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Impact of U.K. Spending Cuts on NATO; Reaction to Condoleezza Rice; Legalization and the Mexican Drug Cartels; Some Rescued Miners Released From Hospital With More to Soon Follow. Global Connections Between Angola and Australia. Sports Stars Connecting Angola and Australia. Liverpool Football Club Sold to Boston Red Sox Owner. World's Longest Tunnel Completed. Engineering Marvels Connecting the World. Impact Engineering Wonders Has on Sightseeing.

Aired October 15, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: As countries like Britain prepare to cut back on their defense budgets, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she's worried that NATO funding could appear in the crosshairs.

So as Europe tackles its debt, will the war in Afghanistan take a back seat?

Going beyond borders on the day's top stories for you on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

Well, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan today warned of the long fight ahead.

But are its members focused on matters closer to home?

Joining the dots for you in London, I'm Becky Anderson.

Also coming up this hour...


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Sometimes things that looked terrific at the time look pretty bad in retrospect.


ANDERSON: Condoleezza Rice admits to me that mistakes were made in Iraq and tells me how she would have done things differently.

And as Liverpool gets a new owner, we'll ask whether one of Europe's greatest football clubs can ever return to its glory days.

Plus, it's the part of the program that we turn over to you, the viewers. And this week, you've been making the global connections between Angola and Australia. We'll find out what you discovered. And if you want to get involved, head to

Well, it's not often that the U.S. government comments on the UK's defense spending budget. But the secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, did exactly that. She says she's concerned by proposed military cutbacks. Her remarks coming just days ahead of a U.K. spending review.

Phil Black has more on the very timely intervention.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's wonderful to see you again.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's nice to see you again, too.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Hillary Clinton's comments have been described by some British media as an intervention or even an attack on British government policy. When asked by the BBC about whether defense spending cuts in countries like Britain worried her, she said this.

CLINTON: It does. And -- and the reason it does is because I think we -- we do have to have a -- an alliance where there's a commitment to the common defense. NATO has been the most successful alliance for defensive purposes in the, you know, history of the world, I guess. But it has to be maintained. Now, each country has to be able to make its appropriate contributions.

BLACK: It was interpreted by the British government in this way: "Hillary Clinton was talking about defense cuts across Europe and specifically in the context of NATO. She is absolutely right when she says that each country has to be able to make its appropriate contribution to common defense in NATO and Britain will always do that."

Officially, NATO says the appropriate contribution for member countries is spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. There are 25 NATO members in Europe. The latest figures show, in 2009, only four of them hit that 2 percent target -- Albania, France, Greece and Britain.

Next week, Britain will announce how much money will be taken from its budget to help correct the country's deficit. The cuts are expected to be deep and could take Britain's military spending below 2 percent of GDP. Analysts say others would follow.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL CLARKE, ROYAL UNITED SERVICE INSTITUTE: If the British start to make deep cuts, then other Europeans will say well, even the British are cutting, so what's the problem, we're all cutting?

You know, and there is a way in which the Americans see the United Kingdom as a bit of a yardstick for European defense appetites.

BLACK: U.S. secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, has long been critical of what he says is Europe's underinvestment in defense. And he said money isn't being spent on the right resources -- to project power and fight wars a long way from home.

Gates believes NATO is experiencing a budgetary crisis. He isn't alone.

CLARKE: As a military alliance, as an alliance in being that is ready to go to war at short notice, I think we've already seen its best days. And it will be surprising to me if NATO were still a viable military structure in 20 years time.

BLACK: Phil Black, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, here's a quick reminder of NATO's main operations in the world as they stand at the moment.

In Iraq, the alliance is helping the country develop its security forces. It's not a combat role there. NATO's training mission in Iraq is there to help equip, train and mentor Iraq's army and police force.

Well, NATO has been leading a peace support operation in Kosovo since June, 1999. Today, just under 10,000 troops provided by 31 countries are there to help maintain stability in the area.

And in Afghanistan, NATO, of course, took command of the International Security Assistance Forces, the ISAF, in 2003. Today, the ISAF has about 120,000 troops from 47 countries, including all 28 independent member nations.

Well, a new report suggests those NATO troops in Afghanistan are facing an uphill battle. According to the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, the insurgency is gaining strength and new recruits in areas where the Taliban have not previously been prominent. Well, the report criticized counter-insurgency efforts in Kandahar and Marjah and said operations have, quote, "failed to degrade these insurgents' ability to fight, reduce the number of civilian combat fatalities or deliver what's known as BOC government."

But sitting in London today, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. General David Petraeus, was upbeat about the mission.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCES: The kind of developments we've seen, the ongoing efforts to establish an effective government and the hard-fought but steady security gains all provide grounds to believe that our efforts in Afghanistan can achieve progress and, over time, together with the Afghan people, can enable accomplish of our important objectives there.


ANDERSON: All right, we'll keep an eye on that connect line above there. We're looking at NATO's future.

Earlier, I spoke to NATO's senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill.

He's also the former British ambassador to Afghanistan.

And I began by asking him if he shares Secretary Clinton's concerns about cuts in defense spending.

And this is what he said.


MARK SEDWILL, NATO SENIOR CIVILIAN REPRESENTATIVE IN AFGHANISTAN: Well, what Secretary Clinton was pointing to, I think, was the general risk that cuts in defense spending could leave NATO exposed against the very many threats that countries face here in the 21st century. And, you know, that's -- that's a -- a very important point. All countries need to remember that being part of an alliance brings obligations as well as benefits.

But if you look at the UK's Strategic Defense Review, it's designed to modernize the British forces. It's designed to ensure they're ready to face the challenges in the 21st century and, of course, the top priority for the British forces is the war in Afghanistan. And everybody from Prime Minister Cameron through to the defense secretary and the foreign secretary have made clear that that will remain the case.

ANDERSON: Let me pin you down a little bit more on this. Will cuts in U.K. defense spending leave NATO exposed?

SEDWILL: Well, we don't yet know the exact outcome of the defense review. Of course, we know there are going to be cuts. That's been made clear. But we don't yet know exactly what decisions will be taken by the British government. And they're seeking to modernize the forces to face challenges of the 21st century. Some of their current expenditure is really designed to deal with threats that are no longer at the -- at the top of the priority list, including, for example, NATO's traditional role in Central Europe.

But it's not for me or for anyone else to prejudge the outcome of that review.

ANDERSON: How do you respond to the gloomy assessment of the security situation in Afghanistan from the NGO Safety Office in Kabul recently?

SEDWILL: Well, I think that assessments such as theirs is probably a little out of date. The insurgents were spreading from the south and east, their strongholds, into the north and west of the country and they were tightening their grip in the south. But in 2010, I think we have seen them start to be pushed back. And we have started to regain the initiative and that's what we were seeking to do this year.

It takes a long time. It's hard. It's a hard fight. It's hard to stand up the Afghan government in those areas, because people are at risk and, indeed, Afghan government capability is still very immature. But it is beginning to have an effect on the ground in Marjah. We're in the very early days of the Kandahar operation, so it's far too early to make a judgment about that.

But our sense is that we are regaining the initiative against the insurgency and, indeed, in places like Marjah, the population are beginning to behave in ways that suggest they believe that the security is enduring. So, registering to vote, traveling into the local capital to get their -- to get their goods, letting their children go to school and so on are all signs that they're gaining in confidence -- very early days, a long way to go. But we believe we're on course.

ANDERSON: With respect, nearly 10 years in, 150,000 troops on the ground, 220,000 Afghan government security forces and still you, yourself, have said that parts of Afghanistan will not be or won't be anything like ready until -- I think you said at least 2012, if not later. That's well after NATO and U -- U.S. troops says that they will be drawing down. This is a war that's being lost.

SEDWILL: Not at all. I think what we've seen is a strong commitment from the U.S. government and the -- and the rest of the alliance to a measured process of transition that will begin in 2011 and that we aim to conclude by the end of 2014 so that the Afghan forces are in the lead country wide for security.

We will be putting that plan to the NATO summit in Lisbon next month. And I'm confident that all of the countries will endorse it, and, thus, will endorse a commitment to have forces on the ground with the Afghan forces up until 2014, and, indeed, beyond 2014, helping, training, support and equipment.


ANDERSON: Mark Sedwill speaking to me earlier from London.

Much to ponder, then, as NATO members get ready for that Lisbon summit, where a new strategic concept is expected to be approved.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Well, now her parents refused to let racial prejudice limit her potential. She grew up to be the first black woman to become secretary of State in the States. Coming up, Condoleezza Rice talks with us about her childhood, her new memoirs and much more.

And later, back to reality, although their reality has changed forever. An update on those rescued miners in Chile.

Stay with us.



RICE: I felt that I could not adequately tell the story of my parents and my upbringing if I tried somehow to attach it to what is going to be a story of a pretty complicated and sometimes chaotic last eight years. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Former U.S. secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, there speaking to me today about her new memoir, "Extraordinary, Ordinary People." She had intended to write about her years during the administration of President George W. Bush, she told me, but realized she first wants to explain how her background has shaped who she is today.

Well, during our interview, we did talk about the Bush years and the decision to invade Iraq.

Listen to what she told me.


RICE: I -- look, I would -- I would take Saddam Hussein out of power again. But, of course, in the rebuilding of Iraq, there are things that I would do differently. I think we put too much emphasis on Baghdad and not enough emphasis on the provinces. Perhaps we didn't fully understand how - - the degree to which the society would start to come apart as a result of having been held in tyranny for all of those years.

I'm also a believer that history's arc is long, not short. And sometimes things that looked terrific at the time looking pretty bad in retrospect and vice versa. So ultimately, this is a story that will be written by history.


ANDERSON: Pretty bad in retrospect, hey?

Very interesting remarks there on how history may end up judging the Iraq War, and, indeed, the Bush administration.

Let's get some perspective on Rice's admission that mistakes were made after Saddam was overthrown.

A regular guest on this show, Fawaz Gerges, joining me this Friday evening.

I want to thank you for that.

And you make -- made the effort to do it. You're a Big Thinker, of course, on...


ANDERSON: -- on this story.

Your reaction, first, to what Condoleezza Rice told me earlier today.

GERGES: Whitewash. Condoleezza Rice, no apology. She does not reflect on the legality and morality of the direction -- catastrophic, costly in blood and treasure for both the United States and Iraq, a decision based on false premises, manufactured premises. Iraq did not agrees against the United States. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. Iraq did not have anything to do with 9/11. Iraq was subject, under one of the most punishing sanctions regimes in history. Iraq was the terrible. Yet, Condoleezza Rice did not say a word about how the decision was made and also the catastrophic nature of the decision (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: To give her her due, we had very little time to speak and I was supposed to be sticking to the script, which was the book about her upbringing, so I pushed her on these questions and I didn't -- you know, there was no time to get her to respond to questions as you've put -- and good questions they are, at that.

The very admission, though, is an interesting one, isn't it, because we -- I'm pretty sure this is the first admission we've had from that administration that mistakes were made.

GERGES: Well, she was saying the morning after. If we had a blueprint, if we had a plan. The question is the decision itself was flawed, because it was based on false information. And, Becky, Condoleezza Rice was the national security adviser for the president of the United States. The main function -- the main function of the national security adviser was to provide the president with a balance sheet about security options, about all options, about information. She failed the decision- making process. She allowed the war camp to dominate the debate.

In fact, Colin Powell, who was the secretary of State, had to request an interview 10 days with the president.

And guess what the president told him?

He told him, Colin, are you with us?

Are you with me?

I mean so in this particular sense, she did not do her job. That is to provide W. Bush, how was very, as you well know, amateurish when it came to foreign -- to international affairs with the information.

ANDERSON: We've been wondering all day how those other members of the former administration, the Bush administration -- I'm thinking about Donald Rumsfeld and the John Boltons of this world, the Wolfowitzes of this world, and, indeed, President Bush himself -- how they will react to out of their team, as it were, coming out and actually admitting to mistakes being made. Nobody has ever delineated what those mistakes were.

but I guess I should be asking you tonight, how will the Iraqis react to what we've heard?

GERGES: Absolutely. I mean Iraqis would ask, you know, I mean who is responsible for the blood that has been spilled in Iraq?

Becky, we're talking about hundreds of thousands of casualties. We're talking about a society in turmoil. We're talking about a society that has been in turmoil since 2003. And, in fact, Iraq is still a work in progress. The situation is highly volatile in Iraq.

ANDERSON: Lets join some dots on this story. This, the first volume of her memoirs -- we're waiting for the second volume, which will be about her political life. And, if anything -- if today's remarks are anything to go by, we should expect them to be pretty explosive.

Tony Blair's memoir came out recently. And his is all about his political life.


ANDERSON: His memoir has made absolutely no apology for Iraq at all.

GERGES: The same thing. I mean this is really a great question, Becky -- what did, I mean, Tony Blair said?

He said just if we had taken consideration -- into consideration the morning after. That's exactly what she said. The decision was fine. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein is fine. We're all happy that Saddam Hussein is not in Iraq anymore.

How about the consequences?

They are playing social engineers, both Tony Blair, and, of course, Condoleezza Rice and -- and W. Bush.

ANDERSON: But an interesting part, I thought, in that sound bite, when she said we didn't fully understand the degree to which the society would start to come apart -- and I'm quoting here -- as a result of being held in tyranny for all those years. So there are many things we can talk about.

The administration, she's telling us, had no idea about the potential for sectarian violence. They didn't understand the country.

GERGES: They did not understand Iraq. A simplistic, misleading, foolish appreciation of the Iraqi society. They expected Jeffersonian democracy to flourish in Iraq. They had no imp -- they did not take into account how divided Iraq was. They did not take into account the resistance to foreign occupation.

Remember that here you're talking about a Western power invading a country in the heart of ism. You're talking about the colonial narrative. You're talking about hundreds of years of basic misperceptions on both sides. And also, they did not take into account -- she's correct -- the morning after. It is truly a disastrous decision.

ANDERSON: Let's be fair to the world and where -- well, let's not be fair. Let's just remember where Iraq stands today. Iraqis themselves, of course, have to take responsibility for a country now that may or may not be left by people who they may or may not have wished ever went.

Where do we stand at present?

No government (INAUDIBLE).

GERGES: Iraq really is a work in progress. There are a 50 percent chance that Iraq would really take off and 50 percent chance Iraq would plunge into chaos. The situation is Iraqis must step forward. Iraqis must own their future. Iraqis now really are in charge. Let's hope that the Iraqis basically do not repeat the same mistake that they have done in the last 30 or 40 years.

ANDERSON: It's always a pleasure.

Fawaz Gerges, thank you very much, indeed, for coming on as a regular guest on our show.

Well, there's a lot more to my interview with Condoleezza Rice. Let me tell you, you can watch the whole thing on Monday, when she'll be our Connector of the Day. That's 9:00 p.m. London time, 10:00 p.m. In Central Europe.

Don't go away tonight. No, we've got a lot more coming up for you after the break, including a look at the global war on drugs. Find out why a proposal to legal marijuana in California could have a knock on effect across the border in Mexico.

But would it stop the violence or create more headaches on its own doorstep?

And it's the miners on the mend at a hospital in Chile -- we're going to take a look at their recovery progress -- who's out and who's soon to follow.

All that in just a moment here on CNN.


ANDERSON: Well, a very warm welcome back.


I'm Becky Anderson in London at 22 minutes past the hour.

Now, all this week we've been working through the marijuana debate, from pot and politics to the cannabish -- cannabis -- cannabis cash crops.

It -- is it a healing herb or a dangerous drug?

We're breaking it down for you so you can decide.

First up, we're headed to the U.S., where four states have initiatives on the mid-term ballot that will change their marijuana laws in big ways. One of those, Proposition 19 in California, is looking at pretty much legalizing retail sales of the drug for recreational use.

Now, in Oakland, California, it seems there's money to be made from a tax on selling medical marijuana. The city brought in around $800,000 in revenue from the sales last year.

It's a bit of a different scene in the Netherlands. Surprisingly, they are looking to weed out so-called cannabis cafes that have been operating there for more than 30 years. The incoming government plans to roll back what they call their tolerance policy and may even ban all sales of cannabis to foreigners.

And then we looked at drug prohibition in the United States and how some high profile campaigners, including former police and judges, are supporting the push to legalize marijuana.

Well, tonight, we are looking at just how the success of this Prop 19 in California could make a difference in the war on drugs in neighboring Mexico. You may recall yesterday, we featured a study about the impact this may have on drug trafficking revenue.

Well, our Ted Rowlands picks up from here with a closer look at the effects that legalization in the U.S. could have on the cartels in Mexico.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Of the estimated 3,300 metric tons of pot consumed in the United States each year, as much as two thirds of it comes from Mexico, according to a study released by the Rand Corporation. But the study also concludes that legalizing pot in California would barely impact the drug cartels.

BEAU KILMER, RAND DRUG POLICY RESEARCH CENTER: It's important to know that these groups have portfolios. They're not only, you know, they're not only trafficking marijuana, they're trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine. They're purchasing other types of services.

And so they -- you know, they generate revenue from a lot of sources and exporting marijuana to California is only one of them.

ROWLANDS: The study concludes that drug cartels would only lose between 2 and 4 percent of their export revenue if pot were legal in California, because Californians grow so much of their own. Legalizing pot, say opponents, won't hurt the cartels.

SHERIFF LEE BACA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: The whole argument about taking away crime, profits and reducing crime is all nonsense. It's not going to change the motives of the cartels. It's going to increase the motives of the cartels, because they're going to want to sell their drugs here, as well.

BOB WEINER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DRUG POLICY SPOKESMAN: They will find a way and they will simply under price the even lower price of consumption that we have now and you will have even more drugs available, because you'll have competition from the black market at a lower price.

ROWLANDS: Those in favor of legalization disagree, arguing that violence in the U.S. and Mexico would drop.

NEILL FRANKLIN, LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST PROHIBITION: Every day that we wait, 50 more people die in Mexico. Every day that we wait in the cities in -- in the United States, we have young men and women who are dying at the hands of violent drug dealers.

ROWLANDS (on camera): The Rand study did conclude that cartels could be hurt if a significant amount of marijuana from California is illegally exported to other states around the country. However, most people believe that other states will be on guard for that and so will the federal government.

And that's assuming that the federal government will allow California to legalize marijuana at all.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.


ANDERSON: All right, well, the debate rages on. All this comes against the backdrop of border dangers tied into that drugs war, of course. Local media in Texas report that authorities have issued a new travel warning, telling the state's residents to stay out of Mexico. It follows last month's disappearance of an American tourist believed to have been shot while jet skiing on a lake that straddles the Texas-Mexico border. Investigators suspect that gunmen were tied to drug gangs in the region.

All right. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.

More miners are leaving the hospital today after their incredible rescue from deep inside the earth. We're going to get a live update from Chile for you and hear from one of the men about all their harrowing ordeals.


ANDERSON: Well, welcome back.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD this Friday out of London.

I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, back to reality and a warm welcome -- some of the miners in Chile have left the hospital and more are soon to follow them.

An African economy on the rise and the land down under -- what are the connections?

We're going to take a look at that and see what you came up with.

And the deal sealed -- the Liverpool Football Club sale goes through.

But could a wrench still be thrown into the works?

Those stories are ahead here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

First, though, as ever at this time, I'm going to give you a very quick check of the headlines this hour here on CNN.

British officials are trying to reassure the US after Washington's top diplomat says that defense cuts by the UK and others could harm NATO's military mission. Hillary Clinton made the comments in an interview on Thursday. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said Britain will remain a major contributor.

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, but acknowledges mistakes were made in the aftermath. Rice spoke with me today, saying it's still too early for history to judge whether the Iraq war was a success or a failure.

Protests swell in France as more high school students join crowds of striking workers. The fourth straight day of walkouts shut down production at all but two of the country's oil refineries as well.

Hungarians who were evacuated because of the toxic sludge spill have been allowed back home. There are still limits, as the village of Kolontar remains closed to the media. Around one million cubic meters spilled from the aluminum plant reservoir, killing at least nine people.

Doctors treating the 33 miners rescued this week in Chile say at least ten more will be released from the hospital today. Three of the men were sent home Thursday night, greeted by their families and friends with joyous celebrations, as you can only imagine. Hospital officials say all of the miners should be healthy enough to go home by Sunday.

Let's go now to Patrick Oppmann in Copiapo for an update for you. The details, if you will, sir.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're right outside the home of, Becky, of Victor Antonio Segovia. He was the 15th miner rescued. He's due here any minute. His family has been rushing around, cleaning the house, getting ready for an asado, a typical Chilean barbecue. And we've got neighbors up and down the street, they've put signs up that say, "Welcome, neighbor," "Bienvenido vecino."

People are very, very excited to see him, and he's got a small contingent of international media parked on his doorstep, looking forward to seeing him. The Segovia family was kind enough to let us into their house a little while ago, and they showed us around and showed the preparations they're making.

They also showed us an amazing flag that Victor made from the mine's depths. It's got all the signatures of the miners on it, and he sent it to the surface for his mother's 50th wedding anniversary. So, a good son even 700 meters down below the ground.

One of the surprises has really been how well these miners are doing. Doctors expected that they would have a full triage, they would have to treat the men for any number of serious illnesses and ailments. That hasn't happened. Most of them are doing extremely well, and they expect that all the miners, Becky, will be released from hospital by the end of the weekend. Becky?

ANDERSON: And Patrick, you're saying that they -- they're doing well. I mean, they're doing remarkably well, aren't they? Considering that there was talk that some might be in the hospital for days if not weeks.

OPPMANN: And they talked about keeping them in isolation because they thought that perhaps they wouldn't be exposed to germs. You know, they sat next to somebody on the bus, you've got the common cold, that could really, really affect them much more seriously than a person who hasn't been trapped in a mine for weeks.

But I guess we shouldn't have been surprised, Becky. These are stout, hardworking guys. They were working hard in the mine, they're survivors. Very, very tough. And as I saw at the hospital, because we got glimpses of them every now and then.

And as I saw, they really weren't following doctors' orders very well. They wanted to get the heck out of there. They wanted to get back to their families, back to the communities. And that's what they're doing. We should be, hopefully, seeing Victor Antonio Segovia arriving home, a very heartwarming sight, probably any minute now.

ANDERSON: I wish we were still with you. We're going to have to move on and take a very short break. But we thank you so much for that. Patrick Oppmann there in Copiapo.

OPPMANN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We all love a miner, don't we, these days? Thanks, Patrick. We're going to get a better idea of how the miners were able to survive such a horrifying ordeal from some of the men themselves. The 28th miner to be rescued, Richard Villarroel, is one of those speaking out. Shortly after he surfaced on Wednesday, he talked about the terrifying initial moments of the collapse, and the equally terrifying days that followed.


RICAHRD VILLARROEL, MINER (though translator): We were working at that time, and all of a sudden, the mountain came down three meters away from us. It completely covered a piece of equipment. We were able to run backwards. We were able to run away. It was really scary when the mountain came down right next to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (though translator): What was the worst moment?

VILLARROEL (through translator): I think the worst thing is to pass three, four, five days without food. To know that there might not be any future.


ANDERSON: Terrifying. The miner also said he was afraid he might not ever get to meet his kid on the way. He and his girlfriend are expecting a baby in November.

Well, we gave you a challenge, and you came up with the connections for us. This week, we are linking the country that contains the world's largest living organism, and one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. What you came up with, next, on CONNECT THE WORLD.


ANDERSON: We never said it would be easy but, once again, you have come up with the goods. Here is the part of the show where we take two countries which at first may seem worlds apart, and then we challenge you to make the connections for us. Well, you have come up with some great links for this week's Global Connections.

We are taking you on a trip around the Cape of Good Hope for a stop, Angola, on the west coast of Africa. One of the continent's fastest- growing economies.

Then, spanning an ocean, we're traveling to a country that recently elected its first female prime minister. It is, of course, Australia. Here's a taste of the great connections that you came up with.


ANDERSON (voice-over): This was a particularly tricky week, but you certainly didn't disappoint.

ROHINI TENDULKAR, AUSTRALIAN: I'm Rehini, from Sydney, Australia. The connection I would like to talk about involves monoliths. Although different in terms of color, a bit of Australia and Angola have spectacular monoliths that contrast magnificently with the surrounding landscape.

In Australia, we have Uluru. An interesting fact, most of the rock is actually below ground, so you only get to see the tip.

ANDERSON (voice-over): From iconic landmarks to dangerous critters, the links continue.

NICS, AUSTRALIAN: Hi, my name is Nics, and I'm from Sydney. And the big connection between Australia and Angola is dangerous snakes. Australia has the death adder, while Angola has the puff adder. So, if you visit either country, watch where you step.

ANDERSON (voice-over): We all know that the beaches of Australia are hot travel spots, but it appears Angola also has something to offer.

STANLEY, ANGOLAN: In Angola, you have what we we call the Isla da Luanda, the Luanda Island. It's a very beautiful place with very beautiful beaches there.

ANDERSON (voice-over): From beautiful beaches to beautiful women.

ANGELITO SANTANA, AUSTRALIAN: Hello, I'm Angelito Santana from Canberra, Australia. And the link between Angola and Australia is that both Sabrina Houssami, Miss Australia, and Stiviandra Oliveira, Miss Angola, were both at the top seat of Miss World 2006.

ANDERSON: And for Brian, the connection left a lifelong impression.

BRIAN LONG, BRITISH CANADIAN: My name is Brian Long. I live in the London area, that's London, England. I grew up in Angola in the late 40s and early 50s on a mission station there. I went to school in Zambia. My first teacher, named Lucy Traise, was a retired Australian. She'd been a teacher for many years, she had bad arthritis, it took her a long time to get down to the school room, but she taught me in standard one.

And I came back to Angola with a very thick Australian accent, which had not been heard much around the region in Angola or amongst the Portuguese people. And I was therefore greeted with a great deal of mirth and not a little teasing.


ANDERSON: Some great personal stories there, which we love to hear about. One connection that came up a lot was sport. It turns out that Angola is pretty hot on the basketball court. In fact, they are number one in Africa. Australia has won a fair few sporting trophies, as I'm sure you know, in its time, including the rugby World Cup.

So we've connected two big sporting heroes for you. John Eales is the most successful rugby captain in Australia's history, and Roberto Fortes plays for Angola's national basketball team, and could be snapped up by the NBA next season. I asked -- or began by asking Roberto why basketball is so big in Angola.


ROBERTO FORTES, ANGOLAN BASKETBALL PLAYER: One of the reasons is definitely the country growing at the pace that it is, we want to continue to do the same with our sports. And the kids are definitely motivated for that, so --


FORTES: Compete to be with the best.

ANDERSON: Sure. And rugby, of course, has always been a big game in Australia. But why, John?

JOHN EALES, AUSTRALIAN RUGBY PLAYER: I think it has been. It's not as big as some of the other football kinds on many of the measures, but for people who support rugby, and it's got a very strong infrastructure in the school to start with.

But then, the people who support rugby are fanatical about it. And often you'll find when a sport isn't a major sport in a country, but when it has the supporters that it has, very, very zealous about what they do, and they make sure they use every opportunity that they can to promote the game.

And rugby was very much in that category. It's certainly grown a lot, now. But it -- I think it was because of the groundswell of passion that it had with the longtime faithful that gets it going.

ANDERSON: And the success, of course, in the game was had. Roberto, how fanatical are basketball fans in Angola?

FORTES: Oh, wow. If I could tell you -- if the NBA had the Angolan fans, I think it would be a different story.

ANDERSON: I'm wondering whether the cultures of both Angola and Australia make for more winning societies, more winning athletes. Certainly I would suggest that were true in Australia. Would you agree?

EALES: I think it is important. I think it's a few things. I think it's the climate, and when you talk about the climate, the physical climate. People want to be outdoors, they want to get involved, and people enjoy being successful when they get involved.

Although, that is changing a bit. Australia recently was nominated one of the fattest nations in the world. It's shameful, isn't it? When we've got a climate like this, that we should have such a title.

ANDERSON: Do you get a lot of support from the Angolan footballists, Roberto? You guys, of course, won the African Cup. You were ranked first in that. Did you get a lot of support from the footballing community?

FORTES: We got a lot of support from the entire country. But yes, most definitely. We got a lot of support from the football community. The fans are great, the -- it's just -- the whole country is backing us up.

EALES: Roberto, I remember back in 1992, I'm not sure how old you were then, but I was just signed to play international rugby. I played for a couple of years. And I remember when the Olympics were on in Barcelona. And we were watching it, and everyone knew about the Dream Team, and the Americans were -- the USA were about to play Angola. And there was that great quote form Charles Barkley, when he said, "Look. I don't know anything about Angola. But I know they're in trouble."

And that's -- from everyone in Australia's point of view, that put Angola on the map as far as sport was concerned. It didn't matter what happened in that game. But I think everyone sort of looked out to see how Angola would go in previous -- in subsequent matches after this.


ANDERSON: I love this part of the show. Johnny Eales, there, and Roberto Fortes. So there you have it. The world of sport connecting and Australia. And for a sneak preview of the countries that we've chosen for you next week, head to You'll also see how you can take part in the discussion. We're looking for historical ties, cultural ties and, of course, your own stories. Those are the ones that we like best. The address, again, I'm Becky Anderson in London for you tonight. We'll be right back.


ANDERSON: A handshake and the deal is done. The new American owner of England's fabled Liverpool Football Club, after a bitter legal battle that spanned two continents, New England Sports Ventures sealed a $480 million deal to take over the English Premier League Club.

I've got a closer look, now, at just how this trans-Atlantic courtroom drama played out and, indeed, who's been involved. It's complicated. First, the team's current owners, American businessmen Tom Hicks and George Gillett. They owe $450 million on the club, and their debt was due today. And the man who was trying to buy the team, John Henry, head of NESV, the owner of baseball's Boston Red Sox.

On Wednesday, Liverpool's board voted to sell the team to Henry for $476 million, about half a billion dollars. Hicks and Gillette tried to block the sale, but that was rejected by a London court. Then they took their case to a state court in Texas. The judge there issued a temporary restraining order, stopping the sale on the grounds it undervalued the club. The pair later withdrew that order.

We'll bring in our "World Sport" Pedro Pinto for more on this. He's also -- what he calls, at least, a childhood Liverpool supporter. I've got to say, I thought this was all over. This story has been going on and on and on. And then, suddenly, tonight, we find out there's a spanner in the works. What's going on?



ANDERSON: You're fed up with it.

PINTO: No. The thing is, this started as a sports story, it turns into a business one, and now it's a legal story. And the latest is that the former owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks, plan on suing the new ownership for $1.6 billion for damages throughout this convoluted and complicated ordeal and sale, because they felt they lost a lot of money. The club was worth a lot more than what they got for it.

ANDERSON: Dare I tell you? You know who wins in all of this? The lawyers. Because --

PINTO: I know.

ANDERSON: It's a legal story, now, which you hate to do that.

PINTO: Yes, and most of --

ANDERSON: You're a sports correspondent.

PINTO: You know, this deal was worth $480 million, 380, more or less 400, are going into the debt that they owe the Royal Bank of Scotland. And the rest, I guess, are what? Lawyers' fees?

What Liverpool fans are asking themselves right now, Becky, is what does this mean for Liverpool Football Club, and are they going to invest in the squad. Because -- you know this, you follow the Premier League. It's all about the cash these days, isn't it?

You talk about Manchester City, Sheikh Mansour dishing it out. Manchester United, dishing it out. And Liverpool haven't won the league title in 20 years, and they need to spend some money in order to improve the squad. Is the new owner, John Henry, going to do that? This is how he answered that question this afternoon, shortly after releasing the statement which confirmed that deal.


JOHN HENRY, NEW LIVERPOOL OWNER: It's too early to say what we're going to do, but obviously, we're here to win. We have a tradition of winning, we are the, what? The second-highest spending club in Major League Baseball. And we're here to win, so we will do whatever is necessary.


PINTO: Now, the former owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks, can be blamed for the financial troubles of the club. But really, what's going on on the pitch needs to be examined a little further. And I'll tell you why.

They still spent a fair share of money, Becky, on the club, since they took over in February of 2007. To be exact, over $175 million on 26 players. That's still a lot of cash.


PINTO: It's not as if they spent $10 million or $20 million over three years. The problem is that they didn't spend it on the right kind of talent.

ANDERSON: And whose fault is that?

PINTO: Rafael Benitez, I think.


PINTO: He was there six years, and that included, obviously, this tenure where Hicks and Gillett was there. And he brought in Fernando Torres, he was great. But they spent $35 million on Robbie Keane, $35 million on Alberto Aquilani. Each made less than 20 appearances for the club. And Ryan Babel cost $18 million, and he's only scored about 11 goals in three years since he's been there.

So, I think it's fair to say that Hicks and Gillett did not understand Liverpool, they didn't know how to take the club forward, they didn't want to build a new stadium and invest in that. But from a sporting perspective, I don't think it's their fault that the club now is in the relegation zone.

ANDERSON: All right, listen. Quick fire answers on these ones.


ANDERSON: Some comments from which is our new fan -- Facebook site. I put on fan. Brand new, brand new. Howard Owhor asks, "What's their ambition for the club, and can he regenerate the club, like Roman did with Chelsea?" Great question.

PINTO: I don't think he can spend the kind of money that Roman Abramovich did initially, and I don't think he's going to. He said as much. He's going to take a step back and see what the club needs before starting to throw it out and throw it away, like the other owners did, really. So, no, I don't think he's going to do that, and I think he's going to take his time, and maybe in the summer get one or two established stars.

ANDERSON: Good stuff, that's Howard's question. Omar writes to us. He says he didn't trust the previous owners, and he doesn't trust these. He says, "Where's the love and the passion? Or do the owners just care about money?" He says there seems to be an awful lot of confusion here.

PINTO: Over 50 percent of the clubs in the Premier League are foreign-owned. I think a lot of these businessmen are doing it because they like being associated with the profile that comes with owning a Premier League club. Do they love it? No, of course they don't. It is a business. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

ANDERSON: Last question is from Aizek, from Facebook. He asks, "Do you think that they can make it back to the top four?" And let's just remind our viewers, of course, they play their arch rivals Everton tomorrow. And you are -- I mean, he has. He's supported them for all his life. I don't know if he's going to Goodison tomorrow to the -- are you going to the match tomorrow?

PINTO: No, no, I'm not.


PINTO: I grew up supporting them. They were fantastic in the 80s. My hometown team is Benfica in Portugal, but they were my second club, and I've always had a soft spot for them. And they're in the relegation zone right now, Becky.

Can they make the top four? No. No way. Not this year. I see Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City in the top four. It's too late for Liverpool to get their season back on track and catch those big guns.

ANDERSON: Everton are going to want to be all over them like a rash tomorrow. They're not doing particularly well this season, but it's got to be said --

PINTO: No, they're just a position above.

ANDERSON: They're doing better than -- better than the Reds.


ANDERSON: What a -- what season for Liverpool as a city as well. It's just -- it's not on, is it?


ANDERSON: Liverpool should have a great football team, whichever one it is.

PINTO: And they're used to at least having one team do well in the Champion's League and no representative this season. And I don't think it's going to happen next year, either.

ANDERSON: A shame. All right.

PINTO: Well --

ANDERSON: Thank you for staying on a Friday night, though.


PINTO: I've got a show coming up later --

ANDERSON: Oh, you've got a show coming up --

PINTO: What are you talking about?

ANDERSON: Of course. "World Sport" with Pedro is just about 38 minutes from now, bless him. Stick with us here on CNN for that. "BackStory," of course, is before that. Now, joining the dots for you on the top stories of the day. The top sports stories, of course.

Up next, a connection through the very heart of some of the world's highest mountains. The world's longest tunnel is now done. We're going to give you a look in our Parting Shots at that and compare it to, well, some other pretty impressive feats. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Now, this is the moment when the world's longest rail tunnel became a reality. As a giant drill head breaks through the last two meters of rock, our Parting Shots tonight is a true global connector. That in the literal sense. We're looking at amazing feats of engineering for you, that either link our cities or just leave us gobsmacked.

This 34-mile Gotthard tunnel took an incredible 14 years to establish. Not to be outdone, the US is also inaugurating a breathtaking new landmark construction project connecting Nevada and Arizona. It's the western hemisphere's longest single span bridge, as it's known, and a massive 270 meters high with a sheer drop into the Colorado river. Look at that.

Now, compare that to what we thought we'd show you, which is something even bigger. It's the amazing Millau bridge, the world's tallest, in France. Is that a traffic jam on there? I think it is. Oh, my goodness. Here you can see some 10,000 runners -- oh, it's runners, OK, good -- making good use of it as the famous Millau Viaduct race.

Well, that's construction at its best. We certainly know it's amazing to watch. But is it all we should be seeing? We're going to take a bit of a look, now, at what sort of impact a project like the Gotthard tunnel has on the travel, the sightseer. What we are missing out on because of a quick path from point A to B.

With me now is Tom Hall, spokesman and writer for "The Lonely Planet." And that -- it's a really good point, isn't it? Because these are incredible feats of engineering, but are they good for us?

TOM HALL, WRITER, LONELY PLANET: Well, they're incredible feats of engineering. But consider this. A tunnel under the Swiss Alps. The Alps are the best bit of Switzerland. If you're traveling from A to B, you want to see the Alps. The source of some of my best memories interrailing around Europe. Wonderful journeys, your jaw's on the floor. And if you're in a tunnel, you won't see any of it.

ANDERSON: It happens all over the place, doesn't it? A place like Norway, for example, you know?

HALL: Norway's a great example. They have tunnels that are corkscrew shape that trains go through. You're whizzing along, and you think, "This is a great view." Suddenly, disappear into a tunnel. Terribly frustrating for travelers.

ANDERSON: There's something about the aesthetics of the view, isn't there? Which you can't see out on things. It's ridiculous.

HALL: It's one of the reasons why Lonely Planet clubs recommend if, say you're in Switzerland. Instead of just going as quickly as you can, driving, taking trains, get off the beaten track. Maybe take some of the post buses that goes through quiet towns and villages that avoid some of those things.

ANDERSON: But those are the tunnels. I guess when you look at these bridges, for example, there you are, getting a sense. I've been over that Millau bridge, you get such a sense of where you are. It is exhilarating.

HALL: It is. The Millau bridge is probably one of the things that you should go over. And then, also stay the night in the area and take a canoe underneath it. That's a great way to see the bridge. Take a boat under it.

ANDERSON: Have you done the Colorado River? Because I can imagine looking up and seeing what they've just done by the dam there. But again, that's an area you want to get through, isn't it?

HALL: Slowly floating through the Grand Canyon, I think, is absolutely unmissable. Most people go out and just peer at the view. But no. Take a few days, take a week, take longer.

ANDERSON: How do you think -- or what do you think is the best way of really making connections as a traveler?

HALL: I think it's to be getting to know local people to making personal connections. Getting away from the main tourist sites. Of course you want to see the great things in the world. But the really memorable times you're going to have is when you get close to local people. That's how you're going to make connections.

ANDERSON: Let's remind ourselves, the reason that we get these tunnels and, for example, the Eurotunnel, which we didn't have any pictures of, but I remember when Margaret Thatcher with a handbag being there right in the beginning when they broke through there. They do get us places quickly at the end of the day, and we are a bit ADD when it comes to wanting to get places as quickly as possible these days.

Listen. You often come on and talk to us about our Global Connections segment, the game, the challenge that we give the viewers. And we were talking about it just before we started this segment tonight. We're connecting Australia and Angola this week, and you said, "Oh, that's easy." Because you came on to do Canada and the Ivory Coast.

HALL: Apart from that they both begin and end with the same letter, that's cheating. I'm sure you've had that one already. They're both very, very hot places. I was in the north in Namibia, right close to the Angolan border last year. Goodness me, I don't think I've been anywhere hotter, apart from the dead center of Australia, around Uluru, Ayers Rock, fantastic part of the world.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. All right, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed. Tom Hall for you. A regular on this show. It's an absolute pleasure.

It is just before the top of the hour. We're going to take a short break for you and get you your headlines. I'm Becky Anderson, though. That is your world connected. From the team here on CONNECT THE WORLD, it's a very good night. "BackStory" is next right after I get you this quick check of the headlines here on CNN.

The hospital treating Chile's rescued miners expects to release at least 10 more of the men today, and doctors say all 33 miners should be home by Sunday. Overall, the miners' health has been better than expected since they emerged from the collapsed San Jose mine.

Hungarians who were evacuated because of the toxic sludge spill have been allowed back home. A spokeswoman says the village of Kolontar remains closed to the media. Around one million cubic meters spilled from the aluminum plant reservoir.