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Connect the World
A Day for International Justice; The G8 Summit; Mladic Held in Hospital; Serbian President Calls Accusations Serbia Knew Maldic's Location "Rubbish"; Civil War in Yemen?; Why Instability in Yemen Matters to West; Picking Up the Pieces After Joplin Tornado; Oklahoma Family Reunited With Dog Gone Missing in Tornado; Revving Up For Monaco Grand Prix; Pregnant Parting Shots
Aired May 26, 2011 - 00:16 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST, "CONNECT THE WORLD": After evading arrest for 16 years, one of the world's most wanted criminals has been captured. Ratko Mladic was found hiding behind these walls in Serbia.
How long did the government know that he was there?
We'll ask the president live for you tonight.
Welcome news at the G8 summit. World leaders discuss the arrest and much more during a jam-packed day in France.
And life in the disaster zone -- how people are coping after the worst tornado in U.S. history.
These stories and more tonight as we connect the world.
Well, leaders all over the world are calling it an important day for international justice. It was a long time coming, but the law finally caught up with Europe's most wanted man. These are new pictures of former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic being escorted into a courtroom in Belgrade. His next stop will be a U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague.
Well, Serbia is promising to extradite Mladic after arresting him on Thursday. The tribunal accuses Mladic of unimaginable savagery. He's charged with masterminding the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.
Well, the slaughter of some 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica during the Bosnian civil war.
Mladic is also accused of orchestrating the deadly siege of Sarajevo. Serbia's president says his arrest removes a stain from the face of all Serbian people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS TADIC, SERBIAN PRESIDENT: Today, we arrested Ratko Mladic. The extradition process is underway. This is the result of full cooperation of Serbia with a Hague tribunal. We have always believed in our strategy and the work of everyone involved in this process. Today, we closed one chapter -- chapter of our recent history that will bring us one step closer to full reconciliation in the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, President Tadic didn't do into detail about his capture, but we now know that Mladic was picked up in this house before dawn, in a village about 80 kilometers from Belgrade, near the Romanian border.
Well, Ivan Watson is in Belgrade following today's court proceedings - - Ivan, what's the latest, as we know it?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Serbian state TV has reported on its Web site that Ratko Mladic did attend an initial hearing the special court for war crimes here in Belgrade and that that hearing was stopped short because of his, quote, "physical condition."
Now, there have been some reports that he has been in ill health. We have not been able to independently confirm that. It has been reported in the past that he may have even suffered a stroke during his years as a fugitive.
Serbian state TV reporting that he will -- the hearing will continue again tomorrow.
Now, meanwhile, here in downtown Belgrade, we're seeing se -- the security presence beefed up significantly right now, Becky, with hundreds of riot police with shields, with helmets deployed in different squares next to the presidential palace, as well. And we saw what appeared to be a skirmish between some kind of nationalist demonstrators, several hundred youths being chased down one of the main boulevards here about an hour-and- a-half ago by riot police. There are concerns that there could be clashes in the hours and days to come -- Becky.
ANDERSON: You're on the story.
What is the mood?
If you had to describe the mood in Belgrade tonight, what would it be?
WATSON: Well, it's a balmy spring night here in Belgrade. And you actually see couples and families promenading down the main boulevard here. When you ask people what they think about the arrest, the announced arrest of Ratko Mladic, one man I spoke with said well, he didn't -- he didn't feel very good about this. He had heard good things about Mladic. Now, this was a young man I was talking to who was probably seven or eight years old when the war was taking place, when the Srebrenica massacre of nearly 8,000 people were killed.
Some of the demonstrators that I saw carrying Serbian flags clearly must have been less than 10 years old when Ratko Mladic commanded the military here. And yet some of them clearly supports of this man, viewing him as a hero at this time when his arrest has been announced. And perhaps that's why he's been able to remain at large for more than 15 years in a country with a population of a little more than seven million people.
Ivan with the top story of the day.
Ivan, we'll have you back at the bottom of this hour with more from Belgrade.
We thank you for that, for the time being.
For his alleged victims, Mladic's capture brings back a flood of painful memories but also some sense of closure. Many Bosnians couldn't bear the thought that he may never be forced to answer for his crimes.
Well, Jonathan Mann explains how the massacre of Srebrenica was chillingly methodical -- men and boys literally pulled apart from their loved ones then marched off to die.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In July, 1995, the Bosnia Serb Army, led by General Ratko Mladic, captured the small Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. It was a U.N. safe area, but Mladic and his forces easily overran the small contingent of peacekeepers, which had been given neither the authority nor the weapons to defend Srebrenica. Mladic and his men strutted through the town after it fell, telling terrified civilians not to worry, nobody was going to get hurt. But over the next few days, General Mladic allegedly supervised the separation of men from women and set his army on a killing campaign that left more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys missing.
The International War Crimes Tribunal has indicted General Mladic for the massacre at Srebrenica on 20 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and other breaches of the Geneva Convention that protects civilians in war.
The indictment charges that despite agreeing with the U.N. to treat Srebrenica's surrendering Muslims as prisoners of war, what ensued was an orgy of mass execution, looting and burning of homes and more refugees -- thousands of Srebrenica's women and children walking for days to reach the Muslim-held town of Tuzla.
After the horror of Srebrenica, Mladic unleashed his forces on the neighboring safe area of Zepa. But this time, chastened U.N. commanders forced him to negotiate and abide by a surrender from the town's Muslim defenders.
Mladic began fighting the Serb national cause in 1991, first in Croatia, then joining up with Radovan Karadzic in Bosnia, being named army chief of their self-proclaimed Serb state-let. He was among the most hard- line of the Bosnia Serb nationalist leadership, prosecuting a doctrine of total war, personally directing the three-and-a-half year siege and bombardment of the capital, Sarajevo, and other Muslim towns and villages. He would often come to U.N. mediated cease-fire meetings but his promises were mostly broken before the ink was dry.
The war in Bosnia was directed mainly against the Muslim civilian population, as the Bosnian Serb nationalists tried to carve out an ethnically pure state for themselves.
Eventually, Mladic and Karadzic were indicted twice, once for Srebrenica and once on charges stemming from the war on the rest of Bosnia. He maintained his macho self-image even after being indicted, but the crimes of Srebrenica finally convinced the West to enter the war and end it. Mladic and his army were crushed and in 1996, he was forced from the army command and into hiding.
Jonathan Mann, CNN.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: Well, many people suspected Mladic was hiding in Serbia all along, perhaps with high level help. The European Union has warned Serbia that its campaign to join the EU would go nowhere as long as Mladic remained at large.
We're going to talk to the president, Boris Tadic, shortly.
I want to get back, though, to Ivan Watson, who's on the ground for us in Belgrade -- the suggestions, Ivan, that authorities knew where Mladic was, has been for the latest 16 odd years, do they hold any water with those that you've been speaking to?
WATSON: Certainly. He was widely reported to have maintained a pretty open lifestyle up until 2000, 2001, when his protector, the former president, Slobodan Milosevic, was deposed and he was later arrested and taken to the Hague to face the War Crimes Tribunal there.
Up until that time, he had been living somewhat openly. He was photographed at football matches. He was photographed at restaurants, as well. He adopted a much lower profile after that and the fact that he now -- there seems to be some reports of ill health and also that he was located in a village in the north of the country suggests that, really, his profile had diminished quite a bit since those years in the late 1990s, when he was able to move around pretty much at will at a time when there was a significant foreign peacekeeping force on the ground here -- Becky.
ANDERSON: That's Ivan Watson there in Belgrade for you.
So did Serbia wait for the right moment to deliver him?
Well, President Tadic joins us now live from Belgrade.
Many people are suggesting that the authorities have known where Mladic has been for years and today is just a convenient opportunity, given your negotiations with the EU.
TADIC: Well, I mean I'm -- I'm hearing the many comments after arresting Ratko Mladic. And I can say that that kind of comment, that we knew where is Ratko Mladic for years, is a -- I'm going to use not diplomatic wording, rubbish, really. And I will confirm once again that we didn't know that and we were working very hard in order to arrest him and to deliver him in the Hague tribunal and finally we did it.
ANDERSON: Boris Tadic, I want you to just listen to the words of a woman who lost two sons and her husband in 1995, responding to this arrest today.
Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HATIDZA MEHMEDOVIC, LOST TWO SONS, HUSBAND IN 1995 MASSACRE (through translator): We've been waiting for this news for almost 16 years. Those who arrested him this morning knew all this time where the butcher was hiding. It is very sad that they knew where he was all the time but did not want to arrest him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: This is the sort of allegation that's flying around. You've rubbished it, saying you had not been protecting him.
TADIC: I mean 16 years ago, Ratko Mladic has been accused and after that, a few years after that, we had a democratic changes in Serbia in October of the year 2000. And within the two first years of the mandate of the democratic government, they were trying to capture all indictees, including Slobodan Milosevic. They...
TADIC: -- they delivered him and also 44 other indictees.
But this government has been working on arresting Ratko Mladic from the beginning of -- of -- of his -- of that term that is 25 years ago...
TADIC: -- and on the end of the term of this government, we delivered.
ANDERSON: OK. My question was, who has been protecting him?
TADIC: I don't know exactly. I don't know exactly. I mean from the beginning of -- of -- of that process, I -- I'm totally sure that people from the armed forces have been protecting him. But after that, he changed the people that were protected him. And on the end of the day, I mean that he was protected by a very small group of the people from his family.
But we'll check everything. We'll investigate everything...
TADIC: -- and we'll announce what happened in the past 16 years.
ANDERSON: Do you believe the military may have been involved?
TADIC: On the beginning, I truly believe that is the case. But on the end of that process, I don't believe that.
ANDERSON: His interrogation will begin tomorrow.
Can you confirm that?
TADIC: Excuse me, I didn't hear.
ANDERSON: There are reports tonight that his interrogation has stopped because of his ill health.
What can you tell us about that?
And can you confirm that his interrogation will begin tomorrow?
TADIC: I mean tomorrow we are going to work on proceeding him to send him in the Hague tribunal. But about all other cases, allegations will right now -- we will try to find the best possible way to -- to solve the problems we are facing -- we are facing in the wait.
But my -- my main approach is to the other problems we are facing in the -- in the region, that all allegations has to be investigated, all war crimes has to be proceeded in the tribunals, in the courts. And from that reason, I have to mention right now, not only the Mladic case, but also allegations that are coming from Dick Smart (ph), your report about what happened on Kosovo during the war.
ANDERSON: When will Mladic be delivered to the Hague?
TADIC: I don't know exactly. This is about court. But I am expecting in the next few days. Within seven days, he is going to be sent in the hate -- sended in the Hague -- to the tribunal.
ANDERSON: And what's wrong with him?
ANDERSON: What is wrong with him?
There are reports of ill health.
Do you have any details on his health?
TADIC: I -- I have a problem to hear you really. Is -- it's a problem with -- with the lines.
ANDERSON: I was just asking the -- suggesting there have been reports that Mladic is ill. He is in ill health.
Can you confirm that?
TADIC: Right -- right now, he -- right now he is in -- in the jail, in the court, in a special court. And I am expecting, in the next few days, court is going to decide where they are going to send -- to extradite Mr. Mladic in the Hague tribunal.
ANDERSON: To many in Serbia, Mladic is not a war criminal, but a hero.
What do you say to those who will protest his arrest?
Are you concerned about his arrest having a destabilizing effect on Serbia?
TADIC: I am not expecting that we are going to have a -- that kind of attempts of the destabilization of my country. And I'm totally sure that with the -- we can handle that challenge right now. We -- we reached Katarza (ph) when we delivered in the Hague tribunal Mr. Radovan Karadzic two-and-a-half years ago and right now we are fulfilling our obligations. And I'm not expecting that some extreme groups are -- are going to try to destabilize Serbia.
ANDERSON: The timing of this arrest coincides with talks on EU membership for Serbia, of course. And at best, there are many who say, is this really just a coincidence?
What do you say about the timing of this arrest?
TADIC: Well, this is not about coi -- this is not about our plans. This is about our intentions to deliver, to fulfill our obligations from the beginning of the term of this government. Unfortunately, we couldn't deliver on the beginning of -- of that term. We did it with -- with the other indictees that -- that is Radovan Karadzic. But we were trying to arrest Ratko Mladic in the past two-and-a-half years, from the beginning of the term of this government.
And this is only coincidental.
ANDERSON: President Boris Tadic, we appreciate your time here on CNN this evening.
President Boris Tadic of Serbia.
Well, CNN covered this story extensively 16 years ago and we continue to do so now. We've got correspondents deployed all over the world to bring you the very latest. Nic Robertson will share his perspective and memories from when he covered the conflict. Richard Roth is gathering global reaction from the U.N., as you would expect. Phil Black is in the Hague, where Mladic will eventually be tried. But as you heard from the president tonight, he can't tell us when he will be delivered there. And Ivan Watson is in Belgrade. You've heard from him a couple of times in the last half hour, close to the place where Mladic was found. And Frederik Pleitgen is in Sarajevo, which suffered so greatly during the conflict.
You'll hear from all of them over the coming hours and days, as we stay on top of this story for you, as you would expect us to.
When we come back, we'll take a look at who else has been talking about this arrest, live from the G8 summit in Paris.
Then we head stateside, where killer tornadoes have ripped through the Midwest.
Could there be more destruction on the way?
And we combine the very best of Monaco racing and royalty -- CNN sits down with Prince Albert II, the head of the most anticipated event on the Formula 1 calendar.
You're watching CNN.
Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Well, forget the rain, it was all smiles for some of the most famous leaders on the planet when they were greeted like rock stars today at the French resort in Deauville. But the working room at the G8 summit is another story. And we've got it for you. We're going to bring it to you from Normandy in just a couple of minutes time.
Well, I'm Becky Anderson at the CNN Center.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
Here's a look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.
And seven NATO soldiers have been killed in a series of bomb explosions in Southern Afghanistan. Coalition military officials say it's the deadliest single attack suffered by foreign troops in a month. The group was on foot patrol in an area -- a remote area south of the city of Kandahar.
In an unrelated incident, another soldier died on Thursday in a helicopter crash in Eastern Afghanistan.
Well, Libya's government is reportedly putting out feelers for a possible cease-fire. Officials in Spain say the Libyan prime minister has sent a list of proposals out to several European countries. Well, this after explosions rocked Tripoli for a second straight night. A Libyan government official said the jets struck a secondary school. NATO not, though, confirming that allegation.
Well, tens of thousands of Iraqis taking to the streets of Baghdad, demanding U.S. troops leave as promised on January the 1st. The rallies come after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki talked about extending the deadline for next year's withdrawal. Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has threatened renewed violence if the U.S. troops don't leave.
Well, NASA commander Mark Kelly will hold a live video tour from the International Space Station for his wife, Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords, an Arizona congresswoman, is recovering from a gunshot wound suffered in an assassination attempt, you'll remember, earlier this year. She'll have a view of the Space Station on Friday, as well as the Space Shuttle Endeavour, docked outside. The couple looking forward to speaking face-to- face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK KELLY, SHUTTLE COMMANDER: I'm looking forward to talking to her. I've been speaking with her every night before I go to bed. It's her morning. But it will be nice to do it via video, to be able to see how she's doing and for her to join us on board the Space Station for a little bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, disgraced former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has a new place to spend his house arrest. His new surroundings are quite lavish. Let me tell you about them in large, in fact. Strauss-Kahn moved into this huge townhouse last night, where he awaits his sex assault trial to begin.
Now, the three story pad, we're told, sits in New York's upscale Tribeca neighborhood. It comes complete with a spa, a gym and a home theater.
Well, Christine Lagarde wants to be his successor at the IMF and the U.S. secretary of State is praising the French finance minister's qualifications. It's the strongest public hint so far of where the U.S. stands on Lagarde's candidacy.
Poland and Greece are the latest to join the list of her European supporters. Lagarde getting ready to hit the road to court emerging market backing.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, live from the CNN Center tonight, I'm Becky Anderson.
Coming up, we are with the world's most powerful leaders, gathered in France. It's all about freedom at the G8 summit in Normandy. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
I'm Becky Anderson.
Now, on the beaches of Normandy, history is being made once again. The world is focused on the fight for freedom, only this time, it's the Arab Spring we're talking about. But echoes of the Second World War aren't wasted on the world's wealthiest nations. Their leaders gathered for the Group of Eight summit in the resort town of Deauville in France, working out how to step up practical help for the pro-democracy uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
Well, on the sidelines of the annual gathering, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia's president tackled the long-running row over missile defense. Dmitry Medvedev had warned Washington of the chances of a new cold war. The U.S. didn't consult the Kremlin about the missiles issue.
Well, earlier, Medvedev inked a deal with France for four new warships. And that is just a taste of what was a busy old day.
White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is traveling with the president and she joins us now live from Deauville in France.
What a day.
What an agenda.
Well, what topped it?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What a day. It's almost like a kitchen sink of topics that they're dealing with here at the G8 summit, Becky.
But amongst the top ones, really, the headlining issue here is Libya. And this is really the first time, certainly, for President Obama, that since the Arab spring uprisings and since the impasses with Libya that he's had a chance to gather with all of these world leaders.
He met today with the president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev. And this sort of underscored really the line that President Obama is walking. On one hand, he has Russia, which has a relationship with Libya, which abstained from voting for those sanctions against Libya. And then, on the other hand, he has allies like France. And he'll be meeting with the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, tomorrow. He has allies like France, who really want to make sure that the U.S. is in this -- in this NATO-led mission, really, really to an end and that they are going to be patient.
So on one hand, you have President Obama -- he didn't give away too much at this photo-op where he spoke today with the president of Russia. But he said that they discussed what was going on in Libya. The White House is emphasizing they'll be keeping Russia in the loop. But we've also heard the president, Becky, in recent days, insisting that there needs to be patience and, you know, that there is really a U.S. commitment to making sure that Libyan civilians are safe and also keeping up the pressure on Moammar Gadhafi -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Brianna, what reaction or response from world leaders to the news of the arrest of Europe's most wanted war crimes chap, let's call him, Mladic -- Mladic Karadzic.
Sorry, I'm so sorry Mladic?
KEILAR: Mladic, yes, Ratko Mladic, the -- the -- the news that he had been captured by Serbian officials was greeted with just overwhelming positivity here at the G8. President Obama called this justice. He said that this -- the U.S. is recommitted to making sure that there is reconciliation in that region.
You heard congratulations from British Prime Minister David Cameron. You heard from President Sarkozy, saying this is very good news.
The feeling here is that this really does pave the way for Serbia to move forward, not just in the process of trying to join the EU, which it's wanted to do for some time, but really just in the reconciliation in the region, where there have been so many tensions left over from the war in the 1990s -- Becky.
ANDERSON: All right, Brianna, thank you for that.
Brianna Keilar there in Deauville with the G8, just the beginning, of course. Friday packed with more meetings, with a G8 working session in the afternoon.
President Obama heads to Poland. He'll lay a wreath at the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial. The weekend sees Mr. Obama back home to offer consolation to victims of tornado hit Missouri. We're going to have full coverage of America's devastating tornado season coming up.
Well, when we come back tonight after this short break, as violence in Yemen escalates dramatically, we'll take a look at what this political turmoil could mean in this key battleground in the war on terror.
Find out more on that and your headlines, after this.
ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson at CNN Center for you this evening.
Coming up, opposition forces in Yemen take over government buildings in violent clashes with supporters of the president. Is the country edging closer to civil war?
Plus, a truck ripped up by a twister. Incredible pictures out of the American Midwest. How people there are picking up the pieces.
And revving up for the Monaco Grand Prix. Formula One's biggest fan, a royal head of state no less, talks to our Don Riddell about his need for speed.
Those stories are ahead on the show. Let's, though, as ever at this point, get you a check of the headlines this hour.
Former Bosnian-Serb general Ratko Mladic will soon face a UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague to answer charges of unimaginable savagery. First, he must be interrogated by authorities in Serbia, where he was arrested earlier today.
Ivan Watson joins us, again, from Belgrade to tell us why proceedings, certainly, have been suspended at this point and what happens next?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just got off the phone, Becky. Let me give you this information. Just got off the phone with Ratko Mladic's lawyer, a man by the name of Milos Saljic, who says he was in the court with Mladic today.
Now, he tells us that Mladic is currently being held in a hospital, not in a jail, not in any detainment center, because he is in ill health. He's had two heart attacks and three strokes, his defense attorney says, since 1996, and that the judges tried to question Mladic, and then it was impossible to continue because of his physical and his psychological condition.
That just coming to us moments ago from Ratko Mladic's defense attorney, a man by the name of Milos Saljic.
And we've gotten reports coming from Serbian state TV that Mladic did appear in court, that hearing was cut short, but that it is expected to continue tomorrow.
We've also seen here in Belgrade, and I'm not sure whether you can see behind me the riot police lined up next to one of the government buildings, here.
The security presence in the capital has been beefed up significantly in the wake of the news of the arrest of Ratko Mladic, with concerns that ultra-nationalists might try to create some problems, and we've seen some small clashes here, today, in the second city of Serbia, in Novi Sad.
We've gotten reports from Serbian B-92 radio that some 500 demonstrators actually tried to break into the state TV headquarters there and were taken back -- beaten back by security forces.
So, this is going to be concern -- a concern as well as the health, in fact, of Ratko Mladic is still up in the air right now.
ANDERSON: Yes, Ivan Watson in Belgrade --
ANDERSON: -- with the very latest on what is a moving story.
We spoke just earlier on to the president, Boris Tadic, in Serbia. And I put it to him that many have been suggesting authorities have known where Ratko Mladic has been for years and, today, just a convenient opportunity, given his negotiations with the EU to actually publish his arrest. Here's his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS TADIC, PRESIDENT OF SERBIA: I am hearing many comments after arresting Ratko Mladic, and I can say that that kind of comment, that we knew where is Ratko Mladic for years is a -- I'm going to use not diplomatic wording -- rubbish, really.
And I will confirm once again that we didn't know that, and we were working very hard in order to arrest him and to deliver him to the Hague tribunal, and finally we did it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The Bosnian -- sorry, the Serbian president speaking to me just earlier.
Well, in other headlines tonight, French finance minister Christine Lagarde is preparing her global tour to win backing for her bid to lead the IMF. Several European nations have endorsed her, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted at possible support for her from Washington.
Also, attorneys for the man Lagarde is seeking to replace, former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, are criticizing police. They petitioned the court to stop leaks of information regarding the sexual assault case and said New York police are "feeding the media frenzy."
The world's most powerful leaders are meeting in France and talking about getting practical help to the pro-democracy uprisings sweeping the Arab world. The G-8 summit underway in the resort town of Deauville is also discussing nuclear energy. That comes in the wake of Japan's nuclear emergency.
The G-8 leaders also keeping a close eye on the mounting threat of civil war in Yemen. The US has renewed its calls for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after gun battles overnight killed dozens of people.
There have been days of deadly fighting in Yemen after the president again walked out of a deal to give up power. The US has now issued travel warnings and ordered all non-essential diplomats and their families out.
Well, Mohammed Jamjoom takes a look at the escalating situation from the CNN Center in Abu Dhabi.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At least 28 people were killed in an explosion at a weapons storage sight in Sanaa Yemen on Thursday, according to a senior defense ministry official. As one of the country's leading tribes continued to fight street battles against government security forces.
The official blamed the blast on the al-Hashid tribe, saying it had bombed the area with heavy artillery. But the tribe, which is the largest and most powerful one in Yemen, rejected the accusation, saying it is cautious in choosing targets and denying that it had attacked any civilians.
This attack was part of a recent uptick in violence that has raised fears that Yemen is headed toward a full-blown civil war. According to government officials and tribesmen, dozens of people have been killed in Sanaa the past three days as a result of continued fighting.
But members of the country's youth revolutionary movement maintain that, despite the clashes, they will continue to demonstrate peacefully.
The past few days, they have marched in various cities across the country. They've been heard chanting, "Peace, peace, no to civil war," while reiterating their demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.
Also on Thursday, Yemen's attorney general issued an arrest warning for Sadiq al-Ahmar, the leader of the al-Hashid tribe. But a top aid to al-Ahmar dismissed the move. Abdulqawi al-Qaisi said, quote, "The Yemeni government is not able to capture a chicken in the streets, let alone the most powerful tribal leader in Yemen."
By nightfall, the situation had calmed considerably, although the sound of gunfire could still be heard throughout the capital. Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
ANDERSON: All right. Let's take a look, now, why so many world leaders are paying close attention to this political upheaval in Yemen.
We know it's home to more than 22 million people, and it's said to be the poorest country in the Arab world. But it's also a key al Qaeda battleground. Keep an eye on the connect line when you see it again.
The group joined forces with the Saudi Arabia branch in 2009. It forms a new group known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. It's claimed responsibility for sending two air freight packages containing bombs to the US in October last year.
The group also believed to be behind what's known as the Underwear Bomber plot, a failed attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound jetliner in December 2009.
Well, the radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki has been linked to the group, which is said to be a number of a hundred core operatives and many more sympathizers.
With me now for more on Yemen's security situation is Joost Hiltermann from the International Crisis Group, joining us from our Washington Bureau.
Al Qaeda not part of the power struggle, per se, going on in Yemen at the moment, but certainly a power vacuum there is a concern to the West. Should it be?
JOOST HILTERMANN, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Well, sure. A foreign faction in Yemen at the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula is a threat to Western interests.
There are a number of non-state actors in Yemen, including a powerful southern movement that is seeking reform but might also push for secession. There is a northern Houthi movement that is also pulling away at the center. And then there is al Qaeda, which has certain presence in the tribal areas and is protected there.
All of these are going to impinge on the future of Yemen and this would, of course, have an impact on the stability of the country, and that in turn has an impact on the -- how the international community is going to deal with it.
ANDERSON: How big a concern is al Qaeda, there, in its potential for taking advantage of this power vacuum?
HILTERMANN: Well, as I said, anybody there is going to try to take advantage of the power vacuum if that, in fact, is going to occur. Al Qaeda is present in the tribal areas, but it hasn't shown that it has real -- any popularity or traction in Yemen at large.
So, I doubt, actually, that it will be --
ANDERSON: Does that matter, though, I wonder, Joost? Does it matter whether it has support or Yemen at large as to whether it's successful from its base in Yemen, as it were, in conducting operations around the world?
HILTERMANN: Well, in fact, if it wants to conduct operations around the world, it would have to have a strong base in Yemen, and a logistical base. And I think if there is going to be chaos in Yemen, that actually would make it more difficult for al Qaeda.
ANDERSON: And do you think the international community buys that argument?
HILTERMANN: Well, I think the international community is so obsessed by the al Qaeda problem that they may not always see the reality. But al Qaeda is limited in Yemen, has been contained, and I think can continue to be so.
However, if there is a failed state situation in Yemen, then clearly al Qaeda will also try to benefit -- to take advantage of that.
ANDERSON: When you say it's been contained, how?
HILTERMANN: Well, al Qaeda as a candidate has no local popularity, and so it hasn't really been able to move out of the areas where it has found protection.
ANDERSON: Joost, we're going to leave it there, we thank you very much, indeed for joining us. An important story, and one that world leaders, certainly, at G-8 and the rest of us are watching as it unfolds. Thank you.
HILTERMANN: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Joost Hiltermann.
Running for cover from the devastating force of nature.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK WOOD, TORNADO SURVIVOR: She was basically standing, just staring at me. And I'm just trying -- I'm trying to get her to come in, and they were just -- you've got to shut the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Coming up, the moment an Oklahoma family scrambled to safety from a twister and the agonizing realization their beloved pet wasn't with them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't touch. Samantha!
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Oh!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: What remarkable stuff. Ripping through everything in its path, new, dramatic storm chaser video has surfaced from America's tornado zone. Growing in size, the twister tears through farmland. These pictures are from Oklahoma, which was hard-hit on Tuesday.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. It's been an historic tornado season in the US. Twisters have ripped through towns and farming communities in the Midwest, killing more than 500 people. This year's tornado season is now the worst since 1953.
Well, the giant weather system has now passed over several states, including Missouri, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Arkansas. A huge swathe of land. The biggest tornado damage is still from Sunday's Joplin, Missouri storm, with at least 125 dead. Rescuers refusing, though, to give up hope of finding more tornado survivors.
CNN's Jacqui Jeras is in Joplin, and she joins us now. Just looking behind you, quite remarkable stuff. What do we know of those missing at this point, Jacqui?
JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, that has been the big focus today, certainly, Becky, is on those missing people. And today, authorities released a list of 232 names of the missing and unaccounted for.
Now, that list only includes people who had reports filed for missing persons. So, that number could go up a little bit if some people who haven't done so start to file in the upcoming days.
Now, they do know on that list that some of those people are deceased, and they're working very hard to try and identify those people. They're working with families and having to use means like DNA reports as well as fingerprints and medical records to try and identify some of those people.
The process has been very slow, and authorities say the reason why that is is because they have to be a hundred percent accurate.
In the meantime, they continue to search. As of yesterday, there were no rescues that have taken place, and no additional bodies that have been found.
In fact, just a little while ago, we saw a team in here with dogs trying to search for people, but were being told by residents, at least on this street, which is Picher Street, that everybody came out of, at least on this block, OK.
But look at all of the rubble behind me. People have been allowed to get back into their homes today. They weren't here yesterday, so today they're sorting through their items and trying to find things that they can possibly salvage.
This family you see behind me, they were able to find one of their son's favorite toys, so they were pleased just to get the few things they can out of the remains. Becky?
ANDERSON: Yes, the devastation is quite incredible. Jacqui, thank you for that.
Well, some residents are frustrated. Many just want to go home and see how much damage has been done. But it is proving difficult. This report from Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The stories we're telling three days after the tornado here in Joplin, Missouri, are the same stories we were telling three days after the tsunami in Japan, and three days after the earthquake in Haiti. There's still a search for the missing.
Hundreds of people are still missing, but we must stress that doesn't mean they're all dead. That doesn't mean most of them are dead.
It does mean, however, that a few of them are dead, because we know, for example, one little boy who had been missing for three days was found today. His name was Skyular Logsdon.
We actually interviewed his father, Cord. His father was also injured in the tornado. We interviewed him in his hospital bed earlier in the day. He thought -- he hoped his son was alive.
And we just got the sad word a short time ago that the 16-month-old boy was identified at the morgue, and he is now one of the victims of this, the deadliest tornado in recorded weather history in the United States.
In addition to the search for the missing, there are people going back to their homes. They haven't been able to go back to their homes for three days.
Today, emergency officials allowed people to go back to their homes, provided they got a permit. And the problem was that it wasn't done particularly well. It wasn't organized, it wasn't particularly compassionate.
They told people they had to show up in a parking lot to get permits to go back to their homes. To apply for permits.
So, we counted more than 525 people in line in a parking lot at one point, waiting for four people to deal with the permits. And many of these people waited for hours in line just to go back to their homes.
In some cases, these people lost relatives, in some cases, their houses were completely destroyed and they just want to recover what was left. In other cases, their houses were fine, they just wanted to go back, but they had to wait for hours.
So, what we're seeing during this disaster, unlike many other disasters we've covered, is a lack of organization. Certainly, emergency officials have a lot to deal with, but they could be handling the situation a lot more compassionately, at least that's the way we feel right now.
This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, in Joplin, Missouri.
ANDERSON: When the Wood family from Oklahoma saw a twister heading straight for their home, they scrambled to safety. But one beloved member got left behind. Ed Lavandera has that story.
FRANK WOOD, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Stay in, everybody!
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the frantic moments.
WOOD: It's coming right over us! We're right in its path!
LAVANDERA: Just before Frank Wood scrambled up the stairs to his balcony and saw the tornadic beast for the first time, staring him straight in the eyes.
WOOD: That's once in a lifetime! You'll probably never see this again. And it's moving fast!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy crap!
WOOD: It's huge!
LAVANDERA: Wood rushed his children down into the garage and locked themselves in a rock-solid, reinforced safe room. But they couldn't grab the family's dog in time, a Boxer named Roxie.
WOOD: She was basically standing, just staring at me. And I'm just trying -- I'm trying to get her to come in, and they were just -- you've got to shut the door.
VINCENT WOOD, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I thought she was just going to get sucked up by the tornado.
LAVANDERA (on camera): So, kind of heartbreaking to close that door and leave her outside?
V. WOOD: Yes.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Time had run out.
WOOD: In fact, go! We've got to get in now!
LAVANDERA: Moments later, the tornado strikes the Woods' home.
WOOD: Here's the safe room.
LAVANDERA (on camera): That's a good thing to have.
WOOD: That's a very good thing to have. It saved our lives.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): This is what the house looked like before the Tornado, three stories tall, overlooking 12 green acres.
LAVANDERA (on camera): When you look at this house, it's amazing to think that it was once a three-story house.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The tornado shredded the top two stories. Frank Wood's pickup truck was thrown almost 300 yards into a ditch.
But Roxie is nowhere to be found, and eight-year-old Paisley Wood is devastated. We climbed through the rubble to find the sky is the ceiling, Frank Wood hunting for anything that might bring a smile to his daughter's face.
F. WOOD: This is her teddy bear she got when she had her appendix out about three months ago at Children's Hospital.
LAVANDERA: But Paisley can't stop thinking about her dog.
F. WOOD: Paisley cried for -- that was probably the most upsetting thing to the kids out of all of it was Roxie.
LAVANDERA: Then a phone call. One day after the storm and almost two miles away from the Woods' home, David Franco, an oil rig worker, sees a dog walking around his worksite.
DAVID FRANCO, CHESAPEAKE ENERGY: As soon as I saw her, I knew -- I knew that she belonged to somebody who, maybe their house got destroyed.
LAVANDERA: Paisley and her family jumped in their truck and raced to see if it's true that their dog had somehow managed to escape the tornado's grip.
Then, the moment they'd been hoping for --
F. WOOD: There, she's coming, right now.
PAISLEY WOOD, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Roxie!
LAVANDERA: It is Roxie.
F. WOOD: Thank you very -- ah! Here we go!
P. WOOD: Roxie!
F. WOOD: Bless her little heart.
LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Piedmont, Oklahoma.
ANDERSON: A good story for you.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Coming up, as Grand Prix excitement heats up on Monaco, we catch up with a royal resident who tells us why the race is such an important one, and how the winner is honored in a very special way. CNN after this short break. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. Now, revving up for what is arguably the most glamorous race on the Formula One calendar. It's the Monaco Grand Prix, the F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel had the fastest time in Thursday's race practice, first practice.
It's no surprise that Monaco's head of state, Prince Albert II, is a huge Formula One fan. Ahead of Sunday's prestigious event, he talked petrol heads and sustainability with our Don Riddell. Have a listen to this.
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The world of motor racing is a glamorous one, and Formula One drivers are often treated like princes.
Except for when they come to Monaco, of course, because their host for the week is a very real prince, and on Sunday evening, the winning driver will get to dine with Prince Albert. Motor racing is one of his greatest passions.
Welcome, Your Highness.
ALBERT II, SOVERIGN PRINCE OF MONACO: Monaco is such a part of the history of motor racing and the history of Formula One in this case that I would think it would be difficult to imagine a Formula One season without the Monaco Grand Prix. But, of course, I'm biased.
RIDDELL: There's a lot of tradition associated with the Monaco Grand Prix, one of which is the dinner that all the drivers attend on the Sunday afternoon, and the winner gets to have dinner with yourself. How did that tradition come around?
PRINCE ALBERT: My parents wanted to meet the drivers and their accompanying guests and have more of a chat other than the one that they had on the podium, and so it became pretty clear that that would be the case, that the winner and his or her wife or girlfriend and usually a team manager, also, comes and joins us and are guests at the table.
I think it's a wonderful tradition, and it's a wonderful way to sort of keep that connection.
RIDDELL: Do you think there'll be Grand Prix racing here forevermore?
PRINCE ALBERT: It's hard to say what lies ahead for us in the future, but I think we have a great relationship with the FIA and with the entities running Formula One. And I don't see anything changing in the near future, or at least for the next 10 or 11 years, because that's the cycle.
But I think beyond that, if there still is Formula One racing, it will evolve, of course, like every sport does, I think Monaco will be a part of it.
RIDDELL: There is little doubt that Prince Albert is an automobile enthusiast. You only have to pop down to his museum of antique cars to see that.
In the UK, we have a phrase for people who are into cars. We call them "petrol heads." Is there such a thing as a petrol head prince?
PRINCE ALBERT: Probably try to leave the world -- the word "petrol" aside and look more -- look more at sustainability and how we can -- how we also still can enjoy motor sports and car racing, but maybe do it in a more sustainable way in the future.
RIDDELL (voice-over): Green technology is just one of the prince's passions. He's also keen to continue his father's legacy in making Monaco a center for world sport and, at least once a year, he's able to combine football with Formula One.
But it's the race itself that is his biggest source of pride.
PRINCE ALBERT: History and the links between Monaco and motor racing make it a very special place, and the fact that it's -- that there are so many other events around the Grand Prix, that it's a great place for the different teams and different corporate sponsors to entertain, and they love coming here.
The fact that it's also on the waterfront and there's the marina that you know. I think all of this created quite a special atmosphere.
RIDDELL (on camera): Usually the Grand Prix is the biggest event of the year here in Monaco, but not this year. In just a month's time, the prince will marry Charlene Wittstock in a glittering ceremony. It'll be the biggest event here since his father married Grace Kelly back in 1956. And once again, the principality will be in a festive mood. Don Riddell, CNN, Monaco.
ANDERSON: We'll look forward to that race. All right. Don Riddell, there, closing out the show.
Not quite, in fact, because we've got a bit of a cheeky Parting Shots for you this evening. You see, we are focusing on what's being called a slight bump at the G-8 summit in Deauville.
Now, this is what I am talking about, and I'll let you be the judge. It is, of course, the lovely Carla Bruni, wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The style icon set tongues wagging somewhat by wearing these loose-fitting smock dress at the meeting in Paris today.
Just to be clear, the French first lady has not confirmed these pregnancy rumors. It could all be just a question of angles or time, I guess. We're going to have to wait and see.
I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected. Thank you for watching. We've been out of CNN Center for you this evening. The world news headlines and "BACKSTORY," as ever, will follow this short break. Don't go away.