Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Bahrain Conference U.S.-Iran Tensions Dominating Headlines; U.S. Proposing $50 Billion to Boost Palestinian Economy; Europe on Alert for Potentially Dangerous Heat Wave; Dr. Mike Tackles Vaccination Debate; 6,000 Attendees at Asia's Largest Energy Event. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 25, 2019 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:17]

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Great to have you along. Welcome. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I am Robyn Curnow here at CNN Headquarters in Atlanta.

So, at this hour, we are following two big stories out of the Middle East. Today is the big reveal for the first phase of the Trump administration's

long awaited deal of the century, but it certainly could be a very tough sell as the people it aims to help don't want any part of it.

We go live to Bahrain, where a workshop on improving the Palestinian economy is about to get underway.

We're also following a new warning from Iran as it responds to U.S. President Donald Trump's new sanctions. The standoff is deepening and has

the entire region on edge both sanctions and insults are being hurled in the midst of these growing tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

And now, a stark warning from the U.S. President, Donald Trump has just tweeted that any attack by Iran will be met with great and overwhelming

force and will mean obliteration for Tehran. This comes after Iran's President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at Washington, saying the White House

is suffering from mental disability.

Now, the harsh words are in response to Mr. Trump's issue of new sanctions over the downing of an American drone last week. Now an Iranian spokesman

says those sanctions have closed the channel of diplomacy forever, but the U.S. National Security adviser says the door for negotiations is actually

still open.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: President Trump yesterday imposed significant new sanctions on Iran's supreme leader and other top

leadership individuals and entities. At the same time, the president has held the door open to real negotiations to completely and verifiably

eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons program. All that Iran needs to do is walk through that open door.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: OK. So we are covering this from all angles. Oren Liebermann joins us from Jerusalem. Fred Pleitgen is live in Tehran. But first, I want to

bring in White House reporter Sarah Westwood in Washington. Sarah, hi. Walk us through this latest tweet that we're getting from the U.S. president,

threatening Iran with obliteration.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Robyn. President Trump saying that any attack from Iran on an American anything in the

president's words will be met by force. He describes that as overwhelming force or even obliteration. But this after the president pursued a military

strike against Iran on Thursday evening in response to the downing of an American drone, and then pulled back at the last second, 10 minutes before

that strike was set to be launched, in the president's own telling, because he learned of the anticipated number of Iranian casualties. That was 150

Iranians.

So, the president talking a lot tougher after he pulled back from that military response, sort of shifted to focus more on an economic response

that included those sanctions against Iranian leadership that he signed yesterday. Now he is again threatening military action.

The administration, by the way, never took a military response off of the table, even as they leaned more towards strengthening the existing

sanctions regime. But the president making clear that he is prepared to do that, this as he says he doesn't believe he needs congressional approval to

strike Iran. Some Republicans, Democrats, they disagree with that. Senate Democrats, in fact, are even considering a filibuster of the defense

funding bill in order to push an amendment that would require the president to seek congressional approval. But nonetheless, the president keeping his

options open, and trying to keep this specter of military action hanging over Iran, Robyn.

CURNOW: Yes. As he said last week, the U.S. was cocked and loaded. So, we see flip flop between the threatening stunts and then open and leaving the

door open and saying that America doesn't want war. So, just stand by, Sarah, I think we have Fred Pleitgen who is live in Tehran with more on all

of this.

Fred, I don't know if you're there. If you could just talk us through what the response -- Fred is good, yes. Fred, if you can just talk us through

what the Iranian response be, to this latest tactic, strategy, what is it we're seeing from the American president here, threatening Iran with

obliteration.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. I think the president is reacting to the statements that he's heard from the

Iranian president today. And you can really feel the rhetoric between these two is starting to heat up. I think on the one hand, the thing that

Iranians really additionally took offense was what the fact that you have these new sanctions put in place also against Iran's supreme leader, but

then also of course coming in the next couple of days against the foreign minister as well and against senior members of the Revolutionary Guard.

[11:05:00] Now, Hassan Rouhani went out today and said he doesn't believe those sanctions actually are going to have any sort of effect on the

Iranian economy or on the people who were sanctioned because they don't have any sort of assets internationally, but they were quite angry about

this. And Hassan Rouhani then went out in language that was a lot stronger than you would normally expect from him, said that the White House is

confused and also saying he believes that the White House is mentally disabled. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): They have become frustrated and confused. They do not know what to do. They do strange

things that no sane person in the history of world politics has done or at least I don't remember. This is because of their total confusion. They have

become mentally disabled. The White House is suffering from mental disability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: So, there you have it, some pretty angry words from the Iranian president. Now, of course, we're unclear whether Mr. President Trump was

reacting to exactly that, but he was talking about a statement that he thought was not kind. The Iranians also, by the way, saying, I think this

is also very important, that with these sanctions they think that the door for diplomacy with the United States has been shut, showing just how angry

they are about how this happened.

And Hassan Rouhani said look, the U.S. says it wants Iran to go back to the negotiating table and go back to diplomacy, but at the same time they

sanctioned Iran's top diplomat. The Iranians are saying that's something that just doesn't mesh with what the United States is publicly saying,

Robyn.

CURNOW: OK. So, while we're talking about doors being closed, open, half ajar, I don't know. We're also hearing from John Bolton. Let's go to

Jerusalem. Oren Liebermann is standing by. Oren, so we heard from John Bolton. He said the door was open for negotiations, all the Iranians have

to do is walk in. What else came out of these meetings today where you are?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the bulk of U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton statement was what his normal position is on

Iran, which is incredibly hawkish. And he certainly didn't let up at all in statements today or his statements in the rest of his time here in

Jerusalem where he said Iranian in his words malign activities in the region need to stop as well as the ballistic missile program and there

needs to be verifiable elimination of their nuclear program. And that is what he said needs to come in the event of negotiations. I had the chance

to ask him, look, Iran says for negotiations to begin there needs to be some sanctions relief, essentially it seems as goodwill gesture to show

that the U.S. is serious about negotiations, but he said, look, he doesn't take Iran at their word, he doesn't trust the Iranian regime at all.

And because of that there is not going to be sanctions relief before negotiations. They need to show the first action needs to come from Iran

when it comes to trying to bring about talks, there needs to be verifiable end again to their nuclear program, and an end to what he calls their

malign activities in the region.

It's worth noting that Bolton's statements come in a trilateral meeting between him and his Israeli and Russian counterparts. And if there was

supposed to be a united front here against Iran or at least to some activity in the region, there wasn't. I was the Russian top security

adviser to President Vladimir Putin who came out very much on the side of Iran and who said the downed U.S. drone was in Iranian airspace, was in

Iranian territory which contradicts what the U.S. and Israel have said and also contradicts - and also said rather that the Defense Ministry of Russia

has intelligence to that effect. Intelligence to the effect that the U.S. drone was in Iranian airspace. So, Russia coming out very much on the side

of Iran. Russia is at least an ally or partner of Iran and has opposed sanctions from the beginning. So, this was a trilateral meeting. It was

certainly a big accomplishment for Israel to host it here, but not all countries on the same page on Iran here.

CURNOW: Yes, certainly not. Thanks so much, Oren. I just want to go back to Tehran. Fred Pleitgen standing by there. Fred, we have been speaking almost

every day for the past few weeks as we've been seeing this heat up. A lot of the analysts I've been speaking to say that they were expecting the

Iranians to escalate in order to de-escalate. Is that what we're potentially seeing here?

PLEITGEN: Well, I'm not sure whether the Iranians are trying to escalate at this point in time. I think right now we might be in de-escalation phase,

if you will, but it certainly seems as though this problem is definitely not going away. I mean we have to see, if we look past the rhetoric of the

Iranian side, essentially what they're saying is that these sanctions to them are already war. They have said that financial sanctions against Iran

to them amounts to economic warfare or economic terrorism as they put it.

And so, if that's the case, then obviously even if there's a short period of de-escalation right now, the situation is not solved, as long as they

say, as long as the United States keeps up its maximum pressure campaign. Now, the Iranians have an interesting strategy in all this. On one hand,

they're obviously being very tough to the United States, but at the same time, they're also telling European countries that if they want to preserve

the nuclear agreement, the Iranians need to start seeing some economic benefits very, very quickly, or the Iranians are going to exceed those

limits of low enriched uranium, which of course then put the nuclear agreement even more on the ropes than it already is.

[11:10:15] So whether or not there's going to be more escalation, whether or not that's an Iranian strategy, I'm not so sure about. One thing is

definitely for sure, that is the fundamental issue between the United States and Iran is nowhere near going away. So it doesn't look like this

might be a one off thing this week, the past two weeks that we have been reporting from here.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much for that. Live from Tehran, Fred Pleitgen, Oren as well there in Jerusalem, and Sarah Westwood in the White House. Thanks

to you all. Great to speak to you.

Now, Iraq is a country that has also felt the extreme pressure of sanctions. CNN's Christiane Amanpour had sat down with the Iraqi president

who says he feels for the Iranian people. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's say the United States has legitimate grievances with Iran. What would your advice

be had you been asked by President Trump and his administration regarding the Iranian nuclear deal and pulling out, because it is obviously that that

caused this massive escalation as Iran is being squeezed by the Americans, maximum pressure campaign.

BARHAM SALIH, IRAQI PRESIDENT: Let me remind the audience of the sanctions have been tried in many, many countries, and we in Iraq have suffered from

sanctions in the 1990s and the devastation that has afflicted Iraqi society has been enduring even to date, by the way. So we feel for the people of

Iran as they're being subjected to these sanctions.

And there's also a fundamental question whether this is the way to bring about a change in behavior in policy that is being sought out. The nuclear

deal was welcomed by many in the region, was once welcomed by the Europeans and was once welcomed by the world to go beyond that impasse. There are

issues with that nuclear deal, this needs to be negotiated, this needs to be discussed, and the alternative of arbitrating the deal could be

disastrous for the entire neighborhood, not just for Iran and not just for the Iraq, for the neighborhood as a whole.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Now to Bahrain, where the Trump administration is getting ready to kickoff a conference it hopes will pave the path to Palestinian and Israeli

peace. Well, Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will get the ball rolling with opening remarks soon. The U.S. is taking an entirely new

approach to the decades old conflict, it is not even attempting to address the core issues for now, instead focusing on improving the Palestinian

economy. One small problem, though, the Palestinians aren't even taking part. They say the U.S. just doesn't get it and no amount of cash can make

them drop their desire for an independent state where they no longer live under occupation.

So, let's get the very latest from CNN's Jeremy Diamond. He's at the conference in Bahrain. Jeremy, many say as they look at who is at that

conference and what is on the table that in many ways there are very low expectations or even worse that this is dead on arrival.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, there certainly are low expectations. And I think the White House is also very cognizant of that. I

spoke with a senior administration official before arriving here in Bahrain who said look, we don't expect any concrete financial pledges toward this

economic plan by the end of the conference, we don't expect any kind of large joint statement. So, they, too, are also really lowering expectations

here, and perhaps they'll exceed them, but as of now in conversations that we've had with several attendees here, there's been a fairly tepid

response.

Look, a lot of people here, including Arab leaders and businessmen from the region are very open to hearing what this administration is proposing. What

they're proposing is $50 billion economic plan for the -- to boost the Palestinian economy, more than half which would go to the West Bank, would

go to Gaza, and also the rest of which will go to the surrounding region. There are specific economic projects. But because so much of this is

contingent upon an actual peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, the response we've heard from businessmen here and from other

participants is we are open to hearing this, but we need to hear more from this White House, particularly in terms of those thorny political issues

which are really the crux of any potential agreement.

And as you mentioned, Robyn, we're not going to hear any of that at this conference here. What the White House is focused on, and what I expect

we'll hear in Jared Kushner's speech in a short time from now is going to be trying to layout this vision, trying to set the stage for the potential

that the Israeli, Palestinian region and beyond in the Middle East has, if indeed there is resolution to this long-standing conflict between Israel

and the Palestinians.

[11:15:05] But there's a lot of distrust, of course, from the Palestinians. In particular, we have seen demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza while

this conference has been happening here, and the reason for that is because the administration has done very little to really generate the kind of

goodwill among Palestinians that they need if Palestinians are to believe that this $50 billion proposal is anything more than words on a page. We've

seen this administration cut funding for UNRWA United Nations Relief and Works Agency charged with Palestinians. And we've also seen the

administration takes several hardline pro-Israeli stances, moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Recognizing the Golan Heights as

Israeli sovereign territory.

So, again, A lot of skepticism from Palestinians in particular, but also in the region. But we do at least here have several Arab countries who have

come to listen to what this administration is proposing. But again, don't expect very much in terms of concrete deliverables to emerge here.

CUNROW: OK. You make some excellent points. Jeremy Diamond there in Bahrain. Thanks for that report, Jeremy.

The Palestinian prime minister summed up feelings of his people in one sentence. We don't want to live in, quote, "five star hotels under

occupation." He told CNN the Bahrain conference is dodging the issues Palestinians care most about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOHAMMAD SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER: What would be presented has nothing to do with the reality, has nothing to do with settlements, has

nothing to do with occupation, has nothing to do with the Palestinians not having any access to their land, to their water, Palestinians have no

control of their resources, so when we speak about investment and improving living conditions without really tackling the roots and the causes of the

problem, I think the whole workshop is totally misleading and it just simply intellectual exercise. As I said earlier, the best part of it will

be only the coffee break.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: And just a reminder, we are waiting for Jared Kushner to give opening remarks at that conference in Bahrain and we'll bring you that

speech live.

Still to come, parts of Europe are trying to cool off as a heat wave intensifies. But the worst we understand is yet to come. Extreme heat could

turn very, very dangerous.

And then the heat is on in the race to become Britain's next leader, after refusing to debate, frontrunner Boris Johnson is now taking to the air

waves. We have that story, too.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:20:13] CURNOW: Potentially dangerous heat wave is about to scorch Europe. And sad to say this is only the beginning of a world climate

crisis. Just last year, extreme temperatures in Europe killed multiple people, and led to a dry spell across the continent. Experts predict record

setting weather like this will become the new norm, as heat waves and severe cold fronts become more and more frequent. This as leaders head to

the G-20 summit this week, commitments to tackle climate change are wavering to say the least.

Let's go straight to Paris. And Melissa Bell is standing by. You've got a beautiful location. How hot is it there? Hi, Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, it is very hot. I just would like to show you one of the consequences of that climate crisis you talk

about. The only part of summer, June. Parisians doing anything they can to try and keep cool in the sweltering heat. The government put in place all

kinds of things, water fountains throughout Paris, upping emergency service to prepare for what they expect is going to be an extraordinarily severe

heat wave.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BELL (voice-over): The European summer is only a few weeks old. Already, temperatures are soaring.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I live in Zambia now and I can say it is cooler in Zambia than it is in France.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been watching for 30 minutes, it was too hot, we had to rest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: In the days ahead, it's only going to get hotter. A high-pressure system over central and eastern Europe is drawing in very hot air from

Africa, pushing up temperatures in Spain, France, and Italy, as the mass of extreme heat moves north towards Germany.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We're expecting an exceptional - even heat wave for the month of June, meaning that we're going to reach

temperatures over a period of six or seven days that have never been observed for month of June before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: Authorities in France are already drawing comparisons to the deadly 2003 heat wave which claimed lives of tens of thousands of people across

the continent. The country's health minister urging citizens to take necessary precautions over the coming days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We give instructions to the various companies to adapt their schedules, the ways of their working in

order to avoid public transport as much as possible. All companies that can tele work should be encouraged, and all those who can adapt their opening

and closing times should do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: The scorching heat is affecting the FIFA Women's World Cup, too, where the U.S. team is preparing to take on the French team in Paris in the

quarterfinals on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARINA LEBLANC, HEAD OF WOMEN'S FOOTBALL AT CONCACAF: They may play different style, maybe not press as high, maybe find ways to adapt to the

heat. But you'll see both teams doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: In Germany, residents are already doing what they can to cool down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is hot. But when you're in the water, it is nice and cool. So, when you're in the water, a bit of both.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: Forecasters there. They're predicting the same weather to peak on Wednesday or Thursday. The earlier and more intense heat wave conditions

are another reminder if it were needed of what scientists say is a climate crisis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BELL: Now that's something the French minister speaking out this morning, Robyn, on French media have been repeating, over and over again. Purely

linking this heat wave that is just beginning here in Paris and in other European cities to that, to the climate crisis that you mentioned a moment

ago. They also say watch out. Very soon these kinds of events may not be exceptional but the norm. Robyn?

CURNOW: Big warning signs from mother nature here. Melissa Bell there in Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower. Thanks so much for that report.

Folks need to be careful, particularly in Europe. Let's go to Chad Myers, talk us through what we're seeing here. Hi, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: What we're seeing is a big block in the atmosphere. And this is going to be the pattern for the next four days.

We're going to see cool air off the coast, we're going to see very cool air over the Euro mountains and in Russia, Warsaw, even cooling down colder

than normal. But the jet stream building the heat in the central part of Europe.

Temperatures are going to be 10 to 20 degrees warmer than they should be at this time of year. That heat wave goes all the way up to Germany, all the

way up to Belgium, and tries to get across the English Channel, but doesn't quite get there. Leon, 39 on Thursday. We go to Toulouse right down to 40

degrees for an afternoon high.

Now in France, the whole time for ever taking temperatures in France, all of the years and all of the cities, the greatest temperature we have seen

in June is 41.5. We will certainly approach that. Maybe not in Paris where temperatures are middle 30s. Look at Madrid, 42 for days in a row, and it

is that days in a row problem that we're getting here.

[11:25:04] One or two hot days, you can deal with it. Five straight days, 15 degrees above normal, that's when it gets dangerous. Even Zurich, we're

talking about 34 degrees for the next couple days.

Looking at the world temperature anomaly. If you see blue, you're colder than normal. If you see red, you're warmer than normal. Most of Europe,

most of Eastern Russia is very, very warm. The U.S. slightly cooler than normal. This is what we expect from what the Fox Temp Institute (ph) just

put out just a couple of days ago.

Why is this so dangerous? Because in a normal not climate adjusted, climate crisis kind of year, this would just keep moving. We would get one or two

hot days, that hot weather would move to the east, you would get cool air I talked about. Now with this ridge trough being stuck, that's why we get

three to four, five days in a row. That's when it doesn't cool down at night. Open up your windows, you only get the house down to 30. And then by

the time the afternoon rolls up especially in Madrid, you're back up to 42 in the afternoon. It is that I can't cool my house down any more. And

that's the problem here in Central Europe for the next five days.

CURNOW: OK. Which is why folks need to hydrate, particularly the elderly. Don't overexert yourself. Certainly worrying signs we're seeing here. OK,

Chad Myers, thanks for giving us an update. Thanks, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CURNOW: It is head to head in the fight to become the U.K.'s next prime minister. Boris Johnson takes on Jeremy Hunt. Now Johnson is doubling down

on his Brexit promises. He tries to get his campaign on track. He emerged on Tuesday in a media blitz. But he did continue to actually duck questions

about his personal life, following an allegation of an altercation just days ago at the home he shares with his girlfriend. Mr. Johnson, however,

is commenting on the report of closeness with former Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon, calling them, quote, "codswallop." Well, the

conservative party says it will announce its new leader and thus the prime minister on July 23rd.

Meanwhile, still to come. The anti-vaccine movement is certainly gaining ground in Italy. Meet a little girl whose life is put in danger by other

children not having their vaccines.

And we discuss the debate with a doctor and YouTube star about social media's role in this debate. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:31:10] CURNOW: Wonderful to have you with us. Thanks for joining me. I'm Robyn Curnow. You are watching CNN.

Let's talk about a story that seemingly polarizes opinions at the mere mention of it. I'm talking about the anti-vaccine movement. It's a story

that we cover extensively here on this network while a lot of attention is placed on it in the U.S. We also know that the movement is certainly

gaining ground in Italy as well. Nina dos Santos now explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven-year-old Angela Pomaro loves to dance, but with each class comes the risk of contagion,

because after her bone marrow transplant three years ago, Angela has little immunity. She lives in a country that recently had one of the highest rates

of measles in the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLA POMARO, FATHER: (through translator): Unfortunately, in Italy there are many children that aren't vaccinated, so there's a lot she has to

avoid, trains, planes, restaurants, and shopping malls, all of these are dangerous places for Angela.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: At her weakest, she lived in seclusion for two years. When she could finally see her friends, it was through a mask or only from afar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POMARO: She has suffered a lot from her isolation and began to fall behind. The doctors told us we had to start accepting taking risks for her benefit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: Based with lower coverage with developing nations like Sudan, Italy made immunizations mandatory two years ago, by excluding

nonvaccinated children from school, giving Angela a chance to lead a normal life once more. That policy has since come under threat from a new populist

government, backed by a vocal anti-vaccine movement that experts say now counts almost 1 percent of Italy's population. Parents like this, the

former league party mayor of a town not far from Angela's.

He's turned his house into a shrine to kids who he says were killed by botched inoculations. And he's willing to home school his daughters rather

than see them injected.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LORIS MAZZORATO, FATHER (through translator): It is like when you're at work. You shoot first or you get shot. What do people expect me to do? I

have to defend my daughters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: This weaponization of public health that has caused one Milan micro biologist to mount a major counter offensive online. But speaking out

in favor of vaccines in Italy today isn't always safe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTO BURTONI, MICROBIOLOGIST: I realized how bad the information was on this topic, how dangerous this could be. So I decided it was my duty as a

doctor to try to fight this misinformation where it happened, on social media. I received death threats, my family would receive death threats, and

it was very unpleasant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOS SANTOS: Both sides of the increasingly heated vaccine debate may only be trying to protect their kids best they think they can. The thing about

Angela, says her dad, and thousands like her, they fought for their lives and survived only to suffer once more he says for the sake of superstition.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN in Italy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Thanks, Nina, for that report. Now, this discussion over vaccines is certainly all over social media, isn't it? Both sides of the debate take

to Facebook, to Twitter, to YouTube to passionately argue their point of view. Well, my next guest is trying to make sense of the debate from

medical perspective, you may know him as Dr. Mike, he's a family medicine physician here in the U.S.

[11:35:02] And he has 3.8 million subscribers on YouTube. His videos discuss all kinds of medical issues, including vaccinations. Well, Dr. Mike

joins us now live from New York. Great to have you. You make a lot of these medical videos on YouTube, you give your perspective from a medical point

of view. How has the vaccination debate - I mean this vaccination conversation differ from other topics people have talked about?

DR. MIKE VARSHAVSKI, BOARD CERTIFIED FAMILY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: Thank you so much for having me. This is such an important topic, and I'm glad we're

bringing light to it because the WHO has listed vaccine has essences as one of the major threats to public health in the year 2019. This is for good

reason.

This topic is extremely polarizing, and with a simple piece of misinformation going viral on social media you can have deaths of children

from a totally unnecessary perspective. That's why I make videos on social media, on YouTube to educate the public, to explain what doctors are doing,

to approach it from a compassionate standpoint. When you do that, you can see the conversion of those who maybe vaccine hesitant because you give

them quality information. You're not approaching them as evil people doing something bad. They're simply trying to protect their children and they're

doing it from the best way that they know how. So it takes a quality educated, unbiased physician to be on social media, to be present, and give

this type of information to them.

CURNOW: I want to show some of the videos or a clip of it. You went on the streets to get people's thoughts on this. Let's play a clip, I want to get

your view on it afterwards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there were like experiments and they put the, you know, the virus in us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did your doctor try to push you, convince you to do them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, like always. They always do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you think they do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You pay for that (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to convince someone that told you that despite the best research that you've seen, there's no link to autism, they believe

there's a correlation somehow?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would suggest to them that having a child with autism is a lot better than having a dead child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: What is your reaction talking to people in the U.S. about this topic?

VARSHAVSKI: It is truly disappointing to hear when you see loss of trust in physicians like you saw in the first clip, and also on the other hand,

seeing how powerful the message is from a mother who actually her child is autistic in that clip, and she is still very supportive of vaccinations,

she looks at the science, has a trusted family physician that treats her children, and as a result is able to make a better decision.

Now when I look at social media landscape right now, I see where the problem lies. It is the fact that we have an absence of honest, unbiased

evidence based physicians there, because it is not something that doctors are traditionally trained to do. We're not trained to make YouTube videos.

We're not trained to go on Facebook and tackle misinformation. But if we encourage this type of behavior, if we teach young medical students to go

out there, to spread this meaningful message of public health, we can truly make a big difference. So to me, watching someone make a horrible decision

for their child and also for their community, because when you don't have complete immunization of a community, you put at risk children like you

showed on the prior clip with Angela. That's just absolutely terrible.

CURNOW: And you would hope that no parent would want to bear that responsibility as well when making this decision, it is not just about your

child, it is about the community, particularly sick children and the elderly. But you kind of touch on a point here about how many ways the

medical profession has been outplayed perhaps on social media. You have this massive following on YouTube, trying to do something different to what

ordinary doctors are trying to do.

Back in February YouTube told CNN it was taking action on this, and a spokesman said, I want to read this out. It is quite wordy. But we'll get a

sense of it. YouTube saying, we have taken a number of steps to address this, including service surfacing more authoritative content across our

site for people searching for vaccination related topics, beginning to reduce recommendations of certain anti-vaccination videos and showing

information panels with more sources where they can fact check information for themselves. What's your reaction to that? I know also Instagram there's

been a huge push back to the kind of lies that you find on social media. What else needs to be done?

VARSHAVSKI: This is a very complex problem. And recently there was a meeting of some major communication leaders in the space with UNICEF, of

WHO, myself, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, all the major social media organizations and healthcare organizations coming together to think about

what can be done. And the answer lies in collaboration. We need to work together. We need to change the way these algorithms work.

Currently on social media, things that get most traction, front page attention, recommendations, are those that are most extreme. The ones that

fear monger.

[11:40:01] And if we can change those algorithms, if we can encourage social media websites to not recommend these videos to people, especially

because they're inaccurate, the way that YouTube now, if you ever watched a vaccine video, they put links to the CDC, to Wikipedia about what vaccine

hesitancy is all about, and they put quality sources out there for you. That's one step that we can take in order to educate people. This isn't

about censorship. This is about what we're going to be recommending to our parents who are searching for information.

The majority that people who are vaccine hesitant are not bad people, they're just misinformed. And when they go on the CDC website and they see

good information, they go on social media and get something else. It is confusing to them. They don't know the difference between quality research

and poor research. So, it is important that these social media websites put forth quality information, do not recommend misinformation or fear

mongering style videos, and most importantly rise up the creators who are doing something good.

I pushed YouTube to create a health section on their platform. They have gaming. They have music. They have news, and the news is you know fact

checked beyond galore but they don't have a health section. I encourage YouTube, Google, create a health section where it is moderated by someone

that is trusted, CDC, a major organization, where parents can go on and get answers to their question. When you have collaboration from both sides,

social media and the health organizations, you can better target these parents because the social media companies have data like what questions

parents have, what are they searching that they getting these negative results with misinformation. And then they can pass that information onto

the WHO, the CDC, who can then use that information to tailor what they're going to put out there into the media, how they're going to train

journalists who address these issues moving forward. And when we have this level of collaboration and meet it with some compassion, I think we're

truly going to have fantastic results.

CURNOW: OK. Well, you're doing some good work out there. Thanks so much, Dr. Mike. Appreciate you joining us here on CNN. Hopefully the message gets

through. YouTube videos are all there to be watched with some very, very simple explanations on medical issues that you know about. Thank you,

doctor.

OK. So, you're watching CNN. We'll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow here at CNN Headquarters in Atlanta.

Now, at this hour, uncertainty, uncertainty certainly hanging over the financial and commodity markets with tensions growing of course in the gulf

around the Strait of Hormuz and the continuing trade war between the U.S. and China. Now, these are all near term challenges and they were presented

at the Asia Oil and Gas Conference which wrapped up on Tuesday in Malaysia. So, let's bring in John Defterios, CNN's business editor with more on all

of this.

[11:45:00] Hi, John. Good to see you. Are energy leaders watching events unfold with trepidation?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, you wouldn't know it in the price. We're in the sweet spot right now, about $65 a barrel. So

they're very comfortable. So I'd say there's no panic. But I think there's great concern because of the Asian countries are very vulnerable. They're

the biggest customers of Middle Eastern crude. They don't want anything going on around the Strait of Hormuz. I would suggest that the Asian energy

companies, chief executives certainly put on a brave face, and they have been through these challenges in the past. Let's take a closer look, Robyn.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEFTERIOS: It is the biggest energy event in a fast-growing region, but in a world gripped with uncertainty. The Asian Oil and Gas Conference is

welcoming 6,000 attendees on its 20th anniversary. I chair the opening session with chief executives on the team forging a new energy future. A

key question here, what is the goldilocks price for oil, something that's not too hot nor too cold, something that doesn't kill off demand, but

encourages investment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANJIV SINGH, CHAIRMAN, INDIAN OIL CORPORATION: It is a responsible price and stable price and price stability which we are looking for. Prices are

too low, probably doesn't support the producers, prices are too high, doesn't support the consumers. The country, India, today imposed nearly 4

percent of its oil decline. So it is heavily depending upon the crude supplies from other sources. Price is an important factor, but as long as

these are responsible prices, stable prices at a reasonable level, I think the country is fine with that.

DEFTERIOS: Do we think we're going to have any sort of shock or have we matured in the market in the last 10 years?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to balance the supply and demand situation. But the demand situation is geared towards the fragile impact today that

price has, simply because of the trade war and relatively uncomfortable position that everybody feels they're sitting in from a demand perspective.

Very fragile at the moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: It is a high stakes game with billions on the table on medium term projects during a critical transition from hydrocarbons to renewable

energy. Meanwhile, the world has projected to cross a milestone in 2019 of consuming 100 million barrels of oil each day for the very first time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: We're about 100 million barrels a day today. Do you think we increase about 115 million barrels over the next 15 years?

CHANSIN TREENUCHAGRON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PTT: Something like that, maybe 1 percent increase. Maybe 1 or 1.5 percent increase. And maybe in next 15

years increase something like 120 or 125. I think depending on the oil price.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: The price pulled opposite directions by two key global events, the threat by Iran to hit supplies coming out of the Strait of Hormuz, and

also the U.S./China trade war which could hit demand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DEFTERIOS: We have a couple of major goalposts coming up here, Robyn, the days ahead. The G20 summit in Osaka, to see if we can break the deadlock

between the United States and China, and the OPEC meeting Monday and Tuesday in Vienna, to see what Saudi Arabia and Russia do concerning the

situation with Iran sitting at the bargaining table, and again the threat hanging over the market here over supplies coming out of the Strait of

Hormuz. Calm tonight, but we don't know if that's going to change in the days ahead.

CURNOW: We certainly don't. We'll check in with you then. Thanks so much. John Defterios there in Malaysia. Thanks John.

Just ahead, disaster tourists have their eyes on this infamous hot spot. Should it be a selfie spot or more of a reminder. That's next from Matthew

Chance.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:50:54] CURNOW: You are watching CNN. I am Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for joining me. Welcome back.

Now, it is a name synonymous with disaster, Chernobyl. Now the nuclear ghost town is seeing resurgence of life. CNN's Matthew Chance explains why

tourists are flocking to the real life site of the catastrophic meltdown. Here is Matthew's piece.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It used to be a nursery school for the children of Chernobyl. Now it's one of

the morbid attractions for the tourist hordes exploring this nuclear exclusion zone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But here, the ground is contaminated, so --

CHANCE: Their beeping radiation alarms, part of the creepy experience.

This entire area, complete with a Ferris wheel that was never used, was evacuated back in 1986 after the then-Soviet Union acknowledged the

catastrophic release of radiation from Chernobyl reactor number four. You can still see it looming on the horizon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will need to move quickly and you will need to move carefully.

CHANCE: It's also the dramatic backdrop to the recent HBO drama, which paints a terrifying picture of the soviet regime in denial --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of radiation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm told it's the equivalent of a chest x-ray.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Leaving its own citizens in harm's way. "Chernobyl," the miniseries, has been viewed so widely, it's credited with raising global

awareness of the dangers of our nuclear age.

EDGARS BOITMANIS, TOURIST: What I liked about how real it was and how intense it was.

CHANCE: Yes.

BOITMANS: So, like, it, like kept in suspense. And then you realize it's actually how it happened in real life. And then after the show, I was

watching a lot of documentaries, wanted to find out more about this.

CHANCE: Yes.

BOITMANS: And I found out that there's tours there. And that you can come over.

CHANCE: You're not worried about the radiation? I mean, you saw the show. What it might (inaudible) --

(CROSSTALK)

BOITMANS: Well, the way -- the way I understand, is the risk of being here one day is, like, same as smoking three cigarettes. And I'm a nonsmoker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. That facility is the arts school.

CHANCE: Tour operators say visitor numbers are expected to double this year as caution toward Chernobyl turns to curiosity.

CHANCE: We're walking through this nuclear ghost town. You get a strong sense of the catastrophic dangers of nuclear power. I mean, how could you

avoid it.

But there's something much broader too, an idea that Chernobyl is a warning from the past about what can happen when governments try to hide the truth,

and how even innocent people can be sacrificed to protect those in power.

CHANCE: For some Chernobyl visitors like Ed from Texas, it's a message still relevant today.

ED CHARLESWORTH, TOURIST: I think it symbolizes a very strong need for not prevaricating about information --

CHANCE: Not lying.

CHARLESWORTH: -- not lying about information, but being forthright. And a lot could have happened differently, had the lying not taken place.

Although, I mean, it still --

CHANCE: And of course, Chernobyl is the ultimate consequence, isn't it? Of what happens when governments fail to acknowledge reality, the truth.

CHARLESWORTH: Exactly. Exactly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're approaching the power plant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What have they done.

CHANCE: But there are concerns. The horrors portrayed so graphically in the HBO series, especially of the so-called liquidators sacrificed to clean up

the radioactive mess, have been trivialized by Chernobyl's tourism boom.

One Instagrammer recently posted these racy images of herself apparently near the reactor. She later apologized and said she wasn't really at

Chernobyl at all.

But perhaps a few tasteless selfies are a low price to pay for relearning the terrible lessons of the world's worst nuclear disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One more time. Say "Radiation!" Yes, thank you.

CHANCE: Matthew Chance, CNN inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[11:55:00] CURNOW: Chilling. Thanks Matthew for that. Happily you don't have to go there to experience Chernobyl, and learn some of the lessons

that Matthew laid out there. CNN virtual reality team explored the site. You can head over to our website, CNN.com, and check it out for yourself

safely.

Meanwhile, happily ever after at a steep cost for British taxpayers. Meghan and Harry, the duke and duchess of Sussex have spent around $3 million of

taxpayers' money on renovations to their new home, which is called Frogmore Cottage. That's according to the Royal households annual financial

statement. Renovations included the removal of a chimney, refinishing the roof, and new staircases. Critics say the renovations are an outrageous

expense at a time of widespread spending cuts, and years of austerity across the U.K.

So that's the show for now. I'm Robyn Curnow. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks so much for watching. See you again tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END