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CONNECT THE WORLD
Iraqi Government Prepare for Offensive in Ramadi; Israeli PM Suspends Bus Segregation Measure; Indonesia and Malaysia Agree to Shelter Migrants; Criticism of Myanmar's Treatment of Rohingyas; African Startup; Trial Israeli Travel Segregation Measure Suspended on First Day; Blatter in Middle East on Peace Mission; U.S. Man Kills Rhino in Controversial Hunt; Parting Shots. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 20, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISA SOARES, CNN HOST (voice-over): A historical treasure under threat from ISIS. Militants capture a large chunk of a city near the ancient ruins of
Palmyra in Syria.
Hello, I'm Isa Soares in London, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD today. ISIS on the move, both in Syria and in Iraq. We'll have the latest. Also
ahead, backing down, Israel's prime minister scraps a plan that would have banned Palestinians from riding on Israeli buses. And later CNN goes on a
(INAUDIBLE) hunt. We'll tell you why this American is hunting endangered rhinos and why he insists he's protecting the species.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: We begin this hour though in Syria, where UNESCO World Heritage site is once again under threat from ISIS. Just in the past few hours
we've been getting word that the militant group has entered and controls part of Tadmor and captured about one-third of the city. Now it sits next
to Palmyra, one of the most impressive ancient ruins you could ever see. You're seeing some footage of Palmyra right there on your screen. And we
want to make clear it does not just these historic artifacts at risk. The city has strategic significance as well. Palmyra's about 215 kilometers
northeast of Damascus, control of this area would put ISIS on the road that leads directly not only to Syria's capital but to Homs as well.
Meanwhile across the border over in Iraq, you are looking at the latest pictures, exodus from Ramadi. Thousands of residents heading toward
Baghdad, 110 kilometers to the west. After the city fell to ISIS over the weekend, of course.
The Iraqi government says it is preparing to launch an offensive to take back Ramadi. We do not know when that is going to happen. Ian Lee is
following the developments for us from crisis and Ian, if you don't mind, let's start off with ISIS inching ever so closer to Palmyra.
What are you learning, what are you hearing this hour about this advance?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, what we're hearing is there's between 100-150 ISIS fighters that have entered the city of Tadmor of
Palmyra and there are about 700 meters away from the historical site where we heard that about an hour ago so we really don't know exactly where they
are. They could be at that site right now. We haven't heard of any casualties in the fighting but really also at risk are the antiquities.
And we've seen what ISIS has done to the historical sites in Iraq and Syria, destroying Nimrod and destroying many of the artifacts in the Mosul
I was at an antiquities conference last week talking to some of the experts there. They're saying that ISIS is destroying all the antiquities that
they cannot sell off, whether the antiquities are too large or they're too well-known that they just couldn't get a price for them. And so really
Palmyra now is at threat of this ISIS looting. And we're talking about 10,000 years of history at risk here. And this is one of the major sources
of their funding. So taking Palmyra is going to be a big victory for ISIS, especially when it comes to funding the organization.
SOARES: Yes, very good point. Ian, let's turn our attention to Ramadi and Iraq. There was a growing concern over tensions between these different
militias with Sunni and Shia. Now the spokesperson for the Dawa Party, who was on this show yesterday, was basically telling me, he was downplaying
it, saying there are all Iraqis in the aim is to tackle ISIS.
But how real of a concern is there regarding these different factions operating in the field together?
LEE: Well, there's no question there's friction between the different factions, yes. They are united against ISIS. But that doesn't mean
they're holding hands while doing it. The fighters that were in Ramadi before they pulled out complained that they were not getting enough support
from Baghdad, from the central government in terms of financing also weaponry. And so they pulled back and ISIS still taking the advantage
there on the offensive. They pushed out on the eastern side of Ramadi toward where these fighters are amassing. And we have seen bad blood
between the Sunnis and Shiites when these Shiite militias, which have proven to be one of the most effective fighting forces against ISIS go into
these predominantly Sunni areas. There are accusations, there are rites of violations and that has created a lot of problems for them as well -- Isa.
SOARES: Yes. And they're not holding hands now. Many are really questioning whether they will be holding hands even if they take Ramadi.
Ian Lee there for us in Cairo, thanks very much, Ian.
We'll take you now to an uproar over an Israeli program that critics say compares to apartheid. Just hours after it took effect, Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu suspended a trial measure that would segregate Palestinian and Israeli bus travel in the West Bank. Let's go straight to
our Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem for the details.
And, Oren, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled the pilot scheme just hours after it went into effect. We assume that he was aware of this
scheme. So why wait until such last minute to cancel it?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the prime minister's office says he was actually not aware that this was going into effect, that it was a
ministry of defense decision, a ministry of defense action that did not require Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's approval.
That being said, once it started, we know exactly what happened. There was an outroar from -- or an uproar from Palestinians, Israelis, human rights
activists and within hours Netanyahu canceled this program.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Benjamin Netanyahu's government under pressure once again after a new defense ministry policy that segregated buses and
required Palestinian workers to leave and enter by the same West Bank checkpoint. Jewish settlers in the West Bank have pushed for the
segregated buses; they say they feel unsafe on public transportation, where they're outnumbered by Palestinian passengers.
Netanyahu canceled the policy just hours after it went into effect Wednesday; his office says the defense ministry moved forward with the
policy without Netanyahu's approval. A senior official in the prime minister's office said in a statement, "These proposals are unacceptable to
the prime minister. He spoke this morning with the defense minister and it was decided to freeze the whole matter."
But the damage was already done. Netanyahu came under attack over the policy from human rights activists and many Palestinians and Israelis who
called it racist and discriminatory. Tens of thousands of Palestinians travel from the West Bank to Israel each day for work. The policy was
scheduled for a three-month trial; instead it was canceled within hours.
MOHAMMED SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN ECONOMIC COUNCIL: This policy is deep rooted in this government and it is very unfortunate that this government
is really driving Israel to become an apartheid state.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Netanyahu's chief political rival, Isaac Herzog, also condemned the policy, saying in a statement, "The separation between
Palestinians and Jews on public transport is an unnecessary humiliation and a stain on the face of the state and its citizens. It is unnecessary oil
on the flames of hate for Israel in the world."
Peace already seems a long way off to many and this policy has perhaps only succeeded in heightening tension.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: And this policy couldn't come at a worse time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His government is already under pressure
domestically and internationally. Meanwhile FIFA President Sepp Blatter is here, trying to mediate a dispute and ease tensions between the Palestinian
Football Association and the Israel Football Association ahead of next week's FIFA World Congress.
And, Isa, on top of that, the E.U. foreign affairs chief is here, trying to advance the peace process.
SOARES: Yes, very good point. Let me ask you this, Oren, Yariv Oppenheimer, from the campaign group Peace Now has been approached, saying
I'm going to read it out.
"When something looks like apartheid and smells like apartheid, then it is apartheid."
How is this being received in Jerusalem? What are people telling you?
LIEBERMANN: Well, of course, there are a lot who see this action as purely racist, purely discriminatory. We've heard that from many camps here, the
Israelis, the Palestinians, human rights activists. Isaac Herzog is not the only politician who immediately came out against this policy. Having
spoken with the prime minister's office, they say, look, we heard about it; we found out about it. We took it down as quickly as we could, calling it
unacceptable. They said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with the defense minister to get rid of this. But having spoken with
Palestinian leaders, they say this is part of a much bigger problem. It's not just this one policy. It's a number of other such similar policies
that restrict Palestinian movement. And canceling this one policy doesn't change all of the other ones that they see as very difficult on
SOARES: Oren Liebermann for us there in Jerusalem, the time is almost nine minutes past 6:00 in the evening. Thanks very much, Oren.
And of course we'll have much more on this story ahead, including an interview with a journalist who described travel with restriction to the
West Bank as apartheid, even before this latest controversial measures also ahead no compromise. That's the message FIFA chief Sepp Blatter is hearing
from Palestinian officials over their efforts to get Israel suspended from the world football, exactly one Oren is talking about.
Now Israeli police say a Palestinian driver rammed his car into two police officers in East Jerusalem on Wednesday. They describe him as an Arab
terrorist and say he was shot and killed after the attack. Police say the two officers struck the car by the car were rooted and then take it to
hospital. Relatives of the driver say they are stunned and suggest it was an accident.
An agreement between two Southeast Asian nations is offering at least some hope to migrants who are stranded at sea. Indonesia and Malaysia have both
offered to provide them with temporary shelter. Currently looking at footage of hundreds of men, women and children who were rescued earlier by
Indonesian fishermen. They managed to make it to shore, but many others have not. The International Organization for Migration, the IOM, estimates
that more than 5,000 migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar are still adrift. The agreement to taking migrants came after talks in Kuala Lumpur. That
included representatives from Thailand. But that nation did not announce it was taking part in the deal. Saima Mohsin has more from Bangkok for us.
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United Nations all along has been saying that saving lives, protecting people's rights and respecting human
dignity is paramount. And today, finally, after a high-level meeting between Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to
take what they're calling irregular migrants, Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi migrants in. They have been at sea for many, many months.
Thailand has come under a lot of criticism. The Human Rights Watch saying that the Thai leadership has failed after this meeting and that they hope
it steps up because while it's agreed not to carry on its pushback policy, it has not accepted to take in these migrants at sea.
Now today we saw a flurry of fishing boats, going out to sea, accepting these migrants, rescuing them and saving them from their boats and bringing
them back to land in Aceh province. The Indonesians, activists say, are leaving with their hearts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE HAMILTON, IOM: They sat on a bus for four, five, six hours while people squabbled back and forth about where can they put them. They don't
want to cross border into another district, wouldn't allow them. I mean, thankfully, the department of social affairs stepped in (INAUDIBLE) just to
get the people out of the buses and they'll figure it out later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHSIN: Now this is only the beginning. More than 400 migrants accepted today, but there are thousands more refugees and migrants at sea, up to
7,000, it's believed, by the International Organization for Migration. Thousands who haven't even left Myanmar waters yet into international
waters, they have to be accepted as well. The ones at sea so far will be taken in. It has been promised by Malaysia and Indonesia.
Now they say it's only a temporary reprieve. They will keep them for one year, after which they are asking for the international community's help in
resettling or repatriating them. That means returning them home, resettling will take the international community to step in and support the
resettlement process. Repatriation is of a greater concern. Many of these people, particularly the Rohingya refugees, have fled their homes because
they're facing persecution in Myanmar. And the United Nations has pointed out that they should only be repatriated if conditions allow or the
repatriation is voluntary, which is difficult, given that Myanmar simply doesn't recognize this community. It won't even acknowledge the term
"Rohingya" -- Saima Mohsin, CNN, Bangkok, Thailand.
SOARES: Still to come right here on CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN was there for the controversial hunt of an endangered black rhino. We'll give you an
exclusive look (INAUDIBLE) actually helping the species survive. But first, we're live in Thailand to hear about a new plan to help thousands of
refugees and economic migrants. But the offer is temporary and conditional -- a condition as you heard from Saima Mohsin there reporting, we'll have
more on that story just ahead.
SOARES: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Isa Soares, live from London. Welcome back to the show.
I want to take you back to one of our top stories this hour, developing situation in Southeast Asia, the one international organization has
likened, quote, "a game of maritime ping-pong with human lives."
We've been reporting on thousands of would-be refugees and economic migrants believed to be stranded at sea, sometimes for months at a time.
This video that you're looking at shows just some of the lucky ones, rescued by Indonesian fishermen and helped to shore, where they were given
food, water and medical care.
The three nations at the center of the crisis met in Kuala Lumpur with Indonesia and Malaysia saying they will now offer shelter to some 10,000
migrants. But there are conditions and caveats. And Thailand, it seems is staying mum about its plans. For more on this, let's bring in Jeffrey
Labovitz in Bangkok. He is head of Thailand operations for International Organization for Migration.
Jeffrey, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us about this. Talk us through the plans, if you can. How exactly is this supposed to
JEFFREY LABOVITZ, IOM: There's been offer in principle today from Malaysia and Indonesia to offer safe disembarkation and this is a breakthrough in
that the last four days there were people that had ridden the eye of the storm. There were no landings. In fact, today we saw two and we think
this opens the way for many, many boats, many thousands of people, as you have mentioned, to finally land.
SOARES: What happens, though, as part -- the whole agreement, it's part of the international community has put apart in trying to resettle these 7,000
If they don't, what happens next?
LABOVITZ: We've been asked to look at the voluntary return of migrants; of course, about half of the boat people are from Bangladesh and they're
economic migrants. And we already have programs to return them home. They've also asked that there are resettlement programs in place. In fact,
each one of these countries has resettlement programs. There needs to be status determination, working with UNHCR and partners, as well as work with
host countries for resettlement.
But we are committed, as is UNHCR, both of our the high commissioner for refugees and our director-general for IOM, both sent letters today saying
we welcome this development and we are going to support it.
SOARES: We've been talking about the refugees and the resettlement.
Do we know where they want to go, Jeffrey? Do we know what they're telling you your organization is saying?
LABOVITZ: The smuggling route has been going on for many years. And I've been working on it for over three years. And we've seen a lot of
suffering. In general, people were going to Malaysia, where they were working irregularly and finding jobs.
SOARES: Stay with me for a second, because I just want to bring sound from the U.S. because as we know, a lot of people trying to reach Thailand and
other Asian states are (INAUDIBLE) the Muslims from Myanmar, Myanmar refuses to recognize them and did not attend today's regional talks on the
The U.S. is one of those criticizing the approach. Take a listen to what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM MALINOWSKI, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: In the medium to longer run, absolutely. What needs to change here is the
Rohingya need to feel welcome in the country of their birth, in the country of their parents' birth, of their grandparents' birth. They need to be
treated as citizens with dignity and with human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: So Jeffrey, my question is how can there be any sort of plan to deal with this crisis without a fundamental change in Myanmar's treatment
of their Muslim minority?
LABOVITZ: What we've seen in this crisis is something which was unseen is now coming to the forefront and people are coming together. There's
scheduled to be a meeting on May 29th. My director-general will come and many other important people will come, many different countries.
And I heard today that Myanmar will also be attending. I believe that through conversation we can make progress but there are a lot of big issues
and protection being one of them.
SOARES: You seem pretty optimistic, Jeffrey, but let me ask you this, will this plan, do you think, involve rescuing the thousands of migrants, people
who are at sea, stranded at sea? Because according to the IOM, as your organization, about 2,300 people in boats off the shore of Myanmar. And
they've been there for 30 days.
LABOVITZ: Indeed, that's true. And we heard from the capital of Myanmar today, that they want to build upon humanitarian principles and we have
teams going out in the next couple of days to look at how they can disembark. Equally we know about seven or eight boats that are between
Malaysia and Indonesia. We think that the discussion today opens up that issue.
The boat which you saw land today in Indonesia has been Malaysian waters, Thai waters, international waters and finally landed today. We have a
humanitarian crisis that a 3-year-old child died on one of the boats today when they landed. People are starving and hungry and this is the first
step to get them to land. And that's the primary development of today.
The root causes, looking at how we can stop smuggling and exploitation and trafficking while also offering protection is going to take longer. But
discussions are happening for the first time in years.
SOARES: Yes, it's a first step, it's a small step but it's an important step. Jeffrey, thank you. Jeffrey Labovitz in Bangkok for us, thank you
very much, Jeffrey.
Now what we are seeing, the waters off East Asia, Southeast Asia in many ways mirror the crisis that we've been unfolding in Europe and the
Mediterranean in fact. Activists warn that 2015 is on track to be the deadliest year on record in terms of migrants trying to reach Europe by
CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour right now is patrolling those waters with an Italian navy vessel, seeing the crisis
first-hand. Tune in for a special edition of "AMANPOUR," live from the island of Lampedusa, where many of these migrants land. That's on
Thursday. Starts at 7:00 pm in London, 8:00 Central European Time, only here on CNN.
Coming up right here, Israel's own president calls an unthinkable separation between Israelis and Palestinians. We'll look at that brawl and
(INAUDIBLE) travel measure and speak with a gentleman who says Israel has long enforced segregation on the road.
And where after dark (INAUDIBLE) one woman's dream of making ice cream is becoming a reality. "African Startup" is in Tanzania this week. That's
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who wants chocolate? Anyone wants chocolate ice cream?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want chocolate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) chocolate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want that one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, a woman's dream to make ice cream is now the delight of her customers. Mercy
Katomre's (ph) foray into business began in 2013, when she created Nelwa's Gelato.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So this morning we're making mocha, passion and lemongrass.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Production is out of her mother's house where she makes 30 liters a day, supplying local businesses including
hotels and restaurants.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Currently employ five people. We've been running the business for three years now full time and that's how I live off that. But
it's not where it's supposed to be. My main focus has been to get the brand known out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Getting Nelwa's ice cream known means facing stiff competition from established and much larger brands in the
market. Her strategy: social media, like Instagram.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be known for making ice cream. So first build a brand and then with time you get investment and the ice cream
industry investment is huge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): She's banking that her specialty gelato made with fresh ingredients will make Nelwa's stand out and help her grow
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're on the level where we have to get on the next level, the next stage. We have to move this production here from my mom's
house to an actual production rented places and so we actually need investment. The demand in the market is high but then we don't have the
capacity of meeting that demand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): To the marriage of ice cream began in London, where she was a tour guide for children around the city.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After every tour, you had to take them to Lesser Square (ph) for ice cream. That's when I had this moment of, wait a
minute, why are there so many parlors here? And in Dar, I actually have to think where to find a parlor. It should be something that's there in a hot
continent we live in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): After taking a course on how to make ice cream, she returned to Tanzania and ultimately launched Nelwa's. Her goal
is to one day open parlors, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The way I saw the amount of parlors around Europe is the same way. I want to see the amount of parlors in Dar es Salaam where
it's Nelwa's owned or Nelwa's franchised. That's the future I see.
SOARES: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Let me bring you up to date. The top stories we're following for you this hour. And some news in fact
just coming in to CNN. We're told you at the start of the program that ISIS militants have entered Tadmor in Syria. It sits next to Palmyra,
famed for its Roman ruins. Syria state-run television is reporting that pro-government militias are evacuating residents from Tadmor right now.
We'll bring you developments as soon as they are available.
Indonesia and Malaysia have both agreed to provide migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh with temporary shelter. That agreement was struck after
talks in Kuala Lumpur with Thailand. Now this comes as hundreds of migrants were rescued by Indonesian fishermen and brought to shore.
North Korea says it now has the ability to miniaturize nuclear weapons (INAUDIBLE) missile. Pyongyang says it has had the ability for some time,
but the U.S. response was more skeptical, saying that their assessment on North Korea's capabilities, quote, "has not changed."
Israel's prime minister has suspended the highly controversial travel policy just hours after it took effect. The measure separates Palestinians
and Jews on bus routes running from Israel to the West Bank. Many settlers called for the program on security grounds. Critics call it blatantly
Now we invited Israeli government officials to join our program to talk about the now-suspended travel ban, but they have declined. We now want to
bring in French Algerian journalist Nabila Ramdani. She's traveled many times on buses from West Bank to Jerusalem and says Arabs are made to feel
Nabila, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. Let me first get your reaction to the fact that this scheme has now been called
What do you make of this last-minute decision?
NABILA RAMDANI, JOURNALIST: Well, I have to say that I have just come back from the Palestinian territories and it is clearly a sensitive issue. And
the fact that the Israeli authorities are now not going to go ahead with this scheme to ban Palestinians from buses is hugely -- it's a hugely
optimistic development. And I'm delighted that the outrage and indeed the pressure being brought to bear on the Israeli authorities have clearly
borne fruit. Discrimination and indeed racism manifest themselves in all kinds of ways. And that was one of the most basic. And it has created
worldwide interest because it evokes the Rosa Parks saga that the United States experienced in the 1950s.
SOARES: Now, Nabila, you've traveled some in some of these buses from Israel to the West Bank. So give us a sense of the commute for the many
How have you seen them being treated?
RAMDANI: Well, in practical terms, that means that it's a disaster effectively for Palestinian workers, impoverished Palestinians are forced
to seek low-paying jobs in Israel, often on building sites. And they're already facing a long commute and have often taken buses from Ramallah,
which is in the West Bank, to Jerusalem and every time there are Arabs on board they were made to feel like criminals. And it has to be said that
before getting on board, you have to go through a gated corridor, the kind you get in high security prisons. And then through a military checkpoint
and heavily armed soldiers carry out body searches and many would-be passengers are often denied entry to Israel for no apparent reasons. And
for the rest of us, a journey which would have taken 50 minutes could take up to 2.5 hours. And this is despite the fact that the Israeli army
insists that the security measures that impose on Arab workers actually guarantee safe journeys and prevent illegal overnight stays for those
SOARES: But let me ask you this, Jewish settlers who use the same buses, they will argue that allowing Palestinian passengers onto the buses creates
what they've been saying, creates a security risk.
What's your take on that?
RAMDANI: Well, that's clearly not what the Israeli army is saying, that just quoted Israeli official saying that Arab workers do not represent
security -- a security threat, precisely because they go through those heavy searches and indeed militarized checkpoints. And they are very rare
incidents of actually Arab workers creating problems on those buses.
The reality is that it's more likely to have Arab workers being discriminated against and indeed abused by Israeli authorities or indeed
Jewish settlers than the other way around.
And this move would have been a disaster. And as I said earlier, it's a huge cause for optimism that it has been called off and it has to be said
that even many Israeli voices including high-profile Israeli officials have welcomed that -- the stop -- that the proposed ban has come to a halt,
including the president of Israel and indeed last year the ban was already considered for application and then Israeli justice minister, Tzipi Livni,
have called the measure an apartheid measure.
And such implementation of such a ban would have further and already massively segregated society.
SOARES: Now, Nabila, you've written about your experiences traveling the bus. And you compare -- and I'm going to quote something that you've
written. You've compared the endemically divided nature of Israel as society uncomfortable with similar to the racist Alabama of the 1950s. Now
this has gone this measure. If it surfaces, how bad would it be? How would that change the life of many people there?
RAMDANI: It would change the life of people living there dramatically and for worse. Segregation in Israel has already extended to roads for years,
generally that means not on highways for Israelis and potholes, tracks for the Palestinians. There is also a high security divide nicknamed the
apartheid wall that runs for 690 kilometers and one of its main functions is to protect those responsible for illegal land grabs and the demolition
of Palestinian homes.
There was also a United Nations human rights committee report calling on Israelis to end the institutionalized discriminations against Palestinians.
So this is a very serious issue clearly for an already divided society.
SOARES: Nabila Ramdani, French Algerian journalist, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. And meanwhile, as we said, Israeli
government officials join our program to talk about the now-suspended travel ban but they have declined.
Thanks very much, Nabila.
Now FIFA president Sepp Blatter is hoping to ease tensions in the Middle East by proposing a peace match between Israel and Palestine. Blatter has
been in Palestine talking with Palestinian Authority President Abbas and the head of the Palestinian Football Association. The meeting comes as
Israel's future in the world of football continues to hang in the balance. Blatter has failed to convince Palestine to drop their complaint against
Israel and Israel still faces a vote to suspend them from the world football governing body next week.
For more on all this, I'm joined by "WORLD SPORT's" Christina Macfarlane.
So, Christina, Sepp Blatter is there. Trying to mediate really what has happened, this dispute, what does he have to say?
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Isa, he's been on a two-day tour of Israel and Palestine on what he calls a mission
for peace. He's been trying to persuade the Palestinians to drop their complaints against Israel but he's failed to do this. And is now unlikely
to avoid a vote that is set to take place on the 29th of May, which will decide whether or not Israel will be suspended from world football.
This has been an issue that has been ongoing for two years now. FIFA have been trying to sort it out for two years. And the backdrop to this are
complaints by the Palestinian Football Association that Israel have been restricting their passage across the border of foreign players and
Palestinian players and equipment between Gaza and the Israeli occupied West Bank.
They also have complaints that five teams from the Israeli Football League are occupying illegal settlements which contravenes FIFA's rules. Now
Israel have countered this by saying that the freedom of movement is a security issue over which they have no control.
What we do know is that this is coming at a very awkward and difficult time for Sepp Blatter because he's --
MACFARLANE: -- next week. And it comes, Isa, on a very same day that this vote now is due to take place to decide Israel's future. Now that being
the case when he was speaking at the press conference earlier in Ramallah, he said that his main concerns over this vote were not just for the dispute
but also for the precedent this might set if the vote comes to pass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: If one association is not happy with the other association, claiming that they have the right to do so, claiming
whatever they claim, and it has a political, let's say, matter that cannot be solved by FIFA statutes, then it will be a dangerous precedent then
tomorrow Ukraine, I just met the president of forcanan zuri (ph) two days ago. He would then ask a suspension of their neighbors by saying this is
political intervention and then we would go from one to the other and this is not football.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: So Sepp Blatter there, concerned that it will encourage other nations --
MACFARLANE: -- political situations to push for change. So on the 29th we could see not one but two potentially very high-profile votes taking place
at the FIFA --
SOARES: But Christina, how likely is it that they will vote? I mean, what's the likely -- what are you hearing?
MACFARLANE: Well, what we do know is that in order for the vote to pass, there needs to be a two-thirds majority in favor of Palestine. Now there
are 209 votes in the FIFA Congress. We understand that there is some support for the Palestinian cause, but we don't know at this stage how much
and how far this is going to go.
If it does go all the way and they are voted out, they'll be suspended, which means that Israel will no longer be able to compete in international
competitions or at a club level. They also involved in UEFA, which means they won't need to take -- they won't be able to take place in the
Champions League or also in the Euro 2016 qualifiers that are coming up.
So it will be very interesting to watch this and see how things unfold in the weeks to come.
SOARES: Pressure for Blatter but also the image of FIFA all playing a part in here. Thank you very much, Christina, there.
Well, live from London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, an exclusive look at the controversial hunt for black rhino in Namibia. Why an American
hunter says he's helping save the endangered species by killing one of them. (INAUDIBLE).
SOARES: You are watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Isa Soares, live from London. Welcome back to the show.
An American hunter who killed an endangered black rhino says he did it to help save the species. The kill was legal and part of a controversial idea
of conservation hunting. Ed Lavandera was given exclusive access to follow the hunt in Northern Namibia and he joins us now from Namibia's capital.
Ed, let's start off with how was he even allowed to hunt and kill a black rhino in Namibia? And more importantly, why is he doing it?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Corey Knowlton, a hunter from Texas, won an auction last year to pay $350,000 to hunt this black rhino.
This is legally sanctioned by the government of Namibia. And he says that what he is doing is helping the Namibian government fight the anti-poachers
but that also there is good strong science behind what he's doing.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Three days of hunting a black rhino through the unforgiving desert brush of Northern Namibia ended here. And Corey
Knowlton has no regrets.
COREY KNOWLTON, HUNTER: I'm pretty emotional right now to be honest.
LAVANDERA: You've been heavily criticized for doing what you just did. Do you still feel like what you did is going to benefit the black rhino in the
KNOWLTON: 100 percent, 100 percent. I felt like from day one it was benefiting the black rhino. And I'll feel like that until the day I die.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Knowlton granted CNN exclusive access into this controversial hunt for the black rhino, one of the most endangered species
in the world. He won the license to hunt the rhino in an auction last year.
LAVANDERA: There are so many people who think that what you're doing out here is barbaric and that you don't care about this black rhino.
KNOWLTON: Nobody in this situation with this particular black rhino put more value on it than I did. I'm absolutely hell bent on protecting this
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Knowlton has received death threats and scathing criticism. Some animal welfare groups call conservation hunting a horrific
AZZEDINE DOWNES, INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE: These are incredibly majestic creatures and their worth alive is far more -- it's far
greater than they are dead.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): In Namibia, the biggest threats to the black rhino are poachers and often the rhinos themselves.
KNOWLTON: I'm Corey. Nice to meet you.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Knowlton is told by Namibian government observers to target four specific rhinos considered a high priority threat to the
herd. That's the story of this rhino spotted by cameras at a watering hole just before sunrise. Last year it killed another rhino in a gruesome
The hunt begins. The African brush is dense. Knowlton will have a split second to decide whether to pull the trigger.
LAVANDERA: It would be a catastrophic mistake for Corey if he were to shoot the wrong rhino, one that is not on the list of eligible rhinos to be
taken out of the herd.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Local trackers pick up the rhino's footsteps and walk deeper into the brush.
KNOWLTON: This was the angry one that's already killed another one. So he's likely just going to get up and come so we need to be ready.
LAVANDERA: Silence is crucial. Trackers direct Knowlton and his Namibian hunting guide with hand signals. We get closer and in an instant, the
rhino flashes before us.
The rhino moves around us but he's invisible, silent. A nearly 3,000-pound beast that can move like a ghost in the brush until it decides to charge.
We don't see him until he's 30 feet away, charging right at us. And I have to dive below Knowlton's high-powered rifle.
A short while later, the rhino is dead.
LAVANDERA: As we sit here at this moment and take it all in and we think about what the biggest threat to these rhinos are around the world and it's
poachers, people who will kill these animals and leave them to rot in these fields of Africa, just for this horn. These horns that you see here will
sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars on the black market.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Corey Knowlton knows this isn't easy to watch but he vows to take the abuse of his critics to convince the world that
conservation hunting can help save the black rhino.
LAVANDERA: And Isa, just to put all of this in context, these kinds of sanctioned hunts by the Namibian government are extremely rare, since 2009
when the population of the black rhino was substantial enough the Namibian government started issuing these permits.
Since then, this is only the seventh time that this has happened. And then when you compare that to what the effects of poaching has been on the black
rhino population here in Namibia, it's astounding. Last year, 24 rhinos were killed by poachers, according to the Namibian government. This year
in the first five months alone of this year, that number already stands at 60 -- Isa.
SOARES: Yes, Ed, at the end of the day, many will be looking at this and saying he killed one of the most -- world's most endangered species.
So what has been the reaction to his actions and interesting as well, we'd love to know why did he allow CNN to tag along? What was the thinking
LAVANDERA: Well, it's really incredible that the backlash against Corey Knowlton has been very strong since we've started reporting this story last
night. And he knew that was coming. He's been talking to Corey Knowlton for almost a year and a half now and he was willing to put himself out
there. I asked him several times why would you allow this to happen?
He says that first and foremost he wanted the world to see exactly the mechanics of how this hunt was carried on, how he worked in tandem with the
Namibian government and for his own safety, for his own peace of mind, he wanted the world to know that it was carried out according to the rules and
the protocols set up by the Namibian government.
And he also believes in the science of what he's doing. For example, if you look at this one black rhino that was killed, that rhino was in an area
where there were only three rhinos, all males. So there's no chance of reproducing. But because this black rhino had killed another rhino last
year, it was too dangerous for the Namibian government officials to introduce a female black rhino into that area for fear that it would be
killed as well. But now that this black rhino is gone, Namibian government officials say they can start considering a plan or putting in place a plan
to introduce a female into that area and obviously begin the chances and the hopes of reproduction. So that is the hope. We'll -- obviously we
don't have the answers to how all of that will play out, but that is something we can monitor in the years ahead.
SOARES: And Ed, you're talking about a science there and the conservation hunting. If you put the numbers, how many have there been in Namibia, what
kind of impact have they seen, changes have they seen with the rhinos there?
Can you put that into perspective for us?
LAVANDERA: Well, there's 5,000 black rhinos left in the world; 2,000 of them are here in the country of Namibia. So the conservation hunting plan
that they have, where they've only issued seven of these permits since 2009, when they started doing this, is only one part of it. The real
concern here is anti-poaching. But this is an African government that is low on funds; its ability to track and get the intelligence needing to
attack and go after these sophisticated poaching rings is something that they don't have. These hunting permits have raised more than $1 million
U.S. for them to be able to do that. Obviously it's not a perfect situation; but they need those funds to do that. And then there's what we
talked about, the science behind it. And there's a great deal of animal welfare groups, prominent welfare groups around the world that support this
idea of conservation hunting. And they all know full well there's an extremely intense amount of emotional reaction and criticism of all that.
And Corey Knowlton knows that full well, as he's getting the brunt of today.
SOARES: Ed Lavandera for us in Namibia with a fascinating story there, thanks very much, Ed.
The hunt is outraging not only many of you but some activists as well, as Ed was pointing out. See why one animal welfare worker said it doesn't
make sense morally, economically or biologically to conduct a hunt like this. Head to our website cnn.com and search for "trophy hunting."
Also we'd like to know what you think about this controversial hunt. You can visit our Facebook page, facebook.com/cnnconnect. And you can tweet me
your thoughts on this story any of the stories we have covered @IsaCNN.
And live from London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD coming up after decades at the helm of his own late-night talk show on American TV, David Letterman is
retiring. We'll take a look back at his story in tonight's "Parting Shots."
SOARES: You are watching CNN and this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Isa Soares. Welcome back.
Now he's been a late-night staple in many American homes for decades. Now TV's talk show host David Letterman is stepping down from his late show.
Over the years he's made viewers smile, laugh but it has also covered some more serious topics like 9/11 and the cancer. In tonight's "Parting
Shots," CNN's Brian Stelter takes a look at the highlights of Letterman's career.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST (voice-over): David Letterman has been at the helm of the "Late Show" since 1993. So as Letterman takes his final bow, we're
taking the cue from his famous top 10 list, a look back at some of our favorite moments, starting with Letterman's first guest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: The young, the personable Bill Murray -- Bill.
STELTER (voice-over): Murray has returned to the "Late Show" countless times, often in costume. Neighbors of the "Late Show's" Ed Sullivan
Theater were frequent guests on the show, even if Letterman couldn't quite pronounce their names right.
LETTERMAN: They're here from Zurich, oh, you're from Bangladesh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm from Bangladesh.
STELTER (voice-over): They've even started a recurring segment with the two, coverage stories across the country. Neighbor and Hello Deli owner
Rupert G also made repeat appearances.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let it go. Let it go.
STELTER (voice-over): In 1995, Drew Barrymore caused quite a stir when she danced on Dave's desk and flashed the "Late Show" host as a birthday
present. Another celebrity guest that had Dave squirming: Madonna.
MADONNA, PERFORMER: You are a sick (INAUDIBLE).
STELTER (voice-over): Letterman's mom made a far cry from the Queen of Pop, from making pies on the "Late Show's" Thanksgiving episodes --
LETTERMAN: There's a cherry pie. Show me cherry.
DAVE'S MOM: Not this year.
LETTERMAN: Oh, come on.
STELTER (voice-over): To coverage the Olympics, Dave's mom became a fan favorite.
LETTERMAN: And how so far, how has been your experience in Japan? Good, I hope.
DAVE'S MOM: Very good.
STELTER (voice-over): But the show isn't just about the laughs. the "Late Show's" very first episode after 9/11 included a poignant moment with Dan
DAN RATHER, NEWSCASTER: So I could go down to Ground Zero here in Lower Manhattan and you referred to it earlier and see the following: see those
STELTER (voice-over): Another touching moment came a year later in 2002 with Warren Zevon, the musician who was suffering from terminal cancer, was
featured for the entire hour.
WARREN ZEVON, MUSICIAN: Here am I to enjoy every sandwich and every minute, playing with the guys and being with the kids and everything.
STELTER (voice-over): Another guest close to Dave's heart was stage manager Biff Henderson, who had entire segments devoted to him.
BIFF HENDERSON, STAGE MANAGER: (INAUDIBLE) when I read over someone's shoulder before they say something.
STELTER (voice-over): One tough moment for the "Late Show" host was admitting to an affair with some of his staff members amid an extortion
LETTERMAN: That I have or had sex with women who work for me on this show.
STELTER (voice-over): Despite his mistakes, he has remained a favorite "Late Show" host for decades, and that brings us to our favorite moment
back in 2005, when after a 16-year feud Oprah made her first appearance on the "Late Show."
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: It's over. There is no feud. There's only peace.
LETTERMAN: Peace and love?
WINFREY: Peace and love.
STELTER (voice-over): No matter what, Dave always kept us talking -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
SOARES: What a formidable career. We wish him all the best.
And that does it for us this hour. I'm Isa Soares and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you very much for watching. "INTERNATIONAL DESK" with my
colleague, Robyn Curnow, is coming up next.