Return to Transcripts main page


Julian Assange Appears in Court; Nobel Ceremony Boycott; Montana's Melting Glaciers

Aired December 7, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Cries of "We Love You!" as Julian Assange is whisked away in an armored vehicle. The founder of WikiLeaks has been denied bail in London after being arrested on a Swedish warrant for alleged sex offenses.

And for a very different accusation, this, the U.S. might want him, too.

Tonight, Assange's lawyer discusses his game plan.

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

Julian Assange is now behind bars, but it comes with a warning -- if something happens to him, the world will witness a wiki drop as devastating as a thermonuclear device.

I'm Max Foster in London.

Also tonight, why Russia, Pakistan, Iraq and many other countries are not going to attend a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring this man from China.

The teeth of the killer -- Egypt's tourism minister admits to CNN that his country's waters aren't safe just yet.

And she used to be the world number one and now she's climbing her way back up. Tennis star Ana Ivanovic is the Connector of the Day and she's answering your questions, as well. Keep them coming on

That is CNN in the next 60 minutes for you.

Now, under arrest and facing a very uncertain future, Julian Assange is now in custody in London after turning himself in on sex crimes charges filed in Sweden. The WikiLeaks founder is fighting extradition. Where he ends up next and when is anyone's guess.

In court today was Atika Shubert.

She joins me now -- Atika.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, while the media swarmed outside, Julian Assange was keeping very calm and collected inside the court. He told the court he did not give his consent to be extradited to Sweden. And, clearly, he's going to be fighting this arrest warrant.

Now, his let's and Assange maintain he is innocent, that these are trumped up charges and that he is being persecuted politically.

But the Swedish prosecutor's office put out a statement in response saying that there has been no political influence.

Here's what the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, had to say.


MARIANNE NY, SWEDISH PROSECUTOR (through translator): I don't know what Swedish politicians that would be. I have not had any contact with Swedish politicians, neither Swedish nor foreign politicians.


SHUBERT: Now, Julian Assange will have his next hearing on December 14th. In the meantime, he has been denied bail and remanded into custody until then. So he is spending the night in jail tonight -- Max.

FOSTER: OK. Atika, thank you very much, indeed.

Now, meanwhile, WikiLeaks has also issued an ominous warning about what will happen if anything happens to Julian Assange.

Brian Todd shows us the encrypted file they threaten to unlock should Assange or his Web site be harmed.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some call it a doomsday file, a poison pill. Assange's own attorney calls it a thermonuclear device. He calls it an insurance file to be opened in the event that he is captured, killed or if WikiLeaks is taken down.

And here to look at it, I'm with Ira Winkler.

He's the author of a book called "Spies Among Us".

He is a cyber security expert and a former analyst at the National Security Agency.

Ira, we just kind of got into this file.


TODD: Show us what it looks like with the encryption.

WINKLER: OK. With the encryption, basically, open it up and if the average person...

TODD: Look at all those characters.

WINKLER: -- wants to look at it, all they would see is a bunch of garbage.

TODD: How tough is it to de-encrypt this?

WINKLER: If you don't have the password, there are trillions of potential options of recovering the data. You have to go through trillions of trillions of trillions of options to actually get the right sequence of characters back. So that's why the password is so important.

TODD: (voice-over): Apparently, only Assange or those very close to him have that password. When we got into the file, we saw huge reams of characters in what looked like an exotic language.

But if something game-changing happens to Assange or WikiLeaks, he'll blast out the password. Assange says more than 100,000 people who have been able to download the archive will get the decrypted information. And the documents could hit the Internet instantaneously. The file is massive. It's not clear what's in it.

(on camera): His side says this is simply for the historical record, it's to preserve history.

What do you call it?

WINKLER: Well, when you have your own lawyer calling it a thermonuclear device, that kind of says you're -- you intend to cause damage. It says he's trying to extort people into not arresting him. Extraditing people into not arresting you is basically blackmail.

TODD: (voice-over): Contacted by CNN, officials at the Pentagon and the Justice Department wouldn't comment on WikiLeaks' so-called insurance or doomsday file. But Ira Winkler says you'd better believe there are specialists in the U.S. and other governments running this through supercomputers, trying to decode this material as we speak.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: A bunch of questions remain over any possible extradition. And complicating matters even further rumblings out of Washington about possibly having Assange stand trial in the United States.

I got to discuss all of this with Julian Assange's lawyer -- one of Julian Assange's lawyers, Jennifer Robinson.

She joins me by phone.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining me, Jennifer.

First of all, this file that Brian was talking about there, do you know what's on it and whether or not it will be released?

JENNIFER ROBINSON, JULIAN ASSANGE'S LAWYER: I think reports of any sort of nuclear bomb of information are completely over exaggerated. As has been widely reported in the press, irrespective of what happens with my client and his proceedings, the documents -- the U.S. diplomatic cable release will continue unabated, as scheduled, in a very orderly fashion for in the (INAUDIBLE)...

FOSTER: What systems are in place for releasing new documents?

ROBINSON: I'm sorry, could I...

FOSTER: What systems are in place for releasing new documents?

ROBINSON: There is an agreed schedule with their media partners. So far, we've only seen 1,000 of the cables released. There are 250,000 in total. So what we will see is a very orderly release of that material over the next couple of months and, indeed, perhaps a year.

FOSTER: Whether or not that comes from Assange?

ROBINSON: Absolutely. And you'll see today that irrespective of -- of what happened in court today and the fact that my client is now being held on remand, WikiLeaks has continued in operation and the cables will continue to be published, as they have been today and in the days prior to that.

FOSTER: What do you understand about the charges that Julian Assange is facing?

ROBINSON: Well, we know now that there are four charges. We've finally received the arrest warrant this morning, having been notified by the police just last night that it had come live in this jurisdiction.

The charges, as they stand now, are one count of unlawful coercion, two of sexual molestation and one of rape. We still maintain that the facts in this case, that, as we understand them, do not meet those charges. So we find this incre -- the allegations bizarre and we will fight them lawfully (ph).

FOSTER: But why don't you allow a respected Swedish court, a very strong, fair judicial system by international standards, to decide that, if he's innocent?

ROBINSON: Well, actually, there's been no formal charges laid. We have offered the opportunity of the prosecutors to have his testimony and to answer these allegations.

Now, what we are seeing in this case is, in fact, Sweden is not a country which respects human rights. We have requested on numerous occasions access to the allegations and, actually, access to the evidence. That has not been forthcoming.

Mr. Assange nor his lawyers, neither of us have seen these allegations or the evidence in English, which is the language he understands, which is his right under the European Convention of Human Rights, to which Sweden is a party.

They are in breach of his human rights.

Today in court, Judge Riddle, in the magistrate's court, in fact, highlighted this point when he requested from the prosecutor access and discussion of the evidence, because he was obviously aware of reports of how weak this evidence is.

FOSTER: Do you...

ROBINSON: So I think what we'll see is a greater scrutiny of the allegations in Sweden. And we are more than happy to answer them, as is clear from our client's voluntary offers of cooperation thus far.

FOSTER: Isn't the truth that you're more concerned not about the Swedish judicial system, but the fact that he could be sent from there to the U.S. under charges that they may be working on?

ROBINSON: This is absolutely the case. And that's why we will fight extradition so forcefully here in the U.K.

FOSTER: But he could be extradited from the U.K. to the U.S.

So what's the problem with him doing it from Sweden, being in Sweden?

ROBINSON: Well, there's a very big difference in the legal system between here and Sweden. And this is our key concern. In Sweden, he would be held without bail. In Sweden, he would not have access to a jury. The British justice system is renowned as respecting liberty and having a very strong adversarial process, particularly in extradition proceedings.

And we would be much happier to fight it here than anywhere else.

FOSTER: It was pretty clear that when he was taken in, that his legal team expected bail to be granted. You had some very high profile figures willing to put that money up.

Were you very surprised that bail wasn't granted and would he have turned himself in if he'd thought that bail wouldn't be granted?

ROBINSON: We have maintained from the outset that our client would cooperate with any proceedings and arrest warrant and police investigations. He -- and, indeed, cooperate with the Swedish prosecutor had she accepted his voluntary offers of cooperation. So there's no con -- no suggestion that had he been aware in advance that bail would not be granted, that he wouldn't have presented himself. Absolutely not.

Now, of course, we are disappointed with the outcome today, because in this country, there is a presumption of bail. So we are disappointed given the strength of the bail application that was made today.

FOSTER: Well...

ROBINSON: But we take heart and we have -- we will be appealing this, whether before the magistrate's board or direct to the high court in the coming weeks and we're confident that it will be granted. (INAUDIBLE)...

FOSTER: How long do you think this appeals process will last, do you think?

I mean we're basically talking about him going through the appeals process in the U.K. for weeks, aren't we, on your agenda?

ROBINSON: Yes, that -- that is the case. And it could take longer.

FOSTER: OK. Jennifer, thank you very much, indeed.

One of Julian Assange's lawyers joining us on the program live.

We'll stay on this story throughout the week.

Giving a Nobel Peace Prize, meanwhile, to a Chinese citizen was always going to be controversial. Now, 19 countries are declining invitations to a ceremony honoring Liu Xiaobo.

Now are they bowing to pressure from China?

Plus, queen of the court, Ana Ivanovic on her fight to gain back her tennis crown.


FOSTER: They've been described by China as a bunch of clowns orchestrating a fuss. Regardless, the Nobel Committee will gather on Friday to award this year's Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. The Chinese dissident won't be there, though. He's currently serving an 11 year jail sentence for inciting subversion. That means, for the first time since Nazi Germany prevented a pacifist from attending in 1936, the recipient will be represented by a portrait in an empty chair.

Also notable by their absence will be 19 countries who the Nobel Committee say have declined their invitations to appear. Along with China, they include Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia. Another 44 countries have said they will attend and two have yet to reply.

Another absentee will be the UN's human rights commissioner. Navanethem Pillay has been criticized for failing to attend the ceremony. In a moment, we'll find out why.

But first, let's see how the story is resonating in Russia and in Iraq.


After the Nobel Peace Prize Committee announced that Iraq was among the countries that have declined its invitation to attend Friday's ceremony, we got in touch with senior Iraqi government officials to find out the reason for that decision.

Navida Ibaya (ph), the country's deputy foreign minister, tells CNN no final decision has been reached yet, that discussions are ongoing and they are still assessing this issue and whether or not they will attend.

Some analysts believe that Iraq's growing economic ties with China would play a major role in Iraq's decision to attend or not. While many international companies have been hesitant about doing business in Iraq because of the ongoing violence and the political uncertainty that has made business here a risky venture, China has emerged as a major player, especially in the oil and gas sector.

China has three major oil contracts, including a joint deal to develop the Ramallah Oil Field (ph), one of the world's largest.

Ibaya (ph) refused to comment on this until a decision is made.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm Matthew Chance in Geneva, Switzerland. And, of course, Russia is one of the countries that will not be attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. The reason it says for that, according to Russian officials, is that their ambassador to the country is not available, he has another engagement. Officials have also announced or issued a statement saying that they do not think that that decision will have an impact negatively on Russia's international image and that the country will continue to support human rights organizations and human rights in general through other bodies, particularly through the UN.

The speculation, though, is that this is all about pressure from China. Russia has a growing strategic and economic relationship with Beijing and perhaps, goes the speculation, it wouldn't want to offend China by actually going along with this ceremony and showing support.

It's also possible that Russia has its own problems with the Nobel Committee. It's got a very poor human rights record of its own in the country and it's possible that it doesn't want to show support for an organization that may, in the future, censor them.


Despite criticism from an exiled Chinese dissident attacking the United Nations for failing to plan to attend the Oslo Peace Prize ceremony, the United Nations says any criticism like that is unfair.

The UN's high commissioner for refugees, Navanethem Pillay, already plans to be in Geneva on December 10th for a major event honoring Human Rights Day. And U.N. officials there say they were not really invited and they're never invited. In fact, the family for the man who's being honored, they really didn't invite the U.N. and have less prominent figures on their guest list.

So the United Nations says it's unfair to say it's a controversy. And Navi Pile has already criticized the Chinese government for detaining the Peace Prize winner.

FOSTER: So while the U.N. is facing pressure to attend Friday's ceremony, other countries are being accused of bowing to pressure from China to stay away.

Let's explore that further with CONNECT THE WORLD panelist Gordon Chang.

He joins me now from New York.

Hi, Gordon.

Thank you so much for joining us.

What evidence is there that China has been putting pressure on countries not to attend?

GORDON CHANG, CONNECT THE WORLD PANELIST: Well, "The Financial Times" has just stated that the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee has said that China has put, quote, unquote, "unprecedented pressure on countries not to attend the ceremony on Friday."

So I think that that's probably pretty good evidence.

FOSTER: Can we tell anything from the list of countries that aren't going?

CHANG: Well, there are certain things we can tell. So, for instance, Vietnam -- the Vietnamese don't like the Chinese, but they probably don't want to be invaded and they've got a lot of problems with Beijing right now in the South China Sea. So I can understand why they're not going.

Russia, you know -- you know, Russia and China sometimes can be as thick as thieves, so I'm not surprised there, either.

The big surprise, of course, is the Philippines, which is a healthy democracy. And the Philippines has the Magsaysay Prize (ph) for people who promote human rights in Asia. They should definitely be going and this really is, I think, a shocker.

FOSTER: Yes, but we can't read too much into this, can we, because there have been other years where there haven't been ambassadors turning up and they do have other commitments and there could be very simple explanations, even if China has tried to put pressure?

CHANG: Well, yes, of course. But this is really important. And because China has made this an international issue, you know, it's much more important for an ambassador to show up than, for instance, to spend some time with his wife or whatever. So I think this really is an issue right now because Beijing has made it one.

FOSTER: OK. And in terms of the Nobel Committee, actually, there have been criticisms in the past that they haven't made great decisions. Maybe these countries think that they've just had their day and it's not what it used to be.

CHANG: Well, yes, there are a lot of decisions that certainly can be criticized. Last year's was sort of a head-scratcher. A lot of people have criticized Al Gore.

But the point is that, you know, China didn't throw a fit those years. And Liu Xiaobo definitely deserves it for trying to promote human rights in a peaceful way and actually energizing the Chinese people to do something which is critically important.

So nobody is saying that he shouldn't get the award, except for the Chinese government. And so they're -- you know, at this point, it's not the issue of who got the prize. It's really the issue of what Beijing is doing right now to prevent people from actually showing up at the Oslo ceremony.

FOSTER: And it's interesting, isn't it, because it does seem to be wielding its power in a new way at this ceremony, which, on the face of it, it seemed very dismissive about.

CHANG: Well, you know, certainly. And this really raises questions about China. This remark from the foreign ministry today about the Norwegian Committee being clowns is sort of funny. But when you step back and you think about what's happening, where China is now starting to use all of this Cultural Revolution style language, it just shows that the -- this whole, really, this controversy, you know, between the Communist Party and the Chinese people is now spilling out beyond China's borders.

And we've got to wonder where China is going with is all of this rhetoric and all of this pressure about trying to prevent people from going to a ceremony. I think that, really, we've got to really right thinking about what's happening in China, because the signs are not good.

FOSTER: OK. Gordon, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us on the program, as ever.

Now, what's causing Egypt's shark attacks?

Well, divers are worried and Egypt is frantic and the beaches of Sharm-El-Sheikh are -- are closed. I'll talk to Egypt's tourism minister. You'll want to hear what Zuhair Garana had to say. That interview in around 15 minutes time.

But first, we'll show you how climate change is gnawing away at the frozen beauty of Montana and why it matters to the rest of the planet.


FOSTER: All this week on CONNECT THE WORLD, we are taking you across the globe to look at what communities are doing to cap carbon emissions.

On Monday, we took you live to the world's current hot spot for discussing climate change and that is the Cancun Summit, where we broadcast a special hour featuring Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, as well as what people are doing on three continents to take the heat out of global warming.

It gets a lot of attention, but the polar ice cap isn't the only frozen region on thin ice.

Our Becky Anderson has been on the climate change beat, from Cancun to Kenya to Montana. And that's where the glaciers of America's Glacier National Park are melting.

In a special report for "Earth's Frontiers," she finds out why.


DAN FAGRE, U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: That there is sort of ground zero for looking at climate change.

BECKY ANDERSON, HOST, "CONNECT THE WORLD" (voice-over): Dan Fargrave is a straight-talking research ecologist for the United States Geological Survey. He's been studying the changes to this terrain for the past 20 years.

FAGRE: Mountain ecosystems are very critical and people don't realize that they're basically the water towers of the world. This is where we hold all the snow and ice over decades. So when we see glaciers like these behind us shrinking so rapidly, we know there are some fundamental changes going on on the planet.

ANDERSON: Around the world, snow caps and glaciers are melting at an alarming rate -- alarming because 70 percent of the world's fresh water is frozen in glaciers. This is one of the reasons why Glacier National Park has become a poster child for climate change.

FAGRE: I think climate change is easier to see here, because when we had 150 glaciers here a little more than 100 years ago, we have 25 left and they're all diminishing pretty quickly in size.

ANDERSON: He says the pace of warming may lead the remaining 25 glaciers to disappear by 2020.

FAGRE: They've been around for at least 7,000 years. And if we are going to lose them in the next 10 or 20 years, that's a pretty radical shift.

ANDERSON: Today, Fagre and his team hike up to Grinnell's Glacier to continue to photograph the changes.

FAGRE: And you can see that this dirty material here is -- is the kind of last part of the glacier. And all of that material is picked up from the mountainside there and carried forward.

ANDERSON: Radical changes but not the only consequences. Glacier Park superintendent, Chas Cartwright, uses Fagre's research to forecast the region's future.

CHAS CARTWRIGHT, SUPERINTENDENT, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK: So it's that host of connections with water, vegetation, wildlife. There's a lot less water coming off the mountain. There are dramatic changes in vegetation.

It begs the question, how is that going to impact the wildlife in this park?

FAGRE: If you look around and see relatively rapid climate change occurring right now and it's global in nature and things that haven't melted away from 7,000 years are certainly melting away, you basically put your hands on your hip and -- and say, well, what could be causing this?

And you start ticking off all the things that have in the past and they're not factors right now. And what's left, then, are people. And where there are a lot of people on the planet and we can have a fairly large impact on it.

ANDERSON: Becky Anderson for "Earth's Frontiers".


FOSTER: And we will have more reports from "Earth's Frontiers" all week. Don't forget to tune in for that.

Up next, though, three nations hold a rare meeting to tackle a thorny issue, specifically, how to respond to North Korea. We'll bring you reaction from Japan and from Pyongyang's strongest ally, China, next.


FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, standing together. The US, South Korea, and Japan say they'll collectively deal with threats posed by North Korea. Reaction ahead.

Shark attacks in Egypt take a big bite of that nation's tourism industry. We'll show you how Egypt is responding.

And our Connector of the Day serves up some aces to our viewers. Tennis star Ana Ivanovic questions -- answers your questions. That's all coming up in the next half hour.

All those stories ahead in the show for you, but first, here are the headlines.

A British court has ordered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to stay in jail until December the 14th as it considers Sweden's extradition request. Assange surrendered in London, but is fighting extradition. Swedish authorities want to question him in connection with alleged sexual assaults. Assange has not been charged.

Iran and international powers have agreed to meet again in Turkey next month. That's after two days of negotiations on Iran's nuclear ambitions ended. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says the talks in Geneva were substantive.

Britain's prime minister says next year much show irreversible progress in the war against the Taliban. David Cameron was in Afghanistan when he expressed hope that British troops could start leaving in 2011. His trip coincided with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates's surprise arrival in Afghanistan.

US president Barack Obama is defending a deal he struck with Republican lawmakers to extend tax cuts for all Americans. The taxes -- the cuts are due to expire within weeks. Mr. Obama says if the stalemate continued, middle class families would see a tax increase next year.

A united front meant to send a strong message to North Korea. That's the world from the United Sates, South Korea, and Japan, who's top ministers met in Washington yesterday. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says North Korea's threats will be met with solidarity from all three nations.

Japan's foreign minister says the meeting between the three nations has wider implications that can impact the future of the entire region. Kyung Lah has the view from Tokyo.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The meeting in Washington, DC is certainly reverberating here in east Asia. Japan's foreign minister calling it a very important and necessary step, saying that this was important for Japan, South Korea, and the United States to make sure that they all agree on what conditions they would accept before returning to the six-party talks, talks that would include China, Russia, and North Korea.

Japan's foreign minister says that what they basically got out of this was some strong words, but they are eventually hoping to look for solutions, not just criticism. Here's what he said.

SEIJI MAEHARA, JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We need to strengthen our trilateral cooperation between Japan, the United States, and South Korea. And it's not just to criticize North Korea and condemn its action, but we need to really think about how we can find a way to bring peace to northeast Asia and the Korean peninsula.

LAH: As the trilateral meeting took place in Washington, the military exercises dubbed "Keen Sword" continued here in the land and the waters around Japan. Notable in that this is the single largest US-Japan joint military exercise that has ever taken place.

South Korean observers have also been invited, so we're starting to see a little more coordination between these three countries, not just militarily, but also diplomatically. The tough part, though, will be finding those workable and durable solutions. Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


FOSTER: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Next up, the hunt for a killer shark in Egypt, or off Egypt. There have been four attacks in just the past week. We ask the tourism minister, will it be safe to go back in the water?


FOSTER: Four shark attacks in a week. It's a rare and terrifying spate for the world-famous diving site of Sharm el-Sheikh. Indeed, we warn that the pictures you are about to see may be disturbing for some viewers.

This amateur video captures the moment a 70-year-old German woman was taken by a shark as she swam in the shallows of Nama Bay on Sunday. The fatal attack was witnessed by holiday-makers on nearby boats and on the shore.

The presence of a killer shark off Egypt's pristine waters -- shores has seen its beaches close during the peak tourist season. Nina Dos Santos explains what authorities are doing to make the waters safe again.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sun may --


SANTOS (voice-over): And the sea crystal clear, but beneath the tranquil water lurks a menace that has already claimed one life and has attacked others.

Scientists from around the world are looking for clues as to why four people were attacked by sharks in just the past week near the popular Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

A German tourist died after being bitten on Sunday. Authorities have closed the beach and caught two sharks, a white tip and a mako, but some experts doubt that they are the sharks responsible for the attacks.

OLIVER CRIMMEN, FISH CURATOR, NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM: I'm not clear what the evidence is that we know which is the right culprit in the Sharm el-Sheikh attacks.

SANTOS (on camera): Is it possible that we could see a "Jaws" in Sharm el-Sheikh. Is it possible in those waters?

CRIMMIN: Well, it is possible in those waters. It's a very wide- ranging shark.

SANTOS (voice-over): Attacks like this are unprecedented in Sharm el- Sheikh, one of the world's most popular destinations for scuba diving.

Some tour operators believe that chum, or fish bait in the water, may have attracted more aggressive sharks, while others speculate that the dumping of animal carcasses could have encouraged sharks to target slow- moving objects on the surface.

But as researchers look for those clues, there is one question they don't have an answer to.

SANTOS (on camera): How long do we have to wait before it will be safe to go back in the water?

CRIMMIN: That's really impossible to say. One has to remember that sharks attacking humans is a very unusual situation.

SANTOS: As much as northern Europe continues to struggle with freezing temperatures, the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is gearing up for its busiest time of year. But, following the recent spate of shark attacks, a number of tour operators like this one have been advising their clients to steer clear of certain stretches of water.

SANTOS (voice-over): And the beaches remained closed for now, so tour operators like Amoun Travel are encouraging visitors to explore other amenities.

DINA SHAHIN, AMOUN TRAVEL AND TOURS: Most of our customers go to Sharm el-Sheikh and the tourist department, and it hasn't stopped them going to Sharm el-Sheikh. They like to enjoy their holiday. Not everyone likes to go just for the sea or diving.

SANTOS (voice-over): Other operators have praised the way Egypt's tourist board has responded to the spate of attacks.

BEN BRAUDE, FLEETWAY TRAVEL: We're not overly worried. We've had quite a lot -- seen quite a lot of calls and interest about the attacks that have happened, but no cancellations yet. And people seem to still want to travel to the area.

SANTOS (voice-over): So, it seems as though even the presence of one or more unwanted visitors is not enough to keep holiday seekers at bay. Nina Dos Santos, CNN, London.


FOSTER: The Egyptian government has called in an international team of shark experts. I spoke to the tourism minister, Zuhair Garana, a little earlier about the peak-season crisis and began by asking what the government is doing to protect holiday-makers.


ZUHAIR GARANA, EGYPTIAN TOURISM MINISTER (via telephone): They are allowed to swim in safe waters, and that means in the areas that have been safe all the time, these are the areas that the people are allowed to swim in.

FOSTER: But that --

GARANA: And they're not allowed to swim in deep waters, definitely.

FOSTER: But these attacks were in waters where you wouldn't expect attacks previously, so shouldn't you wait for the experts to decide where the problem is before you allow people to swim anywhere in those waters?

GARANA: No, no, Max. The places that they're allowing people to swim are actually natural pool areas where it has no access of fish to these areas.

FOSTER: And, in terms of the experts you've brought in, you've brought in world experts, haven't you? What exactly are they trying to assess right now, and do they have any idea about how many sharks are carrying out these attacks?

GARANA: They're actually assessing how it happened. They definitely -- they need to look at the change of behavior, because this is something that never happened in Egypt before.

FOSTER: And what are you doing to reassure tourists that this area is safe? Because a lot of people, thousands of people, go to this area simply to dive, and they can't do that anymore, can they?

GARANA: No, but actually, it's -- divers are allowed to dive, actually. They are diving, now.

FOSTER: OK, so you're talking about the expert divers trying to work out what's going on here?

GARANA: Exactly.

FOSTER: But so, no other divers are allowed into the water at all?

GARANA: No, no, no beginners, no other divers that haven't been in these water before are allowed, yes.

FOSTER: And are you very concerned about what this is going to mean for tourism? Because people are going to remember these waters for shark attacks.

GARANA: Of course, we are very much concerned about it since tourism actually presents a fairly big contribution to our economy. That's why we are very concerned about it.

FOSTER: One of the suspicions here is that there are ships dropping carcasses of animals into the sea, and that's what's tempting the sharks into those waters. Do you think there's anything in that?

GARANA: Also this would be a wild guess to say if it had a negative impact, yes or no, but definitely the marine biologists and the shark experts will tell us about that.

FOSTER: And if they say to you there are killer sharks out in those water still, what are you going to do?

GARANA: I don't think -- look. We've been -- we've been swimming and diving in these waters for the past 30 years with no incidents. I don't believe that this is the -- there is a change of behavior all of a sudden that now sharks are attacking clients or attacking human beings.

FOSTER: Maybe a way ahead is to just warn people that they may be attacked by sharks if they do go into these waters and they can make the decision themselves?

GARANA: Well, there are shark attacks all over the world in the places that are known that there are shark attacks. The point is that in Egypt and especially in Sharm el-Sheikh all along the Red Sea, we have never heard about it before.

Definitely now we are taking safety measures that we agreed to prevent open sea-water swimming and snorkeling for the time being until we get to the bottom of this issue.


FOSTER: The Egyptian tourism minister. Now, shark attacks are a risk, it has to be said. Around the world, there have been more than 2,100 documented shark attacks, 424 of them fatal. Let's take a look at the danger zones.

In the United States, there have been 885 attacks, mainly off Florida beaches, 33 of them fatal. The Australian coast is the deadliest. Out of 330 attacks, 117 victims died. Africa has its fair share, 276 attacks, including 71 fatalities, the vast majority off South Africa. There hasn't been a killer shark in European waters since 1984, but Greece has the worst record, there, 9 out of 10 known attacks off the country's coast proving fatal. Across Asia, there have been 111 attacks, 52 of them deadly, and Hong Kong has recorded 10 of those fatalities.

We spoke to two people who are always on the lookout for sharks, a lifeguard from Australia's famous Bondi Beach and a surfer in Bali. They shared their tips for staying alive.


JASON LEONARD-ARTHA, SURFER: I've surfed in Australia, Fiji, Maldives, and America. Places where the water's a bit murky, such as Australia and America, you seem a little bit more hesitant because it just seems a bit sketchy because of the whole situation. But once you're in warm water and you're in the tropics, it's -- for me, it's less of an issue, and you don't really think twice.

DREW LAMBERT, AUSTRAILIAN SURF LIFESAVER: Well, as a lifesaver on Bondi Beach, we really have been quite lucky with shark attacks. There's been a shark attack, probably the most recent one was in 2009, and that's when a person was -- they almost lost their hand, but not completely. But that was actually the first shark attack on Bondi Beach since 1930. So, we've actually had a very, very good run of it.

So, sharks, they're a part of the nature of coming to Australia, but definitely when it comes to Bondi Beach, they never, never attacked and once in a very blue moon. So, it's not something you can really care about so much.

There are no beaches in this world that don't have sharks on them, it's just par for the course. There are probably some beaches that are a little bit more sharky than others, and they do say that if you swim outside of dawn and dusk are some of the most prevalent times for sharks. So, that one time that maybe you may not want to swim.


FOSTER: Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, on the rebound. After a season plagued by injury and illness, Ana Ivanovic is making a comeback. The glamorous Serbian star isn't just fighting on the court. Find out how she's setting an example for children, next.


FOSTER: She's beautiful, talented, and generous, but you don't want to be on the receiving end of this lady's forehand. Tonight, we bring you a young tennis star with plenty of fight, not just to regain her number one ranking, but to help free children from violence. Let's get you connected.


FOSTER (voice-over): At just five years of age, Ana Ivanovic decided her perfect match was the game of tennis. Eleven years later, she was turning heads and made her professional debut. The young Serbian player with supermodel looks enjoyed a meteoric rise on and off the court. Within two years, she was amongst the top 20 female players in the world, and in 2008, she won then number one ranking after victory at Roland Garros.

She's also regularly topped most beautiful lists around the world, and has been recognized for her charitable efforts as an ambassador for UNICEF's School's Without Violence program.

Injury and illness have seen Ivanovic's ranking slide over the past season, but she's now on the rebound. Glamorous, ambitious, and the comeback kid of the international tennis circuit. But I began by asking Ivanovic about her UNICEF work.

ANA IVANOVIC, TENNIS WORLD NUMBER 17: I've been part of UNICEF, or ambassador for UNICEF since about three years now, and today we had interaction with the kids. It was really nice and we discussed some problems and issues they have in the schools considering violence, not only physical, but also verbal.

FOSTER (on camera): Tell us about some of the stories you've heard, which I knew some of our viewers will find quite upsetting.

IVANOVIC: Yes, it is, actually, quite upsetting to hear how many kids have been bullied in school. And most of them have been verbal. Lots of people swearing, lots of kids swearing at each other and disregarding them from their school and the kids they hang out with, so a lot of them felt lonely and very sort of downgraded from where they belong. So, that's been a little bit sad to hear.

And the -- once -- at first, when I joined the program, they were high amount of bullying happening, it was more than 52 percent of the kids have been affected by it, and in the recent years, lots of schools joined the program. Not only primary schools, but recently we had some high schools join the program as well. So, it's been reduced a lot.

They're creating lots of programs within the schools to help each other and support the violence. So, I was really pleased to see the results.

FOSTER: You obviously understand the country. Why would say there is this high prevalence of bullying and violence there?

IVANOVIC: I think there is problem in every environment, and here, I just feel that some kids maybe feel a little bit threatened back home, and then they bring it to school, and that's their way of trying to be superior and trying to maybe feel good about themselves while bringing other people down.

And that's what's a little bit sad to see, and I think it's been a little bit more exaggerated here in Serbia rather than in another country, so we really try to -- and I really try to talk to them and bring them my experience, from not only the time when I was in school, but also while traveling. And I can see getting results, and kids are very happy to hear the stories and they hear it's not only them being part of the bullying happening.

FOSTER: And if I could just ask you a bit about your childhood, there is a story we wanted to ask you about and wanted to clear this one up. These stories we hear about you playing tennis in an empty swimming pool, which is why you're so successful at hitting accurate shots. Give us the true story on that and those early days, there, in Serbia.

IVANOVIC: Yes, well, that's a true story. It's a big Olympic swimming pool, and that's been, probably, the only court we had at the time. Because it was very expensive for a sports center to heat the swimming pool so they could use it for swimming, they emptied the pool, they put a carpet inside, and they placed two single tennis courts in there.

And it was so close to the walls, and the courts were so close to each other, that we had to play a lot on the lines, so that's probably why they say I have a killer down the line.

FOSTER: And on your tennis career, Dennis Tang has got a question. He says, "In your career, you've worked with several coaches. Who'd you think has contributed most to the development of your game as we know it today?"

IVANOVIC: Honestly, I've worked with a few different coaches that brought a lot of things to my game, and it's very hard to contribute everything to one, but I definitely had a lot of success working with Sven in the Adidas program. It's been a big part of my career, I spent more than four years working with him, and that was the time when I reached the number one position and won the French Open. So, probably that is the most memorable one.

FOSTER: It must be nice for you to be at home right now, and Darko's asking how do you manage to keep a healthy balance between tennis and the WTA tour and your personal life back home?

IVANOVIC: That's probably the hardest part. I'm in Belgrade. Actually, I just got to Belgrade today, and I'm going to spend only two or three days here before heading off to do some preparation work. But that's probably the hardest part, we spend lots of times in the airplanes and the airports, so it's just part of -- yes -- of my basically everyday life.

I enjoy traveling, which helps a lot with what I do, but sometimes you do get tired, and sometimes it is hard being on a tour for so long. But that's why we have Skype and friends that we can keep in touch with.

FOSTER: Tineke and Steve ask, "Will you regain your number one spot in 2011?"

IVANOVIC: That's my goal, and then, I'm going to work very hard for it. I had a great finish this year, and I'm very inspired and motivated to work in the off-season and get ready for next year. And I'm very positive I can get back to top ten, and it would be great to reach as far as number one.


FOSTER: And good luck to you. Fighting her way back, Serbian tennis sensation Ana Ivanovic there as your Connector of the Day. And tomorrow night, we've got a group appearance for you. The Goo Goo Dolls are one of the few bands formed in the 80s that are still making their mark on the charts. "Iris" from the film "City of Angels" and "Slide" are among their top-end singles. There have been 14 so far.

Then, find out what we'll be asking this great American band tomorrow night. Head to Tonight, though, we'll be right back.

(MUSIC - "Slide")


FOSTER: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster. Let's take a look at what you've been writing in to us on our website today. It's about a story we ran earlier in the show, shark experts arriving in Egypt to investigate what led to four shark attacks over the last week at the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. One person was killed.

You've been posting plenty of comments about this developing story on Crystalpayne asks, "Why kill the shark for doing what it's born to do? We are coming into his house."

Unconscious writes, "We pretty much kill every animal that attacked a human. It's mostly out of vengeance."

Dotmafia says, "It's tasted human flesh and will want more. On second thought, maybe it's because humans desire retribution and revenge."

Get your voice heard on CNN. There is a theme there, actually. Head to our website,

In our Parting Shots tonight, we are taking you far from the beaches and into cooler climates. In Maine, there were plenty of snow angels. Children have been making the most of freezing temperatures in many parts of the United States. Snowball fights and tobogganing all part of the fun in this wintry playground.

But it's a different story in other parts of the world, where the cold snap is actually causing mayhem. Heavy snow and freezing temperatures brought Scotland to a standstill. Hundreds of drivers were stranded in their cars overnight, as you can see.

And in eastern France, it's not the white stuff itself that's causing problems. Thawing snow has caused a dike to crack and, now, homes are flooding.

In Singapore, snow isn't falling from the sky, it's coming from foam machines. But even if it's not real, these children are clearly delighted to be snowbound.

This news just coming into us. Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former US Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, has passed away, we understand. The news came just a day after the family announced that she was no longer seeking treatment for her cancer on her doctor's advice.

She fought breast cancer for six years. Elizabeth Edwards was 61. More information as we get to us, here at CNN. I'm Max Foster, that is your world connected. "BackStory" is next, right after a check of the headlines.