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CONNECT THE WORLD
Turkey, Syria Continue Sparring Over Syria; Two Syrian Hospitals Destroyed by Airstrikes; Pope Addresses Poorest State in Mexico; UAE Names First Ever Happiness Minister; The Volatile Price of Oil. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired February 15, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:12] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Another bloody day in Syria as Turkey and Russia ratchet up their war of words. This hour, I'm going to get you an
exclusive look from the front lines in Syria along with live reports from Moscow and from Istanbul.
Also ahead, a papal mass in Mexico's poorest state. We'll have a live report on the pope's very political visit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happiness is an inside out process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: In search of happiness in the UAE. What this country is doing to
keep its citizens happy.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very good evening from the UAE, at just after 8:00 in the evening here. In just a few minutes, Pope Francis is set to celebrate mass
in Mexico's poorest state at Chiapas. He is making an effort to reach out to Mexico's indigenous communities.
These are live pictures coming to you from Mexico.
He's on a nearly week-long visit to the country beset by poverty and plagued by raising insecurity. This is also an area in Mexico and what the
government can considers it's front line in a crackdown on illegal immigration to the
United states from Central America.
I'm going to get you to what will be a live mass when it happens this hour.
First up, though, some devastating scenes in northern Syria, where two hospitals and a school have come under attack.
Doctors Without Borders is condemning the destruction of a hospital it supports in Idlib Province, calling it a deliberate attack. It says the
building was struck four times within minutes, killing at least seven people.
Well, close to the Turkish border in Azaz, at least 15 people reportedly kiled when a hospital and a school sheltering displaced people were hit.
Turkey's prime minister is blaming Russia for those strikes, fueling the growing rift between the countries.
Well, we've got three international correspondents covering all of these angles for you tonight. Frederik Pleitgen is in Damascus, Arwa Damon is in
Istanbul in Turkey and Matthew Chance joining us from Moscow.
Fred, I just want to start with you, because you have just returned from eastern Syria where you've got access to the Syrian regime's front line
How successful is that fight and what did you learn?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, it's interesting, Becky because the Syrian military says that it is actually a lot more
successful at combating ISIS than it has been in the past couple of months and the past
couple of years. And they say the main thing that's making a difference to them is Russian
air power. And they say it's not only because the Russians conduct airstrikes, but it's also because the Russians are ac actually providing
them with aerial surveillance as well.
So, the Syrians are saying they're making progress on their front lines against ISIS, and we're able to go to one of them. Here's what we saw.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the eastern Syrian Desert, on the fringe of ISIS' self declared caliphate, the
Syrian army readied its artillery cannons, tanks, and armored personnel carriers have dug in.
(on camera): We are on the front line in the Syrian military's battle against ISIS. The soldiers tell us that ISIS positions are literally only a
few miles away from this position.
(voice-over): The top commander for this area tells CNN his forces constantly clash with ISIS here. He didn't want to appear on camera because
of Syrian military rules, and instead designated a civilian working with him to speak on his behalf.
"Over there is the village of Gerbaht," he says. It's considered to be the alternative capital of ISIS.
PLEITGEN: The Syrian military recently launched a major offensive in the north of the country, winning back some territory, but also causing tens of
thousands to flee towards the Turkish border.
PLEITGEN: The U.S. says Syrian forces, mostly combat moderate rebels, have put very little effort into fighting ISIS. But the troops here say that is
"For three months now, ISIS has not been advancing," he says, "they have only been retreating."
PLEITGEN: And Assad's army acknowledges that Russian air power has had a big impact.
"Everything is much better since our Russian friends came in," he says. "They gave us the capability to conduct preemptive strikes and also aerial
surveillance to warn us in advance about ISIS attacks."
And they vow to continue their push eastward, deeper into ISIS heartland.
[11:05:08] (on camera): The commanders here say they are on the move forward. And one of their predictions is that if nothing else goes wrong,
they think they can be in Raqqa by the end of the year.
(voice-over): But they are still far away from achieving that goal, and in the past, ISIS has shown it can rebound after being pushed back.
PLEITGEN: And certainly there sill is a lot of desert terrain between the Syrian military and reaching that place, reaching Raqqa in the east of
You know, one of the things that I asked the commanding general there on the ground. I said what about these criticisms that the Syrian military
has been getting that they are diverting most of their resources to fighting moderate rebels and less towards fighting ISIS.
He says, look, we have clashes with ISIS every day, at the same time they also did acknowledge that at this point in time the main priority for the
Syrian military was probably for the Russians as well, is the area north of Aleppo and also Idlib Province as well, Becky.
ANDERSON: Exclusive reporting from Fred who is back in Damascus this hour. Fred, thank you.
Well, what is happening in Syria is worsening relations between two major players in this conflict, tensions building between Turkey and Russia,
fueled by their support for opposing sides in Syria.
Just after those strikes on a hospital and school in Azaz that I was reporting on just before we spoke to Fred.
The Turkish prime minister blamed Russia. Here's what he had to say when he was on a trip to Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AHMET DAVUTOGLU, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Even while we are having these meetings, Russia hits a school and hospital in Azaz
with a ballistic missile from the Caspian Sea and many children and civilians lost their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRESON: Well, let's cross to Istanbul now where Arwa Damon is standing by.
And Arwa, we just heard from Turkey's prime minister there. Do they have any
evidence that Russia was behind this?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If they can do, it's not being made public at this stage, Becky, but this would not necessarily be
the first time we have been seeing these Russian air strikes causing very significant damage when it comes to the civilian population.
And you not only have that school and hospital that were struck in Azaz -- bearing in mind, too, that the hospital that was targeted in Azaz was one
that specializes in treating women and children, babies.
You also have another incident where Doctors Without Borders, as you were mentioning there, too, earlier in Idlib Province in this case saw its
facility hit multiple times in what which you mentioned earlier and in their province was hit
multiple times where it's going to potentially impact some 40,000 people that rely on it for medical services. But further muddying already a
phenomenally murky situation inside Syria as not just these Russian airstrikes, it's various different advances being made by the regime,
advances being made by the Kurdish YPG groups that the Arab opposition accuses of gobbling up, shaking territory, increasingly closer to Turkey's
borders which over the weekend caused Turkey to launch multiple artillery strikes in Syria and issued a warning to the YPG to stop trying to advance.
ANDERSON: Interesting, as we watch the development of this increasing spat between Turkey and Russia. Turkey of course has been targeting groups
across the border, Kurdish groups across the border recently. We may be seeing
Russian support of those groups now, potentially at the behest of Damascus. Damascus angered by these Turkish strikes.
Just explain to our viewers the complexity of all this and why.
DAMON: Well, here's Turkey's main issue. It views the Kurdish fighting force, the YPG inside Syria as basically being an extension of the Kurdish
separatist group, the PKK, that Turkey has fought a battle with for the last three decades or so, and the ceasefire that existed between the
Turkish government and the PKK in southeastern Turkey basically fell apart over the summer and there have been very fierce clashes in huge swathes of
Turkey also not only not differentiating between these two groups, but also put quite simply, views the YPG as also being a terrorist organization, so
as the YPG backed by coalition air support, backed by the United States, made these significant gains in areas, especially areas that used to be
controlled by Arab Arab groups, Turkey feels as though it has to make a stance, because it genuinely believes that these advances by the Kurds
inside Syria do jeopardize its own national security to the same, if not a greater degree, than ISIS in an of itself, Becky.
[11:10:11] ANDERSON: Yeah, all right, well explained. Thank you for that.
I want to bring you Matthew Chance at this point to follow up on some of what our Arwa has been reporting there.
Turkey's prime minister, Matthew, says that Russia was behind these strikes in Azaz, any response from Moscow at this point?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and Medecins sans Frontieres suggest that it was a Russian airstrike that destroyed that
facility near Idlib, or in Idlib as well.
It's interesting, the Russians have not even denied it at this point, as far as I can make out. There's not been a briefing today. There's usually
a weekly briefing from the Russian defense ministry where they answer these kinds of allegations.
There hasn't been one today, it was canceled. And so we haven't had any official response to these specific allegations made by Medecins Sans
Frontieres and made by the Turkish foreign minister as well.
But I mean, I will say this, that every time the Russians are challenged with this idea that they have been killing civilians and there are groups
out there, independent observers, say that Russia has killed something in the region of 1,400
civilians since these air strike began in September. It says the same thing, which is that, look, we don't target civilians, we actually call off
air strikes if there's any risk of civilian death and we haven't seen any evidence yet that
even one civilians has been killed.
I mean, that's the Russian position.
And, you know, without eyes on the ground, independent journalists and by other groups, it's very difficult to contradict them in any meaningful way.
ANDERSON: Arwa, explaining this Kurdish issue through the prism of the Turkish government, this an issue also important for Russia, isn't it.
There's been somewhat of a warming of relations between Moscow and Kurdish groups of
late. Can you explain why?
CHANCE: Yeah, I think there are a couple of things going on. I mean, first and foremost, I mean, there is a great deal of animosity now going
between Russia and Turkey, particularly since when in November, the Turkish air force shot down a Russian warplane on or near the border between Syria
and Turkey. That led to a huge deterioration in relations between the two countries. They're both on opposite sides of the conflict in Syria, and so
the Kremlin is doing everything it can, it seems, to needle the Turks by building relations with the Kurds, by supporting them militarily as it's
doing with airstrikes in the north.
I mean, recently one of the most prominent political groupings of the Kurds in northern Syria, the PYD, Democratic Union Party, had a representative
office opened here, this just a few days ago.
Now, Turkey considers the PYD to be a terrorist organization. The Russians say they are essential to establishing some kind of negotiated peace in
And so the Russians and the Turks are very much at odds.
I mean, just very quickly, the second thing is the Americans of course support the Kurds as well and you get a sense that the Russians are now
competing with the Americans to provide support to that very formidable fighting force of the Kurds.
ANDERSON: Lest we forget the complexities on the ground. Arwa, Matthew and Fred in Damascus, we thank you very much indeed for your reporting
You're with Connect the World out of the UAE. I'm Becky Anderson. Still to come, the latest from the oil markets for you with a special first look
at a unique project here on CNN. That is coming up shortly.
And a bit later on this hour, Pope Francis just moments away from celebrating mass in Mexico's poorest state. Those are live pictures coming
to you from Chiapas. We're going to get you there fairly soon.
[11:16:25] ANDERSON: Right. I promised you we'd get back to Mexico when we are back there. You're looking at live pictures of Pope Francis
celebrating a huge outdoor mass in Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state. He's been in the country since Friday tackling the issues of corruption, of drug
violence and poverty. More on this a little later this hour.
Well, I want to reset for you. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back. 16 minutes past 8:00.
A special project now, that's been years in the making launched here on CNN today just a little earlier on CNN Money's editor-at-large, Richard Quest
on why the launch of CNN Money is so relevant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD QUEST, CNN MONEY EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Never has there been a more difficult and a more relevant and a more suitable time for us to take the
CNN Noney brand and literally send it global.
These are dangerous times in the financial world and, Nina, even if they're not 2008 all over again, the complexity with central banks not sure what to
do next, simply means we are now bigger, bolder and better to cover it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, that's Richard Quest speaking to Nina Dos Santos in London, one of my colleagues, as they launched CNN Money today.
One major story that has been covered recently, of course, across the board is oil. The price of oil held steady on Monday after a whirlwind week. To
give you a sense of how topsy turvy it was, crude saw its biggest gain in seven years on Friday only one day after hitting a 12-year low.
Confused? Well, many of us were. Well, whatever way you look at it, with oil prices dropping over 50 percent in the past six months, it is very
likely that what's happening in the oil markets is somehow affecting all of us.
To help wrap your head around all of it, we are introducing the special CNN Money pump out of our studios here in Abu Dhabi tonight. Let's join CNN
Money's emerging markets editor John Defterios at the pump. A very warm welcome to you this evening inside.
Huge volatility last week, John, then a rally. Are we sensing a deal between
OPEN and non-OPEC producers that might actually happen?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it's interesting, Becky. That's what the investors are sensing right now themselves. And I
think a good indication of what they're thinking is the fact that we didn't sell off today. We're holding this price of $33.75 a barrel, that's the
international benchmark. That has not been the trend as of late.
In fact, let's just take a look at what's happened since the start of 2016 and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about here.
We have had very wild swings. Look at this, Becky, $37 down to $27. In a week we lost $10 a barrel.
We go up $9 in a week, then we come down. Very choppy volatility until we hit that 12-year low and then we get that rally on Thursday and Friday.
Just on word that the UAE minister Zuheil al-Masri (ph) was suggesting we'll cooperate
with OPEN and non-OPEC producers, but we think that the Saudi Arabian strategy is working.
But this is the heart of the story in 2016, if you will, Becky. It's the over production. This is a number from the International Energy Agency in
They're suggesting that the overproduction today is going to be 1.75 million barrels by the end of the first half of 2016.
And here, even on Connect the World, Becky, you and I have talked about barrels. But what do barrels look like? We thought at our own (inaudible)
here with the CNN Money pump right at the center, that we actually that we have to illustrate what the barrels are in terms of size. And every single
day, the world consumes 95 million barrels just like this.
And you can't have a deal, you can't have a recovery in prices without the two major players cooperating with each other. And what I'm talking about
here, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
There's a high level of mistrust. Russia produces about 11 million barrels a day, Saudi Arabia has been about 10.5 million barrels a day. If the two
can't see eye to eye, Becky, it's very difficult to see how you can get a deal, a non-OPEC and OPEC agreement to move forward.
Now, if you listen to the Venezuelan minister over the weekend, he said we're very, very, very much on the right path here to a meeting. But of
course Venezuela would say that because they're desperate to see a deal to raise prices because they mismanaged that transition when oil was averaging
$100 a barrel.
Think about it, we were averaging $115 a barrel in June 2014 and we're hovering above $33 today.
ANDERSON: John, Russia and Saudi, of course, are crucial in all of this. What would you say are the other key factors to watch at this point.
DEFTERIOS: Yeah, it is, in fact, Becky -- and we've talked about this before, geopolitics is intense in oil. So, I want to bring up a wildcard
in just a second here. But come on over to our set of barrels over here.
And you can't ignore what's happened in the last five years what's happened in the energy market particularly when it comes to the United States and
the so-called shale revolution.
They hit a peak of about 9.5 million barrels a day in May of 2015. We've seen a correction of about 600,000 barrels a day coming off the market, the
International Energy Agency suggesting another 600,000 barrels a day will come off.
But the wildcard here is what happens with Iran. Iran has made no bones bones about the fact it wants to recapture the marketshare it lost after
the sanctions. It's already introduced 300,000 barrels a day in the first month on the market. Sources at the national Iranian oil company tell me
they're going the to add consistently oil throughout the year, to peak out at another 700,000 barrels a day, meaning they'll add million throughout
So, another 600,000 coming off here, another million added here, it doesn't add up, Becky, you're not going to get a rally coming back to oil.
And, in fact, everybody suggest we could get to $50 by the end of the year. We're at $33 today, candidly, you can not see a rally with the demand that
we have today and all the uncertainty on growth because demand drops when growth drops, like in China, without a deal, without the big minds, Russia
and Saudi Arabia coming together.
ANDERSON: John Defterios at the CNN Money pump. Thank you, John.
CNN Money isn't just about television, though, folks, it's going to bring you the very latest online and digitally, too. Do head to
cnnmoney.com/oil. Stay one step ahead of everybody else with all of the latest on why this all matters.
ANDERSON: Live from the studios in Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, Pope Francis celebrating mass right now in
an area of Mexico stricken by poverty. The message he hopes to send during his travels coming up on this show.
And international hotel chain on the cutting edge when it comes to connecting to customers around the globe. We're going to take you behind
the scenes in our connectors series. That's next.
[11:25:24] KARIN TIMPONE, GLOBAL MARKETING OFFICER, MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL: I'm Karin Timpone, global marketing officer for Marriott International.
This is our team.
What I wanted to address when I came here is the ability to tell stories about our great brands.
So what we found, we listened to next generation travelers. And we heard that they're really interested in experiences, authentic experiences. We
determined that our messages integrated into their conversations was really a good way of going, right. It's a way of being connected on a regular,
daily basis with them.
MATTHEW GLICK, SENIOR DIRECTOR GLOBAL CREATIVE AND CONTENT MARKETING: I'm Matthew Glick, senior director global creative and content marketing.
We launched what we called NLive (ph), which is our real-time marketing and brand news room where we are looking for those pockets of opportunity to
engage on behalf of any of our 19 hotel brands with our customers and consumers.
So, this board is showing the conversation that's happening across traditional channels, social channels like Instagram or Twitter. We are in
here and we're constantly monitoring the chatter and the conversation that's happening on social and it's just bubbling up.
We noticed one day that there was a flurry of activity of people talking about the Wizard of Oz and ruby red slippers, right. And one of those
slippers was over at the Smithsonian museum and the other was over at the Judy Garland museum in Minneapolis. Well, they were snatched in the middle
of the night 10 years ago. And as we were approaching that anniversary, this anonymous donor came forward offering a $1 million reward.
And we were trying to figure out how could we in an organic way, enter that zeitgeist conversation. And we got Marriott Rewards to pony up 1 million
Marriott Rewards points if those slippers were to actually have been found. And we also took advantage of our largest digital billboard that we have in
Times Square. And so literally in a matter of moments in real time it also lit up with that activation looking for those slippers.
MITZI GASKINS, V.P. JW MARRIOTT AND RITZ CARLTON: I'm Mitzi Gaskins. And I'm the vice president of luxury brand management.
Well, we've interacted with In Live (ph) in several different ways. And the In Live (p) studio has really allowed us to tap into different ways to
engage with them and talk with our guests versus just kind of talking at them.
You know, while we like to think that they always have wonderful experiences, sometimes they don't, right. And sometimes they might tweet
about something that happened to them. And this -- you know, we're constantly monitoring that. so this gives us that ability to react while
the guest is still with us. So it's a great way for hotels to react to those type of issues.
TIMPONE: We bring together, whether it's promotions, events, social media and the team works really, really collaboratively across all these
different areas. By mixing all these things together, we believe we can have a targeted activity that is really good for a business. The idea is
ultimately, we want our messages about our hotels in the bloodstream of the conversations with our customers.
[11:32:06] ANDERSON: Well, right now Pope Francis is celebrating mass before a crowd of thousands in Mexico. We've been promising to get your
back to that. He is in the country's poorest state. These are live pictures coming to you.
A day after denouncing inequality and urging Mexico to become a land of opportunity in his words.
The pope has been taking on some fairly tough issues during his trip, calling on political and religious leaders to combat drug crime and put an
end to corruption.
Well, Shasta Darlington joining me now from Mexico City. Highly significant trip, not least for the reasons that we've been reporting on
over the past couple of days, Shasta. But also important to a certain extent as a sales pitch for the Catholic church. Are people in this part
of Mexico have in recent years turned away from the Catholic church towards evangelical Christianity.
So, perhaps no surprise that the pope is there drumming up support, correct?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky. It does tick a lot of the boxes as far as Pope Francis is concerned. On
the one hand it's the poorest state. We know he's trying to reach out and really embrace, bringing into the fold all those who feel like they have
been marginalized, thrown away, cast away, as he calls it.
It's also -- it's a state that has a lot of indigenous communities with strong cultures. And in fact, even before he left the Vatican on this
trip, he got authorization -- or he gave authorization for the sermons to be given in indigenous
languages, again embracing these communities, trying to pull them into the Catholic fold.
And I think a third point that's also important here, and that's that Chiapas is the state where thousands of central American migrants headed to
the United States. That's the main entry point for them.
So, these are all important issues for Pope Francis, things that we can expect him to be touching on today.
But also as you mentioned, because a lot of these indigenous communities have been turning towards the evangelical faith, this is a way for him to
bolster Catholicism in an area where it's really been fading, even though in general Latin America is one of the strongholds of the Catholic church,
ANDERSON: Yeah, we have been talking about the significance, haven't we?
And just as we watch live pictures here, we're talking about tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. I mean, one assumes there will be
certainly hundreds of thousands by the end of this trip who will have experienced Pope Francis in his midst?
DARLINGTON: That's right, Becky.
I mean, in some of thje bigger cities, here in Mexico City, also in the sprawling slum of Ecatapec just outside of Mexico City, we saw at least a
million people turn out each day just to just line the route that the pontiff takes
to get to his masses, to get to his different destinations, people who camp out overnight just trying to get a glimpse of him. So you can certainly
say that he'll see a few million Mexicans before this trip is over.
Of course, it ends in Ciudad Juarez, right across the border in El Paso, Texas where we expect some of the high points of the trip, where he'll be
talking -- giving this cross border mass and really hammering home what he considers the destructiveness of immigration, Becky.
ANDERSON: I think it's important to question just how much of an impact on the ground this trip might have, talk of corruption, of drug crime,
appealing to the Catholic church to do more.
There will be viewers, though, who will be asking just what sort of impact or change can his words really make at the end of the day?
DARLINGTON: I think it's a legitimate question and I think he's certainly fighting this fight on a number of fronts. He's going to be appealing to
officials in some explicit ways and some less explicit ways to take action to protect the poorest, to fight against drug trafficking. And it'll take
time to know whether or not they respond to that.
But he is also directing a lot of his speeches to the clergy here, telling them to not act like princes to get out there and in the muck and muck it
up. You know, a lot of the country priests are on the front line in the drug wars so how can can the bishops be sitting up in their high palaces?
And those people are certainly going to feel the heat. So, if we see some quicker reactions I imaging it would be on that front.
And again, just embracing the people, while this is a very Catholic country,
the presence of a pope and the presence of the pope in some places where they have never seen a pope is certain to bolster the Catholic church,
ANDERSON: Well, it's a windy day out there, but the pope, of course, is comping. Pope Francis celebrating mass before a crowd of thousands there.
Shasta Darlington joining us from Mexico City. Thank you, Shasta.
You're watching Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. 36 minutes past 8:00 here in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE.
A year ago, the death of an activist provoked anger in Egypt. Well, now the officer convicted in the killing has had his conviction overturned.
The latest in the legal battle is up next. Taking a short break, back after this.
[11:40:30] ANDERSON; You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Just checking my notes there. I certainly am
Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Her death at the hands of a police officer one year ago provoked anger in Egypt. Well, now the officer convicted in the killing of activist Shaima
al-Sabbagh has had his conviction overturned.
Now, Sabbagh was in Cairo's Tahrir Square in January of last year, when she was fatality shot. She was protesting on the anniversary of the uprising
that toppled the Egyptian President Hosni Nubarak back in 2011.
Before we cross to CNN's Ian Lee in Cairo for the latest on the case, a reminder of her last moments, and I've got to warn you, these images are
graphic. Some of you may find them disturbing. Our report from last year.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The final moments of a revolutionary. She fought for the rights of those killed during Egypt's
revolution only to join them.
Activists say police shot and killed Shaima al-Shabbagh while breaking up a peaceful protest in January.
Said Abu Ella (ph) held her in her final moments.
He tells me, "we found blood on Shaima's neck. She fell to the ground silent. Then I carried her across the street to this spot."
ANDERSON: Right. Well, CNN's Ian Lee joining me now from Cairo.
What's going on with this case, then, Ian?
LEE: Well, Becky, this was a rare moment of accountability here in Egypt where you had a police officer, the one what was accused of killing Shaima.
He was given a 15-year sentence last year, activists here celebrated it as rarely do police officers, are police officers found guilty of killing
protesters, hundreds of -- more than hundreds really of protesters have been killed and few have been held accountability.
But yesterday, a higher court ruled or overturned that conviction, saying that there wasn't substantial evidence, his lawyer argued that it was a
moment of chaos and that the police officer didn't intend to kill Shaima.
But this has a lot of people outraged as they say justice needs to be done, although I need to add, there is one more trial, an appeal in this case.
ANDERSON: Shaima's final moments caught on camera. And last year, of course, they went viral on social media. Ian, what is the reaction today
across social media?
LEE: A lot of people are angry, Becky, but at the same time, they say they saw this coming. They say that this is --one tweet talked about this being
the impunity that Egyptian police officers enjoyed. Another one talked about how this case was a rare moment where you saw a police officer held
accountable. And others were just sarcastic, believing that justice cannot be found here in
And there is that one more appeal where this police officer could still be found guilty, but
it fits a mold, really here, where you do see a lot of police officers who are acquitted and really never face justice for killing of protesters.
ANDERSON: There's been new developments and allegations of police brutality in the case of the Italian student, our viewers may remember
this, he was found dead in Cairo last week, meantime. Ian, what do we know about that case?
LEE: Well, this case can has been ongoing, the body was with the Italians. They were doing an autopsy there. And really some of the things that they
described that happened to Giulio Regini (ph) was quite disturbing, he had stab wounds, he had lacerations, his ears were mutilated, burn marks on the
body. The death blow came from a broken neck.
There are also reports that there was possibly electrocution to the body to him while he was alive as well. So really dying by torture.
Now, a lot of rights activists here say that the fingerprint that looks like it was the government that picked him up. There's been a lot of
accusations that plain clothed security picked him up and that he was tortured to death, although there hasn't been a case like this really in
recent Egyptian history where a foreigner was picked up and tortured to death. The government has come out and said that this didn't happen, that
they are looking for the suspects who have killed him. But right now there is an
Italian team in Egypt, trying to determine exactly what happened, trying to get to the truth of the matter, but really this is very disturbing.
This Italian student was in Egypt studying trade unions, a very sensitive subject here, so a lot of people are wondering what happened in his final
moments, what could have caused him to really be tortured to death.
[11:45:50] ANDERSON: Two disturbing cases. Ian Lee out of Cairo on them this evening. Ian, thank you.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has reported to prison to begin his sentence serving 18 months. He was found guilty of taking bribes when
he was Jerusalem's mayor before he became prime minister. Well, he has repeatedly denied any criminal wrongdoing.
Our Oren Liebermann joining me now from Jerusalem. What's been the reaction there?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was very much a sense of inevitability to all of this. This is a case that has
dragged on since the mid 90s, ever since Olmert was the mayor of Jerusalem. And now after Olmert exhausted his appeals through the court system it has
come to its conclusion, which was Olmert reporting to prison. Ward 10 of a prison called Masiahu (ph), which is just outside of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion
Olmert reported just before 10:00 this morning, which was the deadline set by the prison system. He was escorted in those final few feet between his
car and the prison system door by two of his secret service agents who walked him to the door and turned him over to the Israel prison
service,which will of course house him for at least the next 18 months.
Ward 10 is a special area, newly renovated, separated from the general prison population, because of Olmert's position as a former prime minister.
He has state secrets and the justice system here has determined that he cannot just come in to contact with other prisoners, especially those who
may have a background in something like organized crime or may have reason to harm him. So he will be separated.
Up until the very end, he insisted he is still innocent. In fact, he released a video before he went to prison this morning proclaiming his
innocence. Here is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EHUD OLMERT, FRM. ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): During my years
of activity, I also made mistakes, though I don't think they were of criminal form. For some of them I'm paying an expensive price, maybe too
expensive. With a heavy heart, I accept the sentence. There is no human that stands above the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: It could be that he spends even more than 18 months in jail because he has an ongoing legal case in the Talansky (ph) affair where he
was charged with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from an American businessmen. So, Becky, we may not see Olmert out of prison for
more than two years here.
All right, Oren. Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem for you this evening.
We of course are out of Abu Dhabi. It is 48 minutes past 8:00 here. This is Connect your World
with me Becky Anderson.
Coming up no business like show business, they say. Well, why Kanye West is asking the
founder of Facebook for help to get out of debt.
And is money the key to happiness? Well, that is one of the questions this lady may have to answer. Her job is to make people here in the UAE
happier. More on her new official role after this.
[11:50:26] ANDERSON: And have a look at this, some great video to show you from Florida. It's a mess -- yes, a mess -- of manatees, Sea Cows, as far
as the eye can see. Officially experts call it an aggregation of the endangered animals.
Nearly 400 of them were captured on camera huddling together in a warm Florida weather to beat what is the winter cold there.
Wildlife officials have closed down the part of the river temporarily to keep the gentle giants safe until temperatures warm up.
Remarkable stuff. Your watching CNN. This is Connect the World.
It is 10 to 9:00 here. Kanye West may have just launched a new clothing line and he has a new album due out. But he is currently grabbing
headlines for a very different reason. On the eve of his album's release, the rapper revealed on Twitter that he is $53 million in debt. He has
asked fans to pray for him and even turned to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for help.
What a story?
Well, thankfully we've got our CNN Money business correspondent Samuel Burke on the case for you to break it all down.
How can he be so successful and so in debt? Sort this out.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kanye's claim really defies gravity, especially in the entertainment world. Just a couple of years ago, Forbes
named him the 20th highest paid entertainer in the world. Last year he raked in $22 million, Becky.
And don't forget, he's married to Kim Kardashian, she pulled in more than $52 million last year.
So I think at the end of the day, Northwest and Saint West, their children will be just fine.
And listen, he has a brand-new album out, that means that he can tour and he also has it exclusively on TIDAL, the streaming music service, so they
probably paid him a premium for that.
All of that makes me think, Becky, he'll be just all right in the future.
ANDERSON: Yeah, his album certainly seems to be doing well for this streaming service TIDAL, right?
BURKE: Yeah, it's doing incredibly well. In fact just a few weeks ago, you won't even see TIDAL on the top apps in stores like iTunes or Google
Play. When I checked out my smartphone I looked up -- when I wok up this morning, I saw this, TIDAL is now number one, that is of course a
competitor to Spotify and Apple Music, created by Jay-Z, but Kanye West is one of the co-owners of it. So they're making great money, it looks like
there. It's also one of the top grossing apps now.
So, this just all proves, Becky, that content is king, whether it's Netflix or a streaming music service.
ANDERSON: All right. So, it sounds as if he's doing all right for himself. And yet he's -- he says he's in serious debt and he's asking
people to pray for him, turning to other rather rich men to sort him out. Is this all just a publicity stunt, do you think?
BURKE: One has to wonder, given everything that he said last week about Twitter about Taylor Swift. He said she gave me permission to talk about
her in this song, and then he said it wasn't even about her. So much of what he has said, and so much of the show that he's
putting on here in New York, this elaborate fashion show, the video game that he's launching, a lot of it seems like he wants a lot of attention and
boy, is he getting it.
ANDERSON: It's one way of getting it, I guess.
All right, thank you. Samuel Burke, CNN Money, business correspondent. And a reminder you
can always find the latest in business and tech news and a lot more on cnnmoney.com, that is cnnmoney.com.
And don't forget, you can get in touch with us, share your thoughts about the stories that we are covering, tweet me @beckycnn. That is @BeckyCNN.
Well, before we close out the show this evening, I want to take a look at a different kind of
politics here in the Middle East. This country, the UAE , the United Arab Emirates, swore in a new
cabinet this week. And one minister has perhaps the best job of all, she is tasked with putting a smile on all of our faces.
Jon Jensen has had a little fun putting this report together for you.
JON JENSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Remember this song? It may be so two years ago, but here in the UAE, being happy is now a thing of the future.
Introducing the country's newest cabinet member, the minister of happiness. Tthis woman, Ohood Al Roumi was sworn into the post this week, tasked with
creating social good and satisfaction in a decree by Dubai's ruler.
If you're wondering why anyone in this oil rich nation might need cheering up, just as Sona Bahri (ph).
[11:5:10] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want peace, love and happiness.
JENSEN: She teaches people how to be happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so meditation is also...
JENSEN: Sort of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can give you tools to make you happy, but you'll have to do the gardening yourself.
Our focus has become external.
JENSEN: Bahri (ph) runs meditation classes. And attendance has spiked 500 percent in the last few years, though students here, well, even they aren't
completely sure why.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I honestly don't know.
JENSEN: The United Nations measuring everything from a nation's generosity to its GDP compiles a world happiness report, a survey that measures how a
country's citizens view their well being.
The latest report ranks the UAE, number 20 in happiest countries.
It's certainly easy to see why here, on Abu Dhabi's Happiness island with its luxury hotels, villas and world class beaches.
Still, Bahri says rapid modernization and the increasingly fast pace of life here can affect relationships. And that's not the only thing.
BAHRI: The other thing that's making people unhappy is the fluctuating economy.
JENSEN: Oil may be down, but as Bahri says, money can't buy you happiness.
It's not entirely clear how the new ministry will function, though leaders here have said
there will be concrete plans to ensure the UAE remains among the happiest places in the world.
Jon Jensen, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
ANDERSON: All right, well, it got me smiling, no doubt that.
I live here in the UAE. And there are smiles on the faces of those who are celebrating a huge outdoor mass in Mexico's poorest state. That is where
the pope is. He's been in the country since Friday, tackling the issues of corruption, drug violence and poverty,
Much more on the pope's visit throughout the day here on CNN as you would expect.
I'm Becky Anderson from the team here, that is a very good evening. Thank you for watching
Connect the World.