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Rebels Risk Everything In Battle For Aleppo; Japan Shocks Spain 1-0 In Olympic Opener

Aired July 26, 2012 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, never before seen footage captures the horror that is Syria today.

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

ANDERSON: Few of us have witnessed firsthand the sheer hell of life inside the town of Rastan in Syria. Tonight, on this show, the story behind one filmmaker's startling footage.

Also this hour, Romney's Olympic blunder, why the White House wannabe is backtracking as he kicks off an international tour.

And a royal welcome for the Olympic flame now less than 24 hours before the starting gun for the greatest sporting event on Earth.

Well, it's the sixth day of fierce clashes in Syria's biggest city and the worst may be yet to come. We're going to get the latest developments and a live report from Syria in just a moment for you. First, though, a rare look at life inside a rebel held city. Much of Rastan has been destroyed by relentless shelling. Rebels managed to push back government forces recently but face the incredibly hard challenge of keeping them out.

Our report by Diana Magnay includes material shot by the award winning documentary filmmaker Marcel Mettelsiefen. We warn you some images are disturbing.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A rebel brigade of the Free Syrian Army trained in a disused sports hall. Where children once played, now fighters practice hand-to-hand combat. Their coach is ex- mukhabarat (ph), the Syrian secret services. He tells them to show strength in their face and in their posture, that way their enemy will be scared. These men believe the battle for Rastan will end up face to face in the city's alleyways.

MARCEL METTELSIEFEN, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Most of them seem to be trained rather well, but the problem which was reflected in the kind of training is the lack of weapons. They have no tanks, no artillery, no battle gunships.

MAGNAY: They're forced to improvise: IEDs recycled from enemy ammunition.

ABU AHMAD, FREE SYRIAN ARMY (through translator): All of these we picked up in the day and are staying. They hadn't exploded.

MAGNAY: So far it has worked. Since March, Rastan has been in rebel hands. Regime forces have retreated to the outskirts. The hospital is now their military base. Much of the city destroyed by relentless shelling as the Syrian army tries to root out the 22 rebel brigades called Captiva (ph) holed up there.

Rastan was once a town of 65,000. Now just a few thousand are left cooped up in cellars or wherever they can find shelter from the mortars and the helicopter gunships and deadly missiles.

METTELSIEFEN: We asked people why they not at least moved into another area, because their part of town was hit more frequently than others. They insisted on the safety of their houses. There was no logic in this answer, but a lot of people were so much eaten up by fear that no purely rational decision seems to be possible anymore.

MAGNAY: Supplies are scarce. This food must feed two families. Medicine, too, almost impossible to get hold of.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My son is sick, but all I can do is use a wet towel to lower his fever.

MAGNAY: And each day, the bombs claim more lives.

There is only one small, makeshift hospital here deep in a basement. Moments after the shelling, its corridors filled with screams, an endless nightmare for the doctor's in the shift.

METTELSIEFEN: They were chain smoking, nearly all of them, sometimes in tears, often just busy working, working, working. Three doctors for a city under siege and constant shelling.

MAGNAY: Somehow, it is always the children who are hit. They cannot run fast enough. Doctors fight for an hour to save this four-year-old boy. He has a piece of shrapnel in his back, nut it has pierced his heart. They cannot save him. His uncle comes to say good-bye. There are no words for this pain.

ABU SALAH, RASTAN RESIDENT: I don't like to film here with the blood. Believe me, I don't like it. Easier to me to film the bomb than I see the blood. Did you see that child? Did you see?

MAGNAY: And yet there is a resilience here. Children play at being fighters for the Free Syrian Army.

METTELSIEFEN: You haven't been afraid?

MAGNAY: "No," they say, "not of the shelling. Only of god."

The children divide themselves into teams: half regime forces, half rebel fighters. Even as they play civil war on the streets of Rastan, there is talk of an end game in Syria. Hope, perhaps, that when these hands are old enough to hold real guns they will not have to choose who they fight for.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Berlin.


ANDERSON: Well, filmmaker Marcel Mettelsiefen spent 17 days in Syria on his most recent visit. He's been there some eight times since last year and says the situation is getting worse and worse. Marcel joining me now to talk more about what he witnessed.

And Marcel, this is a city under siege. It's clear from your footage at least in Rastan that this was a one -- or is a one-sided fight. The rebels with weapons that are nothing like the firepower of the Syrian regime.

What motivates these men to carry on with this fight?

METTELSIEFEN: Yes, I think the biggest motivation is just to keep this city free from the government army and to push them out. This was the main target. Now, what they're trying to do is like all the other Free Syrian Army Katibhas (ph) is to grow and to become strong enough for the last fight, means for the zero hour what has already started with the fight in Damascus.

ANDERSON: You say conditions here are getting significantly worse since the last time you were there. And you've been in and out of Syria, I know, many times in the past year or so. How would you describe conditions on the ground now?

METTELSIEFEN: The situation in Rastan is that you have a city which is constantly shelled. The regime has two checkpoint, one on the north, one on the south part. And they do shell it every day and every night. Not only with artillery, not only with tanks, they have been using more and more as well helicopters. And this is the most bizarre, the most scary thing, because you never know when it's going to start and which bomb is going to hit you.

So they have between the shelling periods, they have as well kind of three, four hours where they don't shell. People start to go out. There's still 5,000 people in the city. So the first bomb is every time the most dangerous and the most vulnerable for the civilians, because the second one already is everybody is in the shelter.

ANDERSON: Yeah, you say 4,000 or 5,000 people there. This was a city of some 65,000 before the fighting began.

Just how long do you think people can go on?

METTELSIEFEN: Oh, they're doing this already one-and-a-half years. I mean, I've been there and I barely could stand this 10 days inside the city. I really don't know how they're able to cope with all this pain, with all this fear, but this is actually -- they put their destiny in the hand of god. And that's why I think people became so much religious, because there's only one hope and this is the help of god, because they realize that the west is just looking and nobody will do anything.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Marcel, it's a pleasure to have you on the show. And your footage quite remarkable. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Tonight, the filmmaker that first report you saw, a pro-regime newspaper in Syria says Aleppo is headed for the mother of all battles. Both sides gearing up tonight for what's expected to be a major government assault in the commercial heart of Syria.

Our Ivan Watson is in northern Syria and joins us now on the line.

What can you tell us, Ivan?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've been spending the past two days skirting the villages around Aleppo and watching as the fighters have been reinforcing their positions inside. In one village that we visited, they estimated they had 22 rebel brigades and 18 of them were currently in Aleppo. So there's a substantial amount of manpower that have been committed to this battle, which the rebels themselves say is critical.

Today we saw a helicopter, military helicopter circling over Aleppo and then over the village that we were in about nine kilometers to the northwest of Aleppo. And that is one of the weapons that have been frightening the rebels the most that we've heard the most casualties from: helicopter gunships opening fire on the rebels. And they don't really have the weapons to fire back against that. They say they're fearless and they can handle even tanks now, something that they couldn't do four months ago, but they still don't have the weaponry to take out Syrian government aircraft.

ANDERSON: Ivan, is it clear that reports of foreign fighters on the ground are true?

WATSON: Absolutely. I met a Libya fighter yesterday who just came across the border from Turkey. He came with at least four other Libyans, he said, and he was joining a larger group of foreign fighters near the city of Idlib is what he told me.

I've come across a Turkish fighter. We do hear about foreign fighters. And most of them seem to be drawn here by an Islamist ideology I would say, by the fact that they think that Sunni Muslims are being butchered in this country by a non-Sunni Muslim regime.

And that is kind of the rhetoric that we often hear from many of the rebels themselves. As the sectarian divisions have gotten worse, many of the rebels I talk to complain about the Alawite sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And that does not bode well for the future of these two communities living side by side if and when the killing ever stops here.

ANDERSON: Ivan Watson in Syria for you this evening. Thank you, Ivan.

It's being described then as the mother of all battles. And it's hard to overstate the importance of what is happening now in Aleppo. But Hala Gorani explains why the city is strategically crucial in this civil war.


HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aleppo lies in the country's northwest. It's Syria's most populous city. And what makes Aleppo so important is that it's he commercial capital of Syria, the company's economic hub, and has been for centuries.

It's right across the border from Turkey. And remains at the crossroads of several great commercial trading routes. All of this economic activity over the centuries has made Aleppo's population extremely diverse.

And that's what makes Aleppo's role in the Syrian conflict so complex. It has a majority Sunni population, but upwards of 20 percent of Aleppo's residents are Christians. And many Christians do not support the rebels, some fearing an Islamist takeover.

And for the most part, the violence in Syria over the past 16 months has taken place outside of Aleppo. The city is well known for its architecture such as this large Medieval 13th century fortress called The Citadel. Located inside Aleppo's old city, a UN heritage site.

One of the gates to the old city is Bab el-Hadid in the center of Aleppo. And earlier in the week, rebels had gained ground in the surrounding Bab el-Hadid neighborhood. This video purports to show intense fighting in that very area. But later in the week, rebels reportedly retreated back to southern district.

Hala Gorani, CNN.


ANDERSON: Some news just coming in to CNN. Facebook has just posted its first quarterly report since it became a public company. You'll remember its IPO some months ago. The social networking site reports quarterly revenue increase of 32 percent. Now that beats analysts' expectations.

Shares of the company are hovering around $27, down nearly 30 percent from the initial public offering of $38. That tumble began almost immediately, you'll remember, after the much hyped IPO back in May. Analysts have been expecting the stock to drop further if Facebook missed earnings expectations.

Again, Facebook's first quarterly report better than the market had been expecting.

Plenty more to come on that story, as you can imagine here on CNN. And plenty more from around the world.

Not something you see every day, find out who is on a high in North Korea. That's just ahead.

And an international murder mystery may have been solved. Charges pressed over the death of a British businessman in China.

Also coming up, high jumping out of the Olympics, find out why this Greek athlete is no longer competing. All that and much more when Connect the World continues.


ANDERSON: Right. I don't want you to miss the latest breaking news on the street. Coming in to CNN, Facebook has just posted its first quarterly report since it became a public company. The social networking site reports quarterly revenue increase of 32 percent, that beats analysts expectations. But shares continuing to drop in after hour trade. The stock down at around $27, or a little less than that at one point. That is down nearly 30 percent from the initial public offering price of $38.

The IPO, you'll remember, much hyped back in May. The stock has been down more than 8 percent ahead of this report.

Coming in, then, first quarterly report revealing a quarterly revenue increase of 32 percent, beating the market's expectations.

Shares, though, continuing to be off in after hours trade. That's going to be a big story for you. And we'll continue to cover it here on CNN.

Your other news out this hour, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has spent the day meeting Britain's political leaders. It didn't get off to a great start, it's got to be said, as he was forced to backtrack on concerns he'd raised on a U.S. network over Olympic security.


MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: My experience as an Olympic organizer is that there are always a few very small things that end up going not quite right in the first day or so. Those get ironed out. And then when the games themselves begin and the athletes take over, all the mistakes that the organizing committee, and I made a few, all of those are overwhelmed by the many things that the athletes carry out that capture the spirit of the games.


ANDERSON: We're going to have more on his visit, including reaction to his comments and that special relationship between the U.S. and the UK just a little later this hour.

Now some of the other stories that are connecting our world tonight. The wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been charged with murder over the death of the British businessman Neil Haywood. Now authorities say Gu Kailai and a family aid poisoned Haywood after a conflict of economic interests, end quote. Heywood was found dead in his hotel room in Chongqing last November. His death was initially blamed on an alcohol overdose.

European stocks on the up today after the head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi pledged to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. Just take a look at the numbers if you will. The IBEX in Spain up 6 percent. The FTSE up nearly 6 percent, 5.5 or more. Paris up 4 percent. We haven't seen numbers like this in months and months and months. The DAX up 2.75 percent.

Let's take a listen to what Draghi had to say.


MARIO DRAGHI, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK HEAD: The ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.


ANDERSON: Michael Jackson's mother Catherine Jackson has returned to her California home. The 82 year old was reported missing by her granddaughter last week who said she hadn't heard from her since July 15. Other family members later claimed Catherine was resting under doctor's orders in one of her daughter's homes in Arizona. Well, in her absence guardianship of Michael's three children was suspended.

It is a side of North Korean that we haven't seen before. State TV showed their leader with the woman now known to be his wife at a local amusement park in Pyongyang. Kim Jong un delighted onlookers as he took the meaning of fun to new heights. Have a look at this.

Everybody is delighted, apart from that older lady who was yawning.

We're going to take a very short break. When we come back, the Olympics may not officially be underway, not yet, but there's already been a big upset in the football tournament. We're going to show you who got upset after this.


ANDERSON: Well, the clock on the right-hand side of your screen shows you that we are just less than 24 hours away from the start of the London Olympics. And it will be an historic one for a pair of Saudi female athletes. They'll be taking part in the games for the first time.

One of them has had to make a big concession, though. Zain Verjee joining us now from London's Olympic Park with more on that -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Becky. Behind me, the Olympic stadium all nicely lit up. They've been practicing all day and putting the final touches on the music that you're hearing behind me and the rehearsals. But as you say, one story grabbing headlines is about a Saudi athlete by the name of Wodjan Shahrkhani, she's supposed to compete in judo.

Now the question is about her head scarf. The Saudi authorities really only let her come here as well as the one other female athlete because they said as long as she wears the head scarf that conforms to social, cultural, and religious consistencies in the region.

Now what the officials here are saying is that if she competes she has to take off the head scarf, Becky. And the reason is, they say, it's just going to be kind of dangerous, because if she's competing with the head scarf on, it's going to mean that it may create a situation where there's a choke hold or a strangle hold or something like that.

So the jury is still out on that. It's not clear if a decision has been made and whether she will or won't compete -- Becky.

ANDERSON: All right.

Well, there's a clearer decision about one athlete. Concerns over doping, of course, today on the eve of the opening ceremonies. Who is being sent home now?

VERJEE: It's a Greek athlete by the name of Dimitris Chondrokoukis. He is the world indoor champion for high jumping. And about 10 days ago he was given a surprise drug test and he tested positive, the same kind of drug as Ben Johnson, Becky, back in 1988 tested positive for the disgraced sprinter. So his father, who is also his coach, has issued a statement to the Greek media. And he says that the family is totally shocked. His son has now withdrawn from the competition, he had to, and his dream to be in the Olympics is now going to be unfulfilled.

Basically, the one thing to note here that what this story really did, and the other doping stories that have emerged too, is highlight a program known as the biological passport program, Becky. And basically what that is, is that it's a way to track an athlete's blood profile over a period of time. And what scientists can do is they can look at the physiological changes in the blood profile and that gives indicators. So if there's any change in the blood profile, what it kind of sends up a red flag about is that there could be some kind of drug induced physiological change. And then they go and check out that athlete which is what happened.

ANDERSON: All right. OK. Sad news.

Let's go on to the actual competition, because even though the clock says it's 23 hours, 31 minutes, and 34 seconds and counting, of course, the football competition has already kicked off. Who has got knocked off their perch tonight?

VERJEE: Oh boy, Becky, this was a big upset. Japan beat Spain 1-0, Spain, can you believe it, who is the World Cup champion, the European Champions, and they left the game with their tale between their legs there. The score was 1-0. And the goal was scored by Yuki Otsu.

The football matches have been staring early, Becky, and the reason for that is because they just take a much longer time. You know, there are group matches. And the players need a lot more rest between matches as well.

So they started early. And mostly outside of London because the big day and the big spotlight on London here tomorrow.

ANDERSON: Yeah, that is remarkable. Lots of people pushing, or certainly suggesting that the Spanish might win this, although the Brazilians and certain the South Americans looking to do well themselves.

Team GB, let me tell you, because I know you've been on air, you may not even know this yourself, team GB up 1-0 against Senegal. That big match of course for the home countries as it were, not just home country, but home countries. Team GB up against Senegal as we speak up there in Old Tratford.

Zain, pleasure to have you. Thank you for that.

Still to come on Connect the World, ferried across the Thames as the Olympic torch takes in the sites of London. Plus, shooting for glory, how Prince Harry was left just hanging his head in shame.

And Mitt Romney meets the British prime minister just hours after the US presidential hopeful expressed concerns over security at London 2012.

All that coming up in your headlines after this.


ANDERSON: All right, this news just in to CNN. Facebook has just posted its first quarterly report since it became a public company. It beat expectations. Investors, though, don't seem to be very impressed, at least in after-hours trade. Let's bring in Dan Simon, live from San Francisco.

So, here's a company that launched on the markets, what, back in May, three months ago? It beats expectations in its first report, up some 32 percent. And yet, the shares are off somewhat, 7 percent in regular trading and still going lower?

DAN SIMON, CNN SILICON VALLEY CORRESPONDENT: You're right. Right now after hours trading down about 3 percent despite the fact that Facebook has comfortably beat the expectations set by analysts.

But I think in terms of going forward, this is a very positive sign for Facebook. It's been a very bumpy ride since their IPO a few months ago, but they had to do a couple of things. Number one, they had to demonstrate that they could grow their user base, which they have done.

Number two, they had to increase revenues fairly substantially, and they've done that, increasing by about 32 percent, as you've said. I think the question mark going forward is still in terms of a viable business strategy for advertisers. Can they prove to corporations and to big-time advertisers that their strategy is effective?

In other words, can advertisers get their money's worth by promoting their products on Facebook. At this point, that's still an unproven formula, but at this point, I'd have to say that advertisers seem to be giving them the benefit of the doubt, because we're seeing some positive numbers today, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, they are trading at around $28. It's down from $38 at launch back in May. That is still, though, 70 times earnings, effectively. I remember a day back, I don't know, a decade ago when you wouldn't look at the price-to-earnings ratio of anything more than 12 on a company and say this is worth buying.

So, there's still some traction behind this stock. As you say, advertisers giving them the benefit of the doubt, to a certain extent. They bought, though, Dan, a company called Zynga, a games company, when they -- around about the time that they launched on the market. How is that going?

SIMON: Well, Zynga is a very popular social gaming platform, and they derive nearly all of their revenue from having their games played by Facebook users. Zynga yesterday released its quarterly earnings, and the results were dismal.

And Facebook derives about 15 percent of its income from Zynga. Obviously, the majority of its revenue comes from advertising. Now, in terms of Zynga, it's bad news. They have to figure out A, how they can do better without relying totally on Facebook. And Facebook has to figure out, OK, if people are playing less Zynga games, how do we make up for some of the lost revenue?

It's a relationship that is very closely aligned between those two companies, and there's an open question in terms of whether or not these games that a lot of people continue to play on Facebook are a fad. Will people be playing them in the future, and I don't think anybody at this point can answer that, Becky.

ANDERSON: With the stock up some 30 percent since launch, there are still questions around whether Facebook will be successful going forward, evidently, from investors, but tonight, their earnings up some 32 percent in their first quarterly report. Dan, we thank you for that. Dan Simon out of San Francisco for you this evening here on CNN.

Well, Mitt Romney's been forced into an embarrassing backtrack during his relationship-building visit to London. Just hours before he was due to meet the British prime minister, he voiced concerns over preparations for London 2012 which, of course, is less than a day away now. Jim Acosta has been following today's events.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There was no Olympic swimming pool in sight, but Mitt Romney was making waves here in London with some comments that he made about this city's preparations for the Olympic Games.

In an interview with NBC, Romney talked about some of the problems this city has encountered in preparing for the Games, calling those problems, in his words, "disconcerting." And he also added that he wasn't sure how the Games would turn out here.

Well, the prime minister here in this country, David Cameron, took issue with those comments. Talking to reporters earlier this morning at an Olympic venue, he said that London would do just fine putting on the Games.

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.

ACOSTA: After his meeting with the prime minister, Romney came out and talked to reporters, where he walked back his earlier remarks. Here's what he had to say.

MITT ROMNEY (R), US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My experience as an Olympic organizer is that there are always a few very small things that end up going not quite right in the first day or so. Those get ironed out.

And then, when the Games themselves begin and the athletes take over, all the mistakes that the organizing committee -- and I made a few -- all of those are overwhelmed by the many things that the athletes carry out that capture the spirit of the Games.

ACOSTA: Earlier in the day, British officials did praise Romney for his handling of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, and Romney did mention to those British officials that he plans to attend at least one Olympics event. Hopefully, he said, some of the swimming competitions that are going on here.

But he won't be in London for much longer. After that, he is then off to Israel, and then Poland to complete his overseas tour.

Jim Acosta, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: All right. So, what impact might his comments, then, have on that much talked about "special relationship" between the UK and the US, and what else does he expect to achieve on this, his first foreign visit, as it were, since he's been the presumptive presidential nominee.

I'm joined now from New York by renowned historian and biographer Andrew Roberts. Your response to what Romney said first and foremost in criticizing the London 2012 Games, and I'd like your response to the fairly barbed retort, as it were, from David Cameron.

ANDREW ROBERTS, HISTORIAN: Yes, it was probably a throwaway line, but actually, everybody's talking about that in London. I don't think that Mr. Romney was saying anything that was going to shock or surprise anybody genuinely, because of course it has been a bit of a problem, the security aspects.

But frankly, compared to the things that they did talk about, the really important things that Mr. Romney listed: Syria, Iran, Libya, these massive issues facing the Anglo-American alliance today, I don't think the security of the Olympics is hugely -- unless something goes wrong, obviously -- hugely important.

ANDERSON: Another bit of a -- problem for Romney, let's put it that way, today. A quote off the record from one of his aids went like this, and I'm going to bring it up for our viewers. It was reported in the "Daily Telegraph" today and commented on by an opinion writer called Jon Swaine.

One of his aids talked about the "Anglo-Saxon heritage" that he believes that Romney and his organization has, and he said, "It feels that the special relationship is special," and they suggested that the White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history that this aid said "we have," that being the US and the UK.

Now, that was rebutted after Jon Swaine in the "Telegraph" suggested that could be actually taken as racist against Barack Obama. The rebuttal went, "It's not true. If anyone said that, they weren't reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign." Where does he see the UK's relationship with the US, do you think?

ROBERTS: Oh, Mitt Romney is a fantastic supporter of the special relationship. I think possibly what that anonymous briefer was actually meaning was the English-speaking peoples rather than the Anglo-Saxon race. Nobody talks about the Anglo-Saxon race any longer.

The English-speaking peoples, on the other hand, which of course include the West Indies and Ireland and all sorts of other countries, of course, Australia, and Canada, New Zealand as well as Britain and America, it really is -- the Anglo-sphere really is a serious and significant political force in the world. So, I think that that was probably just a misspeak.

ANDERSON: Well, yes, but it didn't go down well at all, and perhaps understandably. All right, let's compare where we see Romney today with where we saw the presumptive candidate back in 2008, that being Barack Obama, and reminding our viewers where we saw President Obama, at a big speech in Berlin before he became president.

He really sold himself, Andrew, to the international crowd with a tour, as it were, of international countries outside of -- outside of the States. Do you see Romney having the same impact on this tour? To the UK, he's in Poland, and in Israel. He's chosen those countries, specifically, hasn't he? But just what sort of impression do think he's going to make?

ROBERTS: Well, I certainly don't think he was trying to do the kind of thing that President Obama was attempting to do, which obviously was, in effect, a reflection on his -- the fact that he was the first African- American president or was about to be. That was an amazing thing.

Of course he was, therefore, going to be able to get tens of thousands. Indeed, I think in Berlin, hundreds of thousands of people out to come and support him. And he basically said that America was going to be a completely different country and that America -- anti-Americanism was no longer necessary.

Now, whether or not that has actually been seen through in the last three or four years is very much open to question. What Mr. Romney's trying to do is to support the special relationship, which he's done very effectively, I think.

His advisers are more pro-British than any advisers that we've had in recent years. One of them went to -- the close foreign policy advisers, one of them went to Cambridge University in England, another's got a house in England, another worked for Margaret Thatcher. These people are very pro-British. So, he'll have established that.

Then, he's going on to Israel and, of course, in a sense, I noticed the "Wall Street Journal" today saying that he was looking for votes in Florida in Jerusalem. And that makes sense, of course, within the American process.

And the Poland, and Poland is pretty much the closest ally of America except for the United Kingdom in the whole of Europe.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. We'll have more from you as we move towards those elections in November. Sir, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

And some news just coming in on the Olympic football, let's keep you bang-up-to-date with what's going on. Team GB, of course, playing Senegal up at Old Trafford as we speak, and that's the home crowd. Well, not much to cheer about, I'm afraid, because Senegal have just equalized.

Good for Senegal, but for those on home turf, here, obviously, we are supporting Great Britain. So, I'm being partisan here. But one-all, sounds like a good game. The football, of course, has kicked off ahead of the Opening Ceremony, which is less than a day away, now, 9:00 London time tomorrow evening.

All right. Coming up after the break, we're going to hear some real- life advice on how to reach the top and stay there. Two Leading Women share their secrets to success. That's coming up after this.


ANDERSON: Time for our weekly Leading Women series for you. This month, we're following the CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat. They may have very different careers, but they share a philosophy for success. Have a look at this.


FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ester Levanon had been a groundbreaker almost her whole life. Aside from being the first female CEO of TASE, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, she was one of few women to major in mathematics at Hebrew University.

And she helped convince the largely skeptical Israeli Security Service that it needed to adopt new technology in the 1970s. She went on to lead the Services' IT department.

ESTER LEVANON, CEO, TEL AVIV STOCK EXCHANGE: The Israeli Security Service was managed only by men. I was the first woman manager in their history. Whenever I walked into a room to have a meeting, it usually was only men and me.

TAYLOR: At the Security Service, she had to make her first difficult management decision, telling someone they weren't right for her department. It's a memory that sticks with her 35 years later.

LEVANON: It was so difficult to know that I made a decisions, it's right for the organization, but I'm influencing someone's life and actually pushing someone to go and look for another job. So, that was really a very difficult moment.

TAYLOR: Another difficult moment: when she finally accomplished her goal of becoming CEO of TASE, her mother was too ill with Alzheimer's to share her news.

LEVANON: My mother encouraged me all my life. She told me I could do whatever I liked. And at the moment that I wanted to show here that's what happened, I wasn't able to do it, and that was a pity for me. It was a very sad moment for me, in a way.

TAYLOR: For all of her firsts, Levanon is resistant to the concept of being a role model. Instead, she offers this advice.

LEVANON: It's very simple. Be yourself, do what you want to do, don't do what you think others expect from you or what the society expects for you. Just go and do what you believe in. That's true for men, it's true for women, it's true for everyone.

ANDERSON (voice-over): I'm Becky Anderson. That sentiment of doing what you believe in continues with chocolatier Katrina Markoff, who decided to go to cooking school right after she graduated college with a double major in psychology and chemistry.

KATRINA MARKOFF, FOUNDER/CEO, VOSGES HAUT-CHOCOLAT: I think it's so important to find your own individual voice. I think people respect it so much. People are very attracted to people that are passionate in their own way, that speak their mind.

I just think it's important to remember that you have the sort of guiding light within yourself and to always go to that as your sounding board and as your voice of truth.

ANDERSON: Markoff wasn't always clear on her voice, though. Luckily, her mother let her jump from passion to passion.

MARKOFF: I wanted to be a mechanic, I wanted to be a ballerina, I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to be a truck driver. I had all these wants, and I would go home, and I would say, "Mom, I really want to be a mechanic. I love working on the bike's in my dad's garage."

She'd be like, "Great. What is the best school for you to go to?" And so, she would never be like, "You can't -- you don't want to be a mechanic. You don't want to be a truck driver." She would never say that.

ANDERSON: What Markoff finally came around to was making chocolate. She founded the gourmet Vosges Haut-Chocolat in 1998, and just this year began a more mass-produced line called Wild Ophelia. Her success is a testimony to pursuing what you love, and she uses her experience as advice for budding entrepreneurs.

MARKOFF: Really following that gut instinct is so critical, and it has to be passionate, and it has to be smart. You have to know that there is a niche in what you're doing. You can't copycat. That never works. You have to have your little niche and carve it out, and then follow it with all your heart. And success will come to you.

ANDERSON: Markoff's niche is chocolates that are whimsical, with unexpected flavor combinations that, as she puts it, tell a story. And she's taken inspiration from another company founder with a distinct vision: Steve Jobs.

MARKOFF: I think it's really cool how he focused so much on beauty in his product. They're just beautiful and sleek and why wouldn't you want to have it? That's right! I want it!

ANDERSON: With a company netting $30 million last year, that's a lesson she's taken straight to the bank.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNEC THE WORLD here on CNN. When we come back, battling her way into the Olympics -- well, not quite. A duchess gets sporty, up next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's them! I love it, I love London! Yes!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come home! We had such a great time getting up super early and seeing the torch


ANDERSON: Oh, I don't know, everybody's gone giddy. Perhaps it was too much sun, or perhaps the Olympic spirit is truly amongst us Brits. Whatever it was, not even the royals could hide their excitement today as the torch -- the Olympic torch visited Buckingham Palace on a tour of London's best-known landmarks on what was the penultimate day of the Olympic torch relay.

Welcome back. Let's just get you some -- the latest that's going on, because we do know that the football has just come to an end up at Old Trafford, the football just starting off -- kicking off before the Opening Ceremony, of course, in the past couple of days. Team GB and Senegal, one- all in the very latest from the event.

Well, Britain's most iconic landmark is set to ring in the opening day of the Olympics. Big Ben will chime more than 40 times tomorrow morning, and it won't be the only bell you'll hear. As I discovered, we're all being invited to join in.


ANDERSON (voice-over): In Britain, you don't have to go very far to hear this --


ANDERSON: Bells of all types have long rung out across the country, and now the cacophony is about to get louder.

Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed is inviting everyone to chime in and herald the opening day of the Olympic Games.

MARTIN CREED, CREATOR, "ALL THE BELLS RINGING": The idea is that the piece will be played at 12 minutes past 8:00 AM on Friday the 27th of July. And the idea is to play the bells as loudly and as quickly as possible for three minutes.

ANDERSON: Big bells. Little bells. And even a more modern form of the tradition will do.


ANDERSON: Thousands across the UK will be taking part in the project known as "All the Bells" in what the artist hopes will be a history-making collaboration.

CREED: Could be a brilliant sound, if wherever you are in Britain, you could hear that. Even if you're on a country road, you'd hear your local church that might be some miles away.

Or, if you're in a town or city, you'd hear -- you might hear, I don't know -- you might hear the doorbell from a next-door neighbor, something like that. Aye. I think that that's my idea of it as a kind of all-over- the-place piece of music.


ANDERSON: 8:12 tomorrow morning London time, you can join in then.

In tonight's Parting Shots, just enough time to show you Prince Harry shooting some hoops. His sister-in-law, Catherine, faring slightly better in this ropey old shot. She was -- well, actually she wasn't very good at all. She was on the table tennis table, but she was unable to bat away the competition.

They were all getting into the spirit of things, the swing of things with just a day to go to that Opening Ceremony.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. World news headlines next.