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30 Dead After Two Explosions In Ankara Target Military; Tumbleweeds Invade Australian Town; James Bond's DB 10 Goes On Auction; Apple Refusing to Crack San Bernadino Shooter's iPhone Encryption. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired February 18, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:22] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Responding with force: Turkey hits Kurdish militants in Iraq after two deadly bombings at home. We're going

to get you a live report and analysis from Ankara this evening and from Moscow.

Also ahead, making history. Barack Obama will travel to Cuba in the first visit by a sitting U.S. president in nearly 90 year We'll get reaction in

Havana and in Washington.

And rolling in with the wind: how tumbleweeds, also known as hairy panic, take over an Australian town.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening from here, just after 8:00 in the evening.

Two days, two explosions and more than 30 people dead. Turkey is reeling from the latest attacks on its home turf. Six soldiers were killed in a

road side bombing that hit an armored military vehicle in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

Turkey has blamed the PKK, a Turkish separatist group. It comes less than 24 hours after explosion rocked the Turkish capital Ankara killing 28


Officials say that attack was carried out by a man from Syria with links to the YPG, the Kurdish fighting force in Syria.

Both the PKK and the YPG deny any involvement in these attacks.

All right, Turkey, quick to retaliate bombing Kurdish militant positions in northern Iraq. It's complicated. And it's already been targeting Kurdish

fighters in Syria.

Meantime, the Russian campaign in Syria has been escalating. It's a complex story. We're going to break it down from all angles. Arwa Damon

is standing by in Ankara, Matthew is in Moscow for you. They will join me in a moment.

First up, though, let's take a closer look at Turkey, its enemy battles that its currently waging.

CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson has spent many years there as bureau chief. He filed this report.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wednesday night's deadly bombing in the Turkish capital is just the latest in a series of terrorist

attacks targeting Turkey.

Deadly suicide bombings struck Istanbul last month, Ankara in October 2015 and the border town of Suruc in July 2015.

ISIS militants were linked to all three attacks which killed a combined total of at least 138 people.

Turkey is currently battling two determined armed enemies simultaneously -- ISIS and the PKK.

Turkish is supporting the U.S.-led coalition that is bombing ISIS in neighboring Iraq and Syria. But the battle against ISIS has moved on to

Turkish territory over the last year with the series of ISIS suicide bombings and the murders of several Syrian opposition activists by

suspected Islamist militants in Turkish cities.

Turkey's other main enemy is the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. They claim to represent Turkey's largest ethnic group, the Kurds, who make up an

estimated 20 percent of the Turkish population.

Kurdish militants have been battling the Turkish state off and on for some 30

years. A peace process crumbled last summer leading to fresh clashes in several towns and cities in southeastern Turkey. The Turkish security

forces have imposed controversial curfews on some predominately Kurdish cities contributing to a spike in ethnic tensions.

Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, vowed revenge after Wednesday's Ankara bombing. But his government faces a growing number of daunting


The country is politically polarized between people who love or loathe Erdogan. Turkey has been struggling to cope with close to 2 million

refugees who flooded across the border from Syria. And Turkey's strategy in Syria appears to be collapsing as Syrian government forces, supported by

Russia and Iran, appear to be on the verge of defeating Turkish-backed rebels in northern Syria.

For Turkey, a member of the NATO military alliance, it all adds up to a complicated, increasingly dangerous picture both at home and abroad.

Ivan Watson, CNN.


ANDERSON: Well, it is a very complex situation. I'm going to get to Matthew in Moscow in a moment, but first Arwa Damon in Ankara for you.

And you have just spoken, I know, to the Turkish authorities, Arwa. What have they been telling you?

[11:05:07] ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, Turkey views the YPG and the PKK as basically being the same thing as we

have been reporting.

And given what has happened here and the fact that Turkey is blaming, accusing the YPG of carrying out this attack this basically means that a

key U.S. ally in Syria just launched an attack against another key U.S. ally Turkey.

So we asked the spokesman for Turkey's prime minister what this meant for Turkey/U.S. relations at a time when arguably it is more critical than



OSMAN SERI, TURKISH PM SPOKESMAN: The relations with America for Turkey of course so important. You cannot deny it.

But I really wonder -- you know, right at this corner 28 Turkish citizens is

killed by PYD in Ankara. And how many more Turkish citizens should be killed by YPG, PYD, PKK together that our American friends should believe

that PYD is a terrorist organization.

DAMON: So, what are you telling the Americans? What are you asking the Americans to do? Ddo they have to choose Turkey or these other groups?

SERI: Look, they should make their choice about it, OK. Of course, we will continue to discuss, to talk with our American friends and we really

expect them to see this truth. They are saying that the YPG is giving a fighting with ISIS, with Daesh in Syria, and this is a very big lie, Arwa.

This is lie.

DAMON: So what happens next for Turkey? What are Turkey's next moves to try

to secure itself against this and the various other threats and to try to navigate politically speaking the situation that it's in?

SERI: Look, we are already shelling the northern Syrian border and the international community was making some calls to stop this shelling.

I really hope that they are seeing right now why we were doing this. And we continue to do this and Turkey has legitimate rights to protect its own

security, security of its citizens. Inside the country we will of course take necessary security measures to stop this terrorist organization, but

also we will do some maybe cross border things, but we, Turkey, knows how, when, where and what to do

about it.

DAMON: Cross border, you mean actual troops on the ground across the border?

SERI: Look, we don't want to take any unilateral action about it. We are talking to allies to take necessary measures. We are screaming, shouting

for years about no-fly zone, safe zone, security zone, whatever you call it. And the later we do it, the cost will be much bigger for everybody.


DAMON: And, Becky, the situation is phenomenally complicated with battle lines not necessarily being all that clear. And alliances that exist

incredibly murky. But all of this, it seems, every single act of violence is just

perpetuating even more, not just necessarily in Syria or in Turkey, but eventually acts of violence that are going to have a much more significant

ripple on effect of these various different underlying issues are not dealt with at a fundamental level.

ANDERSON: Arwa, thank you for the time being.

I want to get to Russia and to Moscow. Russia, of course, backing the Syrian regime, they say against terrorists in Syria, others will say

against the regimes' opponents.

Matthew, experts I'm speaking to in the region calling this uptick in Kurdish separatist action in Syria opportunist, creating more havoc, they

say, at a time when we were promised a cease-fire just hours from now, in fact. And they blame Russia for supporting the Kurds in all of this. What

is the Russian strategy here?


I think the short answer to that in terms of the strategy that Russia has when it comes to the future of Syria is that it wants to win, rather it

wants its Syrian ally, Bashar al-Assad, to win and to regain control over most, if not all of the country. And it's doing whatever it takes to

achieve that very narrow, very focused objective.

Now, it says it's bombing terrorists. It defines terrorist, essentially, as most of the groups that are opposed to Bashar al-Assad, which it says is

the best force in Syria to fight terrrorism.

And it's carrying out these ruthless and ferocious airstrikes against the positions of the Syrian government's opponents. And that strategy is

yielding results. Just six months ago, Bashar al-Assad was staring at defeat squarely in the face. Now, the Syrian government is taking

territory, it is poised to take Aleppo. And the scattering of rebels that opposed him, certainly the non-ISIS, non-al Nusra Front rebels, are really

being dispersed in four directions before the might of the Russian air force.

And so their strategy is paying dividends at the moment.

[11:10:15] ANDERSON: Would it be fair to say that some of this is to spite their foe President Erdogan? This relationship has deteriorated to --

well, I can't describe how it's deteriorated. I mean, the relationship between Turkey

and Russia is awful at present.

CHANCE: It is. And it's actually reached a very worrying situation, because we heard there from that Turkish official that Arwa was

interviewing that the Turks now as a result of the latest bombing in Ankara are considering cross border action, although it didn't specify what that

action might be.

But you're right. I mean, the YPG, the Kurds in northern Syria, are backed essentially by the Russians as well. They have been carrying out

airstrikes in support of YPG advances in that northern area of Syria. And so if the Turks do cross the border, they face the prospect of coming face

to face with the Russians, which is a frightening prospect indeed where we will have the Russians on the one hand in potentially direct conflict with

Turkey, a NATO member.

And so that's something that is, as I say, a terrifying prospect for how this

conflict could develop in the weeks and the months ahead.

ANDERSON: Appreciate your analysis, as ever Matthew. Thank you.

Matthew is in Moscow for you. And you have been listening to Arwa Damon out of Ankara.

I'm going to have a lot more on the tensions here in the Middle East. I'm going to take a closer look at the dynamics of the Syrian battleground as

neighboring countries push their own political agendas. And I'm going to speak to Faisal al-Yafai who is a chief columnist at the National Newspaper

here in Abu Dhabi about the region's powerhouses, their proxy wars, and the fight against ISIS. All that is after the break. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Right. You're with me in the UAE. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Now to our top story. And Wednesday's deadly bombing in the Turkish capital Ankara has drawn a strong response with the the president there

vowing to go after those that Turkey believes are responsible.

Well, as recent events suggest, that may have wider regional implication implications.


ANDERSON: Another deadly bombing in the heart of Turkey's capital, this time targeting military forces in Ankara.

This is the the latest in a series of deadly bombings to hit Turkey over the past year as it gets dragged deeper into the war in neighboring Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pointing the finger for Wednesday's blast at Kurdish separatists and has vowed to go after them

both at home and across the border in northern Syria.

Although the Syrian Kurdish political party, the PYD, has denied responsibility.

[11:15:22] ALAN SEMO, UK REPRESENTATIVE, PYD: It is the main reason and the main pretext that Turkey want to go interfere in northern Syrian

militarily. And therefore blaming the Kurds, the PYD, and the Kurdish forces.

ANDERSON: There are other concerns for Turkey. Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran appear to be on the verge of defeating Turkish-

backed rebels in northern Syria.

Somewhat cornered then, say experts, Ankara is pushing to boost alliances with Middle Eastern powers, specifically Saudi Arabia. The two

predominately Sunni nations have said they are willing to send ground troops into Syria with plans to move Saudi war planes to Turkey's Incirlik


And the prospect of direct military engagement by them has worried other regional players.

Oh, I think we are having technical problems with that piece. Apologies for that.

Well, look, it's worth mentioning that no one has yet claimed responsibility

for that attack. Joining me now to discuss all of this is Faisal Al Yafai from the National Newspaper here in Abu Dhabi.

Now, I want to start with this. So far as Syria is concerned, and then we're going to get to the wider picture, what are the consequences of what

Erdogan's critics will describe as his expansionist strategy gone awry? A Turkish president now backed into a corner, some experts say, and looking

to Riyadh for increased support these days.

FAISAL AL YAFAI, THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER: Well, you're right, certainly that they have put themselves in a position where it is going to be very

hard to back down now that they're sending shells across into this Kurdish separatist

area. They are attacking this group that they say is allied with their own Kurdish separatists, the PKK. It's a very, very complex moving situation.

And of course right across the border, you have the Russians bombing Syrian rebels. So, it looks like it's a kind of scenario that can very, very

easily go wrong.

As we saw earlier when the Turks shot down a Russian plane.

ANDERSON: You wrote about Saudi Arabia's defense strategy in The National. It was a great op-ed, I have to say. Saying, and I quote, "the Northern

Thunder joint military exercises are a pointed message to its adversaries, whether states (Iran), regimes (Syria or groups (ISIL)."

With so many apparent threats, Faisal not much hope of peace in this region at this piont.

AL YAFAI: Definitely not.

And peace seems to be slipping even further away.

Today -- tomorrow, in fact, was meant to be the beginning of some form of peace process. Two weeks ago they told us in Geneva that we'd have a peace

process a week after a ceasefire. What has changed is that Russians are seeking to change

facts on the ground. They have cut the supply lines from Turkey into Aleppo. They might be trying to starve parts of Aleppo.

This cannot be tolerated in the region. We saw what happened with Madaya. We saw what's happened with other parts of Syria.

ANDERSON: Staying with your piece, you go on to say, and again I quote, "Saudi Arabia is gathering its allies close preparing to deepen ties

between it and the Muslim World." That's the heart of this, isn't it, control and influence in the Islamic world? With that in mind, will there

ever be hopes of peace as long as there is this Sunni/Shia divide, this Sunni, Saudi Arabia and a Shiite Iran?

AL FAISAL: Well, I don't see it as existential Sunni-Shiite divide. I see it as completely rooted in the politics of the region. And I think that

there is, of course there is a possibility of peace. But peace can only come when certain things have changed. When the regime of Assad has

stopped attacking its own people, when ISIL has left, when the expansion of Iran has ended.

These are the only scenarios that the Gulf states are trying to bring about. And the allies in the region -- when you rightly say that the

Saudis are gathering a lot of this coalition, they are trying to send a strong message that if they have to go to war, if they have to defend

themselves, they will not do so alone.

ANDERSON: If they have to go to war, they are not going to have to defend themselves from what is going on in Syria thousands of miles away in

Riyadh, are they?

You know, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, various other countries in the Gulf have invested quite a lot of time and energy and money in what is going on, for

example, in Syria. But they haven't invested an awful lot of man power. There's a sense that they are so far away flexing muscles with military

exercises in Saudi is one thing, but when President Erdogan tries to foster alliances, which

let's remember, he had terrible relations with Riyadh until about, what, nine or ten months ago. He's trying to foster relations so that he might

get boots on the ground in Syria.

Is he going down the right path here? Is that realistic?

[11:20:02] AL FAISAL: Well, let's start with the contention that this is a problem that is far away. The Saudis and the Gulf states do not see it

like that. The Saudis look across one of their borders to the south and they see Iranian interference in Yemen. They look to the north and they

see ISIL in Iraq and in Syria. Iraq that is falling under the sway of Iran, and a problem in Syria that is he going to expand. So when you say

that they think that this is a problem that's far away, they do not.

They see that it is a problem that will bleed across their border, across other Arab border that and into the European countries.

ANDERSON: Very briefly, somebody I spoke to last night said this isn't going away, this could be three or four generations before the Middle East

is back to where it ought to be.

AL FAISAL: I'm always optimistic about the politics of the region. I always think that the region can be solved in a matter of years. I don't

think that this is a generational, two, three, four generational struggle. It is a problem that can be solved with politics, it was created by

politics and with wise leadership, with good politics, we can resolve it. We can resolve it in a handful of years.

Look, it took only a handful of years for this problem to come about. It could be solved in just as many years.

ANDERSON: Faisal al-Yafai, always a pleasure, thank you for joining us.

Chief columnist at the National Newspaper here in the UAE. Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, an Egyptian official says

it's time to lift a flight ban on Sharm el-Sheikh airport months after the downing of a Russian airliner. That story is coming up for you.

And President Obama breaks news on Twitter announcing a trip to Cuba next month. It will be the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to Cuba in

nearly 90 years. More on that later this hour.


ANDERSON: A warm welcome back to the show, Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.

All right, Egypt's tourism industry still reeling months after the crash of a Russian jetliner in the Sinai. Now, a leading official from Egypt's

government tells CNN the airport in Sharm el-Sheikh is secure, and it is ready to welcome the world. Ian Lee explains.


IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The remains of the MetroJet 9268, 224 passengers and crew perished in Egypt's Sinai. Russia, the U.S.

and UK blamed terrorism. ISIS claimed responsibility. Egypt says the investigation is still under way.

Experts scrutinize security at the departing airport in Sharm el-Sheikh. Moscow and London banned flights. Three months later, Egypt's south Sinai

governor insists it's time to resume flights.

"We've completed all the security measures that should be in place at the airport and the city," he says. "The ball is now in the court of the

countries to resume flights."

Airport officials say the screening process is more rigorous. Every passenger receives a thorough patdown. Even employees and security

personnel unlike before.

20 percent of bags receive a random search. Officials doubled the number of security personnel. Bomb sniffing dogs now perform from the entrance to

baggage handling. And more cameras monitor every movement. The few passengers still flying expect long lines.

The new measures are meant to prevent a bomb like this homemade bomb that ISIS says blew up the Russian plane.

Recent reports suggest an airport employee smuggled in the explosive.

"Every employee has been screened and investigated," the governor tells me. "But no one has arrested. No Egyptian has been held responsible for this

as has been reported. I completely refute all reports.

Officials say everything now entering the service entrance is scannd as well.

one of the new security measures since the October crash that we can't show you are the army special forces that not only secure inside the airport,

but also around it.

Russia's minister of transport commented on the situation it depends on the Egyptian side when they create necessary conditions that will meet the

safety requirements we will check them, make sure, and then resume the flights immediately.

Egypt says it's ready to go. Now it needs to convince others to get on board.

Ian Lee, CNN, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.


ANDERSON: Well, the latest news headlines are just ahead, as you would expect at the bottom of the hour here on CNN.

Plus, privacy versus national security, a decision by Apple not to help unlock a terrorist's iPhone has launched a fierce debate in the United

States. I'm going to get you more on that in a few minutes. Do stay with us. Taking a very short break. Back after this.



[11:30:09] ANDERSON: A fierce debate is underway in the U.S. over personal privacy and whether it trumps national security concerns. Tech gian Apple

says it is opposing a court order to help the FBI break into the iPhone of one of the

shooters in the San Bernadino terrorist attack.

Well, let's bring in CNN Money's technology correspondent Laurie Segall joining me live from New York.

This was always going to be divisive as soon as we found out about this case. Explain what's going on and what's being said.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY: Oh, it's a fascinating one, Becky. I mean, this is a debate we continue to have. We talk about privacy and

protection, how do we balance the two. Where do you stand on either of these issues? And now this one particular case, this one case happening

here in the United States, has the ability to set major precedent. Take a look.


SEGALL (voice-over): It's a move Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling unprecedented and a threat to the security of customers. A judge is

ordering Apple to help the FBI break into a cell phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI is asking to disable an iPhone security

feature that locks out users and erases the phone's data after the wrong password is entered ten times.

Cook says that would mean building a new operating system with the potential to unlock any iPhone. He says if the FBI could use it as a

backdoor into your iPhone, hackers could too.

He's spoken openly about this in the past.

TIM COOK, CEO, APPLE: There have been people that suggest that we should have a backdoor. But the reality is if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor

is for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.

MIKE WALLACE, 60 MINUTES: Help me understand how you get to the government's dilemma.

COOK: I don't believe that the trade-off is privacy...

WALLACE: Versus security.

COOK: ...versus national security.

SEGALL: The White House spokesman disputed it would open the door to all phones.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They are not asking Apple to redesign its product or to create a new backdoor to one of their products.

They're simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device.

SEGALL: Using other means like cell phone tower data, the FBI has been able to extract location data from the shooter's phone. They are hoping to gain

more valuable information.

But security experts say this particular move could have implications for regular civilians.

DAVID KENNEDY, SECURITY RESEARCHER: This basically reduces the security over all iPhone devices and platforms and wouldn't be the most secure

platform out there today.

SEGALL: Putting Apple in the position of choosing between the fight of terrorism and the fight against hackers. Given Apple's choice it's not only

facing a legal fight but a reputation battle that's even hit the campaign trail.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To think that Apple won't allow us to get into her cell phone, who do they think we are? Now, we have to

open it up. This is one case and this is a case that certainly we should be able to get into the phone.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you passed a law in the U.S. that says we don't allow encryption, there's already existing software

that will remain in place and we can't control what foreign countries, what's designed in other countries.

SEGALL: Bringing center stage on an election year a debate on privacy versus protection, more relevant than ever in the digital age.


SEGALL: What's interesting is Apple has cooperated with the government in the past, but they

have done this -- and someone explained it to me and a kind of light bulb went off, they have done this with a different operating system. So, they

have been able to extract data in the past for older phones operating under iOS 7.

Now, what makes this case interesting is this -- is the suspect had iOS 9 and theyhave security features baked in that don't allow for that same type

of data extraction. So, the difference here is Apple is saying they would actually have to build the code, build that software. And you have privacy

experts saying, well, could this set precedent. Does this give -- does this give the government the ability to

force Apple to write code. And that's all what's being laid out. So, that's why this case is so important for future cases, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Fascinating. All right, thank you for that.

U.S. President Barack Obama formerly restored ties with Cuba in the middle of 2015. Well, now he's taking another major step forward, talking -- let

me start again. I'm not doing very well tonight -- taking to Twitter to announce that he will visit the island nation next month. The last sitting

U.S. president to visit Cuba was Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

We're covering the story from all angles as you would expect here on CNN. Chris Frates reporting from the White House, our Patrick Oppmann is in

Havana, Cuba.

Stand by, Patrick.

Chris, it's been a long time in the making that he's been accused by some on the Republican side as acting as an apologist and demonstrating weakness

and appeasement to America's enemies. What is the White House reaction to all of this?

CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, you know you kind of saw it in that

tweet that you just showed on the screen. The whole message is tailored to the fact that this change in

policy is going to benefit the Cuban people and that has been the argument of this administration that if you open up relationships, then that's

what's going to change Cuba. The product of isolation has just been 50 years of Communist rule and you need to open up the borders

here. And That's what you saw with President Obama's tweet.

And they are making that argument. They are saying not only is there more American money from Cubans here in America going to the island in

remittance, they are talking about more travel as well. And they point out that travel from Americans is up 54 percent since they started to relax those

restrictions back in December of 2014. That person to person contact is huge.

They also just this week struck a deal with the Cuban government and the U.S. government for direct flights for the first time in a long time from

America to Cuba, up to 110 direct flights. And they say this kind of engagement is also prodding the Cuban government along. You're seeing the

Cuban government opening up the internet a little bit more, doing more wi- fi hot spots and all of that openness is going to help grow the private sector in Cuba and it's through that engagement that they are going

to get the kinds of results they want.

One other thing that's interesting to point out. He's going to go on March 21 and 22, Becky, he's going to meet with President Raul Castro, but he's

also going to meet with everyday Cubans, entrepreneurs, other people on the island and get a sense of what does the island want to hear from him.

And I can tell you, when I was there in the summertime, huge excitement to have the president come. In fact, the Cuban people would love to see

congress lift that embargo. The administration would also no shot of that happening any time soon with Republicans still in control of the House and

Senate, Becky, but that's certainly what this administration is trying to nudge both the American

government and Cuban government toward, which is more openness.

ANDERSON: Yeah, all right, standby then, Chris. I want to our man in Havana. Patrick, late last year as we've been discussing, Mr. Obama said he

hoped this trip might help nudge the government -- the Cuban government in the right direction. Is this a U.S. president who will be feted in Havana

and elsewhere?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, both sides have such different agendas here for the Cuban government to have President

Obama come here. It shows that they are no longer the isolated pariah state that -- until not too long ago that they were and have President

Obama come here and as we'd expect call for the lifting of the U.S. embargo, that's a huge win.

Of course, he will meet with members of civil society. We expect as President Obama had said that he wants to meet a cross-section of Cubans

and that can probably include dissidents, which the Cuban government won't like here. And this is clearly President Obama is setting himself up for

his Nixon to China moment. If we do see fundamental change come to Cuba in the not too distant future, if the inefficient state-run economy does

undergo massive change, well President Obama can take credit for that.

But, you know, for the Cuban government's side of things, in looking at Venezuela, which has been a major sponsor for this country's economy, and

the problems they're having there, they have got to turn some (inaudible) in the United States despite the deep political differences is the logical

source for capital for this country. And we're seeing, whether it's tourism or investment, despite the U.S. embargo, increasingly the capital

is coming from the U.S.

ANDERSON: So, as you've been talking, some of our viewers have been seeing some pictures of Raul Castro and the president of the United States in not

a very exciting environment sitting in a room on what it seems somewhere in Washington. Look, I guess it may be at the White House. One assumes that

it's going to be a lot more fun, a lot more festive then when the U.S. president arrives in Havana. He'll do more than just sort of sit and chat.

What is being prepared for him? What sort of festivities should we expect, or should he expect?

OPPMANN: You know, I think you'll hear polite applause from Cuban officials, from the Cuban people there's already a sense of exuberance.

You have to remember, Becky, that the majority of this island has some African heritage. Many of the people look at President Obama and the see

themselves as someone who has risen to the ranks and has become U.S. president. And they identify with him much more closely than perhaps their

elderly leadership here.

So I think this is one of the concerns that the Cuban government has is how much excitement there will be from regular Cubans who have never

experienced anything like this in their lives. You know, talking to Cubans today, even though we heard rumors of this visit for months now, President

Obama said he wanted to come here.

Now that it's confirmed, many Cubans just really have to pinch themselves that they never expected this in their lifetimes. Most Cubans, of course,

being born after the revolution. They've only known, despite their own feelings, a sense of tension and Cold War animosity between their country

and the U.S.

Although most Cubans have nothing but a lot of love for the U.S. -- sports stars and entertainment stars. They have family in the U.S., so to have

President Obama come here is something completely unexpected and it will probably concern the government how much joy there is in the streets once

he lands here.

[11:40:26] ANDERSON: Our man in Havana is Patrick Oppmann and our man in Washington tonight Chris Frates. To both of you, thank you very much,


Still to come, the American dream, Denmark style, or Danish style. We'll see how Bernie Sanders' vision of a better society takes a cue from

northern Europe.



SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS): Both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are following this pattern that whenever anyone points to their actual record, to what

they have said, to what they have voted on, to what they've done, they start screaming liar,liar, liar. I

mean, it is the oddest thing.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: Well, I said he's been lying because if you say something that isn't true and you say it over and over again and you

know that it's not true, there's no other word for it. And when it's about your record, you have to clear it up, because if you don't then people say,

well then it must be true. he didn't dispute it.


ANDERSON: Well, some key moments there from CNN's town hall with three of the

Republican candidates for U.S. president. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson all sat down with one at a time with CNNs Anderson Cooper taking

questions from the audience in South Carolina.

Now, they have less than 48 hours to put a dent in Donald Trump's bit lead in that state before the Republican primary there begins. The candidates

defended their records, some as we heard denying accusations of lying.

But for the most part, they stayed above the fray avoiding personal attacks and focusing on policy.

Let's get you more from Phil Mattingly. He's live in Greenville, South Carolina.

And Phil, Marco Rubio needed a boost after his debate performance in New Hampshire. Did he gain any momentum last night?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it looks like it. And that primarily comes from the endorsement of Nikki Haley, the state's very

popular governor, has about an 80 to 85 percent approval rating in the state.

It was the endorsement that every establishment candidate wanted. Marco Rubio was able to lock it up.

Now, as you mentioned, he needed it coming out of New Hampshire, a disappointing fifth place

finish, a very, very bad debate performance. His team now feels like they have got some of the wind at their back. Polling showing they're moving in

to around second place, perhaps passing Ted Cruz. The endorsement, they expect, will help them on that front.

But again, you mentioned, Becky. Donald Trump up double digits and nobody looks like they are going to be to cut too much into that lead.

ANDERSON: How about these other two? You've got Donald Trump, John Kasich and Jeb Bush got their turn in the spotlight later, that's Friday at 11:00

a.m. in London. What can we expect from those three?

[11:45:16] MATTINGLY: Well, what's most interesting about Donald Trump right now is he's so far ahead in this state that it doesn't look like

there's anything he can say or do that would actually hurt him. It's the other two candidates you really need to keep an eye on.

Now, obviously Donald Trump at the CNN town hall will most certainly be entertaining. He always is. But for John Kasich and Jeb Bush, the former

governor of Florida, the current governor in Ohio for Kasich, this is a crucial moment for them. Jeb Bush has really staked the future of his

campaign on doing well in South Carolina. He brought his brother, the former president George W. Bush, down. He's campaigning with his mom,

Barbara Bush, today. If he does not do well here, there's a very good chance his campaign comes to an end.

Now, John Kasich had a very good performance in New Hampshire, not playing heavily down in South Carolina, but his team trying to keep some momentum

going until he can get into the Midwest, states that are like Ohio where he's the governor, Michigan, Illinois, so both of those candidates very

interesting to watch. Another key component, Becky, Marco Rubio, if he wants to move forward, he needs those guys to get out. He needs the

establishment to start to coalesce around him. What happens here on Saturday could be a very interesting moment if that's going to start


ANDERSON: And, Phil, just remind our viewers for those who may not understand the

machinations yet, but they will if they stick with CNN throughout the year of this run up to the election in 2016 November. It's a busy time for

these presidential contenders, a busy time for political correspondents like yourself.

Just how important is South Carolina?

MATTINGLY: It depends on the campaign you're running. But these first couple states, South Carolina now the second primary, the third overall

contest, afterwards candidates will go to Nevada. What this process is early on is the winnowing of candidates. We started with 17 candidates,

now you're down to 6. And that's the process that plays out over those early states.

The most important part of South Carolina, Becky, is really setting up candidates for what happens next. After this contest, after Nevada, which

comes a couple days later, this becomes a national race. You need resources to be able to play all over the country, all 50 states. And so

how people do here largely determines how donors are going to react, how much money they're going to have in their bank accounts, and where they

plan on going next.

So, no question about it, Becky, South Carolina a huge state, obviously the third contest after this comes Nevada, but how they do here will really

kind of set the pathway for what happens over the next couple months in this nomination race.

ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. Good stuff. Thank you for that.

You have heard the first group of Republican candidates, as Phil and I began talking then make their case. Don't miss round two of our South

Carolina town halls. John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump. Will get their turns in the spotlight. That is Friday, 11:00 in London, 3:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi only on CNN.

All right, well, the Democratic candidates won't compete in South Carolina until a week after the Republicans. Their next contest is out west in


Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both appealing for last-minute votes ahead of Saturday's caucuses and neither can take anything for granted.

Now, this race is a dead heat, as you'll know, with the latest CNN/ORC poll showing them

just 1 percentage point apart.

Many people underestimated Sanders's candidacy. You may have done yourselves, believing yourself proclaimed democratic socialist wouldn't

stand a chance. Sanders is energizing a lot of people, isn't he, with his vision of the American dream that ironically perhaps takes inspiration from


Chris Moody explains why Sanders believes the U.S. could learn a lot from Denmark.


CHRIS MOODY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie Sanders has talking about Denmark for years. We came here to find out what the buzz is all about.

Most people say the United States could never be like Denmark. It's too diverse, too big. It just wouldn't work.

BO LIDEGAARD, EXECUTIVE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, POLITIKEN: It's not a paradise or a society free of conflict or social tension. But it is a society where the

government takes care of Social Security, health and education, and this is free for all.

ANDERS AGNER PEDERSEN, EDITOR, KONGRESSEN.COM; The whole part about what kind of role government plays and the whole level of taxes is so different

compared to what we do, compared to what you do. So in that sense, it's hard to see that the Danish model could be completely transformed into an

American scale, at least not without a massive political fight.

LARS CHRISTENSEN, DANISH ECONOMIST: I think this system is possible because we essentially are all the same. Maybe if you wanted to introduce such a

scheme in Utah, then you could do some of that. But doing it across the U.S., I find it completely and utterly impossible just for the sheer fact

that Americans are so different.


[11:50:08] ANDERSON: One thing Sanders may not like about Denmark is the way it's handling the refugee crisis in Europe.

The country has come under fire for essentially rolling up the welcome mat, adopting policies that attempt to dissuade refugees and migrants from

settling there.

Bernie Sanders wants the United States to resettle at least 10,000 refugees who are escaping the war in Syria.

You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. It's a Thursday evening here in Abu Dhabi. Coming up, a hairy panic invades a town in

rural Australia. We'll tell you what it is, up next.

And if you have a spare $2 million lying around, you could be owner of this famous car.


ANDERSON: Well, one of the issues that's crept up in the U.S. election debate so far has been that of Muslims in America.

Now, a special CNN project has launched online offering an insight into just what it means to be a Muslim and an American. Some incredible real

life stories on there, so do check it out. That's at

Welcome back, you're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE. It is 52 minutes past 8:00 on a Thursday evening. Car

collectors in London are expected to pay up to $2 million for an Aston Martin. That may seem excessive, but this isn't just any car, it's an

Aston Martin built specifically for James Bond in the film Specter. And it is going under the hammer for


Kellie Morgan has more.


KELLIE MORGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Aston Martin DB 10, it could only be one man's car.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The DB 10 that we are selling it's one of 10 that was made specifically for the film.

MORGAN: But this is the only one that's for sale, the featured piece of an auction of 24 props from the latest Bond film "Spectre."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Magnificent, isn't she? Zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds.

MORGAN: Aston Martin is synonymous with Bond, the current choice for the spy for 50 years. This one is special, it's designed by Daniel Cray himself

and comes complete with an eject button.

(on camera): How much do you expect to get?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The auction estimate is 1.5 million pounds but we've had enormous interest already from across the world.

MORGAN (voice-over): That's around $2 million, quite a sum, given whoever parts with the cash won't be able to drive the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not roadworthy. So it can be driven on a private estate or on a racetrack.

MORGAN (on camera): At least whoever buys the Bond car will appreciate it. In the film, Bond destroys the DB 10 within minutes when he ditches it in

the tiger river in Rome. He also shows little respects for another profit off of her, the Tom Ford white Hennessey (ph).

(voice-over): The suit has a minimum price tag of almost $29,000.

Also on the block, a token of villainy. This "Spectre" ring is expected to tell for between $5,000 and $9,000. It was worn by Bond's nemesis.

The auction itself has only good intentions, though, with the proceeds destined for charity.

[11:55:09] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's really important to production and the whole team is to actually give something back, which this auction does

in such a special way.

MORGAN: Kellie Morgan, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Just in time for your Parting Shots this evening. A town in rural Australia is fighting a nasty invader: they call it the hairy panic.

Kate Jones of Australia's 7 News explains what homeowners are battling.


KATE JONES, 7 NEWS: Like a Ghostbuster, a man wades in bravely to attack the inhuman intruder. The enemy is tumbleweed, truckloads of it. It's

invaded every home in the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a table and eight chairs and a day bed, and probably a few plants.

JONES: Weeds sit cloud-like in front yards and back, in gardens and garages, with each breath of wind more tumbles in.

UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: I spent eight hours cleaning up the tumbleweed. And this is what I've got today.

JONES: The weeds of wangaratta (ph) are world class, holding their own against Texas tumblers. Our native grass is called hairy panic, not that

it's quite panic stations yet, though it is stressful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is frustrating you know that you have got a good couple hours work ahead of you and it's always sort of displeasing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's physically draining and mentally more draining.

JONES: Locals say the tumbleweed has been around for a couple years, but with dry conditions this summer is by far the worst.

They suspect it's coming from a nearby paddock that a farmer has failed to maintain. The council can't help, because it's not considering a fire

risk, leaving home owners to put up and clean up indefinitely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By that time you're ready to drive off and not come back.

JONES: Kate Jones, 7 News.


ANDERSON: Tumbleweeds gone wild.

You can always follow the stories that we're working on throughout the day. I'm sure that one will be on the Facebook page for you. If you want to see it again, you can tweet me @BeckyCNN. You'll know if you are a regular viewer of the show.

It's Thursday evening. That's it from us for the week.

CNN, of course, continues after this short break so stick around. I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Thank you for watching. From

the team here, it's a very good evening.