Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Prosecutors Drop Murder Charges for 270 Protesting Miners In South Africa; Romain Grosjean Suspended, Fined $62,000
Aired September 3, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MONITA RAJPAL, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, documenting the dead, a Syrian activist on his heartbreaking mission to show his town torn apart.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
RAJPAL: Tonight with the international community deadlocked over what to do next, how one aid agency is taking its plea for help straight to the Syrian president.
Also this hour...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the evenings, 6:30 we want to be at the dinner table with our kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJPAL: U.S. President Barack Obama tells CNN why family comes before schmoozing. And we look at whether the Blade Runner was right to cry foul over another man's blades.
Syria's information minister says there's nothing to fear. And he's urging people who have fled the violence, to come home immediately. That remarkable statement comes after the bloodiest month on record on Syria and yet it's turning out to be another day of death and destruction. An air strike near Aleppo killed dozens of people. This video is said to show the aftermath of that attack as residents scramble to pull a young child from the rubble. Activists say at least 205 people were killed nationwide today.
It is difficult for CNN to verify many of the reports coming from Syria, because the government limits the access of international journalists. But Arwa Damon has the story of one man who has made it his mission to document what's happening in his town.
The video in her report comes from a freelance journalist who spent time in Qusayr not far from the border with Lebanon. And we do warn you some of the images you will see are disturbing and may not be appropriate for all viewers.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every night, Trad (ph) scrolls through the videos he shot that day, reviewing scenes he wishes he'd never witnessed. It's a macabre routine, but one he's addicted to. He simply can't stop, can't let go, can't give up.
For the past 18 months he's documented nearly every single death in Qusayr, a town of some 50,000 before the violence started. Name, date, location: more than 400 victims and counting. Often they are his neighbors, friends, relatives, people he would see around town. And once, he pointed the camera at his brother's corpse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first one my brother, but I didn't know my brother the first one. After I come also I take some photo of the other one. Suddenly I remember this one my brother.
The start I shout my brother, my brother, my brother, doctor my brother!
But after, normal.
I am sad also, the first, and -- and angry.
But after normal.
DAMON: The 37 year old once owned a furniture shop. Now he's part of a small team of media activists filming and posting online the horrific videos that have come to symbolize the Syrian uprising.
Most of the residents of Qusayr have fled, but the indiscriminate shelling still takes its toll on the few who remain those who have nowhere else to go.
In the last few weeks, this eight year old girl was killed by a mortar round that hit her home. There was nothing the medical team could do, but try to hide the wound to spare her mother the anguish. She collapses when she hears the news.
At times, Trad (ph) tries to console families, reassuring this woman that her son is going to be OK, that he will survive the wounds to his leg. Occasionally, he hands over the camera so he can help. But too often, there is nothing he can do but film.
Much of Qusayr lies in ruins, similar to most of what we see from across Syria. Its people resigned to their fate, knowing that they are on their own.
The hospital, regularly targeted, is trying to build up its defenses. This man who works in construction is building a bunker for his family. His children take a quick peek into the darkness below. Perhaps this will save them, perhaps it will be their grave.
Trad's (ph) younger brother is now a rebel fighter. He was a mechanic who wanted to be a DJ. He plays music as Trad (ph) recalled the fate of one of their media activist friends, detained by Syrian security forces and returned to them with his eyes gouged out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they take the eyes. The same, my job. Why? I can go down Bashar. I throw Bashar by this one. Too much dangerous, here in Syria the camera. But when I finish with revolution I catch the camera like this and I throw it.
RAJPAL: Well, many Syrians are taking no chances. Nearly 190,000 have now fled the violence. Let's give you an idea of the refugee count in the surrounding countries around Syria. Let's begin here in the north and Turkey, which is now sheltering over 80,000 refugees. Last week the country said it would open additional camps expecting the number of refugees to more than double over the coming months.
And taking you now to the south of -- south of Syria and to Jordan where over 47,000 Syrians have fled across the border, many more are awaiting registration. To give you an idea inside one of the refugee camps, this is Azatri (ph) Camp in the north of the country, home to mostly women and children. And last week the UN said the pace of refugees coming here had doubled. Jordan is calling for international help to deal with the sudden influx.
Let's take you now west of Syria and we take you now here to Lebanon. And it's just a fraction of Turkey's size, as you can see here. And it's taken about 43,000 Syrians, just under half of what Turkey has taken in. And despite security problems of its own over to the west here in Iraq, let's see, give you an idea of the numbers there. The Iraq is sheltering over 18,000 Syrians. And to give you an idea now with the refugee camp there, the Domine (ph) refugee camp in northern Iraq camp which you see here is home to many Syrian Kurds.
Officials working at the camp say they are providing clothing, electricity, and housing. But the biggest problem is lack of jobs, which they say can lead to crime.
But for many, just getting into these refugee camps is a struggle. CNN's Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson is on the Turkish/Syrian border where many families are living in the open, waiting to be processed.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A few people, and it really is just a few, a couple of dozen vehicles have crossed through that border crossing behind me here, some of the cars have been packed out with clothes, possessions, suitcases, blankets stuffed into the cars. We see mattresses tied to the roofs, heavy bags tied to the roofs of some of the vehicles, every space taken up either by baggage or by people getting out of the country. But those appear to be the lucky ones.
On the other side of the border there, about a few hundred meters away, there are about 4,000 to 5,000 Syrian families: men, women, children, living out in the open, waiting for an opportunity to come into Turkey. Turkey has already taken about 80,000 refugees. Their building three more camps. They say those will be ready in a couple of weeks, so they'll be able to house about 30,000 people.
However, already inside Turkey there are about 17,000 to 20,000 people living in schools, living in government buildings, the schools here go back within a couple of weeks and the government will need to prioritize those new camp spaces, the 30,000 will almost automatically be filled to two- thirds full by the refugees already inside Turkey.
So the others waiting on the other side, they're told they will be allowed in, but the concern is that many, many more will want to come. And there are these tents on the other side of the border today, more Free Syrian Army members on the other side of the border, concerns about the possibility of another attack. And about 50 kilometers from the border here a bombing strike that killed more than a dozen people.
And it's exactly those type of bombing strikes that are driving people to the border, making them flee. And that was seen here today, people crossing over, getting out as best they can, many more behind them, waiting to get out.
Nic Robertson, CNN, on the Turkish/Syrian Border.
RAJPAL: Well, as the humanitarian situation in Syria rapidly deteriorates, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross is in Damascus for talks with President Bashar al-Assad.
Joining us now on the phone from the capital is ICRC spokeswoman Cecilia Goin. Ms. Goin, thank you very much for being with us. What is Mr. Maurer, Peter Maurer expected to tell Bashar al-Assad?
CECILIA GOIN, ICRC SPOKESWOMAN: Well, first of all, until (inaudible) the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross to (inaudible) last July. So he's visiting several countries where the ICRC had key operations. So one of these countries includes Syria. So this is the first -- the first time he's visiting the country as -- in his role as the president of the organization.
So mainly the talk will tackle on one hand a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation and the pressing humanitarian needs due to the escalation of the violence without interruption. You also have recently intensified. So the situation right now, the humanitarian situation is deteriorating fast. And the organization is increasingly concerned.
So we'd also discuss the intention of the organization to scale up its activities in Syria in a way of responding to the growing humanitarian needs. There are thousands of people who fled their homes in several parts of the country, in Damascus and Aleppo. So those people are (inaudible) living in public schools. And the organization is trying to do its best to help as many people as possible. Since the beginning of the year we've been provided with humanitarian assistance for -- to 8,000 to 10,000 people, though that's a lot needs to be done as well, because this is the more fighting takes place the more will need.
RAJPAL: What can Mr. Maurer to Bashar al-Assad that others haven't already said before, others such as Kofi Annan?
GOIN: Well, for the organization, we are focusing on our priorities in the civilian population. So on one hand to remind parties to the conflict that those involved in the fighting must respect, protect, and facilitate those who are not taking part in the hostilities. And also to facilitate the work of humanitarian organization as the ICRC or the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in providing life saving assistance.
And also for discussing the latest humanitarian situation and to discuss a difficulties faced by the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to reach those affected by the conflict, because where those places where fighting is taking place, it's difficult for the humanitarian organizations to reach those in need.
RAJPAL: But Ms. Goin, the Syrians will then say that they are not targeting civilians, that they are targeting what they've been calling armed terrorists. So for the ICRC to go to them and say we need access to civilian -- the civilian population the Syrians will say you can have access, but we're not targeting them.
GOIN: Well, the organization has been in Syria for a long time and has a continued dialogue with the Syrian authorities as well as we have a dialogue with those opposition armed groups. So for example for the past year the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the organization lost five volunteers. They were on duty, they were doing -- they were clearly -- they were in the ambulances, they were clearly having their -- dressed with the Red Crescent and they were targeted. They were in the middle of fighting.
So those people who are trying to provide first aid to people, they have the right, they protect -- they shouldn't be targeted. They should be doing their humanitarian work properly. So this is something that the organization continues to remind not only the Syrian authorities, but also the opposition armed groups.
RAJPAL: All right. Cecilia Goin from the ICRC, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate that.
Still to come tonight, walking free, the first of 270 South African miners are released from prison. We'll bring you more on the case that has shaken South Africa.
Then, Charlotte, North Carolina welcomes delegates to the Democratic National Convention. We'll bring you a preview of that.
And who thinks Greece should leave the EuroZone? A result of a new poll may surprise you. We'll have all that and much more when Connect the World continues.
RAJPAL: You're watching CNN and this is Connect the World. Hello, I'm Monita Rajpal. Welcome back.
Another labor dispute at another South African mine has lead to violence. Police say four people were wounded Monday in a shooting at a gold mine east of Johannesburg. Meanwhile, a court has freed the first of 270 miners arrested during clashes with police last month. They had originally been charged with the murder of 34 of their colleagues. CNN's Nkepile Mabuse brings us more on the proceedings.
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a process that we expect to continue into the night. The first group of miners have already been inside the courts behind me and had their physical addresses verified and then they were let go, walked out of the gates of the court as a free man, many of them elated, singing songs of jubilation. But they also spoke to us about how they were treated by the police in custody. Some complained that they were assaulted by the police. We heard media reports of miners being tortured, confessions being tortured, allegedly, out of them by the police. The police watch dog, the independent police investigative director here in South Africa is investigating all of those charges.
We've also managed to speak to some family members who were meeting their loved ones here and some pretty distraught family members who still do not know where their loved ones are. The last time they saw them was when they left for their protest on the 16th of August which ended in bloodshed.
Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, South Africa.
RAJPAL: Let's take a look now at some of the other stories connecting our world tonight. There has been no claim of responsibility for a brazen attack in Pakistan targeting Americans. A suicide bomber drove a car filled with explosives straight into a U.S. consulate vehicle in Peshawar. Two Pakistanis were killed, more than two dozen people were injured.
The head of the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is urging the European Central Bank to do more to save the euro. Angel Gurria says the bank should throw more resources at the problem and consider buying government bonds to bring down borrowing costs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGEL GURRIA, ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT: You know, we're very good a penalizing the ones that have the wrong policies, we're very bad at helping, supporting, and even protecting those countries that do well, that have the right policies, but that are being attacked by the market.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJPAL: Well, we asked the former head of the ECB what he would do if he was still in charge. And you can watch that interview in just over 15 minutes.
The Unification church says the funeral of founder Sung Myung Moon will be held on September 15. Reverend Moon died of complications resulting of pneumonia Monday outside Seoul. He was 92. A controversial figure, Moon was revered by his followers, but condemned as a cult leader by his critics. The church says the funeral will be proceeded by two weeks of mourning.
And we are going to take a short break now, but when we come back, how bad can one man's sporting year get? With yet another 2012 upset for Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal.
RAJPAL: World number three Rafael Nadal has been ruled out for another two months as he struggles to beat a knee injury. The Spaniard has had a game since his shock second round defeat against number 100 seed Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon, missing both the Olympics and the U.S. Open as a result. He'll also sit out Spain's Davis Cup semifinal against the United States later this month as he continues his rehabilitation.
We want to bring in CNN's Patrick Snell from CNN Center for more on Nadal. And I guess many are wondering if surgery could be in Nadal's future there, Patrick?
PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDNET: Right. Hi, Monita.
Yeah, I mean, that's always on the cards isn't it? But it appears to be ruled out for now. Certainly the young Mallorcan could have had surgery a number of weeks ago, but obviously chose not to, seems to be at all costs looking to avoid surgery. We have an interview that Pedro Pinto traveled out to Majorca to speak with him. And it was certainly an indication, the impression was that he was on the mend, albeit slowly.
I don't foresee surgery now. I think if he was going to have surgery he would have already had it. He's obviously been advised by his medical team, Monita, that there will be no surgery.
But I think at 25 years of age this is worrying, this is worrying for a player. You look at Federer, now 31, injury free and looking supremely fit. And you worry for Nadal's future at 25 if he's going to be held back and hampered and miss key tournaments and of course the Davis Cup too because of this. And I, for one, want to see him back playing. I hope that once he gets this through, back in January he'll come back and fit as ever, never before. Hopefully we'll be seeing that.
Just a quick one on Mardy Fish, the American player, he's pulled out of the U.S. Open as well. He was due to play Roger Federer. He's pulled out on health grounds. You may recall a couple of months ago earlier in the season he missed two months with a heart problem. We certainly wish him well on that, Monita.
RAJPAL: Yeah, I'm with you on Nadal. Certainly -- he certainly has been missed on the courts in the various tournaments and the grand slams as well.
Let's switch gears no, so to speak, and Formula One. Some are wondering if the punishment fits the crime following a big crash at the Belgian grand prix. What's the verdict on that.
SNELL: Yeah, that's right. This was scenes of carnage at the weekend at Spa on Sunday, the Belgian grand prix. The race won, in the end by Jensen Button. But we'll show you again that carnage, the pile up as it were that took place.
Now it's been determined that the French driver Romain Grosjean was causing this. He's basically been said, hey, you're responsible. And the FIA have fined him some $62,000 for his role and that's certainly a worrying setback for him. Also Pastor Madonaldo as well as seen as one of the guilty party.
But of course the big question now as we debate this and try and spin the story forward is was the penalty actually fair?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED FOSTER, MOTOR SPORT MAGAZINE: I think it was. And I'm surprised we haven't had one of these sort of long before now. You know, we've seen so many similar moves by other F1 drivers like Vettel is renowned for doing it on Alonso Hawkenheim (ph). And he's also done it on Jensen Button. And it was almost identical to the Grosjean-Hamilton move, but Button backed out of it so there wasn't an accident.
So, you know, I think the FIA has done the right thing. And I don't think we want to get into a sort of state of affairs where everyone is being penalized for everything. They are, you know, grown-ups. They're Formula 1 drivers, but I think this kind of thing should have been stamped out a long time ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNELL: Well, fortunately, no one was hurt in that incident over the weekend, Monita?
RAJPAL: Patrick, thank you very much.
Still to come on here on Connect the World, he didn't apologize for what he said, but when he said it. Ahead, the controversy involving South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius.
But up next, Barack Obama spends Labor Day holiday hard at work on the campaign trail. The U.S. presidential race heats up. We'll bring that ahead.
RAJPAL: A warm welcome to our views across Europe and around the world.
Hello, I'm Monita Rajpal and these are the latest world headlines from CNN
Opposition activists in Syria say at least 325 people have been killed in violence around the nation Monday. Dozens are said to have died in an air strike north of Aleppo. This video attempts to show the aftermath of that attack which included civilian casualties.
A South African court has freed the first of 270 miners who were arrested after a fatal conflict with police at the Americana Mine last month. They were charged with the murder of 34 fellow workers even though police admitted to firing the fatal shot, prosecutors provisionally withdrew the charges after a public outcry.
A brazen attack on U.S. interests in Pakistan on Monday, a suicide bomber drove a car filled with explosives straight into a U.S. consulate vehicle in the city of Peshawar. Two Pakistanis were killed. U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has condemned the incident as terrorism.
Para-Olympian Oscar Pistorius has apologized for his timing after verbally blasting his competition minutes after Sunday's 200 meter. The South African runners have the winner, Alan Oliveria, had excessively long blades giving him a longer stride. Despite apologizing, Pistorius says, there is still an.
Did U.S. presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, get the traditional post convention boost in the poll. Well, according to the latest Gallop poll after the Republican Convention in Tampa last week, about 40 percent of Americans say they are more likely to vote for Romney but just about the same numbers say they are less likely. The key group here are the Independent voters also remains split. About 30 percent say they are still undecided which candidate they will vote for in November.
Meanwhile the Democrats are getting ready for their moment in the sun. The Democratic National Convention kicks off Tuesday.
CNN's Isha Sesay is in Charlotte, North Carolina where the energy is certainly building there.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely Monita.
A lot happening here in Charlotte with festivities kicking off today with Carolina Fest, an outdoor festival that was for families, to honor working families here in the United States on this Labor Day.
But inside the Time-Warner Cable Arena where we are, it's been a height of activity on the floor below me. A number of people are trying out the stage that you can see in the shot getting the feel for the place including the First Lady Michelle Obama who was here just a short time ago. She appeared on the stage, something of a surprised guest, I've got to say to have appeared on the stage waiving to those down there on the convention floor.
Everyone seemed very excited to see her, lots of cameras being whipped out quickly to take pictures of the first lady who will be giving a speech on Tuesday night at the convention, a very important speech, one in which we expect her to flesh out more details about her family life with the president, to humanize him, if you will, as well as appeal directly to female voters.
Meanwhile the president himself was on the campaign trail today, moving very quickly along today. He was in Toledo, Ohio as part of the multistate Road to Charlotte Tour, stumping and getting out that message that he is a better custodian of the economy than his opponent, Mitt Romney.
So a lot happening and the president having to answer a lot of criticism that he's faced from his time in office. And one of those has been somewhat cool -- cool, standoffish if you will, towards fellow Democrats and other law makers.
A White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin was able to sit down with the president for a wide ranging interview and she put that criticism to him. Take listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Sometimes, Michelle and I, not doing the circuit and going out to dinners with folks is perceived as us being cool.
It actually really has more to do with us being parents. When we're in town here in Washington, in the evenings, 6:30, we want to be at the dinner table with our kids and I want to be helping with their homework. And I think that's sometimes interpreted as, you know, me not wanting to, you know, be out there slapping backs and wheeling and dealing. That really has more to do with just the stage we are in our lives.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: If you're reelected, your girls will be older, they'll probably have their own weekend plans. They might not want to hang out with mom and dad.
OBAMA: That's already starting to happen, yes.
YELLIN: Do you think you might do more outreach of what you call backslapping with members of Congress?
OBAMA: My hope is that getting past this election, people will have an opportunity to maybe step back and say, you know what, the differences that divide us aren't as important as the common bonds we have as Americans, and some of that, I'm sure will require additional effort on my part and hopefully we will see more effort on the other side as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJPAL: Well, we will hear much more from the U.S. president on a special CNN presentation, that's "Obama Revealed, The Man, The President." It's an in depth look at Barack Obama and what happened when his lofty goals met the realities in Washington. That's tonight at 1:00 in the morning in London, and it 2:00 in the morning in Berlin.
RAJPAL: Well I man very pleased to say that we have a very special guest joining us here. Former New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson. Thank you so much for joining us.
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: Thank you, Monita, nice to be with you.
RAJPAL: Thank you so much.
SESAY: Now, you have heard the criticism of the president, that he didn't do enough to reach out and build relationship there in Washington, Jessica spoke to him, he said it just so happened that schmoozing, if you will took a backseat to being a parent.
Did he do enough? I mean how much of a shortcoming was that, the way he handled law makers or the fact he didn't change the way business is done in Washington.
RICHARDSON: Well, the most important thing he did is be a good parent, be with his family. And that should be reassuring to the American people that his family is a priority over politics.
Now, look, President Clinton was great at schmoozing, being with politicians. President Obama is, you know, he's a cooler kind of person. He's engaging, he is friendly, but when it's time to either spend dinner with a Congressman or a Senator, he prefers to be with his family.
You know, as former politician, I can understand that. So, I think the emphasis should be on his as a person. The American people like him and he has to convey to the American people that he can fix the economy. But what is his biggest asset is the American people trust and like him. They think he's more like them.
SESAY: Is it enough, though, to like him, bearing in mind the state of the economy, the high unemployment?
RICHARDSON: No, there's no question. I believe he will be reelected, deserves to be, but it will be very narrow.
I think in this convention, you're going to see him talk about what he wants to do with the economy, what he wants to do with immigration reform, what he wants to do with diversifying our energy sources, what he wants to do with foreign policy because I think he's had a good foreign policy.
You go around the world and I think if the election were not in the U.S., around the world, the president would win hands down.
SESAY: The Americans aren't paying attention to the issue of foreign policy and his opponent, Mitt Romney, didn't even bring up the war in Afghanistan in his speech in Tampa again because the economy is issue number one.
RICHARDSON: Well, there's no question economy is the issue number one. But I think Mitt Romney made a mistake in not talking about terrorism, Al Qaeda, the threats that we have, Russia, China -- in fact, what he said about Russia and China in previous statements, he's got to go fight them. That's not a good foreign policy for the United States.
I think what the president is going to say is here's how I'm going to fix the economy. He's got to be more specific. He's going to need the Congress to help him a little bit. But secondly, he's got to say, this is my vision for America in the next four years.
This is not a convention just to rally the base to get everybody excited. It's to layout what I want to do in the next four years in the area of energy, in the area of the environment, but most importantly on the economy, how I'm going to create some new jobs.
SESAY: You want to hear some specifics from the president --
RICHARDSON: I want to hear some specifics and I think we will.
SESAY: All right. Former Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, always great to see you.
RICHARDSON: Thank you.
SESAY: Thank you so much for joining us.
RICHARDSON: Thank you.
SESAY: So there you have it, Monita, Governor Richardson's clearly saying that he wants to get some specifics from the president and I think that's the feeling among may here in the United States. They want to hear quite clearly what he will do to fix the economy and why he should be given a second term.
RAJPAL: All right, all begins tomorrow there. All right. Isha thank you very much for that, Isha Sesay there in Charlotte.
RAJPAL: Coming up here on Connect the World. The summer holidays are over and it's the start of a crucial month for Europe.
Up next the former head of the ECB calls for unity.
RAJPAL: Just days ahead of a crucial meeting of the European Central Bank, there's been more bad news for Spain. Andalusia anis has become the fourth Spanish region to request immediate financial aid from Madrid, following in the footsteps of Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia. The added pressure on Spain's central government has reignited fears the country's heading for a full on sovereign bailout.
CNN's Al Gibbon now live from Madrid.
AL GIBBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Monita, now indeed now, under the (INAUDIBLE) taking its request a little different than the other three regions that you mentioned, it's asking the central government for a billion Euros, about $1.25 billion in -- as an advance on tax money it says it will get down the line, but it says it needs the money now because it's gotten a liquidity problem.
If you look right across the 17 Spanish regions, that is a key problem. They have run up massive debt and it's making the central government's job of trying to get the national debt down much harder.
Now the central government has set up 18 billion Euro fund to help the most troubled Spanish regions and that's what's Catalonia and Valencia and a smaller region called Murcia, all on the Mediterranean Coast to the east have done but they've already asked for half of that 18 billion, (INAUDIBLE) still hasn't decided if they're going to go that route in addition to this tax advance that they've asked for and that, some analysts say could possibly bust that fund.
We have German Chancellor Angela Merkel, coming to the capitol here on Thursday and she's expected to ask the Spanish Prime Minister some tough questions as he tries to convince her, we suppose that the Spanish economy is in a difficult position, but he will say it's controllable, she may question that.
RAJPAL: Al, thank you. Al Gibbon there in Madrid.
Well all eyes will be on the ECB this Thursday to see what action it will take to help ease the crisis. Some economists believe the bank will cut interest rates. All those are hoping for details of a bond buying program to bring down borrowing costs for troubled governments like Spain.
Jean-Claude Trichet, former president of the ECB told CNN that nonstandard measures should not be overlooked in a time of crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE ECB: I would say first, we still have delivered of the advance, the economy as a whole, a situation which is not normal and you can see that when you look, in particular, at the monetary policy and nonstandard measures that are taken.
Second, if Europe, we continue to have this race between the markets on the one hand and the progress which are made on a number of areas like banking union, like the good functioning or appropriate functioning of the overall support that the (ESFI) and the (INAUDIBLE) we give to the European countries but that is a slow process and so I see the same challenge between the speed of the markets and the speed of the progress that Europe is making.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of those nonstandard measures is buying the bonds of governments in a secondary market. Do you expect that to be one of the decision, one of the announcements this week coming from the European Central Bank?
TRICHET: I don't want myself to add to any anticipation. This is the job of the governing council. A number of --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were on the council, would you --
TRICHET: -- a number of things have been said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TRICHET: And we will see what is decided.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you see that as a temporary thing, if a bank -- Central Bank buys these bonds on the secondary market, it could only happen if the governments were doing their job, but also you don't like to see that happening a lot in -- over a long period of time.
TRICHET: No, I would say when you embark on nonstandard measure and there are nonstandard measure in Japan. They are (INAUDIBLE) from the U.S., the elements of the (INAUDIBLE). You can -- all your advance (INAUDIBLE) have embarked on nonstandard measure.
It seems to me that it is justified if you are in a situation where obviously you have the markets that are not functioning correctly so you have to substitute or to counter markets (INAUDIBLE) and a hampering the transmission of the monetary policy.
But it also gives time to the other partners which are not leader governments and their policies but also the private sector. And the message of the Central bank is and rightly so, we are understanding that you are doing all what is necessary to get back to a normal situation and it is on that understanding that we are doing some nonstandard measures. But it should be exactly appropriate to the situation to the dysfunctioning of the markets and of course, on the basis of the hard job being done by the other partners. Otherwise, it would only serve as (INAUDIBLE) not to correct the absurd policies that have been pursued in the past or the advances that have to be corrected today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At any time during this crisis, were you worried that the Euro would break apart? Were you worried that Greece was going to either be expelled or somehow leave, despite the fact there's no way in the treaty to leave.
TRICHET: The currency is solid and back by its (INAUDIBLE). On the other hand, you have countries and some countries have real difficulty and that they feel why they have to do the job.
But my sentiment is that the will of the countries in question, and it was demonstrated very clearly by the functioning of their democracy. And also the collective will of the other countries are very clear, they want to maintain the (INAUDIBLE) and, again as I said, there is a haste between the rapidity of the (INAUDIBLE) they are taking and the market themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJPAL: While Euro Zone leaders may seem confident they can keep Europe together but the European people aren't so sure. Across the continent, opinions are increasingly polarized on just how to get Europe profitable again.
Just two years ago, talk of a Greece exit from the Euro Zone was unthinkable, but a new Financial Times Harris Poll shows the idea is gaining popularity.
Take a look at these numbers here. What asked of Greece, should stay in the Euro Zone, only a quarter of Germans said yes, that's not good news for Angela Merkel who's coming under pressure from her European counterparts to give Greece more time. Adding to that, over 50 percent of Germans think Greece should leave the bloc followed by 32 percent of French.
Now, as for whether or not they think Greece can actually repay its loans, only 26 percent of Germans think Greece will actually be able to pay back it's bailout loans. And that's a stark contrast to 77 percent of Italians and 57 percent of Spaniards seemingly more sympathetic of their southern neighbor.
Well on the other side of the Atlantic, business owners aren't taking any chances. A New York Times reports that some of the biggest American firms are already preparing for a (INAUDIBLE) according to the report, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch is ready to put trucks full of cash long the Greek border to ensure their clients can get money to people -- to pay people's wages that a car giant, Ford has reported configured its computer systems to be able to deal with a new Greek currency and VISA has apparently prepared its system so it can swiftly deal with a transition to a new currency.
You're watching Connect the World. When we come back, a race, a loss and an outburst, the poster boy of the Paralympics called the competition unfair after his surprising defeat. We'll bring you the details in just a moment.
RAJPAL: The world's most famous Paralympian has run into a controversy. Oscar Pistorius has apologized for the timing of comments he made after his surprising defeat in Sunday's 200 meter sprint. The South African sprinter lost to Brazilian, Alan Oliveria. And minutes after the race, Pistorius accused his rival and others of wearing, quote, "unbelievably long blades."
Despite his apology, so-called Blade Runner says he still believes officials need to change the rules to prevent some runner from having an unfair advantage.
But do longer blades really give an athlete that extra edge?
CNN's Erin McLaughlin asks the experts.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is known as the Blade Runner, the fastest man with no legs. Oscar Pistorius famously fought to be able to compete against able bodied competitors. A court eventually overruled concerns that his prosthetic limbs give him an unfair advantage. So it's perhaps ironic that Pistorius now stoked controversy over the size of another man's blades.
Brazilian runner Alan Fontesish Cardozo Oliveria came from behind to defeat Pistorius during the mend 200 meter final on Sunday night.
Immediately following the race, Pistorius questioned the blade size of Oliveria (INAUDIBLE) a Bronze medallist, American Blake Leeper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAKE LEEPER, BRONZE MEDALIST: A year ago, these guys were over here, they're a lot taller and you can't compete.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Pistorius later expressed regret over the timing of the comments. But are his concerns valid?
Donna Fisher, who is part of a team responsible for repairing prosthetics at the Paralympics Park, says not so fast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Is it true that the length of the blade correlates to how fast that athlete is?
DONNA FISHER: No, no, no, I don't think the length of the blade has anything to do with that. The length of the blade is directly related to the size of the athlete, it's what that athlete then can -- the power that they can instill in the blades when they run is what makes them go faster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Fisher says that the size of the blade is determined by the athlete's body height and the limb length, a process that is closely regulated by the International Paralympics Committee.
The IPC released a statement in response to Pistorius saying that all athletes had complied with its rules.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The longer the blades are, the more like it is to walk on high heels and the more energy has to put in. What we are trying to do with the athletes and what the athletes try to do is to reduce the amount of energy that they use so that at the end of the race they can power through the line.
MCLAUGHLIN: So what is Oscar Pistorius saying exactly?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think that's what we have to wait to see what comes out of the story. As technology gets better, then I think the performances of these athletes with disabilities get better, but so does their training. And it's what they put in. The blades don't do the running, it's athlete that does the running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Erin McLaughlin, CNN London.
RAJPAL: And if you want to find out what's happening at the Paralympics, always logon to our live blog it's at cnn.com/Paralympics.
In tonight's parting shot, after the queen's spectacular helicopter jump at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, remember that? Another British royal falls from the sky, this time it was the turn of His Royal Highness Prince Andrew who repelled down Europe's tallest building the Shard in a charity event earlier today.
The 52-year-old was one of 40 people who took the plunge and managed to raise more than $450,000 in donations.
Afterwards the daredevil Duke said the most difficult part was walking up the building stairs.
I'm Monita Rajpal and that was Connect the World, thank you for watching. The world headlines are next after this short break.