Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Chemical Weapons Inspectors Finally Enter Douma; Kim Jong-un To Suspend Nuclear And Missile Test; Trump Set To Welcome French President Macron; India Moves To Punish Child Rape With Death Penalty; Natalie Portman Snubs Ceremony A Protest Against Netanyahu; Syrian Man Stranded In Legal Limbo In Airport. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired April 22, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] PAULINE CHIOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Pauline Chiou in New York sitting in for Becky
Anderson. More than two weeks after suspected chemical attack in a Syrian suburb, U.N. inspectors have finally made it to the site. A team of
chemical weapons inspectors spent the last seven days in the Syrian capital of Damascus waiting for access amidst security fears at international
diplomatic sniping. Their mission, to take forensic samples and determine whether chemical weapons were used in Douma. There are conflicting reports
and agendas here, so to help us sift through them all, Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman and Sam Kiley join me now coming to us live from
Amman and Moscow respectively. Ben, let me start with you. It's been two weeks now, so how much can the inspectors actually accomplish?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's important to keep in mind that this alleged chemical attack took place on the 7th of
April. It is now the 22nd. It was 14 days separating the arrive of the attack and the arrival of the OPCW. In that time, experts will tell you
that trace of chlorine will quickly dissipate. Perhaps if some sort of nerve agent was used, that might still be there. Now we understand from
activist who have been in touch with the white helmets that Syrian Civil Defense Group did operate in opposition areas that they have given the
coordinates of a mass grave where some of the victims of this alleged chemical attack were buried in the hopes that perhaps the OPCW will be able
to perhaps exhume some of the body to take samples from them as well. But the longer -- I mean, really two weeks is an awful long time between the
attack and the arrival of this team. And also it's important to keep in mind that the mandate of the OPCW is to determine whether chemicals were
used. It is not to assign blame. And therefore even if they do come up with a positive result as far as the use of chemical weapons, at the end of
the day, that won't go anywhere because it doesn't indicate who did it. Pauline?
CHIOU: Yes, and stay right there Ben, because we're going to get the perspective from Moscow. Sam Kiley, there is concern that Russia and Syria
had enough time, as Ben have mentioned, it's been at least two weeks, that they had enough time to mop up most of the evidence. What is Russia
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment, Russia is saying that it looks forward to the OPCW's results and -- but it
demands of the OPCW complete impartiality. But one notes with interest that if you like the OPCW's last time investigated the use -- alleged use
of a nerve agent was in the case of Skripal and his daughter. And there was the identification of a Novichok nerve agent by the OPCW and that is
thus far, as Ben indicated, that is as far as the OPCW goes. It didn't say who made Novichok. But even then, the Russians put out a series of
statements to indicate that perhaps the sample have been contaminated or indeed that the nerve agent wasn't Novichok at all but it was another agent
developed in the west called (INAUDIBLE). So one can anticipate that whatever the results are, if they go Russia's way, they go in the direction
of showing there wasn't the use of a nerve agent that likely to endorse the result but if they go in the direction of suggesting that there was the use
of a nerve agent, they'll either deny it with the Syrian's (INAUDIBLE). They -- if they're following a pattern they've already established with the
British attack, they will deny any kind of knowledge of it.
CHIOU: So, Sam, as of the denials are there in the background. Ben, I want to come back to you and the situation in Syria because we saw the U.N.
Security Council meeting after Russia have called that meeting, draft resolutions drawn up. Has the international condemnation from those over -
- from that alleged attack in Douma actually move the needle at all for Assad or is it so business as usual?
WEDEMAN: It's still business as usual. The United States, Britain, and France carried out those limited strikes on three locations in Syria but
that has not changed the pace of the war there. We saw there, for instance, there was an agreement whereby fighters with the opposition were
evacuated from Qalamoun. That's another -- it was another opposition-held area outside of Damascus. So it doesn't appear that the ability of the
Assad government to carry on this war against its armed opposition has changed in any way whatsoever nor has it changed the determination of the
Russian government to continue to support Syria in its fight against the opposition. So at the end of the day, I think quoted an Israeli journalist
before saying this was instant gratification as far as the U.S., British and French strikes go but in the end, signified nothing, much to do about
nothing. Nothing has really changed on the ground in Syria. The war goes on, people continue to die. There's no real attempt diplomatically to end
it. So in a sense, it's as if nothing ever happened except more people dying. Pauline?
[11:05:55] CHIOU: And Sam, would Moscow also have the same view there -- because Russia and Syria have actually been making headway in Eastern
Ghouta against the rebels until the chemical weapons attacks captured international attention, and then we saw those overnight strikes. So is
the Kremlin right now unhappy with Damascus and what's the impact going forward?
KILEY: I think the Russians full-throated in the support of Damascus and let's not forget that it is their effort that really has tipped the balance
entirely in the favor of Damascus since the Aleppo campaign. This is not just the sort of support that is moral and political, it is material and it
comes in the form of bombs drop from Russian aircraft by Russian pilots on the Syrian people. That has not abated. It didn't abate during Ghouta, it
didn't abate during East Aleppo, and one could be pretty sure that when they turn their sights on placed (INAUDIBLE) in the south and ultimately
probably Idlib in the north, the last two remaining significantly large pockets held by rebels in Syria, it will be Russian aircraft that carry
most of the bomb loads and drop most of the bombs on the Syrian people. So, I think the point that the Russians are trying to achieve here is the
point at which any future negotiations with what's left of the rebels do are conducted from a position of absolute power from the Damascus regime.
That's been a consistent aim. I think all the way through, the Russian support of Damascus regime put it.
CHIOU: Many thanks to you Sam Kiley live in Moscow and also many thanks to Ben Wedeman live in Amman, Jordan. North and South Korea are just days
away from a historic summit. As a goodwill gesture, the North say it will no longer this. North Korea's Leader Kim Jong-un has suspended further
test of nuclear weapons' air ballistic missiles. Plus, a nuclear testing site will also be shut down. State T.V. covered the decision on Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Hundreds of proven condition of complete nuclear weapons, we no longer need any nuclear test midrange and
intercontinental ballistic rocket test and that the nuclear test site in the northern area has also completed its mission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: World leaders are reacting cautious optimism and also a bit of skepticism. U.S. President Donald Trump who is set to meet Kim next month
tweeted just a short time ago defending his negotiations with the North, "wow, we haven't given up anything and they've agreed to denuclearization,
so great for the world. Site closure and no more testing." But that's not exactly accurate. CNN's Ivan Watson joins me now live from Seoul. Ivan,
North Korea did not say anything about getting rid of weapons it already has, just that it would stop testing. So what could North Korea ask for in
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I think this is really important point you made in response to the American President's
tweet where he insist they've agreed to denuclearization. They have agreed to nothing of the sort. They've appeared to discuss denuclearization and
in fact, Pauline, in the statements that were issued after North Korea's meeting of its worker's party on Saturday, it congratulated itself for
achieving nuclear weaponization and said, because we've mastered the militarization of nuclear bombs, we don't need to test them anymore. We
don't need to fire ICBMs anymore because we've now got them. So we can now discard our nuclear testing facility in the north of the country where just
last September, North Korea carried out it's sixth and largest nuclear weapons test. And it's just last November that it fired its most recent
ICBM. So that's a very important distinction there. Now as far what they could give up, discussion going forward would presumably be an effort to
try and convince North Korea to give up the gains that it has made over the past decade with untold millions of dollars spent to try to develop nuclear
weapons, to try to find some incentives to convince North Korea to give those weapons up.
[11:10:29] CHIOU: And Ivan, as we look ahead to this potential meeting between the two leaders, take a listen to some of Mr. Trump's tough talk in
the past of Pyongyang.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea does not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and
Rocketman is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
Rocketman should have been handled a long time ago. But I'm going to handle it because we have to handle it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHIOU: Well, we haven't heard that term recently from the U.S. President but, Ivan, how is that kind of language, Rocketman, and some of the other
terms that's sometimes used in the past likely to go over with the leader who really likes to control every part of his image?
WATSON: You know, this went both ways. You had the North Korean leader calling President Trump names like I believe a dotard and there was
certainly insulting language last year coming out in North Korean state media. It's worth noting that both sides, the tenure and the tone of the
rhetoric has dramatically kind of reduced in kind of harshness and with the insult. We don't see out of North Korean state media the same railing
about U.S. and imperialist. We don't hear the threats that we heard just autumn to envelop the U.S. island of Guam in nuclear fire as North Korea
had threatened just last year. And that's a sign that the two sides are in some way that the diplomacy has taken over and were not in that period of
tension right now. So there's definitely been progress on that front. And the test case is going to be the North and South Korean summit that we're
going to see in about six days' time wherein this final period now where both sides are essentially rehearsing now. There are a number of
rehearsals scheduled between North and South Korea along the demilitarized zone in the compound where the North and South Korean leaders will meet
this coming Friday. We're expecting a phone call between Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on a new hotline that was just
established several days ago and yet another meeting of working group from both sides where they're going to discuss on Monday in the DMZ security
defense matters and media coverage. So there's a great deal of final preparation. And as the South Korean President has put it, the North-South
Korean summit us only going to be successful if the subsequent summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un is successful. We still don't know
where and when exactly that will take place.
CHIOU: Right, but the Koreas laying the groundwork for that big, historic summit that will take place or potentially could take place. Ivan, thank
you so much for breaking this all down. Ivan Watson there live in Seoul, South Korea. Well, as we covered this high stakes diplomacy, it's
important to remember it will impact real people in a very real way. CNN Paula Hancock reports on one family torn apart by the Korean War.
PAULA HANCOCK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kwon Moon-kook was just 19 when the Korean war broke out in 1950. He deserted the North Korean
military hating the ideology and walked 14 days to get home hiding in his mother's attic. He then joined the U.N. forces led by the United States.
I thought I would be a matter of days, he says, for our forces to take over the loss. I told my parents I would be back in a week and ran away in the
middle of the night. Kwon said, he wouldn't have left if he had known he would never see his parents or two of his brothers again. He'd heard
nothing in almost 70 years. He doesn't know if any of them is still alive.
One of millions of families destroyed by the Korean war, one of thousands of North Koreans that settled here in Abai Village on the east coast near
the DMZ, so they could move back home easily when the time came, but it never did. Kwon married in South Korea and has four children and nine
grandchildren but still misses his North Korean family every day. He checks Google Earth once a week to see satellite images of his hometown
near Wonsan in the North, the closest he can get to seeing it again.
Ah so there. That's where you --
This is my school, he says. My mother and father live there.
Kwon has little hope the summit between the North and South Korean Leaders will make any difference. During a previous foreign relations, he even
collected clothes for his North Korean family, then threw them away when it turned sour.
[11:15:06] I was almost 20 when I left home, he says. I'm now almost 90. There's no joy in life for me. I'm waiting to die. I don't know why, he
says, but the older I become, the more I miss my brothers.
Paula Hancock, CNN, Abai Village, South Korea.
CHIOU: We're also following a fast-moving story in Afghanistan where officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 48 people Sunday morning in
Kabul. Afghan health officials say dozens of other people are wounded. The bomber targeted a voter registration center as people waited outside to
collect national I.D. cards. ISIS has claimed responsibility for this attack. Media report say militants have attacked at least two other voter
registration centers in the last week. Still, to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, the U.S. President is lashing out on Twitter over recent headlines
questioning the loyalty of his personal attorney. It all comes as Mr. Trump prepares to host the first state visit of his presidency. The latest
from Washington coming up next.
CHIOU: If you are really trying to impress someone, this would be the way to do it, taking them to dinner at the very top of the Eiffel Tower. Here
the French President treating America's leader to some local delight. Well, in Washington, President Donald Trump is set to return the favor
welcoming his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron on Monday, it's the first official state visit of Mr. Trump's Presidency. And despite their many
differences, the two political newcomers have formed a very unlikely friendship. CNN's Melissa Bell has more.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: The strikes may have been carefully coordinated but the (INAUDIBLE) was anything but. After the French
President claimed to be driving U.S. policy in Syria.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT, FRANCE: Ten days ago, President Trump said the USA's will is to disengage from Syria. We convinced them -- we convince
them that it was necessary to stay.
BELL: It took less than five hours for the White House to respond denying that its policy had changed squaring off between two presidents that began
nearly a year ago. With the grip that was more arm wrestle than handshake. Last May, two ideologically different political newcomers side each other
up for the first time. The policy clash came only week later over climate change when President Donald Trump announce the U.S. was withdrawn from
[11:20:12] TRUMP: I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.
BELL: Emmanuel Macron responded turning Trump campaign slogan against him.
MACRON: Make our planet great again.
BELL: The concising up on political differences then gave way in July to an unexpected truce. In Paris, the two presidents met and it appears
actually like each other.
TRUMP: I really have the feeling that you're going to have a very, very peaceful and beautiful Paris and I'm coming back. You better do a good job
please, otherwise you're going to make me look very bad.
MACRON: And you're always welcome.
TRUMP: Thank you.
BELL: (INAUDIBLE) said have been made on a number of issues even it seemed on climate change.
TRUMP: We discussed a lot of different topics. We briefly hit on the Paris Accord and we'll see what happens.
BELL: After the (INAUDIBLE) circumstance of the Bastille Day parade and more exchanges between the two presidents, it was time to say goodbye which
they did with more warmth anyone had imagined possible, warmth that has now translated into the first-day visit of Donald Trump's presidency. Melissa
Bell, CNN, Paris.
CHIOU: Well, joining us now is CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer live in New York. Julian, in the story there we heard about this sort of
unlikely friendship but the President of the United States and the President of France disagree on a lot of major issues like Iran and also
climate so how could you describe this friendship or relationship?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's a very tense relationship. There are still pretty big areas of disagreement. In fact,
many of the major issues facing both countries they are far apart, trade, climate change, even the role of the United States in international
alliances. But they have developed at least a working rapport and there have been a few areas they seem to find some commonality including Syria.
So look, it would be better if the relationship worked that if it didn't.
CHIOU: So we'll see what happens over the next couple of days with this first official state visit. I want to ask you about another big issue that
President Trump has been tweeting about going into the weekend and that's Michael Cohen. The President is strongly pushing back against speculation
that his personal lawyer Michael Cohen could turn on him. I mean, he even tweeted over the weekend saying that that would never happen. He lashed
out at the New York Times on Twitter over an article suggesting that Cohen might cooperate with federal investigators. What do you think? Do you
think Cohen may be enough pressure if investigators are looking at that Stormy Daniels deals, also possible business deals in the past? What do
ZELIZER: I think it's clear they're going to be able to place a lot of pressure on him. He was at the nexus of a lot of President Trump's private
personal interactions and business transactions and you know, he might -- he might face pretty severe consequences for some of the charges. So
pressure does exist. I think President Trump is doing two things. I think with the tweets, he's trying to reach out in some ways to Michael Cohen
telling him not to do this, reminding him of their alliance and friendship and hoping he doesn't flip or turn on the President. And second, at the
same time, he's attacking the credibility of the entire story which is his standard game plan to raise questions about the legitimacy of those
investigating him. I don't know if it will work. There will be a lot of pressure on Michael Cohen if there were substantive problems in the
materials that were captured.
CHIOU: And yes -- and look, he has a family. We've seen Mueller put pressure on folks in the past who have families and huge legal bills. We
saw Rick Gates agree to cooperate as well. In the Michael Cohen story, what is more, critical in your view? Would it be the Stormy Daniels'
payment because it could be considered a campaign contribution or could it be business dealings from President Trump's time before he was president?
ZELIZER: I've always thought these business dealings might open up the door to issues we haven't really discussed. Those pretty vast operation,
the Trump business empire. And we don't really know a lot about it in part because of the President refusing, for example, to give over his tax
returns. So this is a mystery and if Michael Cohen has a lot of information about this especially the troubled years of Trump when he was
desperate to find sources of finance. That might be the most explosive thing at all. The Stormy Daniels thought is serious. It could be a direct
campaign violation at least -- at least on Michael Cohen's part. But I think it's his business dealing that's the big question in those files.
[11:25: 18] CHIOU: There's another big political story this weekend, and that's about Mitt Romney, former Republican president -- Presidential
Candidate Mitt Romney ran against Trump, of course. And now he says, he's not committed to supporting President Trump for reelection. He tells CNN
"I will make that decision down the road." And he's also been quoted as saying, I'm not a cheap date. You know, I have to wait until close of
2020. But just a couple of months to go, the President fully endorse him for his run for the Senate seat in Utah. And Romney accepted that
endorsement. So there are a couple of questions here for you, Julian. If Romney doesn't win despite Trump's backing, what does that mean in your
view and what does it mean for the Republican Party? And in not offering his backing, is Romney also speaking for others within the Republican
ZELIZER: Well, I think he will win. I still think he's in pretty good position. But obviously or somehow he went down to defeat with his name
recognition, his resources and this being a pretty conservative state, it would be yet another stunning blow to president Trump's capacity to deliver
Republican voters to Republican candidates which we've now seen play out many times in Pennsylvania, in Alabama, it's the same story. And that will
scare the Republicans. And at the same time, in terms of Mitt Romney, he doesn't have a lot to stand on. He has gone back and forth so much about
his relationship and position on President Trump. I think most people's head are spinning every time he makes a new statement. So he actually has
changed positions pretty easily without much of a demanding (INAUDIBLE) turn. President Trump is the same person he was and he made that
blistering speech during the campaign and now he's pretty much stood by himself. I don't think this is much of a threat. I think he's hedging his
best until the midterm elections are done.
CHIOU: All right. All right, thank you so much, Julian. Julian Zelizer, CNN's Political Analyst, thank you so much for joining us.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
CHIOU: And before we move on, the President could be considering another pardon, this time at the request of actor Sylvester Stallone. Mr. Trump
tweeted on Saturday that Stallone told him the complex and controversial story of Heavy Weight Boxing Champion Jack Johnson. He said others have
looked at this over the years. Most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a full pardon. Johnson was the first African-American to
World Heavy Weight Boxing Champion. In 1913, he served a year in prison taking his white girlfriend across Stateline for so-called immoral
purposes. The sentence and imprisonment destroyed his boxing carrier. Johnson died in 1946. Just ahead, a demand for harsher punishment for
those charged with rape in India takes a major step, but will it be enough to ease the fears of women and minorities? The details is just ahead.
[11:31:51] CHIOU: India's cabinet has approved an executive order to make child rape punishable by death. The prime minister has been under
increasing pressure due to sustained public protest over sexual violence. Particularly, the recent rape and murder of a young Muslim girl. But a
CNN's Nikhil Kumar, reports the change may not be enough to quite the protest.
NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: First, they were shocked than outrage, another law has been change as it rape and murder of
a defenseless age rural Muslim girl continues to shake in there.
Responding to growing public anger, India's cabinet passed an executive order, Saturday, making the rape of a girl below 12 are capital crime
punishable by the death penalty. Only months ago, the same government led by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rejected calls to introduce
capital punishment in case of the child rape. But Modi has been on the pressure ever since the girl's case hit headlines this month.
Investigator says, she was abducted, brutally raped and murdered by several men. Eight Hindus have been arrested in connection with her death. Their
motive to drive her community of Muslims out of their town. That's according to investigators.
Now, there's a long-standing concerned about sexual violence here, but many are also angry at the religious politics. And at Modi, his Bharatiya
Janata Party is the political faith of the Hindu right. And choosing his Party members where a protege rallied in support of the man accused of
attacking the little girl. Both have now stepped down from their positions in the State government.
All the changes to the law still need to be approved by parliament, many activists who working this area have been calling for better enforcement of
existing legislation nor new laws. They also sight in this (INAUDIBLE) as a major cause. They want better education to end what many say is a
cultural problem where women are routinely martyrized often with violent consequences. As Modi, response to the protesters, harsher penalties may
not be enough. Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New Delhi.
CHIOU: Unfortunately, shocking stories of rape are all too common in India. According to the National Crimes Records Bureau, around 100 sexual
assaults are reported to police in India every day. They were nearly 39,000 alleged attacks in 2016. That's an increase of 12 percent over the
previous year. The latest street protest against rape in India has expanded to include demands for better treatment of all women and all
minorities. To discuss this movement for women's rights in India, Kirti Singh, joins us now live from New Delhi, a lawyer and women's rights
Kirti, thank you so much for being with us. The government has made the strong statement with this executive order of capital punishment for rapes
of children under the age of 12, but do you think it will have a significant impact?
[11:34:45] KIRTI SINGH, LAWYER, WOMEN'S ACTIVIST, NEW DELHI: Well, you know, I'm from -- I'm against death penalty per see but leave that aside.
The problem here is that what happened in this cases wasn't because of not having a death penalty, it was a deliberate delay on the part of the
government to take up this cases. When it was even pointed out to them that this is what will happening on the ground. The cases won't getting
registered, the (INAUDIBLE) get registered.
They were ministers from the ruling Party, the BJP, who were inciting mob's and asking for another inquiry saying I'm making all kinds of communal
statements, and so that was one piece. And the other one in U.P. also. The chaos didn't get registered for a very, very long time.
So the problem here is really that cases don't even get registered because of the influence that is exerted on the police not to do so. And the
influence in this particular -- in this two cases was by ruling Party members. So, we have to be very clear about what the problem on the ground
was, and the context. And so, it seems that if the police will not investigate the case, then how do expect any kind of a -- you know, any
kind of resolve.
CHIOU: So, Kirti, it sounds like your saying, it's a religious politics and its bureaucracy, and the pressure of political party. So, what is the
solution to even get the first step done which is register the cases?
SINGH: Yes, that's the problem because in the case in Jammu and Kashmir, the problem was that this girl belong to the nomadic tribe and was -- you
know, hurry for supposed to be -- to teach lesson to the community not to calm to down and stay in this place called Kathua. They wanted to drive
the tribe away. So, it obviously had religious -- you know, connotations. Plus, that after the rape, the Hindu right again came forward and said that
no, try to support people who were accused in the -- on now case, it wasn't the ruling party.
Emily, a member of legislative assembly and his brother, and others who tried to cover up the case who were the accused. So, in both party -- in
both cases, it took an awfully long time for -- to you to register the case, and that was done after the lot of (INAUDIBLE), after people will
(INAUDIBLE), and very, very angry at this extremely brutal case that had happened in Jammu and Kashmir, and in now.
Actually, the girl's father, instead of the case getting registered, the girl's father was taken into custody, beaten up, and his up to (INAUDIBLE)
died. So, the opposite is was what has happening. The case wasn't getting investigated.
CHIOU: Yes, Kirti, let me just inject the question there. I understand what you're saying about the political pressure and the religious pressure.
Let's talk about the culture there because we see this cases time and time again in India. It is a patriarchal society, what needs to change within
the culture to have a different view of young girls and women in India?
SINGH: Well, I think, people have to have the will to bring about the change. The government should actively participate in bringing about the
change. Every household in the country should participate and bring you about this change, in dealing that young boys and everybody first and
intensive guiding them to --
CHIOU: And should this be a government initiative or is this a parental initiative?
CHIOU: Is this a parental initiative or government?
SNGH: I thinking -- its government. It should be primarily a government initiative because it is a big initiative. You cannot just leave it to
individuals in every place. It has to be the government who is willing to say that women are equal to men, that rape is a brutal, unforgivable act.
That it's a crime, and that we will not allow religion or politics or anything to interfere with the justice process.
CHIOU: But Kirti, we're seeing this protest -- this large protest of women after several of these incident's what's specifically would you like to see
done first as specific solution?
[11:40:10] SINGH: I would like the government to stop shielding rapist. I would like the investigation -- the rapes to be registered immediately, and
to be investigated properly. I would like the criminal justice system to work. We've had -- we have laws. We've had them since 2013, but they
aren't implemented and that's a big problem in this country.
So, at least, let's start functioning, following protocols that have been need down and seeing that the girl is -- you know, counseled and treated
better. I would like to see that rape victim -- I'll call them, are really of rehabilitated into the society that they and their families are taken
care of. And that they are not afraid of anybody. I'd like to see a witness protection program in this country. So that there are a number of
things that have to happen, but basically, I would like to see that the government is not going to shield anybody who does it.
CHIOU: Yes, and all of those actions that you mentioned require resources and public support. It looks like we have the public support, it's the
resources and the government that would be the question mark there. Kirti, thank you so much. Kirti Singh there joining us from New Delhi.
For more on the global problem women face, see a special section of our web site. CNN is partnering with the European journalism center over the
coming year. Together, we'll show you the challenges women face to live as equals with men whether it's in the classroom or in the workplace, and
politics or in health care. And you'll see what's being done to bring down barriers wherever they exist. Just log on to our web site,
CNN.com/AsEquals to find out more.
Live from New York, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, a controversy surrounds a prominent award in Israel. And Oscar-winning actress takes on
the government, we'll take you to Jerusalem for a live report, coming up next.
CHIOU: Gunfire in Riyadh, Saudi forces shooting down a toy drone that flew too close to palaces in the capital. The government said there was no
major security breach, but officials are investigating.
Elsewhere in the region, actress Natalie Portman says she will not attend the prestigious award ceremony in Jerusalem because she does not want to
appear alongside the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Academy Award winner posted on Instagram saying some of Israel's actions
are not in line with her Jewish values. Organizers of the award ceremony have since canceled that event. Ian Lee is following the story from
Jerusalem. Ian, flash out some other reasons that Natalie Portman gave.
[11:45:17] IAN JAMES LEE, CNN FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, essentially, Pauline, when you look at Israel, and what's happening here, you see people
trying to make this a black and white issue on both sides. On the left and on the right, and what really we're kind of seeing here is Natalie Portman
trying to inject some gray into this. Saying that on her Instagram account that "I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to
boycott the entire nation."
You know, she says, she doesn't agree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She's been a vocal critic of him before. She said that recent
events led to her decision to not go and accept this award. Now, what recent events? There's a lot that's been happening. One is in Gaza where
we have seen dozens of people killed in those protest.
But what this does, is this shows -- you know, the divide that you're seeing right now between Jewish people in Israel and in the United States.
You know, Natalie Portman was attacked by the right here in Israel. Many members of Israel's parliament coming out against her on the right. One
even suggesting that they revoke her citizenship. But there was one voice in Israel's Knesset that said this is a wakeup call. That is Raquel
Azaria, and she said, "Natalie Portman's cancelation should be a warning light. She is entirely of our own, she is very connected to her Judaism
and Israeli nationality. Now, she is bringing forth the voices of many Jews in the United States, and especially the younger generation. This is
a community that has always been a significant anchor for Israel and the cost of losing them will be too high."
And when you look at this, Pauline, you do have this political spectrum. On the left, that's where you find a lot of American Jews, and on the
right, that's is where the Israeli government is moving further to the right. And so you do have this growing rift and really white kind of
underscores that is recent -- that took place last year with -- dealt with the Western Wall. This is where one of the holiest site in Judaism, this
is where Jews go and pray. It's segregated strictly, segregated men on one side, women on the other. Women cannot have the (INAUDIBLE) amount of men.
They can't have the Torah scrolls, they can't have -- wear the (INAUDIBLE).
And so, there was negotiations with the government here to have an egalitarian section of the wall where people could make -- have mix pray.
Women could sing, they could read from the Torah. All of that was nixed by the Israeli prime minister, and many Jews and Jewish communities in the
United States felt almost betrayed by the prime minister. And so, that kind of underscores this rift that we're seeing, and that's where that
concern is from member of Knesset, Azaria, saying that -- you know, they are losing a lot of those Jews who tend to support Israel and United
CHIOU: A very interesting discussion that it just her single decision has provoked there. Thank you so much, Ian. Ian Lee there live in Jerusalem.
And live from New York, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.
Coming up next, we hear from a Syrian man whose trap in legal limbo in an Asian airport, his story in his own words coming up next.
[11:50:47] CHIOU: We open this show with Syria, and we'll close with it as well, with one young man caught in a bureaucratic nightmare, a never-ending
airport layover. Thanks to the war raging in his country. It's another real-life version of the Tom Hanks film, The Terminal. Take a look.
HASSAN AL-KONTAR, CITIZEN FROM SYRIA: Hello, as you can hear I am at the airport.
CHIOU: In his first day stranded in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Hassan al-Kontar, was confused, unsure on how to proceed.
AL-KONTAR: They don't know what should I do. Someone advise me to make a video.
CHIOU: As weeks went by, the 36 year old Syrian national became more frustrated. Video blogging life inside an airport corner.
AL-KONTAR: I am even sick but there's no medicine. And this found I swear to -- I (INAUDIBLE) this call. It's everywhere, they are nice.
CHIOU: For more than 40 days, al-Kontar, has been living in the Malaysian airport transit zone. Using a special needs bathroom to shower and attempt
to clean his clothes. Sleeping intermittently in stairwells in airport sitting. He tried to stay positive while speaking to us via Skype.
AL-KONTAR: It's exhausting but you get used to it, and like it remind myself that it's OK, I need to focus on the big, big chair here. That's --
I -- nobody hear someone die because he sleeps on the chair.
CHIOU: al-Kontar left Syria in 2006 to work as an insurance marketing agent in the UAE. But his work permit expired shortly after the war began.
al-Kontar, says he stayed illegally in the UAE for several years. Fearing force military service in his war-torn home country.
AL-KONTAR: Nor is not the answer, or is not the solution, think as a human for just a second. Think of the mothers, or the fathers, sisters, and
kids, who are being -- who are dying on the street.
CHIOU: In 2017, he was deported to Malaysia, one of the few countries he says will grant a temporary tourist visa upon arrival. He then, try to go
to Ecuador which he understood does not require a visa. He says after buying the ticket, Turkish Airlines would not let him board, would not
refund his money, and would not explain why. Turkish Airlines did not respond to CNN for comment.
Finally, al-Kontar tried going to Cambodia, but they denied him entry. He was sent back to Kuala Lumpur, where he was not allowed to re-enter because
his tourist visa had expired, leaving him stuck since March 7.
Aid and refugee agencies have responded to his pleas for help. In a statement to CNN, the UNHCR says, "We have been in contact with the
individual and continue to engage with the government of Malaysia."
After several weeks, al-Kontar says Malaysia did offer him re-entry under a refugee resettlement program. But he won't accept because it is a
temporary solution that poses a permanent problem.
AL-KONTAR: Malaysia did not sign the refugee (INAUDIBLE), 1951 agreement with the United Nation. So, I cannot work, I cannot have any official visa
or a refugee visa. So, at the time of my expire my best work, again, I will be stuck here forever.
CHIOU: Malaysian Immigration Office was unavailable to comment to CNN. Meanwhile, al-Kontar remains in limbo. Eating small airline provided
package meals, depending on the kindness of airport staff and embracing little victories as they come.
AL-KONTAR: After all these days, it's differently work (INAUDIBLE) of I just got a chocolate.
CHIOU: al-Kontar has received some donations from people moved by his predicament, but his real worry, he says, is not his doing dealing savings.
AL-KONTAR: It's not a matter of money, it's not enough (INAUDIBLE) support, it's a matter of hearing disability and the human's value which
understand my (INAUDIBLE).
CHIOU: al-Kontar's predicament is not unprecedented. At times being compared to Tom Hank's character in the Steven Spielberg film, The
AL-KONTAR: But this was very (INAUDIBLE), and he was having (INAUDIBLE) acting with him for God sake's, I have no one.
CHIOU: He jokes at the comparison but want's the world to know that his real-life situation is one that too many of his countryman also face.
[11:55:06] AL-KONTAR: Hundreds, thousands, millions of Syrian's are facing this types of rejection -- rejecting, and wanted of a kind of racism all
around the world since 2011. And we are keep suffering, we are being the bill of others war in our land.
CHIOU: As the day's tick by, al-Kontar, continues trying to call attention to his cause from a corner of the airport, watching flights come and go to
destinations around the world, powerless to board one.
And remember, you can always follow this story and other stories that the team is working on throughout the day by going to our Facebook page,
FACEBOOK.COM/CNNCONNECT. I'm Pauline Chiou. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. The Becky is back with you tomorrow, thanks so much for watching. See you