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CONNECT THE WORLD

Crowds Protest Vladimir Putin During Inauguration; Austerity Loses in Greece, France

Aired May 7, 2012 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: That's right. Tonight on Connect the World, after the party the political hangover. Just hours after anti-austerity voters celebrate victory in France and Greece, the German chancellor makes it clear that deals that save Europe is non-negotiable.

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

ANDERSON: Well, a growing backlash in rattling the EuroZone. This hour, fresh fears that Greece since the country's largest party fails to form a government opening the door for the radical left to step in and put on the austerity breaks.

Also this hour, dismissed as a sham -- Syria holds parliamentary elections, but opposition activists boycott the vote.

And not playing ball -- how a basketball fan ended up wandering onto court during a game in Denver.

We begin in Greece tonight, a country plunged into uncertainty where pro-Europe, pro-reform parties have failed to form a coalition government, that leaves the vehemently anti-austerity left to try their luck. As they get into power, they want complete renegotiation of the bailout deal, but the enforcer of the fiscal treaty says that is not an option.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We in Germany are of the opinion, and so am I personally, that the fiscal pact is not negotiable. It has been negotiated and has been signed by 25 countries. It has been ratified by Greece and Portugal. In Ireland, there will be a referendum on May 31st. And I think that the fiscal pact is right. And it is a basic approach in Europe that we do not change everything we have decided upon already after elections whether in big or small countries. If that was the case, then we could not work in Europe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: ...is the message today from Chancellor Angela Merkel to both these countries. Our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance in Athens for us where in just the past hour or so the country being plunged into deeper uncertainty after there the biggest party, as I said, failed to form a coalition government.

And Hala Gorani is in Paris where new president to be Francois Hollande was elected, of course, on an anti-austerity platform. Hala to you shortly.

First, to Matt. Events moving rapidly there and quite dramatic developments tonight, Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The leader, Becky, of New Democracy, which is the party that is the right of center party that supported the austerity measures that have been implemented by Greece so far and which became the biggest party after the elections, after intensive lobbying and meetings with all the other parties that have seats in the Greek parliament after this election announced on national television that it failed to form a coalition and has given up trying, handing the mandate to try and forge a coalition to the second biggest party, that's what happens in the constitution here, and that's the coalition for the radical left which is a party that has come from virtually nowhere to be the second place party in this election. And it's a party that's fundamentally opposed, as you mentioned, to the austerity measures as they stand and as they've been implemented in Greece. The party believes they should be renegotiated and that they should be coupled with measures to encourage growth as well.

And so we're looking at very, very deep period of uncertainty now as the leader of that party From Tomorrow tries to cobble together some kind of coalition, Becky.

ANDERSON: What chance of them getting a coalition together and it doesn't what happens next?

CHANCE: Well, first of all I think the chances are pretty slim. If you look at the mathematics of it, it's going to be very difficult for the coalition of the radical left to forge a coalition with just left-wing parties. It's going to have to cross the political spectrum and perhaps take on the biggest party as well, the New Democracy. And it's not altogether clear that they're going to want to do that. And so there are still lots of negotiations underway to try and achieve this.

But obviously it's something that we'll have just the wait and see, but it's looking very unlikely at the moment. The biggest chances, the biggest likelihood, is for new elections to be called in three or four weeks from now if they can't forge a coalition out of the last one.

ANDERSON: Tough times Matthew Chance in Athens, thank you for that. And to France then and Francois Hollande says he wants change too, but Germany responding today saying no. So what happens next? Hala is there. They haven't even met yet and yet Hollande already taken a jab from the Chancellor Angela Merkel out of Germany.

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's difficult at this stage to qualify exactly the relationship between these two leaders, because precisely they haven't met yet. Now we did hear from Angela Merkel who essentially said look this pact is not up for renegotiation.

But these allies are close. They are the engine of the EuroZone. It seems virtually impossible a scenario in which they will not come to some sort of agreement. The big question is who will have to concede more in this discussion that they're going to have to have addressing the EuroZone crisis.

Now the Socialists, even during the campaign when I spoke to Hollande's campaign manager were quick to say, look, we're not here to destroy what we've agreed already, we just want to add to this agreement, we want to add a growth component to it. And the issue between these two leaders, Merkel and Sarkozy -- or I should say Hollande -- I'm just having a hard time saying Hollande already now that France has a new president -- is going to be how much do they -- where do they meet somewhere in the middle. Will Hollande be able to come up with some sort of agreement that will make him look like he fought for the interests of France, but keep the austerity component there.

And that's essentially what the markets are saying, by the way. Today, the CAC 40 was up one and two-thirds of a percent, the euro went down slightly, but then rebounded again. So it seems as though at least for now the investment community is hoping that something will be agreed upon that both countries will find satisfactory.

ANDERSON: Hala Gorani in Paris. Matthew Chance in Athens. Both of you, thank you very much indeed for joining us this hour. Tough times ahead. Put simply, what voters are saying is no to austerity, yes to growth.

But are they too really mutually exclusive. I put that to CNN's Richard Quest. Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. They're absolutely not. And Christine Lagarde at the IMF said that today. And indeed more and more people are saying you can have one and have the other. What people are protesting about is too much austerity too quickly. And the chancellor -- even the chancellor of Germany with talking about Greece, talking about Spain continues to say they cannot change direction. And that's the real problem here.

I think that the Europeans in Brussels would happily allow a little bit of maneuvering if you like take the pressure off, but the Germans will not move. They will not, but for one very simple reason, Becky, they fear that if they do those countries, the miscreants, will be off to the races again.

ANDERSON: And possibly they are right to that.

Let's take a look at Greece, shall we. I went down to the banks of the River Thames to a restaurant where they are using the drachma. There was a point to this. Have a look at this.

It's the scenario many people fear, a return to the drachma. One London based Greek restaurant is trying to revive the old currency, calling on customers to pay with the old Greek notes.

The drachma is one of the world's oldest currencies. Coins have been around since before the sixth century BC, but it's been out of circulation now for about 10 years. But here at The Real Greek, Christos and his staff have been encouraging clientele to fish out their old money to pay for their mezza.

Christos, why are you doing this?

CHRISTOS KARATZENIS, HEAD OF OPERATIONS, THE REAL GREEK: We wanted to make light of the situation now in Greece. So we wanted to have some fun. And we asked them to bring their old drachmas to buy their food.

ANDERSON: And they've been doing it.

Well, listen, it may be fun here. But the reality of the situation is really stark. At this point, Greeks have a choice between austerity measures which are crippling, or dropping out of the euro completely and going back to that.

What would happen if Greece returned to the drachma? Well, experts say the country would definitely default on its $500 billion worth of public debt. People with money in Greek banks would see their savings evaporate. And the prices of imported goods would go up dramatically.

There's always been a vocal minority like to go back to the old currency, but exit polls show that most Greeks do want to stay with the euro. I have been in this game long enough to know that this stage whether they do or not is anybody's guess.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Important point, huh? Most Greeks want to stay in the euro.

QUEST: Because they recognize the long-term goal of their future success is in an integrated Europe.

And I mean, that's the problem, it's just about making these tremendously painful changes, the sort of painful changes that the UK made in the 1980s, first of all, and that the U.S. made in the 80s. Now those countries are having to make.

ANDERSON: And the Germans, of course, made at the beginning of the 1990s.

The next question and the last question to you is simply this, and how do you stimulate an economy without deepening its deficit, because as we've agreed growth and austerity aren't mutually exclusive, but you can't make things much worse as you try and stimulate the economy.

QUEST: Right. It's as I say quite simple. The first thing you do is you don't have such draconian targets for deficit reduction. So let's take Spain. Does it make a difference if Spain is 3.9 or 3.3 percent? So you allow a bit of room for longer-term. So you make -- instead of having budget -- budget balance by 2016, you make it '18.

Then you get the ECB involved. Then you get the European investment bank involved. Then you start to move the cohesion funds in. And you do all of this at the same time as allowing the country's longer to put their fiscal house in order.

What you cannot do, and this is the problem, what you cannot do is allow them longer to put their structural problems because the fear is they'll interfere one and the other will just get pushed aside.

ANDERSON: So what does Merkel do at this point?

QUEST: Oh, I hate to tell you -- I'll predict quite happily what they do now with the fiscal compact. They do not renegotiate it. They have a side agreement that goes with the fiscal compact for countries like Greece or like France that allows them a certain amount of wiggle room.

Remember, these people are the masters and mistresses of fudge.

ANDERSON: Let's see if he's right.

You're watching Connect the World live from London. Our top story this hour. All hands to the pump, and that includes you Ms. Merkel. Voters in both France and Greece demanding a dose of good old (inaudible) kick start their stricken economies. No can do says the German chancellor it's my way, you'll see a way, or the highway for the EuroZone. We'll expect some hard bargaining on that road ahead as a new wave of leaders challenge the terms of the European rescue deal.

Still to come on tonight's program, a job swap at the highest level. Vladimir Putin is once again the president of Russia with Dmitry Medvedev tipped to be prime minister.

Parliamentary elections held in Syria, but the violence there continues. We take a look at the families being torn apart.

And the wandering fan who interrupted a basketball game in Denver. That and much more still ahead when Connect the World continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back.

Now Russia officially has a new president, though some might say he never really left. Vladimir Putin was sworn in. The lavish ceremony in Moscow this morning. Our man Phil Black was there for it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the third time Vladimir Putin entered the Grand Kremlin Palace to be inaugurated as Russia's president. He first served between 2000 and 2008 before stepping aside because of a constitutional limit on two consecutive terms. He spent the last four years as prime minister and now he is back for potentially another two terms.

After a grand entrance before an applauding crowd, he took the oath of office with one hand resting on a copy of Russia's constitution. Then, in a speech, he spoke about how serving Russia and its people is his meaning in life. He spoke on a familiar thing, what he believes are some of the achievements of his 12 years as the dominant political figure in this country: restoring Russia's strength and dignity.

And he also spoke on a subject that some Russians will interpret cynically. He spoke about his desire to increase constitutional rights and freedoms, about making the political process more inclusive. He spoke about democracy.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We want to live in a democratic country and we will where each person has freedom and opportunity to use his talents and energy. We will live in a successful Russia which will be respected in the world as an open and predictable partner.

BLACK: While Vladimir Putin was swearing his oath, protesters who oppose his continued rule were being arrested across central Moscow. They turned out in small groups, many wearing the white ribbon that has become the symbol of the opposition movement. That comes as one day after tens of thousands of people marched through central Moscow again angry with his return in what was easily the most violent of all the opposition protests this country has seen in recent months.

Analysts believe that ongoing challenge to his authority as well as much needed and potentially difficult economic reforms are just some of the issues that will ensure Vladimir Putin's third term as president looks and feels very different to his previous time in power.

Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. A look at some of the other stories that are connecting our world tonight. And Syria is holding what it calls its first multiparty elections in five decades, but anti-government activists call it a complete sham. Many protesters are boycotting today's parliamentary vote saying any government that kills thousands of its own people can't be trusted to respect the democratic process. We'll have much more on Syria a little later this hour, including a special report on civilians who've paid a terrible price for the anti-government uprising.

Well, an American kidnapped last year in Pakistan has made an emotional plea to U.S. President Barack Obama. In a video released by his captives, 70-year-old Warren Weinstein says he'll be killed unless Mr. Obama agrees to their demands. Al Qaeda claims to be holding Weinstein and the group is setting out the conditions for his release.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN WEINSTEIN, HELD CAPTIVE BY AL QAEDA: I'd like to talk to President Obama and ask him, beg him that he please accept and respond to the demands of the Mujahadeen. It's important that you accept the demands and act quickly and don't delay. There will be no benefit in delaying. It will just make things more difficult for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: One exchange -- al Qaeda is demanding the release of all prisoners accused to belonging to the Taliban. The U.S. has said it does not negotiate for hostages.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in India for hoping to mend relations with the Asian super power. She'll meet with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. Relations have soured with the announcement that the U.S. will place sanctions on countries importing oil from Iran after June. It's a resource that India relies on.

Well, a big winner at the U.S. box office this weekend was no competition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT DOWNEY JR., ACTOR: It's what we call ourselves, Earth's mightiest heroes type thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have an army.

DOWNEY: We have a Hulk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: The Avengers, a mash-up of Marvel's comic heroes pulled in just over $200 million at the U.S. box office, the biggest opening weekend of all time.

We are going to take a very short break at this point. Show is not over, lots more to come. Why the color of the clay court in Madrid has some of the players feeling just a little blue. That's coming up. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CNN, Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

The first round of the Madrid Master's tennis tournament is underway, but the big talking point so far has been the color of the clay rather than who is playing on those courts

Let's bring in Don Riddell from CNN center for more on this.

Normally, I'm pretty sure I'm right in saying the clay courts are red. So what happened?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, you're absolutely right.

Well, I'll tell you how they made them blue first of all. Normally, Becky, they take the brick, they grind it down and that's how you get that kind of red clay. But on this instance, they ground it down. They took the iron oxide out and then they dyed what's left, which has given you this smurf-like tennis court. And it's really controversial.

The players say they weren't even consulted. And that many of them are saying it behaves completely differently. One of them has described it as being the sort of thing that smurfs would play on. Victoria Azarenka says it's just 100 percent different to the other courts -- the other clay courts they're used to playing on. And the world's top two players have had their say as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAFAEL NADAL, TENNIS PLAYER: I'm not a big fan of the blue clay, but that's what there is today, you know. I'll just play through that, my game, as good as possible to play well here, that's the most important thing today.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC, TENNIS PLAYER: My opinion is that it's different. It -- there is a certain differences in blue clay comparing to the red clay. You know, we can talk about -- we can talk about this for a long time, but you know I try to keep it as short as possible now that we already have blue clay in front of us for this year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: So Becky, the organizers are saying that they changed the color of the court so that the yellow ball would stand out more. But you know tennis commentators aren't convinced. They don't think it even does stand out that much more. And of course a cynic would say the only reason they really changed this is so they could get more publicity, which they certainly have.

ANDERSON: I was going to say, they've managed that. It's about all they've managed.

That's such an odd story, that really is. The idea that the players didn't even know about it, they weren't told about it I find really bizarre as well.

Anyway, have you ever played on blue clay?

RIDDELL: No, I haven't.

ANDERSON: How does it play? They say it's...

RIDDELL: ...more slippery. I mean, this is a serious thing. We've got the French Open coming up in just a few weeks time, which is the climax of the clay court season, of course. All these players you know want to prepare and build up and get used to clay ahead of that year's second major. And of course they all want to go out there fit and healthy and some of them are saying it's a bit too slippery. And so I think most of them will just be pleased to get out of Madrid in one piece.

ANDERSON: I just think it looks like they're playing in a swimming pool that isn't full of water, which is just all so odd isn't it?

Anyway, listen, let's move on. Let's get to another court, a basketball court, because this is -- this is one of the wildest stories, I've got to say, a bizarre occurrence during an NBA playoff game.

RIDDELL: Another bizarre one.

Yeah, I mean, this was the Nuggets versus the Lakers in the playoffs on Sunday. And you'll notice there in the bottom of the screen someone who really shouldn't be there. That is a 20-year-old woman who has just wandered on to the court. And this is a really high profile game. This was a -- you know, televised on national television. And there you've got someone wandering onto the court.

Now it turns out that this woman has a history of stalking some of the players in the Denver area. As you can see she was led away, arrested, and charged for trespassing. But I mean, utterly bizarre. And actually quite worrying when you think about what somebody could have done with that kind of access to these players who are, of course, absolutely defenseless. I mean, we've seen this happen in soccer around the world. You always get these kind of idiots running onto the pitch to do something silly. And of course you never know exactly what they're going to do. And this woman...

ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean you can make -- exactly, you can make light of it and say she was loitering with intent to have a conversation at the wrong time, of course, because they're in the middle of a game. But you're absolutely right. I mean, it's -- you know, the security of the players has got to be upper most.

These guys are big guys, though, after all. They're like seven foot something, right?

RIDDELL: Yeah, I mean, look if she had a knife or a gun it wouldn't matter how big you are. But if she was just going to try to slap them around I think they could have looked after themselves.

ANDERSON: Good on you.

Don is back in just about an hour. We'll let you go at that point. World Sport with Don in about half past 10:00 London time. You can work it out for yourself.

I know you've got interview with Michael Schumacher on that as well.

Still to come on Connect the World this evening, a government under attack for brutal repression said it's following through on promised democratic reforms. Here to get the very latest on Syria's controversial parliamentary election. That's up next.

And from Boston to Buenos Aires, we're going to take you on a journey of musical inspiration. A fusion journey on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

The first attempt to form a coalition government after Greece's parliamentary elections has failed. The mandate is now passed to the far- left party that finished second. If they succeed in forming a government, they are demanding a full renegotiation of the European fiscal deal and an end to austerity.

French president-elect Francois Hollande has agreed to visit Berlin shortly after he takes office. He is scheduled to be sworn in on May the 15th. Hollande has said he also wants to renegotiate the eurozone austerity pact, but that's a move the German chancellor opposes.

Vladimir Putin is back at the Kremlin and back in the president's office. He took the oath during a lavish but brief inauguration earlier today. Outside the Kremlin, there was a large show of force. Police arrested more than 100 anti-Putin protesters.

It's been a violent 24 hours in Afghanistan. NATO officials say they're looking into reports civilians were killed in a coalition airstrike in Badghis province in the northwest, and a Western sources says attackers killed three US soldiers south of the base in Ghazni province in the east.

All right. Elections in Syria are exposing deep divisions. They push the country to the brink of civil war. Government supporters turned out to vote for a new parliament today, but opposition activists stayed home, boycotting an election they call a complete sham. CNN's Ivan Watson is following developments tonight from Istanbul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Syrian state media is applauding this parliamentary election in Syria, where more than 7,000 candidates are competing for around 250 seats in the parliament.

Syrian state TV is calling this a true national wedding, and there have been images of people casting their ballots and going to the polls and saying that this is their national duty for a better, stronger, more democratic Syria.

The opposition, however, has called for a boycott, and we've seen fascinating images of what appears to be a general strike in a number of different cities and towns, activists riding around on motorbikes through entire neighborhoods where shops are closed and the streets are deserted.

We've also seen them putting up photos of some of the more than 9,000 people who have been killed in the deadly government crackdown over the course of the past year in Syria, and arguing that these martyrs, as they call them, should be the real candidates for this future Syrian parliament.

If you want a more object view, opinion on this election, look at the most recent statement coming from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He said, quote, "Only a comprehensive and inclusive political dialogue can lead to a genuine democratic future in Syria. These elections are not taking place within that framework."

He is basically saying he does not agree with the so-called reform process that the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has tried to institute, creating commissions and this election, while at the same time, continuing to use deadly force against people who object to his family's more than 40 years in power. Becky?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Ivan for you on that story. Many Syrians believe no matter what the official outcome is of the election, it won't change their lives for the better, though.

Thousands of people have been uprooted by the deadly crackdown, their families torn apart, their communities destroyed. As Arwa Damon now shows us, one school is offering shelter to civilians who've suffered unimaginable pain.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(WOMAN CRYING)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An old woman walks back and forth, sobbing incoherently.

(WOMAN SPEAKING IN ARABIC)

DAMON: A voice off camera asks her, "What is wrong? Who hurt you?"

(WOMAN CRYING, SPEAKING ARABIC)

DAMON: "They all did," she responds. She is unable to explain what happened to her or how she ended up here.

This was once a school, now turned sanctuary for people from across Homs whose homes were decimated. And one only has to look at these images from one of the neighborhoods to understand what forced them to flee. Families literally torn apart as artillery rained down.

(GUNFIRE)

DAMON: Gunfire still rings out. They can't return anytime soon. Many of those here don't want to be identified.

"These siblings' father was killed," a woman who prefers to stay off camera explains. "They were taken by pro-Assad thugs. They ended up in a house in an Alawite neighborhood where they had their hair oddly dyed and cut. No one knows why."

They appeared on a pro-government TV station as lost children. Someone collected them and brought them here. Their mother's fate unknown.

(GUNFIRE)

DAMON: The children don't react at all to the sound of gunfire. One shows where he was wounded in the arm.

Little Louhi (ph) had gone out with his brother to get bread. His brother was shot in the head. Louhi was shot in the leg as he ran to his brother's side. The boys' father rushed out. He was shot and killed. Louhi somehow ended up here among strangers thrown together.

All they have to eat three times a day is cracked wheat with lentils and watered-down yoghurt. A volunteer says, "We cook and take care of around 400 people from all over Homs." Lunchtime conversation centers around death. This boy says his father was killed on his way home from his cousin's funeral.

Once they are stabilized at various makeshift clinics, the wounded are brought here, too. This man recalls how he was out getting food for his parents and 20 relatives crammed into a home.

"I was stopped a checkpoint," he says. "The soldiers searched my bags and then began to beat and taunt me. They told me to leave, but I refused. 'Not without the food. We need to eat,' I begged them. They threatened to detain me." Forced to leave, he was then shot twice in the leg as he turned the corner.

Another man says he was watering plants on his roof when suddenly the shelling started. Neighborhood youth were able to get him to a secret clinic, and then he was brought here.

"My house was destroyed," he says. "And I lost both my legs. I don't know where my kids, my family is. Are they dead or alive? I don't know."

He implores the UN for help. "We need security for us and for our children who are still alive." His voice cracks as he continues. "Those who are dead are gone, but what about those who are alive?"

Arwa Damon, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, it overcame apartheid government, Africa's rainbow nation. But our report from Johannesburg next suggests South Africa's democracy is under threat. We'll explain more on that after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Soweto, 1976. South Africa is in crisis as protesters clash violently with apartheid-era police. Racism, grinding poverty, and terrible living conditions are all fueling the tensions.

Well, fast-forward to 2012, and South Africa's seen as the miracle that escaped civil war to provide millions with homes, health care, and sanitation. But many are worried that cracks are now beginning to appear.

Robyn Curnow is in Johannesburg kicking off what is a week-lung -- week lung? -- week-long look at the threats facing Africa's rainbow nation. Robyn?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Becky. As we know, there is a deep, emotional attachment to the ANC, the liberation movement that brought about democracy here in South Africa. Over 65 percent of people voted for them.

But despite that, people are starting to become impatient and more critical about the state of leadership and the state of the nation. Just look at newspaper headlines like this, "The ANC in panic mode."

And from today, the auditor general ringing alarm bells about South Africa's dire situation. He criticizes government and public servants for helping to weaken the pillars of democracy, he says.

Now, all of this means that, on a grassroots level, the ANC has started to lose some key towns, some key municipalities, and that also means, according to the opposition parties, who are winning some of these small towns and municipalities, that the ANC is struggling to lose. In fact, they're bad losers. Now, take a look at this package.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW (voice-over): In the shadow of an armored police vehicle assigned to protect him, small-town mayor Memory Booysen puts on a bulletproof vest.

MEMORY BOOYSEN, MAYOR, BITOU MUNICIPALITY: I've had death threats. My family has been targeted. My offices in the main building has been firebombed. My colleagues had threats, as well. And I'm having around the clock close protection.

CURNOW: This is Bitou municipality, a seaside town on South Africa's picturesque Garden Route. Along its beaches, some of the country's wealthiest own holiday homes. But in the townships a few kilometers away, many live in shacks.

It was here in a key local government election last year that the African National Congress, the ANC, lost control of the municipal council. New mayor Memory Booysen is from the Democratic Alliance, or the DA.

With heavy police protection, he's showing a visiting party colleague sites of recent violence and vandalism. Businesses and buildings in his municipality attacked.

BOOYSEN: This area was petrol-bombed.

CURNOW: The mayor says it's all part of a strategy to sabotage the Democratic Alliance victory here.

BOOYSEN: What has happened is that people did not accept the democratic processes after the local government elections.

CURNOW: Within the municipality, this township, Qolweni, is an ANC stronghold and the site of much of the violence. This resident says it's dangerous to support the Democratic Alliance even though the party won at the ballot box.

"Why are you scared?" I ask him. He says it's because he's a DA organizer.

CURNOW (on camera): There is a sense from the DA, the people who now run this municipality, that the ANC is using tactics that were last used during the apartheid-era.

CURNOW (voice-over): Public disobedience and violence was an ANC strategy to make the townships ungovernable, a way to pressure the then- apartheid government.

The regional secretary for the ANC, Putco Mapitza, has been quoted in national newspapers urging similar tactics now.

CURNOW (on camera): Have you ever said that you would like to make these municipalities ungovernable?

PUTCO MAPITZA, ANC REGIONAL SECRETARY: Again, the propaganda of the people -- of the Democratic Alliance. We've never said we'd make this municipality ungovernable. What we said is that we will challenge decisions that are illegitimate to make that are made by the Democratic Alliance.

CURNOW (voice-over): Across South Africa, there's an increase in frustration that 18 years after the end of apartheid, many are still poor, without basics like running water and electricity. Many blame the ANC for misusing government funds, for increasing corruption, for failing to deliver on the promise to give South Africans a better life.

Still, opposition parties find their message a hard sell at township community meetings like this one. With bodyguards keeping a close eye on proceedings, Memory Booysen and his part remind constituents that they will keep election promises, which is why Mayor Booysen says the ANC feels threatened.

BOOYSEN: They project themselves as being democratic, and they only accept it when they're in the driving seat. If they're not, they turn into all kinds of illegalities to overturn things so that they can be back in power. They don't accept defeat.

CURNOW: The ANC vigorously denies that, but after the meeting, as Memory Booysen leaves, some residents begin singing, "We will cut him, we will cut the mayor." Violent lyrics that they say are only meant to warn the mayor that these ANC supporters want him out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Well, Becky, the president, Jacob Zuma, has been quotes as saying the ANC will rule until Jesus comes. Clearly, South Africa is still a vibrant multi-party democracy, but it's at a very critical state, a very critical juncture in its journey. Back to you.

ANDERSON: Robyn, I know this is just the first of what are a series of reports this week. What else should we be watching out for?

CURNOW: I think the thing I mentioned at the beginning, it's very much a conversation at the moment, these newspaper articles continually pressing on the key point that many people are concerned about, the judiciary, the constitution.

Many criticisms coming from the ANC towards the constitution itself, the blueprint, the foundation of this democracy that they helped to create, Jacob Zuma calling for a review of constitutional court judgments, confusing judges and the judiciary as to what exactly he means.

We're also going to be exploring the role of the police. There's a very crucial leadership battle. Will Jacob Zuma get a second term in December? Many people feel that that, in a way, is paralyzing all aspects of government here, that they're factually fighting over this bitter leadership battle.

All of that is going to be playing into all sorts of aspects of South African society, and we're going to touch on as many of them as we can in the next few days.

ANDERSON: Fascinating, looking forward to it. Robyn, thank you.

Breaking news here on CNN. A US official tells us that authorities have foiled a terror threat. Now, the counter-terrorism official says international agencies broke up an attempt to blow up a US-bound jetliner.

The official says an explosive device was recovered and the plot was stopped before it threatened Americans or any allies. The official calls the development, and I quote, "a success story" and says authorities will analyze the device. We'll have more details on this as they become available, we'll have breaking news here on CNN.

We're going to take a very short break. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Time for our Fusion Journeys, now, our culture series that follows six artists on a journey of discovery to create something new. This week, we meet the violin virtuoso Sarah Chang, who tells us where she has chosen to visit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(JET ENGINE)

(VIOLIN MUSIC)

SARAH CHANG, CLASSICAL VIOLINIST: My name is Sarah Chang. I'm a classical violinist.

(VIOLIN MUSIC)

CHANG: I started the violin when I was four years old. My mom had put me on the piano at three and a half, and I didn't like it so much. I wanted an instrument that was smaller and more portable, that I could carry around with me. So, I asked for the violin when I turned four.

(VIOLIN MUSIC)

CHANG: The particular violin that I play on is a Guarneri del Gesu, which was made in 1717, so it's just under 300 years old. So, if you're thinking about the history of, not just the composers, but also the instruments and what we're playing.

Every time I hold my instrument, every time I'm on stage with my violin, I'm quite aware of the responsibility that I have, not just to represent the composer, but also the instrument itself.

(VIOLIN MUSIC)

CHANG: Well, I love being on stage. We're on the stage of the Boston Symphony Hall right now, and it is one of the most gorgeous venues in the entire world. I truly believe that. Not just visually, but acoustically. You start playing on a stage like this, and you just melt.

(VIOLIN AND PIANO MUSIC)

CHANG: It becomes a part of you, and it really becomes quite addictive, being on stage and having an audience with you. It's -- it's a really exciting sort of life. So, I think that has driven me throughout my career.

What I do on a normal day-to-day basis is play with orchestras, be in concert halls, give concerto concerts, and this is my life. This is what I do every night, and it's what I'm comfortable with and what I love doing.

For my journey, I'll be going to Buenos Aires to learn how to play tango music.

I'm not really a dancer. I am a very physical performer when I'm on stage, but it's a completely different thing to be moving around on stage when you're performing as a violinist, and then, of course, a professional tango dancer.

(VIOLIN MUSIC)

CHANG: I'm hoping that I can stick with my classical core but also introduce and try to be influenced by the tango and the whole Latin American feel, because the style is so incredible. I'm really excited to work with that sort of music and style and hopefully with some of the local musicians, and try to incorporate that into my own music making.

(JET ENGINE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And join us on Wednesday for the next part of this series. Sarah arrives in the tango capital of the world, Buenos Aires, to learn a whole new kind of tune. And if you can't wait until Wednesday, you can find out more about Sarah's journey on our website, that's cnn.com/fusionjourneys, anytime, of course.

Sarah tells us in her own words how the experience has affected her music and her personal life. That's cnn.com/fusionjourneys.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. The world news headlines up after this short break. Don't go away.

END