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Violence Flares In Northern Ireland Over Future Of Country; UN Reacts To North Korean Rocket Launch; Caroline Wozniacki Sparks Controversy With Serena Williams Impersonation

Aired December 12, 2012 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: And tonight on Connect the World, condemnation from across the globe. North Korea flexes its military might and sends what it describes as a satellite into space.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Well, the launch took the wold by surprise and left many wondering how is had succeeded. Tonight, I'll ask a security adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State why it's creating so much concern.



ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're snaking our way towards a facility the government most certainly does not want us to see.


ANDERSON: What CNN found as it went in search of Syria's chemical weapons.



CATE BLANCHETT, ACTRESS: When I heard that he may be putting Galadriel into the film I was over the moon.


ANDERSON: Cate Blanchett on her unexpected journey as Middle Earth gets a 3D makeover.

Right. First up tonight, the United States may push for sanctions against North Korea after the country successfully launched a rocket to put a satellite into space. Washington and neighbors of North Korea say it is a cover for testing ballistic missile technology. The UN security council has also condemned the launch.

Standing by for us our senior UN correspondent Richard Roth for the very latest from there.

First, though, Paula Hancocks on what is being seen as a breakthrough for Pyongyang.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dancing on a street in Pyonyang, the day North Korea claims it sent a satellite into orbit. The response from residents and surprisingly patriotic.

"The successful launch of the satellite has sent a shockwave to the whole world," this man says.

"I heard the news," says this woman, "and cried with joy. It shows our military power and our scientists brought so much joy to our great general. I will raise my child to be like them."

A few heard the news from loudspeakers, others from a television announcement that can only be described as jubilant and triumphant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The scientific and technological satellite is fitted with survey and communications devices essential for the observation of the Earth.

HANCOCKS: Pyongyang insists the program is peaceful. The United States, South Korea and others disagree. They consider the launch to be a cover for testing ballistic missile technology.

North Korea's foreign ministry rebuffed the criticism, saying hostile forces are showing signs of a sinister bid to take issue with the launch.

Concern on the streets of Seoul was more low key.

"Confrontation is never good," says this Seoul resident. It causes military tension. But I think North Korea just wanted to show off."

True to form, North Korea paid more attention to its domestic agenda.

South Korea's defense ministry says the north's leader Kim Jong Un needed to cement his control one year after he succeeded his father. Experts add he needed to prove himself to the military.

LEE CHUN MIN, PROFESSOR, YONSEI UNIVERSITY: After having purged all the key figures over the last several months, he had to show the army he was still in command. And he had to show the people that despite the fact that North Korea was doing very poorly economically, they had the right to stand up against so-called imperialist forces, but they want to send a very strong message to the army that I'm with you.

HANCOCKS: Add to that the upcoming anniversary of the death of his father and former leader Kim Jong Il and the centenary of the birth of his grandfather, North Korea's founder Kim Il Song. The timing was critical.

One rocket expert here in Seoul tells CNN that North Korea appears to have grasped a complicated modular system and might now have the technology to develop a rocket that could reach the other side of the world, including the United States.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


ANDERSON: Well, Pyongyang's closest ally, China, props up the country with food and financial aid, but Beijing has expressed, quote, regret over the incident. And Japan, just days away from a general election wasted little time with a stern response calling the launch intolerable.

Well, in recent days after North Korea announced its intentions, Japan increased missile defense in greater Tokyo. One system actually installed inside the ministry of defense.

Well, the UN security council held an emergency meeting Wednesday in New York. Our senior UN correspondent Richard Roth joining us now from there.

Richard, what was the message from the permanent members earlier today?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, relatively quick condemnation and a demand to Pyongyang from the UN security council. As North Korea's top two diplomats dodged reporters and photographers as their United Nations mission a block away from the UN.

Security Council members saying that the launch was wrong, illegal and that there needs to be some consequences.

Now U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said a strong message should be said to Pyongyang.


SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UN: This launch also shows that despite the security council's clear requirements, North Korea is determined to pursue its ballistic missile program without regard for its international obligations. Therefore, members of the council must now work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of UN security council resolutions have consequences.


ROTH: China with one nation not ready today to move to a stronger resolution at the Security Council. Many people warned Pyongyang not to go ahead with this launch, including the former South Korean foreign minister, now UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon.


BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY GENERAL: I had been urging the leadership in Pyongyang not to carry out such a launch use that to build the confidence to improve the lives of its people. I'm also concerned about the negative consequences that this provocative act may have on peace and stability in the region. I urge the DPRK to refrain from further provocative actions.


ROTH: The aim, Becky, of countries such as the U.S. and Germany is to isolate and punish North Korea, but China, its only occasional ally here in the security council, will probably make it very tough to get a very significant resolution. The negotiations are just beginning -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Right. OK. Thank you, Richard.

So that is the response to what happened. Let's find out what North Korea actually managed to achieve. This is interesting. This animation shows the long range rocket successfully blasting off from the space center on the country's west coast.

Now it launched at around 9:49 am local time on Wednesday. There are around three stages to this launch. And you'll see here the debris falling into the ocean. That happened off the Korean peninsula and the Philippines.

All right, let me just give you a better sense of what happened. We've got like a trajectory here. We can pull out and see this. You can see the three locations where that debris actually fell into the ocean and the satellite moving there into orbit where it is still.

The Pentagon told CNN just before this show that they are monitoring what they refer to as an object in orbit.

Now I want to bring in a nuclear weapons expert Joseph Cirincione, a member of the U.S. Secretary of State's international security advisory board, a man who has probably forgotten more about nuclear technology than we will ever know. Joe, it's great to have you on board today.

Pyongyang of course banned from testing ballistic missiles after a UN resolution was passed in June 2009. I want our viewers just to see exactly what was said today. For example, William Hague said, and I quote, "it is a breach of UN Security Council resolutions because it involves the use of ballistic missile technology." That being this launch.

Does it? Do we know? Do we have evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the launch is a cover for testing ballistic missile technology?

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, MEMBER, U.S. SECY. OF STATE ADVISORY BOARD: Well, the same kinds of technology that you use in this satellite launch vehicle are what you would use in a ballistic missile. There's very little doubt that since 1998 when they first attempted to do this. North Korea has been trying to develop this technology.

The initial step is to see if you can launch a very small, very light payload into space. They finally succeeded after 15 years and five attempts into doing that. But they are still a long way away. They would have to take this space launch vehicle, heavy it up, and prove that it's reliable, that they can do this repeatedly. It didn't work last time. It did work this time. Will it work the next time?

Then they'd have to be able to show that they could miniaturize their nuclear devices. They've tested two nuclear devices, big, heavy devices. Can they make them small enough to fit on a missile?

And finally can they create a re-entry vehicles, something that can not just put it up, but can bring the payload back down through the pressure of reentry and deliver it where targeted.

Three very difficult additional steps.

ANDERSON: So you wrote back in 2009, and I quote, "three missile launches then, three failures. Even if the North Koreans suddenly learn to launch a missile and get it to fly as far as planned, that still doesn't mean they are an immediate threat to the United States," as you wrote then.

What you're saying is nothing has changed at this point, right?

CIRINCIONE: Right. This is a significant technological step, but it's only the first step in developing a long range ballistic missile. For example, Iran launched a satellite in 2009. They're still la very long way away from developing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

ANDERSON: So, we get criticism from Russia and China, condemnation from the U.S., Japan, South Korea and the list goes on. The only country who has supported and approved of this test -- sorry, this rocket launch today, it seems, is Iran. Does that surprise you?

CIRINCIONE: No. It doesn't at all. Iran and North Korea do a very brisk business in missile technology. In fact, Iran's medium range missiles, the Shaha missiles are actually North Korean Nodongs with an Iranian paint job. So Iran is pleased to see this and they hope to benefit from this.

But the other countries don't want to see this kind of provocative destabilizing move, not so much because it actually threatens another nation. As I say, we're still years away from that, but because North Korea and South Korea still are the most heavily militarized areas on Earth. Over a million men at arms. You don't want any action like this to start making the fingers on those triggers itchy. You want to keep conditions calm, you want to get North Korea back to the bargaining table and off the test ranges.

ANDERSON: Interesting. Joe, always a pleasure. Thank you for that.

One of our producers made a rare visit to North Korea in April when the previous rocket launch failed. Bear in mind, North Korea hardly ever invites journalists into the country. Tim Schwartz, though, was part of a group of reporters taken to the launch site where he got fascinating insight into the country, how North Koreans live and what this space program means to them. A rare look inside a secretive nation.

His report on Connect the World's blog,

You're watching Connect the World live from London. And an interesting fact for you to consider on our top story tonight, South Korea estimates that if you add up the cost of the North Korea launch, the failed April mission and other facility and site costs you get this hefty sum, $1.3 billion. That could mean around four to five years of food for a country struggling to feed its citizens. Food for thought this evening.

You're watching Connect the World live from London. I'm Becky Anderson just before quarter past 9:00.

Still to come, as more blasts hit Damascus outside the interior ministry building, fears grow over just how far that regime will go to maintain power. That coming up after this.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has announced a bold plan that will leave tie -- sorry, interest rates, to unemployment. The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, vowed to extend the bank's stimulus program until the jobless rate falls back to 6.5 percent, that's where it was before the recession back in the Autumn of 2008.


BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: The conditions now prevailing in the job market represent an enormous waste of human and economic potential. A return to broad-based prosperity will required steady improvement in the job market, which in turn requires stronger economic growth.


ANDERSON: Well, quantitative easing will continue, which means keeping interest rates near zero. And the Fed will also buy $45 billion in Treasury Bonds.

Let's take a look and see what the markets thought of that. Well, the NASDAQ and the Dow, of course, still open at that point, down but only slightly today. I mean, barely a move on the close of play, about 17 minutes ago these markets closed down. You've got Dow Jones there at 13,245 and change. The NASDAQ at 3,013.

The FTSE and the DAX, well those markets closed before this announcement of course. Not a bad day for either of those markets. The FTSE just shy there of the 6,000 level. That will be a key level for that market.

The German market trading around 6,000 -- sorry, 7,600 odd.

A look at some of the other stories making news this hour. And a somber message today from Venezuela's vice president Nicholas Maduro went on national television to announce that President Hugo Chavez faces a complex and difficult recovery, as he described it, after surgery for cancer.

Mr. Chavez flew to Havana on Monday for the operation after revealing his cancer had returned just two months after his reelection. He's asked Vice President Maduro to replace him if he's unable to perform his duties.

U.S. software pioneer John McAfee is headed to Miami after a deportation order from Guatemala, that's according to McAfee's lawyer. The internet tycoon had fled to Guatemala from Belize where authorities want to question him over the death of his neighbor. Guatemalan officials denied his request for asylum.

Report into the 1989 murder of the Belfest solicitor Pat Finucane has revealed that British agents were involved. Finucane was shot by loyalist forces. He ate dinner with his wife and three kids at his home in Northern Ireland. He was known to represent Republicans and members of the IRA as well as unionists. His death is one of the most controversial in the country's bloody history.

Speaking earlier, his widow dismissed the report as a sham.


GERALDINE FINUCANE, MURDERED SOLICITOR'S WIDOW: We've tried our best to keep an open mind until we had read and considered the final report. We came to London with the failed hope that for once we would be proved wrong. I regret to say that once again we have been proved right. Yet another British government has engineered a suppression of the truth behind the murder of my husband Pat Finucane.


ANDERSON: Well, this report comes as North Ireland is once again experiencing unrest. Over the past few days, tension between Republicans and Unionists has spilled over onto the streets. CNN's Nic Robertson has more.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As if the clocks have been turned back: violence again on Northern Ireland's streets. For more than 10 days and nights, Protestant gangs have faced off with, even tried to kill, police. Anger directed at politicians too.

NAOMI LONG, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I was told in the early hours of Friday morning that if I returned to my constituency office or continued to live at my home, then I would be shot.

ROBERTSON: The rioting broke out first in Belfast after a vote by city counselors there to limit the number of days the union flag is flown over Belfast City Hall. Most Catholics are believed to support a United Republic of Ireland, their neighborhoods festooned with the Irish tricolor. Most Protestants define their insular neighborhoods with the Union Flag. They want the status quo: remain part of Britain.

A national census released this week reveals Protestants are dwindling, 48 percent of the community. Catholics are on the increase, 45 percent. Fueling fears the Union flag may one day be gone for good.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: In no way are these people being loyal or standing up for Britishness. Violence has got absolutely -- is absolutely unjustified in those and in other circumstances.

ROBERTSON: The prime minister has good reason to worry. Indications are Catholic hardliners, armed dissident Republicans, are upping the stakes threatening prominent Protestant politicians and their families.

PETER ROBINSON, NORTHERN IRELAND FIRST MINISTER: I have two of my members, two senior members of my party who are under a death threat.

ROBERTSON: The violence, although destructive, has so far been localized, numbers involved relatively small. But the lack of outcry from London until now is heightening the sense of potential abandonment.

LONG: Northern Ireland cannot assumed to have some acceptable level of violence that would not be tolerated anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

ROBERTSON: A 200 year old flag igniting passions and raising fears about what may yet come.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: This is live from London, the show is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, tennis star Carolina Wozniacki comes under fire for her impression of Serena Williams. Was her custom funny, or racist? We're going to get you sports headlines after this.


ANDERSON: Tennis star Carolina Wozniacki has unwittingly walked into -- I'm not going to call it a race row, because I'm going to discuss with my colleague coming up whether he really thinks that's what it is. There's certainly some controversy after walking on to the court doing an impersonation of rival Serena Williams.

Don Riddell is at CNN Center.

I don't want to necessarily use the word race row here, but this is certainly creating a certain -- some people are calling this racist. Tell us what went on.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I can tell you I've lived a long and happy life by managing to side step the does my bum look big in this question, so I certainly couldn't have done what Caroline Wozniacki did during an exhibition match in Brazil against Maria Sharapova.

As you can see, she looks a little different there. She's put a Few extra towels down her top and into her skirt to make herself look a little more curvaceous and it was widely assumed and confirmed afterward by Wozniacki that she was sending up Serena Williams who is, of course, one of the best players in the world right now, the world number three. She just had a very successful year.

Now she is not the first person to mock another player. These players all do this kind of thing during these exhibition tournaments. And most people find them quite funny. And she's not even the first person to mock Serena Williams. For example, Novak Djokovic did it fairly recently when he put, as you can see, a bit of padding up his top. And nobody had really any kind of a problem with that.

But it seems that in this case, Ms. Wozniacki all of a sudden it has become -- you know, to quote others, a race row. And some people have gone on to these blogging sites and basically called Wozniacki out and said, look, this wasn't, you know, a bit a harmless fun.

I'll give you one quote here, Becky, "this isn't harmless fun. It is racist. Out and out racism. Mocking and making fun of the bodies of black women for a laugh."

I can tell you I don't subscribe to that, but that is what some people out there are saying, Becky.

ANDERSON: Getting a cheer from the crowd, right? I can hear it.

RIDDELL: Yeah, yeah. They thought it was quite funny. And everybody seemed to enjoy it. And as I say, you know, Djokovic has done this before. Roddick has done it before. Nobody even mentioned anything at the time.

I mean, it certainly got a bit of publicity, but not in the way this is now.

ANDERSON: Yeah. All right, well, I know you're probably going to do this and more on World Sport. That's coming up in about an hour's time. Interesting. Let Don know what you think about that. It's fascinating story. Certainly controversial.

Don, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead on CNN. Plus, on the hunt for alleged chemical weapons a daring mission inside Syria, an exclusive report from CNN coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like visitors as much as the next hobbit. I do like to know them a bit more...


ANDERSON: Dwarves, dragons, goblins and wizards: bigger and better than ever. We've got the stars of the Hobbit still this hour.

And we'll have more from the life and legacy of music legend Ravi Shankar. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: The United Nations Security Council is condemning a rocket launched by North Korea. Pyongyang says it's a satellite. The US, South Korea, and other nations believe the launch is tied to a missile testing program. Washington has threatened unspecified sanctions.

Venezuelan vice president Nicolas Maduro says his boss, Hugo Chavez, is facing a complex and difficult recovery. Maduro asked Venezuelans to pray for Mr. Chavez, who underwent cancer surgery in Cuba. President Chavez is still in charge, but he's promised to transfer power to Maduro if his condition worsens.

Egyptian opposition parties say they won't urge a boycott of a referendum on a new constitution, which sparked massive protests. Instead, they'll urge their supporters to vote no. Voting will happen this Saturday and the next.

Syrian state TV reports at least five people have been killed in bombings in Damascus. It says three bombs exploded outside the Interior Ministry on Wednesday. The minister and top officials reportedly escaped unharmed.

The US government says as the Syrian regime grows more desperate, it's resorting to the use of, quote, "more vicious weapons." Today, we're learning what those weapons might be. CNN has learned US military satellites have picked up the launch of four Scud missiles in recent days. And as this report shows, that's not all.



JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fighting in Syria grows more vicious. Troops loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad reach into their arsenal for more deadly weapons, even the fearsome Scud missile. Experts say al-Assad has between 300 and 400 of those short- and medium-range missiles in his stockpiles.

Just Monday, opposition groups charged the regime forces launched a Scud from the suburbs of Damascus.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If this proves to be true, it's just another indication of the depravity of Assad and his cronies.

DOUGHERTY: What's more, the State Department says Assad's forces last week started using what's called barrel bombs.

VICTORIA NULAND, SPOKESWOMAN, US STATE DEPARTMENT: Which is an incendiary bomb that is -- contains flammable materials. It's sort of a napalm-like thing, and it's completely indiscriminate in terms of civilians. So, very, very concerning and indicative of the regime's desperation and the regime's brutality.

DOUGHERTY: Human rights groups say such weapons produce extremely painful burns, often down to the bone. Burns that are very hard to treat. The deadly turn comes just after worrisome signs that an increasingly desperate al-Assad is moving closer to possibly using chemical weapons. Chemical weapons plus Scud missiles would b a lethal combination.

JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, RETIRED BRIGADIER GENERAL, US ARMY: If you were to marry up a chemical capability, a chemical warhead onto the Scud, you now have an area denial weapon system, which is very nasty. It affects everybody. It doesn't discriminate from friend or foe.

DOUGHERTY: One means of stopping Scuds: Patriot air defense systems. And just a week ago in Brussels, NATO approved Turkey's request to deploy the weapons in that country, to protect against any possible attack from Syria.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, SECRETARY GENERAL, NATO: The mere fact that the missiles, the Patriot missiles have been deployed make it necessary for any potential aggressor to think twice before they even consider attacking Turkey.

DOUGHERTY: A Pentagon spokesman tells CNN, Washington will be giving orders for the deployment of US Patriot batteries and personnel within days.


ANDERSON: Jill Dougherty reporting there. Well, Syria has never acknowledged that it has chemical weapons, but experts say it is one of the biggest undeclared stockpiles in the world.

CNN's Arwa Damon has recently spent time in Syria and got very close to an alleged chemical weapons facility. She joins us now, live from Turkey near the Syrian border. You're just out of Syria, spent some weeks there. Tell us what you found.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, while the Syrian government has never officially acknowledged that it does have chemical weapons, it has gone so far as to say that it would not ever use them against its own people.

That being said, that statement provides little assurance for those that might bear the brunt of the attack. And as you mentioned there, we did just travel to the outskirts of one of these alleged facilities where the Syrian government could be manufacturing these chemical weapons.


DAMON (voice-over): In most of these villages, we don't dare stop. While no longer fully controlled by the government, the regime spies still lurk. And we're sneaking our way towards a facility the government most certainly does not want us to see.

A site that multiple sources on the ground say is where the Assad regime produces chemical weapons, a place called the Scientific Research Facility.

To the southeast of Aleppo lies the town of Al-Safirah. On its outskirts, a sprawling factory, manufacturing anything from containers to long-range missiles. This is as close as we can get before we hear an aircraft overhead and quickly leave. To the southeast of that, according to our sources, is the Scientific Research Facility.

DAMON (on camera): From here, we can see the outer most perimeter of the general research facility, and the fighters are telling us that it is amongst the most heavily-guarded areas where they are operating. The village right below it, that is filled with government loyalists, so this is about as far as we can go.

DAMON (voice-over): Abu Obaida commands the Dura al-Shahaba brigade that has fighters surrounding the facility, tasked by his commanders with isolating but not attacking it.

"The regime might take extreme actions if we try to assault, so we're just militarily choking it off," he tells us. On all sides, it is surrounded by rolling hills. We're being escorted by a defected soldier, who worked on the inside, and a rebel fighter from the area. We've agreed not to reveal their identities. At one point, between the two hilltops, a manmade barrier.

DAMON (on camera): We have to be very careful filming through here, but visible on the side of the mountains are what rebel fighters with us are telling us were the former positions that government troops used to occupy. Since the Free Syrian Army moved into this area, government forces have pulled further and closer to the facility itself.

DAMON (voice-over): This man was recently captured by the rebels. He says he led a unit whose job was patrol part of the perimeter. Artillery units are positioned on the hilltops. He agreed to be interviewed if we disguised his identity and his voice.

He says that soldiers like him were constantly searched, their calls monitored, forbidden from seeing people who entered the main building. They arrived escorted by armed guards, concealed from sight. "It was even forbidden for us to ask about it. If we did, we were punished," he tells us.

They were under orders to shoot to kill anyone who approached, even a civilian, within 300 meters. He says that around five months ago, regular employees stopped arriving. "And what I overheard is that those who were allowed to leave were Syrian, and those inside were foreigners. We saw large quantities of food still being delivered," he says.

Defectors have previously told CNN that Iranian scientists have often worked here. There's no way to confirm that. Portions of the complex are underground. The hilltops have tunnels as well. Guarded, we are told, but up to 5,000 soldiers.

The fear of chemical weapons has further traumatized people. In Aleppo, Dr. Hamza says he began requesting precautionary supplies six months ago. Some atropine has arrived, but no chemical suits.

DAMON (on camera): You're going to make your own chemical suits?

DR. HAMZA, ALEPPO ACTIVIST: Yes. Yes, we try to do that right now. We have -- two pieces, to chemical suits and the facilities about them and the -- to make them.

DAMON: To make your own.

HAMZA: Yes, exactly. Because we tried a lot to get chemical suits, but until now, we couldn't.

DAMON (voice-over): At secret sites around the city, he says, medical teams will be provided with atropine and training in case government forces resort to chemical weapons.

But in reality, people can do little more than pray that Syria's war doesn't lead to such a catastrophe.


DAMON: And Becky this is, of course, as we know only too well, a population that has already been traumatized by the incoming bullets and bombs, and it is one that can really not protect itself against any sort of chemical weapon should the Assad regime decide to employ that.

ANDERSON: You've been in and out of Syria over the past 20 months, now, while this bloody civil war has been -- being waged. How would you describe how -- sort of -- it's difficult to say the regular man or woman on the street is feeling at this point, but just how would you describe the mood and how it may or may not have changed?

DAMON: Becky, it really varies, depending on who you're talking to. Amongst the rebel fighting force, there is a fair amount of optimism because they have been able to come so far because they have been able to make significant gains when it comes to controlling territory.

But when it comes to the population, there is a growing sense of despair. They have lost so much already. Many of them are growing increasingly disenchanted with the Free Syrian Army, and they really just want to see an end to all of this.

A lot of people who we have been talking to are saying yes, we want freedom, but at the same time, we have to feed our children. The cost of living when it comes to just the basics, for example, bread prices has increased by threefold if not more.

People literally cannot afford to feed their children anymore, and you really get the sense that this is a society where individuals are on the brink of snapping, quite simply, because of the pressure brought on about the simplicity of, on the one hand, trying to feed their families, and on the other hand, living under this constant threat of dying, whether it's due to air strikes or sniper rounds. It's just a phenomenally difficult environment to have to try to exist in.

ANDERSON: No real semblance of normal life anymore, so far as you're concerned?

DAMON: No, none whatsoever. Normalcy has redefined itself. University students, individuals, whomever it is that you come across, have been forced to redefine their lives. People are taking emergency medical first aid courses to try to help others out.

A family, who used to be able to provide for their children, are no longer able to do so. We've been through parts of the city where parks -- trees have been cut down because people have to burn the wood to keep themselves warm, to try to cook up food. And at the same time, those very same parks have been turned into graveyards, Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon, now on the other side of the border in Turkey. Arwa, thank you.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. After the break, we take a look at the age-old traditions that still drive the new Dubai.


ANDERSON: All right. The tallest buildings, the biggest malls, the Emirate of Dubai, of course, has it all, a place known for its modernity. But behind its modern face, Dubai's history still shining through. In this week's Gateway, I went to find out how old-fashioned wooden dhows still control the thriving Emirate's busy seas.


ANDERSON (voice-over): In one of Dubai's oldest shipyards, workers are adding the finishing touches to a new dhow, large wooden vessels that are still mostly made by hand, an age-old craft passed down from one generation to the next.

MAJID OBAID, DHOW BUILDER: I started with my father. Since my childhood, I've been playing on the wood and making the small, small dhows with metal and with wood.

ANDERSON: The traditional design uses only wood, but Majid Obaid is breaking the mold, building the first-ever steel-ribbed dhow.

OBAID: I'm attached to wood. It is hurting me to use steel, but as long as the boat looks wooden dhow, I'm happy with it. All the boat builders in the area, in Pakistan, India, they say Majid is crazy and the wood and the steel cannot work together. And now, everybody is wondering if they can own something like this.

ANDERSON: The hope is that his new dhow will be stronger, faster, and more profitable. Sailing along ancient trade routes, it will carry more goods to and from Dubai's docks.

For more than a century, Dubai's inland creek has been the city's commercial heart.

ANDERSON (on camera): It was here that the fishing and pearling industries were based and trade with the outside world began.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Today, despite the world's biggest manmade port attracting some of the world's biggest vessels, dhows are as important as ever. This trader, Salem Alkhattal, explains.

ANDERSON (on camera): I'm thinking about the size of the boats at Jebel Ali. Why do we still need dhows doing this business?

SALEM ALKHATTAL, TRADER: OK. We've got a developed port here, but we deliver where the countries did not develop yet their port. They prefer dhows to modern ships. Our common route is Africa, Somalia, India, Iraq, and the Gulf, the GCC, Tanzania.

ANDERSON: Lots of sort of politically unstable areas.

ALKHATTAL: Well, we're not a political people. We are a business people.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Back at the shipyard, Majid's dhow is almost ready to set sail after four years of painstaking work.

OBAID: It's like growing a son, your son, until he becomes old, and then he goes, you feel happy.

ANDERSON: Dhows are still a vital cog in Dubai's wheel, holding an important place in this rapidly modernizing hub. As the vessel is launched into the sea, the tradition of Dubai's dhows lives on.



ANDERSON: Well, a royal appearance at the "Hobbit" premier in London. This was, though, a solo outing to the movies for Prince William, with his pregnant wife, the Duchess of Cambridge forced to cancel her attendance due to acute morning sickness.

Well, it's been nine years since "The Lord of the Rings" broke box office records and scooped the Oscars with 11 awards, including Best Picture. It's a tough act to follow, but through new technology, director Peter Jackson is hoping "The Hobbit" will actually lead us into a whole new world of filmmaking.


ANDERSON (voice-over): A visual feast it may be, even on a normal cinema screen, but the "Hobbit" trilogy offers --


ANDY SERKIS, GOLLUM, "THE HOBBIT": That is in 3D, which -- the combination of which makes it unbelievably vivid and alive, and you feel drawn into the movie.

ANDERSON: But the technology has its critics, and the "Hobbit" family is the first to admit the special effects does take time to get used to.

RICHARD ARMITAGE, THORIN OAKENSHIELD, "THE HOBBIT": I was looking at some of the costumes, and Richard Taylor had designed some dwarf chain mail. Each piece was individually linked, and each piece of dwarf chain mail had engraving on it.

And I said to him, "Why on Earth are you doing that? The camera's never going to see it." And he said, "They will. At 48 frames, they will see that detail." And that actually says everything to me about what that experience is about, the immersive experience.

PETER JACKSON, DIRECTOR, "THE HOBBIT": I just think that digital technology is advancing so rapidly, our world is changing because of it. And so, why should films remain the same? And if we can make them bigger, better, more spectacular, more immersive, we should be doing that, because we need to get children back in the cinemas, not watching movies on their iPads.

ANDERSON: "The Hobbit" may be a more advanced film than "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but it's Tolkien's original tale of Middle Earth, set 60 years earlier.

Martin Freeman plays the lead as a younger Bilbo Baggins and, according to Jackson, is the nearest thing to a hobbit he's ever met.

MARTIN FREEMAN, BILBO BAGGINS, "THE HOBBIT": He considers himself a hobbit as well. So, yes. I think from someone who hated -- like, if it was an Orc saying that, then that would be an insult. But as someone -- a hobbit lover, I guess if he's saying I'm a hobbit, then that's a compliment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you off to?

FREEMAN AS BAGGINS: I'm going on an adventure!


ANDERSON: We're also reunited with other Tolkien favorites, including Gollum, brought to life again by Andy Serkis.


SERKINS AS GOLLUM: Bagginses? What is a Bagginses, Precious?


SERKIS: What I love about this movie is getting the chance to see his innocence and his delight in playing riddles with Bilbo.


FREEMAN AS BAGGINS: Why don't we have a game of riddles?

SERKIS AS GOLLUM: And if he loses? What then?


SERKIS: Bilbo stumbles across this weird creature, not with -- not just one, but two personalities, and isn't quite sure what's going on.


SERKIS AS GOLLUM: Baggins loses, we eats it whole.



SERKIS: The early stage of seeing Gollum -- Gollum/Smeagol enjoying those riddles really makes me laugh.

ANDERSON: Jackson even found a way to include Cate Blanchett's, whose "Lord of the Rings" character Galadriel isn't technically in the original novel.

CATE BLANCHETT, GALADRIEL, "THE HOBBIT": When I heard that he may be putting Galadriel into the film, I was over the moon.


BLANCHETT AS GALADRIEL: Mithrandir, why the Halfling?


BLANCHETT: And this is -- what lexicons, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson talk in lexicons there -- is that in the appendices of the "Rings" trilogy, there's a mention of Galadriel and Gandalf, and so they pulled that into the film.

ANDERSON: "An Unexpected Journey" is the first installment of a trilogy that took 18 months to film in New Zealand. A grueling shoot that for the dwarfs involved a daily transformation.

JAMES NESBITT, BOLUR, "THE HOBBIT": The process was quite challenging.


NESBITT: Say, on a daily basis. Yes, you'd be in prosthetics for -- I'd be in prosthetics -- he was in prosthetics for of a term less than that, because he's the hot dwarf, of course.


NESBITT AS BOLUR: You must be Mr. Baggins.


NESBITT: Well, he's sort of the boy band dwarf. I'm kind of out there, I'm the George Clooney of dwarfs. I'm the Cary Grant of dwarfs.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, aye. He'll melt the flesh off your bones in the blink of an eye.


ANDERSON: While the actors have done their bit, the journey now falls to the post-production team. Their quest, to release the remaining two films within the next two years.


ANDERSON: And you can hear more from "The Hobbit" stars on our blog, that's

We'll leave you this evening with a look back at the life of the Indian music star and icon Ravi Shankar. The 92-year-old master sitar player died on Tuesday night near his home in Southern California. My colleague Kareen Wynter has more.



KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His music mesmerized millions. Ravi Shankar was among the greatest sitar players of all time, and certainly the best-known. His association with the Beatles in the 1960s transported classical Indian music to the West and transformed Ravi Shankar into a cultural icon.

He was a humanitarian, teaming up with Beatle George Harrison for the iconic Concert for Bangladesh. During the latter years of his life, the sitar maestro set up a music academy. Here, in trademark style, he encouraged cross-cultural music.

Ravi Shankar's career spanned some 80 years. He composed music for films, even ballet and received numerous international and national awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor.

Ravi Shankar is survived by two well-known daughters. One, Norah Jones, is a well-known musician in her own right. Her 2002 album, "Come Away With Me," sold 20 million copies worldwide.

Shankar's younger daughter, Anoushka, is also an accomplished sitar player. In the upcoming Grammy Awards, Ravi Shankar will be up against daughter Anoushka, both nominated in the Best World Music Album category.

In Ravi Shankar's death, the world has lost a composer, a cultural ambassador, an author, and a man who George Harrison once described as the godfather of world music.


WYNTER: Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles.


ANDERSON: Ravi Shankar. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.