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UN Report Raises Fears Of Growing Influence Of Jihadists In Syria; Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy Battle It Out

Aired September 20, 2012 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: And tonight on Connect the World - he fought against Libya's dictator, now this young Libyan is joining Syria's revolution against President Assad.

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

ANDERSON: Well, the UN has described the presence of foreign fighters in Syria as extremely alarming. Tonight, what they may mean for the country's revolution.

Also this hour, why thousands of Indians believe global retail giants have no place on their high streets.

And going head to head: the tiger and the intimidator tee off in golf's season finale.

A very good evening from London. I'm Becky Anderson, this is connect the world here on CNN. First up, a devastating scene at a petrol station in Syria. Opposition activists say at least 55 people were killed in a government air strike there. They say bombs hit a petrol station in a northern town causing a massive explosion. One activist says the petrol station was packed with customers because it was the only one still open in the area.

I'm going to bring in Nick Paton-Walsh, CNN's correspondent in the region. He's following the story tonight from Beirut.

What are the details as we know them at this point?

NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A little bit of context here, Becky, about where this gas station was. It's about 21 kilometers south of an important border crossing with Turkey seized by Syrian rebels yesterday from the Syrian army, causing Turkish schools to be closed. The gunfight there.

Now this to the south of it may well have been attacked in some sort of retaliation. Clearly a government jet flying in, dropping a missile on what it saw there, a large collection of vehicles in an area which is often sparsely populated, we're not sure about that for certain but it does seem to be remarkably close to yesterday's symbolic rebel victory.

You can see the absolute devastation on the ground there. This death toll having risen already today from 20 up to 55, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick, Syria's government has repeatedly said that it is fighting foreign terrorists in Syria. Most of the rebels are as we understand at least Syrian, but is a growing presence of foreigners who have come to join the fight? I know you've got more for us on that. Explain.

PATON-WALSH: Well, the Syria government as recently as today, in fact, said they'd killed 100 Afghans in the commercial hub of Aleppo. It's unlikely they would have killed that many rebels. And all of them would have been Afghan in one singular occasion, but it goes to show how eagerly they're pushing this idea that the enemy they face is effectively foreign extremism. But many other observers you talk to play down their number, their influence and also claim that they are entirely radical in their approach.

We have obtained video from a journalist who spent time amongst rebel ranks in Aleppo. And this explains the story of one Libyan student steeled by his own country's civil war who chose to join in with Aleppo based rebels.


PATON-WALSH: Here in Aleppo, the fight is mostly Syrian to Syrian, street to street, but on the radio it's for us. A foreign fighter, he is Libyan,

He says he braves the regime's tank shells, because his fight for Libya compels him to also fight here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lived this moment you know, we felt this moment, so you know as it was in Libya. You cannot say this is not freedom fighters. They protest to go free. The governments around the world, I don't know why they only watch. They don't give us support. They don't give us a no-fly zone.

PATON-WALSH: Libya got NATO's help, Syria for now gets his.

UNIENTIFIED MALE: He looks like Gadhafi, you know. He likes to speak, not speaking, he likes to ark, you know barking. For one, one, two hours. He never stops, he never stops lying.

PATON-WALSH: The Syrian regime blames foreign radicals for the uprising trying to conjure up fears of a takeover by Islamist extremists. While Faras embraces religion, he dismisses extremism and al Qaeda altogether.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I am only student. I left my, my money, my student, my family. We're not al Qaeda. We're not coming to broke this country, we came here to help.

PATON-WALSH: There could be thousands of foreign fighters in Syria, some radical, some not. While rebels may want battle hardened fighters here now, they may regret that when the extremists decide to say, says one expert.

AHMAD MOUSSALLI, EXPERT ON ISLAMIC MOVEMENTS: I think they don't have any benefit in having them, but I think at this point, because of their weaker weaponry and training and ability, they may need them to fight -- if you assume the fighting is going to be finished, I think they are left to stay. And what we might witness is something like Yemen where the foreign fighters will be able to control certain areas or cities.

PATON-WALSH: Faras does say he wants an Islamic government for Syria, but he wants to go back home, that's where he learns about loss. He still wears the shirt of his brother who died fighting in Libya. And in Syria, he's already lost a Libya friend to a sniper's bullet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sniper was shooting, one here, and the second was here, which is the one and the third one in the stomach. So you can see this.

PATON-WALSH: In the brutal Syrian battle for every corner, the foreigners here and the concerns they bring of radicalism might be attracting more attention than their numbers merit. But the UN believes their influence is growing and that some of it is radical. And that, as this war drags on, may well grow.


PATON-WALSH: And I think fear of this foreign element is born of fear of the unknown. Nobody really has a comprehensive assessment of how many, what their ideology is. Are they allied towards al Qaeda, or simply just freedom fighters trying to help their fellow Arabs. The UN saying earlier this week, though, that the longer this conflict drags on the longer it provides opportunities for radical elements to step in and perhaps bring elements of extremism into rebel ranks, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, Nick, thank you for that. Nick Paton-Walsh with his report for you tonight.

As Nick pointed out, the implications of foreign fighters in Syria could linger long after this war is over whenever that might be.

And let's talk about this with Ausama Monajed. He's a member of the opposition Syrian National Council. And before we move on, Nick just eluded to a UN report out this week about the growing infiltration of Syria by foreign fighters. The chief investigator for the UN said for the first time they had evidence that Islamic fundamentalists are joining the fight, that wasn't the report that Nick had there, but he certainly suggested that he'd heard the same.

Let's have a listen to what the UN had to say. And I want you to respond.


PAULO SERGIO PINHEIRO, HEAD OF UN HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATIVE PANEL: Some of them that can be classified as jihadists. Sometimes they fight together with some armored groups of the opposition, other times they go by themselves. They have their own agenda. And we share this information with the Human Rights Council. I think it's one of the most alarming elements in the present stage of the civil war in Syria.


ANDERSON: Ausama, what do you know of those who were joining the fight and what their cause may be? And how much harm might this do for your cause?

AUSAMA MONAJED, SYRIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL MEMBER: I think the (inaudible) jihadists were joining the fight in Syria is overestimated and also the impact...

ANDERSON: Even by the UN?

MONAJED: Yes, because the numbers are still very, very small comparing to the numbers of army defectors and civilians defending the neighborhoods and towns and villages. That's number one.

Number two, we do expect that to increase that kind of trend over the coming few weeks and months, because you can't expect people who are defending and risking everything they have to defend their lives and families and loved one and they're asking for ammunition, asking for weapons, asking for money, and they're not getting it from outside to just sit and wait to be slaughtered. They get money from anywhere at this stage.

ANDERSON: Well, let's talk about where they're getting their money from, because they are getting money from the outside. And we're well aware of that.

But let's just talk about who we think these rogue elements are. Are we talking about tens, hundreds, thousands. What you're evidence on the ground? If you say it's over egged or overestimated, how many are we talking about?

MONAJED: It's still in the few hundreds. Even intelligence agencies who operate in the region around the borders are even inside Syria, they estimate still in the hundreds. But because those jihadists always great and impose a strategic threat to any conflict situation then it's always looked at with a magnifying glass, that's number one.

Number two, the - money, or the support that is getting to the fighters of the Free Syrian Army, or rebel fighters on the ground is not necessarily reaching them, or reaching everyone. And then they're left with a destiny to cooperate with anyone who is able. And that's what the al Qaeda is now and jihadists are exploiting in Syria, these kind of opportunities where it can penetrate, infiltrate and buy the loyalties of these fighters.

ANDERSON: Despite the best efforts of the likes of Saudi and Qatar and the sort of corridors they and the Syrian opposition were trying to build up on the borders, you say that not everything, not all arms and money is getting in.

You can't, though, be surprised that the west is at least perceived to be fairly reluctant to do any more whilst there is this presence of other fighters potentially allied with al Qaeda elements.

MONAJED: The hesitancy and the - the lack of support has been there before the jihadists emerged or appeared in Syria. And the reluctancy will remain there.

Even (inaudible) jihadists on the ground. If there's a will by the international community to intervene, there will always be that will.

Now I think everyone now even in major players in the region they pretty much have a very clear idea and understanding who - what's the map inside. Who is who. Who is doing what. Who is getting money from where. It's pretty much now clear to those people. And if there is a support that needs to be done, for instance through the military councils, which is a secular ex-officers of the army, then support - the (inaudible support to get to the right people and to eliminate or minimize the impact that these jihadists or fighters can have on the rebel fighters.

ANDERSON: Doens't do any favors when Assad says that the violence is all down to foreign fighters, but I'm assume that you'd suggest that it was just the president talking again.

MONAJED: Well, again it's - he's been saying this since the Thursday you know kids went into the administrations and shouted denouncing the regime.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much indeed for coming in. Been a regular guest on this show over the last 18 months. I wish we didn't have to talk, but unfortunately we still do.

Still to come here on the show, while the Syrian conflict appears to have no end in sight, post-revolution Libya tries to look to the future after the terrorist attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi. More from there coming up.

And an actress in a film that's caused international protest says she's suing the movie's producer for fraud.

And intimidator a Tiger, no mean feat, but many think Rory McIlroy has managed it. More on Connect the World after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you in London this Thursday evening, just after quarter past 9:00.

Libyan and U.S. officials have attended a memorial service in Tripoli for U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Now you'll remember that they were killed on a rocket attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in Libya last week.

Today, U.S. press secretary Jay Carney says that it was self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

Well, CNN's Arwa Damon was at the memorial in Tripoli today. She joins me now on the phone from there - Arwa.


It was in fact a fairly complex attack that took place at the U.S. consulate on September 11 followed by an attack on what was supposed to be a safe house that then in total killed of course the ambassador as well as three others.

Now we spoke with Libya's prime minister elect Mustafa Abushagur right after that memorial took place in Libya's capital Tripoli. He did enclose some more specifics as to what the government believes did take place, saying that so far they have detained eight individuals who were directly involved (inaudible). Said that in total, the (inaudible) people (inaudible)...

ANDERSON: Now, unfortunately we've just lost the line to Arwa. There you hear some of what she said having just come back from the memorial for the slain U.S. ambassador. And she has just spoken to the prime minister there in Libya. Her report on that interview will be out on CNN in the next couple of hours. So do watch out for that.

If we can get Arwa back, of course, during this hour we will do it. It's been an important day in Libya.

A look at some of the other stories connecting our world tonight. And at least eight police have been injured as protests in Pakistan's capital turned violent. Hundreds of anti-western demonstrators threw rocks and bottles in the diplomatic district of Islamabad where many foreign embassies are located. Now they were voicing anger over the anti-Islam film made in the U.S. as well as satirical cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed recently printed by a French magazine.

Well, an actress who featured in that movie says she is suing the film's producer. Cindy Lee Garcia said she's attempting to have the film removed from YouTube and Google. She claimed she was duped and that the script she received bore no resemblance to the movie trailer she appears in.


CINDY LEE GARCIA, ACTRESS: When I originally cast for the film, the name of the film was Desert Warriors. And it was supposed to be based on things were 2,000 years ago on set Mohammed or Muslims were never mentioned, (inaudible) I've shared the actual script with the media. They have it. CNN has that, the actual script. So the words that I spoke had nothing to do to insult Mohammed or the Muslims in any way.


ANDERSON: Well, Georgia's interior minister has resigned amid a prison scandal there that has sparked a national outcry. Thousands of people took to the streets of Tbilisi protesting graphic video footage showing prisoners being abused. Georgian television aired the video on Tuesday showing guards beating and sexual abusing male inmates. And I warn you that this report from Matthew Chance contains graphic and disturbing video that some of you may find distressing.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are the graphic images that shocked Georgia: uniformed prison guards could be seen beating and kicking inmates and carrying out brutal sexual assaults. One prisoners is shown being raped with a broomstick while tied to the bars of his cell.

Today's now demonstrators in the capital Tbilisi have taken to the streets in anger and disgust. Within two weeks the parliamentary elections here and this scandal has become a major issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not normal in a democracy in a country, a European country that are prisoners that are raped and tortured in the prisons. So we want this system to come to an end.

CHANCE: Government reaction has been immediate. Hundreds of prison guards have been suspended and a cabinet minister responsible for prisons has resigned. The Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili facing a strong opposition challenge next month has appeared on state telvision too vowing to bring those responsible to justice.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA (through translator): What's happened is a disastrous act against human rights and dignity. Everyone who took any part of this action deserves the most severe punishment and justice will be done.

CHANCE: But officials have also accused the well funded Georgian opposition of orchestrating the scandal for political gain. Prison guards, they say, may have been paid to film the abuse. That's rejected, though, by the opposition itself, which says these appalling scenes show the current Georgian leadership in its true and violent light.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from London here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson. We're going to take a very short break for you now. When we come back on the show, the world's best golfers tee off at a tour championship. Can Tiger tame Rory and the rest o this star studded field? Well, I'm going to tell you what the latest is from there after this.


ANDERSON: Well, the world's 30 best golfers are battling for the tour championship in Atlanta. Patrick Snell joining us from East Lake Golf Club for the very latest. Pat, who is taking command?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Becky, an elite field of 30. I didn't make it this year. 30 of the very best of golf are here. Beautiful afternoon here in Atlanta. And I'm going to take you without further ado to the top of the leaderboard here. It's already pretty exciting this day one, of course, of the 2012 tour championship. We can see already in the clubhouse the South African born Brit Justin Rose 4 under par for the championship already, a superb 66 from Rosy.

And Bo Ven Pelt, the 37 year old American veteran player at 4 under as well. He too shot a 66.

But look who just snuck on to the leaderboard, making his first appearance of the day, America's former world number one Tiger Woods himself at 3 under par now. He is through 13 holes Tiger Woods. He was 33 for the front line. Looking rather menacingly. More on him and his duel with Rory McIlroy in just a moment.

We've got Adam Scott at 2 under par. Adam Scott came again so close to winning the British open championship. Ernie Els eventually taking that Becky.l

But it's looking really good for Justin Rose right now. He's 24th in the FedEx standings coming into it, so he has high hopes of going on to win this for a first ever time.

He's playing in his fourth event here at the tour championship. He's never had a top 10 finish. Right now I'd say, Becky, I'd say he has had a pretty good start.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. All right. And we're backing him, of course, because we want to partisan about the old backing the English golfers.

But listen, let's get back to Tiger Woods and Rory, this has been the talk going into this tournament of course. And we're told at least that Tiger sees Rory as the intimidator. How do you see this playing out?

SNELL: Yeah, according to Greg Norman, of course, Australia's former world number one and two time major winner. He believes, or at least he said, that he feels that Tiger is now intimidated by Rory. I personally don't subscribe to that theory, neither does Rory himself saying, look, I'm just a 23 year old from Northern Ireland.

But the two are out on the course. It's quite clear, Becky, there is a rivalry there. I don't think for one minute that Tiger Woods is intimidated by Rory. Look at the statue, the difference in size between the two of them. Woods is a walking man mountain. Let's just say Rory at 5 foot 9 is not. I think it's more a case of, look, Tiger wishes he could have the years back. He's going to be 37 very shortly. Rory McIlroy at 23 has around 16 - around 15 years - let me get my math right - 14 years on him. And I just think it's a case of look, Tiger Woods wishes he were a younger man again. I think Woods, he sees Rory McIlroy as a young golfer with the world at his feet.

And right now just to update you, Rory is playing with Tiger, of course. He's 1 under par. So Rory McIlroy going very nicely right now, though he's two adrift of Tiger Woods, his playing partner, Becky.

ANDERSON: If you're telling me that Tiger Woods is 37, that means I can effectively remember him playing now for 20 years which is really, really scary. That makes me feel old. So never mind how old or young Rory McIlroy is.

Thank you for that.

It's going to be a great weekend of sports. Pat there with the latest from Atlanta.

Still to come on Connect the World, why India's small traders are shutting up shop in an attempt to keep their doors open.

And there's a surprise new delivery at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. Find out what or who after this.

And dancing her way to the top, we go backstage with the Bolshoi ballet's prima ballerina.


ANDERSON: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson, you're watching CNN, these are the very latest headlines.

Syrian activists say at least 55 people were killed in a government air strike Thursday. They say bombs hit a crowded petrol station in a northern town, causing a massive explosion. The area has seen recent fighting between rebels and the government troops.

Libyan officials have been offering their condolences in Tripoli for the victims of last week's US consulate attack. Members of the US government flew in for the special memorial service honoring Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans killed in the attack in Benghazi.

Traders in India have staged a one-day strike over moves to allow global supermarket chains to compete with local shops. The government says its plans will help improve the country's supply chains, but small store owners claim they'll be put out of business.

Anger in Georgia over images of prison guards beating, torturing, and sexually assaulting inmates. Georgia's president called the guards' actions, quote, "an horrific affront to human rights," and the country's interior minister has resigned.

All right, back to one of our headline stories tonight. For many of us, it would be hard to imagine our weekly shop without the big supermarket chain, wouldn't it? But in India, buying your groceries is a far more intimate affair. Sumnima Udas has been on the streets of New Delhi to discover why local traders there are fearful for their future.



SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Indian traders up in arms. They say the country has sold out to Western corporate pressures after the government announced it would allow foreign supermarkets, like Wal-Mart and Tesco, to sell directly to India consumers.

PRAVEEN KHANDELWAL, CONFEDERATION OF ALL INDIA TRADERS (through translator): If these companies come here, it would be impossible for small traders to compete. There are 700 million people who do these small jobs in India, so the real threat is to this country's manual laborers, the small traders, farmers, the poor, who earn less than 20 rupees a day.

UDAS: Protestors marched through the streets of Delhi, urging retailers to obey the nationwide call to strike.

On a normal working day, these busy streets account for more than 90 percent of India's retail sector, and nearly 15 percent of the country's GDP.

Kori (ph) and Sons has been selling everything from rice to soap for the past 70 years.

MULCHAND GUPTA, SHOP OWNER: This is my grandfather.

UDAS: It's a family-run business. A third generation proprietor, Mulchand Gupta, is worried about the future.

GUPTA (through translator): An ant will never survive in front of an elephant. One Wal-Mart comes, there's no way small shops will be able to survive.

UDAS: Muhammad Gautam has been coming to this store for the past 20 years. He says no big supermarket will be able to match the services he gets here.

MUHAMMAD UMAR GAUTAM, SHOPPER: Sometimes, if I don't have money, I don't need to think about any -- I have to rush to my home to bring money. They provide very kind service.

UDAS: Analysts say as long as small traders offer this kind of service, they don't have to worry.

ANKUR BISEN, ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNOPAK: The market in India is big enough. It's about $500 billion market. And this market presents opportunities both for organized retail as well as mom and pop stores to coexist.

UDAS: The government says foreign retailers will help improve the supply chain of products from farm to shelf and create new jobs. But many here simply aren't buying it.

KHANDELWAL (through translator): If multinational superstores are really so good for the economy, then why is America's economy in such a bad shape? If that could happen there, then what magic wand does India have so that when the multinationals come here, everything will change for the better?

UDAS: Small traders and various political parties are ramping up the pressure, hoping lawmakers take notice.

UDAS (on camera): But the government says it will not back down, despite the nationwide opposition. At least one major political ally is threatening to pull out, and there's fear more may follow, potentially making it even harder to govern.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


ANDERSON: So, why is India's government pressing ahead with such an unpopular measure? Well, to help answer this, I'm joined from New York by Ruchir Sharma, the head Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley investment management and the author of the book "Breakout Nations."

Ruchir, thank you for joining us. You can certainly sympathize with the small shopkeeper. This is going to be tough. You can also understand the government's argument. But is this right at this stage for the Indian economy?

RUCHIR SHARMA, HEAD OF EMERGING MARKETS, MORGAN STANLEY: Yes, I think so, because I think that this reform measure, in terms of retail FDI needs to be seen in a larger context, that the government's reform track record, ever since it's been in office since 2004, has been very lackluster. There's not much economic reform that this government has carried out.

Now, they have their back to the wall. They have the threat of a ratings downgrade, and the fact that their fiscal deficit is out of control and that foreign capital is not flowing to India the way it once did for much of the last decade.

And in this environment, the government is finally doing something, as most emerging market governments, it's reforming when it's had its back to the wall.

ANDERSON: Looking to liberalization of not just the retail market but the airline market, as well, and an increase in diesel price, which really, really will hurt the man on the street, we know that and will -- will cause some sort of inflationary effect.

Let's take a look at India's GDP numbers, because certainly sitting in Europe, we look at these numbers and want to weep. 2010, 10.8 percent. The numbers even through 2013 are good, though not as good. 2011, 7.1 percent, 2012 6.1, and a projected 6.5 percent growth rate into 2013, compared to China's projected growth rate of 8.4 percent.

But when we look at the Indian versus German GDP forecasts, at least, India 2012, 6.1, Germany 1.0. How willing will the government be to listen to the argument of the majority -- or the majority of small retailers, if not the majority of voters -- if they just know they've got to press ahead at this point?

SHARMA: Well, I think -- first, putting those numbers in context, these numbers will be revised down. The Indian economy did not grow at 7 percent last year, and this year it's nowhere close to growing at 7. It's possibly currently tracking about 5.5 percent or so, and so is China. I think all emerging markets are slowing down, these numbers are going to be revised down.

And the other point is that I don't think it's quite fair to compare GDP growth rates of countries such as India with that of Germany just because India's per capita income is so much lower.


SHARMA: At only $1500. It needs to grow at a much quicker pace to eradicate poverty and to reach the sort of wealth that some of the European countries have already reached. So, the problems are very different.

I think in India, when you go on the ground there, what you feel is that there's a lot of disappointment about the economic performance in India on the ground today. GDP growth is slowing down. Those expectations of 8.5, 9 that we had come to expect for much of last decade, GDP growth is down to 5.5 or so, currently. And that feels like a mild recession in India.

So, there's a lot of pressure to get reform back on. And inflation has been very high in India. Compared to the global average of around 2 to 3 percent, inflation in India is running at close to 10 percent. And I think that liberalizing the retail sector is one move which should help India get its inflation act together and inflation come off.

So -- now, like with any reform move, there'll be a lot of opposition. And I think the opposition here is a bit more because of political reasons that a lot of the opposition party senses this government is weak and has been weak for a long period of time, and they don't want the government to sort of get back on track again, because that's the duty of the opposition. So it's fair game.

ANDERSON: Two sides to what is being perceived as this economic miracle in India, and we thank you very much, indeed, for sharing your thoughts with us this evening, there. The story out of India and your expert on the subject tonight, Ruchir Sharma, head of Emerging Markets for Morgan Stanley.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London on CNN. Still to come, she went from this -- to this. After the break, an inspiring story of how pure passion and determination can lead to success.


ANDERSON: Well, she puts in hours and hours of practice, and now her sheer desire to be the best has paid off. Svetlana Zakharova is a world- famous prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet. She says dance is not work, it's the reason for her existence. Take a look at this.


SVETLANA ZAKHAROVA, PRINCIPAL DANCER, BOLSHOI BALLET (through translator): Before the performance, I try to be closed off to everyone so that I can contain my emotions.

When I am in the wings, it is hard for me to describe my condition. Courage and joy on one hand, and on the other, entire wild nervousness.

When I'm rehearsing, I feel like a pupil, not a ballerina. But for some reason, when I get out on the stage, I feel the complete opposite. This transformation is quite unique. Something happens from within and you understand that human abilities are limitless. And sometimes, you end up doing things which you didn't even know you were capable of.



ZAKHAROVA (through translator): My mother dreamt of being a ballerina, but as she was an only child, her parents wouldn't let her move to another city to study, and all her life, she has regretted it.

We lived in Ukraine, and she puts me in for an audition at the Kiev Ballet School, and from that moment on, my life changed forever. I went on to study at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Such great dancers studied there. The thick walls were saturated with history, and I walked around just touching them.

I did not miss a single class, irrespective of the fact I was ill or I had pain in my leg or in my back. I wanted to learn everything and miss nothing.

It took me a few years to get used to ballet. My child's body was not ready to handle such strains. Legs that were used to walking upright had to be twisted, and my back had always to be straight. I remember that all the time I was crying and I wanted to go home.

But when I started to get high grades, it was a huge incentive. I wanted to get better and better.

In order to be a world-famous prima ballerina, first of all, you need the physical attributes, a huge ability to work, charisma, and a huge desire to be number one.

I practiced a huge number of hours a day. I remember preparing for Cinderella, and I would come in at 10:00 in the morning and leave at 10:00 at night, the whole day rehearsing.

All ballets are saturated with big techniques. The task of an artist is not to turn his technique into a sport, but to perfect to a point where you are no longer thinking and can instead convey emotion and be really here on stage, because a dance is all about emotions, and the audience comes to be enchanted.


ZAKHAROVA (through translator): In order to become a prima ballerina, very many traits are needed. First of all, diligence. I always tried to watch and learn something new. We learned from the French how to dance with the foot. Russians like to dance with hands. Also, discipline. When I was 13, 14, my peers were going to discos, the no-go territory for us.

Ballet is not just a profession for me, it is my life, and that is why when people ask me that I sacrifice many things, I cannot understand what I sacrificed.

It is not simple work for me, it is my existence in this world, and it is horrible for me to think that one day it will end.


ZAKHAROVA (through translator): The most important time for us is the final applause. All the hours, months, years you spend practicing in the studio are all for this. Over time, I have learned to savor this joyous moment.

Throughout the performance, all my emotions and strength I give to the audience, and at the end, they return all to me. In our profession, this moment is probably the most important.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, a surprise newcomer at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. That story up next.


ANDERSON: Well, there is a new arrival at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, and I'm not tonight talking about Prince Harry. A female soldier gave birth at the base this week. Pregnant women aren't allowed to serve on the front line, but this woman claims that she didn't know she was carrying a child.

Well, how is that possible? I'm joined now by Belinda Phipps, the chief executive of the UK's National Childbirth Trust. She says surprise births are not uncommon. Well, they are uncommon, but they're not unheard of.

Forgive me for stating the bleeding obvious, here, but first thing I guess you can say is women generally put on quite a lot of weight when they get pregnant.


ANDERSON: Aside from other obvious signs, how can you know you're not pregnant?

PHIPPS: Well, women experience pregnancy differently, and some people feel terribly sick and they look awful and they feel dreadful. But others seem to breeze through quite OK. Some babies move a lot in utero, other babies don't move very much at all. So, it is possible. Some women genuinely don't know.

And I think it this particular case, you've got a woman who's on the front lines, she's in what will seem to her like life or death situations, she's very focused on herself, what's happening around her, and probably much less focused on her body. So, it's perfectly possible that she doesn't -- she didn't know.

Also, when you go to an NCT Bump for Babies and you line up women all at 30 weeks pregnant, the bumps vary enormously. So, it's hard to guess how many weeks through they are, just because it looks so different.

ANDERSON: There isn't a lot of research on this, but we did find one Serbian study which estimates that -- let me get these numbers right -- 1 in 2,455 pregnancies are undetected until the second half of pregnancy, and 1 out of 7,225 women don't know that they are carrying a child until they give birth.

What this study doesn't tell us is whether they really, really don't know, or whether they are possibly in a state of denial, which I know you perhaps see more of than simple, unbelievable shock, I can't believe it.

PHIPPS: Yes. Certainly in the UK, we know that women who don't have antenatal care, don't report to their midwife, have worse outcomes, but those women tend to be women that are concealing a pregnancy because they are very young, they don't think they should be pregnant.

Maybe they've had an affair and the baby is not who the father thinks it is, or they might be taking drugs or having abused alcohol, and they're very afraid to admit they're pregnant or very afraid that their baby might be taken away.

And it's a shame when that happens, because not having antenatal care means that they're likely to have worse outcomes for them and the baby. But there are women who genuinely don't know, who just have no idea.

ANDERSON: We're told tonight that there aren't a lot of maternity services out at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, so I know they had to fly in a couple of specialists out from here, and mum and baby are coming back. That's good news, isn't it?

PHIPPS: It is good news. I think it would be quite an experience giving birth there, because in the UK, we've now learned that if you want to support a woman in labor, you need to do all those things like give her a quiet, peaceful place. But having a baby in Afghanistan, it will it have been treated like a medial emergency.

ANDERSON: Yes, sadly, it hasn't been the safest of places recently --


ANDERSON: -- Camp Bastion. So, perhaps she'll just be happy she's on her way home. Anyway, we wish her the best, as we do the baby. Always a pleasure. Thank you very much, indeed, for coming on.

And in tonight's Parting Shots, if Elton John sang "Sorry seems to be the hardest word," in the UK, the deputy prime minister has also apologized for breaking an election promise not to raise university tuition fees.

So, we sent Phil Han off to find out whether this was causing a little bit of buzz online, and he found out it was.


NICK CLEGG, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: We made a pledge, we didn't stick to it, and for that, I am sorry.

PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER (voice-over): He's very sorry. Britain's deputy PM Nick Clegg released a YouTube clip last night apologizing for his party not keeping its promise. The Liberal Democrat apology has become so popular that it's been remade into an internet hit.

CLEGG (voice digitized and put to music): Sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so, so, sorry.

HAN: In fact, that song will be released as a charity single. But Clegg's not the only politician to publicly beg for forgiveness. Perhaps the most famous of all, former president Bill Clinton. His affair with Monica Lewinsky grabbed headlines around the world, and after many denials, came this --

BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 1998: Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong.

HAN: It wasn't his first apology, either.

CLINTON: I don't think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned. The sorrow I feel is genuine.

HAN: Other presidents weren't so lucky. The Watergate scandal cost Richard Nixon his job.

RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 1974: I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.

HAN: Nixon later went on to apologize years later during an interview with David Frost in 1977.

NIXON: Friends, I let down the country. I let down our system of government.

HAN: But politicians aren't the only ones to publicly express contrition. Tiger Woods, famous for his success on the links but less perfect in his personal life, offered this apology for having an affair.

TIGER WOODS, GOLF CHAMPION: I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior.

HAN: His golf career never recovered. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

NIXON: Au revoir. We'll see you again.

HAN: Phil Han, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, Thursday evening out of London just before 10:00. The world news headlines follow this short break, do stay with us.