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Unrest in Bahrain; Global Economic Imbalance; Mexican Wars

Aired February 18, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Bahrain's governments call that just a warning but how does that explain reports of people dead and wounded. We'll ask a top Bahrain diplomatic to explain these scenes.

Later Italy's Berlusconi walks into a meeting with the Vatican smiling but what happened after? At the carnival of cricket the World Cup begins in just hours. These stories and more tonight as we CONNECT THE WORLD.

Up first though authorities in Bahrain warn they've used all measures necessary to restore public order and that apparently includes bullets. Security forces open fire today to stop anti-government protestors from reaching a symbolic square in the capitol.

Let's go right to Arwa Damon in Manama. Arwa what can you tell us?


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well we saw happening today most certainly yet another violent development in the demonstrations. A small group of demonstrators was trying they say to retake Pearl Square.

As they approached the outer military and police poured on they say that they came under fire. We heard those gun shots and when we arrived on the scene we were told by an ambulance worker that four people had died.

We spoke with a man who was covered in blood saying that the military crouched down on one knee and then he said fired live ammunition. The person standing next to him sustaining a gunshot wound to the head.

Gunfire broke out once again the demonstrators were pushed back. Ambulances moving into create something of a barricade between the military and the demonstrators and then we saw the demonstrators push forward once more.

And take a look into what one man was saying at that point in time. Are you willing to die for this?

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Absolutely that's why I'm here. There is something wrong with dying for our country or for our rights?

DAMON: And what ensued there afterwards would be the fiercest assault by the military and the police. This time they were using tear gas as well as live ammunition and pellet bullets.

We saw people running past (INAUDIBLE) as chaos body being pushed into ambulances. Now around and hour an hour and a half after that took place the situation appear to be relatively calm. But it most certainly goes to show that the government here is intent not to allow the demonstrators take control of the street. Max.

FOSTER: Arwa, all the evidence is that live rounds are being fired into crowds but the government says they're not doing that and the reaction is proportionate. What's your judgment?

DAMON: Well yes Max that is most certainly what we're hearing from the government. And we also it is important to point out did hear the King say that now is the time for a dialogue that would involve all parties.

However, the government is saying that it is using minimal force. That of course is being disputed by the demonstrators, by doctors and medics at the hospital. They all believe that the government is intent on cracking down on these demonstrators no matter what the cost.

They do believe that the government is deliberately using excessive force that is what they are claiming the government for its part. And saying that it is taking the measures necessary not just to make sure that ensure the stability of the country but also saying that it has to safeguard the economy here as well.


FOSTER: Arwa Damon in Manama thanks you very much indeed. We're going to stay with this story CONNECT THE WORLD. Later a CNN exclusive, how the unrest in the Middle East could see a solution from Athens the Foreign Minister of Greece tells me how his country invented democracy and he wants to promote good governance in the Middle Eastern region.

For now though, lets gets more on the unrest in Bahrain because the King has appointed a special envoy to the United States to try to ease diplomatic concerns over the crisis. I talked earlier with Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani.

He is a former Major General who's headed Bahrain's public security for something like 10 years and I asked him first about the use of force in Friday's demonstrations.


ABDUL LATIF BIN RASHID AL ZAYANI, BAHRAIN SPECIAL ENVOY TO US: The action taken and all cases and incidents was legal. It was proportional force was used. It was also necessary because the protest where affecting our national economy.

FOSTER: Were the protestors firing live rounds at Bahraini forces?

ZAYANI: Well as I said it's time to calm down. We have to get together.

FOSTER: They weren't firing live rounds so this wasn't proportional?

ZAYANI: No the proportional forces the - no they were not. Also our forces did not fire rounds, they were just warning shots. They were warning shots, probably they were warning shots only.

FOSTER: Warning shots go to the air they don't go straight into people?

ZAYANI: Yes, yes, no, no they were going to the air.

FOSTER: When they came back down the bullets can kill people did they?

ZAYANI: Well the kills are not confirmed. This information is not confirmed.

FOSTER: (INAUDIBLE) works has confirmed to us that people are being killed by live rounds.

ZAYANI: They need to be confirmed. The (INAUDIBLE) are still coming in.

FOSTER: US Secretary of State has expressed deep concerns about what's going on your country. How are you managing to reassure her with this very worrying news that this severe clamp down on protestors because she's obviously in support of free and fair expression?

ZAYANI: We have enough credit to show that we care for our people. We care for the reform. If there are any mishaps, if there are any incidents they will be (INAUDIBLE) investigated. They will be (INAUDIBLE) transparent.

And whoever is accounting will be held accountable.

FOSTER: In terms of new concessions for the people within Bahrain who are asking for more reform what sort of subsidies are you now offering? Is there a new offering on the table right now?

ZAYANI: We need to have dialogue and that's what also his highness the crown prince has indicated. But to have dialogue we need to calm. We to calm and get around the table and have the dialogue that we need to pursue the democracy and continue our reform.

FOSTER: Are you confident Bahrain can maintain stability in this period a very troubled period for the country because it obviously a small country but it's so crucial to that region isn't it for so many different interest around the world?

ZAYANI: We have, we are a great nation. We have great leadership, very wise leadership. The people are united, they will be united. What happen will not divide us. It will bring us together.


FOSTER: There you are, the envoy to the United States speaking to me earlier the Bahraini envoy. Now after - one after another it does seem a new country hit by the anti-government contingent almost every day right now.

A look at the broad sweep of unrest now shaking the Middle East, starting with Jordan that country today experienced its first outbreak of political violence and protest began last month. Opposition demonstrators in Amman say they were attacked by pro-government thugs who beat them with bats.

At least five people were injured. We just showed the violence in Bahrain. Well authorities promise to take all measures necessary to restore public order. Further south though in Yemen casualties are rising as anti-government unrest there enters a second week.

Opposition protestors in Sanaa were reportedly assaulted by pro- government crowds carrying daggers and sticks. And in Aden, a medic says four protesters were shot to death on Friday by police.

Crossing the Red Sea into Sudan, where demonstrators have clashed with authorities several times recently as they demand reforms. Human rights watch accuses the government of using excessive force during the largely peaceful demonstrations.

And Sudan's neighbor to the Northwest Libya is trying to put down major unrest their second biggest city Benghazi. A medical source tells CNN at least 20 people have been killed there in clashes with security forces.

Angry crowds filled the streets on Friday for funeral recessions. Let's get more now from our protestors in Benghazi. For security reasons were not going to identify this person but thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Can you give us a sense of what happen in Benghazi today? Hello, I hope you can hear me OK. I know the line isn't very clear. Can you tell us what happen in Benghazi today?


UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Yes, today a lot of from (INAUDIBLE) Benghazi marched toward the court house and they are standing there they don't want to move from there until the (INAUDIBLE) leave the country.

And we (INAUDIBLE) in the morning about 1000 now I can tell it's more than 100,000.

FOSTER: And what sort of security presence are you facing?

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: No security presence. No. There is about three hours ago tanks came running through the street they killed three people but the people take over the tanks and everything is calm again.

But we heard news that some, huh?

FOSTER: So you are managing to protest peacefully without hindrance from the authorities today?

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: This is in front of the courthouse but its other part of Benghazi not been peacefully. At least today as I saw some of the reports from General Hospital 25 people killed today at least.

And we in front of courthouse, we prepare for 12 people we buried them today in the cemetery. Twelve people just died today and 25 been killed that's the report from General Hospital today.

FOSTER: It must be a frightening situation to be in and many protestors are saying they're very brave to be out there on the streets. But how big do you think these protest are going to get because their will likely be another clamp down won't there?

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: I here that everyone in the city coming now marching toward this place now and they're calling it (INAUDIBLE) square it's the courthouse in the heart of the downtown in front of the (INAUDIBLE).

And hear there are a lot of people marching toward this area where I am right now. And you can hear them right now.

FOSTER: And what are people saying? What are they trying to do today? Are they exciting that there is some sense of bigger demonstration today?

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: They are very excited, they are very excited. Yes they are very excited. The only thing they want is that (INAUDIBLE) and his kids to leave the country.

FOSTER: What happens though if the soldiers and the tanks come out and they start pointing guns at you?

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: No, no. The soldiers because they are all for one like the people and they get scared and the told the people we are with you and they take off their clothes and they disappear. We don't know where they gone.

FOSTER: OK we'll have to leave it there but thank you very much indeed for joining us from Benghazi there an unnamed protestor there speaking to CNN.


FOSTER: Well we want to end this segment by telling you about Morocco because so far the country has been spared any unrest. But on Sunday 20 rallies were planned for cities nationwide.

You're looking at pictures of a group of Moroccan protestors in the capital of Rabat they say they will demand broad political change on Sunday including Constitutional reform and improving the judicial system.

To (INAUDIBLE) the government of Morocco had already increased subsidies on basic goods by 126 percent according to Reuters. Now we at CNN were hoping to speak with the Moroccan Ambassador to the US tonight.

We wanted to stay ahead of this story for you asking him how his government would deal with the protest in 20 of their cities and would they use force? Or would they see to the protestors demands.

Well just 13 minutes before air time the ambassador pulled out of the interview. Will ask him to join us again though on Monday after the protest and CNN will probably try over the weekend.

Do keep an eye out for stories were watching it for you. Now ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD striking a balance that's the mission of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Paris. We'll bring you the latest on that.

And a cutting edge discovery as doctors were shocked with what the found inside this man's brain the full story coming up. Plus, countdown to the cricket World Cup who's likely to take home the trophy?

World Sports Alex Thomas will be in the house to tell us.


FOSTER: The families claim the violence in Mexico a town in Texas serves as a refuge. But for many children it takes more than a new location to escape the conflict. We'll look at the devastating impact felt by the drug wars youngest victims.

I'm Max in London you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD and here's a look at some of the other stories were following for you this hour. Find the balance or die that's the warning from the French President Nicholas Sarkozy who says putting national interest first will kill off the G20.

He was speaking in Paris as ministers gather to try to address global economic imbalances. CNN Jim Bittermann has more on the discussions.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Finance ministers and central bankers meeting throughout the day today trying to come to some agreement ahead of the meetings the final meetings tomorrow when the finance ministers hope to be able to come up with an agreement among all 20 countries that have gathered here.

Basically a number of items on the agenda the French would love to see some criteria set up to signal when there are big global trading imbalances, financial imbalances that are taking place that countries might be in trouble.

The kind of thing that we saw earlier in the case of Greece and Ireland and other countries in the world. To avoid that what kind of specific criteria, what kind of tipoffs are there to indicate that there are problem coming down the line.

Now a lot of countries disagree about that. China kind of threw a monkey wrench under the works today by saying they weren't going to accept some of the criteria that other countries would like to see established.

Mainly because they would apply to China directly, so there's a lot of disagreement about that issue. Another issue that the French would love to see some action on is the idea of some stability both in the financial markets and in the commodities market.

Commodities market particularly because of the wide springs in food prices in recent days. And here's what when I sat down with Finance Minister Christine LaGarde of France recently. Here's what she had to say about that idea of bringing stability to the world markets.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER: Clearly when we want to bring more stability on the markets reduce the volatility on the price of raw materials. When we want to make sure that China is included in the game and not excluded, I think it serves everybody's interest not only the interest of China but also the interest of the United States.

Clearly to have more predictability, more stability and an inclusion of all key currencies including (INAUDIBLE) in the international currencies I think it's in everybody's interest. That will be the difficulty actually. It will be to identify where is everybody's interest.

And to come to this denominator that will bring us together.

BITTERMANN: And Christine LaGarde says getting all these 20 finance ministers to agree on anything is a little bit like hurting cats but that's going g to be her job here as the weekend continues. Jim Bittermann, CNN Paris.


FOSTER: Ugandan's have voted in a presidential election that could see the president win another five year term. Yoweri Museveni has already been in power for 25 years and it doesn't look like he's going any time soon.

He recently performed a rap song at a rally in Kampala to try to reach out to younger voters. The performance went down so well the 67 year old now plans to release his own album judge for yourself.

Mr. Museveni main rival is former ally Keza Bazahe (ph) he also use to be the president's personal doctor. Six other candidates are also in the running.

After the prosecution scandal the Italian Prime Minister has attended an annual event with members of the Vatican. Silvio Berlusconi has recently come under criticism from the Catholic Church as details of his alleged encounters with a 17 year old Moroccan girl unfold.

Diana Magnay is in Rome.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Whatever they may be saying behind closed doors the Vatican has made no official comments on Ruby Gate the sex scandal surrounding Italian premiere Silvio Berlusconi.

And that's really in keeping with normal diplomatic relations between the Vatican state and the Italian state. On the other hand, the Italian Bishop conference has. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco who heads the conference saying in January that this country was suffering from a moral malaise.

And that those in position of public power should act with the requisite, honor and discipline required of those position. Although he didn't refer to Mr. Berlusconi by name we were told that the conference would be addressing Ruby Gates in that meeting.

Now the influential catholic weekly newspaper Famiglia Cristiana asked its readers in a survey recently whether that they felt that Mr. Berlusconi should resign? And 73 percent said he should, but Mr. Berlusconi still does hold a majority in Parliament even though he maybe loosing points with the public and with the catholic vote. Diana Magnay, CNN Rome.


FOSTER: (INAUDIBLE) cancelled the rest of it so winter whaling season. The country is hunted up to 1000 whales in the Antarctic annually according to the international whaling commission. But in recent months Japan's whaling fleets have had a number of altercations with conservation groups.

A Japanese official said the environmentalist will make it dangerous to whalers to stay on the high seas. Japan maintains that its hunt is for scientific research purposes but critics say that's just a cover for commercial whaling.

A medical mystery has been solved in China. For years (INAUDIBLE) complains of intense throbbing headaches. Locals were shocked when they finally figured out what caused his stabbing pain. Health Bower has the story.


EVE BOWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After suffering from migraines for years Li Fu health problems were getting worse. He was having difficulty swallowing and bleeding from the mouth. Doctors couldn't find the problem so the 37 year old went to his local hospital looking for help.

LI FU: I've been using injections to kill pains over the last four years. What doctors found surprised them and shocked their patient. Take a good look at these x-rays that's a 10 centimeter knife blade.

BOWER: Turns out Li Fu had been stabbed in the jaw during a robbery attempt in 2006 and part of the blade had remained lodged in his skull for the past four years.

XU WEN, YIRKI CITY, PEOPLE'S HOSPITAL: We checked his mouth but no wound or scar has been found. It is very strange as to how the blade got into his head.

BOWER: Luckily doctors were able to surgically remove the blade. But they say the rusty knife just missed a brain artery and facial nerves.

LI FU: I feel better now that the blade has been taken out.

BOWER: Li Fu is expected to make a full recovery. Eve Bower, CNN Atlanta.


FOSTER: I bet he feels better. Just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, the other victims of Metzger drug war. We'll show the painful impact the board of Ireland on the children that lucky enough to escape.

And a new kind of rally in Egypt, hundreds and thousands gather in Cairo, Tahrir Square for what's called a day of victory. Stay tuned.


FOSTER: More harrowing scenes out of the Mexican city of Juarez. Thirteen people have been fatally shot in less than 24 hours in drug related violence. A police official in the region says the shootings happen in separate incidence throughout the city.

Meanwhile, hundreds gathered on Thursday to their University of Mexico City to protest the ongoing violence. The war on drugs has claimed more than 30,000 lives in the past two years and for many in Juarez there appears to be no end in sight.

Well the effects are felt not only in Mexico. Many in US Border towns fill themselves on the constant threat from the cartels. On Wednesday Thelma Gutierrez showed us ghost towns and felt southern Texas that's empty by residence fleeing the violence of the Juarez valley.

And yesterday she profiled a sheriff in the region who despite warning decided to take a stand. In part three of our series Thelma takes us into a classroom where we get a chilling glimpse of the war next door through the drawings of children.


THELMA GUITEIREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) Mexico. A small town where people knew one another and school children marched in holiday parades. Now the plaza is silent. Most of the children have gone and the town is in ruins.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: At Mexico they're killing people.

GUITEIREZ: They're seven and eight year old just learning to read but their journals tell the story of what happen in (INAUDIBLE) when cartel gunmen call (INAUDIBLE) road into town.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: When I heard the news that they had killed my dad I felt very, very sad.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: They killed one single person with a big very, very big machine gun and made a big whole through him.

GUITEIEREZ: These students are second graders at Benito Martinez Elementary School in Fort Hancock, Texas about a mile away from (INAUDIBLE). We're protecting their identities because most of their families had to flee for their lives.

Dee Torrez is there teacher. Out of all the children in your class how many of those children do you believe have been touched by violence?

DEE TOREZ, TEACHER: I have 34 kids in my classroom, 35 kids in my classroom I would say that maybe 33.

GUITEIREZ: This is a common theme in your curriculum?

TOREZ: Absolutely. They write about it, they talk about it.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: The reason I am scared to go to Mexico is that the (INAUDIBLE) will kill me.

GUITEIREZ: You give them a writing assignment and a picture of Mexico starts to emerge.

TOREZ: That' her mom crying.

GUITEIREZ: Her mom crying. It's a very sad picture isn't it? They write about people they've lost, parents, uncles, neighbors they draw pictures of crimes they've heard about and some they've witnessed.

A man in a wheelchair who was shot, a relative kidnapped at gunpoint. Then there are coffins and tombstones, guns and tears. In their world even the sun cries.

From a humanitarian standpoint do you consider this a crisis?

JOSE FRANCO, SUPERINTENDENT, FORT HANCOCK SCHOOLS: Oh definitely it's a war zone. I mean were living a couple of miles from a war zone that is the reality of it. And some of these children that were - we have in the classroom have been in the middle of it firsthand seeing some of the events that have occurred to their families, brother, sisters, parents.

This is reality. This is for real.

GUITEIREZ: They recount their experiences with chilling detail. Homes burnt by the cartel so families can't return. Military choppers flying overhead firing on cartel gunmen.

Big black SUVs driven by cartel hit men packed with drugs. Torrez showed us darker more disturbing images that one of her students drew. So this child is writing about a cousin who was killed.

She says that they cut off his head, his hands and his fingers.

TOREZ: Fingers.

GUITEIREZ: You're probably use to children drawing pictures of sunshine and swing sets and grass and flowers. Now you're getting pictures of buckets with body parts in it. What do you do as a teacher?

TOREZ: I allow them to write. I allow them to vent.

GUITEIREZ: In all the years of teaching that you have under your belt did you ever imagine you would be dealing with these issues?

TOREZ: Oh never, never because to me teaching was coming to school learning ABCs, 1, 2, 3 reading, writing.

GUITEIREZ: Torrez says volunteer community counselors are now working with the children and their families. And in the last years that they've been in her classroom they're starting to heal and smile again and so is the sun.


FOSTER: Were a week on from the ousting of Hosni Mubarak Egyptians a (INAUDIBLE) up next will find out how Greece might be able to help them on the road to democracy.


FOSTER: The United States has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal.

CNN United Nations Correspondent Richard Roth joins us from UN Headquarters in New York, where this news has just broken. Richard, can you just explain what it means in basic terms?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, the UN Sec -- Max, the UN Security Council has vetoed a resolution that's very significant here. The United States was the one who vetoed the resolution. The full council really supported it, except for the United States.

Here at the UN, Ambassador Susan Rice explained the veto.


SUSAN RICE, US AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: It is the Israelis' and Palestinians' conflict. And even the best intentioned outsiders cannot resolve it for them. Therefore, every potential action must be measured against one overriding standard. Will it move the parties closer to negotiations and an agreement? Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides.


ROTH: This is the first veto by the US administration by Barack Obama. Last veto was in November of 2006 when US Ambassador Bolton for the Bush administration also vetoed on the Middle East and Israel and settlements.

The Palestinians had the support of more than 130 countries. They say that it's about time the Security Council took a stand on continued Israeli settlement activity, which has been criticized and condemned by the US, as part of that international forum known as The Quartet.

And so said Washington did not want to have a resolution calling settlements illegal in a document here at the UN where it would have been deemed legal and binding on Israel.

As we know, there are many resolutions that Israel and other countries have not lived up to over the last 50, 60 year history of the United Nations. The Chinese ambassador addressing the UN Security Council, now.

But for the United States, they tried with the Palestinians to get them to go for a lighter statement, Max, which would not have been as significant and have as much heft as a resolution. The Palestinian executive committee meeting in Ramallah today, Friday, New York time, said no. They knew they might get a veto, they asked for it not to happen, this is the US reaction today.

There were a lot of political ramifications for President Obama, also, in the United States. It's always political season, now, it appears, here. And the United States, the White House, did not want to be deeming to vote against Israel on a Security Council matter. Back to you.

FOSTER: OK, Richard, thank you very much for joining us from the United Nations. Let's take a look at the other headlines this hour.

A violent end to anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain. Security forces fired teargas and bullets to stop protesters from marching on a symbolic square in the capital. An ambulance worker tells CNN four people were killed.

Outrage in Libya's second-largest city over the crackdown on anti- government protesters there. A medical source says at least 50 people have been killed since demonstrations began on Tuesday in Benghazi. Other reports put the toll even higher.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has warned that putting national interests first will kill off the G20. Financial officials are meeting in Paris, trying to find ways to address global and economic imbalances. Mr. Sarkozy, who hold's the rotating G20 presidency also gave his support to putting a levy on bank transactions.

Ugandans have voted in a presidential election that is expected to see the president win another five-year term. Yoweri Museveni has already been in power for 25 years. Voters lined up early to cast their ballots at various venues, including schools, government offices, and churches.

US stocks finished the week at multi-year highs. The Dow added 73 points on Friday, it climbed 2.5 percent over the past five days.

US president Barack Obama has condemned the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters. He was speaking after anti- government demonstrators in Yemen were once again attacked by supporters of longtime Ali Abdullah Saleh. Mohammed Jamjoom is in the capital, Sanaa, the scene of the some of the biggest protests yet.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is the biggest crowd we've seen of anti-government demonstrators so far this week. As of now, about 1500 demonstrators marching through the streets of Sanaa, demanding regime change. They're saying they want the government out, chanting, "First Mubarak, Now Ali."

By the looks of it, this crowd, very emboldened, ready to keep marching, saying they want their freedom, they want change. Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Sanaa, Yemen.


FOSTER: Well, compare those scenes to the crowds in Cairo, today. A week after former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power, Egyptians flooded the capital's Tahrir Square for what's described as a Day of Victory. CNN's Ben Wedeman was amongst them.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is Tahrir Square at its most crowded yet. There are hundreds of thousands of people here. It's really impossible to calculate how many. They've come to celebrate the revolution.

One man I spoke to came from Abu Dhabi, who came here specifically to celebrate the revolution. He said he brought his two children here to see something he said he never thought he would see, and that is Egypt free of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt no longer a dictatorship.

Now, of course, people here are also mourning the martyrs, more than 350 Egyptians were killed in the demonstrations. Other people are here to encourage foreigners to visit Cairo, visit Egypt, after this long period of instability.


WEDEMAN: But anyway, everybody here is very friendly and, for many people, this is a rebirth of Egypt, an Egypt, they say, they can finally be proud of. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Cairo.


FOSTER: Well, the rebirth of Egypt could be getting a helping hand from the birthplace of democracy. Greece has come up with a plan to create a new center to help teach the principles of good governance and, earlier, I asked the Greek foreign minister how it would work.


DIMITRIS DROUTSAS, GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER: The idea was to have in Greece a center of democracy, we can call it, like this where we would offer the necessary training and expertise to young politicians, political figures that are emerging in the Arab world and also to give some training and practical guidance to political parties that are emerging in the Arab world.

So, this is, in brief, the idea we have. It is in symbolic terms, first of all, but then, I think, also very much in substance. And everybody's invited to cooperate with us, especially our partners within the European Union.

FOSTER: So, a young high-flying opposition politician in Egypt, for example, or even in Libya, could come to the home of democracy, Greece, to learn about developing a democracy?

DROUTSAS: Well, this is an idea that Prime Minister Papandreou had also in the past to build up such an institution. We always felt that we can contribute to a transition to a democracy in the region. And this is the reason why we came up with this idea.

Once again, this is an idea we are discussing, we want to discuss with all of our partners. I had the opportunity also, today, here in New York to discuss this with the secretary-general of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and I will also have the opportunity on Sunday to discuss this with my colleagues from the European Union at a special session that we will have within the European Union on the developments in the Middle East and the wider region of the Middle East.

FOSTER: A potentially controversial point that may come up is that you could be accused of patronizing ancient civilizations, like Egypt, which are ancient in their own right, suggesting that, actually, you need to come to Greece to learn about democracy, and they can't do it themselves. What do you say to that?

DROUTSAS: No, no. Please, so that there are no misunderstandings, no kind of thinking of patronizing anybody, especially Egypt, has a very, very historic and long culture by herself. And once again, every country, every region has its particularities. No patronizing at all, this is not the idea.

We want to be helpful, we want to contribute to this process of democratization. And let us not forget that this will be a process that will take long. It might also be painful, and this is the idea. Just to be constructive and to be able to contribute, and no patronizing at all. This is far away from our thinking.


FOSTER: The Greek foreign minister, there, speaking to me a little earlier on.

Well, up next, a story that a nation of 1.1 billion people will follow religiously for 40 days, and that's just India. Thirteen other cricket- crazy nations are counting the hours to the start of the World Cup. We'll be right back with a preview.


FOSTER: Cricket's World Cup is back in South Asia. You're looking at the opening ceremony on Thursday in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Fourteen teams are vying for the coveted trophy. The first game begins in less than 12 hours. Co-hosts India will play Bangladesh.

Well, hundreds of millions of TV viewers from around the world will tune in to watch, so who has the best chance of winning? Here is Terry Baddoo.


TERRY BADDOO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's back to the future for the Cricket World Cup as the Indian subcontinent prepares to host for the third time. The tenth edition will feature 14 nations, with England, Australia, South Africa, India, and Sri Lanka among the favorites, Pakistan, New Zealand, the West Indies, and Bangladesh as dark horses, and Zimbabwe, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands, and Canada just happy to be there.

England arrived after downing Australia convincingly in the Ashes test series before getting hammered in the One-Dayers. Their chance of claiming a first ODI World Cup is, therefore, up for debate.

ANDREW STRAUSS, CAPTAIN, ENGLAND: We played a lot of very good One- Day cricket the last 18 months or so. We didn't play so well in Australia, which is disappointing to us. But we've got a very solid squad, very settled side, and we really fell we can do very well in this tournament. We're excited about it.

I think the guys took a lot of confidence from the fact that we won that Twenty20, the World Twenty20 and, so, the guys know they can do it on the big stage under pressure, which is an important hurdle to overcome as a side.

BADDOO (voice-over): Australia's ability to win a fourth-straight World Cup is very much in doubt. The baggy greens got their mojo back in the One-Dayers with England, but then lost two warm-ups in India. The jury is, therefore, out on the cup-winning potential.

STEVE WAUGH, FORMER CAPTAIN, AUSTRALIA: I certainly wouldn't write off Australia. We've got the capability, we have plenty of match winners. But we're a little bit hot and cold at the moment. But I think we're an outside chance.

BADDOO (voice-over): South Africa has never even been to a World Cup final, despite being perennial contenders. On paper, they again have outstanding potential. But choking may be a hazard.

Hosting is a mixed blessing for India and Sri Lanka, due to the weight of expectations. India won the World --


BADDOO (voice-over): While runners-up 20 years later, and they're currently second in the ODI rankings despite a mixed year. So, the pressure is on.

Sri Lanka, who will host 12 matches, were surprise winners in 1996 and currently stand third in the rankings. Consistency has been an issue, though. But hope springs eternal.

KUMAR SANGAKARRA, CAPTAIN, SRI LANKA: It's important to start off well. You kind of build momentum, so from your first wins onwards, you need to keep building momentum. And if you can kind of isolate each match and play it as a singular match in the context of the tournament, it'll help the team relax.

At the end of the day, it's where you finally end up that matters. So, the journey counts, and the final goal is to try and be there in Bombay.

BADDOO (voice-over): But for being stripped of hosting rights following the 2009 terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, Pakistan might have been title contenders. As it is, even their dark horse billing is diminished due to the spot-fixing bans on Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, and Mohammad Aamer.

That said, this is a perfect stage for a Pakistani Renaissance. And they're optimistic.

SHAHID AFRIDI, CAPTAIN, PAKISTAN (through translator): The team worked hard and morale is high at this time. We have good aims and goals. You'll see, we will definitely show a positive result in the World Cup.

BADDOO (voice-over): Eighth-ranked Bangladesh are no longer the whipping boys of international cricket and, though few expect a Bangladeshi victory, the first-time co-host will give a proud performance.

SHAKIB AL HASAN, CAPTAIN, BANGLADESH: I grew up as a side. I thought there's a true element, if you get a chance to play that'll be your dream. So, I think everyone feels the same way. It's something that it comes only after four years, so we are looking forward to it. So, I think it's the biggest event as far as cricketing is concerned.

BADDOO (voice-over): The West Indies won the World Cup in 1975 and 79 and were runners-up in 1983. Nowadays, they're more talented individuals than a team, though. But should they gel, look out.

Finally, to New Zealand, who had the pedigree, having made five semifinals. Unfortunately, in 12 recent One-Dayers on the subcontinent, they won just once, suggesting World Cup success is doubtful.

But who's to say? Fourteen teams with fourteen dreams. One of which will come true. Terry Baddoo, CNN.


FOSTER: So, just about 11 hours to go, can you believe. I've got Alex Thomas, here, with me. Alex, if nothing else, the atmosphere, at least at the start of this tournament, is going to be fantastic, isn't it? This is the capital of cricket now.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're cricket-mad in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India. Even if all three countries did have to stand in rather last minute after it was taken away from Pakistan for security reasons, we heard in Terry's report, there.

But also, it's the new financial capital of world cricket, as well. Gone are the days when Australia or England were the sort of financial power bases of the sport. All the revenue in terms of sponsorship and TV money, now, emanate particularly from India.

And it's a very important World Cup for the One-Day game, because we've seen the rise of the young upstart, Twenty20 cricket, nice three hours, good for television, the rise of the Indian Premier League, that's really got the country excited about it.

This is only the tenth World Cup. The One-Day game formed in the 1970s. India won it when it was held in England in 1983, and that ignited the country's passion for the One-Day game, but both India and Pakistan crashed out early in 2007, Max. So, really, we're looking for a good performance from one of the co-hosts to ignite the passion once more for people that love the cricket in that region.

FOSTER: And if all the money is coming from that region, what sort of changes have there been to the game because of that as they exert that power.

THOMAS: Well, it'll be interesting to see whether -- if they have a good World Cup, will a love for the 50-over game will still be there. Because suddenly you've got cricket in a bit of a crossroads, or a three -- a three-way path. Will it be the Twenty20 game that's the future? They're doing lots of efforts to make test matches over five days popular again.

For anyone that doesn't know cricket, a five-day sporting contest of any sort seems very, very peculiar, but the One-Day game still has its fans, and it should be a festival of cricket over six weeks. Maybe a bit drawn out, but we'll see lots of color, lots flamboyance, and lots of entertainment, I'm sure.

FOSTER: And you talk about the different forms of the game, have they got different crowds following them? Are they younger crowds following Twenty20, for example?

THOMAS: There's no doubt that Twenty20 has drawn in new fans in. Drawn in kids, drawn in families, drawn in women as well. Because of the short format of the game, it means they can play in the evenings after work, as opposed to five-day test matches, which you can never squeeze into a weekend, five days into two just doesn't go, even with my dodgy maths.

But for people that are going to take time out, buy tickets for One- Day matches at a cricket world cup, even over six weeks -- it's like staging a football World Cup or an Olympic Games. People will take time off work and go there to see these games. Be very important.

In four year's time, they're going to reduce the tournament from 14 nations down to 10, and they're going to give the smaller nations more of a chance in the Twenty20 World Cup Games. So, this is almost the last of its kind in the One-Day World Cup. The governing body still tinkering with the format.

FOSTER: And briefly, the TV audience is expected to be good -- big, even though the bulk of the audience is there right now?

THOMAS: It'll be huge. Actually, I don't know the figures off the top of my head. Not rivaling a World Cup in football or an Olympic Games, but certainly very, very popular, especially in the Asian region.

FOSTER: We look forward to it. Alex, thank you very much, indeed.

Just ahead, pop sensations, an embarrassing wedding proposal, and a real-life Super Mario kart. It's all happening on the web, of course. Stay tuned for the stories you're clicking on, just ahead.


FOSTER: We want to take you straight to the United Nations at this point, because we are hearing, there, from the Palestinian representative after that very controversial veto on behalf of the United States that we were reporting on a little earlier.

RIYAD MANSOUR, PALESTINAIN REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UN: Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Their strong and principled support was invaluable and illustrative to us. Once again, the importance, weight, and necessity of the collective effort and position in our work in the international arena as we strive to uphold international law and to make peace and justice a reality.

Madame President, when we determined to come to the Security Council to address the critical and dangerous issue of Israel's ongoing illegal settlement campaign throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, we came to the council with a sensible draft resolution reflecting agreed language and principles.

This represented there is a responsible and serious attempt on our behalf, along with the entire international community, to address this issue of illegal Israeli settlement activities in order to remove this obstacle from the path of the peace process.

Our overreaching goal remains to bring an end to the Israeli colonization and occupation of our land and its destruction of the two- state solution and to create appropriate environment and dynamics for the conduct and ultimate success of a gen -- ultimate success of genuine peace negotiations for the achievement of the two-state solution for peace in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Madrid Principles, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab peace initiative, and the Quartet road map.

Unfortunately, however, the Security Council has failed to uphold its responsibilities to respond to this crisis in the long search for peace and security in the Middle East and to legislate the global consensus that exists in demanding that Israel, the occupying power, immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

FOSTER: That's the Palestinian representative to the United Nations, there, speaking after the US vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning continued Israeli settlement-building. We're going to stick with that and bring you reports of those comments as they develop.

Now, it is Friday, so that can mean only one thing. Time to find out what you've been clicking on online. Here is CNN's Digital Producer, Phil Han.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITIAL PRODUCER (on camera): Welcome to another edition of Week on the Web. This is the place where you'll see all the best bits from social media over the past seven days.

Lots of really interesting stories this week, so let's kick things off with pop princess Britney Spears, who has dominated the web with her newest music video, "Hold It Against Me." Let's take a look.

(MUSIC - "Hold it Against Me")

HAN (voice-over): The full video was released late last night and, in just a few hours, it had more than a quarter of a million hits.

Now, over the past two weeks, Brittney Spears released a teaser video each day to build up the hype. And judging by the reaction, it seems to have worked, as she's also the number one topic on Twitter.

Now, here's story that is having a truly global impact. Scientists at NASA say the sun has emitted some of the biggest solar flares in nearly four years. The X-Class flares are so big that they could impact telecommunications here on Earth and also cause long-lasting radiation storms.

HAN (on camera): Up next, many of us have heard of Bieber Fever but, this week, it reached epic proportions. Teen pop star Justin Bieber released his new documentary called "Never Say Never," which chronicles his rise to fame. Here's a look.

JUSTIN BIEBER, SINGER: I think to myself, I was once chilling in my room, just in a regular place, and now I'm in this big world. It is just crazy how it all came around.

(MUSIC - "Never Say Never")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is living an extraordinary life, but he's just like you and me.

HAN (voice-over): Consistently one of the most popular topics on Twitter, this week, his name was everywhere to promote his film. He's even uploading YouTube videos of himself and some celebrities talking about the film. At least, that's what it sounds like.

BIEBER: And I'm just hanging out with my boy, Stewie, from "Family Guy."

UNIDENTIFED MALE IMPERSONATING STEWIE FROM "FAMILY GUY": Oh, sure, like, like, totally. I can't wait to go see that movie. That's going to be the bomb-diggity.

HAN (voice-over): Bieber was also in the headlines for a controversial interview he gave with "Rolling Stone" magazine, where he shared his views on everything from abortion to homosexuality.

HAN (on camera): Up next, here's a video on YouTube that is getting a lot of people talking. Let's take a look at this wedding proposal that didn't really go the way it was supposed to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make me the happiest man in the world, and please, will you marry me?


HAN (voice-over): There's a bit of uncertainty over whether this viral video is real or a fake. This happened at the Sherman Oaks Mall in Los Angeles, California, and the person who posted it on YouTube says that it's not a fake. But with these type of viral videos, I guess you never really know.

Finally, many of us have probably played Nintendo's Super Mario Kart, but imagine if it actually came to life. This is a video of a French prankster named Remi Gaillard, who has become a huge YouTube sensation with over four million hits. Now, Remi was chased by police and security guards and, eventually, it was game over for this Nintendo game turned real life.

HAN (on camera): Well, that was a look at some of the best stories from social media over the past seven days. Be sure to tell us what you think. You can connect with us on Twitter and Facebook. I'm Phil Han for CNN in London.


FOSTER: If you want to watch any more of those videos in Phil's piece, do become a fan of the show on Facebook at and you'll find all sorts of extras, there.

Now, a faux pas to tell you about, now, on tonight's Parting Shots. A Greek club Aris Thessaloniki has really put its foot in it with this one. The club accidentally used the wrong photo in a match day program against Manchester City. The spoof photo shows Wayne Rooney, Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Chelsea's Didier Drogba, and Real Madrid's Kaka alongside the team, together with "Where's Wally?"

Even though Manchester City saw the funny side, the Greek club's bosses were so embarrassed, they stopped selling the programs as soon as the mistake was discovered. Of course.

I am Max Foster, that is your world connected. Stay watching for the world headlines, though. Also, "BackStory" following after this short break.