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CONNECT THE WORLD
Pro-Russian Militants Seize Government Buildings In Eastern Ukraine; Jordan Spieth Leads Masters Going Into Final Day; Internet Provides Glimpse Of MH370 Pilot's Personality; Weather Effect on Chile Wildfire; Chile Wildfire Devastation; India Election; Parts Unknown: Punjab, India; Royal Tour of New Zealand; Parting Shots: Palm Sunday in Jerusalem; Abu Dhabi's Hotel Industry; Rotana's Ambitions; Rising Emirate; Iconic Waldorf Astoria Clock With Arab Twist
Aired April 13, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Showdown in eastern Ukraine, Kiev takes on what it calls pro-Russia terrorists who refuse to end their occupation of state buildings.
Also ahead, profile of a pilot -- as the search for answers about flight 370 continues, we find out more about the man at the controls.
And it's the economy in India: why money is taking center stage as Indians head to the polls.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very good evening. It's just after 7:00 in the evening here.
We begin in Ukraine where the interior minister is warning people in an eastern city not to leave their apartments. He says government forces have launched an operation in Slovyansk against pro-Russian activists who seized a police station.
Now protesters have staged similar actions in other cities in the region, of course, in the past days. As you see on this map, the cities form a link between Russia and Crimea, which has already been annexed by Moscow.
And the capital of Kiev looking quite isolated in comparison.
Well, let's get you to CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh for more in the eastern city of Donetsk.
And Nick, what are we seeing or hearing about what's going on on the ground at this point?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it's moving extraordinarily fast in the last 36 hour. To bring you up to date right now, we're hearing from witnesses on the ground in Kharkiv, the second, really biggest city here in eastern Ukraine that the city hall there, the town hall had in fact fallen to protesters. One witness -- as we were not there ourselves -- but one witness saying in fact that the police outside that building offered no resistance when pro-Russian protesters tried to storm inside.
So, a remarkable development now if we do see both local administration, both Kharkiv and Donetsk now under control of protesters.
As I say where I'm standing here in Donetsk, it's been under their control for about almost a week now.
Also, we're hearing from the Ukrainian foreign ministry, Becky, a word similar to what we heard from the interior minister this morning saying they've "decided to launch a full-scale anti-terrorist operation against those who attempt to destroy our country," adding, "Ukraine has all the necessary evidence of the involvement of Russian special service in this separatist revolt and the capture of state institutions in eastern Ukraine."
So clearly laying the blame at the foot of the Russians. That's been done by the Americans in the past, Becky. And we're looking, I think, really at an extraordinarily tense few days ahead to see how quite this expanding list of towns where the police and government institutions have been taken over by these pro-Russian militants and protesters, backing them up. Quite when it stops and quite whether or not Ukraine musters enough law enforcement power to push back and try and regain control of these areas, Becky.
ANDERSON: All right. Nick Paton Walsh for you on the story. Connect the World is going to continue our special coverage of the crisis in Ukraine. We're going to get to Moscow with Diana Magnay and see how the Kremlin responds to Ukraine's tough stance on what they call pro-Russia protesters.
And we're going to get you live to Washington for more on the latest talks between American and Russian diplomats on the crisis and on U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's upcoming trip to the region. That is later this hour.
Well, after week of searching, teams are still not ready to give up on finding Malaysia Airlines flight 370. It was some five days ago when they last picked up signals as could be from the locator beacons attached to the black boxes, but searchers say they will continue looking for more pings until they are sure the batteries on the power of those signals are dead.
Malaysia's acting transport minister says it is essential the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are found if the passengers and crew are ever to be cleared in this investigation.
Well, Sumnima Udas is in Kuala Lumpur with more on that investigation into flight 370. Sumnima, investigators have focused a lot of their time on the plane's captain. What do we know about him?
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, sources say that investigators have played out those recordings of the conversation between the cockpit and the air traffic control room to various colleagues of the pilot and the co-pilot. And they confirm that the voice of those last few words was that of the captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
Now of course he has been under a huge amount of scrutiny already, but not much is actually known about him, except if you do go online you do get some sense of his personality.
UDAS: "Good night Malaysian 370," those last few words spoken by the captain of a plane, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, sources close to the investigation say bringing the 53-year-old pilot's background in focus once again.
ZAHARIE AHMAD SHAH, PILOT: Hi, everyone. This is the YouTube video that I made --
UDAS: Of all the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of 370, a distinct image of the captain emerges on social media. In this 16 minute video, Zaharie explains how to optimize an air conditioner to reduce electricity bills. His Facebook page full of pictures of spruced up gadgets, indulging in what friends say was his passion and a photo of what appears to be his much talked about flight simulator. A true aviation enthusiast, there are dozens of pictures of model helicopters and planes, at least until about a year ago.
His Facebook posts shows Zaharie was also passionate about politics. In this post urging people to vote out the current government. Referring to the ruling coalition he writes, "50 years in power by a single party does not say much about democracy in the country."
He's known to be a supporter of the opposition party's Anwar Ibrahim.
But perhaps what stands out most, his love for food and cooking. From Malaysian flat rice noodles to curry, he appears happy.
His post trails off around fall of 2013. His last Facebook post on January 3, 2014.
A pilot with more than 35 years of experience, passion for the job, and some interesting hobbies, but nothing in a social media post appear to suggest foul play.
UDAS: Becky, most of the friends we've spoken to say they don't believe he could have done anything to hurt anyone. And the words most people tend to use tend to describe him is that he was a kind and humble man.
ANDERSON: Listen, the acting transport minister in Malaysia has pointed out quite clearly that it is essential the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder are found. At this point, weeks in, what's the chance, what's the latest on this investigation?
UDAS: Well, the investigation is still on. And not much information is really coming out at all, because authorities say that could jeopardize the investigation. But the acting transport minister has said that nobody on that plane, no passenger, no crew member has been cleared from the investigation. They are still very much under scrutiny.
The Malaysian police chief has said they've already questioned and taken statements from about 205 people so far, mostly family members of the crew and the passengers. And they say they're looking into four main areas: hijacking, sabotage personal problems and psychological problems. But of course they say nothing can be established, nothing can be confirmed, until they find those crucial black boxes.
And I must add, Becky, that it's not just the Malaysian authorities who are here to investigate. You have people, representatives from various agencies including Boeing, including Inmarsat, including the FBI. So it's a massive and very complicated investigation.
ANDERSON: Sunnima Udas is in Kuala Lumpur for you this evening. Thank you.
As we've been discussing, the search is focusing on listening to what are these pingers from the missing plane's black boxes. Once those fade or die, the search will have to rely on a whole new set of tools. Find out what they are and how they work, do use the website CNN.com/international.
Well, still to come this evening, the fifth phase of India's massive election is this week. One of the top issues among voters, rising prices.
And we'll have an update on our top story, the crisis in Ukraine. Stay tuned for that and much more when Connect the World continues. We're live in Abu Dhabi for you.
ANDERSON: Well, this is what is left of about 500 homes in Chile after a wild forest fire engulfed parts of the coastal city of Valparaiso. At least 11 people have been killed so far and 10,000 have been evacuated from their homes.
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet visited the city after declaring a state of emergency. She said the federal government is ready to help and will send some 2,000 security forces and more firefighters into the city.
Well, Valparaiso is about 80 kilometers west of San Diego.
This is CNN. You're watching Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. 11 minutes past 7:00 here. A quick recap of our top story, the escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine.
And the country's interior minister says an anti-terrorism operation is now underway in the city of Sovyansk against pro-Russian activists who seized a police station, he says. He says both sides have suffered casualties, but at last report, a CNN crew in the city didn't see any confrontations.
Well, pro-Russia protesters have taken over buildings in other cities in the region in the past days as well.
We are covering this major story from two major capitals this evening which are important. Diana Magnay live in Moscow for you and Erin Pike is Washington based for you.
Let's begin with you, Di. What is the Kremlin's line at this stage on what is happening across the border on the ground?
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, things are clearly moving very fast in south and eastern Ukraine. And it's very dangerous situation geopolitically as a result. We know that Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, had a conversation, a telephone call with John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, yesterday in which he said that any use of force against people in the south and east of Ukraine would possibly derail these four party talks that are due to take place next week and would be against Ukrainian's interest. So that is their position. That was clearly before this anti-terror operation was launched by Ukraine's interior ministry.
NATO, the U.S. clearly placing the blame for this -- what appears to be coordinated and well planned series of raids in these various cities by armed militants in Russia's court. Russia, of course, denies this. NATO also calling for Russia to pull its troops back from the border region. They say that there are some 40,000 troops along the border with Ukraine. Russia says, and has continually said, that they pose no threat and that they are there just for training exercises.
But clearly this weekend things have ramped up considerably. And what you're seeing in those various cities is what we saw in Crimea, i.e. armed militias with no insignia, but with uniforms clearly very well trained and with a plan that is beginning to sort of take effect in really one city after another in that part of Ukraine -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Let me get to Washington. I'm going to get back to you, Di. Erin McPike is there for you this evening. Erin, Joe Biden due in Ukraine. What is he hoping to achieve?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the White House announced that late yesterday afternoon -- and obviously it was a bit of a signal to Russia -- Joe Biden will travel to Kiev a week from Tuesday, on April 22, to meet with the new government leaders there as they try to move ahead with this new government and plane for elections on May 25, but also to help the government there in Kiev deal with this latest outbreak of violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: It has all the tell-tale signs of what we saw in Crimea. It's professional. It's coordinated. There's nothing grassroots seeming about it. I think we've seen that the sanctions can bite. And if actions like the kind that we've seen over the last few days continue, you're going to see a ramping up of those sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCPIKE: Now, that was Samantha Power there. She is the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
We also know that in that phone call last night between John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov, Kerry essentially said that there will be additional consequences if Russia does not pull back its troops, likely sanctions, as Samantha Power mentions.
There now also John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov will meet in Geneva on Thursday along with leaders of the EU as they continue to try to hammer out a diplomatic solution, though obviously over the past few weeks that has not worked.
ANDERSON: Di, I interviewed Lord David Owen, he was the EU special negotiator in Yugoslavia, of course, between '92 and '95, just last week about the situation unfolding in Ukraine. And I asked him whether the current Cold War narrative, as some see it, unfolding will actually do anything to change Moscow's behavior. Here is what he had to say. And I want you to react to this, if you will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID OWEN, FRM. BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Politicians are fixed in the past. They seem to want to go back to Cold War rhetoric on both sides. That doesn't help. Just keep going, ordinary people trading off each other, selling goods to each other, working with each other in the markets of the world. That's the Russia that made great strides from 1990 all the way through until just recently. And Putin may not like it, but that's the best way to improve relations between Russia and the west.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Briefly, what chance that were to happen at this point?
MAGNAY: -- to me?
ANDERSON: Yes, sorry.
MAGNAY: Repeat the questions, Becky.
ANDERSON: What chance that Russia steps back at this point as Lord Owen was suggesting it might and considers, you know, it's all about working with each other, it's about business relations, and this sort of Cold War rhetoric that we're hearing should be very much toned down at this point. What chance of that happening in -- from Moscow.
MAGNAY: Well, I think that the rhetoric is extremely dangerous. The economic sanctions are clearly a way of reinforcing the inability of Russia to continue on sort of good economic trade relations. So I mean, they hamper the kind of progress that Lord Owen was talking about. And actually it is the trade ties and the close economic ties with the people of Ukraine's south and eastern region with Russia itself that has brought about this large pro-Russian sentiment there. You know many people are worried about what Kiev is doing, trade across the border, that border has effectively been cut off for now. People don't have jobs there. That is why you have this kind of strong pro-Russian sentiment.
But I mean, Russia's rhetoric and Russia's mindset in relation to Ukraine is still embedded in its sort of Soviet era in terms of seeing Ukraine as really the jewel in its crown. And that relationship, that very sort of emotional tie between the two countries is pre-Cold War. And it's a difficult one to move away from as Ukraine tries to -- for Russia at least -- as Ukraine tries to form itself into a stand alone sovereign state.
ANDERSON: Erin in Washington, much talk in diplomatic circles that Washington has effectively misread Russia's determination to stamp its mark on what -- in the Cold War would have been described its sphere of influence. Do you sense any sort of concern in Washington that they might have just overstepped the mark, that perhaps they should have allowed the EU to continue with this sort of what was very delicate negotiation what a month or so ago so far as Ukraine and Russia was concerned?
MCPIKE: Well, the Obama administration has actually taken a lot of criticism from Republicans for not doing enough. And actually it's been sort of surprising that we have seen such a more forceful approach to this from the White House and the State Department in the last 24 hours. They've treaded very carefully up until this point, but they have come out and said Russia should stop this violence, these incursions into Ukraine. But it's just been more forceful and more vocal in the few days.
We have seen Democrats start to say that obviously Russia has an end goal here. And with the purported annexation of Crimea that the government in Moscow wants to do more of that. And so that's why I think we're seeing more forceful, vocal outcry from Washington in the last couple of days.
ANDERSON: Yeah, watch this space, it's going to be a very, very busy and possibly very complex one as we move forward. That was Di Mangay. Thank you Diana in Moscow. And Erin McPike in Washington for you.
We are live in Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.
Coming up, voters head to the polls again this week in India's ongoing election process. A top issue, the economy. And we'll hear from some voters who have to choose between paying their electric bills and feeding their family.
Plus, the final day at the U.S. Masters is in full swing. And this 20-year- old rookie is looking to make golfing history. That all coming up.
ANDERSON: Just about 23 minutes past 7:00 here in the UAE. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson with Connect the World for you.
It is the final round in the U.S. Master's golf tournament. And one player has everybody talking. In his first ever appearance at Augusta National 20- year-old -- yes, 20-year-old rookie Jordan Spieth has a share of the top spot. The American would be the youngest ever winner if he holds his nerve on the final day.
He shares the lead with 2012 winner Bubba Watson who is five under. Swede Jonas Blixt is tied for third and Matt Kuchar -- well, actually is up Miguel Angel Jimenez just two shots of the pace, though as you can see.
Spieth tees off in just a few hours from now. World Sport's Lara Baldasarra is in Augusta joining me with the very latest.
There must be some real buzz about this youngster.
LARA BALDASARRA, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Becky, it is certainly a very, very exciting final round, which has got underway just a couple of hours ago. And like you mentioned, Jordan Spieth, he'll be teeing off later today paired along with his co-leader Bubba Watson.
Now, as you can see, the wind here has picked up a little bit. And it's actually expected to pick up a little bit more this afternoon. So it's a very, very good thing that Jordan Spieth is an excellent wind player. He's from Texas. And these Texas players, they are noted for their excellence in the wind.
But that's just one aspect of Spieth's game. It's all-around just incredibly impressive.
But even more impressive than his actual game, it's his composure. When you look at him playing and when you hear him speaking, you would never believe that Spieth is just 20 years old. If he had not left college early to turn pro, he would be a junior in college at this point. And sometimes that's just lost, because you think that he is much older than he is.
Now, like I said, Spieth will be playing alongside of Bubba Watson. Now Bubba Watson is the 2012 Masters winner. Last year he finished tied for 50th here. But this year he says that he feels like the pressure is off. He's playing with a clear head. And Bubba Watson, he did have a little bit of trouble yesterday in his third round, so if he can get his touch back then we can see a very, very exciting finish.
But here are both the co-leaders after their rounds yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN SPIETH, ROOKIE GOLFER: Today was a day to stay patient and try and get myself a later tee time even than today. And that goal was accomplished. And tomorrow is about seeing how I can control my game and emotions out on the golf course you know against guys that have even won here recently.
BUBBA WATSON, 2012 MASTERS WINNER: We joked about it on the range today when they were going to the tee. They said, we'll see you on the last group on Sunday. And I was like you better play good, but obviously I should have played a little bit better. But, no, it was -- it's fun. It'll be good. You know, he's a great player, obviously. A guy like that, obviously has no fear. And he's just going -- his game is just going to get better and better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDASARRA: Yesterday Spieth also joked that when he got up to the first tee with Bubba Watson he would actually turn to Bubba Watson and call him Mr. Watson just to make him feel old. There's only 13 years that separate the two, but Jordan Spieth joked that he would do anything to try to throw him off.
Anyways, on the flip side of the age equation, we have 50-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez. And he just skyrocketed to the top of this leaderboard yesterday with a brilliant round of 66. Now this is a man who is noted for his interesting stretching routine and his love of fine win and cigars. And now his 61st appearance in a major. He has put himself, Becky, into excellent position to finally win his first ever major.
ANDERSON: It's amazing stuff, isn't it? I'm glad he's being respectful of the older chaps on the course.
Very briefly, no Tiger Woods this year. Is he missed?
BALDASARRA: He was missed before we got into everything. But I think that now as everything has unfolded we're very, very excited about the play that's going to unfold today. And I think that Jordan Spieth has certainly stolen a lot of that spotlight, because if Jordan Spieth wins, he would become younger than Tiger Woods was to ever win the Masters. And so all of the talk is about him right now.
ANDERSON: Yeah. Oh, I wish I was there. Enjoy. What a great story to be reporting on it. It's just -- it never fails to impress, Augusta.
Thank you for that.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. The latest world news headlines are just ahead. And it's the world's biggest election in one of the world's most important economies. Coming up, how Indians are hoping to vote their way out of rising prices and slowing growth. That up next.
ANDERSON: On what is a very pleasant evening out here on the terrace at the CNN bureau in Abu Dhabi, welcome back. Just after half past 7:00 here. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories this hour.
Ukraine's interior minister says government forces have launched an operation against pro-Russia activists in the eastern city of Slaviansk. Protesters have seized government buildings in cities across the region in the past days.
Crews have expanded their search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Up to 12 aircraft and 14 ships were out looking in the southern Indian Ocean on Saturday -- on Sunday, sorry. Authorities have not detected any what they are calling "pings" potentially from the black boxes in several days.
New reports have emerged in Syria about poison gas, with each side accusing the other of using it. Video posted on anti-government websites shows a number of civilians appearing to have difficulty breathing and using oxygen masks. Syrian television reports an al Qaeda-linked group had planned to use poison gas.
At least 11 people were killed in Chile after a forest wildfire spread into parts of Valparaiso overnight. Around 500 houses have been destroyed, and 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. Five hundred firefighters were on the scene, and more are on the way. The president said 2,000 security officers will also be sent to keep the peace.
Well, let's get more on that wildfire. Alexandra Steele is live at the CNN World Weather Center. And how is the weather helping or hindering what is going on there at this point?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Becky, it's certainly hindered, just at the outset of this. Let's take you and show you some more pictures. We're taking you to Chile, and about 80 kilometers west of the capital, Santiago, is Valparaiso, and it's a port city. It's actually the second- most populous city next to Santiago.
Right now, it's 10 degrees Celsius, smoke is in the air, as you can see. Visibility is incredibly low. And it was these very strong Pacific coast winds that pushed this fire into the city. And right now, though, the winds are west-northwest at four. But they are expected once again tonight to kick up again.
We're saying you can see the conditions there. It's about 740 acres of very hilly neighborhood there. So, the firefighters are having a difficult time for two reasons. One of course, the very strong winds from the Pacific exacerbated this fire out of the gate. But also, it's the topography of the city. It's surrounded by these dozens of steep hills where, actually, most people live.
So, it started yesterday, and we're seeing it still today. Unfortunately, we are going to see those strong winds pick up again. So, let me show you, the temperature right now is about 12 degrees or so. Again, that's about 80 kilometers west of Santiago, so Santiago's 18, it's about 10.
Current winds, a lot lighter than they've been. But notice, they are going to increase once gain as we head through the night. So, the winds are going to pick up.
Will there be any rain? No. Take a look at this. Here's Santiago, that's kind of our closest area. And we've got clear skies today, tomorrow, straight through the next seven days. So, certainly, rain will not help this all, we're not going to see any rain. So, it's all about the firefighters. And of course, forecasts for the next seven days, we've got nothing. So, dry skies continue.
All right, let's take you about 13,000 kilometers, now, to an earthquake, to the Solomon Islands, the Pacific chain here. We had two very strong earthquakes on Sunday. One was about a 7.6, and then another one is 7.4. So, we're seeing, unfortunately, Becky, this is the same area that was hit ten days ago with this incredible flooding that displaced about 9,000 people and killed about 23.
ANDERSON: All right. Alexander, thank you for that. The forecast and the latest on that earthquake there. Let me get you back to Chile, to the capital of Santiago in Chile. Felipe Guler joins us from the capital.
You heard our meteorologist there suggesting that, to all intents and purposes, the weather looking fine going forward. That will not help, of course, without any rain, those who are fighting this fire. What is the very latest on the ground?
FELIPE GULER, JOURNALIST (via telephone): Hello, Becky. We're from Santiago, Chile. Planes and helicopters are working as we speak to control this fire. Almost 2,000 acres have been devastated, and more than 500 homes have been destroyed. According to the last report of President Michelle Bachelet, 11 persons have been killed so far.
But by this fire, these numbers could grow in the next few hours. As we speak, we're talking about 16 dead people, but this has not been confirmed by the official authorities.
The evacuated persons are being sent to improvised shelters, and there are several institutions organizing help to provide food, medicine, and assistance to all the Chileans affected by this horrible situation.
ANDERSON: All right.
GULER: The government announced that they will call to a state of a catastrophe to allow armed forces to support the labors of protection and reconstruction.
ANDERSON: And we've been reporting exactly that, some 2,000 security officers to be on the ground, according to the president. How concerned are authorities about trouble on the ground as this continues?
GULER: Actually, there has not been reports of strikes of anything like that, but Michelle Bachelet has just announced that the armed forces will prevent and will guard for the security of the people of Valparaiso.
And they have prohibited the sales of any alcoholic beverage or night clubs. Everything will be closed and a state of security and exception to protect the health care and the security of the persons of Valparaiso.
ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there. Felipe, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us from Santiago on what is a very unpleasant situation in Valparaiso.
Well, a fifth phase of voting in India's massive election is on Thursday, this week. More than 800 million people are eligible to cast ballots in this five-week long election.
One of the issues, the top issues, is the economy. The nation struggling with what are skyrocketing prices, as our Mallika Kapur now explains.
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Green vegetables, egg whites, protein shakes. Healthy and homemade, what they're not is cheap.
SANDEEP SACHDEV, FITNESS FIRST: The average money which I'm spending all day on my food is not less than 400 rupees.
KAPUR (on camera): And two years ago?
SACHDEV: I don't think it's more than 250.
KAPUR (voice-over): It really pinches the pocket, says Sandeep Sachdev, a celebrity fitness consultant who's paying more for food, fuel, and just about everything else.
SACHDEV: (inaudible) Many are jacked, you know?
SACHDEV: It's a very expensive proposition.
KAPUR: Whether it's the common man or the head of a business, everyone's got the same complaint.
ARUP CHAUHAN, PERLE PRODUCTS: The wheat prices have gone up double. Sugar prices look at almost double. Oil prices are almost two and a half times --
KAPUR: India's leading biscuit maker Perle says it's been forced to make adjustments to its products' retail price or wait.
CHAUHAN: We will try to undertake several price hikes, either by way of jacking up the MRP or reducing grammages on our products.
KAPUR (on camera): In this basket of goods, I have footwear, lights, food, and clothing. And these are just some of the everyday household items that make up India's consumer price index, a key measure of inflation.
KAPUR (voice-over): It's risen over the last ten years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been in power. This economist says it's partly because his government spent too much money on subsidies for the poor.
SHUBHADA RAO, YES BANK: Subsidies are an inefficient way of bringing better standard of living for poor. True, you need some segment of subsidies, like food. But what about fertilizers or even fuel subsidies? The problem is, these subsidies are not appropriately distributed.
KAPUR: "Subsidies? They haven't helped us at all," Danesh tells me as he shows me his neighborhood, a slum in the heart of Mumbai. This area is as poor as it was ten years ago. "You can see how we live," he says. "There are no bathrooms. Power is so expensive, when the bill comes, I have to decide whether to pay the electricity bill or feed my family."
Disillusioned with high prices and slow growth, the Indian public voted out incumbents in four state elections last year. Opinion polls predict they're likely to do the same in this national election.
Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.
ANDERSON: And staying in India, Anthony Bourdain kicks off what will be his third series of "Parts Unknown" soon on CNN. He is tasting vegetarian spreads, riding narrow roads with hairpin curves and steep mountains, and stepping onboard the narrow gauge train in India.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN" (voice-over): "Ksar Gadhaba," (ph), "dhaba" meaning side of the road food stall. And there are, like, countless dhabas to choose from in this town. But this one is legendary.
BOURDAIN (on camera): See Tony eat vegetables. Mm. I like it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Anthony Bourdain, "Parts Unknown" in Punjab, India, airs first Monday, Hong Kong time it's early morning for you.
Well, more travels now, and a right royal rugby match in New Zealand's south island. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made time for a spot of the national sport as they continue their tour of the country. Max Foster has all the details from Christchurch for you.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fashionistas pour over outfit worn by the duchess, and they noted how this was the first by a New Zealand designer during the tour. It was Emilia Wickstead.
FOSTER: Then, a rock star welcome to a kids' ripper rugby tournament. Each royal coached a team, and his team. Revenge for a sailing race the duke lost against his wife on Friday.
HRH PRINCE WILLIAM OF BRITAIN: The enthusiasm and skill demonstrated by the children's team bears out just how exceptionally good at rugby this nation really is.
FOSTER: There were rumors in the British press that Kate was pregnant, but that was dismissed when she took part in a wine-tasting. Drinking whilst pregnant would send out the wrong royal message, as would this --
FOSTER: The couple hit the great outdoors in Queenstown and showed their wild sides. This isn't recommended for pregnant women. In fact, William asked to go closer to the canyon walls. The thrill-seeking royals capping off week one of their Australia-Asian tour.
Max Foster, CNN, Christchurch, New Zealand.
ANDERSON: Tonight's Parting Shots for you. I want to leave you with scenes from Palm Sunday ceremonies in Jerusalem as Christians mark the start of Easter Holy Week. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYRISC JOHN, CHRISTIAN PILGRIM: This is a procession that is according to the Gospel of St. Luke. It is going towards Jerusalem. Jesus's solemn entrance to the city of Jerusalem. We are remembering and recollecting this special event.
CHOIR (singing): Halle hallelujah! Hallelujah, hallelujah!
JULIANA GABRO, SYRIAN CHRISTIAN: And it's just unbelievable because Jesus also walked this way, that I'm being here with friends from Syria, also, it's great. It's a feeling -- yes. I have no words for this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First time I did it was 20 years ago, and this is absolutely beautiful. It feels -- you're re-energized, re-evangelized, and you feel really alive within the life of Christ.
RAMI KHOURY, PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN: People, we have Palestinians, I even saw some Israelis, you have Muslims, you have people from Tanzania, Scandinavia, the US. It's all -- again, just proves that this city is for everybody, not for just one group.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Your Parting Shots this evening. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST is up next. I'll be back with the headlines after that.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: It's a homegrown hotel chain up against the bit international brands. What's the strategy? A day in the life in the Rotana CEO Omar Omar Kaddouri.
And no, it's not Dubai or Abu Dhabi. It's Ras al-Khaimah. Why this quiet emirate is emerging into the rising emirate as the UAE's new tourist destination.
Welcome to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. This week from the Corniche in Abu Dhabi. This is a city which has been in an explosion of hotels over the past year. Sheraton, Hilton, and the Intercontinental have been here for years. But one of the latest is the St. Regis in the Nation's Tower behind me. It joins some homegrown brands as well, such as Jumeirah and Rotana.
Rotana opened its first hotel in Abu Dhabi more than 20 years ago. It has a dozen in the capital, including this one, the Khalidiya Palace on the water. It has major expansion plans under its new CEO, Omar Kaddouri, who's chasing growth in the emerging markets.
OMAR KADDOURI, CEO, ROTANA HOTELS: Morning, Katchas (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Morning.
KADDOURI: Hi, Emmy. Morning, Hashi (ph). How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
KADDOURI: I was just calling to check to see if all OK in Salalah.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): Meet Omar Kaddouri, the new face of Rotana Hotels.
KADDOURI: Hello, how are you doing? Good to see you. All OK? Yes?
DEFTERIOS: An Abu Dhabi-based chain with 50 properties around the globe. In January, he took on the role of chief executive of the group, which was led by its co-founders, Nasser Al Nowais and Selim El Zyr, for just over two decades.
KADDOURI: All those years ago, everybody looks so much younger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look better now.
KADDOURI: There's our owner, Sheik Zyr. Our chairman, Selim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right, yes.
KADDOURI: These are the people that started the company.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DEFTERIOS: Rotana had a modest start with two hotels in 1993. Kaddouri joined the group five years later on.
KADDOURI: Are we ready for the meeting?
DEFTERIOS: Iraqi-British Kaddouri graduated from a Swiss hotel management school in 1986, meeting resistance from his father, who thought he was making a wrong turn.
KADDOURI: I remember, I told my dad I want to be in the hotel business. He said, "What? You're not going to be a waiter. No son of mine is going to be a waiter. You're not going to be -- all this money I'm going to spend, and you're going to be a waiter?"
And I said, "It's not like that," you know?
Francesca, how are you, good to see you.
DEFTERIOS: Today, he's at the Park Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi to refurbish a well-known restaurant, Teatro.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the central --
KADDOURI: Yes. So, you can never -- once it's damaged, you've got to do the whole wall again. So, that's not what we're looking here to --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it's a good quality, this one.
DEFTERIOS (on camera): Your background is in food and beverage.
KADDOURI: That's right.
DEFTERIOS: So, you have your hands all over this type of business.
KADDOURI: I'm very passionate about food and beverage. And when you have hotels to work with and so many hotels with so many outlets, it's like a kid in a candy store.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): Rotana is a homegrown brand in the Middle East, giving it a comfort level to go in where others may hesitate. It was the first to open a five-star hotel in Erbil, northern Iraq.
KADDOURI: At the building stage, we're just trying to make sure that we have as much efficiency as possible.
DEFTERIOS: Now, Kaddouri has his sights on Iran and its nearly 80 million consumers.
KADDOURI: I think a big watch out for Iran, I would say. Not that I want the competitors to come rushing into Iran. We want to be the first one on the ground, and I think we will be the first on the ground.
But there are certain elements that need to be stabilized before we can feel really, really confident. But we're hoping that by the end of next year, beginning of 16, we should see our first hotel open in Iran.
DEFTERIOS: The bigger plan is to more than double the number of cities where Rotana has a presence to 40, and the number of hotel rooms or keys by 2020 to 28,000. Kaddouri is going east where there is growth.
KADDOURI: We're talking to people in southeast Asia, in India, in Australia. I just came back from a trip to Australia and I visited several major cities that are in need of hotels. And OK, Rotana? Who are Rotana? I know all of the other big guys. That's when we have to sell ourselves. That's when we have to say, come on over to our part of the world. We can show you what we have. And there's always some smart investor that's going to give the new kid on the block a chance.
DEFTERIOS: To build out, Kaddouri says it is important to know where the brand was born. The Beach Rotana was the chain's first property. It remains a meeting point in the UAE capital. When he's not busy touring the properties, there's one other place he'd like to be.
KADDOURI: I love this hole. I think I didn't so much get the hole on the golf course.
DEFTERIOS: But even there, he's keeping an eye on developments. The latest Rotana on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, is under construction.
KADDOURI: Well, it's looking like its about 30 months away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK.
KADDOURI: It's going to take from the time we start he shorting and then the foundations, we're looking about 30 months. So, two and a half years we'll have beautiful property nestled in between these two. And it's going to be one of the premier resorts in the region.
DEFTERIOS: For Kaddouri, there may be parallels to management and golf. Keep on advancing by avoiding the rough, but look to improve a little bit on each round.
KADDOURI: You've got it! One up!
DEFTERIOS: Omar Kaddouri, navigating the course as CEO of Rotana. Well, the hotel group was born in Abu Dhabi, has presence in Dubai, but also, Ras al- Khaimah right now. When MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST continues, we take a look at the so-called rising emirate and why so many hotel rooms are going up.
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. As you can see, Abu Dhabi and Dubai continue to attract visitors to its pools and beaches, but there's another emirate on the rise called Ras al-Khaimah. It has a pristine shoreline and wants to drive value to its customers. It wants to be an upcoming tourist destination in the UAE.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): This is how those inside the UAE remember Ras al- Khaimah, a weathered fishing port on the waterfront. For centuries, a strategic trade outpost along the ancient Silk Road. Ras al-Khaimah, or RAK, is the northernmost of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.
DEFTERIOS (on camera): The emirate in the last few decades has built a reputation for its industrial prowess, specifically in ceramics and cement. It's a global player in both. But now, the ruling family is making a big push in the tourism sector, particularly as a satellite destination of Dubai.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): Barry Ebrahimy leads sales and marketing for the Al Hamra Village.
BARRY EBRAHIMY, SALES AND MARKETING, AL HAMRA VILLAGE: To our right, we have the apartment buildings and Al Hamra Marina. In front of us, we have the 32 chalets at Banyan Tree, and to our left, we have the brand-new Waldorf Astoria.
DEFTERIOS: It is the Waldorf Astoria, opened by Hilton last August, that has put Ras al-Khaimah on the map. Locals refer to Ras al-Khaimah as Hilton Island, since it was the anchor hotel brand for a dozen years.
But times are changing. These are the Marjan Islands, which will be home to 1500 hotel rooms. Nearly half of those will be at the newly-opened Rixos Hotel, a Turkish hospitality group.
To help fill the new rooms, Air Arabia, a fast-growing low-cost carrier, will move in to replace a struggling local airline.
STEVEN RICE, CEO, RAS AL-KHAIMAH TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: They understand Ras al-Khaimah, the understand the destination, they understand the potential. And the access they give us to market like India, like Saudi Arabia, is fantastic.
DEFTERIOS: Steven Rice, and online travel veteran, arrived two months ago and is fine-tuning a new master plan. His job is to ensure that demand is aligned with all the new hotel and residential inventory coming on stream.
Back at Al Hamra Village, more than 1,000 villas have been sold out, and there are more on the way. Seems pricey, at up to $3800 a square meter, but general manager Benoy Kurien said he's maintaining a sizable discount versus Dubai.
BENOY KURIEN, GENERAL MANAGER, AL HAMRA REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT: Twenty to thirty percent cheaper rates per square meter for any property that you buy, whether it's an apartment or a villa. And that's significant value without compromising on the quality.
DEFTERIOS: And that is the value proposition for what is a quiet but rising emirate.
DEFTERIOS: As you saw there, the Waldorf Astoria is part of the emergence of Ras al-Khaimah, but perhaps you didn't know this: the brand has one common feature no matter where you go, and that is the iconic clock in the lobby. In the case of Ras al-Khaimah, it's been adapted to the Middle East culture.
The general manager, Andre Herrenschmidt, tells us more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRE HERRENSCHMIDT, GENERAL MANAGER, WALDORF ASTORIA RAS AL-KHAIMAH: It comes from the iconic Waldorf Astoria clock in New York, but this clock, we have given it an Arabic touch. We have the five Muslim prayer times that are reset every day at midnight and give you the exact time of the next 24 hours five Muslim prayers. And then on top, you have the iconic clock.
It's the first time that a clock like this has been created, combining a New York symbol of the clock with the Muslim prayer times.
The clock was a $1 million investment. And it was ordered especially by His Highness to have the most stunning clock at the entrance of the hotel.
Everything that looks gold is gold. The clock took six months to manufacture at Smith's of Darby, which is one of the oldest manufacturing clock makers in the world. And it was specially flown here, and it took a month to assemble and set it up, and they come every six months to maintain it and keep it in perfect working condition.
People are fascinated by this piece of art, so they come there, and then you have the coziness of being around the clock. And then when you are sitting there, you can see anyone entering the hotel or leaving the hotel, so it's a very interesting point to sit down and sit for coffee and just watch the world go by.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: A regional twist to a brand that's starting to make its presence known in the Middle East. And that's all for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. I'm John Defterios, thanks for watching. We'll see you next week.