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Terrifying Scene in Misrata; Calls for Reform of Open Border Treaty; Inside Scoop on the Royal Wedding

Aired April 26, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Under siege -- government forces hammer the battle-scarred city of Misrata. No relief as fighting rages in Libya. Aid can't get to the desperate people who need it.

Also tonight, 25 years after the worst nuclear accident ever, the world is still learning lessons from Chernobyl.

And love is in the air in London -- less than 72 hours to go before the royal wedding, the buzz and the anticipation in Britain.

Those stories and more tonight as we connect the world.

A very good evening from London.

We are live tonight from both parties, where months of planning and speculation will come to an end on Friday, when the future queen of England comes down the aisle to meet her prince.

First up, though, this evening, witnesses are describing a terrifying scene today in Misrata as the Libyan regime steps up weeks of fierce attacks on the only Western city still under rebel control, Misrata's port, its lifeline to the outside world, came under heavy shelling. At least three people were reportedly killed at refugee camps nearby.

Well, Libyan rebels tell CNN this was some of the worst bombing of the city's port area since the civil war began.

CNN's Reza Sayah is near Misrata and he joins us now on the line -- Reza, describe the scene, if you will.

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, some intense bombing in the western port city of Misrata today. And it looks like the bombing was carried out both by regime forces that are trying to take out the rebel forces, as well as NATO forces who are going after regime forces.

The most intense bombing took place around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. local time here in Libya. It's about four or five hours ago. And based on what they sounded like and what they felt like, it would lead you to believe that they were the result of NATO air strikes, because the old Russian Grad rockets that the regime forces use and the mortars simply don't sound like that. They simply don't feel like that.

We also saw smoke rising from the east of the city. It's not clear the exact location. It's not clear what caused the smoke. It could have been the target of the NATO air strikes. We're working to verify that.

Those more intense bombings followed what opposition officials called some of the most intense shelling by regime forces targeting the port area in Misrata. And according to the rebels, some of those rockets hit an area near refugee camps in the port. Those refugee camps, of course, for the past several weeks, have been housing thousands of migrant workers who are desperate to get out of there through the port area.

So a rough day for those refugees there, those migrant workers, and a very active day in Misrata, a bombing by regime forces targeting the port area, Becky, as well as NATO air strikes, it looks like.

ANDERSON: Just remind us, Reza, how vital or how important this port is.

SAYAH: Well, it has become the face of this conflict. It makes headlines every day. It is certainly a lifeline, not just for the rebel fighters, who get their weapons through this port, but, also for the thousands of migrant workers, thousands of -- the hundreds of the injured who go in and out of this port area.

It is also potentially a staging ground if the rebels secure the port city of Misrata if and when they actually march to Tripoli. We're a long ways off from that.

But this city has great symbolic value. If it goes into the hands of the rebels, it would be a big blow to the regime. And all indications are that (INAUDIBLE) easily. Remember, these shellings by the regime forces come several days after regime officials had withdrawn their troops and suspended (INAUDIBLE). Clearly, they haven't, because by all accounts, they're shelling the port area.

ANDERSON: Yes. And apologies for the audio sound there. As you can imagine, it's incredibly difficult to get anything out of this region.

And Reza, we thank you for that.

Much of the video that you were watching there during Reza's report was shot on Sunday. As I say, difficult to get any access into the region at present.

Well, the violence in Misrata and other western towns is forcing more and more Libyans to flee the country. The majority are crossing into Tunisia, threatening to overwhelm resources there.

Well, according to U.S. AID, more than 280,000 Libyans are seeking refuge in their neighbor to the west while nearly 250,000 more have fled east, crossing over into Egypt.

Niger has taken in the third largest number of Libyans, followed by Chad, Algeria and Sudan. Well, still others are trying to reach the shores of mainland Europe, like tens of thousands of Tunisians before them, who fled their own country's uprising earlier this year.

Well, the surge in migrants is leading France and Italy to call for reform of the EU's open-border treaty.

Jim Bittermann explains how the controversy dominated a summit in Rome earlier today.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The situation came up mainly because of Tunisian refugees. There are said to be about 25,000 refugees from the conflicts and government changeover in Tunis who have flooded into Italy. And the Italians have granted thousands of temporary visas which allow these refugees then to circulate throughout the Schengen zone.

France is concerned because many of the Tunisians have family here or other connections here. Many are French speaking. And the fear was that a lot of them will come in this direction. In fact, many of them have come up in this direction.

So there was a lot of disagreement between France and Italy and this summit was designed to renew the close ties on the subject. And, in fact, both Berlusconi and Sarkozy have agreed that what they should do is come up with a letter to the European Commission suggesting that, in a sense, the Schengen treaty be weakened. At the present moment, in order to reimpose border controls, it has to be a grave threat to the public order or internal security. That's the language that's in the Schengen agreement right now.

But the lead -- two leaders would like to see that change so that leaders could reimpose border controls in much less circumstances than just that.

Here's the way President Sarkozy made his argument for that change.


NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): So it's because we believe in Schengen that we want Schengen to evolve. And for all European questions, do we really believe that Europe, with 27 members tomorrow, will be 32 or 31, can be managed in the way it was when there were six or nine?

Isn't the adoption of European institutions a rule?

And those who refuse to let the Schengen agreement evolve are those who don't want Schengen.


BITTERMANN: For his part, Silvio Berlusconi also seemed to agree that a change was needed and he seemed to be pretty much in sync with President Sarkozy.


SILVIO BERLUSCONI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): In this situation, in these exceptional circumstances, we think there needs to be modifications and variations made to the Schengen treaty, on which we have decided to work together.


BITTERMANN: A letter from the two leaders will be forwarded to the European Commission for, perhaps, action later in the summer by the European Union in general, an action that will affect 22 of the 27 nations within Europe.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


ANDERSON: Well, Europe's response there to an increasingly desperate situation in Libya.

Well, ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the crackdown's toll -- a human rights group says hundreds have been killed in Syria's clashes between troops and demonstrators.

And dozens of escaped prisoners back in Afghan authorities' hands. But hundreds more remain free.

Those stories just ahead here on CNN.


ANDERSON: Well, you royal wedding fans out there may have to get your wet weather gear ready. Coming up, the latest forecast for Friday.

Plus, new details about the flowers that will feature on the big day. All part of our special week long coverage leading up to the royal wedding.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD from outside both parties.

A look, before we do those stories, at the other stories that we're following this hour.

And in Syria, growing criticism from human rights groups. They accuse the Syrian regime of using brutal means to squash dissent. This video appeared to be shot in Damascus over the weekend. An organization called the Syrian Human Rights Information Link says at least 416 peopled have died since the uprising began last month. Another group reports 500 recent arrests.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the situation is, quote, "unacceptable." And U.N. Security Council members are now pushing for a statement condemning the violence.

Well, Afghan authorities say they've recaptured 65 inmates a day after they broke out of prison. Most of the more than 400 inmates who escaped remain free. They slipped out of a Kandahar prison through a 320 meter long tunnel on Monday. A massive search is still underway for the others.

Fifteen people have been killed in an attack in Southwestern Pakistan. Police say armed men fired at a bus then set it on fire. They say most of the victims were women and children.

And three people have been killed and more than 30 injured in attacks in Karachi. Two buses, both carrying Pakistani Navy officials, were hit with remote-controlled bombs within 30 minutes of each other.

Well, a new effort to persuade North Korea to return to talks. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in Pyongyang with three other former heads of state earlier. The four are part of the group known as "The Elders" and hope to persuade the North Koreans to return to talks with South Korea. They expect to meet with leader Kim Jong-Il during their visit.

Well, Australia's prime minister questioned China's record on human rights at the start of a two day trip to the country. Julia Gillard told reporters this during a meeting. But China's premier, Wen Jiabao, denied his country had taken a backward step. The pair also discussed their strong economic ties.


JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: People are hungry for our commodities, exports. They're hungry for our energy exports, including LNG. And so I am very confident these exporting industries have a very bright future.


ANDERSON: All right, well, the Southern U.S. could be in for more severe weather, I'm afraid. A day after storms and floods killed eight people in the state of Arkansas, several states are in a high risk area for heavy thunderstorms today. Strong winds and hail are also possible.

Well, that wraps up a look at your headlines this hour.

Coming up on this show, CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, our week of special coverage on the royal wedding continues. Expect to see an aisle of green trees in Westminster Abbey. Find out more just ahead.

Plus, till debt us do part -- marriage is a serious business, but is it outdated or will William and Kate's wedding encourage more of us to walk down the aisle?


ANDERSON: Well, my esteemed colleague, royal correspondent extraordinaire, Max Foster, is with me in the studio here.

And welcome to Simon Perry, our chief foreign correspondent for "People" magazine --- or of "People" magazine, of course, he's going to help us get through tonight's show.

Both are here to give us the inside scoop on the big day.

I'm going to pull a Rumsfeld on you tonight.

Simon, starting with you, known knowns at this point?

SIMON PERRY, CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, it's all the flowers going in today. But we've had the fact that William isn't going to wear a ring, which is quite an interesting one. It caused a lot of a stir, from our magazine's point of view. Lots of women were perturbed that he wasn't going to wear his badge of marriage on his finger.

So that was an interesting one.


PERRY: And yes, they're just planning on there and picking out the day that they really want to, which is a lot of their best friends around them.

ANDERSON: All right. So known knowns is that the ring isn't going to appear on his finger. She's going to have one, as any woman would -- and, Max, what's the inside scoop on the flora, then, as Simon suggested...



FOSTER: Yes. We've got this exclusive, haven't we?


FOSTER: Never would I have thought I had a flower exclusive.

So the flowers -- and we were with the florists last week collecting them. And they're all coming from the -- a royal park. So William had to ask permission of his grandmother to gather them. But we did see some trees arriving today, as well.

And here's the story, Becky.


FOSTER (voice-over): All sorts of shrubs and greenery have been delivered to the Abbey from every corner of the United Kingdom. Trees in huge pots have been brought in to line the aisle. The plan is to create an avenue of trees leading right up to the altar.

Catherine wants to save the surprise, but we know that most of the plants have been gathered from the royal estates. William reportedly had to ask his grandmother, the queen, for permission to plunder her gardens.

(on camera): Many of the flowers are being gathered here. We're in Windsor Great Park, in the shadows of Windsor Castle. And we're just to the west of London.

(voice-over): The area is bursting with color. But royal wedding florist Shane Connolly seems to be homing in on one particular color.

SHANE CONNOLLY, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF ROYAL WEDDING FLOWERS: The flowers really are flowering shrubs. So one of the things that has been very important to Catherine and to me are the meanings of flowers and the language of flowers. So we have tried, especially in the wedding bouquets, which you'll see on the day, we've tried very much to make beautiful stories. And the flowers that are coming from here, the azaleas, for instance, are the Chinese symbol of femininity. Blossoms are -- represent spiritual beauty.

FOSTER (on camera): And Catherine, I presume, has been very involved in...

CONNOLLY: Hugely involved with the flowers.

FOSTER: -- in some of the symbolism of the flowers.

CONNOLLY: The symbolism means a lot to her. And also the -- the sourcing has been hugely important. She's -- she's approached this wedding like few other brides I've ever met. She's approached it with such care.

FOSTER (voice-over): John Connolly has been working with Graham Sanderson from Windsor Great Park to identify which cuttings to take. Graham has had a problem with the weather, though. It's been an incredibly dry spring.

GRAHAM SANDERSON, WINDSOR GREAT PARK: Most of the stuff that we looked at in the early days have actually -- has gone over pretty quickly. So we're -- we're having to sort of continually look at what we're going to choose and how are we -- how we're doing it.

FOSTER (voice-over): John Connolly has worked with the royal family before. But the Middletons have also brought in their own local florist to work with him.

EMMA SAMPSON, MIDDLETON'S FLORIST: We're hoping to do one of two large pedestals. Shane's planning on doing the other. And we'll be working as a general part of a team preparing all the flowers to the Abbey.

FOSTER: All the plants were cut in Windsor Park on Tuesday and delivered to the Abbey. Between now and the wedding, the florists will try to create Catherine's vision of elegance and understatement. After the wedding, everything from here will be brought back and used as compost. The trees will be replanted at another estate. A green wedding in every way, with a bit of white.


FOSTER: Everything, Becky, epic. We were saying that yesterday, weren't we?

But a team of 20 putting together those flowers in the Abbey. And they're doing the flowers at the two receptions.

ANDERSON: Those are awesome.

FOSTER: They're going to be pretty stressed (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: All right, well, we know just how many flowers there are about doing the rounds at this point. We certainly know how many media are around. I think it's 7,000 accredited journalists, some 40 broadcasters, the paparazzi are going to be out, and we know, in their tens, if not thousands.

Have a listen, guys, to just what one said about what he's looking forward to and what he thinks about the royal wedding.

Have a listen to this.


CHRIS KNIGHT, ANARCHIST: This royal fiesta of families.



DARRYN LYONS, FOUNDER, BIG PICTURES: I think that what you're going to see with William and Kate, and it probably will push the price up even more, is even in the last three to four months, the pictures have been like gold dust around the world. They're a much more difficult couple to photograph than ever the Prince of Wales of past was.


ANDERSON: Yes, all right. That's your man, Mr. Lyons.


ANDERSON: Looking as splendid as ever.

Listen, you know, we talked last night about just how important these photos are to the world's press. "People" magazine.

I mean just how big a story is this for you guys?

PERRY: Oh, I've been -- it's been massive ever since the engagement was announced back in November. We've been covering it every single week, most days, in fact, since Christmas anyway.

So, yes, well, people are really excited. They can't wait to see pictures of her. They're still few and far between and...

ANDERSON: What do your readers want to see?

PERRY: Uh...

ANDERSON: What do they want to know at this point?

What do we don't know?

PERRY: On -- on the day of our readers it's the big reveal, the moment she steps out of that car on -- at about 11:00, we're going to be told the dress, who's made that lovely gown. Our readers are all largely women and they can't wait to know who -- one, who's made it, and how it's been made.

ANDERSON: On the gown, there's been much speculation.

Are we any closer to finding out or it being leaked at this point?

FOSTER: No, we're further and further away.

ANDERSON: Where is it being made?

Do we know?

FOSTER: We don't know anything. And everyone is -- it's like a conspiracy, because the designers all have an interest in us speculating about them because their brand is going up. That works for the palace, as well. You confuse -- we keep getting confused, as well, because Carol is having a dress, Pippa is having a dress and Katie is having a dress.

And the impression is, well, what difference design (INAUDIBLE)?

So that's where all the confusion comes from.

ANDERSON: Some -- a little bird told me that actually the dress has been designed in there...


ANDERSON: -- under lock and key.

FOSTER: -- it was housed in there.

ANDERSON: Oh, really?

PERRY: And even designed by her was another little birdie.

ANDERSON: Oh, really? PERRY: So -- by Katie herself.

ANDERSON: Extraordinary.

PERRY: So who knows?


PERRY: And we were able...


PERRY: -- two or three days to go and hopefully...


FOSTER: -- Matthew Williamson and he said he would -- he doesn't envy the pressure on her. He's a big danger. He was touted, wasn't he, at one point?


FOSTER: And he said, you know, she's got to get this right for the whole wedding fashion world.



ANDERSON: Well, with two billion people watching, I guess it's kind of -- it's a good shop front, isn't it?

FOSTER: The second biggest in the world.


ANDERSON: All right. Let's not forget that not everybody is -- is as excited as we are about this wedding. I just want to get the voice of one -- he's been described to me as an anarchist, so that's how I'm -- how I'm going to describe him. I've forgotten what his name is.

Let's have a listen to our chap, the anarchist, tonight.


KNIGHT: This royal festive of family should have a wedding at our expense, at this place, in Central London, at this time, isn't amusing. I mean it really is a provocation.


ANDERSON: Chris has got a point, that many people will buy into, of course. There are a lot of tourists here this week. There are an awful lot of British people who've actually left town. And it happens to be a big long bank holiday week. But, you know, there is a buzz. There is excitement, but perhaps a little muted.

Is that -- are you finding that?

PERRY: Yes, I think the Brits are only getting into it right now if - - you know, in these last few days. It's been all -- while in the Americas, our readers have been going mad for this for weeks and weeks and weeks and...

ANDERSON: Why do you think that is, Simon?

PERRY: I think there's an old case of stiff upper lip, oh, it will happen and almost pretend it's not happening. And we'll -- and we'll get - - we'll get to it and we'll get excited. I think it's really feeling like it now, having said that...


PERRY: -- the big papers are really pushing it every day on the front when they weren't maybe two weeks ago.



ANDERSON: -- and I'd wager that in the next 48 hours, it's going to get pretty busy, isn't it?

FOSTER: Yes. And a palace source, if I can call her that, who has pointed out that there are 10,000 journalists and only 10 press officers. So the -- the amount of -- it expresses, doesn't it, the amount of interest in every detail of this?


FOSTER: We're still waiting to hear on the title, by the way, on Katie, because there's a lot of debate there and it's quite difficult. I know they're struggling a bit, because if she doesn't get a -- if the queen doesn't give her a title between now and the wedding, she still will be Kate Middleton. That won't happen.

William's name is Prince William of Wales. So her automatic title would, in thy, be Princess William of Wales and this time, you know, the feminists, I think, would have a few words to say about that.

But, also, Princess of Wales is too close to Diana. And also, if anyone was going to have that, it would be Camilla.

So they're agonizing over what this title is going to be.

So the suggestion is that William will have a new surname of some sort or something. But all I've been told is we will know her as Princess Catherine.

ANDERSON: It's a -- OK. It's a rather busy week for them, isn't it?


ANDERSON: Well, you're changing your name. You get a new coat of arms...


ANDERSON: -- in the past week or so...


ANDERSON: -- a new dress. I mean it -- it's quite remarkable. And we've said before, and we'll say it again, it must be a -- it must be a scary thought for two billion people to be able to watch you as you trip along on the aisles...

FOSTER: (INAUDIBLE) seeing them, aren't we, as well?

ANDERSON: Have you been into Westminster Abbey yet?

I mean I know you have. It's a phenomenal setting.

PERRY: Yes. Yes. And we walked down the aisle the other day just to sort of see the...

ANDERSON: Oh, you did?

PERRY: Yes. We -- to see how -- what it's going to be like on -- on -- on Friday, of course. It's going to -- it's going to be amazing how, obviously, they're that close with -- with all the -- the trees going in there and the flowers.

FOSTER: The trees.

What do you make of that?

PERRY: Astonishing. It's going to be -- actually, it's hard to believe the...

FOSTER: They're enormous.

PERRY: -- press speculation that she might wear flowers in her hair, even though they were sort of like creating a little forest in there or something.

FOSTER: Yes, a forest.

ANDERSON: All right, guys.


ANDERSON: Stay with me.

We're going to take a very short break.

We've got to pay for the show.

We'll be back with more royal wedding stuff.

Then we're going to take a break. Actually, I've decided not to do that.

Have you ever met Prince William?

That's what I want to know.

Have you got anything you want to say to him as he gets ready to walk down that aisle?

It's what we've been talking about. We want to hear from you. Head to Tell us about your memories and remember to let us know where you're writing in from. We're going to bring you the best of your stories and comments on the show tomorrow, Wednesday.

Well, after days and even weeks of warm weather here in the U.K., there are now fears, I'm afraid, of a royal wedding washout. It sounds like typical English weather, doesn't it?

Guillermo, is it on?

Is it off?

What's going on?

Obviously not the wedding, I'm talking about the weather.

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We're going back to typically British weather, yes.

But, you know, we were talking about, behind the scenes in here, that we talk it's -- we have still a very high chance of nice conditions.

But what's going on is that we will see some clouds. And then this system that is in Germany right now, that is bringing the rain into Berlin and into the central parts of that country, it is going to move closer into the Netherlands by tomorrow. And then, on Friday, we may have it here in London. But it's not going to be a big shower. It's not going to be big rain. We may see rain at times. But in essence, the -- the chance of showers exists and -- but it's going to have some sun breaks.

So it is still -- we still hope and have a big chance for nice conditions.

What you are going to notice, though, and I'm sure that tonight you must have already, Becky, is that it's cooling down. And it's going to cool down even more. So it's going to be breezier, windier, colder, cooler and a little bit more humid. But we don't think that it's going to be extremely rainy.

This high pressure center is moving away and it's allowing them, the system that is in Germany, to move closer to Britain, bringing back that period or that typically British weather pattern that we usually see.

And it's arriving probably in evening or afternoon hours on Friday. So we're hoping for a morning with slightly cooler, breezier conditions, but not that wet.

I said it.

ANDERSON: Now, bring -- yes, well done.

Bring your brolly if you're coming. Let's hope you don't have to use it, though.

ARDUINO: Let's hope so.

ANDERSON: Guillermo, thank you for that.

ARDUINO: Thank you.

ANDERSON: This is special coverage from Buckingham Palace in the run- up to the royal wedding, of course, on Friday.

We will, though, of course, be bringing you all the other news stories that are important today.

And it's 25 years to the day since the world witnessed the dangers of nuclear power. Up next, the lessons learned from Chernobyl and how nuclear disasters are prompting governments to dig deep for a safer future.


ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD at just after half past nine in London. I'm Becky Anderson. Let's get you a check of the headlines this hour.

Libyan rebels call it one of the worst assaults on the city of Misrata since the civil war began. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi shelled the port area on Tuesday. Three people at a nearby refugee camp were reportedly killed.

A Syrian human rights group says more than 400 people have been killed in the government crackdown there since it began back in March. Many of the deaths happened in Daraa, where gunfire and artillery could be heard again earlier today.

Egyptian authorities are withdrawing their orders to move Hosni Mubarak to a military hospital in Cairo. The former president's medical team says the move could put his life at risk. Mubarak has been in detention at a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Despite the violence that surrounded Nigeria's election earlier this month, the country went ahead with another vote on Tuesday. Voters in most states were choosing governors. At least three people were killed by a bomb blast on Monday.

And a test tube containing blood from the late pope John Paul II will be on display as part of his beatification ceremony this weekend. Vatican officials say the blood was drawn from the Polish pontiff in the days before his death in 2005.




ANDERSON: Sirens mark the exact moment 25 years ago that the world witnessed its worst-ever nuclear disaster. Despite the passage of time, radiation from Chernobyl remains a real threat and, as Matthew Chance reports, today's anniversary comes as concerns are once again being raised about the safety of nuclear power.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All over the former Soviet Union, there have been services marking 25 years since the world's worst nuclear accident. In Ukraine, the country's president, Viktor Yanukovych, was joined by his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, for a short ceremony at a church near the destroyed Chernobyl reactor.

Flowers were laid in tribute for the victims of the disaster, and Russia's leader spoke of the need for countries to be honest and up front when it comes to nuclear safety. Something, of course, the Soviet authorities dealing with Chernobyl 25 years ago, were heavily criticized for not doing.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): The state has a duty to tell people the truth. We have to admit that the state has not always done the right thing. We should all be honest. We should provide absolutely precise information on what is happening no matter where it happens and what is happening. It's one of the lessons of the Chernobyl disaster.

CHANCE (on camera): While the Chernobyl anniversary comes at a time of renewed global concern over nuclear power less than two months since the disaster that crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

There are now increasing calls for international nuclear power safety standards to be reviewed and enforced to try and prevent disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima from ever happening again. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


ANDERSON: One of the biggest dilemmas now facing governments across the world is what to do about nuclear waste. Japan's Fukushima crisis thousands of miles away from Chernobyl is highlighting the dangers of storing the spent fuel onsite.

Now, another option would be to bury it deep underground. Some authorities in Sweden are now actively considering that as Per Nyberg reports.


PER NYBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deep underground at a lab in the southern Swedish city of Oskarshamn, dress rehearsals are taking place for what's set to be the world's first permanent solution dealing with the nuclear industry's spent fuel.

Only two of these testing facilities exist in the world, and here at the Aspo lab, the ultimate resting place is being prepared.

MATHIAS KARLSSON, SKB GUIDE: We have the radioactive waste that we have to take care of. You can't continue and operate if you don't have a plan for taking care of what's dangerous.

NYBERG: The Swedish nuclear fuel and waste management company, SKB, is owned by a collective of Sweden's nuclear power companies and had spent three decades investigating the Swedish bedrock.

This chosen place, right next to the Forsmark nuclear power plant in central Sweden has stable bedrock that's 1.9 billion years old. It has very little flow of water and no desirable minerals.

This storage method, called KBS-3, is based on a copper canister, five centimeters thick, made to withstand any kind of worst-case scenario, such as an earthquake or even an ice age.

NYBERG (on camera): Now, this giant machine is the one that will be depositing the 6,000 copper canisters into large holes about 500 meters below ground. Each of these canisters will contain two tons of highly toxic, high-level spent nuclear fuel, and the idea is for it to be safe here for the next 100,000 years.

NYBERG (voice-over): So far, Sweden has accumulated more than 5,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel. It's stored here, 40 meters below ground under 8 meters of water, but this is no long-term solution.

BRITA FREUDENTHAL, SKB GUIDE: If you use water as radiation shielding, it's a vulnerable radiation shielding. You have to be here all the time, and you have to see the facility every minute every day. And we'll not do that for the next 100,000 years, that's for sure.

NYBERG: Even though the Swedish method is specifically designed for the Swedish bedrock, the project has attracted a global interest, including the US blue ribbon commission that's investigating what America should do with its nuclear waste.

The Swedish industry's application is now being reviewed by the authorities and, if approved, this place will be the building site by around 2015.

SAIDA LAAROUCHI ENGSTROM, DIRECTOR, SKB ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: What happened in Japan shows that leaving things on the surface makes it even more important to have a concept for the underground -- for the geological depository.

NYBERG: But the project is also facing heavy criticism from the local Opinion Group for a Safe Repository. They say SKB's documents reveal that the copper could corrode and the clay might not work as planned. Instead, they want a method with much deeper holes.

KENNETH GUNNARSSON, OPINION GROUP FOR A STATE REPOSITORY: You have to have some kind of safe method so, if there is leakage in the future, it won't pollute the groundwater flow.

NYBERG: And the independent board advising the Swedish government agrees there are still questions that need answers.

CARL-REINHOLD BRAKENHIELM, NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR NUCLEAR WASTE: That is a crucial issue. Is this material that is going to be used in the barriers actually going to protect a leaking capsule down there?

NYBERG: The outcome of the Swedish review will have a major impact on how the nuclear industry handles its waste. Finland, for example, has already started construction, hoping the method will be approved.

Meanwhile, researches at the Aspo lab are already experimenting with new ways of storing nuclear waste, pushing the boundaries once step further. Per Nyberg, CNN, Oskarshamn and Forsmark, Sweden.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We are live from Buckingham Palace all this week as we count down to the moment William and Kate say "I do." Well, next up, we ask what impact this fairytale wedding will have on marriage rates at a time when fewer and fewer people are actually tying the knot. Stay with us.



KATE BEATY: Well, I'm Kate.


KATE BEATY: And we actually got married on April 29 in the year 2000. So I guess, in a way, we're the original Kate and William.

We've had some fun telling people that everybody's going to be celebrating our anniversary from now on. There's going to be huge parties, everybody's going to be watching. Of course, it's not us.

What advice would I give to William and Kate? I don't know. Enjoy the day. The day goes by in a blink of an eye. I know there's lots of proceedings and everything going on, and I can imagine what all they're doing. But just take it all in and enjoy.

Wear sensible shoes. And William, do what Kate wants.

WILLIAM BEATY: You know, that's always good advice. If I was going to give advice, I would probably say, yes, do what she says and in the end, if it all falls apart, you're still a prince and she'll still be a princess.


ANDERSON: Well, prince and princess aside, at the heart of this momentous occasion on Friday is the marriage between an man and a woman. And as Max Foster explains, the Church of England is very keen for well- wishers to remember the religious significance of the nuptials. Have a look at this.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Catherine arrives here at Westminster Abbey, she'll be in a state limousine, much like that one, and a lot of the initial attention will be about her dress.

But when she walks into this hugely symbolic building, it won't just be about her marriage to William. It will be about marriage itself. No less the Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct the service, and he knows this is an opportunity to sell marriage, particularly Anglican marriage, to the world.

ROWAN WILLIAMS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY: William and Catherine are making this commitment very much in the public eye, and they're sensible, realistic young people. They know what the cost of that might be. They've thought that through.

And because of that, they will need the support, the solidarity, and the prayers of all those who are watching today. We have to be witnesses in an active sense. The kind of witnesses who really support what's going on.

To be a witness is to be more than a spectator, and I hope that will be part of people's experience at the time of the wedding.

FOSTER: Catherine and William have both discussed what they want to say in the service and, according to the palace, they both see the whole occasion as sacred.

William also will, of course, go on to become supreme leader of the Church of England, so this whole event is as much about spirituality as anything else. Max Foster, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, all right, let's explore the meaning or the relevance of marriage, shall we, a little more, now? I'm joined here at the palace by Dave Percival from British marriage advocacy group 2-in-2-1. And on the other side of the pond and, indeed, of the fence in this argument is "Newsweek" reporter Lauren Streib, who joins us from New York.

Let me start with you, Dave. What's the meaning of marriage to you?

DAVE PERCIVAL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, 2-IN-2-1: I think the core meaning of marriage is about long-term commitment. And from that flow all the benefits. The benefits personally, healthier, wealthier, likely to live longer, better quality of life, better happiness and well-being.

For society, much more stable marriages, the much more secure society that flows from people who are genuinely committed to each other in a public and meaningful way.

ANDERSON: All sounds rather sensible, Lauren. Then why don't you agree? Why don't you think marriage is relevant?

LAUREN STREIB, REPORTER, "NEWSWEEK": Well, I think Dave makes a great point, but also then, that's comparing married people to single people. I think more and more, especially people of my generation, consider that a lifetime commitment without a marriage certificate is just as valuable.

ANDERSON: All right. Let me get some statistics. I know you want to jump in, Dave, but I want to take a look at the current trend here in the UK --


ANDERSON: -- just to back up, perhaps, some of what we'll be saying tonight. According the latest figures, which are from 2009, the number of marriages in England and Wales is at their lowest since 1895.

At the same time, more people are choosing to live together rather than get married. And further to that, 46 percent of kids are now born out of wedlock. Looking at those stats, Dave, you've got to say, it's just not fashionable to get married anymore.

PERCIVAL: On the contrary, marriage is still incredibly popular. First of all, those stats, the first-time marriages, the numbers haven't changed. They've been around 150,000 for the last 10 years. What's falling is the number of re-marriages.

Why are re-marriages falling? Because the number of divorces are falling and the population of people who want to go through serial relationships is actually falling.

Ninety percent of kids under 16 aspire to marriage and, in a recent survey in 2008 of cohabiting couples said that 75 percent of all cohabiting couples intended or aspired to get married in the near future.

ANDERSON: So, you're not banging on the fact, as some people might see it, that this is just all about a religious ceremony.

PERCIVAL: No, of course --

ANDERSON: You don't buy that necessarily as the only reason to get married. Lauren, your response?

STREIB: Well, I think, look, especially in the US, why get married? It's a $72 billion business. It costs a ton of money, there's a very good chance that you will get divorced.

Plus, the reason we -- a lot of the reason that females got married in the 50s and 60s and 70s, they don't exist anymore. We have financial security, we have professional independence. There are the legal rights now afforded to those who cohabitate are almost equal to those who are married.

And why would I get married if it's just going to mean I have to pay higher taxes?

ANDERSON: Lauren, it does also depend slightly on how old you were. The average age, Dave, for newlyweds for men is 32 -- I was actually quite surprised by that. And for women, 30 years of age. So, those who do get married are holding off. Is that a good or a bad sign?

PERCIVAL: I think it's just a -- I don't think it's either good or bad. It's a sign of the change that's taken place in society. Marriage used to be one of the life points, typically just after you left university or left school, the next thing you did was get married before you started a family.

Nowadays, people are deferring that. They're usually quite -- forming a career, getting a home, and quite often, having a child before they get married. So, marriage has become much more of a celebration of having arrived rather than a stepping stone on the journey.

I actually don't think that's a particularly sensible way of organizing life. I think that it is much better to make the commitment particularly before children come along, because over here in the UK, and I can't speak for the States on the stats, but over here, if your parents are married and -- as a child, you get to five years old, about 9 percent of parents will have divorced by the time you get to five, whereas 36 percent of cohabiting couples will have split up.


PERCIVAL: That's a huge difference.

ANDERSON: Does that make a difference, Lauren?

STREIB: Whether or not you have children? I think it does, largely - -


STREIB: -- I can only speak to the US, but I know largely in the US, there is a subset of people who get married because the tax benefits to when you have a child as a married couple are much different than if you're just cohabitating.

And I think, obviously, when you take into consideration the needs of a child, that changes. But I think we -- if we're going to talk about that, of my generation, there's a very large percentage of the people who grew up with divorced parents.

So, again, you're talking to young people who may want to have children. Is it really that important to get married if then you face the prospect of possible divorce later down the road?

ANDERSON: I want to take a look at William and Kate, here, 28 and 29 years old. I don't want to necessarily rate how successful their marriage will be, but let's use them as sort of an average couple, as it were.

We spoke to a relationship counselor a little earlier, and this is how she rated their marriage success. As I say, it's sort of William at 28, Kate at 29, couples getting married at this age, she says, are 40 percent more likely to stay married. The fact that they are both university educated is also a plus, they'll have more in common.

She says their long courtship, more than eight years, means they've had time to build a friendship, the foundation of all good marriages, and a lack -- let's remember this -- of financial problems is also a bonus. It's one of the biggest reasons that couples divorce.

PERCIVAL: Well, it's true that couples do tend to argue about money and that the arguments lead to the divorce. I think, actually, the money is usually a symptom of something deeper, which is that they haven't really understood and bought into each other's values and their own attitudes to risk and money.

And there are lots of things that one can do to prepare for that, and I do know that even the Archbishop of Canterbury has spent several hours talking with this couple about some of the pressures they're going to face.

And that's probably the biggest and best indicator of the likelihood that they're going to succeed is the fact that actually, they have spent a long time thinking about and being prepared for this marriage.

ANDERSON: Last word, Lauren?

STREIB: I totally agree. I'm sure they are more than prepared for this marriage, and I would say, if I would get married, I'd want to marry a prince, too.


ANDERSON: Me, too. OK. Dave, Lauren, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

PERCIVAL: It's a pleasure.

ANDERSON: Do you be part of CNN's global viewing party for William and Kate's royal wedding. Join Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan, Cat Deeley, Richard Quest, as we all bring you every moment of the London celebration live. That's Friday at 9:00 in the morning in London, 10:00 in Brussels and Berlin. I'm sure you can work out what time it will be in your part of the world from those times.

Well, next up, roughing it for the royals. What some fans are doing to secure prime position on the wedding route.


GWEN MURRAY: We've got a small tent. We've got a couple of these foam mattressy-like things, sleeping bags, small can cooker, make up your tea.


ANDERSON: Of course she's got a cup of tea. Phil Han gets ready to pitch in right after this.


ANDERSON: Well, we've heard the weather forecast for the royal wedding. It's looking a little wet. In fact, we thought it was raining just outside here -- it is looking a little wet, though, for Friday. That is doing very little, though, to deter some diehard royal fans who are staking their claim on front row seats along the wedding route. And our Phil Han is among them.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Some intrepid campers have already pitched up their spots for what they think is going to be the best view here in front of Westminster Abbey.

Well, I am staking out my own camp spot later tonight. Before I did, I thought I'd come down here to get some tips on how to make the next couple of days a little more comfortable.

JOHN LOUGHREY: Well, the only way to be comfortable is to make sure you bring some wet gear with you, because it could rain. That's the possibility. I hope it doesn't, because that wouldn't be very nice for the bride and, of course, William.

I don't want to get wet. But I think it would be a good idea for everybody to consider bringing some wet gear with them and lots of -- bring umbrellas with them. And of course, bring something nice to make it look nice on the day.

HAN: You seem quite patriotic with all the gear you've got here. Tell me a bit about what you brought to prepare yourself.

LOUGHREY: Well, mainly I brought this t-shirt with Cathy and William and Westminster Abbey the 29th. And also, I added this to it my own self. Diana would be proud, because I am a Diana fan.

MURRAY: We've got a small tent. We've got a couple of these foam mattressy-like things, sleeping bags, small can cooker, make up your tea.

HAN: And is there any equipment that you'd -- the one piece of equipment you think you wouldn't be able to live without.

MURRAY: Hot water bottle.

HAN: To make a cup of tea, hopefully.

MURRAY: No, to keep warm.


ANDERSON: Aw, good for Gwen. Well, camping out for the royal experience is one option, but it's not the only one, thankfully. London is offering something slightly more luxurious, but it will cost you. I headed down to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where there are packages there up for grabs for as much as 30,000 pounds, that is nearly US $50,000. Take a look at this.


ANDERSON: This is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London, one of the most exclusive in the city, offering one of the most extraordinary packages for guests during this the royal wedding week, from tours of palaces to supper, I'm told, with a member of the royal family itself. Check it out.

Now, this is the royal suite, part of the package, of course. And I want you to meet the very regal Mr. Bentley.

Can you show me around?

MICHAEL BENTLEY, HOTEL AMBASSADOR: Yes, I'd love to. This is the sitting room. And this is the master bedroom. Lovely views, lovely terrace. You sit out there at 10:00 in the morning having breakfast and the household cavalry go past. It's really quite emotional, quite exciting.

Come through here, and I think this is unquestionably the bathroom.

ANDERSON: Oh, this is a bathroom fit for a princess.

BENTLEY: And I think it's absolutely lovely. And you get your personal butler that comes with the suite, Felix.

ANDERSON: Ooh. Help you run the bath.

BENTLEY: And Felix will run your bath.

ANDERSON: So tell me, Mr. Bentley, I'm going to spend the equivalent of around $50,000. Aside from what is a very, very beautiful royal suite, what else do I get for my money?

BENTLEY: We're going to Westminster Abbey the day after the wedding to look at the flowers. And then, one evening, we're going to have dinner at Kensington Palace.

The piece de resistance is on the day of the wedding, we have been able to secure the terrace of the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Mall.

ANDERSON: And I'm told, at least, that those who pay for this package get to eat with one of the royals.

BENTLEY: Yes, that is taking place one evening, the name of which I'm sorry I cannot mention for security reasons.

ANDERSON: Well, how about that for the right royal treatment? And though it's just a little bit out of my league, I wouldn't mind being a princess for the day.


ANDERSON: Oh, dear. I'm joined again by Simon Perry, chief of foreign correspondents for "People" magazine. Thank you, Simon, for being here, and Max, our royal correspondent extraordinaire.

FOSTER: Did you get the Mandarin Oriental --

ANDERSON: Yes, yes.

FOSTER: -- and Phil's on the street?


ANDERSON: Isn't that bad? Let me tell you, it's the second time, because I had my wedding reception there, as well. But I didn't pay 12 grand for that suite, let me tell you.

FOSTER: And you've got a Coat of Arms. You're more royal than Kate Middleton.


ANDERSON: Listen, it is remarkable, the lengths that people will go to. I do know that the police had said that they would let people camp out from Tuesday. Phil was struggling to find somebody today, but he found Gwen. I mean, you know, Simon, we were expecting hoards, crowds. Camping.

SIMON PERRY, CHEIF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Yes, Gwen is going to be -- Gwen is going to be joined by a lot of people, I'm sure, by Friday, so we'll see who else camps out with their Union Jack blankets and the rest.

ANDERSON: Yes, because it's going to be red, white, and blue, isn't it?

FOSTER: Yes. They love it. These people have been waiting for it for so long, and what's really interesting is, you go along the line, and they're all in different camps, they're not always sort of that friendly with each other. You've got the pro-Charles, pro-Diana, the pro-Buckingham Palace.

ANDERSON: Some of them, of course, have been to every wedding, I guess, yes?

FOSTER: Yes, yes. Those on the wedding day --

ANDERSON: Those in the last 25 years.

FOSTER: -- who remembers the queen's wedding.

ANDERSON: Unbelievable.

FOSTER: I don't think she was there at the time, but she --

ANDERSON: She's camping out. On the street.

FOSTER: Yes, but they're -- I mean, it's fascinating. And you know, they -- it's part of the spirit, isn't it? It's amazing. And strangely British.


ANDERSON: All right, Simon. You're the foreign correspondent for "People" magazine. What are you expected to file over the next couple of days. I can imagine what the story's going to be, obviously, by the weekend. But what are you looking to file over the next couple of days?

PERRY: Just every movement of the couple from now on, really, so, when they're --

ANDERSON: Well, where are they? We don't know where they are.

PERRY: -- when they arrive -- well, when she comes into London, when she retreats to the Goring and hides away to have her hair done --


PERRY: -- and all the rest that she -- Kate needs to do before the big day. So, yes. Every moment --

ANDERSON: Let me ask you --

PERRY: -- as you'll be watching, as well.

ANDERSON: -- how you stake out every place they're going to be, because we've got loads of us. We're everywhere you want to be, and more, by the way, so you can watch us on CNN.

PERRY: Well --

ANDERSON: But you're on your own, mate.

PERRY: Well, I'm on my own, but I've got a lot of great -- a great support around the base, there. We've got eyes and ears everywhere, so --

ANDERSON: Good. Where are you going to be on the day?

FOSTER: I'm going to be here before the big event, and then, I'm going to be down at the Goring


FOSTER: There's a great position right on the corner.

ANDERSON: Remind us where that is and who's going to be there.

FOSTER: So, it's very close, it's where the Middletons are going to be based, so the whole family's staying there, and Catherine's obviously got a big, lovely suite, probably similar to that one, it's just been done up, and that's where she's going to be sort of dressed and, I think -- 10 - - is it 10:51 exactly, it's this amazing time table, isn't it?


FOSTER: 10:51 she leaves the Goring. They reckon it'll take her --

ANDERSON: Well, they know --

FOSTER: -- seven minutes --


FOSTER: -- to get there, two minutes between there and the abbey, which is Simon's big moment for the dress moment that he's waiting for.



FOSTER: But yes, they're all going to be there, and it's going to be -- it's going to be a frenzied place, isn't it, on that morning?

ANDERSON: Yes. Where are you going to actually be on the day, Simon?

PERRY: At the abbey, but in the annex, there, sort of right on the spot, hopefully, for the -- for the ceremony.

ANDERSON: Quite remarkable stuff. And the buildup, believe me. I mean, London is beginning to feel a buzz, as it were. The anticipation -- I spoke to somebody recently who said this feels like sort of post-war type stuff. And you'll begin to feel that over -- over the next sort of 24 hours or so.


ANDERSON: And what are they expecting from you post this? A holiday, I expect?

PERRY: Yes, a holiday would be nice, yes.


PERRY: But then, we'll be interested in their honeymoon --

ANDERSON: Of course.

PERRY: -- their holiday, so --

ANDERSON: Yes. Their holiday. What do we know about that?

PERRY: Who knows? Put a pin in the map. I mean, they're the people who've got everything, they can go wherever they like, really, so --

ANDERSON: I say Kenya.

FOSTER: Yes. I think the Middle East.

ANDERSON: All right.

FOSTER: Jordan keeps coming up for some reason.

ANDERSON: Interesting. Oh, it does, you're absolutely right. They said that.

FOSTER: Could be right.

ANDERSON: Guys, Simon, Max. I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected. Thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this tuneful short break.