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CONNECT THE WORLD

Former Lebanese Ambassador To U.S. Killed In Beirut; U.S. Stock Market's Record Year; Erdogan's Digging In

Aired December 27, 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 a car bomb rips through downtown Beirut as tensions rise over the civil war in neighboring Syria. A prominent pro-western politician is killed in that attack. This evening, why this man was targeted and who could be responsible.

Also ahead, relieved to be home, five British activists held in Russia for 100 days are reunited with their families.

And how CNN's very own Piers Morgan is bowled over in a cricketing showdown.

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

ANDERSON: Fears are growing this hour about the stability in Lebanon after another massive bombing in Beirut, the second in just two months.

Now a car bomb exploded earlier in a busy downtown area killing a former finance minister who also served as ambassador to the United States. Five other people were also killed.

Well, Mohammed Shattah was an outspoken critic of Hezbollah and its ally the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He was a top adviser to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri who heads a pro-western coalition. That coalition suggests the same group accused of killing Hariri's father, the ex-premier Rafik Haririr, is behind today's assassination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARWAN HAMADEH, FORMER LEBANESE CABINET MINISTER: The target is Lebanon, its institutions, its president, not only the forces of the Syria's revolution, but also the whole image of this country, the convivial country, a country of democracy. And the accused is the one who is going to be in front of the tribunal in The Hague next month, meaning Hezbollah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Hezbollah hasn't commented on those accusations, but it did condemn the attack, calling it a despicable crime aimed at destroying national unity.

Well, the blast hit Shattah's car as he headed for a meeting with his coalition at Hariri's downtown residence. People began running many in shock as thick black smoke rose above the flames.

Journalist Mitchell Prothero is in Beirut and shows us more of the aftermath. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITCHEL PROTHERO, MCCLATCHY NEWS: We're here in central Beirut at the scene of a car bombing that killed former ambassador to the United States Mohammed Shattah and five other people. As you can see behind me, security personnel are investigating the scene. We believe that this was Shattah's vehicle. And behind you can see criminal investigation services trying to piece together exactly what happened with the bomb.

This is a luxury neighborhood of Beirut. And surrounding us are five star hotels, most of which have had their windows blown out and a number of casualties have been reported.

The location of today's bombings is in a luxury downtown district of Lebanon that has not seen violence for almost 10 years since the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Haririr. But this location surrounded by luxury apartments and villas is very terrifying to the Lebanese people.

Today's assassination reinforces to the Lebanese that they are in an increasingly dangerous situation with politicians on both sides of this deeply divided country supporting the rebels and supporting the regime. And with the Lebanese political system in tatters as the cabinet has collapsed and upcoming presidential elections even called into question, there's a strong belief that incidents like this may very well continue.

For CNN, this is Mitchell Prothero reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, our guest tonight says the target, the timing and location of today's attack could provide critical clues.

Rami Khouri is the director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs. He's also editor-at-large of the Daily Star in Lebanon. Sir, thank you for joining us.

Just before his death, Shattah tweeted, and I quote, "Hezbollah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security and foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 years. Within minutes, a car bomb explodes in Downtown Beirut and he is dead.

What is your assessment of what has happened today?

RAMI KHOUR, ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE: Well, I don't think there's any director link between the timing of the tweet and the explosion that killed him, but clearly this is an act that is to be seen in the context of the last three or four months in which there has been an escalation in long running tensions and military actions and battles, explosions, assassinations, inside Lebanon, but not in this central part of the city of Beirut since the killing of Hariri back in 2005.

So this is a serious escalation by somebody, we don't know who it is. The March 14 people, Hariri's people, are saying it's Hezbollah, but we don't know. But this bring it into the heart of western Beirut. And it's probably a retaliation for the killings of the bombings in the Hezbollah southern district and the Iranian embassy bombing.

So it's a free-for-all. And this is what scares the Lebanese people now.

ANDERSON: Interestingly, Saad Hariri, the former prime minister, making a statement today, which included the following. The signatories of this message, this killing, do not hide their fingerprints. He says those -- I'm not sure who he's speaking about -- who provide cover for these crimes, who want to bury their heads in the sand, and who justify the proliferation of weapons and the rise of the armed groups at the expense of the state and its institutions are to blame.

Can you just explain what he means by that? And what this -- what this death today means for Lebanon's political scene? Give us some context here.

KHOURI: Well, what he means by that is he's blaming the Syrians and Hezbollah and the Iranians behind them, but essentially Syria and Hezbollah are the two culprits the Hariri group and the March 14 people are blaming without naming them by name, but clearly that's who they're talking about...

ANDERSON: Which you don't buy, right?

KHOURI: Has been a situation like this for the last -- pardon?

ANDERSON: And you don't buy that.

KHOURI: Well, it's -- we don't know. We'd have to wait for the evidence. And you -- there's three or four possible culprits for the people who did this. And the tragedy of Lebanon is that any of those three of four people could be credible candidates to be blamed for these bombings. This is the problem in Lebanon today that there's so much violence and it could be deliberate by one side against another side. It could be a third party. It could be a foreign group. It could be some of these new Salafists.

So, it's just very hard to know.

The March 14 people are convinced that Syria and Hezbollah are behind this. And there's a trial going to start in about two weeks at the special tribunal for Lebanon where five people who are close to Hezbollah are going to be -- have been indicted and will be put on trial for the Hariri killings and other killings after that possibly.

So this is a problem now, because you've got open warfare between pro- Syrian pro-Hezbollah people and pro-Hariri, pro-Saudi people on one side. And the other -- people simplistically say it's the Shiites and Sunnis, but it's far more complicated than that, because Hezbollah has some Christian allies and there are people with Hariri who are not only Sunnis. So it's much, much more complicated than that. And it's really a local manifestation of a very bitter regional ideological battle, an existential battle almost, between Iran and Saudi Arabia at one level complicated by the Russian and the American global involvement in the region.

So, everybody at the same time is facing these Salafi (inaudible) militant Islamists who are bombing all of them.

ANDERSON: Very briefly, Rami, then, we see this bombing tonight in a bustling downtown neighborhood. How concerned are you about life in Beirut going forward, and about Lebanon as a whole?

KHOURI: Well, I'm not concerned about daily life. I've lived in Lebanon for the last 11 years. And we've lived through many of these incidents and wars and invasions and all kinds of terrible things. And these are targeted political acts. They are not bombing shopping malls and restaurants, these are -- it's like mafia killings in Chicago years ago where individuals are killing each other. They're not randomly bombing the public.

But it is a problem, because this particular bombing is sending the message that west Beirut, central west Beirut, this beautifully reconstructed lavish district, which was the gem of the Hariri rebuilding of Beirut is now open for warfare. And this is a bad sign for investment, for tourism, for developmental progress and many of the things that all Lebanese want to happen.

So the real problem is the combination of a stalemate in the internal government system, which is pretty much blocked now by the feud between these two political groups and their foreign patrons, and at the same time violence that continues back and forth.

And the gloves are off now, this is the real problem, if you can attack Hezbollah in the southern suburbs, you can attack the Iranian embassy, you can attack the heart of Hariri's territorial base and his closest advisers, then this is frightening for all Lebanese.

ANDERSON: Rami Khouri with what is a complicated, very good analysis for you this evening. We thank you, sir, very much indeed. Always a pleasure.

Still to come, rescuers are within sight, but it could be still days before a ship stuck in frozen waters gets help. We're going to get you the latest on the mission to free a trapped vessel in the Antarctic.

Protesters clash with police in Turkey as they demand the government to resign. We're live in Istanbul for the very latest from there.

And we see how the stock markets are ending what has been a record breaking year. All that and much more when this show, Connect the World, continues out of London. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

The Turkish prime minister has just addressed a crowd of his supporters in Istanbul. That follows a day of clashes where police fired rubber bullets at anti-government protesters. Now they are calling for the government to resign as a political scandal engulfs the country's top leadership.

Demonstrators threw fireworks at officers who responded with water cannon.

Three ministers have already stepped down amid a high level corruption investigation.

Well, Mohammed Jamjoom was at the scene and was hit in the face with what appears to be a powder pellet shot from a security force gun. He appears to be OK. And he's joining us now live from Istanbul.

And Mohammed, the prime minister in no mood to negotiate it seems as he accuses demonstrators of trying to undermine his rule, the dark arts at play, if you will.

Who does he believe is plotting to overthrow him at this point? And what sort of support does he have?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: You know, it's fascinating, Becky, to see all this play out, because you have essentially appears to be Erdogan's party, the Islamist AKP party, almost seemingly coming apart. Several loyalists starting to turn against him right now as he remains defiant.

Now we've heard this kind of rhetoric from Prime Minister Erdogan in the past. The more people attack him, the more entrenched he becomes. And yet right now this is a scandal that is so wide ranging that it really seems to be nipping at his heels. And the perception here in Turkey at least right now is that this really poses the most serious threat to his premiership that he's ever yet encountered while he's been in power for over a decade.

Now tonight, you had protesters come out here in Istanbul. Just behind me you're seeing Taksim Square. Right now, it's relatively calm, but there's been a massive presence of security forces, anti-riot police. You had clashes going on up and down Istik Lal Street (ph) that way, which is the main pedestrian thoroughfare here in Istanbul.

Me and my team, we were part of that earlier. We were there as the clashes were ongoing, protesters were putting up barricades trying to stop water cannon trucks from converging upon them. Well, it didn't stop them. The water cannons went after those protesters, dispersed those protesters. Tear gas was deployed.

Several points you had security forces firing these rubber pellets filled with powder. One of them hit me in the face, one of them hit our cameraman in the leg. We're OK. And there were several arrests that were made as well.

But while this was going on, with this backdrop of the protest in Istanbul as well as protests and clashes that were going on in city's like Izmir, in the capital Ankara, you also had Prime Minister Erdogan who arrived back in Istanbul today almost giving what sounded like a stump speech outside of his residence just a short while ago here in Istanbul.

He made the crowd since campaign songs that they had sung for him in the past. He lashed out at his critics, lashed out at the opposition, once again blamed foreign powers and outsiders for trying to foment unrest in Turkey and to destabilize this country.

And again, this is not surprising, because we've heard this kind of thing from Erdogan in the past. But at a time when this scandal really is spreading and there are so many people that are close to Erdogan that have been implicated and have been arrested, many people thought that maybe this was a time when he would sound just slightly apologetic.

Not the case He says that he is convinced the he is powerful, that he has the support of most Turks. He seems as defiant as ever. And the question right now is will this continue? Where there continue to be instability?

Right now you have the affects of this scandal, meaning that the Turkish lira has hit a record low. The economy is now in crisis as well.

So, will Erdogan, who seems to be insulating himself with new cabinet ministers to try to protect him from this scandal. Will he be protected? Will he continue to be defiant? We'll just have to see in the days ahead.

But as of right now, it's looking more worrisome for him -- Becky.

ANDERSON: And Mohammed, if there is an opposition, which is gaining some momentum, who is it led by?

JAMJOOM: Well, that's the key question. You know, you have Erdogan lashing out at the opposition, but who is the opposition? You have the protesters that are coming out into the streets. And tonight, there were what appeared to be hundreds of protesters trying to converge upon Taksim Square, that was the site of the massive anti-government demonstrations that happened this past summer, but every time they would start to get into Taksim Square, or start chanting at Taksim Square, they would quickly be dispersed by the security forces.

So who exactly is the opposition? Tonight, they seem to be in more disarray then they have been in the past, but at the same time there is growing anger in this country. We must remember that Erdogan does still have a lot of support in Turkey, but what's really important right now is that it appears as though at least there are now cracks in his own party. And former loyalists, including one minister who resigned in the past few days, who are now calling on Erdogan to resign. That is unprecedented. And that's what seems to be posing the biggest amount of worry for Erdogan's loyalists for the time being -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Mohammed Jamjoom is in Instanbul in Turkey with the story for you this evening.

Well, South Sudan's government has agreed in principle, at least, to a cease-fire. But the country's rebels have yet to sign onto the deal. Weeks of fighting in the world's newest nation have killed more than 1,000 people and forced 10 times that number to flee their homes.

Now the UN says 63,000 people are now taking refuge at bases across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILDE JOHNSON, HEAD OF UN MISSION TO SOUTH SUDAN: We are providing water, shelter and now food is provided in almost all sites, but not all due to insecurity and lack of logistical ability to bring food in large quantities to the locations.

So this is happening as we speak. But the challenges are immense, and I have to say we are overstretched, both with regard to the response as well as regarding security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Bad weather has stalled one of three vessels sent to rescue a Russian ship trapped in an ice flow in the Antarctic Sea. Now the captain of a Chinese icebreaker says it may take another two days to the get to the stranded ship despite being so close. Diana Magnay following all of this for you from Moscow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Rescue now within eyesight of the stranded vessel, the Akademik Shakalskiy, which has been stuck in frozen waters around the Antarctic since Monday evening.

There are 74 people on board, all of them safe, all of them in high spirits says Chris Turney, the expedition leader. He's been broadcasting aboard the vessel since Christmas day. He sent out a May Day distress signal on Christmas day but since then he's been doing plenty of interviews. He's saying they had a great day, they're all warm but looking forward to an imminent rescue. Three rescue vessels were sent towards them. All of them are icebreakers.

The first is almost there, the Chinese vessel the snow breaker. What needs to happen now is simply that they carve a route through the ice to let the Shakalskiy. The boat is intact, there's nothing wrong with it, it just can't escape these frozen waters.

The whole purpose of this expedition was to retrace the steps of the Australian explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson. That's why this expedition is called the spirit ever Morrison. He spent two years in ant arctic call from 1911 to 1913. It's certainly a relief to all of those on boards that they're not spending anywhere near that amount of time there this time around.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Let's hope they -- they aren't anyway. All right, thanks Di.

Egypt's interior minister -- or ministry at least -- says three people have died in clashes with police during nationwide protests there. More than 260 people have been arrested, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood showed their anger after the government declared that the organization was a terrorist group.

Now the Egyptian government is threatening harsh sentences for anyone attending a Muslim Brotherhood protest.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the bull run of 2013. We are live at the New York Stock Exchange as Wall Street enters the home stretch of what has been a recordbreaking year. That, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson.

Now U.S. stocks it seems are heading into the home stretch of what has been a very strong year on Wall Street. This picture as we stand, with less than 60 minutes of trading left to round out this week. And right now the Dow Jones at a very good looking 16,474 and change. Down a little bit today, but who cares to a certain extent. Trading volume has been very low today with many away for the holidays of course.

On Thursday, the Dow posted its 50th record high this year.

The European stock markets all ended high. London's FTSE just over a half of one percent higher, as you can see there. The DAX up three quarters of one percent. The Paris market up over 1 percent, as Zurich's SMI a very comfortable one and a quarter percent higher.

Well, it's been a cracking year for U.S. stocks. Let's get the very latest from the exchange in New York. Zain Asher is there and joins us now.

I know volumes are pretty thin today and therefore we're looking at fairly flat close, but my goodness what a year.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Hi, Becky. What a year indeed.

The S&P 500 and the Dow both basically between 25 percent and 30 percent, up 25 and 30 percent this year. But right now, as you mentioned, it is pretty flat, indeed. What you're seeing is some casual profit taking, investors using the rally that we've seen over the past few days as an opportunity to take home some of those gains.

Now the Dow has gained, imagine this, 600 points over the past six days. Now the chance of getting a record high today, I'm a little bit doubtful, although it could go either way. The Dow is down about 5 points, basically flat right now.

As you mentioned, shares are being very thinly traded right now, which is normal around this time of year, the sort of week between Christmas and New Year's Day, 250 million shares traded today. It sounds like a lot, but it's really low. And so with that kind of low volume, you do tend to see a bit of volatility and investors are able to sort of kick the market around a little bit more.

But, yes, half an hour to the close. If we're going to get another record high today, it could go either way, but if we do it will be the 51st record high so far this year -- Becky.

ANDERSON: It's absolutely remarkable.

And Zain, a new CNN poll showing that the American public, although isn't still -- still isn't convinced that the economy is on the mend surprisingly, despite what the markets would suggest.

Nearly 70 percent said that they think the economy in the U.S. is actually in poor shape, and only 32 percent -- our viewers looking here at the graph on the screen -- gave it a positive rating, just over half expected the economy to remain in poor shape a year from now.

So clearly Zain, there is a disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. Why do you think that is?

ASHER: Well, you know, Becky, there is certainly a difference between the reports that the media puts out about the economy and getting better, which obviously it's true, but you know it differs from how people really feel inside about how the economy is doing. And that's based on all sorts of things. That's based on their ability to find work, get a job, that kind of thing.

And in terms of that poll, a majority of people who answered that poll said that they don't even think economic conditions will get much better a year from now. And when they were asked if the economy had made them sort of put off making major purchases actually half of the people said yes.

So here's what's going on, right, the economy is certainly getting better, but there are some big holes in this ship. So on the one hand, stock market is surging, you know, 50 record highs so far this year, largely because of fed stimulus, but only half of Americans are actually even invested in the stock market. So where's the trickle down?

Also, you've seen the housing market recover, the home prices are rising, but also so are mortgage rates as well. We saw the yields on the 10-year note reach 3 percent, so that might have an impact on mortgage rates, which might reverse the gains we've seen in the housing recovery as well.

So there is sort of two Americas, certainly a disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right, thank you very much indeed. Zain Asher with the markets and the story out of the U.S. as far as the economy is concerned.

Right, the latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, relief for the freed Greenpeace activists returning home from Russia, but what's the real reason behind President Putin's seemingly generous mood, or moods of late? We'll discuss that. Plus, days after Christmas, people are trapped in darkness and below freezing temperatures not only in the U.S. where these pictures are coming to you, but elsewhere the latest on the storms.

And after criticizing the English cricket team, why Piers Morgan is, well, eating his words somewhat in Melbourne, Down Under. That, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Hello and welcome to this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, coming to you from the heart of London overlooked by what is the newest edition to the London skyline, the Shard. And we've got a special treat for you this hour, a tour of that iconic building and the breathtaking views that it provides.

Also in the next half hour, we're going to bring you some of the quirkier highlights from our show this year. The stories of 2013 that didn't always make the headlines, but certainly got us talking. First up, an ancient eagle finds its wings again from deep beneath the city of London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): On public display for the first time in almost 2,000 years.

ANDERSON (on camera): I know that when you as a team found this, you were a little sort of underwhelmed. You didn't know what it was, did you? Because at first it was just a piece of stone, right?

SIMON DAVIS, ARCHAEOLOGIST, MOLA: Yes. Yes.

ANDERSON: When it first came out.

DAVIS: Relatively common discovery on an archaeological site. And then to go ahead and reveal it and realize the detail, the quality of the workmanship, and the completeness of the find, it was just amazing.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The Roman eagle's pristine condition has enabled it to be fast-tracked to the Museum of London, which is set inside the city's old Roman walls.

ROY STEPHENSON, MUSEUM OF LONDON: I would say this is the very best piece of Roman sculpture that's come out of the ground in that time. And I know the excavating crew were taken aback to the extent they really didn't actually believe it was real it was so good. To think, oh, it must have fallen off a pub or it's part of an 18th century garden center or whatever.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The artifact has been traced back to the first or second century when Britain was under Roman rule, and experts believe it would have perched on a mausoleum reserved for the wealthiest citizens.

ANDERSON (on camera): And so who would they have been?

DAVIS: Well, they were a Roman family, and we don't really know who the person would have been. But we're guessing it would have been somebody of significant wealth, of means, somebody with style and taste.

ANDERSON: What's something like this Roman eagle worth?

DAVIS: Frankly, if you were to sell it, where's the catalog of Roman Eagles to compare and contrast it? So, as far as we're concerned, its without value. It's priceless.

ANDERSON: If this eagle hadn't been found, it would have forever been buried under what will be a new hotel in the city of London, and the museum here is delighted that the site owners have allowed them to display this in all its glory for you and me.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Only one other statue remotely like this is known to exist in the world.

ANDERSON: Simon, your reputation stand on the answer to this next question. Are you absolutely convinced that this is a Roman eagle from Roman times and this isn't something I'm going to find in a local garden center down the road?

(LAUGHTER)

DAVIS: Well, I'm absolutely sure that it's a Roman sculpture. We found it in a Roman roadside ditch, there's good dating, and a well-sealed context. I'm sure it's a Roman date.

ANDERSON: We can hold him to that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, London, of course, has come an awfully long way since the Roman Empire, and many amazing new treasures have sprung up all around. A lot of people would argue that the best of those is this: the Shard. At just over 1,000 feet tall, it is a city in the air, with offices, restaurants, and unrivaled views of the capital.

But first, before we take you up there, the queen's speech that never was. A glimpse at how preparations were being made for World War III.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): In the words of the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, never perhaps in the post-war decades was the situation in the world as explosive as in the first half of the 1980s. 1983 was particularly tense, as American president Ronald Reagan denounced the Soviet Union as the "evil empire."

It was a time when Americans crowded around their TVs to watch the film about nuclear war, "The Day After."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they fired first and we just got our missiles out of the ground in time.

(SIRENS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not an exercise.

(SIRENS)

ANDERSON: That same year, the United States also moved additional weapons into Europe and began the Star Wars project, a space-based system intended to shoot down enemy missiles.

HENRY KENDALL, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: In peacetime, such a program would enhance the defensive-offensive competition and would not lead to a quieting of hostilities but rather to their aggravation.

ANDERSON: Indeed, tensions were so high that protests against nuclear weapons erupted around the world, and it's now been revealed that in Britain, civil servants penned a speech for Queen Elizabeth in the event of World War III. In the planned broadcast, Her Majesty prepares her country for what she calls "the madness of war."

"The enemy is not the soldier with his rifle," the speech reads, "nor even the airmen crowding the skies above our cities and towns, but the deadly power of abused technology."

Queen Elizabeth also expresses her fears for her own family. "My beloved son Andrew is at this moment in action with his unit, and we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas."

The classified speech has only just been released by Britain's National Archive and was written as part of a disaster planning exercise. Fortunately, Her Majesty never had to deliver it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Now, to get up to this world-famous viewing platform, you've got to use one of these, an ultra-fast lift. Whizzing to the sky at 20 feet per second, you do 68 floors in just about a minute.

And speed is something these next men know something about. They are the veteran amputees taking on one of the world's most grueling rally races.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Checking over their Dakar Rally chariot.

TONY HARRIS, FOUNDER, "RACE2RECOVERY": You've got the front end damage, it's a little bit damaged. Bang this.

ANDERSON: This is the Race2Recovery team, getting ready to take on the world's most grueling rally all over again.

The team, made up of former soldiers injured in Afghanistan, made their Dakar debut in 2013 to raise funds for Help for Heroes. Only one of the team's four cars made it to the end. That was enough to make history as the first disabled team to ever finish the race.

(CROWD CHEERS)

ANDERSON: The success, the overwhelming support from around the world, and the fact that both team founder Tony Harris and owner Ben Gott didn't finish has driven them to give it another bash.

HARRIS: That's become a really good, big name on the Dakar, and let's do it based on our values, our ethos. It's about the courage, it's about the commitment, it's not the way that -- it's not the manner in which you fall, it's the manner in which you rise that really matters.

ANDERSON: The gritty determination comes just four years after Harris, a former captain in the British army, lost his lower leg in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

HARRIS: Really wants to put the day I got injured into the past, and I want to make sure that wasn't that day for the rest of my life. I wanted to have something else that I could say, actually, OK, fine, that happened, but I've done other stuff now, and actually, I should be remembered or I can remember that stuff much more positively.

And in hindsight, actually, if I hadn't lost my leg, then I wouldn't have gone to the Dakar, so conversely, it's -- been a good thing -- ish.

ANDERSON: Experience and sponsorship, the only real obstacles separating the Race2Recovery Team from the top Dakar competitors.

HARRIS: I think the overall dream of where we want to go is not only to include other nationalities and more people, it's to also raise the awareness in Britain, make Britain proud of having a Dakar team, and one that's very unique.

ANDERSON: That kind of recognition, says Harris, becomes even more vital as troops withdraw from Afghanistan, many bearing the scars.

HARRIS: For us, those -- that war will never finish. I might have got over the battle of infection, but I did that by losing a leg. I'm proud of what I've done and achieved after injury, but remember those who maybe can't do that, or maybe it's just not feasible, be it the mental scars or the physical scars.

Let's remember that we have a duty and have an obligation to make sure that we look after them and their families for the rest of their lives.

ANDERSON: A duty Harris serves by making sure the message is heard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: After this short break, the view from the top of the Shard and another new arrival to London that got global attention in 2013. I'm going to take you back to that moment we all awaited the arrival of a new royal baby.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back to this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, coming to you from the top of the world, the 69th floor of London's Shard, Western Europe's tallest building. Now, from here, this platform, known as the view from the Shard, visitors get a 360-degree panorama of the city.

And on this side -- in fact, over my left shoulder, I can see Buckingham Palace. And it was there earlier this year that Britain announced the arrival of its new heir, Prince George. Well, I was in amongst the thick of it as Britain got gripped by Royal Baby Fever.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: This is Kensington Palace, which is where William and Catherine will live with their new baby. William and Harry lived there in the past. It is under renovation at the moment. We believe that Kate has spent some months during her pregnancy overseeing construction.

This is the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital. Follow me. This is where William was born and we first set eyes on him in Diana's arms in 1982, and not surprisingly, the world's media are here, ready for that money shot.

You're from AP. How important an event is this for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this is one of the biggest events we've got in this country so far. It's the first royal baby this century, so you can't get much bigger than that, can you?

ANDERSON: And I found a snapper here, the old paparazzi. You're from the "Daily Star," sir. Big moment for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely, yes. Very excited. Very excited, indeed. Lots of anticipation, as you can see. So, everyone's very keen to get the picture, aren't they? They've actually packed the podium. There'll be ladders going everywhere.

ANDERSON: And it is on these steps that those cameras will be trained. Once the birth certificate is signed here at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital, it'll then go under armed guard to Buckingham Palace, and that is where we are headed. Let's go.

Now, it won't surprise you that the media are setting up in force here, and that is because once the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth, the announcement will be posted on an easel at the palace over there, and that is the first time we will find out whether the royal heir is either male or female.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: It's a wonderful atmosphere down here in the crowd. There are people from all over the world. You heard them cheer when that gilded easel was originally put out with that birth notice on it about a half hour or so ago.

Let me get you some of the people who have gathered here in front of Buckingham Palace. Melissa and Jack, I believe, both from London. Melissa, what a great day.

MELISSA, SPECTATOR AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE: Yes, it's very exciting.

ANDERSON: Yes?

MELISSA: I mean, you don't get to witness this many times in your life.

ANDERSON: That's right. It's a baby boy?

MELISSA: Yes?

ANDERSON: So I think. Did you want a boy? Not you, obviously --

(LAUGHTER)

MELISSA: A few years to go before I have to think about that, but yes.

ANDERSON: Jack, you're from London.

JACK, SPECTATOR AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE: Yes.

ANDERSON: It's a great day for not just for London but Great Britain, isn't it?

JACK: Yes, it's great. I mean, everybody loves everything to do with the royal family. So, everyone's really excited here.

ANDERSON: Have you got to actually get to the gilded easel, which is behind us here?

JACK: We haven't yet. It's impossible to get through --

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MELISSA: I actually tried to grab the gate. I'm not sure how --

(LAUGHTER)

MELISSA: -- OK that was, but --

JACK: We're not --

ANDERSON: Aw, listen, I'm holding you up. Why don't you guys try and get down? I'll move on. I know that we've got some ladies here, one from South Carolina, am I right in saying?

ERIN, SPECTATOR AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE: I'm from South Carolina. My name is Erin, and it's very exciting. We brought my daughter and some friends over here. It's been wonderful. I remember watching Charles and Diana getting married as a teenager, and now to see her son have a baby, it's magical. So we've had a great time.

ANDERSON: I'm told by royal protocol that the happy couple are most likely to bring the baby here before the queen leaves for her holiday in Scotland in Balmoral.

And do remember, last week when asked about the imminent arrival of her new great-granddaughter or -son -- we now know it's a son -- she said, "I'm looking forward to it, but I'm hoping it will come soon, because I'm also looking forward to my holiday." Well, now she can go to bed tonight and she can leave for Balmoral sometime soon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, we've come up to the open-air platform on the 72nd floor of this iconic building, and it is up here that you can feel the wind and hear the sounds of the city. And it's also up here that you can see these sheaves of glass that give the Shard its name.

Well, all this fresh air is pretty exhausting stuff, so let's take a break. When we come back, one of the most bizarre outfits that I wore this year as I experienced life as an elderly person.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, we've come outside so that you can get a real sense of the scale of what is London's iconic building of 2013, and I get to have a cup of coffee and a mince pie as we reflect on some of the best moments of this past year on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, coming up, you've all heard of the graffiti artist Banksy, right? But have you ever heard of a Becksy? And what would one be worth? Well, that is coming up a little later on the show. First, a day in the life of an elderly person. I put on an aging suit to find out what it really feels like to be getting old.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, the latest research shows that over 4 million elderly residents in the UK feel that Britain has become an alien nation. This equipment here, when I get suit and booted, will give me a sense of what it feels like to be incapacitated. I want to know what it feels like to be a member of the older generation.

This is going to restrict my spine movements and my pelvis tilt. Problems with arthritis in my fingers --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wrists.

ANDERSON: -- in my wrists and in my knees. Now, I'm going to restrict the movement in my joints. Now, those go around my ankles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

ANDERSON: This is to impair my neck movement. My vision, my central vision, is impaired. I can now see nothing here. A little bit here. I've also got hearing problems. Let's go out and find out just what it feels like to be moving around. Ooh.

Well, I'm coming out of the bank, and I need to get the Tube. The problem is, I can hardly see where I'm going anyway.

What is really odd is already everybody else seems to be moving extremely quickly, and you get this sort of slight sense of anxiety.

All right. I know everybody else is in a rush, but thankfully, I'm retired, so, I don't really need to get anywhere particularly quickly.

This is a really busy thoroughfare in London. This is Holborn. We've very close to the city. These guys are going. I'm going to wait. I'd be interested to see whether I can make it. Here we go.

I don't hear anything too disconcerting. See? The green man's gone already. This is going to take me hours. Oh, dear, here we go.

It's been so exhausting, this whole process of crossing the road. I've planned for some sushi, but I'm not sure how I'm going to cope with the chopsticks.

We'll see what there is in here. Everybody else is using their cars. Is there a fire or something?

Hello! I'm having this. And I've got some money here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to eat in or takeaway?

ANDERSON: Sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eating in or takeaway?

ANDERSON: I can't hear you, though.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eating in or takeaway?

ANDERSON: Eating -- oh, I'm going to eat in there, thank you. How much is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 4.55.

ANDERSON: 4.55.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can help you.

ANDERSON: OK.

Even picking up these chopsticks, which are incredibly light, I'm sure, they're like a real weight.

Take this bus over here. It won't be there when I get there. I can't run, so I'll just take it easy. So, he can see me coming. Oh, he is going to wait. That's extraordinary!

Well, I've been out for about an hour. Oh! I can hear! And I can see! That is a really, really disconcerting experience. It's very lonely. You feel as if everything's working really fast around you. You feel as if people are very impatient. And you just get this sense that it is a bit of an alien world, actually.

The bus ride was awful. People were pushing past, and then people sort of moved a way. I don't know, maybe that's just because of what I looked like. Anyway, interesting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Spray paint, stencils, sidewalks, and street corners. If you recognize any of these trademarks, you probably know the works of graffitist Banksy. A once unknown street artist form the UK, he is now one of the most sought-after artists in the world. His face and real name are a well-kept secret, but his pieces often fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Well, a handful of shoppers in New York got the bargain of a lifetime this weekend when they picked up some undervalued originals. A Banksy pop- up shop in Central Park sold his pieces for -- get this -- around $60 each. Something of a markdown from their estimated worth of $32,000. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TEXT: 11:15 AM

12:30 PM

3:30 PM -- First Sale. A lady buys two small canvases for her children. But only after negotiating a 50 percent discount.

4:00 PM. A lady from New Zealand buys two.

5:30 PM. A man from Chicago is decorating his house. "I just need something for the walls," he says. And buys four.

6:00 PM - close. Total taking for the day: $420.

ANDERSON: Well, most of the world missed out on that deal, and there is no going back for it. Banksy said the shop was a, quote, "one-off." Well, we decided to do a little spray painting of our own, went out in London to see how much people would pay for an original "Becksy."

ADAM DUNNAKEY, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Well, this is the finished product. Let's see how much people here in London are willing to pay for it.

DAVID HAYE, BOXER: Let me think a bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sort of like 150.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten bucks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifty pounds?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten pounds?

HAYE: How about 22,000 pounds? I've just got a gut instinct that it's worth a lot of money.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, it sounds like we could have made a few bucks there, doesn't it? And did you recognize that face?

That's it for the show. We do hope you've enjoyed it. If you want to share your best moments of the year with us, do Facebook us at facebook.com/CNNconnect or, as ever, you can tweet me @BeckyCNN. That's @BeckyCNN. Until next year, good-bye.

END