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CONNECT THE WORLD
Department Of Justice Files Suit Against American, U.S. Airways Merger; Palestinians Celebrate Release of 26 Prisoners; Camel's Milk Headed to EU
Aired August 13, 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: Tonight, prisoners released, settlements announced as Israel frees the first group of Palestinian inmates. We ask how close are we to peace. And we'll explore if the conflict is still central to a changing Middle East.
Also this hour...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Today, there's more killing, he says. These planes flying over, they can hit anywhere they want to hit at any time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Living in fear of the skies, we examine the impact of drone strikes and how they're perceived globally.
And as protests continue around the world against new Russian laws, we ask Russian journalist Anton Krasovsky why he risked everything by announcing he is gay live on TV.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World.
First up tonight, dozens of Palestinian prisoners are getting their first taste of freedom in years. This hour, people across Gaza and the West Bank out on the streets as we speak celebrating the imminent homecoming of 26 prisoners.
Convoys with darkened windows began leaving an Israeli prison just a short time ago. Israeli police on hand to push back protesters who are angry about these releases.
The Israeli government considers it a goodwill gesture ahead of peace talks scheduled to resume tomorrow.
Well, let's get right to Vladimir Duthiers among the crowds in the West Bank tonight.
And how would you describe the atmosphere there ahead of the prisoners reception home?
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Becky.
I can't hear you that well, because the crowds have started to gather. We are at Betunia Crossing (ph), a major commercial crossing between Israel and the West Bank behind me. Behind these crowds of people stands Ofer Prison. This is where these 26 prisoners, the first of 104 eventual prisoners to be released, are going to be released. Some will be released here in the West Bank, others will be released in Gaza.
Now, there are people here that we've spoken to, people that we've spoken to earlier today in Hebron that say these prisoners are political prisoners, that they are freedom fighters. Here's what one of the wives of a man who was incarcerated for over 20 years had to tell us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UMM ASEM, PRISONER'S WIFE (through translator): Today, we were really surprised. My husband had another four months to complete his sentence, but we did not expect him to be released. So it's a celebration, happy feelings, and god willing, all the families of the rest of the prisoners will be happy as I am and be free.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DUTHIERS: And, Becky, there are a lot of happy people here. There are little kids here that are holding flags. Some of these kids have not even ever met their fathers, and so I can tell you that there are a lot of people here that are very, very excited.
On the other hand, we have spoken to people in Israel, people who lost family members because of the activities of some of these prisoners that are going to be released today and they say that they are criminals, that some of them are in fact terrorists. In fact, the man of the wife that you just played that sound bite from, was put into prison for being an accomplice to an attack onto Israeli soldiers, which left one of those soldiers dead and another wounded, Becky.
They say that the state of Israel should not have released these prisoners, there is blood on the hands of the government in doing so, and they wished that they hadn't done it.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that this was a goodwill gesture that he was doing on the eve of talks that are set to resume tomorrow, Becky.
ANDERSON: Vlad, thank you for that.
Israel's goodwill gesture in releasing these prisoners could be overshadowed by yet another announcement about settlements. Israel is planning hundreds more homes on land the Palestinians want for a future. Today, Israel's interior minister said final approval had been granted for some 900 new homes in East Jerusalem. One Palestinian official says that threatens to torpedo the latest round of talks before they can even begin.
But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a key broker of course in this peace effort, says that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is still committed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think what this underscores, actually, is the importance of getting to the table, getting to the table quickly, and resolving the questions...
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ANDERSON: As with almost every new round of talks, then the expectations of any breakthrough are low given the long history of failure. The past two decades, the U.S. has been involved in several key peace efforts between Israel's in Palestinians that have failed.
Tonight, then, we want to discuss why so many believe it is so important to keep trying.
Rami Khoury is director of the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, a regular guest on this show now since we've been covering the region extensively recently.
26 prisoners released from Israeli prisons, freedom fighters to Palestinians, terrorists and murders to many Israelis and then a slap in the face by Tel Aviv today with the announcement of new housing units in highly contentious areas.
Your assessment of where the two sides stand on the eve of new talks?
RAMI KHOURY, DIRECTOR, ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE: They stand pretty much the same place they've stood for the last 20 years. These talks have gone on and off for almost 20 years without any major breakthroughs. There's only one significant difference, really, today that we can see so far, maybe two, but really it's the intense involvement of the American Secretary of State that got them into the negotiating situation they're in. And coupled with that is the commitment from both sides to keep negotiating for nine months.
This is a significant gesture. So, therefore, you're going to hear a lot of noise from both sides, complaints, grievances, but you can pretty much discount most of what you'll hear in public, because they are both clearly committed to do this for nine months.
And we really need to give it time to see what's going to happen.
ANDERSON: You rightly point that out. And John Kerry making that point specifically at the news conference last week ahead of these talks beginning.
He said don't listen to anything you hear, you only need to hear from me. I'm the only person who is in a position to allow any information to leak out at this point.
Let's also hear what he said at that very same news conference about where the two sides are and where they need to go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: 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)
ANDERSON: What do you think he means by reasonable compromises on both sides?
KHOURY: I think he means exactly what he says. Reasonable compromises is a pretty weak statement in the world of diplomacy and legal issues. I would have been much stronger if he had said that what these talks will produce are the legitimate rights of both sides anchored in international law, UN resolutions and international conventions. That would have been a lot tougher.
Rights is what this is all about for both sides, equal and simultaneous rights for the Israelis, for the Palestinians.
Reasonable compromises, it's a lot softer. It's the American approach. It hasn't worked for 20 years. It's unlikely to work, most people to think, but there is a serious effort going on here. And we really don't know what the Americans are going to do. The Americans are the wild card in this process. We know the Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli coalition, we know their positions very well. They're both hemmed in by domestic constraints. Neither of them are going to make significant changes unilaterally.
The real wild card is the United States as mediator. What is the United States going to do? Will they push both sides? Will they pressure them? Will it cajole them? Will it entice them? And will it make for a serious bridging proposals and end game proposals.
We have no idea about any of that. And this is one of the reasons these talks started.
ANDERSON: Listen, as we were talking, we were just looking at the station, the area in the West Bank where these prisoners will cross to Ramallah. So these are live pictures coming to us. The 26 prisoners released by the Israelis now on their way to their families at home and we will stay with these pictures for you here on CNN as we see the arrival of these prisoners. They're being escorted, of course, by Israeli security forces.
Very briefly, Rami, how central to stabilizing this entire region, given the fundamental changes across the Middle East and North Africa last -- since last talks in 2010, how fundamental are these talks now?
KHOURY: The Arab-Israeli, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the oldest and the most destabilizing conflict in this region. It goes back 65 years almost. It keeps coming up in every dimension -- Iran, al Qaeda, Islamists, revolutions, economic problems, disintegration of states, civil wars, insurrectionary movements, every dimension in the region is somehow directly or indirectly influenced by the Arab-Israeli conflict.
So resolving it peacefully and with equal rights to both sides would be a massive contribution to reducing tensions and making it easier to resolve other issues. The region is much more complicated now than it was...
ANDERSON: And Rami, very briefly, then, how -- because the Arab Spring has happened since the last talks in 2010, how will that affect those who are negotiating on both sides, given the sort of tectonic shift in the politics of this area?
KHOURY: If the Arab uprisings and these transformations result in democratic stable Arab countries, which I think will happen, but it will take a few more years, if you get legitimate governments, democratic governments in the Arab countries that represent their people's sentiments, you will have a lot more support for the Palestinians and a much stronger bargaining position on the Arab side, which hopefully would drive the Israelis to respond to the Arab peace plan. And in the best of circumstances could push the peace process forward.
But we don't know if that's going to happen or not.
But democratic Arab governments will reflect popular public opinion, which is very critical of Israel's policies all across the Arab world, that's documented very well by many, many polls.
ANDERSON: It's always a pleasure, sir. We thank you very much indeed for joining us.
On a night where you see live pictures here on CNN, Palestinian prisoners have been released, 26 of them, by the Israelis, freedom fighters as far as the Palestinians are concerned to many Israelis, these men are terrorists and murders. They are expected to arrive shortly into Palestinian territory.
They are currently in Israel. And they're in Israeli custody are en route. You are looking there at the Betunia Crossing (ph). We'll get you back to these pictures as and when those prisoners arrive live here on CNN.
Still to come this evening, outrage and questions -- Britain and Spain denounce Sunday's carnage at a Nigerian mosque.
Two young women are in big trouble in Peru. I'm going to explain what they are accused of. What authorities there are saying and what could happen to them next.
And Camel Cappuccino. Camel's milk could be the next big thing for foodies. I'll tell you why coming up.
You're 60 seconds away. We've got a very short break. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: 15 minutes past midnight in Abu Dhabi. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in the UAE. This is Connect the World.
A massacre in a Nigerian mosque is sparking condemnation and questions. Police say men with automatic weapons killed at least 44 people in Sunday's attack. It happened in the northeastern town of Konduga.
My colleague Nima Elbagir is following this story. She joins me live now from Naibori in Kenya.
Nima, what do we know at this point?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, still details emerging, Becky about what look like other attacks across that Saturday, Sunday weekend break at the end of the Eid celebrations.
It sounds like from what we've been speaking -- from what we've been hearing from sources on the ground that at the same time as the gunmen went into the mosque and carried out that dawn massacre while dawn prayers were being carried out that others had been spreading out across Borno State and carrying out smaller attacks on villagers that local police say that Boko Haram militants suspected of collaborating. We're hearing some pretty horrific details coming out of villagers -- dead villagers found with slit throats and bound wrists.
And we also had this message come out from Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, in which he appears to be mocking not just Nigeria, but its ally the United States. Have a listen, Becky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABUBAKAR SHEKAU, BOKO HARAM LEADER (through translator): We have killed countless soldiers, and we are going to kill more. Our strength and firepower is bigger than that of Nigeria. Nigeria is no longer a big deal to us, as far as we're concerned. We will not comfortably confront the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELGABIR: We understand Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is due to convene a high level meeting that will include his -- the head of his national security agency. And undoubtedly, questions are going to be asked about why three months into that state of emergency up in Borno State, the violence and the attacks continue unabated, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir on the story for you out of Nairobi, Kenya this evening.
Muslim Brotherhood members say security forces opened fire on a march of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy. Earlier, Morsy's supporters clashed with police in downtown Cairo. Reports say police fired tear gas to break up the confrontation. And the state run al-Masriya (ph) television reports casualties.
More violence, I'm afraid today in Iraq, adding to a deadly string of attacks there that are engulfing the country, at least 13 people were killed today in four different areas, mostly north of Baghdad, this after 28 people were killed Monday in attacks, including this one on a popular coffee shop in the northern town of Balad (ph).
Militants also bombed a major oil pipeline in northern Iraq.
The U.S. Justice Department is trying to block the multi-billion dollar merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways. Now attorneys fear that a merger would lead to higher prices and fewer benefits for customers. Richard Quest with more.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The announcement took everybody by surprise, or at least it appeared to. The U.S. Justice Department, and six attorneys general, are suing to stop the merger of American and U.S. Airways. The state's involved include Texas, where American's headquarters, Arizona, where U.S. Airways has its headquarters, and those key places, for example, Florida, the District of Columbia -- Washington, D.C. where of course there are major hubs of one airline or the other.
The fear now is that if these two airlines get together, it will lessen competition, push up the price of airline tickets, and would increase ancillary fees for things like baggage, ticket changes and the like.
The problem is, this lawsuit has come very late in the day. The creditors, the shareholders, even the European commission have already approved the deal. And the transaction and merger was due to close in just a couple of weeks' time.
Now, everything gets put on hold. And whether or not there's a negotiation to be had, or the Justice Department is determined to stop this transaction at all costs, no one can say.
Richard Quest, CNN, New York.
ANDERSON: A British teenager and an Irish woman are being held in Peru on suspicion of smuggling drugs, that story Rafael Romo is on for you this evening. And authorities say a huge amount of cocaine stashed in the woman's luggage as they tried to board a flight heading to Spain. And more details, Rafael just being released, I believe.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky. We have just learned these details about their arrest. According to authorities, the suspects had the drugs hidden in their baggage when they were arrested at the airport in Lima, the Peruvian capital.
The drugs were hidden in 34 packages of oatmeal and dehydrated food products. Altogether, police found nearly 11.6 kilograms, or 25.6 pounds of cocaine, valued at -- listen to this -- $2.3 million. 20-year-old Michaella McCollum from Ireland and 19-year-old Melissa Reid from Scotland, were about to board a flight to Madrid, Spain. They both deny the accusations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA REID, DETAINED IN PERU: I was forced to take these bags in my luggage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know contain drugs?
REID: I did not know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO: And police say they knew the drugs were inside their bags, because they allegedly made arrangements to conceal them the night before their departure. An attorney representing McCollum told CNN, "I spoke to Michaella last night and she emphasized that she denied that she was guilty of any offense. She is well. She is not on hunger strike. She's finding it difficult to cope with the current situation so far from home, but is optimistic."
According to Peruvian law, Becky, in drug trafficking cases like this one, suspects can be held for as long as 15 days without being charged. Back to you.
ANDERSON: All right.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, what life is like for civilians on the ground when there are drones flying over their heads. We're going to take a closer look at that and its impact, that being a drone coming up.
And up next, why the milk in your morning coffee could soon come from this little beauty.
You're watching Connect the World. We are live in Abu Dhabi. It's 22 minutes past minute. 60 seconds away, an advertising break next. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Right. Palestinian prisoners have been released from Israeli prisons, 26 of them of the 104 the Israelis have promised to set free -- to the Palestinians, of course, they are freedom fighters, to many Israelis terrorists and murders.
These are the scenes on the West Bank as these Palestinian prisoners expected very, very shortly. Lots of family members, one assumes, and friends. Some of these men have been inside for as long as 20 years, some of them may never have seen some family members. They are currently in Israel en route and in custody of the Israeli security forces.
I can't tell you how long this is going to take, but we know these prisoners were released about an hour or so -- again, be sure that CNN is keeping an eye on these shots for you. And as soon as we see any sign of the Palestinian prisoners released today by the Israelis returning home, we will of course get straight back to these shots for you.
Meantime, here's a question for you, how do you milk a camel? No joke, camel milk products from the United Arab Emirates here are getting a big thumbs up from the European Union apparently. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh to show you why.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At Dubai's al- Mazza's (ph) cafe, it's about the camelccinos and camel lattes. This is an all-camel milk product cafe. And it could soon be coming to your city.
MARTIN VAN ALMSICK, GENERAL MANAGER, AL NASSMA CHOCOLATE: Why not have a camel milk cafe all over the world? The milk is better. It's much superior to cow milk and you cannot stop a good product.
KARADSHEH: Up until recently, the European Union tightly restricted the import of camel milk. But in July, it approved products by the Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products, EICMP, making the United Arab Emirates the first Middle Eastern country to export camel milk products to Europe.
Getting this farm with more than 3,000 camels up to European regulatory standards was not easy for EICMP and its milk brand Camelicious and for sister company Al Nassma Chocolate.
KIRSTEN LANGE, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, CAMELICIOUS: There was an effort really, over five years. It took quite a while, really, to get that EU permit. And it wasn't only our company involved. So a lot of people, a lot of parties involved to really make it happen and to bring a piece out of this into the world.
KARADSHEH: Al Nassma Chocolate so far is the biggest beneficiary of the EU approval. They ship powdered milk to Austria for production.
VAN ALMSICK: We've been struggling a little with these limited production capacities and possibilities that we had over the last years.
We have now the opportunity to bring as much camel milk powder as we possibly can produce into the European Union for the various products that we are producing. That's chocolate, that's camel latte, camelccino.
KARADSHEH: Although not widely available, Al Nassma has recorded triple digit figure annual growth recently.
VAN ALMSICK: Al Nassma likes to be exclusive. We like to be on special places. We don't want to be the chocolate of every day, we want to be the chocolate of the special moments, of special family festivities. We want to be giftable. And the vision for us is really to be on the top notch, five star, retailing places.
KARADSHEH: With no preservatives and a short shelf-life, Camelicious bottled milk might not hit the shelves in Europe yet. But with lower fat and more nutrients than cow's milk, there are other plans.
LANGE: We are also exploring new fields of the use of camel milk. For example, the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetic industry, we are looking into sports supplements, nutritional supplements. So there's a wide range who really believe camel milk can be useful.
KARADSHEH: For now, changing perceptions about camels is a big step for this company and the UAE.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Dubai.
ANDERSON: And -- this is a camel coola (ph).
OK, there's camel latte, a camelccino, this is camel coola (ph). And you know what? It's really good.
Good for me. Got a great taste. So the dromadaries won out.
Does it for me. You should try it.
Latest world news headlines are just ahead here on CNN. How effective are drones against al Qaeda? Going to speak to an expert on the U.S. drone operations.
And later, Campbell's canny leader -- a soup company CEO says she owes it all to her dad. Don't we all? That's coming up on Leading Women.
You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi. It is just before midnight here. Do stay with us.
ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour just after half past midnight in Abu Dhabi.
People across Gaza and the West Bank are celebrating the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners. Israel began freeing 26 inmates a short time ago. These are live pictures coming to you from the area in a move considered a goodwill gesture ahead of peace talks due to resume on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Israel is forging ahead with a plan to build 900 more housing units in East Jerusalem. That's in addition to the 1,000 units announced on Sunday.
Britain and Spain are voicing their outrage after 44 worshipers in a Nigerian mosque were killed. Details still emerging, but gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons in the town of Konduga.
Muslim Brotherhood members say security forces opened fire -- and that was in Egypt earlier on today.
The US Justice Department has filed a lawsuit trying to block the multibillion-dollar merger of American Airlines and US Airways. Attorneys fear that a merger would lead to higher prices and fewer benefits for customers. The companies, if combined, would form the world's largest airline. The airline says that they will fight the lawsuit.
And Canada has suspended the license of a rail operator who's tanker train exploded in Quebec last month, 47 people were killed in that disaster. The Canadian Transportation Agency says the company did not have enough third party liability insurance.
And apologies, I was slightly confused on a story there. We do know that the Muslim Brotherhood being -- saying, at least, that security forces in Egypt opening fire on small demonstrations in certain Cairo suburbs today, not at the two main sit-ins, where they have threatened to clear protesters, of course, in the past couple of days. More on that, of course, as we get it.
Now, the United Nations Security -- secretary-general says drone attacks should be regulated by international law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAN KI-MOON, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS: Countries said the use of armed drones, like any other weapon, should be subject to long- standing international law, including international humanitarian law. This is a very clear position of the United Nations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Mr. Ban was speaking during an official two-day visit to Pakistan, a country hit, of course, by hundreds of US drone strikes in the past decade.
Well, in Yemen, the US embassy remains close because of what American officials call a credible terror threat, the US ramping up its use of drone warfare in the past week with almost daily strikes intended to weaken al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen.
CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom has been following the story from Beirut, and he joins us now. What are you learning?
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, Yemen is such a disadvantaged country. Take away for just a second the threat that al Qaeda there poses. This is a country with a severe water shortage, with a separatist movement in the north, with sectarian strife in the north as well. You've also got deep, deep poverty.
And now, in Yemen, last week was one of the few times of the year that Eid al-Fitr, a holiday when families traditionally come together and celebrate, but because of all the drone strikes that have been going on, they say that that overshadowed their Eid holiday. Here's our report about what was going on in Yemen.
JAMJOOM (voice-over): Yemenis get few chances to really celebrate. But when Eid rolls around, the streets of Sanaa usually come alive. This year was different.
"I was ready to celebrate," says this girl, "but with the planes in the sky, Daddy wouldn't let us out of the house."
Fearful of drone strikes and spooked over surveillance flights, her disappointed father blames America's involvement in Yemen for causing his family to miss out.
"Every day, there's more killing," he says. "These planes flying over, they can hit anywhere they want to hit at any time."
No surprise that smiles were missing from some young faces. Children didn't wear the colorful hats, parents didn't buy the glittery decorations.
In Yemen's capital, people are used to hearing about danger. Security forces may be on high alert, but seem awfully blase about what terrorists may be planning. They're prepared to protect, but angry about something else.
"There's no need for any plans or drones that scare our citizens," says this soldier. In early August, four Western embassies, including the US embassy, were closed after US intelligence intercepted information that al Qaeda would target American interests in the region.
Yemeni officials say there have been at least nine separate ones in the past two weeks. Many activists say conducting drone strikes during a religious holiday will only serve to fuel the growing and worrying anti- American sentiment.
Most Yemenese who were killed were just regular citizens with no connection to al Qaeda," says Abdulrahman Barman. But government officials say most of those killed during recent strikes were al Qaeda suspects.
And their Eid holiday in Yemen isn't over just yet. On this last day, these parents will do all they can to give their children a day of fun in the sun. Riding a camel is always a good start. Flying a kite can only help.
Tired of misconceptions, they want outsiders to understand Yemen is about so much more than al Qaeda, and wonder how their kids can continue to enjoy the simple pleasures of a playground when so many only consider their country a battlefield.
JAMJOOM: And Becky, that activist that we spoke with, there, in the piece, Abdulrahman Barman, went on to say that despite being dangerous, these drone strikes are also very disrespectful.
He said the fact that the US, as he said, was carrying out drone strikes during Eid, he said that that gives a perception to Muslims in Yemen that the US is actively disrespecting this religious holiday and that they're trying to kill Yemenis during a very festive time, which he says only contributes to a sentiment that is fueling growing anger to the US in Yemen. Becky?
ANDERSON: Mohammed, I'm going to dig a little deeper on this. Thank you for that.
The US has carried out hundreds of drone strikes in the past decade. The Bureau of Investigative journalism is an independent organization. It estimates that in Pakistan from 2004 to 2013, 371 CIA drone strikes killed between 2,505 people and nearly 3,600.
That includes more than 400 -- sorry -- that includes 407 to 928 civilians in Yemen from 2002 to 2013. Up to 64 US drone strikes were confirmed, killing between 269 and 393 people.
In Somalia, America's use of drones was far lower. From 2007 to 2013, between three and nine strikes, killing between 7 and 27 people. But US covert operations, strikes by aircraft other than drones, killed there between 47 and 143 people.
Chris Woods set up that drone investigation team and is now working on a book on the US covert drone war. Let me say that again. On the US covert drone war. He joins us now from our London studio.
And the very fact that your book is about what you call a covert drone war suggests to me that your conceit is that this is all undercover, whereas in some places, of course, it's out and out, isn't it? It may not be acceptable to people locally, but it is out and out.
CHRIS WOOD, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, it's not covert, of course, for the people on the receiving end. That's the people of Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, where these drone strikes take place. They know they're happening, we know they're happening.
It's covert for the purpose of the CIA and the Pentagon, that carry out these strikes, because they're classified, and we're not allowed in law to know what's happening. We're not allowed to be given any information about them. And as journalists, we have to try and piece together what we can based on field reports and the work of people in the field.
So, it's a very difficult process to try to understand what's happening with these strikes and who's actually being killed. Because there are a lot of planes one way or the other, as we've seen.
ANDERSON: Sure. Let's look at Yemen, because that's the story which is pressing at the moment. US president Obama praising the Yemeni president for his work in combating terrorism when they met just in Washington a week or so ago.
Yemen's foreign minister telling me last week that US drone strikes carried out in Yemen are done with the Yemeni government's approval. Let's just have a listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABU-BAKR AL-QIRBI, YEMEN FOREIGN MINISTER: President Hadi said this in Washington last year that these drone attacks take place with the coordination -- with the military and security authorities of Yemen. They do not undertake any such attacks without approval of the targets and where they are taking place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Running the risk, Chris, of alienating, of course, their own people in Yemen. The US says its targets must meet, and I quote, "very tight and very strict standards." If that is the case, would we be seeing as many civilian casualties?
WOODS: Well, I think -- it's fair to say that the US does go to significant efforts to reduce civilian casualties usually. And we've seen a steep decline in civilian deaths, not just in Yemen, but also in Pakistan.
Where that changes is where we have periods like this security crisis, where the US, if you like, throws out the rule book for a short period and intensifies the bombing. And there have been 26 drone strikes in Yemen this year, 10 of them in the last fortnight. That's a very intense bombing period.
And as we've seen, we're seeing a lot of alleged militants killed, and looking back on the numbers killed, I think 6 named militants out of 35 to 50 people killed in the last fortnight. But CNN's own man on the ground in Sanaa in Yemen is saying that security officials are telling him up to a third of those killed are civilians.
WOODS: So, when we have these intense bombing periods, I think --
ANDERSON: The New --
WOODS: -- there's a risk that more civilians die.
ANDERSON: Yes. The New America Foundation -- we were doing some work on this just before the show started, which is, of course you'll know, a Washington-based non-profit non-partisan think tank, at least that's how they -- they market themselves -- estimates only 2 percent of those killed by US drones have been high-level targets.
I guess the question is, how effective, really, are these drones in the battle against al Qaeda, which is, to all intents and purposes, what Washington is flogging here.
WOODS: I think there's a real concern that sometimes these drone strikes are happening so that something can be seen to be done. When the security crisis blew up the other day, there was a source told the "Washington Post," US intelligence source told the "Washington Post" that they were using the drone strikes to buy time.
And New American Foundation, I think, has got it right. We don't see many senior militants killed by these drones. The al Qaeda members who are being killed are usually low-level or more often mid-level individuals. But they're not -- they're part of the communities in which they're being killed, and of course, the civilians who are dying as well, part of those same communities.
So, there's a significant concern among many that we're going to see what the Americans call blowback here. That the very thing the US is trying to defeat in Yemen, in Pakistan, is actually going to be worsened because local populations become angry --
WOODS: -- they don't want to cooperate with the United States. And in fact, they even risk turning against their own government.
I think it's worth saying as well, Becky, that in Yemen, there's this national process trying to build a new democratic future for Yemen, all the tribes and political parties brought together with civic society and so on. That process has voted against drone strikes for the new Yemen. The people of Yemen are saying that they don't want drones to be part of the future.
So, it's all very well the US cutting a deal with Yemen and agreeing to these strikes, but if it's against what the people in Yemen want, who are, of course, against al Qaeda, most of them, I think that could bring long-term consequences to the United States.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Chris, appreciate it. Chris Woods on the story for you this evening.
Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson for you. Up next, living in a country where being gay can cost you your career. I'm going to ask a Russian TV host why he risked it all with a high-profile announcement.
And forget the cream of chicken, the boss of Campbell Soup is cream of the crop. We'll show you why Denise Morrison is an inspirational leader. That is next on Leading Women.
ANDERSON: This is Abu Dhabi, quarter to 1:00 in the morning. Welcome back. It's the time of the week here on the show when we unashamedly platform women around the world at the very top of their game. Why? Well, because the world is not equal, not yet, at least. When it is, I promise, we'll have a series called Leading Men.
This week, for Denise Morrison, success seems to run in the family, and the president of CEO -- and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company tells CNN how family still comes first.
DENISE MORRISON, CEO, CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY: Soup is very important, but we're more than soup.
FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Campbell Soup company president and CEO, Denise Morrison, is touting the hundreds of products in the business portfolio, and new ones in the works in its test kitchen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want all these recipes with all the work that we do. We always start with the food.
MORRISON: The average consumer will ask 10,000 times a year, "What's for dinner." And we want to be the solution for that.
Here we have the cream of asparagus.
TAYLOR: Morrison leads a company with more than 16,000 employees worldwide. One can say Morrison was groomed for her position from an early age.
TAYLOR (on camera): Your father mentored you and all of your sisters to really become executives. What was that like?
MORRISON: It was pretty special. Our dinner table conversations were about test markets for new phone systems, and he -- an outing for us was going to the library and picking out a book, and then we would have to either do an oral or a written book report for him every week. He used to say that he saw a day where the world would open up for women, and he wanted us to be prepared for it.
TAYLOR (voice-over): And prepared they were. There's Maggie Wilderotter, a Fortune 500 CEO with Frontier Communications. Andrea Doelling, a former senior vice president with AT&T. She's now an equestrian. There's Morrison. And Colleen Bastkowski, a regional VP for Blackboard Mobile.
Morrison, a mother of two -- and recently, a grandmother -- says while parental guidance is a key to success, so is a clear focus.
MORRISON: You can't lead others unless you know who you are and what you stand for. My mission is to serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.
And then, my observation is women are very comfortable making strategic plans for brands and for companies, but when it comes to themselves, there's no strategic plan.
TAYLOR (on camera): What's next for you?
MORRISON: I'm building a great company. In fact, I have a story. When I got this job, I called my parents, and I said, "Mom, Dad, I did it. I achieved my life goal. I'm CEO of Campbell Soup Company. I'm -- it's such an honor for me."
And then there was a pause, and my father said, "Denise, that's great. What's your next goal."
MORRISON: And I said, "to build a great company." And that's what I'm all about right now.
ANDERSON: CNN.com/leadingwomen. You can find more on our entire series of ladies on the site. Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, anti-gay laws in Russia continue to divide opinion. We will hear from a man who's been sidelined by his country's discrimination just after this short break, 60 seconds away, stay with us.
ANDERSON: Russia will host will the Winter Olympics in Sochi in six months' time, and that event has put Moscow's recent anti-gay propaganda law into the spotlight, I'm sure you have heard. This law, which bans people from talking about gay relationships anywhere near kids where they might hear, was passed by a large majority.
In fact, a recent poll suggests that nearly 75 percent of Russians oppose homosexuality. But Russia is adamant that the law won't affect international events.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY MUTKO, RUSSIAN MINISTER OF SPORT (through translator): I can assure you so that all athletes in sports organizations should know, the Olympics are a big event, and we will create the conditions and provide assurances that nobody's rights will be violated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, rights groups just aren't having any of it. We've seen protests in many places, including the UK and Israel. Bars around the world are refusing to serve Russian vodka, at least some of them are, and more than 300,000 people signed a petition to have the Olympics moved. Even the US president, Barack Obama, has spoken out about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody's more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing in Russia. But as I said just this week, I've spoken out against that not just with respect to Russia, but a number of other countries, where we continue to do work with them, but we have a strong disagreement on this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Aside from international outrage over this, it's gay Russians who have the most to lose, of course. Our next guest proves that. You can see Anton Krasovsky here, hosting a Russian TV show. Earlier this year, he came out on air in front of everybody watching, including his bosses. It was a hugely controversial decision and one that cost him his job.
Let's cross to Lisbon, now, where Anton joins us this evening to discuss what he did and what is going on in his home country. Anton, first thing, why did you do that?
ANTON KRASOVSKY, FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, KONTR TV: Why?
ANDERSON: Yes, why? Why would you do that, come out so openly in Russia on television?
KRASOVSKY: Because some --
ANDERSON: And lose your job.
KRASOVSKY: Because somebody should do it. Because somebody should do it, and I decided, it's time to be open and it's time to be open for me. That's it.
ANDERSON: And tell me exactly what happened.
KRASOVSKY: After that, I was fired. Right then, right that night, I was fired by (inaudible).
ANDERSON: And any evidence of what you did was entirely deleted from the internet, apparently, right? Am I correct in saying that? As if it had never happened.
KRASOVSKY: Sure. Of course. Of course.
ANDERSON: Who did that, do you think? Was that a Kremlin direction?
KRASOVSKY: Yes, perhaps. Maybe.
ANDERSON: Seventy-five percent of people in a widely-quoted poll recently say that they are anti-homosexual behavior and rights. Is that something that you appreciate and acknowledge, at least, in Russia? Not everybody is of the same persuasion, let's say, as you are.
KRASOVSKY: Look. I think that -- it's not an easy time. It's not an easy time in Russia. I think the great -- was the same time in Great Britain, perhaps, in 1987 was when Thatcher was prime minister --
KRASOVSKY: Because anti-gay --
ANDERSON: Yes. I remember it.
KRASOVSKY: Anti-gay, it's a total copy of the Britain anti-gay propaganda law. I'm not sure if it was fascist regime, right? I'm not sure that Putin regime is fascist. I think --
ANDERSON: Did what? Sorry, I can't -- I didn't quite hear what you said. You said you're not sure the Putin regime is? I missed what you said.
KRASOVSKY: I'm not sure if the Putin regime is fascistic.
ANDERSON: Right. Gay rights laws do vary widely around the world. You and I both know this. Let's just take our viewers through a bit of a global sort of whiz round on homosexuality and its right around the world.
Same-sex marriage is recognized within 14 countries. Same-sex couples have some or all the same rights as marriage in 17 other nations. 59 countries have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, though 76 countries still consider homosexual acts illegal. That's about 40 percent of UN member countries.
Homosexual acts punishable by death in 5 countries and in some parts of Nigeria and Somalia. Tell me, Anton, where do you think this discussion, this narrative, this argument, is going to go next?
This -- this sort of -- this kind, I don't know, groundswell of international support for those who are horrified by what they see going on in Russia and a groundswell of support for at least some sort of reaction from the IOC with regard to the Sochi Games. Where do you think this all goes next?
ANDERSON: And how persecuted -- go on.
KRASOVSKY: I understand, yes. Actually, I think that Russian gay people need international support, but international support, it's not a boycott of Sochi Olympic Games, because Olympic Games is an international event. It's not a Russian event, it's not a personal event of Mr. Putin.
It's an event that millions and millions of people -- people in Russia -- I just want to remind that 7 million people in Russia are gay, and if you want to boycott Olympics Games in Russia, you're trying to boycott 7 million gay people in Russia. You want to boycott me. You want to boycott my family. You want to boycott, actually, my father, who is totally addicted by sport and Olympics Games.
KRASOVSKY: Do you really want it? I think --
ANDERSON: We're going to leave it there. You've made your point.
KRASOVSKY: -- if you want to -- I think if you want to --
ANDERSON: Anton, no, I'm going to have take a break, my love.
KRASOVSKY: If you want to --
ANDERSON: But I am -- we do massively appreciate you being on tonight. I'm so sorry, it's the end of the show, I've got to get out of this studio and move us on at CNN. Anton, we appreciate your time tonight.
Parting Shots, if you're lucky to see -- or lucky enough to see the spectacular Perseid meteor shower last night, it was fantastic. If not, some -- OK. Are these really the pictures? Yes, they are. Some starry pictures taken around the world. This is what we're going to close out with tonight for you. A very good evening from Abu Dhabi, from London, and the staff in Atlanta.