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CONNECT THE WORLD
Pakistan Copes With Major Disaster; Russian Wheat Production Plunges
Aired August 2, 2010 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Deadly floods in Pakistan. And with more rain forecast, the worst may yet be to come.
From Washington to London and cities around the world, aid is slowly making its way to the ravaged region.
But with two million survivors in need of immediate help, tonight, how is war torn Pakistan coping with what is a major humanitarian crisis?
On CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.
Islamabad is struggling to cope with the worst flooding in living memory. And if that weren't enough, amid the race to help, there is an interesting under control of real politick emerging -- (INAUDIBLE) a global tug of war for hearts and minds in Pakistan.
I'm Becky Anderson in London.
Also tonight, Russians discover the down side of a prolonged heat wave. Their wheat production has plunged, forcing global prices sky high - - how that affects prices on supermarket shelves around the world.
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We begin this hour with floods that have washed away entire villages, leaving thousands of survivors with nothing but the shirts on their backs. A massive rescue and relief operation is underway tonight in Pakistan, where the Red Cross says some two-and-a-half million people may be in need of help.
Reza Sayah witnessed the devastation and filed this report.
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Devastation that keeps going on and on and on. That's what we saw when we got our first look at the flood-ravaged areas in Northwest Pakistan from up above. The Pakistan Army taking a group of journalists on a helicopter tour of the worst hit areas. These are areas where we saw, sometimes, entire villages underwater. We also saw a look at the destruction from the ground. Thousands of homes and businesses destroyed; tens of thousands of people -- maybe more -- left homeless.
The Pakistani government insists it's doing what it can to get help to the victims. In fact, the military brought us here to this relief camp to show us some of the work they're doing.
But what we've heard over and over again over the past several days is victims telling us we're not seeing the help.
One of the reasons help hasn't arrived for everyone is because many bridges have been demolished by floodwaters. We're at the village of Mardan in the upper proton of the Swat Valley. So many bridges connect roads here, go over rivers. And military officials say most of them, like that one, have been destroyed.
What that's meant is victims here can't get out of the area and relief can't get in.
With all the bridges down, the only way for the military to get to some of these areas is by helicopter. Military officials telling us they're using about 36 choppers to airlift people out of these flood- ravaged areas. But they acknowledge they don't have enough choppers at this point to get to everyone.
MAJ. GEN. GHAYUR MAHMOUD, PAKISTANI ARMY: The intensity and the magnitude was too big. And it's been a -- a flood of the centuries -- never ever recorded before.
SAYAH: This is, of course, a region that's been plagued by militancy and the Taliban for the past several years. Now you have these floods. Add to that a forecast of more monsoon rains. That's why one military official is describing this as unfolding misery.
Reza Sayah, Huazalea (ph), Pakistan.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: Well, as Reza told us, criticism of the government's response is growing. And thousands of people are still trapped in flooded areas, waiting for relief, while others are crowded into hot makeshift camps fearing outbreaks of disease.
Well, I spoke earlier on with Pakistan's information minister, who told me that the government is sending help as quickly as it can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QAMAR ZAMAN KAIRA, PAKISTANI INFORMATION MINISTER: We are concerned about the health of (INAUDIBLE) over there, about the food (INAUDIBLE) over there, about the infrastructure, because the infrastructure damage -- it was damaged to a large extent. And approach to the people is very difficult. And to get them out of those areas in this situation is really difficult. But this is our serious concern. And our government is -- did seriously working on the epidemic control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, try as it might, all the needs of flood victims still aren't being met. So others are stepping forward to help fill the vacuum, including Pakistani charities with suspected ties to Islamic militants, one said to be linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, who's offering food and medical services.
Well, the United Nations also offering assistance, pledging $10 million in emergency funds. Other donors, including the U.K., promising about $8 million. And the United States will add its $10 million aid package including boats and helicopters to assist with the rescue efforts.
Well, humanitarian relief, no doubt, the top concern of these donors. But aid can also help winning the hearts and minds of the local population. A few years ago, the United States launched a huge relief effort in Pakistan after -- well, you may remember, it was a devastating earthquake.
Have a listen to this report filed by Elise Labott back in 2005.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in the heart of Pakistan's earthquake zone, winter is closing in for the near three million who are still homeless.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) carrying supplies.
LABOTT: American envoy Karen Hughes came to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, to see the devastation and asses the urgent need for more help.
KAREN HUGHES: This is your grandchild?
LABOTT: This woman told Hughes she lost her husband in the quake. Her grandson survived. Yet she and others living in these flimsy tents and makeshift camps are actually the lucky ones. They've already been rescued and are receiving help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's clear there's a lot of people in this area that need help and we're very...
LABOTT: Traveling with Hughes, top business executives who had been asked to help raise money and awareness for Pakistan's long road to recovery.
(on camera): But this humanitarian mission has another purpose. Karen Hughes was sent here by President Bush to show the people of Pakistan that the U.S. is a friend and can be counted on for the long haul.
HUGHES: We're trying to bring help to you all.
LABOTT (voice-over): As undersecretary for public diplomacy, Hughes is seeking to repair America's image abroad, particularly in the Muslim world, where the U.S. is extremely unpopular.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: Elise Labott filing that report back in 2005.
Well, all that aid to earthquake victims apparently did help boost the United States' image in Pakistan. But it was relatively short-lived. Take a look at the these numbers, the U.S. favorability rating in Pakistan. According to the Pew Research Center, it was at around 23 percent in 2005 when the earthquake hit. It rose to about 27 percent the next year. After that, it slipped to 15 percent in 2007. A year later, it was 19 percent. And in 2009, around about 16. Right now, only 17 percent of Pakistanis have a favorable view of the United States.
So what benefits might the U.S. and others see from sending flood aid now to Pakistan?
We're joined by Sajjan Gohel, director for international security with the Asia-Pacific Foundation.
Listen, I mean we've got a humanitarian crisis going on, but -- so before we start being -- raising our eyebrows, to a certain extent, about who's sending aid and why, we -- we need to just mark the fact that this is an ongoing disaster, of course, and some two-and-a-half million people, potentially, at risk here.
SAJJAN GOHEL, ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Unfortunately, it could potentially get a lot worse. Aid can't reach certain parts of the country, such as in Mardan. It's unfortunate that is not -- not been a prepare infrastructure in the past in the northern areas of Pakistan, like in the Swat Valley and also in Pakistan Kashmir. And that, unfortunately, is going to make the situation much more problematic for aid efforts. And we will see more people suffering in the meantime.
ANDERSON: I don't think it's unfair -- and certainly not too cynical to suggest that there will be people involved in this aid process who will hope, at least, that their reputations will be enhanced by the aid efforts that they make. You've alluded to the U.S. and its efforts in 2005, which were remarkable. I was there during the earthquake and they were remarkable. But certainly, their favorability rating, as it were, with Pakistanis, increased at the time.
How will aid donations from the States, for example, this time, help, if at all?
GOHEL: Well, what's important is that the U.S. views Pakistan as a strategic ally, especially vis-a-vis the war on terrorism, the problems with the Taliban. And what the Obama administration is trying to do is to provide aid to the country. But it has to go beyond just military means. It has to be about building schools, providing health care, creating infrastructure so that it can have a long-term benefit to win hearts and minds on the one hand and to ensure that Pakistanis don't have a negative impression of the United States, which has often been propagated by radicals and extremists in the country, who exploit the situation and the - - the use of drone strikes, which is a controversial policy.
So to get Pakistanis on board is obviously important. And in any case, I think the U.S. would have provided this aid regardless of whether there was a humanitarian disaster or not.
ANDERSON: Reza's report suggesting that there are those on the ground who are suffering from this crisis, saying that we are not seeing the help that we need from the government in Islamabad. In the past, we know there have been those who have capitalized on disasters like this by distributing aid. And I'm thinking about the earthquake in 2005.
Remind us what happened at that point.
GOHEL: Unfortunately, following the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan Kashmir, groups linked to terrorist outfits, like the Lashkar- e-Taiba that was behind the 2008 Mumbai siege attacks, actually started distributing Western aid. And this was actually filmed by the Western media.
In -- the military was there, but they let it happen. And that's the big concern, that if this could repeat itself today, following the huge floods. Because the group itself is banned by the United Nations. But unfortunately, the government of Pakistan does not recognize it as a terrorist outfit. And it is redistributing Western aid. They will get the publicity and the -- and maximize on the support of the people, whereas the West will not get acknowledged for having been the original contributors.
ANDERSON: Let's get serious about this. What we're talking about here is a recruitment drive affected by the terror organization which is banned not just by the U.S., but banned by the Pakistani -- the Pakistani government itself.
GOHEL: Well, the Pakistani government has banned the Lashkar-e-Taiba, but it has not banned the charitable wing of it, which has previously been known as the Jamaat-ud-Dawah. Since the U.N. ban in 2008, it's changed its names on a number of occasions. It continues to operate. Its spiritual leader, Hafiz Saeed, is still there, a free man, still espousing anti- Western rhetoric, especially toward the United States. And that remains a big challenge, as to how to you ensure that the aid gets distributed fairly, that it's seen that the U.S. and other countries are doing their bests without the terrorists trying to gain advantage and actually exploit it for their own agenda of recruiting and radicalizing.
ANDERSON: You say that's the -- the big challenge.
How does one prevent that happening?
Are there any answers to that at this point, in a region like we know to be affected at the moment?
GOHEL: Well, the only institution in Pakistan that can ensure that the aid is dividend up fairly, that there can be effective monitoring, is the military. They're the only individuals that are on the scene right now trying to help in the situation. But at the same time, they have, in the past, co-opted groups connected to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and, also, Taliban factions to take charge of aid efforts. There's been controversial. That will also potentially be brought back on this occasion if the military wants to divide its time. But that could also fall into the exploitation of extremists.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, I was there in 2005. I remember this being a concern -- an argument at the time.
How much worse are things now in this region and how much more likely is it that the organizations that you've just been alluding to will -- will get some sort of grip, will gain some sort of traction out of this?
GOHEL: Some of the parts of the country where flooding has been at its most extreme, like the Swat Valley, the Lashkar-e-Taiba has not predominantly been focused there in the past. That's actually been the domain of elements of the Pakistani Taliban. The question is whether they will return to the region to actually take advantage of the situation. They were thrown out of the area last year following a -- a military offensive, albeit a bit late. But the thing is that they have the opportunity to exploit the situation with the fact that there's so much chaos, that communications are down, infrastructure has been affected.
Will extremists exploit the situation and will the military let it happen, as they did in 2005?
ANDERSON: We'll have to leave it there.
We thank you very much, indeed for joining us, a regular guest on this show.
Well, some of the most heart-wrenching images of the flooding that we've seen so far have actually come into CNN's iReport Web site. These pictures taken in Northwest Pakistan by the Catholic Relief Services charity over the last few days.
Here you can see local people using a rope trolley after a bridge collapsed. Catholic Relief Services say for four days, this was the only means of transportation across the river.
Well, people in these next pictures are looking at what used to be the Karakoram Highway, where days of rain and massive floods washed away a bridge. And the road, you can see here, was actually washed away by floodwaters just a few hours after this photo was taken.
Just a sense of what is going on there in the region.
If you want to help the people affected by the flood, you can check out CNN's special Web sites, at CNN.com/impact. Do use that site.
Pakistan also, of course, weathering a diplomatic storm of sorts. Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, accused Islamabad of looking both ways on terror.
Well, harsh words or plain speaking?
I'll talk with Pakistan's information minister about the fallout from that.
And raging fires are devastating huge swaths of Russia's farmlands. You could feel the impact as close as your grocery store, wherever you are watching in the world. We will join the dots of this growing catastrophe next on CONNECT THE WORLD.
Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Well, parts of Russia look like an inferno -- hundreds and hundreds of wildfires are burning in Western Russia. The flames have killed at least 40 people and they've prompted President Dmitry Medvedev to declare a state of emergency around 500 towns and villages.
To give you a -- a sense of the catastrophe, in one village of 500 people, nearly every house is burned to the ground.
Russia has been suffering through a severe drought and scorching heat, which has made it especially vulnerable to the flames. Authorities say that many of the fires were started accidentally.
Well, the fires also hitting hard at Russia's agricultural heartland and its precious what crop. And that is causing repercussions around the world.
Let's bring in Guillermo Arduino at the CNN Center -- Guillermo, I guess, first, any relief in sight from this heat?
GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No. There is none. Unfortunately, nothing. And, also, there are three aspects here -- the heat wave, the fires and the drought that Russia went through for the longest time. So perhaps we have to focus more on the drought and the heat wave more than on the fires.
Look at this -- these numbers. Twenty-two degrees is the high of the day at this time of the year -- July as an example. Well, the precipitation only 12.8 millimeters. And then we get to the 39 degree mark. Of course, with the makeup -- the weather makeup that we have right now, we see no relief in sight. Three weeks of continuous temperatures above 30 degrees, even at night, 30 degrees or so. No rainfall here in store. The rain stays to the west and it's impossible to get there.
So as you were mentioning there, the heat wave plus the drought that I was talking about brought about this problem over here -- price rises in grains, especially, as you mentioned, the wheat situation -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Guillermo, this isn't the only place around the world where we're seeing weather severely affecting crops at this point.
Where else is this a problem?
ARDUINO: Well, weather patterns here also play a role -- a role, especially in other parts of the world.
But look at the price of wheat in here -- a 22-month high.
What did we see last year?
Sixty-two million tons.
What are we seeing this year?
Forty-five. So there are 17 million tons different in this case. That's only in Russia, because the heat wave will continue, at least for a week.
Look at Canada -- El Nino last year. Now we have La Nina. El Nino brought a lot of rain. So we had heavy rain that left 20 percent of the regions, especially the West Alberta-Saskatchewan, also unplanted. So the government has to jump in and help farmers out.
And what about Australia, because we have a locust plague in more than 20 years. And that's coming up because of that rain, also, that we are seeing right now, excess in humidity is going to bring this plague that will affect the farmlands in Australia.
But before we were severely hit -- affected by a drought, remember the fires in the Melbourne area?
Remember the drought?
So there is sort of a parallelism between Australia and Russia right now -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Guillermo, thank you for that.
ARDUINO: You're welcome.
ANDERSON: So you get the picture of what is happening around the world.
Let's take you to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where wheat futures, as Guillermo said, have surged to a 20 year, two month high.
I'm joined by Alan Knuckman at the exchange.
He's a senior market analyst at Agora Financial.
I wanted to really give our viewers a sense of what is going on here. You are at the Futures Exchange, which is a trading position which will effectively take a look at the -- the future price of what at this point. And we are looking at a price, so far as I can tell, at around sort of 2008 prices.
Is that correct?
ALAN KNUCKMAN, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, AGORA FINANCIAL: Yes. That was one of the first objectives on this recent rally. You've got to remember, we've come from an extremely low level here. Just a moment ago, in June, we had a -- we rallied 60 percent since that time. You know, the first objective was about the 670 level -- 677 was the recent highs in 2009. Now we've achieved that.
But to put it in perspective, we were as high as 14, the all time highs, just a couple of years ago, in 2008. And in -- you know, so a 50 percent retracement of that brings the market up to $8 or $9. So we still have some more up side if these issues continue.
ANDERSON: Right. 2008, we were looking at a food crisis in many parts of the world.
Are we looking at that at this point?
Because we want to remind our viewers, you are working on a futures exchange. This is not the price of wheat today that we're talking about, but the price of wheat for delivery in the future.
How does that affect the price that I'm paying on my supermarket shelf, as it were?
KNUCKMAN: Well, the -- the futures markets are designed for people to hedge their price risk and ship that price risk forward. So September wheat, obviously, is not in the -- is not in the bins, necessarily right now. But what farmers can do is they can see if they like the price now, they can sell the futures contracts here in the present and then when they sell their cash wheat, if it's lower, they offset the price differential there with what they make up for in the futures.
That's how the markets are designed.
What I think we're seeing right now is a little bit of excessive movement to the up side because people are very concerned about the Russian issue as far as if Russia possibly bans some of their exports. And that's a concern.
Now, they haven't done that yet, but that's a concern. And what farmers in Russia are doing is they're holding their crop back, thinking they can get higher prices. So it kind of is building this balloon and we'll see if something takes the air out of the balloon or if the fundamentals continue to support it.
Now here in the States, the crop seems fine. But we're always one crop year away because there have -- you know, the cycles and the agricultural cycles, we're always one crop year away from any disruption causing a major catastrophe. And that has not happened as of yet.
ANDERSON: And is that likely to happen?
And I'm wondering whether, if it is likely to happen, it is likely to happen for all of us, as it were, around the world?
Or is it -- are -- are wheat prices likely to be higher or, ultimately, are bread prices, for example, or any feud -- foodstuffs that include wheat -- likely to be higher in one place around the world and perhaps not elsewhere?
KNUCKMAN: Well, if it's any consolation, the amount of wheat that's actually in a loaf of bread is -- is very, very minimal. There's all the other -- other -- other costs. And one of them is transportation. So oil futures have a major impact on that, as well.
So in general, commodities have riven -- risen off on extreme lows. But to put it in perspective, the movement we've seen off these extreme sell-off lows with the global shutdown, you know, that we've seen -- we've seen the stock market rebound 100 percent off that -- off those lows, whereas commodities -- we're looking at sugar and crude oil and corn and wheat -- they've only bounced maybe 50 percent.
So they still have more up side potential, but we've been in a very deflationary environment. I don't see food prices skyrocketing and I don't see inflation being a problem. But there may be some more up side on wheat and that's just -- you know, that's just how the markets work. Some markets are up and down and it's -- it's purely because of supply and demand.
But here in the States, we've had a great -- a really good growing year.
Now, for soybeans, you know, we've got to get through August, but we're -- you know, we're -- we're doing very well with our -- with our crops here. And the dollar is going down and that supports prices.
ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating stuff.
Joining the dots for us on a story out of Russia tonight, but one that resonates around the world, Alan Knuckman at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for you. Right.
Creating the perfect family through sex selection -- just ahead, the couples willing to pay big bucks for fertility treatments in Thailand to guarantee themselves a son.
ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
I'm Becky Anderson in London for you.
Now, in a new twist in the medical tourism industry, families are willing to travel to Thailand for fertility treatments can now select the sex of their unborn baby. Many of the couples making the trip come from China.
And as Dan Rivers discovers -- well, he's finding out why they are so keen to design what they see as their perfect child.
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Meet the Maniavak (ph) family, mom Jatapur (ph) and dad Tanapon (ph) and three beautiful daughters. And now, a new baby boy, Nowapat (ph) -- all normal except he's a so-called designer baby -- his gender picked by his parents and their wish engineered by a fertility doctor. The practice is illegal in most of Europe, the U.K., Australia and China. And even in Thailand, while it's not illegal, it's not recommended by the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
She says, "We're a Chinese family and we have three girls, so I wanted to get one boy."
This is the lab where Nowapat was created. Dr. Somchai Suwajanakorn uses in vitro fertilization, or IVF, techniques, to select only male fetuses to implant. Between two and five couples a month come to him for the treatment. Most are ethnic Chinese.
DR. SOMCHAI SUWAJANAKORN, FERTILITY DOCTOR: I think because after a law in China that controlled the population. So they keep only one baby to the family. And usually a part of Chinese culture, they want a boy.
RIVERS: Unlike some doctors in Bangkok, Dr. Somchai is strict about who can select the gender of their baby.
SUWAJANAKORN: We have to have enough reason to select it. So we have to ask about the family, about their history and to see that they have -- they have reason to have gender selection or not.
RIVERS: For ethnic Chinese families, the reason for wanting a son is often cultural.
CHITRA KONUNTAKIET, AUTHOR: We're looking for a son, we're looking for a nephew, we are (INAUDIBLE) to continue the family name, the clan and maybe for more (INAUDIBLE), more possibility, more fortune.
RIVERS (on camera): Choosing the gender of your child is illegal in many countries. But here in Thailand, it's not only permissible, but it's also relatively cheap. It's becoming a new growth area of medical tourism. People are literally flying into Thailand to choose the sex of their unborn child.
(voice-over): It costs little Nowapat's parents around $9,000. It's why gender selection is fast becoming a boom area of medical tourism. It's more expensive and illegal elsewhere.
Couples flying in on baby holidays from China, Australia and Europe -- officially some 4,000 test tube embryos are created each year in Thailand. Doctors estimate more than 20 percent are chosen for their gender, to fulfill the couple's desire to override nature and select the sex of their baby.
Dan Rivers, CNN, Bangkok.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: And a post-script to that report. A growing gender gap isn't just an issue facing China, but one of the biggest discrepancies between men and women can be found there. There are currently 116 Chinese men for every 100 Chinese women.
The United Nations reports that parts of India have ratios at least that high. The results -- there are 46 million more Indian men than there are women. Twenty years ago, South Korea had the highest imbalance in the world. Increased prosperity and government action have brought that ratio close to the global average, I'm told.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN. Coming up next, downplaying any controversy, both Britain and Pakistan say their relationship is strong after David Cameron's remarks in India about how Pakistan deals with terror. But signs today that the fallout continues. That is just ahead, along with the world headlines here on CNN.
ANDERSON: Just after half past nine in London, you are back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, a diplomatic dilemma follows British prime minister David Cameron home from India. His controversial comments about Pakistan's terror record continue to make waves as he prepares for a visit from that country's president.
No e-mail, no web browsing, BlackBerry users in the UAE face a blackout of those services in the name of security. We asked how easy could it be to get around the ban.
Plus, two Connectors of the Day from one family. Bollywood stars Anil and Sonam Kapoor talk about their latest joint project and answer your questions as your Connectors of the Day.
Those stories are ahead in the next 30 minutes. First, a very quick check of the headlines this hour here.
The International Red Cross says record flooding in Pakistan has affected some 2.5 million people. Many of them are homeless after monsoon rains swept away entire villages in the northwest. The government estimates as many as 1600 people may have been killed, and that number could rise as more rain is forecast.
Russian authorities insist they are getting a handle on hundreds of ferocious wildfires burning in western Russia. They've imposed states of emergency around 500 towns and villages. The fires have killed at least 40 people and forced thousands to flee.
As promised and on schedule, US president Barack Obama says he's going ahead with plans to end the American combat mission in Iraq by August the 31st. The drawdown will leave 50,000 US troops on the ground. They'll switch to a support role, training Iraqi forces.
The president of Pakistan will visit the UK this week, even as provocative remarks by Britain's prime minister himself threatened to overshadow the trip. Both countries downplaying the row, but as Max Foster now reports, the fallout continues.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): British prime minister David Cameron is standing by the comments he made last week about Pakistan's record on terrorism.
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: But we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways, and is able in any way to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world.
FOSTER (voice-over): Those words sparked a fierce reaction in Pakistan. Bad enough, critics say, that the British prime minister suggested the country exported terror. Even worse that he made those comments during a visit to Pakistan's traditional rival, India.
But a spokeswoman for the prime minister says he was referring to elements within Pakistan supporting terrorism, not to the Pakistani government, and that the remarks haven't damaged the strong, broad, and strategic relationship between Britain and Pakistan.
Still, there has been fallout. Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Britain's high commissioner for talks in Islamabad, and Pakistan's intelligence chief canceled a planned meeting with British counterparts.
Pakistan's spy agency had already been accused in leaked documents on the WikiLeaks website of allegedly assisting Afghan militants. But Pakistan maintains it is as much a victim of terrorism as any other country.
FOSTER (on camera): Pakistani president Zardari is due on an official visit to the UK this week. He's under pressure back home to cancel, but his meeting with David Cameron is still in the diary for diary. Zardari will, in the words of his information minister, seek to change Mr. Cameron's perceptions. Max Foster, CNN, Downing Street, London.
ANDERSON: Well, the heart of the conflict is the comment you heard from Britain's prime minister there, suggesting that Pakistan exports terror to its neighbors. Earlier today, I put that charge to Pakistan's information minister. I asked Qamar Zaman Kaira if Pakistan's intelligence agency has any relationship to terror groups in India or in Afghanistan. And here is what he told me.
QAMAR ZAMAN KAIRA, PAKISTANI INFORMATION MINISTER: ISI is a government organization. It's an intelligence agency, and it cannot go beyond the government's instruction to it. How it is possible that a government organ goes beyond control of the government? So, categorically we have said many times that they have no relations with Taliban. They have no relations with Lashkar-e-Taiba. And we are now the -- that's been our position.
We are now in the process, we will not allow any sort of activity of Lashkar-e-Taiba or any banned militia in Pakistan because that is the problem inside Pakistan. Not only across or in any one state, but it is the problem inside Pakistan.
ANDERSON: What do you make of a London School of Economics report released in June that said, and I quote, "It is official ISI policy to provide funding, training, and sanctuary to the Taliban on a scale much larger than previously thought."
KAIRA: This is a story -- this type of story is of always on the air and in the people around the globe, I would say.
ANDERSON: Why do you think, why, if it's not true, why do you think this narrative persists?
KAIRA: I don't blame or allege anyone. But if the border states are not able to control their internal issues, so they just blame on Pakistani agencies or Pakistani state.
But as I mentioned, that we believe -- this is our firm belief of the government, this is the resolve of the government that a stable Afghanistan is a necessity. A peaceful and prosperous is a necessity for peaceful and prosperous Pakistan. Without peace in Afghanistan, there cannot be peace in Pakistan.
ANDERSON: Information from the government itself in the past has talked about rogue elements in the ISI who potentially are supporting the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba. So I put it to you again, can you conceive of the idea that are still rogue elements in the ISI that the government can't control?
KAIRA: It is not the rogue elements that you -- it's normal there. But as far as the past is concerned, yes. Those forces were fighting in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union and after that. Yes. US had relations with them. UK had relations with them. Pakistan government, as far as I'm told.
ANDERSON: So you admit that there were rogue elements in the past --
ANDERSON: And a relationship in the past.
KAIRA: I don't say --
ANDERSON: When did that relationship start?
KAIRA: When you say "rogue element," rogue element means that there are some people who are independent of that. At the moment, our government is very clear, our resolve is very clear. We believe that a peaceful India and a peaceful Afghanistan. Both are necessary for peaceful Pakistan.
Suppose if we are disturbing Afghanistan and we are harboring or we are supporting some section of the people over there. It means that we are going to disturb our society. Who -- will buy this argument that Pakistani government or any organ of the state or any individual is trying to destabilize or trying to harm its own state?
ANDERSON: I understand what you're saying. The problem at this point is that, obviously, David Cameron has got a concern, as do the Americans. So, again, I put it to you. Official ISI policy to support the Taliban. You're telling me there is no relationship in any way between the ISI and any form of terror group?
KAIRA: No. There's not.
ANDERSON: Has it damaged relations, do you think, with Pakistan?
KAIRA: Naturally, there is a malcontent. But our relations are still deep, and we want to enhance our relations. So one statement cannot damage our relations.
ANDERSON: Pakistan's information minister, joining me ahead of President Zardari's trip to the UK later this week.
Banning the BlackBerry ahead. The United Arab Emirates moves to restrict key services for users of these Smart Phones. And it's not alone in the region. We're going to examine the motives behind the looming ban and ask an expert, will this harm the Emirates' reputation? That's next. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Do you have a BlackBerry? If you do, try to imagine life without it. That is the grim prospect facing subscribers in the United Arab Emirates, who face a looming ban on key BlackBerry services. Here's Rima Maktabi for you in Dubai.
RIMA MAKTABI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No messaging, no e- mails, and no web browsing. Those are the bans laid out by the United Arab Emirates of BlackBerry users as it looks at access and security concerns. Saudi telecom expert Abdel Rahman Mazi explained the concerns over the highly-encrypted data.
ABDEL RAHMAN MAZI, TELECOM EXPERT: A message from a BlackBerry is encrypted before it is sent from the sender, OK? It goes all the way to the facilities of Research in Motion in Canada. And it is decrypted there, and then encrypted back again, sent to the receiver. And nobody in the middle can interfere. And the encryption is so tight that it's not breakable easily.
MAKTABI (voice-over): The state-run news agency reports that UAE officials see that as a potential security risk, so they are taking measures to close the gap. While the ban wouldn't take effect until mid- October, users are already concerned about losing the data services many of them have come to rely on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Oh, that would be a disaster for me. I'm using my BlackBerry 12 hours a day, or 24 hours a day, at least.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE SPEAKER: BlackBerry is a wonderful service. Most people invest in it because they see the value and the benefit that it gives them in both their professional and personal lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: I think that the authorities here are going to find a solution with them.
MAKTABI (on camera): So this is a dilemma. A firm submits to the request of the UAE government, other governments may ask for the same control. And if they don't, this means BlackBerry could lose hundreds of thousands of customers.
MAKTABI (voice-over): RIM, the parent company of the BlackBerry brand, in their latest statement said they respect both the regulatory requirements of governments and the security and privacy needs of corporations and consumers.
The TRA notes that BlackBerry appears to be compliant in similar regulatory environments of other countries, which makes non-compliance in the UAE both disappointing and of great concern.
BlackBerry users need not give up all hope just yet, though, as there's sign and reason for a resolution here, where less access to information might spell bad business for the government and for BlackBerry alike.
ANDERSON: That report by Rima Maktabi. And despite all the news swirling around the BlackBerry, its stock price didn't do much today. Shares in parent company Research in Motion sank slightly on the NASDAQ, dropping three quarters of one percent. The stock remains well off its 52- week high, though, of $88 a share.
And the BlackBerry, it seems, faces bans in other nations. Saudi Arabia appears ready to suspend some key services, including instant messaging. India says it can't break BlackBerry's encryption system, making it difficult to detect national security threats. It reportedly wants proxy service. That was what the UAE was asking for, as far as we understand. Kuwait has threatened to ban the service, saying it is used to spread rumors, and Bahrain becoming the first country to act back in April, suspending BlackBerry's local breaking news service because users were posting without a license.
So while the reason given for the ban in the UAE, at least, is security, our next guest believes the motivation is a little more sinister, in his words. I want to bring in Christopher Davidson. He's an expert on the Gulf region, and joins me from Durham in England.
Christopher, sinister? Really? Why?
CHRISTOPHER DAVIDSON, UAE EXPERT: Well this is the latest step in a long-running battle with the United Arab Emirates with BlackBerry. Look at the Iranian elections last summer, where a lot of the protests were organized using Facebook, Twitter, and Smart Phones. Many of the Gulf states, including the UAE, started to panic about this.
Within a few weeks, we had the UAE trying to upload spyware onto BlackBerries, because BlackBerries, so it would seem, are the only Smart Phones that actually have strong enough encryption to stop the monitoring services of such authorities. So, in other words, e-mails couldn't be read.
ANDERSON: All right, let me put this to you. Let me put in, democratic countries like India have also voiced concern about BlackBerry technology, saying it could be misused by criminals and terrorists. It sounds to me as if there's a little bit more this story than just simply an invasion of privacy.
Let's be fair. The UAE is saying they have a specific problem with the service, given that there is no proxy server that they could access in the event of a national security situation. There's nothing wrong with that, surely.
DAVIDSON: Yes, I think that's a perfectly valid point. However, there are BlackBerries being sold all over world, and only a few countries have actually complained about this. I think it's very important to differentiate between a country like the United Arab Emirates, which is, after all, an unelected government. So BlackBerry users there would be willingly handing over their data and communications to authorities who are not really properly representative to the people.
ANDERSON: You know the region well. You're an academic, you are aware of the pros and cons for those living in the region at any one time. Reporters Without Borders, it's got to be said, are quoted as saying that these laws are repressive and that they are likely to damage the UAE's reputation. Do you think that's likely, and if so, what are the implications for users in other countries, do you think?
DAVIDSON: Oh, yes, I think it will certainly damage the UAE's international reputation as a business hub in the Middle East, a place to do business very easily, with some economic monopolization. This move really sends out the signal that business is not quite the priority of the UAE. But, rather, political control and an ability to monitor --
ANDERSON: Or security concerns.
DAVIDSON: Its population.
ANDERSON: Let's be fair here. Or security concerns. They say this is about security concerns. So is it wrong for people to assume that maybe a government is just looking after our security?
DAVIDSON: No, I don't think that's wrong at all. But I think there's a little bit more to it than this. BlackBerries are also being used by genuine activists in the country who are really trying to get messages out about injustices in the country that have no other outlet at the moment.
ANDERSON: Do you think if BlackBerry is looking to expand into India and China -- and let's not forget, Research in Motion will know there's half a million users in the UAE at any one time. I don't suppose for a moment that they've taken this decision lightly. But if BlackBerry is looking to expand in the likes of India and China, how might it respond to those countries, who are asking for more access to data, do you think?
DAVIDSON: I think certainly a country like China is so big to Research in Motion that it will have to come to the table at some point. But I think at the moment the mood is, that's a battle for another day. A chance that lies ahead.
With the UAE and the Gulf states, I think this is one where, if anything, BlackBerry stands to benefit from a bit of radio silence here. If they cultivate a reputation of being more secure than other Smart Phones, their number of subscribers in other countries will go up.
ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. An interesting story. We thank you for joining us on what is not a particularly good connection via broadband this evening. But we did well to get through it. Thank you very much indeed, Sir Christopher joining us tonight.
Next up, your Connectors of the Day.
ANDERSON (voice-over): In the west, Anil Kapoor shot to recognition with his depiction of a game show host in the 2008 film "Slumdog Millionaire."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - "SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE")
PREM KAPUR: Are you ready?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Please give a big round of applause --
PREM KAPUR: Good luck to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: To our very first contestant of the night, Jamal Malik, from our very own Mumbai!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): The film took home eight Oscars and turned its cast into international movie stars.
ANIL KAPOOR, BOLLYWOOD ACTOR: Everybody tells me is that, "Then when we see you, we get a smile to our faces." That's what everybody feels. Everybody feels I'm full of energy and excitement.
ANDERSON (voice-over): But for Indian fans, Kapoor has been one of cinema's greats for decades. He first won acclaim for his role in the 1984 film "Mashaal." And three years later, captured the heart of the nation in "Mr. India."
Like many film stars in India, Kapoor's family has gone on to become one of the great acting dynasties. His daughter Sonam is now one of Bollywood's up and coming greats. And this month, she stars in the film "Aisha," produced by both her father and her sister.
Keeping it in the family in the best possible way. Anil and Sonam are your Connectors of the Day.
ANDERSON: Yes, they are, and I started by talking to Dad and asking him, what was it like, producing your daughter on "Aisha?" How different from previous projects was it? And this is what he told me.
ANIL KAPOOR: It's been a phenomenal journey for me, because what I did was, I let them be -- I just gave them all the freedom. And I said -- Sonam is an actress, and Rhea is a producer, and I just feel that it was a right decision I took. They were the entire team. That's the reason, I think. If I was there every day and on their heads trying to make this film happen, I think we'd be having a terrible film.
ANDERSON: You created this acting dynasty. The family is extraordinary. There are going to be charges of nepotism here. I'm assuming you don't care. Do you, at this point?
SONAM KAPOOR, BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS: It's been -- I've done most of it, but it's easier for me, because I'm my father's daughter. Honestly speaking. I'm not going to take that away from him at all. It's like 30 years of his experience that has helped me out.
But that's in every industry. Whether you're in journalism or whether you're a doctor, a doctor's daughter, a banker's daughter, or a businessman's daughter, you're selling soap, for God's sake. It doesn't matter.
ANDERSON: We've got some questions from the viewers here. Taabish has written to us. He says, "Anil, you are a fantastic actor. But what do you enjoy more, acting or producing?"
ANIL KAPOOR: Acting.
ANIL KAPOOR: No way. Producing -- I'm so happy that my younger daughter is wanting to produce films so I have given the baton to her. And I'm going to LA next month, and I might not come back.
I just don't like producing films. It's too much of a -- it's a thankless job. I feel -- I'm from a production family. My father, and we all have been making films for the last 50 to 60 years now, and we made a lot of films. I've been involved in every department of producing films, from any odd job, from creating marketing, funding, everything. But I love acting. That's my first passion.
ANDERSON: Sukh asks you whether it's been tough being critical when working with Sonam? And, perhaps, how do you feel about working with Dad as well?
SONAM KAPOOR: I would love to work with Dad. But as an actor. I think -- because I'm a selfish actor. And I think if you work with great actors, acting is all about reacting. So when you have great actors around you, you just become better. You know what I mean? So just to make my performance better, I would love to work with my dad as an actor.
ANIL KAPOOR: We did an endorsement together, and it was great fun. I was quite taken aback by her and her growth as an actress. And she's a natural, which is not that because she is sitting with me, but I was quite taken aback by her -- the way she is so relaxed in front of the camera.
ANDERSON: Satylk's got an interesting question. He says, "With all the misgovernance and corruption in the Indian political system, why don't celebrities like yourself speak out more?" He argues, "You are possibly in the best positions to create and help change." Do you do much? Do you get involved in the political sphere?
ANIL KAPOOR: To be honest with you, I do, but I don't do enough. I'm being very honest with you. And I would rather -- I would love to do more. And that's my regret. And I'm being very honest about it. I would like to do more, and I would like to be -- make certain issues more public so that people are aware of -- There is a lot of corruption. There is a lot of misgovernance, and there's a lot to be changed and improved in our country.
But I'm very, very happy and very proud of the younger politicians who are now making a great impact and making things -- working more towards the villagers and the have-nots than the haves.
ANDERSON: Did you ever have any sense of how big "Slumdog" was going to be?
SONAM KAPOOR: My dad didn't know who Danny Boyle was.
ANIL KAPOOR: I don't know, actually, to be honest. They made me aware of it.
SONAM KAPOOR: My -- it's really funny, but my brother has a picture, like a poster, of "Requiem" --
ANIL KAPOOR: And "Trainspotting."
SONAM KAPOOR: And "Trainspotting." And my brother's like, "Dad? Do you know who he is? You have to do this thing!" He read the script in one night, and is like, "It's fantastic, it's fabulous, you have to do it!" And that's when my dad read it, and he loved it.
ANIL KAPOOR: So that's the way -- And so, it has been a life-changing part of my life. I think for everyone connected with "Slumdog" it has been life-changing. And I'm very happy that they knew who Danny Boyle was, otherwise I wouldn't be sitting in front of you giving this interview.
SONAM KAPOOR: No, but Dad. You did it because you loved your role.
ANDERON: Fabulous. And tomorrow's Connector, America's most decorated Winter Olympic athlete. Speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno won -- or has won, sorry, eight Olympic medals. He's won a World Cup event seven times, and he's a three-time World Cup overall champion. Off the ice, he campaigns to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking. So do start sending your questions. Remember to tell us where you're writing in from, cnn.com/connect is your site for your part of the sure. It's your Connector of the Day. Go in there. Tonight, we'll be right back.
ANDERSON: Flower power as we take you through the lens this evening. This street vendor peddled his flower pots off the back of a motorbike in Hanoi. The city gearing up for its 1000th anniversary. That's the capital of Vietnam.
A sea of flower -- yellow, these flowers blossom by the Opera House in Beyreuth. Every August, this South German city celebrates the music of Richard Wagner.
The star of the show, this model poses by a flower store at the launch of spring fashion week in Melbourne, Australia. Lucy McIntosh is the event's official face, were are told.
And a pink parade. This boy marches in Medellin, Colombia for the annual Festival of Flowers.
Fabulous flora in our World in Pictures this evening. And remember, you can always get your voice heard on CNN. Join the conversation, cnn.com is where you can do it, of course. I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected this evening, this Monday evening out of London. "BackStory," though, is up next, right after this very quick check of the headlines.