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Syrian Government Announces They Will Attend Peace Talks; Silvio Berlusconi Kicked Out Of Senate; Brussels Debates Allowing Euthanasia For Minors; Brazil Stadium Crane Collapse; Storm Causing Travel Troubles for US Thanksgiving Holiday; Great Race Home

Aired November 27, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Italy's senate boots Berlusconi out of government, marking the end of an era. Tonight, we take a look back at Silvio's life in politics and what the future holds for this scandal-riddled billionaire. Also this hour


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Damascus. I will have the latest on how the possible Geneva peace talks are shaping up and who might be attending.


ANDERSON: And planes, trains and automobiles, CNN's reporters put America's Thanksgiving travel chaos to the test.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been dealt one of the biggest blows of his political career. After months of wrangling, the Italian Senate has voted to expel Mr. Berlusconi from parliament after his conviction for tax fraud.

Now he's being stripped of his senate title, meaning he's lost partial immunity and can now face further prosecution. But is this really the end for Italy's comeback king?

CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joining us live from Rome.

We are this evening saying ciao il cavaliere (ph). Is that the right thing to do? Is this arrivederci at this point?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I would say it's arrivederci for Mr. Berlusconi, because he has many time before seemed to have been teetering on the brink of the edge of his political career and has come back.

Now 192 members of the Italian upper house, or senate, did vote to expel him as opposed to 113 who wanted him to stay.

Now he has to basically serve this sentence for tax fraud, but because of his advanced age, 77, it's a fairly mild sentence, only one year of community service and He's barred from holding public office for two years. But it's not as if He's down and out, He's one of the richest men in Italy. And I'm sure the creature comforts will make his life a little more comfortable.

And of course he still has many followers here in Italy, on the right at least. And he may not be able to be a direct player in Italian politics, but with all his influence He's probably still going to be pulling the strings.

However, Becky, let's not forget He's facing a lot of other legal troubles. he's been convicted and He's appealing that conviction for having sex with an underaged minor, that's the so-called Ruby Rubacuori, Ruby the Heartstealer.

he's also facing charges for apparently bribing a member of the senate to switch parties. he's also facing charges of using his position as prime minister to engage in corrupt practices.

So let's of drama left to this soap opera D Becky.

ANDERSON: All right, so what have we heard from Italians today?

WEDEMAN: Well, the usual mixture. Some of the people who attended a large rally outside his residence in downtown Rome were his diehard supporters. They said D one man who was wearing Milan football jersey, that's a team owned by Mr. Berlusconi, said OK, He's out of the game for the moment, but he'll be back on the team and he will bring positive results.

Another Italian I spoke to said, look, I'm 23-years-old Berlusconi has always been in Italian politics. it's time for him to go.

So a very mixed opinion. This is a man that nobody has a neutral opinion about. So he will continue to stir up controversy in one form or another in office or out of office.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman for you in Rome this morning. Ben D or this evening. Ben, thank you very much indeed for that.

Well, Mr. Berlusconi has dominated Italian politics for two decades. And what a colorful 20 years it's been. let's take a look back on some of the key moments in the former premier's somewhat scandalous political career.


ANDERSON: Scenes of celebration on November 12, 2011. Italians had just learned that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was stepping down. Many blamed this colorful leader for the country's economic crisis and were tired of the scandals that turned his political career into an international skeptical.

Since he was first elected prime minister in 1994, Berlusconi has appeared in court on charges related to tax fraud, bribery and paying for sex with an under-aged prostitute. that's led to several convictions.

In October last year, Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud and given a four year prison sentence. Three years of that were pardoned, but he must still pay a sentence in community service. In March, this year Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in prison for illegally leaking a police wiretap of a political rivals phone calls.

Berlusconi is appealing that ruling.

This June, he was found guilty of having sex with a then under-aged prostitute and abusing his power. That brought a seven year sentence, which he is also appealing.

Despite the political circus that surrounds him, Silvio Berlusconi has maintained a level of public appeal. On a platform of anti-austerity, Berlusconi's coalition won almost 30 percent of the vote in Italy's last general election.

However, his political power came into question in October. After vowing to topple the government coalition in a no confidence vote, Berlusconi made a last minute U-turn when members of his own party sided with Prime Minister Letta.

A fall from grace for Italy's most persistent political force.


ANDERSON: Well, earlier I spoke to Bill Emmott who is the former editor of The Economist magazine and co-writer of the documentary called "Girlfriend in a Coma" about Italy's economic decline.

I asked him how significant this day is for Silvio Berlusconi. This is what he told me.


BILL EMMOTT, FRM. EDITOR OF THE ECONOMIST: For Berlusconi himself, this is a new beginning of a new phase in his political career. And he likes new beginnings. He is now clearly in opposition. He clearly can present himself as a victim. He will now, I think, clearly go euro skeptic.

So for the European elections next year, for the general election, whenever that takes place, there's now going to be a clear lineup between the opposition D Berlusconi, the comedian Bepe Grillo, the Northern League separatist anti-immigrant group there, all euro skeptic against the government and the left wing party which are pro-Europe.

ANDERSON: Bill, how significant a role will he play in his Forza Italia party going forward?

EMMOTT: I think Silvio Berlusconi is bound to be still the focus of Forza Italia, his party. he's the financier, He's the organizer, He's the front man in every TV show, in every communication opportunity. So I think as long as the law allows him to do that D and there's an important question about that D then he will be the main man.

The important question is that he now has to choose between house arrest for nine months or community service for his criminal conviction for tax fraud. If he chooses house arrest, actually that's more comfortable, but it does restrict what He's allowed to do, such as not appear on TV talk shows, not make platform speeches in piazzas.

If he does community service, he might end up cleaning the toilets, but he will make it into a kind of campaign platform.

So that choice is going to be crucial.

ANDERSON: He still has a significant amount of support. There are those today calling this a coup. He, himself, has told his supporters that D and I quote D no political leader has suffered a persecution such as I have lived through.

Going forward, does what's happened today do him more or less good with his supporters, do you think?

EMMOTT: I think with his base, with his core supporters, which is probably about 15 to 20 percent D probably 15 percent of the vote, with them it does him good. They think of him as one of them. They feel victimized by the tax system. They feel victimized by the judges. They feel He's on their side. With them, he now clearly is on their side, because He's in the same situation as they are.

With the extra 10 to 20 percent that he needs to really form a D be politically powerful it's probably bad for him, because they want Italy to reform. They want Italy to make progress. And He's not going to be able to be part of that, at least in the near future.

ANDERSON: Bill, you and I spoke before the Italian elections earlier this year about the documentary that you had made "Girlfriend in a Coma," alluding to Italy being in a coma.

Is it still that bad?

EMMOTT: I think that Italy's economic situation is still that bad, but the coma is breaking. In other words, there's an awakening of public opinion, an awakening of the media and an awakening of quite a lot of the political establishment to the fact that something needs to be done, that really things have to change. Until today, they were blocked by the whole saga of Silvio Berlusconi.

Now, from today, they are liberated to show that actually they are going to try to treat the coma and actually bring my girlfriend out of the hospital's intensive care ward. This is now the test, can they do that?

I believe that they want to do it.

ANDERSON: When she gets out of that coma, though, you are pretty confident tonight that Mr. Silvio Berlusconi will be around in some form or guise?

EMMOTT: Definitely Silvio Berlusoni is not going to go away.


ANDERSON: Bill Emmott speaking to me earlier.

Well, still to come tonight, we are live in Damascus as the Syrian government announces it will take part in a new round of peace talks.

And, standing firm: how Thai protesters are vowing to keep up their demonstrations until their government resigns.

Plus, Belgium comes one step closer to giving children the right to die. That and much more when Connect the World continues. It is 12 minutes past 8:00 in London. Back after this.


ANDERSON: Right. You are back with CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Welcome back.

The Syrian government says it will send a delegation to January's international peace talks in Geneva, but it rejects calls for President Bashar al-Assad to give up power beforehand. Now that is one of the demands of the main Syrian opposition groups who have so far refused to attend the so-called Geneva II talks.

All right, let's find out what we learned from an interview that CNN's Frederik Pleitgen conducted today with the deputy foreign minister in the Syrian capital Damascus.


LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, UN-ARAB LEAGUE ENVOY TO SYRIA: Individuals on each side tell me that there is no military solution. I mean, it at last, at long last that there is no military solution to this tragedy.


ANDERSON: That's Brahimi -- I'm so sorry, I was pointing it out to my colleagues and I should be pointing out to you viewers as well that that was the wrong sound. I'm pretty sure that that was Mr. Brahimi who we will also be hearing from tonight.

So let's get to Fred who we have just got up in Damascus.

Fred, we've just run Lakdhar Brahimi who was speaking to Christiane Amanpour earlier on, who of course is the Syrian envoy for peace. I know you spoke earlier to the deputy foreign minister. What did he have to say?

PLEITGEN: Well, it was interesting, because he did make quite a lot of news on this day.

First of all, he was the one who went forward earlier today and said that, yes, the Syrian government would indeed participate in these Geneva II peace talks. He said that he'd rather have these peace talks earlier rather than later.

And then there is the whole field of all of these possible preconditions that have been set. you've already alluded to one, one of the things that the opposition has been saying is that they want Bashar al- Assad to step down before peace talks even take place, that's something that's been rejected.

Now some opposition groups are coming along and saying all right, we might drop that demand.

Another very key one is that a lot of opposition groups are also saying that at least they don't want Bashar al-Assad to be part of any sort of transitional body that such talks might emerge from such talks that would happen in Geneva. That's also something that was shot down by the deputy foreign minister in our interview today.

Let's listen in to what he had to say about that.


FAISAL MEKDAD, SYRIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: What we are willing to achieve is what all the Syrians want to achieve. First, stopping terrorists, which should be a priority for all the participants. And I hope nobody, no side, will D I mean, from the other side D will raise I mean, other artificial issues, because the main issue is stopping terrorism. By this we help Syria, we help neighboring countries and we help the international community.

And then when we Syrians sit together, we are open to discuss everything. Everything should be agreed by consensus.

And then the final objective we have in mind is to solve on a political basis the ongoing crisis.


PLEITGEN: Now, of course the thing that He's alluding to is that he wants a referendum in Syria for then Syrians to decide who their next leader is going to be. That's, of course, something that the opposition doesn't trust in at all. They believe that the government would rig such a referendum.

I put that to the minister as well. He says the only reason why the opposition is against it is because they don't really have the people on their side.

So there is still a lot of headway that needs to be made. And of course the big questions are going to be, yes, the government is going to participate in this conference, but who from the opposition is actually going to show up there, Becky?

ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen in Damascus for you this evening.

In other world news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is inked to deal with the center-left Social Democrats to form what in Germany is known as a grand coalition between the right and the left.

Now the members of the SPD still have to vote to make it official. The treaty includes Germany's first national minimum wage, among other major reforms. It was struck more than two months after Germans voted in parliamentary elections.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Finally, I want to say that we went into the talks with very different ideas. And that is why it took a little while. It's very interesting how a topic can be viewed so differently. That's the exciting thing in life. And that's why these talks were so good and marked by trust.

I want to say thank you for this. We have a good chance to say in 2017 people will be better off than today.


ANDERSON: The German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Well, Latvia's Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has resigned over the deadly collapse of a supermarket in the capital Riga. At least 54 people were killed in what was the Country's worst disaster in decades. Now, authorities there are still investigating the cause. Elections for a new government not scheduled until October next year.

Protesters in Thailand have surrounded key government ministries and offices in a bid to oust the prime minister. She faces a no confidence vote in parliament expected on Thursday. But if that party holds a majority, there is little chance that it will succeed.

Anna Coren reports from the capital Bangkok.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the latest show of political turmoil here in Thailand, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Bangkok demanding the resignation of Thailand's prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government.

They say that she is just a puppet for her older brother Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted from power during a military coup in 2006.??Well, these protesters say they want an end to the Thaksin regime and an overhaul over the Thai political system.??

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm (inaudible) that Thailand to be red, yellow, I don't like it. I think (inaudible), you know, we have three colors -- blue, white and red together, not red, not yellow. It is together, same color, it's Thailand.??

COREN: Well, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is refusing to go anywhere, instead calling for dialogue to end this political crisis. She has, however, given authorities more power to deal with these demonstrators, although insists that no force will be used against these people.??

It was a different scenario back in 2010 when at least 90 people were killed during street protests that lasted two months, shutting down parts of Bangkok. Well, so far these demonstrations have been peaceful. No acts of violence have been reported, and that is something that prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra desperately wants to avoid.??

Anna Coren, CNN, Bangkok.??


ANDERSON: Well, Pakistan's prime minister has nominated this man, Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif as the Country's new army chief. he'll officially be appointed to the position on Thursday.

Now Sharif has advocated a stronger stance against the Pakistani Taliban and will define the army's role in Pakistani politics.

you're watching us live from London, this is CNN, Connect the World.

Coming up, with millions of Americans racing through bad weather to get home for Thanksgiving, we have put three of our reporters to the test.

And should children be given the right to die? The debate goes on in Belgium, we meet families who are faced with this very dilemma. That is up next.


ANDERSON: Right. A controversial bill that would allow children under the age of 18 to request euthanasia in Belgium has just been voted through by a senate committee. But this is only stage one in what is going to be a very long process that the bill must go though before becoming law.

Now the proposal has divided opinion, as you can imagine, with some saying that the government should instead provide better support. Diana Magnay went to see firsthand the dilemmas that families face.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was no medicine that could save Ella-Loise from a rare genetic mutation called Krabber disease which destroyed her nervous system? Heavily sedated in these final days of her short, 10-month life, no food or water to try and speed up the inevitable.

LINDA VAN ROY, ELLA-LOUISEOS MOTHER: That whole period of sedation you always need to give more and more and more medication. You start asking questions and they'll say what's the use of keeping this baby alive.

MAGNAY: Linda wishes she could have ministered a fatal dose and spared them both the pain of those final days, which is why she's campaigning for a change to Belgium's end of life and euthanasia laws.

VAN ROY: We want for those children, we wanted to be able to talk about euthanasia and to ask those questions. And if they really want to stop this, they say I don't want it anymore, then they can have the choice.

MAGNAY: Pediatricians like Gerland Van Berlaer say it'll simply legalize what happens anyway.

GERLAND VAN BERLAER, PEDIATRICIAN: Doctors do terminate lives of children as well as adults. But today it's done in, let's say in a gray zone or in the dark, because it's illegal.

But critics question whether children can reasonably decide whether to end their own lives.

Isabella Sacovic (ph) has Huntington's Disease. she's just turned 18. In the last few years, She's lost the ability to walk, eat, or speak properly. But she can still think for herself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): Do you know what euthanasia means?



(subtitles) Euthanasia means if you are unwell, you are so unhappy that you don't want to stay here, you ant to leave, go high above, to God. But if you leave, you leave forever. You can't come back. What do you think of that? Is it good or is it not good?

UNIDENTFIED FEMALE (subtitles): It's not good.

UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE (subtitles): It's not good.

MAGNAY: Her mother Ivana struggles to look after both of her children and keep working as a cleaner to keep the money coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (subtitles): If we had help, you wouldn't think of death for our children.

MAGNAY: She thinks the senators inside these walls should focus instead on better support for families like hers, especially as children like Isabella pass into adulthood when the care options shrink further.

(on camera): One of the main arguments is that this is more a matter of principle than anything else, that only a very small number of children will ever in practice ask to end their lies though euthanasia. And if you look at The Netherlands where since 2002 children with parental consent have been allowed to request Euthanasia. Since then, only five children have ever done so.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Brussels, Belgium.


ANDERSON: Well, let me tell you, there is much more on this story on the website, including an interactive map of the countries around he world that do currently allow euthanasia. All that and more,

You know you can always get in touch with us as a show. What do you think of the idea that under 18s should be allowed to request Euthanasia. The team will wants to know, Have our say. You can tweet me as ever on anything. It's @BeckyCNN. I'm also on Instagram, so search for Becky CNN. You can also there watch a early preview of the show. We post that about an hour-and-a-half or so, give or take, before the show starts.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, grounded planes and treacherous roads, bad weather threatening the thanksgiving planes of millions of Americans. More on that is just ahead.

And later, they may be priceless pieces of art, but they still need some tender loving care. we'll get you behind the scenes at the Louvre.


ANDERSON: At just after half past 8:00 in London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories for you this hour on CNN.

Italy's senate has voted to expel former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi from parliament after his conviction for tax fraud. Now, this is a big blow to Berlusconi's political future. The expulsion opens up the possibility of prosecution and possible charges in other cases.

The Syrian government says it will send a delegation to an international peace conference in Geneva in January. It's still unclear, though, which opposition groups, if any, will take part.

Latvia's prime minister, Valdis Dombrovskis has resigned after -- a week after a supermarket collapse in the capital Riga left 54 people dead.

And a construction accident in Sao Paulo has killed at least two people at a stadium being built for the 2014 World Cup. Shasta Darlington joining me now with the details on what caused the accident. Shasta?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this is a construction site. The stadium is about 95 percent done, but they were trying to put this last huge chunk of roofing on the stadium. They have an enormous crane on site. The crane was lifting that piece of roofing over, and it just fell over. The roofing came crashing down on the site, and as you said, at least two workers died.

We were at this site just two days ago, and I have to say, it's a very impressive site. Most of the work is done. The seats are there, the grass has already been planted. And this is one of Brazil's best-known and its biggest construction company, Odebrecht, handling the stadium site. So this is really a shock, a surprise. The condolences are pouring in.

It also comes at a very bad moment for Brazil as it gears up for the World Cup in June. In fact, it's building or refurbishing a total of 12 stadiums. So there are going to be a lot of questions about the quality of the work going ahead, Becky.

ANDERSON: Shasta Darlington in Sao Paulo for you. Thank you.

On the eve of Thanksgiving in the United States, a strong storm over the east coast is causing chaos for millions of Americans' holiday plans. More than 6,000 flights were delayed on Tuesday, and another 95 canceled early on Wednesday.

Crews scrambling to clear snow on the -- what are blanked roads. Up to a foot of snow expected in parts of western New York and Pennsylvania. That is a foot of snow. And the storm already being blamed for scores of road accidents.

And rail operator Amtrak is expected to carry out about 140,000 passengers today, double its normal volume for a Wednesday.

Well, with millions of Americans racing through bad weather to get home for the holiday, three intrepid CNN correspondents have joined in to see which method of travel is currently the quickest on the east coast. They are making three separate journeys -- or certainly were -- from New York to Washington by plane, train, and of course, by automobile.

CNN's Tom Foreman is in CNN Washington with the latest on the Great Race Home. How are we doing here?


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was a great introduction, Becky. Look, let me tell you, these are our travelers: Nic Robertson, Lisa Desjardins, Brian Todd. And yes, they started from New York City up here trying to get down to Washington, DC, down here. This is a distance of about 227 driving miles if you go that way.

And I will tell you, even if the weather were not bad, Becky, this is one of the most heavily-traveled corridors in this country any weekend. So there's always a chance of a huge breakdown here.

But Nic up here, who was the flier, made a run for the airport here in New York, and it looked to the last minute like he would not make it, but now, take a look at the clock, and let's bring in Nic, because he is the one who punched in with the winning time, getting here to the bureau --


FOREMAN: Yes -- three hours.

ROBERTSON: Very lucky. I didn't think I was going to make the flight. The upper west side around Central Park, it was so slow. Every red light, every car that could get in the way, a police car in front of us at one point, can't get the taxi driver to go around it. I can see the airport, but I'm thinking the doors are closing. And then when I get there, security -- there's no one there. It's just me.


ROBERTSON: Throwing things off, throwing them back on again. I got on the plane, my belt wasn't on, but I got on the plane. That was the key.

FOREMAN: So Nic is cutting through the worst part. Imagine going through the worst part of Madrid or London or Tokyo or Berlin or anywhere. But our other travelers, those are the ones we're worried about now.

Right now, as best we know, for all of their traveling, Brian Todd is now somewhere down here. He's getting fairly close to Baltimore, in this ballpark. And Lisa Desjardins on the train, she was behind him for a long time, but she passed him not long ago. And I believe Brian can join us now from his car and tell us how he's making out. Brian, where are you?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tom, we're in mid-Maryland. You're right, we're approaching Baltimore. I'd say we are probably 30-some miles from Baltimore. And now encountering a bit of a jam up. My colleagues, Tom Jurek, Julian Cummings, and I have been actually almost shocked by how --


TODD: -- we encountered --


TODD: -- I'll show you the side camera first. Julian is manning our cameras. He'll show you the side cameras, and usually you can see the northbound traffic on I-95. You can't see it here because there's a --


TODD: -- now in the way. But the traffic northbound on I-95 has been very smooth. And now we'll switch --


TODD: -- camera, where you'll see our back --


TODD: -- the first kind of set of tail lights that we've encountered in Maryland. Again, we encountered it a couple times in New Jersey, but not bad each time. It has opened up every time we've been jammed up.

But as you can maybe see in the camera -- I'm not sure if you can see it -- we are now dealing with a little bit of snow. Now why this backup is occurring? Could it be the weather? We don't know. You don't really know about these things until you come upon an accident or something. But that's what we have now. This is our first sign of maybe a major backup here in the central part of Maryland, Tom.

FOREMAN: And the last we heard of Lisa, Becky, is that she was having a lovely time on the train enjoying a hamburger and a cup of lime with some new friends.


FOREMAN: So, she's having a wonderful trip. But we don't know if she's going to make it in sooner. Certainly, Nic is relaxing here with a cup of coffee and preparing for his next travels.


ANDERSON: I was going to say, what was the quality of the food and booze on the flight, Nic?

ROBERTSON: Becky, there wasn't any, because you know what? The storms that are hitting here, they were so bumpy on the flight the stewardesses stayed in their seats with their seatbelts done up and nobody moved. There was no food.

There was some rumors -- malicious rumors, I have to say --


ROBERTSON: -- circulating that the flight had been held back, but I can tell you most assuredly that it pushed back from the gate at least a minute 30 early and landed in DC here about 17 minutes early.



ANDERSON: Listen --

FOREMAN: -- he did very, very well.

ANDERSON: All of this brings back that wonderful "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," John Candy and Steve Martin --


ANDERSON: -- a movie I must've watched at least a dozen times in my life. But I've got to say, this has been extremely entertaining, and we wish those two who are still en route the very best. But I've got to say, as far as the travel is concerned, I -- well, personally, I think I'd probably do the train.


ANDERSON: It has nothing to do with the booze.


FOREMAN: I think they're going to have karaoke later on, just so you know.


ROBERTSON: Some people have said this --


ANDERSON: All right, good stuff --

ROBERTSON: Some people have said this is my smug look, but I have to say, this is my relieved look. That's not smug, that's relieved.



FOREMAN: No. That's smug. That's smug right there. We're going to circle --

ROBERTSON: That's --

FOREMAN: It's a big smug look.


ANDERSON: Nic, thank you. Tom, thank you for that. Well, retailers gearing up for one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the US known as Black Friday. It's a traditional retail rush with big enticements to shoppers. Deals include "door busters," as they're known, limited time only deals off the TV, first shoppers in the store with discounts of 50 percent or more.

But -- but -- many Americans are not planning on taking part this year. We're told consumer reports say 56 percent of Americans plan to skip this shopping frenzy because of the large crowds.

Well, Black Friday used to be solely an American phenomenon. Now, though, retailers have a robust online presence, of course, those of us outside America can, apparently, snap up these deals. CNN correspondent Samuel Burke joining me now in the studio. Sam, what is the, then, best way to get one of these deals? As long as you don't have to be a door buster, one of those, or dam buster or whatever.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's so aggravating, isn't it, get outside of the United States sometimes, because to think about shipping and handling and then VAT added.

But actually, with mobile apps, they can have a different app for every country, so there are a lot of companies out there, the mobile apps with Black Friday offers on them. Download them for the retailers where you're going to go shopping or the sites you're going to visit, because those mobile apps a lot of times have really great offers on them.

We're showing you the Banana Republic mobile app right there. Those offers good inside the United States and outside the United States.

The other thing you want to do is check the social media accounts of those retailers. And don't make the mistake that my mom made, Becky, think I have to be a Twitter user in order to check them. No, the name of the store, and look, here's Amazon UK Twitter account using the hash tag #BlackFriday. Those Black Friday deals good in the United States and over here in the UK and around the world.

ANDERSON: That is absolutely fantastic. What about those of us that don't want to troll through these pages, these loads of retail web pages?

BURKE: One of my favorite hidden gems on the internet is So instead of having to go to the retailers' website, you type in the name of the product, and it shows you how much it costs on dozens and dozens of websites, including those Black Friday deals. That's a favorite of mine. There's also Google shopping. That's great because it's available in nearly every single country out there.

And then there's the Amazon app which actually allows you to download it to your phone and use it as a bar code scanner. You can be in a shop, scan the item that you have in front of you, and then compare it to the price right there --

ANDERSON: Seriously?

BURKE: -- to the price on Amazon and their private stores, too.

ANDERSON: Don't you love it?


ANDERSON: His name is Samuel Burke. We'll have him on again. More from you another time. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Live from London, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. How Russia is rebuilding its maritime power one port at a time.

And Prince of Pop. How Britain's Prince William seems to have found a different calling. That and much more after this.





ANDERSON: With one of the world's longest coastlines, Russia relies heavily on its ports. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia lost vital trade routes through what are the now independent Baltic states. So, to reestablish itself, Russia has built Ust-Luga, which is a new port, now one of the biggest in the country. This latest in our series, the Gateway.


ANDERSON (voice-over): The Baltic, a body of water that is crucial to Russian trade.

ANDERSON (on camera): Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's cargo was transported via the ports of the now independent Baltic countries. Today, a new infrastructure project is set to reestablish Russia's position in the region.

ANDERSON (voice-over): About 150 kilometers west of St. Petersburg lies Ust-Luga, a brand-new port rising over the Baltic.

DMITRY YALOV, VICE GOVERNOR, LENINGRAD REGION: After the end of the Soviet era, there was a real lack in sea port infrastructure that was owned by Russia. We need to develop both specialized sea ports as well as universal sea ports, like Ust-Luga. We hope that this will be a place of the new economic and industrial growth of the northwestern part of Russia.

ANDERSON: Built from scratch, construction began in 1999. Although its development is ongoing, this port has already established itself as one of the five largest in the country. According to the Port Authority, cargo volumes have increased twofold each year since 2009, from cars to cows.


ANDERSON: Yancy Sparks has been minding these pregnant heifers for 19 days through rough seas and strong storms.

YANCY SPARKS, CATTLE SPECIALIST, STAMEY CATTLE: This shipment of cattle came from all over the United States, mostly in our hometown state, North Carolina. The whole goal is to up the Russian genetics quicker and faster. That was the reason for the shipment of the cattle here.

ANDERSON: These cattle are destined for pastures new, Russian pastures, now fed by the port of Ust-Luga. It's a government strategy fueled by an increased demand for foreign beef. Over 50,000 have entered in the past two years.

OLEG KRAVCHUK, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TRANSVENTUS (through translator): On average, we receive two to three ships a month. Ust-Luga is in a strategic location. One can go from here to the Moscow highway, bypassing St. Petersburg.

The route from the USA to Ust-Luga is four days shorter than the route through the Black Sea, which means the cost of cows and transportation is lower.

ANDERSON: A more efficient route into the Russian market. Once the cows are counted, checked, and cleared by customs, they'll be sent on their way.

Out of Russia's aging port infrastructure, Ust-Luga has emerged as the country's new Baltic hub.


ANDERSON: Got a very short break for you now. Coming up, find out how one of the world's largest museums is maintained. We're pretty much getting behind the scenes on a daily basis.


ANDERSON: Behind the scenes at the Louvre, delicate work is undertaken to keep priceless works of art looking at their best. Now, one of the museum's most precious pieces, the iconic Venus de Milo, stands more than two meters tall and needs to be hoovered twice a year to stay in top shape.

Well, CNN's Nick Glass goes Inside the Louvre to meet the people in charge of the upkeep of what is one of the world's most-visited museums.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are French kings and French emperors, and then there's Fousse on patrol on his bike, all with the same Paris address. As head of outside security at the Louvre, Denis is one of the few people who still live there.

Among the former residents, Francis I was a patron to Leonardo. Louis XIV loved Nicholas Poussin. Napoleon just collected art wherever his soldiers went. Denis contents himself with just enjoying what they and others collected, including his favorite painting: St. Joseph with the Boy Jesus by Georges de La Tour from about 1640.

DENIS FOUSSE, HEAD OF OUTSIDE SECURITY (through translator): It harmonizes the day, the night and the light, youth and old age, divinity, and humanity.

GLASS: This is what the public never get to see: the museum at work going about its domestic business, simply changing the light bulbs, dusting the chandeliers. They get done just once a year.

Giving a Roman floor mosaic a much-needed power wash. And much to our amazement, giving the Venus de Milo a good hoovering, too. She gets dusted every six months.

LUDOVIC LAUGLER, GREEK, ETRUSCAN, AND ROMAN ANTIQUITES DEPARTMENT: The dust can be a little bit acid and attack the marble, so we check this very often to make sure that it doesn't happen.

GLASS: We were given rare access to explore the museum. An inner courtyard used by Napoleon's cavalry. And in the absence of any other visitors, we began to grasp the sheer vastness of the Louvre.

GLASS (on camera): This extraordinary space, the Grand Gallery, was commissioned by Henry IV to connect his palace and the queens, and he used it, as you do if you're a king, to teach his son, the Dauphin, how to hunt.

GLASS (voice-over): There was certainly room for a bit of indoor sport. The Gallery is a quarter of a mile long. In a rather smaller gallery, a large tapestry was being unrolled. A new show was going up about a French artist, Jean Cousin, a near contemporary of Leonardo's.

CECILE SCAILLIEREZ, CURATOR, MUSEE DU LOUVRE: He was very, very good. But not many works of art today.

GLASS: This Cousin painting from around 1550 is, they believe, the first-ever nude by a French artist.

These paintings were returning from the Louvre's satellite museum north of Paris. The biggest, a portrait of Charles I of England by van Dyck. It took some maneuvering and a few regal indignities to get him back to his gallery and on the wall again. He hadn't been moved for 20 years.


ANDERSON: Well, if you ever visited the Louvre, what's your favorite piece of art there? Leave a comment on our Inside the Louvre page, that is, or tweet the hash tag #Louvre -- and that is L-O-U-V-R-E. I realize you can all do that -- favorite, that's #LouvreFavorite.

And tune into CNN Friday for an Inside the Louvre special. That's Friday 4:30 in London, 5:30 in Berlin and wherever you are watching in the world, you can work the times out, I'm sure, for yourselves.

In tonight's Parting Shots, a karaoke tune getting the right royal treatment. Britain's Prince Williams surprised guests at what was a charity event in London when he performed the popular 80s anthem with Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift. Our royal correspondent Max Foster was there.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it really was a glittering affair here at Kensington Palace, Jon Bon Jovi receiving an Inspiration Award for his work with the homeless in America, and Taylor Swift flying in hot on the heels of her success at the American Music Awards.

TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I actually just kind of came right of stage after the AMAs and got on a plane and came here.

FOSTER: What was it like meeting Prince William?

SWIFT: Oh, wonderful! He's so cool!

FOSTER: Was he as you expected?

SWIFT: He's funny.

FOSTER: You've sung about being a princess before, the fairytale, is it what you expected here at the palace?

SWIFT: I think I really loved the romanticized version of life when I write songs.


SWIFT: I like to make it more day-dreamy than it is. I don't typically write about everyday occurrences or things that aren't life in slow motion and movie scenes and things like that, because I just kind of would rather see love that way.

But as far as actually getting to be at a palace, I have to say, it's -- it really loves up to your expectations.

FOSTER: Then, inside, something nobody expected. Taylor Swift, Jon Bon Jovi, and Prince William, all on stage singing "Living on a Prayer."


FOSTER: On homelessness, obviously it's a cause particularly close to the duke's heart.

JON BON JOVI, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Like I say, our foundation in America deals specifically with the homeless issue. And it's very simple, we didn't need a scientist to create the cure, and it just took money and willpower.

I realized in a nutshell that we could really affect the homeless issue if, in fact, we had the right people. And so, for eight years now, we've built 350 houses, we've had a restaurant for three and a half years that fees those in need.

FOSTER: Well, this is a cause very close to Prince William's heart. Centrepoint is a cause that his mother also supported. She famously took him along to homelessness shelters as a boy, and he remembers that. He also spent a night sleeping on the streets of London himself. So he was more than happy to give up his garden for this gala event. Max Foster, CNN, Kensington Palace, London.


ANDERSON: And giving up to my colleague Richard Quest, "Quest Means Business" follows this after this very short break. I'm Becky Anderson, good night.