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CONNECT THE WORLD
8.2 Earthquake Hits Chile; NATO Weighs Response To Russia; Malaysian Inspector General Calls Flight 370 A Criminal Investigation; Afghan Special Forces Fight To Protect Elections
Aired April 2, 2014 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JONATHAN MANN, HOST: The passengers have been cleared, but some members of the crew are still under investigation as the mystery of the missing jetliner continues tonight, a closer look at the changes needed to ensure the tragedy is never repeated.
Also this hour...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it's absolutely critical that we present both and air, maritime and land picture...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: NATO bolsters its forces in the eastern Baltic states. Why Moscow views the west as the real aggressor.
Plus, Beijing, Paris and now London, how the air you breathe could be damaging your health.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.
MANN: Thanks for joining us, Malaysian authorities are pleading for patience as they redouble their efforts to find missing flight 370. Police say the investigation can't be rushed and they're pouring over every little detail. Investigators say they've cleared all 227 passengers of any role in the plane's disappearance. They say they've interviewed 170 people and will question more.
Last week, a senior Malaysian government official told CNN that authorities have found nothing about either of the pilots to suggest a possible motive for them. And mechanical failure hasn't been ruled out either.
It's more than three weeks now since the plane vanished. Despite an exhaustive global search effort, no trace of the aircraft has been found.
Let's go to Kuala Lumpur now, that's where senior international correspondent Sara Sidner joins us live once again. Sara, we seem from the very start to have been learning things through channels you wouldn't really expect. That seems to have happened again. What can you tell us?
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I mean what's happening is there is less and less information and more and more desire for it as time ticks down. You know that the flight and voice data recorders, their batteries only have 30 plus days before they start to diminish. And so there's a lot of worry on the families' part that the information they're getting is not fast enough and that they really want to know the answer to a couple of questions. And they're just not getting those answers from authorities.
But we have heard now from the top investigator that they are still looking into this as, you know, a criminal investigation.
Let me let what you hear what he has said today as he was simply coming out of a meeting and the local media happened to be standing by.
SIDNER: As the search drags on well into its fourth week with no sign of a missing plane, an off the cuff comment to the Malaysian media, the Malaysian police inspector general Khalid Abu Bakar made one thing clear.
KHALID ABU BAKAR, MALAYSIAN POLICE INSPECTOR GENERAL: This is a criminal investigation. It is ongoing. We have not concluded the whole thing. And we are still waiting for expertise reports from experts overseas and internally.
SIDNER: So far, investigators have managed to interview 170 people and cleared all 227 passengers on board. Now, it's back to looking at the crew and anyone else with access to the plane, everyone from the workers who loaded the cargo to the pilots in the cockpit.
BAKAR: Everything. From beginning to the end. Just imagine how many people we need to interview.
SIDNER: It is a painstaking process that so far has revealed very little about what might have led to the plane's disappearance.
BAKAR: Even the food -- who prepared the food for the passengers on the plane? That also we have to look into every detail of it.
SIDNER: In the meantime, CNN has confirmed through sources that Malaysia airlines is increasing its security in light of what happened to Flight MH370. The new measures include a rule saying no pilot or first officer will be allowed to remain alone in the cockpit where the communications were either deliberately switched off or malfunctioned.
As the days drag on, the families are more desperate for answers, worried time is running out as the batteries on the flight data and voice recorders come closer to fading.
The media waiting for details after the family briefings is more aggressive as news conferences reveal few details.
Sir, can you tell us anything about the meeting? Can you tell us anything about what the families were asking?
Is there anything new in the investigation that you were able to share with the families?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is technical question. And I (inaudible)
SIDNER: But the police inspector general is talking and admitted something that government officials have not said publicly until now when asked about the plane's disappearance and the cause, he said.
BAKAR: We may not even know the reason of this incident, you see. We may not even know that.
SIDNER: That is the last thing families want to hear as they wait with heavy hearts for the answers to two simple questions -- where is the plane with their loved ones? And why did it disappear?
SIDNER: And so you're hearing from that police inspector. And you know the investigators are still looking at four things, those looking into this as a criminal matter, looking at potential hijacking, sabotage, personal problems and psychological issues. But they can't rule out everything, because they still haven't found the most important piece of evidence, and that would be, of course, the flight data recorders and the flight voice recorder -- Jonathan.
MANN: Sara Sidner, live for us once again. Thanks very much.
So, here's where we stand, in an age where you can track a package delivery, microchip your pets, find a lost smartphone, why can't investigators find an enormous airliner? Air travelers are demanding changes. And now the air travel industry is scrambling to respond. Jim Clancy takes a closer look.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We can't find it. We're not even sure we're looking in the right place, because flight 370's transponder was purposely shut down by someone in the cockpit, or failed, search teams have been left to scour millions of square nautical miles.
Tech savvy travelers wonder why. The director of the powerful International Air Transport Association acknowledges the industry must act.
TONY TYLER, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: We need to be in the position to track aircraft through the whole entire length of their flight, even if they go outside an all-radar coverage and so on.
We need to now look at the best way, most effective way, of tracking aircraft wherever they may happen to be.
CLANCY: The agony of the families of those missing only adds urgency to act.
JAY MONROE, CEO, GLOBALSTAR: You can continuously track one second at a time for continuously across any trip and know exactly where an airplane is. That is invaluable. And in the case of 370, it would have told us whether the plane turned, whether the plane continued straight and when it stopped emitting altogether.
CLANCY: As flight 370's disappearance became a global talking point, so did weaknesses in security. Millions of travelers allowed to board planes with only minimal checks of their identities, including the two men who boarded flight 370 with stolen passports.
TYLER: Let me be very clear, the airline's role is to fly aircraft and to carry people, it's government's role to make sure that people aren't traveling on fake or stolen or other invalid passports.
Border control is a government activity.
CLANCY: Interpol says it takes just seconds to reveal if a passport is among the 40 million known lost or stolen in its database. IATA wants a single, harmonized system so airlines can quickly submit data to governments for screening.
MANN: The puzzle has captured the world's attention. What are you thinking about this modern mystery? The team at Connect the World wants to hear from you. Facebook.com/CNNConnect have your say and tweet me @JonathanMannCNN. Send me your thoughts. @JonathanMannCNN.
Still to come tonight, Chile on alert -- nearly a million people are evacuated after an earthquake strikes off the country's northern coast. We'll have a live report from Santiago.
Also, Egypt on edge after a deadly attack outside Cairo University. We'll have a live update.
And with thousands of flights grounded, nearly half a million passengers are scrambling to rearrange their travel plans. We'll bring you the details of the Lufthansa pilot strike next.
All that and much more when connect the world returns.
MANN: Welcome back. You're watching Connect the World with Jonathan Mann, me. Thanks for joining us.
Nearly a million people have been evacuated from their homes in Chile after an 8.2 magnitude quake struck off the country's northern coast. At least six people died and more than 2,500 homes sustained damage. The quake triggered small landslides, caused power outages and generated a small tsunami. Nearly 300 prisoners escaped just after the quake, but 131 have turned themselves in.
For more, let's cross to Rolando Santos, senior vice president of our sister network CNN Chile joining us now live from Santiago.
The country has now had a chance to take stock of the deaths and the damage and even this prison break. What can you tell us?
ROLANDO SANTOS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CNN CHILE: Jonathan, basically at this point there are three key issues. The number of aftershocks, more than 94 and many of them at 5.0 or greater. The second issue is although there are more than 300 people being moved in to help rescue operations et cetera, et cetera, the biggest issue tonight is going to be water and electricity that's a part of the country that's very dry, it's an arid area. And we're just coming out of a very dry summer going into fall. And without electricity, the country -- or that part of the country needs the electricity to bring the water up and to get around with that. So that's - - those are the two key issues.
At this point, the number of people that are injured seems to be minimal. In fact, the government hasn't released any numbers regarding that.
The damage itself, given the magnitude of the earthquake, Jonathan, and you and I talked, you know, when the big one hit in 2010, we did a series of live shots together, it's surprisingly little. It's not to say there wasn't any damage, but the bigger cities out there were fairly resistant in terms of that, because of the building and the units of the buildings.
The problem is going to be the smaller towns and villages between the two major cities of Arica and Iquique. There is one town in particular, (inaudible) that has at this point had more than 2,500 homes that have received some kind of damage and more than half of those, according to the latest reports, are uninhabitable. So that's going to be the problem tonight.
MANN: Rolando Santos, live for us in Santiago, thanks very much.
Egypt's interim prime minister called an emergency meeting of security officials after a deadly attack outside Cairo University.
Two bombs went off near a police post, killing a police brigadier general. A short time later, a third bomb exploded near the main gate. Cairo University has become a battleground recently for clashes between police and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Let's go live to Ian Lee in Cairo for more. Ian, what exactly happened?
IAN LEE, CNN INTENRATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jonathan, the bombs went off during class schedule, the classes underway when the attack took place. Two bombs went off in quick succession of each other and then a third bomb later, after security forces had descended on the scene, the third bomb going off, that third bomb, though, didn't injure anyone when it detonated from what we're told by security officials these bombs were primitive. He described them as homemade.
But the motives, or the operation or how the bombs went off was more sophisticated than we've seen previously in other attacks here in Cairo. And this isn't -- this hasn't been the first bombing that the capital has experienced. There had been other attacks by a group based in (inaudible), based on (inaudible) or Ansar Batl Maqdas (ph), they have claimed previous attacks.
Now while today we still don't know who was responsible for this one, this does have all the hallmarks of an attack by that group based in Sinai.
Now one person was killed, five others were injured. The security forces, what we're told by state TV have rounded up 14 suspects, but right now really no other leads, Jonathan.
MANN: Ian Lee live in Cairo. Thanks very much.
U.S. officials say they are pushing ahead with Middle East peace efforts despite what they call unhelpful steps by both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally renewed a bid for Palestinians to join international agencies yesterday. He'd pledged not to do that while peace talks were underway, but said Israel's failure to honor its commitments changed his mind.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry canceled a trip to Ramallah, but says he remains hopeful that talks can get back on track.
The CEO of General Motors says the company is considering paying damages to victims of accidents linked to faulty ignition switches. Mary Barra is facing a second day of questioning by U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill, today testifying before a senate panel and getting a grilling over why GM failed to come clean sooner about the dangerous safety defect. It was first discovered 10 years ago. The automaker links at least 13 deaths to the flaw.
More than 400,000 Lufthansa passengers could find their travel plans disrupted, some of them already are. Pilots for the German airline have begun a three day strike over retirement benefits, one of the biggest walkouts in Lufthansa's history. And it's lead the carrier to cancel 3,800 flights over the next few days.
Most of those headaches will come if you're flying in or out of Frankfurt or Munich. But be warned, Jim Boulden has more.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: During day one of the strike, hundreds of pilots have marched from the airport to here, Lufthansa's regional headquarters at Frankfurt Airport. The pilot's union and Lufthansa both tell me there are no talks currently planned to try to resolve the issue.
JOERG HANDWERG, LUFTHANSA PILOT: We don't think that it's a good way for the whole German society to break down all the social security contracts we have here just to compete with China or with the Gulf airlines. We will never be able to compete with them, because the differences in taxation and social security is so big that it's just impossible.
BARBARA SCHAEDLER, LUFTHANSA SPOKESWOMAN: I think we're well prepared. Information is running well. We've sent approximately 200,000 SMSes to our customers. And --- but it's nevertheless not a good day for Lufthansa. And I really hope that we're going to negotiate and everything in negotiated space on compromises and good will. And I hope that we're going to see this from both sides soon.
BOULDEN: The pilot union says they will not go back to the negotiating table until Lufthansa changes its position on pension plans.
Jim Boulden, CNN, Frankfurt Airport.
MANN: For years, they hung in someone's kitchen. Now paintings worth millions are in a police safe and it's not clear where they'll hang next.
A factory worker in Italy bought these works by Paul Gauguin and Pierre Barnard at an auction for about $30. The masterpieces had actually been stolen in 1970 and then left on a train. The buyer had no idea what they were worth, but a friend did and told authorities.
It turns out the original owners have since died and left no heirs. So now who knows where they'll end up.
Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, turning toward Ukraine. NATO vows to cooperate with Kiev and bolster its defenses over concerns about Russia. The details are just ahead.
But first, the Taliban strike again in Kabul escalating their campaign of violence just days before a critical election.
MANN: Welcome back.
Just three days before Afghanistan's presidential elections, another deadly attack in Kabul. Officials say a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance gate to the interior ministry killing six police officers. The Taliban have claimed responsibility. They vow to step up their attacks in a lead up to Saturday's vote hoping to disrupt the democratic transfer of power.
The increasing bloodshed comes as U.S. special forces are training Afghan commandos to fight the Taliban on their own. Anna Coren is in Kabul with more.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTENRATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Behind mud walls in a dusty Afghan province, a tactical operation is underway. Intel suggests insurgents are hiding out in the village and these Afghan commandos are here to hunt down the enemy.
This isn't a real mission, but part of the training once instructed by U.S. special forces, now Afghans are calling the shots.
As the U.S. prepares withdraw troops by the end of the year, the focus is turned to training, advising and assisting the Afghan security forces. And nowhere is that more effective than at Camp Commando on the outskirts of Kabul where a seven year partnership is now producing Afghanistan's elite soldiers.
SAMSOOR EHDIMAN, AFGHAN COMMANDO: When I see the American special force, I got an idea to be a special force of Afghanistan force to help our people and our country.
COREN: There are 10,500 Afghan commandos that proudly wear the red beret. And Major General Kareem (ph) is their leader with nine battalions across the country are taking the fight to the insurgency. And his U.S. partner, Colonel Brian Petit couldn't be prouder.
COL. BRIAN PETIT, COMMANDO SOAG: These guys have done the hard fighting. They have an incredible track record of fighting, winning in some of the toughest places. If there's a campaign or a battle in this country that was hard fought, commandos have had their fingerprints on that.
COREN: Regardless of the achievements, they're still heavily reliant on the U.S. for air support, heavy weaponry and intelligence gathering -- all under threat after President Karzai refused to sign the bilateral security agreement, allowing an enduring U.S. presence post-2014.
That critical decision has been left up to his successor who voters will elect at the polls on Saturday despite threats of violence by the Taliban.
Well, there's no denying the Afghan commandos have become a force the public can be proud of, they still need America's help. And there's a firm belief within the top brass of both the Afghan and U.S. military that without this partnership, Afghanistan could become a safe haven for terrorists once again.
And while America's longest war has become widely unpopular in the U.S., words of advice to a war weary country.
PETIT: For the people back home, I would just have them remember what they felt on September 11, 2001. The attacks on the U.S. emanated out of this country, not from this country, but from international terrorists that found this to be a hospitable place. That could happen again.
COREN: And it's these soldiers on the ground that will be fighting to try to make sure that doesn't happen.
Anna Coren, CNN, Kabul.
MANN: The presidential election is a critical test of Afghanistan's fragile political system. It would mark the country's first ever democratic transition of power. For the first time, the election will be conducted under a legal framework established by lawmakers through the legislative process instead of by presidential decree.
It's also the first election in which the independent election commission and the independent electoral complaints commission are permanent electoral management bodies.
Decisions made in this election cycle will set precedence for elections to come.
Security would certainly be one of the top priorities for Afghanistan's next presidency. And as Christiane Amanpour talked with a leading candidate today, Ashraf Ghani, a western educated technocrat and former World Bank official. He says if elected, he would sign an agreement authorizing international troops to stay in Afghanistan past 2014.
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ASHRAF GHANI, AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDTAE: My commitment is to sign the agreement so that the international forces that are needed to support the building, equipping and training of Afghan security forces are in place. And we would be able to accomplish the full goal within 10 years of Afghan forces having the capability to be the only force in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: That interview on Amanpour. Tune in to CNN for complete coverage of Afghanistan's presidential election Saturday April 5.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, NATO calls Russia's actions toward Ukraine the gravest threat. But Moscow has accused the west of being the real aggressor at times. We'll look at both sides.
An industry that thrives in the shadows. We'll look at the darker side of some of the World Cup preparations in Brazil in a CNN Freedom Project special report.
And as several world capitals are shrouded in a polluted haze, we'll look at what's causing such a smoggy start to the spring. That's still ahead on Connect the World.
MANN: This is Connect the World. The top stories this hour.
At least six people are dead after an earthquake off the coast of Chile. Almost 1 million people were evacuated from areas in the country's north after the quake struck. Landslides and power cuts were widely reported.
Malaysia's police chief says every little thing has to be investigated in the hunt for the missing Malaysian flight 370. He says all the passengers have been cleared having a role in the plane's disappearance.
Turkey's highest court says a government order blocking access to Twitter is unconstitutional. The court ruled that a ban imposed last month violates freedom of expression and individual rights. It demanded that Twitter be restored, but the social media site remains blocked in Turkey.
A cabinet shakeup in France after the ruling Socialist Party took a beating in municipal elections Sunday. Former presidential candidate Segolene Royal returns to the political stage as energy and environment minister. She's also President Francois Hollande's former live-in partner and the mother of his four children.
Tension continues to grow between Russia and the west. NATO has suspended all its civilian and military cooperation with Russia after last month's annexation of Crimea. The alliance has also said it will intensify cooperation with Ukraine and bolster its eastern defenses. NATO's secretary-general is calling Russia's recent aggression the gravest threat to European security in a generation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: This is, really, a matter of grave concern. If Russia were to intervene further in Ukraine, I wouldn't hesitate to call it an historic mistake that would lead to further isolation, international isolation of Russia.
It would have far-reaching consequences for the relations between Russia and what we as a whole might call the Western world. It would be a miscalculation with huge strategic implications.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: NATO's supreme allied commander spoke to our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. General Philip Breedlove says that with tens of thousands of Russian forces believed to be poised on the Ukrainian border, a Russian operation could conceivably begin within hours, he says, of an order.
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PHILIP BREEDLOVE, GENERAL, NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, EUROPE: Forty thousand doesn't tell the story. This is a combined-arms army with all of the pieces necessary should there be a choice to make an incursion into Ukraine. So, supported by fixed-wing aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft, all of the logistics required in order to successfully make an incursion if they need it.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If Russia was to decide to move on Ukraine, how long would it take for it to enter Ukraine?
BREEDLOVE: It's my opinion that they could move within 12 hours of a go, so essentially, they could move right away if given the go.
I believe it's absolutely critical that we present both an air, maritime, and land picture. Because you're right, this is of great concern. What is the component of the land piece that brings assurance to our allies? And we'll be developing that over the next several days.
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MANN: Since it was first founded in 1949, NATO has slowly but surely expanded eastward, reaching steadily into Russia's back yard. NATO was initially made up of 12 member countries. You can see them highlighted here in blue. Those original members included the United States, of course, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France.
In 1952, Turkey and Greece joined. Three years later, it was post-war West Germany that became a fully-fledged NATO member. In 1982, Spain became the newest member of the alliance, followed in 1999 by Hungary and Poland and the Czech Republic.
2004 saw a major expansion with seven new nations joining, many of them post-Soviet states. The newest members, Albania and Croatia, joined in 2009.
While Russia's actions toward Ukraine have provoked the latest rift with NATO, Moscow has at times seen the West as the aggressor. Is that the case here? For more, let's bring in William Pomeranz, deputy director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Wilson Center, joining us now from Washington. Thanks so much for being with us. Is Moscow paranoid --
WILLIAM POMERANZ, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, KENNAN INSTITUTE, WILSON CENTER: My pleasure.
MANN: -- or does it have a point?
POMERANZ: Well, Russia has a long list of grievances, from its perspective at least, about what NATO has done over the last 10 to 15 years. Obviously, you talked about the expansion eastward. Russia believes that there were at least implicit promises that that would not occur at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
MANN: Can I jump in on that very thought? Because Mikhail Gorbachev --
MANN: -- says that explicitly, he is publicly bitter. He feels like he was toyed with and lied to by US authorities who said NATO would not expand.
POMERANZ: Well, that's Mr. Gorbachev's perspective. And there's no doubt that he appears to have walked away from those meetings in 1990 that there would be no expansion. However, the statements that were made were ambiguous.
They were related primarily to the question of Germany and not necessarily to all of Eastern Europe. And finally and most fatally from Russia's perspective, none of these conditions were written down on paper. So, as events changed, attitudes change, and NATO evolved. So --
MANN: Can I ask you about someone else? In fact, he's the man your institute is named after, George Kennan. He's one of the visionaries of American diplomacy. He said expanding NATO would be, and this is a quotation I'm sure you know, "a fateful error." Was he right? Did he foresee the kind of problems that we're seeing today?
POMERANZ: Well, like a lot of people, he was very concerned that an expanding NATO would isolate Russia and would cause Russia to respond.
Now, NATO has done a lot over the last 10 to 15 years to try to at least maintain open dialogue with Russia. There's been a specific council made between NATO and Russia, and there's been a whole variety of cooperation that has, on the whole, been successful.
So, while obviously I think a lot of people shared Ambassador Kennan's concern about the expansion of NATO, a lot was done to try to allay those concerns for the Russians. And for the most part, there has been consistent cooperation between the United States and Russia up until this most recent crisis in Ukraine.
MANN: Can I ask you about the latest that we're hearing from NATO, which is, obviously, that it's going to increase its cooperation with its Eastern members. It's going to increase -- help the defenses of Ukraine. So, NATO is making that announcement at the same time that it's asking Russia to deescalate the situation. Is NATO escalating, though, do you think?
POMERANZ: Well, NATO is simply trying to articulate to Russia, I think, what are the potential consequences for any further action by Russia into Ukraine.
So, I think NATO is at least trying to say that it will not engage militarily, because we've had several of our -- the leaders of NATO, including President Obama, have explicitly said that there's not a military response to what's occurring in Ukraine.
But obviously, if Russia does decide to intervene in Ukraine and to enter the mainland, as opposed to just staying in Crimea, then one would anticipate a response from NATO in terms of assistance, but also to provide greater support to some of the Eastern European members of NATO who will feel particularly vulnerable if, indeed, Russia decides to intervene into mainland Ukraine.
MANN: What do you think is going to happen? Obviously, tens of thousands of troops are on the border. Is Russia trying to negotiate from a position of strength? Or do you think in the Kremlin they are really contemplating another move deeper into Ukraine?
POMERANZ: Well, I think they are contemplating it. And I think they are identifying the pluses and minuses of such an action. Obviously, from their perspective, they want to have Ukraine remain within the Russian broad sphere of influence.
And as a result of what's occurred in Crimea, Russia now really looks more and more likely that Ukraine will drift more towards the West, and it will sign the association agreement, which started this whole controversy in the first place.
So, Russia has to be considering what would happen if it were to intervene. But obviously from the Russian perspective, the potential ramifications and unintended consequences from such an action would be very dramatic, indeed.
MANN: If so, a dangerous time. William Pomeranz of the Wilson Center. Thank you so much for talking with us.
POMERANZ: My pleasure.
MANN: There's much more unfolding in Ukraine and much more on our website about it. Visit cnn.com/ukraine. You can read more world reaction to Russia's moves. You can use the interactive maps showing how the crisis has unfolded, and watch the latest video. It's all at cnn.com/ukraine.
Live from CNN Center, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. World Cup fever is soon to hit host country Brazil. Ahead, we take a look at one industry in the shadows hoping to do more business and why rights groups worried about children are raising the alarm.
Also ahead, taking a toll. How the polluted haze encircling may of the world's cities is having deadly health effects. That and more coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD.
MANN: Welcome back. Brazilians are hoping for an economic boom as visitors flock to the country for the World Cup in just two months' time. Among the merchants preparing for an increase in business are those on the fringes of society: prostitutes.
As Shasta Darlington reports, some of them are minors hoping to make big money from the tourists. Now, Brazilian officials are racing to crack down on the child sex trade.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They lean in car windows, stand on corners, and flash nearly-naked bodies along lonely stretches of highway. We're in Fortaleza in the northeastern corner of Brazil, one of the World Cup host cities, also known as a magnet for sex tourism.
Prostitution is legal here if you're 18 or over. The problem is that many of the girls working these streets aren't. Jucileide was one of them.
JUCILEIDE, FORMER CHILD PROSTITUTE (through translator): I was a call girl. I was 13 when I started.
DARLINGTON: At first, she didn't tell her unemployed mother.
JUCILEIDE (through translator): When she discovered, I was 15. She cried and ask me to stop, but I said, "Mom, it's easy money."
DARLINGTON: Jucileide, now 21, takes us to the beach bars where she used to pick up foreign tourists.
At night, we see tables full of older foreign men. And young women in skimpy clothing who negotiate prices or give out phone numbers. Now that hotels have barred girls under 18, clients rent apartments or head to so- called "love motels."
Police have cracked down on underage prostitution, and Fortaleza says it's fighting the problem, but refused to be interviewed by CNN. Critics say authorities have done little more than get child prostitutes out of view and that there are precious few resources for the nation's most vulnerable.
ANTONIA LIMA SOUSA, STATE PROSECUTOR (through translator): These girls come from extreme poverty, a culture of social exclusion, and a tradition of profound disrespect for women.
DARLINGTON: This state prosecutor says there are cases where parents put their own children on the street. But also, organized crime that involves hotels, taxis, and tourism agencies. Children's rights advocates warn the child sex trade could explode during the World Cup if more isn't done.
ANTONIO CARLOS DA SILVA, SOCIAL WORKER (through translator): Ever since Brazil was selected to host the World Cup in 2014, it created this huge expectations.
DARLINGTON: Our guide and social worker, Antonio Carlos da Silva, takes us to the newly-renovated Castelao Stadium, where prostitutes now cater to truckers but dream about big bucks from visiting fans.
DARLINGTON (on camera): They're so hopeful about making money through prostitution, they're asking where they can take English classes to negotiate with their clients.
DARLINGTON (voice-over): Taina was a minor when she first hit the streets, and she says there are still plenty of underage girls out here. The late-night scene down the road is even more brazen. Prostitutes congregate in front of the police station. Experts say many of them use fake IDs.
A group of women tells us the child prostitutes hide down a side alley. There, we find two girls who speak to us off camera. They say they're 16 and 17 but look much younger. They don't smile and talk barely above a whisper.
"I've been doing this for two months," says one girl. "We use the money to buy things we need: clothes and school supplies," says another.
DARLINGTON (on camera): We just talked to a couple of girls who openly admitted they're minors. One of them said she is doing this just so that she can eat. And they both said they don't have pimps or protection. If they don't get paid, they have to walk home.
DARLINGTON (voice-over): Here, it's just so many tragic stories. Some girls even tell us they stayed on the streets through teenage pregnancies.
A handful of nonprofit groups are helping. Vira Vida provides victims of sexual exploitation basic schooling and job training. They helped Jucileide get an internship at a bank. But she says where she comes from, the sex trade is easy money and the World Cup promises even more of it.
Shasta Darlington, CNN, Fortaleza, Brazil
MANN: Visit cnn.com/freedom project to find out more about our campaign to end modern-day slavery and why the fight is still far from over. Some of the figures are shocking, but there are ways you can help end this terrible crime. Head to the website for more.
Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, as spring gets off to a smoggy start in many cities, we look at the increasingly deadly problem of air pollution.
Also ahead, a CNN crew caught this battle on camera as a python captured a crocodile and tried to eat it for lunch. We'll tell you who won the fight and got fed. That's coming up.
MANN: Welcome back. People in England are being told to avoid strenuous outdoor activity because of severe smog. Air pollution expected to reach maximum levels in some parts o the country.
It's not what you think, though. The unusually high pollution is being partly blamed on sand, sand that's blowing up from the Sahara Desert.
Britain's smog comes just two weeks after the French government partially banned driving in Paris in an effort to reduce severe air pollution there.
In Asia, it is, of course, a chronic problem that continues to get worse. Scientists have liked the pollution in Beijing and northern China - - well, they've likened it to a nuclear winter.
In England, some people with asthma are already reporting breathing problems. We spoke to one Londoner earlier who says she and her family are suffering.
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LEANNE STEWART, LONDON RESIDENT: This morning has been really difficult. We've walked to school as we normally do. My son has had to have his inhalers halfway to school. On the return, which I normally walk, I've been so breathless that I couldn't walk all the way home. I had to get a bus because it's made my breathing so difficult.
I've had to come home, I've had to close almost all windows. I've been home for three hours, and I'm still breathless.
My view from where I live, I can normally see for miles. Today, all you can see is a gray silhouette. All the cars are covered in dust. The clean washing I put on the line yesterday came in covered in it. It was white when it went out, and it came in with a nice pink tinge to it. It's just -- the sky is gray. It's a really hot day, but the sky is just gray.
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MANN: So, what's behind the sudden rise in air pollution? Why is spring off to such a smoggy start? Well, let's cross over to CNN's Jenny Harrison, live at the International Weather Center. How do you explain it?
JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, there's a few reasons, Jon, there normally is, of course, when it comes to weather and what's been going on. So, the dust -- the reason the dust is really in the atmosphere, this has been going on since the beginning of the week.
And in fact, this satellite view goes back three days. And it's because of the weather systems. They've been coming in across the far south and pushing up from the southwest. And so all of this cloud, all of this weather, including the rain and the showers, is actually heading up towards eventually the UK.
It's not just the dust, though, making the pollution so bad. It's very much local pollutants as well. And then also because of the direction of the winds, a lot of pollutants are coming across from mainland Europe as well. So again, just another picture if you can make it out of London. So, this is what it's been looking like for the last couple of days.
So, another view, and another way of showing you the Sahara dust is by this. So again, there is that area of low pressure. Now, the other thing is we've got high pressure, which is very dominant, really, right now, across in Europe. That means very, very light winds and not allowing these systems to make much headway, which is why everything is coming still from the south and the southwest.
So, all of this red, all of this, is the dust being brought up, or the sand, really, that's coming up from the Sahara. And of course, it's been lifted up on these strong winds, gets carried on the clouds, and is coming down particularly in the UK within the rain and the showers that continue to fall.
Another way of showing you is this, and you can look at all the -- I nearly said "orange" -- the green. It is green. This again is showing you, there's the area of low pressure, and the winds that are sort of going around that are being trapped, but really strong coming in from the south.
And so, this is really not helping at all, but you've got bear in mind that a lot of the pollutants as well are there because we've got high pressure, so it's trapping the air, the winds are very light, and then we've also got this sand and this dust, which is just really exacerbating the situation.
It starts out here. Look at this: the winds are coming from the south in Alger. It's 46 kilometers an hour. Then they turn more to the east because it's the direction the system is actually blowing everything in. And then continues in that easterly direction across Paris and also on into London.
Now, indeed, the warnings have been very high, the highest they can be in the UK. Of course, most countries have a different scale, but all you need to know is, look at this. The purple is very high -- the pink, I should say.
And you can see there, Wednesday, continuing through the day, in particular the worst area is the northwest of Norwich -- the northwest of Norfolk, and this is this area here, this is East Anglia.
It does get a little bit better by Thursday and, in fact, by Friday, there is a marked improvement. And that is because of this, the winds coming in from the south and then by Friday, finally that high pressure begins to give way so the next system comes in from the southwest, and that really should help blow out the air.
But Jon, let's just end on this. This is just the world map showing you the air quality of countries that do actually forecast it, and you can see there that the UK with the oranges and the reds, but still across in China, particularly, look at all the numbers there. So again, it is still worse over there.
But parts of Europe, as you said, Paris a week or two ago, and now London, are also suffering very much.
MANN: Jenny Harrison, thanks very much. Well, if you're worried about this, here's a sobering statistic. A recent UN report said that one in eight deaths worldwide can be linked to air pollution. For more on the sometimes fatal health effects of dirty air, let's cross to New York.
I'm joined by Darby Jack. He's a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Heath. Thanks so much for being with us.
We have just been hearing about two phenomena. One is the kind of air pollution we're all sadly growing accustomed to, industrial air pollution and car pollution.
But the other is, the way the planet has been working for millennia, even before humankind came on the scene, moving dust and topsoil and sand through the atmosphere. Both of them, presumably are bad for us. Are they the same kind of bad?
DARBY JACK, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, that's a surprisingly poorly understood topic, but the short answer is yes, that the dust is acting on your lungs in much the same way that the small particles from combustion act on your lungs, and that we need to worry about the dust just like we do regular air pollution, particulate air pollution from coal-fire power plants and engines and so forth.
MANN: So, what can people do about it?
JACK: Well, the -- for most people, it's an inconvenience, not an acute risk. But for people who are vulnerable, that is to say people who have pre-existing heart disease or lung disease, who have asthma, women who are pregnant, it's important to stay indoors.
And for the rest of us, it's probably a good idea to avoid exercising outdoors. When you exercise, you breathe harder and you're inhale dose of air pollution is a lot higher. So, for most people, just avoid exercising outdoors. But for folks in those vulnerable categories, it is really important to stay inside where the levels are typically lower.
MANN: I'm just curious. We've all seen people cycling down the street with a bandana over their face or a mask over their face. Is anything you cover your mouth and nose with going to help much?
JACK: Not really. To filter out the really small particles -- and it's the small particles that are most damaging for your body -- you would need to use an industrial respirator that would be pretty uncomfortable to wear while bicycling or doing any kind of vigorous activity.
But there are indoor air filters and so forth that can cleanse the air. But for the most part, and especially in a place like the UK, where this is not a common occurrence, the best advice is to just take it easy for a few days until the problem abates.
MANN: I'm going to keep throwing ideas at you, but I'm getting a sense --
MANN: -- of where you stand. Does bathing more often -- just trying to get this stuff off of your skin help?
JACK: Well, it won't. It might make you feel better, but it won't really change the health risks. I mean, the health risks are due to the inhaled dose, the stuff you're breathing deep into your lungs, and that's really the small particles and bathing won't address that problem, no.
MANN: So let me ask you, over the longterm, as someone who studies the health effects on people, should we be optimistic that this is getting better as the world slowly turns its attention towards reducing climate change? Or is it going to get worse, both industrial pollution and the Earth's own dirt as it circulates around?
JACK: Well, there's a couple of parts to that question. So, in high- income countries, the United States and Europe, the problem has gotten a lot better. Over the last 50 years, effective government regulation has really done a good job. And we all breathe, those of us who live in high- income cities, we breathe much cleaner air than our grandparents did, our parents did.
But in developing countries and low-income countries, middle-income countries, the situation is quite different. And there, we do see high levels that have been sustained for a long time. And indeed, in many places where economies are growing rapidly without effective environmental policy, the problem is getting worse.
So -- and as for the dust, I don't really know what we should expect in terms of the dust from the Sahara reaching Europe. I don't know what the forecasts are for that, frankly.
MANN: That is a big whole other question. Darby Jack of Columbia University, thanks so much for talking with us.
JACK: My pleasure, thank you.
MANN: In tonight's Parting Shots, images of a python capturing and consuming a crocodile in Australia. They've become a YouTube sensation, you may have seen them. But just hours after talked about that very video, a CNN crew stumbled on a similar battle just below the water's surface. Here's CNN's Neil Curry.
NEIL CURRY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dawn breaks over Akagera National Park in Rwanda, and the early birds, both feathered and otherwise, are up and about their business.
Visitors to the Ruzizi Lodge had spent the previous night discussing a remarkable YouTube video showing a python eating a crocodile. By then, the compelling scenes had drawn almost 25 million views.
Staff at the lodge told us they'd never seen a python in this part of the park, but that was about to change.
Less than 12 hours after that discussion, croc versus snake, the sequel, was being played out underneath the breakfast terrace. Just beneath the water's surface, a three-meter python had ensnared a young crocodile in its coils.
Over the course of the next two hours, the snake held its prey, readjusting its crushing grip from time to time. Occasionally, the battle broke the water surface, revealing clearer glimpses of the crocodile.
The duel was observed by another crocodile no more than 20 meters away. A dragonfly calmly watched the struggle from a much closer vantage point.
Finally satisfied that the young croc was subdued, the snake attempted to devour its prey. Opening its jaws to their widest extreme, the snake tried several times to envelop the crocodile's head. On the third attempt, it succeeded.
After that, it was a matter of 20 minutes until the tail disappeared inside the snake. Apparently, satisfied with its morning's work, the python slithered off into deeper water. Its body engorged by the shape of the crocodile, Park rangers told us it wouldn't need to eat for another four months. One less crocodile and one less snake for other users of the water to worry about.
Neil Curry, CNN, Akagera National Park, Rwanda.
MANN: Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water. I'm Jonathan Mann, you've been watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for joining us.