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Thousands Turned Away As South Africans Flood To See Mandela. A Montana Woman's Surprise Murder Confession. Pro-Yanukovych Protest Competes With Anti-Government Protesters Just 200 Meters Away.

Aired December 13, 2013 - 15:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, a heartbreaking farewell.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His last days he was no longer breathing for himself. The ventilator had fully taken over.


ANDERSON: Nelson Mandela's family tells CNN about their final goodbyes. Our exclusive report takes you inside their rural Qunu home.

Also this hour, we look at fortress Europe and its shameful response to the plight of Syria's refugees building walls instead of bridges.

Plus, his once mentor now executed for treason, just what game is the North Korean president playing?

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

ANDERSON: Well, after three days of heartfelt tributes and personal goodbyes, the public's chance to see Nelson Mandela lying in state is now over. South African officials say 100,000 people came to pay their respects during the viewing in Pretoria. But as Errol Barnett now reports, others desperate for a final glimpse of the anti-apartheid hero went home disappointed.


ERROL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This has been an emotional week for South Africans. Eight days now after everyone here learned that Nelson Mandela had died. Friday marks the end of the last opportunity for South Africans here to bid farewell to the man known as Madiba face-to-face.

The government says it successfully shuttled 100,000 people through the Union Building in Pretoria where Nelson Mandela's body has been lying in state three days.

But, they had to abide by Thembu culture and get Nelson Mandela's body back to one military hospital before sunset so thousands of people were turned away.

A few of them pushed past a roadblock barricade and voiced their concerns before being turned back by police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move to the back. All of you. Be patient. Please, move to the back, all of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were told that, you know what, (inaudible) you're going to get inside. Now they're telling us us that it's not going to be possible. So I'm so disappointed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here for two days, but I didn't see any (inaudible) Nelson Mandela. So I'm so disappointed. So -- but anyway, rest in peace Mr. Mandela.

BARNETT: Now, as we approach the final two days of these 10 days of mourning, Mandela's body will be air lifted to his ancestral homeland of Qunu where it will be welcomed by Thembu elders and chiefs ahead of the government's state funeral for Nelson Mandela on Sunday.

We understand it will be attended by 4,000 of Mandela's family members, close friends and government officials. This truly has been an emotive week for South Africa. Essentially people here coming together to bid farewell to the one man credited for keeping this country together.

Errol Barnett, CNN, Pretoria, South Africa.


ANDERSON: Hasn't it just?

Mandela's body will arrive at his final resting place in Qunu on Saturday. But his family says his spirit has already returned home. They shared some very personal memories with CNN's Robyn Curnow and gave her an exclusive tour of the family home and its rural surroundings.

She joins us now live from Qunu.

And Robyn, you have spent a very emotional day with one of Mandela's grandaughters. What did she tell you?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATINOAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was the whole family. They're all gathered in the home. It's just behind me. There's a huge tent ready for the funeral. And I think there is a lot of busyness a lot of preparation in the Mandela compound. They say that it's helping them to deal with the grief.

Despite the fact that Nelson Mandela had been ill for at least a year, this has come as quite a shock to the family. They say they're struggling to deal with it.

I think what is important to note is that his daughter Maki said that she's still feeling guilty that he didn't die here in Qunu in the hills of the Eastern Cape where he grew up, which was his wish, she said and that he died instead of Johannesburg.

However, as you mentioned, according to spiritual and traditional beliefs, his spirit was sent here yesterday. So they still feel like he is amongst them. And this is what they had to say about that.


CURNOW: Inside Nelson Mandela's rural home his daughter says there are reminders of him everywhere.

MAKAZIWE MANDELA, NELSON MANDELA'S DAUGHTER: This is Dada's (ph) special chair. And it will sit like this, you know, with a cushion here because he enjoyed looking out on the hills.

CURNOW: It's in these hills that Mandela will be buried.

MANDELA: And even when my father was in jail, he had most fondest of memories about Qunu. And he really wanted to die here.

CURNOW: She says he was always a country boy at hear, and so his official state funeral will be held here in this tent on the farm that he loved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 4,000 people will eventually going to congregate over there.

CURNOW: A challenge to plan with heads of state, royalty and celebrities all making their way along the back roads to his rural resting place.

TUKWINI MANDELA, NELSON MANDELA'S GRANDDAUGHTER: Look, Robyn, it's been a challenge here. It's been a serious challenge. But my grandfather was born here.

It's actually a mixture of emotions, you know. Some of us are coming in, you know, some of us are very teary, because you know this is where -- this is where my grandfather told us about, you know, who we were as the Mandelas.

CURNOW: The family says it's a relief to be home. His spirit is now here, too, they say. He's no longer suffering, no longer in pain.

M MANDELA: On the last day, they had -- you know, he was on a ventilator. He was not -- the last days, he was no longer breathing for himself. The ventilator had fully taken over. They pushed it to the limit. And I think he was tired.

CURNOW: But, she says, he fought until the end. The doctors and nurses helping him in his last battle.

M MANDELA: I've never seen so much dedication, Robyn, in my life to another human being. I'm sorry. And it's sad, but I was happy that it happened that way. And that at the end of his life, we were given the opportunity to be with him.

CURNOW: They are with him here, too. As Mandela's final resting place is being prepared up there on the hill, he makes his final journey home.

M MANDELA: He loved these hills. He really believed he -- this is where he belonged.

CURNOW: Nearly a century after he played in these fields as a young boy.


CURNOW: Well, Becky, Maki Mandela said in the end Nelson Mandela's heart just stopped and that his death (inaudible) was beautiful.

ANDERSON: Robyn, thank you very much indeed for that.

Quite emotional stuff.

And join us Sunday for live coverage of Nelson Mandela's funeral. It gets underway at 9:00 in the morning in 0900 in Qunu, Mandela's ancestral home, of course. That's 0700 in London, 1500 in Hong Kong.

Still to come tonight, we hear from government supporters on the streets of Kiev who worry that turning towards Europe could mean economic ruin for Ukraine.

Also ahead, with a brutal winter settling in, we look at Syria's refugee crisis and how Europe is failing those most in need.

Plus, tis the season of fantasy. And we'll be getting a sneak peak at the new Hobbit film. That and much more after this.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. It is 10 minutes past 8:00 with me, Becky Anderson in London for you this evening.

And the ruthless execution of a former top official in North Korea may be providing some insight into the regime. The uncle of the leader has been executed. Jang Sung-taek was found guilty of trying to overthrow the government. He had been considered the second most powerful man in North Korea. And one analyst says the execution shows that the leader may be weaker than previously thought.

Well, after weeks of unrest in Kiev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is offering amnesty to jailed protesters. This latest move comes after a key meeting with three opposition leaders.

Now Yanukovych also pledged to forge a closer relationship with the European Union, but that is not going to pacify everyone on the streets.

Nick Paton Walsh with this report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right outside the Ukrainian parliament here there is one of the first we've seen since being here, a pro-Yanukovych demonstration. They're on stage and of course no problem for them gaining access to the closest government buildings here.

The police here enforcing their own particular row out. But a calmer mood here almost somber in many ways.

"If we have closer ties to the European Union," this woman says, "our factories in the east will be closed. We'll be penniless."

He said, "if they join the European Union, she'll become a slave."

Some worried faces, some bored, some just not wanting to be seen kept buoyant by the loud speaker.

Europe, yes. Chaos, no. The north invites you. It repeats.

One thing you have to bear in mind here is that even though these protests are right next to some of the most important government buildings in Ukraine, the police aren't getting involved, in fact walking, some of them freely and comfortably among them, very a much a sense that of course this is sanctioned by the government.

Just like the opposition, they have tents. And though again some really don't want to be filmed, they have one big advantage over the other lot: they have a leader.

"We support the president, his position and they're against violence," one leader from the southeast tells me before applause.

Their numbers will grow this weekend.

This stage has been swiftly erected outside one of the major theaters here. Now there are police around the theater on that other side, quite a number of buses and further riot police. The concern is this is part of a pro-government demonstration. The real problem being the geography of this. This is about 200 meters away from the barricades of Euro-Maidan, the anti-Yanukovych protest that's been raging there now for weeks.

Two protests within shouting distance of each other.

If tensions escalate, the question will be whose side will these police fall on?

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kiev.


ANDERSON: Well, sporadic violence has broken out in Bangladesh after the execution of controversial opposition leader Abdul Quader Mollah. At least three people were killed in protests today as crowds filled the streets in the wake of Mollah's hanging.

He was convicted of war crimes committed during the country's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Bangladesh's supreme court allowed the execution to go ahead despite criticism from the United Nations. The UN had expressed concerns that Mollah did not receive a fair trial.

The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says nuclear talks with Iran will resume in the coming days. Earlier on Friday, Iran halted talks in Vienna on how to implement last month's breakthrough nuclear deal. Diplomats say Iran is angry over a new U.S. sanctions measure it says goes against the spirit of the agreement.

Well, staying with Iran and new developments in the case of Bob Levinson, a retired FBI agent believed to have disappeared there nearly seven years ago. CNN can now confirm reports that he was in fact working for the CIA when he went missing.

Let's cross the New York and to Susan Candiotti. This is a story full of intrigue, Susan. What was he doing there?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Well, according to the family lawyer, David McGee, who knows Bob Levinson very well, used to work with him. He, McGee, was a prosecutor. Levinson was said to be working for the CIA gathering information on Iran's nuclear program and Hezbollah along with other work that he was doing as well.

And this in part, this information, was uncovered by Mr. McGee while he was trying to help the family going over Levinson's files. He and his paralegal managed to get access to some emails that Levinson had exchanged, he says, with his CIA contact. And during those conversations and those emails they discussed a relationship with the CIA.

McGee took that information to the Senate Intelligence Committe which in turn turned it over to the CIA, an investigation was begun. And McGee says that the CIA lied to the family as well as some elements of the FBI, both agencies have been saying they've trying to -- certainly the FBI -- Levinson was a former FBI -- retired FBI agent -- the FBI has been trying to help the family for the longest time to try to get Levinson back.

ANDERSON: How do you think this news will affect his fate, if at all?

CANDIOTTI: Well, I mean that is the question. It's certainly a very delicate matter here, because Bob Levinson after all has been there for a very long time. It is believed by McGee that after all this time with near certainty he believes that Iran is fully aware of what he was actually doing in Iran. But there are also other Americans who are being held there as well -- a pastor, an ex-marine who have been accused of spying unfairly, these two people say and trying to get out of there for years. So how might it impact them as well.

The family very concerned about this.

Interesting to get reaction from the White House about this. Press Secretary Jay Carney saying this, this afternoon. Take a look.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Bob Levinson was not a U.S. government employee when he went missing in Iran. As there is an ongoing investigation into his disappearance, I am not going to comment further on what he may or may not have been doing in Iran. I'm not going to fact check every allegation made in the story you referenced, a story we believe it was highly irresponsible to publish and which we strongly urged the outlet not to publish out of concerns for Mr. Levinson's safety.


CANDIOTTI: It was the Associated Press who first reported this story.

Now important to keep in mind, Becky, Mr. Carney of course always chooses his words very carefully. You'll note that he said that Bob Levinson was not a government employee. Keep in mind that a contract employee, which Bob Levinson was said to be, is not the same as a government employee.

ANDERSON: Interesting. All right. And very, very briefly has the CIA offered any compensation to the family at this point?

CANDIOTTI: Well, as a matter of fact after -- yes, the CIA also apologized to the family in a private meeting and as well negotiated a $2.5 million settlement with them to prevent a lawsuit from being filed.

ANDERSON: Yeah, fascinating. All right, Susan, thank you very much indeed for that update on a story that continues.

Officials in the Philippines now say more than 6,000 people were killed when Typhoon Haiyan struck the country you'll remember early last month. The storm caused total devastation across the islands. And among the hardest hit areas was the city of Tacloban. 1,800 people there are still listed as missing.

Well, in the U.S. state of Montana, a woman has pleaded guilty to killing her husband just a week into their marriage. She says she pushed him off a cliff in the heat of the moment. And as CNN's Kyung Lah reports, it was a surprise confession at what was the end of a trial.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jordan Graham, a former bride now inmate with her sentencing only months away. In a last- minute deal, Graham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for dropping a first-degree murder charge. She came clean before the federal judge about what really happened the day her husband died at Glacier National Park.

She and the man she'd married just eight days earlier, Cody Johnson, got into a heated argument. Graham said she told her new husband that she wasn't feeling like a happy newlywed. Facing the cliff, Graham says Johnson grabbed her arm. She said "let go." Then, she pushed him, one hand on his shoulder, one hand on his back, face first off the cliff.

"I wasn't thinking of where we were," Graham told the judge. "It was a reckless act. I just pushed." Graham says she left her dead husband at the bottom of the sheer cliff without telling anyone "because I was so scared."

This is a young girl who made some poor choices, you still hold that belief?


LAH: The defense says Graham is a young girl who made poor choices in the wake of her wedding. The prosecutors believe Johnson's death was premeditated. Graham plotted to kill her husband because she regretted getting married. In court, when Graham uttered the word "guilty," her former mother-in-law wept, her parents remained silent, leaving the courthouse, their daughter in the custody of U.S. marshals.

Officers cuffed Jordan Graham in the courtroom, while Johnson's friends held hands and shook their heads in satisfaction. They left the federal court house saying few but powerful words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God will take care of it.

LAH: As will a judge when she's sentenced in March.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Missoula, Montana.


ANDERSON: Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, we investigate the shocking execution of the man considered to be the second most powerful man at North Korea. But first, we're in the South Pole following a trip for the wounded with a royal stamp of approval. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Got some breaking news just coming in to us here at CNN now from the U.S. state of Colorado. Local TV station KMGH reports a shooting at Arapahoe High School. It is believed there are two victims and that the suspect is inside the school. We're told that all of the schools in the district are now in lockdown.

This is in the same school district as the Columbine High School of course and you'll remember the shooting there.

We'll bring you the very latest details as we have them here on CNN. That is a shooting at a high school in Colorado in Arapahoe. Two wounded as we know it. And we believe the shooter is still inside the building.

Well, Britain's Prince Harry has walked into the history books, becoming the first royal to set foot at the South Pole. But he says the men and women who walked alongside him that deserve the real congratulation. CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the first time in history, a prince has made it to the South Pole.

PRINCE HARRY: I'll be getting to South Pole on Friday the 13. Unlucky for some, lucky for us.

MCLAUGHLIN : But Harry is not the only headline here. 12 men and women, many of them amputees, have shown the world what injured veterans can achieve.

PRINCE HARRY: I think everyone back home will apprecitate the fact that just being able to walk 100 kilometers in these conditions with no legs is a pretty amazing feat in itself. But these guys always set the bar a little bit higher than what is expected of them.

MCLAUGHLIN: Storms and altitude sickness may have delayed the grueling journey, but once underway participants crossed over 200 miles of frozen terrain, endured temperatures of minus 31 Fahrenheit and pulled sleds weighing more than 165 pounds.

Add to that the special considerations that come with war zone injures. Kate Philip did two tours in Iraq for the British army, then lost her leg in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Now she is one of Prince Harry's teammates.

KATE PHILIP, BRITISH VETERAN: For me, personally, being a below knee amputee I found that actually skiing is quite sort of easy on the leg, easier than walking. So what I have to be careful of is every night cleaning the leg, cleaning the liners on it and checking for any wounds, any abrasions, rubs, that kind of thing.

MCLAUGHLIN: It was supposed to have been a three way international race between the United States, Canada and Australia and the United Kingdom, but seven days into the trek, doctors called off the racing element of the expedition for safety reasons.

ED PARKER, EXPEDITION DIRECTOR: Over the last couple of days I felt a little uncomfortable with some of the stress being placed on the team members as a result of very harsh terrain conditions that we're encountering.

MCLAUGHLIN: To Prince Harry, this was less about the competition and more about the journey and raising awareness.

PRINCE HARRY: If I'm given the opportunity that it means that I can actually help these guys out with, you know, creating more awareness for them, or whatever, then, you know, so I walk to minus 50 so what it's 90 mile an hour winds, you've got to put -- occasionally you've got to put yourself through that for a good cause.

MCLAUGHLIN: And for all of the competitors, finishing will be the celebration.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Good for them.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead here on CNN as you would expect.

And as a brutal winter sets in, we see the European countries that have been abandoning Syria's refugees.

Plus, what message is North Korea's ruler trying to send by executing the man he called uncle? We're going to explore that story for you.

And then we're going to go to a far off land for a festive treat in tonight's CNN preview.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.