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At Least 232 Dead In Mine Explosion In Soma, Turkey; Interview with Syrian Deputy Forign Minister Faisal Mekdad; Judge In Oscar Pistorius Trial Orders Psychological Evaluation; African Startup: Recycling, Sustainable Development Company Groupe Senghor; Political Pressure in Turkey; World Cup; Women's Safety in India; Parting Shots: Stephen's Legacy

Aired May 14, 2014 - 11:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A rising death toll and fading hope in Turkey. Dozens of miners still trapped underground in a deep coal mine.

Also ahead this hour, a dramatic day in court: why the judge in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial orders a halt to the proceedings at the 11th hour.



FAISAL MEKDAD, SYRIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: We shall not -- I mean, attack them with the flowers, because they are not attacking us with flowers.


ANDERSON: A confident Syrian government says it's winning its civil war. We bring you an exclusive interview with the country's deputy foreign minister.

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

ANDERSON: Well, a very warm welcome. And it's 7:00 in the evening here in the UAE.

A desperate rescue in Turkey underway after a deadly mine explosion leaves more than 100 workers trapped underground.

Anxious families are still at the mine understandably hoping that somehow some of the miners survived the smoke and flames. But over the last few hours, it has to be said, crews have only found a few survivors.

Well, the disaster started when a transformer blew up inside the mine. Dozens of workers managed to make it out alive, but the explosion and fire killed more than 230 people.

Well, the prime minister recently arrived at the mine site. He said all that is necessary will be provided to the families and declared three days of mourning.

Well, we've got Cuneyt Ozdemir at the mine site. Let's get there for the very latest.

At this point, what do we know about those who are still trapped underground?

Cuneyt Ozdemir, can you hear me?

All right, OK, we are having technical problems.

Let me get you exactly what the prime minister said earlier on today. Have a listen to this.


RECEPT TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This accident will be investigated into every little detail. And we will never have not allow any ignorance, any failure to be overlooked or to be covered (ph). And all the necessary steps will be taken to the extent to satisfy public opinion.


ANDERSON: That is Prime Minister Erdogan.

And we will bring you much more coverage of this developing story in Turkey in this coming our.

Our emerging markets editor John Defterios will examine the mining history in Turkey and the history of deadly accidents that have overshadowed the achievements. We'll also consider the political fallout that's almost certain to follow this tragedy.

And it comes at what is already a very testing time for the Turkish government.

Well, the murder trial of South African track star Oscar Pistorius has been put on hold. The judge in the case has ordered the sprinter to undergo an independent psychiatric evaluation. And this could take about a month.

Well, the prosecution requested the evaluation when the defense put a psychiatrist on the stand to say that Pistorius suffered from general anxiety disorder.

Well, Robyn Curnow is following the trial and joins us live from Pretoria tonight. And Robyn, confusing, at best, certainly unprecedented. How does this affect what we all expected was pretty much the wrap-up of this case?

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, it's put a whole different time line on this trial. And I think what is center to all of this is that defense witness, that psychiatrist who testified that she had diagnosed Oscar Pistorius of his heightened levels of anxiety and vulnerability relating to his disability. And potentially how this could have affected his behavior and his reactions on the night he shot and killed his girlfriend.

And as you said there also very audacious move by the state to challenge this psychiatrist on the stand, bringing this application, very audacious.

So let's talk to Kelly Phelps, our legal analyst from the University of Cape Town, to get a sense of what all of this means and how important it is.

Mr. Nel bringing this surprise application. He won today. Do you think that's -- do you think he's going to be happy?

KELLY PHELPS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he was successful in terms of the application, but he didn't achieve everything he was trying to achieve with it. He was arguing to the court that the evidence of this witness was irrelevant to Pistorius's known defense and should only be considered with regard to capacity, which the accused wasn't arguing. So essentially trying to sideline it.

But the judge actually reinforced the relevance and importance of Foster's evidence.

So if this panel comes back agreeing with Foster's findings, it will actually strengthen the persuasive value of her evidence and potentially, therefore, elevates the persuasive value and reliability of Pistorius's own evidence.

CURNOW: Let's explore that more. We've been discussing here about the potential three legal scenarios that come out of this observation. Just tell our viewers about it.

PHELPS: Well, there's three potential outcomes. And only two of them really benefit the state.

First, the application could be successful and the panel find that in fact he was incapacitated at the time of the conduct. In which case, Mr. Nel will have succeeded at arguing a defense on behalf of Mr. Pistorius.

Otherwise, they could say he wasn't entirely incapacitated, and essentially reinforce exactly what Meryl Foster was saying. That will then provide a context for the judge to infer that Pistorius was telling the truth, that his defense is reliable. Again, not good for the state.

What would help the state is if the panel comes back and materially contradicts Meryl Foster's evidence and therefore they'll be able to get that evidence sidelined and potentially dismissed.

CURNOW: OK. And in terms of a fair trial, Becky eluded to it, this obviously has delayed the judgment -- the judge didn't seem to mind about that. She understand this, but she's disregarding it.

PHELPS: She made it very clear that convenience to all the parties watching this trial will never trump the interest of justice and the fair trial right. And that is exactly what we would expect of a judge of her stature and experience. If she feels that this is pertinent and relevant evidence to deciding the outcome of this case, she is duty bound to pursue this route.

CURNOW: OK, as always, Kelly Phelps, thanks so much.

Now, Becky we are back here on Tuesday for procedural issues. The judge I think, and the court are going to discuss dates and sort of the bureaucracy of how this is going to go forward.

She did say in court very crucially that she didn't want to appear to essentially punish Oscar Pistorius twice, so she has urged all the parties to try and find a way for him to be an outpatient, for him not to be institutionalized with a psychiatric institution while this observation takes place. But the minimum we're going to see of him in -- having observation is a month.

So I think in terms of delays, definitely more than month.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff.

All right, thank you both.

Let's get back to Turkey now and the explosion and fire at a coal mine that has killed hundreds.

Ivan Watson is at the mine site. He is gathering the very latest information. He'll join us soon as he become available.

In the meantime, CNN Turk anchor Cuneyt Ozdemir joins us on the line from Soma.

I hope you can hear me now, sir. The very latest, if you know it. Do we believe that there are still people who may be alive still trapped?

CUNEYT OZDEMIR, JOURNALIST: It's not easy to answer this question, because nobody knows the answer of this question here.

I'm -- I would like to try to describe the situation here. I'm in front of the crew mine. And I'm -- coal mine -- and large explosion and fire began yesterday night. Every 30 minutes, we hear a siren sound and from the entrance and it means that there are sending some new bodies from the depths of the mine. And the crew carried -- the coal carrier is carrying the bodies this time.

And they are carrying the bodies in a corridor. And hundred meters lots of people are -- both sides -- and they are trying to figure out whose body is this? Because lots of friends, workers, the villagers are in the middle -- in front of the coal mine entrance and they are trying to understand whose bodies are carrying out, whose dead bodies are carrying out.

Nobody knows how many people are inside now, because as you know the explosion happened in the (inaudible). So both shifts (inaudible) in the coal mine and nobody crews give the right answer when we asked them how many miners -- coal miners are inside the mine.

So the situation is sad here. And it's not easy to describe the feelings.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and as you speak we are watching pictures, very somber pictures, of people standing around in what is a very tragic situation.

Sir, we thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Well, Nigerian authorities are still trying to identify some of the girls who appear in a video released by terrorist group Boko Haram earlier this week. Now parents, students and teachers have been looking at the tape. And a local government official says they recognize 77 of the girls.

Well, nearly 300 were kidnapped from their school in Chibok last month. It's believed some of the girls in this video may have been abducted in earlier incidents.

Well, the kidnapped students all had big dreams for their future. And those who were able to escape now fear for their lives.

Nima Elbagir returns to the school where this nightmare began exactly a month ago.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A burned- out dormitory, broken windows, what's left of the Chibok Girls Secondary School where a month ago the student's dreams were stolen along with hundreds of girls abducted from their beds.

(on camera): If the attack hadn't happened right here is where now the girls would have been taking their school exams. This school, these exams were supposed to be a gate way into a bright future that would take them beyond the boundaries of Chibok and out of the shadow of Boko Haram. For many girls now, even the thought of such a future is pretty much incomprehensible.

(voice-over): Educating girls is a sin in the eyes of Boko Haram, the terror group claiming responsibility for this devastation.

For one of the girls lucky enough to escape her abductors, it's a message she's received loud and clear.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: In Chibok, never go again.

ELBAGIR (on camera): You'll never go back to school?


ELBAGIR: Because they made you afraid?


ELBAGIR: What did you want to be?


ELBAGIR: You wanted to be a doctor?


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Now that seems far out of reach.

Daniel Movia (ph) and his family fled into the Bush the night of the attack. Luckily, altogether and all safe. But what he witnessed that night still has him shaken. This area has been under siege for years.

DANIEL MOVIA (ph), FATHER: Fear is all other. Fear is everywhere. Presently what we are seeing that has happened to our girls here now, for those that escaped and for those that are yet to be taken to school, now there's a big question mark for every parent about what to do about the lives of our children. Of course, no one can afford losing their daughter.

ELBAGIR: But he's not giving up hope completely. He prays a day will come when his daughters will be free to pursue their futures.

(on camera): What will you like your daughters to be when they grow up?

MOVIA (ph): Things like lawyers, doctors, engineers. Because when I see one of these people doing their jobs, I have the zeal or the hope I want my children to be like them.

ELBAGIR: You have high hopes for them?

MOVIA (ph): Very high hopes for them, yes.

ELBAGIR: Nima Elbagir, CNN, Chibok.


ANDERSON: Well, still to come tonight, Syria has been accused of using chlorine gas in attacks on its own people. Up next, we sit down with Syria's deputy foreign minister to talk about these allegations in what is an exclusive interview. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of Abu Dhabi for you. Welcome back.

Now, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the former special envoy to Syria did not fail in his mission to resolve the crisis, because it was Syria that refused to negotiate at every turn.

Well, Lakhdar Brahimi apologized to the Syrian people saying little was achieved.

He told the UN secretary -- security council that Syria's plan to hold an election next month put more pressure on trying to find a settlement.

Well, Fred Pleitgen sat down with Syria's deputy foreign minister for what was an exclusive interview.

First, I want to remind you of some of Fred's reporting from the embattled city of Homs this week, what he saw and what people are saying there. Have a look at this.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the ruins of the old town of Homs, a mass migration as thousands enter this battle-scarred neighborhood, either to come back in or to get their belongings out. Very little seems salvageable, but that doesn't stop many returning residents from trying.

Hassan Deshash (ph) and his workers are clearing out what's left of his shoe store. He had to flee the area more than two years ago.

"Of course it was awful," he says. "When the fighting started, I had to get out of here. I've not been back in two and a half years."

Only a few days after rebel fighters left the old town of Homs, the cleanup effort is already underway even as the Syrian army says it's still clearing streets and buildings of improvised bombs and booby traps.

PLEITGEN (on camera): This is the main square in Homs, and the authorities are moving very quickly to open this place up again. Behind me, you can see that they're already staring to clean up. But if we look around, we can see that all the buildings around this main square and in this entire neighborhood are absolutely destroyed, they're flattened.

It shows the tragedy of what happened here in the past two years, and it also shows just how long it's going to take to rebuild the old town.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Zainab Achdas (ph) is one of only a handful of civilians who lived through the entire two-and-a-half year siege of old Homs.

"I don't even want to think about it," she says. "The last three months were the toughest, because we could only eat grass and leaves all the time."

The Syrian army sealed off Homs after it fell into rebel hands. Supplies of food and medicine quickly depleted.

Zainab's (ph) brother, Ayman (ph) was trapped with her the whole time. He tried to find food and gather firewood for the little stove in their apartment.

"I took one this size and bigger," he says. "It's some of the wood rebels broke out of homes to burn. I only used leftover."

When virtually all their food had run out, they were forced to eat leaves. Ayman (ph) says of all places, he found the best ones in a graveyard. He asks me to try them.


PLEITGEN: It's OK. It's OK. It's OK.

Every day?

"For breakfast, lunch, and dinner," he says.

And each meal was just a tiny bowlful.


ANDERSON: Well, Syria's deputy foreign minister denies that the government is using starvation as a weapon against its own people. Well, here's Fred's Exclusive interview with him.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The truce in Homs is something that's on the one hand been hailed, but there are also critics who say that those who were in those neighborhoods were essentially starved into giving up.

FAISAL MEKDAD, SYRIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: We are not starving anybody. We are trying to reach all those civilians under the control. And on different occasions, many convoys carrying humanitarian aid have gone, but were turned back by the terrorist groups.

If they are speaking about starving of terrorism and terrorists, yes we have to do our best. And I think this is our right to do it.

PLEITGEN: There are people who say there is a policy of starvation to lead people to...

MEKDAD: It is absolutely untrue.

We have been fighting with these people for two or three years now. How can they continue fighting all this time with all weapons of all kinds are in their hands except food? I mean, this is absolutely absurd.

PLEITGEN: But are you using too much ordinance? Are the weapons too heavy? Because there is that widespread criticism of the use of barrel bombs. And now there's the new ones of the barrel bombs with chlorine gas.

MEKDAD: My friend, we shall not -- I mean, attack them with the flowers, because they not attacking us with flowers. They are attacking with more sophisticated weapons given to them by the United States, given to them by Europe, given to them by Turkey, given to them by the Saudis and others.

But I assure you 100 percent that chlorine gas has never been used by the government. We have now the investigating group from the OPCW, the Organization on the Prevention of Chemical Weapons. They are here. We are cooperating with them. We are ready to send them everywhere under our control to investigate and find the reality. I assure you 100 percent that these criminal weapons have never, ever been used by the government.

PLEITGEN: We talk about the situating situation. Is it possible to hold a presidential election in the current situation?

MEKDAD: Absolutely.

If you remember...

PLEITGEN: How are people in Aleppo, how are they going to vote?

MEKDAD: This double standard policy by certain European, American countries and the United States among others, they don't want anything to move in Syria. They don't want legitimacy in Syria. They want the disintegration of this country, or in fact if we have to take into full consideration what they want, they don't want Syria to exist. Or they want to hand over Syria to terrorist groups...


ANDERSON: The deputy foreign minister speaking to my colleague Fred Pleitgen earlier.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

Coming up, with India's massive election in the global spotlight, we tackle the issue of women's safety and look at what it's like to be a woman on the streets of New Delhi. That's coming up after this short break.

And a company in Senegal is turning trash into cash. We're going to show you how on African Startup. That follows this.


ANDERSON: You're at the Global Exchange here on Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. Welcome back.

You've probably heard the saying one man's trash is another man's treasure. Well, an entrepreneur in Senegal has -- is putting these words, or those words at least into action.

In this week's African Startup, John Vause shows us a company the benefits the environment, and he says at least the economy.


STEPHEN SENGHOR, GROUPE SENGHOR: And I started recycling and sustainable development company based in Petanbal (ph), Senegal. Welcome.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDNET: Petanbal (ph) is a coastal community on the outskirts of Senegal's capital Dakar. Here, Stephen Senghor collects discarded waste and with it provides a number of sustainable solutions.

SENGHOR: When it's underground, nobody sees it. I do see it. And I see value into this.

VAUSE: He calls his startup Groupe Senghor. One of his company's specialties is bioconstruction. He makes building materials out of trash like plastic bottles filled with old wrappers.

SENGHOR: Inside, you can have around 350 grams of waste, of dry waste.

VAUSE: It's all part of his marketing plan, a challenging one because Senghor says sustainable development is a hard sell in Senegal.

SENGHOR: We need to create that interest over it, so that's why my company today is training people into building with this and showing that it can be beautiful.

VAUSE: Groupe Senghor also works on preventing coastal erosion. Many homeowners hire him to create retaining walls out of old blocks and boulders.

Groupe Senghor also produces compost and uses it to grow vegetables that the company then sells in recycled containers.

SENGHOR: In Senegal, we don't know compost here that much, so we decided in order to give it a market value, it would be better probably to sell salad.

VAUSE: So far, a couple of restaurants in the area are using Senghor's salad.

SENGHOR: By using it like this, it allows you to use what you need and let the rest grow.

VAUSE: Stephen Senghor used to be a banker in Montreal, Canada before coming back to his home country.

SENGHOR: Up to now, living, barely living out of this. But I'm not discouraged, because when I started I didn't expect to make money on the get go.

VAUSE: And while he's not make a profit yet, he firmly believes in his investments and his brand.

STENGHOR: let's do something beautiful, let's do something meaningful for the people and for the environment. And that's going to bring money.


ANDERSON: Our African Startup this week.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead here on CNN.

Plus, after a deadly mine fire kills dozens or workers, the prime minister there in Turkey is under pressure to give loved ones answers. That, after this.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: You're watching CNN at just after half past 7:00 here in the UAE. The top stories this hour.

In South Africa, the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius is being put on a hold so that the defendant can undergo a month-long psychiatric evaluation. The judge's unusual decision came at the request of the prosecution after a psychiatrist called by the defense testified that Pistorius suffers from generalized anxiety disorder.

In Vietnam, several factories were burned when anti-Chinese protests turned violent. Demonstrators attacked factories in a southern province to protest China setting up an oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

A foreign ministry for the World Health Organization says the Netherlands is reporting the first case of the MERS virus. There have been 571 confirmed cases in 18 countries. The number includes 171 deaths. MERS stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

And in Nigeria, a government official says parents, students, and teachers have now identified 77 girls in a video released this week by Boko Haram. And that's out of the more than 100 girls shown in the tape from the terror group. Nearly 300 were abducted from their school, remember, in the northeastern part of the country exactly a month ago today.

And rescue crews are trying to find anyone who survived a deadly coal mine explosion in Western Turkey. You're looking at live pictures from the town of Soma, where the disaster, sadly, is still unfolding. At least 238 workers were killed when a transformer blew up inside the mine and triggered a fire. The Turkish prime minister says more than 100 miners are still trapped underground.

The families of the victims are caught up in shock and grief, as you can imagine. But soon the search for answers will begin, and that is expected to lead -- most likely will lead right to the top. The Turkish prime minister is planning a presidential run this summer, and he'll be under pressure to provide those answers, and quickly.

Well, our emerging markets editor, John Defterios, joins us now here for more on this. John, what do we know, firstly, about this mine and any inspections that have been done there recently?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, according to the minister of energy, who was the first on the ground yesterday, that this mine's been inspected a handful of times over the last two years, and we found out from the press conference of Prime Minister Erdogan this afternoon that the last one was done at the end of March and got a clean bill of health.

He says now that a full investigation will take place going forward, but this raises some questions, because the opposition party, the CHP, was calling for a thorough parliamentary investigation, and that was shot down by the ruling party at the end of April, they didn't think there was an investigation necessary.

But the opposition party and the representative from that region said we've had 173 deaths over the last two years, not just at this facility, but in that region overall. Why don't we take a deeper look at our investigations and our reviews of the process, but the ruling party decided not to do so.

And it was also interesting the watch the politics at play here. Prime Minister Erdogan at his press conference went back to the 1960s and disasters that we saw in the UK coal mining sector, saying it's not just Turkey, it's not about an emerging market. We have robust investigations, and we'll go back 50 years to prove the point. But one would say technology in the 21st century is very different --


DEFTERIOS: -- than the technology in the 1960s.

ANDERSON: Yes. All right, well, the prime minister has had -- or certainly has faced a barrage of protest in the past year. How do you think this is likely to affect his standing at this point?

DEFTERIOS: Well, of course, we're very concerned about what's unfolding, as you said. There's probably a hundred miners trapped. But also, you can't ignore what's happened over the last year. In fact, this time last year, we saw the first initial protests in Taksim Square about the urban development of Gezi Park.

He survived it, but it was very intense pressure against him for two or three months. He had a lull, and then we had the leaked tapes coming from the Gulen Movement, he said, the opposition movement, and a former ally of his, linking his party to paybacks and kickbacks in a corruption probe.

Then, Prime Minister Erdogan challenged the state bar early in 2014, and then shut down Twitter and YouTube ten days before the municipal elections. And he actually did very well in the elections, but --


ANDERSON: Yes. This is the flip side, of course, isn't it?

DEFTERIOS: But to think that you could have a year like that in one year and then get stuck into this sort of disaster in the very next year.

ANDERSON: And, of course, he has designs on the presidency.

DEFTERIOS: This is where it gets very interesting, and it raises the question about constitutional reform and authority. He is the prime minister. This will be the first time that the people get a chance to elect their own president. That's going to happen in August. He doesn't have to step down, they're suggesting, for him to run for president. So there's kind of no risk.

If he wins, many believe that the design is that he'll transfer power from the prime minister to the presidency and try to hold on to power. AKP in power for a dozen years. In fairness to them, they've seen a quadrupling of GDP in that timeframe, per capita GDP has climbed as a result. It's nearly a trillion-dollar economy.

But some say, do we really have a secular state, a democracy at play here? Or is he kind of taking a grab for power? And how does he handle this crisis going forward?

ANDERSON: Yes, and again, as John rightly pointed out, as we consider politics and the economy in Turkey and the mining industry as a whole, we do need to remember there are more than a hundred people still --

DEFTERIOS: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: -- trapped below, hoping that some of those will, if not all of them will survive, of course. John, thank you very much.

DEFTERIOS: Nice to see you.

ANDERSON: Well, the football World Cup in Brazil is only weeks away now, and the squad for one of the favorites, Argentina, is without a famous name. Carlos Tevez has been left out of the lineup for what is the greatest sporting show on Earth.

But three players from his former club, Manchester City, have made the grade. They are here in Abu Dhabi, which is, of course, home for the club's owners, for what is an exhibition match tomorrow. Well, I sat down with one of the Argentine trio, Pablo Zabaleta, and asked him about the omission of Tevez.


PABLO ZABALETA, MANCHESTER CITY: Well, I know Carlos also for a long time, and of course, when you don't see players like him in this court, obviously you probably a little bit disappointed because we know how important it is for any single player to be in the squad for the World Cup.

And he had a good season with Juventus. Probably the manager preferred other players in front of him. But if you look at this, strikers, we go on the national team, we go Messi, we go Aguero, Higuain, Lavezzi, Palacio. Fantastic strikers --


ANDERSON: That's good enough --


ZABALETA: Yes, it's good enough. You cannot bring 20 strikers --

ANDERSON: You're in the squad for the World Cup. Can you win it?


ZABALETA: Yes. Why not? Of course, we are Argentina. We have great players. We've got Messi on the team, that is the best player in the world. Obviously, we need to perform well as a team, not just with individual performance. But yes, I think we have a chance. We will try to win it.

ANDERSON: Is this going to be, do you think, Messi's World Cup?

ZABALETA: I hope so. He's our leader of the team, he's the captain. For us, for Argentina, he's -- Messi's everything. We will try to give our maximum for him as well, because we know him very well. He wants this World Cup, so fingers crossed.


ANDERSON: Well, Zabaleta's thoughts there on both Tevez and Messi. If Argentina progresses to the later stages of the tournament, Lionel Messi could come up against another Man City player, Belgian captain Vincent Kompany. And I asked the defender how he feels about that potential clash Have a listen to this.


VINCENT KOMPANY, MANCHESTER CITY, BELGIAN CAPTAIN: I've played against Messi, and he is phenomenal. And I know the other little fellow, which is Aguero. He knows me, too.


KOMPANY: But you know what? I just look forward to those kind of games. As I said, that's what I live for. And if I have the best of my life or the worst game of my life, it doesn't matter, but I want the experience.


ANDERSON: Vincent Kompany, there. Stay tuned to CNN in the next hour. I'll be live on "World Sport" with much more from those Man City interviews. That's at 20:00 Abu Dhabi time, that is just after this hour.

This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. It's been called the rape capital of India. How safe are women in Delhi? That question and an interview on that is up next.


ANDERSON: All right. You're back with me here in Abu Dhabi on the terrace of the CNN bureau here. As voting wrapped up in India this week, some complain the issue of violence against women is still not high enough on the political agenda.

The gang rape of a student on a bus in 2012 contributed to the perception of New Delhi as a particularly dangerous place for women. Now, sexual assault is still a taboo topic in many parts, but Sumnima Udas gives us, now, a personal take on how that is slowly changing.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People often ask if I feel safe living in New Delhi. This vibrant city with 23 million, now perceived by many as the rape capital after the deadly gang rape of a student inside a moving bus in December, 2012.

The gawking, the groping, there is no doubt walking around this sprawling capital, taking public transportation is not easy. From a very young age, women are taught to be cautious.

UDAS (on camera): But the notion that there's a culture of rape in India is simplistic and unjustified. No culture is innately prone to rape.

UDAS (voice-over): In fact, India ranks behind the United States and Europe in the total number of rapes reported, even though India has more people than both of those places combined. Of course, women in all cultures often don't report rape. That's what's changing here.

December 16th, 2012 was the tipping point.


UDAS (on camera): Hundreds of Delhi students have gathered --

UDAS (voice-over): Day by day, the protests swelled from hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands, marching towards India's seat of power, braving water cannons and New Delhi's December cold. This was the watershed moment for women in India.


UDAS: Laws were strengthened, security stepped up. Fast-track courts set up to deal with sexual assault cases.

UDAS (on camera): And this is one of the rarest of rare occasions --

UDAS (voice-over): Women, now more emboldened to report cases or rape. Authorities, too, more responsive. But perhaps the biggest change, rape has become a part of routine discourse.

UDAS (on camera): Open any newspaper on any given day, stories of rape, which would not even get a mention in newspapers in the US or UK, make headlines here.


UDAS (voice-over): Many say the change that's needed is cultural, this greater awareness in India's society. Perhaps the 2012 rape victim's lasting legacy.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


ANDERSON: Well, sexual violence against women did receive some attention this election cycle in India, but it certainly didn't dominate the narrative by any stretch of the imagination. To understand what does need to be done to tackle this issue from the ground up, I'm joined by Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association from our New Delhi Bureau.

We thank you for joining us. Last time you and I spoke, you said the government wasn't doing enough. You said in terms of implementation, we have a very long way to go. Our own correspondent in her report there suggesting that at least this is, in urban areas, certainly in New Delhi, not any longer a taboo subject. Is that what you see around India, particularly in rural areas? Is that resonating?


ANDERSON: I'm sorry, can you hear me?

KIRSHNAN: I couldn't hear that. I'm -- yes, just say that again. I'm no longer a section of --

ANDERSON: Kavita --

KIRSHNAN: -- women in Delhi are no longer?

ANDERSON: Right, OK. Apologies for that. OK. Let's carry on. How much of a taboo subject is rape still in areas outside of the urban areas? And what sort of traction did it get in the election cycle?

KRISHNAN: I think that it's not so much that it was a taboo subject and it no longer is. That's not, I think, what -- I think that rape was talked about earlier.

The point is, I think that now, at least somewhat, to some extent, people are finding new ways to talk about rape rather than talking about it as something which is a matter of shame or loss of honor for women, which needs to be avenged with extreme punishments. That discourse is still around.

But I think that there is another kind of way of talking about rape that has emerged, which is more in terms of women's freedom, and how that needs to be safeguarded, and how violence against women, like rape, is actually part and parcel of a whole lot of other forms of violence that are happening.

And how much of that needs to be challenged by keeping women's autonomy, women's freedom, women's control over their own lives --

ANDERSON: All right.

KIRSHNAN: -- who they marry, how they dress, what are their choices in life, and all of that, yes.

ANDERSON: This is, to a certain extent, the government's reluctance, which seems to stem from the willingness -- or unwillingness to confront this sort of patriarchal society which is evident in so many parts of rural India in the way the women are treated.

On things like public transport, last time we spoke, you said public transport wasn't safe, public toilets weren't safe, police behavior extremely demeaning to women, no rape crisis center. So, what you're telling me tonight sounds as if there is some positive news that things are changing for the good.

KRISHNAN: No, no. Those are still demands that we are placing, that we do expect these things from government. But I would say that these issues have fallen since have figured on the manifestos of very few political parties which consisted the recent election.

So, I don't really have very high hopes of the new government, whichever or whatever government is formed on the 16th, to actually look seriously at all of this. I don't know how far it'll go there.

But I would say that the distinction made between rural and urban women, I wouldn't be so quick to make that distinction. I think that for women in India, one of the most important things for somebody who's outside India to be observing is to observe that this huge protest happened.

And we need more protesting voices like that against violence and against forms of discrimination all over the world. So, it isn't something that is unique to India. This rape isn't something that's unique to India alone. It happens everywhere.

But I think the important thing is that rural and urban India, wherever you go, the way in which women feel themselves under constant social surveillance whereby they have to kind of prove their social respectability.

And the fear of the loss of respectability, the fear of having to -- the pressure of having to prove your moral position, this is something which is --

ANDERSON: All right, OK.

KRISHNAN: -- something that women -- Indian women are fighting back. And I think this is something which is really something that stifles women's autonomy and freedom here.

ANDERSON: So, what do you think can be expected from the next government? You rightly point out, it is more than likely to be a new government at this point, and most possibly the -- most probably the BJP, all indications point to Mr. Modi as the future prime minister. What evidence do you have that he has women's rights front and center of his agenda?

KRISHNAN: I would say that, in fact, women have a lot to feel apprehensive about from such a government for several reasons, one of which is, of course, that he himself is actually implicated in a major scandal of having used state machinery, including the police forces and so on, to conduct illegal surveillance on a young woman. And this is something which their party is defending, the BJP is defending.

The other thing is, of course, the fact that they are the -- as a -- in terms of their satellite organizations of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, those are organizations that actually indulge in the maximum amount of violence against women to impose certain kinds of moral codes, like dress codes, or codes on who women are allowed to befriend, that they should not be allowed to befriend or marry or love men from other communities, other castes, and so on.

And this is something which women are going to really -- if it is going to become some kind of unstated state policy, there's a lot to fear there.

And the other thing is also that regarding the economic rights of women as well, women are also asking about their rights at the workplace because the economic policies --

ANDERSON: All right.

KRISHNAN: -- which are being followed now, extremely exploitative towards women at work. And a BJP government or even a Congress government, these are not showing any signs of being willing to rethink on those policies. Rather, they will more aggressively try to enforce them --

ANDERSON: All right.

KRISHNAN: -- which will take away women's slowly-growing autonomy at the workplace, for instance, especially among poor women workers.

ANDERSON: Kavita Krishnan, always a pleasure, from the New Delhi Bureau, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. On this point, yesterday I interviewed at this time Indian-born industrialist Gopichand Hinduja. His brothers were recently named UK's richest people

During our discussion yesterday, he was looking to a Modi government going forward. He said that he expected or hoped to see, to a certain extent, a majority government so that Mr. Modi could push through as a leader.

We also, though, discussed the issue of women's rights and social issues. Here is what he had to say.


GOPICHAND HINDUJA, CO-CHAIR, HINDUJA GROUP: The middle class has been debating a lot, and here I would like to give thanks to the media, who have been able to support the middle class to bring up all these issues.

More awareness is coming, and I think the past government has done some, and the new government will definitely have to be doing more on the social reforms, and especially empowerment of women which, again, helps our economy -- 50 percent are women, and if they start performing well, it automatically helps the economy.


ANDERSON: GP Hinduja, speaking to us yesterday. And you can join me tomorrow as CONNECT THE WORLD travels to India's capital, New Delhi, to cover the results of what's been the world's biggest experiment in democracy.

We'll tell you why this story's not only important for people living in India, but also how it impacts the rest of the world. Our special coverage kicking off at 7:00 PM local time, Abu Dhabi, 8:30 in New Delhi. That is kick-off. The results, of course, on Friday. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, he set out to raise $17,000 for a teenage cancer charity, but such was the inspirational power of teenager Stephen Sutton that he managed to pull in more than $5 million.

The 19-year-old Englishman went global with his videos detailing his fight against cancer. Well today, he lost that fight, but not before winning a legion of fans. In today's Parting Shots, Max Foster looks at Stephen's legacy.


STEPHEN SUTTON, CANCER PATIENT: The old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what do you do when life gives you cancer? This is not a sob story, this is Stephen's Story.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Stephen Sutton was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010.

SUTTON: In a weird way, I actually see my first cancer diagnosis as a good thing. It was a huge kick in the backside that gave me a lot of motivation for life.

FOSTER: He created a bucket list on Facebook of 46 things he wanted to do before he ran out of time.

SUTTON: Two of the things in my bucket list include skydiving, crowd surf in a rubber dingy, to drum in front of a huge crowd -- I ended up doing this live at Wembley.

FOSTER: But as he checked off each item, something else happened.

SUTTON: Since doing the bucket list, I've had people come up to me and offered to raise funds for me. For me, personally, to go on a holiday or to tick off another item on my bucket list, but I've actually refused and decided to give the money to charity instead.

FOSTER: Stephen set a goal of about $17,000. He raised about $5 million, with celebrities chipping in their support. The money goes to the Teenage Cancer Trust, the charity that helped him through each surgery, each round of radiation, and chemotherapy.

But no amount of money could reverse the cancer in Stephen's body. He posted the following message on May the 11th, saying he'd returned to hospital with breathing difficulties. But his words displayed his usual optimism. "Fingers crossed, the issue will be resolved and that I'll be out of hospital soon. I'll keep you all updated with how I'm getting on."

But on Wednesday, his mother posted this message, announcing that her son had lost his fight for life. "My heart is bursting with pride, but breaking with pain for my courageous, selfless, inspirational son, who passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning, Wednesday, the 14th of May. His life, cut short, but his legacy lives on."

SUTTON: For whatever reason, life has given me cancer. I don't mean I want to die. But if my story teaches others not to take life for granted, then so be it. In the meantime, I'll be trying to enjoy every second as much as possible. Cancer sucks, but life is great.

FOSTER: Max Foster, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for joining us.