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CONNECT THE WORLD

Japan Nuclear Crisis as Bad as Chernobyl; NATO's No-Fly Zone; Blogger Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Aired April 12, 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: It's official -- Japan's Fukushima crisis is ranked one of the worst nuclear disasters ever. It's serious, but experts say it's no Chernobyl.

So just how concerned should we be?

Plus, jailed for speaking his mind -- an Egyptian blogger falls foul of a regime which promised freedom.

And as Ivory Coast's former president awaits his fate, we reveal the offer he turned down to leave power.

These stories and more tonight, as we connect the world.

Well, a month after Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, now, an alarming comparison. The government there has put the nuclear situation on a par with Chernobyl. The prime minister vowed to get the crisis under control at all costs, promising jobs, education and housing for people uprooted by it. And he called on everyone in the country to help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAOTO KAN, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We cannot pass a declining Japan on to our children. What we may do is make an all- out reconstruction effort that will not embarrass us in front of the victims of the disaster and our children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, today's comparison with Chernobyl is not based on any new developments, but rather on new information about radiation levels in the first few days of the crisis.

CNN's Kyung Lah reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant, now among the worst in the history. The government raising the crisis from a 5 level, on par with the Three Mile Island accident, to a 7, a major accident declaration, the same as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

"The change in the level reminds us this accident is very big," says the government's point man in the crisis. "I apologize to the residents of the area, the people of Japan and the international community."

But activists aren't accepting the apology.

THOMAS BREUER, GREENPEACE GERMANY: For me, it looks like they are putting the agenda for nuclear energy ahead of the people.

LAH: Greenpeace calls the government's elevation of the crisis, quote, "woefully late." Greenpeace tested the soil in a town outside of the mandatory evacuation zone and found dangerous levels of radiation, saying the disaster is much worse than what the government suggests. The anti- nuclear group called for a 7 level rating three weeks ago.

BREUER: It is Japan's Chernobyl. From our -- from our point of view, it's even worse than Chernobyl, because we have three reactors with huge problems with radioactivity. The fourth reactor has lost a lot of the spent fuel. And on top of that, where the accident happened, it's quite a densely populated area.

LAH: For the people who live near the plant, now evacuees, the numbers, whether a 5 or a 7, don't matter. Their towns remain empty. They may never be able to go home again.

The Futaba residents say they're beyond anger or hatred, they've simply lost everything. "We lost something so big, it's unimaginable. We just don't know what to say."

(on camera): Japan's nuclear regulatory agency says there was no deliberate attempt to delay the elevation of this crisis. It just took a month to get reliable data. Japan's prime minister, in a nationally televised news conference, says progress at the nuclear plant is being made step by step, but there's still no room for optimism.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right, well, today -- or before today, at least, the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 was the only nuclear accident in history to be designated Level 7.

I just want to explain what we mean by this.

The IAEA ranks nuclear incidents from 1 to 7, as you can see here. The crisis in Japan was initially designated a Level 5, on par with Three Mile Island.

Today, though, the Japanese government changed its assessment and now says the situation is a 7. But even though that puts the Japanese disaster at the same level as Chernobyl, the two of those are very different.

And I want to show you exactly why.

Most importantly, the radiation. Take a look at these two points here. This is Fukushima and Chernobyl. Japan's nuclear safety commission estimates that around 370,000 carabogle (ph) -- well, I can't even pronounce that, so it's the -- the level radioactive iodine leaked from the Fukushima plant after the earthquake. That's the level in units that was leaked.

But at Chernobyl, there was 10 times as much radioactive material that escaped. And if anybody is a scientist and wants to explain to me just how I pronounce the unit, please do.

Next up, death, sickness -- Chernobyl deaths and sickness. These are the Fukushima numbers for you. Nobody has died from radiation so far, luckily, in Japan, though about 20 workers got sick.

At Chernobyl, 50 emergency rescue workers died from radiation and 4,000 people got cancer. Those are important numbers to remember.

If you just take a look at this, finally. These plants were designed differently. At the Fukushima plant, reactors are surrounded by steel and concrete, which has helped to contain the radioactive material. The infrastructures effectively do still exist.

When you look at Chernobyl, it's a completely different situation. There was no containment structure at the plant and nothing to stop radioactive material from spewing into the air. You can see the structure here completely destroyed.

Well, to this day, a 30 kilometer area around the Chernobyl plant is deserted, labeled an exclusion zone by the Ukrainian government. And what happened there more than 20 years ago has not been forgotten.

CNN's Matthew Chance reports from Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Chernobyl incident 25 years ago had an immense impact on what was then, of course, the Soviet Union. In some ways, it may have contributed to the eventual collapse of communist rule.

The Kremlin, back in 1986, under Mikhail Gorbachev, was criticized at the time for failing to be open at the situation in Chernobyl and failing to appreciate the seriousness of the accident. The Soviet authorities even going ahead with a Mayday parade in Kiev just a few days after the reactor blast, despite the fact that the streets of Kiev were contaminated with radioactive fallout.

Today, the impact can still be felt. Since Chernobyl, people are no longer completely trusting of civilian nuclear power. Environmental groups have become much more active and vocal.

But there's no real grassroots opposition even after Fukushima. And the nuclear industry in Russia and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union continues to play an important role.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, now Fukushima -- all nuclear disaster sites, all in countries that continue to use nuclear power today.

Is that a good thing?

Well, let's discuss that.

Glenn George is with us from the American Nuclear Society and Jim Riccio is from Greenpeace.

They are both joining us from Washington.

Let's be clear, chaps, for our viewers tonight, the change to Level 7, as I understand it, Glenn, doesn't have any immediate consequences.

Am I right in saying that?

GLENN GEORGE, AMERICAN NUCLEAR SOCIETY: That's right. We've expected that now for some weeks. It's really a recognition of -- of the nature of the accident and the change doesn't -- of the rating doesn't change anything on the ground.

ANDERSON: So what does this increase in ranking, Jim, mean to you, someone who is no fan of the nuclear industry?

JIM RICCIO, GREENPEACE: Well, what it actually means is that the radiation has traveled beyond the plant boundary. Greenpeace has had our teams on the ground now for several weeks, taking those radiation levels. And we've been calling for the evacuation out to beyond 50 miles, just as the U.S. government did. And they were right to do that back then when they did that three weeks ago.

ANDERSON: Glenn, you're an advocate for the industry, frankly, an industry that is struggling to find friends these days.

And I guess, understandably so, no?

GEORGE: Well, this is a challenge for the industry, there's no doubt about that.

On the other hand, I think people in the industry and outside the industry recognize that nuclear is an important part of our energy mix globally right now. And if we care about global warming and the environment, global climate change, it will remain an important part of the mix going forward.

ANDERSON: Jim, nobody ever said that nuclear power was the only way forward. And, frankly, when you look at accidents from other power supply industries, the nuclear industry has quite an exemplary record.

RICCIO: But we've long -- we've long known...

ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE).

RICCIO: -- that a...

ANDERSON: Go on, Jim.

Sorry, Glenn. I'll -- I'll come back to you.

Jim?

RICCIO: We -- we've -- we've long known that a nuclear, like we've seen in Fukushima, was possible. The U.S. government tried to ban this type of reactor design 20 years ago and failed to. We've known since the 1980s that were there to be a core melt, the containment on these reactors was 90 percent likely to fail.

So we've known about the dangers of nuclear power and, sadly, we don't have to go there. There are better ways to generate electricity than by splitting atoms.

ANDERSON: Glenn?

GEORGE: Well, I disagree. I think if we care about having a low carbon energy source, if we care about having a diversity of sources of electric power in the mix, which is critically important to keeping the lights on, then nuclear is a very important part right now and going forward.

ANDERSON: Jim, four our viewers, who've seen the raising of this ranking tonight, I want to be really clear. I know we started this conversation tonight by trying to clear up, you know, any confusion. Listen, I mean this is no Chernobyl at this point, let -- let's be frank.

RICCIO: Well, actually, it's on the same scale as Chernobyl, because you've had a -- a reactor melt down. You've had three reactors melt down. You have problems with the spent fuel pool...

ANDERSON: Yes, but we've looked at the radiation level...

RICCIO: -- and all waste, 20 years of waste...

ANDERSON: -- we're looking at radiation levels...

RICCIO: -- is a risk, as well.

ANDERSON: -- Jim, which are -- which are less than 10 percent that of Chernobyl.

RICCIO: It's different than Chernobyl. Chernobyl blew up. This is a slow motion Chernobyl, where they've melted down and you're seeing that radiation pour right now into the oceans and into the air surrounding the Fukushima facility.

ANDERSON: Glenn?

GEORGE: I disagree. It's not a Chernobyl slow motion or otherwise. The key difference is Chernobyl was made of graphite. Graphite burns. When there's a fire, there's energy, and it takes the radioactivity out of the plant and into the air and into the environment.

What ultimately matters is what enters the environment, what hurts people. And Chernobyl had significant impacts offsite and Fukushima has not so far.

ANDERSON: It would be disingenuous, Jim, to suggest that the industry hasn't improved since the design of the Fukushima plant some 40 years ago. These are plants that were ready, effectively, to be scrapped. It would have only been, you know, months, if not years or a few years before they were scrapped. The industry is -- is a lot safer than it was 40 years ago.

RICCIO: Well, actually, every reactor has the potential for a Chernobyl-style and scale of a meltdown, which is why have the IAEA scale.

And, in fact, the reactors that they're designing now have the same vulnerabilities that the reactors that we have on the ground do, as well. There's no such thing as a safe reactor.

ANDERSON: Jim -- sorry, Glenn, finally, your thoughts?

GEORGE: There's no such thing as a completely safe source of -- of energy. There are trade-offs with everything. The fact is, nuclear is a safe industry. The old plants are safe. The new plants are even safer.

The -- the newest designs answer an accident of the -- the kind that occurred at -- at Fukushima you can walk away from for 72 hours and have no intervention and there would be no core melt.

So the fact is, even though the old ones are safe, the new ones are a good deal safer.

ANDERSON: Glenn, Jim, we thank you for joining us.

Good debate.

We'll leave the viewers to work it out for themselves at this point.

Thank you, chaps, out of Washington for you this evening.

The story out of Japan a shot away.

For speaking out -- why one Egyptian blogger faces prison and why many fear it will have a chilling effect on democratic hopes.

And professor advert (ph) -- the prime minister of Kenya tells us the former Ivory Coast leader was the only one (ph) giving the lecture.

That's later.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: His crime -- inappropriate language. His country -- Egypt, where hundreds of people recently gave their lives for the chance at true democratic freedoms.

Well, the case of this blogger, Maikel Nabil, is outraging rights activists around the world. Ahead in the show, we're going to take you why he was sentenced to three years in prison by Egypt's new military regime.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

It's just about a quarter past 9:00.

And, look at the other stories that we're following for you this hour.

Well, staying in Egypt, an Egyptian military spokesman tells CNN that former President Hosni Mubarak has been hospitalized in Sharm El-Sheikh. Mubarak is 82 years old. A military source says his condition isn't critical. This comes two days after Egypt's public prosecutor first summoned Mubarak as part of an anti-corruption probe.

Egyptian state TV says he suffered a heart attack while being questioned by authorities. But the prosecutor's office denies to CNN that Mubarak was questioned. We'll be getting the latest from CNN's Ivan Watson in Cairo in just a moment for you.

Well, France and Britain are calling on NATO to step up its offensive against Gadhafi's forces. British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the international community has to do more to protect Libyan civilians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Well, we must maintain and intensify our efforts in NATO. That is why the United Kingdom has, in the last week, supplied additional aircraft capable of striking ground targets threatening the civilian population of Libya. Of course it will be welcome if other countries also do the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, a United Nations spokesman now retracting a statement that Laurent Gbagbo has been moved out of Abidjan. The spokesman says Ivory Coast's detained former president is still at the Gulf Hotel after being arrested on Monday. President Alassane Ouattara's government has said Gbagbo will be put on trial for crimes allegedly committed while he clung onto power.

Well, two quarterfinal matches in the Champions League are being decided today in an all England matchup, Man United and Chelsea are knotted at one apiece in the second half. United now leads 2-1 on aggregate.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are up 1-0 on Shaktar Donetsk. Barcelona's lead already nearly an insurmountable 5-1 coming into today.

And Man United, I'm being told in my ear, just put a second into the net, so they are 3-1 on aggregate as we speak. That will delight the north of England fans. The Chelsea fans will be very disappointed. But the match continues.

Now, Human Rights Watch says it may be the worst strike against freedom of expression in Egypt in years. Coming up, the fate of a man being called the first prisoner of conscience of Egypt's new military regime.

And later, a court case that could set a precedent for claims against Britain by the people it once colonized.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, critics call it a serious setback to freedom of expression in Egypt, one that questions whether a democratic transition is truly underway. A military court has sentenced a blogger to three years in prison, finding him guilty of defaming the army.

Maikel Nabil published reports of military abuses against protesters during the pro-democracy uprising. He also questioned the army's true allegiances and intentions, suggesting dictatorship in Egypt was alive and well, even after the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

Well, his attorneys say he wasn't in court for the sentencing. Neither were they, saying they'd been tricked into believing there was no hearing that day.

Well, all of this leading many people to wonder what's really changed since the revolution.

Ivan Watson is following developments from Cairo and joins us now.

What do we know on this case at this point -- Ivan?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was supposed to appear in court on Sunday, before a military tribunal. Lawyers for Maikel Nabil arguing that after they had been dismissed, the sentence was passed down while they were not in the presence of the defendant. They say they were tricked by the military judges here.

The military disputing that account, saying that the lawyers had been present.

Basically, he was arrested for criticizing the military. Maikel Nabil had written about the fact that he had been detained for 48 hours and subject to beating in early February, by military police. His descriptions of torture and beating at the hands of the military police fits very closely with other accounts that we've gotten from other demonstrators here on the streets. Activists estimating more than 5,000 people have gone before military tribunals since late January. They are not going before civilian judges.

However, high ranking former members of the Mubarak regime are going through the very slow and ponderous civilian court system. So activists saying that that is a sharp contradiction and discrepancy there.

So where we have Maikel Nabil sentenced to three years in prison. We talked to his younger brother, Mark, just a few hours ago, who tried to visit him in prison, was denied that request and told he'd have to wait at least 30 days.

Becky, take a listen to what Michael's brother had to say to us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK NABIL, BROTHER OF BLOGGER SENTENCED TO PRISON (through translator): I'm upset after the army took control of the country. It spoke about giving us democracy and freedom of opinions.

Where's the freedom of speech?

My brother has been jailed since March 28th for an article he wrote. He wrote an article, so reply to him with an article. Reply to him, but don't jail him for three years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: And one last note that Maikel Nabil gave to the outside world via his lawyer. Quote: "I expect the army will retaliate and hurt me because I criticized the military" -- Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. And we're going to do more on this as we move through the next few minutes.

Just very briefly, Mubarak also making headlines today. And he's been hospitalized.

What do we know of his condition?

WATSON: Not too much. A lot of conflicting reports, some in the local media reporting that he suffered a mild heart attack and that's been hard to firm up. What is clear is that two days ago, the chief prosecutor here said he wanted to question Mubarak and his two sons on charges of corruption and in connection with the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the revolution of January and February.

Conflicting reports as to whether or not Mubarak was subjected to questioning today and then was hospitalized in Sharm El-Sheikh, that Red Sea resort where he has resided since he stepped down under intense public pressure on February 11th.

We've just seen a flash on Egyptian state TV saying that Mubarak is, in fact, being questioned now at the hospital where he was brought this afternoon -- Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. That's the very latest from Cairo, Egypt, as we know it.

Ivan, thank you for that.

Well, Human Rights Watch says that the blogger's case that Ivan was just referring to sets a dangerous precedent in Egypt and could intimidate anyone looking to expose military abuses.

Let's bring in the deputy program director of Human Rights Watch, Tom Porteous, who joins us now from Washington.

Quite understandably, your organization is appalled by this.

TOM PORTEOUS, DEPUTY PROGRAM DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Yes, indeed. I -- I think it is very disturbing. You know, we had this remarkable uprising in Egypt, which led to the ousting of President Mubarak. And then after that, the military took over, promising that they would be the guarantors of a genuine transition from an era of repression to an era of democracy underpinned by respect for human rights.

But the problem is that they've dissolved the constitution. They've suspended parliament. And they actually are exercising absolute power. And the only check on that power is people power. And it's clear that the military are actually trying to restrain and to restrict that people power through attacks on freedom of expression such as we've seen in this case of Maikel Nabil, but also through trying to attack the protesters when they come out and object to what's going on in Tahrir Square.

And I think what this case shows is that criticism of the military is a -- is a red line which the military does not want crossed.

ANDERSON: And, Tom, this is a military regime.

Did anyone really expect anything less oppressive?

PORTEOUS: Well, yes, I think they do. And they continue to expect that -- that the military will abide by its rhetorical commitments to guarantee a transition from this era of repression under Mubarak and -- and previous presidents to a genuine democracy underpinned by human rights -- respect for human rights.

But the problem is, of course, that there are very real vested interests, including of the military, in maintaining as far as possible the status quo.

But I think people in even the military recognize that things really have changed irrevocably in -- in Egypt and that people power has -- has found its -- its strength, as it were, and that if there is to be any kind of, you know, attempt to really sabotage these protests, then the people are going to go back out on the streets.

So this stand-off is going to continue.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right, Tom.

I'm going to leave it there, because we're going to go back to Egypt.

We've got a blogger on the line for us.

I want to get his reaction to exactly what's been going on.

But for the time being, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Well, the U.S. government says it's deeply concerned and disappointed by the blogger's sentencing today. A spokesman said: "This isn't the kind of progress the White House was hoping to see from a post-Mubarak regime."

Well, this story also a very hot topic online, drawing lots of reaction from around the world.

And JessPinkBarry (ph) in Kuala Lumpur writes: "An Egyptian blogger was tortured and sentenced to three years in prison for criticizing the military on his blog. What the question mark, question mark?"

In Germany, a user named PaintMyBlues (ph) Tweeted: "Maikel Nabil has not offended the army. The army is the one who offends humanity. There is no right to torture."

Finally, a user who sent this message from New York said: "After the revolution, they thought they had freedom and now look, the army is putting Egyptians under another dictatorship. For shame."

Well, like Maikel Nabil, our next guest is also an Egyptian blogger who doesn't shy away from controversial subjects. He says the case has left him in a state of shock.

Wael Abbas is the first blogger to win the Knight International Journalism Award, joining us now from Cairo.

You say you're not shocked, are you surprised?

WAEL ABBAS, EGYPTIAN BLOGGER: Well, I'm -- I don't want to say that I'm -- I'm surprised, because I expected stuff like that to happen while everybody else was saying, OK, let's give the army a chance, let's see what they are going to do.

But I have always been skeptical about the army and I expected stuff like that. Only that I didn't -- I didn't expect it to be as sharp as like -- as what happened at the moment.

ANDERSON: Does a case like this make you think that you -- you don't want to carry on doing what you did?

Is it -- does it dissuade you from writing freely?

ABBAS: This same scenario happened during Mubarak, when they arrested Kareem Amer -- you remember this case -- and sentenced him for four years in jail for criticizing the president and criticizing the religious institutions. Now, we are facing another case but only this is more dangerous, because it's the military institutions and this blogger was put on a military trial and he was sentenced only on a few days.

In Kareem Amer's case, it took like a year and a year-and-a-half and he was allowed lawyers and he was allowed to live on bail and then come back and stuff like that. But now this is serious. This is really dangerous.

ANDERSON: Well, all of us remember the -- the pictures from Tahrir Square and the eventual night that Mubarak stood down.

Can you see a case like this fomenting the sort of anger that might have people take to the streets once again in their thousands?

ABBAS: Well, I hope that the revolution takes a strong stand against this. I hope that they realize that this is endangering their movement, this is endangering the revolution, this is endangering the -- the rights that we all fought for and people even sacrificed their lives for. And now they are being taken away from us, not gradually, but surprisingly.

ANDERSON: Tell us what life is like as an Egyptian now under this military regime. How have things changed?

ABBAS: The military institution now is trying to grab power little by little. They have this constitutional declaration that is made of 60- something articles, which is like the constitution that gives all the powers to the army.

And this is -- very worrying. And they have sent out memos to all the newspapers and the TV stations and the media outlets working in Egypt all telling them not to publish anything that has to do with the army without consulting the censor in the army.

ANDERSON: All right. With that, we're going to have to leave it there --

(CROSSTALK)

ABBAS: For this also --

ANDERSON: -- while alarming times in Egypt, we've got to take a break at this point. We'll talk again, I hope, in the weeks to come. Blogger, there, in Egypt. We're going to take a check of the world news headlines after this very short break. Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. This is CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London. As promised, let's get you a quick check of the headlines this hour.

Egyptian state TV reports that ousted president Hosni Mubarak suffered a heart attack while being questioned over corruption charges. Prosecutors denied to CNN that Mubarak was interviewed, while a source said Mubarak's condition is not critical.

The Japanese government has designated its nuclear crisis as a level seven serious accident. That puts it on a par with the Chernobyl disaster, but officials say the amount of radiation that is -- has escaped in Japan is only about a tenth of that of Chernobyl.

France and Britain complain that they're shouldering too much of the burden enforcing the NATO no-fly zone over Libya. They say the goal of protecting civilians is not being met, and they want the air strikes to intensify.

Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo was apparently offered a job as a university professor in the United States if he agreed to leave power. The US government gave permission for Gbagbo to take the position in order to end the civil war in Ivory Coast. Boston University, which reportedly made the offer, denies it ever happened.

Kenyan 2012 presidential hopeful William Ruto has been cleared of corruption charges. The suspended cabinet minister is still fighting charges of crimes against humanity. He's one of six men facing the International Criminal Court over violence in the wake of the 2007 and 2008 election.

Those are the headlines this hour.

Kenyans are also closely watching another case, this one underway in Britain and is considered landmark. Four elderly Kenyans are demanding compensation for abuse that they allegedly suffered at the hand of former British colonial authorities. As CNN's Nima Elbagir now explains, they're among thousands detained during the Mau Mau Rebellion, which led to the end of British rule in Kenya.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It took more than 50 years but, at least, just a few of the survivors of Britain's colonial crackdown in Kenya got to have their say in court.

The Mau Mau insurgency lasted eight years, ending in 1960, soon before Kenya became independent. An estimated 80,000 Kenyans were imprisoned in detention camps, where thousands died, many after suffering abuse and torture.

The four claimants say the suffered horrific abuses and exploitation.

WAMBUGU WA NYINGI, KENYAN CLAIMANT (through translator): Every morning while we were in that camp, they brought people from the reserve villages who they tortured while we watched. Some were killed while we watched. Others were brought when already dead so they can scare us.

JANE MUTHONI MARA, KENYAN CLAIMANT (through translator): Most of the women died from the physical injuries they had suffered after being overworked for so many years, carrying bricks and roofing tiles on their heads, and the sexual violence they had suffered.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): They say that when they left the camps, they found their homes had been destroyed and their families victimized.

NYINGI (through translator): When I went back home, I did not find anything I owned. Even the land I was asking for, I did not get it. I still -- I live like that. Although, is there any form of compensation they can give us to make our lives bearable?

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The issue at stake for the British government is huge. This case could set a precedent for claims from other former colonies.

ELBAGIR (on camera): Because of the action brought at the high court by the Mau Mau survivors, 1500 files have now been released from here at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Archives. That's at least 17,000 pages of documents, and one leading historian believes there could be many, many more.

The documents show that emergency powers regulations were changed retrospectively to cover interrogation techniques and the use of force at the detention camps.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): In a statement to CNN, the Foreign Office says they "understand the strong feelings that the Mau Mau issue still creates in Kenya and elsewhere. The emergency period caused a great deal of pain for many on all sides."

However, they went on to say the British government "cannot be held liable in this case."

ELBAGIR (on camera): The British foreign secretary has now given instructions that all files found in these archives are to be made public, a move he calls "overdue transparency." But that will take time. The claimants say they believe British justice will find in their favor in spite of their suffering half a century ago. Nima Elbagir for CNN in London

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, it's important to note in all of this that the British government says it cannot be held liable for events in the colonial period because at independence, the new Kenyan state agreed that Britain could not be held legally responsible for events that occurred while Kenya was a colony.

Well, it's a wound that, for many Kenyans, time alone has not been able to heal. A little earlier, I had the chance to speak to the country's prime minister, Raila Odinga. And, in what was a wide-ranging interview, I began by asking him about the Mau Mau case, and I asked him just how important it is for Kenyans today. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAILA ODINGA, PRIME MINISTER OF KENYA: This case is historic, because this issue has been outstanding for a long time, and Kenyans want to put it behind us.

As you know, it's dealing with historical injustices, actions which were committed by the colonial government at that time. And Kenyans really want to put this behind them so that we can say good-bye to that chapter, but a dark chapter in our country's history.

ANDERSON: Prime Minister, the British government says that they cannot be held liable in this case. Your response?

ODINGA: It was the colonialists who committed this crime against the colonized people, so we cannot be held responsible as a government of the independent Republic of Kenya.

ANDERSON: I want to move on to the current ICC case, now. The Kenyan politicians accused of links to the violence which followed the 2007 elections. They're appearing at the Hague. You've been accused by some of the Ocampo Six of being partly responsible for their Hague tribulations. Your response?

ODINGA: Well, Becky, these people are basically playing politics. And that is basically the politics of a 2012 elections, so they need to maximize this -- they're seeing this as an opportunity to deal with political openings.

ANDERSON: You were a harsh critic of the former Ivorian president. In fact, you were criticized by other African leaders during mediation talks with Gbagbo for being too -- or for lacking patience with him. Now that he has been captured and arrested, what do you hope to see next happen to Laurent Gbagbo?

ODINGA: First, I was not a critic of Gbagbo. Between the two gentlemen, Gbagbo and Ouattara, I know Gbagbo better, and Gbagbo was actually a personal friend.

But friendship aside, I was only against what he was trying to do, which was refusing to accept the will of the people as stated in the ballot box, that he was refusing to accept the results which had been accepted by all the international observers.

So, I actually talked to him as a personal friend, offered him advice, that it was better for him to accept the results and move on, because life does not end with losing an election.

But he refused, and when I went to see him, in fact, I gave him an offer, which had been given, by the United States, that he had an option of coming into exile in the United States and that he would be allowed to be a lecturer at the University of Boston. And that he can also become an honorary lecturer within this country.

That was an option that he had, but he refused to accept that.

ANDERSON: CNN has been in touch with Boston University today. They deny they ever offered him a professorship there or any work there. Was this an offer that you made to him that came to you via the State Department?

ODINGA: Yes. This offer came from the State Department, and I was able to convey it to him. I am surprised, I don't know, but I was given the assurance when I was negotiate with Mr. Gbagbo. Maybe they had not quite finalized, but I did make that offer to him.

ANDERSON: There are those who want to see him hauled up in front of Ocampo at the ICC. In fact, there may be an arrest warrant in the weeks to come. Do you want to see him tried for war crimes?

ODINGA: I really do not want to see a situation where Mr. Gbagbo becomes a hero in trial. I would really like Mr. Ouattara to play a game of inclusivity, and even bring in some of Mr. Gbagbo's supporters into the government so that this society can be reconciled.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Wide-ranging interview, as promised, with Raila Odinga, prime minister of Kenya.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, live from London. When we come back, power to the people. Our special series of reports this week on Going Green continues with a look at how one company is brightening up Bangladesh. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All this week, we are Going Green on CNN, and particularly on this show. We're looking at how businesses are using technology and innovation to change our planet.

Well, tonight, we are looking at a remarkable eco-friendly program lighting up rural Bangladesh. As Sara Sidner reports, it's not only brightening up homes, the technology is powering businesses to double their profits. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bangladesh has a serious power problem. Nearly half of the 162 million people who live here don't have access to electricity. Light can change lives, which is why the residents of this small village are beaming about this project.

Grameen Shakti, a non-profit company in Bangladesh, is introducing solar power, borrowing power, and girl power to the villagers all at the same time.

The program trains village women, like Monowara, to install and repair solar panels and electrical outlets on homes and businesses, and pays them for their work.

MONOWARA, TECHNICIAN IN TRAINING (through translator): "This kind of job will help the women, and they'll be able to contribute financially to their families," she says. "It will be good if this kind of job opportunity expands here."

SIDNER (voice-over): While increasing her own family's income, she's also changing the lives of her neighbors. For 40-year-old Fatima Begum, it means she will have electricity in her home for the very first time in her life.

SIDNER (on camera): What was it like before?

FATIMA BEGUM, MOTHER (through translator): "I used kerosene lamps for the light, but it blackened my house with soot," she says.

SIDNER (voice-over): Now, Begum and her family can breathe easier and have appliances in their home.

But the panels don't come cheap. They cost about $300 US, about half of what Bangladeshis earn per year on average.

FAZLEY RABBI, SENIOR MANAGER, GRAMEEN SHAKTI: The first barrier was high up on the cost of the solar system, and we've overcome that problem by introducing microcredit tools. For people, when they buy a solar home system, they don't have to pay all the money at a time.

SIDNER (voice-over): And the solar power program is self-sustaining. The cost of the panels pays for the training of the local technicians.

SIDNER (on camera): Solar power isn't just being used in the homes in this village. Nearly every single business is using it, and some say they're making much bigger profits because of it.

SIDNER (voice-over): Tailor Ekabbar Ali says the solar light means more time to sew and sell.

EKABBAR ALI, TAILOR (through translator): "We could not work much before we got the solar power. We had to stop work before sunset. But now, we can work until 10:00 in the night, so it boosts my income. It's good," he says.

SIDNER (voice-over): The shop owner says his profits have nearly double since the solar panel was installed. The solar power program has also sparked an entrepreneurial spirit here.

RABBI: People are very intellectual. They are using this energy in different ways so that they can earn more money. One business is they're renting the light to others.

SIDNER (voice-over): And here's another money-making venture. Cheap cell phones are everywhere, but they're no use without a charge. This solar-powered shop in the village offers a charging station for a few cents per charge.

Grameen Shakti technicians have managed to install 550,000 home solar systems across 40,000 villages. Bangladesh's abundance of sunlight is now being taken advantage of on a massive scale. Sara Sidner, CNN, Kalihati, Bangladesh.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Just part of our Going Green series this week, here on CNN.

A little earlier, we were bringing you the story of Maikel Nabil. If you were watching, you'll remember he was the Egyptian blogger sentenced to jail for criticizing some of the actions of the Egyptian military. Well, we'll be bringing you more on that story, of course, over the week.

But just to clarify, a few of the tweets from viewers made reference to what they called "torture" of Mr. Nabil. We've got to just clarify, CNN has received no reports of any such abuse. Just wanted to draw a line under that one for you.

After the break, if you've ever been tongue-tied around royalty, don't worry. Apparently, Prince William has the cure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEYI OBAKIN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CENTREPOINT: And he just bent down and whispered in her ear. He said he whispered, "Imagine me naked."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the inside track from a man who convinced Prince William to spend the night sleeping on the streets of London, getting to understand the plight of the homeless. That coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All things royal wedding coming up. Before that, we're getting to the business end of the Champions League season here in Europe, and tonight, Chelsea bidding to stay in the chase for the title, facing off against Manchester United in this, the second leg of the quarter finals.

So, what happened? Our Alex Thomas is at the battleground at Old Trafford, joins us with the results. OK, what was it?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Manchester United are through to the semi-finals for the fourth time in five seasons in this UEFA Champions League competition, Becky.

And fully deserved, as well, against a Chelsea team that you could argue, man-for-man is more talented. But there was no doubt Alex Ferguson's men were the better unit on the night.

They went one-nil up in this second leg before halftime, their Mexican international striker, Javier Hernandez scoring. It got interesting in the second half, when Didier Drogba, who'd come on to replace Fernando Torres, who again failed to score, got on the score sheet. One-all on the night, then.

Chelsea needed one more goal to go through on the away goals rule, but no sooner had Chelsea fans finished celebrating, when Park Ji-Sung, the South Korean skipper, scored for United, two-one on the night to the home side here at Old Trafford. They go through three-one on aggregate.

And also, joining them in the last four, Barcelona, who await the winners of Real Madrid and Tottenham, probably Real Madrid, an El Classico in that one. United, in all probability, will face German side Schalke next, Becky.

ANDERSON: Oh, it's going to be a great set of semi-finals. Thank you for that. Chelsea fans will be absolutely distraught tonight, but I guess the best team, it seems, won on the night. And good luck, Barca, going through as well.

Now, in case you missed the love story, I'm talking about the friendship and romance which led to Britain's much-anticipated royal wedding, well you can catch it all -- or at least the Hollywood version -- on the upcoming new film "William and Kate." Let's get you a sneak preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "William and Kate")

TEXT: THEY MET BY CHANCE

CAMILLA LUDDINGTON AS KATE MIDDLETON, "WILLIAM AND KATE": Kate Middleton.

NICO EVERS-SWINDELL AS PRINCE WILLIAM, "WILLIAM AND KATE": William Wales.

KATE: Yes, I know who are.

WILLIAM: Waitress.

KATE: What are you doing? We're just friends.

WILLIAM: It was a friendly kiss.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the anticipation, it's mounting here in London, and as I discovered when I took a quick trip down to Buckingham Palace earlier on today, it's not just the Brits who are getting excited.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (on camera): Well, it's less than three weeks to go until the big day, so I thought I'd pop down to Buckingham Palace and see how preparations are going. Come over here and meet a couple that I've just found. They're setting up, I'm told, or certainly scoping out where they're going to be on the big day.

Lisa and Brenton (ph), you're originally from Canada, and you're from Australia. You're already here scoping out where you're going to sit down?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three weeks before, yes. I don't know -- we just took a walk up and down the street today, and I kind of thought, while I'm here, I might as well figure out where I'm going to sit.

ANDERSON: Are you excited?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thought I'd follow her along, yes, check it all out. Yes, definitely, definitely.

ANDERSON: We're just taking a walk along what is an absolutely beautiful display of flowers. It's got to be said, let's hope these blooms last until the big day. And who have I found here? What's your name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Stella Parr (ph).

ANDERSON: And what are you doing here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I brought my parents. They came to visit me from Nigeria, and they said they've heard a lot about Buckingham Palace, so I brought them over to see the place.

ANDERSON: Are they going to be here during the royal wedding?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, sure.

ANDERSON: Is this the first time you've been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's my first time, but I'm really enjoying it.

ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Kim from KBS, a South Korean broadcaster, already down here nearly three weeks before the big day. Su Min (ph) is his producer. Su Min, what are you doing here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're here to interview some people to find out about how they're reacting to the news.

ANDERSON: How big a story is this for the South Koreans?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's quite fascinating for the South Koreans because we don't have a monarchy, and it's a fairy tale come true.

ANDERSON: So, what are you doing on the big day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll be on the day filming the whole stuff. Yes. Following the crowd, following the princess and the prince.

ANDERSON: Well, Su Min, thank you for that. It's going to be an extraordinary day on the 29th, preparations already underway as you would expect. See you on the day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Let's hope they give Mr. Kim a bit of a break over the next three weeks. He looked very harassed today.

For a complete guide to the royal wedding, make sure you check out the website, head to CNN, cnn.com/wedding.

Well, I'll be covering the big day for CNN, of course, as part of the crew, but I want to introduce you to someone who's actually part of the wedding for real. He's snagged an invite because of his close association with Prince William himself.

Now, back in December 2009, they spent a night sleeping on the street to get a real understanding of the plight of the homeless. CNN's Max Foster talks to Seyi Obakin, the chief executive of the charity Centrepoint about how that experience had a profound effect on the prince.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAKIN: It was a very, very cold night. It was not a comfortable experience at all. It was very uncomfortable.

The following morning, I said to him, "How's that been for you?" And his response was, "Actually, the physical side of it was not the problem. It's the mental side of it that was the problem."

The -- and the mental side is people's reaction to you, who walk past you, ignoring you. The road sweeper that comes in mindlessly --

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nearly got run over by a road sweeper --

OBAKIN: -- nearly got run over. People completely ignoring as if you weren't there. And it's -- it's the sense of what that does to you mentally, I think, that he found made the most profound impact on him.

FOSTER: And then, you brought him back to this room, didn't you, in a homelessness center --

OBAKIN: Yes.

FOSTER: -- in central London.

OBAKIN: Yes.

FOSTER: And he met some of the young people that you work with. So, what's he like with them? And what are they like with him?

OBAKIN: Well, we got back. He made breakfast, and the young people came downstairs for breakfast and he was there and he served it to them, and they just sat around and had breakfast together. And after that, they just sat in the lounge and chatted away.

I remember once before, he met a group of young people, and as he met them and chatted to them, and they were all chatting back, just that, one of them wasn't chatting at all. So, he went along to that young woman and started to chat her up. And she couldn't get her words out. And he just bent down and whispered in her ear. He said he whispered, "imagine me naked." And this young --

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: So, she laughed.

OBAKIN: Yes, she laughed. And she started to flow. And it's that sort of thing.

FOSTER: One of the great privileges of your role, as well, and the sort of relationship you've built up with William is you get invited to the wedding, as well. So, is that something you're very excited about? What are you looking forward to there?

OBAKIN: Of course I'm looking forward to it. Who wouldn't be looking for to that wedding? And I am delighted that he chose to involve Centrepoint in the way that he has done, because I'm not the only one from Centrepoint invited. Two young people have been invited as well.

And I think that just goes to show that he's not a patron that has stood off the organization. He's one who's gotten involved in what we're doing. He's heart and soul, he's helping us to get rid of this problem that is youth homelessness.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Good stuff. I'm Becky Anderson. That is your world connected. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Don't go away.

END