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CONNECT THE WORLD

UN Security Council Considering No-Fly Zone Over Libya; Refugees Still Waiting for Help After Fleeing Libya. Update on Egypt and Tunisia; Concerns in the West About Spread of Extremism During Turmoil in Middle East; Connector of the Day Ranulph Fiennes; CBS Fires Charlie Sheen From Show "Two and a Half Men."

Aired March 7, 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, "CONNECT THE WORLD": Libya descends into civil war as Moammar Gadhafi continues his fight back.

U.N. members desperately search for a solution.

Could a no fly zone be the answer?

On the border, the misery continues. Now there are fears of a humanitarian crisis inside Libya.

And as calls for democracy grow across the region, are al Qaeda watching and waiting?

These stories and more as we connect the world here on CNN.

I'm Becky Anderson on the Tunisian-Libyan border.

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

Coming up, we're shining the spotlight on slavery across the world, not just today, but across the entire year. It is a special CNN initiative and we begin tonight in Sudan, where former victims are still trying to make sense of their stolen years.

ANDERSON: All right, well, NATO warns it is unlikely that the world will stand idly by as the Libyan fighters continue to escalate this civil war. Moammar Gadhafi's regime bombed the main road outside the rebel-held town of Ras Lanuf earlier today, trying to stop rebels from making any further attempt to advance on the capital.

Earlier, forces loyal to Gadhafi succeeded in driving opposition fighters from Bin Jawad, a town 30 kilometers west of Ras Lanuf.

Well, these towns have huge strategic importance. Located in between opposition-held areas in Eastern Libya and Gadhafi's stronghold of Tripoli, in the west.

Misurata, another flashpoint. The United Nations is demanding urgent access to the injured and dying there after Gadhafi's forces attacked the rebel-held town with heavy artillery.

NATO now conducting a round the clock surveillance flights of Libya, as it considers ways to stop the fighting.

Well, one reporter who visited rebels in the eastern part of Libya today says they are losing ground, but not losing their determination.

Martin Geissler from ITV reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN GEISSLER, ITV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The rebels in Libya's east are rolling in their hardware. The advance has stopped and all signs are that the first big battle in the second part of the country is about to begin.

Gadhafi's army here has defected. These soldiers preparing to go to war with their old comrades.

Civilians are fleeing the oil town of Ras Lanuf. There are reports one family was killed in a missile strike today. As we arrived at the rebel army's main base beside the refinery, another bombing raid pulsed overhead. It dropped its payload just a few hundred yards away.

Gadhafi's air force have been hitting this place every day, their missiles leaving craters all around the encampment but no direct strikes yet.

(on camera): Today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, today, morning.

GEISSLER (voice-over): We drove on past the base. But at the next checkpoint, we were warned not to go further.

(on camera): These rebels had held to the west of Bin Jawad, about 40 miles up this road. But now they've been pushed right back. They're losing ground and men but none of their determination.

(voice-over): There is a strong bond among this unlikely army brought together by one common purpose -- opposing the leader they all despise.

BRAHIM FAHIM AGAH, REBEL FIGHTER: I will give this country my blood, my brothers, my -- everyone until he die. Salah (ph) today.

GEISSLER: Brahim told me he was a teacher before the fighting started.

(on camera): Will you go back to being a teacher after this?

AGAH: If I'm still alive. So, yes, if we win.

GEISSLER (voice-over): As we left the camp, the anti-aircraft guns burst into life again and another bomb fell not far away. There is now a realization among this ill-prepared army that a long, hard fight lies ahead.

Martin Geissler, ITV News, Ras Lanuf, Eastern Libya.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: All right, well, that is the situation in one part of Eastern Libya. To the west, Nic Robertson got a chance -- a firsthand look at some of the street fighting going on there.

Let's take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're about one-and-a-half kilometers -- a mile -- from the center of Zawiyah. We can hear small arms gunfire. And just down the road up here, at an intersection, you can see some soldiers at the intersection just ahead, down here, down the road.

There's a main road there. Just along that main road, we saw two big anti-aircraft guns being driven on the backs of trucks across there. And as we have been driving into this area, we've been able to hear heavy artillery gunfire. We're not -- we haven't been allowed to come here by -- with the help of government officials, but getting through the army checkpoints to here, we've been able to do that.

That's the sound of heavy machine gun fire sounds -- heavy machine gunfire cracks. The shots -- I'm just ducking for cover. We're OK behind this wall. So that's the -- that's what we can hear going on on the outskirts of Zawiyah.

We don't know what's going on in the center of the city, where the rebels are. They're about a mile away from where we are. And the exchanges of gunfire indicate that this is still a very, very active military area at the moment. That's a crack, probably not so far from where we are right now. We're just taking cover behind this wall, where we're OK.

So we don't have a clear picture of what's happening. But what the government officials have said is that they control this city right now, they control Zawiyah. And it's very clear that there's a big military operation going on here right now. We've seen checkpoints perhaps as far as three or four miles, at least, perhaps -- no, probably 10 kilometers, seven or eight miles, circumference around the city here.

But from what we can see with our eyes here, the battle is still going on. The fight for Zawiyah is still going on, despite the fact the government claims they've taken control of it.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Zawiyah, Libya.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. And Nic's report there.

Nic is back now in Tripoli and on the line for us -- Nic, I believe you've got some information about the prospects of military action?

ROBERTSON: Well, we talked a little earlier with the foreign minister here. And he was responding to what President Obama has said, that -- and what his spokesmen have said, that the United States is not ruling out sending ground troops here.

He said that is very clear now that there is a conspiracy -- an international conspiracy, particularly involving the United States, Great Britain and France, to partition the country here, that this is -- is an effort to undermine the unity of it. And he said the territorial integrity of Libya is -- is indisputable and the country and this leadership will die defending it.

It's very clear now that -- that the government here really is feeling the heat and pressure of the international community, as they've -- they continue to say -- and we heard the foreign minister say it again -- we are waiting for a fact-finding mission to come here and to see what's going on. We've been waiting from day one for this fact-finding mission.

So a clear level of frustration building up, which -- which ended our press conference, actually, with the foreign minister walking out, really, before he had finished answering a lot of outstanding questions -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Interesting, Nic.

All right, Nic Robertson back in Tripoli with the very latest from the regime there.

You heard it first here on CNN.

The United Nations has made an appeal for $160 million in aid for those who are fleeing this fighting. And as you know, many of those are here at this U.N. transient camp behind me, sleeping now.

There are some 17,000 male migrant workers, mostly, sleeping now, hoping that they'll get out of here some time soon.

It's fairly peaceful and fairly calm here. And they have got food and water. But the U.N. also extremely concerned at this point about people inside Libya.

And that's what I want to talk about now.

And we've got Catherine Bragg on the show for you.

She's the U.N. assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

And, Catherine, I hope you heard what Nic was just reporting, and, indeed, our other reports from the east of the country.

This is a country that is descending into civil war at this point.

What are your biggest concerns?

CATHERINE BRAGG, U.N. ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: Well, the -- the situation of the people fleeing the country is, of course, of great concern to us. At the moment, over 200,000 people have already fled. And even though at both the Egyptian border and the Tunisian border it has been fairly orderly, we are worried about the -- the rest of the migrant workers also in the country at the moment, of which is reported to be about two million.

And we wondered how many of them will also be wanting to fee -- to flee but have not yet and whether there will be an increased flow in the next few days.

ANDERSON: Yes, can you tell us any more on that?

We've been hearing reports here at the border that there is a possibility the Libyan Army is preventing more of those who want to leave from actually leaving. We've seen a -- a significant decrease in the numbers suddenly, about 72 hours ago, from those that were coming over. At one point, it was about 1,000 an hour. We've seen about 3,000 a day in the past couple of days.

Any more evidence that you have that those who are still there are trying to leave at this point?

And what sort of condition are they in?

BRAGG: We don't have any actual report that anybody is being prevented from -- from leaving. We do have reports that the -- the whole area from Tripoli to the western border, they have many, many roadblocks and checkpoints and -- which are, of course, intimidating to anybody wanting to flee.

We also see very few sub-Saharan Africans crossing the border, as well, even though we are aware that there are migrant workers from

Sub-Saharan African countries. And so they are also of some concern to us, as well.

ANDERSON: Yes, we -- we've spoken to some of those. You're absolutely right, we've seen very few of those coming across the border. We're talking about Western sub-Saharan Africans. Those who have come across that we've had a chance to speak to, Catherine, tell them -- tell us -- and many of them are undocumented workers, it's got to be said -- tell us that the situation even before the fighting was pretty bad for them. They were very racially harassed at times by the army in Libya and they say that things have got worse since then.

We are talking, as we speak here, about the potential one -and-a-half million migrant workers who work in the country. Of course, there's another six million or so Libyans who live in the country. And at this point, one assumes they are getting short of food and vital resources.

Your concerns, I guess, like with them as well as those who are trying to get out of the country?

BRAGG: Of course, we -- we are also very concerned about, particularly, the population that is in opposition-controlled territory, where we have heard reports of the cutting off of fuel supply and perhaps even food supply. So, ultimately, you know, that's going to cause some concern in -- in terms of whether people would have the basic necessities of life in -- in those areas or not.

ANDERSON: Yes. All right, with that, we're going to leave it there.

Catherine Bragg for you out at the U.N. this evening with the very latest from there.

All right. Well, I'm Becky Anderson at the Libyan-Tunisian border.

Lots more for you as we move through the hour, including the story of one Egyptian work -- migrant worker. Yaser (ph) tells me has been trying to get out of Libya and it's been a hellish, hellish journey as he -- he hopes that the journey now from Libya is going to be a quick one out of Djerba. He's also going to tell us what he thinks of Gadhafi.

That's coming up and lots more here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

For now, though, it's back to Fionnuala in the studio.

SWEENEY: Well, thank you, Becky.

And straight ahead, today, CNN is launching an ambitious, year long project, shining the spotlight on the worldwide problem of modern-day slavery. We will see you the incredible scope of the problem and how even when victims are set free, they can find it difficult to fully escape.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: Today, CNN is launching an ambitious year long initiative aimed at raising awareness about modern-day slavery. We are calling it the CNN Freedom Project. Of course, slavery isn't a problem we can solve with our coverage alone. But over the course of this year, we're committed to putting a spotlight on the victims, the perpetrators and the thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to this cause.

The problem is massive. At least 10 million people live like slaves in the world today. But that number could also be as high as 30 million. And the average price of each of those slaves, just $90.

One group working to bring about change is freetheslaves.net, a non- profit organization with one objective -- to end slavery worldwide.

Take a look at the their interactive map, which really helps visualize the scope of the problem.

Freetheslaves.net reports there are 27 million slaves in the world today. Here's what the colors on the map represent -- green, fewer than 500,000 people are enslaved; yellow, 500,000 to five million; red, Asia- Pacific, more than five million people are estimated there to be enslaved.

Well, even people who manage to escape slavery can find it difficult to move on.

CNN's David McKenzie met several people struggling to get back to normal after being forced to live as slaves in Africa.

He joins us now live from Nairobi, Kenya to tell us about it -- David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fionnuala, here in Kenya, slavery is often an economic factor, people coming from this part of the world, being es -- going to the Middle East, particularly to work as domestic workers. And when they get there, the promises of a decent job are just not there.

But recently, we traveled to Sudan. And there in Sudan, the scars of war are very deep and slavery has shattered lives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(singing)

MCKENZIE (voice-over): A Dinka herdsman sings a song of war and loss, of land taken by the Arabs.

(singing)

MCKENZIE: And of the people they stole during Sudan's long civil war.

(on camera): During the war, Arab tribesmen on horses would sweep through these villages. They'd kill the men and then they would grab the women and children and then take them back to the north as slaves.

(voice-over): Peace came here in 2005. And with it, many thought slavery was dead. But traveling to remote Northern Baragazal, we found slavery in Sudan very much alive.

LUKA DENG, DOCTOR: So this is a recent one.

MCKENZIE: Dr. Luka Deng introduces us to a group of former slaves. They say thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- are still held in bondage.

DENG: They were altered and through the rape.

MCKENZIE: Forced to sleep with animals they tended, deprived of food yet toiling for their owners. They all tell us of enduring cruelty. Branded like her master's cattle, Habouk (ph) shows us the scars that will forever identify her as a former slavery.

Hatoul (ph) wants the world to know her story. She was taken so young, she can't remember when the beatings and rapes began.

Ahmou Kouch (ph) says he was ordered to convert to Islam or face death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allahu Akbar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: .

MCKENZIE: They gave him an Arab name, Musa (ph), and this Christian shows us how he was forced to pray.

(on camera): What does being a slave do to someone's identity?

DENG: Well, it changes their identity. If you are a slave, you are - - you feel that you are not human, really, in the real sense. So you -- you think that everything told to you, you get the command and you -- you don't -- you don't feel that you want to resist.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): I sat down with Habouk for some hibiscus tea. He says he had 25 years of his life stolen.

"If you look at me, I look like a human being," he tells me, "but psychologically, I'm not human. Even young children there would kick my tea away. I wasn't a human being."

Each time he tried to escape, he was caught and beaten. On his fifth try, he made it. But in his freedom, he says he's alone.

"The worst thing in my life is all the time I spent without having a wife," he says, "the time I spent without my family and friends, the time I spent alone, without my culture. That was the worst thing."

Dehumanized and without an identity, Habouk (ph) is like thousands of escaped slaves in Sudan, trying to make sense of his stolen years.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

MCKENZIE: Well, Fionnuala, we can throw around statistics like millions of slaves around the world, but, really, it's the individual stories of these people, the people like Makuch (ph), who spent 25 years of his life under slavery, direct slavery. This is not sort of modern-day or economic or anything. This is just slavery. He was held as a slave for all of that time. And, really, that is the impact of the spirit of -- of the world.

SWEENEY: And, David, presumably when one is free, there is a huge psychological impact or consequence.

What's it like meeting former slaves like that?

MCKENZIE: Well, really, you got a sense that these people had their lives stolen from them. I mean many of the people we met have been held five, 10, 20, 25 years. They were held north of the south-north border in Sudan. They were made to tend the -- the cattle, the goats of their masters. If they were Christians, they were forced to become Muslims, at least in the eyes of their masters, and pray and speak Arabic.

You know, we met people who came back to Sudan who didn't even know how to speak the Dinka language, who were unsure of how to interact with their fellow Dinkas.

As Makuch (ph) said there, his life was basically stolen from him. And the awful thing is that despite the peace in Sudan, there are still, potentially, thousands -- tens of thousands of slaves, Fionnuala, north of that border line who are still held as slaves. And, really, not enough has been doing -- done about it right now.

SWEENEY: David McKenzie, thank you very much, indeed, reporting there live from Nairobi, Kenya.

Well, modern-day slavery isn't just a problem in Africa. And in a moment, we're going to get the view from Cuba, where reliable information about human trafficking is so difficult to get, that it's hard to know how serious the problem is.

Shasta Darlington is there for us.

But first, we want to take you to a country we do have information about, and it's known to be both a major source and a destination for trafficked people.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in Moscow.

And he joins us now live -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fionnuala, thanks very much.

That's right, after the collapse of the Soviet Union back in the early 1990s, the -- the focus of modern-day slavery, particularly human trafficking, very much came onto Russia. Many of the women in brothels in the Middle East, in Europe, as well, are sourced from Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

There are countless examples of young women being lured to the west and to the Middle East with the prospect of lucrative jobs only to find themselves trapped in the sex industry there. And there's a whole business of trying to get those people back into assisting them -- re -- to reintegrate into life here.

But Russia isn't just a -- a source country for human trafficking. It's also a destination. It's got a booming. And that attracts impoverished women from around the country, the region, and, indeed, from around the world.

There's also a great many migrant workers that come into Russia to work on farms and building sites. And many of those individuals, particularly from Central Asia, work with any -- out any real legal status. They get their documents taken from them, their passports. They're forced to live in squalid conditions and are exploited in that way, often not paid at all, living as virtual slaves.

Well, the authorities say they're doing what they can to crack down on illegal immigration and on sex slavery here in Russia, but the fact is, a lot of the gangs that organize this kind of trafficking and this kind of criminal activity are often connected with local officials. And so it makes that battle fighting against this kind of modern-day slavery all the more difficult to win.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Shasta Darlington in Havana, Cuba. And here, the situation is really a big question mark.

Now, none of the major groups that monitor human trafficking say that Cuba is a top priority. But they also say that the complete lack of access and lack of independent information make it difficult to know what's really going on.

So in the end, you get Washington pitted against Havana like happens with so many issues. And right now, the United States accuses Cuba of not doing enough to prevent the trafficking of women and children in prostitution. At the same time, Cuba says it has very strict laws and that they are enforced.

Now, in other countries, this might be a point where the media would step in, check it out and see what's going on. But in Cuba, there is no independent domestic media. The state TV and the state newspapers, they don't mention prostitution at all. And, in fact, just anecdotal evidence shows us that it does exist. And embassies have told us that foreigners have been arrested and they've been jailed for sexual tourism, including with underage prostitutes.

So it's out there. We just don't know to what extent.

Now, I think it's fair to repeat that Cuba isn't on anybody's list of hot spots. But at the same time, we talked to a couple of organizations that have tried to come in and do research on the topic or even set up permanent presences and they just haven't been allowed to -- Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: Shasta Darlington there, reporting live from Havana in Cuba.

In Romania, sex trafficking rings operate like family businesses and women and children are bought and sold to work as prostitutes right across Europe.

CNN's John Vause is going to focus on that when "BACK STORY" starts at the top of the hour.

He joins us now live with a preview -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, thanks, Fionnuala.

Coming up in less than an hour from now, CNN's Dan Rivers investigates a sex trafficking gang, as you say, operated by a father and son. Now, Dan actually travels to the village in Romania, he meets with the family matriarch. She naturally denies that there's anything wrong going on.

But Stan -- Dan, rather, talks to the victims, as well. And one of the more interesting parts of the story, Dan goes to one of the highest security prisoners there, he meets an inmate who is guilty of buying and killing a young woman. Now he paid only $50 for that woman.

That's coming up on "BACK STORY" less from -- less than an hour from now, all part of the Freedom Project here on CNN -- back to you, Fionnuala.

SWEENEY: John Vause.

And to find out more about this initiative, go to CNN.com/freedom. There, you can find extensive resources, including more stories and videos on modern-day slavery, facts on human trafficking. And you can also take a stand by participating in our iReport Freedom Project challenge. Again, that's all at CNN.com/freedom.

Ramping up the pressure on Gadhafi -- key Western powers are highlighting the growing possibility of a no fly zone over Libya. We'll get the latest from the U.N..

Plus, Britain's Prince Andrew finds himself suddenly in the spotlight for his links to a controversial U.S. businessman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: At the U.N. Security Council, we are working closely with partners on a contingency basis on elements of a resolution on a no fly zone, making clear the need for regional support, a clear trigger for such a resolution and an appropriate legal basis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the U.K. foreign secretary speaking in London earlier today.

Now, U.N. Security Council members, the U.S., the U.K. and fierce, we are told, drafting, at least, a resolution for a no fly zone over Libya.

Let's find out more about that.

Let's get to the U.N. and our correspondent there, Richard Roth.

What do we know at this point -- Richard?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Becky, at this point in the diplomatic process, it's that time for words such as con -- contingency plans, options, diplomats hurriedly working and talking publicly about maneuvering here at the U.N. and at NATO headquarters regarding options about what to do, particularly if the violence increases or if there are crimes against humanity that the West feels should be acted upon now.

Now, of course, critics say maybe something should have been done earlier. But this is where we stand right now.

At the White House today, New York -- in New York time (ph), President Obama with a message to the Libyan people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We send a very clear message to the Libyan people that we will stand with them in the face of unwarranted violence and the continuing suppression of democratic ideals that we've seen there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: At the United Nations, the U.K. and France are the leaders in drafting up elements of a potential resolution that would include a no fly zone measure.

Russia and China are likely to be very opposed to this. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov today speaking out, saying Libya needs to solve its own problems.

So there would be quite a diplomatic discussion should that, indeed, head to the Security Council table.

At the White House, also, spokesman Jay Carney discussing no fly zone possibilities.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This option is very much on the table, but people need to understand the complexities of it, both in its implementation and what it can and can't achieve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Six Arab Gulf States appealing for an Arab League meeting regarding the no fly zone and for some type of international zone of protection. But that still has to be agreed upon. No vote imminent here - - Becky.

Back to you.

ANDERSON: All right. The diplomatic wrangling continues at the UN. Meanwhile, here on the Tunisian/Libyan border, one Egyptian reminds me that his friends, his migrant worker friends, are still left in Libya and he says the world shouldn't forget them. That story and more coming up after this very short break. Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN HOST: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney in London. Hungry, tired, and worried about what the future might bring, scores of refugees are still waiting for help after fleeing the violence in Libya.

And then, remember the other revolutions. We'll update you on the political shakeups underway in Egypt in Tunisia.

Plus later, his best may yet be to come. Legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is planning his next adventure at the age of 67. He'll take your questions as our Connector of the Day.

All those stories ahead in the show for you but, first, a look at the top stories we are following this hour.

NATO is conducting round-the-clock surveillance flights over Libya as it considers ways to stop the escalating civil war. Libya fighter jets today bombed the road outside Ras Lanuf, a rebel-held town in eastern Libya. Moammar Gadhafi's regime is trying to push back a rebel advance towards the capital.

The US Defense Secretary has offered his personal apology to Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai for the accidental killings of nine Afghan boys last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GATES, US DEFENSE SECRETARY: I would be -- like to begin by joining General Petraeus in offering my personal apology for the accidental of Af -- nine Afghan boys by coalition forces last week. This breaks our heart. Not only is their loss a tragedy for their families, it is a setback for our relationship with the Afghan people, whose security is our chief concern.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SWEENEY: Well, Robert Gates is on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan in response to Karzai's call for an end to civilian killing.

The trial of former French president Jacques Chirac for embezzling money began on Monday, but proceedings were quickly delayed by an appeal from a co-defendant. Now, Chirac is accused of using public money to pay people to work for his political party while he was mayor of Paris between 1977 and 1995.

And in London, a spokesman for British prime minster David Cameron says the government fully supports Prince Andrew in his role as an unpaid trade envoy for Britain. But many are questioning whether Prince Andrew can hang onto that role, perhaps, after question had been raised over his purported friendships with members of the Gadhafi family and the controversial American businessman, Jeffrey Epstein, who's also a convicted sex offender.

And it was a rough start to the week on Wall Street. Blue chip stocks sank nearly 80 points as unrest in the Middle East and high oil prices continue to worry investors. The Dow ended the day at 12,090. And those are the headlines.

Well, those are the top stories we've been following this hour. For now, it's back to Becky, live from the Tunisian/Libyan border. Becky?

ANDERSON: That's right, Fionnuala, thank you very much, indeed. We're at the UN's transit camp, which is just down from the border. It's about three miles away. There are very real fears that those who want to flee Libya to this border are being prevented from doing so.

There are about 17,000, mainly men, behind me in the tents behind me. They are, effectively, safe here, and will be evacuated through Djerba Airport home at some point in the days to come. But what is going on at the border is still very critical. Ivan Watson was there earlier on and he filed this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The people keep streaming across the border from Libya here into Tunisia. More than 100,000 people have fled in the last two weeks, and more keep coming.

They are met by Tunisian volunteers, who hand out food, who hand out water. And this is important, because these refugees are hungry and thirsty and frightened. Many of them tell us that they haven't had any access to food and water for days, and they've been charged exorbitant prices for transport to try to flee the fighting in Libya.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: I'm so very hungry.

WATSON: Why?

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Four days, I never eat anything.

WATSON: No food for four days?

UNIDENTIFED MALE: No food. No food. Never sleeping. You see my face?

WATSON: Yes.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: I'm so very tired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are so very tired. A lot of brothers decide they're afraid to come out.

WATSON: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if you can help them to bring them out, they are afraid because of the Libyans.

WATSON: What are the Libyans doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some are attacking them.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: They are attacking us.

WATSON: Attacking who?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The foreigners. Foreigners.

WATSON: All foreigners?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WATSON: Yes?

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Especially of West Africa.

WATSON: Why? Why are they attacking West Africans?

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Because they say that the man -- the leader brought some mercenaries.

WATSON: Mercenaries?

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Yes.

WATSON: Why are you here today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For -- they are human. We should do this.

WATSON: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a student. I should do this.

WATSON: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't gone to the faculty to study. I'm here for helping people, just for helping people.

WATSON: This is the first top for the flood of humanity that's been streaming across the border into Tunisia. A transit center of sorts. Across the road over here is a virtual tent city of thousands of tents, and many of these people are likely to spend days and nights waiting there until their governments or until aid organizations find some way to transport them back home. Ivan Watson, CNN, near the Tunisian border with Libya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, some of those governments have been doing a pretty good job. The Egyptian government, for example, has worked with the aid agencies and the Tunisian army here at the camp to, effectively, evacuate pretty much all of the Egyptian migrant workers, now.

There are about 40,000 who were here at some point over the past week and, now, most of them down to the airport. Those, though, that we've met there tell me that, while they are relieved that they are going home, they are really concerned about those Egyptian workers and others who are left in Libya. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over) Just yards from check-in at Djerba Airport and, hopefully, his flight to freedom. I first met Yasser Saturday, camped out with his friends after what he describes as a hellish journey that began in Libya more than a week ago.

YASSER, EGYPTIAN EVACUEE FROM LIBYA (through translator): "Life in Libya was normal. I used to work at a store in the commercial area," he says. "And then, the situation changed, and the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi happened. We were afraid, because he said the Egyptians and the Tunisians were giving people hallucination pills. We were afraid."

ANDERSON (voice-over): Outside the terminal on Sunday, just hours from his flight, Yasser told me that he was relieved.

YASSER (through translator): Thank God, I am very happy. My message to the entire world is to help out our brothers in Libya, because Gadhafi has lost it, and we are worried about our Egyptian brothers who are still in Libya.

ANDERSON (voice-over): He's among the more than 40,000 Egyptians who have now been evacuated through Tunisia. And what's the first thing he'll do when he gets home? He says he'll go Tahrir Square and celebrate his own country's revolution, and then -- hopefully look for a job to feed his family, he says.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, relatively speaking, Yasser and his mates are the lucky ones, effectively. The Egyptians moving out of what has been an extremely crowded Djerba Airport. Let's get back to what is going on here. I'm joined by Firas Kayal. He's been with us throughout our period of time covering this story, here, on the border.

Firas, you just saw the report, there, of one Egyptian who's on his way home. Ivan, though, highlighting what I know is a concern to you. African migrant workers. We haven't seen a lot of them, but those we now see coming over the border have horrible stories to tell.

FIRAS KAYAL, UN REFUGEE AGENCY: Yes, very true. And, in fact, we don't -- we have not seen many people of them coming out. But those who have come out do really have terrible stories, and we have been talking to them here in the camp and trying to provide them with counseling and other services.

That said, however, we've had a remarkable, successful evacuation operation. Out of the 110,000 who have left to Tunisia so far, 75 have been evacuated -- 75,000 -- 20,000 are Tunisians. And the remaining here, 15,000 in this camp right now.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right. So, you've got a lot of Bangladeshis here in the camp and, as you say also, a number of west and sub-Saharan Africans. The Bangladeshis, over the next ten days, I'm told, will be evacuated by seven flights a day. What happens to the Africans?

KAYAL: Well, in ten days, we hope that we will be able to evacuated the Bangladeshis, because UNHCR and IOM are sending flights every day. There will be a small group of people, around 300 persons right now, remaining in the camp because they don't have -- or their countries are witnessing significant violence right now. Somalis, for example.

For those groups, and others, Eritrean and Ethiopian and other nationalities, probably, we will have to seek a resettlement in a third country. And there are right now discussions with a settlement country to try to resettle those persons once we finish from evacuating the Bengalis.

ANDERSON: I've got to say, it has been the most remarkable operation, here, for the -- through the aid organizations like your own, UNHCR, the IOM and, indeed, the Tunisian army. Tunisian volunteers, you see them all over this border region, bringing food, bringing water, doing what they can.

And let's not forget the regional unrest across this region, including in Tunisia, and we've seen changes to the government just here, literally during the days that we've been here. So, it's tough. Coming up, we're going to talk about that regional unrest and how al Qaeda might -- just might -- be thinking of taking advantage of it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson on the Tunisian/Libyan border. The world's eyes might be on Libya right now but, regionally, a number of countries are experiencing a shakeup or unrest including, of course, Tunisia, where we are at present.

Nearly three months after protests rocked the region, the country is still struggling with a transition. After a spree of resignations, the current prime minster has named a new government here and, in a move that many are celebrating, the situation -- the interior minister has announced that he will be dismantling the secret police.

Elsewhere, in Cairo, a new cabinet has been sworn in. State TV broadcasting that ceremony conducted by the head of the Egyptian military and the Egyptian new prime minister appointed last week.

And after weeks of what were relatively peaceful protests, it's got to be said, in Oman, the country's leader has ordered a major governmental reshuffle. A handful of key ministers have been let go in response to accusations of corruption and slow reforms, there.

Well, the fact that so many governments are in play has much of the Western part of the world, certainly at times, at least, concerned for a number of reasons, and the possibility of the spread of extremism top of that agenda.

Our next guest joining us now out of the States has met Osama bin Laden, and he says he thinks -- he's heard that al Qaeda is probably watching these events with a mixture of glee and despair. Peter Bergen is CNN's Security Analyst, and he joins us now.

A mixture of glee and despair. Why?

PETER BERGEN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Glee because, after all, regime change in the Middle East has always been bin Laden and al Qaeda's principle goal. Despair because none of the ideas that are powering this revolution have anything to do with al Qaeda.

Becky, we haven't seen any protesters in the streets of Cairo or in Tunisia or in Libya or anywhere else carrying placards with the face of bin Laden on it. The people in these revolutions haven't been spouting al Qaeda's anti-Western critiques. We haven't seen any flag burnings of the US flag or the Israeli flag, the kind of typical things that you might have seen in protests in the past.

So -- and also, the final point here, Becky, is that whatever outcome there is in all these different revolutions and revolts, I think it's very unlikely that a Taliban-style theocracy is going to replace the regimes that have fallen. And that, of course, is the preferred type of regime that bin Laden would like.

So, in short, al Qaeda is irrelevant to all this. Their ideas are irrelevant and -- both as events unfold and, I think, as events will turn out in the future.

ANDERSON: It doesn't mean that necessarily that al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden has gone away, though, does it?

One of his core concerns, he says, over the period of time that we've been listening to him is that he despises these -- what were Western- supported governments, he says. One assumes he is alluding to the likes of Ben Ali, the former president of Tunisia, of Moammar Gadhafi, of the likes of the former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.

So, to some extent, what he's seeing happening across the region or, certainly, what his organization al Qaeda is seeing happening across the region is good news.

BERGEN: Yes. That's the part that he's happy about. But the people who are revolting against Hosni Mubarak or against Gadhafi are not motivated by al Qaeda's ideas. They seem to be wanting more open societies, more accountable governments, elections. And al Qaeda thinks that elections are against Islam.

So -- and in fact, al Qaeda's been very critical, for instance, of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt because it participates in conventional politics and participates in elections. So, even a group like the Muslim Brotherhood is rejected by al Qaeda, let alone the secular Facebook revolutionaries that took to the street of Cairo back in late January.

ANDERSON: With that, Peter, we're going to have to leave it there. An interesting narrative, and one we will, no doubt, come back to in the days and weeks ahead. Peter Bergen, CNN Security Analyst for you this evening.

With that, we're wrapping up our coverage from the Tunisian/Libyan border for this Monday here. More from us, of course, tomorrow. Fionnuala, back to you.

SWEENEY: Still to come, we're taking you beyond borders with one of the world's greatest adventurers. He's already conquered Everest and the North and South Poles. And today, as Fiennes turns 67, he's planning one of his toughest expeditions yet. Sir Ranulph Fiennes is your Connector of the Day, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: He's a national treasure here in the United Kingdom, but his footprints can be found in some of the world's most unforgiving places. Tonight's Connector of the Day kickstarts a week of adventurers, men and women who've gone beyond borders and beyond physical and mental limitations. Let's get you connected with the man the Guinness Book of Records names the world's greatest living explorer on this, his 67th birthday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANULPH FIENNES, BRITISH EXPLORER: The throat gets dry and the cough gets worse. You can't breathe properly.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Everest was not kind to Sir Ranulph Fiennes. It was only on his third attempt in 2009 that he made it to the summit and into the record books.

At the age of 65, he was the oldest Briton to ever conquer the mount. But Sir Ranulph's name had already been stamped in history well before that. In a series of expeditions beginning in the 1970s, the former British army officer became the first person to reach both the North and South poles by surface.

He, then, became the first to cross Antarctica entirely on foot, and the first to run seven marathons in seven days on all seven continents. The list of death-defying adventures goes on. No traverse, no climb, no challenge daunts this Scottish-born treasure, not even the grim task of amputating his own frostbitten fingers.

And he tells me that he's far from done with his escapades yet.

FIENNES: There is something left to do. We go for things which haven't been done yet, normally, and this one we've not done over the last 30 years because it's been too difficult. I'm not going to name them, but there are people from a certain country that always try and beat us to the big remaining geographical expeditions, and we don't want to talk about it to get them all stirred up until we've got full sponsorship.

But we're ready to go. It's very difficult, incredibly cold, and we've got the same team we've had for 30 years doing it.

ANDERSON (on camera): Somebody once said to me that they thought that you danced or you, certainly, liked to dance with death. You've had numerous close calls over the years. Can you just walk us through some of the closest?

FIENNES: The closest was not against nature, like crevasses, rough seas, falling down mountains, falling into crevasses, polar bears. Was not the most lethal. The most lethal thing was with people, yes? People that don't like you.

In the 1960s, I fought with the Arab army on behalf of Islam, although I was paid by the Queen, against the Marxists, and we were heavily outnumbered in South Oman, Dhofar, it was called. There was me and 60 wonderful Arabs in my reconnaissance platoon.

And over those three years, you get cut off with people, they want to kill you, they're clever. I'm not saying nature isn't clever, but crevasses aren't out to get you, whereas these guys really were. So, I think anything to do with people that don't like you is much more dicing with death than natural things.

ANDERSON: Louise asks, "Is there one experience which you would consider the most tough or challenging?"

FIENNES: Yes, getting married, I've -- probably, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: What, bigger than Everest?

FIENNES: Yes. I mean, Everest was a nuisance. I tried it from the Tibetan side, and I had a -- like a heart attack within 300 meters in height from the summit on the last night. And I realized I was -- I'd previously had a heart attack five years before that and double bypass and coma for three days and so on. And my wife had said, "Take pills, and if you get an -- it's going to come again, take the pills."

I don't take pills, but to keep her quiet, I took a bottle of them, and I forgot about it. And then, when this suddenly came on me on an icy slope in -- at midnight with one Sherpa, I remembered them. And I hadn't read the instructions, but I took them. And apparently, there were 80 in the bottle and you're meant to take two. And I foamed and dilated and so on, but I lived and I went down.

And three years later, in 2007 -- 8 -- 2007 I went up a thing called the north face of the Eiger, which was more climbing and not quite plodding. Plodding is Everest. Tried again on Everest in 2008 and, this time, I passed three bodies. There hadn't been much snow the previous year, so they'd come sort of visible again.

And they'd all died on the way down, and this was, again, on the very last night within five hours of the top, and I knew I was exhausted, and I thought I might make it, but I won't make it back. And so, I went down.

And my last chance was in 2009, like about a year ago, and this time I thought, I won't go with a European guide. I'll go with one Sherpa, and that way might be better. And we did a very quick ascent, no problem at all, and got down all right and it was no problem. It's a question of your attitude rather than anything else.

ANDERSON: Why do you do it?

FIENNES: Everest?

ANDERSON: Yes.

FIENNES: Altogether, our little group have raised $15 million pounds for the charities that we work with. I also wanted to get over vertigo. I'm over 60, I need to get rid of irrational fears. I only had two. One was spiders and one was vertigo.

I got rid of the spiders one in Arabia through constantly having them crawling all over you when you're sleeping in the desert for three years. Familiarity breeds contempt. But the vertigo I've not yet got over.

ANDERSON: I think our viewers will be amazed to hear that, because you must spend most of your life at heights.

FIENNES: No. No, I -- in the army, when you had to parachute, I just closed my eyes until the parachute was open. And on Everest, there are no drops. The only bit near the top where there was a drop was at night and you couldn't see it. And on the Eiger, when I got to the top of the Eiger, it took five days and nights to get there, I was still terrified at the top. So, I hadn't -- I confronted it, but hadn't got rid of it. And I still haven't.

ANDERSON: What grieves you most about the world?

FIENNES: The fact that, if you go to a big jungle like Brazil, we know that we shouldn't be cutting it down at the rate we are, and yet, we don't stop it. We know that global warming could be a huge threat, not just to the wonderful animals, but even to ourselves. And yet, we still don't stop it.

And we rush headlong into whatever disasters await us, and we have four tastes of tsunamis and earthquakes and volcanoes coming gradually. When is it going to be too late? We don't know. But that's what grieves me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: Sir Ranulph Fiennes, there, speaking to Becky Anderson. And this just in from the world of show business to CNN. Warner Brothers Television has fired actor Charlie Sheen from the hit television comedy "Two and a Half Men."

Sheen has monopolized the media spotlight in the US since the show was canceled for the remainder of the season. CBS is the network that aired "Two and a Half Men," and it's put up with Sheen's trips to drug rehab as well as his frequent run-ins with everyone from porn actresses to the police. But it seems the stream of insults against the show's creator went a bit too far.

And that is your world connected. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break.

END