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Eyewitnesses Say US Soldier Accused of Afghan Massacre Did Not Act Alone; Friends of Accused Soldier Shocked; Calls for Early US Withdrawal From Afghanistan; Concerns Over Super Yachts and Piracy; Threat of Piracy; Actor Retracts Foxconn Accusations; Duchess of Cambridge Visits Children's Hospice, Gives First Public Speech; Parting Shots of Anniversary of Sydney's Harbour Bridge

Aired March 19, 2012 - 17:00   ET


RALITSA VASSILEVA, ANCHOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Hello, everybody, I'm Ralitsa Vassileva at the CNN Center with the headlines this hour.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has suspended his presidential campaign until at least Wednesday after a gunman shot and killed four people at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Authorities are linking Monday's shooting with recent attacks on soldiers.

Russia and the International Committee of the Red Cross have jointly called for daily humanitarian pauses in Syria. The pauses would allow aid to get in and the wounded to get out. This as Syria's capital sees its fiercest fighting to date in the uprising.

Six men could face prison time in Zimbabwe for watching footage of the Arab Spring protests. A court found them guilty of conspiracy to commit public violence. The men were among 46 people arrested last year. Sentencing is due on Tuesday.

Bolton Wanderers football player Fabrice Muamba remains in intensive care, but is showing signs of improvement. Doctors say his heart is beating without the help of medication and that he's moving his arms and legs. Muamba collapsed during a match on Saturday.

You're watching CNN, the world's news leader. "CONNECT THE WORLD" with Zain Verjee is next.


ZAIN VERJEE, HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Heartbreak on the streets of France, as three children and a teacher are shot dead at Jewish school, the motive unclear, but the similarity to two other attacks, chilling.


VERJEE: Police say the same weapons also used to kill three soldiers, France is asking why as it launches one of its biggest-ever manhunts.

Also tonight, "Bring him to justice in Afghanistan" -- the Taliban's message to the U.S. over an American soldier accused of a massacre.

And signs of hope as a Premier League footballer fights for his life.


VERJEE: First, French police are hunting for a gunman they believe could be a serial killer. President Nicolas Sarkozy is ordering a security crackdown after today's attack at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Authorities have linked the shooting to other recent attacks on minorities. And as Jim Bittermann reports, they're vowing not to give in to terror.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It was a nightmare that touched every parent. Out of nowhere, a gunman appeared in the courtyard of the Jewish school, just as students were arriving for morning classes. According to witnesses, he got off a motorbike a few steps past the front gate, and began firing randomly with two different weapons.

Four people were killed instantly, three children and an adult, and one other person was critically injured. The gunman then, just as deliberately, got back onto his motorbike and rode off.

French President Sarkozy immediately interrupted his campaigning for reelection to visit the scene. The shootings, he said, were a national tragedy.

NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): This is a tragedy across all the communities. I've asked the minister of education to devote one minute of silence in all the schools in memory of these martyred children. The minister of the interior will remain here in Toulouse.

BITTERMANN (voice-over): Sarkozy, like other authorities here, quickly made a connection between the school attack and two other attacks in the Toulouse area, which left three soldiers dead and a fourth in critical condition. In all three incidents, the gunman arrived on a motorbike and appeared to shoot randomly before riding off.

And police sources have now confirmed that the same gun was used in all three killings. A number of political figures describe the attacks as anti-Semitic or racist, since all the victims are of either North African or Jewish origin, and the Toulouse prosecutor's office has opened a terrorism investigation into the crimes.

Faced with an apparent serial killer on the loose, Toulouse residents are understandably nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's a horror. We are all heartsick, and we are hoping the police work to find the killer so that he can be judged for terrorism and for the crimes he committed. To kill children like this is unimaginable, and the whole community is affected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We heard the shots in the courtyard, and all of us were very scared. They called the police and firemen, and we were all shocked.

BITTERMANN (voice-over): President Sarkozy said because of the apparently racist nature of the attacks, security will be stepped up at Jewish centers and Islamic sites across the country. And, he said, he will be suspending his campaigning for reelection until at least Wednesday -- Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


VERJEE: People around the world showed sympathy, and they condemn the attack. Take a look at "Le Monde's" afternoon edition. It has this headline. It says in French, "In Toulouse, the Horror and the Fear."

This story was really big news on Twitter. This is the trends map, and you can see that the word "Jewish" was trending because of what happened. The U.S. State Department retweeted this from their ambassador to France.

Charles Rivkin said he was devastated by the shooting in Toulouse this morning. "All my thoughts and prayers to the families, friends of the victims."

Take a look at what Kerstin Lundgren, who's a member of the Swedish parliament had to say. This was her tweet. "Condemning the killing of children and hopes for quick action to find the killer. Racism?" is the question asked there.

And then finally, Israel's embassy in Britain tweeted this link from their prime minister, "We can't rule out that there was a strong murderous anti-Semitic motive here."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy went a lot further, saying, "The anti-Semitic motive of today's shootings appears obvious."

Let's bring in political commentator and journalist, Agnes Poirier.

Thank you so much for being with us. We don't know for sure what the motive was. What do people that you've talked to say?

AGNES POIRIER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, they are bewildered, really, because, you know, this morning as the news started spreading, we obviously knew of the shootings last week of these paratroopers, who were all French, but of different origins and two of the shot-dead men were Muslim.

And then suddenly we hear about this very cold-blooded assassination of young children. What could be the connection? You know, some observers have said is this an attack on the diverse French Republican model, or is it a madman?

But in any case, you know, the details that are coming through -- from the killing this morning, you know, killing children at point-blank range, is extremely chilling and also the sense of impunity from that man, you know, a killer is at large. And this alone is extremely frightening for people in the region.

VERJEE: Give us an idea of what security is like in France tonight.

POIRIER: Well, I mean, as your package, you know, showed, faith places -- Islamic and Jewish schools or synagogues -- have been safely, you know, the security has been tightened. But otherwise in the streets, you don't see any soldiers or paratroopers marching down the Champs-Elysees.

But basically, you know, Nicolas Sarkozy has been very strong, talking about law and order, and now basically, before the first round of the French elections, he's got only a few days or a few weeks to actually catch this killer. Otherwise he will be in great political trouble.

VERJEE: Agnes, stay with us for just a moment. Diana Magnay has just arrived in Toulouse, and she's following some of the developments.

Diana, what are you seeing? What have people there told you?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN REPORTER: Well, the school is just a few minutes behind me up the road, and as you can imagine, there are police swarming around it. I've been talking to a couple of people, a man from the Jewish community here, who said, you know, this was monstrous. His daughter goes to a school just down the road.

They heard about the shootings and came up here to support, really, friends of theirs who have children at the school. He was incredibly upset. He was crying. He said this is monstrous, this is inhumane to gun children down. You were talking about the security level in the area.

It has actually always been at a very high level because this southwestern part of France is home to France's elite airborne unit. But Mr. Sarkozy has raised it now to scarlet, which is the highest possible threat level across the region.

And, of course, in connection with these other killings that have taken place over the last 10 days of soldiers, paratroopers, they have since been warned not to leave their barracks dressed in uniform, given the fact that this gunman still is on the loose, Zain.

VERJEE: Diana Magnay, reporting from Toulouse.

Agnes Poirier, could there be any link to the French elections that are coming up soon, and immigration issues? Is that being talked about at all?

POIRIER: No, not at all, and especially not today. I mean, perhaps we'll start talking about it in the next few days, but today is a day of shock. And also it's very -- you know, it's very mysterious in a way. You know, there's no obvious link between those shootings and perhaps it's just a madman.

Now the interior minister, Claude Gueant, just an hour ago said he was pursuing two options. The Islamist and the extreme right. So we'll see which one of this trail is actually proving the right one.

VERJEE: How will the investigation move forward from here? What is it specifically that police are looking at?

Agnes Poirier, if you can still hear me, what is it specifically in terms of --


POIRIER: I can hear you now.

VERJEE: -- that the police are looking at?

POIRIER: Well, first of all, I mean, you know, from very early this morning, even Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said that there were strong similarities between all those shootings, the paratroopers and those French Jewish kids this morning.

Then it was confirmed later on in the afternoon that the weapon was the same one used to kill the paratroopers and those kids, and also the scooter, the motorbike that the killer used to actually escape, was exactly the same one.

So, I mean, it is not sure 100 percent whether it's the same killer, but because he's wearing a helmet each time, but it looks as if it is the same man, and it is extremely bewildering, you know, what is his motivations, is he totally insane or is he trying to make a political point?

In that case, I think the French will be remembering some similar attacks in the early 1980s, the culprits of which were never found. But hundreds of thousands of people at the time -- I remember; I was a small child -- were demonstrating in the streets of France to show that solidarity with the Jewish community and with the nation at large.

I think we'll get to know pretty soon -- and I hope for the victims that we get to know who the killer is. And Nicolas Sarkozy has no choice. He must catch the man.

VERJEE: A manhunt in France tonight, political commentator and journalist, Agnes Poirier, thank you. (Inaudible).

Our top story tonight: France is on alert and on edge after the third deadly attack targeting minorities in little more than a week. Authorities believe the same gunman is responsible. They've launched a huge manhunt while they search for motive, promising that France will not give in to terror.

Still ahead to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, conspirators or activists? Six Zimbabwean men face long prison sentences for watching video of the Arab Spring. The verdict and what the activists think, next.

Then signs of progress after a terrifying moment. We'll update you on Fabrice Muamba's condition.

Plus the people versus the pirates, how luxury boat owners are trying to outsmart pirate gangs on the high seas.




VERJEE: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Zain Verjee. Welcome back.

The U.S. soldier accused in the massacre of Afghan civilians has reportedly met with his attorney for the first time. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is accused of gunning down 16 civilians, including nine children in their homes in the predawn hours of March the 11th.

The military is preparing charges against him. The attack was the latest in the series of events that affected peace talks with the Taliban. A Taliban commander spoke exclusively to CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our peace talks with the Americans were limited to discussing a prisoner deal, and those promises they made were not kept by the Americans, and that's why we suspended peace talks.


VERJEE: We'll have more of that interview in about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, here's a look now at some of the other stories connecting our world tonight.

Russia has joined the International Committee of the Red Cross in calling for daily cease-fires in Syria. The announcement was made after talks on Monday between Russia's foreign minister and the Red Cross president.

Meanwhile, there has been the most intense fighting in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Three people were killed, sending today's total death toll across the country to 30.

Six men in Zimbabwe could spend up to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of watching Arab Spring videos. The government has said that the six were plotting an Egyptian-style uprising. Critics have called the charges politically motivated. Rights activists say that they're not really surprised by the verdict, and not intimidated.

CNN's Robyn Curnow reports on the nightmare that two Zimbabweans have been living through.


ROBYN CURNOW, HOST, MARKETPLACE AFRICA: As the Arab uprising swept through North Africa last year, in southern Africa, many wondered if that revolutionary fervor would be replicated in places like Zimbabwe. Would people take to these streets, too?

In Harare last week, these two Zimbabweans told me that an academic discussion about that very question turned into a year-long nightmare that led to a criminal trial. Monday, they were convicted of conspiracy to cause public violence, even though there wasn't ever any.

TAFADZWA CHOTO: Simply we watched a video that contained clips from CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC, of what had happened in Egypt and Tunisia. And afterwards we started discussing the topic, about lessons learned from Egypt and Tunisia, what it means for Zimbabweans, Africans and the rest of the -- of the world.

MUNYARADZI GWISAI: Unfortunately, in this country, that's a crime. And we were -- we were roughed up and arrested for that.

CURNOW: They're parents of a 7-year-old daughter, who is on the right. She was supposed to celebrate her birthday the day after the meeting. They didn't come home until they got bail a month later.

While in this prison, filmed by a family member, they say they were tortured, which the state denied during their trial.

CHOTO: I was beaten at the back and under the toes, so using a broomstick. And when it broke, they just took another -- a wood plank that was in the room.

CURNOW: Tafadzwa Choto had three brain surgeries before her arrest, and worries about leaving her child to go back to jail.

CHOTO: Conditions in the jail are terrible, the living conditions. So one cannot really prepare yourself, but you have to accept the situation and be able to go back, otherwise, one can break down.

CURNOW: There's a sense that the security forces perhaps overreacted. Do you think they were nervous about what was happening in North Africa at the time?

CHOTO: Well, it is the same reaction that we got from this current regime, that they were nervous, that they eventually went to spread to southern Africa.

CURNOW: Many in Zimbabwe say this is a politically motivated verdict, that factions aligned to Robert Mugabe in a shaky power-sharing government want to send a message to anyone thinking of challenging the state.

GWISAI: Contrived justice -- these are the tools of subtle tyranny.

CURNOW: Sentencing is expected in the next day or two -- Robyn Curnow, CNN, Harare, Zimbabwe.


VERJEE: Just a short time ago, I sat down with Zimbabwe's prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, here in London, and I started by asking what he thinks of today's verdict.


MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, ZIMBABWEAN PRIME MINISTER: I think it's very, very unfortunate. It is one thing that I would say is totally uncalled for.

VERJEE: Do you feel that there is greater room for dissent in Zimbabwe, say now than there was in the last two or three years, with you sitting in the prime minister --

TSVANGIRAI: Yes, I think so. I think that we have brought a sense of stability, a sense of peace and freedom to the people. However, I must say, I must underline that there are certain actions that you would certainly object to, especially the erratic disruptions of meetings, erratic arrests like the one that you are talking about.

VERJEE: Would you like to see an Arab Spring-like movement in Zimbabwe?

TSVANGIRAI: I'm sure that there is no need -- while this to are going on a democratic route, to go in an uprising of that nature. It's not necessary. We're going to an election.


VERJEE: Morgan Tsvangirai.

A luxury cruise ship traveling through fog collided with a container ship five miles off Vietnam's coast. The crash on Friday knocked passengers off their feet and punched a hole in the container ship. A passenger said it was a horrifying moment. No injuries were reported. The Silversea cruise ship was able to anchor into Ha Long Bay as planned.

Two nurses in Uruguay have been charged with murder after killing 16 hospital patients. The men said they killed the patients because they did not want to see them suffer. But the judge in charge of the investigation noted that not all the patients were terminally ill. Authorities say the nurses acted independently at two hospitals in Montevideo and barely knew each other.

Hubers (ph) cracking down on a protest group ahead of next week's visit from Pope Benedict XVI. Members of the Ladies in White group were detained on Sunday during their weekly march. All of them have been released. The group asked to meet with the pope next week, but the Vatican says an audience is not on the agenda.

You can see a lot more about Hubers' protests when "BACKSTORY'S" Isha Sesay talks to our Havana-based reporter, Patrick Oppmann. That's tonight at 10:00 pm in London, 11:00 pm in Central Europe.

Up next here on CONNECT THE WORLD, the very latest update on the condition of Fabrice Muamba. It appears the footballer is making progress after suffering cardiac arrest on the pitch.



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

A terrible shock and now there are signs of hope. The collapse on the pitch of Bolton Wanderers' midfielder, Fabrice Muamba, scared football fans and players. But tonight doctors say he can recognize family members, and he's also responding to questions. CNN's Atika Shubert reports from the London hospital.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN REPORTER: We have been getting updates every few hours from the London Chest Hospital, where he is getting the very best care. What we have heard so far today is that they have seen small signs of improvement, and they have seen movement in his arms and legs. So this is good news. They do say, however, that the long-term prognosis is unclear and will be unclear for some time.

In the meantime, we have been seeing friends and family come to the hospital here to show their support, footballers like Ashley Cole, for example, coming here, and it really has been an outpouring of support from across the football world. We've seen, for example, Real Madrid and the jerseys that they wore in support of Muamba; also David Beckham, sending his support from across the Atlantic.

And it really has been overwhelming for his friends, for his teammates, which are really like his family. And we heard directly from manager Owen Coyle about the kind of support he's seeing, and how optimistic he is.

OWEN COYLE, Bolton Wanderers manager: All I do know is that when you look through, you know, what he's been through in his life already, you know, he's a natural fighter. He's a, as we knew, a physically fit young man. So I think those two things can help at all, then that will be a source of help and encouragement.

SHUBERT: Now just a little bit about the medical care he's received. When the incident happened and he collapsed on the field, paramedics were there, literally within seconds. And it is that kind of fast, extremely high-quality care that may have saved his life.

And he was brought here to the Heart Attack Center at the London Chest Hospital, where he is receiving the very best help that he can get. In the meantime, his family have really rallied behind him.

He has a very young son, and his fiancee, Shauna, has been leading a lot of the online support that we've been seeing on Facebook and Twitter, giving almost an update every other hour, leading really the prayers for him, Zain, that he will make it through this.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


VERJEE: For the latest update, let's bring in Alex Thomas from "WORLD SPORT" for a little bit more on this story.

What's the screening process like for players? I mean, has it improved?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORT REPORTER: Well, it hasn't improved. I can tell you about that in a second. But let me just tell you what the hospital's been saying since Atika filed that report, because there's further encouraging signs for all those people, really outside the world of football as much as inside the world of football, sort of really hoping that this player can pull through.

And I'll read you out the relevant bits. They say that Fabrice Muamba is currently able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator. He's also been able to recognize family members and respond to questions appropriately.

Cleverly worded or carefully worded, I should say -- it sounds like he's not speaking fully yet, but still very encouraging, if small signs. He's still in intensive care and receiving treatment there.

VERJEE: That's good news.

THOMAS: That is good news.

As for the screening process, the Football Association, the governing body here in England, does do a medical check of all young players around the age of 16. A part of that is a full medical check, is a check of their hearts.

Now that's for all players that are in recognized centers of excellence, i.e. Premier League or other big football clubs that have youth academies and are training youngsters through their teams. And that number's around the 700s. But of course, there are thousands of youngsters in this country that play football, it's such a popular game. So there are many that are going to slip through the net.

Now earlier on "WORLD SPORT," we heard from a heart expert, who actually said more needs to be done. Have a listen to what he had to say.


WILLIAM MCKENNA, PROFESSOR OF CARDIOLOGY, HEART HOSPITAL LONDON: If you look back, there are -- there are too many events in young people, in professional sport, not just football, but in all the sports. And bearing in mind that these conditions are recognizable, there -- you can make a diagnosis and by and large there are treatments which are effective.

There should be every effort should be made, and I think the onus is not on NHS. The onus should be on the sporting bodies, the professional bodies, to ensure that the players who are participating are actually safe to participate in what is pushing the body and the heart to extremes.


THOMAS: The professor's saying that, basically, if you're not very, very old and have a heart problem, it's going to be genetic, and that's something that can be spotted.

VERJEE: The current testing, though, did work for one player, right? What was his story?

THOMAS: Yes, well, as well as the professor coming to the studio here earlier, he was also accompanied by a footballer who's just retired as a professional.

Now he was advised by that very doctor not to play, because he did have a heart problem. But having weighed out the pros and cons, he decided to play anyway. And now having seen what happened to Fabrice Muamba, this player says he really dodged a bullet.


MITCHELL COLE, FORMER FOOTBALLER: It still sort of sends a chill down my spine, because it brings it home to me that that could have been me, offing up, and I come out with (inaudible) a year ago, and it sort of reiterates that I've made the right decision.

I've been one of the lucky ones that's got this (inaudible) basically what's happened here. And I'm not saying that Fabrice has the condition, but that's definitely what would have happened to me if something had gone wrong.

THOMAS: So Mitchell Cole and how he may be regretting the fact that he did go against medical advice to play. Luckily, he's safe, and we hope Fabrice Muamba will be, too. More on "WORLD SPORT" in about an hour's time, Zain.

VERJEE: Great. Thanks a lot, Alex.

As you were saying, you'll have a lot more on the Muamba story, as well as highlights of Tiger Woods' returning to the golf course, and "WORLD SPORT," it's in, what, about an hour.

Still to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD, eyewitness accounts of the massacre in an Afghan village, and the expanding impact the attack's having.

Gold-plated fittings, huge staterooms and a guaranteed sea view -- the dreamboats that are dazzling Dubai. We take you on a little look around, when CONNECT THE WORLD continues.

Then, grace under pressure: the Duchess of Cambridge tackles her first royal speech. We'll show you how she did. All that and much more when CONNECT THE WORLD continues.



ZAIN VERJEE, HOST: Hi. A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Zain Verjee. Here are the latest headlines from CNN.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is ordering a security crackdown as a police hunt for a possible serial killer goes on. A gunmen killed three children and a teacher at a Jewish school today. Authorities have linked the shooting with other recent attacks on minorities.

Russia and the International Committee of the Red Cross have jointly called for daily humanitarian pauses in Syria. The pauses would allow aid in and the injured out. The announcement comes as Syria's capital sees its fiercest fighting to date.

Six men could face prison time in Zimbabwe for watching footage of the Arab Spring protests. A court found them guilty of conspiracy to commit public violence. The men were among 46 people arrested last year. Sentencing is on Tuesday.

Sings of progress for Fabrice Muamba. Doctors say the football star can recognize family members and respond to questions. The Bolton Wanderers' midfielder remains in intensive care in a London hospital after his heart stopped during a game on Saturday night.

A US soldier accused in a massacre of Afghan civilians has reportedly met with his lawyer for the first time. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales hasn't been formally charged yet, but he's been accused of killing 16 people, 9 of them children. The US military says Bales acted alone but, as Sara Sidner reports, eyewitnesses have a different story.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fierce anger, deep sorrow, and conflicting accounts of what happened the night of a massacre.

SIDNER (voice-over): Graves in Najabyan village, a place now haunted by the memory of a massacre. Ali Ahmad describes what he saw.

ALI AHMAND, MASSACRE WITNESS (through translator): It was around 3:00 at night that they entered the room. They took my uncle out of the room and shot him after asking him, "Where is the Taliban?" My uncle replied that he didn't know.

SIDNER: Ahmad said the worst happened next-door.

AHMAD (through translator): Finally, they came to this room and murdered all the children in the room.

SIDNER: There was even a two-month-old baby, he said. Once the shooting stopped, the villagers said some of the dead were piled in a room and set on fire. At daybreak, in the back of trucks, evidence emerged of the burning of bodies and killing of babies. US officials say this was the work of a single soldier acting on his own.

Army staff sergeant Robert Bales is under arrest, accused in the crime. Most of the villagers say they do not believe the US version. But when it comes to actual eyewitnesses, their stories conflict.

One of the young witnesses said, "He was an American."

"It was just one person," the boy next to him chimes in.

But some adults in the village tell us they have evidence more than one soldier was involved, but none of them have said more than one soldier was firing a weapon.

AHMAD (through translator): They went through a field of wheat, and there was more than one set of footprints. The villagers have seen them and signs of knee prints as well.

In an exclusive interview, a Taliban commander from the area told CNN, "We don't think that one American soldier was involved in the attack. The foreigners and the puppet regime are blind to the truth of what happened there. But if this was the act of one soldier, we want this soldier to be prosecuted in Afghanistan and according to Islamic law."

After the attack, the Taliban suspended initial peace talks with the US. He told us the reason was twofold: the burning of Korans in February by US troops and he claimed the US rescinded its offer to move five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay prison to Qatar.

"Our peace talks with the Americans were limited to discuss the prisoner deal," he said, "and those promises were not kept by the Americans." But the US State Department said it has not made any decisions on the transfer.

Back in the villages of Panjwai District, it isn't peace talks but justice that's being demanded right now. Something the US has repeatedly promised will be done. In the streets and in the Afghan presidential palace, anger and skepticism reign. So far, three protests have erupted in the last week, with calls for justice and death to America.

SIDNER (on camera): A couple of interesting notes here. We have not seen anymore protests concerning last Sunday's massacre.

And the Taliban, when they responded to us, the commander was actually from the Panjwai district, which is where the massacre happened, but he was not in the district. In fact, he was on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It seems that the Taliban has been running from those night raids that have occurred over months and months and months, and it seems that they've been pushed out of some of the areas that used to be their stronghold.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.


VERJEE: For the friends and family of Robert Bales, the accusations are stunning. They say that the portrait of a soldier on a killing spree is not the man they knew. Susan Candiotti talked with the father of one of Bales's closest friends.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robert Durham remembers his last conversation with Sergeant Robert Bales, who called him from Afghanistan.

ROBERT DURHAM, FAMILY FRIEND: I said, "I love you, Bobby." You know. "Take care of yourself."

CANDIOTTI: That was in December, shortly after he was redeployed to the region for a fourth time.

DURHAM: A real caring, real understanding individual, even from a real young age.

CANDIOTTI: Durham has known Bales all his life. They lived next-door to each other in Norwood, Ohio. He still calls him Bobby.

DURHAM: Bobby and my son were best friends.

CANDIOTTI: An uncommonly kind friend, because Durham's son Wade, two years older than Bales, is severely disabled.

DURHAM: Bobby was just a very understanding, very accepting kid. He didn't at one time point out a kid's disability. It was what they could do.

CANDIOTTI: Bobby took Wade swimming, to school parties, to the zoo. Bobby made sure Wade was never left out, no matter what anyone thought.

DURHAM: And with Bobby around, there was never a question. All of Bobby's friends accepted Wade because Bobby accepted him.

CANDIOTTI: At Norwood High School outside Cincinnati, Bales was a football captain. Yearbook photos show him typing and a playful side. After attending two colleges and working in finance, a fateful day. 9/11.

DURHAM: 9/11 really affected Bobby.

CANDIOTTI: Within two months, he joined the army.

DURHAM: He was like a lot of young men and women who decided that, not on our watch. You don't do this to our country.

CANDIOTTI: When they talked about the war, Durham says Bales empathized with civilians.

DURHAM: People are people to him. People are people. I've never heard him say that he hated anyone.

CANDIOTTI: Like most, Durham was horrified to hear about an American soldier who allegedly gunned down 16 Afghan villagers door-to-door.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): How did you react when you heard the news?

DURHAM: They're saying Bobby did that. And I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. I can't believe it. The Bobby that I knew is not the Bobby that could have done that.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Durham suspects his friend may have snapped, and he's worried.

DURHAM: I don't think he can live with it. He'll never be the same. And that -- he's such a great person. That just -- that crushes me. I don't -- I don't know.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): What questions do you have?

DURHAM: I think everyone has the same question, because everyone knew the same Bobby. What happened? What happened?

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Questions with few answers.

DURHAM: I don't know what happened to my friends Bob Bales. I hope somebody figures it out.

CANDIOTTI: And gets him help.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Norwood, Ohio.


VERJEE: Given the mounting tension in Afghanistan, there is a growing call to bring troops home early. President Barack Obama has insisted that he's going to stick to NATO's timetable of a 2014 withdrawal, but Afghan president Hamid Karzai demands that the soldiers leave Afghan villages.

Now, a retired US general says if the troops must leave the villages, the mission is changed and they could be home within weeks. Head to to find out more.

Up next, hijackings and hostage-takings. We lift the lid on Somali piracy to find out how to tackle the problem that is costing innocent people their lives.


VERJEE: Sun, sea, and sailing are the talk of the town in Dubai as the city hosted its boat show. Big spenders were eager to check out the latest, the fastest, and the most luxurious dreamboats.

But there are fears that these super yachts could become a target for Somali pirates. And as Kim Kelaita reports, owners are being warned to avoid dangerous waters around the Horn of Africa.


KIM KELAITA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Billed as the world's premier marine event, the 20th Dubai International Boat Show has all the glitz and glamor of the French Riviera.

Saeed Hareb has been at the helm of the marine industry in Dubai for the past two decades, and even with the economic climate still in a slow recovery, organizers here say millions of dollars in transactions are expected from this year's show.

SAEED HAREB, SENIOR ADVISER, DUBAI INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW: Market is also not just Dubai, not just this country. The market is worldwide. A lot of exhibitors are coming from Dubai outside, coming from Europe or east. They're coming from Africa. They are here. Because the Dubai market is the central point for the whole region.

KELAITA: Gulf Craft, one of the region's biggest yacht makers showcase their latest liner. For a mere $17 million, riding the high seas on a boat like this could take on a whole new experience.

KELAITA (on camera): So, Erwin, show me around this $17 million yacht.

ERWIN BAMPS, COO, GULF CRAFT: Well, we're here on the upper deck, and this is the upper deck formal dining with a dining capability for 20 people. And the owner actually visited a hotel in Switzerland, liked the interior, and asked us to recreate that same cozy feel.

KELAITA: And someone told me that there's 24-karat gold bathroom fixtures on this. Can we have a look at those?

BAMPS: Yes, we'll have a look at those.

KELAITA: Is that quite common on boats like this?

BAMPS: Not common, but we don't deny any such requests.

KELAITA (voice-over): Even thought he French and British navies have warned against sending cargo ships carrying expensive yachts through the traditional route past the Horn of Africa because of Somali pirates, many at the show said piracy was more a psychological issue in this region.

BAMPS: We have, of course, always shipped our yachts on top of other vessels that have crossed through the Suez Canal, and we are still continuing to do that.

I think that most of the effect has been on people who really want to cruise the yachts on their own bottom, going through the Suez Canal and to the Mediterranean. But I guess that most of the influence is more psychological than actual on the shipping.

KELAITA: Sultan Al Shaali, the CEO of the Ajman-based Al Shaali Boats and Yachts said insurance rates usually go up if hijinks on the high seas becomes an issue.

SULTAN ALI SHAALI, CEO, AL SHAALI BOATS AND YACHTS: The insurance company didn't come to me and say, "OK, we have this war risk, let's charge him."

KELAITA: So, as worries over the pirates and hijacking issues seem sidelined, it was business as usual as the multimillion-dollar transactions continue.

Kim Kelaita, CNN, Dubai.


VERJEE: It may be business as usual in Dubai, but look at how piracy affects sea travel elsewhere. Take a look at this video. This is the Suez Canal. It's a vital waterway for ships going from Europe to Asia. But ships going through it also have to go past Somalia and pirate-infested waters.

So, some shipping companies are re-routing their vessels on a long and costly ship around Southern Africa. According to the International Maritime Bureau, in 2010, there were 445 pirate attacks around the world. That number went slightly down last year to 439 attacks. In 2010, 53, pirate hijackings were successful. That number was down to 45 in 2011.

Candyce Kelshall is a maritime security expert, and she now joins me to talk a little bit more about this. Are pirate threats up or down?

CANDYCE KELSHALL, MARITIME SECURITY EXPERT: Pirate -- the pirate threat is greater than it's ever been right now. Even though successful hijackings have gone down, the threat is greater, because now pirates have become unpredictable because they're more desperate, because they're taking less ships. That makes them dangerous in our book, even more.

VERJEE: Is private security helping?

KELSHALL: That's an excellent question. As a sailor, I would say private -- private security is an excellent thing to have, because I feel safer. But as a policy analyst, private security is a dangerous thing -- sorry to use the world twice -- because it means that the tactics that the pirates employ will also escalate to meet that extra security.

VERJEE: As a sailor, do you think that the naval warships that are out patrolling are helping deter attacks?

KELSHALL: Great question, Zain. Yes, they're doing their job, which is to protect the Suez Canal and to create that international transit corridor --

VERJEE: Right.

KELSHALL: -- where ships can travel safely. But they're not doing anything when it comes to stopping piracy. We still have pirate attacks, and they're going to continue. It's the equivalent of putting one policeman on a bike to police the UK. But magnify that to 25 policemen on bikes to protect the entire of the European Union. It's impossible.

VERJEE: So, why is it that the ransom payments are now going up in spite of all the efforts that are being made? And what is the average ransom, now?

KELSHALL: Possibly 3.5 million pounds. But that is another good question. Pirate ransoms are going up because we're paying them. If we stopped paying them, we would stop having to pay ransoms.

VERJEE: But then the hostages would still be there --


VERJEE: -- so what do you do with the hostages?

KELSHALL: Precisely. The second reason why pirate ransoms are going up is because less ships are being successfully taken, and the pirate chain still needs to be fed. So, that's one of the reasons that we're seeing those rises escalating.

VERJEE: What do you think is the most effective way to tackle the problem?

KELSHALL: There's only one way to tackle the problem, and it's not at sea, it's on land. It has to be on land, by creating an alternative economy. That's the bottom line.

VERJEE: What is the link between pirates and the militant group al- Shabaab? Is there one?

KELSHALL: Excellent question. Put me on the spot. There's a lot of emphasis and there's a lot of focus on looking for that connection between al-Shabaab and the pirate groups, when actually what we're seeing is that the pirate groups are taking on a terrorist formation, in the sense that their actions are now affecting the entire world.

Seventy pirate groups are holding the world to ransom. We should focus less on looking at al-Shabaab and more at looking at how this threat is evolving to something that is now moving onto land. That's the bottom line.

VERJEE: What is it that sailors like yourself, the people that bought these magnificent yachts at the Dubai Boat show. Where should they avoid? Should they not, then, sail around the Horn of Africa, like some of them are still doing?

KELSHALL: I think the minute we stopped sailing in the waters that are free and international waters, and we're supposedly we're meant to be safe, then that's going to be saying that they've won and that we've lost.


VERJEE: Candyce Kelshall, a maritime security expert. Thanks so much.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, telling tall tales. How an American playwright's claims about a factory were completely exposed.


VERJEE: It's assembled some of our favorite devices, gadgets from household names like Apple, Amazon, Nokia, and Nintendo. But very few people had ever heard of China-based technology factory Foxconn until earlier this year.

There were allegations in a stage show that our devices were made by overworked and underpaid staff. The claims were made by Mike Daisey in his stage show, "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." It sparked protests against Apple.

The American playwright repeated the accusations in interviews, including one right here with CNN.


MIKE DAISEY, PLAYWRIGHT: What it is, as a monologuist, I tell on stage the story of my journey to China and what I saw there. And it's woven against the story of Steve Jobs and the evolution of these devices, so that we can see simultaneously how beautiful and fantastic they are and actually assess their real human cost.


VERJEE: Daisey says he witnessed underage and injured workers, but a popular US radio show has now found that those claims were fabricated after airing an hour-long radio version of the monologue.

"This American Life" retracted that whole episode. Listen to Daisey's response on that program.


IRA GLASS, "THIS AMERICAN LIFE": So, you're saying that the story isn't true in the journalistic sense?

DAISEY: I am agreeing, it is not up to the standards of journalism, and that's why it was completely wrong for me to have it on your show. And that's -- that's something I deeply regret.


VERJEE: The fabrications were discovered by China-based reporter Rob Schmitz. He tracked down Daisey's translator after becoming really suspicious of some of Daisey's claims.


ROB SCHMITZ, CHINA CORRESPONDENT, "MARKETPLACE": A lot of the things that he says in his play have happened, right? There have been workers poisoned by hexane, there have been underage workers at suppliers that supply Apple.

However, these things are very rare in China. And I think what he's done is, there are many people like me, journalists and researchers and academics, who spend many -- much of their lives trying to explain China to the rest of the world. This is our job.

And so, it really -- when this man goes to China for less than a week and then goes back to America and tells the news media what he saw, and it's all lies, then I think that that is doing a great disservice.


VERJEE: Many journalists have covered the issue of worker conditions at Foxconn in recent years. The electronic supplier came under scrutiny by CNN as well other media outlets in 2010 after a series of suicides at Chinese plants. Apple has since audited 229 suppliers in its global chain and insists on safe working conditions.

The Duchess of Cambridge is keen on inspiration, and she had it when she needed it. The royal team-player held her nerve to deliver her first official speech earlier on Monday. Royal Correspondent Max Foster was at the children's hospice in eastern England where Catherine delighted the kids and the parents who know too well about grace under pressure.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The duchess arrived in a $200 dress last worn in public by her mother. Perhaps a gesture of frugality in an error of austerity. There was also a link here to her mother-in-law, as Diana also visited this hospice network.

Inside, the duchess met young children with longterm illnesses, a dream come true for many of them, and a moment of respite from their daily struggle. The Treehouse Hospice in Ipswich is one of only four charities that Catherine has agreed to be patron of.

And then, a big test for any young royal: her first speech in public. People are used to seeing the duchess, but not hearing her. Some close by said she looked very nervous, but she stuck to the task.

CATHERINE, THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM: I'm only sorry that William can't be here today.


THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: He would love it here. A view of his that I share is that through teamwork, so much can be achieved. What you have all achieved here is extraordinary. You as a community have built the Treehouse. A group of people who have made every effort to support and help each other.

FOSTER: It wasn't a long speech, and she didn't falter, making use of long pauses to pace herself in front of a live TV audience of millions.

And then, another rite of passage: a tree-planting and another engagement carried off flawlessly.


FOSTER (on camera): There have been a flurry of public appearances by the duchess recently, but this is probably the last we're going to have of her in a while in public, at least. Prince William is heading home from the Falklands, where he's been serving in the military, soon. And they'll be, no doubt, retiring home to spend some time together.

Max Foster, CNN, Ipswich, eastern England.


VERJEE: In tonight's Parting Shots, Sydney's Harbour Bridge was blowing its own horn on Monday with a little bit of help. Members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra became masters of the harbor helping to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the sweeping landmark.

They were joined by descendants of those who actually built the bridge. It was a feat that took more than ambition. The structure claimed the lives of 16 men before it opened to traffic in 1932.

I'm Zain Verjee. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks so much for joining us. The world headlines are next.