Return to Transcripts main page


Egyptian President Makes Constitutional Referendum Delay A Possibility; Hamas Political Leader Visits Gaza For First Time In Decades

Aired December 7, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: And tonight on Connect the World, after days of protests and violence, in the past few minutes the hint of compromise as Egypt's president considers postponing a controversial referendum on the constitution.

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

ANDERSON: Well, if Mohammed Morsy is backing down, the U.S. president for one will be delighted. Washington gives billions of dollars in aid to Egypt. Tonight, how that aid hangs in the balance.

Also this hour, a historic gesture. The exiled leader of Hamas kisses the soil of Gaza for the very first time.



RICHARD BRANSON, CEO VIRGIN: I've smoked a joint or two. I'm actually, you know, I prefer it to drinking.


ANDERSON: A billionaire businessman opens up to me about drugs and the global fight to end an ugly war.

Well, after weeks of mass protests in Egypt word tonight that the government may be willing to compromise. Demonstrators in Cairo once again are in front of the presidential palace after breaking through a barricade. Several news reports now quote the Egyptian vice president as saying the government could delay a national referendum on a controversial draft constitution if one big condition is met.

Reza Sayah is in Cairo. With, Reza, news of this possible compromise from President Morsy. What do we know at this point?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this is an important development, because maybe, just maybe it could be viewed by the opposition as a legitimate concession by the president. And it certainly has the potential to calm things down and get these two sides together. And that's certainly a good thing considering how this conflict is escalating.

According to state media, President Mohammed Morsy has released a statement saying he's willing to postpone the referendum on the draft constitution scheduled for December 15, that's next Saturday.

However, the president wants a guarantee that if he delays this nationwide referendum, and it won't be challenged by the courts. Let's briefly explain to you his position. The law in Egypt right now says once a draft constitution is introduced you have to have a nationwide referendum in 15 days. That's the December 15 date. Essentially the president is saying if I delay this I don't want to be challenged by the court.

It seems to be the first time that the president is making a concession. And what we're going to do right after I'm done with you, Becky, is go down to Tahrir Square, engage the reaction there to see if this move by the president has won over at least some of his opponents and critics who are still here at Tahrir Square, Becky.

ANDERSON: Because let's set this in context, Reza, these demonstrations and protests some of which of course have turned deadly, have been going on now, what, a couple of weeks? And things looked as if they were just continuing to get worse.

SAYAH: Yeah. And a lot of people were anxiously waiting to see what the president would say last night in that all important televised address. The demands of the opposition are simple: get rid of the draft constitution, rescind the controversial decrees that he made last month that gave him the additional powers. In the televised address he didn't do that. Instead, he asked for calm, he asked for peace, he asked for all the political factions, their leaders, to get together and talk on Saturday at the presidential palace. He also made stern warning so all the protesters not to resort to violence. But he didn't give in to the demands of the opposition and that was the annul the draft constitution and rescind the decrees.

Now you have the possibility, the president saying I may delay the national referendum scheduled for December 15. It could be, it could be viewed by the opposition as a substantial concession. They could ease this impasse a little bit even if it's temporary, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. This news just coming in in the past few minutes. We'll let Reza get down to Tahrir Square and get some reaction for you from protesters there.

Reza, for the time being, thank you for that.

U.S. President Barack Obama called for Mr. Morsy on Thursday to express deep concern about the political crisis. Egypt has been, of course, a key ally of the United States for decades. And it's well compensated for that cooperation. The U.S. gives Egypt at least $1.3 billion a year. And that is just in military aid. It also gives economic aid and funding to promote democratic change.

So is the United States using that aid as leverage to try to ensure Egypt's current government sticks to a democratic path.

Let's find out more, shall we? We're going to bring in PJ Crowley for you tonight, a former U.S. State Department spokesman who knows what does on behind closed doors.

Sounds like Obama is certainly -- or has been playing tough with Mr. Morsy. You've heard what we believe to be a sort of compromise deal from the president of Egypt tonight. What is your understanding of the way that Obama is dealing with this?

PJ CROWLEY, FRM. U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Well, the United States has leverage. We have bilateral assistance as you say. We also have leverage through the International Monetary Fund, other international institutions because critically important for Egypt to progress they've got to get their economy back up and running again. And for that they need outside assistance.

That said, obviously there are -- you know, the reporting here raises a lot of questions about what's happening inside Egypt. You know, for example you've got the military as a significant player. You know, they have worked out really well inside this draft constitution. Does the military want to see this go back up for grabs again?

You have the constitutional court. And ostensibly Morsy took the action with the ill-advised decree to prevent the constitutional court of dissolving the assembly as they already had a duly elected parliament.

So -- and who speaks for the opposition? So far they've demanded certain things, but ultimately can they continue to coalesce and be an effective counterweight to the Muslim Brotherhood dominated government?

ANDERSON: We're talking $2 billion a year from the U.S. side, at least -- you know, we're talking about whether -- how Obama might use this as leverage. It's a fairly big stick. It gets in return, of course, all sorts of benefits. And that gives the U.S. a reason to sort of hang around as it were with the aid. It's described by this 2009 U.S. embassy cable released by WikiLeaks -- I want to remind you of this, PJ. President Mubarak, a military leader's view our military assistance program as untouchable compensation for making and maintaining peace with Israel the tangible benefits to the U.S. relationship with Egypt are clear. Egypt remains at peace with Israel and the U.S. military enjoys priority access to the Suez Canal and Egyptian airspace.

Alluding there to untouchable compensation, is it untouchable these days?

CROWLEY: Well, you've got to be careful. I mean, it is leverage, but by the same token that leverage buys specific things that are important to the United States and important to the region. You know, so far President Morsy has been very solid in saying that he's going to respect the existing treaty between Egypt and Israel.

If you pull away the assistance for some other reason, does that create a dynamic that causes Egypt to reevaluate its relationship with Israel. That would have devastating effect on the region. As I said, you know, there is both military assistance and civilian assistance. You could ostensibly withhold some of that? But what does that do to the Egyptian economy which ultimately -- you know, the secret to getting to democracy or something close to democracy is getting more of these young people in Egypt jobs.

ANDERSON: Just how important is that relationship with Egypt, with Cairo, for Washington these days? Certainly there are congressmen and women who are pushing for a suspension of this aid, quite frankly saying we're not getting bang for our $2 billion.

CROWLEY: I would flip that around. Obviously, you know, Egypt is the political center of the Middle East. It is the most significant country of those going through a historic transition. If Egypt comes out right then that has significant implications for the rest of the Middle East. If Egypt implodes and changes and shifts and goes in a different direction that also has implications for the rest of the region. So I think it is in the United States' interest to get -- help Egypt get itself right.

But I think we have to be patient here. This is going to take a decade or a generation. And there will be twists and turns every week or every month. And we have to keep the long view in mind.

ANDERSON: If you'd been advising President Obama on that conversation that he had with Morsy last night what would you have advised him to say?

CROWLEY: Well, I think the administration thus far I think is playing its -- a modest hand quite effectively. You know the tone in public is very respectful, recognizing that ultimately these are decisions that have to be made inside Egypt and have credibility and legitimacy inside Egypt. It's not the United States can impose a solution from the outside.

And then I think in the private conversations as being very forceful with Egypt saying, look, you're going to need our help, you're going to needs others' help, you've got to get this right.

ANDERSON: PJ, always a pleasure. Thank you for that.

PJ Crowley out of the States for you this evening on what is an incredibly important relationship on what is also an incredibly important day, it seems, for Egypt.

You're watching Connect the World live from London. Still to come this hour, the royal phone pranks, it's now taken a tragic turn. A nurse has apparently committed suicide. We go live to the central London hospital where it all began.

After decades of exile, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal returns to Gaza.

And later in the show, a golden river: sunny images of the Earth at night. Find out why the Nile is so bright.

All that and much more after this.


ANDERSON: Three days after being duped by Australian radio presenters during a royal phone prank a British nurse is dead from an apparent suicide.

Well, the royal couple, Prince William and his wife Katherine are said to be deeply saddened by the news.

Max Foster is outside London's King Edward VII Hospital and joins me now. What are the tragic details of this story, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, tragedy is the word, I think, today. I mean, it's just an awful situation. This whole thing started off as a joke. The hospital really regretted what happened, because there was clearly a problem. There were phone calls being put through to the ward where the duchess was and it was a prank call so there was a bit of a disaster there.

Today, we actually found out the name of the person who put that call through. We didn't know that name before, but she was clearly under pressure. This is what the hospital said about Jacintha today.


JOHN LOFTHOUSE, KIND EDWARD VII HOSPITAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE: We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her through this very difficult time. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us.


FOSTER: She also leaves, Becky, two children and a husband. They weren't in London with her at the time. They live outside London and they meet up at weekends. But they've asked for privacy and they are expressing their sadness of course.

ANDERSON: Max, have we had any reaction from the radio station in Australia that employed these two who carried out this prank call?

FOSTER: We have. And I certainly have to say there's been a huge reaction to them today on social media. I mean, their Facebook page is under huge amounts of pressure. My Twitter feed is under pressure because of the sort of things they're saying about these DJs is pretty extreme.

This is what the radio station said. "Chief executive officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters. They are both deeply shocked at this time. We've agreed that they will not comment about the circumstances. SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy."

I'll also point out a statement that we got from St. James' Palace as well. They expressed sadness on behalf of the duke and the duchess. But they added another statement after the initial one saying, "at no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the incident. On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times." That comes after the fact, Becky, of some suggestion that perhaps Kate wasn't happy with the situation and complained about it. But she's saying that's not true.

ANDERSON: All right, Max. Thank you for that. Max there outside the hospital.

All right. In other news tonight, two weeks after the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas an exiled leader of the Palestinian militant group has returned to Gaza for the first time since 1967. Khaled Meshaal received a heroes welcome in the territory. Our Frederik Pleitgen was there.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRSEPONDENT: A big gesture on a historic visit, Khaled Meshaal, Hamas's exiled political leader, kisses the ground after entering Gaza through the Rafa Crossing on the border with Egypt. His first time back in the Palestinian territories in 37 years. And he made no effort to hide his contempt for Israel.

"The first today is Gaza, tomorrow is Ramallah, and after that Jerusalem, and after that Haifa and Jafa," he said standing next to Hamas's leader in Gaza Ismail Khaniya (ph).

The U.S. and many other countries consider Hamas a terrorist organization and Meshaal one of their most dangerous leaders, but the Islamist group rules Gaza. And they showed their power triumphantly greeting the exiled Meshaal as he rolled through the streets in a motorcade.

As you can see Hamas has come out in full force with fighters lining the streets for miles all the way from the Rafa border crossing into Gaza City. They're celebrating Khaled Meshaal's arrival here, but also what they perceive to have been a victory over Israel in the armed conflict.

After a week of intense Israeli bombings and rocket fire by Hamas into Israeli towns in mid-November, both sides agreed to a cease-fire with Khaled Meshaal allegedly playing a role to make the truce happen. A more pragmatic stance from a man who survived an assassination attempt by the Israeli intelligence service in 1997 and who still refuses to acknowledge Israel's right to exist.

"This is a new birth for me," he said, "a third birth. And I hope that the fourth birth will come when we liberate Palestine."

Security was tight as Meshaal made several official visits to the houses of slain Hamas leaders and a family that had several members killed in an Israeli air strike during the hostilities.

"Khaled Meshaal in Gaza, this is a big victory after the war," this masked fighter says. "To have him here in Gaza is a symbol for dignity and for our victory. Every Muslim in Palestine is proud of this."

Khaled Meshaal is officially in Gaza to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas at a time when the movement is more popular than ever and yet the peace process lies in shambles and there seems little hope for reconciliation in the near future."

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Rafa, Gaza.


ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World out of London. 18 minutes past the 9:00. Coming up, strange bed fellows in Kenya's election. Former enemies join forces as candidate vie for the country's top job. That, after this.


ANDERSON: Well, polls have now closed in Ghana after voters cast their ballots in the country's general election. The Ghanaian incumbent president John Dramani Mahama is one of eight contenders vying for the top job. The country's electoral committee will announce a winner within 72 hours.

Well, meanwhile another African nation is gearing up for its own crucial election. Kenya's heading to the polls next March, but political factions had up until this week to form alliances. That will be the first nationwide ballot since violence erupted after Kenya's 2007 election.

David McKenzie is in Nairobi and brings us more.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it's been a week of high stakes political drama in Kenya, because the deadly expired for politicians to come up with alliances for Kenya's next crucial presidential election.

Some of these alliances beggar belief, in particular you have Prime Minister Raila Odinga linking up with vice president Kalonzo Musyoko. Now last time, there were mortal political enemies.

More dramatically, perhaps, there is this pairing between deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta and an MP called William Ruto.

Now the international criminal court accuses both men of orchestrating the killings of each other's supporters last time around. You may remember the shocking images from last election in Kenya late 2007. More than 1,000 people were killed in post-poll violence, tens of thousands were displaced.

A political deal ended the violence and brought peace for Kenya since. There are so many Kenyans who are displaced nearly five years after that vote. And we met some who are tragically stuck in their lives in tents who are too afraid and too angry to vote.

When he loses hope, Peter Kuria turns to his bible, because for five years he's lived in this makeshift tent.

"Whatever it is that I used to depend on," he says, "everything I own was destroyed. And anything that was left was stolen. Nothing was left, just the clothes on my back."

Kuria says he owned a scrap metal business in Aldarette (ph). Armed gangs attacked his family after Kenya's disputed election in 2007. He's too afraid to go back.

"They just ambushed us," he says. "They were screaming here and screaming there and I didn't know where to run. We had to think quick and find refuge anywhere we could."

Now he can only get occasional work on other people's farms. He lives here along with a 136 families who fled to the strip of government land in the Rift Valley, many of them once prosperous business owners.

They called it Baraka (ph), or blessings. And blamed politicians for inciting the violence that got them here leaving their lives cursed.

Thousands of Kenyans are still displaced nearly five years after the last election, some struggling just to survive. Many people will tell you that they feel betrayed by Kenya's politicians. And in this camp, at least, have given up on democracy altogether.

The camp's chairman tells me that Baraka Camp (ph) has banded together to boycott Kenya's March election. Unlike some displaced people who have gotten government compensation, they say they haven't received anything but promises.

Has the government given anything to these people?


MCKENZIE: No food.


MCKENZIE: No tents.


MCKENZIE: Nothing.


MCKENZIE: People have died in this camp. And children have been born. Now they often have to work for their families to get by.

Kuria says they are hurt mostly by what they lost. Before the election he and his wife took care of three young grandchildren, but she was killed by the attackers.

"Our way of life has been deeply affected and these children would not be suffering like they are suffering," he says. "My wife would have been helping me. And I would just be seeing her. And I would be happy. I wasn't even able to see her body," he says. "She was dumped in a mass grave by police.

"It hurts inside, very deeply," he says. "Deep inside, deep heartedly. I feel a lot of pain."

David McKenzie, CNN, Baraka Camp (ph).


ANDERSON: Well, former UN chief Kofi Annan was the man who helped end the violence that rocked Kenya after that last election. He brokered a power sharing deal between the country's political rivals. Well, David McKenzie sat down with Annan who shared his concerns about two of the candidates on the current ballot. As David mentioned earlier Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were once bitter enemies and are now running mates. And both are indicted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly inciting the 2007 post poll unrest.


KOFI ANNAN, FRM. UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: A difficult situation Kenya finds itself in. If one of the key candidate and his running mate are expected in The Hague it puts the Kenya in a very difficult situation.

Of course Kenyans insist it is their right to decide who governs them, which is correct, but they must also accept that there will be consequences and reaction from the outside world. The other countries also have the obligation to apply their laws and to react as they see fit. And I'm not sure those reactions will be favorable to Kenya.


ANDERSON: Kofi Annan on Kenya and Kenya's politicians.

Well, the latest world news headlines from CNN are up next.

Also ahead on the job front, new figures show that things are looking up in the U.S., but there is a twist.

And the documentary that declares war on the war on drugs. We speak to the filmmaker's father Richard Branson.

And tested for the first time in a competitive match technology which FIFA describes as a revolution. Well, how that fared up is up next.


ANDERSON: Wherever you are watching in the world, a very warm welcome back. It's half past nine in London. I'm Becky Anderson, these are the latest world news headlines here on CNN.

And after weeks of protest in Egypt, state media now says that President Mohamed Morsi is offering a compromise. He's reportedly willing to postpone a referendum on a controversial draft constitution if the opposition agrees not to challenge the delay in court.

Fighting is intensifying in the suburbs of Syria's capital. Opposition members say at least 35 people have been killed in Damascus on Friday. Protesters in Douma rallied against President Bashar al-Assad saying, quote, "glad tidings are coming."

A hero's welcome for Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal as he visits Gaza for the first time ever. His trip comes just two weeks after the most recent conflict with Israel, which left 174 Palestinians dead. And it's timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.

US unemployment is at its lowest level in four years. Latest figures show the American economy added 146,000 jobs last month, and the jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent.

Well, let's do more on that US jobs report, shall we? Alison Kosik is live for us in New York. And the headline figures on job growth and unemployment were pretty good. They were headline-grabbing, as it were. But it didn't seem to be, from looking at the way that Wall Street closed out today, that they were dancing in the aisles, particularly. Why not?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You did see the Dow end up in the positive column, but you didn't see a big, robust rally because when you look at this report, Becky, you look beyond the headline, you'll see too many caveats in it.

It's being called a "noisy" or "quirky" report. First of all, you look at the drop in unemployment. It's a bit misleading. It fell from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent, and that's because 350,000 people left the workforce. They just stopped looking for a job. So, that's not a reason you want to see behind that drop in unemployment rate.

Also, the report doesn't reflect the full impact of Hurricane Sandy just yet. Plus, a third of the positions that were added to the economy were actually only mostly in the retail sector. Many of those are just temporary holiday jobs that will fall off the payrolls after the new year.

And at the same time, though, it's not to say there weren't some bright spots in the report. What it does show is that the labor market, while it may not be growing by a lot, it is stable. You look at -- after the weak jobs figures that we've had over the summer, we have been slowly making our way back.

But with all the caveats, even with all the caveats, we really need to wait a couple of more months, get more reports, see the revisions, and then look back at the trend to see if the stability in the jobs market is actually holding. Becky?

ANDERSON: It would be good if it was.


ANDERSON: Let's cross our fingers into 2013. Alison, thank you for that.

While there has been a slightly brighter picture -- with caveats, though -- in the US, the news, well, it just gets worse for Western Europe.

Germany, which has largely weathered the eurozone crisis, of course, is now tipped to possibly fall into recession in the first quarter of next year, and the German central bank has cut its growth outlook to 0.4 percent for 2013. That is a quarter of what was forecast back in June. Ongoing uncertainty in the eurozone, amongst other things, has been blamed for the slowdown.

Well, let's just see how these numbers compare. Forecasts for the eurozone -- you can take a look at the US number there for next year -- forecasts for the eurozone are for negative growth in 2013. No real surprise for any of us who live here in Europe.

But if you thought that this number was what it was all about and the only real bright spot across the world, well, then do think again. My colleague Richard Quest recently spoke to Sir Martin Sorrell, the head of WPP, which of course is one of the world's leading communications and marketing companies. Have a listen to where Sorrell is looking to capitalize.


MARTIN SORRLL, CHIEF EXECUTIV, WPP: It's quite clear, it's the BRICS and next 11, it's Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the next 11 countries. I was in India the week before last, I was in Mexico this week. Those are two countries' whose GDP are growing, Richard, by 5 percent, and our businesses are growing by 10 or 15 percent. So, we have to reposition our company that way.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, the OCD a little bit more conservative with their figures on Mexico than Martin was, but they are still up there. Indonesia -- let me show you the Mexico numbers. Not bad.

Indonesia has had its economic worries, of course, in the past, but it's also emerging as another growth hot spot. Take a look at this one up here: Estonia. Not a bad picture there, if you're looking beyond the ills of Western Europe.

Some of these European -- Eastern European economies are in fairly rude health, one of the biggest movers being Estonia and many of its, as I say, Eastern neighbors looking at growth of perhaps more than 3, 3.5 percent.

Well, I want to bring in the economist Evariste Lefeuvre, the economist from investment bank Natixis North America, joining me now from our bureau in New York. When you hear Martin Sorrell and his assessment about where he takes his forecasts and his company's growth prospects going forward, do you agree with his assessment of where he thinks the opportunities are in 2013?

EVARISTE LEFEUVRE, CHIEF ECONOMIST, NATIXIS: I would share most of this view, because basically, the world isn't bad -- is not in a bad shape. The global economy is growing pretty well everywhere but in the eurozone, as you just mentioned.

There may have been a lot of caveats in the figures that you mentioned in the US, but basically, the trend is here. Jobs are created and the economy is still on a positive path.

And if you look at Asia, of course we had a very strong soft patch this summer and the autumn, but this was mostly because there was some political uncertainty in China. But basically, for 2013, you have some positive growth ahead in the US, barring a fiscal cliff, but you should not over-stress this risk.

And the emerging markets, even though they are looking for a new growth model, are still in good shape. So, what is the most surprising here is having the Bundesbank cutting completely its forecast, and then still asking for more austerity in Europe. That's the big issue, and that's where --


ANDERSON: Yes, I want to talk to you about --

LEFEUVRE: -- we have some bad surprise.

ANDERSON: -- what you think policymakers should do in what are these big consumption and export-led economies. Because that's where it really matters, isn't it? If we're going to see a sort of positive shock to world growth at this point, you've got to look to these big economies, which consume a lot and export a lot.

Were you surprised by those German numbers? Certainly the Germans are saying don't worry about the picture so much in 2014, but the picture for next year is not a good one.

LEFEUVRE: Yes, I was surprised by the time it took to release such a forecast, because when you go down from 1.6 to 0.4, you had this in mind for a while. And I think it was just a tactic not to be released before the ECB because Germans don't want the ECB, the European Central Bank, to add in its policy next year on cut rates.

But going back to what you said, I think that exporters are important, but not as much as importers, just like the US. So, the US economy is going very well, and that's good news, because never forget that there is nothing such -- there is not such a thing as a decoupling.

Emerging markets, emerging economies, are not the engine of global growth. They are just a multiplier. So, if the economy in the US goes very well, then you can have some good hopes on emerging economies.

And this is exactly what's going on, so barring bad news from Europe, the rest of the global economy is pretty well oriented for the --

ANDERSON: So, if you were looking to buy into economies where you really thought the prospects were decent to very good next year -- Sorrell, for example, pointing out Russia.

Russia wanted to the BRICS, as we now call them -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- outside of those -- of that cohort, as it were, do you see the Mexicos of this world, this Indonesias of this world, going great guns going forward?

LEFEUVRE: I think you mentioned many of those countries that are deemed commodity exporters, and I'm not really sure, especially on the oil sector, that prices we go high very sharply next year. So, I will be a little bit cautious regarding a country such as Russia and some other oil exporters.

I think that a country such as Mexico is very well-positioned because it doesn't fear the threat of China anymore, has a sound domestic demand, and is also benefiting from the strength of the US economy.

In Asia, I think that China will surprise us on the upside as a rule, I may say. I would be very careful on India. India has a strong problem of domestic inflation. What I will look at in Asia, as well is Malaysia, Indonesia, even Thailand. Those countries are trying to spur domestic spending, so they have some good prospect over there.

So, I would not focus my focus for next year on community exporters. I would have a look on those countries that are trying to use a domestic engine of growth. That's why I'm confident on the US, Mexico, and Malaysia, and to a lesser extent, of course, China, because China can change its model very quickly, but that's my favorite countries.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Fascinating stuff. Thank you very much, indeed. On a day where the headline numbers, at least, on unemployment and job growth in the US were half decent, the numbers coming out of Germany, quite frankly, about as bad as I've seen them ever since I've been doing this job.

All right. This is CONNECT THE WORLD ON CNN. Coming up next, the high-profile campaign for drug reform. I speak to tycoon Richard Branson who is leading the charge. That after this.



BOB GELDOF, SINGER/SONGWRITER: Hi, I'm Bob Geldof, and I'm breaking the taboo.

KATE WINSLET, ACTRESS: I'm Kate Winslet, and I'm breaking the taboo.

MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: I'm Morgan Freeman, and I'm breaking the taboo.

RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER, VIRGIN GROUP: I'm Richard Branson, and I'm breaking the taboo.


ANDERSON: So, what's this breaking the taboo celeb-fest all about then? Well, today it's become much clearer with Richard Branson's son, Sam, premiering a new film online. It documents the efforts of the Virgin founder and 15 former presidents to find a solution to the global drugs problem. And this is what they have come up with.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We could have fighting, killing over cigarettes if we made it a felony to sell a cigarette or smoke on, so we legalized it. If all you do is try to find a police or military solution to the problem, a lot of people die, and it doesn't solve the problem.

RUTH DREIFUSS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SWITZERLAND: It's a war against people who try just to earn their living growing some plant. They would like to grow something else if they would receive the same money. So you cannot make a war against drugs without knowing that doing so, you are making a war against people.

BRANSON: We spent the last two years looking at the war on drugs, and we found that the war on drugs has not worked for 40 years. Every year, things have gotten worse. And yet, politicians who are actually in power do not seem to have the bravery to do anything about it.

Whereas the ex presidents, who are actually on our commission, all realize that they made a dreadful mistake in not actually addressing this when they were in power.

ANDERSON: All right. You in the past, at least, have said that you are pro-legalization of drugs. Are you talking about all drugs, then?

BRANSON: If you've got a failed policy, let's look at countries where a new approach is working. Now, in Portugal, ten years ago -- and Spain -- they said we will not lock anybody up for any drugs ever again for taking drugs.

And over the last ten years if you'd, say, take heroin as one drug, what they've done is if somebody's got a heroin problem, they come in front of a committee. The committee of social workers and psychiatrists will talk to them, and they will help them.

First of all, they'll give them clean needles, they'll give them methadone.


BRANSON: And then they'll send them to a drug rehabilitation clinic when they're ready, which is a lot cheaper than sending them to prison and far more effective.

And in that way, they've managed to reduce the amount of heroin addicts by about 50 percent. They've stopped the spread of HIV. And from the society's point of view, they've stopped breaking and entering by about 90 percent so --


ANDERSON: All right, I get it.

BRANSON: -- people no longer need to break and enter for their fix.

FREEMAN: In 2009, there were 1.6 million drug-related arrests in the US; 1.3 million of these were for possession of drugs alone, and over half were related to marijuana.

ANDERSON: Richard, you wear two hats. You are an ambassador for the drugs commission and you are, as you have pointed out in the past, a user of drugs yourself. I'm asking you as an individual, do you want to see the legalization of drugs, and if so, all drugs?

BRANSON: Well, look. Like most people from the 60s, I've --


BRANSON: -- I've smoked a joint or two. I'm actually -- I prefer a drink.


BRANSON: And drink is my preferred choice of drug. I think that as long as you educate people into the dangers of alcohol, into the dangers of cigarettes, into the dangers of drugs, it is generally better that the state control these things rather than the underworld. The underworld is making about $380 billion a year out of selling drugs.

FREEMAN: A kilo of pure cocaine costs $1,000 when it leaves a Colombian plantation. By the time it reaches the street in the US, it can be worth more than $170,000.

BRANSON: As my son's film says, with "Breaking the Taboo," this should stop, and there should be a new approach. And what the commission is saying, let's experiment with different approaches in different states, different countries, until we get the right one.


ANDERSON: Richard Branson there. And you can read more about his thoughts and drug policy on our website,, where you can find an opinion piece that he has written on the issue.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson. When we come back, heaven on Earth. New photos from NASA show us the beauty of our nighttime world.


ANDERSON: If you are a sports fan, you will know all too well the heartbreak when a referee or umpire makes the wrong call. Sports like tennis, horse racing, and cricket, of course, have embraced technology that tries to stamp that out. The world of football, or soccer, has long resisted that trend. But that, apparently, is all set to change as Alex Zolbert reports.


ALEX ZOLBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the goal that wasn't. A strike from England's Frank Lampard in the 2010 World Cup that fell well beyond the goal line. Millions watching at home could clearly see what the refs did not.

England went on to lose to Germany 4 to 1, and the defining moment reignited the debate over so-called goal line technology.

Now, two and a half years and countless tests later, FIFA is using two different systems at the FIFA Club World Cup here in Japan. A closely- watched tech contest within a football competition.

This demonstration of the GoalRef system has drawn media from around the world. We were not allowed to lace up our cleats and get on the pitch, but were able to take a quick look.

ZOLBERT (on camera): So, this is how the GoalRef technology works. Here's the soccer ball. Under the skin, you have three coils around the ball. On the goalpost, you have a magnetic ring around the goalpost. When the ball goes through the goalpost, on this watch that the ref wears, you see "Goal."

THOMAS PELLKOFER, GOALREF: From a confidence point of view, this system will work during the next games as it always expected it and as we saw it during the tests.

ZOLBERT (voice-over): Then, there's Hawk-Eye. It uses a series of cameras to capture the ball's path, which can then be reviewed within seconds. Tennis fans know the Hawk-Eye technology well.


ZOLBERT: The technology doesn't come cheap, though. FIFA is spending roughly a million US dollars to use the systems here in Japan before giving the nod to one company for next year's Confederations Cup in Brazil, ahead of the World Cup there in 2014.

STEVE CARTER, HAWK-EYE INNOVATIONS: We welcome the competitive environment, and we look forward to proving we can win out, that our technology can deliver and we hope to win.

ZOLBERT (on camera): There are, of course, the football purists who say the game should remain the same. But with so many other sports embracing technology, from the NFL to the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball, not to mention tennis and cricket, FIFA says now is the time to move forward.

JEROME VALCKE, GENERAL SECRETARY, FIFA: Why, if you can make sure that you touch perfection, why you would not try?

ZOLBERT (voice-over): Trying to make sure that what happened to England and Frank Lampard who, yes, is playing in this tournament, will never happen again.

VALCKE: What has happened at the World Cup in 2010, this cannot happen again.

ZOLBERT: Alex Zolbert, CNN, Yokohama, Japan.


ANDERSON: Never, never ever? Well, let's bring Alex Thomas to find out more. If you are a soccer fan, as you and I are, then this is a real step forward, of course, isn't it?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it's something we've been talking about for years and years and years.

ANDERSON: Yes, sure.

THOMAS: Much further back than just the 2010 World Cup, but it was that incident that Alex highlighted in his report, when England didn't get the goal, although it probably wouldn't have mattered much, they were getting thrashed by Germany anyway, that really convinced the FIFA --

I mean, I was at that game, and as I said earlier on "World Sport," it was a joke, because with SmartPhone technology, everyone in the crowd were getting e-mailed video of the game by their mates, because technology has moved on so far, and they were booing the referee.


THOMAS: And he didn't know, because they've got no video on the grounds.

ANDERSON: It does seem extraordinary that the world of football has taken so long to get to this point, and this point being, we've got two different technologies, right, at this stage, which are being tested out at this competition?

Yet to see the one called Hawk-Eye, which we recognize as a technology from the world of tennis. Have we gotten any feedback on this first gear or kick, as it were?

THOMAS: We haven't, because we kind of need to wait for one of those incidents, and the irony is, the Lampard incident in that World Cup was kind of a once in a million. When I say once in a million, we have seen a lot of these incidents in the past. But remember, FIFA only are testing goal line technology.


THOMAS: When there is actually a general feeling amongst fans, even some players and managers, they'd like to see the extent of video technology advance further in football, but FIFA are very adamant that hey, we've allowed this first step, but that's it, no further.

ANDERSON: So this is about ghost goals only, right?

THOMAS: Exactly. When the ball's crossed the line in the goal mouth. And actually, if one of these systems wants to get the go-ahead ahead of the other, they might just have to kind of get lucky -- or unlucky for the game -- and have a controversy they can solve.

ANDERSON: From my understand, they refs would, therefore, where this sort of --


ANDERSON: -- user technology on their wrists. They've still, though, got the final decision. There still won't be any big screens at games with playbacks, right?

THOMAS: Well, I've heard different things about this. I've heard with the Hawk-Eye system, there might be a move to have the sort of video replays we see in tennis, which --


THOMAS: -- adds to the drama of it.

ANDERSON: Well, that's the point --


THOMAS: When the crowd goes, "Ooh" --

ANDERSON: -- that's part of the entertainment, of course.

THOMAS: -- and you see the ball landing on the line.


THOMAS: But you're right. I think football are kind of resistant to that, because they've never liked to show replays, because they don't want to cause controversy. I guess the feeling is that in certain atmospheres, football fans go a bit further than fans of other sport, shall we say, when it comes to expressing themselves? And they want to avoid any sort of hooliganism.

ANDERSON: So, would you call this, at the end of the day, evolution or revolution?

THOMAS: I think it's a huge revolution --


THOMAS: Because although it is only about goal line technology, as you say, it's taken them so long to get around to this --


THOMAS: -- this could change football forever, but in a good way.

ANDERSON: Yes, good stuff. All right, Alex Thomas in the house, with us tonight on, as he says, a story that we've been -- well, we've just been hoping we could talk about, but we've had no opportunity to do it until now. All right, good on you, FIFA. Getting on with it in the end.

All right, let's move on. Alex, of course, at the bottom of the hour for "World Sport," that's in about 35 minutes' time. We'll be previewing the latest fight that we know you'll be interested in.

We are nearly done, but as we wrap things up, our Parting Shots this evening, it's Earth as you've never seen it. NASA has put together stunning images of the planet at night by only including scenes with a cloudless sky. Keep an eye out for the Nile and the Korean peninsula.




ANDERSON: So, how about that? What's on your mind? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD, of course, always wants to hear., have your say. And you can tweet me, as ever, @BeckyCNN. Your thoughts, please, @BeckyCNN.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Have a very good weekend. Thanks for watching.