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Interview with OPCW-UN Mission Leader Sigrid Kaag; Boston Red Sox Win World Series; Saudi Arabia Opens Investigation Of Domestic Worker Abuse Video; Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson Affair Revealed In Court

Aired October 31, 2013 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight, the beginning of the end or is it? Syria takes a first crucial step in getting rid of its chemical weapons stockpile. I'll speak to the Dutch diplomat leading the international mission charged with destroying Syria's weapons. Find out if she is satisfied with what's been achieved so far and the challenges she believes remain.

Also this hour, marching for justice. Kenyans take a stand after the horrific gang rape of a 16-year-old girl. I'll speak to the human rights activist leading that campaign.

And, as the western world gets ready to celebrate All Hallow's Eve, we bring you a spooky report from a haunted fishing village in the UAE.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Well, those stories are coming up. First, though, new details about a missile strike on Syria. A U.S. government official confirms to CNN that Israel is behind that attack. Now the official says war planes struck a military base near the port city of Latakia.

Let's get right to CNN's Matthew Chance following developments tonight from Jerusalem. What do we know of the details, if anything, on this? And Matt, the timing just coincidental given what's been happening in Syria today?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm not clear about that, but certainly the information that we know that's confirmed has been confirmed to us not by the Israelis, but by U.S. officials to CNN confirming that the Israelis were behind this attack that took place apparently on Wednesday evening local time.

Israeli war planes, they say, attacking a military base near the city of Latakia, which is to the northwest of Damascus. It's a major port city in Syria.

Israel itself has remained very tight-lipped about this. The reports in the Israeli media and the media of the surrounding Arab countries as well, that Israeli was behind this. But both the Israeli defense forces and the Israeli defense ministry both refused to comment to us when we've called them about whether or not they were behind it.

But the media reports here suggesting this was an air defense site. The suggestion is also that this may have been some kind of missile ground being prepared perhaps for an upgrade for possibly more sophisticated weapons.

Now Israel has not officially said it's taking any side in the Syrian conflict. It's not confirming whether it does carry out these strikes inside Israel. But it has set out a number of red lines that would provoke action, it says. One of those, Becky, is the transfer of sophisticated weaponry to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. So there's some indications that this could be a strike against such a transfer.

ANDERSON: All right.

Matthew Chance with the very latest as we know it from Israel. International chemical weapons inspectors say Syria has met a crucial deadline with one day to spare. They say it has destroyed all of its declared chemical arms production equipment. And that is part of a multi- stage agreement to rid Syria of its entire chemical stockpile. It's best to say all chemical weapons at the sites they visited are now being put under tamper proof seals, as they call them.

You'll remember, it wasn't that long ago that Syria faced the threat of military intervention after a chemical attack that shocked the world.

We warn you, some images in our next report are disturbing.


ANDERSON: August 21, just days after the arrival of a UN weapons inspection team in Syria, reports of a devastating chemical attack just outside Damascus that Syrian opposition groups claimed killed more than 1,300 men, women and children. Eyewitness videos like this shocked the world, ramping up international pressure.

BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY GENERAL: Any use of chemical weapons anywhere by anybody under any circumstances would violate international law.

ANDERSON: August 26, the UN inspection team arrives at the site of the alleged chemical attack, but only after the convoy was hit by sniper fire en route.

August 30, with patience wearing thin, the U.S. says it's own intelligence shows with high confidence that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on its own people, fueling a push for military intervention with or without a UN resolution.

August 31...

BARAK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our military has positioned assets in the region, the chairman of the joint chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose.

ANDERSON: September 9, a surprising turn of events. Secretary of State John Kerry, responding to a question about what Syria's president could do to prevent U.S. action.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week, turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow a full and total accounting for that. But he isn't about to do it and it can't be done.

ANDERSON: September 14, intervention was averted when the U.S. and Russia agreed on a plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles by the middle of 2014.


ANDERSON: Well, this is the first key date in Syria's timetable for disarmament. Officials with the OPCW say Syria has met the November 1 deadline by destroying all of its declared weapons facilities. The next deadline is November 15 when the OPCW must approve a detailed plan from Syria for the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile. And then under the time line, all of Syria's more than 1,000 metric tons of toxic agents and munitions must be eliminated by the middle of next year.

Well, so far so good it seems, but skeptics point out that inspectors are relying on Syria's own disclosures about its chemical weapon sites and production capabilities. Should this, though, be a cause for concern?

Well, let's bring in diplomat Sigrid Kaag. She's leading the weapons inspector's mission in Syria. And Sigrid, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.

Firstly, tamper proof conditions, that's what you say the weapons in 21 of these 23 self-declared sites are now under. What does that mean, effectively?

SIGRID KAAG, LEADS OPCW-UN MISSION IN SYRIA: Well, tamper proof is tamper proof. Of course, nothing can be excluded, but what's important is the OPCW has very strict inspection verification protocols, including the tools they use in order to ensure that the facilities and what is left behind is tamper proof. And the inspectors have a long experience, the organization has very tight protocols. And for now we have all reason to believe that this will be respected.

ANDERSON: Now these were the sights that Syria declared. What about those that they haven't. Before the war, for example, the U.S. was reporting at least 40 sites. Your inspectors were only able to access 21. How concerned are you that there is a significant amount of material still out there and still available to the Syrian government if not the rebels at this point?

KAAG: Well, the government of Syria has deposited its initial declaration to OPCW where the site is declared. The destruction of chemical weapons production facilities has looked at all -- at all declared sites as per, again, the convention.

If state parties down the line have certain concerns about possible risk areas, which may includes sites that have not been covered amply or fully, there is a process within the OPCW, which is brought to the attention of the director general, Ahmet Uzumcu, which is (inaudible) with the executive council. There is a very strict protocol, again, under the convention to address that.

(inaudible) declared sites and we work closely with the authorities.


I've got to push you on this, despite this first deadline, then, being met, there has effectively been very little impact on Syria's immediate capabilities. Does that worry you? It must concern you, surely?

KAAG: Well, the destruction of production facilities, of course, is a key milestone as has been explained earlier also by other colleagues in terms of the rendering all facilities inoperable. And that is a very important phase.

The 15th of November, the executive council will look at the detailed plans under which the Syrian authorities, with support from the joint mission, the OPCW UN, but also of course OPCW headquarters as well as UN where we will support the Syrian authorities to deal with the complete elimination, destruction of all chemical agents and weapons. And that is time bound. It's an ambitious time line, it's an important one, and under all things being equal it should be achievable.

ANDERSON: Your DG at the organization said that the inspectors had been working under extremely difficult and challenging conditions, the worst ever. It is chaos on the ground as we know.

Many of these sites are in areas controlled by the rebels. I put it to you again, how concerned are you as an organization that these chemical weapons, which are at present in a sort of tamper proof condition, could be accessed by the rebels, for example, as much they could be by the Syrian army at this point?

KAAG: I think at the moment it's important to focus on the detailed plan that will be reviewed by the executive council in the middle of November. We then work to implement and we work to secure all chemical agents. A number of the sites, a large number of the sites had been accessed, as you know, 21 out of the 23 by the inspectors, by the joint teams. They have been verified and the destruction of production facilities has been dealt with.

So, so far we have good and measurable and demonstrable progress. And we have constructive collaboration.

ANDERSON: So, finally, I know that you are on your way to Moscow from Amsterdam where you are talking to us tonight. Is that part of this story? I mean, should we know what you're doing there? Or is that just prying into your private life at this point?

KAAG: It's not my private life, it's my professional life. I'm heading to Moscow for consultations, onwards to New York to brief the security council on behalf of the secretary general on Tuesday. And that's part of the journey, it's part of the dialog and making sure also the joint mission is fit for progress and that we're part of successful implementation of the plan when it's adopted.

ANDERSON: So you are talking to the Moscow authorities about what you have achieved so far, correct?

KAAG: I'm -- we are consulting on what needs to be done.

ANDERSON: Thank you. We appreciate your time.

All right. Interesting stuff.

Still to come tonight, the petition that hundreds of Kenyans took to the police. Why they are demanding justice.

Plus, the love affair of the News of the World kept quiet.

And Saudi Arabia's treatment of migrant workers comes under close scrutiny after a stunning piece of video that has gone viral online.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. 14 minutes past 8:00 in London.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden may soon be too busy to leak any more classified U.S. documents. His attorney says the American has a new job doing technical support for a major Russian website starting Friday.

The 30-year-old fled to Russia in June where he is currently living. The name of the company hasn't been revealed for security reasons.

Well, some disturbing video out of Saudi Arabia has grabbed the attention of thousands of people after being posted on YouTube. The footage appears to show a domestic worker being beaten for simply speaking to his assailants wife. It's prompted a high profile Saudi investigation of alleged human rights abuses.

Mohammed Jamjoom reports. A warning, the footage we are about to show may be disturbing to some of you.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM (voice-over): The screams are blood curdling, a worker brutally slapped, kicked, flogged repeatedly with a belt all because his tormentor thinks the man had spoken to his wife.

Saudi government officials believe the abuser is from the Kingdom. Judging by his accent and clothing, the man being beaten appears to be a migrant laborer.

CNN cannot independently verify its authenticity, but the video has gone viral since being posted on YouTube. And it's causing outrage.

Earlier, you see the worker sitting, scared and submissive. The pain in his eyes as clear as the agony in his voice.

"Why did you come here when she was here?" Asks the man.

"I swear I didn't mean it," pleads the worker. "I swear to God I didn't know," he says.

Government officials aren't sure where it happened, but they're taking the incident very seriously.

"Why did you call my wife?" asks the Saudi man.

"I didn't. I swear I didn't," cries the man. Then he's slapped again.

Condemnation has come as fast as the criticism has been fierce. The Saudi government-backed human rights commission tells CNN it has launched an immediate investigation, that it wants the abuser arrested and tried. But they're attempting to find and help the victim.

As awful as the incident captured on video is, it is not an isolated one. Global human rights groups have documented widespread abuse of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia in the past. One reason for that, the power is in the hands of the employers.

AZFAR KHAN, INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION: Nobody can come into the Arab states or in the Middle East without a sponsor.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): Azfar Khan with the International Labor Organization, tells me that means many of these workers are asked to surrender their passports which can make them vulnerable to abuse.

KHAN: What is lacking in the Middle East and many of these countries is that the workers don't have representation.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): It's a huge problem that only seems to be getting worse -- this latest case being a prime example.

The real brutality begins toward the end of the video.

"Sit down! Kneel down!" yells the Saudi man, as he begins to flog the victim with a belt.

The screams of "no" are bloodcurdling. Before the end, the Saudi man asks the worker if he wants to die.

Did the beating go on? What happened to the victim afterwards? Like the fate of so many abused and forgotten foreign workers, for now, hardly anyone knows.

Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.


ANDERSON: Well, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has announced that air travelers will soon be allowed to use some of their portable electronic devices from takeoff to touchdown. Before, though, you get too excited, that doesn't include your mobile phone.

Joining me now to tell us what it does allow is Christ Lawrence.

So, what can we do. What can't we do going forward, Chris?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Here's the basics, Becky. Basically, you know, through taxi, takeoff and landing you can pull out your iPhone, you can play games on it. You can pull out your Kindle, read your latest novel. You can get your iPad and watch your movie. They're not going to tell you anymore to turn those devices off.

Of course, that's all contingent on the airlines verifying with the FAA that their particular airplanes are resistant to any sort of interference.

Now a lot of planes already are, because the airlines are already charging you to use their wi-fi networks, which means they're resistant to the interference. But they think that a lot of airlines are already ready to jump on board this. The FAA saying you may be seeing some of these changes are early as the holiday travel season in just another month or two.

We talked to some travelers who said they're surprised it took so long, but they're happy these changes are on the way.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just having the freedom to be able to have that on during the flight will make from a business perspective personal, that's great.

LAWRENCE: How so for business?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The extra time, just the time you spend on the runway that you can't be working matters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always seemed very silly to me and never really made sense. So this is a rule that makes sense and that's what you want your rules to do.


LAWRENCE: What can't you do? Now you're still not going to be able to send emails, get on the Internet while you're going through takeoff or going through landing and you're definitely not going to be able to talk on the phone and use a cellular network. That is still off limits.

But to a lot of folks who have been wondering why I had to turn off my Kindle, why can't I simply play this game on my phone, that question has been answered and it looks like they're going to loosen some of those rules very, very soon, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, fascinating. Gives us no time off really, does it at all. Never mind, it's all right. We are an always on society.

Thank you, Chris.

It's a trial about tabloids, so it's only fitting that it should make room for just a little bit more scandal. I am, of course, talking about the phone hacking scandal at the now defunct News of the World here in the UK.

Prosecutors revealed today that the two main defendants were having a six year affair. Atika Shubert has the details.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Britain's phone hacking trial took a tabloid turn today as prosecutors revealed that two of the main suspects, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, had an affair for six years from 1998 to 2004.

Now both were former editors of the now defunct British paper News of the World, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire. And both are accused of conspiracy to phone hacking by the newspaper.

Now that conspiracy charge is why prosecutors have revealed the alleged affair in court, reading out a love letter from Brooks to Coulson. The prosecution says the affair happened when both were running the newspaper and right in the middle of when the alleged phone hacking took place.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis explained to the jury that, quote, "what Mr. Coulson knew Mrs. Brooks knew too."

Brooks, of course, went on to become one of the top executives to Rupert Murdoch and Coulson became the top media advisor to British prime minister David Cameron. Now the phone hacking scandal shuttered the News of the World and shook the foundations of Murdoch's media empire. The trial is continuing.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, why Cubans are queuing up to change their cash.

And the whole of Boston celebrates the first home World Series triumph in nearly a century. That, after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, world champions. And even if you're not a Red Sox fan you have to say it's a wonderful thing for the city of Boston when the fans there after everything they've been through.


ANDERSON: Well, the proud headline in today's Boston Herald says it all: "One for all." Boston's baseball team the Red Sox won the World Series title on Wednesday night crushing the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1. And this victory has extra meaning for Bostonians as, of course, it comes just six months after the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Here's Poppy Harlow with more.


Well, what a moment for this city. Boston strong embodied in the big win last night here at Fenway Park. This is the front page of the Boston Globe, "Tested and triumphant," talking, of course, about the Red Sox.

In the paper they write, "a city rises from its darkest hours."

Of course this city has gone through absolute hell this year with that tragic bombing in April at the finish line at the Boston Marathon.

Fans here after this victory for the Red Sox jubilant. They couldn't stop saying what this means for this city, especially right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This means everything. We just want at home. We just won at Boston. We just won the World Series.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're coming back. It's better than ever. We're all together. This is the best thing that could have ever happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boston strong has really been like such a theme this year. And like everybody's really just been coming together, whether it's for little things or big things, but like everybody is out, everybody is excited, everybody is united.


HARLOW: And I think this picture is very telling. It is of people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last night after the Red Sox victory kneeling on the finish line and kissing it. So telling of what this victory means for this city that has gone through so much tragedy this year.

There are fans young and old, of all ages, all walks of life cheering the Red Sox on. We had a rare opportunity to meet a 97-year-old lifelong Red Sox fan. Helen McGonagle. She has literally been cheering on the Sox for almost 100 years. She was two years old when the Sox last won a World Series here at Fenway. She's been waiting a long time for this day. Listen to what she told me.


HELEN MCGONAGLE, 97-YEAR-OLD RED SOX FAN: I would go down and see the Red Sox a lot.

HARLOW: How much were the hotdogs at Fenway Park when you were there?

MCGONAGLE: Oh, Christ, I think it was 15 cents.

HARLOW: What's your favorite memory of the Red Sox.

MCGONAGLE: Oh, watching (inaudible) play.


MCGONAGLE: Yeah. And -- and (inaudible).

HARLOW: How is your favorite player now?

MCGONAGLE: David, the -- what's his name -- Papi...

HARLOW: Big Papi?

MCGONAGLE: Yeah, Big Papi. He is. That's the only one I really look at.

HARLOW: Why does everyone in Boston love the Red Sox so much?

MCGONAGLE: Oh, they're doing such a good job. They are a great team. I don't think as good as they were in Chad Wiggin's (ph) time, but I think they're doing a great job. And I'm rooting for them all the time. I never thought I'd live to see this.


HARLOW: But she did live to see this day. You know, I asked her what would she say if she had a chance to meet David Ortiz, the MVP of the World Series. She said, you know I would just be so excited I wouldn't even know what to say. But what an amazing moment to get to share and to see her and all of the other fans cheering on this team. It certainly means a lot for this great city -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff. Let's hope she gets that opportunity.

The latest world news headlines as you would expect here on CNN at the bottom of the hour.

Plus, demanding justice. I'll speak to a leading activist in Kenya heading the campaign for change.

And big change ahead for Cuba as it plans to ditch its two currency system. All the details of the latest reforms. That and the rest coming up.


ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. The organization tasked with overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons program says the country has met its first deadline. The OPCW says all of the declared equipment used to make new weapons has been destroyed.

A US official tells CNN Israeli warplanes struck a Syrian missile storage site. The source says Israel believes missiles at the site were intended for Hezbollah. The Israeli government isn't commenting.

Security forces in Niger say they found the bodies of 92 migrants who apparently died of thirst in the Sahara desert. The victims were on their way to Algeria when their vehicles broke down just south of the border earlier this month.

The International Criminal Court has postponed the trial of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta by three months. He's accused of crimes against humanity relating to violence stemming from the 2007 election. The trial had been due to start on November the 12th, but the court agreed to the defense team's request for more time to prepare.

Hundreds of Kenyans have marched on police headquarters in Nairobi demanding justice for a teenage girl who was allegedly gang-raped and thrown into a drainage ditch. Alleged attackers were ordered to cut grass at a police station as their punishment and then set free. Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon has the details.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hundreds of people gathered in front of the office of the inspector general in Nairobi chanting "No more rape" and "justice for Liz."

DAMON (voice-over): Liz is the nickname that was given to that 15- year-old teenager. She was walking home from her grandfather's funeral in the western part of the country when, according to a local Kenyan newspaper, she was assaulted by six men. She was gang-raped, beaten, and dumped into a sewage ditch, left for dead.

She was crying out. People in the area, people that lived around there heard her and managed to rescue her, but she is, however, now wheelchair-bound. It is a case that has sparked nationwide outrage. A petition gathering over a million signatures and then, of course, that demonstration.


DAMON: But this is about so much more than just one individual case. Human rights, women's rights activists say that they really need to begin to fundamentally change the country's mindset.

SAIDA ALI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COVAW: We have our priorities all wrong because we are a society that condones violence. We are a society that celebrates and makes heroes out of people who are violent. So then, it's very easy for people to start blaming the victim or the survivor and asking her not to speak up.

DAMON (on camera): According to a report released by the Kenyan government and the United Nations, at least 32 percent of girls under the age of 18 have experienced some sort of sexual assault. Bearing in mind that most people do not even report the assault when it happens, the real numbers are likely to be much higher.

And that is why activists say that they are going to continue fighting to change the government's perspective, the authorities' actions towards the perpetrators, and the nation's mindset.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Johannesburg.


ANDERSON: Well, more than a million people have signed, now, online this petition demanding the attackers face tougher penalties. It was set up by Nebila Abdulmelik from the campaign group Avaaz, and she joins me now. You started this petition. Do you think the police are going to actually do something about it at this point?

NEBILA ABDULMELIK, LEADER AND ACTIVIST, "CUT THE GRASS" CAMPAIGN: Yes, I do. There's a lot of pressure on the inspector general, a lot of public attention, a lot of global attention on this campaign, and I think today's march showed them that inaction is not an option, and we in fact have a meeting set up with the office of the inspector general tomorrow to discuss benchmarks and clear guidelines on the way forward.

ANDERSON: All right. It's reported locally that the suspects could have fled to Uganda. What do the Kenyan authorities know about that and what have they told you they are doing about apprehending them at this point?

ABDULMELIK: At this point, we're not getting very clear information, but what we've been told is that they're being pursued and that they'll be brought to justice. And I think that's the point that we continue the pressure and we make sure that they are, in fact, arrested and prosecuted for their actions. So, just to step up the pressure.

ANDERSON: Listen, this is an horrific case, but sadly, not unique. How common are cases like the one of Liz?

ABDULMELIK: Unfortunately, rather common. Studies show that one out of three Kenyan girls and women will experience some form of sexual or gender-based violence in their lifetime. And again, like your report stated, the problem is that a lot of cases are not reported.

So Liz's case, we were lucky enough to hear about it. She was brave enough to report it to the police, particularly considering that at least three of her rapists were known to her. But I think a lot of the times the problem is that one, there's stigma surrounding rape, and there's victim- blaming. And of course, the casual and dismissive attitude of the police, which is very discouraging.

And I think it emboldens others to rape because the survivor now becomes the victim and perpetrator is let off very lightly --


ANDERSON: So that's --

ABDULMELIK: -- with inconsequential --

ANDERSON: Yes, so that has to change, doesn't it? What is the government doing to address that?

ABDULMELIK: Definitely. Well, what they need to do -- what they need to do is that they set a case, they set a precedent with Liz's case, meaning that there's disciplinary action on the police that for this case, there's an immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.

But in terms of long-term is that they take sexual and gender-based violence seriously and treat them as criminal offenses. I think in this case, we see that it's been treated as a misdemeanor. It was noted as an assault by the police officers who took her report.

So -- and I think we have the policies in place, so a lot of it is about implementing those existing policies, such as the constitution, the bill of rights, the Sexual Offenses Act.

ANDERSON: Come on, Kenya, step up, I think, is the message tonight from Nairobi. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. It's 37 minutes past 8:00 here. Still to come, and then there was one. Why Cuba is going down a road to a single currency.

And witch or werewolf? Ghost or goblin? A look at what your Halloween costume says about you. That after this.


ANDERSON: To Cuba now, where Raul Castro's government has announced its intention to scrap the two-currency system there. It's one of a string of recent reforms bringing change to this Communist island. But unifying the currency could be more challenging than it sounds. Patrick Oppmann explains.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This market in Havana is geared towards foreign visitors wanting to take home a few trinkets. Most of the prices here are in pesos convertibles, also called CUCs.

Pegged to the US dollar, the CUC is the stronger of Cuba's two currencies. It's also the money most Cubans don't have easy access to unless they work in the small private sector or tourism industry.

SUHARMY RODRIGUEZ, VENDOR (through translator): It's something vital. Here in Cuba, because of the two currency systems, if you want to get a certain item, you need to have CUCs.

OPPMANN: A few miles away, Rogelio Esperon shops at this government- run vegetable stand that accepts Cuba's other currency, the peso Cubano. The CUP, as they are known, are worth about 4 cents each. Most government employees, about 80 percent of the workforce, are paid in CUPs, which most government stores don't accept.

ROGELIO ESPERON, SECURITY GUARD (through translator): I myself make 360 pesos each month, so about $12. What's that worth? Not much. When you go to a store, maybe you buy three little things. Maybe if things were priced in pesos, it would be different.

OPPMANN (on camera): But Cuba's economy may be changing. For the first time since the near economic meltdown caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba is moving to a single currency. The shift appears to be an acknowledgment that the dual-currency system created haves and have-nots in a country where at least, in theory, everyone was supposed to be equal.

OPPMANN (voice-over): The goal, economic planners say, is to have a single currency with purchasing power. But there's no timetable for the changes, and officials admit they're moving cautiously to keep already rising prices from spiking.

MARINO MURILLO JORGE, VICE PERSIDENT OF CUBA (through translator): It's important to see the social impact this could have. Technically, we know how to make the change. But it has to be done so people's standard of living isn't affected.

OPPMANN: But outside this currency exchange office, many people say what they really need is to be able to earn a living wage.

FELIX CHACON, CUBAN HEALTH WORKER (through translator): Unifying the currencies and having a single money is important. But I also think they need to raise the salaries, because if you have a single currency and the prices remain sky-high, it won't be good for most people.

OPPMANN: Neither currency is accepted outside of Cuba. Economists say a major step towards rescuing Cuba's ailing economy is to figure out a way to make all this money actually be worth something.


ANDERSON: Patrick joins me now from Havana, and Patrick, who is set to benefit from this change?

OPPMANN: The government is hoping that they'll combat the issue of incredibly low productivity on the island by raising the incredibly low wages.

But I tell you, Becky, just in the last few days, I've noticed an uptick on the illegal black market of people exchanging either of those currencies for US dollars. Clearly, many of the people here in Cuba who feel they could be affected feel that they will not benefit from this change in the currencies, Becky.

ANDERSON: Has the government set out a framework of how they are going to implement these changes? It's not going to be easy, is it?

OPPMANN: No, it's not going to be easy, and they haven't said what they're going to do. And that's why people are worried, that's they're moving their money into other currencies. Because in the past, people have literally been left with money that's been worth almost nothing.

The government has promised that will not happen there -- that will not happen in this case, that bank deposits will be honored, that this will be a slow process carried out over time and will ensure that people's personal savings aren't hurt.

But for someone who has spent, perhaps, their whole life saving up a very meager amount of savings, that really isn't much of a consolation. They're very worried, here, frankly, that this currency could end up being worth less than nothing, Becky.

ANDERSON: Patrick, this is just one of a range of reforms, of course, from Raul Castro's government, suggesting Cuba could slowly be moving away from Communism. Is that how it feels when you're on the island?

OPPMANN: It sounds like it. You hear talk of private industry, protections for people who are doing business here, allowing Cubans to enter into the forbidden private market. So, that's what it sounds like.

But then you go back to what every official says in their major addresses, that there will not be any political reform, Becky, that one party will continue to rule this island, and that is the Communist Part of Cuba. So, that's one reform that they say will just not be taking place.

ANDERSON: Our man in Havana for you tonight. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, a spooky tale and a haunted house. After the break, a look at the psychology behind the world's biggest fright fest.



ANDERSON: It's fall, and in this part of the world, on the spookiest day of the year, Halloween. Some know it as Samhain or All Hallow's Eve, and the holiday is a celebration of all things creepy. So, what better time than for a ghost story?

In the United Arab Emirates, a fishing village has inspired a horror film, and Sara Sidner took a trip to the deserted town, which locals say is haunted.



SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Quiet, crumbling, and abandoned. This was once a quaint and functional fishing village in Ras al-Khaimah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE.

SIDNER (on camera): This village goes by many names, but the sign at the entrance calls it the historical village of Jazirat Al Hamra. It's just an hour and a half away from the high-rise glitz and glamor of Dubai, and it really does give you a picture of the UAE of old. But if you plan to visit, there is a warning: the locals believe this village has a very dark secret.


SIDNER (voice-over): This village was abandoned because it's believed to be haunted, and now the story of this village and its evil ghost have been made into the UAE's very first feature-length horror film, directed by the man who brought you "Poltergeist."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'll tell you a story about the djinn.

SIDNER: This is one of many stories of the country's most feared djinn, which is akin to a ghost or genie. Her name is Umm Al Duwais. She is said to have eyes like a cat, bladed hands, and hooves for feet. Her story has been whispered about for generations among the Emirati population.

Some who attended the premier in Abu Dhabi say the djinn is not to be taken lightly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really real. Yes, I've heard -- lots of my friends have lots of stories, they heard stuff. One sat next to them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why we always pray so we don't get attacked and see the supernatural.

SIDNER: One of the lead actresses actually told us she went to a spiritual healer after shooting the film.

RAZANE JAMMAL, ACTRESS: I had a lot of issues dealing with it, because I really felt I was haunted after. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. I was afraid of the dark.

SIDNER: The belief is, djinn have the power to possess people, change shape, make their victims hallucinate, and worst of all, maim and kill. Still, they can be good or evil, but most people don't wait around to find out what kind of djinn they're dealing with here.

SIDNER (on camera): It's all good and well to come here and check this place out during the day, but only those who want a scare will stay here at night.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Ras al-Khaimah.


ANDERSON: Ooh, well what is behind Halloween? Well, it's actually an abbreviation for All Hallow's Eve because it is so close to the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain. Many historians think the two are linked. Samhain marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter. It's a time when the Celts believe the dead could walk among the living. Spooky stuff, isn't it?

The Halloween lanterns, or jack-o-lanterns, also have a Celtic origin. Legend has it that they are named after a man called -- well, you guessed it -- Jack. Too sinful to go to heaven and striking a deal not to go to hell, he was forced to roam the Earth forever with a coal from the underworld to light his lantern.

Well, Halloween outfits have evolved from the old bed sheet with the eyes you cut out. You can now use your SmartPhone to add some gore. Of course you can. This app plays a beating heart or wriggling intestines. Play it under a bloody t-shirt and you can give someone quite a fright.

Well, it seems no matter your age, Halloween is an excuse for one thing: it's dressing up, isn't it? For some, it's about gore, scaring your friends as a ghoulish zombie. Others choose a bit of fantasy, morphing into Superman or maybe Tinker Bell. Some say our costume choices reflect a side of ourselves.

Our psychologist tonight is Laura Oates. She is with us tonight to discuss that very question. Do they?

LAURA OATES, BEHAVIOR PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think it's entirely possible. I think Halloween often touches on subjects such as sex and death. We've got one person here who kind of subjects -- who has both.


OATES: A short skirt and a lightsaber.

ANDERSON: Well, that's right. Come on in.


ANDERSON: We've got some victims for you tonight, part of the CTW -- they don't speak, by the way. They just get on with their job. We don't speak to them. So, yes, you say, a lightsaber, a shortish skirt. We might want to go down just a little bit, don't get your -- little -- yes, OK. So, you're suggesting -- ?

OATES: Well, if you go back to Freud, he talked about the death instinct and the sex instinct --


OATES: -- as being the two things that we really had to keep under wraps, and that if we did too much of that, they would pop up somewhere else.


OATES: So --

ANDERSON: Pop off, please. And on with our next victim.


ANDERSON: Beautifully dressed this evening. What do you think?

OATES: Beautifully dressed. Well, obviously, either frightened herself or to frighten other people. So, again, a very aggressive piece of symbolism. You mentioned the word, "you want to give your friends a fright." Why would you want to give your friends a fright?

ANDERSON: I have no idea.

OATES: Maybe it's about having that adrenaline rush without anything really bad happening. So, I think this person has definitely had an adrenaline rush.

ANDERSON: And it will impact -- we need to let her go home. The show is nearly over.


ANDERSON: But she needs something to eat. Who knows? Come on in.


ANDERSON: We've got one more for you -- oh! He's lost his hat? Can you find it? He probably can't see anything. There he is. And it is a "he." Oh. OK. How about that?

OATES: Well, this could be more about picking a role that you don't normally have, OK? So, nurses don't normally dress up as nurses for Halloween. No one dresses up as an accountant. So, maybe if we have our rather dull kind of life, perhaps we enjoy playing the part of someone really quite nasty or someone very powerful in a way we don't get any --


ANDERSON: Would it be -- can I ask him to reveal himself, because he's such a beautiful boy, and I just want him to take that --


ANDERSON: -- off -- just no, can't get it off. Squeeze your nose -- there he is.


ANDERSON: Henry Hula (ph) revealed in all his glory. I don't think you have a boring life, Henry, do you? You'll have to shout at across at me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to think to think I don't.




ANDERSON: Can we -- if you didn't hear him, viewers, he likes to think he doesn't have too boring a life, but he's worried about the possibility that perhaps he does.

OATES: Well, we also note that he's actually quite young, OK?


OATES: It's the younger people who tend to dress up on Halloween.

ANDERSON: So, what are you dressing up? Not as tonight --

OATES: I am dressed up --


ANDERSON: -- we promise she's not -- what's your costume of choice, as it were?

OATES: Well, I guess my costume of choice would include both the elements of sex and death --


OATES: -- so -- and I'm going to leave it there as far as it goes.


ANDERSON: Yes. And you're certainly not going to ask --

OATES: We'll have a bit of both.

ANDERSON: -- you're certainly not going to ask me. This is a remarkable sort of event, isn't it? We remember when we were kids, and there's that kind of -- as you've suggested -- that kind of childlike nature that comes up and out of us. And kids still trick-and-treating. I always wonder whether it's safe these days, but I guess as long as they're with their parents, it's all right.

OATES: Well, it's sort of licensed transgression, isn't it? You're allowed to go and knock at strangers' doors. The rest of the year, you don't talk to strangers. You're allowed to accept sweets from strangers, but only on one night of the year. The rest of the time, it's dangerous, don't do it.

ANDERSON: We've got a couple more minutes, but I just want our viewers to know, we want to know what you're dressing up as for Halloween. Do send us your photos.

You've got about two and a half minutes to bang out a headline for us and a shot for us, a photo, You can tweet me @BeckyCNN, your thoughts please, as ever, on anything that, of course, we're covering here, @BeckyCNN.

What was the best Halloween party that you've ever been to?

OATES: Oh, the best Halloween party I've ever been to was actually when my own children were small --


OATES: -- because then you can enjoy it vicariously. You watch kids scaring other kids and know that you don't really have to do too much yourself.


OATES: So -- yes.

ANDERSON: I think mine was when everybody dressed up as Father Christmas, so it completely destroyed it. It was one of those, oh, really?


ANDERSON: I noticed today that some people are dressed up in just very, very thin cellophane, and when somebody said -- and they sort of had crayons on them -- and they said, well, what have you come as? And they say crayons. No, you just can't as an excuse to take your clothes off, basically.

You may not celebrate Halloween in your part of the world, but chances are, there's some holiday coming up that you are looking forward to, and I just want to remind our viewers, join CNN to document the events that bring us all together, from New Year's Eve to Diwali.

We want to see how you mark special occasions in your part of the world. Check out an amazing gallery of images and find out how to upload your own at

Before we go, then, just some advice to those who may be getting ready to go out tonight. What shouldn't they wear?

OATES: Well, it depends on how late you're out, I think.


OATES: Not too short a skirt after midnight is probably the maternal advice. From a Freudian point of view, hey, it's licensed transgression for one night only. Enjoy it. Use it as sort of a vent for all those destructive impulses the rest of the year that you keep well under wraps.

ANDERSON: You heard it here first, viewers. For one night only, licensed transgression, and do not blame us if it all goes horribly wrong. Thank you very much, indeed.


ANDERSON: In tonight's Parting Shots, it might not be a real haunted house, but the White House got into the Halloween spirit along with the rest of the country. Pumpkins, spider webs, and hay barrels lined the entrance and the lawns. Fog machines will be fired up later on, we are told.

The president and Mrs. Obama have invited local trick-or-treaters as well as children of military families to celebrate. We'll have to wait and see what costumes they are donning this year. And if they've been watching this show, they will know that they are licensed to transgress tonight, but probably should be fairly sensible about what they wear.

Thank you very much, indeed, Laura, for joining us tonight. From the team here at CONNECT THE WORLD, it is a very good evening. If you're going out, enjoy it. I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.