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CONNECT THE WORLD
One Year Anniversary of Death That Triggered Arab Spring; Life and Death of Journalist Christopher Hitchens; Japan Reaches Turning Point in Fukushima Reactor Cleanup
Aired December 16, 2011 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: One year ago, a fruit seller in Tunisia decided to take a stand. Mohamed Bouazizi's death ignited an explosion of people power across an entire region.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom! And we're going to take our freedom! We're going to take it!
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ANDERSON: A year on, we mark this anniversary with a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD on the Arab Spring.
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ANDERSON: And as people across the region continue to take to the streets in protest, we'll explore what 2012 might hold for a movement that has already rewritten history.
Live from London, I'm Becky Anderson. Also tonight, tributes pour in for literary critic and journalist Christopher Hitchens. We'll hear from a close friend who says he was a, quote, "guardian of our culture."
And thousands of troops on the ground, typhoon jets in the air. Why London Olympic organizers are significantly ramping up security for next year's event.
That's all coming up in this show. First up, though, tonight. One match lit a fire that would burn across the Arab world, awakening a sleeping giant. Well, it's been a year since that act of desperation in Tunisia triggered what we know call the Arab Spring.
Well, it was a breaking point, of course, that no one saw coming. A wave of protests spread across the region, emboldening people to rise up and put their lives on the line, all for the chance of freedom.
In some countries, people power succeeded. In others, it is still a work in progress. On this one year anniversary, we have a special coverage of the uprisings tonight. Fawaz Gerges is a big friend of CONNECT THE WORLD. He's an expert on Middle Eastern politics, and he'll be with us in a moment and will stay with us throughout this in-depth look at what has surely been an era-defining year.
First, though, let's start where it all began.
MANOUBIA BOUAZIZI, MOTHER OF MOHAMED BOUAZIZI (through translator): I am proud of him. Thank God he spoke out. He turned the world upside down, but he did not deserve to die.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This man up here is Mohamed Bouazizi. He was a 26-year-old black market fruit vendor who struggled to make a living for his family. Many would argue that he lit the match that sparked a revolution that continues to ripple across the region.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Those ill-wishes exploited the issue of unemployment by manipulating an isolated case of despair that can take place in all societies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you can see here, everybody wants him out of here, wants him to resign.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: These protests are being organized online, supported through social media.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In an historic power shift, Tunisia's prime minister has taken control of the country as the president bows to pressure and reportedly flees after 23 years in power.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: It's fair to say there's been a domino effect. Of course, it started in Tunisia, spread to Algeria, to a minor effect, Egypt, and over the weekend, in Jordan and south of Saudi Arabia's border in Yemen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom! And we're going to take our freedom! We're going to take it!
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Basically, the crowd of protesters has taken over Tahrir Square, the heart of Cairo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mubarak destroyed our country!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want him!
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Listen to the people, they --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want him!
WEDEMAN: This is the first time we've seen that the army has become involved. The army has stayed out of any civil disturbances since 1984.
WATSON: There's no question that after days and nights of protests here in Tahrir Square, this is the biggest gathering we have seen yet.
WEDEMAN: What you are hearing them say is "Yruuhi (ph), yruuhi." In Arabic, it means "Go! Go!"
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We saw President Mubarak coming forward saying he is not, in fact, stepping down.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When he made that statement, people broke out into screams and shouts of outrage. They removed their shoes and began waving them in the air. That, the ultimate insult in the Arab world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe he doesn't understand the language of his people, so I am telling him in English, please go away!
WATSON: A phalanx of men on horseback and on camels, and they charged through from the pro-regime side directly into the opposition, flogging people as they went, and it's been an all-out battle ever since.
WEDEMAN: We're right on Tahrir Square at what is a mosque that a few days ago was turned into a makeshift field hospital for people wounded in clashes and protests and whatnot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our freedom! This is Hosni Mubarak! That's what he does!
WATSON: More than 300 people have been killed since these protests started more than two and a half weeks ago.
HOSNI MUBARAK, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translator): I, President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, have decided to step down as president of Egypt.
WATSON: Look at these scenes of euphoria and celebration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time, Egypt has a chance to be democratic, to be free, to have a sense of -- Egyptians to have a sense of dignity, of freedom.
ANDERSON: Well, from the Arab Spring, of course, to what is now winter, Egypt's revolution far from finished. New clashes today left at least three people dead and a hundred wounded, overshadowing what was the second round of landmark democratic elections.
My colleague, Ben Wedeman, has probably forgotten more about Egypt than most of us will ever know. He's CNN's Cairo bureau chief and an expert on the region, joining us tonight live from Egypt's capital.
Ben, when you listen to that last report and reflect on the events of the past year, what do you think?
WEDEMAN: Well, really how far we have come. When I think that a year ago, everybody knew that eventually there would be change in Egypt, but nobody imagined it would come so quickly. And within 18 days, the almost 30-year-old dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak would be gone.
Of course, this year has been a year of a lot of events, a lot of news. We've just gotten through, as you mentioned, the second round of these three rounds of parliamentary elections.
They've gone off fairly peacefully, but of course, marred today by these clashes in front of the prime ministry where, at this point, we're told, at least four people were killed, well over 200 people wounded. So, it's very much a revolution in the making, by no means over.
And there do seem to be two emerging trends here in Egypt. On the one hand, you have those people who are still in the street and go into Tahrir Square. They want this revolution to continue.
On the other hand, you see millions of Egyptians lining up peacefully and in very well-organized lines, something we don't always see here in Egypt, voting. And they're voting for stability, because many Egyptians, Becky, are very worried, not just about the political situation, but the economy.
The Egyptian pound is at a six-year low, foreign investment has dried up, tourism has dried up. People are very worried that the benefits of the revolution could be marred by a collapsing economy. Becky?
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman's in Cairo for you tonight. Ben, stay with us, we'll come back to you a little later on in the show.
Fawaz Gerges is director of the Middle East Centre at the School -- London School of Economics, a regular guest on this show. We do love having you here.
Fawaz, you heard what Ben said. All revolutions start with protests, but not all protests lead to revolutions, do they?
FAWAZ GERGES, DIRECTOR OF MIDDLE EAST CENTRE, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: You're absolutely correct. This is really a revolution in the making. We have seen to faces of this particular revolution.
What really -- what we have not discussed so far, Becky, is the extent of the economic and social crisis in Egypt. Most of the voices that we have heard in the last few weeks are people really in pain. Forty-three percent of Egyptians, out of the 85 million Egyptians, 43 percent live either in poverty or below the poverty line.
Egypt is bankrupt. Millions of Egyptians wait to get six loaves of bed on a daily basis. This is a country, really, in transition. Tremendous turmoil, we should not be surprised. In fact, I would be surprised if we don't see such turmoil.
So, the turmoil will be with us. This is the return of politics. You have multiple forces, now, protesting, trying to make their voices heard.
ANDERSON: Classic situation of these protests and a revolution being sparked in the urban centers and not sort of getting out to the rural areas, where most of the people live.
Different situation, actually, in Syria where the Assad regime actually seems to control Damascus and where Homs is actually the center of attention.
ANDERSON: We'll come to that a little later. So far as Egypt, then, is concerned, what's your best guess as to what happens next in 2012?
GERGES: I call it the Islamist moment. The Islamist moment. Not just in Egypt. In Tunisia, in Morocco, and Egypt, and even in Libya, when the elections take place. The Islamists will dominate the political and social scene in Egypt for the next --
ANDERSON: What does that mean?
GERGES: What it means is that religious activists, basically like the Muslim Brotherhood, are cashing in. Literally cashing in on their investments. Political investment, social investment, and also welfare investment.
And what it means, that Egyptian people would like to make a clean break with the past, because the Islamists, the religious activists, are seen as an alternative, as authentic. They can be trusted.
And by voting for the Islamists, they're not voting for an Islamic government. They're not voting for the Muslim Brotherhood because the Muslim Brotherhood is saying Islam is a solution.
They're voting for the Muslim Brotherhood because they were persecuted by the government. They're seen as trustworthy, and they basically believe that the Muslim Brotherhood will take Egypt into a different era.
ANDERSON: And how will Islamist government, if indeed you are correct, and it seems certainly the elections that we've seen so far are pushing that way, what will that mean for the region as a whole and its relationship with the West?
GERGES: Actually, and you'll be surprised by what I'm going to say, you're not going to see much change. The Islamists have come a long way in the last 20, 30 years. They have labored very hard to be accepted. They crave recognition by the Western powers.
They have made it appear they will not make any reckless decisions that basically violate personal freedoms. They want to establish government's base coalition. Of course, what you're going to see a great deal of emphasis on moralism, on alcohol banning. On veiling, as opposed to really hardcore policy decisions.
My fear is not that the Islamists will gain a majority in parliament everywhere. My fear is that the Islamists don't have the programs, don't have the blueprint to basically need the great challenges that Tunisia, that Morocco, that Egypt and other countries have.
I mean, Egypt faces tremendous challenges, socioeconomic and institutional building.
ANDERSON: We're going to leave it there. We're going to come back to you shortly. You want to stay with us throughout this next half hour. Fawaz, always a pleasure. Thank you.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. It's live from London tonight. Still to come, Syria's suffering escalates. Will its citizens ever feel the warmth of that Arab Spring. Our special coverage of the uprisings continues straight ahead, here on CNN. Do stay with us.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to our special coverage of the Arab uprisings. I'm Becky Anderson. Now, revolutions have forever changed one of the most authoritarian regions in the world. That was the story, of course, of 2011.
Well, the momentum of the Arab Spring seemed almost unstoppable, didn't it, those first few months? But as it stretched into summer and into the autumn or fall, the euphoria began to fade as cold, hard realities set in.
Here's part two of what is our special look at the Arab Awakening.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the third straight day, thousands of people took to the streets of Bahrain demanding change. Videos are popping up on YouTube showing thousands of activists marching in the capital, Manama.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Bahrain pulls the plug on the Grand Prix.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: I think they will be very happy that they've brought their grievances to the world's attention this way. And they had always threatened to disrupt this event.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The tension has now spiked in Syria.
STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Demonstrations, violence, the death toll mounting. Some observers say Syria may not only be the latest domino to fall, it could be the most explosive yet.
FOSTER: We begin in Libya, where anti-government protests have now reached the doorstep of the Arab world's longest-serving leader.
WEDEMAN: This demonstration in Benghazi gives you an idea of the passion of the people of this city, of the passion of so many Libyans who have been thirsting for 42 years for this sort of opportunity.
SAIF GADHAFI, MOAMMAR GADHAFI'S SON (through translator): Today, Tripoli is quiet. Yesterday, Tripoli was quiet. Schools are open, banks are open, people are out normally.
ANDERSON: And fears of a civil war are growing as a second day of assaults happened today by Gadhafi's forces on opposition-held areas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very bad situation, very bad.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: How many wounded?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than 25. Just now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): His troops are going almost door- to-door searches, terrorizing people and rounding up young men. He his terrorizing Misrata right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): We are in urgent, urgent, urgent need of international help.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is US policy that Gadhafi needs to go.
FOSTER: Explosions rocked the Libyan capital as anti-aircraft fire streaks through the skies.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A defiant Moammar Gadhafi waves to crowds of supporters at his compound in Tripoli.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: News of a warrant for the arrest of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The International Criminal Court in the Hague issued the warrant today, accusing Gadhafi of crimes against humanity, including murder and persecution.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rebels say they are still fighting it out in the important city of Zawia. That city important because it is a lifeline to Tripoli.
We're now about 30 miles outside of Tripoli, so we are very, very, very close. Last night, the rebels were telling us that they got help from NATO, and that is one of the ways that they were able to secure this refinery.
SIDNER: We are underneath (inaudible), here in the middle of Tripoli. What we're seeing is rebels all over the square. There are really no civilians. Mostly men with guns in the square, but we're also seeing people running. There's a lot of gunfire. They say there are snipers. We all had to pull back.
SIDNER: The situation very tense here.
This is an important day, especially for the rebels who Gadhafi said would never be able to break his spirit, would never be able to take the city, but they have taken Bab al-Aziziya, Gadhafi's compound.
DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're getting reports from multiple sources that NTC troops have now penetrated into the heart of district two in Sirte, which was the last remaining bastion of pro-Gadhafi resistance. They're saying, effectively, that means Sirte has fallen, but --
TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A gun is pointed at Gadhafi's head.
"Shame on you, you're sinning. You're sinning," Gadhafi says as he moves his right hand.
A fighter retorts, "You don't know about sin."
A crowd gathers. Gadhafi is pushed, shoved, and shaken, and is slapped at least once.
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of Libya with those unconfirmed reports that the deposed dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, is dead.
RIVERS: This war is effectively over. No one here underestimates what a hugely significant and historic day the 20th of October is in Libya.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gadhafi, he's out, kaput, bye-bye!
ANDERSON: Well, tonight, opposition activists in Syria are mourning new victims of their fight for freedom. Seventeen protesters are reported dead today across the country. My colleague Ben Wedeman has been following Syria's uprising, now, for months. Let's get back to him, he's live for you out of Cairo.
Your best guess, then, as to what happens next in Syria.
WEDEMAN: Well, what we understand from opposition forces is increasingly there are more and more defections from the army by soldiers and officers to what's known as the Free Syria Army.
And certainly they're getting -- they're concentrated around cities like Homs, where there was a huge anti-regime demonstration today, in Idlib, further to the north. And what we are seeing in Syria is the gradual militarization of what began as a peaceful protest against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
And certainly as it become militarized, as both sides use live ammunition against one another, this could very much turn into like the Libya situation, where the idealists, the human rights activists, the lawyers who began these protests are, in a sense, shoved aside by the men who have taken up the weapons.
This could be a very long and protracted conflict, and nobody in Syria seems to be willing to guess when or how it will come to an end, but everyone seems to agree that it's going to be long and bloody. Becky?
ANDERSON: Yes, and gaining access, there, of course, is tremendously difficult. We are not allowed to report from there, which is why Ben, who knows the region, of course, better than most of us, is reporting to you from Cairo, tonight, on that story. Ben, thank you for that. Ben Wedeman for you there in Cairo.
Ben alluding to the fact that these -- these demonstrators, these protesters are beginning to get militarized in Syria, but specifically in Homs. And we alluded to this earlier on. That is not the capital city, and that is different from that which happened elsewhere.
GERGES: You're absolutely correct. Damascus has not really joined the protest yet. Aleppo, another major urban city, has not fully joined the protest yet. Latakia has not fully joined the protest yet.
Homs, Hama, Idlib, Daraa, major cities have fully joined the protest. Homs has become the Benghazi of Syria. And I think, based on everything that we have seen, Becky, Syria appears to be descending into a prolonged armed conflict.
Nobody knows how long this particular conflict basically will take. Nobody knows the costs of this particular conflict. Nobody knows the outcome of this particular conflict.
One thing we know. It's going to be a much bloodier conflict. It has been a much bloodier conflict than Libya. Syria is not Libya. We must stress this particular point for a variety of reasons.
The Syrian regime has a more potent security apparatus. They Syrian regime still has a critical, sizable social base, and it has support. It has external support.
Iran will not give up on the Syrian regime, because Iran sees the struggle in Syria as part of a greater cold war in order to clip the wings of the Islamic republic, and that's why now with the American forces out of Iraq, you have an open line from Tehran in Iran to Baghdad in Iraq to Damascus in Syria.
And that's why the Syrian regime, President Assad, has made it very clear that basically he can rely on his regional supporters and international supporters, as well.
ANDERSON: And you talk about international supporters, and he does, of course, have those. We'll come back to you for your final thoughts as we move through this half hour. For the time being, Fawaz, thank you very much, indeed, for that.
We're going to take a very, very short break. We'll be back after this. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Well, a year ago, a fruit seller in Tunisia decided to take a stand. His death ignited an explosion of people power across an entire region. A special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, here, focusing on 2011 and the Arab Spring. Your final thoughts, this evening, as we move into 2012.
GERGES: Becky, Egypt and Tunisia are much more equipped to make the transition to a pluralistic society, because they have the institutions, they have civil society, they have a vibrant educational system.
Libya is very uncertain, very risky. Syria is prolonged war. Who knows what's going to happen in Syria if the situation continues? Yemen is a work in progress. And the rest are basically are not immune to what has happened in the Arab world in the past year.
This is a special, a significant historical moment. What has happened, if I can really convey to your viewers, psychological rupture has taken place, the empowerment of the people, and that's why I believe there is no return to the old, discredited authoritarian order.
ANDERSON: A defining era. A moment in history.
GERGES: It really is.
ANDERSON: Fawaz, we thank you very much, indeed, for that.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, just before half past nine in London. Much more to come in this next half hour of the show, including a look at the life of this man, the late Christopher Hitchens, author and journalist, he was often controversial. A close friend tells us what he was really like.
Also, the prime minister of Japan says they've turned a corner in the cleanup at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but some are casting doubts on the news. We're going to tell you why.
And as London prepares for the biggest sporting event on Earth, we'll discover how security for the Olympics is being planned with military precision.
ANDERSON: Welcome back, it's Friday in London at just after half past nine in the evening. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, I'm Becky Anderson for you. Let's get you a check of the headlines this hour.
Massive protests and more violence reported in Syria. Crisis groups say 17 people were killed across the country, nine of them in Homs. CNN cannot independently confirm reports from inside Syria as we are not allowed to report from there.
Escalating violence in Cairo. CNN's Ben Wedeman reports four people have been killed and more than 200 injured in clashes between protesters and security forces there. It's the worst violence in weeks and overshadows the vote count in Egypt's historic general election.
A setback for the defense of US soldier Bradley Manning. The 24-year- old allegedly funneled thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Now, his legal team today tried and failed to get the presiding officer in the case to step aside.
Customs agents in Moscow's main airport say they've seized baggage packed with radioactive material. They say they've registered radiation levels 20 times above normal and belonging to a passenger bound for Tehran. That passenger wasn't detained, and apparently traveled to Iran.
Those are your headlines this hour.
Iconoclastic, argumentative, admired, and reviled. There is rarely a shortage of opinions when talking about the British-born author and journalist Christopher Hitchens. His topics range from religion to waterboarding to his own battle with esophageal cancer.
Sadly, Hitchens succumbed to that cancer on Thursday night. Our Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson now takes a look back on what was a controversial life.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, AUTHOR/JOURNALIST: Christopher to you. We've never met.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Never missed a deadline.
HITCHENS: I'm sitting at the same table as you, either.
ROBERTSON: Rarely missed a chance to stir it up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now wait a minute. That is the most outrageous thing --
HITCHENS: Excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- that I have ever --
HITCHENS: Excuse me.
ROBERTSON: Spanning four decades in journalism, Christopher Hitchens' biting, acerbic intellect had many victims. The Vietnam War. Mother Theresa. Princess Diana and her husband, Prince Charles, to name but a few.
HITCHENS: I am the only person who wrote when they got engaged, this is a farce.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: A farce?
HITCHENS: And no good can come of it. And it wasn't just because I was a Republican.
TONY BLAIR, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: He was so much more than just a contrariran or a controversialist. He was somebody who -- thought deeply about an issue, but once he came to a view, was fearless in its pursuit.
ROBERTSON: Blair knew Hitchens because he debated him on the writer's most controversial topic, God and religion.
HITCHENS: Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects in a cruel experiment whereby we are created sick and commanded to be well. I'll repeat that. Created sick and then ordered to be well. And over us to supervise this, is installed a celestial dictatorship. A kind of divine North Korea.
BLAIR: He wasn't unpleasant about people who themselves had faith. The debate we had was tough and hard, but it was actually very good-natured at the same time.
ROBERTSON: Hitchens' book in 2007, "God is Not Great," in which he calls the church "violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry" made more headlines than anything else he'd done, heaping fame on his infamy.
HITCHENS: The Soviet Union's let him down.
ROBERTSON: British-born, Oxford educated, publishers ate up his polarizing prose. "Vanity Fair," "The Nation," "The Atlantic," Slate.com. A powerful, sharp with few of his contemporaries could serve up.
But as his life began to fade, ravaged by cancer, fueled in part by his love of cigarettes and drink, it seemed he was as tough on himself as those he scorned.
COOPER: You've said to me you burn the candle at both ends. You think --
HITCHENS: And it gave a lovely light.
COOPER: It gave a lovely light. But do you think part of that -- the way you lived is responsible for this?
HITCHENS: Well, it would be very idle to deny it. And I might as well say to anyone who might be watching, if you can hold it down on the smokes and the cocktails, you might be well-advised to do so.
ROBERTSON: To the end, he never flinched from his Godless reality.
HITCHENS: I'm -- I do resent, always have resented, the idea that it should be in some way be assumed that now you may be -- now that you may be terrified, or miserable, or as it might be, depressed, surely now would be a perfect time for you to abandon the principles of a lifetime. I've always thought this to be rather a repulsive mode of approach.
ROBERTSON: Christopher Hitchens, dead, age 62.
ANDERSON: Well, on Twitter there's been a wide range of tributes to the outspoken writer. This one from Richard Dawkins, a fellow author, an atheist. He said, "Christopher Hitchens, finest orator of our time, fellow horseman, valiant fighter against all tyrants, including God."
Also on Twitter, the Christian author and pastor Rick Warren says, "My friend Christopher Hitchens has died. I loved and prayed for him constantly and grieve his loss. He knows the truth now."
And book-winning prize novelist Salman Rushdie wrote, "Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops."
I wonder what Chris would have said about that.
We are going to take a very short break. We'll be back after this.
ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the world's news leader. Welcome back.
Well, nine months after radioactive material spewed from Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the Japanese prime minister says that they have reached a turning point in the cleanup and recovery process.
It's called cold shutdown. Our Paula Hancocks explains what it is and why there are some who are doubting the claim.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a milestone, but not one that we should be getting too carried away by, according to some experts. The announcement on Friday of a cold shutdown of the reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant effectively means that the temperature within the reactors is below boiling point.
Now, we heard from the Japanese prime minister Noda telling the Japanese people on Friday evening that the situation is now under control and the reactors are now stable. But there are some experts who do question whether or not this terminology is the right one.
Cold shutdown is usually when you refer to a power plant which has been working normally, and also when you're talking about nuclear fuel rods which are in a safe and stable condition. Now, clearly, this is not the case at Fukushima. There has been a partial meltdown in some of these reactors.
But the prime minister said that there is a shift in focus, now, from the stabilization of these reactors to the decommissioning of these reactors, and he does acknowledge there is a lot more to do.
YOSHIHIKO NODA, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN (through translator): The requirement for the revival of Fukushima is bringing the nuclear accident under control. Since the accident occurred on March 11th, we have been doing our best and giving top priority to stabilize conditions in the nuclear reactors.
The government has been making all its efforts in the disaster- affected area outside of the nuclear power plant, strong effects, deep effects still remain. Decontamination work needs to be done, debris needs to be cleared, and the evacuees need to be returned home. There are still many problems remaining.
ANDERSON: All right. That was Paula Hancocks reporting for you. Well, let's look at some of the other stories connecting our world this hour.
A setback for the defense in the case against the US army private accused of being part of the biggest intelligence leak in American history. A request by Bradley Manning's lawyer for a change in the presiding officer was denied on Friday.
Manning allegedly funneled thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Now, if he's convicted, the 24-year-old soldier could face life in prison or even execution.
Europol investigators say they have uncovered a child pornography network containing some of the worst material that they have ever seen. They say the videos were shared by sex offenders operating all over the internet. So far, 112 people have been arrested in 22 countries in Europe. Europol says it has identified additional suspects and more arrests, they say, are expected.
Well, luggage packed with radioactive materials at a Moscow airport and a missing passenger. The makings of a Bond movie, isn't it? But Russian authorities say it is very real. They say the baggage had radiation levels 20 times higher than normal.
A criminal investigation is now underway. Our Phil Black has the story from the Russian capital.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Customs officials at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport say they were screening baggage that was due to move on a flight from Moscow to Tehran when a control system notified them of unusually high radiation levels in a set of baggage.
They took a closer look. What they found, they say, were 18 individually-stored metal objects in their own steel cases. They say radiation levels from them were 20 times higher than normal, and further tests showed that what they were dealing with was a radioactive isotope known as Na-22.
Now, the Russian Atomic Energy Agency says that's not normally hazardous. It's an isotope used commonly in medical applications. And the radiation levels reported by customs are no higher than passengers would normally be exposed to on any airline flight. They say the isotope is not formed in nuclear reactors, nor is it used as fuel for them.
Medical experts have told us that this isotope is commonly found in radiation laboratories around the world, and they do not believe that it can have any possible weaponized application.
It is allowed to be moved by air, but there are regulations, paperwork that have to be followed. In this case, they weren't.
And as for the passenger who owned the baggage, he boarded that flight for the Iranian capital, and Russian officials don't know where he is now, but they are very keen to talk to him.
Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.
ANDERSON: Well, thousands of people have gathered in the Chinese village of Wukan to mourn a local man who died in police custody last weekend.
Now, Xue Jinbo was suspected of leading protests over alleged land grabs and government corruption. Authorities say he had a heart attack, but relatives believe he was beaten to death. The demonstrations have grown into a tense standoff with police after villagers set up barricades to help keep them out.
A prominent rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja has been arrested during a demonstration in Bahrain. Activists say she was staging a protest with other women when police fired teargas into the crowd. Police say she resisted arrest, so they removed her.
This video posted online appears to show her detention. According to her sister the well-known blogger is at the public prosecutor's office and expects to be interrogated.
And a grand unveiling at Edinburgh Zoo on Friday. Tian Tian and Yang Guang, the pair of giant pandas that were moved to the Scottish capital two weeks ago, went on public display for the first time today. Around 600 visitors watched the official presentation, and the pandas will be spending ten years in the zoo, and it's hoped they'll give birth to cubs.
They're going to need that warm coat, because it's going to be awfully cold up there in the next couple of weeks.
You're watching CNN and CONNECT THE WORLD. Helicopters in the sky, an aircraft carrier in the Thames, and troops manning the gates. Up next, why Britain isn't taking any chances as it gears up for the London Olympics.
ANDERSON: Well, he once called Bill Clinton a "cynical, self-seeking, ambitious thug." He called Henry Kissinger a "war criminal," and he called Mother Theresa a "fraudulent fanatic."
I want to return to the news of the death of journalist and literary critic Christopher Hitchens. One of Chris's great friends and close friends called him a, quote, "guardian of our culture." That friend is author and physicist Lawrence Krauss, and he joins us now on the -- down from -- sorry, Palms, a desert in California just outside of Los Angeles tonight.
I mean, always controversial. He once inspired the ideals of skepticism, free inquiry, and rational thought in many, and at the same time, Lawrence, has been accused of being a bullying, lying, opportunistic, cynical, contrariran. Who was the real Chris Hitchens?
LAWRENCE KRAUSS, AUTHOR AND PHYSICIST: Well, I suppose he was all of those things, which made him so interesting. I think all of those things were, I found, attractive qualities in him.
I think the fact that he valued skepticism above belief perhaps most important of all, and the courage to speak out, even when he knew it wouldn't make him popular, which I think is the most -- when again, for a true contrariran, one of the greatest characteristics that make them great.
ANDERSON: Did he care what people thought of him or who he was criticizing, or indeed whether he hurt people?
KRAUSS: Well, that -- I think he was a caring person. I think he didn't care what people thought about him. I think he liked controversy, obviously. He liked -- as an individual, he liked provoking. And I think that's part of the job, in fact, of a good journalist, is to provoke thought and perhaps provoke criticism.
And he didn't -- what is particularly interesting about Christopher is he didn't -- many people you can guess what they're going to say about a given topic in advance based on their politics. But with Christopher, of course, he was all over the map.
He'd -- and in fact, his support for the Iraq War, for example, put him in the opposition with many people who agreed with him on many other beliefs. In fact, it put him in the opposition with me, and we used to debate it, as we debated many things --
ANDERSON: Was he fun to be with?
KRAUSS: -- as people who respected each other's ideas and knowledge.
ANDERSON: Was he fun to be with?
KRAUSS: He was always fun to be with, as long as you could keep up with him in Scotch, he was particularly fun to be with. He was like a child in a candy store when it came to ideas and relationships.
He was a great friend, and I -- after a night with him, it was -- one came away with hardly believing it happened, because the topics that you ranged over were so vast, and his knowledge on absolutely everything was so great.
He was by far the most well-read person I'd ever met. He made me want to grow up and be an intellectual.
ANDERSON: So, you didn't agree with him on everything. For example, that religion was evil or that women are not funny. You don't have to tell me what you think about that. You say you didn't agree with him on the Iraq War, either.
KRAUSS: Well, I didn't agree with him about the Iraq War. Religion is evil, I kind of -- something I think we were perhaps more in agreement with. As far as, as you say, as far as the women thing, I think I'll bow out there.
ANDERSON: Tell us something that we don't know about him that you think might surprise it. I mean, you've said he was very warm, very charming.
We -- many of us know about the -- his addiction to booze and cigarettes, which he will admit himself is probably part of the reason that, sadly, he's passed away as young as he did. Tell us something you think will surprise us about him.
KRAUSS: Well, I think his remarkable tolerance. I think people might have thought of him as intolerant, but he had the closest friends with people --
In fact, Francis Collins, for example, was an extremely close friend, Francis is head of the National Institutes of Health and a devout Christian whose views, I know, Christopher agreed with incredibly. But he was incredibly friendly with Francis and had him over at the house all the time.
That and I think, also, his love of science. I think most people don't realize he was fascinated by science. That's one of the reasons we used to get together, because he used to probe me for knowledge about the universe, because he was fascinated learning about how the universe really behaves, even though he very rarely wrote about it.
He was actually going to be writing the forward for my new book before he became too ill, and it was -- it's about the universe from nothing, and he loved that idea.
And I think -- and there's an anecdote that -- the last time I was with him, I was sitting at his kitchen table, and we opened the "New York Times" and an article had come out about a program to keep Christian and Catholic students devout during their time at university.
And there he was mentioned. I want to read it because it was so funny. He said -- it said when describing the temptations to depart from piety, the author wrote, "Exposed to Nietzsche, Hitchens, co-ed dorms, and beer bongs, such students are expected to stray."
KRAUSS: And I don't think anything could have made Christopher happier than that.
ANDERSON: How would Chris want to be remembered, do you think?
KRAUSS: I think the way we're remembering him, as someone who was willing to speak his mind, accept people when necessary, and force people to rethink their beliefs about the universe.
As someone who was fearless and courageous in the ideas, as you have to be, realizing that sometimes and often, the side that you believe in, which he believed was the side of right, doesn't win. But nevertheless, you've got to keep going on.
ANDERSON: Lawrence Krauss, good luck with the new book. Friend and author, friend -- and author and physicist, and of course, friend of Chris Hitchens. We thank you very much, indeed, for coming in with us this evening.
Tennis at Wimbledon, archery at Lord's, and a marathon down the Mall, just some of the sights that sports fans are all whetting their appetites for as the clock ticks down to next summer's London Olympics.
But as Dan Rivers now reports, keeping everyone safe could result in some sights that you might not expect here in London.
RIVERS (voice-over): Snipers in helicopters, an aircraft carrier moored on the Thames, and Typhoon jets screaming across the London skyline. Just some of the extraordinary counter-terrorism measures announced for the London Olympics. It's all a far cry from the original Olympiad 2,500 years ago.
RIVERS (on camera): They Olympic Games have come a long way since their origins in ancient Greece. These days, they are a security nightmare for whichever country hosts them. That's why Britain's Ministry of Defense has announced a further 7,500 troops, which will be security guards at various different Olympic venues.
There'll also be 5,000 soldiers serving at various points around the capital, helping the police, and another 1,000 soldiers giving logistical support to that operation. All in all, 13,500 soldiers will be deployed, more than are currently serving in Afghanistan.
PHILIP HAMMOND, UK DEFENSE SECRETARY: That's the number that we can deliver without any impact on other operations. It is only for a short period, the 7,500 will be a surge number over 16 days at the peak of the Games. It will be a lower number either side of that.
So, it is well within the capabilities of the military to deliver, and most people in the armed forces will be delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to making this a successful and secure Olympic Games.
RIVERS (voice-over): After a review of the numbers needed, it was realized the task of hiring and vetting that many private security guards was difficult.
TOBIAS FEAKIN, MILITARY ANALYST: Really, we've only got seven months to go until the Games. There's, obviously, a requirement to have far more personnel involved in stadium security, venue security.
So, in terms of getting that many people through a human resources system from a private sector point of view is incredibly difficult and also incredibly expensive.
RIVERS: The massive military deployment during the Olympics will be Britain's highest-profile security operation since tanks and soldiers were seen guarding Heathrow in 2003 to thwart a terrorist plot to shoot down an airliner.
Then, their mere presence was believed to be enough to deter the terrorists. Olympic organizers hope the same will apply next summer.
Dan Rivers, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: If you don't like heights, look away now. But for those of you who do love an adrenaline rush, tonight's Parting Shots is definitely for you.
Take a look at this, these extreme sports junkies kayaking down a waterfall in the US state of Alabama. This is part of a film by -- Amongst It Productions, a company that films outdoor adventure documentaries around the world.
Not for the faint-hearted, but it was smiles all around for the guys who took the plunge. Rather them than me. Look at that. Whoa!
ANDERSON: Oh, dear. I'm Becky Anderson, and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" up after this short break. Don't go.