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Putin Returns From Unexplained Absence; Interview with Sons of Yusuf Rap Duo; Israel to Vote Tuesday; U.S.-Iran Continue Nuclear Discussions; U.S. Real Estate Heir's Shocking Confession on HBO Leads to Arrest. Aired 11-12:00P ET

Aired March 16, 2015 - 11:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Testing times for these three men as Benjamin Netanyahu fights for his political life, the Iran nuclear talks he's made

it his mission to thwart ramp up in Switzerland.

<11:00:25> We are one day away from finding out the Israeli prime minister's fate, and two weeks away from a potential deal between six world

powers and Iran. We've got these intertwined stories covered this hour for you.

Also ahead, protecting Babylon, why one part of Iraq's heritage represents the country's resilience in the face of terrorism.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is Sons of Yusuf, salam alaikum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check us out on Connect the World with Becky Anderson tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what hip hop sounds like in Arabian.



ANDERSON: And (inaudible) duo reinveting the Arab world's music scene one YouTube hit at a time.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening to you. It is 7:00 in the evening here in the UAE. It is crunch time for six world powers looking to make a deal

with Iran on its nuclear program before a self-imposed deadline that is just two weeks away.

Well, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met for hours with the Iranian foreign minister earlier Monday in Switzerland. The Iranian

delegation now heads to Brussels for talks with European ministers. They are facing a self-imposed March 31 deadline to come up with a framework for

a deal.

Well, CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has been following the talks and joins me now from London.

And Nic, what Iranians will want to know is where there be an agreement to bring them back in from the cold, as it were, and into these

punitive sanctions that cripple their economy? Or will the negotiating parties kick this can down the road again?

ANDERSON: Well, they've certainly got space to do that.

Look, the sort of date for the final, you know, all details on agreement is the end of June. You know, they have to get to the end of

March and have a framework, and who is to say, you know, how skinny the frame is on that framework.

You know, what you're talking about sort of just getting to a point and kicking it further down the road for more negotiations.

So, you know, if you're sitting in Iran and you're looking at how these talks are going, it was a long meeting this morning. But listen to

both parties going into the talks. You know, you had the foreign minister of Iran saying, look, there's a lot of technical issues for us to get

through. And you have the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying, yes, technical issues, but we really feel we're getting to that point where it's

a political judgment for the Iranians.

So you can see, you know, in that kind of language, you know, they're not in the same place, Becky.

ANDERSON: There are a number of stakeholders, of course, involved in these negotiations, and many of them are thousands of miles away from

Switzerland, or Europe. What sort of impact have both the congressional Republicans in the States and the Israeli prime minister's anti-Iran

narrative had on things, do you think, as they reach a climax?

ROBERTSON: Well, you know, everyone in this has people on the sort of harder line edge, if you will. You know, you have the 47 senators in the

United States who wrote to the Iranian leadership saying make a deal, but we can't guarantee that deal is going to hold. And then you have Benjamin

Netanyahu on the other side, an ally of the United States, you know, saying that this deal is a bad deal.

So the mood music, if you will, you know to one side of where the negotiators are, is quite strong against this deal. But yet the same --

the same on the Iranian side. You know, there's a mission and a mood for the negotiators to get a deal, but on the other side it's got to be a deal

that's favorable to the Iranians.

So, you know, when you look at it in that perspective both parties have got to fulfill the expectations of the people on the extremes.

But there's no doubt President Obama and the White House have pushed back, you know, that letter to the Iranians from the 47 senators, you know,

saying that that's going to dispute and potentially impact these negotiations. Yet at the same time, you have Secretary Kerry telling CBS

over the weekend I am not going to apologize for that letter.

You know, these are harsh political realities that both sides are staring at here, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in London for you. Thank you, Nic.

Iran has also been a key campaign issue in Israel's elections. Voting there begins in less than 24 hours. And it is down to the wire.

The final polls pushed on Friday indicate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party is trailing the Zionist Union Party and its leader

Isaac Herzog.

But of course final polls don't always translate to victory on election day.

So, Oren Lieberman is in Jerusalem with the very latest for us. And how has Benjamin Netanyahu responded to what are these latest and final

polls, Oren?

<11:05:25>OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we've seen a lot of Benjamin Netanyahu in the last few days. He's made a

number of media appearance. He's given interviews to local radio stations, to local TV stations really making sure he's out there. And then just last

night in Tel Aviv's (inaudible) thousands of people filling Rabin Square specifically to hear the Keynote speaker Benjamin Netanyahu getting out

there hitting Herzog on his big issues, on Netanyahu's big issues, which is security.

Now we've heard a lot about Jerusalem, which is always a sensitive issue here in Israel.

And then, at the end of his speech Netanyahu telling all of the right- wing voters there to get out and vote on election day. He's trying to close that gap, Becky, between him and Isaac Herzog.

ANDERSON: Yeah, even if Herzog were to win the most seats, it doesn't guarantee that he will be the next prim minister of course. What else

would he need to do?

LIEBERMAN: Well, it all comes down to where the numbers are not just for the two main parties, which are Likud and the Zionist Union, but all of

the other right wing and left wing parties.

There are a number of them on the right, there are fewer on the left. So what Isaac Herzog needs to be guaranteed the next premiership, the next

prime minister of Israel on election night he needs a very strong showing from some of the left-wing parties, which would be his party, The Zionist

Union, the (inaudible) and also a strong showing from the Arab List, which according to the latest polls is in third place. That would certainly help

Herzog's case tomorrow night if he's to be the next prime minister.

ANDERSON: Yeah. And more on the Arab List later this hour.

Election day in Israel can often come down to the smaller parties, of course, as you are explaining they're the king makers.

Who are those? And which characters should our viewers be watching for?

LIEBERMAN: Well, as of right now, and this all depends on how the numbers really shake out tomorrow after the elections. But as of right now

we're looking at two parties in the center, one center-right, one center- left. The names to listen for and the numbers to look out for, the bar to that center-right would be Kulanu, which in Hebrew means together, or all

of us. That's led by a guy named Moshe Kahlon. And he was a Likud Party member. Netanyahu in these last few days has really been trying to get him

to commit to the right, but Kahlon has been very quiet, refusing to go either way.

And then the party on the center-left is a party called Yesh Atid, which translates roughly to there is progress. And that's led by Yair

Lapid who surprised in the last elections. He had a very strong showing in the last elections. We spoke with him just a couple of days ago. He said

he hopes to have another very, very strong showing.

These two parties could be the king makers here. They could decide Israel's next prime minister.

But it all comes down to the numbers. And we'll have to wait and see those until tomorrow night.

ANDERSON: All right, Oren, thank you. We'll be keeping a close eye, of course, on developments in Israel.

Later in this hour on this show we'll look at the power of Arab parties in Israel who are uniting for the first time in this election.

And we speak to a former adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu as the prime minister faces what is a tough reelection bid.

Moving on for you this evening. And the death toll is rising in Vanuatu following a cyclone that devastated the island nation.

Government officials now confirm at least 11 people were killed when Cyclone Pam swept through the country in the South Pacific over the


Our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson went to Vanuatu's hardest hit capital to see the damage firsthand.


IVAN WATON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It takes a view like this to give you a sense of the sheer power of the wind of Cyclone Pam when

she ripped through here on Friday night tearing trees in half and damaging nearly every building in this area. Some houses were quite simply


Fortunately, residents tell me, nobody in this neighborhood was hurt in this terrible storm, and that's due in large part to training and


Where was everybody on the night of the storm?

THOMAS NANGOF, CHAIRMAN, COMMUNITY DISASTER COMMITTEE: Everybody was inside the evacuation center.

WATSON: This church right here?

NANGOF: This church, yes.

WATSON: And that was part of a plan.

NANGOF: Of course, that was part of the plan, which we (inaudible) and the (inaudible) the main evacuation center (inaudible).

WATSON: Do you think that saved lives?

NANGOF: Of course it did.

WATSON: The church is still serving as a temporary shelter for dozens of people from this community. There is still no electricity three days

after the storm, there's still no running water, and untold thousands and thousands of people made homeless. And a bigger problem is nobody really

knows the extent of the damage or the potential loss of life on dozens of other islands of Vanuatu, one of the poorest countries in the Pacific.

Ivan Watson, CNN, in Port Vila in Vanuatu.


<10::10:12> ANDERSON: Well, still ahead tonight Russia's president makes light of speculation about his 10 day absence. We're going to hear

from one Russian analyst about what he calls western worries and wishful thinking when it comes to Mr. Putin. That interview in about 20 minutes


And could Benjamin Netanyahu be heading for the exit as the Israeli prime minister? We're going to speak to his former adviser up next.

Taking a very short break here on CNN. Back in a moment.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Now millions of Israelis are preparing to head to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the country's parliamentary elections. The race is tight as

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a tough reelection bid. His rival, Isaac Herzog from the Zionist Union Party.

Final polls show a slight lead for Herzog over the Likud Party.

Well, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship make up 20 percent of the population. And for the first time they are uniting in this year's

election, becoming a significant political player. Elise Labott now reports that that could be the gamechanger.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is a powerful new face in Israeli politics. In a sea of Jewish parties

campaigning at Hebrew University, Ayman Odeh is a star attraction, but he is not Jewish. He is an Israeli citizen of Palestinian descent, one of 1.6

million living in Israel. And come election day, the bloc he leads, dubbed the joint list, could hold the balance of power in the Knesset, a potential

game changer for one-fifth of the country who for decades has complained of being second-class citizens.

"No one can ever ignore us again," he told us. "We want to close the social and economic gaps between Arabs and Jews in this country."

Walking through the Wadinesnas (ph) neighborhood of Haifa, he is welcomed as a local.

"I walk this street every day," he says. "I belong to each shop, even person."

Growing up here, he says he identified with Malcom X. Now the 41-year- old lawyer relates to Martin Luther King. Having convinced Israel's tiny

splintered Arab parties to team up for the first time, he now wants Arabs to get out and vote to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu, who he says fuels racism

and incitement against them in their own country.

"What makes people vote is the hope of change," he says. "We are 20 percent of the population. Together we can prevent him from forming a


There is some skepticism, but many here in Wadinesnas believe their native son can lead them to a better place.

"Many people didn't want to vote before," this man told us. "We asked for our rights, but we never get anything. This is a good step and united

we can be strong."

While Odeh's focus is on improving life for Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories, he says he needs Israeli Jews to help.

"Arabs alone cannot make a democracy strong," he says. "It must be Arabs and Jews together."

A message that resonates back at Hebrew University, where some Jewish students are joining the fight against what they call institutional


<11:15:54> UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not only a struggle of the Palestinian minority within Israel, it's a struggle of the Palestinian

minority together with the democratic Jews like myself.

LABOTT: It's not a vision shared by most in Israel, but Odeh's message is, now is their chance. By finding their voice and using their vote, they

can make that vision a reality.

Elise Labott, CNN, Jerusalem.


ANDERSON: Well, as Elise mentioned Arab-Israelis then looking to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister also facing fierce

competition from the Zionist Union as we've been discussing.

My next guest is a former adviser to Mr. Netanyahu, a member of the prime minister's inner circle for a number of years. Dore Gold is the

president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He joins me from Jerusalem this evening. Thank you, sir.

This looks to close to call at this point, certainly when you look at those final polls. Are you prepared to put your neck on the line, as it

were, and call the outcome?

DORE GOLD, PRESIDENT, JERUSALEM CENER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Well, not only do I not put my neck on the line, but I will also say that there are

two fundamental barriers for every political party to cross. The first barrier is the actual election. And we'll know the results -- the initial

results tomorrow night, although they can flip a couple of times.

And the second, of course, is coalition formation, because this is a parliamentary democracy. You have to form a majority in the knesset, in

our parliament, in order to put together a government.

So, you have to really be patient and see how the main parties cross those two barriers on the way to creating -- putting in the next prime


ANDERSON: What impact do you think this new Arab alliance will have, sir?

GOLD: Well, you know, maybe we can be hopeful.

Of course, the Arab alliance is opposing Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Likud Party, but if they are willing to lead to true integration of

Israeli -- Israeli Arabs into the society. For example, promote that Israeli Arabs should join the Israeli army and fight in the Israeli army

like Druze citizens, like Bedouin citizens, that would be an important change and important development. So we'll have to see the policies they


But they include, at present, components like Islamist parties and Communist Parties that aren't really ready for that change.

ANDERSON: If Netanyahu were to be reelected, sir, will there be a Palestinian State going forward?

GOLD: Well, there could be a Palestinian state that's demilitarized and accepts Israel as a Jewish state.

The prime minister went very far during the negotiations with Secretary of State John Kerry on a framework agreement. In fact, Israel

basically said yes to the framework agreement as long as we had our right of reservation. And Mahmoud Abbas, meeting with President Obama in the

White House in March of 2014 said basically no to the framework agreement.

So the question is can we get a Palestinian political leadership that is ready to put an end to the conflict? Israel has indicated that it is,

although it has very serious security concerns in a Middle East that is so volatile at present.

ANDERSON: All right.

Let me play for our viewers a clip of Mr. Netanyahu addressing the U.S. congress a couple of weeks ago. And I'll let you to react to this.

Have a listen.

GOLD: Sure.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road think again. When we get down that road, we'll

face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.


ANDERSON: This isn't the first time that we heard that sort of rhetoric from Mr. Netanyahu. There will be viewers and perhaps more

importantly voters who will wonder why they should believe him this time when the doomsday scenario he describes is not actually materialized. Your


<11:20:06> GOLD: Well, today Israelis heard the radio. They heard that statement of Prince Turki al Faisal, who is the former intelligence

head of Saudi Arabia saying that states are going to reserve their rights to build enrichment facilities, entire nuclear infrastructures if the

Iranians go forward and preserve that capability as a result of this deal.

So, Israel is not the only one concerned in the Middle East, we're also seeing Iranian expansionism on the ground. Just today we all heard

about the fact that the Jordanians are concerned about Hezbollah and Iranian forces in Syria massing on the Jordanian border. We see the boots

on the ground of the Iranian armed forces in Syria, in Iraq and therefore we're not assured that Iran is willing to join the peaceful nations of the


In fact, we see the west signing a deal with a country that's determined to dominate the Middle East and be the hegemonial power.


And those talks, of course, are ongoing with a self-imposed deadline, as we've been discussing, of the 31st of March. We may or may not at this

point see the can kicked down the road.

Again, let me just with respect suggest that the Iranians have never actually admitted to any boots on the ground in Iraq, although clearly

we've seen the inference of the Iranians across the Middle East.

GOLD: Excuse me, there are pictures of General Qasem Suleimani with his Quds force in Iraq -- General Qasem Suleimani, commander of the Quds

force of the revolutionary guards films himself, has selfie from Iraqi territory. So, I disagree with what you're saying. I simply look at the

material of what's coming out of Iraq and there are Iranian boots on the ground no question.

ANDERSON: All right. OK.

All right, let me put this to you. There's no doubt that the firestorm that was Netanyahu's recent trip to the U.S. has hurt Israel's

relations with the current White House. I think that's clear. The more pressing question I guess just hours ahead of voting is what sort of damage

did it do to his standing at home?

If you were still his senior policy adviser as it were, would you have suggested that he make that trip?

GOLD: You know, normally prime ministers, political people are very careful about taking any risks before an election. But the prime minister

wasn't thinking politically, he was thinking about a very dangerous Iranian agreement with the west that's about to be signed. And he felt he had to

put forward his views before the world. And he had an invitation from the third most powerful man in Washington the Speaker of the House of

Representatives John Boehner. So he went.

And it is true that some people misinterpreted his appearance as political grandstanding. It had nothing to do with politics. And it had a

marginal effect on the polls.

What it did show is that this is a prime minister who is determined to defend his country.

ANDERSON: This is the second election in two years, sir, briefly triggered by Netanyahu himself confident, it seems, that he would be

returned to office with a stronger mandate. Is that a decision that you supported?

GOLD: You know, I'm a foreign policy adviser in the past. I don't get into the domestic politics. So I wouldn't want to speculate on when's

a time to initiate elections.

I just do want to point out one thing structurally in Israel that many outside of Israel aren't aware of. You know, the conservative bloc in

Israel, the more right of center bloc, is atomized to some extent because we have so many parties on the conservative side. And that automatically

brings down Likud's numbers.

On the left, you have a much smaller number of parties and therefore they benefit from these situations.

But ultimately in order to have a government you have got to form a coalition. So many of those different conservative parties that bring down

Likud's numbers eventually come back and form a much larger parliamentary majority after the election.

ANDERSON: And with that, we're going to close it out, sir.

Mr. Gold, we thank you very much indeed for your time this evening.

You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi. Thank you.

Coming up, from Kuwait via California we meet the brothers bringing homegrown hip hop to the Middle East.

And standing from after four millennia, why the city of Babylon represents Iraq's ability to rebuild and recover no matter who tries to

destroy its unique heritage. This is CNN.


<11:26:52> ANDERSON: Well, the U.S. is planning to return more than 60 artifacts smuggled out of Iraq. The repatriation ceremony due to take

place at the Iraqi consulate in Washington today. And it comes at a time when ISIS is destroying precious antiquities in the country.

Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman went to the ancient city of Babylon to see why Iraqis say this assault on their heritage is



BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The city of Babylon has seen empires come and empires go, built, destroyed,

rebuilt, and ransacked time and time again.

It dates back almost 4,500 years, and remains a symbol of the glory of Mesopotamia. Babylon was last rebuilt, if you can call it that, by Saddam

Hussein in the 1980s. One of his palaces looms over the ruins. The renovated ruins include bricks stamped with his name describing him as the

son of the great Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.

Adnan Abul Fatami (ph) has come with his family to see the ruins.

"This wasn't Saddam's," he says. "It belonged to our grandfathers, the Babylonians, not Saddam."

But ISIS' reign of terror has eclipsed Saddam's megalomania. Last month, ISIS posted footage of the destruction of priceless artifacts in the

Mosul Museum. They have reportedly bulldozed the ancient cities of Nineveh and Hatra in Northern Iraq.

"The Mosul museum was destroyed. Why?" asks Adnan, addressing ISIS? "That is the heritage of your grandfathers. Why did you do that?"

South of Baghdad, Babylon is out of ISIS' reach.

(on camera): For ISIS, monuments like these are from (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Arabic for the age of ignorance before the advent of

Islam, and, therefore, must be destroyed. But, for most Iraqis, they're the achievements of their forefathers and a great source of national pride.

This is the victory sign against God.

(voice-over): Sayed (ph) is a leader of the Iraqi scouts movement. He and other parents are preparing for a campout, intended to teach Iraqi boys

and girls about their history.

"We have to preserve our heritage to show how advanced Babylonian civilization was," says Mona (ph). "It was the pinnacle of ancient


The assault on Iraq's history is taken personally here.

"When I saw what happened, I was determined to preserve our antiquities from ISIS," says Safa Adin (ph), who fled Mosul last year when

ISIS overran the city.

Iraq's very identity is tied up with its ancient past. In a land where history is measured not in centuries, but in millennia, sites like these

have a deep personal resonance.

"Babylon is our soul," says Mohammed Hektub (ph) from the antiquities department. "It's our heritage, our history. And we will defend it."

A heritage and a history now under assault from latter-day barbarians.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Babylon, Iraq.


<11:30:46> ANDERSON: Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead here in on CNN. Plus, Russian President Putin dismisses speculation

about his health and hold on power. Where has he been for the past 10 days? We're going to get an update from Moscow up next.


ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. It's just after half past 7:00 in the UAE. The top stories this hour here

on CNN.

And Israelis gearing up to head to the polls less than 24 hours from now. And it's down to the wire.

Final opinion polls published Friday indicate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party is trailing the Zionist Union Party and its leader

Isaac Herzog.

Well, the Iranian foreign minister is on his way to Brussels with negotiations with European ministers. He left Switzerland after talks with

his U.S. counterpart John Kerry. As he departed his hotel, he could be heard saying, quote, finally, finally we will get something. Six world

powers are trying to reach a framework for a deal with Iran on its nuclear program before a self-imposed March 31 deadline.

The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is pleading for international aid after one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall

was a direct hit over the weekend. 11 people confirmed dead, but that number is expected to rise.

Well, one of Moscow's best known historic buildings was engulfed by fire on Sunday. The blaze broke out in the bell tower of the 16th Century

Novodevicy convent. It took hours to bring it under control. And you can see the visuals there.

Well, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has appeared in public, meantime, for the first time in 10 days, an absence that sparked

speculation about his health and even whether he was still in power.

Now the 62-year-old met the president of Kyrgyzstan in St. Petersburg in front of journalists and made light of his still unexplained absence.

Now the meeting came as Russian media said Mr. Putin had ordered the northern fleet in nearly 40,000 troops to stand on full alert for snap


Well, CNN's Matthew Chance has been following the story for us from Moscow.


<11:35:36>MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, it's been an absence of more than 10 days, which is an extraordinarily long time

for a leader who is so prevalent on the Russian media. The conversation here is dominated by his actions and what he does, so you very rarely don't

see him, so it's been 10 days and it wasn't explained.

But finally Russian state television has come out, broadcast these pictures, he broadcast them live of Vladimir Putin, meeting his counterpart

from Kyrgyzstan in St. Petersburg. He looked very well. No sign of any illness that would have explained his absence for so long. But that

absence has sparked all sorts of rumors, not least that he was ill. There was speculation he had got cancer and was recovering from that -- or being

treated for that, speculation that he'd suffered a stroke, that he'd hurt is back, that he'd got flu. All along the Kremlin categorically denied

that he was ill, saying that he was in perfect health.

Another strand of the speculation was that he wasn't even in the country, that he'd traveled elsewhere, to Switzerland in fact, to witness

the birth of his love child. That, of course, was not confirmed by the Kremlin, because Vladimir Putin, for one reason, keeps details of his

personal life under very tight wraps indeed. And so we're still none the wiser about that.

A third strand, though, of rumor, of speculation, was that there were internal machinations taking place in Russia and that Vladimir Putin had

been ousted in some kind of palace coup and that he was no longer in charge. And so disappearance going some way to put pay to that speculation

as well.

He still seems very much to be the president of Russia.

For his part, he seemed his usual self. He even made light of the fact he'd been absent. He didn't explain it, but he said, look, the world

would be a very boring place if it weren't for gossip.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


ANDERSON: Well, the mysterious disappearance of President Vladimir Putin came at a tense time in Moscow following the murder of a leading

opposition politician and before the anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea with a disputed referendum.

This event compounding souring relations between Europe and the United States, of course.

This weekend, Russian state TV aired a documentary in which Putin again accused the U.S. of supporting a coup in Ukraine and said he had

considered, quote, all options when it came to securing Moscow's interests there even a nuclear alert.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We were ready to do it. I talked with colleagues and told them that Crimea is our

historic territory. Russian people live there. They are in danger. We could not throw them away. It wasn't us who committed a coup, it was the

nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. You supported them. But where are you? Thousands of miles away? And here we are. And this is our



ANDERSON: Right. Well, what do his words, his temporary absence and the world's reaction to it tell us about power and politics in Russia


Well, to talk us through this I'm joined by Dmitri Trenin who is director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Sir, what does Putin absence and this uneasiness that it sparked tell us of anything about power relations in the corridors of the Kremlin at


DMITRI TRENIN, CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER: Well, I don't know what it tells you about -- what it tells us about the relationships within the

Kremlin. I think it was clear to all -- to a lot of those sitting in Moscow that during Putin's absence nothing out of the ordinary was

happening in the country. The country was living more or less as if Putin were daily in control. I think it was daily control, but as if he were

visible throughout his absence.

So the speculation was a little bit -- well, it was clearly the result of his no-show, but no other signs of anything amiss were visible here in


ANDERSON: Now that's interesting.

Unsourced speculation, then, and wild rumors certainly spread rapidly online about Putin's absence. Your sole comment was this. You wrote,

quote, "speculation all the past week about Putin illustrates both western worries and wishful thinking." Wishful thinking clouding western policy

and its approach to Russia do you think, sir?

<11:40:05> TRENIN: Well, I think, frankly, Becky, that there's a lot of thinking around the west along the lines that the west's problem with

Russia is called Putin. So if Putin were to disappear like a bad dream, a nightmare, things will be back to normal.

Well, I would disagree with that. I think that the problems that exist between Russia and the west, Russia and the United States, these

problems are much deeper and they are more fundamental than this or that leader in charge of Russia. Although, of course, Putin's power is immense.

His impact on Russian foreign policy, the domestic scene, are enormous.

I think that the idea that -- though I think that the idea that somehow the name of the problem is called Putin is very wrong.

ANDERSON: You know, let me put this to you, there have certainly been reports of a bitter power struggle within the security services in Moscow,

are you going to suggest to me that there's substance in this, but surely this incident will have people thinking in his inner circle more about

potential successors going forward, sir, won't it?

TRENIN: Well, I think that any bureaucracy has its own share of turf battles. And clearly among the various services, various departments and

agencies in Moscow, there is a fair amount of competition like you will find elsewhere.

I would not exclude that. In fact, I would assume that a thing like a Nemtsov's killing has laid bare a few fissures, a few lines of tension in

the -- let's say in the broader political establishment and maybe within the security community, although I cannot be sure.

But the discussion of a coup, the discussion of Putin being taken prisoner is I think either wishful thinking or, why not, it could be a part

of a campaign directed at producing those fissures designed to find cracks within the policy establishment of Russia.

And frankly, again, if you look at the western policies toward Russia looking for those cracks and expanding those cracks, grabbing wedges among

the various interest groups in Russia is, in fact, almost a declared part of western policies vis-a-vis Russia.

So you treat all these things with a grain of salt, all those reports, all those rumors.

ANDERSON: Although much of what you've said it -- I suggest it wouldn't be the first time, of course.

Sir, thank you.

Your analysis out of Moscow this evening.

You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of Abu Dhabi.

Coming up, bringing a whole new beat to the Middle East. What do Sons of Yusuf say about the future of rap in the Arab world.

And a new twist in the bizarre life of the real estate heir Robert Durst. He's been arrested in connection with a 15-year-old murder. We're

going to tell you more when Connect the World continues. Taking a short break. Back after this.


<11:47:01> ANDERSON: Well, a comment on a live microphone for an HBO documentary could be the downfall for a U.S. real estate heir. Robert

Durst's bizarre life is the subject of the documentary. He was arrested in New Orleans on Saturday over the murder of a long-time friend in 2000.

Well, authorities believe that he was planning to flee the country.

He was also linked to two other killings, including his wife who went missing in 1982. During the filming of the documentary, Durst appeared to

make what was a shocking admission, as I say, while his microphone was on.

Jean Casarez has the story for you.


ROBERT DURST, REAL ESTATE HEIR: What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An explosive comment by real estate heir Robert Durst caught on a live mike, ending HBO's six-part

documentary series "The Jinx."

DURST: There it is. You're caught.

CASAREZ: What he means, unclear, but these are the words of a man who police say is a cold-case murder suspect. Durst whispering to himself in a

bathroom after his final interview for the special, which challenges the audience to decide whether the 71-year-old son of one of the most powerful

real estate tycoons in New York City is responsible for the disappearance of his wife in 1982, the murder of a close friend in 2000, and a neighbor

in 2001.

DURST: Well, I mean, the writing looks similar.

CASAREZ: In the final episode, the filmmakers confront Durst after uncovering a letter written by the millionaire to longtime friend and crime

novelist Susan Berman. Berman was found shot dead inside her L.A. home over 14 years ago. The handwriting and misspelling of her address eerily similar

to a letter written to police, telling them where to find the body. Durst denying he wrote it.

DURST: What I see as a similarity is really a misspelling in the "Beverly." Other than that, the block letters are block letters.

CASAREZ: Police arresting the heir Saturday at a New Orleans hotel, now held on a capital murder charge in Berman's death, citing additional

evidence that has come to light in the past year. It is unclear what role the documentary played.

The millionaire's attorney telling FOX News he was underwhelmed by the new developments revealed in the six-part series, including his ramblings

in the bathroom.

DURST: He was right. I was wrong.

CHIP LEWIS, ATTORNEY FOR ROBERT DURST: L.A. County has got a case. We'll address those facts in the courtroom, but generally speaking I was


CASAREZ: The millionaire has long maintained that he did not kill Berman or his wife, who has never been found.


ANDERSON: That was Jean Casarez reporting.

Durst's attorney Chip Lewis made this comment about his client's alleged mumbling admission to Fox News, quote, "your honesty would lead you

to say you've said things under your breath before that you probably didn't mean. So I don't want to talk about the factual specifics."

Well, let's get the very latest on this case. Miguel Marquez is live for us in New York.

What do we know?

<11:50:18> MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How are you there, Becky?

I'm not sure that that quote from the lawyer makes a whole lot of sense in context, but basically he's saying we all mumble things under our

breath and you can't hold it against this guy and I don't want to talk about the case right now.

But it seems that they have a pretty -- at least an admission here, a stunning turn of events here. This is a guy who has literally, according

to this documentary, gotten away with murder -- murders over his lifetime. And you see in this documentary, in this final -- in the final scenes here

where they are pressing him with this information, this letter that they have that was sent to police and then one that was sent earlier by him with

the exact same handwriting. And if you watch this clip that we have now, he literally, it's Shakespearean in nature, like Lady Macbeth her -- with

blood on her hands -- it's like something boiling from up, outside of him. What him as he tries to -- he almost breaks down during questioning by the



DURST: Your writing looks similar and your spelling is the same so I can see the conclusion the cops would draw. Writing (inaudible) who they

were both written by the same person.


MARQUEZ: He does this weird burping thing and then he does it again in the bathroom when he excuses himself. He doesn't admit anything on

camera, but when he goes to the bathroom all this sort of discussion amongst himself comes out about oh, they got me. Oh, you know, of course I

killed them all. Absolutely incredible to see -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Amazing.

Miguel, thank you.

Let's take a very short break. A treat for you after this.


ANDERSON: The artist behind the taste of homegrown Hip Hop are two brothers from Kuwait who say they want to change the world. And they are

starting with attitudes in this region towards rap music.

I sat down with the banned Sons of Yusuf Ya'koob and Abdul'Rahman to talk about breaking beats and musical molds.

Have a listen.


ANDERSON: You have exploded onto the world stage with this video. Tell me about it.

YA'KOOB AL REFAIE, SONS OF YUSUF: Oh, man, it was funny, really. You know, in the beginning we didn't think it was going to be this, you know,

big, but we usually have fun with our work, you know. And we always have good intentions. That's our main -- that's our job. You know, we wake up

and we have good intentions. We put that out.

ANDERSON: How do you describe this music genre?

ABDUL'RAHMAN AL REFAIE, SONS OF YUSUF: It's fun. Tyese Gibson, the actor, called it Arab Hop.

YA'KOOB AL REFAEIE: So that's been enough for us.

ABDUL'RAHMAN AL REFAIE: Yeah, it's like a new genre kind of thing. We're mixing Arabic instruments and old samples and mixing it with new hip

hop or pop culture, you know what I mean, and creating this art that's new for here and for the world to see a different side of the Arab world.

<11:55:04> ANDERSON: This region oftentimes makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons. How do you think your music can change perceptions

of the Arab world?

YA'KOOB AL REFAEIE: You know, at the end of the day we're from here. We're from the Middle East. And it just -- we just want to -- we're sick

of seeing, you know -- every time we turn on the news it's always about war and we just want to put something out there that's going to show people our

side of the story, our different -- the truth about us.

ANDERSON: You say that you're fed up with this region just being identified with death and destruction. Tell our viewers about life in


ABDUL'RAHMAN AL REFAIE: Some people really don't know what's going on. Like they really don't -- we got back to L.A. for example or back to -

- when we go to Europe or something, people really don't know what's going on here, you know what I mean?

A lot of people we met they have no idea how we live out here or what's -- they think, you know what I mean, other people have different


But, we want to show them this side of the peaceful side, you know, besides all the -- what's going on, because we need this today.

ANDERSON: You're clearly influenced by growing up in The States. Tell me about life as youngsters in California?

YA'KOOB AL REFAIE: It was actually after the gulf war our father decided to take us to California. And that's where we picked up our first

instrument, you know, first time we drove, first time we got in a fight. We got in -- we experienced life there pretty much -- you know middle

school, high school.

ANDERSON: Were you always going to work together?

YA'KOOB AL REFAIE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, he's always been my best friend, you know what I mean? And like, you know, we dress up the

same, since we were kids. We -- you know, we're always in the same school.

We're pretty much, you know -- yeah, yeah, we present.

ABDUL'RAHMAN AL REFAIE: And he's one of the like the pioneers, by the way, in the -- I don't know if I should say this, because he's my brother.

But, yeah, in the Middle East he's one of the people who started it. And I grew up watching him. So now this was never planned, you know what I mean?


ANDERSON: Well, dad isn't here, but Sons of Yusuf are. Ya'Koob and Abdul'Rahman, the dynamic hip hop duo from Kuwait joining me live on the

set. Thank you, chaps, to help us wrap out.

From the team here, it is a very good evening, guys. There's your camera. Take it away.