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CONNECT THE WORLD

Gadhafi Struggles to Maintain Control of Libya; Two U.S. Soldiers Murdered in Frankfurt; Pakistani Minister Gunned Down

Aired March 2, 2011 - 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: The battle for Libya intensifies, as Gadhafi attempts to regain control. Libya's opposition fights back and tries to hold on, as Gadhafi tells the West, stay out or face a bloodbath.

On the border, it's a scene of misery, with thousands stranded, desperate for shelter.

These stories and more tonight as we connect the world.

A very good evening to you.

I'm Becky Anderson in Tunisia, very close to the Libyan border.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Fionnuala Sweeney in London.

Also coming up, gunned down for speaking out -- a Christian minister is killed in Pakistan over his opposition to the country's blasphemy laws.

And a standing ovation for Steve Jobs, as Apple's iPad gets a makeover.

ANDERSON: All right. Back with me here in Tunisia.

We begin with the Libyan regime's biggest counter-offensive yet against opposition held areas. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi attacked the strategic oil port of Brega earlier today, with heavy weapons and airstrikes. Wednesday's assault began at dawn, but by day's end, opposition fighters said they had repelled the attack. A medic tells CNN four people were killed. Other reports put the number at 10.

Army defectors are swelling the ranks of the rebels. This amateur video is said to show Libyan soldiers joining an opposition demonstration. Well, Gadhafi's government still controls the capital, Tripoli, Sabrata and his hometown of Sirt, while Benghazi, Misurata and Tubruq are now in rebel hands.

Both sides are fighting for control of Ajdabiya, Az Zawiya and Brega.

Well, Ben Wedeman is in Benghazi, about 160 kilometers north of where these air and land assaults were earlier on today.

He saw some of those assaults and he joins us now -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, what we saw was basically a full blown assault by Libyan armed forces against the town of El Brega. That's an extremely important town because it has one of Libya's largest oil refineries and oil export facilities.

The battle went on throughout the day and it included Libyan Air Force jets, which we saw dropping bombs not only around Brega itself, but also very near to where we were, by the road leading to Brega, where anti- government forces were joining together to try to begin a counter-offensive to push those Libyan forces, those Libyan Army forces out of Brega.

By sunset, it appeared that the town had been freed from those forces that had been sent from Tripoli, those -- the Libyan Army had pulled back to a village not far from Brega, on the road to Tripoli. Obviously, nerves are very much on edge at the moment. We're hearing, in fact, some large explosions here in Benghazi. I don't know exactly what they are, but people are very tense after this day long battle in Brega -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman in Benghazi for you.

Ben, we thank you very much, indeed, for that.

OK, that's the story then -- or at least one of the stories in the east of the country. Amid all the fighting, Libya's leader, Moammar Gadhafi, issued a chilling working earlier on today, saying thousands of Libyans will die if the United States or NATO intervenes. Moammar Gadhafi addressed supporters in Tripoli on Wednesday in a two-and-a-half hour speech broadcast live on state TV. He again denied any people's revolt against his regime, blaming it instead on al Qaeda and former prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Gadhafi warned he's ready to distribute weapons to millions of Libyans to repel any foreign invasion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (through translator): Libya will not be entered by America or the Atlantic Pact until sink in blood. They know there will be entering hell and in a bath of blood. They will sink more than what -- what will happen to them will -- Libya will be more than what happened to them in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If the West threatens us and doesn't want our friendship and challenges us, we will accept this challenge. It's not -- it's not the fact that we'll enter into confrontations with -- with the West. We have, in the East, China. We have India. We have -- we have Brazil. We can replace them with the West.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right, Gadhafi speaking earlier on in Tripoli.

Nic Robertson was actually in the hall in Tripoli listening to that speech. And we're going to try and get him up from Tripoli just as soon as we can. Obviously, technically, things are quite difficult as we go live for you from here in the region.

I'm in Tunisia, very close to the Libyan border, joined now by Arwa Damon, who has actually been at the border earlier on today.

What did you see?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were down at the Tahiba (ph) border crossing, which is further south, between Tunisia and Libya. And a few days ago, there was absolutely no Libyan military presence on their side of the border crossing. People could move in and out.

Today, there is a town around 60 kilometers down a winding mountainous road, the town of Nalut. And that currently is being occupied by opposition forces.

However, on Monday, the Libyan military, in this effort to reassert its control over the area, moved back in to man their side of the border. We're hearing reports from inside Nalut that residents are trying to fortify their defenses, block off roads leading in, very worried, very concerned about a possible military offensive.

And it does appear that the military, the Libyan military, is in there for the long haul. We were given cell phone video of a helicopter overhead providing resupply for the military troops there.

ANDERSON: Did you speak to anybody who actually heard Gadhafi's speech today?

DAMON: No. People there are completely cut off. This terrain very mountainous, very rugged. It's a well known smuggling route, a very tribal area. People at this border crossing, it's not very big, very cut off from everything else. A lot of what's coming across is word of mouth. There's a lot of rumors. Some people come across, they vow that they support Gadhafi. They say that he's 100 percent masistai (ph), the leader of his country. Other people who come across obviously telling a completely different story. But in this area, really, very rural, very difficult.

ANDERSON: Arwa, we're some 15 days into this crisis that's -- let's call it that -- in Libya. You've been on the ground here for most of that time.

Is your sense that the opposition, whoever they are at this point -- we've talk about that in the last week or so. It's difficult to say exactly who these opposition groups are.

But is it -- is there a sense that Gadhafi is getting stronger at this point or weaker?

DAMON: I think in the beginning, there was a sense that he was getting weaker when the opposition emerged, when we saw many of the areas rapidly, to everyone's surprise, begin to fall. But over the last few days, we've seen Gadhafi loyalists, his military, winning back some of these areas that were taken over by the opposition. Down in this area that we were in, a concerted effort to try to really take back these areas and intimidate the populations...

ANDERSON: All right...

DAMON: -- that were trying to stand up against him.

ANDERSON: All right, Arwa, on the ground here in Tunisia with me tonight, have been down -- she says a town quite some distance away from where we are now on the Libyan-Tunisian border.

Let's get back to Tripoli now.

Nic Robertson is there.

As I say, he was in the hall listening to Gadhafi's speech earlier on today -- and, Nic, your sense of how it was received.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a -- an audience of the faithful. They couldn't -- it couldn't have been received any better, I think, in that hall. I mean we saw that when he walked in. For the first 10 minutes, he stood there surrounded by people cheering and chanting him. And he had his hands in the air, sort of taking a salute, taking the adoration.

Then he sat down to give his speech.

There were -- there were very clear warnings in that. I mean it was interesting because, on the one hand, he was telling the rebels that they can put their weapons down and they won't face charges. Yet, at the same time, we know across the country from where Ben Wedeman was, they were being -- the rebels -- the same rebels he was talking about were being bombed.

And we heard his threats against the United States. And he had a subtext message there for the people of Libya. He said, look, what the United States and the colonialists will do is to come in and take the oil. And he pointed the finger of blame here at the -- at the rebels, saying they're the ones that are going to call for this intervention to support their campaign, they're the ones who are going to bring these colonialists back in the country, they're the ones who are going to take your oil away from you.

So I think what we've seen with these stepped up attacks here -- and if you listened to the rhetoric today in this speech, Gadhafi clearly realizes time is somewhat against him. If the international community, as he reads it, is going to take the side of the rebels and get involved, then he needs to act militarily fast on the ground. And that's part of what was happening.

And, of course, he had more threats, as well, today, as well as to the United States, saying your troops will die, threatening action in the Mediterranean, threatening to attack the U.S. Sixth Fleet.

So there was a -- there was a lot of rhetoric. This is not a man on the ropes -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. Nic, you've called Tripoli the tipping point in this whole affair.

Why?

ROBERTSON: Well, it has to be. I mean this is where his seat of power is. He's strong, this is his base.

How can you take -- how can you take over the country if you don't take over the seat of government?

And it's -- it's, you know, the toughest part of -- of where the -- the rebels stand right now is, A, making their way to the capital, and, B, having a coordinated and strong enough military force, because this guy is not going to negotiate anything away, other than something that will leave him or -- let me put it this way -- leave him if not in strong power, as he is now, have his family still very much in power.

So the rebels are going to have to come here and take it from him. I mean that's -- that's what he's saying here. That's what two-and-a-half hours of speech laid out. He's not throwing in the towel.

So if the rebels want to take over the country, they need to come here to the capital to do it, because no other pressure on Gadhafi, it seems, will withstand that.

International sanctions, he's voting -- he -- he throws it back at the international community. You know, his government officials say we've been through that sort of stuff in the past. He uses the freezing of assets against the international community, tells the Libyans that this is a siege against Libya, that this is piracy, that it's not his money, it's their money.

He uses this to turn the people, his supporters, against the international community and against the rebels.

So he's digging in for the long haul. So it does seem the stage is set in this way -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson in Tripoli for you.

Nic, we thank you very much, indeed, for that.

All right, well, tens of thousands of people who have been trying to flee the violence in Libya now find them trapped -- themselves trapped in no man's land. The U.N.'s refugee agency says that the situation on the border is dire. It says acres of people, as far as the eye can see, are waiting in freezing conditions to cross.

I'm going to be back a little later in the show with more on these developments.

For now, though, let's send you back to London and to Fionnuala Sweeney -- Finn.

SWEENEY: Thanks, Becky.

Well, also coming up, a fatal shooting at Frankfurt Airport. Two U.S. Air Force personnel are dead. We'll be live in the German city for the latest.

Plus, six weeks ago, this Christian minister in Pakistan told CONNECT THE WORLD he was ready to sacrifice his life. Now, he is dead, gunned down in broad daylight. The full story ahead.

We put your questions to supermodel, Erin O'Connor, your Connector of the Day.

All of that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, violence once again rocked the streets of Islamabad, where a government minister was gunned down earlier in the day. We'll bring you the full story ahead.

I'm Fionnuala Sweeney in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Here's a look at the other stories we're following this hour.

Two American troops have been killed at Frankfurt International Airport. The Air Force airmen were shot dead on a military bus. A unofficial says it's believed a young Kosovar is in custody. Earlier, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, gave her reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): There was an incident today where two American soldiers were killed at Frankfurt Airport. We don't know the details, but I would like to say how upset I am. I would also like to stress that the German government will do everything to find out what happened there. I would like to express my condolences to the American soldiers and their families and relatives. It's a terrible tragedy and Germany will do everything we can to try and find out quickly what happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SWEENEY: Well, U.S. President Barack Obama says he's saddened and outraged over the killings and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous act took place and in working with German authorities to ensure that all of the perpetrators are brought to justice.

We don't have all the information yet and you will be fully briefed as we get more information. But this is a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making all around the world to keep us safe and the dangers that they face all around the globe.

So I think it's fair to say that, on behalf of the American people, we want to extend our deepest condolences to these families. And we will give you further updates as we get more information about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SWEENEY: Well, let's get the very latest details from CNN's Frederik Pleitgen -- Frederik, what do we know about the background of this?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fionnuala, I just got off the phone with the German authorities, with the German police. And they say apparently what happened is that this bus, which was clearly marked as a U.S. military bus, was stopping there at Frankfurt Terminal, too. And what apparently happened is that this man, the 21-year-old man who appears to have been born in Kosovo, went up there and first spoke to the soldiers and then opening fire.

Now, part of this happened outside the bus. The first HASAN of shots apparently were fired outside the bus. And then he also went inside the bus and fired a HASAN of more. And, of course, some of the details we have was just that two members of the U.S. Air Force were killed in this. Two further members are in critical condition, were severely wounded in this incident.

Now, what apparently happened afterward is that the man fled the scene and actually made it inside Terminal Two, where, then, he was apprehended by German federal police.

The Germans, of course, in the past HASAN of months, have massively stepped up the security at their airports due to other terror-related concerns. So there would be a lot of German police running around there.

They then apprehended this man and they've just told us that the weapon that he was using was apparently a handgun -- Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: All right, Frederik Pleitgen reporting.

Moving on, the commander of U.S. and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan has said sorry after an investigation concluded that coalition troops accidentally killed nine civilians, including some children. General David Petraeus says he'll personally apologize to the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

Helicopters carried out the strike after insurgents fired rockets at coalition troops.

We're hearing conflicting reports about Nobel Peace laureate, Muhammad Yunus. The Bangladeshi government says the pioneer of microfinance has been relieved of his duties as managing director of Grameen Bank. But bank officials say it is a legal matter and that Yunus remains in his job.

A Paris prosecutor says disgraced fashion icon, John Galliano, will stand trial for allegedly making anti-Semitic comments last week. If convicted, the designer could be sentenced to up to six months in prison. In a statement released today, Galliano apologized for the rant that cost him his job, saying that: "Anti-Semitism and racism have no part in society."

Meanwhile, Galliano also says someone tried to hit him with a chair during the incident and he's pressing charges for the alleged assault.

A health scare for tennis great, Serena Williams. She had emergency surgery on Monday in Los Angeles after being diagnosed with hematoma. A spokeswoman telling "People" magazine Williams developed a blood clot in the lung, which was treated last week. Doctors continue to monitor her.

A bold stance and a tragic consequence. Pakistan's only Christian minister is the latest victim of the country's blasphemy law controversy. We will bring you the disturbing details later in the program.

And we'll go back to Becky Anderson on the Libyan border, as she describes the dire circumstances facing many refugees.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: He stood up for what he believed and paid the ultimate price. Six weeks ago, CONNECT THE WORLD spoke to Pakistani government minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, about fears for his life.

Take a listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAHBAZ BHATTI: I'm not fear, but I am getting hurt. I was told by the religious extremists that if you will make any amendment in this law, you will be killed. But I am ready to sacrifice my life by the principled stand I have taken, because the people of Pakistan are being victimized under the protection of the blasphemy law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SWEENEY: Well, today, Bhatti was ground down in his car in Islamabad, the latest victim of Pakistan's blasphemy conflict. Bhatti was Pakistan's only Christian cabinet member and his assassination is the second murder in two months surrounding the blasphemy laws, which make insulting Islam, the Koran or the Prophet Muhammad punishable by death.

Reza Sayah has the full story for us from Islamabad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bloodstains smeared across the car seat where Pakistan's minister of minority affairs was gunned down in the federal capital of Islamabad. Police and witnesses say moments after Shahbaz Bhatti left his mother's house, gunmen surrounded his car and opened fire. "Two people with AK-47s fired 15 to 20 shots at the back door first, then fired another 10 to 15 shots from the front," said witness Bahadar Khan (ph). A hospital official says at least 30 bullets hit Bhatti, Pakistan's only Christian cabinet minister, who had received death threats after calling for changes to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws.

Pakistani Taliban say they were behind the killing. Witnesses say the gunmen left printed fliers at the scene. "He was a blasphemer and it was his fate," read the flier. "If anyone else commits blasphemy, we will kill them one by one."

Bhatti's assassination comes less than two months after the killing of another moderate Pakistani politician. Salman Taseer was also on a campaign to change Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Both he and Bhatti said the laws were being used to prosecute persecute minorities.

But both were accused of being enemies of Islam and condemned in mass protests by hard-line religious groups, who praised Taseer's assassination and warned the Pakistani government not to tamper with the blasphemy laws. On Wednesday, the Taliban restated the warning with another assassination, of a senior Pakistani politician inside the capital.

(on camera): Minister Bhatti had just walked out of his mother's house when he was gunned down. Police say he always had two cars full of security personnel going with him everywhere, except for his mother's house -- an indication that this was a well-timed and coordinated attack by the Pakistani Taliban.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

SWEENEY: Well, the blasphemy law controversy first flared after a Christian mother of five, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to hang last year for making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. The incident provoked protests around the country and politicians within Pakistan have been debating the issue for months. But after Taseer's assassination, the government made it clear that it would not support reform of the law.

Well, I am joined now by Pakistan's high commissioner to the U.K., Wajid Hasan.

Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

WAJID HASAN, PAKISTAN'S HIGH COMMISSIONER TO THE UK: Thank you.

SWEENEY: Pakistan is not a safe place for Christians these days.

HASAN: Well, Pakistan is definitely not as safe as one would like it to be. But today's incident has really brought us a very bad image in the eyes of the world...

SWEENEY: In the eyes of the world, but let me ask internally...

HASAN: Yes?

SWEENEY: -- what is the government prepared to do?

And what constraints are the government operating under not to deal with this sufficiently up until now?

HASAN: No, I couldn't follow you.

SWEENEY: Let's deal with the image of Pakistan abroad in a moment...

HASAN: Yes, OK.

SWEENEY: But internally...

HASAN: Yes?

SWEENEY: If this is a new departure for the Pakistani government, what limits or constituents is it working within to try and bring a resolution to this crisis about the blasphemy law?

HASAN: Well, I must tell you that the government is very much adjournment (ph). The people of Pakistan are resilient. They're very much, you know, committed to getting rid of all these terrorists and the jihadis or extremists -- religious extremists. Sectarianism has to be washed. All these things are the government's priority agenda.

And so are the people of Pakistan committed to it by. And large, a few hundred people here and there, they don't matter. But they can create a problem, as you see...

SWEENEY: You...

HASAN: -- have seen the assassination of Mr. Bhatti.

SWEENEY: But the -- the issue surrounding the whole subject of the blasphemy law...

HASAN: Yes, I know...

SWEENEY: -- is itself extremely divisive. And -- and it has stirred up the emotions of more than a HASAN of hundred people.

HASAN: Well, I've -- I will disagree with you. It's not divisive. It has caused a controversy. Yes, I agree with that. But the fact is people don't, you know, the blasphemy laws have been everywhere. In this country, too, it was developed, you know, caused by the Labour Party, the last Labour Party government.

But, you know, in Pakistan, too, we had blasphemy laws. They're from the days of the Raj...

SWEENEY: OK.

HASAN: -- but General Niazi Khan and his prime minister later on, Nawaz Sharif, made this draconian -- more draconian by introducing capital punishment.

But ever since this government has come in power, there has been no executions as such. And what we have in, as a matter of, in 1994 and '96, when Benazir Bhutto was in power, she ensured that the law -- abuse of the law is stopped.

SWEENEY: In 2011, will these laws be repealed, though?

HASAN: Hmmm?

SWEENEY: In 2011, will this law be repealed?

Can this government actually repeal it?

HASAN: No, repealing it is a difficult thing to do at the moment, because we do...

SWEENEY: So you're staying that this...

HASAN: -- we do not...

SWEENEY: -- with the status quo

HASAN: -- we do not -- we do not have a total majority in the parliament. Until, unless we have that -- and, you know, you must understand, although we are carrying on a consensus politics, we are carrying everybody along with us, but there are religious groups who are opposed to it.

SWEENEY: So the status quo holds for the time being in regards -- in relation to this law, is that what you're saying?

HASAN: No, what we are going to ensure is that this is not abused. Nobody -- no innocent person is put in jail or persecuted or sentenced to death for how -- from the abusation (ph) of this law.

SWEENEY: Let's ask about Pakistan's image overseas. Despite the fact that you're walking this -- treading this thin line that nobody will be abused under this law, internationally, this really doesn't a lot, to put it mildly, at its most benign, for Pakistan's image.

And is this a country that is holding together?

HASAN: Well, the country definitely is holding together. You have experienced yourself the IRA problem. You have survived, after all. So we are going each other -- we are going to survive with this problem, because you must remember that 2007 things were different. When Musharraf -- General Musharraf was in power, backed by the United States and everybody in the West, this Taliban was 16 miles away from the federal capital.

And it was this government, this democratic government, which took action against them and drove them out of Sabath (ph) and Malikan (ph) and are fighting a full-fledged war against them.

So we are fighting them on all the fronts, all these extremists and...

SWEENEY: And there are too many fronts.

HASAN: -- and we will eventually succeed.

SWEENEY: There are too many fronts for this country?

HASAN: Yes, there are. Yes. There's no chances of the country's break-up or anything of this sort.

SWEENEY: OK. All right.

Wajid Hasan, we'll have to leave it there.

HASAN: Thank you.

Thank you very much, indeed, Wajid Hasan, Pakistan's high commissioner to the U.K.

Ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, a growing refugee crisis as tens of thousands of people flee the violence in Libya. The U.N. has issued a stark working. We'll have that plus a check of the day's headlines, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Fionnuala Sweeney in London.

Coming up, desperation at the border -- we'll go back to Becky Anderson, who's monitoring the situation as untold numbers try to flee the unrest in Libya.

Jobs makes a comeback. The Apple chief emerges for the tech giant's latest great unveiling.

And a model Connector. Catwalk queen Erin O'Connor is changing more than her clothes in the fashion industry. Becky Anderson's interview with the British supermodel still to come.

Well, all those stories ahead in the program for you but, first, let's get a check of the headlines this hour.

Libyan rebels say they've repelled a government attempt to retake the strategic oil port of Brega. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi attacked with heavy weapons and air strikes on Wednesday. At least four people were killed.

The US president says he's saddened and outraged over the killings of two American troops at Frankfurt International Airport. The Air Force airmen were shot down on a military bus. A US official says it's believed the young Kosovar is in custody.

After receiving numerous death threats, a Pakistani minister was shot and killed in Islamabad on Wednesday. Shahbaz Bhatti was the only Christian member of the cabinet and opposed a controversial blasphemy law. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the killing.

Shocker in the cricket world. Ireland celebrating its three-wicket upset victory in a World Cup Group B match against England. Ireland's incoming prime minister and opposition leader has congratulated the team.

And US stocks edge higher. The Dow finished up eight points, despite another rise in oil prices. The NASDAQ also saw a slight gain.

They Libyan refugee crisis is getting worse. Becky Anderson joins us, now, with more from Djerba, Tunisia near the border. Becky?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Thanks very much, indeed, Fionn. Yes, the United Nations says that the refugee crisis has now topped 180,000. That is 180,000. Some 77,000 people have crossed from Libya into Egypt. Right now, I'm not far from Tunisia's border with Libya, where another 77,000 have crossed over and an extra 30,000 are waiting at the border. So, we're looking at around 107,000, 110,000 at this point.

Border crossings are completely overwhelmed, and the United Nations is calling this humanitarian crisis a possible catastrophe going forward. I'm joined, now, by Ivan Watson, who's been there at the border today. Some sense that this is a logistical crisis at present, but could turn very, very horrible.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The big challenge, here, is that many of these people that we're seeing in this wave -- this wave of people fleeing are not Libyans. They're not Tunisians. They're from third countries. They're migrant workers who've been employed in what is, effectively, an oil-producing economy by more than a million people.

So, at first we were seeing Egyptians streaming across the border. And today, I was seeing many Bangladeshis, many Vietnamese. What the UN is asking for is help flying these people or sending them by boat back to their original countries.

ANDERSON: Yes, and for those of you who haven't been here, just give the viewers a sense of what that logistical problem is. They're getting to the border, they're getting over the border, here. I mean, I came to the airport this morning, and I saw waves of refugees being picked up by Egypt Air. We're in Tunisia at this point.

This is a problem of getting them physically from the border to a point at which they can leave, is it?

WATSON: That's right. Well, first thing, they had the dangerous journey to the Tunisian/Libyan border, and many of them are telling me that they're robbed along the way, that Libyan security forces are stealing their cell phones, stealing their money. And these are not wealthy men. These are people who've gone to Libya to eke out a living to support their families back home.

They finally get across the border, which is a bottleneck, and we've really seen some nasty scenes in recent days. It appears to have improved a bit this afternoon. And then, they have to get sent somewhere.

A transit camp was set up with 18 -- that is, housing 18,000 people literally overnight. In 24 hours, they put thousands of tents up from the UNHCR. And they've been housed all over this area. In schools, in small soccer stadiums.

The question is, how do you get them out of here from there? There's been an increase of flights to Egypt. But you need ships. They're only moving about 2,000 to 3,000 people a day. More than 15,000 are coming in each day.

ANDERSON: And Ivan, we're going to talk to the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman in Cairo and put that very question to him. "Just what are you doing to get these nationals out?"

Aside from the Egyptians, and there are many, many of them, I think there's some million in Libya ahead of this crisis, we hear reports of sub- Saharan migrants who are really having a terrible time. Have you seen that yourself?

WATSON: What we've been hearing, and it's some of the human rights groups that have started picking up on this, is they can be subject to abuse in part because there have been these stories of mercenaries that Colonel Moammar Gadhafi allegedly has been using as part of his crackdown on the opposition, some of them being from sub-Saharan Africa.

So, it does seem we're getting some reports of people acting out, lashing out, at Africans that they may see. But we're going to have to do some more research into that.

I saw a big group of Ghanians who came into a camp carrying -- hundreds of people coming in carrying their suitcases, their only belongings on their heads, tramping into a tent city. And that's just, again, another step in this long and very difficult journey to try to get back home.

ANDERSON: All right, Ivan, we thank you very much, indeed, for that. Ivan Watson joining me, here, in Tunisia in Djerba, very close to the Libyan border.

All right, so we've been talking to Ivan about the situation specifically there for Egyptians, amongst others. Many, many, many of them still trying to get out of Libya.

Let's get to Cairo, now, and to Hossam Zaki, who is the foreign ministry's spokesman for Egypt. So, we thank you for joining us, this evening.

Whilst one understands the pressures that your government is under simply just to get things working in Egypt at present, you've got tens, hundreds, if not a million people trying to get out Libya through the Egyptian border and the Tunisian border at present. Why have you not sent a single government official to help them out?

HOSSAM ZAKI, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY (via telephone): Oh, thank you, Becky, but this is not true. We have a consular unit at the borders with -- between Tunisia and Libya, and this consular unit is helping in evacuating those tens of thousands of Egyptians that are waving through the borders with Tunisia.

We have had over 280 flights since a week, like eight days now, we have been having nonstop flights for 24 hours a day. Today, only, we have had 30 flights out of Tunisia in order to try to evacuate our citizens. Apart from about 24 flights from Libya itself, Tripoli and other little cities where Egyptians are stranded.

So, we do -- we're trying to do this airlift. It is taking a lot of time, effort, and money and everything, but we have to do it, we have to take our citizens back home. It is an unprecedented crisis for us, and it comes at a very difficult time for Egypt. But the Egyptian government is trying its best in order to accommodate the Egyptians that are fleeing out of Libya. It is a very difficult situation.

ANDERSON: Sure.

ZAKI: We know they are complaining, we know they are not happy, we know they are not happy about leaving their jobs. And we know that they have faced a lot of difficulties. But we're trying our best, and we are very thankful to other governments that are trying to chip in and trying to help --

ANDERSON: Sure.

ZAKI: Like the French, today, and the Brits, and the Turkish.

ANDERSON: Yes, and also the Italians, I believe, announcing --

ZAKI: Yes, yes.

ANDERSON: They'll also help in this -- in this airlift. Whilst we do understand, absolutely understand, how difficult things are for you, the reason I asked the question was that there is a lot of complaint at the border. Many, many, many Egyptians saying they haven't seen a single sort of consular official. But I understand what you're saying.

What do you need to make this happen or expedite this at this point? What can the rest of the world do?

ZAKI: Well, excellent question, Becky. We need -- we need the international organizations, when they can and if they can, to try to help in evacuating those people, those citizens back home. We need every bit of airlift help that can be done. We need every bit of ship that is sea lift, that can be used.

Today, when I referred to the French and the British effort, these are efforts done mainly by sea, mainly through ships that can carry individuals and persons over 100 -- sorry, 1500 people. This is good. It takes time to reach our shores, but at least it takes off the burden on the Tunisian side, because it alleviates the numbers that exist on the Tunisian soil.

ANDERSON: Sure.

ZAKI: We need the international community also to realize that this is a massive airlift that is underway, and we will probably need more and more means to help in evacuating all the people that are fleeing Libya at this moment.

We have over a million people in Libya. Not all of them have asked to leave, but if the situation continues like that, I think we will have to see more and more and bigger and bigger waves of people trying to flee this country.

ANDERSON: Sure. All right. And with that, we're going to leave it there, sir. We do absolutely appreciate your time here on CNN tonight. And with that, we'll leave it here for our coverage, as well, from Tunisia for the time being.

You've been listening to the Egyptian foreign minister's -- foreign ministry's spokesman, Hossam Zaki. I'm Becky Anderson in Tunisia. Much more coverage from here close to the Libyan border tomorrow night. But for now, Fionn, back to you.

SWEENEY: Thank you, Becky. Steve Jobs on stage in San Francisco and nearly upstaging his own announcement. We'll tell you what he says about Apple's iPad 2 and when you might be able to get your hands on one.

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STEVE JOBS, CEO, APPLE: Thanks for coming.

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JOBS: Good morning! Thanks for coming.

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SWEENEY: Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance at the unveiling of the new iPad today, delighting the audience and nearly overshadowing his own announcement. He was there to show off the iPad 2, promising a whole host of new features and almost instant availability of the brand new tablet.

So, what else can we expect from the second generation of the hugely successful iPad? CNN's Dan Simon was at the announcement in San Francisco, today, and he joins us, now, live. First of all, Steve Jobs.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. You know, we didn't really expect to see Steve Jobs today. We knew that the iPad 2 was coming, but seeing Steve Jobs was sort of a real surprise. I will say that he did appear to be painfully thin, but he had his usual vigor on stage. He had that usual stage presence. But in any event, it was really good to see Steve Jobs.

As for the iPad 2, it is thinner, lighter, and faster. Comes in two colors. And the big selling point for this new version of the iPad is it has two cameras, a camera on the front, camera on the back, so you can now do video chatting with the iPad 2. But we'll let Steve Jobs explain it to you. Take a look.

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JOBS: It's iPad 2. What have we learned? What can we improve? Well, it is an all-new design. It is not a tweaked design, it's not got marginal improvements. It's a completely new design.

And the first thing is, it's dramatically faster. We have a new chip, we call A5, our chip wizards have come up with this, and it's great. It's dual-core processors. All right, two processors inside. And, so, we get up to twice as fast on CPU performance.

But we've really gone all-out on the graphics performance. Up to nine times faster graphics. The graphics on this thing are wonderful.

Same low power as A4. We don't want to give up any of that legendary battery life. And, even though others are starting to ship, I think this is going to be the first dual-core tablet to ship in volume. So, A5 is a - - really a -- quite an achievement and is going to give us something that's up to twice as fast on CP performance, up to nine times faster on graphics. And the first iPad was no slouch.

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SIMON: And Steve Jobs called 2010 the Year of the iPad. They sold 17 million units last year alone. I think, as many people may remember, when it first came out, people didn't even really know what to make of it, whether or not it would be a success -- a successful product or not. But I think Apple has clearly shown that the tablet is really the wave of the future.

He said 2011 may be the Year of the Copycat. As you know, may manufacturers coming out with their own tablet, but Steve Jobs thinks they have leapt ahead of the competition, if you will, with this new iPad 2. Fionnuala?

SWEENEY: Or, as somebody once said, he would say that, wouldn't he? But thanks very much, indeed, Dan Simon, for joining us.

Let's look closely at what you'll get with your new iPad 2. First up, Steve Jobs says the new model is thinner and 33 percent faster than the original. As many fans expected, it will also feature front and rear- facing cameras for video chatting. And, perhaps, most exciting for fans, it will be available starting next week in the US at the same price as the original.

But some Apple fans want more. JWenger wrote on cnn.com, "Where's my USB?" echoing a common complaint from iPad users.

Jay Jere wrote on CNN's Facebook page to declare, "Galaxy Tab is the best, with Google Android and two cameras." He's referring there to Samsung's tablet.

But angus12345 is defending Apple, pointing out, quote, "The battery is much better on iPads than Android."

So, perhaps, a little bit of love lost for Apple, but is there really anything could bring it down? John Bradley is a senior editor for "Wired." He joins me, now, live, from San Francisco. And first of all, iPad 2, were you impressed?

JOHN BRADLEY, SENIOR EDITOR, "WIRED": I was impressed. I think it's -- it's an incremental improvement, but it's a pretty large increment. It's notably faster and a lot more pleasant to hold. So, yes, I think it's an improvement.

SWEENEY: And let me ask. What did you think of Steve Jobs? Because, as we mentioned, he almost overshadowed his own announcement. What did you make of his appearance and his energy?

BRADLEY: The energy was great. I think there were rumors that he might show up. We were all wondering. I don't think it was a huge surprise, but it was still really pleasant. You saw, he got the standing ovation, there. And it was refreshing to see --

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SWEENEY: We are having a little difficulty hearing you there. I don't know if you can still hear me. We'll just try one more time to see if we hear your audio.

BRADLEY: Yes, I can hear you just fine.

SWEENEY: Oh, brilliant. Thanks, very much. So, you were saying about Steve Jobs?

BRADLEY: It wasn't a huge surprise that he was there. I think people at least thought it was a possibility. But the vigor and engagement that he showed on stage was a surprise. We'd been hearing rumors about his health. He was thin, and he's been thin for a while, but he didn't seem tired or worn out at all on stage. He had that same presence that he's always had and that had become so vital to the company.

SWEENEY: And a final question. Any of these other companies trying to produce competitors to the iPad. Do they have look in at all?

BRADLEY: I think they have a chance. I think there are already some legitimate competitors out there, and I do think that, with the iPad 2, Apple has leapfrogged them slightly. I think it's nothing that they wouldn't be able to match within the coming three or four months.

But Steve Jobs mentioned the new processors and the fact that he thinks it'll be the first dual core to ship in volume. And that could be a key. I think that while mechanically, some of these might be able to match the iPad 2, unless they can also duplicate those supply chains, they might have some problems.

SWEENEY: John Bradley of "Wired." Thanks very much, indeed, for joining us from San Francisco.

Now, coming up next on CONNECT THE WORLD, stay with us, because it will be your Connector of the Day. Supermodel and role model Erin O'Connor reveals how she's changing trends in the fashion industry.

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SWEENEY: Now, we've got a Connector of the Day for you. She's a model in every sense of the word. A catwalk queen, a mentor, a game changer. Becky Anderson sat down with the one and only Erin O'Connor. Take a look.

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ANDERSON (voice-over): She thought she'd grow up to become a teacher and spend her time standing in front of a blackboard. Instead, Erin O'Connor has ended up gracing billboards, modeling for the world's biggest fashion labels.

Teased as a teenager for her height, the British-born model was discovered by a scout and has been commanding the catwalks for nearly 16 years.

She was once advised to have her nose fixed, which she refused to do. It worked for her. O'Connor's face has been with Versace, Dior, Armani, and Gaultier. But the 33-year-old has also found a way to teach.

She's emerged as a vocal proponent for change in the fashion industry and is working to increase diversity amongst models and to improve industry-wide working conditions. She's also co-founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, an organization that encourages designers to embrace women whatever their age and size.

And during London Fashion Week, she tells me about the Model Sanctuary, a retreat that she set up for her younger peers to address everything from eating disorders to self-esteem.

ERIN O'CONNOR, MODEL: It's a health and well-being center, and we work as a nonprofit organization. But also, it's a place to find respite, a bit of relaxation for the models to come and just be. Actually, our mantra on the front door is "Leave your coats and looks at the front door."

So, we're literally sending a message about instilling the importance of being -- sort of conviction, and having attitude in a positive way. But it's also about self-esteem, confidence, self-awareness, and actually allowing the models to be individuals, but collectively speaking on behalf of their profession to the industry in a positive and collaborative way.

ANDERSON (on camera): This is the third year you've done it. It's a pop-up. Will you take it outside of London?

O'CONNOR: I really, really would like to do that. And I'd love to speak to other profiled models, I think, throughout the world and ask them if they'd like to join me in providing a model sanctuary abroad.

Because I think it's not just about fashion, being all-inclusive about fashion. I'd love for them to have their take on, as well.

ANDERSON: You've been in the industry for a long time. Do you think it's changed a lot?

O'CONNOR: Inevitably, it's changed. We change from one season to the next, that's the very nature of fashion. And I think, specifically, for models, they lead such a fast-paced life these days. In a sense, you have to be like a willing nomad, and you have to know that, wherever you go, you're going to where the creative action is at. It doesn't necessarily come to you.

ANDERSON: Let's get some viewer questions in. Loads of good ones.

O'CONNOR: Oh, this is the good stuff!

ANDERSON: Steve is asking, "If there is one misconception of supermodels that you could change, what would it be?"

O'CONNOR: It's almost outdated. I think it, perhaps, represented a really important era. It defined models as businesswomen. They became their own walking facilitators. They were brands, if you will. And they really took that empowered space.

You know who I'm talking about. It's the five supers, right? So, you've got Linda, Claudia, Helena, Naomi, help me out here. And the represented a change, you know? I think they were as much known for their personality, notoriety, as they were for the work that they did. And whether you love them or you didn't quite understand the whole fuss, they were there.

ANDERSON: Do you still enjoy it?

O'CONNOR: Yes, I do. Do you know what? In a funny old way, your confidence grows when you understand an industry more and more. And there's something really important about working with an industry on your terms. It can be in a really respectful way, but there's nothing like going to work having a good old pose.

I'm a shy showoff. I really don't mind if I do. And then, I come home again. And the important thing to realize is that when the lights are gone and the glamorous clothing comes off, I can still go outside and be that woman. It's really -- it's really important for there not to be a sense of divide.

ANDERSON: A question from Sumant in Switzerland. He wonders what models should do in the real world to be a good role model --

O'CONNOR: That's interesting.

ANDERSON: For young people.

O'CONNOR: Not just models, but any person holding that public space, God, should really take every opportunity to be proactive and right on. Talk on behalf of an industry, be informative, but keep it positive. And have something to say outside of the job that you earn your living from.

ANDERSON: There's a lot of talk these days about kids who aspire to be monied and aesthetically pleasing to other people and not much more than that. You must have got some blowback from people who said, is this a real career?

O'CONNOR: What was surprising for me, personally, was when I came into the industry, I was celebrated for my differences and I was acutely aware of those when I was growing up. And it hit me with forcible impact that I was appreciated. And in turn, I got to feel quite self-accepted.

I'm not suggesting that the industry facilitates me with that, necessarily. But it gave me a new outlook on what it meant to be an individual and that personality and character are very good ways of conveying sort of a sense of inspiration. And you can do that through being a model. And that's what I try to promote at all cost.

We all have the right to be ourselves. This is the only thing we have in common. And I suppose I truly believe in the beauty of diversity. And I think the industry are becoming far more aware of that as a way. We're a powerful tool. We project imagery all over the world. And we need to know how that makes people feel.

ANDERSON: If you had one piece of advice to the 14, 15, 16-year-olds who may be watching this show today, who want to be models, what would it be?

O'CONNOR: I think they have to try to work at recognizing who they are as people before they allow other people to have interpretations of them.

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SWEENEY: And that was model Erin O'Connor talking to Becky Anderson. And tomorrow night, another Connector who's pushing for change in his line of work. Father Alberto Cutie created a scandal after falling in love with a woman, an affair exposed in the tabloids. Now, two years on, he's married with a child and has changed his faith. Find out what he says about celibacy in the priesthood tomorrow night.

Well, for more on our stellar lineup of Connectors, head to cnn.com/connect.

Now, in tonight's Parting Shots, striking pictures of holy men in Nepal. Known as sadhus, they're smoking cannabis and celebrating the festival Shivaratri, which honors the Hindu god of destruction.

Now, mythology suggests the god Shiva himself enjoyed the drug. Now, marijuana is illegal in Nepal, but under an ancient loophole, authorities allow pilgrims to smoke it during their celebrations. But police are cracking down on the sale of cannabis. Some people allege cannabis is being sold to local people.

Sadhus renounce all worldly possessions and usually live in caves or temples. Police say they've arrested several holy men in the cannabis crackdown.

I'm Fionnuala Sweeney and that is your world connected. Thanks for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break.

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