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CONNECT THE WORLD
No New U.S. F-35 Jets for Turkey After Russia Deal; Turkish Diplomat Among Two Killed in Northern Iraq; British-Iranian Charity Worker Transferred to Mental Ward; Mexican Government Rejects New U.S. Asylum Rules; Republican Voters Fall In Line Defending Trump; Aid Groups Hold Emergency Meeting on Congo Ebola Outbreak; The Icons Have Become a Global Phenomenon. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired July 17, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because they have a system of missiles that's made in Russia, they're now prohibited from buying over
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: No new U.S. fighter jets for Turkey after it started receiving a Russian missile defense system, although there are no
sanctions in sight for the NATO member.
Plus, a husband's concerns for a British/Iranian health care worker jailed in Iran. She is being transferred to a mental health ward.
And is one of the world's most deadly diseases, reaching emergency levels again. What we know about the Ebola outbreak and what the Global Health
Agency proposes to do about it.
I'm Becky Anderson live from the Middle East programming hub for you here in Abu Dhabi.
Weapons and military deals connecting the world this hour as the United States tussles with Turkey over fighter jets and Iran draws a red line over
its ballistic missiles. Also this hour, more on a very personal story with a very political backdrop. The very latest on a British/Iranian woman held
in Tehran on security charges. I want to start in Turkey for you.
U.S. President Donald Trump blocking sales of the American made F-35 stealth fighter jets to Ankara. That is after Turkey received the first
components for a new air defense system from Russia. Well President Trump seemed reluctant as he announced the ban, and he made no mention of
sanctions against Turkey. Now the U.S. is legally required to impose sanctions in response to Turkey's purchase of the S-400 surface to air
missile defense system.
Turkey is a NATO ally. Russia is NATO's longtime adversary. And along with the U.S., all are involved in the conflict in Syria. And that is what
makes this all so messy. Jomana Karadsheh is in Istanbul. And Jomana, I want to get to all of that in a moment. First, we are just hearing into
CNN that a Turkish diplomat has been killed in northern Iraq. What do you have on that?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this has happened in the past few hours. So we're still getting information on this attack.
According to two security officials in northern Iraq, they say that gunmen attacked a restaurant in the city of Erbil. Opening fire in the restaurant
and killing at least two people. Now one of them they say is a Turkish diplomat. They say those unknown gunmen fled the scene afterwards, with
one of those security officials describing this as an assassination.
Now the Turkish Foreign Ministry confirming that one diplomat was killed in this attack, and President Erdogan in the last hour or so tweeting,
condemning this attack. And saying that Turkey is asking the regional authorities in Iraq to find the perpetrators. The foreign minister saying
they're talking to Baghdad and Erbil and they are ready to send a delegation if necessary. Of course, what is worrying about this, Becky, is
that it is unusual to see this sort of attack taking place in northern Iraq in the city of Erbil. And still no claim of responsibility at this time.
ANDERSON: OK. Well more on that of course as we get it. And Jomana, working her sources on that story in the past couple of hours for you.
Let's talk about the decision then by the U.S. to ban sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey after months vowing that Turkey would face sanctions should
they go ahead with this purchase. After months, the United States President balks. Why, and what's the response in Ankara?
KARADSHEH: Well still no response at this point, Becky. But I think there's a huge sigh of relief at this kind of reaction. You know, for
days, everyone has been waiting to see what kind of response the U.S. is going to have. As you mention, for months they've been talking severe
consequences, the threat of economic sanctions, expelling Turkey from the F-35 program. Because not only is Turkey purchasing these planes, it's
also a partner in manufacturing the planes. And then you have that reaction following days of it seemed that there was mixed messages coming
from the administration for some time.
[11:05:00] You had Pentagon briefings that were scheduled in the past few days to discuss this very issue that were cancelled. And then we hear from
President Trump yesterday who really reluctantly announced that they won't be selling the F-35s to Turkey. And he made it very clear that he's not
happy about losing the business deal for America. And he talked about the great relationship he has with President Erdogan.
Repeating again what we heard him say following their meeting at the G20, blaming the Obama administration for what he described as this mess of a
situation right now. Saying that it was the Obama administration that refused to sell Turkey the alternative for the S-400, that is the Patriot
Missile Defense System. And he was really repeating, Becky, what we have heard from Turkish officials over and over again.
But some U.S. officials would really disagree with that. They say that there were negotiations that took place and that the U.S. did offer to sell
them the patriots. But Turkey was trying to also buy the technology that goes with that so they can produce it in the future, which was a nonstarter
for the U.S.
But as you mention, the big concern right now among lawmakers in the U.S. and of course, NATO allies, is what happens next. Where are sanctions.
Because under U.S. law, the President has to impose sanctions on Turkey under that countering America's adversaries through sanctions act, which is
meant to punish countries that buy weapons from Russia. So far, no mention of those sanctions. And this is after we heard from President Erdogan the
past few days, Becky, saying that he believes that President Trump is going to waive these sanctions.
ANDERSON: Yes, and there will be bipartisan support for sanctions in Congress. All right. Thank you for that.
The United States and Iran are sending mixed signals on whether there might be, might be some progress in resolving at least one big dispute.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Iran has indicated it is ready to negotiate about its ballistic missile program. He appeared to be referring
to a comment by Iran's foreign minister that Tehran would discuss its missile program after the U.S. stopped arming Saudi Arabia and other allies
in the Middle East.
Well Iran's mission to United Nations issued a statement to clear things up. Saying, quote, Iran's missiles are absolutely and under no condition
negotiable with anyone or any country, period. Full stop.
Well oil prices actually rose today, but yesterday they tumbled after Pompeo's remarks. Crude plunging more than 4 percent at one point. It
recovered a bit to finish the day at 57.62, down 3.3 percent yesterday. Slightly higher today.
Well another story on Iran that we are closely following. The fate of the British/Iranian charity worker jailed in Tehran. The U.K. demanding the
immediate release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, saying it is extremely concerned about her welfare. She was transferred to the mental ward of a
public hospital this week. She was arrested of course in 2016 during a visit to her family. She was accused of trying to topple the government, a
charge she flatly rejects. She was sentenced to five years in jail. Well Nazanin's husband has campaigned tirelessly for her release. Richard
Ratcliffe joining us now. What do you currently know about Nazanin's situation? Where is she?
RICHARD RATCLIFFE, HUSBAND OF NAZANIN ZAGHARI-RATCLIFFE: Good afternoon, Becky. So you're absolutely right, she's currently in the mental ward of
the public hospital, Imam Khomeini hospital, which is a big hospital in Tehran. She was transferred there on Monday. We were quite hopeful
because of course we've been campaigning for her to get medical treatment for a while and asking the British government to push for medical
treatment. So felt quite positive when that happened on Monday. As it turns out, she's under the control of the Revolutionary Guard. Which is
not normal in a case where someone's transferred to hospital. It would just normally be just normal prison guards. And we've not been able to get
So yesterday her father went down to try to visit her. He wasn't allowed to go and see her. He wasn't allowed to telephone her. Now she's not been
allowed to telephone since. Today her mother went down to tried to see her. Same story.
So we don't know what treatment she's getting. We don't know how long she'll be there for. And obviously, at the beginning it was all very
positive that it seemed like a good sign. As the days pass and as the isolation continues, and as the fact you know that the Revolutionary Guard
whose job is to be dark and scary, they're the ones holding her. Well then, it's gotten a lot more ominous.
[11:10:00] ANDERSON: Richard, your wife recently ended a hunger strike, her third since being -- you yourself went on a strike in solidarity
protesting outside the Iranian embassy in London. I know you haven't been able to be in contact for the past 48 hours or so, but how is she?
RATCLIFFE: You're absolutely right, it is not that long ago we were both on a hunger strike. That was obviously physically very tough probably a
lot tougher for her. Because she started from a much weaker place. And certainly I am glad we ended when we did, because she was yellow, liver not
working and various other symptoms. It's taken her awhile to recover.
So I spoke to her Monday. I spoke to her reasonably frequently in the two weeks after she ended the hunger. She was getting better physically. I
think probably emotionally it was a very draining experience and essentially why does she do it. She didn't because she was desperate and
just wanted to make clear that enough is enough and wanted something to move.
Her being transferred to prison hospital or to a normal hospital felt like a positive thing at the beginning. You know, her being transferred under
security guard of the Revolutionary Guard, not getting access feels a bit less positive.
How she is generally, well if you go on hunger strike, you're feeling pretty desperate. That's part of the reason I joined her, to make really
clear that enough is enough. And that the British authorities, the Iranian authorities need to find a solution.
ANDERSON: This is a deeply personal story. And of course, it's not the first time that you and I have spoken. I think the last time we spoke, I
said I hope we don't have to speak again and sadly your wife remains incarcerated. Whether it's in a mental ward of a public hospital or in
prison. This is a deeply personal story which I know you are convinced has a political backdrop. Let's remind ourselves, when Boris Johnson was
foreign secretary, he made remarks about your wife's case that you urged him to retract, he did attempt clarify at the time. But can you just
explain where you believe that sort of political backdrop stands at present and what needs to be done?
RATCLIFFE: That's a really good question. Without doubt, I've always felt that her case was political. You don't arrest a mom and baby on holiday
for no reason unless it's some other politics. The fact that the Revolutionary Guard are holding her now while she's having medical
treatment, again is political.
And Nazanin is not the only one. There are a number of British/Iranians, number of American/Iranians, a number of actually just Americans who are
being held by the Iranian authorities. The Hardline (INAUDIBLE), not the government so much. And their being used as bargaining chips in different
ways. In the U.K.'s case, we've linked to different things. At one point, Boris Johnson was blamed for her being held. Clearly, we've been linked to
some disputes that are between the U.K. and Iran over money. And then it points been linked to prisoner swaps.
At the moment, of course, there is tension between the U.K. and Iran specifically over an oil tanker that is currently being held in Gibraltar.
And last week, the U.N. authorities were signaling that potentially there could be discussions on that as well.
All along, Nazanin has been held as bargaining chip and it's a hard thing to live through. I think my call to British authorities is to work with
other governments, Americans, the Canadians, the French, the other Europeans, who all have citizens held like this and to work together to
just try and find a way to make it clear to Iran that this is not a way to conduct diplomacy. You can't do hostage diplomacy. And there has to be a
solution in our case and the other.
ANDERSON: You made a good point about the uptick in rhetoric, the uptick in concern about relations with Iranian authorities at present, both for
the Europeans and indeed for the U.S. We've heard the Iranians and leaders here in the UAE saying an accident, a misstep. A mistake could really
ratchet things up at this stage. Diplomacy so far as politics is concerned is the only way through this. But just how concerned are you? You've
talked about Nazanin being used and others as political bargaining chips. How concerned are you that things could get worse rather than better in the
geopolitical sphere and that things get decidedly worse for your wife?
RATCLIFFE: I think that's always the fear, isn't it, as tensions increase hugely. We're stuck in prison. We look with great alarm. Simple selfish
level, the worse things get, the less likely we are to be released. The less likely Americans are to be released. The less likely that Europeans
are to be released. The fact that last month another French/Iranian was taken.
At the same time, it's a volatile situation. Iranian politics is pretty up and down. U.S. and U.K. politics is pretty up and down, so things do
change. One of the ways in which you can de-escalate the situation is moving forward some prisoner, prisoners that are being held.
[11:15:00] So we keep pushing the government. We keep pushing the government to work with the Iranian government, to work with their allies
to try and find a solution. We watch it closely. And you know, my job is to look for the positives as well as keep an eye on the negatives.
ANDERSON: Richard, in a word, are you satisfied with the support from the British government?
RATCLIFFE: The government can always do more. The fact that she's not released yet means I will keep pushing them.
ANDERSON: We wish you the best, sir. Thank you.
RATCLIFFE: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Richard Ratcliffe.
Still to come. New rules in the U.S. targeting people outside its borders. How Mexico is pushing back as the Trump administration cracks down on
asylum claims. That is next.
ANDERSON: Welcome back and for those of you who are just joining us, you are more than welcome wherever you're watch in the world.
Mexico pushing back as the Trump administration makes it more difficult for Central Americans to seek asylum at the U.S. border. The Mexican
government says it rejects new Trump administration rules which require migrants who travel through a third country to first seek asylum there
before trying to do so in the States. In a statement, the Mexican foreign ministry said, and I quote.
Our position is very clearly established. And we certainly do not agree we would not have to agree in the area of Mexican legislation. Asylum is
something that we consider very relevant and that we will always respect.
Well U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, are due to meet in Mexico City Sunday. Our CNN
international correspondent Nick Payton Walsh is there for us right now. We've heard from the Mexican foreign minister. What do you understand to
be the sort of wider narrative in Mexico on all of this?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well I mean, I think the issue really is how this over time impacts the lives of the Central
Americans in Mexico who wanted to head north to the United States. Whether they settle, whether they apply for asylum here or whether they go home.
Now there are suggestions that Mexico having initially being welcoming and saying, you know, there are potentially humanitarian visas you can have.
And they're finding thousands of potential Americans trying in border towns near the U.S. border. Waiting to have their asylum cases heard. But
possibly Mexican patience may slowly be ebbing as they realize the numbers of people potentially on Mexican soil for the protracted future.
The key question, Becky, is do the U.S. courts knock down this new rule that came into force yesterday. In the days ahead we don't know the answer
to that question and in that period while we wait to find it, there's a lot of confusion.
[11:20:00] Because essentially this is possibly the most extraordinary legal move the Trump administration has made that could really end asylum
chances for most Central Americans, period. It says if you go through a third country to get to the U.S./Mexico border, your asylum case in the
U.S. is invalid. Now there are many human rights advocates who say that is totally against the actual text of U.S. law. That says transiting through
a country does not invalidate asylum claims in the U.S. And they also point out frankly, they believe is immoral.
Because it will force Central Americans through more clandestine, more dangerous routes and to wait in Mexico where often they are subject to
extortion, danger as well while their asylum cases are heard or not even heard at all. But we are seeing a raft of measures, frankly, from the
Trump administration. Now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- as you said -- coming here at the weekend. He's is going to El Salvador afterwards. One
of the three Central American countries that made the hundreds of thousands of migrants' stem from.
Trump was very outspoken when he spoke about Guatemala yesterday. Talking about how they hadn't agreed to accept third safe country status. That
would mean you that could essentially apply -- you'd be forced to apply for asylum in Guatemala if you transited through it as a Central American
They're trying basically everything. From holding back aid as well. Yet at this stage, the numbers seem to be going down. The question is, does
this institute some kind of permanent change or dampen at all the extraordinary desperation of Central Americans who would do anything
frankly to have a chance to get into the United States for a better life -- Becky.
ANDERSON: My colleague, Nick Payton Walsh in Mexico City for you. Nick, thank you for that.
Well, Donald Trump says there's not a racist bone in his body. But some U.S. lawmakers disagree. After a contentious and heated debate on Capitol
Hill, the Democrat controlled House voted to condemn the President's recent tweets, telling four lawmakers of color to go back where they came from.
All but four Republicans voted against the resolution. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump isn't backing down, and neither are his supporters. CNN's Randi Kaye
sat down with a group of Republican voters who say they are totally behind the President. Have a look at this.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How of many of you don't think what the President said was racist? Raise your hand.
These eight Republican women from Dallas don't see anything wrong with President Trump telling four Democratic Congresswomen to go back where they
DENA MILLER, REPUBLICAN: He was saying that if they hate America so much because what we're seeing out of them and hearing out of them, they hate
America. If it's so bad, there's a lot of places they can go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a brown-skinned woman. I am a legal immigrant. I agree with him.
KAYE (on camera): You don't think that's racist to say that?
MILLER: No, not at all.
KATHLEEN LIEBERMAN, REPUBLICAN: Well, actually, I think it's just -- it's a demonstration of how their ideology spills over. Even though they're
American now, so to speak, they're not acting American.
GINA O'BRIANT, REPUBLICAN: I'm glad that the President said what he said because all they're doing is -- they're -- it's they're inciting hatred and
division. And that's not what our country's about. We -- it's not about that at all and I don't --
KAYE (on camera): Isn't that what the President does with some of his own comments -- his own racist comments?
O'BRIANT: He didn't say anything about color.
CAMI DEAN, REPUBLICAN: We know the President is now racist. He loves people from -- you know, Hispanics to black people -- all across the board.
KAYE (on camera): Let me just share with you the definition of racism from Merriam-Webster dictionary. "A belief that race is the primary determinant
of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."
Based on that definition, do you not think what the president has been saying --
O'BRIANT: No. He dated a black woman for two years. Two of his wives are immigrants. He is not a xenophobic racist.
MILLER: But the first black billionaire is endorsing President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MILLER: How can you call him racist?
KAYE (on camera): So these Congresswomen --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: System.
[11:25:00] KAYE (on camera): These Congresswomen -- these Congresswomen who said they ran for Congress and ran for office because they explicitly
love this country, you're saying that's a lie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they say.
MILLER: That's a lie.
KAYE (on camera): You're saying they hate this country?
LIEBERMAN: Whoever wrote these questions up, it's clearly that they're very manipulative to --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
LIEBERMAN: -- accuse instead of extracting the truth --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a tactic.
LIEBERMAN: -- because when you say --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
LIEBERMAN: -- you know, don't you think he's racist, you're accusing us. You're accusing him.
KAYE (on camera): I'm asking, I'm not accusing you. I'm asking you what you think.
LIEBERMAN: But you can tell we -- OK, it's irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the real issue. It has nothing to do with the premise of the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly, and whatever --
LIEBERMAN: Why do you keep bringing it up?
KAYE (on camera): Do you think it's just a coincidence --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KAYE (on camera): -- that these four Congresswomen that the president is going after -- none of them are white?
MILLER: I don't think it matters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MILLER: It's idiotic, what they're saying, so it doesn't matter whether they're white, man, woman, brown, yellow, anything.
PEACHES MCGUIRE COATES, REPUBLICAN VOTER: I wish that there was a white one that they bait. Why are they not racist? How come they aren't racist?
Befriended one of their white female Congresswomen colleagues and let her join the --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because they won't.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a good point, right.
MILLER: They don't like white people. Come on, they're racist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KAYE (on camera): How many of you still plan to vote for President Trump? (All hands raised).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN Dallas.
ANDERSON: Well, the U.S. President was quick to deflect accusations of racism by calling out one of the Congresswomen for being anti-Semitic. Mr.
Trump claims Ilhan Omar, a Somalia born refugee, hates Israel and Jews. Debra E. Lipstadt is a professor of Jewish History and Holocaust Studies
at Emory University. She tells "The Washington Post". I was disturbed by the weaponization of people's indignation about anti-Semitism from some of
these women to cloud the accusations of racism against him.
Meanwhile, the two men vying to become Britain's next Prime Minister are also speaking out about Mr. Trump's tweets. Frontrunner Boris Johnson says
he can't understand how an American leader could use such language, calling the President's words totally unacceptable. But he stopped short of saying
they were racist. His rival, Jeremy Hunt, also condemned Mr. Trump's tweets, and agreed that calling them racist would not help the situation.
It's remarkable, isn't it?
Still to come. Almost a year after an Ebola outbreak was declared in Congo, new fears the current crisis could spiral into catastrophe after it
spreads to a major city. How the world is trying to stop that from happening. That's up next. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're back with CNN and CONNECT THE WORLD, with me, Becky Anderson. It is just about half past 7:00 here in the UAE. This is our
Middle East broadcasting hub. A check on our top story for you.
And the U.S. President Trump cancelling the sale of 100 fighter jets to Turkey after Ankara purchased a missile defense system from Russia. Now
the U.S. sees that as a serious threat to national security. But the President seems reluctant to take any further action about it, including
legally required sanctions against Turkey.
Well, imagine this, trying to put out a fire, as you do it, sprinklers start to spray out gasoline. Well, that is how Gail Smith, a former USAID
official writing for "Time" magazine describes the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo right now. So far, more than 1600 people have
died from the virus, and hundreds more have been infected since the latest outbreak began nearly a year ago, and it is spreading fast.
This week, the first case of Ebola was discovered in Goma, a city of a million people, that is a major transit hub to neighboring countries.
Today, the World Health Organization deciding whether to declare the outbreak an international health emergency. Dr. Josie Golding has part of
those discussions, and she joins me from London. What is the risk here?
DR. JOSIE GOLDING, EPIDEMICS LEAD AT WELLCOME TRUST: The risk we've seen through the cases identified in Goma, now just recently again in Uganda, is
that the virus can spread and it can easily cross into big urban and big cities like Goma and to cross borders to other countries. So the risk is
that it continues to spread.
ANDERSON: You have said the World Health Organization who are meeting as I understand it as we speak, should declare a public health emergency of
international concern. That's PHEIC. Why do you think that, why are you impressing on them to do that, and what is preventing them from announcing
GOLDING: Yes, so the outbreak has been happening now for nearly a year. And I think that's one of the biggest concerns, that we haven't been able
to get control of this outbreak and end it. So why we're calling on WHO to make a decision of Public Health Emergency of International Concern is to
raise it on the political level, and as well to have governments to support this more than what we're seeing now which is really limited to a few
governments. But most importantly is to have funding that goes aside with that, to make sure that we are investing now, which may be expensive, but
that will end it sooner.
ANDERSON: Uganda's Health Ministry says it's currently investigating a possible Ebola risk incident after a Congolese fish merchant who traveled
frequently there died of the virus. Just how prepared are neighboring countries like Uganda and Rwanda?
GOLDING: So the WHO working with neighboring countries since the outbreak, it happened in the DRC and I think we have to remember, a lot of
preparedness activity has gone into that. So Uganda have vaccinated over 4,000 people, their health care workers to make sure they're protected if
it does spread to Uganda. So these efforts, and this has been occurring. We commend them, all of the neighboring countries, for doing this. And I
think this preparedness, which is what we're calling in general for outbreaks is really important to try and make sure we can prevent, and we
can detect these outbreaks, and not make them grow into what we're seeing now in the DRC.
ANDERSON. Yes. Gail Smith, former USAID official writes in "Time" magazine and I quote, while this outbreak is not yet at the scale of the
last Ebola crisis of 2014 that claimed more than 11,000 lives, it has the potential to be even deadlier. Do you agree with that? Just walk us
through the opportunity for preparedness should the WHO decide to announce this is indeed a health emergency.
GOLDING: So I do agree that this has the potential to be more graver than we had seen in the west Africa Ebola outbreak. And I think we have to
remember the context that it is happening in. One of the real successes that we've seen in this DRC outbreak in comparison to what we saw a few
years ago, is that we do have good tools, such as a really effective vaccine that can protect those who are at risk from Ebola. We have to
always keep sight that we have good tools available to use now.
But the preparedness, what we can see by having more funding is around the resources, the staff on the ground to make sure they can access those
populations who really need it the most. So that's what we want to see, and that's what funding will help.
ANDERSON: Thank you for your analysis, your insight is incredibly important on what is a very important story.
I want to get you up to speed on other stories we are following for you right now. The UAE says it does not own or operate an oil tanker reported
missing in the Strait of Hormuz. U.S. officials think Iran may have seized the Panamanian flagged tanker. Iran says the tanker sent a distress
signal, and its forces have towed it to the mainland for repairs. Other nations say they didn't get any distress calls.
[11:35:02] A group of six nations, including Egypt and the U.S. say they are concerned about terrorist violence in Libya. But they agree there's no
military solution to the problem and want to return to the U.N. mediated political process. They are urging other nations to stop shipping weapons
In Sudan, civilian leaders in the military have signed a political agreement as the nation transitions to democracy. The deal calls for the
military to remain in power for 21 months with civilian rule taking effect until elections can be held.
I'm going to take a very quick break. We, though, will be back right after this.
ANDERSON: It's in these enigmatic depictions from our ancient past that we perhaps find our most palpable connection to it. The faded earthly glow of
these ancient murals are primitive photos of life in prehistory. Our earliest ancestors clamoring down into the damp depths of the earth,
carrying their most advanced technology, a flickering flame to bite away the darkness.
And they're using their hands to do what hands do. Signal something. A message through the void of time. We were here. And we can
instantaneously shrink the huge expanse between then and now as we still are illustrating our world using these things, emojis. That's right,
folks. It is World Emoji Day. Let us beam in none other than the
The Chief Emoji Officer at Emojipedia. That title is a new one to me. Certainly none other than Jeremy Burge. Jeremy, first things first, snazzy
t-shirt. Did you make it yourself?
JEREMY BURGE, CHIEF EMOJI OFFICER, EMOJIPEDIA: Thank you, not made myself. Bought on the internet in native home of emojis.
ANDERSON: Which is?
BURGE: Well, the entire internet.
ANDERSON: Listen. It is Emoji Day, World Emoji Day, a bit of a made-up holiday. Why do you do it?
BURGE: Why not? To be honest, Emojipedia, my company, we define what emojis are meant to mean, how people use them. So, yes, we take it fairly
serious, but it's nice to have a day that is a bit of fun as well. It's one World Emoji Day and people definitely use it to be a bit more playful
than they can be the rest of the year.
ANDERSON: What was the first emoji, sir? And when?
BURGE: The first emoji came out in Japan around 1996, to be officially, you'd probably declare a picture of a heart that was on some Japanese pages
at the time, and that sort of evolved into what we know as the emoji set today.
ANDERSON: Right. There are more than 3,000 emojis as far as I understand it. And we are getting even more soon, including some depicting
interracial and same sex couples and people with disabilities.
[11:40:00] So they're a bit of fun, right, but they are hugely important, aren't they to a lot of people. Can you explain why?
BURGE: Right. I mean it's the scarcity of them, right. That there's only so many on the keyboard and yes, you say there's over 3000 but there's not
an unlimited selection. And every phone in the world has these. To see yourself on the emoji keyboard is important to a lot of people. So we have
sort of the communication angle of how we can communicate well, but it's also important that these show up as sort of a representation of the human
world and population that we have.
ANDERSON: What don't we have that we should have do you think?
BURGE: Well, I mean, some of the more popular requests that I see coming in, an extension of the couples holding hands with the skin tones, as
people want the families to have skin tones as well. That's a bit tricky. Because to have every family with a different skin tone, every family
member would be 5,000 new emojis, so not impossible, but a big ask. Other things that people like, they like hearts, they want every color heart,
every type of heart.
And one thing that is on the short list for next year is sort of welling up with you're happy, you're not laughing, but you are just sort of, you know,
ANDERSON: OK. Nice. When I look -- and we were talking about it this as a team, when we look at emojis, we are reminded not only of cave paintings
but of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics too. Does that resonate with you?
BURGE: Yes, I think there are some commonalities. They're a form of communication that we use. Emojis we tend to use more in combination with
existing language, we tend to sort of use words and then use the emoji to signal the tone or the gesture that we're trying to use. But nonetheless,
sometimes we just use a bunch of emojis to make a statement, and that way they are a bit like hieroglyphs.
ANDERSON: So the downside of all this, us older, oldies maybe would say grew up in a generation where there were no emojis, and we had to
communicate properly with the written word or to use a telephone, or however we used to communicate. The criticism is we are encouraging a
generation to work in these small bite sized images rather than developing a decent narrative. Do you buy that?
BURGE: Not at all, not in the slightest. I feel like when we have the telephone invented, people were worried that people weren't going to write
letters properly. There's always been a generational divide on language used by the next generation coming along. In reality, people who use
emojis are better communicators. Most studies show that they are better at conveying their tone of voice, or what they're trying to say than someone
who doesn't use them. So I think in a lot of ways, we've got a new breed of better communicators coming up than we've had in the past.
ANDERSON: You are a treat, Jeremy Burge. Thank you. We'll have you back next year maybe. World Emoji Day, folks. What's your favorite emoji?
Tell me and I'll tell you what mine is. I am Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.
[11:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)