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U.S. Government On Verge Of Designating Al Nusra Front Terrorist Organization; Dominique Strauss-Kahn Reaches Settlement With Hotel Maid

Aired December 10, 2012 - 16:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: On Connect the World, Syria's rebels celebrate after claiming the seizure of a major military base dealing one more blow to the Assad regime.

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

FOSTER: As the U.S. takes steps to weed out suspected terrorists from the rebel ranks, we take a look at who controls what and where the real battles lie ahead.

Also this hour.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a minute that (inaudible) what they must be going through.


FOSTER: Gutted, shattered and heartbroken: the two DJs whose prank call turns tragic.

And as the comeback kind makes another bid for power, we'll look at whether Silvio Berlusconi could plunge Italian politics into crisis.

First tonight, just as rebels in Syria claim yet another battlefield victory, the U.S. government is ready to brand some of them terrorists.

This amateur video is said to show rebels celebrating the capture of the last major military base west of Aleppo that was still under government control. Opposition activists say jihadists from the al Nusra Front led the assault, that's the group that the U.S. State Department is ready to declare terrorists linked to al Qaeda.

We'll have more on that in a little moment.

But the longer the war drags on the harder life becomes for Syrian civilians. Staying safe is difficult enough, but sometimes even getting basic necessities can prove impossible.

Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon visited one family that's struggling to survive in Aleppo.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crammed inside a tiny two- room home, the adults say they can handle the hunger. It's the children they worry about. There are 13 of them. Relatives moved in together after one family's home was destroyed. When we asked the kids what they ate today, the response is, "Nothing."

Mohamed Sanmal (ph), father of about half the children here, tells us:

MOHAMED SANMAL (PH): (Speaking Arabic).

DAMON (voice-over): "Today I sent my brother to get bread at 6:00 am. Look; it's 3:00 pm right now and he hasn't gotten any. The kids haven't eaten."

The power is out, as it's been for weeks. And now the water is cut as well. There is a growing sense of desperation among people here, stalked by both hunger and danger.

"God gave me these children. These children are my responsibility," Sanmal (ph) laments. "Now I can't even get them a loaf of bread. Before, I could. Now, I can't."

The price of bread has skyrocketed due to a flour shortage. Along with it, a population's anger.

DAMON: The situation is so dire that people say society is beginning to disintegrate. This is yet another breadline. We were just at one further up the road, where the crowd ended up mobbing around us, furious. They said that they wanted us to leave because they were fed up with people filming them. They feel as if the world is simply mocking their misery.

(voice-over): In just four days, the cost of fuel jumped from 85 Syrian pounds to 150. But beyond the now astronomical cost of survival, it's the constant fear and insecurity that has come to define life here.

Snipers seemingly everywhere, the threat of random artillery or airstrikes constant. And then there is the daily assault on human dignity. In a city once known for its beauty and heritage, children pick their way through the streets that are now a massive garbage dump.

What makes it more unbearable is that few can see an end in sight.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Aleppo.


FOSTER: We're going to get the latest developments for you now from there. Nick Paton-Walsh joins us live from Beirut. And Nick, we've been talking about the group that the U.S. government have prepared at least a designate terrorists. What does that actually mean?

NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it means that they are effectively on a black list now that the U.S. government can't have any dealings with them and those who have dealings with them risk sanctions from the U.S. government themselves.

What is interesting here as you've showed earlier on that victory near Aleppo was by the Al Nursa Front. they are in the eyes of many Syrians perhaps the most effective military part of the rebel movement, but of course also Islamic radicals by any definition and often responsible for suicide bombings and occasionally hit civilians as well.

What the U.S. has done here, interestingly, is not separately designate them as a new terrorist group, but simply say that the Al Nusra Front is in fact another name for remember al Qaeda in Iraq, that very virulent part of the insurgency against the American presence in Iraq five, six years ago. So that gives you an idea of exactly where, Max, they think so many of these fighters inside Syria fighting the Assad regime, but come from they were in fact many of the militants the U.S., they say, were facing four or fives years ago inside Iraq, Max.

FOSTER: They do think very carefully, don't they, about these black lists. So it could potentially cause problems in the future, couldn't there? They considered that and what sort of problems could that create?

PATON-WALSH: Well there are two problems here.

Firstly, of course, in the continued fighting ahead, the U.S. is basically saying that the group that in the eyes of many Syrians is the most effective, almost to some Syrians in fact war heroes, disciplined effective fighters are in their eyes terrorists. And that's going to greatly complicate the Syrian perception of where America stands in this war.

And then of course there's the post-Assad era when the U.S. tries to help rebuild Syria it's going to have some rebel groups, 90 percent of rebels not in Al Nusra according to the U.S., they may perhaps be able to deal with the U.S., but this effective fighting force which will control so many parts of territory itself, the Al Nusra group will still be considered terrorists and will be somehow destined as outlaws by the U.S. and any administration they try and foster.

So they are greatly complicating that post-Assad era, perhaps, by doing this say some observers, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Nick. Nick in Beirut, thank you very much indeed for that.

Well, rebels say they've been steadily gaining ground in their fight against the government. So we want to take stock now and look at who controls what in Syria.

At this point we're joined by senior international correspondent Nic Robertson. Hi, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Max, when we look at this picture of Syria here right now we know that the rebels have been gaining territory and control in the north, but perhaps if we go into Damascus, the capital, we can get a better sense -- a lay of the land there.

Now on this map, the red is rebel controlled red ground, rebelled controlled green is predominantly government controlled. Blue is contested. The dark areas here show sort of military concentrations.

In Damascus, this area of red right here was an area where the rebels recently took control of a military airbase. They looted it. Pulled out again.

This is only part of the story. Let's go in and take a closer look here. Here we're sort of focusing on this airport highway here. There was fighting here. IEDs went off in this sort of predominantly government area of Jumana. Fighting broke out on the airport road. The government had to close the airport, but they opened it back up again.

So it's a push and pull, but also we're seeing here not just a definitive version of the static way things are on the ground, but this highway here, for example, this important highway that links Damascus to Homs and Aleppo in the north, although this is rebel controlled if you look at what happened, if you look at a drive down on that road you can see smashed buildings at the side of the road and the way the government controls the area is by, if you will, demolishing those rebel controlled places at the side of the road. So it's free for them to move. So it's a partial picture. The rebels nominally, but the government can drive through.

And again the same when we look in the center of Damascus here. Go in the center here. This looks green, but it doesn't mean it's all safe. There have been more IEDs going off, more mortars going off in this area. And people I talked to at the center of Damascus, they say that food prices are going up. Hard to get fuel. Hard to get gas to cook on. And there are a lot more military checkpoints in this area.

So what we have in the big picture here is how the forces are shaping up around Damascus. Not definitive, but this is -- this gives you an idea that now the rebels are closing in on the capital.

FOSTER: So -- that leads to the assumption that Assad is getting weaker.

ROBERTSON: It certainly does. I mean, what it really tells you, for example, in areas like this the red area to the western side of the city here, that the government doesn't have the troops to go in there and take control of it. They can blast away and use the highway here, and they're concentrating their forces in the center.

But Assad still is holding on. And there aren't indications that he's about to run. So from this we can see how the fight is getting closer, that perhaps Damascus may become in the months ahead more like Aleppo where we see much more damage of buildings in the center of the city rather than the periphery suburbs, but at the moment I don't think it tells us that Assad is about to lose control. He's concentrated his forces, the green and black areas, concentrated them on what he can hold in the center of the city where the majority of the Alawites, his supporters, and that the middle class live.

FOSTER: Can I just ask you in terms of the international community, we've heard sort of lots of words over the last few days and over the weekend, powerful words, but at what point are they going to get involved and how involved are they right now?

ROBERTSON: I think what is happening behind the scenes, we're very likely to hear later this week the U.S. announce its position vis-a-vis the new Syrian National Congress, the umbrella body for all the opposition political. We're likely to see the Free Syrian Army and other military groups, if you will, sort of coalescing around the leadership. We're likely to see the international community deal with them more.

But we're already beginning to hear about contractors on the ground assisting the Free Syrian Army. They're saying at the moment they're doing it with sort of non-military means, communications equipment. I was talking with somebody directly involved in that today. And it is beginning to happen. I think we'll see more of that.

But in this direct engagement with Free Syrian Army and politicians, what I'm being told is don't expect that these contractors for the United States and Britain can have a lot of influence over these rebel forces on the ground. This is only a beginning stage we're at.

FOSTER: Nic, brilliant stuff. Thank you very much indeed.

Still to come tonight, the Egyptian president calls on the military to help keep the peace. We'll be live in Cairo after the break.

Plus, it was the scandal that gripped France and killed his political career, now the former head of the IMF reaches a deal with a hotel maid.

And questions are being raised over who is to blame of the tragic consequences of a royal hospital hoax.

All that and much more when Connect the World continues.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

Now the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has given the army the power to arrest civilians in order to help maintain security. This comes ahead of mass protest plans over Tuesday and before Saturday's controversial referendum on a draft constitution.

Let's bring in CNN's Reza Sayah who is in Cairo. And Reza, the Egyptian people aren't willing to back down, but neither is the president it seems.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah and that's why there's so much intrigue when it comes to this conflict. It's clearly not over. The opposition calling for mass demonstrations tomorrow. The president's supporters calling for their own demonstrations. And a lot of people are anxious to see how the president plays his cards in the coming days. Is he going to back down? Is he going to make some true concessions?

We sat down with the president's chief of staff and he made it clear that the president is not going to back down from this position. And it's full speed ahead to the nationwide referendum this coming Saturday.


SAYAH: Mr. Tahtawi, much of the country seems divided. Things have escalated into violence. Why not slow this process down?

MOHAMED REFAA AL-TAHTAWI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENTIAL CHIEF OF STAFF: The question of delaying the constitution is not possible. If the people in the street believe they command the majority why don't they go and say no?

SAYAH: They don't necessarily believe they command the majority, they don't like the process by which this constitution was drafted.

AL-TAHTAWI: In any democracy there is a rule, the rule of majority.

SAYAH: So you're suggesting the minority is trying to derail the majority here.

AL-TAHTAWI: Yes. Very clearly. You have the majority of the poor people, the simple people, definitely for the president and for the constitution. But you have the majority among the elite who are not for this constitution: businessmen, media people, they are definitely a small minority but powerful minority.

SAYAH: But when you see these protests on the streets, is this a good atmosphere to go through with this vote?


SAYAH: So why do it?

AL-TAHTAWI: Because you cannot allow a shouting minority, no matter how angry it is, to derail the train of democracy.

SAYAH: But doesn't this look like more than just an insignificant minority when you see these crowds?


SAYAH: You're convinced...

AL-TAHTAWI: I'm not saying insignificant, because nobody is insignificant.

SAYAH: Do you believe you're the party of god, the party representing god?

AL-TAHTAWI: Nobody represents god. We are not the community of Muslims, we are part of the community of Muslims.


SAYAH: That was Refaa Tahtawi, President Mohammed Morsi's chief of staff who says the president has guaranteed to the opposition that if this is a yes on the referendum and the constitution is accepted by Egyptians, the opposition can come to the table then. And if they want to make amendments to certain articles in the constitution they're welcome, but not before the referendum.

President Morsi clearly going ahead with his plans to have this vote this coming Saturday, Max.

FOSTER: Reza in Cairo, thank you very much indeed for bringing us that.

Now the opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that the Egyptian people will not compromise on their principles.


MOHAMED ELBARADEI, EGYPTIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: We are at the cross in the road. Either we are going a country that is several country that respect women's right, for freedom of religion, freedom of expression, children rights, a balance of power, or we are going to have a new dictatorship with a religious flavor. And obviously that's not the way we would like to accept and we'd never accept.


FOSTER: And you can see that full interview right here after Connect the World, that's at 10:00 pm in London, 11:00 pm in Paris and Berlin.

Here's a look at some other stories making news this hour. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has reached a settlement with a New York hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault. It relates to the civil lawsuit against the former head of the IMF in August 2011.

Richard Roth joins us live from CNN New York with more -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max, it certainly was one of the biggest stories of 2011. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then the head of the International Monetary Fund, charged with sexual assaulting a hotel maid in Manhattan. And it started that story in New York, although the Bronx another borough part of New York City this afternoon New York time settlement of a civil suit filed by the maid, Natissatou Diallo, against Strauss-Kahn.

The judge in the case there, Douglas McKeon, explaining to the court how Diallo had expressed earlier this year a willingness to allow settlement negotiations in this case involving Strauss-Kahn.


DOUGLAS MCKEON, BRONX COUNTY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Ms. Diallo was once again with me together with counsel for all of the parties and we had a rather extensive discussion at that time. Those discussions continued. And earlier today, as I say, we came together and put terms of a settlement on the record. Let me say the amount of the settlement is pursuant to an agreement by the parties and with my gratification is confidential.


ROTH: And with all of that worldwide curiosity, we may never know, indeed, what happened in that hotel room between Ms. Diallo and Strauss- Kahn, because as the judge was explaining everything will be confidential regarding to any financial settlement and whatever is the terms of this agreement.

Outside the court, very brief comment by Diallo, the hotel maid.


NATISSATOU DIALLO, HOTEL MAID: I just want to say I thank everyone who support me all over the world. I thank everybody. I thank god. And god bless you all. Thank you very much.


ROTH: The settlement talks have been going on for months. Strauss- Kahn still faces proceedings in France. A court there -- panel will be deciding whether there are other charges involving a prostitution ring December 19 possible decision in that matter. Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne St. Claire, the journalist have separated. Max, it was a gigantic story, as you remember. And now the hotel maid and the financial king pin have reached a settlement in a court in New York regarding what happened in that hotel room.

FOSTER: A very long running story as well, Richard. You've been reporting on it for months now. Thank you so much for joining us.

Now the European Union has received the Nobel Peace Prize at the ceremony in Oslo in Norway. Three presidents of the EU's governing body collected the award on behalf of the 27 nation group. The Nobel committee awarded the $1.8 million prize to the union for its contribution to peace and reconciliation in Europe since World War II.


JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: The European Union, it was conciliating peace, reconciliation among its members, but not only peace, freedom and democracy. In fact, it's a lighthouse for freedom and democracy. Look at the central Eastern European countries or the Baltic Countries. Then they recovered freedom they wanted to join the European Union precisely to consolidate freedom and democracy.


FOSTER: The Mexican-American singer Jenny Rivera has died in a plane crash in north Mexico.


FOSTER: KNown to fans as the diva of banda music, the 43 year old is thought to have died after the small plane she was traveling in crashed into mountains. At least five other passengers were traveling with the singer. There were no survivors.

We're going to take you to a short break now, but when we come back we'll head live to South Africa where Nelson Mandela is preparing to spend a third night in hospital. An update on his condition next.



NOXIVIWE MAPISA-NQAKULA, SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENSE MINISTER: He is doing very, very well. And that it is important for all of us to -- well, to keep him in our prayers, but also t be as calm as is possible and not cause a state of panic in the country, because I don't think that is what all of us need right now.


FOSTER: South Africa's defense minister with the news that many around the world were longing to hear. The country's former president Nelson Mandela isn't well after spending a second night in a Pretoria hospital. CNN's Robyn Curnow is there to update us on everything we need to know, because everyone is so concerned to hear that he is going to be OK, Robyn.


Indeed, it's his third night in hospital. And we still understand that he's undergoing tests, that's according to the presidency. Now there's no word on what exactly those tests are and why he's in hospital. And as you can hear from the defense minister there, there really has been as effort to reassure the public, to downplay this health scare. So really not a lot of information. And the reason for this is South African authorities is they want to protect Nelson Mandela's privacy.

On the other hand, this makes many South Africans even more anxious, even more concerned by this sort of vacuum of information. And that's because, you know, Nelson Mandela as we know is deeply revered here.


CURNOW: Inside, Nelson Mandela's home, two of his granddaughters are rearranging family photographs...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my favorite picture out of all of them. My grandfather looks really, really happy here. Do you think these will go well here?

CURNOW: Putting up family pictures, intimate memories of time spent with their grandfather.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This place here is where you will catch him at his best.

CURNOW: You catch the real Nelson Mandela?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You catch the real Nelson Mandela. Not the politicians, not the, you know, world icon, Nelson Mandela the man, the human being.

CURNOW: The family man.


CURNOW: And Mandela was surrounded by his large family when these pictures were taken at his 94th birthday party. No doubt his loved ones are with him now, too, as he endures another health scare.

On Saturday, Mandela was flown from his rural home to a Pretoria hospital for tests and medical attention, say South African authorities.

In recent years, he's been in hospital for abdominal surgery and pneumonia, with his wife Graca Machel says had them all very worried.

GRACA MACHEL, NELSON MANDELA'S WIFE: To see him aging, it's something also which pains you. It's like you say -- you understand him, you know that it has to happen, but that's -- I mean, the spirit and the sparkle, you see that it's somehow it's fading.

CURNOW: Back inside the house, though, two of his other grandchildren say that Mandela now sleeps much more, has struggle to walk unaided, and often doesn't say very much.

But he must find it hard. Someone with so much dignity and self control getting so old and having to be so dependent on other people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he takes it in stride. He's come to accept that it's part of growing old and it's part of humanity as such. At some point, you are going to be -- each and every one of us -- will be dependent on somebody else. And he's come to embrace it.

CURNOW: Nelson Mandela spent decades fighting for freedom, now older and weaker, his fight is against the march of time.


CURNOW: OK, Max, and it's unclear just when, how soon he'll be discharged from hospital. Back to you.

FOSTER: Robyn, thank you very much indeed.

Still to come on Connect the World, it was never meant to go that far. The Australian radio DJs behind the royal prank call speak out as their embarrassed network tries to limit the damage.

He's run for office five times already, but Silvio Berlusconi is back for more. What it all means for Italian politics coming up.

If goals are football's currency, then is this man priceless? We hear from Lionel Messi on his latest achievement.


FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster. These are the latest wold headlines from CNN.

The US government is ready to declare a Syrian rebel group a terrorist organization. It's singling out the al-Nusra Front, which just led a successful assault on this military base near Aleppo. The US says the group is linked to al-Qaeda.

The streets of Cairo are calm today, but government opponents and supporters are gearing up for today's -- or Tuesday's rival rallies. Egypt's president has ordered the military to help provide security for a controversial referendum. Troops now have the authority to arrest civilians.

A settlement in the civil suit by a New York hotel housekeeper against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Terms are confidential, and Strauss-Kahn did not attend the hearing. Prosecutors dropped their criminal sexual assault case against him last year.

Two Australian DJs at the center of a royal hospital hoax that ended in tragedy have spoken out for the very first time. Mel Greig and Michael Christian say they are gutted and heartbroken over the apparent suicide of the nurse who took their prank call.


MEL GREIG, DJ, 2DAYFM: There isn't a minute that goes by that we don't think about her family and what they must be going through. And the thought that we may have played a part in that is --


GREIG: -- gut-wrenching.


FOSTER: Well, their network has pulled the duo from the radio for now, canceled their show and suspended all prank calls.

Tributes continue to pour in for nurse Jacintha Saldanha. She was found dead three days after taking a prank call at King Edward VII Hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated. Here you can see pictures of her family as they met with a member of parliament this afternoon. The post-mortem into her death will be held on Tuesday. CNN's senior correspondent Matthew Chance has more.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're here outside the hospital staff quarters, where the body of Jacintha Saldanha was found. You can see there are flowers and messages of remembrance for the nurse who was, of course, a victim of that royal prank call.

This one over here basically sums up much of the feeling. "Jacintha," it says, "you must have felt that the whole world was laughing at you. Jacintha, you did not deserve this." There's obviously a lot of public anger directed at two Australian DJs that made that prank call.

And now, for the first time, those two DJs have themselves spoken out about their feelings when they heard that the prank that they believed to be a light-hearted gag had gone so tragically wrong.

GREIG: The accents were terrible. It was designed to be stupid. We were never meant to get that far. From the little Corgi barking in the background, we obviously wanted it to be a joke.

MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, DJ, 2DAYFM: And I suppose the joke was always on us, not anyone else. It wasn't about trying to fool someone. We just assumed that with the voices that we put on, we were going to get told off, and that was the gag, on us.

Our deepest sympathies are with the family and the friends of all those affected. And obviously, Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened, and we hope that they're doing OK and they're getting the love and support that they deserve and need right now. But personally, I'm --


CHANCE: All right. Well, the radio station in Sydney says it's now suspended the practice of prank calling, as well as terminating the show that made the call. But it has been defending its staff, though, saying that no laws were breached.

And a spokeswoman has criticized the media for focusing too much on the prank call and not enough on the psychological condition of the nurse or on the role that the hospital may have played in what was undoubtedly an extremely tragic turn of events.

Matthew Chance, CNN in central London.


FOSTER: Well, the Australian papers are having a field day, if you can call it that, with this story. The "Sydney Morning Herald" had this editorial on their front page: "Blame game is towering hypocrisy."

Mike Carlton wrote: "The British gutter press is expert at whipping up its readers into a froth of indignation on the smallest pretext. This is exactly what is happening with this wretched business."

A commentator for Australia's "Daily Telegraph" joined the backlash, saying "Self-righteous calls for blood are bordering on the hypocritical." Andrew Bolt writes, "To be guilty of bad taste is one thing, but to be held guilty of manslaughter is a monstrously unfair other, and makes the finger- pointers seem hypocrites."

This tragedy has divided public opinion sparking fierce debate both here in the UK as well as in Australia. Many feel the DJs are being unfairly victimized for what they believed was a joke in bad taste. May others believe they simply should know better.

Joining me to discuss this is Paul Connew, former editor of British tabloid "The Sunday Mirror," and Kelly McBride, a media ethics expert from the Poynter Institute. Thank you both for joining us.


FOSTER: If I could start with you, Paul. Do you think the British papers are on a witch hunt?

CONNEW: I don't think they are. This is obviously a major story. But the real -- the real witch hunt is being carried out in cyberspace. It's sort of -- trial by Twitter, in a sense, and I think that's where the danger lies.

The internet is a fantastic -- one of the great efforts to mankind, like the discovery of fire or the invention of the wheel, but it's also, like them, fraught with danger, too.

FOSTER: You're talking about the comments on their Facebook page, on Twitter about the DJs --

CONNEW: Precisely.

FOSTER: -- saying they've got blood on their hands.

CONNEW: And they're killers, et cetera.

FOSTER: Kelly, when someone dies and it's an emotional story, and it's such a tragic story, they do -- human nature, doesn't it, sort of need someone to blame? And the DJs are the obvious people to blame here.

KELLY MCBRIDE, SENIOR FACULTY FOR ETHICS, THE POYNTER INSTITUTE: Well, yes. And I think because it involves the royal family, because there's so much protectiveness among the public for the royal family, I think that yes, they -- I think they see the DJs the same way they might see the paparazzi with Princess Diana's death.

However, I think the media do play a role here, because they have grossly, grossly over-simplified the cause of this poor woman's suicide.

CONNEW: Well, we don't know, do we?

MCBRIDE: Mental health professionals will tell you that -- right. Mental health professionals will tell you that when someone commits suicide, it's rarely because of one reason, and it's often the --


FOSTER: Yes, but Kelly, I have to say --

MCBRIDE: -- end of a very long, dark road.

FOSTER: -- the whole point here is one that's been reflected -- this indication, speculation around what have been -- what might have been going on in her life is pure speculation. All we know from the facts is the facts.


FOSTER: We don't know what else was in her life. And even if she --


CONNEW: And the minute --

FOSTER: Sorry.

CONNEW: Sorry. Until there's a coroner's inquest, we won't know the full picture.

MCBRIDE: No, but we could --

CONNEW: Now, it may be -- I'm sure that --

MCBRIDE: Well, but --

FOSTER: Yes, sorry. Carry on, Kelly.

MCBRIDE: Yes, I think that the media could bring a little more context to the issue of suicide, though. We know a lot of information about suicide, and that context could be included in this story, even if we don't know more information about her. I think that might change the anger on social media.

But that said, people like to get mad, and they like to express their righteous indignation and the DJs are the most obvious target for that, so --


CONNEW: I feel very sorry of the DJs, actually.

MCBRIDE: -- I don't know that you can necessarily --

FOSTER: OK, Paul, I just want to -- I mean, it is a --

MCBRIDE: You know, I don't. I don't.

CONNEW: I do for the simple reason that I've been a radio editor, and two young DJs do not dictate the shape of that program. At first we thought that was a spontaneous live incident. It turned out not to be. It turned out it was pre-recorded and cleared by their superiors and lawyers - -


FOSTER: So, therefore, premeditated broadcast.

CONNEW: -- and lawyers. Certainly --

FOSTER: Would it have been better if it was live, because then you wouldn't have had the situation where they actually thought about it and still played it out?

CONNEW: Precisely. The fact that the station -- it's the station bosses who are to blame for this, not two young DJs, who I'm sure they're telling the truth when they thought they were so bad at their impersonations that in about ten seconds flat a professional switchboard operator would have sussed them out and sort of -- and hung up.

FOSTER: Which is why the hospital's to blame, as well --


CONNEW: I think they'll have something answer for, too --

FOSTER: -- because there was a nurse in charge of the phones.

CONNEW: -- in fact. Yes. Especially when you've got the Duchess of -- when you've got the Duchess of Cambridge in there, in an emergency admission, and frankly, Scotland Yard should've warned them, too, that -- to put somebody on there who knew what they were doing. Not a stand-in nurse. That was preposterous.

FOSTER: Kelly, there -- your view is seen by some people as harsh, but it's certainly the majority view, that you don't feel sorry of the DJs. But they didn't mean to kill someone, did they?

MCBRIDE: No, of course they didn't. And I think that DJs by profession are -- their job is to entertain and to get attention, to shock. And yes, there is a whole institution behind them that, of course, bears the responsibility for creating that environment that rewards that kind of behavior. But you have to take individual responsibility for what you do as well.

FOSTER: But aren't they doing that by those immensely powerful interviews today? Pure emotion. They could not be feeling worse. Aren't they paying the price, and therefore, be allowed some sort of redemption?

MCBRIDE: Well, yes. And this will die down. This will die down for them. This will probably hit its peak today, if it hasn't already hit its peak, and it will die down. And they will -- they will be allowed back into the industry, they will go back to work, and it will be fine.

It doesn't seem like it now, because there's an internet lynch mob out to string them up, but this is how the world communicates these days.

CONNEW: No one's -- no one can -- no one's distress and heartbreak can match that of the family, but their careers are probably going to be blighted and, yet, in a sense that they were -- they were naive, they were perhaps stupid. But they were elders and betters in charge of them who had the opportunity to actually control this situation and failed to do so.

And I don't think anybody's seeing their appearance and those tears from Mel Greig and her male colleague could possibly doubt the sincerity of their grief and distress.

FOSTER: We've been through an awful -- the British tabloid press has been through a huge process over the last couple of years. It's completely changed, come under a lot of pressure. Are they being hypocritical by pointing out this story, or actually are they just being true to their new selves?

CONNEW: Well, a little bit of both, probably. But the fact remains, these -- those who are trying to draw some parallel, which underscores the Leveson report and why Leveson was right, it's a big --


FOSTER: Into media ethics.

CONNEW: -- is ridiculous --


CONNEW: -- because this -- these are not journalists. This isn't a -- it wasn't a news program. This was basically an entertainment show hosted by a couple of young, B or C list celebrities on the Sydney scene, as it were, who actually -- and there's no -- there's no parallel with the issues of Leveson.

But the press had to report this. It became -- in a sense, it was initially sort of a mixture of amusement, but also outrage that somebody had got through and somehow a nurse had innocently -- been conned into revealing some -- it's breaches of medical -- medical secrets and confidentialities.

But then, of course, the tragedy happened with -- the nurse's death. But at the end of the day, though. In Australian broadcasting regulations, you are meant, if you make -- one of these prank calls, the regulations are you have to contact the, quote, "victims," off-quote, and get their permission to broadcast it. And in fact --


FOSTER: They say they were happy, legally, with it all, but there are some --

CONNEW: Well, they made five attempts to get through, but they also - - it's pretty clear that they didn't speak to anybody in any authority, so I don't think that washes.

FOSTER: Paul Connew and Kelly McBride, thank you very much, indeed. A really good debate.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. Coming up: in, out, shake it all about. Drama returns to Italian politics.


FOSTER: Italian stocks fall sharply, reacting for the first time to the news that prime minister Mario Monti plans to resign, and former leader Silvio Berlusconi -- can you believe it? -- wants to run for office yet again. It leaves borrowing costs also jumping, but nowhere near the highs we saw earlier this year.

Exit Monti, re-enter Berlusconi, but don't completely rule out a Monti return, either. Italian politics with all its coalitions, scandals, and drama, may feel like a soap opera. Nina Dos Santos breaks it down for us.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mario Monti's decision to resign as prime minister at the helm of a technocratic government of non-elected experts came after Silvio Berlusconi's center- right party withdrew its support for him.

And that in turn means that elections will be brought forward. So, Mario Monti and his both say they're going to be resigning after pushing through next year's budget. And after that, it is a constitutional obligation that Italy calls elections within 70 days. So, that means we could see the Italians going to the polls in February rather than April, as expected.

And enter center-right, if controversial character. A three-time prime minister in Italy, Silvio Berlusconi leads the center-right People of Freedom party, but he is, of course, a scandal-hit character. He's got two ongoing trials. He's been convicted of fraud, a charge which he is currently appealing. And his economic legacy is patchy at best.

However, the person who's polling best at the moment is this man, Pier Luigi Bersani of the center-left Democratic party. He's just won the primaries for that party and he is largely seen as somebody who could well carry on the kind of reforms that Mario Monti has been implementing over the last year or so.

However, a note of caution: Italy's left-wing party has literally be plagued with divisions over the last ten years. Also, there's concerns that because of the heavy presence and support of the unions, some of Mario Monti's proposals could get watered down.

But Mario Monti isn't totally out of the race yet, because remember, even if he is an unelected technocrat at the moment, he could well return and run for election as a politician. That, some economists say, could be good for Italy as much as some of the other outcomes, but we'll have to wait for February to find out.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Well, Monti has tried to reassure the markets by saying there will be no immediate, dramatic change in the country's policies despite his decision to resign earlier than expected. But what do Italians make of this latest twist in the political drama?

I'm joined now by Professor Giovanni Orsina from the Luiss-Guido Carli University in Rome. Thank you so much for joining me, Professor. Give your best assessment of what's likely to happen here, because externally, outside Italy, it seems extraordinary that Berlusconi could get back in, but that is a realistic option, isn't it?

GIOVANNI ORSINA, PROFESSOR, LUIS-GUIDO CARLI UNIVERSITY: If you -- if you're saying that it is likely that he wins the elections, I think that is not particularly realistic. I wouldn't rule that completely out, but it's very unlikely.

But the fact that he's back in business, well, yes, that is not only realistic, that's real. So, he is going to lead -- the right-wing party, and he's going to run in the elections. That's for sure. I expect him to come out as an opposition in the next parliament.

FOSTER: If he does run and Monti runs in the new election, you do have, actually, a very clear choice, don't you, which would be good for Italian politics? They're two very different people.

ORSINA: Certainly we would. We would have at least three choices in that case, which is Monti, which is Berlusconi, and which is Bersani and the Democratic party. So, in that case, we would have three options.

And of course, I expect that Monti and Berlusconi would be two rather different options, even though right today Berlusconi says that he's an Europeanist leader just today, so in a way, he was kind of envisaging a not-so-empty European campaign.

FOSTER: And it's a classic example, isn't it, of -- a country in financial difficulty bringing in a bureaucrat to take control of things? Has Monti benefited from that? Has that been good for Italy? Because it's an interesting test for those other countries that have done the same, and others that may follow.

ORSINA: That's a very complicated question. Certainly in the short run, with all the problem of the sovereign debt of Italy, that problem was for the moment solved. The country, of course, is paying a price for the debts, and this is what Berlusconi would like to capitalize on.

That is to say that, of course, there is a very severe recession, taxes are very high, and so on and so forth. So, I would say it's a bit early to say whether these -- the Monti cure has really benefited Italy in the middle or long run. In the short run, I would say yes, most definitely.

FOSTER: And what he'll be doing is trying to assess his power base, won't he? Because he's got to work out whether or not he can re-run, if that is his intention. What do you suspect is his appeal? Who likes Monti?

ORSINA: The centrists group in Italy, the moderates, those who are in favor of Europe, which is a rather important group in the ruling classes. It must be seen whether this is an important group in the electorate at large.

At the moment, in the polls, the center parties are likely below 10 percent as they see whether with Monti they can significantly increase debt. I do expect Monti to have a very, very careful look at the opinion polls before deciding whether he wants to enter the fray or not.

FOSTER: Professor Orsina, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Rome.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, bleeding for the cause. The fallout from another passionate Manchester Derby.


FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster. Now, one of football's most impressive -- excuse me.


FOSTER: That really was impressive -- scoring records has been broken, but the man who did it is still as unassuming as ever. Let's bring in Patrick Snell from CNN Center for more on Lionel Messi. No one's ever had a year quite like this, have they?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No. Well, Gerd Muller, back over four decades ago, Max. He was the previous holder of this record. But that staggering record has been blown away by Lionel Messi, the Argentine who, all the hype -- just a bit of background -- he seemingly got injured last week during a European Champions League game.

He did get injured, he was stretchered off. But we thought, well, he could be out for a few games and not return until after Christmas. Well, Messi being Messi, he healed very quickly, and what do you know? The record was gone in 25 minutes in the game Sunday.

Barcelona were at Real Betis. He scored on 16 minutes, then he scored again on 25, and he beat Gerd Muller's record, so he gets up to goals number 86 -- would you believe? -- on the calendar year for Lionel Messi. That's one better, now, than Muller's 1972 mark. Quite incredible. Where would he be without that left foot, now?

We don't hear from Lionel Messi too often. He's a private guy, he doesn't talk much to the media. Let's hear, now, to a few words from the South American superstar.


LIONEL MESSI, SETS RECORD WITH 86 GOALS IN A CALENDAR YEAR (through translator): I am obviously very happy. It is a very nice record. I will try to score some other goals so I can make it a little bit more difficult for the next one.


SNELL: And as I say, Max, he's so quiet, he's so unassuming, we don't hear from him at all after. He just likes to let his football do the talking, unlike a lot of other players I could mention, Max.

FOSTER: Yes, exactly. He certainly does that. Manchester Derby, obviously must-see television, even if it's not always for the right reasons. What's the latest on the fallout from Sunday's match, then?

SNELL: Yes, this game. Never mind the result, Max, which was a thrilling last-gasp victory for United to go six-clear the top of the English Premier, but this really not ending the way the footballing authorities over there in the UK would like.

It was an unseemly end, really bleeding for the cause, as you said, just going into the commercial break there. Rio Ferdinand struck by a coin and I'm left with this bloodied image of Rio walking away down the pitch.

You can see that at least he wasn't seriously hurt. That's one good thing, because he took to Twitter a little later in the day saying basically, who are you? Wanting to know, wanting to confront the fan.

There's the City keeper, Joe Hart, who dealt with another incident when another fan got onto the pitch there at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester in the Eastlands are of Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police, though playing it all down, really, to agree saying look, nine arrests isn't really a huge amount when you factor in what we've had to deal with in the past in Derby memories from the 80s and certainly the 70s, where that number would have been significantly higher. But the English FA's investigating, Greater Manchester Police, as well, also investigating, Max.

FOSTER: Yes, a lot of talk about nets being put up around the pitch - -


FOSTER: -- which the fans don't like, of course. But it really is the biggest derby on the planet, isn't it? Which is why it gets all this attention. Anything that happens in that game.

SNELL: Yes, it has become -- for me, it's possibly the biggest club game now in Europe. A know a lot of Barcelona and Real Madrid fans will take issue with that, but this is a game that everyone I speak to on social media going out and about in life in general, they want to see this game. The excitement was huge.

A lot of it's being generated by the fact, now, that Manchester has the two top teams in the English Premier. Back in the day, the Manchester Derby used to often be just a routine win for United, but now City are champions, it's a must-see game, and people globally want to see it.

My followers on Twitter, for example, in Africa, desperate to see this one, and they all did. And a lot of those United fans who watch us in Africa certainly enjoyed what they saw, Max.

FOSTER: Patrick, thank you very much. Much more from Patrick at the bottom of the hour on "World Sport," of course.

In tonight's Parting Shots, meanwhile, they've been described as inaccurate, inconvenient, and ill-conceived. Now, Australian police are warning Apple Maps could be potentially life-threatening.

Take a look at this map. The city of Mildura is where the purple pin is. Apple Maps places it all of 70 kilometers away in a park in the Outback, where the blue pen is. Several motorists have had to be rescued in the park -- can you believe? -- which police say has no water supply and where temperatures can reach a blistering 46 degrees Celsius.

It's not the first time Apple Maps have been in hot water, either. The Brooklyn Bridge, you may remember, looks like it's melting. Not instilling a lot of confidence in New York commuters. Naturally, Apple has now fixed this problem, but not the Australian problem yet. It's taking its time.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you very much, indeed, for watching.