Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Syrian Diplomat Defects On al Jazeera; Former FIFA President Accused Of Taking Bribes; Verdict In John Terry Case Expected Tomorrow Morning; British Soldiers Reinforcing Security at Olympics; Concerns About Security Threat to Games; Security Getting Into Stadiums; Gold Medal Performance Improvement Across Decades; New Book Sheds Different Light on Taliban; Green Pioneer Turns Teen Green; Parting Shots of Stonehenge Fire Garden for Olympics; Rolling Stones Celebrate 50 Years of Satisfaction
Aired July 12, 2012 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, attacked for the first time: a neighborhood in the Syrian capital is hit with mortars as violence gets closer to the heart of the regime.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London this is Connect the World.
FOSTER: The government shelling in Damascus comes as a senior diplomat speaks out about breaking away from the regime. Tonight, Italy's foreign minister tells me what makes this defection so significant.
Also ahead, beefing up Olympic security: the UK government defends a decision to call up hundreds of extra troops.
And firing up an iconic landmark: why Stonehenge is up in flames.
First tonight, a new front in the Syrian conflict, opposition activists say the regime is now shelling neighborhoods within the city limits of Damascus for the first time since the uprising began. This amateur video is said to show new attacks on the suburbs of the capital. Activists say at least 47 people were killed across the country today.
The Syrian regime is doing some damage control on the diplomatic front trying to discredit the latest high profile defector. The country's ambassador to Iraq broke ranks and is now speaking out encouraging all Syrians to join the revolution. Mohammed Jamjoom is in Abu Dhabi with more.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Max, just a day after defecting his post as the Syrian ambassador to Iraq, the Syrian foreign ministry issued a statement regarding Nawaf al-Fares saying he had been relieved of his duties. It added that al-Fares made statements contrary to his job duty to defend the positions of the country and its issues which requires legal accountability and discipline.
The statement came hours after the release of a video statement al- Fares gave to the al Jazeera television network in which he announced he was joining the revolution and called on the people of Syria and especially the military to immediately join the revolution and defend the homeland and Syrian citizens.
Here is more of the al-Fares had to say specifically to members of the Syrian military.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAWAZ AL-FARES, FRM. SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ (through translator): My brothers, the people still have high hopes for you and there's still time. Change direction of your cannons and your tank shells and direct them at the criminals of the regime, the killers of the people, and keep your oath that you took when you joined the army.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAMJOOM: Al-Fares is the second high profile Sunni official to break with the regime in a week. Manaf Tlass, a Republican Guard brigadier general and the son of a former defense minister fled the country last week.
And there's speculation that these moves might be a sign the Sunni allies of the Alawite dominated regime are displeased with the government's fierce crackdown on an opposition that's dominated by Sunnis.
Meanwhile in Syria, violence continued on Thursday. The opposition local coordination council reported that artillery shelling wounded many people in areas of Damascus. And this amateur video purports to show smoke rising as a result of government forces having shelled an orchard and a residential neighborhood in Tariah (ph) which is in Damascus. Opposition groups are saying this is the first time there has been shelling in Damascus since the uprising began -- Max.
FOSTER: Well, western nations called the defection a serious crack in the Assad regime. Earlier I spoke with Italy's foreign minister Giulio Terzi about that and other developments.
GIULIO TERZI, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: It's a positive evolution of the crisis, because we have been appealing to the Syrian establishment to become aware and in a way which is dignified of the enormous tragedy -- absurdity which is carried on by the regime of the last 17 months. So that shows that some in the establishment feel the humanity and the political sense to leave the regime. And that is a significant -- a very significant defection.
FOSTER: You used a very powerful words to call the government militias and the killer of the people. The message seems to be that to Syrians that the regime that you support is actually going against what you initially set it up to do. So those messages have a big impact do you think?
TERZI: I think they are very important. They are very important outside the country. They are very important as well inside the country, because we have been noticing over the last few weeks also some cracks in the Alawite groups and the (inaudible) of the country. So these kind of assessment from one of them -- although he is a Sunni personality, closer to the the establishment. It's important also at the eve of the discussion and the eve of the discussion, the formal discussion of the Security Council in New York to call to resolutions, because there could any sort of stipulation of the role of the general, but now what is on the table in New York is in fact an option, a resolution based only on the expression of the mission observers from the people.
The other resolution with more teeth with reference to Chapter 7. And that is the approach that we have to take.
FOSTER: Now is there a time Russia and China turned against the regime as well more visibly?
TERZI: They are becoming skeptical about the possibility of a longer future in the country for Assad. And that was shown by some indication in Russia during the meeting in Geneva. But they must be convinced more about the national interest in leaving the ground for political solution, which in my opinion is difficult to imagine with the president Bashar al-Assad and his acolytes around the table together with the opposition, because that would be really reconcile the impossible.
FOSTER: Do you think they could reach a turning point this week with the UN meeting?
TERZI: The sooner the better.
FOSTER: Italitan foreign minister speaking to me earlier.
Well, still to come, an horrific scene in Southern Nigeria: dozens of people rushed to scoop up fuel from an overturned tanker when it catches fire and explodes.
And a new report finds disturbing culture as Penn State University in the U.S. saying those in charged failed to protect victims of child sex abuse.
Just two weeks until the games, why major last minute security changes have left UK lawmakers red-faced.
All that and much more when Connect the World continues.
FOSTER: You're watching CNN and this is Connect the World. I'm Max Foster. Welcome back to you.
Now Nigerian officials say they had to perform a mass burial for more than 85 victims of a tragic accident, because their bodies were burned beyond recognition.
A fuel tanker exploded in a ball of flames today in Rivers State (ph) killing at least 95 people in all. Men, women, and children had gathered around the tanker scooping up fuel in buckets when the vehicle exploded. Dozens of people hospitalized with severe burns.
Here's a look at how some other stories are developing and connecting our world tonight. Nine people are dead after an avalanche in the French Alps. A wall of ice and snow fell on a group of mostly foreign climbers near the popular ski resort of Chamonix. Nations from Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the UK are reported dead. Four others who were thought to be missing have now been accounted for. French authorities described it as the worst alpine disaster in a decade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANUEL VALLS, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): This was a very particular catastrophe. I want to say thank you to all emergency service, all teams who were at work so earlier, who went to help in the evacuation for their professionalism and their sense of duty who helped under difficult conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, a total disregard to the safety and welfare of child victims, that's a conclusion that an investigation into how Penn State University handled child sex abuse scandal. Jerry Sandusky was an assistant football coach at Penn State University and last month he was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
The chief investigator says university offcials new Sandusky might be involved in inappropriate behavior as far back as 1998, but didn't move to stop him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIS FREEH, CHIEF INVESTIGATOR: What's striking about 1998 is nobody even spoke to Sandusky. Not one of those four persons, including the coach who was a few steps away from his office, that no indication that anybody spoke to him. There's no indication that Coach Paterno called all of his assistant coaches in and say, hey look, make sure this guy Sandusky doesn't bring any more kids into the shower.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: The French car maker Peugeot/Citroen has announced it will laid off 8,000 people. The move has caused widespread anger in the French unions who view the cuts as a declaration of war. It's a blow to the newly elected Socialist government which has promised to get the country's flagging economy back on track.
It's been a grim day on the markets for Spain with the IBEX closing down 2.5 percent. The shock comes amid further demonstrations in the country a day after the Spanish government announced its $80 billion austerity package as Al Goodman reports from Madrid, Spanish hospitals are just one of the public services struggling to deal with the cuts.
AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Austerity cuts at Spanish hospitals? Just ask the medical workers at this large Madrid public hospital. Public healthcare, they shout.
JUAN ANTONIO MOLERO, NURSE (through translator): We don't want more cutbacks. We want our purchasing power back. We want those who caused the crisis to pay for it.
GOODMAN: In Spain's deep economic crisis, the scalpel is no longer just for the operating room. Budget cuts have sliced into salaries and reduced funds to buy medical supplies. A body blow, they say, to Spain's vaunted national public healthcare system.
Their pride of quality coverage for all now at risk. Here, starting with a vow will be a 24 hour sit-in in the hospital lobby.
The protests are expanding, not just at this hospital, but in hospitals across Madrid and across Spain, trying to get their message to the government.
But will it make a difference? A day earlier the conservative prime minister announced in Parliament a new round of $80 billion in austerity cuts nationwide and tax hikes aiming to reduce the deficit.
But at the hospital, this doctor insists that cutbacks aren't in the right places.
MONICA GARCIA, ANESTHESIOLOGIST (through translator): It's unfair, cuts could come in many other places where there have been a lot of waste. But there's nowhere the reductions should be in healthcare.
GOODMAN: She says she's not optimistic about the future for herself or for her two children in a country in crisis with a jobless rate now over 24 percent.
GARCIA (through translator): In Spain there will be more social inequality than before. Those who have money will be able to pay for health care and those who don't, won't.
GOODMAN: This unemployed sales clerk says she's already feeling the impact of the hospital cutbacks.
LAURA GARCIA, UNEMPLOYED STORE WORKER (through translator): What I see are fewer doctors and longer lines. We need an operation and the waiting list is longer.
GOODMAN: Yet these doctors, nurses, orderlies and other hospital personnel are so angry that right now patients may have to wait awhile longer while they search for a cure to the cutbacks.
Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.
FOSTER: Former Bosnian-Serb commander Ratko Mladic was sent to hospital today after complaining of feeling unwell during his genocide trial in The Hague. The court spokeswoman said he was hospitalized as a precaution measure. Dubbed the Butcher of Bosnia, he's being tried for 11 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial is due to resume tomorrow.
One of England's biggest football stars is in the fight of his career. John Terry has been battling allegations of racism for months now. And this week he went to trial over a heated exchange on the pitch. The verdict is due tomorrow. CNN's Matthew Chance is following the case in London.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They call it the beautiful game, but it's soccer's ugly unerbelly John Terry's racism trial laid bare. He's one of the world's most high profile players, the former England captain, skipper of European champions Chelsea.
But an abusive exchange on the pitch last year brought the entire sport into disrepute. TV cameras caught Terry mouthing the word black to opposing player Anton Ferdinand along with strong sexual swear words.
A few days later he was interviewed by the English Football Association. We've bleeped out the offensive language, but you'll get the idea.
JOHN TERRY, CHELSEA CAPTAIN: Yeah, I just sort of calling me a black (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Calling me a black (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
TERRY: You know, I understand I was quite taken aback by that, because I have not been ever accused of anything like that. And, you know, I didn't take it lightly at all?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you remember exactly what you said back to him?
TERRY: I think it was something along the lines of you black (EXPLETIVE DELETED), you're (EXPLECTIVE DELETED).
CHANCE: Industrial language like this is, says Terry, part and parcel of the game. Moments before this, the court heard Ferdinand had provoked Terry, referring to his alleged extra-marital affair with another teammate's girlfriend. Critics say it's all sordid, unacceptable abuse, but the addition of race made this a matter for the courts.
The defense called witnesses like Ashley Cole, Terry's Chelsea and England teammate to speak on his behalf. As a captain, he is one of the best, he said, inspirational, calm, and collected.
The court was read character witness statements from a further 18 Chelsea teammates past and present, plus one from Jose Mourinho, former Chelsea manager, now with Real Madrid.
"I have never witnessed racist behavior from him," the statement said, "I am certain John Terry is not a racist."
But this ugly episode is about more than individual reputations, raising questions about how the beautiful game is being played.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: We're going to take you to a short break now, but when we come back, Saudi Arabia is sending female athletes to the London Olympics. We'll discuss whether this marks an historic breakthrough for Saudi women.
FOSTER: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.
Now the International Olympic Committee said Saudi Arabia will send two female athletes to compete in the London Olympics, a judo competitor and an 800 meters runner will both be included in the Saudi team. This means now that every country competing at the Olympics has -- is represented by a female athlete.
Now the decision comes after Saudi authorities decided to lift the ban on women from the Gulf kingdom competing at the games.
Earlier I talked with Minky Worden, she is the director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, to discuss what this means for women across Saudi Arabia.
MINKY WORDEN, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well, this is a pretty historic breakthrough. The main reason is because in 2008 Saudi Arabia sent a men's only team to the Olympics. I think if they had tried to do so again it would have been a big black eye for the International Olympic Committee, for the Olympics movement. But we really can't cheer entirely this advance, because we have to remember that many millions of women and girls inside Saudi Arabia still cannot take part in sport. And there are very simple things that the international Olympic committee could do to help advance sport for women and girls in the country. And chief among them is to life the ban on sport for girls in schools, that would make a difference in millions of girls' lives.
FOSTER: Saudi women campaigners have brought up that exact point. We shouldn't get this out of proportion, this is just a small step. And perhaps this is a token gesture as well, because there isn't a commitment, a real commitment for women's sport. So how should we be looking at this very small step? And is it just a token gesture?
WORDEN: Well, it's a small step on a long marathon for women's rights in Saudi Arabia. And really the problem is not just the effective banning of women and girls from taking part in Sport, this really goes back to basic human rights for women in Saudi Arabia, and central among them are really that women can't take part in public life. Even if there were gyms where women could practice sport, they can't drive to get there. They need permission of their male guardians -- a son, a father.
If they're injured in sport, they would need permission of a man to go to the hospital. So we have a long way to go for women's rights in Saudi Arabia, but it is a first step on that long road.
FOSTER: Does actually mean that Saudi Arabia is serious, though, about bringing equality to sport or are they just doing it to look good on the international stage?
WORDEN: Well, you know Human Rights Watch has done a tremendous amount of report, exhaustive reporting on this topic. And we've outlined a specific set of benchmarks that the Saudi government can and should take to show a commitment to sports for women. And they're very simple and straightforward.
It's opening a national Olympic Committee section for women, allowing sports in schools, allowing women to compete in international competition. But it is -- you know, the bottom line here is that this progress that we have made so far is due chiefly to international pressure. And people will say, oh, the Saudi government doesn't respond to international pressure, but obviously they do. It's two weeks before the beginning of the Olympics and Saudi women will take part, will march behind the flag for the firs time. That's something to cheer, but while we do so we have to remember all the millions of women and girls inside the country who can't take part in sports.
FOSTER: Well, the president of FIFA meanwhile is responding to controversial Swiss court documents that accuse two former top football officials of taking millions of dollars in payoffs. Mark McKay is following the story from CNN Center. Mark, what is Sepp Blatter saying about this scandal? Is doesn't involve him, of course.
MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: No, it doesn't involve him directly, Max, but surprisingly Mr. Blatter came out and flatly admitted that he did know that payments were made to former executives, but FIFA's president insists they weren't illegal at the time, at least he believed so.
This week, as you said, a Swiss court published its findings following the investigation into payments made to former FIFA president Joao Havelange and into executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira from FIFA's marketing partner ISL. Millions have alleged to have changed hands. And at the time Mr. Blatter was FIFA's general secretary.
Speaking Thursday to FIFA.com, Mr. Blatter answered a few questions about the saga, including that he was supposed to have known about the payments. Here's what he had to say, "know what? The commission was paid? Back then, such payments could even be deducted from tax as a business expense. Today, that would be punishable under law. You can't judge the past on the basis of today's standards, otherwise it would end up with moral justice. I can't have known about an offense that wasn't even one."
If you think that Mr. Blatter's comments concerning this matter on FIFA's website have served to quiet his critics, think again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LARKIN, CO-DIRECTOR, CHANGEFIFA: I think the FIFA president has a serious moral compass problem. I think the organization is out of control. And I think it needs top-down reform. You're looking at an organization whose culture is tolerance of impropriety. The president is trying to defend acts that would go -- would be tolerated nowhere else. And it's time for him to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKAY: Now, Sepp Blatter said the formation of a reform ethic committee is proof that his organization is committed to cleaning up its act, so to speak Max, but people like Mr. Larkin who you just heard from describe FIFA as the least qualified people to investigate allegations against it.
FOSTER: Yeah, they often point to all of these scandals. And there have been scandals haven't there in recent months. And saying that Blatter is not the person to lead any reform. Is reform possible with Blatter there?
MCKAY: Well, you know, I want to point to one organization that has cleaned up its acts from past misgivings, and that's the International Olympic Committee. Remember under former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch's undoing was -- or wrongdoing was pretty much rampant. But new president Jacques Rogge -- IOC president Jacques Rogge certainly got that organization in hand. He actually spoke today about the FIFA situation. Mr. Rogge saying, "we expect action to be taken by FIFA itself." Mr. Rogge continuing, "we would expect FIFA to have an opinion on that. We'll wait for that opinion." Of course the words of the IOC president Jacques Rogge.
FOSTER: And finally, Mark, a motorcycle driver might want to think twice about celebrating the way he celebrates next time.
MCKAY: Yeah, he might want to hold off on that celebration, Max. Let's take you to Italy and the closing laps. Did you hear me say laps? Of the CIV championship. That's Ricardo Russo on the left celebrating a race that hadn't ended yet. You see there was still one lap remaining. And instead of being thrilled that he had crossed the finish line first, he watched everybody pass him by. All Russo had to -- he had to be crushed, because at the end he actually finished 14th.
The moral of this story, do not count your wins before they hatch. Oops. I guess he'll learn from that, won't he?
We're back with World Sport, Max, in just over an hour.
FOSTER: Fantastic stuff, thank you very much, Mark.
Still to come on Connect the World, frisbee, sombreros and Visa cards, but one of these is Olympic approved. Guess which one. Stay with us for your security dos and don'ts.
Rhyming couplets and sonnets are not something you expect to hear in connection with the Taliban, but we'll look at one book that's trying to change that.
And stay tuned (inaudible) celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Max Foster and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.
Syrian opposition activists say the regime has begun shelling residential neighborhoods in Damascus. They say it's the first time that areas in the capital have come under attack since the uprising began.
Nine climbers were killed in an avalanche on Mount Maudit in the French Alps. Four others thought missing were later found and are safe. Thirty-eight climbers were on the mountain before the avalanche.
Nigerian authorities say a gasoline fire killed at least 95 people on Thursday. Villages have been using buckets to clean up gas from an overturned tanker when the fire erupted. An official says at least 18 were seriously injured.
A London court is considering the evidence and testimony in the John Terry racial abuse case. A verdict is expected on Friday. The Chelsea football captain is accused of using a racial slur against another player. Terry denies the charges.
The UK government is making last-minute changes to its Olympic security lineup, bringing in an extra 3,500 troops to ensure safety. Whilst the military is guarding the waterways and airspace, a private firm was supposed to man gates and lines. Now, as the company struggles to come up with the promised numbers, the troops have to pick up the slack. CNN's Jim Boulden has more.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many British soldiers have been deployed this week around Olympic venues, but it's been determined there aren't enough. Reinforcements are coming.
That's because the major private security firm, G4S, that Game organizers hired to support the troops have not ramped up quickly enough just two weeks before the Opening Ceremony.
In all, more than 13,000 British troops were already securing the country during the Olympics, some for venue security. Others to man posts, like anti-missile batteries on top of buildings. Now, a further 3,500 troops have been called up, a more than 25 percent increase.
TERESA MAY, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: I think, obviously, it is absolutely right that at this stage, when a gap has opened up or what may be a gap has opened up, it is absolutely right that we acted quickly to ensure that that gap would be filled.
BOULDEN: With just two weeks before the Opening Ceremony, it's an embarrassment to the government and Games organizers. The soldiers being called up were not expecting this.
PETER POWER, SECURITY CONSULTANT: They need to be trained. The time to do that is getting shorter and shorter. But at the end of the day, we could end up with better-trained people than security guards. The trouble is, they could be exhausted because they are soldiers who otherwise would be on leave.
BOULDEN: G4S says 4,000 of its private security staff are at Olympic venues around the country right now. But another 9,000 are going through intensive training, and there are delays in that process.
Publicly traded G4S is one of the biggest private security firms in the UK. Its staff can be seen at many high-profile events. Opposition members of Parliament are asking what price might G4S pay for this?
KEITH VAZ, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Will she confirm that G4S will suffer penalties as a result of this fiasco? As she knows, G4S is already the supplier of hundreds of millions of pounds of government contracts.
BOULDEN (on camera): The government says this move is not because of an increase in the terror threat, but it does mean spectators and athletes will see thousands of more soldiers, along with may armed police, in what had already been described as Britain's biggest peacetime security operation.
Jim Boulden, CNN, London.
FOSTER: Well, security is undoubtedly a top concern for authorities and organizers. The UK government is committing over $850 million to venue safety. Britain's Heathrow Airport has hired hundreds of extra border control staff, and anti-aircraft missiles have been stationed around the Olympic Park.
But officials insist there is no increased threat of attacks. Earlier, the UK's Home Secretary addressed those concerns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: I can confirm to the House that there remains no specific security threat to the Games, and the threat level remains unchanged. And let me reiterate that there is no question of Olympic security being compromised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: So, we know about the security surrounding the Games, but what about the rules for those attending actual events? As Becky discovered earlier, it's a process that will be familiar to frequent fliers.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you're lucky enough to have got a ticket to the Olympics, stand by for an e-mail stating that getting into a stadium will be like going through international security at an airport.
So, you know what it's like. One bag only, they tell me. Soft-sided, so that it can go under my seat. I know what's going to happen when I show the guy what's going on in there. The water. He doesn't allow water.
You can take an empty bottle of water in, but nothing with liquids over 100 milliliters. I've done this millions of times before. All right, let's see what happens when I get through here.
ANDERSON: Oh, that's a familiar sound.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a quick body search.
ANDERSON: That's fun.
Organizers say get to the venues with bags of time, just like you would if you were traveling to an airport.
You can buy water once you're in, but try paying for it with anything but Visa or cash.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, we don't take AmEx.
ANDERSON: Oh, they don't take AmEx, they don't take MasterCard, either.
FOSTER: Well, it's the age-old mantra of the world's top athletes: faster, higher, stronger. Every four years, new world records are set at the Olympic Games as athletes find new ways to improve through technology and training.
CNN's Aiming for Gold made this graph showing how gold medalists in different sports have improved throughout the years. Let's take a look at the hundred-meter sprint, then, for example. Here's a graph, blue representing men and red, women, and how times have improved on the hundred meters so dramatically over the last few decades.
And there's more detail as well. You can actually come down to a line and get some detail. Pick a year, let's just go for a random one, here. The male, Robert Hayes, won with 10 seconds, and the female, there, was Wyomia Tyus from the United States.
So, it's a fascinating insight into some of the detail, and we're going to really dig in the detail over the next few weeks here on CNN. But see it for yourself. Go to cnn.com/olympics. There you'll find all the latest Olympic coverage.
Now, 15 days and counting. London's ready. Are you? We want to hear what you think about the Games. Do the airport-like security measures put you off attending, or are they reassuring for you? Tell us your hopes and dreams and fears for the Summer Olympics, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say. And you can tweet us @CNNconnect. Your thoughts, please, CNNconnect.
Still to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD, find out why some Taliban documents should be filed under the category "poetry."
FOSTER: Well, they're known across the world and are mentioned in the news almost every day. But how much do we really know about the Taliban? For many, the name conjures up images of war and of suppression. But a new book is attempting to show the Afghan group in a very different light: as poets. Becky sat down with the book's editors to find out more.
ALEX STRICK VAN LINSCHOTEN, EDITOR, "POETRY OF THE TALIBAN": "Tears run down my colliery guard. A grand history has been defamed. Just as our turban was held high in the world, today it has descended, oh God."
ANDERSON (voice-over): Love. Patriotism. Grief. Words inspired by the Afghan landscape, written by the country's brutal former rulers, the Taliban. Their poetry appears in a new book by two Western academics. It hints at an unseen side of the militant group.
VAN LINSCHOTEN: The poems, I guess, are part of this wider tradition of literature, of a kind of cultural tradition almost. We have similar images used to the ones which the classical poets of the 19th century used.
There are love poems. There's obviously a great sense of patriotism and nationalism to the poems. And also a reflection of the experience of being in the war and the suffering that they talk about in the villages.
"The village seems strange. It is separation, as if my beloved has left it. The grief of separation is so cruel, that it is not scared of anyone. When the soul does not leave the body, it shakes."
FELIX KUEHN, EDITOR, "POETRY OF THE TALIBAN": This poetry was so present. You would find it on friend's cell phones, you would listen to it in a taxi, you would have it in friends' cars. And even people who weren't supportive of the Taliban and who weren't Taliban still listened, often, to this poetry, just because they could relate to this on an emotional level.
VAN LINSCHOTEN: "Oh Afghan, stand up. The enemy has come today. He has come to the green lawn of your homeland. Stand against him. You might destroy him. He has come to the garden of red flowers."
ANDERSON (on camera): If you had one message for the West, for those who've never lived in Afghanistan, who've never met anybody who, for example, fights in support of the Taliban or simply calls themselves a supporter of the Taliban, what would you say about those you've met who fall into that category?
KUEHN: I think what I would like them to understand is that the Taliban are humans, just as we are.
VAN LINSCHOTEN: "What cruelty is it that has brought this grief to our nation? Lights are snuffed on contact. There is great grief and sadness."
ANDERSON (voice-over): But publishing these poems has drawn criticism from the highest levels, with one former British military commander, Richard Kemp, saying it gives the oxygen of publicity to an extremist group. It's a claim the book's editors deny.
VAN LINSCHOTEN: The central problem in many ways of the foreign engagement and interaction in Afghanistan has been lack of understanding, quite often. And this is just one piece in the wider puzzle, I guess.
But we're on our way out, now, as President Obama said recently. But it's -- it's still important to try and engage, particularly at the moment where we're engaged in political discussions with the Taliban.
FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, Stonehenge is up in flames. How the Olympic torch is inspiring a spectacle at one of Britain's most famous landmarks.
FOSTER: All this week on CONNECT THE WORLD, we're shining a light on Green Pioneers, inspired individuals enhancing our planet. We met the man responsible for the Middle East's first commercial solar power station turning the heat of the Israeli desert into a power hub for the region. And the princess of Oman, who founded her country's only environmental NGO.
Tonight, we take a look at a younger Green Pioneer who's saving the world one teenager at a time. What started as a conversation around the kitchen table was enough to inspire Erin Schrode to turn her passion for the planet into a global movement.
ERIN SCHRODE, TEENS TURNING GREEN: Two bunches of radishes. Thank you. I got two beautiful green squash and two yellow squash. My family loves making ratatouille. I think I've done quite well for myself.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Erin Schrode may seem like just another college student, but her passion for the planet has basically become her life.
SCHRODE: I consider myself an active citizen. I really see everything I do as a natural extension of who I am and the sort of role that people should take in the world from a day-to-day basis.
ALLEN: Growing up in Northern California, the 21-year-old found her inspiration right at home.
SCHRODE: Eco is who I am, to my core. It's my very essence. And I think it has a lot to do with where I was raised and this stunning space in Northern California where environmental conscious is the norm. And I recognize that it's a bubble, but I'm able to take that same mentality out and extend it to a global scale.
ALLEN: At age 13, Schrode and her mom decided to make an impact by creating Teens Turning Green, a campaign dedicated to educating youth about making the most sustainable and socially responsible choices for our planet.
SCHRODE: I really can't believe the sort of critical mass that we've been able to reach. It was around my kitchen table. It was my mom and I having a crazy idea and some other people going, "Oh, yes, that makes sense. Tell me more."
I've seen the entire environmental movement bloom around me, so it's the right time and it was the right messaging. And it's really having a true impact.
ALLEN: Many of its programs revolve around what Teens Turning Green calls the Dirty 30, a list of chemicals that it says should be avoided in everyday products, whether it be cleaning products, makeup, or even clothes.
And Teens Turning Green also takes action on a much larger scale. In 2005 at the age of 17, Schrode testified at the California state legislature to get lawmakers to ban lead from lipstick, joining efforts that resulted in the passing of the Safe Cosmetics Act.
And she's taken her mission global to dozens of other countries, including Israel and Ghana, working to, among other things, push recycling programs.
SCHRODE: One of the first things that I think is really important to do is to look at labels. Because so much of what we use, we have no idea what goes into it.
ALLEN: Schrode knows no one is ever too young to be inspired.
SCHRODE: Kids really respond in such a visceral way. They see the cause and effect. They have that certain naivete that, hey, maybe I can affect change. Maybe somebody will listen to me. And they open their mouths, and guess what? Everybody looks at you because you're different. Because you're a kid, and because you're articulate, and you're passionate, and you're educated about these issues.
ALLEN: And some day, one of these kids could be making a difference, too.
SCHRODE: We are incredibly powerful, everyone. And I want to hear your voice. I want to hear you speak up. What are you passionate about. That's what drives me, it's this passion. So, whatever it is, go with it. I will more than support you, and when you act, that speaks. They say action speaks louder than words, and we need a lot of action.
One, two, three! Green!
GROUP OF KIDS: Green!
ALLEN: Natalie Allen, Marin County, California, CNN.
FOSTER: This month, CNN's taking a look at people around the world who have put their passion into action to change the planet. These people are Green Pioneers, and they'll be profiled on a CNN Going Green special, Friday, 4:30 in London in the afternoon.
In tonight's Parting Shots, anyone who thought Stonehenge was just a couple of dreary gray stones in a field, think again. This week, the famous British landmark has been ignited by the Olympic spirit and turned into a fire garden. It's part of the nationwide cultural Olympiad.
MARIA BOTA, DIRECTOR, SALISBURY FESTIVAL: There's a bit of fire around. And it's happening at the same time as the torch is in our region. So, we've got this amazing monument here, world hedge spot, Stonehenge, and we felt we wanted to animate it with fire at the time that the Olympic torch was coming through our region.
We have about 150 different sculptures in and around the stones, and we have our Compagnie Caraboose, 15 artists, and they're tending the fire and talking with the audience as they come through.
STEVE COUSINS, ARTIST, COMPAGNIE CARABOSSE: What's beautiful here tonight is that it's complete freedom. There is no "don't stand on the grass." There is no "please do not touch the fire." It is really up to the public to get in amongst it and to be part of what is going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the fire pots all around here, they're all scented. So, there's a beautiful scent that comes wafting over the fields.
COUSINS: I think there's a certain sense of awe in the people here. There's the awe of the stones, there's the awe of being amongst the stones like this. Because people know that normally you have to walk between the ropes and you don't step amongst the stones. But tonight, it's different.
BOTA: You go right back to the Greeks. Actually, rating artistic work was central to the Olympics, and in a sense, we're bringing that back for the Olympics this year, putting culture, really, at the center of the Olympics.
COUSINS: What does it mean to me? It's a celebration of freedom.
FOSTER: Well, if Stonehenge doesn't rock your boat, then how about a different bunch of Stones? Fifty years ago today the Rolling Stones played their first concert at the Marquis Club here in London. Here's a little reminder to show you why the original bad boys of rock are still giving us "Satisfaction."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC - "SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL" BY THE ROLLING STONES)
TEXT: "Sympathy for the Devil" was the theme song for 1998 movie "Fallen."
(MUSIC - "PAINT IT BLACK" BY THE ROLLING STONES)
TEXT: "Paint it Black" was the first hit single to feature a sitar.
(MUSIC - "SATISFACTION" BY THE ROLLING STONES)
TEXT: "Satisfaction" has one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time.
(MUSIC - "GIMME SHELTER" BY THE ROLLING STONES)
TEXT: Martin Scorsese has used "Gimme Shelter" in four of his films.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Fifty years, still going strong. I'm Max Foster, and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching. The world headlines are up next after this short break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC - "START ME UP" BY THE ROLLING STONES)
(END VIDEO CLIP)