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Migrants Share Their Stories Of Crossing Mediterranean Sea; Saudi Arabia Ends Air Campaign In Yemen, Continues Bombing; Activists Raise Awareness of Delhi Air Pollution. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 22, 2015 - 11:00:00   ET



[11:00:32] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American warships join vessels from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other partner nations prepare to intercept the

Iranian vessels should they enter Yemeni territorial waters.


BECKY ANDERSON, HSOT: Operation Decisive Storm ends, but not the ground battles nor the airstrikes and with them tensions in the waters off Yemen.

This hour, I'm going to examine whether the political solution. Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Iran say they want can really be achieved in the

current climate of distrust.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESONDENT: "At the moment we consider the United States to be a threat to us, because its policies and

actions are threatening to us, the commander of Iran's ground forces tell me.


ANDERSON: Now Fred Pleitgen joins us live from Tehran this hour.

Also ahead, the children with no idea just how fortunate they are as more than 400 rescued migrants arrive in Sicily. We'll bring you the survivor


And with the whole world going green, why Earth Day has particular resonance for the people of India.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening from the UAE. It is just after 7:00 here, after nearly a month-long bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia now calling an end to Operation Decisive Storm, but that announcement didn't actually stop the airstrikes. The kingdom bombed rebel

forces today after Houthi fighters attacked a Yemeni government military brigade in Ta'izz in the south. And over the past few weeks, the strikes

have weakened Houthi controlled military infrastructure, but they've also prompted a major humanitarian crisis.

So, what is next? Well, Saudi Arabia says it wants to restore the Yemeni government in an operation its calling renewal of hope with a focus on the

political process.

Another key player, Iran, which is said to back the Houthis has welcomed what is this Saudi announcement and says it, too, wants dialogue moving


So, meantime in the Gulf of Aden, the stage is set for heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran as the two nations push forward over Tehran's

nuclear program.

Lots going on.

Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran for more on that tonight.

And Fred, how are the latest developments being viewed in Tehran?

PLEITGEN: Well, certainly the fact that there appears to be at least less bombing in Yemen, Becky, is something that was very well received here in

Tehran. The speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larigani (ph) came forward and congratulated the Yemeni people as he put it on their

resistance towards the bombing campaign.

Of course, the Yemen -- the Iranians have always been very critical of the Saudi intervention there in Yemen and certainly this was also a big point

of friction between the United States and Iran as well in this very delicate diplomatic environment.

Now right now that standoff around those Iranian ships that are apparently in the Gulf of Aden is something that still continues. The U.S. saying

it's about nine ships, some of them being warships. The Iranians say they have no desire to try and make a break for Yemeni waters. They say all

they're trying to do sis fight piracy in the region -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Many people we've been speaking to, Fred, are quick to tell me that Yemen and the Houthi militia, they aren't really major foreign policy

priorities for Tehran. The fight against ISIS, on the other hand, is. What are Iranians telling you ab out that?

PLEITGEN: Well, I mean, they certainly say that they see the battle against ISIS as pretty much their major foreign policy issue, aside from

the nuclear talks that they have going on with the United States.

It involves countries that are very important to them like Syria, like Iraq, and it is something that they are also pouring a lot of resources

into and where the Iranians believe that they are actually the ones who are making the difference on the ground. Let's have a look.


PLEITGEN: They are feared by many here, but they are also some of the most loyal fighters to Iran's religious leadership: the besieged militia's

mission is to protect this country's Islamic order. And one of its commanders told me they're willing to take on ISIS.

"We're all prepared to go and destroy ISIS totally," he says, "if our Imam, our supreme leader orders us to we'll destroy ISIS."

He says so far the besieged have not gotten involved in the fight. But the elite revolutionary guard Quds force is training, advising and supporting

Iraqi Shia militas.

Led by General Qassim Suleimani, who is accused of involvement in the Shia insurgency against U.S. forces during the Iraq war, but who has now become

a celebrity to many Iraqis and Iranians.

The Iranians believe it's their strategy that's making a difference in the fight against ISIS. They also tell us they want better cooperation with

the U.S. They say at this point in time the level of trust simply isn't there.

That feeling is mutual. The U.S. has also denied any direct coordination with the Iranians as it continues to lead the air campaign against ISIS.

"At the moment we consider the United States to be a threat to us, because its policies and actions are threatening to us," the commander of Iran's

ground forces tell me. "We would like the U.S. to change its rhetoric and tone of voice so that our nation could have more trust in U.S. military


The Iranians believe the airstrikes against ISIS are not effective, and they say, they feel countries allied with the U.S. are not seriously trying

to defeat the group.

[11:06:28] MOHAMMED MARANDI, PROFESSOR, TEHRAN UNIVERSITY: The battle in Iraq is very important to Iran. The Iranians believe that the Americans,

if they were serious, they could do a lot more to put pressure on their allies and also if they were serious about airstrikes they would be

carrying out a lot more than what they are currently doing.

PLEITGEN: The U.S. of course sees things differently, though Iran and America have a common enemy in ISIS, the lack of trust at least so far

means no common strategy.


PLEITGEN: So there you see, Becky, a very important fight to the Iranians, one that they're pouring a lot of resources into. But the big question, of

course, is how much of a difference can the Iranians actually make when it comes to mending Iraq politically after the fight against ISIS, especially

the Sunni-Shia reconciliation, what can the Iranians do there? And certainly that is going to be the very big test for them going forward,


ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran in Iran for you this evening.

Well, rescued at sea, hundreds of men, women and children are now back on solid ground. The migrants arrived at a port in Sicily today. Italy's

coastguard rescued them from a fishing vessel. And crews, as you know, have been working around the clock answering one distress call after

another as the flood of people trying to reach Europe's shores continues to swell.

Karl Penhaul is live in Augusta in Sicily where many rescued migrants are coming ashore.

And Karl, a lot of times we focus on numbers -- a number of migrants, or the amount of aid, but you've been speaking to the people at the heart of

this crisis. And this is a crisis about people, isn't it?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely is, Becky. But you are right as well, this is a flood of people. We stood at dockside

here in the port of Augusta this morning as 446 migrants came ashore, women with babes in arms, kids that were so small they were just tottering along,

their first steps towards a new life. And then just a few moments ago we've got word that another boat carrying 500 more migrants has pulled

into the port of Salerno. Throw that all together, you've got around 1,000 people arriving in Sicily in just the space of a few hours.

But you are also right, this is about individuals as well. Each one of these running for home for a definite reason. They're not coming here just

because they want to make some money, they're trying to get away from war. They're trying to get away from violence. They're trying to get away from

rampant poverty. Let's take a look at what some of them told us.


PENHAUL: On their way to a new life they've had to cheat death. Beaten, robbed, shot at, that's the price of their passage.

Syrian Mahmoud Shubat (ph) fled his hometown Homs two-and-a-half months ago, leaving his family behind.

"In Syria, I would have to be part of one party or of ISIS. I'd have to take up arms and kill people. But I don't want that. I only want to take

care of my children," he says.

This construction worker says he paid $5,800 for smugglers to take him by car to Turkey, then boat to Libya. In Libya, another gang of migrant

traffickers charged him $1,800 to sail to Italy.

Just before they set sail, Mahmoud (ph) says Libyan militia fighters stormed aboard.

"Other men came aboard. They were wearing masks and they had guns. They searched us one by one looking for money and gold," he says.

These teenagers from Eritrea say they've been sleeping rough in this park since they landed three weeks ago.

Grymay Teslamical speaks a little English, his gestures need no translation.

[11:10:35] GRYMAY TESLAMICAL, ERITREAN TEENAGER: Very, very danger.


TESLAMICAL: This (inaudible) this.

PENHAUL: Grymay, who is Christian, was traveling with other migrants through Libya in two buses when he says 10 ISIS gunmen intercepted them.

TESLAMICAL: Christian, Muslim?

PENHAUL: He says 20 migrants were beheaded. He ran, then he turns to show me the scar where he says a bullet grazed him.

His friend, Esayas Niquse, now 18, left his village in Eritrea six years ago. He first lived in an Ethiopian refuge camp, then a journey on foot

and by bus through Sudan and Libya. He stayed a year year in Libya, crammed into an overcrowded house before sailing for Italy.

He says men he describes as Libyan soldiers guarded them and applied electric shocks if they refused to sleep on time or ate too much.

Esayas says his boat, loaded with more than 500 migrants, almost capsized en route from Libya.

ESAYAS NIQUSE, ERITREAN TEENAGER: Journey not good. The boat opening, opening (ph). And we are shocked (ph) for Italy. Then helicopter come --

came to us.

PENHAUL: Their stories sound like hell, but these are the lucky ones. Survivors washed up on the shores of their promised land.


PENHAUL: Now European Union nations are due to meet and vote as early as Thursday about new measures to beef up search and rescue operations to stop

migrants drowning at sea. The authorities are also under huge pressure to bust up these human trafficking rings, these smugglers who are feeding on

this tide of human misery -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Karl Penhaul is in Sicily for you. Karl, thank you so much.

More on this story as we move through the hour.

Authorities in France say they've arrested a 24-year-old man who was plotting an attack, at least one church. Now police say the man was

heavily armed with weapons, with ammunition and with bullet-proof vests.

Nic Robertson is following the story for you from London joining me now.

Nic, what are the authorities telling you about this man and the details of this alleged plot?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the details of the alleged plot go all the way back to Syria, according to the French

prosecutor. He says that there were notes and communications between this man, the 24-year-old Algerian man, an IT -- had studied IT, a computer


There were notes that indicated that somebody in Syria, a man in Syria, had asked him to attack a church. They were handwritten notes that correlated


And also the church itself was pinpointed on a satnav that the suspect killer had when he was arrested.

Now police say that a woman was killed about 2 kilometers away from where he was arrested, that her blood was on some of his clothes that they

believe he was responsible for shooting her. But when they went into his vehicle they discovered Kalashnikov with three magazines of ammunition, all

full, a 9 mm pistol, three mobile phones, flak jackets. When they went to his house, they found there -- they found there another three Kalashnikovs,

more ammunition, more flak jackets, his computer and on that, the indications of who he had been communicating with.

So, for the French prosecutor at the moment, they believe that the arrest of this man has thwarted a potentially very serious and dangerous attack on

a church on Sunday. ANDERSON: Nic Robertson reporting for you.

Still to come tonight, tracing the roots of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. We're going to speak with the UN's special envoy to Libya

to see how this lawlessless there is fueling the rise in what is human trafficking, modern-day slavery.

But first we speak to a man who says today's migrants are making the same choices as those who fled Nazy Germany decades ago. And he says Europe

should legalize the migration wave, not fight it.

Strong views from the UN special rapporteur. That is up next.


[11:17:39] ANDERSON: Taking their first steps towards another life, you are looking at some of the nearly 500 people rescued, or I certainly hope

you will be.

Let's bring those pictures up, please.

People rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by the Italian coastguard on Wednesday. Dozens of children are among them. It's believe their boat

left from Egypt. The people on board were mainly from Syria, from Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

Just landed in Augusta in Sicily, the human faces of a growing humanitarian crisis right on Europe's door step.

Well, EU leaders will discuss their next move on Thursday. And at that sight, Italy's prime minister has made several calls for what he calls a

united approach, and a radically different one. Have a listen.


MATTEO RENZI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This type of priority is something which we must ask of the European Union. We want

something different from an assembly of a group of countries that are members in an economic club, we want something that is different from a

technical specialists that all know the principle geopolitical dynamics, but forget to give any reply at the moment of pain.

I'm very optimistic that the European Union can finally change tack.


ANDERSON: Well, smugglers boats crossing the Med, and in some cases sinking, with hundreds of people on board is not a new phenomenon, I'm

afraid. But the sheer numbers and victims of those who make it have thrown this into the headlines. And we are only at the start of the crossing


Joining me a little later about Europe's efforts to deal with this and what role the rest of the world, including the U.S, can play will be Francois

Creppo (ph) who is the UN special rapporteur on migrant's rights. He will be joining us shortly. I promise you that. And we will move on ahead of

that and take a very short break.

Are we going to take a very break or are we going to do something else at this point? Let's take a short break, guys. Back after this.



[11:21:40] JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: With hair and beauty now a multibillion dollar industry across Africa, (inaudible) investment

could pay off in her native Ghana.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm passionate about natural hair and natural product. I think embracing our national African heritage is a way of

empowering ourselves.

DEFTERIOS: For Kablen (ph), empowerment meant launching the body butter company in 2011. She started by making body oils, but later changed to

hair care products.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought that if we had products that would take care of our natural hair and make it look good the more people will stay

natural for a very long time.

DEFTERIOS: When she started her business, Kablen (ph) says she sold 10 sets of products, mainly on order in a month. Today, she sells 50 sets for

about $23 each.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had initially just the shampoo and then the hair mousse. But it has grown over time to seven products in the set.

DEFTERIOS: The body butter company is not Kalben's (ph) first try at business. She initially learned how to make products from a friend, then

developed her own line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started thinking perhaps I could actually make products that were completely natural without any of these additives.

Right now I'm going to make the liquid gold enriching oil. It's a blend of essential oils that are good for your natural hair and they help your

hair to grow thick and long.

Making all natural products, I have a shelf life of six month. It' s very viable, because most people when they use the product and they find out

that it makes their hair soft and we usually manage.

My clients are young -- mostly young professionals. They are between the ages of 25 and 55. They are rediscovering natural remedies and natural

products. And they want to keep natural hair, but they want products that are affordable and they want products tha works.

DEFTERIOS: She says she sells to three salons in Akra, a shop in Togo, and has an online shop that delivers worldwide. with slates slowly picking up,

next is expanding and continuing to get the word out about her business.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The talent in marketing it trying to get people to understand that their products will not look and feel like the products

that they're used to, which have their official additives in them.

I'm going to institutions like schools and college, universities, and I'm talking to them about natural hair.

Lots of them have lots of questions about how to take care of your hair, how to go natural in the first place. What to do when you're natural.

And the last school I went to there was someone who was very willing to be a rep for the products. So I would send her products and she will sell to

her mates at a profit.



[11:27:09] ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. It is just before half-passed 7:00 in the UAE. This is our

broadcasting hub, and these are the top stories this hour here on CNN. Saudi Arabia bombed Houthi forces in southern Yemen today after the rebels

attacked Yemeni government military brigade in the city of Ta'izz. Now the airstrikes came even after Saudi Arabia had announced an end to its three

week old airstrike campaign. The kingdom says it now wants to focus on moving the political process forward in Yemen.

Well, the pope is planning a visit to Cuba later this year. Pope Francis is the first pontiff from Latin America. And he's played a role in

restarting diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.

A Paris prosecutor says that police have searched the home of a 24-year-old man suspected of plotting attacks on Churchs. Now the Algerian national

has been arrested. Prosecutors say guns and bullet-proof vests were found in the suspects car and at his home. He's also suspected in the death of a

woman whose body was found in her car on Sunday.

More than 400 asylum seekers have arrived in Sicily after being rescued by the Italian coast guard. Their rescue just one of many in the

Mediterranean since some 800 people are feared to have died and they're thinking there over the weekend. EU leaders will hold crisis talks on the

issue on Thursday.

Well, they certainly have a tough task ahead. Joining me now to talk about Europe's efforts to deal with this and what role the rest of the world,

including the U.S. can play is Francois Crepeau, who is the UN special rapporteur on migrants rights.

Thank you for joining us.

You say that rich countries have to take in, or should take in, a million refugees over the next five years. You surely don't think that's

realistic, do you, given the current political realities in places like London and Berlin?

FRANCOIS CREPEAU, UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR: I'm not expecting it to happen quickly. But I think there will be a reality check at one point.

I think the Syrian crisis has been going on for four years. There's no end in sight. So at least 4 million Syrians are out of the country. They are

stuck in Turkey, in Lebanon, in Jordan. None of these countries can offer them a lasting solution. and people like you know like you and I do wit

hour kids, we want a future. We ant to create a future for our kids. And so if no mobility solution is offered by states, well we will take that in

our hands. And we'll pay smugglers to do it.

So that's what's happening. It's going to increase as people become more desperate for creating a future for their kids. And if we don't do

anything, well, smugglers have a field day.

So, we should do, I think, and that's what I'm proposing in terms of policy orientation, we should do for the Syrians what we did for the Indo-Chinese

30 years ago. We welcomed almost 3 million Indo-Chinese in different parts of the global north in Europe and North America. And they are now great

citizens and their kids are in our universities.

And I think that's what we should do or the Syrians now. And I proposed the figure of 1 million, but it could be a million-and-a-half, 2 million

depending on how long the period we choose and how we distribute it. And we have to find a distribution key that makes sense. And then we negotiate

that and then we offer a solution to these people.

They will line up in front of a U.S. office or Canadian office or a Danish office if there is a meaningful chance at resettlement. They will not risk

the lives of their kids, they will not pay 30,000 euros for a risky passage if there is a meaningful opportunity.

Here, there's nothing.

Well, smugglers are in control of the border.

The more we prohibit without offering solution, the more we lost control of the border, because the smugglers have a field day.

[11:31:01] ANDERSON: All right. All right.

Take a look at a country like Jordan, for example, sir. It's not the richest in the world, but it is has still welcome the equivalent of all of

Canada moving into the United States in terms of refugees. I know you know that fact.

Do you think the global north is lacking in moral and political conviction to deal with this?

CREPEAU: Well, we're lacking certainly in moral and political conviction. There's no political will. There's no political will and the nationalist

populist movements in Europe in particular, but not simply in Europe have been very strong at you know anti-immigration discourse. But I think that

politician, and especially mainstream politician are trying, desperately trying to find a middle ground, somewhere that where they could respond to

the needs of the situation without losing the next elections. And that's their trouble.

And they are looking for that, because you know the Le Pen, for example, in France, has been around for 30 years and is gaining ground -- the Le Pen

family generally -- is gaining ground. And the mainstream parties right and left have not been able to find any meaningful, credible discourse in

favor of immigration, in favor of diversity.

ANDERSON: Nor will they find one, I think is the problem.

Listen, I've been hearing a lot of talk about Europe adopting the Australian model -- basically sending everybody back in the hope of

deterring migration. Are you concerned that that is the way that some of these European governments and politicians might think, or possibly do you

think that would work?

CREPEAU: Well, I'm sure that many politicians in Europe would like that to happen. The problem is that it will not happen, because the tribunals and

courts in Europe will oppose it, because there is in Europe a European convention on human rights. And in many European countries there are human

rights guarantees in the constitution. That's the problem with Australia. Australia doesn't have constitutional human rights guarantees like the

American bill of rights or like the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms.

And so, you know, you -- the government -- it's essentially parliamentary sovereignty country. And as soon as parliament says something clearly, the

tribunals cannot oppose it on constitutional grounds.

So, the problem with Europe is that Europe will not be able to violate the human rights of the few in order to prevent the more numerous people

waiting to cross, because simply you cannot use human beings, individuals, as a deterrent, or the treatment for a few individuals as a deterrent for

others. That's prohibited by human rights.

We cannot do that. We couldn't do it with the -- we have done it. We've tried to do it with the Jews when they fled Nazi Germany. It didn't work.

And it didn't work with Frankist (ph) Spain. And it didn't work with the Indo-Chinese. It's not going to work anyway.

So it works with Australia because of its geographic isolation to, you know, general geographic isolation. It's not going to work for Europe on

the legal point of view and it's not going to work practically because the mafias around the Mediterranean are extremely well organized, tech savvy

and everything.

So, we're not going to beat the mafia. The only way to beat the mafia is to dry up their market, to dry up their market we have to take control of

the mobility of those people, offer them a solution, create new categories of visas, create a comprehensive plan of action for refugees and then these

people will come to us, to the border guards, instead of going to the smugglers.

ANDERSON: All right, sir. With that we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us.

CREPEAU: It's a pleasure.

ANDERSON: Here is something to consider as you look at -- thank you -- at some of those pictures that we're bringing to you. The stories you've been

hearing of hundreds of migrants lost at sea are bad, aren't they? They're often sends European policy could make things worse. But Bill Frellic (ph)

is the refugee program director at Human Rights Watch. And he has written a piece for our website in which he accuses the EU of outsourcing migration

control to transit countries like Libya rather than the reasons people flee their countries in the first place.

It's a great read. It's an interesting analysis. And it's at Do take a look at that.

Well, as tragic as the migration story is, the European Union estimates as many as 1 million migrants are waiting in Libya right now for boats despite

the rising death toll from these treacherous journeys. The vast majority of people -- men, women and kids we're talking about here -- trying to

reach Europe's shores depart from Libya, a country that is essentially a lawless failed state.

European officials have blamed the chaos there for the rise in human trafficking. Criminals operate with virtual impunity while rival militia

fight turf wars, or may even be involved in this human trafficking.

Well, four years after NATO-backed rebels overthrew Moammar Gadhafi Libya still suffers from a power vacuum that even ISIS, as you are well aware, is

now trying to exploit.

Well, for more now on Libya and its role in the migrant crisis, I'm joined by Bernadino Leon. He's the UN special envoy to Libya. And Bernadino, you

and I have been talking for months now about a political solution in Libya. I know you had high hopes for this latest round of talks in Morocco. How

close are you to any sort of political agreement? And what is holding things up at this point?

[11:36:49] BERNADINO LEON, UN SPECIAL ENVOY TO LIBYA: Well, let me -- let me put it in the words of the participants. They said in their press

commands after the last round that 80 percent of the text that is agree and there is a remaining 20 percent. Of course this 20 percent is the most

difficult one, but I hope that the tragedies we have seen these recent days the migrants in the Mediterranean, but also the killing of Ethiopians,

Christian Ethiopians in the south of Libya or the new bomb attacks in Tripoli, will open their eyes, will make them understand that this extra

mile requires flexibility and concessions and both camps.

ANDERSON: All right.

The world now seeing just how insane -- this sort of unstable Libya fueled instability elsewhere.

I spoke to the former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini yesterday. And he told me that it simply was the fact that after those in the west who

got involved in the downfall of Gadhafi didn't effectively do anything about providing some sort of civil structure, or any sort of structure in

Libya post-Gadhafi, he believes that quite frankly the west is to blame.

He went on to say that it is to Europe's shame that these migrants are now being human trafficked out of Libya and are literally dying in their

hundreds at sea. Would you support what he said?

LEON: Well, I think it's part of the truth, but it's not the complete truth. It is (inaudible) and I think it's true that the international

community left in 2011 and left trusting that the Libyans would be able to build a state without any political culture, because Gadhafi destroyed this

political culture, and without any real political will to share power between the two camps that are fighting now.

But also I think the Libyans made many mistakes themselves -- and it would be important now is that we don't repeat the same mistakes, that if there

is a possibility for an agreement that the international communities were that Libya will need us for awhile, for two years, three years, because

this is going to take time before we can control all these mafias, all these challenges.

ANDERSON: All right.

You've arguably got the best access to what is going on on the ground in Libya. How bad is the situation? How big a footprint does ISIS now have

in the country?

LEON: Well, there is a total lack of organization. I wouldn't say there's no police forces or security forces, because each camp have their own

people. The problem is not their existence, the problem is that instead of controlling the roads and the borders, they are fighting each other.

I think if they get united, if they try to organize themselves with the support of the international community, with training, with support to

control the borders, to fight terrorism, they do it. As I said before not in one or two months, it will take probably one or two years. But it

should be possible.

There's of course there are bombs, there is chaos, there's no organization, but there is people that could do the job if we help them.

[11:40:49] ANDERSON: You and I met with Egypt a couple of weeks ago and when we talked I realized just how difficult a job you have on your hands.

Stick at it. It's an important one. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

We're (inaudilbe) involved in the talks being hosted in Morocco at present.

LEON: Thank you, Becky, it's a pleasure.

ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World -- thank you -- with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, the world is marking Earth Day this

Wednesday. And much of the organizer's focus this year is on tackling air pollution.

I want to take a look at one of the worst offenders. You might be slightly surprised to find out where that is.

And the U.S. now has war ships patrolling off the coast of Yemen. But how far might America go to prevent more arms from reaching Houthi rebels? A

look at the worrisome answers to that after this short break.


ANDERSON: I'm going to get you -- a new show of American force off the coast of Yemen. The U.S. warship now patrolling the Gulf of Aden.

So what's the mission? Well, U.S. officials tell us it's to monitor Iranian cargo vessels that could deliver arms to Houthi rebels. But will

the U.S. navy will actually move to block those Iranian ships from entering Yemeni waters is a completely different matter.


MARIE HART, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: There are reports about these U.S. ships that have been moved. And I want to be very clear just so

no one has the wrong impression, that they are not there to intercept Iranian ships, to do issues like that, that the purpose of moving them is

only to ensure the shipping lanes are made open and safe. I think there was some misreporting and confusion on this. I just wanted to be very

clear. I know they spoke to it, too, but that the purpose is not to do anything in terms of those Iranian ships.


ANDERSON: Well, joining me now to talk about this latest move by the U.S. is our chief U.S. security correspondent Jim Scuitto. Pleasure to have you

on, Jim. You're with us from Washington tonight.

What do you understand to be the strategy here?

[11:45:03] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I've got to tell you the public messages and the private messages are very different.

In public, the president, you heard the State Department spokesperson there say this is about keeping shipping lanes open, et cetera. Yeah, sure, but

also you have a convoy of nine Iranian ships moving closer there. Some of them container ships concerned about what's inside those containers. We

learned today from the Pentagon that inside that Iranian convoy are small Iranian warships as well.

The U.S. is watching them. The military officials have told me that part of the mission there is to do recon, as they call it, reconnaissance on

those ships. You have aircraft off the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which you see there flying recon missions where they are looking at that Iranian


Now, to be clear, you're not going to have a U.S. navy ship board or block an Iranian cargo or warship. I mean, that would just be an extraordinary

step that would ratchet up tensions, could be interpreted as an act of war. That's not going to happen. But there is very explicit message sending

here from the U.S. by moving those assets to say we are watching and that this is complemented by diplomatic messages delivered through channels

saying do not send more arms to the Houthi rebels. We think that that will make the situation worse, not better.

So you have -- you know, you have a difference between the public and private message. But it's very clear that one of the missions and military

officials have told me that, is in response to, and to give the president options with regards to that Iranian convoy.

ANDERSON: And Jim this in a week when nuclear talks have kicked off once again with a June 30th deadline.

Now what sort of impact do you think what's going on in the Gulf of Aden will have, if any, on those talks?

SCIUTTO: Well, they're trying desperately, both sides, to keep it from having any effect because there so much invested in these talks from the

Iranian side, the U.S.-European partners, et cetera. And that's one reason, frankly, why you have the U.S. trying to calm the tensions in

Yemen, because keep in mind you have these nuclear talks underway, but you have the U.S. and Iran on opposite sides of this growing civil war inside

Yemen. Iran is supporting the Houthi rebels, the U.S. backing the Saudi- led coalition that is dropping bombs on the Houthi rebels and of course the U.S. was partnered with the legitimate government there that has been

pushed out of large parts of the country by those rebels.

So, you have some message sending there from the U.S., which the president reiterated yesterday in an interview with NBC saying, listen, you know,

we've got to calm things down here sending more weapons is not going to help. And I think you can read into Saudi Arabia ending at least the heavy

part of its air campaign in Yemen as part of that. That the U.S. in effect pushing both sides here to ratchet down the tensions and try to find a

political solution.

That's said, you know, the Saudis announced announced the end of the air campaign yesterday and then today they dropped more bombs in Houthi rebels

and U.S. defense officials have told me they don't expect this to be a ceasefire, just a ratcheting down a bit of the pressure there.

But that's all in the context of those nuclear negotiations, because neither side wants this to blow those up.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and Jim finally with al Qaeda and possibly ISIS -- we're not sure about how big its footprint is in Yemen, but possibly ISIS,

carving out space in what is the chaos in the country. How concerned is Washington about this next phase in Yemen? And how will they respond

having pulled all American assets out of the country, of course, a month or so ag o?

SCIUTTO: The short answer is extremely concerned, because you don't have a U.S. embassy there anymore, that's diplomatic, it's about the relationship

with the former government, which was important in fighting AQAP. You don't have U.S. special forces troops based in Yemen anymore. And you've

taken a lot of intel gathering assets out of there.

They're extremely concerned. I've spoken to U.S. intel officials, lawmakers, that you know the U.S. pressure counterterror pressure on al

Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula only decreases as a result of that.

Now it hasn't been eliminated entirely, you just had drone strikes in the last 24 hours conducted in Yemen that killed suspected al Qaeda fighters.

And keep this in mind as well, having a U.S. aircraft carrier off the coast of Yemen with all of its surveillance assets, et cetera, gives the

president counterterror options as well, intel gathering options. That's going there in the context of the lost vision inside Yemen.

So, you've lost vision -- it's not entirely a blindspot. But, listen, when you lose that kind of vision that kind of presence, it has an effect. And

there's great concern that that takes the pressure off AQAP so that they could carry out more attacks overseas.

ANDERSON: Yeah. Jim Sciutto in Washington for you this evening with the connective tissue you need on this story.

We've said it before and we'll say it again, what goes on in Yemen doesn't stay in Yemen.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up New Delhi is one of the world's worst culprits when it comes to

air pollution. What other cities share that dubious distinction? We're going to take a look at some of the worst offenders on what is this Earth

Day today.


[11:52:03] ANDERSON: Well, these are images from the town of Guiyu in China's Guangdong Province, the place believed to be the biggest site for

e-waste in the world. People there sort through the waste and then recycle it.

Well, these photos were taken by photographer Albert Bonfils. According to the UN, the world's e-waste output hit a record, get this, 42 million tons

last year.

Well, Earth Day is having its 45th anniversary this year and pollution is a key focus for organizers as well as many environmentalists.

India, the world's third largets emitter of carbon dioxide. It's so bad that the World Health Organization says that in the worst affected cities

the average life span is cut short by three years, because of air pollution.

Here's how some residents in New Delhi describe the problem.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delhi is the worst city in the world in the air pollution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're just going to breathe (inaudilbe). You cannot get fresh air anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; We are (inaudible) come out from our homes to live in this kind of hell. It's very bad.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Sometimes I feel that I need to wear the mask all the time. This is what we are facing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like even I have chronic bronchitis, so it's the really worst.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: If you are inhaling like polluted air, then it will definitely damage our lungs and it will cause a death for any person.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Our families are more than interested to see that (inaudible) on Dehli Road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not only the government, we should also have to do it. We should also take some initiative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to focus on environment because (inaudible) to survive. and we can't survive in pollution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Delhi, you don't have that system of your own, you don't have that very good public transport modes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't believe in car pool. I think there should be a car pool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can share one car and it would be really easy for the people in the traffic also and less will be the air pollution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nature is everything. We are here, then, because of nature. If nature disappears we will never exist. So nature is most

important thing.


ANDERSON: Well, that is the view from the smoggy streets of New Delhi.

CNN's Sumnima Udas spoke with a local activist there, some of whom are literally growing six of the problem.


SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A small initiative with a big message. Students from various Delhi universities formed a group to

raise awareness about just how toxic Delhi's air has become.

RANUKA SAROHA, STUDENT ACTIVIST: When I wake up 6:00 or 7:00 and look around, I can see a layer of dust.

[11:55:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know my life is at risk. I cannot even breathe properly. My lungs are working at 40, 50 percent capacity.

UDAS: Sartuk (ph) is suffering from some severe asthma. His doctor's prognosis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To leave Delhi, just stay out of Delhi. Simple as that.

UDAS: A World Health Organization study of 1,500 cities, found India's capital has the dirtiest air in the world largely due to the highest

concentrations of microscopic particles known as PM2.5.

Take a look at this board in the middle of Delhi. PM2.5 levels of 212, that's 20 times more than the WHO safety limit and 30 percent worse than it

is in Beijing today.

Their numbers change daily, but Delhi consistently outpaces Beijing. And the awareness is only just beginning.

DR. SK CHHABRA: Somehow it doesn't click with the ordinary person. It doesn't seem to realize that a major problem affecting his health. Less

people know about the harmful effects of smoking, but awareness about the harmful affects of air pollution, it is miserably low.

UDAS: At India's only hospital dedicated to treating respiratory diseases, doctors say the number of patients has doubled in the past decade.

What makes the fight against pollution so challenging here, the majority of the population is poor and perhaps more concerned about things like food,

shelter and jobs, air quality is really not a priority for them. And for the wealthier, they mostly drive around in air conditioned cars and don't

have to deal with pollution on a day-to-day basis.

The issue is beginning to make headlines. The government launched India's first comprehensive air quality index earlier this month.

UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: Government woke up to the issue of corruption, government woke up to the issue of gender equality, now it's time

government wakes up to the issue of environmental.

UDAS: For now, though, it's a silent protest, one these students hope will resonate.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, New Delhi.


ANDERSON: In tonight's Parting Shots, then, we'll leave you with some Earth Day images from India. You're looking at images of a rubbish dump

near Siligre (ph). Some day, or every day, some ply their trade here looking for recyclable items.

Well, today local schoolchildren were out to raise awareness of green issues in India. They demonstrated to mark the day when people of all ages

try to push protecting the environment onto the political agenda.

Well, I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World.