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CONNECT THE WORLD
President Putin Hopes Snowden Picks Destination And Leaves Moscow Airport; Investigators Raid 18 Serie A Clubs; Crowds Gather Outside Pretoria Hospital; Rescue Operation in India; Global Floods; Weather Disaster Policy; Leading Woman Chanda Kochhar; Changing Gear: Beat the Cheats; Parting Shots: Arab Idol Winner
Aired June 25, 2013 - 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: Tonight, stuck in transit. President Putin says U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden is still in this Moscow airport. Coming up, the diplomatic wrangling that might be going on backstage.
Plus, dozens gather outside a Pretoria hospital to wish Nelson Mandela well. Well, an update on his condition coming up this hour.
And, we'll tell you why Palestinians are singing a triumphant new tune.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: Tonight, the U.S. is asking Moscow to expel Edward Snowden. This follows a revelation from the Russian president. Vladimir Putin says earlier today the fugitive American who spilled the U.S. surveillance secrets is biding his time in the transit area of Moscow's international airport.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Snowden is still in transit area as a transit passenger. Our special services never worked with Snowden and are not working with him today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the Russian president went on to declare that, and I quote, Mr. Snowden is a free man and the sooner he selects his final destination point the better. Mr. Putin was speaking to reporters in Finland today when he announced -- also announced that Moscow would not be sending Snowden back to the states, because Russia, he says, has no extradition agreement with the U.S.
But America's National Security Council says, and I quote, "while we do not have an extradition treaty with Russia, there is nonetheless a clear legal basis to expel Mr. Snowden based on the status of his travel documents and the pending charges against him," end quote.
So as of Tuesday as far as anyone knows, Mr. Snowden was in the transit zone of Moscow's international airport. That's what we think we know at this point. Because this is all been a great mystery chasing shadows, a global cat and mouse chase, as it were.
My colleague John Defterios is also at the airport and joins us live tonight.
Have you found him yet?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have not found him yet, Becky. And in fact we're in a house of intrigue here. This is the hub, the airport in Moscow. The security guards are all over us, so if in fact we have to break away there is good reason.
We've been on the ground for 17 hours. We have not seen Mr. Snowden. We're right in the heart of the transit hub here, there's three of section D, E and F. We know that Mr. Snowden did not board this Aeroflot 150 flight for Havana, the one he was supposed to be on yesterday. We watched all the passengers get on the plane, watched the plane taxi on the runway. There was no van dropping off Mr. Snowden.
We also went to the transit hotel here. We didn't get a chance to check all the rooms, obviously, but we did speak to management. They said that Mr. Snowden has never checked into that Transit hotel, nor anybody else that's been supporting him.
So the only thing that's really changed since the 17 hours we've been on the ground here, Becky, is that the fact that President Putin decided to break his code of silence here. He didn't want to leave it with the foreign ministry suggesting here.
There is a change. This is our position. He did so when he was on the road in Finland. So we know where he stands here. But we have not seen Mr. Snowden.
I would imagine at this airport, and you know with airports like at Heathrow, for example, you can tuck a passenger away here. He's not really a free man, because he's not roaming around the transit area like us right now -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Is this U.S. pressure forcing a response by Russia, John?
DEFTERIOS: I think this is the reason President Putin, in fact, spoke up today. First and foremost, he said he didn't want it to strain business relations. And he wanted to leave this to Foreign Minister Lavrov, as I was suggesting.
Earlier in the day, the foreign minister suggested that this insinuation by the United States is too much. In fact, he used the words unacceptable. Let's listen what he had to say. And I'll follow up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): He independently chose his route. And we learned, as did everyone else, from the mass media. He did not cross the Russian border. And we think all of the attempts that we are now witnessing, attempts to accuse the Russian side of violating U.S. law and almost conspiring accompanied by threats towards us are totally unfounded and unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: Now, Becky, I don't want to read too much into this, but before it was the foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state. You heard what Mr. Kerry was suggesting today that the United States would like to see reciprocity.
In his comments in Finland, Persident Putin suggested, look, I don't want it in my hands. We don't want it in diplomatic hands. We'd like the two legal people to be pursuing this. He was suggesting the FBI director have a conversation with his Russian counterpart. Does that mean they could have a negotiation going forward here? Let's not discount the fact there could be asylum still being worked upon here by the Ecuadorian authorities as well.
We know that Mr. Snowden does not have a U.S. passport. He has a document of passage from Ecuador, but we don't have any word here on the ground whatsoever about Asylum talks. It's still right now. And it's just past midnight here in Moscow.
Back to you, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, reminding us, because you have been up for an awfully long time. I know that you left your own show about what, 28, 29 hours ago to fly from Abu Dhabi. So well done. Stick at it.
While those security guards stay at bay.
John Defterios for you in the transit lounge at the airport in Moscow.
So, let's remind ourselves why Edward Snowden is in so much trouble with American authorities. Let's step back for a moment. He's admitted leaking classified documents about the NSA's surveillance programs to the Guardian newspaper in Britain and to the Washington Post.
Now, the PRISM program, as it was known, collected records of domestic U.S. telephone calls. It also monitored the internet activity of overseas residents. The PRISM revelations shook the U.S. intelligence community.
Well, WikiLeaks says that Snowden has applied for asylum in multiple countries. And the diplomatic headache for the U.S. appears to be intensifying.
Christian Whiton is a keen observer of politics, a former senior U.S. State Department envoy under the George W. Bush administration. He joins me now from our Los Angeles -- Los Angeles bureau tonight.
And it was a weary sounding Secretary of State who spoke on the issue, again, earlier today as we watch what is quite clearly a deepening diplomatic spat unfold. Christian, what is likely to be going on and being said by whom to whom behind closed doors in Washington?
CHRISTIAN WHITON, FRM. SENIOR STATE DEPT. ENVOY: Right.
Well, Becky, I imagine up to this point there was probably a flurry of activity at fairly senior levels at our embassies between, you know, before the government in Hong Kong, in perhaps in China and now in Russia.
However, once it goes up to the foreign minister level and then beyond that to the head of government level as it apparently has, at least in Russia, really the activity at the embassy wouldn't be that involved anymore. Of course our ambassador McFaul, ambassador from the United States to Russia would be involved in, you know, all the activities going on.
But it seems that Putin has spoken on this issue. And unlikely, because he has been so clear and so blunt that Russia will not send this person back to the United States, that frankly a lot of the staff level work is probably on pause right now.
ANDERSON: That's fascinating. Washington on pause as they watch and wait and listen for Russia and China possibly to speak out again and maybe Ecuador.
You scratch our backs and we'll scratch yours. If not, we'll put a stop to -- I don't know, bilateral trade deals, aid, any of that likely to work against countries like, for example Ecuador, Russia, or China that run very little risk in criticizing the U.S. afterall?
WHITON: Right. No. It won't work on Beijing or Moscow. Hong Kong was surprising, because there's very strong cooperation between the government of Hong Kong, which as you know is part of the People's Republic of China, but has a separate legal system that it retained from its colonial era.
There's great cooperation. And that is put in peril, frankly, by Hong Kong's reaction which wasn't just to sort of get rid of a hot potato, but also issuing a press statement that was, you know, frankly somewhat scornful and threw some charges back in the face of the United States.
It's a little different when it comes to Iceland and Ecuador, which are two reputed destinations where Snowden may be heading. Ecuador has a president who is closely aligned with the former, the late Hugo Chavez and is thought to be generally anti-American, but also has a lot of trade with the U.S. and is hoping to have preferential trade renewed by the U.S. Congress fairly soon.
So there's more leverage there. And that probably is a case where there's more diplomatic activity.
LU STOUT: Scale of 1 to 10, just give me a number, how big a diplomatic headache is this for Washington today?
WHITON: It's a 10, just because the Obama administration has made a big deal. Lavrov, you know, to be honest is not telling the truth. There's no way that Snowden could have got on that plane for Moscow without either a Russian visa or permission from Russia. So, yeah, there's a lot going on here.
LU STOUT: All right, OK, we'll accept that's a given here.
I want to read out a tweet for our viewers from you about 20 odd hours ago. Greenwald, and I'll come back to him, began you -- sorry, you say @GGreenwald -- began cooperating with Snowden before he penetrated NSA with intent to steal information.
You are working a conspiracy theory here, it seems, at this point.
Are you suggesting the G. Greenwald, who is, of course, the Guardian journalist who spilled this story, are you suggesting a conspiracy between him and our man Snowden at this point?
WHITON: I think it's worth investigating. You know, something that's come to light in the last 48 hours is that Snowden actually intended to do this, to steal information before he joined the NSA. So, you know, customarily whistle-blowers are already employed by agencies, see something illegal and they report it. Not so with Mr. Snowden if you beleive what the South China Morning Post reported in an interview.
It also appears that Greenwald, the Guardian reporter, was in contact with Snowden before he joined the NSA. So it creates the possibility that the two were engaged in a conspiracy to steal information, not just customary journalism.
I think we have to investigate it.
ANDERSON: And your evidence is from the South China Morning Post, so we'll again -- you know, we need to hesitate when we take that as a given tonight.
Last question to you this evening, you've got further I know, today, suggesting that Snowden is to all intents and purposes a spy for a foreign government, a penetration element in official language. This is straight out of a David Baldacci thriller. That's rubbish, isn't it?
WHITON: No. I think -- you know, I do not -- I didn't say he works for a foreign government specifically -- and frankly I think he's already divulged all the useful intelligence he has. He was, afterall, just a short timer contractor, not an NSA employee, not at Ft. Mead.
But, you know, the fact that he joined the NSA with the intention of spying. And he's following the WikiLeaks model. Instead of just giving the information to one U.S. adversary, he's giving it to all U.S. adversaries. So I think -- you know, I frankly was willing to give Snowden the benefit of the doubt when he just revealed the phone record spying. I thought that went beyond the PATRIOT Act. I thought that went beyond the fourth amendment, what's applicable, what's allowable in the U.S.
But he's become more, I think as we've learned more facts, more of a garden variety anti-American penetration agent, if you will.
ANDERSON: Interesting. All right, Christian, thank you very much indeed. Enjoyed having you on this show tonight. Until you -- Mr. Snowden, if you are watching tonight, emerge from wherever you are, these conspiracy theories will abound.
Well, someone who has been tracking him for days is CNN's Phil Black. He's been on some fruitless long distance flights, I'm afraid. He says he and other exhausted journalists went hunting for Snowden, but gambled and lost.
Here's his report.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So here we are approaching the end of a 30 plus hour round trip unsuccessfully hunting for Edward Snowden. It started in Moscow at the departure lounge where there was a lot of journalists, a lot of security and a lot of expectation.
There was a very strong belief among dozens of Russian and international journalists that Snowden was going to take that flight to Havana. Some said their sources had confirmed it. And it kind of made sense.
On board, the search the Snowden began immediately. Was he already there? Would he board last? Would he be separated from everyone else in some secure part of the aircraft?
Some journalists were tweeting they'd seen a VIP car alongside the plane.
But we realized pretty quickly he wasn't on board yet. And so we waited as the clock counted down to the scheduled takeoff time.
Then, the door closed and we started moving.
Even as we were taxing, I stayed on the phone with our headquarters in Atlanta ready to pass on any news before we took off. We thought it was still possible Snowden would board the plane somewhere on the tarmac. He didn't. And we took off without him. So we committed to a 12 hour plus flight that was essentially a waste of time. Very frustrating.
According to some reporting, he and his WikiLeaks companion was supposed to be sitting in row 17. Those seats were empty. And they became a bit of a focal point for disgruntled journalists who, like us, had gambled and lost.
And so Cuba. It's my first time. I didn't have a visa, so I had to stay in transit. It wasn't the authentic Cuban travel experience I'd longed dreamed of. We tried some random Snowden hunting.
(on camera): Have you seen Edward Snowden? No. No. OK.
Hello, Cuba. Goodbye, Cuba. We've been on the ground here in Havana for about an hour. And we spent most of that time trying to negotiate our way back onto a very quick return flight back to Moscow. But we think we've done it.
ANDERSON: They had done it. And he is back in Moscow. What a story.
Still ahead on tonight's show, waiting, watching and praying: South Africans flock to the hospital in Pretoria to hear the latest information on the health scare of former president. We'll have a couple of live reports for you on that incredibly important story.
Plus, helicopters are scouring India's northern mountains for flood survivors. And the situation getting critical more than a week after the roads were washed away. We'll have the latest for you from that region. You're 90 seconds away. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: There's been a notable -- let me start that again, there has been a noticeable shift in atmosphere outside the Pretoria, South Africa hospital where Nelson Mandela is being treated. Earlier, people gathered to lay flowers outside and pray for the 94-year-old anti-apartheid hero. Others sang. And one man even released dozens of white doves.
In a moment, we'll go to Isha Sesay who is in Soweto to get more on the mood of the country.
First, though, Nkepile Mabuse joins us live from Pretoria with an update -- Nkepile.
NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Becky, that's according to the president's office there has been absolutely no change in Nelson Mandela's condition since it was downgraded from serious on Sunday evening to critical. Of course he was admitted to this hospital behind me in Pretoria more than two weeks ago. We're seeing an increased movement, activity here at the hospital. We've seen more visitors come in outside of Mr. Mandela's family. We've seen government officials come here. We've seen close family friends come here, also the archbishop of Cape Town was here to pay Mr. Mandela a visit.
There was also a high level family meeting in the eastern Cape at Mr. Mandela's home. It's unclear at this moment, Becky, what that meeting was all about. But we do expect, Becky, that if Mr. Mandela does pass on, the president of this country, President Jacob Zuma, will make an announcement.
So an anxious wait here in South Africa as people wait for more information, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah. Nkepile, thank you for that outside the hospital in Pretoria. You can hear the singing there behind our reporter.
Let's get to Soweto where, of course, the former president lived for many years after he left his tribal home.
And Isha, what's the mood there? I certainly could explain to you how this feels from the outside looking in, but what's the mood there on the ground?
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, right now it's pretty quiet here in Soweto. Not many people out and about on the streets, but there's certainly attention in South Africa which Nkepile touched upon. And it's no different here in Soweto, a place of huge significance in that fight against apartheid white minority rule.
As you pointed out, Nelson Mandela lived in the house just over my right shoulder. You might just e able to make it out. He lived here from 1946 to 1962 and really used this as his base as he became a freedom fighter and took on that white minority government here in South Africa.
People in South Africa are very, very tense. They recognize that this is the third time since the start of the year that he has been hospitalized and they understand that this is the third day in a row that he has been in critical condition. So they are nervous and they are anxiously waiting news. In fact, some people have made their way to the house here in Soweto, which has now become a museum.
But they stopped by earlier in the day to pay their respects and also shared with us how much Nelson Mandela means to them. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I respect Nelson Mandela. He's the greatest man I think in Africa. In fact, in the whole world. So, I respect Nelson Mandela. He was born here, it's just a beautiful thing in my opinion.
I don't think there will be anyone who is going to be like him. There's no -- he's the greatest man in the world. He's great. I respect him. I love him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: You know, Becky, you can't overstate the depth of feeling for Nelson Mandela here in South Africa where he's considered the father of the nation, the father of democracy. And as a family member that is going through such a difficult time, because they do consider him to be part of their family, many South Africans, they are anxiously waiting and praying and hoping against hope that there will be some positive news in the forthcoming hours -- Becky.
ANDERSON: God forbid that there isn't, Nkepile. You could explain that there will be an announcement at some point in the future from Jacob Zuma. what more do we know at this point? What can we report?
MABUSE: You know, of course, rumors were swirling around the whole day, but the nation is on edge, Becky, waiting to hear what is happening to Nelson Mandela. Of course this is the -- we're going into the third night since he was declared critically ill.
I spoke to Mac Maharaj, the presidential spokesperson, to try and find out if there is some kind of an announcement that's going to be made tonight. And his response was that if we were going to make an announcement, we would alert the media.
So, as I said, people anxiously waiting for the presidency to give them an update on what's going on with their beloved international icon -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. To both of you, thank you very much indeed.
Isha Sesay is in Soweto. Nkepile Mabuse for you outside the hospital in Pretoria.
Believe me, if we hear anything you'll hear it first here on CNN.
Live from London, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. 23 minutes past 9:00 here.
Coming up, the reputation of Italian football is in tatters once again as police raid dozens of clubs in an investigation they've dubbed sick soccer.
And rushing to blame Mother Nature for scenes like this might be on the wrong track. We're going to take a look at the reasons why more people say extreme weather is man-made.
ANDERSON: You are back with us. I'm Becky Anderson. 25 minutes past 9:00 in London here.
Italian football has been thrust back into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, I'm afraid. Lazio, Juventus, and AC Milan are among 41 clubs raided by police in an investigation into financial corruption and tax evasion. Dubbed Sick Soccer by the public prosecutor's office in Naples, the probe involves 200 police officers and is looking into more than 50 player transfers, in particular it was arranged by the Italian football agents Alejandro Mazzoni (ph) and Alejandro Moji (ph), he son of Luciana Moji (ph), pictured here, who was banned for life for match fixing -- fitting my teeth back in.
In total, 18 Serie A and 11 Serie B clubs plus 12 from the minor leagues are under investigation.
Italian soccer has been dogged by a number of scandals, you'll be well aware, in recent years.
For more, let's bring in Italian football export Mina Rzouki who is with me here in the studio.
Surprised by this?
MINA RZOUKI, EUROPEAN FOOTBALL EXPERT: Let's see, if it's Italian football and it's scandal, no, not that surprised.
ANDERSON: But it's big.
RZOUKI: It is big. And it's sort of in a way of cleaning house. This is the public prosecutor of Naples who looked at 18 clubs in Serie A. The only ones not looking -- being looked at are Bologna and Cagliari.
But it's important to note that it's not the actual clubs that are being investigated, but rather contracts of certain players that have been sold, of course the most famous being Ezequil Lavezzi's transfer. And that was done by Mazzoni (ph). And this from -- when -- during his time when he was in Napoli.
So it's really just looking at the agent transfers.
Obviously, on the back what happened with Messi considering image rights, they want to know that there is no tax evasion, that image rights are being properly -- that the government is getting their due money...
ANDERSON: Let's remind our viewers, the Spanish international soccer star Lionel Messi, you were referring to him, has paid $13 million in taxes, currently under investigation for tax fraud.
Are we lifting the lid on a very sick soccer federation in Italy here?
RZOUKI: Well, is this just about football or is this about something that is really widestream? I mean, how many people are really, you know, going through shell corporations, being billed in whatever -- Belize, Uruguay, whever you want tax havens, as you like to say to hide the amount of money perhaps. That's not to say that this is exactly what the footballers are doing, but this is a widespread problem. And of course it's touched football and now, perhaps, the lid is being lifted.
It's got to do with image rights when it came to Lionel Messi. That is one of the areas that is being looked at in Italian football. Of course, when it comes to Italian prosecution, they cannot wait to go live on air to say this is another problem that we have in Italy. I mean, this isn't something that I would say...
ANDERSON: But this is something we're going after. And...
RZOUKI: Yeah, exactly, this is another thing that we're trying to target to make sure that the sport is clean.
Obviously, they looked at match fixing. The fact that one of the agents implicated in this were -- or as least being under investigation, is the son of Luciano Moji (ph), only draws more attention to this simply because, of course, the father during his time with Juventus was...
ANDERSON: So this won't affect the clubs, per se, on Saturday when they're scheduled to play, right?
RZOUKI: No, this won't. This is entirely about , you know, making sure that tax is being paid on everything and that no one is skimming things when it comes to exactly evading tax, when it comes to image rights, there's no conspiracies -- what are the agents getting, what are the draws. There's everything being listed.
It's a complicated thing, but I'm sure this is a widespread problem and not only in football.
ANDERSON: Good luck, Italian investigators and prosecutors, I say.
RZOUKI: Thank you.
ANDERSON: You're latest world news headlines are just ahead.
Plus, catching the cheeks (ph), we countdown to the Tour de France with a second report this week on what is the fight against doping on the sport of cycling.
Plus, not only a seat at the table, but the head of the table. Tonight's leading woman introduces us to a top banker who says you can have it all.
And a last desperate push in India to rescue thousands of flood victims. A huge and difficult operation is ongoing right now. More in a moment here on CNN.
ANDERSON: A very good evening. This is CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. The top stories for you this hour.
The US is asking Moscow to expel Edward Snowden. This follows an announcement from Russian president Vladimir Putin that the fugitive American is currently in the transit area of Moscow's international airport. Snowden's wanted in the US after leaking top secret surveillance secrets.
Well, singing crowds gathered outside the Pretoria hospital where former South African president Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition. The 94-year-old apartheid icon is being treated for a recurring lung infection.
Qatar's ruling -- sorry, Qatar's ruler handed over the reins of power to his son. It's the first time in the country's history a ruling monarch has willingly ceded power to his successor. At 33, the new emir now becomes the youngest monarch in the region.
US president Barack Obama says the United States must be a global leader in the fight against climate change. During a speech today, Mr. Obama said the controversial Keystone Pipeline project should only go ahead if it does not lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Going to turn to northern India for you, now, where there is a huge rescue operation underway to help thousands of people stranded by flooding. I'm talking thousands. Many are trapped in mountain areas, and the only way to get to them is by a helicopter. It's a difficult and dangerous task.
Earlier, one mission went horribly wrong when a chopper crashed, killing all eight people onboard. Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has more.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than a week on the mountainside, help finally at hand. India's air force rescuing stranded pilgrims. They come, young and old, to pray at ancient Hindu Himalayan shrines, and found only hardship.
Pukhraj, 62 years old from the desert state of Rajasthan tells us, "The first two days were the worst, on one to help us. Getting shelter was expensive," adding, "I won't be bringing my family back again."
This lady, too, suffered most in the first two days before the army arrived. "Then, we were well taken care of," she says. "But the roads were washed away, and we couldn't leave." Their prayers for rescue only answered now by a break in the weather, but the weather could worsen, and others are waiting.
S.R.K. NAIR, AIR VICE-MARSHAL, INDIA: We have been able to evacuate almost 10,000 to 11,000 personnel using our helicopters, and therefore, the numbers of people stranded as is available to us has reduced to around 6,000 now.
ROBERTSON: In the past eight days since the deluge, dubbed here as the Himalayan tsunami, low cloud and rain have been intermittently grounding air crews. The Indian air force, constrained by the conditions, setting up mountainside air traffic control, forced by broken roads to fly fuel in by plane.
NAIR: We flew in a bowser and we flew in a C130, which landed here for the first time during this operation, offload the fuel from the 110s into the bowsers, from which we fuel the helicopters.
ROBERTSON: Below the frantic rescue flights, in the deep, wooded valleys, too soon to know the full cost of the tragedy. But official estimates already say this popular tourist area has been put in a half billion-dollar hole. And for those lucky enough to be plucked off the mountain, the government is putting them on planes.
ROBERTSON (on camera): It's almost the end of the journey for these people, home the next stop once they get on the plane here. But this just the tip of the iceberg, and so many more thousands of people waiting for the help to get home.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): And all of them in this area, known as the Land of the Gods, praying the good weather holds a little longer.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Rishikesh, India.
ANDERSON: So, not just in India, extreme weather has wrought havoc all over the world, hasn't it recently? Let's take a look at Canada for you. Just last week, we saw scenes like this in Calgary in Canada. Flash floods forced at least 10,000 people to evacuate their homes, power went out in schools, they were closed and the military was brought in to help there.
In Europe, well, earlier this month, central Europe suffered the worst floods in a decade. Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic all affected, waters reaching the top of the ground floor doors and windows in many places. Absolutely remarkable scenes.
And then on here to the east. Bangkok and Thailand have experienced terrible floods in recent years, hundreds killed in the rising waters. The rebuilding process is ongoing.
Making policies to suit these types of disasters is far from straightforward. I want to delve into the two main approaches. The first says that global warming is causing these weather patterns and that the policies need to be geared towards climate change.
The other, well, it quite frankly blames governments' investment in improper infrastructure, infrastructure deficit, which makes us vulnerable when bad weather does strike. Both of them, I guess you could say, are manmade problems that need policy decisions. But they are very, very different.
To discuss all of this, we're joined by the host of CNN's "Going Green" series, Philippe Cousteau, who has been a regular guest on this show. Philippe, a very basic question: are all of these weather disasters, as it were, connected in any way?
PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN HOST, "GOING GREEN": Well, it's hard to prove that the vagaries and the complexity of climate science, it's hard to prove that all of these are connected. But there's no question that over the last decade or so, our climate has been warming -- more than a decade, in fact - - and that we are experiencing increased extreme weather events.
So, certainly in my experience in traveling the world, these are certainly connected. But the specific science behind it is still somewhat debated.
ANDERSON: Yes, and there is no real scientific consensus on global warming as you and I speak tonight. And it is a difficult one, isn't it? Because I've done this story a number of times, and we tend to lump things together.
And I don't think it helps either those who are prophets, as it were, of this terrible sort of global warming that we may see going forward, all the naysayers who say there is nothing called climate change at present. Where do you stand?
COUSTEAU: Well, it's a difficult issue. Today, President Obama made a pretty impressive speech about a new push to address these issues. The United States has been somewhat of a laggard in terms of its leadership around these issues of climate change.
But the good news is that hopefully we will -- in particular, the president announced issues and investment around reducing emissions of existing power plants, that's very politically contentious here.
So, he took some risks this morning, and I do hope that that is an acknowledgment of a willingness on the part of the administration and certainly America to step up and take its leadership role. But it's going to take the collaboration of the global community to deal with this problem.
ANDERSON: Meantime, with regard to the Indian story, of course, the head of the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Delhi said, and I quote, "The current devastation and human misery is largely manmade. Rampant unauthorized mindless building activities on the river flood planes in the Himalaya area, deforestation, and other activities that do destabilize these spots." Not talking to the issue there of global warming.
COUSTEAU: Well, it's a series of different events. Take, for example, all the smog and the fires burning in Indonesia that have inundated Singapore and parts of Malaysia with horrible air quality over the last few days.
Again, from deforestation, he's absolutely correct. The irresponsible building, the deforestation that continues to happen in Latin America. Those are problems that are absolutely human caused and are exacerbating climate change. We're not doing ourselves any favors when we continue to degrade the environment.
And I think what's important is to continue to put a human face on these issues, because Becky, of course, for every degree that the environment and the atmosphere gets warmer, it's estimated 100 million to 200 million people -- more people will go hungry. We think about here in the United States, the number one reason for hospitalization of children three to seven years old is asthma.
So, when we talk about climate change, when we talk about these fossil fuels, when we talk about the deforestation, all these other man-made impacts, these are all making the global community poorer. These are contributing to suffering, and we need to stand up and recognize that this is a human issue and this affects all of us.
ANDERSON: Meantime, using the issue of climate change and global warming should not excuse poor local planning and a destructive approach to the development in the Himalayan foothills where, sadly, we are seeing so much loss of life and loss of -- if not life -- homes and their -- and infrastructure.
I'm going to have to move on. Philippe, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Philippe Cousteau, do you believe --
COUSTEAU: It's always a pleasure, Becky.
ANDERSON: -- the Earth -- thank you -- is getting warmer? I'm asking you, viewers. And do you believe climate change is to blame? What sort of man- made problems do you think are out there, and what sort of policies do you think governments need to implement.
Let us know what you think, get in touch with the whole CONNECT THE WORLD team. Go to facebook.com/CNNconnect, or you can tweet me @BeckyCNN. That's @BeckyCNN. Always a pleasure to hear from you.
Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Next up, running a bank and a household. Tonight's Leading Woman says mums just know how to lead.
Plus, find out how this young Palestinian has brought joy to the streets of Gaza.
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(MAN SINGING IN ARABIC)
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ANDERSON: This week on Leading Women, we continue our conversation with one of India's leading bankers. In her more than two decades at the ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar has climbed the ranks to become CEO. Today, she talks to Poppy Harlow about mentoring other women and maintaining a balance between work and family life.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As a child, Chandra Kochhar figured she'd get a job in India's civil service. Instead, a move to Mumbai as a teenager opened her eyes to the world of finance. She joined ICICI Bank as a management trainee in 1984. Twenty-five years later, she became the company's first female CEO.
CHANDRA KOCHHAR, CEO, ICICI BANK: A lot of responsibilities, big laws, challenges, have been given to women, not because they are men or they are women or so on, but they're just given to people who have -- who the organization believes has the capability to perform.
HARLOW (on camera): Do you ever place women in top roles in part because they're women?
KOCHHAR: Not because they're women, but I think we as an organization have just groomed so many women, and I'm very fortunate to have very capable women who are there in our top positions, all entirely on account of their merit.
HARLOW (voice-over): Kochhar's father died when she was just 13. Her mother was left to support the family. She considers both parents to be powerful influences.
KOCHHAR: My father, in a way, was a mentor in the way he instilled the basic values and ethics in me. My mother was a mentor by showing me an example to say that if women have tenacity, they can achieve whatever they have to.
HARLOW: Today, Kochhar has children of her own, and she's not troubled by having to balance the needs of her business and her family.
HARLOW (on camera): You're a mother of two, and I wonder how often you hear the question, "How do you do it all? How do you balance it all? How do you have it all?" Do you hear that often, and does it bother you ever?
KOCHHAR: Yes, I hear that often. But at the same time, I do believe that it is a woman's -- not just responsibility, but I think actually a great pleasure to play the role of mother and a wife. And I have just tried to focus on playing both the roles to my fullest ability.
HARLOW: Do you think there is such a thing as balance?
KOCHHAR: I don't think there is balance. There is basically to say do both the things.
KOCHHAR: And you have to do it. So, I think what has to -- women have to start from this mindset to say, we're going to achieve 48 hours of work out of 24 hours, and let's see how do we do it?
HARLOW (voice-over): A determined woman with an ambitious goal: she wants ICICI to be among the world's 20 biggest banks within the next decade. It's a challenge she says she's more than ready to tackle.
KOCHHAR: It's been a long and exciting journey, but a journey full of focus and hard work. I think a journey full of saying yes, I'm willing to take the next challenge, I'm willing to -- I have the confidence of moving through it and producing some good results.
ANDERSON: Next month, we'll have two new Leading Woman: Zhang Xin, who is the CEO of Soho China, one of the country's leading real estate companies, and Ilene Gordon, CEO of the US company Ingredion, which makes food additives.
And for more from our Leading Women series, do log onto the website where you can find more on the 50th anniversary of the first woman in space.
And we're going to give you the chance to put questions to that woman, who is at the International Space Station, US astronaut Karen Nyberg, joining cnn.com and myself live from the ISS on Friday.
You can post your questions now from the link right in our home page, or submit it to us via Twitter using the hash tag #CNNspacechat, then watch the interview live online Friday, all of it on cnn.com. Do get involved. We're excited about this. I think it's probably a first.
Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, a look inside the cycling world battle against doping in tonight's Changing Gear.
And a street party in Gaza for the first Palestinian crowned king of Arab Idol.
ANDERSON: The 100th Tour de France gets underway on Saturday. All this week, CNN has been taking a closer look at the challenges facing the world of cycling ahead of what is an incredibly important race for the world of cycling this weekend. Tonight, Amanda Davies reports on the ongoing fight against doping in the sport.
LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER CYCLIST: Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And, as it turns out, a whole lot of drugs as well. And he wasn't the only one. In the last 20 years, 75 percent of the riders standing on the final Tour de France podium have been blighted by doping scandals.
DAVID MILLAR, PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST: David Millar, professional cyclist. Where I was a naive kid who'd come from Hong Kong who dreamt of winning the Tour de France and was disgusted when I learned that my colleagues were doping. And yet, within four or five years, I was one of them.
DAVIES: David Millar cheated and has changed, and it seems the sport has, too. Last year was the first time since 1992 that none of the top three Tour finishers have a black mark against their name.
BRADLEY WIGGINS, WINNER, 2012 TOUR DE FRANCE: It's a completely different sport, now, and I think we're leading the way as a sport for other sports to follow.
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ERIN NORTHOVER, UK ANTI-DOPING: Karen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes?
NORTHOVER: My name's Erin Northover. I'm from UK Anti-Doping.
DAVIES: As we were shown in this UK Anti-Doping reconstruction, cycling is confronting the cheats head on.
NORTHOVER: Karen, just to let you know, obviously I'd have to chaperone you wherever you go today, so if you can stay in my sights.
DAVIES: It's had to.
NORTHOVER: We'll collect the urine, and then afterwards, we'll put the blue lid on straightaway.
DAVIES: It was the first sport to bring in the biological passports, measuring individuals against their own natural variations.
NORTHOVER: Tiny little scratch.
DAVIES: And the Whereabouts scheme now means testing can happen 365 days a year.
DAVIES (on camera): Riders are tested more than ever, with samples going to one of 33 World Anti-Doping Agency accredited labs around the world, like this one here at King's College, London. But with everything we've learned over the last 12 months, how confident can we really be that testing works?
DAVID COWAN, DIRECTOR, ANTI-DOPING LAB: We really are moving down the road to have a much better testing program. The intelligence approach, the knowledge of what new drugs are coming on the marketplace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do for beta blockers and diuretics, masking agents and stimulants.
DAVIES (voice-over): For all the progress, there's not many who believe there was only one high-profile doping case, Frank Schleck, in last year's Tour.
MILLAR: There was 200 starting. There's no doubt there's guys within that 200. Statistics dictate there are going to be guys in there cheating somehow. The moment we say it's 100 percent clean is the moment we're lying.
DAVIES: Perfection might be out of reach, but the fight to Beat the Cheats goes on.
Amanda Davies, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Well, in tonight's Parting Shots, some pictures that we are not used to seeing, scenes of celebration in Gaza. The Arab Idol winner was mobbed by fans when he returned home to Gaza from Egypt. Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf has become a superstar. Great to see in these scenes no guns, no conflict, just celebration.
Mohammed Jamjoom profiles the remarkable young singer -- wedding singer, and his journey to reality show stardom for you this evening.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's given Arabs something to smile about, Palestinians a reason to be proud. When Mohammed Assaf, a 23-year-old from Gaza was crowned this year's Arab Idol, they went wild in the studio and celebrated in the streets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look! You see everybody going crazy, everybody clapping. This is the best thing to happen to Palestine since God knows when.
JAMJOOM: In Ramallah, an eruption of euphoria. They chanted his name, danced in his honor, set off fireworks. "I'm very, very happy," says this young girl. "I can't wait for him to come here. I'm so excited, I can't believe it. I can't believe it."
An outpouring of emotion. In Gaza, it was gridlock. Mohammed's hometown came to a standstill while Palestinians partied. An extremely festive atmosphere for a population unaccustomed to happy endings.
JAMJOOM: With an incredible voice and an inspirational story, it didn't long for Mohammed to become a heartthrob and a hero. He made the difficult journey out of Gaza, but still barely made it to the tryouts in Cairo. Another contestant heard him sing and decided to give up his number so Mohammed could audition.
Charming audiences and judges early on, he was nicknamed the Rocket and became a fan favorite, singing patriotic Palestinian songs. The former wedding singer told me he was overwhelmed and humbled, that he just lived the happiest moment of his life.
"An artist is made by his fans," he tells me. "The love of your fans is better than all the money in the world. There's nothing better, and I feel like today, that's what I won."
On stage, after his big win, Mohammed was draped in a Palestinian flag, dedicating the victory to his people. He said he still couldn't believe his luck, that more than anything, he wants his success to challenge negative stereotypes, insisting Palestinians can overcome their dire economic and political circumstances.
"The Palestinian people can speak in a million languages full of beauty, love, and peace to the Arab world and to the whole world," he says. "The Palestinian people don't love wars and killing and destruction."
It's clear now the Rocket has launched. Mohammed Assaf is soaring to stardom, hoping against hope that when Palestinians hear his voice, they'll finally feel they have a voice.
Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.
ANDERSON: Fantastic. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. From the team here in London, it's a very good evening. CNN, though, of course, continues.