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Death Toll From Hurricane Sandy Now 88; U.S. Presidential Campaign Reignites Five Days From Election Day; Syrian Boy Vows To Help Brother Get Prosthetic Leg

Aired November 1, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, cars line up for fuel, commuters queue up to go home: superstorm Sandy has come and gone, but New York City is going nowhere fast.

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

ANDERSON: Well, tonight the death toll continues to rise. We're going to take a look at how Americans are starting to pick up the pieces.

Also this hour, as President Obama heads back on the campaign trail, we're going to take a look at whether the economy could give one candidate a last minute boost.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I whispering, I've (inaudible) he said please don't cry. If you love me, don't cry.


ANDERSON: Well, his brother's dreams shattered by his country's civil war. How one Syrian is trying to turn horror into hope.

Very good evening from London. 88 people are now known to have died as the wrath of superstorm Sandy continues to become clear.

This is what's left of an Amusement park, a roller coaster ride now scrap metal, a house ripped in half down the middle after being invaded by the elements.

While the extent of the devastation continues to shock, some are trying to get back to normal, but it's not easy. Just take a look at how long some people had to wait to catch a bus in New York City. We're seeing queues that wrap around entire city blocks.

Well, no one is going anywhere fast. Cars surround a gas station as drivers wait to fill up their tanks. And the race to get a seat on a bus as patience wears thin for some city commuters. Also for some getting to work is far from their minds.

Michael Holmes is in the coastal town of Tom's River, New Jersey where many are left with damaged homes and memories of a savage night. He joins me now from there with the very latest.

And Michael, this is a state where more than 50 people were killed by the storm, the legacy will be felt for years to come. How are people coming to terms with things?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's a long process, isn't it? I think there is still an awful lot of shock among the people who have gone through this storm. You know, the latest thing that we did was go over to the barrier islands, these iconic amusement parks there. It's a casino pier and the fun town pier, these are places for those who don't know it, the New Jersey boardwalk that's made famous by Bruce Springsteen, this is the place where if you have seen the Sopranos, or the Jersey Shore, that they featured there. It's a place where Americans considered a sort of touchstone destination, a place that they would go for generations to visit and now it's gone. The pier, the famous pier that went 300 yards out into the Atlantic, gone. The roller coaster that sat on it now sits in the Atlantic. The pictures, the visuals that we saw when we were there just extraordinary. 16 blocks of that famous boardwalk are either in splinters or buckled or undermined the whole lot, according to city councilmen, will need to be replaced.

An amazing amount of damage there on the waterfront, you know, sort of hundreds of meters of these iconic structures just gone, structures that have stood there for decades, 75 years.

I walked up to one pylon that was a massive pylon that had sat there for decades just snapped off and shredded as it sat in the sand there.

An extraordinary amount of damage, Becky.

ANDERSON: Michael, I want our viewers just to get a sense of the sort of before and after, as it were, because we got some images, I know, that you've seen and you can talk to. This is Funtown Pier and Amusement Park. And you get a sense of just how savage this storm was - the before and after pictures for you, quite remarkable.

Let me just correct myself, as I came to you I said that some 50 people have been killed in the state of New Jersey, thankfully the number is actually 12. I must correct myself with that. But of course the legacy as we say will continue for many months.

Entire communities have been destroyed, Michael. It's the sense that people will just begin to rebuild? Will the insurance companies fund this sort of reconstruction?

HOLMES: Yeah, well some of them do have insurance. A lot of the people on those barrier islands who were flooded severely - I mean, five feet of the Atlantic Ocean washing through their town - they were insured. And they say they will rebuild.

Others are going to have to be looking for sort of assistance - FEMA, federal government assistance. And certainly those amusement parks that everyone in the United States knows so well, they're probably going to need federal assistance to rebuild. But you're talking tens and tens of millions of dollars to put those things back together, and an inordinate amount of time.

When we were over on the islands yesterday as well and saw more of the residential side of things, you know, you saw these houses that have been picked up and dumped into the street, others that were shattered, others that were twisted or their foundations undermined, this is going to be a very, very long and very expensive process, Becky.

ANDERSON: Michael Holmes for you in New Jersey. Michael - excuse me - thank you for that.

The death toll from superstorm Sandy has risen to at least 88 in the United States, 44 of those were killed in the state of New York. More than 6,000 people still in evacuation shelters there, LaGuardia Airport has now reopened along with JFK. Do expect delays if you are flying in or out of there.

New Jersey, where Michael was for you tonight, one of the worst hit states, 12 have lost their lives there. In the next few hours, half a million gallons of diesel fuel will be delivered to the state to run generators high priority locations like hospitals. They're doing their best to get things up and running once again.

This is an interesting point, across the entire region a little more than 4.8 million people remain without electricity. Power firm Con Edison says the vast majority of its customers they say should have their electricity back by November 11.

It's a tough one isn't it?

The New York City of Staten Island was one of the hardest hit areas. Some streets now barely recognizable.

Brian Todd has been out there talking to some residents still pretty much trying to take it all in.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think you can rebuild?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not without any funds, no. Without funds? I probably have to walk away from my home. I'll probably have to walk away from my home.

TODD: This is Cedar Grove Avenue on Staten Island. It's completely devastated. Look at this house here, just collapsed, roof completely broke down. There's remnants of a stairwell there that may have gone to an attic. That looks like an attic that you're seeing just slanting down over here. The rest of it is leveled. Remnants over here.

And this is kind of a scene repeated throughout Staten Island, people kind of bringing whatever items they can salvage and just strewing them all over their front lawn.

The owner told us we could come in and take a look at the damage in his house. And you can kind of get an idea of what the storm surge did when it came through here. The shoreline is that way. The owner says the surge came through here. This is his living room, what's left of it, came right through here. Look at all the debris. Look at everything that was destroyed.

This is the living room area. That whole section looks like a kitchen, looks like it was washed out there. Debris all over the place. This is a sofa he says almost got tossed out the window. And the owner told us that a lot of the debris just came rushing through the house and right out the window here.

At this house they're just trying to get as much stuff out of the house as possible. The homeowner is right over here. She says she doesn't think she can salvage any of this stuff, again a scene repeated throughout Staten Island.

She says this is her eight-year-old son. They were in here. They rode out the storm together. She says this is the first time he's been out of the house since the storm hit. He's just been so terrified.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got to move our cars. We lost three cars. We have nothing. I don't know how you bounce back from something like this.


ANDERSON: When the full impact of Sandy is added up, there are going to be some very, very big bills to be paid, I'm afraid. We are talking billions here. Kinetic Analysis Corporation assesses the impact of natural disasters. It says that Sandy could end up costing $25 billion in damages and in lost business. Some put it even higher.

Wells Fargo today saying three days of lost activity alone is likely to cost more than $40 billion. But the firm says that some of that will be recouped in the coming weeks as a result of rebuilding.


JOHN SILVIA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, WELLS FARGO: I suspect that we'll see a lot more contribution to the economy sooner than we might have seen otherwise. So, I'm encouraged by the whole thing. And I think when you look in the first part of next year, there will be a net positive gain in terms of residential spending, consumer spending, but particularly public investment.


ANDERSON: Well, many people who were trying to help with recovery efforts are turning to social media. We see this again and again, don't we? Since Sandy hit Twitter, users have been using the hashtag #Sandyaid and #Sandyvolunteer to find out what they can do. Those conversations here of directing people to websites like the one you're going to see just here. This is crowd sourced map focused on the New York City area. It shows others where free wi-fi, for example, is available and working. You can see that here in the green dots you see there.

On Facebook, there are pages dedicated to helping people in need. This page called helping brides in the wake of Hurricane Sandy as a place for couples to share tips, find local venues and talk to experts about how they can, for example, salvage their weddings.

One more website that's been widely used is this one. Now this is You can see out there web users can either request help or say how they can help by writing a list of things that they can do and donate to this site.

You see it time and time again over the past couple of years this social media has become ubiquitous that we see so much more of it being used in situations like this.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the storm has changed his thinking about the U.S. Presidential Race. He hadn't endorsed anyone until this point. But today he threw his support behind President Barack Obama. Bloomberg says he'll do a better job of tackling climate change, which he says at least may have contributed to this super storm.

Still to come tonight, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are back in full campaign mode. And there is not a minute to waste with that election now just five days away. Complete coverage here on Connect the World after this.


ANDERSON: Right. The U.S. presidential candidates trying to make up for lost time on the campaign trail after superstorm Sandy. They are making a final push for votes with the election just five days away.

Now President Barack Obama has stops in three states today. Right now he's addressing a rally in Vegas, Nevada. Let's have a listen to what he's saying.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On the one hand we've got folks who are arguing to return to the top-down policies that crashed our economy.


OBAMA: What we're talking about is the future that's built on a strong and growing middle class.


OBAMA: No matter we know the choice that needs to be made. And we're hear today because we believe that if this country invests in the skills and ideas of its people, then good jobs and businesses will follow. We believe that America's free market has been the engine of America's progress, driven by risk takers and innovators and dreamers.

Folks in Nevada know about dreaming.


OBAMA: But we also understand that in this country people succeed when they've got a shot at a good education, when they have chance...


ANDERSON: President Obama on the campaign trail right back at it. That's his first stop today.

For his part, Mitt Romney says America can't afford another four years of Mr. Obama. He's stumping in Virginia today taking aim at the president's economic record.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No new ideas to get the economy going. And then he came up with an idea last week, he's going to create a department of business, all right.


ROMNEY: I just don't think another cabinet chair is going to create the jobs that America needs. And so I'm entitled to make sure that we get a president who understands business as opposed to tries to hire someone in the cabinet who has a background in business.


ANDERSON: Well, in this race every vote counts, but the most critical votes of all will come in just a handful of states, of course. These are what we call battleground states where the race is simply too close to call. How these states end up voting will determine this election.

For Ohio, for example, no one has become president without winning that state since 1960.

CNN's Ali Velshi is in Ohio tonight. And John King for you in Colorado, another critical swing state.

Thank you, chaps, for joining us.

Ali, let's start with you. Mitt Romney eluding to the economy just earlier. Tell us why you say this could be the most pivotal 24 hour period in this entire election. I know you're going to talk economy here.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So the issue, Becky, is that for most Americans since the end of 2007 the economy has rated the number issue. Now when you parse that, you do tend to find people who are a little center of right think that the deficit and the debt is a bigger problem, but most Americans rate jobs as the number one problem. And tomorrow morning in America is the final jobs report before the election. And you are going to see - if you thought you've seen spin so far, you're going to see that one spun.

What we're probably going to have is an increase in the unemployment rate from 7.8 percent to 7.9 percent. But as I have said for many years, don't look at that, what we want to look at is how many jobs are created. We're thinking 125,000 jobs will have been created in the month of October. If it's better than that, substantially better, that is going to help President Obama in his argument that he can create jobs. If it's worse than that, that helps Mitt Romney.

Now both of these men have said the same thing, that the economy is going to grow at a rate of about 4 percent over the next few years and they create 12 million jobs in four years. Not a lot of math supports them on that. There are not a lot of economists who believe that they can get to that point.

So the issue is who is going to be better for the economy and that is where that small sliver of undecided voters including in this state Colorado with 18 electoral college votes that could decide the presidential election are looking to see. They want to make a determination who is better for the economy and the jobs numbers could help or hurt President Obama tomorrow morning.

ANDERSON: Watch this space, CNN will be all over those numbers like a rash. I know you will be front and center in that coverage, Ali out of Ohio there.

John is in Colorado tonight. I know you've got the latest poll out which is critical for us as viewers here, John. In a state which is such an important state for both of these candidates, of course.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The winner of Colorado has a much easier path, Becky, of getting to 270 electoral votes if you go state by state. President Obama has a slight advantage in that race at the moment. We give him 237. That's our math. States that are strong or leaning President Obama's way. Governor Romney is at 206, that's good math we have, that the states leaning or strong his way.

Colorado has only nine electoral votes, but you just showed the president out in the state of Nevada. Nevada has six, Colorado has 9. So there's 15 you could add to the basket out here in the western part of the United States. Most of the other battlegrounds you go to the heartland where Ali is into the Midwest and then to the east coast states, New Hampshire and Virginia, Florida obviously the biggest prize in the east.

But in this state the economy has done a little bit, you know, it's eh, kind of flatline. So people are looking at jobs. Our new poll reflects the nature of this race. 50 for President Obama, 48 for Governor Romney. That is a statistical tie. That means you have a dead heat here with five days to go.

And you have a huge focus on turnout the vote. The president will be back here, Governor Romney will be back here. Yes they think, as Ali says, there's a small slice of undecided voters out there, but they almost can't worry about them this late in the campaign. They have to make sure that everybody who is on their side has the intensity to get out and vote, including early voting. Colorado has early voting, 1.3 million votes have already been cast, that's probably about 50 percent, Becky, of the votes that will be cast in this presidential election in this state have already been cast.

ANDERSON: That is interesting. And Ohio, of course, you'll be able to vote early there. What sort of percentage of voters have already gone - already gone to the polls, Ali, there?

VELSHI: I have to tell you, I'm on a tour asking for independent voters and most people I'm running into in Ohio, different from Virginia where I was, different from Florida. Most of them here have voted. Very heavy early voting turnout. It seems to support the Obama camp. And it's doing very well here in early voting. So the issue is what it comes down to.

John is right, the undecideds are hard to fight over, you need to get your vote out. The ground game in Ohio also supports the president as in many other states, because the president has had four years to develop a ground operation before election day. Mitt Romney was battling for the Republican nomination.

ANDERSON: Let's remind our viewers what you were saying earlier on. I've got an unemployment chart just up here for our viewers to see just to get a sense of where unemployment has been, where the rate is now. And as you say, the (inaudible) the rate will tick high, but it's what will happen going forward after that.

As we take a look at this chart, John what can these two candidates do between now and Tuesday to sway anyone out there who may still be undecided. Both of you suggesting those undecideds are now few and far between. We realize that they've got to hold on to those that they can hold on to, what else do they need to say and do? What should we expect from them?

KING: Well, I do think the jobs report will be a very important part of their closing appeal. Governor Romney wants to say, and he is saying you can't have four more years like the last four years of very modest, very tepid, a very anemic job growth. President Obama wants to say I had to dig out of a ditch and things are getting better. And yes, I'd like to get it into a higher gear, and I will get it into a higher gear. So those numbers tomorrow - Ali's right about don't focus on the rate, focus on the jobs, but guess what, if the rate goes up Governor Romney is going to focus on the rate and he's going to say, look, this president promised you it would drop significantly more than this and he hasn't delivered. Why would you trust him with four more years? If there are more jobs created, the president is going to say we're trying to come out of this.

And it matters in two ways, Becky, there is a small slice of undecided voters who might be swayed by the economy. There's also a small slice of what I'll call persuadables, people if you said today who are you going to vote for would tell you, but they're still open, perhaps, to changing their mind. Now that's a small number. But the intensity of both party's bases, the liberals turn out with force for the president, the conservatives turn out with force for Governor Romney. The intensity could be impacted by the economic report tomorrow. It could encourage or discourage one side. So it is the last key piece of data in this election.

ANDERSON: Stick to it, chaps. We'll speak again tomorrow I hope. John King and Ali Velshi out on the road in what is going to be one of the most exciting elections that I can certainly remember. And I'm sure most of you can remember too.

Remember, CNN, your destination for complete coverage of that U.S. election. We'll be live on the ground throughout the day Tuesday with unrivaled resources, political expertise and analysis then. Stay with us as a result come in election day and election night, America's choice on CNN.

We're going to take a very short break. When we come back, a remarkable story of an 11-year-old Syrian boy badly injured in a rocket attack and the lengths that his brother is going to to help him walk once again. This is a story that you've just got to see. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, Syrian activists say rebel fighters have killed at least 28 soldiers in attacks on three checkpoints in the northwest. New video posted online shows what appeared to be captured government troops surrounded by rebels at a checkpoint in Syria. CNN has no way of confirming the authenticity of this video, but as death and violence become a daily occurrence in the country it's easy to forget the innocent victims who get caught in the crossfire. My colleague, CNN's Arwa Damon went to meet a young child whose life changed forever in one terrible moment. A warning, some of the scenes in this report are pretty difficult to watch.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like many other boys his age, 11-year-old Abdulrahman wanted to be a professional soccer player when he grew up.

But like so many others in his homeland of Syria, the violence shattered his dream.

ABDULRAHMAN, WAR VICTIM (from captions): There were fighter planes and there was a rocket that hit next to our house. And I went to see what was going on and another rocket hit.

DAMON (voice-over): He doesn't say much beyond that, at times, simply nodding, or smiling sweetly in response or seemingly lost in his memories.

Tears Omar can't control fall silently, the thoughts of what his baby brother endured are too much for the 21-year old.

OMAR, WAR VICTIM: Mom woke me up: "Stand up immediately."

"What's happening?"

She said, "Abdulrahman went out and the airplane is roaming, circulating above. And you need to get him back to the house."

DAMON (voice-over): Omar was too late. He found his brother in the hospital.

OMAR: Once he saw me, he shouted, "Omar!" Shouted with all his strength.

When I got closer, I saw his leg and just yelled. I started crying for around five hours.

DAMON (voice-over): Abdulrahman's leg was amputated in a makeshift field hospital, the basement of a mosque.

OMAR: (Inaudible) after he work up, he was just saying -- I was crying. I couldn't (inaudible). He said, "Please don't cry. If you love me, don't cry."

DAMON (voice-over): And that is when Omar made Abdulrahman a promise, that he would walk again.

OMAR: He started to hang onto that idea. So I'm going out and he's - - he kept saying to me, "When are we -- when are we leaving?" Yes, because once -- every time the fighting jet comes, he says, "When are we leaving? We should leave."

DAMON (voice-over): Omar is now an expert at changing his brother's bandages. He started to save money for a prosthetic, but realized that it was going to take too much time. He began asking around and a group of visiting Egyptian doctors told him about the Global Medical Relief Fund, a small U.S. NGO, dedicated to helping children badly injured in disaster and war zones.

Its founder, Elissa Montanti was quick to respond.

But first, the brothers had to get to Turkey. A car drove them as close to the border as it could. The driver's last words: "You're on your own now."

Omar's arms were aching as he carried his brother and their three bags across the muddy field. The brothers eventually made their way to Ankara in Turkey, but the boys don't have passports. Their visas to the U.S. were denied. And now they are waiting to see if the State Department will grant them humanitarian parole.

For Omar, watching his brother suffering is agonizing.

OMAR, ABDULRAHMAN'S BROTHER: He had nightmares. And sometimes daydreams, bad daydreams. The most important thing that he's going to get this time, I think it's -- to be aware of everything. To grow up, his mind. He's not a child anymore.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, for more information on how you can help, do use the website, There, you find out a lot more about helping Abdulrahman and other children like him who've been wounded in what is this absolutely crisis in Syria, the Syrian conflict,

Still to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD, it's the list that's caused huge embarrassment for the Greek government, but this journalist was taken to court for releasing it. We're going to explain why up next.


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

The death toll from Super Storm Sandy in the United States has reached 88, half of them in New York City. Millions in the city continue to struggle without electricity or running water. The financial impact could be as high as $45 billion to $50 billion.

US president Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail for the first time in days. He's addressing a rally in Vegas, Nevada, as we speak, one of three states that he will visit today. Challenger Mitt Romney, meantime, is focusing on the battleground state of Virginia. The election now just five days away.

In Colombia, a suitcase bomb exploded in a southwestern town near an area where thousands of kids were celebrating Halloween. Police say the two suspected bombers on bicycles were killed, dozens more were injured in the city of Pradera, 27 of those injured were children, including 2 in critical condition. Authorities are blaming the attacks on FARC rebels.

And a journalist who published the names of more than 2,000 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts was acquitted on Thursday of breaking privacy laws. The arrest and rapid trial of the magazine editor has caused international concern. He accused politicians of hiding the truth and protecting untouchable wealthy elite.

Diana Magnay was at that packed courthouse for the verdict, and she joins us now, live from Athens. Di?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Well, yes, an acquittal. A verdict, really, that weighed up whether, as the prosecution charged Costas Vaxevanis with, he had abused personal data by publishing the list of some 2,000 wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts, or whether he was acting, as he said, in the public interest.

He maintained throughout that it was definitely within the public interest a matter of national fiscal security, really, that this list be brought out into the public so that it can be investigated.

And really, the big scandal here is that the list sat with the Greek Finance Ministry since 2010, when French -- France's Christine Lagarde, the then finance minister, gave it to her Greek counterpart, and nothing was done with it, even though two successive finance minister said they'd handed it to the Serious Fraud Office.

The Serious Fraud Office said they'd never actually been commissioned to investigate to see whether anyone on those lists -- on that list was actually dodging their taxes.

Costas Vaxevanis published the list on Saturday, was immediately hauled into the dock, as you will, and people felt that there was a sort of ungainly haste shown by the prosecution in trying to prosecute him, whereas for the past two years, there's been no prosecution for anyone who might have been evading taxes on that list.

Here is how Mr. Vaxevanis defended his actions shortly before that acquittal sentence was read out. Let's just take a listen.


COSTAS VAXEVANIS, EDITOR, "HOT DOC" MAGAZINE (through translator): I didn't take any risks. When a journalist does his job, he doesn't take risk into account. He takes into account what he needs to do. So, what I had to do was to publish who were on the Lagarde list.

In the last two years, various names have been thrown about. People have been blackmailed. Fake lists were circulated. The political system is being destabilized. There was a fake list that had half of the Greek lawmakers' names on it. Doesn't this need to stop?


MAGNAY: His point, doesn't this need stopping? Isn't it about time that this matter, which has sat in the Greek Finance Ministry for such a long time, be assessed?

And to put that into context, Becky, similar lists were handed to German and French authorities, who did prosecute some names on those respective lists for tax evasion. And Greece, a country which requires those tax receipts so much not bother to do the same.

We spoke a little earlier on the telephone to Mr. Vaxevanis's lawyer, who said particularly in this acute crisis in which Greece finds itself, this really was a case that needed -- these names needed to be brought out into the public eye. Let's take a listen to what he says.


HARRIS IKONOMOPOULOS, DEFENSE LAWYER (via telephone): What the government should do is investigate these and any other lists they may have their hands on. That's first and foremost. The Greek government needs to reinstate effective governance, checks and balances, and accountability and transparency mechanisms in order for whatever is done to be productive.

We can't afford any more injustice, we can't afford any more mismanagement, and we can certainly not afford lies that are smearing public life and are delegitimizing the public personnel in total.


MAGNAY: This is probably just the start, Becky, of the revelations that will come out as a result of that list. People really trying to see injustices righted, where they feel that they bear the burden of tax hikes while their salaries are cut and whilst they see the rich, the wealthy, and politicians supposedly protecting their cronies, and they want to see justice done, Beck.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. All right, Di, thank you for that. Diana Magnay out of Athens for you this evening.

So, who exactly is on this list? Well, there are 2,059 names, all who are said to have had accounts in a Geneva branch of the HSBC Bank. The magazine that published the list says the names are the same as those given by Christine Lagarde in 2010 to Greek finance authorities.

It was known as the Lagarde List. It includes government figures, business people, as Di said, ship owners, and industrialists. But perhaps more surprising are the journalists, lawyers, doctors, and architects that also make up that list. Several women on the list, also identified as, quote, "housewives," and are said to have moved large amounts of money to HSBC accounts.

Well, as Diana suggested, this has touched, among many Greeks who are really angry about this -- with the government, with the fact that they did nothing with the names two years ago. So, was the journalist, Costas Vaxevanis, right to publish this list?

With me now is Yanis Varoufakis, who's a professor of economic theory at the University of Athens, tonight joining me from Seattle. I guess the first question, because you've known about this Lagarde list for some time, the first question is simply this: why haven't we heard about it before? And certainly why haven't the Greek people heard about it before?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS, GREEK ECONOMIST: Well, the reason, of course, is, that the Greek government was sitting on it until some squabble between the coalition partners brought to light the existence of that list. An existence that was very suitably denied by two finance ministers, and then the heads of the Serious Fraud squad.

So, by publishing this list, Costas Vaxevanis serves a very important purpose.


VAROUFAKIS: He actually exposed the duplicity and hypocrisy.

ANDERSON: And he's off. He's off the hook at this point, Yanis. And the list is now out there. What do you expect to happen next? I'm well aware that in Greece, often tax evasion is known as tax immunity, am I right in saying that?

VAROUFAKIS: Yes, indeed. The powers that be have a very cozy relationship with the business community, the operation of Greek social economy. And they find a way of ensuring that they don't even break the law when they don't pay taxes.

The interesting -- that is, of course, not unique to Greece, but what is unique to Greece, perhaps, is that there's a social contract in commerce where the lower classes, incensed by this injustice, turn it into almost a patriotic duty not to pay tax, either.

So, the result is, just to give you a number, that the Greek state's tax stake is about 15 percent lower than it would have been otherwise.

ANDERSON: Amazing. Well, the Chicago Booth School of Business, and I quote them here, say, "The self-employed in 2009 dodged taxes on at least 28 billion euros of unreported income." Does that surprise you? Enough to fill 31 percent Greek deficit, by the way, that year.

VAROUFAKIS: No, it doesn't surprise me, even though I take all these numbers with a large pinch of salt, because by the very definition, the black economy is black, and we don't even -- it's not that transparent for us to measure.

But the important thing to remember is that this is a political issue and a moral issue, which causes the delegitimization of any attempt to bring Greece back onto its feet. It's not the cause of Greece's great depression at the moment, but it is one of the tentacles with which a kleptocracy, as I call it --


VAROUFAKIS: -- is keeping Greece down, has been doing it for many years. And in short, when the euro crisis was to happen after 2008, Greece would be the first domino to fall. It doesn't explain the domino effect, but that's another matter.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Let's talk again. Thank you for your input tonight, your expert on the subject.

VAROUFAKIS: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Important day out of Greece this Thursday.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD tonight, ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi made sporting history when he took double gold in this year's Paralympics. His triumphant tale coming up after this.


ANDERSON: All right. It's that time of the week when we visit our Human to Hero series here on CNN. Back in 2001, Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi lost both his legs in an horrific crash, but he refused to let that slow him down.

Now, a Paralympic gold medallist in the sport of hand-cycling, he tells us about his remarkable journey and what it took to overcome what have been many obstacles in his way. Have a listen to this.


ALEX ZANARDI, PARALYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: When you're very passionate about something, you can talk about sacrifice.

You have to be curious. It comes the day where your wish is only to really investigate how high you can take the level of your specific activity.

The road of my life has been quite bumpy at times, and I definitely hit a big bump in 2001, September 15. I was leading the race. I lost control of the car in the acceleration lane. A lot of cars were going by at more than 350 kilometers per hour.

And first cab went by, and the second one hit me, basically cutting my car in two parts. Both arteries were completely ripped apart. The amputation was immediate.

When I found myself in an hospital bed, I didn't know exactly what I had gone through, but I felt so bad and such a big pain, and I had the clear perception that I cheated death by this much. My question was, how the hell am I going to do all the things that I have to do with no legs?

I have discovered hand-cycling in 2007. Initially, it was just a way for myself to keep fit. And then, I started to do some races. And the desire of raising the level of my game started to grow inside me.

It's picking up, 59, 17, 19, 20.

What I see in my dashboard is even more complicated than what I normally see into the dashboard of a race car, because I'm the engine, and therefore I need to be aware of what's going on, and I have all this information right there.

My position, which is basically this one, allows me not just to use my arms in pushing and pulling my cranks, but also my entire body. I average up to 44.5 kilometers per hour. At 40 kilometers per hour, you are illegal with a motorcycle in Italy. Therefore, I'm almost illegal.

I've always been very, very passionate for the technical aspect of my job. It was a never-ending process in me trying to learn, trying to understand exactly what I needed. Finally, I was happy with the position.

That's the point where I got my friends in Formula 1 involved in my game, and I went to see them. I said, "Guys, all I want to do is to make it lighter, stiffer, and more aerodynamic." And I ended up with this black beast. It's completely made in carbon fiber. It's the best fiber of all available.

Being part of the Paralympic Games of 2012 was fantastic just for this simple reason, because finally I saw people realizing which kind of message can really come out from sport in general and from our disciplines as well.

Going home with two gold medals, of course, makes it even sweeter.


ANDERSON: Fantastic. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, and I'm Becky Anderson. When we come back, the Williams sisters. Tennis season may be over, but see how they are entertaining fans in Nigeria. All that and the rest of your sports headlines after this.


ANDERSON: All right, let's turn to sports news, and another claim, I'm afraid, of racism in football surfacing once again. It is involving Chelsea football club. Amanda Davies is with me with the details. What's being alleged this time?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I love football, Becky, but every now and then something happens --


DAVIES: -- and it makes you wonder why you bother.


DAVIES: And sadly, at the moment, it's happening more and more and more. And once again, it's Chelsea that are involved. This time, police are now investigating a gesture made by a fan at Stanford Bridge on Wednesday night, a monkey gesture, alleged racist gesture, during the game against Manchester United.

There's a wider shot, there. And it seems to be directed at Manchester United's striker, Danny Welbeck. And it's -- it's hideous to see. It seems blatantly obvious what is going on there. The police are investigating, and Chelsea are also investigating.

They actually released a statement which says, "The club will be examining all available footage and ask anyone who can identify the individual to contact the club. Chelsea FC is committed to removing all forms of discrimination and if we have sufficient evidence, we'll take the strongest possible action, including supporting criminal prosecution."

ANDERSON: Good. Good to hear from them.

DAVIES: Yes. But that, of course, follows John Terry, the Chelsea captain, is suspended for racially abusing another player, and the claims that Chelsea made themselves against referee Mark Clattenburg on Sunday, another game against Manchester United.


DAVIES: They've claimed that Mark Clattenburg made inappropriate language to one of their players. Arsene Wenger, never quiet on these issues, he's weighed into the debate, and he says that he feels Chelsea should have maybe been a little bit more discreet. Have a listen.


ARSENE WENGER, ARSENAL MANAGER: One of the great things in football, especially in England, is always you could sort out the problems you had internally. And if it goes -- if it becomes poor to make the lawyers rich, I'm not a fan of it. I think one of the great things in sport is, as well, tolerance, forgiveness, and explanation internally, and I think it should stay like that.

It can happen that the referee doesn't behave well. I do not say they are angels. But you -- it's always better to sort it out in the room.


ANDERSON: I kind of agree with what he's saying, to a certain extent, but there's a divide here, and racism, I'm afraid, is on the backside of it.

DAVIES: And it's happening more and more and more.


DAVIES: And it -- on the pitch and off the pitch.


DAVIES: And just as we thought we were getting to grips with it, it just spills over again.

ANDERSON: The game was full of racism when I was growing up, but that, I'm afraid to say, is something like 25 years ago, now. It shouldn't be there, and we've got to rid of it. So, let's kick it out.


ANDERSON: On a much lighter note --


ANDERSON: The Williams sisters are in Nigeria. What are they up to?

DAVIES: Well, you'd think after Serena had one the season-ending championship --

ANDERSON: Exhausted, would be the word.

DAVIES: Yes. She won Olympic gold this year, she's won two Grand Slams. Frankly, you'd want a quiet life.


DAVIES: But no. The Williams sisters have gone to Nigeria. It's an exercise in promoting sport in young women, really, and equality --


DAVIES: -- through sport. But --

ANDERSON: Look at this.


DAVIES: Look, it's brilliant! They are well and truly getting involved in the act.


ANDERSON: Were they doing an tennis teaching, or were they just doing this?

DAVIES: There is -- they are going to play an exhibition match as well.

ANDERSON: Is that fun?

DAVIES: I don't think it'll be as good as that. It's brilliant entertainment.


DAVIES: And well done for --

ANDERSON: Yes, good.

DAVIES: -- properly getting involved. It's nice to see.

ANDERSON: It was a pleasure. Thank you.


ANDERSON: And Amanda, of course, back in half an hour with "World Sport."

An update for travelers for you. The Federal Aviation Authority tells CNN that New York's LaGuardia Airport is currently operating at about 60 percent, I'm told. The airport had been shut down after Super Storm Sandy flooded its runways.

Our iReporters have sent in some amazing footage of what life is like after Sandy. Have a look at some of this before we leave you tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the line for gas, and it started way, way back there. This is absurd. Oh, my God. I'm not getting gas. There's no way I'm getting gas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are walking the 59th Street Bridge, New York City, back from work. We've got about a three-mile walk both ways, but it's just what New Yorkers do. We're coming from Queens, we're going back to our home in Long Island City. We're not the only ones. Every which way you look, New Yorkers doing their thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no lights, no traffic cops. Not good, not good.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just went upstairs, and a minute later, I sat down, and I heard a woosh. And then we looked outside and saw --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- this tree between the two houses. It was, like, squeaking and it was dragging, and then you just heard it like a huge bang, then it fell.


ANDERSON: Your iReporters with our Parting Shots this evening. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.