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Migrant Boat Capsizes Off Sicilian Coast; Massive Storm Threatens India; Interview with Frida Pinto; European Poverty

Aired October 11, 2013 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Shutdown showdown. Tonight, both sides are talking, but can Democrats and Republicans avoid a damaging default?

President Obama has held a key meeting with Senate Republicans. We'll get the latest from Capitol Hill.

Plus, Peace Prize surprise. Backlash over the Nobel committee's decision to give their top award to a chemical weapons watchdog.

Many were expecting teenage compaigner Malala Yousafzai to win. We hear from both her and from actress and fellow education campaigner Frida Pinto.

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

FOSTER: First, though, rescue operation is underway this hour after another boat believed to be carrying some 250 migrants capsized near Lampedusa. Armed forces from Malta and Italy are involved in the operation and say they've saved at least 50 people from the sinking ship. But Reuters news agency reports dozens were killed.

It comes after a week -- just a week, rather, after more than 300 African migrants died when their ship capsized in the same region.

155 people survived that tragedy described as Italy's worst migrant shipwreck.

For more, let's head to Rome where I'm joined by Barbie Nadeau. What are you hearing, Barbie?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, this is a ship that was in trouble about 60 miles off the coast of Lampedusa south of Lampedusa in international waters. They flagged that they were in trouble. The ship started to go down. And helicopters were dropping life rings and things like that and to try to save the people.

But there are dead, there's many as 50 dead at this point that they've taken from the water.

Now of course it's dark, so it's very difficult to find people, survivors and dead people at this. And the seas are very rough. There's a coming storm, which will definitely hamper some of the rescue operation at this time.

But it's important to note there were 503 people who arrived on the island of Sicily today in migrant boats, some of them in Zodiacs, some of them in really, really crippled ships that made it to the shows of Sicily, that's in addition to these 250 people that are in trouble off the island of Lampedusa. It's a serious problem that Italy and all of Europe are facing right now: what to do and how to make it safer for these migrants, how to stop them from leaving, how to solve this problem, which is, you know, becoming deadlier and deadlier as the seas get rough and as the -- you know, autumn and winter comes to this region.

FOSTER: It's too early to say what nationalities were on board, but I guess everyone is making the same assumptions as usual.

NADEAU: Well, I think that's right. And until they really start to interview the survivors will they know exactly what port this boat left from and where they're from.

So many times we've seen in the past -- and this isn't a problem that just happened, this is a decade of illegal immigration and refugees trying to come to Italy.

But in so many instances, they don't have documents, they don't have papers. And a lot of them aren't able to prove who they are or where they're from.

Some countries, of course, some people from certain countries qualify for political asylum, others do not. And so, you know, it really is a guessing game, especially for the young minors and the people -- the women, the unaccompanied women, a lot of them just don't have documents. And so the Italians have to sort of second guess where they're from and what to do with them.

But right now they've got a problem with housing. You know, there's rains in the area. These people are sleeping in the rough in some of these camps. It's a disaster situation as we speak. It's just getting worse as the day as more and more people try to make it to Europe by way of Italy.

FOSTER: Barbie, thank you very much indeed. We'll let you follow that as details come in.

In the United States, political talks continue, but there's still no action on ending a deadlock over the fiscal crisis. President Barack Obama met Senate Republicans at the White House earlier today, but both sides are still no closer to an agreement.

Here's where we stand at this hour. House Republicans on Thursday offered a temporary deal to lift the debt ceiling for six weeks. That proposal wouldn't end the partial government shutdown now in its 11th day.

Sources have told CNN, though, a House vote on the GOP plan would come within hours.

Let's go to Washington for the very latest. Athena Jones is live for us on Capitol Hill.

It does feel as if there's some sense of progress here, though, Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Well, Max, you know what we call progress here is just the fact hat both sides are talking, that some of the rhetoric has been dialed back and that these conversations are continuing.

The House -- the Senate Republicans who met with the president today came back and gave a readout of the meeting that was positive. They say that it went well, it was productive, but inconclusive, which sounds a lot like what we hard from House Republicans.

As you know, their plan would just deal with the debt limit and doesn't deal with ending the government shutdown. The plan present by Senate Republican Susan Collins to the president would do both things, it would reopen the government. It would raise the debt ceiling for a matter of time, perhaps until January to give room for a negotiation. And it would also do some things like repeal or delay a medical device tax that helps fund Obamacare. And it would allow government agencies to have a little bit more flexibility in applying these forced spending cuts, these steep spending cuts that are in place, allow these government agencies the ability to apply them in a way that works better for them.

So that's the plan that Senator Collins presented to the president. But again he did not commit to that. And so this discussion continues.

And there are actually a lot of ideas and plans floating around. The sense is that there's some optimism from some here that this could be resolved soon. And everyone understands the importance of making sure that the U.S. doesn't default. So everyone understands the importance of a debt limit.

But in terms of a solid plan that we know can get through both houses, we don't have that yet.

FOSTER: OK, Athena, thank you very much. Stand by for us, because we're going to stay with the story.

But meanwhile, G20 finance ministers have urged U.S. lawmakers to come to an agreement and head of f a potentially devastating default.

CNN's Richard Quest has been following the financial and economic fallout from this story. He joins me now live from the IMF headquarters in Washington.

And first of all, a positive response on the markets which is good use of the global economy, Richard?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The positive response from the markets, of course, is one of optimism that a deal will be done. But some would suggest that the markets have been in denial over the every real possibility of a complete default in any event.

So not only are the markets perhaps treading just watching and waiting and seeing, but giving reactions when they see something good.

Here at the IMF, any finance minister who will talk and speak will tell you that they are concerned, and not just because the United States debt markets are so deep and so liquid, but because economic growth is fragile at best. And as the French finance minister Pierre Moscovici told me the real risk is drop the pebble in the water here in Washington and you feel the effects around the world.


PIERRE MOSCOVICI, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER: A default, or a kind of default of America would represent such a threat for the world economy. This is why everybody is finally confident, because when something is potentially so damaging it cannot happen, and it won't happen. This is why the message here, of course we have a worry.

But it's a message of confidence as well for the president and for the congress. It is of a huge necessity for everybody that a solution must be found and will be found to this problem.


QUEST: It cannot happen. It will not happen, says Moscovici. And that seems to be the general view here.

But, Max, putting it bluntly, all the finance ministers can talk as much as they want. And bearing in mine this morning they were all in the room behind me for the G20 along with Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the fed and Jack Lew the U.S. Treasury Secretary, all in that room. And I've no doubt they told them what they thought.

But until members of congress who are not here, and they are the ones who of course have to pass the legislation. Well, they are the ones who may not be listening to the message.

FOSTER: Richard, thank you. We're going to back to Athena on Capitol Hill.

Athena, this is largely about politics at this point, not economics.

There's so much politics involved.

Is there a sense that the Republicans are moving on this now because they haven't come across as well as the White House?

JONES: Well, it's interesting you mention that. We've seen some new poll numbers out today that show a lot more -- a lot more Americans are blaming the Republican Party than are blaming the president. I think there's a 22 percent -- 22 point spread there. And so folks here are well aware of how this is polling.

And importantly, they've got constituents back home who are beginning to feel the pain. And certainly I think there is an understanding amongst a large number of folks here on Capitol Hill of just what debt, default, or failing to raise the debt ceiling would mean.

Now you have some debt ceiling deniers, people who think that it's not really going to be a problem. But it seems like the majority here believes and understands why it's so important to make a move on this, especially with the clock ticking down to next week. It's just next Thursday. So less than a week away when this limit -- we believe this limit will be breached.

Even that date is a little unclear, because this government shutdown has affected how many tax revenues, tax receipts are coming in.

so the clock is ticking. People are aware of that here and I think that's why there's so much discussion going on today -- Max.

FOSTER: We'll talk about it more as well. Athena, thank you very much indeed.

Well, still to come tonight, Hollywood star Frida Pinto joins us live as she'll be telling us how we can get more girls in school.

And Toyota wins a key courtroom victory. We'll tell you why the verdict is crucial to the future of the Japanese auto giant.

And a monster storm nears the coast of India. The latest on when tit's expected to make landfall up next.


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

This just in to CNN, the U.S. State Department just confirmed American forces have captured the leader of the Pakistani Taliban in a recent military operation. Here's what a spokesperson has to say a short time ago.


MARIE HARF, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOESPERSON: I can confirm that U.S. forces did capture TTP terrorist leader Latif Mehsud in a military operation. I don't have further details to share about the operation for you at this time. Mehsud is a senior commander in TTP and served as a trusted confidante of the group's leader (inaudible) Mullah.

Mehsud, TTP claimed responsibility, as folks probably know, for the attempted bombing of Times Square in 2010 and has vowed to attack the U.S. homeland again. TTP is also responsible for attacking our diplomats in Pakistan and attacks that have killed countless Pakistani civilians.


FOSTER: India is bracing for a cyclone that's shaping up to be the region's strongest ever storm. Rough seas, high winds and heavy rain are already battering the country's east coast as Tropical Cyclone Phailin intensifies 24 hours before it's expected to make landfall.

Samantha Moore is in the CNN weather center with the latest on this monster storm. And it really is looking like a big deal, Samantha.

SAMANTHA MOORE, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You're right, Max. It is strengthening. And if it strengthens just another 10 kilometers per hour -- currently it's at 260 max sustained, if it strengthens to 270, like we anticipate that it will, it will be the strongest cyclone ever in the history of the northern Indian Ocean into the Bay of Bengal.

You can see it's moving to the northwest at 17 kilometers per hour. And some of these gusts up around 315. And we do expect those numbers to go up within the next several hours.

Look how expansive this storm is from outer band to outer band here some 1.7 million square kilometers. So you could equate that to much of western Europe actually. All the way from Portugal up to Denmark.

So we're expecting it to make landfall during the afternoon and evening local time in India on Saturday somewhere between the border of the states Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. As we head into the next 24 hours, we'll see those conditions deteriorate overnight and in through the day on Saturday.

And of course when you're talking about cyclones or typhoons or hurricanes you always have to add in the forward momentum to those max sustained winds when it makes landfall. And that's to the right of the center of circulation. So that's what we anticipate to see the worst storm surge probably several meters. And this is low lying land. So that storm surge could go in easily here for many kilometers.

So it's going to affect millions of people that live across this region, most likely coming on shore very close to Brahmanpur. And as it moves on in, these folks here obviously many of these neighborhoods not very well constructed, low lying coastline, no sea wall here. And there's some 12 million people that live near the coastline that will be affected by at least tropical storm if not cyclone force winds as we head into the next 24 to 36 hours.

And again, storm surge and fresh water flooding is what killed more people when we see these tropical systems move onshore.

So there you have it. The conditions will continue to go downhill throughout the day on Saturday. That center of circulation will be coming in local time during the afternoon and evening. And then it continues to move inland wit those incredibly destructive winds, that very heavy rain. This is a very dangerous situation, unfortunately, with those gusty winds.

And also, Max, this is not the only game in town. We do have more systems out there lined up across the western Pacific as well. They haven't gotten much of our attention, because this system is huge.

FOSTER: We're going to watch it.

Thank you very much indeed, Samantha.

Now the prime minister of Libya has described his abduction as an attempted coup by former rebels. And he calls it an act of terrorism.

Ali Zeidan was kidnapped on Thursday from a luxury hotel in Tripoli and held for several hours by gunmen before being released. He spoke about his ordeal a short time ago.


ALI ZEIDAN, PRIME MINISTER OF LIBYA (through translator): This crime of kidnapping the prime minister the people of this country condemn and do not accept. But this is all to do with legitimacy of the nation.


FOSTER: The mother of Kenneth Bae, an American held prisoner in North Korea has met with her son. Bae was arrested last year while visiting North Korea. His family says he's suffered multiple health problems since he's been detained. Bae was sentenced to 15 years for what the North Korean government calls hostile acts.

Toyota has been cleared of wrongdoing in the death of one of its customers. A California jury has ruled that the 2009 death of Noriko Uno (ph) was not the automaker's fault. Uno's (ph) family says she was driving her Toyota vehicle when it suddenly accelerated, even though they say she was using the breaks.

She died when her car hit a pole. And instead of Toyota, the jury ruled that another driver was responsible, saying that driver's car broadsided Uno's (ph) car causing Uno (ph) to hit the accelerator.

The jury ordered her to pay Uno's (ph) family $10 million.

There's a shock in Mexico after photos of a young mother giving birth on a hospital lawn circulated around the country. This photo appears to show Irma Lopez squatting in pain while her newborn child lay on the ground still attached by the umbilical cord.

Let's cross to Nick Parker in Mexico City. Obviously the picture is pretty shocking, Nick, but it's also open to debate about whether this was due to discrimination or just a lack of resources.

NICK PARKER, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, that's correct, Max.

This really is an image that's shocked Mexico and to certainly to some extent highlighted a nationwide -- a nationwide problem with maternal care. But certainly at this stage, there are still perhaps some conflicting accounts about what exactly happened.

An investigation is underway and the head of this medical center has been suspended pending that investigation. But there are somewhat conflicting accounts.

The government of Oaxaca -- and just to put this in context, Oaxaca is one of Mexico's most poorest states. They say that 28-year-old Irma Lopez arrived at this hospital in (inaudible) in an advanced state of pregnancy and was basically told that she should prepare to give birth.

They do accept that there was a shortage of night staff at that time, but they do say that she was told that she should prepare to give birth, but she decided to leave.

In an interview with CNN, Irma Lopez conflicted this account.


IRMA LOPEZ, MOTHER (through translator): At 6:00 am, at that time the nurse tended to me until 7:30. And at that time, she told me to go outside and walk and from there I gave birth outside.


PARKER: Now the Committee to Promote Maternal Security in Oaxaca has condemned this incident as a flagrant violation of her human rights. And certainly even the government of Oaxaca is saying that this does highlight the need for more staff.

At the moment, a survey estimates that one out of every five births in Mexico takes place outside a hospital -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Nick. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, a surprise Nobel Peace Prize. The prestigious award goes to a group that right now is working in Syria. That story still to come.

And we speak to a Hollywood star who is working to ensure every girl child gets an education. Frida Pinto is up next as mark international day of the girl.


FOSTER: It was 12 months ago that the name Malala Yousafzai became known around the world. This time last year, the Pakistani teenager was transferred to the UK for lifesaving medical care after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in -- on October 9.

Now since her incredible recovery, Malala has become the symbol of a global push for education for all and was hotly favored to be named this year's Nobel Peace laureate.

The teen activist missed out, but told CNN's Christiane Amanpour it's another title she's aiming for.


MALALA YOUSAFZAI, TEEN ACTIVIST: I want to become a prime minister of Pakistan. And I think it's really good.


YOUSAFZAI: Because through politics I can serve my whole country. I can be the doctor of the whole country and I can help children to get education, to go to school. I can improve the quality of education. And I can spend much of the money from the budget on education.


FOSTER: And you can hear more from Malala in her own words in a CNN special The Bravest Girl in the World. You can see it on Monday at 10:00 in London, 11:00 pm in Berlin.

October 11 is also the International day of the girl. It was established by the United Nations two years ago to turn the spotlight on girl's rights.

And while more and more girls are going to school, UNICEF says 31 million are still not getting a primary education.

To talk more about the challenges girls still face I'm joined by award winning actress and plan international global ambassador Frida Pinto.

Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

I have to ask you, first of all, about Malala, because hopes were so high, weren't they, that she'd win the Nobel. But I guess she's still got time.

FRIDA PINTO, ACTRESS: Sorry, I don't hear...

FOSTER: Hopes were so high that Malala would win the Nobel Peace Prize, but I guess she's still go time, hasn't she? She's so young.

PINTO: Absolutely. I think the Nobel Peace Prize was not going to determine whether she was going to stop or continue. She's always going to continue. She started this struggle way before the 9th of October 2012 even happened to her. So she's going to continue no matter what.

FOSTER: How much difference has she made to the cause that you've been pushing for?

PINTO: Absolutely. I mean, gosh she's such an inspiration. She's been inspiration for people like me. Gordon Brown has been doing so much at his end as well. And I think a lot young girls have been spending a lot of time with six young girls who have come down from different countries for the international day of the girl here in New York. And they're all so inspired by Malala. And they all want to be like her. And we need young leaders like her after all.

So she's been doing tremendously well.

FOSTER: She's obviously involved in this cause for personal reasons. Can I ask what drew you into this cause? Was this something that you'd personally went through that made you care so much about it. Apart from simply being a woman, is there an experience that you had with education?

PINTO: Well, yes. I -- it's very different for me from Malala, because Malala actually said in one of her interviews that it was what she did not have, or what was -- she was being taken away from her made her want to fight this fight for education.

Mine was actually quite the contrary. It's the fact that I had everything. I had a great education. I had parents that really supported me. I had the books, the pens, the stationary, everything. And then I'd look around growing up in a city like Mumbai and there would be girls, very young girls with bright sparks who were begging on the streets of Mumbai, or at train stations.

And I asked my mother who was a teacher why was it so? Why was there such an inequality in who goes to school and who doesn't, especially when the fundamental rights is education for all.

Which is why I decided that once I had a voice that would be heard I would absolutely fight for this.

FOSTER: So when you talk about a situation like India, I mean, every country has got a different set of issues and there's a different cause, isn't there, in each country?

In terms of what you experienced in India, what would you think the solution would be there, because a lot of people blame the class system there, don't they?

PINTO: To be really honest, I think it has to start with mindsets. It's all well and good to say education for all, but a lot of mindsets have to be changed.

The rate of child marriage is still so high in India. And we have to address that issue, because girls at 14 and 15 have untapped potential in them. And unless and until you unleash it by letting them go to school, by letting them find out and discover for themselves what they're capable of, they're never going to have a progressive nation.

So it really has to begin with mindsets, whether it's gender sensitization programs, starting adult literacy programs that will actually educate parents why girl children should be going to school along with boys and we're by no means trying to make this a male versus female debate, it is education for all, boys and girls who walk side by side.

FOSTER: And do you think -- I mean, a lot of criticism has made towards developing countries and saying the problem is there. But actually it's a global problem, isn't it? Because you go to many western economies and actually you find pockets of the same problem everywhere, don't you?

PINTO: Absolutely. I think it's very unfair to say that countries like India, Pakistan and parts of Africa are underdeveloped and that's because, you know, there is no education there and then you look at the quality of education in developed countries as well, or the fact that there is not that much opportunity -- or look at something as simple as maternal health in America. And the importance that is given to insurance for women who are in jobs who get pregnant.

I mean, all of that needs to be addressed. It's all part of the same treacherous web of problems.

FOSTER: You talk about how you suddenly realized that you were privileged and that you had this great education and all the facilities that came with that. Was there a moment when you realized, or was there something that you met that made you realize how lucky you were and actually you were lucky and other people aren't. And it's just luck of the draw.

PINTO: Right. Yes. I was shooting a film two years back in Ragistan in India, a film called Trishna by Michael Winterbottom. And as part of the research to get into the character, because I played a character quite far removed from my world, I visited a couple of girls in Ragistan who I was going to base my character on.

And one of the girls I met, it was quite an interesting experience. I was sitting with her father-in-law and her husband outside having a cup of tea and her father-in-law said that I could well go and meet the girl who was in the kitchen and I had no idea how old this girl was, or who she was. And I walk into the kitchen and the young bride is 15 years old. And I was absolutely shocked, because I didn't expect that the girl to be that young.

I walk up to her and I asked her if she had ever been to school. And she said, yes, she had been to school up until the 6th grade.

And then I then I asked her, would you like to go back to school?

And she looked at me like I was the ignorant one and she said to me, you know what I would have really loved to go to school, but right now I have to make your tea. And that was it for me. That just made me realize that this girl who have loved to do the one thing that she wants to do is go to school and just feel free and experience a life of education. And I had it all. And I needed to do something about it and not just sit there drinking the cup of tea she made.

FOSTER: Well, you made her realize that it is possible. And thank you very much indeed for joining us. Frida Pinto. Thank you for joining us on the program.

The latest world news headlines just ahead.

Plus, food aid hits Britain's shores. (inaudible) 60 years. More on that and the wider struggle in Europe.

As Syria is thrown into the spotlight again, this time because of the Nobel Peace Prize. We'll tell you who has won the prestigious award. It wasn't Malala, as you've heard. After the world headlines.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. More than 200 people have been rescued after another migrant boat capsized near Lampedusa, Italy. The armed forces of Malta say it has also covered four bodies from the shipwreck.

US House Republicans have made an offer to President Barack Obama to resolve the budget standoff. That's what GOP sources tell CNN. The plan falls short of the president's demand to immediately reopen the government, and the GOP proposal would temporarily raise the debt ceiling but it would not lift the shutdown right away.

Heavy surf pounds India's eastern shoreline as the nation braces for what could be the region's strongest-ever cyclone. Rough seas, high winds, and heavy rains are already battering the coast as Tropical Cyclone Phailin intensifies about 20 hours before it's expected to make landfall.

The prime minister of Libya has described his abduction as an attempted coup by former rebels and he calls it an act of terrorism. Ali Zeidan was kidnapped at gunpoint on Thursday from a luxury hotel in Tripoli and held for several hours before he was released.

The Nobel committee has awarded its 2013 Peace Prize to a global chemical weapons watchdog. The announcement was made in Oslo, Norway, earlier today.


THORBJORN JAGLAND, CHAIRMAN, NORWEGIAN NOBEL COMMITTEE: The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013 is to be awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, for its extensive work towards eliminating chemical weapons.


FOSTER: The OPCW currently has a team on the ground in Syria helping to destroy the country's chemical weapons arsenal. The Nobel committee chairman says the group won the prestigious award for all of its work, not just what it's doing right now in Syria.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been around since the 90s, but it's the war in Syria that's turned the spotlight on its work. The OPCW was established in 1997. Its aim is to rid the world of chemical weapons and also strengthen international security.

It has 189 member states. The most recent country to join was Somalia back in May. Our Frederik Pleitgen visited the OPCW's headquarters in the Hague. He says the news of the organization receiving the award was a surprise.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Max. The OPCW is really not an organization that you would think would be one that would be up for awards. It is one that really works behind the scenes, if you will, a scientific organization. And the most important thing for the chemical weapons inspectors as they do their job in the field is the chain of custody of the samples that they take.

For instance, when the weapons inspectors go to places like Syria, they'll take samples from the soil off the ground, and there always have to be eyes of OPCW inspectors or workers on those samples until they reach the labs. So, the work has to be absolutely transparent. Have a look at what they do with some of the samples that they get.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): The samples from chemical weapons sites are brought to this lab. The transport container is made to withstand a plane crash. The scientists used detectors while opening it to make sure they're not exposed to nerve agents. Dr. Hugh Gregg is the head of OPCW's lab.

HUGH GREGG, HEAD, OPCW LABORATORY: The final container is the sample itself, the samples that were collected in the field. We ensure that those seals are absolutely correct and that they haven't been tampered with, and then we're ready for that sample.

PLETIGEN: Samples are analyzed in a gas chromatography mass spectrometer or GCMS, a device that breaks the samples down into its components and then identifies the chemical agents.

GREGG: The routine GCMS analysis that we would do for environmental samples can see things down below a part per million. It can see samples that have been there for weeks or months.

PLEITGEN: Under the threat of US strikes and with Russian diplomatic pressure, Bashar al-Assad has agreed in principle to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control. The OPCW would most likely take the lead cataloging and monitoring the stockpiles. The organization has done it in other countries and knows how long it takes.

GREGG: For inspectors to catalog that, they would actually have to go and witness how many artillery shells, how much would they contain on an average bill. They would have to look at storage containers. They would have to figure all that out. So, cataloging something would depend on how many sites there are, how many different munitions there are. It could take months.


PLEITGEN: And of course, Max, the work that the OPCW is doing in Syria right now is really something new to them as well. First of all, it's a lot bigger than any other mission that they've conducted in the past, but also, of course, it's a lot more difficult with that civil war raging in that area.

Now, the director-general of the OPCW has already said that the weapons inspectors that are going to be working in Syria are going to get additional training in working in hostile environments.

But once they've gotten that training, and if they're able to do their job the way that they need to do under their regulations, then they do say it is realistic for them to rid Syria of chemical weapons in that very tight deadline of the middle of 2014. Max?

FOSTER: Let's get some analysis on this. Pete Wallensteen is a senior research professor of peace and conflict research. He's with the University of Notre Dame and he joins me now, live. Thank you for joining me, Professor.

So much speculation about the decision and who was going to win, and the media, of course, to blame for hyping the Malala story perhaps. What do you know about the criteria for choosing a Nobel Peace Prize winner, which arguably is the preeminent award in the world?

PETER WALLENSTENN, SENIOR PEACE AND CONFLICT RESEARCHER, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME: Yes, there are about 100 peace prizes, and this is the one that we talk about, so it definitely has s special status.

Nobel, when he instituted the prize said that it should be given to those that have done things for the reduction or elimination of standing armies. That was his formulation. So, you can say that really means that disarmament issues are a key consideration for the Nobel committee.

And this time, they have come back to that formulation. And I think in a surprising way, but as it now turns out, in a very timely way.

FOSTER: And in a controversial way, might I add, because we got some tweets here, some criticism of the decision. There is often criticism, but let's have a look at the particular ones this time around.

Dan Murphy from "The Christian Science Monitor" writes that the OPCW does useful and noble work, but asks what it has to do with peace?

Blogger Faress tweets, "In what world can a dictator join the chemical weapons convention one month after using them to gas 1500 people and then have the OPCW win the Nobel Prize?"

Blake Hounshell, a deputy editor at "Politico" magazine writes scathingly, "OPCW owes this prize to the use of chemical weapons, and the 2009 winner's subsequent threat to bomb Syria." The 2009 winner was, of course, President Obama.

And Nadine Houry, deputy director of Human Rights Watch for Middle East and North Africa wrote, "I would have thought 2013 would have been a year for soul searching at OPCW, not accolades."

Certainly, Professor, perhaps the committee was tempting criticism because the OPCW is on the ground in a war zone. So why choose to give the award this year when there was no rush to do so?

WALLENSTEEN: Yes, I don't know the inner deliberations, of course, of the committee. I can only note that this is a professional organization that, so to say, implements peace. It tries to make the treaties really work, and they have been doing that in a, should we say, non-offensive, very quiet way.

And I think that's good, to be a premium for this kind of fairly gray work that still promotes peace in the sense that we don't want chemical weapons, we don't want them to be used, and one has met some headway on this.

And I think it's particularly important when you think about the Middle East, as this is the place where chemical weapons have been used in the past decades. So, it's a particular sign to that community that now those who are outside the convention should also join it more forcefully. And that's Israel and Egypt.

FOSTER: It was suggested to me that the award is used almost as a prod to encourage a particular peace process. Do you think there's some truth in that? Are they trying to encourage the OPCW in its current work?

WALLENSTEEN: Yes, it's of course encouragement, but it is also a reward for them having been professional and pretty good through the years. And I would say in this particular situation, it might even work as a protection.

They are now well-known, nobody can say we don't know who these guys are, and sure, we agree with the thing that they do. So they will be, in a sense, protected and, perhaps, have more easy access than they would have had otherwise.

FOSTER: OK, Professor, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Notre Dame. Thank you very much, indeed.

Now, while the Nobel committee announced the news to the world, it seems it couldn't tell the most important people, and they were the OPCW itself. It took to Twitter to reach out to the organization tweeting, "@OPCW, please contact us. We're trying to get through to your office." They did, of course, get through in the end.

Live from London, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Austerity bites: the ill effects of Europe's policies seen on a human level, and millions are going hungry. We'll have much more from a disturbing new report.


FOSTER: In Europe, deepening poverty, greater inequality, and collective despair. That's the conclusion of a damning evaluation on the impact of Europe's austerity measures by the International Red Cross. The aid agency took a look at the specifics and released a report with grim figures.

In the past two years, there has been a 75 percent increase in the number of people who are relying on food aid to survive. The ICRC says that as many as 43 million Europeans -- or European people are not getting enough to eat every day, and there's a huge number more who could fall into that situation. It says there's 120 million Europeans are living in or at risk of poverty.

Even for job seekers, it's difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel: 43 percent of the unemployed have been laid out of work for at least a year.

It seems no country in Europe is immune to this. In Britain, the Red Cross is organizing a winter food drive by partnering with the supermarket chain Tesco and the charity Fair Share. It is the first time the country has needed outside help to feed its people since the second World War. Zain Verjee has more.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is Oxford Street, one of the busiest streets in Europe. All around me, there are shoppers spending like crazy -- tourists, residents.

But if you look beyond the glitz of all these popular shops, the Red Cross is estimating that 5.8 million people living in this country just don't have access to basics. They don't have access to food. So, for the first time since World War II, the Red Cross is asking for people to help with food.

Basics, things like tomatoes, pasta, eggs, bread. The Red Cross is basically saying that for a few days toward the end of this year, they're asking for a food drive. So any kind of food donation, and if anyone can buy something extra and leave it behind at different shops, they will gather it up and distribute it to the people who need it most.

Zain Verjee, CNN, London.


FOSTER: From Slovenia, we are pleased to welcome Anitta Underlin. She's the director of Europe for the International Red Cross. Anitta, you would have been aware of this trend, but the statistics themselves, the figures you've unveiled, will be shocking to a lot of people. And as Zain was pointing out, it's not just in countries that you'd expect to be suffering.

ANITTA UNDERLIN, DIRECTOR OF EUROPE, INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS: No, that is correct. Even for us in the Red Cross, it's shocking and it's surprising. What we see is that it has gone from bad to worse, and we see more and more people struggling to get the ends to meet. And as you say, the crises are going far beyond the countries that we normally associate with the economic crisis.

FOSTER: But there's wealth in a country like the UK, so are you saying that the wealth divide has sharpened so much that the average wage is a lot higher than many of the people at the bottom?

UNDERLIN: What we are seeing is that the poverty is most widespread in the countries in -- not only limited to the countries that are catching the headlines. The top five countries with the highest share of population at risk of poverty is Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Lithuania, and Croatia.

But as you say, for example, in Romania, 20 percent of the population was classified in 2008 as belonging to the middle class. Today, the number is 10 percent, and the same is happening in Croatia and in Serbia, and we are seeing that as a widespread phenomena across Europe.

FOSTER: And are these people getting the support, the food, that they need? Or are they -- are you worried that people are going to start starving through this crisis?

UNDERLIN: What we are seeing is that the high demand in food across Europe is ever increasing. And it's also due to the factors that even families with an income, with a low income, will spend all their available resources to pay the running costs, to pay the electricity bill, to pay the heating, to pay the rent. And there's simply nothing left for the food.

And that's why many people, even the ones with a low income job or a family assisting on one pension from a grandmother or a grandfather, will go to the Red Cross and ask for this assistance in form of food.

FOSTER: Can you afford to keep up?

UNDERLIN: The thing is that Red Cross, the data that we have, some of them are for Eurostat, and what we can see is that our food assistance has increased dramatically. And we are not the only humanitarian organization doing this.

What we have ever also seen is this spirit of humanity, as we also heard the British Red Cross referring to, where people are, people who help are ready to help the one who doesn't have, meaning neighbors are extending a helping hand by buying a little bit extra when they go to the supermarket, and helping where they can.

So, this is a kind of a positive part of the crisis. But for sure, today we see countries where the youth unemployment is more than 60 percent. It is clear that this is serious for any country in the world.

FOSTER: Anitta Underlin, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Slovenia.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, Tom Hanks wins over the critics in his latest film based on a real-life pirate drama. We'll hear from the star in CNN Preview, up next.


FOSTER: The critics are hailing Tom Hanks' performance in his latest film, "Captain Phillips," as superb. Here's Becky with CNN Preview.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For this edition of CNN Preview, a creative spark hits Pearl Jam, and the 16th solo album from a former Beatle.


ANDERSON: First, we begin at the London Film Festival.


TOM HANKS, ACTOR: It's a great honor to be the kickoff at this international city, this international film festival. It's a big deal.

ANDERSON: The honor of opening night goes to double Oscar winner Tom Hanks and the director who gave us the Bourne trilogy, Paul Greengrass. Their movie, "Captain Phillips," is based on the true story of Richard Phillips, captain of a cargo shipped hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.

HANKS AS CAPTAIN RICHARD PHILLIPS, "CAPTAIN PHILLIPS": Listen up. We have been boarded by armed pirates. Stay in at all costs. We don't want any hostages.

HANKS: We played the scenes from the beginning to the end over and over and over again, so we were always ratcheting it up, we were always discovering new moments. We were never walking away thinking, OK, we're finished with that section.

We often came back and would shoot two or three days later in order to put in something that we discovered. But it was always from the beginning to the end. So, we were able to find that emotional arc over and over and over again. And then he would capture it somehow with these environmental cameras of his.


HANKS AS PHILLIPS: I don't know!




ABDI AS MUSE: Look at me. I'm the captain now.

PAUL GREENGRASS, DIRECTOR: It took months of planning and getting the ships and getting in the paces you need them, and then be able to sort out all the safety issues, which were tremendous, and many of the logistical issues about moving them around.

And then there's the sheer physical issue of shooting on the water with the swell and the weather and -- it's hard work. But we're very pleased. There's something incredibly exciting about it. It's sort of romantic. It's great. I remember it with -- as being one of the great experiences of my filmmaking career.


ANDERSON: Rock band Pearl Jam return after a long hiatus. You can count down the hours, minutes, and seconds to the release of their much- anticipated album, "Lightning Bolt," on the band's website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody's kind of playing out of their minds on this record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think "Mind Your Manners" will be fun to play live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I can keep up with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just double-timing that thing. Brrrrrrrrr!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guys really wanted me to go full throttle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have any hearing loss at all, you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm ringing right now.



ANDERSON: Pearl Jam will be touring North America, Australia, and New Zealand until early 2014.


ANDERSON: Paul McCartney releases his first album of new music for six years next week.


ANDERSON: Japanese fans will get a chance to see him perform as his "Out There" tour continues in Osaka with three nights in Tokyo this November. The album's producers include Mick Ronson and Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George.

We'll end this edition of CNN Preview with music from the album's title track, "New."

I'm Becky Anderson, until next time.




FOSTER: And in tonight's Parting Shots, do you remember the last time you were coming back from a night out and really wanted a pizza, but all takeaways were closed? The 3D food printer might be the solution.

It started when NASA decided it wanted to send astronauts to Mars. A mechanical engineer thought eating military rations for years would be terrible, so he came up with a printer filled with powdered ingredients that can last years. A heated plate receives a square of dough, a layer of sauce, and some cheese topping. Twelve minutes later, voila! An appetizing little pizza is ready. It's the future.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thanks for watching.