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Saudi Women Urged to Start Their Engines. Change from Within. Wimbledon Draw. Big Money in Endorsements for Tennis Stars. Tennis and High Fashion. Week on the Web;. The Growing Mess in Greece; From Drought to Floods; Tense Situation at Turkish-Syrian Border

Aired June 17, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Fighting for the future of the eurozone -- France and Germany strike a deal to help save Greece from default.

But can the common currency survive and was it ever a good idea in the first place?

Plus, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie heads to Syria's border, where almost 10,000 have now fled the violence.

And getting in the driver's seat -- why Saudi women are calling on their country to switch gears.

Those stories and more tonight, as we connect the world.

A growing mess in Greece and increasingly drastic measures to contain it. The Greek prime minister today reshuffled his cabinet, appointed a new finance minister and signaled he will push hard for new austerity measures to be approved by parliament.

But even though the government declared that Greece would stay afloat, its real future may be decided beyond its borders.

And after days of disagreement, Germany today backed away from a plan to force private investors to shoulder some of the burden in a new bailout package. Instead, the German government agreed to make participation by private investors strictly voluntary.

After a two hour meeting in Berlin, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the agreement a breakthrough. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they would work as quickly as possible to make the new aid deal a reality.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The faster the better. I don't think it makes sense to settle on a date. But the most important thing is that we have principles.


SWEENEY: Well, a short time ago, I spoke with my colleague, Richard Quest.

And I asked him if Germany had blinked first here.


RICHARD QUEST, HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Angela Merkel had been very fierce about demanding some form of private bondholder pain that would go along with any restructuring. I mean, she didn't quite go as far as to say it had to be compulsory. But the fact was that in a dispute between those who said everybody had to be on board voluntarily and those who said, well, maybe some people will have to be dragged to the party, she was much more in the latter group.

Now, after discussions with Sarkozy, she's basically come on board.

The ECB, if you like, has won the day. There will be no compulsory or non-voluntary action forcing people to take -- to take a hair cut.

SWEENEY: I mean this is a public disagreement between the French and the German governments. France is much more exposed than Germany in Greece. So what Angela Merkel had to say, how much of an indication is it that Europe is spooked about Greece?

QUEST: Oh, I think there's no question that Europe is -- is worried about what happened. I wouldn't push too far this idea of Germany versus France. I think it was Germany -- because, remember, in 2013, in the future, there will be this arrangement where private bondholders will be expected to share the -- the pain.

So Merkel has won the argument in the long run. It's just on this particular case, on this case, it was a battle of ideology, of philosophy, between those on the ECB and those at the Bundesbank, between the two different views.

But it was simply too risky to push this any further, because while they're arguing, this is -- I mean I -- to change the analogy, you know, Athens is burning while they're fiddling. They know they've got to provide the money. That is not the question. They know that. It will be billions and it will take years.

What they want to know is who else is in this leaky boat and how much pain is going to be spread around?

SWEENEY: Any sense at all, down the line, that the euro is under threat for the eurozone and the whole European project?

QUEST: Fionnuala, I cannot, tonight, see a scenario in which Greece leaves the euro. The logistics of it are incredible. The philosophy of it is out of this world. The mechanisms of making it happen would simply be unrealistic.

As for a collapse of the eurozone, that is just unthinkable.

SWEENEY: Well, it may be unthinkable, but that doesn't mean a whole lot of people aren't worried about it. The survival of the eurozone and its currency is vital to the entire global economy.

First introduced in 1999 to stable and strengthen the European economy, the euro is now used by more than 300 million people in 17 EU countries. It's also the second most highly traded currency in the world, behind the U.S. dollar.

Well, can the euro survive this crisis or was it doomed from the start?

Mats Persson thinks it was.

He's the director of Open Europe.

But Katinka Barysch has hopes for its future.

She's the deputy director for the Centre for European Reform.

They're both in our London studio tonight.

First of all, Katinka, presumably, you would agree that, yes, the eurozone can survive this crisis.

KATINKA BARYSCH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR EUROPEAN REFORM: The eurozone can survive this crisis. You mustn't underestimate the political investment that has gone into this project. This isn't just a currency on top of a single market that we have built in Europe. It is the -- sort of the crowning achievement of more than half a century of political integration in Europe.

SWEENEY: OK, if I may...


SWEENEY: -- jump in there. Political integration in Europe. It's been about political will. And the eurozone couldn't have taken off without political will. But if it isn't working on a practical level, despite how -- it doesn't matter how much political will is put into it, it might not work.

We're hearing tonight that Moody's is now looking at a possible downgrade for Italy's credit rating.

Where is this going?

BARYSCH: It is hard to see where this is going. But what I do detect for the time being is that we have broken every rule. We have -- have turned over every agreement to save this currency. We are doing things now inside the European Union in the eurozone that even 12 or 18 months ago were absolutely inconceivable.

So the political will is there. Of course, the governments aren't as proactive and as -- as bold here as, you know, you would -- you would like them to be if you're an economist.

But they are really trying their best. And I think the -- the crisis will probably run for some years. We will put more sticking plasters on, but we will really try to save the euro, because a break-up, at the moment, is just inconceivable.

SWEENEY: Mats Persson, a break-up at the moment is just inconceivable. But that, presumably, is what you'd like to see.

MATS PERSSON, DIRECTOR, OPEN EUROPE: A break-up of the eurozone. I'm not sure I would want to see a break-up of the eurozone per se. I think what -- what all of -- all of us want to see is a European economy that functions well and that prospers and a monetary union that works in the long-term.

And the question is what will now work?

What does Europe -- Europe's leaders need to put on the table in order to -- to get out of this -- this crisis?

And, yes, I agree, maybe Greece and the Eurozone -- the Eurozone can muddle through yet again.

Again, but the politics of the eurozone is now -- are now very, very complicated, because what you ask of taxpayers in some of these rich member states is, effectively, that they underwrite the debts of foreign governments...

SWEENEY: So you're still advocating...

PERSSON: -- (INAUDIBLE) out of office.

SWEENEY: You're still advocating a Eurozone that functions despite all this?

PERSSON: Well, I mean it's -- we have to look at the long-term solutions.

Now, the question is, can Greece stay in the eurozone?

And I would say, at one point, eurozone leaders we'll have to make a choice. Either they put Greece and some of these other weaker economies on permanent life support -- in other words, they send subsidies their way, similar to what you have in individual countries -- for example, in Germany, where West Germany sends East Germany money -- or the eurozone simply has to revise its membership. I think that is the choice, whether to go for a full scale fiscal union or whether...


PERSSON: -- to go the other way. And it's a fork in the road. And at one point or another, the eurozone we'll have to make that choice, because it cannot muddle through forever.

SWEENEY: Katinka Barysch, the European coal and steel agreement, as you well know, the steel and coal agreement was set up after the Second World War in order to stop France and Germany ever going to war again.

So the question is now, in 2011, as we look at this scenario outlined by Mats Persson, has the European project gone too far?

BARYSCH: It's certainly taking a breather at the moment. We are definitely in a crisis situation. And the danger here is that although we are doing whatever it takes to save the euro, it is exactly these measures that are undermining the political solidarity on which this project is based.

So what we need to see at the moment is -- is a sense of solidarity that we are not saving Greece, we are saving the euro. And what is going to happen is that we will, obviously, provide more money for Greece to tide them over until they can get their economy to grow again. But eventually, I assume that Greece's debt will have to be written down. And by the time they write it down, a lot of that debt will have migrated from private hands into public hands.

So Mats is absolutely right that, in the end, transfers from rich taxpayers in the core of euro to the poorer countries will be necessary. But Greece is a...


BARYSCH: -- very small country. It's only 2 or 3 percent of Eurozone GDP. So we can afford to save that and to put that country back on the path to growth.

SWEENEY: Well, OK. But there's also a question there of just how much other countries are exposed.

Let me bring some really interesting and thoughtful comments that we've had about the euro on our Facebook page. I'll just read out a few of them to you both.

Angelica Ciansar (ph) -- I hope that's the pronunciation of her last name -- writes from Malta: "The euro is easier when going abroad and shopping online. But as a matter of pride, I would have preferred it we had kept our own currency."

But Karsten from Germany writes: "It's a mess. Most economies that also adopted it are weaker than ours. It has no use for us."

Raphael Wenric is from Belgium. And he disagrees, writing: "As an entrepreneur, it's easier for me to invoice or receive invoices from abroad, making my business stronger."

And, finally, Colin Mehgan is, perhaps, only half joking when he writes: "I'm from Ireland. Can we join the dollar?"

The question that Mats raised, I want to go back to.

Do you honestly believe that countries like Britain and other somewhat euro skeptic countries, would ever witness and allow full integration to happen, something that you see as being an absolute or a remedy for this current situation ultimately?

PERSSON: Is that question addressed to me?

SWEENEY: Yes, it is.

PERSSON: OK. Well, it's not only Britain, though. And that's -- that's what a lot of people tend to forget. You see growing resistance to closer fiscal cooperation and this idea of bailouts. You see growing resistance in countries -- countries that traditionally have been quite sort of euro enthusiastic...

SWEENEY: Because it's not working for them.

PERSSON: -- for example, Finland...

SWEENEY: Ireland...

PERSSON: -- well, for example, Finland. Finland is...

SWEENEY: Ireland is one of those countries.

PERSSON: Well, Finland is one of -- one of the countries on the other end of the -- of the bailout spectrum, so to speak, where the -- the Finnish people have traditionally been very, very good Europeans. But now, they are starting to object to this whole idea that they're underwriting these bailouts. And it has led to the rise of a populist party there coming virtually from nowhere...

SWEENEY: Indeed.

PERSSON: -- to -- to prominence. So I mean you see that not only in Britain and some of these traditionally euro skeptic countries, but increasingly in other member states, as well. And that is very problematic for this prospect of closer fiscal union.

So while I'm saying that is necessary, the politics of it is very unpredictable.

SWEENEY: All right, despite the political will that seems to be there.

Mats Persson, Mats, thank you very much, indeed.

Katinka Barysch.

Both of you joining us from London.

Well, Eurozone finance minister are set to meet on Sunday night in Luxembourg. And that's when they could agree to release the next slice of the original Greek bailout package. But the second rescue package may not be finalized until July.

CNN, of course, will stay on top of this story all weekend and in the months ahead.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

And still to come, a gesture of goodwill -- actress and U.N. Ambassador Angelina Jolie witnesses the despair at the Turkish-Syrian border. We'll have more on that in about 10 minutes from now.

And then, warming up for Wimbledon. It's just a shame the weather isn't. That's up in half an hour.

But first, a look at the rest of the day's main news, including the torrential rain and flooding that's inundating parts of China.


SWEENEY: I'm Fionnuala Sweeney at CNN Center.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Here's a look at the other stories we are following this hour.

Troops rushing in to help flood victims in Southern China. Half a million people have been evacuated after the worst floods in the last 50 years. But as CNN's Beijing bureau chief, Jaime Florcruz reports, the worst may be yet to come.


JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Continuous torrential rain has battered several provinces in Eastern and Southern China, causing severe flooding and mudslides. Many have died. More are missing.

Rivers are now swollen, threatening to breach dikes and dams. Roads and highways have been destroyed.

Only a few days ago, many of these regions have been suffering from the worst drought in 50 years, causing severe damage to agriculture. Now, it's nonstop rain.

China has set in motion its emergency response system, which is typically good and efficient. The Chinese authorities have raised its emergency response warning to level four -- the highest. They have sent rescue and relief teams, spearheaded by Chinese soldiers. They have already evacuated half a million people to safer places.

But the Chinese are bracing up for the worst, because the typhoon season in China has only just begun.

Jaime Florcruz, CNN, Beijing.


SWEENEY: Moammar Gadhafi says NATO is bound to be defeated in Libya, warning that bombs will not succeed in forcing regime change. State television airing that audio message from the Libyan leader on the same day that loud explosions rumbled across Tripoli, as NATO jets roared through the skies. It's unclear what targets were hit or whether there were casualties.

Conflicting reports today on whether Yemen's embattled president will ever return home. Ali Abdullah Saleh is being treated in Saudi Arabia for shrapnel wounds suffered during an attack on his presidential compound. A top Saudi official says President Saleh will not go back. But Yemeni officials dispute that. They say he's improving and will return in a matter of days.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has passed an historic resolution on gay rights. It's the first time the Human Rights Council has recognized equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The resolution passed by a vote of 23-19, with three abstentions.

Now, we want to tell you about a special project CNN is working on. Every year in Nepal, thousands of young girls are trafficked into the sex industry. On June 26th, we'll share their stories with you in a compelling Freedom Project documentary, "Nepal's Stolen Children".

Actress Demi Moore partners with CNN as a special contributor for this project. She travels to Nepal to meet the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year, Anuradha Koirala, and some of the thousands of the girls that her organization has rescued from forced prostitution. Now, the children, some as young as 11, share their emotional firsthand experiences with Moore.

How are these girls smuggled?

Where are they taken?

And what is Nepal doing to stop it?

Find out in the world premier of "Nepal's Stolen Children," a CNN Freedom Project documentary. That is next Sunday, June 26th, at 20:00 local time in London.

Well, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, driving change in Saudi Arabia - - the campaign to get Saudi women behind the wheel.

And next, the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the Turkish-Syrian border, as thousands flee the unrest.


SWEENEY: Welcome back.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

It's been another day of brutal violence in Syria. Media reports say up to 19 people have been killed. Demonstrations erupted across the nation after Friday Muslim prayers. The Reuters News Agency is reporting that one of the deaths happened in the commercial city of Aleppo.

This is amateur video from a protest in Houran. It shows thousands of Syrians chanting, "Leave! Leave!" and "The people demand the overthrow of the regime."

Now, CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of this footage.

And the situation is also getting worse at the Turkish-Syrian border, with almost 10,000 people fleeing the violence. U.N. Ambassador Angelina Jolie has arrived in Turkey to meet the refugees.

She was greeted at the airport amid tight security.

CNN's Arwa Damon is at the Altinozu refugee camp and sent us this update.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Angelina Jolie, in her capacity as the U.N. goodwill ambassador, spent around two-and-a-half hours at the refugee camp behind me. This was quite a unique opportunity, given that the media has been prevented from entering inside, as have groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

But she, at the very least, was able to get a firsthand glance at how refugees are coping with life inside these camps.

Prior to her arrival, there was a small demonstration that we were able to see, with people thanking Turkey for its hospitality but also imploring the United Nations to help them.

One man held up a sign saying, "The Syrian military is killing its own people. Please make it stop." And some children managed to crawl underneath the tarp that is blocking our vision of the camp. And there, they were chanting anti-regime slogans and also holding up signs saying, "Stop killing the children."

As these events were unfolding on this side of the border, inside Syria, activists in YouTube video whose authenticity we cannot verify, showed widespread demonstrations across the entire country. And we did hear reports that in some places, they did, as has been the case in the past, turn violent, causing casualties.

Meanwhile, the military offensive in the northwestern part of the country most certainly does appear to be continuing, with activists reporting that the Syrian military appears to be inching even closer to the Turkish border. And that news most certainly has been sending tremors of fear amongst the refugee population still stuck inside Syria, waiting to come to safety in Turkey.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Altinozu, Turkey.


SWEENEY: Meanwhile, a top Syrian businessman has announced plans to quit and go into charity work. Rami Makhlouf is a cousin and confidante of President Bashar al-Assad. He's the powerful head of Syria's largest mobile phone company, Syriatel. There are reports that during the Friday protests, Syrian crowds chanted, "No to Maklus! No to Assad! We just want Syria free!"

Fawaz Gerges is a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics.

He's been traveling throughout the region and I spoke to him earlier from Beirut in Lebanon.

I began by asking him about Rami Makhlouf's resignation and whether the Syrian people will buy it.


FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, I think what we need to understand is that, for many Syrian, Rami Makhlouf has become a rallying cry, a symbol of pervasive corruption that exists in Syria. That he has done a great deal of damage to the reputation of the regime.

Remember, in Syria, you have decadent wealth and abject poverty. And what the Syrian regime is trying to do is to say to the protesters, we hear you. Is trying to send a powerful message to the protesters.

I think what the Syrian government has been trying to do is to use persuasion, cooption and coercion in order to pacify the country.

I doubt it very much whether this particular step will basically do the trick in Syria.

SWEENEY: What is your assessment now of the Syrian situation, having talked to people there?

GERGES: You know, the -- I have spoken to many Syrians over the last 10 days. And I think my take on Syria, it's a very divided society. It's a divided society over economic -- socio-economically. It's divided in terms of sectarianism. It's divided in terms of ideology, as well.

The situation is very fluid. It's very confusing. Even for some of us who know Syria very well and travel in Syria, it's a very unfolding and very changing situation.

I think one point is very clear, the Syrian government has failed to basically silence the protesters. The protests have spread to many parts of Syria.

But this brings me to my second point.

The protests in Syria, even though they have spread to many parts of Syria, basically are not as large and thick as the protests that we have seen in Yemen, in Tunisia and Egypt. And that what this -- what this tells me is that the Assad regime retains a strong base of support, even though there is a great deal of opposition in Syria, the Assad regime appears to be deeply entrenched and also the country is deeply divided.

And that's why I would argue that the situation is very fluid and it will likely take many weeks, if not many months, for the fog to clear, for the dust to settle in Syria.

SWEENEY: And what might be the tipping point, these large numbers of people who benignly support Bashar al-Assad?

Would it be the army?

Would it be external, regional influences that might change the situation?

GERGES: My take on Syria is that the Syrian situation will be determined inside the country. Syrians will basically be the ultimate, basically, drivers behind...

SWEENEY: And which...

GERGES: -- what will happen...

SWEENEY: -- which part of society...

GERGES: -- in the next few weeks, the next...

SWEENEY: -- though, might be those ultimate drivers within Syria, do you think?

GERGES: I think -- I think many Syrians are sitting on the fence. In fact, in the last two or three weeks, many Syrians now appear to be taking a second look at what's happening in the country. There's a great deal of soul searching. A great debate is unfolding in Syria.

And what the government has tried to do in the last few days is to basically flag nationalist symbols, in particular, the army as the guardian of the nation, in particular the -- the flag itself. And the government has really used the -- some of the killings of soldiers and security personnel to basically drive the point that this is not just about the opposition. There is a -- an armed insurrection in the country.

And that's why many Syrians now are beginning to take a second look at what's happening in the country. And also what the Assad regime has done in the last few days is to mobilize its followers. You have had hundreds of thousands of pro-Assads, basically, on the streets in the last few days, all over Syria.

So, indeed, the country is very divided and it's going to take quite a great deal of time to see how -- what's the tipping point. I don't think there will be a tipping point. My take on what's happening in Syria, this will be likely a low intensity conflict, as opposed to a regime change, like what -- what happened in Tunisia, in Egypt and what might happen in Yemen, as well.


SWEENEY: Fawaz Gerges there.

Next, Saudi women, start your engines. That is one of the rallying cries on social media, encouraging a street campaign for equal rights in one of the world's most oppressive countries.

Also ahead, mixing force and style -- we'll see why some top tennis stars are now pairing up with fashion designers.


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, HOST: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. Let's get a check of the headlines now.

The leaders of France and Germany say they want a new rescue package for Greece to be agreed on as soon as possible. Greece's prime minister, George Papandreou announced a new finance minister to force through an unpopular austerity plan and divert bankruptcy.

Torrential rains and flooding have killed at least 25 people in southern China, and there are fears more people could die as troops rush in to help. More than a half a million residents have fled floodwaters that have reached their highest level in 55 years.

Media reports say up to 19 people have been killed in Syria today as anti-regime protests erupted across the nation after Friday prayers. Thousands have fled to neighboring countries to escape the violence.

Several explosions were reported in Tripoli early Friday as NATO aircraft flew overhead. The attacks come as a new message from Libyan strongman claims the alliance will be defeated. The audiotape was played to pro-Gadhafi crowds in Tripoli's Green Square.

There are conflicting reports on whether Yemen's president will be returning home. A top Saudi official saying Ali Abdullah Saleh won't go back to Yemen. But other media reports quote other officials who say he will return home in days.

It is a brave campaign to bring change to one of the world's most conservative countries one kilometer at a time. More women in Saudi Arabia got behind the wheel today to defy a ban on female drivers.

It's technically not against the law for women to drive, but religious edicts prevent them from getting licenses, and that means errands as simple as running to the supermarket require a driver or expensive taxi.

You may remember the main face of this rebellion on wheels, the Saudi woman who gave others the courage to get in the driver's seat.

We've been closely following the story of Manal al Sharif here on CONNECT THE WORLD. She was arrested last month after driving a car and posting a video of herself online. Al Sharif spent a week in jail, released only when she promised not to do it again.

Her case ignited an international outcry and a social media movement.


MANAL AL SHARIF, DEFIED SAUDI BAN ON DRIVING: We are not against the law, we are not resisting, we're not doing anything that's breaking the law. We made this clear, and we are all Saudis who started this thing and we love our country.


SWEENEY: Well, the number of Saudi women defying the driving ban may be relatively small, but it is a huge change from the days when women didn't dare challenge the status quo.

One of the trailblazers is Eman al Nafjan, a well-known Saudi blogger. She road around Riyadh today driven by a female friend, and Eman joins us now on the line.

So, how was it for you, driving around and being driven around by a female friend?

EMAN AL NAFJAN, ACCOMPANIED FEMALE DRIVER (via telephone): It was exciting. But I would rather have been behind the -- in the driver's seat.

SWEENEY: And were you stopped at any point? Did you see other women on the road?

NAFJAN: No, we didn't see any other women on the road, but Riyadh is a very big city. There are four million people in Riyadh. We only drove for 15 minutes.

We did see a police car, but they did not stop us. They pretended like they didn't see us, and most of the neighboring cars were positive.

SWEENEY: So, clearly, it was well-known today in Riyadh that women might be taking to their cars to drive. Is that why you think the police ignored you, not to bring more attention to it by arresting people?

NAFJAN: I think so, but there was a heavy police presence everywhere.


NAFJAN: I -- I --

SWEENEY: Go ahead.

NAFJAN: It's just that I think that it might have been for our security more than against us.

SWEENEY: And did you get any reaction from men at all in Riyadh, or is that at all possible?

NAFJAN: There was a car next to us, and there was a bearded fundamentalist, and he smiled at us Encouragingly.


NAFJAN: And I was so happy to see that.

SWEENEY: I mean, it must have been really quite something for you to experience.

Let me ask you, presumably it was well-known in Saudi today that women would be driving. And do you have any idea about how many women took to the streets in their cars today?

NAFJAN: About 33 to 45.

SWEENEY: And is that in Riyadh alone?

NAFJAN: No, that's all over the country.

SWEENEY: All over the country.

NAFJAN: And there's only news of one woman being arrested, and 18- year-old in a city called Hafr Al-Batin. She -- she was with her brother, and this was -- and of course there's only one news organization in Saudi Arabia, and it hasn't been confirmed, her name hasn't come out yet, so we really don't know if there's much truth to the story.

Another woman that I personally know was stopped and she was given a ticket for not having a Saudi driving -- driver's license. But Saudi Arabia doesn't issue driver's licenses. She has two licenses from two different -- two other different countries, but they still gave her a ticket.

SWEENEY: So, this is really quite interesting, the reaction of the Saudi authorities. Has there been any other kind of official reaction, and do you anticipate another campaign like this some other Friday?

NAFJAN: This is only the beginning. It's not another Friday. More - - hopefully, more women will start driving tomorrow and after tomorrow. The whole campaign, the idea behind it was June 17th is the start date. It's not the only day. It's the date from when women will start to drive.

We are trying to normalize this, to make it normal. Because it is more of a social issue rather than a legal one. There are certain factions in society that are refusing to accept this, so we think that if more and more women come out and drive, it will become more and more normal for them.

SWEENEY: OK. A brief final question, Eman. Is this something related to the Arab Spring or is it purely a Saudi phenomenon?

NAFJAN: I think it was inspired by the Arab Spring.

SWEENEY: All right. We leave it there. Eman al Nafjan, thank you very much indeed for joining us on the line, there, from Saudi Arabia. Took to the car, not driving herself, but driven by a female friend.

And just a note, the sound we played you earlier just before we went to Eman, from Manal al Sharif, the woman we spoke to and we heard from before she was arrested, we need to tell you that that sound, of course, that we heard from her just before we spoke to Eman was recorded before her arrest.

Now, staying with this story, though, because the reaction of Saudi Arabia will be very interesting at some influential allies who put a premium on human rights, like the United States. So, the question's been asked, why aren't they exerting more pressure on Saudi for change?

According to "The Guardian" newspaper, US cables revealed by WikiLeaks show that Washington has been privately encouraging Saudi officials to allow women to drive. Evidently to no avail, US president Barack Obama made these public remarks about women's rights in general back in May.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: History shows that countries are more prosperous and more peaceful when women are empowered. And that's why we will continue to insist that universal rights apply to women as well as men.


SWEENEY: But do Saudi women really need outside pressure to get their rights, or could change possibly come from within? Well the Arab Spring has shown us what people power can accomplish, but Saudi Arabia, of course, is no Egypt or Tunisia.

So, let's bring in Mohammed Jamjoom for some perspective. He is in Abu Dhabi.

From what you've heard, first of all, how did it go today? And is this a portent of things to come if we're to believe Eman, who we just spoke to?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fionnuala, it's simply extraordinary. It's just remarkable what happened today.

Even though it's a relatively small number of women in Saudi Arabia who reportedly got behind the wheel and drove around in different cities, the fact that there were that many, according to activists and some of the females who drove who I spoke with today, really shows that women are emboldened there.

And the women that I was speaking with last night and today, the kind of hope that you were hearing in their voices was really something to hear.

Many people told me they felt a fear barrier had been broken. And this is the kind of -- these are the kind of words that we were hearing when the Arab Spring movement was first starting in other countries.

And for these women that live under such restrictions in Saudi Arabia, to not only be publicizing this, but to be posting videos of themselves on YouTube, to be tweeting about it, to be using their real names, really does show that a fear barrier in Saudi Arabia has been broken, and this is one of the most conservative countries in the world and one of the most restricted countries for women to live in.

So, it really is quite extraordinary and it really does look like this movement at this point will continue. Where it goes from here, they're not sure, but the women that I was speaking with all throughout the day, like Eman, were saying that they thought this was just the beginning and that it would continue, and they were very hopeful about it. Fionnuala?

SWEENEY: And of course, the question is, as been with so many of the uprisings we've seen throughout the Middle East has been whether or not change will come from within.

We heard from President Obama just a moment ago, he speech he made in May about women's rights in general. Is there likely to be any traction with Saudi when the US applies pressure on this issue?

JAMJOOM: This is what's so interesting about it. We know from these WikiLeaks cables that the Obama administration has been pushing Saudi officials somewhat to allow women to drive.

Now, we know that for the last several years, we've heard from many officials in Saudi Arabia, including King Abdullah himself, that the women driving issue in Saudi Arabia was a societal one, and that it looked like women were close to being able to drive.

But despite international pressure, despite calls from the outside, it never happened. And now you have this movement flourishing from within. Saudi women emboldened, feeling empowered, saying their time has come. A lot of them, as you heard from Eman, emboldened because of the Arab Spring.

And what's interesting about that is, in March, there was a Day of Rage that was planned for Saudi Arabia. Hardly anybody turned out. People thought this kind of movement, this kind of popular movement in Saudi Arabia could never happen.

The fact that it's happened in a different kind of way, with women in Saudi Arabia, who've been so oppressed over the years, that they're doing this now really shows that there's a change going on in that country, and the women that are there are saying that they're going to keep doing it from within.

They're happy that they're being encouraged from the outside, that so many women and international groups and countries are supporting them, but they say this is their time, their moment, and they are determined to keep this going. Fionnuala?

SWEENEY: Mohammed Jamjoom at CNN Abu Dhabi. Thanks for joining us.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, serving up a big battle. The draw for Wimbledon has taken place. The prestigious tennis tournament begins, of course, on Monday, and we might have another epic battle on our hands. More on these two tennis stars next, right here on CNN.


SWEENEY: Well, we're just days away from the most prestigious event in world tennis and, yes, it is that Wimbledon time of year again. Get ready for a serving of strawberries, wet weather, and hardcore tennis fans. 2011 marks Wimbledon's 125th birthday.

But for the players, every year is special. Ask any tennis pro what their dream is, and they'll probably say a slice of Wimbledon glory.

Well, the big news today, who faces who? So, with more on the Wimbledon draw, we head to the home of the championships. Pedro Pinto is in London. And Pedro, of course, we might have another epic battle on our hands.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: We might. And it's the kind of story, Fionnuala, that if you heard it before it happened, you'd say "No way. There's way this could happen again."

Anyway, I'll get to what it is. Nicolas Mahut and John Isner are facing off again for the second consecutive year.

Why do we care? Because last year, they set a world record for the longest ever tennis match. Eleven hours, five minutes. It went five sets, obviously, and the fifth set was only decided after John Isner won the 70th game to 68 of Mahut.

I was actually in South Africa covering the World Cup when this happened, and none of us could believe it. It was just one of those matches that no one will ever forget.

Of course, the players have already started joking about it, said that they'll try to make it as dramatic as last year. But obviously, there's no way they could ever repeat this kind of epic battle. They have said they would rather not go back to court number 18, which is where this match took place.

One more note from the men's side of the draw, Fionnuala, when it comes to the top four players on the planet, everybody knows -- wants to know who faces who in the semifinals. Well, it'll be Murray against Nadal and Djokovic against Federer, obviously if the top four make it that far.

Exactly what happened at the French Open. That was how the top four players in the world were matched up for the final quartet on the men's side of the draw, Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: All right. What about the women's draw, and who are you tipping to win?

PINTO: Well, everybody's been talking about the return of the Williams sisters. Serena was gone for practically a year. She had to battle with a variety of injuries.

First, a freak injury that she suffered when she cut one of her feet on broken glass. And then, of course, she had a more serious condition where she had to overcome a blood clot in one of her lungs. So, everybody's talking about her return. Venus Williams also in only her third tournament of the year.

So, if you're asking me to make a call on who will win the men's and women's titles, I'm going to go out with Venus, who's a five-time champion already. I think she'll be one of the women to watch, and I think she'll win the title. On the men's side, I'm going to go with Novak Djokovic just because he's only lost one match this year, 41 and 1 on the season. That's my pick.

SWEENEY: All right.

PINTO: We'll see if I get any of those right.

SWEENEY: All right, we'll hold you to it in a couple of weeks from now. Pedro, thank you.

Well, of course there's plenty of money to be won and made from Wimbledon's success. The value of the tip price has soared -- I should say the top prize has soared. The price of it has gone up, of course, since it was introduced in 1968.

Back then, it was just over $3,000 for men and $1,000 for women. Now, it's equal and a massive $1.7 million.

But success at Wimbledon doesn't just mean taking home prize money. The American magazine "Sports Illustrated" reckons Roger Federer, who is a six-time Wimbledon champion, and $62 million in 2010 and two thirds of that fortune came from sponsorship deals.

In January 2010, Nike managed to snap up Maria Sharapova by offering her an eight-year endorsement deal said to be worth $70 million. That would be the highest-ever endorsement deal ever signed by a female athlete. She won Wimbledon back in 2004 and went on to win a number of other titles.

Well, as Sharapova's Nike deal proves, fashion is big business in the world of women's tennis. The grass courts of Wimbledon are not only sports arenas, they are money-making catwalks, as CNN's Ayesha Durgahee found out.


AYESHA DURGAHEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The guts and the glory.


DURGAHEE: The glitz and glamor. The sweat and tears and style of tennis. The women's game has drawn in the crowds and the couture more than ever before.

To commemorate the 125th anniversary of Wimbledon, the WTA has teamed up with the British Fashion Council, pairing off players with top British designers.

French Open champion Li Na arrived wearing Giles Deacon. Ana Ivanovic, in a Matthew Williamson creation. And Maria Sharapova wore Alexander McQueen.

CAROLINE RUSH, CEO, BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL: I think it's one of those collaborations that naturally has come together, and you've seen sort of the fashion world and the tennis world staff seem to develop more and more synergies over the past few years.

The tennis players have started to become fashion icons, as well. But from our perspective, it's great to see these designs on really strong, athletic women, and they look fantastic in them.

DURGAHEE: But only for one night. The dresses that have been created especially for each player will be auctioned off during Wimbledon for charity.

Still, getting dressed up for the annual WTA pre-Wimbledon party is a chance to forget about the daily grins on court.

ANA IVANOVIC, 2008 FRENCH OPEN CHAMPION: It's very good, because we don't get a chance to get dressed up that much. We have opportunities to get your hair and makeup done and wear high heels and do all the girl stuff, it's a lot of fun.

DURGAHEE: Association with brands and big names after winning championship titles is big business. Former world number one Maria Sharapova is the highest-paid female athlete in the world after signing an eight-year deal with Nike for an estimated $70 million.

She is part of the design process for her outfits, and up and coming players wear Team Sharapova Nike sportswear.

MARIA SHARAPOVA, FORMER WORLD NUMBER ONE: I always had this idea in my -- kind of in my head that I wanted to express individuality, I wanted the product that maybe one day I would create, I want it to be different.

Because I think I can really relate to a woman that loves to be active, but also wants to be glamorous and know the trends and be part of the fun times. I think I have both worlds of that, and I can really design from everyone's perspective.

DURGAHEE: And it's the endorsement deals that bridge the gap between these two worlds, where the women on tour work hard and play even harder. Ayesha Durgahee, CNN, London.


SWEENEY: And coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, there's a time and a place for a joke, and it is not while interviewing the Dalai Lama. We'll take a look at an awkward moment for an Australian news presenter and some of the other videos you've been checking out online.


SWEENEY: The internet has been buzzing this week with the release of a trailer for the new Harry Potter movie. Phil Han takes a look and has more of the stories you've been clicking on.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Welcome to another edition of Week on the Web. This is the place where we want to catch you up with everything you may have missed from the past seven days.

First up, though, here's a look at this trailer, which is getting a lot of attention online.

DANIEL RADCLIFFE AS HARRY POTTER, "HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2": Tell them how it happened that night. How you looked him in the eye, the man who trusted you --

HAN (voice-over): Potter fans are eagerly awaiting the release of the final Harry Potter film next month but, in the meantime, this latest movie trailer is keeping them busy.

RADCLIFFE AS POTTER: You'll stay with me?



HAN: This web page is also getting lots of buzz online. No one knows what this page is about or what to expect, but we do know it is from Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Vancouver Canuck fans are still reeling after losing the Stanley Cup and also trashing their city during violent riots. But one unlikely star was created out of it.

This couple was snapped kissing during the peak of the riots and, after their picture went viral, the next question was who they were. Apparently, it is Australia Scott Jones and his girlfriend Alex Thomas. A witness said the woman was knocked over by riot police, and that's when Scott came to help.

Off to another loved-up couple. These two were trying to take a photo with their computer's camera. Unfortunately, they struggled a bit with the technology.

ELDERLY FEMALE: I don't hear it clicking, do you? Do you hear it clicking?


ELDERLY FEMALE: Then there's something wrong.

HAN: Not sure if the birthday wishes ever got sent, but I'm sure this is a much better present.

HAN (on camera): Sometimes, there are some jokes you just don't tell, especially if that person is the Dalai Lama. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Channel 9's Karl Stefanovic got the message.

KARL STEFANOVIC, ANCHOR, CHANNEL 9: So the Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop. Pizza? Yes, pizza. Pizza shop. And says, "Can you make me one with everything?"

HAN: The Dalai Lama never did get the joke, but him and the Australian presenter did become huge online hits.

This next video has more than half a million hits, all because it shows how the installation of a hot tub went terribly wrong.



HAN: The crane was apparently not loaded properly, which is why the truck flew up in the air.

Another video which has gone viral shows UK prime minister David Cameron at a hospital during a photo opportunity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. I'm the senior orthopedic surgeon in this pump. Why is it that we're all told to walk around like this, and these people -- ?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just want to talk to me.


HAN: The doctor was furious because camera crews did not have their sleeves rolled up and failed to follow proper hygiene rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you were all taken up --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll come back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not having it! They're out!

HAN: I'm Phil Han, CNN, London.


SWEENEY: And that's telling them. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney. The world headlines and "BackStory," of course, will follow this short break.