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Possible Flight 370 Black Box Pings Detected; Cameras Proposed in Cockpits; Building a New Afghanistan; Middle East Comic Con; Parting Shots: Nine-Month-Old Booked and Fingerprinted; Afghanistan Election; Middle East Peace Talks; Flight 370 Search Weather; India Election

Aired April 6, 2014 - 11:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: This hour, an unexpected development in the path of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Where it went and what it might have been trying to avoid. All this comes as the searchers race against time to track down underwater signals possibly from a flight data recorder.

Also ahead, efforts at Middle East peace talks in disarray. Israel's warplanes target Gaza following what it calls a barrage of rocket attacks from the territory.

And democracy in the face of violence: how Afghans in their millions defy the Taliban and vote for a new president.


ANDERSON: And welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE and our show's new home. You are very welcome. It is just after 7:00 in the evening here.

First to major new developments in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. This hour we're waiting to hear whether signals picked up in the southern Indian Ocean could be from the missing plane's data recorders.

Right now ships are tracking down several different underwater sounds hoping that they will lead to finding the flight's black boxes and we've also learned the missing plane took a very different path than we first thought.

Take a look at this map. A source inside the Malaysian government tells CNN that Flight 370 flew around Indonesian airspace possibly to avoid radar detection.

Our Will Ripley is in Perth in Australia.

It is almost a month to the day, Will, since this flight went missing.

What is the latest on the search?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest news coming out of China about these possible pings is a very interesting and important development that certainly pushes this investigation forward but still doesn't give us any answers as of yet, Becky.

So that is why the British ship, the Echo, is heading toward this new search zone right now. It's about three hours away and the goal here is to further investigate what these -- this Chinese ship, the Haixun 01 first determined on Friday and then again on Saturday, some what they suspect could be pings possibly from some sort of inflight data recover.

But the Australian authorities here who are at the center of this investigation still have a lot of questions. They're working to figure out just how reliable this Chinese technology is before they can -- before they can then determine what exactly it may be.

So that's why it's so important that this British ship get there and use their more advanced sonar technology to start scanning the area and figuring out exactly what was detected.

ANDERSON: And Will, what of this news? This flight effectively took a route that would have evaded Indonesian radar. The sense being that this may have been a strategic decision by somebody in the cockpit.

RIPLEY: Yes, according to this source within the Malaysian government, the plane would have taken a path, a very deliberate path to avoid detection. It was detected by Thai radar; in fact, there was some word that the Thai government was very closely watching this plane and then all of a sudden it took this different turn and was able to stay undetected as it moved on its track south, presumably to this spot in the Indian Ocean, where the latest satellite data believes the plane might have gone down. This would, of course, indicate some sort of deliberate act. But again, that is what makes this investigation happening in the Indian Ocean so crucial because if there's a way to locate the inflight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, that could contain the answers to so many of the questions that we have right now.

ANDERSON: Will Ripley is in Perth for you. And do stay with us here on CNN for the latest developments on the search for Flight 370. In 10 minutes, we're going to explore how weather conditions are affecting the search operation. Later, CNN's aviation expert Richard Quest joins me to talk about that elusive pinging and the race against time to track it down.

Also we'll examine the growing calls for cameras in the cockpit. CNN, as you would imagine, covering this from all angles, any developments we get, you will get them here first.

So let's turn now to the historic collections in Afghanistan, millions of people defy threats by the Taliban and turned out to elect their next president. But there were some reports of sporadic violence. At least three people were killed in Kunduz province when a roadside bomb hit a vehicle carrying ballots.

Anna Coren spoke to voters as they stood in long lines to cast their ballots.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Standing in the rain, some waiting for hours, the people of Afghanistan lined up, each holding their voting card, their ticket to democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We work for him, to win the future. We want to build a future for this man.

COREN (voice-over): It was hoped that President Karzai would provide that future during his 12 years in office. But it's now his successor who these Afghans are banking on.

COREN: How does it feel to be here today?

SHUKRIA BARAKZAI, AFGHAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Fantastic. Proud. Happy. Successful. I feel really good because I believe today is my day. Today is the day where the people of Afghanistan can go and vote freely.

COREN (voice-over): Following weeks of high-profile attacks and Taliban threats to disrupt these elections, the capital was on lockdown. Every man, woman and child searched before entering the polling station.

Inside, voters queued again, this time to dip their forefinger into the ink before being given the ballot papers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I come here to elect my next president and I hope to be a good person and to help the people and support the people and to bring (INAUDIBLE).



COREN (voice-over): Of the eight presidential candidates running, only three are within contention of landing the top job. Front-runner Ashraf Ghani, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and the man many believe to have the president's support, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul.

Monitoring the voting process, 300,000 observers spread out over nearly 6.5 thousand polling stations.

"So far, we haven't seen any voter fraud," says this observer. "I'm confident these will be free and fair elections."

The U.N. expects voter turnout to be around 50 percent, many of them women. But some believe that number could be higher. Several polling stations ran out of ballots and voting hours were extended by an hour due to heavy turnout.

COREN: The resilience of these people is truly inspiring, despite all the attacks and threats of violence. Afghans have turned out in encouraging numbers to cast their vote at polling stations across the country. They strongly believe that after so many years of war they, too, deserve a peaceful and brighter future.

"We need a good president so the bombings and war stop," says this mother of two. "I want my children to go to school without fear."

A basic desire granted to most mothers around the world. But with this vote now comes hope that these proud Afghans can change the course of their country.


ANDERSON: Anna Coren joining us live from Kabul this evening.

Whatever the outcome, Anna, this has been an historic occasion, a first opportunity to have a say in who runs their country.

Is the hope expressed in your report, do you feel realistic?

COREN: Look, Becky, I've been coming here now for several years and I must say that there really does genuinely feel like there is a momentum in this country.

I'm not just looking at this glass half-full. It's the people who stood out there in the rain, despite those attacks in recent weeks. And they have been horrific. I mean, we've been reporting on them, you know, and the threats of violence by the Taliban. They still stood there, you know, some for hours, to queue, to cast their vote because they think -- believe that it -- that it matters.

And I really do feel that these people want their president to be accountable, whoever that may be, whether it be Ashraf Ghani, Dr. Abdullah or Dr. Rassoul. They are expecting the next president to deliver peace, to deliver stability.

They are sick and tired of the war. They are sick and tired of the corruption. They just want to go about their normal lives and they will hold the next president accountable. That's certainly the feel, Becky, that I get.

ANDERSON: Fantastic. Anna Coren is in Kabul for you.

Well, how does the Afghan community here in the UAE feel about what's going on back home? Well, I joined a few of them for a discussion over tea in Dubai. Had a chat, about a half hour from now here on CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.

Well, Israel is defending its recent strike against Gaza, a military spokesman says warplanes hit five targets on Saturday evening in retaliation for more than 130 rockets fired into Israel in the last month.

Now it's another potential setback for what is a U.S.-brokered peace initiative ahead of an April 29th deadline. Ben Wedeman joining us from Jerusalem tonight.

And Ben, almost nine months of intense negotiation. It seems we're hitting more roadblocks than a framework deal at St. Peter.

Is that your sense at this point?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, we've come down to the wire, keeping in mind that the deadline set for those talks is the 29th of April. So there -- it's not too far away.

What we heard, for instance, from Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is that they want peace but not peace at any price. Now the Israelis are angry over the decision by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to join 15 international organizations.

Israel sees this as a unilateral move and we hear the prime minister after the Sunday cabinet meeting, says that Israel can take unilateral moves by itself. Now the Palestinians are responding, saying that Israel is the one that has long made such unilateral moves, which it's -- with its decision, for instance, to build many settlements within the last year.

Now missing in today's equation, of course, is the United States. Now U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the last minute canceled a trip he was going to make here midweek to push those negotiations forward.

I think what we're seeing, Becky, is that the Americans are stepping back, letting both sides, the Palestinians and Israelis, consider, ponder the consequences of a collapse of the process.

So I don't think it's the time really to say the process is done but certainly I think what we will be seeing in the next 2.5 weeks is some serious reconsideration of what it means not to have a peace process.

And Becky, welcome to Abu Dhabi.

ANDERSON: Must thank you very much indeed, sir.

Before I let you go, all our viewers just be reminded of the core issues here, Ben, any Middle East peace deal of course will have to address what both sides call these core issues.

These are the major points of contention; first, of course, the status of Jerusalem. Both the Israelis and Palestinians claim the city is their capital. Also borders some Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Palestinians want to go back to the 1967 borders that existed before the six-day war, of course, when Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel wants to hold onto existing settlements it's built inside Palestinian territory since then.

And then on the security side, Israel wants to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley, where the West Bank borders Jordan. And the Palestinians want an international force to be stationed there to guarantee security and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, hundreds of thousands left Israel during wars in 1948 and 1967.

Ben, you've talked to the fact that Kerry has been in the region. He will be back in region the new two or three weeks or absolutely crucial.

Can you see the President of the United States, Barack Obama, personally getting involved at any time in what is this cruxed period?

WEDEMAN: Frankly, what the message we're getting from Washington, Becky, is that the Americans feel that Secretary Kerry gave it his best. He made 11 trips to the region. He really tried to convince both sides to come to this framework agreement and that despite all that involvement that personal capital invested in this effort, that is really hasn't produced enough for the president to get involved.

So barring some sort of moment of inspiration on both sides, I don't think you'll be seeing Barack Obama becoming personally involved in an effort that oftentimes drains American leaders and doesn't really give much in return -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is in Jerusalem for you this evening. We are in the UAE, our new home, Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, still to come this evening.

More than 800 million people are eligible to go to the polls in India. Starting on Monday I'm going to tell you about what's bringing them to the ballot bot. That's after.




ANDERSON: You are back with us in Abu Dhabi. Welcome back. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Let's get you caught up on this search for Flight 370.

Right now ships tracking down several different underwater sounds in the Indian Ocean. They hope one of them is from the missing plane's black boxes. Now new details are emerging about MH370's flight path the night that it disappeared. The Malaysian government source tells CNN that the plane flew around Indonesian airspace possibly to avoid being detected by radar.

The weather continues to play a crucial role in this search, of course. Alexandra Steele joining me now from the World Weather Center.

And over the past months, we've seen rough conditions at time creating havoc for this operation. Alexandra, what's the short-term forecast at this point?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, better than it's been, Becky. I mean, we are heading into winter. Weather will only get worse. There are really three factors here, the weather, the waves and the water.

Let's go deep within the Indian Ocean. Kind of want to talk about the depth of it and the difficulty with the pinger locator and kind of the impediments here.

Give you a little perspective of the depth, here's the Eiffel Tower, 324 meters. Give me about 13 of those in terms of height, then we get to the area where we're seeing this source area. The average depth of the Indian Ocean is about 3,800 meters, to give you a little perspective. Now we're search for this a little bit farther, deeper than that. So deeper into the body of water.

So between about 3,900 and 5,800 meters, now the pinger locator is heard at a depth of about 6,000 meters. And what we've heard is about at 4,400 meters. That's where the sound was. But this pinger locator can go a lot deeper than that. But the problem is, within this search area, which is about the size of the state of Utah in the United States, about 83,000 square miles, but deep within that water there are mountains and boulders and ridges. And the satellites have a difficult time kind of being penetrated through that intense body of water and the depth within that, all that rock.

So here's the search area. Weather wise, also a major impediment, in addition to the depth of the water, the topography of the bottom of the water. So here's the search area and they are, believe it or not, a tropical cyclone. It's staying to the south and to the west for the most part. It's a few hundred miles away. But wind and waves increasing a little bit because of that. But here's the wind forecast.

Now the worst of it obviously is west and south. Next 48 hours you can see the winds picking up a bit. But these searchers have had 80 kph winds. So 20 and 30 kph winds certainly a little more palatable.

Also the waves, right now they're about 16-foot waves. The waves have been much bigger than that of course, with the water , the waves, the wave heights and also the whitecaps on the water, allowing it for really difficult to see. And the key here of course, they always needed kind of visual context, looking at the water and the low visibilities because of the low cloud cover, Becky. So we've had so many problems weather wise dealing with this. So weather wise, things will improve. Precip forecast, you can see the next couple of hours and next couple of days as well, Becky, a lot better. So short-term weather, a lot better than it's been in the last four weeks, longer term heading into winter, not that good.

ANDERSON: All right, Alexandra, thank you for that. Getting toward 11:30 at night of course, in that region. The search will continue tomorrow.

Lest we forget the very human side of the loss of this light, the stories of those on board and those that they have left behind. For one wife in Australia, the wait simply got too much. What she did reflected in a piece online at

Well, live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.

Coming up, cameras in the office. We discuss why some believe that is a security device too far.

And the world's most popular democracy prepares for the world's biggest ever election. Straight ahead, we'll examine the issues at stake in India and the candidates on the ballot. That's after.




ANDERSON: It's just after 20 past 7:00 in Abu Dhabi. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from the UAE. I'm Becky Anderson for you. We are at the heart of some of the world's fastest growing economies in this region.

At this time on CONNECT THE WORLD, we are going to take you inside the internal workings of some of the world's new power players in what is our "Global Exchange" series.

First off, this Sunday, there's never been an election like it, the world's most populous democracy has a big choice to make. We are talking about India as its people begin going to the polls this week.

Our emerging markets editor, John Defterios, joining me now.

And John, the economy front and center.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes, especially from this vantage point. Welcome to Abu Dhabi. We often look at MENASA, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia as a huge market of 2.5 billion consumers. Half of them are in India right now and they'd like that promising growth of the last two decades, but particularly in the 1990s going into the 2000s, 9 percent to 10 percent growth. We're seeing half that level right now. So very difficult argument for the ruling Congress Party to make. We should be elected yet again and we'll deliver the growth. That's the real issue right now.

ANDERSON: Did you find out who is up for or in the running, as it were, Sumnima Udas has a report.

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the biggest election the world has ever seen, 814 million-plus eligible voters will determine who will be prime minister. And this year, many say no matter which party wins, the country's in for a change.

UDAS: This is the face of the Communist Party's Rahul Gandhi's last rally before voting begins and he's doubling down on the Congress Party's secular ideology and populist economic model.

UDAS (voice-over): The 43-year old is the scion of India's most powerful family, Gandhi's great-grandfather was the country's first prime minister. His father and grandmother also held that office.

His Italian-born mother, Sonia Gandhi, heads the Congress Party in power for the past 10 years. But the Congress is losing favor amidst an economic slowdown and a spate of high-profile corruption scandals.

In another part of Delhi a different atmosphere.

UDAS: Narendra Modi hasn't even arrived yet but it feels like a rock concert. There's live music, a lot of booths and plenty of excitement.

UDAS (voice-over): Modi, wonton keyboy (ph), now a household name. The Bharatiya Janata party's prime ministerial candidate rose through the ranks with a Hindu nationalist group before becoming chief minister of Gujarat, one of India's most successful states. His appeal: proven management, development and big business, but he has his critics. Some allege Modi didn't do enough to stop anti-Muslim riots in his state in 2002. More than 1,000 Muslims were killed. Modi denies those allegations.

In India's Westminster-style parliamentary elections, the party or more likely the coalition with the majority of India's 543-seat Lower House of Parliament chooses the country's next prime minister. Who will that be? What path will Indians take with India's growing economic clout and with every sixth person in this world is Indian, what happens here in the next few weeks matters -- Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


ANDERSON: Well, to coin a cliched phrase, it is all about the economy, stupid, right?

DEFTERIOS: It really boils down to this. You have two very distinct candidates, the Gandhi ruling family. But there's almost 20 years apart from the two of them. But the Congress Party doesn't have a great track record going in.

Let's take a look at three key numbers if you want to break it down.

First and foremost, the last fiscal year, this economy grew only 4.5 percent. That's the lowest growth in 10 years. But at the same time, Becky, and you know the challenge here, when you have rising inflation and the consumer inflation number, 8.1 percent, was the lowest in two years. But still at 8.1 percent, it forced the central bank to raise interest rates three times since September and the interest rates now are at 8 percent. So it's not a great track record for the ruling Congress Party to come in and say I'll deliver the next generation of growth. Prices have been rising particularly for food, putting pressure on this party.

ANDERSON: Who has got the economic recipe for success?

DEFTERIOS: There's a little frustration at the moment. Everyone's saying that the previous prime minister, who's going out, a financial social great experience. But he realistically did not jumpstart foreign direct invest and the infrastructure has not improved.

Mr. Modi comes in saying, look at my Gujarat stage. We've grown 12 percent since I've been the chief minister there. It is the most free of the 28 states in India in terms of the ease of foreign direct investment coming in. But the ruling party suggests, well, if he's so good, why didn't he attract the foreign direct investment? He just brought in $300 billion since 2000 in FDI. Gujarat's only attracted $8 billion. Now there's a counter argument. It's mainly an agricultural state.

But he's saying we're open. I want to bring the same openness to the rest of the country so we can get more foreign investment and improve the infrastructure.

ANDERSON: Middle of May is when we will know who will take --


ANDERSON: You and I will talk long and hard (INAUDIBLE) between now and then.

John, for the time being, thank you very much indeed.

John Defterios at the "Global Exchange." The latest world news headlines are just ahead, including why new sounds heard in the Indian Ocean give search teams new hope of finding that missing airliner and what does the future hold for Afghanistan after the country's historic election? We'll find out about the hopes and fears of the Afghan community here in the UAE. That is in about 15 minutes.

So you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, out of Abu Dhabi. Stay with us.



BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: And a very warm welcome back. The top stories for you this hour. And this video received just a short time ago, it shows thousands of pro-Russian demonstrators in what's become a regular occurrence there and in other Russian-speaking cities. Local media report that a group of protesters stormed a government building, where they raised the Russian flag and renounced the authority of Ukraine's central government in Kiev. More on that as we get it.

Search crews in the Indian Ocean are trying to trace several underwater sounds that could be linked to Flight 370. Crews hope one of the pulses heard by Chinese and Australian ships is, indeed, a flight recorder from the missing plane.

About 7 million people turned out to vote in Afghanistan's presidential election at the weekend. There were some reports of violence, including a roadside bomb explosion that hit a truck carrying ballots in Kunduz province, killing three people.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg is promising fans a fantastic show in tonight's Bahrain Grand Prix. The race, which is now underway, started with the German in pole position after his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, locked up his wheels during the qualifying session.

And Israeli planes attacked five targets in Gaza in retaliation for rockets fired from Gaza over the last month. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is willing to continue the US-brokered peace talks with the April 29th deadline looming.

Let's get you more, now, in-depth on what is our top story, the search for Flight 370. Ships have picked up several water noise pulses beneath the Indian Ocean that could be from the plane's block boxes. Officials now say that this is most promising -- possibly the most promising lead that they have had on the plane to date.

I want to bring in Richard Quest from New York for more analysis. Richard, we are almost a month to the day since this plane simply disappeared. How important is this new information?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is crucially important because it's the best lead that they have got. There are two pinger locations. The first is with Ocean Shield, that's the Australian ship, which was announced, oh, just about 12 -- literally 12 hours ago, Angus Houston announced that.

And the second of the double pinger locations or hearings by the Chinese. And they are all south of the search areas, where new satellite data and refinement of the existing data suggest is exactly where the plane may have gone down.

So although Ocean Shield is looking 300 miles away, the real focus and attention, Becky, is on where the Chinese believe they heard some pinging noises twice, once on Friday, once on Saturday.

ANDERSON: For the sake of the relatives of those who are lost, let's hope that this is a good lead. Richard, stay with me for a moment. The plane's disappearance, of course, has sparked debate about airplane safety, some suggesting putting cameras in the cockpit so investigators could see exactly what was happening at the time of an accident like this. Stephanie Elam has that part of the story for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're descending to 3,000 --

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As pilots guide commercial planes across the skies, everything they say is recorded.


ELAM: But unlike other modes of transportation, we can't see what's happening at the controls. Cameras have shed light on accidents, like when this bus driver was caught on surveillance camera texting just before rear-ending an SUV.

Cameras are also keeping an eye on train conductors. And now, the mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has re-energized the debate of putting cameras in the cockpit.

MIKE KARN, PRESIDENT, COALITION OF AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: The amount of information that they're deriving right now from the aircraft exceeds anything in the other transport industries.

ELAM: Mike Karn of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association says cameras would be intrusive.

ELAM (on camera): Why not put cameras in the cockpit of commercial airliners?

KARN: I want the pilot worried about flying the aircraft. And the second thing is, current technology allows you to monitor so many more parameters of the aircraft that it's not necessary. You're going to know the altitude, the speed, the configuration, everything mechanically about that aircraft.

ELAM (voice-over): In 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended the Federal Aviation Administration require airlines to record electronic images, data that would be included in two redundant cockpit data recorders, one in the front of the plane, another in the rear. But in the last 14 years, that recommendation has gone nowhere beyond being a suggestion.

JIM HALL, FORMER CHAIRMAN, US NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: This information would be limited to accident investigation use, and otherwise would not be available for viewing by anyone.

ELAM: Jim Hall was chairman of the NTSB when the recommendation was made after the investigation of several crashes found there wasn't enough cockpit data to determine what went wrong.

HALL: The cameras would not be on the face of either the pilot or the copilot. They would focus on the instruments and on the manipulations that are made.

KARN: We constantly see the edging and edging more towards taking away the privacy of the pilots. We're performing our job up there. I would rather be focused on doing my job than what people are seeing.

ELAM: Yet, Hall sees passenger safety as a higher priority than pilot privacy.

HALL: I hope that we won't wait until we have a similar incident involving a United States airline and United States citizens to take the action that's necessary to provide for the safety and security of the traveling public.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN.


ANDERSON: Richard, it's an interesting discussion, isn't it? That some see the idea of cameras in the cockpit as simply too intrusive, whereas most people, I think, would probably agree that the more security the better, as it were.

QUEST: Yes. The argument is -- I've read the Association of Airline Pilots Association, and the argument is this. A, it's one of privacy and B, you've already got a huge amount of information. So, for example, you cannot see at them moment, Becky, what my feet are doing if I was manipulating the rudders. You can see me go like this, but you don't necessarily see exactly what button I'm pushing, how far I push it.

If the camera is pointing this way -- I've read the argument many times. The answer, frankly, is not cameras in the cockpit, although that would just be one more layer. But if it's going to annoy the pilots, so be it.

The answer is data streaming so that as soon as an incident has happened, at least a limited amount of data is provided to the investigators and we don't end up with the obscene situation where we are trying to find a state-of-the-art airliner at the bottom of the ocean in 2014.

ANDERSON: Richard, remind us, there is some glimmer of hope, of course, as we get information, however slight, about these pulses. How long does a black box continue to emit information before search and operations are effectively over?

QUEST: The ping lasts -- is guaranteed to last for 30 days. So, it was thirty days on Friday night when it went into the water. They say it will last three, four, five, maybe up to ten days more. There is no question, Becky, that those pinger batteries are now on borrowed time. And every day that goes past reduces the possibility.

But it is not a light switch. It doesn't go off after 30 days, it degrades. So, the signal becomes weaker and weaker and weaker. And that's why getting the assets there fast is important. But we are beyond 30 days, and there are questions about the pingers anyway, so time is most definitely against them.

ANDERSON: Richard Quest is in New York these days. I am in Abu Dhabi. Richard, thank you for that.

QUEST: Good to see you.

ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up, the Middle East's creativity and wild side are on display in Dubai. And on the other side of this break, talking over a cup of tea with the Afghan community right here in the UAE after the election. Is there optimism that people power will really win over insurgents or the militants? That after this.


ANDERSON: At around about a quarter to 8:00 here in the UAE, that is the shot of what is known as the Corniche here in Abu Dhabi, an evening shot for you here live from the UAE.

Well, earlier in the program, we told you how Afghans in their millions turned out to defy the Taliban and vote in the country's historic election, but that is just the first step, of course, in the paving the way to what is a peaceful future, one hopes.

I sat down with members of the Afghan community in Dubai to hear their thoughts about what they believe lies ahead.


ANDERSON (voice-over): For a sense of what lies ahead for Afghanistan after years of instability, I sat down with a former Afghan diplomat, a journalist who's covered Afghanistan for years, and an Afghan businessman, all based here in the UAE.

ANDERSON (on camera): It seems to me there are two or things here. We need a free and fair election, and one that is accepted by all. That the regional players stay away for as long as possible in order to allow whoever the president is to get involved. What happens, though, with the Taliban?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taliban, they have population, they have influence. We simply cannot get rid of them, even if we wish to. So, there has to be a mechanism that they respect the Afghan law and they do not go after killing of innocent people.

ANDERSON: Is that likely?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They push Taliban back, 2002, 2003, but then they didn't continue. They didn't really fight the terrorism and --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But again, we come back -- we come back. When we had the new transitional government and people, they were so much energetic, so much hopeful --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They wanted to contribute --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. But now, ordinary citizens, they are so fed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think that even a legitimate government will be even more acceptable even for Taliban, I can say that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not from Afghanistan. As an observer --

ANDERSON: You're Iranian.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, exactly. I've traveled to Afghanistan a lot, I should say. Afghans mainly, most of them, are not seeing themselves in a picture of Afghanistan. There is so much competition, it's seeing different ethnics and different races, and each of them likes to prove they are better, their population is greater than the other population. And certainly, that ethnic has to have the next president of Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will have to slightly disagree with my friend. There is no conflict within the population. Yes, I do agree that some political figures who come from different groups --

ANDERSON: Play the card.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They play the cards, yes. But it's never translated on the lower level, or people common level.

ANDERSON: Do you fundamentally agree, here, with Abdul, that there's an opportunity to move beyond those divides?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the ethnics are not near in Afghanistan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people lived for centuries together and there was no problem. What we can say that the last 30 years of war and especially civil war, these problems fueled some kind of -- what we can say? -- some kind of --

ANDERSON: Feuding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, between the ethnic people. But it still matters not. If we succeed to build a strong and a powerful and a reputed government, I think these problems will -- it's not something to worry about.

ANDERSON: There are natural resources, like they're going out of fashion, in Afghanistan. But the political instability has not allowed the country to really leverage and take advantage of that. Is anybody talking policy at this stage whereby they can see a new future for the economy of Afghanistan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I in my personal capacity have been in touch with a lot of investors in copper, metals, other --

ANDERSON: People want it, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want, yes. We had the Chinese company, there's been question on the procedures. The Indians, companies from UK, from Europe, there was interest. But honestly, when you -- when I as an Afghan don't feel comfortable working too much in my country, it becomes very unnatural for me to convince an investor and bring him to Afghanistan.

So, we have serious challenges, and these serious challenges need to be addressed and converted into potential opportunities.

ANDERSON: Paint me a picture of Afghanistan where there is a troop withdrawal in almost its total entirety by the end of 2014.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no guarantee that having American troops for the next 15 years or 5 years or 3 years that there will be security. So, the bigger question is how the government keep people close to them and have they made them confident that this government is for them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am optimistic because I'm seeing sort of some hope had derived in Afghanistan. I'm seeing people want to take the challenge and the chances to make the changes. Otherwise, the next election is within next five years, and it would be too late to fix all those problems.


ANDERSON: A cafe chat in Dubai. I'm joined again by our emerging markets editor, John Defterios. John, we talked, there, about the wealth of natural resources that Afghanistan has, perhaps to its detriment in the past. There have been outside players trying to take a piece of the action.


ANDERSON: Recently, with this political instability, the resources just haven't been taken advantage of.

DEFTERIOS: This got everybody's attention going back two years ago when the Pentagon put a study together looking at the natural assets, primarily in the copper mining space. But we're talking about huge gemstone deposits as well.

When you talk about the Great Game, remember the Great Game, geopolitical struggle in central Asia. Whoever kind of owned central Asia kind of owns the world. Well, think about that when it comes to Afghanistan.

The main players who want to go in are China and the United States for obvious reasons. There's also oil and gas deposits that have not been explored as well. So, it's a huge security issue before you can make the leap into Afghanistan.

But you can see why the major players, China and the United States -- earlier, we talked about the India elections, it's right at the doorstep of India as well. We also a little bit earlier talked about Manasa (ph), the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Major investment players that are here in the UAE have looked at Afghanistan as a potential play.

But the key question is, can we get stability into the region to go in? There's money that wants to come off the sidelines and go in. You've even seen a real estate boom in Kabul ahead of the security scares and the bombings we've seen lately.

A great deal of potential, but can you get the stability that you're looking for? The Chinese have actually pulled out saying there's not enough security in the copper mine investment that they've already made.

ANDERSON: Who do you see owning most of the action going forward?

DEFTERIOS: Well, it's funny. When that US security report from the Pentagon came out, it was almost like, well, we see this potential, but we probably are not the players on the table here with the greatest access.

China's made the big play, as you know, in the last decade into Africa. It's been scouring the region. Major player here in the region for oil assets with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It's a natural extension for China to make its way into Afghanistan.

ANDERSON: It's fascinating, isn't it? As the Afghans go to the polls -- and this election, again, we won't find out possibly who's president, unless somebody wins outright in the first round, for some weeks.

You've got this influence, political, geopolitical from the likes of India, Pakistan, Iran. And then the influence --


ANDERSON: -- as you follow the money, of course, from other players as well.

DEFTERIOS: Well, there's been some interesting counter plays in the region. Russia trying to exercise its influence over Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

ANDERSON: Correct.

DEFTERIOS: But if you look at Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, who has the major energy stakes, the major investments over the last few years? Arguably, it's China.

ANDERSON: John Defterios, our emerging markets editor, here on CONNECT THE WORLD. As ever, John --

DEFTERIOS: Always a pleasure.

ANDERSON: -- thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Are you an Afghan? What do you think lies ahead for the country? We want to know what --


ANDERSON: -- dot-com/CNNconnect, have your say. You can always tweet me @BeckyCNN, that's @BeckyCNN. This is your show, get involved in what is a global conversation. Coming up after this short break --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very crazy. We are just like crazy with you, just like being crazy. We do wild things.


ANDERSON: The creatively weird and wonderful head to Dubai.


ANDERSON: All right, welcome back. In the run-up to our first edition of CONNECT THE WORLD here in the capital of the UAE, we've been asking you to submit images that sum up what Abu Dhabi is to you, using the hash tag #MyAbuDhabi.

Well, this is my arrival in the city nine days ago, posted on my own Instagram page, @BeckyCNN. Yes, it was a long flight, hence the look and feel there. Here's just a selection of the pictures that you have posted on Twitter and Instagram. Please do keep them coming, we'll feature the very best of them right here on CONNECT THE WORLD, that's at #MyAbuDhabi.

Stormtroopers and Hobbits have been spotted in Dubai these past few days. Not the normal tourists for this desert holiday destination, but the Middle East Film and Comic Con attracted the very weird and the extremely wonderful. Leone Lakhani joined them.


LEONE LAKHANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you're a sci-fi or comic book fan, then this is your bag. This is the Middle East's annual Comic Con extravaganza. And in true Dubai style, it really is about extravagance.

LAKHANI (voice-over): That's because this year, on display, is a vintage comic collection worth about $2.5 million. It includes first editions of "Batman" and "Superman."

But there is no shortage of characters here, both on and off the pages. Perhaps a star trooper milling about, or Snow White's wicked queen. And some take the experience to a whole other dimension.

LAKHANI (on camera): You can model yourself after your favorite super heroes and see if you've got the qualities of Iron Man, for instance.

LAKHANI (voice-over): This convention's not just about Western comics. The region's local flavor is clearly evident. The Middle Eastern take on Western pop cultural icons, "Breaking Bad," or joking around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very crazy. We are just like crazy with you, just like being crazy. We do wild things.

LAKHANI: But it's not just about being different. This is a business. There's plenty of memorabilia on sale, including these Star Wars helmets, ready for auction, decorated by artists from around the world.

LAKHANI (on camera): This helmet, designed by British artist Damien Hirst, starts at $35,000. Sadly, that's a bit out of my budget, but I did manage to get this, a replica of an 18th edition Superman comic, bargain price, $25.

Leone Lakhani, CNN, Dubai.


ANDERSON: Tonight's Parting Shots just before we close it out. It appears you are never too young to feel the long arm of the law in Pakistan, where a nine-month-old boy was apparently booked and fingerprinted.

According to a police official in Lahore, the baby's father and other family members threw rocks at officers trying to collect an unpaid gas bill. Well, the father was ordered to appear in court with his teenage son, but brought along his infant instead.

The boy was reportedly accused of attempted murder and fingerprinted while being held by his grandfather. Clearly, he wasn't too happy about it. The inspector in charge has been suspended.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was the inaugural CONNECT THE WORLD from the UAE. From Abu Dhabi, it's a very good evening.