Return to Transcripts main page


The Case Against Amanda Knox; Missing Missiles; Russian Hockey Team Members Die in Plane Crash

Aired September 7, 2011 - 16:00   ET



CURT KNOX, FATHER OF AMANDA KNOX: They have no case. There is no case left.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: The family of Amanda Knox say they're hopeful she'll soon be free, after her appeal against murder is given a boost.

An Italian court ruling could see Knox and her ex-boyfriend released within weeks.

But where does this leave the case that has gripped the world?

Plus, looted in Libya -- missiles that could bring down a plane.

So where are they now?

And remembering the fallen firefighters of 9/11 -- Becky meets those paying their respects almost 10 years on.

These stories and more tonight as we connect the world.

A dramatic development today in a controversial trial that's grabbed headlines in the U.K., the U.S. and Italy. Almost four years ago, Meredith Kercher, a young British woman, was brutally murdered in Italy. Her American housemate, Amanda Knox, and her Italian boyfriend, are now in jail. A judge has thrown out the prosecution's request for new DNA testing and a new witness -- a decision that the Knox family believes could bring her home.

But an attorney for the Kercher family says the rulings don't mean that at all.

This has been a very long and complicated trial that has attracted attention from around the world.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in Perugia following the case.

And he joins -- he joins us now -- a very dramatic day, Matthew.

And it seems as though it's been working toward Knox's favor.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's been a big step in favor of Amanda Knox, of course, and Raffaele Sollecito, as well, the person who was also convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher back in 2007, because the judge today, as you mentioned, ruled that the independent experts that had been brought in to assess the forensic DNA evidence, which helped to convict Amanda Knox would be supported.

They'd said that that DNA evidence was not reliable and was not, for instance, brought in under international standards. They criticized the original police investigation.

There have been calls from the prosecution for the judge to step aside, this independent panel of experts. But he rejected that, saying that he was going to accept them, which, of course, calls into question that DNA evidence altogether.

And that's important, Max, because that evidence is the only physical evidence that puts Amanda Knox at the murder scene. And so it's very significant, indeed.

FOSTER: A very long-running trial, Matthew.

Stay there.

We're just going to bring people up to date on how we got here.


FOSTER (voice-over): Meredith Kercher's partially clothed body was found inside the Italian apartment she shared with Knox back in early November, 2007. Knox was arrested four days later, along with her then boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and another man, who was later released. A fourth suspect, Rudy Guede, was arrested in Germany a few weeks after that. He was found guilty of murder and sexual assault in October, 2008, and sentenced to 30 years in jail. His sentence was later reduced.

The trials began for Knox and Sollecito in January, 2009, and they were both found guilty of murdering Kercher later that year.

Knox was sentenced to 26 years in jail and Sollecito was given 25. Their appeal began in November last year.


FOSTER: This is a very long-running case -- Matthew, are we coming into the final stages?

CHANCE: Well, it's certainly possible. Obviously, it will be the jury and the judge that make that final decision.

But what's happened now is that the -- the judge has adjourned the court until the 23rd of September. Then we're going to hear, when it resumes, some final summary hearings, which will take about a week. And then shortly after that, perhaps even within a few days after that, the judge will make his decision whether he will overturn the verdict or whether her will uphold them.

But -- but clearly there's a lot of optimism at the moment amongst supporters of Amanda Knox, that she will be eventually set free.

FOSTER: Two families, of course, involved here -- three families, really.

What sort of reaction have you been getting from the families?

CHANCE: Well, first of all, the family of Meredith Kercher weren't in the court today. They've kept a very low profile, but they've been continuously trying to remind, you know, the media, the people of Italy, the people of Britain, the other -- the people of the United States who have been concerned with this that they believe that their daughter was the only real true victim in all of this, not Amanda Knox.

The other families, obviously, have been in very close contact, too. In the courtroom today, Amanda Knox, along with Raffaele Sollecito, they were standing there. Their families were right behind them with their legal team.

Shortly afterward, I managed to get a quick word with Curt Knox, who's Amanda's father. And he was very optimistic, indeed.

Take a listen.


CHANCE: Yes, I've got Curt Knox here. He's the father of Amanda Knox, right beside the courthouse here in Perugia.

Mr. Knox has agreed to -- to give us a few words.

First of all, Mr. Knox, your reaction to this decision by the judge a few months ago not to question this independent witness decision on the -- on the DNA?

KNOX: Well, I think the -- what that -- what that tells me is the appeals court asked for the independent review and they came back with a very precise, accurate report. And I think what that does is it really says that they believer in that and there's no reason to do another review by the prosecution, who were originally against, you know, an independent review to start with.

CHANCE: Because the independent experts basically say the DNA evidence that was used to convict your daughter and Raffaele.

KNOX: That's exactly what it says. And it -- it, basically, they have no case. There is no case left. And again, I'm very hopeful that by the end of the month, we'll get to bring Amanda home.

CHANCE: Do -- do you think -- do you think that what we're witnessing now is the prosecution case, which you were obviously always standing against, is now falling apart at the seams?

KNOX: Well, if you take a look at each of the components of the evidence and you eliminate the bra and the knife and anybody that knew about, you know, their whereabouts, you know, that says that they didn't know it, there is no case. There is none.

I mean Amanda and Raffaele were not at the house when Meredith lost her life.

CHANCE: How optimistic are you, though, given your experience with the Italian justice system, of -- of what you've been through in that -- in that trial that convicted Amanda of these killings, how optimistic are you really now that -- that this evidence is going to feed into that process and you're going to see your daughter walk free?

KNOX: You know, I've watched the appeals court act very differently during this trial. And it really appears to me that they want to find the truth. And, you know, I -- I'm very hopeful. You know, now, even after, you know, the response that we've just received that, you know, by the end of the month, we'll get to bring Amanda and -- and Raffaele home.


CHANCE: Well, Curt Knox very optimistic there, of course, at the possibility of his daughter being released at the -- at the end of the month.

But I think it's important to remember that this is not yet a done deal. There is still lots of circumstantial evidence connecting Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito with this crime. And it will ultimately be up to the jury and the judge to decide, at the end of September, what they want to do with this -- Max.

FOSTER: OK. Matthew, thank you very much, indeed, for that.

So what is it that has made this case so morbidly fascinating?

Well, seathill -- sett -based journalist, Candace Dempsey, wrote the book, "Murder in Italy."

And she joins us now from the US.

Thank you so much for joining us.

What was it that actually compelled you to write...


FOSTER: -- to write a book and to get involved in this case?

What is it that grabbed you?

DEMPSEY: It's just an irresistible case. I am an Italian-American. I live in Seattle. Amanda Knox is from Seattle. I had been to Perugia, which is the place where the murder occurred. And when I heard that a British student had been murdered there, I couldn't believe it, that in this beautiful town of chocolates and jazz, that there would be this brutal crime and that Amanda Knox, from my hometown, would be the prime suspect.

So it was absolutely irresistible to me.

FOSTER: And there just don't seem to be any conclusive (INAUDIBLE)...

DEMPSEY: And I began to blog about it.

FOSTER: Yes, you get to the point, don't you, where you just can't get to the bottom of it. Everyone is so fascinated by it. This has a -- it's a classic murder mystery, isn't it?

DEMPSEY: It is, but I think that we're -- we have gotten to the bottom of it now, with this DNA evidence being declared unreliable, because that was the one thing that indicated that these two colleges students decided, on the spurt of the moment, on a holiday evening, where they were watching the French film, "Amalie," to suddenly go and commit a brutal crime in the house where Amanda lived.

So they had to actually leave the movie place, Raffaele's apartment, and go all the way over there.

And for what reason?

So I think that we do know what happened because the name that we haven't talked about is Rudy Guede. Like he -- all the evidence points toward him.

FOSTER: And who -- however you look at the case, you can have a different reading, can't you?

And, as you know, certainly people take different sides in this. But that's one of the things that makes it fascinating, though, because you have to choose a side, in a way.

DEMPSEY: Well, it has been the thing that made it fascinating over the past four years, because we just couldn't get independent review of this DNA evidence. And as long as that was still out there, there was that mystique, that -- that interest. And you thought, well, maybe they could be there. On your worst nights, you might still think that.

So now I think that we have solved the riddle.

But it's still always going to be a spell-binding case because you always have to wonder, how did we ever get this far?

How did -- how did the court go so long?

How did the police come up with these ridiculous theories about Manga comic books and Satanism and -- and sex games gone wrong?

How did that happen?

How did the prosecution come to that conclusion?

FOSTER: But that's just your view and the prosecution has its view. You know, there are many views on this. But one thing that is undoubted is that it's gained...

DEMPSEY: Yes, but...

FOSTER: -- it's gained huge notoriety, the case, hasn't it?


FOSTER: And there's a big spotlight on the Italian justice system, isn't there?

But they've performed well, would you agree?

Or do you think that that will only be realized at the very end of the case?

DEMPSEY: I have always said that the Italians would do the right thing in the end. I'm -- again, I'm Italian-American. And I know that people make a muddle of things and we're -- we're noisy. But we do respect education. We do respect science. And that's what we're seeing now is this judge has sided with the scientists. These are his own hand-picked, independent experts. They did not work for the defense. They did not work for the prosecution. And they have said this DNA is unreliable.

There is nothing else that ties these two to that house that night.

So I think it's a triumph for Italy. They're -- we thought -- we saw the United States, with the Westminster 3...


DEMPSEY: -- it's kind of similar.

FOSTER: OK. Your view, but we'll let the court decide and we'll find out quite soon (INAUDIBLE)...

DEMPSEY: Yes. That is for sure.

FOSTER: As we understand it, from Matthew.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us, Candace Dempsey.

Now, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, a new worry for Libya, as powerful weapons go missing from a warehouse in Tripoli.

What are the chances they'd end up in the wrong hands?

That's in two minutes.

Players from a leading Russian ice hockey team are among those killed when a plane crashes on takeoff. More on that after the break.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what New York City and America is always about, just moving forward and -- and getting through and never forgetting what we lost and -- and rebuilding to the best of our ability.


FOSTER: CNN's Becky Anderson gauges the mood of New Yorkers 10 years on from 9/11.


FOSTER: I'm Max Foster in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

And here's a look at some other stories we're following for you this hour.

In post-war Libya, anxiety, instability and now a new worry -- rampant arms looting. Right now, a huge stash of powerful, Russian-made weapons are missing from a warehouse in Tripoli, as discovered by senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, who's live for us in the Libyan capital -- Ben, what exactly did you discover or not discover?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, you know, it's sort of interesting here in Libya, because, on the one hand, many Libyans are celebrating the fact that they're finally free after 42 years of Moammar Gadhafi's rule.

On the other hand, some people have taken advantage of the instability of the moment to treat themselves to the contents of the country's armories.


WEDEMAN: The empty boxes are scattered over the floor in a Tripoli warehouse, their deadly contents gone. This packing list from a single box, written in Russian and English, describes the goods as "9 M-342." That's the Russian designation for the Igla-S surface-to-air missile. This box contained two missiles and four power sources.

The Igla-S can shoot down a plane flying as high as 11,000 feet. It's the Russian equivalent of the U.S.-made Stinger missile. The U.S. supplied hundreds of Stingers to the Afghan Mujahidin during the so-called Soviet occupation, then spent millions of dollars trying to buy them back, fearing they'd fall into the hands of terrorists.

Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch has been tracking these weapons in Libya for months.

PETER BOUCKAERT, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: In every city, we arrive and the first thing to disappear are the surface-to-air missiles. We're talking about some 20,000 missing surface-to-air missiles in all of Libya. And I've seen cars packed with them.

WEDEMAN: If Bouckaert's assessment is accurate, thousands of surface- to-air missiles could be on the loose. American officials worry they might end up with Iran, al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

BOUCKAERT: They could turn all of North Africa into a no-fly zone.

WEDEMAN: On the black market, just one of these missiles can fetch many thousands of dollars. And it's not just the missing missiles. This warehouse still contains thousands and thousands of artillery rounds packed with high explosives.

BOUCKAERT: Just one or two of those artillery shells is enough to make a car bomb. And we should remember what happened in Iraq. They turned the country upside down by using artillery shells like the ones in this warehouse.

WEDEMAN: And with little in the way of authority in Libya at the moment, not much is being done to stop all of this from getting into the wrong hands.


WEDEMAN: And, of course, the facility, the compound where we found all of this ammunition and weapons was completely unguarded. Somebody had blown off the front gate. There was a guardhouse, but there were no guards. You could just drive in, take whatever you wanted and drive away unmolested -- Max.

FOSTER: Frightening stuff.

Ben, thank you very much, indeed.

Meanwhile, investigators are looking into bomb threats that grounded two Pakistani planes. Both flights originated in the Pakistani city of Lahore, one bound for England that landed in Istanbul, the other made it safely to its destination, Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia.

Both threats were delivered via e-mail.

At least 11 people have been killed in a bomb blast outside the high court in New Delhi, in India. The bomb was apparently placed in a briefcase in front of a security checkpoint. More than 70 people were also injured in the blast, the second at the court complex in four months.

A ringing endorsement from investors -- shares in Yahoo! rose after CEO Carol Bartz was fired. The Internet company supposedly used some old school technology to break the news. Bartz said she was fired over the phone.

She leaves after failing to turn the company's fortunes around. Key shareholders said the company risked an exodus of talent if Bartz stayed in place.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, tragedy strikes one of Russia's leading ice hockey teams. Almost all of its players are killed in a plane crash taking the team to its first match of the season.

More on that after the break.

And later this hour, as Palestinians head to the U.N. seeking statehood, CNN looks into what it could mean for relations with Israel and with America.


FOSTER: A plane carrying one of Russia's leading ice hockey teams, Lokomotiv Jaroslavl, have crashed on take-off, killing 43 people. The plane was on its way to the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Aviation officials say the plane hit a radio beacon at Russia's Jaroslavl Airport. It then fell to the ground, broke into several pieces and caught fire.

The hockey team included players from many countries, including Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden. They were heading to Belarus for the season's first match.

Russian TV broke into a newscast to show a statement given by the president of the Russian Hockey League to a shocked crowd at another match.


FOSTER: Now, Alex Thomas joins me to talk about this in the studio. Because this was a very big team, wasn't it -- Alex?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was. The biggest league for ice hockey in the world is the NHL in the United States. But many other players that we believe have died in this are former players from that league. We don't think any current NHL stars have perished in this accident.

But the KHL is a fairly new professional ice hockey league in Russia, only set up three year sago. They did have a championship before that, which this team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, won three times. They're three time former Russian champions.

In this new league, they finished runners-up in the first two seasons of it. And they were third last season. They had a new coach, who was a Canadian, a man called Brad McCrimmon. And he used to be the assistant coach at an NHL team, the Detroit Red Wings.

So a top, top coach, very well known in ice hockey globally. So it shows the ambition they had. This certainly wasn't a small team, it was a major side. And they've been absolutely devastated by this tragedy.

FOSTER: I mean a tragedy on so many levels. But, because ice hockey is such a big deal in Russia, it seems to have affected so many lives.

THOMAS: Hugely popular in Russia. Ice hockey is a source of national pride. Under the old Soviet Union, it was really a way of them showing they could beat the best in the world. They collected loads and loads of Olympic Gold Medals in the Winter Olympics and world championships.

Not quite so successful since becoming Russia again. But they are three time world champions over the last sort of 20 years or so.

So ice hockey hugely popular. And as I mentioned before, many of their stars go on to play in -- in the NHL.

And you've got the Winter Olympics coming up in Russia next time out, after Vancouver in 2010. It's in Sochi in 2014.

So that's what's over the horizon.

FOSTER: (INAUDIBLE) was very international, wasn't it, which is why it's affecting countries outside Russia, as well...

THOMAS: Yes...

FOSTER: -- is the fact that they're in these teams?

THOMAS: We mentioned the new Canadian coach of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. If you look at the confirmed names that have died, the team's goalie, for example, Stefan Liv, won Olympic Gold with Sweden as recently as 2006 in the Torino Games. Another former NHL star, Slovakian international, Pavel Demitra, should be very well known to hockey followers in North America. And the list goes on.

The International Ice Hockey Federation call it the darkest day in the history of the sport. But the tragedy goes beyond that, Max. Even the NHL itself, as we said, no current NHL players in this tragedy, but this was the statement released from their commissioner a bit earlier: "Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world, including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our league."

So summing that up.

FOSTER: And certainly this story dominating conversation. But the sport continues.

What else is going on?

THOMAS: Yes, there is. When you get to -- I might point out that the hockey season in Russia will be delayed because of this. But there's certainly a delay happening in the final grand slam tennis tournament of the season. Rain in New York playing havoc with a schedules. And organizers' desperate efforts to restart the action have met with protests from some of the top players.

Defending champion, Rafael Nadal, world number four Andy Murray and 2003 winner, Andy Roddick, all complained to the tournament referee, Brian Early, that they were asked to get back on the courts when they were still dangerously wet.

Only around a quarter of an hour's action was possible before rain yet again interrupted play.

More on that in "WORLD SPORT" in just over an hour's time, including three rugby legends to talk us through who might win the World Cup, about to start in New Zealand on Friday.

FOSTER: It's miserable, isn't it, all that rain?

Alex, thank you very much, indeed.

A big court decision in Germany with big implications for weak Eurozone economies. In around six minutes, we'll speak to a young German and a young Greek about the bailouts. Their take on the give and take.

And later in the show, a renewed push for recognition -- the sights and sounds of possible Palestinian statehood and the mood in New York just four days before a painful milestone.


FOSTER: You are back with CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader.

Let's get a check of the headlines for you this hour.

There's been a breakthrough for American student, Amanda Knox, who's appealing her murder conviction in Italy. A judge has denied a prosecution request for more DNA tests and to call more witnesses. Knox and her ex- boyfriend were convicted in 2009 of killing her British housemate, Meredith Kercher.

As the smoke clears in Tripoli, warehouses full of empty boxes like these are being found. They used to contain powerful, Russian-made surface to air missiles. Human Rights Watch says it's worried that looted weapons could fall into the wrong hands.

Members of a leading Russian ice hockey team are among 43 people killed in a plane crash in Yaroslavl. The players were on their way to Belarus for their opening match of the season.

Police in India have released sketches of two suspects believed to be involved with a bomb blast outside the Delhi high court. The blast on Wednesday morning killed at least 11 people and wounded 76. There are reports that an extremist group has taken responsibility for the attack.

And after a rough start to the trading week, the Dow rallied today, ending the session up 2.5 percent, around 275 points. The NASDAQ and S&P did even better, though. And the major European markets saw even stronger gains as bargain hunters drove up the FTSE more than 3 percent, the DAX more than 4.

The European gains follow a huge ruling by a German top constitutional court. It rejected a lawsuit that calls Germany's bailout of Greece illegal. And that's a victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

However, the court also gave the German parliament more control over when emergency loans can be granted. And that could hinder Berlin's ability to act quickly to keep faltering economies afloat and fend off future financial crises.

Now, Germany is paying a heavy financial cost for the Eurozone crisis, even though its economy is actually doing rather well. And that's because it has been the biggest single contributor to the Eurozone bailout fund.

Let's take a look at that. Now, Germany pays nearly 19 percent to the European Central Bank. That's the body that has been responsible for putting these packages together.

Compare that to France. France, the continent's second largest economy, pays just over 14 percent. The other two big economies are Italy and Spain. They pay 12.5 percent and 8.3 percent each.

To give you some idea of how much money we're talking about, when the first Eurozone rescue fund was announced in 2010, that totaled around $900 billion. Germany's contribution, roughly $208 billion, around 20 percent, an enormous figure.

Earlier, I spoke with Richard Quest about Germany's role in the debt crisis.

I began by asking him to decision the -- the sense of relief, really that Germany must be feeling right now.


RICHARD QUEST, HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Absolutely. It would have been a disaster for Angela Merkel if the constitutional court had ruled the only way.

But in recent days, the view had been this is the way it would go.

Now, she hasn't been given a total blank check. Parliament still has the powers, she's still being warned that she can't just do whatever she likes. But the concept and the principle that the German federal government can use the budget to help other countries has been established by the constitutional court.

FOSTER: But that is a problem in itself, isn't it, the fact that she can't do what she likes anymore? She has to go through Parliament increasingly to get things approved, and there's less approval in Parliament, isn't it? More discussion in Parliament now?

QUEST: Yes, it's called democracy. And in Germany, of course, there's a lot of anger and a lot of resentment for what they see as being the harder working northern countries bailing out the feckless, lazies in the south. Not true --

FOSTER: So, bailout could be slower?

QUEST: No, not necessarily, because it's the euro project. Germany is still committed to the euro project.

What they've got to do in Germany, and those other politicians have to accept, is if the euro is to be saved, then they're going to have to foot the bill along with other countries like Finland, other countries which are still also recalcitrant, feeling anguished, and feeling that there needs to be more change.

That's where this story moves now. Once they've doused the fires of the euro immediate crisis, and they haven't doused them all yet, then it becomes what changes will be made to make the system work properly.

FOSTER: And it does feel like a sense of change in Europe, doesn't it? Some interesting goings-on in Italian politics --


FOSTER: -- and French politics today, moving things ahead in terms of budgetary matters.

QUEST: Let's look at what happened. We had a dramatic rise in the DAX in Germany, up four percent, strong gains in London, which of course, not euro, but is still the financial center of Europe.

France and Italy tonight, two other countries, Italy and France, both their parliaments in some shape or form approving the next stage of austerity and cutbacks.

So, very slow, very small movements. But the political will is being translated into action.

FOSTER: And that's going to encourage the markets even further going ahead.

QUEST: Yes, but we are -- I mean, I really don't want to be Debbie Downer completely, because the frank -- frankly, there is so much more to go. The ECB is still bailing out Italian bonds and Spanish bonds.

Most European banks in certain countries are still borrowing vast sums and a full allotment from the ECB. We are a long way from being out of the woods.


FOSTER: Richard Quest speaking to me earlier. Now, some Germans have grown bitter over the skyrocketing cost of these bailouts, but how does it feel to be at the receiving end?

Right now, we're going to get two young perspectives on Europe's debt crisis for you. Marios Kampouridis is Greek IT worker based here in London, and coming to us from Frankfurt is Philip Fabian, who works in finance.

Philip, thank you so much for joining us. I wanted to come to you first. I just wanted to get an idea what it's like for an ordinary German, let's say, and your sense of your country bailing out most of the continent. How do Germans actually feel about this? How do you feel about it?

PHILIP FABIAN, GERMAN FINANCE WORKER: There is a growing sense of uneasiness. There is a growing -- there is growing doubt about whether this whole system is still on -- on solid fundaments.

There is a sense that Germany is bailing out other countries and that it's being done on German taxpayers' money and that wouldn't be such a big pity if the German contributor would see the end of this cycle coming somewhere. But this is not the case right now.

FOSTER: They certainly are bailing out most of the euro zone, but is a -- Angela Merkel is doing it for a reason. It'd be costly to leave the euro, for example. Is she not selling the counter argument very well?

FABIAN: For now, there is the sense that she doesn't have the choice of doing anything else than she does now, but there is also this sentiment that the situation will get worse and worse and then at some point we will have to try something else.

FOSTER: OK, Marios, the Greeks need this German money, don't the?


FOSTER: So that's a worrying message.

KAMPOURIDIS: Absolutely, and at the end of the day, they need the German money, and Germany needs to act and exert its gravitas that it has as the leader in the --

FOSTER: So, it's a very worrying message for you, is it?

KAMPOURIDIS: It is a worrying message currently. It has been that sort of message in the last few months for Greece for sure. However, I think there is really no other option but do just that.

I think it's not just the matter of Greece being bailed out at this point in time. After all, Greece is quite a small economy in the long -- in the large scheme of things.

But I think Greece is essentially the -- the leader, if you like, in the whole sort of bailout scene altogether.


KAMPOURIDIS: I think Greece gives out a message, and the bailing out of Greece would eventually give out the right message or the wrong message to the rest of the world.

FOSTER: Is it embarrassing, awkward, to be a Greek right now having to rely on other countries?

KAMPOURIDIS: Funny that you mention that. Sometimes it's -- I wouldn't say it's embarrassing as such. I mean, we have a -- quite a heritage and we are who we are.

FOSTER: Of course, yes.

KAMPOURIDIS: Having said that, it's sometimes interesting to hear conversations in the business environment or outside on the street --


KAMPOURIDIS: And it's difficult, sometimes, given the publicity this whole matter has taken to support that.

FOSTER: Philip, it's -- we talk about big numbers and big politics, don't we? But actually, we're talking about people. It's a German like you helping a Greek like Marios. That's what's actually happening. So, is there a sense of charity here, or has it gone too far?

FABIAN: Actually, the last thing Germans want to be in Europe is the super power patronizing other people and tell them what to do and how to manage their budgets.

FOSTER: It's the truth, though, isn't it, right now? That's the hard reality.

FABIAN: That's the hard reality, that's the situation where Germany somehow slid into it, but I want our Greek friends to believe that we sincerely did never want to get into such a situation.

Germany is not -- does not want to patronize anybody. We have the impression that the Greeks do their best, but they are in a terrible situation and that it's -- it's more likely the system that has to be blamed here than the Greeks themselves or other countries in the territory of Europe.

FOSTER: I want to ask both of you, Philip, quickly, do you wish Germany hadn't entered the euro?

FABIAN: I cannot really say yes or no. Ten years ago when the euro was introduced, I was in the streets of Frankfurt in front of the ECB having a street party. Now, a decade later, the sober reality has caught up on us and I really have doubts about whether it was a good thing. But it was made on good intentions, I think --

FOSTER: How about you Marios? Because it hasn't done either country any favors, has it, when you look at right now?

KAMPOURIDIS: That's very true. I would say exactly the same thing. I think ten years ago, when the markets were booming and we were all in a great scenario to be under a unified currency, yes, it would have been great news.

I think some traditional Greeks even back then would tell you that it may be the worst thing that could happen to the country called Greece, even its small economy and the fact that it always had traditionally somewhat problems in the public sector and its economy altogether.

I think right now, the general consensus on the street is, why did we ever join the euro? From some if not the majority of the people on the streets, so the day-to-day person.


KAMPOURIDIS: If you look at it at the Central Bank scale or the National Bank of Greece scale, I think they would tell you it was the best thing that happened to the country, and there are some examples to prove just that.

FOSTER: Marios Kampouridis, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.


FOSTER: Also Philip Fabian, thank you for joining us from Germany. Appreciate it.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up after the break, as Palestinians make their case for international recognition, CNN examines the impact such a move would have on Palestinian relations with Israel and the rest of the world.


FOSTER: Later this month, Palestinians will go to the United Nations to make their case for international recognition. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas says he'll be seeking UN membership for the state of Palestine.

But Israel says the move could set back peace talks between the two for good. CNN's Kevin Flower assesses where things stand.


KEVIN FLOWER, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): To the Palestinian Authority, these are the sights and sounds of statehood. Here, the start of construction on a new $34 million West Bank housing development is celebrated by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

It is, he says, just one of countless examples of Palestinian readiness for an independent state.

SALAM FAYYAD, PRIME MINISTER OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: That state is on the ground. The reality of it is there on the ground. What really we need, now, is actually to assure that that state is sovereign, and that can happen only if the Israeli occupation comes to an end.

FLOWER: And it is to that end that the Palestinian Authority is seeking international recognition of an independent Palestinian state in lieu of resuming long, moribund talks with Israel.

For Palestinians, it is a strategy born of frustration and one fraught with risk. The frustration, what is seen as Israel's refusal to halt unilateral action such as continued settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

And among the many risks, falsely raising the hopes of Palestinians and alienating deep-pocketed donors like the US and some European Union countries, who oppose the plan.

For Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stopping the Palestinians' UN bid has been a policy priority.

CHEMI SHALEV, POLITICAL ANALYST: It's facing an unknown in what could be a dramatic change in the parameters of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

FLOWER: And it is why the government recently signaled its willingness to publicly accept a call by the American president to resume negotiations with pre-1967 borders as a starting point. Lines that Netanyahu testily characterized as, quote, "indefensible" during a visit to the United States earlier this year.

In return, the Israeli leader wants Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, a concession Palestinians have ruled out, saying it would jeopardize the rights of Palestinian refugees in Israel's minority Arab population.

FLOWER (on camera): Israeli government officials concede that even with ongoing American efforts to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, a breakthrough is not expected. Instead, both sides now are increasingly asking what comes the day after a UN vote that could recognize an independent Palestinian state.

Kevin Flower, CNN, Jerusalem.


FOSTER: A conference was held here in London today to discuss this whole issue. CNN's Atika Shubert went along to it. A little earlier, she talked to me about what could happen if a Palestinian state was recognized by the United Nations.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If this vote goes ahead, let's say they do get acceptance by the General Assembly, nothing concrete is going to change immediately on the ground, but it is a major symbolic and psychological victory.

And the reason the Palestinian Authority says they want this vote, that they want this recognition is because they say they want to level the playing field, and they want to do this by getting more international support.

We actually spoke to Nabil Shaath, he is a Palestinian Authority negotiator. Here's how he explained the whole strategy.

NABIL SHAATH, NEGOTIATOR, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: With the difficulties we are facing with the peace process with Israeli settlement policy, re-occupation of the West Bank and the siege of Gaza, we found it very difficult to move.

And we thought again we may need an upgrade of our status. We need more support from the international community.

FOSTER: So, that's the Palestinian view. Israelis have a completely different view, so how are they reacting to this?

SHUBERT: Well, as you can imagine, they're not happy about this at all. This puts additional pressure on the Israelis.

And remember, the talks and negotiations were going absolutely nowhere. In fact, they're at a completely standstill at this point. And as far as Israel is concerned, this means that they're going to have to reconsider any negotiations going further. So, they're not happy about this at all.

We also had a chance to speak to a former Israel ambassador to the United States (sic), Dore Gold. Here's what he had to say in response.

DORE GOLD, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I know that Palestinian spokesmen like to say, "Well, after we do the UN, we'll have a level playing field and we'll negotiate."

But it doesn't look like Abbas wants to resolve the conflict, it looks like he wants to intensify it. And that's unfortunate.

SHUBERT: Israel's other concern is that if the Palestinian Authority is recognized as a state, it could mean legal issues. For example, it could mean that the Palestinian Authority decides to take legal action in the International Criminal Court, and this is something Israel absolutely does not want to see.

FOSTER: So, where does this leave the US? Because it's caught in between the two sides, effectively, isn't it? How is it going to negotiate this?

SHUBERT: It really is stuck in a very difficult position. It is basically a dilemma. Remember, President Obama basically came out and said "I support a Palestinian state, I want to see one happen."

The thing is, the United States wants to see one happen through negotiations, and that is not happening yet. We did have an opportunity to discuss this with Elliott Abrams, who was formerly with the Bush administration for his view on this on the sidelines of the conference, and he basically said it is a very delicate situation.

ELLIOTT ABRAMS, FORMER US DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It's an uncomfortable position, because we do -- we've had a policy at least since President Bush in 2002 of favoring Palestinian statehood, and here we are vetoing.

But I think the president would -- has said, this is premature. The way to get to Palestinian statehood is through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. It's not going to happen in New York. It's going to happen when they sit down and negotiate, and this is a kind of false move that gets you off the track you need to be on.

SHUBERT: Now, a lot of this all depends on what exactly happens at the UN General Assembly. Remember, it's all still pretty fluid. They're still drafting up exactly how they're going to phrase this, so there's still a lot that could change before we get to September 20th.


FOSTER: Atika Shubert.

Now, few days have changed America and the world quite like 9/11. Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, we gauge the mood in New York as we lead up to the 10th anniversary of those terrorist attacks.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think ten years after the attack, the very strong impact -- visual impact is still alive in our memories and our subconscious. I wanted the real treatment and the abstraction to reflect what we all felt when it happened.

We were all scared for the incomprehensible -- was it war? Against whom?

TEXT: See all the artwork,


FOSTER: Just one of the original pieces of artwork commissioned by as we lead up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Welcome back, I'm Max Foster in London. All this week, Becky will be reporting live from Ground Zero with special analysis and interviews.

To gauge the mood of New Yorkers, she visited a memorial to 9/11's fallen firefighters near the World Trade Center site, where people are already gathering before this weekend's anniversary.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Ten House fire station is just across the road from the World Trade Center site.

The sun was shining on September the 11th, 2001, as firefighters from Ten Engine Company and Ten Ladder Company turned up for their shift. What happened next is immortalized here in what is the first large scale monument to 9/11 here at Ground Zero.

This 56-foot bronze relief is dedicated to those who fell and to those who carry on.

I've just found two firefighters here, both from Canada. How does it feel today?

STEVE NICHOLL, CALGARY FIRE DEPARTMENT: It's very humbling. I've never seen anything like this before. Of course, I was actually in paramedic school watching it all on TV live, so this is my first time to New York, and this was pretty much the only thing that was a must see.

ANDERSON: Meet these guys from New Jersey who've also just arrived here. Joe, when you look at this, how do you feel?

JOE BLEWETT, POLICE CHIEF, HIGHLANDS, NEW JERSEY: We're all emotional. I mean, all firemen, I believe, are. We know a lot of New York City firemen, some of which are good friends of ours. And we responded that day and did what we could to help.

BECKY KANE, FORMER FIRE CHIEF, HIGHLANDS, NEW JERSEY: I think we all live our life a little differently and basically reflect and never forget and always move forward. I think that's what New York City and America's always about, just moving forward and getting through and never forgetting what we lost and rebuilding to the best of our ability.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The firefighters from New Jersey actually have a piece of the steel structure from one of the buildings at 9/11. They're taking it back with them to New Jersey so that they can always remember what happened on 9/11.

The firefighters from Ten House were the first responders. Six lost their lives on 9/11, 343 firefighters in total perished that day.

ANDERSON (on camera): A decade on, they are remembered. Becky Anderson, CNN, New York.


FOSTER: One man who emerged as a symbol of strength just moments after the Twin Towers were struck was Rudy Giuliani. The then-mayor of New York City was on the scene soon after the attacks.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: It was the most horrific scene I've ever seen in my whole life. We saw the World Trade Center in flames, a big gaping hole all the way on the top of it. We could see people jumping from the top of the building.

And then, we went into Barclay Street, 75 Barclay Street, I think it was, and we were there when the building collapsed. And it collapsed in part on 75 Barclay Street, so we were trapped in the building for, maybe, 10 or 15 minutes.


FOSTER: Well, Giuliani emerged and immediately took control of the recovery and relief efforts, inspiring New Yorkers to be resilient amid all of that devastation.

His speech writer at the time was John Avlon, who was given the difficult task of writing the eulogies for the firefighters, police officers, every emergency worker who was killed on that day, and John joins us now from our Washington bureau. Thank you for joining us.


FOSTER: Just tell us how you woke up that day on 9/11 nearly 10 years ago.

AVLON: I woke up almost with the first plane flying over the window of my apartment. I could see the silver belly of the plane just over the treetops on a fifth floor apartment in Greenwich Village. And we knew it was crashing, but had no idea that it was heading for the heart of the Twin Towers.

FOSTER: And then you head --

AVLON: And then, when we found out what had happened.

FOSTER: Yes, and then you headed into the city, didn't you? So you were there firsthand trying to understand it.


FOSTER: What was it like and what was your understanding of it immediately?

AVLON: Well, we knew a plane was going down. When the second plane hit, we knew we were under attack. I went down to City Hall, where I was working as Mayor Giuliani's speechwriter, and we were trying to evacuate city personnel, secure the perimeters.

Rudy was going to give a press conference on Vesey Street, and that's when the first tower came down.

And we all knew people in the buildings, firefighters in particular. So it's a day that stays with you, to see lower Manhattan, where we live and work, and where I still live, transformed into that gray wasteland of ash and smoke and sirens is something that stays with you.

FOSTER: And --

AVLON: And I think the story of New York is very much about civic resilience in the wake of that attack.

FOSTER: And Mayor Giuliani really symbolized that, didn't he? And I know you've written about him almost emerging as a wartime leader, comparing him to Churchill.


FOSTER: What did you mean by that?

AVLON: Well, I think -- Rudy took a lot of comfort at that time actually reading a biography of Churchill that was by his bedside, and he'd been reading it previous to the attack.

For New Yorkers at that moment, we call on historic precedence very often when we find ourselves in unprecedented situations. New York, America, had never been under attack in that way.

But our feeling of kinship with Britain and the historic memory of Churchill's leadership during the Battle of Britain was something we could draw on to help make sense of something which had been previously an unimaginable attack on the United States, at the heart of our city.

So, it was something we drew courage from and it, ultimately, I think the way New Yorkers emerged, lower Manhattan has emerged, does speak to the way free people can triumph over fear. But it was a long process, and we had to assimilate the facts of tragedy -- of attack into our loves. Not a tragedy, it was an attack.

FOSTER: You had to assimilate those ideas more than anyone, really. You very quickly had to start writing speeches. You had to write the eulogies for the firefighters. How did you -- how on Earth did you begin to try to write something for these people that have gone down in history as heroes?

AVLON: Sure. Let me put it in context. Whenever a firefighter or police officer dies in New York City, there is the equivalent of a state funeral. The civic structure stops. And Rudy Giuliani decided very early on that each of these heroes, the firefighter and police officers, deserved that same kind of honor and respect.

And so, we began a process of what was ultimately three months and more of funerals honoring each of these heroes, these firefighters who ran into the fire when other people were running out. They deserved at least that.

There were as many as 45 in a weekend. And what we tried to do was make sure that each of those individuals had an individual eulogy, and the mayor attended as many of the funerals as he could, he was supported by other city commissioners.

But it was a way of showing our enduring respect and swearing that we would never forget and helping those families have some measure of comfort in that horrifically difficult time.

FOSTER: As someone who was so caught up with the story personally, professionally, and really analyzed these people's lives, how would you describe what happened on that day? What was it?

AVLON: We met the worst of humanity with the best of humanity. That is the enduring lesson that the firefighters and police officers gave us. And that's the enduring lesson that we can carry forward in our hearts to keep their -- the memory of their example alive.

FOSTER: John Avlon, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Tonight's Parting Shots for you, a look at New York City's changing skyline flying in from space. This is how lower Manhattan is today.

But by 2014, this is the city's new landmark. You're going to see it emerging there in Manhattan. Freedom Tower will rise 417 meters, making it the tallest building in the US. It'll also rank as the tallest office building in the world.

Another five new towers are being built, and they'll be surrounded by footprints of the old towers.

There -- and as we can see -- when you bring up the old towers next to it, you -- get a sense of -- that what's been and what's set to come.

Really bringing home the change in the skyline there in New York.

I'm Max Foster, thank you very much, indeed, for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break.