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CONNECT THE WORLD
Trudeau, Macron Form United Front on Trade Ahead of G7; Volcanic Ash Swiftly Buried Entire Communities in Guatemala; Plastic, Chemical Pollution Threatens Antarctic; Putin Warns Ukraine Against World Cup Provocations; One Week Until Kickoff in Russia of World Cup; Palestinian Cyclist Shot During Protest in Gaza. Aired 11a-12n ET
Aired June 7, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD with me Robyn Curnow. Becky is out today. Well, let's get to it.
U.S. President Donald Trump is getting ready for two big trips, one to meet with longtime allies and another to sit down with a dictator long
considered a pariah on the world stage. But in a twist on traditional relations, Mr. Trump may actually get a chillier reception from his G7
partners than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "The Washington Post" reports Mr. Trump believes the G7 summit in Canada, now just hours away, is
a distraction as he prepares to meet with Kim. He reportedly told aides he doesn't want to be lectured on disputes over tariffs and trade. And
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and French President, Emmanuel Macron just spoke to reporters saying they'll work to avoid a trade war
between friends. Let's talk about this. Melissa bell is in Paris, White House reporter, Jeremy Diamond, is at, surprise, surprise, the White House.
We'll get to you Jeremy in just a moment. Melissa, we are hearing from these two leaders. They're preparing for this G7 summit. They are not
pleased with the Americans at the moment.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: They are not pleased, Robyn. These are leaders that have held a series of fairly testy phone calls with the
American President over the last couple of weeks. Because the final straw from this unilateralist who has been tearing up this multilateralist view
that Europeans still believe is the only way forward. The final straw has really been these tariffs and that's what it's all about. In the American
President probably can expect to get lectured from his G7 allies. And certainly, if you listen to what Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau had to
say in their joint press conference just a few moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): I am not President Trump, so I can't make decisions for him. Can I be criticized for the
decisions of another leader? No. They could have criticized me for not standing up to him, for not to try to convince him. That could have been a
political mistake not to do everything can I to change things. I think we've done everything we can and put everything on the line.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We can show the U.S. President that his actions, unacceptable actions are hurting his
own citizens. American jobs are on the line because of his actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: That was very much the theme from the two leaders, Robyn, that they will be telling the American President not only of the dangers to the
world, to the global system as it stands, the trade system itself, but also that this is likely to turn itself around against American workers
themselves. Especially once the retaliatory measures announced by Justin Trudeau from Canada coming up by the EU against those American imports on a
number of different things, bourbon, jeans, the list is extremely long and likely to take effect in July. Those counter measures will have an impact
on precisely the people who voted for Donald Trump.
CURNOW: And so, with that in mind, Jeremy, no wonder the U.S. President is reportedly reluctant to hear all of this. He doesn't want to hear this
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: No, he certainly doesn't. And he has been lectured before by the leaders on the importance of maintaining
these kinds of free and open trading relationships particularly between the United States and some of its closest allies. And those closest allies
will largely be there, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada. All of these countries and their leaders will be present for this meeting and they
will be meeting with President Trump. Especially Justin Trudeau who is, of course, hosting this G7 summit this year.
So, clearly the President is going to have some very contentious conversations with his counterparts on the world stage about his recent
trading decisions. Which are taking the U.S. in a more protectionist direction. Particularly the steel and aluminum tariffs are top of mind for
a lot of the leaders after the President imposed those tariffs last week on Canada, Mexico, and the European Union who previously were exempt from this
as they tried to renegotiate some kind of other agreements there.
But clearly the President is headed in this direction. And even the President's chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who is very much a free
trader, has spoken out against tariffs before he came to the White House and has continued to say, tariffs are not my favorite thing. Even he
emphasized the fact that they believe that tariffs are a tool that they can use to try and rebalance a perceived imbalance in the trading relationship
between the U.S. and other countries.
But clearly, very, very different visions of what the world trading system should look like between President Trump and some of these key allies.
[11:05:00] So that will very much be on the agenda. Of course, the President also preparing for this summit with North Korea and Singapore.
I'm sure those U.S. allies will be weighing in and offering him some advice as he prepares to head there.
CURNOW: So, he feels like this G7 summit is a bit of a distraction that he wanted to prepare for the Kim summit. But we know from reports and you've
reported it, this is a President with a very short attention span, and I know a lot of policy wonks and arms control experts and people in
government are concerned that he is perhaps not well prepared or doesn't want to be as prepared as he could be ahead of the summit. What are you
DIAMOND: Absolutely. One thing that we know is that Kim Jong-un knows his nuclear program inside and out. And there has been some concern both
within this administration and also among some of the experts in these fields that President Trump is not sufficiently preparing getting down on
the nitty-gritty of some of the aspects of North Korea's nuclear program. So that is a top concern. But what the President has told, not only his
own advisers here at the White House but also U.S. allies like Japan and South Korea is that he believes in pursuing big deals like this he needs to
follow his gut. He needs to follow his instincts. And so that is something that is leaving a lot of the President's top advisers on this
issue a little bit concerned as President Trump prepares to head into this meeting next week.
We also know that he wants to maintain some flexibility about potentially adding a second day of meetings. I was told yesterday by two sources
familiar with the matter that they have set up plans for President Trump to meet with Kim Jong-un for a second day in Singapore if the President and if
Kim Jong-un both want to continue those discussions.
CURNOW: Melissa, Jeremy, thanks to you both as always.
So, while the Trump administration hits some of its key allies with tariffs it is announcing a deal that would effectively save the Chinese telecom
giant, ZTE. ZTE is accused of violating sanctions by selling technology to North Korea and Iran. The Commerce Department says that under the deal
it'll pay a billion-dollar fine and make management changes and it can resume buying parts from American suppliers. Let's get the view from
China. Matt Rivers is there in Beijing. Matt, I know it's late. There is no reaction yet from the government. But just what does this deal mean?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, what proponents of the deal would say, given the broader contest of was going on between the U.S. and
China is that it could help a potential comprehensive trade agreement be struck between these two countries. What we've seen over the past couple
of weeks is really a souring in the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and China towards a potentially comprehensive agreement. And so, what
people would look at this ZTE deal and say, well, does this generate enough goodwill on both sides to be able to get past some of the sticking points
that remain in place when it comes to the broader trade deal?
Don't forget, the United States has not backed down. Says it will move forward with $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports in a matter of
weeks. The Chinese for their part have said, look, we're not going to be intimidated by that and we won't negotiate under threats. So, things have
gotten very tense between the U.S. and China. The U.S. delegation was here just last weekend and left essentially without publicly announcing any
progress. They left empty-handed. And so, does the ZTE deal make some progress there? And look, maybe it does. But that's not going to be
enough to get critics on the deal to say that it's a good idea. Because don't forget, there are a lot of people who will tell you that Chinese
telecom firms like ZTE essentially act as an espionage tool of the Chinese government. And to allow them to act in the United States like this buying
and selling goods to U.S. companies harms U.S. national security. You had hawks like U.S. Senator Marco Rubio tweeting about that earlier this
morning. So, on the one hand, maybe it made some progress on the trade deal, but on the other hand you have plenty of people who will tell you a
deal like this harms U.S. national security.
CURNOW: And just quickly, Matt, to avoid that the Americans are saying well we're going to send a compliance team in and that the board has to
change. How's that going to go down? The devil is in the details there. Is that really going to happen?
DIAMOND: Yes, absolutely. And what the Commerce Department would say, well, we've never been able to have that kind of level of compliance with a
Chinese based company before. But the critics would say, well how effective is that actually going to be? Who are the U.S. compliance
officers going to be? And could ZTE with the help of Chinese government circumvent even those compliance officers' best efforts. We won't know the
answers to those questions for a while. But all of those people who are on the other side saying this is a bad deal say, you know what, what
essentially, they're doing here is paying $1 billion to continue to spy on the U.S. marketplace.
CURNOW: OK. That perspective there from China. Matt Rivers, thanks so much.
Let's go straight now to Guatemala where there are concerns. The Feugo volcano could erupt again at any moment. The on-again off-again search for
survivors was halted we know just a short time ago. Four days on the country continues to count the dead. Now after nearly 100 people. So, the
wait is agonizing for people whose loved ones are still missing.
[11:10:00] Patrick Oppmann is there. Patrick, what are they telling you?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind me and this beautiful scene really doesn't show the reality. Because it has just gotten a lot more --
OPPMANN (voice-over): Teresa tells us the name of her family either lost or killed after the Feugo volcano erupted. The list is long. 18 names
long. Too long seemingly for any one person to bear.
The volcano next to the small town of San Miguel Los Lotes, where Teresa has lived most of her life, gave little warning before lashing out at her
and her neighbors. More than 90 are dead. Nearly another 200 missing.
(on camera): Did you think you were going to die?
TERESA DE JESUS BARILLAS, LOST MOST OF HER FAMILY (through translator): Yes. I thought my children were going to lose me as I couldn't run, but my
children kept saying, mom, come on, run, mom, let's go. But I just couldn't run.
OPPMANN (voice-over): Miraculously Teresa and a handful of family members escaped. But she says most of her family, her father, five siblings, their
spouses and children, a granddaughter are still unaccounted for.
This 52-year-old grandmother says she is racked with guilt that she survived and so many of her family may not have. We make our way into
Teresa's town where the volcano's fury smashed life here into a million pieces.
Clothes hang unattended on wash lines. Chickens cry out from their cages. The town has become for so many residents an unmarked grave.
(on camera): This really gives some perspective on how devastating the volcanic explosion was here. This is the roof of a house. The entire
house is buried in ash. This down here is a front door. I can still feel the heat coming off this ash which is fused completely solid and then here
at the entrance of the door is someone's shoe. We've no idea who it belongs to and if they got out in time.
(voice-over): Rescue workers are still searching for survivors. As more time passes they're losing hope. Teresa refuses to give up hers. She,
like so many others here still have to wait to find out just how much the volcano has taken from her.
OPPMAN: And Robyn, some disappointing news just in the last few minutes, four people like Teresa who are waiting for any word on their missing loved
ones and that is that the Guatemalan search and rescue team say it is just too dangerous to go in right now because of the possibility of a further
erection. Because of the possibility of falling ash or avalanches. You know, it looks beautiful where we are. This is as close as we can get to
the volcano. There are checkpoints where they say they cannot go past that because it's too dangerous. They are not going in there. So, while it
looks green, while the volcano is hidden behind clouds, actually in the last few hours it has gotten considerably dangerous, too dangerous for the
professionals to go and do their work -- Robyn?
CURNOW: So essentially, people have been left behind and many of those scenes we've been seeing look like they're from Pompeii. It's apocalyptic
in many ways. What else has struck you there while on the ground?
OPPMANN: Just the smell is unlike anything I've ever experienced covering forest fires and natural disasters. You know there are many more dead
people and that ash. You can just sense it, you could smell it. It's so beautiful here and so green and you go over a hill and it becomes like
Pompeii, it becomes a dead moonscape and you think you're on a different planet. There is no life at all. Here there are birds chirping. You go
there, and it just seems to be this dead place. And you think, how will life ever come back there? How will these people who've lost not one or
two but 18 relatives, how will they ever go on? And right now, they're waiting for a miracle and it just doesn't seem clear that miracle is going
to come -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Ok, thanks so much. Really great reporting, you and your team there on the ground in Guatemala. Thanks so much, Patrick.
And I do want to give you a vivid look at the destruction caused by the volcano. Take a look at these pictures. It shows the town of San Miguel
Los Lotes. First in February and then again yesterday. These satellite images show the majority of town's buildings are either buried or burned.
And then take a look, this shows a golf course and a resort first in April and then yesterday. The flows have cut the golf course links in half
there. Stunning photographs.
Now Guatemala isn't, of course, the only place feeling nature's fury. More ash came out of the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island yesterday.
People there were warned to stay indoors. This video was taken from a drone.
[11:15:00] The volcano began erupting more than a month ago. And authority say the rivers of lava have destroyed hundreds of homes.
The U.S. is getting used to tornadoes as well. Take a look at these images. This huge twister touched down in Wyoming yesterday. Here's the
same tornado just from a different vantage point, unbelievable. Someone stopped to the side of the road to actually capture it. Spitting up dust
in the field. We are hearing reports of damage to buildings but incredibly no injuries there.
So, mother nature there impacting people's lives. Next on the show, we take a look at how our lives are impacting mother nature. Plus, what you
can do to help your planet. You're watching CNN, stay with us.
CURNOW: Now before the break we showed you the sheer force of mother nature's power to destroy people's lives, but humanity is destroying mother
nature, too. Just take one man made problem, plastics. They're leaving a permanent mark on our environment. At least 8 million tons of plastic goes
into our oceans every year. That's the equivalent of dumping one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. And get this, by 2050 the United
Nations predicts there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans.
Antarctica is about as far as you can get from civilization but it's becoming disturbingly clear that plastics and pollution have reached that
pristine environment. Arwa Damon traveled there.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nature sets the rules out here with its wild winds, raging waters and freezing
temperatures. We're off the coast of the Western Antarctic peninsula on the last leg of a three-month-long Greenpeace expedition to raise awareness
about the need to create ocean sanctuaries and fishing buffer zones within these waters.
THILO MAACK, MARINE BIOLOGIST AND GREENPEACE CAMPAIGNER: The Antarctic is a cooling chamber that mitigates the effects of climate change. And what
happens here is having an effect on the climate of the planet. The ocean currents are driven by cold waters of the Antarctic.
DAMON: This entire region from its waters to its sea bed to its wildlife is central to the battle against our planet's dangerously changing climate.
Because it's what's called a carbon sink, a place where the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere is held, making the planet habitable.
[11:20:00] And that's more crucial now for this amazing ecosystem than ever before. Scientists say rising global temperatures are causing Antarctica
to lose about 183 billion tons of ice each year. The largest decline in sea ice in 1,500 years. This is the awesome sight of a whale feeding
frenzy on Krill. And beneath the surface lies so much more.
Krill is a keystone species holding the entire Antarctic food chain together. But krill is at an all-time low in part because of rising ocean
temperatures and melting ice. If the krill continue to decline it could be a problem not only for the Antarctic but for the entire planet. Because
scientists are discovering that this shrimp like crustacean actually helped capture carbon dioxide emissions. The main culprit behind warming waters
and rising sea levels.
Here is how it works. Algae absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Krill feeds on the carbon-rich algae and as they fill up they sink to the
bottom where they rain down their carbon rich fecal matter into the icy Antarctic ocean's depths. There, since cold water holds more carbon than
warm, carbon can be stored in this liquid deep-freeze for millennia. And scientists have now discovered that Krill swim to and deposit their fecal
pellets in even deeper depths than previously anticipated. Which means they trap even more carbon than previously thought, a lot more. The extra
depth these tiny creatures swim to in the Antarctic is believed to offset the carbon emissions of the entire United Kingdom and benefit other parts
of the ecosystem in the process.
CESAR CARDENAS, CHILEAN ANTARCTIC INSTITUTE: Now we know that the carbon sinks goes to the bottom where there's like a very, very diverse
communities. So, they're able to use, to capture this carbon and use it or sometimes they make it available for other organisms.
DAMON (on camera): What you're basically saying is that the actual organisms that live on the ocean floor are in and of themselves also a
carbon storage facility to a certain degree?
CARDENAS: Yes, basically that's the way it works.
DAMON (voice-over): But the sense that the Antarctic is pristine is deceptive. It's already being threatened by us. Dr. Marcelo Gonzalez
shows us what they found in some of the Antarctic clams they tested.
DR. MARCELO GONZALEZ: You can observe this material. The red materials are plastic and also, we can observe fibers.
DAMON (on camera): And so, this was found --
GONZALEZ: This is found in the intestine of the Antarctica clam.
DAMON (voice-over): And if this is what scientists are finding here, imagine what they could find in oceans and seas closer to our dining
tables. The micro plastics found could be due to the human presence in Antarctica. But the Dr. Gonzalez suspects that they originated in other
oceans, other continents. But further testing still needs to be done. Greenpeace also tested for micro plastics and found elements in most
samples they tested, and that's not the only toxic material in this remote region.
MAACK We just take a walk around this little bay, find us a place that is untouched for the last weeks at least.
DAMON: Thilo Maack is going to take snow samples to be tested for PFAS -- poly-fluor alky substances. PFASs are the chemicals used as stain and
water repellent coating and things like outdoor gear. They're not biodegradable which means that once they've been released they stay in the
environment forever. Greenpeace has been testing snow in remote areas for the last few years for traces of these toxic compounds.
MAACK: We already found it in snow samples of China. We found it in snow samples in Russia. In the Alps in Europe. And it would be really
outrageous if it would be already here in the Antarctic.
DAMON: Sadly, it is. And some of the freshly fallen snow samples suggest that the presence of these chemicals don't come from local sources but were
carried by the atmosphere.
(on camera): It's so beautiful and quiet. You almost don't even want to speak above a whisper. And there's two whales right there. This is
absolutely unbelievable. See them?
(voice-over): Nature here gives off a deceptive illusion of indestructibility. It's not. That is why Greenpeace is fiercely
advocating for action at the source. But also, for the creation of large- scale Marine reserves to give the ecosystem here a fighting chance. Scientists are only just beginning to understand the scope of the
Antarctic's role as a carbon sink and buffer against climate change.
[11:25:02] There is still time to protect it. Not just for the beauty of its majestic creatures but also because it could protect all of us.
CURNOW: Arwa joins us now. You've just came back from the Arctic and it certainly was a huge experience. Plastics certainly have become a major
part of our lives. I mean, it's convenience. Isn't it? I mean, let's just look at this. Water, coffee cup lids, water bottles, bags we once
used to throw away, all end up somewhere, in landfills and in our oceans as you found. So, what can we do less of?
DAMON: I think we just need to have a bigger conversation about this and how much of it is needed. I mean, on top of what you are mentioning there,
everything in hotel rooms, for example, often gets double wrapped with plastic and with cardboard. It's everywhere. And the more aware an
individual is about it, and I certainly found this in myself, the more you try to at least on your own level use less. Try to figure out ways where
you, yourself, can actually use less. And then push for governments to push for legislation to then force certain companies to use less. Because
we don't have an option.
CURNOW: No, you get a box from amazon and it's double wrapped and triple wrapped and stuff. So, the point, I suppose, is some sort of consumer
DAMON: There needs to be consumer pushback. There needs to be an individual pushback. There needs to be this recognition that our footprint
has not been kind to our planet and our planet is keeping us alive and it's about time we all collectively try to come together and do something.
CURNOW: And we know that. There's small things and that's the whole point of this. It's just little bits of plastics that make a difference. Not
even huge amounts of it. It's the minuscule amounts that are really doing a lot of the damage as well.
DAMON: They are because the plastic ends up breaking down over the years and over the decades, and that's really why you see Greenpeace and these
other conservationist and scientists trying to push for these ocean sanctuaries. Because when you look at the Antarctic it's not too late.
The ecosystem can recover but it needs to be protected so that it can actually recover from the damage that's already been done. And at the end
of the day, again, it's not about the lovely animals that are down for the whales or the penguins. It's not just about that. It's really about the
broader role that it plays into our entire climate's regulation and our entire natural balance that needs to exist for our planet to survive and be
able to sustain us humans.
CURNOW: You make sense. But the fact remains is the U.S. has pulled out of the Paris climate change accord. There doesn't seem to be the momentum
we had a few years ago. Are you still optimistic though that something can be done?
DAMON: There is a chance and, look, in the fall there's going to be the beginning of negotiations at the U.N. to try to get a U.N. ocean treaty and
scientists and conservationists want to see 30 percent of the world's oceans declared sanctuaries. There are things we can do with or without
perhaps the United States itself being directly involved. There are other countries that can do things. There are things we can do as individuals
and there are demands that we can make. Because we actually don't have a choice. To quote one of the conservationists that was with us. He said,
look, doomsday is coming to a certain degree. It's about when and mitigating the speed of it and the actual impact of it when it comes to the
CURNOW: The last question, quickly, what was it like down there? I mean, you've been to so many awful places and just being down there. What did it
mean to you personally?
DAMON: I honestly fell in love with being on the ocean. I fell in love with being down there. I fell in love with the fact every day you wake up
and it's somehow different and even more amazing than it was the day before. And you also realize just how small we are because of how far away
we were from anything. And you are also equally struck by the fact the damage that we're doing here is actually reaching these remote and utterly
stunning areas. I mean, yes, I cover a lot of war, and I had perhaps forgotten this planet has so much beauty on it.
CURNOW: It's good to hear you're optimistic and so positive. That doesn't happen often.
DAMON: No. It doesn't.
CURNOW: That's what's so important here that you have hope and there is a chance that we can altogether do something. Please go online as well.
There's a lot to do and lots about talk online. Arwa Damon, thanks so much.
On Friday join CNN with students and schools around the world who will celebrate World Oceans Day by enjoying a lunch without plastic. The best
efforts will be featured on CNN's live blog. Learn more on how to participate at CNN.com/zeroplasticlunch. Simple as that.
Now just ahead, a close-up but not so personal with Vladimir Putin. The details on the on the Russian leader's annual call in. That's next, stay
[11:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CURNOW: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for joining us.
Now the Russian president is holding his annual phone in with citizens. It is usually hours long. In the past Vladimir Putin has touched on
everything from the economy to his grandchildren. Well Sam Kiley listened in and he joins me now from Moscow. What did he say that struck you as
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think he made some fairly typical jokes notably about how if the Russians had indeed -- and
he's being sarcastic -- manipulated the U.S. elections then clearly Donald Trump was repaying him by shoving Europe more closely to Russia. That of
course a reference to the trade war that seems to be breaking out between the United States and the European Union. But I think much more
importantly, Robyn, was what he had to say about Ukraine in the context of the World Cup football tournament that's soon to open across Russia and he
indicated -- he didn't deliver a thinly veiled threat, he delivered an outright threat to Ukraine if there's any disruption of it. This is what
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I hope there won't be any provocations. If they happen I think that it will have a very bad
consequences for the Ukrainian state as a whole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: Now the consequences for the Ukrainian state there would indicate that he may go further than he already has into Ukraine. It's already
annexed, of course, illegally the Crimean Peninsula. He's got covert and overt forces operational in the east of the country.
[11:35:00] And really saying to the Ukrainians you need to keep quiet while I have this indulgent, international show piece called the World Cup. But
this was a four-and-a-half-hour marathon stint in which he talked about everything from potholes to gas prices -- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK, thanks for that update. Sam Kiley in Moscow, always good to speak to you.
And as Sam mentioned there Mr. Putin did touch on the World Cup. The tournament is just a week away. The first time it's been held in Eastern
Europe. A high point for Russia but the host nation is struggling with its international image. Fred Pleitgen looks at what's at stake as the world's
eyes turn East.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The flags and banners are up, and Moscow is sending a clear message, Russia
is ready and excited for the World Cup to begin. The head of the parliamentary committee for sports telling me everything is ready to go.
MIKHAIL DEGTYAREV, RUSSIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT (through translator): We want this World Cup to be a celebration of soccer for the whole world, and
we want to use the tournament's legacy to develop sports in our country, he says. The way we will host the cup will be the gold standard for such
events by every measure.
PLEITGEN: But internationally the World Cup vibe seems somewhat tainted by Russia's recent altercations with Western nations. Both the Netherlands
and Australia recently officially blamed Russia for the 2014 shootdown of a civilian airliner. And Britain and other Western countries kicked out
dozens of Russian diplomats for the poisoning of former Russian spy, Serge Skripal and his daughter, using the military grade nerve agent, Novichok,
in the middle of an English town.
(on camera): Russia vehemently denies it was behind either of the incidents. The recent diplomatic turmoil between Russia and the West has
caused some Western politicians to call for a boycott of the World Cup here. Even as most teams are in their final preparation for the
But that seems unlikely. Russia's President Vladimir Putin and head of football's governing body, FIFA, Gianni Infantino, recently visited several
World Cup venues. The FIFA boss has said Russia is ready to host the event. Even as rights groups criticized a crackdown on anti-Putin protests
and free speech in recent months.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All those thousands of fans who are going to be here for the opening on June 14th, they will be mighty impressed with how
beautiful Moscow is. Moscow is ready to welcome the fans. Ironically, however, the World Cup is happening here in Russia at the worst time for
PLEITGEN: But Russian politicians, like Mikhail Degtyarev, warn against politicizing the biggest event in world sports.
DEGTYARE: We in Russia always say that sports and politics must be separated, he says. Sports must unite people not divide them. And if
there are tensions among politicians, they must put them aside.
PLEITGEN: And the Kremlin hopes those tensions will remain on the sidelines at least until the final whistle is blown at the 2018 World Cup.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
CURNOW: So that's the often-ugly politics of it all. But what about the beautiful game? Patrick Snell joins me here in the studio. Good to see
PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Good to be here, Robyn. One week to go.
CURNOW: I know. It's exciting, isn't it? So, from a football and a fan perspective, I mean, how is the shaping up? I know we asked the questions
before South Africa and Rio but is Russia ready?
SNELL: Well, according to FIFA President, the main man himself, Gianni Infantino, saying 100 percent ready. So, we'll see how it actually plays
out. But look, it's one week today the host nation Russia taking on Saudi Arabia, the two lowest ranked nations basically at the tournament as well.
They'll kick it all off. But I think it's a case of, look, there's been so much made of the history of hooliganism and racist abuse over the years in
Russia's top flight premier league. That is something the eyes of the world will be watching very closely indeed. But let's see how it all plays
out. And Gianni Infantino has been addressing this in the buildup to the tournament. Let's hear what he has to say. Also, from a fan's perspective
when it comes to security as well. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIANNI INFANTINO, FIFA PRESIDENT: The Russian authorities are very much aware about the security situation for such a big event. They are working
very hard to prepare it. They are working very hard in cooperation with police forces and police authorities of all governments. Every fan that is
coming to Russia will be welcomed in a safe environment to celebrate. If anyone is thinking to come to Russia to create trouble, then he'd better
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNELL: That's the warning from the FIFA's top man. We'll see how it all plays out. As I said, Robyn, the eyes of the world are watching closely.
[11:40:03] CURNOW: And we know how FIFA runs a very, very tight ship. But, as you say, I mean, Fred also laid it out, there's the politics but
then there is this history of racism and hooliganism. I mean, if something happens, how will it be dealt with and what are the implications of that?
SNELL: Yes, and basically, now we know going into this tournament that referees will have the power -- if racist abuse gets out of hand, perceived
to get out of hand, refs will have the power to stop or even suspend games as well. So that's something they'll be watching closely. But this is the
problem FIFA had recently. Russia was find around $30,000. Now you can make what you want of that amount, but they were fined $30,000 for abuse
from some sections of support during a so-called friendly game in March against the French national team. So that is still uppermost in everyone's
So, I want to tie this to basically the case of one of the England players, the defender Danny Rose who plays his club football for England. He
reportedly even telling his own family to stay away from the tournament -- stay away from watching him play his biggest career moment, if you like.
Stay away from watching him compete in Russia. Simply because he has fears of the possibility of racism there. That, I think, speaks volumes and,
again, this is something that we're going to be watching very closely.
CURNOW: And that's important. So, you know, we'll watch all of that playing on the sidelines and maybe on the field as well. But when it comes
to the games and the sport what is important? What's the main thing you're watching out for here?
SNELL: There are so many compelling storylines going into this tournament. Earlier in the week we picked up on Argentina and their preparations for
this tournament. We know they had a pre-World Cup warm-up game, if you like, scheduled to be played in Jerusalem this coming Saturday against
Israel. We know that is now not going to be happening. They are two-time champions of the world. Their preparations for this tournament, if you
like, Lionel Messi and co have been really thrown into some sort of real disorder there. Because they had a recent friendly scheduled against
Nicaragua. That was canceled due to security concerns there as well. So, they ended up playing Haiti and ended up winning that comfortably in Buenos
Aires. So, hardly ideal preparations for Argentina who are looking to win the tournament for a third time. And recently as well -- if memory serves
me correctly -- back in March they were thumped 6-1 by Spain, the 2010 winners of the tournament. So, one factor leaping out, Argentina takes on
Iceland in their very first game.
CURNOW: Oh, no.
SNELL: Iceland, of course, the smallest competing nation at the World Cup, a team that shocked many in the world of football when they got to the
quarterfinals in Euro 16 in France. So, that's just one of many storylines that's already leaping out at me.
CURNOW: And we're going to be talking a lot about all of it.
SNELL: I haven't even mentioned Peru or Panama as well.
CURNOW: CNN's going to be covering those in pretty good detail. We are going to be talking about this a lot. So, we'll work it out. But yes,
let's hope Argentina is prepared.
SNELL: We'll see.
CURNOW: Thanks so much. Thank you.
So, while those athletes get ready to take part in the World Cup in Russia, another athlete a world away in Gaza has his dream shattered by a single
bullet. Stay with us for his story.
[11:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CURNOW: Life up for people in Gaza is already difficult. And now one young athlete is facing a new hurdle dealing with disability and he's not
the only one as Ben Wedeman now reports.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His dream was to become a professional cyclist, to finally escape if only
briefly the narrow confines of his native Gaza. As part of the Palestinian cycling team at this year's Asian games in Indonesia.
"The dream I've been pursuing and training for," says 20-year-old Alaa Al- Dali, "disappeared in the blink of an eye."
The dream shattered when an Israeli bullet ripped through his right leg on the 30th of March. At the first of the weekly great marches of return
doctors had to amputate. Alaa had ridden his bike to the demonstration. Joining tens of thousands protesting Israel's blockade which has created
what critics say is the world's largest open-air prison as virtually no one can come or go. He insists he was well away from the fence that separates
Gaza from Israel. Since then the Palestinian health ministry claims Israeli gunfire has killed more than 120 people including journalists and
medical personnel and wounded more than 4,000.
DR. ADNAN AL-BORSH, SHIFA HOSPITAL: A gunshot bullet in his leg. This bullet destructed all soft tissue, nerves, arteries, bone.
Reporter: The Dr. Adnan Al-Borsh takes me on a tour of Gaza City's Shifa Hospital.
AL-BORSH: Up to now we have about 25 amputations. But this number is increasing because of the severity of injury and the lack of medications,
such as antibiotics.
WEDEMAN: Jordanian surgeon Bassam Harasha is operating on one of the wounded.
BASSAM HARASHA, SURGEON: Inside the tissue this type of bullet is doing explosive. And this explosion, effect of this bullet is doing massive
destruction in the soft tissue and bone. So most of the patients they underwent amputation. We have no chance to save the limb like other bullet
injuries which is traditional bullet injuries outside this area.
WEDEMAN: Many of the bullet wounds appear to be from 7.62-millimeter sniper rounds fired by Israeli forces. At close range their effect is
devastating to the human body. Bassam Harasha has treated the injured from Gaza's many wars.
The bullet itself is different from before," he says. "We used to find intact bullets. Now we don't. Now they're just shrapnel."
Israeli army spokesman lieutenant colonel Jonathan Conricus insists their tactics are intended to minimize fatalities.
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESMAN: Each sniper fires only at orders of commanders. The snipers fire at the feet or the legs of the
assailant who try to penetrate into Israel and, again, using only standard ammunition which are according to international law. And used by other
militaries as well.
WEDEMAN: Israeli officials say the protesters threw Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli soldiers positioned along the fence. No Israeli soldiers
were killed or injured during the protests. Prominent Israeli human rights lawyer, Michael Sfard, believes the Israeli army could have avoid the use
of lethal force.
MICHAEL SFARD, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: There are people among the protesters who wanted to get to the fence, who wanted damage the fence, who wanted to
cross the fence. And maybe even wanted to cross the fence in order to do some bad things. The idea is the strongest army in the Middle East. It
has lots of tools. It can apprehend those people. It can put them to trial and even incarcerate them to long prison terms. It can use tear gas.
It can use water guns. It can do so many things.
WEDEMAN: The Israeli government accuses Hamas, which controls Gaza of using the protesters as pawns to penetrate defense and attempt to return to
their homes of more than half a century ago. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the army's actions saying no country would allow threats
to its sovereignty.
[11:50:00] Still the Israeli army claims it used restraint.
CONRICUS: The IDF has been defending Israeli communities and Israeli civilians against multiple attacks from Gaza towards Israel over the last
two months. Throughout these attacks we have been using different measures, riot control measures and as a last resort we have used sniper
fire in order to stop the most dangerous of threats from reaching the border and coming into Israel. I would like to emphasize that we have been
using standard ammunition only, nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary. Standard sniper ammunition only.
WEDEMAN: Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sitta, is here from the American University of Beirut Hospital where he heads the department of reconstructive surgery.
He has decades of experience treating the wounded from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq in addition to Gaza.
DR. GHASSAN ABU-SITTA, SURGEON, AUB HOSPITAL: Almost identical cases of complex injuries to the limbs leading protracted and repeated surgical
interventions and really complex surgical interventions because of the amount of tissue destruction that these high velocity bullets produce.
WEDEMAN: What's not in dispute is that Israeli forces have wounded thousands of Palestinians, many now handicapped for life.
ABU-SITTA: If you permanently cripple that individual, not only are you taking away their ability to contribute economically, they become an
economic burden. If they're in their 20s or late teens, then that's a lifetime of economic disability.
WEDEMAN: And that lifetime of disability has just now taking its first steps. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Gaza.
CURNOW: Thanks to Ben for that report.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still ahead we continue our World Cup countdown with a look at England's hopes through the eyes of one young fan.
CURNOW: Before we go, back to the World Cup. And it's been more than 50 years since England last tasted victory at the tournament. That's not for
lack of talking about it, is it? Now Team young gun, Marcus Rashford, says it's time for actions to speak louder than words on the Russian picture.
Here's your 1-on-1 for today.
MARCUS RASHFORD, STRIKER, MANCHESTER UNITED: Marcus Rashford, striker, Manchester United, in England. And I've been given this name. Many
memories of it.
[11:55:00] I think I started watching the Brazil team with the likes of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo and then topped the players in that was one of my
I'd have to say, Mess, some of the stuff that does is unbelievable. And I'm a big fan of Ronaldinho, but I think Messi is the greatest and the best
player I've played with Wayne Rooney, I'd say. And they're a legend.
I think we spoke about it quite a lot so now we're at a stage were we just have to go out and do what we spoke about and what to do what the plan is,
and I think we're focused more now than we have been in the past. And everything is more in place than it has been in the past. So, all we have
to do is focus on the football.
CURNOW: And the show will be following the fans and the action across Russia all of next week and beyond. S0, save the date for that opening
match between Saudi Arabia and the host nation in Moscow. I'm Robyn Curnow, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks so much for watching. You're