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Efforts To Bring Humanitarian Aid In Venezuela Turned Into Violent Clashes As Aid Trucks Go Up In Flames; Commanders In The Fight Against Isis Say The Terror Group Controls No More Than Half A Square Kilometer; State Leaders Gather For The Meeting In Egypt Aired: 10-11a ET

Aired February 24, 2019 - 10:00   ET



NICK PATON WALSH, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Did you expect to have blood on your shirt today. Did you expect that to happen today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the blood of the Venezuelan people, it's the blood of the freedom.


BECKY ANDERSON, ANCHOR, CNN: On the Venezuelan border, efforts to bring humanitarian aid in the country turned into violent clashes as aid trucks

go up in flames. Also, this hour --


BEN WEDEMAN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN:: "Frankly, we still believe in it," she says. We just wanted to live in peace and wear our

Islamic clothing, not to go out, not to see men and to be ruled by the law of the Almighty.


ANDERSON: As civilians try to leave the last ISIS enclave, there are some who still support the extreme ideology. CNN it speaks to some true


And it's Hollywood's night of nights, the Oscars just hours away. We are going to take you through the list of big contenders.

Hello, and welcome you're watching "Connect The World," with me Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi, where it is just after seven o'clock in the

evening. Supply trucks set on fire, protesters bruised and bloody as a tug of war over humanitarian aid for desperate Venezuelans turns deadly.

Supporters of self-declared interim President, Juan Guaido clashed with Venezuelan police at the Colombian border on Saturday where they demanded

that international aid be let into the country. Officials say five people were killed and nearly 300 wounded in the demonstrations across Venezuela's

borders where battled President Nicolas Maduro held a rally of his own vowing that no supplies would enter his country.

Mr. Maduro also declared he is severing economic diplomatic ties with Colombia and gave all Colombian Ambassadors just 24 hours to leave

Venezuela. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh following it all for us from the border city of Cucuta in Colombia and Nick, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

denouncing President Maduro's obstruction of aid deliveries as the actions of a sick tyrant, what's the story on the ground as we speak?

PATON WALSH: But at this point, it appears that the border crossing where much of the violence occurred is now in the control of Colombian troops.

Colombian President, Ivan Duque visiting it, the Tienditas Crossing where nothing got across, but there was some tension yesterday, that is also

closed as is the other points.

So we're at a standstill here really in terms of getting further aid across. The point is what did yesterday really achieve? And now, there

are cynics that say well, very much potentially these clashes are signs of the Maduro government's resistance to allowing this aid in was part of the

point they wanted to show the opposition that who they were dealing with to the outside world, also I think, in their more optimistic mind, they wanted

that aid to get in.

But really, was that actually going to happen? We are now left with people waiting I think to see exactly what the U.S. response is going to be. You

heard Mike Pompeo there, National Security adviser, John Bolton, he said that there will be further sanctions and isolation for the Venezuelan

Government, already, frankly, on its knees because of crippling economic blockades against it.

But here is what we're talking about. Here's what we saw yesterday.


PATON WALSH (voice over): It had been billed as a new dawn when the opposition planned waves of Venezuelan refugees would simply take a back

into their homeland across the busiest border bridge with Colombia, but it was closed, blocked physically by Venezuelan riot police and behind them

violent pro-government gangs.

The young police taunted or begged into changing sides. One Venezuelan, she says holding up her ID and, "My father was a sergeant. How will you

stop me crossing?" But they were Venezuelans, too and also knew its collapse, its hunger and here the heat and thirst.

"The water you're drinking," she says, "It's Colombian because your President doesn't give you any. Bring him out here to us." "I eat or

drink soda whenever I want here," he says, "But the hardest pain is how my grandfather died because he didn't have medicine."

For a brief moment, the anger dissipated. The police lowered their shields talked calmly, but down the road, the promised aid convoy arrived and a

huge crowd intent on pushing through.

PATON WALSH (on camera): Tension mounting here, the shields have gone back up again and the protesters are recommending people start to move back.

PATON WALSH (voice over): This was why a slow march of opposition protesters.


PATON WALSH (voice over): Peaceful and as far as they would not take no for an answer. It fast collapsed into tear gas. The day's lofty goals

soon lost in a routine exchange of hatred. Rocks against rubber bullets and rocks thrown back.


PATON WALSH (on camera): Did you expect to have blood on your shirt today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is with a guy with a shirt --

PATON WALSH: Did you expect that to happen today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the blood of the Venezuelan people. It is the blood of freedom.


PATON WALSH (voice over): And at a last stop on the bridge, the protesters took their fight underneath. They are many, but Maduro's police are


They have only whatever they could make. None of this chaos got any aid across here, but it showed the uncompromising ferocity of the Maduro

government and it led throughout the day to Venezuelan soldiers giving themselves up. One pair carried out, the mobs both cursing and cheering.

The opposition had promised defectors amnesty. But this will only get uglier, seen in the mobbing of pro-Maduro militia here. Battered by the

crowd and spared only by Colombian police.

And if the symbolic bid to get aid peacefully failed, then these scenes are what Venezuela is left with.


PATON WALSH: So a startling question, though, where does this go from here? And it does seem a little bit like the wind is out of the opposition

sails, frankly. We don't have an immediate next move for them.

We know that Juan Guaido who is no longer in Venezuela, perhaps freer to meet international leaders, but certainly more detached, you might say from

the people. He says, he is the interim President of -- he is going to be in Bogota tomorrow to meet Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.

We may hear from the U.S. further moves against the Venezuelan Government, but the question I think really is about what this weekend was trying to


We are hearing obviously of five deaths, 300 or so injured. That is awful loss, frankly and rare, in this standoff where it has not been historically

violent on that scale on a daily basis.

Was the scenes on the border designed to stir further international reaction to further distance Maduro perhaps from the military elite around

him keeping him in power? We'll have to see how that plays out.

But the broader question, I think now really is exactly what happens with the Venezuelan military? Sixty of them defected yesterday during those

clashes. Many of them exhausted, many of them frankly just tired standing there holding shields from what we could see. And is that the beginning of

something larger or limited to this weekend -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Because the importance of that, of course, is that the military remain, to all intents and purposes, one of the strongest supporters of the

Maduro presidency, so it remains to be seen what happens next. Nick, thank you.

Commanders in the fight against ISIS say the terror group controls no more than half a square kilometer. The Syrian Democratic Forces, as they are

known, say they have got the last ISIS enclave in Eastern Syria surrounded, but have slowed their advance to avoid harming civilians.

Ben Wedeman joining me now from Eastern Syria. Women and children, Ben being ferried out. Many of those who remain there by choice as I

understand it, and are ISIS true believers, they say.

WEDEMAN: That's right, Becky. What we saw a few weeks ago when we were speaking with people coming out of that last enclave held by ISIS Baghuz

al-Fawqani was that some of the people were actually relieved to be out from under the rule of ISIS.

But what we're now seeing with this latest batch -- thousands of people actually is that many of them still hold to the dark promise of the Islamic



WEDEMAN (voice over): It's a struggle to find space on the trucks, taking them to camps further north. They're the latest, perhaps the last to leave

the half mile square camp, all that's left of the Islamic State, but these are not the ones who claim to be caught at the wrong place at the wrong

time. These are the true believers.

Mahmoud, just 15 years old has absorbed ISIS's ideology. He asked me, "Don't you know the verses of the Quran that say the Islamic State will

experience hardship and then God will give it victory?"


WEDEMAN (on camera): One of the favorite slogans of the Islamic State was (speaking in Arabic) or "The Islamic State is remaining and spreading."

Surprisingly enough, now that that Islamic State is just a speck on the map, many of these people still remain convinced of that idea.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): This woman, who identifies herself only as Om Vasem (ph), or the mother of Vasem (ph), tells me her loyalty still lie with


"Frankly, we still believe in it," she says. "We just wanted to live in peace and wear our Islamic clothing, not to go out, not to see men and to

be ruled by the law of the Almighty."

At 25, she's already the mother of four children. And they didn't flee because of the bombing or the shortage of food. They were told to leave.

"We received orders from Abu Bakr," this woman says, referring to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Syrian Democratic Forces Commanders say they

do not believe Baghdadi is inside, however.

Not a word of regret did we hear, nor any contrition over beheadings, terror attacks or the mass murder and enslavement of Yazidis. According to

the peculiar logic of the state that called itself Islamic, even its demise makes sense.

"God is testing us," this woman says. "The unworthy will leave and the righteous will remain. Perhaps we are unworthy."

Or perhaps just deluded. ISIS may be about to lose its land, but not its believers.


WEDEMAN: And over the last few days, we have seen thousands of these people, the real hardcore, these are the wives, the families of ISIS

fighters are coming out and certainly, the focus for the security personnel in this area is what to do with the men.

But what we are seeing is, what is coming out is a new generation, the children are coming out from under the shadow of ISIS, but they are still

carrying this commitment to its ideals if you can even call them that to its ideology that is going to represent a threat for years, if not decades

to come -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is in Eastern Syria for you. Beyond the frontline in the fight against ISIS, the father of ISIS bride, Shamima Begum who left

London aged 15 to join the so-called Caliphate in Syria has told a British newspaper that he is on the side of the U.K. government.

In a dramatic development in the debate over whether she should be allowed back into Britain, Ahmed Ali told "The Mail" on Sunday that the British

government was right to revoke her citizenship and saying, and I quote, "If the law of the land says that it is correct to cancel her citizenship, then

I agree. If she at least admitted she made a mistake, then I would feel sorry for her, and other people would feel sorry for her, but she does not

accept her wrong." He said.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview with "The Sunday Telegraph," Shamima Begum say she now regrets speaking to the press and says U.K. government is

making an example of her.

Only lingering of ISIS control still being felt elsewhere in Syria, Syria's state run news agency says 24 civilians were killed in a roadside blast.

It happened near the town of Salamiyeh, the group traveling in a vehicle that ran over a land mine left behind by ISIS.

Well, the conflict there said to be discussed at the first ever Summit between the European Union and the Arab League. Trade security and

migration also on the agenda, but as the state leaders gather for the meeting in Egypt, there is one thing stealing the spotlight.

The latest from the Summit is just ahead.



ANDERSON: Well, it's billed as the start of a new friendship across the Mediterranean. Leaders from Europe and the Arab world arriving in Egypt

for the first joint summit between the Arab League and the European Union.

Now the meeting taking place in the sunny Red Sea resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, where leaders set to talk trade, migration and climate change, but

that agenda loose as it is, is already being overshadowed by some other issues leaders are dealing with including last minute talks on Brexit.

Nic Robertson, our international diplomatic editor, joining me now from the so called Jewel of the Red Sea. Nic, quite a ways from Brussels or Downing

Street, but Theresa May, the British Prime Minister just met with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk trying to push her Brexit

plans forward. Any chance a deal in the desert at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Yes, you're talking about charm and in Sharm, aren't you? Does Theresa May have the ability to

really turn on the charm that she's lacked in Brussels that she can't portray from Westminster that's going to sway top E.U. officials like

Donald Tusk, I mean, I think the answer from the E.U. that we've heard so far certainly from E.U. officials I've been speaking to here is so far, at

least, not so much.

They say that they're still waiting to hear from Theresa May precisely what it is that's going to allow her to win that vote, the meaningful vote in

Parliament, but in a way she stole everyone's thunder coming in. We knew Brexit, in the words, it's not on the agenda here, but look at some of

those core issues that are being discussed -- security, migration -- these are the core issues, if you will, that underpinned and fuel Brexit vote in

the first place.

So yes, Brexit not only agenda directly, Theresa May's talks in the margin, but it is all -- this is in many ways is all about Europe's concern around

Brexit. So Theresa May today as I say, sort of stole the thunder coming in by saying, "Not going to have this important vote next week, pushing it off

a little more." This is how she put it.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: As we're continuing with those talks, we won't be making a meaningful vote back this week. But that will happen

by the 12th of March and it is still - we still have it within our grasp to leave the European Union with a deal on the 29th of March and that's what

I'm going to be working at.


ROBERTSON: So is there something there that she thinks she's going to get out of this meeting? The buying a little more time? Kicking the can down

the road as people continue to say about a strategy so far, letting the clock tick out, keeping that thread of a no-deal Brexit on the 29th of

March still alive with the European Union? Does she think she is really going to cross that line here?

I think that's in doubt. Clearly, she has a plan as all along, but can it succeed? We don't see that at the moment.

ANDERSON: All right, we are 33 days and counting of course before March 29th, which is "B Day" as it were. Three of Mrs. May's senior ministers

this weekend saying if there is no breakthrough in the coming week, they would Nic, back-delaying Brexit to avoid a no-deal scenario.


ANDERSON: What impact if any, will that have on Theresa May's negotiations with European Union?

ROBERTSON: From a European Union perspective and Theresa May was so keen two or three weeks ago to be able to say to the European Union, "I've got a

mandate from Parliament. This is my mandate. You need to give me these legally binding changes to the withdrawal agreement on the issue of the


And now, we sort of hear in some of the Sunday talk shows, we may be now slowly shading away from legally binding terms into the legally something

else, but the issue of being able to sway European Union leaders on this is one that really relies on having that that no deal Brexit as a scenario.

So if there are ministers within her Cabinet and there could be a vote, a motion in Parliament this week that could block a no-deal Brexit, then that

would undermine her and her key negotiating tactic, but all along, she has been trying to sort of move and frame the issue that success is just around

the corner, a little more time, a little more time and she needs that she says, but I think that the patience is running out in Parliament that she

really can deliver.

The big fear is and this is what is coalescing in minds in Westminster is at the moment that a no-deal Brexit would be cataclysmic, it could be

cataclysmic for the British economy, not just an impact on the European Union economy, but for Britain and that really is focusing minds that even

within our own party and even within her Cabinet.

ANDERSON: Well, it's fascinating to see that even as leaders arrive, Brexit overshadowing what is going on where you are. It's been reported

that many E.U. leaders waited to confirm their attendance at this summit until after it was clear that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin

Salman would not be there.

Now, his father is of course, relations between the West and the Crown Prince have been tense since the killing of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi by

Saudi agents in October. On Saturday, the kingdom named a new Ambassador to the U.S.

This is Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan heading to Washington replacing Prince Khalid Bin Salman who is the Crown Prince's younger

brother and we both know Reema well and what do you think is behind this move?

ROBERTSON: Well, clearly, it seems that the Crown Prince's brother Khalid Bin Salman tarnished his copybook if you will in Washington. How did he

tarnish it? The speculation has been that he was less than holy honest than open with U.S. officials about Jamal Khashoggi's killing and therefore

burnt diplomatic bridges.

Princess Reema is widely seen as a as a rising political star within Saudi Arabia, coming out of Royal family circles. Her pedigree, her father was

the Ambassador for many, many years to the United States, got along very well with President Bush, knew many other presidents as well. So there's a

pedigree there.

But if you will, you know, some will interpret it as a makeover of that image to put a female Ambassador into Washington. But there is no doubt

that this is a very capable aspiring diplomat politician. She's held political posts within Saudi Arabia up until now. So this is somebody

potentially with ambition here, somebody with capability, but going into Washington following on from Khalid Bin Salman's footsteps is going to be a

very tough task, a very big lift for any diplomat.

ANDERSON: No, easy task. Nic, finally, Egypt's opposition for what it's worth warning E.U. leaders ahead of this Summit not to turn up and they say

that is because President Sisi is now set to rule until 2034 under controversial changes to the Constitution. What sense where you are that

this meeting -- his reputation to a certain extent sanitized by the arrival of so many state leaders?

ROBERTSON: Well, it's been, you know, many years since his reputation was really badly tarnished, as he removed, it was sort of called a coup, a

military coup where the government that had come to power, the Muslim Brotherhood Government had come to power off the back of the Arab Spring

years ago now was removed and he has been in power.


ROBERTSON: So this is really the first time in a way that is emerging on the world stage. I watched him last week, actually in Munich, at the

Security Conference there talking about the issues of religious tolerance, of respect for other religions.

Of course, the key issue in Egypt where many Christians have been killed in terror attacks over the past few years, he talked about terrorism and the

importance of working against terrorism together, something he said Egypt has been flagging to the international community for many years.

So he's speaking the sort of language that these European leaders are going to want to hear. But yes, very much in a landscape where you might have

expected the Saudis to dominate, tarnished themselves, because the perceptions about Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, it is an opportunity

for President Sisi to pick up the baton and as you say, move perceptions about him and Egypt away from where they have been over the last few years.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Sharm el Sheik in Egypt tonight, where the time is 5:25 in the afternoon. Nic, thank you.

It is 25 past seven in Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World." Coming up, Pope Francis had sharp words on the final day of a major Vatican summit.

But abuse survivors and their supporters want more than just talk. We're live from Rome, up next.



BECKY ANDERSON, ANCHOR, CNN: Here with CNN, this is "Connect the World." Excuse me, I'm Becky Anderson. It's half past seven in the evening here.

On the final day of a major Vatican summit, Pope Francis called priests who sexually abuse children, the, quote "tools of Satan." The Pope closed mass

on Sunday with a wideranging speech. He said, the global problem of sexual abuse is a monstrous evil.

Rosa Flores joining us now from Rome and the Pope's platitudes, some might say after four days of talks, what concrete steps have Catholic leaders

taken to address the scourge that is clergy sex abuse, Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: You know, Becky, that's the problem because, you know, survivors, we're really hoping that history would be

made here, but instead, we're seeing history repeat itself -- a lot of promises, condemning of abuses and calling abuse as a crime. However,

those concrete steps is what is missing.

Now, after the Pope's speech, we did get a few more guidelines from the moderator of this historic event. And this moderator listing three -- what

we would call first steps. First of all, a new law that would be drafted for the protection of children, then a handbook for Bishops, and then a

task force that would also be created, but nothing specifically about Bishop accountability and that's not sitting well with survivors. Take a



PETER ISLEY, ABUSE SURVIVOR: Because that's where this problem and this evil lives, it's Bishops and Cardinals that cover up these crimes. If

they're covering them up or they're allowed to cover them up, there's no way to find out if they're covering them up, then it doesn't matter what

other law you make.


FLORES: Now, Becky, one thing is very clear. This was a meeting of Bishops from around the world. So there's one thing that they can't say

they don't know about and that is that abuse is happening, that it has happened and that the cover up is bad.

So if there's one step that has been taken forward is that because some bishops as we had heard from Pope Francis needed to learn about abuse --

what abuse was and that it was happening -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Rosa Flores is in Rome for you. My next guest is an abuse survivor herself and a former member of the Vatican Child Protection


Earlier she posted this on Twitter writing, "We have heard these commitments to confront abuse many times before. When and how is what we

need to hear." Marie Collins joining us live from Dublin in Ireland via Skype.

This isn't the first time we have spoken and this is certainly not the first time that you have sounded dissatisfied with what you are hearing.

Explain, if you will, Marie.

MARIE COLLINS, ABUSE SURVIVOR (via Skype): Well, that someone at least recognize that this is a global problem, the Church have sort of skirted

around for a long time.

We've heard all these words in the last 20 years that the Church needs to get to grips with it. We need to put in place strong action.

During this meeting, the number of times I heard a spokesperson for the Church talking about the need for concrete action was innumerable. But

what we haven't got is the concrete action and the same with the Pope. He spoke a lot and he said a lot of strong things, but he hasn't given us

concrete action.

ANDERSON: Marie, during the Summit, one of the most remarkable admissions came from a senior Archbishop on Saturday. I know you've heard this. I

want our viewers to just have a listen. Standby.



CARDINAL REINHARD MARX, ARCHBISHOP OF MUNICH: Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed or

not even created.


ANDERSON: How did you feel when you heard that?

COLLINS: In many ways it was good to hear it because this is the sort of thing that survivors, we've been shouting it from the rooftops for years

and the Church have been denying it and we know documents are destroyed. It's not news to us.

And that's why we need something to be done about it. Talking about is no use, do something about it. We need strong black and white rules brought


ANDERSON: Sorry, and I interrupted you. The Vatican heard from only a few women during the Summit. One leading nun though challenging that Church's,

culture of silence on sexual issues and said priests are too often put on pedestals. Again, have a listen.




wrongdoing and then to publish what has been done. I repeat, we publish what has been done. I think some of it has been published already, but we

have to make it public.

What has been done since the time of John Paul II to here, in this situation, it may not be enough or sufficient in the eyes of many, but it

will show that the Church had not been totally silent.


ANDERSON: You worked with the Vatican in the past. You were on that Commission. You resigned effectively. You were dissatisfied with how

things were being run. My point of allowing the viewers to understand your background there is, you know how this organization, let's call it that

works. What do you expect to see happen next?

COLLINS: The problem when working on that Commission was with the bureaucracy in the Vatican, who are able to kill initiatives, to slow them

down. And even with the best will in the world, if anything comes out of this Summit, and new policies are formulated. There's nothing to stop that

Vatican bureaucracy doing the same thing.

So I think the Pope at this stage should clear out all those men in the Vatican who would stop or retard any sort of proper action. And that would

be the first thing I think should happen as well as actually implementing strong policies.

ANDERSON: Zero tolerance is a line that we heard much bandied about by at least commentators, if not those actually, in attendance, although I think

I remember it being used a number of times, what would zero tolerance mean to you? And how do you think that differs from zero tolerance, according

to the Vatican? To the Church?

COLLINS; When the Church speak about zero tolerance, they mean that a priest who abuses will be taken out of Ministry, that means he won't be in

a Parish. He be given something else to do.

When I speak about zero tolerance, and when other survivors speak about zero tolerance, they really mean that if a priest or religious is guilty of

harming child, they are laicized. They are no longer a priest. And that is the difference. That is real zero tolerance and anyone who covers up

for them, protects them or facilitate them no matter what level they are in the Church. They need to be removed from the priesthood as well.

They are not fit men to remain priests in positions within the Church and the two -- that's why when I made a submission to this conference, I said

there should be a definition of zero tolerance because you've got to be talking about the same thing and what the Church are talking about and what

survivors and other Catholics are talking about are two different things.

We have zero tolerances. No place in the church. No place at all for anyone who would harm a child.

ANDERSON: Marie Collins is an abuse survivor. Marie, we have spoken before and we appreciate your time. Thank you. Important insight from

Dublin today.

Well, let's get you up to speed in some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is traveling by

private train across China as we speak. He's on his way to meet with the U.S. President in Vietnam in the coming week.

North Korean state media issued a warning to the United States saying in part if there are no results from the upcoming summit, the U.S. will never

escape security threats.

Ballots being counted in Nigeria's closely contested general election. Most voting took place on Saturday polls. They were extended in some

places because of logistical issues and some violent incidents. The President, seeking a second term. His main challenge, a business tycoon

and former Vice President.

A Judge in Chicago has set a $1 million bond for singer R. Kelly, who turned himself in on Friday. This after being charged with 10 counts of

aggravated criminal sexual abuse. CNN Sara Sidner has the details for you.

SARA SIDNER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: A Judge set R. Kelly's bond for $1 million; $250,000.00 in each of the four alleged victims cases. Now R.

Kelly would only have to pay $100,000.00 of that after he has been charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse.

The prosecution laying out some very sexually explicit details in this case to the Judge, including sexual and physical abuse of several of the women

that are now alleged victims in this particular case. There was an indictment from a grand jury first and then the prosecution ...


SIDNER: ... filed charges against R. Kelly. The details include physical and sexual abuse against women, who are now of age, but we're minors at the

time, under the age of 17, but older than 13 is how the prosecution put it.

We also heard from R. Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg. He came out and he said, initially when R. Kelly was arrested, and we saw him go in to be

booked last night, he said that all the women are liars and called them liars very startling and clearly.

Today, he backed down a little bit from that, but said you know, you can't believe everything you hear. That he should be given like any other

defendant the presumption of innocence. He also mentioned the 2008 trial where R. Kelly was put on trial for 14 counts of pornography - child

pornography, and he was acquitted in that trial.

He says people should give him the same kind of presumption of innocence as other defendants.

He did recognize that there was a lot of media attention here. He recognized that there were some women who were in the courtroom here today

listening and emotional. We can tell you that one of the victims, the alleged victims in this case was inside the courtroom. She was emotional

herself. This has been a very difficult time for the women who have come out and accused R. Kelly of sexually abusing them when they were minor.

Where do we go from here? Well, Steve Greenberg, R. Kelly's attorney says that he does not think that our Kelly has $100,000.00 just hanging around,

so the question is -- will he be able to get that money and get out of jail before his next hearing which will be Monday. Sara Sidner, CNN, Chicago.

ANDERSON: Sara Sidner on the story for you there. Coming up, the Saudi Crown Prince has wrapped up his week-long tour of Asia. So what exactly

did the trip accomplish for Mohammed Bin Salman and his Kingdom? That up for discussion after this.


ANDERSON: Saudi Arabia's King is in Egypt to the E.U.-Arab summit. We spoke about earlier with my colleague, Nic Robertson, the highly

anticipated meeting comes off the back of the Saudi Crown Prince's week- long tour of Asia.

Now, his visit wrapped up Friday in China, the Kingdom's biggest trading partner. Some believe, Mohammed Bin Salman's trip was an attempt to boost

the kingdom's reputation tarnished by the brutal murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Ravi Agrawal is the managing editor for "Foreign Policy" magazine joining us now from New York, and Ravi, would it be easy to suggest that the timing

of this trip and effort to rehabilitate the Crown Prince's image in a part of the world less, let's say, exercised about the murder of Jamal

Khashoggi, but the Saudi is no stranger to the region.


ANDERSON: So the idea of a sort of short-term pivot the Kingdom because of this current toxic climate in the West does seem rather naive, does it not?

RAVI AGRAWAL, MANAGING EDITOR, "FOREIGN POLICY" MAGAZINE: That's right. I mean, this isn't the first time a Saudi leader has gone through Asia. I

mean, King Salman did it last year. King Abdullah has done it in the past as well about a decade ago.

So that side of it is new. But as you were saying, the backdrop of this visit is what is so interesting. The U.S. Senate in December voted to

censure Mohammed bin Salman for his role in the killing of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi and also voted to withdraw from its involvement and it's

backing of the Saudi war in Yemen.

So those two things along with immense censure and public criticism that Mohammed Bin Salman has faced in the West, largely because of the killing

of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi is something that they've been trying to shake off for a while in a PR sort of way and Asia is a place where those

kinds of things are not publicly talked about in the same way.

So in terms of what Mohammed Bin Salaman achieved in this visit, you only have to look at the pictures and the imagery of a 21-gun salute in

Pakistan, of fighter jets escorting him, of being driven personally by Prime Minister Imran Khan to his residence in Islamabad and then in India,

to be given a bear hug by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the tarmac as he arrives. And then lastly in China, to be seen shaking hands with Xi


These are all images that project power, images that project a statesman at large, and I think at home, for Mohammed Bin Salman, those are important

images for him to boost and whitewash his own image given the criticism he's received.

ANDERSON: Yes, you make a very good point. Given the current atmosphere between India and Pakistan, rather sensitive schedule that effectively took

the Prince's thousand strong delegation if not himself, directly between the two countries. How concerned should we be about this recent Kashmir

flare up?

AGRAWAL: We should be very concerned about this flare up. This is a long simmering dispute between two nuclear armed countries. And every now and

then, it flares up. This time, the flare up is more serious than it has been in the last 5 to 10 years.

What happened was a militant blew himself up and killed more than 40 Indian soldiers on the Indian side of Kashmir, Indian-administered Kashmir, that

militant was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist group that is based in Pakistan. Pakistan, of course, denies any involvement.

Now, this is a serious attack on Indian soil and India has vowed to retaliate in a variety of ways that it could be that it would launch

surgical strikes across the border. It could be India's Defense Minister has talked about cutting off water to Pakistan, which would then trigger

more conflict between the two.

And so in that context, it was very interesting that Mohammed bin Salman visited the two countries in such close succession. And he did say that he

wanted to try and mediate between the two. But there was very little of that that actually took place. In most cases, it was business deals

between the two countries.

ANDERSON: Well, received wisdom suggests that the U.S. was the crux of economic and political stability in the region for decades. Things do seem

a lot less clear these days. In fact, one commentator put it this way, the wreckage of Mr. Trump's foreign policy continues to pile up across Asia, as

it does elsewhere around the world. What do you think the outlook is Ravi?

AGRAWAL: Well, the outlook is shifts that have been underway for some time are accelerating. And so we've, for quite some time now, been moving

towards a world where Washington has less sway and the world geopolitics is more multipolar as it was.

So the likes of China will rise as regional powers in the Middle East, the likes of Saudi and Iran, and Turkey will jostle for influence. India will

try to be more muscular in its foreign policy. And the thing is, all of this -- this process is being hastened by a Washington, by a White House

that is increasingly seeing the world in zero sum ways where its role is mostly as a trading partner, not as sort of a beacon of free speech or

democracy or trying to set the tone as it did many years ago.

And so that change I think, is being seen quite favorably in places like China were Xi Jinping through the One Belt One Road initiative and other

forms of economic incentives is able to be a sort of alternative to American power in the region.


AGRAWAL: And that's what you're seeing now with the likes of Muhammed Bin Salman being able to visit these countries and it being seen as something

that would help his image at home. All of that is a change from a few years ago.

ANDERSON: Ravi Agrawal is author of "India Connected." A good friend of the show. Ravi, thank you, out of New York for us.

Today, viewers, we are just hours away from the biggest night in cinema. That is the Oscars coming up and look at the diverse stories and

storytellers up for some of the big awards and who could walk away with Hollywood's top honor. That after this.


ANDERSON: We are just hours away from Hollywood's biggest night and even though there is no host for the Oscar ceremony, the show will go on.

This year, many of the films in the race for Best Picture tell diverse stories. Stephanie Elam explores how that could affect the voting.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CORRESPONDENT, CNN (voice over): From the immigration debate to views on the racial divide in America, some of the pressing

issues facing the country could be on the minds of Oscar voters when they cast a ballot.


MATTHEW BELLONI, JOURNALIST, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": A lot of people end up voting not just for what they enjoyed the most but for what a movie



ELAM (voice over): "A Star is Born" may no longer be the front runner, pushed aside by "Roma" now considered the one to beat.


BELLONI: You know, "Roma" is not an overtly political film, but it's certainly of the moment right now. This is a story about a Mexican woman

in the 1970s. She's a domestic worker and it really resonates with the debate that is going on right now in America about immigration.


ELAM: A pair of films tackle race in America. Spike Lee's" Blackkklansman" even includes video footage from the attack in

Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Greenbook" takes a more populist approach to racial tension. But that has divided Hollywood.


BELLONI: The criticism of the film is that it subscribes to the theory of the quote, "white savior," the white character who comes in and makes it

okay for the black person to love or to accept.


ELAM (voice over): But the movie is a box office hit and the Producers Guilds best picture, a sign more traditional Academy members still have



BELLONI: The kind of voter that went for "Driving Miss Daisy" 30 years ago.


ELAM (voice over: With its big win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards "Black Panther" can't be ruled out. It's nearly all black cast elevated

the super hero film into the cultural conversation.



BELLONI: Is it the best picture of the year? We can debate that. But is it the most meaningful picture for the future of Hollywood? Probably.

ELAM (voice over): Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


ANDERSON: Well, "Parting Shots" tonight, an Israeli team shoot for the moon on a mission to become the first privately funded spacecraft to land

on Earth's nearest neighbor.

On Thursday SpaceX's rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral carrying a robotic moon lander built by SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit organization.

The mission due to land on April the 11th.

Well, that's not the only anything blasting off from this part of the world. There is some watch of a little Middle East in space race it seems

going on.

This week, we will connect you to the first to Emirati astronauts packing up to head off to live among the stars on the International Space Station.

We are going to ask them about space food, life on Mars and, well, a lot more. That's only right here on "Connect the World." So do join us for

that this week.

That was "Connect the World." I'm Becky Anderson. Thank you for watching.