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CONNECT THE WORLD
Israel, Hamas At Impasse On Further Negotiations; U.S. Conducts More Airstrikes In Iraq; Kuridsh Forces Open Humanitarian Corridor Into Sinjar Mountains; WHO Unprepared for Scale of Latest Ebola Outbreak; Crisis in Ukraine; Typhoon Halong; Road Paved With Good Intentions; Inside Byblos Festival: Business in Byblos, Building Byblos
Aired August 10, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM CLANCY, CNN HOST: Fighting for the future of Iraq -- more airstrikes on Islamic militants as the international effort to save a persecuted
minority gathers some steam.
Also ahead, a new standoff in the search for a Middle East peace. Palestinians say they'll ditch the diplomacy if Israel won't come to the
table while Israel says it will not negotiate under fire.
And decision day for Turkey as Prime Minister Erdogan looks to extend his influence in a brand new role.
ANNOUNCER: This is the hour we connect the world.
CLANCY: Hello and welcome everyone. We're just learning that there's been a new series of U.S. airstrikes aimed at ISIS militants in northern Iraq.
Now this is according to the U.S. military.
U.S. planes conducted five separate strikes on ISIS targets Sunday, all in the era of Irbil, that's the capital there in northern Iraq, in Kurdistan.
This is the heaviest flurry of activity in the latest U.S. operations in Iraq.
Washington reports it is supporting Kurdish forces where U.S. citizens are located and their safety could be threatened.
All of this as western humanitarian efforts are continuing to help Iraqi civilians misplaced and displaced by the ISIS advance. Britain has made
its first air drop delivery -- food, water, tents and other crucial supplies for thousands of Iraqis stranded in the Sinjar Mountains.
Now tens of thousands of ethnic Yazidis have been hiding in those mountains for days. They ran when ISIS fighters were closing in, many of them with
nothing but the clothes on their backs. Meantime, Agence France Presse reports Iraqi Kurdish forces have managed to open an escape route for those trapped civilians. They reportedly led
thousands of people off the mountain and then took them on a path through Syria. But thousands more still need to be rescued. And as CNN's Ivan
Watson reports, they are waiting in desperate conditions.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Desperation on a mountaintop -- Kurdish civilians, some clearly wounded, baking in the August son.
This little girl crying, "I lost my sister and brother. Where is my mother?"
With every passing day, Kurdish officials say more people die here of dehydration and exposure to the extreme August heat.
Kurdish officials say tens of thousand of people from the Yazidi religious minority fled to this mountain ridge to escape ISIS militants who recently
captured the nearby town of Sinjar.
ISIS hae the Yazidis surrounded. The trapped people relying on airdrops of vital water and food delivered by the U.S. and Iraqi air forces.
Kurdish TV released this footage of a helicopter delivering assistance to the same area, a lucky few make it on board the flight to safety, their
faces pretty much say it all.
Not far away, ISIS militants have been celebrating their latest advances, showing off their control of the Mosul Dam, a strategic piece of Iraqi
infrastructure. If it breaks, it could flood all the way down to the capital Baghdad.
Further east, U.S. air strikes appear to have slowed the ISIS advance. Bombing suspected ISIS positions just west of the Zab River, just 20
minutes drive away from Irbil.
Kurdish officials relieved and thankful for the U.S. intervention.
HOSHYAR ZEBARI, FORMER IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: We are most grateful and express our gratitude and deep, deep appreciation for President Obama and
the U.S. administration and for the courageous U.S. army and airmen who are now patrolling the skies of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.
WATSON: U.S. air power has given the Kurdish administration in Irbil the opportunity to bolster its defenses around this fragile sanctuary in the
north where hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled to escape the ISIS advance.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
CLANCY: Well, let's get more now from northern Iraq and Irbil. Anna Coren following developments for us from that city. She joins us now live.
Anna, reports overnight that the pesh merga made some gains of their own against ISIS without U.S. air support. Have you heard any word of that?
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we just spoke to the chief of staff of the Kurdish President who said that the pesh merga, the
Kurdish forces, have managed to retake some of the towns that the ISIS militants claimed in the last few days, which are very close to us here in
They have also called on the international community to supply them with weapons. They said that they have the troops, they have the men ISIS, but
they need, desperately need better weapons.
So, this is the plea that is being made. They say they need it desperately so that they can take on ISIS, which really is very close to us here in
But as I say they've managed to take back several of these towns. We're also hearing reports that these air strikes, the U.S. air strikes that are
being carried out have allowed those Kurdish forces to access Mount Sinjar where that humanitarian crisis is unfolding, some are calling it a
By allowing those Kurdish forces in, they've created a safe passage for some of those refugees. They've managed to get off the mountain and flee
into Syria, however, there are reports that on the south side of the mountain, the situation is dire, the people there are trapped and
surrounded by ISIS militants. So that is of deep concern.
But also speaking to the chief of staff, he mentioned, Jim, that they need more air strikes. Obviously President Obama has said they will be
conducted in a limited capacity, but they said that they need many more airstrikes for this to be a continuing campaign so that they can fight off
CLANCY: Humanitarian crisis, possible catastrophe, our Anna Coren is there, part of the team covering northern Iraq right now. We're keeping an
eye on this minute by minute and we'll keep the audience updated. Thank you very much, Anna Coren, for being there.
Let's turn our focus now over to Gaza, what's happening there between Israel and the Palestinians.
Egyptian news agencies are reporting that negotiators, the Palestinian ones, will remain in Cairo for an emergency meeting of the Arab League.
Another thing being done on the sidelines to try to keep the parties engaged.
But meantime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that his side would continue its military operation in Gaza for some time. He also vowed
that Israel would not return to the negotiation table in Cairo until and unless Hamas rockets stop flying.
Well, Palestinian health officials say nearly 2,000 people have been killed and almost 10,000 have been wounded in a month of fighting. The conflict
compelled tens of thousands of people to take to the streets in London on Saturday to call for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza.
Sara Sidner joins us now from Jerusalem with the latest details. There was word that had leaked out through the Israeli media that the Palestinians
might have been ready to call another 72 hour truce, but everybody is waiting for the Israeli side to respond. How much truth to those reports?
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of this -- the media being used as a conduit to go back and forth and put pressure
on one side or another, but we had heard from the Egyptian officials that said they had put together potential 72 hour ceasefire that they're hoping
both sides would agree to.
But until it's agreed to, nothing is a done deal. And you know that as well as anyone in these kinds of negotiations until both sides come out and
very publicly say that this is going forward, that we are going to have a ceasefire in place so that we can resume talks again you know nothing is
true until you see it officially from both sides.
So that's where we stand right now.
We know that the Palestinians seemed quite frustrated, saying they were going to leave Cairo unless the Israelis showed up today. We were
expecting them to leave, actually, this evening just a few minutes ago, but they decided to stay because of the Arab League saying that it is going to
get itself in position and start getting involved in some way and trying to get some kind of negotiation together.
But we also did hear from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister being very strong in his statements saying that this could
go on for some time, that the operation, the military operation will continue. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): At no stage did we declare that Israel's military offensive was over. The
operation will continue until its objective, the restoration of quiet over a protracted period, is achieved. I said at the beginning and throughout
the operation it will take time and stamina is required.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And we also heard from Hamas today that said that the resistance will continue in all its strength. These are not words of conciliatory and
getting together and saying there's going to be a ceasefire, these are words of a fight. And we have seen that fight play out. There have been
at least 25 rockets Israel defense forces ay fired towards Israel today since midnight, and 36 strikes in Gaza by the Israeli air force.
So the fight does continue, although even though those numbers sound terribly high, they are much, much lower than at the height where you were
seeing more than 100 rockets at times coming in towards Israel from Gaza and many dozens of strikes there in Gaza by Israel, Jim.
CLANCY: The focus, Sara -- and I've got to try to be brief here, but it's not that easy a subject, you know, the focus is really very much on the end
game in negotiations, we can see that, because Israel, yes, big, heavy air strikes, but they're hitting places they've already hit before, some of
them are said to be in open fields or in open areas, not really doing much damage. Not many Palestinians casualties.
At the same time, the fire, whether it's from Hamas or whether it's from Islamic Jihad or some of these other groups landing in open fields, that,
too, seems to be minimized. The rhetoric is raised up, but you know the fighting itself has calmed somewhat and you wonder whether both sides are
just trying to concentrate on who is going to get the upper hand if they do -- if and when they go back to the negotiating table?
SIDNER: Right. And I think that's what you're seeing play out here.
Certainly what you have is a bit of a simmering war, if you will, a low intensity war, if you will, not letting either side sleep well, but also
not doing a great amount of damage that you saw during the very beginning of this or throughout the four week period.
But the question is what the end game is and what either side might get out of it, Hamas being very adamant that they want a sea port and an airport
open, especially the sea port. They want to be able to send their fishermen further out and also have a port that will help it -- Gaza
And you know that there is a humanitarian crisis going on there in Gaza. The people in desperate need of all sorts of things, including food and
water. And so there has to be some point where the two sides come together.
But if both sides are very far apart and Israel is saying, look, if we're being fired upon, we've been very clearly about this, we are not going to
sit down at the negotiating table if fire keeps coming out of Gaza.
So these two sides have got to find some way to come together. The UN saying it must happen just to deal with the humanitarian crisis going on
now in Gaza -- Jim.
CLANCY: All right, we'll see what the Arab League can do on the sidelines. They're just getting their feet into this. We'll see what happens in the
coming hours. Sara Sidner great to have you there in Jerusalem.
And still to come this hour, concern about another humanitarian crisis, we're talking about the price ordinary people are paying for the conflict
And Turks going to the polls casting ballots in a vote that could have a significant impact on their country's future. We'll tell you about that
CLANCY: You are watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Jim Clancy. Welcome back everyone.
Initial results from Turkey's first direct presidential election are expected to come in, in the next few hours. Most pundits say it's all but
certain who the winner will be. and its current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In Turkey, the role of president has largely been a ceremonial one, but Mr. Erdogan has plans to bring executive powers to that office.
John Defterios joins us now from CNN Abu Dhabi. And he has a lot more on this.
You know, John, we thought it was for a ceremonial post. Explain to us what makes this one so important? How has it changed?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's quite a change in strategy here. You talk about the executive power that Prime Minister Erdogan would
have, Jim. This is a structure that he's trying to put in place. And it comes at a very critical time for the neighborhood, if you will.
We know about the chaos in the southeastern border in northern -- in Iraq. You go south into Syria and Prime Minister Erdogan is waiting on Gaza as
well, going against his former ally Israel. We can't forget, of course, that Turkey is a NATO ally, so of strategic importance.
He's served three terms as prime minister. And if he has his way in this presidential structure he could serve another two terms if elected after
five years, Jim, depending on the results that we see this evening. That would put him into power for 22 years. That alone, many say, tramples over
the secular structure that was set up in modern Turkey. It would allow him to dilute the power of the parliament and even, Jim, allow him to pick his
own prime minister.
So this is something that the prime minister has been working on for years. And then he thought because of the protests we saw in Gezi Park last year,
the allegations of corruption right to the top of the AK ruling party, and even that mining disaster we saw back in March that he wouldn't have a
chance to push through this presidential structure, but he came out more emboldened. And we'll find out in a few hours if the polls are correct.
They suggest he was polling at 55 to 57 percent when Turks went to the polls today.
CLANCY: You mentioned, though, the scandals, you mentioned the protests. I mean, shoeboxes full of cash, sordid details filtering out, but Mr.
Erdogan has something that other politicians there don't, and that's a lot of credit for how Turkey's economy has fared.
DEFTERIOS: Yeah, in fact you remember, Jim, in the 1980s and 1990s we had this rampant inflation and the multiple digits at the end of the Turkish
lira. He is the face of modern Islam, and one that can be pro-business if you will.
When he took power, there was only $20 billion of foreign direct investment in Turkey. This is a large economy, 76 million consumers. He's pulled in,
Jim, about $200 billion of foreign direct investment, more than 3,000 international companies now call Turkey their home.
Back in 2010, the economy was growing at 9 percent a year, but it's been faltering the last few years. So his argument of going forward with him
because he's had this economic track record has been tarnished a bit. 2 percent back in 2011. And we've seen the economy level off at 4 percent.
Not bad. That will not get him to the aspiration of being a $2 trillion economy for Turkey to be in the top 10 worldwide by 2023. So he needs to
jump start things if he's elected as president again.
CLANCY: You know, in less than a minute -- I don't know whether you can tell me about his grand plans. Will the opposition let him consolidate
power, be able to choose the prime minister as you just described?
DEFTERIOS: Yeah, Jim, I don't think they're going to have much choice because of the way he's structured this going forward.
I mentioned the year 2023 and this $2 trillion target. There's a reason behind this, it would be the centenary for the Turkish Republic. And he
often refers to himself and has big, large banners next to him when he gives his speeches of Mustafa Kamal Attaturk, who is the founder of the
modern Turkish Republic. He would like to stay in power until 2024 to celebrate that 100 year anniversary and go back down into the history books
as the person who stood by the Republic, modernized the economy and then created this executive presidential power which he says will take Turkey
into a new era.
Very quickly, he's been building like crazy in Istanbul -- a brand new airport to handle 150 million passengers, a 45 kilometer canal to run in --
parallel to the Bosphorus and even the new underground train system all designed to build that power and to build the image of Turkey externally.
If he can get there after he elects -- gets elected for president it will remain to be seen, but these are his aspirations leading up to that 100
anniversary in 2023, Jim.
CLANCY: Power, prestige and a presidential vote. John Defterios who knows a lot about Turkey, as you can tell, giving us some insight. Thank you.
Well, we're live from CNN Center. And this is Connect the World. Coming up, could the World Health Organization have done more to stop Ebola from
spreading? CNN sits down with a top WHO official and asks that question.
CLANCY: Motor racing skidded its way into the news headlines when NASCAR driver Tony Stewart was involved in a fatal accident. It happened on a
dirt track in upstate New York. Authorities say Stewart hit a driver and then that driver exited his car after the collision.
Now a yellow flag was up, which means people should slow down or come to a stop. We're going to halt the video there, because it's just too gruesome.
It appears Kevin Ward went to confront Stewart about the collision and what happened was Stewart's right rear tire hit him and threw him 100 feet or
CNN has just learned a short time ago that Stewart has decided he won't be driving in a scheduled race today. The young man was killed. The yellow
flag raises questions, who was right, who was wrong. He certainly shouldn't have been standing in the middle of the track, but we're going to
hear more about an investigation into this incident.
You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. Welcome back everyone. I'm Jim Clancy.
Some African countries are doing everything they can to stem the spread of the Ebola virus. Two examples Guinea closed its border with Sierra Leone,
they hope that will help. And further to the south Zambia's government banning arrivals of people from any of those countries where there has been
The World Health organization says the Virus has killed more than 1,000 people across West Africa. CNN's David McKenzie is there.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The move by Guinea seems to be an attempt to stop the flow of this virus to and from its neighbors.
It was in Guinea where this outbreak began several months ago. And serious questions are being asked whether enough was done then to stop the spread,
because now this outbreak is incredibly complex and the worst outbreak of Ebola in history.
I put the question to the head of the WHO here in Sierra Leone whether they were ready for what happened next.
Were you unprepared for the level of this outbreak?
DR. JACOB MUFUNDA, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: I think one can say we were unprepared for the level of the outbreak. We anticipated. We were using
best practices in the region. The previous outbreaks have had 200, at most 300 cases, this one is unprecedented.
MCKENZIE: Could this have been avoided, this situation that we're in now?
MUFUNDA: The current situation in terms of the outbreak status, I think it could have been contained.
MCKENZIE: Disturbing news coming from Freetown is that the main physician at the referral hospital in the capital has contracted Ebola. There have
been scores of doctors and nurses dying from this disease and criticism is that the protocols for safety were not put in place in time.
The World Health Organization says that's a key factor in stopping the spread of the disease. They've also said people should be screened when
leaving this region and going to the rest of the world.
But now Doctors Without Borders and others are saying what's needed is not words, but actions to stop this unprecedented outbreak.
David McKenzie, CNN, Freetown, Sierra Leone.
CLANCY: We've been reporting a lot on this, but it's not about numbers, it's not about borders. I want to put another face on a growing toll the
disease is taking. This is Sister Shantal Pascaline (ph), she's one of the latest victims of the Ebola virus. Pascaline (ph) died Saturday morning in
Liberia. She belonged to the same church as Miguel Parjares (ph). He's the Spanish missionary who has Ebola and was taken to Madrid for treatment
Sister Shantal Pascaline (ph) giving her life in the service of her fellow man.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead.
Plus, gathering its forces, the Ukrainian army surrounded rebel-held Donetsk, but pro-Russian separatists are defiant as ever.
CLANCY: This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Jim Clancy and here are your headlines. The US military says it has launched a new series of air
strikes at militant targets in Iraq. A military statement says the strikes were to defend Kurdish forces battling ISIS inhabitants near the capital,
Iranian news agencies report all 48 people aboard a plane that crashed near Tehran were killed. The aircraft went down shortly after takeoff Sunday.
A number of people on the ground were also injured.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will not return to the negotiation table in Cairo until and unless Hamas stops firing rockets into
Israel. Meantime, Egypt's state news agency reports the Palestinian delegations will remain in Cairo to attend an urgent meeting of the Arab
Turkey holding its first direct popular vote for president. Previously, the president was chosen by Parliament. Most political watchers say Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is poised to win. Opposition groups say his election could lead to an authoritarian state.
There are growing concerns about a humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine now. It is centered around the rebel-held town of Donetsk. Ukrainian
forces have now surrounded that major city. Russia wants a humanitarian mission to be sent in, but the US secretary of state has told Moscow it
should not intervene on the pretext of peacekeeping.
CNN's Will Ripley is in Kiev. He joins us now live. Will, explain to us, what is at stake here, not only in Donetsk, but in Lugansk, much closer to
the border with Russia?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just 20 kilometers from the border. You have a situation in Lugansk where these people, more than
200,000 who chose to remain in their homes, chose to try to ride out this conflict, well, they are now essentially isolated from the outside world.
There's no power, there's no water, there's no communication. Even people's cell phones aren't working. And at the same time, supplies to
bring in medicine, to bring in food, all of those supply lines are cut off right now, and this has been going on for more than a week.
So, what you have in this city with a significant number of people still there trying to live through this, trying to go about their lives, they're
cut off, and they're having to ride this out on their own with fighting, intense fighting, happening all around them.
We know the Ukrainian military has essentially surrounded the rebel stronghold of Donetsk. Artillery fire has continued almost continuously
throughout much of the day, according to the latest updates that we're getting. That circle around the city is getting tighter as the Ukrainian
military moves closer, and the Ukrainian military is also moving into Lugansk.
So, in the midst of all of this, you have the political situation, where you have Russia -- a lot of people in this region speak Russian, they're
very pro-Russia -- and so you have the Russian government saying hey, we've got a situation here where we want to send in our troops to try to help
But then you have the United States, the UK, and of course, here in Kiev, leaders here in Ukraine, telling Russia, do not cross over onto Ukrainian
soil. Crimea obviously something that is fresh on their minds.
And so what Russia is trying to do and what we're hearing about now are these discussions about how a humanitarian relief convoy could be put
together. But there are issues with that, there are problems.
For example, Ukraine wants their military to escort any international convoy, which would essentially mean that the rebels would be allowing the
Ukrainian military into the territory that they have been fighting now, that 1400 or so people have died to defend, that's something that the
rebels just won't accept, to bring the Ukrainian military in there.
Obviously, the Russian military crossing into Ukrainian soil also something that his not acceptable to the leaders here in Kiev. So, there's a lot of
discussion that needs to happen, but these leaders, they're trying to come up with some sort of agreement to cast aside political differences to get
this help in there to the people who really need it, Jim.
CLANCY: But is there really a mechanism for them now? They've been having some talks, but we've seen, now, the leader -- the man that we had watched,
the pro-Russian leader there in Donetsk, the self-proclaimed leader of the movement there, he's resigned, turned it over to a militia commander. They
seem to be really preparing for an end game.
RIPLEY: Well, we've heard now at least twice the rebels saying that they're calling for a cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into the city.
Some are interpreting it as a sign that things may be not going so well for the rebels right now.
But yet, even as the rebels say they would be open to a cease-fire, they're also saying they don't want to go along with Ukraine's demands to lay down
their weapons. In fact, they still say they will fight street by street to defend the territory that they believe is a sovereign country, and that
they're trying to defend.
CLANCY: All right, Will, I want to thank you very much for being with us and continuing to keep us posted. Will Ripley, there, in Kiev on the
situation in Ukraine.
Well, Typhoon Halong slammed into western Japan and the rain poured down. Dozens of people were actually injured. The storm packed winds of as much
as 160 kilometers an hour, 100 miles an hour. Coast Guard officials are searching for a many who apparently -- get this -- was surfing on the
Pacific coast when that storm hit. More than 300 flights had to be canceled.
Meteorologist Samantha Mohr joins us now with more on the typhoon and other weather stories. Samantha?
SAMANTHA MOHR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A lot more activity in the tropics, Jim, the last couple of weeks. You can see it here just bubbling up along the
Intertropical Convergence Zone to the north of the equator, and you can see Halong, or what is left of Halong -- the last advisory has been written by
the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
And these rainfall amounts are amazing, because you may remember Typhoon Nakri last weekend we were talking about, and that dumped incredible
amounts of rain, and then we had Halong on top of Nakri. So, we've ended up with 1200 millimeters since the 1st of August in Kochi, so that is about
three and a half times their monthly average, and it makes it the wettest August ever.
And check out Mount Torigata in Japan since August 1st, 2007 millimeters of rain. That is just incredible amounts. And then the winds gusting here
from 151 kilometers per hour at Kamoda, Japan. So, we add the winds, and that was just blowing the rain sideways for a while.
As you can see right now, though, the latest radar image showing things are definitely lightening up. I just checked out Tokyo, Nagano, and in through
Osaka reporting cloudy skies right now. But we could still see some showers off and on, but nothing as monumental as we saw, which caused these
landslides in Kochi, just caused that hillside to collapse with all the weight of the water.
And then in Tokushima as well, you can see folks really having to rough it, just tromping through all kinds of water, trying to get from one place to
another and put their lives back together.
Let's talk about the Atlantic. We had Bertha as a hurricane, and then it moved up right parallel to the east coast, but stayed off shore and made
its way across the Atlantic and now is affecting the UK with some very heavy rainfall and some gale-force winds as well.
Possible tracks taking it right across the UK as we head through the rest of today and into the first part of Monday, taking it into the North Sea.
So, heavy amounts of rain -- we've already started to see some of that rain in Shetland, about 48 millimeters so far. Bute Park in Cardiff has had 40
millimeters of rain, so it's really just getting going here.
And we've had those winds up around 85 kilometers per hour as well. So, not the wrath that we saw with Halong over in Japan, but still, definitely
gale-force winds will be blowing as we head into the next 48 hours, so you can expect that across Scotland in through England, in through London. We
could easily see those winds up around gale force as well, Jim. So, here comes what is left of Bertha.
CLANCY: Yes, we don't usually see that kind of a boomerang with one of these storms.
CLANCY: And it's really been quite the boomerang.
MOHR: Yes, it has.
CLANCY: Thank you very much, Samantha Mohr.
MOHR: Any time.
CLANCY: Samantha and the entire team here at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say. You can always
send me a tweet, too. Criticism or praise, we like them both, @ClancyCNN.
Well finally, politicians are know for their occasional U-turns. But according to a French magazine, some of the country's lawmakers are just
being a little more literal when it comes to motoring-related indiscretions. Jim Bittermann's there.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The French government has been imposing lower and lower speed limits on roads
here, something ministers say will help cut down on traffic accidents and pollution levels. Who could be against that?
But it turns out that driving slower is not to every Frenchman's liking. And now, one of the leading auto magazines here has done a little
investigation into the driving habits of the ministers themselves, or at least the way their chauffeurs drive.
And lo and behold, it turns out that four out of the five politicians the magazine followed with motorcycles and cameras were having some difficulty
putting into practice what they've been preaching.
SANDRINE DARRE, "AUTO PLUS" (through translator): Our researchers followed them for two months during most of their travels in the countryside, as
well as in the Paris area. And this was simply to see if the leaders respect the rules of the road, like they ask us to do.
BITTERMANN: The answer: well, not exactly. Take the prime minister, for example. His motorcade was clocked by the magazine at 60 miles an hour in
a 30-mile-an-hour zone, and 100 in a 55-mile-an-hour zone.
Or the interior minister, essentially France's top cop. His entourage was seen not only speeding, but running five red lights in the space of a third
of a mile, often driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic lanes to do so. Although it should be said, he had a police motorcycle escort.
But the magazine gave top honors for bad driving behavior to the peripatetic minister of the economy, whose limo was caught by the magazine
running 12 red lights in three minutes and driving at nearly twice the speed limit without the benefit of motorcycle outriders.
CNN reached out to the ministers' offices, but they said they had no comment on the auto magazine's reporting. As for the president himself,
the magazine found that while his motorcade was sometimes caught speeding, most of the time it obeyed the law, in keeping with the image he cultivates
as Mr. Normal.
And the auto reporters discovered that one minister they tracked always the law, the minister of the environment. But it should be noted that she'd
driven around in an electric car, not a high-powered limo.
BITTERMANN (on camera): In the end, perhaps some of those speedier ministers would like their countrymen to remember that old French
expression, "Interdite, mais toleree." Forbidden but tolerated. Forbidden for most motorists, but tolerated for the very special few.
Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.
CLANCY: Great reporting. And I want to return to our top story for just a moment. The most popular article we have online right now, the heartfelt
plea from a father who says he begged his son not to join the ISIS militants, describing how the man watched his teenaged boy go from
listening to music and playing video games to walking out the door to become a fighter.
In his story, we get insight into what's luring so many young men like him to fight. Read it, leave your own thoughts, cnn.com/international. We'll
have much more on the fight to contain ISIS and get desperately-needed aid to those fleeing the militants in about 15 minutes' time.
For now, I'm Jim Clancy, and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for being there to help us connect.
LEONE LAKHANI, HOST: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, Byblos meets business. Amidst the regional turmoil, how the ancient city of culture
manages to bring in the crowds for its annual music festival. And we speak to the town's business tycoon about his economic vision.
Welcome to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week coming to you from the ancient town of Byblos. This has always been a draw for visitors, but over
the years, an annual music festival set amongst these historic ruins has helped Byblos carve a niche for itself as a music-lover's haven.
LAKHANI (voice-over): Byblos, or Jbail, as it's known in Arabic, is believed to be the first Phoenician city, and dates as far back as 7,000
BC. Now, this ancient site bustles with activity every summer, as a 600- person production crew comes together to get the Byblos International Festival off the ground.
Naji Baz has been the festival's producer and art director since 2003. He says it's a full-time job, which he and his core team of two spend all year
working on for free, compensated only by their love of music.
It's that passionate commitment that has allowed Baz to convince international stars like the Gorillas and Snow Patrol to perform at Byblos.
NAJI BAZ, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, BYBLOS FESTIVAL: The regional situation doesn't help, but I'd say that Lebanon and this particular venue, Byblos,
for those who have experienced it, has a particular aura. And artists do talk to each other. So, each one who came here over the past 13 years has
become our best ambassador.
LAKHANI: The festival first began in the 1960s and ran periodically through the next four decades. Today, Baz said the historic setting,
perched along the Mediterranean coast, is the festival's defining feature. But it doesn't come without challenges.
BAZ: We're in a site that's 2,500 years old, so each time you need to use a hammer, you have to get proper written authorization from the Ministry of
Antique and Tourism and stuff, because it's very much a protected site.
LAKHANI: Set before a crusader castle built in the 12th century, tonight's show has special resonance. The headlining act is the internationally-
acclaimed oud player Marcel Khalife --
(MARCEL KHALIFE SINGING)
LAKHANI: -- who hails from these very shores, although he's never performed at the festival before.
MARCEL KHALIFE, OUD MASTER AND COMPOSER (through translator): Everyone is asking me, "Why are you so nervous? Every day you have concerts and
performances in different cities around the world." But it is different when you are performing in your own home. My emotions now are a mix of
memories, nostalgia, love, hope -- a lot of different feelings.
LAKHANI: Khalife will be accompanied on stage by the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra.
KHALIFE (through translator): I always play with large orchestras, it's not my first time. However, it isn't easy to carry out this sort of work
in Lebanon during these difficult times here. Those who come do so cautiously because maybe some problem happened or there was an explosion.
So, it was difficult.
LAKHANI: But these collection of 160 musicians and singers come eagerly. They know this will be a historic night as they fine-tune their instruments
four hours before showtime. Soon, the crowds start coming in. This concert is nearly sold out, which is a relief, says Baz. He says most
festivals rely on ticket sales for a third of their income. Here, they make up 75 percent.
BAZ: The cost to put together this festival every year, I mean, this year, at least, is between $4 million and $4.5 million. From these, between
public funds and sponsors' funds, we generate about $1.5 million, which leaves $3 million to ticketing and box office, which is a lot. So, we need
to sell 40,000 tickets to break even on expenses.
LAKHANI: There's a capacity for 7,000 people in these stands. Baz says it can be a challenge to fill the seats. The volatility in the region doesn't
help, with visitor numbers dipping since the war in Syria began.
BAZ: We're relying almost solely on locals, but we're achieving our quantitative goals year after year, because Lebanon has got a strong middle
class and a strong need for cultural events.
LAKHANI: After months of preparation, a packed audience cheers Marcel Khalife onto the stage.
(MARCEL KHALIFE PLAYING THE OUD)
LAKHANI: Another success for the festival Byblos can enjoy before it's time to start all over again.
LAKHANI: Traditionally, businesses in this town have reaped the benefits of this festival, but ever since the crisis in neighboring Syria began,
visitor numbers have dropped dramatically, and many here tell us they're suffering the consequences.
LAKHANI (voice-over): This seaside restaurant is an institution. Set amongst the town's ancient harbor, Pepe Byblos Fishing Club first opened
its doors in the 1960s. It's been welcoming heads of state and Hollywood stars ever since.
Owner Roger Adeb says the busiest months are in the summer, especially as tourists come in for the annual Byblos music festival.
ROGER ADEB, OWNER, PEPE BYBLOS FISHING CLUB: Four thousand people, they will be floating around the harbor. This place will be packed. It's
normal. The festival attracts too many people. From all over the world, they come to visit.
LAKHANI: This year is different. There are still visitors coming in, but they're mostly from within Lebanon. A spate of recent bombings in the
country, as well as the unrest in the region, has scared away many outsiders.
AYOUB BARK, VICE PRESIDENT, MUNICIPALITY OF JBAIL-BYBLOS: When things are good, we have more than one million visitors coming to the city. But when
things are not good, we have around 200,000 or 200,050.
LAKHANI: The government said numbers were down 16 percent in the first three months of 2014, compared to the same time last year. Monita Jmeyl is
a shop assistant at this store operating in Byblos for 20 years. She says business is up 20 percent in the summer months, but today, few come by.
MONITA JMEYL, SHOP ASSISTANT, MARCEL DU BYBLOS (through translator): (inaudible) the number of tourists now is less than before. There were
more tourists before when the security situation was better. Now there are less people. But of course, the festival helps bring people to the town
LAKHANI: Promises of discounts and special deals do little to lure customers into this bar. Eventually, a few trickle in. But the bar
manager says he expects more in the evenings, when the festival concerts are on.
FADY, MANAGER, FROLIC BAR (through translator): The festival season has an impact. It's about five or seven nights a year. On evenings that the
festival is on, we have more activity than on other days.
LAKHANI: But in this volatile region, Lebanese businesses are used to making sure the show still goes on.
LAKHANI: We're in Byblos this week for MME. Coming up after the break, Roger Edde, the owner of a luxury beach resort and restaurant in Byblos,
about how his plans for the city are shaping up.
LAKHANI: He's already made his own fortune, and now, property developer and business tycoon Roger Edde wants to turn around the fortunes of his
hometown of Byblos.
ROGER EDDE, PRESIDENT, EDDE SANDS RESORT: Byblos had a mythological nomination that has given me an encouragement to start the Byblos city era.
And then, we started at the Sands because a beach was needed in Lebanon.
And the idea for a destination where you can stretch from the shores of Byblos, beautiful sandy shores, to the hills of the Byblos area, where you
have ski resorts that can be developed into another Sands model.
LAKHANI: You want to replicate your Byblos models elsewhere in Lebanon?
EDDE: Absolutely. And this is what many Lebanese leaders today in every opportunity, they give that example of the success story we were able to
make in Edde Sands in the old Byblos, and now extending it to the whole region to emulate it for every region of Lebanon. Not to wait for the
government to do everything.
LAKHANI: Who's your target customer?
EDDE: Our prime customer, we suffer when they are not here, are definitely the elite of the Arab world, from the Gulf to Egypt, as well as Iraq and
Syria and Jordan.
LAKHANI: When the Gulf Arabs have stopped coming to Lebanon since the start of the Syrian crisis --
EDDE: Our income went down 40 percent.
LAKHANI: So, do you have to keep investing in these businesses yourself --
LAKHANI: -- to keep them going at these kinds of times?
EDDE: This is what I do. And I do it with a great satisfaction.
LAKHANI: Well, but if you're having to pump in money into your businesses yourself, how long can you sustain that?
EDDE: Indefinitely. Because whatever I am pumping as money, for me, because I have made my business internationally in major places around the
world, and I have done very well, and I can afford it.
LAKHANI: That's not real economics, though, is it?
EDDE: No, it's not economics. That's an act of love. But acts of love can be also very rewarding. I am a supply-sider thinker when it comes to
macro economics, and I believe that supply side has made so many success stories in the last -- for the last generation or two that we can really
believe in it.
And in Lebanon, we did it. But I think that the best story remains Dubai. Dubai is supply side economics story, nothing else.
LAKHANI: But if you want people to replicate the Byblos model --
LAKHANI: -- your business model, that's a very hard model to replicate if people don't have lots of cash, isn't it?
EDDE: We have people who have a lot of cash. And they don't have to make it the way I make it. You can do it economically. It's very easy also for
me, if I want to do it economically, but there is a measure of prestige that for me is a prestige for my country more than for myself.
LAKHANI: That's it for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, coming to you this week from Byblos in Lebanon. I'm Leone Lakhani, thanks for