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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare; Italy Defeats Germany; Syria Victim Tells Her Story; Eurozone Crisis Update

Aired June 28, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET



E.U. leaders gather for a photo as the key summit on the Eurozone crisis kicks off but it's far from a happy family.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

SWEENEY: The stakes couldn't be higher in Brussels but deep divisions remain.

Tonight, is closer integration the key to saving the Eurozone?

Battling it out for a place in the Euro 2012 finals, on the pitch right now, Germany versus Italy and --

Gearing up to represent England at an Olympic concert, the 80s Wild Boys, are back.

With the two-year crisis threatening to tear the Eurozone apart, Europe's leaders are tonight discussing plans which could radically alter how their economies are run. Integration is the key word and loss of sovereignty, the main fear.

(INAUDIBLE) politicians begin to thrash out a long-term solution the calls for immediate action are growing louder by the day. Will that help lower the cost of borrowing in Italy and Spain? Italy's Prime Minister says the block could be heading for disaster.

Well, the stakes are high and muddling through will only, increase the pressure from the markets making a bad situation even worse.

Richard Quest joins me from London.

Richard, this isn't the first summit to solve this crisis, however, is it likely to be the last?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN'S INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Oh no! Not by a long way. We -- this is -- this is a (INAUDIBLE) of a summit, when you deal with the bigger issues but it could be a very important summit on the question of Spain and Italy's borrowing costs.

And it is also an important summit because it's the first one during the crisis, where Sarkozy isn't there and President Hollande is and President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel do not agree. So we have a divergence of views from what had been the -- one of the backbones or the cornerstones to mix my metaphors, of euro summitry which was this Franco-German alliance.

Now they really do have to do two things.

Firstly, get Spanish and Italian bond yields down, that's the most important thing, that's putting the fire out and to do that, they also have to get this, plan of the -- of the -- the runway, if you like, or at least, the train leaving the station, whatever metaphor you want to use, for how they are going to go to greater fiscal and political union, in the future.

SWEENEY: All right, so there's a short-term need for a strategy as well as --

QUEST: Right.

SWEENEY: -- as well as the long term. Where do the two different countries particularly, France and Germany, agree and where do they diverge?

QUEST: Everybody --when you look at the long-term problem, it's one of those things, apple, pie, (INAUDIBLE), the flag and freedom and democracy, everybody agrees with it in principle, until you start putting flesh on the bones.

And that was the cleverness of Herman Van Rompuy, the Council President.

He ditched all the detail and instead, put his building blocks, in very general terms, so that he can get an agreement out of this Summit to start a roadmap to further fiscal and political union.

So far so good. They'll be able to sort that, out. They we'll be able to fudge, classic euro fudge, before it's finished.

On the Spain-Italy bond deals, where you've got really intractable problems here because Germany does says, use the FSS, use the ESM, use the existing instruments but people like, Prime Minister Monti of Italy and Francois Hollande of France have gone to this Summit and said no. No! We're too far down the road now. We need to have a bold, big, brassy answer.

And that's the problem Fionnuala!

That is where we stand and that is why -- do not expect this Summit and on time tomorrow night, it could go into Saturday.

SWEENEY: All right. We'll leave it there. Richard Quest in London, as always. Thank you.

Well the draft federal plan, rumps up the power of E.U. authorities over its members.

Here's a look at its main proposals.

Limits on the amount of debt countries can rack up, with more oversights over national budget. That could be a banking union with a single regulator and a common scheme guaranteeing bank deposits and that sharing could be explored so that countries unable to borrow money commercially, can borrow at lower interest rates.

The proposals, are ambitious but is, the federal union the solution to the Eurozone crisis?

Renowned Historian and Award-Winning Author, Niall Ferguson believes it is, claiming that by 2021, we could even see a United States of Europe.

Gideon Rachman, the Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator for the "FINANCIAL TIMES," disagrees. He says that Europe's best chance of survival, is to break apart.

Well earlier my colleague Max Foster spoke to both of them.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK Gideon, if I could start with you. It's seems -- through this Summit that Europe is looking towards a more integrated future in very simple terms.

Do you think that's a good idea or a bad idea?

GIDEON RACHMAN, CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES: Well it depends what you mean by European integration but the kinds of things that are on the table now are things like, a banking union, eventually a much more fiscal union, much more transfers of money and if you want to, finally get a political union of something which is close to a state of Europe.

And I can understand why they're thinking about all these things because they've got themselves in a terrible mess with the euro.

People feel that unless they make these steps towards much deeper integration, the euro could indeed collapse. The banking system can collapse, so the stakes are very high.

My reservation however, is that I just don't think that they have the political legitimacy to make these very deep steps towards political integration and that if they were to attempt to do this as a solution, it would be (INAUDIBLE) undesirable because it would hollow out national democracies within Europe and therefore ultimately be unsustainable because I don't think they would -- as a solution, it would stick.

So, I think they've gotta try and do something else.

I don't think these very radical steps towards deep integration can work.

FOSTER: Niall, in the past, you've argued that countries should sort out their own budget problems but as the problems have got worst, has your view changed?

NIALL FERGUSON, RENOWNED HISTORIAN AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR: Well I think we have to distinguish here between the European Union of 27 states in the European Monetary Union of 17. The European Monetary Union has to transition into something like a federal system because a monetary union without any fiscal federalism, is, as I've pointed out, now 12 or 13 years ago, is inherently unstable.

And so, that's really what's on the table right now. It's an emergency measure in many senses, to cope with the fiscal crises and the banking crises in southern Europe and I think it's probably the right remedy for the Eurozone.

It is not the right institutional solution for the European Union, as a whole. So if by some fluke and I think it would be something of a fluke, given German attitudes at the moment, if a Federal Republic of Europe emerged from the current negotiations, it would be a Federal republic of Eurozone and the United Kingdom would not be a member of it.

FOSTER: But how do you tone that when you're speaking to the European constituents?

They have their own national identities, it's not like the United States and they're just gonna -- they're just gonna fight back about any sense, aren't they?

The United States of Europe!

FERGUSON: I don't think there's any evidence for that assertion and I think you're making the mistake of thinking that continental European's are like the British, who have a very strong sense of their own national identity and very low loyalty to the European institutions.

What's interesting and this is a point in which Gideon and I disagree, is that, as national politics has fallen into disrepute in European countries particularly, in southern European countries, regards for Europe has increased.

That's been true in Italy, for many years. It's also now true in Greece. Remember everybody thought the Greeks were going to vote to exit. This was rubbish. The Greeks never had any intention of leaving the European Union or the Eurozone.

They may despise their own national politicians, I think with good reason but the more they do that, the more plausible the idea of a European Federal State becomes -- the main problem, in fact, is not in southern Europe, the problem is to the North, where the Germans increasingly wonder if they want to be the dominant State in a Federal Europe, if that means paying substantial amounts of money to southern Europe.

FOSTER: Gideon if you think that we can't -- we haven't got the sort of wherewithal to form a Federated Europe, if I can call it that. Do you think there's any point in the European idea at all or should it completely be broken down?

RACHMAN: No! I mean, I think there's enormous point in the European idea and I think the challenge going forward for Europe, will be if we have a sustained crisis in the euro or even a breakup of the euro, can we preserve the good things about the European Union, the border-free travel, the Single Market and above or just the general political commitment that we are never gonna go back to war with each other, that we're going to cooperate, very intensely, on a diplomatic level, all those things we weren't having.

The danger is that a very acrimonious breakup of the euro could, bring down the European Union with it and indeed that's a danger that Chancellor Merkel has alluded to.

She said if the euro goes, the European Union goes but I think that -- Niall has put his finger on it when he talks about Germany. I just think that as the Germans -- although they have traditionally been the biggest proponents of political union, as they have realized what that might involve, essentially, giving the whole of the rest of Europe a German credit card, they've begun to say, well actually, we are not really up for that and I think it's a very instructive comparison with the unification of Germany, where in fact, the Germans were prepared, all be it with a lot of grumbling, to underwrite the unification of their own country with massive transfers for the East, they are just not prepared to do that for Germany, Italy or Spain or there's no evidence of it so far.


FERGUSON: But Gideon, it's already too late. The point that the Germans are gradually realizing, is that the moment they embark on a monetary union they implicitly committed themselves to the other member states -- there's this thing called TARGET 2, which is essentially a clearing system between the different European central banks, within the Eurozone and currently the Germans are on the hoop for around _700 billion.

If the Eurozone breaks up, that money will be defaulted on by the country's leaving the Eurozone.

So the Germans are already committed. The question is not whether or not they pay for Europe. The question is how they pay. And I think there's still a significant chance that when the chips are down, when it seems increasingly likely that a disorderly breakup could happen, they will blink, they will put Europe first -- after all that is what they have done historically since the postwar era because Europe has been their route back to international rehabilitation.

I suspect, in many ways, it's whether or not the French change their position that will prove to be decisive.

One final point Gideon, I just wanted to ask you, what did you say about the euro when it was created, back in 1999?

Did you anticipate the strains and stresses that it would cause?

RACHMAN: Actually, absolutely, I did and I can point you to an article I did in "PROSPECT MAGAZINE," a dialogue with Nick Clegg, you may hear of him, he's our Deputy Prime Minister. He was arguing that we should -- we, Britain, should join the euro and I argue that it was an extremely dangerous experiment that Britain should not join.

So, I'm perfectly happy with my record of prognostication.

I mean, the reason I argued then, that it wouldn't work, was precisely, still the argument I'm making now, that there is not the common (INAUDIBLE) European identity necessary to underpin this thing.

And I think that, in a sense to plow forward now with even deeper union, to try desperately to keep the euro experiment alive, is doubling-down on the original error, which was to assume that they are was legitimacy, enough legitimacy to keep this thing going.

And it's not just Germany, I mean, you said southern Europe, well they've always been very pro-European and I agree, opinion polls show that they and Rome and so on, they do have more trust with Brussels than their own government.

But I suspect, it's pretty skin deep because there was a very nice quote by Pascal Lamy, the Trade Commissioner, where he said, "The trouble with France, is that we are all very -- we love Europe (INAUDIBLE) we just think it's a bigger version of France."

I think, as people realize that it's not a bigger version of their own country, they have to accept deep losses in national sovereignty, they have to accept (INAUDIBLE) from Berlin and Brussels and I think even the southern Europeans will turn against it.


SWEENEY: Gideon Rachman there, the Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator for the "FINANCIAL TIMES" and Renowned Historian, Niall Ferguson talking to Max Foster earlier today.

And CNN will continue to bring you all the very latest developments as Europe's leaders attempt to put the Eurozone back on the right track, for good.

And updates on the Euro 2012 semifinal under way right now between Italy and Germany. The score 2-0 to Italy. Balotelli has scored both those goals for his country.

Stay tuned for updates and analysis, coming up a little later in the program.

But still to come tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, the violence in Syria gets dangerously close to Assad's stronghold. Massive explosions take place just outside the Justice Ministry in Damascus.


NATASHA SMITH, BRITISH JOURNALISM STUDENT ON FINAL YEAR COLLEGE PROJECT IN CAIRO, EGYPT: Men started ripping off my clothes. And, first of all, it was -- it was my skirt and that -- that just went straight away.


SWEENEY: As Egypt awaits the new regime, the shocking accounts of a young journalism student, assaulted, in its capital city.



SWEENEY: Not the -- I beg your pardon!

You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me Fionnuala Sweeney. Welcome back.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a key provision of President Barack Obama's signature national Health Care Law.

In a 5 to 4 vote, the Court ruled that the individual insurance mandate is indeed constitutional under the country's tax provisions and the President was quick to comment on his victory.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whatever the politics, today's decision, was a victory for people all over this country, whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it.


SWEENEY: The Obamacare decision gives the President a big boost going into the U.S. national political convention.

We look more on the Supreme Court's decision and its implication in the race for the White House, later in CONNECT THE WORLD.

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

Yet another deadly day in Syria. Two massive explosions, striking at the heart of the country, just outside the Justice Ministry, in the capital, Damascus.

According to state television, three people were injured. At least 20 cars were damaged by the blast.

Veteran War Correspondent, Janine Di Giovanni is in Damascus with more on who could be behind the attack.


JANINE DI GIOVANNI, CNN'S VETERAN WAR CORRESPONDENT: Most of the people I've talked to, say if it's neither the FSA -- the Free Syrian Army or the pro-government forces but in fact a third element of radical fundamentalists who have entered the country or foreigners.

One wounded soldier, a government soldier, I saw in the hospital last Saturday who had lost his arm and his leg before he was gravely injured, he saw Yemeni, Lebanese and Libyan soldiers and that, you know, these are a new faction, a split between the Free Syrian Army and they are calling them `the third element.'


SWEENEY: Janine Di Giovanni there!

News Corp. has confirmed that it will split into two public traders companies. The media conglomerate will separate its television and film assets from its newspaper and publishing business.

Chief Executive, Rupert Murdoch, will serve as chairman of both firms. The move comes after British investigations into practices at the now closed, NEWS OF THE WORLD.

Police in London have ordered Wiki Leaks Founder, Julianne Assange, to surrender himself to a police station on Friday or face arrest. Assange is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He is seeking asylum to Ecuador, to try and avoid being extradited to Sweden where he's wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegation.

We're going to take a short break now but when we come back, as Egypt's new President appears to be sworn in --


SMITH: -- I just kept saying, "Please God, please make it stop."


SWEENEY: -- We hear a harrowing tale of assault in Cairo and look at the future of women's rights in Egypt.



SWEENEY: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from CNN Center.

Welcome back, I'm Fionnuala Sweeney.

It's just days until Egypt's President Elect, Mohammed Morsi, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood is sworn into office. While it's still not clear how a transition of power will take place, a major popular concern is, how minorities and women will be treated under the new regime.

Many women fear for their personal security and as Dan Rivers reports, that concern holds merit.


RIVERS: Just hours after the Muslim Brotherhood's victory in Egypt's presidential election, we shoot jubilant crowds on a bridge near Tahrir Square, unaware but just a short distance away, a young British journalist was about to be savagely attacked.

The young woman wanted to tell her story.

SMITH: I was (INAUDIBLE) state of mind and I -- I just kept saying, "Please God, please make it stop. Please God, these make it stop."

SMITH: Good afternoon. It's 4:00 o'clock. I am Natasha Smith.

RIVERS: Natasha Smith is a student at a journalism school in Britain. A documentary on Women's Rights in Egypt was, to be her final college project and her first international assignment, that quickly descended into hell.

She was filming in this square with journalist friends Callum Paton and Casper Voot (ph) but they became separated by a mob.

SMITH: Men started ripping off my clothes and first of all it was -- it was my skirt and that -- that just went straight away.

And I didn't even feel my -- my underwear being removed and then -- then my shoes went and uhm and then my -- my upper -- my close on my upper half which is being just ripped off me and that was quite painful.

RIVERS: CNN's roof top camera, caught the moment an ambulance tried to push its way through the crowds to help her.

By this point, she was being sexually assaulted by dozens of men.

RIVERS: Finally after what must have been like an eternity, she was rescued and taken to the relative safety of this medical tent.

(INAUDIBLE) had the staff there not helped, she might not have survived her horrific ordeal.

CALLUM PATON, BRITISH JOURNALISM STUDENTS FRIEND: There were several moments at which I thought that she was going to die and uh I think, really, the fact that we're all still alive and especially, Natasha is a life, is because there were so many people who were willing to help us and who risked their own lives, it put them in direct danger, to get her out of that situation.

RIVERS: Inside the tent, a man helped disguise her with a full-length burqa and escorted her away from the mob.

SMITH: And I had to -- just have to plan to be as his wife and walk through the streets and he just kept saying to me, Don't cry. Do not cry. If you cry people will know."

RIVERS: Eventually she made it to this hospital, where she and Callum were met by British Embassy staff, who together with, doctors have corroborated their accounts to CNN.

SMITH: There's been all this fuss because I'm British and I'm young and I am a girl but, this is happening to women elsewhere constantly, and we don't hear about that.

We don't hear about the stories of Egyptian women or African women or women across the world, who -- who are often -- are often -- suffer these attacks and worse, worse attacks and there'll be no justice done.

RIVERS: Natasha Smith is now back, in the U.K. Her documentary on hold but she defiantly insists, she will return to Cairo to finish her work in spite of her terrifying experience at the hands of a mob.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Cairo.


SWEENEY: in Egypt, it is believe the vast majority of sexual assaults aren't reported, so figures are difficult to define but many organizations are charging a rise in violence against women.

I'm joined now from Cairo, by Heba Morayef, Researcher for Human Rights Watch.

Thank you for joining us.

Why and to what do you attribute this rise in violence that goes largely unreported?

HEBA MORAYEF, RESEARCHER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, I think what we have seen since the beginning of the rising in January 2011 and in fact it -- I -- I date it back to the day Mubarak was overthrown, February 11th, uh the -- the case that day, that became very well publicized was that of Lara Logan and many other Egyptian women reporting similar incidents of sexual assaults.

Since that moment, over the following year and one- half, we've seen an increasing number of these cases of mobbing, where women are sexually assaulted by mobs of man and they can't escape.

Sexual harassment is a daily reality (INAUDIBLE) it's verbal with the (INAUDIBLE) here and there uh on the streets of Egypt but this kind of mobbing has really been on the increase because we have had these large crowds in Tahrir Square, gathered, with the absence of the police and the military and uh none of these incidents have been punished and so it is really just encourage this type of criminal behavior.

SWEENEY: And how much publicity do, these kinds of sexual assaults get in Egypt, in media for example, in the media and is there a distinction to be made between sexual assault on Western women and what implies and cause these sexual assaults on Egyptian women?

MORAYEF: I think Western women sometimes have an additional vulnerability in larger crowds. Sometimes uh journalists who look Western have on -- on some occasions have been accused of being spies or at least, they stand out lots more and so they -- they draw a -- a lot of interest.

But as you were saying, these incidents have been happening to Egyptian women uh in the same way they've been happening to Western women.

I think the incidents with Egyptian women are less publicized uh Egyptian women are often more reluctant to come forward, although many of the cases that have happened Tahrir have happened to women who -- who are there because they're activists, because they want to participate (INAUDIBLE) and so they have started reporting these cases. But the international media have tended to cover more of the uh obviously of the Western journalists and that's been useful in putting the issue on the agenda, also in the Egyptian media because they haven't been reported so much and state television obviously has continued to ignore the issue as it has uh for years.

SWEENEY: If -- there has been a rise in these kind of sexual assaults since the revolution in January, February 2011.

What prospects do you have, for the new incoming President, Mohammed Morsi, to do something about this?

I wanna place -- before you answer that Heba, a clip from an interview he gave to Christiane Amanpour recently, on the subject.


MOHAMED MORSI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT ELECT: loudly and clearly, all Egyptian womens have the same rights like, the men.

They're all my sisters, my daughters, my wife and my mother.

They are all Egyptians.

There is, no, differences, whatsoever, among the people in Egypt, the people of Egypt, (INAUDIBLE) anything like belief or sex or whatever you call or you name.


SWEENEY: Mohamed Morsi, there.

Let me ask you.

What do you think that this new incoming government will do, if anything, about this issue?

MORAYEF: Well, I think in a sense um the Morsi's Government's response to these incidents of violence and -- and the growing phenomenon will -- will be a test case.

I don't think that they have a strong agenda on woman's rights, the kind of discourse that we've been hearing has been yes about the participation of women politically -- the Muslim Brotherhood as always wanted women to go out and vote and -- and also to become active in the party but they don't support women's rights as defined by the International Human Rights (INAUDIBLE) Framework.

And so, I think we really need to see a strong response that will set apart um Morsi's Government.

We have had one positive response to date, from uh a leading M.P., from the Muslim Brotherhood who uh heard of Natasha's case and condemned what happened.

What we know need to see, is action. Is ordering the prosecution to investigate this case.

SWEENEY: A final brief question.

How safe or less or more safe do you feel since the revolution?

MORAYEF: I think um I think it's really one of the very sad things that um (INAUDIBLE) swear which during the uprising was (INAUDIBLE) sacred space for --for Egyptians of -- of all walks and however they were dressed and whatever their backgrounds, has become a place where I -- I no longer feel safe going in, on my own, in the evenings, even though it's in central Cairo and so --


MORAYEF: -- it's a very crowded area.

SWEENEY: All right!

MORAYEF: So, unfortunately, I think there are many other women who feel this way also.

SWEENEY: Heba Morayef, of Human Rights Watch. Thank you very much indeed for joining us to talk about this subject from Cairo.

And still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD -- any way you slice it, the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare is a win for the White House and a setback for Republicans.

More on the decision and its impact on the U.S. presidential race, after this.

Plus, Italy in pole position for a place in the Euro 2012 finals.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was seriously thinking I might not be able to get up on stage to sing again.

This might -- this might be -- be it for you as a singer.


SWEENEY: He thought he might never perform again but this 80s pop icon is making a comeback.


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CENTER: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney. These are the latest world headlines from CNN.

European leaders are holding crisis talks in Brussels. The heads divided into how to tackle spiraling debts and borrowing costs though Germany (INAUDIBLE) a pact to boost growth and create jobs could be ratified by the end of the day.

Opposition activists say at least 140 people have been killed across Syria today, (INAUDIBLE) in the Damascus area. State media says three people were wounded when twin bombs exploded in a parking lot outside the Palace of Justice in the heart of the capital.

An international court at the Hague has (INAUDIBLE) one count of genocide against Radovan Karadzic. However, Karadzic still faces another count of genocide over the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys and other charges that go back to Yugoslavia's break-up.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a key provision of the President's "Obamacare" national health program. In a 5-4 vote, the Court ruled that the individual insurance mandate is indeed constitutional under the country's tax provisions.

Well, this is a major development in the United States. The Affordable Health Care Act is the Obama administration's most significant and most controversial law to date. For more, we're joined by Jim Acosta live from Washington.

I mean, this was a ruling that I think the country was prepared was going to go against Obama?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The conventional wisdom here in Washington, Fionnuala, was that the President's health care law would go down or at least part of it would go down but that is not what happened over at the Supreme Court today and the President did get the victory of that he was hoping for although if you heard what the President had to say after the Supreme Court's decision, he said he doesn't think of this as a political victory for him and for the White House. He says it's a victory for the American people. He said that now that all three branches of the federal government have weighed in on this health care law - the Supreme Court, the Congress, and the presidency - that it's time to move on to get beyond the health care battle that has gone on in this country that most people have seen quite frankly around the world. But Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for the White House - he came out in Washington as well and said, "Not so fast, Mr. President." He said if he is elected, he will do what the Supreme Court did not do and that is strike down this law by repealing it once he becomes president. Here's what both men had to say earlier today.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: Whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it.

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What the court did not do on its last day of session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States and that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.


ACOSTA: Now, it's interesting to note when we were listening to Mitt Romney's remarks here in Washington, we counted, Fionnuala, he used the term "Obamacare" - which is the term Republicans use sort of in a not so complimentary fashion about the President's health care law - 18 times. He used the term "Obamacare" 18 times. The Romney campaign did that on purpose, obviously, because they know the polls show here in the United States - political surveys show that this law is not really that widely- popular with the American people so they plan on going after it from here on out until the end of the campaign and honestly, it is something that we kind of heard from the President earlier today. He sort of conceded in his remarks over the White House that he didn't do this for politics, that he realizes this is perhaps not the most popular thing he's done since he's been president. Fionnuala?

SWEENEY: Nonetheless, it remains in the political arena. Jim Acosta in Washington, thank you very much indeed there for joining us with that analysis.

So let's get more on this Supreme Court ruling. It's likely to increase President Obama's popularity in the polls but he was already way ahead going into today's decision. In the latest Bloomberg National Poll taken before the decision on Obamacare, 53 percent said they favor the President's re-election, 40 percent said they backed his likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.

Let's get more on the political impact of the Supreme Court vote on Obamacare. CNN contributor John Avlon is the senior political columnist for Newsweek as well as its online affiliate, the Daily Beast. He joins us live from Aspen, Colorado.

President Obama might have said earlier in the day that he wanted for this to stay out of the arena of politics but there's no way as they go into the November race that it will.

JOHN AVLON, SR. POLITICAL COLUMNIST, "NEWSWEEK", "THE DAILY BEAST": Absolutely not. Already, Republicans are taking aim at this, calling for repeals, scheduling a House vote to try to appeal the President's health care bill. They believe they have a political winner. But the court has spoken. This was the best chance for Conservatives at the end of the day to overturn what they felt was an unconstitutional bill. That question of its constitutionality has been resolved. and most stunningly, Fionnuala, it was that the Chief Justice John Roberts, a Bush-appointee, a Republican, who sided with the traditionally-Democratic judges in saying that this mandate 0 the individual mandate - was constitutional and that has reeled everybody's sense of the political calculus behind the court. Many believe that John Roberts was decidedly trying to distance the Supreme Court from the fights between the Executive and the Legislative branch, making it bigger than politics, but a fascinating - fascinating development today.

SWEENEY: Are they going to be any other challenges on other parts of Obamacare in the Supreme Court or is it down to Mitt Romney - as he said - if he's elected that he'll repeal it?

AVLON: That is Republicans' best hope now. The obvious political complication is that Mitt Romney's signature legislative achievement as Massachusetts' governor was putting forward a health care bill in the state of Massachusetts with an individual mandate as its core mechanism. So he's always been at best a complicated vessel for this message of repealing Obamacare but he's tried to embrace the opposition with both hands, certainly it's something that unites the Republican Party. As I said, the House of Representatives is going to go ahead (INAUDIBLE) reschedule the vote on July 9 to try to repeal it but all this is so much political Kabuki. The court has spoken and if the Republicans are hoped to have a prayer of overturning the Affordable Care Act, they're going to have win both Houses of Congress as well as the Presidency. But right now, this is settled constitutional law and that's an extraordinary thing given how contentious the fight over this piece of legislation has been - historic fight going back over 100 years at the end of the day.

SWEENEY: Indeed, and certainly one that the country wasn't primed for Obama winning. But nonetheless, it is in the political arena so Obama knowing that most Americans aren't really happy with this law - how can he use this?

AVLON: Well, first of all, a win is a win. And the fact that the headlines tomorrow will point out that the Supreme Court backed the administration and this bill might give him a short-term boost. But as the President acknowledged in his remarks, this was never a politically-popular move. This was something that he and it's a long-standing Democratic priority felt was simply the right thing to do. It's interesting when you break down the components' parts of the bills, many aspects are quite popular - allowing children under 26 to be covered on their parents' health care, to make it no longer legal for insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing conditions access to health care - those provisions are broadly popular. The problem is the overall bill in this hyper-partisan environment we're living in the United States really had been diminished. So the administration is going to have to - is hoping that when people learn more about what actually takes place and see that the implications of the actual implementation of this bill won't mean the onset of socialism in the United States, that perhaps that the attitudes will change. But the President's going to campaign on this, certainly Republicans will, so the politics of this will go on even if the constitutional question has been settled.

SWEENEY: And beyond saying that if he's elected, he'll repeal Obamacare in his first days of office, how else can Mitt Romney use this as we approach November?

AVLON: He'll try to use it as a clear contrast. He will try to say that this is a Supreme Court that has overreached backing an administration that overreached. He'll try to use arguments that the healthcare reform would in fact balloon the deficit. Now the CBO says it would actually reduce the deficit but it will try to say that essentially that this is unaffordable. That there are questions about the implications are causing businesses to restrict hiring so making the case that somehow the implementation of this bill has an adverse effect on the American economy and leading to further ballooning of the deficit. That will be the argument he makes. He wants to make this election ultimately about the economy.

SWEENEY: All right. Thanks very much. (INAUDIBLE) about the economy.

AVLON: Thank you.

SWEENEY: No matter what happens. Thank you very much, John Avlon, CNN contributor and also senior political columnist for "Newsweek" as well as "The Daily Beast."

Now, to force of a different kind. Italy into the Euro 2012 finals. The final score against Germany 2-1. Coming up, we have all the analysis after this short break.


SWEENEY: Well, the Euro 2012 finals (INAUDIBLE) who will get the challenge of battling Spain in Sunday's finals. Don Riddell joining me now to tell us. A bit of a surprise.

DON RIDDELL, CNN "WORLD SPORTS": Well, when you look at the way Germany played at the start of the tournament, absolutely a surprise. But Italy had beaten them. I say it was a fair result, in Warsaw, just now. Italy beat Germany by two goals to one. Mario Balotelli scored both of Italy's goals. If any consolidation Germany got a late consolation from (INAUDIBLE) Ozil from the penalty spot, deep in (INAUDIBLE). It was a frantic finish but they couldn't pull it off. Let's head now, live to Warsaw. Our man, Pedro Pinto was at the game. And Pedro, we all know that Mario Balotelli can be - can give us all sorts of entertainment. He certainly gave us the right kind of entertainment this evening.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (ON THE PHONE): They call him Super Mario, (INAUDIBLE) and he certainly lived up to that nickname tonight in a pulsating game here in Warsaw. A lot of disbelief in many fans, both from the German camp and a lot of the neutrals were expecting that (INAUDIBLE) to roll over Italy, considering how well they have been doing. They were on a world record run of 15 straight victories in competitive matches but again the curse of the Azuri persists for the Germans. We have now seen their record of not beating Italy go up to eight matches. It's unbelievable, Don, even when the Germans are favored to beat the Italians like it has happened so often in history. They just seemed to succumb.

The Italians deserve a lot of credit. They could have scored two or three more. The German defense was quite simply in shambles here in front of 60,000 people and Italians now move on to meet Spain. Of course, these two teams met in Group C.

RIDDELL: We seemed to have lost Pedro there but he was just setting up the final between Spain and Italy. And of course, they have already played in the tournament. Let's head over to Rome now where "The Observer's" Tom Kington is standing by, live for us. I'm hoping we can hear you, Tom. Can you hear me? What a fabulous night for you in Rome there.

TOM KINGTON, JOURNALIST "THE OBSERVER": Yes, well, I'm standing here (INAUDIBLE) in Rome. The atmosphere is incredible. There are 10,000 jubilant fans behind me who are parked still in front of the big screen. They turned this piazza, this elegant cobbled piazza with its churches and pavement cafes, its fountains into a (INAUDIBLE) football stadium with their flares and their flags and their firecrackers and their colored smoke. Really amazing scenes here.

This was a game that the whole of Italy was glued to, including apparently Pope Benedict who may not have appreciated (INAUDIBLE) because he's German but everyone else, I think, was firmly behind the team. And here, the piazza erupted when Mario Balotelli scored, which I think was particularly poignant because he's a player who has divided Italy in the past, on account of earlier in the tournament, freezing up in front of the goal. And also, I think Italians, some Italians will be uncomfortable with a black Italian playing for the national team. Well, he has answered those critics tonight and he even smiled after he scored which is amazing for a player who generally doesn't celebrate his goals at all.

RIDDELL: That's right, Tom. He said that earlier in the week - "I don't celebrate because it's my job to score goals. You don't see a post man celebrating when he delivers letters." What does this mean for the Italian fans given that this team came into this competition on the back of a match fixing scandal and they have never done particularly well in this tournament. They've won it only once (INAUDIBLE) enough, is it?

KINGTON: Well, of course, everyone remembers that there is another match fixing scandal before Italy went on to (INAUDIBLE) the World Cup in 2006. Just before this tournament, another match fixing scandal erupted and even one of the Italian players just kicked out of the squad just before they left. It could be that these kind of scandals actually get the Italians to focus. Italians after all are very good performers when their backs are against the wall and who knows, perhaps next time out, they'll have a scandal ready and waiting to get the players together.

RIDDELL: Absolutely. Great stuff, Tom. You kept your calm under pressure there as fans celebrating behind you. I think it's going to be a fun night in Rome and right throughout Italy. Tom, thanks so very much. That's all the time we got just for now, Fionnuala. As you can tell, a huge result for the Italians absolutely devastating the Germans. We'll have more on "World Sports" in 45 minutes.

SWEENEY: And how do you see the final?

RIDDELL: Well, I think after seeing that tonight, I think Italy will do it.

SWEENEY: Because I know there are a number of people in this (INAUDIBLE) who are absolutely convinced that the Germans are going to go all the way.

RIDDELL: Well, that's just how it goes.


RIDDELL: Unpredictable. That's why we love it.

SWEENEY: Spain as well could pull it off really.

RIDDELL: But you know, they've been doing just enough throughout this tournament and it may well be that they can do just to win the final again. The people that are outside Spain say they're playing boring football. They're playing, you know, (INAUDIBLE) kind of football, and that's not really good enough. Spanish fans love it or at least they love the style of football they play. But will it be enough against Italy. We'll see.

SWEENEY: It's going to be an exiting match. Don Riddell, more on "World Sports."

In the meantime, you're watching "Connect the World." And when we come back, they fear that their careers are over but this 80s pop band is making a comeback.



SWEENEY: Hello and welcome back. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney. You are watching "Connect the World."

They thought their careers were over but a year after lead singer Simon Le Bon lost his voice, "Duran Duran" are making a comeback. The 80s pop band are on a world tour and next month, they'll play at a concert to mark the start of the London Olympics. CNN's Jim Boulden caught up with LeBon and band mate Roger Taylor in the British capital. He started by asking the singer about the moment he realized he might never perform again.


SIMON LE BON, SINGER, DURAN DURAN: I reached for a high note and the high note wasn't there for me to reach for. It wasn't as accessible to me. And I very quickly found out that I lost a significant portion of my range, about a third of it. And I was seriously thinking I might not be able to get up on stage, to sing again. This might be really it for you as a singer. I have to say after two months, I got so sick of all the therapy - I said I'm going on a holiday. I'm taking my family sailing for a week. So we went down to Croatia on a boat and (INAUDIBLE) week. I made a promise to myself and that was not to try and sing, not to talk about singing, not to think about singing, just to enjoy the holiday. I came back off that and suddenly I had five notes back.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Tell me about the Olympics. I mean it's an exciting time for London. I mean, are you jazzed up for this as well?

JOHN TAYLOR, DRUMMER, DURAN DURAN: Yes. Incredibly important thing for London. And to be part of the opening ceremony, part of the whole thing. We're going to be performing in Hyde Park and looking forward to it. It's going to be amazing.

LE BON: It's kind of (INAUDIBLE) for the Olympics so for those people who can't get into the stadium, they got Hyde Park, massive screens. They got Snow Patrol, (INAUDIBLE), the Stereophonics and Duran Duran. We're very excited.

BOULDEN: Is that why you weren't very happy that you weren't involved in the jubilee then? I mean, (INAUDIBLE)?

LE BON: I think like most people at the street party I went to, after seven bottles of wine, I saw (INAUDIBLE).

And I just wish we had been part of this.

BOULDEN: You were here in this Hotel La Savoy 12 months ago (INAUDIBLE) music video.

LE BON: Exactly.

BOULDEN: You had models in place of yourself. Is that how it works?

TAYLOR: Like all great ideas, it was very easy to put together.

LE BON: It was fun.

TAYLOR: It was simple. It did not take a lot of organizing, really. (INAUDIBLE) which was Naomi Campbell is me and Helena Christiansen is Roger.


TAYLOR: Cindy Crawford is John Taylor and Eva (INAUDIBLE) is Nick Rhodes and (INAUDIBLE) as our guitarist.


BOULDEN: Was there any (INAUDIBLE) I mean (INAUDIBLE)?

LE BON: I don't know. I'm not sure that there was. I was adamant that Naomi should be me.

BOULDEN: And I have a quote here. Naomi said "pretending to be you - we had a lot more music and albums and sounds that we want to do."

LE BON: Yes.

BOULDEN: Is that how you described Duran Duran?

LE BON: Yes.


LE BON: Yes actually. I do think there's (INAUDIBLE).


LE BON: Just the dog.


BOULDEN: As far as the live performing goes, is this what you wanted to do when you reunited? Is this the goal? Or is this what you do because this is how bands today can make their income?

LE BON: I'm not sure - I'm not quite sure how long we saw ourselves reuniting for when we did it in 2001. I think we just thought let's see what happens. Let's see how good it is. Let's see if we get on with each other still. That was the most important thing.

BOULDEN: Because a lot of bands aren't friends when they get together or they are friends and all goes horribly wrong.

LE BON: We've been so much more phenomenally successful as Duran Duran than anything we've done outside of that. Nobody particularly had a solo career. We all recognized the fact that it's a lot of fun doing it with friends. That's all it had to do with it.


SWEENEY: Friendship and music, Duran Duran is (INAUDIBLE) that to Jim Boulden. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney and that's for "Connect the World." Thank you for watching. "World Headlines" are up next, after this.


SWEENEY: This is CNN, the world news leader. The headlines this hour.

European leaders are holding crisis talks in Brussels. They're divided on how to tackle spiraling debts and borrowing costs though Germany's chancellor says a fact (INAUDIBLE) growth and create jobs could be ratified soon.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a key provision of the president's Obamacare, national health program. In a 5-4 vote, the court ruled that the individual insurance mandate is indeed constitutional under the country's tax provision.

And this just coming in to CNN, for the first time in its history, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to hold the sitting head of the country's Justice Department in criminal contempt. Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to turn over document tied to the botched fast and furious gun running (INAUDIBLE). The discredited operation has become a sharp point of contention between Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

Opposition activists say at least 140 people have been killed across Syria today, most in the Damascus area. State media says three people were wounded when twin bombs exploded in a parking lot outside of the Palace of Justice in the heart of the capital.

An International Court of the Hague has (INAUDIBLE) genocide against Radovan Karadzic. However, Karadzic still faces another count of genocide over the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys and other charges that go back to Yugoslavia's break up.

Those are the latest headlines. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney. "Amanpour" starts right now.