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CONNECT THE WORLD
Oscar Pistorius Ends Five Days Of Grueling Cross-Examination; Liverpool Football Club Commemorates 25 Years Since Hillsborough Disaster; Detroit Becoming Magnet For International Investors
Aired April 15, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Ukrainian troops on the move: CNN captures video of this convoy heading to the country's volatile east. we are live there as Kiev announces that an anti-terrorist operation is now underway.
Also ahead, Oscar Pistorius sets down from the witness stand after five days of dogged grilling. We are going to take a closer look at his testimony.
And bomb attacks overshadow Egypt's runup to a presidential election. Tonight, we examine how a recent increase in violence could affect that vote.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: ...clear out pro-Russian protesters from government buildings in eastern cities has begun. Here is what is happening at this hour. CNN witnessed this column of Ukrainian military vehicles traveling to the east of the country from Kiev. Helicopters can be seen flying above the convoy.
Well, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen is meeting with EU defense ministers now to discuss the crisis. He is calling on Russia to, quote, "stop destabilizing the situation."
Well, that was a sentiment echoed by Barack Obama when he spoke with Vladimir Putin by phone on Monday.
The White House urged Moscow to persuade pro-Russia groups to leave buildings they occupy while the Kremlin blamed Ukraine for the unrest.
Well, all of this is taking a toll on Russia's RTS stock index. It plunged more than 3 percent earlier today.
Well, Ukraine's acting president says the anti-terror operation will be conducted one step at a time carefully, he says.
Phil Black is monitoring the situation in eastern Ukraine joining us now live. And Phil, things move apace on the ground. You are in Kharkiv. What is the very latest from there?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Becky. So it does appear that this government operation first announced by the acting president this morning is very much underway and particularly in the region of Donetsk in the southeast of the country, that is where a CNN team has seen a convoy of Ukrainian armored military vehicles. It is where that Ukrainian military aircraft have been reported. And it is where, particularly in reference to the down of Slovyansk where the mayor there, a very much pro-Russian mayor, is saying that his town is now surrounded by Ukrainian military forces. This is a town that is very much under the control of pro-Russian militia gunmen and supporters.
So things certainly coming to a head. What hasn't been revealed just yet is just what the intention of this so-called anti-terror operation really is. Are they prepared to move in and to try to dislodge these pro- Russian and separatist forces from the government buildings that they continue to occupy, or is this for the moment just a show of force. By surrounding this locations perhaps try to make these people think twice about whether or not they really want to stay and hold on to these buildings.
Because at the moment, no clear -- no good options for the Ukrainian government and its military and security forces. If it allows the status quo, these occupations to continue, its authority will continue to erode, but if it forces a confrontation, if lives are lost, then that could provide a pretext for those Russian forces sitting on the other side of the border to intervene more directly Becky.
ANDERSON: Phil, let's just hear what the Ukrainians had to say about this anti-terror operation earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLEKSANDR TURCHYNOV, ACTING UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today, in the morning, an anti-terrorist operation has started in the east of the Nask (ph) region. It will be carried out stage by stage responsibly and cautiously. The aim of these actions is to protect the citizens of Ukraine, to stop terror, to stop criminality, and to stop attempts to tear Ukraine to pieces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Very briefly, Phil, when you talk to people on the ground how are they feeling?
BLACK: The mix of views here, Becky. And I think it varies depending on which town, which city across this vast eastern section of the country you are in. There is no doubt that these pro-Russian, these separatist forces, they have great sympathy even here in Kharkiv which is not in the same state of crisis, perhaps the Donetsk region is. But it is divided. This is not Crimea again in the sense that it is now an overwhelming Russian, pro-Russian sympathy that exists across the population. It is both sides. It is divided. And so that is why there is the potential for such -- you know, potentially violence and de-stabilizing within the country itself, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, Phil Black for you in Ukraine.
If you want to see how this conflict is playing out in very personal terms, what this video, it was uploaded to YouTube just a short time ago and apparently shows civilians confronting a Ukrainian tank somewhere in the Donetsk region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDNETIFIED MALE (through translator): They are trying to take over APCs.
You, who are you shooting at? Whoa re you planning to shoot at? Disarm now. Who are you going to shot at? At whom? Who are you shooting at? What? why did you take out the rifle? Turn it off. Turn off the tank. Turn it off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: As always on Connect the World we are covering this story from multiple angles. We're going to get you to Washington hear what Barack Obama told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. And I'm going to tell you why the Kremlin believes the west is adding fuel to the fire by trying to force Ukrainian -- or Ukraine towards Europe.
A live report from Moscow in about 10 minutes time.
South Africa's Bladerunner Oscar Pistorius has been excused from the witness stand after five days of what has been blistering cross-examination at his murder trial in Pretoria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERRIE NEL, PROSECUTOR: It was your intention to kill her. You realized that.
OSCAR PISTORIUS, ACCUSED OF MURDERING REEVA STEENKAMP: Oh, no (inaudible), My Lady.
NEL: Thank you, My Lady. I have nothing further for this witness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, that's how the prosecutor wrapped up with Pistorius. A quick conclusion after what has been days of confrontation over questioning whether Pistorius intentionally killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, somebody who has been monitoring this since the very beginnings of when this story broke is Robyn Curnow. She's live outside the courthouse in Pretoria where she has been of course all day.
Grueling stuff for the witness, grueling stuff for those who are watching inside, and indeed for those of us who are watching on the television. Your thoughts.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It has been quite traumatic day, I think -- a traumatic week for Oscar Pistorius, but also quite excruciating for anybody watching this, because it really was an emotional roller coaster. At times it felt like it was made for some sort of television drama. But as I said all along, this was a human tragedy and you really felt the power, the emotion of what was at stake for both families in the court.
Today, Oscar Pistorius really looking broken. You know, I've said all along that he looked exhausted at times. You know, he was emotional often. But today after he was excused from cross-examination and then from reexamination he seemed to crumple in to himself, his dark hollowed out eyes. I mean, he really looks like a broken man.
Now what was at stake though beyond the emotion, beyond the character assassinations, beyond his performance on the stand, you know, this is now going back to the real hard evidence. And a lot of that focuses around screaming, ear witnesses hearing screaming. And that is at the heart of the state's case, Becky. And I think that's where the defense is now going to go right back to try and counter all of that.
And they started that after Pistorius stood down and they called up another witness who played -- and they played out sounds of what they said was a cricket bat hitting a door like the one Oscar hit to get Reeva out of that bathroom, that toilet door. Just take a listen to these sounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER DION, FORENSIC EXPERT: To the best of my memory, because if I -- the first three blows of the cricket bat were done to test the levels of the sound.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: OK. So, do the sounds of a cricket bat hitting a wooden door sound similar in the middle of the night as gunshots? Now that is what the defense is going to try and prove, because what they have to disprove is that Reeva Steenkamp was screaming in between these shots, because if that was the case that's intention. He knew he was shooting at her. And I think if the state has no -- that literally the state has no other evidence on record besides these ear witnesses of screaming. And that goes to their burden of proof.
So, I think what we're going to see is more focus on this kind of evidence and disproving the state's version of events.
ANDERSON: Robyn Curnow in Pretoria for you this evening.
Well, the Liverpool Football Club is hosting a special memorial for the victims of what was the Hillsborough disaster. I'm going to get you live to Liverpool in England now and what has been a very special significance today for this team and its fans.
And I know that we are either expecting, or just heard a song "You'll Never Walk Alone" heard at every Liverpool home match.
This is the 25th anniversary of the tragedy at Hillsborough Stadium. 96 fans attending a Liverpool football match were crushed to death in the stands on this date in 1989.
(HILLSBOROUGH STADIUM TRAGEDY ANNIVERSARY COVERAGE)
ANDERSON: And what you're seeing here is a football stadium absolutely packed with players past and present and fans of the Liverpool Football Club, which is a club in the north of England which is hosting a very special memorial for the victims of what was the HIllsborough disaster back in 1989 when 96 fans attending a Liverpool football match were crushed to death in the stands.
We are awaiting what will be a very special song with such significance which will be sung here at the stadium today. It'll be "You'll Never Walk Alone." And this is heard at every Liverpool home game.
This is the 25th anniversary of the tragedy at Hillsborough Stadium in the north of England. And what you are listening to now is a very special lady who heads up the organization that has fought for recognition of the fans who died, the family members of the fans who died back in 1989. And she has eluded, tonight, to the fact that Liverpool Football Club can be in no better position than they are today. They are looking at Champion's League football next season. They are looking at possibly at a Champion's League victory this season and indeed quite possibly winning the English Premier League this season.
It couldn't be better times for Liverpool Football Club, but what a day to be remembering what was such a tragedy back 25 years ago in 1989. I remember the day myself very, very well as do all of those people who are gathered today at Anfield Stadium and in Liverpool in the north of England, in England and around the world who were touched so much by the devastating experience for Liverpool Football Club and its fans.
Let's just listen in once again and what will be a rousing rendition of "You Will Never Walk Alone."
(HILLSBOROUGH STADIUM TRAGEDY ANNIVERSARY COVERAGE)
ANDERSON: All right. Well, as I say as we listen to what will be a very moving rendition of the Liverpool Football Club's anthem, I'm joined by Don Riddell who is at CNN Center today for his thoughts and reflections on what happened on that day and what happens next -- Don.
DON RIDDELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks very much, Becky.
You are currently listening to Margaret Aspinall who is the chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. Her son James was just 18 and attending his first away game when he perished on the Lepping's Lane terrace at the Hillsborough Football Stadium.
It has been just the most awful 25 years for the families of the Hillsborough victims. They've been campaigning long and hard to really find out what happened that day in Sheffield, because the deaths of those 96 were ruled accidental in an inquest a couple of years afterwards, but those families have never accepted that and they've been campaigning long and hard to get really to the bottom of what actually happened that day.
As you may have mentioned just a moment ago, Becky, there is a new inquest underway. It actually got started just a couple of weeks ago coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. And I sense a different mood at this anniversary. They have this anniversary at Anfield every year. Obviously it's a significant milestone, 25 years. But I sense among the families this anniversary that there's perhaps a bit of optimism that they will soon learn the truth and get a new verdict regarding the deaths of their family members and their loved ones.
ANDERSON: Yeah. And I was pointing out that on a day which is full of such sorrow and reflections, you know, you've just listened to the crowd having it pointed out to them that they have an incredible football team and some thanks to Brendan Rogers, the coach today, and indeed the players today.
She said, you know, stress is a difficult thing to deal with, but listen guys, you know, we know you're under stress but let's do what we need to do this year.
RIDDELL: Yeah, and Liverpool having a remarkable season. I mean, they used to be the dominant team in England in the 70s and 80s. They won the FA Cup the year of the Hillsborough tragedy.
But since 1990, they haven't won the national championship. They haven't won the premier league title ever. And this year, they've got a real chance. It's in their own hands. They've only got four games left to play. If they win them all, they'll win the Premier League title. And how fitting it would be in this year of all years with a new inquest and renewed optimism on Murzy Side (ph).
And this Hillsborough tragedy goes right to the heart of the Liverpool team. Their inspirational captain Steven Gerrard was just eight or nine years old when Hillsborough happened. And his cousin, John Paul Gilhooley, was the youngest victim of Hillsborough. His cousin was just 10 years old when he died.
So, for Gerrard in particular, but the whol Liverpool squad, everything about Hillsborough and what it means and what it represents means an awful lot to them. We've just heard the Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers saying, you know, I succeed so many great legends, players and managers at Anfield, but the greatest inspiration is you, the families, and your dignity and your courage and everything you have done. And I think we're now hearing the "You'll Never Walk Alone" song you were referring to, Becky.
ANDERSON: Let's have a listen to that.
(YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE)
ANDERSON: Well, it's been hailed as the Motor City, but Detroit has famously ground to an economic halt in recent times after it became the biggest American city to file for municipal bankruptcy.
Well, last year the future really looked bleak, but overseas property developers are sensing what they believe are new opportunities that could give Motown the acceleration it badly needs.
John Defterios has today's One Square Meter.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Detroit, Michigan, the Motor City as it's called, was long known as the automobile capital of the world, a global symbol of modernity and the power of American capitalism.
But after decades of decay came the bus. Detroit filed for municipal bankruptcy in July 2013, making it the largest city in U.S. history to do so. Many investors saw potential profit in the global headlines of broadcasting Detroit's demise.
FERNANDO PALAZUELO, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER: I don't see problem for other people see black holes.
DEFTERIOS: Spanish developer Fernando Palazuelo stunned Detroiters by purchasing the abandoned, sprawling Packer automotive plant, one of the most famous buildings to be sold after the city filed for bankruptcy, and the most emblematic eyesore of Detroit's fall.
But Palazuelo sees beauty and possibility amid the ruin where most potential investors might not.
PALAZUELO: I think the Packard plant is in the best location surrounded by extraordinary highways, very close to Canada.
DEFTERIOS: And a look at the numbers illustrates why international investors are entranced by Detroit's under appreciated assets.
Palazuelo bought the 325,000 square meter space for just over $400,000 dollars, that's a $1.29 per square meter. And Detroit is home to an estimated 78,000 abandoned buildings.
These abandoned buildings have enticed other international buyers. A Chinese firm bought three properties downtown last year. And to put into context why an overseas investor might flock to Detroit, this year the average price of commercial real estate in Detroit is almost $60 per square meter. San Francisco's average price per square meter is about $6,000, meaning office space is over 100 times cheaper in Detroit.
In 10 to 15 years at a cost of approximately $350 million, Palazuelo envisions transforming the site into a residential, commercial and industrial hub.
PALAZUELO: 10 years, you would not recognize it. You would think it was always in perfect shape. So we will do it. We will do it.
DEFTERIOS: Detroit and the world will closely watch and see if that financial prediction bears fruit.
John Defterios, CNN.
ANDERSON: It is 32 minutes past 7:00 here in Abu Dhabi. Welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour.
And Kiev says it has launched an anti-terrorist operation against militants and separatists in eastern Ukraine. One of our reporters saw this large column of soldiers and armored personnel carriers in the Donetsk region. Now, a Russian news agency says that a Ukrainian convoy has surrounded the city of Slaviansk.
The prosecution has wrapped up cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius after five days of what has been very tough questioning at his murder trial in South Africa. The prosecutor tried to point out what he says are inconsistencies in the Olympic athlete's testimony. Well, Pistorius says he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by accident after he mistook her for an intruder. The prosecution says Pistorius's version of events does not hold water.
A day of remembrance in England -- 25 years ago to this very day, 96 Liverpool football fans were crushed to death at an FA Cup semifinal match at Sheffield's Hillsborough Stadium. It is Britain's worst stadium disaster.
And the unmanned submarine called Blue Fin 21 could be back underwater very soon, searching for any trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Crews had to cut its first trip short because the water in the Indian Ocean was deeper than the device was programmed to go.
We are also learning more about what happened onboard Flight 370. A US official tells CNN the co-pilot's phone made contact with a cell tower in Malaysia about the time the plane disappeared. Pamela Brown reports.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sources tell CNN first officer Fariq Hamid's cell phone was on and searching for service roughly half an hour after all of Flight 370's communications mysteriously shut off. Information CNN has learned that Malaysian authorities first gave to the US a while ago.
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: It would be rare -- very rare, in my opinion, to have someone with a cell phone on in the cockpit. It's never supposed to be on at all. It's part of every checklist of every airline I'm familiar with.
BROWN: Sources say Malaysian authorities have told the US that a cell tower near Penang, Malaysia, roughly 250 miles from where the plane turned around, picked up a roaming signal from Hamid's cell phone, suggesting his was the only phone turned on after the flight's transponder turned off. One US official told CNN, quote, "He could have tried to do something with the phone. We don't know."
SOUCIE: The interesting thing about that is that no other phones connected to it. It was just specifically his cell phone.
BROWN: While US and Malaysian officials caution there's no evidence the first officer tried to make a call with the phone, on Sunday, Malaysia's transport minister did not deny the possibility.
HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN ACTING TRANSPORTATION MINISTER: As far as I know, no. But like I said, that would be in the realm of the police and the other international agencies. And when the time comes, that will be revealed. But I do not want to speculate on that at the moment.
BROWN: When the plane first went missing, authorities said millions of cell phone records were searched, looking for evidence calls had been made from the plane, but turned up nothing. Still, if Hamid's cell phone connected with the tower, it only adds to the evidence that the plane turned westward from its planned path and that the plane was likely flying low enough for a cell tower to pick up the phone signal.
SOUCIE: It does make me think that perhaps it was a little lower than the 35,000 feet that we speculated because of the fact it did make the connection. Typically, there's not even time to do that. But they were still high enough in which it just made the connection, and there was no speaking or now long period of time.
BROWN (on camera): And what this information doesn't tell us, according to US officials, is a motive and who was alive and who was not at the time the cell tower detected the co-pilot's phone. Also worth pointing out, the aircraft never had a cell phone system installed.
And again, I want to reiterate, this information was shared by the Malaysians with US investigators, and the Malaysians could be privy to other information that we don't know about
Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
ANDERSON: One of our main stories today, the situation unfolding in Egypt. The country's former army chief, Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, has now formerly entered the presidential race, ending months of speculation about his plans. And if, as expected, he sails to victory, he is going to have run a country that has been going through a very challenging past couple of months.
Let me just recap where we stand at present. El-Sisi was in charge of the Egyptian military when it ousted former president Mohamed Morsy. He was also the man who appointed supreme court chief justice Adly Mansour as the interim president.
And by August last year, the military-led government had cracked down on Muslim Brotherhood members who had been protesting what they called an outright coup. Hundreds were killed in clashes.
By November, Mr. Morsy himself had gone on trial, facing a series of charges, but the interim government has pushed ahead with its plans for the country. And in January of this year, Egypt passed a new constitution, paving the way for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential election.
So, where do we go from here? These elections could have huge implications for Egypt and the region. Joining me for more analysis on this in Cairo is H.A. Hellyer, a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution. And I want to bring in a regular guest on the show from Abu Dhabi, here with me, Faisal Al Yafai, who is chief columnist for "The National."
Let's get to H.A. first. We have seen, and I want to bring up some photographs of Mr. el-Sisi, out of uniform, dark glasses off, talking, I know, to some Nubians on what is now his campaign trail. This is a man who looks presidential and probably will be the president going forward, correct?
H.A. HELLYER, NONRESIDENT FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: I think that's a foregone conclusion. Nobody here in Cairo or, really, in the region, I would say, even internationally, doubts that Mr. el-Sisi will be Egypt's next president. That's not really the question.
The question the people have is by how much of a percentage that will be confirmed in elections later in May, but not whether or not he's actually going to win. That's a foregone conclusion.
FAISAL AL YAFAI, CHIEF COLUMNIST, "THE NATIONAL": Yes, I think it's a huge moment in Egypt's recent history. So, we will see, now, the starting gun has gone off. And it's going to be an interesting few weeks. We don't yet know what Sisi plans. We don't know what his election manifesto is going to say.
We have six weeks. Six weeks to tell the people not who he is, but what he intends to do if he become president.
ANDERSON: I want to talk to the regional story here, because when we talk Egypt, we're not just talking Egypt in isolation, of course, particularly when you have a show like ours coming out of the UAE. A look at some of the major players in the region and their influence and where they stand with Egypt's government.
Saudi Arabia, for example, Bahrain, and the UAE have made it clear that they back the military by donating billions of dollars to the current government.
On the other side, Egypt's relationship with Turkey and Qatar has deteriorated since President Mohamed Morsy was ousted last July. Both countries have strongly criticized the military takeover. Egypt even withdraw its ambassador from Qatar for supporting groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.
H.A. Hellyer, the influence, to your mind, of these regional players as we move towards and beyond this presidential election?
HELLYER: I think it's very interesting. The present circumstances mean that Egypt, at least on a regional level, actually suffers from a lack of support from Turkey and from Qatar, but that's about it. Regionally speaking, the Egyptian authorities are very comfortable. They're getting a lot of support, regionally speaking. There's a bit more reluctance, obviously, from Tunisia, but that's about it.
With regards to Qatar, it seems to be the case that Qatar, in the coming weeks or so, will come to some sort of new arrangement within the region. It can't really continue along the same path, where it's alienating itself from Saudi Arabia and other players in the region.
ANDERSON: All right.
HELLYER: So, one has to ask, what's the new regional arrangement going to be? Is Egypt going to be more of a pariah state, which seems doubtful and dubious, especially considering the fact that there will be an EU monitoring mission for the elections next month and also a number of international delegations from a variety of different countries keep coming to Egypt, essentially giving not the stamp of approval, necessarily, but recognizing --
ANDERSON: All right.
HELLYER: -- at least for a measure, the new authorities.
ANDERSON: H.A., stand by. Faisal, you've been following the Egypt story from the perspective of the Gulf. And within the context of the GCC split, you have said much of the political row, and I quote, "is happening behind the scenes. But it looks like GCC is inching forward."
Qaradawi didn't give last Friday's sermon, for example, which suggests some adjustment on the part of Doha. You can talk to who Qaradawi is in a moment. How important is Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood in setting the agenda vis-a-vis Cairo and the rest of the Arab world?
YAFAI: You're absolutely right to bring those two things in, because the discussion that's been occurring with in the GCC about this rift between Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar, has a lot to do with Egypt. It has a lot to do with the Brotherhood over there.
Qaradawi is a relatively controversial speaker, but a very important one for Qatar, and he's made some comments that the UAE and the Saudis have not liked. The fact that he didn't appear last Friday suggests that there is a thaw happening.
More importantly is something that the deputy foreign minister of Kuwait, which is sort of mediating among the GCC, said. He said that he thinks he might see in the next couple of weeks the return of the ambassadors from these countries to Doha.
So, I think we're seeing a path forward. We're not at the end yet. We're not back to normal relations, but we're getting there.
ANDERSON: H.A., you've talked about how an el-Sisi presidency will be viewed by the international community. You say el-Sisi will be harshly criticized by most Western media, but on a governmental level, he doesn't have much to worry about.
Most Western governments, you've certainly said ahead of this show, will tolerate him and see, and he'll have an easy ride. There might be some pushback from the EU, but it won't be very harsh. Listen, will any of that pressure have an impact, do you think?
HELLYER: I think the pressure that is likely to place will take place within media circles, within civil society, and perhaps on the level of parliaments in different countries, and Congress in the United States, although that is also dubious.
But on the governmental level, I think the only governments that are not going to immediately recognize a new Sisi presidency is probably just going to be Turkey at this rate. I imagine that in the coming months, you'll see even Tunisia recognizing the new state of play. And it's something that's very clear.
(EMERGENCY VEHICLE SIRENS)
HELLYER: On the regional level and on the international level, I think that these new authorities in Egypt have essentially weathered that storm. The main criticism will come from civil society, from human rights groups, and from the media.
ANDERSON: All right. And as you talk, H.A., we can hear the emergency vehicles behind you. Egypt is an incredibly busy, noisy and ofttimes pretty chaotic place, and I say that with the best will in the world to all of those Egyptians who may be listening. And it's also a fairly difficult place so far as security is concerned at the moment.
Faisal, let me get back to you. I referred earlier to some photographs that we've seen released by the el-Sisi campaign since he announced his candidacy. He needed something like 25,000 people on his ticket -- sorry, to vote for him, to sign a document before he got on the ticket.
He had something like 480,000. The guy's a -- he certainly -- there was no issue about whether he was going to run or not.
Have a look at these pictures, though, just here. You've got a man who's out of uniform, now, he's got his dark glasses off, earlier on talking to some Nubians giving us the impression that everybody -- this is pluralistic politics going forward. I know that he want to be seen as a presidential, not as a military figure. Is he?
YAFAI: Well, he's had two good trips abroad. So, there was a time when he was Sisi the statesman. He went to Russia, he came here, he looked presidential, he looked in control. And now, he is the man of the people. We saw him in those photographs. But we've also seen him riding a bicycle through the streets of Cairo.
So, there is this attempt to reach out to two sections: the ordinary people on the street, who aren't that interested in politics, and those people within the military elite, those people within the political and business elite, who want stability, who want a return to business as usual.
ANDERSON: H.A. Hellyer and Faisal, as ever, always a pleasure to have you here. And sir, in Cairo, thank you very much, indeed. And you can follow the Egypt story and all of the other news, of course, as ever on CNN, that's cnnarabic.com, showcasing the best of our global news gathering with a special focus on the ever-changing region, cnnarabic.com Do join what is a global conversation.
Well, live from Abu Dhabi at 46 minutes past 7:00, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Boston Strong, the phrase that has helped heal a city. We're going to go there to see how everyone is doing a year after what was a sinister attack at the Boston Marathon finish line. That after this.
ANDERSON: The city of Boston is marking a solemn anniversary, a year since the bombings that ripped through the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring more than 260. Well, police say the bombers also killed a police officer when they were on the run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MAN SINGING "GOD BLESS AMERICA")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Several ceremonies have already taken place. The big one begins next hour. And ahead of that, Jason Carroll is live for us in Boston this evening. Describe the mood, if you will.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I know you've heard the term "Boston Strong" before. A lot of people have heard that term, and the city is showing it strength again today with a special tribute that's set to get underway just about ten minutes from now.
It will open with the Boston Pops. This is an opportunity for people here in the city to come together, pay respects and honor those who were killed, the first responders who came out to try to save lives, and the survivors themselves.
There'll be a number of speakers during this very special tribute that's about to get underway. We'll hear from some of the survivors. They're scheduled to speak. You'll hear from the mayor of the city of Boston, the governor, Deval Patrick, and the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden will be here to lend his support as well.
So, once again, people coming together to honor the first responders, to honor those who were killed, and again, also the survivors, people like JP Norden and his brother, Paul. Both of those brothers were out here a year ago today, not far from where I'm standing, Becky.
They were standing in front of a restaurant called the Forum Restaurant when the second bomb exploded. Each of them ended up losing a leg. And throughout the past year, I've followed along with them to see about their emotional and their physical recovery. And we talked about what this day meant to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Have you had a chance to sort of come by here just to reflect on what happened, or is that something -- ?
PAUL NORDEN, LOST LEG IN BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: No, I like kind of -- I moved on. It happened, and obviously it was terrible, but there's nothing I can change about that. I just work hard, and that's what I can change. I can make myself feel better every day by working hard and moving forward and being positive. So, that's how I feel.
JP NORDEN, LOST LEG IN BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: Boston was so good to us, but everybody was good to us. We get cards from kids in Alabama. It's cool to see. So, when you're sitting there and in you're in your bed and you can't do anything except read these cards that these kids are sending, you're like, how can you have a bad day then?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Also later this afternoon, Becky, there'll be a special ceremony and a moment of silence. That will happen at 2:49 PM, the time that the bombs exploded. There'll be a flag-raising ceremony. Once again, an opportunity for the people of the city of Boston to come together to heal one year later. Becky?
ANDERSON: And that is about 2 hours, 40-odd minutes away from now. Jason, thank you for that. The city's main commemoration begins next hour. We are going to go there. Stay with CONNECT THE WORLD.
ANDERSON: Well, it's 54 minutes past 7:00 here in Abu Dhabi. This is the moon this evening. Doesn't that look absolutely beautiful? The camera making it look rather red, but in fact, it is really rather yellow. We've had a glorious sunset here this evening, this Tuesday evening.
People, though, west of here have been looking to the skies for a chance of seeing this, the so-called Blood Moon is a lunar eclipse that turns the big cheese up there a lovely rusty hue, as you'll appreciate in these great pictures courtesy of NASA. Have we got those pictures?
Thousands of people, anyway, turned out at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles for what was a special viewing part of the eclipse. Let's get more on that from CNN's Paul Vercammen.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at the Griffith Observatory, they had their own sort of lunacy, in a good way, 2500 to 2,000 people gathered here to catch the lunar eclipse. You could see in the crowd, plenty of school children who are, of course, on break, and were not expected to show up at school tomorrow.
And then, amateur astronomers, Gene among them. And Gene, you had a lot of people come through and glimpse through this scope, and you, of course, also teach astronomy in middle school. What was it like for you tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it was absolutely fantastic. Couldn't have asked for more people, couldn't have asked for the reactions any better than what they were, and everyone enjoyed it, and I think I had more here than we had up on the roof.
VERCAMMEN: And what did it look like to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was spectacular. To watch it go through every phase, to see it go from total moon with all the whiteness to it, going into the actual total eclipse was outstanding.
VERCAMMEN: Now, there were some people who were referring to the fact that this was the first in four total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015. If you wanted to discuss omens or that sort of thing here, it was not the place to do it. They were just absolutely riveted on the astronomy and the pure science of it, and reveling in this total lunar eclipse.
Reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to you.
ANDERSON: Well, what could then be more apt for today's Parting Shots than a natural phenomenon that has connected parts of the world in wonder. CNN iReporters across North and South America have been sharing what are dramatic photos of the blood moon eclipse.
In the US state of Florida, iReporter Kenneth Ng used multiple exposures to capture this, the red moon as it moved across the sky. He says it made him wonder how many other people across the hemisphere were also looking up at the eclipse.
Well, iReporter Ian Russel took this shot from the resort city of Playa del Carmen in Mexico. You can just see the moon above the palm in the top right, along with the silhouette of a palm tree and a clear, starry sky.
In Miami, high school student Ahan Malhotra used a telescope to capture this, amazingly close to the blood moon. He says he and his father had been planning to watch the eclipse for months.
And in California, iReporter Jason Huang caught this dramatic shot of the moon and the clouds. He called it a peaceful and haunting sight, and we couldn't agree more.
I kind of tricked you earlier on because I showed you a picture of the blood moon and said it was ours. It wasn't. This is our moon this evening as we close out the show, 57 minutes past 7:00 here. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.