Return to Transcripts main page


Aid Workers in Syria Dodge Airstrikes to Deliver Help; Fox News Cancels Republican Debate After Trump, Kasich Drop Out; The UAE's Happiness Minister; The Middle East's All-Female Rally Team Speed Sisters; Brussels Still on High Alert. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired March 17, 2016 - 11:00:00   ET


[11:00:17] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Going their own way: Syrian Kurds declare a new federal region in the north of the country.

Next, what this means for the future of Syria and its neighbors.

Also ahead tonight...


LULA DA SILVA, FRM. PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): Hello?

DILMA ROUSSEFF, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): Lula, let me tell you something.

DA SILVA (through translator): Say it, my dear.

ROUSSEFF (through translator): Here's the thing, I'm sending Bessias with the document so we have it, and just use it.


ANDERSON: The telephone call that's brought protesters across Brazil to the streets. Find out why the country is up in arms again over

corruption allegations. That's coming up.

And just what does it take to be happy? We'll put that question for UAE's minister of state for happiness a little later in the hour. When

Ohood Al Roumi joins me for an exclusive interview.

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

ANDERSON: And we begin this evening with fast moving developments related to the turmoil in Syria.

The country's three Kurdish-controlled regions have voted to approve a new federal system in the north. You can see the areas marked on this map,

but the Syrian government contends that the vote has no legal value.

We also know the Sunni extremist group ISIS controls large amounts of territory in Syria and of course in Iraq and now U.S. secretary of state

John Kerry is accusing the terror group of genocide because of its religiously motivated attacks on minority groups in both countries.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Daesh is genocidal by self- proclamation, by ideology, and by actions -- in what it says, what it believes and what it does.


ANDERSON: Well, this is the first time that the United States has declared a

genocide since the Darfur, Sudan in 2004.

Elise Labott joining me now live with more details from Washington. And Nick Paton Walsh standing by reporting on the Kurdish angle from

Istanbul in Turkey this evening.

Let me start with you, Elise. The U.S. is declaring ISIS actions in Iraq and in Syria as genocide. What does that kind of rhetoric translate

to in terms of action?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it doesn't obligate the U.S. to do anything legally this determination of genocide, but I think

what it does is give weight to calls for more action against ISIS, certainly someone like Secretary

of State John Kerry has been looking for more aggressive military action against ISIS, also to end the crisis in Syria.

So -- and I also think it will put pressure on the administration to welcome more refugees, particularly these minorities to the United States.

And I don't think it gives the U.S. any legal obligation, but certainly it's a very significant moral determination that will put the onus on the

U.S. to do more.

ANDERSON: Standby, Elise. I want to get to Nick for the second part of what is our top story tonight, and that is the Syrian Kurds declaring


How significant a move is this, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, it sounds big on paper, but you have got to bear in mind what is actually

happening on the ground in Syria now.

The Syrian Kurds in the north have had their own de facto autonomy in those three areas, which they've claimed as part of this new federal area

for quite some time.

Now, they have had a kind of coexistence alongside the regime to the northeast in an area called Kamishli (ph) where there have been Syrian

regime soldiers for quite some time. This relationship may be perhaps under greater stress, because this move to declare this new system of

governance, bear in mind, they are not leaving Syria and they're not declaring an independent homeland so to speak. It's suggesting a new way

of governing those parts of Syria, which they say they're are in and other ethnicities, they say, are welcome in as well.

It's a bid to play into the talks in Geneva, run by the UN, to which the

Kurds are not invited. Russia would like to see them there, but they are not part of that discussion.

So, here they are trying to inject themselves into the narrative by saying we're moving ahead with our own notions of autonomy. The U.S. came

out openly against this notion of greater federalization. It's not something Damascus buys into. So, we're not seeing the break up of the

country, but they are perhaps adding fuel to ideas floated by U.S. officials and even some of at the UN as part of these peace talks.

So, maybe one solution could be some element of a federal breakup of Syria down the line. That's not something anybody wanted to even talk

about two months ago whether one thing all negotiators agreed about in the Syria peace process was the country should stay together.

But this statement by the Syrian Kurds is their way of saying we're still part of the dynamic here and this is the direction we're moving into.

It's going to freak Turkey, Syria, Iraq, the U.S., because of what it may mean for broader Kurdish independence, but actually does it change things

overnight inside Syria? Not really -- Becky.

[11:05:25] ANDERSON: All right. Well, we have heard that a Kurdish splinter group is saying it carried out what was Sunday's deadly attack in

Ankara as Germany warns of yet another attack being imminent there.

Nick, how does this all tie into the wider narrative of what is a fragile state of security in Turkey at president?

WALSH: Oh, it just makes it a broader nightmare, frankly, for everyone concerned. Now, the PKK's relationship with the group have

claimed responsibility for this. The Kurdish Freedom Falcons, the Tack TAK (ph) isn't entirely clear. They are considered by analysts really to be

part of the same organizational structure, but the TAK kind of follow the PKK's lead in spirit, not necessarily need indirect individual commands for

each operation they carry out. There's an element of distance potentially by design between the PKK and the TAK on this.

That statement of responsibility is a nightmare, frankly, for Washington because the PKK are the Turkish arm of the Syrian movement that

they're allies with inside of Syria, which is the YPG. Turkey says those two groups are basically two

sides of the same coin.

The U.S. calls the PKK, the Turkish Kurds, a terrorist group. So it's a mess, frankly, already. And it's put a lot of strain between Ankara and


The threats against German targets, the German consulate here down the road just from where I'm standing in Istanbul, the embassy in Ankara and a

German school as well, that perhaps feeds into the broader dynamic here of well known diplomatic targets being under threat.

This is a city on edge to some degree, certainly, one where tourism is suffering, one where the fight against the Kurds and the increased role of

ISIS here as a dynamic is causing havoc with Turkish sense of security. And I think the claim by the Kurds just earlier on today just throws a

deeper level of suspicion between the motives of the United States who need the Kurds inside Syria to

fight ISIS and Turkey, their NATO ally, who consider the Kurds they are fighting here to be trained by those American allies inside northern Syria.

You can't imagine how much more messy this dynamic can be messy when trying to address the vital task that John Kerry was talking about there in

Washington and that's fighting ISIS, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, absolutely.

And Elise, the U.S. has already, as we know, conducted airstrikes in Syria

and deployed special forces troops to Syria, to Iraq and indeed of course to target ISIS militants in Libya.

So, let's just contextualize this for our viewers. The timing of this announcement on genocide by Kerry today during a week where we have seen

these talks in Geneva kick started. Again, the Russians pulling their troops out of Syria. How does the timing of what John Kerry has said today

play into this wider picture about U.S. involvement and with whom in Syria going forward?

LABOTT: Well, I think, Becky, what it does is just make it all the more stark that the U.S. is trying to really focus all of its efforts in

Syria on ending the civil war on a political solution. As the Russians are pulling out and Secretary Kerry is going to Moscow next week to talk about

this with President Putin, the U.S. is putting all its eggs really in that basket of trying to get some kind of political solution coming out of those


So that the U.S., the coalition and even indeed the Russians can focus on

ISIS. You have seen those airstrikes in Libya. There's a lot of concern about

what's going on in Tunisia. The U.S. really wants to focus all of its attention on ISIS. I don't know if necessarily you'll see additional

troops or such, but certainly the U.S. wants to put all its efforts and all of its focus -- there's really no appetite for any kind of action in Syria

against the regime.

The real enemy, as the U.S. sees it, is ISIS and is hoping if you can calm

down the political solution there, then all eyes will be on trying to curb the violence posed by ISIS.

LU STOUT: Elise is in Washington for you. Nick Paton Walsh out of Istanbul in Turkey this evening.

Guys, thank you.

Well, all week long we have been looking at how the Syrian civil war has devastated major cities and communities. If you've been with us,

you'll have seen Clarissa Ward's reports this week. She went undercover into rebel-held areas where virtually no western journalists have gone for

more than a year.

Now she traveled to the once thriving city of Aleppo with a fearless aid worker. Have a look at this.


[11:10:01] CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a Tuesday in Syria. British aid worker, Tauqir Sharif,

is making the dangerous drive to Aleppo.

TAUQIR SHARIF , BRITISH AID WORKER: It's really important that we drive with the windows open because any kind of explosions that land close

to us, the last thing we want is shrapnel of glass and so on landing on our face.

WARD: He is traveling in to devastated city to deliver an ambulance but it isn't long before he is diverted.

WARD: Four air strikes have hit. Sharif runs into the wreckage to see what is needed.

SHARIF: This is a house. It's all houses.

WARD: Remarkably, no one has been injured or killed but the sound of another jet means it's time to leave.

SHARIF: Everybody out. Let's go. Let's go.

They are saying that the plane is in the sky. We can hear it. They are saying attack particular that it uses, when ambulances turn up they will

hit the same place again, so we're just going to try to get to a safer place.

WARD: Sharif is one of just a handful of Western aid workers living in Syria.

SHARIF: Most of the big aid organizations they don't want to go into the line of fire in a sense. This is something that we have to do. This is

something that is a human response. If we don't do it, then who will?

WARD: In the relative safety of an olive grove near the Turkish border he told us religious conviction played a big part in his decision to come

here three years ago.

SHARIF: We need to look at what do the people really want? And if the people are Muslims and they want some form of Islamic governance then it's

important that we help them to establish that.

WARD (on camera): Is that what they want?

SHARIF: In my opinion, that's what I believe. And you can ask -- you can go and ask the people, what do you want. I don't think they will settle

for anything else, especially after all this bloodshed, their right to self determination.

WARD (voice-over): For many of the 6.5 million displaced people in Syria, there are perhaps more immediate concerns. Most live in sprawling

tent cities along the border. Conditions in the camps are brutal. There is a lack of food and clean water. And they become more crowded every day.

SHARIF (ph): We just recently done a survey of this camp. Just this camp here, alone, which is a conglomeration of about 40 camps, is around

80,000 people.

WARD (on camera): 80,000 people.

SHARIF (ph): And this is just one on this border. There is another one, it's not too far from here, another maybe 65,000, 70,000 people.




WARD (voice-over): Sharif's (ph) favorite project is this smaller camp that houses roughly 100 widows and their children.

Syria is now a country full of widows and orphans, some still too young to understand what has happened to their country, others who have

seen too much, all of them dependent on the mercy of others.


ANDERSON: Clarissa Ward joining us now from New York.

And Clarissa, I want to talk about the kids. Your report there ending in a camp for orphans. While the right to self-determination being

announced by Syria's or Syrian Kurds and talks continue in Geneva, those are the faces of this awful conflict, aren't they?

WARD: They are.

ANDERSON: Just give us a sense of what the stories behind these children really are?

WARD: You know, it's always difficult, Becky, when you talk about the real victims of war, the children, and it's become something of a cliche.

But in the case of Syria, as in the case of most conflicts, that really is the case. You look at the numbers that UNICEF has put out, 8.6 million

children has been affected by this war, more than 2.5 million children are not going to school.

And the one that really stuck with me in terms of statistics, one in three children in Syria has been born since this war began. That means

they have only ever known war and conflict their entire lives. And that really has profound ramifications for the future in terms of what Syria

will look like once, if, this bloody war eventually does end. There's no question that there is an enormous amount of trauma being taken on by these

young Syrians.

ANDERSON: Clarissa is in New York and this is her reporting. And you can find the scope of

Clarissa's reporting, thank you, on our website. That's at, front page story. The truth about Syria includes important statistics,

videos and pictures of the devastation in Aleppo. Do have a look at that. It is remarkable stuff.

Still to come tonight, a secret telephone recording between a president and a former president is only adding fuel to what is the fire in

Brazil. We'll have that story for you up next.

Plus, after only a month in the job, the UAE's new happiness minister having to deal with a

slip in her country's ranking in a new report on global happiness. She joins me exclusively with

her reaction. That is later this hour.


[11:17:43] ANDERSON: This is Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson.

Now, a political struggle, anti-government demonstrations, and a crumbling economy are gripping Brazil right now.

But a new dramatic twist is fueled even more outrage. Former President Lula da Silva has been sworn in as the country's current

president's chief of staff. There was protests inside the chamber and outside as the ceremony took place.

Now, demonstrations were also held in Sao Paulo and elsewhere late Wednesday. Critics calling the appointment a political maneuver aimed at

protecting the former president who is being investigated over corruption allegations.

They point to secretly recorded conversations between the President Dilma Rousseff and Lula were released by a judge. Have a listen to this.


DA SILVA: Hello?

ROUSSEFF: Lula, let me tell you something.

DA SILVA: Say it, my dear.

ROUSSEFF: Here's the thing, I'm sending Bessias with the document so we have it, and just use it in the term of possession (of office), OK?


ROUSSEFF: That's all. Just wait there, he's coming.

DA SILVA: All right, I'm here waiting for it.


DA SILVA: All right.


DA SILVA: Bye, my dear.


ANDERSON: Well, you can hear President Rousseff saying she's sending Lula a document there.

Let's get to Shasta Darlington in Rio de Janeiro to break this all down for us.

Firstly, just some analysis, if you will, on what we have just heard and how that is being responded to by those who have been contesting the

veracity of the president's position, and indeed, that of the former president, I guess, for some time.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky. I mean, this is a story with more plot twists and intrigues than a

spy novel. And that conversation that you just played what we hear is Rousseff saying she's sending this document that proves he's now the chief

of staff to be used if needed. And the reason this fueled even more protests

is because critics say that proves they really wanted to do this just to shield him from police, from investigations, it's a piece of paper he can

pull out in case the police come knocking on his door.

Which isn't so far fetched, considering just two weeks ago federal police did raid Lula's home, they did take him in for questioning. And

critics really feel this is a get out of jail free card because under Brazilian law senior politicians can only be tried by the Supreme Court.

So, this ongoing investigation has to be thrown up to them and at the very least it buys Lula more time, Becky.

[11:20:31] ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. Well, not long ago Brazil was considered one of the frontiers of growth, Shasta. Now the country, of

course, is deep into the worst recession in decades, some calling it a depression. The IMF -- let's get you some numbers, viewers, the IMF

expects Brazil's economy to shrink 3.5 percent this year after already contracting 3.8 percent last year.

Unemployment, inflation are soaring. The country's currency, the real, lost 35 percent of its value last year. Those are the stark facts.

How much of this has been contributing to the anger on the street against Rousseff do you think?

DARLINGTON: Becky, it contributes hugely. There was another corruption investigation during Rousseff's first term and it really didn't

have as big an impact because the economy performing better. So, while people will put up with a certain amount of robbing here, stealing there

when things are going well, as soon as things really turn sour, well, they are not going to put up with government officials stealing money.

So, it is a combination of the two things. And it's going to be really tough going forward. You know, the government has justified this

appointment of Lula as chief of staff saying that he'll help shore up confidence in the government, in the economy. Markets didn't react very

positively at first. So, that really still has to be seen.

But, you know, we've just had a new development just a few minutes ago with a judge saying they are going to suspend the appointment of Lula. So,

it's going to be hard for this government to get anything done at this point with so -- with political tensions just soaring and getting worse by

the day.

I think the next few days will really be crucial to determine whether we can get back to trying to improve the economy and trying to improve the

country, Becky.

LU STOUT: Yeah, yeah. And what a darling it was when Lula was running the country. I mean, you know, we used to talk about the BRICs, of

course, and these were these emerging economies which were doing so, so well.

Lula was quite a popular leader of course during his term as president. I want to give our viewers a little bit of background for those

who may be slightly newer to the story than others. He was the founding member of Brazil's only Socialist political party, the Worker's Party.

After three failed attempts, he becomes president in 2003, winning more than 60 percent of the vote.

In 2006, he won a second term and is later credited with helping Rio win these Summer Olympics, which of course are being held this year.

And he left office in 2011 with a 90 percent approval rating. Now, compare that with Rousseff's approval rating of less than 10 percent right


Look, Shasta, his supporters will hope that Lula can help negotiate with political allies to prevent the impeachment of Rousseff.

Whatever happens, though, it does this is the end of an era, as it were, for the Workers Part Do you think Lula's attempt here are going to

work? How strong is his influence?

DARLINGTON: It's really hard to say, Becky. A few years ago, he was still a towering political figure. But this loss of support really didn't

come overnight. Rousseff is his hand-picked successor. We can certainly blame some of the economic problems on her mismanagement, but a lot of it

has to do with the fact that China simply isn't buying all of the resources and the commodities that it was just a few years ago.

And a lot of people we have talked to said they might still support Lula, but others say, listen, this is the woman he put in office. They are

one in the same. And what we're seeing is that it didn't work. So, at this point, it looks like this is backfiring. What we're seeing are rising

tensions, a real sort of hard core supporters will be out there, will be supporting Lula and are excited about this change. But many of their

traditional base have already switched sides. They may not go out in the streets supporting against them, but a lot more people are on board

thinking that what this country needs is a change.

The problem, of course, is that the corruption has tainted not just the Workers Party, but a number of political leaders, which has everyone

asking, well, even if the Workers Party get out who could we possibly bring in that would be honest, Becky.

ANDERSON: Shasta Darlinton is out of Rio de Janeiro for you this evening. Always a pleasure. Thank you very much indeed.

Big story there.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, Belgium on high alert after an ongoing manhunt for two terror

suspects. I'm going to show you how they escaped a raid, up next.

Plus, two out of three Republican presidential candidates bow out of yet another debate. And Fox News calls the whole thing off. We are going

to get you to the United States where we will explain what's going on. That after this.


[11:27:01] ANDERSON: Right, you're back with us on Connect the World at 26 minutes past 7:00. Well, we have got a manhunt still ongoing in

Belgium for two terror suspects after they fled at an apartment being raided by security forces.

Now, the pair escaped following an exchange of gunfire. One other suspect was killed and an ISIS flag was left behind.

My colleague Nima Elgabir now shows us how the raid unfolded.



that a police sniper managed to neutralize, as they're characterizing it, one of the two men holding officers in abeyance with Kalashnikovs. It was

only once they entered the premise that they realized that two of the men that they were searching for had managed to escape.

And you can see coming round the back of the building how easy it was.

You can see more broken windows and what is presumed to be the suspect's escape route.

As the manhunt continues, of course, so, too, does the fear and the confusion as residents not just here, but all over the Belgium capital,

struggle to come to terms with exactly what is happening again in their midst.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I seen there working and different kind of hard equipment from 3:00 until 6:00 in the night.

ELBAGIR: What is unclear is that Belgian police were unprepared for what unfolded here at this premises. They were, as they describe it,

carrying out an ongoing manhunt only to find themselves caught in a fire fight.

This will only, of course, increase the scrutiny on Belgium's handling of its terror threat and the

impact that that has and is having not just here in Belgium but across Europe.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Brussels.


ANDERSON: Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead on this show.

Plus, Russian state TV cozies up to a U.S. presidential contender. Guess who. Stay with us.



ANDERSON: Let's get you to the U.S. presidential race. And Fox News has canceled what would have been the 13th Republican debate of the

election cycle. This comes after front runner Donald Trump said he planned to skip it, which prompted John Kasich to say he wouldn't attend either.

Trump has played debate night hooky once before and it likely hurt him in the Iowa caucus where is his rival Ted Cruz came out on top.

CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston joins me live from Washington. Clearly, 13 not lucky for our colleagues over at Fox. Why

have these guys decided to jack this debate and sort of move on?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, for two reasons. One, Donald Trump has had a very contentious relationship with the Fox News

Channel here in the United States. He has butted heads with the head of the network Roger Ailes. He has gone to war with one of its most famous

anchors, Megyn Kelly, who has been part of all of their presidential debates.

Now, Donald Trump's decision to leave that debate, opened the door for John Kasich, the Ohio governor, who had this very surprise win and won his

state this past Tuesday to stay in the presidential race here in the U.S., it opened the door for him to back out of it basically saying if Donald

Trump is not going to be there, why should I be there?

But, Becky, they do have an out right now. Donald Trump is going to speak at the AIPAC conference that's taking place here in the United

states. This will have certainly be watched all around the world by world leaders. AIPAC is the American-Israel public affairs committee. It is

really the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group here in the U.S., but not only Donald Trump is speaking there, so is John Kasich, so is Vice

President Joe Biden, so is Speaker Paul Ryan, so is Hillary Clinton, and as well as Benjamin Netanyahu is going to be beamed in by satellite.

So they are skipping the debate, the Republicans are, on the 13th, but they are going to be here in Washington talking foreign policy.

[11:35:18] ANDERSON: Three anti-establishment Republicans, Mark, are warning of dire consequences if their party tries to broker the nomination

at the convention later in the summer. For our viewers' purposes, we are talking here about the Republicans effectively saying, look, even if Donald

Trump wins enough delegates to go forward and represent the party, they don't want him and will try and do something about that this convention in

the summer.

Now, former candidate Ben Carson, he predicts turmoil. Ted Cruz says people would quite rightly revolt. Listen to Donald Trump's forecast.


TRUMP: I think you would have riots. I think you'd have riots. You know, we have -- I'm representing a tremendous -- many, many millions of

people, in many cases first time voters. These are people that haven't voted, because they never believed in the system. They didn't like

candidates, et cetera, et cetera. If you disenfranchise those people and you say, well, I'm sorry, but you're 100 votes

short, even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you have never seen before.

I think bad things would happen, I really do. I believe that. I wouldn't lead it, but I think bad things would happen.


ANDERSON: He thinks bad things would happen were that to happen, as it were. So, will it?

PRESTON: I think he's right. I do think he's right. Do I think that he's right to say that -- well, of course, he's not saying it should

happen, it shouldn't happen. But let me break this down for viewers to really understand this very complicated system.

You need 1,237 delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination. If Donald Trump comes up 100 votes short, OK, let's assume

that he only gets 1,137. There are rules in place to then try to pick the nominee.

If Donald Trump, though, goes into Cleveland blazing and has very hot rhetoric, that's going to

create problems outside the convention hall. There are probably going to be problems anyway, because you're going to see the left, the liberals,

there protesting there anyway. Could you imagine the combustion ability of having pro-Trump forces, liberal Democrats clashing outside and Trump

trying to win the nomination inside. It could become very violent and very dangerous.

ANDERSON: Meanwhile, we're going to talk a little bit more about Trump on the show just after this. But I just want to talk about the

Democrats for the time being.

Are we looking at slam dunk at this point for Hillary Clinton as the candidate for the Democratic Party?

PRESTON: I think at this point if you are a betting woman, which I bet you are, Becky, that you would put your money on Hillary Clinton.

However, you know, Bernie Sanders says he's not giving up and that he is going to keep moving forward. He thinks that the states that have yet

to vote, they are primarily out west. They are primarily white that he thinks he has a better chance of winning those states. Hillary Clinton has

such an advantage with African-Americans here in the U.S., which has really fueled her candidacy, it has put her in a position right now to basically

win the Democratic nomination.

But Bernie Sanders says he's not going away and Hillary Clinton, who didn't go away when she ran against Barack Obama back in 2008, took the

race all the way to June, really has no standing for him to get out of the race. So, that's why we'll see this go on for a couple of more months.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right, thank you, mate. Mark Preston is on the story for you tonight.

Here on CNN International, we are covering every twist and turn of the U.S. presidential race. I'm going to be bringing you all the latest

updates right through the election in November. And we make no excuses for it, because this crucial vote will impact the entire globe.

And when it comes to dealing with that entire globe, front runner Trump says he isn't too worried because he has got an ace foreign policy

adviser: himself.

When network MSNBC asked who he consults on world issues, Trump had this to say.


TRUMP: I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I've said a lot of things. So I know what I'm doing. And I

listen to a lot of people.


ANDERSON: Now, he certainly noticed that Trump then loves to weigh in on the world, especially his favorite targets like China.

Trump rarely misses an opportunity to criticize China in a stump speech.

So, it seems the Chinese, then, are taking notice. A scathing editorial in one state-controlled newspaper calls Trump a narcissist and a


It goes on to say, quote, "Americans know elections cannot really change their lives. Why not support Trump and vent their spleen? Well,

his remarks are abusively racist and extremist. The rise of a racist in the U.S. political arena worries the whole world. Mussolini and Hitler

came to power through elections, a heavy lesson for western democracy," end quote.

Well, while China is expressing its disgust with Trump, Russia is pouring out nothing but love for the billionaire businessman. It's no

secret that the feeling is mutual.

CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance explains all for you from Moscow.


[11:40:17] MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Russian state television appears to have thrown its support behind

Donald Trump. Russia's top TV news anchor hailing him as an anti establishment candidate who will be ready to cooperate with Moscow over

various issues. Trump has, of course, made complementary remarks about Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, over the course of his campaign,

asking supporters, for instance, wouldn't it be nice if we could get along with Russia.

Well, the Kremlin's loyal media is now responding in kind, heaping praise on the tycoon-turned Republican hopeful. During the two and a half

hour flagship news show this weekend on state-run television here, the anchor said Trump stood apart from the hierarchy of the Republican Party in

wanting to forge good relations with Putin

And when you speak to ordinary Russians, many also see Trump as the most favorable candidate. He is a businessman, one man told us recently,

who would build a relationship with Russia and who understands that Russia is an important player.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


ANDERSON: You're watching this show, Connect the World, live from Abu Dhabi. What's the secret to happiness? Well, I'll ask the UAE's first

ever minister for happiness in my exclusive interview, which is up next.

We'll take a very short break. Don't go away.



Well, people here in the United Arab Emirates enjoying themselves to Pharrell's Happy tune. You have heard that. And if you noticed me like

them smiling a lot, well, perhaps that's because right here in the UAE we are in the happiest Arab country in the world. That is according at least

to the latest world happiness report commissioned by the UN.

But on the whole, this region didn't fair too well. Yemen, Iran, Jordan, Turkey amongst many others all ranked very low. Topping the

rankings, though, Denmark pushing Switzerland out of the way this year.

Meanwhile Burundi finds itself in last place, it's one spot below Syria even.

Well, if you're feeling a little blue yourself, there may be a way to fix that. Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us the science behind feeling happy.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Happiness isn't just a pleasant thing you feel. Science proves it's much

deeper than that. Feeling happy actually helps you live a longer, healthier life.

But how? The large part of our happiness is tied to our social connections. In fact, if you don't have at least one close friend, you're

less likely to be happy.

Each of us have these things called telomeres, tiny caps on our DNA chromosomes that measure our cellular age. It turns out it also determines

how many friends we have. No friends equals shorter telomeres. By being social, you can slow down your biological age, living longer, and happier.

Another way to boost your level of happiness is by meditating. Research shows as little as 20 minutes a day can lower your level of stress


Have you ever heard of an American Buddhist monk named Barry Kirzen (ph)? Barry meditates with such focused attention he says he can generate

his own bliss. People believe him.

But doctors wanted scientific proof, so they did an MRI scan of his brain. And they showed while he meditated, he activated the are of the

brain where happiness lives, the left prefrontal cortex.

Time for a pop quiz. Is this glass half empty or half full? If you said half full, you're on your way to feeling happier, and healthier.

A Harvard study found that optimists are 50 percent less likely to have a heart disease, a heart attack or stroke. Keeping an overall

optimistic attitude actually offers protection against cardiovascular disease.

Science doesn't fair as well for pessimists. They not only have lower levels of happiness compared to optimists, but research shows that people

with negative thoughts are three times as likely to develop health problems as they age.

So, what do you do if you're not a naturally happy person? Well, experts say the key is to act as though you're an optimist, even if you're



ANDERSON: Well, let's get back to the UAE, the happiest Arab country in the world, according to the latest world happiness report, that is. And

they are not leaving that spot up to mere chance, let me tell you.

Here, they have just recently appointed a minister of happiness Ohood al Roumi joins us now live from Dubai for what is an exclusive interview.

Ohood, thank you for being with us this evening.

Displaying, I know, a rather wonderful necklace to remind us all of your new job.

Why did the UAE establish a ministry of happiness? And what is your role?

OHOOD AL ROUMI, UAE MINISTER OF HAPPINESS: Thank you, Becky, for having me.

Happiness is a serious job for governments. I think the main job for government is to create happiness. And in 2011, the UN encouraged the

member countries to look at happiness as a holistic approach for development and encourage them to look at measurements beyond GDP for

welfare and prosperity.

And for us in the UAE, happiness is very important, therefore we have this portfolio because

the role of the government is to create an environment where people can flourish, can reach their potential and choose to be happy because at the

end happiness is an internal choice, Becky. Therefore, awareness creating the knowledge is very important to help people make informed decisions to

be happy in their life.

ANDERSON: All right, well, this is what the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin al Rashid had to say about the government's role. And quote,

"since the dawn of history, happiness is all that humanity has sought. Aristotle said the state is a living being which

develops in seeking the achievement of moral perfection and happiness for individuals, likewise the United States Declaration of Independence upholds

the pursuit of happiness as every person's right."

So minister what are the tangibles that you'll use to really measure our happiness here in the UAE?

AL ROUMI: Let me tell you about the pillars that are working. We are working on happy government whether policies, programs, services and work

environment. We're working on making happiness a lifestyle. And we're working on measurement of happiness.

So let me give you an example. For example, Becky, if we talk about government services, we can measure the happiness of the customers, not

just the satisfaction. If we talk about the lifestyle, we can do focus group, we can do surveys to identify happiness drivers for each category of

the society.

And I think on the international level, there should be efforts from governments around the

world to develop comprehensive (inaudible) measurement of happiness that will help decision makers and government leaders make and form decision

about policies and programs to make their people happy.

[11:50:22] ANDERSON: You are no stranger to government affairs. Until recently you ran the prime minister's office and before that you were

head of economic policy. So, you won't be surprised if I ask you whether you expect your job to become somewhat tougher in what are fiscally fairly

tough times in this region given the dramatic fall in the price of oil? I know that wealth and stability aren't the only drivers of happiness, but

they certainly stack up for many people to be at the top of the list or certainly high up.

AL ROUMI: I think my role of the prime minister and my role as a minister of state of happiness they work together, because the role of the

government is to create happiness, and whether we work on efficiency of government, improving government services, it really impacts the happiness

of the people.

ANDERSON: On a more personal note, we were just watching Sanjay's report talking about the science behind happiness. And he was talking

about -- or certainly posing as a pop quiz do you see this glass half full or half empty. Are you a glass half full type of character? What makes

you happy personally?

AL ROUMI: Well, I am a very happy and positive person. And I choose to be happy every day

because this is what pushed me in life, this is what motivates me in life, this gives me sense of purpose for my life. So I always choose to see the

glass full.

ANDERSON: All right.

Well, we wish you the absolute best with the job. We're here in the UAE. We'll be monitoring these statistics. I know that UAE has slipped

back somewhat on the global index that still number one so far is the Arab world is concerned.

What's the biggest challenge, do you think, finally that you have?

AL ROUMI: I think the change in the ranking is due to change in methodology rather than just change in living standards or quality of life.

But indexes only tell one part of the story. I think what we're trying to achieve here is to create a real change, create an authentic

happiness for all the society.

ANDERSON: And with that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much for indeed for joining us out of our Dubai studios this evening.

About a 45 minute drive down the road from here in Abu Dhabi. Thank you.

And next up, the need, the need, the need for speed. We're going to introduce you to an all female rally team from right here in the Middle



ANDERSON: In tonight's Parting Shots for you, the story of the speed sister hailing from the Palestinian territories. They are the Middle

East's first all female racing team. They are also the subject of a new documentary. Have a look at this.


[11:55:14] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just girls.


MAYSOON JAYYUSI, TEAM MANAGER, SPEED SISTER: The ladies on the team are strong and independent. And they have their goal to be races. We face

too many challenge, but we work hard and we are up for it.

AMBER FARES, DIRECTOR, SPEED SISTERS: The thing that I really respect about them is that they really want to push the boundaries in terms of

what's acceptable to do for women. Race car driving is a male dominated sport all over the world. They give us something that definitely

surprised me in terms of the amount of support and encouragement the other male racers gave them. And I think that has a lot to do with the situation

that they are living under. They are living under occupation and their lives are very hard. They don't make a cent from doing this. There's no

cash prizes. They do it for the absolute thrill and love of the sport.

JAYYUSI: We feel more freedom when we are controlling our cars and moves and speed of it.

The situation in the land, it reflect in us, because we want to -- we didn't want to give up.


JAYYUSI: It was hard. It was dangerous. It's time that you felt that some of our team get injured, but because we are strong like next day

came to my store and we start laughing about what happened.



FARES: They use humor a lot because of the absurdity of the situation that they are living under and so much of it is out of their control that

they laugh, they use humor as a mechanism to get through it. And I think you see that a lot in the film.

JAYYUSI: This is tough for woman to do this sport. So, if you feel proud and we feel more powerful and we hope it will continue and encourage

another woman to come race with us, and not just in Palestine, in all Middle East.


ANDERSON: You'll find that on the Facebook page soon after this show and you'll find a lot else there on the show's Facebook page. You can find

the stories that the team has been working on throughout the day, that is A great story out of Oman as you can see there as

they look to recover that treasure.

You can get in touch with me. Tweet me @BeckyCNN. That is @BeckyCNN.

I am Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World out of the United Arab Emirates this evening.