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750,000 Strike in Britain over Proposed Austerity Measures; Greeks Discuss Austerity; Firefight Footage from Afghanistan

Aired June 30, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Austerity anger reaches Britain as many as 750,000 people walk off the job, and frustration boils over in the capital.

After days of chaos, calm in Athens, but the effects of the austerity vote there, like the tear gas, lingers.

Then in the eye of a firestorm: a rare view of a vicious fight between U.S. troops and the Taliban.

And how the duke and duchess of Cambridge sweep a nation off its feet from their first official tour. These stories and more tonight as we CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, as governments are trying to hold their countries together, its people say the politicians are tearing the countries apart. Across Europe the anger against austerity is going. Today it was the turn of Britain's to make their voices heard. Hundreds of thousands of teachers and public sector workers walked out on strike, taking to the streets to protest against plans to reform their pensions.

And after days of violence in Greece, the squares of Athens were much quieter today. But inside the country's parliament, the talk of change was as loud as ever. Politicians passing a law to implement the very austerity package that they approved yesterday. Greece's prime minister said it was a difficult battle won.

But across Europe people say they're paying too high a price to clean up the mess that they didn't create themselves. And as Dan Rivers reports from London, many now feel that their politicians simply aren't listening.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who would have thought pension reform would have provoked this?

But the anger of (INAUDIBLE) plans to curtail generous public sector retirement schemes has reached boiling point. A small minority clashed with police near Downing Street.

But elsewhere, the rally was peaceful. Teachers, some with their own children, together with university lecturers, civil servants, and immigration officials, all people not used to striking.

Three-quarters of a million walked out across Britain, some unions going on strike for the very first time.

ANDY BROWN, PRESIDENT, TEACHERS AND LECTURERS ASSOCIATION: We're public servants. We're going to have a modestly comfortable salary, some of which we don't get paid each month because it goes into our pension pot, and we will then have a modestly comfortable pension. That pact has been betrayed. And teachers today are angry.

RIVERS: Across England, 12,000 schools were shut by walkouts. From action at a prison on the Isle of Wight in the south to a close art gallery in Liverpool in the north.

CROWD: We say fight back!

RIVERS: All furious with government plans to change their pensions, meaning they would receive less and pay more into their plans to retire later, proposals put forward to deal with a massive government overspend which many here feel was caused by the bail-out of the banks.

JENNY ADAMS, TEACHER FROM CROYDON: It's about who is being asked to foot this bill, really, for a mess that has been made by not us. You know, I'm just an ordinary teacher that just feels like that we're being picked on, really. And I don't think it's fair.

RIVERS: The government says state sector pensions are unsustainable, and wants to bring them in-line with often less generous private schemes. And people here fear other cuts will follow. It might not be on the scale of Greece, but it's all caused by the same problem, who pays for the overspend?

(on camera): Until now, the age of austerity has been a phrase that has been widely used without perhaps people understanding what it means in practice. Now suddenly it seems very real, and people here don't like it one bit.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: We'll keep an eye on that CONNECT line. Our digital producer, Phil Han spent the day in Britain among the crowds, talking to protesters and tweeting about what he saw. Here's how he captured the mood as the day progressed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We feel we're being unfairly blamed for a financial situation that we haven't created and yet we are going to come off by paying for all the mistakes that have been made.

CROWD: Let him go! Let him go!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Greece shows actually what is to come in this country, only we want to stop it before it gets there. So, yes, we've taken inspiration from Greece, because Greece just shows that Brussels is prepared to let people starve.


ANDERSON: Well, that was the picture in London, thousands of miles away in Greece, an imminent default may have been averted, but years of painful cuts have not. The package of austerity measures the Greek politicians have agreed to implement is deeply unpopular. And let me remind you why.

The plan is made up of tax increases, spending cuts, and privatizations. Now the tax plan includes a levy on all households ranging between 1 and 5 percent of income, plus a luxury levy on cars, pools, and yachts.

The government also lowered the tax threshold from about $17,000 to just $11,000. VAT, value-added tax at restaurants and bars now 23 percent, up from 13 percent. And perhaps just as important as all of the tax hikes is an increased focus on tax evasion, which is historically been a big problem in Greece.

Well, there seems little doubt that life in Greece will remain tough for years to come. But who do people blame for the mess that they find themselves in? Well, to find out, John Defterios, my colleague, spoke to three Greeks earlier today. Yannis Marangos, and Marianna Rantou are based here in London, while Yannis Pantzos is a former public servant from Athens.

Here is what they had to say. Have a listen to this.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So Yannis Marangos, you're a senior business strategist living here in London. What is it like to see your country in essence going up in flames through these austerity measures? Is it almost surreal watching it from here?

YANNIS MARANGOS, BUSINESS STRATEGIST: It's entirely surreal. It's like being an Iraqi in London and watching the bombing of Iraq on CNN, or being a Libyan living in London and then seeing basically your country fall apart.

And what makes it even worse, actually, is that we expected -- we saw it coming over the past 25 years. We have seen Greece gradually falling apart. Every single pillar of the system -- the Greek system collapsing one after the other.

And now we come to the point that, you know, we're talking about austerity measures, we're talking about default. And on the human side of it, we are also talking about 40 percent increase in suicide rates in Greece. We're talking about your friends...

DEFTERIOS: Forty percent?

MARANGOS: Forty percent increase over this year.

We're talking about your friends from Greece that have gone back to Greece over the last five years, e-mailing you, looking for a job.

So these are all things that, you know, they're beyond the numbers. And they are things that are touching you directly.

DEFTERIOS: Yannis Pantzos, you're actually one of the true faces of the pension cuts. You've seen your pension get cut after serving 22 years with Olympic Airlines. What are the prospects, actually, with unemployment at 16 percent, for you to restart as austerity is just starting to kick in?

YANNIS PANTZOS, FORMER CHIEF AIRLINE CABIN ATTENDANT: I cannot start as a retired person because I'd have to quit my pension and start working with less money. But I have to conform the amount of pension I'm taking now and re-plan my life in a different basis.

DEFTERIOS: Is it realistic at this stage of your, at 48 years old, with an economy going through a contraction of minus 5 percent right to really restart? What is the reality?

PANTZOS: The reality is that we have to be more conservative with the life we were used to before, and the life that the past 10 years was based on the credit and not on the money that we had in our pocket.

DEFTERIOS: Marianna, it's interesting, during the first part of this century, a lot of easy money, easy development funds were coming in for the Olympic build-out, nobody was worried about the size of the public sector. You're a new generation that's thinking about going back to Greece after you graduate from law school. What are the prospects for you?

MARIANNA RANTOU, LAW STUDENT LIVING IN LONDON: Well, yes, the first step has to be to go back in Greece. And it's going to be harsh, we know that. And we had -- we should probably have seen it coming, but we didn't.

On the other hand, you cannot just say that I'm leaving, I quit Greece, and just keep living in London, because the last one year we -- I see, and everyone who is awake looks on the screens what is going on in Greece. We talk to the phone with our friends and you cannot feel that you're going to be away for long for that.

I mean, Greece is in a grave situation, so it's hard, but the first step is going to be to go back, look for a job, and then if unemployment keeps rising, as it seems that it's going to be, maybe we will have to look elsewhere.

DEFTERIOS: But your first instincts are to go back to the country.

RANTOU: At the moment, yes. I cannot say that it's not.

DEFTERIOS: It's fascinating. George Papandreou is under a lot of pressure right now for moving too slowly when this crisis was unfolding. Kostas Karamanlis was the previous prime minister in charge of the economy during the Olympics, but who do you place the blame on? Does it go back George's father Andreas in 1981 and created the super-state where the unions were driving forces?

MARANGOS: Yes, well, for me personally, my opinion is that the seed was planted in the mid-'80s. It was maintained and slowly grew up in the '90s, and was entrenched during the 2000 to now, basically, situation.

And what we're actually seeing is that this, basically individualism has established itself versus citizenship that used to exist during the '70s and before.

DEFTERIOS: Well, it's phenomenal, because six out of 10 Greeks don't pay taxes, so they don't feel like they need to help the state, is that what we're talking about here?

MARANGOS: Of course, and we're talking about individualism. So if that's -- if we're talking about morals and we're talking about the collapse of the temple that is called the system, then we're talking about collapse of the political system, the judiciary, religion, security, health, every single part, every single block has melted away.

DEFTERIOS: Many in Brussels, and in fact, the financial markets rallied after the austerity measures were passed, think that the worst is over in Greece. Marianna, you feel quite different that it's going to get more austere and the people are going to be very fired up as time goes on.

RANTOU: I think if -- it has to be this bill -- this (INAUDIBLE) bill that passed yesterday, it was the first step to long-term plan. This bail- out is not going to end in one year or two years, it's going to be in 10 years.

So my generation cannot plan. The future isn't set, uncertain, because we know that this money should be continued coming in. And this means the austerity measures, this means privatization maybe, because this is what the plan.

So this means more unemployment. So this means less money and people without jobs. So if people are that desperate at this point of the bail- out program, if one may say so, call it that way.

I think that the next steps are going to get worse.

DEFTERIOS: You're looking almost at a decade is what you're saying.

Yannis Pantzos, I want to get your thoughts. Was it wise in retrospect to go into the euro? Was it a huge mistake for the Greeks to go into the euro? And should they bail out at this juncture? Is that an option still?

PANTZOS: I believe it was a mistake in the way that this was planned, because the numbers, this is in the year 2000, were not favorable for Greece to enter the euro. And since we entered the euro, we realized that we had one way to go forward, but in the European Community that works only under economic structure and not under a common political structure, and this -- that's a reason why we arrived at this point now.

I believe that it would be better not enter the euro in the year 2000, and maybe we would have done it five or six years later.

DEFTERIOS: Marianna, very quickly, we have about 10 seconds. You were very upset in your generation that we've accepted corruption as a way of life in Greece, why?

RANTOU: Because we've been living 30 years in a surface of prosperity. And it's not just the governments, it's just from the top to the bottom, everyone keeps accepting this way of life, this public sector working that way, people evading taxes.

So you cannot just solve the problem with just an austerity package or just privatizing 50 percent of everything. It's going to be hard. We need a huge reform. And this is because the state is corrupt.


ANDERSON: All right. Talking Greece there. Well, today's vote has pleased some people across Europe. The E.U. said the country had now met the conditions for the release of the next installment of money from its first bail-out.

Now the work begins on what to do when that runs out. On Sunday, European finance ministers will meet Brussels where they will work on the size and shape of a second bail-out for Greece.

What that will mean for the country and its people remains to be seen.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Still to come, Sarkozy attacked, in just five minutes, how a meet and greet went wrong for the French president.

Then we head to the front lines. Rare pictures of firefight against the Taliban, we're going to bring you that battle in the next 10 minutes.

And Will and Kate fever spreads to Canada, in a half hour or so we'll get the latest on the royal visit, live from Ottawa.

This is CNN, stay with us.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, 18 minutes past 9. I'm Becky Anderson in London. Let's get you the other stories that we are following for you this hour.

And a long-awaited indictment in Lebanon points the finger at Hezbollah. The U.N.-backed court has issued arrest warrants for four suspects in the 2005 bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, sources tell CNN. All four are members of Hezbollah.

The Lebanese government, now dominated by Hezbollah and its allies, has 30 days to arrest the men and send them to The Hague.

Well, the Taliban say they freed two French hostages in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of some of their jailed commanders. Two television journalists arrived back in France on Thursday after 18 months in captivity. They said they were treated relatively well, but didn't indicate what led to their release. France denies paying any type of ransom.

Well, it could be months before Yemen's injured President Ali Abdullah Saleh returns to power, according to the country's vice president, Abd Rabu Mansoor Hadi. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Nic Robertson, the acting leader described the severity of the wounds that the president has suffered. That was, of course, in a June 3rd bomb attack on his palace.

Have a listen to this.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Vice President, you've seen President Saleh. You've seen his injuries. How bad are they?

ABD RABU MANSOOR HADI, ACTING YEMENI PRESIDENT (through translator): I saw him immediately after the incident. He had burns on his face, burns on his hands, some burns on his chest, and there was a piece of wood that was sticking between his ribs.

And now, thanks to God, the president's health has improved a lot and improves more every day. And we're waiting within the next hours for him to give a statement to the nation from Riyadh through television.

We hope he recovers very soon and comes back to Yemen.


ANDERSON: He is yet to appear in public.

Well, U.S. President Barack Obama has honored his outgoing defense secretary with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr. Obama praised the service of Robert Gates during a ceremony to mark Gates's final day in the role before he retires.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In his willingness to become the first secretary of defense to serve under presidents of both parties, the integrity of Bob Gates is also a reminder, especially to folks here in Washington, that civility and respectful discourse and citizenship over partisanship are not quaint relics of a bygone era. They are the timeless virtues that we need now more than ever.


ANDERSON: Well, Robert Gates will be succeeded by the former CIA director, Leon Panetta.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was caught up in a bit of a scuffle earlier on today during a handshake tour in southwest France. These pictures show a man grabbing and pulling the French leader against a barrier before bodyguards tackled him. Police say the man, identified as a 32-year-old local music teacher, is now being held in custody.

Under attack from all sides by an enemy rarely seen. We're going to take you straight into the line of fire as U.S. troops fight to hold their ground at a strategic outpost in Afghanistan.

And later this hour, a royal welcome in Canada for the most famous newlyweds on Earth, William and Kate begin their first official trip overseas.

You're watching CNN.


ANDERSON: You're with CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.

NATO says a senior militant linked to this week's deadly attack on a Kabul hotel has been killed in an airstrike. Ismail Jan, a deputy commander of the Haqqani network, reportedly provided material support for the assault.

Now nine heavily armed militants stormed the Intercontinental Hotel on Tuesday, triggering a fierce battle with Afghan security forces. At least 21 people were killed, including the attackers. NATO says the Haqqani network coordinated the attack with the Taliban.

Well, Afghanistan security challenges don't stop at the border. Some militants in Pakistan are now threatening to escalate cross-border attacks. U.S. troops are battling to keep them from slipping into the country.

Our Nick Paton Walsh visited a tiny outpost in the Kunar Province near the Pakistan border. His exclusive report captured an intense firefight in Taliban territory.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kunar in eastern Afghanistan is some of the toughest terrain that America has troops in here. And you can see this particular base is surrounded by hills on either side, which give the insurgency essential vantage point from which they can attack the base.

Violence, frankly, is so consistent, it makes it very hard for them to have the kind of contact with locals they need. Life here really a waiting game for the worst to happen.

(voice-over): Everywhere you look here in Kunar, on Afghanistan's eastern border, the choices aren't good. Outpost Pirtle King is caught between hills full of Taliban. If the Americans leave, militants from Pakistan will flow through the valley.

And if they stay, then every few days this happens.


WALSH: The mortars hit the base. The last attack was long enough ago there's panic, they're worried the Taliban have been preparing a big one.

(on camera): After days of nothing, the insurgents now finally are massed around the compound and beginning an attack on all sides.

(voice-over): They use mortars first, aiming for Taliban dug into the hills. But the incoming fire is very accurate here. They arrange cover from heavy machine guns. But the bullets are too close.

Locals scatter just before huge American firepower has the last word.


WALSH: Four massive airstrikes across the hills, and then the Taliban falls silent.

America knew why it came, but isn't sure why it's staying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we get like a police call for like brass and cigarette butts?


WALSH: Ten minutes later, jets swoop in to strafe the hills. A show of force, but the Taliban are now either gone or dead. At least five killed by the soldiers' count.

The next morning, it starts again. Mortars and rocket-propelled grenades pound the base.

(on camera): For the second time in just 15 hours the base is under attack, much heavier this time. And it appears that they've take casualties.

(voice-over): More airstrikes, this valley is vital strategically, but doesn't want to be conquered. The medics fly in to collect one soldier, his injuries are not life-threatening.

(on camera): An American presence in border areas like this is, many argue, vital to the country's integrity. They can stop here students flooding in from Pakistan's madrassas. Staying, though, does incur a pretty huge cost. Leaving, though, runs the risk of allowing areas like this to become the safe havens that America came here in the first place to eradicate.

(voice-over): There's no real victory to be had here, though, just a question of how long they will stay, growing louder.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kunar, Afghanistan.


ANDERSON: An exclusive report from the border there.

Well, stay with us here on CONNECT THE WORLD. In five minutes, we'll go live to Wimbledon for you. Two women left standing, which one is best- poised to win?

And the site that is challenging all we know about the birth of humanity, I'll take you there in just 12 minutes.

And get ready for another royal wedding, 22 minutes from now, I'm going to tell why this couple's marriage is considered vital to an economy.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. This is CNN.

Just after half past nine in London, let's get you a check of the headlines this hour.

Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers have walked off the job in Britain. The protest is against planned pension changes. Marchers say the government is trying to make them pay more and work longer to receive less. Unions threaten more strikes if the government in Britain doesn't change course.

Well, the Greek government takes another step towards putting a new austerity plan in place. Parliament approved a law detailing how to implement all the budget tightening. The European Union welcomes the vote, calling it "another decisive step."

Well , three more U.S. servicemen that have been killed in Iraq making June the deadliest month for American troops there since 2008. All U.S. forces are scheduled to leave Iraq in just six months' time.

And a rapturous welcome for Will and Kate, Britain's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who've been greeted by huge crowds in Canada as they begin their first official royal tour as man and wife.

Those are the headlines you hear on CNN at this hour.

All right. The business end of the Wimbledon championships in south London. For more on that and the other top stories in the world of sports, it's Mark McKay joining us now from CNN Center in Atlanta.


MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Thank you. Nice to see you in the controlled environment of CNN London tonight. Yes, we do have the ladies' singles final at the all-England club (INAUDIBLE).

The former champion Maria Sharapova against a player who's never before reached the grand slam finals, Petra Kvitova. My World Sport colleague Pedro Pinto will be live from Wimbledon momentarily.

The boos you may have heard today in French were actually directed at the reigning yet controversial Tour De France champion Alberto Contador - given a rude reception by a few in the crowd as the official Tour De France presentation ahead of Saturday's start for the gruelling event. The Spaniard may be bidding for his fourth yellow jersey but he comes to this year's tour under a cloud following a positive drug test at last year's race. While cleared to compete by Spanish cycling authorities, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has yet to make its final ruling on whether Contador was to blame for a positive test that he blamed on tainted meat.

From the NBA, the expected became reality within the past hour, learning that the team owners plan to impose a lockout on NBA players once the collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight New York time Thursday. The move could jeopardize the upcoming NBA regular season and it would be the first work stoppage in 13 years.

Those are the sporting headlines. Becky, I'm back with World Sport at the bottom of the next hour right after BACKSTORY.

ANDERSON: Yes, you are. But you're not going anywhere because the broadcast truck that our colleague's Pedro's working off at Wimbledon has lost its power.

MCKAY: Really?

ANDERSON: So I'm going to keep you with me. I know you've been watching the tennis tournament today. Maria Sharapova's first grand slam title, of course, back in 2004. She was just 17 at the time and hasn't won the championship since. Can she then, Mr. McKay, break her Wimbledon drought, do you think?

MCKAY: Nothing like putting me on the spot, Becky, huh? I think very much so. This young lady has done a whole lot. She has come into this tournament strong. She has found her way back into the finals. She's doing everything right. She certainly has the crowd on her side. It is Maria Sharapova back again. I mean, 2004, seven years is a long time but she's been able to put it all together and find her way back into the final this coming weekend. It's not going to be an easy task but Becky, this is a young lady that certainly has the experience on grass and she has been absolutely fantastic this year so far at the all-England club.

ANDERSON: Yes, she has. Now listen, Murray Mount has been quite something this year. It used to be called the Henman Hill, of course. We know that Murray's through. What about these men? Who do you fancy this weekend?

MCKAY: It's going to be a tough one. You know, Andy Murray consistently comes to Wimbledon every year with all of England riding on his shoulders. Great Britain - all of the hopes for a champion for the first time since 1936. Becky, we're back into the future. It's back to the future as he - Andy Murray - will take on Rafa Nadal on Friday in one man's semi. It will be a tough go of it for Murray as Rafa has come to this tournament fresh off winning yet another French Open crown. Murray feels like maybe this time he can turn things around but it's certainly not going to be easy, is it?

ANDERSON: No, it isn't. But let's cross fingers for everybody, I guess. Tsonga's one. Great match that was against Federer as well.

All right. Good. Mr. McKay, you're doing everything you need to know about sports, of course, and more.

Moving on. Everything you need to know about the birth of humanity. Well, it could be wrong. In fact, in Georgia, archaeologists have unearthed what they say is a fascinating discovery. That's up next. Don't go away. We're back in 90 seconds.


ANDERSON: The spectacular and rugged landscape with an ancient and often tumultuous history - this is Georgia, part of the gateway between Europe and Central Asia. And it's Georgia that is in focus on CNN's "Eye On" series this month. Every month, we explore the business, culture, and the way of life in a different part of the world. We've got (INAUDIBLE) reports recently from the Ukraine, Germany, and from India, and now we have got our eye on Georgia.

Well, experts there may have made an important discovery - evidence that called into question the very origin of the human species. Here's CNN's Paula Newton.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tucked away in the rugged hills of Georgia, along the old silk(ph) road spanning east to west, there is a place that challenges all we know about the birth of humanity.

NEWTON: And so here we are at Dmanisi. It's an archaeological site and we are with Dr. David Lordkipanidze.

So thanks for having us here. You've been digging at this site for more than two decades already. You had a very exciting discovery in the last little bit. Tell us about it.

DR. DAVID LORDKIPANIDZE, DIRECTOR, GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM: We found earliest traces of human settlement out of Africa and it dates back at least 1.8 million.

NEWTON: What's the significance? What does it tell us?

LORDKIPANIDZE: Prevailing view was that humans left Africa only 1 million years ago. What we found in Dmanisi, it dates almost two million.

NEWTON: And so you found both human remains and tools down here in the (INAUDIBLE) here?

LORDKIPANIDZE: Yes. We found here.

NEWTON: And so this is a replica of what you found here?

LORDKIPANIDZE: That's (INAUDIBLE) true. This is a cast of the earliest human out of Africa. We could say that we have presence of earliest Homo Erectus out of Africa and maybe Eurasia was origin of a Homo Erectus.

NEWTON: Not Africa as we thought?

LORDKIPANIDZE: Not Africa. The main surprise was to have saw old humans out of Africa and so well-preserved and so primitive. We have five skulls. We have animal bones. We have stone tools. But what's very important, we have not just skulls, we have partial body. So we could say how they looked.

This is Desra(ph) and she's (INAUDIBLE).

NEWTON: How did you name them?

LORDKIPANIDZE: Oh, we had a competition. And so it's all Georgian names. Their brains are much smaller. Their jaws are much bigger than ours. Their teeth are bigger. They have no chins. They have no frontal bones.

NEWTON: So the head goes right back.

LORDKIPANIDZE: Right - right back. Right back. Their arms are still primitive so they could still continue to climbing and protecting themselves.

In reality, this is the first traces when we are becoming human. It's so - I think it's a very interesting story. This story has the importance for the science, for the public, and also helps Georgia to be on the scientific map.

NEWTON (voice-over): What has now come into sharp focus here, Dmanisi's discovery may be rewriting history. There's still more study and more digging to be done before this becomes more than just a theory.

Paula Newton, CNN, Dmanisi, Georgia.


ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. And tomorrow, join Paula in the kitchen as she puts on her chef hat and we find out what delicacies Georgia has to offer as our "Eye on" series closes out. (INAUDIBLE) on CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

It's 42 minutes past nine in London. Your big interview tonight - one of the entertainment world's biggest stars. Tom Hanks tells me about his new film and why at age 54, he has no plans to retire yet. Why should he?

And Canada rolls out the red carpet for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A live report with our royal correspondents, Max Foster, just ahead.


ANDERSON: Remember this? Well, it was one of the most anticipated moments of the year. William and Kate's first kiss (INAUDIBLE) attracted huge cheers outside Buckingham Palace. But this couple is not just adored on British soils. Millions of people around the globe have tuned in to witness the royal nuptials in what is widely viewed as a fairytale come true.

Well, there's little doubt Will and Kate enjoy world recognition. What about this couple? Monaco's Prince Albert and his fiancee, Charlene Wittstock.

They too are about to tie the knot this weekend and as Jim Bittermann found people of Monaco are hoping this long-awaited marriage will also strengthen the regal reputation of their country.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It would be wrong to say that royal wedding excitement is ripping this little land. Monaco is, after all, home to some pretty wealthy, pretty sophisticated people who have pretty much seen and done it all.

True, if the crowds of tourists are (INAUDIBLE), they may find the odd Prince Albert and Charlene mug, postcard, or fan. But for the 36,000 people who actually live here, the royal family - the Grimaldis - is at once more accessible and more vital than any souvenir.

When he is not abroad promoting his tiny principality, Albert - who took over the reins of power after his father died in 2005 - is a familiar face around the country, hard not to be in a place smaller than New York Central Park. But as important to life here is his financial support of local projects like the cardiology unit at the Princess Grace Hospital.

DR. NADIR SAOUDI, DIRECTOR, CARDIOLOGY DEPARTMENT: It's extremely important. He gives the direction. He doesn't, of course, gives these details but he gives the direction. Everything that happens in the Grimaldi family affects everybody here. So everything - the good things, the bad things - every - this people feel that they are their family.

BITTERMANN (voice-over): Certainly that was the case with Albert's mother, Princess Grace - Hollywood actress Grace Kelly. She and Albert's father put the place on the map in the 60s and 70s by living a fairytale that drew jetsetters in droves to Monaco.

(on camera): The age of innocence in Monaco, if there ever was one, came to an end in the fall of 1982 when Princess Grace, driving along this road, apparently suffered a stroke and her car plunged off a cliff. She died in the crash. And lost with her too was a little of the glitz and glamour she had brought to the principality.

(voice-over): Since then, the little place has found international relevance by creating a seemingly endless series of sporting, cultural, and entertainment events - all overseen by the royal family. It's not lost on those who live here how important it is to keep Monaco in the news to keep the local economy growing.

So the idea that Prince Albert is - as the locals put it - finally getting married at age 53 to someone 20 years younger, someone who may one day provide an heir to the throne means far more to people here than just a weekend of celebrations. It is at least a partial guarantee that Monaco has a future.

FRANCK HERVE, RESTAURANT OWNER (through translator): It's very important for the continuity of the royal family. And as well, it's important for the image of Monaco so people continue to speak about Monaco in a positive way.

BITTERMANN (Voice-over): And Monegasque know that keeping people talking about their tiny little country is key to its survival.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Monte Carlo.


ANDERSON: Well, when it seems that Prince Albert and his bride-to-be hope that they can capture the world's attention as much as Will and Kate, it's a hard act to follow, isn't it, particularly when at this moment, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are wooing fans in Canada. And that's where we find CNN's royal correspondent and my colleague Max Foster who is travelling with them and joins me now from Ottawa.

I mean, it's been a big day for them - first official visit. This is no small feat. What do we see? What do they do?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of build-up, of course, to this. And we saw them arrive earlier at the airport and almost immediately, you saw the couple carrying down the stairs of the airplane and meeting the welcoming party and building a relationship straightaway with the people that they're meeting. And this continues through the day.

And the atmosphere really built as the day went on. They went on along to a war memorial to honour Canadian service personnel who died in wars and that was a poignant moment in the day.

But the rest of it was really defined by incredible scenes with crowds, really, and the cameras very much focused on the Duchess. It does seem to be all about Catherine, this visit, really working the crowds in a quite amazing way, reminiscent - many said - of Diana. But this is her way of doing it. William also doing his thing but seen as a great success actually so far. All the Americans - all the American media, definitely, but also the Canadian media all saying this has been a complete triumph already and actually, Becky, very cleverly, I think you'll agree.

Everyone wondering what Catherine was going to wear. She managed to find a designer who was Canadian based in London. It was pretty clever.

ANDERSON: Oh, good girl. Good girl. I know his dad had a talk with his wife recently which it wasn't a particularly successful. I know when he was there though with Princess Diana, they had a rip-roaring tour. So good.

All right. So it's a - it's stable. And what happens next?

FOSTER: Well, there's a big gig being organized tomorrow and you might be able to see the big stage being built me (INAUDIBLE). Yes, sorry, sorry. (INAUDIBLE). A bit - it's Canada day tomorrow. It's a massive event and we - you know - you're going to have some memories, flash backs of the royal wedding, Becky, but you're going to see some turnoff in an opening carriage so there's going to be a full state ceremonial event, really, ahead of this concert, this gig. And then tomorrow, it's all about celebrations and parties. And then they've got eight days, really, touring all of Canada, going to every corner and seeing - taking in an awful lot. And then they end up in L.A. where there's going to be - I think - quite a lot of attention.

ANDERSON: Yes. Good stuff. All right. Well, you're travelling with them so enjoy. Keep in touch and we'll be speaking to you over the next week or two.

Max Foster for you in Canada.

Well, from real-life royalty to Hollywood royalty. Our big interview today comes from the world of entertainment. He's an A-list star, an Oscar-winning actor and he has a new film out this weekend. Let's get you connected tonight with Tom Hanks.


ANDERSON (voice-over): This simple soul who captured everyone's heart. "Forrest Gump" helped make Tom Hanks a runaway success earning him a second Academy Award and making him one of the most bankable actors in show business.

"WOODY": Say little missy you notice any trouble around these parts?

ANDERSON: He (INAUDIBLE) in the voice of Woody in the million-dollar "Toy Story" franchise and the lead in the big screen dramas like "Saving Private Ryan", "Green Mile" and "Castaway."

Now, Hanks has turned to directing. This week, he's released his newest film.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, Mary.

ANDERSON: "Larry Crowne" is a romantic comedy which he co-wrote, produced, starred in, and directed. Hanks plays a man made redundant who enrols in a local college class taught by a character played by Julia Roberts.

I began by asking him how he came up with the idea.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: It was based somewhat on my own experiences. When I was out of high school, I had neither the wherewithal nor the grades nor the money or anything in order to go to a real four-year university and community college was there for me - thank goodness. And in my - in my - in a lot of my classes were people twice as old as I was, people in their 40s and 50s who were starting their next chapter, and I always thought - I remember that as being a unique experience.

ANDERSON (on camera): It's an optimistic movie in what are - let's face it - fairly dark times in America. Intentional or not?

HANKS: Well, it's not about optimism as much as it is a lack of cynicism. It'd be easy - it would be easy to pay attention to all the massive stories and the media coverage and sort of give up and think "Well, there's nothing I can do." But every great story and every dealing with problems in the economy when are personal ones and personally, I think you have to decide what you're going to do in order to alter your day and there are things large and small that are within your power.

ANDERSON: And Tom Hanks moves forward with this movie, directing it, teaming up once again with Julia Roberts who describes you as a "tough boss" this time. She says particularly when it comes to costuming designs. What on earth does she mean by that?

HANKS: Julia plays a teacher at a community college and somehow you have to acknowledge the fact that she is a gorgeous stack of pancakes but you cannot go too far over into a world of glamour and fashion.

ANDERSON: We have some viewer questions for you. Sasha says you've been a big hero of hers since she saw "Forrest Gump" as a child. "I was wondering," she says, "what attracted you to some of these unique roles?" And she also mentions "The Road to Perdition" and "Toy Story." Was it the characters, the story line? What was it?

HANKS: I am always looking for a time for variety that even though it takes into account that yes, it's always me. I'm playing the guy. They're still going to expect enough of me as an artist then hopefully, that I can surprise the audience with maybe in small ways but in other times, (INAUDIBLE) large by way of the nature of the different films.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. Peter asks, "If you could redo one movie that you made, which would it be and why?"

HANKS: Oh, none. Zero. Zilch. Don't look back, Peter. Don't look back. You've got to move forward, my friend. Forward. Ever forward. If you don't move forward, what's to become of you? If I could remake any movie, I would remake them all.

ANDERSON: Andrew from Auckland, New Zealand says your partnership with Steven Spielberg has produced some of the most effecting, ground- breaking war drama of the last two decade - "Saving Private Ryan", of course, "Band of Brothers", "The Pacific". "Will you," he says, "be working with Steven again on any similar projects in the future?"

HANKS: Steven and I are these layman historians that are constantly fascinated by these undiscovered aspects of these mythic era in world history. I can't say we're looking specifically for them but I will say that he and I see the same potentials of drama and the same potential in order to talk about the way we are today in these stories of 40 and 50 years ago. The great thing about "Saving Private Ryan" was that here, no one had made a World War II movie in probably 20 to 25 years because they had just become this tired old work horse of a genre and Steven saw that with today's - the modern storytelling - the cinematic techniques, we could go deeper into the story and not have to deal with the big - just the big building blocks of history. And we were able to do it, I think, as well to even better effect in "The Pacific" and "Band of Brothers". So I can't say we have something specific there but I do say that I get emails and we exchange emails all the time saying "Have you seen this", "Did you hear about this", "Are you aware of this story?" So if we're lucky, we'll get to do it all again at some point.

ANDERSON: Is there anything you haven't done yet that you want to do?

HANKS: Oh, Lord, that never stops. There's always something coming down the - coming down the wing. There - you know, there's always new territory. I'm going to be 55 years old on July 9th. Every year, you have to start all over again. Every year, you've got (INAUDIBLE) what's going to challenge you and move forward. And every year, you've got to throw yourself into something that scares the living daylights out of you because you don't know if you're going to succeed or fail. That's what my job is.


ANDERSON: Good man. Tom Hanks for you.

Well, and tonight's parting shots - one of the best shots as legend would have it of all time. Think outlaw, think Wild West, think William H. Bonney who was known as "Billy the Kid". This 130-year-old photograph is the only authenticated picture of the notorious gunslinger and it recently sold for $2.3 million at an auction in Denver.

The winning bidder was American billionaire William Koch. He paid almost six times what was expected and almost a billion times more than what Billy the Kid paid to have the picture taken. The outlaw reportedly forked out just 25 cents.

I'm Becky Anderson. That's your world connected this evening. Thanks for watching. The world headlines and BACKSTORY will follow this short break. Don't go away.