shoes I've ever seen in my entire life, almost as if your feet have been bound up in hell.

And mobile phones on belts, which drive me absolutely nuts. Mobile phones are a technical device used to call one another. It's not a fashion accessory, take it off your belt if you're not an electrician.


FOSTER: Now, it's Hollywood on the Hudson in tonight's Parting Shots for you. The jewels of Elizabeth Taylor going on the auction block at Christie's in New York in just a few hours from now, in fact.

One of the highlights is a white diamond ring given to the movie star by Richard Burton. It's more than 33 carats and could fetch up to $3.5 million all by itself. The entire collection could total more than $30 million.

The other memorabilia is also going on -- under the hammer, or some is, including the dresses the film legend wore to premiers and movie awards. Taylor, perhaps best known for "National Velvet" and "Cleopatra," died earlier this year at the age of 79.

I'm Max Foster, that is CONNECT THE WORLD for you. Thank you so much for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" are up next after this short break.