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CONNECT THE WORLD

Top Libyan Official Defects; Prostitution in Denmark

Aired March 31, 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: Victims of Libya's civil war exposed, as rebels struggle to hold their only stronghold in the west.

A key government minister defects.

So what will the West learn from this man about Gadhafi's next move?

Also this hour, are these streets in Denmark's red light district helping feed a multi-billion dollar global sex trafficking trade?

And joining his brother in the fast lane, we'll meet Lewis Hamilton's latest S1 competition.

On CNN live from London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, what might he tell and could it help turn the tide of the Libyan civil war?

A lot of hopes riding tonight on the highest ranking defector to date from the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. Libya's foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, took the world by surprise when he showed up in London. British officials say he hasn't been offered any immunity deal, but they are questioning him, no doubt hoping to learn critical secrets.

Koussa served as Libya's intelligence chief for years.

Also today, new information about U.S. secret operations to help Libyan rebels. And sources tell CNN, President Obama authorized the CIA to work with opposition fighters on the ground and assess their needs. Western countries are currently debating whether to arm the rebels.

The U.S. Defense secretary would say only this when asked about the revelations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I can't speak to any CIA activities. But I will tell you that the president has been quite clear that in terms of the United States military, there will be no boots on the ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Libyan rebels, meantime, losing more ground to Gadhafi's forces in the east, despite coalition air support. NATO took sole command of air operations on Thursday, but said it would have no part in arming the rebels.

Well, we've been telling you for weeks now about a battle for Misrata, in Western Libya. Well, we can now show you the scars of war.

Our Frederik Pleitgen is one of the few international journalists how managed to enter the city.

He joins us with details.

He's now in the Mediterranean, off the Libyan coast -- Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky.

One of the reasons why we're off the coast is that this is the boat that we used to get into Misrata. Right now, the way over the sea is the only way into that besieged town, which is, of course, right in the heart of pro-Gadhafi territory.

This ship here actually brought shipments of medicine and food to those who are close to the opposition. It's a very dicey thing to try and get in there.

And when we got into the town, it was a scene of utter devastation.

Have a look at what we saw.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Weeks of urban combat have taken their toll in Misrata -- badly damaged buildings, streets littered with wreckage. Libya's third largest city, the final opposition stronghold in the west, is under siege by pro-Gadhafi forces.

(on camera): All right, so we're extremely close to the front line right now. We're with a couple of the fighters from the opposition forces. And this is in downtown Misrata. There's a lot of destruction everywhere. Most of the buildings here have some sort of damage to them -- pockmarks. There's a lot of destroyed cars in the streets, as well. And we can also see that the people that we're with -- the fighters that we're with are very, very tense at this moment.

(voice-over): A celebration on a destroyed armored vehicle a step too far for pro-Gadhafi forces nearby. And the scene turns ugly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire, fire, fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you see, that all is destroyed from Gadhafi's forces -- buildings, gas stations, schools, restaurants, the police station, even fire station, they have destroyed it.

PLEITGEN: Most residents have fled downtown Misrata, as pro-Gadhafi forces have positioned snipers on tall buildings, used tanks and artillery in the city center. The anti-Gadhafi fighters, badly outgunned, fight back with the few weapons they have.

They provided us with this video saying it shows a man disabling a battle tank with a rocket propelled grenade.

Those civilians still left in Misrata are suffering. Twelve-year-old Mohammed (ph) and his 15-year-old brother were wounded when mortars hit their parents' home. Mohammed lost several fingers on his left hand and his whole right hand.

Their father swears revenge. "Gadhafi should be killed," he says, "he's not a human and he should be killed."

But for now, the medical staff at one of the few functioning hospitals are struggling to keep many of the wounded alive. They lack even the basics -- anesthetics, operating tools and space. Some patients must stay in the parking lot. The emergency room is in a tent in front of the building.

DR. ALI ABDALLAH, SURGEON: We don't (INAUDIBLE). All the doctors and medical staff are in here now.

PLEITGEN: And they won't leave any time soon, as opposition fighters struggle to hold on to this besieged town and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi continue to pound what not long ago was one of Libya's most prosperous places.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

PLEITGEN: And, Becky, I think one of the things that struck us most is really the mismatch that you see there between the pro-Gadhafi and the anti-Gadhafi forces on the ground. Well, the pro-Gadhafi camp, of course, has tanks and heavy artillery and the like. Many of the anti-government fighters don't even have guns. A lot of them have made guns out of air rifles, trying to make higher powered weapons out of them. Some just use machetes or petrol bombs. So it really is a big mismatch.

Yet, the opposition tells us they are still holding on to that territory. But, of course, they fear if they lose that territory, there could be a massacre in Misrata -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Frederik Pleitgen there off the coast.

Fred, thank you for that.

We want to get you to Tripoli now for reaction to what has been a quite remarkable story. This time last night, the foreign minister of Libya arrived on British shores. Moussa Koussa has defected from Libya. He says he's here, the British -- well, he is here. The British government says they aren't giving him any immunity at this point, but he'll certainly be being questioned on exactly what is the next move for Gadhafi.

Let's get more from Nic Robertson now in Tripoli.

We're going to have more on Moussa Koussa's, a sense for the viewers exactly who this man is shortly, Nic.

But first, reaction from Tripoli to this defection.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it took a long time coming, Becky. It was almost 4:00 this afternoon, almost 24 hours since we first became aware that Moussa Koussa had defected, from a government spokesman here to briefers on the government's position. And essentially the government's trying to play this down. They're saying that Moussa Koussa was ill, he's an old man, he's worked hard, he's got a heart condition, he's got this condition, that condition. And the regime has said you can go to Tunisia to get better.

Well, we said, well, look, you know, just a few days ago, your deputy prime minister was saying Moussa Koussa would be back the next day, in fact, back within hours. And he said, well, the -- he had gone to do to some work, he was talking to representatives of different governments, etc. Etc.

The fact is that the government here is trying to play down what is a very, very embarrassing situation for them. It caught them off guard. It caught them by surprise. And they -- they are still, at the moment, don't have a replacement for him. They say somebody will replace him, everyone's important but the -- the country is more important and the country can carry on.

But almost bizarrely, they said Moussa Koussa would be welcome to come back any time he wants -- Becky.

ANDERSON: All right, Nic.

Thank you for that.

Let's do more now on this defection of Libya's foreign minister. Many people believe it could provide invaluable insight into Gadhafi's next move. This is the man who is now on British shores. Scottish prosecutors already want to question Moussa Koussa over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. This man has a background.

Jonathan Mann has a closer look now at the man who appears to be Gadhafi's ally turned informant.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His is not a household name, but it does roll off the tongue -- Moussa Koussa, Libya's former intelligence chief, Libya's former foreign minister, now Libya's most damaging defector.

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: The Libyan foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, arrived at Farnborough Airport yesterday from Tunisia. He traveled here under his own free will. He said that he is resigning his post. His resignation shows that Gadhafi's regime, which has already seen significant defections to the opposition, is fragmented, under pressure and crumbling from within. Gadhafi must be asking humans, who will be the next to abandon him.

MANN: Koussa has been near the center of Libya's most savage and surprising decisions, its role in international terror, then its reversal, opening to the West and surrendering its most dangerous weapons.

As foreign minister, he was an international advocate of the Gadhafi regime, but in recent weeks, his demeanor had changed visibly. At a recent media briefing, he kept his head down as he read a statement and then left early. Now, he's left entirely, traveling first to neighboring Tunisia and then on to London, one of the headquarters of the international coalition carrying out air strikes on his country.

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's a huge development. For one thing, let's -- let's remember, Moussa Koussa is the single most important Libyan official who was responsible for, as head of the intelligence service, the planning and execution of PanAm 103.

The other more significant and recent event is he was the individual who was primarily responsible for the turning over of the Libyan weapons programs. He really does have secrets to tell.

MANN: Libya had a different secret about Koussa. They said he was just ill and attending to it.

MOUSSA IBRAHIM, LIBYAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: He said he needed some medical treatment for, you know, a few days in Tunisia. And we said, yes.

MANN: Koussa himself isn't talking to the press. He's being questioned by British authorities or, according to his former Libyan colleagues, he's "recovering".

Jonathan Mann, CNN.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, the opposition in Libya, of course, also welcoming the news.

I got reaction earlier from Guma El-Gamaty.

He's the UK representative of the Libyan Interim National Council here in London.

And I began by asking him what information Koussa might have about Gadhafi's inner circle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUMA EL-GAMATY, LIBYAN OPPOSITION MEMBER, INTERIM NATIONAL COUNCIL: Well, Moussa Koussa is a very, very important man for Gadhafi. He has always been a very close confidante. He had access to Gadhafi on a daily basis. He was one of the men of 10, one of the men of the 10, about half a dozen of them who Gadhafi relies on directly outside his sons, who recently took a more profile role.

And Moussa Koussa knows everything about the inside of the Ga -- of the Gadhafi regime.

ANDERSON: So he will know what is going on now and what Gadhafi's intentions are next?

EL-GAMATY: He will know exactly what's happening right now, at the moment, what is the state of mind of Gadhafi, what's happening around him, how does he feel about the whole thing, is he going to hold on for much longer, what's -- what's going to be the end game and what's the state of the morale, the forces, the coordination, the lines of communication, the - - the -- the ammunition, the supplies, where -- where the weak points are, where the soft points are. He will know everything. He -- he is that kind of man.

ANDERSON: We know he's not being offered immunity here in Britain.

Do you back calls by the opposition in Libya for him to be returned and tried there?

EL-GAMATY: Moussa Koussa has got a lot of blood on his hands, a lot of blood. And I think, yes, I think a fair trial should be -- should be the -- the -- the fate of Moussa Koussa.

However, we are -- I think we're far from that. Even Britain could put him on trial. But I think now, priorities are to use him as much as possible against Gadhafi and see what happens.

ANDERSON: You had a seat at the table at this week's Libyan conference. You met with David Cameron, the British prime minister. You met with Hillary Clinton.

Is it your understanding that the West is getting ready to arm the rebels?

EL-GAMATY: There is a lot of discussion going on about that. There is obstacle of the Security Council embargo resolution, which has to be dealt with. But I think there is a lot of sympathy. The world can see that there is a moral stand to arm the Libyans, because it is not fair for people with very light arms to be facing tanks and multi-rocket launchers and heavy artillery. And I think some Arab and Muslim countries are willing to help, as well. So it's not just the West or the Americans.

And I think soon we will get this result. The Libyans can -- we can buy arms. It's just that we need people to be willing to -- to deal with us and help us out.

ANDERSON: Are the rebels already being armed by Arab countries?

EL-GAMATY: I think there has been some arms coming in from Arab countries, but not from Western countries. All these rumors about Westerners, Americans or otherwise, coming in to train the Libyans, I don't think they are founded. That -- that's not accurate. We are not -- and that's not what we want.

We want to keep it strictly Libyan. If we needed that kind of help, we can go to Arabs and -- and -- and Muslim countries.

ANDERSON: You haven't set foot in the country for 30 years.

EL-GAMATY: Right.

ANDERSON: And yet you are figurehead, certainly, that the West is prepared to talk to now, so far as your position is concerned. You are a far cry from the men and boys who are fighting on the front lines at this point.

Do those rebels include elements of al Qaeda?

EL-GAMATY: There is no al Qaeda. Libyans are not members of al Qaeda. They have never been. They are just a nationalist, patriotic voice who want to fight terror -- who want to fight tyranny and the oppression of Gadhafi and want to be free. They want their country and their people to be free.

ANDERSON: You heard it from the horse's mouth there, the spokesman for the Libyan opposition. Here, he has a seat at the top tables. He certainly did on Tuesday. He met David Cameron and Hillary Clinton.

More from him as we get it, as we go through the week, and, of course, more on Libya here on CNN.

Coming up, we're going to be back with our next installment of the CNN's Freedom Project. Our special coverage on sex trafficking continues in Denmark this evening. We'll tell you why this country is so significant.

And closing in on Laurent Gbagbo's final stronghold on the Ivory Coast.

Could he be about to step down from his claimed position as president?

Find out more, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, it's known as the world's oldest profession, but in most places, it's illegal. Coming up, the CNN Freedom Project takes you to one country where prostitution is allowed and explores the impact that that has had on the women who sell sex there, the men who buy it and the traffickers who pocket the cash.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

That's the Freedom Project.

That's coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

A look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.

The Japanese government says it has no plans to expand the current evacuation zone around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. That's despite a recommendation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, after higher than acceptable radiation levels were found in a town outside the exclusion zone. This is the current area set by Japanese authorities. But the UN's nuclear watchdog says high radiation levels have been found in the village of Iitate. That's 40 kilometers from the plant.

German police have found a foil -- oh, sorry. Let me start that again.

German police have foiled a bomb attack plot outside a -- a football stadium in the western city of Dortmund. The Federal Crime Office says it found and defused three suspected explosive devices at the stadium. A 25- year-old man has also reportedly been detained.

Ireland's central bank says stress tests show four of the nation's banks need to raise $34 billion. The tests were carried out to determine well the lenders would handle another financial crisis.

And good-bye to a pioneer -- funeral services were held Thursday for former U.S. vice presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro. Family and friends attended a private service in New York. She was Walter Mondale's running mate in 1984, the first female vice presidential candidate from a major U.S. political party. She died on Saturday at age 75.

Still ahead, escalating tension in Ivory Coast. Four months after the disputed election, loyalists on both sides prepare for battle.

First, though, the CNN Freedom Project goes to Denmark, where prostitution has been legalized with unexpected results.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Now, when you think of the term slavery, what comes to mind?

Well, if it's a chapter in a history book, think again. Modern-day slavery exists all over the world, from as far afield as London, New York and New Delhi.

This year, CNN has launched an initiative that we're calling the Freedom Project, which has the goal of exposing the trade in human life.

And tonight, we're going to focus on one aspect of that. And that is the sex trafficking industry.

Just how big an industry is it?

Well, according to an International Labour Organization report released in 2005, nearly one-and-a-half million people worldwide are forced into labor for commercial sexual exploitation. Most of those were women and children.

Well, one of the reasons the sex trafficking industry thrives, of course, is that there is a demand for prostitution almost everywhere in the world. Some countries have now decriminalized it, believing that bringing it out into the open will make it easier to regulate and identify its victims.

But in Denmark, it actually hasn't worked out that way.

CNN's Atika Shubert reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Copenhagen's red light district is seedy and grim. Neon signs and girls on street corners, many from Nigeria.

Michelle Mildwater, an aid worker, regularly walks Copenhagen's red light district. She says she has seen the number of prostitutes from Africa triple in the last two years.

MICHELLE MILDWATER, HOPE NOW: What we've got on the streets is the tip of the iceberg, basically.

Time, maybe. I don't know.

SHUBERT: She takes me for a tour of the area. Journalists filming here have been attacked, so we shoot from a hotel room overlooking out of Copenhagen's most notorious corners.

Mildwater says even identifying victims of trafficking is difficult because of the country's tough attitude toward illegal immigration.

MILDWATER: Women are still treated, first, as criminals, and, secondly, are victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is (INAUDIBLE) here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Sada (ph) awake?

SHUBERT: decriminalizing prostitution is supposed to make it easier to police abuses in the sex trade. But the reality is most prostitutes are still managed by pimps, even though it's illegal. Police sweeps often catch more prostitutes than pimps. In this arrest video from Denmark's TV 2, most of the women rounded up have come from Africa. Denmark's human trafficking unit is on hand.

ANNE MASKELL, DANISH CENTER AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING: We'll have social workers ready to meet these women at the police station and by discussion and dialogue, interview, we'll try to find out and figure out whether she's trafficked or not.

SHUBERT: Denmark offers a, quote, "reflection period" for victims before facing deportation in the hopes that they will testify against their pimps and traffickers. But that rarely happens. Critics say Denmark's reflection period doesn't offer enough time or incentive to victims to cooperate with police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The normal situation is that -- that when you come closer to this final day, they are allowed to stay then they disappear from the women's center. And then we don't know what happens to them, because they are not ready to go home. They -- they are too scared, maybe.

SHUBERT: Denmark's head of police investigations insists victims are not treated as criminals.

KIM KLIVER, NATIONAL CENTRE OF INVESTIGATIONS: Ninety-five percent of the prostitutes in Denmark, they are already familiar with prostitution before they shows up here. So they -- they know the business and they know that they need to cooperate with pimps. And -- and for them, it's not the most natural thing to do, to work together with the law enforcement. We have a giant cooperation with the social welfare system here in -- in Denmark. And that means that if -- if they want to cooperate, we have social programs and -- and they will not end up in jails.

SHUBERT: But as Denmark's TV 2 discovered, it doesn't always work that way. This woman was promised a cleaning job, but was forced to work in a brothel instead, then arrested in a police raid. She ended up in prison for months before social workers identified her as a victim of trafficking. She has not been identified for her own safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt like a criminal because it's only criminals who -- who would be in the like that place. If I go on the streets, I will be recognized and then my life will be in -- in danger, yes.

SHUBERT: Ultimately, social workers say victims need more time and protection.

MILDWATER: If we have a legal process that then criminalizes them from -- for working illegally or carrying false papers, we basically lock them into a cage again. They've been locked into a physical and a psychological cage by their traffickers. And then they are locked in by the political and the legal system here in Denmark.

SHUBERT: Without building that trust, social workers say victims are likely to remain silent while their traffickers go free.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Copenhagen.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Kevin Bales is president of an organization called Free the Slaves.

He says the model used in Denmark is flawed, and, frankly, a bit odd.

He joins us now from Washington to explain.

Why do you believe that?

KEVIN BALES, PRESIDENT, FREE THE SLAVES: Well, here's a law that makes prostitution legal and requires people who are caught in prostitution to pay taxes, but, in fact, does give them no legitimate protections in their jobs whatsoever -- no contracts, no any kind of safety regulations or inspections. Nothing like that.

So it's just pushed them into a gray zone. And, as we've just shown in that report, they end up being busted and taken away and arrested and deported when, in fact, they may, in fact, be the victims of a very serious crime of human trafficking.

ANDERSON: These women and often young girls are caught at the end of what we know to be a multi-billion dollar sex trafficking industry. They're not making the money, of course. The traffickers are. This Freedom Project we're running here on CNN is about flushing these people out, effectively.

Is there anything in that Danish model that you would effectively buy into, as it were?

BALES: You know, I don't think there is. I have to say, when you -- when you make something legal but then you give no protections whatsoever, when you basically arrest and create other problems for victims of a serious crime, I don't think that's going to work.

I suspect the model that Denmark should be looking at is the one across the border in Sweden, where women who are caught in this situation have a much higher chance of protection by law enforcement.

ANDERSON: And that is something that we reported on last night, in fact, another of Atika Shubert's excellent reports. And viewers, you'll be able to find that on our Web site, CNN.com/connect. We'll make sure it's on the Facebook site, of course, as well.

So the Swedish model, you say, works, why?

BALES: Well, it works because it actually legalizes the selling of sex but it criminalizes the buying of sex. Now, that sounds a little odd, I appreciate. But what it's done is redress the power imbalance that has always existed, throughout history, between men with money and social power and women without power who are often poor and in desperate circumstances who are selling sex.

This time, under the Swedish law, women have the power of the state behind them. And they're able to have much greater control over their lives.

A recent 10 year evaluation of that law in Sweden has shown a decrease in the amount of street prostitution and a -- and more protection for the women who are caught up prostitution.

ANDERSON: Kevin, come back.

We'll talk to you about this again, as we move through the year. It's a year's initiative here on CNN. And we hope the viewers will get involved as much as we are.

Kevin Bales, an expert on the subject for you tonight.

BALES: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Well, a part of CNN's Freedom Project, all this week, we have been asking you to tell us how you are taking a stand against modern- day slavery. And we've been getting a great response so far, with pictures and videos from all over the world.

I want to share some of those with you tonight.

From Canada, iReporter Nhak5 (ph). He's a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. And he says that he wants people living in his native Vietnam to take a stand, who are living in a life of slavery. He wants them to be free. He says: "I'm taking a stand to end slavery."

From the United States, iReporter tiny530, posing with her five kids, showing the family taking a stand against slavery.

And the next images could be yours. It's tomorrow, this time. We're going to be showcasing many more iReports, so head over to cnn.com/freedom. That is the website. You'll be able to find out as much as you need to know about how you get involved here on CNN.

All right. Ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, our we seeing a turning point in the crisis in Ivory Coast? Rebel forces are closing in on President Laurent Gbagbo. Smoke rising from the main city of Abidjan. We're going to get the latest on the ground and hear from the UN envoy who says Gbagbo has just days left.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London, just after half past nine here.

Coming up, Laurent Gbagbo has crossed the point of no return. That is the view of a UN special envoy. Up next, why he thinks Gbagbo's days are numbered.

Will Lewis Hamilton be about to take a back seat to this man? We talk to his half brother, Nicholas, who's searing his way into a racing career.

And our Connector of the Day, Ted Danson, answers your questions about his exciting new role in conservation. He's your Connector of the Day. That, coming up later this hour.

First, though, as ever at this point, let's get you a quick check of the headlines.

Libyan rebels are losing more ground in the east, coming under heavy fire from Moammar Gadhafi's forces. This was the scene today near Al- Brega. Rebels are struggling to keep the town from slipping completely from their control.

An update on the woman who says she was raped by Gadhafi's troops. Libyan officials say Eman al-Obeidy will hopefully be visited by several journalists this weekend. She hasn't been seen in public since security men dragged her from a Tripoli hotel last weekend.

Syria's state news agency says the government will study the idea of lifting the country's state of emergency and investigate the death of civilians and troops in recent unrest. One activist says the government is, quote, "playing around."

Japanese officials say radiation levels in the ocean off the crippled Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant continue to skyrocket. More than 150 US marines trained in radiological operations are now heading to Japan to help.

And officials at the Bronx Zoo say the deadly Egyptian cobra which went missing five days ago has been found alive. The snake can kill a human in about 15 minutes, and the reptile house has been closed while employees searched for it.

Well, after months of bloodshed, the crisis in Ivory Coast appears -- appears -- to be entering a decisive and final phase. Forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-recognized president of Ivory Coast, have entered Abidjan, plumes of smoke rising above the country's main city this afternoon, the last stronghold of rival Laurent Gbagbo. A spokesman for Ouattara says a curfew has been declared in Abidjan through Sunday.

Unrest has gripped the West African nation, you'll remember, since disputed elections in November. Ouattara was declared the winner, but Gbagbo rejected the results and has defiantly refused to step down ever since.

This map explains what's been going on recently. The yellow line indicates the former buffer zone that separated the pro-Ouattara forces in the north from the pro-Gbagbo forces in the south. The conflict symbols show where there have been clashes in recent days.

There, you can see Abidjan, that's also where Ouattara has been held up in a United Nations-protected hotel since November. Well, the UN says the blockade around the hotel has now been lifted, and pro-Gbagbo forces have retreated to his presidential palace.

Meanwhile, Gbagbo's army chief has asked for asylum at the residence of the South African ambassador. Ouattara's spokesman tells CNN that is a sign the armed forces now stand fully behind him.

On the ground in Abidjan is journalist Monica Mark, and she joins me, now, on the phone. Just describe scene, the atmosphere this evening, for us, if you will, in the capital.

MONICA MARK, JOURNALIST (via telephone): We'll, we've seen the situation here in Abidjan does seem to have calmed down over the last few hours. Earlier on, we had long periods of gunfire and heavy weapons, and that seems to have calmed down, now.

We don't know whether forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, who marched into Abidjan today have achieved their objective, which -- among which would have included securing state-run TV, which has been in Gbagbo's hands since the November polls.

But what we do know is that Gbagbo has now come under -- he's been given a deadline, an 8:00 PM GMT deadline by Ouattara's forces to step down peacefully, and that's a final deadline, they have said, that they will give him to leave.

He hasn't obeyed that, which is, he hasn't made any statement on TV or on radio that says he's stepping down. So, we're not sure. There's a vacuum of information at the moment. We're not sure what's going on or who is ultimately in power at the moment, but it looks increasingly clear that Gbagbo cannot sustain his position as things are at the moment.

ANDERSON: Monica Mark's on the ground in Abidjan for you this evening. Monica, thank you for that.

Earlier, I spoke to the UN special envoy, Choi Young-jin, on the phone from Abidjan. I asked him just how long Laurent Gbagbo had got left.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHOI YOUNG-JIN, UN SPECIAL ENVOY (via telephone): I think there is a -- he crossed a point of no return. He must leave now. No choice.

ANDERSON: But how long do you think he's got? The prime minister of the parallel government says he has hours, not days. Can you see him leaving before the end of this evening, for example?

CHOI: No, that was already yesterday, he endured one more day, so let's say not hours, but days.

ANDERSON: Ivory Coast ambassador says that Ouattara has promised that Gbagbo will not be hurt. Is that something that you know anything about? Where will Gbagbo go at this point?

CHOI: I don't know, but I met -- I met with Ouattara several times. He underlined the importance of reconciliation and magnanimity and pardon and inclusiveness. So, I do believe he will have -- act according to this line of reconciliation.

ANDERSON: So, you think that Gbagbo will stay in the country, and that Ouattara is prepared to work with him, as opposed to Gbagbo looking for exile, which was something that may of the African countries were considering for him back in November and December.

CHOI: I -- let's be realistic. President Gbagbo has lost all -- squandered all the occasions. I don't know, now, where he can really go.

ANDERSON: So, when you say you think he has hours if not just days left, what you're saying is, left running the country. You're not saying that he -- that you necessarily think he's going to leave the country. Is that right?

CHOI: No, he had many opportunities he all squandered. Now, he's under Security Council sanctions for travel restrictions. He is a lot of complications.

ANDERSON: What are the UN's plans in Ivory Coast next?

CHOI: We are currently very, very busy in planning how to fill the vacuum left by Gbagbo's forces.

ANDERSON: And how will you do that?

CHOI: We will increase our patrols and increase our protection on the important national institutions, such as the presidential palace if he leaves, and the airport, the radio station, the central bank, all those are important institutions.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: That's the UN's envoy in Abidjan. Not an easy line, I'm afraid, there. But you got what you needed to hear, and Gbagbo expected to speak on state television at some time this evening. We haven't heard from him yet.

After the break, if car racing is in the blood, than the Formula One circuit just got a whole lot tougher. We'll be looking at Lewis Hamilton's newest and closest competition. I'll explain why after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Formula One star Lewis Hamilton describes him as his inspiration and, now, this very man could be on track to become one of his fiercest rivals. Don Riddell meets Lewis Hamilton's step-brother, Nicholas, who's now at the starting grid of his own racing career. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Nicholas Hamilton, a 19-year-old man living a dream. A young man with an exciting life ahead of him. A man preparing for his first season as a racing driver in England.

It's never been an easy sport to get into, but Nick's route has been harder than most, despite the fact that his older brother, Lewis, is a Formula One world champion.

NICHOLAS HAMILTON, RACING DRIVER: He's shocked that I'm racing. I think everybody is. Well, my parents are, you know, because I was a little disabled kid when I was younger, and I was scared of it. So now, to see me, here, and racing, it's a big thing.

RIDDELL (voice-over): Nicholas has cerebral palsy. A specially- adapted car means that this year, he'll be racing in the Renault Clio Cup, a breeding ground for the touring car championship.

He's come a long way since he first sat behind the wheel at his family home near London.

LINDA HAMILTON, NICHOLAS' MOTHER: Nick's always been a very determined youth. Determined as a child. We've not wrapped him in a cotton world. He's got on and done things for himself. We were told that he possibly wouldn't have -- would never walk. He would, at the best, walk with a stick.

RIDDELL (on camera): What's your strength going to be? Do you think you have natural ability? I gather you're very good on simulators.

NICHOLAS HAMILTON: Well, I don't like to blow my own trumpet --

RIDDELL: Well, you can.

HAMILTON: Well, I can -- I can drive. I can drive. I know the fundamentals, I know how -- I know what I want to do. It's just putting it into practice, and fast.

RIDDELL (voice-over): That determination has already resulted in a major crash for his new team Total Control Racing. The team manager, Lee Brookes, reckons that he has real potential.

LEE BROOKES, TOTAL CONTROL RACING: The biggest thing I see in him is he's got no fear. That's -- you've probably seen it in his brother. It's Nick's -- he's -- he will push to the limit. And the other thing that we've noticed that will help him get there is he listens.

RIDDELL (voice-over): Hamilton is a late starter. The adaptations to his car and the lengthy process of getting a racing license means that he won't have had the benefit of much testing before the season starts on Saturday. But he's making a habit of overcoming obstacles. And one of them is being Lewis's brother.

RIDDELL (on camera): You've already got one racing driver in the family. Is that making it harder or easier for you to get involved?

HAMILTON: To get involved -- to get involved, I would say easier. In terms of his success, people reckon it will pass on to me straight away. And at the moment, I don't like that.

BROOKES: It's a lot of pressure on him. I can see that. And he wants to do well because of his name. But I've said to him, "Look. This time -- this sort of thing takes time. You've got to forget all that. Forget what everybody sees in your brother. It's you we're racing, it's not your brother."

RIDDELL (voice-over): Whether it's a help or a hindrance, Lewis will be trackside when Nicholas makes his debut at Brands Hatch. The McLaren driver is making a special 14,000-mile round trip from the Far East between races in Australia and Malaysia to support the brother for whom he has so much love and respect.

RIDDELL (on camera): He says that you're one of his biggest inspirations. How does that make you feel?

HAMILTON: It means a lot, but also, I look up to Lewis so much. And just to have him there for support is a massive, massive boost.

I don't like to say yes, I'm an inspiration. I'm just being me.

RIDDELL: Are you proud of him or are you worried for him?

LINDA HAMILTON: Both. I'm very worried, obviously. But I'm also extremely proud. For him to achieve this is just quite incredible. And I hope it sends a good message to other people like Nick.

RIDDELL: It's far too early to tell just how successful Nicholas is going to be, but just making it this far has been a significant achievement. He's only ever known it the hard way, and he is determined to make the most of his opportunity. Don Riddell, CNN, at the Rockingham Speedway in England.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And good luck to him from all of us, here, at CNN.

Now, a little sibling rivalry is only natural in -- and in sport, it's no exception. Let's take a look at some of the famous family face-offs.

We're going to start with the most successful brothers in Formula One, the Schumachers, of course. Michael ranks as one of the greatest in the sport, having won seven world titles. His younger brother, Ralf, has taken out six Grand Prix victories.

Then, there's the Williams sisters in tennis. They've battled on the court more than 23 times, Serena winning 13 of them.

And with the World Cup final just days away, some cricket trivia for you. There's -- there are actually six sets of brothers playing in the Cup from five different countries, including David and Mike Hussey from Australia.

For more on sporting stars and their siblings, our "World Sport's" Pedro Pinto is with me. OK, those are two of them. So, the other five in cricket?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I've got them here, if you want me to read them out. I didn't memorize all of them. Are you kidding?

ANDERSON: No.

PINTO: You know, I'm writing as how over there.

ANDERSON: I've just dragged him off. All right, mate, all right. Listen, aside from those that we've just talked about, and those are the greats, aren't they? The Williams sisters, the Schumachers, of course, and then those out of the cricketing world.

Rugby, there's Klitschko brothers.

PINTO: You mean boxing.

ANDERSON: I'm sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

PINTO: I'll let it slide. You know, it's actually so much more common than what you would expect, Becky, because to make it to the top of any sport, you have to be naturally talented --

ANDERSON: Yes.

PINTO: -- and you have to put in so much work. For two people in the same family to have what it takes is, I think, quite rare. But when you come down to it and look at the statistics, it isn't. And Klitschko, Vladimir and Vitali, they combine for five titles in the heavyweight division, so they're pretty much sweeping all of it, except for the one that David Haye currently holds.

ANDERSON: I'm not sure what those two would've done if they hadn't both gone into boxing, actually. Their reach is unbelievable. Am I right in saying it's one of the longest reaches in the world?

PINTO: It is.

ANDERSON: Those arms they've got.

PINTO: It is for both of them. I've met them all, and they are giants. They're -- they intimidate anyone by just being in the same room. I can't imagine being in the same ring as one of those guys. They're scary.

ANDERSON: A couple that I've interviewed. The tennis boys. Great guys. The Bryan bothers, of course.

PINTO: Yes.

ANDERSON: I mean, when you interview them, they're both fantastic players.

PINTO: And they're very good looking.

ANDERSON: And they're very good looking. I've interviewed them a number of times.

PINTO: Right.

ANDERSON: But they're also -- it's almost like you're talking to the other one as you're talking to the other one, as it were.

PINTO: What's really strange about them is that one's right-handed, one's left-handed, and that makes an even more curious partnership, and even harder to play against them. Because they look alike, and then you don't know who's going to hit right-handed or left-handed.

They've combined for 12 -- 10 Grand Slam titles. They've been at world number one in the doubles rankings pretty much since 2003. Of course, they've dropped off a couple of times, but it's been -- it's been a dynasty, so to speak.

And when you talk about dynasties in tennis and siblings, you have to mention the Williams sisters, and you talked about them briefly. And they combine for a number of Grand Slams, 20 Grand Slam titles between them.

They're so different, though. I've had a chance to talk with both of them for a long time, now. And I think Venus is a little bit more shy, and Serena is more outgoing, and she's more expressive out on court.

And it's so difficult when they come up and face each other in finals and the title is on the line. And I think Venus has really struggled with that more than Serena, that's why she holds the overall advantage, 13 to 10.

ANDERSON: We're going to have to leave it there. It was a pleasure to have you on this show.

PINTO: A pleasure to be here, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good. Thank you very much, indeed. Pedro, up after this show, of course, with his "World Sport" show just about a half hour or so from now.

When we come back, the sea changed Ted Danson. He's been known for his TV and movie acting roles, of course, but our Connector of the Day has another passion that he's pursuing just as hard. Find out what he's up to after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, and this is your part of the show, your Connector of the Day. From comedy to conservation, he's the actor turned activist helping to shine a spotlight on saving the world's oceans. Let's get you connected with Ted Danson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED DANSON AS SAM MALONE, "CHEERS": Around here, when guys get together --

ANDERSON (voice-over): For over a decade, we knew him as bar owner Sam Malone in the hit TV series, "Cheers."

WOODY HARRLESON AS WOODY BOYD, "CHEERS": No one's ever dressed up farm animals in women's clothing?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Thirty years on, he's still gracing our small screens, and he's now known as the womanizing party-goer George in the HBO series "Bored to Death."

As a multiple Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor, Ted Danson has long been making us laugh and cry. But he's also been urging us to save our oceans.

DANSON: I'd want to know the science, not propaganda on either side. Not doom or gloom, not rosy, but science, fact. What is my future going to be like?

ANDERSON (voice-over): To turn the tide, Danson co-founded Oceana, which has become the world's largest international ocean conservation organization. The 63-year-old has now documented the threats to our oceans in a new book, and the message, he tells me, is that it's not too late.

DANSON: When you describe what's at risk, it all sounds very doom and gloom. The good news is, this is fixable, and what the book does is let you know what's going on, but at the same time, we know what to do. The world knows what to do. And it also describes what you as an individual can do.

So, it's not -- another scary thing for you to have to hide from. This is something you can fix. You'll be able to answer your grandchildren, this is what I did when I found out.

ANDERSON (on camera): Bron asks -- one of our viewers -- you what you think is the biggest threat, then, to our oceans at this point?

DANSON: It is overfishing. It's the way we are fishing. We are -- we destroy the nurseries by these huge bottom-trawlings that scrape the bottom and turn the corals and the rocks and nooks and crannies into gravel pits so that the nurseries that produce the fish we like to eat are gone.

We throw overboard, dead or dying, one third of the world's catch every year because it's not the fish that we are after, and the nets are very indiscriminate that we use.

So, truly, it's overfishing. When you combine what mother nature does that you can't count on, like ocean acidification, or the temperature of the water changing so that coral reefs are starting to dissolve.

So, you really need to keep your fish stock really healthy and larger than you might expect so that it can survive all the things that are happening.

ANDERSON: When did you first thing -- or what was it that made you think, "Right, I've got to do something about this"?

DANSON: It was my children. I was walking on a beach about 25 years ago, and they were eight and four or something like that, and we saw a sign, "Waters polluted, no swimming." And when you try to explain how this beautiful, vast, gorgeous day, what could possibly be wrong with the ocean? And I had no idea.

So, the more I learned, and I started hanging out with scientists and policy makers and lawyers, and I -- what I've done all my life is kind of use my celebrity or whatever fame I have to bring people into the tent, and then ask them to listen to these scientists who are standing next to me and kind of -- what?

ANDERSON: You've had many victories, Oceana's had many victories, banning of bottom-trawling in sensitive habitat areas, protecting sea turtles. Above all, though, what is it that you specifically want to achieve at this point? What would make you think, "I've done it."

DANSON: Wow. This is a problem that you don't have to create an international -- new international body to try to regulate the oceans. You can go county by country. And if you could protect 60, 70 percent of the coastlines in the world and get them to start managing their fisheries in a responsible way, I'd be really happy that 60 percent of the coastlines were really -- the coastal zones were being managed well, you know?

ANDERSON: Do you think the politicians, the fishing industry, the oil industry, given the Gulf oil spill, are they listening at this point?

DANSON: Everyone's listening because, for the first time in history since 1988, more and more boats are going out and coming back with fewer and fewer fish. Every year, the fish count has gone down, and we have the most sophisticated boats out on the water, now.

So, people know that this is happening, that the oceans are starting to collapse. So, fishermen are definitely on our side. The huge industrial fishing fleets, not so much.

But every time you talk about this, about oceans and saving fisheries, what you're talking about is saving jobs, as well. It's an economic issue.

Ninety percent of the fishermen in the world are artisanal fishermen who know how to do it and have been doing it for years, and they get about ten percent of the fish. Ten percent of the fishermen work on these huge industrial fleets, and they get 90 percent of the fish, and they do it indiscriminately.

So, take care of your oceans, you'll take care of jobs and the economy, as well.

ANDERSON: All right. You've just finished filming "Everybody Loves Whales," and it's co-starring Drew Barrymore. You're playing an oil man who has no interest in saving whales trapped under the Arctic ice. This is a role that is, arguably, your polar opposite. Why did you choose to play it?

DANSON: Because it's so much fun not to be a goody-two-shoes. It was so much fun to -- but what's great about that movie is, all these -- it's a true event. This happened in, what? Was it 88 or something? In Barrow, Alaska. It was the last year of Reagan in office.

And Reagan weighed in, the Russians, Greenpeace, oil companies. Everybody had kind of their own self-serving reasons for being involved to try to save these whales, and it's a wonderful comedy with a great deal of heart.

ANDERSON: A couple more questions from the viewers. Funny Paul, somebody goes by that name, says, "What is your favorite spot in the world where you like to sit back and sort of admire the beauty of the ocean?" he says.

DANSON: Well, if I told you that, more people would come.

ANDERSON: Go on.

DANSON: Martha's Vineyard is my kind of -- the best of New England, land meets -- New England coast meets water. I just could sit there and stare at the water forever there.

ANDERSON: And Anji asks a very good question. She says, "How can entrepreneurs and others who are really dedicated to helping save the environment, how can they get their ideas out there and supported?"

DANSON: Have you heard of the -- T-E-D Conference, nothing to do with me.

ANDERSON: Yes.

DANSON: The Clinton Global Initiative, the TED Conference, there are all of a sudden these organizations that are global that are attracting bright thinkers, like the Clinton Global Initiative is all about people who have bright ideas on how to make the world a better place, whether it's health or environment or economy or hunger, water, whatever.

And they get together and they share their ideas, and then they make a commitment to do something to make a difference in the world. It's absolutely brilliant. Check it out, go online. Or the TED Conference is also wonderful.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: There you go. Ted Danson, talking about the TED Conference as your Connector of the Day. I'm Becky Anderson, that's your world connected for this evening. It's just about 10:00, here, in London. Thank you for watching. The world news headlines and, then, "BackStory" will follow this short break. Stay with us.

END