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Pope Francis Calls for Break From Business as Usual for Catholic Church; U.S.-Afghanistan Wrangle Over Security Agreement; China's New Air Zone; Scottish Independence; Leading Woman Anne Sweeney

Aired November 26, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight, changing the church. Pope Francis calls for a dramatic break from business as usual at the Vatican. We examine how his message for change is resonating with Catholics around the world.

Also ahead...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I went to get my son vaccinated as fast as possible.


ANDERSON: Well, first came war now a new outbreak of a deadly disease. How people fleeing the fighting in Syria are helping to spread it.

And marching to their own tune as Scottish politicians lay out the benefits of going it alone. We explore the historical roots of Scottish independence.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening from London. Pope Francis is calling for major changes to the Catholic church. Beginning from the top down in an 85 page document called the Apostolic Exhortation, the pontiff challenges some of the Vatican's longest held practices.

Now he criticizes the church's obsession with enforcing rules and says the focus should be on spreading the gospel, especially to the poor and to the marginalized. He says the church should not be afraid of reexamining customs that may be out of date, including the centralization of the church.

And (inaudible) reiterates the Vatican's position that cannot ordain women, he calls for, and I quote, "more incisive female presence, especially where important decisions are being made."

Big day.

Joining me now to talk about this call for sweeping reforms is CNN's senior Vatican analyst John Allen, a regular guest on this show.

John, what do you make of this manifesto?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, first of all, Becky, as an American I want to thank you for making Thanksgiving happen early for me this year, because I am always grateful for the chance to share virtual space with you. And so I'm thankful for that chance.

ANDERSON: You're welcome.

ALLEN: Listen, in a piece I wrote for my newspaper today called The National Catholic Reporter, I actually referred to this as Francis' "I have a Dream" speech. Because he begins this document with a dream. He says his dream is of a more missionary church that is the church that reaches out to people rather than collapsing in on itself and a church that is more merciful, that is rather than focusing on what he describes as rules that make us harsh judges, he wants a church that is more compassionate and more tolerant.

Now, as you've said, I mean, he has indicated that not everything is up for grabs. On issues such as women priests and abortion he has said that Catholic teaching is not going to change. But he has indicated remarkable willingness to change on a variety of other fronts, including a decentralization of papal authority towards a kind of democratization of the church, empowerment of the laity, a more generous line on admission to the sacraments of the Catholic Church, especially communion, which could have implications not just for divorced and remarried Catholics, and there are millions of them around he world, but also pro-choice Catholic politicians in places such as the States where some bishops have publicly threatened to turn them away in the communion line.

So on a variety of fronts, Becky, this is a remarkable, I would say almost sweeping, manifesto for change. And it's a fairly dramatic news day in the Vatican beat.

ANDERSON: And let's remind ourselves, lest we forget, that the world's Catholic population is more than a billion, making up half of the world's Christian population, so this becomes an important story.

Let's take a look, John, at one of the key quotes from the document. Pope Francis says, and I quote, "I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty, because it's been out on the streets rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. Your thoughts?"

ALLEN: Well, that section of the document where Francis is actually quoting a line that he repeated over and over again when he was the Archbishop of Buenes Aires in Argentina, which boils down to that he wants the church to be out on the streets. He said repeatedly that a church that spends too much time in the sacristy, that is inside its own space breathing the same stale air gets sick.

And you know that can sound like rhetoric, Becky, but after Francis was elected I went down to Buenos Aires and spent a month there reporting on the backstory of who Jorge Mario Bergoglio was. And one of the things you discover is that as an archbishop, as a churchman, this is not a guy who spent a lot of time behind a desk. He went out into what the Argentine's called the vicious mezarias (ph), the villas of misery, that is the slums that surround Buenos Aires, spent most of his time interacting with ordinary people and listening to their stories over and over again.

I would meet people who would say, poor people, ordinary people, who would say that Bergoglio had been with them when they lost a child, or had baptized their kids, or had sat in their living room when their husband died.

But that's where he felt the church came alive. And I think that's the spirit that permeates the document that we saw from him today.

ANDERSON: Let's try another one, then. In reference to some traditional practices he says, and I quote, "some of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the gospel. We should not be afraid to reexamine them. At the same time, the church has rules or precepts which may have been quite effective in their time, but no longer have the same usefulness for directing and shaping people's lives."

John, what does he mean by that? And what should we expect going forward?

ALLEN: Well, I think fundamentally, he is calling for Catholics to shift away from the kind of fussy obsession with the fine points of certain aspects of church life. For example, the fine points of how you worship in the church, what we call liturgy -- you know, exactly what vestments the priest ought to wear, precisely how certain gestures ought to be executed. I mean, as important as those thing once were for creating culture in the church, I think he's saying that we have to keep our eyes on the prize, the big picture.

And as he sees it, the big picture is the church that is relevant to ordinary people in the early 21st Century, which in a particular way, as you indicated at the top of this segment, means a church that is concerned with the poor.

I think it's striking that the strongest language of this document called The Joy of the Gospel, has to do with critiquing what he calls the kind of crude and naive faith in the free market and insisting that the church has to be a change agent on things like income inequality, spreading unemployment, the environment, war and peace. But those are the issues that make a critical difference in the lives of people and that's where he wants the church to be.

ANDERSON: It has been six months and counting, I can't believe it's been such a short period of time since you and I sat and discussed this as the old pope moved away and this one took his place.

Stick with me for one moment. I want our viewers to get a report here from Ben Wedeman. Pope Francis has been full of surprises since taking office from washing prisoners' feet to prioritizing the poor. He's shown himself to be humble in both word and deed.

One of the most poignant moments of his papacy came just weeks ago when he embraced a disfigured man in St. Peter's Square. Ben Wedeman caught up with that man to find out what the pope's embrace meant to him.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After four hours of work, Vinicio Riva is done. Five days a week, he does odd jobs at a home for the elderly in Vicenza in northern Italy.

By the way, did you notice something? Yes, 53-year-old Vinicio suffers from a hereditary genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 1. His body's almost covered from head to toe with growths, swellings and sores.

His mother had the same condition, as does his sister. He's had it since the age of 15.

His appearance often terrifies strangers. Vinicio recalls trying to take a seat on a bus, but being told by the passenger next to him to sit somewhere else.

"I wanted to answer back, but I controlled myself," he says. "I felt my blood pressure rise. I wanted to leave the bus, but I had a doctor's appointment. There were lots of people on the bus, but no one said a word."

Not all strangers, however, react like that. Earlier this month, Vinicio went with his Aunt Caterina to St. Peter's Square where Pope Francis approached him and without a moment's hesitation kissed and hugged him. "When he embraced me", he recalls, "I quivered. I felt a great warmth."

Aunt Caterina was struck by the pope's very down to earth manner.

"I looked down at his shoes. They were like this," she says. "I thought, yes, this is someone who really walks. And he was someone who, if he weren't wearing that clothing, you wouldn't even know he's the pope."

Since then, Vinicio has returned to his daily routines. He continues to work and root for his favorite soccer team Juventus, but something has changed.

The pope's simple embrace was a symbol to millions that underneath Vinicio's tortured surface is a fellow human being. "I feel stronger and happier", he tells me. "I feel I can move ahead because the Lord is protecting me."

However, he still has some unfinished business with Pope Francis. "I hope he calls me so we can have a face-to-face meeting," says Vinicio. I have many things to tell him.

What do you want to tell him? I ask.

"That's a bit private", he replies. "It's between him and I".

He returns home from work on his bike, his dignity far more apparent than his illness.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Vicenza, Italy.


ANDERSON: That's a remarkable piece. Your reaction to that.

ALLEN: Well, my reaction is that it's utterly characteristic of the man we have come to know as Pope Francis. I mean, this is somebody who above all else just delights in the company of ordinary people and particularly those that he feels are victims of what he describes in this document, he described on his trip to Brazil and in other venues, as a kind of throwaway culture in the world.

I mean, Francis believes there are too many people -- the poor, the sick, the elderly, gays and lesbians. I mean, others who have been sort of pushed to the margins of society and he thinks god has a kind of special love for those folks and so does he.

And he just obviously takes real human pleasure in being in their company and kind of showing them the love that he thinks they have too often been denied.

ANDERSON: John Allen, always a pleasure, thank you, sir. On Connect the World tonight, you can find more. There is plenty at you'll find plenty of articles there on his work to date and his bold vision for the church -- talking about the pope here -- including an opinion piece by the Reverend James Martin in which he calls the pope's document thrilling.

Still to come tonight, it's already worn down by years of war. Syrians must now battle a different kind of threat, the spread of what is a highly contagious disease. It's now reached the doorstep of the country's two biggest cities.

Also, Thailand's prime minister calls it mob rule and says it must come to an end. We're going to see what's behind the biggest protest there in years.

Plus, Scotland lays out a case for leaving Britain.

All that and much more after this very short break. 14 minutes past 8:00 in London. Stay with us.


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

Now, a peace conference for Syria is now on the calendar, but that hasn't slowed the relentless violence. State TV says a suicide bomber killed at least 15 people at a bus stop near Damascus today. Opposition activists say two kids are among the dead.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is following the story for us and the other developments tonight from Damascus joining us live -- Fred.


Of course you had that suicide attack, but there were other attacks here in Damascus as well. There was also some shelling that was coming from the rebel controlled area that actually hit a government controlled area also killing several people here. And it really plays into a pattern that we've been seeing here as people here in the government controlled side of Damascus are seeing the war creep closer and closer to them. And it's also causing a greater impact in people's live. One of the thing that's a big problem here right now is getting fuel, but also the health care system here in this country is a big problem. The latest big issue throughout Syria, whether it's the rebel controlled side of things or the government controlled side of things is the reemergence of polio.

Today we heard that polio is now in Damascus as well.

Here's what the government is trying to do to combat it.


PLEITGEN: The vaccine is bitter. Little Inua (ph) cringes as he swallows, but it's key to combating a polio outbreak in Syria.

"We heard of the outbreak and that the government is giving vaccinations, Inua's (ph) father says. And so I went to get my son vaccinated as fast as possible.

At Damascus schools children sing before getting the polio vaccine.

The World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that the disease has spread to the Syrian capital, this after more than a dozen cases were found in northeastern Syria last month.

(on camera) : This is part of a massive vaccination campaign in the wake of the polio outbreak. It doesn't just involve the Syrian government, but also the World Health Organization and UNICEF as well.

But doctors say they're not only trying to reach children in the government controlled areas, but are also going into dangerous zones controlled by the opposition.

(voice-over): The outbreak is the first here in almost 15 years. And the WHO warns that the virus is spreading as people flee their homes trying to get out of harm's way.

As the fighting intensifies, opposition areas especially have seen the collapse of the healthcare system.

Government forces have laid siege to many rebel controlled towns. And activists say food and medicine are not reaching those who need them most.

It's impossible to independently verify horrifying images of malnourished children like these posted on social media. But an opposition leader contacted by CNN says the situation in the besieged areas around Damascus is getting worse by the day.

"Medical supplies are the most needed," he says, "because a person can manage hunger, but cannot bear illness or see his children suffering from a wound from shelling. We are forced to support the free army to break this siege."

The government for its part blames rebels fighters for the shortages. A top Syrian health care official told me many hospitals and other medical centers throughout the country have been destroyed by the fighting.

AHMAD AL ABOUD, DIRECTOR OF PRIMARY HEALTH CARE: We (inaudible) and other charities to repair these centers or hospitals or to put like building, any building to doing as centers to provide the care to the children of (inaudible)

PLEITGEN: While both sides point the finger at each other, it's clear who is suffering the most: Syria's children threatened by war and now also by disease.


PLEITGEN: And of course in this kind of an environment, Becky, most people here don't have very high hopes for this Geneva II conference. Most people actually don't even believe that it's going to be convened, let alone that it would produce any sort of results. However, when you speak to people here on the ground, the one thing that you keep hearing again and again is the people are saying they simply want the situation with this violence, with the destruction that's going on to end as fast as possible, not mater how -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen in Damascus for you this evening.

Well, France is deploying 8,000 more troops to the Central African Republic to help restore stability to that war torn nation.

The U.S. State Department estimates that nearly 400,000 people have been displaced by religious violence there since rebels seized power in March of this year.

Vladimir Duthiers has the details.


VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: The rationale and the reason that France has decided to sent more troops into the Central African Republic is simple: the cycle of violence between the Muslim minority now in power and the Christian majority could become a genocide.

Now since March, thousands have been killed after a coup deposed President Francois Bozize and replaced him with the rebel commander Michel Jotudiah (ph). Now since then, the UN says 460,000 people, close to 10 percent of the population, have fled their homes and more than 1 million are in dire need of food aid.

And here's what French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Drian had to say about the situation.

JEAN-YVES DRIAN, FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The Central African Republic is in serious condition. The state is on the verge of collapsing and the country itself must not collapse. There are extortions, massacres, military chaos, which comes with the collapse of security.

DUTHIERS: A situation that is so serious that the president of the republic called on the United Nations about it last September and there is going to be a UN resolution in the coming days.

(on camera): Now France has historically played an active role in supporting its former colonies, most recently the latest action in Mali back in January. This would see them sending another 1,000 troops into the Central African Republic to support the 400 troops that are already in country in an effort to prevent the total collapse of a nation which could spread and destabilize neighboring countries.

Vladimir Duthiers, CNN, Lagos,


ANDERSON: Well, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Ukraine's trade deal with the EU as a major threat to his economy. Now his comments come amid protests in the Ukraine's capital for a third straight day. Many Ukrainians see the deal as a critical first step towards full EU membership and have vowed to protest until the agreement is signed.

Well, the Ukraine scrapped the proposed deal at the last minute, some say under pressure from Russia.

Rescue crews have saved 100 Haitian migrants from a capsized cargo ship off the coast of the Bahamas. At least 10 migrants are reported dead in the accident which happened southwest of (inaudible). Now the crowded boat was saved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The United States is losing patience with Afghan President Hamid Karzai who is attaching new conditions to a critical agreement that would keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan after NATO's combat mission ends next year.

As Nick Paton Walsh now reports, the U.S. sent a top diplomat to Kabul to personally deliver what is an ultimatum.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This could be the end: America's longest war closed with a final comparatively tiny dispute. Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai hammered out the fine print. The council of elders gave their approval. But then at the last moment Karzai changed the deal, twice.

First, he wouldn't sign it until next year. Then demanded a sudden end to U.S. raids on Afghan homes and prisoners released from Guantanamo.

Susan Rice sent to Kabul to show U.S. patience is stretched and deliver a blunt ultimatum.

SUSAN RICE, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: If the agreement isn't signed promptly, what I said to the president is we would have no choice, we would be compelled by necessity, not by our preference, to have to begin to plane for the prospect that we will not be able to keep our troops here.

WALSH: Polite, but probably not bluffing.

A war so long, ignored. How many Americans daily remember there are 47,000 troops there or why the need a deal for some to stay another decade? Which leaves one question, what is Karzai's goal? Is this leverage he wants to personally use? He wants the U.S. to stay out of next year's election of a successor and perhaps is delaying the deal to make sure they do.

And now it is entirely his call whether Afghanistan has a relationship at all with the U.S., still Kabul's source of cash and security, boosting his power at home.

Motive aside, Karzai will soon learn how quickly America wants to forget this war.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN.


ANDERSON: 24 minutes past 8:00 in London. This is Connect the World live from here. Coming up, Thai authorities order a protest leader to surrender. Warning police are ready to arrest him on site. We've got the latest on what is the political crisis there.

Plus, a plan for independence. We're going to take a look at Scotland's blueprint for leaving Britain.


ANDERSON: A warm welcome back.

This is Connect the World live from London. I'm Becky Anderson.

Now, authorities in Thailand have issued an arrest warrant for a protest leader who is calling for a nationwide uprising Thousands of demonstrators besieged more government offices in Bangkok today demanding that the prime minister step down. This report from Fionnuala Sweeney has the latest on the crisis.


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Protest build on the streets of Bangkok while inside the halls of government, Thailand's prime minister fights for her political life. Blowing whistles and chanting get out protesters surrounded the Thai interior ministry on Tuesday. This after anti-government crowds stormed two other ministry buildings Monday in an effort to bring down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's not violence, it's the right of the people according to the constitution that we have the right to express our feelings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We have a bad leader who never thinks about what's right. But a leader who thinks about her own benefit.

SWEENEY: With protests intensifying security has ratcheted up outside parliament. Inside, lawmakers began two days of debate ahead of a no confidence vote.

So far, the prime minister refuses to step down.

YINGLUCK SHINAWATRA, THAI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The accusations against me are too severe and unjust.

SWEENEY: Protesters accuse Yingluck of being a puppet for her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He was ousted in a military coup seven years ago and now lives in self-imposed exile. A government backed amnesty bill that would have allowed Thaksin to return without facing jail time for a corruption conviction sparked protests last month.

THITINAN PONGSUDHIRAK, THAI POLITICAL SCIENTIST: We are compelled to respond in some way...

SWEENEY: And at least one political analyst says the situation doesn't look good for the current government.

PONGSUHIRAK: The protesters are piling up the pressure in hope of trying to find an outside intervention to break down the government. So we are at a deadlock and something will have to give this week somehow.

SWEENEY: So far, protests have remained mostly peaceful, but the longer they continue analysts say the risk of violence only increases.

Fionnuala Sweeney, CNN.


ANDERSON: The latest world news headlines, as you would expect at the bottom of the hour. Plus, is Scotland's 307 year union with Britain doomed? As Scotland ponders going it alone.

And we're given a behind the scenes look at the Louvre's crown jewel, the Mona Lisa just ahead.

Plus, exactly 50 years after the debut of their second album, take a look at half a century of Beatle mania.


ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories for you this hour. Pope Francis has called for sweeping reform in the Catholic Church. In a document called an Apostolic Exhortation at the core of what's that he wants a more missionary church, one devoted to the people and their concerns. And he made it clear that one of the biggest concerns is global poverty.

Syrian state TV says a suicide bomber killed at least 15 people at a bus stop near Damascus today. Opposition activists say 6 victims were government troops while the other 9 were civilians, including 2 children.

Rescue crews have saved 100 Haitian migrants from a capsized cargo ship off the coast of Bahamas. At least, 10, though, have died. The survivors have been airlifted to the Bahamas for medical treatment while the search for other survivors continues.

And a US official tells CNN that two American military planes flew into China's newly-claimed air defense zone on Monday without identifying themselves. Beijing announced this new zone last week, claiming airspace over disputed islands that China and Japan claim as their own. Washington says it won't recognize China's new restrictions.

For more on this, let's bring in CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. Barbara, what are the details in all of this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the US had warned China it would do this and it did on Monday, flying two B52 bombers from Guam out in the Pacific to this new air identification defense zone, and then flying them back to Guam.

Why did the US do this? Well, the US is calling it a routine training mission, but make no mistake, it was definitely to challenge the Chinese exclusion zone.

The Chinese had set up these rules over the weekend that any planes entering this spot in international airspace -- military planes -- would have to file flight plans, declare their intentions, declare their transponders, their national logos, all their information, all of that. And the US does not recognize this.

Nobody was expecting any kind of military confrontation, but certainly it is raising tensions in the region, and of course, the bottom line here is this is really a regional dispute between China and Japan, both claiming the islands in this region as their own.

So China making the move to declare the airspace and the US saying not so fast, we're not really going to obey these rules. And they're going to keep flying into this zone, and we'll see what happens.

ANDERSON: Interesting story. Barbara Starr in Washington, thank you.

The prospect of Scotland becoming independent from Britain inched closer to reality on Tuesday as Scotland outlined the most detailed terms seen yet for ending the what is 307-year union.

Now, in a draft plan, the Scottish government proposed that if it becomes independent, British nuclear submarines would be expelled from Scottish bases. Scotland would strike out on its own, seeking separate membership in NATO and the European Union and would establish its own embassies abroad. The Scottish government also says it would retain the British pound as its currency and keep Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

Well, the Scottish government says if the country votes yes to independence next year, their independence day will be on the 24th of March, 2016, a significant day, I've got to tell you. On the same day over 400 years ago, the parliaments of Scotland and England were merged.

Well, as Scotland ponders becoming independent once again, I looked back at the country's history.


ANDERSON (voice-over): What we know is modern Scotland was formed in the 13th century, when England and Scotland signed the treaty of York, mapping out Scotland's southern border. Sixty years later, the countries were at war, with the legendary Scottish rebel, William Wallace, helping to lead the charge.

MEL GIBSON AS WILLIAM WALLACE, "BRAVEHEART": Sons of Scotland! I am William Wallace!

ANDERSON: Wallace's fight for freedom was the subject of Hollywood blockbuster "Braveheart." Years of war paid off for Scotland. In 1328, England recognized Scottish independence in the Treaty of North Hampton.

In 1603, Queen Elizabeth, the last of the Tudors, died at the age of 69. That cleared the way for King James VI of Scotland, son of Mary Queen of Scots, to become England's king, too. It was known as the union of the crowns.

Just over 100 years later, parliaments of England and Scotland passed the Acts of Union. It joined the two separate states into one, the Kingdom of Great Britain. One parliament, one monarch.

1945 saw the first Scottish National Party MP elected to parliament on a manifest over breaking Scotland out of the United Kingdom. Political fliers like these have failed to drum up enough support in 1979, when Scotland held a referendum on creating a Scottish parliament.

But in 1997, it passed by a landslide. Two years later, a Scottish parliament sat for the first time in 272 years.

ANDERSON (on camera): Already, decisions on Scottish education, public health services, and the environment are made in Edinburgh, not here in Westminster. And if the referendum next year gets a yes vote, Scotland's future will be decided entirely within its own seat of power.


ANDERSON: Well, that referendum on Scottish Independence set to take place next month in about ten months' time -- next year, I'm sorry. One revered peer in the UK said recently, Britain's constantly morphing constitutional landscape needs and ace cartographer to make sense of it, and Robert Hazell is the one that we have found. I asked him a few hours ago why Scotland is now -- now -- seeking independence.


ROBERT HAZELL, PROFESSOR OF BRITISH POLITICS, UCL: The driving force is the classic one of an historic nation, which was once an independent state with its own parliament, and until 1603, they had their own separate monarchy, which wants, if you like, to rediscover that independent statehood.

And the Scottish National Party, currently in government in Scotland, maintain that they can't achieve sufficient autonomy while remaining part of the UK.

ANDERSON: Now, this isn't the first time that we've seen a bid for independence in Scotland. What happened last time?

HAZELL: Well, it is the first time formally that the Scottish National Party have been in government in Scotland with a majority in the Scottish parliament, and so the first time that they can actually have a referendum on independence. And the UK government has facilitated that. It's not stood in their way.

ANDERSON: So what is the cost-benefit analysis here?

HAZELL: Well, the Scottish government, the Scottish National Party, maintain that an independent Scotland would have much greater freedom to control its own economic destiny in particular, and they used to point to what they call the arc of prosperity of Ireland and Iceland and Norway.

They're now a bit quiet about Ireland and Iceland since the banking crisis of about five years ago, but they still point to Norway, for example, as a small Nordic country, similar population, about 5 million people, North Sea oil, and so they say we want to be like Norway.

ANDERSON: North Sea oil reserves dwindling, as we know.


ANDERSON: Scotland has an aging population. So even Salmond would admit that Scots would pay higher taxes as a result of Scottish independence going forward. Apparently you see this. Can you see the Scots saying yes at this?

HAZELL: It's most unlikely, according to all the opinion polls, that next September the Scots will vote yes. The opinion polls consistently, for the last 30 years or so, have shown that only about a quarter to a third of Scots would support independence. And faced with a real ballot paper next year, with real results, if they think about their wallets, the likelihood is the Scots will certainly vote no.

ANDERSON: That would be the cost. Where's the benefit?

HAZELL: Well, the benefit is the one that Salmond holds out of greater freedom to set their own economic destiny in particular, to have their own rates of corporation tax, which would probably be much lower, as in Ireland, and free from all the other things about the rest of the UK that SNP in particular dislike.


ANDERSON: Well, support for Scottish independence, as our guest suggested, is questionable. In a recent poll conducted by "The Sunday Times" of London, 47 percent of Scottish voters said no to becoming independent. Only 38 percent were in favor, and a further 15 percent undecided.

So, should Scotland become independent? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants you to have your say, You can tweet me, as ever, on anything, @BeckyCNN. We're also on Instagram, just search for BeckyCNN. You can watch my daily preview of what is coming up on this show.

Tonight, live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We're going to find out about this woman's journey to the top of Disney on tonight's Leading Women.

And understanding da Vinci's masterpiece. What intrigues art lovers most about the Mona Lisa? That after this.


ANDERSON: Once upon a time, Anne Sweeney became one of the most powerful people in Disney. However, her purse -- let me start again. However, her path to success was not the fairytale it seems. She tells us about her tough rise through the entertainment industry in what is this week's Leading Women.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's a powerful and familiar face on the Hollywood red carpet. Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group oversees the company's interests in 187 channels and affiliates around the world.

HARLOW (on camera): You have repeatedly been called one of the most powerful women in Hollywood and one of the most powerful women in business period. Does that ever bother you? Do you ever wish that it was just the most powerful period?

ANNE SWEENEY, PRESIDENT, DISNEY/ABC TELEVISION GROUP: I do. I think for all of these years, it has been very important to acknowledge women because we were unacknowledged for so long. But I do hope we're moving to the day when we are powerful people, so we stand on our accomplishments. We stand on our failures. We stand on the risks that we've taken.

HALROW (voice-over): For Sweeney, risks, like becoming president of ABC in 2004. We talked about that at the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit in Washington, DC.

HARLOW (on camera): When you did take that role as president, some criticized it and they said, "She doesn't have enough experience in broadcast. Is she really the right person for this job?" And I wonder, did that bother you?

SWEENEY: No, I knew they were right. I didn't have the experience, but that's where it stopped for me. I really didn't care what people said, because I was so excited to lead.

HARLOW (voice-over): In her nearly 18 years with the company, she's led a turnaround and a technological transformation.

SWEENEY: Bob called me and said, "Steve Jobs wants you to call him. He has this new technology." And Steve explained the video iPod. And no one knew that that would be the beginning of probably the biggest moment in our television group, that would make our content available wherever you are on whatever device you're holding at the moment.

HARLOW (on camera): Was there a single or a few pivotal moments for you in your career that you think led you here?

SWEENEY: Yes. I did have that moment of wanting to be an actress, and a friend of mine was a casting director. And then I went into his office -- I was in college -- and I looked down at the floor, and there were piles and piles and piles and piles of head shots.

And it struck me at that moment that I could spend my whole life in a pile on the floor, or I could stay close to the things I love, stay close to the arts, and do something else.

HARLOW (voice-over): The path she chose has taken her far, and one thing she's always believed --

HARLOW (on camera): You've said that you've never had a promotion-to- promotion plan.

SWEENEY: I didn't see my life or my career in that way. It doesn't matter. What matters is what you're learning, how you're learning it, and then how you're employing it in your day-to-day.


ANDERSON: And you can learn about some other Leading Women by going to CNN's special coverage webpage. All that and more at

Well, coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, a rare view of the Louvre's pride and joy. We are taking a closer look at the Mona Lisa in Inside the Louvre, up next.

And we find out about the latest on the storms that have been battering America's west coast. That after this.


ANDERSON: Well, her enigmatic smile helped propel the Mona Lisa to international stardom. And to this day, crowds still gather around her, eager for a glimpse. You and I have probably been there, haven't we?

Painted by the Renaissance pinup boy, Leonardo da Vinci, in the 16th century, questions still remain over the identity of the woman in the painting. But what really catapulted the small portrait -- and let me tell you, it is tiny -- to fame was a daring burglary over 100 years go when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the exhibition center.

As this week we are taking you behind the scenes all week at the Louvre. Tonight, CNN's Nick Glass takes us along for what is a private viewing of the Mona Lisa.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you are very, very lucky, you have the room to yourself and you can approach her quietly. Some 7 million people pass through this room every year, all with the same idea, to get as close to her as they can.

Direct gaze, seductive smile, utterly serene. She'd been looking out at us for 500 years.

GLASS (on camera): Sometimes, as a journalist, you feel a tiny bit privileged. How many of us get to spend time with the Mona Lisa alone, just like Napoleon Bonaparte? She was his bedroom picture.

GLASS (voice-over): The sitter has been identified as Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a Florentine silk merchant. Ten years ago, the Mona Lisa was forensically and exhaustively examined. All the x-rays, all the microscopic detail, published in a book.

GLASS (on camera): But they didn't address a basic question: should she be cleaned?



SCALLIEREZ: I think we are going very slowly to arrive to the point when we will do it. People now love the brown Mona Lisa, and if you clean it, it won't be brown. It's a decision very difficult to take for curators here. But I think we have to do it.

GLASS (voice-over): The Louvre recently cleaned Leonardo's The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, but not without controversy. Two members of the advisory committee resigned, evidently feeling she'd been over-cleaned.

JEAN-LUC MARTINEZ, PRESIDENT-DIRECTOR, MUSEE DU LOUVRE (through translator): With the Mona Lisa, the first stage of restoration is the varnish, which has yellowed, which means that the painting is becoming more and more opaque. Because of that, I think we have a responsibility. I'm not saying that we should undertake the restoration of the Mona Lisa straight away.

GLASS: The Mona Lisa has been pretty much on continuous display at the Louvre for the last 100 years, since her recovery after being sensationally stolen. If she's ever to be cleaned, she'll have to vanish again for a time.


ANDERSON: And much more from Nick Glass Inside the Louvre all week. And if you can't wait to know more about the world-famous museum -- and this is unique access -- you may want to check out this incredible info graphic, all at

And do tune in on Friday to CNN for an Inside the Louvre special, Friday, 4:30 in London, 5:30 in Berlin.

Well, a major winter storm is expected to bring snow, freezing rain, and high winds to the eastern United States. Forecasters warn that road conditions could be so treacherous. Flights so far do seem to be running smoothly from most major airports, but that could change by Wednesday.

Now, that nasty weather could disrupt the plans of millions of Americans who are -- that's right -- traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. The tradition dates back to 1621, but it's not a religious holiday, rather one where families unite to give thanks.

The Sunday following Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. More than 43 million Americans are going to travel 80 kilometers or more for the holiday. For more on the weather, let's cross to Jenny Harrison, who's at the CNN Weather Center, as she -- I don't suppose you've got your turkey in the oven yet.


ANDERSON: What are the conditions going to be like for those who are anxious to get those in?

JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know what, Becky? Getting progressively worse. I think that's probably the best way to describe it. And I'm also looking at that turkey thinking I could do with a nice big piece of that.

But all of this cloud -- now, the cloud itself has been causing some problems, a lot of low clouds, so a very low ceiling, so that has certainly caused some delays. Certainly Atlanta in the first part of this morning.

But you can see, we've even got some red boxed because, believe it or not, we have got some tornado watches out there as well. We've got the rain, heavy at times. The pink that you can see in the last few hours, that is that horrible mix of ice, and then of course, the white is the snow.

Now, the rain has been coming down very steadily and quite heavily. Jackson, Mississippi, 121 millimeters. And it will continue to produce rain, this storm system, mostly towards the coastal areas and mostly rain in the big cities: Washington, New York, and Boston.

But on the back side of this, where we've got this much, much colder air, this is where the snow is. And of course, in between the two, we have got that fine line, and that's where we see the icing. So, roads are already quite bad because of the amount of rain that's falling. Just very conditions.

And look at the temperatures. These are the temperatures with the wind factored in: 3 is how it feels in Atlanta, zero in Washington, 3 in New York. But it is set to get colder, would you believe? Here's the snow, so as I say, staying away from those big major hubs, but Pittsburgh certainly picking some up.

The warnings are widespread. There is that ice warning, which you really cannot drive when you've got ice on the ground.

And then when it comes to the airports, Becky, you said it could worse on Wednesday. It may well. The delays may certainly get longer, and there could even be some cancellations. But the worst of that will pass once the system works its way through, along with the winds.

It's going to be very windy as well, so that's something else just to think about, certainly, on Thanksgiving Day itself up in the Northeast, Becky. Whether the winds are too strong for them to fly those big Macy's Day Parade balloons. Look at that, 86 kilometers an hour Wednesday morning, and on it goes.

So, yes, we're going to keep on eye on all of this, but it's certainly not good out there, let's just say that.

ANDERSON: What are your plans, briefly?

HARRISON: My plans, Becky --

ANDERSON: Staying in?

HARRISON: -- I'm at work, every day all day until the evening hours, Becky.


HARRISON: So, yes. No turkey for me this year.

ANDERSON: She's a trooper. She's a trooper. Don't feel sorry for her.


ANDERSON: Jen, thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you as and when it is. In tonight's Parting Shots, we celebrate the 50th anniversary -- can you believe it? -- of Beatlemania. Their album, "With the Beatles" was released 50 years ago today, and it made them a global sensation.

Well today, Beatlemania continues as people who were supporting characters in the 60s are now taking center stage. CNN spoke to an author who made their former manager the star of what was a graphic novel.


VIVEK J. TIWARY, AUTHOR/DIRECTOR, "THE FIFTH BEATLE": Firstly, from a purely practical point, he -- his main contribution was exposing their message to the world. No record label wanted to sign the Beatles. Literally every single record label turned them down.

A British band had never made an impact in America, Ed Sullivan didn't want to book them. So, without Brain Epstein, it's very likely that the Beatles would not have gone any further than Liverpool and Hamburg.

But outside of that, Brian, he very much shielded the Beatles from the business side of the industry and let them focus on their art.


ANDERSON: Well, the secretary of the Fab Four has also followed them into the spotlight in a film where she describes her experiences during what was that Beatle craze.


FREDA KELLY, BEATLES SECRETARY: I gave out my home address as the fan club address.


KELLY: And the postman knocked on the door and he said to me, "Who gave this address out? You've got 200 letters here."

And I said, "Sorry. Won't do it again." Little did he know, within the next few months, the Beatles became more famous, and instead of just 200 letters, they were coming in bundles, and those bundles came in sacks. The vans rolled up.


ANDERSON: Good on you, Freda. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.