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World Leaders Meet in Paris, Without US, Doug Jones Vs. Roy Moore; US Will Recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israel. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 11, 2017 - 10:00:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't believe in my character, don't vote for me.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: A question of character or Republican calculation, this is a seat they cannot afford to lose. We're in the

American Deep South for a race that is unlike anything the U.S. has seen in years, while the vote in Alabama is not only interesting, but also


This hour also from America First to America Alone, world leaders meet in Paris at a climate change summit without Washington. Plus -


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People say that they are exhausted. They say that they still will continue to fight. It just gets that much harder every



ANDERSON: As parts of the Middle East simmer over the U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the Lebanese foreign minister

tells me why the decision will only cause more conflict.

Hello and welcome, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi where it is just after seven o'clock in the evening. Normally, a

Democrat wouldn't stand a chance running for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, a heavy Republican state, the bible belt of the Deep South, but this is no

normal election. The polls are now open in what is a highly controversial race that has captured the world's attention.

Just as the Me Too movement is claiming its first political casualties in Congress, voters are choosing whether to send an accused child molester to

Washington. Republican Roy Moore who denies the allegations is running against Democrat Doug Jones. Well, Jones cast his vote just a short time

ago at a Baptist church in the city of Mountain Brook. President Donald Trump has become campaigner-in-chief for Roy Moore. He fired off a tweet

this morning calling Doug Jones pro-abortion, weak on crime, military, and illegal immigration, bad for gun owners and veterans, and against the wall.

Moore is also getting help from a big name in the alt-right movement, but Doug Jones bringing out some star power of his own. Let's kick this off

with CNN's Alexander Marquardt who takes us to Alabama to see how the campaigning wrapped up.

MARQUARDT: Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones making their final pitches to voters ahead of one of the most unpredictable elections in

Alabama's history.


DOUG JONES, ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: It is time that we put our decency, our state before political party.

ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm going to tell you, if you don't believe in my character, don't vote for me.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Moore, bringing in a number of out-of-state conservatives including the President's former chief

strategist, Steve Bannon, who riled up the crowd by attacking Republicans who have been critical of the accused child molester, even appearing to

take a shot at the president's daughter, who told the AP last month there's a special place in hell for people who prey on children.


STEVE BANNON, U.S. POLITICAL FIGURE: There's a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better.


MARQUARDT: Bannon also naming names, calling out the state's most prominent Republican, Senator Richard Shelby, who told CNN on Sunday he did

not vote for Moore.


RICHARD SHELBY, U.S. SENATOR: The state of Alabama deserves better.


MARQUARDT: And former secretary of state and native Alabamian, Condoleezza Rice, released a statement Monday urging voters to, quote, "Reject bigotry,

sexism, and intolerance" but did not mention either candidate. Kayla Moore, insisting her husband is not a bigot.


KAYLA MOORE, WIFE OF ROY MOORE: Fake news would tell you that we don't care for Jews. One of our attorneys is a Jew.


MARQUARDT: While Doug Jones who has been working to shore up much needed support from African-American voters teamed up on election eve with

basketball hall of famer Charles Barkley who had this message for his home state.


CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER BASKETBALL PLAYER: At some point, we got to draw a line in the sand. So, we are not a bunch of damn idiots.


MARQUARDT: Jones also getting a boost from former President Barack Obama, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who both recorded robocalls for his

campaign in the final hours after President Trump did the same for Moore.




MARQUARDT: Moore who denies the allegations against him letting the president do much of his talking for him in the past few days, alongside

very few select interviews, shunning the national media and instead appearing in a political action committee ad interviewed by a 12-year-old



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, what do you think are the characteristics of a really, really good senator?

MOORE: Following the Constitution, just adhering to principle.


MARQUARDT: Moore, defending his mere total absence from the campaign trail in the final week of this heated race, saying he was visiting West Point,

his alma mater, with his wife.


JONES: Here I am once again surrounded by this gaggle of media which I've come to love and enjoy, while Roy Moore was not even in the state of

Alabama over this weekend.


ANDERSON: While Roy Moore has of course repeatedly denied all of the allegations of molestation and sexual assault. That was Alexander Marquardt

reporting from Alabama for you. We'll be speaking to him later in the show.

Right now, I want to get you to Washington. Let's get more from CNN White House reporter, Steven Collinson. Steven, allegations of sexual

molestation, bigotry, racism, rise of fake news, it sounds like just another day at the White House, doesn't it, do you think? But, this

campaign feels like it has been going on forever and it feels like it's gotten more interesting and more chaotic as time has gone by. Just break

it all down for us if you will.

STEVEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think you're right, Becky. And it's a great emblem actually as you say for life in Washington and in

American politics over the last few years. This race is completely upside. In many ways, Republicans, if they win, they're in a worse situation than

if they lose and Democrats will probably lose. They could lose this race, but they're getting in a winning political situation.

There are a huge stakes in this election. First of all, if the Republicans lose their seat, their senate majority is down to one vote. Now, with tax

reform and the repeal of Obamacare, we've seen how close it is in the Senate, how one vote can make such a difference. So, they're in a very

perilous political position as they try to enact the Trump agenda.

Yet, if Roy Moore wins, he's coming to a Senate where all of the Republican senators have repudiated him because of what they say are thecae credible

allegations of sexual assault against him. He brings a civil war in the Republican Party. You saw that with Trump and Bannon on one side and the

establishment Republicans on the other right into the Senate.

If Democrats win this seat, it's a huge upset. There's not been an Alabama senator from the Democratic Party for 20 years and they get closer not just

to evening things up in the Senate right now. It helps their chances in the midterm elections in November to try and win the Senate. And there are

huge stakes for Donald Trump. He's gone all in on this race. He's basically argued that whatever Roy Moore is alleged to have done, it would

be worse for Republicans not to have him there, because they would get a liberal senator who would vote against his agenda. So, the president's

prestige is on the line here as well. It's going to be a huge night.

ANDERSON: Yes. Steven, I just want to go over some of what you have just described, because this is why what we are watching unfold is so important

outside of what is the state of Alabama. So, let's just go over it again.

This is where the Senate stands at the moment. There are currently 52 Republicans in the Senate, making up the majority. If Roy Moore wins, as

you rightly pointed out, that number stays the same. If he loses, it's down to 51. Democrats hold 46 seats right now. If Doug Jones wins, that

number goes up to 47 and there are two independents, both normally side with the Democrats.

It couldn't be more important for a president struggling to get a win so far as his campaign pledges and promises are concerned through Congress at

the moment. And that is why he's chucked his support behind Roy Moore, jumping on these what are called robocalls which are telephone recorded

messages, urging people to back this candidate, correct?

COLLINSON: That's right. And what Trump has basically done is say to his supporters and there are very many of them in Alabama, he won the state in

the primary by 20 percent. He eviscerated the Democrats and Hillary Clinton there in the general election. He's saying "If you want me to

succeed, if you want the wall, if you want tough immigration policies, you have to vote for Roy Moore. Even though you may have reservations about

his personality and his character, you have to vote for him because that's what's going to help me get my priorities enacted, because the Senate is so

finely balanced."

So, that's why this is causing such consternation in Washington. The Republicans are going to have a new Senate colleague if Roy Moore wins and

immediately launch ethics investigations against him. So, you can see how complicated this is going to be. The leadership is basically investigating

Moore, while Trump will be saying that Moore has to vote with him to get tax reform and infrastructure and other things done. So, if Moore wins,

it's going to be an incredible situation in the Senate.

ANDERSON: Alabama has voted Republican in every presidential contest as I understand it starting in 1980, and the state has only had Republican

senators since 1997. That is 20 years. How monumental is a vote for Doug Jones, his opponent right now?

COLLINSON: It would be monumental because as you say, this is about as solid Republican territory over the last sort of two or three decades as

it's possible to get. In any other situation, the Democrats would have absolutely no chance of winning in Alabama. They're relying basically on a

low turnout of conservative voters who have ethical doubts about Moore, and a huge turnout of African-American voters in cities in Alabama. That's one

reason you saw Barack Obama recording a robocall for Doug Jones.

So, it's a very, very unusual election and in normal circumstances were it not for the fact that Moore is so controversial, it would not be happening.

So, it's a real test of the president's pulling power. Can he get more over the line despite a great deal of unhappiness I think amongst some

Republican voters about the allegations against Moore and some of his other political positions which are fairly extreme? I think he would call him a

sort of an evangelical fundamentalist. Anyone looking at this race from the outside, from outside of the United States would find him quite


ANDERSON: And that, folks, is why this election is so important. You can learn more, thank you, Steven, about this pivotal election by reading

Steven's latest. You'll find his piece, "Alabama Race Epitomizes the Turbulence of the Trump Era" at That is

We'll have a lot more on what this is heated Senate race later in the show from CNN's correspondents on the ground. We'll get the view from both Roy

Moore's headquarters and from Doug Jones' polling station. That is ahead here this hour.

Well, there's one place where Donald Trump's mantra of America First is literally translated into America Alone or America Absent, and that is

Paris, more specifically, the Climate Accord signed there. The United States is the only nation to have pulled out of the agreement. Well,

today, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed world leaders to Paris for the One Planet Summit. It was two years ago that representatives from

every country were in the French capital promising to take action on climate change. The most notable absentee of today's summit is the United

States president.

Let's bring in Melissa Bell. She is down at the summit in Paris and she joins us now live.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it isn't even that Donald Trump is notable by his absence. He wasn't even invited. In fact, this entire

summit, Becky, was decided in the wake of that decision back on June 1st when Donald Trump told the world that the United States was getting out.

What's interesting though is to see how large the American delegation is, not the official one which is fairly low level from the embassy here in

Paris, but business leaders, former Secretary of State John Kerry, for instance, Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, all have come

here to try and say, "Look, officially the administration might be out", in the words of Michael Bloomberg earlier on, "that does not mean that the

United States is out. Washington can do nothing against us," he said because he believes that the coalition of those gathered together in the

wake of Donald Trump's decision say, "Look. We're still in. We will try and meet these commitments, these ambitious commitments laid out in Paris

exactly two years ago," Becky, and we're talking here about American cities. We're talking about American governors. We're talking about

American companies.

And, John Kerry, the former Secretary of State, told us a little while ago precisely how important all of those other sorts of players were.


JOHN KERRY, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, let me be clear about the American withdrawal. The majority of the states in the United States

and the majority of our cities will live up to Paris. They are going to do everything they can in their power to reduce emissions and to do our part

to live up to the Paris Agreement. So, President Trump personally has decided he wants to get out, but the majority of the American people want

to stay in.


BELL: He also made the point, by the way, Becky, that the actual official withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Accord can only happen in

November of 2020, because the agreement is binding then until then, and the mechanisms for withdrawal simply take a long time and he pointed out that

he hopes that might be after an election, that would make the American withdrawal unnecessary or even impossible.

And I think on that question of what's likely to come out today, Becky, that is the other important thing here. Emmanuel Macron has gathered these

50 heads of state and government. They're meeting even now in the room just next to me in those high level talks about what they need to do to get

the finance together, because that's the problem, Becky, it's the money, to make those targets, to meet those targets agreed to two years go, a lot

more money is going to have to be found to fund a greener economy.

And Emmanuel Macron, given all the political capital he's invested in this, is going to be very keen that at the end of today, some specific actions,

some specific measures have been taken, have been announced to prove that this can still be done.

ANDERSON: Melissa Bell is in Paris for you. Melissa, thank you.

California's governor lashed out at President Trump for pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord as the state is still feeling the destructive power of

California's wildfires. Some experts say climate change is to blame and the governor agrees.

Jerry Brown says the truth of the case is that there's too much carbon being emitted. The planet is warming and all hell is breaking loose. He

tells the president, "Now is not the time to undo what every country in the world is committed to." Well, scientists say rising temperatures make

drought conditions worse and extend the wildfire season into the winter months. The Thomas Fire as it's known is now the fifth largest fire in

modern Californian history.

You are with Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson, a busy news hour for you, more on our top story coming up. U.S. President Donald Trump wades

into what is a special election race in Alabama, urging voters to back Roy Moore. Why it is so significant is what we're doing this hour. We are

live for you in Alabama, up next.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. If you're just joining us, you are more than welcome.

The Alabama Senate race is now in the hands of voters. Polls in the U.S. state opened just a couple of hours ago in a race between Roy Moore, a

Republican accused of sexual abuse and Doug Jones, a Democrat fighting an uphill battle in a deeply Republican state.

Now, this controversial race has produced harsh rhetoric and strong emotions. A father at Moore's final campaign rally on Monday shared the

story of his gay daughter who committed suicide at just 23 years old. He held her picture while condemning Moore his past comments on homosexuality.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't take back what happened to my daughter, well, stuff like saying my daughter is a pervert, I'm sure that bothered her.

Now, Judge Moore not just said my daughter, he didn't call my daughter by name, he said "All gay people are perverts, abominations. That's not true.

We don't need a person like that representing us in Washington.


ANDERSON: As we've mentioned before, Roy Moore faces several accusations of sexual misconducts with teenagers. He denies them all. But at a

campaign rally on Monday, on Monday night, in fact, a friend of Moore's shared a strange story as a way to vouch for the Republican's good

character. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took us to this place which turned out to be a brothel. It was clear to us what kind of place it was, and Roy turned to

me in less time than it took for someone that come up to us and there were certainly pretty girls and they were girls. They were young. Some were

probably very young. I don't know. I don't remember that. I wasn't there long enough. Roy said to me, "We shouldn't be here. I'm leaving."


ANDERSON: Well, we are covering this the extraordinary election from all angles. CNN's Kaitlan Collins is live from Roy Moore's headquarters in

Montgomery in Alabama and Alex Marquardt is in Mountain Brook, Alabama where Doug Jones has already cast his vote.

Let's begin with you, Alex. It's been a long, tough race. How is the Jones campaign feeling at this point?

MARQUARDT: A long, grueling, oftentimes, bitter and ugly race. Becky, I would say the Jones' campaign is feeling good this morning. In speaking

with the candidate and his top advisers, I would say that they are cautiously optimistic and confident. Now, of course, that's what you

expect the campaign to say on Election Day.

But, of course, they're in a better position now than they thought they would be when they first got into this race. Over the course of the past

few days, just to give you some indication of the confidence they're feeling, Doug Jones has taking to saying, "Well, when I first got into this

race, I thought the odds of my winning were the odds of seeing snow in Alabama in December." Well, in the past few days, we have seen snow in

Alabama in December.

This was always going to be a very competitive race, but in all honesty, this was Roy Moore's race to lose. He was always seen as the frontrunner

when it first started. Of course, when those allegations came to light of sexual misconduct and child molestation, the perception then shifted that

Doug Jones would have a much better chance and it became a much tighter race.

Now, Doug Jones needs to get every single vote that he can get, not just Democrats who might be invigorated by the fact that this is the first time

in about a quarter century that they'll have a good chance of sending a Democrat to the Senate. But Jones also needs to peel off Republicans from

Roy Moore. He needs to peel off those moderate Republicans, particularly women who would have been offended by those allegations and he needs

African-Americans to turn out in large numbers. That is absolutely crucial, they're a huge voting block.

So, what we are watching today is the turnout. That is going to be absolutely key. The Secretary of State for Alabama says that the turnout

is expected to be around 20 percent, 25 percent. That is actually up from their initial expectations because there is so much interest in this race.

That is the name of the game today, Becky, the turnout.

ANDERSON: All right, Alex. Thank you for that.

Let's get the mood then at Moore HQ. Kaitlan, what's the atmosphere?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're certainly feeling confident as well. Roy Moore has essentially disappeared from the campaign

trail over the last week. He did not hold a public event since last Tuesday, until last night when he held one last rally in order to rally up

some support among the voters who he believes are going to go for him at the polls today, which is quite striking in a race as close as this. And

it's also stunning in and of itself that we're even discussing the possibility of a Democratic win in a deeply, deeply conservative state like


But in light of these allegations made against Roy Moore, that's where we've come, because people who have likely never voted for a Democrat in

their lives are now having to choose between doing so with that or voting for someone who's been accused of sexually assaulting multiple women,

including one woman who was as young as 14 when Roy Moore was in his 30's.

So, we're certainly in a crossroads here in Alabama. Whatever decision is made tonight will be history-making and we're waiting for the voters to

deliver a verdict on whether or not they can go with Roy Moore's history in this race.

ANDERSON: CNN is going to give you - well, as we would, coverage on the Alabama Senate race like nobody else throughout the day. Thank you, both.

Next hour, Roy Moore will be casting his own ballot. And get this, folks, he plans to head to the polls on horseback with his wife. Those polls

close in Alabama at 8PM. It is 5AM here in Abu Dhabi and we will have special coverage then here on CNN.

Twenty-five past seven in the evening here in the UAE, still ahead this hour, it was a single pen stroke that's causing reverberation thousands of

miles away, Donald Trump's decision last week to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Coming up, we hear from a key and vocal player in this

region, Lebanon's foreign minister. Hear what he has to say after this.


ANDERSON: Wherever you are watching in the world, a very warm welcome. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson and you are watching CNN.

Of course, the regular viewers of this show will know we keep our eye on a number of very important stories in this region specifically.

And as we were discussing this time yesterday, Donald Trump has come under fire for his handling of policy here. In fact, some have even questioned

if Vladimir Putin is being seen as a bigger influencer than his American counterpart in this, the region of the Middle East. But the Kremlin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not trying to fill a power vacuum with his visit to this region. A spokesman says the trips, they are simply part

of Russia's consistent policy in the Middle East with no ulterior motive. Well, Mr. Putin visited Syria, Turkey and Egypt where he discussed ways of

ending serious civil war and criticized America's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Jerusalem decision has led to a fifth day of protests in parts of the Middle East, but these scenes from Bethlehem are relatively subdued

compared to what we've seen over the past few days. Thousands of protesters were on the streets of Beirut by this time on Monday. That was

the biggest rally that we've seen so far in Lebanon. And while the anger and frustration has been evident in parts of the Arab world, there is

another emotion defining the response to the Jerusalem decision, a sense of despair.

Arwa Damon has more from Ramallah.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The billowing smoke from the burning tires creates a dramatic backdrop as cars try to weave their way through. Youth

gather rocks from the ground, their faces covered both in a vain attempt to diminish the effect of the tear gas, but also so that they are not

identified by Israeli forces later.

Parents do try to half-heartedly convince their children to stay away from the clashes, but like any rebellious generation, they are not listening,

especially not now, not now that they feel that Jerusalem has slipped from their hands.

"My parents say don't go, and if the Arabs and if the big Arab leaders aren't taking action, it's not going to be liberated with rocks or young

men and women," this 19-year-old tells us, "But I do what's in my head." But the numbers of Palestinians who have taken to the streets remains

relatively speaking low.

There's sort of a back and forth. It's pretty much the norm here, in fact, a little muted at least by what the expectations were. People say that

they are exhausted. They say that they still will continue to fight. It just gets that much harder every day.

Yet, that is hardly a reflection of what is happening within the population's hearts, the anger of it all. And as Mustafa Barghouti says,

"Observers should not rush to any conclusions".

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I know, it's 50 years of occupation, 70 years of displacement, lots disappointments one after the other. Of course it has

its effects on people's psychology, but I know our people.

DAMON: Back in 1987, it was the same, Barhoti explains, the population suffocated by its collective disappointment, and that resulted in what he

described as the most fantastic uprising in Palestinian history, the First Intifada that led to the Oslo Accord in 1993.

The banner carried in this small demonstration reads, "Jerusalem is the red line and the gateway to peace and war. The onus is not just on the

Palestinian street, but on its leadership and Arab and Muslim nations who many say could and should do so much more."

BARGHOUTI: I would not say that this is the end of the story. I think what we see today is the beginning of a new chapter, a whole chapter in our

relationship to Israel and the United States.

DAMON: A new chapter that may see America replaced as a mediator, a new chapter with all its unpredictability and unknowns, that people can only

hope will be for the first time authored by the Palestinians themselves.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Ramallah.


ANDERSON: Israel's neighbor, Lebanon, has emerged as one of the strongest voices against this U.S. decision, even speaking about taking action

against Washington. In a recent Arab League Meeting, its top diplomat said, and I quote, "Preemptive measures must be taken beginning the

diplomatic measures, then political, and economic and financial sanctions."

Well, yesterday, I spoke to the man behind those words, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and I began by asking him just the way his country

stands in all of this.


GEBRAN BASSIL, LEBANESE FOREIGN MINISTER: We want peace. If we cannot get it by negotiations, then, the people have the right to protest in the

streets. We're not calling for war, definitely. We are not calling for harm. Lebanon never harmed any other country. We are only asking to get

our rights and Jerusalem, for all the peoples of this nation, for all the world represents something that is sacred, we cannot take it out of its

history and put it in the hands of an apartheid regime like we have in Israel.

ANDERSON: I want to push you on Arab leadership here. Speaking of Arab leadership, where is Saudi Arabia in all of this? We've seen a statement,

but nothing as strong perhaps some would say as your statements or that of Jordan or indeed that of the wider Muslim world, from Ankara, from

President Erdogan of Turkey, for example, and yet on the street, we are hearing certainly in Amman anti-Saudi chants in some parts. What do you

understand to be Saudi's position with regard to details of any peace plan?

BASSIL: Let me tell you something, Becky, in this region, we have regimes being accused of being terrorists like Iran, and of being backing terrorism

or backing Wahhabism like Saudi Arabia. And now, we have a state like Israel being accused of state terrorism. We don't need all this. What we

need and we can have it, and this is the kind of Arab leadership that we need, something that can accept the diversity and that can really promote

peace, or else we will have more frustration among the population and more tendency towards violence.

The solution would be to accept a Palestinian state that has the right to exist and to accept the state of Israel that has the right to exist in


ANDERSON: Foreign Policy's David Kenner frames it like this, "They, the Palestinians, believed that his status as an outsider meant that he, Trump,

wasn't beholden to the conventional wisdom of what one Palestinian official termed Washington's peace process industry, and enthusiastic about his

desire to focus on a comprehensive conflict-ending deal within a short period of time, hopes that it seems were dashed last week."

Do you foresee - do the Arab leaders around this region have any sense about what this soon to be released or promised deal from Jared Kushner and

the Trump administration is, in any form?

BASSIL: I can say three things: one that the American policies adopted in the region are not being successful and not reaching peace. On the

contrary, they are giving us negative results. Second, that Arab leadership is not up to the level that can make peace either with an

honored agreement or by a real confrontation that can lead us to peace.

And third, I think that now with the current situation, this will not end with a happy result. I believe that this will fail again and that this

will cause more conflict and will not lead us to a real settlement.

ANDERSON: Hassan Nasrallah has said that the group will focus on Jerusalem as a priority after victories elsewhere, your thoughts and response.

BASSIL: Isolationism is not the solution in the region. Openness and diversity is the solution, and this is what Jerusalem means to us. So,

that's why it is a priority. If Jerusalem falls in that sense, then, the whole region will fall into violence and disorder. Whereas, if we cannot

recognize and accept that Jerusalem is a place for everybody, for not one god, for everybody to live together, if we cannot simply accept this simple

fact and reality, how can we build peace?


ANDERSON: Well, let's get you up to speed in some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. Police in Bangladesh say they've been

speaking to the wife of the man suspected of detonating a homemade pipe bomb in New York City. This surveillance video captured the moment of the

blast. Authorities have charged Akayed Ullah with supporting terrorism.

A spokesman says Russian President Vladimir Putin supports Russian athletes competing in the Winter Olympics under a neutral flag. The announcement

follows the Russian Olympic Committee's decision to give eligible athletes its full backing. The International Olympic Committee banned Russia from

the 2018 games over widespread doping.

The North Korean leader says the country should develop more diverse weapons to, quote, "completely overpower the enemy". According to a

Reuters report, it says Kim Jong-un was speaking at a rare munitions conference in Pyongyang on Monday. And if you're wondering how such a

cash-strapped and isolated nation could afford a weapons drive, well, the answer might lie in the virtual currency of the moment, bitcoin. Go to our

website for more on how the regime could be raking in a fortune from the cryptocurrency.

Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, we explore the changing face of football here in the

UAE as one local team prepares for the game of a lifetime, and of course, all concern was just a storm in a Coke can. Not everyone is raising a

glass to Donald Trump's drinking habits, but they are certainly raising their eyebrows.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson for you, welcome back. You're watching Connect the World, out of the UAE, this is our Middle East programming hub

here in Abu Dhabi.

The pinnacle of global club football, some of the world's top teams going head-to-head for the FIFA Club World Cup which this year takes place right

here in Abu Dhabi and right now, UAE champions, Al Jazira F.C. are preparing what can only be described as the game of a lifetime. Around

this time tomorrow, they'll face off against Spanish giants Real Madrid. Their manager, Hank Ten Cate says "It's a big thing for us. It is

something special for all us," understatement, "For all of our achievements we have put the country, the UAE on the map."

A couple of days ago, I caught up with Al Jazira FC's goalie, Ali Khasif to see how Abu Dhabi was gearing up for this footballing frenzy. I got a few

kicks in myself. Have a look.


ANDERSON: The countdown is on.

Are you ready? Are you ready?

A young country with even younger football history, getting ready to host some of the world's top clubs.

ALI KHASIF, UAE FOOTBALL GOALKEEPER: Come on, Becky. Come on, Becky. Come on. You can do it. You can do it. Come on. Come on.

ANDERSON: The UAE's best male goalkeeper excited at the prospect of facing off with some of the game's greatest at this year's FIFA Club World Cup.

You could be playing Real Madrid which means Ronaldo bearing down on you. How worried are you?

KHASIF: If any team wishes to play against Real Madrid, against (inaudible) of this caliber. Initially, we're just thinking about the

first match.

ANDERSON: But that enthusiasm doesn't necessarily translate into ticket sales here in the Gulf, something the organizers are trying to tackle.

This mobile road show consisting of 12 skill games and six social experiences has traveled to 75 locations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Becky, you are ready for the challenger? Yes.



ANDERSON: The goal is to promote around football and challenging fans across (inaudible) and genders.

We're going to make it difficult. You chip it.

HORIYA AL DHAHIRI, UAE FOOTBALL COACH: Let's do this. Always when man and woman work together, it's better.

ANDERSON: Wise words from the first woman to receive a professional coaching license in the Arab world.

Horiya, just how far has women's football come in the UAE?

AL DHAHIRI: Actually, women's football started in UAE in 2009. Now, we have 2,300 players and that's why I'm working in this now, to this

opportunity to other generations.

ANDERSON: A strategy that seems to be paying off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it looks like we're 2-2. We're tied up, guys.

I'm out of here.

As the beautiful games continues to reach new fans across the Gulf, empowering more and more women along the way.

What I will say that I think the winner here is women's football. How about that?

AL DHAHIRI: Definitely.

ANDERSON: Phew. That was a lot of running around from an old lady like me. In all, it was a nice, cold water to cool down for me. That isn't always

as easy as it sounds. You remember how for the American President it was more like H2-uh-oh a few weeks back, (inaudible) hard and fast for this.

So, maybe it's no surprise he turns to these instead.

So reports from the New York Times, he cracks open one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 of them a day. That is more than

a gallon of this stuff. CNN's Jeanne Moos explores what that does to one's body and certainly to the body of the most powerful man in the world.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Whether he sucks it up through a straw or drinks it straight out of the bottle, the presidential diet is afloat Diet


Twelve Diet Cokes, right, 12 cans per day according to the New York Times that even followed him to Japan where an attendant wearing white gloves

waited with a tray bearing the beverage. Some rallied in defense of drinking one dozen Diet Cokes a day, but we asked the nutritionist author

of Read It Before You Eat It what 12 Diet Cokes daily could do to a body.

BONNIE TAUB-DIX, NUTRITIONIST, AUTHOR: It fills you with bubbles. You get a lot of bloat, the enamel on your teeth. There's also caffeine. What

else is it replacing? There's a good chance he's not drinking enough water.

MOOS: But think of all the exercise the President gets pushing the button on his desk, so a butler brings him a Coke. The soda was at the center of

a mini-controversy back in the spring. Trump can't even bother to use a coaster at the resolute desk for his hourly Coca-Cola injection. Hey,

coasters are for wimps, not He-Men like the one the women ogled in that old commercial.

You can't say the president isn't self-aware. He once tweeted, "I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke". After a few more pokes at

Coke, he tweeted, "I'll still keep drinking that garbage," but 12 a day?

TAUB-DIX: Maybe he should dilute every one of his diet sodas down with some sparkling water to try to wean himself off of that habit.

MOOS: Or, he could try this. President Trump has a little habit of rearranging things in front of him. Maybe he should just keep moving his

Coke farther and farther until its out of reach, Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ANDERSON: From the Diet Coke fanatics to ice princesses prancing the Arabian desert, you can follow the story that (Tim) he was working on

throughout the day. I'm sure they will be reposting that piece in the Al Jazeera a lot by going to our Facebook page, That

is (Inaudible) really hard on that.

Before we go, a reminder of our top story, an election, an extraordinary election in the United States, voters in the state of Alabama are going to

the polls, choosing a new senator. It's between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Normally, Alabama, well, it's staunchly Republican,

but Moore's candidacy has thrown the race open. He's a controversial figure. He's been accused of sexual misconduct.

Jones hopes to capitalize on this and become Alabama's first Democratic senator since the 1990s. We are following the vote as it unfolds including

the next hour where Moore goes to vote on horseback. You can get online to get more on this unique race including CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza's

report on the 11 strangest moments at Moore's final campaign rally. You can't miss that at

I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World, from the team working with me here in the UAE and those working with us around the world, it is a very

good evening. Thank you for watching. CNN of course continues after this short break.