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Ghana, Algeria Punch Ticket To Brazil; Double Suicide Bombings Threaten Fragile Peace In Lebanon; Climate Change Summit Being Held In Poland; Iran Nuclear Talks; Ambassador Caroline Kennedy; New Film About JFK Assassination

Aired November 19, 2013 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Twin blasts target the Iranian embassy in Beirut as the Syrian conflict once again spills over its borders.

Tonight, we take a look at the underlying sectarian conflict and the threat it poses to the entire Middle East.

Also ahead...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From my point of view, the true story of the assassination had never been told.


FOSTER: The director of the new JFK movie Parkland gives us his take on what happened in the trauma room, nearly 50 years ago.

Plus, with a ticket to Brazil up for grabs, Portugal grabs a battle with Sweden for a place in the world Cup finals.

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

FOSTER: We're beginning, though, with some breaking news just coming into CNN from London. And the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has just spoken to the British prime minister David Cameron on the phone.

According to President Rouhani's Twitter feed, the two sides have discussed improving bilateral ties and diplomatic relations, or negotiations rather, over Iran's nuclear program on the eve of renewed negotiations in Geneva.

And this is what Downing Street just released, "the prime minister became the first British prime minister to call the Iranian president in more than a decade today when he spoke to President Rouhani this afternoon."

We will, of course, bring you more on this as we get it.

Now to Lebanon where earlier today a double suicide bombing attack struck near the Iranian embassy in a predominately Shia neighborhood near the capital Beirut. At least 23 people died in the attack, including Iran's cultural attache to the country, that's according to the Lebanese health ministry.

On Twitter, the radical Lebanese Sunni group, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attacks. It blames Iran for supporting the Shia Hezbollah group that has sent fighters to help the Syrian government.

Nick Paton Walsh has more from Beirut.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm standing just down the road from the Iranian embassy where at 9:00 this morning, two suicide bombers detonated their devices, one riding a scooter, the other in a Jeep.

Just down here is where some reports say Iranian security guards fired upon these two bombers before they detonated their devices.

But the devastation just down the road absolutely remarkable. The front of buildings torn clean off by the blast.

Claiming responsibility is a lesser known group known as the Abdullah Azzam Bridgades. Now they have previously been accused of firing rockets from Lebanon into Israel, described by the United States last year as a terrorist organization and links to al Qaeda. But their statement claiming responsibility said that their goal was to get Hezbollah, the main Lebanese political and militant group, to pull out its support of the Syrian regime and the brutal civil war just across the border.

But the impact severe. Many deeply concerned at the tactics here, a kind of double suicide bombing not seen at all in Lebanon, if not certainly for decades in this very fragile country. And this attack, the latest of a number of signs that potentially the violence inside Syria isn't just spilling over into Lebanon, it's potentially igniting sectarian conflict in this deeply fragile troubled country.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Beirut.


FOSTER: Tuesday's twin suicide bombing is a rare attack on an Iranian target in Beirut and part of a pattern of deepening sectarian strife that is extending beyond Syria.

It follows other outbursts of sectarian violence in Lebanon. In August of this year, a car bomb killed 27 people in the same area.

Later in August, more than 40 people were killed in two blasts outside Mosques in the country's second largest city Tripoli and this is why: Syria, the ongoing civil war is sparking sectarian violence in its smaller neighbor.

The Lebanese Shia guerrilla group Hezbollah is fighting alongside the Syrian government. It's played a crucial role in helping the Syrian government regain strategic towns such as Qusayr. And the group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, says his fighters will remain in Syria as long as necessary.

On the other hand, Lebanese Sunni groups support the mainly Sunni rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad. Some of those rebels are aligned with al Qaeda, so is the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, the Lebanese group that's claimed responsibility for today's attack in Beirut.

And to another level of complexity in both Lebanon and Syria are arenas for a proxy battle for regional influence between Shia Iran, which backs both Hezbollah and Bashar al-Assad and Sunni Saudi Arabia who backs the Syrian rebels.

Now for more on the significance of today's attack in Beirut, I'm joined by Naim Salem. He's a political analyst and professor of Notre Dame University in Lebanon.

Thank you so much for joining us.

Can you place today's attack in some sort of context, why it's different from other attacks and why that matters?

NAIM SALEM, PROFESSOR, NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY: Definitely. This -- today's bombing is -- was the bloodiest in a long time in Lebanon. And most of the victims, the majority of the victims were civilian.

Up to now, there is close to 28 dead, 150 wounded, and only among the embassy personnel only the cultural attache, a religious man, was killed and four bodyguards -- Lebanese bodyguards and two Iranian guards of the embassy were killed.

And therefore, most of those who lost their lives were Lebanese civilian passing by, passersby on the street.

FOSTER: But this type of attack we haven't seen for so many years, have we?

SALEM: ...and the -- definitely.

And particularly targeting foreign embassies. In the past during the civil war in the 1980s a number -- quiet a few foreign embassies were targeted, including the American embassies twice, including the French embassy, including Iraqi embassy and many other embassies.

But since the end of the civil war in Lebanon in 1990, this is the first time a foreign embassy in Lebanon has been targeted in this bloody and violent way, particularly suicide attack. This is the first suicide -- dual suicide attack in more than three decades in Lebanon.

FOSTER: And why do you think the attack happened? What was the motivation? To cause some sort of chaos?

SALEM: Not chaos. It is -- actually, the spillover of the Syrian conflict in Lebanon, particularly that the battles in Syria have been over the past few weeks have been getting closer and closer to the eastern Lebanese border.

The Syrian army is pressing against army groups on the eastern frontiers of Lebanon -- or near the eastern frontiers of Lebanon. And many of those had been fleeing westward in the direction of Lebanon. And what I fear more is that in the next weeks and probably months, those who flee, the fighters and the army groups who will flee Syria will infiltrate into Lebanon. And I suspect we might see more of this kind of ugly violence in Lebanon as a byproduct of the Syrian conflict.

FOSTER: Well, a big concern is going to be there's going to be an immediate retaliation, right?

SALEM: Well, the -- in the early hours after the attack several Hezbollah officials spoke to the media. And one of those official, a deputy in parliament Ali Omar (ph), a major figure in the Hezbollah leadership has alluded that to one big Gulf Arab states he intended to say Saudi Arabia -- even though he didn't say clearly so, implying that it is Saudi Arabia who is supporting those fundamentalist Islamic groups, or those (inaudible) groups and those suicidal groups.

This, up until now, this has been only implied as a threat to Saudi Arabia.

If it goes further, I fear that there might be retaliation against Saudi interests in Lebanon or probably Saudi embassy in Lebanon, even though I don't see it happening in the immediate future.

FOSTER: A relatively unknown Sunni group has taken responsibility for the attacks so far, that in itself is quite a worrying sign, isn't it?

SALEM: Well, this group, the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, this is not the first time we hear of it. We heard of it since 2004 the first time, I guess, or 2003. And this is a very shadowy group headed by one Lebanese Sunni clergy man. And he appeared today on television threatening and taking credit for these kinds of attack. If this kind of attacks are claimed by -- clearly claimed by Sunni group, this will escalate the tension between further even between Sunni and Shiite and will lead us into a new turning point of violence between Sunni and Shia. And it remains up to the leadership, the particularly the Hezbollah leadership, the major group that is in the Shiite camp, Hezbollah, and the Sunni leadership to tone down this escalation, this sectarian escalation.

If this sectarian escalation is allowed to go unchecked, it will be very dangerous on Lebanon and the security of Lebanon, particularly that we saw today the blood letting on this larger scale, about 30 killed and 150 people injured.

FOSTER: Professor Salem in Beirut, thank you very much indeed for your insight today. Thank you.

Still to come tonight, the search continues for the gunmen who wrecked havoc on the streets of Paris.

Then the rescue effort continues in the Philippines as police dogs join the search for missing people.

Plus, last chance loom for teams in the playoffs for next year's World Cup in Brazil. 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 at least one person has been killed in a construction site collapse in South Africa and dozens are feared trapped in the rubble. It happened in Tongaat in northern KwaZulu-Natal near the city of Durban.

At the site is a 1,500 meter square -- or square meter shopping mall that's slated to open next April. Reports say the roof fell in. Search and rescue teams are still on the scene.

Neil Powell is the director of crisis medical and emergency response service based in Durban. He's on the scene. He joins me now on the phone.

Can you give me some sort of sense of what the scene looks like there?

NEIL POWELL, CRISIS MEDICAL: Currently, they just completed a crew changeover. Obviously conditions are truly difficult with the bad (inaudible) in the evening.

Most (inaudible) services in that have already left the team. They now called it a search and rescue operation. I don't think we're to find any more survivors.

FOSTER: In terms of those trapped, do you think you've got them all out?

POWELL: Unfortunately, we can't say (inaudible) looks like anyone that might still be underneath the rubble won't have much chance of survival. They can't, at this stage, (inaudible).

FOSTER: We're looking at the images here, these vast sort of concrete walls, you just can't get through to them, right, in time?

POWELL: There's speculations at the moment that (inaudible) municipality (inaudible) request to stop construction a couple of days ago. Obviously, this (inaudible) construction continued.

FOSTER: What was the problem at the site then? Why that?

POWELL: The construction site itself was deemed not safe.


POWELL: And it looks like the scaffolding collapsed causing the concrete roofs and that to fall on top of the construction workers.

FOSTER: Do you know why it was deemed unsafe?

POWELL: Unknown information at this stage. I can't confirm.

FOSTER: OK, well, good luck with your work. It's a tragic story again.

Now turning not to the hunt for a gunman in Paris. Police are asking for the public's help. Authorities have released another surveillance photo of a man they suspect of a shooting at a newspaper offices. The photographer was shot in Paris on Monday.

They say the gunman shot the photographer twice near the heart in the lobby of the daily newspaper Liberation.

Now the 23 year old victim is still in critical condition.

Police believe the gunman also fired shots outside the Societe Generale towers and hijacked a car.

Italy's prime minister has declared a state of emergency on the island of Sardinia after it was hit by Cyclone Cleopatra. At least 16 people have been killed and more than that are believed to be missing. Enrico Letta said it was a national tragedy and pledged 20 million euros. That's $27 million to help stricken area.

George Zimmerman is back in court. He's the man who was acquitted of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin in a racially charged trial. This time, Mr. Zimmerman is charged with felony aggravated assault against his girlfriend. His bail has been set at $9,000 and his movements are being restricted. He's due back in court in January next year.

A week-and-a-half after the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, aid is only just getting through to some areas. Almost 4,000 people have been killed and more than 1,600 are still missing.

Karl Penhaul has been spending time with a team of searchers and their sniffer dogs tasked with finding the dead.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a grim job, but somebody has to do it.

JIM HOUCK, DOG HANDLER, GLOBAL DIRT: We can help, you know, bring some closure to family and retrieve their loved ones, then it's a good mission.

PENHAUL: Balck Lab patella, her handler Jim Houck and rescuer Adam Marlatt are part of an American charity. They hunt for bodies in the wreckage of natural disasters.

ADAM MARLATT, GLOBAL DIRT: I'm going to get underneath the ship, because it looks like it just smashed everything and I guess one of the guys was saying that his whole family is down there.

PENHAUL: Today, they're down by Tacloban court. As the super Typhoon hit, it whipped up a massive wall of water. This is what's left.

MARLATT: The best way that I could put it would be the collateral damage of the earthquake of Haiti with the water impact of what happened after the tsunami in Japan.

PENHAUL; It's been a week-and-a-half since the storm. The recovery efforts are only just beginning.

HOUCK: The locals have estimated over 100 are deceased there.

PENHAUL: Atella (ph) sniffs out the dead entombed in the ruins of their homes.

HOUCK: Atella (ph), she started her training from eight weeks only. She's four years old now. We can see the debris, he nails sticking out. There's glass Everything. The dogs learn in their training to, you know, what where they're walking. But, you know, still you've got to watch for injuries of the dog.

PENHAUL: She's soon onto something.

HOUCK: She's pulling scent from over here. She pulling scent from there.

PENHAUL: Police and other volunteers lend a hand.

MARLATT: Now go to push from that side. Pull.

PENHAUL: Grudgingly the debris is giving back lost souls.

Since Patella (ph) arrived, she's helped find 10 bodies or more, but behind each number, there's a name, there's a family, and it's a grim score that her handlers say they'd really prefer not to keep.

MARLATT: It's definitely gruesome. And it's definitely a rough task -- do you want to pet her? She, she's nice. You can bet her. Yeah.

PENHAUL: But however rough, life must go on. Thanks to these cadaver dogs, a few more families will get the chance to say their last good-bye.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Tacloban, The Philippines.


FOSTER: Well, some are pointing to climate change as a possible factor in that super typhoon. And right now, the United Nations is talking about the issue at a conference in Poland.

It's called COP 19 -- 19th annual conference of parties. Nearly 200 countries are taking part. The focus this year is how to effectively mitigate climate change and how to adapt to the changing planet.

The hope is also to get nations to agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce global warming. The target for a global climate agreement is 2015.

Paula Newton is in Warsaw where the subjects if the Philippines Super Typhoon Haiyan and the increasingly extreme weather are hot topics -- Paula.


And as these talks continue behind me, Max, today Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the UN weighed in saying, look, it is going to be a steep climb in order to try and get to that agreement for 2015. And what is at issue is rich countries now backtracking from pledges they had made years ago.

Front and center, of course Max as you were just saying were The Philippines. And we spoke today to Yeb Sano. He is the chief negotiator for the Philippines.

Max, this is a disheartened man. You can only imagine what he is going through. He is fasting right now, only water and tea, his region, his very region where he grew up completely destroyed by this typhoon.

I asked him earlier today, Max, what his hope was since right there isn't any money, or significant money committed even next year for what we call climate finance to help countries like the Philippines get money from rich countries in order to adapt to the changing environment. Take a listen.


NEWTON: Do you have any hope of getting that changed right now? There are no funds for 2014.

YEB SANO, PHILIPPINES CLIMATE COMMISSIONER: We are always hopeful that there can be change. I -- we are focused on he political realities as we always are, but the region why the Philippines, a small country continues to engage in this multilateral process is because we continue to have faith in its process and we do help that humanity can rise above adversity even in this climate change negotiations.


NEWTON: He's showing such fortitude, Max. But the fact of the matter is, Philippines is a country that contradicts very little to the carbon footprint on earth here right now. And yet they are in the league of the top five nations affected. And certainly we just saw that from Karl's piece.

Really, Max, still a long way to go to make any progress whatsoever by Friday.

FOSTER: Paula, thank you.

More for you later in the show. Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, Caroline Kennedy meets Japan's emperor as she takes up her new post as U.S. ambassador. More on her trip to Tokyo.

Plus, the pressure is on for the teams wishing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


FOSTER: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Max Foster.

Now two more countries have booked themselves a spot in next year's world cup. And overall more are attempting to as we speak. Don Riddell joins us from CNN Center.

Don, who can go ahead and book their flight?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, two more teams from Africa can start making their plans.

We now know the full African contingent for the World Cup next year, Max. No real surprise that Ghana have qualified within the last couple of hours, because they had a massive first leg lead against Egypt. Of course, Egypt really were desperately hoping to make the World Cup next year given everything that country has been through in the last couple of years.

And they actually won every game in qualifying until they ran into Ghana in the first leg of the playoff where they were thrashed 6-1. They actually won in Cairo tonight. They beat the Black Stars by 2-1, but they have missed out on the World Cup on a 7-3 aggregate scoreline.

I can tell you that all of the African teams that qualified for the World Cup in South Africa three years ago have actually all made it back to the World Cup in Brazil. Within the last couple of minutes, Algeria booked their tickets with a 1-0 win against Burkina Faso. Very, very disappointing for the Burkinabe (ph). They were hoping to win through to their first ever World Cup. They won the first leg by 3-2. It ended as a 3-3 draw on aggregate, meaning they miss out on the away goals rules.

So Egypt and Algeria joining Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon in Brazil next summer.

FOSTER: And the superstar Christiano Ronaldo trying to book his spot right now. How is that going, Don?

RIDDELL: Well, it's going well so far for the Portuguese. This really is the big tie of the four European qualifiers, Portugal versus Sweden, Ronaldo versus Zlatan Ibrahmimovic, the two biggest strikers in the world.

That game is approaching halftime. Portugal won the first leg by a goal to nil. It is still goalless. So Portugal are heading to the World Cup as it stands.

A big game between France and the Ukraine. I can tell you that within the last couple of minutes France have scored. So our graphic is slightly out of date. We haven't been able to update it yet. But that means they are still training to the Ukraine on a 2-1 aggregate score.

Now France have qualified, Max, for every World Cup since 1994. They, of course, won it when they hosted it in 1998. If they were to miss out it would be a bitterly disappointing blow for French football.

But they've a good start. They're about 20 minutes into that game. And they have pulled one goal back, but they do, of course, need to beat Ukraine if they're going to get there.

A couple of other interesting games we can bring you up to date on, Croatia are beating Iceland by 2-0. That one into the second half now. Croatia scoring through Mario Manzukic (ph), who was then sent off which gave Iceland a real chance playing against 10 men for the entire second half in that game. Iceland hoping to be the smallest country ever to qualify for the World Cup, but it's not looking good for them at the moment. They are losing 2-0, 2-0 on aggregate with a roundabout 40 minutes to go.

And it would appear that Greece are pretty much into the World Cup in Brazil next year. Remember, the 2004 European champions, well they are drawing with Romania 1-1 tonight. That means they are well ahead on aggregate. They won the first game by 3-1.

FOSTER: Don, thank you very much indeed.

Do stay with CNN, because later this evening Christiane Amanpour will be bringing you a special interview with tennis legend Billy Jean King. She joined music icon Elton John to discuss equal rights and the hundreds of millions of dollars they've raised together to stop the press of HIV and AIDS. Take a listen.


BILLY JEAN KING, TENNIS LEGEND: For me, tennis was my platform. And what the (inaudible) allowed was a platform for me to fight for equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls, men and woman, which I had started and devoted my life to when I was 12.


FOSTER: And you can catch the rest of Christiane's chat with Elton John and Billy Jean King 10:00 pm in London, 11:00 pm in Berlin.

The latest world news headlines just ahead. Plus, only 50 years after the death of a president, a new film takes us inside the operating room. We speak the director of Parkland.

And how the modern trend to Instagram is being used to show the classical beauty of one of Poland's lesser known cities.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has spoken to British prime minister David Cameron on the phone. According to President Rouhani's Twitter feed, the two sides have discussed improving bilateral ties and diplomatic negotiations over Iran's nuclear program on the eve of renewed negotiations in Geneva. Downing Street says it's the first time a British prime minister has called an Iranian president in more than a decade.

US president Barack Obama met with top Republican and Democratic senators to discuss upcoming nuclear negotiations with Iran. Obama's trying to convince the congressional leaders to postpone new sanctions on the country as the talks continue. Let's get more details from world affairs reporter Elise Labott at the State Department. Elise, is he facing an uphill battle?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, in some ways he is, and in some ways he isn't, Max. The president met with the senators today, they came out.

One of the things they were looking for is just more consultation. They said there was a lot of stuff swirling around the press about this so- called deal with Iran, they didn't know what was in it. They wanted to make sure that the president wasn't giving up too much leverage in these negotiations.

And so, they came out of the meeting saying they were glad for the discussion, but they still have some concerns. That said, it doesn't look like the Senate is going to take up any new sanctions before these Iran talks start. So, that could give a boost to the talks and certainly it'll have a better atmosphere for a possible deal that seems to be in play.

The problem is, what happens if the Congress decides to impose sanctions after the fact. That could be even more damaging to a deal, and also, they're under a lot of pressure from Israel. Israel's really trying to make sure that this deal doesn't go ahead. Take a listen, now, to what Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said earlier today about Israel's so- called interference in these negotiations.


ZAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Unfortunately, we have seen that statements coming out of Israel indicate that they're not interested in finding solutions. They've been trying to push for problems starting last week. The fact that they have been pushing so hard to torpedo a process whose only option was to resolve an international problem that they have been claiming concern over.


LABOTT: So, this is really a catch-21, Max, for the United States, because it's in the middle, now, of Israel and Iran as they're kind of bickering in public.

And obviously, the US wants this deal desperately with Iran to take place under conditions that could halt and possibly over time roll back the Iranian program. But they also have these long-standing relationship and security concerns for Israel. So, right in the middle here right now.

FOSTER: Obama seemed to get some backing today from London as well because ally David Cameron stepping in, making a call to Rouhani as well, although it was a call between the two sides, we don't know who made the call. Do you think that's significant? Does that play into this view that the West is trying to bring Iran in?

LABOTT: Clearly there's no doubt about the fact that the United States, the British, and others are really looking to take advantage of what they call is an opportunity since President Rouhani's election. There's a lot more engagement, there's a lot more talk with the Iranian foreign minister.

And they feel as if this whole new atmosphere created by President Rouhani's election will have a positive impact not just on Iranian nuclear program, but they're trying to bring Iran into the fold on Syria and other issues.

The question is, how long does President Rouhani have to demonstrate to his constituency, the hard-liners back home? And I think they realize that. So clearly there's a very good atmosphere right now. Whether it's going to bear fruit over the long term, I think, is the question.

FOSTER: Elise, thank you very much, indeed. Now, a radical Sunni group claims responsibility for two suicide bombings outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut, 23 people were killed including Iran's cultural attache, according to media reports. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades threatens further attacks until Hezbollah stops sending fighters to the Syrian civil war.

At least one person has been killed in a construction site collapse in South Africa, and dozens are feared trapped in the rubble. It happened in Tongaat near the city of Durban. The site is a 1500-square-meter shopping mall that's due to open next April. Reports suggest the roof fell in. Search and rescue teams are still at the scene.

French police are asking for the public's help in the hunt for a gunman in Paris. Authorities have released another surveillance photo of a man they suspect of shooting a newspaper photographer in Paris on Monday. They say the gunman shot the photographer twice near the heart in the lobby of the daily newspaper "Liberation." The 23-year-old victim is still in critical condition. Police believe the gunman also fired shots outside the Societe Generale towers and hijacked a car.

Well, Caroline Kennedy received a welcome fit for royalty in Japan today. The 55-year-old attorney represented herself in front of Emperor Akihito to become the first female US ambassador to Japan. Her appointment is especially significant as she builds off a legacy set in motion by her father. Kyung Lah was in Tokyo for the occasion.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Clutching cameras --


LAH: -- and waving, thousands of Japanese lined the streets to watch a daughter fulfill her father's sojourn.

"She's completing the mission he couldn't fulfill," says Junko Shibazaki. "This is significant here." JFK was to be the first US president to visit Japan, but he was assassinated.

Fifty years later nearly to the day of his death, his only surviving child made her way through the streets of Tokyo by horse-drawn carriage to the emperor. She passed by many in this crowd who witnessed the first-ever live TV images broadcast out of the US to Japan 50 years ago, news coverage of the assassination. Images of the two young Kennedy children seared into the collective Japanese memory.

"Caroline is like my friend," she says. "Of course we are in totally different worlds, but to me, she is special."


LAH: This is the sort of enthusiasm usually reserved for pop stars or the Japanese royal family.

LAH (on camera): Do you remember anyone ever getting this excited about a US ambassador here in Japan?


LAH (voice-over): "Heck no!" say the Watanabes, who traveled 200 miles to be here. And ask anyone about job qualifications --

LAH (on camera): Caroline Kennedy doesn't have a lot of diplomatic experience.

LAH (voice-over): "That doesn't matter," she says emphatically. "She can do the job." This is the country, after all, where bloodlines trump all, why American Nancy Nichols, who lives in Japan, says this child of Camelot is royalty here.

NANCY NICHOLS, SPECTATOR: Making a full circle and closening the bonds that we have. I think it's great.

LAH: After a brief ceremony with Emperor Akihito, Ambassador Kennedy returned to her carriage to begin her path in US-Japan history.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


FOSTER: As you just heard there, this week marks the 50th anniversary of JFK's death. Caroline Kennedy is the only surviving child of the late president. She was just six years old when he died, seen here with her mother and brother at her father's funeral.

JFK took the Oval Office in 1961, but his term was tragically cut short. On November the 22nd, 1963, he was shot and killed in Dallas. It's become one of the most debated days in history, spawning hundreds of books, movies, and conspiracy theories.

A new film has taken a more clinical approach to his infamous story, and Becky sat down with the director, Peter Landesman, to find out more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now they've turned onto Elm Street --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Kennedy is being rushed to Parkland Hospital.

PETER LANDESMAN, DIRECTOR, "PARKLAND": This was a story that had to be told because, from my point of view, the true story of the assassination had never been told. It's just simply a tale that we thought we knew everything about and really we knew nothing.

And that was my journey as a writer and a filmmaker down this road thinking I'd thought I knew, and very, very quickly realized I knew nothing. And the story of these people who were intimately involved who we'd never heard of, that's the way to go.


BILLY BOB THORTON AS FORREST SORRELS, "PARKLAND": Sir, will you allow me to take that film into my possession?

Right now, there are people out there that are ready to start a war. The film in that camera is the only way we have to know what happened out here today, do you understand that? It's a matter of national security.

Sir, I'm no longer asking.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How did you decided whose perspectives you would shoot from, as it were?

LANDESMAN: When I heard the story of the trauma room, who thought -- whoever thinks where JFK's body goes after he's shot? And then I realized through research what actually went on in that room in a span of 30 minutes. It's Shakespearean. And it was literally a story that was screaming at me.

I could have -- the whole movie could have been just set in that one room. It would have been fascinating, like a stage play.




HARDEN AS NELSON: Dr. Perry. He's on his way. Right now --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey! We need help here!

HARDEN AS NELSON: -- it's just you.


HARDEN AS NELSON: Doctor! It is the president!

ANDERSON: How intense was it to shoot those scenes in the trauma room? Because as a viewer, it is incredibly intense.

LANDESMAN: Yes. And it's even more intense than that. It was as if it was really happening, which was the effect I was going for. At one point, there were 25 people, 2 cameramen, their assistants, and me and the boom operator in a very small space, which is exactly how it was. And we were all covered in blood, all of us.

And the -- everything in that room was exactly as it was. I wanted to recreate -- I wanted to give the audience a sense of being forced to be in that room themselves.

JAMES BADGE DALE AS ROBERT OSWALD, "PARKLAND": I just want to make sure you understand what is happening here today. Your son, my brother, has apparently killed the most important person in the world. And if that is true, he's going to die for what he has done.


ANDERSON: Is that the sense that you want to give, that this is everybody's story, not just the story of JFK's assassination.

LANDESMAN: Look, the assassination happened to us. He was our president, or the Americans' president. He belonged to us. The office belongs to us. We put him there. And it's our story.

TOM WELLING AS ROY KELLERMAN, "PARKLAND": This is the first time the Secret Service has lost a president on its watch.


FOSTER: Becky speaking there to Peter Landesman, director of "Parkland." The film comes out in the UK on Friday, coinciding with the anniversary of JFK's death.

There is so much more to this story. Our website has an entire section dedicated to JFK. Find everything from his politics to his personal life and plenty on those conspiracy theories as well. Check out what the skeptics are saying, which myths we can debunk, and ones which could be true, all online,

Coming up after the break, the prime minister who never is a step away from controversy. We meet Thailand's leading lady.


FOSTER: Now, in tonight's Leading Women, we meet Yingluck Shinawatra. Born into a high-profile family, she was fast-tracked to business and political success. But her controversial family means that critics are never far away. Kristie Lu Stout meets Thailand's prime minister in this week's Leading Women.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Perhaps one of the biggest adjustments for Thailand's first female prime minister: the constant scrutiny of the media spotlight. Yingluck Shinawatra says she made the decision to enter politics in 2011 and to aim for the top because she identified with ordinary people and wanted to give back.

YINGLUCK SHINAWATRA, PRIME MINISTER OF THAILAND: I was born in the country, so I think we understand, I'm just a normal people.

STOUT (on camera): But you're not really a normal person. You come from a business dynasty. Your father was a very successful businessman.

STOUT (voice-over): The youngest of nine children, one of her earliest jobs was working in the family's movie theater.

SHINAWATRA: I sold popcorn and I sold movie tickets so I got used to the business, how we run a business.

STOUT: After attending university in Chiang Mai and in the US, Yingluck Shinawatra rose in the ranks in the family's telecom empire and eventually led the family's property development firm. She says she navigated the transition to public service by drawing on those decades of private sector experience.


STOUT: Her decision to run for office, following in the footsteps of her father, who also served in parliament, and her brother Thaksin, Thailand's charismatic and polarizing prime minister who led the government for five years before the military removed him from power in 2006, accusing him of widespread corruption, allegations he denied.

STOUT (on camera): He is a controversial figure, but he also is a man of a lot of rich experience. What have you learned from him, and is he your mentor?

SHINAWATRA: I learned the way of his management style because we had to follow him as a family. So, that's why I saw his leadership and his success.

STOUT (voice-over): And while Yingluck Shinawatra says she still has a close relationship with Thaksin, proving that she makes decisions based on her own experience and with the guidance of her advisors has been a constant uphill battle.

STOUT (on camera): You're the youngest sibling --

SHINAWATRA: Right, right.

STOUT: -- he's the older brother.

SHINAWATRA: People have the freedom to make decisions.

STOUT: Even though he called you his "clone."

SHINAWATRA: "Clone" means same of the thinking, same of the management style. But cloning doesn't mean have to be like.

STOUT (voice-over): And while her own political future is still at stake, Yingluck Shinawatra says the way she's met her greatest challenges so far and her continuing commitment to the Thai people speaks for itself.

SHINAWATRA: If you want to understand modern -- about the whole country, so you have to put your head, put your heart on their side, so it will be -- even make me have to drive to work harder to prove that you can do better.


FOSTER: For more on Leading Women, do go to our website, Get caught up on all of our content there. And next week, we meet Anne Sweeney. Don't miss the co-chair of Disney Media Networks and the president of Disney ABC television group right here on CNN.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, Paula Newton checks out the photo blogging trend showing one Polish city at its very best.


FOSTER: This week's CNN On the Road series is bringing you greater insight into the customs and culture of Poland. Now, when you think of traveling to the country, Warsaw and Krakow come to mind, I'm sure. But Paula Newton has been on the road in Poland and joins us now from the capital, Warsaw. Where have you been, then, Paula?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Warsaw is the place that you think of, a lot of people coming to Poland also think of Krakow, but we went to Wroclaw, and it has been designated a European -- capital of European culture for 2016.

And that headline may not capture it for you. We thought what might do it is to show off this city as its very best using real Polish patriots, I'll call them, who use Instagram to show off the best spots. Take a look.


NEWTON (voice-over): How do you capture the energy, the vitality of a city? That was our challenge in Wroclaw, a charming Polish city latticed with water and bridges and, yes, picture-postcard views.

The enchanting town square, the love bridge, a quirky gnome scatters playfully in squares and walkways. The best way to show you this place isn't the conventional way.

NEWTON (on camera): But we've decided to do it a little differently, and I've enlisted some help, and here they come. Hello, how are you?


NEWTON: Tomasz?

SYSLO: I'm Tomasz.

NEWTON (voice-over): The guys: Tomasz, Marcin, Grzegorz, and Marek, friends and Polish patriots who love showing off their hometown in pictures.

NEWTON (on camera): Your challenge is to show me at least two quintessentially Wroclaw --


SYSLO: Wroclaw. OK, yes, that was good.

NEWTON: -- pictures.

SYSLO: Right.

NEWTON: That will be inviting for people to come here to this city.

SYSLO: No problem.

NEWTON: So, I'll meet up with you at some point and I'll come and investigate what you're doing, OK?

SYSLO: Thank you.

NEWTON: Good luck!

Hey, Tomasz, what are you doing? Hey, where are we? What's up? A cable car? We're going for a ride?

SYSLO: This is for students.


SYSLO: This is for students. Kind of for transportation.

NEWTON: So, it connects their campus.

SYSLO: Yes, connects the campus.

NEWTON: To the university here.


NEWTON: It's the same view you have over here.

SYSLO: We an see the Ostrow Tumski and the special tower, water tower.

NEWTON: Where are we going now?

SYSLO: We meet Grzegorz.

NEWTON: Is he around here -- oh, there you go. Hey, how are you? So, we're going to a water tower?


NEWTON: You're not making this sound very good.


RAJTER: Hopefully.

NEWTON (voice-over): They make the mundane sublime. This historic water tower, the architectural detail, they know how to capture the essence of their city and what it means to them. And this is the Wroclaw we wanted you to see, through their lens.

NEWTON (on camera): Hello!


NEWTON: Am I going to like what you have? I do want to see, let's take a look. Which two pictures do you want to show me?

WALENCIK: The Ostrow Tumski.


WALENCIK: This one.

NEWTON: This one, OK. And that is stunning.

WALENCIK: That's San Angelus.

NEWTON: San Angelus?


NEWTON: Oh, it's a poet?

WALENCIK: Yes. From Poland.

NEWTON: Oh, lovely! That's a lovely shot.

What is the New Poland, and what does it mean to people?

MAREK MAZIARZ, INSTAGRAMERS WARSAW: We have lots of energy coming from especially young people who are not raised in the times that we were raised. Because when we were young -- us four and six -- so we were raised in the times of Communism.

NEWTON: But tell me something. Young people return. They return to this city, they returned to this country. That wasn't the case when you guys first joined the EU.

MAZIARZ: In the beginning, people started just leaving Poland, and now they're back, because they just got experience being outside, working outside our country. And now, they just come back with the ideas for the businesses. It doesn't have to be out there, abroad. Now, we can do it here in Poland.

NEWTON (voice-over): This is Wroclaw, dynamic and quirky, as seen through the eyes of its future.


NEWTON: It really was such a charming city and a great time to see it with those gentlemen. And you know, Max, how I love bossing people around, so I was able to do that all over the city. It was a lot of fun.

FOSTER: I've experienced that, too, Paula. I know what you're talking about. Where are you going to next, tomorrow, then?


NEWTON: Oh, Max, this was so amazing! So, we've seen how beautiful Poland is above ground, you will not believe what I saw beneath the Earth's surface here. It is absolutely extravagant in terms of this salt mine that basically has works of art buried deep within.

This is not something artists have come up with, it is actually the miners themselves carved in this rock salt by miners. It is stunning. I really want you to take a look, and we'll have that for you tomorrow.

FOSTER: Really looking forward to it. Thank you very much, Paula. Carry on bossing around the team there. She's at a safe distance.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, the holy reunion? We have the latest on the Monty Python group getting back together.


FOSTER: And now for something completely different in tonight's Parting Shots. We'll know in just two days if the five surviving members of Monty Python are reunited. But thanks to tweets from member Eric Idle who alerted fans to a big press conference this Thursday.


JOHN CLEESE AS REG, "THE LIFE OF BRIAN": What have the Romans ever done for us?


FOSTER: The British comedy troupe gained cult-like status when they formed Monty Python's Flying Circus back in 1969, making a TV series and five feature films in the process.


GRAHAM CHAPMAN AS KING ARTHUR, "MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL": What manner of man are you that can summon up fire without flint or tinder?


CHAPMAN AS ARTHUR: By what name are you known?

CLEESE AS TIM: There are some who call me -- Tim.

CHAPMAN AS ARTHUR: Greetings, Tim the Enchanter.



FOSTER: They dressed outrageously, have skewered anyone they deemed pompous, and sang outlandish songs like "Spam, Spam, Spam" before they went their separate ways back in 1983. Now, they're back together.

I'll be heading to that press conference on Thursday, so do let me know what questions you want answered. You can get in touch by Facebook on You can tweet me @MaxFosterCNN, your thoughts, please, @MaxFosterCNN.

I'm Max Foster. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. "Quest Means Business" is coming next.