Return to Transcripts main page


Rosetta's Ten Year Voyage; Fury Grows Over Mexico's Missing Students; Philae Landing; ISIS Recruits Child Soldiers; Select Your #Influencer2014; Qatar Under Fire Over Labor Abuses; Mission Control Celebrates Philae Landing

Aired November 12, 2014 - 11:36   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: You join us here with CONNECT THE WORLD out of Abu Dhabi. The Philae has landed ten years after the Rosetta mission

began, touchdown on a comet about 300 million miles away from Earth.

We'll go back live to the headquarters of the European Space Agency in Germany to explore further the significance of all of this. A spacecraft

the size of a fridge riding a comet moving at 40,000 miles an hour. Quite something.

To remind you of what is Rosetta's epic journey, its ten-year chase of the 67P comet has taken it five times around the sun -- five times! -- and

used the gravity of Earth and Mars to catapult it to faster and faster speeds.

Now, the chase may be over, but Rosetta has only just got started. Scientists hope observations from orbit and from the Philae lander will

teach us about the origins of our solar system and perhaps even life itself.

And that is because comets are effectively time capsules, according to experts, containing primitive material left over from the time when the sun

and its planets were formed. I promise you more on that this hour.

Moving on. Outrage boiling over in Mexico over the mass disappearance of 43 students. On Tuesday, protesters set fire to the ruling party's

regional headquarters in Guerrero state, angry over what they see as inaction by the authorities.

Now, CNN's Rafael Romo was in the middle of a crowd of protesters as they clashed with riot police, who then fired teargas.




ROMO: -- a teargas.


ROMO: It's hard to breathe. My eyes are burning.


ROMO: This teargas is really -- overwhelming. And -- so probably a good idea to push back a little bit right now. That's what the protesters

have done, and that's what we're going to do right now.


ANDERSON: Violence escalating since Friday, when the government announced it believes the students were kidnapped, killed, and dumped in a

river. Rosa Flores was also cut up in the unrest there, clearly, Rosa, the atmosphere very, very tense. Describe just what's going on.

ROSA FLORES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is very tense here in Chilpancingo, Mexico. Just imagine being a parent, having your son call

you over the phone saying that he and his friends have been ambushed, shot at, and beaten. And then the call goes off and you never hear from your

son again.

And you ask authorities questions, and they can't give you conclusive answers. That's what's fueling these protests.



FLORES (voice-over): It looks --


FLORES: -- and sounds like a war zone.


FLORES: But it's a clash between student protesters and federal police in the Guerrero state capital, in which a government building was



FLORES: All in response to the disappearance of 43 college students more than five weeks ago.

FLORES (on camera): The situation is very tense right now between the protesters and federal police. Now, take a look. On one side of this

bridge are federal police officers. They've been firing rubber bullets.

On the other side, you've got the protesters. They've been firing back with fireworks, rocks, you name it, sticks. And it's not stopping.


FLORES (voice-over): This boiled-over tension fueled by inconclusive news of the whereabouts of the missing. Angry protesters not standing

down, continuing their advance across this bridge.

More than 70 arrests have been made, including a mayor and his wife. Parents have been told their children are dead and that three other

suspects have confessed to the killings. But authorities have not provided conclusive DNA evidence, and parents refuse to believe the students are


FLORES (on camera): They feel like there's nothing that they can do.


FLORES: There's no hope.



FLORES (voice-over): In the chaos, CNN cameras catch a mob surrounding a police officer, with some of the protesters saying, "Leave

him alone, leave him alone."


FLORES: A standoff that would end with police pulling back as protesters move forward.


FLORES (on camera): He said that at the end of the day, they want the 43 alive, back home.


FLORES: Now, here is what protesters are saying, that these protests are going to get more and more radical. And let me tell you about what you

didn't see in this piece. Throughout that protest, there was an arrest of two protesters, allegedly, by police.

And then, protesters took a police officer, snatched him from the crowd, and then -- hear this -- after all of that, in the presence of a

human rights organization, there was a swap, almost like a swap of prisoners in this war on the streets of Guerrero. Becky?

ANDERSON: Completely remarkable stuff. Rosa, thank you.

Christiane Amanpour has an exclusive interview with Mexico's ambassador to the US later about the missing students. You can watch that

at 7:00 PM London, 8:00 PM in Paris and Berlin. We'll be right back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.


ANDERSON: All right. And a reminder of the news from the European Space Agency. In the past few minutes, the Philae has landed ten years

after the Rosetta mission launched. Touched down on a comet about 510 million kilometers away from Earth.

We are waiting on pictures to confirm that a spacecraft the size of a fridge riding a comet moving it 40,000 miles an hour. Yes, you heard it

correctly. Quite something has actually happened. We'll get back to Germany for you as and when we get those pictures. But clearly, those who

weren't there and those who care about what's happening up there, incredibly excited today.

Well, a British-based activist group has released new numbers on the death toll from coalition airstrikes against ISIS. Now, according to the

Syrian Observatory for human rights, 865 people have been killed in Syria since the operation started in September. It says 50 of those are

civilians, including eight children. But the group says the vast majority of those killed have been militants from ISIS.

To swell its ranks, ISIS has been recruiting the young. The group has even posted videos online bragging about its so-called "cubs" of the

Islamic State. Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon joins me now, live from Turkey. And Arwa, you have met one of these young recruits.

What did he tell you?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We did, Becky, and his account of what took place is chilling to say the least. Now,

there are no accurate numbers on exactly how many children ISIS is recruiting, but what he told us does provide insight into one of the ways

that ISIS is trying to develop its next generation of fighters.


"YAZID," CHILD SOLDIER, ISIS (through translator): The belt has fertilizer, explosives, TNT, and it's pre-packed with shrapnel and has a

detonator cord on the side.

DAMON (voice-over): Those are not the words of an adult. Underneath the scarf worn to conceal his identity is a 15-year-old, an ISIS child

soldier. On a daily basis, "Yazid," not his real name, was strapped in an explosive belt, issued a pistol and AK.

Yazid joined ISIS willingly. Both he and his father were with the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, and when ISIS took over their area, they swore


For a month, Yazid says, he and another 100 child recruits were isolated from their families, forbidden from seeing or even speaking to

them. They underwent intense religious indoctrination, embedding their young, impressionable minds with the ISIS radical and violent

interpretation of Islam, and rigorous, terrifying military training.

"YAZID" (through translator): We crawled under webbing. There was fire above us, and we'd be firing our weapons. Then we'd go through a

large metal ring as the trainers fired at our feet, telling us if you stop, you will be shot.

DAMON: With his training complete, he was assigned guard duty. His mother begged him to leave.

"YAZID" (through translator): I would tell her, this is is jihad, and all of us must do it.

DAMON: Two weeks ago, Yazid's father decided to defect and tricked his son into coming with him, bringing Yazid to Turkey.

"YAZID" (through translator): I was asking him, "Why are you doing this? What happened?" My father turned to me and said that they are not

on the right religious track.

DAMON: Yazid admits he was afraid the explosive belt he wore would accidentally detonate. The first time he witnessed a beheading, he did not

eat for two days.

He appears to have a gentle demeanor and seems lost in a twisted mental maze, initially saying he wants to go back to ISIS.

"YAZID" (through translator): My friends and buddies are all there, and they would pay me $150 a month, my father, $1,000.

DAMON: Later, he tells us he regrets having joined them. Yazid has a chance to go back to the Arabic and math-loving schoolboy he was.


DAMON: That might not be the case for others trapped in the grip of ISIS terror.



DAMON: And Becky, that is just one of the many reasons why an organization like ISIS, why that extremist ideology needs to be defeated.

Time is of the essence here, because these children are so vulnerable as they are moving especially through their teenage years, that if they are

not somehow rescued from ISIS, they most certainly will grow up filled with hatred towards the West, Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon reporting there.

And the foreign extremist fighter is among the ten candidates that we are putting forward in our campaign to find the most influential figure in

the Middle East this year. We broadcast, of course, from the UAE, this is our region.

These young people join national leaders in our list, including Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. Here's why you might want to consider

him as your selection.


HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Iran will never surrender its legal right to pursue nuclear activity.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The rise of ISIS, Iran has become part of the solution rather than part of the problem, giving Tehran and Washington a

common enemy.



ANDERSON: We launched this survey yesterday, and over the next two weeks, we'll profile all of our candidates for #Influencer2014. The survey

closes on November the 25th and the top three will be debated in a CONNECT THE WORLD town hall special. We've had thousands getting involved already.

You can find out lots more about this via our social media channels. Log onto You'll find the link to our preview

video showcasing all ten of those contenders. You can always tweet me, of course, @BeckyCNN. Remember to use the hash tag you just saw,

#Influencer2014. We will be right back.


ANDERSON: Welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, out of the UAE at 8:53 in the evening here.

The Qatar World Cup has been hit with more controversy over labor practices in the country. Amnesty International says that migrant workers

are still being exploited just months after the government announced a series of reforms. CNN's Alex Thomas has the details.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Becky, Qatar's been under a global spotlight for the last four years, ever since winning the right to

host the 2022 World Cup, a decision that shocked the football community.

And it's fair to say that campaign groups have been quick to seize on its higher profile to highlight allegations of the Gulf state's abusive

labor system.

Now, Amnesty International say the Qatari government is still exploiting migrant workers six months after announcing a series of reforms.

Amnesty claimed the promises made back in May have not been acted upon.

JAMES LYNCH, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Qatar has said repeatedly that it sees the World Cup as an opportunity to deliver social justice, to actually

improve the situation. That's certainly what the World Cup organizers say.

What we're seeing now -- and we're planning to monitor this on a six- monthly basis -- is time is running out. If these fundamental steps aren't taken rapidly. Then the legacy of this Word Cup would be suffering and

human rights abuses. So, the time to act is now.

THOMAS: Amnesty's case has been made stronger by the response we received from Qatar World Cup organizers. When we asked for their reaction

to this latest report, they merely forwarded us the reforms outlined earlier in the year. Clearly cut and pasted, it even had the May date on.

Quite a casual attitude.

In the same week that FIFA's chief judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, may finally reveal which countries broke rules relating to that 2018 and 2022

World Cup bidding process. Becky?


ANDERSON: Thank you very much, indeed, for that. And a reminder of the other news this hour today from the European Space Agency. In the past

half hour or so, the Philae has landed, touched down for the Rosetta mission on a comet, let me tell you, about 510 million miles -- or

kilometers away from Earth.

We're waiting on pictures to confirm that a spacecraft the size of a fridge riding a comet moving at -- what was it? -- 40,000 miles an hour

have been received.




ANDERSON: These were the pictures when, certainly, Mission Control found out that the spacecraft had landed. As we get those pictures to us

on CNN, of course, you will be the first to get them. Waiting on those.

You're with CNN, I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for watching.