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Will Amanda Knox Be Extradited?; Super Bowl Ads; Security At Winter Olympics

Aired January 31, 2014 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight, keeping up the fight. Amanda Knox vows to avoid a return to Italy after being convicted again in the murder of Meredith Kercher. This hour, we'll ask a top American lawyer about Knox's chances of extradition.

Also ahead, Obama one-on-one. The U.S. president tells CNN about his ambitious agenda and gets personal with our own Jake Tapper.



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this has to be the craziest Winter Olympic discipline ever.


FOSTER: With the Sochi games just one week away, Becky suits up and takes to the skeleton track.

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

FOSTER: Amanda Knox is vowing to fight her conviction to the very end. She's speaking out in the United States today about the verdict in her retrial for murder.

An Italian court yesterday reinstated convictions for Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 killing of Meredict Kercher. Just hours after the first, Italian police picked up Sollecito at a Hotel ear the border with Austria and Slovenia. He's not allowed to leave Italy whilst the legal process continues.

CNN's Erin McLaughlin has more on the day's developments.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amanda Knox gave a very emotional interview to the American network ABC. At times her voice shaky, other times she sounded very, very strong, especially when she was talking about how she would never willingly return to Italy.

Take a listen to what she had to say.

AMANDA KNOX, FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER: I will never go willingly back to the place where -- I'm going to fight this until the very end, and it's not right. And it's not fair. And I'm going to do everything I can. Granted, I need a lot of help. I can't do this on my own and I can't help people understand this on my own.

MCLAUGHLIN: We also heard from Meredith's brother and sister Lyle and Stephanie. They said that nothing will ever bring Meredith back and that we may never know exactly what happened to her that night over six years ago. Take a listen.

LYLE KERCHER, MEREDITH KERCHER'S BROTHER: No matter what the decision and when it is finally upheld or not, you know, nothing is of course going to bring Meredith back. You know, nothing will ever take away the horror of what happened to her. The best we can hope for is, is of course finally bringing this whole case to a conclusion, you know, and a conviction and everybody can then move on with their lives.

MCLAUGHLIN: The Kerchers also say they would support Amanda Knox's extradition from the United States should it come to that. Their attorney has long supported a conviction in this case. And he told CNN that he is happy with that decision.

As for Raffaele Sollecito, well, he was detained by Italian police overnight in northern Italy. They found him at a hotel at 1:00 am in the morning near the border of Slovenia and Austria. They brought him into a police station. They had been looking for him under court orders to confiscate his travel papers. His lawyers tell CNN that he was not trying to flee the country.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Florence.


FOSTER: Let's take a look back at the Amanda Knox case now. Knox and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were arrested in November of 2007 accused of killing Meredith Kercher, Knox's roommate at the time.

Knox and Sollecito went on trial in January 2009. They were both found guilty of murder later that year. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in jail, Sollecito got 25 years. They both appealed. And in October 2011 a jury overturnd their murder convictions. Knox left Italy almost immediately returning to her home city of Seattle.

Last year, Italy's supreme court ruled that Knox and Sollecito should be retried.

The retrial began in September. And as we know ended with another guilty verdict.

Knox's attorney spoke to CNN today. Here's what he said when asked about her possible extradition to Italy.


THEODORE SIMON, AMANDA KNOX'S LAWYER: You know, I can understand why that is the question of the day, but it's really not a question that is an issue today or tomorrow or for a long time to come. We have to await the motivation that will be generated by the court. We have to see the basis upon which they have rendered their finding. From that, there will be an appeal, a minimum of on appeal.


FOSTER: Well, joining us now to talk about what's next in the case is Alan Dershowitz. He's a professor of the Harvard University Law School, author of "Taking the Stand."

So much confusion here about what this case would mean if it was in America, for example.

Let's first of all clarify this issue about double jeopardy. She can't be extradited, because under U.S. law double jeopardy doesn't exist?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, there would be no double jeopardy under American law if an intermediate court of appeals reversed the conviction, because that's not a final judgment. That reversal was then reversed by a higher court. So there wouldn't be double jeopardy under American law.

There is no double jeopardy under Italian law.

There are thousands of American people in jail today on the basis of far less evidence than was presented against Amanda Knox. The evidence against her is very, very considerable. You wouldn't know that by listening to the American media that has been saying repeatedly that there's no evidence against her.

She falsely accused somebody of committing the crime. She created a false alibi. She first admitted she was at the scene of the crime. They found forensically that multiple people had to commit the murder. The person who was convicted of the murder said she did it.

The evidence is very, very considerable.

Now that may not be enough to persuade everybody, or even to go beyond a reasonable doubt. But for people who say there's no evidence they're just not telling the truth. There's considerable evidence. And she would probably be extradited under the law if she were -- if the conviction were affirmed.

Now this has become a very political case in the United States. Politicians and the media are all saying that she was innocent and that she's been railroaded by a court system that sounds like an Iranian court system, but that's just not true. And so if the case is decided under the law, she will be extradited. If it's decided by politics, perhaps not.

FOSTER: And a lot of people in Italy do feel as if their legal system is being questioned unfairly as a result of all of this, because as you say it's emotional, it's political. And there are other high profile cases for extradition in the U.S. to get people onto U.S. soil.

We're going to have a look at a couple of those and play into the debate, including that this man -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The U.S. wants to prosecute him for publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents on his site. He's holed up in Ecuador's embassy here in London avoiding extradition to Sweden for sexual assault allegations. is wanted on piracy charges for his now defunct file sharing site Megaupload. He's currently in New Zealand. The U.S. says he cost the entertainment industry half a billion dollars.

Film director Roman Polanski has avoided extradition to the U.S. for decades. He fled to Europe in 1978 after pleading guilty to sexual offense.

In 2009, the Americans got close to getting back, arresting him in Switzerland, but the Swiss denied the extradition.

So, is there an element of hypocrisy here on behalf of the American authorities America?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, more than hypocrisy. The United States probably seeks to extradite more people than any other country in the world. And if we don't comply with our treaty obligations, it -- we will not be able to insist that Italy and other European countries extradite to the United States.

Moreoever, who are we to lecture Italy about our criminal justice system. We treat poor people and minority people much worse in the United States by our criminal justice system than they do in Italy.

So we really have no standing to tell other countries that their system is unfair.

And based on this evidence, in America, if she were not an attractive young woman, if she were an ordinary person charged on the basis of this evidence, she would be convicted and would be serving life imprisonment, or even worse, perhaps the death penalty in the United States.

FOSTER: Let's look at the reality here, though, a huge amount of support for Amanda Knox in America. If the government were to extradite her, it would make the government unpopular, or the courts unpopular, whoever makes the decision.

Do you actually think that she will end up being extradited to Italy, everything considered?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, there are several questions. First, will Italy insist on extraditing her? Look, Italy made a terrible mistake by releasing her. When that intermediate court of appeals reversed the conviction, they could easily have required her to stay in Italy subject to the jurisdiction of the court as they are doing with her co-defendant now.

So they've already indicated that they will apply a double standard to an American.

So we're not clear that they would demand extradition and create a conflict between the United States and Italy.

But if they did, and if our State Department ruled that she was extraditable, I don't think a court would interfere with that judgment. But I think it's chancy to make any kind of prediction because of the political and media nature of this case. By law, she's extraditable, politically she may survive by staying in the United States and continuing to make her case in the court of public opinion, which she does very, very effectively, because she has a very, very good audience.

And the American media hasn't been asking her hard questions. They haven't asked her to explain why she falsely accused an innocent person of a crime, why she changed her alibi, how she explains the bloody footprint, how she explains the presence of DNA -- not enough to convict, but that certainly is consistent with her DNA. How she explains the fact that there were multiple wounds by multiple persons. They've never asked her to explain that. They just say she's innocent, she's innocent, she's innocent. The system is wrong. And she's a victim of an injustice.

You almost never hear about the victim in America. You never hear about the woman who was murdered, because she's not American. And she's not, perhaps, as photogenic as Amanda Knox. But justice shouldn't be based on how people look or how people appear, on how appealing they are in the media. It should be based on the facts of the case. And the facts of the case in my view make it more likely than not that Amanda Knox actually committed this crime, although perhaps not enough to convince beyond all reasonable doubt.

FOSTER: Professor Dershowitz, very much appreciate your time on the program today, thank you.

Still to come tonight, more athletes continue to stream to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, but security concerns continue to overshadow the games. We'll bring you the latest from Russia next.

And CNN's Jake Tapper gets up close and personal with President Barack Obama.

All that and more when Connect the World continues.


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

The UN special envoy for Syria calls it a modest beginning. The first week of direct peace talks is wrapped up in Geneva with no breakthroughs, but Lakhdar Brahimi says the Syrian government and an opposition delegations are at least starting to see common ground. The opposition has agreed to meet again on February 10, but the government hasn't committed.

Both sides spoke to reporters after Friday's session. The Syrian regime criticized the opposition's focus on creating a transitional government.


WALID MOALLEM, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We came to Geneva open to everything and we agreed to discuss all elements, but the other side it seems to me that the other side had not quite well read the Geneva communique. And they only focused on one item.

LOUAY SAFI, SYRIAN OPPOSITION COUNCIL SPOKESMAN: This transitional governing body is the way to proceed to tackle other items on the agenda, because the TGB is the mechanism that will allow us to enforce those points. The current government, the current regime is unable, doesn't have the political will to implement those items.


FOSTER: Syria is also high on the agenda at an international security conference in Munich in Germany. The conference opened today under its own tight security.

Detained protesters in Ukraine are getting an official offer of amnesty, but there's a catch -- embattled President Vicktor Yanukovych signed the measure into law in an effort to quell the unrest plaguing his country, but the opposition is rejecting the amnesty, which will only come into force if protesters clear occupied areas.

Crowds have remained on the streets of the capital Kiev demanding reforms that will give more power to Ukraine's parliament.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, U.S. President Barack Obama says he believes the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi will be safe. However, he cautions there are always some risks of a terror attack.

With only a week to go before the games kick off, concerns linger over security for visiting athletes and sports fans. So, what about those who call the city home?

CNN's Ivan Watson went to find out whether they feel safe in Sochi.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Russia is tightening its ring of steel around the upcoming Olympic Games. Security barriers include warships patrolling Sochi's Black Sea coast, tens of thousands of Russian security forces have been deployed here to stop terrorists who have threatened to target the more than two weeks of pageantry and sports when many of the world's eyes will be on Russia.

It's clear that there are some extra security measures in place here, but most of the Russians we've been speaking to here in the sleepy port of Sochi, they tell us they're not really worried about terrorism, they're simply excited about the imminent launch of the Winter Games.

Vladislav and Biataslav (ph), both 21 years old, came her from the Russian city of Yikatenberg (ph) two weeks ago to work at a hotel.

"We're not afraid of any threats," the young man tells me. "Security is at a much higher level and there are many police at places like the train station.

"Nyet," Svetlana Yashminov (ph) says when I ask her if she's afraid of terrorist attacks.

"The Olympic Park is the safest place in Sochi," she says. "Look how many police officers and cossacks we have on the streets."

She's right, you can spot those cossacks wearing tall, fur hats, outside many Olympic venues walking alongside uniformed police.

One week before he games, anticipation is clearly building.

Though we also find some residents of Sochi who just can't wait for the Olympics to be over.

So there's a gentleman who has a very different opinion of the games. Most of the folks we've talked to say this is going to be a like a holiday. We're looking forward to it. We're proud of this. And here we have one working man here who is frustrated because he has to carry around three accreditation passes as a laborer here and he's very frustrated about how hard it's going to be to get to work and back. And he says the only games he's going to see are going to be on the television. He's clearly not going.

Ivan Watson, CNN, reporting from the port of Sochi in Russia.


FOSTER: It's not for everyone.

Now former NBA star Dennis Rodman has had a rough couple of months. Just two weeks ago, he checked into an alcohol rehabilitation facility following a string of controversies over North Korea.

In an exclusive interview, CNN's Chris Cuomo -- Rodman explained his relationship with North Korea Kim Jong un.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER BASKETBALL STAR: You know, I speak from my heart and like I said, I'm a human first. And I -- what I said in the media and stuff like that -- like I said, I don't know the marshall as a dictator. I don't know him like that. All I know is the fact with him it's more like he's a 31-year-old guy and I call him a kid all he time. And I said, yeah, he's my friend. I look at him like that, because he gave me the opportunity to at least come in to the country of North Korea to bring a basketball team, to show the world, just show the world that we can actually get along,


FOSTER: Live from London, this is Connect the World.

Coming up, America's biggest sporting event is set for Sunday. And when it comes to the Super Bowl advertising is a game of its own, not to mention a multi-billion dollar business. More on that straight ahead.


FOSTER: America's biggest sporting even The Super Bowl is set for Sunday evening just outside New York City.

The Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos for the big trophy. And Lara Baldesarra is live for us in New York with details of the massive buildup for the game.

It feels like a show, Lara.

LARA BALDESARRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Max, this is -- it's going to be a huge show right here where I am in New York City is where all the parties are happening. This is where the fun is happening. And then it's over in New Jersey where Met Life Stadium is located. And that's where the Super Bowl is actually going to be played.

But let's focused on right here where all of this action is happening behind me. We are on the most iconic street in America. This is Broadway. 13 blocks of it have been closed down and renamed Super Bowl Boulevard. And it's here where all of the fans can come out, they can have some fun. That's a 60 foot high toboggan run that -- you just have to pay $5. You can get up there. You can go down this thing and have some fun.

The length of it, it spans an entire city block.

Now there's also a ton of other things for people to do. There's an area for fans where they can try to kick their own field goal. Lots of people turning out to do that.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is here and it was unveiled. And fans can go and stand next to it and take their pictures with it. There's always, you know, professional athletes that are coming out here and other celebrities and fans of the champs to stand in line and wait and have their autograph and take pictures next to them. There's bands constantly playing. Concert stages are set up at night. There's a ton of concerts. And there's a ton of performing acts. Even the iconic Rockettes have performed here, they've even performed when those gigantic Super Bowl 48 Roman numerals were unveiled, but this is really the hub of party time before the game.

FOSTER: Lara, thank you very much indeed. Have fun. It's going to be a big weekend there.

Whilst the teams go head-to-head on the field, companies will battle it out on the airwaves in what's become the multi-billion business of Super Bowl ads.

This year, 30 seconds of air time will cost them a record price.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans has more.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It could be the most expensive 30 seconds in sports and maybe in all of business. Super Bowl ads, sold out for weeks, some hitting a record $4.5 million a pop this year for just 30 seconds of TV time.

But the number of eyeballs, that's what's priceless to advertisers. More than 100 million viewers have tuned in for each of the past four years. Compare that to 40 million for Oscars, 28 million for the Grammys, about 15 million for last year's World Series.

SAM THIELMAN, ADWEEK: The Super Bowl is one of the very few television shows where you still get a lot of reach. You get people from all different walks of life and with all different preferences watching it.

ROMANS: But are millions of viewers worth millions of dollars for just a few precious seconds? Market research firm (inaudible) finds recently only 1 in 5 Super Bowl ads actually motivates consumers to buy anything.

But sales aren't the only goal for advertisers.

THIELMAN: It's also kind of a great sort of badge to have. You know, we were in the Super Bowl last year, that's how big our brand is. And a lot of advertising is about self-congratulation as well.

ROMANS: 43 advertisers bought ads this year, ranging from the standard 30 second spot to two minutes.

Some of the big spenders include Anheuser Busch, Butterfinger, Doritos, GoDaddy, Jaguar, Dannon, Wonderful Pistachios and General Motors jumping back in the game after a brief hiatus in 2013.

But big trend this year, teaser ads.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't you think it would be nice to try something new?

ROMANS: They help companies build hype.


ROMANS: And give fans a heads up on what to watch for, much of it driven through social media which brings more buzz and gives advertisers a lot more than one little spot on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's time we all get our own places?

ROMANS: Super Bowl advertising becoming a game of its own. Star players, millions of dollars on the line and an audience who likes to play favorites.

Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


FOSTER; Amazing how it gets bigger every year.

Now the latest world news headlines are just ahead for you. Plus, up close and personal, CNN's Jake Tapper speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama about anything and everything under the sun.

At 55-years-old, he is the second oldest Winter Olympian in history. Coming up, we'll talk to the prince turned athlete that has everyone talking.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. Amanda Knox says she was shocked that an Italian court reinstated murder convictions for her and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Both vow to appeal. Italian police picked up Sollecito near the border with Austria and Slovenia hours after the verdict. His lawyer says he wasn't on the run.

US -- UN, rather, envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says both sides of the Syrian war are starting to see common ground, but acknowledged that the first week of direct talks haven't produced any breakthroughs. The opposition has agreed to meet again on February the 10th. Syria's government hasn't committed.

A scare of sorts just two days before the Super Bowl. Hazmat teams and bomb squads were deployed after six letters containing white powder were discovered at three hotels near the site of Sunday's game. The mayor of East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the stadium is located, says one of the letters was tested and was found to contain cornstarch.

Ukraine's president Viktor Yanukovych has just signed a new law granting amnesty to people detained in the protest, as protest leader who went missing resurfaces, bloodied and beaten. Diana Magnay has this report from Kiev, now, but we must warn you that it includes some graphic images.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are shocking images. A few days ago, we reported that a well-known activist of the Maidan protest movement, Dmytro Bulatov, had gone missing. Human rights watchers telling us then they were worried he had been abducted and tortured, and that appears to have been the case.

He has now reappeared after a week away and says he was beaten, tortured, and most shockingly of all, that he was crucified.

DMYTRO BULATOV, OPPOSITION ACTIVIST (through translator): I had my hands pierced. They have crucified me. They have cut off my ear, cut my face. All my body is beaten black and blue. The rest you can see, but thank God I am alive.

MAGNAY: He is not the first. A few days ago, we reported about Igor Lutsenko, who was kidnapped alongside another man from a hospital, both of them taken out into the forest and also tortured.

Lutsenko saying he had a plastic bag put around his head, that he was beaten all over his body, and that his abductors were asking who it was who was funding the Maidan protest movement and could not believe that these men had been out there of their own free will.

Now, he survived his ordeal, but the other man he was with, Yuri Verbytsky, did not. He was found frozen to death in the forest, his body showing signs of torture. He was buried last week in Lviv.

Catherine Ashton, the EU's high representative, has expressed her outrage at these various cases of human rights violations in Ukraine and said that it is the responsibility of the authorities, and I quote, "to take all necessary measures to address the current atmosphere of intimidation and impunity, which allows for such acts to take place."

Meanwhile in Berlin, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, made it clear that he did not feel that the Ukrainian president's attempts to meet the opposition halfway went far enough.

JOHN KERRY, US SECRETARY OF STATE: The offers of President Yanukovych have not yet reached an adequate level of reform, and an adequate level of sharing of the future so that the opposition can, in fact, feel that it could legitimately come to table and form some kind of unity government.

Now, we believe unity is important, and we believe that moving towards that is critical. So, our message to the Ukraine opposition, it's certainly my message to them, that we meet with today, will be the full support of President Obama.

MAGNAY: And that, of course, echoes the view held by protesters, who feel that the concessions made in the last week are a first step, but that they don't nearly go far enough.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Kiev.


FOSTER: Police are investigating both Igor Lutsenko's alleged abduction and that of Dmytro Bulatov, according to Ukraine's Interior Ministry.

US president Barack Obama has given an exclusive interview to CNN, his first since the State of the Union address. Mr. Obama spoke at length to Jake Tapper about his plans to aid the US economy, and other things, too, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: We did talk about a great deal, it was a very wide-ranging interview. We talked about immigration reform, how far he was willing to go in compromising with Republicans on that. We talked about marijuana and whether or not it is as dangerous or less dangerous than alcohol, a big debate in this country right now.

We talked about the National Security Agency, and we talked about safety and security at the Sochi Olympics. But the real thing the president wanted to talk about was his State of the Union message, his willingness to go around Congress where necessary. I asked him what can you really do just through executive order or executive powers, and he gave one example that he did today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, my big push is making sure we're focused on opportunity, making sure that every single day, all of us in Washington are trying to think about ways that we can help folks get good jobs, make sure that they're trained for the good jobs that are out there, make sure that those jobs pay, make sure our kids are getting a great education.

Those are the issues that the American people still very much are concerned about. And obviously, there's going to be more that we can do if Congress is able to break through some of the gridlock. And if we're able to, for example, pass immigration reform, that is going to add growth to our economy, reduce our deficits.

TAPPER: You don't seem confident that that's going to happen.

OBAMA: No, actually -- I actually think that we have a good chance of getting immigration --


TAPPER: I don't mean immigration reform, I mean the jobs issue.

OBAMA: I think there are going to be some issues where it's going to be tough for them to move forward, and I'm going to continue to reach out to them and say here are my best ideas, I want to hear yours.

But, as I said at the State of the Union, I can't wait. And the American people, more importantly, cannot wait. We know that one of the biggest problems right now in the jobs market is the long-term unemployed.

TAPPER: How they're having trouble -- people won't hire them because they've been unemployed so long.

OBAMA: Because they've been employed -- unemployed so long, folks are looking at that gap in the resume, and they're weeding them out before these folks even get a chance for an interview.

So, what we've done is to gather together 300 companies just to start with, including some of the top 50 companies in the country, companies like Walmart and Apple and Ford and others, to say let's establish best practices.

Do not screen people out of the hiring process just because they've been out of work for a long time. We just went through the worst recession since the Great Depression. And so, I'll be convening a meeting where a number of these top companies will be coming in, agreeing to these best practices, and we'll have an opportunity to encourage more people to come in.

All those things cumulatively are going to have an impact. Will we be able to have more of an impact if we can get Congress, for example, to pass a minimum wage law that applies to everybody as opposed to me just through executive order making sure that folks who are contractors to the federal government have to pay a minimum wage? Absolutely. And that's why I'm going to keep on reaching out to them. But I'm not going to wait for them.


TAPPER: Max, we did talk about a lot of very serious issues, but I have to confess, I was a White House correspondent for four years, I covered both of the president's campaigns, I covered him in Congress, I wouldn't say that I'm necessarily always the one asking his favorite questions.

So, when we started the interview, we did the walk and talk, which people in the business know is usually where you do a little bit more casual conversation, and we started there. And so, just to get him in a better mood, because I knew I -- that he was probably a little wary of me, I brought up his favorite subject, his daughters.


TAPPER: So, the first lady just gave an interview. She said that your daughters not so concerned with whether or not you had a bad 2013. More concerned about --


TAPPER: -- OK, Dad, that's great, where's my allowance?

OBAMA: You know, they, when we sit down at the dinner table, have some awareness of what's going on, and we have great conversations, although mostly it's more about history than it is about what's going on right now.

But it's true. Look, they're teenagers. They are full -- fully absorbed in their lives, what's going on at school --

TAPPER: They're not into your approval ratings? They're not --

OBAMA: They really are not.


TAPPER: Are you bringing them to when you go to the Vatican, when you meet the pope? Was that -- are they going to come?

OBAMA: They met the previous pope the last time we went to Rome. I'm not sure they're going to have a chance to go this time. But it was wonderful -- a great story was, Sasha was still pretty young at the time. This was in my first year of office.

And they see the Sistine Chapel, and they're going through these various chambers, and each time, she'd see somebody dressed up in the cloth, and she'd say, "Is that the pope?"


OBAMA: "Is that the pope? How about that guy over there?" And we said, "No, no, you'll know when it is finally the pope."


TAPPER: I also tried to get him to take a position -- I gave him a choice on either the big Super Bowl game, the Denver Broncos versus the Seattle Seahawks, or he could take a pick of deciding whether or not he prefers Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to Vice President Joe Biden in the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination race.


TAPPER: He actually picked neither, which was not part of the rules, but I guess when you're the president, you don't really have to listen to the likes of me, Max.

FOSTER: You can ask the tough questions, you don't always get the answer, though, do you? Brilliant.


FOSTER: It was such a wide-ranging interview and great to get that character from him as well. Jake, thank you very much, indeed.

You can watch the rest of Jake's interview with Barack Obama during "Quest Means Business." That starts in about 20 minutes' time.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. For 444 days, this was a prison for some 50 American hostages. Now, it's an anti-US propaganda museum. We'll give you a rare glimpse inside.

Being labeled the most interesting Olympian in the world, Max -- or I speak to Mexican skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe to find out why.


FOSTER: Well, it was at the center of the Iran hostage crisis 34 years ago, and it seems the former US embassy in Tehran is stuck in a bit of a time warp. Many of the rooms are still intact, serving as a symbol of American mistrust. Jim Sciutto got a look inside.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF US NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): For years, this is as close as reporters could come to the former US embassy in Tehran. But now, a rare glimpse inside.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Was this where the marine guards where?

SCIUTTO (voice-over): For 444 days, this was a prison for some 50 American hostages. The 1979 takeover dramatized in the Oscar-winning film "Argo."


SCIUTTO: They took us to what was the secure part of the embassy.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Is it the same combination that it was.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): "It's the same," he said. Now, it's an anti-US propaganda museum run by the Iranian government. And while many in this country have grown disillusioned with the Islamic revolution, here the anger against America still survives.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Do you still believe it was justified to hold the Americans as hostages?

SCIUTTO (voice-over): "Yes," he said, "definitely." Every room and every piece of equipment is an exhibit.

SCIUTTO (on camera): This is a walk back in time.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): A soundproof meeting room, complete with dusty mannequins. An encrypted telex machine marked as belonging to the NSA. And the shredder staff used to destroy secret documents as students took over -- a panicked moment captured in Argo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burn it all, come on! Burn everything!

SCIUTTO (on camera): This is where the embassy, including the CIA, would do its most sensitive communications. There's a pressure sensor here. And then inside, all the ways they would communicate with back home. There's a teletype machine, an ancient FAX machine. This looks like coding equipment, all of it now the prized possessions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Equally prized is more modern propaganda. A tacky mural tells a familiar Middle Eastern conspiracy theory, claiming the US was actually behind 9/11.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Why would we do that to our own people?

SCIUTTO (voice-over): "They wanted to make their people believe they are in danger," he said, "so they could attack other countries."

What has yet to penetrate these walls is any optimism about the new diplomacy between Iran and the US.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Could you ever imagine American diplomats returning to this embassy and opening the embassy again.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): "You cannot trust America," he said. "America is the Great Satan."

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Tehran.


FOSTER: The struggle between Communism and capitalism defined the second half of the 20th century, pitting East against West, pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war. Now, as the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall approaches, CNN is revisiting its landmark series, "Cold War." And here's a preview of this week's episode.


KENNETH BRANAGH, NARRATOR: At the heart of Europe's problems lay the question of a defeated Germany. Stalin wanted to keep Germany on its knees, concerned that otherwise it would rise up one day and threaten the Soviet Union again.

The Americans believed the Germany must get back on its feet before there could be a full European recovery.


BRANAGH: Marshall was now convinced of the need to act quickly. On his return from Moscow, he instructed the State Department to begin preparing ideas for a European rescue plan.

Billions of dollars would be needed. Would Congress approve this enormous cost?

GEORGE MARSHALL, FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE: The whole situation is critical in the extreme. We happen to be very fortunate for ourselves the strongest nation in the world today, certainly the economic world.

BRANAGH: The urgency was such that Marshall rushed forward his plan. He announced it at an awards ceremony at Harvard University. There were no film cameras present. Marshall proposed aid to Europe on a vast scale and invited the Europeans to respond.

Ernest Bevin, the British foreign secretary, immediately realized the importance of Marshall's speech. He had always wanted to involve the Americans in European reconstruction.

FRANK ROBERTS, PRIVATE SECRETARY TO ERNEST BEVIN: When Marshall made his big speech in Harvard, Bevin seized upon it and paying attention at the same time, welcomed it, and out of that, they built up what became the European Recovery Program and recovery of Western Europe.

BRANAGH: The Soviet economy also desperately needed investment to make up for the ravages of four years of war on Russian soil. In theory, the Marshall Plan was open to both East and West, but would Stalin participate?


FOSTER: Tune in this Saturday for the next episode of CNN's landmark series, "Cold War." That's Saturday, 20:00 in London, 21:00 in Berlin.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, Becky dons a onesie and tries out the skeleton. Has she found her true calling?

And why is the Vienna-based pop singer and photographer skiing for Mexico at Sochi? We speak to one of this year's most fascinating Olympians.


FOSTER: Well, does this look scary to you? Hurtling down an icy track at the top speed of more than 140 kilometers per hour? To make it worse, you're traveling face-first on your stomach on a narrow sled. Feels more like a tray, probably. This is the challenge for Olympians in the skeleton event at the Sochi Games, and Becky bravely gave it a go.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPONDENT (voice-over): Set in the quaint heart of England, a city treasured for its serenity, slow pace, and this --


ANDERSON (on camera): This is Bath, west of London, and this is where the athletes train for what is known as the skeleton. This is the push start track, and I am going to have a go.

ANDERSON (voice-over): It may look like a rudimentary facility, and there may be no ice, but it helped prepare one of Great Britain's biggest hopes for gold at the Sochi Olympics: World Cup champion Lizzy Yarnold.

ANDERSON (on camera): So we're talking what? About 17 to 19 turns, depending on the track? How quickly are you getting from start to finish?

LIZZY YARNOLD, SKELETON WORLD CUP CHAMPION: About a minute, usually, so it's a minute of high G-forces, up to 5 Gs, the same as the fighter pilots.

ANDERSON (on camera): Well, this has to be the craziest winter Olympics discipline ever. Face first, flat on your stomach, not a sport for the faint-hearted.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Danny Holdcroft is the only coach in the world who trains athletes on this kind of track. I was in safe hands. Even so, I needed some reassurance.

ANDERSON (on camera): Am I going to get 90 miles an hour now?


ANDERSON: Excellent.


ANDERSON: Oh -- my -- !

ANDERSON (voice-over): Adrenaline pumping yes. Would I do it again? Probably not. But for Yarnold, one try and she was hooked.

YARNOLD: I think I tried every single sport out there beforehand: high board diving, lots of heptathlon and pole vaults. And I was horse riding by the age of two. So, I think I just loved all sport. I was always so competitive. And then, tried the skeleton in the Girls for Gold talent search and loved it.

ANDERSON: Five years on and she'll be part of one of the most intense rivalries at Sochi, up against this 13-year veteran of the sport.

ANDERSON (on camera): Noelle Pikus-Pace, Team USA. Friend or foe?

YARNOLD: No, it's -- being surrounded by such talented athletes, they push me to be so much faster. I have to pick up my game every single competition. But Noelle, she's an exceptional athlete, and I'm looking forward to Sochi and competing against everyone.

ANDERSON (voice-over): That day fast approaching.

Becky Anderson, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Competition in the Sochi Games won't start for another week, but already, one athlete has been given the award for the most interesting Olympian of the world. I think we gave it to him, anyway. That's despite never having won a medal, even.

Alpine skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe will be Mexico's sole representative at the Sochi Games. He's a descendant of German royalty, a singer, and a photographer. I spoke to him from CNN Mexico City and asked him how he felt about all the attention he's getting.


HUBERTUS VON HOHENLOHE, OLYMPIC SKIER: Well, I don't know why. I hope it's not only because of the age. No, I -- it's a fun story, but basically, the Olympics has two sides two it. One is the guys who can win, and the other one is the guys that make it in and have a good story to tell. Maybe mine's like the second version of it.

FOSTER: Have you got no chance of winning anything?

VON HOHENLOHE: I think I can have a chance of having maybe the best- dressed man and best-dressed team, which I fell short last time, and I had a big depression. I needed a psychiatrist for about a month to get over it. I was fourth, and I thought I deserved the podium. So maybe this time around, I'll be up there.

FOSTER: Before we get to see the outfit, which so many people are talking about, just explain how you got to the point where you had this outfit.

VON HOHENLOHE: Well, basically, I've been skiing for Mexico in the Olympics since 1984, which is 30 years. I already designed something cool at the Sarajevo Opening, which I had this blue suit where there was the -- sky was light blue, the sea was dark blue, and then there was this beautiful sun with a huge cactus here.

So, I had this feeling of this vibe to design something and to transmit to people, but then I stopped for a while. And then 1997, I designed a suit for the world championships in Sestriere, which was me in a Juventus Turin suit. So, I had people cheer me on.

And the whole idea is that I wanted to have at least some public that cheers me on, although I was an outsider. And then it got a catch-22 situation where every time we said, well, what do we do next? And then we had this pistolero, and the idea in Vancouver was that I wasn't good enough to win, but if I could kill everybody at the start --


VON HOHENLOHE: -- I'd be the only one there and I would win a medal. And from this, it went on and on. So now, for maybe the last hurrah, we discussed to have something really Mexican and something Folkloric but elegant.

And everybody have these bionic suits where they look like cats and they look like they're really strong and fast. So we said let's do something a little more artistic, a little more musical, and a little more stylish. So we thought we'll do this mariachi outfit, which is a guy who likes to sing, who likes life, and who likes to have a good time, but still is Mexican, without a doubt.

FOSTER: Everyone's desperate to see it, so you'd better show us what you're going to be wearing on the slopes of Sochi.

VON HOHENLOHE: You need the total look, really.

FOSTER: We've got a director as well as a ski champion. There you go. Spectacular!

VON HOHENLOHE: Oh, really? Who is it?


VON HOHENLOHE: That's the one. That's the one.

FOSTER: So you -- you feel proud? Do you feel powerful? Do you feel like you can go to Sochi now?

VON HOHENLOHE: You see the good thing is that the mariachis always have a little belly, so if I would have a little belly, it would be also original. No, I'm proud to -- I'll be at least Folkloric and there will be no doubt that I'm Mexican. This is what I what I wanted to do. And then also, style will be remembered long after results are forgotten.


FOSTER: He's right there. What do you think of the fashion styling of Mexico's sole Winter Olympian? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD want to hear from you,, have your say. You can tweet me as well, @MaxFosterCNN.

And in tonight's Parting Shots, celebrations for the lunar new year are kicking off around the world. Cities all across China are celebrating the start of the Year of the Horse. It's also known as the Spring Festival and Chinese race to get home in time to market in the biggest migration of people on the planet.

In Hong Kong, crowds line the streets for a massive lunar new year parade. Lunar new year lasts for 15 days, and this year, its last day falls on Valentine's Day. Lunar new year is one of the world's biggest celebrations, and we break it down by the numbers on our website. Check out our interactive story on

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching, and stay tuned for Jake Tapper's interview with the US president, Barack Obama. That's coming up next.