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CONNECT THE WORLD

Head: Inside An Ancient Tomb; One Hour Of Voting Left in German Election; Polls Suggest Merkel Will Win Fourth Term; Far-Right Party May Enter Federal Parliament; Iraqi Kurds Set To Hold Independence Vote on Monday; CNN Along What Could Become World's Newest Border; Iran, Turkey Hold War Games Ahead of Kurdish Vote; Millions Of Kurds Across Middle East; U.S. Conducts Airstrikes Against ISIS In Libya; Trump Appears To Threaten Regime in Pyongyang; Pyongyang Holds Anti-U.S. Rally; U.S. Bombers Fly Over Waters Of East Of North Korea; North Korean Official Blasts Trump At United Nations; Trump Slams Athletes Who Protest During Football Games; NFL Owners And Execs Speak Out In Support Of Players; Condemnation Of Athlete Pretests Stir Controversy; NFL, NBA Players Blast Trump For Protests Criticis. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired September 24, 2017 - 11:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:00:14] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Ballots are being cast, the general election in Germany could change the country's political landscape. But

Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to keep her job, we are in Berlin, for it's the last hour of voting. Also at this hour after fighting ISIS some

Kurds are now fighting for independence, but the political battlefield is tough. A live report from (INAUDIBLE) coming up. And --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's such a beautiful area, it's such a rich area, it's such a important area. And now I'm expecting them to find more --

ANDERSON: Down deep underground, we follow a team of excavators dusting off mummies, it's the first time look at the discoveries in Egypt painting

a picture of the past. All right. Hello and welcome. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. It is 7:00 here in the heart of

Europe this hour a battle is taking place. One being fought for with politics and pen strokes, billboards, and ballot boxes. But it is a battle

nonetheless, one strategize though the issues like security, migration, economic (INAUDIBLE) which the nature of Europe as we know it couldn't

theory hinge.

Welcome this hour, to Germany where people including current Chancellor Angela Merkel choosing who will lead the country for the next four years.

They have just one hour left to have their say. Mrs. Merkel expected to win, but the biggest part of the battle could be to come as expected the

contest turns into coalition talks we are covering all sides of this content. Atika Shubert has the latest from Mrs. Merkel's headquarters. So

Fred Pleitgen has been at the polling stations there in Berlin. Let's kick off with you, where Angela Merkel is front and center. Atika, what's the

news there?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're waiting for those results and of course votes will be closed about an hour and that's (INAUDIBLE)

first expect to see some results coming in (INAUDIBLE) happening, actually behind me is where Chancellor Merkel is expected to be. We don't know what

time, that's really going to depend on the results, what we do know so far is the voter turnout something about the same as it was in the last

election in 2013.

Forty one percent had already come out to vote at around 2:00 in the afternoon. So we don't know how much have changed since then, but so far,

voters for now in stable. Now, that make work in Chancellor Merkel's -- in Angela Merkel's favor as she runs for reelection, but it could also mean

that (INAUDIBLE) of the far-right party alternative (INAUDIBLE) have also vocalized to come out but we'll see when the results are coming in in about

an hour.

ANDERSON: Standby, I want to see what we can get a little bit -- get rid some of the background noise, it's very difficult to hear what you're

saying, but we'd like to see if we can do that. Meantime, Fred, let's remind our viewers why this German Election is so important. Germany has

the biggest economy in the E.U.

In other words, it drives the blocks policy concern, so over refugees and security could help Germany's far-right party. And Mrs. Merkel, of course,

was so passionate about stopping global warming. Something that puts her at odds with the U.S. president. It is unlikely that there would be a big

shock. Mrs. Merkel it seems has been certainly in the run-up to this out front, how though does this election and fit into the bigger European

(INAUDIBLE)

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's an extremely important one, Becky, and you can certainly feel when we were at the

polling stations of the voters that are very much aware of this as well. And what's interesting because one of the elections bonds here, so we spoke

and he said, look, it sort of like of a German soccer championship, you always know who's going to win, it's usually Bayern Munich in soccer and

it's going to be Angela Merkel most probably in politics.

But the big question is what happens to other political parties, now one party that we haven't been talking very much about is the Social Democrats

which is actually the other big political party, the left-leaning party here in Germany, but its candidates, Martin Schulz is way behind in the

polls and so, therefore, the big thing people are talking about here is, is there going to be a rise of the ultra-right-wing alternative for Germany,

the AFD.

And one of the things that many people are looking towards is how much of a percentage of a vote are they going to get. Could they even become, Becky,

the third largest party represented in Germany's parliament, and that would certainly do a lot to ultra-German politics?

[11:05:04] They could wind up being the biggest opposition for party for instance in German parliament, if indeed there is another grand coalition

here in Germany and so, therefore, this is one thing that many people are looking for.

And of course, Becky, one the things we have to come back to all the time is that Germany, of course, has been an anchor of stability. In the eyes

of many people, in Europe, even some folks in the United States as well. And the big question that people are going to ask is, is Angela Merkel

going to emerge from this election as a stranger or a weaker leader, and what is that going to mean for Germany on the European and also on the

international stage.

ANDERSON: Right, because would it be going too far to suggest that these elections are about the future and democracy of Europe?

PLEITGEN: Well, I think -- I think to a certain extent, they are. You know, one of the things that we have here in Germany is -- one of the

things that we've been seeing in many Western democracies in the United States, in Britain as well where a lot of people are -- I wouldn't say fed

up, but a little dissolution with some of the established parties in the system. And certainly, that's something that we've been hearing from

voters that we've been speaking to as well.

They say, look, we believe that the choice that we have is flat, we believe that a lot of the political parties they are almost the same, that there

really isn't much diversity of opinion and that's why you have parties like the alternative for Germany that are coming up, that are questioning a lot

of things. And of course, many people say, look, we understand that all of that is populism, but at the same time, there are many people who don't

feel fully represented by the current folks who are in power.

And also, we have to keep in mind, Angela Merkel has been in power for 12 years now and there are some people who simply believed that there should

be a change in Germany as of course there is in many other countries as well. But at the same time, you know, Germans are folks who do and put a

lot of value in stability, and that's also one of the core reasons why we keep talking about Angela Merkel, most probably retaining the

chancellorship.

ANDERSON: To both of you, thank you, as CNN's coverage will continue. Viewers, stay with us for that in the next hour. Hala Gorani anchoring a

two-hour special, bringing you the very latest on the result as they come in, that's noon if you're in New York, 6:00 p.m. If you are there in

(INAUDIBLE) in Berlin. Well right now, hundreds of thousands of Germans, one percent of the entire country on their mind dead set on another

monumentally important vote.

The Kurds there and millions elsewhere will tomorrow Monday get out and have to make up their minds on if they want to break up with Iraq and start

their own country in this area right here. I mean, blow this up for you to see, you know, see these big black spots, that's oil, a lot of oil,

trillions and trillions of dollars' worth of this stuff. Will the Kurds keep a hold of that, paper money comes down to this. Paper question, this

ballot, boldly asking in Kurdish, in Arabic, in Turkmen, and in Syrian, do you want the Kurdistan region and the Kurdistani areas outside the region's

administration.

Repeat, the Kurdistani areas outside the region to become an independent state. Well, that's got a lot of places worried, very worried. Why?

Well, there are millions and millions of Kurds right next door in Syria, in Iran, and in Turkey need proof right now, those last two countries, Iran

and Turkey are holding war games. Iran shutting down airspace to Kurdish flights to the message to Kurds, we are not playing around, don't do this.

Well, the Kurds hardened from battle, politically, culturally and militarily alike do not want to give up. Well, CNN's Nima Elbagir takes us

along what could soon become the world's newest border.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Less than a year ago and all of these was ISIS-held territory. Now, you can see a (INAUDIBLE) for the movement of

people and goods between Federal Iraq and the Kurdish Region. This is also potentially where the world's newest border could be. From 6:00 tonight we

understand all of these will be closed off while the Kurdish people go to the polls to vote or whether they want to be part of United Federal Iraq or

to go at it alone.

The Kurds have been key of course to the fight against ISIS and there have been a barrage of international visitors in recent days, from the U.S., the

U.K., the European Union, and the U.N. begging the Kurds to stay be sought, to wait until after ISIS has finally pushed out of Iraqi territory. But

many of those Kurds we're speaking to including key government officials say that now is the time, that they have earned this, the Kurdish blood has

been spilt enough to push back and protect Iraq, this is now their opportunity.

[11:10:15] ANDERSON: Well, let's get you on the ground, you know, be all right now, Nima is in the mix, in a place that has been pretty rich and

pretty safe. So, Nima, right where you are is a microcosm of what is going on, so please break it down for us if you will?

ELBAGIR: Well, as you know very well, Becky, the Kurds have been so crucial to this alliance, they opened up the road to Mosul, they retook

Sinjar when the Yazidis were facing extinction at the hands of ISIS. And the International Committee has been pretty much beating apart to their

door in recent days, and it felt very uncertain right up until this very moment where we're standing in front of you now, whether this would even go

ahead. That really is the extent of the pressure, but the Kurdish leader has now addressed his people and he says, it is happening, the referendum

will go ahead. Take a listen to this, Becky.

MASOUD BARZANI, PRESIDENT, IRAQI KURDISTAN: Talking about the concept of holding referendum of the end of partnership in Iraq, we have been saying

this for a long time to everybody that this partnership is over, and these kinds of the relationship with Baghdad is no longer working, no longer

functioning, so we want -- we are heading towards referendum to ask our people what they want.

ELBAGIR: The Iraqi Prime Minister has been very quick to respond and while perhaps many observers might have expected a more conciliatory tone, Becky,

he's come out guns blazing so to speak. He says, there will consequences that cannot possibly not be consequences and that he have used this

referendum as illegal, unconstitutional, and frankly, an act of aggression. There is so much at stake here, ISIS to west of Irbil is still very much

present.

The oil-rich state as Kirkuk has already seen one fatality in the skirmishes leading up to this referendum. Though it is almost impossible

to underplay that the ramifications of this, Becky, won't just be felt here, they won't just be felt in the region, but they will be felt across

that anti-ISIS international coalition. Becky.

ANDERSON: Nima, there won't be any Iranian flights in the skies above you. We have report said Iran is shutting down flights to and from where you

are, what is the expected reactions of that?

ELBAGIR: Well, there has always been a lot of tension, much of the delicate negotiations it lead up to the battle to liberate, Mosul has been

about where exactly Iranian backed Popular Mobilization Forces as they're called, (INAUDIBLE) auxiliary militia that operated out of Baghdad and

beyond, where they would be placed and there has always been a lot of that sectarian tension between the Kurds and Iran. And they're proxy forces, so

this wasn't unexpected, what perhaps has raised a few eyebrows here is Iran's announcement a few days ago that they would not respect the Kurdish

border going forward.

That they believe that Kurdistan has been a launching ground for attacks against Iranian sovereignty, as they have put it, by the Kurdish minority

and the Kurdish minority -- Iranian-Kurdish minority militants, and that they would absolutely show no hesitation in going into Kurdish territory,

if they felt that they needed to protect their security.

So, Iran has made very clear that they're taking this very seriously, and this is really what it's about how hard from both Iran and Turkey, and

these two key regional players, their wiry is that this referendum will empower their Kurdish minorities. This is the real fear for the -- for

those in the region and we -- and we've seen that in the aggression, they now believe that in recent days, the international diplomatic Kurds as

wielded by Brett McGurk, the U.S., Iraq and Syria envoy and is welded by other international activists that hasn't worked. Now what we're seeing is

we're very much seeing the stick being waved in the direction of the Kurds and the Kurdish people. Becky.

ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir is in a (INAUDIBLE) for you this vote set to take place Monday where oil first found in Iraq for the very first time and what

is now where we were just there, the Kurdish area, almost a hundred years ago, right near there, in the Bible it's told the Eternal Furnace King

Nebuchadnezzar, scorched and burned. So Iraq's Kurds about to open up a political furnace of their very own. We're going to ask the Kurdish man in

Washington all about that. That is coming up this hour.

[11:15:05] Well, the U.S. military has conducted airstrikes against ISIS fighters in Libya, this is the first time the U.S. has launched an attack

there since Donald Trump became president. The U.S. military officials say, unmanned aircraft targeted ISIS camps in multiple remote locations,

killing 17 militants and destroying three vehicles. President Trump approved the operation last week. Well, tensions between the U.S. and

North Korea seem to be escalating yet again on Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter writing, North Korea's forge minister and leader Kim Jong-un won't be around much longer. A message

that probably won't go down well in Pyongyang clearly which hosted an anti- U.S. rally earlier in the day. Well, Trump's latest tweets came on the same day that the U.S. military flew bombers over Northeast of North Korea

and a seismic activity was detected near a nuclear site. That could be aftershocks, it could be aftershocks from a nuclear test earlier this

month. CNN's Ben Wedeman has more from Tokyo.

BEN WEDENMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United States flew B-1 Bombers and F- 15 fighters in the international airspace off the North Korean coast Saturday and what had American spokeswoman said was a clear message that

President Trump has many military options. The warplanes were in the air just before North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho addressed the United

Nation's general assembly where he said, none other than Donald Trump is on a suicide mission.

He went on to say President Trump's recent threats against North Korea were making our rockets visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the

more. One good threat deserving another, President Trump replied on Twitter, just heard the foreign minister of North Korea speak of U.N. if he

echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer. This two-way valley of invective is exacerbating jitters around the region,

spokesman for South Korea's ruling Democratic Party saying, the exchange of excessive verbal threats would only heighten anxiety, it almost need not be

said his wise words are falling on deaf ears. Ben Wedeman, CNN Tokyo.

ANDERSON: While Pyongyang swears of a wipe entire countries off the map with, you know, nuclear-tipped missiles traveling at hypersonic speeds.

Some of the middle east are hoping to draw a new home for themselves. Quite literally using this, so is the pen mightier than the sword or the

missile? We'll find out up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:20:09] SADDAM HUSSEIN, FORMER PRESIDENT, IRAQ (through translator): I call on all Iraqis, Arabs, and Kurds to show forgiveness, forgive and shake

hands.

ANDERSON: Well, the sick irony to those words from Saddam Hussein, Iraq's former dictator, a man of tyrant who murdered Kurds, thousands of them all

at once in blisteringly painful deaths using toxic gas. Well, almost 30 years later, it's not death but new life of a country of their very own

that the Kurds are thinking and as we have told you it's the opposite of a popular idea, it's not often you see these two, the Iranian and American

leaders on the same page about something or anything in fact, but here we are, they're feeling? Well, take a listen to the man running Kurdistan's

Foreign Affairs, he joined me just before the weekend.

FALAH MUSTAFA BAKIR, HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN RELATIONS, KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT: We have been told this is not the right time and

indeed we don't understand and we don't know when is the right time, for us we believe time has come because we have not been able to build a

Democratic Iraq as we were promised, we have been fighting for a Federal Democratic Federalist Iraq, but we ended up having no meaning of our

partnership. We don't feel partners, we don't feel equal citizens of a country, and indeed, we are denied to thrive, and we don't feel that we

have a future in Iraq.

ANDERSON: Well, it's challenged those words or at least cross-examine them and to do that, let's bring in someone who can stand up for these votes,

Bayan Rahman, the representative to the United States for Kurdistan's government. Bayan, thank you for joining. Nima Elbagir who was in

(INAUDIBLE) pointing earlier on that the Iraqi Prime Minister says that there will be consequences of this, so this referendum Monday, a vote that

Baghdad considers and act of aggression, ill-timed and ill-advised says Brett McGurk, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy to the global coalition

to defeat ISIS in the region.

With little know support from either your immediate neighbors, all the international community, Bayan, Israel of course, why now, sir?

BAYAN SAMI ABDUL RAHMAN, REPRESENTATIVE, KRG: Oh, well, Becky, now is as good a time as any. Nobody has been able to guarantee that if we delay the

referendum as we have been asked to do by the United States and the other friendly nations, that if we delay the referendum, and we hold it in the

future, that those countries will support the referendum in the future that they would guarantee support for the process at a specific time in future,

all guaranteed support for the outcome.

So, if we don't hold it today, when should we hold it? The reason why we have come to the conclusion that we need to have a referendum with the aim

of achieving independence is that we suffered under various dictatorships in Iraq, particularly under Saddam as you said. And then we joined the new

Iraq in 2003 which we believed would be democratic, would be country of partnership, Kurds and Arabs would be partners and so on.

But what we've seen since 2005 is the reversal of all of those hopes, and unraveling of the Iraqi constitution. So we have come to the conclusion as

my colleagues said to you in a previous interview, there is no future for the people Kurdistan in Iraq. So we have decided that our people have the

right to have referendum on self-determination. A right that is enshrined in the U.N. Charter, a right that people across the world enjoy. I don't

know why the people of Scotland can have referendum, the people Quebec, other countries, why can they have referendums, why can they even declare

independence unilaterally that for us to do so is considered something almost a crime.

ANDERSON: Bayan, I hear your words and I also sincerely apologize for the way that I introduced you, my mistake entirely. I hope you'll forgive me.

Two words.

RAHMAN: It's OK.

ANDERSON: War games by Iran and Turkey -- sincere apologies. As I mentioned, holding in -- this is no game though is it? So many countries

are against this referendum, countries that never agree, they agree on this it seems, viewers for CNN watching this show, looking at them now, frankly

it's not a big lead for many to ask what is the point of this, especially when forces on the line, with everything going on, are you really, really

willing to risk -- to risk conflict or war?

[11:25:03] RAHMAN: From our perspective, the referendum and the move towards independence is risky, but the status quo is just as if not more

risky, so we're not living in Switzerland, we're not living in Sweden where we're surrounded by friendly neighbors where parts of a democracy and a

federation by that I mean, the European Union in Sweden's case.

We are living in the Middle East, a territory that is frankly on fire, who really believes that Syria will go back to what it was, what's going to

happen in Yemen? Will Yemen survive as one country? What about Libya? The Middle East is on fire, borders are changing, powers are shifting. The

Kurds missed the boat a hundred years ago, we will not miss the boat this time, we will determine our future. We will not have our neighbors and the

world powers decide for us.

The people of Kurdistan, millions of people in Iraq, millions of people in Iraqi-Kurdistan deserve the right to voice their opinion, to say that we

want or we don't want independence, but of course, I know the vast majority will say yes. As for our neighbors engaging in war games, you know, it's a

tough neighborhood, we're used to it, we have an expression, no friends, but the mountains, and I'm sorry to say that expression renews itself

everyday decade or so, sometimes every few years or so. But to stay by with the status quo is risky, the referendum is risky, status is just as

risky if not more.

ANDERSON: Bayan, your ballot paper, the question on it asked about land outside of the regional zones. So let me bring back this map showing 50

million Kurds in Turkey, Iran 10 million, Iraq eight million, Syria three million, all right next door to you, the issue that these neighboring

countries have, are you after a country, because you've been talking about borders, borders that were written a hundred years ago that many people

will say just shouldn't exist, there will be many people who agree with you on that. But are you looking at a country that eventually takes land from

all over most of the countries that we've just discussed?

RAHMAN: Absolutely not, we've been very clear and we've repeated this writing, in public, President Barzani himself has said this many times,

this referendum is only for Iraqi-Kurdistan, and the process of voting in this referendum is very strict, even for the diasporas, so people like

myself who are having to vote from Washington in my case, the identity documentation that is required is Iraqi identity documentations.

So it's a very strict process and we're very clear that the referendum and the move towards independence is only for Iraqi-Kurdistan, the Kurds in

Turkey and Iran and Syria need to engage with the government, need -- in their countries, they need to engage in their own process, we support the

rights of the people of Kurdistan wherever they are. They're linguistic rights, administrative rights, political rights, we support that and we're

very clear about that too with our neighbors.

But we don't interfere in their processes, we don't interfere in their areas and we asked that they do the same with us. We asked that they don't

interfere in the process that we're engaging with Baghdad. Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, it is with Baghdad that we wish to engage first and

foremost and it is only for the Iraqi-Kurds or the people of Iraqi- Kurdistan that will decide on independence.

ANDERSON: We'd have to leave it there, we very much appreciate your time, the Representative to the United States for Kurdistan's Government, Bayan

Rahman. It's been a pleasure having you on. Thank you. We're going to take a break. A short break, viewers. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:31:51] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson, futures of (INAUDIBLE) UAE, the President of United States

is attacking the National Football League, and institution as American as apple pie, the sport has global appeal too of course, millions of viewers

in the U.S. and around the world, tuning in now, Mr. Trump cruising the players who instead of standing handover heart during the U.S. National

Anthem chose to kneel.

Here are some players doing just that earlier during a game in London. Mr. Trump says, those players are disrespecting the flag and their country.

For the players, it's deeply personal act of protest, they say they love the United States but cannot abide what they call institutional violence

against African Americans. Well, President Trump has a lot going right now. So why is he fixated on this issue? Let's dive deeper with Marc

Lamont Hill the CNN Political Commentator, and also with us CNN's Coy Wire, there's no better person to us but American Football, he spent nine years

in the NFL. Briefly, guys what's your position on this? Starting with you, Coy?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, you know, my position is that I can only talk about what we're seeing and what we're seeing in this

Jacksonville Baltimore game that just kicked off in London, the first NFL game in the wake of the comments that were made to NFL owners urging them

to fire or suspend players who kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial and social injustice. We see the largest number of players

kneeling during the anthem to date.

Not only players, there are coaches, both head coaches from the teams. They are locking arms in a sign of solidarity with the players. Also

significantly, the team owner Shahid Khan of the Jacksonville Jaguars standing arm-and-arm with players as well and so this is what we're seeing,

you know, sports are meant to unify and bring people together, and I think that big statement made today by the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore

Ravens is that day are not going to let anything or anyone divide them.

ANDERSON: Marc, do you agree?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, I think that, you know, there are many players who agreed with Colin Kaepernick's initial

position ideologically, but they didn't necessarily want to stand or rather kneel in solidarity with him either out of fear or out of the kind of

pragmatism where they thought that there were other ways to do it. But I think what you've seen in the wake of Donald Trump's comments is a sense of

ending nation, in a sense of outrage not just at the issue of state violence, any quality poverty, black death at the hands of law enforcement.

But also a sense of outreach at Donald Trump in the broader power structures attempt to silence their political visions. To silence their

political freedom and so in many ways, Donald Trump has brought out the activism both in the NFL and of course as we saw yesterday in the NBA.

ANDERSON: Right. And I want to get to that, Coy, it's not just football players of course who were unhappy with President Trump, the basketball

giant, LeBron James bringing up for Charlottesville where Mr. Trump has being spreading the playing to the violence to all demonstrators there

instead of calling out racism white supremacist. I just wanted you to have a listen to what LeBron has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:35:09] LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: Put in charge has tried -- has tried to divide us once again. And obviously, we all know what happened with

Charlottesville and the divide that caused. And now it's even hit more home for me now even more because he's now using sports --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: So thoughts, Coy, supposed to bring people together, that was supposed to be political, I think I'm right in saying that LeBron actually

did endorse Democrat Hilary Clinton, but be that as it may, the point is, what about bringing people together rather than dividing it? What and

where Donald Trump is on this?

WIRE: Well, I talked to one former NFL player who told me that arguably there is no place in America that is more united than on around in NFL

football game on Sundays. And so, you're seeing today, the players uniting and as you showed, the LeBron James speaking up and speaking out in support

of those who are trying to protest racial and social injustice. He wasn't the only NBA Superstar, former league MVP, and Super Bowl champion, Steph

Curry also had some words similar sentiment to LeBron James. Let's listen to Steph's words.

STEPHEN CURRY, NBA PLAYER: I don't know, you know, why, he doesn't need to target certain individuals out of it, you know, rather than others, I have

an idea why, but this, it's kind of -- it's just kind of beneath, I mean, I think a leader of a country to go that route. It's not what leaders do.

WIRE: LeBron James, Steph Curry, big names from the NBA, there are more as well, and also last night we saw the first Major League Baseball player

take a knee during the national anthem, that was the Oakland A's Bruce Maxwell making a statement, taking a stand for social and racial injustice

in America. So we're seeing athletes from all sports coming together to try to support what Colin Kaepernick started about a year ago. Becky.

ANDERSON: Marc, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defending President Trump, perhaps understandably. So he says, respect is at issue

here, in the NFL and its players aren't showing any with their protests. Let's see what he said earlier.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF TREASURY: The NFL has all different types of rules. You can't have stickers on your helmet, you have

to have your uniforms tucked in, what the president is saying and I think the owner should meet and they should vote on a rule, this is about respect

for our military, this is about respect for our first responders, this is not about Republicans or Democrats.

ANDERSON: Marc?

HILL: It's easy to say that this is just about respect and that we should inject politics into a football game, if you normalize the politics and the

rules that already baked into the game. So, yes, you know, it's not an -- it's not a neutral or a political act to stand up for a national anthem to

honor soldiers, to honor first responders, you're making a very particular set of political claims and political commitments that are just fine if you

want to make them.

But players have a right not to make them, there's a little bit different than just tucking your shirt or not tucking in your short. The other thing

is that you can't define patriotism, and patriotism is such a narrow way, there are some people who believe that patriotism is best demonstrated not

do standing and holding your hand to your heart but by kneeling. By protesting, by resisting injustice, Martin Luther King took a knee, Martin

Luther King violate a rule, Martin Luther King did all of these things that we now celebrating him for, but in the moment, he was wildly unpopular and

seen as an enemy to the state and seen as unpatriotic.

Sometimes, what's patriotic is what's unpopular, sometimes what's patriotic will earn you enemies, but ultimately, each individual has to decide, so

it's unfair to say that he's disrespecting freedom fighters and soldiers, in fact some of those very same freedom fighters fought not so you could

stand up for a flag, but some of it you could have type of freedom and justice that is unavailable to so many people in America, hence the protest

in the first place.

ANDERSON: Coy, Donald Trump (INAUDIBLE) out of victory in places like Ohio and just how much impact do you think this might have?

WIRE: Well, you know, Becky, it's a great question; it's probably more suited for Marc being a political commentator. But what I can say to echo

Marc's last comment about the politicization of this issue and patriotism, I talked to Michael Bennett, he is a Seahawks player, he's been on the

forefront of players kneeling during national anthem and taking a stand against racial and social injustice. He said, he told me this was never

about disrespecting the military, he said his own father served in the U.S. Navy.

[11:40:02] And he said, it's not easy to kneel during the anthem he said, but it's effective, the whole purpose he said was to spark conversation and

shed light on the issue of racial and social injustice in America. He feels although it may be unpopular for some, it is effective and the

conversations are being had.

ANDERSON: To both of you, thank you. And remember, stay with us ahead for full coverage of the German Election that's coming up. Hala Gorani anchors

the two-hour special in bringing you the results as they come in. And that's noon if you are in New York, 6:00 p.m. As I said, if you're in the

thick of it in Berlin. You have the news this hour and that's it for me, I'm Becky Anderson with CONNECT THE WORLD. From us, it's a very good

evening from Abu Dhabi. Thank you for watching. See you same time same place tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN HOST: Coming up on Marketplace Middle East, how to oil-rich countries, the UAE and Kazakhstan plan to use one of the oldest

and largest global events, the Expo to help diversify their economies and drive future growth. In the past, World Expos have been transformation.

Philadelphia in 1876 brought us the typewriter. Paris in 1900, the diesel engine. New York in 1964 features the colored TV.

AFSHIN MOLAVI, IRANIAN-AMERICAN AUTHOR: When you consent the history of World Expos, they really had their hay day in the late 19th century, the

early 20th century. In many ways, World Expos are tied historically to the industrial revolution. And therefore, they have tended to be around the

western world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fast forward to 2010. In the Shanghai Expo attracted 73 million visitors, making it one of the largest ever held. And showing

the event still, has economic cleft.

DEFTERIOS: Welcome to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan and home to Expo 2017. Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia. It has huge oil

reserves and a land mass equal to Western Europe. With the population of around 18 million, it's using Expo 2017 to help it (INAUDIBLE) this place

on the world stage. It was an ambitious goal to land this event, but (INAUDIBLE) the plans to fill this gigantic space when the big show leaves

town.

Future Energy, that's the theme of the Astana Expo, everything from securing sustainable access to power to reducing carbon emissions. Key

challenges under the spotlight for all the nations participating. The Kazak Government chipped in around a billion dollars to build this space

(INAUDIBLE) center on a once empty corner of Astana. And all the new infrastructure to support it. For the city's mayor, it has been worth

every penny.

[11:45:09] ADILBEK ZHAKSYBEKOV, MAYOR, ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN: We are (INAUDIBLE) expected two million visitors. Now we'll have 3.7 million

visitors. So, I think it's a great success. I think that Expo not only a huge event for country. This is a strategic long-term project initiated by

our president. And this project built thousands of local companies. And we in Astana last year have got three billion U.S. dollars in taxes. This

year, we're expected more.

DEFTERIOS: Beyond the Expo, there's hope the event will benefit the economy of the entire country and in sovereign, well fund is already hoping

it moves its energy sectors.

BALJEET KAUR GREWAL MANAGING DIRECTOR, SAMRUK-KAZYNA: The diversification has that huge (INAUDIBLE) on the back of commodities (INAUDIBLE) and then

the fund itself, we see this in a strategic mandate; we are specifically resting into this non-oil economy. And there has been one of the takeaway

stuff in crashing the oil prices.

ZHAKSYBEKOV: What is one of the key investors in this sector, but Kazakhstan is not yet well-known country for foreign tourists. So, I think

expo was great promotion, because in Kazakhstan (INAUDIBLE) people from 150 countries.

DEFTERIOS: And that's exactly what Dubai, the host of the next expo hopes to reap as well. The UAE had one of the larger pavilions here and they

made their presence felt.

NAMSOUR AL MANSOURI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL MEDIA COUNCIL, UAE: Every even, there's that accumulative experiences for the organizer and the

participants, we took all the (INAUDIBLE) as well, and we used it as well as the platform to communicate with the people and to communicate with our

vision in Expo by 2020.

DEFTERIOS: Astana could be des as the Expo in between there was the Milan World Expo back 2015 and Dubai's opportunity is just around the corner in

2020. It's exactly three years away and construction at this massive site is already underway. The first time to be held in the Middle East. Dubai

claims they will redefine what a World Expo is, under the theme of Connecting Minds Creating The Future.

MOLAVI: Dubai is a logistics hub, it's the professional services hub, it's a tourism hub, that's the story that we all know. The story that doesn't

get as much attention is the story of Dubai as a technology hub, the story of Dubai as an innovation hub, and the fact of the matter is the World Expo

2020 planners are focusing on that part of the story right now.

DEFTERIOS: The Expos site covers more than four-square kilometers. Large pavilions will host up to 80 events a day. More than 120 countries will

participate and 25 million are set to visit.

MOLAVI: For Dubai to host the Expo, it means that Africa now has an Expo, the Middle East has an Expo, South Asia has Expo, because Dubai has become

in many ways the Miami of Africa. The Hong Kong of South Asia. The Singapore of the Middle East. It is a place where people from around the

emerging world connect. And therefore, the world expo suddenly has two to three billion new potential eyes looking at the World Expo that didn't know

anything about the World Expo before.

DEFTERIOS: The event will be located in a new part of the city, Dubai South. It will eventually be home to one million residents and provide a

half million jobs. RSA Logistics was the first company to locate here eight years ago. Today, employing 300 is all set for the expo.

ABHISHEK AJAY SHAH, CO-FOUNDER, RSA LOGISTIC: What happens before and after the Expo is of tremendous excitement to us. They will be a

construction boom as we already see happening there, so we are as a logistics company will be helping that supply chain to the construction

companies and their suppliers, what would generally happens before an expo is that the companies come in I set up two years before, so we expect next

year to have a huge influx of companies that need services, that need advice, that need ways to get up the ground. And we're ready to feed off

this potential growth opportunity from Expo 2020 and beyond.

DEFTERIOS: And as the Expo's legacy and how we will contribute the cities long-term economic growth, which will be seen as key to its overall

success. More than 80 percent of the site is planned to be reused becoming a major location for international conferences and exhibition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Dubai (INAUDIBLE) have been a very big way, if you look for the area beyond the Expo, that area as a legacy would be Dubai

Exhibition City and that is actually a huge catalyst for business.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:51:47] DEFTERIOS: Astana Expo 2017 is an expensive attempt to enhance Kazakhstan's image and economy. The Central Asian Country grew more than

four percent in the first half of the year. But Kazakhstan will need more than a one-off international event to sustain that. So they've been

looking to the Middle East for economic inspiration. (INAUDIBLE) traditional jam for spectators here at the Expo. The UAE and Kazakhstan

are known worldwide for their natural resources, especially oil, but Astana is interested in tapping the knowledge build up in Dubai for financial

services and bringing it to central Asia.

Its imitation is a sincerest form of flattery than this man Kairat Kelimbetov is making a generous nod towards Dubai. Kelimbetov is governor

of the soon to be launched Astana International Financial Center which will be housed on the site of Expo 2017. The Dubai International Financial

Center served as its role model.

KAIRAT KELIMBETOV, GOVERNOR, ASTANA INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE: The idea was to bring the best international practice and I think that Dubai is

a good model in terms of the structure, how to use the principles of English common law in completely area, and then we follow the example, we

create dependent court arbitration center, the stock exchange, we've had that. But I think we are not just copy paste of the file.

DEFTERIOS: Marking two decades as the political capital Kazakhstan, Astana once as being Central Asia's Financial Capital to its resume. China's

built in road or silk road initiative making up more than 60 countries for development, the governor suggests offers a prime opportunity for Astana.

KELIMBETOV: I believe that it will be like (INAUDIBLE) for these built-in road.

DEFTERIOS: You have Shanghai, Hon Kong, Mumbai, Dubai, what's the kind of argument that you -- there's just no space for another financial center.

KELIMBETOV: If you take Astana and if you take the aid of Astana for 2000 kilometers, so, I mean, no way (INAUDIBLE) as yet, and we believe that we -

- Astana can play a significant role.

DEFTERIOS: Space is certainly not an issue, but the half million square meters on the Expo's site, half is here marked for finance. The Expo team

was dedicated to future energy. And Kelimbetov wants to make sure his hub has that filler for two more, Fintech and Islamic Finance.

KELIMBETOV: We are not heading on the impact, we have a developed U.S. like capital markets bringing finance, Islamic Finance, and private bank

and asset management, so we believe that we are very great interest, you know, we -- I think that 50 percent is interest from Asia, mostly from

China and South Korea, but also from countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East, 50 percent is definitely Eurasia and Central Asia, and I

believe 20 percent we will be interesting for the rest of the world.

DEFTERIOS: This is a giant space, 500,000 square meters, it looks like mission impossible to be able to fill it with a financial center.

KELIMBETOV: So let me put it this way, so first of all, let's say like the ancient Chinese philosopher says that the road in a thousand miles started

from one single steps. Twenty years ago, exactly in 1997, was a decision to move the government from Almaty to Astana and those times, nobody

believes the President Nazarbayev that he will succeed in business political decision.

[11:55:16] Now he sees it in 20 years we creating from scratch with new city in the middle of the Eurasia step and it's really kind of already a

city where we have a more than one million people are living, and this is a real original political sense.

So what we believe that the next journey of Astana is, be part of the global smart city network and to be import close to 50 of these ranking.

And in order to succeed, we should be a regional financial center as well, and I believe that this is a good opportunity to do it.

DEFTERIOS: A good opportunity to use the Expo 2017 site as launch pad, moving away from oil and gas and opening up two new industries that may not

be a Dubai copy, but it sure has a lot in common. Two very different countries using the common theme with Expo's big and small to drive

diversification during this correction in commodities.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody, and welcome to our special coverage of the German Election on this Sunday. I am Hala Gorani, most

voting stations are just about to close, and we are moments away from the key exit poll. The outcome of this vote has huge implications not just for

Germany but also for Europe. Angela Merkel the incumbent Chancellor wants a fourth term, she's likely to get it, you're looking at the moment when

she cast her own ballot in Berlin today.

Now, as I mentioned, their polls indicate that her party will, in fact, perform well. It is pulling a lot better than its main rival. This is the

man who wants her job, he's Martin Schulz of the Center-Left Social Democratic Party. A challenge though to both of them and that's what makes

this election so incredibly important, is a party called the Alternative for Germany. It is a far-right party, the AFD is buying for third place,

the Populist Party is seen gaining in recent opinion polls and made a growing backlash against Germany's refugee policy.

It is seen of course as well as having sometimes pedaled in xenophobic messaging. The first official results will begin to trickle in over the

next hour, we'll bring them to you as soon as we have them. But final results are not due until Monday. However, in now 24 seconds, we should

get the first exit poll. It is a crucial set of numbers, it will give you the percentage of seats in the Bundestag, the German Parliament that each

party is projected to get and that will come to us from our CNN affiliate (INAUDIBLE) one of Germany's main broadcasters. Here are some live images

coming to us from CDU headquarters where the results will be -- I'm sorry, AFD headquarters.

END