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U.S. Invites Iran To Syrian Peace Talks; Too Hot? New Study Projects Deadly Temperatures in Middle East By 2100; Iranian Justice System Under Fire. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired October 28, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:11] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A seat at the table for the first time, Iran's foreign minister will join international talks aimed at ending

the war in Syria. Could a diplomatic breakthrough be on the horizon? We'll examine the prospects for peace throughout this hour.

Also ahead, a grinding on, there is no end in sight to the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. We'll have a report on the pattern of

violence that's taking hold in the region.

And too hot for humans? In just one century could the Middle East, including right here in Abu Dhabi, have a climate so severe it could be

uninhabitable? We'll explain the science behind an alarming forecast later this hour.

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


ANDERSON: It is just after 7:00 in the evening here in the UAE. We begin for you with Syria, a country that has been pummeled from nearly five

years of relentless conflict.

More than 250,000 people have been killed there and a million injured, that is according to UN estimates, and well over 10 million have been

uprooted from their homes, many of them fleeing the country altogether.

Well, Syrians make ups the largest group of people streaming into Europe, causing huge shifts in the landscape there and adding to the

migrant crisis that has overwhelmed the continent.

Well, there have been, as you are well aware, many failed attempts at a diplomatic solution to the Syrian War including the Geneva 2 conference

as it was known back in 2014, but now Iran, a crucial ally of Damascus, will be at the table. Its foreign minister plans to attend high-level talks

set for Friday in Vienna, that's according to Iranian media at least.

The Russian foreign ministry says the United States invited Tehran to take part.

Well, for some analysis, CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward joining us from Irbil in northern Iraq this evening, and our

international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is standing by in Moscow.

And Clarissa, let me begin with you, given the news on Iran joining talks, getting to the table on Syria, what are the prospects for peace at

this point?

CLARISSA, WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that really depends on what happens at these talks. I think this is definitely a

significant shift. For years, many people who are watching Syria closely have recognized behind the scenes, behind closed doors, that there would be

no possibility for any kind of a diplomatic solution in Syria without Iran sitting at that table and that is simply

because since the beginning of this conflict, Iran has been standing very firmly behind the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

They have been bank rolling him. They have been supporting him militarily and they have supported him politically. So, to try to forge

some kind of a diplomatic agreement without allowing Iran to be a part of that, was always going to be somewhat optimistic.

And I think what we're seeing here is America recognizing the limitations of how much influence it can exert over this process given how

little it really wants to get involved inside Syria.

ANDERSON: Nic, peace, a realistic prospect any time soon?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It still seems it's a far off prospect. I mean, what you have here, Russia has really created an

initiative and some momentum with its strikes in Syria over the last three weeks or so and it has followed on with a sort of heavy diplomatic and

political push and one plank of that push has been to get its allies and here we're talking about Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, to some degree Egypt, into

the talks as well.

And while it's the United States that's invited Iran here, Russia over the past week since Sergey Lavrov met with U.S. Secretary of State John

Kerry in Vienna last Friday, Russia has been pushing very hard and loudly to get Iran involved in those talks.

So, the Russian foreign ministry today, the spokeswoman said you cannot have

people talking behind other people's backs. I hear you just have to have Iran at the table for all the reasons that Clarissa said there. You have

to have people talking face to face is what the foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

So, having Iran there changes the dynamic. Russia has had a huge push and

this has been something that has gathered momentum, but really for it to be successful, the momentum has got to carry forward. And with so many

disparate voices at this table and ideas and initiatives, it's difficult to see where the

common ground is or the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said today they believe that the United states and its allies are no longer pushing

for the removal, the quick removal, of President Bashar al-Assad. Is that the common point? We'll have to see.

[11:05:26] ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. Let's park the diplomacy, guys, just for the moment.

I want to get on the ground. Clarissa, you've been in northern Syria in the past few days, just across the border from where you are now. We

rarely get reporting from inside of Syria and you've been where Kurdish forces have been in what has been a long slog to retake territory from the

militant group ISIS, using what has only been very basic military equipment.

Just describe what you've seen and heard since you've been on the ground there?

WARD: Well, Becky, it was really quite striking because we were visiting areas that had recently been liberated from ISIS control and yet

you weren't seeing anybody on the ground celebrating, that's partly because entire villages

have really been devastated and destroyed by the constant fighting, but it's also

because people still feel very uncertain about what the future might hold.


WARD (voice-over): Weeks ago, these dusty planes were held by ISIS. This is what's left of its presence now. The charred remains of a training

camp hidden in a pine forest. It's where ISIS trained an elite unit of suicide bombers that attacked Kurdish positions with devastating effect.

Kurdish fighters known as the YPG took this entire area from is in August, but holding it, along a front line more than 400 miles long, is a

huge challenge.

In the shadow of Mt. Abdulazeez, Commander Zinar told us he had lost 30 of his fighters in a recent battle when ISIS came down from the


CHIEF ZINAR, YPG COMMANDER (through translator): The enemy attacked us with a large number of fighters, using heavy weapons. They took control of

three villages and after that, the clashes lasted for hours until we were in control again.

WARD: Zinar is a battalion commander, but this is the size of his battalion, a handful of poorly equipped men. The nearest friendly forces

are miles away.

The cost of pushing ISIS out has been enormous. Streets here are draped of the flags of fighters killed in battle, along desolate roads,

through abandoned villages, we saw scene upon scene of devastation. The wreckage of months of fierce fighting and relentless coalition airstrikes.

(on camera): Dozens of villages like this one that were liberated from ISIS months ago are now still completely deserted. That's partly because

the ISIS militants before they retreated planted land mines and booby traps all across this area, but it's also because many people here aren't

convinced that ISIS won't be coming back.

In the tiny village of Mekhlouja, we met a Wadha, who's lived her all her life. She told us she was too afraid to leave home when ISIS was in

control, that they beat and killed people and brought misery upon the community.

"There were no air strikes before they arrived and then the strikes started. There was one next to me. We were scared of everything. Not just


Are you still afraid, I ask? She says not, but glances warily at the Kurdish YPG fighters with us.

The Kurds question the loyalty of many of these villages, claiming they harbor ISIS sympathizers. The killing may have stopped, but there is

no peace here.


WARD: The problem you really have now in Syria, Becky, is that those sectarian and ethnic divisions have been deepened by years of fighting.

When we drove through one village with our YPG minders, a boy was actually calling to us,

god bless ISIS and then you talk to the Kurdish fighters who were accompanying us and they say, yes, we're Syrian, but we are Kurdish first.

ANDERSON: Clarissa in Irbil for you this evening with her reporting out of Syria.

Nic, I want to come back to you. As we've been discussing, Russia has certainly been driving the agenda on Syria, particularly with its

intervention over the past month in support of the Assad regime. From your perspective in Moscow,

what's been the consequence or impact of Russia's decision to play the military card so visibly?

ROBERTSON: Well, one question you might ask at the moment is, you know, what impact does it have on the economy? We know that Russia is

hurting from western sanctions imposed because of its actions inside Ukraine. However, what we've learned when we've asked that question, large

defense budgets, relatively opaque, a degree of public apathy about how that money is spent, does seem to indicate that Russia can keep this fight

going relatively cheaply.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): In Syria, more Russian bombs are falling. This past weekend, 285 targets hit, officials say. So how long can Russia afford

to keep it going?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russia can afford, itself, such campaign for...

ROBERTSON: For a long time it can keep going?

A vast military with relatively big budgets. This year, officially, over $50 billion, more than 4 percent of GDP, twice what most NATO nations

spend on defense. And little public interest in the financing and lack of transparency, says a military economist, leaves Putin with a relatively

free hand in Syria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay about 100 years ago, it was much transparent than current one.

ROBERTSON: Even without the type of transparency common in the West, defense analysts in London reckon they're able to calculate some of the


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is costing them between $2.3 million to $4 million a day with the current sortee rate.

ROBERTSON: Fuel costs are low because, from bases in Syria, bombing runs are short. And they assess Russia uses few expensive laser- guided


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We reckon they're dropping $700,000 of munitions a day, which is quite low. Most of it is -- quite low tech weaponry.

ROBERTSON: Low-flying attack helicopters add a little more, estimated $60,000, $70,000 a day. If ground troops were sent in, it could triple

costs, but even so, in the short term, all affordable.

The hidden catch for Russia in this cost analysis is Moscow's need to modernize its aging forces. Despite Russia's mostly secret defense budget,

cash from the Syria conflict is being culled from defense procurement budgets. Meaning big ticket upgrades might get sacrificed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current rate of expenditure, that's 16 to 30 fighter jets a year, quite a lot of new fighter jets they're missing out



ROBERTSON: And, of course, one of the other things you look at to see the impact is not just how it's affecting the economy but how it's

affecting the popularity of the president, perhaps more than the government here, and on that account, President Putin, his account, is very much in the black.

Becky, over the last few weeks since this campaign began in Syria, support for it, support for the military campaign by Russia, has gone up

significantly -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating.

Nic is in Moscow for you, and Clarissa in Irbil this evening.

And all this week CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward brings you a series of reports from northern Syria. You've seen one

tonight. There are more to come. CNN visits areas that are newly liberated from ISIS, yet vulnerable and meets the people who are defending

the front lines. You don't want to miss those. They are here on CNN and you can get those this week.

Still to come tonight, viewers, as we've been reporting, Iran will attend international peace

talks on ending the war in Syria for the first time. What will its involvement mean, its significance and

consequence, a closer look coming up.

Also ahead, it's not a full-scale war but a disturbing pattern is developing as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict grinds on with no end in


This is Connect World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE at 14 minutes past 7:00. Back after this.


[11:16:36] ANDERSON: Well, this news just in to CNN. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, says he

expects a British citizen arrested for making homemade wine to be released and returned to the UK by next week.

What you're seeing is a press conference going on now. These comments that Hammond made were at this news conference. We haven't got a

translation for you, so you're looking at the Saudi representative there, that is the Saudi foreign minister. And just tweeted this, "delighted to

announce Brit Carl Andre will be released from Saudi custody within a week and reunited with his family.

Andre is 74 years old. A story we had reported on this show some couple of weeks ago.


MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRSEIDENT (through translator): We want your protection. We want the protection of the world. We can no

longer bear all these sanctions, all these attacks, perpetrated by the settlers and by the Israeli army. We need protection.

And we look to you. Protect us, protect us, we need you.


ANDERSON: An urgent plea there from the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He is calling for an international protection

force for the Palestinian people accusing Israel of carrying out extra judicial killings and acting as a state, quote, "above international law."

Abbas spoke before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He says a lasting peace cannot be achieved without an end to the Israeli occupation.

Well, Israel's immediate priority is keeping its own people safe as the wave of stabbing attacks

continues. Police now reporting a second knife attack in the West Bank today saying an Israeli woman was stabbed by a Palestinian assailant.

Now increased security measures so far haven't been able to stop the violence. CNN's Ben Wedeman explains how a disturbing pattern is

developing in this conflict after a complete collapse of the peace process.


[11:20:54] ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson at 20 past 7:00 here.

Coming up, some tiny manmade islands are causing a big dispute between the U.S. and China. Beijing's latest defense of its territorial claims in

the South China Sea.

First up, though, find out how one man is making life a little sweeter in Ethiopia's capital. That is in African Startup and that is just ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the end of the day in downtown Addis Ababa and for some a stop at The Yogurt Inn. It's a self-service parlor run by

Dougmawe Kasate (ph) .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The majority of my customers are teenagers, high school students, college students, and young professionals.

Dessert is not a big culture in Ethiopian. So the younger generation prefers to experiment with things.

[11:25:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such as different flavors and toppings.

Kasate (ph) and a group of friends came up with the idea for Yogurt Inn after seeing something similar in Kenya. They each invested money and

Kasate (ph) launched the business in 2013 with $70,000.

But after the first six months, business slowed down.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: I didn't know the business depended as much on the weather as much as it did, because the rainy season where -- in

Ethiopian -- it's where school stops and every college stops and it's a two-month break you get. I was hoping that because of that break a lot

would come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the rains kept customers away so he came up with a solution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After that we promoted digital marketing, flyers, working with other restaurants. We marketed discounts, contests. we gave

that to the people and they started coming. That was actually good. It taught us a big lesson in marketing.

It's thick enough. It's good. That's smooth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kasate (ph), a trained civil engineer, considers his first years in

business as a learning experience. Today, Kasate has eight flavors and serves up to 150 people a day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's exciting. I was not in business before this. So for me, it was actually a challenge and it was exciting at the same

time. And it is nice to get to know the people. I know my customers by name, some of them I happen to be friends now. I like that. That's the

beauty of doing business in a service area: you get to meet new people.

A lot of foreigners come and you get to learn new cultures and new ideas from other people. So, to me it's good.



[11:30:32] ANDERSON: At just after half past 7:00 in the UAE this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The top stories this hour on


In a major shift in the efforts to find a political resolution to Syria's civil war, for the first time Iran has been invited to join

international peace talks on Syria. The Iranian media report the foreign minister will attend meetings this week in Vienna.

The UK's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says he expects a British citizen arrested in Saudi Arabia for making homemade wine to be leased and

returned to the UK by next week. 74-year-old grandfather Carl Andre was facing a punishment of 360 lashes.

Austria has outlawed plans to build barriers and a fence at a border crossing with Slovenia, They're hoping to try and slow the number of

refugees entering the country.

Now several thousands refugees have been using this steel filled border crossings daily.

A Tanzanian opposition leader is calling for a recount days after the country's presidential election. The demand came after election officials

in Zanzibar threw out their results citing double voting and cheating. Tanzania's national election commission and the

ruling party have both dismissed allegations of voter rigging. Official results are due to be announced on Thursday.

And the U.S. and China aren't backing down from their dispute over territorial claims in the South China Sea. On Tuesday, a U.S. naval ship

sailed within kilometers of man-made islands built and claimed by China. Beijing summoned the U.S. ambassador to China to express its anger over the

move, but the U.S. says it was well within its rights.

Our Jim Sciutto has a closer look at the controversy.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): The voyage of the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen sparked immediate outrage from China and a warning.

LU KANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): If relevant parties insist on creating tensions in the region and making

trouble out of nothing, it may force China to draw the conclusion that we need to strengthen and hasten the buildup of our relevant capabilities. I

advise the U.S. not to create such a self- fulfilling prophecy.

SCIUTTO: But Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifying on Capitol Hill today made clear the missions will continue.

ASHTON CARTER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We will fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits in whatever -- whenever our operation

needs require it.

SCIUTTO: The USS Lassen sailed within 12 miles of five reefs claimed by China as sovereign territory, including Subi Reef, where China has

constructed one of several manmade islands.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said Chinese navy ships and aircraft trailed the USS Lassen at all times. During the transit, one of the Chinese

vessels contacted the Lassen's bridge, standard procedure when entering a country's national waters. But the U.S. doesn't recognize China's

territorial claim as legal or the manmade islands as territory as all.

And this isn't the first time the U.S. Navy has delivered that message. In May, we flew exclusively on a U.S. P-8 Poseidon surveillance

aircraft as it flew over the same islands, a demonstration the U.S. considers the airspace international as well. During the flight, the

Chinese Navy warned the U.S. aircraft away eight times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perimeter aircraft, this is Chinese Navy. You are approaching our military alert zone. Leave immediately.

SCIUTTO: The growing international dispute was on the agenda for Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Washington earlier this

month. The confrontation on the high seas makes clear the two sides have made little progress towards resolution.


ANDERSON: And that was our U.S. security correspondent Jim Sciutto reporting for you.

Well, in an exclusive interview, China's ambassador to the United States told CNN's Christiane

Amanpour he believes that the U.S. is intentionally trying to inflame the situation.


CUI TIANKAI, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: I think what the U.S. is doing is a very serious provocation, politically and militarily. It is a

clear attempt to escalate the situation and to militarize the region. So, we are very concerned about that. I think other people, all the people who

want to maintain stability there, have good reason to be concerned.


[11:35:07] ANDERSON: OK.

Well, let's return to our top story now. A major international peace talks will take place in Vienna this Friday in a bid to end the brutal

conflict in Syria. Nearly five years in, hundreds of thousands have died and millions, millions have fled their homes.

Diplomatically, though, progress as you will be well aware, has been slow.

In 2012, the Geneva communique established a six-point peace plan looking for a political

settlement, however the war raged on and in 2014, the second Geneva conference brought together the Syrian government and opposition, but talks


Last week the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia attended talks in Vienna looking for a political transition to end the war. And earlier,

Iran confirmed it will attend talks this Friday, the first time that it will participate in international peace talks on Syria.

Let's bring in Randa Slim from the Middle East Institute. She was recently in Tehran and has

worked on diplomatic efforts in the region. Friday's meeting will be unprecedented in terms of countries taking part. What, though, do you

think we can expect?

RANDA SLIM, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE: It is the first serious diplomatic push in Syria. As you said in your intro, all previous efforts at

negotiation have excluded Iran and there will be no solution in Syria without Iran being at the table.

However, I don't expect much to be achieved, not major breakthrough, but it's an opening and it's a serious opening to a serious negotiation

process involving regional and international stakeholders in Syria.

ANDERSON: About time for those millions who are displaced, those 2 million kids who are living in camps outside of their home country, not in

school, not in education, of course.

I spoke with the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffen De Mistura last month. Have a listen to what he said.



call them by name because they are the ones who can and should make a difference, Iran and

Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Iran. If Saudi Arabia and Iran start talking, America and the U.S.

and Russia are talking at the moment, but no to the point of concluding. Iran and Saudi Arabia unfortunately are not yet talking.


ANDERSON: All right.

Well Randa, Syria has been used as a proxy battleground for Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Do you think their differences can be reconciled?

SLIM: The major sticking point of difference between Iran and Saudi Arabia, has to do with, one, Assad, Saudi Arabia does not want it see Assad

as part of Syria's future, and the second important point is, Hezbollah and the role that Iranian -- other Iranian militias have been playing in Syria

and at this point, I see the two countries approaching the issues from a zero sum perspective. I cannot see Saudi accepting Assad as part of the

future yet. I cannot see Saudi wanting to give Iran a role in deciding Syria's future.

But at the same time Iran has invested time, treasure, you know, efforts for years and years in cultivating interest and presence in Syria

and it's not going to give that up.

ANDERSON: All right.

Well look, on the ground, there are several groups who want to oust President Assad. The main western-backed political opposition is the

Syrian National Coalition. Here's what its president, Hisham Marwa had to say about the news and I, quote, "Iran has only one project, to keep Assad

in power. They don't believe in the principle of talks."

Now you have recently disputed that saying you don't believe that Assad is actually the dealbreaker for Tehran. To your mind, reading the

tea leaves here, understanding the psyche, is Iran interested in peace?

SLIM: Iran, like all other parties, have been paying lip service to the political solution in Syria, while at the same time doing everything in

their power to improve the military position or the military equation in favor of their ally Assad.

I think they are interested in a political solution, but they want a political solution on their own terms. And what Russia, Iran are doing

today in Syria with their push ground offensive, air attacks, is to improves the military situation on the ground so that they can set

the terms for the negotiation.

ANDERSON: A myriad of calculations and an important week and one hopes the prospect, at least in principle, of peace for Syrians going


Randa Slim, we thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.

Two poets in Iran are facing 99 lashes each, simply for shaking hands with people of the opposite sex. They also face years in prison for what

is described as, quote, insulting the sacred in their writings.

Now, the punishments have been strongly criticized by human rights groups. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen who was recently in Tehran has more.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The two poets are called Fatima Akhtasari (ph) and Mehdi Musawi (ph). In addition to the

sentence of 99 lashes, both of them also received multiple-year prison sentences for allegedly, quote, insulting the sacred with some

of their writings.

Now, the 99 lashes sentence is for something different, though. It comes after one of the two, Akhtasari (ph) allegedly admitted that she

shook hands with male participants at a poetry event in Sweden a while back. This information is according to the writers association PEN which

calls for the two to be released.

Now, all of this comes as Iran faces increased criticism for what many believe is in intransparent and quite excessive justice system. Recently

there's been international criticism because of the continued detention of The Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, which, of course, has not only

drawn pushback from The Washington Post but also from the United States as well as several other international actors as well.

On top of that, the UN issued a report on Tuesday saying that Iran could be on track to execute as many as 1,000 people just this year. They

also say in the first nine months of this year, more than 600 people have already been executed in Iran, which makes the country the top of the list

as far as executions per capita are concerned.

Now, there are many people in the international community who believe that after the nuclear

agreement between Iran and other world powers and possible sanctions relief coming Iran's way, that perhaps the country would open up and relax the

justice system and its judiciary. However, so far that hasn't happened and there are some who believe that this is due to somewhat of a struggle going

on between moderates around President Hassan Rouhani and hard-liners

especially in the military, but also the conservative clergy and that the fact that you're seeing a lot of arrests in Iran, that you're seeing

tough sentences like the 99 lashes, like for instance also the imprisonment of Jason Rezaian, is due to the fact that the hard-liners might be wanting

to assert themselves and show the people who back them that there won't be that much that's going to change in Iran even after the nuclear agreement

and especially that there won't be additional cultural and economic influence by the west and especially the

United States.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi this is Connect the World. Coming up areas in the Middle

East could be too hot to live in within a century. That is a claim being made by scientists. I'm going to tell you the reasons they are making

those claims.

And commercial drones are also flying high in the UAE. The latest in our special series looking at the modern changes in what is the historic

Silk Road. Taking a very short break. Back after this.



[11:46:59] SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the steel yard in Dubai, new inventory in and out so

often, it's hard to keep track of what's actually here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; We have about 950,000 square feet of area. It's very easy to lose steel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to just be a small test flight, right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...last minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will it be tethered or are you going to free fly?

UDAS: to solve this problem, the company turned to Asam Han (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I might not be there tomorrow.

UDAS: He runs a Dubai-based technology start-up. Han (ph) and his team devised a plan using a custom built drone.

Steel is marked with a unique radio frequency ID tag. The drone sends location coordinates for the items to nearby control center. The whole

process takes six minutes.

Han (ph) now wants to apply this technology to everything from cars to livestock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until you actually try to work with these machines, use them, build

them and really think innovatively, you cannot actually understand their full potential.

UDAS: Han (ph) is one of a handful of entrepreneurs in the Middle East

working on commercial solutions with drones. The industry is growing and Dubai is hoping to become its hub.

The UAE is encouraging commercial drone use. Electric company here launched a unique program last year, drones monitor Dubai's power grids.

At the Emirates solar park, they clean and inspect the panels.

Normally with a human being it takes about 14 hours to scan the entire solar panel area here, but with the drone it only takes them 90 minutes.

There are many technological hurdles for engineers to overcome before widespread commercial use, but Han (ph) believes drones are the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drones are here to stay. You can call it a flash in the pan. Yes the it technology still needs to mature a lot. Government

regulations have to catch up, there is a safety aspect, but these are all problems that will be solved.

UDAS: When it comes to commercial potential he says the sky is the limit.

Sumnima Udas, CNN, along Silk Road.


ANDERSON: Two degrees Celsius, it doesn't seem like much, but scientists say if global average temperatures warm more than that, it could

lead to climate catastrophes. Well, one of those could happen right here in the Middle East. Scientists say that within a century, it could be too

hot for humans to survive in many cities. A study claims air temperatures could reach up to 60 degrees


Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, explains.



PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, a fascinating study to share with you as it relates to climate change. Because we certainly see

studies when it comes to glacial melts, sea level rise or just extreme weather patterns in general.

Just a particular one actually analyzed the weather patterns over portions of the Arabian peninsula, well known to be among the hottest

places on our planet. They ran computer models up to the year 2100, and also took into account the greenhouse gas emissions that are on the rise

and factored in how that would play into the temperatures across this already stifling region, especially in the summer months.

Now, they analyzed the forecast for what would be the wet-bulb temperatures, and that's essentially taking the air temperature, adding it

with the humidity, it gives you a number as far as the wet-bulb temperature. That number always has to be below your air temperatures, but

if this number gets up to 35 Celsius, that is considered fatal even for the fittest humans. If you're exposed outside to 35 degrees Celsius wet-bulb

temperatures, it means that it is stifling hot outside, extremely humid, that's the point your body loses the ability to cool efficiently cool

itself off.

And the human body, just like any living creature, really depends on efficient ability to cool itself off. Extreme temperatures and low

humidity, you're able to actually evaporate that through sweat and this allows your core temperature to cool off quite rapidly even in the hottest


Now, you bring the moisture content up along with the air temperatures, your body no longer has the ability to efficiently sweat.

Your organs, your nervous system they certainly can fail. The sweat just sits on your skin, it just becomes a very dangerous scenario.

And we know this part of the world is certainly well known for extreme heat. Typically had a massive dome of high pressure, this causes the air

to sink and a lot of major cities from, say, Doha towards Dubai, Abu Dhabi, well known for extreme temperatures that are in the 40s, but the studies

here suggest that temperatures could get up into the 50s and 60s in the year 2100. In fact, we had a 46 degree reading in Bandar Mahshahr, that's

in Iran on the Gulf Coast. We had a wet-bulb temperature at 35, the critical number. Look what happened when it comes to what it will feel

like outside, it felt like 74 degrees outside, and that is precisely why this, again, would be a life threatening situation by the year 2100 across

that portion of the world.


ANDERSON: Pedram reporting for you. And just to clarify, 31 degrees at what is nearly 8:00 in the evening here -- 88 Fahrenheit. It's a cool

night in the UAE.

Before we go a reminder to head to our Facebook page for insight into what is the human impact of this brutal war in Syria, which we have been

covering in detail tonight and on many nights over the last near five years. These films were made by Syrian refugee kids who lost everything

and had to start new lives in Lebanon and elsewhere.

Now, the films are based on their life stories and experiences. And we want to help them raise their voices. So each night this week we'll be

bringing you one of eight movies, which premiered at the Charges International Children's Film Festival (ph) here in the UAE. You

can watch those movies exclusively on our Facebook page. Do head to And as ever do let us know your thoughts and your


The top stories tonight, for the first time Iran's foreign minister will join international talks aimed at ending the war in Syria with Tehran

taking a seat at the table, could a diplomatic breakthrough be on the horizon after four years of this bloody conflict.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World from the team here and those working with

us around the world, it is a very good evening.

CNN, though, of course continues taking a short break. We will be back on the network after this. Good evening.