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Dominique Strauss-Kahn Pleads Not Guilty; Yemen Support; Crackdown Heightens in Syria

Aired June 6, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Outside a New York court, hotel housekeepers with a message for Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Inside, a not guilty plea from the former head of the IMF. Now both sides prepare for a trial.

Also tonight, breaking news out of Syria at this hour and disturbing new evidence of a brutal government crackdown.

And a second look at Qatar's World Cup bid. Well, in an interview with CNN, FIFA President Sepp Blatter says that could happen.

These stories and more this hour as we connect the world.

Four minutes, two words -- "not guilty" -- the first public statement from Dominique Strauss-Kahn since he was accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel employee on May the 14th. Well, it came earlier Monday in Manhattan, but it was heard all over the world, not least because Strauss- Kahn was the former chief of the powerful International Monetary Fund. He also had a possible shot at the French presidency.

Now, he wears a police ankle bracelet, part of his Manhattan house arrest.

My colleague, Richard Roth, has been covering the story since it broke some three weeks ago.

He's outside the Manhattan courthouse and joins you this evening -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it appears there was more action outside the courtroom than inside. Dominique Strauss-Kahn left his $50,000 a month rented townhouse to come here, to New York criminal court, to make an required appearance. And he was greeted, rather surprisingly, I think, on his side, by jeering and catcalls from hotel workers here, who came in support of the unidentified, anonymous accuser, who has lobbed all of these sexual assault charges against him.

He left his car and walked through the gauntlet. You certainly heard there, "Shame on you!" chants and many of those hotel workers who say that they are unsafe in their job, that this type of case, in their opinion, is not that rare, that they are groped or sexually harassed by strangers who sometimes greet them wearing no clothes in their hotel rooms. And they continued to mass outside.

Inside the court, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, when asked by the judge how he pled to the charges, simply said, in two words, as you indicated earlier, Becky, "not guilty."

Afterward, his defense attorney started to present the case, which certainly, at this point, looms like a case against the accuser.


BEN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY FOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN: Today, Mr. Strauss- Kahn entered a plea of not guilty. That is a very eloquent, powerful statement that he made that he denies these charges. And the only thing we will say is something we said during the first appearance in this case. In our judgment, once the evidence is reviewed, it will be clear that there were no element of forcible compulsion in this case whatsoever. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply not credible.


ROTH: With a case looming of he said/she said, a new attorney hired by the hotel maid fired back, saying that -- don't try to blame the victim in this case.


KENNETH THOMPSON, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED VICTIM: Some of you in the media have portrayed the victim as being part of some sinister plot to bring down Dominique Strauss-Kahn. That's just not true. The victim is simply a hard-working single mother who got up every mg and went to work to earn a living cleaning hotel rooms in order to provide for herself and her young daughter. The suggestion by defense council that this was consensual is preponderous.


ROTH: The appearance of this new attorney for the hotel maid does mean something, according to one former prosecutor and defense attorney not associated with this case.


PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: The biggest development today was that appearance outside the courthouse by Ken Thompson. Now he's a new figure in the case. He's one of the leading personal injury lawyers in the United States in sexual harassment matters. He specializes in this field of women who are sexually harassed in the workplace. He's had some high profile cases.

He's a new face on the scene in the case. And I don't think the prosecutor is going to like that.


ROTH: Defense attorneys did request from the prosecution, as expected, all kinds of documents and materials, surveillance tapes related to the prosecution's case against the former chief of the International Monetary Fund. The judge telling Strauss-Kahn that he expects him to be back here for all hearings, including the next one, scheduled so far, Becky, for July 18th -- back to you.

ANDERSON: Richard Roth outside the courthouse in Manhattan.

Richard, thank you for that.

Well, what's the next legal step then?

We're going to go live to CNN's legal contributor for you and former federal prosecutor, Sonny Hostin, who is in our New York bureau for you this evening.

His denial of the charges effectively opening the way for this trial to begin, correct?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: That's correct. That's correct. An arraignment is the very beginning, Becky, of a criminal process here in the United States. So certainly his plea of not guilty means that this process has begun for him formally.

ANDERSON: Cyrus Vance, Jr. is not a man that we saw today. We saw a new face on the prosecution team. But he is the district attorney and a man on a mission, of course, just 18 months into his job. This is a case that he will want to win, isn't it?

HOSTIN: Oh, there's no question about it. This is a high profile case for the special victims unit in the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Cyrus Vance is a noted prosecutor. And this is certainly a case that is so high profile, that they need to win a case like this.

Remember, they took Dominique Strauss-Kahn off of an international flight on his way to France. So certainly this is something that they did consider before they brought charges against him.

ANDERSON: Yes, and in the battle of he said/she said, DSK's team also a force to be reckoned with, I understand.

Who are they and what is their reputation?

HOSTIN: They have a wonderful reputation. His lead attorney, Benjamin Brafman, is the attorney that one would need when -- when one is charged with crimes like this. And they have been very clear, Becky, from the very beginning, they intend to fight these charges vigorously and they have said over and over and over again that this was a consensual encounter.

We just heard earlier today that they said that there will be no evidence of force.

So that tells me that that will be the defense here, this was a consensual encounter, not a forcible rape, which is what he is charged with.

ANDERSON: We hear that the anonymous victim will testify.

What does that mean to you about the prosecution's case at this point?

HOSTIN: Well, it means that they find her very credible. Again, she reported this alleged attack very early and based on her word, they did take him off of this flight to France. So they certainly must believe in this victim. They find her to be very credible. And they don't have a case without her. Remember, there were only two of them in this hotel room. If she does not testify, they have no case.

ANDERSON: The case has kicked off, the trial begins and we will see the media circus all over again at the beginning of July.

Sonny, thank you for that.

Some members of the French media, of course, are asking if this is a crime story or a political one. Strauss-Kahn put up $6 million in bail and his house arrest is playing out in multi-million dollar surroundings. Calling him a limousine liberal, the French far right hopes to use his fall from grace as a leg up.

CNN International correspondent Jim Bittermann explains from Paris.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the person who was the leading contender in the French presidential race confined to a luxury New York townhouse prison, back in France, the political calculators have been working over time trying to figure out who exactly will benefit from the missing mandarin from the IMF.

And perhaps surprisingly, some believe it could be the 42 -year-old leader of the extreme right National Front Party, Marine Le Pen. She immediately attacked Dominique Strauss-Kahn after his arrest, unlike most of the rest of the political establishment here.

MARINE LE PEN, NATIONAL FRONT LEADER: DSK represented everything I fight against, the very symbol of everything I fight. A limousine liberal, a hypocritical person who presents himself like someone close to the people when he is clearly extremely far away from them.

BITTERMANN: But it wasn't just her tough stand on Strauss-Kahn that propelled Le Pen in the polls. She's the only candidate, including Nicolas Sarkozy, who pollsters say has anything slightly resembling charisma.

DAMIEN PHILIPPOT, IFOP OPINION POLLS: She's young. She's only 42. She's quite a modern woman. She wears jeans, for example. And she has a very more relaxed way to talk to people. She likes going to see people in the street and to -- to meet people everywhere. So I think she has a very different behavior in general.

BITTERMANN: In fact, after taking over the party, practically by acclamation last January, from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, she has rapidly made moves to realign the party more toward centrist politics and with an eye toward gaining respectability whereas her father was known for his tirades and bigoted outbursts -- he once said, for example, that Nazi gas chambers were a, quote, "detail of history," and that someone with AIDS is a, quote, "kind of a leper."

While the father attracted the extremists, the daughter has toned down the language and is very consciously working on broadening the party's appeal.

LASZLO LISZKAI, AUTHOR, "MARINE LE PEN: A NEW NATIONAL FRONT": A big part of the French population consider now that the National Front is like other parties. People are talking very differently about the National Front of Marine Le Pen than the National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

BITTERMANN (on camera): Analysts here will tell you that the Strauss- Kahn affair has only increased public mistrust of politicians and that that also plays into the hands of the National Front, since Marine Le Pen represents a new phase and perhaps a new political force amid the traditional parties here, parties which she says have become ossified.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


ANDERSON: So, sex, money and power -- it's a combination that some say has accelerated this court case. It's also changing the debate in French society, where the concepts of sexual violence and misuse of influence are suddenly front and center.

"Le Figaro's" chief foreign correspondent, Renaud Girard, is plugged into the soul-searching of the Strauss-Kahn case.

He joins us now live from our New York bureau.

Of course, he's covering the case.

How has it changed the discourse in France, so long a country that has celebrated its respect for privacy and as one commentator put it, it's red- blooded stance on relations between the sexes?

RENAUD GIRARD, CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, "LE FIGARO": Yes, it's a big change now in France, because, you know, we have a law quite different from -- from the one in England or in America. It's forbidden in the law for the last -- it's a law from '74, 1974. It's forbidden to intrude in another person's privacy.

So even if it's true, a tabloid cannot say that Mr. A is sipping (ph) with Mrs. B. This is not permitted by law. It's why the French press has not covered at all the private love of politicians. And it's why, for instance, you don't have really tabloids in France, because, you know, you have a lot of tabloids in -- in Britain and in America, which is mainly all the sex scandals of politicians. But in France, you don't have that, because of the law.

But now, of course, maybe the judges will be less severe in applying this -- this law to politicians that want to go very high in their career to become president, for instance, because, of course, they -- the France people are quite embarrassed that we needed the Americans to know...


GIRARD: -- a little bit more about the behavior of our principal contender.

ANDERSON: It -- it does seem quite remarkable, the fourth estate, which is there to effectively keep tabs on what is going on the rest of the estates, as it were, has discreetly turned a blind eye to the sex lives of its political elite in the past.

Do you think now, then, that that will change?

GIRARD: Yes, I think the -- the -- the rules will be changed. I mean people would be more open to report if you have a misbehavior of a politician, of a high ranking politician, I think that people will will report more. I mean there was -- some -- some part of the public opinion in France and some part of the press blamed all these ladies who were more or less attacked by, in some way, by Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the past not to have gone to the police, not to have said publicly...


GIRARD: -- what was happening.

So maybe now you will have a kind of change in behavior on the man's side, probably, and but also on the woman's side.

ANDERSON: How has this also changed the political makeup in France at present, with an election, of course, forthcoming?

We've just seen a report from Jim Bittermann on -- on the benefit, to a certain extent, of Le Pen and the le Front National.

How has this really changed things in France?

GIRARD: Oh, it's a complete -- it's a complete, it's a huge political tsunami in France, because you see the polls, all the French institutes were giving Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the next president. He was supposed to beat, according to polls, current President Nicholas Sarkozy, by 62, 63 percent.

So now the Socialist Party, which was a -- which was in power with President Mitterrand and was a great French, all the political parties, is -- it has to choose a new contender. And so there will be some kind of primary.

But nobody is sure now that the Socialist Party will find a contender that would be able to be -- to beat Marine Le Pen and to -- in the first round and to beat Sarkozy in the first round and then to be president in the second round. You have to remember that the Socialist Party, where -- whereas we had -- we had -- we had a Socialist prime minister at the time called de Juspas (ph), in 2002, this Mr. Juspas (ph) was even not able to be on the second round, because he -- he was number three on the first round, behind Mr. Le Pen and behind current President Chirac.

So it's a total political tsunami. But it's true, also, that for the moment, apparently, according to the polls, the President Sarkozy doesn't take any profit of this affair, if you see the polls.

ANDERSON: The plot thickens.

Sir, we thank you for joining us.

You're covering the case.

We'll cover it here, of course, as it continues, on CNN.

Thank you.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, a quick roundup of some of the stories that have caught our eye today for you.

Then planting the evidence -- did Syrian forces put weapons on the bodies of dead civilians to justify their killing?

And how football's Sepp Blatter says he'll restore FIFA's credibility -- an exclusive interview coming up here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in London.

It's just after a quarter past 9:00.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

We're following a breaking story out of Syria this hour. More than 100 security forces reportedly killed. A live report coming up for you in just about four minutes time.

First, here are a look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.

And a surge in violence across Iraq has claimed at least 25 lives. That includes five U.S. soldiers who were killed while sleeping when rockets struck their base in Baghdad. The attack comes on the same day as the Iraqi prime minister's deadline for cabinet ministers to make reforms or be fired.

In Yemen, there is less violence on the streets tonight.

Senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, tells us the latest from the country's ongoing unrest.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Western diplomats say that they do believe that the cease-fire is beginning to hold, that there has been fewer outbreaks of shooting and violence today than they have seen in the past few days. They say that's -- that there are some exceptions to that. But they also say that the tribal fighters have been handing back buildings that they had taken control of, government buildings. And they also say they -- that people are saying they're seeing fewer tribal fighters on the streets because the tribal fighters, they say, are pulling out of the city, also part of an agreement.

However, people on streets are not feeling as euphoric as they were yesterday, when they knew that President Ali Abdullah Saleh had left the country and was receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia. The vice president today, when told by the opposition that they would support him if he supported a transition to peace, has said that President Saleh will be coming back to the country.

People are taking that as an indication that the violence may yet continue. So that does seem to be dampening spirits. And certainly experts say that the potential for violence, Saleh's sons and nephews control the security forces means that there could still be fighting to come.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


ANDERSON: Well, Libyan refugee Eman al-Obeidi, has now arrived in Romania, where she'll set up a processing center until she moves on to a permanent destination. Now, you'll remember that al-Obeidi initially fled to Qatar from Libya after accusing Moammar Gadhafi's forces of gang raping her.

On Thursday, Qatar deported her back to Libya, under pressure, she says, from Libya's Transitional National Council.

Well, investigators on the trail of Europe's deadly E. coli outbreak are starting to release some results of tests from a farm in Northern Germany. Well, authorities took 40 samples of sprouts suspected of being the source of the outbreak that has killed at least 22 people. Initial results on half of those samples show no traces of bacteria.

Well, a dramatic turn in weeks of anti-government unrest in Syria. We've been hearing almost daily of protesters being killed. But now, state TV there says 120 security forces have been massacred. That story, straight ahead.


ANDERSON: Welcome back.

Now, Syrian state TV says armed gangs have committed a massacre, killing 120 members of security forces in a town near the Turkish border. Now, that area has come under harsh military crackdown, as the regime tries to crush popular dissent.

Now, the government promises to hit back even harder.

Arwa Damon is following developments from Beirut in Lebanon, where she joins us now.

What we do know at this point -- Arwa?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, what we've been able to ascertain from activists is that residents of this area in Northwestern Syria are imploring the Syrian security forces not to fire on them. Syrian state television, for its part, is saying that its troops, military and police, came under both an ambush and were caught up in a firefight that left at least 80 of them dead, bringing, according to Syrian state television, the death toll to 120 amongst the Syrian forces in this area of Northwestern Syria.

Opposition activists and eyewitnesses have been telling us of intense firefights over the weekend, saying that the Syrian security forces laid siege to this area, even going so far, according to eyewitnesses and activists, again, to deploy military helicopters, basically firing indiscriminately down on individuals, tanks, armored personnel carriers, as well.

But now we are hearing that residents in this area, according to at least one activist who we spoke to who has a number of contacts in the area, residents finally deciding that they are going to arm themselves and fight back.

But this most certainly a very dramatic development, a very concerning one, especially for people who are caught inside their homes at this stage -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. And let's remind our viewers just why Arwa is in Beirut tonight. We still cannot get access to Syria to report from there, like a number of other organizations. So unfortunately, we're having to report from outside.

You do, though, have some damning new video recently leaked on the Internet adding to concern, Arwa, about what Syrian forces are up to.

DAMON: Exactly, Becky. And you make a very good point there, in that it is incredibly difficult for us to ascertain exactly what is happening inside Syria. Oftentimes, we hear one version of events from Syrian state television, who we have to rely on for the government's perspective, another version of events from activists and eyewitnesses on the ground.

And they are pointing to this video that just emerged as being evidence that the Syrian regime is lying.


DAMON: (voice-over): Five bodies lie in a pool of blood -- the images so graphic, that we had to blur them. Most appear to have been shot in the head. Standing over them, Syrian soldiers, talking to the camera.

One of the men has joked about eyeliner on the face of one of the dead. CNN can't verify the authenticity of the video, but a Syrian human rights group says the killings took place in Daraa at the end of April.

At one point, a voice says, "Show me those weapons. Put them there." And what looks like a gun is placed on one of the bodies. "Leave them there. They are the weapons the committee will come sell," the man says.

We reached an activist from Daraa, Abdullah Abizid (ph), by phone.

"The committee is from Syrian TV. They come film and say these people were armed and they had to be killed."

Abizid says planting weapons on victims is part of the regime's strategy, to paint protesters as terrorists. Syrian state television claims security forces were targeting an armed group in Daraa and aired this strangely emotionless statement by Mustaffah Muhammad Dunn (ph): "Two of the dead men were his sons. Two his nephews. There was a gunfight between the army and the group inside, which included my children and my nephews," he says.

And then adds, "I saw them carrying weapons and killing and shooting at the army."

Activists say Dunn (ph) was forced to make the statement.

Abizid says the men were unarmed and were instead responsible for feed distributions during the siege of Daraa. This video, also just posted, shows how people came up with their own methods to distribute food across the battle zone, filling water drums with vegetables and other basics and using a pulley system to move them.

Abizid told us the five men who were killed were using this same technique when Syrian forces shot them dead.

"They killed them to starve the people," Abizid claims. "They hope to break the will of the opposition."


DAMON: Activists claim that the regime is undertaking a vicious campaign to try to smear the opposition, repeatedly using threats to force out confessions and to cover up their own crimes.

Now, the Syrian government has not responded to CNN's request for a response to the videos that just aired, which just goes to underscore how challenging it is to obtain any sort of information as to what is happening inside Syria -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon reporting for you this evening.

Arwa, thank you for that.

Well, Israel says Syria is trying to draw the world's attention away from its internal crisis by encouraging conflict on a highly sensitive border. Over the weekend, protesters from Syria tried to breach the barbed wire fence along the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Israeli soldiers opened fire to stop them. And Syria says 23 unarmed civilians were killed, accusing Israel of -- and I quote -- flagrant aggression.

Israel puts the death toll at 10, but says the protesters were killed by Syrian land mines.

Well, the violence is significant because that border has been quiet for decades. "The New York Times" reports protesters are inspired by the Arab spring and believe they've hit on a new tactic despite the high costs. They are vowing to press ahead with unarmed popular resistance until Israel leaves occupied lands.

Well, still to come on tonight's show, an exclusive interview with FIFA's embattled chief. Stay tuned to hear what he has to say on re- examining Qatar's winning 2022 bid.

And later in the show, the U.K. calls on government forces to withdraw from the disputed region of abillah (ph) in Sudan. Hear what the country's foreign minister had to say to me about that.

And stay tuned for the low down on the tech world's latest buzz word - - why you might know more than you think.

That's all coming up.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: At just after half past nine out of London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. A quick check of the headlines for you this hour.

Syrian state television reports 120 members of the country's security forces have been killed in and around the northwestern town of Jisr Al- Shugur. The report blames armed gangs for the, quote, "massacre." The government promises to retaliate.

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel employee in New York. The alleged victim's lawyer says that the 32-year-old housekeeper will take to the witness stand at the trial.

Two Yemeni opposition leaders say that they are willing to give the vice president a chance to make reforms. Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had assumed control while President Ali Abdullah Saleh recovers from surgery in Saudi Arabia. Protesters say they'll try to prevent Saleh's return.

So far, no trace of E. coli at a German farm thought to be the source of the deadly outbreak. Agriculture officials in Lower Saxony say tests for half the samples taken from the farm came back negative. It is unclear when the rest of the results will be available.

And Republican Rick Santorum has officially joined the race for the US White House. The former senator announced his bid on Monday. He joins an already crowded field that's waiting to see if other big names conservatives will join.

Those are your headlines this hour.

Well, the president of football's governing body, FIFA, says that he will restore the credibility of his organization following claims and counter-claims of corruption. Sepp Blatter sat down with "World Sport's" Alex Thomas for this exclusive interview. Have a listen to this.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Blatter, it's been a turbulent couple of weeks for FIFA. Why are you the right man to lead world football for the next four years?

SEPP BLATTER, PRESIDENT, FIFA: I'm the right man because the development of football in the past and what we have done in the years of my presidency that also in the years of all the development together we have launched, we are now somewhere where the football needs a little bit of, I would say, more credibility.

Because we came -- building up football, bringing so much money into this game, automatically a lot of devils came in the game, and now, we are in a situation where, really -- and I explain it to the congress, and I'm happy the congress understood what I have said. We have to go forward and we have to cut all these allegations, criticism, whatever.

We cannot do it in one day. But we will do it, and then coming back why I am the man there, because there was no other possibility. There was -- they had to elect a president, and at the end, I was the only candidate.

THOMAS: And improving FIFA's image is your number one priority, is it?

BLATTER: Yes, I had in my -- in my manifesto, if it could be a manifesto, I have said something else. I have said zero tolerance is one thing. But I have also said the social-political, social and cultural implementation of football is important.

But now, it's to rebuild the image of FIFA, that's number one. And I have already started.

THOMAS: You'll understand, there were lots of unanswered questions from last week's FIFA congress. Firstly, with Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner, they're suspended. FIFA is investigating the allegations, which is why they've been suspended. How surprised were you? These are two men that have been close friends down the years, aren't they?

BLATTER: Yes, we are friends. But friends go in together when it is in the interest of some of the people. For me, going together with people, it's only the interest of FIFA, first of all, because I represent FIFA since 36 years.

THOMAS: You've been at FIFA a long, long time. How are you feeling? Because you've had to cope with a lot of criticism personally over the recent weeks.

BLATTER: I was a center forward, and I have received a lot of --

THOMAS: Kicks.

BLATTER: -- kicks and pushing and stripping shirts. So, I'm used in my life, that -- and when you are in such a position that I am, and that -- and when you are working so hard, it is obvious that not everything you are doing pleases to everybody.

THOMAS: You've not had enough? You're determined to see out the four years?

BLATTER: No, but -- no, I haven't had enough -- I would say, kicks I have received enough and I hope that they will stop now. But I want to prove, now, that we can bring back this credibility to FIFA, to the football. Because the football, the world of football is a good world of football.


ANDERSON: How on Earth did he survive? Anyway, for more, I'm joined by "World Sport's" Pedro Pinto. Does Qatar really stand a chance of losing the World Cup in 2022?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I don't think so. Unless there are new allegations, which are proven, Becky. Because otherwise, you open a wild precedent, here. You can't go back on something that is already decided. Qatar has already started working towards this World Cup.

So, as I said, unless there are new allegations, which are proven, where there is physical proof that there was wrongdoing from the part of the bidding committee or from the part of the executive committee who voted on Qatar to win that particular vote, I don't think it's going to happen, I'll be honest with you.

ANDERSON: All right. We've got some internal naval-gazing going on with an ethics committee at the moment. I assume they'll start their work soon. And we've got this sort of outside committee, as well. And I'll ask you about this.

The force for good -- Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State in the US, won a Nobel Peace Prize, was the force behind the debt on the end of the Cold War back, of course, in the days of yore. I know from having interviewed him myself, he is an incredibly ardent football fan, but why him? Why now? Why around all this sleaze? Is he the right man?

PINTO: Look, what's happening now is Sepp Blatter is in crisis mode, all right? He's going to do and say anything he feels he needs to do and say in order to make this controversy go away.

The reforms that have happened right now are three of them, quickly, because I don't want to bore you and I don't want to bore our audience with too much detail.

The first. The process to decide the World Cup hosts has change. It's no longer the executive committee, it's the general assembly, 208 people deciding instead of just 24.

ANDERSON: Say it. Good news.

PINTO: Good news for all football fans.

Number two, the ethics committee, it will be reformed and he says that the people leading it will now have a zero tolerance for anything that happens. So, nothing will be swept under the rug, everyone will be treated in exactly the same way if there are any kind of allegations. OK, sounds good, right?

Third solution that Sepp Blatter has come up with is this solutions committee, with people like Henry Kissinger, with people like Johan Cruyff, like Placido Domingo.

I don't get it. I'll be honest with you. Because these are people who have a great reputation but, first of all, I think they're too old, with all due respect to Mr. Kissinger, Mr. Domingo, and Mr. Cruyff.

We need new people with new ideas. We don't need people whose average age is 70 and who are going to have kind of the same ideas that Mr. Blatter has. Nothing wrong with the way they see the world, but if you're going to fix problems that have been there for a long time, you need new angles and new perspective, don't you?

ANDERSON: Interesting. Elastoplast, some people would call it.



ANDERSON: To an open, gaping wound. Pedro Pinto, always interesting, always got a thought for you. Thank you.


ANDERSON: Always sits on the fence. No, he never does.

We want to bring you the latest in what is a rather bizarre story coming out of the United States tonight, and one you would've heard about earlier on Piers Morgan if you were watching.

A US Democratic congressman has admitted to sending, shall we say, a lewd picture of himself to a young woman via Twitter. Anthony Weiner has been addressing the media, and he had claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked and that he was the victim of a pink.

Well, the picture showed a bulge in a pair of men's underwear, to be frank, but moments ago, he said that he had not been honest to his family, to his constituents, and to the media, and that he did, in fact, send the photo, though it was meant to be a private message, he said.

He also acknowledged what he called "inappropriate exchanges" with six women, both before and after getting married.

However, Weiner has said he will not resign over the scandal, and the press conference goes on, and if anything else comes out of it, we will bring it to you. Interesting story.

Up next, thousands flee their homes in Abyei in the latest wave of violence to hit the beleaguered people of South Sudan. When we come back, we're going to explain why what happens on this patch of land could be crucial to the future of the entire reason. You're 90 seconds away, stay with us.


ANDERSON: Forty-two minutes past nine out of London for you, I'm Becky Anderson. Now, violence is simmering in Sudan in the lead-up to the country's division next month. The United Nations mission in disputed Abyei today called for artillery fire from government forces near its compound to stop.

Now, the area is near the border of Southern Sudan, which will cede from the North on July the 9th, all things being equal. Now, the UN says that the Sudan armed forces are failing to stop looters and protect civilians there.

Well, Northern government forces have occupied Abyei since late May, despite international calls to pull them out of the region. The deadly violence in the Southern state has caused tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

CNN's David McKenzie brings you up to date on what has sparked what is the latest conflict there.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the worst fear of many Sudan watchers. In May, Southern soldiers attacked a UN convoy in Abyei. In response, the Sudan armed forces streamed in from the North to occupy the rest of border region.

Abyei burned. Looting broke out, and tens of thousands of Africans fled, finding refuge in ramshackle camps like Turalei, still reliving the trauma.

ANYEIL LANGUAR, MOTHER OF THREE (through translator): There is a problem in Abyei. There is war. The government started shooting at people. From there, we started running. Small children died, many people died. Now, we are suffering because of war in Abyei.

MCKENZIE: While condemning the Southern attack, the UN has called the occupation by Khartoum's forces disproportionate and has called for them to withdraw.

NELSON MESSONE, PRESIDENT, UN SECURITY COUNCIL (through translator): The council stresses that all those responsible for violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, as well as those who ordered those acts, will be held accountable.

MCKENZIE (on camera): The importance of Abyei cannot be overstated. Southern Sudan gets its independence in just a few weeks and, with its people voting overwhelmingly to split from the North, Southern leadership wants to avoid a wider conflict at all costs. But Abyei has long been a keystone to both war and peace in Sudan.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Once rich in oil, today Abyei's value is tied more to its history, ethnicity, and local politics. It's the home to the African Ngok Dinka from the South, and Arab Miseria to the north.

Both groups were instrumental in Sudan's long civil war. Both have strong ties to political leadership. Unlike most of the South, Abyei did not vote on Independence in January, and it remains the most critical of several unresolved issues between north and south.

Activists and UN staff fear that Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, who will soon loose a territory the size of Texas, is occupying Abyei to allow Miseria Arabs to ethnically dominate the region and strengthen his hand.

But the US government, a major player in Sudan, lists resolving Abyei and a smooth independence of the South as conditions to normalizing relations with Bashir's government.

PRINCETON LYMAN, US SPECIAL ENVOY TO SUDAN: This action complicates both of those conditions, and what it means is that our ability to move toward normalization is going to be complicated, as well.

MCKENZIE: And complication is the last thing the people of Southern Sudan need. After decades of civil war that killed millions, the real promise for peace is under threat in this dusty patch of land. David McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.


ANDERSON: Well, Britain is amongst those urging Khartoum to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Abyei. Foreign minister William Hague spoke to his Sudanese counterpart in London today about the need for government forces to withdraw.

Sudan's foreign minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, spoke to me after that from the garden of the ambassador's residence in London, earlier. I started by asking him if he was aware of reports that nearly 100,000 civilians have fled. This is what he said.


ALI AHMED KARTI, FOREIGN MINISTER OF SUDAN: No, that number was not at all there in that area, even if you add those people who are from the North.

So, these reports are not accurate, and they know that there are some thousands fled the area, according to the fact that they had been frightened by their colleagues. And they were scared.

And this is natural. When you seen an army coming into a place, you may be scared like that. But the situation now is stable. Some of them began to come again and we are sure that civility will be there in that region.

ANDERSON: You're disputing the fact, then, that some 100,000 people have fled the district, although you confirm that there are thousands who are displaced. Can you confirm that their homes have been burned? There is certainly evidence to suggest that, both on film and by satellite image.

KARTI: These pictures -- we know that there's -- this is mere fiction. The situation has stabilized there, and anybody who wants to go there, we are ready to take anybody there.

And you know, the area was not at all populated by that number. The 80 hours not --

ANDERSON: So, what are we seeing on these satellite images? I'm sorry, sir, I'm going to stop you there. There is evidence both on film and by satellite image of --

KARTI: I assure you -- I assure you --

ANDERSON: -- many thousands of displaced people and burned homes.

KARTI: No. No. I assure you, this is history, and these people are trying to link up so many pictures from the past with the new pictures, and they are trying to mingle things.

ANDERSON: What is the solution for the Abyei region or district at this point?

KARTI: Well, I think anytime the mandate of the forces proposed by the mediators, if there is any agreed no mandate, for sure the armed forces will withdraw from that area. And we said more -- once and again that we are not there to implement a military solution.

This is only a transitional period. The army will withdraw the time we sign an agreement on the security arrangements.


ANDERSON: All right, that's the foreign minister, Sudanese foreign minister, speaking to me earlier, addressing some of the concerns in David's package.

Well, ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, the buzz word which is floating around the tech world. What exactly is Cloud computing, and does it have the power to shape the technology of tomorrow? An expert answering your questions next on this show. Stay with us.





ANDERSON: Guess who? Apple is hoping the future is filled with Cloud-loving fans. CEO Steve Jobs getting a standing ovation at Apple's worldwide developers' conference earlier. It's only his second public appearance since he went on medical leave nearly six months ago.

Well, he used the event to unveil Apple's new iCloud service. Now, that is, basically, an online storage space so that customers, you and me, can get our music, photos, e-mail, and other date on any Apple device without having to synchronize them first.

Well, in the tech world, Cloud computing is all the rage. So, what exactly is it? Kristie Lu Stout breaks it down for us.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Onlive is a gaming service with a difference. You're playing games on your computer, but the game isn't actually running on your computer. It's running on a computer back at Onlive's data center.

You're playing a game by remote, sending commands to a computer far away, which streams video of the game back to you. That means you don't need a powerful computer to play the latest games, just a screen and an internet connection.

STOUT (on camera): Onlive is part of a popular movement in the technology industry. It's called Cloud computing. Sounds futuristic, but what is it?

XENI JARDIN, BOING BOING: Cloud computing is like outsourcing. It's very much like what manufacturers, say, here in the US do with tasks like producing goods and services.

Why should you have to store everything locally and process everything locally when, with faster internet speeds, you could rely on the far greater processing power or storage space available at some offline site?

STOUT: And it's very likely you've been doing some Cloud computing without even knowing it. Flickr, an online home for your photo library. Google Docs, keeping our work online. Hotmail has been hosting your e-mail on the Cloud since 1996.

And by keeping all this information in one place, that means our different devices, phones, laptops, and tablets, can have access to the same information.

STOUT (voice-over): You don't need to store any of it on any of those devices. You just grab what you need when you need it over the internet. But what happens when your internet connection fails?

JARDIN: Well, one of the great vulnerabilities in Cloud computing is the fact that all of this for us is built on the assumption that internet speeds will remain fast and that connectivity will remain reliable. And as anybody who's ever walked around in San Francisco or New York with an iPhone knows, you can't always count on mobile data being fast or reliable.

STOUT (on camera): Now, another worry about Cloud computing is security. You're willingly handing over your information to another company, and relying on someone else can cost you. When some of's Cloud server suffered a brief outage, it took down the social network Foursquare. But worries aside, the shift to the Cloud is coming.

Next week, laptops running Google's Chrome OS are set to go on sale. They are remarkable because they contain just 16 gigabytes of storage space, about the same as an iPod Nano that holds 4,000 songs.

So, why so little space? Chromebooks are designed for all your data, including your apps, to live remotely on the company's servers. Google is convinced that we, the computing masses, are ready to live in the Cloud. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, Cloud computing fans claim it's quicker, cheaper, and mobile. But it's not without its problems. So, is the future looking cloudy? With me in the studio, an expert for you tonight. Giles Cottle joining us. He's a senior analyst at Informa Telecoms. What's your take on this new area of computing?

GILES COTTLE, SENIOR ANALYST, INFORMA: Well, I think if you look at some of the things Apple announced today, they're not necessarily new announcements. Google have allowed you to synch your calendar and contacts for a long time. Amazon just launched a Cloud music service last week.

But I think what really is great about the Apple service is it's bringing all of these elements together in a very easy to use way. And really in a way that's someone like my mum, for example, would be able to use quite easily instead of having to get all of these different things from different places.

ANDERSON: Oh, once your mum can use it, that's good news, isn't it? All right, let's get some viewer questions in here. We've got a lot of them. They've been calling us via Skype leaving some questions for you.

Let's get straight to the first one. It's Samuel Idowu, tonight, in Sweden. This is what he says, have a listen to this.


SAMUEL IDOWU, CONNECT THE WORLD VIEWER: I'd like to know the different types of Cloud systems and the differences between them.


ANDERSON: Different types of Cloud systems, then.

COTTLE: Crikey, that's a big one to start with. I mean, Cloud computing, it's kind of an abused term. It can mean many, many different things. G-mail is an example of a Cloud-based service that we've used for a long time. In the video before we talked about Onlive, where a service is actually powered within the Cloud.

So, Cloud computing can be about infrastructures, simply storing something in the Cloud, such as the document-sharing feature of iCloud, or it can be about something actually being powered from within the Cloud and all the processing takes place there, which is why Onlive works, because you don't have to have an expensive console in your house.

ANDERSON: Right, get with the program, then. Cloud is the word of the moment, and you'll be hearing more of it. Will Nathan in the UK is worried. He's got a question for you.


WILL NATHAN, CONNECT THE WORLD VIEWER: Well, it all sounds really good to me, but my biggest concern would be about privacy and whether it increases the chances of hacking personal data and stuff like this. Is this a problem?


ANDERSON: What's the danger of our info being nicked?

COTTLE: I think if you talk to Sony, they'll tell you that hacking is a huge problem, and I don't think Will is alone in that concern.

All big online systems -- well, not all, but the majority of them -- have been hacked at some point. Hotmail, which is used by hundreds of millions of people, had a major data breach a couple of years ago.

I think that's probably an argument, actually, that Apple is, perhaps, less susceptible to hacking than other systems. The Macs, for example, are famous for not being susceptible to viruses as Windows, PCs. And Apple's a very closed ecosystem.

I think the risks -- there are constant attacks and denial of service attacks, and I think, really, it's just up to people like Apple to make sure that their systems are watertight.

ANDERSON: Yes, and I guess many of us are just going to get used to it at the end of the day. All right, and finally, Giles, Jonathan Hammill in Japan.


JONATHAN HAMMILL, CONNECT THE WORLD VIEWER: How can we be assured that the Cloud won't suddenly crash?


ANDERSON: Good point.

COTTLE: A very good point. And actually, Jonathan, we can't be. Those are very -- we talked about the Amazon outage and the Gmail who suffered some serious outages.

And again, unfortunately, this is just -- this is a major risk of Cloud computing. There have been big business that have failed because systems have gone down.

And it's not just at that end that the problem is, as well. If your network operator or service provider has an outage, then suddenly you can't access any of your contacts or content.

ANDERSON: How about backing things up by just writing them down, then, Giles?

COTTLE: Well --

ANDERSON: Not a bad idea.


COTTLE: Well, that's a good point, if you can write down all your films and songs, that would work. But I think there's a lot of people who, I think, still say, actually, buy an external hard drive and you can easily do it then.

But then, if your house is broken into, if there's a fire, or just if your device fails, then you lose all of your content. And that's really what Cloud computing, I think, is all about for consumers.

It's about peace of mind knowing that your holiday photos taken from last year will always be secure if you store them in the Cloud, or at least will be more secure than if they're simply sitting on a device in your home.

ANDERSON: Love it! And you know I'm going to have to hit a hard break at the bottom of this, because I've got to pay for the show. Giles, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

All right, tonight's Parting Shots for you. A famous road trip, or a road trip for a famous airplane. Remember this? US Airways Flight 1549, better known as the Miracle on the Hudson.

In January 2009 it lost power in both engines after hitting a flock of birds shortly after takeoff and landed, you'll remember, in New York's Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew, thankfully, survived.

Well, now more than two years later, the Airbus plane is finally heading to its original destination. Since it was salvaged from the icy Hudson River, it's been sitting in a New Jersey warehouse, but now the plane on the road to Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Miracle on the Hudson will be put on show at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. How about that?

I'm Becky Anderson. Thanks for watching. That is your world connected. The world news headlines and "BackStory" follow this short break. Don't go away.