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Magnitude 8.6 Earthquake Strikes Off Indonesian Coast; Rick Santorum Drops Out of U.S. Presidential Race; Syria Promises To Honor April 12th Ceasefire Deadline; Syrian Government Promises to Honor Cease-Fire if Opposition Forces Do Same; Opposition Response; Tony Blair Not Confident Syria Will Comply; Fusion Journeys: Spanish Ballerina Heads to China; Tsunami Warning System Developed in 2005; UNESCO's Work on Tsunami Early Warning Systems

Aired April 11, 2012 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, relief across an entire region: just hours ago, Indonesians were running for their lives fearing a tsunami that thankfully never arrived.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Indonesia responds to the tsunami scare, highlighting just how far warning systems have come since the South Asian disaster in 2004.

Also tonight, images of continuing violence in Syria despite assurances from the government it will honor a ceasefire just hours from now.

And she's pirouetted across the classical ballet scene worldwide. Now we follow Prima ballerina Tamera Rojo on a journey of discovery in Beijing.

Although a massive earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia on Wednesday, there is a sense of relief tonight. The quake triggering a tsunami watch for the Indian Ocean and no doubt very bad memories of the devastating tidal wave nearly eight years ago. Well, the watch was canceled a few hours later, but as CNN's Jonathan Mann reports not before terrified coastal residents fled their homes.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORREPONDENT: The powerful quake sent panic through the streets of Indonesia's Aceh Province. Fearing another possible tsunami like the one in 2004, crowds of frightened residents could do little but watch and wait. Many said they ran as soon as they heard about the earthquake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My child was sleeping and I grabbed her and ran. I didn't have time to take any belongings. I saw my husband in the streets. We went back together to take a few things with us.

MANN: Tourists in the Thai coastal resort town of Phuket also made for higher ground, gathering in the hills away from the beach. Many of them said while there was some initial confusion they were safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hotel was very good, the staff was very good. They got us all moving pretty quickly. So we feel pretty safe.

MANN: While a tsunami never materialized here, ocean waters did recede for a short time. The quake was felt as far away as Bangladesh. And iReporter Ndaka (ph) shot this video as the quake shook his soda bottle during lunch. The quake also sent tremors through parts of India. Hundreds of workers emptied some office buildings in cities in Chennai and Bangalore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suddenly, the office people are running away, running out and screaming. And everybody was feeling that there is some earthquake is happening.

MANN: News of the quake overshadowed British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to the Indonesian capital. Speaking to reporters with Indonesia's president, Cameron pledged Britain's support.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Our thoughts should be with those who are affected. Britain, of course, stands ready to help if help is required. And we will stand with you and with your government and with your people at this time of worry.

MANN: Indonesian authorities were still checking, but remarkably hours after the quake there appear to be no casualties and no major damage.

Jonathan Mann, CNN.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, Indonesia of course is very prone to earthquakes, because it falls inside an area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. That's, a horse shoe shaped band of volcanoes and fault lines and 40,000 kilometers long which circles the edges of the Pacific Ocean. This is where 90 percent of the world's earthquakes and 81 percent of the world's largest quakes happen.

Let's get you a closer look at this trouble zone. Jennifer Delgado joins us from the world weather center. And Jen, residents clearly terrified by what was a massive quake. What do we know at this stage of where and how it originated?

JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN WEATHER CORREPSONDENT: Hi there, Becky. You're right, it was a massive quake. We're talking about an 8.6. And then a very strong aftershock an 8.2. Now you're asking a bit more about the information. As we give you an idea, of course we're talking about in Indonesia. The earthquake, of course, very strong indeed. It happened in the Indian Plate area.

Notice this area surrounded by the Burma Plate to the North and Australia Plate down towards the south. Now the two that happened today happened in this region.

Now, but if we compare that to the one back in 2004, well that happened in the Burma Plate. And that was near a subduction zone. So the ones that happened earlier, ones we're talking about today, that happened in a strike-slip zone. So that's why we aren't talking about the massive tsunami like what we saw back in 2004.

As we go over to our graphic here, we want to talk about bit more as we head over to our Google Earth. Just to give you an idea, fro 2004 to now we've come a long way. And now there are two buoys in the Indian Ocean. They weren't there at the time of 2004. And as I touch on this graphic for you right here, we want to talk about the tsunami that was actually registered.

We did have one that was roughly about 1.05 meters. Now if you ook at the graph here you can kind of see the wave height. And you can notice as we go back in time they seem to be a little bit more even, then notice as we get closer to the time of the earthquake and the amplitude, there is a big change up there. And we didn't have the buoys that provided this information back in 2004. Since that horrible tsunami, we've seen some improvement across the region.

Now, as I take you back over to our graphic right here and we talk a bit more about the earthquake, I want to point out you having one from an 8 we typically only see one of those a year. Now this comes to us from the USGS.

Now keep in mind we've had two earthquakes that have been 8.6 and 8.2, so very active in this region. And we've had dozens of aftershocks ever since then. We're going to continue to see the possibility that as we go through the next weeks, months ahead.

Now I think you're going to talk a bit more with another expert about the difference and why we didn't see a massive tsunami like we did in the past, because it really all has to do with the movement right along the plates.

ANDERSON: We're going to do more on that now. Jen, for the time being, thank you for that.

The quake, as Jen said, felt from Indonesia to India. Its epicenter just 320 kilometers from the epicenter of that devastating earthquake back on what we called Boxing Day here in the UK, the day after Christmas Day in 2004.

So a little more now on why a tsunami didn't develop, thankfully, this tie. Dr. David Rothery is joining us to answer that. He's a senior lecturer at The Open University here in the UK.

Jen alluding to just some of the reasons why we believe a tsunami didn't happen. I want you to really show and tell here, because it's very confusing stuff.

DAVID ROTHERY, OPEN UNIVERSITY: Well, I'll do my best. I brought The Earth University's volcano, earthquake and tsunami course, which is very versatile, to show how it works. Imagine this is the island of Sumatra sitting on the adjacent crust. And the floor of the Indian Ocean is being pushed down or subducted below. And earth -- the plates are converging on each other a few centimeters per year, but they don't move uniformly, they stick.

And what's happening here is the leading edge of the plate is being flexed downwards and in 2004 gave way and flipped up like that. This is upward flipping that disturbed the ocean, you know it as the tsunami wave. And you can tell when hit the earthquake waves. You can analyze them fairly quickly and work out, but it's this kind of movement and a tsunami is likely.

ANDERSON: What happened today?

ROTHERY: Today -- I have to put this down. There was a separate boundary on Jen's graphic there. This is the floor of the Indian Ocean pushing underneath Sumatra, but it didn't give way at the trench. What happened was this bit was stuck and this bit suddenly slipped that way. And it was a sideways movement at this point about 200 miles offshore where the earthquake let rip.

Because it was sideways movement, lots of shaking of the ground, but it didnOt disturb the ocean very much. So the tsunami waves were much altitude.

ANDERSON: We certainly got a tsunami alert. And it must have been absolutely terrifying that the nightmare scenario for people in the region. As a scientist and as a specialist, how quickly would you know that things were going to be OK?

ROTHERY: Well, the earthquake is detected very quickly. And within minutes, the U.S. Geological Survey had the analysis, which showed that it was strike-slip movement, sidways movement. So that reduces the risk of a tsunami.

But it was a big quake, 8.6, so it still had the potential to cause a damaging tsunami. And the travel time of tsunami waves to the shore of Sumatra is about an hour. It's about an hour to the two buoys that were working in the Bay of Bengal.

ANDERSON: And those of course as these early warning systems, which worked.

ROTHERY: They worked. They're not good for early warning for Sumatra, because it took the waves as long to reach the early warning buoys as it took to reach Sumatra. If the waves were going to be big, the first warning would have been for the people of Sumatra.

But they did work. And they showed in the deep water five centimeters up and down movement, which was a good sign.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff, David. Thank you for coming in. A much easier for a layman like me. I'm sure some of our viewers who understand exactly what's going on when we use these volcano, earthquake, and tsunami books out of the Open University. Thank you, sir.

Well, our top story tonight, Indonesia's response to a massive earthquake and tsunami scare. A reassuring sign that warning systems and emergency responses have come a long way since the Banda Aceh disaster in 2004.

Later, we're going to hear from an expert on what real differences these systems have made. You're watching Connect the World here from CNN in London.

Still to come, it's the end of a bloody 13 month uprising really be just hours away? We're going to take a look at Syria's latest promise to comply with a UN-backed ceasefire.

And find out what happens when Classical ballet meets Chinese dance. We follow a ballerina Tamera Rojo on an inspirational journey from London to Beijing, part of a special series here called Fusion Journey on CNN.

That and much more still to come when we return after this short break.


ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World here on CNN with me Becky Anderson.

Now the Syrian government says, quote, "we have completed our operation of combating terrorists and are now in control of our land." It's promising to stop all attacks beginning at sunrise in less than seven hours from now.

Well, Kofi Annan, the special envoy who brokered this ceasefire deal says he has received written assurances from the regime of Bashar al Assad, but he says there is a caveat.


KOFI ANNAN, UN-ARAB LEAGUE SPECIAL ENVOY: There has been further clarification from the Syrian authorities at what they mean and want. It's an assurance that the other forces, their position forces, would also stop the fighting so that we can see cessation of all violence.


ANDERSON: Opposition activists question the government's intensions, noting at least 97 people have been killed in the hours leading up to this deadline.

More on this story just ahead as you would expect, including an interview with Middle East envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for you.

Well, the man at the center of a controversial shooting in the United States will be charged in the coming hours. According to a law enforcement source, charges are going to be brought against George Zimmerman. The neighborhood watch volunteer says he was acting in self-defense when he shot black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Well, Florida state attorney Angela Corey will be holding a press conference shortly. A few minutes ago I spoke to CNN's Martin Savage on the story in Florida for you.


MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORREPSONDENT: First and foremost, Becky, we know that the special prosecutor in this case, this Angela Corey has scheduled a news conference which is slated to begin at 6:00 Eastern time, roughly two hours from now. It's going to be held in Jacksonville.

And here's what they put in the news release that they put out to the media. It was announced that, quote, "Ms. Corey is prepared to release new information regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting death," unquote. New information underlined by me.

What I'm pointing out here is that there is a lot of speculation here. And CNN has actually confirmed through at least one law enforcement source that there will be charges filed. We donOt' know what charges, and that is the big question here, against George Zimmerman, that's the neighborhood watch man who back on February 26 shot and killed Trayvon Martin a 17-year- old who was walking back from a convenience store.

There have been allegations made that there was racial profiling here.

Now George Zimmerman says that he actually got into an altercation with the young man and that's when the shot, the fatal shot was fired.

Many had been angry that he has not been arrested. Florida have a very controversial law called Stand Your Ground which if you are defending your life then justifiable force like that is the claim that George Zimmerman is making.

So the countdown is on right now. All eyes watching and waiting to see what this announcement will be. Is the charges -- could it be manslaughter? And even manslaughter charges could possibly get George Zimmerman up to 30 years in prison. Could it be second degree murder? Could it be battery using a gun? These are all speculated charges that have been talked about over the coming weeks.

Here in Sanford, the community is of course preparing for whatever the outcome is. Law enforcement has been working for weeks on a potential plan. All the protests that have taken place in this community up until just two nights ago had all been peaceful. What changed was two nights ago there was a police car that was shot up. There was no officer inside. But gunfire was aimed at that vehicle.

It is still hoped that calm will prevail regardless of what comes out of this special prosecutor's announcement -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Martin Savage reporting for you there on the story.

A look at some of the other stories htat are connecting our world tonight. And it's a busy couple of hours, because in North Korea they are looking to press the launch button on a long range rocket. A senior official in that country said earlier that fueling was under way. Lift-off is being scheduled for between Thursday and Monday. The U.S. and others suspect that the launch is a cover for a ballistic missile test. North Korea insists it's simply putting a satellite into orbit.

When we fret of war once again hanging over Sudan, I'm afraid. There's been an upsurge in violence around its border with South Sudan. Khartoum has threatened to mobilize its army over oil payments according to state media at least. Well, South Sudan seceded in July last year and is now being accused by its neighbor of attacking an oil field in the south Kordofan region.

More political turbulence on the way for Greece. Government officials say the prime minister has called a snap election for May 6. A temporary coalition has been in charge since November, overseeing what are extremely harsh austerity measures.

Well, after six days trapped underground nine Peruvian miners have been rescued. The men were greeted by the president as they came out of the mine, all of them in sunglasses. They've been trapped since a collapse on Thursday and survived by, we're told, breathing oxygen pumped from the surface through a tube.

And even luckier escape for a new born baby in Argentina. Doctors had pronounced the little girl dead. She was already in a coffin in the morgue. And their parents asked to see her one last time. Well, they had to force the coffin open with a crowbar. And when they did, they discovered their daughter was still alive.


FABIAN VERON, BABY'S FATHER (through translator): They put the coffin on top of a stretcher and we looked for a little crowbar to open it because it was nailed shut. I put the crowbar in there and started prying. I took a breath and took the lid off. At that moment, I saw a white cover over the baby. My wife saw the little body first and she touched her little hand. She then uncovered her face and that's when we heard the first cry.


ANDERSON: That's remarkable. What a story.

We're going to take a very short break here on CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. When we come back, the Bahrain Grand Prix is fast approaching. We've been speaking with the current Formula1 champion to see exactly where he stands on what is becoming a very controversial race. That and more after this.


ANDERSON: Well, it's the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, but the race is being completely overshadowed by Bahrain, which is scheduled to take place, the race there, the following weekend. Violent clashes between protesters and the local police are being reported, but it's being played down by the authorities. Now the F1 teams themselves are completely stuck in the middle, looking for their own governing body for guidance.

Don Riddell is with us out of CNN Center, regular on this show of course at this time.

Don, we talked about this last night. We heard from Bernie Ecclestone and we also heard from a security adviser to the Bahraini government. What do we know at this point?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: Well, we're certainly no closer to knowing if this race is going to happen or not. The latest that we understand is that the teams will be having a meeting with Bernie Ecclestone, with the FIA, which is the motorsport's world governing body this weekend.

There are lots of kind of rumors going around and sort of things that nobody is prepared to be quoted about in the media. And we certainly are getting the sense that the FIA are going to want this race to go ahead, but the teams are not going to be very happy about it. So if and when this meeting happens at the weekend, it's expected to be heated.

But at this point the race is still on. And we are now what, only just over a week away. But you're absolutely right, it is completely overshadowing the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai this weekend. The teams are getting ready to start testing on Friday, qualifying on Saturday. And you just know that all they're being asked about is are we going to go to Bahrain or not.

The drivers and the teams are absolutely sick and tired of talking about it, all they want to do is race, all they want to do is focus on China, but there's this big elephant in the room that will remain until they decide what they're going to do about Bahrain.

ANDERSON: Yeah. We heard from them?

RIDDELL: Heard from who?

ANDERSON: The drivers themselves?

RIDDELL: Yeah, we actually spoke to Sebastian Vettel, the two-time world champion today. As expected, he played a pretty straight bat. He said he didn't really want to commit to it. And this is what he said.


SEBASTIAN VETTEL, TWO-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION: I think generally it's not for us drivers to decide. Obviously they have a lot of people behind Formula1 and trying to organize the races. There's a lot of work involved in that, I'm sure. So it's about, you know, it's their decision in the end -- at the end of the day. I think if we go, then it's a good decision to take. If we don't go, we don't go.


RIDDELL: I could have told you what he was going to say, Becky, before he actually gave that answer. That's pretty much the stock answer you get from all the F1 drivers. They just want to let the authorities deal with it. They just want to focus on racing.

ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. I mean, the race of course canceled last year, so certainly Bahrain is going to want this to go ahead.

All right, Don, let's leave that for the time being.

The Masters champion, Bubba, blubbering Bubba, speaking to CNN today. What did he have to say?

RIDDELL: Well, he had an awful lot to say. He's a fascinating character, as you know Becky. And the one thing we all want to know about is how on earth he played that shot? Remember, he hasn't had a golf lesson. He doesn't have a golf coach. He doesn't have a mental coach, which is you know pretty much what all the other professional players on the tour, they just can't survive without those people guiding them and helping them. And he doesn't have any of that.

He has a golf swing that will probably never be emulated. It's a kind of an amalgamation of everybody else's swing on the tour. And it's just -- he just makes it up as he goes along which makes him a very, very good player.

But we finally got to hear from the man himself once it had all sunk in just how on earth he played that winning shot on the playoff hole.


BUBBA WATSON, MASTERS CHAMPION: There's many different swings out there that have performed well. I just choose not to have a lesson. You know, it's worked for me. A lot of guys they need a lot of instruction, they need a lot of video. They need to get some insurance that they're doing the right things. But for me it's all about just me playing golf, enjoying the game of golf. I love this game of golf. I love every shot. I love just trying to create something like I did on the playoff hole to win, just creating something and not worrying about where my hands are, where my swing goes, where my elbow goes, where my feet are pointed. I just play golf.

I thought I need to hit a big hook and I hit a big hook in a playoff and it turned out perfect.


RIDDELL: He certainly did.

Becky, it has been a huge night of European football from England, Italy, Spain, and Germany. I'm going to give you all that in World Sport in an hour's time, but I will tell you that Carlos Tevez, remember him? He's back.

ANDERSON: Yeah, fantastic. All right. I'm just thinking about Bubba there. I mean, so refreshing to hear somebody talk like that maybe we could all make it in the end. I don't know.

RIDDELL: There's hope, right?

ANDERSON: Thank you, mate. Don is out of CNN Center for you this evening. World Sport coming up, of course.

Still to come on this show, Syria failing the first big test of an international peace plan. So on the eve of another crucial deadline, will its promises be any different this time around?

She's a prima ballerina on a journey to create something new. We're going to take a look at Spanish start Tamera Rojo's take on Chinese dance as she fuses the classic with the contemporary.

And then tragedy averted: Indonesia is spared a repeat of 2004's tsunami disaster. We're going to talk about just how the emergency response and warning systems worked for people in the region. That's coming up after this.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson, these are the latest world news headlines from CNN.

New violence in Syria on the eve of a deadline for full compliance with a UN-backed cease-fire. The government's promised to stop all attacks as of 6:00 AM local time. Opposition activists say at least 97 people were killed as the deadline approached.

A massive earthquake off Indonesia's coast triggered a tsunami watch for the Indian Ocean area Wednesday. Residents of coastal areas were evacuated. The watch, though, canceled after a few hours. Officials say four people were slightly injured.

George Zimmerman will be charged soon over the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. This according to law enforcement in Florida. Zimmerman says he shot the black teenager some weeks ago in self-defense.

And preparations for North Korea's controversial rocket launch continue despite criticism and warning from the international community. Top North Korean space officials say fueling has already begun, and Pyongyang says the Earth observation satellite will be launched in the coming days.

Those are your headlines this hour.

Now to a new promise that the guns will fall silent when the sun comes up over Syria just hours from now. The government says it will comply with a cease-fire due to take effect six and a half hours from now at 6:00 local time, but there is a big "if" this evening.

A defense ministry official tells Syrian television that armed forces will halt operations but will remain on standby. The government says all guarantees are off if the opposition doesn't also honor the cease fire.

Earlier, we spoke to Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman and asked why the world should believe his government is serious about peace this time.


JILHAD MAKDISSI, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY (via telephone): If you read thoroughly the plan of Mr. Annan, you will find out that there will be observers, military unarmed observers sent to Syria.

These observers will be -- authorizing a protocol that we are now negotiating with the technical team of Mr. Annan. Those people will be telling you the truth as our observers did before and nobody believed them.



MAKDISSI: So, what I'm telling you --

GORANI: -- what you're -- yes?

MAKDISSI: -- don't -- I can only --

GORANI: What you're saying is there will be observers from the United Nations to verify that the military has withdrawn, is that what you're saying?

MAKDISSI: Not only the military. The cessation of violence, Hala, someone needs to say you can't rely on "Al-Jarida" or "Al Arabiya" or the YouTube. We will be having, once we sign our protocol, we want Mr. Annan to send in as soon as possible.

We are not afraid of the reality of the Syrian story. We want them to be on the ground and see for themselves who's violating this.


ANDERSON: All right. That is the spokesman for the foreign minister out of Syria. Many opposition activists extremely skeptical of the government's intentions, saying all of its promises so far have essentially amounted to a stalling tactic, some calling this cease-fire tactical so far as the government is concerned.

Let's get some perspective, now, from Ausama Monajed, who's the spokesman for the Syrian National Council joining us out of Washington tonight. You heard the foreign minister. Your response? Sorry, the spokesman, at least.

AUSAMA MONAJED, SYRIAN OPPOSITION MEMBER: Well, we have -- confirmed intelligence report that the regime has, indeed, planted and planned for different groups to initiate attacks to claim that the opposition forces are still attacking Syrian forces in order to legitimize a further crackdown --

ANDERSON: So you --

MONAJED: -- on the opposition. Now, our position is --

ANDERSON: Sorry. You don't buy this 6:00 AM deadline cease-fire, to be honest, by the Syrian government at this point? Because that's what they say they're going to do.

MONAJED: This announcement came after the Syrian regime's foreign minister visited Moscow and Moscow really applied some pressure that they said --

ANDERSON: Which is good, isn't it?

MONAJED: -- you need to comply with the Annan plan. But we do not -- we do not think that this regime is able to do that. We know that there are many troops still scheduled to be deployed for different areas.

ANDERSON: All right.

MONAJED: Snipers are still in many places, and they're only hiding army vehicles and tanks behind some walls and buildings --


ANDERSON: All right, Ausama --

MONAJED: -- here and there, but they're not --

ANDERSON: Question --

MONAJED: -- there's no genuine --

ANDERSON: Question to you, here. Sorry, I want to push you on, here. The question to you is simply this: part of the Anna-brokered peace deal is that once the Syrian government pulls its forces and troops -- its forces and tanks out of Syrian cities, the opposition must stop all fighting, as well. Are you prepared to abide by this brokered deal at this point, this cease-fire?

MONAJED: Of course. We released a statement today saying that we will give the regime 48 hours to see if they are genuine or not.


MONAJED: Now, we have -- it's very important to note and highlight that Annan's plan is not only a cease-fire, that's number one, that's point one. It also includes releasing all political prisoners, allowing the Syrian people to demonstrate freely and peacefully, and also allowing journalists, Arab and Western journalists to come and --


MONAJED: -- visit and be in the country and roam freely. And if these conditions and Annan plan points were not met, then we're only going back to square one.

ANDERSON: So, you're giving him 48 hours, is that what you're saying at this point?

MONAJED: Yes, 48 hours for the regime -- we're going to hold -- we're going to abide by the cease-fire 48 hours. If there are violations from the regime side, then there will be a different story.

ANDERSON: Can I just put this to you? From our correspondent in Turkey, tonight, Ivan Watson, who spoke with a Free Syrian Army fighter in Turkey today who doesn't want to be identified, he says he is planning a raid on a Syrian military target in coming days. He also showed Ivan a thousand bucks worth of recently purchased camouflage uniforms and first aid supplies.

He isn't convinced, this Syrian Army fighter, that the Syrian government is going to -- stick by this cease-fire. But it looks to me -- certainly it sounds to me, tonight, so far as the information that we're getting, that the Syrian Free Army fighters are gearing up for this deal to fail.

MONAJED: Sorry, I did not hear your question.

ANDERSON: Yes, it seems to me from what Ivan is learning out of Turkey tonight that the Free Syrian Army fighters are gearing up for this deal to fail. They don't have any hope in this. But it takes two sides here.

MONAJED: Again, because you have to be prepared if there are violations, and we still believe there will be violations. We still believe that the regime can never be able to pull their troops and stop the atrocities and stop the military campaigns.

But we are saying there'll be a halt of fire from the FSA, from the opposition side, and wait and see what the regime response will be. If they carried on the military campaigns and arrests and they did not release political prisoners, as we said, then we're back to square one and we're -- the Annan plan simply did not succeed.

ANDERSON: Ausama, we appreciate your time this evening and, of course, we wish for the best for Syria.

I've also got some perspective today from Tony Blair, the Middle East Quartet representative who's helping efforts to bring peace to the entire region, of course. I asked him how confident he is that the Syrian regime will honor its commitments. This is what he told me.


TONY BLAIR, REPRESENTATIVE, MIDDLE EAST QUARTET: Look, I think no one's going to say they're confident about it. Let's hope that it -- what they say they're going to do, they do. Because over these past months there's been appalling bloodshed, the killing of civilians in very, very large numbers.

There is a plan. It should be implemented. What Kofi Annan's trying to do is obviously the right thing. You get a complete halt of all hostilities, and then you get a negotiated settlement that will mean transition and change in Syria so that the majority of the people there can participate in the forming of the government. That's the aim.

I hope, obviously, the Syrian government will comply with that. You'd be pretty brave on the basis of past behavior to think they would

ANDERSON: How surprised have you been by seeming intransigence of the Arab League in all of this?

BLAIR: The Arab League, they're looking at the changes across the region, there's been -- this is a region literally undergoing a revolution, and I think there's an enormous desire, now, to try and make sure that these processes of change can happen in a way that promotes as much stability as possible and as little bloodshed.

And so, what you've seen in Syria is precisely the opposite. You've seen chaos and bloodshed and instability. There's got to be change.

And I think what is important is to have a combination, if you like, of strong diplomacy, which is why it's right for Kofi Annan to engage in the way that he has on behalf of the international community.

But you've got to keep up the pressure on the Syrian government so that they understand that if they break the terms of this plan, this isn't going to disappear, it's not going to be off the news and therefore out of people's minds.

We'll keep coming back to it and, if necessary, ratchet up the pressure further and take further measures to support he Syrian people, because they've got to know they're not going to be abandoned. That is absolutely central.

ANDERSON: We've -- if this peace plan is successful and we are some six hours away from a deadline which is extremely important. We may or may not see evidence on the ground of success in about six hours from now. Would that, though, essentially mean that Assad has survived this revolution? That he has legitimacy in power going forward?

BLAIR: No. I don't think that's the issue. The issue is how you now manage the process of transition. And there is no dialogue about the future of Syria that is not going to involve a change, because you can't have a situation which a small number of people simply control the country.

There's a desire from the people of the country to express themselves, to be able to participate in the politics of their country.

So I don't -- I think if you have the implementation if this Annan plan, and I hope that happens, that is, then, the beginning of a process of change. It's not the maintenance of the status quo. That's unacceptable and that won't work.

ANDERSON: And what happens if we don't see the implementation of this plan?

BLAIR: If we don't and if the Syrian government go back on their promises and so on, then I think the international community is just going to have to go back and look at what more it can do.

Now, that might involve things like the Turkish government had been talking about creating zones of security inside Syria for people. There are -- everything should be left on the table as possible so that the maximum pressure is exerted on the Syrian government in this regard.


ANDERSON: It may sound like deja-vu, but the clock is well and truly ticking on Syria this hour.

Just ahead, crossing continents in our special series called Fusion Journeys. A famous Spanish prima ballerina travels to Beijing to try to fuse classical ballet with Chinese dance.


ANDERSON: Well, she is the famous Spanish dancer, Tamara Rojo, and this week, she is taking part in CNN's new special series, Fusion Journeys. In tonight's episode, she heads to China on a quest to discover a whole new form of dance.


TAMARA ROJO, BALLET DANCER: My name is Tamara Rojo. I'm a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet at London's Covenant Garden.


ROJO: I've flown to Beijing to learn about Chinese dance, and I'm going to be shown around by one of China's brightest ballet stars, choreographer Fei Bo.

It's lovely.

How does the history of folk dance influence you in your work?

FEI BO, CHOREOGRAPHER: We take some ideas from opera and sometimes from kung fu.

ROJO: Strong, yes. Acrobatic.

FEI: So, sometimes opera, Peking opera is so -- ah! But Kunqu opera is different.


FEI: Kunqu opera is always very soft, very -- ah.

ROJO: Delicate.

FEI: Very like a dance.


FEI: And the Beijing opera is very strong.


FEI: Ah!


FEI: Did you enjoy this this theater, to perform in?

ROJO: Yes. I came to the opening ceremony of this theater. The first time, it was a little bit overwhelming, because it's really big, and the audience feels really far away.


ROJO: And also, inside it's so big that I got lost many, many times. I couldn't find the dressing room. Then I found the dressing room, I couldn't find the stage.

FEI: Yes. It's so big.

ROJO: It makes me nervous.

Now, Fei Bo is taking me to see some other forms of Chinese performing arts. And this 1980, and this is 1961, and it's exactly the same production.

FEI: Yes, but different actors.

ROJO: Zaju is one of the oldest forms of traditional Chinese theater, including aspects of drama, opera, and ballet.


FEI: What do you think of this performance?

ROJO: I think it was very, very beautiful. Very beautiful. And enough of that has very complex technique.

It's a bit sad because it was quite empty, and it made me think about some issues the ballet also has. As much as an art form has to respect the past and the traditions, if the language of this art form becomes too difficult for the audiences of today, too exclusive, you take the risk of becoming a very minor retired art form, or an art form that no loner has any relevance.

Beijing Dance academy has over a thousand students who begin to learn at an early age. Fei Bo himself is a graduate of the academy. He's now one of China's leading choreographers with his own studio.

FEI: The Chinese traditional dances are different to ballet dancing.


FEI: The ballet is always very strange and very open. Chinese dance is very closed.

Always not finished. So, I want you to try to use your body to try to not finish. Just always -- move your body and use your breathing together to make a new movement.

ROJO: After a mere two days being immersed in Chinese culture, Fei Bo and I are hoping to combine our influences from East and West to create something new, a fusion of dance and cultures.

I'm not going to pretend that in one week I understand all the depth of Chinese culture or that I really can move my hands like a traditional Chinese dancer. That would be naive and arrogant.

I don't want to be predictable. I don't want to always be the Sleeping Beauty. I want to discover things and I want to show to the public new things all the time.


ANDERSON: Fantastic. And tomorrow's journey continues Friday as she returns to England to showcase her new and unique dance routine at London's famous Coliseum.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD tonight, why Indonesia is heaving a collective sigh of relief, not just there, but across the region. That after this.


ANDERSON: Well, it was the nightmare that never was. But the response to Wednesday's tsunami scare, our top story this evening, shows that warning systems have come a long way in eight years.

Just what has changed? Back on the first anniversary of the 2004 disaster, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout returned to the scene to look at what was then a new early-warning system. Have a look at this.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Indian Ocean tsunami claimed more than 200,000 lives. There was no early- warning system.

Onboard the Sonne, a team of scientists is installing a way to warn of a tsunami.

UDO BARCKHAUSEN, GEOPHYSICIST: With everything in place, from the technical side, we can raise the alarm within less than five minutes, which would, even for coastal areas close by, be enough.

STOUT: And it looks like this. Sensors are placed on the ocean floor to detect sea activity. They're linked to giant buoys that measure surface movement and transmit all the data via satellite to stations on land.

STOUT (on camera): But that high-end system of seabed sensors and buoys right off the coast of this beach, here, will amount to nothing unless the warning it picks up is relayed to every person on this beach.

STOUT (voice-over): Enter the Red Cross. The international aid group is organizing how to get that warning out to the community.

VIRGIL GRANDFIELD, INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE RED CROSS: The early-warning system, which is definitely technology-based, still depends on people on the other end of it. And so, the cartoon teaches people how to rebuild their communities in a safer way, but also how the early-warning system would work at their end.

STOUT: The cartoon shows how the Red Cross relays the warning. It also shows how the community should respond. A simple but potentially lifesaving message that has been screened to some 100,000 people.

Today, Banda Aceh is rattled by quakes sometimes two to three times a week. With every rumble, the people head to the hills. But once the warning system is in place, the locals will know the difference between a false alarm and the real thing.

Bustami Anzib is certain a tsunami will come back, but he's ready to heed any warning. He tells me, "Hand, phone, or siren, you can reach me."


STOUT: The call to prayer sounds at dusk in Banda Aceh. Before the next tsunami hits, Bustami should hear the call to run.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Banda Aceh, Indonesia.


ANDERSON: Well, that system is up and running, and today, tens of thousands of Indonesians heeded that call to get to higher ground. They had a terrible scare but did not have to endure another tragedy.

Now, no casualties have been reported. Looks like the early-warning system which Kristie just talked about played a significant part. Let's, though, ask UNESCO's oceans expert, Wendy Watson-Wright, who leads the international effort to set up those early-warning systems. She joins us now from our Paris bureau.

We do know that the tsunami was nothing like as significant or as big as the one back in 2004, but whether there had been a bigger tsunami or not, the systems worked, didn't they? Were you surprised?

WENDY WATSON-WRIGHT, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR GENERAL, UNESCO: No, I can't say I was surprised. Certainly very happy. But we have done simulation exercises before, the most recent one was on October the 12th of 2011.

And during that time, of course, we were happy with the simulation exercise. We always have lessons learned. And we improve. So, it wasn't a surprise, but it was certainly a great pleasure to know that we did not have the destruction and the loss of life that we had in 2004.

ANDERSON: Talk us through these early-warning systems. How do they work?

WATSON-WRIGHT: Well, the early-warning systems are really comprised of approximately three components. First, of course, there is the hazard assessment, detection, and forecasting. Secondly, they also include a threat evaluation and dissemination of the information. And finally, the community preparedness and response, which of course involves education.

And the important point here is it's an end-to-end system, and the last part, the education of the public, is so absolutely critical and important.


WATSON-WRIGHT: And in fact, this works. There was self-evaluation -- evacuation going on in Aceh just after the earthquake.

ANDERSON: You can't stop these tsunamis happen if they're going to happen, but these systems are incredibly important. What have you learned from today? You've been talking about the rehearsals that you've had over a long period of time, now, in eight years. What was learned today specifically, Wendy?

WATSON-WRIGHT: I'm sorry, could you repeat that question?

ANDERSON: We've been watching and hearing about these early-warning systems being set up since 2004. I'm wondering just when you reflect on today, the past 24 hours, what have we learned?

WATSON-WRIGHT: Well, we've learned that it's certainly been worth the effort to set up the tsunami warning systems.

Of course, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO has been coordinating the specific tsunami system since 1965, but it was after the 2004 Sumatra earthquake and tsunami that we were asked to also set them up in the Indian Ocean, in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean, and in the Caribbean.

ANDERSON: All right.

WATSON-WRIGHT: And in the Indian Ocean, we have made significant progress.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. Wendy Watson-Wright out of Paris for you this evening. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us this evening.

I'm Becky Anderson. Thanks for being with us here on CONNECT THE WORLD. World headlines up next.