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CONNECT THE WORLD
The World Reacts To CIA Torture Report; Admiralty Protest Site Cleared By Police; Autopsy For Palestinian Authority Minister Has Conflicting Results; One Square Meter: Vienna Train Station
Aired December 11, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, HOST: Thousands attend a funeral for the Palestinian minister who died after a confrontation with Israeli troops. Both sides
are giving very differing accounts as to why 55-year-old Ziad Abu Ein died during what was supposed to be a non-violent protest.
We'll get a live update in just a moment.
Also ahead, hundreds of arrests in Hong Kong today as police clear out the main protest site. The month's long movement stutters to a close.
And we follow the fallout from the CIA torture report and the push from some quarters to prosecute those involved.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
GORANI: Hello everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. Welcome to this hour as Palestinians gathered for the funeral of a senior official in the West
Bank, Palestinian and Israeli authorities are offering very different accounts of exactly what cause the deaths of Ziad Abu Ein.
Thousands attended his funeral in Ramallah today. All we know for sure is that he died after a confrontation with Israeli troops.
Palestinians say excessive force and tear gas inhalation were contributing factors, but the Israeli government says a blockage of the
coronary artery caused his death.
Ben Wedeman joins me now live. He is in Jerusalem.
Ben, tell us a little bit more about this funeral and about two sides with very different versions of what happened.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the funeral took place in the Muqata (ph), which is the headquarters of the Palestinian
Authority in Ramallah, attended by hundreds of invited guests, but then it was followed by the actual burial in a cemetery in al-Bireh, which is right
next to Ramallah. There, there were thousands of people. There was some automatic weapons being fired in the air and angry speeches, we heard, by
members of the Fatah movement to which Mr. Ziad Abu Ein was a member.
Afterwards, there were clashes in the area as well between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers. The Israeli soldiers firing tear gas and
rubber bullets and skunk water, this is a chemical substance the Israelis used to try to control crowds. It sticks with you for days and reeks like
And as far as the conflicting versions of what happened, what is important to stress is that even the Israelis are conceding that he -- that
Ziad Abu Ein, they say he had a heart condition and therefore his death may have been a result of the additional stress of course being manhandled by
Israeli troops, which we saw in still photographs and videos.
The Palestinians are pointing to the fact that he had broken teeth, he had bruises on his chest. He had other signs of physical abuse. And, they
say, the ultimate cause was the fact that he inhaled way too much tear gas, which caused him to vomit and he choked on his vomit.
Now this autopsy was conducted by a mixed team. The Palestinian Authority after the death contacted the Jordanian government asking them to
send pathologists. So it was Israeli pathologist, Palestinian pathologists and Jordanian pathologists, but clearly they didn't agree on the final
cause of death -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman live there in Jerusalem with more on the day's events. And of course we'll
continue to follow this story for reaction and whether or not it leads to even more tension in an already very tense environment in that part of the
Let's take it from the Middle East to Asia. Ordinary life is returning to central Hong Kong after a stretch of 10 extraordinary weeks.
As promised, police moved in Thursday and cleared out the main protest site where so many had gathered to vent their anger over perceived interference
from China's central government.
Most went quietly. More than 200, however, were taken into custody.
CNN's Saima Mohsin was there as people were packing up.
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is it, the last stand of Occupy Hong Kong. For 75 days Hong Kong's pro-democracy
protesters occupied some of the city's busiest roads.
By Thursday, only a few dozen remained sitting on the ground waiting for the advancing police forces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of us have a dream that our society, Hong Kong, will be better. And we know that, as they say, a difficult task.
MOHSIN: Thursday's clearout began slowly as bailiffs removed barricades from a site covered by a court injunction. Then, the police
The warnings are over and the police have now got the entire site under lockdown. They are now moving in to remove all these tents and to
remove any remaining protesters.
Ripping down tents, breaking the barricades, police pulled down the mini city that had grown up in the middle of Hong Kong. It was a somewhat
peaceful end to a movement that was not always so.
Initial protests grew to the tens of thousands after police used tear gas on students, an almost unthinkable action in this city. More and more
people voiced their displeasure at a plan by Beijing to select candidates for the 2017 elections for Hong Kong's highest office instead of the
But, as the occupation wore on, patience wore thin. With traffic snarled and taxi drivers losing income, violence broke out between pro and
In the end, many protesters were resigned to Thursday's clearout, packing and leaving on their own instead of facing arrest.
The police faced resistance only from a core group of students and politicians. One by one they were arrested and carted away.
Billionaire Jimmy Lai was among those who stayed until the bitter end. Before he was arrested I asked him if this movement had been a failure.
JIMMY LAI, MEDIA MOGUL: We would be very naive to think that just by sitting around occupy this place for 70 odd days that we have what we want.
We are not so naive. We know that this is a long haul fight. We know that there will be many battles before winning the war.
MOHSIN: So then what's next? If you can't do it this way, how do you do it?
LAI: We will not know the next until we see the next. We don't know. Definitely there will be a next -- and the next and the next and the next.
MOHSIN: For now, though, Occupy Hong Kong is at an end, the first chapter of this battle clear and so are the streets of the Admiralty
District for the first time in two-and-a-half months.
Saima Mohsin, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: Well, this story continues to have ripple effects. This week's release of the American Senate's report on so-called enhanced
interrogation by the CIA is continuing to stir up reaction not just in the United States, but also beyond internationally. Some foreign governments
are condemning the use of torture in secret CIA facilities while in Washington there are calls for the head of the CIA to step down.
Jim Acosta has this report.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the debate raging over the fallout of the torture report, the White House is staying on the
Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to weigh in on whether CIA officials should be tried for interrogation tactics the president himself
has described as torture.
(on camera): Do those details warrant going back and reexamining whether people should be prosecuted?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Decisions about prosecution are made by career federal prosecutors at the Department of Justice.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The Justice Department says the federal prosecutors who looked into the program won't be launching a new
investigation based on the report from the Senate Intelligence Committee's Democratic chair, Dianne Feinstein.
Trial or no trial, the CIA has some big names coming to its defense from former Vice President Dick Cheney, who blasted the report on FOX News.
CHENEY: I think it's a terrible piece of work. We did exactly what needed to be done in order to catch those who were guilty on 9/11 and to
prevent a further attack, and we were successful on both parts.
BRET BAIER, FOX HOST: This report says it was not successful.
CHENEY: The report is full of crap.
ACOSTA: ... to the agency's former director, Michael Hayden.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE CIA: What stunned me about the report most was the fact that it was written in the way it was written. It
is an unrelenting prosecutorial document.
ACOSTA: Both men say the CIA is right in asserting that harsh interrogation techniques like those shown in the film "Zero Dark 30"
actually prevented attacks and saved lives. But on that crucial question, the White House takes no position.
EARNEST: It is impossible to know the counterfactual, right? It's impossible to know whether or not this information could have been obtained
using tactics that are consistent with the Army Field Manual or other law enforcement techniques.
SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: The CIA is lying.
ACOSTA: Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall called on the president to clean house at the CIA. Udall said an internal review of the
interrogation program conducted by former CIA director Leon Panetta found the agency repeatedly misled Congress about the brutal tactics.
UDALL: The president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this
program. For Director Brennan, that means resigning.
ACOSTA: But the White House is standing by John Brennan, saying the president has confidence in his CIA director. Brennan will have a chance
to defend himself when he holds a news conference at the CIA later this afternoon.
Jim Acosta, CNN, The White House.
GORANI: Still to come, we examine whether the CIA torture report could lead to any prosecutions outside the United States. We'll be right
And France's parliament is the latest to vote on a resolution recognizing Palestine as a state. What does it actually mean? We'll bring
you that later this hour.
GORANI: There's been varied reaction around the world to the report on the CIA's brutal interrogation tactics. The United Nations has called
for the criminal prosecution of officials involved in torture, even nations known to have collaborated are now condemning the CIA's actions while
others are being defensive about their involvement, many others, by the way, saying nothing at all.
Karl Penhaul has our story from London.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On a trip to Turkey, Britain's prime minister spelled out what the CIA had for years ignored.
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Torture is always wrong. Those of us who want to see a safer, more secure world, who want to see
this extremism defeated, we won't succeed if we lose our moral authority.
PENHAUL: What Cameron did not spell out was that Britain itself may have been complicit in the CIA torture program. A previous British
government, led by Tony Blair, is accused in an ongoing criminal investigation of helping send terror suspects to Libya in 2004, knowing
they'd be tortured. Blair is also accused of permitting his U.S. allies to run a secret prison on the British Island of Diego Garcia.
Earlier this year, the European court of human rights ruled Poland knowingly allowed the CIA to torture suspects at a secret facility there, a
so-called black site.
On Wednesday, former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski denied knowing what U.S. agents were doing, but admitted he had given the CIA what
he called a quiet place for operations.
He warned the U.S. would lose international cooperation if it publicly revealed too much information.
ALEKSANDER KWANIEWSKI, FRM. POLISH PRESIDENT (through translator): The Americans by publishing this report in large part lose their allied
abilities, because in a new situation every country will be wondering to what extent it can be trusted that some operations, sometimes on the verge
of illegality but crucial for security, will be possible to implement.
PENHAUL: British Muslim Moazzem Bagg was detained by U.S. forces and eventually locked away for three years, much of that time in Guantanamo.
MOAZZEM BEGG, FRM. GUANTANAMO BAY PRISONER: Essentially what this does is it admit that there's been torture, but what it doesn't do is get
PENHAUL: Countries with their own dire human rights records like China and Iran and even a former Taliban diplomat have been quick to
condemn the CIA.
That echoes a warning by Poland's former president that going public on torture may hand a propaganda coup to America's ideological foes.
KWANIEWSKI (through translator): I think that this report is something that the Kremlin accepts as either a confirmation of their
theories, or an unexpected Christmas present.
PENHAUL: Clearly some on the international stage believe the U.S. admission on torture does not go far enough, others seem to wish the U.S.
would just stay quiet and cover its tracks.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, London.
GORANI: Human rights organizations are now hoping that the release of the report could pave the way for fresh legal action against top CIA
officials. And in light of the agency's reported extensive cooperation with foreign governments, there could be many other prosecutions brought
around the world.
What could they be? Joining me now live from Berlin is Wolfgang Kaleck, lawyer and director of the European Center for Constitutional and
Human Rights who has already brought criminal cases against CIA agents in several European countries.
Thanks for being with us.
What is the legal status of some of the cases you've already brought forward?
WOLFGANG KALECK, EUROPEAN CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL & HUMAN RIGHTS: Look, there is a pending case in Spain by the (inaudible), the
investigation judge in Madrid. There are 13 arrest warrants out against CIA agents in Germany, because they were involved in the kidnapping of
German citizen Khalid al Masri. And there are several procedures in Poland, in Belgium and in France which I hope will get fresh wind from the
So we can gain a lot of arguments from the report.
GORANI: But what you're not going to get is cooperation from the United States. The Justice Department has already said that it would not
criminally pursue anyone involved in these interrogation tactics and techniques over the years that were covered by the report.
KALECK: Yeah, look, we're talking about torture. Torture is an international crime. And international crimes have to be prosecuted.
We would love to have prosecutions happen in the U.S. If this is not taking place, I think European countries should be ready. And some of them
are indeed ready and so we hope that there will be investigations here.
And investigations is one thing, the other thing is if these people who are involved not only in committing the crimes, but planning them,
conducting the systems, if these people are going to travel to Europe they are running into trouble.
GORANI: But how do you practically find out identifies, names, even in these reports that's still classified information.
KALECK: OK. So there are some identities are revealed in Spain, in Italy, and in Germany they have been taking place, several investigations
into, as I said, the kidnapping of Khalid al Masri and another kidnapping of the Egyptian citizen Abu Umar (ph) in Italy. But I also want, or we
want to talk about the higher ups, because from -- we always said this is a policy, this is a state policy. And so it's not enough to go only after
the CIA agents on the ground. Yes, they have to be prosecuted, but we also have to prosecute those who direct the system and that's the former CIA
directors, that's the department directors and other people who are well known.
GORANI: You're talking about international law here. I interviewed just after the report was released, the former chief spokesperson for the
Central Intelligence Agency who essentially said all of these interrogation techniques were run by very top officials in the United States all the way
to the executive branch and we were always told this is legal, what you are doing is legal.
So in this case, this is about international law, correct?
KALECK: Yes, yes.
I think, you know, nobody outside of the U.S. doubts what the CIA agents carried out over the year is establish torture. There might be some
people within the U.S. who doubt it, but I think no serious lawyer outside of the U.S. is doubting that.
The question is only is there a political will to investigate and prosecute it? And that's what I hope the situation will change after the
release of the report.
GORANI: And Wolfgang, let me ask you one last question, what is mentioned as well in this Senate report are the countries who cooperated
with the United States in the establishment of these secret prison facilities. Do you foresee a situation in which there can be legal action
brought against officials who knew about these secret facilities who authorized them? Yes or no?
And indeed we're talking about Italy again where there was already an investigation directed against Italian agents who helped in the kidnapping
of Abu Umar (ph) and also in Poland there is a pending investigation against Polish secret service officials.
So there is already something going on. And the more facts we have, the more the case -- the more cases we are going to have.
GORANI: Wolfgang Kaleck of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights joining me from Berlin, thanks very much for your time this
And by the way, CIA Director John Brennan is scheduled to hold a news conference today to discuss the report's findings. We plan to bring you
that when it starts in about two hour's time. So do stay with us for that and more.
Coming up, the French Senate votes to recognize Palestinian as a state. The move is only symbolic, but in more than 130 countries its
official policy. We'll discuss the implications of that in about 10 minutes.
And in this week's One Square Meter, we head to Vienna. A new environmentally friendly train station promises to be much more than just a
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Even on a gray winter's day in Vienna, it's hard not to be taken in by a roof that looks like
something out of Star Trek.
KARL JOHANN HARTIG, PROJECT MANAGER: Just to me it says something about dynamics, dynamics of railway, dynamics of trains.
DEFTERIOS: As project manager, Karl Johann Hartig helped bring the city's main train station to life.
HARTIG: Not a cathedral anymore as these old stations were built. It's a more functional architecture of course.
DEFTERIOS: The initial plans for Vienna Station were dreamed up a quarter century ago, before the fall of communism. Contract tenders were
awarded nearly a decade ago. And the first phase of the $5 bill project, the station itself, is fully operational.
This station, of course, is about domestic connectivity, but it also taps three major European arteries, taking passengers to Poland in the
north, Romania to the east, Greece to the south and also going west to France.
Ronata Bauner (ph) is vice mayor of the city.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before the trains came here, the end, it stops. And now the trains go right through to all directions and that's also the
role we see for ourselves.
DEFTERIOS: But Vienna's main station wants to be much more than a transport hub. Of the 109 hectares to work with, over half will be opened
up for urban renewal.
Two anchor business tenants are putting headquarters here: state train operator OBB and by 2016 financial house Erste Bank with 4,500 employees.
It's being positioned as the modern alternative to the central business district which is just two-and-a-half kilometers away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we saw already in terms of office space is an increase in rental prices of roughly 15 percent. And that trend is going
to continue I'm quite certain.
DEFTERIOS: Confident, because the city of less than 2 million people is expanding with 20,000 more each and every year.
John Defterios, CNN, Vienna.
GORANI: A look at your top stories on CNN. One person has been killed, 15 more injured in a suicide bombing at a school in Kabul. Police
say the bomber blew himself up while students were watching a theater show at the school. Earlier in the day, five Afghan soldiers were killed in an
attack by the Taliban.
Also among those stories we're following, thousands attended the funeral of the senior Palestinian official who died after a confrontation
with Israeli troops. Both sides disagree on the cause of Ziad Abu Ein's death. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his government will
investigate the case.
Hong Kong authorities say more than 200 people were arrested because they refused to leave the main protest site as police cleared it out on
Thursday. For nearly three months, the area had been the site of mass demonstrations against Beijing's insistence that local candidates for an
upcoming election be vetted by the central government.
Judges at the International Criminal Court are demanding that Ivory Coast's former first lady be handed over to their custody. Simone Gbagbo
is accused of crimes against humanity, along with her husband, former president Laurent Gbagbo. He is already at the Hague awaiting his own
In France, the Senate has voted in favor of a resolution to recognize Palestine as a state. The lower house took a similar step last week. Now,
the move is not binding on the French government. Jim Bittermann has more from Paris. What was behind this move, which is largely symbolic, Jim?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you've got it. It's largely symbolic. But on the other hand, it does show
sort of a popular will for the government.
And Laurent Fabius, the minister of foreign affairs here said recently after that National Assembly vote last week that, in fact, he expects
within two years that the French government would, in fact, officially recognize Palestine.
Now, this is -- comes on the heels of Great Britain and Ireland and any number of other European countries symbolically -- taking a symbolic
step of voting in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state. Some European countries have already recognized the state of Palestine.
And I think it's an attempt to sort of -- especially by some of the left-wing parties in Europe to get the things -- get the Middle East peace
talks going, perhaps taking a little bit of pressure off the United States. The United States for decades has been the lead player in trying to work
out a Middle Peace.
The Europeans, I think, are growing impatient with that and would love to see a little bit more action. They've seen nothing but a kind of a
frustrated breakdown in talks most recently. And I think this is an attempt to pressure on all parties to get something moving. Hala?
GORANI: But tangibly, how might that change things with regards to the relationship of France and Israel, for instance? Could it have any
impact on foreign policy? Could it have any concrete, measurable impact?
BITTERMANN: I don't think it could have impact on foreign policy. I think Israel needs France just as much as France needs Israel. And I think
there's a building popular sentiment in Europe that I think Israel has to take note of.
The fact is that European countries now, when you have countries like Great Britain and Ireland and others -- who have long sided with Israel,
have been friends of Israel, taking the stand that the state of Palestine should be recognized. It says something, I think, to the leadership in
Israel about which way, at least, the Europeans are going.
Now, they made the argument to the United States saying, how are you - - if you think that the ultimate goal here is a two-state solution, how can you possibly not recognize one of the two states? It's kind of an
illogical position to be in.
So, I think the Europeans are trying to put their own hand in, here, and try to make things happen. Hala?
GORANI: Jim Bittermann, our senior international correspondent, thanks very much. He is reporting live from Paris.
Well, the resolution that passed in the French parliament today is similar -- and Jim was mentioning that -- to ones that have passed in
legislatures in Madrid, Dublin, even here in London. They all call on their respective governments to recognize Palestine as a state.
But here's the thing. We were discussing this as well. They're all symbolic. Take a look at this map. The countries shown here in yellow,
there they are: 135 of them. They've all officially recognized Palestine, including Sweden. One notable country that's not in yellow, of course, is
the United States.
But the question is, does recognition really make any practical difference? Sharif Nashashibi is a commentator of Middle East affairs, a
Palestinian journalist as well, based her in London. Thanks for being with us.
SHARIF NASHASHIBI, JOURNALIST AND MIDDLE EAST COMMENTATOR: Thank you.
GORANI: So, you hear about -- and by the way, I interviewed the foreign minister of Sweden a few weeks ago after Sweden officially
recognized Palestine as a state, and the Israelis reacted by withdrawing their ambassador. It angered them quite a bit. But will it go beyond
SHARIF NASHASHIBI, JOURNALIST AND MIDDLE EAST COMMENTATOR: I don't think so. Europe -- the EU is the largest trading partner of Israel. So,
there's only so far Israel would be prepared to go in terms of damaging relations with its biggest trading partner. So, I don't think it'll go
much beyond that.
GORANI: So, this is just about a symbolic step to send a subtle message, but it won't translate into anything that goes further than that,
NASHASHIBI: Well, I think the importance of it is to show how isolated Israel has become in a region where it has traditionally enjoyed
good relations. But because it's symbolic, it's not enough. Governments have to heed the calls of their elected parliaments.
And then, beyond that, they have to apply more pressure on Israel in terms of its violations of Palestinian rights. Because at the moment, this
is purely symbolic. So, it has a huge amount of leverage, the EU does, over Israel as its largest trading partner, which so far it's not using
GORANI: But you could argue the US has even more leverage. It has aid packages for military spending, for instance, in the billions of
dollars. Yet even when you sense frustration from the US side coming from the highest levels of the executive there, not much has changed. So, what
does need to change?
NASHASHIBI: Well, I think the playing field in the US is far more imbalanced. I don't think -- what we're seeing in Europe we're not seeing
yet in the US. I think the tide is shifting.
But I think the EU, as the largest trading partner of Israel, has a key role to play, which it's not playing sufficiently. Regardless of what
the US does, I think the EU has a responsibility towards the Palestinians to make its --
GORANI: But the end game -- and this would be the ideal scenario -- is that this symbolic recognition of a state of Palestine, in the case of
Sweden it went a little big further, but that it would pressure the parties to get back to the negotiating table and come up with some sort of
NASHASHIBI: Well, the issue of recognition shouldn't be dependent on Israeli consent. I mean, the Palestinians have a right to self-
determination, and they have a right for that self-determination to be recognized, quite apart from the negotiations. So, I think people need to
bear that in mind.
The problem I have with people endorsing a Palestinian state but only within the framework of negotiations is Israel has proven time and again,
in terms of its actions and its words, that it is against the establishment of a Palestinian state. So, it shouldn't -- the international community
shouldn't rely on Israel's good will for the creation of a Palestinian state. We're far beyond that now.
GORANI: What do you think is going to happen, then, as a result, not just of this, but as a result of this environment where talks have broken
down time and time again. The tension in the region is becoming more of an issue, especially after the death of the Fatah official in -- or near,
Ramallah, I should say, in the West Bank. Where are we headed here?
NASHASHIBI: Well, I think unless Israel is treated just like any other country in the international community in terms of abiding by
international law and human rights law, unless it is treated like every other country, the situation is going to get far worse in the region.
And I think there is now a growing disconnect in Europe between government policy towards Israel and the wishes of elected MPs and public
opinion. So, this gap needs to be narrowed, and international law should apply to this conflict. This should be the fundamental basis of a solution
to the conflict.
GORANI: All right, Sharif Nashashibi, thanks very much for being with us here in London with your take on developments there. France, we
mentioned, Ireland, Sweden a few weeks back, so a good 35 countries, they're recognizing Palestine on some level.
All right. We want to hear from you. You can reach us on facebook.com/connect and send us your reaction to any of the stories we've
been coming. And you can tweet me @HalaGorani or @CNNConnect.
With only 14 days left until Christmas, the rush to buy gifts is on. But with so much choice, what to get that special someone? Dubai is home
to one of the largest malls. I thought it would be the largest mall. Everything's the largest in Dubai, right? And now, well-heeled shoppers
have yet another reason to hot-foot it to the Dubai Mall. Here's Amir Daftari.
AMIR DAFTARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Stilettos to slip-ons, lace-ups to loafers. Whichever style you're into, this
fortress of footwear will have what you're looking for and more.
This is Level Shoe District in the Dubai Mall, the largest store of its kind anywhere in the world.
RANIA MASRI, GENERAL MANAGER, LEVEL SHOE DISTRICT: Nine thousand square meters dedicated to shoes and only shoes.
DAFTARI (on camera): That's a pretty big space.
DAFTARI (voice-over): Rania Masri is the manager here. And as you might expect, she has a passion for footwear.
MASRI: We have over 15,000 styles on display.
DAFTARI (on camera): Wow.
MASRI: Within 40 boutiques and four multi-brand areas. We have 300,000 in stock. We have 250 brands, from which are 100 are exclusive to
Level Shoe District.
DAFTARI (voice-over): But will shoppers feel spoiled for choice or overwhelmed with options?
MASRI: We came from an era of the "it bag." It is all about the "it shoe" now.
DAFTARI (on camera): So, the shoes -- it's becoming a status symbol?
MASRI: It is a big status symbol. It's an aspirational (inaudible). And again, one of the main reasons that this concept is working and why
we've created it, we went from a 2.8 billion luxury industry in the Middle East in 2014, from which 25 percent is footwear.
We see from our customers at Level Shoe District, a customer will come shopping for shoes on average, 40 percent of them will come two -- will buy
a shoe every two, three months. That's a lot of shoes to buy a year.
DAFTARI (voice-over): As with many things in Dubai, Level Shoe District is very glitz and glam. And I wanted to know if its high-end
status makes some just want to turn on their heel.
MASRI: Absolutely not. What's high-end within Level Shoe District is the experience. It's the offer, it's the space, it's -- you really want to
feel special when you're here. But we offer something for everyone.
DAFTARI: The largest shoe store in the world now attracts 700,000 shoppers a month. What's more, it's located in one of the largest malls in
the world. So, in a city that likes things big, Level Shoe District is proving to be a perfect fit.
Amir Daftari, CNN, Dubai.
GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani, thanks for watching. MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST is next.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, an expensive network. The internet is playing a defining role in the Middle
East, and that position is only getting bigger. We speak to the founder of computer giant Dell --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL DELL, FOUNDER, DELL: For the latest and greatest technology, this region is really unparalleled in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: -- and find out how his company is developing the bond between the region and that resource.
Plus, robust retail. It's peak shopping season, with billions being spent worldwide. We take a look at key trends in cyber shopping.
Welcome to this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. From tablets to mobile phones, desktops to laptops, technology has entered nearly every
aspect of our lives. Despite having some of the highest disposable income in the world, internet penetration in the region, though, remains
relatively low. However, this is starting to change.
There are over 3 billion internet users worldwide, 3.7 percent of them are in the Middle East. Iran leads the way with around 45 million people
online. It's followed by Egypt, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. Not surprising, really, considering the populations of these countries.
Here in the UAE, there are over 8 million users. That's 88 percent of the population using the internet.
When going online, people want to have the sleekest, slimmest devices, but as you can see, there are literally hundreds to choose from. The name
Dell is synonymous with personal computers, and the company has had to adapt to very intense competition. Our Kim Kelaita spoke with the founder
of the company, Michael Dell, when he was here in the UAE.
DELL: What I found out here is not only is there a great energy and enthusiasm for technology, but the appetite for the latest and greatest
technology in this region is really unparalleled in the world. So, we're bringing everything that we have in helping our customers build world-class
KIM KELAITA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing a lot of technology being released in the market. You just released the world's
thinnest tablet. Can you compete with the likes of Apple?
DELL: We really see this as an extension of the PC business. So, we started with desktops, laptops, super thin light notebooks. Now we have
the tablet, virtual PCs. We're all over the space. And including tablets, our growth in the first half of the year has been 22 percent in units.
So, we're absolutely gaining share, we're competing very well and growing our share of, really, all the markets we're in.
KELAITA: Cyber security is a huge issue. We're seeing many breaches over many different computers and companies all over the world. What is
Dell doing to compete with?
DELL: Cyber security is an enormous opportunity for us. It's a concern for IT for sure, because of the enormous number of threat actors
and new threats that are emerging all the time. We see over 80 billion events per day, so we understand the threats that are out there, we're
protecting our customers against them.
We also have 2.5 million firewalls installed in 229 countries. So, we see all of the cyber activity and understand all of that really like no
other company in the world. That allows us to proactively protect our customers against the threats that are emerging literally minute by minute.
DEFTERIOS: Michael Dell speaking to our Kim Kelaita about the challenges and opportunities of operating right here in the region. Up
next, we take a special look at how technology is revolutionizing retail here and abroad.
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST during this holiday season. From Birkenstock to Burberry, Prada to Primark, the retail
sector is a terrific barometer for economic growth no matter where you are in the world. Sometimes it's a simple case of consumers looking for the
best bargain, or a preferential luxury brand.
It's not hard to spot the affluence here in the Middle East, especially in Dubai. Last year, annual sales in the UAE hit $66 billion.
In a special series, we're going to take an in-depth look at an industry that impacts all types of budgets.
The world of retail is in a constant state of change. As more and more consumers click, bricks-and-mortar stores have to remain nimble. It's
a fast-growing market online, worth $1.5 trillion per year, and it's growing rapidly, as Samuel Burke reports.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A typical scene in early December. The lights, the sights, the sounds --
(BRASS BAND PLAYING CHRISTMAS MUSIC)
BURKE: The treats, the smells --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We made a nice little stuffing.
BURKE: The bells. All of this is part of the grand shopping experience.
ALLYSEN STEWART-ALLEN, FOUNDER, INTERNATIONAL MARKETING PARTNERS: Bricks-and-mortar stores know that if they're going to attract people, they
need to be doing something better or differently than competing with your home environment, your coffee machine, your pajamas.
Retailers definitely are looking at ways to bring people in. And that theater and drama and social aspect is increasingly being played up.
BURKE: Competition for your attention is fierce, while smartphones and tablets are changing the way we shop. Retail analytic firm ShopperTrak
analyzes consumer behavior in brick-and-mortar stores. Their 2014 holiday trends report says consumers are researching online, then heading to the
store ready to make that purchase.
BILL MARTIN, FOUNDER, SHOPPERTRAK: Our data would suggest that the same number of people are traveling to the mall as they were back in 2007
and 08, but they're very focused on what stores they're going to head to. And this is a result of their ability to do early online research so they
know what products they want, where they can get them, and what price they can expect to get them at.
BURKE: Some chains, like Macy's, are embracing this upward trend of online shopping with a new feature allowing consumers to buy online then
pick up their items in the physical stores. This can be good for both sides, reducing delivery costs and allowing customers to make an efficient
trip to the store when it fits their schedule.
MARTINE REARDON, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, MACY'S: As long as the consumer is engaging with the Macy's brand, if they choose to do it online,
if they choose to do it in the store, it's the same for us. Because the holidays are just incredibly special, people want to come into the physical
BURKE: One advantage brick-and-mortar shops will always have over online, the ability to satisfy the five senses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I come into the store, I get that personalized touch. The feeling about being able to try the clothes on.
You don't get the same experience online as you do when you -- as you come into the store.
BURKE: Samuel Burke, CNN.
DEFTERIOS: This time of year, of course, consumers want to have the mall experience, and the trend of shopping online in the Middle East is
still in its infancy. But the wariness is starting to drop, and retailers want to tap this ever-expanding pool. Jon Jensen has that story.
JON JENSEN, CNN PRODUCER (voice-over): In the United Arab Emirates, shopping malls are not just for shopping. They're places where thousands
of visitors come each day to grab a bite, escape the heat, and to be entertained.
But if you're a businessman in a hurry, like Emirati Yousef al Hashimi, shopping with the crowds can be overwhelming.
YOUSEF AL HASHIMI, BUSINESSMAN: It just takes too much time, and you just get bogged down. By the time you're done, you're exhausted.
JENSEN: That's where 30-year-old Mahmoud Gao comes in.
MAHMOUD GAO, FOUNDER, MR. DRAPER: Maybe you lost weight, because this isn't 2011.
JENSEN: He runs a company that helps men buy clothes from the comfort of home. It's called Mr. Draper.
GAO: Mr. Draper is just a service that helps men shop as conveniently as possible.
JENSEN: Customers log onto their site, enter preferences on size, style, and price. Then, a few days later, a box of clothes arrives. What
you like, you pay for and keep. Everything else, you can return at no cost. And if you don't know what you're looking for, well, they can help
JENSEN (on camera): Now, what sets this company apart from traditional online shopping is the service they provide: a stylist. This
is Melissa. She is here to tell men what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong.
I'm going to take this one to start.
JENSEN (voice-over): Gao is hoping this free, personalized makeover will give him an edge over traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
MELISSA, STYLIST: Not bad. Let's try another.
JENSEN (on camera): Yes?
JENSEN: OK. I don't know about this.
JENSEN: I think it's good.
JENSEN: What do you think?
MELISSA: That's very nice. That's the one.
GAO: We're a new styling service for men.
JENSEN (voice-over): It's not exactly a unique concept. Similar companies have been around in the US for years. But shopping online here
is relatively new and growing. E-commerce in the UAE is now worth $2.5 billion, and online payment company PayPal expects it to double next year.
Still, there are challenges in the region. Not all houses are correctly labeled, and the extreme heat can affect supplies. Plus, with 80
percent of online purchases still paid for in cash here, returns are common.
NADA ZAGALLAI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GLAMBOX: It's filtered into brands that we've taken off and brands that we've kept.
JENSEN: Nada Zagallai runs an online startup called GlamBox. They mail cosmetic samples to subscribers, helping customers try new brands and
sort through the clutter, she says. In the past year, she says, their revenue has tripled. But logistics is still an issue.
ZAGALLAI: I don't think the market is challenging. Having the entire experience go very smoothly from packing point to delivery point, that's
really the core of our challenge.
JENSEN (on camera): What about blue?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a lot of blue. He does all blue.
JENSEN (voice-over): Gao is hopeful Mr. Draper can overcome these hurdles.
GAO: We've been very surprised for what we've done so far. When we looked at the numbers, we were ecstatic, obviously. But we were also
really surprised about our potential.
JENSEN: He is, after all, turning a profit, and buying wholesale, selling for retail, and avoiding the type of rent stores normally pay in
DEFTERIOS: Jon Jensen getting styled up for us here in the field. And that's all for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week
from Dubai. I'm John Defterios, thanks for watching. We'll see you next week.