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CONNECT THE WORLD
Turkey Moves Tomb In Syria; ISIS Releases New Propaganda Video; Meet the al Jazeera Journalists Imprisoned in Egypt; The Name ISIS Hates to Be Called; Businesses Take on Bollywood's Screen Problem; And the Oscar Goes to.; How the Oscars Are Made; Marketplace Middle East
Aired February 22, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Another chilling video from ISIS, parading what appear to be Peshmerga fighters. We'll be live this hour in northern Iraq
with the very latest from the front line for you.
Also ahead, thousands march in Kiev to honor the fallen of the maiden. The march comes amid word of progress in a ceasefire for the east live in the
And the final touches less than 24 hours to go before Hollywood's biggest night. We'll bring you who is up for what as the entertainment world turns
its eyes to the Academy Awards.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very good evening from here. It is 8:00 in the evening.
ISIS has released a new propaganda video showing a parade of pick-up trucks with what appears to be Peshmerga soldiers in cages.
Now CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of this video.
A man using a microphone with an ISIS logo interviews some of the captives, though. The edited video also includes clips of the recent beheadings of
Christian Egyptians in Libya. It's not clear what has happened to the Peshmerga fighters.
Well, senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is in Irbil joining me now live. Ben, what do we know?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we see in this video is as you mentioned, there are 21 men. It's believed most of them
are Peshmerga, although according to this video one of them is a member of the Iraqi army. They are walked in chains to these cages where as you
mentioned they are interviewed, obviously, under duress by this man, some of them saying -- calling on their comrades to put down their arms if they
want to avoid a similar fate.
Then we see them in these cages on the back of pick-up trucks, paraded through the streets of a city we believe is Hawija (ph), which is just
south of Kirkuk.
Now these are men, most of them it appears, were captured in an attack in Kirkuk at the end of January, athough our understanding is that some of
them were simply kidnapped as they were going from their bases to homes or the other way around.
Now, during that tape, this video -- nine minute video -- there are a few still pictures flashed from the beheading of those 21 Egyptian Christians
last week. But the tape does -- the video does end with a closeup shot of one of the prisoners.
So there is no indication in this video that they've been executed, but certainly what we've seen in the past with these propaganda videos is that
could well be their fate -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Meanwhile, Ben, you've been with Kurdish forces, I know, on the front lines. What is the story on the ground?
WEDEMAN: Well, interestingly enough, Becky, even though ISIS is putting out these propaganda videos to sort of scare the troops. The troops we met
at the front line were in extremely high spirits. The day we were out there it was muddy, it was cold, it was rainy, it was otherwise miserable,
but they seem to be in a very good state of mind.
Now, we understand from Kurdish commanders that in fact there was -- there were two separate assaults on Kurdish positions overnight. One in the
Hware (ph) region where on Tuesday evenin there was another ISIS assault. Overnight, we understand that that assault, it lasted for about an hour-
and-a-half, was over by midnight with more than 50 ISIS fighters dead. The Kurdish forces were assisted by coalition airstrikes.
Among those 50 dead some foreign fighters.
In another area, Sinjar, near the Syrian border, to the west of Mosul. There was another attack by ISIS. In that instance, at least 30 of their
fighters were killed as well. So the propaganda may be trying to send one message, but the situation on the front lines not so rosy for ISIS it
appears -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is in Irbil for you tonight.
Meanwhile, an ancient tomb in northern Syria has a new resting place. And Damascus not happy about it.
Turkey launched a midnight evacuation of about 40 soldiers charged with protecting what is the 13th Century remains of Suleyman Shah. Now the
operation also relocated that tomb closer to the Turkish border.
Almost a year ago, Turkey deployed guards to the location as ISIS advanced. Syria is calling Turkey's operation a, quote, "flagrant aggression."
We're going to take a closer look into the military operation and what it means for future Turkish involvement in the Syrian civil war, if anything.
Plus, the historic significance of the tomb and what it means to Turkey.
Moving on, and there are new terror threats against the west. In this case it's the Somali group al Shabaab, which has linked to al Qaeda. FBI
counterterrorism officials in the U.S. say there is no indication of an actual threat, but they say they have to be concerned.
In a new propaganda video, the Islamist extremists call for attacks against shopping malls in the United States, in Britain and in Canada.
al Shabaab you'll remember carried out the massacre at Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya back in 2013.
Well, word of this new al Shabaab threat comes as three families in Britain make an emotional appeal to their daughters who are believed to be
traveling to Syria to join the ISIS militant group.
Nima Elbagir joins us with more on both of these stories.
Nima, first this threat from al Shabaab. Do we have any more details. And what are authorities saying at this point?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, authorities in the UK are saying they're aware of this threat, they're looking into it. They
won't confirm whether they, like the authorities in the U.S., are building up their presence in these shopping centers, but they do say this is
something they're taking very seriously.
Of course this all comes after both the Paris and the Copenhagen attacks. So, any kind of incitement, any kind of provocation to people to act as
lone wolves is something that authorities believe is playing in somewhat of a blindspot for western intelligence agencies. It is just so difficult.
It's difficult enough to monitor the chatter between groups that are already known to be involved in this kind of activity, but when it is
singular or even just one or two actors it's very difficult to keep any kind of an eye on them, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nima, propaganda proliferated by terror groups winning the hearts and minds of recruits, that is clear. And of course it's not al
Shabaab, as she pointed out. Three British schoolgirls thought to be traveling to Syria to join ISIS. They left their homes in London on
Tuesday and flew to Istanbul, Turkey a key entry point, of course, for those seeking to travel to Syria.
Now police believe they are following the footsteps of a friend who left to join ISIS in December. Do we know any more at this point?
ELBAGIR: Well, we know that they appear to have been in contact with this friend on social media since this appeal for information about them has
gone out. And we know also that they are within a network and an area that has been perceived to be in east of the British capital here in London,
perceived to be very vulnerable to these kind of recruitment tactics. And Scotland Yard have told us they are alarmed at the sheer numbers of young
women and girls that are heading out there.
The families believe that their daughters are still in Turkey. And they have issued another really heartbreaking appeal. Take a listen to this.
This is the family of Kadiza Sultan (ph), one of the girls. Her family say, "we'd like to emphasize that we are not angry with you. And you have
not done anything wrong. We just want you all to return home safe and sound."
The clock, of course, on this is ticking, Becky, because once they get into Syria it's very difficult to believe that ISIS will allow them to come back
to their families. So this really is the window of opportunity here.
ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir is in London. Nima, thank you.
Well, in eastern Ukraine some positive signs for the often violated ceasefire between government forces and pro-Russia separatists. Both sides
have agreed to withdrawal heavy weapons. That, after rebels and Ukrainian forces took part in a prisoner swap.
Further north, a pro-government rally has unfortunately turned violent in Kharkiv.
At least two people were killed after a remote control explosive detonated during a march there. The blast came amid commemorations there and in Kiev
marking one year since the ouster of the former president Viktor Yanukovych and his bloody crackdown on protesters in the capital.
Well, let's get there. Our senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen joining us now live from Kiev.
And what is the atmosphere like one year on in the capital city tonight?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I would say that it's one of sadness for those who were killed of remembrance. It's a very
somber atmosphere that we noticed here in Kiev. It was interesting because a lot of the marchers that we spoke to, we asked them, you know, how do you
feel about Ukraine one year on, where things stand at the moment, especially of course with everything going on in the east of the country.
And most people told us to them first and foremost this day is about remembering those who were killed in the uprising one year ago. There's
still a lot of people who were quite shocked that something like that could have happened in Ukraine. And so therefore for most of those people they
say to them it's very important to keep the memory of those who were killed alive.
Then, of course, Becky, there is also the political sphere in all of this. There was at that march today not just Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko, but also leaders from various other European countries, including the German president and the president of Poland as well as of
many of the Baltic states as well. And to them, the message was a very different one. It was one looking forward. It was one of showing
solidarity with Ukraine, the Ukrainian leadership saying that they believe that their future is in Europe, which of course runs diametrically opposed
to what the Russians want, who want Ukraine to not be in the European sphere.
Also, many calls for further European support. And one of the things that we saw a lot of at the rally here in Kiev today was a lot of anti-Russian
signs of course blaming Vladimir Putin for what's been going on in the east of the country.
So there is a great deal of concern. I would by no stretch of the imagination say that there is a jubilant mood that here in Ukraine, but
many people believe that this country now has a chance to get on the right track. But of course they see that they're hamstrung by the events that
are happening in the east of the country, Becky.
ANDERSON: And we are talking about positive signs for what has been this often violated ceasefire between government forces and pro-Russia
separatists. I know that there have been on both sides agreement to withdraw heavy weapons from the conflict zone. And yet we're still hearing
of deadly violence, of course, in certain parts of the country.
So, as we move forward and you see that coming together of again European leaders in Kiev tonight, standing in solidarity, what are the chances at
this point that we are looking at a positive outcome to this?
PLEITGEN: It's a very good question, Becky. And I really think that at this point in time the ceasefire and the Minsk agreements could go either
way. There's a very real chance that things could move forward in a positive way, however, there is also a very real chance that everything
could fall apart and fail.
And one of the reasons is what you mention is that there are still ceasefire violations, both sides blaming each other. There is close
quarters combat that's taking place, for instance, in the southeast of the country in Sharokina (ph), which is near the very important city of
Mariupol. So, by no means are the weapons silent even though things have gotten considerably better.
And one of the things that for instance the separatists have said is they believe that it's time to start withdrawing those heavy weapons. The
problem, however, is that so far no one has been able to verify that that is actually taking place, that any heavy weapons are actually being
Certainly the OSCE that's supposed to monitor the ceasefire has said they have no signs that that's happening so far.
And one of the things we have to keep in mind is that the withdrawal of heavy weapons is the key point that needs to happen for this ceasefire to
move forward and for this ceasefire to take hold in a more effective way than it has so far, because only if the heavy weapons, if the artillery and
the tanks are out of reach from each other can there be any hope of things quieting down considerably.
So right now I wouldn't say that there's great hope. There are some positive steps, but there still is certainly a lot of skepticism, Becky.
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen reporting for you. That from Ukraine this evening.
Still to come this hour, out of jail but technically not free. Two al Jazeera journalists go back on trial on Monday in Cairo. We'll get a
report on that for you.
And, Turkey moves to protect an historic tomb inside Syria. We'll tell you how after this.
ANDERSON: This is CNN and Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back. It is 16 minutes past 8:00.
Well, for four years, turmoil has gripped Syria. And the country has descended into an increasingly violent civil war, a major concern for its
neighbor to the north. But Turkey has the largest land border with Syria. And overnight, Turkish forces crossed that dividing line.
ANDERSON: Two simultaneous operations, dragging Turkey deeper into the Syrian civil war. The mission, to evacuate and relocate the tomb of
Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the first Ottoman sultan.
The shrine is located in a Turkish enclave inside Syria. Turkish special forces were dispatched last March to protect it from ISIS militants who
Saturday, another group of Turkish soldiers entered Syria and traveled through the Kurdish controlled town of Kobani to recover everything inside
the tomb and evacuate the besieged forces.
All the while, another Turkish unit prepared a new site by raising the Turkish flag at the Eshmere (ph) village, a location much closer to the
Turkish border, but still inside Syrian territory.
The ongoing conflict and state of chaos in Syria posed serious risks to safety and security of the tomb, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a
Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu personally followed the operations with high ranking officers.
But Ankara's bold move has already raised the ire of the Syrian government in Damascus who have long accused the Turks of supporting rebel factions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Turkey has gone far beyond providing all forms of support to gains like ISIS, Jubhat al Nusra and
other al Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations to carry out a blatant aggression on the Syrian territory.
ANDERSON: Well, Turkey has consistently refused to send compact troops into Syria. It's unclear whether this latest action was motivated more by
a desire to protect the legacy of the past, or a change in the policy in the future.
Well, let's find out. To examine this further, I'm joined now by Mustafa Akyol in Istanbul. He's a columnist for one of the daily newspapers there.
A change in policy or much of the same? And if so how do you explain this?
MUSTAFA AKYOL, COLUMNIST, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS: Not a big change in policy, Becky, but this still shows that Turkey is getting more serious about the
ISIS threat. Let's recall just a few days before Turkey signed a treaty with the United States to train and equip the moderate Syrian opposition,
which will stand up against the Assad regime, but ISIS as well.
So in this case, this tomb, which is just 40 miles inside -- 30 miles inside Syria -- was an Achilles Heel for the Turkish government. It was a
career target for ISIS, it was very hard for Turkey to defend there. There were 40 soldiers, which was hard to supply. So by taking this soft-belly
to a safe position Turkey got rid of one of the soft spots that ISIS could use as a leverage to get hostages or just attack Turkey, which was just
ANDERSON: If this isn't a sign of Turkey's willingness to engage with ISIS going forward in Northern Syria across their border, in fact I think you
are suggesting it is quite the opposite. What is the political positioning by Turkey now and going forward, do you think?
AKYOL: Well, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the Turkish position has been to do the right thing in Syria, defend the right party,
but never engage. Turkey is actually very cautious when it comes to getting in an armed combat situation in Syria, because although Turkey
considered the ISIS as a threat right now, it was a bit late when the Turkish government realized that they realized it's to be threatened.
But at the other end, when you start a fight with ISIS, they can bomb you, they can have cells inside Turkey that attack. So that's why the
government is very cautious. Its position is to support the legitimate Syrian opposition that also the west supports and oppose the Assad regime
and ISIS at the same time.
Whether that's a workable strategy is of course open to be discussed. But I think it was a smart thing for the Turkish government yesterday to remove
this very small enclave, which was putting Turkey in a very weak position.
All right, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed.
And CNN of course covering the war in and around Syria from every angle. And as the world focuses on one of the most brutal groups fighting there,
ISIS, and how to defeat them, we've got correspondents a few at key points in the region as you would expect from Iraq to Syria to Libya. ISIS
spreading. Do use the website CNN.com. Take a look at where the battle is raging and why those places are strategically important to the group. That
and more on the website, CNN, on that for you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
Coming up, the world's biggest film industry has major problems, not enough movie screens. We'll show you how Bollywood's businesses are trying to
close the gap.
And freedom or a return to prison? Up next, two al Jazeera journalists are due back in court in Egypt Monday in hopes to clear their names. We meet
them after this.
ANDERSON: Right. The retrial for two al Jazeera journalists begins in Egypt on Monday. The two men spent more than a year behind bars on charges
that they supported the banned Muslim Brotherhood Party.
Well, they were freed last week on bail. And CNN's Ian Lee has met them and looks at how they've been doing.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It may slip for Bahar Mohamed that he now has three children instead of two. But the baby in the corner
isn't about to let him forget. Little one Haroun (ph) was born while Bahar was in prison.
BAHAR MOHAMED, AL JAZEERA JOURNALIST: A few days ago, I managed to make him smile. So that's a great progress. But I missed six months of his
life. And I cannot get those time back again.
LEE: The al Jazeera journalist is making up for lost time. So are his kids who won't leave him alone even for an interview.
MOHAMED: Every time they came to that visit, I tell them like I'm at work. I"m staying at work. This is -- I don't want them to live this experience.
They're still too young to live and to know about prison.
LEE: Also happy to see him back, his dog Gatsby who survived being shot by police while detaining Bahar.
Egyptian authorities arrested him, correspondent Peter Greste and bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy in December 2013. The charges: threatening national
security and supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Claims all three and al Jazeera denied.
MOHAMED: They arrested us, not only me, I think to intimidate other journalists to scare other journalists.
LEE: Greste would be the first to taste freedom, return to Australia as part of a deal earlier this month. After over a year in jail, a new judge
in their retrial granted them bail.
MOHAMED: It was the first time to see the sign rise in 411 days.
LEE: Part of the condition of the release of Bahar Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy is that they have to check in daily with the police station. Mohamed
also had to post a roughly $33,000 bail.
We travel with Mohamed on his daily ritual, where we also meet his fiancee planning a wedding now front and center.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is stronger personally. He became must stronger, more emotional, more romantic than before.
MOHAMED FAHMY, AL JAZEERA JOURNALIST: Amara (ph) is like my hero. She was getting me all the news in prison. And she was engaging with her lawyers,
and the media. And she was basically my voice.
LEE: Time in prison was tough for all, but especially Fahmy. Lack of medical attention exacerbated a shoulder injury.
FAHMY: That's as far as it goes.
LEE: Fahmy believes his arrest, seen here, was politically motivated, part of souring relations between Egypt and Qatar. Unlike Bahar, Fahmy is more
critical of his employer.
FAHMY: I don't think al Jazeera has offered me enough support. I'm still paying for my lawyer in this session again. And I had to pay for my bail
once it was announced in the court.
LEE: al Jazeera says they've reimbursed Fahmy and paid his legal fees. In a statement to CNN, they say we did everything possible to secure his
release and to avoid it happening in the first place. Every aspect of our response to the extreme incitement we faced in Egypt since 2013 can be
scrutinized in hindsight. And we've said in the past that lessons have been learned.
But what they all can agree on, they're eternally grateful for the international support in this battle for a free press.
Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.
ANDERSON: Well, our team at Connect the World wants to hear from you. Send us your thoughts on any of the stories that we've been covering. You
can get to us on Facebook.com/CNNConnect. Of course you can always tweet me @BeckyCNN. That is @BeckyCNN. Get in touch with the team @CNNConnect.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, we are just hours away from Hollywood's biggest night. We're going to share with you some of
the predictions for tonight's Academy Awards. That's after this.
ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, the top stories this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): Kiev is marking one year since former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power. Thousands have
gathered in the capital to honor those killed during the crackdown in the Maidan or Independence Square.
In Bangladesh, at least 37 people were killed when a passenger ferry capsized on the Padma River. Police say the ferry was carrying more than
100 people when it was hit by a cargo ship. Rescue teams are still searching for survivors.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Zarif, to today talk about limiting Iran's nuclear program.
Negotiators are giving themselves until next month to come up with an outline for an agreement.
The success, of course, could lead to an end of tough sanctions against Iran.
ISIS' latest propaganda video purports to show Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers in cages. They are paraded down the streets in Kirkuk in the pack of
pickup trucks. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video. The highly-produced film, though, also shows clips of a recent
beheading of Christian Egyptians in Libya.
It is unclear what has happened to the Peshmerga forces in the film.
Well, here at CNN, your heroes were pledged (ph) to get ISIS or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But Western officials have taken to calling the
group by a different name, hoping to undercut their legitimacy. CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman has more on the name that
ISIS hates to be called.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a name that ISIS hates being called, despised so much in fact they've threatened to cut out
the tongues of anyone who uses it. That name: Daish. There's a big discussion on what to call the terror group. We say ISIS; others say ISIL.
The state of the Islamic caliphate is what they'd like to be called; Islamic State for short. But what they hate is Daish. It's an acronym and
in Arabic it translate as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the name they used before they declared their so-called caliphate last summer.
But many Arabic speakers still just call them Daish. So what do they hate about it? Some say it's because it sounds like other words, including
daess, which can mean, among other things, to stomp on something. Some ISIS supporters say they want the full name of their alleged state to be
shared with the world.
There's a push in the West to start calling the Daish to deny them the legitimacy Islamic State implies. France has already started doing that
and even some U.S. officials.
So what about the other names we use in English, ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or another version, ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the
Levant? But their name, the Islamic State, leaves geography out of the mix since their ambitions aren't limited to a specific territory.
But can anyone really call them an Islamic State? They hold land, which is one of the attributes of a state and they have in some areas what amounts
to a government. But they're not recognized internationally as a state, just a terror group. And there's no consensus on whether they're actually
To supporters, ISIS is the essence of Islam and everyone else an infidel. A notion flatly rejected as absurd by countless Muslim scholars and
believers around the world.
ISIS fighters and supporters insist they follow the pact of Allah -- God -- and that the West is hell-bent on battling Islam.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's how they recruit. That's how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the
premise that they put forward because it is a lie.
WEDEMAN: Whatever we call it and it calls itself, Daish, ISIL, ISIS, Islamic State, it is what it is, a group utterly without scruples, bent on
spreading a reign of terror.
ANDERSON: One of the world's biggest film industries, Bollywood, has a business problem -- India lags far behind other major movie markets like
the U.S. and China when it comes to where people can actually watch films on the silver screen, given this is a big Hollywood weekend and more on
that shortly, we thought Mallika Kapur could go and find out how businesses are harnessing India's growing middle class.
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): India's got the films, the stars and of course diehard fans. What India doesn't have enough of is
movie screens. There are just eight screens per million people, far, far less than the number in China and the United States.
This shortfall means a huge business opportunity. Enter the multiplex. Many cinema operators are building new theaters or redeveloping old ones,
turning them into swanky modern American style multiplexes.
A ticket here can cost three times as much as it would in a single cinema theater. But India's growing middle class is happy to pay for it.
PVR is a market leader with more than 100 multiplexes across India.
KAMAL GIANCHANDANI, CEO, PVR PICTURES: The biggest calculus, I would say, is that upward growth in the middle class segment in India which fuels
growth in multiplexes, there is a craving to be entertained and they want to go to the best locations possible.
KAPUR (voice-over): India is home to the world's largest film industry, producing around 1,000 films a year. That's twice the number of Hollywood.
Many of these movies remain in cinemas for just a week or two. Some don't get shown at all. Unless India builds more screens to show its content,
cinema will suffer, says movie trade analyst Komal Nahta.
KOMAL NAHTA, MOVIE TRADE ANALYST: We are short on screens. We have single cinemas and we have multiplexes. But the total of these two doesn't go
beyond some 10,000. And I think India today needs at least about 50,000 screens.
KAPUR (voice-over): Problem is, real estate. Land is prohibitively expensive. So building a multiplex which can charge more is the only
At the end of the day, it's about numbers. No multiplexes account for just a fraction of total screens in India up to two-thirds of the blockbuster's
box office revenue comes from them.
Flat multiplexes give Indians what a single screen cinema doesn't: a choice. Hollywood or Bollywood, you can take your pick -- Mallika Kapur,
ANDERSON: Well, from one to the other and to the West Coast of the States which is hours away from the Academy Awards, this year more than other
various fierce competition for top honors including Best Picture.
CNN's Stephanie Elam has a look for you now at the contenders.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 12 years in production, will "Boyhood" bring home Best Picture at this year's Oscars?
Or will "Birdman" soar with its nine nominations?
The two critical favorites face off in what one expert calls the tightest Oscar race in a decade.
PETE HAMMOND, "DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD": I think those two must be so close a third movie could possibly sneak in here. Are you listening, "American
$300 million so far and counting and it's unprecedented this time of year to see that kind of box office success jump into the Oscar race at the last
ELAM (voice-over): Could the late season buzz around "American Sniper" mean Bradley Cooper wins Best Actor?
He'll have to break into the battle between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne.
Both Redmayne and Keaton are already adorned in award season accolades.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can see the words hanging in front of me and I can't reach them and I don't know who I am.
ELAM (voice-over): Having swept the season so far, Julianne Moore's the front-runner for Best Actress, playing a woman with Alzheimer's in "Still
Rosamund Pike, Felicity Jones, Marion Cotillard and Reese Witherspoon round out the category.
Strong female performances are getting Academy kudos in the acting categories. But in the ranks of the other nominees, a bit of a boy's club.
HAMMOND: There's hardly any women nominated in the major categories of writing and directing. A black female director, Ava DuVernay, who would
have made history had she gotten a directing nomination, didn't get nominated.
ELAM (voice-over): It's a year that's been criticized for a lack of diversity.
HAMMOND: It is an all-white lineup, I'm afraid. And they certainly had an opportunity to nominate people like David Oyelowo for lead actor.
ELAM (voice-over): That's a disappointment to many in Hollywood after 2014, when "12 Years a Slave" won Best Picture and Mexico-born Alfonso
Cuaron took home Best Director.
ALFONSO CUARON, FILM DIRECTOR: I would love if that report is given to some other films with Mexican filmmakers.
ELAM (voice-over): Outspoken Puerto Rican actor Luis Guzman says the 2015 nominations should be a reminder that minorities in Hollywood are still
struggling for Academy recognition.
LUIS GUZMAN, ACTOR: Well, I feel like we might have an incredible pool of talent. I just think that we just need to look at the opportunities of
creating more diversification in entertainment.
ELAM (voice-over): But despite the diversity criticism, Alejandro Inarritu, the Mexican director, is favored to take home the directing Oscar
for "Birdman." 2015 could just be a year of opportunity seized -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.
ANDERSON: And we'll be bringing you all the news and excitement from the Oscars, the biggest moments from Hollywood's biggest night, from the glamor
on the red carpet of course, straight through to the wee hours of the parties. Have a look at our website at all of that, including our
predictions over who will win and who we think we should win at cnn.com/entertainment for our Oscars odds.
And much more for you there, as you would imagine. And in our "Parting Shots" tonight, getting their hands on an Oscar is a dream come true of
course for those in the film industry. What goes into the making of those iconic statuettes? Well, we found out ourselves.
JOSEPH PETRIE (PH) (voice-over): Welcome to R.S. Owens and Company, in Chicago, Illinois, where we manufacturer the Oscar statues. My name's
Joseph Petrie and I want to show you how we do what we do. Let's go.
This is our hand casting department. We start with a bare metal and melt it between 500 and 600 degrees and he ladles each one individually into a
steel mold. The next process in manufacturing the Oscar is where we remove the gate that we use for casting. Our company was started in 1938 and
we've been producing our own molds for casting since then.
The next step in refining our Oscar statuette is removing all the parting lines from the molding process. This allows us to refine the surface to
ensure he looks as perfect as possible.
This is our polishing department. This is where we take our statues that have been sanded and ground and we bring them to a mirror finish.
Everything we do with Oscar is done entirely by hand.
PETRIE (PH) (voice-over): Here we are in our engraving department. This is where Louise White (ph), who's been engraving our Oscars since the early
'80s actually puts a serial number on every one of them.
We take Oscar from his raw state, where he's been polished to a mirror finish and we electroplate him through five different baths, bringing him
to a 24-karat gold finish.
Here we are in final assembly. This is where Oscar gets assembled before he's finally shipped out.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Do stay with CNN for the Oscar coverage. Thank you for watching. From the team here,
it's a very good evening.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: A determined Egyptian prime minister on combating terrorism, regional stability and economic recovery.
This week on "Marketplace Middle East," we put Egypt under the spotlight.
Egypt, the most populous country in the Middle East, has faced political and economic upheaval for four years. Hosni Mubarak, the man who ran the
country with an iron grip for three decades, was swept out of power in February 2011.
After just a year-long stint as president, Mohammed Morsi suffered the same fate.
A high level of uncertainty and continued unrest undermined economic growth by scaring off tourists and stifling investment. Between 2011 and 2014,
the economy struggled to grow 2 percent, less than half the rate prior to the uprisings.
This performance put a strain on the country's budget deficit and unemployment. Both remain in the double digits. But Abdel Fattah el-Sisi,
a career military man turned president, hopes 2015 will be a turning point for Egypt. He's released three Al Jazeera journalists who were jailed for
over a year. And the government is promising fair and safe parliamentary elections at the end of March.
Economically he slashed fuel and food subsidies and ushered in a wave of financial reforms. After generous financial support over the last year
from his oil-rich Gulf neighbors, the government is hoping stability can entice foreign investors.
On a visit here to the UAE, the country's prime minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, told me Egyptian people have firmly backed what have been painful reforms.
MAHLAB: There is a will for a big change in Egypt, in reform, in inclusive reform, in economic reform and these people, the Egyptian people, has the
will to change. And now there is a leader with a vision, supported by the will of the people.
DEFTERIOS: How do you go from a state today where you get funding from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, where Egypt stands on its own two feet
MAHLAB: Well, we are now independent financially and because we already started with some big projects, some big project, continuing really this
growth. And now if you compare Egypt this year with last year, at the same time there is a gap. There is a financial gap. And there is a change and
there is a common future for Egypt.
We need the support of our friends, of our brothers and we have this support because it's a question of -- we have the same challenge and we
have the same dream about prosperity of this world. That's why it's really -- we feel that with the support of our brothers, we can really cover this
gap of deficit.
DEFTERIOS: You're in a unusual position. The tapes leaked out that President el-Sisi perhaps was being too greedy with his Gulf partners,
asking for more funding.
What sort of damage does this do to the partnership?
MAHLAB: There will be escapes (ph).
DEFTERIOS: They don't exist?
MAHLAB: No, no, I and (INAUDIBLE) enforced. And this has nothing to do with reality. The respect between Egypt and all our brothers is huge and
also the link and the future between us and the unified objectives are so strong you can neglect all six steps (ph). Those are fortunate (INAUDIBLE)
are not reflecting the aim of cooperation between our countries.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): Once again, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab during our interview in Dubai.
Now he raised the issue of the closeness of Cairo with the Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and here in the United Arab Emirates. But nobody
really talks about why they're so close in 2015.
Let's bring in Amir Daftari and his chessboard to look at the geostrategic nature of this growing relationship, even this deepening relationship.
AMIR DAFTARI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A relationship which is conditional. And here's why.
DEFTERIOS: That's a good point.
DAFTARI: Let's take three pieces. OK, we'll call the king Saudi Arabia; the rook can be Kuwait and here we'll put the knight, the UAE. Now the
link between these three, when it comes to Egypt, is that dislike for the Muslim Brotherhood. So when the Muslim Brotherhood took power in the wake
of the Arab Spring, these three nations felt very threatened.
DEFTERIOS: Because of the deepening relationship, perhaps, with Qatar and getting caught flat-footed by the Arab Spring because there was an opening
here for them to come in after the ouster of Mohammed Morsi.
DAFTARI: They felt flat-footed. Now as you say, Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were pushed to one side. And so that made way for these
three nations, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, to then help Egypt's economy rebuild.
DEFTERIOS: They been even strategic in the way they've doled out the money here. It's not all about cash. Cash is part of this; it's on the --
DAFTARI: -- in the last year alone.
DEFTERIOS: And how are they allocating those funds?
DAFTARI: Well, it comes out to their own individual expertise. So when it comes to Saudi Arabia, very oil-rich, they've been helping the country out,
petrochemical product, gas; the UAE, construction, housing projects; Kuwait, same sort of strategy.
DEFTERIOS: And how promising is the market? Now this is a country about 85 million consumers.
What was happening before the Arab Spring?
DAFTARI: There was a lot of criticism towards the then president, President Mubarak, things he was slow to reform. You can be sure now that
these three nations -- Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- will go in strong. Because as you say, 85 million people -- huge scale.
DEFTERIOS: So of course, to have the sort of economic potential you need stability; big question marks raised, of course, because of security in the
last week and the attack against Egyptians in Libya.
When we come back, we'll talk about the security situation with the prime minister of Egypt and have a report from Cairo as well.
That's next on "Marketplace Middle East."
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to "Marketplace Middle East."
A bit earlier we heard from the prime minister of Egypt about trying to reboot the economy there. But it's the absence of security which has
scared off global investors. I asked Prime Minister Mahlab about the recent crackdown, for example, on 16,000 Egyptians affiliated with the
MAHLAB: I cannot comment about any legal or any court piece. I cannot comment about it.
DEFTERIOS: -- the snuffing out of 16,000 members in detainment, it's unbelievable, the scale of what we're talking about.
MAHLAB: Don't forget about this. And there was something criminal and the level of appeals and as prime minister, we are respected institutions. I
cannot really comment on any court piece but I can assure you a judge in Egypt are completely separate from government and that piece is very good.
They are going to get all right to defend themselves.
DEFTERIOS: Prime Minister, what does the stampede that we saw at the football stadium tell us about the Egyptian people, particularly the youth
today? They don't need to abide by the rule of law after the revolution? It's quite alarming to see a case like that unfold before your eyes and the
MAHLAB: Well, as long as there are some investigations but I can assure you that all sorts sometimes are planned to jeopardize the field (ph).
Egyptian people are really aware. Government is aware . But we are paying a heavy (INAUDIBLE) to combat terrorists.
DEFTERIOS: Specifically, is Egypt not getting the support to combat the terrorism that's in the Sinai and on the border of Israel?
MAHLAB: Well, we are facing -- we are facing and we are getting -- you know, it's a question of Egyptian armies facing and we can face it. We can
face it alone in Egypt and we have really -- we can really defend our integrity. We have very strong army and we are facing. But it's questions
that it is time now to launch international and a global mechanism to combat the terrorists.
But in our (INAUDIBLE), we can face it and, believe me, we are going to (INAUDIBLE) it.
DEFTERIOS: Once again, Ibrahim Mahlab, the prime minister of Egypt. That interview was conducted just a few days before the attacks on Egyptian
citizens in Libya. Now Egypt has joined the fight against ISIS. But it puts it in a very precarious position as it tries to regain stability. Ian
Lee has more from Cairo.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the early morning under the cover of darkness, Egyptian F-16s roar into the night sky. Their target:
ISIS training camps and weapons depots in Libya.
The morning light reveals the destruction in Derna, the Mediterranean city close to the Egyptian border and just 200 miles from the European coast.
The airstrikes: revenge for the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS militants.
ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translator): Egypt reserves the right of retaliation and with the methods and timing it sees
fit for retribution from those murders and criminals who are without the slightest humanity.
LEE (voice-over): The families urged the government to rescue their loved ones sooner. Now, too late; the situation in Libya grows increasingly more
GEN. SAMEH SEIF ELYAZAL (RET.), CHAIRMAN, AL GOMHOURIA: Number one, first risk now is definitely the western border with Libya.
LEE (voice-over): Egypt already wages a bloody fight against ISIS militants in Sinai. Hundreds of policeman and soldiers have been killed in
the more than year-long battle.
But, will Egypt commit troops to Libya as well?
ELYAZAL: I don't think we would put boots on ground. I don't think this is in our, I would say, aim now. Our aim is to strike whenever we can.
LEE (voice-over): Egypt hasn't given a timeline for its current operation. But to fix Libya, it may take a lot more than killing ISIS from the sky --
Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.
DEFTERIOS: And that's our special look at the political and economic situation right now in Egypt. And that's all for this edition of CNN
"Marketplace Middle East." I'm John Defterios. Thanks for watching.