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CONNECT THE WORLD
Two Sides in Syria; Americans Win at Wimbledon; Formula 1 European Grand Prix
Aired June 24, 2011 - 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: In Damascus, a show of support for the regime from Syrians who claim the West is conspiring to bring down the government. Yet elsewhere, a show of defiance from Syrians demanding their president step down after another bloody day.
Is it time for the West to echo their call?
Plus, how an execution in Saudi Arabia has provoked outrage in Indonesia.
And from city to race circuit, we take a spin around Valencia, as it prepares to host the European Grand Prix.
These stories and more as we connect the world.
Well, Syrian protesters surge onto the streets after Friday prayers and once again, security forces open fire. Activists say at least 10 people were killed in anti-government demonstrations across Syria today. Some reports put the number as high as 15.
This amateur video is said to show protests in Amuda and this one in the city of Latakia.
Friday's demonstrations were held under the banner, "Fall of Legitimacy," and, indeed, the European Union, at least, is starting to agree with that message. Today, the EU strongly condemned the regime's crackdown and said by choosing repression instead of reform, it's calling its own legitimacy into question.
Well, some of today's protests skirted the Syrian capital, but the uprising hasn't taken root in the very heart of Damascus. In fact, some call that the calm in the eye of the storm.
CNN's Hala Gorani is in. She's there. She's been out on the streets today.
And I've got to tell you, she's been accompanied by a government minder while she films her reports.
She's with us now.
What did you find -- Hala?
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said, there -- there is calm at the center of Damascus. That's, at least, what we were able to see today, as we were accompanied out on the streets of Old Damascus, near the Umayyad Mosque, the famous and sacred mosque in Damascus, where we found a pro-government rally. There, people were holding up placards of President Bashir Assad, so much in contrast to those amateur YouTube videos we've been seeing since the beginning of the uprising, more than 100 days ago.
And there you had Syrians, to be accurate, a small group of people, praising Bashar al-Assad and blaming foreign intervention for what's going on in their country, and, in fact, even casting doubt on whether or not the almost 12,000 people who have crossed the border into Turkey over the last several weeks, in the northwestern part of Syria and across the border were, in fact, even refugees. They're saying those people are perhaps hostages kept from leaving by Turkish authorities.
So it is conspiracy theories galore among people who say they support the regime. At the same time, it's a tale of two Syrias. On the one hand, what we see on the streets of Damascus, a city that's still operating relatively normally, even though it's quieter, with fewer tourists. And then on the other, in those hot spots, those areas where there are uprisings where we see people still go out onto the street, putting pressure on this regime -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, OK. I know that Arwa Damon is with you in -- in Syria. You are part of a very small contingent of foreign journalists who have been allowed in.
What's Arwa been able to -- to see and find today?
GORANI: Well, I believe that we might have Arwa's report here today. We were on the streets, both able to witness this protest with these pro-Assad demonstrators.
Let -- I believe we have it.
Let's take a look at that.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the heart of ancient Damascus, the appearance of media cameras prompts a small crowd to erupt into pro-government chants. Posters and pictures of the President Bashar al-Assad quickly materialize.
Government minders escorted us here to the historic old city outside the Umayyad Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam. A few dozen gathered are raging against foreign powers, claiming the unrest in Syria is a well- plotted international conspiracy to bring down the regime, one that includes the media.
"We feel like the international media is conducting a world war against us," 67-year-old Mohammed Al-Hamwi states. "Not a single outlet has broadcast a real image of what is happening."
We explain that we've just only officially been allowed inside the country.
"It's out of concern for you," the man next to him says.
In fact, government officials tell us that they were worried about our safety, with so many armed gangs fomenting unrest throughout the country.
That is how the government justifies its military crackdowns, most recently in the northwest of the country, one that sent more than 10,000 refugees fleeing across the border to Turkey.
Her voice trembling with emotion, Naime Mahmoud el-Sheik says that even those who have fled are part of this scheme to smear the government.
"They are hostages. I refuse to call them refugees," she says. "They are hostages taken to bring down the regime. We are with the regime. We are with Assad."
Other claims we hear are that the demonstrators are being sprayed with poisonous water that makes them more aggressive, that terrorists are killing protesters and blaming the security forces.
Opposition activists reported protests in several Syrian cities. And we heard of anti-government demonstrations in other parts of the capital and reports of gunfire. But we were told that the permission to go to those areas had not come through.
(on camera): And less than an hour after we arrived, the small crowd that had gathered quickly dispersed, having delivered their message of ultimate support for the government of President Bashar al-Assad and blaming the unrest in Syria on armed gangs fueled by foreign powers.
(voice-over): Very much the message that the Syrian government wants us to see.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Damascus.
GORANI: All right. And while this is going on, the international community continues to react, with the European Union imposing more sanctions, the United States, as well, issuing condemnations, the question is what impact it will have on the regime. But what is certain is whatever impact it does have will have a huge effect on the rest of the region -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely.
Hala, thank you for that.
Hala Gorani in Damascus for you this evening.
Well, from the pictures the government wants you to see in the capital to an entirely different scenario up north. In just the last two days along, some 1,500 Syrians have fled to Turkey to escape a military crackdown, helping swell the refugee population there to nearly 12,000.
Matthew Chance reporting for you now from the border.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, firstly, the Syrian forces have positioned themselves much closer to the Turkish border than they were before. It's hard to see them from this distance. But all along the crest of that hill behind me are Syrian military posts overlooking this border area. The intention clearly to establish control over this patch of territory, where many Syrians fleeing the crackdowns in their towns and villages have set up makeshift camps.
And now there are some, of course, that are still in there. But as this video shows, in the latest exodus, about 1,500 terrified refugees streamed across the border into Turkey, where they were processed and put into one of the five camps that Turkey has set up along this -- this Syrian frontier.
In one of those Turkish camps earlier, after Friday prayers, refugees held a protest against the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Turkey says it's now hosting more than 11,700 refugees like this in a crisis that's not only convulsing Syria, but also putting a great deal of -- a great deal of strain on its relationship with its Turkish neighbor.
Matthew Chance, CNN, on the Syria-Turkey border.
ANDERSON: All right. Well, that connect line shows you where we are going next, because we've heard from the European Union today, warning the Syrian regime that it is losing its legitimacy.
Well, some now want Washington to take a stronger stand.
Let's back up a bit, shall we?
And for comparison's sake, let's consider the U.S. response to the uprising in Libya earlier on the -- well, certainly early in the crackdown there.
Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The violence must stop. Moammar Gadhafi has lost legitimacy to lead and he must leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Around March the 3rd, well, by contrast, the U.S. seems willing to allow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stay in power if he meets certain conditions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: President Assad now has a choice. He can lead that transition or get out of the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, our next guest says enough is enough.
Former U.S. State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, worked the Obama administration for some time, of course.
He says it's time for his ex-boss to get off the fence and tell the Syrian president to go.
He joins me now.
P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Well, because what we've seen in the dramatic pictures that you just showed is that Bashar al- Assad has no intention of leading any reform movement or any transition that would effectively put he and his cronies out of business. So I think our policy right now is untenable, as stated by the president. And he, in fact, is -- has no intention of reforming. And thus, it's better for the United States and the West to cast its lot with the reformers who are courageously demanding a new government in Syria.
ANDERSON: OK. All right. Sixteen hundred dead, 12,500 refugees across the border in Turkey. It sounds sensible.
So why hasn't he stepped up and called for Assad to go?
CROWLEY: I think part of it is concern about -- about then what -- what steps would happen next?
I think there's some sentiment that if the United States says Assad has to go, that it, in fact, has to do something about that. I don't -- you know, one has to recognize that Syria and Libya are fundamentally different. While there is a -- obviously, a -- a military intervention underway in Libya, I don't see a corresponding military intervention, at this point, in Syria, expressly because of where Syria sits in the region, you know, with a volatile border with Turkey, a -- a border with Israel -- and -- and a lack of support...
ANDERSON: All right...
CROWLEY: -- within the region, relative to what we saw in the context of - - of Syria. But there are still many things that we can do, particularly underscoring what the European Union did today, in terms of increasing economic pressure on -- on the Syrian regime...
ANDERSON: All right...
CROWLEY: -- and the elites that support Assad.
ANDERSON: There -- there is a -- there is a significant group of people -- and let's not necessarily call it the majority. There is a voice in Syria who say we don't want any involvement from the West. They don't necessarily see a decent leader of a new regime from the Assad side. Nor do they see a decent opposition leader, at this point.
There's a significant group of people who say, this is a conspiracy by the West, get out, don't get involved in our politics.
CROWLEY: Well, in fact, the -- the West will not have control over what happens in Syria. But that's different from putting its moral force and providing whatever external pressure can be applied from outside, you know, to create the kind of fissures that we are, in fact, seeing in Syria.
Ultimately, what happens there will be determined by the Syrian people and we need to provide...
ANDERSON: All right...
CROWLEY: -- enough pressure and enough moral support, you know, for the Syrian people to ultimately to have the choice that we think they deserve.
ANDERSON: So you're going to feed the beast, to a certain extent, he who says this is a -- this is a conspiracy if, indeed, Obama were to stand up and ask Assad to go.
I'm just wondering what difference you really think it would make. You know, I think a lot of people agree with you, Obama should step up to the plate.
But what difference would it make if the U.S. president called on Assad to go?
CROWLEY: I think it changes the conversation that we have with other countries, you know, Turkey being among them. The Turks are becoming increasingly frustrated with what's happening there. They have a policy of zero problems with their neighbors. But, in fact, they now have a problem right on their border that they're having to confront.
So if the conversation changes from getting Assad to behave better to getting Assad to step aside, then you're looking at what triggers could be exerted from outside that -- that provides the kind of support and momentum for the demonstrators that are standing up courageously on the inside.
This could still take some time. Assad has, just like Gadhafi has, some ability to resist. But over time, particularly on the economic side, you know, Turk -- Syria has the same vulnerability in terms of the importance of tourism, the importance of outside capital...
CROWLEY: -- as we saw like in Egypt. So this kind of economic pressure, over time, can -- can make a difference.
ANDERSON: You've explained why you think Obama should step up to the plate. He hasn't done, as of yet. And you've explained why, perhaps, he hasn't.
The last question to you, will he?
CROWLEY: I think inevitably, we're seeing the end of the -- the Syrian regime as it currently is constituted. I think that the people of Syria have lost their fear. So the government has lost the ability to intimidate them.
We're seeing now, week after week, Friday after Friday, these demonstrations are not going away and any claims that this is about outside instigators is, of course, you know, comical.
So I don't know that there's change going to come. And I think as this wears on, it's inevitable that eventually, the West and the United States will recognize the reality inside Syria.
ANDERSON: It's an important story. It's one that we at least are able to cover from the inside these days, with Hala Gorani and Arwa Damon in Damascus.
P.J. out of Washington tonight, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.
And we will wait to see exactly what the U.S. decides to do.
How to stop the violence -- that is the question we are going to pursue further in the next half hour, with the man charged with keeping peace around the globe. Stay with us for tonight's big interview from the world of diplomacy.
Also, banned from working in Saudi Arabia -- the radical step by Indonesia to protect its citizens. That story in about 20 minutes time.
And what did America's first lady say to Nelson Mandela. Find out, right after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.
It's 18 minutes past nine in London.
I'm Becky Anderson for you.
A look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.
The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have agreed on the new terms of a new bailout plan for Greece. But in order to get it, the Greek government must pass an austerity package next week. Well, that announcement came out of a meeting of European leaders in Brussels earlier today, where the president of the Euro Group said he's confident the crisis in Greece can be and will be contained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROGROUP: I'm totally convinced that the measures which we be -- which we will have to take will be of such a nature that the Greek problem can be settled under which, anyway, no fear as far as we are concerned concerning the contagion to turn violent or to Portugal.
The situations of Greece and Portugal are violent. These situations are totally different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Juncker also said that Greece must meet its commitments under this plan, because there is no alternative.
Well, 17 years after a massacre that shocked the world, a former Rwandan minister has been jailed for life. She is one of the first women ever charged with genocide. And here's a twist. Her job at the time of the killings was to oversee and protect Rwanda's families and vulnerable women. Her militia leader son was also found guilty of genocide.
Well, a Pakistani-based militia group denies U.S. media reports that it supported Osama bin Laden. According to "The New York Times," a mobile phone found in bin Laden's compound had contact details for members of Harka ul Mujahideen. The report also says the militants had links to a wider support network, including Pakistan's intelligence service.
The U.S. House of Representatives has registered a mixed verdict on U.S. involvement in the NATO mission in Libya. First, lawmakers rejected a resolution expressing support for the resolution, a symbolic setback for the White House. But later on Friday, those lawmakers also defeated a measure that would have restricted funding for U.S. participation in the operation.
America's first lady has been warmly welcomed in Botswana, the last stop on her two nation visit to Africa. It's been a memorable five day trip for Michelle Obama, who happily took part in an impromptu walkout with the Nobel laureate, Desmond Tutu. She also enjoyed a private meeting, of course with Nelson Mandela.
Oh, she looks strong there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF U.S. PRESIDENT: The one thing issue -- I told him, you know, I wanted to make sure he understood how important his leadership and sacrifice has been to who I've become, to who my husband has become. And in short, I just said thank you. It's really hard to know what to say to such an icon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The first lady will spend the weekend at a game reserve before heading back to Washington.
Well, up next here on CNN, it's 22 minutes past nine in London.
A center court surprise -- we're going to tell you who's in and who's out, more importantly, after the third round of Wimbledon.
Then, workers from Indonesia desperate to get into Saudi Arabia even after one of their own was executed there.
Stay with us.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
ANDERSON: All right, well, there was a surprise on center court at Wimbledon today. American Andy Roddick is out in the third round, after falling to Spain's Feliciano Lopez. Until today, Roddick has beaten Lopez every time the two have played. Roddick also the most recent American man to win a major. It was the 2003 U.S. Open.
My colleague, Don Riddell, joins me now with the other highlights.
It has been a long time since the Americans have -- have reigned supreme, isn't it?
DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the American men. Of course, the...
RIDDELL: -- the women have sort of taken care of it on the women's side.
RIDDELL: Yes, a frustrating time for Roddick. He's not played well for a good year, to be honest.
RIDDELL: He went out in the fourth round last year, the third round this time. And as you say, to a man that he's never lost to before. So a pretty bitter moment.
His press conference afterwards was one we couldn't broadcast. There was a -- a few expletives uttered. He was being called (INAUDIBLE) his own game, to be honest. And Lopez, of course, goes through to the next round.
He, by the way, is a real fans' favorite, a real favorite with the ladies. Andy Murray's mom, Judy, is a real fan. She calls him Deliciano.
RIDDELL: She said that on Twitter and now everybody knows it.
ANDERSON: All right.
RIDDELL: So a lot of rain at Wimbledon today, so not that many matches compound. But Venus Williams has made it through. She was a straight sets winner, the top seed in the women's draw. Caroline Wozniacki also a straight sets winner.
Maria Sharapova, who many think could win the title this year and -- and, of course, repeat her feat of a few years ago, she beat the British favorite, Laura Robson, in straight sets.
And Andy Murray is putting the British fans through the wringer as we speak. Typical Murray. He's 2-1 up. He's doing all right in the fourth set. But he's had a few wobbly moments, too.
ANDERSON: Oh, he's making it so hard for himself and for others.
All right, now there's controversy certainly from the women today at Wimbledon.
RIDDELL: Yes, well it was yesterday that Serena Williams...
RIDDELL: -- made the point that she feels that the -- the draw and where the top matches are played really does favor the men. And I think if you look at the stanche (ph), she's got a very valid point.
RIDDELL: She's basically talking about the fact that, you know, she and her sister, Venus, who between them have won 18 singles and doubtless Wimbledon titles, are often shunted out onto the remote courts at Wimbledon. And it never seems to happen to the men.
Now, Wimbledon denied that there's any kind of bias. But if you actually look at the -- the numbers and the way they schedule these matches, the formula is usually two men's matches on center court, one -- one women's. And the same for court number one, as well.
So Serena made these comments. A lot of other players, including Andy Roddick, as well, have backed this up.
So that's sort of an issue for Wimbledon.
ANDERSON: Right. I've got to tell you, I saw those two playing a doubles match on, I think it was court 12, about two years ago. And it was toward the end of the first week. And I couldn't believe I had the actual opportunity to see them in what wasn't, by any means, the first round.
Anyway, they were unbelievable to see.
All right, stay with me.
The other major sporting event taking place this weekend is, of course, the Formula 1 European Grand Prix. We're going to talk about that with Don in just a moment.
First, Richard Quest shows us the painstaking preparations in downtown Valencia.
Have a look at this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A beautiful car.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": You're going to drive it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
QUEST (voice-over): With top speeds above 300 kilometers an hour and Valencia's landmarks as a backdrop, this race course stands out from other purpose built tracks. Turning a city into a circuit isn't easy.
(on camera): They won't have all these pesky traffic lights to worry about during the F1.
PEDRO HERNANDEZ, CIRCUIT ASSEMBLY MANAGER (through translator): Our main objective is to inconvenience the city as little as possible during the preparations. We do that by only closing two roads in the week leading up to the race.
QUEST: This makes the physical assembly of the circuit all the more challenging. In the two months leading up to the race, 14 grandstands are constructed. Five ton concrete slabs are installed to mark out the track. Sixty thousand tires are brought in from used car lots around Spain to create safety barriers. And five kilometers of track are painted in Valencian colors.
It's a big job and one that requires an equally painstaking disassembly long after the checkered flag has been waved.
ANDERSON: All right, well the drivers have already had a chance to practice.
Who are the favorites?
RIDDELL: Well, it's hard to say who's the favorites. But I can tell you that Fernando Alson has been fastest in practice today. Of course, he's a Spaniard, in front of his own fans. Ferrari and he would desperately love their first win of the season.
Hamilton, the second fastest today. The runaway leader, Sebastian Vettel, was third. Yes, I think it's going to be close. And don't be surprised if Vettel doesn't win this weekend. Remember, Button beat him on the last lap in Montreal a couple of weeks ago.
ANDERSON: Interesting. All right...
RIDDELL: I'm not so sure, but I think Vetter is going to have his hands full again.
ANDERSON: Big weekend for F1. It's going to be a big weekend at Wimbledon, also, as well.
And let's hope that it doesn't rain -- well, it's going to rain, I think, on Saturday, but it won't rain on Sunday, because it's going to be 30 degrees here (INAUDIBLE).
RIDDELL: And they've got their refunds in, of course.
ANDERSON: Of course.
RIDDELL: But there will -- there will be some tennis.
ANDERSON: OK. Good stuff.
All right, thanks, Don.
Well, plenty still to come here on CONNECT THE WORLD this Friday evening.
After this short break, a check of the world news headlines for you.
And then the beheading of an Indonesian maid in Saudi Arabia prompts a furious reaction in her home country. How Jakarta is retaliating. That is seven minutes away for you this evening.
And the quiet diplomat -- in the next 20 minutes, we're going to bring you our big interview tonight with the man charged with maintaining peace around the globe.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back. It's just after half-past nine in London. You're with "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. These are your headlines this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Opposition activists say at least 10 people were killed in anti- government demonstrations across Syria on Friday. The European Union says the Syrian regime is calling its own legitimacy into question by continuing the deadly crackdown.
17 years after the Rwanda genocide shocked the world, a former government minister has been jailed for life. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko is the only woman convicted by the U.N. - backed court. Her job at the time was to oversee and protect Rwanda's families and vulnerable women.
The raid that killed Osama Bin Laden may have uncovered new evidence about his alliances. According to the New York Times, the cell phone belonging to Bin Laden's courier showed contact with the militant group Harakat ul Mujahedin. A member of the group, though, denies the New York Times report.
Alleged American mob boss "Whitey" Bulger is making his first appearance in a Boston courtroom facing 19 counts of murder. After he spent 15 years on the run, the FBI finally captured the 81-year-old suspect and his girlfriend on Wednesday in Southern California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The execution of an Indonesian maid last week has prompted Jakarta to take a radical step. Indonesia announced on Thursday it has barred all of its citizens from working in Saudi Arabia. Colleen McEdwards has the story.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice-over): Outrage in Indonesia after Saturday's execution of an Indonesian maid in Saudi Arabia. Protestors called for the government to stop sending migrant workers to the Middle East. Thursday, the President responded.
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO, INDONESIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I decided to apply a moratorium on sending Indonesian workers to Saudi Arabia to be in effect on August first. But, starting from today, steps towards this have begun.
MCEDWARDS (voice-over): The Indonesian Premier spoke firmly, temporarily halting the flow of workers to the oil-rich kingdom. Angry that Jakarta was not given prior notice of the beheading on Saturday.
Ruyati binti Sapubi was a 54-year-old female Indonesian migrant worker convicted of murdering her employer's wife. She was executed by sword.
YUDHOYONO (through translator): I have filed a strong protest as the Indonesian President over the execution of Ms. Ruyati, because they should have informed Indonesia before executing her.
MCEDWARDS (voice-over): Wednesday, a Saudi foreign minister spokesman told CNN that Saudi Arabia's ambassador apologized to Indonesia, saying it would never happen again.
Indonesia is also a country heavily criticized for harsh executions and many of its people still want to work in Saudi Arabia. There are thought to be 1.2 million Indonesian workers already in the country. Thursday, more than 500 Indonesians waited in lines at this immigration office applying to enter the Arab Kingdom before the embargo takes place August first.
IMAS KURNIATY, INDONESIAN WORKER (through translator): I am not returning to Abu Dhabi. I am going to Saudi, although there was a beheading incident, I am not worried. I am confident with my choice to go to Saudi Arabia.
ABDULRAHMAN FAIZAL, EMPLOYMENT AGENT (through translator): Administratively, Saudi Arabia is the most favorite destination. We don't have to send biodata to them, and the visa is ready.
MCEDWARDS (voice-over): The work may be good for the Southeast Asian Country's economy. And many are still adamant they want passage to Saudi Arabia, but how long it will be before they can do that will have to be negotiated.
Colleen McEdwards, CNN, Atlanta.
ANDERSON: Right, the 54-year-old domestic helper said her employer brutally abused her and wouldn't let her quit her job. Now, this is a story that needs our attention and I'm going to show you why. International Labor Organization says officially 53 million people worldwide are domestic workers. Many more, though, are unregistered. The actual number could be as high as 100 million.
Breaking it down and focusing on the Middle East for you - let's start in Saudi Arabia, shall we? Saudi Arabia - there are an estimated 1 1/2 million domestic workers. By far the most in the region. They mainly come from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nepal. Some smaller numbers coming from countries in the south - in Africa and in Asia.
Kuwait - let's take a look at what's going in Kuwait. 660 thousand, mostly from South Asia. If we take a look here, this is the United Arab Emirates, for example - there's a quarter of a million domestic workers there. Mostly in Abu Dhabi and the majority there come from the Philippines.
We heard - we hear stories, I'm afraid, of alleged abuse across the region. Again, and again, and again. Bahrain, some thousand domestic workers. And the key to this, and the importance of this story is this - that migrant workers' remittances are invaluable to their economies back home.
The total remittance garnered by Indonesia's migrant workers last year exceeded $7 billion, according to the World Bank. Now that is the second largest foreign exchange earner after oil and gas. Quite significant. So, don't expect these domestic governments to start discouraging their residents from seeking work abroad.
Well, this particular case in Saudi Arabia is shining a spotlight on the use and abuse of foreign domestic workers. I want to explore that for a moment. Joining me now from Washington is T. Kumar, Amnesty International's director for international advocacy.
Now, Kumar, let's remind ourselves of this particular story in Saudi Arabia - of course, is by no means isolated. I think I'm right in saying there are 23 Indonesian domestic workers on death row in Saudi Arabia tonight. Is that right?
T. KUMAR, LLM, ADVOCACY DIRECTOR FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Yes. The figure comes pretty close. But we may not know the actual numbers. The reason is in Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries, these type of informations are very hard to get. But reasonably, your figure come close to what we have.
ANDERSON: Right. OK. Just talk us through the sort of conditions that many - and we're talking hundreds of thousands, if not millions, as we've seen in Saudi Arabia - of domestic workers - sort of conditions that they face on a fairly regular basis.
KUMAR: We are talking here about foreign domestic workers. They are extremely vulnerable. They don't speak the language Arabic. And they kind of shift to these countries to make monies. They also come on their own so that they can make money for their own family. But, at the same time, the government also benefits by their tax.
The conditions under which these people are being employed in Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries is extremely disturbing. They are the most vulnerable population in those - in that particular region. They have no rights - nothing at all. They are living in the mercy of the house of the owners whom they work with. They live inside the house 24-7 and any abuse they commit, there is no redress to them.
ANDERSON: Briefly, is it just women who are subjected to abuse in these places, allegedly?
KUMAR: Men, too, but women in particular. Especially the domestic workers are much more vulnerable because they are inside the house. The male people - I mean, men in that household tend to abuse them sexually, which we have documented numerous reports of sexual abuse including rape of the domestic workers. And when these domestic workers protest, then they get abused more. So, in a nutshell, they are living a semi-slave state in these countries.
ANDERSON: I've heard that described many times before. The ILO, the International Labor Organization has set out a new convention by which they hope domestic workers - if countries sign up, at least - domestic workers will have better rights. Are you optimistic that people will actually sign up to this convention - or countries, at least?
KUMAR: There are a couple of things - It's a good step to have international standards set in place. So, in that process, ILO convention is a good move and a very good first step. The second is there should be pressure to ensure that these countries live up to the international standards. And the first step is, of course, for them to sign on and ratify it. That may be an uphill battle.
ANDERSON: The voice of Amnesty International tonight on what is an incredibly important story. I think we should all wake up and grow up, and start taking note. Kumar, thank you very much. T. Kumar, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.
I want to take this opportunity to tell you about a CNN special. Every year, in Nepal, thousands of young girls are trafficked into the sex industry. Now, this Sunday, we're going to share their stories with you in what is a compelling documentary. We head out with actress Demi Moore, who is an outspoken advocate for victims of human trafficking around the world. In this preview, she looks at the life-threatening legacy of modern day slavery.
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DEMI MOORE, ACTRESS (voice-over): Seven and a half miles north of Kathmandu lies a different aspect of the care provided by Maiti Nepal's team. The hospice. The scars of human trafficking are never merely skin deep, and the pain and suffering often extends to future generations.
Amid this seemingly idyllic image of rural family life, there's another morning routine to be performed. One which casts a darker complexion on the picture. This is the daily lineup for medicine, without which many of these women and children would die.
They all carry the HIV virus and many have other related illnesses. In most cases, a legacy of time served under slavery in the brothel. The medicine is expensive and Maiti Nepal struggles to maintain the supply of life-saving drugs.
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ANDERSON: All right. To all viewers around the world have already told us they are planning to tune into what is a powerful documentary on Sunday. Take a look at this map. Each paper airplane shows - there you go - shows or represents a country where viewers are planning to watch.
Let's take a look at what some of those viewers have been telling us. Out of Nepal, Tenzin says, "Attending from Kathmandu, Nepal. We should all stop this crime". To Australia where one of our viewers, Yozzy, says, "I salute Mrs. Anuradha Koirala for her courage and bravery to fight against exploitation of innocent women. She, along with her remarkable deeds, has inspired people all over the globe". And to Nigeria, tonight, "This is a crime against humanity. Government all over the world should not turn a blind eye to this crime".
We want to know where you're going to watch from tonight. Do tell us. We've got the CNN Freedom Project Facebook site, of course, Facebook.com/CNNfreedom and find the event page for Nepal's stolen children. Lots of directions for you tonight, but it's absolutely worth it and tune in for Nepal's Stolen Children, a CNN Freedom Project documentary. See the world premiere on Sunday Night on 8 pm London time.
Still to come, the voice of the global alliance charged with keeping peace. But are the words of this quiet diplomat being heard? Our big interview tonight is from the world of geopolitics and it's up right after this.
ANDERSON: Well, he's the world's chief peacemaker, a global humanitarian. His diplomacy has just won him another five-year term as secretary general of the United Nations. Ban Ki-moon's reelection comes amid great political uncertainty across the Middle East as you'll be well aware. Connect the World's big interview tonight is from the world of global politics.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: There are so many countries in the news that seem to have problems. Do you wake up every day saying, "Who am I going to condemn today? Who am I going to criticize? Things are getting a little bit out of hand."?
BAN KI-MOON, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL: We are living in an era of multiple crises. I believe that what we have seen - what you are seeing in Arab world or North Africa is a positive trend toward the eventual realization of democracy and freedom and promotion of human rights. The process seems to be taking longer than we expected.
ROTH: What is going to break the stalemate in Libya?
BAN KI-MOON: I have been speaking already many times with the prime minister. I have been receiving such a call - urgent calls. However, I thought that their messages were not coherent, not credible. So I have been asking them, send us a message credible. A verifiable one. It is important that United Nations speak and act in a coherent way, as we have done in some other parts of the Arab world.
I have been discussing and speaking to President Assad several times, and I will continue to do that. I have been urging him to allow the visit of a fact-finding mission of a human rights council.
ROTH: But you haven't talked to him since May fourth. Do you feel he lied to you when he said, "Yes, bring this humanitarian team into Syria".?
BAN KI-MOON: I will continue to speak with him. In fact, there are some other ways of communicating with him. I am sure that we will be able to work together.
ROTH: They call it a Libya hangover - the fact that the council could not move on to Syria. There was a wave of optimism here at the U.N. and elsewhere that the Security Council had gotten over its divisions. Do you feel that? Has there been an impact of what happened in Libya and the violence has stalled action on Syria?
BAN KI-MOON: I know there is frustrations, disappointment, on the part of international community. When the people really wish that the Syrian people would be able to enjoy freedom and democracy and receive humanitarian assistance. I am also very frustrated, but I am very committed to make some progress in this situation.
ROTH: So you approve of a planned flotilla - freedom flotilla number two - to run the siege of Gaza, or is it a provocative PR move that threatens stability, according to Israel. Which side are you on?
BAN KI-MOON: I believe that it is necessary to avoid any unnecessary confrontation. They should be advised to use existing route where they can deliver these humanitarian assistance.
ROTH: China. The government released the artist dissident Ai Weiwei. What do you think of that holding of a civil rights/human rights activist? Surely you condemn the fact that he was held and now released under terms that he doesn't even speak to the media.
BAN KI-MOON: I welcome the decision by the Chinese government to release Mr. Ai, and I believe that the freedom of expression and activity should be respected.
ROTH: Should he have been jailed?
BAN KI-MOON: He was released.
ROTH: But, he also was previously in jail for months.
BAN KI-MOON: That's why I'm welcoming his release by China's government.
ANDERSON: Ban Ki-moon with my colleague Richard Roth.
And next week on "Connect the World", Your Big Interview is from the world of entertainment. He's a two-time Oscar winner and one of Hollywood's biggest box office stars. But that is not enough for U.S. actor, Tom Hanks.
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TOM HANKS, ACTOR: I'm going to be 55-years-old on July ninth. Every year, you have to start all over again, and every year you got to throw yourself into something that scares the living daylights out of you, because you don't know if you're going to succeed or fail.
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ANDERSON: He's such a charmer, I've got to say. Tom Hanks is among the big interviews we'll be bringing you next week here on "Connect the World". Still to come on tonight's show, why this gorilla decided to get his groove on. That, and everything else that's got your attention online, up next. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: All right, it's 53 minutes past nine. Nearly the back end of this show, but before that, pop idol parodies, animal antics, sports stunts, and babies. There is one place where they can all be found. Phil Han brings us the best of the bunch online.
PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Welcome to another addition of "Week on the Web". This is the place where we want to bring you up-to-date with all the best stories from across social media over the last seven days.
First up, though, this music might sound familiar, but it definitely isn't who you think it is.
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HAN (voice-over): This parody of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way", by comedian and singer "Weird Al" Yankovic has already clocked up more than five million hits. He pokes fun at everything from Gaga's dress sense to her stage presence.
But not everyone has the same view as "Weird Al". These Lady Gaga fans put together this tribute video based on the song "Edge of Glory". It was so popular that Lady Gaga herself found the video on YouTube and tweeted her fans to say thanks.
Now, this video has gotten over a million hits this week. It shows "Zola" from the Calgary Zoo break dancing in his cage. This isn't trained behavior and the music was added afterwards, but still, you've got to admit those are some pretty amazing moves.
Off to another primate. This orangutan was filmed at the Dublin Zoo rescuing a baby duckling that was struggling to swim. Stunned onlookers gasped as the orangutan grabbed the duckling out of the water and began stroking it back to safety on the grass.
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HAN: Politicians holding a baby can be a great photo opportunity, but they usually don't want to pick a crying one.
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HAN (voice over): The meet and greet at the Whitehouse saw First Lady Michelle Obama holding on to a screaming baby, but once the Commander in Chief took charge, the baby immediately stopped crying.
Now, crashing out of a race is bad enough, but imagine if you couldn't get going again. That's just what happened during this race at Magny-Cours in France. After crashing, these two bikes locked wheels. And what happened next was motorcycle ballet.
Finally, it's not a cat, it's a dog. Or is it? More than 2.5 million people watched this video of what sounds like a cat barking. When it realized it is being watched, it suddenly goes back to being a cat.
Phil Han, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: And before we go, we've got one more video making the rounds this week and it is our parting shots - will shock you this evening. It comes from the U.S. state of Michigan where several people called emergency services when they spotted this unusual looking driver speeding through town.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Believe it or not, I just passed a five, six-year-old kid flying down the road with a red Pontiac Sunbird.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, it was a red Sunbird?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
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ANDERSON: Well, the young boy had apparently wanted to visit his father. So, while his mum was asleep, he got behind the wheel of his stepfather's car and quite literally just took off. Well, police caught up with him after 20 miles. They say he'd been going as fast as 50 miles an hour at one point and was pretty frightened. But apparently he's absolutely fine. Goodness.
I'm Becky Anderson. That's your world connected. Thanks for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Have a great weekend.