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Lebanese Youth Protest Government Corruption; Britain Reopen Embassy in Tehran; Stocks Plunge Around the World; Palestinian Comedy Festival. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 23, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:28] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Raising the Union Jack: Britain's colors fly in Tehran once again as relations warm between the two countries.
We'll speak to the former British foreign secretary Jack Sraw. He was the last high ranking UK official to visit Iran back in 2003 that is until
today's embassy reopening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "Look at this girl," he says. "In Syria, she was an angel. Now she is homeless and treated like an
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: They fled violence in Syria, but now thousands of men, women and children are trapped in a miserable no man's land on the Greek/Macedonia
Plus, piling up, heaps of rubbish on Beirut's streets have people up in arms. That's not the only thing fueling their anger.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very good evening at just after 7:00 here in the UAE.
I want to begin this hour in Syria where government forces are being accused of continuing a wave of attacks on the rebel-held town of Douma.
Now, you're looking at what opposition activists say is the aftermath of heavy shelling and rocket fire on Sunday, the Syrian observatory for human
rights says at least 34 people were killed, the group told CNN they are expecting that death toll to rise as many people were critically wounded by
the strike. And they think others could be buried under the rubble.
Well, the conflict in Syria and others around the world are driving people from their homes and our path to Europe.
Many of them face what is a treacherous journey there, but the refugees risk it hoping to find a better life.
When they arrive, though, the reality is far from what they had dreamed of as Arwa Damon now reports some European countries simply do not want them.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the pain of parents who thought they were saving their children, hardly able to
comprehend this is the Europe they risked their lives for.
"We are so scared for our kids", Fathum (ph) sobs on her husband's shoulder, as he cradles their five-month-old.
There is little shelter from the torrential rains and no one to help them. What was an easy crossing for refugees most from Syria's war is no more.
Macedonia declaring a state of emergency Thursday, temporarily shut it down, leaving them abandoned, crushed against the razor wire on the Greek
A gentle comforting touch often all a parent can offer their child. Few thought they would be degraded to this degree.
Ibrahim al-Masri pulls his daughter off his shoulders.
"Look at this girl," he says. "In Syria, she was an angel. Now she is homeless and treated like an animal. She is feverish and listless."
(on camera): People here are so angry. So upset. They can't believe that this is happening to them. In Europe, everyone who we've been speaking to
here has been stuck in these conditions for the last four days.
This woman is pregnant. This man has had two heart surgeries. And over there a woman who says her child is also running a massive fever.
(voice-over): Macedonian police open the border for a few at a time. They stumble through, tightly gripping their children's arms. Some collapse and
are carried off. Panic swells. Young men throw themselves across.
Other refugees decide to make a run for it, bolting through any opening they find, darting across the fields, as Macedonian police launch this.
In the chaos, families lose each other. This woman got her son across, but she was pushed back.
"He's gone, I don't know, I can't see him," she sobs. She's not alone in her soul-wrenching agony.
Their hardships were supposed to end in Europe. Instead, along this border, echoes of misery too profound for words.
[11:05:13] ANDERSON: It breaks your heart, doesn't it?
Arwa is still near the border between Greece and Macedonia and she joins us now.
And Arwa, Macedonia defending itself saying that it simply cannot cope. What hope for those people that you met on that border now?
DAMON: Well, Becky, first to mention that mother who you saw there who had been separated from her son, they have now been reunited. And we are
actually on the Macedonian side of the border. And what a difference 24 hours and some negotiation does make, because Macedonia not only opened its
borders, it is now in the process of trying to facilitate the transit of migrants and refugees through its own country. It brought a train. It is
in the process of trying to build a makeshift ramp for these various individuals. And we have been seeing them in the last few moments in small
groups boarding that train that will carry them close to the border with Serbia.
From there, they will be continuing their journey on foot.
They are also registering refugees now here in the field in Macedonia not too far away from the border, all this taking place well away from the
first town in Macedonia that these refugees and migrants use to arrive to a town where some residents were complaining about their presence.
Once these individuals are registered, they then have 72 hours to either leave Macedonia or request asylum here.
Now, as I was saying the vast majority of them, Becky, are in fact trying to make their way to western Europe. A lot of them want to go to Germany,
France and Sweden.
But even though this part of the journey, this bottleneck that existed here may have been eased, by the time they move through all these various
different countries, there are so many challenges that potentially do face. Hungary, for example, in the process of building a wall, which is why
everyone who we're talking to on all sides of this is really saying that there has to be a concerted unified effort when it comes to addressing this
Europe has not seen the likes of this flood -- influx of individuals in its recent history. These are not people that can go back to their homes.
Most of them are from Syria. There has to be some sort of program being put into place to ensure that they're able to be resettled and that they
are not abandoned in these various points along what is definitely a very difficult journey, Becky.
ANDERSON; Yeah, on the Macedonia/Greek border. Arwa Damon for you this hour.
A bright spot then in a migrant crisis, which can often feel like a problem too big to solve, or something that only powerful governments can deal
with. You, though, can be part of the solution. The United Nation's high commission for refugees is on the ground helping those most in need and
they are always in need of extra support. To make a contribution to their work, head to the website donate.UNHCR.org. Just one way that perhaps you
feel you might be able to help.
Well, moving to Yemen now where a British hostage has been freed from al Qaeda after 18 months as a prison. The UAE says its armed forces rescued
64-year-old Douglas Robert Semple near the southern port city of Aden. He was working as an oil engineer in the country when he was abducted.
Well, British officials confirmed Semple's release after he was flown here to Abu Dhabi.
Here's a tweet from Prime Minister David Cameron thanking the UAE for its support.
And a similar message came from the foreign secretary Philip Hammond.
Well, Hammond is in the region to mark and important day in Iran from scenes like this four years ago to a very different one today.
Britain and Iran have reopened embassies in each other's capitals. The British embassy in Tehran was ransacked in 2011, pictures of which you just
saw there. Far more peaceful today were these scenes as Philip Hammond became only the third British minister to visit Iran since 1979.
Here is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIIP HAMOND, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Iran is and will remain a very important country in a strategically important but volatile region.
Maintaining dialogue, even under the most difficult conditions, is crucially important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, to get you the full picture, I want to bring in CNN's Frederik Pleitgen who is in London for us, and I hope we'll get to Tehran
as well. We've got Ramin Mostaghim from the L.A. Times.
Fred, let me start with you. Philip Hammond only the third UK minister to visit Iran since 1979. How symbolic is that?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's very symbolic. And he's also the first one to visit Tehran since 2003.
And so therefore it is very important for these two nations to get their diplomatic ties going again. But I think that there's many very important,
very symbolic gestures in all of that. First of all, it's the restoration of the ties in and of themselves. The way that the ties were broken off,
of course, was something that was a great deal -- cause for a great deal of concern as the British embassy there was ransacked in 2011 with hardline
protesters going in there and the British staff having to flee shortly before the protesters came in.
Today, there were actually a couple of protesters there in Tehran as well, but they were kept away from the embassy.
So, the opening in and of itself is very important.
But Becky, what I think is even more is to see what role the nuclear agreement and the negotiations for the nuclear agreement paid -- the role
that it played -- for Iran not only improving its relations with Britain, but also with many other countries as well.
During the press conference with Mr. Hammond and Mr. Zarif, time and again they said that the negotiations to reopen the embassy largely happened on
the sidelines of the negotiations for the nuclear program. So getting these two nations talking in and of itself happened while these
negotiations for the nuclear program were going on. And now with that -- with the nuclear deal in place, the two sides are talking about increased
ties in trade and investment, increased ties in fighting terrorism, which is very important in trying to get a common strategy going to fight ISIS.
So, certainly we can see how important a facilitator, even the negotiations for that nuclear deal were, and of course the nuclear deal itself, Becky.
[11:11:47] ANDERSON: And with less than a month before congress in the U.S. votes on this deal, there is a likelihood that Obama's opponents might
yet try to scuttle it.
Ramin, our viewers are looking at an image from one of the embassy's walls now, I hope, showing a photo of the queen with the words Death to England
on top of it.
Britain has often been referred to as the Little Satan in Iran with the U.S. being the bigger evil. Quite deep rooted sentiments, it seems.
Will those, do you think, simply go away at this point?
RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, LOS ANGELES TIMES: OK. I suppose that there is uphill struggle for globalization between countries. And both foreign ministers
said between the lines there are many issues to be tackled and many disputes to be settled down, and it is not is it right to the future. But
those promise that they will keep on talking over the issues that they're not agreeing on and they're not on the same pages.
So, this is a new beginning for a (inaudible) and uphill struggle for globalizations between two countries because there are deep issues to be
ANDERSON: OK, Fred and Ramin on what has been a very symbolic day. We thank you very much indeed for joining us.
We're going to take a very short break at this point. Still to come, world leaders are praising the heroic train passengers who averted a potential
massacre in France. Well, we learn more about the suspected terrorist behind the attack.
Short break. Back, after this.
[11:15:40] ANDERSON: After marathon talks Saturday into Sunday, high level officials from North and South Korea are meeting once again in the
demilitarized zone. Now, the talks were called to stem the latest surge in tensions, but both sides remain on high alert. And a South Korean official
tells CNN the north has now doubled its artillery forces on the border, and most of its submarines have left their basis.
More on that of course as we get it. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson at 15 minutes past 7:00 in the UAE.
Three Americans credited with stopping a potential massacre on a Paris bound train are scheduled to meet the French president at his palace on
Monday. The three are childhood friends who were vacationing in Europe, and two of them are members of the U.S. military.
Well, U.S. President Barack Obama phoned them in this weekend to thank them for their bravery, saying they prevented a far worse tragedy.
On Friday, the three, along with a British man overpowered a heavily armed gunman on a Paris bound train preventing anyone from being killed.
Well, senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joining me from Paris with that part of the story. And Nic, what are we learning about
that suspected terrorist?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ayoub El-Khazzani, a young Moroccan living in Spain until last year, early part of last year, moves to
France last year at the same time Spanish authorities inform French authorities that they have concerns about his ties to radical Islamists,
possibly also here his efforts to try to join, or at least get to ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
He moves to Belgium this year, we understand -- at least that's what we understand he told French authorities. But Belgium to have also initiated
a terrorism investigation into him, into this attack, say that they had been investigating groups, radical Islamist groups that he had been
associating with in Belgium. So this is somebody who has got a known association through radical Islamists.
And perhaps the most worrying thing for investigators right now is what he did between May and July. This year, he traveled from Europe to Turkey.
There is a belief that he hooked up with French related ISIS group in Turkey. They don't know if he'd got into Syria a few months ago, but then
he came back here. He back to Europe and the concern is that this French ISIS group in Turkey has already this year directed one Algerian student
living here in France to try to attack a church. That attack was thrwarted in April, but the concern is that he may have been directed by this French
ISIS group in Turkey to perpetrate this particular attack.
So, there is quite an amount of material known about him, that's been developed about -- of course these -- who concerns and new details are
going to be the center of the (inaudible) now.
ANDERSON: Meantime, we have, what, three U.S. heroes and a Brit. I know that certainly the Americans are meeting the French president tonight.
This must have been somewhat of a whirlwind 48 hours or so for these men who were simply vacationing in France and trying to get away from
ROBERTSON: Well, the French President Francois Hollande (inaudible) palace behind me here (inaudible) interior minister the...
ANDERSON: OK...apologies, Nic, your sound is going in and out, I'm afraid. I think this will probably be very difficult for the viewers to listen to
at this point. So we're going pull out of that. Apologies, but you did hear the very, very latest from Nic Robertson who is in Paris for you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, let's take a very short. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, my interview with the man who used to
run Britain's foreign ministry Jack Straw's take on his country and Iran restoring relations. One of our top stories this hour.
Plus, from rotten rubbish to a rotten political system, that is what these Lebanese protesters say they are taking to the streets again. We're going
to hear from one of the organizers of the You Stink rallies later this hour.
[11:21:39] ANDERSON: Let me get you back to our top story now, Iran and the United Kingdom restoring full diplomatic ties. The two countries,
whose relations go back hundreds of years have a complex, modern history. In 1943, the British ambassador's home in Tehran hosted the first meeting
between Josef Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to discuss how they could come together to end the Second World War.
Well, a decade later, British intelligence agents helped arrange a coup to remove the democratically elected Iranian prime minister Mohammad
Mosaddegh, the reason, well he'd nationalized Iran's oil sector, which had been under British control.
Well, their coup put in Mohammad Reza Shah into power. This is formal coronation. The shah's opulent, brutal regime led to great calls for
freedom erupting into the Islamic revolution that you may remember in 1979.
Britain then shut down its embassy in the capital.
Well, later in 1989, relations broke off entirely after Iran's leader Ayatollah Khamenei declared a fatwa on the British author Salman Rushdie
after he published the Satanic Verses.
But relations were restored in the late 1990s until four years ago hardline protesters attacked the British embassy in response to London's decision to
support sanctions on Iran.
Well, until now, the last British foreign secretary to visit Iran was Jack Straw back in 2003. I spoke to him a short while ago while he was outside
the Iranian embassy in London. I have to say it was pouring with rain there.
I began by asking about the mood at the reopening.
JACK STRAW, FRM. BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: It was very positive, indeed. I mean, I'd been dealing with the Iranians and the official (inaudible) for
the last 14 years. And I have to say that the -- kind of mood music was the most positive I've ever felt it to be. And I think that this -- the
reopening of the two embassies here and in Tehran of the British embassy today does presage a new mood and a desire by both governments to try and
put the past behind us, not to remove differences, of course there are differences, but to recognize the best way dealing with these differences
is by a dialogue.
ANDERSON: Are you concerned by the sort of rhetoric we're hearing out of the U.S. ahead of the vote in congress on this deal, on the 17th of
September. And when you consider where you are as a labor politician and where your conservative peers are, so joined up on where Britain goes next
with Iran. does it disturb you what you are seeing from lawmakers in the U.S. at this point?
STRAW: I'm very concerned indeed about the disconnect of some lawmakers in the United States, in some cases funded by supporters of Bibi Netanyahu,
the Israeli prime minister, against the nuclear deal that was provisionally agreed by Iran and the P6 -- between the United States -- just a few weeks
The British government, along with the French and others have taken a very sensible view that this deal, hard negotiated, is a way of securing world
peace and greatly reducing the risk of Iran becoming a nuclear weapon state.
It's become, however, fighting this deal has become an article of faith by many Republicans. And I think what they need to understand is that if this
deal is aborted, the risk of Iran becoming a nuclear weapon state goes up very significantly, not down.
[11:25:29] ANDERSON: Those naysayers, Jack, will say that there is nothing to stop the Iranians from cheating on this deal?
STRAW: I don't accept that at all, because the level of inclusive inspection involved in the deal is very extensive. And bear in mind that
it doesn't lie in the mouth of the Israelis to complain about this. Israel is a nuclear weapon state. It has refused to accept any international
supervision of its nuclear facilities, whereas Iran, in contrast, has said that it's not planning a nuclear weapon. And the intelligence from the
United States, not least, is that they abandon that as an active program in 2003. And they're going to have to accept a level of intensive supervision
of their nuclear facilities unparalleled and likely to last for at least 15 years.
ANDERSON; The lifting of these sanctions, and the opening up of the Iranian crude market has been described, Jack, as being akin to a vast
frontier market last seen in the early-1990s in Russia. Are those who are desperate to get involved being a little too confident about what happens
next, about just how big that market is? You've seen it rushed by the Europeans to get involved with business in Iran, and not from the
STRAW: I mean, Iran is a middle income country. Its GDP is about the same size as that of Serbia or Macedonia. It's three times the size per head of
India, for example. And its potential is very great, because it's an educated, sophisticated society.
But I think that parallels with Russia in the early 1990s are very misplaced. I mean, it's not -- aside from anything else, you're not going
to get -- you're not having the kind of extraordinary transition from Soviet authoritarian state to free for all that took place in Russia with
the collapse of the Soviet Union. So it's very, very different circumstance.
People certainly shouldn't believe there's some bonanza there. What there is, is there will be over a period a chance to improve business and exports
in both in goods and services with Iran in just usual exchanges that take place when there's normal relations with another state.
ANDERSON: The former British foreign secretary Jack Straw speaking to me from outside of the Iranian embassy in London on what was a miserable day
there in the south of the country.
Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, thousands of migrants rescued at sea. We'll show you how they were brought to safety
and why Italy's prime minister is facing fresh criticism over the crisis.
[11:31:08] ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The top stories for you, as you would expected this hour of
And a British hostage being held by al Qaeda in Yemen has been rescued. The UAE says its armed forces freed Douglas Semple in a military operation
in the port city of Aden. The 64-year-old was working as an oil engineer in the country when he was kidnapped 18 months ago.
Britain and Iran have reopened embassies in eachother's capitals. Foreign secretary Philip Hammond visited Tehran for today's ceremony, becoming the
first UK minister to do so since 2003. The British embassy in Tehran was ransacked in 2011 after the UK imposed sanctions on the country.
Well, Usain Bolt has just won the title for the 100 meter race World Athletics Championships in Beijing. He ran in 9.79 seconds, beating his
closest competitor Justic Gaitlin by .01 of a second.
Second round of high level talks between North and South Korea is now underway in the demilitarized zone. They are aimed at defusing this latest
spike in tensions. South Korea says the north has now doubled its artillery forces on the border.
More than 500 rescued migrants have arrived in Italy. They are among a total of 4,400 people rescued off the coast of Libya on Saturday. Now
Italy says it was all part of an international rescue operation. Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman has more.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIOAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, a nearly unprecedented number of migrants and refugees were rescued off the coast of Libya,
according to Italian authorities. Saturday, as many as 4,400 people were rescued from flimsy rubber dinghies and fishing vessels by Italian naval
and coast guard ships as well as EU ships taking part in this rescue operation. So far, no reports of any lives lost at sea.
The sudden jump in the number of those crossing may be due to calmer waters in the Mediterranean after several days of stormy weather. Now this
latest surge of people trying to reach Europe has sparked fresh criticism against the government of Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi over his
handling of the crisis, with one politician saying that this EU rescue mission is taking place so close to Libyan waters, it's making the job of
the human traffickers much easier.
And another politician is suggesting that the refugees and migrants be fed, cared for, and housed on disused Italian oil platforms in the Mediterranean
and not be allowed to reach Italian soil. But that's a solution more likely directed at Italian voters than those desperately trying to reach
More than 105,000 have reached Italy alone so far this year -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman reporting for you from Rome.
Lebanon is seeing some of the largest protests on its streets in years. There were more demonstrations today organized by a movement called You
Stink, which is targeting political corruption. The group was spurred to action by the government's failure to deal with a massive rubbish crisis.
But the rallies are focused on a much wider issue in Lebnon, which we are going to discuss now.
For more on how this is playing out on the streets, CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is in Beirut and joins us now.
Nick, what's going on as we speak?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can see in the live signal from our bureau here a substantial crowd behind me. I'd
say about 3,000 possibly 5,000, much larger than we saw last night. So the largest we've seen so far. And in fact I think really it's fair to say
this is the biggest unrest we've seen in Lebanon since about 2011.
Now going back to last night, much of the people down here are voicing their protests. Signs held up with a Kalashnikov and a kind of stop sign
through it, voicing their fury at the police response last night. The use by the military as well of live rounds fired in the air to try and disperse
crowds, tear gas used as well.
They were apparently, according to the Lebanese Red Cross 99 people who were injured in that unrest last night, 23 of whom required hospital
treatment. No dead we're aware of. And the police say actually 35 of their officers were injured too. I saw some of those myself as well.
It appears to have been a situation, frankly, where things have got out of control. Some of the crowd seemed to have rushed police lines. The police
were not protective as they are now on the streets below by a line of barbed-wire. And that got out of hand. And then I think it's fair to say
even the government accepts the police response was in the extreme. In fact, the prime minister has promised that those behind it will be held
But many of the political elite here are demanding the resignation of the interior minister and this protest below me begun about half an hour ago
now and swelling enormously is demanding the resignation of the prime minister.
What is difference is this really seems to be led by a hashtag on Twitter, #youstink. It's a loose group of activists who were driving people out on
the streets, but at the heart of it is genuine dissatisfaction at a tranche of problems this country has had in the last month, piles of trash all over
its streets making it not possible to breathe, but it's lacked basic electricity, water supplies. It hadn't had a president for 15 months.
The prime minister is promising a meeting on Thursday where he thinks he can clean all these issues up, but frankly the political deadlock here, the
elites who seem to vie for their own interests in the eyes of these protesters, nothing that suits them. They may find it hard to clear that
[11:36:59] ANDERSON: All right. Nick, stay with me, if you will. As you say, this is about more than overflowing bins. This summer's debacle was
just the catalyst for an explosion of frustration about a number of problems, not least allegations, as Nick rightly points out, of corruption
among the elite in paralyzing political deadlock at a time of regional turmoil.
ANDERSON: Roaring for a revolution, Lebanon's angry youth have taken to the streets where the army met them with water cannon, with tear gas and
with rubber bullets.
Despite dozens of reported injuries, protesters vowed to keep pushing for the government to step down. This is what proved to be the final straw for
many, reeking, rotting rubbish all over Lebanon, uncollected for weeks due to political sparring amid claims of cronyism.
But for the thousands who flooded central Beirut, the real grievances the widespread corruption they say is crippling the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are here today against the sectarianism of the Lebanese government, our parliament of thieves that
stole from the people's pocket forcing our youth to emigrate. We are here to protest against lack of jobs, poverty and hunger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are here from the south to use our voice and say this is enough. But you can see how the security forces
are treating us. It is a peaceful protest. For them to hear our voice and scream, nothing more.
ANDERSON: The political stalemate is also angering many. In-fighting has left Lebanon without a president for more than a year. This in the only
Middle Eastern state required to have a Christian head of state.
And general elections have been delayed. The parliament has reappointed itself citing security concerns.
Add to this mix, daily blackouts and growing water shortages, and a picture emerges of an absent state political stagnation, and a population
that is finally pushing back.
The slow burning destruction in neighboring Syria has also taken its toll, sending millions of refugees into ill-equipped communities and sparking
spillover sectarian tensions in Lebanese towns.
As summer turns to fall, the slogans of the Arab Spring ring out in Beirut, whether they are merely an echo of protest's past, or an early warning bell
of what's to come will be scene over the next few weeks and months.
ANDERSON: Well, Nick is standing by, but I want to get down into that protest, which is taking place as we speak in central Beirut there as
Lucien Borgelli, one of the organizers of the You Stink rallies.
Lucien, what are you hoping to achieve from these protests? And are you fearful that things could get pretty nasty as the evening goes on?
LUCIEN BORGELLI (ph), YOU STINK PROTEST ORGANIZER: I didn't hear the question very well, but what I hear that our focus are peace (inaudible)
get our rights back, because the government has (inaudible) and we the people of Lebanon are demanding to get back our right to vote (ph), our
right to be (inaudible) proper delegation of power. We have been robbed of it.
We are going to the street and (inaudible) until our demands are met. And the garbage situation was only the outcome of the (inaudible) corrupt
(inaudible) lack of opportunity.
[11:40:47] ANDERSON: Lucien (ph), I know that Nick Paton Walsh, our reporter suggesting that there are more people joining this protest. How
many are you hoping for? How many people are you hoping for today?
BORGELLI (ph): How many people are in the protest? Excuse me?
ANDERSON: Yeah, and how many are you hoping for?
BORGELLI (ph): Now, we are (inaudible) tens of thousands -- between 40,000 and 50,000 our estimation. And we're hoping that every (inaudible) in
Lebanon will come and (inaudible) and we will reach hundreds of thousands.
ANDERSON: Lucien (ph), I'm going to leave it there because we're struggling to hear each other, but thank you very much indeed for joining
us from in amongst the protests. You're getting live pictures here on CNN.
I want you just to hear once again from Nick Paton Walsh who is in the bureau just above where these protests are going on.
And I was reading a piece in one of the regional magazines here, Nick, talking about the political toxicity in Lebanon deeply entrenched within
the elite as well as the main institutions who will unite in resisting a major overhaul. And this piece went on to suggest that this You Stink
campaign could actually gain some political momentum and become a political movement in and of itself. Is that something that you would expect at this
WALSH: Well, it's possible. I think the major handicap they have is beside the key activists who are generating the hashtag and calling people
out here, it's not as though there is an established figure political in Lebanon who leads the You Stink protests. So they're lacking that for now.
What they do have is the harnessing of genuine fury at the government here. I mean, imagine a country where so much of it gets a couple of hours of
electricity a day, where people are paying separately, privately, for water for their homes, because the usual infrastructure here collapsed in the
capital, where trash piles up on the streets, where corruption is a daily factor in life, Parliament, which has been unable for 15 months to elect a
I mean, we've seen situations here where in fact part of the political elite are refusing to allow a new chief of staff of the army into position,
because they'd like that person to be their son-in-law. An extraordinarily messy political elite here who many think are frankly out for their own
interests. And they have a point.
And that's what you see from so many down in the streets here. They're simply here because they'd like to see that government represent their
Now, it's far more complex than that, because obviously, this country is just on the brink of keeping itself away from overspill from the Syrian war
across the border. It's heaving from well over a million refugees that are shaking the fabric of this country, let along sectarian, just simply the
ability to put infrastructure, to keep pace with that many number of people.
So, it's not a simple overnight change of civil government, there are so many more factors to play into this. And I think what we're seeing on the
street below, many hope, is the beginning of some genuine overnight change into a more liberal democratic type of society, but I think many,
particularly the political elite, who were hoping to keep their jobs are saying, well, let's not all resign overnight because we don't know where
that's going to lead next, Becky.
ANDERSON: You definitely set out the problem, as it were. For Lebanon today, in 2015, what is the solution?
WALSH: Well, that's unfortunately I think they are caught here with a political elite who most of them on Twitter are saying actually I agree
with the protests, I agree with the fury at the police and their heavy- handed tactics. But we shouldn't actually resign just now, because that will plunge the country into an abyss. That's not the answer people below
want. They want a new generation of leaders, it seems.
But, bear in mind how historically hamstrung by sectarian toxicity this country is. You can't suddenly expect the people are going to give up
their power bases, going to give up their leaves of financial power in this country at a time where Syria next door, the Syrian regime who still have
so much influence here, who have an ally in Hezbollah, that are one of the most, I think it's fair to say, perhaps the most seriously disciplined
element in the body politic of this country they're seeing their ally across the border in Syria struggling at this stage.
This is not the obvious time for some sweeping change in politics here in Lebanon. Many will resist that. But what is on the street here is a
genuine fury that expects the government that seemed quite happy just to coast along not solving basic problems like who is going to collect the
trash and where is it going to go. It's not about people not having the trucks, it's about where they dumped it at the end. There was a landfill
here that for over a year was supposed to be where the trash went, but finally got to the point where it physically couldn't take any more without
tumbling into the sea, so to speak.
So, an extraordinarily messy problem in terms of infrastructure. And then you have the fact that the politics to try and fix that, well, that mired
in conflict in the region.
Bear in mind, Becky, people see Lebanon as a success story to some degree. It's chaos, it's a mess, but it's managed to stay out of the conflict
swirling around it so far. This kind of street protest below, well, it's either going to be the beginning of something new and good, or it could be
the pulling of the rug from what little stability this country has -- Becky.
[11:46:15] ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh from the bureau there in Beirut with, as you can see, a very good view of what is going on directly below
him in the city.
Would you take to the streets if garbage collections stopping in your city? I want you to think of the protesters' demands. You've heard from a
protester, one of the organizers of the You Stink campaign and protests there in Beirut. Let us know by going to our Facebook page,
Facebook.com/CNNConnect. And you can always get in touch with me. If you're regular viewer, you'll know that. @BeckyCNN. That's @BeckyCNN.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, comedians find a little levity goes a long way in dealing with
life in the West Bank.
And, we'll take a look at the impact of falling oil prices on global markets. Have they fared any better today? Well, we will find out up
ANDERSON: And 49 minutes past 7:00 in the UAE. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World.
Well, the world is keeping a close eye on the oil price as it continues to impact global markets. Prices fell to a six year low on Friday, the same
day the Down Jones in the U.S. suffered its biggest loss in four years.
And the picture today isn't much better as the selling continued. Middle Eastern stock markets open, of course, on Sundays, particularly hard hit,
sparking severe selloffs on the first day of trading in the region.
Well, to get more let's bring in CNN's emerging markets editor Joh Defterios who joins me here in Abu Dhabi.
John, the selloffs here in the region do not bode well for global investors on Monday. Why such a severe correction, do you think?
[11:50:09] JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, we're seeing a kind of a global panic set in, Becky, triggered here in particular by that
$20 drop in oil prices just by the end of June. We've gone from $65 a barrel down to $45 a barrel.
But what we're seeing is a squeeze, literally, from the east in China with the drop in manufacturing, all the way to the west with a heavy selloff in
the Dow Industrials last week, 1,000 point selloff, which is the worst performance since 2011.
So, let's see what had happened today in the Middle Eastern markets.
Let's take a look first at Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Very severe selloff of nearly 7 percent each. Kuwait, which has a more balanced budget, had a
drop of about 2.25 percent.
By the way, this brings the loss for Dubai and Saudi Arabia well into bear market territory. 26 and 29 percent over the last year. And most of that
loss, Becky, over the last month.
But it's not all about oil. We're seeing demand because of the fall off in China for grains, industrial metals like copper really falling off. So,
currencies in the emerging markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria and Brazil, all under pressure. It's almost a perfect storm in the
markets right now. Quite a correction, and most don't think it's worked its way out through the market because of the recent record highs on Wall
ANDERSON: John, what is unique to the Middle East, of course, is the dependency on oil revenues. So can we expect budgets to be squeezed? Are
countries of this region adapting to what is this new reality of lower prices, do you think?
DEFTERIOS: How is an answer of yes and no. We're seeing prices at $45 a barrel. We've seen some of the countries here in the Middle East adapting
to the new realities, as you are suggesting, ut let's take a look. They've adapted, Becky, but not to the lows that we're seeing right now.
Let's start with the UAE, with its break even price at $73 a barrel. That's held steady over the last two years. They've cut back spending in
the fields right now, so the oil workers are starting to get trimmed back by the some of the commercial players here. The major projects have been
Saudi Arabia taking if from $104 last year, down to $87 dollars this year, that's projection.
But the kind, King Salman, still spending very heavily.
Iraq has made a huge adjustment from $104 last year, down to $68 as you can see.
But Libya, look at the break even price for Libya still has to remain at $124 a barrel. It's not pretty.
And what we see right now within OPEC right now, Becky, is that the Gulf producers led by Saudi Arabia are sticking with this policy to try to flood
the market with oil. But other countries: Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Venezuela are not ready for this price squeeze and this correction on the
stock markets is just making matters much, much worse.
Watch what's taking place in OPEC now in that next meeting in Norvemen. Will they cut production? The word on the street and the sources I speak to
say not just yet.
All right, John, thank you.
And CNN's special five part series will be looking at the impact of oil prices dropping below $40 a barrel. This week starting with John's look at
the impact on Gulf oil producers on Monday. You can stay up to date with that online on CNN Monday and of course here on CNN. Important stuff.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, comedians pack them in for the Ramallah comedy fest, spurring
laughter from those living in a world of (inaudible). That is next.
[11:55:13] ANDERSON: Well, in tonight's Parting Shots for you, a smile and a laugh all people need to begin erasing stereotypes and come together. A
group of Arab American comedians plays for those laughs, but also a little understanding at a comedy festival in Ramallah.
Oren Liebermann has more for you.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sometimes, a little laughter can go a long way, especially if the time and place are just
The 1001 Laughs for Ramallah Comedy Festival in Ramallah and east Jerusalem now the venues and the jokes bringing together some of the most famous Arab
and Palestinian-American comedians...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see him? That is what Jesus looked like.
LIEBERMANN: For what organizers called the first comedy show of this size in the West Bank.
RAMI YOUSIF, COMEDIAN: Whether you're from Egypt, whether you're from Saudi, it doesn't matter, you have a connection here to (inaudible) of
LIEBERMANN: In a region where politics is always a big issue, the comedians stuck to religion and culture mostly.
YOUSIF: I just got here yesterday. I've been to 29 weddings.
LIEBERMANN: For four straight nights, fans packed the seats to hear 10 different Arab-American comedians. Organizer and comedian Amer Zahr says
he wants to make these evenings of laid back laughter feel normal.
AMER ZAHR, FESTIVAL ORGANIZER:: That's my dream as a Palestinian comedian, I want to bring people here to perform, because when you laugh, you know,
it shows everybody in the world that we're just like everybody else. And that's the biggest problem we have. So if we can show everyone that we're
human beings just like everybody else, that's my main goal.
LIEBERMANN: This comedy festival was sponsored by the U.S. consulate. Zahr plans to make it an annual event so that the final show wouldn't be
the last laugh.
Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.
ANDERSON: Well, we couldn't leave you tonight without shots from the Smithsonian National Zoo that's welcoming two near bundles of joy. Just
hours after giving birth to a cub, giant panda Mei Xiang delivered an unexpected second cub on Saturday night in Washington.
We don't yet know the sec of the cubs, but both are said to be healthy.
Specialists say they will each spend time in an incubator. It will be alternated -- look at that -- so both get time to bond with their mother.
Your Parting Shots this evening.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World from the team here and those working with us around the world. A very good evening. CNN