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Children Dream Of Hopeful Future Inside Secret School In Aleppo; Middle East Braces For Snow; One Square Meter: Ponce City Market, Atlanta; Identifying AirAsia Crash Victims; Middle East Refugees Prepare for Winter Storm; Bomb Attack in Historic Istanbul District; Plunging Oil's Impact on Middle East; Jordan's Prince Launches FIFA Leadership Bid

Aired January 6, 2015 - 11:00   ET


JIM CLANCY, HOST: Inside Syria's secret schools, children in the war zone won't give up their dream of an eduction.

In just a moment you're going to hear from UNICEF in Damascus on just how bad the situation is for Syria's students.

Also ahead, oil hitting a fresh five year low. We're going to be live in Abu Dhabi where jitters are sending stocks plunging.

And Jordan's Prince Ali bin al Hussain says he's going to challenge Sepp Blatter for FIFA's presidency.

ANNOUNCER: This is the hour we connect the world.

CLANCY: Hello and welcome everyone. The battle for control of Syria is soon going to be entering its fifth year. The human cost is actually

too high to be accurately documented. No one really knows. The refugee crisis has taken a toll not just on Syria, but on several neighboring

nations. Countless people have fought and died for their cause, others they're merely caught in the crossfire.

No one suffers more than Syria's youngest. Behind me is the number of children inside Syria that UNICEF believes are missing out on an education

as a result of this conflict. And there were at least 68 attacks on schools in 2014 in that year alone.

The children of the crisis are resolute. Nick Paton Walsh brings us a look seen through the lens of Brazilian photographer Gabriel Shaim (ph).

He's looking at how students are getting the learning they crave a secret school in Aleppo.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Near besieged Aleppo, where there is little space for life, there is somehow still space

for learning.

They can't fit all the children into here who want to come even though the regime has bombed the teacher's previous schools five times.

This is held in secret in a house.

When class breaks, it's not for the bell, but often to the sound of a regime jet.

"If they're in the square of the school, he says, they run to inside and close the windows of the classes. Some have pale faces, some become

sick. Every time the warplane comes, the children and even the adults become scared."

English won't be spoken in Syria any time soon. So these are lessons of a future dreamed of elsewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in the evening, we are going to school here. (inaudible) here for (inaudible).

WALSH: Where families are broken, food often scarce. The regime has ravaged their homes with barrel bombs, huge makeshift devices dropped from

helicopters onto their childhoods.

See what happens when they're asked who has seen one.

It was a surface-to-surface missile that hit Waffa (ph), killing four, hospitalizing her for three months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This accident happened to me three months ago. And my hope and trust in god was big, then I will

stand up using my legs again and I won't be afraid anymore.

WALSH: Muhammad (ph) is 10, and this is his definition of war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A war means shelling and killing small children.

WALSH: Omar (ph) is happiest playing Barbie, saddest when remembering her brother had been killed by a mortar in their balcony.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): After he died, they brought him to us and we saw his body.

WALSH: What would she like to say to him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We miss you.

WALSH: Refusing to leave Syria or give up hope for a distant future that may not be unutterably bleak.


CLANCY: Heartbreaking stories from the mouths of children. We're going to talk with Nick Paton Walsh in just a moment. He's in Beirut.

But Hanaa Singer is UNICEF's representative in Syria. She joins me now on the line from Damascus. And I, you know, have to begin by just

asking you we've got this number 670,000 young people whose lives are completely disrupted. Are they ever going to be able to get any of this

back as we go into year five?


Actually, let me clarify even it's as much more than this. We're talking about 2.1 million to 2.4 million children that remain out of

schools. The 670,000 students are only in Raqqa and in Deir ez-Zor where the schools are based on a decree issued by ISIL has been closed simply and

children stopped going to school so that the decree also states that teachers have to be retrained in the new curriculum and the new curriculum

based on new Islamic rules endorsed by the armed groups will be put in place.

So, the 670,000 are only in to governates whereas the impact it's much more -- you're talking about 2.1 million to 2.4 million children that are

missing out on education in Syria.

CLANCY: Let's -- all right, let's get some perspective here, is UNICEF working -- is it able to work with ISIS, with ISIL to give the

children an education. Are you confident that in the areas that are controlled by Islamic militants of the most extreme type that people can

get an education, young people can go to school?

SINGER: I have to say -- I mean, education is something that is -- if you talk about the children of Syria, children of Syria are among the most

resilient I have ever seen. And I think there is so much insistence and steadfastness to go to school so even in areas that are under severe

insecurity situation, you still have children going to school and wanting to go to school. This is their only means of stability and their only

psychosocial support that they aim for.

It's amazing sometimes when we go to some of these schools.

We cannot, as UNICEF itself -- we cannot -- no, we don't go directly and we don't deal directly in areas where ISIL are, but at the same time

there are so many different means. Civil society is working on the ground, very heroic facilitators that are working. We try to reach as much as

possible, but the areas of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor is definitely closed areas and we can't have access there. And this is a big problem. And that's why

we made this statement today.

CLANCY: Hanaa, you've got 2.1 million children out of school. But put it in perspective. What does this mean for Syria? What does it mean

for the Middle East going into the future, this lost generation?

SINGER: Sorry, I lost you.

CLANCY: What does it mean for the region that so many children aren't able to get an education today?

SINGER: Of course it's -- I mean, one of the most challenging situation any country can taste. You have a whole generation that is

challenged, that could be lost and -- but as I told you I don't always look at it from the terrible side. It is a horrible situation, but I keep on

reminding people the steadfastness, resilience of the children, every time I visit school there is determination of the children and the parents that

they will have to find different ways in order to access some sort of education as in the program you were just showing there.

So it is -- it's an amazing resilience on the part of the Syrian children here.

CLANCY: Hanaa Singer, UNICEF representative with us there on the line via Skype from Damascus. Thank you. And thank the people that work for

UNICEF every day for all of the good work that they are doing under the extremely difficult conditions.

I want to get more perspective now on the situation that faces children caught up in Syria's civil war. Nick Paton Walsh joins me now

live from Beirut. He's in neighboring Lebanon. There's, what, Nick, about a million Syrian refugees inside Lebanon right now? What is their


WALSH: 1.5 million -- 1.1 according to the official registered count. Now that is having an incredible impact purely on Lebanon's economy, its

ability just to function as a country -- water is scarce, mobile phone networks occasionally it seems overburdened, a country really finding its

population is increased by 25 to 30 percent in the last three to four years. And this is not a place where it has porous borders and overspill,

it's very much locked into where it is because of the political situation around it.

And of course that is having an impact on schooling for those refugees here. Many schools here have during the last year tried to double shift to

almost have one group come in, then another afterwards to ensure that what Syrian refugees that could perhaps afford or find places for themselves in

school here, get some grip on the education.

But with all things here, the infrastructure it seems will eventually slip. And there is, of course, a deep concern, not only do you have lives

disrupted by their homes being lost, them being forced obviously to come here and live in Lebanon rather than continue their lives inside Syria, you

have lost educations. And then of course for the next 20 to 30 years, Jim, the inability for Syria, if it ever does see peace, to recover because

you'll have a population there who lack basic skills -- Jim.

CLANCY: Nick Paton Walsh reporting there live from Beirut. Nick, many thanks.

And I want to remind our viewers, Nick's series is continuing at this time tomorrow. He's going to take us underground to a bunker that is part

hospital, part shrine. Nick tells us of a doctor who not only treats the wounded, he commemorates the fallen through his own art.

Then tune in Saturday. We'll have a special report. ISIS: Battlefield Aleppo. That airs at 6:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi only here on CNN.

All right, some news just coming in to CNN I want to share with you is coming out of Turkey. Reports of a bomb blast at Istanbul's historic

Sultanahmet District.

Turkish media reporting that an attack took place at a police station. One officer was wounded. I'm going to bring you details of this as soon as

they become available.

Still to come tonight, parts of the Middle East bracing for freezing weather. We're going to tell you what countries in the region are doing to

get ready.


CLANCY: You are with CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Jim Clancy in for Becky Anderson today.

Welcome back everyone. We're watching crude oil prices and they're going nowhere but down. New York's main contract is trading below $50 a

barrel. It's now at a level -- we haven't seen this level since May of 2009. There you see it, $48.60.

We dropped through 50, then we dropped through 49. The price off 55 percent or more from what it was just back in June when it peaked at about

$107 a barrel.

Now oil's big decline fueled a big selloff on Wall Street on Monday and stocks remain under pressure today.

CNN's Maggie Lake joins us now from New York with more.

How is everybody trying to read this?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard, Jim, isn't it? Because there are winners and losers on that oil equation. And obviously good news

for U.S. consumers and drivers. And that's a longer-term issue. But it's bad news for energy companies. And that has been a problem for the stock

market this week.

Yesterday, we saw that 330 point drop by the Dow, a quarter of that was chalked up to big losses in companies like Chevron, Exxon, Caterpillar

which has exposure to the energy sector. Today, it looks like we were going to try to stabilize a little bit, even though pressure remained on

oil. But as you can see, those early gains giving way. And we are down again.

Nothing like the selling we saw yesterday, but we are down about 56 points. And we're not even to the midday point yet. So we're going to

watch that closely.

I do want to point out, even though energy shares and concerns about what that's going to mean for the U.S., which is now an energy producer are

at the forefront, we've also got concerns about Europe. We had a little bit of disappointing data out after the open today. And a lot of people

feeling like the U.S. stock market was really ripe for correction.

So you put all those things in the pot together, Jim, and you're getting a lot of downward pressure on U.S. equities.

CLANCY: Greece. You know, we look at the euro, it's at a multi-year low against the dollar right now. And there's a lot of jitters that an

election could lead the way for Greece leaving the EU.

LAKE: That's right. And that is another real cause of uncertainty. And you can see that, because people are pouring into U.S. government

bonds. They're moving away from any kind of risky asset and they're seeking safe havens.

A lot of people scratching their heads in disbelief that we are still at the point all these years after the financial crisis that we are talking

once again about the possibility of someone leaving the Eurozone, whether Greeks will leave after the election.

We don't know whether that will happen. It's the risk of the unknown and the wonder is there any contagion related to that? A lot of economists

we talk to say it's nothing like it would have been a few years ago, that it's much more manageable is the word that we hear rumored around political

circles in Europe.

But investors do think it's a lot different. There's less contagion, less of Greek's debt is held by private -- the private sector, so I don't

think it would be ask damaging.

But what we don't really know -- and the fact that we're back to that situation again is problematic. and just another sort of concern that's

weighing on investors as we enter 2015 here.

The first trading week has been a tough one so far, Jim.

CLANCY: Hang in there, Maggie. That's all you can do.

And I see you've got a little dusting of snow behind you there in New York City.

LAKE: We do. Freezing cold weather and snow, but it's hitting you as well, I hear, Jim, at CNN Center.

CLANCY: It's not only you and me. Maggie, thanks a lot.

You know, the Middle East is bracing for a snow storm that is expected to hit on Tuesday night. In a matter of hours.

Lebanon is said to be targeted as the hardest hit. It could possibly get 15 centimeters of snow, not just in the mountains either.

As you can see, parts of Jordan, Syria and Israel will also be affected.

Officials in Jerusalem are making sure to be prepared this time around. It was just a year ago that a major storm went through causing

chaos, bringing the entire city to a halt.

Our Ian Lee was there then. He joins me there now.

Ian, Jerusalem is a wonderful place when it snows and everything comes to a halt.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, you're right, Jim, it is nice. It's beautiful to see all these old sites with a nice fresh blanket of snow,

although I think officials here would like to not see so much of it.

This storm isn't forecasted to be as bad as the one that was about a year ago. That one paralyzed the city and really much of the region. In

Jerusalem, they had over -- or roughly about 40 centimeters of snow. There are people leaving their cars in the street, there's tree branches broken,

power lines down, many areas here in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas were without power for a couple of days.

Now officials say this time around they are far better. They have snow plows ready. They have salt trucks that are going to add a little bit

more friction to the roads. They have an emergency number. People have been stocking up on food.

Even though this one isn't anticipated to be as bad, we're also watching Gaza. These storms won't bring snow to Gaza, but they do bring

rain and flooding. And after this last summer's war between Hamas and Gaza militants and Israel, there's a lot of families who are still left

homeless. We're going to be monitoring that situation as well.

People might be looking at the numbers of snow and wondering, you know, it's not that much. But in a region where it doesn't get a lot of

snow, people are getting prepared.

CLANCY: Ian, very quickly, I have to ask you. This is really bad news for the people living in those Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, you

know, hundreds of thousands of people lack shelter right now.

LEE: That's right. And this isn't something that they need. This is -- it brings a whole set of headaches for them -- these freezing

conditions, this snow. Relief agencies are going to be scrambling trying to make sure that everyone is taken care of.

And there's also refugees in Jordan, in Lebanon and Turkey, I mean it really is going to create quite a crisis for those people to make sure that

they have enough food, that they're warm and really make sure that they survive this storm.

These storms can definitely be deadly, Jim.

CLANCY: Ian Lee reporting for us there live from Jerusalem bracing for this storm. We'll be checking in with him tomorrow, you can bet.

All right, a prominent U.S. attorney taking legal action over claims that he had sex with an underaged teenager. The man, Alan Dershowitz on

the left next to Britain's Prince Andrew. Both men were named in a lawsuit alleging they had sex with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts. 17 is considered

underage in the U.S. state of Florida where the lawsuit was filed.

Dershowitz has responded with a motion asking a U.S. court to remove his name from the lawsuit. He says he wants to have the two attorneys that

filed those papers disbarred. CNN has learned that Prince Andrew doesn't have any plans to take similar legal action.

Both men were friends with a billionaire, a Florida billionaire who had helped them both. And in fact Dershowitz came to his defense and had

filed papers with a court undermining the credibility of the young woman who made the accusations. But that was a case that goes all the way back

to 2008.

Buckingham Palace denying the prince had any sexual relations with that accuser.

Our London correspondent Max Foster following these latest developments. He joins us now live from London.

Max, royal headache.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. And the palace has actually gone quite quiet over the last couple of days, not issuing

more statements. There was a flurry over the weekend, of course, unprecedented, but I think largely because there was a situation where the

claimant was making suggestions in court documents that Prince Andrew didn't have the same opportunity.

Alan Dershowitz, obviously, is having that opportunity now. He's filed this motion. It's very, very detailed indeed. It's gone through all

of the claims that Virginia Roberts makes against him, for example here point number four, Jane Doe three, as she's called here -- that's her

anonymous title -- has alleged that she had sex with me on Mr. Epstein's house in New Mexico, that's a deliberate lie. I was at that house only

once whilst I was under -- whilst it was under construction.

So he's going through each element of this, trying to knock it down.

But as you say, we've learned that Prince Andrew isn't going to take legal action in Florida.

They wouldn't normally do so, Buckingham Palace, because they know that it would -- you know, extend the story, but would also mean that lots

of other details would probably come out in court as a result. I think they've decided that they've made the statements that they want to make and

now they want to get back to business as usual, as it was put to me.

CLANCY: You know, you're judged sometimes by your friends. The prince we're talking about here, millionaire, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein,

the prince was friends with him. He did serve time for soliciting, you know, a sex act with a minor.

But when he got out of jail it said that Prince Andrew met him in New York City. It said that they were close pals. It said that, you know, he

helped Fergie, the former wife of the prince, to pay off her debts.

FOSTER: And all of this detail is really being plowed through by the British newspapers at the moment, because there isn't new information

coming in. They're going back to those original court documents that came out on Friday and looking at them and thinking is there a coverup here, for

example, because there are other girls alleged to be involved in what's being called a sex slave ring, which was sort of coordinated by Epstein.

And they are suggesting that a lot of these girls are claiming the fifth amendment. And they won't answer any questions about Prince Andrew. And

it's alleged that their legal fees are being paid by Epstein.

So it's quite murky. And we're not getting much more confirmation here. We'll see how the legal proceedings progress.

CLANCY: Yeah, rumors of videotapes out there, too. This one is not going away any time soon.

Max Foster, thank you.

All right, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

We've got more news to report. A difficult, but necessary job. We're going to meet the man tasked with identifying victims from the AirAsia

crash. That's ahead.

Also, an almost 90 year old building here in Atlanta, Georgia is getting a facelift. That's next on One Square Meter.



JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Atlanta: more than five years after the height of the U.S. recession, this former Olympics city is

seeing a resurgence, including one of the largest redevelopment undertakings a city has ever seen.

This is Ponce City Market, a more than 100,000 square meter mixed use office, retail and residential space.

The building was originally built in 1926 as a regional hub for retail giant Sears Roebuck and Company. Now, a real estate company, Jamestown, is

redeveloping the massive structure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We bought the building from the city in 2011. Jamestown loves to do adaptive reuse. We have a real pension for these

older buildings. And so we've developed something of an expertise in these sorts of assets. So this was up our ally. And we saw incredible

opportunity here.

DEFTERIOS: Within months of their purchase, Jamestown started construction. Upon completetion, Ponce City Market will feature 30,000

square meters of retail and restaurant space, 48,000 square meters of office space and 259 residential units.

Although most of the retail and food hall will be opened mid-2015, residential and retail tenets are already occupying certain spaces in the


The largest criticism of Ponce City Market has been the price of the residential apartment. The average cost for a one bedroom unit in Atlanta

hovers around $1,000 a month, a one bedroom flat at Ponce City Market ranges from $1,400 to over $2,300 a month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There isn't anything that's ever been done like this in Atlanta before. This is kind of normal in some cities like New

York where these giant edifices are reconstructed with adaptive reuse and people are living inside and they're living with commercial and retail and

they know about that. Atlanta doesn't know about it. So the market is going to determine who pays how much in these units.

That being said, this is a unique experience. And there are people prepared to pay for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the most unique residential project in Atlanta. It has taken a lot of money to deliver it. It takes a lot more

money to deliver, you know, a building like this than it does your more traditional commodity apartment buildings in the neighborhood.

DEFTERIOS: Redeveloping an old and iconic structure doesn't come cheap. According to Jamestown, the company has invested $300 million into

the project.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had to basically start investing the capital on our own without signed leases as a signal to the market we're really going

to deliver this, that we are crossing the river, we are making this happen. And so that took a leap of faith on the part of Jamestown.

DEFTERIOS: John Defterios, CNN.



JIM CLANCY, HOST: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Jim Clancy, and here are your headlines. Crude oil prices still falling. New York's main

contract is now trading below $49 a barrel. The price hasn't been that low since May of 2009. Wall Street shrugging off the latest decline early on,

but once again, we're over -- we're down, rather, triple digits, now, on the Dow Jones.

Freezing weather set to hit parts of the Middle East overnight. Snow is expected to blanket Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. The area's home to

thousands and thousands of Syrian refugees, some with only basic tents to protect them from frigid temperatures. Same situation all across the

Middle East.

A prominent US attorney filing a motion to have his name removed from a court filing that alleges he had sex with an underage girl. Harvard Law

professor Alan Dershowitz was named in the filing, alongside Prince Andrew, although neither is a defendant in the lawsuit. CNN has learned that

Prince Andrew does not have plans to take similar action over the allegations. Buckingham Palace has denied the prince had sexual relations

with that underage accuser.

Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein says he's going to be running for president of FIFA, the governing body of world football. The current vice

president says it's time to put the focus back on the sport. He said the headlines ought to be about football, not about FIFA. FIFA's been rocked

by allegations of corruption in the bidding process under the leadership of incumbent Sepp Blatter. Blatter wants to run for another term.

Nine days after AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea, the heartbreaking process is underway of identifying the bodies. Anna Coren

spoke to the man who heads up that effort about the challenges and how his team is helping the grieving families to cope.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The agony and suffering of so many families weights heavily on his shoulders.

ANTON CASTILANI, DOCTOR, HEAD OF DISASTER VICTIMS IDENTIFICATION UNIT: Family assistance center and the crisis center --

COREN: But this 55-year-old police forensics commander can't let it in. He's learned over the years not to. Otherwise, the scale of death

he's witnessed throughout his career would destroy him.

CASTILANI: We go through the layer of --

COREN: Dr. Anton Castilani, head of Indonesia's Disaster Victims Identification Unit, is running the painstaking operation of identifying

the bodies from AirAsia Flight 8501 that crashed into the Java Sea over a week ago. It's a slow and difficult process, especially as the days drag


CASTILANI: Lately, you'll find the dead bodies are more decomposed. And after the next few days, you'll find maybe not an intact body. You'll

find a fragmented body, or maybe worse than that.

COREN: While it's gruesome work, his team is not immune to the horror of disasters. In 2002, they dealt with the aftermath of the Bali bombings

that claimed 202 lives. Then, the Asian tsunami in 2004 swallowed up parts of the Indonesian coastline and elsewhere in the region, killing more than

200,000 people. With too many victims, they could only number the bodies before burying them in mass graves.

CASTILANI: Sometimes, we used to say that Indonesia is the supermarket of disasters. We have any kind of disaster here.

COREN: His experience allows him to call upon friends who've helped out in previous disasters. Australia, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, and the

UAE sending in forensic teams to assist.

STEVE SARGENT, UAE DVI UNIT: It's a difficult job to do, and the Indonesians are very good at it. They've had a lot of experience,



SARGENT: And we're looking at developing ourselves in the UAE to do the same.

COREN (on camera): While Indonesian authorities have promised the families of the victims that every body retrieved will be identified, the

harsh reality is that not all 162 passengers and crew will be recovered. It's a fact not lost on Dr. Castilani and his team here at this hospital,

who are under enormous pressure to reunite the dead with their loved ones.

COREN (voice-over): Forensic officers will now have to rely on teeth and bone to ID the victims. Skin on fingertips no longer useful due to the

state of decomposition.

And while working with the dead is part of their job, Dr. Castilani admits it takes a toll on his staff.

CASTILANI: Sometimes, after one or two weeks, we will find out that this is flesh, human flesh, not belonging to animal or anything. Sometimes

that affects you.

COREN: For now, though, they pushed those dark thoughts to the back of their minds, knowing their work will help somehow ease the families'

pain and sorrow.

Anna Coren, CNN, Surabaya, Indonesia.


CLANCY: I want to go back to the Middle East, now. I want to go back to the Middle East and tell you a little bit more about that freezing

weather hitting various areas. And we talked a little bit earlier with Ian Lee about the refugee camps along the border, there, and how they're

bracing for the worst. Some are still waiting for winter aid packages while they try to stay warm in makeshift tents.

But the tents don't provide full protection. They're practically useless in the case of any flooding. Andrew Harper is the United Nations

High Commissioner for Refugees representative to Jordan. He joins us now. He is in Amman. Thank you so much for being with us. What can you tell us

about the preparations in some of the larger camps, like Zaatari?

ANDREW HARPER, UNHCR REPRESENTATIVE TO JORDAN: Thanks for having us on. We've got a situation where we're expecting a major storm front to

come through and hit the camp over the next 24 hours. That storm could bring freezing temperatures, snow, rain.

And so, we've been preparing for this, now, for several months. UNHCR and its partners have been distributing blankets, heaters, trying to

replace many of the tents (inaudible), because as you quite rightly mention, tents are no way for a refugee to live in this type of


We've also been trying to get as much cash out into the urban environment as possible so families, the majority of refugee families in

Jordan are headed by women, and we need them to be able to survive, to be able to pay for rent, to be able to pay for additional clothes.

We've actually got teams staying over tonight in the camps. We've got the hospitals working 24-7. We've got reception centers located throughout

the country. They're on standby. It's actually a tremendous effort by not only our staff within UNHCR, but by our partners, WP, UNICEF, the NGOs,

Save the Children, IRC, NRC.

It's really -- when everything comes down to it, it's only through working as a team can we actually get through this what's going to be a

pretty tough period. We've seen snow already hit Turkey. We're seeing it descending upon Syria, going into Lebanon. But we're as prepared as we can

be, given the resources.

CLANCY: And it does sound as though working as a team, the refugees have at least some allies that are going to try to do the best that they

can in a difficult situation. How many years have you been working there in the Middle East, and what do you see about really the morale of these

refugees? This is, for most of them, it'll be their fourth winter that they suffer their way through.

HARPER: Well, I've actually been working with refugees for 20-odd years, now. And one of my first experiences overseas was actually dealing

with the Iraqi refugee response in the 1990s.

But what we find with the Syrians, as we find with most refugees, is that you've got a very dignified population. No one chooses to be a

refugee. They're much like any one of your viewers. However, they've been forced from their homes.

In some aspects, the refugees that we're dealing with in Jordan, we can seek protection and seek assistance, and we've got to be very thankful

for such a generous country as Jordan, because those people who are trapped in the fighting inside Syria, those people who cannot get access to the

basic assistance and basic protection, they're the ones who we really should have our thoughts for.

Because it's a horrendous situation that we're being faced with in the next 24 hours, not only the snow and the cold, but we're expecting 60-mile

winds or 100-kilometer winds. We're already seeing airports in the region being closed.

And so, just imagine if you're a woman, husband's been killed or is missing, and you're looking out for your children. There's no glass in the

windows, there's no insulation in the homes, you don't have any food. How are you expected to survive?

So, we are working very much as a team supporting the government of Jordan, supporting those agencies who are committed to the refugee crisis.

One of the challenges we've got, Jim, is that we just don't know how long they're to go for. This is now the third winter that we've had to

deal with in Zaatari, so we've been working on improving the drainage, replacing, as I said, the tents with something much more structured.

We've opened up another camp this year, which has got the capacity of hosting another 50,000 or 60,000 people. We'll have to actually see how

that performs in these conditions. But ideally, we need to work toward a situation where people can return home in Syria. And we need to be working

with other countries in the region, so it has to deal with what is the humanitarian capacity?

CLANCY: Andrew, let me -- I've got to get through this quickly. How many people are now in that camp, inside Jordan, and -- I don't want to put

you on the spot, here, but -- is the government of Syria, Bashar al-Assad's government, giving you any assistance whatsoever?

HARPER: Well, I'm not going to get into anything to do with Syria, as you probably quite will understand, but we've got 620,000 Syrian refugees

registered with us. We've probably got 95,000 in Zaatari camp, we've probably got another 12,000 in Azraq camp.

One of the interesting things, though, is that we're actually seeing refugees leaving the city, leaving the towns and villages, and going to the

camp because there they can access better assistance. We do have hospitals available, we do have schools available, working with UNICEF and others.

We can't --


CLANCY: And their money has run out. Their money has run out.

HARPER: Yes, well, this is the -- it's the daily question which we all have. You may have seen the stories recently from WFP, who've had to

cut down on the food rations. We can deliver protection, we can deliver assistance, we can deliver dignity. We can deliver people from the scare.

But it comes down to those countries who have the resources, those countries who are interested in the situation in the Middle East

contributing. Tonight, we're actually receiving 110,000 blankets that are being flown in from the UAE. We thank them very much. But --


CLANCY: Andrew --

HARPER: -- we also need --

CLANCY: Andrew, I have to -- I have to leave it there, Andrew. But I really want to thank you and the UNHCR team for all you do there in Jordan.

Thank you so much for being with us.

HARPER: Thanks to our partners as well. Thank you.

CLANCY: I want to update everybody on the situation inside Turkey, just an update on that bulletin that we had earlier. A bomb blast in the

historic district of Istanbul. Turkish media reporting the attack took place at a police station.

Istanbul's governor says it was the work of a female suicide bomber and that two officers have been wounded, not one, as earlier reported.

We'll have more details as soon as they come in.

Live from CNN Center, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. He's one of the most controversial figures in sport, but as Sepp Blatter seeks a fifth term as

FIFA president, could a Middle Eastern prince be the man who finally unseats him?

And up next, nail-biting in the Middle East, where oil prices mean everything. Is anyone regretting that OPEC decision not to cut production?

Let's ask.


CLANCY: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Jim Clancy. The stunning drop in crude oil prices must be getting harder to watch for

certain countries in the Middle East. You'll recall how the slide began in earnest after that OPEC meeting back in November. That's when Saudi

Arabia's oil minister convinced other cartel members, don't cut production. Keep the oil flowing.

Now, take a look at how some of the major Middle Eastern stock indices have fallen in just the few trading days of 2015. You can see how Dubai's

main index has been the biggest loser. Our emerging markets editor John Defterios is watching this plunge and how it's being viewed in places like

the UAE, where oil is the engine that drives the region's economy. He's with us, now, from Abu Dhabi.

We're down below $49 a barrel, now, where a lot of people thought we were going to hit the bottom of this at around $50.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes, indeed, Jim. In fact, I'm calling it the new harsh reality for the new year, breaking

through that threshold for WTI, the US benchmark, for the second day running. So, let's take a look at that price.

As you suggest, we broke through $49 a barrel. We haven't seen prices at this level since Barack Obama was inaugurated back in 2009. And it's

been an amazing fall from grace over the last year. If you take a look at that one-year chart, in June of 2014, in fact, we had prices above $110 a


And they took a staircase lower in the second half of 2014. And you suggested, Jim, many thought that OPEC would step in, led by Saudi Arabia,

to take some of the production off the market to support prices, but in fact, we've seen a very different strategy.

In fact, this is the first time since I've covered the energy markets where we've seen falling prices like this, and they're actually not cutting

production, but actually cutting prices to their major customers. That's what Saudi Aramco is doing.

Russia's boosting production to above 10 million barrels a day, and Iraq is hitting levels we haven't seen since the first Gulf War in 1990,

Jim. So, a very different strategy. This is putting pressure on prices --


DEFTERIOS: -- and the OPEC strategy here in the Middle East is to try to do this for six months to put a lot of pressure on the higher-cost

producers in Russia and the United States.

CLANCY: Yes. Obviously, you've got the shale industry. But you've got oil -- countries have become accustomed to $100 a barrel oil. That's

got to hurt.

DEFTERIOS: It certainly does. In fact, they were making more than a trillion dollars, here, within the OPEC cartel, the 12 members of the

cartel, for four years running because of $100 oil. So, have we entered this new harsh reality where $50 is going to hold for he long term or not?

And it's worth remembering the level of spending we've seen throughout the region. In fact, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia this evening in a

press conference was trying to assure the people of Saudi Arabia, we've seen challenges like this before, we are managing the situation, but

they've had $500 billion of infrastructure spending in Saudi Arabia over the last five years.

And we've see record spending in the UAE: new airports, new shiny buildings, an expansion of the carriers. So, Jim, perhaps some of those

strategies and some of those expansion plans will have to re-jiggered if this price stays beyond June of 2015.

CLANCY: All right. We'll all stay tuned. We've got an OPEC meeting, maybe, coming up in February. John Defterios will be there. That's for

certain. John, we'll be checking back in with you.

DEFTERIOS: All right.

CLANCY: Live from CNN Center, you are with CONNECT THE WORLD. And just ahead, this is the man hoping to give new meaning to the term sporting

royalty. We're going to weigh the chances of Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein becoming the next president of football's governing body.


CLANCY: This is CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, I'm Jim Clancy. Welcome back, everyone.

They call it the beautiful game, but football's quarters of poor, ooh, notoriously murky, and those who occupy them, often less than feted. One

man wants to change all of that: Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Prince Ali, currently serves as vice president of FIFA, the sport's

governing body. But he wants the top job when it comes to a vote in May.

In a statement, he said, "I'm seeking the presidency of FIFA because I believe it's time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy

and back to sport."

But there's a pretty sturdy obstacle standing in Prince Ali's way. Incumbent Sepp Blatter has already had four terms on the job, and during

that time, he's been immovable, despite fierce criticism of the way he runs the organization.

Neither FIFA corruption allegations nor a tendency towards highly- publicized gaffes have gotten the better of Blatter. So, as the 78-year- old Swiss eyes a fifth term at office, few are really willing to bet against him.

The controversial decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar seven years from now and Arab billionaires buying of major English and French teams,

the Middle East is already making its mark on the footballing world, but can a Jordanian prince really do the unthinkable and unseat Sepp Blatter?

Sports journalist James Piercy joins me now, live from Abu Dhabi, to discuss all of this. James, I know Prince Ali. He's a good, honest,

decent man. Does he have a chance with this lot?

JAMES PIERCY, DEPUTY EDITOR, SPORT360: Of course. He wouldn't be running if he didn't think he had a genuine chance of winning the election.

As your report touched on there, it's extremely difficult for the man. It's a huge uphill struggle. Already, bookmakers, despite him announcing

his candidacy tonight, bookmakers write him at 33-to-1 on, Sepp Blatter to win and get a fifth term.

But there's something about Prince Ali that sort of stands out from the normal candidates. Jerome Champagne, he's a French candidate who

already looks to be standing. But Prince Ali represents something new, something fresh. Not just his age.

He's only been a FIFA vice president since 2011, so he's kind of separate from a lot of the corruption allegations, a lot of the scandal, a

lot of the upsetting things that happen with FIFA that no football fan really wants to see.

So, I think the millions of anti-Blatter rights around the world, they certainly can get a little bit excited by the election coming in May,

because certainly he does have a chance.

CLANCY: Well, the allegations are that votes are for sale within FIFA, within the organization, and little wonder that you can be confident

running for a fifth term. Why hasn't all of the scandal toppled this man?

PIERCY: Well, the point is, obviously, Sepp Blatter isn't as strong as what he was four years ago. When Mohammed bin Hammam, Qatari, another

Middle Eastern candidate, when to stand against him, ultimately was -- turned out to be this highly sort of illegal candidate who was obviously

convicted of bribery, so he's no longer involved in FIFA.

Now, Prince Ali, he's separate from that. He was 35 when he was elected as FIFA vice president, he's the youngest ever vice president in

FIFA's history. The interesting thing what he's got is that he's got support outside of where he's from. He's from the AFC conference, Asian


He seems to be, if you like, UEFA's candidate. Michel Platini, for reasons he only knows, didn't want to stand against Blatter this time. I'm

sure he will go for the FIFA presidency at some stage in the future. But he's already come out speaking in favor, very highly of Prince Ali, as has

Jim Boyce, UEFA vice president.

So, it's interesting he's got this support base, something Mohammed bin Hammam never had before he went down the road he went down. And --


CLANCY: James Piercy, do you think that Prince Ali --

PIERCY: -- if he can --

CLANCY: -- would be good for FIFA?

PIERCY: I think -- well, look, it's a change. He basically stands for everything that Blatter isn't. So, to put it bluntly, of course he

will be, yes.

CLANCY: All right, James Piercy, Sport360 journalist --


CLANCY: Go ahead.

PIERCY: Thanks. Well, no, as I said, everything he stands for, he's young -- you've got to remember, Sepp Blatter is going to be 83 the next

time -- his next term would stand to end. Who wants an 83 -- not three ages -- but 83 to be running the biggest sporting organization in the

world? It doesn't ring right.

Prince Ali, like I said, he -- Blatter's worked himself into a corner, where even though he hasn't been accused and there hasn't been any

improprieties found, it's -- the mud has stuck. And Sepp Blatter is associated, whether he likes it or not, with the corruption.

It's something Prince Ali doesn't, he's a fresh face, he's something new. And it's something that FIFA certainly they need for their own public

image, really, never mind the corruption allegations.

CLANCY: Of course.

PIERCY: They need a fresh image. They need someone with new ideas and who's clean.

CLANCY: James Piercy, I want to thank you very much, joining us there from Abu Dhabi and Prince Ali's bid to head up FIFA. Thanks.

I'm Jim Clancy, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Glad you could join us for the program.