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CONNECT THE WORLD

Georgian President Concedes Election Defeat to Opposition Party; 25 Killed In Nigerian University Attack

Aired October 2, 2012 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKHAIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA (through translator): It is evident that the Georgia Dream Coalition has achieved the advantage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: The Georgian president admits defeat, paving the way for the country's first democratic transition of power.

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

ANDERSON: With Georgia at the crossroads of Russia and the west, the incoming prime minister tells CNN which path he plans to take.

Also this hour...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They raped me for an hour and 15 minutes while driving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Raped, she says, by the very people meant to protect her and then accused of immoral behavior. We ask if the police rape case in Tunisia spells a U-turn for the country's revolution.

And, home to a heroes welcome, a triumphant return for the winners of this year's Ryder's Cup.

ANDERSON: Georgia is no stranger to chaotic power struggles which is why today's concession speech by the country's president is so significant. The U.S. has tonight described it as a good sign, but there are still plenty of potential flashpoints ahead.

Matthew Chance was until recently CNN's Moscow Bureau Chief and has spent much of the past decade reporting what are the complex politics of the region. Let's step back, get to the beginning of all of this.

How would you characterize these developments?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's quite a dramatic turnaround, potentially, in the strategic picture in the region. Georgia, remember, from nine years ago or so when Mikhail Saakashvili was swept to power in the very popular Rose Revolution, he turned away from Soviet influence, from Russian influence, that whole Soviet era political situation and moved the country much more towards the west. He wanted to join the European Union. He wanted to join the NATO military alliance and rejected all things of the Soviet past. Very important that he did that, given the strategic importance of that tiny Caucasian country.

Potentially, with this election result, the whole thing could turn the other way. That's not what the winner of this election, Bidzina Ivanishvili is saying, but potentially it's there, he could turn it back to Moscow. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE: From the earliest exit polls, Georgia's opposition celebrated an historic win. The first time this former Soviet Republic has transferred power by election, not revolution. But first, the governing party claimed victory, too, raising fears of a disputed outcome. But the result was clear cut. Georgia's pro-western president appearing on state television accepting defeat.

SAAKASHVILI (through translator): After summing up the preliminary election results, it is evident that the Georgian Dream Coalition has achieved the advantage.

CHANCE: But it was a tense, bitter, election campaign. The billionaire opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, now to be prime minister, was cast by government officials as a Kremlin stooge bent on dragging Georgia back under Moscow's sway.

The opposition accused the government of authoritarianism and rampant human rights abuse, charges bolstered by the emergence last month of these disturbing images allegedly showing physical and sexual assaults in a Georgian prison.

But with the election now over, there are hopes the divisions may be overcome as one political era in Georgia ends and another gets underway.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE: So, yeah, the jury out, Becky, on what direction this new leader, this new prime minister elect, Mr. Ivanishvili will take Georgia in.

ANDERSON: Well, let's hear from him, because I know of course spent weeks on the ground in 2008 covering the war with Russia in Georgia. The international community in the main of course making no bones about support for Tbilisi during that conflict. It would, as you've said, be hard to overstate the strategic importance the country has played in relations between the west and Russia.

You had a chance to speak to the incoming leader today. What did he say?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, one of the big questions we were asking him is what direction he would take the country. He has, you know, pledged to rebuild, repair those very damaged relations in Russia that came as a result of that 2008 war. There are still Russian tanks, remember, that occupy breakaway areas of Georgia that Moscow sees as independent or recognizes as independent countries. And so he said that was one of his priorities.

But I started by asking him whether he considered these elections, which he said were full of abuses, were free and fair.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BIDZINA IVANISHVILI, LEADER, GEORGIA DREAM COALITION (through translator): We must restore normal relations with Russia. At first these would be trade and cultural relations, but in the future we need to return to the friendly relations that we've had in the past, that we always had with Russia in the past. This is not something that should be easy or that will happen soon.

CHANCE: Now you've made a fortune in Russia in business. You still have a lot of interests there, a lot of assets there. Do you think that those interests may compromise your ability to make the right decisions for the national interests of Georgia when you're prime minister?

IVANISHVILI (through translator): I've already sold the property I had in Russia. My latest large assets were bought by a very well known American international fund, Arco International. And these are all the issues my opponents on the government side accuse me of. I do not own anything. And I'm not tied to anything.

CHANCE: Let me ask you, how do you intend to improve the relationship with the Kremlin and Georgia? What do you intend to do? What steps do you intend to take?

IVANISHVILI: Restoring relations with the Kremlin is one of our main tasks. And we will strive in every way to do this. I think it's achievable, but not easy. First, we have to convince the Kremlin that our strategy towards NATO and Europe is not harmful to and does not contradict Russian interests.

In the future, we'll have an even more complex task. We have to restore our federal agreement and convince Russia it's not in their interests to have such separatist territories which quite seriously threaten Russia's security.

The Caucuses is a very complex and explosive region. I think here we will find common interests in the future.

CHANCE: Well, let's get to this, because Georgia under the presidency of Mikhail Saakashvili has been a very strong ally of the United States. It's had ambitions to join the European Union and the NATO military alliance. Will those ambitions also be shared by your government?

IVANISHVILI (through translator): Our policy is to reconstruct and to develop through democratic institutions, and that includes us joining NATO.

CHANCE: Now, throughout the campaign you've accused Mikhail Saakashvili of authoritarianism, of cronyism as well, as well as other offenses, would your government consider pursuing criminal charges against the outgoing president or any members of his administration when you come to power? Is that something that you may consider?

IVANISHVILI (through translator): I've said many times that there will not be any political prosecution. It's only if someone from the government has violated the law that they will end up before the courts, but otherwise many of those people who have posts in the government now will keep their posts and there will not be any prosecutions.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Make not bones about that, but fascinating. This guy has little or no experience in politics. I'm right in saying that, aren't I?

CHANCE: I think that's correct, but he does have a lot of experience in Russia. He's the 153rd richest man in the world. He made that money in Russia. The expectation is he will use those Russian contacts to build bridges with Georgia's giant neighbor. There's already been a reaction from the Kremlin. They've been tight-lipped throughout this whole campaign, but Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister is saying that this result probably means that a more responsible and constructive forces are coming to the Georgian Parliament, there's a good sign.

ANDERSON: Thank you, sir.

Matthew Chance for you this evening. You're watching Connect the World live from London. Our top story this hour, an extraordinary day for democracy in Georgia ushers in a new, but uncertain political era. He's a billionaire tycoon. He's set to become prime minister, insists Europe and NATO still count, but this face there is a lot more to come on this story.

Still to come tonight, more bloodshed in Nigeria, this time at a university. Gunmen opened fire on students. The latest out of Lagos coming up.

And arrests are made as the search and rescue operation continues in one of Hong Kong's worst maritime disasters.

And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here in the United States, they're not used to being the deciding voice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: We hear from the stars who are calling on Latin American voters to stand up and be counted. The latest in a big week in U.S. politics up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Just about 13 minutes past nine out of London for you this evening.

A shooting attack in Nigeria that has killed at least 25 people, mostly students. And they're being related to a campus political feud, that is at least according to police. The attack took place at the Federal Polytechnic University in the city of Mubi near the border with Cameroon.

CNN's Vladimir Duthiers in Lagos with the very latest. I know the details as of yet are pretty sketchy, Vlad, what do we know, though?

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, what we do know is the police are telling us that this may have been an inside job. And the reason they believe that is because some time between 10:00 pm Monday and around 3:00 am these assailants approached a dormitory building on the campus and asked for the victims to come out by name. They called them out by name. And then they proceeded to shoot some of them and some of them had their throats slit.

Now the police, again, are not willing to say right now who they believe are responsible for this attack. There had been suspicions that this may have been carried out by the Muslim Islamist group Boko Haram. They have been very, very active in the northeastern part of the country. They've been responsible for killing some 600 people so far this year, maybe more. Most of the attacks have come against churches, but they are known to attack schools, because after all Boko Haram means western education is sacrilegious.

But there is this, as you mentioned, suspicion that this may have to do with a campus feud. There have been student elections on campus. In some parts of Nigeria, those elections can get very, very heated. And so what police are saying is that they are investigating whether or not this atrocity had to do with some of those activities, Becky.

ANDERSON: Vladimir Duthiers out of Lagos with the details as we know them at present. More as we get it here, of course, on CNN. Vlad, thanks for that.

A look at some of the other stories that are connecting our world this evening.

And seven crew members have been arrested after at least 38 people died in a Hong Kong ferry collision. Now two ferries colliding at about 8:30 pm local time Monday just off Lamma Island as emergency services continue their search and rescue operations, the crew members are being investigated for endangering people's lives at sea.

Have a listen to this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

INOCENCIO: A night of celebration turned to tragedy as water rushed in through the boat's hull.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The boat was completely standing straight up in the water. It was chaotic. All the tables and chairs were everywhere. It was like a slide. Everything was sliding down.

INOCENCIO: This is Hong Kong's worst maritime disaster in more than four decades. Dozens of people died after two boats collided. The boat that sank had more than 120 passengers, many of them employees and families of a local company gathered to watch annual fireworks to celebrate the founding of the People's Republic of China. Many of those treated in hospital were under 12 years old, other children never made it to the hospital and are among the dead.

A surviving passenger described panic as the boat went down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My leg was stuck and I couldn't get it out. I thought I won't be able to get it out and I was going to die. The water was suffocating me. My friend tugged with all her might and got my leg out.

INOCENCIO: And this is the scene of the collision. You can see the boat half submerged right behind me. Search and rescue operations are still underway. Boats are patrolling the area looking for survivors. There's also a helicopter circling overhead.

But in what could be Hong Kong's most fatal ferry accident, investigators are now wondering what exactly happened.

Hong Kong's chief executive has promised a full investigation.

C.Y. LEUNG, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE (through translator): As we continue search and rescue efforts, we will also investigate this incident. We need to understand what caused this.

INOCENCIO: Rescue officials added that low visibility may have contributed to the disaster. Hong Kong has more than 200 outlying islands. Ferry service is a normal and usually safe part of daily life until now.

Remy Inocencio, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, protesters are showing support for a Tunisian woman who said she was raped by police. They're surrounding a courthouse today in the capital because a judge there is deciding whether to prosecute the alleged victim and her fiance with indecency. Now the couple ended up in court after the woman filed the complaint against the officers in question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They raped me for an hour and 15 minutes while driving. At the end, we reached to a place next to school and a factory. I find my car there and the third policeman standing next to it. At the time I asked him to let me go to my car. The policeman told my fiance we will fabricate your charge of adultery. And you will spend years in prison. Then he said to my fiance, what can you pay us?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Ruling in about 15 minutes. You're going to hear why one Tunisian at the heart of the revolution back in 2001 believes her country is as far away as ever from the democracy that she and so many others fought for. More on that case at the bottom of the hour.

Meantime, New York's attorney general is suing JP Morgan over alleged fraud. At Bear Stearns, Eric Schneiderman says risky mortgage-backed securities issued by the investment bank between 2006 and '07 incurred losses of around $22.5 billion. JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns the following year making them liable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK ATTORNEY-GENERAL: These representations were false. They were misleading. They were designed to conceal fundamental flaws in defects and defendant's due diligence systems. Defendants had no legitimate basis for any of the numerous representations about the quality of loans and their securities, because their systems for ensuring loan quality were a sham.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the former butler to the pope has pleaded innocent to aggravated theft. But Paolo Gabriele also said he felt he had abused the pope's trust. He's being questioned, you'll remember, at a tribunal over leaked papers alleging corruption and in-fighting at the Vatican. Well, meanwhile the trial judge has ordered the Vatican to open an investigation into allegations that Gabriele was held in inhumane conditions after his arrest in May.

This is CNN. You're watching Connect the World. We're going to take a very short break. Don't go away, though. When we come back, a triumphant homecoming for the Ryder Cup winners as they touchdown at London's Heathrow. You can be sure we're going to do a lot more on that after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Let's do some sport for you, shall we? I'm Becky Anderson in London of course.

Victorious European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal has said he doesn't want to be captain again. The Spaniard members of his winning team have arrived in London still celebrating their historic comeback against the U.S. in Chicago over the weekend. Patrick Snell joins me from CNN Center for more on Oli and the Co.

I don't think I'm surprised after the emotion of this weekend, why would you go through it again?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. And he can't top that ever, Becky, that's - I mean, that's as good as it gets taking the Europeans to victory on U.S. soil.

What a story it was. I was right out on the course that Sunday, Becky. The atmosphere absolutely fantastic, but the European team are back on home soil. Not all the team. A lot of them are based in the states, in Florida. But there he is, Jose Maria Olazabal, the man of the moment leading his charges out there in London. London Airport. Lee Westwood one of the heroes on that final afternoon.

It really was a fantastic comeback. Of course now the big sort of speculation, if you like, is who is going to succeed Olazabal as a Spaniard himself saying, look, I'm done. I'm not doing any more. And we understand he hasn't given up on returning to the team as a player.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL, RYDER CUP EUROPEAN CAPTAIN: After seeing the level of the play last week and the level of these guys, you know, when they play week out, week in, will have to raise my game quite a few notches. So I want to work hard on my game and see if I can, you know, be competitive again. But that will be wonderful to play in another Ryder Cup, that will be fantastic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: Do not rule him out. I'm personally going to tip Darrell Clarke, Becky, for two years from now at Glenn Eagles. I think it's his turn. I've just got a feeling.

ANDERSON: I was just going to ask you who are you going to tip. That's not bad. I might go with you on that one.

SNELL: Do that.

ANDERSON: I'm going to have a look at Twitter in a minute and see what everybody else is tweeting on that. But, no, good pick.

All right, lest we forget, good old Rory McIlroy got to his tee just in time. And I'm talking, what, 11 minutes before his tee time on Sunday? I know that - is he sharing his side of the story at this point or not?

SNELL: He's still sticking to that confused by the time zone story in that part of the world they're on the Central U.S. Time Zone.

Anyway, look, it was a mad dash. He showed up something like 11 minutes, you're quite right Becky, ahead of his tee time with the matchup with Kegan Bradley. It was just - you know, I don't know if we'll ever know the truth, but what I do know is it was a mad dash, a frenetic mad dash to Medinah just to make it there. Of course if you'd been late they would have been fined him the first hole. If you'd been more than 10 minutes late he would have forfeited the match and that point could have been crucial.

Now, a really important role was played by the officer who got him there. This is the Illinois local police, the deputy chief of the local force there in that part of Illinois, Patrick Rollins, a real hero as it turned out for the European team.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICK ROLLINS, DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF: I just wanted to make sure if I was maneuvering around, I just wanted to make sure that he was going to be OK with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you say?

ROLLINS: I did ask him - do you get motion sickness.

RORY MCILROY, GOLFER: I'm like, no, no, no, I don't care if I'm sick, just get me to that first tee.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: What about ribbing from people saying if you hadn't of done that...

ROLLINS: I've had plenty of people express that to me if I would have gotten a flat tire or I would have taken him to a different golf course...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: Incredible stuff there. And Rory McIlroy has a big debt of gratitude, there's no question, about that Becky. A big key role he played, Patrick Rollins, in perhaps helping Europe win the 39th Ryder Cup, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fantastic, right.

Aside from golf, which is pretty much what everybody is talking about at the moment, there are UEFA games going on tonight. But I'm going to tease our viewers to join you in about an hour on World Sport where you will have the results from today's Champion League matches.

So I'm not going to tell you what they are at present.

SNELL: About an hour from now.

ANDERSON: Pat, thank you for that.

Very good. Just about an hour from now.

You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. At present coming up, the outcry over an alleged rape victim. And how Tunisian's new constitution views women. I'm going to be talking to one of the voices of the Arab Spring.

And then, courting the Latino vote. Why Hispanic Americans may be crucial in deciding who is the next president of the United States. That is later in the program.

Before all of that your headlines after this short break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Syria's opposition has blasted the government's call for dialogue, saying no Syrian will sit down and talk to a government responsible for murdering hundreds of innocent people. Opposition forces say heavy fighting continued in Aleppo and in Damascus this day Tuesday.

Gunmen have attacked a student housing area at a polytechnic university in northeastern Nigeria. An emergency official says at least 25 students are dead. The official says motives for the shooting aren't certain, but may be connected to disputes over internal politics there.

Police in Hong Kong have arrested seven crew members on suspicion of negligence after Monday's ferry boat collision. Authorities say 38 people were killed when the two ferries hit each other. The smaller vessel sank shortly after the crash.

And the US has congratulated Georgia's president for graciously conceding his party's defeat in the country's parliamentary elections. Mikheil Saakashvili says he would now help a coalition headed by the billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili to form a new government.

Tonight, a flashpoint case. Hundreds of demonstrators show their solidarity with a Tunisian woman. She says she was raped by police. The state accuses her of public indecency. The alleged victim says she was with her fiance when police approached them. CNN's Atika Shubert takes a closer look at what is a complicated case and the outcry surrounding it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The alleged victim was parked here with her fiance when three policemen ordered the couple out of the car. She says one stayed with her fiance. The other two put her in the car and took turns raping her as they drove through the streets.

Her fiance, she says, meanwhile, was being extorted by the other policeman in order to be set free. Her identity protected, she recounts what happened.

"They raped me for one hour and 15 minutes while driving," she said. "Finally, we reached a place next to a school and a factory. My car was there, and the third policeman was standing next to it. I asked them to let me go, and the policeman told my fiance, 'We will fabricate a charge of adultery and you will spend years in prison,'" she said.

Her ordeal a month ago has brought hundreds of protesters out onto the street, outraged not just over the alleged rape, but also over what happened next.

Half an hour after the incident, the couple came to this police station to file a complaint. Then, the police accused them of being, quote, "in an immoral position," charging them with, quote, "intentional indecent behavior," punishable by up to six months in prison.

"I broke down," she said. "It devastated me psychologically. This case has made me have convulsions every day. I keep thinking about one thing: to kill myself. I can't accept my life after what has happened to me," she said.

(CROWDS SHOUTING)

SHUBERT: Tunisia is the birthplace of the Arab Spring, but the Islamist-led coalition now in power is grappling with a draft constitution that does not afford equal rights to women. Now this case is proving to be a flashpoint. The three policemen are to be tried on charges of rape and extortion, and the woman at the center of it all is putting her faith in the law.

"I address all women in Tunisia and elsewhere who face such cases. They shouldn't remain silent, because if you remain silent, you will suffer forever," she said.

"At least when you fight it, you will get your rights. This will help to ease the suffering that you live with, and when you see them in court -- when I saw them handcuffed, I felt happy. And when they face trial, I will in my heart feel some relief," she said.

Now, her legal battle will be closely watched at home and abroad.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: If you're a regular viewer of CNN, you will know the name of the former Nobel Peace Prize nominee Lina Ben Mhenni. She rose to prominence during the Tunisian revolution that started the Arab Spring. She's been blogging about this story and the bigger picture of democracy in Tunisia. She's joining us now, live from the capital, Tunis.

And Lina, let's be clear, there are two questions and two cases here, in fact. The first, of course, narrower: did the couple do something illegal? Did they commit an indecent act that would be against the law, and some say they should have known better in an Islamist-led country, right?

LINA BEN MHENNI, TUNISIAN BLOGGER AND ACTIVIST: Well, nothing proves that the couple did something wrong or indecent. How can I explain that the policemen have waited until the girl filed the complaint against them to talk about this indecent situation or posture, and I don't know why.

And in this case, the accused, who are the policemen, the ones accused of rape, are the same who are -- who complained against the girl and her boy. And personally -- I don't think that being inside a car as a couple is something indecent, so --

ANDERSON: All right, OK. I understand what you're saying. Let's remember, there are rape charges outstanding against the police officers. They haven't got off scott-free at this point. The judge today still hasn't decided whether to prosecute this couple in the public interest. So, that continues.

But you've said -- and many people will agree with you -- that there is a wider context, here, that this shows that this is a country with no desire to enhance a woman's place. In fact, the very opposite, you say. This pushes Tunisia down a route where women have fewer and fewer rights. What evidence do you have of that?

MHENNI: Sorry? What? Sorry? I didn't --

ANDERSON: What evidence do you have that what is an Islamist-led government post-revolution is any -- any less willing to support women's human rights than any other government?

MHENNI: It's clear that there is less will to support women's rights and to give women their rights and total equality. This case is proof. That charge is designed just to frighten a woman and to force her to waive -- sorry -- force her to waive her rights and to frighten other women.

And we heard also many leaders of the Islamist party talking about polygamy. We heard about all the debates because of Article 28 talking about "complimentary" instead equality between women and men.

So, this -- all this shows that there is no willingness to give women their full citizenship, their equality. There is a regression.

ANDERSON: All right. This is a case that we're going to follow. It hasn't finished. We'll have you back when we get a result from the judge, at least, and we'll watch the case against the policemen, as and when that develops. For now, Lina, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Coming up after the break his evening, does banking need more women? We're going to ask one leading female finance executive how she would improve her industry. That's up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: We're on Leading Women tonight, and this month, we are spending some time with one of the international banking industry's biggest female names.

Jennifer Taylor of Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the first person in her family to go away to university. My colleague Kristie Lu Stout traveled to Hong Kong to find out how Jennifer became one of the top executives in her industry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bank of America Merrill Lynch. This is the global side of one of the world's largest financial institutions. Operating in more than 40 countries, helping customers with everything from trading to investment advice to entering capital markets.

Step inside the Asia Pacific headquarters, though, to see a more individual side of the global business.

JENNIFER TAYLOR, COO, ASIA PACIFIC, BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH: Do you want to set the stage for what we're hoping to try and achieve today?

STOUT: It's not hard to spot executive Jennifer Taylor. With her blonde hair and her Irish accent, she stands out in a sea of suits. And in this global teleconference concerning the changing regulatory environment, she is the one in charge.

She runs the backbone of the business in Asia Pacific, everything from the technology that supports the traders, to the policies that ensure compliance with international regulations.

STOUT (on camera): How would you describe your job to a general audience?

TAYLOR: Well, my role is called chief operating officer of Bank of America at Merrill Lynch. And what that essentially means is I help manage the day-to-day running of the business across all 12 countries in Asia.

STOUT (voice-over): This multitasking, multipassioned executive is Jennifer Taylor.

Hong Kong is a city of skyscrapers and downtown, finance rules. The lofty towers packed with Asian headquarters of the world's largest banks. Jennifer Taylor arrives most mornings for work at 7:00 AM, walking through the web of skyscrapers to reach her office on the 15th floor.

The early mornings let her get a head start on her inbox. She reads every single e-mail she gets, and it takes some time to think about the day before her conference calls and meetings begin.

TAYLOR: I have a -- I think the ability to handle a lot of issues at one time and knowing when you need to get into the detail on an issue is really, really important.

STOUT: After that, it's time for meetings, the way this busy executive stays on top of the broad range of issues and offices she oversees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Jennifer.

TAYLOR: How are you? I don't know whether to say "Good morning" or "Good evening," because I can't remember what it is in San Francisco.

I think my role a lot of the time is as a facilitator, so I bring a lot of groups together. So, a number of the meetings that I chair or hold are getting groups across the line of business, across support functions, to come together to make a decision, then to take action and move on.

And Crystal, how is the client project going?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are finalizing to finally getting the revenue data.

STOUT: And so goes the day of a top banking executive: discussion, decision-making, and distilling lots of information into action.

TAYLOR: I think that's what I bring. I can take large volumes of information, summarize them into the key facts, and then encourage and help people to make the right decisions.

STOUT: Taylor joined Merrill Lynch in London in 1997, armed with a law degree. She has risen up the ranks, eventually becoming general counsel, and now serving as Asia Pacific COO for five years.

STOUT (on camera): How would you describe your own leadership style?

TAYLOR: I think my leadership style is I like -- I try to build consensus, but if a decision needs to be made, I'm very willing to take the risk and make the decision.

STOUT (voice-over): As a female leader, she's in good company at Bank of America. More than 30 percent of the company's managers are women, but it's not that way everywhere in finance.

STOUT (on camera): Banking is a very male-dominated industry. How long is it going to remain that way?

TAYLOR: I think we've made a lot of progress over the last 20 years. I think it's no longer as much the absolute preserve of men as it once was, but I think we still have a long way to go.

STOUT: If there were more women on boards of major banks, would it have made a difference?

TAYLOR: I'm not sure that it would. I think there were some truly extraordinary circumstances that surrounded the global financial crisis that that may not have been a big differentiating factor.

STOUT: But do you think having more female representation on banking boards will change diversity of thinking? Leadership styles?

TAYLOR: I think we need to have a more inclusive approach in general, not just to boards. So, I think if we're truly going to make change, both in the financial services industry and more broadly, we have to have more women in all parts of a company, not just the board.

STOUT: And the cynical question: why do we need more women in all parts of the company?

TAYLOR: I think the -- an inclusive environment, where there's a difference in approach and a difference in how to deal with issues ultimately leads you to making better decisions.

I myself went to university in Ireland.

STOUT (voice-over): In the coming weeks, find out why Taylor thinks mentorship is the key to bringing more women into the business, and how such a busy executive still finds time for family dinners.

TAYLOR: I think the secret is learning how to prioritize and knowing what call or meeting is really important. One of the things I do every weekend is go into my calendar and take four meetings out the following week. And it works.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And next week, we feature this month's other Leading Woman, the British-born co-chairman of Universal Pictures, Donna Langley. And in the meantime, you can use cnn.com/leadingwomen for more on the series.

All right, we're taking a break. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, it seems, at least, that Barack Obama can count on the support of Latino voters for his reelection campaign this November. That, at least, according to a new CNN poll just released. It shows the US president has extremely strong support, 70 percent, in fact, among Latino voters polled. His rival, Mitt Romney, lagging well behind with just 26 percent.

Now, some may argue that's no surprise given previous opinion polls. CNN's Miguel Marquez has more on this and joins us now, live from Los Angeles. This Latino vote could be crucial, right, in the race for the White House?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It could absolutely be crucial. And though they support the president, will they come out to vote, is the big question. We went to one swing state in the most competitive county there to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(POLITICAL AD IN SPANISH)

MARQUEZ: It might sound like Mexico, but this is the fight for the White House.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Soy Mitt Romney. Apruebo este mensaje.

MARQUEZ: Welcome to Washoe County, Nevada, the front line in this battleground state. Washoe County's 250,000 voters are expected to decide whether Nevada goes blue or red. And Latinos, about 30,000 votes here, could make the critical difference in a race that could come down to a few thousand votes.

Here's how Nevada's 1.4 million votes break down and why Washoe is a battleground within the battleground. Most of the votes here are in Clark County, that's Las Vegas. It leans left, and rural Nevada is solidly Republican, the state almost evenly split. It leaves Washoe County and that biggest little city in the world, Reno, feeling like, well, the biggest little city in the world.

(CROWD CHANTING)

MARQUEZ: To Democrats here, the ground war is on. Bus loads of party faithful, some from other states, already knocking on doors appealing directly to Latinos. Republicans, too, seeking favor with Latino voters.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Craig Romney. Hablas a espanol. Si?

CRAIG ROMNEY, SON OF MITT ROMNEY: Si.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The candidate's Spanish-speaking son on one of many trips by the candidate, his family, and surrogates all descending on Nevada. Obama, the first lady, and their surrogates doing the same. A massive effort on both sides for Nevada's six electoral votes.

C. ROMNEY: That's why you saw my dad here Friday, my mom here yesterday. We've got -- this state is very important to us, as are many other states across the country. But this election is going to come down to just a handful of votes probably in the entire country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, ma'am, are you registered to vote? Senora, esta usted registrado?

MARQUEZ: Registering Latinos, new voters, a priority in a county and a state where the margin of victory could be razor-thin.

MARQUEZ (on camera): You've been out here how long today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today? Five hours.

MARQUEZ: Five hours?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MARQUEZ: And how many people have you gotten to register.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Six people.

MARQUEZ: That's about -- that's not very good, is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, it isn't. I know.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The growing Latino population decisive here in Nevada and across the country if only it voted.

ERIC HERZIK, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA RENO: Well, the Latino voter is, in a sense, an untapped resource in many instances. The registration level, the turnout level in the Latino community lags badly other groups.

MARQUEZ: In 2008, nearly 20 million eligible voters nationwide were Latinos, but less than 10 million actually showed up to vote.

ROSA LOPEZ, CULINARY WORKERS' UNION: It's really important to be after them, if I could say like that, and make sure that they go and vote.

MARQUEZ: The White House in the balance, Latino voters could help either party win the whole enchilada.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: I know, cheesy, cheesy, the whole enchilada, but one other thing that's looking up for the president a little bit in Washoe County is that the economy there smashed during the recession and it's just starting to creep back out of that -- those problems.

It's a question of whether or not it will be good enough by election day and people will fell it to see whether or not they vote for the president, or vote for Romney.

ANDERSON: Miguel, you make a very good point. It's certainly not done and dusted, even though that poll might suggest it is. Thank you for that.

Several celebrities, as you know, have been calling on the Latino community to stand up and be counted. Among them, America Ferrera, the star of the US TV series, "Ugly Betty," and Alexis Bledel, known -- best known, at least, for her roles in the American TV drama "Gilmore Girls" and more recently "Mad Men."

The two have been working to strengthen links between the US and Latin Americans, most recently visiting Ferrera's homeland of Honduras, where they filmed a documentary on an anti-poverty campaign.

Well, I caught up with the two Latino stars and began by asking why they felt it was important to document their trip.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMERICA FERRERA, ACTRESS: I am representative of millions and millions of Americans who have roots based in Latin America, and I think that that means something politically, and it means something story-wise to kind of bring the stories to Americans that actually impact them in a very direct way.

ANDERSON: Why don't you talk about the fact that so many Americans have a background like yours. America, you are also investing you time in making sure the Latino community exercises their vote. We hear the presidential candidates talking about the Hispanic vote. Who's doing more and better to get that vote out?

FERRERA: I think that the people doing the real down-and-dirty work, people out there on the ground trying to really mobilized the votes that are going to matter in the sense that they're going to make a difference.

And you're talking about -- when you're talking about the Latino community of voters, you're talking about a group of people who are coming to the political process in a new way. They're -- here in the United States, they're not used to being the deciding voice.

And so, it's about getting -- it's about mobilizing, it's about getting the right information out there, and right now, we're struggling against a lot of voter ID laws that are meant to suppress the Latino vote, so -- and not just the Latino vote. The young vote, the minority vote in general. So, there's a lot -- a lot of work to be done.

ANDERSON: What's the biggest challenge to both of you that any future president faces. I'm asking you this again as an outsider looking in at what is this presidential year, this election, this forthcoming election.

ALEXIS BLEDEL, ACTRESS: The biggest challenge? Well, I think the economy is a huge issue in this election. Talking about the Latino vote, immigration reform is a hugely important issue.

FERRERA: I think that political discourse has at the moment feels like we're a torn country, like we can't see each other on -- from across the aisle. And I think that that's going to be a huge challenge.

BLEDEL: And really changing policy so that every group is included in those policies, and that they're fair.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Remember, do stay tuned to CNN to see how these candidates will make their pitch to Latino voters and, indeed, all Americans. The first debate coming up, you can catch that live this Thursday starting at 1:00 in the morning London time. You can work out what time it will be wherever you are watching in the world.

In tonight's Parting Shots, a skateboarder zooms across, well, a rather unexpected competitor in a video that's got -- since gone viral on the internet. Take a look at this. Oh, dear.

Seventeen-year-old Ryan Vitale was taking part in the annual Buffalo Bill Downhill Bloodspill race in Golden, Colorado, when he had this encounter with nature. You'll be happy to know that neither Ryan nor the deer were seriously hurt. I'm sure both will be looking out for each other from now on.

We are looking out for you, we've got your headlines after this.

END