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CONNECT THE WORLD
OIC Meets To Decide Syria's Fate Within Organization; Italian Player Racially Abused By His Own Fans
Aired August 14, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: And tonight on Connect the World, taking sides over Syria with Saudia Arabia and Iran set for a diplomatic showdown, we take a look at the potential regional consequences of Syria's collapse.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
FOSTER: Plus, sneaking through Syria's danger zone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: They say get down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: A behind the scenes report on how CNN made it to Aleppo and back.
Also tonight, details of a high tech plane that could take you from London to New York in 60 minutes traveling faster than the speed of sound.
And the director of the hit film City of God talks to us about Rio '16.
First tonight, a top government defector from Syria says the regime is collapsing, but the government appears more determined than ever to keep up the fight.
Opposition activists say at least 70 people were killed across Syria today. Clashes are escalating in Aleppo, the country's biggest city, and security forces are reportedly raiding Damascus neighborhoods for a second straight day.
Former prime minister Riyad Hijab calls the regime brutal and corrupt and predicts many more officials will soon join the revolution. He made his first public appearance today since defecting to Jordan last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIYAD HIJAB, FORMER SYRIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I can confirm to you given my experience and the position I had, that the regime's morale, economy, and military has completely collapsed and is only in control of no more than 30 percent of Syrian lands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Many western ranks broke ranks with Bashar al-Assad's regime months ago. Now, dozens of Muslim states appear ready to suspend Syria from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation with at least one notable exception.
Our Nic Robertson is covering the emergency summit for us in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
So Nic, where do we stand with the suspension?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the foreign ministers gathered yesterday. They agreed to propose this to the heads of state who have been beginning their meeting within the last hour. And so this is a proposal their faced to expel or suspend at least Syria from these 57 states that make up the Islamic -- the organization of Islamic cooperation. They represent a staggeringly large number of people, 1.5 billion people is the largest group of body -- international body, if you will, outside of the United Nations. So it's no small organization.
However, it is very likely that the heads of state will agree with the suspension of Syria. But despite its size and despite the fact Iran may be one of the only lone voices opposing this, will it have an impact in Syria? It seems unlikely, because really it's going to take Bashar al-Assad to take this suspension as being the most important thing that's happened so far and say, OK, I'm going to change. And that seems very, very unlikely. And I don't think anyone in this conference here expects that.
What it's want to do, though, is to find unity where they can, because they want to stop the potential for an escalation across the region of the conflict. And also they want to do something about the humanitarian situation in Syria, too, Max.
FOSTER: Well, Nic, we're going to remind our viewers at this point of the sectarian breakdown of the region to help explain who is supporting the regime and why. And Syria is a majority Sunni Muslim country and that's been ruled by decades by an offshoot of Shia Islam. Now if the regime were to collapse, Sunnis would gain control. And that's the prospect for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all Sunni majority nations that are actively supporting the Syrian Rebels.
On the other side of the divide, Shia dominated Iran and Iraq. And they support the Syrian regime as does Iranian backed Hezbollah over there in Lebanon.
Now if this doesn't even factor in to a sizable Kurdish majority, and their numbers stretch from eastern Turkey, across northern Syria and Iraq all the way to northwestern Iran.
Syria -- and Syria severely restricts access to foreign journalists, but even if we can get inside the country it's difficult and dangerous to get around, especially in war zones a lot like Aleppo. We're going to speak to Ben Wedeman in a moment who was recently there and showed what it takes, but Nic, in terms of this makeup and the politics of the Middle East. What we're talking about here is a Middle Eastern story, isn't it, it's just not a Syrian story. And it's going to have a huge impact on Middle Eastern politics.
ROBERTSON: It is. I mean, the story inside Syria is a sectarian story. It's not just -- it's not just sectarian, there's of course a social dynamic too, the sort of haves and the havenots. There are plenty of Assad's Alawites who have been poor and have got nothing from this war, probably, only grief now.
But the way this is viewed more broadly in the region and certainly from a Saudi and a Gulf perspective they look at the gains that Iran has made and Iraq in the last decade since the U.S. invasion began almost 10 years ago. And they're concerned that Iran is going to exert its influence now not just through Iraq, which is on the northern border of Saudi Arabia, but all the way through Syria and then all the way into the Hezbollah, their proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and that's something these Sunni country's in the long-term don't want to see. They don't want to see an expansion of this, what they would see a -- the old Persian empire.
Turkey, as well, a Sunni nation, again it has strong ties with Iran. But there are some fundamentals here and an expansion of Iranian influence at a time when they're flexing their muscles, potentially gaining nuclear weapons, they're under severe economic sanctions that are hurting them right now.
So there are many, many issues that play for all the states here. So it is high stakes. But it is -- these tensions go beyond a border of Syria, so it's easy to see how an escalation in Syria, if agreements can't be made here and understandings can't be made here, an escalation in Syria can play out and inflame those tensions that already exist and the embers of which have been glowing stronger increasingly over the past decade, Max.
FOSTER: OK, Nic in Jeddah, thank you very much indeed.
And from Jeddah we're going to cross now into Syria and Aleppo where Ben Wedeman, as I was saying, has been reporting. He shows what it takes to bring you the news from there.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. We're going into Aleppo in this very roundabout route. So we had two cars going to Aleppo, but the other car apparently got bad -- bad (inaudible) and therefore it's kaput. It's not going to make it. So now we're six people crammed into this little van.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...right here.
WEDEMAN: They are literally just a few meters from our destination here in Aleppo.
Run out of gas.
We're pushing it up a hill. I don't know where we're going to get any petrol.
All right, we made it. We left our safe house at 11:00 in the morning. And it's 10 minutes past 10:00 at night. And we finally made it to Aleppo.
All right, we're now going in the direction of Salaheddin, which of course all the fighting is taking place. What we're going to do is go to the Mush Hud (ph) neighborhood which is adjacent to Salaheddin. There we'll get out and make our way slowly and cautiously toward Salaheddin, which the rebels say they've largely retaken. But, you know, if you have to take everything they say -- everyone says with a great big sack of salt.
He's saying at the intersection go faster.
OK, we're going through an intersection where he says to drive fast. So, time to get on the gear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your foot down, mate.
WEDEMAN: We're just going through this intersection. OK, now we're good, we're good. It was just that road here.
OK, he's saying here there's a sniper that's shooting.
OK, he's saying you want to go back and drive fast through the intersection, because there's a sniper. He said, get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a sniper.
WEDEMAN: Get down. Get down. Get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, mate.
WEDEMAN: That's all right. You're fine.
Come down, just get down.
OK, even if it's uncomfortable, just get down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you going to do this?
WEDEMAN: All right. OK. We made it. Past that one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see some of this (inaudible)
WEDEMAN: OK. Well, maybe now is a good time to get out, get our bearings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, OK.
WEDEMAN: Well, what are you doing Kareem (ph)? OK, he's going to take us between the buildings, probably we'll park the car there and -- allahu akbar.
I met Hanadi (ph) who insists she and her family of six will not leave.
I ask her where the front line is, but she brushes off the question saying she's become accustomed to the shelling
I ask her where the front line is. But she brushes off the question saying she's become accustomed to the shelling.
Her son, one-and-a-half year old Abdel Renni (ph) seems confused and squeezes my hand tightly.
A two minute walk down the street, an apartment building was hit in an air strike.
This building, or rather what's left of this building which really isn't much, is in an area where civilians are still living. And of course among the ruins we found a French book and somebody is studying English, the life of William Shakespeare.
Residents say two bodies remain buried inside.
Here's the somewhat absurd nature of this situation. Here we are, we came in this door just because there were air raids going on in the neighborhood. We came inside. This nice gentlemen first gave us water, then gave us juice, and now gave us tea. Now we're staying inside, because they're shooting up the street, but the hospitality does not stop when the fighting goes on.
We're leaving Aleppo for the second time. We're taking a route that we're hoping will get us to our safe house faster, but it looks like the route we were going to take they're saying -- they're saying don't go that way.
We're hearing some shooting in the distance and some boom booms.
OK, all right. Plan B -- plan A has quickly melted into plan B. And now we don't know where we're going. OK, now we're going on to plan C. And it looks like...
(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
OK, we was saying it's a nisami (ph). Nisam (ph) means two things -- system, normal or regime. So we thought we were driving through a regime area. Plans A, B, and C melted, evaporated. We're shot at by snipers. So now we're going back to plan D, which is the long way out of here, which takes hours. However, it is relatively safe.
No way it's really safe, but anyway we'll cross our fingers.
FOSTER: Ben Wedeman.
Still to come tonight, Richard Quest explains a British bank's agreement to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to a U.S. financial regulator of alleged dealings with Iran.
And Olympic fever keeps on coming as the athletes head home to the welcome and congratulations celebrations.
And Breaking the speed of sound six times over, the jet that could be taking us from London to New York in less than an hour. All that and much more when Connect the World continues.
FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster, welcome back to you.
Now Standard Chartered has agreed a settlement with New York regulators over the firm's alleged dealings with Iran. The State Department of -- the States department of financial services will receive $340 million from Standard Chartered and would also monitor the banks dealings. It comes a day before the Standard Chartered CEO peter Sands was due to face hearings from regulators. Richard Quest explains.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Having been accused of washing $250 billion or so for the Iranians, Standard Chartered denied it and said there was only $14 million of bad deals. Well, what the statement says tonight is the parties have agreed the conduct did involve transactions of at least $250 billion. In other words, the regulator was right, or at least appears to be right, when he said that they were at this left, right and center.
FOSTER: So the admission of guilt, that a huge amount of money was washed through.
QUEST: There is no other way of reading it. Until we know more details, until we know -- the fact that they put that one sentence in tells me that Lowski -- he's an ambitious new regulator in a new department that had gone out on a limb against the feds and everybody else by getting there first.
The fact that he is able to say -- well actually I was right, it is $250 billion, and they are paying $340 million in a fine, and there will be monitoring, and they will have to restructure, chalk one up to Lowski.
FOSTER: So a settlement of $340 million. Fair?
QUEST: That, I can't say. Put it into context. LIBOR, Barclays $450 million, $450 million. You take HSBC has put $700 million aside for potential claims for its money laundering. $340 -- they paid it to get out, but this may not be the end. There are other regulators.
FOSTER: In other countries?
QUEST: Other regulators -- but particularly the feds. The feds and other regulators in the U.S. -- you know, Peter Sands, CEO of Standard Chartered, don't put your checkbook away just yet.
FOSTER: Here's a look at some other stories we're connecting our world with tonight. Afghanistan has been shaken by its bloodiest day so far this year. 41 people are dead after a series of attacks around the country on Tuesday. Police say 27 people killed when a suicide bomb went off in the southwestern province of Nimruz (ph) and in the northeast Kenduz (ph) province. A motorcycle bomb in a crowded market killed at least 10 people and injured 28 others including children.
GDP numbers show the EuroZone economy is contracting again. It shrank .2 percent in the second quarter of this year. That's on top of zero growth in the first three months. Germany managed to beat the trend by having its economy grow .3 percent in the months from April to June.
And the EuroZone is not technically in a recession, but observers say their outlook is not good as both sovereign debt and interest rates continue to rise.
Violent riots in Amien in France have left police wounded and caused millions of dollars worth of damage to local buildings. 17 officers were hurt on Monday when around 100 young people used fireworks and projectiles against them. That followed clashes reported in the same area on Sunday night.
This video shows some of the damage, including burned out cars and the charred remains of a sports center.
A supersonic jet that could travel from London to New York within an hour is being tested by the U.S. military on Tuesday. The X-51A WaveRider is designed to reach speeds of 4,500 miles an hour, that's more than five times the speed of sound. The jet is part of the Pentagon's studies into hypersonic flight and its expected to fly over the Pacific Ocean for five minutes before breaking into the pieces. We'll have more on this story for you later on in the show.
We're going to take you to a short break at this point, but when we come back, this man once called himself the Special One and the nickname caught on. Well, he's got a new proposal for us with the same old ego. That's just ahead.
FOSTER: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.
Now racism in football is nothing new, but the reactions of a black player to being racially abused by his own fans in an Italian Cup match is bringing the issue very much to the forefront. Don Riddell joins us now from CNN Center with the latest on this incident.
And you better explain this one, Don.
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's very sad, very sad fact of life that ethnic minorities, Max, are occasionally subjected to racist abuse and insults. As you say, it's not uncommon in football, that doesn't mean it's acceptable. But it's not uncommon to be abused by opposing fans in a football stadium, but by fans of your own team, well that really is very, very unusual. But it happened in Italy during a cup game on Sunday between Varese and Ponte San Pietro.
And this is the Nigerian born striker Julio Asariman Ebagua (ph). He had been subjected to monkey chants and abuse by his own supporters throughout the game. And this is how he dealt with it towards the end of the match when he scored a goal. He confronted of some of those fans. He made his feelings absolutely clear. Some of those fans were then offended by his gesture and so they left the stadium. Max, I'm pleased to say there were some decent human beings inside the stadium and they applauded the player for his action.
Now here's one of the biggest problems with this, the ultras, these are the hardcore football supporters in Italy. And they're really important to the team, so immediately after that the team's management actually came out and apologized to the ultras for his behavior and suggested that perhaps the player should face some kind of sanction for his behavior.
And this really has brought the ultras into the forefront with regards to racism in Italy. The Italian football journalist said until the ultras are held responsible for their actions this kind of problem will continue. This is what Tancredi Palmeri had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TANCREDI PALMERI, ITALIAN FOOTBALL JOURNALIST: Here in England, if someone is tweeting some abuse that could be to Fabrice Mwamba (ph) or to Tom Daley for example as we saw after his competition, what is happening? There is a consequence, police is going there, his warning something like that. As long as these ultras, for example, that were yesterday will not receive, will not pay any consequence for their action is not only a cultural problem, it's a problem of safety, so a problem of public order.
I mean, if there is not the police, if there is not the action of the institutions, people will all be free to do these things, because they know they will not pay any price for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: There you go. A very sorry state of affairs in Italian football, Max.
Many Italian football fans still find it difficult that one of their teams star players Mario Balotelli is black.
FOSTER: And we're going to stay with football, Don. And we're going to talk about Jose Mourinho. He's got a pretty strong ego. He thinks quite a lot of himself. But he's taken it to a new level I gather.
RIDDELL: A strong ego. He's the ego in professional football around the world.
You may remember, Max, when he arrived in London a few years ago when he signed for Chelsea he referred to himself as special and the nickname The Special One caught on.
Well, he was asked by a Portuguese television station recently what he thought of that nickname. And he said, well, you know if you look at it I'm the only manager to have won league titles in three of the top four countries in Europe which is Italy, Spain and England. And since I'm the only one that's done that, perhaps I should be known as the Only One. We'll see if that catches on.
FOSTER: Love it. He's always a character, isn't he?
Thank you very much indeed, Don. Join Don for world sport in around an hour from now.
Still to come on Connect the World, though, the jet that could make long distance relationships something of the past. We'll look at the hypersonic aircraft being tested by the U.S. military.
And from City of God to Olympic host nation, we meet the man behind the film that helped secure the 2016 Olympic bid.
FOSTER: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Max Foster, these are the latest world headlines from CNN.
Syrian opposition activists say at least 70 people were killed across the country today, including ten children. This amateur video appears to show fierce gun battles in Aleppo, the commercial heart of Syria.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation appears ready to suspend Syria over objections of Iran. Now, foreign ministers of the 57 member states have already approved the move, and the -- an official vote is expected soon at a summit in Saudi Arabia.
Violence has claimed dozens of lives today across Afghanistan. Attacks in three provinces killed more than 40 people, injured more than 100. The Taliban are claiming responsibility for the most deadly attack. A top NATO commander has called on the Taliban's leader to, quote, "rein- in" his murderers.
British bank Standard Chartered has agreed to a deal with the United States Department of Financial Services over alleged transactions with Iran. The regulator will receive $340 million from the bank and will also monitor its dealings.
Now, imagine flying from London to New York in less than an hour? If that sounds like the stuff of science fiction, think again, because today, the Pentagon is testing a hypersonic jet above the Pacific Ocean. The aircraft will attempt to travel at mach 6 speed. That's 4,500 miles an hour.
Let's bring in CNN's Pentagon Correspondent, Chris Lawrence, for more detail. You'll have to explain this one, Chris, because it sounds extraordinary.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It does, Max. If anybody has memories of the old Concord, this sort of would take it to the next level. Imagine flying from Heathrow to JFK in under an hour. Flying from Paris to Tokyo in under two hours.
That's what hypersonic flight would allow us to do. It's mach 6. It's -- that's what they're testing today, about 4,500 miles per hour. But -- you knew there was going to be a but -- this aircraft has no pilot, much less any room for cargo. And if it stays up for about five minutes, the US Air Force will consider that a very big success.
So, we are talking about the first baby steps of this type of technology, nowhere near all of us buying our boarding passes, Max.
FOSTER: What's happening today? Are there any detail on when and how we may find out the details of it?
LAWRENCE: Yes, they have tested this WaveRider before. It's maximum -- the time that they've been to keep it up is about two, two and a half minutes. So, if they made it to five today, that would be a big jump.
They are currently looking at what happened. We hope to get an update probably in the next couple hours here after they run some tests, do the calculations. What this really is doing, though, from the Pentagon side is giving it more of a global reach.
Right now, the only thing really in the Pentagon's arsenal that can go that fast has a nuclear warhead attached to it with a lot of ramifications. What this would do would be a non-nuclear way to sort of extend the Pentagon's reach around the world, sort of shrinking the world, so to speak, for military planners.
FOSTER: OK, Chris, thank you very much, indeed. It's fascinating stuff. We'll come back to you, of course, when we have more details of it. But we want to break down just how fast a hypersonic jet can actually travel.
The aircraft is expected to fly at the science-fiction-like speed of 4,500 miles an hour. That's six times the speed of sound. And a person traveling that fast could get on a flight from London, as we've been talking about, in New York within an hour, and then fly from there to Los Angeles within 45 minutes.
In comparison, the Concord used to take three hours to get from London to New York. And the military could also use hypersonic missiles to hit targets across the world within an hour, giving adversaries no time to act.
Could such a jet ever be used in commercial flights, though? Will long-distance relationships soon be a problem of the past? Well, with me to discuss these questions is Paul Bruce. He's an aerodynamics expert at Imperial College here in London.
And Paul, the question is how close we are to this technology being put into an aircraft as we know it. What are your thoughts on that?
PAUL BRUCE, AERODYNAMICS EXPERT, IMPERIAL COLLEGE: For an aircraft as we know it -- so, carrying passengers long distances at high speed -- I think we're definitely still taking baby steps. So, I think decades rather than years.
FOSTER: When we talk about mach 5 or mach 6, how easy is it for a person to travel at that speed?
BRUCE: Certainly we can cope with it. So, any aircraft would be -- I think the aim would be to bring it into the sort of realm of what we're used to traveling already. So, you get on a plane in a pressurized cabin, take off from a runway, and accelerate for a lot longer. But not necessarily the same sort of levels of physical endurance as an astronaut would see.
FOSTER: And in terms of aerodynamics, what are the big challenges there? What has this aircraft got to withstand?
BRUCE: So, when we start talking about traveling at hypersonic speeds -- so, five or six times the speed of sound or getting on for that, as this aircraft is designed for -- the big challenges are heat management and propulsion. So, we understand the flow physics fairly well. That's leaving a lot of -- a lot of room for maneuver, I think. But --
FOSTER: For the materials involved?
BRUCE: For the -- other challenge. The materials are a big challenge and propulsion is a huge challenge. So, actually generating power at very high speed is quite hard.
FOSTER: And what sort of materials would be able to withstand the pressure?
BRUCE: Very advanced alloys, carbon -- composites and ceramics and sort of the things that people are considering using.
FOSTER: And are the there yet?
BRUCE: I think technologically, yes. The question is moving away from science and towards the engineering and making it happen.
FOSTER: And in terms of propulsion, what's the challenge there, then?
BRUCE: Well, propulsion is -- we're very used to generating thrust and power at quite low speeds. We understand how to do that, and it's quite easy.
But when we start going faster and faster, there's a lot of kinetic energy involved, and if you try and -- apply some forces, combustion, some fuel, and generate thrust at very high speed, the temperatures involved can be extremely high. So, moving mechanical components like a turbine or a compressor in a normal engine are just out the window.
FOSTER: And just explain what's different about a jet engine from the sort of engine that we're talking about here. What is the technological difference?
BRUCE: So, jet engines work very well -- are designed to work quite well at fairly low speed. So, the air coming in the front doesn't have a lot of kinetic energy. And so you can press it, put some fuel in, you burn it, and there's all the energy's released, that comes out as a relatively fast exhaust. That's the sort of conventional jet or turbo jet or turbo fan.
When we start talking about the speed mach 5, mach 6, like the WaveRider we're talking about, we need something called a scramjet, which is a supersonic combustion ramjet. So, rather than using moving mechanical parts to speed up -- to compress the flow, we instead -- we use the kinetic energy that the air has.
So, if you're traveling at mach 5, the air that's coming in the front is going so fast that just by slowing it down, the pressure and temperature go up to high enough and the numbers you need to burn fuel in there.
FOSTER: It's clear that this is a possibility in the future, isn't it, now? People are looking at this as a possibility. So, realistically, when might we be traveling in an aircraft like this?
BRUCE: So, as we've said, the starting point here is really the military-driven, so NASA and the US Air Force are really probably the world leaders in this And the development cost of these aircraft mean that it's going to be a long time before the technology filters through.
FOSTER: Years? Decades?
BRUCE: I think decades. I think we've got to say -- I'd like to say definitely within our lifetime.
FOSTER: Are we going to see it? We are going to see it.
BRUCE: Yes. I think we're going to see it. I think the scale of it -- think something along the lines of Concord. I think if the market's there, I think the technology will appear.
FOSTER: Paul Bruce, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Imperial.
Up next, she's helped turn around some of the world's biggest brands and reckons it's time for women to follow in her footsteps. We introduce you to an advertising guru, Mercedes Erra.
FOSTER: Now, this week's Leading Woman is a powerhouse in the advertising world and an outspoken advocate for women's rights, too. As the founder of one of the biggest agencies in France, Mercedes Erra is credited with transforming some of the globe's most iconic brands. Here's Kristie Lu Stout.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paris. Almost a brand in itself as the most romantic and fashionable place on Earth. No wonder some of the best brains in global advertising call it home, including Mercedes Erra.
MERCEDES ERRA, FOUNDER, BETC EURO RSCG: When I have one idea with one business, I am sure.
STOUT: Among her many titles, co-founder of BETC, the flagship agency for one of the largest advertising groups in France. The companies she leads work with more than 80 of the 100 largest advertisers, including Coca-Cola, IBM, Volvo, and Disney.
ERRA: I know I have a talent for this work.
STOUT: She is confident.
ERRA: Just normal woman can achieve big jobs, exactly as a man.
STOUT: And wants more women in executive roles in advertising. Executive, mother of five, wife to a stay-at-home husband, meet Mercedes Erra.
Among the bistros and boutiques, the St. James club is a small haven for Mercedes Erra. Favorite spot for a meeting to a staff and client. She is a whirlwind of activity.
ERRA: The job's the most difficult is the chance to be my assistant, because they have to say "Stop! It's impossible! We cannot finish at 12:00 tonight!"
STOUT: As the "E" in BETC, Mercedes Erra runs an equal-opportunity office with a strict code of excellence. Her trademark platinum blonde hair and intense drive arise the queen of brand strategy in an otherwise male-dominated industry in France.
ERRA: The job is a feminine job, but the board is a masculine board. And I think here, it's not a masculine or feminine board. It's about man and woman together, and it changed the way we invent the agency.
BERTILLE TOLEDANO, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, BETC EURO RSCG: She fights for everything. She fights to be accepted, because it was a male agency and it was something like male power. And she happened to make it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Castle burning. We like that. Everybody screaming. A lot of blood. Boom! Explosion!
TOLEDANO: She looks at the brands that she's managing. These brands have gained so much value in such a difficult time.
(TELEVISION AD IN FRENCH)
STOUT: Erra is credited with rejuvenating Evian. Her agency created the ad spot "Rollerbabies" for the bottled water giants. It made the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 as the most watched/read commercial.
She's a master of reinventing brands. With her team, the focus on diversity for McDonald's, and a romantic vision for Air France.
ERRA: Sometimes, to be blunt, we cannot do that.
STOUT: On this day, Erra and her staff are preparing an advertising pitch for Louis Vuitton. It has been a surprising professional journey.
ERRA: I never imagined I would work in advertising. I don't understand anything about trade, marketing. I feel so stupid.
STOUT: But once she started, Erra built her career on a simple principle -- being responsible -- starting at the agency Saatchi & Saatchi.
ERRA: When people want responsibility, you can have immediately many responsibilities because you are rare. Because people don't want many responsibilities. After 14 years, I am the general manager for the agency. But I don't do anything for this. I was responsible. And it's very simple.
STOUT: Erra became the first woman to be elected president of the French advertising agencies association and wants to change the face of power within her industry and beyond.
ERRA: I consider the politics of rights for women. If we change the relation we have with this kind of problem, I am sure the world will change.
STOUT: In the coming weeks, you'll find out more about Mercedes Erra from her brainstorming process to what her employees think of their confident leader.
ERRA: When I am right in the moment, OK. I am the boss. In the day you are looking for an idea, you have to find your client, and this family is very important.
FOSTER: And we will be hearing more from Mercedes Erra over the next few weeks. But if you can't wait that long, do head to our website to find out more about all of our Leading Women from across the globe. That's at cnn.com/leadingwomen.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, Rio 2016: how a city known for gangs and violence sold itself as the perfect Olympic venue.
FOSTER: Well, we're still full of Olympic fever here, and so are hundreds of cities across the world, actually, as their athletes arrive home. As Pedro Pinto reports, many of them are getting a hero's welcome.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Brazil to Beijing, South Korea to Santo Domingo, Olympic athletes returning home receive a hero's welcome all over the world.
Athletic super powers like Russia saw hundreds of fans, family, and friends turn out at Moscow's airport to welcome home the Olympic team.
ANA CHICHEROVA, GOLD MEDALIST, HIGH JUMP (through translator): It is very heartwarming to hear words of thanks, the joy in people's eyes, and realize you've managed to make lot of people happy, not just yourself. Knowing that you've upheld your country's sporting excellence is immensely inspiring.
PINTO: Russia hosts the next Winter Games in 2014 in Sochi. And in China, fans and athletes are already looking forward to upping their gain for the next Olympics after finishing runner-up to the US in numbers of medals amassed in London.
ZOU SHIMING, GOLD MEDALIST, LIGHT FLYWEIGHT BOXING (through translator): I think it's about perseverance. I've been in three Olympic Games and defended the crown to the end. That's perseverance. Moreover, one person's victory is not victory. You want the whole team to win.
PINTO: For countries with teams on the rise, like South Korea, finishing fifth on the gold medals table, their best performance yet, was cause for celebration.
Also in the Dominican Republic, it seems like everyone in the small Caribbean nation turns out to welcome home its Olympic hero. iReporter Misael Rincon captured the enthusiastic scenes in Santo Domingo.
And in Afghanistan, jubilant fans carried their bronze medalist in taekwondo on their shoulders upon his arrival at the airport. Rohullah Nikpai also won in Beijing in 2008 to become the war-torn country's first Olympic medal winner ever.
ROHULLAH NIKPAI, BRONZE MEDALIST, TAEKWONDO (through translator): Thank God that we managed to achieve a bronze medal at the Olympic Games. I'm glad that I succeeded in raising and introducing Afghanistan's flag once again on the world stage.
PINTO: Olympic medals fueling national pride for fans across the planet.
Pedro Pinto, CNN, London.
FOSTER: Meanwhile, the Olympic flag has arrived in the next host city, Rio de Janeiro. It was handed over to Rio's mayor at the closing ceremony of London 2012 on Sunday, and it marks the official start of the preparations for the 2016 Games. The flag is due to tour some of Rio's poorest neighborhoods on the way in.
Now, the past 18 months have seen police in Rio de Janeiro cracking down on violent crime in some of those neighborhoods we were talking about and ahead of both the Olympics and the football World Cup. So, how do you sell a city renowned for drug gangs and poverty-stricken favelas? Well, I spoke to the man behind the promotional video for Rio 2016, movie director Fernando Meirelles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifteen miles from paradise is a place called the City of God. A place where one man must infiltrate a war --
FOSTER (voice-over): This is the side of Rio that Fernando Meirelles is most famous for portraying, its violent slums shown here in the hit film "City of God." But Meirelles has gone from exploring Rio's gritty underbelly to selling a sweeter side of its soul. He created the video campaign to promote the city's Olympic bid.
FERNANDO MEIRELLES, FILM DIRECTOR: What we tried to sell to get the Olympics -- to win the competition was the warmth of the country. I mean, I think we shot like 11 videos, and most of them were to prove that Brazil was able to host the Olympics.
And the last two videos were very emotional. It was more about the mood. How -- showing how Brazilians love sports and how Rio is a prefect city for sports. We have good weather all the time. It shows we have in the city people running and screaming and rowing.
FOSTER: In four years' time, Rio will become the first South American city to host the Olympic Games. Meirelles says the Games will inspire young people on the continent and affirm its place on the world stage.
FOSTER (on camera): Well, just watching these videos, Brazil feels like a very different Olympics than China or the United Kingdom. So, do you think people going to the Olympics in Rio, for example, will have a very different experience? And how would you define it?
MEIRELLES: I think so. It's a very -- of course, it's a very different country. I think people who come here will have a very good time. And Rio is such a pleasant city.
I live in Sao Paulo, and whenever I go to Rio, it's unbelievable. In half an hour -- just a half an hour flight to Rio from Sao Paulo, and you feel it's different. The way people talk, the way people smile to you in the streets. It's really different. And I guess visitors will get that.
FOSTER (voice-over): London might have provided an historic backdrop, but Rio will make history in 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world will come together as never before when friends can unite.
FOSTER: What are you looking most forward to seeing in Rio and are you planning a trip to take in the atmosphere yourself? Well, the team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you. Just head to our facebook.com/CNNconnect page. Have your say. Or tweet us, actually, @CNNconnect.
Tonight in the Parting Shots, imagine putting your kids to bed, switching over to the news, and finding out you're suddenly one of the richest people in your country. Well, for one British couple, that's exactly what happened.
Adrian and Gillian Bayford won a record $232 million at the EuroMillions lottery on Friday. They now have a fortune that rivals Sir Tom Jones and Eric Clapton and are number 516 on Britain's rich list. They were the sole winners of the lottery jackpot, which had rolled over 14 times before it was won.
What would you do with that money, is the question so many are asking. Well, for the Bayfords' six-year-old daughter, the wish was clear. Have we earned enough money to go to Domino's Pizza? Fabulous.
I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching. The world headlines are up next after a short break.