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CONNECT THE WORLD
Italy's Prime Minister Resigns; Austria Elects Alexander Van der Bellen; Military Looks at Climate Change Through Lens of Global Security; Fake News Has Real-World Consequence at D.C. Pizzeria. 10-11a ET
Aired December 5, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:13] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Two closely watched votes in Europe with big implications. Italy's prime minister resigns after losing a
referendum on reforms, while Austria's far-right presidential hopeful concedes defeat. What this all means with analysis from Rome and Vienna
for you in just a moment.
Also ahead, Trump's Twitter diplomacy, or lack thereof. China criticizes comments by the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the rebels lost their grip on this place, many residents fled, trying to escape with their
lives and not much more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Going back to homes hollowed by war, people who fled the rebels in Aleppo return for the first time in years, a rare glimpse inside the
east of that city later this hour.
A arm welcome from our Middle East broadcasting center in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World.
Even in a year that has seen shock after political shock, parts of Europe are reeling from new surprises. This hour, Italy's prime minister is on
his way out after the public gave a resounding no to constitutional reforms that he had spearheaded.
Matteo Renzi's departure paves the way for populist anti-EU parties to step in. But if you thought political trends in 2016 were becoming predictable,
think again. In Austria, voters have sided with the pro-EU Alexander Van der Bellen who defeated the opposition from the far right.
And also in the spotlight again, Britain's decision to leave the EU. T the UK's supreme court looking at whether the government has the power to
trigger Brexit, as it's known, without approval from parliament.
Well, we are covering all sides of these stories. Let's start in Vienna and in Rome. We have got Hala Gorani in Austria for you and Ben Wedeman
with more from the Italian capital.
And Ben, it was a risk for the prime minister and a resounding no from the Italian people. Sort this out for us, Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, really what it was, as you mentioned, was a defeat for him well beyond anything
anybody imagined. The last polls that were published before the referendum indicated that it would lose by about 5 percent. As it was, it was almost
20 percent. And this was a resounding defeat for Matteo Renzi.
Now, in the next two and a half hours, he's expected to hold his last cabinet meeting before he
goes to the (inaudible), which is the office of the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, where he is expected to hand in his resignation,
something he said he would do if he lost the referendum.
Now this -- the result of this referendum are being put in the context of Brexit, of the election of Donald Trump. But really, it's a little more
complicated than that, given the huge turnout, 65 percent of the Italian electorate, and the huge no vote.
Really, it encompassed everything from the far left to the far right, those who were opposed to the constitutional changes, those who wanted to keep
this political status quo, those who felt it wasn't strong enough and, above all, those who simply saw this as an opportunity to send Matteo Renzi
to his home, send him out of office.
And that is what has happened.
Now, the question is, what comes next? The Italian president will have to appoint somebody to form a new government. It is not at all clear who that
could be. Obviously, in the wings is the Five-Star Movement, led by former comedian Beppe Grillo. They hold the second largest number of seats in the
Italian parliament, but it is not clear if they have the sheer numbers and the potential coalition partners to form a government, so we may be back
where we started with the Partito Democratico, the Democratic Party, holding the reins of power -- Becky.
ANDERSON: So, anti-establishment vote in Italy, Ben, but not a clear cut victory necessarily for the euro skeptics.
So this wave of populism, perhaps, continues through Italy.
Hala, a different story, though, in Austria. Explain.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pretty much the mirror image in terms of the possible implications, Becky, here in Austria where you had
an anti-EU, anti-immigration, far-right leader in the person of Norbert Hofer, who lost this election, and the pretty decisive victory of Alexander
Van der Bellen, the independent candidate backed by the Green Party, who is extremely pro-EU.
Ben mentioned, of course, the electoral victory of Donald Trump. We've had Brexit. This is the third time they've tried -- the third and final time,
third time is a charm -- they've tried this election. The first time, Alexander Van der Bellen won by only 31,000 votes. That result was
annulled because of reports of some irregularities.
The second time, there was a problem with the glue on some absentee ballot envelopes. This time, however, a much more decisive victory for Alexander
Van der Bellen. I spoke to his campaign manager a little bit earlier just a few hours ago. He said, look, we ran a positive campaign. It was above
party lines. We modeled it, in fact, on Barack Obama's campaign in 2008. And we're happy about this victory that it is sending a message that the EU
is, as a project, being defended at least in this election.
However, Becky, this isn't all done and dusted, as far as Austria is concerned. In 2018 and possibly earlier, there will be elections. The
presidential post is largely ceremonial. And you have still in opinion polls a lot of support for the Freedom Party of the far right candidate in
So this is not all said and done. And we've seen what happened in Italy, and major electoral context next year, as well, including in France that
could determine the future of the EU.
[10:06:59] ANDERSON: Yeah. all right.
Ben, congratulations, certainly, tweeted by leaders across Europe, representing parties that we would perhaps describe as populist, certainly
as euro skeptic. But what are, do you believe, the implications of this vote in Italy for the wide story here of populism, the sort of, you know,
this sort of moment in time that we've seen from the Philippines to Philadelphia in the U.S.? Are we seeing an indication from Italy that this
wave of populism is alive and kicking, and likely to inform our politics going forward?
WEDEMAN: Well, this wave actually has been alive and kicking for several years. In 2013, Italy had parliamentary elections where the Five-Star
Movement did very well, and they continue to do well. This year, they've won the mayoral positions in Turin and here in Rome.
But it's one thing to be an opposition, it is another when you're in power. For instance, the Five-Star Movement holds the mayor's office here in Rome,
and you hear a lot of grumbling about their performance so far.
So it is easy to be an opposition and be highly critical of an obviously flawed establishment, but it is another thing when you have to run the
place yourself. And there could be trouble for this anti-establishment movement when it becomes the establishment -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman in Rome and Hala Gorani in Vienna. To you both, thank you.
Well, more from Italy later on Connect the World in around 20 minutes. We're going to speak to a lawmaker from what's known as the Five-Star
Movement, which could sweep in when Mr. Renzi bows out.
Well, let's get you some of the other stories on our radar today at this point. And a fire at a luxury hotel in Karachi in Pakistan has killed 11
people and injured 75 others. The Regent Plaza Hotel is a prominent landmark. It is unclear what caused the fire. Some guests tied together
bed sheets to escape their smoky rooms.
In Oakland, California, the death toll from the warehouse fire there expected to climb as investigators sift through the rubble. 36 people
confirmed dead, but less than a third of the building has been searched. The city has launched a criminal investigation.
Well, in the next few hours, the French prime minister, Manuel Valls is expected to announce a run for president. This comes after current
president and fellow Socialist Party member, Francois Hollande, decided not to run again.
Two rounds of elections take place in April and in May.
Well, to Syria now for you, where we could be witnessing what is the final battle for Aleppo. In just the last nine days, government forces have
taken back more than half of the rebels' eastern patch of the city. That's the area you're seeing in dark red on this map.
The savage fighting, blitzing areas already pummeled into oblivion. And ordinary people being butchered in the crossfire.
Now, activists telling CNN that dozens of people were killed on wounded on Sunday this week
alone. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has been on the ground inside what were rebel- held neighborhoods. And he spoke to some of the people going back and filed this report for you.
[10:10:40] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Driving through a destroyed wasteland that until recently was one of the main
battlegrounds in Syria. Aleppo's Hanano District was in rebel hands until last week when government forces moved in with crushing fire power.
13-year-old Hudei (ph) shows me where a rocket landed next to his house and describes the fear he felt.
"We were very, very frightened" Hudei (ph) says. Normally we would hide in the basement, but luckily that night we slept on the first floor because
that's when two rockets hit right over here.
Hudei's (ph) little brother Abdul Karim (ph) is clearly traumatized by the horrors he's witnessed and still weak from living under siege for weeks
with almost no food and water available much of the time.
As the rebels lost their grip on this place, many residents fled from trying to escape with their lives and not much more. Now, they're coming
back. Some haven't seen their houses for years.
Khaled Chlorella left in 2012 when the rebels took this district. Now he's trying to salvage any belongings in what's left of his apartment.
"I am very sad because everything is either destroyed or ransacked," he says. "We found these pictures under the rubble. Even the walls are
destroyed. But we will come back here and rebuild."
The battle for Aleppo is far from over, but Syrian government forces clearly have the upper hand. Taking about half the rebels territory in the
past week alone, and continuing to push their offensive with massive fire power.
[08:21:34] (on-camera): Like in so many districts that have been taken back by the syrian military, there is a massive destruction in this part of
Eastern Aleppo. But there's no denying the shift in momentum in favor of the Syrian military and also the boost in morale that many of their
soldiers have gotten.
(voice-over): Troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tell us they believe they could capture all of Aleppo, Syria's most important
battleground, very soon.
"The rebel headquarters was right here," he says. "So the loss of this district was a big blow to them. You can see how our shelling is pounding
them, and that shows that their morale is collapsing."
Rebels left behind a makeshift cannon when they fled here last week. So far the opposition hasn't found a way to shore up their defences in the face of
this massive and possibly decisive Syrian government offensive.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Aleppo.
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen on the ground for you in Syria.
Still to come this hour here on Connect the World with me Becky Anderson, a fake news story prompts a man with a gun to take real action. A bit later,
what can be done to separate truth from lies in an online world?
First up, though, Donald Trump takes a swing at China setting off a diplomatic firestorm. We'll have a look at Trump's accusations after this.
[10:15:59] ANDRESON: You're with CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. It's quarter past 7:00 in the UAE. Welcome back.
Donald Trump took a few shots at China on a platform few in China would ever see. It all started last week when he accepted a call from Taiwan's
president. Now that broke years of U.S. protocol. After Beijing complained, Trump took to Twitter about China.
But ironically, that meant Beijing had to monitor something that had been banned. Jessica Schneider takes a look at the diplomatic face-off for you.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president-elect lashing out at China, only two days after his unprecedented phone call with
the leader of Taiwan, Donald Trump accusing China of keeping its currency artificially low. Monetary experts say it's fairly valued. And decrying
their military presence in the South China Sea. Trump stepping up some of the tough talk from the campaign trail.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: They've taken our money and our jobs, our manufacturing. But they've taken everything.
China is responsible for nearly half of our entire trade deficit.
SCHNEIDER: But the timing of his tweets indicate those campaign promises could potentially become policy. Over the weekend, China lodging a formal
complaint about Trump's call with Taiwan's president.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: That was nothing more than taking a courtesy call, a congratulations.
SCHNEIDER: But the "Washington Post" reports that the call had been planned for weeks. Experts warn the call carries major diplomatic risks, citing the
U.S.'s one-China policy, which considers Taiwan to be a part of China. This is the first known communication between the U.S. and Taiwan since 1979.
Trump also taking to Twitter this weekend to threaten any business that leaves our country, warning of a whopping 35 percent tax on products
shipped back into the country, as quote, "retribution."
Trump tweeting he would keep jobs in the country by lowering taxes for companies and slashing regulations.
All this playing out as the president-elect is widening his list of contenders to be secretary of state, a process starting to look more like a
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: We have additional interviews with other candidates for secretary of state and other cabinet positions.
SCHNEIDER: Former Republican governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, President Barack Obama's first ambassador to China, now in the running; and disgraced
former general David Petraeus making a public case for the top post.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Five years ago I made a serious mistake. I acknowledged it; I apologized for it.
SCHNEIDER: Arguing that his guilty plea for revealing classified information to his former mistress should not disqualify him from serving
as secretary of state.
PETRAEUS: I paid a very heavy price for it, and I've learned from it.
ANDERSON: all right. Well, that was Jessica Schneider reporting there.
Let's drill down on this, shall we, a bit. Alexandra Field joining us from Beijing.
And Alexandra, what is the reaction in China to -- I mean, we've had a week of it, haven't we, to this very latest from the president-elect?
these comments about China via Twitter.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Becky, Beijing has heard tough talk from President-elect Donald Trump before. These were things
that he said on the campaign trail. The content of these tweets isn't terribly different. It doesn't mark a departure in terms of his plan to
sort of get tough on China, the message that he sent during his successful campaign.
But certainly, this is causing Beijing to have to respond in some way, because they've got
these two incidents back to back -- the phone call with Taiwan, which certainly raised concern for officials here in Beijing, and then these
tweets, which really pointedly took aim at Beijing.
Look, officials here didn't tweet back @realdonaldtrump, that's the Twitter handle for the
president-elect goes. This is a social media platform that's of course blocked here in China. But officials did get the message from President-
elect Donald Trump.
They didn't put out an immediate official response in the way that they did in the wake of that phone call with Taiwan's president, which broke with
some 40 years of diplomatic protocol. But a spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs did address the tweets during a previously scheduled
I've got to say that the response was muted. It was fairly tempered. The spokesperson took this as an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the
bilateral relationship. He stressed the importance of the economic and the trade relationship that the U.S. and China have.
And then he went on to say that China won't speculate on the motivations behind the president-elect's actions or those actions of his transition
team. And he sort of left it at that, saying that China really doesn't comment on a foreign politician's style or personality or character traits,
instead they comment on policy.
So do these tweets amount to a shift in policy? That's the big questions, because this is fairly unprecedented. The president-elect promised that his
foreign policy would be unpredictable, but you've got foreign leaders now who are trying to determine how much they need to respond to things that
the president-elect is saying on Twitter.
Remember, he is, of course, the president-elect. He has not yet assumed office. So, they're trying to gauge whether or not this is a continuation
of campaign rhetoric that played well with Trump's base or if this is really a clear sign that the president-elect's plans to adjust or alter the
course forward, in terms of the relationship that is shared between the U.S. and China.
And that is something that's been seized on in state news today. You have got the Global Times coming out for the first time, responding to these
tweets, expressing worries that the leadership of Trump may lead to a tougher economic stance toward China. Previously, state news had given the
president-elect a little bit of leeway suggesting that it could be talk and that it might not amount to action, Becky.
ANDERSON: Alex Field is in Beijing.
Let's, then, get to Washington -- thank you, Alex.
Jim Sciutto joining us from D.C.
He is ripping up the rule book, Jim, but that is exactly what he promised to do. So, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. But we should talk about
the implications here.
Firstly, as Alex was pointing out, the Chinese seem to be bemused by all of this. Are we witnessing a shift in policy, firstly?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me tell you. I think we should not underestimate the real potential danger here, right? I spent two years
in China working inside the government, but 20 years covering China in the region and out of it.
China is extremely sensitive to minor moves in rhetoric from U.S. leaders, from the minor to
major, but starting at minor, to different signals like that. So, to have a bull horn now, via Twitter from the president-elect of the United States,
and not just one incident -- a phone call to Taiwan, but now a very public, firm, arguably belligerent to some degree statement from the president-
elect on two of the key issues dividing these countries, right: the issue of fair trade, fair trade, currency manipulation but also the South China
Sea in 140 characters right is potentially disruptive to a enormous degree.
And yes, it is true the public statements from the foreign ministry have been quite measured. Privately from folks I speak to, there are really
deep concerns here about a major shift in U.S. policy, what has been a bipartisan, Republican and Democratic administration policy towards China,
with this new president. It's significant. It really is.
ANDERSON: He's sticking to what he said on the stump, to the silent majority who effectively voted for him. If we buy into this sort of wave
of populism and why we are seeing these anti-establishment movements gaining momentum, people will tell us, it is as a result of globalization.
The entry of China, particularly, into the WTO back at the early 2000s. We saw the risks. We heard the protests. The anti-globalization protests in
the mid-2000s. It seemed nobody was listening.
So, I'm just wondering how he is setting up, whoever his secretary of state will be, by the 20th of January, for some really difficult conversations
with the likes of Beijing and others at this point.
Do we have any idea at this point who that is likely to be, and what their stance will be, and whether it will be sympathetic to what we are hearing
from Trump on China today?
SCIUTTO: Well, the truth is no, we don't know the answer to that question. I mean, we have a field of candidates now -- and if you look at them, from
a Mitt Romney to a Jon Huntsman, these are people with an enormous or a fair amount of public service experience, but also with views regarding China and other foreign policy challenges
that are mainstream, so it would seem to contradict the views of the president.
Now, if you select someone in that category, I think there will be sighs of relief in capitals from Europe to Beijing and elsewhere. But the question
then becomes, what is the relationship between the secretary of state and the president? Because the secretary of state is only as powerful as the
president -- as that relationship, frankly, with the president and the influence he or she has over the president.
So, if it is a situation where Donald Trump selects a secretary of state who might be more
moderate, but then tweets out new policy directives from Washington, then it really doesn't make a difference.
You know, the issue here is what is the foreign policy? We don't know what it is. You've had a couple statements on the campaign trail, now via
Twitter, now the symbolism of a phone call to the Taiwanese president. What you don't have, and what Donald Trump never articulated during the
campaign, and still has not as president-elect, is what is the foreign policy? What is the change in priorities? That is what, frankly, allies
and adversaries will be looking for.
[10:26:10] ANDERSON: Jim, it is a new era we are witnessing.
SCIUTTO: No question.
ANDERSON: And hold on to your seats, as it were. Sir, always a pleasure having you on. Jim Sciutto is out of Washington. Alex was out of Beijing
for you today on what is an extremely important story. Thank you, Jim.
Meanwhile, Trump has chosen another member of his cabinet: former political rival Ben Carson is to be USs. secretary of housing and urban development.
He was the retired neurosurgeon, you may remember, who ran unsuccessfully to be the Republican nominee for president. As housing secretary, Carson
would oversee federal public housing programs. His nomination has to be confirmed by the senate, of course.
Right. Let me get you the latest world news headlines after this very short break.
Plus, celebrations for protesters as the U.S. army says a controversial pipeline will be rerouted. We will go live to North Dakota after this.
[10:31:02] ANDERSON: Well, to North Dakota in the United States now, where protesters are celebrating. Construction is stopping, at least for now, on
what is a controversial pipeline project there.
Now, it was originally planned to run under a lake that sits near tribal land, but the Army Corps of Engineers says it will not grant a permit for
Well, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and supporters have protested the project for months.
Let's go live to North Dakota and speak to CNN's Sara Sidner.
And those protesters must be, Sara, absolutely delighted.
Just explain what they've been going through and why.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to give you some idea of how many people have showed up here in the dead of winter. It has been absolutely
freezing with a blizzard that they have survived with no electricity, no running water. I'll give you a look at how big the camp is.
We're talking upwards of nearly 10,000 people that we can see as you look out into what has really become a city in the past few months. They've
been here since August, and ever since then, it has grown and grown and grown. And when they got the news from the Army Corps of Engineers, which
administers the land and gives the permits to pipeline companies, the Army Corps of
Engineer looked at it and said, you know what, we are not going to give the final permit to allow the company to go underneath the Missouri River.
Now, that Missouri River is just up from the camp here, which is also the native land of the Sioux people here. And they say, look, that pipeline
could leak one day, and that would mean poisoning the water not just for the Standing Rock Sioux, not just for the Sioux Nation, but for millions of
Americans because it would go under the Missouri River, which snakes through much of America.
And so they wanted it stopped.
But here's what happened just hours after they learned that it may be rerouted because of the
decision by the Army Corps, the company said, absolutely not. Energy Transfer Partners, which
owns the Dakota Access Pipeline, says that they have every legal right to go forward. They have gotten all the permissions they need already. And
this is just a ploy by the administration to stop it and it means nothing to them.
I think what you're hearing from them is also a political statement, although companies
don't normally like to do that. But the next administration coming in, the Donald Trump administration coming in in January has already given
indications that they support the pipeline. So perhaps they will wait it out.
But certainly, we may see another legal battle here.
The people who are here, even in these deathly cold temperatures, plan on playing in the
thousands, including thousands of military veterans who showed up standing against the Dakota
Access Pipeline, Becky.
ANDERSON: Sara, thank you for that. Stay warm. Looks freezing doesn't it. Thank you, Sara Sidner.
More news now on what is our top story as Italy's prime minister prepares to stand down, other parties are stepping up their pitch to fill the gap.
They include the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement.
Manlio Di Stefano is a member of that party, a member of the Italian parliament, and joining us now from Rome.
Your response, briefly, to the vote, firstly.
MANLIO DI STEFANO, ITALIAN MP: First of all, thank you for inviting me and good afternoon.
Well, this response was made by the people willing to have a government that listen to them. I mean, this referendum was on the constitutional
reform, so obviously, there is a certain part of the voters that went to the matter of the constitutional reform, that it was terrible. And the
other part of the voters voted on Mr. Renzi, because he said this referendum was on him.
And when you have all the power like he had, to reform the country for two years, and what you do is just saving banks and saving financial
institutions with the people's money, while in the country there is 62 percent of youth unemployment, you failed. And that's what people said
[10:35:16] ANDERSON: Just explain what your party stands for. You are certainly anti-establishment, that is clear. But what does the party
actually stand for?
There have been lots of votes of congratulation, as it were, for both your party and the
far-right Northern League today, from parties who are described as nationalist, as populist, as leaning very much to the right across Europe.
Is that -- do you feel that's what you represent as a movement?
STEFANO: That's the international storytelling. The truth is that we were born in 2009 and immediately -- in all the institutions we have been -- so
from the (inaudible) to the parliament now, we did what we said and we promised in the elections.
So people understood that. We came from a protest, obviously, we came from a protest from a protest, but then we became the proposal.
STEFANO: And now, we are the party with the strongest electoral program. And if you want to know basic things, we want to discuss about our
financial institutions, because if you think about Italy, if an entrepreneur wants to open a small company in Italy, it has to be a hero,
because you don't have any bank giving you money. You have to pay taxes in advance, and we paid 67 percent of taxation since the very beginning. And
this country is made of the 80 percent of small businesses, what you call Made in Italy, the famous one is made by small entrepreneurs.
So, if you don't think to these people, you will lose the country, and we are losing it.
So, our electoral program is made of this, is made of good deals with the other international partners without the storytelling of, we are friend of
this and enemy of the other one. We want to be friend of everyone.
Let me put this to you, if you were to be successful in a coalition that could govern the country going forward, would that be a movement, a
coalition, that wanted out of the euro zone and out of Europe? It is a really basic question.
STEFANO: Well, I want to clarify, this is not our first point in a political agenda. Our first point, as I said before, is the liberal market
and to fix the issues that we have inside the country. But coming to your point, the big mistake that was done by the left wing in 2001, Mr. Prodi
(ph) was to bring Italy into the euro zone without asking the people, and people recognize this big mistake.
So now, they want to choose. What we promised, was we promised in the election for the
European election. Sorry. Was to give people a referendum on the euro zone. The result of this referendum will be our political decision.
What we said in--
ANDERSON: I think--
STEFANO: -- and we demonstrated in these three years is that we are representing people.
So, we want to ask them.
ANDERSON: I think you've been on the winning side of a referendum. Many politicians across Europe will say referenda are not doing them any favors
whatsoever. But I hear your point.
Look, for our viewers' sake who may not know, you know, that much about Italian politics and are learning more as we tell this story, would you
identify yourselves, as things stand today, within the wave that has instated Donald Trump in the U.S., that would be sympathetic to the views
of, for example, the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and France's National Front leader, Marine Le Pen. Again, a very simple question.
STEFANO: No. We are not in the same wave, meaning that we act like anti- establishment party with a lot of proposals. Mr. Trump, I respect and I respect the answer of the American people, is obviously not the anti-
establishment guy. I mean, he is a billionaire. And Brexit is another thing, too.
We are different in this way. We are leaderless. We have no political -- we have no party structure. We decide without asking the people on our
electoral -- informatic (ph) system on the web. So, we are very popular in a beautiful sense, meaning that we listen to people.
So, no, it is not the same wave.
But there is one thing that connects all the dots, yes, very shortly -- something that connects all the dots, there is a wave all around the world
of people asking to be listened. So we are this -- in Italy and who knows who are the other parties like this in the rest of the world. We are in
Italy this kind of party, yes.
[10:40:26] ANDERSON: OK. Have to leave it there. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. The Five-Star Movement, thank you, is denying
alleged links to fake news sites. That's after Buzzfeed published this article saying the party has an entire network of websites and social media
accounts to spread false stories and conspiracy theories.
Now, a Five-Star Movement spokesman told Connect the World before the show began that the real fake news is the Buzzfeed article.
The reason I bring this up at this point is that customers at a U.S. restaurant saw firsthand what happens when fake news online has real-life
consequences. Police in Washington say a man walked into a pizzeria on Sunday carrying an assault rifle. Frightened patrons ran for the exits.
Now, the man told police he had come to investigate an online conspiracy theory.
Brian Stelter joining us now from New York with the details. And we have been discussing this story of fake news now as the -- towards the end of
the U.S. political campaign. It was revealed that this is a big issue, and this is no laughing matter is it, Brian?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we talk about fake news oftentimes in a theoretical sense, how stories that are made up by people
trying to make a quick buck or by foreign governments for propaganda, how they can possibly swing elections, how they can mislead people and trick
But this is a real-life example of how it can affect a local business, affect a local community and cause real-life violence.
Now, this happened in Northwest Washington yesterday. This pizza place, Comet Ping-Pong, it was on the kind of fever swamps of the internet,
presented as one of the hubs for a child pornography, a child pedophilia ring, involving Democrats, involving Clinton, involving Clinton aides.
Basically what happened here, Becky, an anti-Clinton conspiracy theory, which existed only online, only in the virtual world, very much became a
real-world issue when this man came from North Carolina to Washington with guns, trying to investigate it for himself.
I think what we're seeing here is -- well, we know, conspiracy theories are nothing new. We all know that. But the internet, the worldwide web,
makes them more powerful, makes them more pernicious. You know the same world wide web that lets us easily find the truth makes it even easier to
wall yourself off and only believe fictions, and something like Pizzagate, sounds ridiculous to even say, is an example of that kind of fiction that
can be, you know, you can convince yourself is real when you're reading all these fake news websites.
ANDERSON: How significant do you believe it is that as we see the emergence of what is a truly frightening phenomenon, this of -- that of
fake news on social media, we are living in the same era that the phrase "post truth" has become part of the lexicon for our politicians.
Is there a synergy between the two, do you think?
STELTER: The people in power absolutely benefit from confusion and fake news sows confusion, whether that's President-elect Trump right now, who
has been known to promote conspiracy theories and tweet links to outrageous and dubious websites or whether it's
leaders in other countries, more authoritarian regimes that promote propaganda, promote fake news stories certainly. People in power benefit
from the chaos and confusion.
I think we're seeing people in the U.S. deal with that reality, kind of more than we ever have before partly that's because of a very tumultuous
presidential election and partly because of instances like this.
I think in our guts, we know even though this was an isolated incident in Washington, things
like this could happen more often.
ANDERSON: Brian is prolific on CNN digital. You can find him on CNN.com. Don't need to tell you how to get to CNN.com with Brian and his writings,
musings, are there. Brian, thank you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World.
Coming up, climate change through the lens of global security. Military experts explain how climate change sparks conflict. This is important.
Stay with us.
[10:48:01] ANDERSON: Right, you're back with us.
A new documentary investigates the impact of climate change on conflict. In particular, Syria's civil war.
We spoke to director Jared Scott about his film, "The Age of Consequences."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the singular issue of our time that will determine how we live, where we live and if we live.
TRUMP: I've won many environmental awards. I am not a believer in climate change.
JARED SCOTT, FILMMAKER: there's some people in some corners of the states where they haven't truly accepted that this is a phenomenon that they
should worry about. I think when people see that military institutions are looking at this problem, it kind of defuses that partisanship, it allows
for conversations with certain sectors of society that don't often talk about this issue, to see it in a new way.
UNIDENITIFED MALE: As a former member of the United States military and 30 plus years of service in uniform, climate change is what we call an
accelerant to instability.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you have an area that is already unstable, and then has the additional challenge of sea level rise, extreme weather
events, water shortages or food shortages, or a disaster that makes people move, then you can start seeing conflict situations.
SCOTT: If you fight or flee, it is often never monocausal, it is always a confluence of problems.
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Syria began to experience a serious, multi-year drought in the winter of 2006/'07, and that drought lasted for three
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The drought caused a large number of young Syrian men, in particular, to leave farmland and go to the cities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damascus, Aleppo, 1.5 million plus people had to move.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Syria had already absorbed 1.5 million refugees from Iraq who were fleeing the civil war there. Those numbers combined such
that the population of Syrian cities grew by about 30 percent or more. That rate of migration is absolutely catastrophic. It drove food prices
up, it drove apartment prices up, strained the health system, all leading to the kinds of conditions and discontent.
[10:50:24] SOCTT: If you look around the world today, we can already see conflict and climate in play right under the headlines that we're reading.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The International Red Cross is now designating Syria's deadly conflict to be a full blown civil war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think the Syria case is a real wake up for what the consequences can be, and this is really early on in this game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's in the U.S. national interest to ensure that there is a stability globally. Those are things that can come home to us.
ANDERSON: Well, retired U.S. brigadier general Steven Cheney comes to us from CNN Washington. You saw him in that film.
You say, sir, there is no doubt climate change is a threat to our national security. So how concerned are you then by what you hear from a U.S.
president-elect who has described climate change as a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese?
STEPHEN CHENEY, CEO, AMERICAN SEURITY PROJECT: Well, Becky, that statement, I think, was made in the heat of the campaign. And when you
look back over some of his more recent statements, he's actually shown a little bit of light here, that he might think that CO2 is a contributor to
heating up the Earth, and there might be something to climate change.
You know, he is a very successful and good business guy. He listens to some reason. And I think if you push this issue hard enough and let the
people get to him, then he'll listen to us.
ANDERSON: You're convinced by that, are you, seriously?
CHENEY: Well, I'm not convinced by it.
ANDERSON: And you have evidence, you say?
CHENEY: I am not convinced by it. I mean, there's been contradictory statements made during the campaign and, obviously, post election. But
this is such an important issue, and so many countries, hundreds now, after Paris and COP 21 and 22 have signed up. It is our hope that they will put
pressure on him and that, certainly, us retired military folks who understand the impact of climate change will be able to have an impact on
him, as well.
ANDERSON: Good luck.
Let's hope that his positioning on China doesn't extend to him talking about climate change as
a hoax once again.
Look, very, very briefly, you have evidence, you've seen it yourself. Just explain how you can stand up what you say.
CHENEY: Well, there are a number of examples in this film that we've just released. And I've been talking about Syria for years, with their major
drought in 2006 to 2010. When you look at what's happening in the (inaudible), Lake Chad has lost 90 percent of its water,
Boko Haram has taken advantage of that. The Tuareg move in Mali was because their crops dried up. And the poster child for this, of course, is
probably Bangladesh, with one meter of sea level rise, will lose 20 percent of its land and have up to 30 million refugees.
So, I mean, those are very poignant examples of how climate change will directly affect security and migration throughout the world. And I think
we ought to be extremely concerned about it.
ANDERSON: Pleasure having you on, sir. Thank you.
And staying with climate change, a novel take on the issue by a team of artists here in Abu
Dhabi. That's ahead after this short break. Don't go away.
[10:55:22] ANDERSON: Well, we've been talking about climate change. In today's Parting Shots, a team of artists in Abu Dhabi here where we
broadcast from shows their take on the issue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, this is a project called Holoscenes. We've been working on it since 2011.
ANNIE SAUNDERS, PERFORMER: The duet is based on a couple getting ready to go out for the evening. All of the scenes in the tank are taken from
every day behavior. Witnessing a person kind of colliding with a large volume of water over and over again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wanted to put together the patterns of every day human behavior with the longer term patterns of our biosphere. What's
going on in Iraq, what's going on in Syria, has very much to do with just crops and agriculture. In fact, the United States just elected a president
who doesn't think that climate change exists, which is the height of absurdity.
I would like to create, repurpose what a spectacle usually is for, which is like confectionary entertainment, and instead make people ask the question,
what is that? Why is that? And hopefully because of the water and the performers some conversations have started with audience members amongst
ANDERSON: Amazing performance. Well, for stories just like that from here in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and of course, our in-depth reports from around
the world. Do use the Facebook page. Facebook.com/CNNconnect. We are also on Twitter. Keep an eye on what we are posting there, including
interviews that you've seen on this show. And don't be shy to tweet us @CNNConnect. We always appreciate you hearing from you. I'm @BeckyCNN.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World from the team here. It's a very good evening. Thank you for watching.