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Julian Assange Granted Asylum; Robin Van Persie Sold To Manchester United

Aired August 16, 2012 - 16:00   ET


HALA GORANI, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World no easy way out. Ecuador opens its doors to Julian Assange, but Britain refuses to let the WikiLeaks founder leave.

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

GORANI: Tonight with Britain and Ecuador locked in a diplomatic tug of war we'll look at what options Julian Assange has left.

Also this hour, how Syria's civil war is spilling over, leaving its neighbor Lebanon fearing a return of sectarian conflict.

And we delve into the murky past of the woman at the center of one of China's biggest political scandals.

But first this hour, shot dead by their own police force, violence descends on a South African mine as a union dispute turns to chaos. We must warn you that the images we're about to show you may be disturbing, but we believe they're important to show as you can clearly see police officers opening fire on striking miners after they refused an order to disarm. Take a look.

All the violence caught on tape as you see police officers in full riot gear and body armor opening fire. The South African Press Association says one of its reporters counted 18 bodies. And you see them there on the ground surrounded by police.

Police have not confirmed the number of dead. CNN's Errol Barnett joins us now from Johannesburg with the very latest.

What more can you tell us Errol?

ERROL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, what you just witnessed was the culmination of a week long strike at the Marikana mine just northwest here in Johannesburg, and what's been months of dispute between two powerful unions here in South Africa. The footage you watched as well was broadcast almost live on E television, a major network here in South Africa as the country's eyes were really fixed to the building tension there at the mine.

Now some 3,000 police officers were called onto the mine to try and get to a resolution to this wage dispute, which is what caused all of this violence. There were a number of helicopters circling overhead. And as you see special riot police armed and ready.

Now why did -- why were the fires shot in the first place? It's unclear at this moment because the police force has yet to release an official statement. We are expecting a press conference Friday morning South Africa time, but according to witnesses some of the mine workers, most of them who are rock drill operators in this platinum mine, were armed with machetes and police allege possibly guns as well. So one scenario is that someone within the group of mine workers fired a shot and then the police responded in the manner that you just saw.

GORANI: Right. And the question is right now, none of these police officers took cover once they started shooting, which is an interesting detail I think needs to be highlighted. And the question is going to be they used overwhelming force. Were they being threatened, were their lives being threatened to justify that amount of overwhelming force that ended up in the deaths of at least 18 striking miners? That's the question tonight.

BARNETT: Yeah, undoubtedly the use of force will be in question, Hala. And we should also remind viewers that this week long strike has already resulted in 10 deaths on Monday, two of those deaths were police officers who according to reports were hacked to death by possibly the striking miners who were armed with machetes.

So now there's a real issue. Lonmin of course wants to get back to business and get production moving again. They've been closed for six days. Their share prices dropping. And they need to mine this platinum. But at the same time you've got two powerful unions who are trying to negotiate with Lonmin on increased wages. It's not clear where those discussions will move tomorrow either. Already, Hala, before we got to this deadly dispute, a government agency that deals with mediation of major organizations failed to come to a consensus.

So as it stands now, this dispute has claimed at least 28 lives with no clear resolution to the initial labor dispute. And now what is sure to be a police investigation into if this use of force was necessary.

GORANI: Well, and it's -- would be a surprise if anyone is in the mood for dialogue after all of this. But we'll continue to follow this story. Errol Barnett and our team on the ground, thanks very much.

Ecuador and the UK are locked in a standoff after Julian Assange was granted political asylum by the South American country. Supporters of the WikiLeaks founder descended on the Ecuadorian embassy in London Thursday. Assange has been living there for nearly two months trying to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Ecuador's foreign minister explained his country's decision.


RICARDO PATINO, ECUADOR FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The Ecuadorian government has felt they need to protect those seeking asylum. And so we have decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Mr. Assange.


GORANI: Atika Schubert is outside the Ecuadorian embassy in central London. It is a little bit after 9:00 pm. What's going on where you are Atika?

ATIKA SCHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, you might be able to hear Assange's supporters are still here. They say they're going to stay here not just throughout the night, but however long it takes while he's still in the embassy. And that could take a long time. He could be there indefinitely, because Britain says they feel they still have an obligation to extradite him to Sweden and they fully intend to do so.

Here's a statement from Britain's foreign secretary William Hague. Take a listen.


WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We will not allow Mr. Assange safe passage out of the United Kingdom, nor is there any legal basis for us to do so. The United Kingdom does not accept the principle of diplomatic asylum. It is a far from universally accepted concept. The United Kingdom is not a party to any legal instruments which require us to recognize the grant of diplomatic asylum by a foreign embassy in this country.


SCHUBERT: Now Sweden is also demanding an explanation form Ecuador. And a spokesperson for Sweden's foreign affairs ministry gave CNN this statement. They said, quote, "the Ecuadorian ambassador will be imminently called into a meeting over today's decision by Ecuador's government." The spokesperson also added that, quote, "Sweden does not extradite individuals who risk facing the death penalty. This is obviously a reference to Assange's concern that if he is extradited to Sweden he then may also be extradited to the U.S. on separate allegations.

So clearly there a diplomatic standoff from three different nations. In the meantime, you've got protesters here outside of the embassy. In fact, if we can just take a pan around to take a look at the media that's here, some of the protesters that are gathered. And it's in this environment that WikiLeaks says in its Twitter feed that Julian Assange himself may come out to make a public statement on Sunday. This is something they've said he might be doing on Sunday to mark two months of his being holed up inside the embassy. Is he actually going to make a statement outside of the embassy? We'll be here to find out.

GORANI: Right. May be a bit risky for him. We'll get into that with a lawyer in just a minute. Thanks, Atika Schubert.

Let's take a closer look at where Atika is right now. The Ecuadorian embassy in London and how Assange might be able to leave the complex or not. The embassy is located in the exclusive central London neighborhood of Knightsbridge. It's a five story building right next to Harrods department store which so many of you know.

The property has a private parking garage, but according to Reuters the garage is not connected to the embassy from inside the building. So the only way Assange can get into a waiting diplomatic car is out of the front door and onto British soil.

The UK, Ecuador, Sweden and the United States are all wrapped up in this situation. It's a legal minefield. UK lawyer David Goodman joins me now from CNN London with more. Thanks for being with us, Mr. Goodman.

What options does Julian Assange have now legally?

DAVID GOODMAN, LAWYER: Well, Hala, it really is a bit of a mess. He is now in the Ecuadorian embassy. He can't set foot on British soil, otherwise he risks arrest. And the difficulty will be to get him from the embassy into a consulate vehicle and then onto a diplomatic flight. If that's the route that it takes.

GORANI: Right. But let me -- so -- I mean -- of course if he steps out onto the front landing there of the Ecuadorian embassy building he's on British soil, but if he's in a diplomatic car is he on British soil? Can he be arrested then?

GOODMAN: No. Under the Vienna convention he's both the mission and vehicles carrying diplomats or diplomatic luggage are inviolate.

GORANI: I can ask you a very..

GOODMAN: He cannot be touched, but the problem is he's got to actually get into the vehicle.

GORANI: So I'm going to ask you a very sort of Hollywood Jason Bourne question now. What if you -- I mean, what about diplomatic suitcases, trunks I think. Could you imagine a scenario in which Julian Assange is transported to a car in a suitcase or something?

GOODMAN: Well, the problem is the definition of diplomatic luggage within the convention would not allow him to get into the luggage, but there are other ways around it. He could be constituted as a diplomatic courier. And he would have inviolate rights in that respect. Or he could be given Ecuadorian citizenship and be constituted a consular official. Now then the British government may declare him persona non grata, but he would then be able to leave.

So there are a number of possibilities for Julian. But the real issue is this, as I see it, the government has got itself into a mess here, because this European arrest warrant really is not fit for purpose in a number of cases. There are no charges against him in this country, there are no charges against him in Sweden. The chief prosecutor in Sweden has already dropped the charges. And it's the director of prosecutions in Sweden who has reopened the charges. He was allowed to leave Sweden by agreement.

And if you actually look at the underlying charges that are classified by William Hague as serious offenses, and you know I don't want to dampen the problem of serious sexual offenses, because they are serious, but if you look at what has been alleged well I can tell you certainly in the most serious case that they allege, probably half the people in this country do the same thing every single day.

So when you look at the detail it doesn't really stack up. There's got to be a lot of politics behind this. It doesn't make sense.

For instance, why hasn't Swedish prosecutor been over here to interview him? He's been offered -- they've been offered to come over, but they don't come.

GORANI: Right.

GOODMAN: Now, the other thing they could do is they could offer undertakings to the UK government that they will not under any circumstances extradite him to another country and would allow him to leave to a country of his choice, but again that hasn't happened.

So they're creating a rod for their own backs. And I think the whole thing stacks up to a lot of politics behind the scenes.

GORANI: All right. Well, with his analysis, David Goodman joining us now from CNN London with more on the legal angle of this story and what options Julian Assange has, thanks very much -- raising a few questions as well -- for being with us.

Clearly there are all these questions over how Assange might get to Ecuador, but we do have clues as to why he turned to the South American country in the first place. For starters, Assange and Ecuador's president Rafael Correa seem to have a genuine rapport. Assange called Ecuador's president a transformative leader when he appeared on a television show that Assange hosted for Russia TV.

Both have railed against what they see as imperial power of the United States and the need to counter it. Ecuador expelled the American ambassador after a WikiLeaks cable showed the diplomat was concerned about alleged high level corruption with the police.

Mr. Correa is also no fan of the United Kingdom. In February he called for sanctions against Britain for its long running dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

We'll keep our eye on the Assange story that continues to unfold in London of course throughout the coming hours.

We're going to take a short break. When we come back a wave of violence in Lebanon recalls the dark days of the civil war. We'll see how chaos in Syria is now spilling over the border.

Also it was one of China's most high profile cases. And now CNN can add another twist to the tale. All that and much more when Connect the World continues. Stay with us.


GORANI: You're watching CNN International and this is Connect the World. I'm Hala Gorani. Welcome back.

The United Nations is officially ending its observer mission in Syria. Today it announced it will not renew the mandate when it expires on Sunday. Relentless violence has essentially confined the monitors to their hotels for weeks. And based on what happened in Syria today, the situation is only getting worse.

Nick Paton-Walsh has more. And we warn you, the images in this report are disturbing.


NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Opposition activists have said today that they have found 60 unidentified bodies in a landfill site on the outskirts of Damascus suburbs in a city called Katana (ph). They claim the result of a massacre, they say, by the Syrian army. Impossible to verify, but part of a growing toll of today's dead. Much of that focused on the northern city of Aleppo by the majority of people who have been killed in a neighborhood known as Khadi Ascar (ph).

The shelling began at dawn. One place struck a bakery. You can see the gruesome images of the aftermath of that attack there. But really this constant grind in the city of Aleppo between rebel forces and the Syrian military, neither side visibly getting the upper hand at this point, but that human -- human cost, that death toll every day rising. The figures we hear now on a daily basis so much higher than they were just a matter of months ago. These numbers really failing to capture the sheer horror and carnage to what's happening on the ground of that city of millions of people.

Nick Paton-Walsh, CNN, Beirut.


GORANI: Much more on this story ahead, including the spillover effect from Syria's civil war. We'll look at growing concerns in neighboring Lebanon over a wave of kidnappings, street riots and reprisal attacks.

Here's a look now at some other stories connecting our world tonight.

A paralyzed man has lost his right to die case in the British high court. Tony Nicklinson wants a doctor to be allowed to end his life at his request without risk of being charged with murder. Nicklinson became almost completely paralyzed after a stroke in 2005, but he is fully conscious. The court said a ruling in his favor would change the law and that was something for the British parliament to decide. The Nicklinson family says they'll appeal the judgment.

Tony's wife Jane said the family felt the judgment was one-sided.


JANE NICKLINSON, TONY NICKLINSON'S WIFE: Disappointed. You can see from Tony's reaction he's absolutely heartbroken. It's -- we always knew it was a big ask, but we've always hoped that, you know, the judges would see sense. And quite plainly they haven't.


GORANI: 20 Shiite Muslims have been executed in Pakistan in what appears to be a sectarian attack. Gunmen in the northwestern Mancera (ph) district ambushed a convoy of passenger buses. They forced victims to get out of the bus, checked their identity papers, before lining them up and executing them. Pakistan has seen an increase in sectarian violence this year. And 18 Shiites were killed in a similar attack six months ago.

Buckingham Palace says Britain's Prince Philip is responding well to treatment after being taken to a Scottish hospital on Wednesday afternoon. The 91 year old was admitted for a recurrent bladder infection. He was previously hospitalized, you might remember, for a similar condition in June. A palace spokesman said he will remain in doctors care for several more days while he recovered.

We're going to take a short break now. When we come back, from friend to foe, what does Robin Van Persie's move from Arsenal to Man United mean for the upcoming Premier League campaign? Mark McKay is going to tell you next.


GORANI: You're watching Connect the World. I'm Hala Gorani. Welcome back everyone.

The English capital used to be home to Dutch international Robin Van Persie, but not any more. He is leaving Arsenal. And he's going to join another Premier League team, the rivals of Arsenal, Manchester United.

Mark McKay joins me now with more.

A big move for Robin Van Persie.

MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: A big move. And it's really caused a lot of reaction. You know, football basically does that, Hala. You're going to really pick sides when it comes to your team. And tonight all across England there's a lot of back and forth.

A little background about Van Persie. Yes, he's leaving the Gunners and heading north to Manchester to play for the Red Devils, decided after eight seasons to leave Arsenal. He was the Premier League's top goal scorer in 2012, scoring 30 times. It was in the last year of his contract. And had expressed a little bit of desire to leave Arsenal. The deal is reportedly worth $37 million, but the question has to be asked, why did Arsenal sell Van Persie to a Premier League rival?

Well, the Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has spoken to that point by saying, quote, "honest, I would have preferred to have sold him overseas to Paris Saint Germain, for example, rather than Manchester United. Unfortunately, there's an economic reality and the desire of the player. There's no other way, but to leave him go," end quote Arsene Wenger.

Now, may not know it, but CNN's Piers Morgan, our colleague is a huge Arsenal supporter. If you follow Piers on Twitter, you will have certainly known that. And Piers has been pretty vocal today via Twitter as to what he thought of the move, tweeting "funny, I really thought Van Persie was different, but he turned out to be just another mercenary heartless, selfish, little (beep). What a sickening betrayal of Wenger, too, the man who stood so loyally behind him through the years of injury #hashtagvanpursestrings."

GORANI: How did he do that in a 140 characters?

MCKAY: He probably went double on it. So -- there's been a lot of reaction to Piers'...

GORANI: The double rant Twitter post?

MCKAY: I guess. Yeah. You know Wayne Rooney has gotten on board. Kind of a, you know, poking Piers on Twitter as well, so is Rio Ferdinand putting out "retreat. One of the tweets I've sent so far. 5,000 plus in 20 minutes." So even some of Van Persie's new Manchester United teammates are getting at one of the biggest Arsenal supporters out there, that begin Piers Morgan.

GORANI: Get over it. It's money. It's money. It's what you want to do -- where you want to play.

MCKAY: Not when it comes to your club, not when it comes to your club. Hard to get over.

GORANI: I don't know.

To me, club football -- I get so excited about national teams.

MCKAY: I know you like national teams.

GORANI: Club football is money. It's a business. You know, half the players aren't even from the country of the league they're playing in. I don't understand the passion. But then I know I'm going to get a lot of reaction. But somehow, you know, I just don't get it.

MCKAY: That was less than 140 characters. You just verbally tweeted that out.

GORANI: There you go.

All right. Before you go. The U.S. isn't always considered a great soccer nation, although they've been doing quite well over the last several World Cups. But fans did have a big win to celebrate.

MCKAY: Oh, yeah, huge one. Never in the United States national team has never won, Hala, on Mexican soil, but on Wednesday in a friendly in Mexico City at the imposing Azteca Stadium, the United States did this scoring the only goal of the match. This of course a friendly as I said, in the 80th minute. Michael Orozco Fiscal, that is a historic goal. And then his keeper, Tim Howard did the rest, turning away the likes of Chicharito as the United States, Hala, for the first time in the 75 year history between these two North American nations it is the United States beating Mexico in Mexico. The U.S. had 23 losses.

GORANI: It's the first time ever?

MCKAY: Yes. First time ever.

GORANI: Or in 75 years?

MCKAY: Well, no, the entire series. The United States has never gone south of the border and beaten Mexico in Mexico.

GORANI: Wow. That is impressive. That's something to celebrate.

MCKAY: There you go.

I'll see you in an hour for World Sport.

GORANI: All right. Look forward to it. Mark McKay, thanks very much.

Still to come on Connect the World, they're far from the front lines and yet their lives are dominated by war. We'll see how some lives of Syrian rebels have their own battles to fight.

Also, strange packages delivered, thugs turned up at the door, the bodyguard of Neil Haywood and Gu Kailai gives his first television interview to CNN. We'll have a special report coming up.

Plus, talking bronze, Beckham, and Brazil, we'll hear from Britain's diving wiz kid Tom Daley. We'll be right back.


GORANI: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world, in the Middle East and Africa. I'm Hala Gorani, and here are your latest world headlines from CNN.

South African media are reporting that at least 18 people were killed in a shootout involving police and striking platinum miners. Police have not confirmed that death toll. You can see this shocking video that's emerged from the incident today. It marks the deadliest day in a week of violence involving rival mining unions.

British foreign secretary William Hague says the UK will not allow Julian Assange safe passage out of the country. Ecuador and the UK are in a diplomatic standoff after the WikiLeaks founder was granted political asylum by the South American country. He's been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Opposition activists say at least 200 people were killed across Syria today. That includes 60 people whose bodies were reportedly found in a landfill near Damascus. Activists call it another massacre by the regime.

A legal defeat for the British man at the center of a right to die case. A stroke paralyzed Tony Nicklinson seven years ago, and he wants the legal right to end his life. Britain's high court rejected his request, saying Parliament, not the courts, must act to overturn a ban on voluntary euthanasia.

Lebanon's government is in crisis mode trying to contain an eruption of violence linked to Syria's civil war. It began when a Lebanese man was taken hostage in Syria, accused of being a Hezbollah operative. Arwa Damon tells us what happened when his powerful clan back in Lebanon struck back.




ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Syria's civil war is seeping into its tiny and vulnerable neighbor. On Wednesday, angry young Shias blocked the main road to Beirut's airport with burning tires after the head of a prominent Shia clan was abducted in Syria.

The Free Syrian Army had posted this video of Hassan al-Meqdad, who they allege is a member of Lebanon's powerful militia, Hezbollah, which supports the Assad regime. Hezbollah denies al-Meqdad is one of theirs, and the family also denies any association. But the kidnapping resulted in swift retaliation.

"This family has an armed section that kidnaps Syrians in Lebanese territories," claims one of the clan members. Two of the kidnapped Syrians appeared in a video in front of a banner that reads "The al-Meqdad Family Association."

The clan says they have taken hostage more than 20 Syrians affiliated with the rebels, as well as a Turkish business man, and more will follow until Hassan is released.

Hassan's brother, Hatem al-Meqdad vows there will be more surprises, suggesting the clan will not only target members of the Syrian rebels operating out of Lebanon, but others, as well.

Tensions were already high over the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shias by Syrian rebels. The Lebanese government seems powerless to intervene, except to call for calm. The posture of government forces at the airport perhaps reflecting the government's paralysis, held captive by dynamics it can't control.

DAMON (on camera): The Lebanese are fed up, disgusted, and disillusioned, and at the same time, terrified that sectarian strife will break out once again. The wounds and the memories of Lebanon's own civil war are still fresh, and the Syrian conflict is not likely to spare the neighbor in its shadow.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Beirut.


GORANI: And the fears of a wider regional conflict are also having an impact as far as Syria is concerned. The fears that a proxy war is, in fact, being waged inside of Syria involving Iran, which supports, of course, the Assad regime, and then Sunni Gulf nations, which support the rebels.

Earlier, I spoke to Karim Sadjadpour, senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He described Iran's vested interest in Syria.


KARIM SADJADPOUR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Iran will do everything in its power to keep the Assad regime afloat, but once the Assad regime loses Damascus, I think Iran's next step is to try to cultivate whoever comes to power next.

GORANI: Right. Well, that was going to be my question. At what point does Iran have to say we can't support this regime anymore., it's a regime that is on its way out, dying, crumbling?

SADJADPOUR: I really think Iran is all in, to use a poker term.


SADJADPOUR: They've stuck by the Assad regime despite the fact that nearly 20,000 civilians have been killed in Syria. So, I think that they will support them until the end.

That said, what Iran has done in places like Iraq and Afghanistan is that they've provided financial aid to a whole lot of different actors, believing that, in a way, everyone can be beholden to them.

I think what we see in Syria, though, is a different dynamic than in Iraq. Whereas in Iraq, the country had -- has a Shiite demographic majority, in Syria, you have a country which is approximately 70, 75 percent Sunni Arab, which have been really repressed the last year by Assad, by Iran.

GORANI: Right. Well, let me ask you, we've -- now the term "proxy war" is being used more and more often to describe the civil conflict in Syria, with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Gulf nations making no secret of their desire to help arm the rebels against the Syrian regime. How much of what's going on is a true proxy war between Sunni Gulf nations and Shiite Iran?

SADJADPOUR: Unfortunately, it has become a proxy war in that the different sectarian factions in Syria are looking for support from outside actors. Certainly the Assad regime is being supported by Iran more than any other regional actor.

And the -- I think one of the concerns is that there isn't such a thing as a cohesive Syrian opposition. There's a lot of different Syrian oppositions who, at the moment, have a common goal, which is to bring down Bashar al-Assad. But after that goal is achieved, I think they don't have a common vision for Syria.

So, for that reason, you have support from Saudi Arabia, from Qatar, and there is a desire by many people in Washington to have the US play more of a role in shaping what the opposition looks like in order to have some influence on what Syria looks like the day after Assad has fallen.


GORANI: Karim Sadjadpour, there, speaking to me a little bit earlier. Now, the United Nations is reporting a milestone in another crisis facing Syria and its neighbors. The UNHCR is reporting that at some point in the past three days, the number of registered refugees climbed over 150,000.

Many are heading to Turkey, were the government says it's sheltering more than 61,000 Syrians. Lebanon has taken in almost 37,000. As a percentage of its own population, it's more than other neighboring countries.

Despite security problems of its own, at least 14,000 Syrians have fled to Iraq. Almost 43,000 are now in Jordan. Now remember, these are official, registered refugees. The actual number is much higher.

Some of those Syrians in Jordan are women who've left their husband behind. They're the wives of these rebel fighters. Photographer Tanya Habjouqa recently met with some of them and shared their stories with our Max Foster.


TANYA HABJOUQA, JORDANIAN-AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER: They're living on nothing. These are women, the majority of them married when they were 16, 17, they haven't finished their education. They're from a very small, conservative town in the south of Syria.

And here they are on their own without the traditional network that they have. They've very proud, but they're living off of the kindness of neighbors.

And despite the fact that they're hungry -- these children, when I was with them, if they were lucky, they would have a couple sandwiches of simple bread and hummus -- they would never complain. And when the husbands would call, they told their children, never say "I miss you," never cry. Just keep telling them how proud you are that they're there fighting for the freedom of Syria.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just describe to us this image with the tattoo.

HABJOUQA: This particular image is Ayesha. She's 28 years old, and she slipped her shirt off and showed me the tattoo, and it says "Why did you leave me when I needed you?"

FOSTER: And when we talk about the women's relationship with their husbands, a very simple photo here of a negligee hanging up in a window. Just a simple item of clothing, but actually hugely symbolic -- this was something that they managed to get out of Syria and really represents what will -- what they're all looking forward to, being reunited with their families.

HABJOUQA: All day long, they're cleaning, hand-washing laundry, trying to scrounge food, and taking care of children. And the only time that they would sort of relax is when they would sit and have a coffee break, smoke cigarettes, and there would be these sort of daydream fantasies each of them would take turn sharing about when they would be reunited with their husbands.

Where it would be, would it be running to each other at the border? Would it be inside Syria? What would they be wearing? And the issue of lingerie came up, and they got -- a lot of them, they said that they had nothing, that they had fled with the clothes on their back.

But the mother-in-law of Ayesha's sister, she's in her 50s, and she was very proud and she came out and set the negligee up on the window and offered it to her daughter-in-law and said, happily, that she'd managed to smuggle out a few pieces of her clothing.

FOSTER: One image is controversial. We're watching, there, a video of some -- of a fighter who's died, but we're not the only ones watching it. A young child, Ayesha's daughter, is watching that video. How did they explain that to you? Why is that important?

HABJOUQA: This particular video that the child is watching was a very gruesome -- I had trouble watching it, it was a fighter who had died. It was very graphic. And I asked her afterwards why are you letting such a young child see this video?

And she said, "I don't want to scare my daughter. It's just that I want her to understand why my husband has left, why are her uncles, her friends, her father, why they have left the family behind, because they have an important cause to fight for."


GORANI: All right. And there you have it. The wives of Syrian rebels in Jordan, waiting for their fighter husbands to return.

Well, it was a case that gripped China for months, but part of the mystery behind the case of Neil Heywood and Gu Kailai begins in England. We'll have a report next.


GORANI: It's one of the most high-profile court cases China has seen in decades. The wife of a disgraced politician, Bo Xilai, charged with murdering a British businessman. Gu Kailai admitted to pouring poison down the throat of Neil Heywood after getting him drunk. A court statement said Gu was afraid that Heywood would kill her son when a business deal with the Briton soured.

Now, the relationship between the wife of one of China's most powerful politicians and the British businessman has never been made entirely clear, but it seems some of the mystery begins in England. In 2001, the pair shared a flat in the seaside town of Bournemouth. CNN's Dan Rivers visited the town and found another twist to this tale. Dan, what more can you tell us?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, this really was a scandal which took down one of the golden couples of China. But the murder of Neil Heywood had antecedents in Britain, as you say.

Neil Heywood and Gu Kailai both shared this rather run-down apartment in Bournemouth, a seaside town in England. And we've spoken to people who associated with both of them while they were there, and they got on camera for the first time.


RIVERS (voice-over): She's been described as the Jackie Kennedy of China. Gu Kailai was super rich and well-connected, married to Bo Xilai, one of the most senior bureaucrats in China. But now, she's in jail after a closed-door trial where she admitted poisoning British businessman Neil Heywood.

But the mysterious tale of oriental poisoning has its roots here in the British seaside town of Bournemouth.

Gu Kailai lived at this run-down apartment in the town for about two years until 2001. Neil Heywood would frequently stay here, too. It was while she was living there that she saw the town's observation balloon, a tourist attraction visible from the apartment.

RIVERS (on camera): You can see why as soon as Gu Kailai went up in this balloon ride, she wanted one for her hometown. She was a woman who was used to getting her own way and expected to be riding in one of these in China in just a few months' time.

RIVERS (voice-over): Giles Hall was approached by her in 1999 to supply a balloon like this to her home city of Dalian. Giles commissioned this promotional video to show her contacts in China how the balloon could have become a major tourist attraction there.

But after the balloon was delivered, the deal went sour. Giles claims she refused to pay the last installment of $160,000.

GILES HALL, BRITISH BUSINESSMAN: So, I've been a bit bitter and twisted about it. But there was no -- there wasn't any point in suing her or anything like that. We were never going to get the money.

RIVERS: Giles Hall says she had a fiery temper and regularly threatened him.

HALL: I mean, I was told that I'd get into trouble if I ever went to China. And the lady who worked for us who effectively ran our sign Bournemouth, was told that if she turned up in China, they'd kill her.

RIVERS (on camera): So, there were death threats to one of your colleagues?

HALL: Oh, yes. Yes.

RIVERS: And you took those seriously?

HALL: Yes, indeed. Because we'd experienced her anger in various meetings over that period of time, that she could get quite angry. And you certainly hear a lot of screaming and threats over the phone.

RIVERS (voice-over): A source close to Gu Kailai's family in China dismissed these claims as rumors which were not brought up in her trial.

Mike Wright worked as a bodyguard for Gu and Neil Heywood in Bournemouth and describes her as a nice lady. But he admits, some of the people who came to visit her weren't. When three Chinese thugs turned up, he was ordered to stop them entering the building.

MIKE WRIGHT, GU KAILAI'S FORMER BODYGUARD: Well, a fight broke out. They would've meant business. I really don't know. But they weren't allowed in the front way, they weren't allowed in there, so they were menacing. I don't really know.

RIVERS: Mike Wright claims one room in the apartment was full of mysterious black packages.

WRIGHT: They were just black, tobacco-type pages, quite long. Hundreds of them, in fact.

RIVERS: He never found out what was in those packets. He said they felt like wads of paper. But was it wads of cash? In 2002, this land registry document shows the purchase of a luxury London apartment for more than a million dollars by Golden Map, Ltd., a mysterious company in the British Virgin Islands.

Gu Kailai's business associate, Patrick Devillers, helped to negotiate the deal, and her son, Bo Guagua, used the apartment occasionally.

RIVERS (on camera): Coleherne Court is a very exclusive address. It's where Lady Di used to live before she married Prince Charles. And the Emir of Kuwait is also the owner of one of these properties. We don't know who controls Golden Map, Ltd., but whoever does, has close links to Gu Kailai and a lot of money. The property was bought without a loan.

RIVERS (voice-over): It begs the question, where did all that money come from?


RIVERS: Towards the end of their time in Bournemouth, both Neil Heywood and Gu Kailai became increasingly paranoid. They asked their bodyguards to fortify the apartment they were in so no one could see and no one could get in.

And of course, the enduring mystery is why on earth Gu Kailai came to Bournemouth in the first place. That, like much of this, still remains a mystery. Hala?

GORANI: All right. Thanks for your report. Dan Rivers in London.

Thousands of fans, a world-famous mentor, and a bronze medal to boot. And he's only getting started. Why British diver Tom Daley says the best is yet to come. That's just ahead.


GORANI: Well, it was Tom Daley's shining moment, and Team GB made sure the diving star felt the love. After he took bronze in the Olympic ten meter diving final, whether in swim gear or fully clothed, for that matter, his coaches and fellow divers joined him in the pool, delighting the 17,000-strong crowd.

Well, he was pegged as Britain's golden boy, and at just 18 years old, Tom Daley arrived at London 2012 under some enormous pressure. Aside from his grueling training regimen and carrying the hopes of a nation, aside from that, he also faced personal tragedy, because just 14 months ahead of his Olympic performance, he lost his dedicated father, Rob Daley, to cancer.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin sat down with the diving star to talk family, future, and a little bit of fun.


TOM DALEY, OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDAL DIVER: Oh, it just feels great to finally have an Olympic medal, to have something to show for the hard work, effort, dedication, and sacrifices I've had to make over the years.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Your family must be extremely proud. You dedicated your performance to your late father. What do you think he would've thought, seeing you standing on that podium?

DALEY: Yes, well, it's been a massive family effort to actually get me to where I am today. My dad used to take me to training every day. He watched every competition. The same with my family, now. So, it's not just for me, winning the medal. It's definitely for my family and all the effort that we've had to put in to actually get onto that podium. So, hopefully, he would be proud.

MCLAUGHLIN: Growing up, I had a mentor. It was my elementary school teacher. During the Olympics, you seemed to have a very high-profile mentor, David Beckham. What sort of advice was he giving to you?

DALEY: Yes. It was -- it was surreal, actually, because I got a text message from him after my competition saying, "Hi, it's David Beckham." Was like, "Yeah, whatever," kind of thing.

But then I cross-checked the number, and it was actually him, and he was just asking me the right questions, really, like saying, "How are you feeling about the synchro performance and not quite performing -- being as well as you could have," things like that.

I was telling him how I felt, and then he was telling -- asking me questions to make me think about the positive side of things rather than actually taking all the negatives. So, he kind of gave me the inspiration to actually want to keep going and do better in the individual."

MCLAUGHLIN: Mo Farah was one of the Olympians that really inspired you during these Games. What about his performance did you find inspirational, and what lessons will you take from that going forward?

DALEY: Just generally, Mo Farah performed -- the first time, remember, when he won his first gold medal in the 10,000 meters, it was just -- I'd have thought it was an amazing moment when his family went onto the track and how happy he was and just genuinely seeing someone so elated and so happy with what they've done.

It just kind of made you -- made me feel all warm inside, you could say, and made me want to go out there and get it myself.


MCLAUGHLIN: You also made a YouTube video with your --


MCLAUGHLIN: -- your diving team.


MCLAUGHLIN: Who choreographed that?

DALEY: That was back in December. I'm quite a perfectionist when it comes to doing things right, and I can assure you, there was lots of shouting from me, telling people to go into the right place at the right time and get the camera angles right.

But it was something fun that we did to LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" track back in December when we had a training camp in Australia.

MCLAUGHLIN: You have Rio in your sights, is that true?

DALEY: It is. Four years away, there's a lot can happen in that time, but hopefully I'll be able to upgrade the color of my medal.

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you feel that you have it in you to get that gold?

DALEY: I think for me, it's always been my dream to win an Olympic gold medal, and I think if I worked as hard as I possibly can, whether it be Rio 2016 or in 2020, who knows? But I would love to actually get an Olympic medal -- gold medal around my neck.


GORANI: Well, he's got four more years to train. In tonight's Parting Shots, two men survived a harrowing crash during a dangerous road trip on top of a mountain. Take a look at this video --




GORANI: Unbelievable! This video footage shows the race car that flies off the side of Pike's Peak in Colorado, flipping almost a dozen times before coming to a stop 15 full seconds later.

The drivers were airlifted to a nearby hospital. Remarkably, they left hours later with only cuts and bruises. After watching that clip, it's easy to see why the area's nicknamed the Devil's Playground. Lucky escape!

I'm Hala Gorani. That was CONNECT THE WORLD, thanks for watching. Your world headlines are next after a short break. Don't go anywhere.