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CONNECT THE WORLD

Yemen's Forgotten Conflict; Allegations of Air Strike Atrocity in Mosul; Hong Kong Selects Carrie Lam as Next Chief Executive; Australia Bracing for Tropical Cyclone. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 26, 2017 - 10:00   ET

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


[11:00:12] LYNDA KINKADE, HOST: Allegations of an air strike atrocity. The Pentagon is investigating whether one of its own strikes killed

hundreds of people in western Mosul.

Up next, a live report from Iraq.

Also ahead, a dire situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have enough food to support the scale up that is required to ensure that we can avoid a famine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KINKADE: The children of Yemen are starving. Later, we'll look at the costs of the Middle East's, forgotten war.

And Russian police detain dozens of protesters as people march against corruption. Hear the latest from our reporter in Moscow.

Hello and welcome to Connect the World. I am Lynda Kinkade, sitting in for Becky Anderson.

We begin with the story shrouded in the fog of war on the front lines of the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, there are allegations that are

U.S.-led air strikes killed hundreds of civilians about a week ago. Have a look at these pictures. Some of the victims of what could be the most

deadliest attack of them all in Mosul on March 17th.

Some claims say 200 people were killed in the strike. The Pentagon acknowledges that it was

carrying out bombing raids in that area on that very day. And that it is investigating what happened. But the Iraqi government is insisting all

those reports are, quote, full of exaggerations and major errors and that the death toll is far lower, and that it was the work of an ISIS bomb on

the ground.

Well, our Arwa Damon is in Irbil following these developments. She's about an hour-and-a-half drive from Mosul.

Arwa, good to have you with us. We already have conflicting views of what may have happened and how many civilians may have died. What can you tell

us?

Well, Lynda, this is what we have been able to sort of begin to piece together so far. It does seem that on the day in a question there was a

large truck that was moving towards Iraqi forces in this particular neighborhood in western Mosul, and that an air strike was called in.

The force of the strike that did take out the truck that is believed to be laden with explosives did also result in the complete collapse of a number

of homes, it would seem, in the area.

We spoke to a man, an eyewitness who lived a few homes down who said that the strike happened at about 6:45 in the morning and that one of the homes

had around five to six families sheltering in it. And just he homeowner's family was at least 17 people in number.

Now, we also spoke with an Iraqi general who is the spokesman for the joint military command. He said that based on information he was able to gather

in just one of these homes. There were at least 130 people, and according to him so far, only 49 bodies have been recovered. The head of Iraq's

civil defense said that they managed to pull out 81 bodies from underneath the rubble.

This particular eyewitness said that in the aftermath of the strike, in the chaos that ensued just said that he and his family were fleeing trying to

get out of the neighborhood and out of the danger zone, they could hear people screaming, "I am alive, save me" from underneath the rubble. But we

do understand that it did take rescue teams quite some time to be able to get into this particular area because of the severity and the danger that

existed around it.

At the end of the day, despite the fact that there are various different conflicting reports and this is still something that is under investigation

both by the U.S.-led coalition and by the Iraqis, we do know that tragically it would seem dozens of civilians have died. And this is one of

the many challenges that this country faces at the stage. ISIS does not allow civilians to leave.

We have reported on and we have ourselves been very well aware of situations where ISIS does not allow families to leave homes. We do know

that in trying to, and perhaps what is a vain effort given the circumstances, protect themselves. People do tend to try to

gather in homes that they think that they will perhaps be safer. But this is a war that is very unconventional to say the least. And it is a

civilian population that is really baring the brunt of this violent as the Iraqi forces do try to push forward.

Now, us they're modifying their tactics using less air strikes, less mechanized movements, trying to rely more on sniper teams, ground forces,

and on drones. But this is exactly what so many people were warning about and what so many people were afraid of. What is

going to happen to the civilian population in Mosul as the Iraqi forces move forward bearing in

mind that ISIS, as so many have said, is an organization that has absolutely no mercy.

We have spoken to civilians who have lost family members in other incidents who said that their family members begged ISIS fighters be allowed to leave

their homes and that they werejust told no. We do know that ISIS is using the population as human shields and this is just one of the ugly, horrific

tragedies of this war.

[11:05:47] KINKADE: It is absolutely horrific.

All right, we are going to continue to follow this story. Arwa Damon, good to have you there in Irbil for us. Thank you very much.

Well are now to Russia where demonstrations have been held - demonstrations, rather, being held across the country today to protest

government corruption.

Rallies like this one were scheduled in many cities right across the country. And none of them had been sanctioned by the Kremlin. They were

organized by an opposition leader.

He accuses Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption and is calling on him to resign.

Well, CNN's Frederik Pleitgen was among the crowd in Moscow joins us now from the studio there. Fred, last we spoke you were in the middle of some

pretty aggressive protest scenes with many people being taken away by police. How did the rest of the day pan out?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Lynda. Yeah, yeah, certainly. There were some pretty tense moments along that protest.

And it's interesting to see that even Russia's official news agency says that they believe that around 100 people were taken in to detention as

those protests were taking place Moscow.

The put the around at around 130, so certainly there were some scenes, some scuffles between many security forces and the folks who were between the

folks who were protesting there.

By and large, however, I have to say that most of it was fairly peaceful and that there was sort of an agreement, I would say, between the

protesters and the security forces on the ground to make sure that all of this at least comes to an end in a fairly peaceful way. But it was

certainly was a lot of people who did turn out on the streets of Moscow. Russia's official news agency tasked putting the number at around 8,000. And that seems pretty accurate

from what we were seeing.

But as you said, similar protests were taken place across the country here. Of course, this very vast country, and some of them drew some very large

crowds as well. From what we are hearing in St. Petersburg, there were around 10,000 people that went onto the streets to also protest what they

call a government corruption, especially this, of course, linked to Russia's prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, this is the reason why Alexei

Navalny, that oposition leader, called for this rally.

He, himself, by the way was detained as well. And from the latest that we can glean, still does appear to be in detention. Of course that due to the

fact that as you mentioned, these protest rallies were not sanctioned by the police. They said that these rallies were illegal, Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, Frederik Pleitgen, we'll have to leave it there for now. But good to have you covering those developments for us across

Moscow. Thanks so much.

Well, some other stories on our radar right now. A manhunt is under way in the U.S. state of Ohio following a deadly nightclub shooting. One person

was killed and more than a dozen wounded.

Now word yet on a motive, but police do not suspect terrorism. They say the gunman acted alone.

Her ban on large electronic devices is now in effect for direct flights to the U.S. or UK form a number of Middle Eastern and African countries.

Anything larger than a smartphone, such as a laptop or tablet must be packed in checked luggage.

Turkey's president says the country may hold a referendum on whether to continue pursuing EU membership. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been

at odds with some EU nations over canceled Turkish political rallies. He says a referendum on EU membership could come after a vote in April on

expanding presidential powers.

Health workers are set to vaccinate more than 100 million children against polio in west and central Africa. It's part of a drive by the World Health

Organization to eradicate the disease after an outbreak in conflict-hit northeast Nigeria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL AFFRAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: This vaccination campaign is one of the largest synchronized campaign in history. The total of 190,000

vaccinators will be fanning out in13 countries going to door-to-door to vaccinate every single under 5 child. We need to synchronize the campaigns

and vaccinate all of the children at the same time so that the virus has nowhere to hide and we can end polio for good in Africa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:10:03] KINKADE: Well, turning back to U.S. politics now, President Donald Trump is trying to bounce back from a major defeat. His plan to

repeal Obamacare is now just a memory after his members of his own party oppose the bill. His administration is now moving on to the next item on

the agenda. Our Athena Jones reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House is indicating that tax reform will come next. One big question is what learns were learned by

the failure of this repeal effort that can be applied to any future legislative effort. One senior administration official told me that going

forward, we can expect to see the White House getting more engage on the front end when it come sto legislation, shaping the language and the

strategy.

The other big question is how the president's own sales pitch might shift. The White House has been saying in recent days president is all in on this

bill, but he took this personally, that was very much involved kin having face to face meetings with members of the Republican

caucus and also phone calls from early in the morning until late at night.

But if you talk to members of the Republican caucus on Capitol Hill, they indicate that some of

the president's sales tactics might be a bit lacking. For one thing, they say, that he didn't offer a strong

enough rationale on why members should vote yes on this bill other than a political on, the idea of giving him a legislative victory in his first 100

days.

And perhaps even more important here is that many members got a sense that the president did not have a good grasp of the details of this bill, the

nitty-gritty policy details. Some members wanted to talk to him about their specific concerns about specific policies contained in this bill, and

he wasn't able to address those concerns.

My colleague Dana Bash reports that two sources tell her that during a Freedom Caucus meeting on Thursday night, that is the conservative wing of

the House, the House caucus, the - one of the members brought up a concern about one of the policy areas and the president said forget about the

little stuff. He didn't say stuff, he used that other four letter word that starts with an "s."

In another meeting with moderate members of the House, one congressman from Pennsylvania, Charlie Dent, told the president that he was a no and the

president replied why am I even talking to you? A congressional aide, a GOP congressional aide tells my colleague Jim Acosta the bottom line here

is that the president didn't care or particularly know about health care. And if you are going to be a great negotiator, you have to know of the

subject matter.

So, according to some members of his own party, he needs to work on his dealing-making skills when it comes to dealing with Capitol Hill. Back to

you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Athena Jones with that report.

Well, for more on the failed Obamacare repeal, Ryan Nobles joins us from our Washington bureau. Good to have you with us, Ryan.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, President Trump learned a lesson on deal making, that is the most read article on CNN.com, one that Athena Jones just alluded to

stating that congressional Republicans believe it is Trump who needs to learn from their failed bill before pressing ahead.

NOBLES: Yeah, and the question is how much is the White House is going to respond to those calls from his fellow Republicans that he needs to work a

little bit more on dealing with those rank and file members of the House, that they are not a monolithic group, that they

all have different ideas and different perspectives, because this morning already, members of the Trump

team are starting to have some sort of an outreach to moderate Democrats on the Sunday morning talk shows here in the United States.

Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, said that perhaps, Donald Trump will turn his back on Freedom Caucus, that conservative group of

Republicans, instead to reach out to moderate Democrats who might be more willing to play ball with the Trump administration.

That may be a difficult attempt by the White House to try and achieve. Democrats by and large are not that interested in dealing with the White

House. But at at this point it seems as though the president is ready to make deals with whomever is willing to make deals with him.

KINKADE: Absolutely. And he might need to make some deals going ahead when he looks

towards tax reform. Given the healthcare bill has failed, it is going to be harder to find the funds making those tax cuts he's talking about.

NOBLES: I mean, healthcare is an enormously complicated and difficult proposition. It's one-fifth of the American economy, but tax reform might

be even more complicated. You are talking about rewriting a tax code that's long been in place in the United States and then it's built upon on

year after year after year. It is certainly a big complaint among Americans that it is so difficult and time consuming to file and pay your

taxes.

But the idea that you can undo all the regulations and all of the different many facets of the

tax codes here in the United States with just one simple piece of legislation is a bit fanciful. And there's also a wide range of ideas as

to how to reform taxes, even within the Republican Party.

So, if you thought it is difficult to do healthcare, don't think that even though most Republicans are in agreement that the tax code needs to be

reformed, that it's going to be any kind of an easy job.

[11:15:14] KINKADE: Yeah, you certainly got some difficult things ahead, including the investigation into possible links between President Trump's

campaign team and Russia. There seems to be a lot of concerns and questions whether the chairman of the intelligence committee is being fully

transparent.

NOBLES: Yeah, there are a lot of concerns. Many Democrats, including the ranking member on that committee, Adam Schiff, have suggested that perhaps

this information that Devin Nunes came across at the the 11th hour and ran to the White House with may have come from a White House source. He has

not revealed where he got this information from, or exactly what this information is related to, other than the idea that it might provide some

evidence that there was some level of surveillance of Donald Trump by the Obama administration.

Even Nunes himself, though, has said that it has nothing to do with the Russia investigation.

But your right, Lynda, your broader point is even bigger, when Donald Trump is trying to accomplish these big things here in Washington. He has this

cloud of this investigation over the possibility that his campaign colluded with Russia hanging over everything. And every time he might go to like

try to make a deal with moderate Democrats as we said before.

They're going to be reluctant to do so because there is this investigation that's hanging over everything and could potentially endanger his

administration going forward.

KINKADE: Some very good points you make. Ryan Nobles, as always, good to have you

with us. Thank you.

NOBLES: Thank you, Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, still to come, we will dig deeper into the claims that hundreds of civilians died in coalition air strikes in Mosul. We'll hear

an on the ground account from a reporter who visited one of the scenes. Stay with us for that.

Plus, children paying a terrible price as the war in Yemen rages into its third year. Details on the unfolding humanitarian crisis just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KINKADE: You are watching CNN and this is Connect the World with me Lynda Kinkade. Welcome back.

We turn now to conflicting accounts on the death of Iraqi civilians in western Mosul this month. Local volunteer groups blame coalition air

strikes. The deadliest strike is said to have happened on March 2014, but the Iraqi military and those volunteer defense forces

disagree on the number of casualties and who is to blame.

Los Angeles Time reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske visited the scene of that incident on Friday, one week after hit happened. She spoke with our .

about what she saw.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE, WRITER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Some areas where homes were completely destroyed in rubble so we had to pick our way through. And

we could see parts of people still stuck under the rubble - hands, feet. There were some remains that were wrapped in blankets. Most of them that

they had retrieved they put in body bags and the body bags and unzipped to show us that some of the victims were women, including at least one

pregnant woman and children. There were some babies as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many people do they believe were killed on that equation?

HENNESSY-FISKE: Well, numbers vary. The civil defense people that we talk to had said they thought it was about 200. They had had retrieved more

than 100 remains by yesterday. And, myself and a photographer from the LA Times who were there, we roamed around and we saw about 50. There were

some other photographers there, they saw about the same number of remains.

It was a very crowded street. There were a lot of families with children. And they told me

that Islamic State militants had forced more people into the area and that they had been sheltering inside the home when the incident happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, in your assessment, at least 50 people killed, that's a very significant death toll. Tell us more what what the residents

described about the area and what was happening at the time when the air raids took place?

HENNESSY-FISKE: Well, they had been living under Islamic State. There had been some militants in the area. They said it was a small group.

Thy said that the fighters had brought what appeared to be a truck with explosives, what they called suicide car to the area, had parked it there

days before. And that when some militants had returned, part of the strike happening in the evening on that Friday that there had been one on top of a

roof and a sniper and then some in the street. So, they had stayed inside of their houses, because they felt threatened that they saw them shooting

up at the aircraft and then this explosion happened.

Some of the people I talked to said that the houses started to coming, the buildings started falling down on them. Some saw that truck that was

parked on the streets explode. It wasn't clear why that was triggered by the strike or not.

And some did manage to escape, unharmed, some of the houses were still standing and people were in them on Friday. But a good number of them were

destroyed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KINKADE: Well, let's delve a little bit more into this. CNN military analyst, retired U.S. Lieutenant General Mike Hertling joins us now from

Orlando via Skype. Always good to have you with us.

LT. GEN. MIKE HERTLING, (RET.) CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Thank you, Lynda. It's great to be with you under tough circumstances.

KINKADE: Yeah, really tough. Really horrific case we're talking about here.

Before we get into a bit more about the details of it, of what we know at least. Can you just give us a bit of a sense of what this part of Mosul is

like, this urban warfare as it's known. How difficult is it?

HERTLING: It is probably the worst place to conduct combat operations. Eastern Mosul is not as difficult as this northwestern portion of Mosul

City on the western side of the Tigress. And what makes it so tough is the streets are narrow, the houses are very compact and jammed together.

They're mostly big houses, one and two story houses, that are made of concrete and with concrete roofs and having fought there many times before,

the description of what just occurred is an indicator of tactics of terrorist groups where they will horde civilians into areas where they were

fighting and in fact maybe even sometimes put them in houses where they were fighting from.

Now, what was interesting about the description that the reporter from L.A. Times just gave you, it is an indicator to me of something I saw not only

in Mosul, but many other places within Iraq where terrorists would come in and literally put bombs inside of houses to

be tripped and would allowed us to met roof to fall in on the people on the inside. They're called house-born explosive devices.

And it is a technique that terrorist groups with use. When they are leaving the area to trip up the follow on forces from the Iraqis security

forces. And so the indication that this could have only been from an air strike be on the air strike certainly is not true, but that will be

investigated as part of the routine that the coalition forces do.

[11:25:02] KINKADE: Yeah, it absolutely will be, because as you allude to it may have been a truck explosion as well.

As the United Nations pointed out, international humanitarian law is clear that all parties to a conflict are obliged to do everything possible to

protect civilians. Just explain for us, if you can, what sort of procedures happen before a strike, an airstrike is carried out to minimize any sort of

risk to civilians.

HERTLING: Yeah, there are actually two types of air strikes, Lynda. One is called a kinetic strike package, a KSP, and that will occur when you

have a pre-planned target, basically, where you know something is going on at a location, whether it be a field or a building or some type of park and

you know that you are sending aircraft from the airfield to that particular location to strike a known target where you have identified through

intelligence that there are enemy locations there.

Now, the other kind is called troops in contact or a TIC. And that's normally when you have

ground forces on the ground heading toward an area, conducting an operation and they come under fire by enemy forces and they immediately turn to their

air supporters and say we need aircraft to hit this building or this location right now because we are under fire from that location.

And usually, the pilot that's circling around the sky above this operation has seconds to react. They will be given either a grid plot coordinate on

the ground or the people on the ground will paint the target with a laser beam so that the bomb will follow that laser

signature to the target.

Those are normally conducted very quickly. There's a lot of scurrying and a lot of drama and smoke and fire and ash and all the things that accompany

combat that will cause confusion in those kinds of situations.

Those are the kinds that normally relate to accidents or when bad things occur. When you have to quickly support forces that are in contact on the

ground. I would suspect that that's this kind of operation that occurred in this particular case. If it was, in fact, an airplane or an aircraft

dropping ordinance on a building in this case. And I am not convinced it was, Lynda.

KINKADE: OK. Thank you, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, always good to have your perspective on this. We really appreciate your time today. And

there are a couple of investigations underway. So we will follow those closely. Thank you.

HERTLING: Thank you, Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, live from the CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

Coming up, a war still unknown to much of the world. More than two years after deadly fighting now the people of Yemen are dying of starvation.

We'll have that just ahead.

Plus, a controversial election in Hong Kong. Protesters called for one person, one vote. We'll look at the challenges and new leader faces in

uniting territory.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

[11:31:33] KINKADE: Well, Australia is bracing for Tropical Cyclone Debbie. It is expected to be the worst cyclone to hit the country's

northeastern region in years. Some low lying areas have been advantage evacuated and people are stocking up on water and other essentials. Well,

meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking the storm. And until now it had been a rather quiet cyclone season.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And that's just it. And it is kind of ironic that it is happening outside of the peak of the season, too.

This isn't usually - it is still within the season, but usually our peak is January into February. We are nearing the end of March. So, again, not

necessarily the peak time in which you would expect to see this.

So, here is a look, this is from NASA, kind of showing the downward look onto this, a very

impressive storm. The one ironic thing is even though it is rather large inside, it is incredibly slow moving. And that's going to cause some long-

term problems with this particular storm. So, we take a look at what we have right now, winds right now about 110 kilometer per hour. They're

gusting up to around 160 at the moment. Movement south by southwest again 7 kilometers per hour, not a fast mover by any means.

Now, your short-term threats from this particular storm are going to be the very strong damaging winds and also your storm surge. But the longer term

effects are actually going to be the flooding, because when the storms tend to move incredibly slow like this one is, it allows days upon days of very

heavy rain.

So, here's a look at the track. We do expect it to strengthen a little bit more, likely making it up to about category four by the time it makes

landfall early Tuesday morning local time in Australia. And continues to weaken as it furthers itself in inland.

Here is a look at the forecast radar. Again, as we got to see we really start to pick up a lot of

those heavier bands of rain really within the next 24 hours as it gets a little bit closer to shore.

Here's a look at forecast accumulations. Obviously the closer to that center of the storm the higher your amounts are going to be.

But, Lynda, one of the things that is going be a concern as we talked about, it's a slow moving storm. That's going to allow this storm to drop

in excess of 400 millimeters of rain or even higher in some of these communities.

KINKADE: That is a lot of rain, hopefully all those communities are safe people are evacuating. All right, Allison Chinchar, good to have with us.

Thank you.

Well, a message of the world from a people forgotten. Thousands rallied in Yemen on Sunday in the rebel-held capital of Sanaa. A defiant marking of

two years since the start of the Saudi-ld airstrikes against Houthi fighters, protests against the coalition bombings, which have killed

thousands of civilians.

Yemen is an impoverished neighbor of Saudi Arabia. And as our Nick Paton Walsh reports, the war there has pushed an already fragile country to the

brink of disaster.

A warning, that you might find some of this footage in the report disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, as the war in Yemen enters into its third year, such a lengthy conflict, particularly

given the scale of the military firepower the Saudis are using against their adversaries, the Houthis here.

As it enters its third year, there are some shocking figures that explain the scale of the humanitarian catastrophic we're seeing unfold. And one of

the world's poorest countries.

The UN believe 18.8 million people are in need of aid, just over 70,000 died in this war, 4,500 of them civilians, and 2 million people have been

displaced.

This is a desperately poor and troubled country where things, frankly, are just slipping from awful to worse.

These are the drawn, deathly faces of a war the world forgot now in its third year that has fostered famine, geopolitical hatred and al Qaeda.

You've probably heard little of Yemen's horrific conflict, but as with most problems ignored, it is not going away.

Back in 2015, a rebel group called the Houthis seized the capital, causing the western-backed President Hadi to flee.

We saw them swiftly kick out his forces from Sanaa's ancient streets, but Hadi came back with heavy firepower. Neighboring Saudi Arabia and other

Gulf states saw the Houthis as too close to their foe Iran and intervened, pitching their well-funded army and firepower against the Houthis motley

street fighters.

Slowly, from the country south, the Saudi-backed government returned and pushed north kin bloody battles like this one (inaudible) town for the Hadi

forces only recently, but often caught civilians in the crossfire.

But, with Houthi territory and the capital Sanaa effectively besieged, a ghastly humanitarian crisis spread, unprecedented fears of famine, appeals

for the roads closed by the fighting around the country to be opened so emergency food can flow.

ERTHARIA COUSIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: We have about three months stored inside the country today, but we don't have enough food

to support the scale up that is required to ensure that we can avoid a famine.

[11:35:42] WALSH: These scenes have caused intense criticism of the Saudi- backed campaign and civilian deaths from Saudi aristrikes caused the Obama administration to ban some weapons sales to Riyadh.

But the Saudis, determined to reduce Iran's influence, are persisting, saying they want to reduce civilian casualties.

And in a vacuum, as before in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, terror is using the chaos to thrive.

In the southeast, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group thought most advanced in plots to attack the homeland, is growing in the chaos.

In this interconnected world, suffering and horrors continents away can still hit home.

Now, Lynda, it is that point there, really, the instability is enabling al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to have much more of a foothold there, too. That's passably behind the increase in intensity of U.S. operations against

them in that country, too. But it also sits at the heart of the broader power struggle between Iranian influence and those of Gulf states in the

broader region. It hasn't stopped. It shows no signs of doing so. It is for both - all sides involved an absolutely vital that they achieve

victory. And caught in the middle of that are millions of civilians, Lynda.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Very tough situation there. And Nick Paton Walsh with that report.

Well, now to Hong Kong where the incoming chief executive is promising to bring unity after a controversial election.

Pro-democracy protesters have been calling for more of a say in the process. Our Kristie Lu Stout explains the new leader has her work cut

out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hong Kong has a new leader.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations Mrs. Lam.

LU STOUT: As expected, it's Carrie Lam, the first female chief executive in the history of the territory. Mayor cheers here in the public gallery,

but according to the polls she was not the people's choice.

Lam was selected by a near 1,200 member election committee, a committee that is said to be broadly representative of Hong Kong, but is dominated

by pro-Beijing interests. Her appointment as chief executive will also be approved by Beijing.

ERIC CHEUNG, LAW PROFESSOR, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY: (inaudible) today tells the world that the election is not a genuine one at all, it is really an

appointment in effect by Beijing.

LU STOUT: Fighting for universal suffrage, that was also a key demand in the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protest. Hundred of protesters

out here today, because they are still frustrated at the stalled pace of democratic reform.

Earlier today, we saw some key pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong come out, including Joshua Wong, about one point was involved in scuffles with

police.

Managing a deeply divided society and anger over China increasing influenced in Hong Kong will be key challenges for Hong Kong's new leader,

a challenge Lam was quick to acknowledge moments election victory was announced and yellow banners for democracy was unfurled.

CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG EXECUTIVE-ELCT: Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious decisiveness and has accumulated a lot of

frustrations.

My priority will be to heal the divide and to ease the frustrations and to unite our society to move forward.

[11:40:07] LU STOUT: Carrie Lam will take office on July 1 and serve five years as the leader of this global financial hub and home to 7 million

people who had no say in electing her.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, in your Parting Shots this hour, a pithy line from the American president is generating a lot of reaction. No one could argue

with Donald Trump when he told Time magazine "I am president and you are not." But to some that comment sounds familiar. Jeanne Moos reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "TIME'" cover, "Is Truth Dead" pays homage to a 1966 big question cover, "Is God Dead?" But do

you know what isn't dead? Donald Trump's ego.

As we saw when he met with trucking CEOs, the president isn't shy about blowing -- his own or anybody else's horn. Consider how he ended the "TIME"

magazine interview on the question of his credibility. "I can't be doing so badly."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I'm president and you're not.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm president, you're not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm president...

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And you are not.

MOOS: The quote ignited Internet mockery. "I'm a narcissist and you're not. I'm rubber and you're glue." Some thought President Trump sounded Peewee

Hermanesque.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're an idiot.

PEEWEE HERMAN, COMEDIAN: I know you are but what I am?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you are but what am I?

HERMAN: I know you are but what am I?

MOOS: But the president's supporters like a man who knows what he is. Alpha male president commented one. "Oh, Trump, this is why we love you."

(On camera): I'm president and you're not. Does that remind you of anyone?

CHEVY CHASE, ACTOR: Good evening. I'm Chevy Chase, and you're not. Good evening. I'm Chevy Chase.

CROWD: And you're not.

MOOS: One critic reacted to the "TIME" interview by tweeting, "Days without embarrassing the U.S.? Zero." But others brought up Barack Obama's

presidential pronouncement on a Jimmy Kimmel "Mean Tweets" segment back when it looked like Trump would lose the then candidate tweeted, "President

Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States."

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Well, @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president.

MOOS: Well, we all know who got the last laugh. Actress Sally Field captioned this photo "Eastbound and demented." But he's the trucker- in-

chief and we're not.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: If I ever fell, would they be happy?

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KINKADE: Well, that does it for this edition of Connect the World. I am Lynda Kinkade. Thanks so much for watching. See you next time.

END