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Role French Played in Arrest of Laurent Gbagbo. More Towns Evacuated Near Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant. Japan Rocked by Series of Aftershocks as Country Pauses to Remember Dead One Month After Disaster. Eleven Dead in Minsk Subway Blast. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi In Court on Fraud Charges. Libyan Rebels Reject African Union Ceasefire Proposal. At Least Five Killed in Renewed Misrata Shelling. Opposition Leaders Say No Deal Unless Gadhafi and Family Goes; Libyan Opposition Wants Gadhafi Tried as War Criminal. French Burqa Ban Goes Into Effect Today. Live Address of New President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara. US Business Makes Recycled Shoes. Britain's Royal Wedding Translates into Royal Fortune for Beijing.

Aired April 11, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET



RALISTA VASSILEVA, CNN ANCHOR: The closing bell on Wall Street. Let's take a look at the big board to see how the market ended the day.

Well, it's almost flat at this point. We know that investors are cautious ahead of some corporate earnings reports that they're expecting right after the close and also later this week. And also, falling crude oil prices also played a role today.

Now, the headlines this hour. After defiantly clinging to power for months, Laurent Gbagbo has been arrested. He's being held by forces loyal to the man the world sees as Ivory Coast's president, Alassane Ouattara.

Frightening news for people in towns near the crippled nuclear plants in Japan. The Japanese government is calling for the evacuation of several more locations. Officials warn that residents could receive high doses of radiation over the coming months.

A deadly explosion at a subway station in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. State media report at least 11 people were killed, more than 100 others wounded. The president of neighboring Russia calls it a terrorist attack.

Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi appeared in court a few hours ago. He was answering a corruption charge involving broadcasting rights. The prime minister is fighting four legal cases at the moment.

And there was tremendous excitement on Monday and Britain's Prince William and his fiancee, Kate Middleton, made their final public appearance together before their big day. 15,000 people turned out in the northwest of England to see the couple. The royal wedding is only 18 days away.

Those are the latest headlines. CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson begins right now.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: "Lay down your arms." Ivory Coast's ousted president calls for an end to the fighting on all sides. What role did the French play in his capture? I'll ask the country's UN ambassador.

Later, no deal with Gadhafi, but would Libyan rebels be willing to work with his son?

And anger and arrests as France unveils its burqa ban.

These stories and more tonight as we CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, the political crisis and civil war in Ivory Coast may be nearing a resolution after a dramatic siege in the compound of the self-proclaimed president. Laurent Gbagbo had been hiding in his residence in Abidjan until today, when forces stormed the building and hauled him out. He was taken to the Gulf Hotel, which is the headquarters of both his political rival and the United Nations.

CNN's Dan Rivers is in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and he joins us, now, live. Where is he? What do we know about him at this point?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We understand he's still at the Gulf Hotel. We've seen pictures here on local television of him being ushered into the Gulf Hotel. The Gulf Hotel, of course, where his rival, Alassane Ouattara, was holed up and surrounded by Gbagbo's forces for so many months. Ironic now that that is exactly where Gbagbo finds himself.

And as you say, he has come out and very swiftly called on his forces to give up.


LAURENT GBAGBO, SELF-DECLARED PRESIDENT OF IVORY COAST (through translator): I hope that people lay down their weapons and return to a normal state of civil rule so that the crisis can conclude as quickly as possible.


RIVERS: It's not clear, yet, whether his forces will heed the call. There has still been the odd sporadic gunfire that we've heard, but generally, I think the picture across the city seems to be one that is very quiet, certainly as we drove in this evening as the light was going and the curfew was being imposed, we were pretty much the only cars or, indeed, people, really, out on the streets.

But there was plenty of evidence as we came in of significant amounts of looting and damage to this once prosperous city, here. And we've been hearing all kinds of terrible accounts of the situation out in the campsite of the lawlessness and allegations of atrocities and massacres by both sides across Ivory Coast, and they will clearly be investigated.

But for now, though, the immediate drama seems to be over. Laurent Gbagbo has been flushed out of his bunker underneath the presidential palace. The exact means by which that happened is not quite clear. The UN and French are insistent that it was Ouattara's forces that performed the operation. Gbagbo's side themselves claiming it was French special forces that got him out. But either way, he's now in the Gulf Hotel.

ANDERSON: All right. OK, we're going to explore that as we move through this hour. Dan Rivers in Abidjan. Dan, thank you for that.

Well, Laurent Gbagbo immediately requested protection from the United Nations after he was captured, and just a short time ago, I asked the Undersecretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations if Gbagbo was, indeed, getting that protection.


ALAIN LE ROY, UNDESECRETARY-GENERAL, UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS: We are mandated to do so. He asked for it, and we are providing security to him. Just now, he's in, as you know, in the Gulf Hotel in Abidjan. He's in the custody of President Ouattara forces, but we are ensuring his security and the security of his wife at the same time.

ANDERSON: And what happens next to them both?

LE ROY: I'd assume from President Ouattara that he wants President Gbagbo to go on trial in Ivory Coast. He probably wants him to be moved from -- in other city than Abidjan up north. Again, it's -- it will be President Ouattara's call, and he's under his custody. But we will continue to provide security for keeping the physical integrity and dignity for former president Gbagbo.

ANDERSON: You can ensure that all civilians -- civilians on both sides of the political divide will be protected?

LE ROY: I can never guarantee that, but we'll do the maximum with the troops we have and, of course, with the additional troops which are coming. We are not forgetting another batch of additional troops, but we will hope that those who have been authorized by the council will come soon.


ANDERSON: OK. Well, around the world, diplomats who had been calling for Gbagbo to leave office for moths reacted to his capture today. Speaking in London, British foreign secretary William Hague said that Gbagbo had committed many crimes but should still be treated with respect and fairness.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the occasion to deliver a message to leaders across the region.


HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE: This transition sends a strong signal to dictators and tyrants throughout the region and around the world. They may not disregard the voice of their own people in free and fair elections, and there will be consequences for those who cling to power.


ANDERSON: Hillary Clinton, reacting to the news of Gbagbo's capture earlier today.

France has been heavily involved in the situation in Ivory Coast, and just a short time ago, I spoke with the French ambassador to the United Nations. I began by asking him exactly what role French troops played in Gbagbo's capture and arrest today.


GERARD ARAUD, FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: Well, actually, Gbagbo was arrested by the Ivorian forces. The French forces didn't have any role in the capture of Laurent Gbagbo.

The French forces had a role, but before, in support of the UN forces to neutralize the heavy weapons which were used by Gbagbo against the civilian population and against the Blue Helmets.

ANDERSON: Nicolas Sarkozy, I know, spoke with Ouattara after Gbagbo's arrest. What sort of support will France now provide for the Ivory Coast going forward?

ARAUD: I think, now, after this awful period, what Ouattara has to do with all the Ivorian people is to rebuild his country. And -- which means not only rebuilding in the physical sense, but also the political sense, because after all, Gbagbo had a constituency behind him, 45 percent of the population.

So there is one master word, which is "reconciliation." So, that's what Ouattara has to do. And the international community, France, but also the UN and the other countries, we have also to provide the financial, the humanitarian, and economic aid -- to overcome the results of the tragedy.


ANDERSON: OK. So, reconciliation. But can he make it work? Even though Gbagbo is gone from power, my next guest says that Ouattara is not yet in control. Richard Downie is joining us live from Washington to explain. He's the deputy director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

You say he is not in control, not yet. What do you mean?

RICHARD DOWNIE, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, first and foremost, there's clearly a security vacuum right now, particularly in the main city Abidjan. His forces are not totally in control of the situation. We don't yet know whether those armed fighters who've been following and fighting for Gbagbo all this time are willing to give up their weapons, melt away.

And equally, we're not entirely sure of the loyalty for -- of those various forces that have been fighting on the behalf of Ouattara these past months. Clearly, their interests have been aligned, they've been willing to get Gbagbo out of power, but going ahead, looking forward there, loyalty to Ouattara himself cannot be guaranteed.

ANDERSON: Yes, most -- both sides have been accused of war crimes at this point. How does he ensure that he doesn't preside over a civil war, an ethnic civil war going forward?

DOWNIE: Well, it's going to be very, very difficult for Ouattara. He didn't want to come to power in this way. He was voted in free and fairly in an election, but has come to power through force.

I think the first thing he's going to have to address is the security situation, and that means dealing with, in a fundamental way, with security sector reform, somehow uniting all these disparate armed movements under national control, under civilian control.

It was the failure to do this at the end of the last civil war in 2002 that really was one of the root causes of this upsurge in violence this time around. So, I think that will be his main challenge.

ANDERSON: Yes, and also, to make sure that he has proper representation and protection for the, let's remember, 45 percent of the population who did vote for Gbagbo.

DOWNIE: Absolutely right, and that 45 percent have been fed a constant diet in the pro-Gbagbo media which said that Ouattara is not a legitimate president, that he's some sort of puppet of the French, that he's been put in power by some sort of neo-colonial plot, and the events and uncertainty about Gbagbo's arrest today only reinforced that sense among many people.

So, Ouattara has a big challenge on his hands to win this -- these people over, and that's why I think he's going to have to promote reconciliation, perhaps have some sort of unity government, and really reach out to some of those people who were formerly Gbagbo loyalists.

ANDERSON: You've heard what the French ambassador to the UN told me earlier. He also told me that France has no interest in staying in Ivory Coast. Is this, though, a case of a former colonial power meddling?

DOWNIE: I don't think so. Clearly, the French have meddled in Ivory Coast in the past. They retain very strong business ties and economic links after independence, and they've had this detachment of troops on the ground there for some time.

But I think when it came to it, they felt obliged to act to protect civilians. But of course, it's very -- it's going to be very controversial and a source of debate for some time to come about what exactly their role was in this final day of seizing Gbagbo.

ANDERSON: Briefly, what's the future for Ivory Coast?

DOWNIE: Well, on the economic side, I think we can be optimistic. The -- a lot of natural resources, formerly the biggest cocoa-producing country in the world, and Ouattara has a lot of economic experience. So, on that side, I think we can be optimistic.

The more difficult part for Ouattara is the political reconciliation. Bringing this very, very divided and fragmented country back together. That's going to be the main crux of the problems facing Ouattara ahead, I think.

ANDERSON: Richard Downie, your expert on the subject, tonight. Sir, we thank you for joining us out of Washington for you.

Well, Japan remembers and the world pays tribute. One month after a monster quake and tsunami devastated the country, we're in Tokyo for you this evening.

And then, a controversy on veils. We'll debate France's new law banning burqas.


ANDERSON: African leaders wade into the Libyan civil war bringing a plan for peace to Tripoli. Moammar Gadhafi has given the AU ceasefire proposal his blessing but, today, the rebels rejected it out of hand. They say it lacks one crucial element, and that's simply not up for negotiation. Details coming up a little later in the show.

I'm Becky Anderson in London. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. And a look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.

Still more problems for disaster-hit Japan. It's going to evacuate more towns near the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant over the potential for high does of radiation in the coming months. Officials say the month-long crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors isn't over yet, and Japan is still coping with more shaking. As CNN's Kyung Lah tells us from Tokyo.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Japan was rocked by a series of aftershocks and, what was most concerning about this, is that they were in the general vicinity of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

LAH (voice-over): The strongest of it was a 6.6 magnitude earthquake, according to the USGS, and that caused the evacuation of the crippled nuclear facility. The plant also lost power, external power, to reactors one through three. The reason why that's so critical is, without that power, TEPCO, the owner of the plant, is not able to pour water on those reactors, attempting to keep them cool.

Now, after 50 minutes, the power did come back online. They were able to start pumping water again, and TEPCO at this point saying there doesn't appear to be any long-lasting damage to those reactors. But certainly, a bit of a scare today, especially when you couple the crippled nuclear facility with those strong aftershocks.


LAH (voice-over): This comes at the one month mark of the tsunami and earthquake. Across Japan, people paused, bent their heads, and prayed, from the evacuation centers in the tsunami zone all the way down to the temples here in Tokyo. People taking time to reflect on all the people who died. Japan, trying to mourn, trying to remember the victims.

LAH (on camera): Finding again and again, it has to deal with the crisis of these aftershocks and the ongoing nuclear emergency. Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


ANDERSON: Well, at least 11 people are dead and scores more wounded after an explosion in a subway station in Minks, the capital of Belarus. The blast happened at about 6:00 PM local time. There is no confirmation of the cause of the blast, but Russian president Dmitry Medvedev called it a terrorist attack. Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has ordered increased security on public transportation.

Well, the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, appeared in court earlier today, this time fighting charges of fraud in connection with his media empire. The case has been in and out of court for years. The prime minister is fighting four legal cases at the moment. He denies all charges.

Even after Moammar Gadhafi agrees to a ceasefire proposal, residents of the besieged city of Misrata report deadly new government attacks. We'll get a live update and all the developments out of Libya for you.

And later, why Muslim women in France say a new law strips them of religious freedom. That coming up. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.

Now, Libyan rebels say they will never compromise on the people's demand to see Moammar Gadhafi leave power. Today, they rejected a ceasefire initiative proposed by the African Union.

AU leaders first presented the plan to Gadhafi in Tripoli on Sunday, securing his approval. The deal calls for an immediate end to the fighting and the beginning of peace talks, but does not address whether the Libyan leader will stay or go.

Residents of Misrata say Gadhafi's acceptance of a ceasefire didn't stop a deadly assault on their city. They say at least five people were killed Monday in renewed shelling.

In the rebel capital of Benghazi, cheers went up today when opposition leaders announced that they had rejected the AU ceasefire dealing, saying, and I quote, "We cannot negotiate with the blood of our martyrs."

Let's bring in Reza Sayah in Benghazi for more. Reza?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, I don't think this came as a surprise to anyone. This is an outcome that became very predictable early on today based on what you heard from opposition officials.

Some of these officials didn't even know the details of this proposal put forth by the African Union, but they said that it didn't include the key demands of the rebels, first and foremost, the removal of the Gadhafi regime.

The rejection of this proposal drew loud cheers from a couple of thousand people who had gathered to demonstrate in front of this hotel where the opposition leaders met the African delegation representing the African Union.

After about several hours and a news conference, the top two leaders of the interim government of the opposition made the announcement. The deputy chairman of the opposition government, Abdul Hafiz Ghoga saying this, and I'm paraphrasing, the proposal submitted by the African Union does not provide any solution for the violence against Libyan people.

The proposal did not include the exit of Colonel Gadhafi, his sons, and his inner circle, and it also included reforms which were within the Gadhafi regime, which is already something that had been rejected, according to the opposition.

The opposition did say they're willing to listen to other proposals by the African Union, but the proposals must include the removal of the Gadhafi regime from power.

So, the African Union, Becky, made some noise on Sunday night when word came that the Gadhafi regime had accepted this proposal, but clearly, this was a proposal that was not enough for the opposition.

ANDERSON: Yes, and that's what we're going to talk about now. Thank you, Reza.

NATO says it appreciates the African Union's efforts, stressing that military action alone won't end the Libyan civil war. We've heard that before. Even before the rebels rejected the AU initiative, NATO's secretary-general sounded a cautious note.


ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: We have heard and seen the Gadhafi regime in arms and promise ceasefires in the past. And they didn't keep their promises. On the contrary, they continued to attack their own people systematically. So, I don't take such promises for face value.


ANDERSON: All right. NATO's head speaking, there, earlier. Officially, NATO's mission, of course, is limited to protecting Libyan civilians. But some of its member nations have also made clear they won't accept Gadhafi remaining in power.

I spoke with Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, who was in London today, before the rebels rejected the ceasefire proposal. I began by asking him about the terms of that initiative. This is what he said.


ANDERSON: All right, it sounds as if we are having some technical issues with that. I'll bring you that interview as and when we can get some sound on it for you.

Let's follow up with a member of Libya's opposition while we try and get that interview for you. Guam el-Gamaty's been a regular guest on the show. Guma, we thank you for coming in.


ANDERSON: Your reaction, first and foremost, to what the rebels have done today in Benghazi. No to a ceasefire deal from the AU. This was a political solution.

EL-GAMATY: Well, I think they've done the right thing, the expected thing by the whole of the Libyan people.

The AU initiative is, essentially, a recycled, rehashed offer by Gadhafi, which he sent to London two weeks ago through the envoy Mohammed Ismail, and sent to Turkey and Greece a week ago through Abdelati Obeidi. It offers some sort of a ceasefire, conditional on Gadhafi remaining in power and his son overseeing some sort of a transition.

Basically, Gadhafi is playing his tricks again to get the whole world community off his back and try to get back into controlling Libya again and stay in power.

ANDERSON: All right, Guma. In the event that we don't get the Frattini interview to our viewers tonight, I'm just going to paraphrase something he said to me earlier on today. He said that he at least gets the sense that the opposition is softening its stance on a deal that would see Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saif, help effect transition.

Is he right? Because you just suggested that you want to see the family, as well as Moammar Gadhafi, out. That's it, is it? Bottom line for the opposition.

EL-GAMATY: Absolutely. That has been made very clear by the interim National Council in Benghazi today, both by the leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil and by the official spokesman --

ANDERSON: So, Frattini is wrong, is he?

EL-GAMATY: If he thinks that we are softening on accepting some role for Saif, he is totally wrong. Absolutely. But also, Frattini said today that any solution must include the departure of Gadhafi and his family. I think other leaders -- said to the same effect.

Look, there is an international consensus that there is no just and final solution to what's going on in Libya unless Gadhafi and his family leave power.

ANDERSON: Let's have a listen. I'm being told that we have got the interview with the Italian foreign minister, now. Guma, have a listen to this, and we'll respond when we've heard it.


FRANCO FRATTINI, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I met recently, a few days ago, President Ping of the African Union. He explained to me their intention is not at all to re-legitimize Colonel Gadhafi. Instead, their intention is to have a verifiable ceasefire broadly respected under the edges of the United Nations.

I think we should support it. This should be the first step, provided that there is no future for Colonel Gadhafi in Libya.

ANDERSON: As you understand it, does this deal include Gadhafi relinquishing power?

FRATTINI: Well, not explicitly. But it is, I think, a political implicit precondition that I would define so, because it is not said in the resolution 1973 Gadhafi should leave. But in practice, how is it possible to accept Gadhafi continuing to stay in power while continuing to destroy his country?

ANDERSON: Why would anybody trust him, though?

FRATTINI: Well, I think nobody in the world can trust Colonel Gadhafi, but we have to find a way where it's possible to promote his departure, too.

ANDERSON: Do you get there are Italians in the past who trusted him?

FRATTINI: Well, we cannot accept even the idea of a leader of a country bombing and killing people, even bombing pediatric hospitals, what happened, unfortunately, in Libya.

ANDERSON: The opposition say they will not consider any deal that involved Gadhafi or his family holding onto power.

FRATTINI: Well, I just have seen some new press agencies this afternoon where, apparently, the council of Benghazi is softening its position in the sense they will take into consideration a proposal made by Saif al-Islam, the son of Gadhafi, to be transitionally in power without his power, and then to leave himself.

I don't know, but this week on Friday, President Jalil of the council of Benghazi will come to visit me in Rome. I will ask him.

ANDERSON: We're talking about a political result here. Are you of the mind that NATO is working at the limit of its capacities at this point? Is this the end of any sort of military solution, do you think?

FRATTINI: Well, I think in the next few weeks, in the next few days, I will say, we will have to increase our military pressure in order to force Gadhafi's arm to stop violence.

I think a military solution is not the end game. End game is a political perspective for the country, and without increasing political pressure, we risk to consolidate a status quo, dividing Libya in two, which would be our failure.


ANDERSON: Guma, your response.

EL-GAMATY: Well, I think if there is any understanding on Frattini's behalf that the National Council might accept some role for Saif is a total misunderstanding. That is absolutely a no-no.

Saif and his father are one faction. In fact, today, Saif said to one of the newspapers in an interview, he said that "the idea that my father should resign from power is ridiculous and outrageous." He's still dismissing that. They are still trying to hold onto power.

Becky, this -- Gadhafi and his sons don't get it. They don't understand it. They want to use all the tricks they have to try to regain control of Libya against a background of an international consensus that they should leave. Libyans want them to leave, Arabs, Muslims, the whole international community.

Also against the background of a very important development today that Ocampo of the International Criminal Court said that, on the 15th of May, just over a month from now, he will issue an official indictment or a statement of charges against Gadhafi and some of his sons to -- effectively means that there will be a warrant for their arrest and a request -- and a warrant to bring them against the international court of justice to stand trial.

We also have information today that, actually, Moussa Koussa might be edging towards some sort of a deal where he could stand as a main -- a key witness, because Moussa Koussa said, apparently, that he was in the room where Gadhafi said to his forces heading for Benghazi, "Go and kill as many as you can."

He also has heard and seen Gadhafi say that "you should stop the demonstrations by all means, including killing as many as possible."

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Guma, your response.

GUMA EL-GAMATY, LIBYAN OPPOSITION MEMBER: Well, I think if there is any understanding on Frattini's behalf that the National Council might accept some role for Saif is a total misunderstanding. That is absolutely a no-no.

Saif and his father are one faction. In fact, today, Saif said to one of the newspapers in an interview, he said that "the idea that my father should resign from power is ridiculous and outrageous." He's still dismissing that. They are still trying to hold onto power.

Becky, this -- Gadhafi and his sons don't get it. They don't understand it. They want to use all the tricks they have to try to regain control of Libya against a background of an international consensus that they should leave. Libyans want them to leave, Arabs, Muslims, the whole international community.

Also against the background of a very important development today that Ocampo of the International Criminal Court said that, on the 15th of May, just over a month from now, he will issue an official indictment or a statement of charges against Gadhafi and some of his sons to -- effectively means that there will be a warrant for their arrest and a request -- and a warrant to bring them against the international court of justice to stand trial.

We also have information today that, actually, Moussa Koussa might be edging towards some sort of a deal where he could stand as a main -- a key witness, because Moussa Koussa said, apparently, that he was in the room where Gadhafi said to his forces heading for Benghazi, "Go and kill as many as you can."

He also has heard and seen Gadhafi say that "you should stop the demonstrations by all means, including killing as many as possible."

These charges are very serious. Gadhafi and his sons, including, Saif, who has been videoed branding internationals and urging his supporters to go and kill as many Libyans and demonstrators as possible.

This makes them criminals, war criminals, and makes them -- should stand a trial, so --

ANDERSON: All right.

EL-GAMATY: -- and also, by the way, we take heart from what happened today to the dictator of Ivory Coast that has been captured, and we hope that Gadhafi will meet the same fate very soon.

ANDERSON: We've got to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Big week for Libya this week. We are going to take a very short break. Guma, thank you. Back after this.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN at just after half past nine in London. Let's get you a quick check of the headlines this hour.

The self-declared president of Ivory Coast has been arrested after a violent four-month standoff. Forces stormed the compound where Laurent Gbagbo was living in Abidjan on Monday. The UN says he will be brought to justice.

Celebrations in Benghazi, today, the rebel capital of Libya, after opposition leaders there rejected an African Union ceasefire plan. Rebels say they'll never accept any truce that doesn't require Moammar Gadhafi to step down.

Chaos and confusion at an evacuation center in Japan after another powerful aftershock. It struck one month after the great quake and tsunami. A magnitude 6.6 tremor triggered several fires and some landslides.

A deadly explosion at a subway station in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. State media now reports at least 11 people were killed, with dozens more wounded. The president, Alexander Lukashenko had ordered officials to increase security on public transport.

And the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has his eye on the Oval Office. Romney has formed a committee to see whether he should run for US president in 2012. It's the first step in a long road towards the nomination. Romney is the second Republican to take this step.

French police have arrested two veiled protesters on this, the first official day of France's burqa ban. France is the first European country to outlaw the full-bodied veil many Islamic women wear on a daily basis. It's also home to Europe's biggest Muslim community, and this law effects about 2,000 women personally. CNN's Atika Shubert got onto the streets of Paris to gauge reaction.


ATKIA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPDONET (voice-over): Hind Amas doesn't see herself as a criminal, but by wearing a niqab, the Muslim veil that reveals on the eyes, Amas is violating France's ban on full-face coverings.

HIND AMAS, PROTESTING FRANCE'S BURQA BAN (through translator): "I refuse," she says. "I've not committed a crime, I'm walking peacefully in the street, and I've not attacked anyone."

SHUBERT (voice-over): Amas is a single mother, a French citizen originally from Morocco. No one forces her to wear the niqab, she says. She removes her veil at her daughter's school or to identify herself at the post office, but she refuses to reveal her face while walking the streets or sitting in the park.

AMAS (through translator): "I won't leave France. It's my country, I grew up here with this culture," she says. "It's true that these last few months I've had the impression that if you wear the burqa, you're not a real Frenchwoman, you're not a part of the French population and, in truth, you're not welcome here," she says.

SHUBERT (voice-over): On Monday, activist Rachid Nekkas and others challenged the law by donning masks and heading for the Elysee presidential palace. He didn't get very far but, brandishing a check for $150 euros in one hand, the fine for wearing a veil, he made his point.

RACHID NEKKAS, ANTI-BAN ACTIVIST: We would like to send together a clear message to the French president Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy that in a democracy, we can do what we want. We have rules, we have a constitution, and everyone has to respect it.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Nekkas feels so passionately about the issue that he founded Hands Off My Constitution, a group that offers to pay the fine of any woman wearing the burqa or niqab. He's auctioned off this house, one of several he owns, for the funds, but makes it clear he does not support anyone forcing women to wear the veil.

NEKKAS: We can't accept that men oblige the women to put on niqab. That's why we are only going to pay fines of women who are free to put on niqab.

SHUBERT (on camera): In defiance of the law, one veiled woman has come out here to Notre Dame to make her protest against the law, as you can see, causing quite a stir among the media and also among the tourists here in front of Notre Dame.

But for those who want to defy the law, they may run up against public opinion. A recent poll showed that more than 80 percent of French respondents supported the ban on full-face veils.

SHUBERT (voice-over): But how, exactly, will this law be enforced? Police seemed confused at Monday's protest, turning out in force to arrest a handful of veiled women. Police guidelines say veils should not be forcibly removed, but women should be asked to identify themselves and given a warning, possibly a fine.

But for supporters of the law, it's the principle that matters. Sihem Habchi is a Muslim feminist. She says the law not only protects French democratic values, it forces Muslim women to engage with wider society.

SIHEM HABCHI, ANTI-BURQA ACTIVIST: When you wear the full veil, you don't have the right to work, you don't have the right to choose your husband, you don't have the right to love. And you are totally imprisoned. So, what is the aim of democracy? What is the aim of our republic? It's to protect, and that is a new challenge for our republic today.

SHUBERT (voice-over): But Hind Amas says the law only stigmatizes her more. She says last month, a man walked up and slapped her in front of her daughter for daring to wear the niqab.

AMAS (through translator): "The thing I'm worried about is that all this controversy will allow certain people who were already hostile to justify their aggression to us," she says. "They're going to feel like they have the right to inflict anything upon us, and that's what really frightens me."

SHUBERT (voice-over): France is still struggling to come to terms with its Muslim community, the largest in Europe. And in many ways, Hind Amas and the controversy of what she chooses to wear is the new face of France, veiled or not. Atika Shubert, CNN, Paris.


ANDERSON: All right, I want to get you a look at what is part of the new law, the burqa, shown here, is banned. That's what we know. As is the niqab, shown here, which leaves a space for someone's eyes. The hijab, however, is not banned under this new law.

And how -- here's a look at how France stacks up against other European countries. For example, in the UK, there are no plans to introduce a ban, but could the rest of Europe follow?

Well, taking a look at Belgium for you, that was the first country in Europe to introduce a full burqa ban last year, although the law is not strictly enforced.

Germany, the states there set their own laws. At least eight have banned school teachers from wearing head scarves.

In Italy, the laws there, well, some towns have tried to ban burqas with local decrees, and the right-wing Northern League is lobbying for a national law.

And just down to Turkey, here. It's an issue which is extremely diverse -- divisive, there, a country with a majority Muslim population, of course. Now, head scarves are banned from government buildings and universities, but many women do still wear them in some form.

So, a look at just how the French laws stack up. Well, shortly before I came on air, I talked with two women who have very different views of the burqa ban. Sarah Joseph is the editor and CEO of "Emel," which is Britain's only Muslim lifestyle magazine. She thinks no state should dictate what an individual wears.

But journalist Mona Eltahawy is a columnist for the "The Toronto Star." She says the burqa screams institutionalized misogyny. Here's their debate starting with Sarah Joseph.


SARAH JOSEPH, EDITOR, "EMEL": It's just your politics. That's what this ban is. At the end of the day, it's Sarkozy trying to flex his muscles to bring in the far right to deal with what? Less than 2,000 women in France out of the 6.5 million French citizens. And this is gesture of politics which is illiberal and it does nothing to promote a discourse and the engagement of those citizens who are contributing to French society.

ANDERSON: Mona, you feel a little more strongly about it than that, don't you? You call the burqa "institutionalized misogyny."

MONA ELTAHAWY, COLUMNIST, "TORONTO STAR": Yes, I believe that the face veil represents an ideology that does not believe in a woman's right to choose anything, but in her right to choose to cover her face. And the reason that I oppose the niqab or a face veil of any kind everywhere, not just in France, is that I believe it dangerously equates piety with the disappearance of women, and I do not support women's disappearance, and so, I support banning the niqab everywhere.

ANDERSON: And supporters of this ban say that the burqa and niqab, Sarah, are symbols of a fundamentalist Islam.

JOSEPH: Look, with all due respect to you, Mona, it's not about whether I like it or she likes it. What it is about is whether the state has a right to dictate what women wear. Now, whether that's on the streets of Tehran, which says "Thou shall wear a chador," or whether it's on the streets of Paris that says "You shall not wear this because we, the state, are supreme and we believe in dictating what you wear."

Now, what -- a woman's right to choose, is the right to choose to wear that or not to wear it. To have a state institutionalize a ban is saying, from a state perspective, we're institutionalizing anti-Muslim discourse and pandering to a far-right discourse, which is completely a non -- it doesn't have a future for the Muslims in Europe.

ANDERSON: Do you view wearing an -- a full head scarf, a full veil as a prison for many women? For many women, I'm not saying all women.

JOSEPH: Look, at the end of the day, when I have a discourse with a sister, with a Muslim sister who wears it, nine times out of ten she's doing it out of what she believes is her choice and her piety. It's her religious journey, if you like. Sometimes they wear --


ANDERSON: All right, I'm going to break in to this, I want to return to our top story, here. After defiantly clinging to power for months, we're hearing from the new president of Ivory Coast, President Ouattara. Have a listen in.

ALASSANE OUATTARA, INTERNATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED PRESIDENT OF IVORY COAST (through translator): -- history, after more than four months of post- electoral crisis, suffering so much in loss of human life, finally, we have reached the dawn of a new era of hope.

After several weeks of fighting -- useless fighting, the former head of state, Laurent Gbagbo, was arrested this Monday, the 11th of April, 2011 by the republican forces of the Ivory Coast.

Like all people of the Ivory Coast, we want -- we wanted peace. We had hoped that the transfer of power after the election of the 20th of November, 2010, we'd hoped this transfer had been different, but we have to focus on today is what has happened.

So, talking to you, the people of the Ivory Coast and also the international community, to let you know that we will be treating Laurent Gbagbo and his wife in a civil and safe way. I have also asked for the minister of justice to start proceedings against Laurent Gbagbo, his wife, and colleagues.

Having said that, they will be treated in a dignified way and their rights will be respected. I ask all of -- all of the people in the Ivory Coast who still have a need for vengeance, I ask you all to give up violence. I reiterate my will to put in place a truth and reconciliation commission, which will put light on all of the massacres and crimes and all of the violations of human rights.

To all those militias, you must understand that you're fighting makes no sense now today. I ask you to lay down your weapons. To the population of the Ivory Coast, who have suffered so much because of this crisis, I share your pain, and I ask you to have faith in the future.

My fellow countrymen, let us live under order and calm and, with this in mind, I have asked the national police and the military police and also the republican force of the Ivory Course, and also those impartial forces, here, to oversee and ensure the safety of and integrity of the whole territory of the Ivory Coast.

Men and women of Ivory Coast, at this historic moment, I invite and ask you to remain calm. I ask all citizens to do as much as possible to ensure that peace returns definitively in our country.

Today, as I say, we now -- we have turned over the page to a new white page. White like the white of our flag, a symbol of hope and peace. And it is together we will write our history in reconciliation and also pardoning all those people. Long live the republic, long live the Ivory Coast, and that God blesses our beautiful country.

ANDERSON: The internationally-recognized Alassane Ouattara on the day that Laurent Gbagbo was arrested and captured, taken to the Gulf hotel where he's being secured by the UN.

Let me just give you a sense of what he said. He said that Laurent Gbagbo and his wife will be treated in a civil and safe way. He said he has asked the justices ministers to start proceedings against them.

And he said to those who would continue to fight, he urges all those who might consider vengeance to give up violence. He says -- he's talking about establishing a truth and reconciliation commission, and he says "your fighting makes no sense, lay down your weapons."

At this historic moment, he said, "I invite and ask you to remain calm. Together, we will write our history."

I'm Becky Anderson in London. This is CONNECT THE WORLD at 47 minutes past 9:00 in London. Let's take a very short break. Back after this.


ANDERSON: We have got a special series of reports this week. It's a CNN initiative, it's called Going Green, and we are taking a look at the impact businesses are having on the environment. We're throwing a spotlight on entrepreneurs who are doing their bit to make companies greener.

So, today, we're starting in the US, where one businessman is putting his best foot forward quite literally. Colleen McEdwards has the story.


COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Bohman Irvani, making shoes has been his heart and soul.

BAHMAN IRVANI, PRESIDENT, OKABASHI BRANDS, INC.: My first job was working in our shoe company when I was, I think, eight or nine years old. So, the smell of shoe companies just gets me -- gets me excited.

MCEDWARDS (voice-over): His family started manufacturing shoes in the 1950s in Iran, but fled the country after the 1979 revolution, leaving behind their family business.

IRVANI: I think they're all shell-shocked in 1979 and 1980, like all other Iranians who had to leave. And after one or two years, you realize that life has to go on.

MCEDWARDS (voice-over): In 1983, the family business was reborn as Okabashi Brands, a long way from Iran in Buford, Georgia. The design is based on Japanese principles of footwear for health and comfort.

Made from a patented blend of plastics called microplast, they are billed as being 100 percent recyclable, with old scraps and rejects going right back into the hopper.

BRAD LAPORTE, OKABASHI BRANDS, INC.: After the material goes into the grinder, it comes out the other end.

Customers send their worn shoes back to the plant, where they're cleaned, ground up, and blended into a new pair of Okabashis. The company says new shoes are made with up to 25 percent recycled materials.

LAPORTE: Nothing going in the landfills, nothing in the garbage cans, nothing floating in the ocean or any of those things. We use 100 percent of all of our material. Our costs are actually -- are lower because of it.

MCEDWARDS (voice-over): Jeff Hix, a green business consultant, says that companies like Okabashi are benefiting from more eco-conscious consumers.

JEFF HIX, GREEN BUSINESS CONSULTANT: What goes into making something green, rather than just, "does it contain recycled elements?" For instance, with Okabashi sandals, they're recyclable, and so that closed- loop process of recycling is something that, I think, people are going to begin to pay more attention to.

MCEDWARDS (voice-over): Hicks says small, innovative companies, like Okabashi, can lead the way to changes in the entire industry.

HIX: As they gain market acceptance, and even a point or two market share, in an apparel industry, for instance, can have a huge impact. That gets the larger manufacturers to sit up and take notice.

And when they see that they're appealing to even just the greener base of consumer and starting to widen out into more of the general consumer, that influences the larger manufacturers to change their policies.

MCEDWARDS (voice-over): For Irvani, it is about being a small company that thinks big.

IRVANI: When you're small, you have to use the advantages of being small, and that's what we try to do every day.

MCEDWARDS (voice-over): Colleen McEdwards, CNN, Atlanta.


ANDERSON: And stick with us all week, here, and find out which companies are driving innovation, becoming more environmentally friendly, and changing out behavior. That's us as consumers. It's Green Light for Business, a week of special coverage for you.

Well, just before we go tonight, Prince William and his fiancee make their last public appearance before they head to Westminster Abbey on April the 29th. And China's making lots of royal wedding souvenirs to help us remember the big day. We're going to show you how the biggest show on Earth is translating into a royal fortune for Beijing.


ANDERSON: We're less than three weeks away from the wedding of the decade, and Britain's Prince William and his fiancee, Kate Middleton, took a little time off from the preparations, today, for a trip up north. It was their last public appearance before the big day, and nearly 15,000 people turned out to see Will and Kate in East Lancashire in northwest England.

Well, they were there to visit a park and to open a school. Kate dressed in a dark blue suit with her hair pulled back for the visit, which was only their fourth official appearance together. The next one, of course, will be April the 29th at Westminster Abbey. And what she'll be wearing that day is still top secret.

One thing we do know, the royal couple has asked guests to make charitable donations instead of showering them with gifts, but what a gift the wedding is turning out to be for China, where some are making a royal fortune weeks ahead of the big day. CNN's Eunice Yoon with this report.


EUNICE YOON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The British royals are halfway around the world, but here in China, top fortune-teller Chen Shuaifu already foresees the outcome of the wedding between Prince William and his fiancee, Kate. And it doesn't look good.

CHEN SHUAIFU, CHINESE FORTUNE TELLER (through translator): "Their marriage won't make it through the winter of 2015," he tells me. "From their faces, their most distinctive character is that they are both dominating and stubborn."

YOON (on camera): Is there anything that they can do to live happily ever after?

CHEN (through translator): "They can use feng shui. Kate's zodiac sign is a dog. My suggestion for her is to put more horse-related artwork in her room," he says. "For a more a detailed solution, I would have to meet them in person."

YOON (voice-over): Master Chen isn't the only one here looking to make money off the royal wedding craze. In factories across China, manufacturers are churning out souvenir jewelry, dolls, plates, keychains, and mugs commemorating the big day.

FISHER SAM, MANUFACTURER: This is a form from Maryland.

YOON (voice-over): Fisher Sam is filling out orders for thousands of replicas of Kate's engagement ring, a $3 version of the $45,000 sapphire and diamond beauty once worn by Princess Diana.

YOON (on camera): I do feel like a princess. A cheaper version of a princess.

YOON (voice-over): To avoid a potential copyright lawsuit, Sam says he tweaked the design, widening the band compared to the original, because engagement rings, he said, should be built to last.

FISHER: So Chinese it's too thin, and --

YOON (on camera): It's too thin.

FISHER: Yes. I think mine is better. Better design.

YOON (voice-over): Master Chen warns Kate's ring bears a burden of Diana's death, but believes any bad luck could be offset by a little salt in the couple's wine and with the help of their legions of well-wishers.

CHEN (through translator): "A lot of people are sending blessings to the couple," he says. "This will form strong positive energy."

YOON (voice-over): Sam says he won't miss watching the ceremony, though perhaps not for the most noble reasons.

FISHER (through translator): "I'm already getting questions from buyers of the engagement ring," he says, "When am I going to make the wedding ring?"

YOON (voice-over): To sell to fans celebrating Will and Kate's special moment. Eunice Yoon, CNN, Iwu, China.


ANDERSON: And do go to for complete coverage and the latest videos, like this day-in-the-life report, looking at what it's like to be Kate Middleton. There are also links on Facebook and Twitter that can help you follow our extensive coverage.

I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected this Monday, here from London. Thanks for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Don't go away.