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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Far-Right Candidate Loses Close Race In Austria; ISIS Claims Deadly Bombings In Syria; Iraq Launches Effort To Retake Falluja From ISIS; U.S. Lifts Weapons Embargo On Vietnam; EgyptAir Pilot Remembered; U.K. Treasury Predicts Recession If Britain Leaves E.U.; Van der Bellen Wins Austrian Presidential Election; U.S. General Visits Special Ops Forces in Syria; Louis van Gaal Leaves Manchester United; Climbers Die on Mt. Everest; Saving Mexico's Sea Life from Poachers. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 23, 2016 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HANNA VAUGHAN JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL GUEST ANCHOR: Hello there. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones sitting in for Hala Gorani tonight. We are live from
CNN London and this is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Well, we begin tonight's program in Austria where voters have narrowly said no to electing Europe's first far right president. Freedom Party
candidate, Norbert Hoffa was riding a wave of popularity that encouraged other nationalist politicians in France, Denmark and in Germany.
His support at home stemmed from fears about migrants, but in the final vote tally posted just hours ago, he lost to the independent candidate,
Alexander Van der Bellen by a margin of less than 1 percent. Kelly Morgan takes us through the tight votes.
KELLY MORGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He enters from the left and stands in the center, but that's just the logistics of casting his vote in
Austria's presidential election.
On the political spectrum, Norbert Hoffa, is positioned on the far right and was nail bitingly close to becoming the European Union's first right
wing head of state.
It was the slimmest of margins, independent candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen winning with just 50.3 percent of the vote. Either way it
illustrates a political shift in Austria, which has been dominated by two centrist parties since the end of the Second World War. The new president
is a left wing academic and a former member of the Green Party.
ALEXANDER VAN DER BELLEN, AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): Of course, I will serve. I will be a president for all Austrians. Above
all the political difference and for all the people in this country, I will be a president, a comprehensive president.
MORGAN: Despite their loss, Hoffa and his supporters are still counting the result as a success given the party's checkered history. It was
sanctioned by the European Union when it entered a coalition government in 2000, and six years later was battling to tally even 6 percent of the vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is a guy -- it doesn't matter how the result turns out, whether Hoffa will be the president or not, but
it's simply a milestone to achieve so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I feel this is a turning point for all of Europe. We are very happy.
MORGAN: Nationalist sentiment has been on the rise across Europe partly fueled by the migrant crisis. Austria initially welcomed the desperate
flow of people joining Germany in opening its borders in September.
But amid growing unemployment, Hoffa and his nationalist campaign have increasingly won the applause. His harshest critics accuse him of
NORBERT HOFFA, AUSTRIAN FREEDOM PARTY CANDIDATE: You will see we have to take a look at me when I'm in one or two years. I have to work and then
everybody will see that I'm really OK. I'm not a dangerous person, of course.
MORGAN: Hoffa, who few had even heard of before this election, will remain in the spotlight. The question is whether his party's populist momentum
will carry through to the next parliamentary elections due within the next two years.
Austrians will be watching. So, too, the rest of Europe as nationalist parties across the continent sees hope that they, too, can emerge from the
fringe. Kelly Morgan, CNN, London.
JONES: And later on in the show, we will be speaking with a member of the European parliament about Austria's election and what that means for the
right wing political movements across the European continent.
But now we turn our attention to Syria where deadly coordinated bombings have shaken regime strongholds in the west. At least 78 people have been
killed. Seven separate explosions ripped through a bus station and residential areas in the cities of Tartus and Jabla, both are coastal towns
frequented by Syrian troops.
Syria's state run news agency released the following pictures purportedly showing the scene just moments after one of the blasts in the city of
Tartus. ISIS is claiming responsibility for all of the attacks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to his Syria counterpart and reiterated the necessity of a joint fight against
Matthew Chance joins us now live from Moscow. Matthew, the kremlin is saying it stands ready to step up its offensive against terrorists in the
[15:05:04]But with that step up in military support being conflict with or alongside coalition forces?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, that -- when he talks about stepping up any military activity, I mean, he's
talking about stepping up what Russia has been doing for the past several months which, of course, has been bombing essentially rebel groups who are
opposed to Bashar Al-Assad who is Russia's ally.
Again, President Putin reiterating his support for Bashar al-Assad and offering his condolences after these attacks in Tartus and Jabla, places on
the West Mediterranean coast of Syria.
And once again reiterating that Russia is ready to continue cooperation with their Syrian partners, as he said in, his statement after offering
So, look, if he's saying that he's going to step up the military campaign, what we can expect more airstrikes, more support for Syrian forces on the
ground attacking those anti-Assad rebels, whoever they are, whether they are ISIS or anyone else.
JONES: Talk to us a bit if you can about the strategic significance of these coastal towns, Jabla and Tartus. Is the goal of ISIS to try to
retake these towns or have their tactics changed so significantly that now they are just trying to cause as much decimation and devastation and death
CHANCE: Well, I can't imagine that their goal in the short term at least is to take these places. It's -- they are very remote from where is has
its areas of strongholds inside Syria, but -- and that's the significance of them.
I mean, these are key strongholds of Bashar Al-Assad's family clan, the Alowites (ph), these are government loyalists and they have been spared up
until now essentially. Much of the hardship and bloodshed that has devastated Syria over the past five years of civil conflict.
So this is ISIS, if it is them saying, look, we can strike hard in the heart of government-controlled territory. I mean, these two locations as
well, Jabla and Tartus, are two key locations for Russian forces.
It's where their troops are concentrated. In Tartus, Russia has an important naval facility on the coast there, and Jabla, a short distance
from there at least, that's where the rush air base is from which Russia has been carrying out its air strikes against thousands of targets across
Russia including ISIS targets.
So it's essentially which ISIS is also sending a message to Moscow as well, you know, that they could be targeted, potentially although they haven't
said that. That's not clear that any Russian interests were hit or even targeted in these latest attacks.
JONES: OK. Matthew, we have to leave it there. Matthew Chance live for us there in Moscow. Thank you very much.
Well, from Syria, we move next door now to Iraq where ISIS again is digging in for urban warfare and civilians are now desperate to escape, all while
coalition bombs rained down on Falluja.
In the hours since the Iraqi prime minister launched the operation to reclaim the city, government troops have moved forward to clash with ISIS
on the outskirts of the city.
Well, CNN has obtained this exclusive footage of that ground battle around seven kilometers or so south of the city. Falluja, of course, is no
stranger to heavy fighting.
It is on the eastern edge of Sunni-dominated Anbar Province, precariously close to the capital, Baghdad, and it saw two major battles during the Iraq
We're going to get more now on the battle for Falluja and the challenges ahead for the Iraqi Army. CNN's military analyst and former member of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colonel Cedric Leighton joins me now live from our Washington Bureau. Colonel, thanks so much for joining us on the program.
We were just detailing there the fact that Falluja has indeed been a battleground for so many years and so many different wars as well, and you
have firsthand experience of that. From your experience, can you tell us a bit about the strategic challenge of taking a city like Falluja?
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. Fallujah is the center of everything, both geographically as well as both from a sectarian
perspective. So Falluja is in essence to the Sunnis what Carbalai (ph) is to the Shiites.
It is one of the most important areas in Iraq for their religion. It is also one of the most important areas for their political area and for the
So what you're looking at here is a very strategic area, and it's also in essence the precursor to further movements by the Iraqi army.
[15:10:01]And it's as you can see by the video footage that there are some significant gains that the Iraqi army has made in terms of training, in
terms of tactics, and hopefully also in terms of the techniques that they will actually use to get into Falluja and clean it out -- clean ISIS out of
JONES: And what about the sectarian divisions themselves? Of course, you've got the Iraqi government and then you've got the Iranian-backed Shia
militias and then, of course, the Sunni population of Falluja itself. When you are launching this kind of military offensive, do you have to take into
account that sectarian sensitivity?
LEIGHTON: Most certainly you do, Hannah, and the reason for that is that in the Iraqi mix of things it becomes very important to understand exactly
what locality you're getting into. Each locality has many different religious affiliation associated with it.
Some are going to be exactly divided along 50-50 type divisions, but most are either one group or another, and the Iranian militias, Iranian-backed
militias plus the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are also a factor in this.
The Iranians have a lot of interests in Iraq and primarily that interest is to actually secure Iraq from ISIS. In other words, what they want to do is
they want to make sure that ISIS has no chance to actually come in and influence Iran or actually affect Iran either militarily or otherwise.
But having also said that, you're looking at a way in which the Iraqi government has to make peace with the different elements that are out
Such as the Shiite militias that they control as well as the Sunni militias that they do not control that are in essence working with them in a
marriage of convenience to rid that area of ISIS, and that's a very, very dicey situation for them to work with.
JONES: Much has been made of the likely bloody battle ahead for Falluja, and also the fact that ISIS seemed to have changed tactics slightly over
the course of the last couple of months. What kind of weaponry and arsenal do ISIS have at their disposal?
LEIGHTON: So ISIS is primarily going to be using small arms such as AK- 47s, which is basically the ubiquitous piece of armament that they are going to be using. However, they also use IEDs, improvised explosive
devices, and that's the most dangerous thing Iraqi forces will encounter in Falluja and really anywhere else that they go.
The ISIS forces have developed tactics that make IEDs incredibly dangerous for any force that is opposing them. They are going to use not only cars
to -- to produce car bombs, but they are also going to use things like trucks.
They are going to use all kinds of different vehicles that they can find in order to have maximum impact. We saw this situation where an American SEAL
was killed because they used a swarm tactic which went after the positions that the Iraqi forces had.
It was a complete surprise so the Iraqi forces have to be very careful that the tactical situation on the battlefield is not changed to their
disadvantage and that's really the primary thing.
ISIS is very much into improvisation and they are going to be able to improvise as long as they can dictate the rhythm of the battle. If they
can't dictate the rhythm of the battle, then it becomes a completely different issue and the Iraqi forces can actually win.
JONES: And we do have to leave it there. Of course, Falluja, we have to remember, of course, is a civilian population there as well so our thoughts
will be with them as this military offensive continues. For now, Colonel Cedric Leighton, thanks very much for your analysis on this program.
LEIGHTON: You bet.
JONES: Now still to come tonight, forging an alliance with a former enemy. We'll tell about President Obama's historic visit to Vietnam and it's just
one month until Britain votes on whether to stay in the E.U. and the rhetoric is ramping up. All the details on what both sides are warning.
JONES: Hello. Welcome back. You're watching THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. U.S. President Barack Obama is in Vietnam where he announced a decades old
weapons embargo is being lifted. He denies the move is aimed at countering China's growing strength in the region.
CNN's Saimo Mohsin reports now on the growing alliance between the former enemies.
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his first trip to Vietnam, President Obama said he was looking to make a significant upgrade
in cooperation and then came this.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The United States is fully lifting the ban on the sale of military equipment to Vietnam that
has been in place for some 50 years. As with all our defense partners, sales will need to meet strict requirements including those related to
MOHSIN (on camera): This American B-52 bomber was brought down in 1972. It remains here as a symbol of the Vietnam War. President Obama has termed
this trip symbolic of the renewed ties between the two countries and the lifting of the complete ban against sales of arms to Vietnam is perhaps
symbolic of how the two countries have moved on from a relationship of one of being enemies to friendship and real partnership.
(voice-over): President Obama's historic move paves the way for Vietnam to import a range of U.S. defense technology and experts tell me it's the
quality not quantity of equipment Vietnam is looking for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How to protect our maritime security and coast, that is priority and in that I think that Americans equipment is best. There would
be some radar for airplane, radar for the ship, radar on the mainland.
MOHSIN: Analysts say Vietnam will use its enhanced maritime capabilities to stave off China's aggressive expansion in the South China Sea. They
expected China to view this as further U.S. interference, but when asked about the move, Beijing appeared to welcome it.
HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): We hope the lifting of all such bans will benefit regional
peace and development and we're happy to see the United States and Vietnam develop normal cooperative relations.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'd like to congratulate Vietnam for the significant progress that it has made.
MOHSIN: President Obama's move has been slammed by human rights activists saying he's disregarding Vietnam's human rights record.
Recent protests against an environmental crisis have been suppressed with a stern government crackdown, a sign freedom of speech is far from free in
this communist state, which is why the rights group says the United States has rewarded Vietnam for nothing in return. Saima Mohsin, CNN, Hanoi,
JONES: A submarine has been added to the search for key evidence in the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804. The plane's fuselage, flight data, and
cockpit recorders are still missing in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
As we learn more about what happened to the EgyptAir jet, we're also learning about those who lost their lives on the flight and the legacy they
left behind. CNN's Ian Lee spoke with the family of Flight 804's pilot.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the focus of the investigation is in the Mediterranean. Here in Cairo, family members have been holding wakes for
their loved ones who are missing. We went to the pilots and learned about a man who was loving, generous, and kind.
[15:20:09](voice-over): Mohammed Shoukair's (ph) first love was flying. The pilot of EgyptAir Flight 804 received a flight simulator at 18 and he
SAMAH SHOUKAIR, PILOT'S COUSIN: He loved to be a pilot. This is a major part of his life. He loved being EgyptAir's.
LEE: Shoukair's cousin hoped maybe he could introduce him to his second love. They spoke before his flight.
SHOUKAIR: He asked me to give him sometime sleep and he would come with me to see the girls that I was planning for him to marry.
LEE: The 36-year-old was known as the family comedian and having a bit of a baby face. His last contact with Greek air traffic control was described
But when it came to flying, he was serious. According to EgyptAir, Shoukair racked up over 6,000 hours in the air including over 2,000 on the
Airbus A320. Even though he is missing, the mourning has begun.
(on camera): It's tradition in Egypt to offer your condolences to a family immediately after someone has died, and that's what you're seeing here
tonight, but what makes this more painful for them is that once the body is found, if it's found, they will go through these raw emotions all over
(voice-over): These emotions reflected in his father who said whoever took away my only son may God take the light of their eyes. As search crews
scour the Mediterranean for wreckage, they will focus on recovering Shoukair and the 65 other passengers and crew on board EgyptAir Flight 804.
SHERIF FATHY, MINISTER OF CIVIL AVIATION: actually it is a priority, especially in our part of the world. It is the number one priority.
LEE: And even though Shoukair is gone, his legacy will live on.
SHOUKAIR: My kids also want to be a pilot like him.
LEE: Shoukair's love of flying passed down to the next generation.
(on camera): One of the main priorities of the Egyptian government is recovering the bodies, but that grows more difficult the longer they remain
missing. Once and if they are found, it will take some time to return them to their loved ones as they will have to go through DNA testing to verify
their identity. Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.
JONES: We are just one month away from one of the U.K.'s most important votes in a generation. Stay in or leave the European Union? Both sides
have stark warnings for voters.
The British Treasury published an analysis of the repercussions if Britain leaves. It says the country would fall into recession and its GDP might
fall by as much as 6 percent. It also warns up to 820,000 jobs could be lost, and in addition it says the value of the British pound could drop by
as much as 15 percent.
Meantime, campaigners looking to leave the E.U. have published this poster suggesting Turkey is joining the E.U. and an influx of Turkish migrants may
now be potentially heading towards the U.K.
For more on this increasingly contentious debate, let's go to New York and CNN money's editor-at-large, Richard Quest. Richard, good evening to you.
Lots of scare mongering going on, on both sides of this debate and the British public, of course, will be forgiven for being pretty confuse as to
who to trust. If they are to trust with you, which of course, we advise them to do so, what are the immediate repercussions then to the U.K.
economy if Britain votes for "brexit?"
RICHARD QUEST, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNN MONEY: Well, if you look at the reports and the Treasury has now done two, one in early April and now this
one, it's going to be financial Armageddon and it will be a disaster.
The IMF says it will be bad to very, very bad. The OECD has described the potential for a "brexit" tax to help pay for it all. A variety of state
agents have said house prices could fall by up to 15 percent to 20 percent to 30 percent, but it is the problem with all of this.
It's not cutting much. Obviously with those who are firmly in the leave campaign, they say all these organizations have failed spectacularly in
their forecasting before and there is no reason to believe that they are legitimate or correct this time.
It's the undecideds, the bit in the middle, Hannah, that they are all going for, and on this question the latest treasury report is simply one of fear,
fear mongering, scare mongering, the idea you had better vote to remain or the house -- the economic house will come crashing down with a recession.
JONES: OK. That's the economic side of it. Let's talk about the practical consequences of "brexit," which is about trade and travel as
[15:25:04]I mean, there's what, there's 70 odd million Britons in the country. That is a huge number of passports to reissue and presumably a
huge number of people who will be concerned that any holidays they book after June the 23rd might be up in the air at the moment.
QUEST: No, well, there's certainly no concern for that because, remember, there is a two-year negotiating period. Under the treaty under which you
can leave the E.U., there has to be two years from the date at which you've taken the vote or decision to leave to when it's implemented.
And it's that two-year period, which we're really talking about as being of grave uncertainty. As the treasury report makes clear, because this latest
treasury report is about the immediate effects.
Immediately you're going to see sterling fall. You're going to see a tremendous economic dislocation, but as the negotiations get under way and
the British people start to see what a future outside the E.U. looks like, it could be very different. No one knows. Absolutely no one knows.
The difference in the argument, Hannah is simple. The "brexit" lot say that the U.K. will be fine. It's large enough. They need to have a trade
The remain lot say it will be horrendous because of the uncertainty, and the British public in the middle of which you and I are absolutely part of
that are left thinking who on earth is telling the truth?
JONES: And just finally, Richard, let's talk about this question of Turkey and Turkish membership of the European Union. Are the lead campaigners
right to warn that millions of Turks could be heading over to the U.K.?
QUEST: There is no way that Turkey is joining the European Union any time soon. First of all, they haven't necessarily completed the necessary
chapters. They haven't closed the various chapters because they have only received basically preliminary status to begin negotiations.
So there's a long way down the road, and that's before you've even got France and other countries who might stumble at the last hurdle so this is
sure. This is clear. It's unadulterated. It's more of the scare mongering.
This side, this time from the other side. Remember, both sides are playing very heavy stakes here. This is a once in a generation vote that the U.K.
And the final thoughts at the moment is listen to what Nicholas Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland said, Minister Sturgeon has warned the U.K.
government not to put too many of these frightening economic prognoses out because she says they will turn people off.
JONES: OK. Well, in you we trust, Richard. Thank you very much for clearing up both sides of the argument for us there.
And before the debate over the U.K.'s future is over our very own Richard Quest will be going on the road to find out what's on voters' minds as they
prepare to make their choice. In or out of the E.U.?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST (voice-over): Right before the vote, I'll be caravanning across the country, getting the sense of the nation's mood, from the village greens to
the lights of the big cities. Over the hills and far away.
Join "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" on the road as voters decide whether to remain in the E.U. or to leave and strike out on a new path. The U.K., in or out
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Still ahead on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, the risks at the top of the world, four deaths in just four days on the world's highest peak. We'll
examine the perils of climbing Mount Everest.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN HOST (voice-over): Welcome back. The headlines on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
JONES: We are waiting for Manchester United to comment on reports they have sacked their manager, Louis van Gaal. Speculation has been building
that the Dutchman is to be replaced by the self-proclaimed special one, Jose Mourinho, who was sacked by Chelsea back in December.
And there's a fresh political shake-up in football's governing body. FIFA has dismissed Markus Kattner from his post as deputy secretary general. An
official FIFA statement pointed to breaches of fiduciary responsibilities. Those were revealed through an internal investigation.
JONES: OK. More now on the Austrian presidential election and the strong showing of the far right nationalist candidate, Norbert Hofer. Right wing
parties are gaining strength and not just in Austria but also throughout Europe.
In France the National Front leads the trend. Its leader is Marine Le Pen. Her party raked in 6.8 million votes in 2015 elections.
In the Netherlands the Party of Freedom fronts the right wing there. Populist Wilders leads the party. If his hair reminds you of a certain
American Republican candidate, so, too, will his plan to clamp down on Muslim immigration.
Across to Denmark now, and it's the People's Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl leads the anti-foreigner, anti-Islamic movement there. In the June
elections last year, they won 21 percent of the national vote.
The European migrant situation is just one of the factors driving Europe's right wing parties. Ulrike Lunacek is a vice president of the European
parliament representing the Greens. She's also an Austrian politician, joining us now via Skype from Brussels in Belgium.
Thank you very much for joining us on the program this evening. We want to talk about the wider continent but let's just start with Austria in
What does this knife edge result tell us about Austria and anti-immigration sentiments in the country?
ULRIKE LUNACEK, VICE PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (ph): Well, first, let me tell you that it's great that Alexander Van der Bellen won because it's
a positive signal for an open-minded and pro-European Austria.
And it's a great signal also for Europe that it was possible for him with the right group of people, not just Greens, far away from just us Greens,
lots of people from Social Democrats, from the Conservative Party and many of us, artists, all people who want a pro-European and open Austria who
voted for him and who made his victory possible.
And it's also great that Marine Le Pen, Wilders and others from the far right parties in other parts of Europe cannot congratulate today Mr. Hofer
for having won because even though it was a very tight race but the winner is Alexander Van der Bellen.
Nevertheless, we have a very polarized situation in Austria and it's true that many people, almost 50 percent -- not more but almost -- voted for the
candidate of the --
LUNACEK: -- right wing, right wing populists, right wing extremists party (INAUDIBLE). And this is a matter of concern.
However, I analyzed it and many others; it was mostly a vote of discontent, of criticism of the government because we've had so-called grand parties,
Social Democrats and Conservatives collision for many years now and they never get anything done.
It's like a stalemate all the time. So that was also the big deception of people, the kind of protest vote together with some, yes, some elements of
anti-refugees, anti-migrants but the big thing was we don't like this government and we want something else.
JONES: If there had been -- sorry to interrupt you. If there had been this discontent with the establishment, if you like, in Austria and the
fact there's been a stalemate for so long, given that there was just 31,000 votes in it between these two candidates, surely now the new president is
going to have to bow to some extent at least to the far right and the will of the people.
LUNACEK: Well, not to the far right. But to the new president, Mr. Van der Bellen will have to reach out to those people who are so deceived, who
feel deceived and who want a different kind of politics.
It's mostly about different kind of politics, also the elites more reaching out to people, the poorer ones, the ones who feel they are losers in
society and the ones -- I mean, we also have a situation where the economic situation is not as good as it was years ago. Unemployment is high,
especially among young people, especially also about migrants and the refugees.
So they and the new president will have to reach out to all of them and try to convince them to give them also a sense of hope, that this -- also this
Europe, this common Europe with all the problems we're having there now is, nevertheless, the positive thing and the one where solutions can be found
which is not the threat.
JONES: In your role then, within the European parliament, are you concerned about the likely domino effect of these populist parties across
Europe and the fact that the E.U. as an institution itself could now be threatened by the rise of nationalism across the continent?
LUNACEK: Yes but that has been a factor already over the last year. Since the economic crisis that started in 2008 we have had groups, also because
of wrong policies from the side of the E.U. and most member states, a policy of strict austerity, especially towards Greece, towards Spain, which
has brought so many people into poverty, real poverty, that the middle classes hadn't experienced before.
So that was, I think, the start of it. And then we had, yes, the refugees coming, so many of them since last fall. That and the lack of solidarity
within the E.U. member states, that really brought a kind of disconnect.
In my home country Austria has taken in last year almost 100,000 refugees for a country of 8-point something million with lots of civil society, even
some who were close to helping refugees.
So that is something where politics now, with a new prime minister that we've had since a couple of days ago, it's really their last chance of the
bigger party, Social Democrats and Conservatives, the last chance to do something that really makes people, citizens feel that they are there for
them and not just for their own good.
JONES: It will be very interesting to see what countries across the continent do about the migrant crisis and the rise of nationalism that goes
with that as well.
Ulrike Lunacek, many thanks for joining us on the program this evening. We appreciate it.
LUNACEK: Thank you, yes, thank you very much.
JONES: Let's return now to one of our top stories this hour: the fight against ISIS inside Syria. It's drawing in the United States like never
before. In addition to leading the bombing coalition, the U.S. military is now training and equipping Syrian democratic fighters.
Our own Barbara Starr gained exclusive access to that mission. She is live in the region tonight, joining us from Amman in Jordan.
Barbara, thanks very much for joining us on the program.
The U.S. then once again training foreign fighters on foreign soil.
Have lessons, though, been learned from previous training initiatives and the no doubt billions of dollars spent elsewhere in the region?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there was a Syrian training program that failed in a rather spectacular manner. This
time they hope it works. They've made some adjustments. And the head of the U.S. Central Command, General Joe Votel, who runs the war against ISIS,
made a very secret, very quiet trip into Syria. CNN was the only television news network with him.
STARR (voice-over): These are the first images ever shown publicly from a U.S. special operations training camp in Northern Syria. From here and
other secret nearby locations, the U.S. military is racing time to train enough local Syrian forces so they can push south --
STARR (voice-over): -- towards Raqqah, ISIS' declared capital. CNN was the only television network with General Joseph Votel on a secret day-long
trip to Syria. Votel oversees the war against ISIS.
GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL, CENTCOM COMMANDER: My purpose was to meet with some of the Syrian democratic force leadership in multiple locations and also to
meet with our advisor teams.
STARR (voice-over): General Votel has come to Northern Syria under extraordinary security conditions. In fact, we've been asked not to reveal
a number of details on how we all got here.
But Votel considers this part of the war a top priority. He is here to meet with the U.S. military advisers that are helping some of these local
troops that you see work to defeat ISIS.
Votel went to multiple locations. We've been asked not to disclose, meeting with key local leaders in the Syrian democratic forces, an umbrella
organization overseeing many of these young Arab fighters the U.S. is training.
A spokesman for the Arab forces being trained here is critical of U.S. efforts. He says his group urgently needs more ammunition and weapons
beyond the few ammunition supplies he says the U.S. has delivered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We've been given a limited number of old rifles.
STARR (voice-over): Due to security concerns, we are not allowed to show details of the base. Our cameras are restricted. Security is so high here
the U.S. advisers want their faces shielded.
But they do want to talk about the training.
You're a military adviser here.
What do you guys do here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here, training the Syrian democratic forces. Now when I say training, generally that's consisting of basic level weapons
training, shooting AK-47s and shooting larger machine guns.
STARR (voice-over): Their four-star general taking an extraordinary step to see it all first-hand.
VOTEL: I have responsibility for this mission. I have responsibility for the people that we put here. So it's imperative for me to come and see
what they are dealing with, to share the risks that they are -- they are absorbing on a day-to-day basis.
STARR (voice-over): Even as the Arab fighters here patrol the surrounding fields and stand watch getting ready for whatever their future holds.
STARR: General Votel convinced the strategy will work but warning adamantly it may take some time -- Jones.
JONES: Barbara, thanks very much indeed.
We've got some breaking news that we can bring you, coming into us just in the last --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Breaking news.
JONES: We do have some breaking news coming into you from the last few minutes and this is in relation to Manchester United Football Club. Louis
van Gaal has been sacked as the manager of the club. Man United finished fifth in the English Premier League, missing out, of course, there on
lucrative Champions League football for the second time in three years.
We do have a couple of statements to read you now. First one coming from Manchester United themselves.
The executive vice chairman, Ed Woodward, saying, "I would like to thank Louis and his staff for their excellent work in the past two years
culminating in winning a record equaling 12th FA Cup for the club --" that was on Saturday and securing him a title in four different countries.
"He has behaved with great professionalism and dignity throughout his time here. He leaves us with a legacy of having given several young players the
confidence to show their ability on the highest stage.
"Everyone at the club wishes him all the best in the future."
The statement ends, saying, "A decision on a successor as manager will be announced soon"
And of course all of the speculation is that Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea manager, and self-proclaimed Special One will be that one to take
over the mantle.
Louis van Gaal has also issued a statement this evening, saying, "It has been an honor to manage such a magnificent club."
He goes on to say that he's been immensely proud, especially of the FA Cup win over the weekend. And he says he was disappointed to be unable to
complete the intended three-year plan. He thanks the club. He thanks the fans as well as Manchester United.
"And finally special thanks go to Sir Alex Ferguson and to Bobby Charlton for always making me and my family feel so welcome throughout my time as
Manchester United manager."
So there you have it, confirmation that we've been speculating on for some time now, 48 hours or more, that Louis van Gaal has indeed been sacked as
the manager of the Manchester United Football Club.
Stay with us here on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Plenty more coming up after this short break.
JONES: Welcome back to the program.
It is a climb fraught with danger. Mt. Everest, the world's highest peak, has attracted climbers for decades. But in the last few days four people
have died on the mountain with two more still missing. Sumnima Udas has more for us now.
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the ultimate achievement, scaling the top of the world. Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters,
almost 30,000 feet, but the deaths of four climbers in as many days has shaken the mountaineering community.
Phurba Sherpa fell to his death while fixing the route just a few meters from the summit. Dutch climber Eric Arnold, a triathlete, died from a
suspected heart attack. He was on his way down after a successful summit.
Australian national Maria Strydom died from altitude sickness at Base Camp Four, the final stop before the summit.
And on Sunday, Indian climber Subash Paul also died.
Danger is inherent here. More than 250 mountaineers have died since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first official ascent was made
in 1953. But still every year hundreds are drawn to it, willing to take the risk.
The air is so thin, the oxygen level is a third of what's available at sea level. The wind is vicious, the weather erratic and the terrain deadly.
Kenton Cool is a guide who has climbed Everest 12 times.
KENTON COOL, MOUNTAIN CLIMBER: Winds are very brutal on Everest and they can make what could be a relatively amenable summit day into something
quite the opposite.
UDAS (voice-over): Climbing had been halted for the past two years after a deadly avalanche in 2014 that killed 16 Sherpas. And a devastating
earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015.
A lot was riding on this year's climbing season, the Nepali government hoping to revive tourism in a country still reeling from the earthquake.
Authorities say some 400 climbers summitted Everest this year but this is a tragic end to yet another climbing season.
COOL: It's not considerably dangerous. It is very, very dangerous and you do need a depth of experience. You do need the understanding and the skill
set to be able to operate and even survive at such altitudes.
UDAS (voice-over): A reminder of just how dangerous scaling the highest mountain in the world can be -- Sumnima Udas, CNN.
JONES: We're going to get more now on the perils of Everest. We're going to go to Alan Arnette, who's a mountaineer who has climbed Mt. Everest four
times and joins us now via Skype from Ft. Collins, Colorado.
Thanks so much for joining us, Alan. You obviously have first-hand experience and congratulations for making it to the top four times.
But in terms of the risks associated with an Everest attempt, what are they?
Is it the climbers, is it frostbite, is it the air control?
ALAN ARNETTE, MOUNTAINEER: You know, it's all the above, Hannah. The biggest issue with Mt. Everest is the altitude. When you go up to close to
29,000 feet, that's where airplanes fly. And even those people that --
ARNETTE: -- are using supplemental oxygen, that only reduces the altitude by about 3,000 feet. So frostbite, as Kenton mentioned, and the sudout
(ph), that -- the winds can be horrible up there. You can have wind chill temperatures at -40 centigrade so flesh just freezes very quickly in that
JONES: Four deaths in the last four days.
Does that alarm you?
Or what is the sort of the success rate of people reaching the top and, indeed, the survival rate as well?
ARNETTE: You know, the deaths are absolutely tragic. There's no excuse for that, no excusing it. And my condolences go to the families.
However, if you look over the last, let's say, 16 years, since 2000, what I consider to be modern times on Everest, on average, six climbers have died
every season, all the way from one in 2006 to 22 last year during the avalanche.
But taking out the last two very deadly years of 19 and 22 deaths, on average, six people die every year on this mountain.
JONES: And what kind of money is involved in being able to launch an expedition to take you to the top of Everest?
ARNETTE: If you try to climb it just on your own, just organizing your own team, just a team of one person, maybe a cook and a Sherpa, you'd be
looking at $35,000. That's the reason most people work together to leverage the resources.
The average price that people pay is about $37,000 but it can go as high as $65,000 for the top end Western companies. And that's really one of the
cruxes right now, is that there's a price war going on on Mt. Everest.
JONES: And presumably insurance isn't even factored into that.
I mean, can you even get insurance to climb Everest with the risks associated?
ARNETTE. You can. In the U.S. you can for about $2,000. You can get trip cancellation insurance and rescue insurance and all of that is highly
recommended. It's difficult in other parts of the world.
But, more importantly, it's for the Sherpas. And now for about $500 a Sherpa can be insured for up to $15,000 in case of injury or even death.
JONES: And we know that -- I think it was last year, actually, that the climbing season, that window of opportunity to attempt to climb Everest,
Do you think that that will happen again now because of this recent spate of deaths on the mountain?
ARNETTE: No, not at all. We're at the end of the season. It's actually been what I would consider to be a fairly normal season.
We've had, as you said, about 400 summits from the south side and around 200 from the Tibet side. So this is more like what Everest was in 2010 and
'11 and '12 before the '14 and '15 avalanche and earthquake years that cancelled it. And pretty much the season is wrapping up today and
JONES: OK. Well, it's great to get your expertise on the perils of Everest and, of course, you were successfully up there four times yourself
as well. Alan Arnette, thank you so much for joining us on the program.
ARNETTE: Thank you.
JONES: Well, coming up, we'll tell you how poaching on the Pacific Ocean has brought a fish species close to extinction. That's coming up.
JONES: Hello again. Welcome back to THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Finally tonight, we take you to Mexico. The country's struggles with its drug
gangs are of course well documented.
But in the Pacific Ocean, another bitter war is underway. That's where an increasing number of poachers are harvesting a commodity considered to be
as lucrative as cocaine. It's fish bladder. Kyung Lah visits the crew trying to end the devastating trade.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive Mexican military operation at sea, on land, in the air, not to fight illegal drugs but to
save endangered fish that live only in the remote and isolated Gulf of California and San Felipe, Mexico.
LAH: This is the net. But look what was trapped here. This is the fish that we're talking about, totoaba. Its bladder is the merchandise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a fresh swim bladder of the totoaba fish.
LAH (voice-over): Poachers can make as much money from these bladders as cocaine. They are smuggled out, just like illegal drugs. The buyers are
in Hong Kong; like rhino horn and elephant ivory, totoaba bladder is sold on the black market for its supposed medicinal and anti-aging properties.
Selling endangered animal parts is illegal in Hong Kong but that doesn't stop it.
This shop owner, claiming he doesn't have any on hand, showing CNN photos of dried totoaba bladder, estimating this large one costs 100,000 U.S.
"It's the best of the best," he says. "It will make you more beautiful."
LAH: Is it possible that the fishermen could have their pathway as extensive as this without the cartel's help?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).
LAH (voice-over): Poachers have fished the totoaba to critically endangered levels. Another marine animal, the vaquita, is the same size at
the totoaba, trapped in the same net by accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).
LAH: So the head swims through here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).
LAH: It can't get out. It's trapped.
LAH (voice-over): And now nearly extinct only 60 vaquitas remain.
Why at night, environmental group Sea Shepherd patrols the protected waters where fishing is illegal, searching for poachers.
LAH: Why are they fleeing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, poachers will flee when they are caught.
LAH (voice-over): At daybreak, evidence of their crime surfaces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're looking at is a totoaba that's been cut open and can you see that there's no swim bladder.
LAH: If a couple of species die in this one little bay, why should anyone care?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not looking at protecting just the vaquita or just the totoaba. But you need all those little parts to make the whole
system work and if the whole system doesn't work, we're part of the system. So it eventually affects us as well.
LAH: This is the end of the line; what they have done is cut that large net in half. This is the half they have been able to pull up. Sea
Shepherd's environmental activists hunt for illegal nets and lines, found too often.
Is this a war?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a fight, a battle that we're fighting.
LAH (voice-over): A battle against a black market that spans the Pacific Ocean -- Kyung Lah, CNN, San Felipe, Mexico.
JONES: Well, thank you so much for watching the program. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Stay tuned though. Richard Quest with "QUEST MEANS
BUSINESS" is up next and he's going to be exploring Brexit, of course. It's just one month to go until the British public decide whether they want
to stay in or get out of the European Union.
All that and plenty more coming up at the top of the hour. Thanks for joining us.