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Kofi Annan Urges Consequences For Syrian Noncompliance; Euro 2012 Begins Tomorrow

Aired June 7, 2012 - 16:00   ET


JONATHAN MANN, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, a warning for Syria.


KOFI ANNAN, UN/ARAB LEAGUE SPECIAL ENVOY TO SYRIA: There will be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming.


MANN: The UN special envoy says Syria is not sticking to his peace plan after news of still more horrific killing.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

MANN: Tonight was the international community divided. We hear from the spokesman for Syria's opposition about what it wants the west to do next.

Also this hour why Germany says that a solution to the EuroZone crisis could create a two speed Europe.

And the stadiums are ready, but will it be events on or off the pitch that will make Euro 2012 a championship to remember?

Thanks for joining us. We begin of news of yet another massacre in Syria giving added urgency to UN meetings on the crisis underway this hour. The world is confronting what can only be called a failure of diplomacy to end the months of bloodshed. The question is, is it now willing to change course?

Today, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said he's shocked and sickened by the latest mass atrocity in Syria. Dozens of civilians reportedly killed yesterday by pro-regime militiamen in the tiny village of al-Kuber (ph). Secretary-General Ban says UN monitors who tried to reach the scene were fired on today.

Special envoy Kofi Annan says it's time to threaten the regime with consequences.


ANNAN: We must find the will and the common ground to act and act as one. Individual actions or interventions will not resolve the crisis. As we demand compliance with international law and the six point plan, it must be made clear that there will be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming.


MANN: We have three live reports for you on the crisis. Arwa Damon following new details of a massacre from Beirut since Syria allow won't our reporters into the country. Richard Roth is at the United Nations where the security council is now meeting behind closed doors. And Matthew Chance is in London with a look at Russia's role in all of this. A rare, but powerful ally of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Let's start with Arwa in Beirut. First, though, we want to warn you that some of the pictures that you'll see in her reporting will be difficult to watch. And they're simply not suitable for children. We feel it's important, though, to show even just edited versions of the images to convey the extent and the brutality of the Syrian crackdown.

Arwa, horrific account in Zenghraiba (ph) and that massacre in al- Kuber (ph). What can you tell us?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: And they most certainly are, Jonathan. Time and time again we talk about how images coming out of Syria are incredibly difficult to watch. And this is yet another one of those instances. The video allegedly showing the aftermath of this massacre that opposition activists say Syrian government forces as well as pro-government thugs armed with knives and guns carried out. This village is barely more than a cluster of homes. And opposition activists are saying that at least 77 people were killed. That would be around half of the village's population.

The images you're seeing there of one of the small children and others lying next to him. Some of the kids are shrouded in these white burial clothes. They have chunks of ice or water bottles that have been frozen places around them in an effort to try to slow down the process of decomposition.

The images you're looking at right now, those are all said to be children from a single family. Four of them at least, according to the voice on the tape, their mother and their uncle killed as well.

Now Jonathan, the government for its part is saying that it is not responsible for this massacre, that in fact this was carried out by these terrorist armed gangs that are backed by foreign entities. It says that nine people were killed in this village after which residents sent out a cry for help and that is when the military went in and raided a terrorist cell, Jonathan.

MANN: And we are told that when the United Nations monitors tried to go in and investigate what happened someone started shooting at them. What do we know about that?

DAMON: Yeah, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon telling that to the general assembly. And it just goes to illustrate how difficult it is for the UN monitors to reach some of the areas where these alleged massacres are taking place to conduct their own investigations.

Over night, as soon as news of this massacre came out, opposition activists were telling us that they were trying to contact the UN monitoring team in the city of Hama and that the monitoring team was expected to try to get out to this site first thing in the morning. Well what we're hearing from activists throughout the day was that the team was stuck at checkpoints, unable to reach this little village and that was later on confirmed by the head of the UN monitoring mission who said that the teams were unable to reach the site. They were either stopped at checkpoints or turned back from checkpoints, or in at least one instance shot at on the road Jonathan.

MANN: Arwa Damon in Beirut. Thanks very much.

Now the United Nations itself and Richard Roth for an update on a full day of meetings. Richard, two very high profile meetings, some high profile frustration, any progress in it?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not yet. And maybe not by the end of the day, because they're scrambling for any type of diplomatic route forward inside the UN general assembly is hall, and as Arwa and you mentioned, Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-Moon, the Arab League, the human rights UN official all spoke before the general assembly which began really with a moment of silence for the victims in Syria of those massacres, something I don't think the Syrian ambassador was too happy with.

The speakers, including Ban Ki-Moon. who said we may not just be at the tipping point, we may be at the breaking point there. The secretary- general saying he was shocked and sickened by the attacks and the additional massacre and how the UN observers haven't even been able to get there and do what they want.


BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: We condemn this unspeakable barbarity and renew our determination to bring those responsible to account. UN monitors were denied access. They are working now to get to the scene. And I just learned a few minutes ago that while trying to do so, the UN monitors were shot at with small arms.


ROTH: Kofi Annan said his plan is not being implemented, that the Syrian government is not giving him what he needs and that the situation perhaps -- he's also telling this to the security council now -- is just really getting out of control. The Syrian United Nations ambassador defended his country and his regime, said it was open to dialogue, respecting that there were opposition members, but that terrorist groups are responsible for really these massacres and the violence, but that going forward diplomatically Syria is still willing to talk with the UN or anyone else.


BASHAR JA'AFARI, SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UN (through translator): Syria is prepared to offer everything that it can so that Mr. Annan's mission succeeds. The doors of Syria are open to all of those who try to establish a national and global dialogue and true reform.


ROTH: Now outside the UN there was a demonstration against the violence in Syria. Body bags were dropped in front representing the violence victims.

The security council consultations, Jonathan, are going on behind closed doors as we speak. Later, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon will address the press with what's going on truly behind the scenes.

They are strategizing on some other solutions. Back to you.

MANN: Richard Roth at the UN. Thanks very much.

Let's now go to Matthew Chance in London for some perspective on Russia, a key player in all of this, a key ally of the Assad regime. Matthew, does Russia have anything else to say beyond the world no? Are they putting any distance between themselves and Damascus?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't seem that they are, in fact Jonathan. Again today there was a meeting in Beijing at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is a group of six countries to do with security in central Asia, but an organization that sees itself as very much counterbalance to the United States. And that group, which is dominated by Russia and China again came out today saying that even though it wanted the violence in Syria to stop, it did not favor any kind of international military intervention.

And said that was another example of Russia and to a large extent China as well underlining what they have already stated time and time again of which they don't want to see a sort of UN intervention force or a western led intervention force take part in any kind of regime change inside of Syria. And the reasons for that from the Russian point of view are very clear. First of all it has billions of dollars worth of contracts with the Syrian regime. It's a big arms supplier, it's got big economic ties in other ways and it wants to make sure that those economic interests are protected.

The other issue is that it sees these regime changes which are led by western powers often as efforts to undermine Russian influence in the world. And so it wants to very much maintain that influence.

And thirdly, you know, Russia is genuinely concerned about the consequences of changing the regime in Syria. It fears the chaos. It fears a possible Islamist insurgency uprising that could infect southern regions of Russia as well. And so Russia has these genuine concerns and again it's restating its opposition to any kind of military intervention, Jonathan.

MANN: Matthew Chance, thanks very much.

Syria's main opposition group is urging the UN security council to authorize the use of force against the Assad regime. We're joined now by the Syrian National Council's liaison to the United Nations George Netto. Thanks so much for talking with us.

Let me ask you, we heard the clearest call yet for consequences for the Syrian regime from the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. We heard Kofi Annan making his clearest call yet for the United Nations to rise to a new level of intervention in Syria. Is that progress?

GEORGE NETTO, SYRIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL LIAISON TO THE UN: We believe so. And we're encouraged by such progress. I think even by Mr. Annan's own words, the mission has not been a success. And if it continues at the same pace, we will be losing 1,000 more lives before the world interferes. So there is no doubt that consequences should be at least used as a threat in case the Syrian regime does not come to complying with the mission that Mr. Annan is starting to salvage.

MANN: Do you or members of the Syrian opposition look to the United Nations potentially as a dead end? And I ask that question because here in the United States Friends of the Syrian People are calling for military intervention immediately. And we heard just from Senator John McCain who had this to say.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I pray that President Obama will finally realize what President Clinton came to understand during the Balkan Wars, President Clinton who took military action to stop ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and did so in Kosovo without the UN security council mandate ultimately understood that when regimes are willing to commit any atrocity to stay in power, diplomacy cannot succeed until the military balance of power changes on the ground.


MANN: George Netto, would U.S., Western, international military intervention in Syria stop it from turning into Yugoslavia or could it actually turn it into Yugoslavia? Could it take the unitary state of Syria and watch it break up with the violence, the atrocities and the enormous refugee flows that we saw in the Balkans?

NETTO: Of course no one hope for a military intervention, but as a last resort. And we want to exhaust all diplomatic approaches before we do that. We're still hopeful that the security council will try to put some piece to Mr. Annan plan as he seems to be requesting too. So I think as the Arab League committee, secretarial committee suggested, maybe taking it under chapter 7 of the United Nation will put these necessary enforcement tools.

Of course, if everything fails, if we left just with massacres after massacres, I don't need to remind you 1,500 people died since the United -- since Mr. Annan's mission is on the ground. We had three massacres in 10 days. We're not going to continue being seeing kids being slaughtered like this. We hope the world would not wait to see more and more kids, because they do something.

We're pleased with our friends and allies at least starting to put all options on the table. And believe me, nobody will want for his own country to have military intervention and I thought if that would prevent -- protect us from having more kids die and more people being slaughtered as we're watching.

MANN: George Netto, the Syrian National Council, thank you so much for talking with us.

Still to come tonight, a multi-speed Europe? Merkel's strong warnings as she meets with the British prime minister to discuss solutions to Europe's debt crisis.

When medicine and religion collide. Can and should the law step in when it's a matter of life or death?

And the European championship begins Friday and Germany will be looking for a record fourth triumph, a preview from our man in Poland just ahead. All that and more when Connect the World continues.


MANN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann. Thanks for being with us.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for stronger economic union between EuroZone nations even if it leads to what she's calling a two tier Europe.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Through the euro, we have a Europe at different speeds. We have countries like Great Britain and Denmark which have from the beginning said they would not partake in the euro. This will get stronger, because those who are in the common currency will move closer to each other. We have to be open to the fact that everyone may want to join, but because of this we cannot simply stand still because some don't want to come along yet.


MANN: Her comments came just hours before meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. We'll have more on the EuroZone crisis talks between the two leaders in about 15 minutes time.

A look now at some other stories, though, connecting our world tonight. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said Pakistan has to do more to stop militants operating along its border with Afghanistan.


LEON PANETTA, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We are reaching the limits of our patience here. And for that reason it is extremely important that Pakistan take action to prevent this kind of safe haven from taking place.


MANN: The limits of our patience. Panetta made the remarks during an unscheduled visit to Kabul saying militants must not be able to use Pakistan as a safety net. He also said the troops stationed along the border had every right to defend themselves from attacks.

China's central bank has cut its interest rates for the first time since 2008, both one year loan and deposit rates have been reduced by a quarter of a percent. The rate cuts are intended to boost the country's economy which has been suffering a slowdown, partly due to the EuroZone crisis.

If you haven't already done so, it's time to change your LinkedIn password. The company says its site was hacked yesterday. And millions of passwords stolen. Security experts are already reporting that users have been hit by phishing scams. This is the second recent security headache for the firm after researchers revealed the mobile app had been leaking sensitive calendar information to LinkedIn's web service without user's knowledge.

A master complaint uniting over 80 lawsuits has been filed against the American National Football League. The complaint states the league deliberately ignored the risks of neurological injuries and failed to adequately protect its players. Lawyers say football related head trauma has caused dementia, depression and other long-term problems for players. An NFL spokesman says the league's legal team will review the complaint.

We're going to take a short break now, but when we come back the countdown continues to the European championships where Spain will be looking to become the first team to successfully defend their title.


MANN: You're watching Connect the World live from the CNN Center. Welcome back. I'm Jonathan Mann.

Arguably the world's second biggest football spectacle is almost upon us. The European Championship kicking off in Warsaw Friday with co-host Poland taking on Greece. It is a 25 day tournament which in the past has produced some surprise winners. We cross over to Pedro Pinto who is in Warsaw for a preview.

Pedro, we've seen a few stumbles along the way, but now the matches are just about upon us.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. We're less than 20 hours away from the 14th addition of the UEFA European Championship to kick off. It will all get started at Warsaw's national stadium which you can see behind me looking beautiful on this Thursday evening. You talked about stumbles, Jonathan. And it has been a long and winding road for both co-hosts, Poland and Ukraine, ever since they were awarded the tournament five years ago.



PINTO: In April of 2007, UEFA decided to take the European football championship to eastern Europe for the first time. It was a bold move, and one that left many wondering whether Poland and Ukraine would be able to cope with the demands of hosting such a massive international event. Initial fears were somewhat justified as there were severe delays in the construction of stadiums, hotels, airports and highways.

But five years, and over $40 billion later, both host countries are ready, or as ready as they can be. And both UEFA and organizers are confident the tournament will be a success.

MICHEL PLATINI, UEFA PRESIDENT: Yes, they will deliver. We are confident (inaudible), because of the crisis they couldn't build many hotels as they wish, but they will deliver. Yes.

MARCIN HERRA, PRESIDENT, POLAND 2012: And the most important for us and the most worrying for us was to have all the pieces in place just before the tournament, to get to the point you have to have hundreds of decisions on the right time. And whenever you have a small delay then there is the domino effect you can see immediately in your time schedule.

PINTO: There have been other issues both host nations have had to deal with in the countdown to kickoff. The behavior of their fans has been in the spotlight with various reports of racism in and around football stadiums. According to the Never Again Association, an anti-racism campaign group, there were 195 cases of ethnic prejudice at matches in both countries in an 18 month period leading up to the tournament. It is behavior that UEFA say will not be tolerated.

PLATINI: But we change the obligation -- of the power of the referee where in case of racist they can stop the game. That is -- that was a big change. And we support that. And the referee gives a signs (inaudible) they will stop the game.

PIARA POWAR, EXEC. DIR, FOOTBALL AGAINST RACISM IN EUROPE: In addition to the referee and the actions that they can take, there are a whole raft of other things. We have international observers at every single game, at least two observers. We have a protocol with the UEFA disciplinary guys to make sure that they sanction everything that we can provide evidence for.

So there's quite a lot going on in and around the stadium. We hope to deal with things that happen.

PINTO: As far as the action on the pitch is concerned, here is all you need to know. 16 teams divided into four groups will battle to become European champions. The opening match will be played here at Warsaw's national stadium with a final staged on the 1 of July in Kiev's Olympic stadium. Overall, there will be 31 matches over 24 days played in eight cities.

So who is going to win?

IKER CASILLAS, SPAIN CAPTAIN (through translator): I think this one might be the most difficult of all, because winning international championships in a row is something no one has ever achieved before.

CHRISTIANO RONALDO, PORTUGAL CAPTAIN: To be honest, I think we are in the most difficult group. The first game will be very important against Germany. And afterward we will see what's going on.

ANDREA PIRLO, ITALY MIDFIELDER (through translator): Italy always goes to the Euros to win, even if there is only a slight difference between winning and losing.

PINTO: As far as Italy are concerned, their title hopes could have been affected by an ongoing match fixing investigation which forced one of their players to pull out of the squad. 19 other people were arrested around the country, it's the last thing the Azzurri needed heading into the tournament.

The tournament, which everyone hopes stay clear of controversy and is a success both on and off the pitch.


PINTO: So it has been a roller coaster ride for Poland and Ukraine with plenty of highs and lows, but they have arrived at their destination. Let the games begin. The tournament kicks off with Poland versus Greece here in Warsaw on Friday Jonathan.

MANN: Pedro Pinto, we'll be watching. Thanks very much. And remember, Becky will be live with Pedro from Poland Friday night talking all things Euro 2012. She's already been tweeting you asking what your fantasy football team would be like for the tournament. It's got a few of you talking. CNN's Piers Morgan has even given his pick. "A Dutch attack, Spanish midfield, Italian defense, and Joe Hart in the goal." Well, that's got a fair amount of response from you out there.

One Twitter user Bijolie (ph) agrees, but he'd swap Hart for another keeper, Germany's Manuel Neuer. What do you think? What's your fantasy team? Get into the conversation. Tweet Becky. She's @BeckyCNN.

Plenty more sport in just an hours time. Maria Sharapova was seeking a first appearance in the French Open final. World Sport will have it and more at 22:30 London time.

And later tonight, we'll hear from the greatest distance runner of our time. He tells CNN about his disappointment at not qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

Up next on Connect the World, though, they want the same outcome, but they disagree on how to get there. Angela Merkel and David Cameron meet to discuss Europe's financial crisis. We'll bring you the latest.


MANN: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Jonathan Mann and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he is sickened by reports of the latest massacre in Syria. He says UN observers trying to reach the scene in Qubeir were fired on today. Opposition activists say more than 70 people were killed there, including women and children.

The UN is holding crisis talks on Syria. The Security Council meeting right now behind closed doors. Earlier, special envoy Kofi Annan told the General Assembly that it's time to threaten the Syrian regime with consequences if the violence continues.

German chancellor Angela Merkel says she supports a two-speed approach to Europe, calling for closer economic ties between core eurozone nations. The comments come ahead of talks between the chancellor and her British counterpart, David Cameron, in Berlin today.

US Defense Secretary warns patience with Pakistan is wearing thin. Leon Panetta says authorities there aren't doing enough to uproot militants who've found refuge on Pakistani soil.

And those are the headlines this hour.

While both Britain and Germany want to fix Europe's ongoing financial crisis, the two countries can't agree on a solution, admitting a two-tier Europe is already developing. Angela Merkel today called for stronger European integration for countries using the euro.

Such a move would sideline countries such as Britain that Merkel said don't want to come along just yet. CNN's Diana Magnay has more from Berlin.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Two words, really, coming out of Berlin and that meeting between the German chancellor and the British prime minister this Thursday. Those words are "more Europe," both leaders agreeing that the fiscal pact is a starting point, but it is not enough, that the single currency needs greater integration.

Chancellor Merkel said in an interview she gave to German television earlier that she was OK with there being a two-tier Europe, that those members that weren't part of the eurozone, such as Britain, could not hold the eurozone back on its path towards greater integration, and that she believed that really, the only end game for Europe out of this crisis is greater political union, a greater transfer of power to Brussels.

She also said that she felt that Europe already had the instruments at its disposal needed to fight this crisis. Let's take a listen.

ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): In view of the current difficulties, it's important to emphasize that we have created the instruments of support in the eurozone, that Germany is ready to work with these instruments whenever that is necessary, and that this is an expression of our firm desire to keep the euro area stable.

MAGNAY: So, what does that mean? Does it mean that Angela Merkel is saying no to introducing euro bonds? No to talk of a banking union, and no also to increasing the European rescue fund, the firewall.

These are all points on which she is becoming increasingly isolated throughout Europe as leaders like Francois Hollande in France, David Cameron, start to call for Germany to start pooling its debts.

She says that that is all much further down the line and that this will be a long process, don't expect any quick fixes from the European summit at the end of the month, she said.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Berlin.


MANN: Looking further south, credit rating agency Fitch has slashed Spain's sovereign debt rating by three notches, that's from A to Triple-B. The move comes despite today's successful bond sale that saw the country sell more than $2.5 billion worth. CNN's Al Goodman is in Madrid with more on this. So, Al, half empty, half full? The credit rating goes down, the credit markets are looking up.

AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID BUREAU CHIEF: Hi, Jonathan. Well, there was brisk demand for that bond sale of two-year, four-year, and ten-year bonds this day, going up to that $2.5 billion. And that's a good sign for Spain.

The bad news was that the interest rates continued to rise, especially for the ten-year bond, that's the one that really counts. They were at 6.1 percent this day, up from 5.7 percent the last time there was such a sale. All of that is an indication of continuing nervousness by international investors in Spain.

There's also concern by the international ratings agency, Fitch doing that downgrade you just mentioned on concerns that the Spanish banks are going to need $75 billion to recapitalize, and so there's a lot of concern by Fitch that the recession, which is going on this year, could continue into next year.

That's at the high end of the financial picture. Down on the street, this long economic crisis is prompting many Spaniards, especially young Spaniards, to pick up and move out of the country in search of work. We caught up with one man who's getting ready to move. Let's listen.


GOODMAN (voice-over): David Rios is one of the 5 million Spaniards out of work. He won't be buying eggs much longer at this shop in Madrid. "I'm going to Norway," he tells them, where he's finally found a job.

We first met Rios last month at protests in Madrid against Spain's austerity measures in the economic crisis and its 24 percent unemployment rate.

RIOS: I think in Spain, we need to change. Me, for example, I have several studies. I'm a nurse, I'm an x-ray technician, and I need to go to Norway to find a job. And I think this is not normal. I did everything the system is supposed I should do.

GOODMAN: Rios has been learning Norwegian. At home, he showed us messages to the firm that hired him in Norway. It's a two-year contract in a hospital that pays $3700 a month, twice what he would earn in Spain, he says.

Decades ago, tough economic times forced Rios's parents to pack their bags and move to France. Now, a family history repeats itself.

RIOS: And always my father said, "You are not first-class citizen in other countries. You're always going to be an immigrant." But I wasn't as worried as him. I'm not a first-class person in Spain also.

GOODMAN (on camera): In the first quarter of this year, 27,000 Spaniards packed their bags and left the country. That's twice as many as during the first quarter last year. According to the government, in the past three years, there's been a steady increase of Spaniards leaving.

GOODMAN (voice-over): This multinational employment agency says companies in Germany, Brazil, and China are recruiting well-trained but jobless Spaniards, like engineers.

CRISTINA MALLOL, RANDSTAD PROFESSIONALS (through translator): Those countries know that right now, with the Spanish economic crisis, people in the labor market could have the qualifications to work in their companies.

GOODMAN: Rios is part of what many call Spain's best-trained generation ever, now heading abroad with a traveling companion.

RIOS: I'm going to bring my cat with me. I think it's like a friend, a companion. I don't want to feel alone there when I arrive home.

GOODMAN: Rios says he tries to see the opportunity, not the sadness of leaving family and friends.

It's a long way to go to earn a living.


GOODMAN: David Rios should be safely up north in Norway working long before Spain cleans up its banks or its other financial problems. Jonathan?

MANN: And we hear Angela Merkel talking about a two-speed Europe, I'm not sure this is what she had in mind, but we're seeing it, I guess, two speeds, the Europe that's growing, that offers jobs, and the Europe that this man's leaving.

GOODMAN: Indeed, Jonathan, although the Spanish government clearly does not want to get into a two-tier system. They have been accustomed, and many Spaniards have become accustomed to being up in the top tier. The country has grown so rich in the last 15 years, and now they really don't want to go down to step number two. Jonathan?

MANN: Al Goodman, live for us in Madrid. Thanks very much.

Coming up after the break, an Argentinian father demands his son be given medical treatment. The law says it's not his decision to make. When religion clashes with medicine, up next.


MANN: Welcome back. Here's a question to ponder: when should the law step in to prevent a death? Some religions ban certain kinds of medical care. For Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, a blood transfusion goes against their beliefs so profoundly they'll refuse them even if the decision is fatal.

In Argentina, one such case is hitting the headlines as a father campaigns to force doctors to treat his son against his son's expressed wishes. Rafael Romo has this report.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): At this hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a man is clinging to life after being shot six times during a robbery in early May.

Thirty-eight-year-old Pablo Albarracini still has bullets lodged in his head and hip and remains in critical condition. Doctors say he needs a blood transfusion. But Albarracini, a Jehovah's Witness, clearly states in his will signed four years ago that he refuses any blood transfusion for religious reasons.

JORGE ALBARRACINI, FATHER (through translator): He's not at risk of dying, but that may change at any moment for some complication. Thank God, that hasn't happened so far. But he needs to undergo several surgeries that will need blood, so I'm worried about the future, and three months or later, when they have to take the bullets out of his head and hip. They must do that, and without blood, they're going to think twice about it.

ROMO: His father, Jorge Albarracini is waging a legal battle to overrule the document signed by his son. Albarracini's wife, Romina Carnevale, who's also a Jehovah's Witness, says the will should be respected regardless of the consequences.

The case made it all the way up to the Argentine Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Albarracini's wife. "A judicial ruling allowing an adult to be subjected to a medical treatment against his will would not be constitutionally justifiable," the high court said, "especially if the patient's will has been signed with his full knowledge and understanding and it doesn't affect others."

But some in Argentina argue that saving a human life should prevail over religious beliefs.

ROBERTO CAMBARIERI, FAVALORO FOUNDATION ON BIOETHICS (through translator): If this case were analyzed by a committee using deontological theory, saving the patient's life would be above everything else. International declarations of human rights also reach the same conclusion. In this case, the Supreme Court has chosen to give priority to the principle of free will.

ROMO (on camera): The controversy over religious beliefs and medicine has heated in Argentina, especially after the death of another Jehovah's Witness in late May who refused to receive a blood transfusion just like Albarracini. The patient, a 35-year-old woman, was suffering from pneumonia and died after spending 15 days at the hospital in northern Argentina.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


MANN: This is hardly the first case of its kind to draw media attention.

TEXT: Miami

MANN: In 1989, a mother was ordered to have a blood transfusion as the court ruled that her children deserved to be raised by two parents. That decision, though, was overturned on appeal, saying it was her right to choose after all.

In the UK in 2010, a 15-year-old boy died after a car hit him. The hospital did not force a blood transfusion, saying there is no automatic right to override parental wishes or that of a minor.

But just last week in Australia, a court ordered that a four-year-old diagnosed with Leukemia will be given a blood transfusion as part of her treatment despite opposition from her parents.

Jehovah's Witnesses point to various passages in the Bible as instructions about why they shouldn't receive blood transfusions. They include this passage from Acts 15:29 that says, "that ye abstain from meats offered to idols and from blood. If ye keep yourselves from these things, ye shall do well."

We're joined now by Robert Veatch, professor of medical ethics at Georgetown University. Professor, good to see you. The courts said it was simply up to the man and his clear instructions, case closed. Is it that simple for philosophers like yourself?

ROBERT VEATCH, MEDICAL ETHICS PROFESSOR, GEROGETOWN UNIVERSITY: It's almost that simple. We recognize the high value that we place on the rights of competent adults to be self-determining.

As long as he didn't have children whose interests were seriously jeopardized, we would routinely in Western medical ethics make the same decision that the Argentine court made, which is to honor the patient's right of refusal.

MANN: Well, let me jump in on the point that you raise that we alluded to, children. Why would a patient lose their right to chose because of your concern for his or her offspring?

VEATCH: The logic is that when you take on the duty of being a parent, you have certain responsibilities. You have to feed the child, you have to provide decent housing for the child, and if refusal of a medical treatment would lead to death, that at least in some cases, has led the courts to say your duty to take care of your child overrides your right to refuse treatment.

MANN: Now, we honor the religious convictions of people like this man, and maybe that's appropriate. Let me ask you, though, what if someone left a will saying that they were refusing medical treatment because of advice they got from ghosts or visions that they had or the medical opinions of their cat?


MANN: Do people decide on their own no matter what?

VEATCH: They decide on their own if they're deemed mentally competent. And we usually identify competence in a fairly broad way. If a patient were mentally deranged while refusing treatment, then the patient would not be competent and wouldn't have the right to make decisions either for or against treatment --


MANN: Now, you have been involved --

VEATCH: -- in that --

MANN: -- you've been involved, in fact, in cases where people were not competent because they left no instructions. And that, I think, is the kind of case that touches most families who have to make these decisions. They've got a loved one who falls ill and didn't leave behind their wishes.

What kind of counsel do you offer them, and have governments around the world agreed on what people should do in those situations?

They may not have left written instructions, but sometimes their positions may be readily apparent. In this case, if both husband and wife are member of a Jehovah's Witness group, it's quite possible that the individual's wishes are readily known.

So, if necessary, a court can determine whether we have adequate information. If we don't, the decision will be made by the next of kin, and that would be the wife, presumably, in this case, unless the next of kin seems to be acting maliciously or unreasonably. And again, that would be the job of a court to make a determination.

MANN: Mostly, they're just troubled, I think, trying to make these calls. Robert Veatch of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown, thanks so much for talking with us.

VEATCH: Thank you.

MANN: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, he set 15 world records and was named Athlete of the Year back in 1998. We talk to the one and only Haile Gebrselassie after the break.


MANN: Welcome back. We are just 50 days away from the biggest sporting event of the year, the London Olympic Games. As the stars of the sporting world gear up for the competition, some will be sitting it out this time. CNN's Becky Anderson speaks to one star athlete who has his eyes set on running, well, let's call it a different kind of race.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Few athletes have gone the distance quite like Haile Gebrselassie. Over 10,000 meters, the Ethiopian icon can boast two gold Olympic medals and four World Championships. He's also won nine marathon titles in a career that's not over yet.

ANDERSON (on camera): It's 20 years this year since you first shot onto the world stage, as it were, in the 5 and 10,000 meters. In those 20 years, when you reflect on them, what do you say?

HAILE GEBRSELASSIE, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Well, it's long. Amazing. Stay in this kind of sport for a long time, it's really hard.

ANDERSON: When you reflect on the last 20 years, what are your enduring moments? What do you remember most?

GEBRSELASSIE: Most, I remember 2000 Sydney. That was again the one I wanted to see, you know? That film again and again. It was a really special moment for myself and for others.

And then, nowadays, when I watch that video, I ask myself, did I win that race? Amazing the competition between me and Paul Tergat. It was very closely-cut. Yes, I think it's an Olympic -- I mean, a long-distance race never happened that kind of race. That was the first time.

ANDERSON (voice-over): It's that kind of victory that's kept Gebrselassie coming back for more. The now 39-year-old had hoped to make London history at the Olympics but failed to qualify in his two pet events.

GEBRSELASSIE: For me, to miss London, it's painful. What else? Our next -- of course, Olympics, just -- you see the one every four years, not every year. It's not a World Championship, it's not just another game.

ANDERSON (on camera): How much training did you do?

GEBRSELASSIE: I did a lot. Just speaking, I did everything what I had. Nothing left. Sport is like this.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Gebrselassie was simply beaten to the Olympic team by younger runners, among them, his protege Kenenisa Bekele.

ANDERSON (on camera): Do you see Bekele and you think what?

GEBRSELASSIE: I think had more chance than just others. He's more experienced and he is stronger and you never know.

ANDERSON: Is it tough to watch him when you know you're not going to be here?

GEBRSELASSIE: Yes, it is. As an athlete, it's better to compete instead of watching. You sometimes you just pray for it.

ANDERSON: Listen, you put Ethiopia on the map, to a certain extent. What sort of pressure is there on you as a very, very, very successful Ethiopian sportsman?

GEBRSELASSIE: Yes, it's a -- I can say it's a lot of pressure. I know that's why I'm missing this championship, because too much pressure from my side and people in Ethiopia. They want to see Haile Gebrselassie at this Olympic Games.

Well, as an athlete, just -- an experienced athlete, I don't blame anybody. I blame myself because I just have to handle everything. And now, it's thinking about in the future.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And that future could be in politics. Gebrselassie is revered in Ethiopia, an affection he hopes will translate into votes.

GEBRSELASSIE: That's what I'm thinking, and -- maybe next election, I'll try to be in the parliament, and I hope it will work. And after that, we'll see the rest.

ANDERSON (on camera): Do you think it's going to be tougher to compete in politics in Ethiopia than it has been in sports?

GEBRSELASSIE: Yes, it's true. Sport is something and politics another thing. And I don't -- I mean, we'll see. Because of just my team and sport, I feel to just achieve also in politics, I think people can give me their card. I hope so.

ANDERSON (voice-over): If not politics, this great athlete tells me he also has other talents.

ANDERSON (on camera): If you weren't an athlete, what would you be?


ANDERSON: Are you any good?

GEBRSELASSIE: Yes, I'm good.


GEBRSELASSIE: I'm very good. I hope so.


MANN: Haile Gebrselassie, he's good at a lot of things.

And finally, if you get angry or disagree on live television, public relations experts and media trainers would tell you to smile and move on. Do not punch your opponent in the face.

Well, that's a piece of advice that a member of the Greek far right party obviously didn't get. Have a look, now, at this live televised debate. You can make him out, and there are two women from the political left. He gets so hot under the collar, look at that.

Fist he threw a glass of water at them before slapping the other woman not once but three times before storming out of the building.




MANN: This was on live television. No one could quite believe what was going on, and no one could believe what happened after. A warrant has now been issued for his arrest.

I'm Jonathan Mann and that's CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for watching us. The world headlines are next after a break.