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CONNECT THE WORLD

40 Injured In Swiss Train Collision; Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks To Begin Today; Syrian Government Retakes Key Homs Neighborhood

Aired July 29, 2013 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Complicated, emotional, symbolic: the words of the U.S. Secretary of State as he introduces preliminary Middle East peace talks set to begin in a few hours.

Also ahead...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE FRANCIS (through translator): If a person is gay and accepts the lord and has good will, who am I to judge them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Remarkable comments from the pope.

And a multimillion dollar heist and counting, and it happened in just 60 seconds.

Live from Abu Dhabi tonight. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

We begin this hour of news of a train collision in western Switzerland. At least 44 people have been injured, including four seriously, after two commuter trains collided head on.

Now this happened in the village of Granges-pres-Marnand on a route between Berne and Lucerne a little before 7:00 pm local time.

We can speak now to Reto Schaerli who is a spokesman from Swiss Railways.

And, sir, let's start with the casualty numbers. Any update on the 44 injured, four seriously?

RETO SCHAERLI, SPOKESMAN, SWISS RAILWAYS: We have an update. 40 people are injured, five seriously and 35 slightly. But one of the two locomotive engineers is missing. There is still hope that we'll find him alive, but we have also to fear the worst.

ANDERSON: We're looking at the first images that we're getting in of this crash, pretty horrific stuff. Do we know what caused it?

SCHAERLI: Sorry, I didn't understand your question.

ANDERSON: As we look at images, the first images that we are seeing of the crash site, do you know what caused the crash at this point?

SCHAERLI: No, we haven't any information about the cause right now. A special office from the government and the police of the Canton of Vaud (ph) they are starting the investigation - investigators are there right now, but at the moment we don't have any further informations.

ANDERSON: Can you describe what happened?

SCHAERLI: One - two commuter trains, one coming to the little station of Granges-pres-Marnand (ph) and the other one was leaving the station and they collided. We don't know the exact cause, but one was leaving and one was coming.

ANDERSON: Sir, can I just confirm the casualties in this. I believe you said 44 injured, five seriously and over 30 with injuries. Can you clarify that for me?

SCHAERLI: The police of the Canton of Vaud (ph) is giving us the information and we are (inaudible) the newest information we have about the casualties is that one person missing. It's one of the two locomotive engineers. 40 people are injured, five of them seriously injured and 35 of them lightly injured.

ANDERSON: All right. So one person missing as we speak.

Sir, you won't be able to see the images that we are looking at here on CNN, but there are crumpled carriages here and people being wheeled away by emergency services. Can you describe the scene at present and what emergency services are on site at this point?

SCHAERLI: Many organizations get there - the police, the fire department, ambulances and even a helicopter to rescue all the injured people and, therefore, (inaudible) a very sad day and we regret the accident that happened in Granges-pre-Marnand (ph).

ANDERSON: Absolutely. All right, sir, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. A Swiss train crash, which happened just in the past couple of hours. The first images coming to you here on CNN. 40 injured, five seriously. And the train engineer, we are told missing at this point.

More on this, of course, as we get it here on CNN.

Well, all this week we are bringing you a special edition of Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. We're here at a critical time for the region. And tonight, we'll go country by country, covering war and civil unrest, but also cautious new hopes for peace.

Ahead this hour, we're going to speak to Nick Paton Walsh who is in Beirut. He's following major developments in Syria's civil war and its spillover effect in neighboring countries.

Our correspondent Reza Sayah is in Egypt where supporters of the ousted president are digging in despite a deadly crackdown over the weekend. And CNN's Jill Dougherty is in Washington where Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are getting ready this hour to sit face-to-face for the first time in years.

Well, let's start with those peace talks in Washington. No one under the illusion of an imminent breakthrough in the decades old Israeli- Palestinian conflict. But even getting the two sides talking again is an achievement.

U.S. secretary of state John Kerry says the goal is, I quote, a reasonable compromises.

Let's get more from Jill Dougherty who is at the State Department in Washington for you tonight.

Optimism, Jill, in short supply that these talks will lead anywhere. Why is that?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, because it's failed so many times before. I mean, this is actually the accomplishment here is to get the - to get both sides together for the first time in three years. Talks, direct talks broke down three years ago, another time they broke down. And so the idea is to get them back at the table and that's what they will be doing in about three hours or so here at the State Department. An Iftar Dinner, in fact, for the Israeli side, Tzipi Livni who is their justice minister. And also Saeb Erekat, who is a representative for the Palestinians. And they will be sitting down.

Secretary Kerry there and his new envoy Martin Indyk, ambassador Martin Indyk.

So the hope is that you get these two people together. They can begin to put together the technical details of how these future talks will take place. The talks that will be coming will be in the region. This is one time here that they will be held in Washington, tomorrow, Tuesday. And then the rest of the talks, we understand, should be in the region.

And by the way, Becky, they are giving it about nine months. They're going to try. It's not a deadline, but they will see what they come up with at the end of that nine months.

But again, listen to Secretary Kerry as he talks about the reality of the situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Going forward, it's no secret that this is a difficult process. If it were easy, it would have happened a long time ago. It's no secret, therefore, that many difficult choices lie ahead for the negotiators and for the leaders as we seek reasonable compromises on tough complicated, emotional and symbolic issues. I think reasonable compromises has to be a keystone of all of this effort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOUGHERTY: And that is it, that's the theme, reasonable, reasonable compromises. But they are not saying, this administration is not saying precisely what is in their package that they might, that they think they can pull the two sides together.

It's going to be a group activity. And as some observers who know the region very well, Becky, are saying you're going to need some top-down really key people - Netanyahu, Abbas and Obama, to really engage and pull this through ultimately.

ANDERSON: Jill Dougherty in Washington on that part of the story for you. Jill, thank you for that.

Let's just remind you viewers about the major points of contention here. First, the status of Jerusalem. Israel claims the city as its eternal, undivided capital. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Also, borders. Israel wants to keep Jewish settlements in the West Bank, while Palestinians say that land and the rest of the West Bank belongs to them.

Then there is security. Israel wants to be assured its citizens are safe from attacks by Palestinian militants.

And the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Hundreds of thousands fled their homes or were forced out during wars in 1948 and 1967.

All right, let's get some perspective now on these talks from Middle East expert who spent decades at the U.S. State Department. Aaron David Miller advised six secretaries of state on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He's now a vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International center in Washington.

Sir, after six months of shuttle diplomacy, Kerry's persistence has at least paid off in principal. How significant do you see tonight's meeting at least starting these talks on talks in Washington?

AARON DAVID MILLER, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: I think it is significant. You could argue that for the first time in a decade, not three years, since July of 2000 you have an American secretary of state presiding over empowered negotiators that the leaders are directly empowering and delegating responsibility for to tackle some of the most critical issues that drive the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So, whether you want - it's arguable whether or not this is a fundamental breakthrough. I don't think that's true. But it's - it offers a point of departure that frankly we haven't seen in quite some time. That's the good news.

The bad news, I think, is obvious, that John Kerry right now owns these negotiations more than Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu, and certainly more than Barack Obama. And the question really, Becky, is whether or not during the course of these weeks and months ahead, whether or not Kerry and the parties can point themselves toward one another and invest themselves to deal with some of the most critical issues in the conflict.

Without that happening, it seems to me these are going to - these negotiations will be a key to an empty room and we're going to end up worse than we were before.

ANDERSON: Can I just put this to you, how invested do you really believe the president of the United States, Barack Obama, is in brokering a deal at this point? Does, for example, Kerry have a firm commitment from the president that Middle East peace is top of the president's inbox at this point?

MILLER: I guarantee you that the president of the United States has not made that commitment to John Kerry. For this president, only one of 17 in U.S. history to be elected to a second term, his legacy is not about the Middle East, Becky, it's about the middle class. And the reality is, if you look at American behavior towards Syria, toward Egypt, you see a degree of detachment and disengagement which reflects a very risk averse president.

This is not a risk-ready president. And it's certainly - he's certainly not a risk-ready president when it comes to confronting and dealing with a reality that if, in fact, these negotiations are going to succeed, he's going to have to push both parties, Palestinians and Israelis, further than they believe that they would go. And with respect to the Palestinians, there's no domestic political cost. Clearly, there is a cost with respect to the Israelis.

So, I think he's waiting. I think that it's up to John Kerry to bring these negotiations close enough and then come to his boss and say, Mr. President, with your help we can actually do something that no American president has ever done before. We could at least get an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians on borders and on security. You do that, you bring this negotiation to that point, and I would argue that Barack Obama, risk averse as he may be, will probably give this one whirl.

Every American president looks at this issue and sees - and sees stars. And I think if Kerry can set this up, Obama will take a turn at trying to get it done.

ANDERSON: Interesting analysis. Always a pleasure. Aaron David Miller out of Washington for you this evening.

Well, a lot more on the Middle East ahead on this show. In about 10 minutes, we'll get an update on Syria's civil war and what some are calling the most important victory for government troops there since March of last year.

Also ahead this hour, details of a disaster in southern Italy. Dozens dead after a bus veered off a bridge.

Plus, we'll cross live to Spain where mourners pay tribute to the victims of last week's fatal train wreck there.

And why the pope's plane ride home has everybody talking.

That coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: The Abu Dhabi skyline on a Monday night. We're here. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

I want to update you now on what we know about a train collision in Western Switzerland. This happened about three hours ago. At least 40 people have been injured after two commuter trains collided head on. Five of those are in serious condition. It happened in the village of Granges- pres-Marnand on a route between Berne and Lucerne a little before 7:00 pm local time.

We just spoke to a Swiss Railways spokesman who told me one person is missing, thought to be one of the train engineers. It's still unclear what caused the crash. Emergency services are currently on site and we'll be sure to update you on any new developments as we get them on this story.

Pope Francis says he will not judge gays and lesbians. The comments came in a candid conversation with reporters on board the pope's flight home from Brazil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE FRANCIS (through translator): If a person is gay and accepts the lord and has good will, who am I to judge them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, he also spoke out on a host of other issues, including divorce, abortion and the role of women in the church. We'll have more on his comments in about 20 minutes time here on CNN, including reaction from within the church itself.

Well, investigators are trying to figure out what caused a tour bus crash that killed at least 38 people in southern Italy this Monday. The bus was on its way to Naples when it veered off a bridge and tumbled 30 meters into a ravine. Among the dead are children as well as the driver.

There's been a somber day in Spain where mourners have gathered to remember the victims of last week's fatal train wreck there. 79 people died when a train derailed near the northwestern town of Santiago de Compostela, dozens more were wounded.

CNN's Karl Penhaul joins us now. And Karl, an emotional day there in the city.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. Normally, the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela marks journeys end for thousands of pilgrims who come to worship here. Today, of course, it marked a symbolic journey's end for train 151.

Among the mourners who came to remember the 79 killed, are members of Spain's royal family and also the Spanish prime minister, Becky.

ANDERSON: Karl at the scene there.

What do we know about the train driver at this point?

PENHAUL: Well, he's now been conditionally released by the judge. That was the same judge who last night formally charged him with 79 counts of reckless homicide, an indeterminate counts of causing injury through recklessness as well.

But the judge said he doesn't believe he presents any flight risk. And so he ordered him to report back to the courts once a week. He took away his passport. And as you might imagine, he also took away his train driver's license for the duration of these investigations. Certainly, of course, we know that speed is one factor front and center of the investigations. How fast was the train driver going? And why was he going that fast at a point on the tracks where the speed limit was 80 kilometers an hour?

But investigators are also urging us to keep an open mind. They say many other factors could also be considered here, including technical factors. And in the coming days we expect the judge will be passed the black box from the train to see what more details he can glean from that, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. More to come on this story. Karl, thank you.

Well, it's being called the largest crackdown of its kind. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the FBI, says 150 people were arrested in a weekend sting operation targeting the child prostitution industry. An official says 105 children were rescued in the process.

Now the operation involved 230 law enforcement units in 76 cities according to the FBI.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RONALD HOSKO, ASSIT. DIR. FBI: This operation targeted venues where girls and adults are operated for commercial sex, that includes street tracks, truck stops, motels, casinos, internet sites, social media platforms and the like.

The children recovered in this operation ranged in age from 13 to 17. And at least 21 of them had been previously known to our partners at NICMIC.

All the child victims identified were removed from dangerous environments and relocated to safe settings, according to our standards, state regulations and local regulations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Apple says it is sending audit teams to inspect three Chinese factories after a human rights group criticized the tech giant's suppliers for poor working conditions. China Labor Watch says there are reports of low wages, under-aged workers and health and safety concerns at these factories. Now a spokesperson for the company Apple in Beijing said the company is committed to safe and fair working conditions.

French police are looking for an armed robber who snatched jewels worth an estimated 136 million. Yes, you heard me right. The hold up took place in broad daylight Sunday at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes. And this is the third jewelry related theft in the area since May.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, as the Syrian government reportedly takes control of the rebel held territory, we're going to examine how the ongoing civil war is splitting the country and competing regions. That, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World tonight live from Abu Dhabi. We're going to return now to our extended coverage of the Middle East, a region grappling with both new challenges brought about by unprecedented change and decades-long conflict.

First, to the civil war in Syria where government forces have reportedly taken a rebel stronghold in the central city of Homs. The Kaliniya (ph) neighborhood under rebel control for about a year. And it's a strategic area for whoever wants to control Homs. It's a city that some analysts think the Syrian conflict, though, is spilling over into other countries like Iraq where violence has left an estimated 2,500 Iraqis dead since April, according to the UN.

Earlier today, a wave of bomb attacks left at least 51 people dead, mostly in Shia areas of Baghdad.

And in Egypt, the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsy has set off a bloody confrontation between his supporters and the country's new leaders.

And to Tunisia, tensions have been rising following last week's assassination of an opposition politician, the second such killing in six months.

On Monday, the government said it will hold general elections in December to diffuse the situation.

Well, we've got correspondents across the region monitoring these developments. In a moment, we'll go to Reza Sayah with the latest from Cairo for you.

First, though, to Nick Paton Walsh who is tonight in Beirut with the latest on Syrian government gains on the ground in Homs.

Nick, what is the significance of today's military gains for what is the Syrian government troops?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, even certain rebels accept they've had to retreat in Khaladiya (ph). It's important, because it's been a place that the regime hasn't been able to get into for over a year. And once you control it, particularly the regime can place particular pressure on the old city of Homs, making them closer to their obvious goal of taking that city.

Homs itself is important, because it sits on the road between the coast, the Mediterranean and the capital. And the regime very much want to hold on to that for the years ahead if they have to create a Shia/Alawi enclave near the sea.

This part of the broader narrative they've been pushing for the last couple of months since Hezbollah openly joined their side and they made the assault on the border town of al Qusayr, that they are now on the front foot forward advancing, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick's in Beirut on the Syria story for you this evening.

Over in Egypt, the European Union's top diplomat Catherine Ashton is trying to diffuse tensions between supporters of the deposed president Morsy and the military installed government that now officials say that she will actually be allowed to visit Morsy in custody.

Earlier, the government denied its planning to declare a state of emergency after a decree was signed giving new powers to the interim prime minister.

Well, he spoke with CNN's Hala Gorani sitting in for Christiane Amanpour on her show a short time ago. And given that we haven't seen the deposed president in what is nearly a month, she asked him where Morsy has been during this time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: The big question now is, where is Mohammed Morsy?

There was an AP report -- there was an AP report that he's in prison, being interrogated, sometimes five straight hours.

Is that the case?

HAZEM EL-BEBLAWI, EGYPTIAN INTERIM PRIME MINISTER: Mohammed Morsy was kept to save his life. But I understand now that the European Commission sent their commissioner, Lady Ashton, which -- who is in Cairo now, and I understand that she will go to see him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right, well let's bring in Reza Sayah from the capital Cairo.

Reza, any further details on when and where Cathy Ashton will visit Mohamed Morsy? There's been much speculation about where he might be at this point.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's not clear at this point. Authorities are telling us it could happen tonight. It could happen tomorrow, but I think the situation here has become so dire that a lot of people are looking for any glimmer of hope. And I think that glimmer of hope came today to Cairo courtesy of Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, as you heard the interim prime minister telling CNN's Hala Gorani that Ashton will be meeting with the ousted president Mohamed Morsy.

As far as we understand, she will be the first international political figure to be allowed to meet with Mr. Morsy ever since he was ousted back on July 3rd. And I think moving forward, Catherine Ashton, who has been trying to play the role of mediator in this conflict, is going to play a key role, because if you look at the situation domestically in these fighting factions, there's absolutely no indication, no evidence that they're able to sit down and talk to one another. They're taking a warlike attitude and us against them mentality, really digging in.

So more and more, I think a lot of people looking onto the international community, people like Catherine Ashton, to see if they can play a key role and get these two sides to sit down and reconcile - Becky.

ANDERSON: Your correspondent in Cairo, Reza Sayah this evening with the very latest on the story out of Egypt.

And just to let you know, you can see more of that interview with Egypt's interim prime minister tonight on Amanpour coming up after this show, 10:00 in London, 11:00 pm in Berlin right here on CNN.

All right, the latest world news headlines are just ahead as you would expect from this network.

Plus, Pope Francis speaks freely on his plane ride back to Rome, causing quite a stir among the Catholic faithful.

Plus, ever wonder how the modern Formula 1 race car came to be? Well, we will show you.

And president and much more. We take a look at the Russian president's many talents.

Stay with us, we're out of Abu Dhabi for you this evening. I'm Becky Anderson, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Just after half past midnight in Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD, live from the UAE. I'm Becky Anderson. The top stories this hour.

In just a few hours, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, will host Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Washington. The two sides are resuming peace talks for the first time in years. Now, Kerry says the goal is, and I quote, "reasonable compromises." He's named former US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk as special envoy.

Militants in northern Pakistan are trying to storm a prison after cutting off the power supply and launching an attack from all sides. Security forces fighting back, and clashes are still underway. The prison is in Dera Ismail Khan, a city close to lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

A somber memorial service in Santiago de Compostela in Spain for the 79 people killed in last week's train crash. Spain's prime minister and the heir to the throne were among those in attendance. The driver of the train was charged Sunday with 79 counts of reckless homicide. He's been granted a conditional release, but his train operator's license has been suspended.

And at least 40 people have been injured, 5 of them seriously, after two commuter trains collided head-on in Switzerland. It happened in the village of Granges-pres-Marnand on a route between Payerne and Lausanne a little before 7:00 PM local time.

Emergency services are onsite, working to establish the cause of this crash. We talked to a Swiss Railway spokesman a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RETO SCHAERLI, SPOKESMAN, SWISS RAILWAY (via telephone): We have an update: 40 people are injured, 5 seriously, and 35 slightly. But one of the two locomotive engineers is missing. There is still hope that we will find him alive, but we have also to fear the worst.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And we are just getting the first images in on film of this crash. You've seen some still images, there. These are the first coming to us here at CNN Center. At least 40 people injured, 5 of them seriously, after two commuter trains collided head-on in Switzerland.

You can see emergency services there, working, one assumes, to either free passengers who are still trapped in one of these carriages or, indeed, to move debris. This happening in the village of Granges-pres-Marnand on a route between Payerne and Lausanne a little before 7:00 PM local time. That would be 6:00 British summer time, which is about four and a half hours ago, now.

Emergency services, as you see there, onsite working to establish the cause of the crash. We talked to a Swiss Railway spokesman a short time ago, very unclear what happened aside from the fact that these trains collided at the station.

So, you are now watching the first moving images coming in to us here from Reuters on a crash that happened in Switzerland about three or four hours ago. Sadly, 40 people wounded, 5 of them seriously, and one, we believe, still missing.

After his rock-star welcome in Brazil and a few final mass that drew more than 3 million people, Pope Francis has hit the headlines yet again, this time for his plane ride home. Speaking candidly reporters onboard, the pope spoke out on a host of hot-button issues, including abortion and homosexuality. First up, Matthew Chance with this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For decades, gay activists have campaigned hard against church doctrine that frowns upon them, even staging controversial kiss-ins, like this one, during a papal visit to Spain.

But now, Pope Francis appears to be softening the Vatican line, telling the reporters that while homosexuality remains sinful, being gay is not.

POPE FRANCIS (through translator): If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?

CHANCE: The comments come after a hugely popular papal tour of Brazil, his first trip as pontiff, which climaxed in this huge gathering on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach for World Youth Day, a Catholic festival.

Reaction to the pope's comments online has been overwhelming. Posted on Twitter, one comment reads, "Loving Pope Francis, progressive and knows how to throw a great beach party." Another user says, "That sound you hear isn't thunder, it's God clapping."

"I genuinely believe," reads another, "the Catholic Church had no idea what it was getting with Pope Francis."

CHANCE (on camera): The pope's comments aren't exactly a shift in the Catholic Church's teachings. The position is already that homosexuals should be treated with respect and love. But Vatican analysts say the pontiff's remarks mark a massive change in tone, much more conciliatory than his predecessors.

(CROWD CHANTING)

CHANCE (voice-over): There were other controversial remarks, too, criticism of what he called lobbying by gay people, and a call for women to be given a greater role in the church, though not the right to become priests.

POPE FRANCIS (through translator): We cannot limit the role of women in the church to altar girls or the president of a charity. There must be more.

CHANCE: It all adds to the sense that Pope Francis, still less than five months in office, is unafraid to tackle the big issues facing the Catholic Church and may even emerge as a popular reformer.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Let's go inside the church, shall we? Because homosexuality has long been a divisive issue for those within the organization, so not all priests will agree with Pope Francis. Joining me now is Father Edward Beck, he's out of New York for you this evening.

Father Beck, we're seeing a sharp shift from the kind of policy outlined by Pope Benedict XVI, who barred priests sympathetic to homosexuals. Will this move be -- welcomed by the entire organization, as it were?

EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, as Matthew said in his package, there, which I think was very true, Becky, it's a matter of tone. There's not really a change in the teaching, so much, but it's more conciliatory as opposed to oppositional.

And language and perspective and tone can be everything here. So, we move from the church talking about homosexuality as an intrinsic disorder or homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered, to saying, "Who am I to judge?" Now, that's a vastly different perspective, and I think it's a welcome one.

So, what you're seeing with Francis is really the pontiff bridge- builder. That's exactly what he's doing. He's building bridges instead of putting up walls.

ANDERSON: Father Beck -- Father Becky, you and I -- you and I talked extensively when we were both in Rome at the installation of this pope back in March. We talked about homosexuality and the church.

We also talked about the possibility ever of women priests and priestly celibacy and whether that would be changed going forward? How about those two issues for this new, modern pope to deal with? What do you think his thoughts are on those?

BECK: Well, on the plane, he did address the women priest issue when asked about it, and he said that the church teaching on that remains as it is, that John Paul II was very definitive, closing the door on women priests.

However, he went on to say that what he wants to do is develop a theological statement and a theology of women and ministry and the church, that he thinks women should have more leadership roles in the church, that it shouldn't just be that they're heads of committees or they can be altar girls.

We don't want tokenism. He said we want real change with regard to the way women are treated in the church. So that, again, was very positive.

I did not hear him make any statements about married clergy. I -- interestingly, in 82 minutes, you'd think that would've come up. I did not see that in the transcript with regard married clergy, so --

ANDERSON: Your assessment -- we are, what? -- I'm thinking four, five months into this papacy. Did you expect to have seen the likes of these comments, the likes of the audience for him on the beach in Copacabana, the way that he's treated people from all walks of life, particularly those from the lowest rungs, as it were, those mired in poverty. How do you assess this first half year, as it were?

BECK: Well, Becky, I think I have been as surprised as anyone. I expected he would be different. I just didn't think he would be this different.

It's such a different tone to move from a papacy -- the last two papacies, really -- that seemed so much more staid, so much more high church, to this man who walks into the crowds, who wants to touch the people, who doesn't want to be in a guarded Popemobile, who doesn't want to live in the Apostolic Palace.

He just has this humility and simplicity about him that I think people are drawn to. So, again, the perception is very important here. He doesn't see himself so much as Vicar of Christ, though of course, he is still that. He says, "I'm Bishop of Rome," which is really saying, "I'm a pastor." He's trying to break down all of those distinctions.

And he speaks against clericalism. He says, you priests, get out of the sacristies, get out of the buildings, and go meet your people where they are. If they're on the fringe, then go find them on the fringe. And so, it's really rather remarkable --

ANDERSON: You listening to him?

BECK: -- that he's done so much. Pardon me?

ANDERSON: And you're listening to him. I know you do a lot of work in your parish. You're listening, right? You're getting up --

BECK: I'm --

ANDERSON: -- and you're getting out.

BECK: I'm doing my best, Becky. And I'm here talking to you, so it's one of the ways I can get out, at least.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Good stuff. Always a pleasure. Father Beck out of New York for you this evening.

Live from Abu Dhabi tonight, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, the need for speed. We will take a look for you at the evolution of the Formula 1 race car. Taking a very short break, you're 90 seconds away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Thirty-five degrees Centigrade, quarter to one in the morning in the UAE. I'm Becky Anderson, this is CNN out of Abu Dhabi for you this evening.

On today's Art of Movement, we take a look at the evolution of Formula 1 race cars. This is a regular slot on this show. Christina MacFarlane shows us how designs have changed over time, all in the pursuit, of course, of speed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think motor sport gives you so much passion, so much motivation.

STIRLING MOSS, FORMULA 1 ICON: What is so beautiful is not just the look of the car, but the way it handles, the way it performs.

EARL OF MARCH AND KINRARA, FOUNDER, GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED: The way technology and sculpture kind of blend together in a car, especially in a racing car, where it's kind of at its most extreme, is one of its major attractions.

JACKY ICKX, FORMER FORMULA 1 DRIVER: It brings dreams. It brings dreams for a person, dreams for a car, dreams into a project a group of people want to build up a team, a car, to construct a car. I think it's all about dreams, and from the start, it's dreams about cars and mobility.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Motor sport fans have always regarded Formula 1 as the pinnacle of all motor sport for its unrelenting pursuit of speed. No other cars in the world can reach speeds of 160 kilometers per hour and back to zero in just five seconds.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): To achieve this end, Formula 1 designers have been pushing the boundaries of car innovations since the start of the championship in 1950. Four-time world champion Alain Prost began his Formula 1 career at the start of the turbo engine era.

ALAIN PROST, FOUR-TIME FORMULA 1 WORLD CHAMPION: 76, 77, when Renault introduced the first turbo engine, everybody was laughing, especially in England. They were calling the car the Yellow Teapot.

(LAUGHTER)

PROST: And nobody could believe that it would be possible.

MACFARLANE (on camera): How does a turbo engine differ exactly to the standard engines that you've been driving before?

PROST: The turbo engine was very different. You have more power, more top-end power. But the weight of the car was much, much bigger.

You have the turbo, you have the big radiators that are missing. So, we have to put in a smaller -- and in fact, it was going up a lot of weight on the top. You were changing the weight distribution a lot, and more than anything, the sense of gravity was going high.

So, in fact, we were learning all the time, and the team was getting more and more experienced. And being very curious, working close with the engineers, I really loved it. It was a very frustrating time, too.

I often block the turbo, block the engine, but it was part of the time. I think everybody accepted it. But the evolution you could see from the 81 to the end of the turbo in 86, it was huge. If you put a white piece of paper to the engineers, they're going to make a miracle.

MACFARLANE: Anything is possible.

PROST: Anything is possible.

(FORMULA 1 ENGINE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: The latest in what is our Art of Movement series here on CNN. Well, coming up after what's going to be a very short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, a controversial interview. Why social media is buzzing after author Reza Aslan's latest media appearance. That after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: And the Etihad Tower and Emirates Palace marking their place on the Abu Dhabi skyline. We're live out of the UAE this evening. I'm Becky Anderson.

Reza Aslan is scholar of religions. He writes books about different world faiths. His new book presents a new examination of what is the historic character of Jesus.

But during a recent interview with a US news channel, he wasn't criticized for his work, but for his decision to write about Jesus at all, and that has sparked what is quite a significant social media reaction. Leone Lakhani is on that story for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEONE LAKHANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Outrage in the world of social media, and it's all over an interview on FoxNews.com, in which the anchor asks scholar Reza Aslan about his latest book on Jesus Christ.

LAUREN GREEN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: But you're a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?

REZA ASLAN, AUTHOR, "ZEALOT: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JESUS OF NAZARETH": Well, to be clear, I am a scholar or religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in Biblical Greek who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.

LAKHANI: Now, the interview continues for nearly ten minutes, in which the anchor and Aslan both repeat their assertions, and that sent the Twittersphere abuzz. Now, here's one that says, "How not to conduct an author interview."

Here's another one: "Reza Aslan's interview on Fox News was so painful to watch, he was basically being interviewed by a wall."

Now, there are some defending the interview. Here's one, Vincent Harris. He says, "Why Reza Aslan, as a Muslim, would be interested in the founder of Christianity is a perfectly normal question."

And some people are taking the whole thing to a new level. They're writing alternative scenarios of that interview, now take a look at this.

"'I have a PhD in oceanography. I study the ocean.' 'But you live on land.' 'Yes, but my area of study is the ocean.'"

Now, how about this? "'I'm a vet who has a PhD in treating animals.' 'But you're a human.' 'But I have a PhD...'"

Now, that debate is certainly continuing on both on- and off-line. And incidentally, Reza Aslan is the number one search on Google in the US at the moment.

Leone Lakhani, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, Vladimir Putin is also getting a lot of attention online, showing that he is an all-around action man as well as a politician. This video from the Kremlin shows him reeling in a 21-kilogram pike on a fishing trip in Siberia. Now, a Putin spokesman said it was turned into what was a very good fish cake.

Well, earlier this month, he took a half-hour trip to the bottom of the Baltic Sea in this thing, a one-man submarine that wouldn't look out of place in a James Bond film.

Remember back in 2010, he also shot a gray whale off Russia's east coast, collecting a tissue sample with an arrow that he fired from a crossbow. And last year, Mr. Putin boarded a micro-light for what was called a Flight of Hope. The plan was to get cranes bred in captivity to follow him into the skies and then migrate.

And if that wasn't enough, in 2008, a TV crew for Russian state television hailed Mr. Putin for saving them from this Siberian tiger. They say he shot the beast with a tranquilizer dart as it charged towards them.

Well, the Russian president keeps his action-man physique with such sporting activities as Judo, in which he holds a black belt.

Want to get you an update from Cannes in the south of France before we close out this hour. Extraordinary audacity by an armed robber now hunted by French police after snatching jewels worth a fortune. Erin McLaughlin has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a story straight out of a Hitchcock film.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- filmed on the beautiful French Riviera.

MCLAUGHLIN: One man walks into a hotel in Cannes, France, and walks out with $136 million worth of diamond jewelry.

GRACE KELLY AS FRANCES STEVENS, "TO CATCH A THIEF": Diamonds. The only thing in the world you can't resist.

MCLAUGHLIN: The Carlton Hotel, the setting for the iconic movie "To Catch a Thief" was the site of one of Europe's biggest jewelry heists Sunday morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a gun, and nobody stopped him. Nobody -- I don't know, there was nobody around, and they just gave him $40 million worth of jewelry. It's just incredible.

MCLAUGHLIN: Police say a robber, whose face was covered by a hat and scarf, threatened to shoot exhibitors and guests during the hold-up. Cannes, home of the International Film Festival, is known for its glitz and glamor. But lately, it's become a magnet for jewelry theft.

In May, a $2.6 million necklace belonging to jeweler de Grisogono was taken from a hotel party. Later that same month, over a million dollars worth of Chopard jewels were stolen from a safe in the Novotel Hotel.

This latest heist comes just two days after a member of the notorious Pink Panther jewel thief gang escaped from a Swiss prison. However, it is too soon to say there is any link to this incident. Authorities this morning are looking through surveillance footage of the crime.

DONALD PALMIERI, SECURITY EXPERT: Diamonds are like cash. They're the most concentrated form of wealth on the face of the Earth. So, they can be very influential in acquiring weapons, in acquiring drugs, or anything else that we want to keep out of society.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, if you are a regular viewer of this show, you'll know that Monday has become Girls' Day. It's a Girl's World this time of the week, CNN giving normal teenage girls from around the world the chance to tell their stories in their own words.

This week, we catch up with girls from South Africa, Pakistan, and Argentina for a look at what having an education means to them. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NOOBILE, 15, SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA: I get to school at like half past 7:00. School starts at 22. But I think it's important to go to school. It kind of benefits your future. It's for your own good.

I learn stuff every single day, stuff that I did not know, and if I sat at home, I wouldn't know all these things.

LILLIAN 16, HONG KONG (through translator): I normally spend one to two hours to study in school or do homework, and I will spend one to two hours studying at home. My favorite subjects are English and geography.

MISHI, 14, ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (through translator): My favorite subject is science because I like science and we get to learn about our bodies and get to learn about ourselves and other things. I want to be a doctor because I really like helping people, and if someone needs my help, I would help them.

EUGENIA, 15, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTIA (through translator): I go to ORT. It is a technical school. I chose design because I like everything that has to do with design. It was what caught my attention. Everything here was designed by me.

NOOBILE: Important things for girls to learn in school is that they shouldn't underestimate themselves. Be much more confident. Everything you learn will somehow help you in the future.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, that's us just about done for this evening. But in our Parting Shots for you, I'm going to leave you with images from this region at this time of Ramadan. The team here in Abu Dhabi and in London bid you a very good night. CNN, though, continues. Stay with us.

END