Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

U.S. Troops Pull Out Of Bagram Air Base; Abdullah: Taliban Peace Talks Masking "Very Little Progress"; Concerns About Future As U.S. Troops Withdraw Early; U.N. Security Council Meets On Ethiopia Crisis; Experts: Euro 2020 Championship Triggers Case Spikes; Merkel's Last Official Visit To U.K. As Chancellor; Australia to Cut International Arrivals by Half; Australia Sets Four-Phase Pathway Out of COVID-19; Interview with Cristina Williams, Australian leaving country over strict COVID rules; Australia Speaks Out Against "Cruel" Restriction; Billionaires Battle for Blastoff; Engineers Studying Safety of Continued Rescue Efforts in Florida; U.S. Wins Global Support for Massive Tax Overhaul; Richard Branson Now Set to Beat Bezos in Race to Space; 400 Meter Hurdles Records Falls After 29 Years; Belgium Face Italy in Quarterfinal Showdown; Denmark Ready to Continue Remarkable Run; Cannabis Controversy; U.S. Track Star Tests Positive for Marijuana; Verstappen Fastest in Opening Practice; Hamilton Working Hard to Catch Verstappen. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 02, 2021 - 10:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: A major military milestone for the U.S. in Afghanistan. After two decades of war, most of the remaining troops are now

on their way home. The United Nations Security Council meets today to discuss the humanitarian disaster in northern Ethiopia. We'll have a live


And the last official visit to the U.K. for Germany's Chancellor, COVID travel restrictions top of the agenda.

Hello, it's 10:00 a.m. here in Atlanta 6:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi. I'm Lynda Kinkade sitting in for Becky Anderson. Good to have you with us and welcome

to Connect the World.

We begin with a big step symbolically and otherwise in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The last of America's troops have left at Bagram Air Base

months ahead of schedule. Bagram near the capital Kabul was the epicenter of the U.S. war on terror against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda following the

September 11 terror attacks. Where now the U.S. has turned Bagram airport over to the Afghan military as the Taliban makes gains across the country.

And with the U.S. forces leaving early, what is next for Afghanistan. CNN's Anna Coren spoke with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan official in charge

of talks with the Taliban. Take a listen.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Abdullah, how can you guarantee that Afghanistan will not be a safe haven for terrorists in the future?

ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, AFGHAN HIGH COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL RECONCILIATION: I don't think that there is a guarantee. And they're also thought about a failed.

They had promised that they will delink with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. We don't have many signs of that. So that's the danger for us, as

well as for the region.

COREN: A U.S. intelligence report said the Afghan government could fall within six months once U.S. troops withdrawn. Do you see the Taliban one

day toppling the Afghan government?

ABDULLAH: No, inshallah. That may be their thinking or thinking in parts of Taliban movement, but this will not happen.

COREN: You are obviously in charge of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. You've said yourself that they've made no

progress. What is the latest?

ABDULLAH: Very little progress, very slow pace. And look at the urgency of the situation. Look at what is going on in the country and the

opportunities that we missed as a result of the continuation of the war.

COREN: What do you think the past 20 years America's longest war has achieved for Afghanistan?

ABDULLAH: Most part of Afghanistan was under the Taliban control. Al-Qaeda was freelancing, Osama bin Laden was planning Washington and in New York

from Afghanistan. That part, of course, some challenges remain, the situation of women in Afghanistan. So, freedoms, freedom of speech,

awareness of the people about their rights. It's very different Afghanistan today,

COREN: We've been speaking to so many Afghans who now just want to leave the country with the deteriorating security situation. What is your message

to these people, these people who were perhaps the future of this country?

ABDULLAH: Our country, our people are going through very, very difficult times. The world has supported us and they will continue to support but

it's only us who can save it. Those who believe in military takeover take responsibility for the continuation of the misery of the people, suffering

of the people. And they will not have their ideas materialized.


KINKADE: CNN's Nic Robertson knows Afghanistan very well. He's been covering the country for more than two decades, even before the September

11 attacks, and the U.S. invasion. Nic joins us now from London for more on these historic developments. And Nic, Bagram airport, of course, was once

this bustling mini city, if you like which saw over 100,000 U.S. troops come through its gates. It seen the last of the U.S. troops leave. This is

a huge moment for the U.S. ending its war there.



You know, the background military airbase before September the 11th was actually, at one point, part of a frontline between the Northern Alliance

who were the last holdouts in Afghanistan fighting against the Taliban. It was a desolate place that was dangerous to be in. And it became, of course,

a real hub of U.S. influence in the country. And that was what the Afghan government really took from the United States after September the 11th.

Here, they'd found a partner and an ally for generations to come in the same way that sort of South Korea and Japan had been long term partners of

the United States since, you know, pretty much since World War II. So, the Afghan government had these strong, strong security and political

connections with the United States. And they thought that those would endure. But when the base of Bagram that was, as you said, mini city, if

you try to run around that base, the perimeter will take you over an hour, where there were, you know, there were prison facilities or special forces

used to operate out of there, the flight line would be so busy. Back in the day, you could barely get to sleep in the tents that were along the side of

the flight line.

The very fact that hope of an enduring relationship, which really Afghans were hoping would really lift the country over generations. The emptying

and the clearing out and the hand over of Bagram today really epitomizes the end of that era, and a morale sapping moment for the Afghan forces who

now lack that NATO and U.S. airpower and airstrikes that they've become so used to having and depending on in many cases to fight the Taliban.

KINKADE: And Nic, just talked to us about the concerns for the Afghans left behind, particularly those who helped the U.S. and its allies in the war


ROBERTSON: Yes, it's a real sense of exposure. You know, the Taliban in the past have, you know, have killed people that they accused of being spies,

those who have worked with foreign forces, those who have worked for the Afghan government, accusing the Afghan government of being a puppet of

foreign forces and foreign powers. So Afghans who worked with U.S. forces and other international groups, justifiably feel afraid. They cannot count

on the fact that the Taliban will be -- will do what they're doing with some of the Afghan National Army at the moment, which is getting the Afghan

National Army to surrender and then sending them home and giving them, you know, a small payment before they send them home.

These people who've put their faith in the United States and other NATO nations cannot count on having that largest (ph) from the Taliban. And so,

if the Taliban arrive at their town or village, or city, even though that's not the case right now, then they know that their lives and the lives of

their families could be in danger. It's a justifiable fear. So it's reasonable that many of them would want to leave and are seeking to leave.

KINKADE: Yes, it certainly is reasonable. Nic Robertson for us, diplomatic editor from London. Good to have you with us. Thank you.

We are going to sound this story. Our next guest says there isn't a lot of appetite these days for sending U.S. troops into areas like Afghanistan and

Iraq in large numbers. John Negroponte became the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the days after the September 11 attacks. Later as Deputy

Secretary of State, he talked with Afghan leaders about the country's reconstruction.

Ambassador Negroponte joins us now live from Washington. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So you served under the George W. Bush administration, as this war in Afghanistan began. Just for our viewers, I just want to play some sound

of the former U.S. President talking at the time when the first U.S. airstrikes begin.


GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against Al-Qaeda terrorist training camps, and

military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.


KINKADE: He went on to say that we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes. I want to ask you, Ambassador, where did the

U.S. succeed? Where did the U.S. fail?

NEGROPONTE: Well, first of all, I was -- that was the very day when Mr. Bush was speaking there in that recording, that I was instructed to inform

the Security Council of the United Nations that we are going into Afghanistan in self-defense because of the 9/11 attacks under Article 51 of

the United Nations Charter. And I think that that act of self-defense on our part was widely accepted by the international community.


Where we succeeded? We succeeded, of course, in overthrowing the Taliban government in Afghanistan and began the process of helping to build a

successor government. I think where we perhaps did not succeed as well, obviously, is that this became sort of an endless proposition. And we never

got to the point where we could say that our political and military objectives had been finally accomplished. So in between overthrowing the

Taliban successfully, and then finding some kind of satisfactory endpoint, we never seem to be able to get there.

KINKADE: That is certainly the case and it certainly was the case in the lead up to this decision by U.S. President Biden, withdrawing U.S. troops.

When you look at the cost of America's war in Afghanistan, it's humongous, over $2.2 trillion. That's according to the Brown University Cost of War.

And then, of course, it's the cost of lives over 212,000 people, including over 2,000 U.S. military members. After 20 years of war there, what state

has Afghanistan be left in?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I think this is a very dangerous moment for Afghanistan because we don't know what's going to happen next. There, obviously, is a

sense of insecurity in Afghanistan at the moment as a result of our departure. And I think there are a variety of potential risks to include

serious defeats by the Afghan military and/or sort of reversion to kind of a warlordism where different ethnicities and different militias retreat to

their strongholds. And Afghanistan maybe moves back towards resembling the terrible situation it faced in the 1990s.

KINKADE: And so you think we could clearly say, just a reversal to what existed before the U.S. moved and after all that cost, all that investment,

all the time spent in the country, do you think we could see pretty much what was happening before the U.S. went in?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I think either a gradual reversal or possibly even a precipitous one, but some of that will be depend, it'll be sort of a test

for the training and equipping that we've done for the Afghan security forces and the investment we've made in helping them stand up a government

to see if they can withstand some of these pressures. Mr. Abdullah Abdullah sounded reasonably confident that the country would be able to withstand

these pressures, I'll be it with difficulty. And I wish him the very best in that.

And I also think the United States government has an obligation to continue to provide support to Afghanistan. I think it's a pity we're withdrawing

completely, because when you speak about costs, and the large costs that indeed have been incurred over the past 20 years, it would not have been

very costly, or will not be very costly to maintain some kind of residual involvement and presence. In Afghanistan, we could have -- we had reduced

the costs for our own selves to manageable, sustainable, both politically and economically levels. And it's a pity that we decided to withdraw

entirely. I regret that.

KINKADE: Some analysts say the Afghan government could fall within six months of the U.S. leaving and that analysis is coming from U.S.

intelligence. What are your fears? How bad could things get?

NEGROPONTE: Well, boy, I tell you, if I -- I was once Director of National Intelligence, if I had a report like that, I don't think I would have

released it to the public. I think it's very unfortunate that that happened. It's obviously somewhat speculative in nature. And I hope that

it's psychological effects are not too damaging. But let's face it, we've left them with quite a bit of equipment and training.

We're going to have air support, I'll be at (ph) -- not from Bagram Airfield, but offshore from a distance from bases in the Middle East and

aircraft carriers. Maybe that will be helpful. What I would have liked is if we could have kept two or three or even 10,000 troops there just to

provide various kinds of enabling support, whether it was intelligence or logistics.\


And frankly I do not think it would have been that costly to do that, nor do I think it would have been particularly risky to our people. I don't

think we would have lost -- that we would have had many casualties as a result. So in that sense, I think that the administration's action is

precipitated and I think somewhat ill-advised.

KINKADE: I mean, the challenge is that, as you have clearly pointed out, when do you end this war, it's already been 20 years, if nothing's changed,

at what point do you say you withdraw?

NEGROPONTE: Well, you can ask another question, though. You can say, well, how long is -- should a presence of military and political presence be in a

country? You know in Japan, we've been there since the end of World War II. In Germany, we've been there since the end of World War II. So, there's

nothing magic about any particular kind of number.

The important thing for us, for the American public, I think, and our citizenry was to reduce the costs both in blood and in treasure --

KINKADE: Exactly.

NEGROPONTE: -- to some kind of a sustainable level. And I think we had reached that point. So for that reason, I'm not sure I know what the rush


KINKADE: Right now the Taliban is making gains in Afghanistan. Is there any leverage right now to discuss some sort of peace with the Taliban and why

would they cooperate?

NEGROPONTE: Well, the leverage we have is substantially reduced once you've withdrawn all of your forces. But it wouldn't be good if they and the Kabul

government could hold talks. Maybe that'll be a possibility. If the Taliban has a change of heart but, you know, does -- can the leopard change its

stripes, and I'm not entirely certain it can do that.

KINKADE: All right, looks like we're losing the light there. Ambassador Negroponte, really good to have you on the program to get your perspective.

Thanks so much.

NEGROPONTE: Yes, I'm sorry about that. OK.

KINKADE: Not problem.

NEGROPONTE: Thank you.

KINKADE: Good to talk to you.

NEGROPONTE: All right.

KINKADE: Would die of hunger, allegations of atrocities and now finally, high-level diplomacy. We'll try to tackle the crisis in Tigray northern

Ethiopia. But we're trying to help. We've been asking, where is the international community for this conflict-scarred region? Well, that

question may be answered in the coming hours when the United Nations Security Council is expected to hold an open meeting on the devastated


It follows months of a brutal civil war. The meeting may have been spurred at least in part by a scene and investigation exposing the horror of a

massacre by Ethiopian soldiers in Tigray's mountains. But even now on the day of his key meeting, there is word of a new setback. The United Nations

saying a bridge used for delivering humanitarian aid has been destroyed.

Well for more, you're already obviously know that months of violence have been catastrophic for the people of Tigray with hundreds of thousands

facing famine conditions. CNN's Larry Madowo was tracking the story for us from Nairobi in neighboring Kenya, and joins us now live. Larry, as I was

just saying the United Nations Security Council set to meet today to discuss this very urgent crisis. What can we expect to come from that


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I would caution that this optimism needs to be tempered with the reality because this public meeting of the U.N.

Security Council is only happening because of pressure from the U.S. the U.K. and Ireland. But when it does happen at 3:00 p.m. Eastern or 10:00

p.m. in Addis Ababa, there is still a possibility that Russia, China and African countries may be opposed to any sort of strong statement or any

decisive action here, which is the position that has been happening for months and months and months.

And in the meantime, the humanitarian situation in Tigray continues to worsen the World Food -- or the World Food Program describing catastrophic

food conditions. And yet, like you mentioned, a major bridge connecting the Amhara region to Tigray was destroyed yesterday, and the World Food

Program, lots of other U.N. agencies, other aid agencies say they need unfettered access to this region to provide support for them, to provide

food, to give medical care. And when that meeting happens, this is the French ambassador who's the current July president of the U.N. Security



NICOLAS DE RIVIERE, FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We will certainly call on the parties to talk and we will certainly wish to see the

council asking for better humanitarian access and progress on the on the human rights front.


MADOWO: So there's a unilateral ceasefire that was declared by Ethiopian government when it pulled out its troops from Tigray. But out of this

meeting, the U.N. Security Council, Lynda, we may seen nothing more than a statement unless something miraculous happens.


KINKADE: So Larry talked to us about the Ethiopian government's response, because it's defending its actions.

MADOWO: Ethiopian government continues to maintain that the Tigrayan fighters are terrorists who hide behind civilians, and who need to be

exterminated. But also, when it -- declared this unilateral ceasefire on Monday, it said that the fighters were so completely destroyed in the view

that there is nothing more to continue to remain in Tigray. And the way they see it as this was a humanitarian ceasefire so that the farming season

ends, so that people can tell their lines and begin to have a return to normalcy. And they're asking the international community to force

essentially the fighters to agree to the ceasefire so that life can return to normal, but connectivity still down.

There's no phone or internet connectivity in Tigray. There is no electricity and aide agencies report cash and fuel shortages. So this

destroying of the bridge is worsening and already dire humanitarian situation there.

KINKADE: All right, Larry Madomo. We will chat with you and check in about this again very soon. Thank you.

Well if you also want to check out our ongoing and exclusive Tigray coverage, CNN's Nima Elbagir has much more on this just head to our website

Coming up, the leaders of the U.K. and Britain are meeting today talking about how to reopen our borders while still keeping the coronavirus out.

We're going to have a live report next.


KINKADE: Angela Merkel is in England today to meet with Boris Johnson and later the Queen. It's Merkel's final visit to the U.K. before she steps

down as Chancellor in September. Both leaders are stressing the importance of building stronger ties now that the U.K. has left the E.U. And they

talked about how they can safely allow more travel between their countries are trying to keep the Delta variant from spreading too much further.

Well, Europe's 10 week decline in COVID infections has come to an end and that's from the World Health Organization's regional director, it has been

a 10 percent rise in new cases. Over the past week it is blamed on a mix of things, social gathering and travel and of course the easing of


Yes, the WHO says 63 percent of Europeans is still awaiting their first vaccine dose. The organization is urging people to take the vaccine without

hesitation, emphasizing that they are effective against the Delta variant.

With the Euro 2020 football championship is only making things worse. CNN Contributor Barbie Nadeau where British fans, tickets for the Saturday's

match have been canceled.


Barbie, good to have you with us. I first want to ask you about the Chancellor, being in the U.K. Of course, this is her last visit in an

official capacity given that she's set to step down in September. Just take us through the key lines from their press conference.

BARBIE NARDEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course, you know, Boris Johnson in this meeting that last chance really to sort of get a softer view from

angle Merkel wanted to cut Germany essentially to ease up on those travel restrictions right now. People from the U.K. after quarantine for 14 days

in Germany. And she was hesitant, as far as we know, in terms of lifting those. Of course, it's been a very tense time since Brexit for the two


And you know, this last meeting, given the fact that the situation with the Delta virus is so rampant in the U.K., still didn't seem to convince her

that it was time to lift those restrictions as a last move of good faith. Lynda?

KINKADE: And looking at the cases across Europe, we are seeing that surge 10 percent rising cases in the last week. Some areas are obviously

dropping. But in Russia, we're seeing records broken for a fourth day in a row in terms of COVID deaths.

NARDEAU: That's right. And that's a worrying figure, especially when you look at the travel o corridors that are open right now. Now, you know, if

Russia is not controlling people who are coming in, people attending to travel, if they can't travel elsewhere in Europe, bringing that virus back.

That is very, very concerning. There is vaccine hesitancy all across Europe, there's vaccine hesitancy in Russia as well.

With Putin just saying that he did receive the vaccine just recently, which should potentially get more people to take it themselves. But all of this

is worrying because of travel. And because of the easing of these restrictions, as you mentioned, and people moving around and taking the

virus with them when they move from country to country.

KINKADE: And of course we've got the quarterfinals for the Euro 2020 where you are in Rome this Saturday. What is that going to mean? How much concern

is there over a potential super spreader event?

NARDEAU: Well, the WHO did call this a potential super spreader event. And everybody's sort of wondering why during a pandemic, you've got 11 cities,

including St. Petersburg, where thousands of fans went to watch a match there. Why there's so much movement around right now, and Germany

especially has been trying to push new way for who organizes the event to try to have those last three matches in London or in a place with -- so

that they could stop the movement of fans.

Here in Italy, people are very, very concerned that the English fans they play here Saturday night, will come bring the Delta variant with them. Now,

anyone coming from England who still has a ticket, and now they were canceled as of Thursday night for many, many people are supposed to be able

to prove that they quarantined for five days. That's going to keep them out of the stadium. But the big concern, of course, is that that will keep them

out of the pubs, the bars and the piattosse (ph) where a lot of people will come to watch the match.

So it's not over yet. And people are wondering just what this Euro championship football extravaganza is going to reap when it's all over and

how many new cases are going to be a result of it, Lynda?

KINKADE: All right. Barbie Nardeau for us in Rome, we will chat to you again soon. Thanks so much.

Was some big changes for millions of Australians in COVID lockdown and for those trying to get in and out of the country. I'm going to interview one

woman who's speaking out after she was repeatedly denied permission to travel abroad to see her husband. Stay with us.




KOTB: You're watching "Connect the World." I'm Linda Kinkade. Welcome back.

Well, we have had more frustrating news for Australians stranded abroad. Australia is planning to cut arrivals by half beginning July 14 until the

end of the year. And that is after there were already passenger caps in place.

Well, earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this would reduce the stress of the country's current quarantine process. He also announced a

four phased plan to start managing the virus more like the flu. It would make lockdowns a last resort and get more Australians vaccinated against


Well, right now, Australia is one of the lowest COVID vaccinations rates among wealthy nations, at less than 8 percent of the population.

Well, my next guest is planning to leave Australia for good over what she calls the unnecessarily cruel and devastating impact the COVID response has

had on her family. Her husband lives and works here in the United States. And Australian has rejected application to leave the country see her

husband at least eight times.

Christina Williams is quarantining in her home in Sidney right now. A hotel I think it is. After finally being reunited with her husband, she joins us

via Skype.

Christina, good to have you with us.

So, we are seeing this nationwide lockdown in Australia right now. And it's been completely cut off from the rest of the world, pretty much since

pandemic began. Take us through what you and your family have gone through.

CRISTINA WILLIAMS, AUSTRALIAN LEAVING COUNTRY OVER STRICT COVID RULES: Hi, Linda. Thank you. And thank you for highlighting this really important

issue. We do feel like the forgotten Australians. As you rightfully said, it's not only just the inability to fly in, but it is the complete ban to

fly out. And that has been in place since March 2020.

And we were all happy to pay a price in the short-term, we knew Australian borders had to be shut to keep everybody safe. We were happy to do that.

And it has gone on, as you said, there's only been some kind of inkling of a plan spoken about now. It's too little too late. Families like ours have

suffered too much.

So, my husband works and lives in the U.S. and I'm here in Australia with my four boys. And we usually used to travel back and forth between both

countries, but our family has just been broken in half because of these measures.

KINKADE: So, you and your husband and your kids were completely separated for how long?

WILLIAMS: Our family has only been together once in now nearly two years. It is OK, you know, for that being the case for a few months, but when your

children are eight years old and 10 years old and their family is apart for two years, that is life altering when you're little.

KINKADE: Exactly. I mean, children change so much month by month at that young age. And I can't imagine how tough it has been for your husband as

well not to see them.

WILLIAMS: It's been absolutely heartbreaking. And, you know, we're one of the lucky ones because we've had a chance to have Matt home, fortunately,

because he has a double passport. I speak out on behalf of the people that haven't.

You know, I've got a friend who has celebrated her seven-year-old's birthday via Zoom. She hasn't seen him since he was five. It's people who

missed out medical treatment for their three-year-old abroad, people who have lost jobs, who have not seen dying loved ones. The stories are

heartbreaking and it is unnecessary.

KINKADE: Yes. It's especially tough. It's been a really long period. I had a baby last year and I've got parents and in-laws and family in Australia.

And even those in health care that are fully vaccinated are not allowed to leave. Just explain that, because I don't think a lot of people realize



WILLIAMS: There is a complete and utter ban even if you are wanting to leave permanently, even if you are vaccinated, even if you've got a dying

mom abroad, you can stack up the reasons. Now, they say that there is an exemption process and it is really what the government hides behind. Oh, if

you have a really big reason, you can apply through an exemption process. But most of those exemptions are denied.

And sometimes, it's a kick in the teeth because we see tennis stars and movie stars come and go. But for the average Australian, we're paying a

price. Now, we're not saying that we should swing the doors open, but when those cases -- when those people really have important essential reasons to

travel, we should have the freedom especially now vaccinated and if we're willing to quarantine on return, we've been asking them why now for way too

long, why won't you give us back our freedom?

KINKADE: And even for Australians who want to go home, who are abroad, there is a passenger cap on arrivals, which is only going to get tougher.

So, it is especially difficult. What do you make of the fact that we have seen these lockdowns, but then you see the deputy prime minister of

Australia going about business without wearing a mask in the midst of a lockdown in Sydney?

WILLIAMS: Look, it's just -- the double standards are absolutely incredible. It's like, you know, so many people in Australia have relatives

in England. So many people are just absolutely heartbroken for not being able to see grandparents and family members. And meanwhile, we get to see

the prime minister on tour, on a pub crawl essentially in the U.K.

There is a real lack of sensitivity. As I said, this plan or, you know, that lacks dates and actual time frames and actual numbers so far, it is so

little so late. You can't plan your life as a family on the hope that -- you know, it is like saying, we're taking the kids to Disney -- taking all

your kids to Disneyland and not telling them when or how. It is such a loose promise. And families can't leave this way.

KINKADE: And what -- it sounds to me as especially difficult is the fact that the vaccination rollout has been so slow there, and even though it

looks like most Australians might potentially be vaccinated by the end of the year, it doesn't seem that restrictions will really be eased, maybe not

until mid-next year.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. You know, that's one of the reasons why there is this vaccine hesitancy. The government has created its own problem. It is a

stalemate because there has been, to this day, no indication of what the future is if we're vaccinated. In fact, the minister of health has actively

come out and said, just because we're all vaccinated doesn't mean we're going to open up. Like he's actually come out and said that on national


So, you've got people here living in Fortress Australia, which it's now what it's called. It's a bubble. And with absolutely no incentive, no

reason, no -- absolutely no reason to go and get the jab. But aside from that, there hasn't been the availability.

In Arizona where my husband lives, there were stadiums filled up with drive-throughs, you could get the vaccine tomorrow. You know, I have

friends that have been trying for months to get access to it here. The government has had the geographical advantage of being an island and being

able to lock it all down, but they squandered that geographical advantage, done nothing with that time to improve quarantine or get the vaccine

supplies that we so desperately need to open the country.

KINKADE: Absolutely. Cristina Williams, we really wish your family all the best. Thank you for staying up very late there for us to discuss this

important issue. We appreciate it.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Linda.

KINKADE: Well, the billionaires battle for space takes a new turn. Coming up a few surprises from rival entrepreneurs, Bezos and Branson, as they

countdown to explore the cosmos.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now.

Engineers are assessing whether it's safe for rescue workers to continue to combing through the wreckage of that collapsed Miami apartment building.

The parts of the building still standing could fall at any moment. So far, 18 people have been confirmed dead, 145 are still missing.

U.S. treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, is calling it "a historic day for economic diplomacy." That's after the U.S. were an international backing

for its plan to overhaul the global system for taxing companies. It is considered a huge step in simplifying a complex web of rules long exploited

by big corporations.

Britain' Richard Branson has now taken the lead in the space battle of the billionaires. Branson will now fly with three colleagues in a Virgin

Galactic rocket powered plane on July 11th. That's nine days before rival Jeff Bezos is set to take off in his blue Origin spacecraft. The two

entrepreneurs have been developing suborbital rockets for decades.

And the oldest record in track and field has fallen. On Thursday, Norway's Karsten Warholm ran the fastest 400-meter hurdles ever. Warholm broke 29-

year-old world record by just a sliver of a second. It comes just weeks before the Olympics.

Amanda Davies from "World Sports" joins us now.

And that tiny, tiny millisecond certainly counts.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. 0.07 of seconds, Linda. But talk about doing it and finding your form at the right time three weeks to

the day that the Olympics gets underway. The opening ceremony, of course, in Tokyo kicking off on July the 23rd.

And this is a record that Karsten said has stood for longer than he has even been alive. He is 25 years of age. He is definitely been the one to

beat in this event for recent years. He is a two-time world champion. But has had his sights set on this record for a good while. I remember talking

to him about it at the World Athletics Championships in Doha in 2019. He is without doubt the favorite heading into Tokyo as he looks for his first

Olympic gold. Linda.

KINKADE: What a feeling. I can't believe the Olympics is just a few weeks away. Incredible.

We will see you on the other side of the break for much more of "World Sport."

Amanda Davies, thank you so much.

And we will have much more news at the top of the hour. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.



DAVIES: Hi. Thanks for joining. Welcome along to "World Sport" live from London. With me, Amanda Davies.

It has been a long couple of days, hasn't it, without the football. But the good news is, it's back and the Euro 2020 quarter finals are almost upon

us. They kick off in St. Petersburg as Spain who racked up 11 gold so far in their four games take on a buoyant Swiss side who knocked out world

champions, France, of penalties in that epic round of 16 and counter.

And then, later on in Munich, Roberto Mancini, Italy will face the top rank side in the World Belgium. Their fans pretty excited as you can see their

size set a new national record -- or Italy did, I should say, extending their unbeaten streak to 31 games thanks to a 16 triumph over Austria.

Belgium though has some fitness concerns over (INAUDIBLE) Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne who both went off midway through their victory over

Portugal. Neither have trained this week. But on Thursday, manager, Roberto Martinez, says he hasn't closed the door completely on prospects of a

return for tonight.


ROBERTO MARTINEZ, BELGIUM COACH: It's been another 24 hours, another 24 hours that they have been positive towards their recovery. But we all know

that we are fighting against time. We're going to take until the last minute to make the decision. Every day that we go by, every time that they

can sleep and get meals and get some treatment, we'll see an improvement. And then we'll see tomorrow if they can be involved or not. Unfortunately,

at the moment we cannot make a decision.


DAVIES: Very much now into the final countdown. Just over four hours from kickout, a new European expert, Tancredi Palmeri, is there in Germany for

us soaking up the atmosphere.


TANCREDI PALMERI, ITALIAN FOODBALL JOURNALIST: Now or never, for Italy or for Belgium, is now or never. There is no tomorrow after this game. This is

what counts the most now. Now or never for Belgium, for the golden generation, Lukaku, Hazard, De Bruyne, that never won a title, Belgium

never did so far. Now or never, it's not clear if there will be another chance. Hazard won't be part of the game. De Bruyne maybe probably will

recover on time. Lukaku will lead the Red Devils.

Now or never for Italy. It doesn't matter all the congratulations and compliments that they got until now in the group stage for the way they

played, for the fact that Roberto Mancini dragged them up from under the ground after missing the world cup of 2018. That is the past. The group

stage is the past. It is now or never for Italy and Belgium.

Possibly, Belgium are the ones with the last chance. But Italy has suffered much to wait more. Now or never.

Tancredi Palmeri, CNN, Munich.


DREYER: I think it might be now or never.

On Saturday though, everybody's new favorite second team, Denmark, are hoping to take the next step on their journey here to London and Wembley

against the Czech Republic in Baku. A roller coaster is the phrase that has been used frequently by the likes of goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, and his

teammates to describe their tournament so far after those incredibly traumatic events of their opening game when Christian Eriksen suffered that

cardiac arrest on the pitch. Then to their emphatic victory over Russia to put their place in the knockout stage and then in front of a partisan Dutch

crowd securing their place in the last eight against Wales.

Well, Barcelona forward, Martin Braithwaite, scored the 94th minute fourth goal for his country against Wales and has been instrumental in the team's

success, playing in all four of his side's games. According to Wyscout, he's second only to Kylian Mbappe with dribbles completed at the

tournament. And earlier, I got the chance to speak ahead of the big game.


MARTIN BRAITHWAITE, DENMARK AND BARCELONA FORWARD: I'm feeling great. We came really late yesterday. There's a bit of a time difference. But after a

good night's sleep and we're looking forward to training later today just to get a feel of the stadium and I feel confident and we're ready to go.


DAVIES: There has been a lot of talk, hasn't there, about the differences in terms of journeys and the distances people -- the different teams have

had to travel over this tournament. How much do you think the journey to Baku, the time difference, is going to impact yourself and the team


BRAITHWAITE: I don't really think about it. In the end of the day, we have play football. Everything around it, we're not going to think about it. We

are only thinking about what we can control and that is about playing football. And we've been preparing really good for this game and we are

totally ready to go and have a great performance.

DAVIES: How have the last few days been? I can imagine after the incredible rollercoaster of the group stage, them making through the last

game, a couple of days rest, for want of a better phrase, has been somewhat welcome.

BRAITHWAITE: Yes, definitely. It's no secret. It has been a challenge in tournament, not only physical but especially mentally with everything that

we've been through. But we made it through the group and if there is anything that it taught me, it is like we are -- it has brought us more

together. And just to have a couple days off has been really nice. The last couple of days. So, we're feeling really, really strong again and we're

ready to go.

DAVIES: How much have you been talking about what happened against Finland and using Christian Eriksen as motivation? How much is it now a case of

drawing a line and looking forwards?

BRAITHWAITE: Obviously, in the start, the first couple days, it was really tough. But seeing Christian and seeing that he was doing a lot better, and

we just saw him the other day again before traveling to Azerbaijan, it just helps to you've forward, to know that he is good and he is stable. So, of

course, it is just extra motivation for us to not only going to win for our country but also win for him.

DAVIES: How much of a role has he played in this buildup? Have you been able to speak to him? Has he been sending messages to the team?

BRAITHWAITE: Yes. We have a WhatsApp group with the players where he has been sending messages and we saw him the other day at the training ground

and it was really nice seeing him again.

DAVIES: And how much pride do you take personally given everything that's happened you're your performances over the last few weeks?

BRAITHWAITE: Of course, when you are doing good, it's what you work for. So, I sacrifice a lot every day to be able to perform at my best level

every weekend. And I'm just happy to see that everything is paying off.


DAVIES: That was (INAUDIBLE). And Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite joining live from Baku a little while ago. Three weeks to go though, until the

start of Tokyo 2020. And one of the favorites for the women's hundred meters at the games might not be on the plane after all. Find out why,



DAVIES: Welcome back. The U.S. Anti-doping agency has announced that sprinter, Sha'Carri Richardson, has been suspended for one month from the

Olympic team after testing positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana.

Richardson won the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic trials in Oregon and that's where she was drug tested. But the positive test means that her

first-place results have been thrown out and she won't be able to compete in the race in Tokyo where she was considered a favorite. Richardson lost

her biological mother just before competing at the trials. And she told "The Today Show" this morning, she was very upset and used marijuana.

Adding, she takes full responsibility for breaking the rules.



SHA'CARRI RICHARDSON, U.S. OLYMPIC SPRINTER: I apologize from the sake that I need to know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions

during that time. And to -- and what I would just leave with fan or I would just leave you out there is that like I'm tweeted in Twitter yesterday, I'm

human, we're human. I'm not encouraging anybody do it, I'm not saying, oh, don't do it or anything like that. But if you choose to do things in your

personal trauma or things like that, you just should know, all right, beware of the consequences.


DAVIES: Well, in a statement, USADA said, the rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels. Hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility

and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions despite the costly consequences of this

one to her. The minimum 30-day ban would prevent Richardson from running the 100 meters in Tokyo, but would end in time for her to run the 4x100

relay later in the games. There's no confirmation of that as things stand.

On the battle between the top two in Formula 1 goes on. Red Bull's Max Verstappen picked up where he left off last Sunday, posting the fastest

time in first practice ahead of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix. But it was the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton who had the better of the

second session.

Hamilton called on his team, you might remember, for an upgrade on his car after last week. Given you see Red Bull win the last four races in a row to

leave Verstappen leading the way in the championship for the first time in his career.


LEWIS HAMILTON, 7-TIME WORLD CHAMPION: He's done, obviously, a great job in his last four races. It has been really difficult for us from Monaco,

which obviously was a bit of a disaster and then same for Baku. Better in France and better last weekend. However, they have taken a step ahead of

us. And so, we're just working as hard as we can to see if there's a way we can close that gap. And we're not even halfway through the season. So,

we're still fighting and chasing for this title.


DAVIES: Yes. Of a 23-race calendar in Formula 1, a very unusual position for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to be in, finding themselves the ones doing

the chasing rather than being chased after the last few years. But that is it for myself and the team for now.

Back to you, Linda.

KINKADE: Excellent. Good stuff, Amanda Davies. Have a great weekend. We will see you next week. Thanks so much.

And stick around, we're going to have much more news at the top of the hour.