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CONNECT THE WORLD
Thousands Continue to Flee Last ISIS Enclave; U.N. Human Rights Chief Calls Out Saudi Arabia; Thousands of Children Living in Slavery in Ghana; Interview with Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Ghana's Information Minister, Programs to Rescue Children from Forced Labor; Huawei Suing U.S. Government Over Product Ban; Michael Cohen's Testimony on Pardon Under Scrutiny; Sentencing of Paul Manafort Hours Away; British Royal Family Takes Action Against Trolls; Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy, Battling Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer; Meet the Royal Shaking up the Arab Art World. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 7, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are people walking to us, up to us, begging for their children, for food and water,
and the situation here is catastrophic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: CNN is on the front lines. As thousands of people, many of them women and young children, are driven out of the last
remaining militant enclave. We are on the ground for you in Syria this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOJO OPPONG NKRUMAH, GHANA'S INFORMATION MINISTER: The entire world and the people of Ghana, most importantly the victims, of the utmost assurance,
we will be able to tackle this problem comprehensively and we acknowledge the severity and willing and committed to put the resources behind it, and
to get the results we are looking for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All right, the you'll only see here. 20,000 young children toiling in unspeakable conditions as slaves on Ghana's Lake Volta as part
of CNN's commitment to exposing modern day slavery, I speak to the country's minister of information who says sweeping change is on its way.
Also, online abuse aimed at a Royal. The House of Windsor now fighting back.
Hello and welcome. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, with me Becky Anderson, live from Abu Dhabi where it is 7:00 in the evening.
And we begin tonight with what looks like an unending stream of misery pouring out of that slither of land in eastern Syria that ISIS has been
cornered into. We have the last of the civilians had been driven out. Yet they just keep coming in droves. I want to show you some quite incredible
images that CNN's team on the ground has been able to send us. Images like these.
Things that can only be described as apocalyptic being herded on to a convoy of truck, some angry and defiant, others dazed and traumatized. All
seemingly just too young to grasp the gravity of what is happening to them.
Well, not far from them, the men who walked or hobbled out in the last day or so will be questioned by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. You
see their heads bowed low, sitting on the dusty ground, the line stretching on and on and on. Well senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman,
has been bringing us some incredible reporting from eastern Syria and Ben joining us now. There seems to be no end to this. Is it clear whether
anyone is left to either flee or surrender at this point?
WEDEMAN: There are still people inside. We've seen video shot by an aid group that was just about 100 meters from that enclave. And speaking to
many people today, the indications are that there still may be hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people left. Now many of them it appears are
fighters but there are civilian, families of those fighters who simply refuse to leave at this point. And in fact, I just spoke with one of the
chief spokesmen for the Syrian Democratic Forces -- I don't know what that is, but I think it's, it's outgoing, outgoing artillery. And he indicated
that they're flummoxed by the number of civilians still left inside. More came out today. But it appears more are still there. So this operation to
finally clear this last half mile, half square mile occupied by ISIS is being postponed and postponed and postponed -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben, are you happy to carry on?
WEDEMAN: Yes, no problem.
ANDERSON: Yes, good. All right. I wouldn't want you to be anything but safe as we do this interview. You say that people on the ground are just
flummoxed, as to just how many people have been driven out, have fled, surrendered, whatever you want to call it at this point, it seems to be,
quite frankly, unclear what we should be calling those who are leaving that town. Flummoxed now for what, now two weeks, is it any clearer what is
going to be done with these people, men, women and children?
[10:05:00] WEDEMAN: Well, the men we saw have been first of all, interrogated and identified by the Syrian Democratic Force's Intelligence
Services. We watched as they were fingerprinted, their names were recorded in an electronic device, where they're collecting all the names, and their
face -- the pictures of their faces were taken. Once after that initial interrogation, then they're handed over to the Americans, the British, and
the French intelligence services, who are also on the ground. And eventually, they end up in a very large prison outside the town of Hasakah,
to the north of here.
As far as the women and children go, what you saw in those pictures, some of them wait 24, 48 hours in this miserable piece of dusty land, where
there is garbage and feces all over the place. And they wait. There is this one aid group, the Free Burma Rangers, which hand out some water, some
food, some blankets, but we saw last night, those supplies ran out. So the women and children are basically exposed in the desert night. It's very
cold. There are no facilities whatsoever. Eventually, they are herded on to truck -- trailer truck, normally used to transport livestock. And they
really do seem to be treated like livestock. They're herded on to these cars -- these trucks and driven to a camp north of here called Al Hawl
which for the most part for many of them is an internment camp. They're not allowed to move around -- or rather, not allowed to leave that camp.
And there, we know that it is severely overcrowded, they're short on resources to provide with these people, and as a result of all of these
ISIS wives being put together, apparently the ISIS wives are enforcing the social order that they left.
Basically, the women are compelled to continue to live as they did in Raqqa and Mosul and elsewhere. So it's not as if this problem is coming to an
end with the end of the so-called Islamic state. That the social mores that they lived under, continue to exist and will exist in that camp and
the prison where the men are being kept -- Becky.
ANDERSON: And I think that is what's confounding. So many people who will be watching your reporting, and seeing these images, and hearing you say
these women, compelled to continue to live as they did, you know, under ISIS, in the caliphate. We have seen, Ben, you know, women angry,
determined, with no sign of contrition, as we have seen, others who seem distraught, and really sort of dazed. On the whole what is -- how do you
describe the atmosphere from those that you have spoken to and been amongst who have so recently left and driven out, surrendered, whatever the word
is, this last enclave? How would you describe it? You've been there on the ground and witnessed this and have been speaking to these people.
WEDEMAN: Becky, there's huge resentment among these people over what, for instance, they have just encountered, what they have just gone through.
Which was of course the intense bombardment of that -- first of all, Baghouz, the town, and then that small encampment, which is all that is
left of the Islamic state. They talk about women and children killed by the hundreds in this bombardment. They talk about starvation that was in
And on top of that, many of them feel that while they lived in this so- called Islamic state, they were living the dream. And that dream has been shattered, and they have been sent to these camps, where they have no hope
in the immediate future of ever going back to where they came from. Whether that is Western Europe, or Mosul, or Fallujah in Iraq or Raqqa, or
Deir ez-Zor. They see that their lives have been ruined as a result of the torment they were under in that, under bombardment. But also, that their
dream is gone, and they have now been -- they're a defeated people.
I mean it is important to stress that many of the people aren't fleeing, they are surrendering in humiliation, to the Syrian Democratic Forces,
after the siege -- and the siege is still ongoing -- of that little tiny speck on the map -- Becky.
[10:10:00] ANDERSON: I'm really glad that you pointed that out. Because that's been, that's been a narrative that so many people who aren't where
you are have been discussing. Is this, is this for surrender? Is this people fleeing for their lives and delighted to be out? And as you rightly
point out, many determined to stay, were it not for this aerial bombardment.
Ben, I want to get our viewers, just a story of one ISIS member, his name is Mark Taylor. You'll be aware of this story. He's already been
processed by the SDF. He's a kiwi. He says he regrets burning his New Zealand passport when he joined the terror group. In an interview with the
UAE's "The National", he says he feels betrayed by the country he left behind, and the terror group he then joined. Let's have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK TAYLOR, NEW ZEALAND ISIS MEMBER: I was kind of upset with it, I mean, because -- I mean, they put me in jail for one GPS location in Twitter. I
wanted to voice my freedom of speech, but it turns out that freedom of speech is not allowed in the Islamic state. I asked the government to help
me. And then eventually, just stabbed me in my back. I was under the impression that at least they could come here and take me out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Ben, as confused as his narrative might sound, his case highlights this question, what to do with ISIS members now that the
caliphate is crumbling, correct?
WEDEMAN: Yes, and it's not just for Westerners, for people from Europe, or Australia, or North America, it's also for people here. I spoke to a young
Moroccan, who told me that he came because his friends told him they should come to the caliphate. That it was a paradise for true believers. He said
when he came here, it was a madhouse, that he didn't know what to do, he didn't feel at home, he didn't agree with what was being done to people,
innocent people. But he was stuck, and he had no way to go back.
And of all of the men I spoke to -- I spoke to quite a lot of the men today. He was the only one who said that he had come here thinking that it
was something, and discovered it was something completely different. He said his eyesight wouldn't allow him to fight, but that he ended up just
ferrying the women of Amir's, or leaders around town. He was essentially a chauffeur. And that was not what he wanted to do. But he knows that he's
been in touch with his family, back in Morocco, but they say that he's probably not going to be welcomed home, or if he does, he will simply end
up in prison. So it really underscores a lot of young people, not really understanding the consequences of what they were doing, and now having to
pay a very, very high price.
ANDERSON: Yes, the outcome has been absolutely shocking, hasn't it? Ben, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir. Keep up the good work and stay safe.
I know it sounds like a cliche but after hearing that gunfire, you know you must stay safe. Please.
We still don't know then what will happen to ISIS returnees. Here is what we do know today. U.S. President Trump told European allies to take back
over 800 ISIS fighters that were captured in Syria and put them on trial. Despite that he instructed his administration not to allow the return of
Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who joined ISIS in 2014. The U.S. is now contesting her American citizenship. Similarly, in the U.K., the home
office, announce can its intention to strip Shamima Begum for the same reason. France, meanwhile, reportedly considering repatriating around 130
jihadi fighters of French origin. A proposal that has come in for stiff criticism from opposition groups.
All right and moving on. And in a stinging rebuke at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, 36 countries have slammed Saudi Arabia for
its human rights record. The three dozen countries which include all EU nation, Australia, and Canada, signed an open letter demanding the
kingdom's full cooperation with the U.N. probe into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The signatories are calling for the release as
well of ten women's rights defenders who have been detained without trial since May 2018. Well this move following Wednesday's call from the U.N.
High Commissioner of Human Rights for the immediate release of those activists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE BACHELET, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Today, allow me to voice my concern at the apparently arbitrary arrest and detention,
and alleged ill treatment or torture of several women, human rights offenders in Saudi Arabia.
[10:15:00] The persecution of peaceful activities will clearly contradict the spirit of the country's proclaimed new reforms. So we urge that these
women be released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Human rights organizations say the detainees have been subjected to electric shocks, flogging, sexual assault, and other forms of torture.
Speaking to state media, the Saudi deputy public prosecutor said he had looked into the reports of mistreatment and found no evidence. He
categorically denied torture, said all detainees were being held legally. And added, and I quote, the concerned detainee, nor any other detainees,
enjoy all of their right, including communication and visits, he said.
Meanwhile two sisters who fled Saudi Arabia won't be allowed to stay in Hong Kong for another month while they seek asylum elsewhere. The women
say they were abused by relatives in Saudi Arabia and decided to flee to Australia via Hong Kong. But when they try to leave for Melbourne from
Hong Kong, they were stopped by Saudi authorities who rebooked them on a flight to Riyadh. Well the women refused to go and have been in hiding
ever since. Saudi officials have not responded to CNN's request for a comment.
Still to come, Ghana's minister of information says big changes are coming, as he responds to a CNN film documenting tens of thousands of young
children toiling in unspeakable conditions as slaves on Lake Volta. That interview up next.
ANDERSON: Bought and sold for as little as 250 dollars, children, thousands of them. Forced to work in the harsh conditions of Ghana's
fishing industry. Well, CNN has been investigating child slavery through our Freedom Project now for some time and our film "TROUBLED WATERS" about
child slavery in Ghana is getting lots of attention. It's even prompted the government to commit to finding solutions. We are going to hear from
the ministry of information in a moment. First, Nima Elbagir brings us a report that you will only find here on CNN.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lake Volta, Ghana, just before the dawn.
[10:20:00] A column of boys heads off to work. All of them slaves. The International Labor Organization estimates there are 10 million children
living in slavery around the world. 20,000 of them, they say, work here, on this lake.
CNN was granted unprecedented access on board a boat. Where these child slaves labored daily. Some so young, it's almost unbelievable. Typically,
the children tell us they're shouting from Samuel, the man they must call master. But with our cameras trained on these children, Samuel only casts
a watchful eye. As the boys look back, fearfully. A fishing net snags on an underwater branch, without a word, Adam, who doesn't know his own age,
understands what he must do. These underwater dives can be deadly can be deadly. Children are set to be caught up in the nets or tree branches and
often drown. There is no telling how many unnamed bodies lay at the bottom of this lake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: (through translator): When he says you should die, you have no option. The fearful part is that you might not come back.
That's what I fear most.
ELBAGIR: Back on land, Samuel explains how he justifies putting children like Adam in such danger.
SAMUEL, THE MAN THE CHILDREN CALL MASTER (through translator): If one of them dies while working on the lake, I sit down with the parents and we
talk. We all know that working on the lake is very dangerous and anything can happen. In this world, if you don't set the trap, you can't catch
ELBAGIR: Despite the dangers and the laws in Ghana against slavery and forced child labor, rescues here of children facing violence and abuse
remain few and far between.
PACODEP a local nonprofit does its best to identify and rescue child slaves. Pulling up alongside fishing vessels and with the help of a
policeman, forcing their way onboard.
With so many children on the lake, and sparse resources to liberate and care for them, George Achibra's job can seem overwhelming. But by day's
end, Samuel agrees to release all six boys under his control. Instead of fishing, Samuel will become a farmer.
GEORGE ACHIBRA, PROJECTS COORDINATOR, PACODEP: I think this is the best way. If we give him anything, like money, nets, or anything, it means
we're encouraging him to go for more children. But if we are taking him off the lake, into grounds work, it means he can't go for it, can't affect
children, and use them on the lake anymore.
ELBAGIR: But in the long term, the children here will need much more. The government of Ghana needs to commit funds to register every vessel on this
lake. And those working on them. To end this scourge.
Nima Elbagir, CNN.
ANDERSON: And it is a scourge. This is a hugely important story. Earlier, I spoke with Ghana's minister of information, about this film and
child slavery. He told us that this situation was, and I quote, heartbreaking and a matter of concern for the government and people of
Ghana. Here's the conversation I had with the minister earlier.
ANDERSON: Can I get a confirmation from you that you acknowledge the severity of this issue, and that you are absolutely committed to concrete
action to ensure that these children will no longer be slaves and there will not be a problem on Lake Volta going forward?
KOJO OPPONG NKRUMAH, GHANA'S INFORMATION MINISTER: Yes, Becky, the entire world, and the people of Ghana, most in particularly, the victims of this,
have the utmost assurance that it is a matter, that as I stated, breaks our hearts and we are committed to assuring that the resources that we've
started become available this year and will be improved as the years go by. And that we will be able to tackle this problem comprehensively. We
acknowledge the severity, and willing and committed to put the resources behind it, and to get the results we are looking for.
ANDERSON: With respect, sir, you have known about this problem for years. The exploitation of children on the lake is still commonplace. It's still
going on. What is your government doing specifically, concretely, to solve this problem?
[10:25:00] NKRUMAH: So first, is that we've put in place a number of laws, the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, and then subsequent to, that its
regulations that are responsible to close the loopholes in the legal framework that allows people to deal with this.
Now, secondly, specifically, we have put in place programs that allow us to rescue and prosecute, rehabilitate, and reintegrate the victims. Last
year, for example, we rescued a little over 252 children, involved in child trafficking in general. And a good chunk of which are from this Volta Lake
area. We had about 13 convictions of persons who are involved in this exercise. And then you move to the long-term solutions, which tackles the
fundamental issues of poverty, ignorance. We have programs that allow, you know, a phenomena, a challenge like this to continue for a while now.
ANDERSON: The film highlights a potential solution. A local government official, says he is looking to register all the boats that operate on the
lakes, so the police can identify cases of child slavery. And I'm going to be emphatic about this. We are talking about thousands of cases of child
slavery. It seems like the holdup though is a question of funding. Is that something your government will address? And why hasn't that been done
NKRUMAH: In the interview, you may recall that Ghana is just coming out of an IMF program, where we had to as a country go for bailout because of our
economic challenges in recent years. Our national economy is improving and resources are available to government are also improving. For the first
time this year we've invested a bit more money into rehabilitating, even some of the shelters that receive the rescue children.
And some of these programs as has been talked about by local government officials, now we have an opportunity to provide more funding from
government, and then nongovernment actors. The government has already started committing resources. For example, in this 2019 fiscal cycle, as I
mentioned, and we expect to commit some more resources to it. To fund those intervention programs and get the access that we are looking for.
ANDERSON: So in response to CNN's film, the National Union of Ghana Students is calling for an intensive investigation from your government.
Do you acknowledge these numbers and is that something that you are considering specifically?
NKRUMAH: Yes, already, the minister for social protection, and her team, have paid a visit to the Volta Lake area hours after the initial
documentary aired to get a quick update, you know, on the numbers there, and on the number of rescues that are being recorded, since the last time
that a reporter came in. She has subsequently briefed central government about it. And I'm clear in my mind that in the coming weeks, you will see
some more update of the results that we are getting on the ground there.
ANDERSON: CNN would be happy to come back to Ghana and witness and report on those actions, if they are carried out. Will we be welcome?
NKRUMAH: We would like the CNN crew to come back and work with us, back on the lake, to also examine for the first time some of the efforts we are
putting into dealing with the situation like this. We all have to raise the necessary awareness, and so we're very happy to have you on board as
part of the solutions.
ANDERSON: And viewers, I confirm, CNN will be following up with him on those commitments that he has made to us today. And if you want to see
more of our reporting on ending modern day slavery around the world, it's something we are incredibly proud of, and rightly so, I will say. You can
visit the "CNN FREEDOM PROJECT" web site and CNN.com and bringing you these hugely-important stories. Also doing our part to hold governments and
businesses accountable. And help us out wherever you are in the world, you can get in touch.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.
Coming up, judge, jury and excuser. The Chinese tech giant Huawei fights back against a U.S. federal product banned with words and a lawsuit. More
on that, up next.
And then his testimony to Congress was supposed to clear things up but now there are new questions about whether Donald Trump's former attorney, this
man, Michael Cohen, tried to get a Presidential pardon. Or not.
[10:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back. Just after half past 7:00 here in the UAE. We
are broadcasting from our Middle East programming hub here in Abu Dhabi.
Huawei says the U.S. Congress acted as judge, jury and executioner when it passed a law banning federal agencies from buying its products. Now the
Chinese tech giant is now suing the U.S. government over the ban as it fights back against claims that its technology poses a global security
The Chinese foreign minister says the lawsuit against the U.S. government is entirely appropriate. Samuel Burke joining us with more from London.
What is the U.S. government's argument here, and is it entirely appropriate? Does it stand water at this point?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNNMONEY BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well it's interesting, Becky, because for years, the United States has been going
after Huawei, and now the Chinese company finally has its chance to go after the United States. They're alleging, basically, that their
constitutional rights were violated, because Congress singled them out, without giving them their day in court.
The only problem here is that every lawyer I talk to tells me that Huawei doesn't have a chance or prayer of winning this case in court. Russia-
based Kaspersky tried something similar last year and they lost. And so, the precedent has been set. But that's not stopping Huawei from fighting.
And just take a listen to what the sitting chairman of the Chinese company said when they presented this lawsuit just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUO PING, HUAWEI DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: The U.S. government has long branded Huawei as a threat. It has hacked our service and destroyed our e-mails
and source code. This strategy of the U.S. government, has never provided any evidence supporting their accusation that Huawei poses a cyber security
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURKE: And when I suppose to Gao Ping just last week in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, he told me that he strongly believes that all of
this is just politics, much of it the trade war, the accusations against Huawei. But this is classic China. When the U.S. accuses them of
[10:35:00] They come back and say the same exact thing. I spoke to Jack Ma Yun, the founder of Alibaba, who told me that his company is hacked
thousands of times a day. Whether or not this lawsuit is successful and it probably won't be. Huawei still remains the second biggest smart phone
maker in the world ahead of Apple, Becky, and by far the leader in 5G technology.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Samuel, thank you for that.
Enormously productive, that is what a Democratic lawmaker calls Michael Cohen's closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, Donald
Trump's former attorney, back again, before a Congressional committee. Sources say this time, he provided documents showing edits to his false
testimony to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower/Moscow. Cohen said, Mr. Trump's attorneys made those changes. He spoke briefly to reporters on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: The hearings went very, very well. I believe that all of the members were satisfied with the statements and
the responses that I gave to them. I told them that any additional information that they would want, they should feel comfortable to reach out
to my counsel and I would continue to cooperate to the fullest extent of my capabilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Right. Well, Cohen's earlier public testimony on the issue of Presidential pardons is under renewed scrutiny, after new reports surfaced.
Let's bring in our White House reporter and regular guest on the show, Stephen Collinson, to help break this all down. Is this a lawyer school?
Is this a man who went after a pardon, didn't get what he wanted and is now determined to destroy the U.S. President, come what may?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, this is all very murky, and that's the point that a lot of Mr. Cohen's enemies are making, and the
President's supporters, are trying to advance. Basically, what he said last week, in his open testimony on Capitol Hill, was that he had never
asked President Trump for a pardon, nor would he accept one. Now, it appears that he asked one of his previous lawyers, last year, soon after
his apartments and offices were raided by the FBI, whether there was some kind of possibility of a pardon looming in the future. Cohen's team is
basically saying well, this is just, you know, a matter of nuance. He didn't ask the President himself.
But you can see why Republicans are jumping all over this, to try and further discredit Michael Cohen, who after all, is going to prison in May,
partly because he's already lied to Congress. And they're saying, look, this is further proof that when he says the President is a con man and a
crook, he can't be trusted and his testimony is not credible.
ANDERSON: Right, Stephen we're just hours meantime away from one milestone in the Russia investigation. Of course, the sentencing of Mr. Trump's
former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. He will learn his fate for tax and bank fraud charges, stemming from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's
investigation. And so the list goes on. Prosecutors say, Stephen, that Manafort shows little remorse and even lied under oath after striking a
plea deal. Is that correct?
COLLINSON: Yes, so basically, there were two cases here. What we're looking to today, is Manafort being sentenced in the Virginia case for tax
and bank fraud charges. These are not directly related to the Russia collusion issue, but they were uncovered by the Special Counsel Robert
Mueller, as part of that investigation. This all relates to millions of dollars that Manafort made when he was an agent and a strategist for pro-
Russian politicians in Ukraine. He brought millions of dollars back had, a very lavish lifestyle and didn't declare a lot of that to the U.S. tax
And prosecutors in this case are asking for up to 25 years in jail, given that Manafort is 69 already, and in failing health, that is, that would
effectively be a life sentence, many people believe.
Next week, there's another sentencing in a parallel case in Washington, D.C., this is the one where he has been accused by the Special Counsel of
lying to prosecutors and lying to his investigation. It looks like he will get another hefty sentence there. So whichever way you cut it, the former
chairman of President Donald Trump's election campaign in 2016, looks like he will go to prison for a very long time and that obviously reflects badly
on the President.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. It's 39 minutes past, what is it, 10:00, in Washington, I think it is, 39 minutes past 10:00. 39 minutes past 7:00
here. Stephen, always a pleasure. Thank you for that.
Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
[10:40:00] Coming up, the Windsor's take on the web. The British Royal Family moves to protect its newest member from what is online abuse.
And then one of the world's most popular game show hosts reveals a shocking health problem. But vows to beat it.
ANDERSON: When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry on a sun-drenched day last year it felt like a fairy tale, didn't it? But it turns out that in
their fairy tale, there would be trolls not hiding in caves or under bridges but behind their keyboards. Well, now, the palace is fighting
back. Max Foster has the story.
FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of the most talked about women of our time. A fashion icon.
MEGHAN, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: The win this evening is Clare Keller.
FOSTER: And role model. Earning her this homage from pop Royalty. The Duchess of Sussex, bringing something completely new to the very top of the
Yet from the moment their relationship became public, Prince Harry and former American actress, Meghan Markle, detected racial and sexist
undertones in parts of the press. There were the references to the Duchess's rich and exotic DNA. How her family had gone from cotton slaves
to Royalty. And this piece, suggesting the Los Angeles native was almost straight out of Compton, a reference to a song by NWA.
The authors of these stories deny racism. But the couple saw underlying prejudice. Which they articulated with this palace statement, from 2016.
Calling out the racial undertones of comment pieces, and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and where the article comments.
Regular members of the Royal press pack will tell you they're just doing their job, reporting the news without prejudice. And they actually do far
more positive stories about Meghan than negative. The problem they say, is when digital news sites pick up on their firsthand reporting and then
A typical example the ongoing narrative that the Duchess of Sussex is at war with her sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge. This is based on just
one report in a respected newspaper that Meghan made Kate cry at a bride's maid's dress fitting before last year's wedding. And even that story is
disputed by the palace. The two women have endured constant comparisons.
YOMI ADEGOKE, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Essentially Kate is no deviation of the norm, she's very much the quintessential British girl next door.
FOSTER: Where Kate's now celebrated for wearing an off the shoulder dress, Meghan is accused of breaking Royal protocol.
[10:45:00] When Meghan wears dark nail polish, she breaks Royal protocol again with vulgar fashion move. The comparisons are as awkward for Kate as
they are for Meghan.
ADEGOKE: She is very much what you envision when you think of the word princess and, you know, frankly, she's white. Whereas someone like Meghan
is very much a deviation, and she's foreign, not just by being American, but she's got black heritage, and a divorcee. She's just a very different
type of person and somebody that I don't think your average British member of the public sort of think of when think of the word duchess or Royal
family at all.
FOSTER: A CNN Royal source accepts the duchess aren't best friend. They may not hang out or call each other, but they are friendly and they text.
Stories about a rift are just click bait, the source adds.
But it is that click bait that online trolls are linking to and are using against Meghan. On Twitter, we investigated the most commonly used anti-
Meghan hashtags from the beginning of January to the middle of February. In total we analyzed 5,204 tweets and discovered 20 accounts were behind 70
percent of the posts. Their profile descriptions typically contain Meghan- related hashtags, like #mexit. But also political hashtags, such as #Brexit, and #MAGA, Make America Great Again. We don't know how many
people are behind the accounts, and we found no evidence of a coordinated right-wing campaign against the Duchess. But --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meghan Markle fits into this bigger ideal of the West and the U.K. in decline. And here it is symbolized by Meghan who kind of
corrupts this old institution of the Buckingham Palace.
FOSTER: CNN has been told that the trolling escalated when the Duchess announced her pregnancy. That was at the beginning of the high-profile
tour of Australia. Palace staff are having to spend more time deleting comments on their social media platforms. Also, blocking accounts and
ADEGOKE: There is definitely sort of an unspoken sort of interest in what the baby will look like, and there has been a lot of talk on Twitter. Not
just from racists but also from people who are very pro-Meghan, about recessive gene about, whether the baby will have an afro. Whether the baby
will have its mother's nose. There's all these kind of coded conversations happening about what the baby will look like and it sounds sort of really
horrible to think, but a lot of people have sort of offered up the idea that the blacker the baby look, the worst its treatment will be.
FOSTER: Our Royal source tells us, they had to pre-block the "N" word on Instagram. And plus emojis of knives and guns. It was celebrated as the
wedding that united Britain and cemented the American alliance. But it also exposed divisions that a small group of haters are trying to exploit.
The Royal family are determined to starve them of that platform. Max Foster, CNN, Windsor Castle.
ANDERSON: Well, the beloved host of the TV game show "Jeopardy" made a heart-wrenching announcement. Alex Trebek went on YouTube to tell his fans
that he has stage four pancreatic cancer. This type of cancer has a very low survival rate. On average just 9 percent of people with this disease
are still alive five years after their diagnosis. But with a flash of grace and humor, Trebek promised not to give up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX TREBEK, "JEOPARDY" HOST: I'm going to fight this. And I'm going to keep working. And with the love and support of my family, and friends, and
with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease. Truth told, I have to, because under the
terms of my contract, I have to host "Jeopardy" for three more years. So help me. Keep the faith. And we'll win. We'll get it done. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, Jeopardy airs in dozens of countries. Trebek is a native of Canada. He's hosted the show since 1984 That is more than 7,000
episodes. We wish him the best.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD, coming up --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H.E. HOOR AL QASIMI, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDING DIRETOR, SHARJAH ART FOUNDATION: I did get some looks from some people, you're the daughter of
the ruler and you're sweeping the floor?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: You have an Emirati Royal using her position to bring the UAE to the forefront of the art world. That up next.
[10:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN, this is CONNECT THE WORLD, with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
A couple minutes left. I want to bring you this. This is a good story. Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, is a member of the UAE Royal family. But she has
made a name for herself, as a force to be reckoned with in the world of art. I caught up with her recently as she prepared for one of the key
contemporary art gatherings in the Middle East, which is kicking off today. One that has helped propel artists from this region firmly on to the world
ANDERSON (voice-over): Be a taken contemporary art installation, or a sculptor, inspired by Islamic signs, art has the power to redefine a city
and its urban experience.
(on camera): Just tell me about the restoring of these old buildings. Because it's absolutely marvelous.
(voice-over): It's the woman at the center of all of this is Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi. A quiet storm that's placed a sleepy Emirate of Sharjah on the
art map globally. Helping to make her one of the most influential voices in her field.
H.E. HOOR AL QASIMI, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDING DIRETOR, SHARJAH ART FOUNDATION: Well a lot of the international museums come to our Biennale.
So if you go to take Biennale, you'll see Marwa Arsanios work, you'll see Semiha Berkso work. All from past Biennales. Aline Baiana's work is a
short distance for the Turner prize. If you see modern, you will see various work, all from the country.
ANDERSON: The foundation's flag ship event, the Sharjah Biennial, is among the Middle East's largest contemporary art gatherings. Where the previous
addition attracting, 200,000 visitors, and touring to far-away places, like Senegal.
AL QASIMI: I've been known to like every city I go to. And fall in love with every city I go to.
We're in Hermia. It's another part of Sharjah.
ANDERSON: The Emirati Royal's passion for the arts has taken her all over the world, cultivating an international mindset.
AL QASIMI: This is a work by Rula Halawani, a Palestinian artist.
ANDERSON: She has caused some friction with the old guard after she took over the reins of the Biennale, back in the early 2000s.
AL QASIMI: They used the old Venice pavilion style, with country representation, and I said, well, nobody's from one country anymore, you
can't, you can't categorize people in that way. So we need to change this. So I was making a lot of changes, and the rest of the committee who are
mainly artists, decided six months before the opening, that they quit, and I worked 20 hours a day, seven days a week. We were such a small team, I
was sweeping the floor the morning of the opening. I was sticking labels, I was hanging and I did get some looks from some people, like, you're the
daughter of the ruler, and you're sweeping the floor.
ANDERSON: But the Sharjah Art Foundation extends well beyond the Biennale. Hosting about ten exhibitions each year. And recently showcasing the work
of the British artist, Frank Bowling, who made a name for himself in the 1960s.
AL QASIMI: The exhibition is called, Mappa Mundi. It's looking at his maps and migration, and it's also about the slave trade.
But at the same time, his journey from Ghana, to London, to the U.S.
[10:55:00] ANDERSON: This is an amazing space.
AL QASIMI: We haven't had any artists who we've said, sorry you can't show this because it's, you know, sexual or pornographic. We're more interested
in politics. We're interested in questioning things that are happening around us.
ANDERSON: A passion that very much defines this Royal force within the art world. And one she wants to share with others.
ANDERSON: And you can always follow the stories, like that, and others, that the team has been working on throughout the day, by going to the
Facebook page, Facebook.com/CNNconnect.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. From the team working with us here, it is a very good weekend, it is Thursday evening for us, we
will be back on Sunday, wherever you are watching, have a good one. Thank you.