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CONNECT THE WORLD

The Gulf Oil Spill One Year Later; Report From Inside Japan's 20- Kilometer Zone; France Steps Up Involvement in Libya; London Prepares for Royal Wedding

Aired April 20, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(CLOSING BELL AT NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE)

(CROWD CHEERS)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: An unusual ringing of the bell on Wall Street. Southern Methodist University, there, having the honors remotely, it would appear.

And it has been an up day on Wall Street, plenty of green arrows, back up to nearly 40 at 12,500 points, up 188 on the day over 1.5 percent as the numbers continue to settle there.

In your other headlines, more help on the way for Libyan rebels, France and Italy joining Britain in sending military officers to eastern Libya. They say that the officers will have only an advisory role, helping rebels organize and improve communications.

Security forces in Aleppo in Syria reportedly attacked protesters there, injuring at least two people. This video is said to show the scene, although we can't verify that independently. Meanwhile, authorities reportedly took an opposition figure into custody Tuesday in the city of Homs.

To Yemen and mounting casualties as protest and clashes continue there. Meanwhile, on the diplomatic front, the Gulf Corporation Council continues efforts to mediate a solution. The UN Security Council was not able to agree on a joint statement after discussing Yemen today.

Wildfire raging across the US state of Texas show no sign of dying down. That is due to heavy winds and very dry weather, the flames already scorching more than 400,000 hectares, destroying more than 170 homes in the past two weeks.

US authorities investigating in incident involving a plane carrying Michelle Obama, the first lady's flight forced to abort its landing Monday. Why? Well, it was too close, apparently, to a military cargo plane as both approached Andrews Air Force Base.

There are your headlines to the minute. CONNECT THE WORLD with Ms. Becky Anderson right now.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Three disasters separated by decades and continents, but linked by shared lessons. Tonight, how the Gulf oil spill, Japan's nuclear fallout, and the lingering effects of Chernobyl are guiding energy policy across the globe.

Also this hour, Europeans on the ground in Libya. Two more Western powers join the UK, saying they will advise the rebels.

And the loss of a legend. War photographer Tim Hetherington killed in Misrata today. A look back at his life and his legacy.

These stories and more tonight as we CONNECT THE WORLD.

Three separate disasters, three different continents, but each has forced the world to take a long, hard look at our growing energy needs and the perils of providing for them.

In Japan, the country's ongoing nuclear crisis has forced the government there to ban local residents from returning to their homes.

In Chernobyl, almost 25 years after the world's worst nuclear disaster, the UN Secretary-General said painful questions need to be answered about the future of atomic energy.

And similar questions remain over offshore drilling a year to the day after an explosion sent more than 200 million gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Tonight, we're going to take a look at what we've learned from each disaster and what it all means for the future of our energy needs.

We begin tonight in the southern US state of Louisiana, where communities are still trying to rebuild their lives and their livelihoods. The Gulf oil spill, you'll remember, had a devastating effect on the region's fishing industry and, one year on, fears remains over its future.

CNN's special correspondent and environmentalist and a regular guest on this show, Philippe Cousteau joins me, now, live from Grand Isle. It's certainly not the first time you've been there, and it won't be your last. What have you learned, Philippe, a year on?

PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, a year on, this is still as much a human disaster as it is an environmental disaster. We've spent much of the last week visiting different individuals and communities along the coast, from Alabama to Louisiana, including individuals invested and involved in the tourism industry, fishermen, like shrimpers and oystermen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COUSTEAU (voice-over): Henry McAnespy has been fishing in these waters for 35 years, but when he first started, this habitat looked much different.

COUSTEAU (on camera): And it's hard to imagine as I look out here, it -- this is all pretty much water.

HENRY MCANESPY, FISHERMAN: Right.

COUSTEAU: Little spits of grassy marshland here and there.

MCANESPY: Right.

COUSTEAU: You're saying that most of this was land before.

MCANESPY: Eighty percent of this in back of us, that was a little bitty pond right there. It's all gone. It was nothing but land, all around here, this was solid land when I first started fishing.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): Even before the Gulf oil spill, the southeastern part of Louisiana was affected by the oil industry. Oil companies cleared marshes here to lay pipelines and form channels for boats that service the oil industry. The remaining marshland is being lost to erosion.

CHRIS DORSETT, OCEAN CONSERVANCY: And when you start to lose these habitat areas, you lose the ability for the young fish and shrimp to be able to hide to grow up to a size where they can survive better out in the open water.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): Henry began oystering again in February for the first time after the oil spill. He says this year, the oyster beds are behaving differently.

COUSTEAU (on camera): So, it doesn't seem like there are a lot of baby oysters. No.

MCANESPY: There's no baby oysters. That's what's scary. This should be full, full, full of oysters the size of your fingernail. Should be blistered all over this thing.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): Oyster larvae normally grow on the shells of mature oysters, but they're not growing on the oysters in this area.

MCANESPY: If you don't have tomorrow's oysters, you'll go out of business.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): For lifelong oystermen like Henry, their livelihood depends on this ecosystem recovering.

COUSTEAU (on camera): Not only has there been a significant impact on the oyster fishery, but the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened right at the beginning of the shrimping season last year, essentially closing all waters to any fisheries.

This year, at the beginning of this next season, there's a lot of uncertainty about what the future will hold.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): At this marina, shrimpers prepare their boats for the coming season.

PHAN PLORK, SHRIMPER: I think there's going to be a little bit of shrimp out there, you know? But the problem is that the market, consumers, that's what I worry about.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): For this hard-hit community, last year's losses were extensive.

SANDY HA NGUYEN, COASTAL COMMUNITIES CONSULTING: After the BP spill, we -- I did a lot of food stamp applications because we were immediately impacted. We lost our season, we didn't have the money.

It's -- see, fishing is not a get rich business. But if you do it right, you live comfortably.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): And the fishermen in this community are not giving up.

PLORK: I went through starvation as a kid, then come over and got to the United States. This is the opportunity. I'm pretty sure there's plenty of things for me to do.

COUSTEAU (voice-over): Many in this area hope the Gulf Coast environment is as resilient as the community it supports.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COUSTEAU: So, uncertainty is certainly a theme that keeps flowing around in the Gulf about just what's going to happen in the future, but one specter that is hanging over this area is what happened with Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989 when, three years after the oil spill there, the heron fishery collapsed. So --

ANDERSON: Yes.

COUSTEAU: No one's really sure exactly what's going to happen.

ANDERSON: Yes, question marks remain. Philippe, I want you to stay with me for a moment. As you'll remember, as the height of the crisis, US president Barack Obama said that America was facing its worst-ever environmental disaster. A year on, have those initial fears been born out?

I want to bring in somebody else tonight. Ed Owens is a geologist who has advised on the responses to oil spills across the globe.

We've just heard Philippe's report a year on. You say things aren't that bad. How so?

ED OWENS, GEOLOGIST: Well, it's all a matter of perspective. Clearly, the human and the economic issues are very important. I deal specifically with looking at the shorelines and how much oil's on the shoreline and how we treat it to reduce the effects of that oil.

And it's actually quite encouraging. We spent many thousands of days surveying the Louisiana marshes, and the recovery there is already underway, which is a really significant element. Within the year, we're seeing new growth, we're seeing areas which the oil has been biodegraded naturally.

We're still working in some areas where there are some small oil mats that are smothering the edge of the marsh, and we're working hard to --

ANDERSON: All right.

OWENS: -- clean those up so that the regrowth can continue.

ANDERSON: All right, I buy what you're saying, but we've seen the report. You're not going to tell me tonight, Ed, that there are no lessons here to be learned, surely, are you?

OWENS: Oh, the -- every spill we learn lessons to try and do a better job. And we -- there have been a number of spills in the Louisiana wetlands, and we've learned from those, and we're applying those lessons literally on a day-by-day basis.

ANDERSON: I want to bring Philippe back in. You've heard what Ed has said. Philippe, your response.

COUSTEAU: Well, I think that precautionary principle at the very least has traditionally not been employed the way it should be, and I certainly hope that we are not making too many declaratory statements about the health of the environment. There's a lot about this complex ecosystem that we just don't understand.

And I know preliminary reports and anecdotal reports from fishermen bringing up trawls with a lot of oil still in them, and a lot of concern about the dispersed oil that's in the water column, and what it's doing at the springtime and last springtime during the mating seasons with lots of larvae and fish eggs floating in the water.

So, there's still a great deal of concern about what this oil spill is going to -- what impact it's going to have. And we know, as you pointed out earlier, from Ixtok in Mexico, from Exxon Valdez in Alaska, that there are a potential a lot of unknown at this point and even unanticipated impacts that we have to be prepared for.

ANDERSON: Ed, last word at this point.

OWENS: Well, yes, and I can't disagree there's a lot of unknowns. So, it's just encouraging that the amount of wetlands, which is where my focus is, the amount of wetlands were relatively small in area, due to the big outflow from the river and the huge offshore operations that really did an awful lot to minimize the impact.

One can only be optimistic that the recovery that's taking place will continue.

ANDERSON: All right, to both of you gentlemen, we thank you for joining us this evening, Ed and Philippe.

Well, the Gulf oil spill is just one piece of the jigsaw we're looking at tonight. We're going to look at the impact of energy disasters on people and policy. Up next, we go inside the danger zone to see how Japan's nuclear crisis has left ghost towns in its wake.

And we're going to hear from two Chernobyl residents who defied the order to leave. That, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back at 12 minutes past 9:00 in London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, where tonight, we're looking at the impact of three disasters which have blighted the energy industry and left more questions than answers.

More than a month after a massive earthquake and tsunami, Japan's nuclear crisis is far from over. Prompted by fears over radiation, the government said today that it's taking greater steps to enforce a 20- kilometer exclusion zone around the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Before that announcement, Stan Grant got a rare glimpse inside that disaster zone. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is a house that has been damaged and abandoned as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that happened here just last month.

Now, it's also sitting inside the 20-kilometer exclusion zone that has been established people out to protect them from the effects of radiation from the nuclear plant at the Fukushima -- the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Now, I am inside the 20-kilometer zone, so I need to take precautions. As you can see, I'm wearing some face covering here and, down at my feet, my shoes are also protected. This is to stop me coming in contact with any potentially contaminated material on the ground or breathing in any contamination.

But you can see, there are some cars still moving through this area. We passed through the 20-kilometer exclusion zone checkpoint and they are allowing people to move around, to come in and out, and that's why we've been allowed to come in here now.

We are keeping a close watch on any impact, any potential exposure to radiation. I'm carrying these devices, here. Now, this will give me a constant reading of the level of radiation that we're coming into contact with.

Interestingly, as we move around to different parts of this area, it rises and then drops again. I must point out that the levels that we're seeing here are not at a rate that is going to cause any effect to my health now or have any lingering effect later.

But as you can see, much destruction throughout this area. Here's a truck that has been picked up by the wave that swept through here, and it's come to rest against this shed next to the house.

Over here are some more houses. Most of them -- in fact, almost all of them -- have been abandoned. This is a ghost tone, it's a very eerie place. You can hear the rustling of the wind as it comes through the houses. You can hear the creaking of some of the materials and the tin and timber and so on around here that's been left exposed by the extent of the damage.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Stan Grant reporting for you.

Well, so far, we've looked, then, at two disasters, Japan's nuclear crisis and, of course, the Gulf oil spill. On the face of it, very different. But both have left communities devastated and livelihoods destroyed.

Well, earlier, we brought together two residents, one from Japan, the other from Louisiana, to discuss with each other how their lives have been affected. This is what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEN TANAKA, JAPAN RESIDENT: And how is it affecting the fishing industry down there? I know it's a pretty big industry in Louisiana, so --

KAY WILKINS, LOUISIANA RESIDENT: Well, I think we're still in a wait- and-see at this point in time. We know that the oysters are -- our oyster harvest is the most fragile, and we're -- we expect that to be a low harvest this year.

But the other fish -- fish beds are out there. In the industry, we're -- it's still pretty much a wait and see. What's that like with you all, though?

TANAKA: Well, I would assume that the smaller mom and pop kind of places are hit the most. Luckily, Japan being an island, we could get fish from the other side and from all over Japan. But the local fishermen from that area are probably going to be the ones that are hit the hardest. It's definitely having an effect, even to this day.

WILKINS: You know, Ken, one of the things that we found, one of the - - there were two groups of people that were especially vulnerable with the catastrophes that we had here in Louisiana, and that were, on both ends of the spectrum, our children and our senior adults. And both --

TANAKA: Yes, us too.

WILKINS: -- had a loss of a sense of place. Are you seeing that there with the people in Japan?

TANAKA: Well, I'm not near that area, the affected area, so I only hear and see from what people tell me. I had -- I did have a friend that did go up there and was doing some translating, and he said that it is -- the young are actually the ones that are kind of keeping everything together, as far as a normal life. They're trying to, I guess, play and do things like I guess they would normally do.

But I think the elders are getting affected the most. The living conditions in some of these makeshift shelters are -- it's in no condition for an elderly person to live, you know what I'm saying? So --

WILKINS: Yes, we had --

TANAKA: They weren't --

WILKINS: I was just going to say, Ken, that one of the things that I know is that, while it may seem confusing at this point in time, at some point you'll find, and the people -- I know we did -- find a new normal. I mean, we saw the worst of times, but we saw the best of the people, and there was a strength.

And I've seen that. I've seen that when I've watched the stories and read reports from both the International Red Cross and other agencies that are working in Japan.

TANAKA: Right.

WILKINS: There's a strength of spirit, and --

TANAKA: Oh, yes, I've -- I've actually seen that exact same thing. It definitely brings people together, especially the communities -- smaller communities in Japan. A lot of the mayors and stuff like that from the small cities are talking about they don't want to just leave their city, they want to rebuild.

And I even noticed that a week after the tsunami hit, they were already rebuilding homes, which was, I thought, amazing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Remarkable, listening to two people who really know the story better than any of us.

Next up, 25 years on, we're going to visit Chernobyl and meet some residents who call the disaster zone home. Find out why they stayed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A global rethink on nuclear energy. That is what is needed, according to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, at least, who has questioned the safety of the controversial power source.

Now, the Secretary-General called for a top-to-bottom review of nuclear energy during a visit to Chernobyl to mark 25 years since the disaster. Speaking a short distance from the exploded reactor, Ban Ki-moon said the world remains vulnerable to nuclear disasters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAN KI-MOON, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS: It's one thing to hear and to read about this Chernobyl disaster. It is another, a totally different experience, to look for myself, to experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, a hastily-erected sarcophagus was built over the exploded reactor at Chernobyl, but it needs to be replaced with a safer and more permanent structure. Despite the continued threat to contamination in the 25-year-old no-go zone, Matthew Chance meets some local residents willing to take the risk.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): When the reactor at Chernobyl, a short distance from here, was struck by disaster 25 years ago, 200,000 people were evacuated by the Soviet authorities, and this exclusion zone was thrown around, a vast area the size of Switzerland.

But almost from the outset, some residents defied that order, choosing instead to stay on and to live their lives despite the risks in Chernobyl's shadow. Two of them are just through here.

(MEN SPEAKING RUSSIAN)

CHANCE (voice-over): Ivan and Maria Semenyuk returned to their home in the exclusion zone less than a year after being evacuated. Now in their 70s, for nearly a quarter of a century, they've lived virtually alone with no neighbors, no shops, and the threat of contamination hanging over them.

CHANCE (on camera): Why? Given all the risks of the radiation sickness here, the contamination, why would you choose to live here?

IVAN SEMENYUK, CHERNOBYL RESIDENT (through translator): We were in the first group of re-settlers. There were 110 people, and the military did everything for us. They disinfected the area, the grass was healthy. They took out all the contaminated stuff, even fixed the broken fences. We were welcomed with music.

CHANCE: What about you, Maria? Are you happy living here? Or do you want to live somewhere else.

MARIA SEMENYUK, CHERNOBYL RESIDENT (through translator): As of now, we live here. But maybe we will move on later.

CHANCE (voice-over): When Chernobyl's reactor number four exploded in 1986, Ivan came back with his wife as a liquidator, what the Soviets called workers who helped clean up Chernobyl's mess. Exposed to high-levels of radiation, many liquidators died.

But not Ivan. He carried on working in the exclusion zone for 15 years, even retiring here.

CHANCE (on camera): Have you felt any of the consequences of radiation? Have you or your wife, have you got ill over the years that you've lived here.

IVAN SEMENYUK (through translator): I understand that it is unhealthy and that there are consequences for health. But not for everybody. But some people just got nervous and that caused them to get sick. They didn't even get contaminated.

CHANCE (voice-over): But it's not a life Ivan necessarily recommends. He's been watching the nuclear disaster unfold in Fukushima, he tells me with concern.

CHANCE (on camera): What advice would you give to the people of Fukushima, who are going through something similar to what Chernobyl went through 25 years ago.

IVAN SEMENYUK (through translator): They should leave. It's impossible to live there.

CHANCE (voice-over): That from one of the few nuclear survivors who knows from experience what it's like to stay.

CHANCE (on camera): Well, there are, now, 118 so-called self settlers, including Ivan and Maria, all of whom have now been given legal status to stay here.

But of course, that doesn't mean that this is anything approaching safe. Experts say it could still be hundreds of years before Chernobyl is anything but an extremely dangerous place to live. Matthew Chance, CNN, in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, we have debated the pros and cons of nuclear energy on this program at length, particularly given the long-term fallout when things go so horribly wrong. But the world's energy needs are growing, so I want to talk about the solutions, now, with our next guest, Robert Alvarez from the Institute for Policy Studies in the United States.

So, we've looked at the Gulf oil spill and the issues around offshore drilling, and we've also looked, tonight, at Japan, the fallout from that and, indeed, Chernobyl 25 years on. Are we any closer to working out how to safety satisfy our energy needs going forward?

ROBERT ALVAREZ, INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES: I'm afraid that we're learning by these tragic mistakes and that we're not close enough, and I think that we need to start to look at some serious alternatives to where - - to the path that we are currently taking.

ANDERSON: OK. So, if we were to look at those, where would you say that you see best practice, as it were, at present?

ALVAREZ: Well, I think that the -- that Germany has, perhaps, a model that other countries should emulate. They have developed some very important targets for energy savings and for renewable energy goals that they plan to meet. They have a robust economy, they are a major industrial power in the United -- in the world. And I think that a model that we ought to look at is Germany.

ANDERSON: All right, OK. So, let's look at that German model, then, because solutions have to work economically, right? So, what is it that the Germans are doing, and how are they working their energy solutions across all of those -- all of those ideas that are out there? We're talking wind, we're talking solar, we're talking nuclear, fossil fuels, clean, dirty energy. What works best?

ALVAREZ: Well, I think that they are in the midst of a major transition away from fossil energy and nuclear, and that they are moving towards an energy economic model that rewards energy savings and rewards the deployment of renewable energy sources.

And also, provides for -- I guess, a much greater expansion of things like solar energy --

ANDERSON: All right.

ALVAREZ: -- and more of a -- a greater reconfiguration of their electricity grids. And for the time being, a greater reliance on natural gas --

ANDERSON: OK --

ALVAREZ: -- as a bridging fuel.

ANDERSON: OK. So, let me put this to you. If I gave you a blank sheet of paper, Robert, and said you've got to give me -- here's our energy needs. Take me from one through a hundred, as it were, or 100 percent being the top, how would you split up how you would satisfy or provide those energy needs?

Where does nuclear fit in? Where does fossil fuels fit in? Just talk us through that.

ALVAREZ: Well, I think that what we're learning about fossil fuels and nuclear in particular is that they present huge consequences, some of which have not proven to be low probability.

The Gulf oil spill in -- in Louisiana a year ago basically spilled the equivalent of, in terms of oil, as to what the United States consumed in one day.

I think that where you have to start to recognize that we have these vulnerabilities, the United States is -- essentially has a very large military capability with the express purposes of defending oil sources in the Middle East and that area of the world is becoming more and more --

ANDERSON: All right.

ALVAREZ: -- unstable. I think that we need to recognize that we have to move away, first of all, from this extraordinary dependence on these fossil fuels and that it's going to be very difficult because the political force that these industries exert on our systems are very great, and it takes a tremendous amount of leadership and ability to withstand the kind of political opposition and pressure to move away from this.

ANDERSON: Yes.

ALVAREZ: And that, as I said before, we look at a nation like China, where they are, indeed, burning coal at an alarming rate.

But on the other hand, they are fast overtaking many countries, including the United States, in their practices of energy conservation and renewable energy. And we need to start to move towards that path in a much more aggressive way.

ANDERSON: All right, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. I think we can safely say more questions than answers, still, as we debate this stuff tonight, but Robert, we thank you for your thoughts.

First, Britain, now Italy and France. Three European nations are now sending military officers to help Libyan rebels. We'll look at their limited role.

And later, it seems a world away from London and Buckingham Palace. We're going to give you a tour of the sleepy town that future princess Kate Middleton calls home.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. It's 32 minutes past 9:00 out of London.

Coming up, France steps up its involvement in Libya as Nicolas Sarkozy meets with one of the country's opposition leaders.

A far cry from London, we'll visit the quaint rural village that Kate Middleton once called home.

And Playing for Change. How an ambitious musical experiment became a mission to promote global peace. Filmmaker Mark Johnson is your Connector of the Day.

Those are the stories ahead in the next half hour. First, as ever at this point, let's get you a quick check of the headlines this hour.

Syrian security forces have arrested a prominent dissident as the -- even as the government takes steps to abolish emergency rule. Human rights activists tell CNN that police whisked Mahmoud Issa away from his home late on Tuesday.

In Yemen, mounting casualties as protests and clashes continue. Meanwhile, on the diplomatic front, the Gulf Corporation Council continues efforts to mediate a solution. The UN Security Council wasn't able to agree on a joint statement after discussing Yemen on Tuesday.

Japan says it will start enforcing an order to keep people out of the 20-kilometer zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. About 78,000 people have homes there, many have been easily getting through checkpoints meant to stop them.

And a somber milestone on the US Gulf Coast, 12 months since the oil rig explosion that killed 11 people and led to a massive disaster. Environmentalists say the long-term effect is difficult to measure.

Wildfires raging across the US state of Texas show no signs of dying down. Heavy winds and dry weather are fueling them. The flames have already scorched more than 400,000 hectares and destroyed more than 170 homes over the past two weeks.

An opposition spokesman in Libya says the more advisers we have on the ground, the better. Rebels are welcoming the news that two more European countries are joining Britain in sending military officers to eastern Libya.

France, Italy, and Britain all stress that these officers will have only an advisory role, helping rebels get organized and improve their communications. They say they will not be involved in combat.

A Libyan opposition leader got to thank French president Nicolas Sarkozy in person today for his country's support. Jim Bittermann is in Paris with more on that and France's expanding role in the Libyan civil war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Top leaders of the rebellion against Colonel Gadhafi were here in Paris today meeting with President Sarkozy and other French officials, talking over what more the French might be able to do to help them win their war against Colonel Gadhafi.

And basically, we've heard very little in the way of details about what has been promised, although Ali al-Issawi, who is the foreign minister for the rebels, said that, in fact, President Sarkozy was very encouraging.

He was asked at a news conference whether or not the rebels needed more in the way of arms and boots on the ground. Here was his response.

ALI AL-ISSAWI, LIBYA'S NATIONAL TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL (through translator): If Resolution 1973 was really being implemented and if civilians were being protected, we would not need weapons, and we would not have to arm the Libyans.

But as this is not the case, and because we have noticed some weak points in protecting the civilians, we will have to act. The air strikes will not be enough to protect them.

So, let's say to protect civilians, give them weapons, or give Libya weapons so that it can defend itself.

BITTERMANN: Earlier, the French confirmed that they will be sending military liaison officers, reportedly less than 10, to Benghazi to help coordinate the protection of the civilian population there.

The French insist that these are not fighting forces, they are just there to coordinate and to work with the diplomatic mission that's already there. It's the kind of thing we hear also from Italy and Great Britain over the last two days.

French president Sarkozy also promised the leaders of the rebellion that he would be stepping up the intensity of air strikes against Colonel Gadhafi's forces. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, journalists from all over the world are putting their lives on the line, of course, to cover the Libyan war and, today, one of them paid the ultimate price. Award-winning photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade while documenting the siege of Misrata.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): He traveled the globe documenting some of the world's deadliest conflicts. His profession was his life.

Born in Liverpool, award-winning photojournalist Tim Hetherington spent eight years in West Africa, where his images of civil war in Liberia brought to the world the reality of the conflict that had, until then, gone unnoticed.

He then turned his attention to Afghanistan, where he spent five years capturing award-winning and iconic images of life on the front line. He was awarded the Grand Jury Prize in 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival for "Restrepo," his directorial debut, a film which also earned him an Academy Award nomination.

(BEGIN FILM CLIP - "Restrepo")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fear is always there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to die here.

(END FILM CLIP)

TIM HETHERINGTON, PHOTOJOURNALIST: Often when I'm working in a very pressured situation, my -- I can almost flick the off switch and go into a default of filming. And later on, I come to, and it shocks me what I've done. And that's just something that I've been able to do, and that's, perhaps, why I continue -- why I realize that I'm good at what I do.

(GUN SHOTS FIRING)

HETHERINGTON: But it does have the side that it is very dangerous. I remember being in the Congo and firefights and realizing -- a guy said to me, who I was filming close range, and he said, "Do you see the traces pass between our heads?" And I hadn't.

And later on, I saw the trees behind me all shot up, and I realized we were very exposed. And I'm in default. And that can be a funny thing later to understand.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Hetherington thrived on his work. He lived with his characters and told their stories to millions around the world. That was his talent, and that was his mission.

His final assignment was for "Vanity Fair" in Libya. His last Twitter post read, "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Gadhafi forces. No sign of NATO."

Tim Hetherington was 41 years old.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, the Liberian civil war was among the many conflicts that Hetherington covered. In 2003, he and colleague James Brabazon were the only journalists to live behind rebel lines. Brabazon has called his friend "continuously inspiring." He joins us now on the line from London.

Your thoughts, James, this evening?

JAMES BRABAZON, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER (via telephone): Well, of course, devastated. But it's not just a loss -- a personal loss, it's a loss to the whole profession. Tim was a very unusual man. Very dedicated storyteller and an exceptional humanitarian. And it's just -- it's just terrible.

ANDERSON: James, what made him so good?

BRABAZON: Well, I think one of the things that made him so good was that he never lost sight of the essential humanity of the subjects that he was photographing. They weren't -- people to him were absolutely that, people. Individuals whose story he wanted to tell.

There was an occasion in Liberia when we were filming together when a rebel commander wanted to execute a doctor who he accused of espionage. And Tim stood in the way of the pistol, put his hand on the pistol, and very calmly negotiated with the commander and pleaded for the man's life. And eventually, the commander calmed down, put the gun down, and the man was allowed to live.

And that was -- that sums Tim up.

ANDERSON: He knew the risks. He knew the risks --

BRABAZON: He knew the risks.

ANDERSON: -- didn't he?

BRABAZON: He knew the risks and he knew what risks he needed to take to help people, and that's, essentially, what he wanted to do. He wanted to change things by the work that he did. It wasn't an end in and of itself. It was a means to an end, and that end was to make things better for people, to shed a light where, quite often, there just isn't any.

ANDERSON: I'll go so far as to say he was the best of our generation. Perhaps one of the best ever. I interviewed Tim not two, three months ago, and what always amazes me when I met him was his lack of ego.

BRABAZON: Absolutely. He's an extremely -- extremely modest man. This is someone who's been awarded or nominated for practically every award in the book. And for Tim, that was never the issue. He was very much focused on getting back into the field and telling people stories again.

He was a lovely man with a beautiful sense of humor. I think it's very difficult to make comparisons about who's the best, but one thing's for absolutely certain, he had a unique eye. And his work was -- I mean, it defined a generation of reportage, that's for sure.

ANDERSON: His last job was in Libya, and we have just read out his last tweet. It would have been important to him that he was there. As a friend, how do you hope he is remembered?

BRABAZON: I hope he's remembered for the very big heart that he had and for his uncompromising eye for telling the truth. Humor and the truth. That sums up Tim.

ANDERSON: James, can't be easy tonight, be we absolutely appreciate your thoughts -- Tim -- on Tim Hetherington, there. James Brabazon, one of his mates.

An award-winning photojournalist and Oscar nominee who risked his life to bring us news about some of the world's most dangerous conflicts. Tim Hetherington, age 41, was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in the Libyan city of Misrata. He will be missed but never forgotten.

(SILENCE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All right. Every moment, we are inching closer to the royal wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton on April the 29th, in case you've forgotten.

In another sure sign that the day is drawing very near, the queen has met the parents, Buckingham Palace confirming that today Her Majesty and Prince Phillip hosted Michael and Carole Middleton at a private lunch at Windsor Castle for their first meeting.

Well, as I found out a little earlier, the streets of London are also starting to get the royal treatment.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (on camera): Just a little more than a week to go until the royal wedding, and the city is aflutter with excitement, quite literally. This is Regent Street in the center of London, and look at this, 200 British flags awaiting the royal nuptials.

I found a family who've been taking pictures. What do you think about the flags, guys?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it looks fantastic.

ANDERSON: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Reminds you of the end of the second World War.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

ANDERSON: Excellent. Proud to be British. You looking forward to the wedding, girls?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

ANDERSON (voice-over): On the streets of London, wedding souvenirs are flying off the stands. Flags, mugs, plates, you name it.

Meanwhile, down at Buckingham Palace, the flowers are blooming and the banners are flying. When I was out and about earlier this week at the palace, I bumped into some rather special royal fans.

ANDERSON (on camera): The Cogis are significant to the royal family, you know this. But the queen herself is a great dog lover. Not just a dog lover, she's a Corgi lover. And they are absolutely beautiful, aren't they? What is it about these dogs, do you think, that the queen loves so much?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think they're sort of big dogs in small packages.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON (voice-over): The dogs are ready, we're all ready, and we're looking forward to seeing you on the royal wedding day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Yes, we are. Well, London is a bustling city with or without a royal wedding to prepare for, and it's a far cry from the small, sleepy village about an hour from here where Kate Middleton herself was born and raised.

I want to give you an insight, though, into that world, now, as Soledad O'Brien reports in her latest documentary, "The Women Who Would Be Queen," it may have been Kate's humble background that attracted Prince William to his bride-to-be in the first place.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pretty. Peaceful. Pastoral. Bucklebury, a picture-postcard village 55 miles west of London in the English countryside region called Berkshire.

JOHN HALEY, INNKEEPER: It's an area of outstanding natural beauty. It's a lovely part of the world to live.

O'BRIEN: John Haley is an innkeeper for one of the area's few pubs, the Old Boot Inn.

HALEY: And there's some lovely people out here, lovely houses, a lovely way of life.

Community spirit's very good, I think, and everyone looks after each other.

O'BRIEN: The small community, numbering only in the thousands, is now looking after its most famous residents, the Middletons. Daughter Kate, a commoner who will one day be queen, has helped this small hamlet earn the nickname Royal Bucklebury.

O'HALEY: Oh, they're very nice. Just very nice family, down to earth, fairly easy-going, relaxed. Yes, lovely family.

O'BRIEN: Carole Goldsmith and Michael Middleton met while working for a British airline. They married in 1980 and settled into this modest house. Their first child, Kate, was born here in 1982.

Kate's early years were as ordinary as you could imagine. She was baptized in a picturesque chapel, she was a Brownie, she liked to perform in plays and musicals.

O'BRIEN (on camera): A quiet life here in the English countryside. And it couldn't be further than the royal world she's about to marry into.

CHRISTOPHER ANDERSEN, AUTHOR, "WILLIAM AND KATE": They were not wealthy.

O'BRIEN: They were solidly middle class.

ANDERSEN: Absolutely solidly middle class, hard working folks.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): And that hard work would pay off in the 1990s. Carole started a successful internet party-planning business, and the family was soon worth millions.

They moved into a much larger house in Bucklebury. Kate went to several expensive boarding schools, where she hobnobbed with England's richest and most titled.

But she would always come home. And eventually, with her boyfriend, Prince William.

HALEY: I think they're -- they feel very comfortable in Bucklebury. People do leave them alone, just treat them like normal people, a normal couple. And so, they're able to walk with their dogs and walk around and not have any pressure on them.

O'BRIEN (on camera): It was the way Kate grew up in rural Bucklebury, normal, quiet. Once criticized as too common, it may be the very thing that helps keep this royal couple together.

ANDERSEN: They have an idyllic little British estate, and he saw that, indeed, it was possible to have a happy family and a happy marriage in the Middletons, and I think that's a big reason that Kate's the one.

HRH PRINCE WILLIAM OF WALES, UNITED KINGDOM: She's got very, very close family, and I get on really well with them, and I'm very lucky that they've been so supportive. Mike and Carole have been really sort of loving and caring and really fun, and have been welcoming towards me, so I felt really part of the family.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): And part of a town that has become something of an extended family as well.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: A preview, there, of our CNN special, "The Women Who Would Be Queen," an intimate look at the two women who have influenced William's life, his late mother and his bride. See it Saturday 8:00 PM London, 9:00 PM in Berlin and, well, you can work it out wherever else you are in the world.

Still to come, connecting the world through song. They are musicians from every continent, and they are Playing for Change. Meet the Grammy Award-winning producer who is bringing them all together. That up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, he's turned busters from around the world into internet sensations and top-selling artists to boot. Tonight's Connector of the Day is the man who set off seven years ago on a musical mission and ended up inspiring an international peace movement. My colleague Max Foster gets us in touch with Mark Johnson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Musicians from around the world connecting through song. This is the latest project by the Playing for Change Foundation, the brainchild of filmmaker and Grammy award-winning producer Mark Johnson.

Initially, the plan of Johnson's team was to record musicians from all over the world and bring their voices together to create truly global performances. But driven by desire to change the world's tune and to promote peace, the mission soon grew.

The foundation is now dedicated to opening music schools in far-flung communities from Mali and Rwanda to Ghana and Nepal.

I asked our Connector of the Day why he thinks music is the answer.

MARK JOHNSON, PLAYING FOR CHANGE: There's amazing people all over the world, and that we share this planet, and that we have to come together, and music is one of the greatest ways to bring us together, because it's really from one heart to another heart.

So, regardless of all the differences of culture and race and religion and politics, music is something that can bring us all together and give us a foundation that we can build from to create something positive for the future of the planet.

FOSTER (on camera): But how, in practice, does it work? How do you get these videos together, for example? If we play a bit of "Redemption Song" now, it's a fabulous video and nice song, of course, as well. But how does -- how did that come about? How do you make it happen?

(MUSIC - "Redemption Song")

JOHNSON: Right, well, the way we make the songs around the world is that we travel across the globe with a small crew, with a mobile recording studio and cameras. So, what we're able to do is record one musician in -- outside playing a guitar.

And then, we go to another country, put headphones on another musician, he'll listen, and he'll play the bass. And then so on and so on around the world until you get a collection of musicians thousands of miles away from each other, all playing on the same song.

This kind of serves as a way for people to see the planet doing something positive together.

(MUSIC - "Stand By Me")

FOSTER: It must be pretty exciting just from a creative point of view to bring all of that back to the studio and put it all together and see how it sounds, because it -- when you listen to the songs, it looks as though it was all carefully planned. But, of course, it's just built up over time, isn't it?

JOHNSON: It's really an amazing thing because you get to put together instruments that you'd never hear together.

You get to go to Nepal and record a sitar and combine it with a steel guitar and Livorno, Italy, and you get to add a Zulu choir with a choir in Northern Ireland and you get to put together all these sounds in combinations that are -- I'd never heard before, and most people hadn't heard before.

And it kind of just shows the fact that all over the world, people play music, and it's easy to put them together.

FOSTER: What sorts of people have you had on your records?

JOHNSON: It starts with street musicians so we can get back to the roots of the people. But it's really just about musicians everywhere, so I guess the criteria is just people who believe in being a part of something bigger than themselves through music.

And it ranges from street musicians, such as Grandpa Elliot.

(MUSIC - "Stand By Me")

JOHNSON: To famous musicians, such as Bono or Stephen Marley.

FOSTER: The instruments aren't always traditional, the ones we're used to. You can pretty much use anything, can't you? What's the most unusual instrument you had?

JOHNSON: Right. Well, I would say one of my favorites is a veena from India. It's a sort of a combination of a sitar and a steel guitar. You can see it on a number of our songs.

FOSTER: You've been particularly successful, haven't you, on the social media. People telling people about people and then, watching it on YouTube and the like. Why do you think it's picked up in that way?

JOHNSON: The internet is an amazing platform for people to learn about cultures far away from themselves, and something like Playing for Change really taps into that because you can log into the internet and you can watch things that aren't accessible in other outlets.

And then, we also travel around the world and build music schools. The idea here is the value of any movement is, what does it give back to the people? So Playing for Change Foundation's building music and art schools around the world, working with the communities that we get to meet through the process, and then show something tangible that people can believe in.

FOSTER: A question from Johnny. It's all about music, of course, this project, and wants to know, "How does music solve problems in the world?" It's got a unique attribute, music, hasn't it? Because it brings everyone in.

JOHNSON: Music is one of the oldest tools for humanity. We created it for ourselves to be able to bridge conflicts, to be able to raise us up from the darkness to the light, to be able to show us the fact that we're all here together right now in this world, and we create our future.

So, I think music gives people a context where they're able to see the humanity in live. And the fact that it's bigger than just their surroundings, you know? That there's more to this world, we're all here together, and I think music just gives us a chance to celebrate, to reflect on our past and find a positive way to move forward.

FOSTER: Michael's asking a question about what it's like working with so many people around the world. You're obviously a big-time producer. You won a Grammy. What's it like working on this particular project where you're working with so many different people?

JOHNSON: I would -- the best answer to that is that it's very humbling, because there's so many incredible people around this world and great musicians, and I'm blessed to be able to go out there and join something bigger than ourselves, make something where we can leave the world better than we found it through music. There's nothing better than that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Your Connector of the Day today. In a special Parting Shots tonight, I want to remember British photojournalist Tim Hetherington, killed today on assignment in Libya. Tim was a talented documentarian, respected by all who knew him. I'm going to leave you now with some of his work. I'm Becky Anderson. Good night.

END