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Ukrainian President Calls Out Sick; Jury Set To Rule On Amanda Knox Retrial; Justin Bieber Booked For Assaulting Driver; Syrian Government Opposition Still Deadlocked

Aired January 30, 2014 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Awaiting a verdict, the jury is still out at the retrial of Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend in a case that could see her convicted of murder once again. We'll have their decision as soon as it comes in.

Also this hour, a teenager in trouble or an organized publicity stunt. Michael Jackson's former manager gives us his take on Justin Bieber's run- ins with the law.

Plus, find out why Mexico's sole skier is possibly the most interesting Olympian ever.

ANNOUCNER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.

FOSTER: All eyes are on an Italian court at this hour where a verdict in the retrial of Amanda Knox is due. Knox and her former boyfriend Italian Raffaele Sollecito were previously convicted of the murder of fellow student Meredith Kercher. Those convictions were overturned on appeal, but the Italian supreme court ordered another retrial -- another trial, rather. Knox subsequently returned to the U.S. and didn't attend the retrial.

Kercher was found dead in Perugia in 2007. These are live pictures from inside the courtroom in Florence where the verdict will be delivered. It's filling up, as you can see.

Let's cross to CNN's Erin McLaughlin who is there.

When do you expect to hear, then, Erin?


Well, six jurors and two judges have delivered this case -- deliberated this case, rather, for well over 11 hours. The clerk announcing that we can expect a verdict virtually at any moment. The court absolutely packed with lawyers and journalists and spectators. We understand the prosecutors have put on their robes in anticipation of a verdict.

Of course, hanging in the balance is the fate of Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. Under Italian law, neither is required to be present for any of these proceedings. We understand from her attorneys, Amanda Knox is currently in Seattle at her mother's home no doubt watching the proceedings very closely.

Raffaele Sollecito, we understand from his attorney, that he is currently at his relatives home in Florence. He did make an appearance in court earlier today. His father telling us that his son is absolutely terrified, but wants to face justice.

Also present in court, though, for this verdict, the family of Meredith Kercher, her brother Lyle and her sister Stephanie. They've spoken to Italian journalists earlier today saying that they want justice for their sister and they're willing to accept whatever the outcome is of this trial -- Max.

FOSTER: What does this mean for Amanda Knox if she's found guilty, for example? She's in the U.S., as you say. Does it mean that she will be forced to come over to where you are?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, whatever the outcome of this trial, both sides will have the option to appeal the verdict to Italy's Supreme Court once again. As we know, it's the very same supreme court that overturned the 2011 acquittal.

If she's ultimately convicted by this court and then subsequently the Italy Supreme Court as well, Italy could then request her extradition for the -- from the United States, rather -- Max.

FOSTER: Erin, back with you as soon as the verdict comes in. Thank you very much indeed.

It's been seven years since British student Meredict Kercher was found dead in Perugia. Since then, Knox and Sollecito have captured headlines in Italy and around the world. Here's a look back at how the case unfolded.


FOSTER: An emotionally overcome Amanda Knox is led from an Italian courtroom moments after learning she was free. The murder conviction against her and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito overturned on appeal. That was 2011. They spent four years in prison in connection with a 2007 sexual assault and murder of her roommate, British exchange student Meredith Kercher.

It was a tabloid case that riveted the media, attracting an army of journalists to the Medieval town of Perugia where Knox and Kercher had been studying Italian language and culture.

The court upheld a separate three year conviction of slander against bar owner Patrick Lumumba whom Knox accused of Kercher's murder.

Knox's tearful return to her family home in Seattle, Washington seemed like the end of her ordeal.

AMANDA KNOX: Thank you to everyone who has believed in me.

FOSTER: But it wasn't the end, after all.

Last March, both Sollecito, an Italian citizen, and Knox were ordered to stand trial again after Italy's highest court overturned their acquittal.

Another person, Rudy Guede, a native of the Ivory Coast, is already serving a 16 year prison term for Kercher's murder. He was convicted in a separate trial and found guilty of sexually assaulting and stabbing Kercher. He admitted to being at the house on the night of the killing, but denies murder.

After her return to the U.S., Knox published a memoir entitled "Waiting to be Heard" and told CNN about the challenges of defending herself.

KNOX: It's hard to prove that you're innocent, that you didn't do something.

FOSTER: Knox and Sollecito's retrial began last September. Knox hasn't attended, choosing to remain in the United States.

But her co-defendant and one-time boyfriend did take the stand, emotionally describing his ordeal and calling the charges against him absurd.

During the retrial, Italian prosecutors recommended a 30 year sentence for Knox in Kercher's 2007. They've also called for Sollecito to get 26 years behind bars.

While she didn't attend the retrial, Amanda Knox did submit a written statement to the court in which she again maintained her innocence.


FOSTER: It's been many years since this story started unfolding, of course. There are six things that you should know as we go into this verdict period. We're expecting it in the next hour.

Due go to our website -- six things you need to know about the trial currently unfolding in Italy.

Coming up on Connect the World, Human Rights Watch calls it an appalling example of collective punishment. It's accusing the Syrian regime of wiping entire neighborhoods off the map.

Also, a surprise move by Ukraine's president in the midst of a major political crisis.

And Bieber busted again. We'll tell you what trouble the pop star has got into now. All that and much more when Connect the World continues.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

Now the U.S. attorney general has just announced that the surviving Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev will face the death penalty. A statement from Eric Holder said that the government has filed the necessary notice of intent with the courts to seek the death penalty. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts stemming from the bombing attack last year.

Three people were killed and more than 250 were injured. CNN spoke to Tsarnaev's mother by phone before the announcement was made. She said she loves her son and that she feels sickened about her child.

The world's chemical weapons watchdog says Syria is way behind on a plan to hand over its chemical arsenal. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says only 5 percent of Syria's most dangerous chemicals have been transported for removal. The White House is urging the Syrian government to intensify its efforts. Meanwhile, peace talks for Syria are still limping along in Geneva.

Mohammed Jamjoom is following those developments for us and has more.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No real change yet in the positions of the Syrian regime or the opposition delegations in Geneva for the Syria peace talks, that's according to joint UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi who held a press conference on Thursday after another long day of talks.

Now Mr. Brahimi talked extensively about the situation in Homs and talked about how upsetting it was that aid still wasn't able to be delivered to residents suffering in Homs. He said that although it was upsetting that negotiations were still ongoing to try to give relief to those people inside Homs, which has been besieged for 600 days.

He also talked during this press conference about how some food packets, about 600, had reached residents of the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp where reports of starvation had been emerging in recent weeks.

Now also on Thursday an extensive report by Human Rights Watch alleges that the Syria government demolished thousands of homes unlawfully in one year in strongholds of the opposition in Hamaa and Damascus.

Now the report contains satellite photos showing the level of destruction in Syria, this first shot from February of last year. It shows dozens of high rise residential and commercial buildings in the Mezza (ph) area, a suburb of Damascus. Here's the same area in July of 2013. Many of the buildings are now completely demolished.

Here's a different neighborhood in Damascus from July 2012. Look closely and you can see a six story residential building is on fire likely from artillery shelling.

Now the same area from September 2012. Again, many of the buildings now leveled by explosions.

And here's a look at a neighborhood in the city of Hamaa from September 2012 and the same area just a month later. This satellite photo from October 2012. The neighborhood has been completely demolished.

Now human rights watch says that pro-government media and some Syrian officials have stated that in fact this was some sort of urban planning scheme and that it was buildings that were not up to code that had been demolished. Human Rights Watch, though, states that it was only in opposition strongholds that these buildings were demolished and that this was unlawful.

Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.


FOSTER: Iraqi security sources say police are back in control of the human rights ministry in Baghdad after armed men try to take over the building. Six gunmen and two police officers were killed.

Separately, at least four people were killed and 14 more injured in two car bomb attacks in Baghdad.

A Bangladeshi court has sentenced 14 people to death for armed smuggling in a case that dates back to 2004. Those sentenced include ex- politicians, army officers and the leader of the separatist group Jamaat-e- Islami. Defense lawyers plan to appeal the verdict in a higher court.

Russia has identified two suicide bombers allegedly responsible for last month's twin bombings in Volgograd that left 34 people dead. Anti- terrorism officials say the bombers belong to a militant group based in the Russian province of Dagestan. Two suspected accomplices have also been arrested.

Ukraine's president is making an abrupt departure, but not the kind opposition leaders are looking for. Viktor Yanukovych is taking sick leave for a respiratory infection. He says his government has fulfilled all its obligations to the opposition including a new amnesty law adopted by parliament.

But as Diana Magnay reports, that's highly unlikely to satisfy the protesters in the streets.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You've got to admire the heartiness of the Ukrainian people. It's minus 16 today, which is one of the coldest days since this protest began, though it's of course not the coldest it can get at night.

But they know how to keep themselves warm. Two oil drums packed with firewood. It's a pretty effective heater. I'm feeling toasty.

So, Yanukovych today says that he is sick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so sad. But we're sitting here in the cold and we're not sad. We feel OK. We feel great.

MAGNAY: You're not sick.



MAGNAY: So here people have been bringing any spare warm clothes that they have. And there's a huge pile even down to these Ugg boots. So we've seen people coming along picking up warm hats, warm scarves, warm coats to keep fighting that cold.

You won't find much snow on the ground around the protest area, because it's all cleaned and shoveled into these snowbanks which form the barricades all the way around. And they are pretty much like concrete, so tough to move unless you have a bulldozer.

Most of the protesters are lined up behind that barricade, the secondary line of defense. And here you have the frontline, this burnt out series of buses, behind it a very frozen no-man's land and then the riot police. And this battleground feels Medieval. Take a look at this homemade catapult.

First glance I thought this was a table full of spare socks in case you hadn't got enough on, but in fact they are rocks with a sock around them so you can throw them further.

The pace of this game is pretty much the way negotiations seem to be going -- slow and protracted with neither side agreeing. Certainly not checkmate yet, but it will be if the president goes.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Kiev.


FOSTER: Well, Ukraine's former president says the protests are making one message clear that Europe is Ukraine's home and that the country wants to return there. Viktor Yushchenko came to power with the Orange Revolution of 2004. Hear what he had to say about the current unrest in an interview with Christiane Amanpour. That's tonight at 10:00 in London, 11:00 pm in Berlin.

Doctors are treating former F1 racing champion Michael Schumacher and begun bringing him out of his medically induced coma. Schumacher suffered serious head trauma in a skiing accident last month in the French Alps. He was flown by helicopter to Grenoble University Hospital where doctors placed him in an artificial coma to reduce the risk of further damage.

Alex Thomas has this update.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Schumacher's agent wouldn't confirm or deny reports he was already responding to questions, but she released a statement saying Michael's sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking up process which may take a long time.


FOSTER: Live from London, this is Connect the World. We're currently waiting for the verdict in the Amanda Knox retrial. It's due imminently, we're told. Knox and her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, were previously convicted of the murder of fellow student Meredith Kercher. Well, the court is filling up, as you can see. Those convictions were overturned on appeal as Italian Supreme Court ordered another retrial. We will, of course, bring you the decision as it comes in.

Also coming up, taking a bet on the Spanish economic recovery. One casino is going all in for a new development in central Madrid.

It's his second time in a police station in a week. Justin Bieber has had another run-in with the law. Those details next.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. We're currently waiting for the verdict in the Amanda Knox retrial. It's due imminently. We will, of course, bring you the decision as it comes into that court that you're watching live.

Justin Bieber has had another run-in with the law, the second in a week. The 19-year-old pop star turned himself into a Toronto police station and was charged with assaulting an limousine driver last month. It comes just days after he was arrested in Miami Beach for driving under the influence and resisting arrest. Lab tests now show Bieber tested positive for marijuana and Xanax.

Jason Carroll has more.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One week, two countries, two arrests, Justin Bieber in trouble with the law, again, turning himself in to Toronto police Wednesday night amidst a crush of paparazzi and screaming fans.

The pop star facing an assault charge in connection with the hitting of a limousine driver several times in the back of the head last month.

Bieber's lawyer telling CNN, "Our position is that Mr. Bieber innocent."

Bieber himself, seemingly unfazed by the negative publicity...

JUSTIN BIEBER, POP STAR: Hey, what's up, guys? Justin here...

CARROLL: ...posting this video to Instagram just minutes before his arrival at the police station Wednesday night.

The super star now facing now potential legal battles in three jurisdictions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bieber, you are charged with the following.

CARROLL: In Miami, Bieber's lawyer has filed a not guilty plea to charges of DUI, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license after he was arrested last week for alleged drag racing.

Meanwhile detectives in Los Angeles say they are tightening up the case in the alleged egging attack of his neighbor's home, with prosecutors expected to announce as early as next week if Bieber will face felony vandalism charges.

Is Bieber out of control? Some legal analysts say the outrage over his behavior has been blown out of proportion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know that he's out of control. He's a 19- year-old kid with more money than he knows what to do with.

CARROLL: His detractors have had enough of his antics with over 100,000 people signing an online petition calling for the Canadian teen to be deported from the United States.


FOSTER: Let's bring in Raymone Bain. She's the former general manager and spokesperson for Michael Jackson. She joins me live from Washington. Thank you so much for joining us.

What do you think is going on here? Do you think it's just a run of bad luck or is it some sort of meltdown or is there some sort of orchestration behind this?

RAYMONE BAIN, FRM. GENERAL MANAGER FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: Well, I don't think it's any orchestration behind it. I think you have a young man who needs to be redirected. I think that his management has done a great job thus far. But you know sometimes when you get on the level of Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, it gets a little bit more than one person can handle. And I think, you know, maybe he should look at putting together an advisory board of people from the music industry, business and art so that they can sit down and help him rechannel into a more positive way.

He's challenging destructively now. And I think it could be because he's bored. You know, you have someone at that age who has accomplished quite a lot, amassed hundreds of millions of dollars. And so now what he has to be done is redirected in a positive way. He has to remain relevant. And he has got to reinvent himself.

And one thing we've learned about music and history in music is that the more successful you are, your missteps and your mishaps are forgiven. And what Justin Bieber needs to do right now is get in the studio and do what he does best, make music and come out here and be the talented, very successful individual that he has been and that I believe he can be in the future.

FOSTER: Are there elements of his behavior now that you recognize from a particular point in Michael Jackson's life?

BAIN: Well, not really, because Michael Jackson never hung out. Michael Jackson never had a large entourage like that. Michael Jackson never played.

I remember in the seven years that I worked for him, I suggested we go to a movie and he looked at me as if I were crazy. You know, we went bowling one time when he took the kids. Michael Jackson was about business. He always wanted to be the best. He wanted to be the most successful. He wanted to break the records. He wanted to leave a legacy. He wanted people to realize how great he was, how creative he was, how much of a trendsetter he was.

And that's the recommendation and the suggests that I would give to Mr. Bieber. You know, he's very talented. He had said himself that he is very, very, very blessed and lucky to have been in the position and to have succumb all of the odds. And I think he needs to remember that. And he needs to get back into doing what it is he does best.

FOSTER: Give us a little sense of insight, if you would, into -- because you're one of the few people that's been allowed into that kind of world. There are very few stars that get to the level of Michael Jackson or Justin Bieber. I'm not talking about talent, but in terms of celebrity. Give us a sense to what it's like for the person and how it sort of leads to this, because they're often -- they're often not sort of given any sort of barriers, are they? They're allowed to just keep going and people keep telling them the things they want to hear.

BAIN: Well, they're given barriers. And you know Michael Jackson, there is a misconception. Michael Jackson didn't like yes men. When we would sit at the table with him, he would get angry when we did not tell him what we really thought. He really would.

You know, over the years people have said he likes for you to agree with him. He really doesn't. And as we all got together the team of people that I placed -- put in place to help him with his comeback, he wanted to hear exactly what they had to say and hear their ideas.

I think Justin Bieber, quite frankly, is a bit bored. And he's accomplished a lot. There's a lot of money involved. He's able to come and go as he pleases. And I am not sure whether he listens to his management and his team of advisers or if he does not, but what I am suggesting that he start doing is channeling that destructive behavior into something that is more positive so that he can leave a legacy.

He's extremely talented. He's extremely handsome. He has made a lot of money. And I don't think he should just rest on his laurels, I think that he needs to be as Michael Jackson. If he wants to emulate Michael, he needs to begin to start laying the groundwork as to how he can be a trendsetter, how he can influence music.

FOSTER: Thank you very much indeed for joining us. Raymone Bain, Michael Jackson's former general manager and spokesperson. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

So, what do you think about the online petition to deport Justin Bieber from the U.S.? The team at Connect the World wants to hear from you. Have your say. You can tweet me @MaxFosterCNN.

Now the latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, Spain's fortunes took a beating in the EuroZone crisis. Now one casino hopes that lady luck is on its side as it launches a bigger and better development in Madrid. We're live in the Spanish capital for you next.

And how one man will be competing at this year's Winter Olympics for the title of best dressed.

All that and much more when Connect the World continues.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. A verdict is expected in the retrial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. Both were previously convicted of a murder of fellow student Meredith Kercher. Those convictions were overturned on appeal, but the Italian supreme court ordered another trial. Knox did not attend the retrial.

The US attorney general will seek the death penalty in the case against surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts stemming from the attack last year. Three people were killed and more than 250 were injured.

UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says Syrian peace talks touched on substantive issues today, including security and terrorism. This week, negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition have not produced any solid agreements, but Brahimi is optimistic that they will agree to a second round of talks.

The US economy was growing at a strong pace in the end of last year. In the final quarter of 2013, GDP grew 3.2 percent, driven by trade and consumer spending. That figure beats most expectations, showing the American economy is moving forward modestly.

In Spain, more than a quarter of people there continue to struggle to find a job. The country was one of the hardest hit in the eurozone crisis, but there's now a glimmer of hope. Official numbers out today show the economy expanded three tenths of a percent in the fourth quarter. Spain has now managed two quarters of slow growth since the recession ended. Al Goodman has more on the fragile recovery from Madrid.


AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Want to make a bet on the recovery of Spain's troubled economy? Noemi Peral will make that wager. She left the unemployment rolls to take a job in this new casino in central Madrid.

GOODMAN (on camera): A lot of your friends left Spain to go look for work.

NOEMI PERAL, CASINO ROULETTE DEALER: Well, I thought of it, but first of all, I want to -- I tried to see all my possibilities here because I did not want to move from Spain.

GOODMAN (voice-over): But she's changed careers, leaving behind journalism to become a roulette and blackjack dealer. She considers herself lucky, considering there's 26 percent unemployment here. We get a tour of the casino just before clients arrive.

GOODMAN (on camera): You have to help them lose their money to the house, right?

PERAL: No, no. Not to lose their money. What we want is them to have a nice evening --


PERAL: -- here in our installation.

GOODMAN (voice-over): Installations that opened last December to much local fanfare.

GOODMAN (on camera): It's the first time in 90 years that casinos have been allowed in central Madrid. There are some on the outskirts, but the government decided to let them come downtown on the thinking it would help the economy.

ALFONSO SANCHEZ, CASINO OPERATIONS MANAGER: It was a question of survival, no? We have to survive coming to the center of the city.

GOODMAN (voice-over): Operations manager Alfonso Sanchez says business at the original suburban location slumped in the economic crisis, but the downtown branch created 250 new jobs in the casino and its upscale restaurant and saved 200 other jobs by transferring them downtown.

SANCHEZ: We expect to have 70 percent of foreigners, and if you want me to tell you the two main groups that we expect to have here, it could be Chinese and Russians, for example.

PERAL: Here is a serious job, it's like the same in other professions. You have your contract, you have your days of work, your days for free, and your salary.

GOODMAN: Hers is the kind of job the government desperately wants to drive the recovery, but will enough businesses lay their chips on that bet? And how quickly.


FOSTER: So, Spain is far from out of the woods. Let's go to Madrid. Al is there, standing by for us there. Everyone's sort of holding on to any sort of positive news coming out from the eurozone, especially countries like Spain, but we're not there yet, are we?

GOODMAN: Well, we really aren't. And you know, the reason I asked the young lady at the casino about her friends who'd moved abroad is because if you really want to know how young people feel about the economy here, and the jobless rate for the youngest people is twice that of the national rate, 26. It's in the 50 percent range.

For the young people, you have to go abroad, you have to go to London, where you are, Max. You have to go to New York. You have to go to other parts of Europe, to Asia, to Australia, to South America, because there's been a brain drain here, and a lot of young people have had to leave the country trying to find a decent job and taking jobs at below their level.

You're seeing in the papers here, this leading scientist packing it in, going to research at MIT, et cetera, and it's a long list, and you're seeing that. And so, that is a good news, although as we see, this young lady at the casino left behind a career in journalism to train up for three months as a roulette dealer. Max?

FOSTER: And this is the thing, isn't it? She's young. So many young people are out of work that the general unemployment numbers really don't reflect that, but for that generation, it's an appalling period in their lives, isn't it?

GOODMAN: It is, and you have to go back decades to when Spaniards -- when the country was really poor and basically the unskilled workers went to do the harvest in France and they worked in hotels in Switzerland and they came back.

So what's the scene that you see at so many developing countries, they're -- the older people here remember that, and they're just shocked that the best and the brightest, all of this money that's been invested into these young people at state universities, basically, state-run -- government-run universities, public funds, they're moving out of the country.

And so, it really is a difficult situation. Even the government recognizes that this tepid, tepid growth is not going to be enough to turn it around anytime soon. Max?

FOSTER: Al, thank you. Well, as the eurozone emerges from this economic crisis, even if it's very slow, not all countries are faring the same. Jim's here to take us through the very mixed picture on the continent.


FOSTER: And if we look at the economic figures first of all, the growth figures.

BOULDEN: Well, we talk about Spain, of course, and we talk about how good it is that Spain has been seeing a little bit of growth, two quarters in a row, 0.1, then 0.3. Germany, 0.4. This is really surprising. People thought we'd see more growth out of Germany.

But then you look outside the eurozone, and everybody looks at the UK, and look at that, 0.7 percent here in the UK. Also, of course, Ireland also in the eurozone. Two very good quarters of growth as well.

What you're seeing is a very uneven -- very obvious to say it -- but a very uneven recovery, but it's still a recovery, though we know in Spain, this is coming from a very low base. Greece, of course, we -- they're off the scale. I mean, 25 percent of their economy was basically wiped out.

FOSTER: This doesn't mean an awful lot to a lot of people. What really matters to them is jobs. They don't get the figures.


FOSTER: So, where are we with that?

BOULDEN: Because what you're talking about here is you're talking about growth from a very low base and it's just starting to come out. But let's look at the unemployment rate.

We saw Spain, as you said, 26 percent. As you pointed out, unemployment for the youth much, much higher, some people say over 50 percent. So much of that is a black economy, as well. It's hard to gauge these numbers.

Ireland was at the worst about 15 percent. It is coming down. Still a lot there, but Ireland and Spain are doing the same thing. A lot of people leaving the country because unemployment rates are so high.

France, chronic problems in France continue, 10.5 percent. That's not uncommon for the French economy. Germany, 5 percent. It's seeing exports growth as the recovery as the eurozone area, slow recovery, but still, German unemployment is a little bit better.

UK, 7 percent. It's come down a lot faster than we know that the Bank of England thought, coming down from 7.9 percent, 7.1 percent in just a year. So, the UK is benefiting again because it doesn't have the euro currency and because its economy has rebounded quicker than the rest of Europe.

FOSTER: Some tentative positive signs.

BOULDEN: Yes. It is.

FOSTER: Jim, thank you very much, indeed.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come, the devastating effects of barrel bombs. We'll hear the story of a Syrian man and his son left crippled by an attack.

The winter Olympics are just around the corner, but it looks like they'll have to find alternative ways to keep things cool. We'll have a report from Sochi.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Max Foster, currently waiting for the verdict in the Amanda Knox retrial. Imminently, we will of course bring you the decision as it comes into the courtroom.

Certainly, the room's filling up, but they're not yet sitting down waiting for the jury and the judges to come back in, and it could mean -- an awful lot of attention focused on them. Amanda Knox not expected to go straight back to Italy if she is found guilty, and she'll be certainly hoping at this moment that she won't be.

Even as the Syrian government talks peace in Geneva, it's being accused of deadly new attacks back home. An opposition group says the regime dropped barrel bombs on parts of Aleppo and Daraya yesterday, killing at least 13 people, including a woman and a young girl.

Barrel bombs are unguided explosives packed with nails and other shrapnel meant to maximize casualties. Our Atika Shubert saw the devastating consequences of these weapons when she visited a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Abu Youssef used to be a baker in Syria, hefting five kilo bags of flour, standing on his feet from dawn until dusk, kneading dough. Today, he hobbles on crutches. His six-year-old son is crippled for life.

A barrel bomb destroyed their home, shredded his leg, and pierced his kidney. He told us, "I fell down, and I passed out for about an hour, but once I woke up, I was lying on the floor. I could see blood everywhere."

He talks to us with a scarf pinned across his face, a menacing look for a gentle man. The reason: he says his brother remains in a Syrian government jail, and he doesn't want any more family to be targeted.

"I passed out again, and I felt somebody carrying me," he said. "They were people of the revolution that Bashar al-Assad calls terrorists. They are the ones who saved my life. They took me to a field hospital, where they gave me first aid. And I could hear them saying there was nothing they could do, and I had to be taken to Jordan."

Like Abu Youssef, more than 300,000 Syrian refugees live in Jordan cities, hoping to find work. In fact, Syrian refugees are now estimated to make up nearly 10 percent of Jordan's population.

SHUBERT (on camera): This tent city just outside of Amman is home to about 150 families, and they're all from the same area of Syria, Hama. Now, we asked a number of them to speak to us, but they said they didn't want to talk.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Off camera, they tell us they work at the nearby wholesale vegetable market. Their tents are cobbled together from sackcloth and discarded building material. Squatting on the land and officially unable to work without a permit, this is the gray area they live in. Abu Youssef also hopes to work.

"Being a baker was also a hobby," he told us, "because it used to draw a smile on my face, just the thought of feeding people." But with his injury, work is unlikely. For now, he is simply grateful to be here.

"I'm actually living day by day now," he says. "I'm not thinking about the future, and I thank God every day that I wake up in the morning." But the one thing he misses most is bread. He dreams of baking loaves with his trademark dough, soft and springy. In Jordan, he says, even the bread just doesn't taste the same.

Atika Shubert, CNN, outside of Amman, Jordan.


FOSTER: Trying to build some semblance of a normal life is a daunting challenge faced by millions of Syrians forced from their homes. We want to take you to a moment to show a new feature on our website, because it shows you just what life is like inside the Zaatari Refugee Camp, home to some 100,000 Syrians of all ages.

Click on the interactive buttons for reports that show how residents are coping, from basic needs, like finding electricity, to growing herbs and spices for sale at the markets. It's all at

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, how Mexico's sole representative at this year's Games will be coming dressed to impress. That's next.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD and me, Max Foster. We're currently waiting for the verdict in the Amanda Knox retrial due any moment now, we're told. We'll of course bring you the decision as it comes in.

With just eight days to go before the Winter Olympics, organizers are facing one small problem, and that's a lack of snow. Ivan Watson meets one man who promises to deliver the white stuff.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're just over a week away from the opening of the Winter Olympics, and we're up here at the ski jump venue, where workers are putting the final touches on the entire operation here.

But take a look -- there's not that much snow on the slopes. In fact, it's been raining lately, and the frost line is above the altitude of the ski jump itself. So, we've come to speak with a snow specialist from Finland, Mikko Martikainen, who's consulting with the Russian Winter Olympics. What are you going to do if it's still this warm when the Olympics begin?

MIKKO MARTIKAINEN, SNOW CONSULTANT: Yes. So, first of all, don't worry about the snow. Snow will be guaranteed.

WATSON: Guaranteed?



MARTIKAINEN: Because the concept is based on three steps. First of all, backbone. Order a snow-making system. We will start --

WATSON: Snow machines?

MARTIKAINEN: Snow machines. Below zero temperatures, we will star them next night.


MARTIKAINEN: Again. And then, as a first backup, we have snow storages on the mountain. We transport snow.

WATSON: And this is snow from last winter?

MARTIKAINEN: Last winter, yes.

WATSON: That you've been storing --


WATSON: -- just in case the weather's warm.

MARTIKAINEN: Yes. And then, third, we have an above-zero snow-making system also over there. So, you can make snow. Even now, it's working up to close 20.

WATSON: So you can guarantee snow even if it's bathing suit weather here?

MARTIKAINEN: Definitely.

WATSON: And there's some good news in the future from Mother Nature, right?

MARTIKAINEN: Yes. So, it's starting to cool down now after the rain, and on Saturday, it's starting to cool very fast. So night times here, minus 3, minus 5, what is for us good snow-making. And daytime clear skies, perfect.

WATSON: So there you go. We get a guarantee of snow from the Sochi Olympics official snow whisperer, if you have it that way. And also, we can sense, now, the excitement building. The athletes are starting to arrive. The security measures certainly are getting more tight.

And a little bit over a week from now we can anticipate that this place will be thronged with pretty enthusiastic crowds and quite a bit of Olympic spirit.

Ivan Watson, CNN, in the Caucasus Mountains above Sochi in Russia.


FOSTER: We are hoping to speak to the very famous Mexican member of the Sochi Olympics. We're having some connection problems. We do hope to speak to him very soon, indeed. He's a very interesting character.

CNN's landmark series, meanwhile, The Cold War, explores the struggle that defined the second half of the 20th century. The Truman Doctrine helped define the battle lines of capitalism versus Communism, East versus West. That US president's speech is the focus of our next episode.


KENNETH BRANAGH, NARRATOR: In February 1947, a financial crisis forced the British government to tell Washington they were ending aid to Greece and Turkey. The administration feared the Eastern Mediterranean might fall to Communism. Truman used this opportunity to take the offensive.


HARRY S. TRUMAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms. If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world, and we shall surely endanger the welfare of this nation.

GEORGE ELSEY, AIDE TO PRESIDENT TRUMAN: I was there in the balcony listening, and I was struck by the absolute concentrated attention of the Congress. On this occasion, everyone in the hall realized that this was a major historical event.

TRUMAN: I therefore ask the Congress to provide authority for assistance to Greece and Turkey in the amount of $400 million for the period ending June 30th 1948.


BRANAGH: Truman pitched the struggle for the first time as between freedom and tyranny, the West and the Communists. Truman had to persuade the often isolationist Congress to act. The anti-Communism of the Truman Doctrine did just that.


GEORGE MCGHEE, US STATE DEPARTMENT: The Truman speech reflected very clearly Truman's own character. He liked to see issues very clearly and come up with clean-cut answers.

BRANAGH: After five and a half years of a war to defeat fascism, Europe was bankrupt. Industry lay in ruins. Homes were in rubble. People struggled to survive.

The Communist Party, which had fought fascism, attracted new recruits.

MARIANNE DEBOUZY, STUDENT, PARIS: The appeal of Communism to young people and to students was that of a hope that it's possible to create a classless society. Many people believed that Communism was going to create a better world, better than the one that existed before the war. This was the only party that you could join if you wanted to change the world.