Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Doing Business in Russia; West African Leaders Try to Persuade Leader of Ivory Coast to Step Down
Aired December 28, 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, CNN ANCHOR: Russia attacks criticism by the West of the corruption trial of a former oil tycoon.
Hillary Clinton who said (INAUDIBLE) is the rule of law was being overshadowed by politics.
So 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, is the new Russia the sort of place the West wants to do business with?
Going beyond borders on the day's biggest stories on CNN. This is the hour we "Connect the World."
Well, Russia starts (ph) nearly $25 billion worth of trade a year with America. Given the criticism we are hearing of the Khodorkovsky trial, is business with U.S. and others now in doubt? Joining the dots in London, I'm Becky Anderson.
Also tonight, those West African leaders made last ditch attempts to persuade Ivory Coast incumbent president to step down. We'll look at what could happen if they failed.
A year on from the failed attempt to blow-up a plane over the United States, are we any safer? Plus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, I'm just a guitar player. I mean, I do my best (INAUDIBLE). It's a major achievement that founded that interest and I'm still amazed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Hmmm. We're going to reconnect you with a true rock and roll legend, Mr. Keith Richards this evening and remember you can connect with the program online via Twitter. My personal address @BeckyCnn. Do logon and join the conversation.
All right. "Butt out and mind your own business." Tonight, we kick off in Moscow which is telling the world in no uncertain terms to keep its nose out of Russian domestic affairs. It began with the conviction of a former oil tycoon and now Russia is blasting what it calls "pressure" on its courts. Matthew Chance explains.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest guilty verdict against Mikhail Khodorkovsky has provoked sharp international criticism. Amnesty International say the trial on charges of money laundering and embezzlement was unfair and appeared politically motivated. Governments who have been voicing their deep concern. The White House saying the trial showed the selective application of law in Russia.
Germany's foreign minister called the verdict "extremely dubious and a setback for Russia's modernization." The list of international rebukes from various countries goes on. Russia's foreign ministry though is dismissing all the criticism as meddling, accusing western nations of "exerting unacceptable pressure over the trial." We expect (INAUDIBLE) foreign ministry statement that everyone will mind their own business both at home and in the international arena.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
ANDERSON: Well, you heard Matthew mention Russia has been drawing fire from this verdict from the west. Chief European diplomat Catherine Ashton says that E.U. will be following, and I quote, developments `very closely,' in particular, the sentencing and that the E.U. expects Russia to respect its commitments in the field of human rights and the rule of law.
Well, the French foreign ministry spokesman says "Consolidation of the rule of law is a necessary condition for the success of Russia's process of modernization." Germany echoes that sentiment, it's foreign minister calling the circumstances of the trial "highly worrying" and a step back. And let's not forget the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She says the conviction raises "serious questions about selective prosecution" and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations.
(INAUDIBLE) Clinton's statements for a man who's charged with caring about how the world perceives Russia. Andrei Klimov is the deputy head of the state Duma International Affairs Committee. Here's what he had to say about it on the phone earlier from Moscow.
ANDREI KLIMOV, DUMA INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE (ON THE PHONE): How can she be so sure that she's right? I don't know what's - why is she so sure and why that she's some people from Germany or for France so sure about this case. Things not the case of French jurisdiction or the American one? It is our own case and we have our own court and we have our own objective. Of course, there maybe some mistakes in any cases of this kind, of course, it's possible. But I am not sure that this case so important for Russian (INAUDIBLE) for American leaders.
ANDERSON: Can you give me some examples of for how and why you think the rule of law has been established in Russia?
KLIMOV: Who is the judge? You know? Who can say that he is right and who is wrong? Who can say that Russia is not on the way to best situation with our courts or so? No. I cannot say that. I just want to stress that we are, of course, we are - we're not so sure that we have (INAUDIBLE) the verdict, we know for sure.
But the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky is not the key case. It's not the key case. The only problem - I would think to me - of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's case that he's too rich to make this (INAUDIBLE) or this case out of all this media pressure. And we have a lot of ordinary business people in us. In some cases, they can be free after decisions of the court in somewhat. It depends upon their crimes or if they're really guiltless. They can protect themselves from the courts. And well, I can say that if you compare this with under the Soviet one or the system with (INAUDIBLE) better than (INAUDIBLE). Much better.
ANDERSON: All right. That's the view from that Russia for you this evening.
From Russian justice to Russian business end. Could this verdict upset East-West trade relations? Big talk at the moment. Let's find out. Edward Verona is with us now from Washington, CNN Washington. He's the president and CEO of the U.S.-Russia Business Council.
Let's establish some context for this. Given the latest numbers available from the U.S. State Department, trade with the U.S. is a lot more important to Russia than Russian business is to the United States, six times as important. Does a trial like this one, the Khodorkovsky trial and the reaction from the West affect that bilateral trade? Will it affect bilateral trade?
EDWARD VERONA, U.S.-RUSSIA BUSINESS COUNCIL: I don't believe so. I think this - the outcome was anticipated by many business leaders. I don't think it surprises anybody. And the business climate is the concerns about the rule of law and transparency, corporate governance, are pretty well priced into the market already.
ANDERSON: Which begs the question, should it affect trade rather than with it?
VERONA: Well, there's a great deal of anticipation on the business community about Russia's accession to the WTO. Many expect that to occur sometime next year, probably the middle of next year. And with that, they believe that there'll be significant growth in opportunity there over the long-term. Russia-U.S. trade is still less than one percent of our total trade turnover so I can't say that it's a major driver for our relationship but we certainly hope it will be. And, of course, rule of law is very important to people doing business in the country. I think it's especially important to Russians who are investing there - maybe even more so than for foreign investors.
ANDERSON: Already it gets said that with regards to the rule of law, they don't get it right all of the time. Indeed they've sort of (INAUDIBLE) to the fact that they may not got it right with the Khodorkovsky trial. Are you suggesting to me that better we look at opportunities than at human rights, do you say?
VERONA: Well, we can only see things from a business perspective. I'll leave it to the politicians to address the political questions. Of course, we are close observers of what's going on in Russia. But from a strictly business perspective, it is a market that has enormous potential. We see a growing middle class with an appetite for western goods and services and we see examples within over the last month of a major U.S. company investing $3.4 billion. PepsiCo.
Russia's now their second largest market in the world. And today, there is an announcement that General Electric has entered into discussions with two major Russian companies. So business proceeds. But as I mentioned before, a lot of the risks there, they recognize, acknowledged, but they're priced into the market. Russian equities, trade at multiples, much lower than in other emerging markets. And this says that well, there is a political risk and it's reflected in the price of assets.
ANDERSON: In words of one syllable for those who don't spend their time trading or looking at these markets, what it seems to me you're saying is that a nod and a wink to the fact that there is a lack of transparency and to a certain extent we'll turn a blind eye.
VERONA: No, I wouldn't say that. When Russia offers state assets for sale, something that will begin next year, major program to raise more than $30 billion of revenues for the Russian treasury, they're going to have to deal with the fact that the assets maybe under priced because of the perceived risk of operating in Russia. And business has watched very closely some of these cases that maybe cross the border from business into human rights.
The case of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who was placed in pre-trial detention and held there for a year under conditions that are apparently were rather inhuman and died. And this is a case that's being watched very closely by the business community because it is a new case. It doesn't seem to have the political ramifications or overtones as the Khodorkovsky case did and well, we're not seeing evidence yet of the aspirations that President Medvedev articulated at the beginning of his administration and his - are still, you would say, the - what's the theme of his administration. Rule of law, ending legalism (ph) is a mess he described it.
ANDERSON: That's right. And we thank you very much indeed for joining us. Edward Verona with us from CNN Washington this evening, your expert on the subject in business with Russia at the end of 2010.
Well, pressures that rising in Ivory Coast. The trio of West African leaders meet the embattled president to deliver a pointed warning.
Also, rising anger in South Africa over the flood of immigrants in Zimbabwe who have come to their country in search of a better life.
You're watching "Connect the World." This is live from London. It is 12 minutes past nine London Time. I'm Becky Anderson. Be back after a short break. Don't go away.
ANDERSON: A regional approach is on the way to try and break increasingly frustrating and dangerous political impasse in Ivory Coast. Three West African leaders arrived there today representing the group that swarmed the embattled President Laurent Gbagbo, "step down or face military force." The presidents of Benin, Cape Verde, and Sierra Leone met Gbagbo at the Presidential Palace. He remains defiant even though the nation's independent electoral commission declared him a loser of a presidential runoff vote. All the three leaders later met the challenger Alassane Ouattara who was holed up at a hotel protected by United Nations' peacekeepers. Ouattara also declared victory in the election.
For more, I'm joined by Eric Agnero. He's on the line from the commercial capital, Abidjan.
Eric, with threats of military action looming, can this meeting somehow improve the chances of a political and peaceful solution, do you think?
ERIC AGNERO, JOURNALIST: Unfortunately, we didn't have any communicate after the meeting but it looks like it's the last chance or another chance to Mr. Laurent Gbagbo. The other - the three leaders that with President Gbagbo, you know, came out of this meeting smiling in front of the cameras and we had earlier a message from the leader of the Young Patriots - you know, the pro-Gbagbo that have counseled a meeting - a big meeting that they were planning for tomorrow. So they are trying to push for diplomacy. We don't know if Mr. Gbagbo accepted the message. Before that meeting, he clearly said that he will not step down unless - he will not step down at all. He said that the ECOWAS should accept to abide to the constitution of the country since the constitutional council declared him the winner.
ANDERSON: Eric, we're looking at some pictures out of Abidjan today. Give me a lay of the land here. Where is Gbagbo and where is Ouattara at this point?
AGNERO: Gbagbo is in his residential palace and Mr. Ouattara is in the hotel that's host is the government. He's been there for a few weeks, even locked into there because there is a military blockade and checkpoints around this hotel. On one side, Ouattara is trying to act as the president. He's been recognized by the international community. And on the other side, Gbagbo has all the apparatus so he met even the presidents from the ECOWAS in the presidential palace as to show the world that he's in charge. So we have two men that are fighting to get the seat.
ANDERSON: Now Ouattara, who claims the presidency, has called for workers to go out and strike. There's been an awful lot of pressure and civil disturbance - 170 people have died and that's probably the least that we know of. How are the streets, being safe, today?
AGNERO: Today, the streets were quieter than yesterday. The call wasn't really answered. But today, we noticed that the small buses and some truck forces also didn't came out. So people didn't have the chance to move around. So the streets were less busier. Even downtown plateau (ph) who's like a bee's nest, is like we'd say was really, really quiet today.
ANDERSON: All right, Eric. We're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us this evening and over the past couple of weeks, giving us an update on what's going on in the streets in Ivory Coast.
I want to give you an idea of the immense pressure that Gbagbo is facing right now. The United Nations has led the call for him to step down. The UN is backed by the European Union and the United States. Now, at West African regional block that Eric just mentioned, ECOWAS, is also demanding that Gbagbo leave office. So is the African Union which named Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga as Gbagbo critic, well, he is a Gbagbo critic, as point man for efforts to resolve the crisis. Only Angola is voicing public support. Angola's foreign minister says the country has a policy of "no external interference in Ivory Coast".
And while the stalemate continues, the refugee crisis grows. The UN Refugee Agency now says that more than 19,000 Ivorians have fled to Liberia to escape post-election violence. A majority of refugees are women and kids with nearly two-thirds of them under the age of 18. There's now talk of setting-up a camp if the numbers continue to grow.
So with the looming threat of war and a growing refugee crisis, what happens next? Well, our next guest says West African troops are ready to intervene. Henri Boshoff is a program head of the Institute for Security Studies in Victoria (ph) joins me now on the line from South Africa.
Is intervention the most likely step for this point, Henri?
HENRI BOSHOFF, INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES (ON THE PHONE): Well, I think intervention is the last step and I think that's why we - for the last few weeks - we've seen a lot of mediation going on. And I don't think it will stop there. We know that the three presidents of ECOWAS is now, as we speak, talking with both parties. (INAUDIBLE) to fly to Ivory Coast to continue if there's a failure today. So I think the whole issue of intervention is the very, very last option. But ECOWAS has made it quite clear that it's a possibility.
ANDERSON: It's not just a threat at this point. How would it work?
BOSHOFF: Well, you know, this will be a little bit different. ECOWAS is one of the region organizations who've got the most experience in basically in here, not intervention, but when they - each country - can we differ here to Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Liberia, ECOWAS was ready to deploy very quickly to stop the violence. This is a little bit different. But ECOWAS has got the structure and I think there is a possibility that if they are, that they can intervene.
ANDERSON: Henri, stick with me. So I want our viewers to know that if indeed they do go on, there is a precedence for ECOWAS going on and intervening, let's just take a look at what that is. It has a history of using military forces from its members' countries of course to settle regional conflict. Let me just give our viewers an idea of this.
In 1990, the regional group sent in some 12,000 troops to intervene in Liberia's civil war. They stayed through elections in 1997 that's brought President Charles Taylor to power, of course. That same year, troops brought order to Sierra Leone after rebels tried to overthrow that country's president. In 1999, ECOWAS peacekeepers helped to put down another attempted rebellion in Guinea-Bissau. And 2,000 troops were sent to Ivory Coast in 2002 to monitor a cease-fire following a military uprising there.
The point is this though, Henri, isn't it that Gbagbo does have his supporters. It is reported that mercenaries from both Liberia and Angola are in the country. Is civil war likely at this point?
BOSHOFF: Well, that is the biggest challenge. To intervene in this situation as a last option, what are you going to do? Are you going to enter the country, basically activate the Ivorian defense force, try and basically disarm them and then take control of the country and put Mr. Ouattara in place? What will such an action - what will be the action would be? They will be probably (INAUDIBLE). Will there be fighting in the street? And then it brings that issue of the UN force that is there.
We've just heard that one of their vehicles was burned tonight and one of their soldiers were wounded in - by some of the citizens showing their discontent. So that is all things that whenever the decision is made that you would have to take in consideration. And I don't think ECOWAS will storm blindly into Ivory Coast. They will first send a technical team to do a full assessment before deciding on any of that. And then they still need to get a mandate from the United Nations.
So it's not so clear-cut that they will be an intervention. But ECOWAS has said that it is an option and I think that is one of the mediation tools also to tell Gbagbo we are serious, we are not going to accept anything but you going.
ANDERSON: For those viewers who are watching this story develop or have been watching this story, Henri, develop over the past couple of weeks, there maybe those who say - can you explain why what is going on Ivory Coast matters so much to the rest of us given that that is the possibility. Can you?
BOSHOFF: Well, you know, you much mean that Ivory Coast is a very important economical hub in West Africa. Also, what happened in Ivory Coast impact on their neighbors and that could lead to destabilization of West Africa and that is why there are West African folks are so very serious to insure that there is stability. In previous - well, you referred to that - already 19,000 refugees have fled the country. That number can increase.
We've also seen now that ECOWAS has started to take some steps like freezing bank accounts and things like that. The people in Ivory Coast is already - the prices of food is already going up. They are already feeling the crunch. And this is all things that could not only destabilize the country internally but also have some big impact on the neighbors and that is why the neighbors are so serious to resolve this issue. But since 2003, they have come so far. There was an election and according to them, it was a free and fair election and so it's time for Mr. Gbagbo to go. And that why I think they're so serious about this.
ANDERSON: All right. Some of that, we're going to leave it there. Henri Boshoff, we thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight out of Pretoria. More from Ivory Coast.
So we move next to Zimbabwe where economic hardships have driven many people across the border. Our special continues with a look at why South Africa is being targeted and why many there fear a violent uprising against foreigners. And we look at the two terror threats that prompted raise of vigilance at airports around the world. Just part of our top stories for 2010 next, after the break.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're with "Connect the World." I'm Becky Anderson. That all this week, we've been shining the spotlight on Zimbabwe, this small landlocked nation, of course, as one seen as bread basket of Africa. Now though it is struggling to revive an economy plagued by widespread poverty and high unemployment.
Well, we begin across the border this evening in Johannesburg where Zimbabweans are racing against time to legalize their stay in South Africa. It's a better life, they say, with more job security but they have just a few days before the amnesty from deportation runs out. Well, tonight, why this is reigniting fears of violence against foreigners in South Africa. Nkepile Mabuse reports on the competition for jobs in a country that's already at breaking point. And just a warning, this piece does contain some graphic images.
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): May 2008 and South Africans turn on African immigrants, burning their homes, beating and even killing some, accusing foreign nationals of stealing their jobs. When the violence had subsided, more than 60 people had been killed. Tens of thousands were displaced and many immigrants fled to their home countries. The violence sparked a fierce debate on immigration.
In April of last year, South Africa had granted Zimbabwean citizens amnesty from deportation if they get work and study permits before the end of the year, giving them a chance to legalize their stay. Once a regional bread basket, Zimbabwe's economy has rapidly deteriorated over the past decade.
Failed policies of President Robert Mugabe's government forced millions to flee unemployment and poverty back home, the majority of them to South Africa. Formalizing their stay here has however made some South Africans worry even more about competition for jobs in a nation with a 24 percent unemployment rate.
"We are not educated", this South African worker tells me, "So when we go out looking for work, we find that many of these foreigners are taking our jobs and accepting less money."
Ungani Mupanga (ph) lived in Romaposa (ph) informal settlement in Johannesburg. On every street in this impoverished area, unemployed residents sell whatever they can to make ends meet.
Muslim beacon (ph) Pedro Mafumo (ph) fled the violence but returned two months later.
"This is my home", he tells me. "My wife and children are here."
Mafumo (ph) and other immigrants live in constant worry that attacks may resurge but he says that many South Africans are sympathetic.
"I think there's a possibility that attacks on foreigners may erupt again," he says, "but there are many South Africans who are not happy about what happened. They are now standing with us and protecting us."
When Mafumo (ph) is not fixing cars, he's growing vegetables he sells for extra income. He says he's not stealing jobs from South Africans but rather taking on work locals are not interested in doing.
"Some of them don't want to work," he says. "When I was away, they could have taken over my garden, but they didn't. I came back and found that the vegetables had been looted, but no planting had been done."
Work is what initially brought Mafumo (ph) to South Africa three decades ago, but he now considers it home and says he's willing to risk dying here. Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, Johannesburg.
ANDERSON: And tomorrow, we'll be in Harare, looking at one area of investment that the government seems to have pulled off, and that is education. We'll take a look at just where Zimbabweans are using that to their advantage.
Tonight, the quest to go home is a long, difficult and, for some, brutal experience as thousands of travelers find themselves stuck in airports. And the southeastern US digs out from what has been an horrific blizzard. That story up next.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back. You are with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you on CNN. Coming up, all pent up with no place to go. When will thousands of stranded travelers in the northeastern US get to board a plane and head home?
Also, changes in air security over the past year. A look at new measures aimed at preventing terror attacks.
Plus, we're adding another Connector of the Day to our Best of 2010 list. If you mist our candid interview with Keith Richards the first time around, stay tuned for take two.
That is coming up in the next half hour. Before that and the rest, let's get you a very quick check of the headlines this hour here on CNN.
Well, Russia is telling other countries to, quote, "mind their own business" following heavy criticism of its judiciary. The US and Germany sharply criticized Moscow for what they called "selective prosecution" in the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The former Russian oil tycoon and his business partner were convicted on corruption charges.
Three West African leaders met the embattled president of Ivory Coast earlier today, urging Laurent Gbagbo to step down. The presidents of Benin, Cape Verde, and Sierra Leone warned Gbagbo faces military action if he remains defiant. Gbagbo rejects claims that he lost the presidential election to challenger Alassane Ouattara.
In Iran, two German journalists being held on espionage charges were allowed to meet with their families on Monday. Iran's foreign ministry says the visit was allowed on humanitarian grounds. The journalists arrested in October after interviewing the son and lawyer of a woman who is condemned to death by stoning.
And in Cricket, Australia looks set to lose the coveted Ashes series on their own turf. England are almost certain to win the test that resumes on Wednesday after the Aussies' feeble batting performance on day three in Melbourne. If that happens, England will retain the Ashes.
Well, the long journey home is getting even longer, I'm afraid, for thousands of travelers stuck in the northeastern seaboard of the United States after a weekend blizzard. Our Allan Chernoff has been stationed at New York's LaGuardia Airport for some time, actually, since the snow started falling. I spoke to him to get an update from him just a short time ago.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, the situation here at LaGuardia Airport in New York is improving radically. This morning, we had very few planes on the tarmac.
They pretty much started almost empty, because the airlines had moved their planes out of the New York area in anticipation of the storm, and they were unable to move them back into place before this morning's rush, or what should have been a rush.
So, now, we are gradually ramping up. And the airport is operating at a little better than 50 percent. At some hours, up to 70 percent of capacity. The people you see behind me -- pardon me. The people behind me are the lucky ones. They're the ones who actually have been ticketed. They are trying to drop off their baggage.
But there are many other people who are still arriving at the airport, even those having been told by the airlines that their flights were on for today, they're getting here, and they're being told, "No, we've decided the flights have been canceled." So, still a lot of problems.
ANDERSON: And one chap who got to the airport but has been hit by you may not make it. No, he will, I'm sure. Allan, how long is this going to last?
CHERNOFF: Well, the general manager here just told me that he expects it's going to take the airlines at least a couple of days to get their schedules up to full, 100 percent. The airlines, maybe, are giving a little bit more of an optimistic forecast, but I would trust the operator, the guy who's actually operating this airport.
And then, let's consider getting all the people where they want to go. There have been tens of thousands of passengers who have been canceled, been unable to fly over the past three days. That's a lot of people, and it will take a lot of time for them to finally get on to flights. So, I don't think we're going to see resolution of this whole issue until the end of the week at the absolute earliest. Becky?
ANDERSON: Superb, mate. Thanks, so much.
ANDERSON: All right. Well, airports with their problems and controversies have been making headlines throughout the year, haven't they? Next up, we're going to look at how security checks have changed in the past 12 months, prompted by two major scares.
ANDERSON: Well, it's the week that was, as it were. This week we are looking back on the stories that have resonated around the globe this year, even at the very start of 2010.
Airport security. Well, it's shaping up as a major issue. It was this time last year that we were just starting to learn more about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, dubbed "the underwear bomber." The 23-year-old Nigerian allegedly tried to detonate explosives on a US-bound flight to Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. Christian Purefoy was among the first to bring us details of the suspect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A family source has confirmed that Farouk Mutallab is the son of Alhaji Mutallab, one -- former chairman of one of Nigeria's biggest, wealthiest, and most respected banks, First Bank of Nigeria. He said the 23-year-old first studied in London and then, after returning home, asked to go and study in Saudi Arabia or Cairo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Later, the focus shifted from passengers to cargo. The Yemen-based arm of al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a parcel bomb plot. Devices were found on cargo planes bound for the United States. Our aviation expert, Richard Quest, explained the implications of the foiled attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The largo cargo that goes on freight forwarders' own planes, very little of that is screened at the moment or, at least, they'll never tell us how much is screened. But that's going to be in the area people are now going to look at.
We know that cargo on passenger planes should be screened. It's the rest that now becomes the fighting ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All these scares exposed vulnerabilities in aviation security, and authorities reacted. Kate Bolduan takes us through what has been a more vigilant 2010 at airports in the United States.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the newest target of increased scrutiny by transportation security officials. The TSA says terrorists may use insulated beverage containers to conceal explosives to get them on planes.
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: They haven't banned these insulated beverage containers. What they're saying is, they're going to get additional scrutiny, and we've trained our people to look at them and tell the difference between typical insulation and something that may be an explosive.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Just the latest in a long list of changes to airport security sparked by the Christmas Day terror attempt one year ago, when alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab used an explosive device sewn into his underwear to try to bring down this Delta flight heading to Detroit.
The president's top counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan says, "With heightened concern during the holiday season, the government is doing everything possible to make sure it's on guard this time around."
JOHN BRENNAN, US COUNTER-TERRORISM ADVISER: What we want to do is to let the American people know that we're on the job, we're staying vigilant, we're working with our partners, and not just our international partners, with our state and local partners, as well. And we will continue to do so throughout the holiday season and beyond.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Other security measures put in place this year include more intense examination of passenger information, the enhanced and sometimes controversial pat-downs, and additional deployment of full body scanners.
JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF US HOMELAND SECURITY: Our job is not only to react, but to be thinking always ahead on what could be happening.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): So, with this stepped-up security, do travelers feel safer this holiday?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know that I would say I feel any more or less safe. I think there are so many things you can't necessarily predict, and I think people are doing the best they can with what we've got available.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still don't think security measures are in place where they need to be. So -- but I don't feel less safe. I'd say about the same.
BOLDUAN (on camera): Homeland Security officials acknowledge the holiday season's an attractive target for terrorists because of the potential emotional and psychological impact. That's something Americans are concerned about, as well. In a recent CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, 54 percent said an act of terrorism in the US this holiday season was likely. Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.
ANDERSON: So, what was airport security like in other parts of the world? Well, Mallika Kapur briefed us on the situation in India, Paula Hancocks takes us through the checks in Israel. Let's start with Arwa Damon said about security at Baghdad International Airport.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Arwa Damon in Baghdad. Now, this being a war zone means that security at the airport, where we're not allowed to film, is, naturally, very tight.
But to give you an idea of what the average person goes through, before you even get anywhere near the terminal is the first checkpoint. Everybody out of the vehicles, including the luggage. The bomb-sniffing dog comes through. And then, the first body search. All over, full contour, at times, fairly intrusive.
By the time the average person has actually boarded their flight, in total, they would have gone through two bomb-sniffing dogs, four x-ray machines, and three full body searches. It's a process that can take hours. But that being said, there have been very few security breaches at Baghdad's International Airport itself.
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Mallika Kapur in Hyderabad, a city in southern India. We can't film inside the airport or anywhere close to it because of security concerns.
Security at Indian airports is tight. Just to enter the airport, you need to produce a printout of your travel documents plus a photo ID. Once done with checking in, passengers have to form two lines for security, one for men, one for women and children.
For hand baggage, the usual rules apply. No sharp objects, no liquids. In fact, here in India, you're not even allowed to carry ordinary battery cells.
Regarding personal security, passengers are first frisked by a hand- held device. Pat-downs occur sometimes but, to be honest, that's really quite rare.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Paula Hancocks in Jerusalem. Israel has a very different approach when it comes to airport security than other countries. It has all the latest technology and the sophisticated machinery, but here, the human element is key.
Pretty much ever passenger will be questioned, sometimes by more than one security officer, and some are strip-searched. And, no matter how distasteful it may be to civil liberties groups, Israel actively profiles passengers and makes no apology for it.
NERI YARKONI, FORMER HEAD, ISRAELI CIVIL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: You should profile. If you don't profile, you waste time, you waste money, and you might miss what you're looking for, because you're searching it on the wrong people.
HANCOCKS: Yarkoni says that behavior, intelligence-gathering, and statistics have to be taken into account, as well as race. But there have been plenty of accusations of racism from Arabs and Muslims, who say they've found themselves on the wrong side of profiling.
Another difference here, you won't have to take your shoes off as standard, and you won't have to give up your bottle of water at security.
ANDERSON: Joining me now is my colleague, Richard Quest. You'll know him, of course, as an aviation expert amongst other things. Richard, where do we stand so far as airport security, loosely termed?
QUEST: Well, obviously, the year started with the underwear bomb on its way to Detroit, and that set the tone. We suddenly became aware of many more possibilities for security and security breaches. And then, right in the middle towards the end of the year, we got the courier devices, and that threw another wrench into it.
So, throughout the course of the year, we've constantly been learning more and more about the impossible that suddenly not only became possible, but was actually happening.
ANDERSON: John Brennan, you'll have heard in our report, says, and I quote, that "We're on the job, we're staying vigilant, we're working with our partners." As we move into 2011, what should we believe as passengers and as freight, I guess, as well, if we were to be freight.
QUEST: That we are always one step ahead of those who would wish to do us harm, but sometimes they get ahead of us. It is an ongoing battle, and it's one that -- it really depends.
The good example is the courier case. Those courier devices. First of all, they shouldn't have been on passenger planes unscreened. Second of all, it drew attention to a problem that lots of people in the industry knew about, but people hoped was not going to come to fruition.
As we go into 2011, what's going to be the hallmark there? The hallmark is going to be tighter security, more pat-downs, more intrusive pat-downs. But again, Becky, it all comes down to how far ahead of the bad guys can we be?
ANDERSON: Are we safe?
QUEST: You're as safe as you can be, recognizing that there are a large number of people who are determined to do what they can to make it unsafe. Are you going to be always safe? No. Are you going to be safe most of the time? Yes.
But the core point to keep in mind is that the authorities are going to continue to move the goalposts. Sometimes you'll go through security and nothing will get checked. Other times, they'll almost strip search you. There will be bottles of liquid that will be looked at. All these sorts of things. Ultimately, the name of the game is staying one step ahead.
ANDERSON: Richard Quest for you. Still to come, we're re-connecting you with one of our favorite guests this year. They don't come any more rock and roll than Mr. Keith Richards. A candid interview with the man who says he's just a guitarist. Up next.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is CONNECT THE WORLD and, all this week, we're bringing you what we call our favorite Connectors of the Year. Tonight, we're adding a rock icon to that list. My colleagues -- my colleagues. My colleague Max Foster re-connects you with a Rolling Stone.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's what only can be described as a living legend, with a rock and roll lifestyle just as notorious as his rock and roll lyrics. But for Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards, it's all about the band.
KEITH RICHARDS, GUITARIST, THE ROLLING STONES: We're a bar band, you know? We got glorified bar band.
FOSTER (voice-over): Richards first met bandmate Mick Jagger whilst in primary school. An encounter that would change rock history. Richards was a party boy, famous for his bevy of women, outlandish comments, and run-ins with the law. But nothing seemed to slow him down.
The band is still touring today, and was recently featured in a Martin Scorsese documentary, "Shine a Light."
And this month, Richards is out with a new book, "Life." The memoir offers an inside glimpse at the dynamics between Richards and Jagger, with revelations that have the media buzzing. He told me why it was that he decided to write this book now.
RICHARDS: We'd been on the road for three years, and I know that I had spare time. And if it was ever going to happen, it was going to be in this time. So, I revisited myself.
FOSTER (on camera): Had a chance.
FOSTER: We've got lots of viewer questions from all over the world. Tom McDonnell wants to know, "Do you have a favorite Rolling Stones song?" The question you've been asked --
RICHARDS: I know, I mean this is the most difficult --
RICHARDS: Thing to answer. But there -- off the top of my head, let's say "Midnight Rambler."
RICHARDS: Yes. Just because it encapsulates what Mick and I can do together, and it's the most obvious example. I -- that -- I call "Brown Sugar," "Satisfaction," of course.
FOSTER: A lot of viewers like "Satisfaction."
RICHARDS: Because it becomes -- these are all my babies.
RICHARDS: These songs. I choose "Midnight Rambler" just because it's a great mixture of what Mick and I can do together, and that nobody else can do, I guess.
FOSTER: How would you encapsulate the roles that both of you had, and is it sometimes frustrating when one gets credit that the other did?
RICHARDS: Yes, I don't think credit really comes into it. And, as you say, it's a collaboration. And collaboration cannot exist in a vacuum. There has to be some rub and some conflict.
RICHARDS: And some -- it's just how you deal with it. So, basically, that to me is the important thing about the way Mick and I work together. Is a little bit of grit.
RICHARDS: The thing that makes the pearl in an oyster --
FOSTER: OK. You talk about a bit of grit, and Justin Sears says, "What was your worst moment with Sir Mick, and what did you learn from it?"
RICHARDS: I'm sure it's still to come.
RICHARDS: As far as learning from it, you learn everything as you go along with each other. I can't think of any one particular incident, really. It's a matter of being able to get along. You have highs, incredible highs. And the lows are incredibly low.
RICHARDS: And you -- if you can deal with those two, some way you come out in the middle.
FOSTER: It's amazing, you talk about some of the tensions sometimes in the group. It's amazing you've lasted so long, so successful so long. But do you think that tension, the grit that you talk about, is part of what keeps you going, it keeps the music alive?
RICHARDS: Yes, yes, exactly. It's -- without that, things don't happen. They just lie dormant. And there's that tension. And you've got two guys working together, and they've got -- "Oh, that's a good a good idea, but I think it should do this," and "I think it should do that." And, so, you get tension. And that's -- from that, you get what you get, you know? It's always been amazing to work with Mick and I'm still trying to write the perfect song for him.
FOSTER: Lots of people say you've already had those perfect songs. A question from Rasa is, "any advice for the younger people who, like me, still like to rock and roll and play the guitar?"
RICHARDS: Hey, if that's what you like to do, I'd say go for it. There's -- it's the most fun in the world. And after all, you can only trip up and fall over. And everybody can stand up and get up again. But if you've got that desire to play music and rock and roll, it's not the most damaging thing on the face of this planet.
FOSTER: You've talked about some of the damaging things you've done in the past, that sort of rock and roll lifestyle. When you actually came down to writing the book, was it easy -- easier than you thought to write because it flowed? Or were some of the memories a little vague?
RICHARDS: The idea of it was very easy. The actual reliving of the life was kind of painful.
FOSTER: Was it?
RICHARDS: Yes, of course. You try reliving yours, you know what I mean?
FOSTER: So, those awkward moments you had --
FOSTER: You have to sort of --
RICHARDS: And now you have to go through things that you'd already sort of buried, you know?
RICHARDS: Like -- when the bodies come out of the grave, and you're, "Oh, not again!"
FOSTER: But were you honest, then, in the book? Did you write the - - write about those things?
RICHARDS: I did --
FOSTER: Even though you --
RICHARDS: I think it was as honest as it could be. And it was just the way it affected me, and the band from my point of view. I'm sure there's other people with different points of view. And after all, all they have to do is write a book about it. I'm amazed when I come out and hear people have taken me to heart.
FOSTER: Finally, I just want to ask you, how do you think you've -- how would you encapsulate the impact you've had on the world? It's a big question, but what impact would you -- ?
RICHARDS: Well, it's probably bigger than Mao Tse-Tung, you know?
FOSTER: But you had -- culturally, you've had a big impact, haven't you?
RICHARDS: Yes, I know. These things I still -- reconciling or thinking about, that you --
FOSTER: What do you think it is?
RICHARDS: I don't know. Hopefully, it's that we spread a message that, hey, everybody can get along. You shouldn't take small things and blow them up into enormous things. And that rock and roll is very soothing for the heart.
FOSTER: And it's still alive. These people are still buying your records in massive amounts.
RICHARDS: That's all right with me.
FOSTER: When you were a kid, did you ever envision this? I guess it's what you dream of.
RICHARDS: No. You can dream, right? Now I'm in it, but --
FOSTER: Living the dream.
RICHARDS: Yes. And -- no. I'm pretty much over awed by all of this, actually. I'm just a guitar player, you know? I do my best, and it's amazing that people have found it that interesting. I'm still amazed. It makes me want to work harder.
ANDERSON: Still living the dream, it seems. Remarkable. Keith Richards, for you, one of our favorite Connectors of the Year. Tune in tomorrow night and find out who else has made the cut.
It's 57 minutes past 9:00. We're going to take a very short break.
ANDERSON: All right. Liz Hurley kicks off tonight's Parting Shots with a tweet. Quote, "Massive congratulations to David and Elton on having their beautiful son," she writes. "Can't wait for my first cuddle." Liz is, of course, referring to the birth of Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish- John, the son of Elton and his longtime partner, David Furnish. The baby boy born on Christmas Day via a surrogate mother.
And they are not the first celebrities to turn to surrogate births. In recent years, Hollywood acting couple Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick also had twin surrogate daughters, Marion and Tabitha, born last year.
Singer Ricky Martin, twin boys, Matteo and Valentino, born via surrogate in 2008.
And actor Robert De Niro also has twin sons with an ex-girlfriend conceived by IVF and born via surrogate. Celebrities taking on the role of parents in tonight's Parting Shots.
I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world, connected. "BackStory" is next on CNN, after a very quick check of the headlines.