Return to Transcripts main page


Preview of U.N. General Assembly; This Week's Key U.N. Speeches; Tensions in Israel Over Palestinian Bid; Dominique Strauss-Kahn Speaks; Worldwide Headlines on Strauss-Kahn Interview; One Commentator Relieved by Strauss-Kahn's Comments; Big Interview: Beyonce; Parting Shots: Clash of the Tycoons; Should the Rich Should Cough Up to Bring Down American Debt; Strauss-Kahn Breaks His Silence; Yemen Fighting; Spain Advances into the Final; Davis Cup Wrap-Up

Aired September 19, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.N.ITED STATES: It's only right that we ask everyone pay their fair share.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The rich should cough up to bring down America's debt -- so says the U.S. president.

Live from London, I'm Becky Anderson.

Also tonight, Strauss-Kahn breaks his silence, sounding shockwaves through France.

And expanding her fashion line and her family Beyonce tells me about life as a mom-to-be.


And we start tonight with a story that is about as contentious as it gets -- raising taxes to help break the back of America's enormous debt burden.

Well, as Barack Obama outlines his proposed cuts, is hitting the rich the way to go?

Well, in his address today, the U.S. president answered that with an emphatic yes.


OBAMA: All I'm saying is that those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible. We shouldn't get a better deal than ordinary families get. And I think most wealthy Americans would agree, if they knew this would help us grow the economy and deal with the debt that threatens our future.


ANDERSON: Well, a tax hike on the rich has been dubbed "the Buffett Rule," after American multi-billionaire, Warren Buffet, who says the richest Americans just aren't paying their fair share.

Well, the idea puts Mr. Obama on a collision course with his Republican opponents. And next year's presidential election may hinge on that outcome, of course.

CNN's Felicia Taylor is watching this from the New York Stock Exchange.

She joins me live.

And this was never going to be an easy sell -- it's about as polarizing as it gets for U.S. politicians, Felicia, isn't it?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Polarizing even further on opposite sides of the aisle.

House Speaker John Boehner immediately responded to the president by saying, quote, "Pitting one group of Americans against another isn't leadership and that's the reason that we weren't able to reach an agreement previously and it's still because of the same barriers that remain today."

Already saying he's not going to be in favor of the president's plan.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said, quote, "Veto threats, a massive tax hike, phantom savings and punting on entitlement reform is not a recipe for economic or job growth. Republicans don't want to see an end to the Bush-era tax cuts or any kind of tax hugs -- tax hikes on the rich.

And it sounds confusing and let me explain why it is that the rich are taxed at -- taxed at a different level.

Oftentimes, much of their greater portion of income comes from investments. And that's taxed at a 15 percent rate, whereas most of the -- the other middle to higher income earners income tax rate is 35 percent.

So that's why there is a discrepancy. And, obviously, lower income earners don't play the stock market or invest in the stock market the way the wealthier people do.

So that is a key component of the president's plan -- wealthy Americans and corporations should pay higher taxes or at least that minimum tax rate for those who make more than a million dollars a year.

Obama also wants to limit the number of deductions that can be taken, which is not something that the Republicans want to do -- by higher earners and close corporate loopholes.

Now, Obama has also threatened to veto any kind of legislation that cuts the deficit through spending cuts alone and not raising -- raising taxes.

So what do we have?

We have a stalemate again. And that's exactly what nobody wanted to hear. We need to see a real concrete plan that's going to make a difference -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Felicia, some are calling his class warfare, others are calling it tax fairness.

What do the markets make of all of this?

TAYLOR: Well, the markets didn't hear what they wanted to hear. Like I said, you know, we're back at that stalemate place. I mean and they've got, you know, a couple of months, this November 23rd deadline for the super committee and whether or not they're going to be able to come to some sort of an agreement and come together, some kind of cohesion.

So Wall Street kind of didn't really pay attention to it, because there wasn't anything new in it. They didn't give it a passing nod. And immediately, the market was down about 260 points because of this further stalemate and no real change.

The market rallied a little bit when we heard some news out of Greece that they had a productive and substantive conversation, but, again, you know, those conversations are going to keep going on tomorrow. So there was no real news there.

The market did end to the down side. But nevertheless, it did -- it did pick up a little bit on worries about Greece coming together with some kind of an austerity plan. So hopefully --

ANDERSON: All right --

TAYLOR: -- that will come to fruition -- Becky.

ANDERSON: And as it settles out, of course, the bell gone now, down about 1 percent.

Felicia, thank you for that.

Well, wealthy Americans won't be the only ones facing the possibility of higher taxes in the years to come. Spain will reintroduce a wealth tax on Friday that has been suspended for the past three years. Now, officials say it will bring in more than a billion dollars a year.

A similar story in France, where people making more than $700,000 will have to pay an extra 3 percent of their total income in taxes.

But the U.K. bucking the trend. Now look at this. Here, people in the top tax bracket pay half of their income above $235,000 in taxes. Many high profile economists are urging the government to reduce that 50 percent rate, saying it's doing lasting damage to the British economy.

So, do higher taxes on millionaires help an ailing economy or stifle growth?

Well, my next two guests have very different answers to that question.

Roger Hickey says taxing the rich is the right thing to do. He's co- director of the Campaign for America's Future and joins me from Washington this evening.

But Ty Young says it's a bad idea. He's a wealth management adviser and he is at CNN Center.

Ty, you can't honestly say that increasing the tax on people who earn more will actually cost the treasury more than it will raise, can you?

TY YOU.N.G, CEO, TY J. YOU.N.G, INC.: There's actually no question about that. The top 1 percent of all income earners play more -- pay more than 40 percent of all income taxes. And if you increase the taxes on the top income earner, those are the job creators. And if you stifle their ability to create jobs, they won't create jobs.

And the way you get out of a deficit situation like this is you need more taxpayers, not more taxes.

And the way you get more taxpayers is you create jobs.

The president's own debt commission gave him advice that he's not following and he continues with the class warfare. And, really, that's no good for our economy. That's not really good for the United States of America.

ANDERSON: Roger, I know you don't agree with him.


ROGER HICKEY, CO-FOU.N.DER, CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE: Well, I don't agree because our deficit problem in the U.S. is primarily a function of this very bad recession that we've been in and the tax cuts for the wealthy that the Bush administration gave to the very wealthy people.

The real problem that we have is -- is the recession. And it's important to stress that a week ago, the president gave a speech in which he outlined a series of proposals to get us growing again and creating jobs.

I would not advocate taxing anybody more until we get an economic recovery. And then it's only fair that somebody like Warren Buffet pay at least as much as his secretary, who, famously, pays more these days in terms of --

ANDERSON: All right --

HICKEY: -- of taxes.

ANDERSON: In terms of the rate, they tie.

The Clinton years bear witness to the fact that higher taxes did actually reap higher revenues. Be that as it may, isn't there a moral imperative to have the rich bear more of the burden, particularly at a time like this?

YOU.N.G: Let me reiterate. The top 1 percent of all income earners pay more than 40 percent of all taxes. They are paying an inordinate amount, a disproportionate amount of taxes as we speak. And that we already had the stimulus package -- a trillion dollars in spending.

And what do we have to show for it?

Higher unemployment. The president, with his jobs speech, talked about spending another half a trillion dollars. The policy has already been tried and it didn't work.

Again, what we need to do as a country to stimulate jobs and therefore grow the economy --

ANDERSON: All right --

YOU.N.G: -- is to cut taxes and have a flatter tax rate and especially on corporations. Lowering the tax rate to a tax rate of zero for corporations would dramatically grow the economy.

ANDERSON: All right --

YOU.N.G: We don't have a -- a revenue problem. We have a spending --

ANDERSON: That is not --

YOU.N.G: -- problem.

ANDERSON: OK. I -- I get your -- I get your corporate tax rate argument. That's not what we're talking about, though, specifically tonight.

Guys, have a listen to this. Warren Buffet became the face of the so- called tax me more movement with a widely read op-ed in "The New York Times" last month -- you may have read it -- called "Stop Coddling the Super Rich."

In that piece, Buffett called for an immediate tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. But buys, he is not alone. Fifteen France billionaires have signed a letter to their government requesting permission to make a special contribution to help the economy recover. And a wealthy group of Germans have also gotten into the act, offering to pay a 5 percent wealth tax for the next two years to help pull the country out of recession.

We're talking about millionaires tax here.

Is there an optimal rate, then, Roger, for example, for -- for taxing the rich at this point?

HICKEY: Well, it depends on -- on people's income. We should have a graduated income tax. But -- but certainly, it needs to be something higher than -- than 15 percent, which is what Americans pay now for capital gains.

It's very important that the people who can bear the burden share the burden. And so far, that group has seen nothing but tax cuts for the last several decades. It's important, however, that we not do that until we get the economy growing. That's the problem that is facing both Europe and the United States, is getting growth going, getting jobs going. And another round of tax cuts is not the way to do that.

ANDERSON: Ty, the late American billionaire, Leona Helmsley, once famously said, "Only the little people pay taxes."

Is that true?

Is that what you want in America today?

YOU.N.G: No. As I said, I pointed out 1 percent, again, of the top income earners in the United States pay 40 percent of the taxes. And -- and if Warren Buffet wants to write a check to the Treasury, certainly he can do that.

But for the rest of us, as my colleague just said there, that we shouldn't raise taxes right now. If you want the economy to grow, you want to may have an environment that the job creators are willing to create jobs in.

And the way that you do that is you get rid of regulation and you get rid of taxes. Flattening the tax -- the income tax is the answer, not raising it to the people -- the very people who we depend on to create jobs.

ANDERSON: A brief last word, Roger.

HICKEY: I hate to say that, but this is the stalemate that the U.S. is in and we're going to be in this stalemate until the next election, sad to say. So we'll have this debate for another 14 months or so.

ANDERSON: Roger, Ty, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us here on CONNECT THE WORLD this evening.

Our top story this hour, the U.S. president has made his case for a tax hike on the super wealthy, putting him at direct odds with top Republicans. At stake, perhaps, his reelection bid.

In November, the so-called debt super committee will recommend its own path out of the massive budget deficit. Of course, we'll follow that story for you very closely here on CNN.

We're going to take a very short break at this point.

After that with reports of ongoing violence on the streets of Yemen.

Then, in the next 10 minutes, Spain and Argentina book their places in the Davis Cup Final, some of the world's top tennis players say well, it's all getting a little too much.

And later in this show, Dominique Strauss-Kahn breaks his silence. We look ahead to his future and the future of French politics.

This is CNN.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

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

And human rights activists warn Yemen is on a knife-edge and could spiral into civil war. Medical officials say at least 57 people have been killed in protests in the last two days alone. Witnesses say security forces were just shooting randomly in some areas.

The government, though, blames the violence on militia and armed gangs.

Ralitsa Vassileva has more.


RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A chaotic scene on the streets of Sanaa. Video posted on YouTube shows what appears to be Yemeni security forces firing on crowds of protesters using live bullets, tear gas and water cannons. While CNN cannot confirm its authenticity, some protesters can be seen in this video throwing what appear to be bottles or rocks.

And amid the gunfire, you can hear someone shouting in Arabic, "Folks, this revolution is peaceful. We are here for our beloved martyrs. We will not back down."

Since Sunday, medical sources say dozens have been killed, hundreds more wounded. At least two children are among the dead.

Unrest is now spreading beyond the capital, Sanaa. While Yemen state TV claims protesters are to blame for attacks on civilians and soldiers.

The object of the protests, President Ali Abdullah Saleh isn't even in the country, wounded in an attack on his house in June. Saleh is recovering in Saudi Arabia, though he vowed to return to Yemen to finish his term.

Officials from the U.N. and several neighboring Arab states arrived in Yemen on Monday, hoping to help organize a peaceful transfer of power. While Saleh initially said he would go along with the transfer, so far, he has refused to sign and with no pen to paper yet, everything in Yemen remains up in the air.

Ralitsa Vassileva, CNN, Atlanta.


ANDERSON: Well, at least three people are confirmed dead after Guatemala was shaken by a moderate earthquake just hours ago. The 5.8 magnitude tremor hit about 53 kilometers southeast of the capital, Guatemala City. A presidential spokeswoman says people are buried in the rubble.

And another earthquake, this one along the border of India and Nepal, has now killed, confirmed, 38 people according to officials. The magnitude 6.9 quake hit the Himalayan region, bringing down walls and causing land slides that are hampering recovery efforts. Hundreds of people there have been rescued.

Well, there's been a temporary reprieve for hundreds of Irish travelers living in what's said to be an illegal encampment. Now it's a fight that's already cost everyone millions over the past decade. And today, it was supposed to come to an end on an English farm.

But the judge has ordered a hold on the mass eviction.

Here's the reaction from Basildon Council leader, Tony Ball.


TONY BALL, LEADER OF BASILDON COU.N.CIL: Clearly, I -- the Council are extremely disappointed and frustrated by the decision of the high court today. The notice was put forward -- or the motion was put forward to the high court without notice, which meant that the judge only had one side of the story and, therefore, has given the Council until Friday to go back to the high court to make its argument.

I am absolutely clear that on this issue, on Friday, that the courts will find in the Council's favor and that the site clearance will be able to continue. But until then, as always, this Council will comply with the law and we will comply with the judgment that's been put before us.

But I'm absolutely confident that once we put our side of the story, our case, that the law again will be seen to be upheld and this Council will enforce that law.

Thank you.


ANDERSON: All right. OK. Well, the man charged in the Norway massacre will remain in solitary confinement for another month. Anders Brevik has confessed to killing 77 people in a July bomb and gun rampage. But he hasn't pled guilty. A judge ruled he will stay in police custody for another eight weeks. The first four of those will be in solitary confinement.

Well, the Pakistani Taliban are claiming responsibility for a deadly attack in Karachi. A suicide bomber rammed a truck packed with explosives into the home of a senior police officer today. Eight people were killed, six policemen and two civilian bystanders. The target of the attack, though, wasn't heard.

Appearing later on national television to condemn what he calls a cowardly act.

Well, one year on, conjoined twins from Sudan are recovering in a London hospital after going through a risky and extremely rare operation to separate them. Rital and Ritag Gaboura were joined at the head, a condition which is normally fatal. British surgeons separated the girls in a four stage operation after a charity brought them over from the Sudan.

Well, the twins are now getting used to life apart and doctors say that they are doing well.

Well, the television series, "Modern Family" and "Mad Men" were big winners at the Emmy Awards in Hollywood on Sunday. Among the other highlights, an appearance by actor Charlie Sheen, who was fired from his popular series, you remember, "Two And-A-Half Men" this year after a dispute with producers and northwest executives.

Well, Sheen went on a -- a tirade against his former colleagues at the time.

But on Sunday, well, he wished them well.


CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: Before I present outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, my old category, I want to take a moment to get something off my chest and say a few words to everybody here from "Two And-A-Half Men."

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season.



ANDERSON: Always the showman.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

In just a moment, it's a grueling game, but is tennis getting too tough?

We're going to take a look at why some of the world's top players could go on strike.

Plus, also coming up --


BEYONCE: What I'm wearing today is a part of the collection. And it's not supposed to be, but it actually is really good for the maternities.


ANDERSON: From pop princess to fashion question, we take a look at the why this diva turned designer is excited about her latest role.

That here on CNN.


ANDERSON: Welcome back.


I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Now, there has been -- this year's Davis Cup has been making plenty of headlines, I've got to tell you. But not all of it has been about the on court action.

Over the weekend, world number two, Rafael Nidal, helped Spain into the final with his crushing win, giving his team a 3-1 lead against France.

Well, now, they will face Argentina, who took out the defending champions, Serbia.

But it's not so much the draw that's got all the -- those involved in tennis talking. Instead, it's the players' hectic schedule.

And with that, I'm joined by Pedro Pinto in the -- in the studio. (INAUDIBLE) called banter. Are they winging out there, those tennis players or what?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Honestly, I -- I've had -- I've had a chance to talk to a lot of them throughout the years.


PINTO: And they're not happy with the amount of tournaments that are scheduled and the amount of tournaments they have to play.

Now, this has come to a head again, Becky, because of what happened to Novak Djokovic over the weekend.


PINTO: He had to play for Serbia against Argentina in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup, just four days after winning the U.S. Open.

And, as you know, that was a grueling match against Rafael Nadal, four sets. But they went four hours.

And what the players are saying is, look, we travel around the world. We know what our job is all about. We play 80 to 90 matches a season. But they want to be respected.

And they're becoming more and more vocal about their discontent. And they're actually threatening to strike. They're going to have a meeting in China in a month's time to see what the next course of action is.

Let me just tell you what Andy Murray said, because, you know, this is important. He was quoted as saying the following: "Sometimes it's nice to go to a tournament when you don't have to kill yourself in every single match. The schedule is messed up and we need to do change it."

Rafael Nadal has also been quoted as saying that strong action is needed.

ANDERSON: What's the reaction from officials then?

PINTO: There's two -- there's two governing bodies. The first of the -- is the International Tennis Federation. They're in charge of the Davis Cup. They said that actually, the players picked these dates last year for these dates. That's why they're blaming the players in the first place.

And the ATP Tour -- that's the professional tennis tour -- they said we have given players more buys (ph) through the first rounds. We've made less finals best of five sets, so only best of three. And we're also include -- increasing prize money.

So I think this will come down to a big meeting at the end of the year in Shanghai, when everybody is there for the Master's there and to try to make something work for next year.

ANDERSON: All right. Ahead of that, some great action in the rugby.

PINTO: Yes. Great -- great action at the Rugby World Cup over the weekend. Very big surprise, Australia losing to Ireland 15-6. Wales, who had only lost to the defending champions, South Africa, by one point in their first match. They beat Samoa. It's a big -- a big, big win for the Northern Hemisphere sides, who have been playing very well.

At CONNECT THE WORLD, I know you have been speaking, we have been speaking here at CNN to fans all over the world, following the fortunes of their sides. This competition has been very popular all over the world.

ANDERSON: They're so passionate.

PINTO: They are.

ANDERSON: Oh, yes.

PINTO: Let's hear --


PINTO: -- let's hear what some of these fans had to go say about the performance of some of their teams.

I believe we had a chance to speak with a -- a fan from Ireland, one from South Africa and also one from Japan.


AMADEUS FINLAY, IRISH RUGBY FAN: After the first game, I was thinking, you know, these lads have to get up a little bit. But then against Australia we played a blinder, one of the finest games of rugby football I've ever seen.

Which then leads us up to a very interesting next stage of a test against wales in the quarter finals. And I have been talking to a lot of Wales commentators about this. They say that they've got the upper hand. But I'm not so sure.



KEN TANAKA, JAPANESE RUGBY FAN: Well, it's not fun watching them get crashed every game. Obviously, going up against France and New Zealand is expected to have a loss. But I wasn't expecting that much of a loss. So it's kind of disappointing.

But the next two games, it's possible to pull out a victory, especially between Canada and the Tonga.



MICHAEL HOUSE, SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY FAN: Well, it's been pretty good. Obviously, wales had a bit of a scare. It looked a bit rusty there. But we managed to come back very strongly against C.G. There, a team that can't be underestimated. We managed to play some good playing rugby, made the kicks, and we're looking forward to the local dodgers over again that will be coming up.


PINTO: Plans for watching this competition all over the world. Only one match on the schedule for Monday -- Italy versus Russia.

ANDERSON: Have you picked a winner -- an ultimate winner -- yet?

PINTO: I have to go with New Zealand. It's been since '87 that they've won this competition.


PINTO: They're at home. The passion of the fans will take them through.

ANDERSON: Yes, I think you're probably right.

Pedro, thank you.

Do you like my new set?

PINTO: I like your new set.

ANDERSON: Yes, it's cute.

PINTO: I like the colors. It's very classy.


PINTO: Just like you.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much, indeed.

Exit left.

Straight ahead, we'll preview a big week at the United Nations for you. Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, arrives with a mission that he says cannot be deterred.

Then, in about 15 minutes time here on CNN, an admission of moral weakens. The former head of the International Monetary Fund talks about the scandal that shocked the world.

And later, you've seen the pictures already -- a fashion label that's all in the family. Superstar Beyonce and her mom are tonight's big interviews right here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ANDERSON: All right. You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader.

It's half past 9:00 in London.

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

U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled a $3 trillion deficit reduction plan today that calls for tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. Now, the plan also includes cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and savings from troop drawdowns in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Greece says it needs more money and soon to prevent default. The nation's finance minister has been discussing Greece's continuing problems in a conference call with international lenders. A source says a deal is near, but some sticking points, he says, do remain.

"Yemen is on a knife-edge." Words from a human rights activist as street violence claims dozens of lives. Witnesses say government troops shot randomly at protesters earlier. The government has repeatedly denied accusations of excessive force.

And at least 38 people are dead after a powerful earthquake and strong aftershocks in India's border with Nepal. A magnitude 6.9 quake hit the Himalayan region, bringing down walls and causing landslides that are hampering rescue efforts.

And at least three people are reported dead following an earthquake in Guatemala. The office of Guatemala's president adds that there are people buried in the rubble of collapsed structures. The US Geological Survey says the 5.8 magnitude quake struck 53 kilometers southeast of Guatemala City.

And those are your headlines this hour.

Well, leaders from every corner of the world are gathering in New York this week for the annual U.N. General Assembly, and even before the big speeches begin, there is plenty of action taking place on the sidelines.

The highlight of this year's session is expected to be what is a dramatic bid for Palestinian statehood. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. Secretary General today that he will not be deterred.

Let's bring in our Senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth. What has been happening there today, Richard?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, the drama has been set, but now there might be a little lull because it appears there's really not going to be any formal Palestinian action here at the U.N. until Friday.

Let's set the table, here, as to what occurred today so far. The Palestinian President Abbas arriving several hours ago for a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Why was that meeting important? Well, it's Ban Ki-moon who is the first in line once the Palestinians decide how they want to proceed, especially if they're going to go the route of the Security Council as promised by their leader when he was in Ramallah last Friday announcing the bid.

There were many cameras on hand for the photo opportunity between the secretary general and the Palestinian leader.

There was a lot of attention, certainly, much more taking away the focus from a two-day health summit going on.

After this, a statement was put out that said that the Palestinian leader told Ban Ki-moon that he plans to submit his application on Friday. And the Secretary General is not going to hold onto it for a while. He's going to pass it off to the Security Council.

But that could take days, weeks, maybe longer, before there's any action. It's not clear whether there are even nine votes to pass such a resolution granting to the Palestinian statehood.

French foreign minister Juppe at a gathering of analysts earlier in the day in New York said something has to be done to help ease Middle East tensions.


ALAIN JUPPE, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: The status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is neither acceptable nor tenable. There is a risk of a new explosion of violence and further destabilization of the region.

Common sense and shared interest should prompt a new start to peace negotiations based on balanced parameters.


ROTH: The British foreign secretary, Hague, saying he wasn't sure whether there were nine votes in favor. The United Kingdom and France both have veto power, but it's the US which has said already it plans to veto a Palestinian statehood bid.

But of course, there's going to be a lot of pressure, even after the Palestinians announce on Friday what they're doing. To try to avoid any type of embarrassment or deadlock, the Palestinians could always go to the General Assembly, but they won't achieve full membership and statehood here at the U.N..

One country which has had representation here for decades, Libya, well, they've had a change of government, and their flag, the new flag of - - representing the free Libya, post-Gadhafi, was raised today at the United Nations for the first time.

Gadhafi ruled for 40 years. He spoke here last two years ago. He's probably still speaking, it was a 90-minute-plus series of remarks with a lot of rantings and blasting of the Security Council. It was that same Security Council which unleashed NATO attacks which has removed Gadhafi from power. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes. All right, Richard Roth.

As the U.N.GA kicks off, with so many leaders taking to the stage this week, it may be hard to keep track of all the speeches. I want to get you a quick list of some that you may not want to miss.

On Wednesday, US president Barack Obama takes to the podium at the General Assembly.

Thursday's highlight may very well be the president of Iran. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to discuss the political upheaval in the Middle East, including the Palestinians' bid for statehood.

Well, on Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will make the case for statehood himself.

And a little later, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will take to the podium to insist that the only path to statehood is through direct negotiations.

Well, Palestinian Authority president Abbas acknowledges it could be a hard road ahead. As he arrived in New York, he said, "The Palestinian people and their leadership will pass through very difficult times after the U.N. bid for full membership rights."

Tough times could also be ahead for Israel, which has itself found itself increasingly isolated on the world stage. Netanyahu's government came under scathing attack today in a special session of Israel's parliament, according to Haaretz, at least. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni accused the government of, quote, "diplomatic stupidity."

Mr. Netanyahu is standing firm, predicting that after the smoke clears at the U.N., quote, "The Palestinians will come to their senses," he says, "and negotiate."

Well, let's get the latest on these tensions. Fionnuala Sweeney is live for us tonight from Jerusalem. We thought it may be quieter there than it is at the U.N.GA, but certainly not.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly in Israel, everybody is watching waiting to see what happens in the United Nations, not only in Israel, of course, but also in the West Bank and Gaza.

And to that end, Becky, Hamas and Fatah released a statement earlier this evening saying that they wouldn't allow any demonstrations in support of this bid take place in Gaza in a show of unity between the two political parties, Hamas not supporting this.

But on the domestic political front in Israel, Tzipi Livni, as you reported there, saying essentially that Benjamin Netanyahu's government had pushed the United States into a corner and that it was Israel's best friend but was finding itself in a situation where Benjamin Netanyahu, she said, was calling for two states, and a state for the Palestinians, but really wasn't doing anything about it.

And the question is now whether or not there is any kind of opening in the diplomatic fever that is taking place in New York this week for any kind of negotiation whatsoever.

And to that end, we heard from an Israeli cabinet minister today, Dan Meridor, who said that perhaps there was still time in New York for some talking.


DAN MERIDOR, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I call upon Mahmoud Abbas to use this opportunity to talk to the one (INAUDIBLE), Israel, if they are the same place and the same time. I think this is the right opportunity that should be used for talks.


SWEENEY: Israel is sending a plethora of high-level Israeli politicians to the U.N. General Assembly in New York in a bid to get their message across, here, saying that they support a two-state solution.

But Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian finance minister, speaking to the -- our Jerusalem bureau chief, Kevin Flower, said that really what is very much on the mind of Palestinians, essentially, is that this is a tactic. It's a tactic, a negotiating tactic from the Palestinian point of view, in order to push the idea of state.


SALAM FAYYAD, PRIME MINISTER, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: The next logical step, and one that is overdue, is an end to the Israeli occupation. If you really think about it, relative to the objective, key objective of ours, that is to have a state of our own where we Palestinians can live as free people with dignity.

Along the way, of course, there are diplomatic processes. There are several political tracks and activities that have to be undertaken.


ANDERSON: Fionn, this the only story in town in New York this and next week. What do the majority of Israelis want?

SWEENEY: Well, the majority of Israelis, to a certain extent, have enjoyed a quieter life, Becky, since the separation barrier was put up, initially begun by Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister in 2002.

Poll after opinion poll suggests that both Palestinians and Israelis believe that perhaps the two state solution is the only way to go. Everybody knows what the issues are.

We heard from Ehud Olmert not long after he stepped down as prime minister of Israel that there was going to have to be some negotiation, in his view, about the status of Jerusalem.

Essentially, though, the real factor here is is whether or not talks resume here as a result of this. It's not as though even if Mahmoud Abbas puts in his application on Friday at the U.N. that there will be a Palestinian state next week.

The question is, will there be enough common ground to begin direct negotiations? But the difficulty with that is, Becky, if there is a vacuum, that events, as they so often have in the past here, have been dictated by the reality on the ground -- events on the ground, neither side wanting violence, but both sides prepared for it.

And I should just say there as an apology, Salaam Fayyad, of course, is the Palestinian prime minister, for many years the finance minister, and still very much in charge of all the international aid money that is dispersed to the Palestinian Authority, which might also be under threat if this goes ahead.

ANDERSON: Sure. Sure. Well put. Fionnuala Sweeney, there, for you tonight. Fionn, thank you for that.

Well, Dominique Strauss-Kahn says sorry, but is it enough to restore a shattered reputation? How his TV appearance went down with the French public, that is next, right here on CONNECT THE WORLD. You're watching CNN, stay with us.


ANDERSON: Welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD, 42 minutes past 9:00 in London.

Now, if Dominique Strauss-Kahn was hoping a TV apology would win him forgiveness, he may have to think again. The former IMF chief has broken his silence over the sexual assault charges brought against him by a New York hotel chambermaid.

In his first TV interview since the charges were dropped, Strauss-Kahn described the encounter as a "mistake" and a, quote, "moral weakness." But his appearance doesn't seem to be swaying public opinion. This report from Jim Bittermann.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last night's Channel One newscast in France had more viewers than any since 2005, so no wonder the newspapers Monday morning were packed with reactions to its main story, the mea culpa of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN, FORMER DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FU.N.D (through translator): What happened was neither violence nor constraint included in this, nor aggression. Nor any act -- any illicit act as it was the prosecutor has said. What happened was not only an inappropriate relationship but, more than that, an error. A mistake.

BITTERMANN: But if the former director of the International Monetary Fund was expecting the French to forgive him, he was expecting too much. Even before he spoke, 53 percent, according to one poll, thought DSK, as he's known here, should leave politics for good.

And it did not appear the morning after that opinions had changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think it's disgusting to give so much air time to this man after what this man did. He said nothing happened, and then he admitted something did. I find him disgusting, and the truth is, I would have voted for him before all of this happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Everyone was waiting impatiently for this interview, but we were a little disappointed because we were waiting for an apology, especially with regards to women.

BITTERMANN: Strauss-Kahn still faces legal problems here because of a lawsuit brought by Tristane Banon, who says he tried to rape her eight years ago. An investigating judge still has not ruled whether there's enough evidence to bring charges against Strauss-Kahn over that incident.

Banon's mother has known DSK for more than a decade, and she told CNN that she had consensual sex with him, but believes DSK needs medical help.

ANNE MANSOURET, TRISTANE BANON'S MOTHER (through translator): I don't want to give a diagnosis, but I see someone who is on the edge and who would really benefit from seeing a doctor or undergoing therapy, because his behavior at certain moments is not within the limits of what we would call the norm.

BITTERMANN (on camera): When asked about his immediate future, Strauss-Kahn said he was a candidate for nothing and would take no part in the Socialist primaries coming up next month.

But he also said he would take time to think, noting that his entire life had been sent serving the public good, and adding enigmatically, "We shall see."

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


ANDERSON: Well, as Jim mentioned, that interview made headlines around France. Here in today's "Le Figaro" with the headline "DSK reconnait 'une faute morale.'" Translated, that means DSK recognizes his moral fault.

So, what are some of the other papers saying? Well, this is the "New York Post," has this headline. "It was just a tour de pants." In the article, they wrote that DSK "felt had to battle the unfair US justice system to stay out of Rikers, where he was locked up on suicide watch for several days."

Take a look "The Independent" for you, this is a UK newspaper, of course, has this headline. "Regrets, I have a few. Strauss-Kahn hopes TV interview can relaunch career."

They wrote, "Dominique Strauss-Kahn attempted to restore his shattered reputation Sunday, despite a feminist demonstration and a poll suggesting that he had little future left in French politics."

And "Le Monde," for you, in France has this editorial, translated, "Office life after DSK," saying "the political and media earthquake following this incident has all upset the male-female relationships, in particular, in the business world."

Well, a French author and commentator, Agnes Poirier, speaks highly of Strauss-Kahn's TV appearance on Sunday. For the "Times of London" commentary, she says the French culture of seduction suddenly found itself under attack. She joins me now, live from Paris.

You seem relieved that he's finally spoken, and to the French, at that. Why?

AGNES POIRIER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The sound quality here is very bad. Can you -- say it again?

ANDERSON: You seem very relieved that he has spoke, Agnes. He talks of his moral failings, his disgraces. I guess at this point you're pleased he's spoken, are you?

POIRIER: I'm sorry, I don't know whether it's the Champs-Elysees or the traffic, but I just cannot hear.

ANDERSON: OK. Let's play with the traffic and just get you to explain to me how you felt about what you saw and heard from DSK on Sunday.

POIRIER: I got that. Well, I'm not the only one to think that actually he owed us an explanation, and actually, to give him 24 minutes of air time doesn't seem like a luxury after four months of silence and also considering the incredible scandal that his behavior started.

So, I can say that personally, and I'm not the only one again, I was rather convinced of his sincerity, his eloquence, and he -- it is true, didn't apologize, but I didn't think I needed an apology, I needed an explanation. And I think we actually got it.

This man's future is not going to go anywhere. It's finished. His political career is finished. We accept this and actually, we wouldn't have it any other way, because he cannot come back on the political stage. It doesn't mean, however, that he's not a great loss for the country.

ANDERSON: So, you say tonight he's over. It's his downfall. He's left in the lurch, he's left himself in the lurch and France in the lurch at this point, do you?

POIRIER: Why, he certainly let us down, because a lot of people were looking forward to electing him, actually, as the next president. It's as big, the stakes were. And for an incredibly -- and terrible misjudgment on his part, he led the whole country astray, really.

ANDERSON: Are there --

POIRIER: So, now we have to fall back on less -- yes?

ANDERSON: Let me just ask you one question. His moral -- he talked about his moral failings. How does France feel about his moral failings?

POIRIER: Excuse -- can you say this again?

ANDERSON: He had sex with a chambermaid, he called that a "moral failing." How does France feel about that?

POIRIER: Well, it is actually -- he talked about a "moral error." I'm not so sure I think it was a failure in his character, that's for sure. And in a way, it's perhaps fortunate it happened before he had become president.

And we wouldn't want him as a president now, that's for sure. But on the other hand, he is also a victim of injustice. The way he was paraded in the streets of New York was unjust, and we know today that it shouldn't have happened this way.

Now, he had a failure in his character, and he fell on his sword, and that's the end of him.

ANDERSON: Agnes Poirier from a very busy Champs-Elysees tonight. We're glad that you could join us. Reacting to Dominique Strauss-Kahn's first interview aired on Sunday evening on French television.

You're with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up, London getting booty-licious. Our big interview tonight is with Beyonce and her mum, up in just two minutes. Find out if there's a fashion label that's considering a maternity line. That next.


ANDERSON: Well, it is that time of the year again in London. The catwalks are up, the red carpets have been rolled out, and taking center stage, the hottest designs for the new season.

One of the most coveted invites for fashionistas has been for the launch of the House of Dereon at Selfridges. I sat down with the mother and daughter team behind this hit couture label, none other than mega-star Beyonce and her mum, Miss Tina.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Making a statement with both song and style, the figure-hugging, flesh-revealing clothes donned by the divas of Destiny's Child were as famous as their songs.

The look, best described as "booty-licious," inspired by Beyonce and her mother, stylist to the stars, Tina Knowles.

BEYONCE, SINGER: I grew up in -- I grew up in the fabric store, unfortunately. My mother would say, "Come on, let's go to the fabric store," and she would make all these beautiful clothes for myself and the other ladies of Destiny's Child.

And after so many years, my fans, they were like, OK, we have to buy these clothes somewhere. So, it was just a natural thing for us to do this line. It's so great for us to do it together. For one, because we're able to spend time together, and for two, because we have such a respect for each other's taste.

ANDERSON (on camera): Tina, what's it like seeing not just your daughter but your designs on television?

TINA KNOWLES, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, HOUSE OF DEREON: Oh, it -- I mean, it's unbelievable sometimes. I never anticipated that. I started designing things as a necessity because there were budgetary restraints all the time and it was --

ANDERSON: No money.

KNOWLES: Yes, exactly. So I would buy fabrics instead of buying clothes and just make them. And --

BEYONCE: Back in those days, they wouldn't --

KNOWLES: Loan us any clothes.

BEYONCE: -- they wouldn't loan us any clothes.

KNOWLES: It's funny, because when you need the clothes, they don't loan them to you, and when you don't need them, then everybody wants to give them to you.

So, that's kind of how I started, but that was -- very exciting to see the clothes on TV.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The clothes are now wowing fans on the catwalk under the label House of Dereon. And after seven years, it's made its long-awaited debut in London.

ANDERSON (on camera): Many fans will call it Beyonce's style. Where do you get the inspiration?

BEYONCE: Well, I know this collection was inspired by a lot of my travels. I did a world tour, and I traveled to Asia, Brazil, all over the world, and I just saw such beauty.

And my mother traveled with me, and we decided we should mix all of these great cultures together and make something original and beautiful, and this show celebrates the global nomad.

ANDERSON: How do you get on together? Do you ever fall out over design?

BEYONCE: Sometimes, but it's very rare. I think we -- we'll get into it, and it's usually over the phone, not in person.


BEYONCE: And then we'll hang up and call each other and say, "You're right, you're right, you're right, you're right."

But we have a very similar taste, and it's such a respect. I respect my mother so much and she respects my taste, as well, so we have a lot of trust.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The London launch comes just weeks after the star announced that she was pregnant, revealing her bump for the first time at the MTV awards.

ANDERSON (on camera): You're pregnant, now, and congratulations for that.

BEYONCE: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Does the collection now include maternity wear? Everybody will be asking this question.

BEYONCE: What I'm wearing today is a part of the collection, and it's not supposed to be, but it actually is really good for the maternity. So, we didn't plan six months ago before -- actually, longer than that. But we do have some things that I'm trying to still rock.


ANDERSON: Are you struggling at all to find things that you feel good in? Something that your husband might go, "Oh, no. I'm not having that."

BEYONCE: Actually, I'm -- I'm having so much fun. It has been the most fun time. Now that it's announced and I don't have to -- it was really difficult trying to conceal, but now that I can be proud and excited about it, I'm having so much fun every day and shopping and it's just great.

ANDERSON: You must be delighted.

KNOWLES: I am. I'm over the moon.

ANDERSON: Do you know what you're having at this point?

BEYONCE: I don't.

ANDERSON: And if you did, you wouldn't tell me.


ANDERSON: Do you consider this more fashion than style? And it was sort of -- I guess the idea being, you're sort of universal. You're for the universal woman. What is the House of Dereon woman?

KNOWLES: I think trendsetting woman, confident, has her own style.

BEYONCE: Yes, someone bold, someone that wants to stand out. Someone confident, hard-working. And I think it is more about style than fashion. It's a lifestyle. And we just want to bring out that inner confidence and inner beauty in everyone.

ANDERSON: And has your attitude towards style, fashion, life, changed since you've known that you're pregnant?

BEYONCE: I just feel like it's all from within. My mother's always taught me that beauty comes from within.

And what's exciting about being a woman is you can say, today I feel like being -- today I feel really conservative. Today I feel very classy. Today, I'm going on a date, I want to just be a show-stopper.

And you know, there's this variety of beautiful clothes that can bring out whatever you feel inside, but it comes from here, and you should wear your clothes, and they shouldn't wear you.

ANDERSON: And so, it doesn't come from Jay-Z is what we're saying. No.


BEYONCE: It comes from here.


ANDERSON: And that was the way it was. The House of Dereon, there, with Beyonce and her mum, Miss Tina.

In tonight's Parting Shots, a clash of tycoons on Russian TV. Have a look at this. One moment, media mogul Alexander Lebedev was in a heated debate about the economy, and next, well, take a look.







ANDERSON: He punches real estate baron Sergei Polonsky, knocking him right off his chair. Well, Lebedev says he got angry because Polonsky behaved in a threatening manner, he says, throughout their debate. A real shot for you in tonight's Parting Shots.

I'm Becky Anderson, thanks for watching. The world news headlines and "BACKSTORY" will follow this short break, don't go away. You're watching CNN.