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Riot in Egypt Leaves 73 Dead; U.S. Announces an End to Combat Operations in Afghanistan Next Year

Aired February 1, 2012 - 17:00   ET


ZAIN VERJEE, ANCHOR, WORLD REPORT: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, the biggest disaster in Egypt's football --


VERJEE: -- stadium. Supporters invaded the pitch following a match between two clubs.


VERJEE: Officials say this level of violence is unprecedented. We're going to bring you the very latest live.

Also tonight, in other breaking news, the U.S. says it will end its combat operations in Afghanistan next year.

And flying into a war of words, Prince William prepared for his controversial deployment to the Falkland Islands.


VERJEE: We begin tonight with breaking news out of Egypt. The country's deputy health minister says at least 73 people were killed, hundreds more injured when riots erupted after a football match in the city of Port Said. The fighting broke out after a match between the home team in that country and the Al-Ahly team. Port Said is northeast of Cairo.

Now if you take a look at this video here, you can see the stadium on Google Earth. And after reports of violence there began to emerge, a fire broke out in a stadium in Cairo after a referee there canceled the match scheduled for tonight. CNN's Ben Wedeman joins us now live from Cairo.

Ben, bring us up to date first from Port Said.

BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know at this is, as you mentioned ,more than 70 people dead, as many as 1,000 injured. The hospitals in Port Said completely overwhelmed by the injured. They are putting out an urgent call for blood donations from the inhabitants of Port Said.

Now we understand that the violence broke out after the Port Said team, known as Al-Masry beat the other team, Al-Ahly from Cairo, 3-1. The fans poured into the pitch, and then the fighting began, apparently some of the Port Said fans trying to attack the Ahly players.

Now we understand that there wasn't the normal level of security at the stadium when this happened. Now the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Tantawi, has dispatched two airplanes there to bring the injured back, and as well as the members of the Ahly team as well.

Now there is one group of Ahly supporters, known as the Ultras. They are dedicated hardcore fans for the Ahly team, this team from Cairo. And they oftentimes are involved with -- in clashes with opposing fans, but also in recent months, they have been leaders in some of the clashes with the Egyptian security forces as well.

So there may be a certain amount of bad blood between those supporters of the Ahly team and the security forces.

Now the government says they're going to launch an urgent investigation into this incident, and parliament is holding an emergency session to discuss exactly what happened in Port Said -- Zain?

VERJEE: Ben, do you have any information about what happened at the other stadium in Cairo?

WEDEMAN: Well, we understand this happened at a stadium in Nasser City, which is a suburb of Cairo. This was a fire, apparently. There were no injuries at -- to the best of our knowledge at this point. But, of course, there the game was canceled, as all games have now been canceled, in Egypt in the aftermath of this bloodshed in Port Said -- Zain.

VERJEE: CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman reporting to us from Cairo.

James Montague is a CNN contributor, and he's also the author of the book, "When Friday Comes." It's all about football in the Middle East. He joins me now live.

James, your reaction looking at what happened in Port Said?

JAMES MONTAGUE, AUTHOR AND CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'm seeing some of these pictures for the first time, and it's absolutely tragic to see this. I mean, honestly, one of the worst football disasters in Africa and possibly the world. I mean, it's terrible to see these deaths.

Unfortunately, violence has been a major factor in Egyptian football for many years now, for decades.


MONTAGUE: Well, you have to remember that during -- before the Arab Spring, you know, and especially in the Middle East, there have been very little space, public space for (inaudible) to exist and to express themselves. One of them have been the mosque, and the other has been football terraces (ph).

So they've very much taken a different role than you would find in Europe and in maybe North and South America.

VERJEE: Have you been to any of their matches, Ahly, Masry, just give me a flavor of what that would be like or what you know of it.

MONTAGUE: Certainly. I mean, Ahly-Zamalek is the big Cairo derby. It's the biggest match in Africa, and it's considered one of the most violence derbies in the world. But they both have different identifies. One has been -- Ahly's closely linked with Arab nationalism, and Zamalek has always been seen as the awkward (ph) squad, (inaudible) outsiders, kind of more liberal.

VERJEE: So they have political affiliations --


MONTAGUE: (Inaudible) affiliations, but they very much joined forces during the Arab Spring. And as Ben mentioned in his report, and the Ultras, the kind of fan groups, are intelligent, very well organized. politically active individuals, got together really to fight with them on the front line in Said (ph).

VERJEE: What could have triggered something like this, just because the Ahly, which are kind of the Manchester, United Kingdom, of Egypt, right, because they lost? Or because this was political?

MONTAGUE: This would certainly have an undercurrent. I mean, you have to remember that Masry are a small team in Egypt. So beating Ahly was a cause for celebration --

VERJEE: David and Goliath?

MONTAGUE: -- David and Goliath, and so that could be one side of it. But, you know, there is also the issue that since the revolution, before -- the fans would fight the police every weekend, from 2007, really, when these fan movements first started coming into existence. So ever since then, a lot of the police have not been going to the grounds, they're so hated.

you've seen this power vacuum, a security vacuum, across Egyptian society. And football grounds have been no different. There have been many instances leading up to this.

We just don't know whether this was due to a security vacuum, whether it's because of al-Masry fans in some kind of pro-Mubarak -- which is what the Muslim Brotherhood is saying at the moment on the wires, that this is somehow kind of pro-Mubarak stance against the --

VERJEE: Who was a big supporter of the Ahly team.

MONTAGUE: Well, but -- yes, he was a big supporter of the Ahly team. He very much wrapped himself and used football as a way of boosting the image of Egypt abroad. Because you have to remember, the Egyptian national team is one of the most successful teams in Afghan history. They're current African Cup of Nations holders. They won it three times in a row.

So he was -- he very much used football as a way to boost his popularity, and boost the popularity of Egypt abroad. So obviously, after he fell, then, you know, there's been this security vacuum. So we don't know whether it's that, or whether there's some Mubarak elements of it. We just don't know at the moment.

VERJEE: Thank you so much, James Montague, a CNN contributor as well as author of the book, "When Friday Comes." Thanks so much.

You're watching (inaudible) London, still to come on CNN, the Taliban says it's winning in Afghanistan, and it claims to be getting help from Pakistan. We're going to bring you the latest on a top secret report from NATO.

Mitt Romney's the big winner in Florida, but his opponents are not giving up. We're going to recap for you Tuesday's Republican presidential primary and hear from Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was sleeping on the street (inaudible).

FOSTER: You were living in a hole?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was living in a hole, yes. And I -- yes. My (inaudible) pretty horrible, really, but it wasn't so bad, you know.


VERJEE: (Inaudible) from survivor to savior, the inspiring story of Christina Noble. All that and a lot more, still ahead, when CONNECT THE WORLD continues.



VERJEE: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader. Welcome back. After more than a decade of war, the U.S. and NATO are preparing to end combat operations in Afghanistan. Now at some point next year, the mission will be over, letting Afghan forces take the lead in securing the country. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins me now with the very latest.

Barbara, what are you hearing about this? We're just getting this information moments ago.


This word just coming in from U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is now in Brussels on his way to a NATO summit in Brussels, telling reporters traveling with him that the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan -- the U.S. and NATO combat mission, I should say -- will end by the end of 2013, that they will begin transitioning mid- to end of next year, and that they will wrap up combat as being their primary role in Afghanistan by the end of next year.

Now some troops, of course, will stay on through 2014, assisting in training and equipping Afghan forces. But this is a pretty remarkable piece of news. There have been a lot of hints about it in recent weeks and months.

But Panetta's saying that now really puts that official imprint on it. Combat after more than a decade in Afghanistan will end at the end of next year, and for the 89,000 U.S. troops and their European counterparts, their NATO counterparts serving in Afghanistan, it's welcome news. It's real -- a real signal about when they can start coming home -- Zain?

VERJEE: CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, reporting from Washington. Thanks, Barbara.

Joining me now is CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, live tonight from Kabul. Nick, this is a really big deal that -- this news that we're getting just now. Is this going to help or hurt Afghanistan? What is the reaction and what will be the reaction with this news spreads in that country?

NICK PATON WALSH, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at some point, American forces are going to have to leave. Afghans are going to have to take control of this.

So I think the military argument will be this greatly accelerates that timetable, perhaps putting Afghans in the front when there aren't remaining enough Americans here to assist them, were the Taliban to get back on their front foot and start getting a resurgence in certain areas. What this really does is put U.S. and NATO forces here at that kind of end state they wanted to be in.

Going away from counterinsurgency operations, being out there amongst the population and transitioning to that role where they're teaching Afghan soldiers how to fight, how to do their own security and going after kind of high-value targets, what's left al Qaeda or serious insurgents here at that end state, almost maybe a year, six months, perhaps, earlier than previously thought.

Now this statement comes earlier than expected, there have been thoughts. We may have heard it in May at a big NATO meeting in Chicago, and there have been rumors of this transition perhaps being accelerated, of course, because of the huge drop in support for this war in the United States.

But it also perhaps chimes with some of the noise we've been hearing from other NATO allies -- France recently suggesting, perhaps, NATO could begin its withdrawal slightly earlier.

This isn't really necessarily withdrawal of NATO troops, but it significantly changes the character of their mission her, perhaps making it very different much earlier on, that to all intents and purposes certainly for the insurgency, there will be less of a NATO presence here to fight.

They'll more be in roles where they're trying to get Afghans to do that for them. And that was pretty much how most people expected them to act after 2014 for the years to come after that, Zain. So, yes, very significant news indeed.

VERJEE: The other major development today, Nick, was the leaked NATO report coming out, in which, among other things, apparently the Taliban is thinking that they are winning the war. Give us some of what you think are the most explosive and important things in that report.

WALSH: I think the most explosive thing, really, you get out of it is the Taliban are pretty competent. They think they're winning. This isn't really NATO's assessment of the campaign at all. It's from some private admission that's come forward.

What it really is is a digest of thousands of interviews with Taliban detainees over the years. Apparently not done by military personnel, but a gathering of their opinions, how they feel the campaign's going. They say things we frankly knew already, like they're getting support from Pakistan, their leaders are there.

They think their operations are getting easier, more efficient. They think that they can get the country back under control in 2014. They also show signs, though perhaps, of a bit of disarray, confusion, being war- weary, but at the same time not thinking of peace negotiations possible signs, of course, that much of the insurgency here is fractured, not speaking with one cohesive voice any more.

But I think what it really does is not reveal some hidden fears amongst NATO staff that they think they're losing this war, more shows you exactly how confident those Taliban detainees they're questioning are about how their insurgent campaign is going, Zain.

VERJEE: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reporting to us from Kabul -- thanks a lot, Nick.

My next guess has been studying Afghanistan, and just exactly how the Taliban works, for many years. Michael Semple's the author of "Reconciliation in Afghanistan." He's also a fellow at Harvard University. He joins me now live from Cambridge in Massachusetts.

Thank you so much for being with us. Let me just start with the news today, end of combat operations by NATO and the United States, we're hearing, can happen as soon as next year. Is this is a good idea?

MICHAEL SEMPLE, AUTHOR AND REGIONAL SPECIALIST ON AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN: Well, it's certainly accelerating the end of the active U.S. combat role. But, of course, everybody knows that there's a gambit involved that might possibly encourage the Taliban to fight harder, to encourage them to believe that they really can take over some of the things which their fighters are already tempted to believe.

VERJEE: Let's talk a little bit about the leaked NATO report now. I was looking at what Pakistan's foreign minister had said about it, and she said it was "old wine in an even older bottle," which was an interesting choice of words, coming from Pakistan.

Anyway, I mean, we've heard these serious allegations about Pakistan's ISI and the Taliban before. What do you think is the most significant thing in this report?

SEMPLE: It's right that the complaint about support for Pakistan or even the boasts of support from Pakistan, it really a repeat of things we've heard many times before. I think one thing which is significant is that the detainees have been boasting that they've been successful in winning over the support or active collaboration of elements of the Afghan government.

I think is something that they, the NATO interrogators, will have been listening to quite (inaudible) and trying to work out what's really going on.

VERJEE: You've studied -- you've studied this for years. You have a pretty good sense of what's going on. What is the reality check here, the links between the ISI and the Taliban?

SEMPLE: Well, the reality check is that they're -- everybody's hedging their bets. They -- the Afghans are hedging their bets. That's why you've got members of the Afghan government, some of them are, you know, collaborating with the Taliban while they're meant to be fighting against them. And you can see the same thing going on in Pakistan.

Pakistan, at the moment, is very -- fortunately is cooperating in the process towards an attempted peaceful solution while also everybody knows that the safe haven in Pakistan is critical to the military arm of the insurgency.

VERJEE: So who's winning this war against the Taliban? NATO in the west and the U.S.? Or the Taliban?

SEMPLE: Well, you could call it a stalemate, or you could even try to say that, you know, they're both winning, that, you know, NATO has managed to prop up the Afghan government. It hasn't collapsed, and it can probably still carry on standing. So that's a success.

But Taliban have demonstrated that they can't be eliminated and they've achieved influence over the population over much of southern Afghanistan. They can also claim success. It's a strange kind of stalemate.

VERJEE: Michael Semple, the author of "Reconciliation in Afghanistan," also a fellow, speaking to us at Harvard University. Thanks so much. Great to have your perspective.

Thirty years on from the Falklands War, the islands are at the center of new animosity between Britain and Argentina as Prince William prepares to touch down there.


VERJEE: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. Welcome back. Hi, I'm Zain Verjee.

Prince William's latest tour of duty is causing some real controversy in Argentina. The Duke of Cambridge is being deployed to the Falkland Islands to help pilot search and rescue missions, but Argentina, which fought Britain for control of the territory back in 1982, says the prince will arrive "wearing the uniform of a conqueror." Britain's foreign office just disagrees.


JEREMY BROWNE, BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE: I think they're putting that in very emotive terms. Let me put it in less emotive terms. He wears the same uniform as other people. He performs the same duties as other people.

We are not making a particular point of sending him to one part of the world rather than another part of the world. He is being treated in the same way that another person in that job would be treated.


VERJEE: Now this spat comes months before the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands War. A little bit later in the show, I'm going to ask a British veteran who was badly wounded in the conflict why these islands are just so important to the U.K.

Let's take a look now at some of the other stories connecting our world tonight.

Facebook is widely expected to file for an initial public offering at any moment. The company's looking to raise $5 billion or more, and that would make it one of the biggest type years (ph) in U.S. history, and could value Facebook at between $75 and $100 billion.

Facebook's strength is the data from its 800 million users. But it has been really tight-lipped about its own information. The IPO will give investors their first look at the company's finances.

Mitt Romney has new momentum after a big win in Florida's Republican presidential primary. He scored 46 percent of the vote there.

Newt Gingrich came in second with 32 percent. Rick Santorum, Ron Paul both trailed. The victory gave Romney all 50 of Florida's convention delegates. Gingrich is vowing that he is in the campaign for the long haul. Romney, meanwhile, is gearing up for a possible battle against President Obama.


FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My campaign is focused on middle income Americans. My campaign -- you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich. That's not my focus. You can focus on the very poor.

That's not my focus. My focus is on middle income Americans, retirees living on Social Security, people who can't find work, folks that have kids that are getting ready to go to college.

FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you have ideas, and you have solutions, and you're positive, and you can communicate a better future, and you have a history of actually doing something in the past, that the combination begins to reach the American people.


VERJEE: The United Nations Security Council is meeting in closed door session today to talk about a draft resolution on Syria. Now the draft is calling for President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power. Both Russia and China are against it. Now it's unlikely a vote will actually happen today. Russia's prepared to exercise its veto power against any resolution it thinks is unacceptable.

Meantime, violence is raging on with opposition groups reporting another 70 people killed today.

CNN cannot independently confirm that number, as Syria restricts journalists' access into the country.

And here in London, officials are saying four men pleaded guilty to hatching a plan to bomb the London stock exchange. The men are being described as Islamic fundamentalists inspired by al Qaeda. Five others also pleaded guilty to terror-related charges. A counterterrorism official says that the pleas resulted from Britain's largest counterterrorism operation of 2010.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is taking his fight to stay in Britain to the country's Supreme Court. He is battling extradition to Sweden, where two women are accusing him of sexual assault. He's not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him. A two- day hearing began Wednesday. Assange vowed to take the fight to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

Sony's CEO and president's stepping down this April. Sir Howard Stringer's one of only a handful of foreign chief executives to lead a Japanese multinational company. In a statement, Stringer said the decision was the result of the succession plan that started three years ago. Sony's current executive, deputy president Kazuo Hirai, will replace Stringer.

Still to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD, almost 30 years on from the end of the Falklands War, the flying business that's raising tension between Britain and Argentina, all over again.

Then, the woman they called Mama Tina (ph), how this incredible lady has changed half a million young lives.

And looking for relief from the big freeze, plunging temperatures are taking a toll across Europe. Stay with us. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.



VERJEE: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Time now for a quick check of the world headlines.

Egypt's health minister says a riot at Port Said stadium is the worst football disaster in his nation's history. Authorities say 73 people were killed today, hundreds more have been injured. All other matches in Egypt have been suspended.

The US Secretary of Defense says that the US and NATO will end their combat mission in Afghanistan at some point next year. Leon Panetta says the US will transition to a training role by the mid to latter part of 2013 and let Afghan security forces take the lead.

Syria's opposition says 70 people died across Syria today. Take a look at this video. Now, it's said to show the aftermath of an attack by government forces in Damascus. The UN Security Council is debating how to respond to the Syrian crisis, but Russia is ruling out an arms embargo.

Republican presidential candidates are heading to Nevada ahead of that state's caucuses on Saturday. Mitt Romney's celebrating his decisive win Tuesday in Florida. His rivals refuse to quit the race and insist that they're in it for the long haul.

They are a windswept cluster of islands near the southern tip of South America, but right now, the Falklands are at the heart of a war of wards between Britain and Argentina. And as Max Foster explains, the deployment of Prince William to the territory is only making matters a lot worse.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a standard posting for a search and rescue copilot. But this is no standard copilot. Prince William is Britain's future head of state, and the Falklands, or Las Malvinas, are about to mark a grim anniversary.

April is the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War. 649 Argentine service personnel died, 255 Brits, and 3 Falkland Islanders also died. William's uncle, Prince Andrew, was one of those fighting as a helicopter pilot.

Britain won the war, but Argentina never forgot. These are recent protests outside the British embassy in Buenos Aires calling for the islands to be returned. There was also anger that Britain had allowed oil drilling in what Argentina regards as its territorial waters.

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: The key point is we support the Falkland Islanders' right to self-determination, and what the Argentinians have been saying recently, I would argue, is actually far more like colonialism, because these people want to remain British, and the Argentinians want them to do something else.

FOSTER: In response, the Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, accused Cameron of mediocrity bordering on stupidity. The Argentine foreign ministry expressed its regret that the royal heir will arrive on what they regard as national soil in the uniform of a conqueror.

JEREMY BROWNE, UK FOREIGN OFFICE: I think they're putting that in very emotive terms. Let me put it in less emotive terms. He wears the same uniform as other people, he performs the same duties as other people. That, if you like, is his day-to-day job, and he is doing his day-to-day job.


FOSTER: But anti-British sentiment is flaring in Argentina, not helped by the premiere, there, of this film. "The Iron Lady" profiles Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who, 30 years ago, sent British troops into conflict on the islands.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


VERJEE: With much of the land barren and an economy which relies on sheep farming, why is Argentina so keen to get its hands on the Falklands? Earlier, I put that question to CNN Espanol anchor Carlos Montero.


CARLONS MONTERO, CNN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: Since 1833, that's when Britain took those islands, and since then, it's a matter of pride for us regardless of the economic -- there is some economic concern about the oil you can find in that island.

But it's just, I will tell you something, it's the matter of pride for all the Argentine people. We believe that the Falklands or Malvinas, how we call them, they belong to us.

VERJEE: What is the view of other countries in the region? What are they saying?

MONTERO: Oh, they support us 100 percent, they support us 100 percent. The America del Sur, economic block, they say that the islands belong to us and they want to help us try to get them back.

Well, we want to make it clear the precedent, they want to get them back in a diplomatic way. What happened 30 years ago belongs to the past. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, which is the president, she said we don't want to get them back by force. We want to get them back by a diplomatic way.

The America del Sur, that is Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, they're saying they're going to stop any boat that carries the Falkland flat -- so what I mean is, they are trying to put some pressure into England, but so far, as you know, it's not working.

VERJEE: What do most people in Argentina think about Prince William's upcoming visit?

MONTERO: Really upset. We put -- like you know, in Argentina, we are into the social media, Twitter and Facebook, and we in CNN Espanol, we posted a question, "Do you think it's a provocation of Great Britain to send Prince William?"

And I will tell you saying that 95 percent of the people who answered us back, a lot of people participate -- participated with that question, and they say it's a provocation.


VERJEE: Carlos Montero. Now, it's not just Prince William who's heading to the Falklands. Britain has announced it's sending one of its most advanced warships. While authorities here say that that deployment's routine, Argentina's foreign ministry says the UK is trying to militarize the situation.

Now, a little bit earlier, I spoke to Simon Weston. He's a British vet who was really badly wounded when his ship was destroyed during the Falklands War. I asked him why are these islands so important to Britain anyway?


SIMON WESTON, FALKLANDS WAR VETERAN: The Falklands are important because it's everybody's right to have self-determination, it's everybody's right to choose whose flag they live under, whose laws they live with, and whose financial system they live with.

And the islanders have that. They have their own independent economy, and it's a flourishing economy. They haven't been hurt by the world crash. And they've chosen to remain British.

VERJEE: You fought in the Falklands War. Tell us a little bit about your story and the scars that it's left on you.

WESTON: Well, the scars are fairly apparent. I was 48 percent burns, I was onboard --


WESTON: -- the Sir Galahad, blown up. We lost 48 men killed and 97 injured, out of which I was the worst injured to come back alive from the whole conflict.

But, yes. It's what it is. War is war. It's not meant to be pleasant. It asks nice people to go and do very unpleasant things in the name of freedom and democracy, and let's hope we did. We went there to free a people that had been subjugated to whatever privations the Argentinians put them through. They locked them away and all sorts. They were terrible.

VERJEE: The Falklands debate and controversy has heated up again today. What's it like for you reliving this, almost, in a way, after so many years and hearing it on the top of everyone's minds here?

WESTON: It's not so bad for me. It's what it is. My greatest upset is for the people, the people who live there.


WESTON: Who go about their legal, lawful, law-abiding lives, they work hard, but they're under stress, they're constantly threatened by Argentina, their shipping fleets, their fishing fleets, are constantly harassed by the Argentinean navy, they're boarded, they're impounded, their supply ships are impounded.

These people have a right to go about their legal life, and they've been put under all this pressure by Argentina.

VERJEE: Do you think that the UK should open negotiations?



WESTON: We offered them the chance in the 40s, 50s, 60s. They turned it down.

VERJEE: Why not try again?

WESTON: Why? They've tried twice to take it by force. Why should we? The fact of the matter is, the people who live there have lived there for 200 years. They forged the economy, they have built the islands to what they are. They have created the environment that they live under.

They have every right then, after 200 years -- I mean, it's less than 20 years of any amount of time that the Argentinians, if any time, they could call themselves Argentinians during that period, actually occupied the islands.

They weren't even a nation state when they first went there, so they couldn't claim the islands, then. They were the union of provinces in 1811 after they kicked the Spanish out. It really doesn't bear scrutiny.

VERJEE: Does Prince William bear scrutiny, here? He's falling right straight in the middle of this controversy and, in a way, triggered it. He's going to be going there on a mission. Do you think it's a good idea right now or not?

WESTON: Yes, why not? It's his job. He's a part of the armed forces of this country. We can't send him to Afghanistan to do the job he's trained to do because it would cost other men their lives, men and women, somebody else's children would lose their lives because of him being there because it would be too big a risk.

He's going to do his job. He has to do tours of duty, that's what he's trained to do. He's not going there to do -- commit war. He's going there to do part of his job.


VERJEE: Simon Weston.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come tonight, the woman who has become a mother to thousands.


CHRISTINA NOBLE, FOUNDER, CHRISTINA NOBLE CHILDREN'S FOUNDATION: I don't like anybody saying "Poor little thing." There's nothing poor about them. Give them the tools. Work with them. Let them work hard.


VERJEE: In tonight's Big Interview, the story of an inspiring lady who survived against the odds to save others.


VERJEE: Welcome back. We just want to get you up to date on some breaking news coming out of Egypt. The Egyptian army has been deployed to prevent any more incidents after at least 73 people were killed and a thousand more injured in riots after a football match in the city of Port Said.

The fighting broke out after a match between the home team in that city and the Al-Ahly team. The head of the ambulance association is saying that fans from both sides bashed each other with rocks and chairs. Port Said is northeast of Cairo. You can see the stadium here, we're looking at it on Google Earth.

Following reports of violence there, a fire broke out in a stadium in Cairo after a referee there canceled the match that's been scheduled for tonight.

Right now, in the year 2012, more than one billion people in the world are living in extreme poverty. Now, that's about 15 percent of the global population. When the numbers are so huge, it's so hard to imagine how you can make a difference.

But in tonight's Big Interview, Max Foster speaks to one woman who believes that we can all change the world. And as you are about to see, Christina Noble is living proof.


FOSTER (voice-over): A rare photograph of a family torn apart by poverty and alcohol.

NOBLE: I used to have to go out and find him at nighttime, try to get some money off him to buy the children something to eat.

FOSTER (on camera): At the age of 10.

NOBLE: Yes. And even when Mummy was alive, I still had to try and find him in the pubs to take the money before he spent it all. We were evicted from the house for -- it wasn't a house. It was a block of flats. Then we went to stay with these relatives who beat the heck -- the hell out of us and sexually abused myself.

I was living on the streets, I was sleeping in the park. I made a den. I dug it.

FOSTER: You were living in a hole?

NOBLE: I was living in a hole, yes. And I -- yes. It might sound pretty horrible, really, but it wasn't so bad. It was safe in a different kind of way, do you know what I mean? There I could dream and really dream of so much to come in the future. It was about survival, and I seemed to have a natural instinct for that.

Good to meet you!

FOSTER (voice-over): Survive she did -- to save others. Christina Noble has spent the past two decades helping children in Vietnam and Mongolia who face similar hardships, living on the streets and vulnerable to predators.

In 1990, she set up a foundation, not so much to give handouts, but to provide opportunities.

NOBLE: We have taken care of over 400,000, nearly 500,000 children, now. And we look after families. We have education, big time. I believe that if the kids are really well educated, they've got a chance at life.

I don't like anybody saying, "Poor little thing." There's nothing poor about them. Give them the tools. Work with them. Let them work hard. I don't do all this poor stuff.

If the kids graduate from university, they're going to be scholars. I mean, these kids walk like this. They look society in the eye. They're productive. They don't depend on government's money. They know who they are, and that's really -- and it is fantastic, and I can tell you, 100,000 percent, they've made it, you know?


FOSTER: Christina, or Mama Tina, as she's known to the children, has won more than 20 national and international awards for her work, and it all began on a whim.

FOSTER (on camera): I want to ask you how you got into Vietnam in the first place?

NOBLE: Yes, I had a dream in 1971, and there was -- the kids were running, and I saw these two little girls coming up. They were all running. And the ground was opening up, and they were going down, and I was trying to pull -- get there to pull them back up again and trying to save them.

Tough Irish woman, I act on the dream, I go to the other side of the world and based on that, but I went.

FOSTER (voice-over): Dream or not, the poverty in Vietnam was real when Christina arrived in 1989.

NOBLE: It started with two, OK? And then, three, and four, and five, and six, and seven, and so on and so on. It was unbelievable, can I tell you today? That's why I believe in my heart and my soul, you don't have to be like -- everyone says, "Oh, you have to go to university and be very well educated."

There's lots that you do need education in life, and I'm a big fighter in education for the children, but I really believe in education and you have to have. But you also have to have a lot of common sense, as well. You have to have a -- you have to care. You have to have a sense of responsibility.

FOSTER: A trait that, arguably, has made Christina Noble both a survivor and a savior.


VERJEE: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, braving the elements. Europe is in a deep freeze. We're going to find out just how deep and how long it's going to last. That when we come back. You're watching CNN.


VERJEE: Deadly cold has Eastern and Central Europe in its grip. More than 80 people have died as a result of the coldest temperatures we've seen in decades. Emergency officials in Ukraine say 31 people there have died so far. Many of the victims have been homeless, but some did die in their homes.

Take a look at Italy. This is the situation there where the snow is disrupting travel. Train services were reduced and trucks were banned from the roads in several central cities. The weather stopped all work around the stranded cruise ship Costa Concordia.

Welcome back. These cold temperatures are not going anywhere for now. Our meteorologist Jen Delgado joins us, now, with more details. Jen?

JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Zain. You're probably thinking it feels pretty cold over in London right now, but temperatures across parts of Eastern Europe running 10 to 20 degrees below average for this time of the year.

I want to show you some of the current temperatures right now. Minus 17 degrees in Warsaw, minus 22 in Moscow, and in Kiev, minus 28. This is a deadly cold spell, and it looks like it's not going to let up until possibly into next week. We're talking these cold temperatures are going to stick around for Saturday as well as into Sunday.

And let me show you some of your high temperatures expected just for Thursday. Minus 2 in Paris, minus 7 Vienna, the same in Berlin, minus 20 in Kiev, and minus 18 degrees in Bucharest.

And we've been seeing video of all the bad conditions gripping parts of Europe in the form of hypothermia, as well as just frozen roadways as well as, of course, waterways.

But as I said, this big ridge of high pressure is going to continue into this weekend, and this is going to funnel in all that cold air, and it's going to continue to spread into the west.

Now, I want to go to some video. This is actually coming into us, and it's showing you the main river, the Vistula River out of Poland, and basically, you can see, this is impassable. Warsaw, this video showing you just ice all around the region, and certainly this is disrupting travel on the roadways, of course, on the waterways.

As I take you back over to our graphic area, I want to talk about what you can do when cold weather starts to grip, and one of the important things to do is make sure that you wear a lot of clothes, and loose-fitting clothes. Put on the mittens, scarf, a hat, something to eliminate that body heat actually escaping you.

And you also want to make sure you're staying quite active. Increase that circulation. And most importantly, do not drink alcohol. Make sure you're drinking warm beverages, like water or tea or something like that.

Meanwhile, more snow is coming down through parts of Italy. We showed you some video earlier there. Anywhere you're looking at in pink, we're talking about another 25 centimeters of snowfall all the way over towards the east, including the Balkan peninsula.

We're going to continue to see snow for areas including Albania, Macedonia. You can see Bosnia, and spreading over towards Romania, and the snow is going to continue for the next 48 hours.

And you can really see this pattern here as this other low is going to sweep through, and that's going to bring that second helping of snowfall, and that is going to last through Friday. And we're also talking about rough seas, as well as strong winds right off the coat of Italy. Zain?

VERJEE: Jen Delgado, thanks so much. Great to see you, Jen --

DELGADO: You, too.

VERJEE: -- it's been a while.

DELGADO: It's been a very long time. Take care.

VERJEE: Now turning to the race for the White House in the United States. Now, there may be a clear winner in the Florida primary, but the bragging rights as the campaign's best singer are still very much in contention. Jeanne Moos checks out who's hitting the high notes.


JEANEE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When a candidate sings --

MITT ROMNEY (R), US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (singing): America, America --

MOOS: -- and the resulting headline is "Mitt Sings 'America' and it Ain't Beautiful," prepare to be compared with the president, who just wowed the crowd singing the Al Green oldie --



ROMNEY (singing): Oh beautiful, for spacious skies --

OBAMA: -- so in love with you.


ROMNEY (singing off key): Above the fruited plain.

MOOS: One snarky headline even put the word "sings" in quotes. It's a tricky thing for politicians to sing.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: That song "Bomb Iran"? (singing to the tune of "Barbara Ann") Bomb, bomb, bomb --

MOOS: From John McCain to Herman Cain.

HERMAN CAIN (R), FORMER US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (singing to the tune of "Imagine"): Imagine there's no pizza --

MOOS: Let's reheat a slice of former Attorney General John Ashcroft - -

JOHN ASHCROFT, FORMER US ATTORNEY GENERAL (singing): Let the eagle soar.

MOOS: The late Senator Edward Kennedy was known for letting loose in Spanish.



MOOS: It took a blackout during a town hall meeting to get Rick Santorum to sing Sinatra.

RICK SANTORUM (R), US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (singing): Strangers in the night --


MOOS: And strange as it sounds, Hillary Clinton --

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (singing): For the land of the free --

MOOS: Used her own off-key singing caught on camera in a humorous campaign web video.

President Obama's Al Green routine has likewise turned into a web ad.

OBAMA (singing): I --

MOOS: The president's eight-second performance has been remixed into a virtual duet with Al Green.



MOOS (on camera): The Obama campaign has even turned his performance into a ring tone you can download to your phone.


MOOS (voice-over): As for Mitt Romney, first comedians poke fun at him for constantly speaking the same lines.

ROMNEY (speaking): Oh, beautiful for spacious skies --




ROMNEY (speaking): Oh, beautiful for spacious skies --

COLBERT: No, that's from Monday. I want last night.

ROMNEY (speaking): Oh, beautiful for spacious skies --


MOOS: Now, he's getting skewered for singing them.

ROMNEY (singing): Oh, beautiful for spacious skies --

MOOS: A harsh critic might say this Mitt sings even worse than this Mitt, an Arby's restaurant promotion.

ARBY'S OVEN MITT CHARACTER (singing): Amazing roast beef, how sweet - -

MOOS: If you can't take the heat, don't sing in the kitchen.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

ROMNEY (singing): Above the fruited plain.

MOOS: New York.

ROMNEY (singing): America, America, God shed his grace on thee.


VERJEE: Breaking news, now, just coming into CNN. Investors are itching to get their hands on Facebook stock. Now, the social media company has just filed for an initial public offering. It's aiming to raise $5 billion, it could get more. Maggie Lake joins me, now, from CNN in New York with the latest. Hi, Maggie.

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Zain. And we do think that's a conservative estimate. It'll probably be a bit higher than that based on all the investor demand.

It was widely expected and it is confirmed, they are going public, it's going to happen in the second quarter. A lot of speculation about what. The ticker's going to be FB, for all your Facebook fans out there.

This is just coming out. It's a regulatory filing, so the details are really varied, but what we do know is that they made about a billion dollars in 2011 on sales, on revenue of about $3.7 billion, that is in the ballpark of the guesstimates that were out there.

They're also saying that they have about 845 million users. Again, that's the number we generally thought. But they're also sort of drilling down a little bit on that and saying about 485 million daily active users, people who are on every single day.

So, those are the details that are starting to emerge. We want to also look at how they make their money, how much from advertising, how much from a cut from the games that people play. So, investors are going to dive into this now, but that confirmation is out, it's going to be the biggest internet IPO ever, and a lot of investors very anxious about it. Zain?

VERJEE: Wow. Maggie Lake from New York, thanks so much.

I'm Zain Verjee and you have been watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Now, quickly before we go, I just want to say a special farewell to our fabulous producer -- there she is, Brittany Harris, who's moving on.

So, Brittany, on behalf of all of the team here at CONNECT THE WORLD, I just want to say thank you, and in Swahili, I have to, asante sana. We're going to miss you here at CNN in London. The world headlines and "BackStory" are up next. Stay with us.