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CONNECT THE WORLD
Hundreds Killed After Torrential Rains in Colombia; Iraqi Christians Find Community Desecrated Near Mosul; How Fake News Spread on the Internet Ahead of 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections; Polls Split Ahead of Ecuador Presidential Elections. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 2, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:14] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Hundreds killed, more missing, torrential rains flooded rivers and mud slides leave death and destruction in their
wake. Next, the very latest on the situation in Colombia for you.
Also, ahead this hour...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: "I felt pain," he recalls. "My eyes filled with tears."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: An agonizing homecoming to a place of worship desecrated by ISIS.
Ahead, we'll meet some of the few Iraqi Christians who returned to their community near Mosul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did not just want to discredit U.S. elections, they wanted to discredit Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Just how does fake news spread on the internet? Later, a look at what experts say was a coordinated campaign to influence the 2016 U.S.
Right, it is just after 7:00 in the UAE, hello, and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi for you.
In southern Colombia, people who lost everything are digging frantically through the rubble, hoping to find their relatives and their friends.
The military says at least 254 people were killed in mudslides on Saturday, hundreds more are missing or injured. Some families escaped at the last
minute. before their homes are destroyed. The Colombian president visited the area at the weekend. Juan
Manuel Santos says what he saw breaks his heart.
CNN's Rafael Romo joining me now for a closer look at what is this ongoing tragedy.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it was a deadly combination of living in a mountainous region, surrounded by hills that were already
soaked after days of heavy rains and the fact that the town is adjacent to three rivers.
The death toll, as you mentioned, unfortunately went up overnight. It now stands at 254, according to the military, and there could still be around
200 people missing.
About 300 families have been displaced and more than two dozen homes were flattened. The town of Moquoa (ph), where this happened is in the Putomayo
Province in southern Colombia.
President Juan Manuel Santos said that in one single night they received about a third of the rain that they would normally get over this span of a
month. The president traveled to the disaster area and a CNN camera caught the moment when he was trying to reassure a victim. Lets listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA (through translator): What happened to you? Where were you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was in my (inaudible) hI had to (inaudible).
SANTOS (through translator): At what time?
UNIDNETIFIED MALE (through translator): Everything happened from 11:30 to 12:45.
SANTOS (through translator): Was any family member of yours hurt?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No, thank God. But we have nothing left.
SANTOS (through translator): We've come here to help. You will be better than you were before. You have to be a little patient. But all the help
you need will arrive and you will be better than you were before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Sir, God bless you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO: And President Santos has declared a state of emergency and has deployed about thousand soldiers and police who helped with the search and
rescue efforts. Electrical power and water were out in Moquoa (ph). And the hospital system was shut down, according to firefighters.
We are hearing, Becky, some heartbreaking stories of people who had to run for their lives
and came back to find out their homes were gone. Authorities have found 10 children who are alone. They don't know if their parents died or are
trapped somewhere in the debris - Becky.
ANDERSON: And with the rainy season in much of Colombia just beginning, what are local and national authorities doing to prevent a similar tragedy
in the future, Rafael?
ROMO: Yeah, it is a good point, Becky, because this is not the only area that has - that is in danger of facing some more mud slides and flooding.
Southern Colombia, central Colombia and some portion in the north of the country are also at risk.
And President Juan Manuel Santos speaking to reporters yesterday made the point that this, in his opinion, is due to climate change.
Now that the main challenge right now is that a lot of the roads in the surrounding areas were washed away and that's making it difficult for crews
to deliver the help that these people need, Becky.
ANDERSON: Rafael Romo on the story for you today. Always a pleasure, sir. Thank you.
And more rain is on the way to the area. Allison Chinchar is at the international weather center. and with more rain on the way, how much risk
is there that this could repeated?
[11:05:16] ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's not just that risk, Becky. Yes, we certainly have the risk that this could be repeated, but
that the original one gets made worse.
I mean, you have to think about of all the people that are still missing. This really hinders a lot of rescue and recovery efforts as well just from
the first one.
So, here is a look at what has happening in just the past 48 hours. Again, this is the area that we're talking about, the McCoy area in kind of
southwestern Colombia. Look at the a lot of those purples and oranges, that indicates where we already saw some of the rain.
Now, this region, as we've talked about before, it is the type of area that it is. It sits at the a base of the mountain here and along three rivers
and streams kind of running through that vicinity. And that, unfortunately, makes it very prone to these mudslides and landslides. You
get those incredibly heavy torrential downpours, which most of their rain came in four hours. Again, it came down so incredibly fast, the land alone
that cannot support it, and so a lot of that gets broken free and kind of slides back down into these communities. Not to mention the rain that came
down into those valleys on its own from the sky.
Here is unfortunately to look at the forecast, because as we go forward into the next 48 hours, again, look, we are not just talking a little rain,
we're talking quite little bit of rain to becoming back to these areas.
So, yes, that's going to be a big concern, not just for the rescue and recovery efforts, but that could likely even potentially trigger more
mudslides on top of an area that's already seen it.
Now, here is the forecast accumulation. Again, it's looking like widespread. We're talking about 25 to 50 millimeters. You may be thinking,
that's actually not that bad, but you have to remember, this is on top of what they've already had. And this is the region again where we still have
a high landslide threat because of the topography that's in play there.
Again, take a look at some of the scenery. You have couches, chairs, boulders that were just picked up, Becky, from this and carried all the way
through these communities. So, the clean up alone is certainly going to take a long process.
And, unfortunately, if another mud slide gets triggered, it just detours and prolongs that
clean up as well.
ANDERSON: Yeah, absolutely devastating. Allison, thank you.
We are keeping an eye on two other big stories from Latin America right now in two countries right on either side of Colombia
First, the west in Ecuador. Right now, voters picking their next president in a crucial election
that could have monumental repercussions thousands of miles away.
Why? Well, on the left here, the leftist candidate Lennon Moreno, on the right is rival right-wing rival Guillermo Lasso. And they are polls apart
on what to do with WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange. Moreno wants to let him stay holed up in his country's embassy in London. Lasso thinks enough
is enough and wants him out, not least because him being there for some five years has put Ecuador at odds with America, Britain, and Sweden.
Well, next on our radar, we look at Colombia's east, to Venezuela where the country's supreme court has pulled a sharp 180, reversing its ruling to
strip the congress of power. Now, the high court is stacked with supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The original decision
sparked of thousands of demonstrators gathering here in Caracas showing support for the opposition-led national assembly.
Take a listen to an opposition member from congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIO MORENA, MEMBER OF VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION IN CONGRESS (through translator): We want to say the constitutional thread through peaceful
means, the only thing we are asking for in the streets is elections. We want the constitutional order reinstated by the people
demonstrating at the voter's booth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, turning to civilians caught in the crossfire of the war against ISIS now. Amid growing concerns over deaths from airstrikes, the
U.S.-led coalition released a new report detailing accidental civilian casualties. It says that 229 civilians have been accidentally killed in
coalition strikes in Iraq and syria since operations against ISIS began nearly three years ago.
Now, the report doesn't cover the March 17 airstrike on a western Mosul neighborhood. The incident is the subject of an ongoing formal U.S.
At least 141 bodies have been recovered from the site of that strike.
A once thriving Christian town near Mosul has turned into a ghost town after years of ISIS control. More than 60,000 people fled as militants
looted, vandalized and burned homes. ISIS even turning one of the town's main churches into a target practice range.
CNN's Ben Wedeman has more.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A small flock has returned for mass in the charred ruins of the Church of Mary the Immaculate in
Qaraqosh near Mosul. ISIS set fire to the church and used its courtyard as a firing range.
Yaqoub Hana (ph) came home to Qaraqosh a week ago and has yet to recover from the shock.
"I felt pain," he recalled. "My eyes filled with tears."
Sylvana is back just from mass and says "this is the first time I returned to this church," and then she's at a loss for words.
Archbishop Yohana Botross Moshi (ph) has struggled to help residents through the trauma, but worries the specter of ISIS still hovers nearby.
"We expected everything in Qaraqosh - theft, damage and destruction," he tells me. "But arson for us is a message, a threatening message, that the
idea of ISIS is still here in the region. And that's what we fear.
Today, this once prosperous Christian community is a ghost town of empty streets, blown out buildings, gutted shops, everywhere reminders of ISIS's
hatred for everything Qaraqosh stood for.
Workers have erected a large directed a large cross at one of the main roundabouts to signal the town's liberation. It is just a symbol. Before
ISIS took over this town in the summer of 2014, more than 60,000 people called it home. Now months after it was liberated, only a handful of
families was returned.
Without electricity and running water, without help to get lights moving again, most residents are hesitant to return.
Business man Tofik Sakar (ph) moved back two months ago. A generator running near by, he shows a list of everything ISIS looted from his
"The central government," he says, "hasn't restored power or water. It is completely neglecting the Christians."
Some residents have returned briefly to bury the dead.
Friends and relatives bid final farewell to the 83-year-old Nasira (ph), a nun who fled Qaragosh and died in Irbil. She, at least, has returned in
death to the town of her birth.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Qaraqosh, northern Iraq.
ANDERSON: Still to come tonight as investigations continue into Moscows alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election last year, an in-depth
look at a red army of internet trolls. Up next.
[11:15:58] ANDERSON: You are watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back. It is 15 minutes past 7:00 here in the
This week, U.S. experts testified before the U.S. Senate intelligence committee that the Russian government had an army of internet trolls active
during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
CNN's Brian Todd shows us how.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started with several tweets, alleging a terrorist attack at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey last summer.
Russian state media outlets, RT and Sputnik, posted variations of the story. Soon, even Donald Trump's campaign manager apparently thought it was
true, repeating it on CNN.
PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANGER: There's plenty of news to covering this week but I haven't seen covered. The NATO base in Turkey was under
attack by terrorists.
TODD: No attack occurred. Researchers say it's an example of fake reports spread online on purpose with the help of pro-Russian users in what's
believed to be a disinformation campaign supported by Vladimir Putin, all designed to influence elections and sow descent and confusion in the West.
CLINT WATTS, FOREIGN POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE: They have a coordinated information campaign and deliberate strategy. They pick their objectives in
the information space.
TODD: In another case, a leaked e-mail from Hillary Clinton's campaign in which she asked a question about a treatment for Parkinson's disease was
spun into a fake story alleging she was sick, triggering allegations and chatter that the Democratic candidate had the disease. Researchers say the
story was shared and reposted by pro-Russian sites and read eight million times, evidence, experts say, of how Russia was trying to throw last year's
(on camera): How easy is it for them to spread bogus stories?
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Once they build an audience with their accounts, it's very easy through amplification. Every time you're able to promote a story,
that puts it into trending feed, then it takes a life on its own.
TODD (voice-over): Experts who research Russia's fake news campaigns testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, explaining how Putin's
government uses an army of trolls, online critics who push their agendas, to confuse and frighten audiences in the West, an idea that played out
dramatically on the Showtime series "Homeland," a troll factory where hundreds of employees toil away, hosting fast tweets under fake names.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Iraqi Bob.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: That's me.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Navy wife.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: That's me, too.
TODD: Their marching orders? Post phony stories and tweets, spreading them as wide as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You'll find a new set of talking points in your folders. Get outraged.
TODD: Experts say the real-life troll factories used by Russians may not look as slick as the TV version, but they are real. They say paid trolls
who spread fake reports can amplify their impact using botnets, thousands of other people's computers harnessed to do their bidding. Analysts say
Putin's goal is to create distrust among Americans and their allies and their political systems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't just want to discredit U.S. elections. They wanted to discredit Hillary Clinton. Sowing division in the European Union.
These are all things that are part of the Russian agenda.
TODD (on camera): When asked about the accusations of Russia's interference in America's elections, Vladimir Putin said, quote, "Read my lives, no."
But experts who testified before Congress say we can expect Putin's government to continue to support fake news campaigns. They say, for Putin,
it's easy, it's effective, and best of all, for him, it often can't by traced directly back to him.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
ANDERSON: Well, more new details concerning President Donald Trump's formal national security adviser, Mr. Michael Flynn. We are learning Flynn
did not list payments from a Russian television network and two other companies linked to Russia on a financial disclosure form that
he signed in February. The payments do appear on an amended form that was signed by Flynn on Friday.
Those documents made public by the White House.
Well, Flynn's lawyer issued a statement saying General Flynn had only just begun the financial
disclosure filing process at the time he left the White House. He filed a draft form explicitly listing his speaker's bureau contract and he expected
to engage in the usual process of consultations with the White House counsel's office and office of government ethics regarding what he was
expected to disclose. That process was suspended, however, after he resigned. When the White House asked him this week to complete the process
and to itemize the specific speaking events, he did so ends the letter from the attorney or the response.
This development just the latest on what has becoming drip feed of information and speculation about the Russia-Trump team ties of allegations
and allegations of collusion.
Josh Rogin is CNN political analyst and columnist with The Washington Post joining me now live.
We've also, of course, had this request for immunity from Michael Flynn, unusual in that it was public, Josh, and because he's not prepared to say
what he is willing to disclose in any exchange.
Are we likely to see this offer accepted by congress? And do we have any sense at this point what we are likely to hear from Michael Flynn on Russia
and his ties and the Trump team's alleged ties to the Kremlin?
JOSH ROGIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: I doubt very much that the congressional committees or the FBI will grant Michael Flynn any immunity deal until or
unless they know exactly what he has to offer, and until or unless he proves that what he has to offer is something so great that it warrants
such a unique move.
I mean, the bottom line here is that Michael Flynn has a pattern of not disclosing important information about his payments from foreign
governments, including the Turkish government, including the Russian government. His increasingly acrimonious back and forth with the White
Hosue reflects that these two sides are no longer working together. He definitely wants to trade information he has on them in order to save
himself, but it is not clear he is going to be able to do that.
And the White House has no love lost for Michael Flynn and is now releasing information that actually damages him.
So, this is sort of the end of a very troubled story between the White House and Michael Flynn. He's on his own. He's - as you noted, he's
making this plea publicly because it is not going to work privately. He's trying to pressure the committees and the FBI to give him this immunity.
So far he's not going to bite.
ANDERSON: The week that was, Josh - a request for immunity from Trump's former National Security Adviser, charges that the chairman of the House
intelligence committee investigating Trump and Russia lacks impartiality. How much bigger does the big gray cloud so-called by Devin Nunes himself
hanging over the Trump administration get this week, do you think?
ROGIN: Well, as time goes on, day by day, the house intelligence committee investigation is less and less relevant because it is less and less
credible and this sort of circus between the White House of Devin Nunes, the chairman, over what it is that they traded in terms of information and
then passed back and forth to each other and portrayed as some sort of vindication President Trump's tweets from four weeks ago, has just
overshadowed any chance of this House investigation of being sort of a credible last word on collusion or any other matter related to the Russian
So, although the investigation may move on, and they may find a way to keep it going, nobody in Washington is looking towards that as a fair and
credible arbiter of what really happened in the 2016 campaign season.
That puts all eyes on the FBI and the Senate investigation. So far, those investigations have some questions about their credibility, but are still
largely seen as being a reasonably able to find some sort of answers for all of these questions.
ANDERSON: All right. Josh, when say all eyes, we are talking about tens of eyes. I mean, the media is crawling all over this story, isn't it?
Former House intelligence committee chair Mike Rogers had this to say on CNN's State of the Union earlier. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE ROGERS, FRM. U.S. CONGRESSMAN: If this is an investigation, everybody needs to clam up candidly, including the president. Stop talking about it.
I mean, the most dangerous place in Washington, D.C. right now is between a congressman who has read a classified report and a microphone. That needs
to stop. And it's both sides. I just heard Adam Schiff this morning saying, well, we can't talk about that. But boy people are guilty of
something. He's supposed to be the person helping lead an investigation for a conclusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All right, talking about Nunes here.
Is this is turning into trial by media, not just the House - the chairman of the House intelligence
committee and whether or not he remains as impartial as he should, but the entire Trump allegations to
[11:25:18] ROGIN: Well, yes, the problem here is that a lot of this information has come through media reports and a lot of the investigation
are chasing things that were first aired in the media. So, it is impossible to not discuss the content of them if you are
being asked about them.
The second problem is that as much as Mike Rogers can talk about Adam Schiff, it was Devin Nunes who decided to make a press conference out of
this information and then sort of obscure the source of the information. And then sort of admit to it later when it came out. He's really muddied
And it is President Prump first and foremost who has done the most in public to try to discredit all of these investigations, calling them fake
news, calling them witch hunts, and attacking the very basis for any investigation into the Russian interference.
So, you know, you could blame anyone really, but I think the president of the United States first of all has the responsibility to let these
investigations play out. And then the leaders of these investigation, second of all, have a responsibility to determine what information should
be kept from the public until it is really ready. I think there's blame on all sides, but there is no way that this can be
kept out of the media. And you know part of this is assuring the public that there is some oversight and some way to get to the bottom of this.
So, some public engagement is going to have to be necessary.
ANDERSON: Josh Rogin in the house for you out of Washington today on the very latest from that city.
Thank you, Josh.
Meanwhile, from bad press on the international stage to growing anger at home in some quarters. There were scattered protests again this Sunday
against corruption, and police were cracking down again with more than 30 people said to have been detained.
What am I talking about? I'm talking Russia.
Paula Newton has more from Moscow for you. And crowds, Paula, were smaller than at last week's countrywide demonstrations. But the response from
authorities robust, correct?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, robust and about 48 hours lead time. Becky, we had been hearing as early as Friday the
authorities here saying that they had shut down at least five internet sites that they say were trying to insight these protests, which they said
were not authorized. The websites were taken down.
Then, the interior ministry, the local police here in Moscow sending out a statement saying, look, we wish to make clear that any protests that are
attempted today are unauthorized. Then Red Square shut down for the day. That was supposed to be the site of one of the protests. The government
said it was, in fact, for a rehearsal for a victory day parade the first week of May.
Taken all together, Becky, what does this mean? At issue here is the momentum that these
protests can actually get moving in the next few weeks and months.
Now, Alexander - (inaudible), pardon me - who was jailed for the protests that we all remember the pictures from last weekend, took many observers,
including the Kremlin by surprise. He is still in prison, but his organization, as well as others, again trying to play up that momentum.
We will continue to see this play out, Becky, and as you can see from what we showed you, the authorities not taking he's trying any chances, this
time. And the detaining people really it seems sometimes for nothing. I mean, Becky, one guy apparently was detained --several dozen was detained
for holding the Russian constitution. And these are the kinds of things that you're going to see to played out here, I'm sure, in the weeks to
ANDERSON: Paula Newton is in Moscow for you today. Paula, thank you for that.
The latest World News Headlines just ahead, folks.
Plus, we meet a dad who is fighting autism through hip-hop.
Don't miss his powerful story.
[11:33:00] ANDERSON: I'm going to get you back to Russia, which is, of course, featured largely in our programming this hour where dueling
demonstrations have centered on a Moscow landmark. And one side stands the Kremlin and the church and on the other protesters who are against that
CNN's Ivan Watson reports.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Russian Orthodox faithful staging a show of force. Clerics saying uniformed Cossacks
marching around St. Isaac's Cathedral. His church in St. Petersburg is at the center of a debate over the resurgent role of the Russian Orthodox
Church in modern day Russia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to the true, real values -- family, church, state.
WATSON: Firebrand lawmaker Vitaly Milonov wants the church to play a bigger role in Russian society.
VITALY MILONOV, RUSSIAN LAWMAKER: This disease of antichristian activity will pass and, of course, in every country like Russia and America will
face a new good renaissance, revival of true values against fake values.
WATSON: During the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church was a target of brutal persecution. Atheist communists demolished churches like
Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral. And though they left St. Isaac's standing, the Soviets pillage its treasures and executed its top priest.
A recent government proposal to hand the cathedral to the direct management of the Russian Orthodox Church sparked rare public protests. Secular
demonstrators formed a human chain around the building. They demand the church remain a museum.
VLADIMIR KUDRYAVTSEV, SECULAR PROTESTOR: I am fine with the church as long as they mind their own business. But when they overstep their boundaries,
like say on the question of abortions or middle school education, or taking buildings like this, well, I'm not OK with that.
[11:35:06] WATSON: In the quarter century since the end of the Soviet Union, once loyal members of the atheist communist party have publicly
embraced the Russian Orthodox Church. The Kremlin now works closely with the church's leader Moscow patriarch Kirill, who gives speeches in the
national parliament. But there are some rare critics within the clergy who warn that the church has gotten too cozy with the Kremlin.
"I'm against this political union," says Father Andrei Kuraev, an ex-speech writer for the former patriarch of Moscow.
The church is being perceived as a ministry of the government that can threaten and arrest people, he says. And this is very bad.
In 2000, Moscow rebuilt the demolished Christ the savior cathedral. That's where dozens of bishops from Russia and across the world gathered to
celebrate the anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill. In the front row of the congregation, volunteers from a new group of religious
activists that calls itself the 4040s movement.
"We're experiencing the second baptism of Russia," the group's leader tells me. "If there were no orthodox Christianity," he adds, "there would be no
Russia is still officially a secular country that's home to many religions. But as it enjoys it rebirth, the Russian Orthodox Church seems more and
more like an extension of the Russian state.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Moscow.
ANDERSON: Well, forbidden tails from North Korea are shedding light on the life inside what is known as the Hermit Kingdom. Publishers from around
the world gathered at the demilitarized zone, or the DMZ, between north and south to honor the dissident author who is still inside North Korea.
CNN's Paula Hancocks talks to the activists who smuggled the book out. Have a listen.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coming together at the last bastion of the cold war to celebrate a man they've
never met, meeting at the border between North and South Korea for a very unusual book reading.
"The Accusation" is a work of fiction written by a dissident writer still inside North Korea about regular citizens trying to function in a
He also calls himself, Bandi, Korean for firefly as he sheds light on the dark. The South Korean activist who helped smuggled this book out of North
Korea says it is unique.
"It doesn't deal with political prison camps," says Doe He-yun (ph) or public executions, human rights issues. It shows normal life of North
Korean citizens and it is very frightening. This book shows they live like slaves.
"To think that the faint glimmer of hope I'd been clinging to was in fact the dark shadow of wickedness."
The book is being translated into 19 languages.
Publishers and human rights activists have come from around the world to read the one book that links them. "The Accusation" was published in the UK
last week and is already on the best seller's list.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A set of short stories so it is fiction but it does, like all other fiction give a very powerful account of the experience of
living in a place that we couldn't otherwise know about.
NEWTON: Doe (ph) says there was really no other choice when he was thinking about the venue for this reading. Bandi's story is all about love and
family, and this is where separated families come to, to leave these messages on ribbons, messages of support, prayers that they will see their
loved ones in the north once again. Families who have been torn apart by the Korean war and who remain apart because of the division of the
Doe (ph) first heard of the manuscript when he helped a North Korean defector arrested by Chinese border guards. She told him Bandi, a relative,
had asked him to smuggle it out. She was too scared of being caught when she was safe to organize for someone to go into North Korea and smuggle it
We honed away of getting the script for Chinese tourist, he says. North Korea liked exporting propaganda materials such as books analyzing the
leaders, hid the manuscript in that.
Doe (ph) says Bandi is safe for now but fears the regime may one day find him. He says Bandi valued this book more than his life hoping it was a
voice that would be heard by the world.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, near the border between North and South Korea.
ANDERSON: Well, many for this city's most iconic land park like this one: the Emirates palace on the (inaudible) in Abu Dhabi are lit up in blue this
evening to mark World Autism Day. And in a very real sense, the United Arab Emirates is lighting the way forward with some of the best treatment
centers for Autism in this region. So much so that one Saudi radio host picked up his whole life to move here just so that his son could go to
This is their story.
[11:40:16] UNIDENITIFIED MALE: My name is Hassan Hamedi-Hawanowi (ph), better known as Big Hass. Salaam Alaikum. I host Saudis first FM hip-hop
Hello, welcome to (inaudible) hip-hop. It's your man Big Hass.
See, 99.90 percent of Arabic music is all about only love. You know, we have other issues, community issues, social issues, and yes, political
And I started really getting into hip-hop in 2008 when I started to listening to some hip-hop from Syria, from Iraq, from Palestine. I'm like,
whoa. And these rappers were my new source. You know, I would listen to them and educated me about what's going on in the region.
So, this is my hero. Ahmed (ph) is 6-years-old.
2010 we were blessed with a baby boy. Three or four years down the line we found out that he's autistic. He's the best thing that ever happened to
us. Of course, a shout out to this woman, say it live on TV. She's doing very great, my better half.
You know, Dubai is a a little bit place then Jeddah, a bit more open, of course. And we moved in here exactly a year ago. And he's now starting to
speak. He's starting to be much more aware about his surroundings.
And when I say on the air that my son is artistic, and I'm not ashamed of it. And when I like take a picture with my son, for example, I always use
the hashtag #autismisnoadisease, or #autismparent. And I get like some people are very, like, you know, a bit rude. They say, why are you so
proud, like he is disabled? And I engage with the discussion. I think that's what we want in the Arab world.
So, as a radio host, that's what I try to do.
Number one difference between like Saudi Arabia and the UAE is the awareness that people have. The UAE has done a great job with just making
the awareness. A lot of events happen. Like, oh, OK, that's what autism is like, you know.
And my son being autistic has just has opened another dimension for me, so it's support local talents is changing perception about hip-hop, it's
talking about my son. It is talking about how he changed me, how he made me more patient. I want Ahmed, my son, to be the
person he's destined to be, to become a man that he can depend on himself, which is very challenging when it comes to autism, but I will definitely
fight for that to happen.
ANDERSON: Right. In the spirit of raising awareness on this World Autism Day. We're going to be going live on Facebook with the man you just saw in
our report, Hassan. We're going to talk to him about what autism is like and what it is like to live with the condition. That is in just a few
minutes. So, head to Facebook.com/CNNConnect, if you will. Join us there.
I am Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Form the team here, it's a very good evening. Thank you for watching Connect the World. CNN
continues after this break. Don't go away.