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Connect the World

At Least Nine People Died in Condominium Tragedy; Nearby Towns Inspecting Condominiums After Collapse; South African President: We're In Grip Of Devastating Wave; Delta Variant Fuels Surge in New Infections Globally; Strikes Target Iran-Backed Militias on Iraqi-Syrian Border; Bosses Decide Whether to Move Employees Back to Office. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 28, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Atlanta, this is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Lynda Kinkade filling in for my colleague Becky Anderson. Good

to have you with us.

Well, striking back for the second time in just four months the U.S. says it's launched airstrikes and targets belonging to militia backed by Iran.

The overnight strikes hitting sites along the Iraqi/Syrian border. Several militants were reportedly killed.

The Biden Administration says it was responding to repeated attacks against U.S. interests. Speaking in Europe, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony

Blinken said the U.S. meant to send a clear message of deterrence. This video purportedly is of the aftermath that's from a social media channel

associated with the militia.

Both Iraq and Iran are condemning the strikes. They come amid efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal and as Iran prepares for a new hotline

president. CNN's Barbara Starr is following this for us from the Pentagon, as well as our Senior International Correspondent Arwa Damon, who's live in


And first you, Barbara, as I said, this is the second time that we've seen an attack like this or did, under the Biden Administration. What can you

tell us?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was overnight strikes Lynda F-15, 10 F-16 based in the region, and they struck two sites on the

Syrian side of the border one on the Iraqi side of the border.

The U.S. says these were sites where these Iranian backed militias, were using operating areas weapons storage and the weapons that they had been

using, to some extent were these armed drones that are of such concern to the United States, difficult to detect and the militias have been firing

these operating these drones against U.S. troops in Iraq.

So the big concern is that they're not - not go on further. And the potential of U.S. troops being killed by these Iranian backed militias

could set off a whole new round of escalation. That's what the U.S. is trying to avoid. That's why they did this. That is why they are calling

them precision defensive strikes a deterrent.

Now, whether they are able to deter these Iranian backed militias is a very different question. They're very strong inside Iraq. The Iraqi central

government for years has not really been able to significantly push back against them. So this is a step but perhaps not a solution, Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. And Barbara, if you can just stand by for us I want to go to Arwa because as Barbara was saying, this was meant to be a

proportional response to the drone attacks Arwa can you take us through the response from Iraq and Iran?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Iran is calling this destabilizing and basically telling the U.S. not to meddle in a

deconstructive way in issues that should be resolved among regional powers. As for the Iraqis, we've heard from a handful of senior Iraqi officials who

are saying that this is a violation of their sovereignty.

That being said, Lynda, it's worth remembering that it's hardly the first time that the U.S. has violated Iraqi sovereignty going back to early last

year when the U.S. assassinated Iran's top military commander Qassem Soleimani on Iraqi soil.

Of course, all of this just goes to underscore what a tenuous situation Iraq itself is in. On the one hand, it is an ally of the United States. It

does want ongoing U.S. military and other forms of support, especially economic support.

On the other hand, it is also a close ally to Iran. They share a very long border. There is a high level of trade that happens between both countries.

But on the flip side of all of this, there are also these Iranian backed Shia militias, who many will argue right now is more powerful than the

Iraqi army itself and do not fall.

Many of the elements within these Shia militias do not fall under the actual command and control of the Iraqi security forces. You'll also

remember though, last year after the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the Iraqi Parliament actually voted to have U.S. forces removed from Iraq, but that

was never acted upon.

So the tensions have really been brewing for a while. And in mid June, there was a video that came out on a Telegram Channel that is linked to or

in support of these Iranian backed Shia militias that showed something like a propaganda parade show a force with these drones that are set to be

within these Iranian backed militias.

Armament being paraded on the backs of trucks down the streets in a province that known as - but the bottom line is I think when it comes to

many Iraqis, whether its Iraq is on the street or Iraqis at the government level is that they are quite simply fed up with being this ongoing proxy

battlefields between Iran and the United States.


KINKADE: Yes, no doubt it has dragged on. Barbara, I want to get your perspective, if I could about how this will mean for the diplomatic talks

that are ongoing to revive the Iran nuclear deal?

STARR: Well, if the U.S. could keep this, this military action defined within the box of the Iranian backed militias, perhaps it won't have an

immediate effect. But that's really the issue. If these militias were to escalate and were to carry out lethal strikes against U.S. forces, then the

U.S. is confronted with having to deal with the Iranian government about this.

Right now everybody can just say, oh, it's the militias. We know what we're talking about. But then you can sort of be pushed to the side. That's one

of the reasons they want to deter any future activity.

KINKADE: Yes. And just on that Iran nuclear deal to you, Arwa, we have heard from Israel's new foreign minister after he met with the U.S.

Secretary of State, again, saying that Israel has serious reservations about this Iran nuclear deal.

DAMON: Which is not entirely surprising given that they expressed their serious reservations about the first Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated

under the Obama Administration.

Now, some analysts are arguing that, you know, part of the reason why we're seeing this sort of activity by these Iranian backed militias inside Iraq

targeting U.S. interests, is because the Iranians are looking for pressure points, given that these negotiations are sort of starting to stumble on

their way, again.

They want to pressure the United States. They want to show that they're still a force to be reckoned with. They want to bring some cards to the

table. On the flip side of that, of course, you have Israel and other opponents of this Iran nuclear deal being renegotiated saying, look, this

will potentially embolden Iran.

And it's not necessarily in Israel, at least the best interests or perhaps in the regions. But the bottom line is, Lynda, something has to happen.

Something has to give somewhere, because the way things are moving at this moment, especially with the use of Iraq as this proxy battlefield,

especially given that the American footprint within Iraq is significantly smaller than the Iranian one.

Especially given that U.S. ties deep ties, that are what I'm talking about, are significantly less than the deep ties that Iran has at just about every

single level within Iraq this current track that the country's on where Iran and the U.S. are carrying out these tit for tat attacks against one

another exchanging verbal threats to a certain degree.

This is not conducive for Iraq's future, and so many will tell you that it's about time that Iran and the United States took their beef somewhere

else and let Iraq actually get on a constructive path for its own population.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. It certainly needs it Arwa Damon for us in Istanbul providing some great analysis Barbara Starr for us from the Pentagon as

always, thank you both.

Well, elsewhere in the region, the leaders of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan met in Baghdad Sunday. President there the first Egyptian Head of State in 30

years to visit Iraq and the three leaders discussed collaboration on economic projects. They also spoke about the need to consult and coordinate

on a range of regional challenges, including terrorism, as well as the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Well, frustration and desperation in South Florida is the painstaking search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed Condo stretches into a

fifth day. At least nine people are now confirmed dead more than 100 remain missing. And on Sunday, buses brought families at the missing to the site

where they could see the rescue is at work. The Mayor of Miami-Dade spoke with CNN on Sunday.


DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MAYOR, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: I think we know that in grieving there's a process and our steps and obviously people are angry and

frustrated. And then as they see what's being done, they see the work that is round the clock that they believe that people are truly caring for what

happens to their loved ones.

It helps them to have some pieces and closure even as they're still grieving for the potential that they'll never see their loved ones alive


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they still holding out hope though you think?

CAVA: I think some are. I think some are but I think others are recognizing that the chances are closing.


CAVA: And for example, not only that bodies have been found, but even body parts and so that's very sobering news. It doesn't mean that there couldn't

be a chance that there is an air pocket or a place where someone could still be rescued. So we're all holding out hope for that.


KINKADE: Well, this detail emerging about a 2018 engineering report, the detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete. I want to bring in

now Rosa Flores who joins us now live from Surfside, Florida. And as it stands right now Rosa 152 people still unaccounted for.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, when from talking to the fire chief, he says that they are using every single tool in their toolbox to

make sure that all of the effort to save lives continues here in Surfside. Right now, it's still a search and rescue effort according to the chief.

There are about 400 search and rescue personnel that are dedicated to that, at any one point in time, about 200 men and women are on the rubble

searching for signs of life. Right now they're using a grid pattern according to the chief.

And they're also using a process called de-layering and so they're removing some of the layers of concrete, some of the layers of debris following the

voids that they find, hoping for signs of life. Now the weather was better yesterday that held a fire that had been smoldering for days was contained

that helped.

And now we're learning more about a trench that was a cut that also allowed for more searching, and also helped contain that fire. And this trench

really gives us an idea of some of the search efforts and the intensity of the search efforts. According to the chief, this trench is 40 feet deep.

So about three storeys high, 20 feet wide, and 127 feet long 25 excuse me feet long. So imagine slicing a pancake and being able to see all of the

layers there. That is the effort that they've been, that has been underway here to try to find voids.

Now, unfortunately, the fire chief said that they didn't find as many voids as they would have liked, take a listen.


ALAN COMINSKY, CHIEF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: It is horrific, you know, if that can be a one word that I'll say, and then it's, again, can't be collapsed,

and one of the most difficult collapses to deal with. The operation of what we're seeing is just an extremely difficult situation.

It is just the type of collapse the type of debris, unfortunately, that we're coming across. It's tough to describe, because this is, you know, we

don't have the voids that we would be hoping for things that we're looking for, you know, not that, you know, we're still looking, you know, and so

that's what I mean by horrific is just, it's a very difficult, difficult situation.


FLORES: And Lynda as you mentioned, all of this as we're learning much more from a 2018 structural report talking about exactly what the situation was

in this building the structural integrity of it?

And from this report, it did - "From a portion of it", saying that the waterproofing was beyond its useful life, that failure to replace the

waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially. There were cracks that were found,

patch repairs, repairs that had been failing.

We, of course, are trying to ask questions about who knew what and when and what was done and what wasn't done with that information? Because of

course, now we have a building that has collapsed, at least nine people are dead, and 152, unaccounted for.

KINKADE: Yes, absolutely devastating, especially in light of that report that seemed to find major issues with the structural integrity of that

building. Talk to us a little bit about the anxiety amongst other people in Miami living in high rises, especially those in high rises of a similar

age, that are four years old or so.

FLORES: You know there is a lot of anxiety here and some of the cities, municipalities, the county; they're taking steps to make sure that they can

ease some of those anxieties. Municipalities here are changing their inspection protocols and also their recertification requirements.

And so for example, Miami-Dade County is asking for an audit of all of the buildings that are 40 years older, five storeys or higher to make sure that

this doesn't happen again.


FLORES: There's commissioners that that are elected officials here Miami- Dade County that are vowing to make sure that legislation is passed so that this doesn't happen again, their cities and municipalities are asking for

inspections of every single building.

If you've ever been to South Florida, you know that there are these very similar buildings all along the coast. And that's the worry, Lynda, that,

that so many people live in these types of buildings, these same types of buildings and of course, the anxiety, the concern for the people that live


And one of the things that that complicates, for example, creating a manifest of just how many people were inside this building is you've ever

been to South Florida or ever lived here, you know, and understand that there are permanent residents that live in these buildings?

People, you know that our grandparents and families with kids that live here permanently. And then there are visitors, people from outside the

country, especially from Latin America, there's - Miami is the gateway to Latin America a lot of people that have second homes here.

There are a lot of snowbirds. We've gotten snowbirds here in the United States, but people from northern states in the United States that have

second homes in South Florida and Miami and places like Surfside where we are right now in Miami Beach.

And so that also complicates the situation. So what we're expecting to see more and more is more of the city's more of these municipalities, figuring

out what they need to do to make sure that this doesn't happen again and if it does, how they can be better prepared to respond to something like this.

KINKADE: Yes. Officials really do have their work cut out. As you say there are so many buildings in Miami, South Miami that it just like that built

right on the coastline. Rosa Flores thank you very much. We'll speak to you again soon.

As Rosa mentioned among the 152 people still unaccounted for are members have met people from Latin America, but also members of the Temple Menorah,

which is just blocks away from the rubble. Now CNN spoke with the leader of that synagogue, a Rabbi Eliot Pearlson, who described the toll that this

disaster is having on his community.


ELIOT PEARLSON, TEMPLE MENORAH: Besides the couples that I've married, and I named their children besides them, Temple Menorah is part of a community

that's very interwoven orthodox, conservative, reformed, we're and Jewish and non Jewish. We're all very, very close.

So I know so many members of the community there that are unfortunately we're waiting to hear the news--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, tell us about some of these wonderful people.

PEARLSON: Well, there's Coach Arnie and Miriam, they're - I mean, they're part of the staple of South Florida and Arnie Coach who was a coach here

for 45 years getting phone calls left and right from people, professional athletes that he trained over the years.

And Miriam you know fled Poland and went to Havana fled Havana came here and, and friendships another interesting aspect of our community is a very

hot very heavily Latin Cuban. And you're talking about people who have been friends for since kindergarten 70 and 80 years, who have been best friends

and their children, have married each other their grandchildren are marrying each other.


KINKADE: Over dozens of families who's loved ones and missing they're watching this tragedy unfold from abroad. At least 31 Latin Americans are

among those still unaccounted for, and as their loved ones desperately wait for answers officials are also working to get those families to the United

States. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is in Bogota, Colombia with more.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: The tragedy of the collapse. The building in Surfside, South Florida, reverberates far beyond the United States border

with dozens of families across South America who remain in - over the fate of their dear ones gone missing when the building collapsed that over three

days ago.

At least 31 people from six different countries in South America are believed to have been inside the condominium when the building fell down

and every hour that passes makes the possibility of safely rescuing them more remote.

But nevertheless, rescue officials are urging to keep their hopes alive pointing that survivors have been found after several days in similar

circumstances, and consulates across the region are working to provide expedited visas and travel options so that relatives can travel to Miami to

follow the search and rescue operations from the site and some of those gone missing including the family of the First Lady of Paraguay were

traveling to the United States in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.


POZZEBON: And their loved ones back in South America can now only hope to see them back home against all the hopes. For CNN this is Stefano Pozzebon,


KINKADE: Thanks to Stefano. Well, coming up after the break South Africa goes into lockdown. We're going to go live to Johannesburg as a third wave

of COVID puts the entire country on high alert.

And Sydney, Australia and has a two week hard lockdown over the spread of the so called Delta COVID variant. Many Australians are asking how long

they can go on like this. Plus, as the Delta variant threatens the global fight to end the pandemic we're going to speak to an expert from the

University of Edinburgh stay with us much more just ahead.


KINKADE: Welcome back. South Africa has begun a strict two week lockdown to help stop a devastating surge of COVID infections. Both indoor and outdoor

gatherings are banned except for funerals. Schools are closing and a curfew is now in place.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa warns that this third wave which is being fueled by the Delta variant will be worse than the previous ones. He

says the government is trying to get more COVID vaccines, the public health experts tell CNN that the slow pace of vaccinations will have little impact

as cases skyrocket.

David McKenzie is live for us in Johannesburg, which is at the center of the outbreak there. David, just give us a sense of what you're hearing


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Lynda, what we're hearing from doctors and nurses is that the hospitals in this city at least are

practically overrun. There are people who are trying to get beds and oxygen that have to wait hours to get a slot there are people being Medevac to

other parts of the country.

The center of this current wave is here in this province, it's far exceeded the previous two waves in terms of infections. And scientists say that it's

just a matter of days that this Delta variant driven wave moves on to other cities and other parts of the country.

And it's also something reflected in large parts of the continent. So this is a very serious situation. The president got on air on Sunday to address

the nation he says these are very weighty times.


CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: We are in the grip of a devastating wave that by all indications seems like it will be worse than

those that have preceded it. The peak of this third wave looks set to be higher than the previous two waves.

Once again we find ourselves at a defining moment in our fight against this disease. Let us call on every bit of strength we have. Let us summon our

reserves of courage and hold firm until this wave two passes over.



MCKENZIE: Well, the big issue here other than the Delta variant is that many people were tired of the regulations and the public health measures,

at least sad to say that has had a major impact on the increase in cases.

But most importantly, possibly, is that the vaccine - vaccine rollout, excuse me has been slow, and not very widespread.

KINKADE: Just briefly what vaccines are being used there and just tell us about the rate of vaccination.

MCKENZIE: Well Lynda, the rate is still very low, both here in South Africa and across the continent. The predominant vaccines being used here are the

Pfizer vaccine, and the Johnson & Johnson. But yet again, there's been a wrinkle in this long running issue of vaccines and the variants here in

South Africa.

Some months ago, in fact, the beginning of this year, South Africa, sold back AstraZeneca vaccines to the African Union, because they said it wasn't

helpful against the Beta variant that was discovered here.

Well, now the Delta variant is dominating infections here in South Africa and AstraZeneca is in fact very effective. So there will be some difficult

choices in the months ahead. But ultimately, all the vaccines have been shown to be effective, those vaccines that have been approved by the W.H.O.

against these variants, and it's just a matter of getting them out quickly.

And that is the singular issue here in South Africa, lesser supply and more so speed at this particular moment, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, speed is indeed crucial. David McKenzie for us in Johannesburg, thank you. Well, Sydney, Australia city of 5 million people

is entering a hard lockdown for the next two weeks. Authorities are trying to control the spread of the Delta COVID variant which is twice as

infectious as the original.

In a suburb of Bondi, a single case traced back to a limousine driver has led to dozens of new infections in just a few days. Well, as our Angus

Watson reports, Australia's low vaccination rates are not helping.

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: Communities across Australia facing rare Coronavirus outbreaks, fueled by the Delta variants. Australia since the

pandemic began has done well, at quashing these outbreaks when they arise.

But now the Delta variant has authorities more concerned so concerned that their contact traces aren't able to keep up with it in the community here

in Sydney, where for the next two weeks, social distancing restrictions have become a necessity authorities telling people not to leave your home

unless it's absolutely necessary.

One of those reasons to leave your home to get tested for the virus, like what's happening at this mass testing center behind me across the state at

testing centers like these over 58,000 people turned up to get tested on Sunday.

Just 18 positive COVID-19 results from that over 58,000 numbers which authorities say is a good thing. But there'll be watching those numbers

very carefully over the next couple of weeks as people are forced to stay at home.

One of the reasons that they're so nervous because not enough Australians have been vaccinated for these lockdowns to become a thing of the past just

under 5 percent of Australians are fully vaccinated. The problem is both a supply and a hesitancy issue.

Australia bet big on the AstraZeneca vaccine, the only vaccine that's being produced domestically here but the problem with that as we know that very

rare chance of patients developing a blood clot.

Two people have sadly died in Australia of that complication that's led health authorities to say that only people over the age of 60 should be

getting the AstraZeneca vaccine. The rest needs to be getting Pfizer the problem there are very few Pfizer doses available. Angus Watson, CNN,

Sydney Australia.

KINKADE: Well, the spread of the Delta variant is threatening not just Australia of course but the entire globe. Ahead, I'm going to speak to a

global public health expert at the University of Edinburgh.



KINKADE: Well, with so many people around the world still unvaccinated against COVID-19 the so called Delta strain of the virus is spreading

rapidly. The variant which was first identified in India is even more contagious than the so called UK variant. It has been causing lock downs

and renewed restrictions from Australia to South Africa to Russia and as well on its way to becoming the dominant strain globally.

Well joining me now is Professor and Chair of the Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, Devi Sridhar, good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So I want to start first with the UK because the UK obviously was praised heavily for its quick vaccination rollout, but obviously cases

arising as a result of this Delta strain. Just explain how this mutant strain of the virus is working?

SRIDHAR: Yes, so this new variant, Delta is more transmissible and it just spreads faster, which means your numbers go up much quicker.

And luckily, in the UK, because of adequate supply, a mix of AstraZeneca, Pfizer and now Moderna as well as very little vaccine hesitancy, we've had

incredibly high take up like over 95 percent, and some of the age groups.

And even into younger age groups really high demand, we've managed to get to a pretty good position in terms of first doses as well as now second

doses. And those seem to be what really helps against this variant. Four fifths of those who are appearing in hospitals is because they're

unvaccinated or just had one dose.

So right now, restrictions are being lifted Wimbledon's happening today with crowds. But there's a sense of we need to vaccinate more people, you

know, with two doses even faster.

KINKADE: I guess the silver lining here is that, although cases have risen as a result of this variant, it's a slower pace than the previous surges of

infection. And we haven't seen that same massive rise in deaths have we?

SRIDHAR: Yes, exactly. And that's where we're all holding our breath. I mean, even here in Scotland, we're seeing very high case numbers, you're

seeing that curve and we know that up.

But the hospitalizations were in previous waves, you'd see them going up or staying still relatively lower, we're not seeing that impact on health

services that we have seen in previous waves.

So we're a little bit in uncharted territory. And the three things we're watching for are first, most the cases are younger age groups. So you know,

20 to 40, for example, young men, particularly recently.

And so is that going to leach into the older age groups, as we've seen in the past, you know, the people who are 1670 and 80 and more vulnerable.

The second is actually around vaccinations, are we going to see vaccine escape? Are we going to see many people in hospitals who have been doubly

vaccinated or had one vaccine? How do we track that?

And the third is around actually, how we make sure our hospitals don't get overloaded again, how much our cases translating into hospitalization. So

those are the three metrics we're watching while also trying to open up because people are tired of restrictions.

KINKADE: I mean there's no doubt people are tired of being told what to do and told to stay home and wear masks et cetera. It's been going on for 18


But as we are discussing this variant is causing headaches in many countries around the world and we're also hearing about Delta Plus. Explain

what that is? Why is it is the new strain? Why is it just slightly different to the Delta variant?


SRIDHAR: So Delta Plus which Indian scientists have been reporting seems to have an additional mutation, which means we're a little bit worried about

our vaccine effectiveness. So vaccine effectiveness isn't like it is or isn't, it's actually a spectrum.

And luckily, at the start, the vaccines came out with incredibly high effectiveness over 90 percent, to be - at the bar at 50 percent. And then

these new variants like with Delta, it's brought it down. So now we're probably around 70 to 80 percent.

And the worry with Delta Plus, they could bring it down even more, which means again, you're losing that protection from severe diseases in what

we're hoping for with vaccines.

So it is concerned and really, I mean, looking at hesitancy in other parts of the world, the real lesson from this is we're going to see more and more

transmissible variants, we are too far away from global eradication.

So wherever we're looking at is you get vaccinated and you're exposed, you're protected, or you don't get vaccinated and you're exposed and you

get COVID.

And you take your chances, those are really pragmatically the only two choices left open to most countries unless they can keep their borders

closed and keep locking down.

It was a good short term strategy. I really praise New Zealand, Australia, East Asian countries, which took that they saved a lot of lives and they

save their economy. But now is the time transition to a more sustainable one, which is protect your population through vaccines, because this

problem is not going away.

KINKADE: Exactly like you can only, I guess, stave off the problem of cases and infections rising for so long by restrictions and closing borders.

Eventually, you have to really look to vaccinations. And as we've been discussing, in Australia, less than 5 percent of the population have had

two doses of a vaccine.

What do you say to people obviously in Australia's case that they've struggled to get enough vaccinations to put in people's arms, but for those

that are hesitant, what's your advice?

SRIDHAR: Well, I think we have to recognize the worries and of course, if your life looks pretty much like it has looked in the past, you think why

get vaccinated. But in Britain because we have suffered so badly over the past 18 months, we have lived through several lockdowns, including one in

the winter when it was cold and dark.

We have seen a staggeringly high death toll. We know how serious this viruses and so you're seeing even young people in their 20s queuing for

hours to get access to this vaccine, because they know the way to normal life, the way out of this crisis is through vaccinations.

And in terms of you know, there are side effects potentially for a day or two. But still, those side effects are less than, you know, getting COVID

and what you might get and COVID in terms of the serious health issues.

It's a risk, you know, benefit balance, but I think at least here the guinea pigs have been in Britain and the United States and in Europe, which

have had the mass rollouts, so it's been now out for months. So those who are hesitant to look at what's happening here, because we've been

vaccinating people since December.

And generally there's a feeling of just happiness and you know, appreciation to be able to have access.

KINKADE: Devi Sridhar it certainly was my feeling when I got vaccinated. Certainly a feeling of elation that we can start to move on and hopefully,

other countries around the world will get that same sense of feeling soon as vaccines and the vaccination program tends to ramp up. Thanks so much

for your time today.

SRIDHAR: Thanks for having me.

KINKADE: Well still ahead on "Connect the World" more on the U.S.'s drives against militia backed by Iran. I'm going to talk to Analyst Aaron David

Miller about the dynamics between the two countries and beyond.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, Iraq says its territory should not be used to court settle scores. Now this follows U.S. airstrikes along the Iraqi

border with Syria, strikes targeted sites that we use by militia groups that are backed by Iran.

Now the Biden Administration says it was responding to ongoing attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Several militia members were

reportedly killed with a strike comes at a precarious time for relations between the U.S and Iran. Joining us to help connect it all for us is CNN

Global Affairs Analyst Aaron, David Miller, good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So the U.S. administration says this was a proportional response as a result of drone attacks on U.S. interests. What do you make of it?

MILLER: They described - I think the administration Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby referred to these as defensive precision strikes. It's part of a

pattern, which has been ongoing frankly over the last several years. There have been an up - there's been an uptick since January of this year in

drone attacks.

And you really have not to trivialize this you have a very dangerous what I would call a game of drones going on here. The weapon itself is

inexpensive. It's hard to track too easily, distributable hard to trace.

And the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have made it a structured and institutionalized facet of their own efforts to increase their influence in

the region and to distribute it to their proxies, including pro Iranian militias in largely in Iraq and to the Houthis in Yemen, it's an

occupational hazard.

In my judgment, it's not going to it's not going to stop, given at the moment, the - seems to me fundamental differences in the way the United

States and Iran sees the region.

And I think the ascension of Ebrahim Raisi, the very, very hardline president, as opposed to hardline is going to make things even more

difficult in the months to come.

KINKADE: So you think we're going to continue to see this back and forth these drone attacks followed by U.S. airstrikes? Because, as we did hear

from the Pentagon spokesperson, they alluded to more attacks, saying that the President is open to directing more military action to disrupt and

deter such attacks. What message is the U.S. sending?

MILLER: I think they're trying to create a measure of deterrence as to say, to demonstrate that, in effect, there is some cost to the continuation of

targeting Iraqi air bases whereas our CIA personnel and Special Forces are deployed.

If in fact, the Iranians end up killing Americans, this could trip or trigger into a very dangerous escalatory cycle, which I think neither side

at the moment wants. And I say it's an occupational hazard, because I think dealing with Iran occurs on many different levels.

We're in the process now the administration of conducting those shortly resumed probably next week in Vienna talks on American re entry into the

Iran nuclear accord. The administration sees locked down several Iranian websites which have been used to promote violence on the part of groups

that the United States is deemed to be terrorist in function.

And there's a competition going on. And that competition is played out, frankly, across the region. These rallies over the last several years have

struck hundreds of times at pro Iranian militias and even Iranian assets, largely in Syria, but also in Iraq.

And I don't see frankly, even if you conclude the agreement to return to the Iranian nuclear deal that is not going to answer the mail on the

competing objectives that United States and Iran have in this region.


KINKADE: Why would Iran continue all the Iranian backed militia, I should say continue to carry out these sort of these drone attacks on American

interests when we are hearing from Iran that they do want to see the renewal of the Iran nuclear deal.

MILLER: I think in large part because the Iranians are determined to create a zone of influence for themselves defensive to some degree, but also to

spread a sort of revolutionary ideology among Shia populations in Lebanon, in Iraq and Syria and in Yemen.

And at a relatively low cost they continue to make their voices and their presence heard and felt. I mean, we have 2500 American forces in, deployed

in Iraq, I think the Iranians would like to see them gone. We have a much more limited deployment in Syria; I think the Iranians would like to see

those gone as well.

So you have a situation in which, unless there was some fundamental transformation in relations between the Islamic Republic and the United

States, which strikes me is virtually impossible without a new regime, this game, I call it a game of drones, but it's dangerous.

This game is going to continue this competition. And at some point, you really do run the risk of a more serious escalation, which is, what I think

the Biden Administration would like to avoid.

KINKADE: And as you say, there are several risks here, right. It's not just the risk of a military escalation, but the risk of potentially the U.S. or

others walking away from these Iran nuclear deal talks, which, I mean, Iran really needs that sanctions relief, right.

MILLER: They do. But you know, if the Supreme Leader on this - in this interview, he would basically say, you know, guess what? We've survived the

four years of the previous administration's campaign of maximum pressure; we have a resistance in what they call a resistance economy.

We're increasing the depth and intimacy of our relations with China and Russia. And none of this substitutes for Iran's access and capacity to sell

oil and gain access to the financial system. And they need that, they need that. The real question is what kind of price are they prepared to pay?

And after six rounds of negotiations in Vienna, I think it's fair to say that the carpet may have been sold. But the price of selling the carpet has

not yet been determined.

KINKADE: As - Aaron David Miller, good to get your analysis. Thank you.

MILLER: Always a pleasure, thanks so much.

KINKADE: Well, the President of the Czech Republic is giving transgender people a bashing, calling them "Disgusting". Milos Zeman made the comment

in a TV interview on CNN Affiliate CNN Prime News on Sunday. Take a listen.


MILOS ZEMAN, CZECH REPUBLIC PRESIDENT: If I was a little bit younger, I would organize a giant protest of heterosexuals in Prague and there would

be millions of us. I will get trains and buses full of heterosexuals to come to Prague in order to show how absurd it is.

It's absurd to be protesting your intimate sexual preferences out in the public, regardless of whether you're a sexual minority or a majority. It's

a private matter and it's very intimate. Do you know who I don't understand at all? It's those transgenders.

If you undergo a sex reassignment surgery, you are committing a crime for inflicting self harm. It's a very dangerous procedure, these transgenders

truly disgust me.


KINKADE: Well, still to come, Wimbledon wakes up from hibernation after the pandemic derailed last year's tournament? We're going to have a live report

when we come back.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Wimbledon is back on and the gray skies and the rain could knock down this versus fans lined up outside. The tennis world of

course was shaken when the prestigious tournament was canceled last due do the pandemic and that was the first time it had been canceled since World

War II.

But the event forges ahead this year and you will see some changes. Our Scott McLean is covering all of this for us from Wimbledon and joins us now

live. Scott, so it is back on and its back on as we are seeing a surge in COVID cases there.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right. Week over week cases are up 65 plus percent. The same thing can be said for deaths in

this country.

And so there was no chance, Lynda that this tournament could have been business as usual this year, especially given the restrictions in place

across England until later on in July at the minimum, the All England Club in Wimbledon it is all about traditions.

Of course, you mentioned the rain, the unpredictable weather that has definitely delivered the strawberries and cream are still here. And the

players are dressed in all white on the immaculately presented courts. But some things obviously are very, very different.

The stands are only at 50 percent capacity for most of the major matches. Though the all England club has managed to convince the government as part

of a pilot project for full capacity center court for the final weekend of matches. Fans do require a negative test or proof of vaccination to get in.

But once they're actually in their seats, they don't need to wear masks. They don't need the social distance either. I spoke to some people coming

in to the - onto the Wimbledon grounds earlier today. And nobody seemed that concerned about safety most were just happy to be back at this place.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually think it's probably one of the safest places to be. So it'll go quite nice in terms of the scanning and downloading NHS

app. And I think you're here today, you know, you're going be around people that are pretty safe and secure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be different. I'm sure this thing is also making a big difference. But yes, I'm really excited.

MCLEAN (on camera): Does it feel like a normal year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So they thought this bit does at the moment kind of queuing getting on the train getting here once we get inside, depending on

people. But I think the noise and people being back will make it what it was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of extra checks, but a lot of help as well. So it's all been pretty straightforward, but worth it, absolutely worth it.

Yes, it's great to be back.


MCLEAN: Now the players do not have nearly the level of freedom that the fans have this year round. Typically some of the bigger names will rent

some of the more luxurious homes that are in the area around the club and spend the week or two with their families.

Not this year, though this year they're stuck in bio secure bubbles in a hotel in central London. They have to shuttle back and forth here to

Wimbledon for their matches. Not ideal. That is how the defending champion Novak Djokovic described that arrangement, Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, certainly not ideal but is it really a sign at the times and it is good to see the fans back out there. Scott McLean for us we will

speak to you again as the week progresses thanks so much.

Well, many people found themselves working from home during the pandemic and a lot actually prefer it. But now that more vaccinated many employers

want their employees back. Anna Stewart takes a look at this new debate on the future of working from home.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice over): The morning commute, a welcome return to normal for some, but others are less keen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am looking forward to maybe two days in the office.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I work from home. And I actually do like working from home. But I'd like a bit of both to be honest moving forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I do work in office. And I prefer that actually.

STEWART (on camera): The divide is only deepening as businesses implement their post pandemic strategies. For those at Twitter, Facebook and Google

women working part time or full time is now a permanent option. Apple and Uber want their employees back in the office for at least part of the week.

And then there are the banks of Wall Street, some of which wants to see their workers back at their desks full time.

STEWART (voice over): Goldman Sachs's CEO, David Solomon called working from home and aberration, saying, for a business like ours, which is an

innovative collaborative apprenticeship culture; this is not ideal for us.

And it's not a new normal. Its New York employees are already back in the office. Meanwhile, the CEO of Morgan Stanley made clear that the bank's New

York employees should be back by September saying, if you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office and we want you

in the office.

MICHAEL SMETS, PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT, SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL: If it is so beneficial to be in the office, why are so many people choosing not to be

there. And in fact, you have to start threatening pay cuts for them. That is a little bit of a kind of a cultural disjoint, I would say.

STEWART (voice over): Telling people to go back to the office may not be popular. But can we actually compel employees to comply?

SINEAD CASEY, PARTNER, LINKLATERS LAW FIRM: Generally, yes, governments around the globe have taken the approach of ensuring that an employer has

some discretion to refuse a request to work from home, if it's not feasible for the work to be done from home. And you can see why there are legitimate

grounds for that because clearly not every job can be done effectively from home.

STEWART (voice over): Forcing workers back to the office full time may have some undesired consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not sure I feel so comfortable about that at this point, because I think we've shown that it's not necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's up to the individual really. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Personally, I wouldn't be happy to be back.

STEWART (voice over): Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Thanks for you all for joining us today. I am Lynda Kinkade that was "Connect the World". Stick around with CNN and my colleague Zain Asher

is next with "One World".