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CONNECT THE WORLD

Eastern Aleppo's Evacuation; Reaction to Philippines Presidents Vigilante Claims; Philanthropy in the UAE Gives Students Opportunity; Russian President Visits Japan. 10:00a-11:00a ET

Aired December 15, 2016 - 10:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[10:00:15] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole world let us down and we couldn't stay in Aleppo city to help our people. Now, you can't help us, can't help

us anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Hope lost in Aleppo, even as the new ceasefire agreement is allowing some evacuations to take place. Next up, the latest

on what is a dire situation there.

Also...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEILA DE LIMA, PHILIPPINES SENATOR: I should say that that is an impeachable offense. That is a culpable violation of the constitution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Critics of the Philippine president call for him to be impeached in light of claims he used to personally hunt down and kill suspected drug

offenders. Coming up, we are live in Manila.

And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would to see thousand many philanthropy across the Arab world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON; Making a difference through education. Later this hour, we'll meet a man changing the lives of young people here in the Gulf, one

scholarship at a time.

A very warm welcome to the show. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi at one minute past 7:00 here.

In Syria, hundreds of people are putting their trust in a government that has spent months bombarding their rebel-held areas. Syrian state media and

activist sources say more than 900 people from eastern Aleppo, including some critically injured, boarded these buses and ambulances in the last few

hours. It's part of what is an evacuation deal that will see anti-Assad fighters and their families given safe passage from Aleppo to opposition

controlled areas.

Well, in return, rebels will allow some sick and injured civilians to leave the besieged towns of Ketraya and Fua, which have been under opposition

attack for more than a year.

Well, these evacuations were meant to have taken place yesterday. In the past 24 hours, people's hopes have been raised and then dashed as CNN's

Frederik Pleitgen explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On a day that was supposed to see calm and a ceasefire, instead heavy fighting, mortar and

artillery fire and war planes dropping bombs. The civilians in the last rebel enclave in Aleppo once again fearing for their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A missile just fell on the roof of my building. And now the people who are (inaudible) have to run for their lives again.

PLEITGEN: This was supposed to be the day that trapped and wounded citizens and the rebels were going to evacuate with a ceasefire brokered by Russia

and Turkey. Buses were already lined up when it all fell apart and once again the blame game started.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): Assad's government is brazenly committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in

Aleppo. Everyone should see the truth including those who support him.

PLEITGEN: Opposition activists spoke of many casualties on their side, blaming the regime while the Syrian government said rebel shelling killed

several in areas controlled by them as well.

In an interview with Russian TV Syrian President Bashar al Assad said his forces would only accept a rebel surrender.

And so instead of an end to their nightmare the tired, weak and traumatized in the rebel enclave live in fear once again. Anger not only at Russia and

the Syrian government but at the West as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole world let us down and we couldn't (inaudible) to help our people. Now you can't help us. You can't help us anymore.

PLEITGEN: The U.N. has called for an immediate halt to the fighting in Aleppo as they have for years with little success. But with every hour that

passes and every shell that's fired, the prospect for an end to the carnage in Aleppo fades a little more.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, before those evacuations started, Russia assured the UN that no harm will come to people who choose to go.

CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is in Moscow. And Matthew, what are you hearing about the very latest so far as Aleppo is

concerned from Russian authorities at this point?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we're getting some regular updates from the Russian defense ministry, and the

latest update we've had came a couple of hours ago in which General Gerasimov, who is the commander of the Russian army, gave a briefing to

journalists and said that 5,744 people had already been transported by bus from the suburbs of Damascus to Idlib from that region, so from out of that

war zone into that area, which is under the control of other powerful rebel groups.

He said about 3,600 of those that had been transported so far were militants.

Obviously, the rest of them are civilians, and obviously there's a good deal of militants and civilians, their families mainly, that are left

behind in the suburbs of Damascus.

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, earlier said that it would take several days -- he said this yesterday, it would take several days

before this evacuation operation is complete. You're right, he did say that the safety of those that choose to leave was being guaranteed both by

the Russians and by the Syrian military.

But he also said it would be those that chose to stay -- he hesitated and said it is their choice. And so that's obviously concerning for those that

have chosen not to take advantage of this corridor out of the city.

All this comes, Becky, as Russia deepens its contacts, deepens its involvement in the Syrian conflict. For the time this weekend, Russian

state television broadcast images of its special forces carrying out operations on the ground in Syria. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE: The Kremlin never denied having special forces in Syria, this is the first time we've seen their notorious specsnats (ph). Russia state

television broadcast these extraordinary images at the weekend, including at this missile strike and what they say was a rebel convoy. Russia

(inaudible) says the targets include jihadi fighters from former Soviet states neutralized is the word used to prevent them from returning home,

justifying military's role in Syria.

"Such is the secrecy of the operations," says this man described as a special forces soldier, "that even our wives don't know where we've been."

Islamic State pays big money, he tells the Russian state TV reporter, to find out who we are.

The Kremlin says this fight against terrorism in Syria should be shared with the United States.

No mention of the civilians trapped with no way out in a humanitarian crisis.

Up until now, that idea of a shared fight with the Kremlin has been pretty much dismissed. The humanitarian toll of Russian airstrikes, and its

strong backing of a despised Syrian president placed Moscow and Washington on opposite sides of the conflict.

But that was before the election of Donald Trump and his choice of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. They're both seen as much more

sympathetic to the Russian view. And although the Kremlin tells CNN it's not expecting a sudden change in U.S. policy on Syria, it says that it's

hopeful of more dialogue and cooperation.

It's unclear what form that cooperation may take, but as the Kremlin now actively promotes the work of its special forces in Syria, it knows the

killing of jihadis is one area President-elect Trump will be keen to support.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHANCE: Well, Becky, and to reinforce that idea that there is a real genuine threat to Russia's national security, state television has also

broadcast images today of four individuals from former Soviet Union states, they say are terrorists, belonging to the Islamic State group that were

planning to carrying out attacks inside Moscow. And so the message very much on state television now is that there are real security reasons why

Russian forces are in Syria. And they seem to be pulling out all the stops to try and ram that message home.

ANDERSON: Matthew, if this is the final phase as far as Aleppo is concerned, what is, do you think, the endgame is so far as Russia is

concerned? We talked a lot about this September last when Russia's involvement began. And it was unclear at that stage what the endgame was.

Is it any clearer at this stage? Is the idea that once Aleppo is gone, there's a sort of retraction and a possibility that Russia will offer up

some sort of political solution as the next phase with what is a new incoming U.S. administration that they may be able to work closer with

going forward?

[10:10:00] CHANCE: Yes. And I think that, you know, whatever the concerns were and the proposals were and the thoughts were before Donald

Trump was elected into the White House, that will have to develop now, now that that equation is changing. And with a new sense that there could be a

different attitude coming from the United States towards what Russia is doing inside Syria.

I mean, look, the Syrian president has made no bones about it, he wants to take control over the rest of the country. He said that repeatedly in

various interviews. I don't see a situation where the Russians are going to withdraw at this point. There's no reason for it. And I think we have

to remember that the Russians went there with their primary purpose which was to send a powerful message to the world that this is a country that's

back on the international stage, a country that supports its allies, and a country that won't let regime change take place in favor of, you know,

organizations or governments that are favorable towards the west without a fight.

And that's a message and achievement that's already been pretty much -- a message that's already been pretty much established by the Russians.

ANDERSON: Matthew Chance is in Moscow with analysis for you this evening. Matthew, always a pleasure. Thank you very much indeed.

Well, Japan's prime minister urging Russia to take action to alleviate human suffering in Syria. Shinzo Abe expressed serious concern over Syria,

the first ever meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. A Japanese government official reported the developments and said the two

leaders also discussed North Korea, Ukraine, and missile defense.

Well, as Andrew Stevens reports, Japan and Russia are trying to forge a close-up relationship. He has the latest on the summit, which is taking

place at a hot springs resort in Nagato in Japan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it's been called the Onsen (ph) summit after the Japanese word for hot springs. And it was

more of an informal setting for Shinzo Abe to meet with Vladimir Putin in Shinzo Abe's hometown. This, though, is a meeting where both sides are

moving to try to get close to each other.

Japan partly to offset the influence of China in this region, and Russia because sanctions are biting and it's looking for new opportunities in the

east.

But the key topic of the conversation today was about four islands, which were seized by Russia just after the Second World War that Japan claims

ownership of. And Shinzo Abe wanted to start the ball rolling, get the conversation going about eventually getting those islands returned to

Japan.

It is going to be a long process, though, expect no breakthroughs.

There was also talks about economic measures provided by Japan for Russia. They're going to be quite small. And Japan has to walk a fine line,

because there are sanctions imposed by the G7 of which Japan is a member on Russia after the annexation of Crimea back in 2014, so Japan can't be seen

to be busting any of those sanctions, although it's likely that nothing will give Vladimir Putin more pleasure than to see some crack in the unity

of the G7 over sanctions.

But there will be announcements about economic ties being strengthened between the two countries. There's already been an announcement from the

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov that security talks between the defense and foreign ministers from both countries will resume again.

So, this is a move to try to bring the two countries closer together, improve ties, shore up alliances. And as we've seen it started informally.

Tomorrow, Friday, will be more formal when economic issues will be at the forefront -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Andrew Stevens reporting for you.

Breaking news in the past hour. We have learned that traces of explosive material have been found on the victims of EgyptAir Flight 804. The plane

crashed in the Mediterranean Sea back in May, killing 66 people.

I want to bring in my colleague Nic Robertson who has got the very latest details from London.

Before we do that, Nic, let's just remind our viewers what happened with this flight.

EgyptAir Flight 804 went down in May -- May 19 to be precise of this year. The AirBus A-320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it crashed into the

Med, killing all 66 people on board. Searchers found the plane's flight data recorded and cockpit voice recorder in June.

While the cause of the crash remains unknown, that voice recorder indicated there was at least a fire on board the plane and an attempt to put it out

before the crash.

So, Nic, what have we found out today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the Egyptian officials are saying, the committee that's been investigating, they found

traces of explosives on some of the victims and they say they're referring that to the prosecutor. So, what are they really saying here, they're

saying that there was a bomb on board and that brought the plane down and we should find out who is responsible.

There was a lot of talk at the time when this place came down that bombs on board Egyptian aircraft were a very sensitive thing. There had been one

just six months before on board a flight flying from Sharm el Sheikh to St. Petersburg. Everyone on that aircraft was killed. And it was brought down

by a bomb. Russian officials found the residue on the victims within days.

This has taken some six months.

But what do we know about this aircraft? Well, it was flying at 37,000 feet as everyone expected to be on the correct flight path, Greek air

traffic control heard it or saw it on the radar, taking a turn to the left by 90 degrees, then swinging back around to the right 360 degrees, that was

the first indication that something was wrong on board the aircraft. The transmission device on the aircraft that transmits out data of what's

happening, said that there was a smoke detection in the lavatory and in the cockpit as well.

That was replicated eventually when the flight data recorder was recovered and repaired in France and came back to Egyptian authorities. The voice

recorder, also as you said indicated that the air crew were trying to put out a fire.

So, six months later, or five months later, we're learning now that there was explosive residue, potentially involved on some of the victims here.

People -- news organizations locked into the 24 hours prior to this crash discovered that the aircraft that had three emergency landings in the 24

hours prior.

So, one of the questions that was raised at the time that this aircraft went missing was what was its flight service history like. So, I think all

these questions are going to resurface again, but the Egyptian authorities are clearly pointing everyone in one direction now, and that is towards the

supposition that potentially an explosive device was actually on board the aircraft, Becky.

[10:16:44] ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in London with what is the very latest on this breaking news for you this hour. Nic, thank you.

And as we get more on that, of course, viewers, we will bring it straight to you, as you would expect here on CNN.

Still to come tonight, the fallout from the Philippine's war on drugs: despite thousands, yes, thousands of killings, the president still has a

sky high approval rating. We're going to look at why.

And nothing to shout about: Yahoo! reveals it has been hit by the biggest data breach of all time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Right, it's 19 minutes past 7:00 here in the evening in the UAE. Welcome back.

A senator in the Philippines wants the president ousted from office. This comes after Rodrigo Duterte, who is the president, of course, admitted to

hunting down and killing suspected criminals while he was mayor of Davao City.

Now, he has already made international headlines this year, with his aggressive targeting of what he calls drug traffickers. The senator says

Mr. Duterte's most recent admission that he personally killed suspects is grounds for impeachment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DE LIMA: I should say that that is an impeachable offense. That is a culpable violation of the constitution, that is betrayal of public trust,

and that constitute high crimes, because these are mass murders. Mass murders certainly fall under the category of high crimes. And high crimes

is a ground for impeachment under our constitution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Now, let's get reaction from Manila, then, after what are these pretty shocking suggestions from the president. CNN's Will Ripley is

there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[10:20:43] WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, I'm here in Pisai City (ph) and this is one of the slums in Manila that has become

an epicenter, if you will, in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's nationwide war on drugs.

Sanctioned and encouraged by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a war on drugs that has taken almost 6,000 lives in less than six months

since late June when President Duterte took office, less than half of those are official police shootings, the rest are these vigilante style murders,

often suspected of having police ties, but unproven, because in many cases these murders are rarely investigated if looked into at all.

You have a lot of Filipinos, especially Middle Class Filipinos, who support what President Duterte is doing, and that's important to note, because his

approval ratings remain extraordinarily high.

This is a country that lived for decades under a dictatorship, the Marcos regime, that has dealt with very corrupt government corrupt law

enforcement, there's very little faith in the judicial system, which is why you see a lot of people in the Philippines embracing President Duterte's

strategy of essentially giving police a license to kill these drug suspects.

But what ends up happening is you also have collateral damage like this. This is a wake for a father and his 6-year-old son who were killed on

Sunday while they were sleeping in their homes. Somebody knocked on their door. They opened the door. Two shots were fired. A little boy and his

dad were dead. We're told he was an occasional drug user, but his family claims he was not a drug dealer.

Duterte has encouraged the killing of drug suspects. In fact, just this week, he was boasting during his speech that during his time as a mayor in

his home town of Davao City, he would ride around on his motorcycle and point his gun and shoot and kill drug suspects as an example for his police

officers of how they should behave.

And so you have people in the middle class neighborhoods saying this drug policy makes them feel safer, but people in these poor areas, who are

watching sometimes 10, 20 people be killed a day, they don't feel safe. They're fearful of what's going to happen at night when the police, or

somebody else comes knocking on their door wondering if they might be unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, because

again these are suspects that are being killed, suspects who have not been given due process, no trial, no chance to redeem themselves or

rehabilitate, simply shot down on the streets here in the Philippines -- Becky.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, a closer look, then, at President Duterte's war on drugs. The numbers, well they are pretty staggering, I've got to say, nearly 6,000

people have been killed since July 1 of this year. Of those deaths, more than 2,000 were killed in police operations.

And another 3,800 died in vigilante style killings like the one that Will just spoke about in his report.

I want to get you some perspective on this, and why President Duterte's approval rating is -- it has to be said, sky high. We're joined from Manila

by Richard Heydarian. He's a political analyst and has written several publications on the Philippine's place in the political world.

Thanks for joining us.

You were at an event with the president just before he made those remarks, which have been so widely reported outside of the country. What was the

attitude in the room, and what was the context for which -- or in which he made those comments?

RICHARD HEYDARIAN, JOURNALIST: Well, Becky, I was actually in an awarding ceremony and the president just shortly before his latest controversial

remarks when in his speech he said that he's not a killer, he doesn't enjoy violence, and all he wants is just stability and rule of law for his

country.

The next thing I know, he makes another controversial speech before the businessmen who also went to the presidential palace later on and

completely contradicted himself.

Now, the legal issue is this -- I understand that Senator De Lima is talking about impeachment, but as far as the sitting president is

concerned, he is constitutionally immune to prosecution while he's still in office.

The second thing is that the Senate, which is supposed to hold the executive to account, has just concluded an investigation essentially

saying the president has not been implicated in any kind of extrajudicial activities as far as war on drugs is concerned, and (inaudible) office also

made it clear that words alone are not enough, there has to be actual evidence.

And the fact that the president is still popular means that he has the political momentum on his side. So, it's quite premature to talk about

impeachment at this point in time.

But I think the noose is tightening around his neck. The United States just today canceled a $400 million development aid, the Millennium

Development Cooperation Fund on grounds of deterioration in rule of law in the Philippines. The Philippine currency is going down.

Yes, the president is popular, but he had around 90 percent approval rating in July. Now it's closer to 60 percent. So, that's quite a significant

drop.

And more than that, (inaudible) survey more than 80 percent of the Filipinos said that they support this war on drugs, 70 percent said that we

don't want killings. We want a much more public health focus approach to this issue. And I think now President Duterte is realizing maybe he has to

move to a new phase of war on drugs. Stop this scorched Earth and shock and awe approach and more focus on rehabilitation. And that is why a few

days ago, actually, a few weeks ago, he inaugurated this massive rehabilitation center funded by the Chinese and now the Japanese and other

allies are pitching in.

So, he has to transition and move to the other phase, otherwise international pressure, and domestic pressure is going to build up.

[11:26:12] ANDERSON: Yeah, that's fascinating that you say that. And as you also rightly point out, his approval ratings, which may have dropped

from 90 percent to somewhere between 60 -- I've seen them as high as still as 80 to be honest on some polls. It does show that he does still have

support.

And in the past, of course, he hasn't really cared what the international community has said. You get the impression that out loud he'll say I don't

care what you say, this is my country and I'm getting on with it.

Look, as we just heard, Senator Leila de Lima is among the most vocal critics of President Duterte's hard line tactics. She tells CNN the

president has it in his power to stop the extrajudicial killings of untried suspects. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DE LIMA: He is a lawyer. He is a former prosecutor. And he claims to uphold the constitution, because that is his sworn duty. If he is serious

and if he is sincere in upholding the constitution and upholding the laws, then he should, he should stop the killings, or he should order those

killings to stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: She ads that her push for impeachment has gotten her death threats and made her the subject of a government investigation. If those

allegations are true, would they surprise you in any way?

HEYDARIAN: Well, I mean, the thing is this, unfortunately the investigation with regards to the war on drugs in the Philippines have

become more of a circus whereby different legislators have been trying to grandstand and do posturing. I mean, one of the unfortunate things about

the investigation in the lower house, or the congress of the Philippines, is that people were raising concerns with the personal life of Senator De

Lima. And now you have more or less a fight between the lower house and upper house on whether Senator De Lima herself should be impeached from her

office.

I think many Filipinos are not very happy about the turn of events, seeing their legislators fighting each other.

But the reality here is that the opposition in the Philippines is still in the hibernation mode. So long as Duterte maintains high approval rating,

he can count on, you know, count on much of the congress of the Philippines to actually side with him.

The Philippines Supreme Court does not also be very encouraging. Remember, just a few months ago, the Philippine Supreme Court gave a go ahead for

the burial of former dictator Marcos, not to mention that there is even a possibility that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may win a recount for the office of

the vice presidency.

So, so far since the political moment is undecided with Duterte and the other important thing is that with the entry of Donald Trump, Duterte is

expecting that American pressure on him on human rights issues will go down. In fact, Duterte claimed that during his phone call with Trump,

Trump supported his war on drugs and we're yet to see a denial from the Trump transition office.

So on one hand you see that he -- that there's an expectation that the U.S. will go softer on him, because of the change in the administration there,

but on the other hand, you know, the people in the Philippines do not want the president to only focus on one issue, they want the president to focus

on other issues like poverty, unemployment and infrastructure, the real roots of the problem of drugs and criminality in this country.

And surveys suggest that for the Filipino people, the number one issue is not drugs, it's inflation, it's unemployment, and it's poverty. So, the

president by next year has to bring some new tricks to the table. He cannot talk about drugs all the time. And I think at some point the people

will want the president to shift to a much more public health focus approach to this war on drugs. This cannot go on just forever.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. Your analysis is enlightening. Thank you, sir.

And you can get a lot more news and information, viewers, about the Philippines war on drugs on our website. That's CNN.com, of course,

including stories from the frontlines and more about the police chief who is behind this War on drugs. That is on CNN's digital site, you know how

to find that.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead, viewers. Plus, we will return to Syria where civilians find a flicker of hope as they begin

evacuating Aleppo by the hundreds. So, where will their journey take them? That's after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

[10:34:20] ANDERSON: Let's get you back to Syria. It's an important story, the most important story that we are telling -- or have been telling

now for, what, weeks, months, years.

For hundreds of civilians in Aleppo and Syria, the boundaries are finally open. The first ticket out, ironically, is injury. Ambulances carrying

wounded civilians began rolling out of the long besieged Syrian city for the first evacuations agreed to under a new ceasefire. According to a UN

official, the wounded are being followed by the vulnerable and then rebel fighters and their families.

CNN's senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen has been tracking developments as they unfold in Syria where he was last week. He joins us

tonight live from Beirut in Lebanon.

Fred, what do you know at this point?

[10:35:09] PLEITGEN: Well, the evacuations there, we know that they're going on, Becky. We know that they're being monitored, also partially be

drones as well. And certainly there's a livefeed showing these evacuations also. And it seems as though several convoys have actually made that

journey out of those besieged areas in Aleppo. They, then, go through government controlled territory for about seven kilometers and then go back

into other areas controlled by the opposition.

All of this got off to a terrible start earlier today when the first convoy that was set to get out was fired upon as it was trying to go out. One

person was killed, several people were wounded. And at that point in time, Becky, it looked like all of this could be derailed before it even got

started.

But then things calmed down. People said, look, we're going to suspend this for a couple of hours. We're not going to end it completely. And

then finally people were able to get into those buses and start making that journey.

And you're absolutely right, the first ones that came out were those who are severely ill or who are severely wounded who need immediate medical

attention. That's why the convoys that you'll see going out, many of them are really convoys of ambulances along with vehicles of the Red Cross, of

the Syrian Arab Red Crescent bringing those people to safety.

Of course, for many of them, it's a bitter moment, because many of the civilians in those besieged areas never wanted to leave their houses, never

wanted to leave Aleppo, and now we're looking into a pretty uncertain future as they go to places like Idlib Province where they don't know what

they're going to find there.

And of course we also have to keep in mind the places that they're going to are very much a war zone as well, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, these places are what the government would consider opposition held.

So, for some of our viewers, they might say well, why would the government send more of what they call rebels or rebel sympathizers and their families

to an area that they don't control, which surely the sort of preconceived wisdom would be that that would just foster more discontent.

It's very confusing as to what's happening on the ground here.

PLEITGEN: Well, it's very confusing. But from the government side it's a strategy that they've been following for a very long time.

What the government wants is they want control of the major cities in Syria. And certainly as far as areas that were held by the rebels, Aleppo

was the most important one, because it was the biggest one, it was one of the biggest ones that the rebels actually had a foothold in an urban

center, in Syria.

So what the government wanted to do is it wanted to get the rebels out and then put them into a more rural area there in Idlib Province to make sure

that they had the cities under control. And they believe that they would be able to, if you will, deal with that problem of the opposition fighters

at some point later in time there with those people in Idlib Province.

So, what they're trying to do is they're trying to assert control -- we have to keep in mind, also, Becky, that there in Aleppo it was binding a

lot of those pro-government forces. There were a lot of soldiers that were necessary -- obviously the Russian air force, the Syrian air force flying

missions there as well, getting that out of the way was something that was very important for the government. And then, of course, you also have the

symbolic value of the Syrian government being able to claim that they now control all of this big city once again.

ANDERSON: It will be interesting to see how the Syrian government deals (inaudible) with those who are being bused over to Idlib Province. T hat

will be a story, I'm sure, that we will be covering here. We will continue to cover this story. It is an extremely important one.

Fred, thank you.

Yahoo has broken an unwanted record, disclosing the biggest cyber attack in history.

The company says the breach could have exposed more than 1 billion accounts, that is double the number Yahoo says was affected in a separate

incident reported in September.

CNN's Samuel Burke here to tell us more. When did this hack actually occur?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY: Becky, it's absolutely mind boggling to think that this hack occurred in 2013 and Yahoo is just now finding out about it.

This is clearly a company, which has not invested enough in cyber security, that's according to many experts. And the proof is really in the pudding.

This is the third hack of this nature in extreme size.

And just look at some of the information these criminals got away with.

Stolen info includes, names, emails, phone numbers, passwords, dates of birth, but the breach doesn't include credit card or bank account

information. But don't breathe a sigh of relief, Becky, remember it's much easier to change your credit card number than it is your date of birth.

ANDERSON: What do Yahoo users do now, Samuel?

BURKE: Well, everybody hates to hear this, but actually Yahoo is going to require people to change their password. If we can just put a list up on

the screen of other steps that users can take.

Also think about deleting old emails, maybe all of your old emails, especially if they have sensitive documents like copies of your passport.

And if you only remember one thing from this report, Becky, our users should turn on two-factor authentication not just for their Yahoo accounts,

for all of their banking and credit card accounts. That is a setting that makes it so that every time you log in to your account, you also are sent a

code to your cellphone, and you can get in with that code and your password. So that means even if a hacker has your password, they can't get

in, because the likelihood of them having your phone is next to nothing.

[10:40:46] ANDERSON: Mr. Burke is in London, I believe for you today on what is fascinating story. Samuel, thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi -- that's where we are -- this is Connect the World. Coming up, residents of an illegal settlement in the West Bank must be out

of their homes by Christmas, but dozens of other illegal Jewish settlements may remains. What it means for the peace process is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're with CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back. 43 minutes past 7:00 in the evening here in the

UAE.

Residents of an illegal settlement in the West Bank are rejecting an Israeli government proposal to relocate them to a nearby plot of land.

Israel's high court wants the Amona outpost evacuated by Christmas, but thousands of other Israeli settlers living in illegal outposts in the West

Bank may be allowed to stay.

Ian Lee joining me from Jerusalem to dig just a little deeper into this settlement issue and what a bill moving through the Knesset could mean for

the future of peace in the region -- Ian.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONENT: Well, Becky, we visited Amona today, and for all intents and purposes it looked like these young men who

are going up there to defend the settlement were preparing for a battle with Israeli police when that time comes.

But, Becky, this really is just a sideshow to what is going on, which has greater ramifications for the West Bank and the peace process.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEE (voice-over): Within days, life could change dramatically for the settlers of Amona. The Israeli high court has ordered this illegal West

Bank outpost demolished. Manya Hilal spent almost 15 years here raising her six children.

MANYA HILAL, AMONA SETTLER: These are people. There are 200 children living here. You know how devastated children area when being torn from their

home, having their life destroyed.

LEE: A few hundred people called this hilltop home, raising families, working the land.

Hilal points to the biblical book of Joshua as her land deed.

HILAL: It's time to declare these lands belong to us. It's time to say enough. No Jewish settlements should be evacuated. No child has to lose his

life and his home and his friends for nothing, for nothing.

[10:45:18] LEE: The government tried to remove the Amona settlers 10 years ago. The violent clashes left a nation traumatize.

(on-camera): This is all that is left from that day. Some twisted rebar and concrete. As for the settlers who are living here, they didn't have to move

far just up the hill.

(voice-over): Palestinian Ibrahim Yacoub knows how the settlers feel.

(on-camera): Which part is your land?

IBRAHIM YACOUB, PALESTINIAN LANDOWNER: My land is -- where is the trees? It is behind the trees immediately.

LEE (voice-over): Yacoub tells me his family worked this land for generations, nurturing the harvest, camping under the stars. Then in 1996

he says, the settlers illegally seized it.

YACOUB: I want you to see and imagine how you feel when somebody come to your house and he takes from you your car and your house and you cannot do

for him nothing.

LEE: The high court ruled with Yacoub and declared Amona must go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING THROUGH FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

LEE: Israel's right wing Jewish home party saw an opportunity setting in motion legislation to save Amona and legalize more than 50 other West Bank

outpost at the same time.

Palestinians and the outgoing administration in Washington are deeply concern seeing even the idea of a viable Palestinian state now on a point

of collapse.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: There's a basic choice that has to be made by Israelis. Is there going to be continued implementation of settlement

policy or is there going to be separation and the creation of two states.

LEE: In Amona, Manya Hilal and her community have a decision to make. As some built shelters for supporters they hope will defend them, the people

here are under growing pressure to leave peacefully.

December 25th is the deadline to clear the outpost. A move that could mark the end of one of legal settlement, but have far reaching ramifications

across the rest of the West Bank.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEE: And Becky, you have an international community, the United States and Israel for the past quite a few years all supporting this idea of a two-

state solution, the Israelis and the Palestinians living side by side, but this bill, as we saw, could kill that peace process, but Israeli officials

also fear that there could be strong international ramifications that something could go through the UN security council, that because President

Barack Obama has been such a champion of the two-state solution, that he may turn a blind eye to a resolution in the past resolutions that he has

vetoed.

There's also the International Criminal Court. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed concern that Israeli officials could be charged

with some sort of crimes.

So, there's a lot also for this government here with concerns about this bill moving forward as well as the ramifications for the peace process.

ANDERSON: Interesting. All right, thanks, Ian.

Live from Abu Dhabi, you are watching Connect the World. Coming up, a priceless opportunity. You're going to hear from two students who got the

chance of their lives thanks to a billion dollar fund.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:51:01] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Last night, we brought you the story of a Syrian boy who is now attending university against all odds. He was one of thousands who benefited from a

billion dollar investment by a philanthropist here in the UAE.

Well, I spoke to two of those students and the man who helped change their lives. This is part of our conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAAED AL GHABRA, SYRIAN STUDENT: The situation was my dad couldn't find a job for two years, so me and my elder sister, we had to work instead,

because someone had to pay for our expenses.

ANDERSON: Farah, what's your story?

FARAH HEGAZY, EGYPTIAN STUDENT: I've always wanted to become an engineer. Then lately after discovering all the technological advances and stuff and

deciding that I want to be involved in the field of computer science. I applied to this university, and here I am.

ANDERSON: This is a huge investment in the next generation. Why this and why now?

ABDUL AZIZ AL GHURAIR, EMIRATI PHILANTHROPIST: If our nation need to go to the next phase, and to meet -- to overcome its challenges, I think it's

only through education will make it.

ANDERSON: What are your expectations from the students?

AL GHURAIR: I think I love the students. We have a great pool of students. We had 14,500 applicants, so this is really the best of the best of the

Arab world and the UAE.

I love their excitement, their determination. Some with the background they've been through, like Saaed, and here he comes. You know, he is

studying at American University (inaudible). This is great.

ANDERSON: Are you finding it tough?

AL GHABRA: It is tough. It's basically demanding, time demanding.

What I really want to do, getting a high GPA, it's not for the sake of the grades, basically, it's for the sake of knowledge.

ANDERSON: Sir, how competitive was the process? One assumes you wanted the creme de la creme.

AL GHURAIR: We made it so easy, because it was all internet based.

I only have two criteria: you have to be academically advanced, and then second is we also -- we want to make sure he comes from a low income

family, people who have never thought they could ever make it to school. So, you have to meet the two criteria.

Once we selected the best of the academically achievement and the most deserved candidate, then we do a Skype interview. We also need to make

sure that their personality, their skill, their attitude to school, to people, to community fit.

ANDERSON: How was that Skype interview?

HEGAZY: Cool. I really, really liked it.

ANDERSON: Tell me, go on.

HEGAZY: The way she made me feel during the interview, it just made me always smiling and talking freely and without having to consider, like, OK,

who is watching me, who is going to see this?

ANDERSON: Good for you.

And Saaed?

AL GHABRA: I guess it was really friendly and easygoing. Yeah, but you can like feel the tricky questions they were asking.

ANDERSON: It was challenging?

AL GHABRA: It is challenging.

ANDERSON: Without making you feel inadequate in any way.

It's clear that this scholarship was incredibly important to you. Without it?

AL GHABRA: No, I won't be here. I cannot afford the expenses of such a university. It's a worldclass university we are talking about.

So, the scholarship was the only solution for me.

ANDERSON: We know that the unemployment rates across this region are pretty dire. What are your hopes and aspirations going forward given the

opportunity that you've been given here.

HEGAZY: I would like to launch an organization that's mainly aiming at encouraging young, especially females, who are interested in pursuing their

careers in the field of computer science. And hopefully to employ people in this field.

[10:55:03] AL GHURAIR: Becky, this is music to me.

We think it's -- philanthropy is big businessman role. You don't have to be a rich person to be a philanthropist. I would love to see thousand many

philanthropy across the Arab World. Everybody in their own, you know, scope of work.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: That is an inspiring example of philanthropy and how one person can make a very, very big difference. Do head online to

Facebook.com/CNNconnect to find out more about those two students I spoke with and ways that you can follow the work of the al-Ghurair Foundation.

And you can tweet me @BeckyCNN. Do engage with the team @CNNConnect.

It is from your ideas and your thoughts across our digital and social platforms that we get help in informing the stories that we do -- and the

people that we speak to. This is your show, so do talk to us.

Right, just time for your Parting Shots this evening. And Paris showing its support for the people of Aleppo. The City of Light's iconic Eiffel

Tower went dark at 8:00 local time Wednesday evening.

The mayor of Paris called it a, quote, symbolic measure to call out the international community again on the urgency to act.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World from the team working with us here and around the world. Thank you for watching. CNN continues after

this very short break. So, do stay with us.

END