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Battle for Tikrit Rages; Boko Haram Purported Pledges Allegiance to ISIS; Celebrating International Women's Day; Critics Say India's Rape Laws Still Keep Marital Rape Legal; Families Still Coping With Missing MH370 Passengers; Boris Nemtsov's Daughter Skeptical Of Justice For His Assassination

Aired March 8, 2015 - 1:00   ET




"If it's one year, two or three," she says, "I know he will return. I know he's still alive."


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: A mother's heartache one year after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Tonight, we'll have the

details from a new report about the doomed flight.

Also ahead, suspects appear in a Moscow courtroom in connection with Boris Nemtsov's killing. We hear from the opposition leader's daughter on what

she thinks of the arrest.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have the choice to cover or not, and I choose to cover not because I'm told to, not because I worry

what people might think, not because I am devout.


ANDERSON: Young, Emirati and a woman. We're celebrating International Women's Day tonight by bringing you the experiences and stories of women

past and present in this part of the world.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening. It is 7:00 here in the UAE. We begin tonight in Russia where a judge says one of the suspects in the murder of

Boris Nemtsov has confessed. He's one of five men detained for suspected involvement in the killing of the opposition politician. At least four of

them are reported to be ethnic Chechens.

The suspects were marched into a Moscow court earlier today, and two of them were formally charged.

Nemtsov's assassination steps from the Kremlin sent shockwaves across Russia. President Vladimir Putin has said he suspects extremists were

trying to stir unrest in the country.

Nemtsov's daughter told our Matthew Chance she has no faith in the Russian government's investigation. Matthew filed this report after the first two

arrests were made.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the head of the national security service appeared on national television to announce the

detentions, a sign of just how much the authorities here want to be seen as taking this investigation seriously.

Critics, though, are skeptical, including members of Boris Nemtsov's own family.

He was one of Russia's most prominent opposition figures, gunned down in the shadow of the Kremlin. But Boris Nemtsov was also a father. And for

the first time in a television interview, his bereaved daughter is speaking out.

ZHANNA NEMTSOVA, BORIS NEMTSOV'S DAUGHTER: I loved him more than anyone else in my life, though I'm a grownup daughter, I'm 30-years-old, I will

turn 31 on the 26 of March. So we were very close up to his murder. And I think that he died a hero.

CHANCE: He was walking home with his Ukrainian girlfriend last Friday night when a gunman fired four shots into his back. A surveillance video

is grainy, but this is the moment Russia lost one its strongest opposition voices and Zhanna lost her dad.

NEMTSOVA: I think that of course the authorities have the political responsibility for his murder. It's evident, because it's cruel, it's

bare-faced murder in the heart of Russia, in Moscow, in the city center.

CHANCE: Do you blame Putin directly for the killing?

NEMTSOVA: I cannot blame him directly. I would say that our authorities, including the president of Russia, have political responsibility as the

head of state.

CHANCE: Do you have any faith that the authorities will bring those responsible to justice?

NEMTSOVA: No. It's a short answer, no.

I don't believe in that. And I think that it's now we have -- Russia has crossed the line, because -- after people will be frightened to express

their ideas, which contradict to the official standpoint.

CHANCE: Despite his politics, Zhanna told me her father never believed his life was in real danger. Even this fierce critic of Putin's Russia is

seems underestimated how bad things had become.

Well, despite the detentions, Zhanna tells us she stands by her comments. The Kremlin, she says, is ultimately responsible. The two men said to be

from the restive north Caucuses region, but that's a place with many guns for hire, so it doesn't necessarily tell us much about who may have ordered

this killing.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


ANDERSON: Well, exactly one year ago, the world began the largest search in aviation history. And so far that search has yet to yield a single

trace of Malaysia Airlines flight 370.

Now the plane disappeared, you'll remember, while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. 239 people were on board, their families still left in

the dark. Well, that is despite a multinational search effort covering four-and-a-half million square kilometers of the Indian Ocean.

And today, investigators have released an interim report on the missing airliner.

Well, let's bring in aviation correspondent and my colleague Richard Quest for more on that report, joining us now from Los Angeles.

A year to the day since the flight disappeared, Richard, what stands out from what we have heard?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What stands out from the report is the sheer amount of detail that they've ladeled out about

Malaysia Airlines, about aviation in Malaysia, about air traffic control procedures. There are hundreds of pages in this report.

But substantially we are absolutely no closer to knowing what happened on the night, or indeed where the aircraft has finally come to rest. No

closer at all.

Perhaps the only scintilla is that there is a section dealing with the mental and physical health of the pilots. And it scratches the idea that

somehow the captain either was having emotional problems or was depressed and says there is no evidence that he had anxiety, that he was in any way

disturbed. They even looked back at previous occasions where he'd gone through security on his recent flights and saw there was nothing in the

difference in his gait, his posture or his demeanor.

So, Becky, a lot of detail, but frankly it doesn't add up to much.

ANDERSON: So, what happens next?

QUEST: Very interesting question. They continue searching in the southern Indian Ocean, in the area that the most likely the primary search area.

They will have exhausted that in the next, say, two to three to four months. And thereafter does the search continue. And if so at what level.

The deputy prime minister of Australia (inaudible) and the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have already started to dangle the possibility, I'll

put it no higher than that, that there will have to be a review, pretty much saying they can't continue to search forever.

And even Malaysian authorities are saying they will have to go on expert advice.

Heartbreaking for the families, but Becky it may simply be a statement of the obvious if they don't have a better indication of where the plane went


ANDERSON: Richard Quest in Los Angeles on the story for you this evening. Thank you, Richard.

In Malaysia, the timing of the interim report on MH370 is causing outrage among those who are still missing loved ones. In China, it's making

relatives even more mistrustful of the Malaysian government, but they all have one thing in common, unimaginable grief.

CNN's David McKenzie has the story of one Chinese family torn beyond reason.


MCKENZIE: A mother relives precious memories of her son. She shows me her favorite photo. "He looks so handsome," she says.

"With each day he is missing, the pain is worse."

Bian Yang Jin (ph) was doing construction work in Singapore saving money to start a dental practice, but like 239 souls on board MH370, he vanished.

One year on, his mother still hasn't lost hope.

"If it is one year, if it is two or three," she says, "I know he will return. I know he's still alive."

Families here won't believe what anyone says about MH370 until they have physical proof.

"There is no wreckage, no luggage, no cargo was found. They are alive," says his father.

"My eldest son held the family together," he says. "He really loved and respected us."

"He's modest. He's better than our second son."

Bian's (ph) younger brother looked to him for support. They were best friends.

He shows me where they used to sleep together on a small bed, where they kept their toys.

"When he was here, everything was OK with our family," he says. "Now everything is up to me. I hope he's alive. I hope he is somewhere alive.

I just know he wants to come back home to us."

The mother says she cries at every meal, the family stuck in a cycle of grief as they wait for their favorite son and brother to return.

David McKenzie, CNN, Dingjong (ph), China.


ANDERSON: I want to get you to Africa now where the Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram has apparently sworn loyalty to ISIS. Separately, the two

groups have killed thousands of people on either side of the Red Sea. Boko Haram whose leader you see here is trying to carve out an Islamic state in

Nigeria. Its militants have recently targeted Cameroon and Chad.

My colleague Nima Elbagir investigates the implications of the proposed link up.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A new alliance for the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram. A voice claiming to be that of its

leader Abubakar Shakur pledged to hear and obey in difficult times and at prosperous times the self-styled Amir of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

This will give ISIS a scope, an arc of allegiance that stretches from one coast of North Africa to the other through Libya, Egypt, Algeria and now

Nigeria. It also gives it the opportunity to strike another blow against al Qaeda in that battle for international dominance.

Boko Haram had previously pledged to obey the al Qaeda leadership. Now it seems to be throwing its lot in with ISIS.

For Boko Haram, at a time when it's being pushed out of much of its territorial gains by an African Union backed multi regional force. It's

giving it a lifeline.

Propaganda gains generally have translated into the lifeblood of foreign recruitment and foreign donations. And Boko Haram needs that more than


Whether that will help it to turn the tide against that African Union- backed force remains to be seen.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Still to come tonight, tortured, beaten and raped and it was legal: ahead we will hear why many say laws to protect women in India just

don't go far enough.

Up next, we're going to look at another angle of this fight against ISIS, examining whether Iran's strategic involvement runs the risk of opening old

sectarian wounds. You're with CNN. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is CNN and Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE at a quarter past 7:00.

A Shia militia says that ISIS is surrounded in one of its strongholds in Iraq.

A Shahid al Shabi (ph) group says that the joint forces fighting for Tikrit have encircled the city ahead of a planned assault on the ISIS militants

who took control last year. Sunni and Shia fighters have teamed up for what is the largest ground operation to date in the battle against ISIS.

Well, Iran giving a major boost to Iraqi forces. Its advisers have been assisting in the ongoing fight. And its growing influence there is raising

concerns for some regional powers.


ANDERSON: The operation to wrestle Tikrit away from ISIS control is the biggest undertaken by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his

military generals thus far. Under his command, a fighting force in excess of 25,000 comprising Iraqi troops and importantly an assortment of both

Sunni and Shia militia.

Playing just as prominent a role, this man: Qasem Suleimani, head of Iran's elite Quds force. For someone more used to operating in the shadows, many

say Suleimani's growing public profile attests to Iran's role in Iraq's internal affairs.

ALI KHEKERY, CEO, DRAGONMAN PARTNERS: As a former member of Iraq's national security council told me recently, Prime Minister Abadi is the

prime minister of the green zone. He believes General Suleimani is the CEO of Iraq, the de facto prime minister. And the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali

Khamenei is the chairman of the board.

ANDERSON: Iran is seen to exert considerably political influence in Baghdad, a military force through Shia militia beyond the capital.

In the absence of an effective national military and U.S.-led coalition boots on the ground, militias have done a fair amount of the fighting

against Islamic state militants in Iraq. They were built up during the former Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's tenure and have been central to Iraqi

army action.

THEODORE KARASIK, SECURITY ANALYST: Under Maliki, the Iranians were able to fund, equip and organize their forces in Iraqi territory with impunity.

Now we're seeing that program come to fruition.

These militias are capable of conducting the front line fight against the Islamic State in Iraq.

ANDERSON: But as military engagement grows, rights groups say so, too, the revenge attacks against Sunni civilians attributed to Shia militia.

Ahead of the Tikrit operation, Iraq's prime minister appeared to address concerns about fears of reprisals against Tikrit's Sunni population, urging

his troops to preserve the security of civilians.

The danger is that revenge attacks stoke bitter sectarian divisions, which have the potential to derail the fight against ISIS and wreck the country's

fragile future.

Meanwhile, the presence of General Suleimani on the outskirts of Tikrit shows Iran's willingness to take this fight to Sunni extremists like ISIS,

even if it means putting its own troops on the ground.

But it will also likely strengthen the belief amongst certain regional powers, like Saudi Arabia, that Iran has longer term expansionist



ANDERSON: Well, let's discuss this. Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joining me live from Baghdad this evening.

And Ben, you've spent time in recent weeks on the front lines with those who are fighting ISIS. How is this Iran-Iraq dynamic playing out on the


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you see when you go to the front -- and this is actually nothing knew, is that the closer

you get to the front lines where people are actually fighting, you see more and more members of these various groups like the Hash al-Shabi (ph), this

paramilitary force formed after the near collapse of the Iraqi army last summer. They seem to be the ones who are really the tip of the spear.

And they're very well equipped. They have their own heavy armor. They have tank. They have artillery. They have APCs, rocket launchers, and so

certainly it does seem that after the Iraqi army hasn't really recovered since last summer. The United States is busy trying to upgrade it, train

it. They say -- the Americans say about 5,000 Iraqi soldiers have gone through, or are presently in training courses. But at the moment it seems

that these militias, these groups are leading the fight.

Now you don't see Iranians at the front line. We've seen -- we've got a video handout from one of the Shia militias that showed Iranian -- these

were men speaking in Farsi -- huddled around the map very close to their front line, so we know they're there.

And it's important to remember that many of these groups, like the Badr Organization (ph), which is the largest of these paramilitary groups, it

has its start in Iran. It began in Iran in the early 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war where many -- when many of them fled to Iran.

So the routes -- the connections between these groups and Iran are deep and they are old -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben, it is no surprise that the consequences are being hotly debated in what is the majority Sunni Arab gulf where we are.

One analyst here pointing out that joining the U.S.-led fight against ISIS only to see, as this one analyst described, Shiite brutality against Sunni

civilians in areas retaken from ISIS could have major implications for the Arab allies, the implications being, for example, a risk to their

credibility back home and possibly the security of some of these nations.

Is this Gulf concern warranted, do you think?

WEDEMAN: Well, if you look at the experience of the last few months, there have been worrying incidents. For instance, when there was a campaign to

try to push ISIS out of parts of Diyala Province (ph) to the west of -- to the east of here, there were violations, violations documented by, for

instance, Human Rights Watch.

But what we've seen this time around before and during this operation to take Tikrit is what appears to be an effort to try to avoid that. On

Friday, the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who is the spiritual leader for many Shia here in Iraq, he in a sermon he said you must do the utmost to

protect the human rights and dignity of the people in the areas where this fighting is going on.

And I've spoken to western diplomats and they seem to agree that there is a concerted effort to try to avoid the kind of abuse, the kind of violations

that have happened in the past -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman on the story for you. And this is one that we have been following and will continue to follow with Ben as the days go on.

All right, you'll recall the controversy surrounding the British support group that once helped the man who became known as Jihadi John. Go online

and find out why the group known as CAGE has now lost its funding after making public its relationship with a young Mohamed Emwazi. There is a

link to that story on the homepage at

You're watching CNN. Live from Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson with Connect the World.

On this International Women's Day, we look at India where despite the outcry over recent sexual assault scandals, it is still legal for husbands

to rape their wives.

And later, finding empowerment in your wardrobe. One of our Emirati producers speaks about her journey wearing the Abaya. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Calls for equal opportunities, rights and freedoms, it's a familiar refrain every 8th of March when the world marks International

Women's Day. And for many across the world it is far from an abstract fight.

You're watching Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

India is another country accused by Campaigners of turning a blind eye for violence against women. A recent decision to ban a documentary about a

fatal gang rape drew more criticism along with accusations the government refuses to admit how widespread misogynist attitudes are.

Well, while anti-abuse laws have gotten tougher in recent years there, it is still legal for husbands to rape their wives.

Mallika Kapur reports.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bustling with the hum of daily life, the chaos in these narrow allies and crowded rooms masks a

silent battle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He would force me to have sex. He'd bite me. He'd press a pillow on my face. He'd pull my hair.

KAPUR: This woman tells us she was tortured for almost a year, even while pregnant. The assailant, her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Of course it's rape, because it was against my will, but society says he's my husband and a husband can do


KAPUR: There are hardly any figures available for marital rape in India, but Narine Darawala (ph) who has counseled women for 13 years says it's

very common.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reason for this brutality is the social sanction that men have in our country.

You know, they just (inaudible) with being very masculine, and having the social sanction that he is all powerful.

KAPUR: She says it's hard to convince women to walk out of an abusive marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says it is OK if my husband beats me, fine, but at least I have a house. I have a roof to live in.

KAPUR: A victim of marital rape gets little support in India. Society shuns her, the law ignores her.

Though India toughened anti-rape laws after it was widely debated, and despite pressure from activists, it failed to make marital rape a criminal


Critics say it's an alarming reflection of the way Indian society views marriage, an arrangement in which a woman's consent is taken for granted.

In this victim's case, the abuse so severe she had to undergo surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I told the doctors please mention the reason for my surgery for the papers. I wanted them to write

sexual torture. I now have proof of what he did to me.

KAPUR: She's now trying to use that evidence to get a divorce from her husband. That's as far as her fight can take her. She has no recourse to


Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


ANDERSON: Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, following in their grandmother's footsteps, literally. I'm going to talk

to Emirati women honoring their past.


ANDERSON: At half-past seven in the UAE, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson, you're watching CNN. The top stories for you this hour.

Boko Haram's leader is apparently pledging his loyalty to ISIS. If an audio message is authenticated, his would become the biggest terror group

to affiliate with the militants in Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram has been waging and insurgency in West Africa, while ISIS has taken parts of the

Middle East.

Iraqi forces report steady progress in their push to retake Tikrit from ISIS. Officials said on Saturday, they have surrounded the city in nearby

towns. Iraqi fighters, along with Shia and Sunni militia members are fronting the fight against Islamist militants in the area. These new

photos are said to show some 50 ISIS supporters surrendering to joint Iraqi forces who told they were given a final chance to hand themselves in or be


Well, a Russian judge says one of the suspects in the killing of the Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has confessed. He is among

five people recently detained in the murder investigation and he's reportedly a former member of the Chechen police.

Kuala Lumpur remembered those aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 370 a year to the day after it disappeared. Loved ones urged the government to keep

looking for it. The anniversary was also marked in Beijing, most of those aboard were Chinese.

Well, International Women's Day is being marked across the world today. We heard earlier how the last 12 months of -- have been brutal at times for

women around the world, including in this region. But there are stories of empowerment, too. In just a moment, we'll be hearing about a desert trek

with a difference here in the UAE. I'll be speaking to two young Emirati women inspired by a generation's old tradition.

But before that, in parts of the Middle East, women have to cover their heads and bodies in a certain way by law. In the United Arab Emirates,

wearing the Abaya is a choice, one that is often debated, sometimes misunderstood and intensely personal.

Have a listen to this reflection from our own assistant producer Kadija al Husseini and what it means to her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As an Emirati woman and a Muslim, I wear the Abaya and hijab. I always have. It's part of me.

As a child, I was told you wear them to protect you from unwanted attention. I never questioned it. I mean, why would I? Every woman I

saw, every woman I met, they all wore them.

Back then, my chose all my abayas, always black, always plain, just like hers.

Things changed when I became a teenager, though, I wanted my clothes to reflect my personality more. I found trendier fabrics and threads, then I

added a little color. My simple black cloak evolved with me. And I'm not the only one.

Some women have gone even further and chose not to wear the abaya at all. There is nothing illegal about that, but for all the recent changes in

Emirati society it's still quite a big deal.

Athai is a friend of mine and she never wore the abaya.

ATHAI: I get a full range of reactions from the negative to the positive, and it usually comes from the more conservative, the more traditional

people. And then I get the reactions from the more maybe open-minded, I would say, who tell me that I shouldn't be listening to what other people

say. I should do what I think is best for me and usually it's people who they themselves don't want to wear the abaya.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For many of us, it's a reflection of where we come from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whenever I go to a place, I'm the one with the abaya. It presents me as a, oh, she's the Emirati here. Whereas it also makes me

feel like I belong here. I belong to this country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things have changed so fast in my lifetime, that I sometimes wonder if the next generation of Emirati women will give up

wearing the abaya altogether. I hope not. I have the choice to cover or not, and I choose to cover, not because I'm told to, not because I worry

what people might think, not because I am devout, I wear the abaya because it gives me a sense of belonging. It has never held me back, never got in

the way of my success and it's not an obstacle to me. But it is my way of saying I'm proud of where I am from, who I am and that's important to me.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN Arabic is also covering International Women's Day looking at the fight against sexual harassment across the world. Do have a

look at the website, that's -- sorry, and take a look at a slideshow recapping some recent cases of violence and alleged sexual

harassment that caused international outrage.

And if you want more on the campaign, search the hashtag #cnnArabic for women on Twitter.

Lots going on, on the show tonight for you.

And in tonight's Parting Shots we are staying with our theme inspiring strong women. And we found two tonight right on our doorstep.

My next guests were among a group of women who followed in the footsteps of their grandmother's generation. They've just finished a desert trek of

140 kilometers through sand dunes. Yep, they were recreating a tradition from decades ago here in the United Arab Emirates. In the past, families

regularly walked from the oasis town of Al Ain to the fishing town, as it was then, of Abu Dhabi.

Well, joining me now on set in Abu Dhabi are two of those trekkers Alanood Almarzooqi, a student at Zaid University (ph) here and Maryam al-Ansari who

is a Zaid graduate. Thank you both for coming in.

Maryam, how long did this trek take?

MARYAM AL-ANSARI, EMIRATI GRADUATE: Actually, it was an honor to be on the trip. And the trekked for seven days.

The trek was in seven days like we first been (inaudible) and we were starting from there and we walked for five days mainly really, really long

time, eight hours and a half to 10 hours a day. And we walked on the dunes, desert, all kind of -- actually all kind of sand.

ANDERSON: It's an interesting case, isn't it, because you can drive from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi in, what, an hour these days and lots of people do it.

The generation two ago from you, as it were, and this is a country, viewers, that is only 43 years old, remember, used to do that walk as you

did. HO was it?

ALANOOD ALMARZOOQI, EMIRATI STUDENT: Well, to be honest actually it was really hard for me, because it's my first challenge, actually, walking from

Al Ain to Abu Dhabi. It was difficult. But being with these 28 -- 27, sorry, ladies, they actually I learned a lot from them, because they were

really strong women that helped me through with the end and it was really challenging for me.

ANDERSON: How did you cope?

AL-ANSARI: More water. We don't drink that much water, but we really need more water.

And, you know, it's like I really felt that my mind was pushing me to do this. Like I know my body is not that capable to do all this, so it start

like the first two hours, like OK, I put all the pressure on my body, but then I felt like my mind was pushing me. And also the wonderful group of

women who were supporting us, like they helped us.

ANDERSON: 140 kilometers, a trip that these days as I say takes an hour or so by car, but your grandmothers would have done as you did over the past

week. Let's take a look at some of the shots that you've brought in, because these are fantastic, Anna, there's a wide shot, I think, of the

group. Have a look at the monitor, ladies, and just talk me through. I'm basically taking you back, the memories, remind me what you doing. Let's

bring these photos up.

I think there's a wide shot of the group as you were -- as you were on the walk. Can we bring those up? Can I get a producer? There we go. OK.

So, just walk me through -- I'm need first on the left there, what are we seeing?

ALMARZOOQI: I was holding, actually, the falcon. We -- it was the first day. And while we were walking, there are about like eight falcons, so you

know we had fun with the ladies and you know just for me in order to succeed I must believe that I can. So I think that this journey and this

walk helped me a lot to, you know, to reach my dream and reach my goal to be true.

ANDERSON: And what does do as an Emirati? I mean, this is, you know, fast cars, you know, big main roads these days. I mean, to be reminded of how

far this place has come and where you're parents and grandparents have come from?

AL-ANSARI: Yeah, we should be reminded all the time of our past, because you know the desert is about challenge. Living in a desert is a challenge.

Being in the middle of a desert is a big challenge.

I know we had a lot of resources these days, but you know there is also -- could be available in any country. But you should be really challenging

yourself to be able to do all of this. And I think the desert helped us -- the environment helps us.

So, just putting myself in our grandmother's shoes like it's really interesting to know how they were capable to do it and how strong they are,

because now we are strong with technology, with knowledge, and it is really good, but to be really strong from inside is what we need. And we are

doing this. And are trying to be really strong to be really able to do it.

ANDERSON: We often ask on International Women's Day, and I asked myself, you know, who have you been inspired by. And in the past I've talked about

people like Martha Gehlhorn,l she was an incredible female journalist, one of the first female war correspondents who covered the Spanish civil war

back in the 30s.

Who are you guys inspired by?

ALMARZOOQI: Well, to begin with, I'm the youngest participant in women's heritage walk under the patron of Sheikh Sheha (ph) (inaudible). So it was

really a huge responsibility on me, because I need to push myself even if I, you know, some of the moments if I was thinking to quit, but you know

being -- walking with these women actually helped me get through until the end, especially Judy Ballard, the founder of the Women Heritage Walk and

(inaudible) from -- escape Oregon (ph) inventor...

ANDERSON: Amazing. Because ofttimes we go, you know, it's going to be a celebrity, sometimes it's a group of women. And for you?

AL-ANSARI: Right. And for me it's like all the grandmothers were here, like, I really enjoy listening to their stories. They have a lot of

stories happening. It's not even only the desert. We have mountains area, we have also the coast. So, it's (inaudible) like from different place to


And you have a lot of nicer stories. And you can relate and understand it more if you be there in the desert walking.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and remember how far this country has come, but also its heritage and the legacy.

Fantastic. Thank you, for joining me. I know your feet are probably a little tired still. Seven days, viewers, in the desert staying in camps.

I mean, there were no -- there are no (inaudible) girls to stay. And I'm proud of you girls. I think it's fantastic.

I want to say thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Celebrating local ladies in this region. I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. From the team here, it is a very good evening. Thank

you for watching. Good night.