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CONNECT THE WORLD

Arctic Blast Strands Thousands; Korean Peninsula Crisis; Google's Damage Control in France

Aired December 20, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Stranded in snow and ice -- London's Heathrow says the best it can manage is one third of scheduled flights.

It's no better by rail. From the U.K., with passengers facing hours of delays. And the ripple effects stretch from beyond Europe to Dubai, to Hong Kong and more.

Going beyond borders on the day's biggest stories, on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

About a million passengers would normally travel through Heathrow Airport in this, the week before Christmas. This year, Europe's busiest airport is at a near standstill and the knock on effects are being felt the world over.

I'm Becky Anderson in London with the story and its connections for you.

Also tonight, a crisis in the Koreas plays out at the United Nations. And finally, we may have a positive development.

(MUSIC)

ANDERSON: It's another British invasion -- Duran Duran are back and they are your Connectors of the Day.

And remember this?

(VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: That was the moment Spain knew it had won the World Cup. Follow us as we look back at the biggest news stories of 2010 and tell us what you think defined the year gone by. I'm on Twitter, @beckycnn, as ever.

That's CNN in the next 60 minutes.

Well, all they can do is wait. Thousands of holiday makers are stranded this hour, as an Arctic blast continues to cripple transport hubs across Europe. Worst hit is London's Heathrow Airport.

Only a third of flights operating, leaving passengers stranded inside and out in the bitter conditions. These hopeful travelers were refused entry to the overcrowded terminal. Passengers are bedding in for the night, the third night, and have been warned the delays could go beyond Christmas.

Well, rail services also struggling. Eurostar passengers were left in the cold for hours in London. Their journeys to France and to Belgium delays.

Well, in France at this hour, many in and out bound flights are still being canceled or delayed and icy roads are closed to heavy trucks, causing delivery problems.

It's a similar story in neighboring Belgium. De-icing liquid among the products that can't get through to Brussels Airport, which has been forced to cancel all flights until Wednesday morning. That's at the earliest.

Needless to say, frustration is boiling over.

(VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, in Germany, 300 flights were canceled on Monday, many planes still grounded. But the disruptions being blamed on the chaos at other airports.

And let's not forget key transit hubs -- the impact of the Arctic blast rippling all the way to Hong Kong, where travelers are also waiting to complete their journeys.

Well it's far from an ideal lead-up to the festive season, isn't it?

Let's hear from some of those passengers who are waiting at Heathrow. And, at this point, they are wondering.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no more food on the air -- on this airport building. There is no hotels. The hotels that's available is ranging from 620 pounds to 860 pounds a night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I had to buy another flight and I paid a lot of money and I almost lost that one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't offer us a hotel or food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing. They're just like...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Oh, it's frustrating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA SUAREZ, STRANDED PASSENGER: It's very hard. We're supposed to be there already. The only thing I want for Christmas is to hug my daughter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: It's frustrating.

You can feel their pain, can't you?

Heathrow Airport operator BAA says it is dealing with some very unique circumstances at Heathrow, Europe's busiest flight hub, in a freak storm event. They say that CEO, Colin Mathews, says that lessons will be learned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN MATHEWS, BAA CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Firstly, we've got thousands and thousands of disrupted passengers today whose Christmas plans are being spoiled. And we're truly, truly sorry about that.

It's our responsibility to look after the passengers in the terminals. And we're determined to do that. But in order to do that, we have to make sure that passengers don't come to the terminals unless they have a flight that's departing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right, well, that's the CEO of BAA.

Let's head to Heathrow Airport, should we now, where Atika Shubert has the latest travel update.

You just heard what chief executive Colin Mathews said today. And he says, we're looking after the passengers as best we can -- Atika, that's certainly not what we are seeing from the -- the video that's coming through.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. People are very frustrated. And the biggest complaint is that they're not getting enough information about the flights being canceled, delayed and so forth.

What we understand now is that tomorrow, as well, only one runway is going to be operating here at Heathrow. That means, at best, only a third of the flights are going to be taking off. That means two thirds will not be flying. So this -- and what they're saying is that there will be delays and cancellations from Christmas and possibly in the days ahead.

And on top of that, we've now just heard that Gatwick is also being cleared for snow and so they're not expecting any arrivals and departures until at least 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and possibly later, depending on the weather. And if it's anything like it is right now, it does seem like more snow and ice is on the way.

ANDERSON: Atika, and it's not just the weather like now. And we can see it's snowing again at Heathrow Airport. It's -- it's been what's -- the sort of buildup, hasn't it, over the last 24 to 48 hours and these planes sitting on the -- on the tarmac. They need de-icing. You know, you say that this could go on to Christmas and beyond.

Is there a sense that everybody is going to get away at this point?

SHUBERT: Well, this is the big question, I mean what can they do at this point?

And the problem really is a lot of those planes are almost cemented in with snow and ice at the parking spaces that they're at. And they really can't operate the runway until they get those jets off, so that they -- so that they can actually de-ice the runway.

And so they're literally having to manually shovel out the snow, almost 30 tons of snow and ice. So that's a huge task. It's going to take a lot of the time. And that's what's really causing all of these follow-on delays. I mean, if anything, it really is sort of snowballing, in effect, just by having a few day's cancellation.

So this is the best case scenario, that they get a third of the flights going. But it could be even worse if there's more snow and ice to come.

ANDERSON: Yes, Atika Shubert at the airport.

It's a horrid job, but somebody's got to do it.

Atika, thank you for that.

That is the very latest from the ground at Heathrow, which is, of course, Europe's busiest airport. The kick-on effects are -- are horrendous. A lot, of course, depends on the weather.

For more on what we can then expect over the next few days, Guillermo Arduino joins us from the CNN Weather Center -- Guillermo, let's start with the airports. We just heard at Heathrow.

What is the status of the -- of the other European hubs at this point?

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, I was the latest here on FlightStats.com and I see that things are getting better, especially for Central Europe. Britain continues to be the problem.

I'm going to show you what I can do with this. So I have all the airports and I have the -- what the authorities are saying concerning the delays.

Moderate is in yellow. Then we have significant half white, half red. And the excessive and, unfortunately, this is what we see here in Britain.

I'm going to point to one in particular. Let's see, this airport is Bristol, with excessive delays. But let me -- so this is more or less the information that I gathered. All these areas, in the last hour, have improved. England has not. But no more snow as of Wednesday for London. I'll tell you more in a second.

Let's go now one by one. I wanted to go to actually Paris. We have Orly. We have foggy conditions, but moderate delays. And I have Charles de Gaulle, in particular. I'm looking at the arrivals and I see cancellations from Rome, Amsterdam, Stockholm, also from Dusseldorf and Hanover here and Frankfurt also cancellations.

But there are some that are operating on schedule.

Then, Frankfurt, you see canceled here Venice, Italy. And then we have London Heathrow. This is only in the last hour, right. And then let me get to Manchester in -- in England and I see more cancellations in here -- Brussels, Tenerife and London. And then some delays of 85 minutes or so.

So this is a great tool that our viewers can use from their laptops to see things are changing every hour, to have an idea, to grasp the sort of scenario that we are dealing with at the moment.

Unfortunately, Britain right now with the -- the biggest delays. And Dublin is opening up right now, because it was closed for some time -- Becky.

ANDERSON: That's good news.

We just heard from Atika that -- that it seems that the Gatwick has more problems as they begin to clear some snow.

ARDUINO: Yes.

ANDERSON: We've seen what the weather is like through Atika at Heathrow. You've given us a sense of what's going on there in Central Europe or -- or Western Central Europe.

The question is this, what's the forecast in the coming hours?

We need it to get warm enough, I guess, for these planes to be de- iced.

ARDUINO: Yes.

ANDERSON: What we don't need is an awful lot more snow in the coming days.

What's the forecast at this point?

ARDUINO: Let's take the maps in full right now and I'm going to tell you.

First of all, once the snow goes away, the problem is that high pressure sets in. And when high pressure sets in, temperatures go down. And that's when we are going to see the icy conditions. The water that is standing will become ice. But there will not be any more new precipitation as of Wednesday, for example, in London.

So we will be under clear skies or partly cloudy skies. Things will be getting better.

By Thursday, the problems with the precipitation come back for Paris, because we are getting a new system here as the jet stream retracts and temperatures in the south continue to go back to normal, it remains cold in the north and we get winds from the north cold and a new system coming from the west, humidity. And Paris is likely to see a new snowstorm by Thursday.

In between, we hope that they are going to work hard to clear whatever they have there and to try to accommodate as many people as they can. But there will be some time of normalcy between tomorrow and Thursday, especially in Paris. We'll see rain. And after the snow is gone, temps will go down again.

Look at this Becky, this is a mess.

And another example is Germany. They've been dealing with so much. They've got more snow than anybody else.

How do they do it?

How do they fix it?

They do it much better, don't they?

ANDERSON: Yes. All right.

Thank you for that.

That's the very, very latest forecast. He's absolutely right, some people can get it right and some people just can't get it right. BAA tell us they are learning from this year's travel chaos.

And do stay with CNN, of course.

We're back in just about a half hour's time with another forecast for you.

Stick with us throughout the next 24 hours as we hope things will begin to improve.

Still ahead tonight, North Korea says the world should know who's the true champion of peace and the real provocateur of war. We'll see how Pyongyang responded when South Korea went ahead with a live fire drill.

And remember this sound?

South Africa hosted a World Cup the world will never forget. We're looking back at the top new stories of the year for you.

This is CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Becky Anderson.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All right, down arrows across the board for Asian markets as tensions on the Korean Peninsula kept traders on edge earlier today. South Korea conducted a military exercise with live ammunition on Monday. But the North said it would not hit back, despite an earlier threat to retaliate with what they called catastrophic consequences.

You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD.

North Korea's decision to hold its fire comes as a relief in Seoul. The last time the South staged similar exercises, Pyongyang unleashed a -- an artillery barrage that killed four South Koreans.

Still, many people are wary about what might happen the next time around.

Journalist Andrew Salmon joins us on the line now from Seoul.

What's the feeling on the ground there, Andrew?

ANDREW SALMON, JOURNALIST: It was -- it was a little bit tense yesterday, let me be honest. Generally, the South Koreans are pretty blase about the North Korean threat. They've been living next door to this state for the last, you know, 60 plus years.

But this year it has been -- it has been a tense time. We've seen the -- the sinking of the South Korean warship, the Cheonan, in March. And, of course, we saw this artillery attack last month.

So when the South Koreans decided to -- to go ahead with this exercise, I think there was pretty considerable tension. People were a little bit jumpy when this went ahead, particularly given the -- the North Korea threat to retaliate.

Let me just give you an example from my own office. About an hour after the drill took place, all the lights went out on our office. Everybody immediately jumped up and said, here we go again, this is the North Korean retaliation.

So we ran for the windows, but it actually turned out to be just our own building, which had had a power outage. Everyone else was -- was still lit up.

So, yes people were rather jumpy.

ANDERSON: Andrew, what's the sense of what's hap -- what happens next at this point?

SALMON: Well, yes. Yes and that -- that's the big question. I mean the North Koreans are coming on a little bit rich. And it's said that, you know, that they're the real party to peace here, you know, given that North Korea actually launched live artillery last month following what was simply a -- a firing drill. You know, this is -- we need to take their -- their words with pinch of salt.

So given that there are as, you know, at yet we don't really have a -- a diplomatic solution in sight, the Americans, the South Koreans are still staying away from -- from negotiations with North Korea. So, certainly, this crisis is -- is far from over.

ANDERSON: Andrew Salmon there in Seoul talking about the fact that there seems to be no diplomatic solution to this as of yet.

Well, let's get to the United Nations then to find out what's going on there.

They're trying to help these tensions on the Korean Peninsula, we're told. But after hours and hours of negotiations, diplomats at the Security Council can't even agree on a statement.

Let's bring in senior U.N. correspondent, Richard Roth to find out why -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Becky, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, late yesterday, said there were too many real gaps and bridges to be built of them. And that situation did not change here on Monday in New York City.

The Security Council ambassadors were here on Sunday for about eight hours, with some minor breaks. But they really couldn't agree on who to blame, what to put in a statement, no matter how dire some thought the situation was on the peninsula.

Now, today, they kind of used the microphones to make some thoughts known. They did not meet formally about North Korea and there is no statement adopted.

China making a some -- a somewhat rare appearance before United Nations cameras, indicated that they believe that what is needed is common restraint, even though they couldn't get the rest of the Council to simply issue those comments in a statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WANG MIN, CHINESE DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: On the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula is in the interests of both the South and North of the Peninsula, as well as other relevant parties. We strongly appeal relevant parties to exercise maximum restraint, act in a read -- act in a responsible manner and avoid increase of tensions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: The United States felt, though, that the window of relevance or the need for relevance and a Security Council statement had passed.

Susan Rice, who is lasso president of the Security Council, said that the North Koreans were the ones who really needed to be blamed, not just issue a statement urging common restraint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We made clear that it was the Council's view that the attack by North Korea on the island of Yeonpyeong was to be condemned and that we were clear as to -- to what had transpired, in addition to urging restraint.

At this point, since that was not possible, despite the fact that that the vast majority of Council members were prepared to do so, we don't think that it -- it's particularly necessary or productive to continue the discussion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: In Washington, a State Department spokesman said that the United States will judge North Korea by what it does, not what it says, in taking note of Bill Richardson as a private citizen on his journeys there - - Becky.

ANDERSON: Interesting.

All right, that's the view from the UN.

Richard Roth, your correspondent.

Our expect guest says that North Korea sees China as its enabler.

Gordon Chang is our Big Thinker on the story, a regular guest on the show, and joins us live from New York.

What do you mean when you say that you -- that you think the base -- that Pyongyang sees Beijing as its enabler?

GORDON CHANG, CONNECT THE WORLD PANELIST: Well, China provides 90 percent of North Korea's oil, 80 percent of its consumer goods, 45 percent of its food. And as we saw yesterday at the eight hour emergency session of the Security Council, China is its primary backer in international councils.

So, you know, clearly, North Korea could not continue with these murderous provocations if China didn't support it. That's really the problem, that all this year, with what North Korea has done, China has backed it. So this is clearly a problem.

ANDERSON: What do you make of what China said today then in that press conference at the United Nations?

It -- it calls for maximum restraint at this point.

CHANG: Well, you know, the maximum restraint should be on North Korea, which, you know, killed 46 sailors in March and killed four civilians -- two civilians and two soldiers last month in the shelling of the South Korean island.

You know, it -- if -- if China wants restraint, it can just talk to its North Korean ally. I mean South Korea is just at a loss to do -- what to do.

ANDERSON: This is what Chris Hill, the former U.S. envoy to six-party talks, said to me on Friday with reference to China, when we were -- we were talking about this story.

Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. NEGOTIATOR, SIX-PARTY TALKS: I really think the element here that we don't see present enough is China. I think China needs to take more responsibility for this historic ally, this neighbor of theirs, North Korea. China really needs to get moving on this. And for them just to call for the six-party talks is a way of saying let's have a six-party meeting that will get us, the Chinese, off the hook.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Why do you think, then, if we're not hearing enough, as you suggest, from China at this point, why do you think that is?

CHANG: Well, I think two things are going on here.

First of all, Hu Jintao, the current leader of China, sees a lot of short-term advantage in North Korea causing problems, because every time it does, the region and the United States goes to Beijing and asks for help and the Chinese extract concessions for that.

And the other reason is that in China right now, there's a re- militarization of politics and policy. And China's military has very close ties with its North Korean counterparts. And they support Pyongyang.

So, essentially, we have trends going in the wrong direction here.

ANDERSON: We've been talking about the -- the -- the possible end of a status quo of some 60 years on the Korean Peninsula. We talked to Chris Hill about that one Friday. I said, you know, what's the worst case scenario?

Well, the worst case scenario is, of course, that the status quo comes to an end and -- and it's all out war.

Has Bill Richardson achieved anything in these five days, so far as you're -- you're concerned, that might suggest that the rhetoric, the steam might come out of this rhetoric at this point?

CHANG: We'll, I -- I think that we won't know about Bill Richardson's initiatives for at least a couple of months. But he has done some things which I think are positive, which is to calm the North Koreans down. But on the other hand, he has sort of created this -- this movement or appearance of progress which probably isn't there.

So, for instance, this whole concept of International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of North Korea's uranium enrichment facility at Pyongyang is -- is just ridiculous, because North Korea has three or four secret facilities that aren't going to be inspected.

And, you know, there's a lot of things that are going on here that we really won't know for quite some time.

But I think the progress is more apparent than real, at least at this moment.

ANDERSON: Gordon Chang is your Big Thinker on the subject this evening.

As ever, sir, we thank you for joining us, a regular guest on this show.

Well, CNN's Wolf Blitzer is in Pyongyang with Bill Richardson.

We're expecting him to call us this hour. And we'll go to that as and when it happens.

But up next, it turns out that mapping the world online in amazing detail can make some people, well, a little bit angry. Google is now on a charm offensive in France, trying to ease privacy concerns over its Street View project. More on that coming up.

And later, when will the nightmare end?

We'll get an update on airports across Europe, as heavy snow and ice brings travel to a screeching halt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, is it possible to keep your identity and personal information truly private these days?

Well, every time you friend somebody, for example, on Facebook, make a call on your cell or even use your debit card, you may be leaving a trail.

All this week, we're looking at privacy concerns in what is this digital age.

Today, Jim Bittermann explains why Google is doing some damage control in France.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Google has a new tricycle and wants everyone to know about it. The ubiquitous Internet search engine organized a press tour to Chateau Chambord in the Loire Valley to show off the way it's collecting images for its Street View maps, in this case, with a high tech tricycle that can be used around ancient monuments and pedestrian passageways to shoot the ground level photos which are then incorporated into Google Maps.

A demonstration organized, in part, to help dispel lingering hostility toward the Street View project here and elsewhere in Europe.

In a number of countries, some accuse Google of invading privacy with Street View, capturing pictures of people, buildings and trademarks and then displaying them across the Internet in ways which no one but Google can control. There have been complaints. And according to lawyers for a number of French critics, there could be a lawsuit over not just the images, but personal data, e-mails, passwords and the like, which Google said earlier this year was accidentally collected in more than 30 countries.

VIRGINE GALLARDO, LAWYER: We don't know what they're going to do with all these personal data. At the moment, we have an investigation. The -- the French agency is investigating on that point.

BITTERMANN: Google France says the wi-fi data collection was stopped and will not be used again.

As to the privacy issues, the company insists that faces license plates and any other identifying images will be blurred to keep everything anonymous and that houses and buildings can be removed from site if their owners ask.

ANNE-GABRIELLE DAUBA-PANTANACCE, GOOGLE COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER: The new technology we need to explain. And that's the role of Google, to explain why we want to do that. But at the end of the day, I think our goal is to give access to information to everyone and to be transparent and to explain why we want to do that.

BITTERMANN (on camera): If Google's Street View still has its skeptics, the company has won over one major critic -- Google signed a landmark deal with a major French publisher permitting the digitization of out of print books. Just a year ago, French publishers won a copyright infringement case against Google over a similar project, which did not have prior agreement.

(voice-over): It's all part of Google's charm offensive here, which includes a promise to President Sarkozy that the company will create a still vaguely defined French Cultural Institute.

WILLIAM ECHIKSON, GOOGLE PUBLIC AFFAIRS: We're investing in France because we're very popular in France and we're growing fast in France and French customers love Google products. But they also want to be sure that we're willing to give to France.

BITTERMANN: And if modern technology does have something to give to go this ancient land, there's little question the nation will be happy to take it.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: And tomorrow on CONNECT THE WORLD, we'll have some warnings about free wi-fi. Everybody loves to loll -- to log on at that coffee shop or take advantage of low rates at the airport. Sadly, tonight, we're sure there are many of you.

But what are you risking when you access the Web in public areas?

Well, we're going to talk to a former hacker who explains what you may have to lose.

Tonight, though, we'll be right back with the headlines and an update on the travel situation in Europe.

But before that, I want to get to Pyongyang.

We've been covering the tensions in the Koreas this hour.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer is in Pyongyang, traveling with U.S. diplomat, Bill Richardson.

And he's been calling into CNN as and when he can.

And he joins us now on the line live from the North Korean capital -- what can you tell us at this point, Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Richardson, Becky, is getting ready to leave Pyongyang. We were supposed to leave 12 hours ago, but there was incredibly heavy fog that prevented our plane from flying to Beijing. So we're getting ready, in a few hours, to leave.

Richardson's leaving encouraged, specifically not only by the proposals that North Koreans accepted proposals that he made for a hotline between North and South Korea, a joint military commission, inspectors -- IAEA inspectors coming back to monitor what's going on at the nuclear facility here and the sale of some fuel rods, potentially, to South Korea.

But, most important, that the North Koreans refrain from responding militarily to the South Korea live fire exercise that took place at Yeonpyeong Island, which the North Koreans shelled back in November. The fact that they didn't respond militarily, even though going into the exercise, they warned that their military would, is very encouraging to Richardson and a lot of other folks.

And it seems to, potentially, signal that maybe the North Koreans are ready to engage, once again, in a more constructive, positive way. That's the hope, Becky. It's by no means a done deal. What the North Koreans do is very often unpredictable. But that's pretty encouraging right now.

Richardson kept saying, "I am -- I strongly pressed them not to respond." They didn't respond, and maybe that's a signal that they're sending right now, and they're hoping the US and South Korea, specifically, respond in a positive way, from their perspective.

ANDERSON: Wolf, who has he been speaking to while he's been there on this five-day trip?

BLITZER: It's amazing. He's -- with the exception of the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il, who's the supreme leader here, he's met with almost everybody else of significance, the vice president, Kim Yong Dae; the vice minister in charge of foreign affairs, Ri Yong-ho; the chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye-gwan; Major General Pak Rim-su, who's in charge of the North Korean military at the demilitarized zone.

I watched all these meetings unfold, and I have to tell you, they treated Richardson almost like a top US official. He's here in a private capacity, he's not representing the Obama administration, but you wouldn't know it if you looked at these meetings, because it -- they look very, very formal, very serious, as if any government-to-government meeting would take place.

What was, maybe, even more important, though, than those formal meetings were the private banquets and dinners and just sort of receptions, conversations he had outside of that formal structure. And it seemed that -- he's been here many times, they've got a good relationship, and it seems they were willing to make a gesture at this moment to Richardson, in part because he's been so deeply involved in this issue over the years.

ANDERSON: What is your sense of how people feel there on the ground in Pyongyang? After all, we've been reporting, now, for some weeks the ratcheting up of the rhetoric to the extent that there are concerns, certainly have been over this weekend, we may be seeing the end of what has been a near 60-year status quo in the Korean peninsula. Have you got that sense from being on the ground in Pyongyang?

BLITZER: No, I didn't get a sense that this regime here was on the verge of some sort of major confrontation, military confrontation. Sure, wherever you go, you hear the patriotic music, you see all the propaganda pictures, you see all the great pictures of the "Dear Leader" and the "Great Leader" and all of that. But I didn't get a sense that there was -- military music being played on the state radio or television, gearing up for some sort of war.

In fact, I got the exact opposite impression, that life was going on, people were doing their thing, and it -- I'm not saying I'm the best expert, necessarily, on North Korea. This is the first time I've ever been here. But it didn't look to me in these five, six days that I was here, that this was a country getting ready for a major -- a major war.

Remember, they have a million troops just north of the demilitarized zone, facing hundreds of thousands of South Korean troops, 30,000 US soldiers in between, along the DMZ, with thousands and thousands of artillery, rockets, and missiles. And even, now, nuclear weapons. So, it's potentially the most dangerous spot on Earth right now, but I didn't get a sense that the North Koreans were itching for a fight.

ANDERSON: Wolf Blitzer is live from Pyongyang for you, calling in when and as he can. You've just been listening to Wolf, his thoughts on Bill Richardson's visit as they wind up that visit and get set to return home. Do remember, that was a private visit by Bill Richardson, not traveling to Pyongyang, North Korea, on behalf of the US government, although, of course, he'll be taking back with him the thoughts of those that he met when he was there. Wolf Blitzer, we thank you for that.

You're watching the show that connects you with the day's big events. We'll be right back with your other headlines for you. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you. Coming up in the next 30 minutes, thousands of passengers bed in for another frosty night at European airports, crippled by an arctic blast. We'll bring you the very latest pictures from inside Heathrow airport, Europe's busiest.

And were you part of this crowd? What a moment. We'll look back at one of the most memorable events of 2010.

Then, recognize these wild boys? Stay with us as we connect you with an 80s rock band still going strong. That's Duran Duran, and they will be up in the next 30 minutes for you, here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Those stories are ahead. First, a quick check of the headlines this hour.

British police have arrested 12 young men for suspected terrorism, but they aren't saying what they think the men were planning to do. Law enforcement agents made the arrests early on Monday in three British cities. They say they acted now to ensure public safety.

The newly re-elected president of Belarus says police have arrested 630-odd vandals and thugs in the wake of Sunday's election and a huge opposition demonstration in the center of Minsk. Numerous stations are condemning what they say was excessive police violence, including the beating of protesters.

The US says it will join the EU in imposing sanctions against Ivory Coast straw man Laurent Gbagbo and his inner circle. A violent power struggle has erupted after he lost the presidential vote and refused to step down.

And thousands of travelers are facing a grim Christmas, their holiday plans thrown into chaos as an arctic blast cripples transport hubs across Europe. Heathrow Airport worst hit, only running a third of its scheduled flights through Wednesday morning, leaving passengers stranded.

Disgruntled passengers there locked in a frustrating and frosty waiting game. We're keeping an eye on the forecast and flight schedules at airports across Europe. For the very latest, let's bring in Guillermo Arduino. What have you got at this point, Guillermo?

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Things look better. I wonder if it's because it's 10:40 pm already, but I see some greens. Remember in the last segment, I told you that green is very low or low delays. Look at Europe in general, these are airports and, for example, Berlin, and even this airport, Hanover, even though we have patchy fog and minus ten degrees, we have no delays.

But when it comes to Britain, this is it. It is looking better, too, but we have London Gatwick with excessive delays, London Heathrow, then -- have you seen this one? Luton. No, this is London City Airport, also with snow, because the snow is falling right now. Another one, Manchester, with some excessive delays.

I have chosen, now, three different airports. I'm going to start with Heathrow. I see the cancellation of a flight from Glasgow with British Airways. Also, Newcastle with British Airways. But then, we have a couple here en route, one from Tel Aviv, another one from Istanbul. More cancellations, Aberdeen. So, you see, all the Great Britain flights are a problem. And then, Dusseldorf on Lufthansa and BMI, also canceled.

Let's go to Berlin, now, Tegel Airport. On time, most of them, right now. Lufthansa Air Berlin, Lufthansa Air China International, coming from Frankfurt. But cancellations, British Airways, here, London, and Munich also canceled with Croatia Airlines and co-shared with Lufthansa.

Amsterdam, the last airport that I want to check, also operating pretty much better, right now. On time here from Vienna, Austrian Airlines. Also on time, Gardermoen, Delta Airlines. And canceled, Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Frankfurt, co-share between Lufthansa Asian Airlines and Air India.

So, back to the big map. It is looking much better. Question mark if it is because of the time or not. But there's some progress.

Now, let's take the map -- the maps in full, because I want to show you what is going on in the world with this cold freeze that we have seen in the last month or so. It is called arctic oscillation, the negative phase. It means that his high pressure is providing more frequent colder outbreaks, because we have polar winds that are weaker. That is the reason why we get all this cold air. With the humidity in place, then, we get the snow. Becky?

ANDERSON: All right, Guillermo Arduino with the very latest forecast and the very latest on what is going on on some of these -- in some of these European airports.

Sadly, those flights that are trying to get to Heathrow and those flights trying to leave Heathrow, the worst affected at this point. We are still told by Heathrow Airport that they'll run just a third of their scheduled flights through until about 6:00 AM on Wednesday morning. Do, of course, keep an eye on the airport operator sites. They'll update those sites when it seems as and when they get more information.

All right, after the break, we take a look at one of the top stories which made the headlines in 2010. Viewers across the world tuned in for this one. A story full of promise, but filled with controversy. We're going to have a special feature on this year's World Cup. That is up next.

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ANDERSON: We get the 24th and the 31st off here at CONNECT THE WORLD. So, that means we've got only eight live shows left for 2010. And we are hoping that you join us for all of them.

One of the things that we want to do, then, in the next eight shows is look back at some of the biggest news stories of the year, the eight biggest news stories, how they were covered, why they mattered, and what their legacy will be.

Tonight, the first of our Look Back in 2010. Remember this?

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ANDERSON: It's the vuvuzela, and it was the sound of the year, heralding the start of the football World Cup. I often say, nothing connects the world like football, and this tournament absolutely proves that.

Thirty-two nations made the tournament in South Africa. The opening ceremony, that was a huge hit, with performances from the likes of Shakira and the Black Eyed Peas.

Now, you'd have expected some of the greats, like Brazil and Argentina, to go all the way to the final, but 2010 wasn't their year. Neither made the semis.

With that, the World Cup also saw at least two big stars disappoint. Leo Messi of Argentina was largely ineffective, and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, well, he only scored one goal. We did see the birth of some new stars, though, like Mesut Ozeil, do you remember him? Of Germany, now plying his trade at Real Madrid. What a player.

If 2010 was a coming out party for African football, it was a bit of a letdown in the end for the teams. Ghana, the last one out, a heartbreaking loss in the quarterfinals.

In the end, it all came down to two European powers, Spain and the Netherlands, Spain winning, one-nil. Let's take a look at that reaction out of Spain, their first-ever World Cup win.

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ANDERSON: And joining me now is the man who spent, what, 40 days in South Africa?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I almost lost track, Becky.

ANDERSON: Alex Thomas, one of our sports correspondents. Alex, what are your best memories of the World Cup?

THOMAS: Well, let's not forget, this was an historic World Cup, the first on African soil. And you certainly noticed that. There was no questioning the warmth and hospitality of the African people. A surprisingly safe atmosphere. A lot of media hype beforehand about violence and criminality, and that didn't appear to be the case.

And a very different type of football crowd, as well. You're in the stadiums with fans, not just of the rival clubs on the pitch, but from all the countries, mixing and happily dancing and singing together. There's a joy filming outside stadiums without thinking you're going to be pounced on any second.

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ANDERSON: It was a noisy tournament.

THOMAS: It was. The vuvuzela, I was not a fan. In fact, probably one of the blogs I've had most responses to on the CNN website was when I said, "Ditch the vuvuzela." As many people loved them as hated them, but I --

What I really liked was just queuing up before an England game, where all the stewards had been recruited local singing some native tribal song, purely ad-libbing it, no one had asked them to do it. And it was the most beautiful sound. I thought, "I'm not sure I'll hear that from the vuvuzelas."

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ANDERSON: It's got to be the pinnacle, to a certain extent, of anybody's career, who does what you do.

THOMAS: Absolutely. I mean, reporting from a major sporting event and the football World Cup, to argue about the rise in power of club football, but seeing all the world's countries get together for the only truly global sport is still unique, and it was a huge privilege.

ANDERSON: How do you think, on reflection, it stacks up against other World Cups?

THOMAS: I think there's a big question mark over the quality of football for World Cups, and maybe it's the crazy -- that stands for the power of the clubs getting more and more players' hearts in it, especially for the bigger teams. Because the UEFA Champions League, Europe's biggest club competition, has such a high quality of football.

You look for this one. Germany played some thrilling stuff, didn't they? Thrashing Argentina four-nil. And that's the difference, Lionel Messi, outstanding for Barcelona. Harder in a less-good Argentina team. They thrashed England four-one as well. Try not to mention that, but had to as well.

I still think, though, when people get patriotic about their nation's hopes when it comes to a sport as big as football, it's still a great spectacle.

ANDERSON: Yes. Let's talk about FIFA post the World Cup. Because it's an enormous tournament for them. But we've heard from then since then.

THOMAS: Yes, and they didn't have a perfect World Cup. We think of the row with the Dutch girls in the orange mini-dresses. It was a bit of ambush marketing. But by arresting them all and throwing them into jail, they made it a much bigger deal than it actually was.

And then, we had the World Cup hosting decisions. Russia will stage it in 2018, Qatar in 2022. Landmark countries. Again, the World Cup's never been in those nations. So, FIFA will say they're breaking new territory. But big question marks, particularly over Qatar. And, of course, there were upset by those comments, the homophobic ones about homosexuals attending the World Cup.

But you have to say that FIFA have stood by their word of making these nations benefit. They announced an $80 million legacy fund for South Africa, and maybe that answers some of the critics who said, what did South Africa actually get out staging the World Cup?

ANDERSON: And one more time --

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ANDERSON: The sound of the 2010 World Cup. Just one of our favorite moments from 2010. We'll be bringing you seven more before the year. Stay with us, though, tonight, for our Connectors of the Day. They were one of the most successful bands of the 80s, but they didn't stop there, selling more than 80 million albums over the last three decades. That's Duran Duran in the hot seat, after this.

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ANDERSON: Their synthesized pop rock helped usher in the new wave of the 1980s. Their stylized videos fueled the early MTV generation. So, let's take a look, now, at the boys from Birmingham who found their own way to embrace the digital age. Take a look at this.

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ANDERSON (voice-over): With their signature style and unforgettable sound, Duran Duran left an indelible imprint on the world of pop music. Songs such as "Notorious" and "When You're Hungry" (sic) turned the group into international icons of the 1980s.

But their story didn't stop there. In the last three decades, the group has sold more than 80 million albums and performing mammoth shows around the world for enduring fans.

This month, Duran Duran is joining forces with legendary music producer Mark Ronson in their 13th album, entitled "All You Need is Now."

I spoke to the band's lead singer Simon Le Bon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes and asked whether the music-making ever gets easier.

SIMON LE BON, LEAD SINGER, DURAN DURAN: Well, when I joined the group in 1980, we were very much an experimental group. We're from -- three -- two members from art school. They informed me they had a clarinet in the band.

And I think that we kind of got picked up after a year of playing in night clubs. We start -- we became sort of taken up by the pop movement. And that sort of set us off on a road which took us away from experimentation. And by the third album, I think we were heading for mainstream pop or mainstream rock.

ANDERSON (on camera): Roger Taylor, apparently, is convinced that Mark Ronson has saved the band. Quoted in "The Daily Star" newspaper in the UK, he said that's because he's helped you 80s hit-makers rediscover your sound. Do you agree?

NICK RHODES, KEYBOARDIST, DURAN DURAN: Well, I've never spoken to "The Daily Star" newspaper myself, but I'm sure they are the bastion of accuracy, so -- Yes. Mark has been fantastic to work with. He's been on board with us, now, for almost a year and a half making the album.

His tenacity is beyond most producers. And he's got really fantastic musical knowledge. He was a Duran Duran fan, so he was able to come in and say, "Well, this is what I like about your band, and I like this sound, and what you did on this track, and can we possibly do a bit more of that?"

And he was a really -- particularly a big fan of the first couple of albums, so he wanted to try and recapture the energy and the spirit of those songs. And also as sort of leaning towards experimentation. So, there's a few tracks on this album --

ANDERSON: Oh?

RHODES: I think are probably a little more out there, as they say, than things we've done in a while.

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LE BON: Mark is -- it's very sad that he felt, for him, when he was a kid and he listened to it, the third album was a little bit of a disappointment, that he felt it was safe but it didn't -- it lacked direction, and it was a bit too eclectic. And he had always dreamed of making this very exciting, experimental third Duran Duran album with us.

And now, he had the opportunity to do so. He took us off as far as he could. And it was -- he got us to do a lot of things that we haven't done for a long time. All the synthesizers on the album, they're all analog synths. There's no digital synth on it at all.

The way he got me to sing was, he got me to experiment with my voice and not be worried about perfect pitching and orthodox, classy singing. He wanted to get something more raw and more emotional out of me.

ANDERSON: All right. Question from Kristin. She says to both of you, "Which track or album of yours has, through time and distance, been made even better for you? Are there any songs you have taken to listening to recently and said, 'Wow, I'd forgotten how good that is'?" And she says, "Conversely, is there any songs that are now too dated for consideration in a tour lineup?"

LE BON: The song that's kind of -- one of the songs that's lasted the best since 1993 is "Ordinary World." It still sounds very fresh and emotional, now. The song which makes me go, "Wow, I'd forgotten how good this was," would be a B side, "Secret October."

ANDERSON: Somebody who goes by the moniker of "Mr." has written in. Just one simple question. "If you could go back and do it all again, what would you change, and what would you enjoy doing twice?" Guys?

RHODES: I think we'd probably all say we'd do exactly the same as we did all the way through. It doesn't mean that we didn't make mistakes, of course we did. But you do learn from them, and that's the way forward.

I think with Duran Duran, we're an experiment, the whole time. We're like -- we are still like an art school band. When we set out to make a new record, we sit in a room together with a blank sheet and we all look at each other and say, "OK. What should we do? How should we approach this? What technology are we going to use? Who should we work with?"

And there's something very pure about that, that we've all enjoyed. The reason we're still together is because we want to be. We like that process, we like what we create together, and it's good working as a team. I think actually being a solo artist can be quite lonely sometimes. We all enjoy each other's company and what we can achieve together. So --

ANDERSON: And --

RHODES: So, I guess I wouldn't change anything.

ANDERSON: And Simon, is this the first of many collaborations with Mark Ronson?

LE BON: Well, no, it's the second. We did a thing in Paris with him in 2007, which started this ball rolling, actually.

I get the feeling that this is -- we've hit on something here. We've hit on a great team. He really has a knack of getting us -- getting the best out of Duran Duran. I'd love to work with him again. And I get the feeling that he really enjoyed it, too.

ANDERSON: And touring? What's upcoming?

LE BON: Well, what we're doing now is, we're getting our ideas together. This is an important project for us, we want to go out with a spectacular tour in 2011.

ANDERSON: Kristin's got another question for you both. She says, "You were instrumental in the early success of MTV." We all remember that. "Showing how music videos could promote, sell, and expose what you were doing. If 'All You Need is Now' was your debut, and you had to compete with shows like 'Jersey Shore' and '16 and Pregnant' to get eyeballs, what would your strategy be?" And she says, "Are music videos still relevant, in fact?"

RHODES: Well, music videos are definitely relevant now in a very different way than they were when we started out.

LE BON: Yes.

RHODES: And that is that now, mostly they're consumed on the internet. There's a site called Vevo that is really becoming what MTV was early on, in that they are -- that's where you go to find new videos coming out from artists from every genre. And it's really, actually, quite exciting.

LE BON: Yes.

RHODES: I think, again, because there's a lot of new ideas. People are making videos with little Flip cams now, and it's the ideas that have become important as opposed to the budgets, which is what happened exponentially throughout the 80s as they just went up and up and up, and people were starting to make things, including ourselves, that were like chunks of Hollywood movies.

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ANDERSON: Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes for you, there, Duran Duran. Tomorrow's Connector, well, he had one of the shortest tenures in Downing Street in recent times. Former British prime minister Gordon Brown had to steer the country through dismal economic conditions. Well, he's now out with a book on the global financial crisis, and his ideas for maintaining fiscal stability. Your questions to Gordon Brown tomorrow.

I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected tonight. "BackStory" and the headlines are next, right after this very short break. Stay with us.

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