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The West Condemns Apparent Chemical Attack In Syria; Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Retires; Sentencing For Ft. Hood Shooter To Begin; Gang Rape in India

Aired August 23, 2013 - 16:00   ET


SARA SIDNER, HOST: Tonight, echoes of civil wars past as Lebanon witnesses the deadliest wave of violence since the end of its civil war.

We ask if furious sectarian conflict has truly spilled beyond its borders.

Also ahead...


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you start seeing chemical weapons used on a large scale. And, again, we're still gathering information about this particular event, but it is very troublesome.


SIDNER: U.S. president Barack Obama talks to CNN on the heels of claims of a large-scale chemical attack on the Syrian people. Will there be a U.S. response?

And, the scene of a horrific crime. We explore the underlying causes of violence against women as India is rocked by yet another shocking gang rape.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

SIDNER: We begin this program with another day of deadly violence across the Middle East as the conflict in Syria increasingly undermines the security of its neighbors.

We'll have the latest with Arwa Damon in Beirut and Frederik Pleitgen in Damascus.

First, to Lebanon, two mosques, two bombings. Friday prayers ended in bloodshed with at least 50 people killed and hundreds more injured in the port city of Tripoli.

Surveillance cameras capture the moment as one of the attacks took place.

The footage is from inside the al-Salaam mosque. You can see it there when the blast goes off. And it shows worshipers quietly praying. And then of course the panic and fear as a car bomb goes off outside that building.

Now, let's switch to video showing the same attack from a different surveillance camera inside the mosque. Worshipers completely unaware of what was about to unfold.

The Lebanese people are no strangers to sectarian violence, having suffered through more than a decade of civil war. Today's attack is one of the deadliest since that conflict ended in 1990. It appears to be the strongest indicator yet that the Syrian conflict is spreading across borders.

For more on that, CNN senior international correspondent joins us live from CNN Beirut.

Arwa, let's first start with this, from your expertise -- because you really, truly are an expert in the Middle East -- what do you think this sectarian violence is about? Does it have to do with what's happening in Syria?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It most certainly is tied to the conflict in Syria. There's no denying that. And Lebanon's future is inextricably tied to that of its larger neighbor.

Syria has always polarized this tiny nation and that dynamic has unfortunately oftentimes manifested itself in these acts of violence.

The two mosques that were targeted, both of them their imams very well known for their anti-Assad, anti-Syrian regime rhetoric. One of them, in particular, a Salafi mosque. The imam there has also gone so far as to call for Sunnis to rise up in jihad and to take the battle to Syria.

All of this, of course, just comes on the heels of other indicators that the Syrian conflict is seeping into Lebanon with Hezbollah sending its own fighters across the border, brazenly commenting about their battlefield victories. And so naturally a lot of Lebanese who, as you mentioned, have lived through this before are incredibly fearful tonight.

SIDNER: All right, Arwa, I also want to ask you this, do you see this as something that could escalate, that we could potentially see a very largescale civil unrest because tit-for-tat people trying to retaliate as well?

DAMON: You know, when it comes to these kinds of civil unrest and sectarian conflict, the sad reality is that you do tend to see the majority of the people, and that is the case here, who most certainly do not want to see that. But it is these fringe hard-line groups who view this as being an existential battle between Sunni and Shia that do risk reigniting Lebanon's sectarian tensions.

Just to give you an example of the other dynamics that Lebanon is dealing with that are tied to what we're seeing right now. At the al- Salaam (ph) mosque where that video you showed earlier took place, that is on a fairly busy street. A lot of apartment buildings around it.

The Lebanese security forces felt comfortable enough to go there.

But at the second location that was a very hard-line Salafi mosque, there was no sign of the Lebanese security forces there. Instead, there were armed gunmen from the neighborhood who were warning us not to film them. And the Lebanese forces simply did not dare go to that location.

So, you have both the Syria conflict seeping into Lebanon, but the only reason it is really able to do that is because of Lebanon's own polarized politics and Lebanon's inability to overcome its own sectarian divisions and the fact that they are so easily exploitable and that, of course, adds to the fear that the majority of the population feels at this point in time that there is worse times yet ahead.

SIDNER: All right. Arwa Damon there for us in Lebanon. Appreciate it Arwa.

The blasts in Lebanon came as the UN pushes for access to the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. I want to go right now to our Fred Pleitgen. We have obtained some disturbing video from ITV News.

I want to let our viewers know about the video. It is graphic and includes images of dead woman and many dead children. But we believe it is an important part of telling the story of what is happening in Syria.

Fred, give us an idea of what you've seen and what you can tell us about the potential government response to all this?


Yeah, well the ITV says that it was taken by a trustworthy, independent Syrian filmmaker. And you're absolutely right, the video is obviously completely gruesome. And there are many who say that it could show the aftermath of a possible chemical weapons attack.

One of the things that that is a part of that is the fact that you have these bodies laying there and they're inside structures, but the structures don't seem to have been damaged by some sort of explosion, which would be the case if you were dealing with conventional arms.

However, at this point in time, we always have to say that we have to question everything that we say. And even this video, as gruesome as it is, does not prove or disprove anything. It doesn't show whether or not chemical weapons were actually used there. And it certainly doesn't show who used these weapons if, in fact, these weapons were used.

So the only thing that could prove or disprove that would be an independent investigator team on the ground. At this point, it still is unclear when the UN weapons' inspectors might be able to visit the sites that allegedly were hit by these chemical weapons. So it is something that only that could prove. And we're still waiting to see when those inspectors might be able to get access to these sites.

What we do know, though, however, Sara, is we've been trying to piece together the sort of lay of the land here is that there certainly was a largescale military operation going on by Syrian government forces on the morning of Wednesday, that's something that we've heard from people who are living in the neighborhoods around where these attacks allegedly took place, but whether or not chemical weapons were used is still something that is up in the air. We simply don't know whether or not that happened at this point, Sara.

SIDNER: All right, Fred, stay with us. We want to come back to you and talk to you a bit.

And I can tell you I've seen some terrible pictures out of Syria, but these are some of the worst.

I want to go ahead and take a look at some of the language that's being used by international leaders. First up, this from Britain's foreign secretary William Hague on who he believes is behind the attack.


WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: For the UN team to go there. They haven't yet been able to. And already, it seems, the Assad regime, has something to hide. Why else have they not allowed the UN team to go there?


SIDNER: Strong words, also, from the Arab League and UN join envoy. He describes the possible use of chemical weapons as the biggest threat to international peace.


LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, UN ENVOY TO SYRIA: What is happening now on the ground with this story about the outrageous, alleged use of chemical weapons with the destruction of the country that has been taking place for two years, with the spread of the problem outside of Syria. So the flow of refugees and also the involvement of neighboring countries in one way or another in the conflict. It is indeed now the biggest threat to peace and security.


SIDNER: Lakhdar Brahimi there from the UN envoy.

And the United States says it has now updated options for a forceful intervention in Syria. Barack Obama said last year the use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a red line.

In an exclusive interview, CNN's Chris Cuomo asked the president what would trigger a U.S. intervention now.


OBAMA: If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented then there are questions whether international law supports it, do we have the coalition to make it work and you know, those are considerations that we have to take into account.

CUOMO: You don't believe we've seen enough?

OBAMA: Now this -- this latest event is something that we've got to take a look at.


SIDNER: All right. You heard there from some of the world leaders, the UN envoy. Let's go back now to Fred Pleitgen to tell us a little bit more about how the government is responding to this. Are they hearing this? Are they hearing what some of the other countries are saying, particularly Barack Obama there making the case that there may be more that needs to be done. The U.S. may take some action.

PLEITGEN: Yeah, I mean they're certainly hearing this. There isn't really that much of a government response, but there certainly is more of a response than you would see otherwise.

One of the things that I found very tell-tale is that I've been in this country reporting from this country many times. And I've never even been able to speak on the record to a military official. However, when these allegations came through on Wednesday, the military here was very quick to put out a statement saying that all this was fabricated that it was other powers, it was the rebels who were trying to get other powers to intervene here in this country.

It is something that shows that the Syrian government is taking all of this very seriously. On the other hand, of course, we have to see that all of this is taking place in a very sensitive environment. It is well and good for William Hague to say that he believes that the Syrian government is hiding something and is therefore not letting the weapons inspectors go out there. But we do have to keep in mind that the weapons inspectors have a mandate for which they came out here. They were supposed to visit three sites where allegedly chemical weapons attacks took place.

None of them have anything to do with what happened here on Wednesday. These are instances that happened before.

So the mandate needs to be changed.

And of course the Syrian government, from the beginning, was very reluctant to let the weapons inspectors in here at all. So it'll be difficult for them to change that mandate. You're dealing here with a very thick bureaucracy that doesn't have a culture of being open. You don't just change the gameplan with the Syrians.

So those are all things that need to be kept in mind.

And of course the other thing that we all need to think about is that the weapons inspectors, of course, have to think about their own safety as well, the areas that they're supposed to go to are very, very dangerous. I was very close to those areas today. There's a lot of shelling going on there, there's unexploded munitions there. So all of that needs to be kept in mind as the pressure also mounts on the UN to get their teams on the ground there, Sara.

SIDNER: All right. Thank you, Fred. Also to keep in mind those who are suffering the worst, of course the Syrian people, civilians. Thank you, Fred. We'll check back with you again.

Still to come tonight, robbed of their youth, a staggering 1 million Syrian children are now living in refugee camps. We hear from the UN on this sobering milestone.

Also, calls for a massive Friday of martyrs protest in Egypt falls short. We'll look at the crackdown's impact on the Muslim Brotherhood.

And the man who lead Microsoft for 13 years is stepping down. We'll have the details and much more just after the break.


SIDNER: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Sara Sidner. Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy were again out in the streets to protest on what they are calling the Friday of martyrs. But numbers have dwindled following the fierce crackdown by Egyptian police.

Most of Morsy's supporters gathered in Cairo. You see them there. Protests there remain peaceful. But there are reports of one death in the northern town of (inaudible) after protesters clashed with security forces there.

Last week, a raid on two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps left hundreds dead. And we now have a dramatic report through the lens of an activist who filmed the violence.

Our Nick Paton Walsh has that story. Just to warn you, some of the scenes may be disturbing.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When police armor rolled into mostly unarmed protesters in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya (ph) Square, some activists were filming the sheer savagery of the assault, like this man. He's now in hiding, terrified of being killed if he falls under arrest and would only talk on Skype.

We verified the video by returning to where it was shot.

He describes watching people die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The guy in the blue shirt was shot in the abdomen, started crawling and then I saw him laying back and took his last breath. He died in front of me.

The police would ask us to leave the area from (inaudible) but then we found out that's where they were shooting at us from machine guns. How are we supposed to get out?

WALSH: This man, wounded here, eventually died.

But the sounds of gunfire on his tape at one suggests shots were being fired from near him towards the police.

They cramped beneath the small wall, frozen in fear as the police armor begins its approach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I felt defeated, paralyzed because we were being slaughtered and no one cared about us. I wondered how a soldier who was supposed to be defending me was now aiming to kill me.

WALSH: Move, they shout, but they're motionless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The bulldozer was sweeping dead bodies into the ground as if they were garbage, not humans. They had no respect for the dead, no dignity.

WALSH: After escaping the police advance through a side building, he is hiding in Cairo, still filming for activists and says he is now waiting for his turn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I expect to be taken to prison or jail and no one will know anything about me.

WALSH: Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Cairo.


SIDNER: On the same day, a military jury has convicted a U.S. army psychiatrist for killing 13 people in a shooting rampage. Major Nidal Hasan admitted to carrying out the attack back in November 2009. It happened in Ft. Hood, Texas at a center for soldiers heading to Afghanistan and Iraq. Hasan argued that the troops were going to participate in what he called an illegal war.

Ed Lavendera joins us now live from Ft. Hood where the attack and the trial took place. Ed, the verdict wasn't surprising right, but there is still this anger that we're hearing now from the victims of the shooting that this was not deemed a terrorist attack in the first place.

ED LAVENDERA, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Well, that is one of those things that is still underlying all of this story. As the court martial for Nidal Hasan has continued, almost three weeks long now, and now moves into a punishment phase, the actual verdict is hardly a surprise. Nidal Hasan's first words in this trial were clearly the evidence will show I was the shooter. So we knew from the onset that when Nidal Hasan wasn't going to put up much of a defense, if any at all. And in many ways, he has been, in the words of his own assisting attorneys, Nidal Hasan has been acting as his own. But he has attorneys that are helping out along the way. They had been telling the judge that they didn't want to participate in this, because Nidal Hasan was essentially working with the prosecution to ensure that he gets the death penalty.

So this now moves into the punishment phase. But Sara, as you mentioned, underlying all of this is still this tension between the survivors and many victim's family members that are struggling in a battle over benefits in the way all of this shooting was handled and how it's been labeled and what it means for them.

In fact, there's a massive lawsuit with -- including more than 100 of these victims and victims' family members against the army that is still pending. So that is one of those underlying tensions that has yet to be resolved.

SIDNER: Right, because they get less benefits if it's not deemed a terrorist attack.

All right, thank you so much. Ed Lavandera there from Ft. Hood for us.

Now, let's switch gears to the business world. Big news from the tech sector. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced that he'll be retiring in the next year. Shares of Microsoft actually soared nearly 7 percent on that news. A successor has yet to be named. And Microsoft founder Bill Gates will definitely have a say in that.

With more on this, I'm joined by Julianne Peppitone from CNN Money.

Let's start with this, is this a reaction, this response that I'm going to now leave the company, it's the right timing, to the fact that Microsoft really missed an opportunity when it came to mobile phone computing, and really the tablet?


Well, mobile computing -- and you can't even really say that's the future of computing any more, that's the present. And while the PC probably isn't going to go away completely any time soon, it's suffering steep declines. And Microsoft and Steve Ballmer really missed the boat on predicting that mobile computing transition. And that had been a problem for Microsoft under Steve Ballmer's direction. He definitely did have some hits, like the Xbox has done very well. But for a lot of the other products, there were things that kind of came out as a reaction to what other people had come out with and it just seemed more reactionary than kind of innovative. And that was a real problem for Ballmer throughout his tenure as CEO. He was really an operations guy, not a product guy. And in tech, it really is all about the products.

SIDNER: And what do you think this resignation means for the company? Do you think they have anybody already in mind kind of coming up in this -- behind the scenes?

PEPITONE: There really isn't an heir apparent. And I think that's why it was so surprising. I think people did expect Ballmer to retire some time in the next, you know, maybe three to five years. But for other tech companies like Apple, even, it was very obvious that Tim Cook was the heir apparent. And there's going to be four or five names that are floating out there -- perhaps Julie Larson-Green who is the head of Windows and now runs devices. She's been floated as a possible name.

But there's not really someone where it's so obvious yes that is definitely the next Steven Ballmer.

So I think that's why it was a real surprise to hear the announcement this morning.

SIDNER: Absolutely. Unusual for a company so humongous. Microsoft.

All right, thank you very much. Appreciate you joining us on Connect the World.

This is Connect the World. Coming up, another horrendous rape in India. A female journalist just trying to do her job is gang raped in Mumbai. Is there truly an upsurge in rapes in India? And how do they compare to cases in other major cities across the world?

Plus, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro tells us how the city is coping with preparations for the World Cup and beyond.


SIDNER: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. Welcome back. I'm Sara Sidner.

Preparations in Brazil are hitting high gear ahead of next year's football World Cup, especially in Rio de Janeiro. Man, I wish I could go to that. The city is making a huge investment in upgrading its infrastructure and public transportation. In today's addition of out The City series, Rio's mayor talks to us about how he's trying to make his city sustainable beyond the cup.


EDUARDO PAES, MAYOR OF RIO DE JANEIRO: I'm Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio has this mix between nature and this great urban landscape this is something that you don't find everywhere. It's the best place in the world.

But when you look at the city, we have more than 1 million people living in favelas, which are usually in bad conditions. That's why we have program like this, which is (inaudible) that you -- we send to urbanize all the favelas of the city until 2020.

That's (inaudible) it's back here, it's -- this is not wood, this is plastic. This is recycled like plastic bottles.

What we try to do here is use as much as we can of technology. So environmental friendly technology. So the concrete is different. Solar panels to heat the water.

Again, this is like a laboratory. Rio is getting lots of houses. We've already did like 50,000. We're planning on going to 100,000.

OK, so this is the operation center of the city of Rio. Rio has a history of big tropical storms, lots of rain during especially summer time. It's also problem, landslides. We have weather forecasts here. We have people checking the levels of rain.

Green, so this is not too risky. Yellow is a little bit. It's like middle risky. And right risky areas are the red ones. This is something that is being saving lives of people in the past few summers.

This is (inaudible). It's one of the -- a greatest placing sounding stage. This is the -- one of the areas of the city's like the heart of the suburb of Rio. We've got a bunch of environmental features here, (inaudible) lights, green space, the temperature's dropped around 2, 3 Centigrade degrees in this area here.

So climate change is a big issue for us. I mean, we are sea level city. So I mean, we have to look ahead. We're going to be in big trouble in -- we have a history of floods. And this is going to be even harder in the future.

You know, other places where things happen. So I'd say that the role of mayor is -- are the most important role and the decisions you make you can really change people's lives.

It's a place I want to live forever, so this is a very special job I've got.


SIDNER: All right, the latest world news headlines just ahead. Plus, another brutal gang rape sparks fury in India. We'll ask what's being done to curb the problem of sexual violence in the country.

Plus, the youngest victims of the conflict in Syria. The number of child refugees fleeing the country hits an alarming level.


SIDNER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. A devastating bomb blast caught on camera at a mosque in Lebanon. The mayor of Tripoli said 50 people were killed in bombings at two Sunni mosques. Hundreds are reported wounded. The attacks have raised fears of a new round of sectarian violence, possibly sparked by the civil war next-door in Syria.

United Nations weapons inspectors are waiting for permission to enter the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus. Syria's government has not yet given its official approval. The opposition is guaranteeing the UN team safe access, but says it must inspect the sites within 48 hours.

And surprise! Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is stepping down after 13 years. He says he will retire as soon as a successor is found. Ballmer has been criticized for the way he's led the company, and Microsoft shares actually jumped 7 percent on the news.

A US soldier who admitted to killing 16 Afghan villagers in 2012 has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. Sergeant Robert Bales pleaded guilty to more than 30 criminal charges, including 16 counts of premeditated murder.

A brutal gang rape has sparked new outrage across India and refocused attention on the country's problem with sexual violence. Police say a 23- year-old woman was raped by several men Thursday in Mumbai. CNN's Mallika Kapur has the story.


MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A nation and a city outraged. Yet another rape case is reported in India, this time in Mumbai, considered one of the country's safest cities for women. The victim, a young woman in her 20s.

A photojournalist for a local city magazine, she was on assignment, shooting at an abandoned mill in the heart of the city. She was with a male companion. The attackers separated the pair and while her colleague was tied up with a belt, she was assaulted.

The victim is currently in hospital. Doctors say her condition is stable. Based on the information she provided, police say they were able to make sketches of the accused and that they have made some arrests in the case.

The attack has prompted protest on the streets and on social media. Mumbai crowds, many wearing black armbands, staged a silent protest Friday afternoon, and Facebook and Twitter feeds are buzzing with comments about the rape, with some saying, "Mumbai, you have let us down."

Many say it feels like a flashback to December 2012 to the brutal gang rape of a student in New Delhi who later died. That incident sparked massive protests and led to a revision in India's rape laws. The issue of women's safety, always a concern, has now risen to the top of citizens' agenda.

But here in Mumbai, there was a feeling that this city is safe for women. A sense of safety that's now badly undermined.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


SIDNER: All right, let me give you a sampling of the responses to the attack and what Indians there think needs to be done about the problem.


SONAKSHI PANDEY, MUMBAI RESIDENT: We always pride ourselves on living in a very safe city, but nowadays, what is happening is un-understandable to me. What is going through people's minds when they behave like this towards women, towards children, towards other people?

NAJMA HEPTULLA, INDIAN POLITICIAN: Nobody is safe, no woman is safe. I don't know what's happening. There is no fear of law in the minds of people because they don't get punished. They get away with it.

SHOBHAA DE, COLUMNIST AND NOVELIST: If the administration has failed to provide safety to not just our women but our children and every working professional in Mumbai City, it's a great slap in the face of not just our chief minister, the current government.


SIDNER: A slap in the face and making women feel quite fearful in some of these cities, the incidents only the latest in a number of high- profile rape cases across India. Back in December, you will remember the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in New Delhi.

That triggered widespread condemnation. The victim later died in a Singapore hospital. Thousands of people -- you see them there -- they took to the streets in protest and tougher rape laws were introduced then. Then, earlier this month, police reported a seven-year-old girl was raped on a train in central India.

So, are we really seeing an uptick in sexual harassment and rape, and if so, why is it happening and what can be done to address it? Let's go ahead and talk with our London bureau -- from our London bureau, a journalist, blogger, and author, Sunny Hundal. He also wrote a book called "India Dishonored: Behind a Nation's War on Women." Thank you very much for joining us on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Everyone is looking at the situation and they simply want to know why. Because India is also known as a place that reveres women. I lived there for five years. You really have a duality going on. What is it all about?

SUNNY HUNDAL, JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER: There is -- that's true. I think there is a duality in India. As you said, they revere women. There's also women gods, there's this idea that women are put on a pedestal.

But I kind of think that's part of the problem because Indian culture says that we are putting women on a pedestal, and for me, and when I wrote the book, I found that actually that's part of the problem because we put women on a pedestal, that also means we are trying to control them and say this is how they should behave.

And part of the problem in India is that because women are put into such tight roles -- I'm not saying that it goes for everyone, but for so many -- that they don't have enough independence there.

And as a result of that, you have these cases where men kind of -- a lot of men see women as, if they're traveling by themselves or doing this and that, they're kind of impure and they can do whatever they want with those women because they're outside the boundaries of what they think those women should do.

SIDNER: They're thinking that these women are loose, they're morally corrupt, and we can do whatever we please with them. Let me discuss this. I know we've been focused on these egregious attacks, the gang rapes, but there is a general feeling in some cities of worry about sexual harassment of all kinds of types.

I lived in India for nearly five years working as a correspondent for CNN, and I'd like to address that. Let me give you a quick example here, something that happened to me, and I'm pointing it out because it was caught on tape during a live show. Let's go ahead and show you the tape of what happened. This is during the Mumbai attack in 2008 at the Taj Mahal tower.

Basically, what happened in that -- everyone is familiar with this terrible attack. And what happened there was basically that, look, all these men surrounded me as I was doing a live report, and the minute that the light went out -- the minute that the light went out -- suddenly I was groped, I was grabbed, I was -- my clothes were torn, I literally had to fight to get out of that group.

And so, let's go ahead and look at this tape so that you can see what I'm talking about. This was live on television.



SIDNER: Barely -- I've got to get out of here. Guys. Tell me -- yes, I --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should we let her go?


SIDNER: Stop it!


SIDNER: So, you hear me yelling there. Why I point that out is because there was a terrorist attack happening right behind us, people were literally being slaughtered inside of that hotel, and yet, outside, there was this sort of anger growing, and suddenly, it got turned on me, as a woman, and certainly I was really kind of surprised by it. I wasn't scared, I was surprised by it.

Why do you think that some of this goes on, and on a daily basis, where women riding the train, women riding the bus, they have to deal with being touched and groped on a daily basis?

HUNDAL: Well, I've lived in India, too, and I think you're right in saying that there is a strong -- there is a strong culture in India, I think, of what they call "Eve Teasing," and unfortunately, in a lot of cities, this happens to a lot of women who are traveling around, just Indian women traveling around, not just tourists, but everyone, where they're just groped, they're harassed.

And I think that there is a problem there where men don't understand the boundaries and don't understand the difference between -- or don't at least respect women's boundaries because they're traveling around, they're doing this and they're doing that.

And to me, it's a part of a growing problem in India whereby men are coming over from villages, they're coming to cities, but they don't really understand the norms of more cosmopolitan cities, they don't really understand the moral boundaries there.

They've not really interacted with women properly all their lives, because Indian culture is very conservative. And they're sort of -- and they're single, too, because India has a huge sex selection problem whereby there's for more men than there are women.

So, I think those factors have come together now, increasingly in India. So, what's happening is you see an upsurge in rape, you're seeing an upsurge in trafficking. There's a lot of growing amount of women complaining about harassment, sexual harassment, and brides being burned.

So, the culture of violence against women in India is getting progressively worse, and it's actually getting worse even as India becomes more developed and India becomes richer. And that to me is the biggest problem that the country faces right now.

SIDNER: I think you pointed a really good point, because if you're saying it's getting worse, some of that seems to be in reaction to that traditional things are changing, traditional values are changing. Women are becoming much more powerful.

I want to bring this fact in. The number of reported rapes in Mumbai is increasing, just as you said there. But how does it compare to other cities around the world? We don't want to paint all Indian men as rapists or people who -- we've met so many people, there's a billion people in the country, they're wonderful, wonderful people, wonderful men, that I have met while there as well.

But look at this official data. In Mumbai last year, there were 232 reported cases of rape. This is in a city of 20.5 million people. While in New Delhi, with a population of about 20.4 million people, there were 585 reported rape cases.

Now, let's compare all that to New York City, a city with about 8 million. There is no city comparison because with the number of people in India, you're not going to get the exact comparison, but a very large city, most populous in the US.

In 2012, there were 1,058 cases of rapes reported to authorities there. When you look at that comparison, is what is happening in India, are they being sort of -- unfairly looked at as a place where this is a real and growing problem?

HUNDAL: No, I don't think that's true, and I'll tell you why. Because India has a real problem with reporting of rape. And so there is a moral problem whereby there's a lot of victim blaming, and women who report rape are almost shamed into it, and sort of -- they fell so much shame that a lot of them don't report rape. So, the levels of reporting are very low in India.

And then secondly, the police system is so corrupt that actually the level of report convictions and the -- so, for example, Delhi, earlier this year, there was a case of a girl being murdered and raped, and then it came out that -- raped and murdered -- and it came out that the police actually paid off the father of the family because they didn't want to report the case. So they thought give him 2,000 rupees and maybe he won't report it.

And there's been several other cases where the police have just not reported the case. There was last year in Patiala there was a girl who committed suicide and said that the police did not listen to me.

SIDNER: Right.

HUNDAL: So, there is a real problem in India --


SIDNER: And Sunny -- and let me just stop you there, because Sunny, we've also heard of cases where people go to report rape and the police actually take advantage of that woman. We have to stop it here.

HUNDAL: Exactly.

SIDNER: Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it, Sunny Hundal. One young woman's description of her own ordeal in India is getting a huge response online and what she described as a traveler's heaven and a woman's hell.

Michaela Cross described the sexual harassment she says she endured while studying there. Now, four young Indian women are having their say. See how they describe their own experiences in India and abroad and how they react to Cross's article. It's all at

Live from CNN Center, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, a growing number of children fleeing the conflict in Syria. We'll hear from the UN's refugee chief.


SIDNER: A sobering milestone has now been reached in the mass exodus from Syria's civil war. The United Nations says the number of child refugees has risen to one million. CNN's Becky Anderson reports.


AYA, REFUGEE CHILD: My. Name. Is. Aya. I am. From. Syria.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aya, who is now in Lebanon, is one of many children uprooted by the Syrian conflict. Separated from family and friends, these are the smallest and most vulnerable victims, robbed of their childhood.

According to the United Nations, child refugees from Syria have now reached a threshold. They now number a staggering one million, accounting for half of the people who have fled their homeland in the past three years.


ANDERSON: Some 7,000 children are believed to have been killed during the bloody conflict. The United Nations estimates that more than 2 million Syrian kids have been internally displaced. To highlight the severity of the issue, UNHCR has issued posters with stark comparisons. One of them says the million Syrian refugee children is equal to 16,000 school buses filled with kids.

AYA (through translator): I love Syria and I miss Syria. I loved my friends and playing with my sisters. We used to play together. I also miss my uncles.

ANDERSON: Despite the agony of separation, Aya's experience has given her a new goal in life.

AYA (through translator): I want to be a doctor so I can help children. If they come to see me and they don't have money, I will give them medicine, a prescription and an injection so they can get better.


ANDERSON: And Aya is just one in a million.

Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


SIDNER: Let's hope Aya achieves her dreams. Becky spoke to Antonia Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees, about the crisis, and she began by asking him what concerns him most about the conflict's impact.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: I believe we have the risk of a lost generation for Syria. It's not only one million Syrian refugee children, it's two million internally displaced inside the country, it's a few million trapped in the conflict in cities and in villages.

High levels of trauma. I've seen many that do not speak anymore. I've seen some with broken sleeping that have enormous difficulties, some with behaviors that are very challenging and very strange. So, a level of trauma that is very high, especially when three-fourths of these refugee children are below 11 years old.

ANDERSON: And then, of course, there are the threats that particularly those kids who arrive without families, independently -- and I'm talking about small children, here -- the threats that they face when they cross borders, oftentimes of sexual exploitation, of human trafficking gangs. How much of an experience have you had of that sort of disaster?

GUTERRES: This is an area of great concern to us, and we are very much engaged together -- UNICEF, Save the Children, and other partners -- in making sure that we individually identify all the children with special protection concerns.

ANDERSON: The Syrian regional refugee response plan, I think I'm right in saying, called for some $3 billion to address the acute needs of refugees by December of this year. It is only 38 percent funded. That is an absolutely disgrace. We are letting these children and families down.

What more can you, can other organizations, can we, observing this and feeling frustrated, what can we help do to mobilize support at this point?

GUTERRES: Well, we are doing everything we can. In advocacy, both with -- to different donor countries, with new donor countries, namely in the Gulf, in other areas of the emerging economies, we are making together with all our partners huge campaigns with the civil society. We are trying to have a mobilization of good will in relation to the response -- the humanitarian response.

ANDERSON: What's your biggest fear, here, going forward?

GUTERRES: Well, my biggest fear is that the war doesn't stop. The war needs to stop sooner rather than later. And unfortunately, the international community was not able until now to come together to force the parties to the conflict to come to a political solution

And it goes on and on and on, and obviously, this represents a huge threat, not only for the future life of the refugee people, but a huge threat for the global peace and security.


SIDNER: That was Becky Anderson for us there. Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, it turns out, making a blockbuster film is not all fun and games. We'll show you after the break.


SIDNER: It's that time of the week when we take a look at what is hot in the world of entertainment. As Becky Anderson finds out in this edition of CNN Preview, making a blockbuster can be far from glamorous.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go. Ready and, three, two, one, action!

ANDERSON (voice-over): Action heroes and boy wonders dominate this week's edition of CNN Preview. We kick off with a Kung Fu epic.

Set in 1930s China during the upheaval of World War II, "The Grandmaster" is based on the life story of Ip Man, the martial arts legend who trained Bruce Lee. Intended to be more than just a fight move, director Wong Kar Wai explores the philosophy behind Kung Fu, as well as physical prowess. To achieve this, the cast underwent years of intense training.

TONY LEUNG, ACTOR: Nine months of hard training, because we used to do routine practice every day. We start with the basic moves, and then I do sparring with my trainer.

I think doing sparring, he forgot he has very strong protection on his shin, and he can -- he gave me a roundhouse kick, and I tried to block. And I don't have protection. And he just broke my arm. I don't want to go back to stage one. After two weeks, and I don't feel much pain at all, I took painkiller, and I start training secretly again.

After four or five months, everybody thinks I'm totally healed, my bone, and then we start shooting in China. After three hours fighting with six stuntmen, I broke my arm again.

To explore the spiritual side of Kung Fu, you can last a lifetime. You can manage all the moves in just a few years, but in order to explore that spiritual side, you can spend a lot of time.

ANDERSON: The film's battle scenes were choreographed by Yuen Woo- ping, known for his work in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Kill Bill," and "The Matrix."

LEUNG: I think a lot of people know Ip Man is the master who inspired the Kung Fu great Bruce Lee. I think he has really a great impact on Chinese Kung Fu. I think he really did pass on the torch, not just in China, but all over the world.

ANDERSON: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Bruce Lee's cult classic "Enter the Dragon." In celebration, a special Blu-ray edition is being released to give fans a look at the film which made him a global icon.


MATT DAMON AS MAX, "ELYSIUM": Hair products.

ANDERSON: It's going to take a little bit more than just hand-to-hand combat skills to defeat these robotic adversaries.


DAMON AS MAX: No, thank you.

ANDERSON: Sci-fi action movie "Elysium" is set in the 22nd century. High above Earth's stratosphere floats Elysium, a habitat for the rich elite. Down below, a ravaged planet of chaos primed for revolution.


ANDERSON: The world's biggest landfill site in Mexico City became the gritty setting for director Neill Blomkamp's bleak vision of life on Earth which, for star Matt Damon, wasn't the only unpleasant part of the filming process.

DAMON: He showed me a picture of what he wanted me to look like, and clearly, there was like some 25-year-old MMA fighter who he took a picture of, and I was like, "You do know that I'm 40, right?"


DAMON: So, it was a lot of -- it was like four hours a day in the gym with a trainer, which actually was fun, and it was -- I actually enjoyed that. It was the dieting that I really -- at my age, I just love to eat, and I'm happy when I can really eat. So, that part was the -- that was the only downside to this entire movie was having to diet.


ANDERSON: And finally, screams echoed around London during the world premier of One Direction's movie, "This is Us." The world's biggest boy band was formed by music mogul Simon Cowell three years ago on the British version of talent show "The X Factor."

The 3D documentary, directed by Morgan Spurlock, follows the band on tour and behind the scenes. "This is Us" releases internationally next week.

NIALL HORAN, ONE DIRECTION: Because of you, we're number one in 37 countries.


LIAM PAYNE, ONE DIRECTION: We never expected any of this to happen.


SIDNER: I'm Sara Sidner and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Bye-bye.