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CONNECT THE WORLD

Two Suicide Bomb Attacks In Volgograd; Michael Schumacher In Critical Condition After Skiing Accident; Third Attempt To Research Ship Off Antarctic Coast Fails; Volgograd Blast; Security Difficulties for Sochi Games; South Sudan Violence; South Sudanese President on Crisis; Best Dressed Pope; Top 2013 Movies; Parting Shots: El Salvador Volcano's First Eruption in 37 Years

Aired December 30, 2013 - 15:00   ET

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


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Fighting for his life: Michael Schumacher remains in critical condition after suffering a severe head injury in a skiing accident.

Tonight, a man who skis at the same resort as the racing legend tells me how dangerous the sport really is.

Also this hour, two bomb attacks in two days as Russia's Islamist (inaudible) strikes again. We take a closer look at what the militants are after.

And, virtue chic -- why Vatican inspires fashion set to be the hottest trend of 2014.

Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is spending a second night in hospital fighting for his life. The 44-year-old German is being kept on a medically induced coma after brain surgery.

Shumacher suffered traumatic head injuries in a skiing accident at a resort in the French Alps on Sunday. Doctors say he remains in critical condition at a hospital in Grenoble in France.

Our correspondent Jim Boulden is outside the hospital. We'll have more from Jim in just a moment.

But first, Amanda Davies has the very latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: After so many battles on the racetrack, seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is now fighting for his life in hospital in Grenoble having suffered severe brain injuries.

DR. JEAN-FRANCOIS PAYEN, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL CENTER OF GRENOBLE (through translator): His situation is critical, is judged as critical, yes.

DAVIES: The 44-year-old fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing on unmarked slopes in the French Alps resort of Meribel on Sunday morning. He was airlifted to hospital. And after an operation, doctors are working to relieve pressure on his brain, keeping him in a medically nduced coma and lowering his body temperature.

PAYEN (through translator): He's in an artificial coma. He is suffering from hypothermia to reduce brain damage, which is increasing brain pressure. We need to reduce the rise in intra brain pressure.

DAVIES: The German was a regular on the annual Ferrari ski trip during his time with the team. He owns a house in the Alps and is a keen and accomplished skier. Doctors say the fact he was wearing a helmet went a long way.

PAYEN (through translator): I think given the violence of the shock, his helmet did partly protect him. This kind of accident without a helmet would not have reached this stage.

DAVIES: Shumacher reached heights that others hadn't during his career as a Formula One driver, winning more titles, more races and more poll positions than any before him. He returned from serious back and neck injuries suffered in a motor bike accident to race for Mercedes in 2010.

And there among those in the motorsport community to pay tribute saying we all know the depth of Michael's fighting spirit and send him all our strength and support in this latest battle. We sincerely hope that he will make a full recovery and will be with us again soon.

Schumacher's family is at his bedside at the hospital and have released a statement thanking the medical team and those around the world for their messages of support. Doctors say it's too early to give a prognosis. And right now, they're working on an hour by hour basis.

Amanda Davies, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Shumacher was injured at the Meribel Ski Resort in southeastern France near the Italian border. Another skier spotted him on the ground and called rescuers who airlifted Schumacher to hospital in the nearby town of Lucia (ph). After examining his injuries, doctors there transferred him to trauma center about 70 kilometers away at Grenoble Hospital.

Jim Boulden is there for us now.

Jim, what sort of updates are you getting?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Max.

Well, Michael Schumacher now spending his second night here in this hospital with what the doctors are calling this medically induced coma. The idea, of course, is the swelling of the brain -- of course the brain swells when it's been injured, but the skull doesn't. So they're trying to figure out ways to reduce the skull.

Doctors told us today at this press conference that he had a blow to the right side of his head when he fell onto the rocks. And so that's the area they're concentrating on. They also said they're lowering his body temperature. Interesting, this is another way to try to bring the swelling of the brain down.

But the doctors made it very clear, they're not making any prognosis whatsoever. They are taking this hour by hour by hour.

A few hours ago, administrators came out and said they'll make no more comments today or tonight. And they will have to see if there are any comments tomorrow.

The family is, of course, as Amanda said in her piece, as said they know the doctors are doing all they can. So we'll have to see if whether on Tuesday we get any updates. But the doctors have said these things in other cases could take weeks until they can make a full diagnosis of how badly the brain is damaged, Max.

FOSTER: It raises questions about the safety of the sport. Again, Jim, that I guess people are aware of these dangers when they get involved in the sport.

BOULDEN: Yes, of course. I think it's interesting, of course, that he was wearing his helmet. You know, he's a bit of a daredevil, Michael Schumacher. He likes to sky dive. He liked to be on motorcycles. He injured himself, of course, in a motorcycle accident in between his two times in Formula One.

The fact he was wearing his helmet, the doctors have said that was very important, even though he was skiing off-piste, as it's called.

So, people are here are very aware of the region is how important skiing is. And as the celebrities and the rich and famous come here. And so this is an interesting hospital, Max, because we've seen helicopters coming and going all day. It's a center for the Swiss Alps and the French Alps if people are injured. And if they come and they get injured, especially brain damage, they are flown here. And Michael Schumacher himself was brought here by air ambulance on Sunday, because this is a place where there are specialists, Max.

FOSTER: Jim, thank you.

Paul Hochman is a former contributing editor of Ski Magazine. He's skied at the same resort where Schumacher had his accident. Paul joins me live from CNN Boston.

This is a very famous resort in Europe. It's not known as a dangerous one, is it?

PAUL HOCHMAN, FRM. CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, SKI MAGAZINE: No. In fact, it's famed not only for the cost of skiing there, of course, but the beauty. And it attracts people of all levels. And people found Meribel to be an extremely exciting and fun resort almost regardless of their level of skiing. It offers something for just about everybody.

But it's also the fact that a lot of the resort is above the tree line, which means that depending upon the weather, there are very few visual references, so when you're descending it can get a little disorienting, I support. But bottom line is, it's a beautiful place to ski and not surprising that Mr. Schumacher wanted to be there.

FOSTER: And when you go off-piste, you're going at your own risk, aren't you?

HOCHMAN: Well, you know, the biggest risk you take -- it depends on the terrain -- but the biggest risk you take when you go off-piste, or off the trail, is that if you do have an accident or you are hurt, it takes much longer for someone to find you. In other words, the ski patrol may not see you there or know that you're lost or hurt if you're away from most of the crowd. So that's the biggest risk you take.

The skiing is not inherently more risky off-piste, but many times people like Mr. Schumacher and others enjoy the very fact that the terrain does get more challenging in some off-piste places.

So, yes, I'm not surprised that that's where it happened, but I'm also very happy to hear obviously that someone saw it apparently just as it happened, so they were able to get him help quickly.

FOSTER: Obviously, he is a living legend. He's someone that people are very concerned about around the world. But one of the other topics that keeps coming up is the fact that he was wearing a helmet and he still suffered this head injury. What does that say about the use of helmets in skiing?

HOCHMAN: Well, the -- it's sort of -- the best question to ask is have you worn a helmet or not? And the short answer is if you're a good skier, the chances are the more chances you take the more challenge you want to put yourself in front of the more likely it is you'll be wearing a helmet. And it's obviously saved his life. It's pretty arguable that even I was not there obviously, it's pretty arguable that it did save his life. The doctors are saying with a traumatic brain injury, you know, without a helmet it's clear he would have been much worse off.

And the bottom line is a helmet is a really smart idea.

It doesn't protect you after a certain speed. If you're going 20 or 30 miles an hour, it may not protect you as much as if you're going a lower speed, but if you are wearing one it drastically reduces the risk of injury and especially for kids. So the bottom line is if he was wearing one, and he was, it may well have saved his life.

FOSTER: Is this a reminder of the risks of these sports? Because it is a dangerous sport. And it's part of the thrill, right, you know that you are taking a bit of a risk. But is there -- I mean, what can we learn about the sport from this accident?

HOCHMAN: The best thing you can learn about the sport -- ironically, it has less to do with the accident than it has to do with who was with him -- he was skiing with someone, in this case his son. And I'm sorry his son had to see this, but I will say this, that if you are going to go off- piste, one of the lessons you can learn about this sport, which does have its inherent dangers, is don't go skiing off-piste without anybody. Don't go alone, because if you do get hurt, it's hard to get help.

And in this case, Mr. Schumacher made what amounts to a very sensible decision to go with someone else. And bottom line is that may have saved his life.

FOSTER: OK. Paul Hochman, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Well, there has been an outpouring of concern and well wishes on social media sites for the seven-time F1 world champion.

Schumacher's former rival Martin Brundle tweeted, "come on Michael, gives us one of those race stints at pure qualifying pace to win through, like you used to. You can do it."

A McClaren Formula One driver Jensen Button took to Twitter to say his thoughts are with Schumacher at this time. He added, "Michael more htan anyone has the strength to pull through this."

Nine-time world rally champion Sebastian Loeb tweeted this, "everyone here wishing Michael Schumacher a speedy recovery. I am sure the motorsport world will sleep uneasy tonight."

With it, keep across those messages of sport from around the world and you can check those out and all the latest on his condition at CNN.com/Worldsport.

Still to come tonight, a deadline is quickly approaching for South Sudan's warring factions. We'll talk about that and the clashes that have plunged the country into crisis with President Salva Kiir.

Plus, a rescue mission in Antarctica that could save more than 50 stranded people.

But first, Palestinians await another homecoming like this one as Israel prepares to release dozens more long-time Palestinian prisoners. We're live in Jerusalem right after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Israel is getting ready to free another group of long-time Palestinian prisoners as part of ongoing peace negotiations. This will be the third such prisoner release since August.

All 26 who will be freed tonight were jailed for killing Israelis. The attacks happened before the 1993 Oslo Accords, which formally launched the Middle East peace process.

Let's get an update now from Ian Lee. He is at the presidential compound in Ramallah in the West Bank. And this is going to happen any moment, right Ian?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right.

Well, we're waiting for them to come. They're 26 released -- that should happen in the next three hours or so from now. 18 will come here to the presidential compound. These are the prisoners that are in from the West Bank. They will meet with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas here.

Family members already coming here, friends coming here, to join -- to see them, to say hi to them. Many of them, though, haven't seen them for over 20 years. A lot of these prisoners have been in prison for over 20 years. This will be the first time they see them since they were arrested.

Five of those prisoners, five of the 26 will go to Jerusalem and three others will go on to the Gaza Strip, but definitely there's going to be a celebration tonight around the Palestinian territories as these prisoners come home they will be getting a heroes welcome.

The other thing we're watching right now, too, is Israel's reaction. In the past, we've seen -- we've seen reports leading up to this release that they might announce new settlements. And this is seen as a move possibly to appease the Israeli public releasing the Palestinian prisoners is not popular whatsoever among the Israeli public so of the settlement announcement could be seen as a move to appease them. They haven't announced those yet, but the Palestinians have already warned that if there is any sort of settlement announcement that that could torpedo the talks, Max.

FOSTER: Ian, thank you very much indeed.

Well, now to rising tensions between Syria and neighboring Lebanon. We're hearing word that the Lebanese military has fired on Syrian war planes over Lebanon's Arsal region. A Lebanese source says it was meant as a warning.

Let's bring in journalist Mitchel Prothero in Beirut for details on that.

Was this in response to something, Mitchell?

MITCHELL PROTHERO, MCCLATCHY NEWS: Well, there's a sense here in Lebanon that it might have been in response to the announcement yesterday by this king of Saudi Arabia that he would donate $3 billion to modernize the Lebanese military.

Now, Saudi Arabia is constantly engaged in a power struggle in the region with Iran, which backs Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and who is also fighting in Syria. So a lot of people are acknowledging now that the Lebanese army is changing its policy to fire on any foreign military planes that enter their air space, whether they be Israeli or Syrian. And so this is showing some concern that Lebanon is getting drawn further into the conflict.

FOSTER: And what do we know about the Arsal area and the community that's there and why this may have been drawn in?

PROTHERO: Well, it's what you'd call a border town. It's generally populated by smugglers. The smuggling of diesel fuel and products over the Lebanese and Syrian border is basically how much of the city makes its living. It's also filled with Syrian refugees and thus it's also filled with Syrian rebels. The population there is extremely sympathetic to the rebellion. And they've been mounting operations now for over a year that go back and forth across the border. So the Syrians certainly feel as though they're justified in pursuing the rebels into Lebanese airspace.

FOSTER: OK, Mitchell in Beirut, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Well, at least 14 people have been killed in a second bombing in two days in the Russian city of Volgograd. Monday's explosion on a trolleybus follows a deadly blast of a train station just one day earlier. Both attacks are being blamed on suicide bombers. They come less than six weeks before the Sochi Winter Olympics. I will bring you full details on this story, plus a closer look at the issue of terrorism in Russia later in the show.

There are reports of new violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Witnesses say gunmen attack the headquarters of the country's state radio and television broadcaster and the Reuters news agency says there has been heavy gunfire at the international airport in the capital Kinshasa. Reports say 70 people have been killed in both attacks.

Al Jazeera is demanding the release of its journalist being held in Egypt. These four men were taken into custody on Sunday night in Cairo. A government statement claims that at least one of them met with a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the country recently declared a terrorist organization. Egypt's military-led government has faced political turmoil since the former president Mohammed Morsy was ousted in July.

44 Iraqi parliament members resigned today over the dismantlement of a protest camp in Ramadi. Sunni Muslims had gathered there for more than a year to protest against the Shia led government. Clashes broke out when police tore down the camp. Authorities say 10 gunmen were killed. The fighting has now spread to nearby Fallujah. Police there say they smashed -- they clashed with militants who have burned several military vehicles.

It's been more than 15 months since the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. And we still don't know who was responsible. But a New York Times investigation may answer some key questions, including weather al Qaeda was involved and whether an anti-Islamic video played a role.

CNN world affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "The New York Times" investigation calls into question claims made by both Republicans and the White House about what happened in Libya on September 11th a year ago. The newspaper finds fault with the Republican case saying, there's "no evidence that al Qaeda had any role," that local militias and looters were to blame, that an anti-Muslim video did play a role motivating the attackers, at least in part, and that the attack was "not meticulously planned but neither was it spontaneous" nor "without warning signs." A top Republican insists, the intelligence shows al Qaeda was involved.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: There was aspiration to conduct an attack by al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya. We know that. The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound.

DOUGHERTY: The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee agrees but says it's a complex picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The intelligence indicates that al Qaeda was involved, but there were also plenty of people and militias that were unaffiliated with al Qaeda that were involved.

DOUGHERTY: "The Times" also says, however, it was not a copycat of street protests in Egypt against the American made anti-Muslim video, as then U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice suggested on Sunday talk shows.

SUSAN RICE, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was, in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo.

DOUGHERTY: The Obama White House isn't commenting or disputing "The Times" report, which notably does not mention then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: What difference at this point does it make?

DOUGHERTY: But former White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor blasted Republican demands for Benghazi hearings and for their claims that the Obama administration was lying, tweeting, "they were wrong" and "we could have avoided months of discussing demagoguery."

Jill Dougherty, CNN, The State Department.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, a ship and crew stranded in thick ice off Antarctica, we'll have the latest on their condition and the efforts to free them.

And there might be accolades for the people's pontiff. We'll hear why plain white robes might be all the rage next season.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Russia says if weather allows, a Chinese helicopter will be sent to evacuate most of the passengers aboard a ship trapped in ice off Antarctica. The vessel has been stuck six days now. And a couple of attempts to reach it have failed. 74 people are on board, but not all will be airlifted out. 22 will remain on the ship to maintain it.

Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The weather's a bit tough (ph) today it's minus one and blowing snow.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (overnight): Overnight, another setback for the latest rescue mission. The Australian icebreaker ship Aurora Australis forced to turn back to open water after worsening blizzard conditions made it too dangerous for the ship to continue.

It came close within 10 nautical miles of the stranded research ship before having to retreat back to 18 miles.

Research expedition leader Chris Turney had expressed concerns about harsh weather, working against them.

CHRIS TURNEY, PROFESSOR AND EXPEDITION LEADER: Unfortunately, the weather forecast has these sort of conditions to continue for the next few days.

CHANCE: All rescue efforts including air-lifting passengers by helicopter on hold until visibility improves.

The research team set out to study climate change in Antarctica and retraced the steps of explorer Douglas Mawson who studied life on the frozen continent a century ago.

On Christmas Eve, just 100 miles from where they started, their ship came to a halt, stuck in 10 foot high ice and they haven't budged since.

UNIDENTIIFIED MALE: What's that on the horizon, Chris?

TURNEY: That's the ice breaker coming to rescue us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brilliant.

CHANCE: The crew spotted the first rescue ship from China known as the Snow Dragon in the distance, but their hopes were quickly dashed. The icebreaker which was only about 6 nautical miles away from the trapped vessel couldn't get any closer due to the unusually thick ice.

A French icebreaker also en route to assist, but the mission became clear the ship wouldn't get farther than the Chinese boat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in the ice. All the well, happy Christmas from AAE.

CHANCE: Still, spirits on the boat remain high. Crew members and passengers channeling their energies in posts on social media, creating video diaries for family members and telling everyone that they're having a great time.

MARY REGAN, EXPEDITION MEMBER: It's my birthday today. It could be a better day to have a birthday with my 80-something new friends.

NICOLE DE LOSA, EXPEDITION MEMBER: We're going to have some singing on the ice, which should be fantastic as well. But it's absolutely spectacular here. It's like this magical winter wonderland.

TURNEY: The team spirit has been fantastic. It really has. And we carefully chose the people we had together. We thought would get on well. We weren't expecting such a severe test of the community spirit, but everyone's kept really good morale.

CHANCE: Passengers and crew putting a brave face on an ordeal they hope will soon be over.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: The latest world news headlines just ahead. Plus, fears for the Sochi Olypmics as a second deadly bomb tears through the Russian city Volgograd. We'll discuss what's behind these attacks and whether the games are under threat.

Also, conditions are dire at this refugee camp in South Sudan, but others fleeing the war may be facing an even more desperate situation.

As the film world gears up for award season, we'll take a look back through the best movie moments of 2013 and give you a preview of who is tipped to take home the big (inaudible).

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: This is Connect the World. The top stories this hour.

Formula One race car legend Michael Schumacher is being kept in a coma after brain surgery. The 44-year-old was badly injured in a fall while skiing. He remains in critical condition in a hospital in Grenoble, France.

Two back-to-back bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd have killed more than 30 people in critical hours. Monday's explosion hit a trolleybus during rush hour. It came just a day after another bomb tore through a railway station. Both attacks are being blamed on suicide bombers.

More signs of spillover from the war in Syria. We're getting word that the Lebanese military have fired on Syrian war planes over the border town of Arsal. The predominately Sunni region is home to thousands of Syrian refugees.

Israel is set to free another 26 Palestinian prisoners today. It'll be the third such release since a U.S. brokered resumption of peace talks in July. It comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry heads back to the Middle East for another round of negotiations.

More now on the twin bombings in Volgograd, Russia, where the latest attack has left at least 14 dead after an explosion hit a bus near a busy market. Russian authorities have said this blast and one on a railway station on Sunday were terrorist attacks. CNN's Diana Magnay has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the rest of Russia celebrates in the new year, the city of Volgograd will be holding three days of mourning after twin attacks devastated the city. Here's a look at the events of those two days.

MAGNAY (voice-over): Two deadly terror attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd in less than 24 hours. Monday's attack on a crowded trolly bus in morning rush hour, more than a dozen killed. Authorities say the blast the work of a suicide bomber, possibly detonating his device towards the back end of the bus, where the damage seems worse.

Many onboard were students. This is exam time in Russia. Among the injured, a baby boy, now in a coma with multiple skull injuries. Authorities say they don't know who he is or whether his parents were killed in the blast.

This follows another attack at noon on Sunday in Volgograd's main railway station, the moment of the explosion caught on surveillance video. Seventeen people were killed in that blast, authorities saying that was also the work of a suicide bomber.

These attacks come less than six weeks before the start of the Winter Games in Sochi, which is around 600 miles southwest of Volgograd. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has vowed the highest possible security around the Games themselves in the town of Sochi, but it is clearly hard to police the whole of southern Russia to the same level.

Russia is fighting an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, not far from Sochi. In July, Russia's most-wanted man, Doku Umarov, a Chechen extremist and leader of an Islamist faction in the North Caucasus, threatened to unleash, quote, "maximum force" to prevent the Games from happening.

The US State Department has a $5 million reward out for Umarov. Former intelligence officials believe further attacks are entirely possible.

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: I think if we don't see one -- an attempt on the Olympics, I'd be very surprised.

MAGNAY (on camera): Even if the high security around Sochi means terrorists may find it hard to strike there, they are proving themselves more than capable of spreading maximum fear by targeting cities elsewhere in the region with deadly results.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Extensive security measures were already in place as Russia gears up to host February's Winter Olympics, but these recent blasts have laid bare the challenge of ensuring security in a region that neighbors the turbulent North Caucasus.

Volgograd is a major rail hub and is less than 1,000 kilometers from Sochi, the site of the Olympics. The Games are a prestige project for President Vladimir Putin, and he's vowed that spectators and athletes will be safe.

The Russian foreign ministry has said that the attacks in Volgograd and other countries, including in the United States, Syria, and Nigeria, have the same general masterminds. It's called on the international community to increase the fight against terrorism in whatever part of the world they may be and no matter what slogans are used to justify the inhuman crimes.

Russia has long had a problem with homegrown terror groups, mostly from the North Caucasus, and my next guest has spent many years studying violence and extremism in that region. Dr. Domitilla Sagramoso is a lecturer at the Department of War Studies at King's College here in London. She joins me here. Thank you for joining us.

DOMITILLA SAGRAMOSO, LECTURER, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: Thank you.

FOSTER: First, to explain this area, it's a very large area, many different types of communities. Islam keeps coming into the debate yet again. Can you just explain how that plays into this region?

SAGRAMOSO: Well, it's very interesting, because whereas in the 1990s, most of the fight was occurring in Chechnya and it was primarily of a separatist nature, by the 2000s, the violence expanded to many other neighboring areas, like Dagestan, Ingushetia, and other regions to the west of Chechnya.

And increasingly, they've adopted a sort of Islamic ideology approach. And this became especially by the mid-2000s and late 2000s.

FOSTER: And this had a cohesive effect through what were separate groups in this region?

SAGRAMOSO: Yes. They were separate in terms of the operational -- the way they operated, but generally they increasingly joined in the same sort of movement, sharing similar views, similar ideologies, and to a certain extent, all swearing allegiance to the leader of this movement, it's now the Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umarov.

And this became especially so when he, in 2007, declared the creation of the Caucasus Emirate, which was sort of the creation of a local Islamic state that is virtually in the region.

FOSTER: And is that ideology one that is shared by the other examples of Islamic extremism we've had around the world?

SAGRAMOSO: They share many similar points in terms of establishing an Islamic state to be ruled by very strict Sharia Law.

FOSTER: Are they directly linked?

SAGRAMOSO: They are and they're not. They share very similar ideologies, they are in favor of, for example, of fighting a violent jihad. They justify also attacks against Muslims if they are supporting the local regimes. And they are ready to conduct massive terrorist attacks.

So there are similarities in the way they think. They might share some operational tactics. There might be some financial support. But all these groups, even worldwide, they operate independently to a certain extent because they are focused on their fight in the areas where they are present.

So, although they share and they could be seen as part of this global jihadist movement, they all operate at a regional level. Although now we are seeing Chechens operating in Syria, they haven't, for example, supported the bomber in the Boston carnage in the marathon.

So, it's very interesting. It's not always very clear-cut, but they all find in their declarations, they share a sense of concern also for events in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria. So yes, there is a general solidarity, and there is also a lot of very interesting exchanges of information, of knowledge, questioning with Arab scholars of a radical trend in the Middle East.

FOSTER: It's a big, big test, though, isn't it, for Putin, who from his perspective had some success in Chechnya in suppressing that uprising, if I can call it that? But now, he's got this problem with disparate groups in a much larger area.

SAGRAMOSO: Yes.

FOSTER: And they're having some success. He can only respond in a very tough way, can't he, if he's going to maintain this control that he's known for, at least outside the country?

SAGRAMOSO: Well, the problem is, that's what he's been trying over the last ten years or so, to really introduce very strong measures of force. And he has been relatively successful in Chechnya. I think Chechnya is still an area where there is turbulence --

FOSTER: There's this focus on the Olympics, now, isn't there? Almost this timeframe?

SAGRAMOSO: Yes. The Olympics, as I mentioned earlier, there is a problem, which is also related to the Circassian sort of concerns that these were their lands, the peoples who used to inhabit the area before the Russians occupied during the 19th century, and there was a massive exodus of Circassians.

So there is also some kind of solidarity among Chechen fighters for the concerns of Circassian peoples, because this is considered the land of the Circassians.

FOSTER: So, how does Putin respond?

SAGRAMOSO: Well, at the moment, he's been so far responding with increasing use of force. He's been relying on the local -- structures, and in the case of Chechnya, a very loyal local leader who's able to operate quite effectively. But other local leaders have not been able to operate so effectively.

So, I think there's going to be a heightening of security. We've recently already seen images of massive deployment of troops, for example, in Volgograd. And I think this is what we're going to see, an increasing display of security forces and a heightening of alerts, of searches, of arresting any kind of potential suspect.

What is interesting to note, if I may, is that a lot of the insurgency in the region resulted from initial repressive measures against Muslims who were practicing Salafi forms of Islam. And this has resulted in a cycle of violence.

FOSTER: OK. Dr. Sagramoso, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us and explaining that.

SAGRAMOSO: Thanks.

FOSTER: Live from London, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still to come, South Sudan's president says African nations could have helped prevent the spiral of violence in this country. An interview with Salva Kiir just ahead. And we take a look at the "Esquire" magazine's unexpected icon for understated chic.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: The South Sudanese government says it has convinced ethnic militia to retreat from Bor. An estimated 20,000 people loyal to former vice president Riek Machar have been heading to the city, sparking fears of more violence.

The humanitarian crisis is worsening in the world's newest country. The United Nations estimates that 63,000 people are seeking refuge in UN bases, and at least 122,000 have been displaced. CNN's senior international correspondent Arwa Damon visited a UN camp in Juba. Here's what she saw.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a maze of makeshift tents. This, one of the UN compounds in Juba, transformed into a teeming town for refugees.

Children have just started to receive polio and measles immunizations. Concerns are rising about the spread of other diseases, and aid agencies that sent out their non-essential staff are struggling to cope with the overwhelming needs.

This woman, now a widow with three children. "He was walking when it all started. He tried to run away. He was caught and killed," she tells us. She never recovered her husband's body. She's still in shock, left to fend for herself, relying on the kindness of others.

Many more wait under the punishing sun for supplies. Being handed out here are non-food items, plus essential nutrient-packed products. But as dire as these refugees' situation is, there are others who are potentially even more desperate.

CHRIS NIKOI, WFP SOUTH SUDAN COUNTRY DIRECTOR: There are others who have taken refuge in the bush and in other locations, whom we are also trying to reach.

DAMON: The world's youngest nation, just two years old, where after achieving independence, few imagined it would so quickly end up like this.

DAMON (on camera): People are understandably very emotional and traumatized by everything that they have been through. So the camp managers have asked us not to conduct any of our interviews amongst the crowds, not even in people's tents or the markets, out of concerns that those tensions could be inflamed.

DAMON (voice-over): Just this base alone now home to some 20,000 refugees. Many live within walking distance, and yet are too afraid to go back home, even though the capital has been relatively stable for over a week now. But fear reins. James Gaegak is the de facto community leader here.

DAMON (on camera): When we were speaking, you said that your brother went to get water, and then you never saw him again. What happened?

JAMES GAEGAK, COMMUNITY LEADER: My brother went back to the wells to collect water. I was given a call with his phone. And that call -- they tell me that your brother is dead.

DAMON (voice-over): We go to see his sister-in-law. She's pregnant and due this month. But James stays behind. He says it's too painful for her and the children to see him. He reminds them of the husband and father they no longer have.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Juba.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Arwa Damon sat down with the South Sudanese president to discuss the crisis and how to resolve it. Salva Kiir was very clear about what he thinks should happen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SALVA KIIR, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH SUDAN: The day when this still happened, the regional leaders and all African leaders should have come in with military support so that these rebels are crushed once and for all.

DAMON: East African nations issued a four-day deadline for Riek Machar to lay down his weapons and come to the negotiating table. That deadline expires on Tuesday. What happens at that stage?

KIIR: We are going to talk and then if they don't accept the talking, we will fight. In both cases, it will be resolved. So do we just wring our hands and we say, we have failed? We won't say that people of South Sudan have failed.

This is how solutions can be brought. When we brought solutions with the Sudan government, when we were rebels who were fighting, it took us a very long time. At the end, we accepted to negotiate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, we'll be taking a look at the heavenly fashion of an unexpected style icon.

And what are your favorite film moments of 2013? We'll be telling you ours as well as which films are going for gold in the upcoming awards season.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: 2013 has been a remarkable year for the new head of the Roman Catholic Church. First, he was elected pope. Then he was named "Time" magazine's person of the year. And now, Pope Francis has a new honor to his name, a rather curious one at that. Erin McLaughlin explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Move over, Brad Pitt. Step aside, George Clooney. It looks like you have some very serious competition in the style department. "Esquire" magazine has named Pope Francis the 2013 best-dressed man of the year.

Now, the magazine admits this is an unconventional decision, but they point to Pope Francis's very simple style decisions as signaling new hope for the Catholic Church.

Take a look at Pope Benedict: the elaborate robes, the golden cross. "Esquire" magazine says this look, oh so last season. Now it's all about Pope Francis with his very simple garments, his iron cross. Pope Francis has been trying to focus the Catholic Church on helping the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the poor.

"Esquire" magazine writes, "The Holy Roman emperor really does have new close, and they reflect the people's hopes.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: So, is the pope's influence set to extend into the fashion world? Well, to discuss this, I spoke to fashion stylist Henry Conway a little earlier. I began by asking him whether this award should be given seriously.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY CONWAY, FASHION STYLIST, HENRYCONWAY.COM: "Esquire" is a pretty heavyweight, let's be honest. The "Esquire" -- people of -- most stylish people of the year, they have serious punch, both in the UK and in the US. So, if they're saying he's a very stylish man, he really is a very stylish man.

FOSTER: A lot of people find that hard to understand. They will look back at previous popes and say fashion hasn't particularly changed. So just explain what he has done differently.

CONWAY: Well, with him, the traditions of the Catholic Church and the Vatican. You have a number of different ways of dressing as pope. The previous pope, Pope Benedict, was known for great elaboration.

He was quite gothic -- gothic and baroque, really, in the way that he dressed. He brought back the red shoes, the red velvet mozetta, which is a kind of sort of papal cape, as it were, trimmed with fur.

Now, Pope Francis has got rid of all of that, as did John Paul II. So, they're kind of getting back to a sense of the 1960s and Vatican II, where all of the extravagance was stripped away to make the church seem a little bit more in touch with people.

FOSTER: Which is what he's famous for, of course. But when it comes to leading fashion figures, they get their reputation, don't they, for having a knock-on effect on other people. Had he done that? Is he in any way on trend?

CONWAY: Well, he certainly is on trend. Dolce & Gabbana in their latest collections are hugely influenced by vestments and Vatican robes. The massive pectoral crosses that are so relevant of Cardinal Richelieu and the kind of things that you associate with great, great Vatican robes, are all over that collection.

Massive iconography, religious iconography, and in terms of velvets and lace and all of the things that go into liturgical vestments are in Chanel, in McQueen, in Valentino. So, he's bang-on trend.

FOSTER: On that basis, could Pope Francis, then, define what happens on the catwalk and therefore what we are wearing? Because he is the figurehead of this church that has in the past had an influence?

CONWAY: I think Pope Francis could, indeed, affect what we wear. Certainly in terms of his stripping back of general Vatican vestments means that everything is quite simple. And simple is actually quite fashion- forward, so in a sense, he is fashion-forward himself.

The plain white robes, the very simple way that he likes to dress to show that he's in touch with the poor, I think could actually have a massive impact. Fashion in itself tends to draw lots of inspiration from various different parts of culture. And of course, the Catholic Church is enormously influential.

So -- and there are many Catholic fashion designers. Italy, which is one of the main powerhouses of fashion in the world, is a Catholic country, and they do draw their inspiration partly from what they grow up with, which can be, indeed, religion.

Every single collection that you see in New York, in Paris, in London, and in Milan have all been about heritage and getting back to craftsmanship. And I think that Pope Francis does sort of reflect that in a sense, that idea of stability and getting back to things that last. So, in a sense, he's on trend.

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FOSTER: Fashion stylist Henry Conway taking me through papal fashion. It's fascinating. Will you be taking fashion inspiration from Pope Francis? That's the question. And who would you pick as your best-dressed man or woman of 2013? We want to hear from you. Do get in touch on Facebook, that's facebook.com/CNNconnect. Or you can tweet me as well @MaxFosterCNN.

Of course, this time of year is all about awards, nowhere more so than in the film industry. As 2013 comes to a close, we look back at the most movie moments of the last 12 months. Becky shows us the standouts, including those tipped to take home the biggest accolades.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Throughout the year, the movie industry has been vying for your attention. Endless interviews have been conducted and kilometers of red carpet walked. But it's now the competition really begins to heat up on the awards campaign season.

We start with the current front-runner, "12 Years a Slave." Steve McQueen's harrowing depiction of Solomon Northup's enslavement between 1841 and 1853 has put him in line for a Best Director award.

CHIWETEL EJIOFOR AS SOLOMON NORTHUP, "12 YEARS A SLAVE": I'm Solomon. Kidnapped, sold into slavery.

ANDERSON: Plus a powerful performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role puts him in the race for Best Actor.

EJIOFOR AS NORTHUP: I don't want to survive. I want to live.

EJIOFOR: I felt the responsibility of it. The responsibility to Solomon Northup and his descendents, the responsibility to a story from inside the slave experience, which I'd never -- I'd never seen that film.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO AS JORDAN BELFORT, "THE WOLF OF WALL STREET": My name is Jordan Belfort. The year I turned 26, I made $49 million, which really (expletive deleted) me off, because it was three shy of a million a week.

ANDERSON: Howling its way into awards contention is "The Wolf of Wall Street."

DICAPRIO AS BELFORT: The real question is this: was all this legal?

ANDERSON: This is director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio's fifth collaboration.

DICAPRIO AS BELFORT: Absolutely not.

ANDERSON: The film is based on the explosive autobiography of financial con man Jordan Belfort during the hedonistic and greed-fueled 1980s.

DICAPRIO AS BELFORT: Now, here's the land of opportunity.

KYLE CHANDLER AS AGENT PATRICK DENHAM, "THE WOLF OF WALL STREET": You just tried to bribe a federal officer.

DICAPRIO AS BELFORT: This is America!

CHRISTIAN BALE AS IRVING ROSENFELD, "AMERICAN HUSTLE": People come from all over the world to see this.

BRADLEY COOPER AS RICHIE DIMASO, "AMERICAN HUSTLE": Yes, he's good, yes?

BALE AS ROSENFELD: It's a fake.

COOPER AS DIMASO: Come on. That's impossible.

ANDERSON: Set in the 1970s, true-life scam artists and swindlers are also the subject of David O. Russel's film "American Hustle."

BALE AS ROSENFELD: Now, who's the master? The painter or the forger?

ANDERSON: A member of the stellar ensemble cast, which includes Oscar winners Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence, will surely steal at least one acting award.

GEORGE CLOONEY AS MATT KOWALSKI, "GRAVITY": No, we have to go, go, go!

ANDERSON: Since its world premier at the Venice festival, the jaw- dropping space thriller "Gravity" has held a steady trajectory towards the awards permission.

CLOONEEY AS KOWALSKI: Explorer, permission to retrieve Dr. Stone.

ANDERSON: Co-written by Alfonso Cuaron and his son Jonas, the film charts a course of calamities and catastrophes which befall a pair of astronauts following a spectacular encounter with lethal space debris.

CLOONEY AS KOWALSKI: Man down! Man down!

ANDERSON: Both the film feature's inventive use of 3D visual effects and the tour de force performance from Bullock are bound to be recognized.

CLOONEY AS KOWALSKI: Astronaut is off structure! Dr. Stone is off structure!

(SANDRA BULLOCK AS RYAN STONE SCREAMING)

CLOONEY AS KOWALSKI: Dr. Stone, detach! You must detach! If you don't detach, that arm's going to carry you too far! Listen to my voice! You need to focus!

BULLOCK AS STONE: I can't!

CLOONEY AS KOWALSKI: In a few seconds, I won't be able to drag you. You need to detach! I can't see you anymore! Do it now!

BULLOCK AS STONE: I'm fine!

KOWALSKI: Houston, I've lost visual of Dr. Stone.

BULLOCK: It strips away anything that I knew as an actor. It left me enclosed in a box for 10, 11 hours a day with no one to talk to and no life form around me. Everything that they developed was pioneered. It was the first of its kind, it was a prototype, they invented it. They didn't know if it would work until the day we got into it. But it works.

BULLOCK AS STONE: Houston, this is Mission Specialist Ryan Stone. I am off structure and I am drifting. Do you copy?

BULLOCK: As alienating and as frustrating and as cumbersome as it was, you knew you were a part of doing something that no one else had done before, so you just sucked it up and -- as crabby as I was most days, it worked. I didn't want to be very comfortable. The character wasn't comfortable in space. So, it made things a little easier for me.

ANDERSON: A real challenge to Bullock's reign could come from Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine."

CATE BLANCHETT AS JASMINE, "BLUE JASMINE": Anxiety, nightmares, and a nervous breakdown? There's only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming.

ANDERSON: Her portrayal of a socialite unraveling into depression is both tragic and mesmerizing.

BLANCHETT AS JASMIEN: No one wants to get out of here as fast as I do.

ANDERSON: Blanchett might just sway a jury away from the spacey odyssey.

Becky Anderson, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: And in tonight's Parting Shots, we'll leave you with these incredible images of El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano. This is the first eruption in 37 years. Local authorities say the volcano spewed a plume of gas and ash more than four kilometers into the air. Thousands have been evacuated to safety, I'm glad to say. So it's just an incredible visual sight.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for watching.

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END