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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Putin: No discrimination in Sochi

January 18th, 2014
03:07 PM ET

It's now less than three weeks until the Sochi Winter Olympics begin, and preparations have not been without controversy. Russia has come under international pressure since its parliament passed a law last summer outlawing "gay propaganda", and one of the big questions has been how gay athletes and visitors will be treated when they arrive for the games.

Addressing volunteers near Sochi yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin downplayed these fears, stating that gay and lesbian visitors won't face prosecution as long as they "leave children in peace".

Becky asked CNN's correspondent Nic Robertson about the response to the President's remarks.

"The issue there of gay people coming to Russia – athletes and visitors – how are they going to be treated? He said they'll be treated properly. But of course there's a real concern here that while President Putin speaks like this many people take that language to sort of conflate his conflating the issue of homosexuality with paedophilia, and it has lead to a rise in abuses of gays in Russia right now."

Nic emphasized the importance of these games for Putin's domestic and international reputation. "A lot rides on this for him."

Becky also asked Nic about the general atmosphere around the city. "It's buzzing. Wherever you go in this city right now workers seem to be trying to get the last of the trees in, fill in the holes in the road, get the ground levelled out straight, put ramps up next to steps – they haven't finished putting on all the handrails if you will. So it really does seem to be a sort of race to get this place ready in three weeks."

Text: Putin says gays 'can feel safe' at Sochi Winter Olympics

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Filed under:  Olympics • Russia • Sochi

Moussa: Constitution doesn't exclude

January 15th, 2014
03:00 PM ET

Egypt's military-backed government is being put to the test, as voting on their new constitution continues. So far proceedings have been marred with unrest. At least nine people have died in clashes between supporters of ousted president Morsy and government security forces.

Veteran diplomat and former Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa headed the commission that drafted the constitution. Yesterday Becky asked him how he answers critics who say that the only thing this constitution does is legitimizes the very powerful and unquestioned position of the army in Egypt today.

"The clause about the defense minister will be deleted, because it is only for eight years and two presidential periods. If the progress that you are talking about and we are hoping for and working to achieve produces results it is certain that this clause will cease to exist. It is because of the circumstances prevailing in Egypt."

In an opinion piece in the New York Times Moussa claimed that his committee of 50 gave everyone a seat at the table, and that an invitation was extended to all Islamic groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

In response to her question about the impossibility of the Muslim Brotherhood being involved in the process when their organisation has been banned, Moussa replied; "Let me tell you that the constitution does not exclude any group, any individual, any citizen. The constitution caters to all Egyptians from all walks of life. Muslim Brotherhood members can run for a seat in the parliament, or field candidates in parliamentary elections or presidential elections. The constitution differs sharply from the previous one, which was called the 'Muslim Brotherhood constitution' that it excluded, it banned members of the previous regime from participating, from running for parliament, from running for elections."

Moussa also confirmed that if General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ran for Egyptian president he would support him. "I really believe that he is going to run but I cannot tell you that he has told me so. But all indications lead to that and let us see within the next few days or a week or so what kind of decision he is going to take. First of all he has to resign his post as Commander-in-Chief."

Observers are watching to see if participation is above 33%, that's the percentage of voters who turned out for the former Islamist backed constitution.

Voting is scheduled to finish at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT), although it remains unclear when results will be announced.

Text: Egypt votes on new constitution, tests legitimacy of military-backed government

Polar explorers get emergency food drop

January 13th, 2014
06:42 PM ET

Polar explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere have received an emergency food drop after running out of supplies on their way back from the South Pole. They set off last October in an attempt to retrace the ill-fated steps of Antartic explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

Saunders and L'Herpiniere have been planning and training for ten years in preparation for 110 days in temperatures as low as -50 degrees. Their goal was to make it to the South-Pole and back unassisted, but ultimately they ran into similar difficulties to Scott, who died after running out of supplies.  

Becky asked Paul Rose, Vice President of the Royal Geographic Society, whether this meant that their mission had failed.

"I think it's a great, unqualified success. It's a tremendous journey, 18,000 miles, and the fact that they had to get an air drop support, I mean you could almost have counted on it. It's so ambitious to do that journey totally unsupported that if I was a betting man I probably would have even betted on a bit of support. I mean why not? If Scott and his men had been in those circumstances they would have accepted an air drop too"

They're expected to complete their epic trip in mid-February.

Text: British explorer sets off on history-making expedition

Mikhail Khodorkovsky released from prison

December 23rd, 2013
02:02 PM ET

Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrived in Germany after Russian President Vladimir Putin released him Friday following more than 10 years in prison, the German Foreign Ministry said.

Khodorkovsky's son, Pavel, told CNN in a text message that he flew to Germany to meet his father.

In a statement following his release, Khodorkovsky said he asked Putin to pardon him on November 12, "and I am glad his decision was positive." He further said "the issue of admission of guilt was not raised" in the discussion.

He went on to personally thank those who followed his case and supported him and said he was "constantly thinking of those who continue to remain imprisoned."

Becky Anderson speaks to Pavel Khodorkovsky about the news his father has been granted amnesty less than a week after he told her about his doubts that the Amnesty law would result in his pardon.

Watch: Khodorkovsky: Amnesty unlikely for father 

Will Apollo collapse harm industry?

December 23rd, 2013
12:55 PM ET

Many people with tickets for shows over the busy holiday period will want to know that they are not at risk of falling victim to a similar offstage drama like the ceiling collapse that happened at the Apollo.

Watch: Witness: Actors on stage said 'watch out'

There are nearly 50 major theaters in the West End of London, of which 26 are at least 90 years old.

The Society of London Theatre, which represents the theater industry in the capital, sought Friday to reassure those alarmed by the events.

Becky speaks to Mark White of London's Theater Safety Committee about safety regulations and whether the incident that the Apollo theater will have a knock on effect.

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