Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Hurricane Sandy's Aftermath; Syria Violence; Myanmar Unrest; Shakeup at Apple
Aired October 30, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN VERJEE, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This storm is not yet over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: As American towns torn apart by super storm Sandy begin to pick up the pieces, a warning to those in its path: the danger is far from over.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
VERJEE: CNN has reporters covering the story from all angles. Tonight, we're going to head right across the region to show you the destruction left in Sandy's wake and where the storm is heading next.
Nearly 8 million people across the U.S. east coast are gearing up for another night without power as America is reeling from the devastation of Sandy.
Let's just show you some of the latest pictures coming in to CNN, OK. Take a look at this video. In some towns, streets have totally disappeared. These aerial shots really show you the extent of the flooding in Maryland. Sandy is now being blamed for 30 deaths right across the country. Now take a look at this, this is what some residents in Queens, New York returned to find water right up to their front doors. The sheer power of the wind took out massive trees, damaging homes in Virginia.
Those scenes are not really surprising when you consider just how badly this region was totally pummeled by the storm.
A rush of water here turning one road into a river in Ocean City, New Jersey. President Barack Obama is planning to travel to New Jersey on Wednesday to see the damage for himself. Speaking in just the last couple of hours, he had this warning - Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This storm is not yet over. We gotten briefings from the National Hurricane Center. It is still moving north. There are still communities that could be affected. And so I want to emphasize, there's still risks of flooding. There are still risks of downed power lines, risks of high winds. And so it is very important for the public to continue to monitor the situation in your local community...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: Let's get straight to the latest weather forecast at CNN Weather Center. Jenny Harrison is tracking the storm really carefully. Jenny, it's going inland now. Where and how many people are in its path?
JENNY HARRISON, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going inland very, very slowly, Zain. And in terms of the number of people, we're still talking about millions of people who are actually being affected by the storm, maybe not directly in the path anymore, but when you look at the northeast coast, which of course is where we have literally tens of millions of people in this particular region, 10 million people alone in New York City, still we're seeing rain, still some sleet in higher elevations, and of course plenty of snow still coming down across West Virginia in particular.
So although the storm is moving, it is moving very, very slowly, still picking up the moisture from the Atlantic. So still it is coming down as rain or in the colder air coming down as snow.
Now this is the same image combined with the current wind speeds. And you can see we've got some pretty gusty winds along the coast, because these are sustained winds. So sustained winds at around 30 kilometers an hour, easily means some gusts at around 40, 45, many a bit higher than that. Detroit have got sustained winds at about 40 kilometers an hour. So again that means some gusts probably at around 55 or 60.
So even though the whole system is moving very slowly up towards the north and weakening slightly as well, losing a lot of its energy, certainly the moisture that's been gathering from the Atlantic. It is still very much a large and powerful storm system. And as I say there are some gusty winds in there as well.
Now the storm is on the move, but very slowly. But as we go into Thursday, so another good 24 hours or more away from now, we will see that area of low pressure, the center of that low, pushing just beginning to push into southern areas of Canada, but continuing to spread a lot of rain across the region - not huge totals, but still keeping the rain coming down. And of course in the colder air, it will come down as snow, so the further north the system goes, a lot of this rain in Canada will turn over to snow.
But the winds are still a main factor. This is the wind forecast for the next 48 hours. And still pretty much the eastern half of the U.S. will have some strong to gusty winds because of this system even though it's moving away to the north and as I say beginning to weaken as it does so - Zain.
VERJEE: Jenny Harrison, thank you.
Let's just take a look now at some of the hardest hit states, OK. Let's start here in New York where 15 people have been killed right across this state. Over 1.7 million are without power. The New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has said today more than 80 homes have been destroyed in a fire in Queens.
Let's then move along to New Jersey. And this is the latest that we know there. Three people have lost their lives there. Over 2.3 million are without power tonight. The New Jersey transit suspended. Rescues are also happening in the town of Munacci (ph) where a dam broke. And that is totally flooding the streets.
Let's take a look at the situation in Maryland. Two people died. Thousands in that state also without power. One of the big fears there is that the raw sewage is just leaking from a plant because of the power outage, so that poses a totally different set of dangers. And as Jenny was saying, the combination of Sandy as well as a powerful winter storm is bringing some really heavy snow to the state of West Virginia. A blizzard has just knocked out power, totally toppled trees as well. Marty Savage is covering the latest on that. And he joins us now from the town of Kingwood.
Martin, just give us the sense of how much snow is around you.
MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you take a look here, Zain. I mean, I think we've got at least 25 centimeters of snow, maybe another 30 centimeters could be on its way. Some parts of the state could get even more than that. It has been snowing for the last 15 hours steadily. And on top of that heavily gusty winds.
I want to show you something. We did a drive. And we're going to show you sort of the danger that is unique to this storm in this particular area. Take a look.
Well, maybe not. All right.
Let me - it was a drive that we were doing - and what is happening that you've got this snow coming down. It's extremely heavy, wet snow. It's piling up on top of the tree branches and the power lines. And the problem is you can only build up so long and then, snap, it all gives way. The trees explode. They come crashing down and they drag the power lines with them, that's why there's no power here in this community, no power for about 300,000 people in the state of West Virginia. And that is going to continue to be a problem. That will grow because as the snow continues to fall, more trees come down and, you know, it's on and on and on again.
So as we go to the nighttime hours and the temperatures drop, it's really going to get worse.
In this state, it's more of a slow moving disaster, and unfortunately one that's going to continue to evolve and get worse over the next 24 hours, because that's how long it's expected to continue to snow - Zain.
VERJEE: So Martin, how are people coping? What have they told you?
SAVAGE: Well, I mean, they're doing well in the sense that they're used to heavy snowfalls in this part of West Virginia. It's a higher elevation. It's the mountains. They usually get it, but in the wintertime. This is still the fall. They weren't anticipating that.
You know, tomorrow night is Halloween, that's a holiday many children enjoy. Well, in this community you can imagine there won't be much trick- or-treating going on. There is just simply too much snow. There's no power. There's not lights. People will stay put.
So they've got a good attitude. But the problem is they may be without power, especially in the rural areas, for a long time to come, Zain.
VERJEE: Martin Savage, thanks so much. We'll continue checking in with you. And just so that we viewers know for a moment there was absolutely no snow just 24 hours ago. And that's the scene, the snow coming up to Martin just almost right below his knee.
Still to come tonight, we're going to be on the ground in one of the worst affected area, New Jersey, where CNN has been told 100 people are in need of help. And after it put an air port under water and forced the cancellation of 15,000 flights, we'll bring you the very latest on what the super storm has done to America's transport network.
VERJEE: Superstorm Sandy has left its mark on New York City. It tore the face off this building in Manhattan. And it partly collapsed a crane attached to the top of a skyscraper, leaving it hanging dangerously over the city streets. The storm has left hundreds of thousands without power.
Take a look at this video, it shows the real explosive effect on power lines in Queens.
Welcome back. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Zain Verjee.
In one of the worst affected New York neighborhoods, flood was followed by fire. 200 firefighters took on a blaze in Queens which destroyed more than 80 homes. It spread across a flooded neighborhood in Breezy Point fueled by high winds. Some describe the aftermath as total destruction.
Our Deborah Feyerick is in Queens and she joins us now with an update. Deborah, what happened with the fire and what happened to the families?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what's so incredible. The fire started in one home. And because of the southeast direction of the breeze it simply spread to home after home. And, Zain, I want to introduce all of you to the Ryan and Kinsha (ph) families who are here.
And you've been here since 1967. Tell me about your home. What's the state of your home right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now my home, the whole exterior is melted. And there's fire, you know - and older and everything. And then the water table is up to the first floor so that everything on the first floor is ruined - is destroyed. The exterior of the house is destroyed. And I not only found the fire melt, but also from the surge, the tidal surge that happened here, like the exterior. Things just thrown around.
And as we walked around we could see that. It was not just devastation from the fire that's here, it's from the tidal surge that happened.
FEYERICK: And you also, you - what happened to your home and relatives' homes?
UNIDNETIFIED FEMALE: Well, my house was pushed away by the water. I live on the bay side. And basically it just completely collapsed and floated away.
I have two siblings who also live down here in the summertime. And both of their homes were involved in the fire as well as one of them being destroyed by the tidal - the rogue wave that came through and connected the bay to the ocean, which is essentially what happened.
FEYERICK: How devastating is this to all of you? I mean, you've seen - you've seen generations of memories kind of wiped away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breezy Point is a paradise for many for the summer, for many now. It's become a paradise all year around that they are able to have the privilege to live here winter, summer, spring and fall. They've made it their primary residence.
The closeness that we share here, you know, the houses, the proximity, you know, we take care of each other, you know. No one, there's no one that doesn't say hi to their neighbor or invite them in or take care of them when they're sick or whatnot. I mean, these are selfless people who live here. And it's so devastating to be here to see this, because it's - it's like a war zone to us to see it like this.
FEYERICK: And Mark, last question, I know you're a doctor. Are you surprised that there weren't people who were injured in this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Although the response, you know, for the fire and the rescue was definitely affected by the storm and everything, I mean the response was magnificent. I mean, first the volunteer responders here, you know, from Breezy Point and then from, you know, New York City, they responded bravely. But I am very amazed that there hasn't been loss of life, over 100 homes were destroyed by the fire or impacted by the fire directly. And it's a miracle that no one perished. It really is a miracle.
FEYERICK: All right, the Ryan and Kinsha (ph) families, thank you so much.
And then we just wanted to introduce you to some of the folks, really, who have been affected by this. And hundreds of thousands of families, really, across the United States feeling the same way at their losses as well. But in this tight knit community where everyone is a friend it's really hit especially hard - Zain.
VERJEE: Deb Feyerick in Queens giving us the human face of the devastation. Thanks, Deb.
Let's take you now to New Jersey where President Obama is going to be on Wednesday to see the damage for himself. Rescue efforts are continuing there. Police tell CNN about 100 people are in need of assistance in the Tom's River area. CNN's Michael Holmes is there. He joins us now.
Hi, Michael. What other challenges emergency workers are facing now?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Zain, it's a lot quieter now than it was 24 hours ago, I can tell you. The main challenges that they've been facing are downed trees. There are so many trees that have fallen during this storm. The other thing is water is still standing. It's going away slowly, but it's been a real problem. In some neighborhoods you'd have water almost up to my waste. So it was - that's been a big problem.
And today we were watching rescuers go in and get people one by one, two by two, their pets, bring them out from houses that they just couldn't get out of.
I think the most damage, though, was done on those outer banks, those barrier islands that we've heard to much about. We were there yesterday. And already you saw sea water coming through the dunes and coming down the streets. And we spoke to a few locals there who said we're local. We know the area. We'll be fine.
Well, they weren't fine. Some of the pictures we've seen out of there - the media is not allowed on the island yet. We spoke to people who had just come off today, came back across the bridge, they described a night of absolute terror that basically the ocean just washed over those barrier islands. They're sand, four or five, six blocks inland. The houses have been damaged. They were even when we were there yesterday we were at the surf club and waves were breaking through the surf club. And the ocean is normally 50 yards away. A lot of damage has been done. I think perhaps the most interesting thing is despite several hundred people staying on those barrier islands throughout and going through that night of terror, not a single casualty has been reported here in the Tom's River area which is really astounding given what happened yesterday.
VERJEE: CNN's Michael Holmes report. Thanks, Michael.
Well, the storm forced New York's financial markets to just shut their doors, but the stock exchange and the NASDAQ should be back in business tomorrow. Let's bring in Alison Kosik for a little bit more on that. Alison, can trading be done for sure tomorrow? Is there a backup plan to get the electronic system up and running?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: ...with the New York Stock Exchange, Zain, is telling us that the opening bell is expected to ring at 9:30 am eastern time. The stock exchange saying the building, the trading floor, they're all fully operational. They're ready to go. And the contingency plan is at the NYAC Arca, the NYAC says it has its electronic exchange ready to step in just in case it can't reactivate the NYSE.
Now getting the markets open, Zain, is a big priority. And it's especially crucial because Wednesday is the last day of the month when traders and hedge funds and mutual funds they all have to square up their positions before they send out their monthly statements - Zain.
VERJEE: And Alison, what would be the assessment of the damage, the cost, the pricetag to all of this?
KOSIK: You know what it's being measured by the billions of dollars. And estimates are really all over the map. Equicat (ph) which measures storm damage is putting it anywhere from $10 billion to $20 billion, and that includes losses that are insured property damage. And it's going so high, because Sandy hit this heavily populated area of the U.S., up and down the eastern seaboard.
Other estimates, believe it or not, they're even higher. Connecticut Analysis is putting it at $25 billion. And it's getting so high, these estimates, because flooding in the New York City area is really the wild card in this. You think about this, subway tunnels have flooded. That could have damaged the electrical system that's underground. So we're really not going to know for certain what these damaged numbers are until the water is pumped out - Zain.
VERJEE: Alison Kosik, thanks so much. We hope to see you working tomorrow. Thanks a lot.
Well, we're going to take a short break right now, but when we come back we're going to focus a little bit on all the travel disruptions because of Sandy. Stay with CNN.
VERJEE: Cameras caught the moment elevators began to burst with the force of flood water. This storm created a surge that has inundated subway stations and tunnels. It is so powerful it blew this 700 ton tanker onto the shore. And many more extraordinary images in New York City where the storm put parking lots under water and left whole areas of Manhattan submerged.
You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Zain Verjee.
The worst is over for America's east coast, but the wind and flood waters have crippled its transport network. More than 15,000 flights have been canceled. New York City's LaGuardia Airport is badly flooded. The damage to the city's transit system has been devastating according to one official.
For the very latest on the travel disruption, let's talk to Richard Quest. Richard, when you look at your first class crystal ball, tell us when are the airports going back to normal?
QUEST: Oh, not any time soon. Well, most of them are at one level. If you take for example, Boston which has started to get moving again in quite a substantial, even Washington is now starting to move. And there are flights coming in. And the rest of the country is flying normally.
But the real problem, Zain, remains just here, that area which of course is New York. And that is for one good reason, because if we look at the airports in the Tri-State area you see New York, LaGuardia, and -- sorry Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark are both closed. With those three airports closed and the other airports like Chicago having serious delays you get an idea. It is LaGuardia that is - they're hoping to get Kennedy open later today, at least in some shape or form, LaGuardia is going to be much more of a serious problem.
If you have a look why you can see LaGaurdia's position and the edge of the peninsula and you see the runways at LaGuardia. Now those runways, all of them, in some shape or form end up over water. This one out here, which is the one with the terrifying left hand turn, there's this one here. And then right at the end - as you saw the pictures a second ago, if you see them again you'll see the sheer amount of water, that's the apron of the main terminal at LaGuardia, that is where the runways are. That is what the - we're seeing. That's the famous sign, welcome to New York that you see as you roll down runway 1332 as you're heading out.
And as you look at the diagram again of the runways here, that's that runway you just saw then when it said welcome to New York. Now if they are underwater and so badly affected, not only is the integrity of these pontoons at risk, which are over water, but you have to question, Zain, what about all the navigation equipment out here?
Remember, planes don't just fly in. There's navigation, the ILS - instrument landing systems - so time and again, people will be asking what's - when Kennedy will open. That will be probably maybe today, tomorrow, LaGuardia could be considerably longer. Until they can be sure that these runways are structurally, integrity - if the structural integrity is good and more importantly as well of course the navigation equipment is just as solid.
VERJEE: Richard Quest with a reality check there for travelers. Thanks, Richard.
Superstorm Sandy has put politics on hold in the United States, but presidential contender Mitt Romney did make a brief appearance on Tuesday. He turned a scheduled campaign rally into a storm relief event in the crucial swing state of Ohio. His supporters were asked to bring canned goods with them to the sports arena in Cettering (ph).
Although the storm has dominated the headlines for two days, no one in the U.S. has forgotten that America is one week from polling day. The White House has released photos of President Obama in the situation room. So will the storm affect the way America votes? That's a critical question right now for the political landscape.
CNN's White House correspondent Dan Lothian joins us now.
Well, will it?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, one of the ways that this could impact the way people vote is that, you know, in this campaign, the president's campaign and even Governor Mitt Romney have been in these battleground states pushing voters to get out and do early voting. And that's where they really saw that they could each get an advantage if they could, you know, sort of light the fire underneath their party faithful to go out and vote early.
And so there's been some question about, you know, some hurdles that may have been presented by this storm for folks not being able to get out to the polls.
In addition to that, both of the campaigns have been spending a lot of time in these battleground states still trying to reach that small slice just with days to go. There may be a few people out there who are still undecided. And so they want to be there on the ground in order to sway those minds. And so, you know, this storm could have presented a hurdle there.
But what you saw from the president today was really focused on the storm, not the politics. In fact, tomorrow -- we heard from the White House that tomorrow the president will be heading to New Jersey to tour the damage here along with that state's Republican Governor Chris Christie who by the way today had high praise for the president and the administration for the way that they have been very quick to respond to help states. The president while there will also talk with some of the families who have been impacted with the storm. And with some of the first responders.
But this was another day off the campaign trail for the president tomorrow as well. Since the president will be going to New Jersey he will not be going to Ohio where he was expected to have a couple of events. Instead today what we saw from the president is head just down the street to the Red Cross headquarters where he praised that organization for all the work it has done, also praised the governors and the mayors and the impact in states like New Jersey and New York saying that good coordination between local, state and federal governments have meant that not as many people were killed and that the damage was not as great as it could have been.
But the main message from the president was that the government, the federal government would not stand in the way of getting things done quickly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: My instructions to the federal agency has been do not figure out why we can't do something, I want you to figure out how we do something. I want you to cut through red tape. I want you to cut through bureaucracy, there's no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to lean forward and to make sure that we are getting the resources where they're needed as quickly as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOTHIAN: And the president said that he told the mayors and governors that if they're not getting the information that they need, if they're hearing no for an answer, they should pick up the phone and call the president directly right here at the White House - Zain.
VERJEE: Dan Lothian reporting from the White House, thanks, Dan.
Still to come here on Connect the World, it took just 30 minutes for one town to become submerged under nearly two meters of water. We're going to have much more storm coverage right ahead on CNN, including a live report from New Jersey.
As air strikes continue on rebel held areas, Syria stands accused of genocide against its own people.
VERJEE: A warm welcome back. Hi, I'm Zain Verjee. Here are the stories connecting our world tonight.
The death toll is rising from the super storm that's still battering the eastern United States. Officials now say at least 30 people have been killed in the US, and they warn that that number could rise. Nearly 8 million people are without power in 15 states and Washington, DC.
But things are starting to get back to normal. The New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ, as well as federal agencies in Washington are scheduled to reopen on Wednesday.
We want to update you, now, on some severe flooding that's going on in New Jersey. Our Brian Todd is in Teterboro, which is right across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and he joins us now, live. Brian, what can you tell us about where you are and what you're seeing and what residents there have told you?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zain, it's a scene of complete devastation in three entire towns near here, the towns of Moonachie, Little Ferry, and Carlstadt, New Jersey. They were both -- they were all three basically engulfed in flooding very early this morning at just after midnight when the Hackensack River breached a berm or a levy from a tidal surge as a result of this storm.
And within minutes, when that breach occurred, these three towns basically got engulfed in at least six feet of water on the street. And since that time, rescues have been going on. They're still going on right now. We're told that they may have to stop in about a half hour or so because of the darkness, officials telling us it's a little too dangerous to go in there now.
But rescues still going on at this hour, so just a long, long time. Obviously more than 12 hours since this happened, rescues still going on.
This place behind me, the Bergen County Technical and Vocational School has been turned into a shelter. More than a thousand people have been processed through here today. That's not the number of people who have needed to be rescued, we're told. That number is lower, probably 250 to maybe 300 people had to be rescued from those towns.
But these were very dramatic rescues, Zain. People had to be pulled from the roofs of their houses, and it was just a scene of real panic for a long while today.
VERJEE: Beyond the official rescue efforts, some neighbors, also, have been able to help neighbors that have been struggling?
TODD: They have. They've been able to alert authorities to houses where people have been stranded. They're still doing that, from what we're told. They're trying to do guide people -- guide rescuers who are going into the towns.
The good news is, fortunately, no one has been killed, we're told. There have been some minor injures. But again, since the rescues are still going on, and we're told they're still going door-to-door trying to find people who may be stranded, but yes, people have been able to guide rescuers to some homes where people may be stranded, Zain.
VERJEE: Brian Todd, thanks.
In other news, Syrian war planes continue to pound a strategic northern city recently taken by opposition forces. The bombardment follows a failed weekend truce that saw hundreds die in ongoing violence. That fighting is drawing new condemnation from regional leaders, as CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After the failure of the cease-fire to take hold, on Tuesday we heard harsh rhetoric from backers of Syrian rebels.
The Qatari prime minister, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani referring to this as a "war of extermination carried out with license from the Syrian government and international community. And the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu saying he wants to rule out dialogue with the Syrian regime.
AHMET DAVUTOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): There is no point in engaging in dialogue with a regime that continues to carry out such a massacre against its own people, even during Eid al-Adha.
WALSH: But also activists refer to as record bombardment on Monday, the town of Maarat al-Numan, that's a key place on a highway north that rebels are trying to hold was again hit by airstrikes, 19 killed in one strike we hear there. And also the Damascus suburbs, Eastern Guta again pounded.
This will be no consolation, though, to the regime, because another high profile assassination occurred in Damascus of a key air force major general, Abdullah al-Khalidi. It's not precisely clear what his role is within the regime, but the air force, despite being behind that air power, is also accused of masterminding much torture and repression of dissidents.
So once again, the center of Damascus, where so much of the regime is supposed to feel safe, clearly vulnerable.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Beirut.
VERJEE: More than 28,000 people have now been forced to flee their homes in western Myanmar because of fighting between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. That's according to UN officials who say refugee camps are now stretched beyond capacity. Dozens of people have been killed, more than 4,000 homes destroyed, in the latest wave of sectarian violence in Rakhine state.
Two of Apple's top executives are leaving the company. The vice president, Scott Forstall, is the most prominent to depart in the shakeup of the computer giant's management team. He was responsible for iOS software running iPhones and iPads, but was also behind Apple's much- criticized mapping software. Retail chief John Browett is also leaving.
Swiss bank UBS is cutting 10,000 jobs in attempt to cut costs. The firm is winding down its investment business in a bid to save $3.6 billion over the next three years. CNN's Charles Hodson reports from the city in London.
CHARLES HODSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: UBS is spinning its latest quarterly results as "solid," and the share price saw a good run-up on Monday. But it was for all the wrong reasons.
Investors have been anticipating the announcement on Tuesday that 10,000 jobs are to go. That's one in seven of UBS's workforce. Now, most of those job losses are to come from the investment banking unit. And those units, it's said by some in the markets, have been responsible for $50 billion worth of losses since the financial crisis struck four years ago.
So, UBS will be much less of an investment bank in the future, and focus will shift to wealth management, where the bank hopes that it will be able to make solid profits in the future, or certainly more solid than has been possible in investment banking over the past couple of years.
The aim of the latest firings is to trim the workforce to just 54,000 and save $3.6 billion. Even in the latest quarter, UBS lost $2.3 billion. Meanwhile, UBS employee, Kweku Adoboli, is currently on trial here in Britain for allegedly losing another $2 billion of the bank's money.
All in all, it's an uncomfortable time for the bank's CEO, Sergio Ermotti. He said in a statement -- or perhaps that should be an understatement -- "This decision has been a difficult one, particularly in a business such as ours that is all about its people."
Well, market commentators say this is the shape of many things to come. Watch out for further painful job losses in other major investment banking players.
Charles Hodson, CNN, in the city of London.
VERJEE: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live on CNN. Coming up right after the break, pushing the limits of design. Iraqi-born architect Zara Hadid shows us how she's quite literally changing the world around her.
VERJEE: Here on CNN, we really like to bring you stories of inspirational women changing the world around them. Tonight, Becky Anderson meets Zaha Hadid, the architect who's altering London's skyline. And Kristie Lu Stout talks to marketing magician Mercedes Erra.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Britain's Zaha Hadid is one of the most accomplished architect's in the world, and she has the body of work and accolades to prove it. On this day, we're in London, touring the construction site of the new wing she designed for the Serpentine Gallery.
ANDERSON (on camera): That will become a gallery. What will this become?
ZAHA HADID, ARCHITECT: This is a kind of social space --
HADID: -- for events, maybe a cafe. It's open to the public all the time.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Hadid is also the architect behind the aquatic center where Olympians recently enthralled world audiences. And there's the Evelyn Grace Academy, also in London. But she'd like to see more of her work in this city.
ANDERSON (on camera): Has being a woman stood in your way, do you think, really?
HADID: Well, I couldn't be anything else. Because you're not a stereotype, they don't know -- they let you get away with things which they would not let someone else get away with.
But on the other hand, because you're a woman, not a European guy, there are certain territories no matter what you do, you cannot enter. I will never be a part of the brotherhood, I cannot go golfing with these guys or on a boat trip. It's not going to happen.
ANDERSON (voice-over): She has some 300 employees working on her various programs, and there's also her exhibition space.
HADID: You can try it.
ANDERSON (on camera): Can I? Can I sit down?
The seed amongst the flowers.
HADID: Yes, it's nice.
ANDERSON: It's very nice.
ANDERSON (voice-over): And Hadid sounds like she has much more to create and remains passionate about her work.
HADID: I've totally focused on the projects. Nothing matters. It is the most rewarding experience.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Kristie Lu Stout. The passion for architecture and design continues with French advertising executive Mercedes Erra. You can see her talents in the beautiful layout of her home.
MERCEDES ERRA, FOUNDER, BETC EURO RSCG: I love order. For me, order and beauty have a relation.
STOUT: Mercedes Erra enjoys the things she works hard for and loves sharing them with family. A family that didn't have very much when she was growing up.
ERRA: My mother and my father have not much money, and when I have a little money, I -- first I bought a house for my mother and for my father, a boat house for my brother, after for my sister. Because for me, it's very important to have the capacity to share. And I don't think I shouldn't need too much money.
STOUT: Erra has five sons with her husband, Jean-Paul, who is a stay- at-home father.
JEAN-PAUL VALZ, ERRA'S HUSBAND: It's a real good job, because it's a job to stay at home and to be with the kids. But they really love her.
ERRA: Sometimes people think it's my husband who is in charge. I do many things at home. And I think it's good.
STOUT: Mercedes was born near Barcelona, Spain, and moved to France when she was six. After graduating from HEC, a prestigious business school in France, she began her career as an intern at Saatchi & Saatchi, where she eventually became managing director. Now, she is co-founder of her own agency, BETC, a leader in French advertising.
ERRA: My job is a difficult job. To move people is not easy. Advertising is very important. It's a true leverage for the brands.
STOUT: She's a powerhouse, respected by colleagues.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She doesn't try to make you work too much on your weaknesses. Some managers do that. She's not of this kind. Work on your qualities.
STOUT: Outspoken for women's rights, Erra was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her efforts to ensure women take on executive roles.
ERRA: I am very good at changing the world. It's because I respect women and men. I am sure about this.
STOUT: And standing up for what she believes in is something very admired at home.
VALZ: It's the reason why I'm so proud to be with her and she helps me to grow all the time.
VERJEE: Next week, we are in India and Argentina as we meet two new Leading Women challenging gender stereotypes in their countries. For a little sneak preview, you can go straight to our website at cnn.com/leadingwomen and read all about the leading ladies profiled in our series.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, we're going to take a look at the dramatic images our iReporters have gathered over the past 24 hours along the US East Coast.
VERJEE: The wrath of a super storm battered houses along the coast of New Jersey, and roads now non-existent, completely buried underneath the sand. In the last few hours, President Barack Obama has warned the storm is not over.
Super Storm Sandy continues to capture the whole world's attention, both in the real world as well as online. Now here, just take a look at the Twitter activity relating to the storm. You can see Sandy generating over 2,000 tweets a minute.
That's part conversation and part general advice, because what was happening was officials were and still are tweeting real time information about emergency relief efforts as well as transportation. Those without power are relying on mobile phones and wireless chargers to keep up-to-date with the latest developments.
Citizen journalists have been out in force. CNN's iReporters all along the East Coast have been sending us dozens of videos. Just take a look at what they've witnessed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please evacuate!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo boat, ready to go!
(CAR WINDSHIELD WIPERS IN RAIN)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That crane just broke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you see, the river is really getting quite up. It's kind of coming over the edge of the -- of -- see it coming up? Look at that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got this massive tree that popped up right from the ground. And it landed on the neighbor's car, it looks like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stream goes all over the place. Wires hanging down.
VERJEE: Some iReport images that really give you a broad sense of what happened. We want to talk now to one of those iReporters who contributed some of that video, George Nikolis, who lives in Jersey City. George, thanks for giving us that video and showing our viewers how it really felt and what happened and what you saw.
I'm just showing some of the latest video that you've sent us within just the last 30 minutes of the damage that Sandy inflicted on this store. Tell me more about it as we look at it.
GEORGE NIKOLIS, CNN IREPORTER: It's really just devastating. This -- if you're not familiar with Jersey City and Hoboken area right across from Manhattan, there's a nice promenade that goes along the whole waterfront.
It's gone. It's completely just been blown away, like the -- it just came -- the storm, the Hudson River came in like a wall of water and just sucked the whole walkway -- it's just gone. I can't believe what we saw.
VERJEE: George, hold on a moment. New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg is speaking. Let's listen to what he has to say first.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: -- in recovering from Hurricane Sandy. I don't think it's any secret, but Sandy hit us very hard. It was a storm of historic intensity, but New Yorkers are resilient and we have seen an enormous outpouring of support from people eager to volunteer, donate, and help out.
We encourage people to register with NYC service at facebook.com/nycservice, and we'll be identifying opportunities for volunteers in the coming days. And we received calls of support from people and leaders all over the world, including from the president and senior members of his staff.
We have a plan for recovery, and that recovery is already beginning, I'm happy to say. It's the beginning of a process that we all know will take a while, but this is the end of the downside, and hopefully from here is going up.
A few hours ago, I surveyed from the air the parts of the city hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy with Senator Chuck Schumer and Council Speaker Christine Quinn. We saw the Rockaways, lower Manhattan, the south shore of Staten Island, Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Howard Beach, and that really did provide a clear look at how extensive the damage from last night's storm was.
It also showed the progress we're already making in our recovery. On the Rockaway peninsula, I walked through the part of Breezy Point that was absolutely devastated by the wind-fed fast-moving fires that took out more than 80 homes last night.
To describe it as looking like pictures we've seen of the end of World War II is not overstating it. The area was completely leveled, chimneys and foundations were all that was left of many of these homes.
I actually ran into Congressman Bob Turner and other Breezy Point homeowners and talked with them. It's very sad they lost their homes, but the good news, there were no fatalities, thank God. Unfortunately, altogether so far in this storm, other places put together, we've had 18 fatalities citywide as a result of this storm.
Restoring power and mass transit remain the two biggest challenges in the days ahead. That recovery is a mammoth job. I know everyone at ConEd recognizes how urgent it is, and Kevin Burke will fill us in on ConEd's recovery efforts in a few minutes. Our administration continues to work closely with ConEd to ensure that all New Yorkers get power back as soon as humanly possible.
As to mass transit, transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has been working on a plan with the MTA to provide limited bus service starting this evening and into tomorrow morning's commute. On routes that are operational, buses began running on a Saturday schedule with free fares as of 5:00 PM tonight.
We expect there'll be more service tomorrow, and that's going to make it easier for New Yorkers to get around town. Unfortunately, at some point, the MTA will start to charge again, but that's the way they pay the bills.
We are doing other things to make it easier to get around town. That includes an order I signed earlier today allowing yellow cabs to pick up multiple passengers and also allowing black cars and livery cabs to make street pickups. And we're encouraging this ride service -- ride sharing.
As of 4:30, there were some 4,000 yellow cabs operating in our city. We expect that number to increase. Taxis are operating on a normal fare schedule. Fares for additional passengers are to be negotiated. The driver must quote those fares up front and we're suggesting that a charge of $10 for any additional passenger is fair.
VERJEE: It was a storm of "historic intensity." New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking at a press conference telling reporters that he had also earlier on taken a plane to witness aerial views of the devastation and described it saying, "It was like scenes from World War II."
On a practical level, he talked about having a recovery plan that's been set in motion. He said it will take a while. He said the two main priorities right now for New York City are restoring power and mass transit. That is the priority. He said it is a massive job.
We'll continue to monitor this press conference and bring you any more important information. Stay tuned to CNN throughout the evening for more coverage of this storm as it continues its path across America.
I'm Zain Verjee, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks so much for watching.