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Murdoch Apologizes; New Bank Stress Tests; British Open Round Two; Women's World Cup Preview; NATO Helping Rebels Plan Attacks, Libyan Government Says; Overview of Recent Developments in Libya; Intense Fighting In Qawalish; Murdoch Heckled in London; Extreme Science; Week on the Web

Aired July 15, 2011 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Finally, an apology -- global media mogul Rupert Murdoch says sorry for the phone hacking scandal.

Well, the saga claims another scalp. News International chief, Rebekah Brooks, issues her own mea culpa and throws in the towel.

Live on tonight's show, the journalist who broke one of the biggest scandals in American history. Carl Bernstein on why he says this is Murdoch's Watergate.

Also this hour, testing the health of European banks -- who's in shape and who's not.

And it's one of the coldest places on Earth -- our big interview with the environmentalist, Philippe Cousteau, who tells me about his trip to an unforgiving landscape.

These stories and more tonight here on CNN, as we connect the world.

Well, tonight, Rupert Murdoch figuratively on his knees, saying sorry twice. The phone hacking investigation spreads from Britain to the United States. News International tells CNN that the media baron plans to run an apology in all of Britain's national newspapers this weekend, saying, quote: "We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred."

Well, earlier today, Murdoch met with the family of murdered school girl, Milly Dowler, as he steps up efforts to calm the storm caused by the "News of the World's" alleged hacking of her mobile phone.

And the headlines keep coming thick and fast. Out of a job, but not out of the firing line -- Rebekah Brooks calls it quits at News International. It's the first major casualty among the top bosses, as the widening scandal engulfs the Murdoch media empire.

Well, in less than two weeks, the fallout has gone nuclear, shutting down Britain's biggest Sunday newspaper and killing the mega BSkyB business deal, the biggest of Murdoch's career, that looking ready for a rubber stamp.

We have got team coverage this evening.

Right now, let's look at the shake-up at the highest reaches of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is covering that part of the story from Westminster.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yet another day of incredibly fast- moving developments in this story.

First of all, Rebekah Brooks, the embattled chief executive of News International, finally resigned from her post. Then we were told that Rupert Murdoch, in charge of the entire News Corp operation, had taken out full page ads in several newspapers apologizing for what went on. And then, most sensationally of all, perhaps, we were told that Rupert Murdoch had had a meeting with the family of Milly Dowler, the murdered 13 -year- old school girl whose phone was hacked into by one of Murdoch's papers.

After the meeting, the Dowler family solicitor, Mark Lewis, came out and spoke about how contrite Rupert Murdoch appeared.


MARK LEWIS, DOWLER FAMILY LAWYER: I think he was very humbled. I think he was very shaken and very sincere. I think this was something that is hitting on a very personal level, that it was something that shouldn't have happened.


RIVERS: And there's been more withering criticism of Rupert Murdoch from one of the people who thinks they were a victim of this phone hacking at one of Murdoch's papers. The former deputy prime minister, John Prescott, had this say about Rupert Murdoch.


JOHN PRESCOTT, FORMER U.K. DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think the big surprise is Mr. Murdoch, isn't it?

I mean he wanted --


PRESCOTT: I don't know whether he did. Perhaps he -- now he's decided to change his mind again and come on the next plane. I think that he'll probably (INAUDIBLE) public and a criminal inquiry going on board and we'll have to leave that. But he's at the center of it. I don't believe for a moment (INAUDIBLE). And I look at what he did in China, he's got the Fox News and what he's been doing here. This isn't a man who doesn't know what's going on.


RIVERS: Well, all eyes now will be focused on that Select Committee on Tuesday, where both Rupert and James Murdoch and their former chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, will have to turn up and answer some very probing questions. Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, News Corp wasted no time in parachuting in a new boss for News International. Tom Mockridge is now in the CEO hot seat.

But who exactly is he?

Well, he's not a new face to the Murdochs. He has held a number of executive roles in News Corp, dating back to 1991. Now, he's been chief executive of the Murdoch-owned Sky Italia since its launch in 2003. He also worked as an adviser to the former Australian prime minister, Paul Keating, when Keating was treasurer in the 1980s. He started his career as a financial reporter in his native New Zealand.

Well, to the U.S. now, where the attorney general says News Corp is very much on investigators' readers.

My colleague, Susan Candiotti, says that questions are growing in the States over what began as a phone hacking scandal in the United Kingdom.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the FBI investigation underway, one of the many questions is how far-reaching will this probe be?

And it's very hard say at this point.

But among them, many people want to know, will News Corp publications, including "The New York Post" and "The Wall Street Journal" be a focus?

Again, no one knows at this point.

The U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder, is saying that he is listening to a lot of pressure from Capitol Hill, asking him to move forward with this investigation because of a story that appeared in a newspaper in the U.K. claiming that a former New York cop, now a private investigator, was contacted at some point to hack into phone records of 9/11 families and their victims.

So that's the spark, that's the seed for this investigation.

Where this will take the FBI, no one knows. But they certainly have to run down that lead, possibly working with Scotland Yard and then seeing where the investigation goes from there.

9/11 families welcome this probe and are saying that if this hacking scandal is true, they're simply horrified.


JIM RICHES, FATHER OF 9/11 VICTIM: If somebody went in and took our information and took our last messages from our sons or our -- what we were talking about, it's not -- it's not none of their business unless they -- they can ask us. And if we're willing to tell them, we'll tell them. But to invade privacy like that, America has rights. We have rights. And they can't just trample on the law. They should be held accountable.

CANDIOTTI: 9/11 families say that if any evidence is found, they'd like to see people prosecuted at News Corp to the fullest extent of the law.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


ANDERSON: So, could this be Rupert Murdoch's Watergate?

Well, our next guest, journalist Carl Bernstein, was part of the "Washington Post" team that helped break the Watergate scandal. Of course, it led to the resignation of President Ricks -- Richard Nixon.

Dustin Hoffman played Bernstein in the film about the scandal, "All the President's Men." If you haven't seen it or even if you have, he's a refresher.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. This is Carl Bernstein of "The Washington Post" and I was just wondering if you can remember --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "All the President's Men" -- the story of the two young reporters who cracked the Watergate conspiracy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Howard Hunt, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Mr. Coulson's office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's Charles Coulson?

Did you know Howard Hunt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the White House said he was doing some investigative work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They stumbled into leads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly it comes as no surprise to you the cowardice of the CIA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No surprise at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They tripped over clues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd like to see all the material (INAUDIBLE) in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, all White House transactions are confidential.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This whole thing is a cover-up. It's right under our nose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And piece by piece, they solved the greatest detective story in American history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no way the White House can control the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I -- I don't want to say anymore, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been threatened if you tell the truth?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a cover-up?


ANDERSON: And Carl Bernstein joins me now live from our New York bureau.

So that is, of course, the $64 million or billion dollar question in - - in regards to the News Corp's future value at this point.

Carl, do you believe there has been a cover-up at the very top?

And if you do, what's your evidence for that?

CARL BERNSTEIN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: I don't think that's the question. I think that the real thing that we need to look at is a culture that has been established by Rupert Murdoch and his bottom end institutions, like "News of the World," in which any tactics are permissible in pursuit of the story no matter how reprehensible. And that has been the brand of journalism that Rupert Murdoch has encouraged at his low end newspapers.

He has taken an institution, much like Nixon took the presidency, which is intended for high purposes, and turned them into low purposes in which his people have been doing all kinds of things for many years that responsible, respectable reporters and journalists have no business doing unless they want to be considered thugs and criminals.

And that's what this is about, not a particular act of hacking. This hacking could not have happened, as someone told me, were it not for the culture that -- that Murdoch established there.

So it's not about finding a smoking gun anymore than Watergate was about just finding a smoking gun in terms of Nixon. It is about taking a high-minded institution like the press and turning it into a low use institution for retribution, for political power, for personal ends and -- and doing vile, vile things, not just hacking.

ANDERSON: There is talk that News International will effectively issue a mea culpa this weekend, buying advertising space, we believe, across the board in British newspapers. Some say too little too late.

Carl, how and when did Murdoch lose his legendary sure footing, as he dithered on how to deal with this mess?

BERNSTEIN: Because finally the political class that he has so controlled in Britain has turned against him because people became outraged at a certain point, when his tactics, which he has used all over the lot, were extended to the royal family and to the victim of a murder, when it no longer was just about celebrities. Remember, Rupert Murdoch has trafficked in gossip, sensationalism, manufactured controversy at the bottom end of his newspapers for a long time.

He then very much almost like a mafia family, has the high end of his legitimate businesses. He is a far-seeing genius when it comes to knowing media, to understand you can establish new institutions to do things like Sky News has done that others have never done in -- in the history of British broadcasting.

So there are two sides to this man. But -- but the whole empire that he has been building all these years has been built upon this low business of personal exploitation --

ANDERSON: All right --

BERNSTEIN: -- of journalists willing to do anything to get the story.

ANDERSON: OK. And many, many people agree with you. I guess there will be those who say this is a guy who was spending a million bucks a day in the 1990s. He nearly went bankrupt. He built up an organization. Maybe it's too nepotist to get the top. Maybe they won't survive forever, the Murdochs, at the top of News Corp.

But he's been a successful businessman and he's not the worst, is he, at the end of the day?

BERNSTEIN: I think in -- in terms of journalism and having a pernicious influence on journalism, he has been the worst of the last 50 years. At the same time, I think he is a brilliant media executive who has done many things that others have failed to see.

For instance, he created a fourth television network in the United States, not Fox News, but Fox TV, when everyone in the business said it could be never -- it could never be done.

At the same time --

ANDERSON: All right --

BERNSTEIN: -- he also created Fox News, which has nothing to do with what real journalism is, which is the best obtainable version of the truth. Fox News really is -- is, again, about manufactured controversy, about ideologically driven reporting --

ANDERSON: All right. But --

BERNSTEIN: So you have these two things. On the one hand, you have this grand ambition to be a great player. And then it's what is done to get there, which is a brand of low methodology --

ANDERSON: Right. How --

BERNSTEIN: -- that reporters acting like thugs ought not be doing.

ANDERSON: I hear what you're saying. He also, of course, owns "The Wall Street Journal." That is a recent buy for him. And interesting to note, as we speak, "The Wall Street Journal" itself tonight is reporting that Les Hinton, the chief executive of Dow Jones, who was, some time ago, the CEO at News International, will resign today. Dow Jones, of course, the publisher of "The Wall Street Journal".

We are working to confirm this story here at CNN.

What do you think of that?

Another scalp.

BERNSTEIN: Well, look, there -- there is a hemorrhage going on inside News Corp right now to save those at the top, very much like happened in Watergate. And, again, it's not necessarily because Rupert Murdoch or James Murdoch has performed this or that illegal act, but rather because they have established a culture that has been operating in the political and media realm that finally is being repudiated --

ANDERSON: All right --

BERNSTEIN: -- by its victims.

ANDERSON: I give you the chair at Tuesday's Select Committee hearing in British parliament.

What is the one question that you would put to Rupert Murdoch?

BERNSTEIN: I don't know, quite honestly. I think we need some -- some fact-finding, but I -- I'd be most interested in finding out Mr. Murdoch, what is it that you believe journalism is?

ANDERSON: Thanks, Carl.

BERNSTEIN: As simple as that.

ANDERSON: We appreciate your time this evening.

There are those who will say an example, if ever you had one, that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I didn't say that, though, of course, and neither did you this evening.

Carl Bernstein for you --


ANDERSON: -- here on -- here on CNN.

You're watching CNN, of course.


The world is watching the fate of Rupert Murdoch and his empire. Next Tuesday promises to be a major day in the growing scandal.

CNN will have live coverage of that testimony by Murdoch and his son James to the British parliament, along with former News International chief, Rebekah Brooks.

Plus, we'll bring you expert analysis.

That is all on Tuesday, starting at a half past two in the afternoon, London time, all here on CNN.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

It's 16 minutes past 9:00.

Well, it certainly isn't what you'd expect to find hidden amongst thoughts of tomatoes. The Mexican soldiers make a record-breaking discovery.

Then the test no bank wants to fail, yet eight did in Europe. We'll see which ones might not survive another financial meltdown.

And later, the words Libyan rebels have been waiting to hear from Washington.

This is CNN.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on this, a Friday evening here.

A look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.

And they call it the "Friday of Final Warning." They're putting their government on notice that they are ready to take back their revolution. Thousands of Egyptians joined an ongoing demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square earlier, demanding faster reforms from interim military rulers. They want a clear, detailed plan for a democratic transition and speedy trials for Hosni Mubarak and key members of his former regime.

Well, even bigger protests in Syria today. In fact, some call them the biggest yet against the government of Bashar al-Assad. Hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps even a million, took to the streets on Friday, most of them in the cities of Hama and Daraa. But significantly, thousands also protested in Damascus. Now, the capital, President Al-Assad's power base, of course, has been relatively quiet since the uprising began. Activists say as many as 19 protesters were killed across the country by security forces on Friday.

Well, U.S. President Barack Obama and Congressional lawmakers are racing the clock, trying to reach a deal on raising the U.S. debt limit and avoiding a potentially catastrophic default. Five straight days of talks and deadlocks over spending cuts and taxes. President Obama encouraging all sides to set aside politics and to at least, quote, "avoid Armageddon."

Well, Mexico's army says it has found the nation's largest marijuana plantation hidden among or amid rows of tomatoes. The field covered 120 hectares, almost 170 times larger than a soccer pitch. It's located near Tijuana in the country's northwest. The illegal crop is worth more than $160 million. Six people have been detained. Army officials say the plants will be destroyed.

And a familiar voice got the Shuttle Atlantis astronauts up and moving today.


PAUL MCCARTNEY, BEATLE: (singing) The sun is shining down.

Good morning, guys.

Wake up and good luck on this, your last mission.

Well done.


ANDERSON: Well, the wake up sounds of The Beatles' "Good Day Sunshine" and the unmistakable voice of Sir Paul McCartney. Later, the shuttle and space station crews got a call from somebody else.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to say how proud I am of all of you. Congratulations to NASA, to all our international partners and all of the personnel, past and present, who have spent countless hours and untold effort making the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station a unique part of our history. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Who woke you up this morning?

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, under pressure -- Europe's banks are put to the test.

And a golfer from Northern Ireland takes a share in the lead at the British Open. But it is not who you might think.


ANDERSON: All right. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

It is 22 minutes past 9:00 in London.

I'm Becky Anderson.

Now, with concerns still about a debt default tsunami sweeping across Europe, the continent's banks are being examined to see if they would stand strong or, indeed, crumble if -- in the face of another major financial crisis. It's important the European banking authority has carried out a so-called stress test on 90 banks in 21 countries. And what regulators want to know is if a financial institution could handle another collapse in property values, or, indeed, a government going broke.

Well, here are the results. Eight banks failed, five from Spain, two from Greece and one from Austria. Sixteen other banks passed, but just barely. The banks that failed didn't have enough of a cash cushion, falling short by more than $3.5 billion.

Well, with me now is Jan Randolph, an experienced international economist and sovereign risk analyst who is going to break these numbers down for us in a moment.

But first, what exactly is a stress test?

Well, last year, when banks were also under the microscope, we asked CNN's Jim Boulden to dissect the process for us.

This is what he said.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sometimes you're not sure when something will give way. You've got to put it to the test to find its breaking point.

(voice-over): The economic crisis caused stress for many of us. Economies teetered. Auto companies were rescued. Banks went under or were taken over.

What if those stresses returned?

(on camera): The committee of European Banking Supervisors have been putting its banks under a lot of stress to see if any of them will break under certain hypothetical economic shocks.

(voice-over): These so-called stress tests are a response to the current mood. Banks are afraid to lend. They don't trust the guy on the other side will survive. And there are other concerns.

(on camera): How much government debt the banks are carrying, and is it Greek debt or German debt that sits on the books?

(voice-over): Then there are all those dodgy property loans floating around. New banks hold adequate capital in reserve to withstand the stress.

(on camera): The hope is the banks will be nice to each other once again and that analysts and rating agencies won't have to guess how healthy a bank is.

(voice-over): But like the banks, the stress test themselves have been under the microscope.

(on camera): If the vast majority of the banks pass, the test could be seen as too easy.

If many fail, might it do nothing more than scare an already fragile market?

What will European governments be able to offer banks that are too stressed out?

Easy mergers, money or just a spark to help them burn out?

(on camera): Well I guess there's no point to the tests if there are no consequences for those whole who fail.

Jim Boulden, CNN, London's South Bank University.


ANDERSON: And Jan with me here from IHS Global Insight.

These results, of course, released after the markets closed this Friday, so it gives people sometime over the weekend to digest them before the markets open again on Monday.

Surprised by the results?

And how do you think the markets are going to react?

JAN RANDOLPH, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT: Well, there was no great surprise in terms of the -- the ones that failed. A greater number were thought to have -- could fail. Roughly half have actually failed. But -- and they were the -- the usual suspects, a couple of Spanish cajas, these property owning -- property exposed banks, one or two Ger -- one or two German, Austrian and a Greek. No surprises there.

The big surprise, really, is the number of near passes, about 15, 16. And you look at those and you think, well, could they be impacted with a -- with a sovereign debt restructuring, which is more than almost likely to happen, particularly with Greece.

ANDERSON: You call them near passes. Other people might call them near fails, of course.

Which banks are carrying the biggest burden of sovereign debt at this point across Europe?

RANDOLPH: Well, one -- one positive about this stress test, unlike the laughable one -- the previous one, where they passed all the Irish and they all were hugely insolvent -- they -- they pulled the Irish sovereign into the gutter and they were rescued by IMF.

This time, they did actually provide a more transparent, granular look at banks indiv -- nameless shame, if you like. If it's going to work, you're going to have to name the bank. And they did it this time in terms of country exposure.

So you -- there is an understanding now of who's holding a lot of sovereign debt, for example, within Europe. And that is quite important, particularly we are -- we're still running the sovereign debt crisis alongside the banking system and the two are very much conjoined.

ANDERSON: Surely, bank stress tests, of course, were post-financial collapse 2007-2008, or 2006 (INAUDIBLE).


ANDERSON: Now, of course, as you rightly point out, we've got the sovereign debt crisis, which is just a tsunami of concern sweeping across the continent.

And let me put this to you then. The markets open Monday. Traders have had a chance to take a look at these results over the weekend. And what they will be doing, effectively, is spot the vulnerable. That is what they'll be doing over this weekend.

What happens on Monday morning?

RANDOLPH: I think there will be a bit of relief. But I think that it will be temporary, because we will be back -- eyes will be back on the sovereign debt issues. At the end of next week, the Eurozone finance ministers get together and they all talk about how to come to a closure on the debate about involving commercial banks. And what was actually really important last week, (INAUDIBLE) Italy. It's the way in which the IMF came down on the side of the Germans, arguing because of the size of the financing and the desirability of sharing the burden, commercial banks have to be involved now. And that really spooked the markets and they adjusted their risk pricing, including Italy.

ANDERSON: I guess that the final question is simply this.

Are banks better or worse served to provide us with some sort of stability if we were to hit either a very bad period in this sovereign debt crisis or, indeed, another financial crisis?

RANDOLPH: I think -- I think it really is up to the regulators to look at the knock on consequences and to be fully prepared for a bank failure should there be a sovereign debt restructuring on whatever side or even, too, it really is contingency planning for the regulators to work out now.

ANDERSON: Interesting. Yes.

We thank you for joining us.

And it's been a very big week in the financial markets once again. All eyes, of course, as you will be well aware now, on Italy and on Spain. Let's see what happens Monday morning.

Up next, forget midlife crisis, guess who is leading in the second round of the British golf Open?

It's not who you might think. We're going to bring you more on that in just about five minutes, when we get the sports guys in for you.

Then weighty words -- a top diplomat makes a promise to Libya's pro- democracy rebels. That story in about 10 minutes for you here on CNN.

And in about 20 minutes, a case of extreme signs -- we are at ground zero for climate change with environmentalist Philippe Cousteau.

You're watching CNN.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Up next, forget midlife crisis. Guess who is leading in the second round of the British Golf Open. It's not who you might think. We're going to bring you more on that in just about five minutes when we get the sports guys in for you.

Then, weighty words. A top diplomat makes a promise to Libya's pro- democracy rebels. That story in about 10 minutes for you here on CNN.

And in about 20 minutes, a case of extreme science. We are at ground zero for climate change with environmentalist Philippe Cousteau.

You're watching CNN. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, I'm Becky Anderson in London just after half past nine for you this Friday evening. We'll get you the headlines at this point.

The "Wall Street Journal" says Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones, is stepping down today. Dow Jones publishes the "Wall Street Journal," Rupert Murdoch owns the "Wall Street Journal," and Hinton was News International's chairman when some of the phone hacking was done.

The media mogul says he was appalled by reports that the voice mail of murdered teenager Milly Dowler was allegedly hacked into by one of his newspapers, and he apologized to her family today.

There's word of violence in several cities in Syria, with activists reporting as many as 19 deaths. We can't confirm the authenticity of this video from YouTube, but you can see the size of the crowd. Some reports say more than a million people are protesting in streets around the country.

Barack Obama says the American people are on his side as he tries to get political rivals to agree to increase the US debt ceiling. The president said the public wants a deal by the August 2nd deadline and told Republicans to put aside their politics.

Mexico's army says it has found the nation's largest marijuana plantation hidden amid rows of tomatoes. The 120 hectare field is located in the country's northwest and worth more than $160 million. Six people were detained.

US Open champion Rory McIlroy may be the most talked about man in golf at the moment, but in the second round of what's known as the Open here in Britain on Friday, it was a fellow Northern Irishman 20 years his senior who rocketed up the leader board.

Forty-two-year-old Darren Clarke carded a second successive round of 68 with five birdies and an eagle. He now tops the leader board with American Lucas Glover.

Well, yesterday's star, 20-year-old amateur Tom Lewis couldn't repeat his opening day's heroics, slipping back on five bogeys.

And for more on the British Golf Open, I'm joined by "World Sport's" Mr. -- Mr. Mark McKay. So, what happened to young Mr. Lewis today, Mark?

MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Five bogeys will get you in trouble, Becky, that's for sure. The young man came down to earth in a big way. He dazzled us during round one with that incredible round of 65, but came down to earth in a big way with a 74 on Friday.

But what he did, Becky, was guarantee himself playing into the weekend. Here's why. He made the cut, unlike some other well-known English golfers like, say, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, those guys did not make the cut --


MCKAY: This 20-year-old did. He also got to see his playing partner, Tom Watson, the veteran whom he's named after get a hole in one. So, this young man's going to play into the weekend, and expect to enjoy every minute of the Open there at -- along the coast of England.

ANDERSON: Yes, it is called the Open, of course, and we like to call it the Open in Britain as opposed to the British Open.

Mark, how's the weather been affecting the way that the players have dealt with this course?

MCKAY: Well, round one we saw very tough opening day in the morning. The afternoon got better.

And then, as you can attest for in London, it was a very brilliant summer day today, but the weather forecasters her at the CNN International Weather Center say watch out, we've got some nasty stuff brewing for Saturday.

Every single year, Becky, no matter where this championship is played, the weather is a key factor.


MCKAY: So far, so good, but it seems like round three could be a bit dangerous for the golfers and the patrons out there.

ANDERSON: All right, good stuff. I know we've got the women's World Cup coming up in Germany this weekend. Takes me back to 2006 when you and I, of course, were covering the World Cup -- the men's World Cup together. Who's the front-runner for the ladies?

MCKAY: Well, it's the United States against Japan, and you really must go with the United States, Becky, I think first and foremost. This is a team that, in a lot of ways, got there by the skin of their teeth, but they're also trying to win this title for the third time.

The United States team doing everything right, certainly against Brazil, to get in. And then, of course, they find their way into the final, but they're facing a team in Japan that is really a wild card in so many ways.

No one expected this Asian nation to make it this far in the women's World Cup. They're in their first World Cup final.

And think about the intangibles, Becky, that this Asian country has to play for. They're representing a country that has been going through so much negativity earlier this year with earthquakes, tsunami, the nuclear disaster.

Now, they have a chance, the Japanese team does, to really bring some joy to a nation that needs it. They're the wild card.

And I tell you what, Becky. Remember, you spoke of the men's World Cup. Last year in South Africa, remember the octopus, Paul the octopus? He predicted pretty well what was going to transpire there.

Well, this time, Ellie the elephant is doing the same and -- Nellie, the elephant, I should say. An 18-month-old calf has predicted that Japan will win on Sunday. So, who needs my prediction when you have Nellie the elephant picking?

ANDERSON: I thought you were going to tell me about the octopus, who I thought had passed away. It did, didn't it? The octopus? The octopus passed away --

MCKAY: I think so.

ANDERSON: -- yes, it did. So, now we've got Nellie. Excellent, lovely, thank you Mr. Mark McKay. Watch out for that Nellie.

We're going to move on. Going to take a very short break. They are not just empty words. After this, they hold the promise of badly-needed cash. We're going to see how an announcement by the top US diplomat could free up funds for Libyan rebels. That story coming up after this.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, Libyan rebels looking to oust Moammar Gadhafi got a major diplomatic boost earlier today. The United States joined those nations that have officially recognized Libya's main opposition group as the country's legitimate governing authority.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered that message on Friday at a meeting of the Libya contact group in Istanbul.

The decision could free up millions of dollars in cash that the rebels desperately need. I'm going to get this to Mohammed Jamjoom, who is covering this story for us in Istanbul in a moment.

But first, because I don't think we've got him at this point, Libyan rebels say they've now battled within sight of al Brega, a strategically vital oil town after months of fighting along the road connecting Ajdabiya and al Brega. Rebels now say that they are gaining the upper hand over pro-Gadhafi forces.

Now, the Libyan government is also accusing NATO of helping the rebels launch a coordinated air, sea, and land assault.

Well, NATO's responded by saying, quote, "NATO has no military forces on the ground and no direct contact with opposition forces. However, we do receive information," they say, "from allied sources in Libya. We take this information into account to ensure that our actions are consistent with our UN-mandated mission to protect civilians."

Let's look at where things stand right now in Libya as a whole. The regime continues to hold onto cities, including the capital of Tripoli, Gadhafi's home town of Sirte, while opposition forces control Misrata, Zintan, and other key cities east to the Egyptian border.

NATO warplanes hit military targets overnight in and around Tripoli, Misrata, Sirte, Waddan, and al Brega. The western mountains, southwest of Tripoli, have become a key battleground, and rebels have captured several villages in the area as they advance on the capital.

A human rights group accuses the rebels of looting, burning homes, and abusing civilians in four towns. An opposition leader says they are investigating those complaints.

One of CNN's own reporters witnessed fierce fighting in the western mountains just a few days ago, rebels battling to retake the -- one of the villages there from government forces. Our Ben Wedeman and his crew got far too close for comfort. I want to just remind you of what happened.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Really in this area. There's gunfire all around us.

We are rushing out of this area.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, just cut off there.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all right, guys? Alex?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody's fine.


WEDEMAN: We're going as fast as we can. We can't tell who's a --


ANDERSON: All right. Well, it's pretty shocking stuff, isn't it? I've got Ben with us now, live in western Libya. Just been taking a look at some of that pretty startling footage that you shot, Ben, a couple of days ago. What's -- give us a status check at this point.

WEDEMAN: Well, the current situation is really where we left it the day before yesterday. The rebels still hold Qawalish. They're apparently trying to reinforce their numbers there.

Their immediate strategic goal is the town of Asablah, which is just about another 20 kilometers beyond Qawalish and it's very close to the main highway that links southern Libya, the city of Sabha, which is a Gadhafi stronghold with the capital, Tripoli.

The question at this point is, do they have enough men? Do they have enough heavy weaponry? Do they have enough ammunition to take it much further?

Because the closer they're getting to the capital, Becky, the more likely it is that they're going to run into towns that are not sympathetic to the rebels. They could come in for some serious resistance, not just from the Libyan army, but from local inhabitants, as well.

So, they're well aware of the challenges that could face them if they go much further at this point. Becky?

ANDERSON: Well, you're on the ground, I don't know if you're qualified, given where you've been, to answer that question, but it's surely, as you suggest, a question which needs answering. Are they equipped well enough to face Gadhafi's forces as they move towards Tripoli?

Because this is, of course, Ben, as you rightly point out, a very strategically important point in this civil war, isn't it?

WEDEMAN: Certainly, this is a critical point. We have to keep in mind that in just about two weeks, the month of Ramadan will begin. According to Islamic law, it's supposed to be a month of peace when Muslims do not fight one another.

So, in a sense, if they're going to make any significant headway, they've got to make it within the next two weeks.

Now, they have been encouraged by the news that the United States is going to recognize the TNC, the Transitional National Council, as the legitimate government of Libya.

And that's important because that decision will enable the US government to free up some of the frozen Libyan funds that are in the United States. And there is a serious cash crisis in the rebel-held territories.

For instance, in this part of Libya, the banks have been closed for months. Most of the money is coming into Tunisia, but most people simply don't have the cash to get by, let alone to launch a campaign in the direction of Tripoli. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, meantime, we must do this, because it's important that we report the entire narrative here, we've got human rights groups suggesting that some of the rebels in their advance have been causing destruction on the ground, which is wanton, as it were.

Have you got any evidence of that? Have you seen any of what they are describing?

WEDEMAN: Yes, we've seen that in some of the towns, for instance, Qawalish, which was not a town completely with the rebels, that there were houses known to belong to Gadhafi sympathizers that were torched. We saw that there were stores that were ransacked.

When we were in there the other day, there were some rebel fighters who were basically going through a pharmacy just taking what they could, but it had already been sacked once when they first took over the town.

So, these things happen. And you have to realize that there's a lot of bad blood between the rebel fighters and those areas, those towns which they know have in the past or traditionally been sympathetic to Gadhafi, or the Gadhafi leadership to end.

There's the question of abuse of prisoners. I did see -- one of the rebels showed me a video clip that he shot of a captured rebel, which we actually -- who we actually interviewed here in Zintan. And you see very clearly that somebody kicks this prisoner in the head with his boots. However, moments later, somebody else jumps in and says, "Don't do that to him."

So, you have to keep in mind this is not a regular military force. They don't have manuals on how to deal with civilians. It's really just a very ad hoc group with no clear-cut lines, regulations, orders, or even a system of command. Becky?

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman with the story on the ground. Ben, always a pleasure. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. The picture out of Libya for you this evening.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, 46 minutes past nine in London. Coming up, an unforgettable journey to a landscape of extremes.


PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: We have woefully under invested in exploring our oceans and exploring the world around us. To think that, certainly for example, in the United States, we invest more than a thousand times more resources in space exploration than we do in understanding our oceans.


ANDERSON: Environmentalist Philippe Cousteau takes us to ground zero for climate change. We're going to take a look at just what his team of scientists discovered in the Arctic. That is up after this. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: This will be a day that Rupert Murdoch will probably choose to forget. New developments in the fast-moving story. When he, Mr. Murdoch, spoke briefly to reporters in London today, he was heckled.

He'd been talking about his meeting with the family of the murdered teenager, Milly Dowler. Take a look at what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (shouting): Shame on you! Shame on you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Murdoch, will you tell us what you said to Milly Dowler's family?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, stop pushing!

RUPERT MURDOCH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, NEWS CORPORATION: If you'll just keep silent for a minute. It was a totally private meeting.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us approximately what you said?

MURDOCH: I'm the founder of the company. I was appalled to find out what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you -- have you --


MURDOCH: I apologize. I have nothing more to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Murdoch, will you --


ANDERSON: All right. "I apologize. I have nothing more to say," he says. The story continues.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. On Saturday, we are launching a Going Green special event with a program hosted by environmentalist and CNN Special Correspondent Philippe Cousteau. If you're a regular watcher of this show, you will recognize him.

"Extreme Science" takes you to the arctic and an icy spot where scientists live and work to study climate change. Well, in this preview, Philippe treks into the frozen landscape to find out about the unique dangers of what is an extremely forbidding place.


COUSTEAU (voice-over): As the scientists trek off to take more samples, I set out to explore the vast seascape that surrounds us.

Accompanied by Simon and our dog, Toque, we're sure to keep a close eye out for polar bears. Toque is our first alert.

COUSTEAU (on camera): How far away can he sense them?

SIMON GARROD, ICE BASE MANAGER: Hard to say, but he's very good. I mean, in patrols, you'll see him head off and patrol the area.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): We trekked into an area of what looks like giant chunks of broken ice rubble. They're called pressure ridges.

These are plates of ice that crack and push into each other, breaking under pressure. They can slowly thrust upwards several meters, resulting in spectacular visual imagery.

There are other dangers to take into account while trekking through this area. These are, after all, ridges produced by cracks in the ice. And if you're not careful, you could slip into a hollow area. And since it's the arctic, medical care is several hundred kilometers away.

COUSTEAU (on camera): Whoa. Any there?

GARROD: You all right?


COUSTEAU (voice-over): But dangers aside, the experience of trekking through this amazing seascape is something to take in and enjoy.

COUSTEAU (on camera): What do you love most about this place?

GARROD: It's hard to say any one thing, but it just feels like it's all -- it is worthwhile work. There's some good scientific questions being looked at and hopefully answered here. So, it just feels worthwhile.


ANDERSON: That's pretty remarkable stuff, isn't it? I caught up with Philippe when he was here in London last week after he got back from that trip, and he started by telling me what this climate research is all about.


COUSTEAU: What these scientists were trying to find out is early spring, what's happening in the arctic? What's happening with the sea ice with respect to climate change and ocean acidification.

ANDERSON: What do we do with that information?

COUSTEAU: Their information hopefully will help to create a more complete picture of what's happening in the arctic so that we can make more accurate predictions about what's happening with the sea ice, how fast are we going to lose that sea ice? How fast is the arctic itself changing? And how fast could that change affect its role as this air conditioning unit.

ANDERSON: What do you say, then, to the naysayers who say there is no climate change?

COUSTEAU: As our population grows from a current roughly seven billion people to, say, nine billion people by the middle of this century, the population skyrocketing, natural resources are dwindling.

We don't know where all the food will come from to feed all these people today. We don't -- we don't know how that's going to happen.

The fact that temperature, weather, precipitation is becoming more volatile is very scary and has very serious life-altering and life- threatening consequences for billions of people. And so, the naysayers, I would say, are being irresponsible at best.

ANDERSON: Finally, what's the takeaway from all of this, Philippe?

COUSTEAU: I think there's a few takeaways from this experience, certainly for our team, and I hope for the world. The first is that we have woefully under invested in exploring our oceans and exploring the world around us.

To think that, certainly for example, in the United States, we invest more than a thousand times more resources in space exploration than we do in understanding our oceans.

We've explored less than 10 percent of our oceans on this planet. The oceans are the life support system of this planet, they regulate our climate, they provide a majority of our oxygen, food to over a billion people.

The oceans -- without healthy oceans, we can't have healthy humanity. Knowing if there was ever water on Mars, not crucial to survival on this planet. Healthy oceans are.

The second takeaway, though, is tremendous challenges in the coming decades. We can overcome them if we set our mind to it. And while we are both the cause of many of these problems we face, I believe that we can be the solution as well.

And I think that's a hopeful message. And that was the kind of message that we all came out of this experience feeling.


ANDERSON: Make sure you watch CNN's Going Green special, it's a really good show. As we mentioned, Philippe will be hosting the event, and you can see it here in London at 9:00 on Saturday night.

And at the same time, you can participate in a live chat with Philippe on Facebook. That's for the details.

All right. It's Friday evening London time, and that means it's time for our Week on the Web, and some unusual proposals seem to be today's theme. CNN's Phil Han takes us through what's been making you smile online.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Welcome to another edition of Week on the Web. This is the place where we want to bring you up to date with all of the best stories from across social media over the past seven days.

HAN (voice-over): First up, though, this story is getting a lot of people talking, and it involves a US marine and a Hollywood actor.

SCOTT MOORE, SERGEANT, UNITED STATES MARINES: I just want to take a moment out of my day to invite you to the Marine Corps Ball on November 18 --

HAN: Marine sergeant Scott Moore probably didn't expect it, but Mila Kunis said yes. The actress came to fame in the TV sitcom "That 70s Show" and, after accepting the date, there was some controversy about whether she changed her mind.

She put those rumors to rest by setting the record straight.

MILA KUNIS, ACTRESS: Fortunately, I am attending. I'm going November 18th.

HAN: Another Marine took advantage of the attention and decided to ask Justin Timberlake out, too.

KELSEY DE SANTIS, CORPORAL, UNITED STATES MARINES: Well, I'm going to call you out and ask you to come to the Marine Corps Ball with me on November 12th in Washington, DC. And if you can't go, all I have to say is, cry me a river.

HAN: Timberlake was also in the news for starring in this spoof for the sports awards show the ESPYs.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, ACTOR (singing): -- good time! Yes!

Ooh! Good shot.

HAN: That video has nearly a million hits online.

Kids can easily be amused, but who would've thought they would have so much fun with something as simple as water?


HAN (on camera): Now, some of us may remember this guy. He was actually on our segment a few months ago. Well, this time, he's back with a brand new video, and a new supporting cast.


HAN (voice-over): Keenan Cahill appeared with members of the TV show "Glee" singing Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night."


HAN: Now, a group of over 5,000 people broke the record for the world's largest lip-synch, singing "American Pie."


HAN: The event from Grand Rapids involved parades, motorcades, and even weddings, and was in response to an article that said Grand Rapids was a dying city.

Now, we've all seen our fair share of original wedding proposals on YouTube, but not sure if any ever involved this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bobby, the ring please.




HAN: Well, even still, she said "yes."

And the number one video from the web this week is from none other than Beyonce.


HAN: Her new music video for "Best Thing I Never Had" has pulled in over nine million hits in just one week.

I'm Phil Han, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected, thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Don't go away.