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Tense Calm Along Israel-Gaza Border After Attacks; Critics Slam U.S. Declaration that Golan Belongs to Israel; U.K. Lawmakers Seize Control of Withdrawal Debate; Two Saudi Sisters Begin a New Life of Freedom; Prosecutors Drop All Charges Against Actor Jussie Smollett; Uber Buys Biggest Ride-Hailing App in Middle East; First All-Female Spacewalk Delayed Due to Lack of Suites that Fit. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired March 26, 2019 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Cyril Vanier.

And we begin with a very tense calm along the Israel/Gaza border after serious flareup in violence. Israel has extra tanks and troops on patrol

today and remains on high alert. Schools in the area are closed and residents are advised to stay near bomb shelters. Now it was a different

scene overnight. The skies over Gaza lit up as Israel bombed dozens of Hamas targets. While militants in Gaza launched rockets toward Israel.

This all began Monday with a rare long-distance rocket strike from Gaza that hit a house near Tel Aviv injuring seven people. Let's get the very

latest now from Phil Black. He's live on the Israel/Gaza border -- Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Cyril, it was only just in the last few hours during the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, arrived

back in Israel. Went straight to a meeting with military and security officials and then described last night's operations over Gaza as the most

significant in the biggest use of force since Israel and Hamas fought a war back in 2014.

This was an operation that was designed to send a message and make a point. Dozens of targets were hit. A senior Israeli government official has told

us that Prime Minister initially rejected the list of targets provided by the Israeli Defense Force. Demanded more substantial targets and then

personally approved those. And so significant buildings attached to Hamas including buildings related its military, security and intelligence

services. They were all struck, as well as the office of Hamas's political leader.

While all of that have was going on, rockets were flying in the other direction. More than 60 flew from Gaza into the territory where I'm

standing now around Israel. Throughout all of this violence, however, there were minimum casualties. None on the Israeli side. Seven we are

told Palestinians were injured. Through the daylight hours now it has been somewhat more calm. And so as night fall comes, the key question is, is

there more of this to come. Because Israelis are saying they are prepared to do more if required -- Cyril.

VANIER: Phil, talk to us about the context here. This isn't happening just at any random moment. Israeli elections are around the corner and

also crucially the U.S., Mr. Trump, just recognized Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights earlier this week. Are these a factor?

BLACK: So the coming Parliamentary elections in two weeks. That's key political context really. It's a close contest. The Prime Minister is

fighting to stay in government. It's really important in assessing the importance of the United States, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Golan

Heights. It's widely popular here. And so that's why objectively it is a political gift for Benjamin Netanyahu.

And you also have to view the military actions through that prism as well. Because as always security is the number one political issue in this

country leading into this election. And Netanyahu has faced really tough criticism over the last 24 hours, as this latest Gaza situation has

escalated with opponents and allies across much of the political spectrum here. Saying this is essentially his fault. Blaming him, saying this has

been allowed to happen because they say -- to paraphrase as I say a wide range of criticism -- they say that he has allowed this to happen through

being too soft on Hamas in the recent past -- Cyril.

VANIER: All right, Phil Black reporting live near the Israel/Gaza border. We'll be needing updates from you throughout the day and the evening where

you are. Phil, thank you very much.

Now Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu calls it an act of historic justice but critics around the world are accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of

subverting international law by declaring the Golan Heights part of Israel. Mr. Trump signed a proclamation in Washington yesterday with Prime Minister

Netanyahu by his side. No other country recognizes Israel's annexation of the Golan from Syria. Considering it instead occupied territory. Human

Rights Watch warns Mr. Trump's move could set a dangerous precedent, emboldening other nations to make land grabs. But President Trump says the

Golan is essential for Israeli security.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The despicable attack this morning demonstrates the significant security challenges that Israel faces

every single day. And today I am taking historic action to promote Israel's ability to defend itself and really to have a very powerful, very

strong national security, which they're entitled to have.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: But thanks to you, we now know that there are two peoples who stand with the Golan, the people of Israel,

and the people of America.

[11:05:03] So on behalf of all the people of Israel, thank you, President Trump. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your friendship. And

thank you for all you have done to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger and greater than ever. Thank you, Mr. President.


VANIER: OK, this calls for a little more context. You see the Golan Heights are always have been a strategic location. It's a disputed piece

of land. Let's look at the map. Overlooking Syria on the one side, Israel on the other with Lebanon sitting to the north and Jordan to the south.

Now, the Golan provides a great vantage point over the surrounding areas and a natural buffer against any military incursions, hence its strategic

value. It's also a very, very important water source for Israel. The Sea of Galilee is in the Golan Heights.

In 1967, the six-day war, Israel dramatically expanded its territory and seized control of the Golan. Syria tried to retake in 1973 but that failed

. An armistice was signed a year later. And to this day, a United Nations observer force has been in place on the cease fire line. In '81 Israel

passed a law that annexed the Golan Heights. This law was not recognized internationally, as we previously told you. Still it is not.

But doesn't change the fact that for 50 plus years now, the Golan has been under Israeli control. And of the 41,000 people who live there today,

almost half are now Israeli settlers. Now to be clear, Mr. Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty doesn't actually change the reality on

the ground. But past U.S. Presidents have always tread carefully on this bitterly contest Golan issue. And now, Mr. Trump has unequivocally chosen


Now several countries around the Arab world are speaking out against Trump's Golan Heights proclamation. Kuwait has called on the U.S. to

reverse its decision, saying it further fuels tensions in the region. He went on to say, it also undermines the U.S.'s role as mediator in the

Middle East peace process. Meanwhile, Turkey foreign minister called the decision a violation of international law.


MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): This signature does not legitimize Israel's occupation. We do not accept the

United States decisions that do not recognize international law. Turkey will do the necessary until the end. We do not accept unilateral steps we

do not support. We will do whatever necessary on every platform, including the U.N.


VANIER: Britain leaving the European Union was hailed by the "leave campaign" as an opportunity to take back control. Well now Parliament has

moved to arrest control of the Brexit process from the Prime Minister Theresa May. Launching a power grab on Monday night, lawmakers voted to

test support for alternative to Mrs. May's withdrawal plan, including an array of options already dismissed by the Prime Minister. Such as, a

Norway style deal. Keeping Britain in the single market, no-deal at all, or a second referendum. The lawmakers will now spend Wednesday exploring

those options in a series of indicative votes.

Now in a moment we'll be hearing from Anna Stewart, who is in "leave" supporting city of Peterborough in England. And Nina dos Santos in the

strongly "remain" city of Brighton. But first, I want to Bianca Nobilo. She joins us from Westminster for the latest from Parliament. Do we have

any sense what the MPs, what lawmakers are actually in favor of? I mean, what option they might actually get a majority on?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The whole reason that these indicative votes are going to happen tomorrow, Cyril, is exactly because they don't

know. That is the reason that Parliament has been brought to this position. There isn't sufficient support at the moment for the Prime

Minister's deal. Though there may be more votes starring to recruit for that. We know there is opposition against a no-deal in the House of

Commons. But there is not much else that we understand that lawmakers would actually support.

So the argument behind having this series of votes where MPs can express their support for various different options. Perhaps a second referendum,

a permanent customs union, a no-deal, Theresa May's deal. We don't know quite how it's going to work just yet. Although I did just bump into

Dominic Grieve, who has been involved with the process. And he said it would be a series of clean votes instead of MPs ranking the option from

let's say 1 to 7. The outcome would hopefully then be some form of consensus in which Parliament can take action and then try and deliver it.

But it isn't as simple as that. Because there isn't really a precedent for the House of Commons doing something like this. And those who oppose it

argue it sets a dangerous constitutional precedent by doing so.

[11:10:00] And Parliament may be well be confronted with the precise issues that the government has been struggling with if they try and implement what

they do coalesce around.

VANIER: But wait, Bianca, backtrack for a second. You say, Parliament may want to take action assuming they have some majority and some guiding

principles to take action on. But Prime Minister is still there. Theresa May is still in office. And she has said that she would -- she has not

committed herself or her government to backing whatever the Parliament -- the lawmakers agree on.

NOBILO: The Prime Minister said that yesterday. She said that she wouldn't be bound to act on any of the results of a series of indicative

votes. Now the reason the government gave for doing that is because they said it has to be negotiable with the EU. We cannot commit to delivering

on whatever Parliament votes on, because we don't know whether or not the EU would agree to it. But I can tell you, Cyril, is I spent the morning in

Parliament and there is massive amount of frustration shared by members of the Prime Minister's party and her handling of all of this.

There have been calls for her to go publicly and also privately. MPs feeling like the way that she's handled these negotiations and the

subsequent passage of her deal through Parliament has been suboptimal to put it lightly. So there is a big push for the Prime Minister to perhaps

bargain her resignation in order to get her deal across the line.

I've even been speaking to members of Parliament who oppose the Prime Minister's deal originally. They are Brexiters and have always fought tor

Britain leaving the EU and have now decided they're going to back her deal in order to try and get it across the line and are trying to convince their

colleagues to do so. So there could be movement in that direction, Cyril, at precisely the time when Parliament is trying to express perhaps another

direction to take on Brexit.

VANIER: Yes, that's really interesting. We'll speak to a Tory MP in just a few minutes who did what you just described. Few weeks ago he voted

against Theresa May's deal. Now he is calling to vote for it. That's coming up in a few minutes.

But let's actually go to our teams on the ground and find out what the rest of the country thinking about all this. Anna Stewart is in Peterborough.

A city that voted to leave the European Union. How are residents there looking at all this?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Generally, Cyril, a sense of bemusement and a sprinkling of confusion. But that frustration that's being felt by MPs in

Westminster certainly spreads out here. As you said, two-thirds of people actually in Peterborough actually voted to leave the EU. And to be honest,

the conversation hasn't really moved much further from that.

When you ask people about Brexit, they don't know necessarily about each of the indicative votes being considered tonight. They don't know all the

amendments that had been voted on and against in the last few weeks. They're still talking about whether or not we should leave the EU and

questioning why it hasn't already happened.

I want to show you some pictures. Because although many people voted to leave the EU, if you travel just ten minutes outside of the city center --

and you can see this beautiful cathedral behind me -- you find the most multicultural areas surrounding the Peterborough. And this is one of the

concerns that there's too much immigration too fast. But these areas are also desperately in support of remaining in the EU. So it's a very divided

place despite overall voting to leave.

VANIER: All right. Let's find out what the view is then from Brighton, a city that wants to stay in the European Union. Nina dos Santos you are

with the Remainers of Brighton. What do they think? Do they think they might now get something of a reprieve now that lawmakers are taking some


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Perplexing, confusion, "Brexhaustion", if you like, are the types of themes you hear on the streets of Brighton.

This is a town that looks across the British Channel to its future to the European continent and also looks back towards Westminster with an

increasing feeling of dismay at the moment -- Cyril.

This is a town that voted 69 percent in favor of staying inside the EU. It had a huge turnout in the referendum, 74 percent, much higher than the rest

of the country when they voted on the referendum three years ago.

And you know, there are large communities here that rely upon tourism, particularly from the EU and other parts of the world. They are worried

about whether or not the tourists will continue to come. There are many language schools that teach European children and university students to

speak English, teach them other things. There is a university -- big university here as well. So for all of these reasons this is a town that

is very much pro remain. I've been gaining a sample of what have people think on the streets with the odd leave voter. And here is more or less

what people have been saying this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way the Parliament have taken control, I don't think will help -- will help at all. I think it's just going to make it

even more confusing and more delay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they either need to figure out now or leave it and let our generation figure it out in a few years' time.

[11:15:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to leave with no-deal on Friday.

DOS SANTOS: And if you can't get that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll go with Theresa May's deal.


DOS SANTOS: And anecdotally those were some of the people who did spoke to us on camera. We spoke to several about several people before getting a

few of those sound bites. And the first thing that they did was clam up when we said the word Brexit. They said it's just too toxic. I'm sick of

it. I don't want to talk about it anymore even if I was remain, I just wanted to happen. Because it's a nightmare for the country and I want it

to be over with. That's what people are saying here in Brighton on the streets today -- Cyril.

VANIER: "Brexhaustion" indeed. To all teams on the ground, Nina dos Santos in Brighton, thank you so much.

Theresa May is due to address Conservative members on Wednesday amid growing speculation, again about her political future. A Conservative

member of Parliament, Daniel Kawczynski, joins us now. Sir, do you expect Theresa May to offer her resignation perhaps in exchange for Conservative

support for her deal?

DANIEL KAWCZYNSKI, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Well, I think there is a lot of speculation about that. And the Prime Minister is certainly going to be

addressing us at the 1922 committee tomorrow evening. I personally don't think that the personality issue is the most important one. I think

supporting the deal now is absolutely essential. This is now the cleanest and most genuine form of Brexit that we will have following the fact that

this remain Parliament has seized control of the agenda.

These are parliamentarians who have never believed in Brexit and who don't respect the wishes of the British people. And they're trying to overturn

the decisions by implementing something like a customs union with the European Union, a Norway model, or even a full-blown single market

agreement. And those are not things that I and my fellow Brexiteers would countenance for our country.

VANIER: Right, therefore there might be a majority in favor of a softer, perhaps a much softer Brexit. We don't know. Wednesday the results of the

indicative votes will tell us that. For Theresa May's Brexit deal to pass though, people who have just voted against it, lawmakers, would now have to

vote for it. You are willing to do just that. You've changed your mind. So explain to us your change of heart.

KAWCZYNSKI: Well, I -- I vote the against the deal on two occasions. And now I'm going to be backing it. I mean members in my local association of

Shrewsbury, senior party figures in Shrewsbury, the local farmers union, business organizations, are now asking me to vote for the deal. And I am

complying with their wishes. That is the overall thinking now in my constituency. They voted for Brexit and they're very worried, they're

frightened that what could happen is that somehow Brexit could be delayed significantly. There could be another referendum or we could get a

neutered form of Brexit. Which doesn't respect the wishes of the British people. Can I say to you also, that --?

VANIER: Let me interrupt respectfully on that point for a second. Because I think it's a very important one. Are you telling me that your

constituents have changed their minds since the beginning of the year or you are you telling me that you are only now listening to them?

KAWCZYNSKI: Oh, no, I always listen to my constituents of Shrewsbury --

VANIER: S in January then, when you voted against the Theresa May deal, that's what they wanted you to do. They were against the deal in January

and your constituents are now in favor of it two months later?

KAWCZYNSKI: In December, in January, in February, my local party members were listening to my concerns about the deal. And they were very relaxed

about me continuing to vote against the deal. They were not lobbying me to support the Prime Minister. That mood changed very, very quickly after the

defeat of the second vote. And many of them at that juncture said, you have fulfilled your job. You as the legislator, you have held the Prime

Minister to account. You have managed to secure one or two small additional changes to the withdrawal agreement. But that's it. We now

need you and we ask you -- we will support you whatever you do -- but we want to you back the deal because we are worried of the consequences if the

gridlock continues in the House of Commons.

If no-deal is settled on and somehow the Remainers -- don't forget there are 500 Remainers in this building. Only 150 real Brexiteers if the

Remainers somehow manage to overturn that decision. And it's very interesting, the gentleman in my constituency who is leading the campaign

for another referendum, he is now upset that I'm changing my mind and voting for the Prime Minister's deal. Because in his eyes if this gridlock

continuing, the likelihood of him getting his second referendum to overturn the previous decision will be augmented.

[11:20:03] VANIER: Are you getting any pushback from your colleagues, other Conservative lawmakers? Because you're a member of the European

Research Group which supports a hard Brexit. So are you getting pushback from your colleagues? And are you campaigning them to change their minds

as you have done?

KAWCZYNSKI: We -- the European Research Group is not a whipped caucus and our chairman, Mr. Rees-Mogg, allows and encourages, facilities all sort of


VANIER: There's considerable voting discipline.

KAWCZYNSKI: -- alternative points of view and perspectives. I'm sorry.

VANIER: There is considerable voting discipline within the ERG.

KAWCZYNSKI: There is. There is voting discipline because we are a Euroskeptic caucus and thus far we've managed to hold together as a caucus.

But now there is genuine debate behind closed doors within the ERG. Last night I and many other Conservative MPs took on the consensus. I think we

are in the minority perhaps in the ERG. But one after another Conservative members of Parliament stood up and said, the time has come now, we must

back the deal. Otherwise, face the consequences of losing this entirely.

And it would be rather ironic if the Euroskeptic caucus within the Conservative Party was in part responsible for somehow Brexit being

indefinitely delayed or overturned. The most important thing I'd like to say to you, though, sir is this, every time the citizens of any European

Union country have had the temerity to take on the European Union they've been told, they've made a mistake. You've made a mistake, think again, you

need to vote again until you get it right. That happened in Denmark, France and Ireland. It is not going to happen in the United Kingdom

because if it did it would set back the Euroskeptic cause on our continent by a generation. And we mustn't allow that to happen. We must go back to

being free and independent and sovereign nations as we were before, rather part of this artificial, supernatural structure which is not in the

interest of our citizens and not accountable to them.

And Daniel Kawczynski, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. Your point of view is an important one. Because if other fellow

Conservative MPs do as you have done, and if enough change their minds and now start voting in favor of Theresa May's Brexit deal, obviously, this

could put the whole Brexit on a new track. Well not a new track, but rather the track it has been on until it was derailed. Sir, thank you so

much for your time.

KAWCZYNSKI: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

VANIER: And breaking news coming into us here at CNN. In a televised address. Algeria's army chief of staff is calling for the President

Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be proclaimed unfit to lead the nation and for his seat to be declared empty. In the address, Ahmed Gaed Salah, called the

protester demands legitimate after weeks of massive demonstrations calling for the 82-year-old Bouteflika to step down. The President has been

suffering failing health for several year now. But that did not stop him from running in the upcoming elections. We will bring you more details on

this as they become available to us.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD more on the developments here in the U.K. We'll speak to the author of the aptly titled book, "Brexit, What the Hell

Happens Now?" Good question. Let's see if he has any answers. And also this --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will finally have my rights for the first time in my life.


VANIER: A new beginning for two Saudi sisters who feared for their lives the moment they learned of their freedom. That's coming up.


VANIER: Two Saudi sisters have been fearfully looking over their shoulders for the past six months now. But now they are beginning a new life of

freedom. The sisters fled their families during a holiday. But their planned escape to Australia came to a sudden halt in Hong Kong. CNN's Ivan

Watson picks up their story from Hong Kong.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the moment two sisters from Saudi Arabia find out they'll suddenly be free.

You'll be flying out the end of next week.

TWO SAUDI SISTER: Whoa, woo. Yeah!

WATSON: A country which we won't identify for their safety has just granted the sisters emergency humanitarian visas. Six months of living in

limbo in Hong Kong now finally over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will finally have my rights the first time in my life.

This is 18 and 20-year-old Rawan and Reem -- not their real names -- during much less happy times. For their security they've asked that to show their


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since we were teenagers, we experienced family violence and abuse and we wanted to run away from this.

WATSON (on camera): Who was committing the violence in the family?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brother and the father.

WATSON (voice-over): In September of last year the sisters conspired to flee from their family during a beach vacation in Sri Lanka. They were on

route to Australia during what was supposed to be a two-hour layover in Hong Kong International Airport, when they say airline employees and

diplomats from the Saudi consulate in Hong Kong, intervened taking their passports. Allegedly canceling their tickets to Australia without their

permission and trying to get them on a flight back to Saudi Arabia. Their lawyer filed criminal charges on their behalf.

MICHAEL VIDLER, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER, VIDLER AND CO.: We alleged that they were the subject of an attempted kidnapping at Hong Kong International

Airport in the restricted area.

WATSON (on camera): Hong Kong police confirmed to CNN that they are investigating what happened in the airport on that day. In the meantime

CNN reached out multiple times to both the Saudi foreign ministry in Riyadh and the Saudi consulate here in Hong Kong for comment but received no

answer. In fact, the Saudi consulate sent back our letters by mail unopened.

WATSON (voice-over): For the last six months, the sisters have been stranded in Hong Kong living in fear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm afraid that if I will go somewhere, they will kidnap me. Because if they can do it in the safest place in the airport,

some official place. Can they do it in the street? Can they do it in anyplace in Hong Kong?

WATSON: But humanitarian visas to a new country have taken away that fear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will have so many options that I never had in my life. I will have to choose which is a very new thing to me.

WATSON: Under the Saudi Arabia male guardianship system women have fewer legal rights than men. Forced to cover up and unable to travel or even

apply for a passport without a husband, father or brother's permission. The sisters have now escaped that system.

VIDLER: They are the lucky ones.

WATSON: Their attorney says they have a message for the women they've left behind.

VIDLER: The coverage of their story will alert people to the plight of women in Saudi Arabia.

WATSON: As they step into their new future, these sisters say they feel reborn.

[11:30:00] Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


VANIER: OK, I want to bring you that update on the breaking news that we're following. In a televised address Algeria's army chief of staff is

calling for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be proclaimed unfit to lead the nation and for his seat to be declared empty. In the address, Ahmed

Gaed Salah called the protesters demands legitimate after weeks of massive demonstration calling for the 82-year-old Bouteflika to step down and not

run in the next Presidential election. The President has been suffering from failing health several years now. We'll bring you more details on

this as soon as we get them.

And more breaking news, coming from the U.S. If you have been following the Jussie Smollett story here in the U.S., you're not going to believe this.

Attorneys, for actor Jussie Smollett, say the prosecutors have now dropped all charges against their client. Remember, he was accused of staging a

hate crime and filing a false police report after he had claimed that he was the victim of an attack back in January. In a statement just a short

time ago, his attorneys said Smollett was the victim of an inappropriate rush to judgment and that he is relieved to have the situation behind him.

Smollett is expected to speak shortly. We'll be keeping an eye on that for you.

CONNECT THE WORLD continues after this break.


[11:35:00] VANIER: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Cyril Vanier. Welcome back to the show.

And we return to one of our top story, Brexit. As we speak, British lawmakers are scrambling to work out what to do next after they voted to

take control of the Brexit process from the Prime Minister.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes to the right 327, the noes to the left, 300.


VANIER: 30 members of the Conservative Party, including three of the Prime Minister's own ministers, abandoned her in the vote. A series of

alternatives will be voted on Wednesday. Those are likely to include a new referendum on Brexit following the massive rallies we saw in London over

the weekend. Leaving the European Union without a deal, this would actually happen by default in a few weeks if lawmakers can't agree on

anything else. Other possibilities include what's called a Norway style deal with the EU. Full access for the U.K. to the single market and the

European free-trade area.

OK, Ian Dunt literally wrote the book on this. He's the author of "Brexit, What the Hell Happens Now?" Ian, good gig, I suppose you're going to be

updating that book forever. Look, the issue of the day is -- the issue of the day is the indicative votes Wednesday in Parliament. And in your

latest article you predict it probably will not bring much clarity.

IAN DUNT, AUTHOR, "BREXIT: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENS NOW?": Well, not on the first round. And I don't think any really expect it to on the first round.

Oliver Letwin, Conservative MP, who sort of pushed through this idea. Really wants the first round to sort of be a kind of lay of the land

option. So you have MPs that go through probably not in sequence, probably all in one go to try and stop them from gaming the system. And basically

start saying which of these options do you want? Maybe being able to select more than one at a time. Just to get some impression of what has

substantial support, what has significant support.

The thinking is probably that none of them will have majority support right now. But where we could get to by the end of tomorrow is having some

impression of what the heavy hitters are in terms of options. Then potentially Monday, certainly a little bit later on, you could then have

another runoff. Possibly using something called a single transferrable vote. Single transferrable vote basically what you're looking at is

preference voting. Your ability to say not just I want this option but your ability to go I want this option but if I don't get that option, I

could at least live with this as option two, option number three. And then maybe at the end of that you get something that looked like it could get

majority support.

VANIER: So -- all right. So lawmakers would fall back on options that not -- might not be the first choice, might not be their preference but would

be their least hated option. And in that way perhaps you would look down over a few rounds of voting and you get to something close to a majority.

That's what you are saying?

DUNT: Yes, exactly. Look, I know it sounds convoluted, it sounds incredibly technical. But the think this is -- this is what Letwin's

thinking is. OK. For the last three years Britain has been lost in a sort of quest of idealism. Idealism on the Brexit side of you know, this

increasingly radical position that Brexiteers find themselves on, until now many of them say, only no deal satisfies the things that they said during

the referendum. Something the most certainly did not say during the referendum.

And on the remain side, people going from soft Brexit -- where they thought they could accept that kind of compromise. Then to having another

referendum. And now as we're seeing over the week, to millions of people, 5.5 million the last count, signing a petition calling for revocation of

Article 50, cancelling Brexit without even arguably a referendum at all.

Those are the two idealistic position on either side. Letwin's idea is, look, we can find pragmatism in this situation. And the way to find

pragmatism is to get MPs to stop thinking about their ideal outcome and to get them to start thinking about what would be their least bad outcome.

And maybe out of that kind of decision-making process they can find a way forward.

VANIER: In a roundabout way, this could also -- there's a scenario at least where this could end up strengthening Theresa May and her proposed

Brexit deal. Isn't there?

DUNT: Yes, I think there is. So what the sort of hardline Brexiteers are starting to see is that people -- you know, Parliament is moving on. Their

project -- their dream is starting to slip away from them. And increasingly their starting to think, well actually maybe it is May's

deal, the Prime Minister's deal or no Brexit at all. That's pretty much what Jacob Rees-Mogg, who sort of the totemic figure for the Brexiteers.

No one really questions his commitment to the project. That's what he was saying this morning. So they're starting to split that way.

However, I don't think enough of them are slipping that way in order for May to be able to credibly say she can get her deal through. She relies on

a party called the DUP, an extremely conservative, very religious northern Irish party to prop up her government.

[11:40:00] Many Brexiteers look to the DUP for how they should vote on this. The DUP were very clear today. They are not close to supporting the

deal. And among the Brexit hardliners in the Conservative Party, very many of them are not prepared even now to support May's deal. Very many of them

say, well, fine, look, if we need to extend another year of Article 50, even if we were to remain, those would not be as bad as the Prime

Minister's deal. So the Brexiteers at the moment are in complete disarray. Starting to split down the middle. Some of them showing more pragmatism as

their scared of Parliament taking control. And others of them sticking to that very ideological, very puritanical, quasi-almost religious commitment

to the Brexit cause. Which one those two group comes out on top isn't quite clear.

VANIER: All right, look, I had intended to paraphrase your book and ask you what the hell happens next. But that's unfair and you've just pointed

out, we just don't know at this stage. So this is what I'd like to find out from you, I'd like your opinion. It seems to me every side is claiming

that they have democratic legitimacy on their side. Right. Theresa May says we have to fulfill the wish of the British people, as was expressed in

the leave referendum. And those who want a softer Brexit pointing to the fact that they may actually have a majority in Parliament. And of course

there are people who want a second referendum and want to stay in the European Union. And they're saying there were maybe up to a million people

in the streets and 5 million people who voted for -- who signed a petition. Where to you would be the best manifestation of democracy?

DUNT: That is a very difficult question. So, the first thing you want to say whenever you get to this kind of scenario where you've got polarized

ideas on either side. Where you had a referendum result that after all was pretty tight. I mean, 52 to 48 percent is not some kind of landslide

victory. You go what's the compromise solution? And the most obvious compromise solution is what you mentioned before, it's the Norway model.

Which is basically you stay in the single market, you stay in the customs union but leave the EU. And that's a tantamount is basically saying, look,

we'll keep the economics but we'll drop the politics of the European Union membership. That seemed to have been the compromise solution back in 2016.

Theresa May didn't take it. And now I suspect that if a least bad outcome shared by the most MPs can be found, it's probably around that kind of


But don't get me wrong, that requires a lot of sacrifices by a lot of people. Chief of them of all, you've got to accept the free movement of

people. And free movement of people arguably more than anything encouraged leave voters during the referendum. It's gone down in importance since

then in poll after poll but MPs are still terrified of it. So even when you look at these moderate outcomes, when you look at these things that

seem like they would bring people together. They are plenty of problems there just as there are with all the other options.

VANIER: All right. Ian, great to talk to you. We have to catch up on this and we have to do the -- we have to do the debrief in a week's time.

Things may have changed ten times by then. And the preface of your book may have changed ten times by then as well. Ian, thanks a lot.

All right. Now I want to bring you live pictures in a breaking news story that we just gave you a few details on a few minutes ago. That is that

Jussie Smollett story. Jussie Smollett, remember for put international viewers, he is the actor from the hit U.S. TV series, "Empire". And so

it's a convoluted story. Earlier this year Jussie Smollett had alleged a hate crime was carried out on him. That he was attacked in the streets of

Chicago and it turned out a few weeks later that the police debunked that story and charged him with making false accusations.

Well, that debunking has now apparently being debunked because all those charges have been dropped. And we are hearing from Jussie Smollett's

attorneys that he feels vindicated. These are the live pictures outside in Chicago. And will be bringing you any comments from either the actor

himself or his attorneys as soon as they occur.

All right. Stay with us. We'll be back right after this.



KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Imagine waking up one day and deciding to climb the world's highest toughest mountain.


My name is Marin Minamiya. I'm 20 years old. Currently a university student.

LU STOUT: In 2016 at age 19 she became the youngest Japanese person to summit Mount Everest.

MINAMIYA: It was beautiful. I thought that I had become somebody completely new.

LU STOUT: Her accolades don't end there. Minamiya is also the youngest person in history to scale the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven

continents. And she's reached both the North and South Poles. She got the inspiration to climb Everest a decade ago.

MINAMIYA: When I was 13 years old there was this program at school to go overseas and do some volunteer work and make a difference. And I went to

Nepal. I saw Mount Everest for the first time. Made me wonder what it would be like for me to climb this mountain, who would I meet? What will I

learn from this mountain?

LU STOUT: It wasn't an easy feat. Claiming Everest took six years of planning, securing funds, training.

MINAMIYA: I came with my own training program which was to carry like 30 kilos of weight on my back and walk on the treadmill at the highest incline

for like more than 3 hours before going on the journey.

This guy in Japan told me to my face there is just no way that you can do it. You're just a girl, you're 17 years old. And that was very painful

for me to hear. But he definitely taught me to have more confidence in myself. And to not let these naysayers actually get in the way of making

my dream come true.

LU STOUT: For Minamiya, it has always been about believing in herself. And she wants to inspire others to do the same.

MINAMIYA: Believe in your potential and believe that it's infinity. I think that's extremely important. Because all of the limitations and the

barriers out there, if you do think that there are barriers you put it on yourself.



VANIER: A reminder of the breaking news that we're following. We are waiting for actor Jussie Smollett to speak after prosecutors have dropped

all charges against him. Now you'll remember he was accused of staging a hate crime and then filing a false police report after he claimed that he

was the victim of an attack back in January. In a statement just a short time ago, his attorneys said Smollett was the victim of an inappropriate

rush to judgment and that he's relieved to have the situation behind him. We are waiting for Smollett himself to make remarks. We'll bring you those

as soon as he begins speaking.

The ride hailing app Uber is buying its biggest rival in the Middle East. Uber is shelling out more than $3 billion to acquire Careem. A Dubai based

company with millions of users in the region. Uber is gearing up for an initial public offering expected later this year. Buying out Careem would

give Uber dominance in the Middle East and help the American business expand overseas. John Defterios joins us from London. He's been following

this. John, the biggest tech deal in Middle East history. Is this a total validation for what Dubai has been doing over years if not decades now?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNNMONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well I think that's in the affirmative, Cyril. This is the first tech unicorn to get bought out.

That means a valuation of over $1.0 billion. And just over two years' time we've seen two major tech acquisitions. This being Uber for Careem. It's

a premium price at $3.1 billion and five times the size of the major takeout by Amazon of Which is an online digital retailer for

just under $600 million. So kudos for Dubai that these two major tech deals as the financial center of the region and expanded to become the

technology center. And the ruler of Dubai singled this out in his Twitter and Instagram feeds today, suggesting people laughed back in 1999 when they

decided to launch Dubai Internet City. But nobody is laughing anymore and that these two tech companies flourished in the desert of Dubai -- with a

little bit of sarcasm from him. He put the deals there in dirhams but they are sizable.

One of the thing that stood out for me, Uber is making the acquisition of Careem but will remain a wholly owned subsidiary and have its own CEO --

one of the cofounders of the group. Number two, as I suggested before, didn't go out cheaply at over $3 billion. This company was evaluated at $2

billion just six months ago. So Uber looking to expand. Get its own $120 billion valuation with a mixed track record in emerging markets -- having

pulled out of China and Russia and Southeast Asia -- decided the Middle East, North Africa and stretching to South Asia and Pakistan was very

important for its IPO later in 2019.

VANIER: Yes, I suppose their motto is, if you can't them -- or if you can't totally beat them, buy them.


VANIER: Look, there's one thing worth noting about Careem, it's interesting they taut their local advantage. Right. They know the ground,

they know the region in the Middle East. But it's actually run by foreigners.

DEFTERIOS: Yes, run by foreigners -- but this is an interesting point that you raise, Cyril, because in the Dubai vernacular -- and I've talked to all

the people that are running this division, including the minister of artificial intelligence. They have a minister of the future. They don't

care where the person is from. They want it developed in Dubai. So they want the global citizen.

This is an unusual combination. We have a photo here of the cofounders. In the center is one from Karachi, Pakistan and other is from the Nordic

region educated in Sweden. And the third was born in Saudi Arabia but actually raised in Germany. The one at the center, Mudassir Sheikha, is

going to be remaining as the CEO going forward. That's Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olsson, lives in Abu Dhabi and commutes to Dubai, will remain

very involved in the company going forward.

So indeed you are correct, neither one of them from Dubai or Abu Dhabi originally. But wanted to set up a base there and use it as a reason to

expand through the broader region. This is a company that has exposure from Morocco all the way to Saudi Arabia. And it's also important for Uber

to have one that has this local knowledge, can feel their way through what is a complex region. And these two consultants, formerly of Mackenzie,

made it work with Careem and now selling out for $3 billion not bad after seven years in business I'd say -- Cyril.

[11:55:00] VANIER: Not bad at all. John Defterios, live from London, thank you very much, John.

And a first ever all female spacewalk at the International Space Station has been delayed because there aren't enough space suits onboard that fit

them. Anne McClain and Christina Koch were supposed to go out on Friday to continue stalling the lithium ion batteries for on pair of the station's

solar arrays. But because there is only one medium sized space on board, Nick Hague will accompany Koch to complete the work.

All right, thanks for being with us today. I'm Cyril Vanier. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. See you tomorrow.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: It's 4:00 in London. Now, let me bring you up to date with events that we're expecting to happen.