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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Is Matteo Renzi ready to be Italian PM?

February 14th, 2014
01:45 PM ET

There's fresh political uncertainty in Italy, with the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta after less than a year in office.

The current front-runner to replace Letta is Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi, a young political star who won his party's primary a couple of months ago.

Max Foster spoke with Paola Subacchi, Research Director of International Economics at Chatham House, about the political upheaval in Italy.  He asked her about Renzi's appeal as  a potential leader, despite his relative lack of experience.

"The country seems to like him because he's young, because he's energetic and because there is this untested assumption that somebody new and young and energetic could really change the country's fate," Subacchi said.

She acknowledged that there are reservations within Italy about Renzi's lack of experience in parliament, government and within the European Union.  "It doesn't give the country the confidence it needs in the institutions and in the political debate," Subacchi said.  "There's still a big if about whether or not he will become the Prime Minister of Italy."



Filed under:  Analysis • Europe • Italy • London

Zoo director debates giraffe decision

February 11th, 2014
03:07 PM ET

The killing of a young giraffe named Marius at the Copenhagen Zoo has triggered strong reaction around the world.  The animal was euthanized, dissected in front of an audience that included children, and later fed to the zoo's resident lions.

Isha Sesay spoke with Bengt Holst, the Director of Research and Conservation at the Copenhagen Zoo.  He was joined for a debate on the issue by Mirja Holm Thansen, the Chairwoman of the Organisation Against the Suffering of Animals.

Isha began by asking Holst to explain why the zoo felt it had no alternative other than to kill Marius.

"He was actually a surplus to the population, and you know, as being part of a breeding program, we always have to make the population as sound as possible," Holst said.  He went on to say that it was common practice to breed animals, evaluate their genetic makeup, and decide which would create the strongest gene pool going forward.   "Having animals in our care means that we have to always make sure that the population is healthy."

Thansen disagreed strongly, and argued that Marius' death was senseless.

"Where is your compassion for this animal?" She asked Holst.  "You had several offers to save him.  You could have postponed it.  Where is your empathy?  And I think that this case with Marius just shows that the zoo is in fact not the ethical institution that it wants to portray itself as being."

Filed under:  Environment • Europe • Video

P.J. Crowley: Diplomatic swearing is nothing new

February 10th, 2014
03:25 PM ET

Last week, Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian  Affairs, was allegedly recorded using blunt words about the EU in a phone conversation. Naturally, the story sparked a lot of reaction both in Europe and around the world.

Max spoke to former State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley to find out if the incident reflected the hidden side of diplomacy, and if it offered any warning for others about the modern lack of privacy.

Crowley said that the use of profane language in diplomacy was certainly nothing new and noted that "American diplomats and European diplomats have been swearing about each other and at each other for decades. This is not easy business.” When asked whether this recording enforces the perception among many Europeans that America feels dismissive towards the E.U., Crowley said; "I think there's a natural imbalance here. I mean the United States is the most influential country in the world. If US formulates its policy it's able to move rather quickly. The European Union by definition, by structure, has many members, and it's a much more deliberative process."

But in Crowley’s opinion, the most shocking aspect of the story was “the circumstance under which a private conversation became very public. I think this reflects the world in which we live and the difficulty in keeping private conversations, whether they're in a verbal form in this case, or a written form as was the case in WikiLeaks.” He said that this shows how “things that used to be done diplomatically behind closed doors are increasingly emerging into the open space."

On who was responsible for the production of this recording, Crowley expressed this opinion: "In this case the Russians are perhaps the most likely suspect, and I think this underscores how seriously Vladimir Putin and the Russian government see the situation in Ukraine."

Video: Top U.S. diplomat: 'F**k the E.U.'

Filed under:  American politics • Europe • Ukraine • United States

Bosnian journalist: Citizens are fed up

February 10th, 2014
03:20 PM ET

Violent anti-government protests are spreading in Bosnia.

Max spoke to local Sarajevo journalist, Kenan Cerimagic, to find out the situation on the ground.

Cerimagic says the majority of the protesters are frustrated by unemployment and that their main demand is “to have a chance to work, to earn a living, to provide their family with the good, meaningful life.” He also says that people want “the government to start thinking about them."

At 27.5 percent, Bosnia’s unemployment rate is the highest in the Balkans and Cerimagic says the anger that’s spilling out on the streets has been building up for years.  He said that the demonstrators wouldn't be satisfied until politicians started paying less attention to themselves and more attention to their voters: "Twenty years after the war they cannot provide decent living in this country."

Filed under:  Europe • Protests

A look back at the Knox, Sollecito saga

January 31st, 2014
02:30 PM ET

As Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are found guilty and sentenced (again) for the murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher, Max Foster takes a look at the events that led up to their convictions.

Text: Amanda Knox vows to fight murder conviction, won't 'go willingly' to Italy

Filed under:  Europe • Italy
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