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CONNECT THE WORLD
Similarities Emerge between MH370, Air Asia 8501; Seven Dead as Adriatic Sea Ferry Burst Into Flames; Families Wait for Word on Missing Plane; One Year Since Al Jazeera Journalists Arrested; Parents Visit Jailed Al Jazeera Journalist; Greece Vote Triggers Snap Election; AirAsia Search Resuming at Daylight
Aired December 29, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM CLANCY, HOST: All right, talking about the plane there on CNN USA. And as we look at the situation right now, the search will resume in
a matter of hours at first light there in the Java Sea.
It feels a little, you know, like deja vu another plane vanishing. And it really isn`t that far from where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
disappeared almost 10 months ago.
I`ve been taking a look at the differences and some of the similarities between the incidents and really what lessons we may have
CLANCY: There are some disconcerting similarities between the Air Asia flight and MH370, but there are important differences as well. Flight
370 vanished from civilian radar less than an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur. The Air Asia flight likewise disappeared from tracking
screens less than an hour after departure from Surabaya.
Neither plane sent a distress call, but in the case of the Malaysian jetliner it was a perfectly clear, moonless night. The 162 passengers and
crew of Air Asia 8501 were experiences very bad weather.
What sensationalized the case of the Malaysian jetliner`s disappearance was that the search was pressed in the South China Sea for
the better part of a week.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news here on CNN is the mystery of flight 370.
CLANCY: CNN broke the news barely 48 hours after the plane had gone missing that Malaysia`s own military radar showed it was gone from that
area within an hour of takeoff.
The government had hesitated, critical information was withheld. Malaysia Airlines didn`t tell families flight 370 was even missing until
the time it was supposed to be arriving in Beijing, many hours after it vanished.
Families felt deceived, many accused Malaysian authorities of a coverup.
Conspiracy theories exploded on the internet, even as officials were belatedly trying to set the record straight. Because weather couldn`t be a
factor for MH370, many of those theories centered on terrorism. Although no link to terrorism was ever uncovered, it was too late. And whatever
information was released by Malaysian authorities seemed contradictory and meaningless.
Most passengers were Chinese nationals. And China took the unusual step of allowing their families to take to the streets in protest. Air
Asia appears to have learned lessons from the MH370 tragedy and moved quickly to inform families.
Indonesia`s transport ministry also responded, a passenger manifest and load list were online within hours.
Critical questions remain. In the hours and days ahead, radar records and search efforts may yield answers for the families of Air Asia flight
CLANCY: And there`s one more parallel between this flight, to Air Asia flight that we`re looking for in a much earlier MH370 that has gone
missing and never been found, neither one of those planes had the GPS tracker on it that after MH370 so many experts were urging people to do, to
adopt the airline industry for passengers to support it and demand it. It fell by the wayside. And the question today is, is that a lesson that we
failed to learn.
We`ll have much more on the search for the plane in the hours ahead. You`re watching Connect the World.
You know, there`s another story that we are following very close -- very closely, and that is that mass evacuation at sea. It has been
completed. Hundreds of people have been rescued from a burning ferry off Greece. Unfortunately, there are more deaths to report. We`re going to be
live from the Italian port where survivors are being taken. That`s coming up next. Stay with us.
CLANCY: Welcome back everyone. You`re watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I`m Jim Clancy.
In the frigid waters between Italy and Greece, a dramatic rescue operation is winding down now. Helicopters and ships managed to evacuate
more than 400 people who were left stranded when this ferry caught fire early on Sunday. Tragically, not everyone made it off. At least seven
people are not reported to have lost their lives. Those who survive suffered through smoke and icy winds as the on board fire literally burned
beneath their feet.
CNN`s Nima Elbagir joins me now from the Italian city of Brendisi where some of the rescued passengers have been taken.
What are we hearing from the passengers there Nima?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we`re here in a hotel in Brendisi where some of the passengers who were rescued early on
were brought from the hospital and as you can appreciate, there`s a huge amount of concern amongst the families that have been separated.
It sounds like what we`re piecing together that women and children were taken off first and then single females were taken off second. And
then it was only after that that a lot of men accompanying them were taken off to safety and some of them are waiting to hear whether their loved ones
have made it alive.
And given that that death toll has been inching upwards through the gates where a lot of those we`ve been speaking to are confirming until we
see them we`re not going to believe that this is over. And the scenes that they`re describing, Jim, are absolutely horrific. The decks beneath their
feet burning up through the soles of their shoes with the heat, the intensity of these flames and having to hideout on the deck buffeted by the
winds and the storms.
And the weather here is still so extraordinary. We`ve had hail today. We`ve had really, really high speed winds. All of this, of course, has
impacted on the rescue operation that even now we don`t know when that rescue ship bringing the last of these passengers to safety will dock here,
CLANCY: You know, Nima, a lot of questions have been asked about how did the crew -- how did the captain perform? And I`ve seen really mixed
reports on the internet. What are you hearing?
ELBAGIR: Well, we`re hearing, especially from the female passengers, that they felt very supported by specific crew members, that
there seems to be an agreement amongst the passengers that those with children definitely should go first, but then you know as the hours start
to lengthen, you can understand a very human panic setting in and the worry that this might be the last helicopter to land. So it seems like the
situation became a little aggressive is how it`s being described to us on some female passengers who were taken (inaudible). And that`s when they
say these crew members really came in to their own and insisted that this is how it was going to be and that these women were to be airlifted to
safety and that the crew would be the last to leave the ship.
So, so far from those we have spoken to they have a lot of high words, specifically for those female crew members who insisted that they be
CLANCY: You know, are there people that are injured that are there? How do they describe the spread of this fire? Did the fire alarms work?
Did the safety measures work?
ELBAGIR: That is what we are still trying to find out about. It sounds like there was so much chaos. And we`re hearing a lot of
conflicting reports about what it could have been, what caught fire down in that garage below deck, what caused that fire to burn so intensely and for
so long. And as you said, where was the failsafe, where were the systems that should have kicked in?
And even before those passengers have been brought inland to safety (inaudible), have already announced that they are beginning their
investigation. And given the number of different nationals, different citizens from different countries that have been involved in this in what
could have been so much worse, the sense we`re getting here is that the (inaudible) for these questions to be answered are only going to grow in
the coming days, Jim.
CLANCY: Have we been able to ascertain what caused the deaths of these seven people? I know one of them either fell or jumped into the
Adriatic? Of course those frigid waters you don`t last long in those waters at all. But have we heard, were other people killed in the actual
ELBAGIR: Well, again, this is where we`re getting a lot of confused stories from those we`ve been speaking to. One man said that he saw four
bodies below deck and that they had been immediately consumed by the fire, but that has not been verified to us by any authorities.
A lot of the people we`ve been speaking to are still in shock, Jim. And it doesn`t feel like they, themselves, have their story straight in
their head. And that`s what`s going to come in the days before us.
But for now, as you rightly pointed out, the main questions are going to be why didn`t the fire alarm systems kick in as they should have? And
if they did, what more needs to be done to ensure that this could never happen again?
CLANCY: Nima Elbagir reporting to us there from the coastal city of Brendisi in southern Italy. Nima, as always, thank you very much for your
Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. And coming up, three al Jazeera journalists still in prison in Egypt one year after their
arrest. We`re going to have an update on their situation in just about 10 minutes time.
An empty space under London`s busy Waterloo station is now home to the city`s first indoor skate park. We`re going to show you the
transformation, that`s coming up next too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: London is blessed with many spaces to house sports and cultural events, but truly none are quite like this. Sprawled across
tunnels beneath the city, this is the House of Vans, London`s first indoor skating facility. And it`s given new life to a rare space in the heart of
the crowded capital.
KAT MACKENZIE, PROJECT MANAGER, HOUSE OF VANS: So this space was built in 1851 to essentially prop up Waterloo station above us. It was run
from 2008 as a space by the (inaudible) theater under the current directorship of Kevin Spacey. It was still very much just a blank and
empty space. So when we inherited it, we almost had to start from scratch to build what we wanted to achieve down here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damp and dark, but in demand, the Californian clothing company Vans beat out heavy competition to inherit the coveted
But when it did, converting the tunnels proved to be a considerable challenge.
TIM GREATREX, HEAD ARCHITECT: I`d say it`s a huge transformation. It took a lot of cleaning up. And yeah it took a lot of man hours, a lot of
(inaudible) coming down here cleaning and then installing all the lighting and infrastructure that you see, the sort of staging for the bars for the
services throughout the space.
So, yeah, it`s quite involved in that sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it`s not just your run of the mill skatepark. Equipped with a gallery, a cinema, bars and a music venue, London`s House
of Vans hopes to be a space uniting sports and art under one roof. But above all, it`s a space for the community.
MACKENZIE: Everything in this space is completely free. So for an artist to host an art show, and if they want to sell their artwork, all of
the funds go directly back to the artist. We`re not taking any revenues from the space outside our cafe and our bar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With more than 35,000 visitors in its first three months, House of Vans has staged special events, workshops, screenings and
provided a home for emerging artists to showcase their work.
MACKENZIE: One of the main highlights, I definitely would say would be having the Foo Fighters come in and play a free fan gig for us for 800
of their biggest fans.
The tunnels came to life, literally, playing a supporting role for Waterloo railway station. They transformed into a rehearsal room for a
theater company, but now at last they`re enjoying life in the spotlight playing center stage to London`s cultural community.
CLANCY: This is Connect the World. I`m Jim Clancy. And here are your headlines.
The search area for missing Air Asia flight 8501 is set to be widened Tuesday, that according to Indonesian officials. The operation was called
off for a second night on Monday as relatives of the 162 people aboard await news of their loved ones. The aircraft disappeared during a flight
between the Indonesian city of Surabaya and Singapore in the early hours of Sunday morning. Bad weather is believed to have played a crucial role and
conditions have continued to hamper the search.
Rescue teams have evacuated all of the 400 plus passengers left stranded on a burning ferry in the Adriatic Sea. At least seven people
died during that 36 hour long ordeal.
Greece plans to hold snap parliamentary elections next month after the only presidential candidate in the race failed to secure enough support in
parliament on Monday. That means parliament will now be dissolved ahead of new elections. This could end up jeopardizing the relief package Europe
put together for Greece.
In Los Angeles, two police officers shot at as they sat in their patrol car late on Sunday. Neither officer was wounded. One suspect has
been arrested. Police are searching for a second gunman. The incident comes just a little more than a week after two New York City policemen were
shot and killed in their patrol car.
It is another long night for the families and passengers and crew of AirAsia Flight 8501. They`re waiting for word, any kind of word, what
happened to our loved ones? One hundred sixty-two people boarded that missing flight. One hundred fifty-five are from Indonesia.
AirAsia has promised it is going to try its best to keep the families informed and help them through this ordeal. Now, that includes these two
girls. They`re friends whose parents were flying to Singapore to spend New Year`s with them.
When the girls heard that the flight never arrived, they went to the airport in Surabaya to find out what happened to their parents and what to
do next. CNN`s Asia-Pacific editor Andrew Stevens has spent the past 24 hours with several of the families of those on board, and he brings us up
to date now on just what we know so far.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: This morning, grim new details as the search for AirAsia Flight 8501 continues. Indonesian
authorities leading the search and rescue think the plane is likely on the bottom of the sea, based on coordinates of the plane`s last transmission.
Here at Surabaya Airport, it`s become crisis central. The distraught relatives of the 155 passengers briefed here earlier today behind closed
doors. Monday marks the first full day of searching since 8501 disappeared early Sunday morning.
So far, the plane has not put out any signals that could help pinpoint its location. Instead, crews focus on this very broad search zone over the
shallow waters of the Java Sea, where the plane was last tracked.
At 5:36 AM, the Airbus A320 took off from Surabaya. Roughly an hour later, AirAsia says 8501 lost contact with air traffic control, vanishing
en route to Singapore. Weather reports indicate the pilots encountered severe storms that may have contributed to the fate of the passengers and
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Usually it`s not one thing that brings down a plane, and for a modern jetliner, a strong, big jetliner to
be brought down by turbulence, it`s rare.
STEVENS: One theory: that the plane might have stalled as it climbed to a higher altitude. This screen-graph purportedly leaked by an
Indonesian air traffic controller seems to support that.
GEOFFREY THOMAS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/MANAGING DIRECTOR, AIRLINERATINGS.COM: What it shows is this particular flight at an altitude
of 36,000 feet and climbing, but traveling at approximately 105 miles per hour, too slow to sustain flight.
STEVENS: CNN could not validate the authenticity of that image. But we do know that at 6:12 AM, one of the pilots radioed for permission to
avoid clouds by turning left and climbing from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet. It would be the last known communication from the crew.
TONY FERNANDES, CEO, AIRASIA: We are very devastated by what`s happened. It`s unbelievable. But we do not know what`s happened yet.
STEVENS: For these two teenage girls whose parents were aboard the flight, all they can do is wait, holding on to hope that their families
will soon be found.
CLANCY: Andrew Stevens reporting there.
I want to get some perspective, now, from a pilot, CNN aviation analyst Les Abend. He`s a Boeing 77 captain -- 777 captain, I should say -
- and a contributing editor to "Flying" Magazine. Thanks so much for being with us once again.
Let me just begin here: what is your best estimate of the most likely scenario that brought down this plane.
LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, listen, anything is speculation, Jim, at this point in time. I think I agree with Mary
Schiavo`s theory that there`s never any one cause of an accident. I think that perhaps the weather was a contributing cause.
What the contributing cause to the issue, it`s hard to say. Was it a slow airplane due to the attempt at climbing to avoid weather? Could it
have been ice pitot tubes, as is similar to what we saw in the Flight -- Air France Flight 447 on the A330? Could the engines have potentially
flamed out because of heavy precipitation? There`s a multitude of possibilities.
CLANCY: As we look at some of those possibilities, it has undoubtedly been a horrible year for Malaysian Airlines -- or the Malaysian Air
Industry. In one way or another, because this airplane, though, is operated out of Indonesia, it was actually leased out of Malaysia.
And just -- three air tragedies in one year. And it wouldn`t seem that you can really point a finger at Malaysian Airlines or the Malaysian
air industry at all.
ABEND: It just seems like a horrible coincidence to me. Just -- between Malaysia 370, and of course the shoot-down over Ukraine, and now
this particular circumstance, it just seems like a horrible, horrible coincidence. Because none of these accidents really have a lot of
CLANCY: I spent a couple of months in Kuala Lumpur as the search went on for MH370. And then we heard from aviation experts and industry
experts, let`s put a GPS tracker on these planes. And as we noted earlier, the one thing that MH370 and this aircraft have in common is that ten
months after MH370, there`s still no trackers on planes. Why? Would it have helped?
ABEND: Well, this is a bureaucracy that we`re dealing with on an international level. The ICAO -- the International Civil Aviation
Organization is not a regulatory body. It`s a bureaucracy. But as it is in the US, the wheels turn slow. I think the airlines are on board with
Would it help the situation? Well, we`d be able to determine what that flight was doing right up until the point we lost contact. You`d
still have the same situation. This data can be streamed right now through the -- actually, through the digital flight data recorder. You just have
to add a transmitter to it.
There`s a requirement with the FAA as far as you`re basically redesigning a system to some degree. So, it`s not a complicated technology
to add to our flying safety. But would it have helped in this whole situation? Perhaps to narrow down the search area, I would agree.
CLANCY: All right. Les Abend, I want to thank you very much for being with us, giving us a little bit of perspective as we try to look
deeper into this story and try to meet the interests of so many people to find out what has happened to this flight, especially to the families that
CLANCY: It`s been a year since three Al Jazeera journalists were arrested in Egypt. Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste, and Baher Mohamed were
charged under anti-terror laws. They`ve been sentenced to somewhere between seven and ten years in prison on charges of disseminating false
news and supporting a terrorist organization.
That`s in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, of course, a group that is now outlawed in Egypt. The three men and the Al Jazeera network have
vehemently and repeatedly denied the charges. Our Ian Lee is in Jerusalem. He joins me now with more. What is the status of these journalists, and so
many more that have been detained by the Egyptian military government?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, these journalists are in legal limbo right now, still in jail, still in prison,
serving out their sentences. Their verdict came down last June, and for us who watched it, there really was no hard evidence linking them to their
alleged crimes. But the court saw differently. For the family members, though, it`s been a tough year trying to get their loved ones released.
LEE (voice-over): It`s a life Marwa Emara never imagined. She`s now on the front line defending freedom of the press in courthouses and meeting
with lawyers, hoping someday to free her fiance, Mohamed Fahmy, one of the three convicted Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt.
MARWA EMARA, FIANCE OF MOHAMED FAHMY: I wanted just to focus on my career, getting married to the one that I love, and have a very simple
life. I was very happy when I first met Mohamed. I felt that he`s the one. And after his arrest, I found myself doing things that I never
expected that I`m able to do.
LEE: On this trip, she`s submitting a letter from renowned human rights lawyer Amal Clooney requesting Fahmy`s deportation to Canada, where
he holds dual citizenship.
Egyptian authorities arrested Fahmy, seen here in a leaked video, along with Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste last December. Prosecutors
accused them of being a part of or supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and portrayed them as a threat to national security, a claim
the journalists and Al Jazeera denied. All three were sent to prison.
EMARA: Scorpion Prison is, just from its name, it`s very scary. I just went and I asked to see Mohamed, and I remember, when I told the guard
I want to visit Mohamed Fahmy, who`s a prisoner here, he said, you mean the terrorist Mohamed Fahmy? I can`t forget this.
LEE: Greste`s family traveled from Australia to support him where he and his team were tried. It was shocking to see their son and brother, a
respected international journalist, behind bars.
JUNIS GRESTE, PETER GRESTE`S FATHER: It is for us a very stressful and very traumatic experience still. Just the whole super-high security
prison setting is something that we are just so unused to, and it`s so alien to us to see heavily-armored and manned tanks around the streets.
LEE: The trial lasted four months. It appeared no hard evidence linked the journalists to their alleged crimes. However, a day of wishful
vindication turned to horror after a judge declared all three guilty. Fahmy and Greste received seven years in prison and Mohamed ten, the
verdict widely seen as political. Despite the setback, they strive forward.
J. GRESTE: But the reality also is that we can never return back the way we were. We will all be --
LOIS GRESTE, PETER GRESTE`S MOTHER: Changed from it.
J. GRESTE: -- quite greatly and deeply changed after all of this. We hope that in many ways each of us and collectively we will be better. We
will have gained and learned something out of it all.
LEE: Emara and Fahmy`s dream wedding is on hold for now. They want an in-prison marriage. And when things seem bleak, a simple love letter
keeps her going.
EMARA: "You are a new muse to me now."
EMARA: "And my next project will be dedicated to you. Thank you for being the gorgeous, genuine woman you are. See you on the flip. Love,
respect, Mohamed Fahmy."
LEE: And Jim, they`re going to be back in trial -- back in the courthouse on January 1st. There`s three possible outcomes to this
One, that the charges are dropped. The other is that the charges are upheld, which would give these journalists one last appeal attempt. The
other option is that the courthouse grants them their appeal, and that starts a whole new trial.
And there are out of that two scenarios where we could see these journalists free. One, if the charges are dropped, then they could be
granted bail while the prosecution likely would try to appeal that.
The other option is that they do not go for a third appeal and that the president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, grants them a pardon. Jim?
CLANCY: Yes. We probably shouldn`t dance around the fundamentals of this story. Al Jazeera is wholly-owned by the emir of Qatar. Qatar
supported the Muslim Brotherhood. As the military moved in, its hand- picked man ran for the presidency and won it in a vote, was supported from the street. The Muslim Brotherhood was rejected by the street.
The courts have really acted to punish Qatar, haven`t they? And is Qatar taking any role in trying to free these men even after a year?
LEE: Well, yes. This trial has been widely seen as political, you`re right, Jim. And that Egypt is punishing Qatar. Right now, there have been
some reconciliation talks between the Egyptian government and the Qataris.
But when we look at the judiciary in Egypt, President Mohamed Morsy went after them. He issued a decree that would have seen a lot of these
judges forcibly retired. There was no love lost between Morsy, former President Morsy, and the judiciary.
So, talking to some analysts, a lot of people believe that this is the judiciary taking revenge against Morsy and against the Qataris, people who
they see backed that former president. So, yes, there is a lot of people - - a lot of thought that this is just a political trial, and that if the politics are taken care of, then these journalists will see -- be released.
CLANCY: All right. Ian Lee reporting from Jerusalem. His usual beat, of course, is there in Cairo, looking over affairs there. And Ian,
as always, we appreciate you being with us.
Now, journalists joined protesters outside the Egyptian embassy in London, and some placed tape over their mouths, carrying posters demanding
the release of these three men. Peter Greste`s brother spoke to Max Foster just a short time ago, describing his parents` visit to jail on Christmas
MIKE GRESTE, BROTHER OF JAILED JOURNALIST IN EGYPT: It was a fairly somber visit. My parents obviously getting anxious as we -- the date of
the appeal looms large. He`s trying to distract himself doing songs in relation to his diploma studies that he`s conducting at the moment. It`s
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And very difficult for your parents, obviously, as well, but they wanted to spend Christmas with
him, so they had that opportunity.
M. GRESTE: Yes, sure, that`s right. They spent Christmas Day with him, which was, I think, important -- just as important for Mum and Dad as
it probably was for Peter. But it`s very difficult for elderly parents in a foreign country to be spending time out there, so I think they`re getting
very tired, and we`re certainly ready to come return home after the 1st.
FOSTER: So, when we talk about the appeal of your brother and the two other journalists, what are they considering there? Because it`s quite
technical, from what I understand.
M. GRESTE: Yes. The appeal is based on procedure throughout the first court hearing. So, from what we`ve been advised, it`s not based on
evidence, it`s just points of law and points of procedure. So, the appeal is basically outlining those deficiencies. And we feel we`ve got a fairly
FOSTER: And three possible outcomes: they can dismiss the case, can`t they? They can start a new trial, or they can uphold the verdict.
What are the chances you think that the case could be thrown out?
M. GRESTE: Look. We`re hopeful. We don`t want to get our hopes too high, obviously. And we have been warned or advised that it is
particularly rare that that happens. But we see this as a perfect opportunity for Egypt to correct -- right the wrong, I suppose you could
CLANCY: Now, Max is going to have more of that exclusive interview with Mike Greste coming up in "The World Right Now." That starts in a
little more than two hours from now.
Live from CNN Center, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I`m Jim Clancy, and coming up, a final vote in Parliament failed to install a new president in
Greece. Why some fear that could threaten the country`s financial stability.
CLANCY: You`re watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I`m Jim Clancy. Welcome back, everyone. We`re following developing news on
missing AirAsia Flight 8501. Here`s what we know this hour, let me recap.
The search is going to be expanded Tuesday to take in a wider area of the Java Sea. Rescue officials now say the plane probably crashed into the
sea while flying from Indonesia to Singapore on Sunday. Indonesia is leading the search. It`s getting help from Malaysia, Singapore, China, as
well as Australia.
One hundred sixty-two people were on board, and the airline says its priority right now, keep those families fully informed.
Greece is planning for an early general election after failing to install a new president. The sole candidate failed for a third time to win
enough votes inside this parliament, and that means parliament has to be dissolved. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has proposed holding a snap
parliamentary election on the 25th of January.
Now, all of this triggered plunges in the markets. Fears the election could bring an anti-austerity party to power that is opposed to the
country`s financial reforms, the terms of the Greek bailout.
Journalist Elinda Labropoulou has been following these developments. She joins us now from Athens via Skype. Elinda, what can you tell us about
how Greeks are taking this news? Did they want this crisis created?
ELINDA LABROPOULOU, JOURNALIST: It seems that most Greeks really didn`t. About three quarters of the population, if polls are anything to
go by, have said that they do not want early elections. And the reason for this is not necessarily that there isn`t support for the main opposition,
Syriza party. On the contrary, they polls show that this is the party that is leading at the moment.
But the thing is that Greeks are very skeptical as to what the results of an early election would bring. At the moment, the bailout is still
underway. Greeks know and most of them believe the country must stick to the terms of the bailout.
And they`re worried that with the new turmoil that an early election would bring, the lenders will get tougher on them, that Greece will go into
a new period of instability, which is really not what people here want to see.
The prime minister today said that he had done all he could in order to have a president elected in order to avoid this election. And as soon
as we have the results of the vote, knowing that Greece is going to a snap election, we had immediate reaction from the markets.
The Greek Stock Exchange dropped by up to 11 percentage points at some time. And we also have the first quiet noises from Europe. The EU
Economic Affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici, the German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble both said that Greece must stick to the terms of the
bailout no matter what comes next.
So, what this snap election opens is a period of instability, perhaps, for Greece and at a time that the economy was doing considerably better
than at any other stage.
CLANCY: All right. That`s the question I want to get to, because really, this comes down -- it`s -- in some ways, it could certainly be
considered a referendum on all of these reforms, the price being paid for the bailout money from Europe. And the question is, are the Greeks able to
live with those terms? Have they learned to live with them? They see -- some light at the end of the tunnel?
LABROPOULOU: Well, this is exactly what the issue has been all along. Most Greeks don`t believe that perhaps the program was the right program
for Greece, that this bailout was the right program for Greece, because it came with too much austerity.
And this austerity has suffocated growth. And at the same time, it has really impacted very heavily people`s living standards. Most people
now have 25 percent less disposable income. A lot more people on the poverty line. It has had a major social impact on Greece.
And although the indices are looking better, although some growth is on its way and Greece`s budget for 2015 seems to put the country on the
balance after a very long time, for most people, this has not become apparent, because their lives have become a lot worse.. And as a result,
they`re asking for a change. They`re asking for policies that will put an end to austerity.
CLANCY: All right. We shall see what happens about the third week of January. Journalist Elinda Labropoulou joining us there on the line on
Skype. Thank you very much, Elinda, as always.
We`re live from the CNN Center, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I`m going to be back right after a very short break. Stay with us.
CLANCY: This is CNN, you`re with CONNECT THE WORLD. I`m Jim Clancy. Welcome back, everyone.
Just a reminder now of our top story, the distraught for friends and families of passengers and crew aboard that missing AirAsia plane spending
a second night without any substantive news of their loved ones.
An Indonesian official telling them to expect the worst, saying that the aircraft is probably at the bottom of the sea. It disappeared over the
Java Sea early on Sunday during a flight between Surabaya and Singapore.
The search for the plane will resume at daylight tomorrow. That`s just a few hours away. Indonesia is leading the operation. There are
several countries involved, though. Continuing bad weather at the suspected site of the crash, or at least in that entire area, hampering
efforts to make any location. The search area going to be widened on Tuesday.
CNN has much more coverage of this story on our website, including a look back at air travel in 2014. It`s been a difficult year. There were
111 crashes claiming the lives of at least 1,158 people. So, why are some experts saying air travel is getting safer? Read that overview on
The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from who else but you? You can write to us at facebook.com/CNNconnect. Or join the conversation
on Twitter. Send your thoughts to @CNNConnect. And remember, you can always follow and Tweet with me @ClancyCNN, one word, @ClancyCNN.
I am Jim Clancy, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. We`re going to have the latest on the search for that missing AirAsia plane right after a short
break. This is CNN.