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Opening Ceremonies Kicks Off Sochi 2014 Olympics; Taliban Kidnaps British Service Dog; Australian Schapelle Corby Granted Parole in Indonesia

Aired February 7, 2014 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight, Russia welcome the world: the Winter Olympics in Sochi begins with fireworks and fanfare, but an attempted hijacking brings security concerns into sharp focus. We'll have a live report on the opening ceremonies and Sochi's ring of steel.

Also ahead...


VICTORIA NULAND, FRM. U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON; So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it and, you know, (EXPLECTIVE DELETED) the EU.


FOSTER: The diplomatic gaffe heard around the world. We speak to a former State Department spokesman about whether U.S. relations with Europe can be salvaged.

And capturing Fab Four history, on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles taking America by storm, we hear from the photographer who was along for the ride.

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

FOSTER: The grand opening live ceremony officially opened the Winter Olympic games in Sochi. It was a spectacle of lights, floats, dancing and colorful kits kicking off a 2014 local time, a nod to the year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was at the ceremony declaring the games open.

As with thousands of athletes who walked through the stadium cheering and waving.

There was a bit of a hitch with only four of the five Olympic rings lighting up at one point and a few empty seats. But everyone there seemed to enjoy it.

Live tonight in Sochi, Amanda Davies has been watching all the action and excitement for us. Amanda, it was a shame about the rings, but it doesn't detract from what was a pretty spectacular show.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: No, that's right, Max. It was a little bit of a slow start, I think you'd put it down as that, but there was certainly a spectacular climax. 3,500 fireworks went off above the Fisht Stadium after the flame had been lit, which of course officially marks the start of the Olympic Games.

This was a ceremony that the organizers had placed huge, huge importance on, because of all the controversy in the buildup, the talk of corruption and overspending and security fears. This is where they really wanted to draw a line in the sand and start the focus on the athletes and the games. And the medal performances.

This stadium, the Fisht Arena, wasn't on the original plans for the games, but the organizers had seen what had happened in Beijing, they'd seen what had happened in London and they decided that they really needed one stadium that would be the focus for the world for this one evening, to send a message from Russia to the world.

And they certainly did that. From this vantage point here where we are on a balcony with the Fisht in the background we heard a lot of locals chanting and blowing their horns and bibbing their car horns as the flame was lit. Other people set off fireworks in their gardens.

But that was the vantage point from here.

My CNN colleague digital reports that Ben Wyatt was lucky enough to be one of the 40,000 inside the stadium. He's run back across the park and joins us here.

Lucky you.

What was it like from the inside?

BEN WYATT, CNN DIGITAL REPORTER: Well, I think lucky you is a good starting point, really. Because I think once you're in the stadium it's pretty hard not to be excited and impressed with the show that's going on around you.

So, you know, I thought it had some really good points. I like when the kind of hammer and sickle and the large monolithic faces kind of swept across the arena. I thought that was very impressive.

I thought the music was very good, especially in first half of the ceremony. I was told it was DJ Tiesto (ph). I don't know whether that's a fact or not, but it's certainly sounding good to me.

There were a couple of bits I thought where it lost me a little bit. There was a phase where I think it was involving Tolstoy's kind of phase of Russian history and that kind of passed me over, but that can be just a personal thing.

In general I thought, you know, it showed where London led, they followed. They kind of concentrated not on competing, I felt, but showing what was best they thought about their culture. And I think that's probably the way forward with these opening ceremonies.

DAVIES: Yeah, it was -- well, this is the most expensive Olympics ever. You always expected this ceremony to be spectacular.

We were both lucky enough to be at London as well. How do you think it compared? Can you compare the ceremonies?

WYATT: Well, I think it probably has slower start. It really had a kind of slow buildup. And in fact somebody from the London office, because were doing the live blog on, they were emailing me saying can you just confirm it has actually started. I was like no, no it has. The countdown clock has stopped.

And I think some of the, you know, the cultural richness of London I think -- especially the popular culture, you know, Russia is probably disadvantaged in the modern era. They were looking back to classical music and things much further back in history.

But I think still rich in their own way.

So, I still thought it was a good ceremony. Probably not on London's level, but then again I live in London so it had a personal element to me as well.

DAVIES: Do you think we should read very much into the fact that there was some empty seats in there? Do you think that is the start of things to come with this games maybe going forward?

WYATT: Well, it's often the theme at the start of Olympic games, isn't it? In the first week, how many empty seats are there, especially given the kind of demand for tickets.

There was a big block of empty seats in the stadium, which I actually realized was for the athletes. So it -- all the empty seats weren't just because people hadn't turned up.

But I estimated even at the height of it, there was around 2,000 to 5,000 empty seats within the stadium. So it wasn't completely full and packed to the rafters that they had hoped.

DAVIES: OK, Ben, thank you very much indeed.

Max, the events properly get underway tomorrow, Saturday, nine different sports getting underway. And I suppose that's the real test of weather or not people in Russia have embraced the games to see how full the venues are then.

WYATT: I know that's what the sports teams have been waiting for as well, Amanda. The actual sport to start rather than all this buildup. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. We're going to be speaking to you a lot more over the next couple of weeks.

Now during the ceremony there were dramatic events in Turkey with an apparent tie to the Olympic games. A bomb threat on board a Pegasus Airlines plane traveling from Ukraine to Istanbul. Sources say that the passenger declared there was a bomb in the hold area and that he wanted to get the plane to land in Sochi.

Two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the plane and escorted it to safety to Istanbul.

Authorities are working to confirm the hijacker's citizenship. A Turkish official says he is a Ukrainian national and this is video that came into CNN just a few moments ago.

We are told that it was shot on board the plane itself.

Chan News Agency says passengers identified the man you see there briefly as the suspect. CNN hasn't independently confirmed that as yet.

Once again this highlights the ongoing security issues that surround Sochi.

Let's cross to Nick Paton Walsh in Sochi this evening. Nick, we need to remember that nothing actually happened here. But what would you say about the response?

NICK PATSON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, the real issue here, as you say whether or not this man represented a genuine threat to the 110 passengers on board.

Now we understand that they ware not coming off the bus. Exactly where he is, isn't clear. We had presumed that given that the plane has been in a safe zone in Sabiha Gokcen Airport in the Asian side of Istanbul for quite some time now.

But police would probably have got him under control, because they had stated they were searching the plane for any devices. But that's not clear at this point.

What seems pretty clear given the proliferation of video and still that seem to be emerging from inside the plane is that this isn't really a threat at this point any more.

Whether there ever was one was something that will emerge in the hours ahead.

Now what seems to have happened is a hijack signal came off the plane as it was flying from Kharkov, an industrial city in eastern Ukraine towards Istanbul.

Now don't know which point in the journey that occurred, but the pilots put the signal off and all the same landed in Istanbul despite a man, a Ukrainian national we now know from both the Ukrainian foreign ministry and Turkish officials saying that he knew there was a bomb on board and he might detonate it. Not quite sure of the exact nature of the threat was unless the plane diverted to Sochi.

Now that's what we know at this point. And I think it's probably important to point out there's no statement at this stage suggesting any militant connection or any particular broader threat of malice.

It is possible, this is erratic behavior on an aircraft. You see -- and you know that yourself, Max, I'm sure. People don't always behave themselves at those heights.

People still trying to work out precisely what's happening in the airport. Video coming from the scenes around there that do show, you know, we're not talking about one of those 1970s week-long standoffs of hijacks on the tarmac, life has changed since then. It seems like the situation is under control at this point. But as we all know, it happened right in the middle of the opening ceremony after threats of toothpaste bombs on planes. Everyone very nervous -- Max.

FOSTER: Nick, thank you very much indeed. We just heard that everyone has been evacuated from the plane and the suspect has been taken into custody. That was whilst Nick was speaking there.

Security at Sochi is once again in the spotlight as the Olympics officials get under -- the Olympics officially gets underway. They are Russia's way of asserting a stronger presence on the world stage. And one man is at the helm.

CNN delves into the personality of the former KGB agent turned president in a special report "The Power of Vladimir Putin," that's Saturday 8:00 pm in London, 9:00 pm in Berlin.

Still to come tonight, another step in delicate diplomatic efforts aimed at ending Syria's war. We get the latest developments on the next round of peace negotiations.

Plus, getting out of jail but their problems aren't over yet. We look at the decade long case of an Australian woman charged with drug smuggling in Indonesia.


FOSTER: Syria's government says it will take part in a second round of peace talks starting next week. The government said it agreed to attend, because it wants stability and an end to the violence.

Meanwhile, Buses are taking the first civilians out of Homs. It's part of an agreement between regime and rebel sides to let noncombatants leave.

Mohammed Jamjoom is in Beirut. A sign of progress Mohammed?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Max, there's a brief glimmer of hope today after a very lengthy, difficult negotiation process. Finally a cease-fire was implemented and some of those trapped inside the besieged old city of Homs, which has been under siege for over 600 days now were able to evacuate.

Now I spoke with a representative with a World Food Program just a little while ago. She told me that 83 people today were evacuated from the old city of Homs, that they were mainly elderly people as well as children and women.

She explained how dire the humanitarian circumstances they were living in were. She said that some of the people that were evacuated actually said after they got some food that this was the first actual food that they'd had to eat in about six months. The first thing that they'd been able to eat that wasn't weeds or grass, that's how bad that it had gotten for them in the last six months.

We've heard these horror stories repeatedly over the last several weeks about how bad it's gotten, that people are starving to death, that they're not getting the kind of medical care that they need.

What did not happen today, yet, according to the UN and the World Food Program is buses with aid were not able to actually get in to the old city of Homs. We're told that that will commence tomorrow provided the security situation is stable and that the cease-fire holds.

So all hopes is that that will actually happen, because people within the old city really need to help.

The UN said earlier tonight that they believe that at least 2,500 people are trapped within in the old city and they're really in desperate need of help.

So tomorrow it's expected that food and water and hygiene kits will start to be delivered and that more people will be evacuated in the days to come -- Max.

FOSTER: Mohammed, thank you very much indeed.

Now, protesters in Bosnia Herzegovina have set fire to government buildings and fought with riot police in a third day of anti-government unrest. Public anger over jobs and political stagnation have long been simmering there. And has now erupted into the streets. Civil disorder on this scale hasn't been seen since the Bosnian war of the early 90s.

For more, I'm joined by local journalist Kenan Cerimagic. He's in Sarajevo.

Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

What more can you tell us about what happened today?

KENAN CERIMAGIC, NEWS DIRECTOR, HAYAT TV SARAJEVO: At this point the situation is calming down. The riots spread across Bosnia. It started in Tusla (ph) two days ago in the north part of Bosnia, heavily industrial center that has very big problems with failed privatization process. People are unemployed and they started expressing their concerns.

Then it spread around the country through the capital and some other cities across the country. The government buildings were set on fire and many of the local governments resigned during the day. That was one of the demand of the protesters.

The main demand of the protesters, they want to have a chance to work, to earn a living, to provide their family with good meaningful life. Unfortunately, Bosnia Herzegovina, we have so many politicians and so much money depend on politicians, we have the politicians that have paid the most in the region, even in eastern -- southern European countries.

People demand that the government start to think about them, to provide them with jobs, to provide them with opportunity to provide for their families with a life.

Unfortunately, politicians did not respond correctly. This anger is building up for the years. Politicians had a chance to calm the situation down, but instead of investing the money in the production, in the industry they were investing in a demonstration in their rights the benefits of the politicians.

And the people finally said it is enough. Unfortunately during those demonstrations, some parts of the hooligan organizations maybe changed a little bit the meaning of the demonstration, but the key point of the people is that politicians have to look for the people. They are elected to take care of them, not of themselves. And this is the clear message for them that people are sick and tired of everything that 20 years after the war they cannot provide decent living in this country.

And I really hope that politicians will hear the message and finally start to show that they are actually elected they want to take care of their voters. Until now that was not the case. We spend too much money for ridiculous stuff. And finally people said it is enough.

FOSTER: OK. Kenan, thank you very much indeed.

Indonesia has granted early parole to one of its highest profile prisoners, Australian Schapelle Corby who was convicted of smuggling 4 kilos of marijuana into Bali nearly 10 years ago now.

She claims the drugs were planted in her bag. Now after serving nine years in prison, she's been granted parole.

CNN's Saima Mohsin has the latest.


SAIMA MOHNSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All eyes have been on this jail in Bali where Schapelle Corby has spent the last nine years in prison, convicted of drug trafficking in 2005, an offense she claims she didn't commit and that she was innocent. But judges found her guilty of carrying more than 4 kilograms of marijuana.

Now early morning, Schapelle Corby's sister Mercedes, who actually moved to Bali to be closer to her sister, who visits her on a regular basis, came out of the prison talking to the media surrounded by a huge media scrum, particularly people from the Australian media wanting to know whether she would get parole today.

Her sister said that she's been waiting for this a year-and-a-half, since she's applied, and they really would like everyone to reset their privacy.

Later in the day, Indonesia's justice minister announced that Schapelle Corby is amongst more than 1,200 people whose parole has been reviewed and that she would be amongst them.

Tonight, we've spoken to the chief of the prison who tells us that he is now trying to get this process moving. He doesn't want to see Schapelle Corby in jail for too much longer, but he needs a piece of paper in his hand to be signed to release her.

The Indonesian government doesn't function over the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, so we could now see her released into next week.

But of course this is a story that's resonated in households right around the world. Parents wondering if their children could be next. And travelers wondering if they might get caught up in a similar scandal.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Bali, Indonesia.


FOSTER: The latest diagnosis of the U.S. jobs market is out. And the verdict is growing pains. A disappointing January report shows 113,000 jobs were added last month, an improvement from December, but still considerably weaker than expected.

Unemployment did hit a five year low, but that's partially because more Americans are giving up on looking for jobs. Let's see how the markets are reacting to the news then. And they're all pretty much up. They've had a difficult week with the emerging markets really hit earlier on, but a positive end to the main U.S. markets at least.

Live from London, this is Connect the World, coming up is this the first canine prisoner of war? We discuss the Taliban's captive and the role of dogs in war.

Plus, this U.S. diplomat and a not so private telephone conversation. We discuss the spat between U.S. and Europe and look at why some are blaming Russia.


FOSTER: The Taliban say they have captured a western military dog in Afghanistan. The video posted online by the militant group shows the forlorn looking animal surrounded by gunmen. The militants say it's from the U.S., but an American official says the dog is actually British.

A Taliban spokesman claims the dog was captured about a month ago during a battle with ISAF force.

Now the dog appears to be wearing a harness similar to those by the military -- used by the military to hoist dogs into helicopters. In the footage, gunman also show off a GPS device which they say the dog was wearing when it was snatched as well as weapons they claim to have seized from U.S. forces.

To talk more about this, I'm joined by former military dog handler Damian Jones. He served for the British army in Kosovo and Iraq. He joins me now via Skype.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Did it look like a British dog? What was all that kit? Did it look like the sort of dog would have?

DAMIAN JONES, FRM. MILITARY DOG HANDLER: Yeah, it did. I mean, I can't tell where the dog actually came from, but them types of dogs are used in the military and UK security forces, also international security forces. So them type of dogs are used widely.

FOSTER: I didn't look particularly happy. I know you don't know the dog, but was that your feeling as well?

JONES: I can't (inaudible) the dog looks, you know, (inaudible) tail down, so he did look unhappy. I can't go into whether he was being mistreated in the hands of the Taliban, you know...

FOSTER: Yeah, and this is Major, I understand, lying next to you.

JONES: Yeah, this is Major. He's a protection dog. And he's also a pet. He's not actually a working dog (inaudible) in the military. These dogs are actually specially trained dogs and they're actually used for specific purposes for different tasks.

They're not actually used as a piece of equipment, they're actually take a long time and the bond that the dog and handler actually create takes a long time to make that bond. And it's actually a special bond that the dog and the handler actually have before they actually go out on operations.

FOSTER: And while Major is definitely in pet mode right now, but in terms of these military dogs, I mean, people have been making -- you know, making a bit of fun of the Taliban parading this dog around. But actually, that's -- that dog, if it's a good one is a big, big asset, isn't it, to the military. And they could have taken a big asset away from the troops that they're fighting.

JONES: I think that the military using the dogs are having a significant impact on what the Taliban (inaudible) if you like. None of these dogs are being used widely throughout the conflict and you know, they're obviously having a conflict. And I think this might be a propaganda by the Taliban parading this dog.

FOSTER: And what specific task have you seen military dogs do, which show how impressive they are? Because people don't fully understand what they actually do out in the field.

JONES: Well, they use various tasks. And obviously it depends on the breed itself as well. And that dog in that picture is described as a Belgian Malinois. German Shepards are used widely throughout the military and other security forces.

They have been protection, arms and exploited search dogs, you know, they're used in various roles even body search.

FOSTER: OK, Damian, thank you very much indeed for joining us. And you can tell Major about the conversation when he wakes up.

JONES: Yeah...

FOSTER: Thanks very much.

Dogs are a familiar feature in the battlefield. Increasingly, they're being used for detecting improvised explosive device, IEDs. But dogs have been used in conflict for millennia as far back as the 7th Century BC. More recently, they played a big part in both world wars.

Now, over 3,000 canines are serving the U.S. military around the world with around 700 in Afghanistan and the Middle East. It costs an estimated $70 million to train each -- $70 million to train each dog for military service. I think -- yeah, we need to check that. I think it would be $70,000 -- as compared to the $1 million spent on training every human soldier.

The latest world news headlines just ahead.

Plus, colorful language from a top U.S. official. A less than diplomatic phone call is leaked. Ahead, who the U.S. accuses of involvement.

A new era, Tunisia enters a new phase as a new constitution is put into place. We'll have more from Tunis.

And we'll see how Liverpool is still banking on Beatlemania half a century after the Fab 4 took America by storm.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. The Sochi Winter Olympics are officially open. The Opening Ceremony went smoothly after a somewhat bumpy lead-up to the Games. Figure skating, skiing, and snowboard events will start tomorrow.

Turkey confirms that a suspected would-be hijacker is in custody and all passengers are safe after a bomb threat onboard a plane traveling from Ukraine to Istanbul. Sources say that a passenger declared there was a bomb in the hold area of the Pegasus Airline's bay and that he wanted it to land in Sochi. Fighter jets intercepted the plane, and it landed safely in Istanbul.

Protesters in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina set fire to a part of the presidency building on Friday as the rallied against the government. It's the third day of unrest, which have seen riot police clash with demonstrators across the country.

Civilians are moving in and aid appears to be moving into Syria's rebel-held city of Homs. A brief cease-fire agreed upon in peace talks is taking hold. Three busloads of women, children, and the elderly have rolled out so far.

A top US official is under fire for comments allegedly made in a private phone call. Victoria Nuland was apparently caught on tape using colorful language to describe her frustration with the EU. Elise Labott has this report.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS REPORTER: On the eve of the Sochi Games, US-Russia relations hit a major snag, Russia now accused of leaking this private audio recording between US diplomats discussing what to do about the current political turmoil in Ukraine.

VICTORIA NULAND, ASSISTANT US SECRETAR OF STATE FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS (via telephone): So, that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it. And, you know, (expletive deleted) the EU.

GEOFFREY PYATT, US AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE (via telephone): No, exactly. And I think we've got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.

LABOTT: That sounds like Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Victoria Nuland, telling the US ambassador to Ukraine that they were going to bring in a UN envoy to close the deal.

NULAND (via telephone): (expletive deleted) the EU.

LABOTT: That audio, first posted on YouTube with Russian subtitles and tweeted by a Kremlin official, is highly embarrassing for the US. Nuland wouldn't confirm the authenticity of the tape, but she didn't deny it, either. Instead, this veiled swipe at Russia, suggesting Moscow recorded the call.

NULAND: I'm obviously not going to comment on private diplomatic conversations other than to say it was pretty impressive trade craft. The audio was extremely clear.

LABOTT: Even after NSA revelations of US wiretapping of foreign leaders, the State Department called the publicizing of the call "a new low for Russia."

The months-long protest in Ukraine to oust that country's president have divided the US and Russia, with both accusing the other of meddling in a volatile situation, a tension now fully on display thanks to a Russian tweet of a YouTube link.

LABOTT (on camera): German chancellor Angela Merkel is calling Nuland's comment about the EU "unacceptable," but while embarrassing, it doesn't seem to be indicative of a major disagreement. The US and Europe are on the same side with their policy, preferring a Ukraine integrated with Europe over one under Russia's iron fist.

Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: What really happens behind closed doors of diplomacy? Just before the show, I spoke to former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who gave us an inside look.


P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER US STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: I think what was most shocking to me is the circumstance under which a private conversation became very public.

I think this reflects the world in which we live and the difficulty in keeping private conversations, whether they're in a verbal form, in this case, or a written form, as was the case in WikiLeaks. Things that used to be done diplomatically behind closed doors are increasingly emerging into the open space.

FOSTER: I guess it's the hypocrisy that a lot of people feel. It's almost a PR thing, isn't it? Not necessarily what she said but the fact that, on one level, people like her are having those sorts of conversations. And then there's the sort of person you see in front of the cameras. That's part of the issue, isn't it?

CROWLEY: There may be hypocrisy on a couple of different angles, Max. I do think that, look, on the one hand, American diplomats and European diplomats have been swearing about each other and at each other for decades.

This is not easy business. There are high stakes unfolding in Ukraine. There's a lot of palpable tension. There's an urge to do something quickly to steer Ukraine back in one direction versus the other and to find ways to respond meaningfully to the Ukrainian protesters who have been carrying on this for the last two months.

It's no surprise that by instinct, Americans tend to want to act a little faster. European, perhaps, want to act a little more deliberately. I suspect strongly that this will blow over quickly and we'll get back to the business of seeing how we can help the Ukrainian people.

FOSTER: For some in Europe, it reinforces a view that America is quite dismissive of the European Union and not necessarily European countries, but perhaps the European Union.

CROWLEY: I think there's a natural imbalance here. The United States is the most influential country in the world. If US formulates its policy, it's able to move rather quickly. The European Union, by definition, by structure, has many members, and it's a much more deliberative process.

FOSTER: Shouldn't you always be careful about what you say in these conversations? Isn't that another lesson here, that you need to be consistent and also aware that in this digital age, actually everything's being recorded, isn't it?

CROWLEY: Well, I would suspect that this was a conversation that was conducted on an open line mobile phone, and as we keep getting reinforced, these are communications that are subject to capture by a foreign intelligence service, in this case, obviously, the Russians are perhaps the most likely suspect.

And I think this underscores how seriously Vladimir Putin and the Russian government see the situation in Ukraine, the inability of President Yanukovych to find a combination of carrots and sticks that mollifies the protesters, and the fact that he is not able to impose a particular solution on the current crisis.

FOSTER: They do get caught out, sometimes, politicians and policymakers, don't they? Can you think of other examples that come to mind that are comparable to this?

CROWLEY: Well, it's a great question, Max. I think probably the cell phone video that made a cameo appearance during the 2012 presidential campaign comes to mind, just in something popping into the middle of a situation and having some effect.

But I do think this is the -- this is now the third example with a -- the WikiLeaks, Snowden, and now this, where conversations that used to be private now are emerging into the public sphere.


FOSTER: P.J. Crowley. Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. In a landmark move, Tunisia adopts a new constitution. We'll be speaking to one of the people who helped make it happen about how the country has been able to move forward.


HARRY BENSON, PHOTOGRAPHER: I remember Paul was sitting drinking, and John came up behind him with a pillow and hits him the back of the head.


FOSTER: An intimate moment in the Beatles' hotel room captured on film. We'll hear what the photographer who was behind those iconic photos and many more.


FOSTER: Tunisia is celebrating its new constitution, which finally came together three years after the country's revolution. Seen as the birthplace of the Arab Spring, Tunisia's constitution has been praised as a model by foreign leaders, including the French president Francois Hollande, who attended the ceremony in Tunis.

Now, here's a reminder for you who can't quite remember how Tunisia's uprising led to this point. Well, it was the first revolution of the Arab Spring. In December 2010, street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest against police mistreatment.

Protests escalated through the month of January, 20111, eventually forcing the country's longtime president to flee after 23 years in power. Free elections were held in October 2011, won by the moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement.

And in February 2013, Ennahda Movement critic and leader of the leftist opposition, Chokri Belaid, was assassinated. And finally, at the end of last month, Tunisia adopted the new constitution.

But what does this really mean for the country? Will Tunisia remain a model for the region? Well, earlier, I spoke with Mabrouka M'Barek. She's a member of Tunisia's Constituent Assembly, the body behind the new constitution.


MABROUKA M'BAREK, MEMBER, TUNISIAN CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY: You know, today was an amazing day, because we saw that all of the world, all the countries, were giving us support and praising our constitution. This for us represents so much. It's like -- it's also strengthening our legitimacy as a newly-born democracy.

This is the result of a long enduring journey, almost two years of debating, of very heated debate to write a consensus-based constitution. It has been very tough, because we always felt that we had a huge responsibility, not only towards Tunisian -- the Tunisian people, but also all the people in the region that followed the Tunisian revolution.

FOSTER: The sticking points, for reference, is for Islamic law, people's freedoms as well. How was that finally negotiated?

M'BAREK: The difficulties were that to come on board the idea that good morals is the responsibilities of families and not the responsibility of government. And it took us a long debate, and civil society participated, citizens participated.

A lot of people participated in this debate. It was not just written by 217 people. And we came to a common understanding that the role of government is tending the public sphere, and it does not enter in the private sphere.

And the family, in order to communicate the good morals, they need to be inspired by a set of values that we Constituent Assembly members put in the constitution. And this is this idea of the constitution being a set of references, not just a legal document.

It's a document that gives the reference to the people, and then the people have their free will. The government does not interfere in private lives.

FOSTER: One of the biggest compliments must have come today from the president of Libya's parliament saying that Libya intends to follow the same path. And that's really what matters international here, isn't it?

Because all those other countries caught up in the revolution haven't progressed like Tunisia has. But you've shown that it is possible to overcome those differences, form a constitution, and now you can build from here, and other countries are still caught in deadlock.

M'BAREK: It was not an easy journey. It was really difficult. What was remarkable in Tunisia is we managed to stay within our institution and to continue this process despite different ideologies, despite the background, despite the cultural revolution that was pretty strong.

And the results -- the results, when we voted for the constitution was really amazing, 200 people -- 200 MPs voted yes. It was more than -- it was symbolic. It was the proof that we can build a pluralistic democracy in this period. But we managed to show to the world in January 14th 2011 that the will of the people can be so strong that we can kick out a dictator.


FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. There's much more to come after this short break. We walk the streets of Liverpool and visit the very club where the Beatles first played all those years ago.

And staying with that thought, we'll meet the legendary photographer who accompanied the band on their groundbreaking tour of America 50 years ago today.


FOSTER: It's 50 years to the day since the four young men from Liverpool with mop-top haircuts descended on America. The Beatles were famous pop icons even before they landed, but it was after they crossed the Atlantic that Beatlemania truly took off, prompting screaming crowds to follow them wherever they went.

Jim Boulden went back to the band's old stomping grounds in Liverpool to trace the roots of the Beatles' legacy.


JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Musicians still perform on Mathew Street, perhaps taking inspiration from its past. A statue of John Lennon stands respectfully nearby.

Mathew Street was home to the original Cavern Club. It's where the Beatles performed 292 times in just two and a half years. It's where fans lined up for hours to cram into its deep underground arches. And it's where, in 1973, authorities tore down the building above and filled in the underground arches.

JON KEATES, DIRECTOR, CAVERN CLUB: They were going to build a ventilation shaft for the underground railway system. And it was forced to close, which was -- caused outrage in Liverpool at the time. And they never went on to build the shaft.

BOULDEN: The new Cavern Club is just a few doors up from the original entrance. This new club opened in 1984, and it occupies about 60 percent of the old Cavern. So now along Mathew Street, add the Cavern Pub, the Beatles souvenir shop, the Fab Four pizza parlor.

BOULDEN (on camera): There are now plenty of reminders of the Beatles here on Mathew Street, some of it genuine, some of it recreation, and some of it, frankly, attempts to cash in. But the truth is, when the Beatles left Liverpool, the city moved on, and it's only been in the last decade or so that there's been a concentrated effort to recognize the importance of the Beatles to Liverpool.

BOULDEN (voice-over): One of those efforts is on the corner of Mathew Street, the Hard Day's Night Hotel. It opened in 2008, the year Liverpool was the European capital of culture. This independent hotel is full of Beatles photos, music, and memorabilia.

MIKE DEWEY, GENERAL MANAGER, HARD DAY'S NIGHT HOTEL: I think there's been a level of inverted snobbery in Liverpool where they've wanted to push culture and architecture and history, and it -- for me, it's only in the last two to three years that they've actually realized that the attack brand is the Beatles, and all of that other nice stuff tucks in behind them.

BOULDEN: The Beatles last played the Cavern in August, 1963, six months before playing their first gig in America. Mathew Street has had to do with lookalikes --


BOULDEN: -- and memories ever since.

KEATES: That was in the original Cavern. And that's one of the surviving pieces from the late 60s. I think there was a backlash in the 60s, there absolutely was. But you're too close to the even then. It's like any period in history, I think. When you're so close to it, we don't think Liverpool appreciated just what the Beatles had done.

BOULDEN: Not the Cavern Club is a museum. It has three live stages.

KEATES: When Paul played this stage, he was actually closer to where the original stage -- the original stage is approximately over there.

BOULDEN: London may have been the Beatles' springboard to the world, but Mathew Street was the springboard to London.

Jim Boulden, CNN, Liverpool.


FOSTER: While touring the Beatles, on that first tour of America was one lucky British photographer, Harry Benson. And now, 50 years on, he's exhibiting his body of work at the Mallett Gallery in London.

As well as the Fab Four, he's photographed every US president since Eisenhower, and countless other cultural icons. We went along to the exhibition to have Harry walk us through is favorite pictures and take a tour through 20th century history.


BENSON: A good photograph can never happen again. It's a glimpse and gone forever. That were the Beatles in Paris. One night after a show, I remember Paul was sitting drinking, and John came up behind him with a pillow and hit him in the back of the head. The pictures were unposed. I kept shooting away and having fun.

The picture of the bit of the pillow fight brought me to America with them. When I came to America, I saw Cassius Clay on, who became Muhammad Ali. And he was shouting how wonderful he was. So I went to the Beatles and said, "There's this guy you should be photographed with, and he's going to be fighting for the world title, Cassius Clay."

And they said, "Oh, yes, fine, fine." And then, John Lennon said, "Now wait a minute. I know who he is. He's a big mouse and he's going to get beaten and Sonny Liston's going to kill him. That's who we should be photographed, the champion." They think they're going to Sonny Liston, but I take them to Cassius Clay.


BENSON: And he completely dwarfed them. That's Jack Nicholson. I was in the car with him in Montana. He was in the front seat of the car. I became aware that Jack was going to do his repertoire of -- of faces. And this is good. He smiles, sneers, he laughs. I thought it made a good composite.

James Brown was in Augusta. He said, "Let me show you my town." He would go up to people's yards. James Brown would do the splits and say, "I feel fine!" And then run back in the car again. And then we would go to another house, run out, do the splits and say "I feel good!" He was a funny --


BENSON: It's unnatural. I was certainly not a music photographer. That's Martin Luther King. That was after we got teargassed in Canton, Mississippi. Remember -- there were a lot of guys beating in the head on blood, and I'm running from the field, coughing away, because I'd just got teargassed.

This here is the Watts riots. Terrible Watts riots. I like this picture because there's a black man up against a church, and the church is for sale, and they've got a sign saying God is Love.

When you photograph a president, they're going to spend time with you, you've got to make use of that time. So basically, you don't talk much, because he'll be glad to talk for half an hour, but nothing. So you want him to work.

The Reagans, they're terrific. They come up with the idea of turning a room in the White House into a studio. So as soon as they walked in the room, I got a record player playing "Nancy with the Laughing Face," you know, that Sinatra song. And Nancy says, "My favorite song."

That's the Clintons. He just went over and lay on the canopy, whatever. And she was there, and I said, give him a kiss, and she just went, "That's my man," you know?


FOSTER: Ski jumps, ice, luges, and slopestyle tricks will surely entertain the world for the next few weeks. If you're in Sochi or, indeed, watching it somewhere in the world, tell us your thoughts. Use hash tag #CNNSochi for all of your tweets and Instagram photos.

You can also go to our Facebook page for all the very latest,, and you can always tweet me @MaxFosterCNN.

In tonight's Parting Shots, what else but the beautiful Opening Ceremony at Sochi as the Winter Olympics kicked off in style. CNN producers at the ceremony have sent us some great images from inside the stadium.

Those who got tickets were treated to light shows, music, dancing, and float as well. Of course, it's the athletes the night is really about. Team GB snowboarder Aimee Fuller couldn't contain her enthusiasm when she got her moment in the stadium.

And no team is complete without a group selfie. This one comes from Team USA riding the elevator up to the ceremony itself.

I'm Max Foster that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you very much, indeed, for watching. We'll leave you with these images from Sochi.