Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Hong Kong Bans Vigil Citing COVID Concerns; Russian Ambassador to EU Speaks to CNN; FBI Director Compares Challenge of Confronting Recent Ransomware Attacks to Terrorism Faced After 9/11; UK Health Experts: Variant From India Spreading Rapidly; Sea Slime Threatens Marine Life Off Turkey; CNN: U.S. Intelligence Report Neither Confirms Nor Rules Out Possibility of Alien Spacecraft. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 04, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Welcome back. The Head of the FBI is turning up the heat on Russia less than two weeks before the Presidents of Russia and

the U.S. are set to meet.

Christopher Wray blasted Moscow for letting hackers operate there. In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal", Wray compare the challenging

confronting recent ransomware attacks with the terrorism threat in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. He said and I quote, "There are a lot

of parallels says a lot of importance and a lot of focus by ours on disruption and prevention".

Well, those cyber attacks are blamed on network operating in Russia. They affected companies and countries across the globe, including a major

pipeline and meat processor in the U.S. Kremlin Spokesman says Wray's comments were emotional, and not based on reality.

And not just what Russia is accused of doing abroad that is stoking the ire of the world right now. At home in just the last few hours, President Putin

signing a law banning so called extremists from running for office the kicker.

Well he has done it on the birthday of his most significant opponent, his political nemesis, Alexei Navalny, who you'll of course, know is now

languishing in a Russian jail on what many see as trumped up charges to take him out of Russia's political scene.

Well, CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew chance, normally based in Moscow tonight joining us from London. And let's start with this just in

the Russian President signing this law banning extremists from running in elections just how significant is this news Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's pretty significant, because it means that anyone that the Russian courts, which

are essentially controlled by the authorities, by the Kremlin, designate as being an extremist group will not be able to stand for elections in the

next five years.

Anyone who funds any of the groups that have been designated as extremist won't be able to stand for election - in any of the elections for the next

three years. And so it essentially takes out any possible political threat that the Kremlin has the political allies of Vladimir Putin have in the run

up to crucial parliamentary elections in September of this year.

And you mentioned that this law was passed on a significant day, a symbolic day, at least it's the birthday of Alexei Navalny, as you mentioned. He's

in prison. He's behind bars on what you say are trumped up charges. He is the leading opposition figure in the country.

And it comes the decision as well, by Vladimir Putin, just weeks before a court in Russia is expected to decide on whether Alexei Navalny's anti

corruption organization should be labeled extremist as well and of course, if it is, as we will expect it to be.

It would mean that Alexei Navalny or any of his allies any of the people that have been taking part in that highly effective anti corruption

campaign in Russia will not be able to stand in the forthcoming elections in September and will no longer pose a significant political threat to

Vladimir Putin at least not at the at the ballot box Becky.

ANDERSON: The response from the Kremlin to the FBI's accusations that Russia is a haven for cyber attacks an interesting one, what do we know


CHANCE: Well, I mean, look, I mean, the Russians, of course, deny any involvement in any kind of cyber warfare activity against United States or

against anyone else. But we are seeing several strands of that kind of activity taking place.

On the one hand, we're seeing intelligence gathering organizations like the SVR, the Russian Foreign Intelligence, hacking into the various agencies,

think tanks, government organizations in the search for information. That's one thing that's been happening in the United States.

And the Russians have been sanctioned for that and the SVR has been called out by the White House for it. But we're also seeing a sort of separate

strand of cyber attacks on the United States emanating from Russia as well.

And those are ransomware attacks where the objective is to get as much money as possible from the organizations concerned the colonial pipeline

and major energy pipeline in the United States was essentially shut down by ransomware.

Cyber attacks that meatpacking organization as well one of the biggest in the world, was - had its operations severely curtailed as well. Those

criminal gangs operate inside Russia, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.


CHANCE: And what the FBI is saying what others in the United States are saying is it's the responsibility of the Russians to make sure that kind of

activity no longer persists and is cracked down on something that Russians are not doing at this stage.

ANDERSON: Matthew, thank you. Matthew Chance is in London for you today normally, of course based in Russia. Well, remembering the Tiananmen Square

Massacre 32 years ago today, pro democracy demonstrators were killed by government troops in the heart of Beijing. China would like the world to


But Hong Kong and others are refusing to do that. Last year protesters defied a ban and filled Victoria Park home of Hong Kong's Annual Tiananmen

commemorations. Well, this is the second straight year the event has been banned. But there is a difference now, as sweeping new national security

law, part of China's increasing grip on Hong Kong.

Despite crackdown, protesters still came out this evening, ringing the perimeter of Victoria Park and the U.S. making a political statement of its

own putting candles in its Hong Kong Consulate windows. So many quiet gestures all bellowing one thing we remember.

I'm connecting you now to Hong Kong and CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has been covering this story all day and into the evening for us. Have a listen.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Becky I'm standing outside Hong Kong's Victoria Park on a sensitive anniversary. 300 to 400

police officers have been out in force this day ready to take swift action against any unauthorized protests.

We have learned this day at least two people have been arrested, including an organizer of the vigil at the Hong Kong Alliance. She was arrested

earlier today for publicizing the unauthorized vigil on her Facebook page. For two years in a row now the Hong Kong Police have been the ones annual

Tiananmen vigil here in Hong Kong citing Coronavirus restrictions.

On Thursday, Hong Kong reported only one imported case of the virus. Now up to the year 2020 for over 30 years this field here in Victoria Park would

be filled with tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of vigil participants holding candles and in that candlelight creating this sea of

flickering light that scene obviously not happening this year.

Last year the vigil was also banned, at least citing Coronavirus restrictions. A number of people participated anyway 24 pro democracy

activists, they were arrested in August among them high profile activist Joshua Wong. In fact last month, he was sentenced additional 10 months in

prison for his involvement in that vigil.

Many people here despite the ban are still choosing to remember Tiananmen, but in more private, more intimate ways, attending a vigil at church,

lighting a candle at home or as you've seen earlier this evening, people wearing black shirts and walking around the perimeter of the park holding

white flowers Becky.


ANDERSON: Well, that's Kristie Lu Stout reporting. While China exerts its control on Hong Kong it has also got its eyes set on Taiwan. Despite

China's objections, Taiwan pressed ahead with its vigils, remembering the massacre.

We've been covering the tensions between Beijing and Taipei here on CNN Of course for quite some time. And this event could ratchet things up even

higher. CNN's Will Ripley spoke to one of the Former Student Leaders who was there at Tiananmen Square back in 1989.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is the first time in more than three decades that nowhere in the Chinese speaking world will there be

a large formal mass gathering to mark the June 4th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Unlike Hong Kong where heavy handed police are keeping people away. Here in Taiwan, it is a COVID-19 outbreak and earlier, very heavy rains. But the

government here is expressing their support for the Tiananmen Square survivors, including one student activist who is now living in exile here

who says this anniversary is more important now than ever.

WUER KAIXI, FORMER TIANANMEN SQUARE PROTEST LEADER: Being a survivor of June 4th massacre, participant of 1989 student movement. I certainly

appreciate Hong Kong people's commemorating the June 4th, but then the Beijing region, together with its puppet in Hong Kong said no to our

challenge to our demand for freedom for the - to the demand of Hong Kong people for their freedom and democracy.

RIPLEY (on camera): You've said the Western world lost this city.

KAIXI: Yes. We should see the world map more like free world versus the enemy of them so if the world is two colors, and then Hong Kong has just

changed color.

RIPLEY (on camera): How would you respond to those who might think that the protesters pushed too much too far. That's what the Pro-Beijing Camp says

in Hong Kong.


KAIXI: Well, they also said we did that in 1989. It is not much different from accusing a rape victim of wearing to expose. Of course, it's the

Communist Party to be blamed first. You cannot blame the victim.

RIPLEY (on camera): Is there any hope for the pro democracy movement in Hong Kong at this point?

KAIXI: It is - there's no way of sugarcoating it. It is one of the darkest times in Hong Kong's history I would believe. There is a silver lining I

see in the last two, three years, U.S. led Western democracy. Who enabled Chinese regime to conduct all these atrocities is coming around a little

and realized what they have done and then coming to a point to thinking of changing this failed China policy.

RIPLEY (on camera): You left China 32 years ago, after many of your fellow students died. Now we're sitting here at Liberty Square. Do you worry about

the future of democracy here in Taiwan, given what some have called Chinese military intimidation?

KAIXI: Of course, you have to worry about democracy all the time, even with leaving in democracy. That threat to Taiwan is military is over 1000

warheads pointing at this island from the shore of China. People here in Taiwan breathe in and out freedom. And they know it, and they - because

they have earned it and then they will defend it.

RIPLEY (on camera): That is Wuer Kaixi who was one of the most wanted men in China when he escaped 32 years ago with just the clothes on his back.

Now living in exile here in Taiwan he says he has offered himself up formally for extradition several times even in recent years.

He says each time the mainland authorities deny his request. He says they don't want to take him back and put them on trial and put them in prison.

Because he believes they know he will have more power, even in a jail cell than he does, trying to sound the alarm about what he considers a grave

threat to the free world. Will Ripley, CNN, Taiwan.


ANDERSON: We'll be right back folks.



ANDERSON: A reminder of our top story, the Head of the FBI is turning up the heat on Russia less than two weeks before the Presidents of Russia and

the U.S. are set to meet. Christopher Wray blasted Moscow for letting hackers operate there.

In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal", Wray compared the challenge in confronting the recent ransomware attacks with the terrorism threat in

the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. He said there are a lot of parallels. There's a lot of importance and a lot of focus by ours - by the

U.S. on disruption and prevention.

Let's get Moscow's reaction to that and many other issues. I'm joined by the Russian Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov using a phone to talk to

me due to some communications issues. The Europeans - thank you for joining us and Washington have a long list of concerns about Russia's actions off


Let's start with Russia's support for Alexander Lukashenko, whose actions in forcing the diversion of a flight carrying a dissident journalist have

faced international outrage. How concerned are you about the damage to Russia's reputation and its relations with the EU and the U.S. in light of

Putin's support for Lukashenko?

VLADIMIR CHIZHOV, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO EU: Well, if you speak about a certain incident that took place in Belarus a few days ago, with a Ryanair

Flight from Athens to Vilnius, Russia had nothing to do whatsoever with that particular incident. So your question should be addressed to the

Belarus authorities rather to me.

ANDERSON: At the St. Petersburg Economic Forum today, President Putin was asked and I quote him here, would Russia forced down a plane flying, for

example, from London to Thailand over Russia, if there was someone on board, Russia's - on board on Russia's wanted list? President Putin replied

I'm not going to tell you. That doesn't inspire confidence, sir. Does it for anyone who is concerned about human rights anywhere in the world, not

least in Belarus?

CHIZHOV: Well, Putin being a very experienced politician was quite right not to answer a hypothetical question. If you pose me a hypothetical

question, I won't - I won't be answering that as well.

ANDERSON: So you have no issues about the sorts of sanctions that the EU is likely to impose on Belarus. And you do not think that President Putin's

support for Lukashenko will have any bearing on Russia's relations with either the EU or the U.S. correct?

CHIZHOV: Well, you know, you should be aware of the status of relations between Russia and Belarus. We are close allies and partners. So of course,

it's only natural to show solidarity. It's a famous word across the western world as well solidarity with --.

Whatever happens, I'm not going to speculate what the EU might do in the future. But I count on common sense in Brussels in what--

ANDERSON: OK. Do you think the downing or diverting of that flight was appropriate?

CHIZHOV: Well, I think the aviation authorities follow the rules of - that actually were introduced after the 9/11 attack in the United States. That

any civilian plane, which is facing a possible terrorist attacks should be escorted by an air force jet.


CHIZHOV: It's only natural.

ANDERSON: I have to - with respect I have to stop you there. What evidence do you have? And where have you seen it written that there was a possible

terrorist attack on that plane or threat of?

CHIZHOV: Well, if it was fake terrorist attacks, so much the better. But if an airplane crew receives information, that there may be a bomb on board,

the first thing the crew does was to contact its own superiors, I mean, the airline and then make its own decisions. And the decision to land in Minsk

was taken by the planes' captain. And they actually--

ANDERSON: Do you allude to Lukashenko's suggestion that that was threat to that flight. These - say that there was never a threat to that flight. I'm

slightly confused by what you're saying here.

CHIZHOV: I'm not going to speculate on that. I haven't seen any readout. So it's difficult to say.

ANDERSON: President Putin today signing a new law banning extremists from running I elections. I just wonder whether considering that the government

considers Alexei Navalny's opposition party a threat. How you think that decision by President Putin will be perceived?

CHIZHOV: Well, I actually don't know which party are you talking about? Navalny has never registered any political party throughout his career.

ANDERSON: Sir, this was a decision that was made a law that came into effect on Navalny's birthday. Is that just coincidental then you knew


CHIZHOV: Sorry, I didn't hear that.

ANDERSON: You say this law has absolutely nothing to do with Alexei Navalny, or indeed, his supporters or the opposition movement against

President Putin. Is that - is that your assertion?

CHIZHOV: Well, you know, I'm a bit - a bit surprised that you're trying to blow a certain individual out of proportion, as if he is the only

opposition figure in Russia. Actually I am sure it's not fair to the real opposition leaders in Russia. They should feel humiliated because you're

present the whole political situation in Russia, as a fight between two individuals, President Putin and Alexei Navalny.

That is totally wrong. You know, this is reflects a lack of understanding of political life in Russia.

ANDERSON: This is not my contention. This is the contention of many, many governments in the West. So let's just be absolutely clear about this,

which has a long list, as I said, have grievances with Russia at the moment. Let's just move on Washington's allegation that Russia is harboring

hackers causing chaos in the U.S. and elsewhere when will Russia do more to address such concerns sir?

CHIZHOV: Well, if such concerns are presented with necessary evidence, of course, they will be examined. Otherwise, it's just speculation.

ANDERSON: Christopher Rea who was the Head of the FBI said and I quote, time and time again a huge portion of those traced back to those tags are

traced back to actors in Russia. Your contention is wrong these gangs operate inside Russia. And it's Russia's responsibility the FBI says to do

something about them.


CHIZHOV: Well, I would not exclude the possibility of certain criminal elements being active in Russia. But I'm being an optimist, I am sure that

they are fewer in numbers than those operating elsewhere, particularly in the United States.

ANDERSON: And Christopher Rea said today that or compare the challenge in confronting these ransomware attacks with the terrorism threat in the wake

of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. He said there are a lot of parallels, a lot of importance and a lot of focus by us. He said Washington

on disruption and prevention.

Do you appreciate the concerns that Washington has? And I put it to you again, what will Russia do to try and ensure that these cyber attacks don't

start from gangs who are in Russia?

CHIZHOV: Well, I'm sure the Director of the FBI has channels of communication with his colleagues in Moscow. I am not among those. So don't

expect me to act as an intermediary between the FBI and the relevant Russian agencies.

But remembering 2001, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, let me remind you that it was President Putin, nobody else who was the first to get in touch with the

then President of the United States to express his condolences, and also for cooperation, unfortunately, condolences apart, but cooperation doesn't

seem to be progressing the way it should.

ANDERSON: Well, let's talk about that. I think it is interesting that you point out that the president was indeed president back then. And even

though he's had a period of time when he was the prime minister, it is a long time in power, isn't it for Vladimir Putin in Russia?

In a little under two weeks time, Joe Biden, and Vladimir Putin will face - will meet face to face I was going to say face off, but meet face to face

for the first time since President Biden took office. I wonder what you believe Russia hopes to achieve from that meeting. I know that President

Putin has described U.S./Russian ties today as at low ebb.

CHIZHOV: Well, you know, quite well, that I do not deal with Russian/American relations. And I'm not part of the preparations for the

Geneva Summit between President Putin and Biden. I am professionally more concerned with what would be happening the day before in Brussels I mean, a

summit between the United States and the European Union?

And I will certainly - will have to work fast to get my president dually informed before he meets the U.S. President.

ANDERSON: What do you expect to happen during that meeting in Brussels? What are your concerns at this point?

CHIZHOV: Well, I'm not concerned. I'm interested because the EU/U.S. Summit hasn't been taking place for several years. So now it's the first occasion

after lapse - there have been noticeable new tendencies in those transatlantic relations. And certainly, we will be monitoring those.

Looking particularly into whether they might have an impact on Russia's own interests and Russia's relations with both sides I mean the U.S. and the

European Union.

ANDERSON: Does it worry you briefly that the U.S. is re establishing its ties with its most important allies and including its NATO allies at this

point? Does Russia see that as a threat?


CHIZHOV: Well, I see it as a return to normality, I would say because what was happening before was something slightly unnatural, I would say.

ANDERSON: So with that, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. And we will speak to you perhaps again,

following the NATO meeting--


ANDERSON: --next week. It's good to have you on there's an awful lot more that we could discuss. So let's have you back on. We folks will be right



ANDERSON: We started this hour looking at the efforts to get vaccines into the arms of those who desperately need it. But in countries that seemingly

have a handle on the pandemic, like the UK, for example, a new enemy looks.

Public Health England says the variant first identified in India is not only more easily transmissible than other variants, it's also showing signs

that it reduces the effectiveness of vaccines.

Now, one health expert says that variant is doubling across the country every nine days. So let's bring in our Senior Medical Correspondent

Elizabeth Cohen. What do we know about what is now known as the Delta Variant?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, so this is the variant that was first spotted in India, as you said and what we know is

that it's more transmissible. It may be more virulent in other words, more likely to get you sick enough that you end up in the hospital, they're

looking into that.

And it appears that it's kind of a - it's kind of tough against the vaccine; it knows how to outsmart the vaccine a little bit more than some

other variants. So let's take a look, the hit on the vaccine is not hugely dramatic, but it is there.

So two weeks after the second dose, if you look at Pfizer, it's 88 percent effective against this variant that was first spotted in India. For other

variants, it's more like 95 percent effective. So 95 versus 88, that's a hit that is definitely a hit.

For AstraZeneca, the vaccine appears to be 60 percent effective against this India variant, whereas against other variants, it was more like 66

percent effective. So again, it's taken a hit. But I want us to keep those numbers up there for a minute because 88 percent and 60 percent are still

great vaccines; those are still really, really effective vaccines.

So to be clear, the vaccines are still working against this variant that was first spotted in India. They just appear to be working sort of slightly

less well than against previous variants but that is why we need to get people vaccinated.


COHEN: As the vaccine starts to take a hit, you need to get even more people vaccinated to contain the spread of the virus, Becky.

ANDERSON: And it's these variants that the UK has cited in its decision to take, for example, Portugal off the green travel list, even countries that

do have access to vaccines, and then there are still a lot of issues and fears it seems.

COHEN: Yes. And the reason why that is even countries that have access to vaccines, it doesn't mean that a large proportion of their population is

fully vaccinated. I mean, if you had a population of highly, highly vaccinated people, you wouldn't worry so much about these variants, right?

Because as we just got through talking about the vaccines still works quite well against the variants but if you've only got say, 20, 30 percent of

your population vaccinated, then yes, that it becomes much more worrisome.

ANDERSON: Elizabeth, thank you as ever, you've been with us on an almost daily basis for over the last 15 months. And so thank you. I just from the

team here in Abu Dhabi and from our viewers, we also just want to say congratulations, as I understand it, this week marks 30 years at CNN, so

good for you.

COHEN: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you so much indeed.

COHEN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Still ahead on "Connect the World".


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Something is very wrong. An alien like web of slime is choking off all forms of life

in the water here.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN's Arwa Damon diving into this story. She joins us from Istanbul with more on a crisis in nature created by humans.


ANDERSON: Well, we've only got one world and we need to protect it don't we? So on the eve of the UN's World Environment Day, I am going to talk

about a sea slime that is being seen on the beaches in Turkey.

Experts say this congealed substance technically called "Mucilage" is a byproduct of pollution and climate change. But it's what we can't see that

is most concerning. Besides the ache factor this slime is posing a very real danger to marine life.

CNN's Arwa Damon went deep into the sea to get a look at this for herself and she joins us now from Istanbul with more. What did you find?


DAMON: Becky, I've done a number of environmental stories specifically pertaining to our seas and oceans and I have never come out of the water

this sad. When you see this marine mucilage on the surface, you think to yourself, oh, that's disgusting. But when you dive into it, that's when you

realize how terrifying the impact is.


DAMON (voice over): Something is very wrong. An alien like web of slime is choking off all forms of life in the water here. From above, it looks like

streaks of paint. It's like sinking through what our future will look like if nothing changes if we continue to pollute our waters and allow our

planet to warm.

It's known as sea snot and science speak marine mucilage. And it has happened here before but never like this, getting sucked into the gills of

fish wrapping itself around corals suffocating them.

We're in the Dardanelle Strait that connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean. Associate Professor Baris Ozalp is a Coral Expert who has been

diving these waters for more than a decade. This coral, it's dead another one dying. This one threatened.

He points to a healthy sponge. And right next to it he wipes the mucilage coating off a dead one. Back on board the gravity of what we witnessed sets

in. Professor Ozalp says he and other scientists first observed mucilage in these waters in 2007.

DAMON (on camera): Is this the first year where you've seen mucilage killing coral and sea life?

BARIS OZALP, MARINE BIOLOGIST & CORAL EXPERT, CANAKKALE ONSEKIZ MART UNIVERSE: Yes. Yes, of course, we feel very bad. Because, you know during

our childhood, this ecosystem is - was a rich ecosystem, even one year ago. They're healthy. They were healthy, you know, one year ago, but now it's


DAMON (voice over): A year ago this is what the underwater life looked like here. This is the exact same spot today. Professor Muhammet Turkoglu, a

Planktologist takes a surface sample. He describes mucilage as a dense organic soup, mostly made up of bacteria and phytoplankton's mucous


DAMON (on camera): So what am I looking at right here?

DAMON (voice over): This little guy is just one of the phytoplankton species that Turkoglu says is one ingredient in that deadly nastiness

underwater. The Sea of Marmara is just like a Coronavirus patient who has been intubated.

Professor Turkoglu explains, because the oxygen at the greater depths is almost completely depleted, it's close to zero. Professor Ozalp slides his

hand underneath the blanket of thick mucilage on the sea floor. Not only does this suffocate everything, but it also steals the oxygen at these

depths as it decomposes, creating dead zones.

But phytoplankton is one of the linchpins of life on the planet. It's not the villain here. The imbalance that caused all of these us, humans are

pollution, it causes an excess of nutrients in the water that acts as a catalyst for massive blooms, as does the manmade climate crisis that we

have failed to prevent or even slow down.

Water temperatures here have increased by two degrees in the last 50 years, says Professor Bayram Ozturk who studies the impact of climate change on

marine biodiversity.

DAMON (on camera): When you look at this, what do you think?

BAYRAM OZTURK, TURKISH MARINE RESEARCH FOUNDATION, ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY: I think it's nature's spitting in our faces, simply and this is ecological

catastrophe. But not only in the Sea of Marmara and this is transponder issue.

DAMON (voice over): Experts say this year's mucilage is all across the waters from the black sea to the Mediterranean basin, one of the world's

most climate vulnerable areas. The experts we spoke to fear the currents are not strong enough to dislodge the mucilage it's too dense.

It's not just a Turkey problem. This is symptomatic of the lack of global leadership and consensus when it comes to saving our planet. The marine

life here is fixating, their habitat is being destroyed and their fate could well become ours.



DAMON: And Becky, this is not a problem that Turkey can solve on its own. This is a problem that all of us need to come together on once and for all

and actually try to resolve.

ANDERSON: Arwa, what did the experts that you spoke to in that report and that is a remarkable opportunity for us to really witness what is going on

below the surface? What did they tell you about what needs to be done in the very short term?

DAMON: Well, that's the big challenge, Becky, is there might not be much that can be done to try to reverse the impact of this year's mucilage

because it's already begun killing the marine life. And as you heard, they're afraid that the currents aren't going to be strong enough to

dislodge it.

The question becomes, what do we do in the future? Turkey cannot handle this on its own. Turkey can control the amount of pollution that ends up in

the waters, it can try to bring that more under control, and it can even try to vacuum some of the mucilage that is on the surface.

But when it comes to what's underneath, that's almost impossible at this stage to get rid of. And so this is why you need this Trans boundary

solution. It's not just Turkey, whose land borders these waters. It's not just about the livelihood of Turkey's fishermen or about Turkey's tourism


And also this really is symptomatic of the greater issue at hand. And the fact that put simply, we are dragging our feet when it comes to

implementing real solutions to stop this climate crisis.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon is in Istanbul back from that shoot. Thank you. Well, still to come, the truth is out there but does the military even know what

the truth is? Up next, what U.S. Intelligence Experts found when they investigated a series of identified flying object sightings? Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, an eagerly anticipated report on UFOs from the U.S. military finds that its intelligence officials aren't really sure what they

are. People familiar with the report say it reveals a couple of things.

One, there is no evidence that strange objects cited in the sky are aliens or alien craft. But two, they can't absolutely rule out alien craft,

either. Here's what we do know. The report is a big deal because this is the first time the U.S. government is releasing a report and what they know

about the existence of UFOs.

Well, my next guest says he is unimpressed by identified flying objects say "There are excellent reasons to search for extraterrestrial life but there

are equally excellent reasons not to conclude that we have found evidence of it with UFO sightings".

This is beginning to go above me. So let me bring in Adam Frank whose words I've just described. He's an Astrophysics Professor from the University of

Rochester. And sir, I am not normally befuddled by news story. My brain is going dead. Just explain your thoughts if you will.


ADAM FRANK, PROFESSOR OF ASTROPHYSICS, UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER: Well, first of all, thank you for having me on. And you know, when I say what I was

unimpressed by what I want to be clear about is I think, you know, the - these unidentified objects, aerial phenomena, let's study them. Why not? I

mean, that's what science is all about.

But the jump that people make from I saw something in this guy that I don't know what it was to, we are being visited by an advanced extraterrestrial

civilization that wants to be secret, but somehow can't remain secret. That is, there's nothing there that warrants that kind of leap.

ANDERSON: So what are these things in the sky?

FRANK: Well, you know, I have no idea. I'm agnostic about them as a scientist should be. But you know, you can imagine there's a couple of

things like I did in researching this piece I wrote, I did a dive into the intelligence literature into the - you know, that whole community E-Sink,

and what is it, the E-Electronic Signal Intelligence.

And you know, there's history where the United States back in the 60s actually used, faked out Russian radars to get them to turn on, so that

they would be able to Americans could see their sensitivity.

And so in the, the Electronic Intelligence Community, people think that these may be drones, very simple drones, perhaps that are literally being

deployed around U.S. military maneuvers, because a lot of this happened during maneuvers to get us to get the pilots to turn their radars and other

advanced equipment on in order to soak up their signals and for to be able to detect their capabilities.

ANDERSON: Sir, have you been in touch with U.S. Intelligence Officials working on this report to express your thoughts as it were?

FRANK: No, no, no, they don't. They don't really need me to do this. You know, the thing is, I study what when people I really want people to

understand is that we are going through a sea change right now in science, in our ability to ask this question about life in the universe, you know,

simple kinds of life, more advanced life.

And that's what I study. And that's why I wanted to make this point to people that there's a process that science has. Science is this enormously

exciting way of getting into a dialogue with the world. And the question about extraterrestrial life is the most important question human beings

have ever had.

And we are just now beginning to be possible with - through advanced telescopes and new technologies to be able to begin to start getting data

about that question. And UFOs are just not the way we're going to get it.

ANDERSON: OK, that's fair enough, and I get your point. So tell us what do we know? What do from the work that you've been doing in the world of

astrophysics what are we learning at this point?

FRANK: OK. So here's a revolution that happened very recently. For the last 2500 years, nobody knew whether there were any other planets orbiting other

stars. We could have been the - our solar system could have been the only one in the universe.

And that would have meant that, you know, since we think life forms on planets life, there would be no life in the universe. We now know and this

is just the last decade or two, that every star in the sky has planets orbiting them. And you know many of these are going to be the right place

for life to form.

So that means when you look at the stars at night, we'll pick one out of five and there's going to be a planet where there's oceans, perhaps where

there's snow falling, where there's wind over mountains. We didn't know those 10 years ago.

And we're now developing the capacities to be able to study those planets, even though they're light years away and be able to find out whether or not

there's a biosphere there, whether there's life there.

We might have the capacity very soon to tell whether to detect city lights or atmospheric pollutants or whether or not their solar panels deployed on

those planets. And that's the next 10, 20, 30 years.

You know, people have been arguing about this for 2000 years and for the first time, we're on the threshold of getting actual data about life on

other planets.

ANDERSON: Well, that is very exciting. I'm going to put a couple of suggestions that I found on social about what is actually going on in the

images that we are looking at on our screens that you have sort of knocked back as far as him being UFOs are concerned. I'm saying talk of humans from

the future. What do you make of that?

FRANK: Yes, that one's - that's again, you know, that's quite a leap. We've time traveled, it's really most likely that time travel is not possible,

like the laws of physics are just not going to allow that.

And again, you know, in science, if I say in my studies that I have detected city lights on another planet on a distant, distant planet, my

colleagues are going to beat me up pretty bad as they should. I am going to have to show 10,000 reasons why my data's not wrong and also why there

aren't simpler conclusions.

You know, in astronomy, we always find stuff that you're like; I don't know what it is. And so then you know you have to go - you have to show that all

the plausible conclusions are not right before you can go to the implausible conclusion.


ANDERSON: What about this is the plausible conclusion? The other one I've seen do the rounds today on social is ghosts.

FRANK: Ghosts, yes. Well, you know, that involves a whole other thing. Are ghosts even possible? I personally, it's not part of my universe believing

in ghosts. So again, military aircraft, strange atmospheric phenomena, let's study it. Let's like do what science does best get into a dialogue

with nature.

And then we can do what science does best, which is get the answer, right? Get it right. It's not - we don't want to be right. We want to get it

right. And it's that's the reason why we have cell phones and why you and I are talking to each other over, you know, hundreds of miles is because this

amazing technology that science has given us.

You have to use that kind of approach that dialogue with nature when you're facing these incredible questions.

ANDERSON: So what why should we care has just been answered for you by our great guests this evening. Thank you, sir. We'll have you back. There are

other things out there us humans on the space station, more than 7000 pounds of supplies, including some tiny critters are on their way to the

international space station.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and go.


ANDERSON: Off it goes. Space-X launching the rocket on Thursday along for the ride. 5000 tardigrades, also known as water bears, more than 100 baby

glow in the dark bobtail squid. Both will be involved in experiments, including assessing how water bears tolerate the space environment?

Hundreds of scientific experiments are underway each day on board the International Space Station. Well, it's very good night to all of you

watching on earth and perhaps who knows those who are watching from beyond wherever you are watching. Take care, stay safe. See you next time.