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CONNECT THE WORLD

New Allegations Of Bribery In Qatar World Cup Bid; Critics Question U.S. Deal To Release U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl; Hong Kong's Billion Dollar Repurpose For Old Kai Tak Landing

Aired June 2, 2014 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: One tiny Gulf emirate, two major international stories this Monday. A prisoner swap that sets a highly divisive precedent. Five Taliban members have arrived here in Qatar in exchange for the release of a U.S. soldier. We'll examine what happens next.

And Qatar is fighting new claims that it bribed its way to hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. We'll bring you the big picture on the winning bid. I'm Becky Anderson for you tonight on Doha.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Jim Clancy at CNN Center with the rest of the day's news, including the king of Spain stepping down, making way for his son. We'll have the full stories behind that somewhat surprising decision.

Also, election or coronation? Syrians prepare to vote for president and the result hardly seems in doubt.

ANDERSON: Well, welcome to a very special edition of Connect the World with me Becky Anderson and Jim Clancy this evening.

It is just after 6:00 p.m. in Doha.

Some are accusing the White House of negotiating with terrorists after a prisoner swap, an agreement to a prisoner swap, to gain the release of an American soldier. This, a very, very big story internationally. As a result, five Taliban detainees who had been held in Guantanamo Bay are now in the custody of authorities here in Doha in Qatar.

CNN obtained this video showing the release of these men in Qatar. The video posted on a Taliban website and shot by a pro-Taliban media house.

One U.S. soldier who was held by the Taliban for five years is now free and currently recovering in Germany.

Well, this is a huge relief for the family of sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. We know who these men are who have been swapped. They came from Guantanamo Bay on Saturday, arriving here on Sunday. And we know that they arrived, given what we've seen in this video.

What we don't know is where they are now, or under what conditions they are being held to assure the U.S. that their people, their citizens are safe from these former terrorists.

I went down to what is known as the Taliban embassy here in Doha earlier on, see whether we can find any evidence of these men might be staying there. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: This is the Taliban's political office in Doha, a sign, if you will, of the group's legitimacy here in Qatar. Now it's not clear whether this is actually open at present, nor whether the prisoners who were brought to Qatar on Saturday are actually being hosted here. We've just asked one of these security guards outside whether there is anybody here, and he's just going to find out for us.

This is a fairly innocuous spot, it's got to be said. If you just pan out here, you'll see a U.S. staff compound just yards away. We're only moments away from the Foreign Ministry here, and indeed, Qatar's financial district.

Let's just find out whether there is anybody here. Is this a bell?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Yeah, well we were there for about 20, 25 minutes. I spoke to a security guard who told me that he hadn't seen any activity or action there for the past 24 to 48 hours. So the question is now at this stage just where are those men being accommodated or hosted?

Certainly we've been hearing from sources on the ground here that they are in accommodation and that indeed -- I can't confirm this -- but I'm being told here on the ground that their relatives from Afghanistan have been flown in to join them.

So, lots of unanswered questions on the ground in Doha about what has happened to these five former Taliban detainees. We know that they are mid to high ranking Taliban officials.

Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is in Landstuhl medical center in Germany, that is where Sergeant Bergdahl is being looked after.

Now Nic, what do we know about his condition at this point and how he was released?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we know very little about his condition. What we have been told is that he was able to walk to the special forces commandos who came in by helicopter to get him from the handover. 18 armed Taliban were there to hand him over. He walked across to special forces commandos. This took a few seconds, we're told.

He flew, then, to Bagram military airbase just outside Kabul and then overnight Saturday arriving here early Sunday.

What we are being told is that he's going to go through a reintegration process, a process whereby doctors will look at his medical condition, his psychological condition, where he'll get questions as well about what he knows, what he saw, is there any actionable military intelligence that will be useful for troops back in Afghanistan right now?

Afterall, today, another soldier was killed in Afghanistan in action with the enemy, killed apparently by the Taliban. So this just shows you how important the sort of information is that Sergeant Bergdahl may have.

But his actual condition we're not being told that right now. Doctors say they're sympathetic to everything he's been through. And his rate of recovery and when he can go back to the United States and meet his parents, that, they say, is really going to depend on him and his rate of progress through this reintegration -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson in Germany for you.

We'll have a lot more on this story a little later in this special edition of Connect the World, including a live report from Washington on the political fallout from this prisoner swap. We'll hear from critics who suggest that the move will only encourage terrorists going forward. And we'll tell you what Afghanistan makes of the transfer as it continues to wage war on the Taliban.

Well, moving on tonight, and FIFA is facing fresh calls to choose a new host for the 2022 World Cup. Yes, it is eight years away. And yes the Brazil World Cup starts in less than two weeks. But a shadow once again cast over the Qatar bid for the World Cup, this after allegations that Qatar won the bidding process through bribery.

Now the Sunday Times newspaper in Britain says it has evidence that a prominent Qatari official made payments of more than $5 million to various figures in an attempt to win support for his country's bid. Now Qatar vehemently denies these allegations.

World Sports' Alex Thomas is in our London bureau and he joins us now.

Listen, I've been trying to get as much as I can on the ground here. It's very difficult to get anybody to talk. We believe that certainly members of the FIFA organizing commission from Qatar are now in Oman where Michael Garcia, the investigator into the World Cup bidding process 2018 and 2022 is currently.

What do you know at this point?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest development and the latest twist in this story, Becky, is that Garcia, who you have just mentioned remember wasn't appointed until after this voting process for the 2018 and '22 World Cups as part of reformist measures undertaken by the current FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Garcia's office has released a statement saying that his investigations that were already underway long before the Sunday Times article, his investigations into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process will be concluded in exactly one week's time. He will then put all his findings together into a report that will be submitted to the new adjudication chamber that was set up at the same time as his investigation arm of FIFA's news two chambers on the branch of its ethics side of the organization.

And this has left everyone sort of scratching their heads as to what exactly is the hidden message behind it. It was a very short statement, because throughout this investigation Garcia has been very clear not to try and update the media as he goes along. He wants his findings to come out in due course and not to sort of second guess them in advance.

So everyone is saying does that mean he's not going to look at the Sunday Times article, because the Sunday Times claims it's got these further revelations to come. Or he's already read it and decided it's got nothing to do with his investigation.

So we're all a bit in the dark there, because for most of us the evidence in the Sunday Times is pretty damning, although not conclusive when it comes to roping Qatar into allegations of wrongdoing.

ANDERSON: Yeah, I think we all agree that the connective tissue isn't absolutely clear when it comes to these allegations in the Sunday Times.

Lest we forget, Alex, this is a -- one of the biggest sporting events, if not the biggest sporting event in the world, worth billions of dollars, not least in broadcasting rights. Qatar here spending some $200 billion on infrastructure ahead of this World Cup. You can see just the buildings behind me here part of that infrastructure change.

This is a nation on the move. $37 billion alone spent on a new transit system.

I spoke earlier, and our viewers will get to hear from the chairman of the independent governance committee put in place by Sepp Blatter a couple of years ago. Our viewers will hear from Mark Pieth. He told me earlier that he believes that World Cup bid should be rerun for 2022.

Are you hearing similar things on the ground now from officials around FIFA and part of FIFA?

THOMAS: There have been lots of calls from people, no one within FIFA who want the process to be run, FIFA would rather just kind of put their hands over their ears and their eyes and hope it all goes away. Sadly, it's not going to be like that.

In fact, they would say all they're doing is waiting for Garcia's report to be submitted and then let the proper channels decide if there is a case to be answered for.

The fact of the matter is, though, Becky, as you say the World Cup is huge. When it comes to a single sport, as opposed to the Olympics, which has multi-sports, the World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet. It's absolutely massive. So people outside of football can't understand why FIFA hasn't gone through a reformist process the way that the International Olympic Committee did after the Salt Lake City scandal.

LU STOUT: Alex Thomas in London for you.

CLANCY: Now a historic transition is happening in Spain right now. King Juan Carlos stepping down, abdicating after nearly 40 years on the throne. He's 76 years of age. He said through a recorded statement Monday that it is -- and I'm quoting here, "time to hand over to a new generation, namely his son Crown Prince Felipe."

Although the king is still very popular, his family's reputation has taken a major hit in a recent string of economic scandals while the country reels under the weight of an economic crisis.

Our Al Goodman is in Madrid with more details on this royal transition -- Al.

AL GOODMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim.

A towering figure in Spain and Spanish history, King Juan Carlos, who has been somewhat diminished by these scandals you mentioned not just to the family, but regarding his personal behavior is stepping down. In that statement he recorded was inside this sprawling Palazzo Della Zarzuela, his residents on the outskirts of Madrid.

There was a symbol of a relatively austere monarchy. It's an old hunting lodge way back in there. I've been in there. That's where he recorded this statement earlier this day that was played for all of Spain just before the lunch hour.

Here's a part of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING JUAN CARLOS, SPAIN (through translator): I'm doing so in order to give the best service to the Spanish and also have decided to put an end to my kingdom and to abdicate the throne of Spain so that through the government and the court the succession can take effect according to institutional law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GOODMAN: What he didn't mention in that statement were the scandals, one affecting his daughter Princess Cristina and her husband, the king's son-in-law where they allegedly diverted funds, public funds to their own private use. They deny it, but there's a court investigation ongoing; and this scandal over his hunting trip to Africa a couple of years ago that only became public because he fell and had to be rushed back to Madrid for an operation. He apologized for that. But that really was the beginning of a difficult end for King Juan Carlos, many analysts say -- Jim.

CLANCY: Al Goodman, they're reporting to us outside the presidential palace on the latest news that King Juan Carlos will be abdicating his position as the king of Spain.

Still to come tonight, two rival Palestinian factions reconcile after years of discord. But can their new unity government overcome the past?

More on the release of a U.S. soldier freed from captivity in Afghanistan. It's being celebrated by his family and friends, but critics say the deal puts other Americans' lives at risk. We'll get a live report from Washington straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CNN. Welcome back.

Connect the world with me, Becky Anderson.

Now tonight in Doha, and that is where we are here in Qatar, five former Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay being hosted by the mediators Qatar in what has been a prisoner swap deal.

Now some members of the U.S. Congress want more information on the deal, which effectively led to the release of the U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan. They want to make sure that the five Taliban detainees, or former detainees released to Qatar will not pose a threat to Americans once again.

Republican Representative Mike Rogers, for example, says swapping five militants for one American sets a dangerous precedent. Even Afghanistan is angry, saying the transfer of the detainees to Qatar violates international law.

And our Joe Johns is on this part of the story out of Washington for you this evening. And John, just describe, if you will, the political fallout in all of this?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the detainees who got their freedom as a result of this prisoner swap have been described as the worst of the worst, which raises questions whether the United States government's deal could incentivize other terrorist organizations to try to kidnap more Americans to get their own hostage deals in the future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's a good day.

JANI BERGDAHL: Yes, it's a good day.

JOHNS (voice-over): A day after the president's emotional celebration with Bowe Bergdahl's parents in the Rose Garden, tough questions for his national security adviser, Susan Rice, on CNN's State Of The Union with Candy Crowley.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Point blank, did the U.S. negotiate with terrorists for his release?

SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Candy, what we did was ensure that as always the United States doesn't leave a man or woman on the battlefield.

JOHNS: Rice said what she called the acute urgency of Bergdahl's failing health justified not telling Congress 30 days beforehand as the law requires.

CROWLEY: So there was a conscious decision to break the laws as you know it dealing with the detainees and the release of them.

RICE: Candy, no, the Department of Defense consulted with the Department of Justice and it was in our view that it was appropriate and necessary to do this in order to bring Sergeant Bergdahl back safely.

JOHNS: And Rice said Qatar's emir had assured President Obama the five Taliban Guantanamo detainees swapped for Bergdahl would not pose a significant risk.

RICE: There are restrictions on their movement and behavior. I'm not at liberty to get into detail about the precise nature of those restrictions.

JOHNS: Republican Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence chairman countered that there's now a price on American soldiers' heads.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: So we have say changing footprint in Afghanistan that would put our soldiers at risk for this notion that if I can get one, I can get five Taliban released.

JOHNS: But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel insisted this was about saving a soldier's life.

CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We didn't negotiate with terrorists. Sergeant Bergdahl is a prisoner of war.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: Now the law that the administration has been accused of violating requires the president to notify congress about the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. The administration has said it believes that law is unconstitutional, because it can be seen as violating the president's power as commander-in-chief of the armed services -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Joe, is there any indication that we will get anything else out of Washington as to the conditions under which these five former detainees are being held here in Qatar?

JOHNS: Well, so far it's been a closely guarded secret. And we haven't gotten any more details. Nonetheless, hope springs eternal. There is a briefing scheduled at the White House just today and more questions will certainly be asked.

But as to the specific document, which is if you will the memorandum of understanding with Qatar, it's not clear that that's going to be released any time soon.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and we've tried the interior ministry and the foreign ministry here who are not speaking. I can tell you, we've been doing the leg work on the ground not getting any further details from this end either.

All right, Joe, thank you very much indeed for that.

For more information about the events that led up to the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and his disappearance from his unit, do use CNN.com. CNN's Jake Tapper, for example, has new information from soldiers who served with him in Afghanistan. They talk about the deaths of fellow soldiers who were killed looking for Bergdahl. And why they're calling him a deserter and not a hero.

It's a fascinating read. That is at CNN.com. You can find that, I know, I'm sure you're avid users of the site already.

Well, live from Doha, I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, a former airport is flying high in a brand new capacity. We'll take you to Hong Kong to explain all in this weeks Transformations. That's up next here on Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: You're watching Connect the World with Becky Anderson live from Doha. I'm Jim Clancy at CNN Center. Welcome back, everyone.

It's time to take you to the Global Exchange where we introduce you to the people and the places that are inspiring change all around the world.

Today's transformation involves an iconic transport hub, for more than 15 years the site of Hong Kong's former airport went largely unused. But after a $1 billion investment by the government, the old Kai Tak runway was converted into one of the top ocean cruise liner terminals in the world, all part of a plan to boost tourism into the city.

Kristie Lu Stout has been there and relays all of the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Once known as a bustling plot of land, Kai Tak was home to Hong Kong's former international airport before 15 years after the airports move, the area has remained largely unused until now.

This is Hong Kong's newest cruise terminal. With its grand opening last year, it was a $1 billion investment to repurpose the former runway, all part of the government's plan to boost tourism through cruise liners.

JOSEPH TUNG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRAVEL INDUSTRY COUNCIL HONG KONG: We've been looking for a cruise terminal for a long time. Of course, now we have ocean terminal, but then that's not enough, because we understand a lot of cruise lines talked to us and said we need more facilities.

LU STOUT: Able to accommodate the largest cruise ships in the world, and immigration halls that can clear 3,000 passengers an hour, the new port is a sizable upgrade from Hong Kong's existing dock.

TUNG: We want to showcase the cruise line that is a big (inaudible). So by doing so, we hope that cruise will have more confidence to bring in their ships to Hong Kong.

RICHARD HAWKINS, PARTNER FOSTER + PARTNERS: I remember flying into Hong Kong through Kai Tak in 1992. It's always been part of Hong Kong's history. And when we got the new airport at Chek Lap Kok then Kai Tak needed to be reinvented.

LU STOUT: But transforming the area came with its own set of challenges.

HAWKINS: The first thing is coming up with a vision, and the cruise terminal vision it was actually a very good solution to what is a rather difficult piece of land to use. I mean, the end of the runway is quite unique in its challenges.

LU STOUT: And when not harboring the world's largest ships, the 850 meter long terminal was also designed as a flexible space, one that be used for events, exhibitions, and home to one of the biggest public roof gardens in the city.

CAPTAIN CHARLES TEIGE, CAPTIAN, ROYAL CARIBBEAN: I'm very impressed with all the terminals there in (inaudible). You have top terminals both in China and this one I would say is one of the five best I've ever seen.

LU STOUT: Now able to regularly sail their largest ships from the region, Royal Caribbean International has jumped on board as the first cruise operator to call Hong Kong a home port.

TIEGE: It's a win-win situation both for the cruise industry and for Hong Kong, because when you come into the terminal like this, it makes a first impression of the city.

LU STOUT: While it may be awhile before Hong Kong becomes a prominent fixture on major cruise's itineraries, it's a plan with promised growth.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Well, the latest world headlines are straight ahead.

Plus, a tale of two World Cups. We're going to return to Becky in Qatar for more on those potentially damaging bribery claims.

And we'll take you to Brazil, which is experiencing its own pre- tournament teething problems with much less time to fix them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, tonight in Doha.

JIM CLANCY, HOST: I'm Jim Clancy at CNN Center. Here are your top stories this hour. US soldier Bowe Bergdahl's hometown in Idaho, a sea of yellow ribbons as they wait for him to come home. But some lawmakers on Capitol Hill say the prisoner swap that led to Bergdahl's release sets a dangerous precedent.

FIFA says it will finish its investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in a week. There are fresh calls to choose a new host for the 2022 event. "The Sunday Times" published allegations that Qatar won the bidding process through bribery. Qatar is vehemently denying those allegations.

The king of Spain stepping down after nearly 40 years on the throne. In a televised address, Juan Carlos said it is time to hand over to a new generation. The 76-year-old plans to abdicate in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe.

US president Barack Obama expected to sidestep Congress and use his executive authority to propose new environmental regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency says the plan would cut carbon emissions from power plants by some 30 percent. Critics say the proposal will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs in the coal industry.

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas swearing in a new unity government between Fattah and Hamas. The new administration is made up of 17 ministers, 5 of them from Gaza. The deal ends years of division between those two Palestinian factions, but Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging world leaders not to recognize the new government.

Let's get more reaction on those events in the Middle East. Ian Lee is following the latest developments from Jerusalem. What is the gist of this deal? What does it mean for the Palestinians and for the rest of us?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, like you said, there hasn't been a unity government in a long time, roughly seven years. This is the first time that Hamas and Fattah have been able to come together to form some sort of agreement.

Now, this new government is filled with technocrats, people who don't have political affiliation with either side. They will be over -- or Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will oversee this new government.

And he has said that his government, under his direction, will commit to what they've already been following, and that is a commitment to the recognition of Israel that also is a commitment to the agreements that they have made, as well as keeping to non-violence.

And so, this new government, though, as quite the task ahead of them. They have to find a way to integrate the two economies, the two governments of Gaza and the West Bank. For seven years, they've been two different territories run by two different governments. They've got to find a way to integrate that. They have over 100,000 workers that they're going to have to figure out what to do with.

But also, the other thing that they'll have to try to figure out or work towards is elections. They have elections that are supposed to come within six months. This will be elections for the new parliament as well as president, Jim.

CLANCY: All right, that's one side of it for the Palestinians. Very important, they have to prove themselves, they're capable of doing this.

But on the other side, they have to convince the Israelis, they have to convince the world they should recognize even this interim government of technocrats. Naftali Bennet, one of Israel's hardline politicians, is saying these are nothing but terrorists in suits.

LEE: Well, that's exactly right. And Israel isn't going to recognize them. Just recently, the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said that this just shows that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is committed towards terror and not peace by dealing with Hamas. They're urging the international community not to recognize them either.

And it's going to be hard for the international community to do so, even if they want to, because a lot of those countries in the West have laws that say that they cannot deal with Hamas, which they deem a terror organization.

Now, some of these countries, their leaders could override that, but it would be very difficult to do. Now, John Kerry has said -- has urged this new government to commit to those three things I said earlier: peace, commit to the agreements that have been made, as well as the recognition of Israel. That's something that Hamas says that they won't recognize Israel.

So, it's going to be a very difficult transitional period for them and to convince the international community who the Palestinian territories are reliant upon for money.

CLANCY: All right, Ian Lee, there, with some important perspective today as the announcement of a new unity government among the Palestinian - - the leading Palestinian factions is announced. Ian, as always, thank you.

Let's stay in the Middle East. Despite an ongoing civil war, 150,000 people killed and millions more displaced, Syria is holding presidential elections Tuesday. The outcome, well, it's really not in any doubt. President Bashar al-Assad expected to win by a large margin.

Opposition groups and many Western countries say the election will be rigged from the very start. President al-Assad's name will not be the only one on the ballot, but it will be running -- he will be running, rather, against two very little-known candidates. Ben Wedeman gives us some perspective.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When then-34-year-old Bashar al-Assad came to power 14 years ago, it was more coronation than inauguration. He had just won a presidential referendum. The choice was simple: yes or no to Bashar.

Tipped by his father, Hafez al-Assad, who had died just weeks before after ruling Syria with an iron fist for 29 years. 99.7 percent of the voters said yes, state media reported at the time.

Now, Assad, the son, is running in the country's first-ever multi- candidate presidential election for his third seven-year term against two relatives unknowns, businessman Hassan al-Nouri, and former government minister, Maher al-Hajjar, considered by experts to be more window dressing than real challengers. The crown, no surprise here, won't be slipping from Bashar's head.

FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: It's a coronation of Assad. It's a celebration of his ability to survive the violent storm and basically go on the offensive.

(GUNFIRE)

WEDEMAN: The storm, Syria's now more than three-year-old uprising, has left more than 150,000 dead and 6.5 million internally displaced. Almost 3 million people have fled the country.

And unlike Egypt, where after 30 years of rule, Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 18 days, or Libya, where Moammar Gadhafi, the leader for almost 40 years, was driven from power after 7 months, with some help from NATO.

(EXPLOSIONS)

WEDEMAN: Bashar al-Assad's regime has been shaken, but shows no sign of collapses. The opposition is hopelessly divided between squabbling factions and jihadis who flocked here from around the world to establish an Islamic state.

The disarray among the rebels, in addition to the death and destruction, have apparently convinced many Syrians it's time to side with the devil they know.

The rebels have lost ground around Damascus and Homs and are under pressure in Aleppo and in the south. Electoral campaigning and voting only take place in areas controlled by the regime. The Syrian air force has been waging a different kind of campaign, raining down barrel bombs on rebel-controlled parts of cities, such as Aleppo and Daraa.

And while critics have dismissed this election as a sham, it's a sham with a message.

GERGES: He's saying to Syrians and the international community, "I have survived. I am a winner. I have a mandate. I have a legitimate mandate."

WEDEMAN: An empty mandate over a bloodied and battered land.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: All right. Ben Wedeman joins us live from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where the UN now says there are more than 91,000 refugees. The survivor going to a coronation at the polls, but what does that mean for those 91,000 people there? How does this all affect them?

WEDEMAN: Well, just to give you an update, Jim, it's actually, according to the UN today, they're telling us there are 100,000 people, if not more, in this camp. They no longer are coming here; there's another camp called al Azraq, which is much further inside Jordan.

But certainly for the people here, they believe that this vote is really pointless. They've really already voted with their feet, coming here, fleeing from all parts of Syria to this refugee camp. One man we spoke to there said Bashar al-Assad is going to win an election in a country that's been completely, totally destroyed since March of 2011, when the Syrian uprising began.

You won't find anybody in this camp who has anything positive to say about these elections. They feel that it's a farce, the other two candidates who are running in this election are really just there as props on the stage for Bashar al-Assad.

Here, the feeling is that this election is really just to prop up a regime that, as are as they're concerned, has utterly lost its legitimacy. Jim?

CLANCY: What do they plan to do? They must talk about it every day, whether it's safe to go home, do they hope there's an end to the fighting? And if Bashar al-Assad's forces dominate, as it appears that they are likely to do, will they return home?

WEDEMAN: Many of them would like to return home, but under the circumstances, it's almost impossible. There are some numbers some people, maybe 30 or 40 a day, we're told -- who do try to go back. But certainly, recently, in southern Syria, the fighting has intensified for many of these people.

And of course, many, as you can see, are just young children. They have little choice, they have to stay. But everybody you speak to, they'll tell you about the lives they left behind.

We, for instance, met a man who for 23 years was a sports coach in Daraa in southern Syria. He says he'd love to go back tomorrow, but he's got children, he's got eight children, and he says it's simply too dangerous to go back.

And many of the people say that even if we went back to Syria, our homes have been destroyed. So, really, they're stuck in limbo here in Jordan and also in Lebanon and in Turkey and in Iraq, and they have little choice but to stay until someday peace returns to their country. But almost all of them say they won't go back until Bashar al-Assad is gone. Jim?

CLANCY: Ben Wedeman reporting there, live from the Zaatari camp inside Jordan, more than 100,000 refugees in that country now, according to the UN. Thanks, Ben.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD, and just ahead, a World Cup eight years away dogged by human rights concerns, corruption claims. We're going to assess the odds that Qatar could lose the tournament that it views as one of the crowning achievements of the nation.

Also, a World Cup ten days away dogged by stadium delays, public protests. We'll see whether Brazil is truly ready to host the greatest sporting show on Earth.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back. Now, the decision to give this tiny Gulf state of Qatar the right to host the World Cup in 2022, as you will all be well aware, has caused controversy from the start. Critics have pointed to the heat here, mistreatment of migrant workers, and lack of football culture.

The latest corruption allegations published this weekend by "The Sunday Times" have fueled fresh calls to select a new host. Now, earlier, I spoke with Mark Pieth. He's the chairman of FIFA's Independent Governance Committee. I asked him about these new allegations. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK PIETH, CHAIRMAN, FIFA INDEPENDENT GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE: Well, my immediate reaction was great. You wouldn't expect this probably, because my reaction was, well, this puts to a test the new institutions that FIFA, with our help, has put in place, an independent investigator puts them to test whether they can actually run a thorough investigation.

ANDERSON: Do you know whether "The Sunday Times" will be submitting its evidence to the internal inquiry going on at present into this World Cup bid?

PIETH: I accept that "The Sunday Times" will have to use it journalistically first, but I do hope that we will be able to use it.

ANDERSON: You call this "great," which you say may surprise some people. Do you want to see this World Cup bid, effectively, re-run? A new vote?

PEITH: Well, what I think is, it's going to shake FIFA to the foundations, because it's the first time that an institution like FIFA has to ask itself whether it should totally re-run the decision of -- the hosting decision.

And the consequences could be massive. It could be about billions of dollars. In fact, we have at the moment two options open: we could say OK, let's have the evidence, let's run the case. Problem, there are two appeal bodies. This could drag on for two or three years, and in two or three years, a lot has been planned and built, so the price tag is going to be really high.

We've heard enough of Qatar now, let's call a stop immediately. But the difficulty there is, who is going to prove corruption right now? What we have at the moment is, obviously, e-mails, and they would have to be tested whether they're genuine. They could be fake, you know? So, there has to be a thorough investigation conducted under all circumstances.

ANDERSON: I wonder, you will have read "The Sunday Times" article, and that which they've published. They say they have a cache of millions of documents. Where, though, do you see the connection between Mohamed bin Hammam's payments to officials and the bid process actually being bought?

Qatar vehemently denies that bin Hammam was even lobbying on their behalf. They say that he had nothing to do with the bid process, and certainly nothing to do with these allegations that the process was bought by Qatar.

So, I put it to you again, do you want to see this bid re-run, and do you see any connective tissue between the reporting from "The Sunday Times" and the evidence on the ground?

PIETH: What I'm supposing is that there is evidence, a link made, e- mails between bin Hammam and the bid committee, especially from the bid committee to bin Hammam. If there is nothing of the kind, obviously there are other alternatives, and we have to also envisage them.

It could be that bin Hammam was trying to bolster his own bid to become president. That, of course, would have nothing much to do with Qatar. So, that's just to reinforce I think there needs to be an investigation, a very thorough investigation, but also a quick investigation. We're not going to wait eternally for this result to come out.

ANDERSON: Right. Well, should the right to host the World Cup in 2022 now be put back to a new vote? Should it be re-run, yes or no? It's a simple question.

PIETH: Yes, from my personal feeling, yes. But as a lawyer, you will realize that there are huge problems because you first have to have the evidence, and you have to have the case ready, run. If you don't do that, you are liable. And so, there are big issues, big legal issues behind it. I personally think yes, this needs to be re-run.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Mark Pieth, speaking to me just before this show, the chairman of the Independent Governance Committee for FIFA. So, there you have it, that's the situation as things stand on the ground.

What we've heard just in the past hour from the Ethics Committee, another independent body at FIFA, now, is that Michael Garcia's investigation into the whole process of hosting the World Cup in 2018 -- remember, Russia has that -- and 2022, for Qatar, will be -- the results of his inquiry will be revealed on June the 9th. So, watch this space. Just a week away.

A week away to find out whether Qatar gets the World Cup in eight years' time. We are, though, only ten days away from the hosting of the World Cup by Brazil, 2014. Shasta Darlington is standing by in Sao Paulo. I can only imagine the headaches that FIFA is going through here when it comes to the organization for the tournament in eight years' time. But what's happening on the ground with you?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we've just had our latest example of really how delayed things are. There was a test match here in Sao Paulo yesterday. That's the stadium where we'll have an inaugural match on June 12. And I have to say, large parts of it are still under construction. It's hard to believe.

It also means that, again, on June 12th, 68,000 fans are going to file into that stadium, and they haven't even tested all the seats. We haven't had a full capacity test match. So, things on that front are worrisome.

I have to say, there is one point, however, that most Brazilians are pretty optimistic about, and that is when it comes to talking about their team. And in fact, we put a microphone on the streets of Sao Paulo so that people could come to us with their predictions for how the tournament will turn out. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Clearly, Brazil will win. They are determined to do it. I am certain we will win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Brazil should win the Cup d'Or because we are playing at home, so this is our obligation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Who will win the World Cup is Argentina, by a goal from Messi. Because he is the best player in the world, period.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): For me, the team that will win is going to be Brazil because their team is very good. It's the best team in the world, but at the same time, Spain is going to give us a lot of hard work. I think it will be between Brazil and Spain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think Spain will win the World Cup because they have a strong team. They have Xavi, Iniesta, Fernando Torres, Diego Costa. I think they are going to come to win this championship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think Argentina should win the World Cup because they are much better prepared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think Brazil will win the World Cup because they have a good team. I think the team is very motivated and they have everything to win. I think the population should support the Brazilian national team so they can win this cup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe Spain will win the cup because we have some coverage players there, and I believe it is true.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DARLINGTON: Now, we'll get our first taste of just how Brazil is doing on the pitch at that inaugural game on June 12th, when they'll kick off against Croatia. But at this point, it looks like the stadium will be under almost as much scrutiny as the team itself, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. It's got to be said, I think everybody's now looking forward to the football kicking off, as you say, in ten days' time. Shasta Darlington for you in Sao Paulo.

From me here in Doha on what has been a very, very busy news day, it is a very good evening. Don't go anywhere, though. Jim Clancy will be back after this short break with your Parting Shots.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CLANCY: In tonight's Parting Shots, we're taking a look at an unusual tradition in the Balkans called "sworn virgins." They are women who choose to dress, work, and live like men in order to have equal rights in a male- dominated society. Now, earlier, we spoke with photographer Jill Peters about her work with these remarkable women.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL PETERS, PHOTOGRAPHER: A sworn virgin is a woman in the Balkans who has chosen to live her life as a man socially. She will take a vow of celibacy, and in exchange, she will attain all the rights of a man within a strident patriarchal culture.

They will cut their hair. They wear men's clothes. They practice walking like a man. They practice sitting, just being perceived as masculine.

It dates back to the 15th century, as far as anyone can tell, to the Kanun, the tribal code that people lived by. It stated that a woman was a sack made to endure, and so women really didn't have any rights. So, when the family needed a patriarch, the woman could step in.

This was a way for them to be able to inherit property when suddenly there were no males -- male heirs left in the family. It's not a sexual identity, it's not a gender preference. It is simply a social construct that allows the women to make sacrifices in order to benefit their family.

The sworn virgins that I met really had no regrets. Hadari (ph) is in his 80s, and Hadari became a sworn virgin when his father died. So, as a teenager, he became the patriarch of the family.

Achi (ph) is in his mid-70s. He told me a story about a Dervish who came to his house when his mother was pregnant and predicted that she was going to have a girl who would live as a man.

There's a social stigma attached in having so many girls and never a boy. So, Camille (ph) became the son that his father always wanted. Camille flirted with girls a lot when he was younger, and -- just to be funny and to trick them into thinking that he was a man.

The youngest sworn virgin I found is 42 right now. Women had one choice in life, and that was to get married, have children, and be subservient. Lumia (ph) decided that that wasn't something that she really wanted to do with her life, and she became a sworn virgin in order to be free.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Fascinating story. The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say. And you can also send me a tweet @ClancyCNN, or send one to Becky @BeckyCNN. She's also on Instagram, just search for Becky CNN, and you can watch her daily preview of the program, CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Jim Clancy, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks from the entire team in Doha, Atlanta, and London for watching.

END