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President Putin Promises Consequences For Ukrainian Government; Narendra Modi Frontrunner to Succeed Manmohan Singh as Indian Prime Minister; Three American Doctors Killed At Kabul Hospital

Aired April 24, 2014 - 11:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: There will be consequences, Russia's Vladimir Putin warns Ukraine as Kiev takes action against militants in the country's east.

Also, Narendra Modi is said to be a frontrunner to become India's next leader, we examine why he's loved and loathed in equal measure.

And if you are afraid of heights, look away now. We're going to speak to the dare devils who pulled off this record breaking stunt.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening from the UAE. It is 7:00 in the evening. The crisis in Ukraine is escalating. Russia has just ordered new military exercises on the border with Ukraine, citing Kiev's military operation in the east. This is the very latest on the crisis for you.

Reports of casualties in Ukraine's security operation are coming in. Ukraine's government says five militants were killed in clashes in Slovyansk, however local residents have told CNN only one person died.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin says if Kiev uses an army against people inside Ukraine it would be a very serious crime.

Well, Arwa Damon is standing by in the eastern Ukrainian city in Donetsk. And Arwa, is it clear at this stage whether Ukrainian troops are preparing to risk storming Slovyansk, a city of 130,000 that's become the military stronghold of the movement seeking annexation by Moscow?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the self- proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk just finish a press conference where he said that he does expect that that is what is going to take place.

But, Becky, despite the fact that we saw some fairly dramatic images emerging this morning from those various that the Ukrainian military said that they had managed to take over or at least demolish, it doesn't seem as if there have been any other concrete moves to move in and try to regain control over these various areas in the eastern part of the country.

A CNN team that went to one of those checkpoints spoke to an eyewitness who said that it was the pro-Russian militants at the checkpoint that had set it on fire, set tires on fire, hence the large, massive plumes of black smoke that the military approached and then retreated.

As for the casualties, conflicting information as you mentioned there, the self-proclaimed mayor saying that one person had been killed in what he called a sniper round. But also reiterating that they would very much welcome Russia sending in peacekeeping troops, very much relying on the Russians to come to their rescue if, in fact, the Ukrainian military does decide to move forward.

So despite the fact that Kiev is saying that it has relaunched what it is calling an anti-terrorism operation, on the ground here, other than some pretty dramatic video and still photographs, there has not been any real evidence of that, Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon on the ground for you in Ukraine.

Well, the world's biggest democratic election has now entered the sixth of what are nine stages. Voters in India's largest city Mumbai are going to the polls in national elections there. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is stepping aside after what has been a decade in power.

Now key issues for voters include corruption concerns and India's slowing economic growth. Mallika Kapur has more from Mumbai.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I just voted. And here it is, proof that I have participated in the world's largest democratic exercise.

Now, this ink, it's indelible. And this means that this mark is going to last several weeks.

This is done to ensure that nobody votes twice, which is basically a way to bring down voter fraud. But for many people, it's also a simple of great national pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's my right to give a vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means that you matter.

KAPUR: Mumbai, my city, votes Thursday. It's the sixth phase of polling in India. Three more to go before voting finishes on May 12.

The issues here are the same as in other parts of the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want growth to go back up. I want inflation to come down.

KAPUR: And a general feeling that India is ready for a change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not happy with the way the country's is functioning right now.

KAPUR: Historically, voter turnout in Mumbai has been quite low, which was only about 40 percent in the last general election back in 2009.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had (inaudible) I hope there's a great turnout.

KAPUR: This year, to encourage people to vote many restaurants and cafes are offering discounts to anyone who walks in with this, an inked finger.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


ANDERSON: Well, in 10 minutes time, we're going to take that much closer look at the world's biggest experiment in democracy. We're going to assess the key candidates who are hoping to succeed Manmohan Singh as India's prime minister. We'll tell you why this many is considered by many to be the frontrunner for the post.

And later in the hour, we'll see who is joining Mr. Modi in TIME magazine's list of the most influential people of the year.

Well, South Koreans are mourning the victims of last week's ferry disaster. More than 300 student from Danwan (ph) High School near Seoul were onboard that ship. Hearses drove onto campus today in a symbolic tribute to those who died. And as the school reopened, a steady stream of mourners stopping by to pay their respects.

Meanwhile, dive teams continued to search the sunken ferry for missing passengers. Will Ripley joins me now from Jindo with the latest from there. And they have recovered 171 bodies, Will, so far, but one of the more than 130 who are still missing.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they are still searching for them, Becky. And that search has been continuing around the clock.

The number of dead continues to rise. And now there's also new questions about the investigation into how this happened. How did this large ferry capsize and sink in just a matter of hours. Investigators are tossing around a number of theories right now. One of them is coming from a South Korean opposition lawmaker who claims to have some data from the agency that inspects these ships, including the Sewol ferry. And this data shows that the ferry just last year was modified, it was expanded, there was some expansion work done on the top flooring the rear of the ferry, making the center of gravity on the ship a bit higher.

This expanded the capacity for about 117 extra passengers, but there are questions now, including some crew members raising the question, did this make the ship inherently unstable?

Also questions about the cargo, was it overloaded, was the cargo properly secured. The coast guard and ferry company provided CNN with paperwork saying that the manifest doesn't show anything out of the ordinary, but they acknowledge -- the coast guard does -- that they really won't be able to know for sure what was in the ship until it is salvaged. That salvage operation certainly won't get underway until the recovery of all of the people who are missing in that ferry, Becky.

ANDERSON: Will, how are people coping?

RIPLEY: It's such a difficult -- it's such a difficult thing. And people are all coping in their different ways. You saw those pictures from the high school where there was a tribute to the students. We have been hearing families in the background meeting with some of the officials here screaming and wailing, their grief coming to a head, their frustration coming to a head. So I think for each person affected by this, Becky, it's a very different process. But there are so many people that we have seen here in this last week who are just experiencing literally the worst time of their live. So much grief.

ANDERSON: Yeah. Will Ripley on the story for you at seven minutes past midnight in South Korea.

Some minutes past 7:00 here in Abu Dhabi. Still to come tonight on Connect the World, three American hospital workers killed in Afghanistan by the very person who was supposed to protect them. We're going to have a live report from Kabul. That is ahead.

And jumping to a world record, we ask these two dare devils what motivated them to fling themselves of the world's tallest building. That and much more on Connect the world with me, Becky Anderson, after this.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN with me Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World. Welcome back to the UAE.

Now it is the most populous city in the second most populous country in the world. And this Thursday, Mumai is the focus of the world's biggest ever democratic exercise. Millions have turned out in the metropolis to help decide the country's new leadership. Nearly 2 million more are watching closely right here in the UAE.

This part of the world has a huge Indian population. And believe it or not, we are just a couple of hours by plane from the mega city that is Mumbai.

Well, Sara Sidner served as CNN's India correspondent for a number of years. Tonight, she I'm pleased to say, joins us here in Abu Dhabi with a look at the runners and riders. And before we do this -- do that, just what is at stake here.

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, there's a lot of things at stake, namely the economy, which of course jobs and all these things have a real direct impact on people. The economy has not done as well as it was doing in 2008 and 2009 when the country was very proud of itself, doing much better than the rest of the world. Now it's come down quite a bit. And some of the policies are being blamed on the Congress Party and how they have handled the economy as a whole.

But also corruption, a huge issue, massive issue. A lot of people talking about it. There was a big movement to get rid of corruption, although when you speak to Indians one on one they will tell you they don't actually believe that it can be completely rooted out. But they do want someone to say enough. We have to do something about this, especially in the higher levels of government.

Those two are massive issues that Indians deal with.

ANDERSON: All right, so Corruption and a faltering economy. Who will be India's next prime minister. That is the question. Let's see the runners and riders. The three main players for you.

Narendra Modi of the BJP Party, doing pretty well, sir, in the polls. 63-year-old. He's a self-described Hindu nationalist. And that's pretty controversial figure for many Indian Muslims. In 2002, at least, 1,000 people -- mostly Muslims -- were killed in religious riots while he was chief minister of Gujarat State.

Well, Gandhi is a name we all know. It's the Congress Party vice president, not officially the prime ministerial candidate, but he could be if his party were to win the elections. The 43-year-old part of the powerful Naru Gandhi political family. His mother, of course, president of the Congress Party and his father, grandmother and great-grandfather all served as India's prime ministers.

And the dark horse candidate may be Arvind Kejriwal. He's the leader of what is known as the AAP, or Common Man Party. 45, he made his name as anti-corruption activist and served briefly as chief minister of Delhi. An outside chance, let's face it.

There was one man here who looks as if he's probably going to win. He may sweep to victory. And that is Mr. Modi. What do we know about him? What's his affect on these elections?

SIDNER: Look, I think the big thing that's happened with him is in Gujarat State. He was the chief minister of that state for many, many years. And that state has done very well economically. And of course we just talked about the economy being a very big issue.

But of course there is controversy that has courted him. Since 2002 when there were terrible riots between Hindus and Muslims, most of those of the 1,000 people who were killed, most were Muslims. And he was criticized. And still there is a lot of people that look at him and they say he did nothing to stop this terrible violence that erupted in his state where he was the chief minister.

He has denied those allegations. Supreme court has said he's not responsible for this, not responsible for the wrongdoing, but still there is a lot of people concerned about how Muslims will fare if he becomes the prime minister.

ANDERSON: Interesting. I know he was blamed very much for the loss of the 2004 elections. The Congress Party, of course, the coalition led by the Congress Party going on to win those and the 2009 elections.

Look, he may be a controversial candidate in some quarters. He certainly, though, has the backing I believe of many of India's leading business minds. Just have a listen to what a couple of those had to say to us.


SUNIL SHAH, STOCK MARKET EXPERT: The perception of the (inaudible) is that once the new government is formed and Mr. Modi becomes the prime minister he will give the much needed impetus to the economy which will put India back onto the growth (inaudible). So this is just perception.

And he would take some hard decisions. And most than political compulsion, he will take decisions which are economically what we say compulsion.

SANJAY AGGARWAL, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, PARAMOUNT CABLES: The whole country seems to have gone into a sort of a rut during the past few years which we need to get out of.

We need to jump start not just the economy, we need to jump start the nation. And this election, as long as it delivers a stable, strong government which have the strength to govern, I think that is the best possible service that elections would do to the country. And that is what as a businessman I would hope or.


ANDERSON: All right. I guess the question is this, if he sweeps to victory, and I think the magic number is 272 -- if he sweeps to victory and doesn't need a coalition, which is very unusual in India, of course, those businessmen may be right that he has the tools to get on with things. But there will be no checks and balances on him, will there?

SIDNER: Well, that's the concern that people have. But you also have to look at India in a holistic way. And even if he does become the person who is not with a coalition who has full power, there are checks and balances. There are people who can put him in check if people get very upset with some of his policies things may change.

But, yes, I think a lot of people are seeing him as a figure that is rising very quickly on the national stage. He has already made a huge dent in Gujarat State. And the reason why you're hearing from those business leaders is because he economically has done very well here, a lot of people concerned about his social politics, but economically I think people are looking at him as a real leader.

ANDERSON: And of course the criticism of the UPA, which is the Congress Party led coalition government of the past 10 years is that they have dropped the ball on economic policy, on foreign policy and on economic policy.

Let's just talk, finally about Rahul Gandhi, because that is a name that will resonate around the world. And many people might have looked at this youngster, as it were, in Indian politics and said what happened? You know, was it the legacy of the last 10 years, which has done the Congress Party in, or is it that Rahul Gandhi -- and the Gandhi name really doesn't resonate any more?

SIDNER: Look, I think what you're seeing is a condemnation of the policies of the congress over these many years as opposed to necessarily full support for the BJP who looks like they're going to run away with the election, although elections -- you know, in India people say things and then the reality is very different.

ANDERSON: The pollsters have never been right, right?

SIDNER: Right, the pundits are often wrong. They were wrong -- I was there for the last election. They said it's going to be close. It's going to be close. And Congress blew everybody out. So you have to wait and see. But I do think -- in talking to people -- and I was just there -- in talking to different people, doesn't matter if it's a rickshawalla or the head of the company people will say, look, we are unhappy with the congress. We need a different venue. We need another place to put our votes. And they're looking at BJP partly because it's the next biggest party and it has quite a bit of power that it can wield.

So, I think what you're seeing is that. I'm not sure if you're looking at this as whether it's Rahul Gandhi or whether it's Modi, but certainly there's a dynasty there as well. And they feel like those policies they've already seen. They've already dealt with.

ANDERSON: This is the biggest exercise in democratic history. 840 million people voting in 900,000 voting booths? I think around the country.

SIDNER: Yeah, it's almost a million.

ANDERSON: It is quite remarkable.

Guys we'll be there for the end of this. So do stick with this election and really keep an eye on it. One candidate is trying to take the art of campaigning there to -- shall we say a higher level.

Meet India's version of Spider-Man. He may have a lofty message likely to resonate with voters. See his story

As I say, we will be in India for the end of this voting period.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World.

Coming up, the most talked about people of their time. We look at the annual list of the world's most influential figures.

And millions are gathering at Vatican City to witness what will be the unprecedented canonization of two popes. This weekend, we're going to take a look at their humble beginnings and their paths to sainthood up next.


ANDERSON: 21 minutes past 7:00 here in Abu Dhabi. That is the Sheikh Said mosque behind us as we stand here on the terrace outside of the CNN bureau.

You are watching Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson live from the UAE. Welcome back.

There is an air of anticipation at the Vatican City. On Sunday, Pope Francis will declare Pope John XXIII and Paul John Paul II modern-day saints in the Roman Catholic church. To become a saint two miracles attributed to the intercession of that person must be confirmed.

Well, one of two women who say they were cured by god through prayers to both popes is Florabeth Mara (ph) from Costa Rica. She says praying to Pope John Paul II for healing cured her of a brain aneurysm.

Well, John XXIII and John Paul II had a lot in common. Jim Bittermann takes a look at how two men who came from modest upbringings came to lead a church of a billion Catholics.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The two newest saints of the Catholic church were two very different popes who shared many things in common, including an improbable path to sainthood.

Both popes -- John XXIII and John Paul II -- came from humble beginnings in unlikely circumstances. John was one of 13 children of an Italian peasant family. John Paul was mostly raised by his widower father in a grimy Polish industrial town spending his formative years living under Nazis and then under communists.

Yet both overcame, some now would say benefited from, their past.

ROBERT MICKENS, VATICAN ANALYST: Because they had a pastoral sense.

I think that their humble background -- they don't come from noble families, either one of them. Working class families. I think they also are two people that had a real sense of humanity.

BITTERMANN: They also turned out to be leaders with unforeseen qualities. John XXIII, who was supposed to be just an interim pope took the surprising and courageous decision 100 days into his reign to try to modernize the church by calling for the second Vatican council against the will of many church leaders.

John Paul II, once an actor, had a presence before the cameras that millions of Catholics young and old found enthralling as he evangelized to the far ends of the earth, certainly not what one might expect from someone who grew up under dictatorial regimes.

Those who have seen the church at work inside and out may be amazed at the distance some of its leaders have traveled, but are not surprised that the institution can still make it happen.

ALBERTO MELLONI, CHURCH HISTORIAN: Roman Catholicism mostly after the end of temporal power has been one of the most effective social innovators in this planet taking people from the most humble conditions and bringing them to the top.

BITTERMANN: The two new saints are among those who took that social elevator to the top. And for the Catholic faithful, now to the heavens beyond. Their similar journeys from insignificant beginnings to the summit of the church hierarchy are bound to be an inspiration for believers of what the church in the best of circumstances can do.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Rome.


ANDERSON: And CNN will have live coverage of the canonization ceremony as John XXIII and John Paul II each make the transition from pope to saint, that starts Sunday 8:30 in London, 11:30 Abu Dhabi time right here on CNN.

Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, jumping from the top of the world. I'm going to speak to the French pair who set a new world record in Dubai.

And your headlines after this.


ANDERSON: A very good evening. Just about half past 7:00 in the UAE. This is Connect the World.

The top stories this hour. Ukraine says its forces have killed five pro-Russian militants in a push to clear road blocks in the eastern town of Slovyansk.

Meanwhile, Russia's president says any use of army forces against citizens was a very serious crime.

South Korean investigators are still trying to determine what caused last week's ferry disaster. One lawmaker says that renovations last year to expand the top floor of the ship changed its center of gravity. It is unclear weather that placed any role in the tragedy. Well, so far divers have recovered 171 bodies, 131 people are still missing.

U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 underwater drone is almost finished searching its assigned area. And there is still no sign of that missing Malaysian airliner. Malaysian government, meanwhile, has completed its preliminary report on the disappearance of flight 370. Officials, though, aren't making it public, a move that puzzles analysts and is angering families of those on board.

An Afghan guard shot and killed three Americans at the CURE (ph) hospital in Kabul. One of those killed was a Chicago doctor who had been working at the facility for seven years. Two of the fatalities were a father and a son. A fourth person was injured and is in stable condition.

Well, let's go to journalist John Wendel for more details on this attack. He joins us on the line from Kabul. What do we know at this point?

JOHN WENDEL, JOURNALIST: Yes, as you mentioned there were three Americans who were killed and a fourth was wounded today at the CURE International Children's hospital in western Kabul. A member of the Afghan security forces turned his weapon on a group of people as they were walking into the compound and opened fire. He was eventually wounded in an exchange of gunfire.

ANDERSON: This, as we await preliminary results, of course, of the Afghan elections, which were, to all intents and purposes, pretty successful and fairly peaceful at the polling booths. But there has been lots of talk about security in the run-up to this. Is there any claim of responsibility at this point? Do we know who the attacker was allied with?

WENDLE: At this point, it's not very clear. I don't believe the Taliban, at this point, has claimed any responsibility for this. We do know that the attacker was from the eastern city of Jalalabad and was working for either the Afghan police or the Afghan Public Protection Force, and the Ministry of Interior is investigating the incident today.

ANDERSON: OK, as we get more on this, we will bring it to you. For the time being, thank you, from Kabul.

WENDLE: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Well, they were -- or are the people that apparently we're all talking about. Some, like the pope, are breaking new ground. Others, like Vladimir Putin, are the biggest power players on the planet, aren't they? Into the mix, we add sporting superstars, like Cristiano Ronaldo.

Who am I talking about? Well, "Time" magazine's 100 must influential. It decides its annual list, and we are with the editor, tonight, of the "Time" international publication, Bobby Ghosh, to walk us through exactly who made the list and why.

Listen, before we talk about who made the list, how does one become one of "Time's" most influential people in the world?

BOBBY GHOSH, EDITOR, "TIME" INTERNATIONAL: Well, it's a long, drawn- out process we go through. We poll writers and editors all over the world who work for "Time." We also poll those who've been on the list before, and have them give us some suggestions.

The process begins somewhere around November, and it sort of goes through a couple of weeks ago, at which point we knew who the final 100 were going to be.

ANDERSON: All right. Well, that is --


GHOSH: There's also a poll that takes place on line --

ANDERSON: -- Beyonce, front page, top --

GHOSH: -- and we are influenced a little bit --


GHOSH: -- by that poll as well.

ANDERSON: All right, OK. Let's get to this year's list, then. Beyonce, front page, cover page, and number one. How is Beyonce the most influential person in the world?

GHOSH: Well, the easy answer to that is that she's not. She's one of a hundred. We do not rank the hundred. They're just a hundred. She's on the cover because it was a -- because she's had an amazing year. I don't think anybody questions that.

I think she's now come closer than anybody else to matching Michael Jackson's international star power. She's had an amazing year, she's had great albums. And the fact that she's on the cover, that was the most -- that was the best image that we had, our photo editors and our editors decided. But it's -- she's not -- I want to be clear, she's not number one.

ANDERSON: All right.

GHOSH: There is no number one. There are a hundred.

ANDERSON: She -- all right, OK. She certainly sells a magazine, though, doesn't she? Listen. Miley Cyrus is up there in the top 100. Many people will seriously be asking why. I guess -- and fill me in and correct me if I'm wrong -- you don't have to be influential for all the right reasons, you can be influential for some of the wrong reasons as well, correct?

GHOSH: Absolutely. The same rule that applies to Person of the Year. Influence is what we measure, we're not making a value judgment on whether the influence was good or bad. We've got people across the whole spectrum, from those who are unquestionably a positive influence on the world to those who are unquestionably not.

For instance, we have Abu Dua, the leader of ISIS, the terrorist group that is probably the most dangerous terrorist group right now operating in Syria and in Iraq. And then we have people across the spectrum. Miley Cyrus is obviously closer -- is nowhere near Abu Dua in terms of negative influence, I want to be clear about that.


GHOSH: But I --


ANDERSON: Listen, I --

GHOSH: -- take your point, there are people who will disagree, and we like that. We want people to disagree.


GHOSH: We want people to have a conversation. We want people to think of all the 100 people in new and interesting ways.

ANDERSON: Courting controversy as ever at "Time" magazine. Listen, I was fascinated and very pleased to see that 44 of the top 100 were women this year, including Janet Yellen, who hasn't -- who heads up the Fed now, of course. We don't know how influential she's going to be, good or bad, going forward, but she certainly makes your list, which is a good thing.

Now, another man who makes the list, or another one who makes the list, is a man, and he is Kim Jong-un, who is North Korea's leader. Now, North Koreans have been given a look at their young leader when he was much, much younger. Bobby, stay with me.

Elise Labott reporting on what is all part of a campaign to show how Kim, Junior has been groomed to rule the country since the day that he was born. Have a look at this.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS REPORTER (voice-over): He doesn't look so menacing as a child, smiling and saluting in a military uniform, but never-seen-before photos of the North Korean dictator as a young boy foreshadow Kim Jong-un's future as leader of the country's military.

The photos unveiled at an air force celebration. Thousands of North Koreans dutifully cheer as the young Kim is shown in the cockpit of an airplane. Women close to tears as the watch Kim, now all grown up, make his way through the crowd.

The youngest son of former leader Kim Jong-il, was shrouded in secrecy as a child. Only a handful of photos of him in his youth have been discovered.

JOEL WIT, US-KOREA INSTITUTE AT SAIS: Part of building his myth, that he's been prepared to be a leader ever since he was a young child.

LABOTT: The warm-and-fuzzy photos of Kim Jong-un as a boy contrast with the sharp warning this week from South Korea that the unpredictable North Korean leader could launch a nuclear test just as President Obama arrives in Asia and visits Seoul Friday.

JEN PSAKI, SPOKESWOMAN, US STATE DEPARTMENT: And we continue to urge North Korea to refrain from actions that threaten regional peace and security.

LABOTT: After US-South Korea joint military exercises wrapped up last month, North Korea threatened to carry out a new form of a nuclear test, and recent satellite images indicate increased activity at its main nuclear site, with new movement of equipment, and vehicles near tunnels, where a test would likely take place.

WIT: North Korea is developing more and better nuclear weapons, more and better ballistic missiles to carry them. It's not a cry for help or a cry for attention.

LABOTT (on camera): This week, North Korea criticized President Obama's trip as a dangerous move, and there is speculation Kim Jong-un could stage some sort of provocation while the president is in Seoul. US officials say they have no evidence of that right now, but are watching the situation closely. But it's clear that chubby-cheeked kid has grown into a very frightening leader.

Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.


ANDERSON: Yes. So, the North Korean leader making your list, Bobby, as well. I want to just turn very briefly to one man who's been courting robots in Asia today. That is one Barack Obama, the US president.

Is there a slight sense that you are, as a magazine, as US publication -- I know you're an international publication as well, but based in the US -- that you feel indebted, to a certain extent, to get the US president up there? Or is he absolutely 100 percent still top ten these days?

GHOSH: No, it's -- we're not obliged to have the American president on our list every year. Although he is influential, just that office makes him incredibly influential.

Joe Klein, our columnist who wrote the Obama piece in the "Time" 100 issue, makes the argument that Obama is only 66 percent through his -- if you count both the terms -- through his term in office. There's a full third of his term left, and his ability to influence events in the world and events in the lives of everybody around the planet still quite considerable.

I know there's talk in this country of him being a little bit of a lame duck. That is not true internationally. In fact, if history has taught us anything, it is that American presidents toward their latter third of their term, tend to be more influential internationally, tend to turn their attention --


GHOSH: -- internationally, and you're seeing a little bit of that in CNN's coverage of his travel to Asia this week.

ANDERSON: Yes. All right, Bobby, always a pleasure. Thank you for that.

GHOSH: Thanks very much.

ANDERSON: Always fascinated to see who makes the top 100 of "Time," and there you have it. All right, what do you think about the list? Who do you think is the world's most influential person or people? We want to hear from you, get in touch, for the show, CONNECT THE WORLD, with me, Becky Anderson. Or tweet me @BeckyCNN.

Your Parting Shots tonight. What happens when you bring together two French daredevils with a love for BASE jumping on the world's tallest building? Well, the answer to that is our Parting Shot for you tonight. Have a look at this.





ANDERSON: I should have done a disclaimer -- shouldn't I? -- for those of you who are scared of heights, look away now. Too late. Anyway, Vincent Reffet and Frederic Fugen jumped off the top of -- get this -- the 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai on Monday. They now hold the world record for the highest BASE jump ever, and they join us from the studio in Dubai.

They can beat the record -- they nearly didn't beat the traffic, but they are there, and thank you for joining us, lads. Your reflections, if you will?


ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely.

FUGEN: Sorry, I cannot hear you good.


FUGEN: No, it was like a --


ANDERSON: Were you frightened, Frederic?

FUGEN: -- it was an amazing jump -- sorry? Yes, I can hear you now.

ANDERSON: Were you frightened?

FUGEN: No, we were actually really concentrated. We were prepared, we'd been training a lot. And here in Dubai, and we -- that's what we do all the time, so it was a dream for us to do this jump, and we were concentrated and we enjoyed.

ANDERSON: Vincent, what makes you do this? This is by no means your first jump, is it?

VINCENT REFFET, BASE JUMPER: No. It's a dream coming true. We are coming from familiar skydivers, and we've been jumping since more than 14 years, and this is what we do for a living. It's just like having some dream and then making them happen, and this was --


REFFET: -- one of our dreams, and it happened. And we are so thankful for the grand prince of Dubai that made us doing it, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad.

ANDERSON: Frederic, Vincent said this is what you do for a living. What do you do as a hobby? What do you do in your spare time?


FUGEN: No, we love flying so much that we do it all the time. We spend our time BASE jumping or skydiving or paragliding. We like to fly, and we train a lot here, especially in the winter time, at Skydive Dubai, and that's -- yes, that's what we do all the time.


FUGEN: We love it, and it takes all our life, and it's a passion.

ANDERSON: All right. I'm just watching -- I know that there was a cameraman. I'm feeling a little sorry for the cameraman who was with you, because clearly you guys have got into the history books.

And I know that the cameraman behind the scenes in the job that I do never get acknowledged for the work that they do. So let's give a thumbs- up and a shout-out tonight to the guy who's actually filming this. Who is he?

FUGEN: His name -- he was for the two different jumps, for the heads on, the jump that you say, his name is Noah Benson, he's an American. He's a really good guy, like us and others. Yes, for sure, we've been doing this with them.

For sure the jump has been done by us at the beginning, but there is a big team behind, so let's not forget the cameraman and all the team that have been helping us do it.

ANDERSON: I just bought myself a whole lot of good will at CNN, I know, off the back of that. But seriously, they do need acknowledging. Listen, every time I see this video, it makes me nervous. I know I was up toward the middle of that building just about a couple of weeks ago, only halfway up, and it was pretty frightening stuff.

So guys, congratulations. We're very proud of you. What are you up to next, Vincent? Tell me very briefly.

REFFET: Next, we have a big project that will be happening somewhere in Europe, and more like high mountain stuff. Still like flying, but in the high mountains.

ANDERSON: Right. These guys are mad, aren't they? Frederic, Vincent, thank you so much.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST is next. I'll be back with the headlines at the top of the hour. Come on, let's show our viewers once again what those two lads were up to on Monday.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, another milestone in Iraq. The country is gearing up for its first general election since US withdrawal. We take a look at some of the factors at play in a country troubled by political and sectarian tension.

And new discoveries, big potential. We take a look at what could be an energy game-changer for Cyprus and Lebanon, and sit down with the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, in an exclusive interview.

Iraqis head to the polls over the next week to elect a new parliament. It is the first election since the withdrawal of US troops back in 2011. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is seeking a third term, but slow economic progress and a lack of security remain crucial factors, as Arwa Damon explains.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the city that US forces wrested from al Qaeda ten years ago, Fallujah. Now, the black flag that instilled so much terror flies here again. The Islamic State of Iraq in Syria, ISIS, more powerful and menacing than ever, has seized the city.

Fallujah is in Iraq's Sunni heartland. Peaceful protests here against Iraq's predominately Shia government were violently suppressed on the orders of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

KIRK SOWELL, POLITICAL RISK ANALYST: So, there is a very real terrorist threat. The problem is the manner in which Prime Minister Maliki has conducted the war. It has just been unduly polarizing and extremely divisive.

DAMON: Divisions which have fueled the violence. Iraq has seen a surge in car bombing, assassinations, suicide attacks. Violence reaching levels not seen since 2008. As this man said, "We depend on God each time we leave the house, because you don't know what fate holds for you."

And fate continues to fail Iraq. As the nation readies itself for the first parliamentary election since the US occupation ended, Maliki's party still strong. The prime minister is seeking a third term, appealing to his Shia base.

SOWELL: Maliki was taking a more nationalist position in 2010, and at the same time, among those who are either Sunni Arab or secular Shia, there was less polarization, so things are definitely worse in terms of the overall environment. And then, of course, the security environment is substantially worse than it was in 2010.

DAMON: And it's not just security that is in shambles. Iraq's oil output may be at its highest in more than 30 years, but basic services remain a mess, with little of that oil wealth reaching the country's citizens, lost in a web of corruption and politics.

The optimism that followed Saddam Hussein's overthrow now a distant memory. With little hope that elections will change things for the better, Iraqis continue to endure another dark chapter in their history.


DEFTERIOS: Arwa Damon reporting on the political uncertainty in Iraq, which remains one of the most promising countries when it comes to proven energy reserves. There is, however, a new target for the oil majors, and that is the eastern Mediterranean. Recent discoveries could change the fortunes of two of the smaller countries there: Cyprus and Lebanon.


DEFTERIOS (voice-over): It may be early days in the quest for energy underneath the first platform in the crystal-blue waters of the Mediterranean, but the bounty may be sizable for a small country like Cyprus.

The minister overseeing this portfolio for the island nation says the natural gas would make his country energy independent for a generation.

YIORGOS LAKKOTRYPIS, CYPRIOT ENERGY MINISTER: Cyprus requires about 0.5 cubic feet for 25 years for electricity production in Cyprus. Now, we have a discover which ranges between 3.6 to 6. So most of that will go for exports.

DEFTERIOS: The eastern Mediterranean is considered a new energy frontier. Israel, Lebanon, and Egypt have also marked their territories and are busy evaluating their potential.

Texas-based Nobel Energy did its first energy drilling work last summer in Cyprus, indicating there is potentially 3 billion barrels of oil in the field with a shared boundary between Cyprus and Israel. France's Total and Eni of Italy will start work later this year.

DEFTERIOS (on camera): So far, there's just been one field in one bloc explored. There are 13 blocs in total between this port of Limassol, and the port of another city, Larnaca, there's going to be a $10 billion facility built to manage liquified natural gas.

DEFTERIOS (voice-over): That investment may need to be revisited with another partner if Israel chooses in the end not to use it for gas exports. The finance minister of Cyprus tells me they are already drafting proposals to set up a sovereign fund that he says will follow the Norwegian model of financial prudence.

HARRIS GEORGIADES, CYPRIOT FINANCE MINISTER: We have good examples internationally, and we have bad examples. And we want to follow the best examples of how these revenues, when they come, are utilized. But in any case, this is a medium-term prospect and not something which will happen tomorrow.

DEFTERIOS: Georgiades says the one bloc that has been surveyed, when brought to market, would represent more than 100 percent of the country's GDP of $23 billion. This would be a massive turnaround for Cyprus, which needed a bank bailout a year ago.

Across the waters in Lebanon, the calculations are much grander. Freddie Baz of Bank Audi says the government's share of energy revenues could total $700 billion.

FREDDIE BAZ, GROUP CFO, BANK AUDI: Even if we assume a 20, 30 percent haircut on this figure for whatever geological or commercial risk, we are still talking about a figure which represents 12 to 15 times the current size of the economy.

DEFTERIOS: Managing that risk with the unrest in neighboring Syria will be tricky, but the Cypriot energy minister says oil and gas may provide the best incentives to push for peace.

LAKKOTRYPIS: We have seen that there is quite a shift of mindset of people understanding that we have to stabilize the geographical area, which is called eastern Mediterranean.

DEFTERIOS: Instability has been pervasive for decades and remains the biggest risk to this new energy frontier.


DEFTERIOS: A game-changer taking place in the eastern Mediterranean. When we come back, we take a closer look at Cyprus, recovery from the banking crisis, and managing future wealth. I'll talk to the president of the country, Nicos Anastasiades, in an exclusive interview, when MARTKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST continues.


DEFTERIOS: A year ago, the tiny Mediterranean island state of Cyprus was faced with a banking crisis. As a member of the European Union, most of its funding for the bailout came from European states and from Russia. Now, Cyprus wants to broaden its business and economic ties.

President Nicos Anastasiades was here in the United Arab Emirates last week meeting with senior officials, including the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. I sat down with the president for an exclusive interview and asked him about the country's newfound energy wealth and managing it for the next generation.


NICOS ANASTASIADES, PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS: The very first findings are talking about 5.5 billion TF (ph). And then of course, Nobel, who has character, really, the brains, they're going to continue the exploration while in August, we should have the DNI new drillings for their own plots. The results, in any case. And the prospects are quite encouraging.

DEFTERIOS: We're at an important cusp in terms of energy development in Cyprus. How do you manage expectations of the Cypriot people? And what other models are you looking at, in terms of energy wealth, to make sure that the assets are not squandered?

ANASTASIADES: That's why we're talking about the Norwegian model, because we -- we are trying to pass to the people that when we are talking about the energy, we're talking about the future generations, not for the present only. But the most important is the future generations.

So, they are well-prepared, and they have not any expectations that oh my God, we are going to become like the Arab Gulf emirates and so on.


DEFTERIOS: Very interesting. You've suggested that it could be energy that unifies the island between south and north.


DEFTERIOS: Why do you think it can bring both sides together?

ANASTASIADES: Because the benefits out of the exploitation of the wealth of energy is going to be in the best interests of all the people of Cyprus, whether these are Greek or Turkey Cypriots.

And what I'm saying and what I'm trying to convince our compatriots is that the wealth is belonging to the state, the Republic of Cyprus. But you are residents -- you are not residents, you have the Cyprus nationality as well. Let's find a solution on the basis, as has been agreed, and then you will have your proportion in participating in this wealth.

DEFTERIOS: Is it fair for me to say that Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has been exercising gunboat diplomacy? He's actually had naval ships in the southern waters there.

ANASTASIADES: They are violating our exclusive economic zone, this is truth. But for the time being, they kept away from disturbing the companies who have been licensed. This is maybe due to the reaction of the States, of the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations as well.

DEFTERIOS: Is 2014 the year that you can actually bring the parties together and find a solution, in 2014, 2015? There's a lot of pressure on the ground to have a resolution from generations who've been shut out.

ANASTASIADES: It depends on our compatriots in mainly Turkey how active they're going to be and how they will exercise their influence on our compatriots of Turkey Cypriots. All of us nowadays, we are realizing that it's high time to give an end to this protracted problem. And this is why I have mentioned before as an incentive, the energy.

DEFTERIOS: Within a two-year timeframe? Is that realistic?

ANASTASIADES: Yes. I might say yes. Even earlier. It depends on the other side.


DEFTERIOS: Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades here in Abu Dhabi. 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.