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Connect the World

Australian Prime Minister Meets With Indonesian President; `Breaking Bad' Ends; The Jewish Community of Iran; Markets React To Possible U.S. Government Shutdown; Syrian Chemical Weapons; Medical Help in Syria Scarce

Aired September 30, 2013 - 15:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Countdown to a shutdown as American lawmakers remain deadlocked over how to fund the U.S. government President Obama says he's still hopeful a deal can be done.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What it simply requires is everybody to act responsibly.


FOSTER: Tonight, we look at how any shutdown could affect you.

Also, a history going back thousands of years, the Jewish community of Iran.

And the winning formula as U.S. hit drama Breaking Bad comes to a close, we look at what it reveals about the future of TV viewing habits.

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

FOSTER: Just under nine hours left and counting. The clock is ticking down the first U.S. government shutdown in 17 years. And still no sign of any congressional compromise.

At the heart of the dispute is President Barack Obama's healthcare law. Some conservative Republicans are refusing to approve an overall budget unless Obamacare is either defunded or delayed. That will not happen is a Democratic controlled Senate gets its way.

Just moments ago, it rejected a measure tacked on to its spending bill by a Republican led house that would delay Obamacare by a year.

Democrats say Republicans are holding the budget hostage, but conservatives they're reflecting the will of many Americans.

President Obama says congress has two responsibilities: pass a budget and pay the bills.


OBAMA: The bottom line is that the Senate has passed a bill that keeps the government open, does not have a lot of extraneous issues to it, that allows us then to negotiate a longer-term budget and address a range of other issues, but ensures that we're not shutting down the government and we're not shutting down the economy at a time when a lot of families out there are just getting some traction and digging themselves out of the hole that we've had as a consequence of the financial crisis.


FOSTER: Well, a government shutdown would have crippling effects on life in the United States. First, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed, meaning they'll be forced to take a leave of absence. Federal offices will also be closed.

However, critical workers like air traffic controllers and food inspectors, still have to go to work. Also, all military personnel will remain on duty, but won't be paid until any shutdown is resolved.

Hundreds of national parks, museums, zoos will all be closed with millions of visitors turned away.

The last time there was a shutdown, thousands of passport applications went unprocessed, meaning tourism and airline revenues could take a hit as well.

But the State Department says it will continue visa and passport operations overseas.

Let's get the very latest now from Capitol Hill.

Lisa Desjardins joins us now live. There have been some politics today trying to resolve it in some way, I gather, just explain where we are in terms of the politics in Washington right now.

LISA DESJARDINS, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Intense politics, Max. But when it boils down to it, it's really just been a back and forth between the Senate controlled by President Obama's Democrats and the House controlled by the opposition Republicans.

Here's where we are now. The Senate has just rejected the Republican's latest offer. Republicans are now meeting to figure out their next move. And CNN has been told -- both our producer Dierdre Walsh (ph) and our correspondent Dana Bash -- that Republicans are thinking of adding something else to it that would have to do with Obamacare, perhaps limiting how much in subsidy or contribution fed -- congressional workers get in their healthcare plans.

So what we're seeing here, Max, is each time the Republicans are coming back with sort of a smaller and smaller limit on Obamacare, and Democrats each time are saying we won't take any limit. That's why we have this standoff.

Republicans want some limit, Democrats want none on Obamacare. Both say they want the government funded, but in nine hours they have to work out a kind of deal or government will shut down.

FOSTER: Stay with us, Lisa.

We're just going to explain Obamacare for people outside the U.S., because it's really at the heart of this.

It's the unofficial name for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act approved by congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Supporters say it will provide affordable medical care to the 48 million Americans who currently lack health insurance. October 1 is the first day Americans who want to buy health insurance through Obamacare can do so.

Now the law requires that every American have some form of health insurance by 2014. Anyone without coverage by next year will be fined by at least $95.

So, Lisa, I mean, that's the heart of the politics. But in terms of people's everyday lives, will they see a big change even tomorrow?

DESJARDINS: It depends on who the people are.

I think in the middle of the country, folks who do not work for the federal government and don't have like a major military base or a major federal operation near them, they probably won't feel this. But I think here in the Washington area where you have hundreds of thousands of federal workers, the effects will be dramatic, because there will be some 800,000 workers who will be furloughed. They will be sent home without pay.

But the thing is, Max, that government workers who will be staying, and that's actually a couple of million potentially, they will not get paid while they're working. They will have to work without pay during the shutdown. That, of course, has an effect on the economy. You're right that essential services like air traffic control, emergency operations, those kinds of things keep going, but expect tourism to take a big hit as national parks clothes. Many of the monuments -- and in fact, the Capitol Building itself will be closed to tourists during a shutdown. Flags will not fly over the U.S. Capitol, because Capitol staff says they just won't have the people to do it.

FOSTER: OK, Lisa, thank you very much indeed. That's the local story then.

But there is an international impact, because have a look at the global markets and how they're reacting. It's a negative picture across the world. Investors clearly worried about what they see. Of course, there's always more factors than this involved in global markets. But this has been the trend today.

They're all down, less than 1 percent, but significant. And it's certainly the talking point around the world.

Let's have a look at this with Zain Asher. She's at the New York Stock Exchange.

What are investors worried about here?


I think the main problem today is just the degree of uncertainty. I mean, we are -- in terms of stocks, in terms of the Dow -- and just like you right now, we are a lot better than where we were. At one point this morning the Dow was actually down about 170 points. Now we're down about 125 points. The markets hate uncertainty. They hate not knowing the future.

But I do want to emphasize that this hasn't come out of left field. Stocks have been taking a hit the past few days. The Dow fell last week by 1 percent, because there are many unanswered questions right now.

The biggest question, of course, is will the government shut down? Some traders, believe it or not, believe it or not, some traders actually downstairs that I spoke to are actually optimistic. They're hoping that some miracle will happen and Washington will come to its senses and pull us back from the ledge.

But the second question is if there is a shutdown, how long will it last? Citigroup analysts estimate that a one week shutdown will reduce quarterly economic growth by .1 percent.

But the good news, though Max, is if you look at previous shutdowns, the effect on stocks has actually been relatively short-lived. The difference this time, though, is that these are stormy times on Wall Street. You know you've got the debt ceiling deadline in two weeks. You've got the fed meeting at the end of the month, plus you've got third quarter earnings. So there's a lot brewing right now.

So there's so much uncertainty.

FOSTER: Yeah, still with us Zain, because we want to remind people that this actually goes down to its core to a debt story, really. The U.S. debt ceiling is currently set at nearly $17 trillion. It's the cap set by congress on how much the U.S. federal government can have in outstanding debt.

Now raising the debt ceiling simply lets the Treasury borrow the money it needs to pay the country's bills for services and benefits already approved by congress.

And Zain, it's basically a lot of money. And there's not agreement on how to deal with it, because there are costs going out, but you can't keep letting this debt ceiling increase, can you?

ASHER: Absolutely not. And if the government does default on its debt for the very first time in history, I should mention, that could obviously have huge ramifications, especially in terms of spending, number one, in terms of GDP and also big business confidence. So that is really on the forefront of investors minds right now.

I mean, the shutdown is important, but, you know, don't get this wrong. The debt ceiling is certainly the more important issue right now, according to the investors I've been speaking to -- Max.

FOSTER: Yep. Debt ceiling coming up later this month, but thank you very much indeed, Zain.

Well, still to come on Connect the World, a deadly attack on a college dormitory in Nigeria. And the Islamist group Boko Haram may be to blame.

Plus, she thought she was free, but the retrial of Amanda Knox began today in Italy and the prosecution is revisiting evidence from the crime scene.

And two popes will be canonized as a saint next spring. I we'll tell you who after the break.


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

Now one of the most anticipated speakers took to the podium at the UN general assembly earlier today. Syria's foreign minister -- didn't mention the resolution passed by the security council designed to rid his country of chemical weapons. Instead, Walid Muallem talked about Syria's conflict and says there is no civil war, but instead a war against terror.

He also said his government is committed to a political solution.


WALID MUALLEM, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Syria has repeatedly announced that she embraces a political solution of its crisis. This is now for those who claim to support a political solution in Syria to stop all hostile practices and policies against Syria and to head to Geneva without preconditions.


FOSTER: At least 37 people and more than 150 others wounded after a string of car bombs in Baghdad. The attacks happened during the morning rush hour mostly in Shiite dominated areas, more than 6,000 people have died in sectarian violence in Iraq this year alone.

In Kenya, top security officials headed to the site of last week's carnage at Nairobi's Westgate mall as an international investigation into the attack continues. Eerie new pictures of the chaos and devastation from inside the mall have emerged. And according to recent intelligent reports, the Kenyan government had been warned that such an attack could happen about a year ago.

Zain Verjee has more.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Kenyan officials in the National Security Committee have been to Westgate today. A lot of media wanted to get in, but we were not allowed. There are new images, pictures emerging, of the devastation inside. Take a look at these. There you see the signs of destruction in so many of the shops and restaurants there. Also there are signs of people who just were terrified and left their belongings and fled immediately.

There's been a lot of dispute and debate today about many issues. One has been about looting. There are allegations of looting by Kenyan security forces in the middle of the whole operation. The local media was showing reports of a jewelry shop, a watch shop saying that they have been looted.

The Kenyan government has said they're investigating.

There's also dispute about the issue of hostages, numbers of victims that could be in the rubble. The government is saying there are none, and none missing. The Red Cross, however, is saying that there are at least 39 people missing.

All of these questions are going to be raised at a parliamentary hearing tomorrow where members of parliament are expected to be really grilled about some of the issues that many Kenyans are outraged about and they're demanding answers.

The question is, what did the Kenyan government know and when did they know it?

Zain Verjee, CNN, Nairobi.


FOSTER: The Nigerian military believes the Islamic group Boko Haram is behind a deadly attack in a college dormitory on Sunday. At least 40 students were killed as they slept. The attack is the third on schools in Nigeria's northeast since June.

Vladimir Duthiers joins us live on the phone from Lagos with more -- Vlad.


Well, as you said, this is another gruesome attack, the latest in several that have taken place in northeastern Nigeria. Gunmen under the cover of darkness into an agricultural college in Yobe State (ph) northeastern Nigeria. And under the cover of darkness, attack students that were sleeping. Some 40 students were killed during this attack. The government is blaming the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. And this does appear to be in line with their modus operandi, which is to attack government institutions, military institutions, and more importantly schools. Boko Haram in the house of Pilani (ph) language means western education is sacrilege and they have had over the course of the last four years or so killed some 3,000 people in northeastern Nigeria.

Now the president of Nigeria, Max, back in May, May 14 declared three states in northeastern Nigeria under a state of emergency, which gave police forces and special military units a very wide latitude in rooting out some of these militants. And it appeared right after the state of emergency was declared that they were making some inroads. They -- we used to receive regular, weekly reports of militants that were either killed or arrested or being rounded up by government forces in northeastern Nigeria, but in the last several weeks or so, in the last couple of -- in the last month, we've seen attacks from groups that are -- that the government is saying is Boko Haram on the increase. And dozens have been killed in just the several weeks, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Vlad, thank you.

The Vatican says popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be declared saints on April 27 next year.

The canonization of the two popes was widely expected. Ben Wedeman has more.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John Paul II hadn't even been buried when the cries came from the faithful attending his funeral in 2005. Santo subito (ph), short for make him a saint now.

Their call was heard and bypassing the normal five year waiting period, Pope Benedict XVI set in motion the process to canonize his predecessor.

To be named a saint involves a series of steps, but the qualifications are straightforward, says veteran Vatican analyst John Allen.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: You put a holy life and two miracles together, according to the Catholic system you've got a saint.

WEDEMAN: John Paul has said to have miraculously cured a French nun, Sister Marie Simone Pierre (ph) suffering from Parkinson's Disease several months after his death.

The church says the second miracle occurred when a Costa Rican woman with a brain aneurysm recovered after praying to John Paul.

Pope John XXIII, revered for his role in the second Vatican council, is only recorded as having performed one miracle after his death in 1963.

ALLEN: So in the case of Pope John XXIII, Pope Francis has decided they're already was a decree of heroic virtue, saying the man had lived a holy life. There already was one miracle certified for his beatification in 2000. So Pope Francis has decided he doesn't have to pass Go and doesn't have to collect $200, he can go directly to sainthood.

WEDEMAN: In fact, canonization by the Catholic church merely formalizes on Earth what is already in place in heaven, Allen points out.

ALLEN: It's not like Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II, will suddenly become a saint when the canonization ceremony occurs. The belief would be he is already in heaven with god living the life of a saint. All that's going to happen when the canonization ceremony occurs is that the church will officially recognize it.

WEDEMAN: Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


FOSTER: The retrial of Amanda Knox began on Monday in Florence, Italy. In 2009, Knox was convicted of murdering Meredith Kurcher, a British exchange student and her roommate at the time. But the conviction was overturned in 2011 for lack of evidence.

All that changed last year when the Italian supreme court decided to revisit the case. And the prosecution has ordered a new test on a knife found at the crime scene which may have Knox's fingerprints on it.

Erin McLaughlin has more.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, today was a good day for the prosecution. Many of the defense requests for reexamination of evidence were denied. The courts did order some evidence retested, including a new test on the knife found in Sollecito's kitchen, which prosecutors say had Knox's DNA on the handle and murder victim Meredith Kurcher's DNA on the blade.

This is considered one of the crucial pieces of evidence with defense saying the sample of Kurcher's DNA was too scant to double test and therefore not reliable evidence.

The court has also ordered new examination of testimony by a convict named Luciano Avielo (ph) who has claimed to have information about the murder.

It's the latest twist in the five year legal ordeal of Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaelo Sollecito.

They are on trial again in a court in Florence for the murder to 21- year-old Meredith Kurcher. Neither Knox nor Sollecito were in court today. Knox has said that she is afraid to go back to Italy. She spent four years in an Italian prison after her first conviction.

Meanwhile, Meredith Kurcher's family remains here in the United Kingdom. Her brother sent a letter to the court saying their parents are too ill to travel.

The next court date is scheduled for Friday.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Australia's prime minister has met Indonesia's president in Jakarta for talks on the sensitive issue of asylum seekers. The meeting comes in the wake of the deaths of at least 36 refugees off the coast of West Java on Saturday. Despite Australia's tough stance on boat arrivals, some are still willing to risk everything to reach its shores. Anna Coren reports.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Piled in the back of pickup trucks, the bodies of dozens who have drowned at sea, many of them children. It's the latest tragedy off the coast of Indonesia as desperate asylum seekers from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan continue to risk everything in a bid to reach Australia and a better life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We told them, we're sinking. We need anybody to help us.

COREN: These are the first known deaths at sea under the newly elected Australian prime minister Tony Abbott who swept to power vowing to stop the boats.

Abbott is in Jakarta with talks with Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as tensions rise between the two countries on the contentious issue.

TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I have no argument with anyone in the Indonesia establishment or parliament. My argument is with people smugglers. And my point to the people smugglers is the game is up.

COREN: Australia was already in the process of shutting its borders. The previous government warning asylum seekers who arrived by boat without a visa would never be settled in the country.

Here in Chasara (ph), a two hour drive from the Indonesian capital, these asylum seekers are going through legal channels, waiting for UNHCR to process their applications. But it can take years. And there's a very slim chance they'll be relocated to Australia.

SARA ERFANI, AFGHAN ASYLUM SEEKER: Of course everyone who comes here , the destination is clear -- Australia. And I want to go there too. I came here, I hope that I won't be long staying here, because life here is really difficult, especially when you're a woman and you live alone.

COREN: 27-year-old Sarah Erfani arrived from Afghanistan a week ago, paying people smugglers $12,000, a small price she believes for a life not lived in fear.

There are more than 10,000 asylum seekers here in Indonesia officially registered with UNHCR, although the actual number is expected to be much higher. They all came here thinking this would be a short-term stopover on the way to Australia, but even with the new Australian government's hard- line immigration laws, some of these people are still willing to take the ultimate risk.

Like 22-year-old Moustafa (ph) who asks us to hide his identity. The computer science student fled wartorn Afghanistan a few months ago and says he doesn't want to wait any longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to take this risk. If I go back to Afghanistan, then I will lose my life. I'll lose my life. I'm sure about this.

COREN: Anna Coren, CNN, Indonesia.


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

Coming up, as a team of UN inspectors leave Syria, another set of experts are due to fly in. We'll look at how efforts to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal gather momentum.

A thriving Jewish community in the heart of an Islamic Republic. Find out which one after the break.


FOSTER: U.S. President Barack Obama has sought to assure Israel's prime minister he'll be clear eyed in talks with Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu met the president at the White House just days after an historic phone call between them between Mr. Obama and Iran's president Hassan Rouhani.

Mr. Netanyahu is urging America to keep up economic sanctions on Tehran despite its recent charm offensive. The Israeli PM will address the United Nations general assembly on Tuesday.

Last year, Mr. Netanyahu accused Iran of being in the advanced stages of developing nuclear weapons. It's clear there's longstanding mutual distrust between Israel and Iran, so it might surprise you that Iran has a thriving Jewish community with deep roots there.

Reza Sayah reports.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At Abrizami Synogogue (ph), a rabbi leads worshippers in prayer, then a ceremony to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

At Moussa bin Imran (ph) school, the headmaster welcomes an all Jewish student body.

At (inaudible) restaurant, patrons dig into kosher food.

And at this intensive care unit, nurses tend to patients at a charity hospital founded an run by Jews.

Sure, it may seem like we're in Israel, but in fact we're in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Are you happy in Iran?


SAYAH: Ciamak Morsadegh is a Jewish lawmaker in Iran's parliament. In his office, Moses on one wall, Iran's Supreme Leader on the other.

Are you under any pressure to stay in Iran?

MORSADEGH: There is no specific pressure for the Iranian Jew.

SAYAH: Would you prefer to live anywhere else other than Iran?

MORSADEGH: I only prefer to live in Iran.

SAYAH: If you're not familiar with Middle Eastern history you may be surprised to learn roughly 10,000 to 20,000 Jews live in Iran, according to the Jewish community. Most of them born and raised here.

Jews have lived in modern-day Iran dating back to six century BC when Persia's King Cyrus released Jews from Babylonian captivity.

Some estimates show Iran has the second largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Their numbers have declined over the years, mostly because of migration. Those that remain say they face no discrimination from the majority here.

"Here they show a lot of respect for Judaism," says Shahnose Rahanian (ph). "It's better than many other places."

"Everyone here -- the Muslims and the Jews live and work together," says Zariv Setarishanos (ph).

This, despite the Iranian government's bitter rivalry with the Jewish state of Israel.

MORSADEGH: Unfortunately, many of the media invest in countries broadcasting some news about Iran which is much far from the reality.

SAYAH: Morsadegh that rejects allegations that Iran and its government are enemies of Jews.

MORSADEGH: In the history of Iran, you cannot find even one time that there was organized anti-Semitic phenomenon.

SAYAH: Morsadegh says what Iran opposes is the Israeli government's Zionist policies and occupation of Palestinian land.

MORSADEGH: There is a great different between being a Jew and being pro-Israeli Zionist. I think that the behavior of the Israeli regime is not in the direction of Torah and Talmud teachings.

SAYAH: Iranian law says it's illegal for citizens to travel to Israel and come back. But community leaders say the law has yet to be enforced. Some Jews here say they've traveled to Israel, but home remains Iran.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Tehran.


FOSTER: The latest world news headlines just ahead. Plus, as Syria's foreign minister takes to the international stage we'll have the latest on the conflict raging in his country. Please stay with us.


FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. The US Senate has once again rejected a House attempt to link a spending bill with President Obama's Health Care law. The House proposal would have delayed Obamacare, as it's known, by a year. If Congress can't agree on a temporary budget, the US government will begin shutting down at midnight.

Police and intelligence sources in Kenya say top government officials were warned about a possible attack on the Westgate mall by al-Shabaab terrorists as long as a year ago. Now, politicians want to know why nothing was done to prevent the carnage. Parliament plans hearings on how the raid was handled.

At least 37 people killed and more than 150 others wounded after a string of car bombs in Baghdad. The attack happened during the morning rush hour, mostly in Shiite-dominated areas. More than 6,000 people have died in sectarian violence in Iraq this year alone.

Syria took the world stage when its foreign minister addressed the UN General Assembly earlier. Walid Muallem said there is no civil war in his country but rather a war against terror. He also said his government is committed to a political solution.

In Syria, a new phase begins in the effort to rid the country of its chemical weapons. A team of UN inspectors have just left Damascus after wrapping up their investigation into alleged chemical attacks, including some that apparently took place after last month's deadly attack.

And a separate team of specialists from the Hague have arrived in Beirut on their way to Damascus. They'll oversee the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

But while there's been progress on that front, the situation on the ground remains dire. Medical help is scarce, with tens of thousands of doctors fleeing the country and nearly all hospitals damaged or destroyed. Atika Shubert has this report.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Premature babies in intensive care, but this is not a fully-equipped hospital. This is a windowless container cabin parked in northern Syria, a temporary shelter for the country's most vulnerable as civil war rages outside.

We cannot tell you the name of this hospital or where exactly it is because, like so many doctors and clinics, medical aid has become a target in the war. For volunteer doctors, it is a struggle to operate.

AHMED ABOU-SALAM, DOCTOR: It's more like damage limitation as opposed to complete health care. There's a shortage of absolutely everything.

SHUBERT: British-Syrian charity Hand in Hand operates more than 30 clinics and hospitals within Syria, providing desperately-needed medical supplies and volunteer doctors. It is one of the few charities to operate in both regime and rebel-held areas of Syria.


SHUBERT: Including this maternity hospital with a children's ward. Here, they have seen a surge in premature births, necessitating c-sections like this.

"There were no incubators in areas outside of the government's control," this doctor tells us. "In besieged areas, private hospitals used to charge high prices, and people could not afford the costs of care, and that's why there was such high infant mortality," he said.

SHUBERT (on camera): Syria is in dire need of medical aid. Just take a look at these numbers from the World Health Organization. More than 90 percent of Syria's hospitals have either been destroyed or severely damaged.

Plus, think of all the doctors and health care workers that have left, an estimated 80,00 doctors have fled the country. And in the city of Aleppo, after 5,000 physicians fled the fighting there, only 36 remain.

Plus, local production of medicine has been reduced to a trickle, in fact, less than 30 percent of the supply before the war started. And over the next year, the WHO estimates that Syria will need $900 million in essential medicines and supplies at a minimum.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Outside of Hand in Hand's hospital, a rocket is fired in the distance. The fighting is never far away. But for now, inside the hospital, a moment of calm, however temporary.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


FOSTER: A bit more on Syria in a moment, but right now, we're going to go live to the State Department, where the US secretary of state, John Kerry, is about to go into a bilateral meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

JOHN KERRY, US SECRETARY OF STATE: And I'm very grateful to him for his -- very generous welcome to me and the amount of time he has spent with me in Jerusalem working through very complicated but very, very important issues.

Israel, as everybody knows, is a very special friend of the United States of America, and we have just had a very constructive luncheon with the president, a very important meeting before that with a larger group of people.

And now, the prime minister and I will talk about both Iran, the Middle East peace process, Syria, and issues of concern. We are committed to continuing to work constructively and move forward on the peace process, though it is always difficult, complicated, we know that.

But we're working in good faith. I have confidence in the prime minister's commitment to this effort. And I also want him to know that as we reach out to respond to Iran's efforts to purportedly change its relationship with the world, we do so very aware of and sensitive to the security needs of Israel.

FOSTER: John Kerry, there, alongside Benjamin Netanyahu. We'll follow that for you. It's interesting, of course, because you have those first direct talks between the presidents of Iran and the US recently, and that wouldn't have been welcomed in some parts of Israel. So, we'll see if there are any tensions there as a result or whether or not they can move on from that.

But we're going to get an update now on the fighting in Syria. Fawaz Gerges is with me, professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics and a friend of the network. Thank you for joining us.

We're first going to look at the some of the key rebel areas as we look at the map downwards. As you can see from this map, the rebels -- and we use that term quite loosely -- control most of the north of the country, there. Most of the west of the country's controlled by the Syrian army, and there are still some contested areas.

It's worth remembering that the -- some of Syria's most powerful rebels have rejected the opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council. It's a very complicated situation, isn't it? But this does illustrate, really, what we're dealing with right now, because it's a broken country.

FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, it's all- out war. Some would argue it, all-out civil war. You have multiple conflicts collapsed in one. It's partly political, partly ideological, partly sectarian, and now you have multiple fault lines within the various groups.

Think of the opposition. You have the Free Syrian Army, a relatively nationalist secular organization, and you have Islamist groups, who are basically not extremists, and you have al Qaeda affiliates, al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and ash-Sham, Greater Syria.

In fact, some of the most powerful opposition groups, as you know, Max, are al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and ash-Sham., the most potent and skilled organizations inside Syria.

FOSTER: And what's interesting here is you look at these rebel areas here, this is the border with Iraq, isn't it? And that's now becoming a concern, the spillover effect on Iraq. But that's, again, complicated. But can we argue that whatever is going on Iraq is spilling over into Syria because of those rebel areas along the border?

GERGES: You're absolutely correct. I think most people say, well look, the Syrian conflict has spilled over into Iraq --


GERGES: -- absolutely correct. It has exacerbated deeply-seated sectarian tensions and political tensions inside Iraq.

FOSTER: But it's also going the other way now.

GERGES: You're absolutely correct, Max. Al Qaeda in Iraq, one of the nastiest extremists groups in Iraq, created al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the ash-Sham, the Greater Syria. So, really, the influence is both ways.

And what has happened in the last year or so is that the Syria conflict has not only spilled into Iraq, it has spilled into Lebanon, it has spilled into Jordan, and Turkey as well. But Iraq is in the eye of the storm.

As you said earlier to your viewers, this month, more than 490 people have been killed. In August, 480 people were killed. In Iraq, since April, more than 4,500 people were killed. What do call this, Max? It's war. Even though we focus on Syria, what you have in Iraq, the situation is not as bad as it used to be at the height of the Iraqi civil war in 2006, 2007. It's almost heading that way.

And both -- I mean, both Syria and Iraq, the two countries affecting the security situation, because one thing we didn't say is that tribes in Iraq here, Sunni tribes, are helping the opposition, basically smuggle men and arms, and also the reverse way. The tribes and the militants are smuggling men and arms into Iraq, and that's why the escalation of the Syrian conflict has also exacerbated the situation in Iraq.

FOSTER: Fawaz, thank you very much, indeed, for explaining it so well.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Fans of "Breaking Bad," meanwhile, in the UK can watch the acclaimed series' last episode on Netflix only a day after it aired in the US. We'll explore what this means for the changing landscape of television. We promise we'll be spoiler-free for you.


FOSTER: Last week on our series Art of Movement, Nick Glass joined an expedition of American scientists hoping to uncover the movements of one of the ocean's greatest predators, that's the Great White shark. This week, the team succeeds in tagging a Great White, which enables them to track its every move. Here's Nick Glass.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're onboard an expedition with Ocearch to learn more about the movements of the Atlantic Great White shark. All morning, a helicopter had been scanning the sea, and they had news for the team onboard the Contender.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Norman, go ahead, this is the Contender.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via radio): If you can see me circling down here, I've got one very tight to the beach.

GLASS: Finally, it took the bait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just ate it. Just ate it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get it all together!

GLASS: Back onboard the Ocearch, the excitement was mounting. Suddenly, we could see a shark fin, and the fish being brought to us.




GLASS: The scientists have just 15 minutes to attach tags and carry out tests. She was given an ultrasound, blood and tissue samples were taken. She was weighed and measure: 2,300 pounds, 14 foot, 2 inches long.

A GPS tag was drilled and bolted to the side of her dorsal fin, and something called an accelerometer attached to the base. She's only the fifth shark ever to be fitted with one.

NICK WHITNEY, SCIENTIST, OCEARCH: It's basically giving us every single movement the shark makes on a second-by-second basis. So, we can tell the tail beats, we can tell how strongly they're beating their tail, how quickly they're beating their tail.

GLASS: At Harvard University in Boston, we got a more detailed explanation of why sharks are such brilliant swimmers.

GEORGE LAUDER, PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Now, this shark here, if you feel the surface of the shark, you can feel the roughness. It's smoother in one direction and it's a little more rough in this direction. Sharks are --

GLASS (on camera): It does feel like sandpaper.

LAUDER: It does feel sandpaper. And the surface structures that you're feeling are quite small. They're about the thickness of a human hair. Each individually, like the human tooth, they're made of dentine, they have enamel, they have a pulp cavity.

So your teeth actually are made with the same genes that makes the individuals bumps on the surface of a shark. A shark with a roughened surface structure will swill through the water with less drag than a shark that was absolutely smooth.

GLASS (voice-over): You could say that in a sense, Great Whites are pretty much all teeth.

GLASS (on camera): You can see thousands and thousands of television documentaries about the Great White shark, but nothing -- absolutely nothing -- prepares you for this, to actually see one in the flesh, and at this distance. They're about to put it back in the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This shark is named Katherine. Good luck, old girl.

GLASS (voice-over): Katherine didn't want to swim out the way she came in. She was coached around by the tail and slipped away with $10,000 worth of scientific equipment attached.


GLASS: In the past month alone, she's been circling Cape Cod, covering almost 200 miles. Where she goes next is a mystery, but we will find out. Every move she makes, every dive she takes, someone will be watching her.


FOSTER: Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, what to do about Qatar. FIFA bosses meet this week and could move the 2022 World Cup from summer to winter. We'll have the details next.


FOSTER: Qatar's 2022 World Cup is likely to dominate the agenda as members of football's world governing body meet this week. FIFA's executive committee is expected to agree in principle to switch the tournament from its summer slot to winter to avoid that scorching heat.

The chief executive of Qatar 2022 spoke to CNN late last week. Amanda Davies joins us with the details. He's a man under pressure, Amanda.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: He is, yes, and I think the Brazil World Cup organizing committee will be breathing a sigh of relief, Max. Of course, the Brazil World Cup just next year, but it's Qatar who really have taken the pressure off them.

They are the ones stealing all the headlines because of this great controversy about the temperatures in Qatar in what is the European summer, temperatures that reach up to 50 degrees. And there is more and more momentum that's been building over the last few months over the issue as to whether or not to move the tournament from the European summer to the winter.

Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, said a month or so ago that he is proposing that there should at least be a consultation process that takes place to look at this issue. The first opportunity to put that -- the wheels in motion, I should say, is this executive committee, which takes place at the end of this week.

They only have two a year, it's 27 members that make up the executive committee. They are the movers and shakers, the people who make the rules in terms of world football.

They will be meeting. It is item 25.2 on the agenda, which is just written on the agenda as "2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, period of the competition." That is all it says, but we understand it is this discussion as to whether or not to look at moving the competition.

The president of the Qatar 2022 committee, though, spoke to CNN on Friday last week, he spoke to my colleague Alex Thomas, and he said that he doesn't feel the conditions are that bad. Have a listen.


HASSAN AL-THAWADI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, QATAR 2022: The environments in Qatar to start off with, generally speaking, while yes, it is hot, keeping in mind that other nations have also hosted World Cups in similar if not more severe conditions.

So, to start off from the very basic temperature comparison or atmosphere comparison, other nations have hosted similar World Cups in similar if not more severe conditions.

In addition to that, however, the promises that we've made in terms of the cooling technology even adds more confidence to us in the terms of our ability to host a very success and very memorable World Cup, but one, again, that leaves a very, very important and lasting legacy to the world.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: What about away from the stadiums? Won't the heat be dangerous for fans?

AL-THAWADI: As I said, we have -- we're putting -- what's it called? -- solutions for stadiums, as we've said, during the bid as well. And in our bid book, as well, the commitment is towards stadiums, towards training sites, and towards fan zones and fan areas.


DAVIES: Max, Qatar are positioning themselves very, very well here. There he was talking about yes we can host it in summer, but they're also saying, you know what? We can host this tournament in winter as well. They are leaving it up to the football community to decide, and they've said they will follow suit.

But there are so many different parties who have a stake in this decision. We expect the consultation process to be given the thumbs up, that it will go ahead, but many of the European leagues, the English Premier League, for example, who don't have a winter break, they are saying this is a ridiculous decision, it will affect three seasons of scheduling.

Some of the countries who missed out in terms of hosting the 2022 World Cup, the likes of Australia, have threatened legal action because they say the vote was for a summer Olympics (sic) not a Winter Olympics. There is certainly a very long way to go with a lot more of this talking ahead.

FOSTER: OK, Amanda, a big talking point, indeed. Thank you very much. It's a big talking point, but the biggest talking point on social media today -- don't worry, we're not going to give anything away about the plot -- but it was the finale of "Breaking Bad."

A whopping 10.3 million viewers in the US tuned in on Sunday night for the final episode of the wildly popular TV series. For those of you who don't know, the show's about a high school chemistry teacher who enters the dangerous world of drugs and crime after he's diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The cinematographer for "Breaking Bad" has hailed the digital streaming service, Netflix, for part of the series' success. Let's bring in TV and pop culture writer Richard Vine to discuss this.

The reason we're talking about Netflix is because in the UK, it appeared on Netflix. It's appeared on mainstream networks in the UK --


FOSTER: -- but it didn't sort of have any sort of success until it appeared on Netflix. Why is that?

VINE: I think it's definitely one of these shows where you have to kind of watch one, two, three, four, five episodes before you really kind of understand it, and I personally feel like the first series was something of a testing the waters. They didn't quite get it right, but once it hit the second, third, forth, it really hits its stride.

And if you're watching -- if you're looking for a kind of a new show like that, watching it once a week, it feels very outmoded to be home or even trying to set your DVR or whatever to kind of catch that.

Whereas if you can sit through one, you're well, this is kind of all right. I'll watch the next one, I'll watch the next one, I'll watch the next one. Two weeks later, you've watched five series of TV.

I think something like that kind of delivery system where it's so easy to get, you're just pressing play, pressing play, pressing play, at home, without going to the DVD store even or sitting waiting for a traditional TV network to show it once a week, it's perfect for this kind of show.

FOSTER: And UK's pretty digitally advanced in this area, isn't it? So would you say that's almost a watershed moment, when actually a digital service has overtaken the networks.

VINE: Well, I think what's really fascinating about what's happened with Netflix is that they've caught up to where the US is now, and they realize of course that illegal downloads were -- they are also a contributing factor to its popularity. If they didn't show it at the same time every week, again, for this final season five, the last series, they would lose their viewers.

So, what they've done, which is brilliant, is to show it something like 12 -- 8, 12 hours later, so it's available at 9:00 AM on a Monday morning, the show aired Sunday evening in the States. That's totally fine --

FOSTER: Fine. Yes.

VINE: -- for everyone to wait, I think. But -- so in a way, they've flipped right around to the side to become a broadcaster, ironically. They've ended up with a weekly distribution. So, if you've caught up all the way, you're now back to square one of waiting for it every week.

FOSTER: Yes. And as soon as people have their connected TVs in their living rooms, they're actually -- they're in a position to compete directly with the main channels in this country --

VINE: Exactly.

FOSTER: BBC1 and ITV1, right?

VINE: Yes. I think if you've got any kind of streaming device which plugs straight into a TV and you've got it back to the remote and you're not fiddling around on a computer, it's just TV again, and I don't think people really care whether it's coming from Netflix or iPlayer or CNN or whatever. It's just TV again, but with the added advantage of you are the station controller, you're watching when you want what you want.

FOSTER: OK, Richard Vine, thank you very much, indeed. Fascinating. Now, the team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you,, have your say. And you can tweet me @MaxFosterCNN. Your thoughts, please, because we're always interested to hear them in this digital age, as we've been hearing.

In tonight's Parting Shots, we venture into the world of athletics. As we all know, emotions run high during sporting events, but this time it's not the players or the fans who are causing a fuss.

To start off, here's a tuba playing -- player who's got a bit too excited during the halftime show and took a tumble, bringing his teammates down with him.

But it's not all about mistakes, because sometimes what happens can be quite endearing, like these cheerleaders assisting their coach's boyfriend to propose to her. So, whether it brings you tears of sadness or joy, you can always rely on being entertained during a sporting event. By the way, she did say yes.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for watching.