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CONNECT THE WORLD

World Powers Reach Agreement on Libya; Mubarak and Sons Detained; Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan

Aired April 13, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Lining up with one message for the Libyan leader -- the time to stand down is now.

But with NATO failing to help the rebels gain the upper hand, is it time for another approach?

Plus, held for questioning -- Egypt's former president and his sons are detained.

And this is your captain speaking -- some words of wisdom from the cockpit to help you in your next flight run smoothly.

And more tonight, as we connect the world.

Well, first up here this hour, world powers frustrated with the Libyan civil war agree on new ways to tip the scales, warning time is running out to help the outgunned rebels. Well, delegates from NATO, the U.N., Arab states and Africa met today with the Libyan opposition leaders in Qatar. The Libyan Contact Group agreed to set up a fund to help rebels meet their financial needs. They also agreed to provide, quote, "material support." Qatar's prime minister says that means they want rebels to be able to defend themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMAD BIN JASSIM BIN JABER AL THANI, QATARI PRIME MINISTER: All the other needs, including any defense equipment, Qatar, part of the international community and part of this coalition, and, of course, we will look at it and make things available for the Libyan people to defend themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Britain acknowledged today that it's already sent what they call "material support" to the rebels, including body armor.

Prime Minister David Cameron is in France for talks with Nicolas Sarkozy. They are pledged to do everything they can to help the opposition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think we should be helping the opposition groups because they want a democratic Libya, they want a future for that country. We've already given them communications equipment, satellite phones. We've also been giving them body armor that the British Army no longer needs.

I will be looking at all steps that we can take to help these people. They are defending civilian life and they're standing up for the future of Libya and they're basically, at the moment, having an appalling onslaught from Gadhafi, who, in Misrata, as you've been showing on our television screen, is, frankly, murdering his own people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, David Cameron, one of the world leaders who have been hotly debating the end goal in Libya over the past few weeks. But today, The Contact Group in Qatar very clearly endorsed regime change, saying Moammar Gadhafi has lost all legitimacy to stay in power.

Let's get on the ground for you.

Mohammed Jamjoom joins us now from Doha, Qatar, with more.

Fast-moving.

Did we really get any sort of conclusive results out of this meeting, though?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it doesn't really seem that way. The day began today at the Contact -- the Libya Contact Group conference today. It began with a lot of speculation about what role Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister, would play, if he would be here. We knew he was in town.

Would he be at the conference on the sidelines?

Would he be meeting with officials there?

We spoke to Libyan Transitional National Council members there from the Libyan government. They said they were not going to be speaking with Moussa Koussa.

Everybody was wondering, would he be there?

Then we found out he had not been invited to today's conference, but he was in town.

Later in the day, the shift really -- the focus really shifted to what kind of aid would be distributed, what kind of package would be agreed upon by the participants and whether or not the people that were at this conference would agree to try to arm the rebels in Libya.

Now, there seemed to be some fissures amongst the attendees as far as if that would happen. In the press conference late in the day, we heard from the UK foreign minister. And we also heard from the Italian foreign minister. They spoke about what they thought the resolutions would mean as far as arming the people of Libya.

Here's some of what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We understand the resolutions to mean that the arms embargo applies to the whole of Libya, but that in certain circumstances, it is possible, consistent with those resolutions, to provide people with the means to defend the civilian population.

FRANCO FRATTINI, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Since we cannot make air strikes air to ground in the streets, in the squares, in the cities, in the populated areas, either we make it possible for these people to defend themselves or we withdraw from our obligation to support defending the population of Libya.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JAMJOOM: What I know right now is that the attendees of the conference today say that aid is needed to the Libyan people. It's needed now, some sort of fund is needed to be set up to get assets that have been frozen of Moammar Gadhafi, to make sure that money is transferred to the Libyan people.

What is not known is when that fund will be set up, when the money will start getting -- when that aid will start getting to the Libyan people.

Will it go directly to the rebel groups or not?

Still a lot of questions. We know that the next Contact Group meeting will be in Italy. But at this point, we're not sure when that will happen either -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Mohammed Jamjoom on the ground for you in Doha, Qatar.

So, where are we now?

Well, let me give you a sense of just how far we have come, or perhaps how little ground we've covered over the last few weeks.

This is the map of Libya. And this is the important bit. It's the coastline, of course. Now, Western Allied air strikes began on March the 19th. Well, only the cities of Misrata here and Benghazi were in rebel hands. There's also Tubruq to the far east.

The area between Misrata and Benghazi, this area here, still held by Gadhafi forces.

Now, with the help of air strikes, rebel troops surging west. And by March the 27th, they made some more ground, capturing the oil town of Ras Lanuf and all of the towns on the way there.

In the following days, pro-Gadhafi forces used heavy weapons to push back these forces. So pushing the rebel onslaught back, all the while fighting continuing in the city of Misrata, between government forces and rebels.

So, NATO forces officially took control of air strikes on April the 1st, where heavy battles took place in Ras Lanuf, again here, and in between there and Ajdabiya, which is here. There's been where we've seen a lot of the intense fighting. That signaling the beginning of a virtual stalemate over the next two weeks, with a little ground won by the rebels.

Well, today, effectively, this is the situation. Now, Benghazi remains the opposition stronghold. That is in rebel hands. While Misrata and Ajdabiya, these two towns here are really the center of what are bloody battles between pro-Gadhafi and rebel forces.

All right, well, NATO has said from the start that firepower will not end this war, only a political solution will. Well, (INAUDIBLE) that Qatar is playing a huge part in trying to find that solution.

Leone Lakhani now explains how Qatar's economic strength has helped it emerge as a regional power broker.

Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEONE LAKHANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a tiny Gulf state with just over a million people. But Qatar is positioning itself on the international stage.

ALI AL-SAFFAR, ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT: Qatar certainly is trying to cut out a niche and it's been doing so for some time. Back in 2008, we saw a quite successful mediation effort with the Lebanese factions. And we've seen that continue in Yemen and in Darfur.

LAKHANI: Most recently in Libya. Qatar was the first Arab country to contribute planes to a U.N.-backed no-fly zone. It was also the first to recognize Libya's rebel council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. It even agreed to export oil from Libya's rebel-held territory.

Due to an overhaul of its oil and gas sector, Qatar is now the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

(on camera): Here in the Gulf, Qatar's economic strength is allowing it to flex its political muscle. It's emerging as a new power broker for the region, moving aggressively, especially in the case of Libya. That's giving it a higher profile, but there's also a high risk if Libya remains unstable.

(voice-over): Qatar has so far escaped the turmoil that spread across the Middle East. But at a time when demonstrators elsewhere in the region are demanding their voices are heard, the question remains within out of the region's most powerful monarchies can truly lead the way.

AL-SAFFAR: Because among the Arab street, its -- its star is rising. It's the base for Al Jazeera. It's the base for what is essentially gotten out the story in the Middle East. And I think a lot of people in the Arab world in Tunisia and Egypt, are thankful for that.

LAKHANI: Still, analysts say Qatar will have to tread carefully, not step on the toes of the region's other power players.

Leone Lakhani, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, a significant role then being played by Qatar, hosting the meeting today, but also playing what is the decisive Arab partner role, along with the international community in what goes on next so far as Libya is concerned.

Let's discuss the future then and the potential for a political solution to the war in Libya -- what would it look like and how will we get there?

Well, we're joined by Libyan opposition member, Guma El-Gamaty, nearly a co-anchor with me on this show in the recent weeks.

We welcome you back once again.

And Fawaz Gerges, a regular guest on this show, a professor of Middle Eastern politics and international relations at the London School of Economics.

Fawaz, I want to start with you tonight.

We're getting mixed messages, to a certain extent, out of the international community, I think. They -- they want the military might to effectively be ratcheted up. Much criticism, to a certain extent, of what NATO has been doing. And yet, much talk that the only way out of this is a political solution.

What would that look like at this point?

FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, I don't think, at this juncture, Becky, a political settlement is likely, for a variety of reasons.

First of all, both camps are not in the mood to compromise. The opposition has made it very clear, there will be no settlement as long as the Gadhafi clan remains in power.

Secondly, even though Gadhafi has been weakened considerably, he has survived and will likely survive in the short-term and mid-term, as opposed to the long-term.

And finally, as you suggested, even though members of the international alliance have made it very clear they would like Gadhafi to go, they disagree on the means to bring about this particular end. Some members would like to escalate the military confrontations. Others believe that a political settlement is the only way out.

The only thing is, at this particular juncture, given the stalemate, the military stalemate in Libya, I don't see -- I don't see a way out, a political way out of the stalemate.

ANDERSON: The wording of the communique I thought was interesting today. And I may be reading too much into this, but they asked for and told Moammar Gadhafi that he should stand down and stand down now. What we didn't see was a communique that said Moammar Gadhafi and his family should stand down and stand down now.

Guma, I want you to just listen to, once again, part of an interview that I conducted with the Italian foreign minister the other night, when he talked about the potential for Saif Gadhafi playing a role going forward.

Let's just have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRATTINI: 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 the power without his father and then to leave himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: The regime is being asked to consider military and political solutions to this. Saif Gadhafi is providing, through envoys, at least a narrative which suggests that they have a political solution in mind.

Is Frattini wrong when he suggests that the opposition is softening its stance toward a Saif Gadhafi run transition at this point?

GUMA EL-GAMATY, LIBYAN OPPOSITION MEMBER: Well, if Mr. Frattini means by the opposition, the Interim National Council, softening its position on some role for Saif, he is absolutely wrong. It is very clear, the Interim Council will never entertain the idea of a political role for any of Gadhafi's sons.

Also, the Libyan people in general, on the streets, six million of them, after all the suffering and all the sacrifice and all the bloodshed now -- and most of the bloodshed is actually directed. I mean the -- the perpetrators are Gadhafi's sons themselves, because they are leading these brigades, these security brigades. They are the commanders of these brigades. They are actually -- they are administering this killing.

The Libyan people will never ever entertain any role for Gadhafi's boys in an (INAUDIBLE)...

ANDERSON: When you say that, are you talking about the entire Libyan population or only those who support the rebels at the moment?

That -- that -- hold that question...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

ANDERSON: -- while we just have a listen to the interview that I conducted with Saif Gadhafi -- or part of it -- last summer. Let's remember, this was a man who was voicing his support for democracy, not just in Libya, but across the region.

Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MAY 25, 2010)

SAIF AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, SON OF LIBYAN LEADER: We need more freedom, more democracy, more that people can participate more in the particular game in Libya. But if you talk to me about political parties, about a free election today, of course, I will -- I will say not, not because I cannot invent parties and I cannot invent the political environment in Libya overnight. You need time to create the right environment for -- for Libya to have a moment like any other country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: He, of course, then went on, on February the 22nd, to give what many have called the rivers of blood speech. And it didn't sound anything like the narrative I heard back in the summer of 2010.

Fawaz, if it's Moammar Gadhafi going forward, but it's a fully inclusive Libyan option, does it not include Saif Gadhafi?

GERGES: I don't think so. I think as long as you have the -- any of the Gadhafi clans in Libya, I don't think you're going to have a peaceful transition. The reality is a great segment of the Libyan people has spoken and they have spoken loud and clear. They would like the Gadhafi clan out.

I fear, though -- I fear, though, the loyalists who are supporting Gadhafi must be taken into account. An inclusive government means, as opposed to taking one of the Gadhafis, including significant elements of the loyalists who are supporting Gadhafi.

Let me be blunt back here. Gadhafi would not have survived as long as he has without having a potent -- a potent but limited power base in Libya. This particular power base must be engaged, must be reassured, must be integrated into a -- the new form of government.

But the reality is, Becky -- and this is a point I know I hope my -- my colleague, Gamal here, disagrees with me, Gadhafi is not going to go anywhere. The lesson that Gadhafi and Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen and -- and -- they have learned in the last 24 hours of Egypt. They're going to fight to the end. They're going to fight to the last bullet and the last man.

All the talks about a political settlement that does not take into account one of the Gadhafis remaining in power will not find -- I mean listening ears within the Gadhafi camp.

ANDERSON: We're going to have to leave it there tonight.

You will be back with me.

Guma, we'll continue this narrative day in and day out, I fear, for the weeks and months to come.

We've got to take an advertising break, I'm afraid.

Thrown out by a revolution, stung by illness -- what now for the former leader of Egypt?

Hosni Mubarak -- the latest on his situation is just ahead.

And tighten your seat belts -- we are in for a bumpy ride. Tonight, how you can make flying plain sailing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: The former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, and his two sons are being detained in Egypt for a second day. The Justice Ministry says that they will be held for 15 days for questioning about process -- protester deaths during the revolution. And for Egyptians who suffered under their rule, the news is almost too good to be true.

CNN's Ivan Watson reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Traffic jams clogged the streets of Cairo. But this morning, Mohamed Gafar is smiling.

"Since I'm a cab driver, I'm always in the street and I can see that everybody is happy beyond imagination," he says. "The man that used to put people in prison is now behind bars."

News of the interrogation and 15-day detention of Hosni Mubarak and his sons spread like wildfire through a city still decorated with the slogans of the revolution that forced his overthrow.

Patrons at a venerable Cairo coffee shop quietly savoring their former ruler's fall from grace.

AHMED ABDULSALEM, ACCOUNTANT (through translator): Thank God. I'm very happy. The country has taken a big step forward. During the previous regime, corruption gave way to more corruption. It was survival of the fittest. What we're seeing today is much better than what we had before.

WATSON: The huge challenges plaguing this country are still far from solved -- widespread poverty, unemployment and a military government accused of torturing prisoners during the two months since it assumed power.

Just a few day ago, tens of thousands in Tahrir Square were accusing the military of protecting Mubarak. Now their demands have been met. The former president and his family have gone from being untouchables to being ridiculed and called liars on the front pages of daily newspapers.

MAHMOUD AMREYA, COOK:

All these people, this is Mafia, you know?

WATSON (on camera): Mafia?

AMREYA: Yes. This is mafia.

WATSON: You think -- you think Mubarak is a criminal?

AMREYA: Mubarak is a very, very bad man.

WATSON (voice-over): Mubarak's downfall viewed as victory for the common man, even for those who earn a living and sweating over a hot grill.

AMREYA: I'm very happy.

WATSON (on camera): You're smiling.

AMREYA: Yes, I'm very happy. Of course.

WATSON (voice-over): Ivan Watson, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

It's just about 22 minutes past 9:00.

Still to come on tonight's show, accused of blasphemy but acquitted -- we have the story of a Pakistani man killed by vigilantes.

That, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, it's a law that continues to claim lives, those of people accused of breaking it and those of people fighting to have it abolished.

Now, in recent months, Pakistan's blasphemy laws have been tied to the deaths of two politicians. Both had spoken out against the legislation on this program.

The governor of Punjab Province, Salman Taseer, was the first to be silenced and gunned down by his own security guard, who's been hailed as a hero by many Pakistanis.

Three months later, minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also killed for opposing the laws. We had spoken to him on the day of Taseer's assassination and I asked if he, too, feared for his life.

Take a listen to his response on January the 4th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JANUARY 4, 2010)

SHAHBAZ BHATTI, PAKISTAN'S MINORITIES MINISTER: I -- I am not fear, but I am getting pressed. I was told by the religious extremists that if you will make any amendment in this law, you will be killed.

But I am ready to sacrifice my life for the principled stand I have taken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, indeed, Mr. Bhatti did sacrifice his life trying to change legislation he claimed was being abused by extremists who victimized minority groups.

But tonight, correspondent Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from Pakistan with a story that suggests the law may be irrelevant -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, blasphemy in this country is a capital offense. That means if you're convicted of a -- insulting the Prophet Muhammad, you can face a death sentence.

Now, as we found out, even if the courts acquit you of this charge, the fundamentalist fringe in society here could still take your life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH (voice-over): Out here, no one really honors the grave of Imram (ph), apart from his brother. A week ago, Imram, a farmer, was shot dead by fundamentalist gunmen. He'd been accused of blasphemy, insulting the Prophet.

Few people know exactly what he's meant to have said, but that didn't save him.

MUHAMMAD IKRAM, VICTIM'S BROTHER (through translator): When I saw him lying there, he said, I felt the blood leave my body and that I was now alone.

WALSH: His brother shows me under Pakistan's controversial laws, the indictment. Blasphemy cases can end with the death penalty but sometimes begin with just hearsay.

(on camera): Well, this is the original complaint against Imran (ph), his brother. And it says that Imran (ph) was overhead in a cafe saying something derogatory against the Muslim Prophet, Mohammed. Now, the complainant doesn't want to specify exactly what those words were, he says, out of respect for the Muslim faith.

(voice-over): Imran (ph) was in custody for two years before a judge acquitted him, but he returned home to death threats that forced his family to move away from the farmland of Fedom (ph). Eventually, gunmen cornered Imran (ph) in this shoe shop. In his last panicked moments, we're told, he grabbed the man next to him for dear life.

We found his widow and daughter living off a friend's charity, paralyzed by grief and poverty. Four-year-old Kasma (ph) says she knows daddy is dead, but that one day he will come back. His widow, however, told us that even now, she supports the blasphemy laws because they protect their faith.

Speaking out against the laws can be fatal. Two high profile politicians were this year gunned down for suggesting they be changed. Radical clerics justified these murders and we know are stoking tensions in this nearby town.

(on camera): We just drove into the town to talk to people at the mosque where, allegedly, some of the provocateurs trying to organize this murder were based. And as soon as we got out of the car, we were mobbed by a pretty angry crowd. At this point, it's probably safest to leave.

(voice-over): In this dusty town, a brutal and flawed type of justice, a sign of what the mix of poverty and religion can (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WALSH: Well, it's thought that over 30 people accused of blasphemy have been killed by vigilantes in Pakistan since these laws were passed in the 1980s. But interestingly, after the hundreds of convictions of blasphemy, the state has yet to actually execute anybody for this crime -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating.

All right, Nick, we thank you for that.

So where does the Pakistan government stand on the law?

Last month, my colleague, Max Foster, spoke to the country's interior minister, Rehman Malik.

Just have a listen to his stance on the issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MARCH, 2010)

FOSTER: -- kill anyone who dared blaspheme Mohammed's name, haven't you?

REHMAN MALIK, PAKISTANI INTERIOR MINISTER: Well, there are people who never said it and they are behind the -- behind the ball. And especially in the villages. If somebody does not listen to the boss, the boss just go to the police station.

FOSTER: But if someone blasphemed in front of you, would you kill them?

MALIK: No, well, it is not like that. I shall not be doing it. There's a law.

FOSTER: But you would hope for that person to face a death sentence if they're -- they're found guilty, right?

MALIK: Well -- well, that's the law at present, which there are certain (INAUDIBLE) and certain evidences that definitely it will have to go through the law. The law is there because it's not made by Mr. Mr. Rehman Malik or any Mr. (INAUDIBLE). It is has been done by the parliament.

FOSTER: But you're the interior minister and it's a very strong view, isn't it?

MALIK: Yes, of course. That's what I'm saying. When it -- that's why we are working out that it is not misused. And we are dealing back to the parliament and all the parliamentarian head of the parties are going to review it and see it.

FOSTER: But what -- I want to go back to the misuse. If someone is clearly found guilty of blaspheming and there's clear evidence of it, you do support them facing the death penalty?

MALIK: Well, I don't say I'm going to support them. I think the (INAUDIBLE) has to -- has to support the law, which is the act of...

FOSTER: But should they be put to death?

MALIK: Well, there is the act of the parliament and the act of parliament is not implemented through the Ministry of the Interior --

FOSTER: But what's your opinion as the interior minister?

MALIK: Well, that's me. That's my view, that the act of parliament, which is the law, has to be implemented through the courts. So, it's not going to be just a police officer if his rights, if they are a cross complaint, then he's going to be hanged. No. It has to go through the judicial process. And there's still the judicial process, and the judiciary has to follow what the law is of the land --

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: But where's the abuse, then?

MALIK: -- and I don't make the law.

FOSTER: Where's the abuse of the system?

MALIK: That's what I'm saying. That's what is being determined.

FOSTER: What's your hunch as interior minister?

MALIK: The law is not to be guided by me or anybody else. The law has its own way to move forward, so this flow of the judicial process cannot be stopped if somebody has complained.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Rehman Malik talking to Max Foster about the current state of the blasphemy laws about a month or so ago. We'll stay on that story for you.

Up next, the CEO who says he never takes a day off. We're going to introduce you to the man behind China's Spring Airlines who has a spring in his own step despite a lack of sleep. That, coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You are back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you. Coming up, with hundreds of thousands arriving and more than a million leaving, we take a look at some hot travel tips around Britain's royal wedding.

And we are Going Green in the arctic. CNN gets aboard a Russian icebreaker, looking at its ecological impact.

And our Connector of the Day today, the great Annie Lennox, answering your questions.

That all coming up in the next half hour. First, as ever at this point, let's get you a quick check of the headlines this hour.

And Egyptians are celebrating the detainment of former president Hosni Mubarak and Mubarak's two sons. The Justice Ministry says the three are being held for 15 days for questioning about protester deaths during the revolution.

World powers have agreed to set up a fund to help the financial needs of Libyan rebels. The so-called Libya Contact Group also said Moammar Gadhafi must leave power, saying he has lost all legitimacy.

New video from Ivory Coast showing the moment former president was taken into custody. He's now said to be at a secure location. New president Alassane Ouattara is promising anyone guilty of atrocities during the power struggle will face justice.

US president Barack Obama has outlined ideas to tackle the national debt. His plan aims to reduce budget deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years. Mr. Obama says savings can be found in cutting wasteful spending and ending tax cuts for wealthier Americans.

And it looks like Real Madrid and Schalke will advance to the Champions League semi-finals. It is late in the quarter-final match, Real scoring a goal to extend their aggregate lead over Tottenham to five-nil while Schalke leads Inter Milan two-one, the Schalke lead at seven-three on aggregate.

Right. Well, we've just over two weeks to go until the royal wedding. London is getting ready to receive an influx of visitors. The city's tourism authority says that more than half a million people will flock to London when Charles and -- sorry, when Charles and Diana married, and they are expecting at least as many for William and Kate.

But it turns out, millions more may actually be headed out of town. Travel experts say as many as 2 million Brits may be planning to escape at the end of the month, getting themselves as far away from Westminster Abbey as possible.

Well, those travelers are just a few of the millions who will fly this Easter, not just in Europe but, of course, all over the world. Coming up, we've collected our best tips for fliers, including the best times to fly, when to book your ticket, and how to avoid getting bumped from your flight.

First, though, CNN's Stan Grant takes us inside one of the fastest growing markets for air travel in the world and meets what's got to be some of the hardest working CEOs, or certainly one of them, cashing in.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wang Zhenghua knows all about being flexible. This master of tai chi is applying the secrets of the ancient Chinese art to the world of big business.

WANG ZHENGHUA, CEO, SPRING AIRLINES (through translator): "All the tai chi moves look very gentle," he says, "but they contain a lot of inner strength. It's the same running an airline."

GRANT (voice-over): Six years ago, Wang launched Spring Airlines, a budget carrier in a booming market.

No frills here. The cabin crew double as cleaners. Where else would you find an airline boss loading the luggage? He has no secretary, no mobile phone, a sort of maverick businessman.

GRANT (on camera): The Richard Branson of China!

GRANT (voice-over): But it's not Virgin, it's America's Southwest Airlines that Wang wants to emulate. Lean, ultra-competitive. Baggage weight limits are set low. Carry more and it costs. Customers grab food before boarding. On the plane, it's user pays. On-flight sales are a big revenue earner. Spring Airlines crams 180 seats into their Airbus, 30 percent more than its rivals.

GRANT (on camera): And you do get what you pay for. I'm over six feet tall and, as you can see, my feet, here, my legs are crammed in. There is very little legroom.

GRANT (voice-over): But hey, it's cheap. A flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong, about three hours, can cost as little as 200 yuan, $30. And it is a winner. Most flights are 95 percent full.

This man is certainly a fan. He was passenger number one and is still coming back. "Their tickets are cheap," he says, "and the service isn't bad."

Work hard, keep it tight. That's Wang's philosophy. He's never had a holiday, works 7 days a week, 14 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Spring has 22 planes flying to 14 destinations, including a cut-price route to Japan. One day, Wang wants hundreds of flights. It's not going to be easy, though. In a market heavily protected in favor of giants like Air China.

WANG (through translator): "I often tell my employees to be grateful," he says. "The government has already allowed us into this once monopolized industry. If they reject an application, we keep an open mind and move in."

GRANT (voice-over): Today, Wang's task got a little bit harder. These passengers have been on board stuck on the tarmac for over two hours. Their destination is fogged in. The plane can't get clearance for takeoff. It's beyond Spring Airlines' control.

(MEN ARGUING IN CHINESE)

GRANT (voice-over): The flight is abandoned, leaving far from happy customers. The airline offers a hotel and a substitute flight.

Another business lesson for the tai chi class. Yes, you must bend to stay standing. Stan Grant, CNN, Shanghai.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Fabulous. All right, well, whether you are flying a budget airline in China or first class in Europe or elsewhere, there are certain things, of course, you can do to make the trip more pleasant. Wouldn't we like to know? Well, who better with the tips than the person in control? A veteran pilot shares with you and CNN the secrets of stress-free travel. Listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIC HENDRICK, PILOT, AIRTRAN: I've been flying for AirTran for ten years now. I've seen a lot of passengers come and go. For certain days of the week, Tuesday, definitely a good time to fly. A lot of people want to fly, obviously, on the weekends, so Fridays, Mondays, not good days to fly. Also, Tuesdays you're probably going to get the best deals.

If you have the opportunity to travel in the morning, that's the best time to travel, OK? As the day goes on, certain things happen. Weather could be a factor. Volume of traffic could be a factor. The earlier you can fly, you avoid a lot of traffic.

A lot of people seem to think that sitting over the wing is less bumpy. I would tend to agree when you're in what we would call light choppy air. But once you get to a higher level of turbulent flying, which is not unsafe by any means, but the entire aircraft feels the same thing.

Because we care about our customers and we care about their comfort, we're always doing things to try to get you a smoother ride.

Getting on is definitely a challenge sometimes. It really is. Sometimes I see people get on the aircraft, it's a 45-minute flight, and they'll take out a computer, a novel, two magazines, OK? And an iPod. You're not going to use all of those things. Be more realistic about what you're going to need when you get on the aircraft.

The second thing is, be a little bit more organized. Be familiar with where you're seated.

I think the first thing I would talk about when I talk about the seat belt sign is, if you're a passenger traveling, use the bathroom in the terminal before you get on the aircraft. That's one of, I think, the biggest things, one of the largest problems we see out there. We can't move if someone is standing up. So we have to stop where we are.

When you're in the largest airports, the busiest airports in the world, like we are here at Hartsfield-Jackson. Not only are we stopping, but you could cause us to have to stop 10, 15 aircraft behind us.

The first thing at an air crew wants to do is get you from point A to point B the most convenient way and the safest way. We want to get to the hotel as much as you do. I guarantee it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Captain Eric Hendrick for you, some advice from the cockpit.

So, you know what to do on the day you fly, but what about the weeks and months before? How can you get a good deal on your ticket, and when to use a travel agent, and is there any way to get one of those elusive upgrades? Come on.

I hope Genevieve Shaw Brown has got the answer on that and more. She's the editor of Travelocity, and she joins us, now, from New York. I know you've got three best hits. Give us a sort of overview, and then we'll do your three best hits first. Go on.

GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, EDITOR, TRAVELOCITY: Oh. Sounds good, OK. So, the first tip is you want to make sure you book early. Airlines have reduced their schedules and they're flying smaller aircraft, so that means that there is more competition for the cheapest seats. So you want to book as early as you possibly can, and it's really time right now to be thinking about your summer travel plans.

ANDERSON: All right, so you're talking weeks earlier --

BROWN: Tip two --

ANDERSON: Hang on a minute, before we get to tip two, you're talking about as many weeks as possible, yes? Don't leave it until the last minute.

BROWN: No, no. Don't leave it until the last minute. People get this idea in their heads that they're going to snag a last-minute deal, but with aircrafts flying so very, very full, those deals are few and far between. So it's really --

ANDERSON: All right.

BROWN: -- it really is in your best interest to book as soon as you know your plans.

ANDERSON: All right, I always leave it until the last minute. OK, tip two?

BROWN: Tip two is fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. And we just heard the pilot talk about this, too, right? He said fly on Tuesdays. And it makes a lot of sense. Those are the least-traveled days of the week, so that means they're often the cheapest, and they're the least crowded. So, maybe a little bit less stressful and maybe you'll actually get an empty seat next to you, which is something that is hard to come by these days.

ANDERSON: Book early and travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Tip three?

BROWN: Tip three is book your flight and your hotel at the same time. This is the easiest, most overlooked thing that travelers forget to do. Just by booking your flight and your hotel at the same time, you get access to savings from the airlines and from hotels that you cannot get by booking separately. And a Travelocity study actually found the savings is up to $525. So, that's a big deal.

ANDERSON: Wow. OK. So, tell me, do you book early, travel on Tuesdays, and always book your flight and hotel at the same time? Go on, tell me, honestly.

BROWN: I try to.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: I try to follow my own rules as much as I can.

ANDERSON: Good stuff, we thank you for that. Genevieve with some tips for you tonight. No better than Travelocity and the captain himself out of the cockpit.

All right, after the break, our Going Green series continues with some exclusive access onboard a Russian icebreaker. We're going to weigh up the benefits and the risks of opening up the frozen seas. That in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Back with CNN. Now, all this week CONNECT THE WORLD is Going Green. We're bringing you some -- a series of environmental stories, stories about things that are changing our planet and the unique ideas that are helping businesses make a difference.

Tonight, we are in the arctic for you, looking at exploration versus exploitation. CNN's Matthew Chance explains this fine balancing act as he hops aboard one of Russia's top icebreakers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the world's last great wilderness, rich in natural resources, like oil and gas. But now, the frozen seas of the arctic are being opened up, its vast riches unlocked.

CHANCE (on camera): Well, we have gained exclusive access to this, the "Yamal," one of Russia's biggest, most powerful icebreakers, and one of the few ships in the world capable of cutting through this thick, arctic pack ice.

It does it for one reason, to clear a path for other vessels, so they can take advantage of the frozen arctic.

CHANCE (voice-over): Escorted by icebreakers, cargo ships, and oil tankers, crossing the arctic could shave thousands of miles off a journey between Asia and Europe, saving fuel and vastly reducing carbon emissions.

On the navigation bridge, the captain of the "Yamal" tells me the potential offered by the arctic is behind a dramatic increase of maritime traffic.

ALEXANDER LEMBRIK, CAPTAIN, "YAMAL" ICEBREAKER (through translator): Yes, we're now seeing the increase of transport flows again. There are more and more transport vessels, through routes for ships from Europe towards the Bering Strait in the North Pacific.

CHANCE (on camera): Are you worried that he increase in traffic will have a damaging ecological effect on the arctic.

LEMBRIK (through translator): You can't deny that possibility. But if you take all the precautions, this is avoidable.

CHANCE (voice-over): Deep in the mechanical belly of the ship, we were shown its water purification plant and waste disposal system. The crew of the "Yamal" say its own ecological impact is minimal.

It's nuclear powered, which means low carbon emissions. But of course, it's a risky polluter if anything goes wrong, just one of the many paradoxes of arctic ecology.

CHANCE (on camera): Take, for instance, the problem of global warming caused by greenhouse gasses. It's believed to be melting the polar icecaps, making these arctic waters even more accessible for shipping, slashing those journey times.

But it's also opening up the region to exploitation for its oil and gas reserves, and as the traffic in the arctic increases, so, too, will the need for icebreakers like the "Yamal."

CHANCE (voice-over): And not just for clearing routes. Navigating arctic waters can be treacherous. This incident in January saw several fishing boats trapped in the ice. It was an icebreaker like the "Yamal" that broke them free.

Adding more cargo ships and oil tankers to the mix, says the captain, is a big concern.

LEMBRIK (through translator): As a rule, when the traffic along the northern sea route is organized well, emergencies don't happen. It's when there are errors in the organization that some ships could find themselves in difficult situations. With the increase in freight turnover, there will be a larger number of ships that will need icebreaker assistance.

CHANCE (voice-over): For their critics, Russia's fleet of icebreakers are hastening exploitation of the arctic, but without capable vessels like this, these frozen waters may be even more exposed to risk. Matthew Chance, CNN, on the White Sea in northern Russia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, still to come on this show tonight here out of London, one of the most -- the world's most politically active stars, Annie Lennox, is your Connector of the Day today. Find out how motherhood and an iconic leader inspired her to make a difference.

(MUSIC - "Universal Child")

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC - "Universal Child")

ANDERSON: Well, a global voice in every sense. Tonight's Grammy Award-winning Connector of the Day has been a force in the music industry for more than 30 years. But Annie Lennox has also long been acclaimed for her work as an activist.

The Scottish-born songstress is an ambassador for OxFam and for the UN. She's also set up her own campaign, known as SING, in her fight to raise awareness about Africa's HIV pandemic. Well, my colleague Fionnuala Sweeney spoke to this tireless and dedicated star who is championing the women and children who lack a voice by giving them her own.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNIE LENNOX, SINGER/ACTIVIST: I really think that, probably, my first great awakening about women's rights and human's rights probably has come from being a mother. Because I have two daughters, and they were born healthy. And I realized that not everybody gets a chance to have a safe, healthy delivery of their child, and I experienced that myself. My first baby was a stillborn.

And then, I started to understand, whoa, hang on a minute. I just take everything for granted. I take health care and good health for granted. And education for granted. All the -- all the great things that I've received in my life.

And traveling out into developing countries, looking at women raising children, very often by themselves, taking care of them, feed -- trying to get just the basics for those children, it woke me up, and I realized, I live in a bubble. We all live in a bubble. And once you step out of it, and you can compare what your life is like in the Western countries, and then you look at the developed world, it's like there's no comparison.

So, motherhood, seeing women, how this struggle of women in developing countries, it developed my passion. And of course, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which I honestly hadn't understood was affecting women to such a degree. And it shocked me so much, because that kind of scale of epidemic, the whole world should know about.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, when Nelson Mandela said -- called it a genocide, that -- did that motivate you?

LENNOX: Absolutely. I mean, to sit and listen to Nelson Mandela give -- be a witness to the AIDS pandemic back in 2003 and describe it as a genocide, just -- not -- make me want to fall off my chair.

And I thought, this country has come through so much, and now, they're facing something that's described by their former president, Mandela, as a genocide. Why aren't we seeing that on the covers of newspapers?

And I still say that. The media are responsible.

SWEENEY: So, how easy or difficult is it for you to translate that passion and make that connection to actually changing things on the ground?

LENNOX: I think it comes down to commitment. You can feel passionately about things for one moment, and then the emphasis is gone. Five years ago, we had the Make Poverty History campaign. Six years ago, now. And you cannot make poverty history overnight. If you're going to get involved in a campaign about making poverty history, you have to commit. It's long-term. It's probably going to be for the rest of your life.

SWEENEY: But do you get the impression, almost, of a society that has become complacent, for the most part, particularly younger people?

LENNOX: Yes. I wouldn't disagree with you. And I honestly think there's a huge challenge in that. When it comes to women's rights, for example, or feminism, whatever you want to call it, I think that the young generation of women really need to be woken up.

They're sort of like absorbed into celebrity culture, reality television, the media, magazines, and fashions and all of these things, and that's fine, that's OK. But if you're not involved in other things that really mean something on a social and political scale, then, unfortunately -- it's not a great thing.

SWEENEY: Let me as you a viewer's question, here, and it's about empowering women. Mary from Kenya, "What more can we do to empower women, especially in developing countries?"

LENNOX: Yes, well, to start with, I think when women have education, they can then have a voice. They can identify the problems that have been overbearing on their lives. Once they start to understand, you do have human rights, you can have a voice, they can start to organize themselves. They can start to identify with systems that can help to empower them and strengthen them.

So, what we want to see is more representation of women in political parties and in government. We don't eve have it here, so -- I've just come from Malawi and I sat with a woman's caucus there from the government, and they have a -- tremendous amount of women that are in the government there, and there are more countries in Africa that can -- that could really do with copying that.

I just really believe that women should be in power and in government, that girls should be educated, in Africa, specifically. Two thirds of girls are not receiving even the most basic education. So, we have to look at that.

SWEENEY: Let me ask you about how the authorities in various countries where you work receive you. Do they see it as an annoying interference, or do they welcome it?

LENNOX: Well, so far, I have always been welcomed with open arms. People love the fact that I can speak out about issues that sometimes are very challenging.

And I think that women in developing countries are very inspired when they see Western women passionately interested in working and involved in the things that affect them, too. And it's beautiful.

Also, you know what? We just meet each other as human beings.

SWEENEY: Sue Mullen from New York. "What do you think is the best way to get both men and women, especially the younger generation, involved in supporting women's human rights and equality." And then, goes on to say, "There seems to be much complacency and misconception surrounding feminism."

LENNOX: I think that once people start to understand, actually, the huge disparity that exists between men and women's rights, that it's -- it no longer becomes a sort of jokey issue that has to do with bra burning or any of the old stuff that you used to hear about.

It actually is about human rights, and people go, "Whoa. This -- that's not right. Something should be done about it."

That's the first step, just to kind of engage people and educate them. And then, show them ways that they can become engaged.

Look, we have laptop media -- it's mostly -- the medium of the internet is social networking. It's so strong. We've seen what's happened in Egypt, where women have actually been very, very much at the core of this change in thinking.

And I think when you see examples like that, you start to have groups that are going around the world going, "Wow, women are part of the change." And then, it sort of spreads in a very positive sort of way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: A passionate Annie Lennox, your Connector of the Day today.

Your Parting Shots tonight, well, it's the case of the nimble-fingered president and the pen. Vaclav Klaus, the leader of the Czech Republic, saw one he liked on a trip to Chile. Watch what he does next.

He picks up the pen, encrusted with semi-precious stones, slips it under the table, then into his right hand and, finally, into his pocket. And just to cover his track, the president's made sure that the -- he's shot the empty box before smiling for the camera. Pretty smooth, eh?

Well, a Chilean spokeswoman said the president's guests were free to take the pens. For his part, Mr. Klaus said he takes pens and notepads all the time.

I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected. Thanks for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" tonight here on CNN follow this short break. Don't go.

END