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Syria, Israel Trade Fire; U.S. Congress Demands Answers To Petraeus Resignation

Aired November 12, 2012 - 16:00   ET


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, HOST: And hello and welcome. Tonight on Connect the World, Israel hits back after Syrian mortars strike the Golan Heights stoking new fears that Syria's civil war could widen.

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

SWEENEY: And tonight as Syria's opposition groups put on a show of unity, we'll explore whether the agreement to form a single coalition could be a turning point.

Also tonight, the BBC vows to get a grip after more trouble at the top. So how can one of the world's most respected broadcasters restore the public trust.

And two of the greats of tennis go head to head in the ATP Tour final showdown of the year.

Israel and Syria haven't fired at each other in nearly 40 years. Now for the second time in 24 hours, Syria fire has landed in Israel. In retaliation for a Syrian mortar round that hit the Golan Heights Israel responded with tank shells. The exchange of fire is raising some fears Israel could be dragged into the Syrian conflict which shows no sign of ending.

There's one possible breakthrough, a newly formed opposition group which the GCC says is the quote, "legitimate representative of the Syrian people."

Well, senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is following the very latest from Beirut. Arwa, as we take a look at a map showing the location of the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria, how serious do you believe this exchange of fire is?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point right now it is being downplayed by the Israeli government and most certainly Syrian cannot afford to see any sort of front opened along that border as well.

But this is unfortunately part of what many were saying is the inevitable trajectory as the Syrian war continues to spiral out of control every single day. It was going to somehow affect all of its neighbors, not just Israel of course, but we have also been seeing a grave impact in Turkey here where we are in Lebanon, Jordan and in Iraq as well. And this is perhaps why it is so critical that there is some sort of resolution, because most certainly what happens, and what is going to happen in Syria, is not going to be confined to that nation's borders Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: Indeed there has been a fear that the longer the conflict continues the wider the possibilities that it might spread throughout the region. But in perhaps a sign of good news, or is it, a new opposition group has been formed. It's going to be the umbrella group with a true representative, it says, if the Syrian people.

How does that square with what's taking place inside Syria? And does it have a chance of making any progress?

DAMON: Well, if we take a first initial glance at what has taken place at least on paper when we look at the key players, when we look at how they're going to be trying to restructure themselves, this new coalition does perhaps stand a chance. And the very least reaction towards it from inside Syria has been a sigh of relief. Many people who we have been talking to feeling that they now have true representation.

If we take a quick look at these key players, the head of this new coalition Muaz al-Khatif (ph). He is a former imam. He is a Sunni. He used to preach at the most significant famous mosque in Damascus, the Umayed (ph) mosque. He's known as being a moderate and preaching a message of unity.

His deputy, one of them, is Riyadh al-Saif (ph). He was very key in all of these meetings in actually bringing this coalition together, a prominent businessman from Damascus.

And his other deputy, a woman, Suhair al-Tasi (ph). She very well known for her advocacy of women's rights.

These are all people that most certainly put a much more acceptable face on the Syrian opposition than the Islamist tendencies or reputation that the Syrian National Council did in fact have.

What is going to be critical to see in the coming days and weeks is whether or not they are able to attain that critical international recognition, legitimacy when it comes to the population that does support them, and then whether or not they can achieve certain things like being able to garner the finances and down the road what's the opposition has been calling for military support that so many think is necessary at this stage, Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: Arwa Damon there reporting. Thank you for that. From CNN Beirut. And that analysis.

Well, the GCC joins a number of others to welcome the newly formed coalition. The United States it is pleased that Syria's factions have united. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, quote, "we look forward to supporting the National Coalition as it charts a course toward the end of Assad's bloody rule."

Turkey's foreign minister says there's no excuse anymore for foreign governments not to support the opposition.

France is also backing the new body, saying it's, quote, "a major step in the indispensable unification of the Syrian opposition."

And Britain says it has welcome it as a, quote, "important milesstone."

Well, the key question is will this new coalition enable the international community to do more to help the Syrian opposition? For more on that, let's bring in senior international correspondent Nic Robertson live from London.

I mean, a strong seal of approval for Turkey there, saying Nic, that there is no further excuse for the international community not to embrace this newly formed coalition. Is that's how it's going to go down in reality?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's certainly going to give the opposition and the international community an opportunity to do business in a way that they haven't done before. I mean, critically for the opposition that is to get more and better weapons supplies. And if you see it through the perspective of the international community and certainly the sort of politics that go on behind the scenes in all these difference countries, whether it's France or Turkey or the United States or Britain, to be able to be seen to be sorting something that is not this jihadist tendency that has been emerging and that it would be very difficult politically to supply the opposition with any meaningful weapons to really chase, change the course of the battles inside Syria.

So it does provide an opportunity, there's no doubt about it, but it really is going to depend on the - on how strong that coalition remains. It's come about under huge international pressure, an essential deadlines and a lot of talks. It's been over a year in the making. But that will be the test of it. This is an opportunity that no doubt all these countries - Turkey, the United States, European countries, France, Britain, want to exploit. They have to. They all want to see an end to the bloodshed in Syria, and an end to the potential destabilization in the region.

SWEENEY: But there's an implication there that it would have an impact on the situation inside Syria. I mean, is the government in Damascus likely to feel under more pressure as a result of this coalition tonight?

ROBERTSON: Well, the government in Damascus has certainly been feeling a sense of greater international isolation particularly since - a month or so ago Turkey moved to have the right of rapid response and has fired back into - into Syria when missions or explosives have crossed over the border at least coming from Syria.

So there is a sense that they recognize in the international community and the opposition is getting better organized and that does make it tougher for them. There is certainly no indication that they're backing down. On the face of this, if you look at the map of Syria today and you look at the way that the opposition is trying to fight on the ground you can see by the fact that there's been fighting at the border at Raf al-Ain, a key strategic town on the border with a main route coming from the north from Turkey into Syria. We've seen other border crossings from Turkey fall into the control after heavy fighting into the control of the opposition.

We've seen the opposition try to cut the important highway linking the south of the country Damascus to the town of - to the city of Aleppo in the north. If the opposition can cut that highway it stops the resupply, or the easy resupply for Syrian government forces inside Aleppo. What we're seeing here is the opposition trying to take control of the north of the country.

And while we have this new Syrian opposition basing themselves out of Cairo, in the future it's not impossible to imagine a scenario where they may in the not too distance future if those areas in the north of the country can be secured move in there and for the international community to take advantage of this sort of freer more protected space in the north of the country. A lot of steps have to happen before that, but that's the sort of trajectory that we're on Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: All right. We'll keep an eye on that. Nic Robertson, thank you for the update from CNN London.

And our top story tonight, Israel says it fired tank shells into the Syrian in retaliation for a Syrian mortar round that hit the Golan Heights. The two countries haven't exchanged fire in nearly 40 years.

You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. And still to come tonight, tough words from the Israeli president on the ongoing fight (inaudible) Gaza. An exclusive interview with Simon Perez just ahead.

Also, as more details emerge, the mystery only deepens. We'll have the latest on the scandal that ousted CIA director General David Petraeus.

And as times get tougher in Greece, the politics get nastier. We look at the extreme right-wing party enjoying growing popularity. All that and much more when Connect the World continues.


SWEENEY: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me Fionnuala Sweeney, welcome back.

Palestinian factions in Gaza are considering a cease-fire with Israel after days of cross border attacks. Militants have fired more than 115 rockets at Israel since Saturday, injuring eight people, while Israeli airstrikes and shelling attacks have killed six people in Gaza. The leader of one Palestinian faction says militants will observe a cease-fire, quote, "if the Israeli aggression doesn't escalate."

Israel's president says his country will use all means necessary to stop the rocket fire from Gaza. Shimon Peres sat down today for an exclusive interview with CNN's Sara Sidner.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you see happening? How severe is this latest escalation?

SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: I'll tell you. (inaudible) to think they can do both. It is, there is a permissiveness. They (inaudible) there is no permissiveness to kill. And if they want to end their lives properly and (inaudible) properly, they cannot be permissive in killing and shooting at us.

It's not just killing people, we cannot afford that a million mothers will not have a night sleep because they have to watch their babies not to be hit by rocket. No country in the world would agree to it without exception.

SIDNER: But what will Israel do if the rockets keep coming into Israel?

PERES: We shall try to stop it by all the means we can mobilize and use. And we can. We don't think that we are defenseless. We are strained. We don't take initiatives. We are careful to respect human life and we shall be careful. But if they want that the Gazian people - the Gazian mothers will sleep at night. They must understand that all mothers want to sleep at night with their babies.


SWEENEY: A little later in the program, we'll get a filmmaker's view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We're going to look at Zaytoun a new film that shows and follows the story of two enemies who become friends. Stay with us for Becky Anderson's interview with the director, acclaimed Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis.

Here's a look now at some of the other stories making news this hour. Two BBC executives have temporarily stepped aside. The head and deputy head of news will not continue in their roles, ending a report on why the broadcaster never aired an investigation into child abuse claims against a BBC presenter. Over the weekend, the BBC's director general resigned over a different report that wrongly linked a senior politician to a separate abuse case.

A royal commission is to be held into institutional child sex abuse in Australia. It comes after allegations were published in the country's media that the Catholic church have covered up evidence of abuse. The commission will look into religious groups, sports organizations, Scouts, guides, schools, and state institutions. The Australian prime minister called the abuse evil and vile. And said too many adults have let children down.


JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: There have been revelations of child abuses being moved from place to place rather than the nature of their abuse and their crimes being dealt with. There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil.


SWEENEY: EuroZone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels tonight to discuss releasing the next slice of bailout cash to Greece. The euro group head Jean-Claude Juncker says they won't make a decision on the next Greek bailout installment today despite the country's approval of a past 2013 budget on Sunday night.

The radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada has won a legal battle against his extradition from the UK. He's expected to be released on bail on Tuesday after a special commission ruling that says he cannot be deported to Jordan. The British government says it strongly disagrees with the decision and says Abu Qatada raised money for terrorist groups.


THEREA MAY, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: I hardly need to tell the house that the government strongly disagrees with this ruling. Qatada is a dangerous man, a suspected terrorist who is accused of serious crimes in his home country of Jordan. The British government has obtained from the Jordanian government assurances not just in relation to the treatment of Qatada himself, but about the quality of the legal processes that would be followed throughout his trial. We will therefore seek leave to appeal today's decision.


SWEENEY: U.S. lawmakers are demanding a full explanation of who knew what, when about the affair the brought down CIA director General David Petraeus. Some are questioning the timing of his resignation. Others want to know if national security may have been breached.

Let's bring in Brian Todd for the latest. He is in Washington. And this is a very fast moving developing story, getting murkier by the moment it would seem. What is the latest Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fionnuala, the latest is that we have found out is that a member of congress, the House Majority leader, a Republican congressman named Eric Cantor actually found out about this affair before President Obama did, and possibly as much as almost two weeks before the president did, Eric Cantor found out about this.

According to aides to that congressman he found out about it from a phone call from an FBI employee on October 27. He had a conversation with that employee in which the employee, according to Cantor's aides, told him that he was concerned that national security could have been compromised as a result of the Petraeus affair. Cantor took that information, consulted with his legal staff for a couple of days, and because of a delay because of the storm in the United States when the government offices were closed, he, Cantor, spoke to the FBI's top leadership on October 31 and relayed to them what he had found out about the affair.

But all of that was before President Obama found out about it, which according to our reporting and other news outlets reporting was after election day. It could have been either that Wednesday or Thursday that the president found out about it.

So that is one piece of incremental information that we're finding out Fionnuala.

Other things that we have learned the name of the woman who received threatening emails linked to Paula Broadwell, the woman with whom Petraeus had an affair. The woman who received the threatening emails, her name was Jill Kelly. She is described as a family friend of David Petraeus'. Petraeus has said that he did not have an affair with anyone except for Paula Broadwell. So unclear other than the family friendship what role this woman Jill Kelly had in this whole thing other than receiving apparently threatening emails from David Petraeus' woman with whom he had an affair, Paula Broadwell.

SWEENEY: All right, so the question is here is this becoming a political scandal and/or a national security scandal whereby this woman Paula Braodwell might have had access to sensitive information as well as obviously the affair itself?

TODD: It's a little too early to say whether it's one or the other. There have been indications from U.S. officials to CNN and to other people that there was no breach of national security although there are drips and drabs, I will say, of information coming out which indicate well maybe somebody had said something along the line revealing some matters of national security. I know that sounds a little cryptic and vague, but right now we don't have a lot of hard reporting on what was said in public and what was relayed in this whole affair that may have revealed some national security information. But again it may not have.

We're still kind of ascertaining whether it's more of a national security story. It is certainly a political story as any scandal like this is in Washington. And right now the political fire is over who knew what, when, and why the president and top members of congress were not informed sooner.

Now for his part, Eric Cantor, the congressman, his aides tell us the reason that the congressman didn't go to top congressional leaders, and we're talking about leaders of the Senate intelligence committee, the House intelligence committee who really, they say they should have known about this earlier, the reason that this one congressman didn't go to them earlier was according to his aides, that this was one phone call he got from one person, the information was not substantiated. So what Cantor did was pass that information along to the FBI and he believed that the FBI would report it to congressional leaders as was appropriate. He just didn't want to relay it himself because it was not substantiated information at the time.

SWEENEY: All right. It's a story that isn't going anywhere for a time. But Brian Todd in Washington, thank you for joining us.

Well, Christiane Amanpour talked to one of the people who knows Petraeus best, former senior adviser and trusted confidante Sadi Othman.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You've spoken David Petraeus. You've been in contact with him since this all broke, since all of this news broke. How is he holding up? What is his view of what's happened?

SADI OTHMAN, FRM. SENIOR ADVISER TO DAVID PETRAEUS: I talked to him a few hours ago earlier this morning. He's very sad, very remorseful about what happened, about what he did. His focus now is on his family and to repair the damage that has been done because of this mistake that he made.


SWEENEY: And you can see Christiane's entire interview with Petraeus' former aide right after Connect the World here on CNN. That is tonight at 10:00 in London, 11:00 pm in Berlin.

We're going to take a short break now, but when we come back, Roger Federer is trying to pull off a hat trick of the O2 Arena, but can he get passed the world's top ranked player?


SWEENEY: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. Welcome back. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney.

Well, the final match of the year from the men's tennis tour is in progress as we speak. And fittingly it has come down to number one against number two at London's O2 Arena which is where we find World Sport's Alex Thomas.

Alex, so is the match living up to its expectations?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely it is, Fionnuala. The world numbers one and two proving why they're ranked so highly. And the first set of this best of three set final here at the Barclay's ATP World Tour Finals has gone down to a tiebreak. Six games all then. And when last I heard it was six points each. So it is absolute nailbiter. In fact, as I speak I think Novak Djokovic has just taken that opening set.

And that's an interesting first move for Djokovic, because eight times he's won the first set in matches against Roger Federer and eight times he has won. So Federer now with a mammoth task if he's to come back and win the next two sets and the match and take the title here for the third successive year and for a record breaking seventh time altogether. He's already won this tournament more times than any player in history.

It's prestigious Fionnuala. It goes back more than 30 years, but you wouldn't put it up alongside any of the sport's four annual Grand Slam tournaments. Nonetheless you can see how keen both these players are to finish the year, a grueling long year on a high note. And it's Djokovic that's drawn first blood. Here he leads Roger Federer by 1-0, Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: And it's still very, very close. And Federer finishes the year as world number two at the grand old age of 31. So next year, what are his chances of adding to his record total of grand slam titles?

THOMAS: That's right, the world number one ranking has already been decided. Djokovic is too far ahead of Roger Federer to catch him, even though Federer has had one of his best ever years.

And to point to your question that shows how much more there is still left in what some would call the old Swiss master, a little bit unfair at the age of 31.

But he's such a graceful player, Fionnuala. He puts very little pressure on his joints in what is a very high impact sport, especially on the hard indoor courts. So he won Wimbledon again this year. I can well see him challenging for all four of the Grand Slam tournaments next year in 2013. So don't rule Roger Federer out of adding to his record number of grand slam titles, although Djokovic, Rafa Nadal when he comes back from injury, and Andy Murray who lost in the semifinals here, will all be very close rivals as well, Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: Indeed they will.

Alex, thank you very much for that there at the O2 Arena. Alex will be back in about an hour from now on World Sport which will be hosted by Patrick Snell.

In the meantime, you're watching Connect the World and still to come on the program, resignations and suspensions at the BBC as the broadcaster tries to hold on to its reputation for sterling journalism.

The rise of the far right party in Greece that has whole communities living in fear. That report when we return.

And enemies become friends, the story penned by a Palestinian writer and brought to the big screen by an Israeli director.


SWEENEY: A warm welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.

Israel says it fired tank shells into Syria in retaliation for a Syrian mortar round that hit the Golan Heights. The two countries haven't exchanged fire in nearly 40 years. The incidents come as Syria's newly unified opposition is getting its first formal diplomatic recognition. Six Gulf states now say they will recognize the National Council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss releasing the next slice of bailout cash to Greece. The euro group head, Jean-Claude Junker, says they won't make a decision tonight on when the next installment of financial aid will be released.

The radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada has won a legal battle against his extradition from the UK to Jordan. He's expected to be released on bail Tuesday. The British government says it strongly disagrees with the decision.

Two BBC executives have stepped aside temporarily. The head and deputy head of news will not continue in their roles pending a report on why the broadcaster never aired an investigation into child abuse claims against a BBC presenter. At the weekend, the BBC's director-general resigned over a different report that wrongly linked a senior politician to a separate abuse case.

Well, the BBC is being described as an organization in crisis, and many are asking how one of the world's most trusted broadcasters can regain trust. From London, Dan Rivers reports.


DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a scandal that has claimed the top man at the BBC.

GEORGE ENTWISTLE, FORMER DIRECTOR-GENERAL, BBC: I have decided that the honorable thing to do is to step down from the post of director- general.

RIVERS: But the BBC remains under the spotlight, the world's media camped out on its doorstep, including BBC news crews reporting on their own employer, as more casualties of the child abuse scandal are announced among the broadcaster's senior management.

The head of news, Helen Boaden and her deputy Stephen Mitchell are both stepping aside. A man who used to be a marketing guru for Pepsi is now temporarily taking over at the top.

TIM DAVIE, ACTING DIRECTOR-GENERAL, BBC: Today, I've announced that we are establishing one very simple line of command in news. That's the first task for me as a new acting director-general coming in, so that I can deliver the journalism that is trusted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, this program apologizes. A key allegation in a report about child abuse was wrong.

RIVERS: The scandal that caused such consternation here boiled down to this: a failure to broadcast allegations of child abuse about a BBC personality, Jimmy Savile, followed by the rushing on air of an inaccurate report claiming a conservative politician was a pedophile. Now, the politicians are demanding answers about who actually made those decisions.

JOHN WHITTINGDALE, BRITISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: We need to find out who was consulted, who had the final authority to take that decision, and on what grounds they possibly thought that this program should be broadcast.

TESSA JOWELL, SHADOW UK CULTURE MINISTER: Will she agree that the next victim of this crisis must not be the independence of the BBC?

MARIA MILLER, UK CULTUER MINISTER: The only organization that can restore the public's trust in the BBC is the BBC itself.

RIVERS (on camera): But amid all the hand-wringing and resignations here at BBC, there are plenty who feel the victims of the child abuse should not be forgotten.

CHERIE BLAIR, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: We need to do more to ensure that if a child is in difficulty that that child's voice is heard, and that attention is paid to them. Because sometimes we have tended to think that the victim -- we haven't listened to what the victim is telling us.

RIVERS (voice-over): Reform for the way child abuse victims are cared for and reform at the BBC for the way those stories are reported.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


SWEENEY: So, the interim director-general has announced a different chain of command. Currently, while the buck stops at the DG's office, the job is so wide-ranging, it's proven it's easy to miss some details.

The director-general is also BBC chief executive, chairman of the executive board, as well as being its editor-in-chief. The BBC has a staff of 23,000 and a budget of over $7.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the man who was in charge when the Jimmy Savile investigation was shelved has started work at the "New York Times." Mark Thompson is the newspaper's new chief executive. The "Times" publisher backed Thompson after the BBC scandal emerged. This time, the former BBC chief backed his previous employer.


MARK THOMPSON, FORMER DIRECTOR-GENERAL, BBC: Like many people, I'm very saddened by recent events at the BBC, but I believe the BBC is the world's greatest broadcaster, and I've got no doubt that it will once again regain the public's trust both in the UK and around the world.

It's a very important institution, and I believe that it's full of people with integrity and talent, and I have no doubt it's going to get back on its feet really soon.


SWEENEY: The BBC is publicly funded in the UK, and that's where the current scandal is focused, and it's yet to be seen just how great the repercussions may be for the broadcaster's vast international reach.

The BBC reaches an audience of well over 230 million people around the world. That is thanks in part to it being available on television, radio, or online in 28 languages. Earlier, I spoke to media Claire Enders, and I asked her why a domestic scandal in the UK is creating ripples around the world.


CLAIRE ENDERS, FOUNDER AND CEO, ENDERS ANALYSIS: It is the director- general of the BBC, and the BBC is a globally-recognized gold standard of journalism and news, and therefore, it is very disturbing if there is any part of the BBC's output which is not done to a high standard. And so, it is a global trust issue at the moment.

SWEENEY: A global trust issues at the moment. Obviously, the BBC are looking into this matter, and it's being looked into for them.

How do you assess the chain of events that began several weeks ago, now, with the news about the great, well-known celebrity Jimmy Savile, who died just a year ago, and the numerous, hundreds of sex abuse allegations made against him? How did you feel the BBC reacted when they got wind that this was happening?

ENDERS: Well, like many people, I have felt that the BBC response from the beginning of this crisis was below par, and very seriously below par in relation to addressing the concerns of the victims of Jimmy Savile.

And there has seemed to be an awful lot of navel-gazing and an awful lot of obsessing about chains of command and management structures at the BBC, which is seen to be inappropriate, given the allegations made by the victims of Jimmy Savile.

So, like many people, I felt that the BBC's response to the scandal evolved in a completely wrong direction pretty much from the get-go. And that has only been compounded over the last two weeks by the news of a further serious journalist failure at "Newsnight."

SWEENEY: But how much of what is going to take place now in this review is going to result in a change of structure at the BBC because the structure itself has been in place for the last 50, 60 years and may no longer be relevant, and how much is it to do with the individual personalities who got caught up with this and perhaps either didn't react in time or -- and could have reacted faster?

ENDERS: Well, I don't know where any review of the BBC is going to get to in the fullness of time, and it may well be that there is a split between the editor-in-chief segment of the role and the chief executive segment of the role in due course.

I do think that the specific circumstances in result -- that have resulted in this crisis are just simply exceptional for an organization that has always held itself to the highest standards and found it inconceivable that it could have failed human beings.

And I think that George Entwistle in particular was someone who felt extraordinarily keenly the horror of the allegations around sexual assaults on children and minors on BBC premises even if those events had taken place decades ago.

And I think that he was really swept away and sort of imploded under the weight of this intolerable burden. Obviously, for your viewers, the BBC is a very noted news brand, it sets itself the highest standards. Therefore, to fail people on its premises was very, very, very significant.

So, I think that the inability to respond can't really be laid at the door of George Entwistle entirely, because these are unprecedented events. But nonetheless, certainly Lord Patten should have considered the fact that the director-general might be subjected to black swans during the appointment process.

And one can only think that some sort of fundamental failure in that process occurred for someone so unable to stand up to pressure to emerge as the successful candidate.


SWEENEY: The ongoing problems at the BBC.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up in the program, Greeks are deeply unhappy with their political leaders, but as the economy worsens, one party seems to be flourishing.


SWEENEY: These were the scenes outside Greece's parliament Sunday night as lawmakers passed the country's controversial budget for 2013. Thousands gathered in peaceful protest against the tough new legislation, which will impose deep cuts on jobs, pay, and pensions. The new budget is a precondition to Greece receiving its next round of financial aid.

Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD.

With is budget approved, Greece has done all it needs to satisfy its lenders, but there's no word on when it will actually receive its bailout money. European finance ministers are meeting in Brussels right now to discuss the situation. They've praised Greece for delivering reforms and sticking to austerity, but say there'll be no decision tonight on when Greece can access its emergency loans.

Greece desperately needs around $40 billion to stabilize its banks and meet debt repayments as soon as this week. In order to secure the funds, the company has already made deep spending cuts.

Last Wednesday, lawmakers passed an austerity package wroth over $17 billion. The move sparked widespread anger in two days of nationwide strikes that brought Greece to a standstill.

The deep cuts have also exposed Greece's fragile political framework, with many turning to extremist politics. Since the last election, the far- right Golden Dawn party has shot to prominence. The party is enjoying more support than ever, and fields MPs in parliament. Diana Magnay has this report, which some viewers may find upsetting.



DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite its frightening and sometimes violent presence on the streets, Golden Dawn is now Greece's third-largest party. It has 18 seats in the parliament.

NIKOLAOS MICHALOLIAKOS, LEADER, GOLDEN DAWN (through translator): We may do the Hitler salute, but at least our hands are clean.

MAGNAY: The party campaigns with the slogan "Clear the Filth." The filth, its code for African and Asian migrants.

"MANOS," GOLDEN DAWN SUPPORTER (through translator): I don't like foreigners because they cause a lot of trouble. They scare people. They rape women. They kill for no reason. Many people blame Golden Dawn for being racist, but we're not racist. We're nationalists.

MAGNAY: At a free emergency clinic in central Athens, a string of patients seek help for racial attacks.

"SIMON," VICTIM OF RACIAL VIOLENCE: "What are you doing here, Black Mambo? Why are you in our country? Go from here. Go to hell." They come from behind and I fall down.

MAGNAY (on camera): Is it because they hate foreigners, is that why?

"SIMON": Exactly. It's obvious.

MAGNAY (voice-over): We meet the head of the Tanzanian Community Center, Francis Williams. In September, a mob attacked his center and several shops on the same street. A terrified neighbor shot this video.


MAGNAY (on camera): She was saying, "Well done," the police, for protecting you?


MAGNAY: For protecting them? Protecting Golden Dawn?


MAGNAY: And then offering them drinks?

WILLIAMS: Yes, yes.

MAGNAY (voice-over): Williams points out how police stood by whilst black-clad youth smashed windows. The community center was ripped apart.

WILLIAMS: And we expect maybe the police could have given us a hand, or at least confront these people, at least arrest some people.

MAGNAY (on camera): But nothing.

WILLIAMS: But nothing, of course. Just looking at them and -- that's why we think the police are part of them.

MAGNAY (voice-over): Police spokesman Christos Manouras said he would investigate any video which suggested officers had turned a blind eye that night. In a written exchange, I asked him whether the police had failed to remove pockets of fascism within the police force.

He wrote, "Unlawful behaviors, wherever they come from within the Greek police force, are not and will not be tolerated."

A new police unit is being set up, tasked with confronting racist violence. Undaunted, Golden Dawn is now policing whole neighborhoods itself.

MAGNAY (on camera): This is one of two squares in the center of Athens that we're told is pretty much controlled by Golden Dawn. Since 2009, they've made it very difficult for immigrants to sit here, to stay here, to sleep here.

And that's maybe why you now see so many children playing in this square, why so many Greek people say they're better protected by Golden Dawn than they are by the police.

MAGNAY (voice-over): Elderly supporters are not ashamed to show their political colors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Golden Dawn saved us. Without them, we wouldn't be able to go out of our houses. They came in groups and chased the foreign people who were criminals, of course. And right now, we are able to sit on these benches in peace.

MAGNAY: But there are also the law-abiding residents of migrant origin who've long considered Greece their home and who now live in a state of permanent fear.

MAGNAY (on camera): How long have you been in Greece?

WILLIAMS: I've been here for the better of 12 years.

MAGNAY: And will you stay?

WILLIAMS: No way. I've -- it's -- my dream of being here, I think, has been benched. I feel I have to go back home.

MAGNAY (voice-over): Hours after we leave, his center is attacked again, the door blown away with a stick of dynamite. Such is the ugly mood in what was the birthplace of democracy.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Athens.


SWEENEY: Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras is due to meet the president of the European Commission in Brussels on Tuesday, and Mr. Samaras has warned that without the new loan, Greece will run out of money within days. Greece has a $6.3 billion debt repayment due this week, and it's hoping to raise money by auctioning treasury bills tomorrow.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back --


STEPHEN DORFF AS YONI, "ZAYTOUN": Your map is not right. That is Israel.

ABDALLAH EL AKAL AS FAHED, "ZAYTOUN": Your brain is not right! It's Palestine!

DORFF AS YONI: There is no Palestine.


SWEENEY: The film that finds common ground between two enemies. We hear from the director of "Zaytoun" next up.





SWEENEY: Israeli president Shimon Peres says his country will use all means necessary to stop rocket attacks from Gaza. Palestinian militants have fired more than 115 rockets at Israel since Saturday, injuring eight people. Israel launched air strikes and shelling attacks at what it calls terrorists and their weapons facilities, killing six people in Gaza.

The leader of one Palestinian faction says militants are willing to observe a cease-fire, quote, "if the Israeli aggression does not escalate." Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, two men who have witnessed this long-running conflict have come together to make a film that shows how enemies can become friends. Becky Anderson sat down with acclaimed Israeli director Eran Riklis, whose new film, "Zaytoun," was penned by Palestinian writer Nader Rizq.


EL AKAL AS FAHED: You, in there! You know Palestine?


EL AKAL AS FAHED: Palestine. Where it is.

DORFF AS YONI: Your map is not right. That is Israel.

EL AKAL AS FAHED: Your brain is not right! It's Palestine!

DORFF AS YONI: There is no Palestine.

ERAN RIKLIS, DIRECTOR, "ZAYTOUN": It's 1982, Beirut, on the edge of the war that's coming up in about a month. An Israeli pilot is shot down or just has a malfunction, finds himself on the ground, captured by the PLO, and forms this antagonistic relationship with a local Palestinian kid who just lost his father and has this almost urge to go to what he calls Palestine, which is now Israel, and see the village of his forefathers.

EL AKAL AS FAHED: We go down this way, in from here.


DORFF AS YONI: You'll never get past the border. The fences are ten meters high.

EL AKAL AS FAHED: We climb them.

DORFF AS YONI: They're electrified.

RIKLIS: And somehow, this leads to the pilot and the kid having a common interest, which is to -- let's get out of here and just go to the border, south. It's actually -- it's two enemies finding a way to, first of all, survive together, and reach a common goal.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, it's a story about war, but effectively, it's a story about friendship. It straddles the two.

RIKLIS: I think it's about -- probably you could say it's about the human side of, not only war, but the whole conflict, of the history of this conflict. It's about trying to put a human face to something which everybody learns about from CNN or the internet, and there's always people behind that.

ANDERSON: Eran, I know you don't like being known as a political filmmaker --

RIKLIS: It doesn't exist.


ANDERSON: But this is a political film.

RIKLIS: The truth is, I think we live in a world, especially today, where we can be sitting here and somebody in Washington is making a decision that will affect our lives once we walk out the door.

So, I think I'm interested in people trapped in political situations, influenced by political situations, maybe trying to change a situation. And I think that's the human condition of today. Maybe it always was.

EL AKAL AS FAHED: You are not coming!

AQEL AS AHMED: Yes I am, and so is Chechin (ph)!

DORFF AS YONI: You are taking the dog?

AQEL AS AHMED: He is Palestinian dog.

ANDERSON: What's your personal experience of the conflict?

RIKLIS: 1973, I was 19, I was in the Israeli army, and probably the bloodiest or most difficult, dramatic war that Israel had, the Yom Kippur War, and I was part of a generation that was really the one that was hit the most badly, in a way, because 19-year-old, one year in the army. Very traumatic. Lost a lot of my friends from my school and my generation.

But it also was an eye-opener, I think, as to how you look at the government, how you trust your leaders, how you look at the global feeling.

And yet -- and I always tell this story, but I think it's really important to know -- that in 1973, I was fighting the Egyptians. I spent seven months in the Sinai Desert. 1977, Sadat, the Egyptian president, woke up one day and said, "I'm coming to Jerusalem next week." And there he was.

So, I think that tells a lot. It's -- there is some kind of hope and all it needs is one person to wake up and do something. I think that's the one person we're missing at the moment.


SWEENEY: Well, what's on your mind? And if you've got something to say about any of the stories in this program, the team at CONNECT THE WORLD -- CONNECT THE WORLD, I should say, wants to hear from you at Have your say, and you can tweet the show @CNNconnect.

Now, James Bond, or at least his movies, may be a middle-aged 50, but he just set a new record.

The thriller "Skyfall" posted the biggest box office opening in North America ever for the Bond series. It grossed $87.8 million in its first three days, and it has already raked in $428 million worldwide. Actor Daniel Craig stars as 007. Our own Wolf Blitzer makes a cameo appearance playing himself.

In tonight's Parting Shots, if you're heading to Venice, don't forget to pack your wellies, because heavy rain has flooded the lagoon city. In fact, the high-tide mark has risen to its sixth-highest level since records began.

And this is the famous St. Mark's Square, tourists forced to wade through the water carrying their luggage. Forget shoes. Everyone needs wellies. This shop owner has started stocking up outside his shop in a flooded street. And don't come to this cafe for a cup of coffee unless you're prepared to get a little damp.

And finally, this video: iReporter Udaya is on holiday in Venice and says there was supposed to be a marathon, but how do you train for this? Not easy. Not easy, indeed.

I'm Fionnuala Sweeney, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.