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CONNECT THE WORLD

Flooding Feared Throughout Western Europe; UK Contemplates Raising Retirement Age; UN Security Council Approves Peacekeeping Mission In Central African Republic

Aired December 5, 2013 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, tonight we're going to take you across the continent for the very latest on these extreme conditions.

Also this hour...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are on the brink of mass atrocities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Preventing a catastrophe in the Central African Republic. France's ambassador to the UN on why intervention is the only solution.

And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're telling a story that could potentially change the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: The screenwriter of "A Long Walk to Freedom" on adapting the life of a legend.

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

ANDERSON: Well, thousands evacuated from their homes. Rail and road traffic disrupted and hundreds of thousands left without power. That is the scene this Thursday as the worst storms in more than 60 years lash large parts of the UK and norther Europe.

Now winds of up to 144 kilometers an hour have battered the worst affected areas in eastern England and in Scotland where there have already been fatalities.

This was the scene in the northern German city of Cookshaven (ph) where ships have been kept in port there understandably so and in Denmark where trains were halted as a precautionary measure.

Now the combination of high winds and heavy rain means that some of the worst storm surge in decades will occur at high tide for many locations along the North Sea. And that brings with it a serious danger of flooding.

Now this was the scene in a city called Newcastle upon Tyne after the river there burst its banks earlier today. And here in London, the Thames barrier designed, of course, to protect the city from flooding during exceptional tides has been shut, but not all affected areas are as well protected.

Let's cross the Matthew Chance in Great Yarmouth, which is on the eastern coast, on the Norfolk coast, where a storm surge of course is expected at high tide less than an hour from now.

Matt, at this point, how would you describe the situation?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESOPNDENT: I think there's an increasing sense of concern amongst the people of Great Yarmouth. They've been warned for the past 24 hours or so by the local authorities to get prepared for this potentially historic storm surge. You can see what they're doing behind me filling the sandbags with the sand that's been provided by the local authorities to try and get some flood protection for their doors, for their windows, for their garages to protect their homes against the anticipated flood waters, which are predicted to be heading this way very shortly.

You had a look at the coastline. We're actually just on the coastline now.

I spoke to one resident earlier. And he told me he's lived here for 30 years and he hasn't seen the sea water rise to this level ever before in that time. And there's still another, what, two-and-a-half hours or so before the highest point in the tide is reached. And so there's plenty of potential for the sea defenses to be breached, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah. And we're reminded of the devastating floods of 1953, of course, 60 years ago now when -- when so many lost their lives.

We know that there are defenses in some parts of the country. And we know this part of the country is one that does get hit. Are these defenses expected to be sufficient?

CHANCE: That's certainly the hope, you're right, that this whole episode has brought back memories of 1953 where across Europe more than 2,500 people were killed by floods and a storm surge of a similar nature to this one. 300 people in Britain alone.

But the thinking at the moment is that, look, they're a lot more aware now of the dangers of storm surges than they were back in 1953. There's been a lot of investment made in the infrastructure and flood protection in this area in particular, because it's one of the lowest lying areas in western Europe here in East Anglia, in Norfolk, on the eastern seaboard of the United Kingdom, so they put a lot of effort into protecting this area from the sea. And of course you can see they're making every effort they can to protect their homes with sandbags as well.

And so the hope is it won't be anywhere near as bad as what was experienced six decades ago.

ANDERSON: Yeah. All right, Matthew, we'll be back with you a little later this hour.

It's not just here in the UK, of course, that people are on high alert. A short while ago, I spoke to Carsten Loeb from our German affiliate RTL in the port city of Hamburg and asked him how bad they expect the situation to get there.

CARSTEN LOEB, RTL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're not quite sure, because the winds are still blowing. But on the other side the wind, the strength of the wind is not the real problem. The real problem here in the city of Hamburg it's the water being pushed in by the wind.

And we know the forecasts are saying that the wind will blow on for the next, well, maybe 18 hours, until late Friday afternoon. That means the normal tide can't flow down the river and the water will come back.

The height of the tide is expected to be here at this place tomorrow morning at 10 minutes to 7:00 and it's more than three-and-a-half meter above normal tide.

The situation in Hamburg is OK, because the city is prepared for a situation like that.

We have another, let's say, 500 kilometers of German coastline around the north. And there the wind is still blowing pretty, pretty strong. And there is just one hope the people have that the dikes will hold the whole night long, because the situation here is very special because the wind blows on for hours and hours. And really we're talking about the water pushing against the dikes for more than 20 hours.

ANDERSON: Carsten Loeb for you.

So where is this storm now? Where is it headed? And how is it impacting travel across Europe?

Let's get to Jenny Harrison who is at the CNN Center.

We were talking at this time last night and warning people. And things getting a lot worse. Although, when you speak to the reporters, it's interesting the weather doesn't actually look that bad. It's not blowing like you might expect it to. But we are headed into the eye of this storm, of course, in some areas.

JENNY HARRISON, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are, Becky. And also it does really depend whether those reporters are, because against I've been watching all day long, different newscasts from different parts of Europe. And believe you me there is certainly some areas really being buffeted.

This is a system, now it's making quite good progress. You can see the center just about here, really, it's across Denmark right now. Of course, it's bringing with it rain and snow as well as of course this very, very strong winds.

But this is the track of the air of low pressure as we continue on into Saturday.

Now that's the thing with this storm, it is not going to suddenly just die down and not cause any problems. It's going to work right the way across into western areas of Russia. And it's going to stay very windy for the next few days.

Now, just some of the wind gusts that have been reported so far. They are just unbelievable. This one, now this is way up there high elevations. It's about just over 1,000 meters. And it's the top of (inaudible), not the top of (inaudible), but that range. 228 kilometers an hour, one gust reported. And Altnaharra in the north there in the highlands, 150 kilometers an hour. And then Edinburgh, which of course is a big city, 132 kilometers an hour.

And again, just another image to show you, because we've been getting lots of images like this, which look amazing, but incredibly dangerous to be out there in the force of the wind and the power of that water.

Now these are some of the current wind gusts being reported. Look at this is Copenhagen, nearly 90 kilometers an hour, 67 in Oslo, still in the 50s up there in Glasgow. And as we go through the next couple of days just have a look here at what happens with the timeframe. I'm just going to pause it Friday in the afternoon. In fact it's gone through more than 89 in Copenhagen, 91 in (inaudible). So these winds are not just going to affect coastal areas, that of course is where the big concern is because of the storm surge, but all areas are going to be impacted.

This is what happens with the storm surge, just like these big storms of course it's moving through really, really strong winds and just literally funneling all the water down through the North Sea. So this is the coastal areas. This is just about where Matthew Chance is right now. And then all these areas in red is where we actually expect to see the really, really high tide.

There is Hamburg. We just heard there from that reporter.

Now, when it comes to traveling, as you might expect, first of all on the roads very, very dangerous. We know one person has died already in Scotland. And there's going to be all sorts of downed trees, debris on the roads. We can see damage to buildings as well.

And then of course on the -- in the air, all these main airports showing up in red are where we got some very, very high delays.

They're going to continue, as well as we can head off into Friday. Also into Saturday.

Why Friday? Frankfurt, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Warsaw -- I should you the winds there.

So it really is far reaching. And of course you've got the knock on affect at what happens at these airports.

Now also remember as well as the storm surge, we've got this rain coming in, we've got the snow, not especially heavy rain, but very widespread snow. And of course temperatures are below the average. So something else to consider when you're thinking of traveling.

Now moving from Europe across the U.S., because huge problems here. In fact, the National Weather Service describing this storm system in this particular region where the ice as possibly catastrophic. They could be seeing several centimeters of ice actually building up.

And this is what happens, this is what is happening in Denver with the cold air. You have the warm air, you have the cold air coming underneath it. And this is why you have that awful mix of very dangerous conditions. Temperatures well below the average for the next few days. And again, Becky, all sorts of problems at the airports, delays already kicking in. And there will be cancellations. So the best thing as always, we say the same thing, but you do need to check ahead.

This is the rain, the ice and the snow coming through in the next 48 hours -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, absolutely.

All right, good. Thank you for that.

And you can send us your pictures and videos of how the storms are impacting you. Be safe, don't get yourself into trouble on this, of course. But you can do that at CNN iReport.com.

Well, still to come tonight, a brazen attack on Yemen's defense ministry claims dozens of lives. I'm going to get you the latest from there.

And a major grilling for a celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson explaining herself in court after -- a day after she admitted using illegal drugs.

And one day before the World Cup draw, is Brazil ready for the biggest sporting event on the globe? All that and much more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're with CNN, this is Connect the World. 13 minutes past 8:00 out of London. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Military intervention in the Central Africa Republic could be imminent. The UN security council has approved the deployment of a French and African peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic earlier today. Both France and the African Union have got soldiers on the way. France's president has said action will be immediate. More than 100 people died in heavy fighting in the capital on Thursday. And the UN deputy secretary-general said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAN ELIASSON, UN DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL: The secretary-general and I are rather, I would say, disappointed that we so often use the term never again. The very fact that we repeat never again I think is a sign that it's about time we act on serious human rights violations early on.

Serious human rights violations are the first signs of something that could turn into mass atrocities. And now this time, we are acting late, I must admit, but hopefully not too late.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, militants stage a deadly attack on a hospital inside Yemen's defense ministry in Sanaa on Thursday. Let's get you straight to CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom who is tracking that story for you from CNN in Beirut.

What do we know, Mohammed?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it was a particularly audacious attack even by Yemen standards. At around 9:00 a.m. local today in Sanaa there was a suicide bomber in a truck that rammed the gates of the defense ministry -- this is in a really fortified compound inside of Sanaa close to the old city. After that, another truck went into the perimeter of the defense ministry. There were several militants inside that truck. They came out guns blaring. They started shooting up the place. Residents in that part of the city said they heard at least 10 explosions emanating from inside the defense ministry.

You can see some video right now that shows big, thick black plumes of smoke rising up from inside the compound.

I visited this compound. The defense ministry site in Sanaa several times. This is a very tightly secured area. The perimeter is extremely hard to breach, that's why there is so much concern right now.

Now we've heard at least 52 people dead in this attack, close to 200 injured. Several doctors and nurses may have been killed as well.

Why exactly a hospital at that compound was targeted? Not clear at this moment. But it is suspected that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is behind this attack. Nobody has claimed responsibility, but this really bears the hallmark of an AQAP style attack. And we must remember that AQAP, which is the strongest, most dangerous wing of the al Qaeda network, which has been housed in Yemen since 2009, has been able to launch spectacular attacks not just against Yemeni targets, but targets throughout the region and across the world from their base in Yemen since 2009.

The officials I'm talking to say this is really cause for concern, especially at a very tenuous, very tentative time in Yemen, a time when a lot of different political groups are coming together across a negotiating table, trying to hammer out a deal for political reconciliation, trying to plan for a constitution and for elections in the near future.

So this is very worrying, because in the past, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been able to exploit the political vacuum that's been going on in Yemen -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Sure. Mohammed, thank you for that.

The U.S. State Department says an American teacher, identified as Ronnie Smith (ph), has been shot and killed at an international school in Benghazi in Libya. The school's director said the teacher was doing his morning exercise when gunmen shot him. It's not yet clear who carried out that attack.

Well, the Catholic church is stepping up its efforts against child abuse. A U.S. based cardinal announced on Thursday that Pope Francis is creating a new commission to prevent the abuse of minors and to support victims of abuse.

Now the commission is expected to tell church officials to report cases of abuse.

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson faced more uncomfortable questions about her personal life and past drug use. She testified in the trial of her two former assistants. Now they are accused if embezzling more than $1 million from Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi.

Erin McLaughlin was at the courthouse.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nigella Lawson was grilled by the defense for a second and final day. This time, she faced more allegations over habitual cocaine use. The defense claiming that a drug dealer would come out to her house and she kept the drug inside a jewelry box. She responded by saying, "I have never known or seen a drug dealer in my life. I was given them. People who are regular cocaine users do not look like this." She gestured to her body and her face.

Now yesterday during her testimony, she admitted to having used the drug cocaine a total of seven times during two separate life phases. She testified that she is not a habitual drug user and that she is not a drug addict.

Now she also went on to talk about the defendants Francesca and Elizabeta Grillo and what she did and did not allow them to expense on company credit cards. She said that they did not have free reign to use the credit cards at their will saying, quote, "there were not written down rules, but it was known that they were not for personal use unless directed."

And the prosecution alleges that the two sisters used the cards to charge up over $1 million to fund a luxury lifestyle, charges that the Grillo sisters deny saying that Lawson knew of their expenses and pointed to her habitual drug use. Nigella Lawson denying those allegations today in court.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, the mayor of Toronto, who is trying to hang on to his job after admitting to smoking crack cocaine is now denying allegations that he tried to purchase a video showing him using that drug.

Now Rob Ford was interviewed by a talk radio show earlier today. And the host asked him directly about new documents that say the mayor tried to buy the damaging tape from criminal suspects before it went public.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to that? I mean, these are wire taps from gang members who say that you offered $5,000 if not more -- $150,000 and a care -- to confiscate the video of you doing crack on the tape. What would say to that?

ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: Number one, that's an outright lie. And number two, you can talk to my lawyers about it, but I'm here to talk football.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Ford also said he plans to run for mayor against next October.

Well, the tech giant Apple has finally reported finalized a long anticipated deal that should make buying an iPhone easier for hundreds of millions of Chinese. Now the deal will grant Apple access to China mobile's customer base. And they're the world's largest carrier by subscribers with around 700 million users.

You're watching CNN live from London, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Coming up, if you live in the UK you may have to wait longer than you thought to retire. New details on the British government's plan to raise the pension age.

Up next as troops prepare to go to the Central African Republic, France's ambassador to the United Nations on why intervention is the only solution. That is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, many British workers will have to work longer than they expected on the new UK government plans to introduce the highest retirement age in the developed word as chancellor of the George Osbourne outlined on Thursday the state pension age is now set to rise to 69 by the late-2040s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE OSBORNE, UK CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: Our people should expect to spend up to a third of their adult life in retirement based on the latest life expectancy figures, applying that principle would mean an increase in the state pension age to 68 in the mid-2030s and to 69 in the late-2040s. This is one of those difficult decisions governments have to take if they're serious about controlling the public finances. Future taxpayers will be saved around 500 billion pounds.

Young people will know our country can afford to give them a proper pension when they retire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, as aging populations place increasing burdens on the state, of course many countries are now linking pensions to life expectancy. CNN's Nina Dos Santos took a look at how the UK's new retirement age compares to others across the globe.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This isn't going to affect people in the immediate term, but the age at which you can claim a state pension if you're from the UK will steadily start to rise to some of the highest levels anywhere on the planet in the next few decades. Take a look at these figures here.

The age of retirement slightly to rise to 68-years-old by the year 2030 and also in the 2040s it'll go up by another year, just shy of 70.

The UK finance minister says that these measures are necessary to make savings for the long-term. And also to reflect the increased life expectancy of people across the country.

But these savings will also save the government a lot of money as well. We're talking about nearly 830 billion dollars. And that's a huge sum. But there is a growing amount to pay for as well.

This is what I want to show you, life expectancy for men and women across the UK has risen steadily over the last 20 years or so, as you can see. It now stands at around about 79 for men and 83 years old for women. So there's plenty more to pay for, because people stay retired for longer according to the current retirement levels.

Well, men and women will now share the same retirement age, reflecting as you can see on this chart here the narrowing gap in life expectancy between the two sexes.

Now let's have a look at how the UK compares to those other countries and major economies around the world in terms of their retirement ages as well.

This is the picture across much of Europe. As you can see, the new figures put the UK well above some of the other countries. Generally, a lot of European countries have people retire at age 67. Germany, in fact, is an interesting exception, because it's been allowing people to head in the other direction. They can retire early at 63 if -- this is just if -- they've already got 45 years worth of state contributions for their pensions.

Italy and France are two countries that have been lifting their age of retirement recently to reflect, as I was saying before, the longevity of their people.

Now, this is Europe, but let's have a look at the rest of the world. If you compare the UK's age of retirement towards other countries, you can see it is still some of the highest figures in the world.

In Japan, with an aging population, they currently have a retirement age of 65. Australia is 67, which matches the United States as well.

The British people, especially the young ones, already struggling to enter the workforce. What the government has come out with today is something of a mixed message. It means on the one hand, yes, you're likely to have lived longer, but you're going to have to work for longer to pay for it.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, are younger generations paying for the economic mistakes of their elders? That's a question for tonight's Quest Means Business and Nina talking to Sajeed Javad (ph), the UK's financial secretary to the treasury trying to get an answer on that. That's at 9:00 pm London here on CNN right after this show.

Well, the latest world news headlines are up next at the bottom of this hour here in London. Plus, worsening violence in the Central African Republic just as the UN authorizes military action. But are they too late? I put that question to France's UN ambassador.

And after months of waiting, the day of the World Cup draw is almost upon us. What will the group of death be? And who will be drawn where?

And this nifty device made it look like a photography prop. Find out why the police want to get their hands on it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Connect the World. The top stories this hour for you.

The United Nations security council has unanimously approved a resolution to send a peacekeeping force to the Central African Republic to try and stop the violence there. More than 100 people killed in the latest fighting in the capital. And gunfire reported around the presidential palace.

A two part attack on Yemen's defense ministry complex has killed more than 50 people. In the first stage, an assailant ramped a car packed with explosives into the building and then gunmen launched an assault on the complex. Yemen's state news agency says the militants targeted a hospital at the complex.

Pope Francis is forming a new commission that will deal with child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Members have not been chosen, but we're told it will focus not just on prevention, but also treatment for victims. And a group set up for victims, although skeptical, says action by secular authorities is what's needed, not more committees.

A major storm is sweeping across northwestern Europe, affecting millions of people. It's already knocked out power to tens of thousands of households in Scotland, and coastal communities in southern England and Germany are on a high alert for severe flooding.

A major military intervention in the Central African Republic could happen imminently. Earlier, the UN Security Council approved action in the country, which has descended into chaos. French and African troops will be allowed to use force to protect civilians. The African Union will increase its troops to 3500. France will bring its total to 1200.

Heavy fighting in the capital today. Gunfire was reported around the presidential palace. More than 100 people were killed in clashes. Correspondent Nima Elbagir is on the ground. We're going to try to speak to her in a moment. There are safety issues there, but she sends us this report of her dangerous drive into a rebel-held town in the country's north.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are traveling north from the capital, Bangui, to Bossangoa, which has effectively become the epicenter of this tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to seek refuge there, and that's not counting the tens of thousands more who are outside of Bossangoa in the bush.

We were told the road is just too dangerous to travel on our own, so we're traveling out with the United Nations.

We're not yet even halfway to Bossangoa and we've been told by our UN escort that we have to now put on protective gear. The situation, they say, is incredibly, incredibly tense.

We're now back on the road, and the closer we get to Bossangoa, the more we're seeing abandoned villages. In fact, every single village that we've seen has been abandoned.

The last few hours of our journey, we saw mile after mile of deserted and burnt-out villages, and Bossangoa itself, which we've now finally arrived to, isn't much of a refuge. The self-styled local administration is made up of the same Seleka militia elements that these people came here fleeing.

There is an African force, but it doesn't yet have a mandate to directly engage and protect civilians. So you really get the sense that between the militia men and the African force, it's really more of a standoff than any kind of established rule of law.

You get the sense even having only just arrived that everybody here is watching and waiting to see how quickly the Security Council can push through a resolution mandating French forces to get here and protect them. And they're looking to see how quickly the French can act when that finally happens.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Bossangoa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, of course, they've got that mandate now. Nima is on the ground, and she does join us by phone. Nima, what is the atmosphere there at present? Describe it for me and the reaction to this announcement from the UN today.

ELBAGIR (via telephone): Well, the situation on the ground really hasn't waited for that mandate. We have had to evacuate along with UN aid workers to the African forces base. There's several hundred locals who are sleeping here tonight because the situation in Bossangoa has just disintegrated so rapidly, Becky.

The violence that you were speaking about in Bangui, the capital, that's reverberated here, and we've seen militia men driving around Bossangoa carrying heavy, heavy weaponry: mortars, RPGs, all in reprisal attacks for the deaths today in Bangui.

And it gives you a sense that if the French really are serious about stabilizing the situation here, then they're not going to be able to spend the time that they were hoping to spend securing the capital. They're going to need to get up here to the epicenter of the violence as quickly as possible, Becky.

ANDERSON: This is new video that you've sent to us today, and that's what our viewers are seeing as we speak. Is there any sense of optimism that now that the UN has made this decision that things might improve, or is it -- it sounds pretty desperate.

ELBAGIR: And now you have new actors coming into the table, because they see this as an opportunity that if they're not -- if they don't claim territory now, then in future negotiations ahead of elections, they're going to find themselves out in the cold.

So, that's the concern that that's what's destabilizing, this race to get a foot in the door, so to speak, is what's causing this violence off the back of the UN mandate, perhaps.

But more -- for most of the people we're talking to here, there is already an African force presence, and they do try and imagine how their lives might be different if there were more soldiers. But it's easier for them to imagine how their lives might be different if there were more aid agencies on the ground, if the aid agencies here were better equipped.

UNICEF, which is the UN children's fund, that has only -- that's got less than 50 percent of what -- of the money that it needs to deal with this situation. Anytime to you speak to people and you ask them what they need, Becky, they tell us they need everything.

They need malaria nets, they need medicine, they need food. They don't even have enough water. So for them, it's just -- it's about the basic need and security is something that almost you feel people are quite hopeless about.

ANDERSON: All right, Nima, thank you for that. Nima Elbagir is on the ground there. Some background on the conflict for you. The Central African Republic, land-locked nation with a population of some 4.5 million, the country is being wracked by violence since Muslim rebels, mainly from neighboring countries, in fact, have seized power in March.

The UN estimating that about a half a billion -- sorry, half a million people have been displaced, 468,000 have fled to nearby countries due to the increasing violence.

Two main groups are blamed for the chaos: the Seleka, a loose alliance of warlords and Muslim fighters, and the Anti-Balaka, or the Anti- Machete Christian militia who say they've taken up arms to defend themselves.

Now, religious conflict wasn't a big issue before now. Christians make up the majority of the population, some 50 percent. Muslims representing about 15 percent.

Well, I know that Nima 24 hours ago described the situation as akin to Darfur, as she's reported on that in the past. The country's also been described as in total chaos by the UN. The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, has described it as on the verge of genocide.

Now that French troops have got a mandate to act, I asked the French ambassador to the UN just what would happen if their plan fails.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GERARD ARAUD, FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It's arriving, an African force of 4,000 soldiers. We will have 1200 soldiers. So, in the first place, we are going to restore law and order in Bangui, and after that, we are going to secure the roads to the main population centers.

But in front of us, we are not facing terrorists or real armed groups. They are more thugs, and I don't think they are going, really, to make a great fight against us.

ANDERSON: How do you respond to those, though, who are alarmed by what is the open-ended nature of this French response?

ARAUD: Well, actually, it's an open-ended commitment of the international community. Because first we have to restore law and order. Second, we have to support a constitutional process with elections before January 2015. But after that, we have to rebuild the state. And I think it will be a long-term commitment of the European Union, the UN, and the African Union.

ANDERSON: The Central African Republic could be described as unstable at best for most of its time since independence in 1960. It seems this spiral of sectarianism and hatred that makes this very different and very dangerous.

How do you avoid these militia groups or thugs, as you call them, uniting along religious lines and creating what could be an even worse situation going forward? Things could be really bad, couldn't they?

ARAUD: Of course. It may be very bad. I think we are on the brink of mass atrocities. So let's rush with the African force, the French forces. And we have also to rebuild a Central African army. So, again, there is an emergency, and at the same time, we know that it's a long-term -- it's a long-term endeavor.

ANDERSON: How --

ARAUD: In the coming days --

ANDERSON: Sorry, sir. However you dress this up --

ARAUD: Sorry.

ANDERSON: -- France is going to be accused of sending its troops in to police a former colony, the old paternalism of the 1970s. This isn't the neutral peacekeeping that the president had promised, nor was the intervention in Libya in 2011, nor was the intervention in Mali in 2012. What makes this different?

ARAUD: Well, it's really -- first, I let the commentators to qualify what we are doing. In Central African Republic, nobody can accuse us of having any real economic goal or economic interest. It's simply that French public opinion knows Central African Republic because of our historical links.

It's not the same in the US, or it's not the same in the UK. It's not the front page of the newspapers. So there is a normal reaction of the French public opinion, of the French NGOs, to really -- who are pressuring our government to act. So, that's the reason why we are going in Central African Republic. It's really a humanitarian intervention.

ANDERSON: You must be disappointed this has taken so long. The French have been calling for action from the UN for some time.

ARAUD: Yes. As I have said, it's a bit of a forgotten crisis in an ignored country. So we had to convince our partners that we had to go for humanitarian reasons. But also, if Central African Republic is becoming a failed state in the center of Africa, it could become quite dangerous.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: That's the French ambassador to the United Nations speaking to me just before we went to air about an hour ago.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. If you throw it, it won't break. This little camera is more than just sturdy. Find out how it could save lives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: First responders like police and firemen know just how dangerous emergency situations can be. They rely on what they can see in order to save people. Well, on this week's Blueprint, a new camera that can roll up just about anywhere.

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FRANCISCO AGUILAR, DESIGNER: I am Francisco Aguilar. We're here at the Harvard Innovation Lab, and we're working on the Bounce Imaging Explorer, a throwable sensor that allows first responders, like police or firefighters, to get a panoramic view of a space as well as other sensor data without exposing themselves to harm.

If you remember the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, we saw hundreds of thousands of people buried under the rubble. The initial thought was, how can we create something that was easy to use that could allow a first responder to easily look inside a hazardous space to determine whether it was safe to enter it?

The Explorer is basically a ball with cameras and sensors that can resist impact and can quickly and easily take panoramic images of the space and broadcast that back to the mobile device, cheaply and easily giving you a sense for whether there are hazards on the other side of a corner, of a wall, of a space.

SWAT units in very large cities will have a robot that they can enter a room with, but to operate, first of all, the robot costs tens of thousands of dollars. And second, it's very difficult to operate. You've got to have a skilled operator.

We offer something that is as cheap as existing equipment for police and it's very easy to use. You don't need any training. You know how to toss a ball, you know how to operate the unit.

We've had interviews with all sorts of first responders, but our most intensive conversations have been with police. One of the things they really like is that it's a ball. It goes right into a pouch. You can take it out of the pouch, you can throw it in the environment, you can synch it up to your phone, and then just go to work.

Meeting Gianfranco Zaccai is a great opportunity. This is our first product design. He has designed hundreds of products. So that will be an exciting conversation.

GIANFRANCO ZACCAI, CFO, DESIGN CONSORTIUM: I like the product. I think that the concept is really great in its simplicity. So the notion of not embedding complex robotics to go into a dangerous situation, but just using what the product name is, bounce.

AGUILAR: We're designing our app. We've loaded it with all the different sensor feeds you can get. But the more we think about it and the more we talk with police officers, the more we realize that there's just a value to parsimony. There's a value to keeping things simple. Because people want features, but they also want to be able to use it, and how you trade off between those.

ZACCAI: Well, I think it's important to listen to what people say, but also don't pay attention to everything that they say.

(LAUGHTER)

ZACCAI: It would be important not just to talk to the officers, but actually to be embedded in a situation and see what they're really going through that they may not even realize themselves.

The policeman's not the only stakeholder. There are at least two others that I can think of. One is obviously the perpetrator. They don't want to give too much information to.

AGUILAR: Right.

ZACCAI: And the third one may be the victim.

AGUILAR: Yes.

ZACCAI: So, if I'm the victim, let's say, and I see this thing being thrown at me, I might think it's a bomb.

AGUILAR: Yes.

ZACCAI: And if I'm rather fragile, maybe I'll have a heart attack. So, that's an unintended circumstance.

AGUILAR: Right. Make them in friendly colors, maybe.

ZACCAI: There's a lot of potential there, and there's a lot of potential for doing good with it. Because if you think about the dangerous world that we live in, we need things like that. We need simple, robust, usable ideas that are embedded in great products.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, the screenwriter of the new film about Mandela's life tells me why he thinks this movie, or at least its message, has the potential to change the world.

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ANDERSON: In London, the royal premier for "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" was being held this evening. Earlier, I had the chance to catch up with the screenwriter of the new movie. Bill Nicholson worked on the adaptation for more than 15 years. I began by asking him how this process evolved.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL NICHOLSON, SCREENWRITER, "MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM": We've found the way of telling the story. There were several jumps along the way, which made a significant difference.

Probably the biggest jump was when I realized that I could tell the story through the marriage of Nelson and Winnie, and suddenly, I was able to jettison a lot of the direct political storytelling and tell it more emotionally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM": The burning. In that question, that has to stop, Winnie.

NAOMIE HARRIS AS WINNIE MADIKIZELA, "MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM": You realize there's a war out there. The people are angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all angry! I am angry! You are angry! But you must show loyalty!

ANDERSON: How difficult is it to put together a biopic of what is no ordinary man? This is a legend.

NICHOLSON: It's been extremely difficult. I feel a real responsibility. But my responsibility works two ways. I've got to be responsible to the truth about the legend, but I've also got to create a human figure, who we can recognize, identify with, love, care about. And sometimes these have pulled in opposite directions.

IDRIS ELBA AS NELSON MANDELA, "MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM": I have beautiful children and a beautiful wife. I want them to walk free in their own land.

ANDERSON: Did you have anything to do with the casting, or anybody in mind as you were writing this?

NICHOLSON: No, I didn't have anybody in mind, though at the back of my mind, I was thinking of Morgan Freeman as the older Mandela. And for quite a long time, we thought that would happen. Then we had some very good meetings with Denzel Washington, who was wonderful and very interested. But it kept on changing. I've probably met every great black actor there is on this movie.

ANDERSON: And is Idris Elba, to your mind, one of those?

NICHOLSON: Idris Elba has been a revelation to me. When I was told by Justin, the director, that he was going for Idris, I was very surprised. I didn't know enough about Idris. But when I watched him performing, I was astounded. The guy has got a moral authority, as well as the sheer size and, frankly, the sexiness.

A lot of people don't realize, Mandela was 6 foot 3, he was a boxer, he was sexy, he had a lot of girlfriends. And he wasn't a dear little old man. He was a powerful figure when he was young.

ANDERSON: You started the first draft in 1997 for this film. Over the years, have you wondered whether Mandela would be alive when this movie came out? You must have done. Are you pleased he's still here to see this?

NICHOLSON: I didn't think this film would ever get made. It's taken such a long time to get all the elements together. I thought he would die before we got to the point of making it. Here we are, the film's finished, and he's still alive.

Sadly, he's too ill to see it, and there's something extraordinary about the fact that we've finally reached the end of our journey as he reaches the end of his. And that makes me all the more concerned to honor him as I think he deserves.

ANDERSON: How does this compare with or to other projects that you have been involved with?

NICHOLSON: To be honest, this film is in a different league to anything that I've done before. It just matters in a way that other films don't matter. And it matters because what Mandela did was, he made a discovery, which was that his enemies were afraid of him, and that if he could eliminate that fear, there was a chance of peace.

Now, we don't usually expect the people who oppress us and destroy us to be the people who are afraid. Once you understand that, it revolutionizes everything. He brought about change in South Africa, but he set a pattern that the rest of the world can follow. That means we're telling a story that could potentially change the world.

ELBA AS MANDELA, "MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM": People learn to hate. They can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: "Long Walk to Freedom" premiering for the royalty tonight here in the UK. Well now for the 32 national football teams that are lucky enough to have qualified for the World Cup, tonight is a special night. That is because they will be anxiously awaiting to find out who they're going to meet in the group stage at one of the biggest sporting showpieces on the planet.

Friday's the big day for the draw. Is Brazil ready for the action? Well, let's bring in Don Riddell from CNN Center in Atlanta. Are they? Are they ready?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's becoming the big question, isn't it, Becky? There's 12 stadiums that are going to be hosting the various games in June and July next year. Six are already completed.

The deadline for the rest of them to be finished is December the 31st, but the World Cup Organizing Committee, FIFA, has today come out and said that the remaining six will not be finished by December the 31st.

And in fact, one of the key stadiums, the arena in -- Corinthians Arena, which is due to host the opening game and one of the semifinals, won't now be finished until the middle of April. Now, this was the stadium where they had this horrendous crane accident last week, which killed two workers.

And the fact that it's not going to be ready until the middle of April is cutting things a bit fine, given that the stadia -- the tournament is due to start on June the 12th. This is what the FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: The stadia will be ready in mid-April, 14th, 15th of April next year. We believe that it's -- again, it's a question of trust that it will be done. For the time being, there is no plan B.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: "For the time being there is no plan B." That does, perhaps, leave open the opportunity for there to be an alternative arrangement made at some point, Becky. But the FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, there optimistic that it will be completed on time.

But he did ask, and I quote, "God, Allah, or whoever," that nothing else goes wrong to delay the completion of the stadiums.

Of course, the focus now is on the draw, which takes place on Friday. And awful lot of excitement around that, and CNN will be covering that draw with a special 90-minute program hosted by Amanda Davies and Alex Thomas. That will be going on air at 5:30 PM Central European Time, 4:30 in the afternoon where you are, Becky, in the UK.

ANDERSON: That's right, a lot of buzz about that. Thank you, sir. We went out to the streets of London to find out what fans of all the different teams -- or many of the different teams, anyway, I had to say -- about their perfect draw or their draw wishes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, FAN OF ENGLAND: Always the big ones, like Brazil, Argentina, Italy, are they even in their league? Yes, they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, FAN OF ITALY: I'm worried about Spain, maybe, because there are many players in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, FAN OF THE US: I don't like losing to Mexico. I don't like losing to regional rivals, and I hate losing to England, so I hope we don't get England in our bucket.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, FAN OF SPAIN: I'm worried about Argentina and Brazil, because they are really strong teams. And also Netherlands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Let me tell you, nobody's talking about Belgium there, but they are such a strong team. I hope that -- I hope we're nowhere close to them. What group do you hope your national team will be drawn into, and what teams would you like to see in the same group?

Well, the team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say. You can always tweet me, @BeckyCNN. You know I'm a big soccer fan, so @BeckyCNN.

Don't forget to join CNN teams from around the world for this World Cup draw special. You'll see the complete draw as it happens and get expert analysis from former World Cup stars Owen Hargreaves and Sunday Oliseh. It will kick off 4:30 PM London. From us here, good night.

END