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CONNECT THE WORLD
ISIS Claims to Have Beheaded Croatian Hostage; China's Currency Drops for Second Straight Day; Cubans Set to Welcome American Tourists; The Vigilantes of Mexico. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET
Aired August 12, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:11] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Poised to fly into the fray: U.S. fighters jets prepare to hit ISIS targets in Syria. We're live from
outside the Incirlik air base in Turkey for you this hour.
Also ahead, markets take a hit as China's currency devaluation sends ripples across the board. And across the globe, here you see the Dax down
3.25 percent in trade today reflected as well across European markets. And this the state of play on the Dow Jones as we speak, down some near 1.5
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "Many people are getting their homes ready," he says. "The future looks promising."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Preparing for a friendly invasion: Cubans ready themselves for an influx of history buffs and American tourists.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very good evening. It is just past 7:00 in the evening here in the UAE. I want to start with what happened in Asia for you --
well, it was in Asia. Their markets in Europe now traders on Wall Street watching stocks take a big dive after another key move by banking officials
For the second straight day, they have allowed China's currency to fall sharply against the dollar.
Now this is a major shift from their previous policy. And markets around the world clearly rattled by what it could mean. That market there
in the U.S. then down about one-and-a-third percent.
Let's get you to New York. CNN's Maggie Lake is with us.
I'm going to call this a rout at this point, but these investors in the U.S. market certainly running shy despite China's central bank trying
to calm fears. Why is this happening?
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, Becky, it's interesting. For years, officials from governments and the IMF have been
saying to China you need to liberalize. You need to let the market control the level of your currency. They finally move in that direction and
everyone is freaking out.
When they said that years ago, they thought the yuan was going to appreciate in value. Of course now, because the Chinese economy is slowly,
the yuan is depreciating, devaluing. And that's raising a lot of concerns.
First of all, markets were surprised by the move. A lot of people thought after that equity rout in Chinese stocks and all that volatility
that it spooked officials in the government there and maybe they were going to move away from market reform. Instead, they didn't. They came out with
this aggressive move. So you have the surprise factor.
And secondly, you know, a lot of people are saying, you know, it is pretty aggressive. 2 percent doesn't seem like a lot, but when you make a
major shift in policy like that, it's a big deal. Why are they doing it? What is it that they know that we don't know? There's a little paranoia
going on, because there's a I think a lack of distrust in the transparency in terms of what it really is happening with the Chinese economy.
In the Chinese economy, so important as the engine of growth. A lot of companies during the last few years retooled, right, to that. Now
they're looking at it saying is that going to hit my profits? Even if I have a strong dollar, is that going to hit my profits? So that's why
you're seeing so many exporters, so many companies here in the U.S. -- Apple, Yum that has KFC down and that's dragging the Dow and the S&P down,
ANDERSON: Yeah, is it the start of things to come do you think?
LAKE: I think it is -- I think it's the start of uncertainty. You know, when you had a country that controlled its economy and its currency
as firmly as China did, you knew what to expect. You may not have liked it, but you knew what to expect.
Now if the market is going to determine that for us, it creates a lot more uncertainty.
Here's something interesting someone told me, in the near-term this is causing a lot of distress for people who export to China. And for
certainly if you are a commodities or you are a person who has been feeding the industrial revolution in China, you probably have to be concerned
But if you're somebody who has been focused on the Chinese consumer, like some of the companies I just mentioned, short-term there's a
dislocation because there's this concern and uncertainty. Longer-term, the reason the Chinese are doing this is because they're trying to rebalance
their economy. They want to move away from exports and focus on a domestic consumptive-led economy. If they succeed in doing that, then that's where
you want to be.
So I think short-term you're going to see this. Longer-term you're going to -- it's going to be more nuanced and you're going to have people
watch how successful they are at this rebalancing.
Ultimately, it would be good for the world economy. Right now I think there are too many questions about whether they're going to be able to pull
Maggie, why and how what's happening in China affects all of us whether in Asia, here in the Middle East, in New York or anywhere around
the world it's up for discussion this hour. For the time being, from you thank you. We'll do more as the hour progresses.
Out of New York for you today.
Well, disturbing new indications tonight that the brutality of ISIS is spreading far beyond the borders of its self-proclaimed caliphate. The
militants are now claiming the first known beheading of a western captive in Egypt.
Croatian Tomislav Salopek was kidnapped near Cairo last month. ISIS posted an image online after the apparent beheading. We are refusing to
their propaganda machine and will not show any pictures of him in captivity.
Well, we are waiting for word that the United States has stepped up its fight against ISIS in Syria. U.S. warplanes may soon carry out their
first attacks from Incirlik air base in Turkey. We're hearing the strikes could happen at any time.
But even as talk of war ramps up, near regional efforts to bring peace to Syria are about both Turkey and Iran reportedly helped negotiate a 48
hour ceasefire for three Syrian towns -- Zabadani on the outskirts of Damascus and two Shia villages in northern Idlib Province.
Well, Iran's foreign minister is traveling across the region today pushing a new peace plan for Syria. He met with officials in Beirut. And
Iran's press TV says he has now met with the Syrian President Bashar al- Assad in Damascus.
Right, we've got several reporters bringing you the very latest in all of these angles tonight. Frederik Pleitgen is in Damascus on what has been
a very violent day, I'm afraid, around the Syrian capital.
Nick Paton Walsh is near the air base in Turkey keeping watch for any movement of U.S. war planes. And we'll get to Washington tonight as well.
Fred, though, let's start with you. Before we talk about the prospects for a peace deal in Syria, a deadly reminder today of why a deal
is so important to the people of Syria, more deadly attacks, Fred.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you're absolutely right, Becky. And one of the things that we've seen in the past
couple of days since we were here is that it was fairly quiet here in the Syrian capital. However, all that changed early morning today when we were
actually also woken from our sleep by the thud of impacting of rockets that were apparently fired from some rebel controlled areas here inside
Damascus. Several of those rockets apparently hit the areas of Malki (ph) as well as Mezza (ph), both of those are government-controlled.
What happened, then, was a retaliation attack by the Syrian air force that targeted the area of Douma as well as other rebel-controlled areas.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that up to 37 people at this point were killed in those attacks. Many, many more wounded. They
believe that the number killed could rise considerably because some of those who were wounded apparently were wounded pretty badly.;
And I can tell you, Becky, I was on the front line earlier today in the district called Yarmouk, which is of course a former Palestinian
refugee camp that's now a neighborhood also hotly contested. And while we were in there, there was a lot of shooting going on. You could also hear
jets overhead. So certainly there is a lot of battlefield action that was going on on this day that the Iranian foreign minister was set to come here
to the Syrian capital, Becky.
ANDERSON: That's right, these streets just hours before his arrival. He is shopping a regional peace deal.
What do we know of the details?
PLEITGEN: Well, it's difficult to say. I mean, the Iranians, especially after the nuclear agreement, have been trying to, first of all,
assure their allies that they are still on their side. Of course, they visited Lebanon. They're also visiting the Syrians right now. The Syrians
somewhat uneasy after that nuclear deal, whether or not the Iranians would keep up their support. So that's certainly one of the reasons.
But they say that they want an alliance against ISIS. That's their main goal, that's one of the main key reasons for diplomacy around the
region. But quite frankly, it seems as though that is still a very distant prospect.
I was actually able to speak to the Syrian information minister a little earlier today and he was saying that first of all the Syrians
welcomed additional American airstrikes. They say that anybody who strikes ISIS is someone that they would support. But at the same time, they
heavily criticized the Turkish government saying that they believe that Turkey is waging a war against the Kurds rather than against ISIS.
So, it seems as though the two main factions in this battle against ISIS, the sort of Gulf states and the United States as well as on the other
side, the Iranians, the Russians and the Syrians still very much at odds as to how best to combat ISIS, and certainly not on the same page, Becky
ANDERSON: Yeah, incredibly complicated on the ground.
All right, thank you for that.
Now, the Pentagon could give new information today on the imminent U.S. airstrikes against ISIS from this Incirik base on Turkey. We are
expecting a news briefing in just less than two hours from now.
Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has more on what would be this expanded U.S. mission.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): American F- 16s at any time could begin striking from their air base here in Turkey.
Some strikes may be aimed at the Turkish-Syrian border where ISIS forces just moved in after al Qaeda left. Strikes will try to pave the way for
putting U.S.-trained moderate rebels back into Syria after their unit was decimated in an attack.
[11:10:22] MARK TONER, DEPUTY U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: This has been a difficult process to vet these people, to train them, to get
them back into what is a very fluid, dynamic situation.
STARR: The Pentagon trying to figure out how to salvage the training effort. 70 additional rebels may finish their training in the next few
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: We have to find a group to be the boots on the ground. The ones we have chosen right now aren't
STARR: Defense Secretary Ash Carter moving beyond just working with the rebels.
ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: There are other capable ground forces fight the regime and ISIL. I gave the example of the Syrian Kurds,
but we'd like to see more.
STARR: The initial strikes could be aimed at targets in Iraq. ISIS is on a rampage in Mosul where up to 300 civil servants may have been killed
in recent days.
STARR: The U.S. had evidence that a mass killing was being planned but no way to stop it, a U.S. official tells CNN. ISIS also still imagining
forces around the Baji Oil Refinery.
But the U.S. taking extra steps to keep air force pilots safe. When bombing runs are made, the U.S. wants to send up standby rescue helicopters
at this second base in case a pilot goes down. Right now, they would have to come from further away in Erbil in Iraq.
(on camera): And, of course, the reason all of this is so important, ISIS is still bringing new fighters into Syria and Iraq as fast as the
coalition can kill them. That is the latest U.S. intelligence estimate.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
ANDERSON: Well, let's get you to Turkey, then, and Nick Paton Walsh standing by very close to the Incirlik air base in Turkey.
We are talking a half a dozen U.S. fighter jets, F-16s. Just how significant a move is this, Nick?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly allows those six F-16s and any unmanned aircraft, or drones you might say,
to have a significantly faster turnaround time, up the tempo of their flights if they begin using this base behind me in the days, could even be
hours ahead. Nobody really knows at this stage.
Now, that will significantly increase the amount of time they can spend in the air over northern Syria, ISIS's key stronghold and potentially
might pave the way for yet more use of this base by the U.S. in the months ahead.
They currently and have long-term had nearly 2,000 personnel here, just not in an attack aircraft kind of role. So, it's a key agreement for
the U.S. and Turkey. Turkey has in the same breath been talking about the need for a safe zone inside northern Syria. That's not on the U.S. agenda
quite clearly, another sign of daylight between their positions.
But certainly the use of this base -- and we've seen four F-16s take off from it today. They think were probably actually Turkish, not
American. Will significantly boost say the Americans, their ability to keep aircraft in the skies looking for targets of opportunity in ISIS-held
ANDERSON: Domestically, the Turkish president stepping up the fight against the PKK at present. Is this to boost his polling numbers in case
current and ongoing coalition talks fail to put his body back in power in Turkey and he has to go into snap elections?
WALSH: Well, there are two ways you can read the decision by Turkey to simultaneously announce campaigns against ISIS and the Kurds. The one
militarily, and more generously, has to say well look if you're pushing ISIS out of territory or hitting ISIS, the one thing you don't tactically
want to do as Turkey is to allow the Kurds, your longer-term enemy, even though the Syrian Kurds are actually not a group you call terrorists, and
are slightly friendlier to you, you don't want the Kurds as a whole to sweep into those areas you kicked ISIS out of.
But, yes, there's a longer argument about the hidden hand potentially in all of this. President Erdogan's ruling party the AKP, or not quite so
ruling now. They can't scrape together the majority they need in parliament. They are yet to find, OK, he (inaudible) whether they can form
a coalition. They've got about 11 days now. The clock ticking away until they may have to call a snap election if they don't get a coalition
together. And there is an argument that says by hitting the Kurds in this pretty direct way, scraping the piece process effectively, President
Erdogan is forcing two things to happen.
Firstly, many to rally around the nationalistic sentiment in Turkey, which the AKP often does well electorally from. And secondly, it may be
forcing a more moderate Kurdish party that's in parliament, it got over 10 percent -- it did pretty well at the last elections -- the HDP, it may
force them away from moderate rhetoric and perhaps marginalize them slightly, or push them further towards more radical Kurdish groups.
That's a political theory at this stage, but there are many who observe the timing of President Erdogan's announcement and perhaps frankly
the illogical nature of picking off two new enemies simultaneously when Turkey is going to have a fight just containing ISIS, frankly, in the
months ahead. And see that perhaps might be the reason behind it.
We'll see though if this coalition does take effect, and if that suddenly slows down Turkey's appetite for hitting the Kurds -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is in Turkey for you. Comprehensive reporting on the region this hour. Thank you, Nick.
Coming up, we're going to take a look at how China's latest currency news are being around the world. That is after this short break. Please
stay with us. You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: This is CNN and Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back. It is 18 minutes past 7:00 in the UAE where we broadcast
From China's currency slide is having a reverberating impact around the world. Over the past two days, the yuan has lost about 3.5 percent of
its value. Will Ripley has more from Beijing.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORESPONDENT: The reason why we're seeing global markets really rattled by this is because there's one thing that investors
dislike more than anything and that is instability. And for a very long time, China's Yuan, because it's a fixed currency controlled by the
government, it has been a bastion of stability, people could always rely on it to keep a pretty steady value no matter what was happening in the world,
what turmoil was going on all around it.
But this drastic and unexpected policy change, two consecutive days of devaluing the yuan and indications from China that they will continue to
adjust their currency based on what's happening in the markets, well that obviously has a lot of investors very nervous, because what this does it
has an effect two-fold. One, it decreases the cost of Chinese exports, because if China's currency is less than Chinese products cost less. So
that's very good for China, which has built much of its wealth over the recent decades on its low cost exports.
But imported products are going to cost more. And people from China who are traveling abroad will have to pay more.
So, for example, an American product that just a couple of days ago might have cost 100 yuan not going to cost around 103. That can have a
negative impact on consumers.
There is some speculation that the Chinese government is trying to stop its currency from devaluing too much, may be even ordering state banks
to sell U.S. dollars as was reported in the Wall Street Journal.
We did see near the end of the trading day, the yuan start to climb upwards. There's going to be a press conference on Thursday morning where
the people's bank of China might reveal some insight about their financial strategy moving forward, and you can bet a lot of people around the world
will be listening very closely.
Will Ripley, CNN, Beijing.
ANDERSON: Well, they certainly will as Will touched upon there.
Events in Chian being felt far and wide.
U.S. markets have responded with down in early trading on Wednesday. Down around 1.3 to 1.5 percent, a similar picture in lots of other places.
European markets down about 3 percent today.
Let's bring in CNN's emerging markets editor John Defterios.
And this is a world that has become almost over-dependent on Chinese demand, Jonathan. How is this currency turmoil playing out, especially in
commodity markets: oil for example.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yeah, they're watching the oil price very carefully here in the Middle East, Becky, obviously. And
the China effect is for real. It is the number one importer of crude and consumes about 10 million barrels a day.
So this currency turmoil already hit a very weak oil market. This was confirmed by the International Energy Agency in its monthly report
suggesting that we've had a 17 year high in terms of the overhang. Over production is at 3 million barrels a day.
This is how it played out in the oil market itself. And we were testing six year lows again. We see the front half of the year, the market
trying to recover and move above 60 dollars a barrel, but the opposite happened today. And we have a ceiling at 50 dollars a barrel. In fact, we
were below 49 dollars a barrel.
A similar story for New York crude trading around 43 dollars a barrel.
Now, let's keep in mind this is not just a China story, Iran is emerging, producing over 2.8 million barrels a day. And also, Becky, this
is very interesting, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Russia were all fighting over China because this is the big demand for oil. Now that China
is starting to slow down, that's why we see the market reaction.
Secondarily, the latest numbers out of China suggest that their demand in the month of July for crude dropped 4 percent. That's 400,000 barrels a
day and that's why the market is starting to see this panic.
ANDERSON: John, the Chinese government was absolutely relying on domestic demand to drive its economic growth going forward. But the man on
the street it seems just isn't playing ball. What happened to the Chinese consumer?
DEFTERIOS: That's a very good way to put it. I think you can describe the Chinese consumer as fatigued. We often talked about this
shift from the Chinese exports to the Chinese consumer. That hasn't materialized just yet. The Chinese leadership has been fighting to try to
protect 7 percent growth. They're losing the battle. They're going to struggle to hold on to 6.5 percent growth this year.
And the selloff that we saw beyond oil has been widespread today, Becky. Let's take a look at the European markets. But it's luxury goods
all the way through industrial metals.
We saw that the Dax in Germany was down better than 3 percent. The CAC 40 in Paris the same way. Burberry down 4 to 5 percent in trading
today. LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton down 5 percent. Daimler Benz, the owner of Mercedez Benz, trading down sharply, also Volkswagen.
And as for the emerging markets -- don't forget we need a healthy China to prop up Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America for copper and soy
beans. So as a result today, we saw the Indonesia rupiah down to a 17-year low, the Malaysia ringgit down to a 10-year low, even India getting hit
with its currency down to a 2-year low.
Now, one thing that we saw at the end of the day, the light at the end of the tunnel here, Becky, the central bank of China decided to intervene,
bringing the currency back up. So perhaps we saw the worst of the selloff at least in the last 48 hours.
ANDERSON: Worrying times, though, for investors across the board, be it in commodities, currencies, stocks or wherever you are looking at this
All right, thank you that.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the U.S. embassy in Havana is getting ready to celebrate its official reopening
after being closed for business for more than 50 years. We're live there just ahead.
Also, a picture perfect business idea in Kenya. High art meets high tech in this week's African start-up. That's next.
[11:25:57] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will (inaudible) anything artistic. Myself, I'm not an artist, but I really appreciate art in any form.
DEFTERIOS: Ken Karenge (ph), based in Kenya's capital Nairobi, launched his own art distribution company By Hand Products. Orders are
primarily made online.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The concept itself started from way back say in 2011. A friend of mine sent me an email. It was basically some art items
that were sent as an attachment. And I really liked them. But then the price was too high.
We tried looking for alternatives. There wasn't any. So, we just let the idea go.
I actually thought does it mean art is not for, you know, the common person? The people on the ground and other people couldn't have a lot of
DEFTERIOS: In 2013, Karenge (ph) quit his job as a website designer. He began working with six local artists, selling their pieces on his
Facebook page. He focused on clocks and artwork.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had custom made items, items that you don't get from the shelf, but you create them to suit what you want.
Our platform basically gives the artist a market for their apps, because we encourage all sorts of artistic works. So we tell them, OK, you
can bring your products here. We'll market them for you. And then if people love them we're going obviously to send their orders your way. And
you're going to benefit from it.
DEFTERIOS: Karenge (ph) was making a few sales a week, then in September tragedy struck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost my brother. And I realized, oh, by now I'm a lot -- what made me keep going was I asked myself if he was around, what
would have been (inaudible) wanted to see a project going on and it bearing fruit and becoming a big business, you know. So, that kept me going. It
really helped me now see that I really need not to give it a push and make it what he would have wanted it to be.
DEFTERIOS: Karenge's (ph) business has grown. He says in 2014, his second year, he almost doubled his revenue, bringing in 20,000 dollars.
He's already surpassed that this year, now selling an average of six items a day. He's also invested in a show room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels great to see a passion growing into a business idea. And I think the market is growing well given that Kenya's
middle class is on the rise. I think people are really impressing art, they're really impressing things that they can be able to put into their
[11:31:11] ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back.
31 minutes past the hour here in the UAE. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The headlines for you here on CNN.
World markets sliding after China allowed its currency to fall sharply for the second time in as many days. The yuan has lost about 3.5 percent
of its value since Tuesday. It's the largest two-day decline in decades.
A Croatian contract worker abducted in Egypt last month has apparently been beheaded by his captors who claim to be part of ISIS. The
intelligence group site says an image posted online appears to confirm that Tomislav Salopek has been killed. CNN cannot independently confirm that
the image is authentic.
The Indian government is filing a 99 million dollar lawsuit against Nestle. The company's popular Maggi noodle product has been temporarily
banned in New Delhi after reports that samples contained high amounts of lead. Nestle says samples they just tested showed levels far below
Well, a shocking story (inaudible) outrage across Pakistan. Police say for five years a gang of some 20 to 25 people sexually abused hundreds
of children in the Kasur (ph) district of Punjab Province. The details of what went on are sickening. CNN's Anna Coren has more.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Beneath the beauty and serenity of the lush fields of this farming community in Pakistan's punjab
province, lies a horrific secret of abuse on an unfathomable scale.
It allegedly involves hundreds of children in the town of Hussein Kahn Wallah (ph) who were sexually abused by a gang from an influential family.
They would film the heinous act and blackmail the children, threatening to release the videos online or sell them at the local markets if they told
One victim describes how it began six years ago while he was in a field collecting water. Aged just nine at the time, a man with a gun told
him to come back to his home to fill his water bottle.
"As soon as I went inside, he locked the door. He called out and five more men came in. I started screaming and they covered my mouth. Each of
them had a weapon. One had an ax. They said they would cut me into tiny pieces if I made a single sound. Then they raped me."
The sexual abuse continued for years, often in this house. He claims they would sometimes drug him before raping him.
"I sold jewelry and money for them, otherwise they said they would kill me and feed my body to the dogs. I stole from home hoping they would
stop hurting me."
Despite the scale of abuse, many parents were not aware. Those who knew were too afraid to speak out until a few months ago when one of the
victims mothers was shown a video of her child being raped.
"My heart sank when I saw my son in the video. Everyone in the village knew what was happening was too scared to say anything. They raped
my son for five years and now it's finally coming out into the open. They're savages. This time the village is united against them. We will
The parents claim they reported the abuse to police, but were turned away. It wasn't until local media got wind of the story late last week
that it exploded onto the front pages, horrifying the nation.
Daily protests have since broken out, forcing the chief of police of Punjab province to address the hostile crowd and apologize for the abuse,
vowing to try the suspects in a terrorism court that would expedite the process while suspending three police officials now under investigation.
Police say it's too early to confirm the number of victims, but the lawyer representing says more than 270 children were abused. More than a
dozen people have so far been arrested. And a mother of one of the accused spoke to CNN about her son who is facing years behind bars.
"I'm not scared. One of my children made a mistake many years ago. This entire village has turned against me."
A village deeply angry and traumatized by the suffering endure by their innocent children.
Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.
[11:35:47] ANDERSON: Well, it's been a month since Joaquin Guzman, better known as El Chapo, escaped from prison in Mexico. Now the drug
cartel boss slipped through a hole in his prison cell, you'll remember, and fled through a nearly two kilometer long tunnel.
Four weeks on and authorities are still searching for him.
Well, Guzman is perhaps the most notorious cartel leader in Mexico. He isn't the only one. CNN's Polo Sandoval has a look at other Mexican
drug gangs and how they operate.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORREPSONDENT: The dynamics of Mexico's cartel landscape are constantly changing, much like the population inside this
maximum security prison just west of Mexico City.
FELIPE CLADERON, FRM. PRESIDENT OF MEXICO (through translator): We are going to defeat the criminals to finally build a peaceful Mexico.
SANDOVAL: Well, since former Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched an aggressive campaign against the cartels in 2006, there has been
a tremendous outbreak of violence in the streets for the people of Mexico. You have just so many groups that are constantly fighting to gain control
of very lucrative smuggling routes. They make their way north through Mexico and over America's southwest border. They then branch out across
Think of it as a pipeline that's constantly used to smuggle people and drugs north and then money and guns south.
Currently, you have the Gulf Cartel (ph) and the Zetas that have been duking it out for nearly a decade in northeast Mexico. These are constant
outbreaks of violence along border towns, really not far from south Texas.
And then further south you have the smaller splinter cartels that are popping up, for example, Cartel Nueva Generacion, The New Generation.
These are a lot younger members, more violent.
Meanwhile, you have the more established organizations like the Juarez cartel and also the Sinaloa cartel. Any time they start picking a fight,
blood gets spilled, criminals get killed, but also innocent men, women and children, thousands of them, have been caught in the crossfire.
ANDERSON: All right.
Well, while the cartels hold sway in parts of Mexico, ordinary people have been fighting back.
One vigilante group, the Outer Defenses, at one point claimed to have had 20,000 members. A story of the vigilantes and the cartels is laid out
in a new document "Cartel Land." Have a listen.
(BEG IN VIDEOTAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are on the gates of Hell. You know this.
ANDERSON: Michoacan in Mexico, a place where the law has been overrun by the cartels. And the birthplace of a movement of vigilantes determined
to protect themselves at all costs.
A new documentary, "Cartel Land," shows how the people of one Mexican state united to take on the cartels, sparking a movement across the
country. At one point claiming to be 20,000 strong.
MATTHEW HEINEMAN, DIRECTOR, C ARTEL LAND: First step foot in Michoacan in Mexico. I was just shocked by the suffering, by the suffering
of everyday people. They lived under the rule of the Knights Templar cartel. If people didn't pay the extortion tax, they would warn them.
Again if they didn't pay they'd often kill them, behead them. And this is the way the citizens of Michoacan lived for many years until finally, you
know, they decided to rise up and fight back.
ANDERSON: On the other side of the border, a group of American vigilantes patrols the no-man's land of the Arizona desert, considered by
some to be an extremist group, they're determined to stop cartel activity spreading to the United States and are frustrated that the U.S. immigration
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are heavily armed and claim to be protecting our state from foreign threats and from our own government. But
the state's growing militia movement is causing concern among law enforcement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back in the day, vigilante wasn't a bad thing. Say the bandits was riding into your town, the townspeople would all get
together and, you know, defend their town.
ANDERSON: Neither the Outer Defenses in Mexico, nor the Arizona Border Recon, are endorsed by their governments, leaving their members
outside of the law.
But what began as a crusade against violence and crime became less clear cut as the story unfolded.
HEINEMAN: When I first got there, I really thought that this was sort of a simple story, you know, a classic sort of western of guys in white
shirts fighting against guys in black hats. And then over time, I realized that the story is much more complicated, that the lines between good and
evil were much more blurry.
I think what we see in the end is that often those who are fighting against evil started to exhibit evil. You know, power started to corrupt.
[11:40:45] ANDERSON: Despite the rise of The Outer Defenses, the Mexican cartels are far from diminished. The recent escape of notorious
drug baron El Chapo Guzman from Mexico's highest security prison is perhaps another example of the state failing to protect its citizens.
But all is not lost.
HEINEMAN: The idea of citizens sort of rising up and speaking out I think will be one of the legacies of this story.
There were 43 students that were killed, they were basically kidnapped by the police, local police, handed over to the cartel and they were all
incinerated to death.
What happened after that was hundreds of thousands of people marching through the streets of Mexico City saying that this is not right. You
know, we're not taking this any more.
ANDERSON: As the cycle of violence continues, a hand to the government, the vigilantes or the cartels, the suffering of the victims
remains the same.
ANDERSON: A story out of Mexico for you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the Americans are coming. And this time Cubans are happy to see them. More
than 50 years after the Bay of Pigs, the locals are hoping to see a surge in tourism.
Plus, we're taking you to Times Square this evening where a recent transformation is making New York's iconic landmark more pedestrian
friendly. That's next.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Love it or hate it, Times Square is quintessentially New York, pulsing with light,
entertainment and these days selfies: a tourist Mecca bursting with life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Times Square has always represented America to the rest of the world. I like to think Times Square is neither humanity at its
best or at its worst, but at its most
STEVENS: But its popularity quickly turned into a curse for locals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So in the 1990s the number one complaint in Times Square was about crime. Ten years later, the number one complaint is about
STEVENS: Crammed with more than 300,000 people every day and clogged with traffic, Times Square had long lost its shine.
But a new initiative in 2009, driven by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg, seeks to give the iconic landmark a face lift.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a fundamental imbalance with the way the street was used. 90 percent of the people that pass through this five
block area were on foot. And yet they only had 10 percent of the pace.
STEVENS: So the Department of Transport decided to take traffic out of the picture completely, closing off the entire stretch of Broadway to
vehicles from 42nd street down to 47th street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two-and-a-half acres of new public space, that's two football fields, right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.
STEVENS: All that extra space then had to be converted into a plaza.
CRAIG DYKERS, ARCHITECT: : Everyone has an image of Times Square in their mind. And we needed to find a way to embody all of those different
visions into a holistic design. So there are no curbs that would identify this place as a street. Instead you feel it's been transformed into a
We've created some very large benches. And if you look around the site today they've not been installed, but you'll see where they will soon
be installed. And that will really change the landscape of Times Square.
STEVENS: The 55 million dollar project is expected to be complete by the end of next year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But at the beginning drivers thought it was going to be carmageddon. After six months, we measured the impact. We found
that retail rents had tripled, that pedestrian injuries went down 35 percent, motorist injuries down 63 percent, traffic moved as well if not
better than before. So, it turned out to be a total homerun.
STEVENS: In fact, it's been such a success that the model is being replicated around the city with 60 such pedestrian plazas created across
all five boroughs so far.
It's a simple urban fix that's breathing new life into the streets of New York.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. You're watching CNN.
Once sworn enemies, the U.S. and Cuba now well on their way to better relations. With the Cuban flying over Havana's embassy in Washington, the
U.S. embassy in Cuba getting ready for Secretary of State John Kerry to raise the American flag there on Friday.
Now this will be the first that it's flown in Havana for more than five decades. As relations improve, some Cubans are hoping for a surge in
Tourism from U.S. visitors.
Patrick Oppmann with more.
OPPMANN: The small town of Playa Giron on Cuba's southern coast has it all. Pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs and a laid back pace of life.
What the area doesn't have, at least not yet, is many American visitors.
Luis Garcia rents out four bedrooms in his house to tourists. He is one of an increasing number of Cubans starting their own businesses, thanks
to a greater acceptance of private commerce by the island's communist-run government.
Luis is building a second hotel around the corner to accommodate what he believes will be a surge in Americans visiting his town now that the
United States has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba.
"Many people are getting their homes ready," he says. "The future looks promising. If relations between the two countries become agreeable
again, we will have a lot of tourism.
For more than fifty years relations between the United States and Cuba were anything but agreeable, something that residents of this area know all
In 1961 a brigade of 1300 CIA trained Cuban exiles landed to overthrow Fidel Castro. The Cubans call the battle the Victory of Playa Giron, in the
U.S. its known as the Bay of Pigs invasion.
This sign marks the spot where Cuban soldiers halted the advance of the invading forces, the so-called mercenaries. It was as close as the
United States ever came to toppling Fidel Castro and to this day the area is considered to be hallowed ground of the Cuban revolution.
Road side monuments mark where Cuban soldiers died in the fighting, tanks greet visitors to the town's museum, and the wall in front of Elia
Lopez's is still riddled with bullet holes from the invasion.
Around midnight we heard a lot of noise and we said, `what is this?' And everyone was crying like I was because we thought the world was
ending," said Lopez.
However, with Castro's victory over the United States, the Cuban leader consolidated power and Giron became synonymous with resistance
against American meddling.
Hotel owner Luis says he supports the Cuban government but want his town to become known as a place that welcomes Americans.
"I have waited a long time for this," he says. "Hopefully everything that's been promised and that we hope for will happen. We Cubans, just like
the Americans, do feel this is the best solution."
Hope for the future of U.S.-Cuban relations in a place with a painful past.
ANDERSON: Well, Patrick joining us now live from Cuba's capital Havana. And Patrick, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expected in town,
what, in less than two day's time, or just about two days' time. How is the city getting ready for him?
OPPMANN: Oh, it's a furious pace of preparation, particularly around the U.S. embassy in Havana. They're getting everything ready for him for
an influx of foreign press, for dignitaries, and of course the VIP himself, Secretary of State John Kerry.
Just about two day's time, Becky, we will have the American flag back up over the city, back up over Cuba for the first time in 54 years,
something quite historic. We know Secretary of State Kerry will be with Cuban officials during that flag raising ceremony later in the day. He'll
be meeting, we expect, with U.S. diplomats and their families here visiting the U.S. embassy. And then we expect him to be meeting with members of
civil society, dissidents, people who are in opposition to the government here.
And then he'll leave. You know, short trip, but a historic one. First time that we have a secretary of state in Cuba since the Cuban
ANDERSON: Patrick, briefly, any naysayers, any negative voice out there?
OPPMANN: Oh, absolutely there are many members of congress, conservative members of the U.S. congress that would like Secretary Kerry
to have invited dissidents to the flag raising ceremony. That doesn't seem like it's going to happen.
A lot of people who feel that this is appeasement, not unlike the Iran deal. But President Obama and Secretary of Kerry said this is a new way
forward. And that from now on, the U.S. will be engaging Cuba at long last.
ANDERSON: Patrick is in Havana for you.
When we talk about conflict, be it historic like the one in Cuba, or current like the war in Syria, the legacy of war goes on long after the
fighting stops, doesn't it.
Well, in London, 70 years after the end of the Second World War, unexploded bombs still lurk under its streets. And Ian Lee now reporting
on a reminder of the horrors of war.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): London's darkest hour during World War II. Thousands upon thousands of German bombs raining down on the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The air war at its long dreaded peak.
LEE: Eight months in history simply known as the blitz.
Each dot here represents a strike in London. Pull back and you can see it is enormous. But some never exploded and, generations later, they are
still being unearthed.
The latest a 500-pound bomb found by builders in east London. Authorities quickly evacuated more than 100 residents, some to a nearby
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of my boys was upstairs and he said, mom, they found a bomb around the corner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not really scary per se. It happens quite a lot.
LEE: Residents may be fairly nonchalant about an unexploded bomb a few blocks away but you have to remember, in the '40s, this instilled terror in
the people of London. Roughly 30,000 Londoners would lose their lives among the rubble.
Bomb disposal experts, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, successfully diffused and removed the explosive.
It is unknown how many bombs from World War II remain entombed under London. And with the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain this summer,
these bombs serve as a reminder of the horrors of war.
Ian Lee, CNN, London.
[11:55:59] ANDERSON: Well, in your Parting Shots this evening I'm going to leave you hanging with these images. 290 meters off the ground
without a harness, Canada's Spencer Seabrooke is here attempting to break the world record for free soloing a slack line. And just look at how close
he comes to falling.
Slack lining is similar to traditional tight rope walking, but the inch wide nylon webbing has enough slack to allow it to sag beneath the
Now, Seabrooke's crossing was made last week in Squamish after making across the 64 meter gap he said it was, and I quote, one of the most
gutwrenching things he had ever experienced.
And if you're wondering how that was filmed. Well it was shot on a drone flying above that gorge.
And if that is not enough high wire action for you, check this out, tight rope walker Nick Wallenda (ph) undertaken his longest highwire walk
yet, almost 40 meters up the Wisconsin State Fair. He covered a length of 480 meters in about a half hour, all on wire that is the thickness of a
Wallenda (ph) holds nine Guinness World Records.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.