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Chilling New Form of Violence in Syria; Interview with Ted Kattouf; Prince Philip in Hospital; French Government to Pay for Thousands of Breast Implant Removals; UK Health Officials Try to Allay Fears About Implants; Elective Cosmetic Surgery on the Rise; Safety of Silicon Implants; Moment of Silence in Prague; Life and Legacy of Vaclav Havel; Legatum Prosperity Index; Reaction to Prosperity Index Rankings; Gift Guru

Aired December 23, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, HOST: A dangerous new tactic in Syria. For the first time since the uprising began, car bombs explode on the capital. It's the most brazen attack on the government yet. We'll ask a former ambassador who might be behind it.

Live from London, I'm Max Foster.

Also tonight, dangerous materials that were never intended for human use found inside some breast implants -- what consumers need to know before going under the knife.

And stuck for a Christmas gift?

We'll introduce you to the man whose job it is to find that perfect present.

Syria's uprising experienced a chilling new form of violence today and the big question is, who did it?

These images show what Syrian state media report is the aftermath of twin suicide car bombings in the capital, Damascus. The interior ministry says at least 44 people were killed, another 166 wounded.

The government says the attacks carry the blueprints of al Qaeda. But the opposition Syrian National Council says the regime staged the bombings to distract an Arab League advance team that arrived just yesterday.

In a few minutes, we'll talk to a former U.S. ambassador to Syria about this latest escalation in violence.

But first to CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom.

He's watching events for us in Syria from Cairo as the Syrian government still isn't allowing CNN journalists to go into the country.

So what do you read into this -- Mohammed.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, the bombings occurred today, just one day after the arrival of an advanced team of Arab League monitors. These Arab League monitors are there to try to set the parameters, as it were, for the arrival of about 500 Arab League observers that should be coming into Syria in the coming days in order to try to defuse the tensions there, in order to try to end the crackdown, make sure that military units that are in towns and villages across Syria come back to the capital and so that all the violence there will end.

The Syrian government insists that this attack has the hallmarks of al Qaeda behind it and while not too many details have emerged, they did show grizzly scene in the aftermath of of these bombings today on Syrian state television. They also broadcast scenes of the Syrian government showing members of this advanced team of the Arab League, as they were taken to the site, to observe the carnage and the aftermath of these blasts -- Max.

FOSTER: And in terms of the opposition party, what are they saying?

What's their theory?

JAMJOOM: Well, Max, members of the Syrian National Council, other opposition groups and members of the Free Syrian Army all told us today that they believe that it was Bashar al-Assad's regime behind these attacks, that the president in Syria orchestrated these attacks in order to try to bolster the narrative that Al-Assad has wanted to create, in their words, trying to show the world that terrorism exists in Syria as a rationale for the crackdown that the al-Assad regime is perpetrating against peaceful protesters there.

Now, Bashar al-Assad has, for months, insisted that there are terrorist groups, terrorist elements within Syria, that that's why the military has been cracking down.

The opposition activists we spoke with say they are concerned about this because they believe this is just another way that Al-Assad is trying to convince the international community that terrorism does exist within Syria. The opposition activists tell us that al Qaeda does not exist within Syria and that this will just be another way for Al-Assad to try to crack down on pro-democracy groups within that country -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Mohammed.

Thank you very much, indeed, for that.

Now, the British-based Avaaz rights group say the death toll in Syria's uprising is higher than the United Nations' estimates. Avaaz reports more than 6,237 total deaths in the past nine months, and that includes civilians and security forces.

He's a breakdown. The rights group says more than 5,300 men have been killed, 473 women, and more than 400 children. Avaaz says more than 600 of those victims, including 39 children, died due to torture.

The rights group also says more than 900 regime forces have been killed in the uprising. Avaaz estimates that 40 percent of those deaths were in the central city of Homs, where more than 2,500 people have died. Daraa is also listed, with more than 1,200 killed; Hama, 813 killed; the most recent hot spot, Idlib, with 886 killed.

Now, the Avaaz group connected with us with a human rights -- connected us, rather, with a human rights activist in Hama.

We're not going to reveal his name for his own safety reasons. We can tell you he uploads videos to YouTube, though.

I spoke to him a bit earlier and asked him to tell us a bit more about those videos.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Syria, the media is banned. And for that, we - - we use to film with whatever we have and then to upload on YouTube. Some of the videos I have got in my Cherno (ph) illustrates how tanks came to the city of Hama and in -- around of the city of Hama. After they signed the -- after the regime signed the protocol of the Arab League, the protocol tells that all the -- the military things would be out of Hama and the killing must stop.

FOSTER: How can you prove that these are government forces carrying out these incidents that you've shown on video?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First -- at first, you know, tanks are not owned by anybody but security forces and the army.

Second, the -- the places, they are -- the places we are filming them from are approved places of checkpoints that they made. So the place, the date and the (INAUDIBLE) are well known.

They -- they are wearing a uniform to -- to -- to make themselves, sometimes. And sometimes they wear a plainclothes.

So the place of the checkpoint we filmed this from is an approved checkpoint admitted by the security forces that we have made -- they have made a checkpoint in this entrance and in these points in the city.

The (INAUDIBLE) it's clearly shown that tanks are not owned by anybody but by the army, by the -- the Syrian Army.

FOSTER: And how organized are anti-government protests now?

In terms of organized fight back or what's the situation right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bastion of the demonstrations these days, after -- after the crisis of Hama and (INAUDIBLE), the baton (ph) was to have at least 20 points of demonstration each Friday and the -- all those points are with -- with 150,000 demonstrations -- demonstrators. Every day, we have an evening demonstrators in -- in many other points. And all is -- is found on YouTube with the date. So we -- we film and then upload to YouTube to -- to make the world see, because the media is banned from coming to Hama and -- and see what's coming and what's happening on the ground.

FOSTER: (AUDIO GAP) now about the escalating violence in Syria and specifically these new attacks, with Ted Kattouf.

He's a former U.S. ambassador to Syria.

He joins me now from CNN Washington.

Thank you so much for joining us.

Do you think these attacks are linked to the Arab League observers going into the country?

TED KATTOUF, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA: No, I do not believe that the regime did this to itself. We have to remember that they hit military intelligence installations and the director in -- directorate of intelligence division. And those are two key pillars of the regime, largely staffed by Alawites, the co-religionists of the president of Syria and the key regime figures.

So we have to keep in mind that all Syrians, regime and non-regime, indulge in conspiracy theories.

But if the regime were going to stage an incident to make it look like the opposition massacred regime figures, they would have done it with low level policemen. They would not have done it with installations that are these sensitive.

FOSTER: It does seem as though the battles there have become more complicated, because it used to be protesters and authorities siding against each -- each other. And now you've got these army defectors and civilians being injured by a range of different groups, it seems.

Has it become very complicated?

Is it harder to work out what's going on at the -- are incidents like this harder to work out who's behind it?

KATTOUF: It is becoming much more complicated. First, you had peaceful protesters confronting armed elements of the regime, particularly the Mukhabarati intelligence apparatus and elite units of the military loyal to the regime.

But the protesters have been -- have become tired of being gunned down in the streets and the more militant among them are picking up arms. And there are neighborhood committees all over Syria. And there's not a lot of coordination at the top, because they don't want to be penetrated by Syrian intelligence.

But I've, for instance, had friends who are in touch with people in Homs and they tell me there are guys with beards now running around with weapons. So not all the protesters are any longer peaceful.

FOSTER: How -- what did you make of the fact that car bombs were used for the first time?

What does that signify or do we need to see if it turns into a -- a trend to read anything into it?

KATTOUF: Well, we -- we have to wait and see. But I don't think you would see the regime recruiting suicide bombers. Suicide bombings have the hallmark of al Qaeda or related groups. And the irony is that Syria allowed such groups to infiltrate into Iraq after the U.S. and coalition forces entered Iraq. And now, that's supposed to be blowback on them, because you have a lot of people who got experience in Iraq who may now live in Syria.

FOSTER: And just a last question, really, on the Arab League going in there.

Are you hopeful for that visit?

Do you think they will be able to act as independently as they would elsewhere?

KATTOUF: No, I don't think they're going to be able to act very independently, because the Syrian regime would be gravely threatened if they allowed the Arab League mandate to be carried out, that is, if they withdrew from the cities, withdrew their tanks and soldiers, released all the prisoners. Then the stories would start coming out. People would start congregating en masse in the streets in places like Hama and Homs, even more than they're doing now.

So the regime will try to control this and play for time.

FOSTER: OK, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Washington.

An interesting and worrying development on Syria.

Now, we are getting details of Prince Philip, the queen's husband, being taken to hospital here in the UK. Precautionary, at the moment, we understand. And we're going to get you all the details coming up on the program.

Plus, could this be the start of a long-awaited comeback?

Find out what's got the Indianapolis Colts back on track in the NFL.

And a little later, why thousands of French women could be facing more surgery and the concerns over certain breast implants.


FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader.

Welcome back to you.

Updating breaking news for you.

According to Buckingham Palace, Britain's Prince Philip has been admitted to hospital with chest pains. He was taken from his country home and transported to the cardiothoracic unit at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. The 90 -year-old Prince Philip is the -- the duke of Edinburgh. That's his other title. He's husband to the -- to the queen, Queen Elizabeth II, and father to Prince Charles, who's the next in line to the British throne.

Now Mark Saunders is a royal biographer.

He joins us now on the phone from Windsor, just outside London.

As we understand it, Mark, it is precautionary at the moment, but they have announced it, so there is a level of concern.

MARK SAUNDERS, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: Yes. I think that the fact that they've announced it does mean that they're probably on top of it, though. If it was more serious, though, I -- obviously, I don't know the condition and there would be an -- an absolute news blackout.

But one of the things that we do know about the duke's health is that he has suffered with a heart condition, I believe, since the early '90s. And it was revealed a few years back that bodyguards that protect him have -- have been instructed that he is to be taken straight to hospital if there's any sign of any problem, now any sort of shortness of breathe or dizziness. I think it's some form of tachycardia that he actually suffers from.

So I think that this is one of those cases where they have taken him to be on the safe side. It did happen a couple of years ago when they were at Windsor Castle, when they went -- but they went straight to hospital then, though he did walk in unaided.

FOSTER: And at 90 years old -- we're watching pictures of him here. He's in incredibly good health, isn't he?

And he was planning to go on the traditional shoot on the -- on Boxing Day.

So for a 90-year-old, he's in good condition.

SAUNDERS: A remarkable -- yes. A remarkably fit man. They -- they do actually have two full medicals a year, the senior members of the royal family. And he passes them with flying colors.

On Saturday morning, I -- I generally see him at Windsor Castle. He still rides his carriages. He still helps load up the horses and everything.

And -- and he -- he said himself in an interview earlier this year that he was now cutting back on his work load.

But the work load, Max, was it was tremendous. I think he actually did more jobs than Princess Anne last year. And Princess Anne, as you know, is a bit of a workaholic.

So as -- as far as his workload goes, he's right up there with -- with -- with all the members of the royal family.

FOSTER: OK. Mark, thank you very much, indeed.

We'll keep on top of this story, of course, as we get more updates.

Here's a look now at some other stories we're connecting with this hour.

After a one day break, thousands of Egyptians packed Tahrir Square to vent their anger against the military and especially its treatment of women protesters. Some chanted, "The honor of Egyptian women is a red line."

Videos of troops beating women went viral on the Internet, sparking outrage. The ruling military council later expressed regret and promised the attackers will be held accountable.

More than 1,000 people are still missing after Tropical Storm Washi wreaked havoc on the Philippines last worked. The death toll stands at 1,080, according to the government. Landslides and flash floods swept away entire villages, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The U.N. is appealing for aid.

Opposition activists in Hungary chained themselves together in front of the national assembly on Friday. They were hoping to stop the passage of a new election law, but the assembly approved it anyway. Police detained more than 40 protesters, including a former prime minister . The opposition says the new law unfairly favors the ruling party.


MATYAS EORSI, FORMER HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The current government got into power and since then, they are systematically dismounting the checks and balances and independent institutions.

Recently, there was a bill introduced to the parliament to curb the independence of the central bank that was most alarming.


FOSTER: Now, a series of powerful tremors have rocked the city of Christchurch in New Zealand. They began with a 5.8 magnitude quake at 2:00 p.m. local time Friday. At least 32 people have been injured by the tremors. Christchurch is still recovering from a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that killed 181 people in February.

Now, heading to Hawaii for Christmas, it probably can't come soon enough for U.S. President Barack Obama. He left Washington around two hours ago for his delayed holiday break after signing a two month extension of the payroll tax cut. It was a win for the Democrats after what had been a heated political drama with Capitol Hill Republicans. Mr. Obama said it came just in the knick of time.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Coming up, it's not just about the leftover Turkey on Boxing Day -- Boxing Day down under. We look ahead to the -- the start of the summer tests, as the Aussies proper to take on India.

Then, street sweepers and world leaders joined together today to pay final tribute to the man many called the reluctant president. Vaclav Havel is laid to rest.


FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Welcome back.

I'm Max Foster.

To sport now. And when it comes to -- to winning, it's a case of better late than never. The Indianapolis Colts got off to a disastrous start for the National Football League season, losing 13 straight games, you may remember. But now, it seems they've hit a bit of a winning streak. And the Houston Texans were the latest side to come up short against them.

For more on this, we're joined by Alex Thomas.

Where does this come from, then?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a bit of a mystery, really. But there is a bit of a twist to this story, you see, Max, because normally in sport, winning is a good thing. It's kind of what you're aiming to do.

But it could get them into a bit of trouble here, and that's because of the way that they recruit players for the following season. The worst teams get the first pick of the best players...


THOMAS: -- coming through the college system, which, of course, is where all the top U.S. athletes come through.

So let's take a look at the action from Thursday night's game, almost what -- where it was in the week, with Christmas fast approaching. And we have a look at the -- the match between the Colts, because basically, the Rams and the Vikings now have equally poor records. So they could challenge the Colts for that first draft pick. The Texans before now had made the most of the Colts' poor season, that they'd won the division. They are reaching the post-season for the first time and hoping to win against the Colts to give them a first round buy in the playoffs.

Things were looking good when Arian Foster gave them a 7-0 lead. The two sides traded field goals until the fourth quarter. With just three- and-a-half minutes left, the Texans looking for a big first down. Jacoby Jones ended up with the ball after it bounced off a couple of players. The Texans ended up settling for a field goal and a 16-12 lead. But the Colts got that winning habit now. They ended up with a 19-16 victory. They've never lost at home to Houston, so it wasn't that much of a shock.

But as I said, it could have disastrous consequences for them if it means they don't get pick of the best players the next time out.

FOSTER: A stressful team to be involved with.

THOMAS: Exactly.

FOSTER: Or a fan of.

Meanwhile, cricket sort of kicking off, as it were, in Australia, which...

THOMAS: Well, as we're all shivering in the Northern Hemisphere...

FOSTER: -- for the summer.

THOMAS: -- but they're all in their shorts and their t-shirts Down Under. And there's the traditional Boxing Day test. Most of all, they work December 26th, of course, for the U.K. and to Australia, it's Boxing Day. And the Boxing Day test is a bit of cricket history. And it's the start of the first of a four match test series between Australia and India, two rival nations that really had a great tussle down the years.

Shane Warne had a statue unveiled of himself before this one. This is Australia warming up for it, though. And if Warne is watching it and commentating on it, his old mate, Kevin Pietersen -- they used to play together for Hampshire -- will certainly be watching. And we spoke to Kevin Pietersen.

CNN's Tom Hayes got a bit of an interview with him. And one of the most interesting things he said, actually, Max, was that going back to that famous Ashes win in 2005, he's really, really embarrassed about his haircut.

Let's take a listen to this.



KEVIN PIETERSEN, SOUTH AFRICAN-BORN ENGLAND BATSMAN: The hairstyle was stupid, absolutely horrendous. The greatest test series that's ever been played is -- has me walking around with some stupid white nonsense all over my head. And I -- it's honestly, I -- it's one of the biggest regrets I think I've got. Whenever you see highlights of the greatest test series ever played, you see this monkey walking around with a stupid skunk on his head in the final test match, which I go and probably score my trademark innings and I take my helmet off and I just look at myself, I'm like what were you doing, Kevin?


THOMAS: At least he was being honest, Max.


FOSTER: -- than that.

THOMAS: No, that's right. He's got normal hair now. You can see more of that interview on "WORLD SPORT" in an hour's time.

FOSTER: Alex, thank you very much, indeed.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, France has a message for women with silicon breast implants.

Plus, we're asking an expert about assuring your right to safe plastic surgery.

Then, flying the flag for a man who always spoke for his country. The Czech playwright, prisoner and president, Vaclav Havel, made his final journey through Prague today. We were there.

Beautiful beaches, barbecues and surfing -- Australia has a lot going for it, but it's not the happiest country in the world. Find out where is, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD.



Time now for a check of the world headlines this hour.

Syria's interior ministry says twin suicide bomb attacks in Damascus killed at least 44 people and wounded 166. State-run media says the attacks looked like the work of al Qaeda, but the main opposition group alleges the government staged the bombings to distract an Arab League advance team that arrived yesterday.

Hundreds flooded a neighborhood in Cairo on Friday to show their support for Egypt's military rulers. Meantime, thousands gathered in Tahrir Square to vent their anger at the army over recent clashes. No violence reported at either demonstration.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband, has been taken to hospital in Cambridge for precautionary tests. The 90-year-old Duke of Edinburgh was complaining of chest pains.

Opposition activists in Hungary chained themselves together in front of the National Assembly on Friday. They were hoping to stop the passage of a new election law, but the Assembly approved it anyway.

The French government says it will foot the bill for thousands of women to have breast implants removed. France's Ministry of Health says it's worried about possible ruptures from silicon sacks made by Poly Implant Prosthesis.

The company's no longer in business, but as many as 300,000 women worldwide may have the implants. Senior International Correspondent Jim Bittermann reports from Paris.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The government's recommendation means that about 30,000 women in France who have the PIP implants, and that's the brand name of them, should now strongly consider having them surgically removed.

That comes after the death of a woman last month from a particular kind of cancer. And while the experts say there's no link between cancer and the implants, there are other problems with the implants. They were -- they've been known to rupture in about one out of 20 cases. They contain a silicon that is not medical-grade silicon, but rather industrial-grade silicon.

And their problems with them have been known for some time. That's upset women's groups, who say that the government should have acted a lot faster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The confusion was present from the start, because the government did not listen to us, and many women now feel that the government hid the truth from them for quite a long time.

These women feel that the government's recommendation is merely a political statement, and that they may not know the whole truth. It is going to be difficult to restore trust following this last week's wave of panic in France surrounding the PIP implant scandal.

I'm afraid it is going to be hard to reassure these women, and it will be hard for them to make dispassionate decisions.

BITTERMANN: The French health care system is going to pay for the removal of the implants in question, but will only pay for the replacement if, in fact, they've been put in place because of reconstructive surgery, after a mastectomy, for example.

Still, it's going to cost the health care system about 60 million euros or $80 million. And it's really up to women themselves if they want to go through the additional risks of another operation. It's a decision that's going to be made between the individual women and their doctors.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


FOSTER: In the UK, the chief medical officer is trying to reassure British women that there's no danger of rupture or cancer from substandard silicon sacks. Emily Morgan shows us why that probably won't be the final word on those worries.


EMILY MORGAN, ITV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the breast implants causing such concern and alarm. All were made by French company PIP, all ruptured and had to be removed.

Louise Piggott used its silicon implants. She says they continuously hurt and had to take them out. She's now considering legal action.

LOUISE PIGGOTT, HAD IMPLANTS REMOVED: It was basically confirmed that it was a sliced-on effect, which meant that there was some kind of leakage or rupture of the implant, and that I was advised that they needed to be removed straightaway. Obviously, I was pregnant at the time. It was really stressful.

MORGAN: Now, they're causing greater panic after French authorities linked them to cancer. Nine people with PIP silicon were diagnosed with a rare form of the disease. Dozens have taken to the streets in France to make their anger at PIP known.

Here, though, the UK's medicines and health care regulatory agency says there is no link. It carried out its own research on the silicon. Chemical toxicity threw up no safety issues, no link to an cancer was found, and women with the implants were safe to breastfeed.

But this Birmingham plastic surgeon says they may not cause cancer, but the silicon wasn't regulated and banned because it was designed for mattress fillings.

VIK VIJH, PLASTIC SURGEON: They're not being sold as what they're supposed to be. The shells are not of correct strength. As a result of this, the implants are rupturing with a much higher rate. It's been shown by the French authorities, who've studied it, that 10 percent of these implants will rupture in their first year.

MORGAN: Forty thousand women in the UK bought implants from PIP. Some are now planning to sue. All are being advised to see a specialist.

Emily Morgan, ITV News.


FOSTER: Going under the knife, even when it's not absolutely necessary, is still growing in popularity. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says 8.5 million people across the world are choosing cosmetic operations each year.

Liposuction is the most popular procedure, edging past breast augmentation. The society also finds that plastic surgeons in the US are the busiest, followed by China and Brazil.

The right to surgical safety has never been a bigger issue, especially with the rise of medical tourism, which takes a patient out of their home country, often for low-cost procedures, to how much responsibility actually rests with the patient.

I'm joined here in our London studio by plastic surgeon Patrick Mallucci. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.


FOSTER: First of all, there's an impression that the French and the British authorities are giving conflicting advice, here. How do you read it?

MALLUCCI: No, I don't think the advice is conflicting. I think the French government felt responsibility for making a statement, because PIP is a French company.

And the message is essentially the same, it's not to panic. There is no association between silicon and the cancer. And that is something that has caused alarm.

However, these are poorly-made prostheses, poorly-made implants, which do have a tendency to rupture, and many women are going to, understandably, want to have them replaced. And the French government has stated that it's going to fund the removal of those implants. I don't think the replacement, but the removal.

So far, the British government hasn't come out with an equivalent statement, but I don't think they're conflicting views.

FOSTER: OK. And in terms of all of these sorts of surgeries, what sort of responsibility is taken by the patient? Because it's not a necessary -- usually -- operation, is it? So, what process do they need to go through, and where's the responsibility here?

MALLUCCI: Well, I think the responsibility is always shared responsibility between patients and surgeon. It's my duty as a surgeon to inform the patients of the benefits and also the risks. And it's the responsibility of the patient to understand, or to try and understand, and to make an informed decision.

So, when somebody presents for consultation about breast augmentation or whatever else it is, as well as the benefits, there will be a very in- depth discussion about potential complications, short-term and long-term.

FOSTER: But this is something, I guess, with these implants you didn't predict, because you didn't know they were faulty.

MALLUCCI: Absolutely. And I think it's a really important point, because -- what's happened with PIP must not taint the rest of plastic surgery or breast augmentation.

Breast implants are probably amongst the most scrutinized medical devices in medicine. Given the vast, extensive use. And they've been subject to research and development, and modern devices are as safe as they've been.

Let's not forget that what's happened at PIP is criminal. They're undergoing criminal proceedings. They duped the public, they duped the authorities, they duped the medical profession, and produced -- an inadequate implant, which was illegally made.

FOSTER: Let's have a look at the most popular cosmetic surgeries, because it's interesting when you look at it, because breast implants aren't the most popular. It's actually liposuction. But they are number two.

And if you look at those other -- operations, I guess the difference with breast augmentation is that you're actually putting something into the body. And the other things, you're not.

MALLUCCI: Yes, sure. And --

FOSTER: So it's more risky. Always.

MALLUCCI: Well, I mean, it -- and that's why I go back to the fact that breast implants have been the most scrutinized medical device since the early 90s when there was the original silicon scare in the United States.

Over the last 20 years, there have been huge numbers of studies looking at age-match populations, those with implants, those without implants, looking at disease patterns, and there is no difference.

And it's also worth mentioning that on the basis of the original silicon scares, lots of alternatives came to the market, and they've all failed dismally. So, silicon remains the most known, the most researched, the most predictable and the safest of all the materials we use.

FOSTER: OK, Dr. Mallucci, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us on the program.

MALLUCCI: Pleasure.

FOSTER: Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, tributes flow for the writer who helped bring down a Communist regime as he's laid to rest.





FOSTER: His words rang loud and changed a nation, but today, a moment of silence fell over Prague in tribute to former Czech president and playwright Vaclav Havel. Dignitaries from around the world attended a state funeral for the much-loved icon. Our Atika Shubert was there.



ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a grand ceremony and a fond farewell to former president Vaclav Havel. The Czech playwright and dissident who led his country's velvet revolution against Communism, one of the pivotal figures who helped bring down the iron curtain and end the Cold War.

Heads of state and government flew in to pay their last respects, including former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who was born in Prague, and she spoke at the funeral in Czech.

"Few were as Czech as Vaclav Havel was, but his wit and kindness, his wisdom, and the depth of his thoughts spoke to all," she said.

Outside, thousands came to watch on large screens outside Prague Castle. Families brought their children and listened in respectful silence.

SHUBERT (on camera): Vaclav Havel, of course, was more than simply a president, he was also an artist, a playwright, a dissident. But he was also the voice of conscience, not just for the Czech people, but for many of those outside the country who admired him for his humanitarian ideals.

And that, combined with political leadership, well, that's one reason, perhaps, why so many people have come out here today to pay their last respects.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Havel spent years in Communist jails, but he managed to wrest power from the regime that imprisoned him with nothing more than the power of popular protest.

Havel had a quiet charisma that endeared him to many, from the Rolling Stones to the Dalai Lama. Even in his final days, his closest friends say he stayed true to his dissident roots, giving his support to the Arab Spring.

JIRI PEHE, FORMER POLITICAL ADVISOR TO HAVEL: Mr. Havel was really a politician who wasn't a politician. He was catapulted into politics by history.

To work with him was a joy, because he was very -- he had a good sense of humor. He was very intelligent, he was a great man and, in fact, I will remember him not for his political achievements but for his personality, because to be around him was super inspiring.

SHUBERT: More than 30,000 people are estimated to have come to pay their last respects to Havel, waiting for hours in the cold, and late into the night to lay a single flower by his coffin.

DANIEL STURM, PAID RESPECTS TO HAVEL: So, for us, it's very emotional. Everybody does remember the key ringing, the Wenceslas Square. And we just wanted to come here and to tell him thank you for the last time.

SHUBERT: A final thank you and good-bye to a man loved for his writing, his politics, and a humanitarian spirit that spoke to the nation and the world.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Prague.


FOSTER: Well, Havel undoubtedly has a place in history, central as he was to the momentous change in Europe in the 1980s. Richard Greene takes a look at this remarkable life and the legacy that he leaves behind.


RICHARD GREENE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vaclav Havel was an unlikely hero. Shy, short, slow of speech, the beer-drinking, chain- smoking, rock-and-roll-loving playwright helped bring down Communism in Czechoslovakia through the power of his words.

In November 1989, less than a month after the Soviet-backed authorities arrested him for the last time, he addressed enormous crowds in Prague, chanting "Havel to the Castle!" They called it the Velvet Revolution.

A month later, he was president of the newly-free democratic Czechoslovakia. "It is all very extraordinary indeed," Havel told a joint session of Congress in 1990.

He went on to lead his country through extraordinary times, joining NATO and the European Union, introducing a free-market economy. Leaders the world over admired him. Queen Elizabeth, Bill Clinton. George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He lost some major domestic political battles, including the fight to keep Czechoslovakia together. But after it split up, he was elected president of the Czech Republic, and he continued fighting for causes that were important to him, like political freedom in China.

Just days ago, he and his friend the Dalai Lama issued a public call for a more open, free, and democratic China.


GREENE: On his death, Havel was hailed as an inspiration, a man who had changed the world. But earlier this year, the typically understated Havel said he hoped to be remembered more simply.

VACLAV HAVEL, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC (through translator): I would be satisfied with a feeling that I had a chance to help with something in general, something good. That history gave me that chance.

GREENE: Richard Greene, CNN.


FOSTER: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Now, when we come back, something a bit different. Where is the happiest country in the world? Here are some clues. Lots of winter snow, the Northern Lights, and a famous potato bread called lefse. Stay tuned for the answers, up after the break.


FOSTER: It is that time of year when many of us wish each other a happy Christmas, but whether you do, indeed, have a happy holiday could depend on where you're living in the world. Take a look at the Legatum Prosperity Index.

Now, for the third year running, it says Norway is the happiest country in the world. With per capital GDP at $54,000, among the richest in the world. At number two, a country which ranks first in entrepreneurship and opportunity, Denmark. And in number three, Australia, apparently a result of excellent education and of booming natural resources.

The saddest country in the world? Well, that's the Central African Republic, where more than 10 percent of children die in their first year. Zimbabwe is at number two. The survey highlighted the country's lack of civil rights and corruption. And at number three, Ethiopia, where literacy is just 30 percent.

One interesting country to note is India, which has dropped 13 places since 2009. This year, it's ranked at 91. So, why has India slipped so badly and what is it about Norway that makes people there so happy?

Well, earlier, I spoke to Kristina Furnes, she's a Norwegian student, and Rashmi Narayan, she's a journalist from Bangalore in India, and I started by asking Kristina what she thought of Norway's top ranking.


KRISTINA FURNES, NORWEGIAN STUDENT: I think it's quite known that materialistically and economically and financially, we're doing very well in Norway. But we're also known for high depression rates and high suicide rates and so on and so forth, which -- this whole notion about happiness, I didn't expect us to rank as well.

But on the other hand, I think that in general, people -- people live life that they perceive are meaningful, so I guess that also makes them happy.

FOSTER: This element of trust keeps coming up as well. Norwegians trust each other more. Is that an important part of your lifestyle there, would you say?

FURNES: I would say that -- I mean, I think unfortunately, it is becoming -- we're trusting each other less more and more. But I think traditionally, that has been a very important thing.

FOSTER: Rashmi, trust didn't come out well in India. Why is that, do you think? Is that just -- it's just a different culture? Because it's a sign of the state of the country.

RASHMI NARAYAN, INDIAN JOURNALIST: It is very cultural, I would say. And unfortunately, trust is the main element which is something we completely lack, which we have lacked in the past. And it's something we are trying to change.

But the thing is, there's so much politics in every aspect, be it economical or politics itself. So, the very fact that egos get into the way, despite knowing that there is a crisis, knowing that we have to get better. There are so many clashes that come our way, where everybody's just trying to outdo each other. So --

FOSTER: What's happened in the last few years? Why has India fallen in these rankings so quickly, would you say?

NARAYAN: I'm actually -- I would actually say I'm very surprised, as well, because when everything was going bad elsewhere, we thought India was slowly picking up. This is where the jobs are going to begin.

However, when I saw the results myself, it was a revelation. So, you could see how much people actually sweep under the carpet.

And I guess it's going way below because of the number of immigrants who come to different countries, and also the fact that we're not really making ends meet within our own country.

So, we'd much rather go abroad, do our job there, then come back and actually -- so, you hardly find people even coming back to India. They'd much rather be there and settle down there.

FOSTER: What about this happiness label, Kristina? Is that something you're proud of? Or you think, actually, it's far too simplistic? How can you say all Norwegians are happy? And also, how do you compare a small country like Norway to a massive country like India, where there's a billion people?

FURNES: Yes, well, I do have a bit of a problem with this kind of happiness label. I mean, in my personal experience, I don't really find that Norwegians are more happier than other countries that I visit or that I live in, so --

And we're a small country. We have a lot of natural resources, and we have a high level of political trust in our government, and I think it's -- it's hard to -- and obviously, we have a very good welfare state, and that's much easier in a small country, I think, than in a huge country, like India.

FOSTER: And Rashmi, go -- looking ahead, India's going to become a global superpower because of the -- the strength of the economy going ahead. Does that -- is that going to make Indians more happy or less happy, would you say? Because money seems to be part of this, but actually, it causes a few problems along the way, as well, doesn't it?

NARAYAN: Yes. I would say they would be very happy, and this would hopefully reduce the number of immigrants we have elsewhere and people would actually start working within their own country to make things better.

So, yes, definitely. It's given us hope that we can get there, but how much we work towards that is what we need to see.

FOSTER: Can I ask you, are you happy, and if so, is it because you're an Indian?

NARAYAN: I am happy, yes, definitely, because I'm an Indian. But I would be happier if I could do something in my own part to make things better than the way they are right now in India.

Because right from combating terrorism to politics, everything's just so haywire. So, I just wish there was more organization, and that would make me happier.

FOSTER: And Kristina, are you happy because you're a Norwegian?

FURNES: I would say I am happy, and I do believe that's due to the whole system is very much giving us economic and other tools to be happy. However, I don't know if happiness is only in this economic kind of field, either.


FOSTER: The subject of happiness.

Now, Christmas is just around the corner. That'll make some of you happy, I'm sure. So, hopefully by now you've got all of your presents wrapped and under the tree if you're celebrating. If not, there's always a gift guru whose job it is to find you that very special something.



BARRINGTON MILLS, GIFT GURU: A gift guru is basically an ambassador of Selfridges. We pretty much know Selfridges inside-out and can find any gift under the sun that you need for Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, can I have a guru to reception, please? Guru to reception.

MILLS: Hello.


MILLS: I'm Barrington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Luke. How are you doing?

MILLS: Nice to meet you.


MILLS: So, you're out for --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some gifts for my dad and my sisters, if possible.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've no idea what's going on, so --

MILLS: Let's take a peek.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

MILLS: No problem.

So, this is our Gift Guru lounge. We have pretty much -- gift ideas. Be quite forward with the customer and find out exactly what it is they're after. If they don't know, then you try to push as many ideas as you can out of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, fancy clutch.

MILLS: What sort of designs does she -- ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's very into Mulberry.

MILLS: Mulberry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most girls are.

MILLS: That's perfect. Do you have a particular budget at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's probably all of them is marked 600 pounds, maybe the girlfriend I can stretch a bit more.

MILLS: Majority are the men because I'm guessing they don't know exactly what it is they're looking for when it comes to gifts. So, if there's a gift guru there, someone who's able to shop for them, why not?

A lot of the time, people don't even know the size of their wife or husband? So you have to sort of gauge it. We walk around and see customers and be like, "He's a bit like that?" And she's like, "Yes. Tall, broad."

And it can be challenging at times, but it's fun. It's definitely fun. Two barristers -- he was after a navy blue Longchamp, which I grabbed. And it's a reasonable size, as well. Price-wise, 43 pounds. So, I'm definitely within budget.

A good gift guru will definitely have to be one that is a people person. You're sort of speechless when you have a customer come up to you and ask you for 15 bags, all the same bag, and they were like 750 pounds, like 1,500, and she pays in cash. It's just -- it's amazing when they pull out an envelope full of 50 pound notes.

As I've been through this store, I've managed to find a couple presents for his dad, which is needed, two Longchamp bags, one for his mum and sister. I managed to find a pair of black pumps, Chanel pumps, which is specifically what he asked for for his girlfriend.

And I don't really want to share every -- secret of mine, but definitely one of the main, main ones would be service with a smile.

We wish you can give us a call. Obviously, you've only got to the end of the week. Christmas is Sunday, so --


MILLS: Exactly, the pressure is on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much for your help.

MILLS: Oh, you're very welcome, Luke. Take care.


MILLS: I definitely feel like a modern-day Father Christmas.


FOSTER: Very busy at this time of year, of course.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" are up next after a short break.