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CONNECT THE WORLD
Egyptian Military Leader al-Sisi Announces Bid For Presidency; Families of MH370 Skeptical Of Malaysian Government; Who Will Succeed Rupert Murdoch At News Corps?
Aired March 26, 2014 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: Egypt's top military man says he's ready to run for president. Army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi made the announcement just moments ago. We're live in Cairo with the details on what he said, why he's running and the path that's brought Egypt to this point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENG LIPING, WIFE OF PASSENGER (through translator): They have been hiding the truth, even though they know the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Angry family members accuse the Malaysian government of a coverup. We discuss the legal complexities surrounding the Malaysian airliner mystery.
Also this hour, why the zoo that killed Marius the giraffe is once again being labeled a slaughter house.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
FOSTER: First, though, we've got breaking news out of Egypt. After months of speculation Army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has formally announced he's running for the presidency. He spoke on national television just moments ago. Let's got right to Matthew Chance live tonight in Cairo.
Not entirely unexpected, but the timing probably was.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, widely anticipated, Max, this announcement that General al-Sisi as he was, Mr. al- Sisi as he is now is resigning his commission from the army. He was the head of the army. He was also defense minister. But to stand as president in the Egyptian elections you have to be a civilian. And even though the date hasn't been announced for that, it's expected to be announced on Sunday so the timing, you'd say, is absolutely key.
He kicked off his campaign unofficially. He said he wasn't going to spell out his exact platform until the campaigning officially got underway. But he said, look, you know, I've been a soldier for the state for so many years. I'm going to continue to be, in his words, a soldier for the people. He spoke about various issues that affect ordinary Egyptians. He spoke about the health care problem in the country. He spoke about unemployment, said that Egyptians deserve better. But crucially he also spoke about terrorism. He said he will work for an Egypt that is free of terrorism.
And that's significant, because General al-Sisi has been the military figure that has overseen a sharp crackdown of the Muslim Brotherhood. It's been designated a terrorist organization. Thousands of people have been arrested for offenses of association with the Muslim Brotherhood and on terrorism offenses. Hundreds of people have been killed. And it's said that all sorts of questions about the human rights activity and human rights abuses under this military backed government in which, you know, General al-Sisi has been a key figure. And so it opens up all sorts of questions.
Now he's an official candidate to be president. About what the future Egypt might look like under President al-Sisi, because the point is that there are no real candidates who are going to stand to oppose him. He's got a good degree of popularity in the country. Many Egyptians after so much turmoil in this country see him as a figure who represents stability and security.
And the expectation is he will capitalize on that in the runup to the elections, which are expected as early as June, Max.
FOSTER: Matthew, stay with us because we're just going to find out a bit more about the man himself. He is very popular in Egypt after he deposed Mohammed Morsy as president and led a crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood. And others have concerns about his commitment to democracy.
Reza Sayah takes a closer look.
REZA SAYAH CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: His name is praised in song, his face plastered on walls, storefronts, even candy; sometimes it's next to women's underwear, sometimes it's on it.
There's little question the most popular man in Egypt these days is field marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. But long before his picture was on posters and candy, long before he was poised to become Egypt's next president, al-Sisi was a soft-spoken boy growing up here, one of Cairo's oldest neighborhoods.
"He was from a good family, religious, down to earth," says Shaaban Badaway who says he remembers al-Sisi as a child.
At the neighborhood tea shops, Sisi is Egypt's saviour.
"He will lead the Arab nation, not just Egypt, with his beautiful revolutionary decisions," says Atef Zaabalwy.
Samir Hamid and his wife admire Sisi so much, they came just to see his childhood home, now an empty apartment.
"I love that man," he says. "It's places like this that make heroes."
Sisi's instant rise to fame came last July when he personally announced the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsy, sparking wild celebrations by millions who wanted Morsy gone.
RET. GEN. SAMEH SEIF EL YAZEL, MILITARY ANALYST: : That's the mane we need now.
SAYAH: Retired army General Sameh Seif el-Yazl says by running for the presidency, Sisi is following the will of the people.
YAZEL: He said if the people is asking for that, it's a duty.
SAYAH: But not every Egyptian is cheering for a Sisi presidency. Many, including supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsy say he's a traitor for toppling Egypt's first freely elected president.
Sisi has also been a key force behind what rights groups describe as a deadly crackdown against dissent that has killed more than 1,000 protesters and put thousands more in jail, including journalists and secular activists.
In 2011, Sisi drew sharp condemnation from rights groups when he defended the army's use of virginity tests on women detainees. They were done to protect girls from rape and soldiers from false accusations, he told state media.
Pro-Democracy activists fear a Sisi presidency would signal a dangerous return to a state dominated by the army.
"We will not support a military personality in the presidential elections," Egypt's April Sixth Movement said in a statement. "In January 2011, we demanded a civilian democratic state.":
Are you concerned about him delivering the democracy many Egyptians fought for in 2011?
FAZEL: There is no choice. We have to go forward in the democratic way.
SAYAH: For Egypt's most popular man, the test begins on election day with the future of post-revolution Egypt at stake.
Reza Sayah, CNN, Cairo.
FOSTER: Question is, Matthew, will he have the support of the international community, which has been so shocked by these recent death sentences that have been dished out over the last couple of days?
CHANCE: You know, that's a good question. I expect the answer is yet to be disclosed. But certainly while I think there's been a degree of acceptance in the international community, recent developments -- in particular, as you mentioned, have cast a shadow of doubt, not least the mass conviction and sentencing to death of 529 people just earlier this week for a case which centered around the killing of a policeman, the attempted killing of others, and basically violence that followed the ousting of a protest, a pro-President Morsy protest back in July, back in August rather, of last year.
And so, yes, mass trials, mass arrests. Widespread human rights abuses. This is what, you know, many human rights observers say is what Egypt will look like under a President Sisi. And so there's a great deal of concern about what the international community is going to do about that.
There's been criticism. The State Department saying it was alarmed and shocked at the recent mass death sentences.
But it doesn't seem to be having an affect, an impact at this stage on the popularity of this figure who, as I say, many Egyptians see as representative of security and stability after so much turmoil in their country, Max.
FOSTER: Matthew Chance in Cairo, thank you very much.
Well, live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, as the search for MH370 continues, we'll look at how the family members of those missing might pursue compensation.
FOSTER: Seas will soon set out for another day's searching as new satellite pictures show objects that may be related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The images show a total of 122 pieces of debris. They're located in the same general area as other satellite sightings of possible debris related to the plane.
This map shows the location of these new objects in relation to Perth, Australia.
Seven military planes and five civil aircraft will be combing the area again today. The debris is scattered over 400 square kilometers.
Officials caution that the objects may be unrelated to the plane.
As the search goes on, so does the ordeal for the families of those lost on board the plane. Many, of course, have been mourning, but without concrete proof that the plane has crashed, some are unwilling to accept the official version of events.
CNN international correspondent Sara Sidner has been speaking to family members. She joins us now from Kuala Lumpur.
Sara, you've been speaking to the families, what have they been telling you?
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, many of them simply cannot really accept that their family members, their loved ones that were aboard missing flight MH370 are actually indeed dead, are actually gone forever.
Their difficulty lies in the fact that they haven't seen any physical proof yet. And they really need that to let this settle in. Just hearing it from officials who they say have been wrong before, they simply can't accept that this flight is gone forever and that their loved ones were on it.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Cheng Liping is having a hard time stringing the words together to make a sentence, she is gripped by unrelenting sadness. Her husband was on the flight that officials now say disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean.
Cheng cannot bring herself to tell her 1 and 5 year old boys, waiting back in Beijing, that their daddy may not come home.
CHENG LIPING, WIFE OF PASSENGER (through translator): I don't dare to. I have no courage. Every day I'm scared to call my sons because once I call them they will cry out daddy, mommy. And my heart can't handle it. I don't want to hurt my children.
SIDNER: Sitting in a hotel room in Malaysia, she cannot bring herself to accept that her husband is dead, even after a Malaysian Airlines and government officials put it quite bluntly that all 239 people on board are gone forever.
What did you love about him?
LIPING (through translator): There are lots of reasons why I love him. I don't know where to start. He's very good to me, very considerate. He takes care of me.
SIDNER: She is soft-spoken, but filled with anger as well because, she says, she does not have faith in anything the Malaysian government or airline has to say anymore.
Some of the families in Beijing have had some very harsh words for the government. The airline is also responsible for the deaths of their family members. Do you feel that way?
LIPING (through translator): Yes. I think the same, because they have been hiding the truth, even though they know.
SIDNER: Cheng Liping and her husband came to Kuala Lumpur looking for a bit of fun and sun in a tropical paradise. It didn't work out that way. Her husband needed to take a short business trip back to Beijing. She decided to stay and wait for him in Malaysia. She's still here waiting.
SIDNER: And her husband worked in the movie industry. He was a director of action films. And she also worked in the movie industry. And for her, this has been a true nightmare. She is still here. She has said she is going to stay here until she sees some physical proof that he is indeed gone -- Max.
FOSTER: They've been discussing claiming for sort of insurance, haven't they already? They're looking into that process. What can you tell us about that? Because on one level it's premature, but I guess it's part of the process here as well for the families involved.
SIDNER: Well, look, a lot of the families don't really want to think about that right now. They don't want to think about the practicalities of life, but the reality is -- and especially in families where the breadwinner has been gone now for 17 days with no end in sight.
So at this point, you know, there are people looking into exactly what sort of compensation these families will get. We ended up speaking with an attorney who was contacted by one of the family members and hired by one of the family members. His son was on the flight. And that attorney said, look, there are millions of dollars in insurance that these families are entitled to. And that process will have to begin fairly soon.
But at this point, really Max, the families aren't talking so much about what it is that they will be able to get, because they simply can't accept the reality on the ground that for 18 days they have heard no word from their loved ones, they have seen no physical evidence of this plane or where it is. And they're just having a hard time accepting that and trying to go and think about compensation is just beyond them right now, Max.
FOSTER: Sara Sidner, thank you very much indeed.
Well, among the many unanswered questions surrounding Flight 370, how much money does the airline owe its passengers' families? Lawyers are discussing, if the families aren't yet.
Under an international treaty known as the Montreal Convention, the airline must pay about $175,000 for the death of each individual. With future lawsuits likely, the potential exists for additional damages as well. But the amount may depend on the country where the passengers lived.
Attorneys' estimate that family of the three Americans could get as much as $10 million, whilst families in other countries could receive an estimated $400,000 per passenger.
For more on the legal complexities behind the lost plane, I'm joined now by Floyd Wisner. He's an attorney who has represented many people injured in plane crashes and the family members of those who have died in aviation accidents. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.
First of all, this discrepancy on what people get depending on their nationality. How is that explained?
FLOYD WISNER, ATTORNEY: Well, it's very unfair. But you just explained it very well, it's because of the Montreal Convention and the Montreal Convention mandate that a lawsuit against the airline, not against other parties, but against the airline, must be brought in one of five different places -- place of incorporation of the airline, principle place of business of the airline, place of ticketing, place of ultimate destination of the trip, and the passengers domicile. In the case of the Asian passengers that's going to be Malaysia or China, or you know, perhaps Indonesia for the Indonesian clients. And then you've got the Americans who can bring suit in America.
And it's the way that different triers of fact view damages in the loss of a life. An American jury is going to award damages 10 times the amount of a Chinese court.
FOSTER: It does seem unfair, because it seems to value American lives as more valuable of those from other countries, but you're saying it's just part of this legal setup, which is firmly established in the system.
WISNER: Right. I certainly agree with you. It places a greater value on an American life than on another life.
You can have the same person sitting right next to each other, both of them let's say 45, making the same amount of money with the same wife, same number of children, same ages, and that American life is going to be worth more under the -- with the Montreal Convention is set up.
FOSTER: In terms of what they're entitled to, obviously this is a very unusual case. And you've had this long period of uncertainty for the families involved. Costs will be associated with that. I know the airline is footing the bill for some of that. But what do they actually get compensation for beyond the loss of a life, if that ends up being the case?
WISNER: Well, basically it's the loss of a life, but how do you value the loss of a life? different countries, different -- value it differently. It's -- in some countries like the U.S. it's more than just financial, it's more than just pecuniary. We have none pecuniary, which includes things such as loss of care, comfort and companionship. And that's where this element that you just eluded to about the mental anguish they're going through with this prolonged search and the misinformation. I think that's going to add to the damages under this non-pecuinary item of damages.
FOSTER: Is that because of the sort of psychological damage and the emotional damage it's -- the search has had on the people, the families involved?
The way the search -- or the investigation or the providing the information to the families in particular has been mishandled. That's going to add to the damages, I believe.
FOSTER: Now, we know that a couple of the passengers traveled on stolen passports. Did they and their families qualify for compensation, because there's some suggestion that they don't.
WISNER: You know, I think they do. They're still a passenger. The convention says all passengers. It doesn't matter -- I mean, no matter how much we not like it that they traveled on stolen passports, they're still passengers. So I would say in my opinion, yes, they would be entitled to compensation.
FOSTER: And is there a limit on this compensation, because obviously it's going to be a huge cost to Malaysian Airlines presumably. The other authorities may also face some legal threats as well. We'll see how that pans out, but is there any way of estimating the total cost of all of this?
WISNER: I think you did it well in your intro. I think that the airline has at least $1 billion of insurance. I think the costs and liability for the claims for the airline is going to be around $500 million to $750 million, in my estimation. And that's not including now claims against other potentially responsible parties such as the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, or perhaps a component manufacturer. All depending on the proof for that one.
FOSTER: So it could hit $1 billion?
FOSTER: OK. Sir, it's big numbers. And obviously priorities still the rescue operation, but I know that the legal community at least has to consider these things when the claims do come through.
Floyd Wisner, thank you very much indeed.
Live from London, this is Connect the World on CNN.
Coming up, first it was a giraffe and now the lions. We'll discuss controversial decisions taken by a zoo in Denmark.
But first, media mogul Rupert Murdoch makes some unexpected moves, which may signal succession plans. We'll have the details on that when Connect the World continues.
FOSTER: U.S. President Barack Obama is urging the west to remain united in opposing Russia's annexation of Crimea saying Moscow will eventually realize that brute force can't win. Mr. Obama spoke in Brussels after his first ever visit to the European Union headquarters. He says the U.S. and its European allies have agreed to expand sanctions on Russia if necessary whilst leaving the door open to a diplomatic solution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: None of us can know for certain what the coming days will bring in Ukraine. But I am confident that eventually those voices, those voices for human dignity and opportunity and individual rights and rule of law, those voices ultimately will triumph.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Let's take you to Rome right now, because the president's plane has just landed there in Rome. We're expecting him to come off any moment, as soon as he has some steps to walk on to. Security manning the door there.
But momentous occasion, because beyond Ukraine and Crimea, there's going to be a big moment when he meets the pope, of course, a huge towering figure already in just a short space of time in the job. So you're going to have the president of the United States meeting a triumphant new pope as well in Rome in the next few days.
So that's going to be a big picture story coming up as well as Ukraine continues to set the backdrop of this trip.
In other world news, the pope has accepted the resignation of a German bishop with a penchant for lavish spending. Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst became known as the Bling Bishop and was investigated for spending $42 million building a new bishop's residence.
He denied any wrongdoing and has said the cost overruns were due to historical restrictions. He will be given another job within the church.
So (inaudible) the Turkish government to ban the social media website Twitter have backfired. A court ordered Turkey's telecommunication authorities to restore access to the website. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to eradicate Twitter for fueling anti-government sentiment across Turkey. Critics used the website to leak telephone conversations that were damaging to the prime minister and his son.
The telecommunications authority has 30 days to comply.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch may be signaling his plane's for succession. He's installed one of his sons to work alongside him as co- chairman of News Corps. But after the company's reputation was tarnished by the phone hacking scandal, the new heir apparent isn't the son you might expect. Here's CNN's Jim Boulden.
JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rupert Murdoch has a media empire worth some $10 billion and two sons, Lachlan and James, getting more and more control.
DOUGLAS MCCABE, ENDERS ANALYSIS: A question that's been asked a lot today is one surprised by this? Well, it won't be a surprise if somebody with a surname of Smith or Jones had appeared at the top. The fact that Murdochs have ended up at the top of these two businesses is about the least surprising thing you can imagine.
BOULDEN: The answer hasn't always been obvious.
In 2005, Lachlan, seen by many as the heir apparent, surprised many when he walked away from News Corps day-to-day operations to run his own TV network. That left the door open for the younger James to rise first through Brititsh Sky Broadcasting and then up the ladder to include its UK newspaper properties.
Now, Lachlan is back, working alongside his father as co-chairman of News Corps and 20th Century Fox.
But it's a very different media empire. News Corps took over the Wall Street Journal, but it failed in its bid to take full control of BSkyB in part because some of News Corps tabloids have been caught up in Britain's ongoing phone hacking scandal.
In response, Rupert Murdoch shut his beloved News of the World newspaper.
He even got a pie in the face by a protester when he and son James were hauled before a parliamentary committee investigating phone hacking.
James soon resigned from various roles inside News Corps London operations. And in 2012 moved to New York to oversee various paid TV properties. This week, James also got a promotion to co-CEO of 20th Century Fox.
The question now, who does the patriarch of the family want to take the reins?
STEVE HEWLETT, MEDIA ANALYST: Look, only one knows for certain is that he is Rupert Murdoch's fondest and keenest wish that he be succeeded at the top of the family business by a member of the family.
BOULDEN: Rupert Murdoch is now 83 years old. His two sons are now firmly back on his coattails, ever rising inside one of the world's most influential media empires.
Jim Boulden, CNN, London.
FOSTER: Let's take you to Rome where the president is due to get off Airforce One anymore moment now. He's inside the plane. And everything has been set. His limousines are there waiting for him on the tarmac. And a crucial part of his European tour. Up until now, very much dominated by Crimea, a response to Russia and what they've done in Crimea. annexing it effectively.
And the meeting that will be of most interest on Thursday will be a meeting with the pope, two of the most powerful people in the world right now. Tension between the United States and the Catholic Church over the sex scandals within the church and the church's response to that, how can the pope come back from that and rebrand the church in the United States.
One place of common ground could be the plight of immigrants and the poor. That is the pope's big drive. He'll be discussing that, I'm sure, in a meeting with the president.
And the president will be keenly aware of Pope Francis's popularity and how that could actually have an effect on his polling numbers, I'm sure.
But he'll getting off the plane at any moment for a big visit to Italy and the Vatican.
We'll be back in a moment.
FOSTER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. Egypt's defense minister and top military commander has formally resigned. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared his candidacy in presidential elections that are expected within a few months. H e made the announcement on national television.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, RESINING EGYPTIAN MILITARY CHIEF (through translator): For this, I humbly come to you to announce my intention to run for Egypt's presidency. Your support is what will give me this great honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: As a new day dawns in the southern Indian Ocean, search teams are hunting for 122 objects spotted in new satellite images. Officials say they may be related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The son-in-law of Osama bin Laden has been found guilty of helping al Qaeda conspire to kill Americans. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was tried in a New York federal court. Prosecutors said he played a crucial role as al Qaeda's main spokesman. He'll be sentenced later this year.
Search crews are combing through ruined homes and thick mud in a desperate effort to locate survivors after a devastating landslide. At least 16 people are confirmed dead. Scores more remain missing. With the latest, I'm joined now by CNN's Bill Weir. He's live in the town of Oso in Washington state.
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to be with you, Max. Yes, the death toll now confirmed 16. They believe there are 8 more bodies. It's just so difficult to get them out from this just mess of thick, almost quicksand-like mud.
We just got word that a big piece of heavy machinery, a big bulldozer to go in and try to do some more recovery work slid off the road, complicating things even more. So, this town very much on edge, as you can imagine, hoping that the death toll doesn't rise into triple figures because there are still some 170 names unaccounted for.
Detectives who are familiar with missing persons cases are trying to winnow that list, trying to figure out what people are just out of the area, and hopefully not under that devastating pile of earth as that mountain came down.
And what's interesting, there's tension now between locals who work in the logging community here in this part of the Pacific Northwest, and FEMA rescue and recovery workers. It looks like volunteers may be sent home tomorrow even though they were responsible for finding most of the bodies in the early going. So people here frustrated in some ways and obviously very, very sad.
FOSTER: Bill, thank you very much, indeed.
The crisis in Ukraine dominated a speech by US president Barack Obama in Brussels today. He said European nations must stand up to threats to sovereignty and democracy, and that Russia's annexation of Crimea is proof of a new battle of ideals.
Earlier, Mr. Obama met with the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, and the theme was cooperation. The leaders say they're working together on Iran, Syria, climate change, and of course, the crisis in Ukraine.
President Obama has just touched down in Rome as well. CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta spent the day with President Obama. He joins us now from Brussels. So, what progress was made where you are, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we heard the president say today that he would like to see NATO partners step up their defense spending to prepare for what might be coming when it comes to Russian aggression. He wants to see more military cooperation in the Baltic states and those countries that are in Russia's neighborhoods. We did hear the president talk about that today.
But really in this speech in Brussels earlier today, Max, you heard the president sort of offer a point-by-point rebuttal to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who as you know, made that speech to the Russian parliament last week, compared the invasion of Crimea to NATO involvement in Kosovo back in the 90s. He accused the United States of being hypocritical after the war in Iraq.
The president hit back at all of that and said, look, the United States did not try to annex Iraq during that war, although he did acknowledge that that was controversial.
So, the president was trying to do two things: rally the Europeans on one note, but at the same time, also say that the United States and NATO would come to the defense of any other NATO partner, and he wanted to make that message very clear today here in Brussels, Max.
FOSTER: Jim, stay with us, because meanwhile, three US Secret Service agents, as you know, in hot water after a night of drinking in Amsterdam. It happened before President Barack Obama arrived for a summit. They were there to prepare for his visit, but hotel staff found one of the agents passed out in a hallway.
Agents on official trips are prohibited from drinking alcohol ten hours before reporting for duty. For understandable reasons, all three were sent home. So, Jim, does the damage -- well, does it damage the image, really, of the White House, this?
ACOSTA: Well, I have to tell you that the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, was asked by reporters about this, because obviously this does not reflect well on the White House, on the United States, on the Secret Service, and White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the president expects his Secret Service agents to hold the highest possible standards when they're out in the field.
These agents were here in Europe preparing for the president's trip to Amsterdam, as you said. Three of them were sent home, placed on administrative leave after one of them was found passed out in a hotel hallway, spotted by hotel employees, who alerted authorities. A very embarrassing incident.
The Secret Service says an investigation is underway, and so I would expect as what happened a couple of years ago when there was a similar incident when Secret Service agents were found to be cavorting with prostitutes in Columbia that there will be a very, very big review of Secret Service agency practices, Max.
FOSTER: Yes. We'll wait to hear on that. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us there.
Now, President Obama has arrived in Rome, that happened in just the last few minutes. He'll turn his attention to more spiritual matters tomorrow when he visits the leader of the world's Roman Catholics. Wolf Blitzer has a preview of his meeting with Pope Francis of the Vatican.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than 200 years, the politician behind the desk in the Oval Office and the bishop seated on the Throne of Peter have marked history together. On Thursday, President Obama and Pope Francis will open a new chapter at the Vatican. In 2009, President Obama brought his family to the Vatican for his meeting with Pope Benedict.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sasha was still pretty young at the time. They see the Sistine Chapel, and they're going through these various chambers, and each time, she'd see somebody dressed up in the cloth, and she'd say, "Is that the pope?"
OBAMA: "Is that the pope? How about that guy over there." We said, "No, no. You'll know when it is finally the pope."
BLITZER: Joshua Dubois was President Obama's director of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships during his first term.
BLITZER (on camera): So, you think there's a little shift going on from the relationship with the former pope and the current pope?
JOSHUA DUBOIS, AUTHOR, "THE PRESIDENT'S DEVOTIONAL": Well, I think they have a deep, mutual concern for issues related to the poor, economic inequality, and making sure that people can live lives of dignity.
BLITZER: But there are differences, and there are sensitive issues in which these two men will disagree.
DUBOIS: President Obama is pro-choice, Pope Francis is pro-life. President Obama supports marriage equality, Pope Francis does not. However, these are the type of men who are not going to let disagreement on two issues, even those two very important issues, prevent them from collaborating on many other things, including addressing economic inequality in the United States and around the world.
BLITZER (voice-over): The meeting also takes place while Catholic groups in the United States are fighting the administration in court over the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act. They say it violates their faith.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Pope Francis is a very, very clever man. He's pretty good at dealing with politicians. There are very, very big differences between the Obama administration's secularism and where the pope is. But my guess is they'll have a positive, friendly meeting. This is a pope who tends to want to love you and witness to you, not yell at you.
BLITZER: Like the history of meetings before between popes and presidents, there will be no shortage of topics when the doors close on their private meeting.
Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Washington.
FOSTER: Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. After the break, uproar over the killing of four lions at a Copenhagen zoo. We debate the ethics of animal euthanasia.
Plus, app creators take a page from the Harry Potter books with a disappearing cloak app. We'll have more on that later in the show.
FOSTER: A zoo in Copenhagen that provoked outrage for its killing of a healthy giraffe has once again hit the headlines. This time, the zoo has euthanized four lions to make way for a new male lion. Animal lovers have taken to social media to heap criticism on the zoo. Erin McLaughlin has more.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Copenhagen Zoo says this is about maintaining a healthy lion population. On Monday, the zoo euthanized four lions: a 16-year-old male, a 14-year- old female, and two younger lions.
Now, the male had actually been photographed earlier this year eating a part of a giraffe that had been controversially culled by the same zoo. Now, that lion, zoo officials say, was very old and risked breeding with his own offspring.
So, to avoid that inbreeding, they took the decision to euthanize him and replace him with a younger male lion. The issue there being that this younger male lion, introduced into this new pride, would in all likelihood then attack and kill two of the younger lions.
So, rather than them facing a gruesome, grisly death, zoo officials deciding to euthanize the younger lions as well, a decision that was met with international online outrage in the form of a petition, over 50,000 signatures strong, calling on the Copenhagen Zoo to stop killing healthy animals.
But it's a decision that has been backed by EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, and that association coming out and saying that this is part of the healthy breeding practice standard, really, among zoos in Europe and the United States.
It doesn't happen all that often, but sometimes, they say, it's necessary. The difference here being that generally the practice is not this highly publicized.
Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.
FOSTER: My next guest says she's appalled and disgusted by the zoo's actions. Mirja Holm Thansen is the chairwoman of Denmark's Organization Against the Suffering of Animals. She joins me now, live from Copenhagen. We also asked the Copenhagen Zoo to join our discussion, but they declined, saying they had nothing more to add.
But what we do know, Mirja, is that this existing male, very old, would have been likely to mate with his own offspring. That would create inbreeding, which wouldn't be healthy for that community of lions. So the whole group would have suffered if he hadn't been put down.
MIRJA HOLM THANSEN, CHAIRWOMAN, DENMARK'S ORGANZIATION AGAINST THE SUFFERING OF ANIMALS: Yes, that is, of course, what the Copenhagen Zoo is saying, but once again, I must tell you, that the Copenhagen Zoo is playing God. It's immoral and unethical to interfere with the circle of life by killing healthy animals.
Copenhagen Zoo has killed four healthy animals, two adults, two cubs only ten months old. It's unethical to breed animals and then kill them as soon as they don't fit into a program. It's just that Copenhagen Zoo has no respect or care for the animals.
FOSTER: The zoo says that those younger lions may have died anyway because the older lion would have killed them.
THANSEN: But why did they even get the older lion? Why did they get the new lion now? Why didn't they wait until they had a new place to put the two cubs? Why take a new lion into the zoo when they know that they have to kill four lions in order for that one lion to stay there? Why not wait?
FOSTER: Well, the other question that people are asking is why they didn't re-home the lion rather than putting it down, and they do argue that they did try that. The quotes are, "Unfortunately, there wasn't any interest." No one else wanted to take this lion.
Of course, there are lots of people on social media today as a result of this saying that they would have taken the lion. Do you think they just didn't try hard enough?
THANSEN: What needs to be understood here is that EAZA are an organization and collective of many zoos. So, in essence, these zoos are setting their own guidelines. We just know that there are a number of zoos within Europe that are not members of EAZA. So, perhaps this is because the zoos disagree with EAZA's procedures.
So, I don't know if they follow the guidelines or not, but if you ask me if the guidelines are ethically and morally correct, I say no, they are not. They need to be found another solution and not kill all the animals just because they are surplus.
FOSTER: Well, we should say that all the social media wasn't just against the zoo. There are, of course, arguments in defense of the zoo's actions. Here, Lil Peck wrote on the Copenhagen Zoo's Facebook wall in support: "Zoo management is extremely challenging," she says. "There are many factors, including space limitations, budget limitations" as well.
"And genetics, infrastructure, and society are also factors." She goes on to say that "Zoo professionals sometimes have to make difficult decisions that are unpopular with a society which is increasingly insulated from the harsh reality of nature."
We do put down animals all the time to eat them. We do have this issue, though, with animals that we see in films or portrayed in cartoons that we don't think of as being put down. Is there not this romanticization, if that's the correct word, romanticizing at least, of particular animals, like lions and giraffes? We just become a bit irrational about the whole process.
THANSEN: Yes, well, we must understand the Copenhagen Zoo portrays itself as this family-friendly place full of cuddly and cute animals. They do that themselves. But when they kill the animals, the healthy animals, they say that it is to ensure a healthy animal population in the future.
So, it doesn't add up. People need to understand that in places like Copenhagen Zoo, it's all about money. And when an animal no longer fits into their money-making plans and program, it is executed. So, no respect. They treat them in a non-ethical way.
FOSTER: Are you against zoos altogether?
THANSEN: Yes, I'm against zoos who kill surplus. And I'm against keeping animals in captivity.
FOSTER: Even if they're protecting the population of animals? They're encouraging breeding of a rare sort of animal that wouldn't survive on its own in the wild?
THANSEN: I think that if you take their basic needs, the animal's basic needs, and they are fulfilled in captivity, then I'm OK with it. But of course, I'm not OK keeping an animal and wild animals in captivity just for the fun of humans, just for us to go and watch the beautiful animal in captivity. I'm against that.
FOSTER: OK, Mirja, thank you very much, indeed. It's a huge debate around the world, and people fall on one side of the argument or the other. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. As we say, we did try to get the zoo involved in that debate as well, but they weren't up for it.
As ever, the team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you. What do you think about the zoo's actions? Were they working in the animals' best interest, do you think? Get in touch at facebook.com/CNNconnect, and you can tweet me as well, @MaxFosterCNN, your thoughts, please, @MaxFosterCNN.
Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, it doesn't crush candy or catapult angry birds, it protects your privacy, actually. We'll look at the latest app that everyone is talking about.
FOSTER: Now, social networks keep you updated on friends' every move, of course, what they're eating, what games they're playing, and often their location as well. If you find all of this sharing a bit too much, a new app, Cloak, aims to do exactly the opposite.
It's marketing itself as a social network to avoid your friends. It's all going a bit crazy. A map plots where your friends have checked in on other social networks so you don't run into them. Tech correspondent Samuel Burke has finally found a way to avoid us all, including me.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're just outside the CNN studios, and I've got the app booted up, so I'm going to try and use it to avoid some of my CNN colleagues. Let's see how it works.
OK, so the first person has shown up on the map, and it is --
BURKE: -- ah, Max Foster, CNN's royal correspondent. The only thing he ever wants to talk about is who's going to take the throne next.
FOSTER: We've got William, that people think can just replace Charles, it's just not going to happen.
BURKE: A social network to avoid your friends. What do you think about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess that does say a lot about the network of friends that you have, doesn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's genius.
BURKE: Who would you avoid if you were using this app?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe my husband.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not cool!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only person I'd want to avoid doesn't live in the country anyway.
BURKE: All right. Well, I'm just taking the app for a spin. Oh, and sure enough --
BURKE: There we go, it's Nina Dos Santos. I always feel so American around her. She's so British, so posh.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Samuel, is that you I see there?
BURKE: Nina! How are you?
DOS SANTOS: Welcome. Good, thanks. You enjoying our English weather?
BURKE: Leaves something to be desired.
DOS SANTOS: It's beautiful, isn't it? We're quite used to it. Cup of tea?
BURKE: Oh, I'm a little busy right now, actually.
DOS SANTOS: You're not avoiding me, are you?
BURKE: No, no, no.
DOS SANTOS: Are you sure?
BURKE: Of course not, Nina. Of course not.
DOS SANTOS: Hold you to it.
BURKE: I'll see you back at the studios. That was close.
FOSTER: Well, he was having fun. Samuel, you can't avoid us that long, can you?
BURKE: Obviously not.
FOSTER: You better explain how it works, because it's sort of -- it's confusing. If you're into social networks, you want to know where everyone is, don't you?
BURKE: So, it's actually somewhat limited. It just takes information from the social networks Instagram and Foursquare, people who have checked in and allowed their geolocations to be shared on those websites, and it pulls the information in and then puts it on a map on an app here, and that's when people like your face and Nina Dos Santos face pop up, and that way, you can see literally down to the block where the person is on your phone.
FOSTER: A different angle on this is that you can find people that you're looking for as well, which sounds a bit creepy.
BURKE: Exactly. A lot of people picked up on that when I was interviewing them in the streets, and they said, well, I could just as easily stalk somebody this way or find somebody who is trying to avoid me.
That's exactly right. And I actually think for that purpose, it's a really good tool to remind you of just how much information we share online. So, all the sudden, see all of your friends or just see yourself on there and realize, wow, I'm sharing all this information.
Sometimes people don't even realize that they're sharing their geolocation, their location, on Instagram, and now any of their friends could see it with this app.
FOSTER: So, how could I have avoided appearing on your map?
BURKE: So, all you have to do is make sure that Instagram and Foursquare that your location is turned off on there. Of course, the whole purpose of Foursquare is to show your location. But right now, the app, like I said, is just for Instagram and Foursquare users.
But they say they're trying to expand to Facebook and Twitter. So, anytime you see somebody on Facebook who says, "I'm currently at the airport," or "I'm at this restaurant." All of that information would feed into this app, if they are able to get that information.
FOSTER: And how are they -- what beyond that is the value of the business? What are they getting from it? Just the fact that you're using their app and then the advertising and the like coming to you?
BURKE: Potentially. Right now, I don't see any monetization on the app. There are not advertisements. But of course, it always comes later. First they get people using it. But I don't think it's going to be the next Facebook. It's very fun to play around with and a good reminder of just how much you need to protect your privacy, but I somewhat doubt that this is the next Twitter.
FOSTER: But it's a tracking device, essentially, right? It's just been branded as something else.
BURKE: Exactly. But really, it's the other social networks that are the tracking device, and it's just taking all that information in and putting it on a map here so you can see all your friends at once. They're not doing the tracking. It's Instagram and Foursquare that are giving them that information, but all of your social networks are doing some tracking if you allow it.
FOSTER: Where's the tipping point of all of this? Do you get any sense that there will be a backlash at some point over the privacy? I know that's the deal. We get free stuff if we give up privacy, but are you getting any sense that there could be a backlash at some point?
BURKE: It's interesting because apps like Snapchat are showing us people do want some privacy. Teenagers are figuring that out faster than adults are, but it seems that more and more it's harder to take control of your privacy.
We see Facebook even getting information about what you do when you're shopping in stores, what you're doing offline. So, yes, people have a higher awareness. But at the same time, these social networks are not giving us that much more control over our privacy. So, people will start shifting to other apps, like Snapchat.
FOSTER: And social networking per se is becoming -- it's harder to categorize, isn't it, right now? Because all these apps that you keep bringing to the show every day are getting crazier and crazier all the time.
BURKE: And more --
FOSTER: But are you able to define the social networking anymore? What would you call it?
BURKE: That's a great question, because WhatsApp is a messaging app, and now all of a sudden, it's been spun it's a social network. It's really hard to say, because social networks at first we though of them as public.
But yes, WhatsApp are people communicating one to one or a small group. So, is that a type of social network? The definition has definitely become much more broad, and people want that for a marketing sense. These companies want to market themselves as social networks even though they've pushed the definition.
FOSTER: I think you should redefine it. You should brand it as something new.
BURKE: It's already happening.
FOSTER: OK. We'll wait on that. Samuel, thank you very much, indeed. I'm Max Foster, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you very much, indeed, for watching.