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Thai Military Stages Coup; Calls For Investigation After Two Palestinian Teenagers Killed In West Bank; China, Russia Veto UN Security Council Resolution On Syria

Aired May 22, 2014 - 11:00   ET


JONATHAN MANN, HOST: The 12th successful coup since the dawn of democracy in Thailand. As the military takes full control and calls a curfew, we'll ask whether people power has any chance in such a politically polarized country.

Also ahead, dozens die as terror strikes in western China. Beijing vows to contain a conflict far from the corridors of power.

And, India looks to the future. We'll ask a panel of experts about the challenges and opportunities facing Narendra Modi as he takes on a very big task.

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


MANN: Thanks for joining us.

Thailand's military seizes control of the country just two days after declaring marital law. The army chief says he made the decision after it became clear that rival political factions couldn't agree on how to govern.


GEN. PRAYUTH CHAN-OCHA, THAI ARMY CHIEF (through translator): For the ambassadors, consulates and international organizations, including foreigners living in the kingdom of Thailand, the peace maintaining committee will protect you. and I insisted that the international relations with other countries and organizations remain as usual.


MANN: It's the latest attempt to calm six months of political unrest. But the move doesn't come as a surprise to many Thais who witnessed a dozen successful coups over just the past few decades.

Well, let's bring in our Paula Hancocks who is on the ground in Bangkok joining us now live. Paula, what is the military saying and doing. and at last word you were with the protesters, what are they doing?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've heard from General Prayuth who is in charge of Thailand now, he said that he was concerned about violence. He thought he had to restore peace and order. And so in order to do that, he felt that he had to call for this military coup.

Now bearing in mind, on Tuesday, they brought in Martial law and said they wouldn't bring in a coup. He didn't think it would achieve what was necessary. But now, Thursday, it has in fact happened.

A curfew is in place in just the last couple of minutes. We have had to come back to our hotel. Everybody has had to go back to their homes and that curfew will be in place from 10:00 p.m. local time until 5:00 a.m. in the morning.

Now what we are hearing and what we were seeing from these two protest camps is that people are going home, people are clearing the street.

We were just at the so-called Yellow Shirts camp. This was the anti- government protesters camp. And there was a very jovial scene. It was a sense of victory in this camp. They wanted the government gone. Thanks to the military, the government has gone. And so they really felt like after months of protesting they had achieved what they had set out to achieve.

A very different scene, obviously, at the so-called Red Shirts, the pro-government. They feel that their democratically elected government has been pushed out. And there is some anger that this has happened.

MANN: Now Thais have been through this before, a lot, what is this going to mean, do you think, to the everyday lives of ordinary people?

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly the curfew being in place will have an impact. And it did back in 2006. You know we do have precedence for it. So even though officially we are not being told what will happen next by the military, we can base our assumptions on the precedence -- 18 attempted coups in just the last eight decades alone. So certainly this is something that Thais have been to through before.

And driving through the streets as people were trying to rush home before this curfew was in place, there was no sense of panic, there wasn't much military presence on the streets. There was -- there was some on this one particular road we did see humbly blocking the way, because there was military personnel a bit further down.

But it's certainly not a sense of panic here in Bangkok. As you say, people have been through this before. And this is not just Bangkok as well that this is applying to, this is the whole country.

But of course it's very difficult for us to be able to report to you what is happening in the rest of the country, because all of the state and non-state televisions have been taken off air. All they are showing is the army channel at this point. And in fact CNN, BBC, a lot of the other international channels have also been taken off air within Thailand itself -- John.

MANN: Paula Hancocks live in Bangkok as the curfew falls. Thanks very much.

60-year-old General Prayuth Chan-Ocha has been commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army since 2010. Prayuth insists the army is political neutral. He's seen as a royalist, though, close to the palace. As deputy army chief in 2010, Prayuth was instrumental in the military crackdown on protsts by Red Shirts, the supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra even now.

A city in northwestern China, notorious for ethnic tensions, is reeling from an attack that's killed at least 31 people. The Xinhua News Agency says people in two vehicles plowed through an open market in the capital of Xinjiang province and tossed explosives out of the windows.

Leaders in Beijing call it a serious terror incident and say they will punish those responsible. CNN's David McKenzie is in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi and joins us now.

What more can you tell us about what happened?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we can tell you, Jonathan, is that this was a deadly attack. It happened in the early morning hours just before 8:00, in fact, when many elderly shoppers in particular, witnesses say, were out at these open air markets. And they say that these two SUVs came from northern to south, close to the center of town, and then plowed indiscriminately into people and then several explosives were thrown out of those vehicles at the crowd. Many of the witnesses heard what they describe as an enormous sound first, and then the flames shooting into the air. There were terrible scenes on social media by eyewitness accounts showing dead bodies strewn on the ground here.

From my understanding, this is the worst attack of its kind here in China in decades. And it comes after several similar incidents in recent months -- Jonathan.

MANN: What's happening in that part of the country? I ask, because the government in Beijing clearly blames -- I guess they identify them as Islamic separatists. Are these the kind of jihadists that we're seeing at war in different parts of the world, or is this really local and homegrown?

MCKENZIE: Jonathan, it depends on who you speak to. And in fact we need to be careful here, because this incident today hasn't yet been claimed by anyone, nor have they described who exactly caused it, from the government standpoint.

But there have been several incidents hear in Xinjiang. In fact, the most recent in the very end of April when there was a suicide attack and knife attack at the train station here. That was blamed by the government on Uighur minority separatists.

Now it depends on who you ask as to what these groups are. The Chinese government says these are groups like ETAM, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which they say is a typical pan-Jihadi movement, which is looking to separate from the rest of China.

Though, groups in the Uighur diaspora, they say that this is all overblown and these are just individuals who have grievances with the government and they, at times, been forced into violent action because they've been pushed out of their livelihoods by the influx of Han Chinese.

So, it's up for debate. And we don't know yet what this attack is all about, but we do know that it was a particularly violent one. Given the fact there were two vehicles and the way they did this, it appears to have been at -- on some level, a coordinated attack and very unusual in China until the last few months for civilians to be indiscriminately targeted in these kind of attacks.

MANN: Now you -- David McKenzie, live for us in Xinjiang. Thanks very much.

Teachers across Nigeria are fed up. They're staging a one day strike to bring attention to the hundreds of kidnapped girls and the dangers of their own profession.

The teacher's union in Nigeria tells the Reuters news agency that more than 170 teachers have been killed by the militant group Boko Haram in two northeastern states. And they're feeling threatened.

Vladimir Duthiers is live in Abuja where he's joined protesters calling for stronger action to find those girls.

Vlad, another protest, tell us about it. Are they getting a big group today?

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dan, we are at this protest. There is actually a fairly large group. We're looking at about 200 people. And it's not a massive group, but these are the same people that have been coming in day in, day out, congregating at 3:00 in the center of Abuja and protesting what they say the Nigerian government's inability to bring these 200 plus girls that were kidnapped from their dormitories now more than five weeks ago.

We know that the United States has said that they're sending 80 U.S. personnel that are going to be based in Chad to help the Nigerian military by flying manned and unmanned surveillance flights over the area where the girl is supposed to be taken, but the protesters here say that even though the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has said that there are 20,000 troops dedicated to this search, they haven't seen anything done to bring these girls home. And they're angry. And today they're taking their message straight to the presidential villa, which we are just about coming up to at this point, John.

MANN: Now, as we talk, is there any news at all any word of progress in finding the girls? Any arrests reported by the government?

DUTHIERS: Absolutely none. We haven't heard of any, not that we're aware of. In fact, we spoke last week to a mother whose daughter was kidnapped during that fateful night, and she -- we showed her the video that was released by Abubakar Shekau, the supposed leader of Boko Haram, and she said that she had never seen it before. We were the first to show it to her. She said nobody from the government or the military or anybody had ever spoken to her. So this is the first time she'd ever seen that video.

And that's the message we've been hearing over and over again, John, from residents in Chibok, residents in Mairugoori (ph). And as you know, John, there are just this week there are multiple attacks in northeastern Nigeria that appear to be the modus operandi of Boko Haram.

So even with this expanded military presence in the northeast of the country, it appears that whoever is doing this, because Boko Haram hasn't claimed responsibility for these recent attacks, but it appears that people are able to attack with impunity and at will, John.

MANN: So let me ask you about why the Americans are heading to Chad. What's the logic behind that deployment?

DUTHIERS: Well, from what we understand, a lot of this was decided during that (inaudible) summit, when the leaders -- France, Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin along with the European Union and the United States, representatives got together to decide on a plane of action, or regional plan of action.

The Pentagon spokesman yesterday speaking to Jake Tapper said it just made sense for them to be based in Chad, which is where they feel they'll be able to have the most impact.

If you recall, John, the area where these girls are supposedly being kept, according to U.S. intelligence reports, they may have been split up and trafficked into neighboring Cameroon, Chad, Niger.

Boko Haram has used Chad and Niger as a means by which to move freely between those countries and Nigeria. And it's a very porous border, very lacking in security. And so the United States feels that they'll probably have a better impact facing their manned and unmanned flights from that area, John.

MANN: Vladimir Duthiers in Abuja, thanks very much.

Still to come, dramatic images of two Palestinian teens shot and killed in the West Bank. They're triggering international outrage. We'll explain coming up. And the UN security council votes on whether to allow the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Syria. Don't hold your breath.


MANN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann. Thanks for being with us once again.

We're going to share a story with you now that you may find disturbing to see. It's about the shooting deaths of two Palestinian teenagers during rock throwing protests on the West Bank last week.

And CNN's Ivan Watson shows us it comes down to two very different accounts. The Israelis say their soldiers were only firing rubber-coated bullets, essentially ball bearings with a thin coating of rubber designed to hurt, but not penetrate.

But video at the scene apparently shows the two teens hit with what's called live fire, conventional bullets, that doctors say pass through their bodies and killed them. Here's Ivan's report.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It had been a day of skirmishing. Palestinian youth hurling stones, Israeli soldiers and police firing tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

Then, caught on camera, the shooting deaths of two Palestinian teenagers, both gunned down on the same patch of asphalt, the second an hour and 13 minutes after the first.

The Israeli Defense Force tells CNN that, quote, "a preliminary inquiry indicates that no live fire was shot at all on Thursday during the riots in Betunyah and we have to determine what caused this result."

CNN producer Kareem Qatar (ph) was at the village of Betunyah in the occupied West Bank much of that day filming the back and forth clashes.

Among those seen on CNN's video, was 17-year-old Nadim Nawara (ph) throwing a rock. He had gone to the protest after attending school in the morning.

At 1:45 p.m., a security camera captures the moment when Nawara (ph) was fatally shot as he walks towards the Israeli positions. Another camera shows him rushed to an ambulance.

A medical report says the bullet entered his chest and exited his back.

At the precise moment when Nawara (ph) was shot, CNN's camera was rolling, filming an Israeli shoulder shooting his rifle at the Palestinians.

And then demonstrators carrying the mortally wounded teenager to the ambulance. He later died in hospital.

The shootings were filmed by this little private security camera mounted to this building right here, which the owner tells us operates 24 hours a day for the protection of his home, his family and his business.

As for the boys, the first one was shot and mortally wounded right here.

At 2:58 p.m., the security camera captured the second shooting when 16-year-old Mohammed Ode Solame (ph) was shot as he walked away from Israeli positions.

Doctors pronounced him dead on arrival at the hospital with a single bullet wound that entered his back and passed out through his chest.

We met the grieving father of the first shooting victim, Nadim Nawara (ph), at St. George's School in Ramallah where relatives and classmates are in mourning.

C.M. Nawara (ph) shows me the bullet hole left in the bloody backpack his son was wearing.

You think this is the bullet hole.


WATSON: Inside the backpack, a bloodstained textbook and a bullet, not a rubber coated projectile.

You think this is the bullet that killed your son?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, of course, of course. Inside the bag. I found it inside the bag.

WATSON: And who do you think killed your son?


WATSON: Israeli soldier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, Israeli soldier.

WATSON: The Israeli Defense Force insists only rubber-coated bullets were fired that day. A United Nations spokesman expressed what he called great alarm at the shooting of the two teenagers whom he says were unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Betunyah, in the West Bank.


MANN: Ivan Watson joins us now from Jerusalem with more on this story.

I'm just struck that that man was holding the bullet that took the life of his son. That's an image you've shared with the world. You shared these videos with the world. The videos are out, your report has been seen. What are the Israelis saying?

WATSON: Well, the Israeli military says its investigation into these deaths is continuing right now. An Israeli defense force spokesman has looked at our report and at our exclusive video that was filmed on May 15 at Betunyah at the moment when Nadim Nawara (ph) was shot. If you recall at that moment our camera is focusing on about half dozen Israeli police and soldiers, two of whom fire shots in the directions of the Palestinians.

An Israeli lieutenant colonel tells me that the weapons were fitted with tubes at the end of them that are made specifically for firing these plastic, rubber-coated projectiles that are not designed to penetrate bodies, but to hurt them, but not to kill, basically.

When I asked was it possible that there could have been a malfunction, that a different kind of round could have gone through that weapons, the lieutenant colonel told me he's not aware of any malfunction at this time.

Regarding that metal slug that the father of the first victim showed us, John, the Israeli lieutenant colonel said that the Israeli military would like to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority to do some kind of ballistics report, basically get their hands on that bullet so that they can do their own research.

The father himself tells me, he is not going to let that bullet go unless it's done in front of cameras to some kind of impartial investigative body. He of course wants justice for the death of his eldest son.

MANN: He's not the only one who wants an impartial investigative body. Both the United States and the European Union are calling for a more profound investigation.

What are the Israelis saying about that?

WATSON: Well, that's right, the U.S. State Department on Wednesday coming out and saying that they wanted a transparent and prompt investigation into the possibility of a disproportionate use of force.

The Israeli government, the foreign minister has come out and said that this would be an internal process, an internal investigation performed by the Israelis.

In the meantime, the United Nations, its agency in the West Bank, has come out with its own statement reporting a, quote, "sharp increase" in the number of fatalities in the occupied West Bank within the last year-and-a- half during Israeli security operations. The United Nations saying that in 2013, there were at least 17 Palestinians killed during Israeli security operations as opposed to no Palestinians killed in 2012 and so far this year the first five months of this year, including these two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, at least seven Palestinians killed -- John.

MANN: Ivan Watson live from Jerusalem, thanks very much.

Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

Coming up, an effort to refer allegations of war crimes in Syria to the International Criminal Court failed just a short time ago. We'll take you live to the United Nations to explore why.

And Becky Anderson sits down for her latest cafe chat, this time in New Delhi to find out what Indians think about their new prime minister.


MANN: Welcome back, you're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. I'm Jonathan Mann.

A resolution to investigate war crimes in Syria has failed in the UN security council. Both Russia and China vetoed the proposal despite calls to address allegations of torture and chemical attacks and other atrocities in Syria.

Let's go now to our Richard Roth standing by at the United Nations.

We've seen the vote, I guess we saw the veto. And I guess none of us should be all that surprised. This is what, the fourth time?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a measure, fourth on Syria, the issue, but first time that members of the security council tried to officially refer, as its known, the Syria crisis to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. So, yes, it was known that it would be vetoed, but countries such as France and others thought it was still significant, quote, to expose Russia. This is a vote, as it happened about a half hour or go, 45 minutes ago.

South Korea, the current president of the security council. You can see 13 countries voting in favor of this resolution, which didn't specifically single out or target any group or the government in Syria.

France said it wanted to woo as much support as possible. You're about to see Russia and then China veto this resolution. They've done that several times, as we've discussed on Syria.

Frustration by France and the United States and the UK. Foreign Secretary Hague in London saying he's appalled by these vetoes. Ambassador Samantha Power of the U.S. denouncing the action, saying it just provides cover for the murders in Syria.

France, which proposed this resolution, extremely disappointed.


GERARD ARAUD, FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): We will return this council its honor, by allowing it to say the right thing by (inaudible) the morals that go beyond (inaudible). Because beyond this, we share the same values, the same indignation and the same determination. The time has come to say so. The time has come to prove it.


ROTH: The French ambassador wanting to give the honor back to the security council on this issue, which Jonathan as you know, has been deadlocked for years, very little agreement on the way forward in Syria -- Jonathan.

MANN: Richard Roth live at the United Nations, thanks very much.

The latest world headlines are just ahead. Plus, hope's, dreams and fears, we'll find out what's ahead for India under the Bharatiya Janata Party and its popular leader Narendra Modi in the latest addition of our cafe chat.


MANN: This is Connect the World. A look now at our top stories this hour.

In northwestern China, at least 31 people were killed in a morning attack on an open air market. The Xinhua News Agency says a pair of SUVs plowed into shoppers and the attackers tossed explosives out of the windows. It happened in the city of Urumqi where tensions have long been high between indigenous Uighurs and the ethnic Han Chinese.

And update now on a story from Iran. Six Iranians arrested for appearing in the YouTube clip dancing to the Pharrell Williams song Happy have now been released. The videos director is reportedly still behind bars.

Voters in the European Union will be going to the polls over the next four days. The UK and The Netherlands have begun the process. British Prime Minister David Cameron among today's first voters. 28 countries will elect 751 members of the European parliament.

A nationwide curfew is now in place across Thailand. The military declared the curfew just hours after seizing power in a coup. Schools have just been ordered closed for three days. The country has seen six straight months of political turmoil.

Thailand has also see real or attempted coups since the end of absolute monarchy 82 years ago. Unrest is seemingly woven into the modern history of the nation. Well, for more on what's happening now, we're joined by political scientist Thitinan Pongsudhirak. Thanks so much for being with us. What do you make of this? Is this really going to solve any problem that Thailand is enduring right now?

THITINAN PONGSUDHIRAK, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, CHULALONGKORN UNIVERSITY: In the immediate term, it's going to reset the political scene. We have a curfew now in place. The protesters from both sides have been disbanded and told to go home. Some people have been detained. So, in the very short term, there's some clearance on the political scenes.

But in the medium and longer term, I'm afraid that we'll be looking at a lot of turmoil ahead. There's likely to be opposition, resistance, and defiance against the military coup very soon. So, the coup-makers will have to resort to some very autocratic means to succeed.

MANN: Now, I want to ask you about that, because presumably the reaction in Bangkok will be very different from the reaction elsewhere in the country. This seems to be a battle, almost, for control of the country between the traditional power center in Bangkok and the outside regions.

PONGSUDHIRAK: This is a long-standing power struggle that has gone on for more than a decade now. It's centered on the electoral democracy that we have. The traditional elites, they find it is defective, it's flawed, it's full of abuse of power and conflicts of interest and corruptions.

But on the other hand, the pro-democracy, the people behind the Thaksin Shinawatra side, they rely on elections to remain in power, to stay in power. So, the struggle has been ongoing, and now we're hitting a kind of a high point now with this military coup, because it has brought the military out, and now the military will be forced to --


PONGSUDHIRAK: -- and somehow to keep the Thaksin side away, and yet to come up with a government in the --


MANN: Are you still with us? We may have lost our satellite link there. We were talking about the ouster of the Thaksin government. And what Thailand now has is a military government, and we keep seeing the face of a man who's not a household name around the world, General Prayuth.

What can you tell us about him? Is he the one running the country now? Is there a circle of military figures running the country? Who's actually in charge?

PONGSUDHIRAK: There is a typically -- a military coup council, so he's accompanied by the other chiefs of the armed forces, the navy, the air force, the police, and so on. But General Prayuth, the army chief, is the main man in charge now. It's his responsibility he's doing. He was the one to make the announcement.

He tried to broker a peace deal, but it did not work. He came up with martial law, and now a full coup. So now, the onus is really on him to try to somehow steer Thailand forward.

What is worrisome is that when he made the coup announcement, he did not make reference to the return to democratic rule. So, this could be seen Thailand for an indefinite period in this kind of mode of military rule.

MANN: Again, I apologize, we seem to be having some satellite problems. I don't know if you can hear me. We're having trouble hearing you. Let me ask just one last question and see if you can respond.

What's this going to mean beyond Thailand's borders? Because the region obviously depends economically on Thailand, but the lesson in military involvement in politics is hardly lost on generals elsewhere in that part of Asia.

PONGSUDHIRAK: This is a setback for Thai democracy, and it's a setback for democracies in the region and in the world more broadly. This does not set a good example. Thailand was on the -- road to a democratic consolidation, but it has gone backwards.

So now, we have to try to find ways to repair the damage, to try to regain democratic rule and find a way forward again. Because Thailand is a key player in the region, and it's also an example in the world's democracies.

MANN: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, thanks so much for talking with us.

Now, you heard Paula Hancocks report earlier that CNN has been taken off the air in Thailand. With that in mind, you'll see more posts about the country on in the coming hours. The people of Thailand obviously deserve to know what's happening in their own country. CNN is committed to telling them.

Check out the CNN International Facebook page and the @CNNI twitter account for more information as well.

Another story we're following for you today out of Asia, the possibility of an historic first in India-Pakistan relations. That's because India's prime minister-elect, Narendra Modi, seen here on the left, has invited his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, to attend his swearing-in ceremony next week. Islamabad hasn't responded to the invitation yet, but says it will have a response for Modi soon.

The outreach to Pakistan is one of Mr. Modi's first moves as new leader of India, and it comes nearly a week after his party's landslide victory set off wild celebrations across the country. But where India is headed under Modi, and what can we expect to see?

Our Becky Anderson sat down with three leading experts in New Delhi a day after Modi's victory to gauge the mood on the ground. All that in our latest cafe chat.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Mr. Modi has a clear mandate for change. This was a sweeping victory. How does he sort out the economy?

SUHAAN MUKERJI, LAWYER: I think for true economic reform and to remove crony capitalism, we need some very, very fundamental changes in the way our institutions are ordered, licenses and permits are given. How does transparency work? We need to create a much more efficient tax system.

I think you need to also look at how do you bring in technology and research and development into our industry? Because manufacturing has to pick up. And if you have to carry India forward, you need to carry everyone and create jobs and employment for everybody.

ANDERSON: We've talked about this being a character who is business- friendly and investor-friendly, but is he social friendly?

INDIRA JAISING, SUPREME COURT OF INDIA: So, we all want economic growth, but we don't want crony capitalism, we don't want artificial growth. We want sustainable growth.

ANDERSON: Power corrupts. How do we prevent --


ANDERSON: -- this man becoming as corrupt, as it were, as everybody else?

SWAMY: Well, by two ways --

ANDERSON: It's endemic, here, to a certain extent.

SWAMY: No. There are ways of solving the problem to a great extent. First of all, the element of discretionary power should be reduced.

ANDERSON: Say what you mean there.

SWAMY: When a minister can decide to say yes or no.

ANDERSON: But that's how he's run his politics and economics --

SWAMY: No, no, no, no, no.

ANDERSON: -- in the state of Gujarat.

SWAMY: Not at all. Not at all. In fact, that's quite the contrary.

ANDERSON: I've had a look at the BJP manifesto. I was pretty shocked to see that there was practically nothing on the issue of women's rights. It's a crucial issue that just seems to have been swept aside. Nothing on the campaign trail.

JAISING: I couldn't agree with you more. In my opinion, one of the major make-and-break points of this election was the rape incident, the number of young people that came out on the street to protest the gang rape.

ANDERSON: Remind us about that incident.

JAISING: It was a gang rape,which occurred in the center of Delhi. And you know, the people of this country have never forgiven those who were in power at that time, be it the Congress, be it anybody. It was an international movement. The world was watching.

And in spite of that, you have nothing in your manifesto about women? And sorry, you get a zero on that score.

ANDERSON: Zero on women's rights for the BJP going forward. It's an important issue, come on.

SWAMY: We want very strong laws. We want, in fact, to modify the law so that juveniles who commit rape will be treated as adults.

JAISING: OK. It was the BJP which opposed marital rape being made a crime as recently as March 2013. It's not, by the way, an offense in India, OK? We demanded that it should be an offense in India, and the BJP opposed it.

ANDERSON: Suhaan, what is your position on women's rights and the social rights, and are you disappointed that on the campaign trail, at least, we saw so little?

MUKERJI: The diversity question is very important. I think I'd like the BJP to come out and look at passing the women's reservation bill for parliament. They have a majority there.

I think a big question that they're going to face is the rights of homosexuals and the LGBT community and what they're going to do. They oppose that and they believe in the criminalization --

ANDERSON: When you say they oppose that, you oppose, do you, as a BJP -- that's an allegation -- homosexuals and LGBT?

SWAMY: We -- yes. We want the law as it stands today.

ANDERSON: In 2014 you oppose homosexuality and LGBT across the board?

SWAMY: Yes. We consider this as a disorder that needs to be cured. We don't accept it as a choice.

ANDERSON: So, there will be no inclusivity there.

SWAMY: Of course not. We consider it a malady. We consider it as a genetic flaw. So, we want to rectify it.

ANDERSON: Interesting. Indira?

JAISING: Why doesn't he look at South Africa? Look at the constitution, which guarantees sexual diversity and human rights. That brings me to the question of human rights, and I think it's also to do with foreign policy.

I would like to throw the ball into the court of Western democracies, and I would like to say that what you have here is a many who will be sworn in as prime minister, but who has not yet answered to the genocide which took place in 2002.

Now, my question to the international community, to the human rights community, to Amnesty and to Human Rights Watch is going to be this: that yes, the mandate, so-called, of the people of India might have been for him as prime minister, and as I said, he has the legality on his side. But will the international community forget about it?

ANDERSON: Just sweep up for me very briefly just where Mr. Modi stands in all of that Gujarat allegation, as it were. And then pick up from where Indira was.

SWAMY: Well, how the international community responds is largely going to be pragmatic, and I think they're going to look at their economic interests in the way that they will respond. You can't ignore a $2 trillion economy, which is going to grow and could become in the top two economies of the world.

And I think the US is going to evaluate it in terms of how their business interests are going to move forward. He is the darling of business, and I think that's how most democracies around the world are going to engage with him.

ANDERSON: I was fascinated to see on Friday that one of the first --


ANDERSON: -- to congratulate the prime minister here in India was Nawaz Sharif. Were you surprised, Suhaan?

MUKERJI: No, I wasn't surprised because I think it would be obvious that he would call. And I think if we have to move our foreign policy forward, we need to look at our neighborhood first.

ANDERSON: This has been a fascinating discussion. Indira, your final thoughts?

JAISING: If you want to know what the future holds, we may be heading for a very deadly mixture of poverty with fundamentalism.


MEKERJI: I think the vision going forward is that you're going to have a government that can't hide behind the fact of coalition, polls, and pressures. So, that's going to be very interesting for Indian democracy, to see how an accountable government functions.


MANN: Fascinating chat. Where do you think India is headed? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to know. We want to hear your ideas. Do get in touch with us,, have your say. And you can tweet me @JonathanMannCNN.

And finally, in today's Parting Shots, a bread-lover's dream, maybe. Fresh, hot baguettes any time of day or night. A baker in France has made that dream a reality. Jean-Louis Hecht's prize-winning invention provides hot loaves, one for a euro each.

Every day, bakers load the vending machines with pre-cooked baguettes, which are heated before they're dispensed. Hecht tells Reuters he came up with the idea to protect his family time, which he says was often interrupted by customers demanding fresh bread at odd hours.

So far, 20 machines have been installed in France, four in Russia. Both our countries that really like good bread. So the question now is whether Hecht's baguettes will cut it.

I'm Jonathan Mann, you've been watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for joining us.


LEONE LAKHANI, HOST: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, Egypt is getting ready for its second presidential election in two years. Will it bring political and economic stability?

And with controversial elections coming up in Ukraine, we speak to the CEO of Russia's second-largest oil company and ask how turmoil in the region is affecting business.

Welcome to the program, I'm Leone Lakhani sitting in for John Defterios. Now, next week, Egyptians head to the polls to pick yet another president. Former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is running for office after deposing Egypt's first freely-elected leader, former president Mohamed Morsy following mass public protests against the Muslim Brotherhood leader.

Egypt has suffered bloody internal strife since the overthrow of Morsy, with hundreds of people either killed or imprisoned in a fierce crackdown on dissent. Still, el-Sisi remains a favorite among army supporters and anti-Islamists, but will a new face and power, the third in under three years, be enough to turn around this economically-troubled country's fortunes? Reza Sayah has more.



REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the 2011 revolution, Egyptians have seen near non-stop protests, the toppling of two presidents, six elections, and a seemingly endless political crisis.

SAYAH (on camera): What Egyptians haven't seen yet is something they've been demanding all along, a better economy, one that gives them a better life.

SAYAH (voice-over): Both of Egypt's presidential candidates insist they can deliver. Former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pledges new roads, housing, airports, jobs, and an end to the energy crisis.

Sisi's lone opponent, left-leaning politician Hamdeen Sabahi promises millions of dollars of investments to reopen government factories, create new jobs, build new housing, and improve health care.

SAYAH (on camera): Those are obviously lofty promises, but one thing the candidates haven't done yet is explain how they're going to get everything done.

Is either candidate offering any specifics?

ANGUS BLAIR, ECONOMIST: Not yet. That's the downside. But I think the pressure is ramping on both of them to come out with clearer plans, and that includes el-Sisi.

SAYAH (voice-over): Cairo-based economist Angus Blair says to deliver on campaign promises, Egypt's next president must attract investors both inside and outside Egypt, through large-scale economic reform.

BLAIR: It's not going to be easy, but the problems are symmetrical. But I have to say, the structural issues in Egypt are enormous.

SAYAH: Egypt's problems include rising food prices, unemployment at roughly 14 percent, inflation, and a crippling budget deficit of around 12 percent of GDP. A critical step to recovery, economists say, is cutting costly food and fuel subsidies that eat up roughly one third of the budget.

SAYAH (on camera): Is it a must to get rid of some of these subsidies --


SAYAH: -- to get the economy to turn around.

BLAIR: An absolute must.

SAYAH: It has to happen?

BLAIR: It has to happen.


SAYAH (voice-over): For Egypt's poor, cutting subsidies is a tough pill to swallow. To ease the impact, Blair says Egypt's next leader must launch projects to help the masses, like mass transport and affordable housing. Projects that can be kickstarted by billions of aid from Gulf Arab states.

BLAIR: If the right policy's in place, Egypt could respond quickly. But changing sentiment is the key by putting the right policies in place, the right people in place to implement them to show that something is changing.


SAYAH: Only then, analysts say, can Egypt's next president truly improve the economy and meet the demands of millions of Egyptians still waiting for a better life.


LAKHANI: So, election promises will soon need to translate into action for Egypt's 80-plus million people. But enticing and retaining foreign investment is also key to Egypt's turnaround. Karim Helal is the chairman of Abu Dhabi's Islamic Bank in Egypt, and he joins me now.


LAKHANI: Let me put some numbers to you. The IMF forecasts 2.3 percent growth for Egypt this year. That's slightly better than last year, but Egypt's targeting just over 3 percent. Now, is that even feasible, given the political instability we've seen over the past couple of years?

KARIM HELAL, CHAIRMAN, ABU DHABI ISLAMIC BANK CAPITAL, EGYPT: I think the estimates for this year, 2014 that is, is 3.3 percent growth in GDP. And yes, it does look a bit challenging. It is, actually, quite challenging.

Whether or not we will achieve it remains to be seen. My personal opinion is we probably will be just under the 3 percent, which in itself would not be a bad thing, given the turmoils we've been going through over the last year or so.

LAKHANI: The budget deficit is crippling, about 12 percent of GDP. But in terms of foreign investment, the numbers are improving. Now, the lucrative tourism sector, a key earner of foreign currency, is slowly coming back, although visitor numbers are still not at the same levels as before the 2011 revolution.

And foreign direct investment was up slightly in the last quarter compared to the year before. Now, much of that is due to the billions of dollars pledged by the Gulf states to prop up the economy. But is Egypt too dependent on that aid?

HELAL: I think we have to be realistic. Over the last year or more, we -- our economy has been more or less at a standstill. We have sustained considerable decline in one of our main foreign currency earners: tourism.

So, yes, it would have been extremely difficult, more difficult for us to go through that period without the aid that has come through, there's no question about that.

LAKHANI: So, at the end of the day, all these numbers, all these plans are immaterial without the political stability, as we've said.

HELAL: All what we see, all the projections, all our aspirations, our optimism, if you will, the interest that we are seeing from investors all over the place, is contingent upon political stability, on security, on the rule of law.


LAKHANI: Coming up, with Russian oil giant Lukoil's decision to move its international hub to Dubai, our John Defterios sits down with the company's president to ask about his expansion plans in the Middle East.


LAKHANI: Russian oil giant Lukoil has exploration projects in more than a dozen countries worldwide, including several in Iraq. But since last year, it's been managing all of its overseas operations from Dubai. And John Defterios sat down with the company's president and asked him how that move has changed business in the Middle East.


ANDREY KUZYAEV, PRESIDENT OF LUKOIL OVERSEAS (through translator): Middle East is a key region for our growth. We have invested in two projects located in Iraq. We have a large exploration project near Saudi Arabia, and we are going to have more projects in the Middle East. So, Dubai just became a new center point for our corporate service center.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: The ultimate goal is 1.2 million barrels a day in West Qurna in Iraq, but it's about a tenth of that now. When can we see full production taking place?

KUZYAEV (through translator): So, the current production is not anymore 120,000 barrels a day, but 150,000 barrels per day. By the end of this year or beginning of the next year, we are going to achieve a new production plateau for the early oil phase, which is 400,000 barrels a day.

So by now, we have already invested about $4 billion, and we still will have to invest about $36 billion more.

DEFTERIOS: It's extraordinary, $36 billion on a service contract. It's not a very generous contract. Why would you put so much money into such a project?

KUZYAEV (through translator): We think this project is really attractive. We are going to have a profit of about $5 billion and an internal rate of return at 15 percent.

DEFTERIOS: People see all the lack of security, 3,000 killings in 2014. Does it affect business at all where you operate?

KUZYAEV (through translator): Security is a priority aspect for us. Up to date, we have zero cases of kidnapping and zero terrorist attacks in our contract area. We know that there is hard times in Iraq for the Iraqi people. We think that now stability in the country is better.

DEFTERIOS: You're talking about new projects in the Middle East. Beyond Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, what are you looking at today?

KUZYAEV (through translator): So, after we started production in the West Qurna 2 field in Iraq, we are going to enter new exploration projects in Iraq. One of them is Block 10. We also are considering several projects in Iraq. We have discovered fields. One of them is Nasiriya and some others. In Saudi Arabia, we are considering a gas project. In Egypt, we are looking for no extension.

DEFTERIOS: But what conditions are you looking for to make new investments in Egypt?

KUZYAEV (through translator): Our project in Egypt is not that large. We have spent about 20 years in Egypt to date. We are always looking for new opportunities for investment. As soon as economic and political stability in Egypt becomes better, we will be ready to make new investments.

DEFTERIOS: President Putin's interactions with Ukraine, give us an assessment about how people are responding to a company like Lukoil. Does it change business at all because of the tensions in Ukraine.

KUZYAEV (through translator): I can say that we have not introduced any changes in our activities overseas. We are pursuing our strategy and our objectives as they were previously set. I hope that this conflict would stop and we would get back to the peace.

DEFTERIOS: Some describe this as the 21st century Cold War between the United States and Russia, which includes Europe in between. Is this a fair assessment?

KUZYAEV (through translator): It is hard for me to say because I spend much of my time in the Middle East, but regarding this, I would say our leaders would be better -- would better find some peaceful ways of rhetoric.


LAKHANI: That's it for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. I'm Leone Lakhani, thanks for watching.