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One Day Until Rio; Central London Knife Attack Likely Random, Says Metropolitan Police; African Start-up: Leti Arts; Unlucking Mystery of Zika; Fears of Disunity in Trump Campaign. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired August 4, 2016 - 11:00:00   ET



[11:00:35] MICHAEL PHELPS, U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMER: I don't know if I have ever competed in a clean sport and it's upsetting.


JONATHAN MANN, HOST: With one day to go, a doping scandal still dog's Rio's preparations for the Olympic Games. We hear how all those athletes

going for gold are being affected. We are still waiting for an International Olympic Committee a decision on Russian athletes which could

come any hour now. We are live outside Russia house in Rio in just a moment.

Also ahead, a deadly knife attack in central London just one day after the British capital unveiled it was beefing up its police presence.



TRUMP: I turn on the news and I see $400 million being shipped in cash.


MANN: A secret U.S. cash transfer to Iran back in the spotlight, seized upon by the Republican

candidate for the White House.

Thank you for joining us. We'll have more on those stories in a moment, but first officials

in Dubai are investigating what caused Emirates flight EK-521 to skid on the runway, then burst into flames Wednesday. One firefighter died trying

to put out the blaze.

Tributes are pouring in for Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi with Dubai's government honoring his death, in its words, while saving the lives of

others. Miraculously, all 300 passengers and crew on board were able to evacuate the plane with only some minor injuries.

Now some of them are speaking out. CNN's Jon Jensen spoke with one of the passengers about their terrifying experience.


JON JENSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A terrifying landing in Dubai for the 300 passenger and crew on Emirates flight 521.

Abraham Thomas was on board the plane.

ABRAHAM THOMAS, PASSENGER; I cannot imagine I'm still alive.

JENSEN: The 57-year-old says everything was normal on the approach until the plane began to lift.

THOMAS: All of a sudden I noticed that begin the flight takeoff. I wondered why this happened.

JENSEN: It then slammed into the ground.

Thomas says he saw the right engine break away and then fire. The Boeing 777 skidded for what he says felt like minutes.

What was going through your mind at that point?

THOMAS: I thought, you know, that this the end of my life. A split of a second. I took my mobile. I thought I rang up my wife and say, this is

the last call.

JENSEN: Thomas decide instead to get out. He rushed to the middle of the plane through a scene of panic that someone else captured on tape.

THOMAS: Panic. Panic, crying. A lot of course small kids. Everybody was crying. You can imagine when the life is going to be end.

JENSEN: Thomas fell off the escape slide pounding into the tarmac and injuring his arm. But amazingly, everyone on board managed to escape with

no serious injuries.

THOMAS: Now I think that god is with me, god is with me.

JENSEN: The crew, he says, waited until each passenger got off before saving themselves.

Thomas lost everything he had on board, saving his passport, boarding pass, and most

importantly, he says, his life.


MANN: CNN's Jon Jensen joins us now live from Dubai. You know, I'm struck by how calm and composed he seemed. What kind of emotional shape was he in

after that?

JENSEN: Well, you are right, he did seem very calm and composed. In front of the camera there were some tears, but off camera a lot more tears. It

was a very emotional moment for him, that entire landing and his for family as well. He had a number of family and friends fly in from as far

away from India to come in and give him comfort in this very big moment of need.

In fact, his son was behind camera during that interview. I looked at him in one moment and he was in tears as well.

It's important to note that Thomas was grateful to both the crew and also the Emirati firefighters that extinguished this blaze in the end. And lest

we forget, Jonathan, that amid this moment of fortune for some 300 people on that plane, it was a moment of tragedy for one Emirati firefighter who

did die fighting the blaze. He is being called a national hero here in the UAE.

And Thomas says he would like to reach out to his family to say thank you.

[11:05:11] MANN: And when you look at the video, I mean, it takes your breath away. Is there any clue about what happened?

JENSEN: Still no word from investigators right now. The UAE is sort of leading the charge, if you will, on the investigation. They are backed by

the NTSB from the U.S.

They are looking at all possible scenarios, everything from wind shear and weather as a factor to problems with the landing gear, but one thing that

was interesting that Thomas told me that may give a clue about what happened to that plane. He said it was a normal approach as they were

coming in to Dubai. This is a frequent flyer, mind you. And as they touched down on the tarmac in Dubai, he said he felt the aircraft pull back

up, and then slam into the tarmac, skidding down for several minutes. So that may be one clue that can explain what happened to this flight.

Still no official word yet, though, Jonathan.

MANN: Jon Jensen in Dubai. Thanks very much.

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games in Rio just one day away now. A Russian official says about 290 athletes are hoping to compete, but

the final decision on their fate rests with the International Olympic Committee. We could learn more when the IOC president speaks with

reporters next hour. Don Riddell has the story from Rio.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: It only comes around once every four years and for most Olympic athletes this is a rare moment in the sun.

Excited Olympians arriving in Rio know that they won't all be winning medals, but they do

expect the playing field to be fair.

The Russian doping scandal is a major cloud over these Olympics. Whenever any of their athletes win a medal, questions will be asked, eyebrows

raised. The fans won't be able to trust what they're seeing but spare a thought for the athletes. It's even worse for them. They'll always wonder

if their event was rigged.

MICHAEL PHELPS, U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMER: I think I can honestly say as well in my career, I don't know if I've ever competed in a clean sport. And

tough setting, but like I said, there's not really a lot that I can control but me.

CHARLES CORNWELL, U.S. OLYMPIC BOXER: I will be hurt because I play fair. I will expect the rest to play fair. I don't do any doping. I don't do

anything like that. So -- and it's like my dream, so that really crushed my heart.

RIDDELL: The American shotputter Adam Nelson knows the feeling. He was beaten into second place by a Ukrainian drug cheater at the 2004 Athens

games. But he didn't get his gold medal for another nine years.

ADAM NELSON, U.S. OLYMPIC ATHLETE: I try not to dwell on it too much, but it's easy to do the math. I roughly estimate that this athlete probably

cost me about $2.5 million over the course of my 12-year career.

RIDDELL: And Russian athletes are outraged, too. Many of them claimed to have been unfairly punished.

The sprint-hurdler Sergei Shibenkov (ph) is the reigning world champion and a gold medal favorite. Based on his Twitter feed, he claims to be innocent

and he is outraged.

He wrote, I'm just going to be deprived of my title and simply can't do anything about it, can't even punch somebody in the face.

Russia is a major player in world sport, and a financial powerhouse. They hosted the last winter

Olympics and will stage the next Football World Cup. They topped the medal table in Sochi and were third at London 2012. Their sheer might means that

this cannot be swept under the rug.

The buildup to this Olympiad has been plagued by a string of problems -- the economy, Zika, pollution, and security to name just a few, but much of

that will likely fade into the background once the games begin. However, the doping issue and the way it's been handled could well haunt these

Olympics for the next few weeks.

Don Riddell, CNN, Rio.


MANN: Nick Paton Walsh joins us now live from Russia's Olympic headquarters on Rio's Copacabana Beach.

Nick, how many athletes are still waiting? Down to the wire, not sure whether they're going to compete or not? And when are they finally going

to know?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very hard, Jonathan, to give you a precise number. But I have heard that roughly 290 Russian

sportsmen are here awaiting those decisions. Now some know they will. We have just learned the judo players will, the weightlifters won't. One

Russian golfer will.

But it's down really to the last minute as you say. Now, suggestions are there is a 3:30 press conference to be given by Olympic chief Alexander

Zhukov -- the Russian Olympic chief Alexander Zhukov may well be in response to this long awaited statement from the IOC.

Now, remember the process here Don was describing you have to go through your individual federation as a sportsman if you are a Russian athlete to

be given a clean doping bill of health, so to speak. But it's only when the IOC then finally rubber stamp and endorse

that that you can compete in the games.

So, it's the final list that we're waiting for. And as I say just down to the last hour as we're getting moment by moment which sports will allow

which Russian athletes to compete here.

But it's behind me that the complicated job of messaging this will be undertaken by Russian officials. The Kremlin have voiced, partially I

think, that it is a international conspiracy to damage Russia in sport.

But if you listen to the critics and the scientists who have been looking at RNA's doping record they say it's state sponsored and industrial. They

are going to have to bridge the gap here between, say and this is a conspiracy, but we're still going to compete in the games anyway to a

certain extent as far as we can. Their major medal hopefuls were in track and field. None of them will be allowed in here at all. But in the hours

ahead behind me, the Russians, perhaps, will learn the full extent athletes will learn the full extent of their fate here in the Olympic games --


MANN: Well, from your patch of sand on the beach you have had a good vantage point not only that story but another one of the big issues,

secure. There were helicopters last time we heard from you. Where are they headed to? And what have they been up to?

WATSON: Well, they hover over us about half an hour. I'd about three of them, just before

me here, two soldiers hanging out the windows with their assault rifles, all parts two of them at the same time as well. All part of the broader

effort here by Brazil who say they have 85,000 security personnel on duty here to show a very obvious face.

This is a high-profile security bubble here, the Copacabanaa. The torch is due past us literally in four hour's time from now we think. So a lot they

are doing on the surface.

There are some things further away from that that don't appear to have gone so smoothly at all. We've been studying and following the issue of those

staffing X-ray and security screening at the Olympic venues themselves.

Now, a company was hired in a hurry in early July to take that duty last minute. They were fired very last minute just on Friday by the justice

ministry. She said that military police would take over that job. Now we are hearing from employees of that company they are still going to work,

well, as of until yesterday.

So, confusion there. Certainly at the security screening gates. And I think possibly people hoping that it's the sheer volume of people you see

out in these profile areas that will potentially absolve Brazil of the very sad thing that any international high-profile sporting event carries with

it arc risk of terrorism -- Jonathan.

MANN: Nick Paton Walsh live on the Copacabana. Thanks very much.

Other stories on our radar right now. As fighting continues in Aleppo, Syria, the UN's humanitarian task force says it stands ready to bring aid

to people inside the besieged city. The UN says about 250,000 people are still trapped as rebels and government forces fight it out.

Saudi Arabia says it will help Indian workers stranded in the kingdom. The government says it will provide free food, health care and flights home for

thousands of workers who lost their jobs and didn't get paid, that word after India flew in 15,000 kilos of food.

Six tourists were wounded in Afghanistan when an rocket struck their vehicles. An afghan driver was also hurt.

It happened in the western province of Harat (ph). One official say the tourists were

from the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Germany.

To London now, where police are investigating Wednesday's deadly knife attack. An American woman was killed, and five people wounded in London's

west end, a 19-year-old Norwegian national of Somali origin has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Police now say there is no evidence of radicalization or terrorism and the attack may have

been triggered by mental health problems.

Let's get the latest. Nima Elbagir joins us live from the scene in Russell Square.

You are there where it happened. Can you explain exactly what went so wrong?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what police are trying to unpick as we speak. As it stands, they believe this to be an

entirely random attack. They say there is no evidence of radicalization. And although in terms of the nationalities of the victims, unfortunately,

these are the kind of nationalities that would have been targeted had this been a terror attack. Police believe this was all completely spontaneous.

This is what the police commissioner had to say. Take a listen to this. Assistant police commission, sorry, Jonathan. Had to say.


MARK ROWLEY, METROPOLICAN POLICE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER: While the investigation is not yet complete all of the work that we have done so far

increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues.

Indeed, at this time we believe this was a spontaneous attack. And at this time we believe it is a

spontaneous attack and that the victims were selected at random.


[11:15:10] ELBAGIR: An American woman of course was killed. She succumbed to her injuries. And we are already seeing floral tributes arriving here

at the scene. Another at least one American is believed to be amongst the injured -- an Israeli, an Australian, and a Brit.

And it really is the scene that amplified the concern here. We are just minutes walk from Russell Square Underground station, which was the site of

7/7 bombing back in 2005 and that probably was reasonably among the fears that drove a lot of the concerns overnight.

In addition to the realities of this new climate that we are living in here, across Europe, Jonathan -- London was the last of the European

capitals to succumb to an increase of armed police officers on its streets. But completely coincidentally on this same day, just hours before this

attack happened, they deployed a further 600 police officers, Jonathan.

MANN: And so the victims of this young and apparently deranged man, were they just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

ELBAGIR: That is sadly what it sounds like. And the realities of the current climate of fear in fact might have helped save more people than

could have initially fallen victim to this attack because the police response time was in approximately five minutes. It took just five minutes

for armed officers to be here on the scene. And again, that is a consequence of this reality.

Many Londoners will be taking solace in the fact that although this is a tragic and random incident, that it showed how prepared the police really

are to respond at a time when London's police commissioner has said really that it is a matter of when, not if, potentially, there could be a terror


Thankfully, that is not what this at the moment appears to be, Jonathan.

MANN: Nima Elbagir, live in London, thanks very much.

Still ahead, questions and controversy over the release of an American reporter and three others the same day the U.S. delivered a plane full of

cash to Iran.

And we go back to Brazil, where some couples are delaying having babies because of the Zika virus.


MANN: Fireworks bursting in the sky over Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium last night, a test run for the Olympic opening ceremony now just one day

away. Details from the ceremony are under wraps but from the looks of the rehearsal the welcome Brazil has planned will certainly light up Rio.

You are watching CNN, and this is Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann. Welcome back.

The Olympic torch is getting closer to Maracana stadium ahead of the opening ceremony, but it wasn't met warmly Wednesday. Brazil's national

police force took to tear gas, batons and rubber bullets to break up protesters along the torch route on the north side of Rio.

World Sport's Amanda Davies is live in Rio and joins us now. And Amanda, there are any number of clouds and shadows hanging over these games, but

the biggest one, obviously, is all of the suspense about whether one of the powerhouse teams is even going to be able to compete talking about Russia.

What can you tell us?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yeah, absolutely, Jonathan. And we are still waiting for that official statement from the International Olympic

Committee, the overseeing body of the Olympics, whose three-man panel have the final say about which Russian athletes will or will not be able to

compete after those explosive allegations that were made in that McLaren report, which alleged the state sponsored doping across 30 different sports

within Russia.

There's been some increasing chatter over the last couple of hours. The IOC sticking to their line that they will issue a statement at some point

before the opening ceremony, which gets underway at 8:p.m. here local time.

But we understand that the Russian Olympic committee head, Zlexander Zhukov is expecting to hold a press conference in about three hours from now, 3:30

Rio time where it's understood he is expecting to react to whatever news maybe has come about.

There is little bits and pieces of information coming out all the time, drip feedings results of appeals to the court of arbitration federations of

sports from different Russian athletes. We know that the weight lifters and the rowers lost their appeals from their bans, from their sporting

federations late on Wednesday night.

But we have heard from the golf federation, the Judo International Federation and the boxing international association today that they have

cleared their Russian athletes. But even though they have made that move, it is still up to that three-man IOC panel to give the official green


There is about 290 Russians here, Jonathan, we understand, expecting, hoping, waiting to

know whether or not they will actually be able to compete in the event which for many is absolutely the pinnacle of their sporting careers.

MANN: And we'll know in just a few hours.

Meantime, suspense for the Nigerian Olympic team, a different kind of problem getting to compete, I guess at least for the football team. Tell

us about that.

DAVIES; You could say that. There is nothing like leaving it late. You would say it may be not usual preparation for a football team to be

arriving in a country with just hours to go. Perhaps, though, with Nigerian football, who we've seen so many issues over economic and payment

issues in the past, it's perhaps not the most surprising. The Nigerian men's football team were due to land in Rio about a week ago ahead of the

tournament here, but because of a miscommunication and struggles with transferring of money, up until late last night, Wednesday night, they were

still in Atlanta in the United States, not far away from where you are. And making last-minute desperate phone calls.

They have managed to get on a plane thanks to the help of Delta Airlines. And Delta have flown them direct from Atlanta to Manaus. But they are

still in mid air. It is now approaching what, 25 past 12:00 Rio time. They are due to land in Manaus at 2:00 with their

opening game of Olympic competition against Japan kicking off at 9:p.m., just about time to maybe get changed, have a pre-match meal and a little

bit of a stretch.

MANN: Really, just in time to get the cramps out of their legs. Amanda Davies, thanks very much. We'll be checking with you the minute we hear

there's news about the Russian team. But for now, thanks for this.

Well, as we've been reporting the run up to the Rio Olympics hasn't been smooth. One of the main problems, Zika. It is affecting the games,

leading some high-profile athletes to skip them entirely.

But for people who live in Brazil year round, Zika is affecting their decision on when to have children. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr.

Sanjay Gupta has more from Brazil.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All across Salvador, Brazil, rooms sit empty, like this one. No sign of the child Ana Cassia

hoped to have.

Is it tough to see this room empty?

They were high school sweethearts, and children were always part of the plan. But it was late last year when Ana and Alberto decided the time was

finally right.

[11:25:17] ANA CASSIA MIRANDA, FROZE EMBRYOS (through translator): We were planning to get pregnant this year, but because of Zika, we decided to wait

more. There isn't much that we can do about it, and it worries us.

GUPTA: You see, when a link between Zika and birth defects became clearer, the Brazilian government gave a stern and heartbreaking warning, don't get


So these are the -- these are the tanks?

DR. GENEVIEVE COELHO, DIRECTOR, IVI BRAZIL: These are the tanks where we keep the embryos, the eggs and the semen.

GUPTA: So Ana's embryos are in one of these tanks?

COELINO: Yeah, sure.

Doctor Genevieve Coelho has been a fertility doc in Salvador for 10 years. She first saw Ana a year ago for help with fertility, but then Zika started

to spread.

COELHO: And then I suggest, OK, freeze your embryos, and then later, when there is like a solution, or a light at the end of the tunnel with all this

things, all of the Zika virus, you can decide.

GUPTA: At a cost of around $8,000, this is not an option for most of the population here, where the average income is just a few hundred dollars a

month. And many don't have access to birth control. For most people like Bruno and Vanessa, delaying is the only option. For the time being, they're

also living with an empty room.

How long will you wait? What's next for you?

BRUNO NASCIMENTO, DELAYING HAVING CHILDREN (through translator): We hope that with all the research and people studying it, it gets better in about

two or three years.

GUPTA: Two or three years. You can wait that long?

VANESSA NEVES, DELAYING PREGNANCY (through translator): I will try. It's already been really hard.

GUPTA: It is difficult to imagine entire towns, even countries, with hardly any new babies for two years. Hard to imagine the loss economically,

socially, culturally. No babies crying, or laughing. In the meantime, rooms will stay empty, even as names are already chosen.

NEVES (through translator): The child isn't even born, but she already has a name. The girl was going to be named Valentina.

GUPTA: You already have names picked out?

MIRANDA: Jah (ph).

GUPTA: You're confident that you will -- you will have a baby one day?

MIRANDA (through translation): I'm so sure. I'm really confident that this home will soon have three people in here instead of two. It's just a matter

of time.


MANN: Live from CNN center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, his party may be in turmoil, but Donald Trump's campaign coffers are beginning

to fill. We'll sort out the discord and the donations.

And later we remember a celebrated Iranian filmmaker who expressed his country's vibrant life with his work.



[11:31:55] MANN: Now to discord and dismay in the Republican race for the White House. Donald Trump says his presidential campaign is more united

than ever, but source tell CNN it's a mess, and they are worried Trump will not be able to stay on message.

Phil Mattingly explains.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The campaign is doing really well. It has never been so well united.

MATTINGLY: Donald Trump pledging unprecedented unity within his campaign after days of turmoil.

TRUMP: I would say right now, it is the best in terms of being united that it has been since we began.

MATTINGLY: It is a message echoed by his top advisors, at least publicly, who tell CNN Trump's team is under control.

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIR: The campaign is focused. The campaign is moving forward in a positive way.

MATTINGLY: Those sources insist there is frustration within his staff with the candidate. Getting back on message, Trump putting Hillary Clinton,

directly in his crosshairs, attacking her record as secretary of state.

TRUMP: It was Hillary Clinton that she should get an award from them as the founder of ISIS. That's what it was.

MATTINGLY: And touting his latest fundraising haul.

TRUMP: And we just took in this month, I think it is $80 or $82 million.

MATTINGLY: Despite closing the gap with Clinton, it is proving difficult for Trump to collect checks from the country's top donors. His campaign war

chest trails Clinton by $20 million.

TRUMP: We're raising a lot of money for the Republican Party, and the money is coming in, we're just doing great. But small contributions, I think it

was $61 each. And few Republicans can do that. Maybe no Republican can do that.

MATTINGLY: And with several Republicans now saying publicly they won't support Trump, including rising GOP star Adam Kinzinger, there's still

great cause for concern within the party.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R) ILLINOIS: Donald Trump for me is beginning to cross a lot of red lines of the unforgiveable in politics. And so I'm not

going to support Hillary, but in America we have the right to write somebody in or skip the vote and vote for Mark Kirk in Illinois, for

instance. And that's what it's looking like for me today. I just don't see how I get to Donald Trump anymore.

MATTINGLY: Trump's decision not to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan in his primary battle infuriated RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Trump's most stalwart

establishment backer. Even Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, splitting with him over Ryan, giving a full-throated endorsement.

MIKE PENCE, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I strongly support Paul Ryan, strongly endorse his reelection. He is a longtime friend. He's a strong

conservative leader.

MATTINGLY: And the controversy is leading some top supporters to question Trump's perceived self-sabotage. Newt Gingrich, a finalist to be Trump's

running made, telling the "Washington Post" Trump is helping Hillary Clinton to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is.

NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the last couple of weeks, he has been remarkably underperforming.

MATTINGLY: Gingrich Later backtracking, telling "Politico" he is, quote, "100 percent for Trump."


MANN: The U.S. House Speak Paul Ryan shrugged off Trump's lack of an endorsement. In an interview with a Wisconsin radio station Thursday

morning, Ryan said, quote, the only endorsements I want are those of my own employers here in the first congressional district.

But he did not rule out revoking his own endorsement for Trump saying, quote, "none of these things are ever blank checks.

Well, as we just heard, Trump says the money is rolling in, in his campaign's bid to catch up to Hillary Clinton's war chest. The big uptick

to $80 million in July largely fueled by a flood of small donor contributions through digital and direct mail fund-raising.

Clinton's campaign also reports healthy donations for July. It says it pulled in $90 million, more than Trump, and its strongest fund-raising

month yet.

Joining us now from Washington is CNN senior political reporter Manu Raju to sort it all out. Thanks for being with us, you know, to hear our

reporting, reporting from other media the Trump campaign is coming apart at the seams and yet they are pointing to these

numbers as proof that they are picking up steam and really gaining momentum. What do you make of it?

MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's certainly good news for the Trump campaign at a time when they've had a cycle of very bad news. This is

significant because it really shows the strength of small donors in the Trump operation, something we have not seen so far since he largely

self financed in the primary and now is relying on donors in the general election.

You know, this will be very important if he can keep this up, because as we have seen Donald Trump cannot -- is having a very difficult time securing

support from big donors, from the major donors in the Republican Party who are more in line with the establishment wing of the Republican Party, who

frankly are unnerved by Donald Trump.

So, what Donald Trump has decided to do is tap into those smaller donors, to his grass root

supporters, to get them to put small donations in. And then lead to a pretty significant war chest, not unlike what Bernie Sanders did very

successfully in the primary against Hillary Clinton.

But certainly a welcome dose of news at a difficult time for the Trump campaign.

MANN: Well, money is one measure of where things stand, but votes are ultimately what it's

about. And there is a new Fox News poll that suggests trump may be having trouble there. What can you tell us?

RAJU: Yeah. That's right. Ten-point lead for Hillary Clinton in that Fox News poll.

You know, that's a national poll. It suggests a trend in how the mood feels in the country. But what's really more significant in these race is

what is happening in those battleground states. And for Donald Trumps there's bad news in those battleground states.

Today there were several polls in states in Michigan and Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, three key battleground states this fall. In each of those

states Hillary Clinton is doing well. She is up by almost double digits in each of those states. Very, very disheartening for the Trump campaign

because he needs to win, particularly Pennsylvania, maybe pull off an upset in New Hampshire. He thought he could do well in Michigan given his

record, or his comments about railing on trade deals and the economic anxiety that's really felt in the Americas heartland and Russia Rust Belt


But if he cannot do well there, if he continues to struggle there, it's going to be very hard for Donald Trump to win on election day.

MANN: You know, watching this campaign, at least in the last few days, you get a sense that Hillary Clinton isn't even there anymore.

Trump dominates the air waves, he dominates the news media, he dominates the national conversation. What's Clinton doing?

RAJU: She has been campaigning. She has been in the Rust Belt states that I just mentioned like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, she was in Colorado, another big swing state. So, she has been on ground. But she has been keeping her focus on Donald Trump. She has

been staying on message, which tends to generate less news than Donald Trump when he is off message.

And that's actually one of the things that is frustrating to Republicans. They say that, look, Donald Trump can command the air waves like nobody

else. If he focused his fire squarely on Hillary Clinton, he would unite the party. He would drive a message, and he would bring up her negatives

and increase his chances of winning in November.

MANN: Manu Raju live for us from Washington. Thanks very much.

RAJU: Thank you.

MANN: A cloak and dagger story coming back into the headlines. U.S. officials confirming that the White House secretly arranged a plane

delivery of $400 million in cash to Iran on the same day the country released four U.S. prisoners.

The White House says the timing was a coincidence, but details about the cash delivery have

enraged Republicans, including the nominee for president. Here's Elise Labott.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four Americans, including "Washington Post" reporter Jason Rezaian were freed

from an Iranian prison on January 17th. But just as the Americans boarded a Swiss aircraft bound for Germany, another unmarked cargo plane was landing

in Iran loaded with pallets of $400 million worth of cash -- shrink wrapped euros, Swiss francs and other currencies, skirting America's own sanctions

that banned transactions with Iran.


[11:40:02] LABOTT: While the freed Americans were in the air, President Obama announced a historic nuclear agreement with Iran.

The White House insists the money entering Iran within a few hours of the American prisoners leaving was all a coincidence and there was no quid pro


JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No. It is not a ransom payment. The United States does not view it that way and it's not accurate to

describe it that way.

LABOTT: But that's not how Iranian leaders described it at the time and Republicans armed with these new details of the money transfer as first

described in "The Wall Street Journal" are outraged.

REP. ED ROYCE (R-CA), FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHAIRMAN: One of the reasons you don't want to transfer $400 million in unmarked bills in cash to Iran is

because it's going to end up in the hands of Hezbollah or it's going to end up in the hands of the other Iranian agents.

LABOTT: While U.S. and Iranian diplomats were secretly negotiating a prisoner exchange, separate teams from both countries were resolving a

decades-old Iranian claim before an international tribunal at The Hague. The $400 million, the first payment ending a dispute over a failed arms

deal dating back to the 1970s.

OBAMA: Iran will be returned its own funds including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought. With the nuclear deal done,

prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute, as well.

LABOTT: After the cash-filled plane landed l Iran and the Americans were freed, Iranian military commanders boasted the money was a ransom, but the

State Department insists the prisoners would have been freed the same day even without the payment.

MARK TONER, DEPUTY STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We believe so because that was worked through a different process and it was concluded successfully.


MANN: Donald Trump was quick to jump on the cash delivery during a campaign event in Florida accusing President Obama of setting a bad

precedent by, quote, paying $400 million for the hostages.

Let's talk more about it. We're joined from Washington by Reza Marashi, research director of the National Iranian-American Council. Thanks so much

for being with us. What do you make of it? Was it ransom?

REZA MARASHI, NATIONAL IRANIAN-AMERICAN COUNCIL: Not at all. The president was honest with the American people and the rest of the world

about having two separate diplomatic tracks to resolve outstanding problems, a pressing concern -- obviously citizens in Iranian prisons, the

more pressing concern. But resolving outstanding concerns and disputes with the Iranian government using diplomacy rather than threats and other

forms of pressure.

Above all else, though, what we've seen so far, this whole situation of American hostages in Iranian prisons being politicized. And it takes away

from the Iranian officials that did this in a most reprehensible fashion and instead inserts it into the American presidential race, which is

unfortunate and also reprehensible.

MANN: Still, I understand what you're saying. It just seems hard to believe. Four men go one way, $400 million go the other way almost

simultaneously in the context, as you say, of longstanding disputes going back years. Everything, it seems, though, got resolved at the same time

literally in the darkness of night.

John Kerry is in Argentina. and he gave a news conference a short time ago in which this question was raised. And he said, quote, "the United States

does not pay ransoms." Kerry said the payment was part of, as you say, a longstanding Iranian claim at the Iran-U.S. claims tribunal in The Hague,

negotiated on a separate track from the Iran nuclear deal.

The account is consistent. You say it's true. But doesn't it just beggar belief? I mean, it strains credibility to think that these longstanding

government to government issues were going to get resolved with cash in the middle of the night at the same time four men were coming home.

MARASHI: Lest we forget there was also American sailor that were imprisoned for inadvertently crossing into Iranian waters. And that got

resolved around the same time as well. So, I think the real story here is a variety of issues that the United States and Iran have been at conflict

over for quite some time are systematically getting resolved using diplomatic channels.

Now, we still have American citizens in Iranian prisons. That should be the story. What do we do to, a, bring our people home, and b, stop the

Iranian government from continuing to do this, because it isn't the first time. And unless we find new and creative ideas, it won't be the last.

MANN: Fair enough. I still want to go back to in last exchange, though, why would some members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard be describing it

as ransom? Were they just trying to embarrass the administration?

MARASHI: I think the Iranian Revolutionary Guard members that came out and called it ransom are not only trying to embarrass the United States, but

are also trying to embarrass President Rouhani and other Iranian officials who supported the process of trying to resolve differences with the outside


Let's remember, these are men inside of Iran's political system that thrive in isolation. So, building bridges to the outside world is not in their

personal political and frankly economic interests. What we should also ask ourselves is do we want to listen to the president of the United States and

the secretary of state, or do we want to listen to random Iranian Revolutionary Guard corps members?

MANN: Fair enough. But let me ask you one last question, just about the optics of it, would it have been better and more transparent if the

administration had announced at the time we sent a plane shrink wrapped currency, foreign currency, to get around a legal prohibition against using

U.S. currency. The whole thing could have been much more transparent, couldn't it?

MARASHI: Well, I think if you want to argue about optics then there is never going to be a way in which this looks good. It doesn't look good

sending money to Iran because Iran is a politically toxic issue in the United States, and understandably so for a variety of reasons.

But this president has been willing to take risks for peace to try and take one step after another to resolve the outstanding differences between the

two countries.

So, at the end of the day he is kind of in a situation where you are damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. But what's more important issue,

bringing Americans home, resolving issues of concern or the optics of it? And I think at the end of the day he made the right choice.

[11:46:27] MANN: Reza Marashi of the National Iranian-American Council, thanks so much for talking with us.

MARASHI: Thank you.

MANN: You are watching Connect the World. Still to come, we remember the filmmaker who made it his mission to share Iranian cinema with the world.



AMIR DAFTARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Africa's very own superhero reinvented by one of the

continents foremost videogame developers.

Ghana's Leti Arts creates onling comics and mobile games inspired by African folklore.

The start-up's first game launched three years ago has had more than 50,000 unique downloads.

CEO Eyram Talia believes it's time to update the continent's history.

EYRAM TALIA, CEO LETI ARTS: Africa has a really strong chance to chance our narrative. And this is what our legends are going to do for us --

bring in our rich culture into the 21st Century. For once, I should see a spaceship land in Accra.

DAFTARI; The global multibillion gaming industry is dominated by western developers. Leti Arts is hoping to change that. Starting with $100,000 of

seed money from a tech incubator it has designed a range of characters. Eight full-time members of staff now want to prove that African game

developers can be major international players.

[11:50:03] TALIA: It's a whole new industry that we are building. We believe gaming is what is going to push, boost the GDP of most African

countries when it is embraced, because everyone has has a mobile phone, everyone texts. Smart phones are increasing. Middle classes are

increasing. Gaming is a future. That is (inaudible) and that is what we are doing.

DAFTARI: It's not been easy. Finding skilled staff is an issue. Game development isn't taught in Ghana's schools or colleges. Leti Arts has had

to train its own developers, which takes timeand money.

TALIA: My skill, it was self-taught. You saw a start-up. I don't have any formal game education. Self-taught, self taught. It's just passion.

So e are the pioneers, and we will live with that. But we need to create a structure for people who are coming now.

DAFTARI: Leti's investment in Africa's digital economy has paid off. Annual turnover is more than $165,000. It is enabled the company to open a

branch in Nairobi, where it employs young Kenyan techs. Revenue comes from selling add-ons to gamers.

Leti has also built the spoke training games for commercial and NGO clients.

TALIA: Our immediate plan is the Africa Legends reawakening, and then the rest will follow from there. To actually grow this franchise into a global

franchise, I want to see DC and Marvel Comics launch some of our characters for the African movies.

DAFTARI: Profits have been reinvested back into designing its latest game.

Leti Arts is blazing a trail for African game developers and hopes to give gamers a chance to

see Africa differently.

Amir Daftari, CNN.


MANN: Welcome back.

As Russia's athletes wait to learn if they will get to be in the Olympics, CNN sat down with Olympic legend Carl Lewis who says progress is being made

against doping. He spoke to our Amanda Davies.


CARL LEWIS, OLYMPIC SPRINTER: It just so happened at my event they had no exact on the performances. You know, some of the sports of course they

did. But I think overall they didn't have an impact, and I don't think people look back on those games as though they really had an impact on the

difference on all the performances.

DAVIES: How much do you think the Olympics, athletics has been damaged by the handling of the Russian doping scandal?

LEWIS: I think that I look at things as half empty instead of half full. I think it's more of an

opportunity. And Sebastian is a bright guy. He wants a clean sport. And I think they are taking steps to make sure we have that in the future.

I really believe the passport is a great idea. I think it's having an impact. And I think that everything isn't perfect, but we are getting to a

point where they really want to try to have a clean sport and I think we are moving forward.

DAVIES: Should the IOC have gone for the blanket ban in youropinion?

LEWIS: Well, you know, it's always a very difficult, a very complicated issue. Since we are all trying to have a clean sport we are going to have

some difficult times. And I think the biggest issue is that I do believe we are moving forward. And I think the athletes are starting to

understanding it. I just hope that they continue to step up and say what they believe about it as well.

DAVIES: You have been very outspoken in the past about widespread doping in the United States, the previous culture. Do you think the Russians have

being unfairly targeted in the current times?

[11:55:11] LEWIS: Well, I think the bigger issue is that we want a clean sport. And so we can all cry foul. But the reality is that you have to

look at the issues and you have to look at the results. And so right now, I think the focus is to have a clean sport. And I'm behind that 100



MANN: In today's parting shots, we look back at the life of celebrated filmmaker and artist

Abbas Kiarostami, who died one month ago today. A Cannes Film Festival winner, Kiarostami is widely credited with bringing Iranian cinema to the



UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: Abbas Kiarostami really represented the fact that ideas and human expression are so much stronger than authority, than money,

than guns, than prisons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here to celebrate a great artist, a great filmmaker, a great photographer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I see Kiarostami's films, I found that I wanted to spend the time with the people in these films. It was like a cleansing,

the spirit of those films, those worlds, the spirit of the artistry which makes me see people in the world in a new, refreshing, and hopeful way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You can sympathize, understand, show compassion, but feel my pain? No.


MANN: The work of the late Abbas Kiarostami.

I'm Jonathan Mann. You have been watching Connect the World. We'll have the latest from Rio coming up on International Desk, with Robyn Curnow

including, we expect perhaps within the next hour word on whether Russia will be allowed to have its full Olympic

team compete.