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3 Million Nepalese Estimated To Need Food Aid; Exclusive Interview With South Koreans Detained by Pyongyang; Gunmen Killed After Opening Fire At Prophet Mohammed Cartoon Exhibit in Texas; Egypt Attempting to Rebuild Tourism in its Country; Interview with Saudi-led Coalition on Campaign in Yemen. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 4, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:17:05] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, you are listening to a news conference being held by the Garland police following the shooting of two
men outside a cartoon contest and exhibit showing images of the Prophet Muhammed.
Authorities in Garland haven't disclosed the names of the two men shot by policemen, nor have they suggested a motive, but the incident echoes
attacks this year in France and in Denmark over depiction of Muhammed that some Muslims see as blasphemous.
Now one of the speakers at the event was a well-known figure from Europe's far right, Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
Frederick Pleitgen is following this story from London for you. And Fred, we've just heard that security for this event had been planned for some
time because of the type of the even and the speakers involved.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, particularly Geert Wilders, of course, who is someone, Becky, who of course is no
stranger to controversy, someone with remarks that have often enraged a lot of Muslims, especially here in Europe and someone who has also felt himself
under threat for a very long time. And it's interesting, because during the speech that he gave at that event, which actually happened before this
shooting, he was already making a lot of remarks that many people, especially in the Muslim community, would not take very well.
One of the things that he said is we are here in defiance of Islam. We are here for our rights and stand for freedom of speech.
And that's something that he's echoed again and again ever since he's entered the scene here in European politics. Let's have a look at who this
PLEITGEN: When gunmen opened fire outside of an event showing Prophet Muhammed depictions, one of their targets might have been this man, Dutch
far-right politician Geert Wilders who thanked police for protecting him with this picture on his Twitter account.
Earlier, he ripped into critics of the event.
GEERT WILDERS, DUTCH POLITICIAN: They want to prohibit cartoons, books, and films which they find insulting. And our answer is don't mess with
Texas. Don't mess with the free west and don't mess with our freedom of speech.
PLEITGEN: But what Wilders called free speech, critics call hate speech.
In 2011, he was charged, but acquitted of inciting hatred for comparing the Quran to Hitler's Mein Kampf. He also tried to get Islam's holy book
banned in Holland. For years, Wilders has been campaigning to curb immigration to The Netherlands from Muslim countries, combating what he
calls the Islamization of Europe.
In 2008, he produced a shortfilm called Fitna (ph), which argued that Islam encourages acts of terrrorism, anti-semitism and violence towards women,
outraging Muslims and rights groups.
He made his views clear in an interview with CNN in 2010.
[11:20:18] WILDERS: It would be ridiculous to say that all Muslims are terrorists. Unfortuantely almost all terrorists are Muslims, but not the
other way around.
Still, I believe that we should have a stop of the mass immigration from Islamic countries, not because the people are bad, but because they bring
along a culture that really is against everything of our own values and against our freedom.
PLEITGEN: His message resonates with many voters in his native country. Wilders' Freedom Party is currently represented in The Netherlands as well
as the European Parliament.
But there's also a lot of public backlash like when Wilders came to England in 2010 to speak in front of the House of Lords.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that you can have a logical argument with a fascist, because they're a fascist.
PLEITGEN: Wilders has been under police protection since 2004, protection that seems to have been necessary for him and the other participants of the
event in Garland, Texas.
PLEITGEN: A very controversial man, someone who as we've seen has been in the crosshairs several times. Apparently, there have been several plots
that have been thwarted to kill him in the past.
He apparently has also been on al Qaeda's hitlist since 2010 when he was named in Inspire magazine, which is of course a tribute to al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula as someone who has insulted Islam and is therefore wanted by them dead or alive. So certainly someone who would have had that extra
protection there in Garland, Texas, Becky.
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen reporting for you this evening.
Well, Israeli leaders are taking steps to address what President Reuven Rivlin calls an open and raw wound at the heart of Israeli society.
They're trying to ease tensions with Ethiopian Jews after an explosion of anger in Tel Aviv.
Now protesters clashed with police, furious over what they consider longstanding discrimination and racism against Israel's Ethiopian
CNN's Oren Liebermann reminds us how a vicious beating caught on camera triggered the unrest.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A short video from a security camera on Kholan (ph), a suburb of Tel Aviv, has swept Israel and sparked waves of
angry protests against police.
At the center of the video is Corporal Damas Pakedeh, the 21-year-old Ethiopian you see in uniform. He says he was trying to reach his house
just a block away when police stopped him from crossing the street. There was no sound on the tape, so it's not clear what either party said. But
Pakedeh says he was asking for permission to cross when the police officer grabbed his bike.
Pakedeh says he urged him not to use force, but by then another officer joined. You can see Pakedeh pushed to the ground and held down.
"There's no way to explain the feeling. Only god and I know how I felt," he says. "First of all, it's degrading because you're a soldier, a soldier
who is serving the country. You are giving all of yourself and it's degrading."
Moments later, Pakedeh gets to his feet. He's seen picking up a rock. He eventually puts it down. And the situation appears to quiet down.
Israeli authorities say both officers have been dismissed. The incident is still under investigation.
The video set of protests across Israel from the Ethiopian Jewish community. Nearly 1,000 demonstrators gathered in Jerusalem on Thursday
night, followed by hundreds more on Sunday in Tel Aviv. Protesters blocked off major streets in Tel Aviv snarling traffic during rush hour.
Still, it remained peaceful. But when the protest moved to Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv clashes erupted, protesters smashed shop windows and
damaged police cars. Police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse the crowd as what was a peaceful afternoon became a violent night.
Authorities and Ethiopian leaders urged restrained, but it was well past midnight when the final protesters left Rabin Square.
"I am for the demonstrations, but I'm against the violence," Pakedeh says, "whether it's on policemen or civilians, nobody should get hurt. It's a
pity. But I am for the demonstrations. I am completely for them."
The protests were not just about the video, but about what Ethiopians see as years of discrimination at the hands of police and authorities. The
video was the tipping point.
Pakedeh and community leaders met with the prime minister to try to ease the unrest in the community and begin to address the bigger issue of what
Ethiopians see as discrimination.
"The expressed interest in us, in the family and the community," Pakedeh says, "and a hope as prime minister he will now do the right thing."
The prime minister says he saw the pictures and was shocked by what he saw in the beating video. The prime minister says Israel can't let things like
this happened again. All sides here hoping the protests are the catalyst for change.
[11:25:04] ANDERSON: Oren joining us now live from Jersusalem. Do we know what else Netanyahu said and what he thought he might do to prevent this
sort of behavior and protest going forward?
LIEBERMANN: Solve what Ethiopians see as years, if not decades, of discrimination. But it seems all the sides he recognized that something
has to be done. President Rivlin was one of the first to put out a statement. He said, look, there's a bigger problem here that needs to be
addressed. It's not just one video. It goes far deeper than that. At the same time, Rivlin, the soldier there, Pakedeh and Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu have condemned the violence.
But it seems all parties here realize a few meetings today won't solve it, there needs to be substantive talks and something very significant to solve
what is viewed by the Ethiopians as a very big problem here and how they're treated as they say second-class citizens.
ANDERSON: Oren, after the prime minister met with the soldier, he immediately has to return to the task at hand. His deadline to put
together a coalition government, of course, is Wednesday night. And it looks like he may not now have the support of one of his primary partners.
What do we know?
LIEBERMANN: And that's happening as all of this erupts in Israel.
That's Avigdor Lieberman who is currently his foreign minister. Liberman has said that he won't join the coalition.
Now even without those six seats, Netanyahu still has a coalition of 61 seats, just barely enough to command a majority of the knesset. That puts
Netanyahu on very shaky ground.
Now it's important to note that in all these coalition negotiations, there are a lot of bluffs put out there, this could be a bluff, but with only two
days left until that deadline for Netanyahu, it's also a very serious threat to his government. Those six seats put, again, put Netanyahu at
only 61 seats.
And one of the other big keys to this coalition, the 10 seats of Moshe Kahlon, which is the Kulanu Party, he has said he is not comfortable with a
coalition of 61 seats because it's simply not a strong leading coalition.
So these are realy coming down to the deadline. Netanyahu had 30 seats. He had a huge victor in the election, but right now it's very touch and go
here coming down to the wire on these coalition negotiations.
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem for you. Oren, thank you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, our team in Nepal continues its trek towards the earthquake
epicenter. I'm going to get you a look at what sort of help, if any, is getting to areas, very remote areas there at CNN with Arwa Damon has to get
on foot to find out.
Street clashes and bombs from the air, fighting escalates in Southern Yemen. I'm going to talk to a spokesman for the Saudi military about the
situation on the ground and what's next for the coalition campaign. That's coming up. Stay with us.
[11:30:38] ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. This is CNN. And these are your top stories this hour. One of
two gunmen killed while attacking a controversial exhibit in Texas has been identified.
A federal source tells CNN Elton Simpson is believed to have sent a tweet before the attack reading in part, "may Allah accept us as mujahedeen."
The FBI searched an apartment the two suspects allegedly shared in Arizona. The source says Simpson was convicted of a terror related charge in 2011.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling for a united front against racism. He met today with the Ethiopian-Israeli soldier whose
beating by police triggered violent protests.
Israel's Ethiopian community has long complained of discrimination and mistreatment at the hands of police.
Nepal's health ministry and UNICEF are hoping to vaccinate more than half a million children in the wake of last month's earthquake. They say they are
concerned about a measles outbreak in the makeshift camps that have sprung up in the country.
And Britain's royals have announced the newest member of the family has been named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The daughter of Prince William and
his wife Catherine is now fourth in line for the throne. And she will be called Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
Well, in southern Yemen local fighters are clashing with the rebel Houthi militia in the port city of Aden. The fighting is said to be heavy around
the airport. Local forces say their operation is being supervised by the Saudi-led coalition. Riyadh also said to be providing air support with
local officials confirming 130 airstrikes in Aden over the past 24 hours.
Well, for the latest on the Saudi-led coalition operations in Yemen, I'm joined now by Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri in Riyadh. He is a Saudi
Sir, thank you for joining us.
Saudi airstrikes continue. Can you confirm that the coalition led by Saudi is, though, considering suspending airstrikes in Yemen to allow relief
efforts at this point?
BRIG. GEN. AHMED ASIRI, SAUDI ARABIA: Yes. Now, what we are doing is to - - we are just continuing to respond to the movement of the militias. You know, since the resolution 2216 we call for the setting fire and stopping
fighting to give the opportunity for the political process to get in (ph) as the president, legitimate president call the different parties to get in
the political process.
Unfortunately, the militias on the ground are still fighting, striving to get in the cities. So now announce that we will have humanitarian pause,
but we ask the other parties to respect this pause to give the chance for the humanitarian NGOs and the organization to get in and to give a system
for the population.
ANDERSON: OK, so you ware confirming to us tonight that there will be a pause to allow for relief efforts.
Our correspondent on the ground does tell us that Aden is seeing the fiercest airstrikes since the air campaign started. Who have you been
ASIRI: Let me make it clear for this announcement today that we will have a meeting with the different parties, United Nation, NGOs and humanitarian
organization, the coalition and the other countries who believe in the right of the Yemeni to be in peaceful and secure situation to discuss and
find a way to get the humanitarian aid and medical assistance on the ground.
Now, you ask me what we are doing in Yemen. You remember when we moved from the size of the storm to real hope for Yemen. We as a coalition are
committed to (inaudible) the political process by achieving three objectives, which the first one is to continue to protect civilian against
the militia's behavior. The second to stop any operation that the militias want to change things on the ground. And to support, and facilitate the
humanitarian operation in Yemen.
[11:35:17] ANDERSON: Does Saudi or any other coalition country have boots on the ground at present?
ASIRI: Yesterday it was a rumor that we have a debarkment (ph) in Aden. We confirmed that we don't have any debarkment (ph) in Aden.
We continue to support the popular group, the resistance and the loyal army by all the ways that help them to protect themselves against the militias,
but we don't have any debarkment (ph) in Yemen.
ANDERSON: OK. So I just want to clarify this. You're saying that Saudi has not deployed any ground troops. Has any other country involved with
this coalition deployed any ground troops?
ASIRI: Becky, I'm talking to you as a coalition spokesman. So when I say to you that I'm confirming that we don't have any debarkment (ph) of the
coalition troops in Yemen, this is because I'm talking about on behalf of all the countries join the coalition.
Now, we continue to support the popular group on the ground by all means. We train them. We equip them to be able to protect themselves.
ANDERSON: All right.
Can I just bring up an issue that's been doing the rounds now for some 48 hours.
You've acknowledged to CNN that Saudi Arabia has used cluster bombs in Yemen, but only against armored vehicles. Human Rights Watch released a
report saying that the U.S. supplied bombs were being dropped near towns. And I quote Human Rights Watch, "Saudi-led cluster munition airstrikes have
been hitting areas near villages putting local people in danger," said Steve Goose (ph) who is arms director at Human Rights Watch.
The bombs, if they don't explode as planned, can lie dormant until someone stumbles on them and then they explode, potentially killing or maiming
anyone nearby, they said.
Saudi says it is not targeting civilians with these bombs, but what are you doing to ensure that the unintended consequence isn't civilians?
ASIRI: Let me clarify around what this report said. The report talk about picture or photo that was sent by someone coming from the Houthis side and
some videos. The videos shows that the operation was in the mountain, not in the cities.
And the report answer itself by saying that the CPU-105, it is used against vehicles. So this kind of weapons is used by different army in the world.
It is designed to attack vehicles groupment, not civilian.
And let me emphasize on something that even in the peak of our operation in Yemen, we never had any operation in cities on a village.
So I think the report wasn't (inaudible), doesn't talk about the militia's behavior against the civilian, against the hospital, against -- so I think
the report answer itself by giving the real use of this kind of weapons.
Brigadier general, Operation Decisive Storm launched on March 25 with coalition airstrikes in Yemen against Houthi rebels, of course. Almost a
month later, I think it was you who announced on behalf of Saudi at the end of the bombing campaign and the launch of what you're calling Operation
Renewal of Hope. Still, as we see, the bombing has continued.
And according to the UN, more than 1,200 people have been killed in Yemen and 300,000 people have fled their homes.
There are reports that the campaign -- and you have confirmed those -- that will now be suspended to allow relief support in.
What is the Endgame here?
ASIRI: I will give you the simple answer, which is the international community will, which is 2216. This is the end. The international
community finds that Yemen is in danger so they vote the resolution 2216. Unfortunately, the Houthis reject the international will. They go against
the will of the international community. They continue to fight their population.
As we know, there is no (inaudible) troop in Yemen, so the militias attack the civilian. They continue to -- so I think the end of the game that
those militias understand that the international community will not allow them to continue to kill people. They will stop fighting. At this time,
Yemen will continue to have their own will to find the just and right political path to conduct the country.
[11:40:31] ANDERSON: How do you respond, though, to the death of civilians. And are you concerned that a lack of tangible results on the
ground in the end, and the death of many, many civilians simply runs the risk of Saudi losing credibility here?
ASIRI: We were very clear since the beginning, and where in Riyadh are holding a press conference every day and we confirm that we don't have any
operation in cities. We conduct operation against military camp that belongs to the rebel army, against the militias concentration of force.
We had information, intelligence that they had headquarters, militia in store inside cities, but we do not attack it, because we believe it is not
in the benefit of the population.
Now, you know, that they are conducting operation, how they bring these munitions and weapons, because they bring it from the hospital, hotels and
schools that they were hiding in it. So I think talking about the operation in cities, it is a very weak argument. We continue to protect
civilian against their behavior.
You see every day they are attacking the district in Aden using the armored vehicle. I know the popular group doesn't have armored vehicle. Who had
the armored vehicle? It's the rebel army and the Houthis.
ANDERSON: Sir, with that, we will leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us on the show this evening.
The Brigadier General for you out of Riyadh this evening. Thank you, sir.
Live from Abu Dhabi...
ASIRI: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
ANDERSON: This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, Egypt still trying to revive its most lucrative sector tourism four years
after the revolution. That is next.
[11:45:35] ANDERSON: You're with Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. I want to get you now to the aftermath of last month's earthquake in Nepal,
the damage it did to Kathmandu was apparent immediately, wasn't it? But what's still being discovered is just how much is being destroyed in rural
areas near the epicenter.
My colleague Arwa Damon and her team continue to venture out to what are these incredibly remote places not knowing what they will find.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Massive boulders block the road, what would have been a lifeline for so many shut down. We continue
on foot. Throughout, the surreal juxtaposition of the stunning natural beauty of the landscape here and the power of its force. Uprooted tossed
trees, open gaping crevasses.
The porters were just telling us to not all go up at exactly the same time because this stairway walkway is not as stable as it used to be.
The porters also warning of constant tremors and falling debris.
We reach Mandre, seemingly deserted. Unlike other villages we've been to over the last few days, there are no shelters pitched next to homes, just
the haunting remains of lives forever altered, or forever lost.
This the grave site for three young women. A traditional necklace hands from a stick, a sign one of them was married.
A unit of Nepalese troops arrives, with very basic tools, an attempt to excavate the cadavers of livestock buried under the rubble.
But no aid, other than three tents that were air dropped days ago has made it here.
There are few villagers around, making quick trips to wash clothes or salvage what they can.
Everyone else is out in the plains," Mikhol says. They feel safer there and we soon find out why. Suddenly, the entire mountain shakes.
There was just a sizable tremor. It was absolutely terrifying, sent people in the village still running down. I cant imagine what the actual
earthquake must have been like.
As we uneasily move on we see three landslides in the distance and run into Sunil Bishokerma.
Did you feel the shaking?
SUNIL BISHOKERMA/EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR: I am very afraid and whole body shock.
DAMON: He and his brother are also trying to make their way to Barpak. His aunt her family live there.
BISHOKERMA: Nothing, we haven't any communication.
DAMON: Oh with the whole family. You know nothing about the whole family.
BISHOKERMA: Yeah. Yeah.
DAMON: We arrive in what is left of Barpak together. The air is filled with clanking and hammering as people take on rebuilding themselves. Even
here, at the earthquake's epicenter, humanitarian aid has been inexplicably slow to arrive.
Indian army medics treat an injured child. Her head wound infected and needs restitching. The mountainside is dotted with the white stones marking
the graves of those who perished.
Sunil asks people if they have news of his family. A woman says, yes, a girl died there.
The road leading to where his relatives lived a cascade of debris.
BISHOKERMA: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
Thank god, they are OK.
DAMON: Moments later, we find their tent, his aunt runs out and throws herself into Sunil's arms. As he tries to reassure her that at least they
Tears pour down his cousin's face. Here, the enormity of what the nation has endured evident even on the faces of those too young to fully
[08:50:08] ANDERSON: Arwa Damon reporting for you there.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, after the Arab Spring, how is Egypt's economy recovering? Well,
I'm going to ask the country's tourism minister live up next.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. We're out of the UAE. It is just after 8:50 here.
Egypt says it is extending its military mandate in the Gulf by another three months. And that it means it will continue participating in the
Saudi-led coalition that we've been talking about tonight that has been launching airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
But while Egypt reinforces its military presence in the region, it is also looking to its Arab neighbors for another reason, that is tourism. The
country is still trying to boost visitor numbers after falling dramatically after the revolution in 2011.
Well, now it's hoping to achieve that by launching a new tourism campaign targeting regional visitors.
I want to talk more about this. I'm joined by the country's tourism minister, Khalid Rami. Sir, thank you for joining us this evening.
I know that the message it seems is clear that Egypt is open for business, but there is an enormous amount of work to do, isn't there? The numbers
speak for themselves.
You' reached a record in 2010, I believe with nearly 15 million tourists and that number hasn't topped 10 million in three out of the last four
You've said you want to break the 2010 record next year. Is that realistic, sir?
KHALID RAMI, EGYPTIAN TOURISM MINISTER: Not next year. I assume we can break the record in 2016. The first three months of this year were quite
good. We increased by 6.9 percent. And what really looks promising are the first two weeks in April where we increased by 19 percent compared to
ANDERSON: You're going after regional tourists as much as anybody else. Egypt is close, I think, is the tag line for sort of intra-Middle East
tourism. Is the message that one is safe in Egypt from terrorism or that you are safer in Egypt than elsewhere these days in the Middle East?
RAMI: I think it's what we see from our partners everywhere in the world. The tour operators who are flying into Egypt and who are bringing tourists
to our country. They perceive Egypt as a place where their customers could come and enjoy themselves. I think that's the most important issue at all.
And the forward bookings for the summer are even much better than we have anticipated. We are seeing forward bookings 15 to 20 percent better than
last year and the winter season will be even much better.
ANDERSON: I was in Sharm el-Sheikh recently and certainly having been there in the fairly recent past, in the last 18 months or so, it did seem
an awful lot busier.
What, though, are you doing, sir, to secure the sights that tourists are most likely to spend time in? Because in the end, that is the question
that those who might want to visit the country will be asking themselves?
[11:55:05] RAMI: We have the economic forum, the conference on economy in Egypt in Sharm el-Sheikh in March, maybe you saw by yourself the security
measures that have been there in place. And those security measures are still there.
So, it's matter of continuation. And the occupancy rates in Sharm el- Sheikh speak for themselves for the first time in a very long time we're seeing occupancy rates of 60 percent in Sharm el-Sheikh and that's very
promising from such an important part of our country.
ANDERSON: Security clearly on the minds of anybody, though, who travels to the Middle East. Wherever it is that they are going. I also know that
there is a cohort of visitors, for example, from Russia who may not be spending as much money in a country like Egypt as they have done in the
So, what is your message to the traveler both regionally and internationally today?
RAMI: I'll tell them welcome. In Egypt, we are welcoming you and especially in our Arexia Resorts (ph). And I have particular weakness for
our cultural product. And I really would like everyone to come and visit Luxor Aswan (ph) and take a beautiful Nile cruise, one week on a Nile
cruise and another week on the Red Sea Riviera in one of our resorts in Rugada (ph) or Sharm el-Sheikh. That's my message to anyone.
ANDERSON: Khalid Rami with a very positive outlook on Egypt this evening looking to correct the imbalance on the tourism numbers, which clearly has
been a significant problem for the Egyptian economy now since 2011. Sir, we thank you very much indeed for joining us.
Which stories have touched you today, or made you think. Do send us your reaction. Follow the stories that this team is working on throughout the
day, that is on the Facebook site. That's our Facebook page, Facebook.com/CNNConnect.
If you are a regular viewer of this show, you know you can always tweet me @BeckyCNN. That is @BeckyCNN.
That was Connect the World from the team here it is a very good evening at 57 minutes past 7:00 in the UAE. It is a very good night from us. But CNN
of course does continue. Do stay with us.