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CONNECT THE WORLD

U.S. Federal Reserve Tapering Affecting Emerging Markets; Ukrainian Protesters Don't Trust Parliament, President; Snow Storm Paralyzes Atlanta

Aired January 29, 2014 - 15:00   ET

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


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Tonight, scaling down the stimulus -- the U.S. Federal Reserve pulls back, citing improved economic activity. This hour, as U.S. traders remain cautious, we'll ask what it means to the world's struggling emerging markets.

Also ahead, wild weather hits the American south. We'll have a live update as millions struggle through snowy conditions.

And the smiling stock chief, the fashion hits and misses you can expect to see at the Olympic games.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.

FOSTER: The U.S. federal reserve has announced further cuts to its stimulus program for the second straight month. A positive sign for the American economy seem to be finally recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. But markets were down on the news.

Let's take a look at where they currently stand. As you can see, they're all down and by more than 1 percent. So that's a significant fall. And that would be surprising when you consider the numbers.

Maggie Lake, what's going on?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Max. This is less about the markets selling on the fed as opposed to the fed not providing a reason to step in and buy and stem the slide. Their decision to continue with the taper widely expected. The fed said that on balance that the economic recovery continues. The labor market, they acknowledge a little bit, Max, but there was nothing that, you know, prevented them from continuing on reducing this stimulus, continuing with their plan, in fact.

And one analyst quipping that the fed have a stiff upper lip. Because what we have seen is a lot of market volatility recently not only a selloff in the U.S., really, from the beginning of the year, but a lot of volatility in emerging markets, especially those currencies.

The fed not making one mention of that in their statement, instead staying focused on the fundamentals and continuing on that plan to gradually withdraw taper. They're not (inaudible) policy. They're still very accommodative, but they are just continuing to wind down those bond purchases, Max.

FOSTER: Maggie, we're going to take a closer look at the situation in emerging markets together, because since the financial crisis in 2008 they've been benefiting from easy money thanks to these ultra-low interest rates and monetary stimulus in developed economies like the U.S. and the UK.

Slow growth in developed economies has meant investors have pumped their money into the faster growing emerging ones like India and Brazil, making them stronger and more successful. But recently that money has begun to dry up as developed nations begin to recover, cut monetary stimulus and draw investors back.

And as investors take their money out of emerging markets like Turkey and Argentina, their currencies have nose dived. That, in turn, has had a knockon affect on less troubled nations like Mexico and South Korea leading to instability in the emerging markets overall and what some are calling the third phase of the global financial crisis.

And it does feel, Maggie, doesn't it, that in terms of the global economy there's a fundamental shift going on here.

LAKE: That's right. And where all the growth and the gains and the yields had been in emerging markets while the developed countries struggled. It now does seem like it's switching.

Listen, Max, you know, it's just one thing that's going on with emerging markets. It's very important to point that out. Remember, the feds started to taper back in December. And we didn't see the kind of fallout that we are seeing right now.

It is a combination of things including the end of easy money coming from the fed, but also China slowing, that demand for commodities. And a lot of these countries are commodity based economies, is now fading a bit. And you have political situations different but happening in some of these countries.

So all of these things are coming together. The Federal Reserve, no doubt, knows that, which is probably why they decided not to react to this temporary situation if it turns out to be that in emerging markets. This is going to be the natural -- when the feds starting to pull that money back, a lot of people believe the emerging markets will be hardest hit.

But the fed sort of stopping taper of all a sudden probably won't get rid of some of those other problems, the underlying fundamentals.

So it's a kind of a complicated picture, one that global investors are watching very closely. And the fed, just because they didn't mention it in the statement, doesn't mean that the fed is not watching it. But it would have to be something systemic, something very large that affected the entire global economy for the Federal Reserve to decide to change policy based just on that.

But it is worrying. It's something to watch, because even though we saw central banks in those countries on South Africa and in Turkey raising interest rates -- in Turkey's case, very dramatically -- it didn't do anything to sort of stem the slide. So it is an area of concern, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Maggie, appreciate that.

Now Argentina has been a particular cause for concern with rising inflation set to reach around 30 percent this year. On Thursday, the peso fell a whopping 11 percent against the dollar, its steepest fall since the country's financial crisis in 2002.

And on Friday, they had a global selloff after announcing plans to ease foreign exchange controls.

Despite that, the Argentina Mervel seems to be flat. Here you can see the Merval closing a few minutes ago just down a fraction.

Well, for a closer look at the situation in Argentina I'm joined by Marcelo Etchebarne. He's from CEK Finance Group. Very much appreciate your time.

Is Argentina suffering in the same way as other emerging markets from this -- seems like this sort of cloud of cash that moves around the world and it moves in and then it can easily move out as well. It's basically coming back to where you are now to the U.S.

MARCELO ETCHEBARNE, CEK FINANCE GROUP: Well, thank you for having me.

You're absolutely right in what's going on globally. I think Argentina has its own problems. We'll be having high inflation for the last three or four years. If you look at 2000 -- early 2008, Argentina was yielding pretty much the same like Brazil. But since then, Argentina began tampering with inflation indexes and inflation has been north of 20 percent of the last couple of years. So the peso continued to get appreciated and dollar outflows began to grow significantly and central bank reserves have been depleting for the last several months -- especially the last 18 months.

Argentina has its own problems, which now get as rated by what's going on globally.

You know, a year ago, you would say that high yield was 4 percent. Well, 10 year treasures will be at 4 percent by the end of next year most likely. And Argentina wants (inaudible) 12, 14, 15 percent depending on what you're looking at.

So Argentina has its own problems, but at this point in time an increase in interest rates in the U.S. could be catastrophic in Argentina at some point during this year and this may happen either before March when companies begin to sell other products internationally or it could be after they finish selling it after September, closer to December when Argentina needs to make significant payments on the GDP warrants (ph) and other international bonds.

FOSTER: What's baffling to a lot of people who follow the markets over the last couple of decades is that we had the Asian financial crisis, you had a crisis in Argentina 12 years ago. And they were major crises, brought the countries -- Argentina was on its knees, its economy was on its knees. And we're only sort of a decade later and it's all happening again. It doesn't seem to have been any sort of structural change to protect it from this sort of happening again. We're just going to see it happen again. Nothing changed last time.

ETCHEBARNE: Well, this is certainly different from what happened before. Argentina had a peso begged to the dollar from 1991 to 2001. So it was really hard to make the evaluation. And when Argentina made the evaluation in 2002 we did not have significant inflation. The peso went from 1 to 3 and inflation was about 60 percent. So it didn't (inaudible) the evaluation.

Now, we have an evaluation of about 15 percent on Thursday of last week. And gas prices got increased by 13 percent. So the evaluation now in Argentina goes directly to prices on the economy and what happened over the last decade, I think, is that public spending began growing significantly. And Argentina could easily solve this problem by taking certain measures that this administration may not be ready to take.

FOSTER: Marcelo Etchebarne, very much appreciate your time. Thank you very much indeed.

There's much more to come on our website, in fact, including emerging markets editor John Defterios' take on the so-called fragile five. He writes that emerging markets have had a severe, albeit delayed fall from grace after the financial crisis that started in 2008. You can read about the ones to watch at CNN.com/business.

Still to come tonight, the prime minister is gone, but the protests continue. Is Ukraine on the brink of civil war? We'll have the latest live from Kiev.

Major travel chaos across the southeastern United States thanks to a winter storm. We'll be live on the icy streets of Atlanta for the very latest.

With just over a week to go before the Winter Olympics, we look at how athletes are trying to outshine each other with their fashion statements. All that and much more when Connect the World Continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.

Ukraine is in on the brink of civil war, that's the message from the country's first post-independence president Leonid Kravchuk was addressing a special parliamentary session called together to look for a way out of the crisis. Lawmakers are debating whether to grant amnesty to some 200 people arrested since protests began.

In his speech, President Obama called on Republicans and Democrats to work together, but Mr. Obama also acknowledged he may have to strike down some decisions made by congress. He promised to veto any new sanctions congress tries to place on Iran in case they threaten to derail the nuclear talks with Tehran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me be clear, if this congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks I will veto it. With our allies and partners, we're engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share -- preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: North Korea has issued a warning: stop the war games. In a rare news conference, North Korea's ambassador to China said that peace and stability on the peninsula hinges on South Korea adopting its military exercise -- stopping its military exercises with the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JI JAE RYONG, NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO CHINA (through translator): This time, we once again suggest that South Korea stop immediately without questions all hostile military actions with foreign powers, which opposes people of their same nationality.

Facing this, I pointed out that South Korea should make up the political mind to stop so-called defensive annual joint military exercises such is the key resolve in the (inaudible) eagles (ph) starting from the end of February.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: South Korea expressed regret today that the North has not responded to a proposal to resume reunions for families separated by the Korean War.

Three al Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt are among 20 people being referred to the country's criminal court to face trial, that's according to Egyptian state media. Isa Soares has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Egyptian police break up protests by Muslim Brotherhood supporters angry at the government's decision to declare the group a terrorist organization on December 25 of last year. Four days later, al Jazeera journalists Mohammed Fahme (ph), Peter Grester (ph), and Baha Mohammed (ph) were taken into custody after filming an interview with members of the outlawed group.

For a month, the trio was held without charge. But Egyptian prosecutors are now saying there are among 20 people who will stand trial on charges ranging from belonging to a terrorist organization to broadcasting false information.

News of the charges came just hours after family, friends and colleagues of the al Jazeera reporters held a press conference in London denying the accusations and demanding their release.

HEATHER ALLEN: It's not true. It's not true. We were doing nothing more than our jobs there that any one of you or our colleagues would be doing in Egypt at the moment.

SOARES: Many of the accused are being held here in Cairo's Tora Prison, including award-winning Australian journalist Peter Grester (ph) who describes in a letter of how he's being held in solitary confinement.

"I've been locked in my cell 24 hours a day for the past 10 days. Allowed out only for visits to the prosecutor for questioning," he writes before ending with a plea echoed by his father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cornerstone of any democracy has to be transparency and freedom of the media. And so, yes, in whatever way anybody can raise their voice from the very humble citizen level right down to the top political level. I think that we are clearly morally and ethnically all obliged to do that.

SOARES: For those now charged in Egypt, they'll no doubt be taking the fight to the courts.

Isa Soares, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: As we told you a few minutes ago, law makers in Ukraine are debating whether to grant amnesty to some 200 people arrested since protests began. But will this do anything to quell the violence that has plagued the country since late last year.

Monitoring that is Diana Magnay. She's joining us now live from Kiev -- Diana.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Max.

Well, lawmakers have decided to stay inside the parliament building until this issue is resolved, the issue of whether to grant an amnesty to all those, some 200 or more, who were detained over the course of the last two months here in Kiev. One of the conditions that President Yanukovych said he was trying to make as a condition for that amnesty was that people would clear the squares, but that looks highly unlikely, not just in Kiev but elsewhere as this unrest has spread across western, central and eastern Ukraine.

Another sticking point apparently in these discussions inside the parliament is the role of the (inaudible) riot police and the level of accountability that they will be given, Max.

But, you know, in the last day we have seen some significant concessions, which I suppose the opposition would perceive as steps in the right direction with the resignation of the prime minister and his -- therefore his cabinet, an appointment of a new interim prime minister today. And the repeal of these hated anti-protest laws.

Now Max, I want to bring in Irena Karpa who is a Ukrainian singer and author. And I'm just going to step out and bring her in.

Irena, thanks for being with us. You have been down in the square for the last two months right from the start. What is going to make you leave it? What do you want to see the parliament deciding?

IRENA KARPA, SINGER AND AUTHOR: Well, we all want to see the same things. Right now, we are standing there for justice and for basic safety, because you know we cannot step back, because we have a threat of a mass repressions in that case. And this is actually why people get ready, because they saw if they remain in the same like connected state, which is going to be all like (inaudible) massive persecution.

And right now we have like this Yanukovych has to go away and all like the -- we want full (inaudible) like for all members of his family and everyone who ever worked with him, they have to be away for all the time.

So we want to go back to constitution of 2004. And we want to have urgent elections after that. And of course we want all these people to be released, but I think it's not the matter of this negotiations, they just have to be released. It's really -- it's really weird. It's horrible that the subject of this negotiation...

MAGNAY: It shouldn't be a matter of negotiation.

But, you know, everybody says to me we want President Yanukovych to go, but you elected him. He is a democratically elected president. You're fighting for democracy. You can't just get rid of leaders if they don't work for you and vote through until somebody does presumably.

KARPA: I think he was not the loyal president. I mean, like he was not a legal president. I mean, and we have this (inaudible) commission who agreed, like this change of constitution it was against the law and I'm very sure that Yanukovych stole the result of previous elections. And Tymoshenko, who was his counterpart, she's now in jail as we all know. I did not vote for Yanukovych, but I think it's the fault of everyone, like me, who was too lazy to go and to fight and to vote, you know. Like that power is usually elected by good people who do not go to elections.

So right now, I think it's these people will be more conscious and more politically active about it.

But if Yanukovych does not work for us, we have a right to -- I don't know, demolish him. And we have a right to if the next person who is like this, we also have a right to protest, you know. And right now what we do is we need to focus on the life after Yanukovych, not to repeat our mistakes of protests and revolutions, for example in Egypt, you know. It's like you have one bad person replacing another bad person.

MAGNAY: But one principle argument against what happened in the revolutions in Egypt are the sort of pace of events there is that they got rid of their democratically elected president, which you've also said that you're keen on doing.

Let's move this on to whether you have much faith in process going through the parliament right now. Do you believe, do you trust what's going on there?

KARPA: No. No, way. I do not trust them. And more, I believe like, OK, maybe I'm (inaudible) too much, but I think that the regime -- we should not have any negotiations with the regime, because like if they give like little bits, it means like we'll be fooled again, you know.

They only have to satisfy all the -- all our needs and all the things we ask for, you know. So -- and all this like one prime minister is going to be replaced by another one and like all these things they do not really work, you know, because -- so what's going on now in the parliament I think we need to stand as much as we can, because right now it doesn't matter where you are even like you're in a bar drinking beer with your friends or you're throwing Molotov -- you are threatened in the same way, you know, because they do not care. Are you guilty or not?

And what's the horrible thing, this may be -- it's not very shown -- like we do not feel safe here. We cannot call the police, because the police are going to arrest you if you call, if you call for help. You cannot go if you're injured, you cannot go to the hospitals because doctors will call the police and you'll be taken even if you're not conscious. And the doctors do not do like do not give satisfactory medical care. Of course, there are examples. There are people who -- yeah...

MAGNAY: We're going to have to leave it there.

And I'll just move you out of the way and say to Max, finish that off -- clearly a list of very strong grievances there from protesters, Max. And also some very high expectations, which you can't help but feel this parliamentary session, at least, is not going to meet -- Max.

FOSTER: Appreciate your time, Diana. Thank you very much indeed.

Live from London, this is Connect the World.

Coming up, snow day or snowmageddon, we'll have a report on the freak weather causing chaos in the U.S. southeast.

And the UK says it will provide a place for some of Syria's most desperate. We ask if the country and the continent is doing enough.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: A rare snow storm has paralyzed parts of the southern United States. From Texas to Alabama cities more accustomed to dealing with tropical storms found themselves dealing with snow and ice overnight. The winter storm only brought around two inches of snow, but it caused a travel nightmare, mainly because of icy roads. There were hundreds of crashes, drivers stranded for more than 12 hours and thousands of students forced to spend the night at school.

Let's get the very latest on the freak weather battering the United States. Michael Holmes is at home in freezing Atlanta.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Max. I've got to tell you, you would envy a commute like this, wouldn't you. The freeways on this part of the Atlanta system are actually moving really freely at the moment. That was not the case last night. And there are still major jams on other freeways around the city. Pretty bad.

Now this is what you see at the moment now. All of these cars here were abandoned last night because the conditions were just so treacherous. The police actually came along -- and there's one over there -- that yellow tape. They actually came along, checked each car in case there was somebody in there and they had to get him out. That sort of says that that car is clear.

Now on the other freeway we were on earlier, it's called I-20 just south of the city earlier, unbelievable traffic jam there. And we spoke to one man who was -- let's call it a good Samaritan. He was walking around trying to help people out. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WHITE, GOOD SAMARITAN: Well, I just came here and I brought some water and some towels to see if anybody was stranded, to see if any families needed some water. And I actually met some other Samaritans with - - they gave me some gas and they actually gave me some gas to help out some more people, so -

HOLMES: So you're literally walking down the freeway looking for people who have run out of gas?

WHITE: Correct. I've found two people, two couples I'm going to bring back to my house and let them warm up a little bit, give them some food.

HOLMES: So, why you doing it?

WHITE: I'm just doing it just to help. So I look on the news and they say they had trouble getting to the people, so I thought I might come out here just to help and lend an extra hand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: All right, Max.

Well, this is a problem now. I think they've got to be clearing up the last of those traffic jams, because let's face it everybody is at home now. They're not going anywhere. School is canceled again for tomorrow, because a lot of the moisture that's still on these roads is going to freeze again overnight.

The parking lot is what you're seeing on a lot of these freeways now, abandoned cars. And we've been watching tow trucks actually coming and hauling them off while we've been here. So if you are watching in Atlanta and your car is here, you better come get it -- Max.

FOSTER; There's got to be some sympathy for the authorities there, because this isn't something that you have every day, is it? So they're not necessarily well practiced in handling it. But I gather that the authorities are accused of not handling the situation afterwards particularly well.

HOLMES: Well, I've got to tell you, the authorities I've heard speak today -- the mayor and the governor, it's a bit of a hot potato. They're all saying, well, it wasn't us. It wasn't us. We helped and you know this all just happened. But they had something like this happen in 2011. And it was a nightmare. We were all locked down downtown for like three days because the city shut down. And before this storm rolled in all the city officials were saying we've got it covered. We learned from last time.

Well, you know what, they didn't. And there's a lot of people who are angry about that.

You know, you had people sitting right where I am now in cars overnight in sub-zero temperatures. It was an absolutely extraordinary situation. The preparations that were made were not enough and did not kick in soon enough and people around here are still pretty angry and asking a lot of questions, Max.

FOSTER: Michael, thank you very much indeed. Hope you get home tonight.

Now the latest world news headlines just ahead.

Plus, they'll call him Mr. Mayor. He says he's more like Mr. Fixit. Meet the man who is keeping a careful eye over one of the world's biggest refugee camps.

U.S. death row inmate has had a stay of execution at the 11th hour. We'll tell you the reason why and the debate it sparked a little later in the program.

Stars, stripes and all colors of the rainbow -- we take a closer look at the showstopping outfits for this year's Winter Olympics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories this hour. Ukraine's parliament is debating whether to grant amnesty to more than 200 people arrested since anti-government protests began last November. This comes a day after a big government shakeup that saw the prime minister and his cabinet resign.

Three Al Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt are being referred to the country's criminal court to face trial. That's according to Egyptian state media, who says they're accused of broadcasting false information and rumors about the nation's political unrest.

Authorities in the US state of Georgia are urging people to stay off the roads so crews can clear the ice and snow. The weather continues to cause chaos across much of the southeastern United States. In Alabama, at least five people have died in traffic accidents.

Portuguese and British authorities have met in the Algarve to discuss the case of Madeleine McCann. The British girl was three-years-old when she disappeared in 2007 whilst on vacation with her family.

Efforts to negotiate peace in Syria are moving slowly. Delegates from the two Syrian sides agreed today to negotiate within a framework which includes a transitional government. The negotiations between the UN and Syria's regime to get aid into the rebel-held city of Homs remains stuck. UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi said his expectations for the first round of talks are low.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, UN MEDIATOR: I'm not disappointed because I did not expect any result this first time. This is exactly what I thought we would do is just talk to one another and also agree that we will continue talking to one another. So this is what we have achieved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: The UK has agreed to take some of Syria's neediest people. Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new resettlement plan which would prioritize victims of sexual violence, torture, and disabilities. They didn't specify how many people the scheme would help, though. The Home Secretary stressed the terms of the plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, UK HOME SECRETARY: First, we are determined to assure that our assistance is targeted where it can have the most impact on the refugees at greatest risk. The program will focus on individual cases where evacuation from the region is the only option.

In particular, we will prioritize help for survivors of torture and violence, and women and children at risk or in need of medical care who are recommended to us for relocation by UNHCR.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Europe's intake of Syrian refugees is poor. If we take a look at who's taking what, the figures speak for themselves. We heard today that the UK will allow some people into the country, although that figure is unknown because they are not saying an exact number.

Spain has said it will only allow 30. France just 500. And Germany more generous, taking 80 percent of all the EU pledges. Compare that to the Middle East intake of people. Lebanon, numbers nearing a million. Turkey and Jordan, over half a million each. Even in the midst of its own political upheaval, Egypt has allowed in ten times more people than the whole of the EU.

The UK's resettlement plan is separate from the UN drive to find homes for displaced people. Earlier, I asked Melissa Fleming, the spokeswoman for the UNHCR, if the UK's efforts are enough.

<15:35:10>

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA FLEMING, SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE HIGH COMMISSIONER, UNHCR: Well, the vast majority of Syrian refugees wish to stay in the neighboring countries, because they're hoping for peace and they're hoping to return home very soon.

There are a number of refugees among them who need help, who are not coping well in exile in these countries. These are the people who we identify as being very vulnerable and who we will then submit to countries like the UK for consideration for resettlement or humanitarian admission. So, this is what they've announced today.

Any number is welcome. UNHCR has a goal of 30,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees being resettled by the end of this year.

FOSTER: Did you come up against any barriers, particularly European countries, where there's a sense -- there's a big debate, as you know, about the movement, the migration of people and settlement of people across Europe. Did you come up to some barriers saying actually, this isn't the right time to be allowing refugees into our countries?

FLEMING: We're calling on all European countries and all countries in the world to keep their borders open for Syrian refugees. And we're disturbed that we've seen in some European border countries Syrians being pushed back or drowning at sea.

This is something that needs to be reversed. We believe all Syrians who come to a border of a European country should be admitted and considered as legitimate asylum-seekers fleeing from a horrible war.

FOSTER: What number would you put as the figure right now?

FLEMING: We -- there are about a little over 18,000 places that have been accepted. The United States, though, has also said that they are willing to take and resettle Syrian refugees. They just haven't given us a number. So that could be an increase above and beyond that could be quite significant.

FOSTER: Are you still frustrated that some of the larger, richer countries are only taking a very small amount of people when actually some of the smaller countries are taking more?

FLEMING: We are saying that we need a bit of everything. We need huge funds to help the 2.5 million refugees in the neighboring countries. We need countries to step up and support those hosting countries so that they can continue to accept the thousands that are fleeing across into their countries every day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: The Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan is currently home to 100,000 Syrian refugees. Many business-minded Syrians have stepped up, but some of their ventures may not be exactly legal. Atika Shubert spoke with the camp's unofficial mayor, who casts a firm but gentle eye on the camp.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some people call him the mayor of Zaatari. Kilian Kleinschmidt's technical title is UNHCR Senior Field Coordinator. He calls himself Mr. Fix-it.

SHUBERT (on camera): What was the camp like when you first got here?

KILIAN KLEINSCHMIDT, UNHCR SENIOR FIELD COORDINATOR: This camp was a very unpleasant place. Unpleasant for the refugees, unpleasant for ourselves. It was not safe to work here. We had people who were afraid of getting into the camp because the refugees were very aggressive.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Today, it is impossible to walk more than five minutes without a chat.

KLEINSCHMIDT: He's the first man who started actually believing that we wanted to make a change.

SHUBERT: We are invited into one lovingly-decorated home.

SHUBERT (on camera): Oh, wow. Your face is everything.

SHUBERT (voice-over): And then another. Corrugated metal box on the outside, a family home on the inside.

SHUBERT (on camera): I guess at some point, people must have thought, I'm only going to be here for a little while. But then as the months went on, they realized they were going to be here a lot longer. And that's when they started --

(CROSSTALK)

KLEINSCHMIDT: The more of the situation --

SHUBERT: -- moving in.

KLEINSCHMIDT: -- inside of Syria we can mess with, the more division of the opposition and the different forces became evident, the more they understood they're not going to go home soon.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Everything in Zaatari is moveable, and anything is for sale. Each family is allotted one of these units, but in the camps gray market, they sell for $1,000 a piece.

KLEINSCHMIDT: In the very beginning, when they invented these things to move these trailers around, confiscated a few of these things, and then gave up.

SHUBERT: Zaatari has had a boom in self-employed electricians, stealing from the power lines. And Kilian decides to confront one of them on our tour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If you have a home and you have kids in the home and it's completely dark in the home, wouldn't you want to go and see how the kids --

KLEINSCHMIDT: Do you know what we're doing? I could switch you off. There's another electrician up there, doing something very, very naughty.

<15:40:00>

(LAUGHTER)

KLEINSCHMIDT: A refugee camp is not a storage for people. A refugee camp is about people. They are showing us how it should be, and they're showing us the way forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you speak Arabic?

KLEINSCHMIDT: No. Not one word.

SHUBERT: Kilian almost seems to delight in the innovations of camp residents.

SHUBERT (on camera): Where there's a will, there's a way.

(LAUGHTER)

SHUBERT: It's a vegetable, or herbs. They're herbs.

(MEN SPEAKING ARABIC)

SHUBERT: Did you ever look out here and think, this is my city?

KLEINSCHMIDT: No. It's their city. I think when we look at that and we see it being a quiet place, and we're all proud. It's maybe not the size of it, it's more the complexity of human relations, which has been very difficult for all of us to understand. And that has been -- that has been the difficult part. My job is to fix things, so I think we manage to do a big difference here.

SHUBERT: I think a lot of the residents agree with you. Not the electrician, though.

KLEINSCHMIDT: No.

(LAUGHTER)

KLEINSCHMIDT: He was very unhappy.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Atika Shubert, CNN, Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: And trying to build some semblance of a normal life is a daunting challenge faced by millions of Syrians forced from their homes.

We want to take a moment to highlight a new feature on our website. It shows you just what life is like inside the Zaatari Refugee Camp, home to some 100,000 Syrians of all ages. Click on the interactive buttons for reports that show you how residents are coping from basic needs, like finding electricity, to growing herbs and spices for sale at the markets. Find that all at cnn.com/middleeast.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. There's renewed legal debate over the death penalty in the US, this time over lethal injections. We'll explain the controversy next.

Competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics doesn't start for more than a week, but already medals for uniforms' style are being handed out. The fashion wins and fails come next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: The US Supreme Court has granted a temporary stay of execution for a death row inmate in the state of Missouri. Herbert Smalls was scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday night until the Supreme Court intervened.

His lawyers filed a last-minute appeal, wanting the state to disclose the drugs that would be used in his execution. The 56-year-old was convicted of killing a man and wounding his wife whilst robbing their jewelry store in 1991.

Many American states have been forced to find new drug protocols after European-based manufacturers banned US prisons from using their drugs in executions. Civil rights groups, legal and medical experts have already called into question the controversial mix of drugs that some states are using.

Earlier this month, Oklahoma authorities executed Michael Lee Wilson. He reportedly said, "I feel my whole body burning" within moments of his injection.

Two weeks ago, Ohio death row inmate Dennis McGuire appeared to gasp and convulse for roughly ten minutes before he died. Officials there used a new combination of drugs in his lethal injection. McGuire's son was at the execution and described the scene.

<15:45:10>

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS D. MCGUIRE, SON OF EXECUTED DENNIS MCGUIRE: I watched his stomach heave. I watched him try to sit up against the straps on the gurney. I watched him repeatedly clench his fists. It appeared to me he was fighting for his life, but suffocating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, let's bring in Richard Dieter, he's the director of the Death Penalty Information Center, and he joins me now from our Washington, DC bureau. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. And for those around the world not as familiar with the issue as you, what are the options when it comes to the death penalty? Is it purely lethal injection right now?

RICHARD DIETER, DIRECTOR, DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER: It is, although some states are proposing going back to older methods, like electrocution or the firing squad. But all states and the federal government use lethal injection. The differences are which drugs and where are they getting them from.

FOSTER: And we've reported before about how the European drugs aren't necessarily going over to the US anymore. So what are the alternatives they're currently using?

DIETER: Well, they're turning to something called compounding pharmacies. These are small pharmacies in each state that are not highly regulated, and they'll mix a drug, one dose, from a doctor's prescription, and they'll do it from raw ingredients.

But apparently, even these small medical facilities are having second thoughts, because some states, like Ohio and Louisiana, are now having to turn to even different drugs. They're not able to get them even from compounding pharmacies.

Which, by the way, have somewhat of a checkered history. There's been contaminated drugs made by these small organizations and have affected a lot of people in the US in an adverse way.

FOSTER: So, what's the solution here for those that still want to continue using the injections?

DIETER: Well, I think states will find some way to carry this out. I think the death penalty is on the defensive, it is being used less. But the fundamental issues are the mistakes and the unfairness. I think states will either find a new drug or a new way to make it that's acceptable to everyone. There's lots of drugs that could kill people.

But slowly, there are less death sentences, less executions, and I think that's sort of the future of the death penalty. They'll figure out this method thing, but they can't figure out how to ensure that no innocent people are ever convicted or that it's fair across the board for everyone.

FOSTER: But in the meantime, people on death row will continue going to the Supreme Court, and on the evidence that we've seen so far, will continue getting stays of execution. So, is that going to be the norm, now, until they find a solution? And were you surprised by that ruling in the first place?

DIETER: Well, I was surprised. I was up last night, and I was surprised that the Supreme Court stayed the execution. But that is not the norm. Generally, the Supreme Court -- there have been five other executions just in January of this year that have already taken place with similar claims, with claims about the problems with the drugs, and the Supreme Court did not stop those.

So, I think the court is maybe getting closer to saying look, states, you have to tell the defendant what you're using, where it's coming from, the credentials of the people preparing it. That's just elementary fairness. And that's sort of a brewing issue.

I don't think they want to micromanage and say you have to use this drug versus that drug, so this issue may be coming to a head and we may be getting another court review. But most executions are still going forward. Texas executed 16 people last year.

FOSTER: In terms of the public response to the alternatives -- as you say, firing squads, gas chambers, electrocution -- would any of them be acceptable to the US public in this day and age?

DIETER: That's a good question. The states changed to the lethal injection method solely of their own volition. They weren't forced to it by the courts. In other words, they thought that lethal injections would be more acceptable, more antiseptic and palatable to the American public, and I think they're right.

There's something very grisly about a bloody execution or fiery, smokey, electrocution that is so antiquated that's it outside of our standards of decency. So, I don't think states are going to rush, really, to pass these things, even if they're being proposed.

And I'm not so sure the courts would not find them so unusual as to be a violation of our cruel and unusual clause in the eight amendment. So, passing those laws would create more problems than lethal injection has.

FOSTER: OK. Dieter -- Richard Dieter, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Washington, DC.

Well, there's been a lot of reaction online to this story. Here are some of the comments that people have been leaving on cnn.com, the article that we had up there.

<15:50:00>

Angel1959 writes, "Why should we care whether or not anyone suffers -- or he suffers. A non-violent man? Last time I checked, non-violent people do not commit murder."

Jeanne Tomlin replied to that, writing, "You would support torturing him to death? Thanks, but no thanks. I would prefer a civilization that is at least a step above absolute barbarity."

And Bob Johnkims wrote this. "The content of the drugs is irrelevant. It doesn't change the sentence. I would have hoped the Supreme Court would see beyond that."

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, security might be tight in Sochi, but they have remembered to call the fashion police, at least. We'll tell you why when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Forget London, Paris, or Milan. It looks like this year's biggest fashion show will be on the snowy slopes of Sochi. Here are some of the contenders. Host Russia have kept it simple, using colors reflecting the Russian flag, whilst the US shows their modern take on the classic stars and stripes.

Norway's curling team went out on a limb with their matching zigzag suits that may be distracting to the eye. But it's no match for Germany's rainbow extravaganza. And flying solo would be the Mexican skier, whose only aim is to win the title of best-dressed at Sochi.

With more on this and what's in store for us at Sochi, I'm joined by celebrity stylist Casey Paul.

CASEY PAUL, CELEBRITY STYLIST: Hi, there.

FOSTER: What do you think?

PAUL: Well, there's a big mix there, isn't there? We've got Mr. Mexican.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: And then we've got Ralph Lauren, who designed for the American team. Very patriotic.

FOSTER: They're very aggressive, though, aren't they, these colors and patterns?

PAUL: Well, the Norwegian one is.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Have we got a picture of the Norwegian one there again?

FOSTER: We have got the --

PAUL: That's very outlandish. I think very -- it was kind of expected for Norway, the funky four, this is nothing new for them.

FOSTER: OK, so this one --

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: They're not taking it very seriously.

FOSTER: -- this zigzag, what do you think of this one?

PAUL: Where am I looking for it?

FOSTER: Oh, there you go.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: It's very outlandish.

FOSTER: It's not nice, though, is it?

PAUL: It's not nice. The trousers don't even fit them properly.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: But as I said, it's nothing new for Norway. They've done this before. I think it's kind of expected for them.

FOSTER: It stands out on the slopes. Blank white slopes.

PAUL: Yes.

FOSTER: Is that the thinking?

PAUL: But the colors are patriotic, I guess.

FOSTER: Are you a big fan of just going for it with sort of winter wear?

PAUL: What do you mean, going for it?

FOSTER: Well, what's the -- why do we get these extreme sort of patterns and colors?

PAUL: I think this to stand out, isn't it? And they want to be patriotic.

FOSTER: Yes.

PAUL: I mean the uniforms are meant to represent patriotism and culture. So, I think they're trying to do -- I mean, he isn't.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: But they are trying to stick with these things.

FOSTER: I guess part of that is about technology, isn't it? That you can have a ski suit and you can have it done in whatever way you like, but he's just having a laugh, isn't he?

PAUL: Well, he just wants to be the center of attention. He doesn't really care.

FOSTER: Nothing wrong with that.

PAUL: Didn't he make a statement that he wanted to be the most stylish at the Olympics?

FOSTER: OK, let's have a look at Russia, because people are talking about that as well. Very simple.

PAUL: Very simple.

FOSTER: Are you bored by that?

PAUL: I think they wanted to be classy, didn't they? Simple, classic. They're hosting. They wanted it very clean.

FOSTER: Yes.

PAUL: There can't be much controversy around that, can there?

<15:55:00>

FOSTER: And we'll look at the German one now, and actually, you can approve of the colors or not --

PAUL: Wow.

FOSTER: -- but actually, this is -- they have to wear these outfits, don't they, because they're in the particular environment and they have to stay warm. But they also have to have these sort of flexible outfits as well to let them ski. So, it's quite a hard thing to design for, presumably.

PAUL: Yes, but I think this one's very, very controversial at the moment. The colors are, as you can see, the rainbow colors, which represent the gay pride movement, and there's a lot of media surrounding this saying that they're making a clear protest --

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: Some people saying it's just a coincidence.

PAUL: The designer's saying it's a clear coincidence. I think this one was done with Adidas in collaboration with Adidas, and I think they're saying that it's fun, it's fashionable, the colors are fashionable for the summer, which they are. And that they're paying respect to the 1972 Games in Munich. But -- yes, there's a lot of controversy around this because of this --

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: If you were designing, would you go sort of straightforward like the Russian style, or would you go for a bit of that?

PAUL: Oh, fun.

FOSTER: Fun?

PAUL: Yes, definitely. Why not?

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: There we have the US. So, they spent a lot of money on this, presumably, because this is a major designer.

PAUL: This one was Ralph Lauren. He's done it four times, I believe. And he got a lot of grief for it in 2010. And I don't think he cares. He's done it again. He's even more patriotic this time.

FOSTER: Well, that's --

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: The flag everywhere.

FOSTER: -- it has to reflect that patriotism, doesn't it? Because the US support their team. They need to get behind them.

PAUL: This is a walking flag, isn't it? A walking flat.

FOSTER: And is that sort of knitted look coming back there?

PAUL: Yes, it is. Although I don't think it ever goes out, does it? But I think that one's been likened to the Christmas jumpers. You know, the really -- they say the tacky Christmas jumpers are similar to them.

FOSTER: Absolutely.

PAUL: But they've become cool, haven't they?

FOSTER: Have they?

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: I'd better get one. OK, well thank you very much, indeed.

PAUL: Thank you for having me.

FOSTER: And we'll see how they look on the slopes.

PAUL: Thank you.

FOSTER: The team at CONNECT THE WORLD would love to hear from you, facebook.com/CNNconnect. You can have your say, and you can have your opinions expressed online about those crazy colors and the styling and whether or not you think it's patriotic or bad taste. You can also tweet me @MaxFosterCNN.

I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you very much indeed for watching. See you again tomorrow.

END