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Clock Ticks Toward Economic Default in United States; Nine Months to Clean Up FIFA

Aired July 28, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET



REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Let's pass this bill and end this craziness.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: That's the plea from America's right. But with U.S. politicians still divided on how to avoid a looming debt default, what chance an eleventh hour deal?

Well, with nothing to toast on Capitol Hill, how global investors might consider stashing their cash into something, well, a little bit more tangible.

Plus, with Yemen's president still clinging onto power, I ask the country's foreign minister what he believes it will take to get a change at the top.

And iconic superstar or ironic garbage -- Anish Kapoor on the thinking behind his controversial Olympic Tower.

These stories and more tonight as we connect the world.

Well, five days and counting, as the clock ticks toward an unprecedented economic default in the United States, Congress gears up for a showdown. Right now, the House of Representatives is debating a Republican plan to raise the debt ceiling and slash government spending.

Now, a vote is just hours away, viewers. But even though Republicans control the House, passage is far from certain. And even if it does pass, the Senate's Democratic leadership has already declared it dead on arrival.

The bill's sponsor, House Speaker John Boehner, expressed his frustration earlier.


BOEHNER: After a day, the House -- well, it's sent to the Senate not one, but two different bills that will rein in spending, increase the debt ceiling and bring an end to this crisis. And when the House takes action today, the United States Senate will have no more excuses for inaction.


ANDERSON: Well, why is this all so critical?

Well, the U.S. Treasury says it won't be able to pay its bills after August the 2nd -- that's Tuesday next week -- if the debt ceiling isn't raised.

Today, the nation's leading banks sent a letter to the White House and to Congress warning that failure to reach a deal on debt could have -- and I quote -- "very grave consequences."

Well, they say a default or downgrade would be a tremendous blow to business and investor confidence.

Well, the White House is putting a positive face on the stalemate, at least in public. A short time ago, Spokesman Jay Carney said -- and I know that -- "We continue to believe the Congress will come to its senses and compromise."

Let's bring in your White House correspondent for you this evening, Brianna Keilar.

What is the latest?

I mean it -- we've got this debate and vote going on, of course.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky. And, really, even here at the White House, you really have all eyes on Congress as these votes are taking place, first in the House and then in the Senate this evening. But you said it, Becky, Democrats, the White House has said that this Boehner plan is dead on arrival.

So first, let's talk about exactly what is in the Boehner plan proposed by the Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner.

It would have two votes to increase the debt ceiling. So it would take two votes to get the debt ceiling increased passed the 2012 election, which is a sort of a point that the president said he wanted.

There would be the first vote, which would included $917 billion in cuts over 10 years. And that would keep the debt ceiling going until about the new year. And then the second vote would be for about $1.6 trillion in cuts over 10 years. And that would move the debt ceiling increase beyond the 2012 election.

But as I said, that first vote, which would increase it only to about the new year, I mean, Becky, can you imagine having this fight all over again?

It's been so dirty, so chaotic. And the point that the White House and Democrats say they want to make is they don't want deal with this again before there election and make it a political issue.

And so you have Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, calling these votes political theater. We're going to see one in the House of Representatives first, going on this plan, this evening here, our local time. The Senate will take it up shortly thereafter. But it is expected to fail.

And so what do they do next?

Well, they have to figure out some other way forward. And what we do know is that very privately, discussions have been going on between the White House and Capitol Hill. And here's what Jay Carney said today at his briefing about that.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: Look, there are a variety of ways to achieve a compromise here. And we are obviously, as are members and leaders of Congress, engaged in discussions about what those plans look like and what the best way forward will be, as -- as -- as the clock clicks down here or ticks down.


ANDERSON: All right, Brianna.

KEILAR: Now when he...

ANDERSON: Stay with me for the moment.

Just stay with me for the moment, because I just want to give our viewers a profile of how this may all work in the House.

Stay with me for one sec.

Do just take a look at this. Right now, in the House of Representatives, there are 240 Republicans and 192 Democrats that can vote for tonight's bill. Now, the magic number Speaker Boehner needs is 217. Now, you'd think that would be easy for Republicans, considering their large majority. But it isn't. A number of Tea Party conservatives say it doesn't go far enough and they'll vote against it.

And take a look at this. If it does pass the House, however, the Democratic plan would move to the Senate. But the Democrats control that chamber, remember. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the plan will fail -- so, Brianna, given that, our viewers are now fully informed.

What happens next?

KEILAR: Well, the thought is, Becky, that there has to be some sort of way forward beyond that. If the -- the bill that Democrats are proposing in the Senate isn't going to get through the House -- isn't even going to get through the Senate and then this House bill is dead on arrival, there just aren't the votes for it in the Senate, and we'll see that tonight when the Senate takes it up after the House, there has to be some compromise, which is what the White House has been pushing.

And the reason they've gotten ahead of that is knowing that there's going to be some sort of compromise. This has really been the president's way to kind of frame the debate here.

We know that conversations have been going on in private.

And I have to tell you, Becky, because I covered Congress before I covered the White House, the privacy of these back sort of behind closed doors discussions that we're seeing, astounding, really, just how close it's being kept to the vest.

The fact is, though, as some people have pointed out, there really aren't too big a differences between the Senate plan and the House plan. So there is thought that there could be a compromise. But there's also a thought that they need to have these votes first...


KEILAR: -- since the speaker of the House, John Boehner, needs to have these votes so that his conservative members will see that he pushed for everything that he could get and he allows them to on something that's, perhaps, more conservative before trying to push through something that is more -- a little bit more to the left, you could say.

ANDERSON: Brianna, for compromise this evening, basically you see who blinks first.

Am I right in saying that?

KEILAR: We -- we -- pardon, what did you say?

ANDERSON: I said for compromise read, who blinks first?

KEILAR: Oh, I think, you know, it's -- it's going to be -- it's going to be very difficult and there are different schools of thought on this. Some people think that because, you know, the House is going to go first and then it gets knocked down in the Senate...


KEILAR: -- that somehow that gives the Senate the -- whoever you talk to, Becky, they say they're going to have the upper hand.

The fact is, though, this Boehner plan, there's really one big objection that the White House and Democrats have to it, and that's just that they don't want to go through this whole debate all over again...


KEILAR: -- come December or January. They don't want to deal with that.

So if there's a way to overcome that, I'd actually say that there's a lot in the Boehner plan that the White House, the Democrats could stomach, as long as they could...

ANDERSON: All right...

KEILAR: -- get past that really key sticking point.

ANDERSON: Watch this face -- T minus five days and counting.

Brianna, we thank you very much, indeed, for that.

Well, China, the top foreign holder of U.S. debt, is taking leaders in Washington to task, let me tell you. State-run Xinhua News Agency today called on them to stop politicking and, quote, "show some sense of global responsibility."

This from Stan Grant.


STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: China is flush with cash. It has the highest foreign currency reserves in the world. It needs to put that money somewhere. At the moment, the big bulk of that is invested in U.S. Treasuries.

So that raises concerns here about a potential debt default in the United States that would wipe off a lot of China's investment.

There are concerns that China may, in fact, pull out of its U.S. reserves.

But you may just think again about that. If you speak to most analysts here and they'll tell you one thing -- the Beijing rulers realize they may not like it, but for now, they're stuck with the US.

PATRICK CHOVANEC, ANALYST: They really can't sell too many Treasuries without impacting the price of all the Treasuries that they'd still be holding. They really -- there aren't that many other markets that are as deep or as liquid as Treasuries. Actually, I think there are none.

So -- so when they accumulate reserves, this is really the only place that they can put them.


GRANT: So despite fears of a default and the impact it may have on China, there is a harsh economic reality -- China exports. It wants to keep its currency low. It has a lot of cash in reserve. And it has to put that money somewhere.

It is tied, right now, to the United States. In the words of one analyst, China's policy -- buy, hold and grumble.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, this debt crisis has spooked global markets, leading many investors to wonder if there's a -- there's a safer place to store their cash until this storm passes.

Well, I took that question to the director of an investment management firm here in London.

Have a look at this.


ANDERSON: Well, anybody who knows me, knows that I'm partial to the odd good fine wine. But this may be best kept in a bottle. I'm told that this is a fairly decent investment.

I'm joined by a man who knows a thing or two about that.

This is an investment?


But wine is a relatively small market. And only a small number of particularly high quality clarets are really good for investment.

And, of course, easily traded, well, not as easy as, say, a stock and a share. But nonetheless, it's an asset and it has gone up in value.

ANDERSON: Don't drink it. Let's go.

So what else is worth a punt?

Well, this is a basic art gallery. It's got some super work in it.

But is it all worth its weight in gold, as it were?

STEWART: Well, some of it's fantastic. And you've seen the return some people have made on art has been superb. But some of it's also rubbish. So you're going to need some really specialist advice to make sure you get the good quality stuff.

On the other hand, you've seen some people they bought something and it turned out to be a fake or it was just not a very good investment in the first place.

Basically, enjoy pictures. They're beautiful. Get those that you think are beautiful, then enjoy it. Chances are, though, in terms of investing, you've got to be careful.

ANDERSON: Well, even a small time investor like me knows that gold has been on a bit of a run these days.

Still worth it?

STEWART: Gold has been a great investment -- 25 percent in the past few -- year or so. But bear in mind, it's gone up an awful long way.

Now, the problem with gold is, of course, you run to it when you're panicking. But when you stop panicking, then the price may well come back again.

Also, gold doesn't do anything. It doesn't give you a yield, a dividend. You can stroke it, cuddle it. (INAUDIBLE) from Citibank. Put it on the pillow next to you. But that's about it.

ANDERSON: What about this?

I'm not very partial to gold, but I am partial to this.

STEWART: Oh, those silver suits here?

But silver is different. Silver is cheaper, but you actually use silver in manufacturing. So there's always a demand for it that way. So silver actually does actually have a, you know, a practical use, practical demand.

But the same thing with these commodities, there's no dividend, no yield. And when everyone starts piling into it and it becomes popular, be wary. This year's fashion fad is next year's tank top.

ANDERSON: By the end of a long, hard day, working out where best to find a decent yield, you might be forgiven for needing a bit of a rest. And while you're at it, think about this -- sticking this under here. Your money is probably safest right under the mattress.



I'm Becky Anderson here in London at 14 minutes past 9:00.

Just ahead on the show, thinking her supporters -- the woman accusing the former IMF chief of sexual assault addresses the media. Her words for you in five minutes.

Plus, cleaning up FIFA -- President Sepp Blatt says that it's going to take a while. Find out how long in our sports check in eight minutes time.

And then about 35 minutes from now, the artist behind London's answer to ice for the Eiffel Tower.

Will this controversial Olympic project change London's skyline for the better or for worse?


ANDERSON: Welcome back.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

You're watching CNN, as I'm sure you know.

Here's a look at the other stories that we are following for you.

And police in Norway will interview Anders Behring Breivik Friday for a second time. The suspect in last week's terror attacks is in solitary confinement in a prison near Oslo. Investigators await that interview. Police have called off the search for more victims of Friday's shooting rampage on Utoya Island. Sixty-eight people were killed there during a Labour Party youth retreat. Eight died the same day in a bombing in Oslo. Police say they will continue to look for the personal effects of the victims for another two days.


JOHAN FREDRIKSEN, OSLO POLICE CHIEF OF STAFF: I can now inform that the search of the huge area has ended and the island has been handed over to the local protective guards.


ANDERSON: We'll, Egypt's justice minister says Hosni Mubarak is healthy enough to stand trial in Cairo. Authorities say that that trial will begin on August the 3rd, which is, of course, next Wednesday. Mubarak could be sentenced to death if convicted of ordering the shooting of pro- democracy demonstrators. His transfer to Cairo from the resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh was a key demand of many Egyptians, who say he shouldn't be afforded special treatment.

"Well, I cry every day" -- the words of hotel worker Nafissatou Diallo. She accuses former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her when she went to clean his room and a New York hotel in May. She says she wants justice and her lawyer will file a civil suit if there is no criminal trial.


NAFISSATOU DIALLO, ACCUSES STRAUSS-KAHN OF ASSAULT: It is far too much. Like I say, I'm going through a lot. I was crying. My daughter was crying. But one day my drought told me, wait, mom, please, come with me. You're going to -- you -- you stop crying. People upset call you bad names. People tell bad things about you because they don't know you.


ANDERSON: Well, new shocking revelation has emerged in the British phone hacking scandal, with the mother of a murdered school girl the latest possible victim. Police have told Sara Payne, who's 8 -year-old daughter was murdered by a pedophile 11 years ago, that her phone may have been hacked. This is the mother. Her details were on a list seized from a private investigator hired by the newspaper, the "News of the World".

Well, former editor Rebekah Brooks, who campaigned for Sarah's Law, as it was known, revealed the addresses of pedophiles, has described the latest allegations as abhorrent.

Well, take a moment now and picture this. You've survived a people crash into a lake. The airplane sinks and you don't have a life jacket. Just how long do you think you could tread water to stay alive?

Well, a New York pilot did it for 17 hours, staying afloat after his Cessna plane went down in Lake Huron in the U.S. state of Michigan.

Speaking from hospital, 42 -year-old Michael Trapp said that despite being unfit, he fought to survive because, well, he said there are a lot of people who depend on him.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Twenty minutes past 9:00 in London.

Still ahead, protesters under fire in Yemen, as President Saleh vows he won't step down. That's in about 10 minutes time.

Next, though, Sepp Blatter proclaims, "I'm not a dictator," as he tries to clean up his global football empire.

That after this.


ANDERSON: Well, nine months -- that is how long football boss, Sepp Blatter says it will take him to clean up FIFA. Blatter plans to set up a program to reform the organization following allegations of corporation. He's even given a little detail that says draft proposals will be discussed by FIFA's executive committee in October and then in much, much.

Well, for more on this, I'm joined by "WORLD SPORT'S" Don Riddell.

He says he's going to solve FIFA's problems within the time it takes to have a baby.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And it might be just as painful. Yes, I mean -- but nine months, I'm not sure I get that, because they're going to talk about it in October and then again in March.


RIDDELL: So nine months time from when?

ANDERSON: All right...

RIDDELL: I'm not too sure.


RIDDELL: But, no, Mr. Blatt is in Brazil at the moment, where they're going to be making the draw for the qualifying phase for the next World Cup.

That's coming up in a few days time. And he was pretty defiant. Remember, this was his first public appearance since Mohammed bin Hammam was banned for life from football. That only happened at the weekend. And Mr. Blatter is very, very keen to be seem to be saying he's going to reform FIFA. They have been dogged by allegations of corruption and scandal for quite some time now.

He's pretty defiant. He says there's going to be zero tolerance. They're going to clean it up. We'll see.

ANDERSON: We'll see.

Let's leave it there.

Draw a line under that. They've got other problems, don't they, of course?

But the other major controversy, of course, is whether or not to allow technology for goal line issues, whether...


ANDERSON: -- whether or not a goal has been scored.

What's going on with that?


ANDERSON: Because we remember they're out of the World Cup, of course.

RIDDELL: Well, yes. You're talking about Franklind Park (ph), for England against Germany, the whole world knew that that was over the line. Everybody knew it was a goal. Franklind Park (ph) knew it was a goal.

ANDERSON: I remember your Tweets at the time.

You knew it was a goal, right?

RIDDELL: Was I upset?


RIDDELL: OK. I've -- I've blogged (INAUDIBLE).

No, but nothing infuriates football fans more than seeing a perfectly good goal disallowed. And this has been so controversial in football that it's really become controversial since we've had this sort of vic -- you know, more cameras at games. And it's become really obvious.

But as you know, it's been a topic since 1966, when, you know, that -- that goal in the World Cup final between England and Germany is still debated -- was it in, was it not?

So Mr. Blatter has been under a lot of pressure to bring this technology in. But he's always said he'll only bring it in when it's affordable and, more importantly, accurate. He wants it to be 100 percent accurate within one second of an incident taking place.

So this is -- this is really why it's not happened yet. But I think, you know, after the (INAUDIBLE) in the World Cup last year, he's realized that the tide of opinion really is now causing -- calling for this. And they're going to vote on it in March. And if they do, the Premier League say they'll be one of the first leagues to use the technology.


DAN JOHNSON, PREMIER LEAGUE CHIEF SPOKESMAN: I think it's very important because it's absolutely about fairness. I mean the whole point of the game is about scoring goals. And, you know, when -- when someone is trying so hard to do that and the fans really want to see goals, then we should know when one is actually scored.

But, you know, FIFA, it's in their gift (ph). There's progress going on at the moment, seeing Sepp Blatter's comments about -- about him moving on and it being a decision by next March and hopefully being able to implement it by next July. We absolutely welcome that.

We'd introduce it tomorrow, if we could, but we'll certainly be one of the -- one of the first leagues, one of the first competitions looking to get it -- to get it in.


RIDDELL: Meanwhile, on the pitch, Europe's top teams continue to prepare for the new football season. Manchester United have been in the United States playing a series of friendly games. And on Wednesday, they flexed their muscles against a major league soccer all star team. David Beckham of the LA Galaxy and Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls were in action for the American team. But they couldn't stop the Premier League champions.

United took the lead after a great attacking move here, slick passing, including Berbatov and Wayne Urey -- Wayne Rooney setting up Anderson for the opening goal.

Alex Ferguson's side made it 2-0 on the stroke at half-time. And it was a great finish from Gepson Park (ph).

More from United in a second.

(INAUDIBLE) Berbatov cleans through here, as you can see. The Bulgarian striker hit the cross bar at his first attempt. But he had plenty of time to compose himself and slam it into the back of the net. The all stars were left seeing stars by the end, as United romped to a 4-0 win. Danny Welbeck wrapped up the scoring with United's final goal in the 68 minutes.

United will play Barcelona at the weekend.

And big news from the international football scene. Within the last few minutes, as a longstanding coach has been sacked. Details coming up in "WORLD SPORT" in just over an hour's time.

That -- that's a bit of a tease for you, Becky, isn't it?

ANDERSON: Well, yes. Oh, my goodness. I'm looking at his script and I'm like who?

RIDDELL: I'm not going to tell you. You're going to have -- you're going to have to tune in.

ANDERSON: In an hour and three minutes.

RIDDELL: There you go.

ANDERSON: We're going to have to stay up.


ANDERSON: It's way past my bedtime.

Thank you for that.

RIDDELL: All right.

ANDERSON: Teasing you.

Stick with -- stick with Don for "WORLD SPORT" in an hour's time.

This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.

Just ahead, deadly clashes, food shortages, a country in absolute chaos. Hear what Yemen's foreign minister told me about the embattled leadership. That's coming up with your headlines after this.


ANDERSON: At half past nine in London, you're back with CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader. Let's get you a check of the headlines at this hour.

A key decision on the US debt crisis could come soon. The US House of Representatives is set to vote on a Republican plan to raise the debt ceiling and slash government spending, but even if it passes, it faces certain defeat in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Egypt's Health Minister says that former president Hosni Mubarak is healthy enough to stand trial. The 83-year-old ousted leader has been in a hospital since he suffered heart trouble in April. The trial is now set to begin on Wednesday in Cairo.

The woman who says the former head of the International Monetary Fund sexually assaulted her is speaking out again. Her lawyers say they are planning to file a civil suit against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He has pleaded not guilty.

South Korea is being wracked by the heaviest rains in a century. The country's disaster relief agency blames the torrential downpours for 49 deaths. Heavy rain still falling across the country. Earlier today, Seoul has seen a rate of two inches an hour over the past two days.

And the tabloid "News of the World," the paper that's now shut down, of course, may have spied on the mother of a second murdered girl. British police told Sara Payne that a private investigator hired by the paper targeted her mobile phone.

"The Guardian" newspaper says it is believed she got the tapped phone from the editor of the "News of the World" at the time, Rebekah Brooks. Brooks herself calls the revelation "abhorrent."

More clashes, more bloodshed, more refusals. Yemen's anti-government protesters say that they will not give up. Embattled president Ali Abdullah Saleh says he will not step down.

Today, witnesses say several people were injured in the southern town of Ibb when pro-government gunmen opened fire on demonstrators. Hundreds of protesters have been killed by Yemeni forces since the demonstrations began early this year. They want an end to Saleh's 33-year rule.

Yemen's president himself remains in Saudi Arabia. He is recovering from injuries after he was caught in a bombing of his presidential palace in June.

Well, my colleague Mohammed Jamjoom was just recently in Yemen. I spoke to him earlier form Abu Dhabi, and I started by asking him for his view of life on the ground. This is what he said.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it's just such a dire situation in Yemen right now. I was there in early July, and let's just look at two key cities there. Let's talk about the capital.

In Sanaa, you still have protesters out in the streets. It's a city that's still very much divided among battle lines.

But it's a tinder box. You have fuel shortages. You have gas lines that stretch along for miles in different directions. You have food shortages. The food prices have shot up, have skyrocketed. They're at least five or six times the price of what they were just a few months ago.

And people are very concerned, because now Ramadan is approaching. The people there that are be -- going to be carrying out the religious duties, what are they going to do for food if the prices are so high in such an impoverished place?

Many people we spoke with there are concerned there might be food riots during Ramadan. That will only make a situation that is so bad worse.

Let's talk about the key port city of Aden in the country's south. You have an influx of refugees, tens of thousands of internally displaced people that are coming in from neighboring Abyan province because of the fighting that's going on there with al Qaeda.

They're coming into Aden, Aden is already unstable, you have a separatist movement there, you have anti-government protesters. And now, in the last couple of weeks, you've had car bombs that have been carried out allegedly by al Qaeda.

So, all that taken together in these two key cities, it's such an unstable situation, it's getting worse, even in those cities, and people are very worried about where exactly that country is right now.

ANDERSON: Yes, Mohammed, both you and I know that these multiple crises will not be worked out until this political stalemate is sorted, and that means a transition. What are the players doing to affect that, at present?

JAMJOOM: Becky, what's so shocking is that even though most of the politicians that we spoke with when we were there, very high-level politicians who understand that the situation is untenable as long as President Saleh remains in power and understand how crucial it is that some sort of transition plan be agreed to as soon as possible, well, they're still at odds.

It's still a stalemate, each side drawing a line in the sand. The ruling party has shifted its rhetoric, now. They're saying that President Saleh must come back to the country before new elections are held so that he would still be president and still be in power until the next round of elections. That's something that the protesters out in the streets will not accept.

As far as the opposition, they're now saying that they're not going to agree on the timeline that they previously agreed upon.

So, both sides, both of these sides, all the high-level political players in both of these camps basically saying we need to get around a table as soon as possible, but they're saying they're not willing to do so right now.

In the meantime, the people of Yemen are suffering. Everybody knows it, and nobody knows how it's going to end.


ANDERSON: So, Yemen divided and suffering. What's being done about it? Well, I sat down with Yemen's foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, and got right to the point. My first question was simply this, why isn't President Saleh gone?


ABU BAKR AL-QIRBI, YEMENI FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, he will go, but he will go through the ballot box.

ANDERSON: Are you prepared to admit that he really needs to go now for the good of the country? A country that many say is a failed state.

AL-QIRBI: Well, I think history will judge his performance, and I think many Yemeni and many observers will say that he has done a lot of good things for the country.

Now, he has already decided he is going to leave his office through, as I said, elections. And therefore, I think this is, excuse me to say, irrelevant question, because he's leaving.

ANDERSON: Instability in Yemen will have a significant impact regionally, and yet there seems to be no clear vision from your government. So, lay it out for me. What is the vision?

AL-QIRBI: Well, I think Yemen's instability is not a danger to the region but to the world, I think. Considering Yemen's geographic position, its very closeness off the Horn of Africa.

And therefore, I think it is in everybody's interest to help Yemen to get out of this political crisis.

ANDERSON: The CIA is reported to have set up a network of secret drone bases in Arab states and is launching, we believe, daily drone attacks on al Qaeda in Yemen. Are those attacks sanctioned by your government?

AL-QIRBI: I can't answer that question, because I have no information about these drones you are talking about. But I know for sure that there is cooperation between Yemen and the United States on combating terrorism and tracking the terrorists. There is a lot of exchange of intelligence information, and that's all I can say about this.

ANDERSON: What's your message to the US administration at the moment? An administration, let's remember, that faces an election year.

AL-QIRBI: I've always said that the United States needs to revise its approach to fighting terrorism. On how they address the issue of terrorism, on how they define their relationship with the various countries in which the terrorists exist, and on how to look at the root causes that lead to the recruitment of terrorists.

ANDERSON: Do you feel that you're running out of time at the moment, and do you feel better or worse supported by the international community than you were, say, 18 months ago?

AL-QIRBI: I think things are certainly much more complex and difficult now than they were, say, at the beginning of this year.

The international community have tried to help in resolving the political issues by mediating, by proposing initiatives and so on. But unfortunately at the same, they made things worse.


ANDERSON: The foreign minister from Yemen, speaking to me when he was in London just earlier.

Coming up, millions of children in Africa are suffering from starvation, but the World Health Organization says there is a free solution readily available to everyone, so why isn't it being utilized? We're going to explore that in two minutes time. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Breaking news for you, just coming into CNN Center, here. The military chief of Libya's rebels has been assassinated.

There are reports that Abdul Fatah Younes was shot to death. As soon as we have more details -- we've got people on the ground, of course -- we're going to bring them to you. That is news out of Libya, tonight.

Well, government forces in Somalia, today, launched an offensive on insurgent strongholds near Mogadishu. The military says 15 members of the al Qaeda-inspired group al-Shabaab were killed in the attack.

Intense fighting has raged in that area this summer as Somali troops, backed by the African Union, try to loosen the grip of the terrorist group.

Well, the fighting comes also as Somalia battles its worst drought in 60 years and 11 million people are struggling to survive a dangerous famine in the Horn of Africa. But as CNN's David McKenzie now reports, the drought is not the only reason this situation has become so desperate.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Children like Maria are the face of this famine. She struggled for days to escape Somalia and hunger. It's a hunger blamed on drought, a land parched of water and food. But the reality is more complex.

MCKENZIE (on camera): Is this a manmade crisis?

ALUN MCDONALD, SPOKESMAN, OXFAM: Yes, to a large extent. It's been - - the crisis has been caused by the poor rains. We've had two successive poor rains across the region. But to a larger extent, that's also exacerbated by poor policies.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Most obviously in Somalia, where al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked group, has flip-flopped on allowing the UN in to feed starving people. But also in the rest of the region, where food is always around but, even in urban areas, consumers struggle to afford it.

MCKENZIE (on camera): The high prices are also affecting retailers. When they go and buy bulk, like these onions, they have to pay almost double because of the high fuel prices and the high food prices. So, when people come and buy their products, they buy less of it, and they buy less variety.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): In Kenya, prices have more than doubled on all produce, including Kenya's staple, maize, hammering families trying to escape poverty.

WOLFGANG FENGLER, LEAD ECONOMIST, WORLD BANK: High food prices often, then, reduce all the gains that you get through economic growth because it hits the poorest.

MCKENZIE: The World Bank's lead economist says that production and distribution are controlled by a select few, so ordinary people suffer.

FENGLER: They pay higher than the high international prices, so when the international price goes up, in Kenya, the last three years, in 2009 and this year, it went up even higher.

MCKENZIE: And with each drought, the poorest have fewer assets to sell to buy food. Their thin cows fetch little at the market, their dead cows, nothing. So over time, more people depend on food aid. Already millions survive on it every year.

FENGLER: Ultimately, you need to get to a situation that people in Kenya and Africa don't pay -- use half of their income for food. That they have a smaller share so that, then, like in richer countries, where people are complaining about high food prices, but they're just complaining, they're not suffering.

MCKENZIE: And if that isn't done, the images of a population pushed over the edge could become the rule rather than the exception in this region.

David McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.


ANDERSON: We cannot overstate this problem. Eleven million people are starving in that region of the world, many of them are kids and infants.

But nutritionists say there is a so-called miracle cure for starving babies that is readily available and just not being put to use. It's breast milk, it's as simple as that.

Take a look at these statistics. In some of the countries affected by this famine, tiny percentages of babies are actually being breastfed.

In Djibouti, for example, just one percent of infants are fed nothing but breast milk for the first five months of life.

In Somalia, where the famine is most severe, it's just nine percent. In Kenya, just 13 percent. Ethiopia and Eritrea, well, they do a little bit better. About half of the babies there are breastfed for the first five months.

Well, the World Health Organization recommends that babies everywhere in the world are fed nothing but breast milk for the first six months of their lives, but in Africa, where food for adults is often scarce, many women don't heed that advice. Why not?

Well, Chessa Lutter is a senior adviser on food and nutrition for the World Health Organization, and she joins us, now, live from Washington. Why don't more women in Africa breastfeed, my love?

CHESSA LUTTER, SENIOR ADVISER, PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Well, I think what you see from the numbers that you show is that it's varied.

Some women in some countries, in Rwanda, for example, we have 88 percent of women breastfeeding their children for the first six months of life. But in other countries, we have far fewer.

It's a complicated question, but in some ways, it's the lack of supportive policies and programs. It's --

ANDERSON: How does --

LUTTER: -- the good news is that --

ANDERSON: Go on, go on.

LUTTER: -- the rates can be dramatically increased. For example, in Ghana in the last 20 years, the rates of exclusive breastfeeding for children under six months have gone from 5 percent to 64 percent. This is the result of supportive policies and programs.

And so, not only is breast milk a miracle cure, but we have the knowledge of how to increase these rates among women.

ANDERSON: When you call it a miracle cure, what do you mean by that? Why?

LUTTER: Well, two things. First, it's perfect nutrition for the young baby. Babies need nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life. They don't need water, they don't need other sources of food. It's perfect nutrition.

It's also a com -- complex substance that gives them protection immunologically from all sorts of illnesses and pathogens that are in their environment.

And third, if they're exclusively breastfed, then they're not getting other sources of dirty water and food that, then, could obviously cause diarrhea and other illnesses.

And so, for the young child, it is the perfect combination of food as well as a health input to keep them safe and healthy.

ANDERSON: OK, that leads to this next and fairly obvious question, but it's one that needs to be asked. Can a woman who is malnourished herself provide breast milk for a baby?

LUTTER: The -- unless the woman is severely, severely malnourished herself, she is able to produce enough breast milk for her baby.

And the guidance at WHO and the Pan American Health Organization that's provided in these terrible situations is to prioritize food to pregnant women and breastfeeding women so that, in fact, they are nourished appropriately so that they can, obviously, give birth to healthy babies as well as breast feed them.

But unless the woman is severely, severely malnourished herself, she is able to produce breast milk for her baby.

ANDERSON: So, what you're saying is, we do not have to see the sort of scenes that we are seeing or we're witnessing from that part of the world? Let's hope that your advice and expertise is adhered to, or at least listened to somewhere in the world.

All right, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Fascinating stuff.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come, an eyesore or a work of genius? In two minutes, we go inside the studio of one of the world's most renowned sculptors tasked with creating an Olympic icon in London. What legacy will he leave? You decide. That's up next.


ANDERSON: Breaking news coming into CNN Center for you. We now have confirmation that the military chief of Libya's rebels has been assassinated, this man.

A rebel council tells CNN that General Abdul Fatah Younes was killed in Benghazi. Our troops on the ground, of course, working this story for you. We'll get them up as quickly as possible on CNN as soon as they can get more information for you.

Libyan rebel leader killed in Benghazi earlier today, we have now confirmed that story for you.

Three hundred and sixty-four days to go and counting. All this week on CONNECT THE WORLD, we are marking an historic moment for London as the city reaches its one year deadline to host the Olympic Games in 2012.

We've been bringing you big interviews with some of the key players tasked with creating what is -- or should be -- an Olympic legacy for the UK, the athletes, the venue designers and, indeed, the organizers.

Well, that's been earlier on this week. You'll know that if you've been watching. Tonight, our spotlight is on the Turner Prize-winning artist who is creating one of the more controversial Olympic icons. Let's meet Anish Kapoor, the sculptor who is, well, he's changing London's skyline. Have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's one of the most renowned artists working today.

MARY JANE JACOBS, SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO: One thing which Anish has said about his work overall is that they are gateways to the mystery of life.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Gateways that Anish Kapoor has erected around the globe, from the famous Sky Mirror in New York and bean-shaped Cloud Gate in Chicago to the reflective Turning the World Upside Down in Jerusalem and staggering installation Leviathan in Paris.

Iconic works that are dwarfed in size and ambition by this, the India- born sculptor's vision for the London Olympics.

ANISH KAPOOR, ARTIST: It is -- what it is is a tower. What I'm interested in is all these moments. So, it's a whole series of experiences, you know?

You go in there, there's a particular thing that happens under there, and as you go up it, there's something else that happens at the top there. All of this thing -- all of these things coming together to make a -- a complex, let's say, work. So, it isn't what it seems to be.

ANDERSON: It is known as Orbit, a 115-meter high structure being hailed as Britain's answer to the Eiffel Tower. The sculpture has attracted controversy over its $30 million price tag and design. In a "Guardian" newspaper poll last year, 61 percent of respondents described it as garbage.

BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR OF LONDON: I have huge confidence in this design. I cannot now say what the public will choose to baptize this structure, someday choose to think of it, this Orbit, as the Colossus of Stratford.

Some eyes may detect a giant treble clef, a helter-skelter, a super- sized mutant from bone. Some may even see the world's biggest-ever representation of a sheet of pipe.

ANDERSON (on camera): Do you care how people react to it?

KAPOOR: Do I care? I'm not going to answer you. I don't care, but I'm not going to tell you.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Kapoor says his job as an artist is not to provide answers, but to inspire questions.

KAPOOR: What is it about? I think it's quite a good question, because most of the world, most of the time, whatever object it is, my phone, I know what it is. I don't need to ask "what is it?" A yellow thing on a wall, "What is it? Why is it there? Why do we go through this effort?"

And I think that question provokes a possibility in us of places we know but don't quite know, meanings we understand but only half, et cetera. And art's good at that. That's what art does and ought to do.

ANDERSON: The difficulty for Kapoor, whose immense projects require a team effort, is getting others to reflect his vision.

KAPOOR: It isn't about how it looks best, but it has something to do with how it feels best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's very particular, shall we say? No, he can be difficult.

KAPOOR: I've got to talk to this guy, we've got a complete bloody misunderstanding here.

It doesn't work. No direct light.

Getting to what one wants is always difficult. There's always something that gets in the way. The world gets in the bloody way. And to get it out of the way can be a painful process, and sometimes one has to not be a nice person to do that. I don't like that, but sometimes it's necessary, so it has to be done.

If you look at the yellow, it's green. That is not yellow, that's green. I mean, it's yellow with a green tinge to it. It needs to be yellow. Really yellow.

ANDERSON: Bold color, bold shapes, bold sizes. These are trademarks of Kapoor, conceived here in his London studio.

KAPOOR: I like the idea of many different things going on at the same time. So, we're not making one work at a time, we're making, I don't know, 20.

It's not a production place. It's not a factory. It's a laboratory, if anything. It's a place where things get experimented, tried out, kind of investigated rather than produced.

ANDERSON: Will his Olympic experiment become an icon? Only history will judge.

KAPOOR: I make out to pursue certain problems and questions. I'll maybe have a moment of coming poetic. Now, people either get it or don't.


ANDERSON: Amazing, isn't it? Anish Kapoor, there, the artist tasked with creating a legacy for the London 2012 Olympics.

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