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CONNECT THE WORLD

Pro-Democracy Protesters Clash With Hong Kong Police; Despite Threat of ISIS, Irbil Residents Soldier On; Mount Ontake Erupts While At Least 200 Hikers Approach The Summit

Aired September 28, 2014 - 11:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The most populous country on Earth has a fight on its hands from a tiny territory. Live pictures from Hong

Kong where pro-Democracy protesters send a loud message to Beijing as earlier police fired tear gas in an effort to disperse them.

I'm going to get you live to the city in the standoff and hear from the people battling for Hong Kong's future.

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

ANDERSON: Well, people across Hong Kong are watching what is an extraordinary site unfold as pro-Democracy protests paralyze the city

center. Thousands of protesters standing their ground surrounded by riot police.

The crowds having blocking the main thoroughfare for hours. These are pictures from earlier. They want the Chinese government to stay out of

Hong Kong's elections.

Well, let me bring in Michael Davis who is a law professor at the University of Hong Kong joining us now.

Thank you, sir, for joining us.

We're looking at pictures from earlier on where there are some pretty ugly scenes. The protesters making their demands clear, but most people who you

talk to both there who may be in support of these protests and certainly those who aren't say they will not have their demands heard from the

Chinese government and certainly will be no resignation of the CEO of this territory and the Chinese government certainly doesnOt look as if it's --

it will pander in any way, shape or form to those who are at present conducting this sit-in. Your assessment if you will?

MICHAEL DAVIS, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Well, you know, what's going on has been going on for several months. Recently, the Chinese government

issued a White Paper where essentially says Beijing is the boss and all authority in Hong Kong comes from Beijing.

Hong Kong people didn't view that very kindly. They understood they had an international treaty with the British and that China was bound by these

obligations and they included maintaining the rule of law, human rights, democracy and so on.

So this year, the big issue was whether there would be universal suffrage as promised in the basic law to elect a chief executive. And Beijing then

issued an NPC standing committee decision, but essentially said they're going to vet all the candidates and people can only vote for those

candidates and that caused outrage in Hong Kong.

But I think what you're seeing on the street tonight is further fed by a government that is using heavy-handed tactics against these people, so --

but a demonstration -- I think if the demonstrators have been more or less left alone to occupy a certain area around the government headquarters,

none of this would have happened. But the police seemed to come out shooting, as it were, not with guns but with tear gas and pepper spray and

so on, some things never happened in Hong Kong before.

ANDERSON: Yeah, let me just update you on what the Hong Kong police have said. They issued a statement earlier denying any allegations that plastic

bullets had been used against protesters. They did acknowledge the use of tear gas alone as a means, and I quote them, "to maintain public safety and

order."

The written statement was issued in both Chinese and English and reads in full, and I'll get our viewers this, regarding media reports, noting that

police may have used plastic bullets, those weren't, let me tell you from CNN, police spokesman today clarifying that police had used tear gas to

stop protesters who were acting to endanger public safety and public order and the display -- spokesman clarifying that police showed the warning tear

smoke to the protesters in the front, but not the warning disperse or we will fire at the back banners.

So, you're correct in saying that things have been disturbing today. But as things stand at present, I mean, our pictures are showing thousands of

people in the streets. I think we've had other guests on making the point that this doesn't reflect the entire situation in Hong Kong and across the

country, or across the territory today.

But these will be disturbing. And they will be disturbing for our viewers who know Hong Kong, and to the Chinese government, where at 23:06 in the

evening, sir, this is a financial hub, which will assume to be open for business on Monday morning just hours from now. Is that going to happen?

DAVIS: Well, it doesn't look like it when you look at that street there. My fear is they're going to march in there -- and I'd heard from some

sources that there were riot police a distance away and whether they're heading for that area to try to clear the street.

One, we're seeing is almost all of this sort of pushing and shoving and tear gas and fleeing protesters is almost always when they're trying to

clear the area. I believe if they haven't tried to keep pushing people away from Government House that these people would not be in the street.

They're in the street because the police blocked those bridges there. I was there. The people that wanted to cross the bridge to join the protest

were waiting patiently for a long time. And I think eventually they just said, hey, I'm going to jump over that barrier right across the street,

because the police were blocking all the ways to go to join the protest.

I think what the government is doing is kind of heavy-handed and the result is in Hong Kong we have a history of this where the government behaves in

this way and then the people get outraged. So while the protest may not have had a lot of support initially because people don't want to see

confrontation, when they see the police behaving this way, then you see public sentiment turn around. So in the past we've had large

demonstrations in Hong Kong, much bigger than this, largely because the government's behavior.

ANDERSON: Michael Davis is a law professor at the University of Hong Kong who suggests that it's heavy-handed police tactics that have created what

you are now seeing on your screens and witnessing on your television screens.

Our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joining us again now. And you have been amongst these protesters all day. Ivan, just describe

the mood as things stand now.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, some of the crowd is dispersed, Becky. There have been some calls from some of the opposition

groups for people to go home. One group, a student group, warning about the possibility that rubber-coated, plastic-coated bullets could be used

and thus sending people back. So we saw a movement out of here.

But there are still large numbers of people here.

And just to give you a sense of perspective of where we are, we're walking around in the middle of kind of the biggest artery highway that runs

through the heart of Hong Kong.

Now these buildings up here, they are the headquarters of the Hong Kong government, which are being protected by the police behind barriers here.

As you can see, no real tension right now between demonstrators and the police.

The police put out a statement just moments ago basically accusing protesters of shoving police officers to the ground, blocking major

thoroughfares and condemning acts, which as the police say, quote, "endanger the safety of the participants and the safety of other people."

And the police say that six police officers have been injured as a result of some of the clashes we've seen today.

Meanwhile, we're hearing that at least 26 demonstrators have also been hurt as a result of this.

The chief demand from these protesters is for more democracy, more democracy basically is what people say. They're unhappy with the system

for nominating candidates for the 2017 election of the highest official in Hong Kong and saying that basically it would allow Beijing to appoint

nominees that wouldn't result in universal suffrage, that's the catchphrase that the demonstrators have used. And while we have seen a large community

of people here who have come out into the streets late on a Sunday night, we don't know whether they are representative of the vast majority of

residents of Hong Kong, whether or not the business elite will come out to support them.

Perhaps the best sign we have had came in last June when the Hong Kong offices of the big four accounting firms in Hong Kong all came out

basically to denounce the Occupy Central movement saying it would cause great harm to Hong Kong's economy and its reputation for being really an

island of stability.

These protests have shaken that notion of stability certainly this evening -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong for you.

Earlier, I spoke to CNN's David McKenzie in Beijing -- thank you Ivan -- to find out how these protests are being viewed in the Chinese capital. Have

a listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The response from China and the Communist Party has been relatively muted. They've said that they

trust that the Hong Kong government will be able to deal with these protests, which they call illegal. And they also said that this is not a

protest movement that is really in the interest of stability in Hong Kong.

And you hear that catchphrase, stability, a great deal from the Communist Party in China, because effectively they're trying to say that although

these protesters feel they're fighting for democracy, what China says is at stake is the financial capital of Hong Kong, which is crucially important

from a business perspective. And they are saying that these protesters are not representing the overall population in Hong Kong -- Becky.

ANDERSON: What happens next?

MCKENZIE: Well, what happens next is the key question, because many people feel -- in fact, just about anyone who follows China feels that the

Communist Party and Xi Jingping, the president, will not bend or buckle on these demands of the protesters and their key demand is to be allowed to

choose who will run and they want to choose that they can vote for that person in the 2017 elections that are slated to bring democracy on some

level to Hong Kong.

They say that China has reneged on their promise on bringing a full democracy to Hong Kong. And they say that their one country, two systems

is becoming more increasingly like just one country. But the fact that CNN's signal is not being blacked out in China and the fact that protesters

are being allowed to be on the streets and protest and not facing an immediate crackdown does show that on some level this system works.

But for these young protesters, it's not enough. What they want is full universal suffrage and some of them appear to be taking considerable risk

to try and get that.

ANDERSON: I wonder how you might react to this news just coming in to us here at CNN, a 17-year-old Hong Kong student activist leader Joshua Wong --

and I'm just reading this now, it's just getting to me -- arrested by Hong Kong police on Friday along with 12 others has now been released by police,

according to both the police and the spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

Some progress perhaps?

MCKENZIE: Well, yes, progress, but also one shouldn't necessarily equate these two things with each other. This young protest leader who certainly

become a prominent figure amongst the students at these -- in this democracy protest has been released. It might have been he was due to be

released anyways based on Hong Kong's law.

You've also got several different protest movements, including one of the largest ones Occupy Central, which based on its name, as it suggest, wishes

to occupy the central business district of Hong Kong as a way to have leverage over the Hong Kong government ultimately to pressure China.

Hong Kong is ruled by a chief executive and a Hong Kong legislature, but most people believe that the silent hand is always there of Beijing, of the

community party, trying to steer things one way or another.

And for the youth of Hong Kong, in particular, like Joshua Wong and others, they feel that they deserve better and they fear that there could be a

slippery slope to be more -- become more like those who live under formal repressive regimes here in Mainland China.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: David McKenzie speaking to me a little earlier. And back to that story shortly.

Still to come, though, this evening, a $6 billion boost and behind the scenes look at key assets in the battle against ISIS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of Abu Dhabi for you. It is 7:18 here.

An update on our top story this hour. And a pro-democracy protest going late into the night in Hong Kong. CNN's Ivan Watson tells us some

protesters have now gone home. Protest groups, though -- and these are live pictures -- saying they were worried about the possible use of force

by the riot police on the scene.

Large numbers, though, as you can see have stayed. They are protesting the system of nominating candidates for the 2017 election for the highest

official in Hong Kong. China has indicated it would have to approve any candidate running in that read.

Now things are peaceful at this hour, but we have learned that earlier clashes left six police officers and 26 protesters injured.

We're going to get you back to the fight against ISIS now and some perspective on these ongoing airstrikes in Iraq. Ben Wedeman following the

latest developments. He is in the north in Irbil -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, well the situation here in Irbil is relatively calm. Back in August when it

appeared that ISIS was approaching the city there was a certain air of panic. But this is a place that has seen invaders come and go going back

thousands of years and people here tend to keep it all in perspective.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN: Abu Bakr Ahmed has been selling flutes in Irbil's (inaudible) for 25 years. In his youth as a fighter with the Peshmerga, the Kurdish

guerilla army, he fought the old regime during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

"Under Saddam Hussein, the entire world defended him," he recalls. "Arab countries, western countries gave him weapons and aid. And all we had was

Kalashnikovs in the mountains."

His old comrade in arms, Abdel Wahed Ramadhan vividly displays what he'd do with anyone who causes trouble in Irbil.

"We aren't moving from here," he tells me. "We'll fight to the death and we'll save the last bullet for ourselves. We'll fight for Kurdistan, for

our families, for our children. We aren't afraid of anyone. We've been fighting for 60 years.

ISIS is less than an hour's drive to the west of Irbil, yet life seems to go on uninterrupted.

Here, history is not counted in year, but in millennia.

Irbil is one of the world's oldest cities. According to some historians, people have lived here since 6,000 BC. And in that time, they've weathered

a few storms. ISIS is just the latest.

Irbil's ancient citadel has fallen to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Arabs, the Mongols, the Turks and the

British just to name a few.

The Kurds, a proud and ancient people, have seen them all come and seen them all go. They take the long view.

But even with their long memories, the people here say ISIS has set new standards for barbarity. Kazim Rajab has worked in the market for 50

years.

"I've never seen anything like ISIS," he says. "We've had wars, but not this kind of killing and slaughter. Entire villages and areas emptied of

people."

The carpenters in the suk (ph) are busy banging together cradles for the next generation. Demand, they say, is up, a sign perhaps that today's

clouds, like so many before them, shall pass.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN: And commanders here, Kurdish commanders say that they are preparing, hoping to move forward. They've got their eyes on Mosul, which

is just about an hour-and-a-half drive from here, but they say they need more weapons and they need more western airstrikes -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Interesting.

Thank you, Ben.

Some of the newest members of the anti-ISIS coalition are getting set to go into action. The Belgian government has voted to send six F-16s to an air

base in Jordan. Denmark is also sending F-16s to fight the militant group, but like the Belgians, the Danish fighters will only fly missions over Iraq

and not inside Syria.

Well, live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, a warning of more volcanic activity on Mount Ontake in Japan after a sudden eruption

leaves at 30 without signs of life. We're going to get the very latest on the rescue efforts there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi. It is 25 past 7:00 here. So far at least 30 people have

been found lifeless by rescue workers searching for people caught up in what is a volcanic eruption in Japan. It is not yet known whether -- how

many hikers were engulfed in the ash when this mountain suddenly started erupting on Saturday, but it's thought there were up to 250 people in the

area.

Will Ripley has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One by one they are carried off the mountain, more than 30 people with no pulse in a state of cardiac arrest,

all of them near the summit when Mount Ontake erupted.

Home video shows a giant plume of gas and ash surrounding and blinding these hikers in seconds. Security cameras captured Mount Ontake rumbling

to life Saturday, its first major eruption in 35 years. More than 200 climbers came to Japan's second highest volcano for the peak of autumn

viewing.

"So many people were near the summit," says this hiker. "Everyone started running, but some were hurt and couldn't move."

The volcano's rising plume is disrupting air travel. Volcanic ash is raining down on hundreds of rescuers below. They face danger from nearly

continuous seismic activity and the looming threat of another big eruption possible in the coming days.

"Please help us," says Jokazu Tokaru (ph). His son and his girlfriend reached the summit just minutes before noon Saturday, just when Ontake blew

its top. Both are still missing. Now Tokaru (ph) sits on the floor of this evacuation center waiting.

"All I can do is beg for your help to get us information," he says. "Please."

As each hour passes, desperation grows. Families are waiting for word on their loved ones who were dangerously close to a sleeping volcano that

suddenly woke up.

Will Ripley, CNN, Mount Ontake, Japan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: The latest world news headlines on CNN just ahead, including it is literally like nowhere else in China. And right now that is exactly the

problem. We're going to get the very latest from Hong Kong on what has been a night of unprecedented demonstrations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top story this hour.

Hong Kong is in the grips of a pro-democracy protest. Tens of thousands of people -- live pictures for you -- clogging the downtown area for hours.

It's a reaction to China's decision to only allow Beijing-approved candidates to stand in the city's election for chief executive.

Joining us from Hong Kong is our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson. These crowds are thinner than they were, but you've been on the

ground there all day. If you can just sort of take us back and describe what's been going on, Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly the crowd had thinned out somewhat just within the last hour, really. We're

walking on the main highway that runs through Hong Kong.

As you can see, people occupying it right now, right in front of the headquarters of the government over here that's being protected by security

forces, by Hong Kong police right now. Very calm here right now.

There have been calls from one of the student groups that has really led a week of primarily student-led protests against the government for people to

go home for fear of real violence later tonight, fearing that rubber-coated bullets could be used, even though the Hong Kong police have denied that

any use of that kind of weaponry has been used, and we certainly haven't seen anything like that.

What this is, basically, is a pro-democracy protest. The demonstrators angry at a system of rules for proposed elections in 2017, and objecting to

that system, saying that they'd basically be forced to choose between candidates appointed and vetted by the Chinese central government in

Beijing. They say they want universal suffrage.

The Hong Kong government has called these protests "illegal" and has urged for everybody to go home. There is a test of wills, here, underway, and

certainly what we've seen is very unusual scenes, both of police using teargas, a riot control method that hasn't been used in Hong Kong in nearly

a decade, and demonstrators shutting down the downtown of this financial hub.

So, it's a big question of where this will go from here. Certainly the number of demonstrators we're seeing here has ballooned within the last 48

hours. This is much bigger than anything we'd seen during a week of student-led protests leading up to this -- these really remarkable scenes

here, Becky.

ANDERSON: Stay with me. Chinese state media, Ivan, describing the demonstration in Hong Kong as "an illegal gathering." I want to bring in

David McKenzie, who's in Beijing, joining us now by phone.

And David, you'll have heard Ivan's reporting there. Some protest organizers telling demonstrators to go home. Demonstrators angry at a

system of rules for the elections in 2017. Is there any evidence that the Chinese government will bend to these protesters' wishes at this point?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): No, there's no evidence whatsoever. In fact, most people believe, if not every

single person, actually, I've spoken to, believe that it's highly unlikely that the Communist Party in China will bend whatsoever.

They have repeatedly said that their decision to allow what they call universal suffrage in 2017 will go forward, but they will get to

effectively dictate who will be nominated through the influence of the existing system they've put in place for people to vote on.

And so, as we've seen these youth and democracy activists here in the streets in recent days, and most dramatically today, that's not on for

them. They want full democracy, not a half democracy or partial one.

But there is no sense that Beijing is willing to bend on this. In fact, Beijing and the Communist Party has been relatively muted on their reaction

to this, other than saying that the protests are illegal, that's through state media, and that the Hong Kong government will deal with it in a

satisfactory manner.

Now, if this continues into the work week, if we see the financial center of Hong Kong being brought to its knees, that could all change.

Ultimately, though the protesters are asking or demanding Hong Kong government to do things, this is really a fight or a battle of ideas

between these protesters and the Communist Party in China.

ANDERSON: Hold on, David. Back to you, Ivan. As David was rightly point out, this is a financial hub. Hong Kong lives and dies off its financial

services industry. How has the business elite or business world reacted, if at all, to these, as you've described, ongoing protests? And what are

the expectations for tomorrow? We're moving toward the beginning of a Monday and a working week.

WATSON: We haven't heard any official statement coming form any of the business groups, and we have to add that the captains of industry here

aren't necessarily monolithic. But that will be a big question.

Will some of the rich and powerful people in this former British colony, will they support this Occupy movement, or is it seem to be simply too

damaging economically and politically to this territory? That's a big question here.

Now, we have to add that another prominent voice in the opposition movement, this is the former Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph

Zen, has come out also adding his voice, urging for demonstrators to go home, saying, quote, "Don't sacrifice your lives. We're not claiming

defeat, but we are saying that there's no possibility of dialogue at this point."

So presumably, we don't really know about what discussions may or may not be underway between opposition leaders and the Hong Kong government right

now, but two prominent groups have come out saying listen, it's best for people to go home right now.

And talking about the fear of violence coming from the security forces, even though we've very much seen them exercising restraint throughout the

five hours that we've been at this location, with the exception of one burst -- pretty unpleasant burst of tear gas that sent tens of thousands of

people running, who then returned within about a half hour to this same location. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, thank you, Ivan. Just back to you very briefly, David. I was interested to hear you reporting that these images and those being

broadcast by CNN which might normally be blacked out in China, freely available to a Chinese audience today?

MCKENZIE (via telephone): Well, that's right. There's a good point in that China, the Communist Party cares more about what's aired in their

country from the perspective of what the Chinese population will see and not necessarily what the rest of the audience will be watching around the

world.

There is a sense, and I think it's important to note, a pretty stark comparison when it comes to what is important to Chinese leaders of the

Communist Party. Hong Kong, while crucially important to Hong Kongers, of course, is a city of some 7 million people. The Chinese Communist Party

rules over 1.35 billion people, with multitudes of cities bigger than Hong Kong.

And from their perspective, that is their biggest issue to deal with. And if it looks like Hong Kong in some ways can threaten the greater stability

and power of the Communist Party in the Communist Party mainland, then few people believe that they wouldn't be willing to do anything to maintain

that stability and power on the mainland.

So, while it is crucially important to the Hong Kongers out there protesting, they do face an issue of power and leverage over what is a vast

country that is ruled over a pretty autocratic government on the mainland.

ANDERSON: David McKenzie, reporting in Beijing. Ivan Watson for you in Hong Kong.

Get you again to the global fight against extremist militant group ISIS now. And the US-led coalition intensified its airstrikes in northern Syria

near the border with Turkey. Warplanes earlier hit an ISIS compound and armed vehicles at a border crossing. Now more from Phil Black.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Only a few kilometers to the west from here is Kobani. It is the major Kurdish Syrian town in this

region. It is being advanced upon by ISIS from the south, the west, and the east.

We are monitoring from this location that eastern advance. And it is now, as I say, only a few kilometers from where we are standing now, and it

would seem that once --

(EXPLOSION)

BLACK: -- they get beyond -- you hear a very large round, there, detonating behind me.

(EXPLOSION)

BLACK: Once they move from this point here --

(CROWD CHEERING)

BLACK: That's gone down very well with this local crowd. To be fair, they've got no idea, no way of really knowing who's scoring the hits on the

other side. But clearly, this crowd clearly believes that that was a hit for the Kurdish fighters, who they have been standing here cheering for

through the afternoon.

Now, the reason why this battle going on behind me matters so much is that it is because it is so close to Kobani. It is just east by a few

kilometers.

But if you head further east, you get a sense of just how quickly ISIS is advancing, because they have moved from that slightly further eastern city

-- town, a hamlet there, which was struck by the international coalition.

They announced that just yesterday. The international coalition conducted military strikes, which hit a building that was believed to be operated by

ISIS as well as a couple of vehicles as well.

The point is that despite that airstrike, if it slowed down their advance, it certainly hasn't stopped that advance. So, what that means, it brings

us back here to this location here, this fight going on behind us.

(WOMAN SHOUTING)

BLACK: What I'm being told know is that the Turkish side returned fire. That latest loud boom that we heard -- let me show you this. There is a

Turkish military installation just here, protecting this border. They returned fire across the Syrian border. That was that last boom that we

heard just a short time ago.

The reason they did that is because of the mortar round that struck here on Turkish territory. The rules of engagement that the Turkish military

follow here in this border zone is that if some strike comes across the border from Syria and hits here in Turkey, they return in kind.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Phil Black reporting from that border.

Well, many of the aerial attacks against ISIS begin and end at sea. I was given the chance to board the USS George H. W. Bush this weekend in the

Persian Gulf to get a firsthand look at the US-led coalition's mission in action. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Sunrise over the deck of the USS George H. W. Bush. On board, the crew of this 90,000 tons of US national sovereignty prepare

for the day's critical missions.

ANDERSON (on camera): Some 5,000 people employed on this ship, tending to around about 60 jets. And it was these jets on August the 6th that dropped

the first bombs on Iraq in this latest conflict against ISIS.

ANDERSON (voice-over): In June, midway through a nine-month tour, this $6 billion military asset was redeployed to the Persian Gulf, where it's now a

key component in operations against ISIS. Captain Dan Cheever, a 20-year Navy veteran and fighter pilot himself, oversees the ship's strike planes.

DAN CHEEVER, CAPTAIN, US NAVY: So, the mission is to project power from the carrier over both Iraq and Syria and to defeat the terrorist enemy.

ANDERSON: The USS George H. W. Bush is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Two, which also includes five destroyers and a cruiser. All under

the command of Rear Admiral DeWolfe C. Miller.

ANDERSON (on camera): Chuck Hagel has said that air power alone will not degrade and destroy ISIL. Do you agree?

DEWOLFE MILLER, REAR ADMIRAL, CARRIER STRIKE GROUP COMMANDER: So, good question. What I will tell you again, my focus is on that air power, are

we being effective in how we do it. I will tell you that we've seen great effect on the ground in Iraq when working with the Iraqi security forces.

This isn't going to be measured in weeks and months. This is going to be years, and I do agree with Secretary Hagel that it's going to take a

combination of forces on the ground and air power to achieve that.

ANDERSON (voice-over): To stand on the bridge of this 4.5-acre carrier is to understand the enormity of the task required of a naval captain.

ANDERSON (on camera): This is the size, I believe, of the Empire State. It has some 5,000 staff, many of whom are young men and women living on

this ship together for months at a time. You've got millions of tons of fuel and ordnance, of course.

ANDREW LOISELLER, CAPTAIN, U.S. NAVY: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: Does it not keep you awake at night, what you're in charge of.

(LAUGHTER)

LOISELLER: Well, absolutely it does. Bottom line, if my phone rings, I'm on duty 24/7.

(FIGHTER JET LANDING)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Nighttime brings no respite from the noise and punishing work. These planes returning from another mission somewhere over

Iraq or Syria. The sun set over the Gulf hours ago, but a day's job is never done for these men and women of the US Navy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All right, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, as it says on the tin, as it were. An update on our top story this hour, the

pro-democracy protest gripping central Hong Kong. The main artery going through the city remains blocked despite calls from one of the protest

groups for people to go home.

Now, a Hong Kong federation of students cited speculation that rubber bullets could be used. That hasn't happened. But earlier in the night,

police did use teargas to try to clear the crowds. Officials say around two dozen people were injured in those clashes, protesters demanding more

control over elections in Hong Kong without the influence of Beijing.

Well, moving on for you. Liberia's chief medical officer is under a three- week quarantine after her assistant died from Ebola. The death prompted the closing of the Ministry of Health headquarters for decontamination.

Now, the building was reopened on Friday. So far, no sign the medical director is infected with the virus.

Well, the World Health Organization says West Africa is dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak on record. More than 6500 people across Liberia,

Sierra Leone, and Guinea have the disease. More than 3,000 have died.

Little solace for the thousands mourning the death of loved ones. CNN's Nima Elbagir recently traveled to the heart of the outbreak in Liberia.

This is her story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is scary. God, yes, it's terrifying. Of course it's terrifying. But what are you going

to do? Women, men, children are dying. Families are being devastated. And in any other conflict situation, people take that risk and the go in.

Somalia during the famine.

You couldn't move for the international community, and you get to Monrovia and you just feel this sense loneliness and isolation and the fact that

people just aren't on the ground.

It was very different from what I normally do, where you know that there is a threat and you know that you are either going towards a threat or away

from a threat. And that threat is very apparent.

The smell of bleach as you come into the arrival terminal, because all over are these buckets of diluted bleach for people to wash their hands in.

And very quickly, you kind of start to get used to that reality, that you're not shaking anyone's hands, you're keeping a distance. Even in the

queue, people were keeping a distance from each other so that you didn't accidentally touch, and that those bleach buckets were going to be your

best friends.

The health workers definitely had a huge impact on us, just the fact that they had lost so many colleagues and friends and kept going out there, and

were learning on the job. I mean, it's not a job you want to learn on.

The bravery and just the real -- the sheer, just, determination that it takes to get up, get out of bed, and know that your job every day is to

suit up and risk your life in the hope that you're going to beat this.

We went to a burial, and we were in the biohazard suits and the body disposal teams were in the biohazard suits. And it was just -- it was just

incredibly eerie and really heartbreaking to have people crying and the traditional kind of funeral songs and people trying to take back some

semblance of familiarity in how they would normally be burying this person, and not being able to do that.

That even just the singing, trying to do that, but obviously, it's still something so incredibly alien, to have people in space suits.

This is the last time you're going to see this person. It's the last time you're going to see this loved one is being taken out, and you can't even

go to the grave and you can't watch them be put into the ground.

The heartbreaking thing is that this is a region that was starting to pull itself back up after years and years of really devastating conflict. What

has been most disheartening is waiting for that response from the international community. And as a journalist, you hope that your job is to

show the world, and then the world responds.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir reporting there. Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, more on those pro-democracy protests ongoing in Hong

Kong. Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson. Just before we go, an update on our top story this hour. And a Hong Kong

student group has issued a statement on its Facebook page urging supporters to withdraw from the protests. These pictures from earlier on today.

This protest group say they are worried about the possibility of the use of force by riot police. But large numbers have stayed on. The students have

been calling for the chief executive and three other politicians working on political reform to resign. They oppose China approving any candidate

running in the 2017 election to be the highest official in Hong Kong.

Right now things, I have to say, are peaceful. Earlier clashes, though, and these are some of the pictures, of 6 police officers and 25 protesters

injured.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. My colleague, Ralitsa Vassileva, is up next with "CNN NEWSROOM." A very good

evening from Abu Dhabi.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END