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Connect the World

Taliban Gaining New Momentum as U.S. Forces Leave; U.S. Troops Pull Out of Bagram Air Base; U.N. Security Council Meets on Ethiopia Crisis; Rescue Operations Resume Amid Safety Concerns; Rising European Anti- Semitism Blamed on Lockdowns; "Illuminarium" Creates Virtual Safari Experience, Far From Africa. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired July 02, 2021 - 11:00:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Atlanta. This is "Connect the World".

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

to have you with us.

Where the United States has left the main command post on it's of its war on terror. The Afghan military is now in charge of the Bagram Air Base,

which is North of Kabul. The handover happened overnight as U.S. forces prepared to leave after nearly 20 years in the country.

Bagram was the center of operations is America and its allies hold the Taliban and Al Qaeda following the September 11th terror attacks. Well, our

U.S. troops are winding down their presence in the country and could be completely gone within days.

Meantime, the Taliban are making resurgence, fueling fears of a new war. And there are fears about what comes next for Afghanistan? CNN's Anna Coren

has more on the precarious moment.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): --of the U.S. military transformed this dusty airstrip into a miniature city and the

nucleus of America's longest war. Ultimately, that might be able to not transform Afghanistan.

Friday morning nearly 20 years after U.S. soldiers captured Bagram Airbase as a launch pad for the war on terror. The last U.S. servicemen and women

departed Afghanistan. A nation not left strong, prosperous or secure despite the sacrifice of more than 2400 American lives, and over 100,000

Afghan civilians according to the United Nations.

Many of those fallen soldiers repatriated from these runways. Now in the position of Afghan government forces as they continue their lonely fight

with the Taliban, they are the only ones who will consider Friday's U.S. departure of victory.

GEN. SCOTT MILLER, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN: The security situation is not good right now. And that's something that's recognized by

the Afghan security forces and they're making the appropriate adjustments as we move forward.

COREN (voice over): Taliban fighters have seized back swathes of the country Americans fought and died to liberate after once boasting a force

of over 100,000 in Afghanistan, they will remain as few as 600 U.S. troops here to provide security for American diplomats.

NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We intend to maintain a diplomatic presence in Kabul. That is something that is important to us,

given our enduring desire to have a continued partnership with the Afghan government and crucially, with the Afghan people.

COREN (voice over): There forever war will continue as Joe Biden wades out of the mire. Mire trapped his predecessors in a brutal and bloody

stalemate. Bush, Obama and Trump, each bouncing in and out of Bagram, pledging Afghanistan will never be a haven for terrorists, as it was when

Al-Qaeda plotted the tragedy of 9/11.

Those terrorists long since routed out and destroyed now no guarantee that violent extremists won't reenter the vacuum left by the United States, as

the last American soldiers out of Afghanistan returned to a nation that has long waited to welcome them home. Anna Coren, CNN, Kabul.


KINKADE: We will hear from Anna a little later in the show. But first I want to bring in Fawzia Koofi. She is a former member of the Afghan

Parliament and a member of the government team negotiating with the Taliban. She joins us now from Doha, Qatar, good to have you with us.


KINKADE: I want to ask you and take you back to when the U.S. first began its operation in Afghanistan. We have some sound from the then President

George W. Bush, talking about taking on the Taliban. Let's just take a listen for our viewers.

I'm told we don't have that sound right now. But he was talking about the Taliban and how the Taliban would take - would pay a price for what they

had done? In terms of your talks in negotiating with the Taliban where things currently stand?

KOOFI: Well, I can see history repeating itself in my lifetime. In the negotiation table, we did not really have much progress as expected.


KOOFI: I think the least the U.S. could do is to postpone the announcement for their complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, until a peace agreement was

reached between the two sides. That could have been a window of hope for the future.

Now, given the situation very hectic, and predictable, I can see that, you know, when the Soviets withdraw from Afghanistan, almost the same situation

is happening.

KINKADE: So 20 years after the U.S. moved into Afghanistan, you think we could see a complete reversal, potentially, situation that might be worse.

KOOFI: I think yes. As I said before, you know, the regional players are now getting more relevant and more active to play their politics in

Afghanistan. As Taliban are getting more ground, I can see that the communities are re arming themselves to protect their communities.

In some villages, and in some communities, I'm being told through my connections in Afghanistan, while we are in Doha negotiating, that they

repeat the same things that they were doing before. In terms of their attitudes and behaviors towards the public towards the woman, I'm being

told that they do not allow a woman to go to hospitals without a male company.

And it's the same thing that we have actually gone through this when they were in power. So there are signs when you look at the region, there are

signs of the regional powers reshaping themselves to influence of course, the same situation when it comes to communities arming and militias to

arming themselves to protect.

And in Kabul I think the politicians are kind of bickering, they are talking about unity and consensus. But that is just in words not in

practice. I think a lot of what is going on in Afghanistan also depends on the fact that we have shortages in terms of good governance.

KINKADE: I'm told we now have that sound from the Former U.S. President George W. Bush; I just want to play that for our viewers.


GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: Now, the Taliban will pay a price. By destroying camps and disrupting communications, we will make it more

difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans.

At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we

will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan.


KINKADE: Fawzia, given that the Taliban is now making gains as the U.S. leaves. What exactly has the U.S. achieved during this past 20 years?

KOOFI: Many, many achievements in Afghanistan, not only with the presence of U.S., but of course, with the support of the international community led

by the United States, but also with the resilience and the strength of the people of Afghanistan.

I think you start from, you know, the freedom of speech, the very dynamic media, we have to woman's education and to above all this transformation

that has happened, the generation transformation.

Yes, you we can talk about the number of buildings that are built schools that are built, these are things that you can see as a benchmarks, but the

things that the world does not see any kind of tend to forget or abandon Afghanistan is the transformation that we have seen the transformation

that, you know, the people of Afghanistan.

The credit goes to them in terms of their interest, their support, their vocal voice, their participation in promoting and protecting their

principles of democracy. Participating in the election, we must remember that people actually put their lives at risk when they were participating

in the election.

I remember how people's fingers were cut when they were participating in the election for voting for using the ink in their fingers. So those common

kinds of struggles that we have worked very, very long way with our international community are potentially at risk.


KINKADE: It certainly sounds that way because obviously the Taliban is a group that's notorious for its treatment of women. And you mentioned a few

things earlier, in terms of not allowing a woman to leave the house without a male escort, and not allowing girls to be educated after the age of

eight, forcing teenage girls into marriage. What do you fear could happen for women like yourself as the Taliban gains more territory?

KOOFI: Women have been in the forefront of, you know, demonstrating at the front and more prosperous and democratic Afghanistan. They have been very

vocal with our international allies in protecting as I stated before, and progressing the common principles of living in peace and in harmony and

dignified life, with ourselves and with the world.

As they have been in the forefront we know that they there were enormous attack and they continue to be enormous attack against their lives. They

have also been demoralized, in terms of pressurizing them to stay home.

They are the main target, basically, when it comes to security as the situation becomes more military. Women are the main losers of this, the

question, the concern I have is, as somebody who have spent all my life in Afghanistan, my family, my daughters, my children are back home, while I'm

talking here, that how are we connect those who are actually negotiating in the in the negotiation table?

And they have been giving statements that you know, they allow a woman to go to school, they allow a woman to go to work, they respect, you know, the

woman's right within Islamic principles, to those who are actually fighting on the ground.

And we see that there are there are reports that they do not respect some of these things that the Taliban in the political office claim. So I think

people of Afghanistan expect more bold steps from Taliban to ensure that they're not going to take Afghanistan to zero location.

KINKADE: We also heard quite recently, from U.S. intelligence, who painted a picture, a pretty dire situation that six months after the U.S. withdraws

the Afghan government could fall. Talk to us about your fears, do you think that could happen?

KOOFI: Well, honestly, I think even if the potential for keeping the government and keeping the institutions were there, with such reports, and

especially making it public and demoralizing the public, and especially our security institutions, which are already, you know, struggling to regain

their morale.

I don't think this was a good idea to publicize such a report. I think the situation will continue to become more chaos in terms of, you know, war,

because both sides would probably try to gain more to have more stake in the negotiation table, to have more say, to have more share in the

negotiation table.

So even if we come to a political agreement, I think that will be on the basis of who got more power on the ground? Who has more control of the

territory on the ground? So I think when it comes to complete collapse, I don't think this is going to happen.

I think people will stick to protecting their communities, protecting their institutions. This is something we have to do. We cannot afford to see

Afghanistan lose once again. We lose Afghanistan, once again to international extremism.

I think the one thing that the major mistake over the past 20 years was that we focus so much on military strategy in Afghanistan. When I say we, I

mean the international community and our allies.

We forgot about the region and how the region actually plays in terms of growth of that military extremism. We did not really have much in terms of

control of those - their curricula, they continue to produce those military extremist groups and in a way or the other they are going to threaten the

world's security.

Afghanistan and their people are in the forefront of this war. But in the large context, I think the whole global community will be addressed if the

situation continues as it is, and we keep--

KINKADE: Absolutely--

KOOFI: --the world keeps watching instead of doing much.

KINKADE: Well, we wish you all the best Fawzia Koofi good luck as you continue to talk with the Taliban and hopefully things improve for the

people of Afghanistan thanks so much.

We heard from CNN's Anna Coren a few moments ago earlier, she interviewed the man leading the Afghan peace talks, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah; take a

listen to what he told her.


COREN (on camera): 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 there also Taliban are failed. They

promised that they will de link 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 and beyond.

COREN (on camera): A U.S. intelligence report said the Afghan government could fall within six months once U.S. troops withdraw. Do you see the

Taliban one day toppling the Afghan government?

ABDULLAH: No. Inshallah, that may be the thinking or thinking in parts of Taliban movement. But this will not happen.

COREN (on camera): 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 miss, as a result of the continuation of the war.

COREN (on camera): 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


COREN (on camera): 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 as 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: That's Abdullah Abdullah they're talking to our Anna Coren. Well, as the U.S. pulls out of the conflict in Afghanistan is reengaging with

Taiwan, Washington restarted trade talks with Taipei this week, despite Beijing's objections.

They had been on hold for five years but resumed after a conversation between the U.S. Trade Representative and a Taiwanese Minister earlier this

month. Well, on Thursday, China celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping vowed to "Utterly defeat

Taiwan independence". As our Will Ripley reports that not only means intimidating the island with its military, but also online, according to

Taipei. Will Ripley reports.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Prepare for war, the menacing message of Mainland Chinese propaganda aimed at the islands of

Taiwan. Military intimidation in real time 28 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

Taiwan calls it the largest air incursion ever recorded. In this exclusive interview, the Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tells CNN China is

engaging in psychological warfare.

JOSEPH WU, FOREIGN MINISTER OF TAIWAN: They want to shape - people's cognition, that Taiwan is very dangerous and Taiwan cannot do without


RIPLEY (voice over): More than 23 million people caught in the crossfire of battle between Beijing and Taipei of fight for their hearts and minds. I'm

flying to the front lines across the Taiwan Strait to the small island of Kinmen more than 200 miles from the Taiwanese Capital, just six miles from

Mainland China.

Kinmen is the only place in Taiwan that saw actual combat during China's Civil War ending in 1949 many buildings bears the scars. The fighting,

ferocious nationalist forces fended off communist troops, effectively shielding Taiwan's main island, warding off a Chinese invasion.

Kinmen people often say only those who experienced war can understand its horror. We have the right to say loudly we want peace. Longtime tour guide,

Robin Young takes me underground to one of the islands massive military bunkers once top secret now abandoned. He also shows me how China's

relentless artillery barrage left the island with mountains of old shells.


RIPLEY (on camera): When the battle ended, the shells kept flying. Local historians say half a million of these landed on Kinmen between 1958 and

1978. But this was not artillery. These shells were full of communist propaganda.

RIPLEY (voice over): The beginning of what experts call a decade's long disinformation war, a war supercharged by social media.

RIPLEY (on camera): How dangerous is disinformation.

PUMA SHEN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF CRIMINOLOGY, NATIONAL TAIPEI UNIVERSITY: The danger here is that because I've been the main goal of all this

disinformation in campaign is to create chaos and create distrust.

RIPLEY (on camera): Is China doing this exact same thing in the United States?

SHEN: Yes, definitely and also in Australia, Canada, also Europe.

RIPLEY (voice over): Beijing denies disinformation warfare. China's Taiwan Affairs Office has previously called Taipei's accusations, imaginary.

Experts say the threat goes well beyond disinformation. The Taiwanese government says its hit by 20 million cyber attacks every month. Targets

include defense, computer systems, finance, communications, and even critical infrastructure.

SHEN: In information security, we believe World War III will happen over the internet.

RIPLEY (voice over): Basically, every aspect of our life from which we rely on computers could immediately be turned off.

SHEN: Yes.

RIPLEY (voice over): Taiwan's major gas company CPC was hit by a major malware attack, a ransomware attack on the colonial pipeline, which U.S.

Intel believes came from Russia paralyzed the U.S. East Coast.

SHEN: Just imagine what just happened in United States you could do nothing.

RIPLEY (on camera): Cyber is a bigger threat than nuclear weapons.

SHEN: Yes, from my point of view, because it is happening every day.

RIPLEY (voice over): Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen named cyber attacks a matter of national security. Back on Kinmen Island, this 30 foot

loudspeaker spent decades blasting anti communist propaganda to the mainland, a supersized reminder of how much things have changed. Will

Ripley, CNN, Kinmen Taiwan.


KINKADE: Thanks to our Will Ripley there. Well, so far the Chinese government has not commented on the accusations of cyber warfare in that

piece. We've requested a response from China's Taiwan Affairs Office and Minister for Foreign Affairs but haven't yet heard back.

Well, up next to the United Nations Security Council finally meets to talk about the tragedy that's been unfolding for months in Tigray. Will it help

stop the suffering we'll have a live report just ahead? And later why rescue workers temporarily stopped searching the site of that deadly

building collapse in Florida?

And a terrifying sight in Western Canada scorching temperatures, droughts and wildfires forced more than 1000 people to make a quick escape where

climate change fits into the picture we'll have that angle coming up.



KINKADE: Welcome back. The crisis in Tigray in high level diplomacy, all eyes on the UN Security Council today, and that is because it's holding an

open meeting on this war ravaged part of Northern Ethiopia.

Their discussion in the coming hours may have been spurred at least in part by a CNN investigation exposing the horror of a massacre by Ethiopian

soldiers in Tigray's mountains. It follows months of a brutal civil war with the UN is being careful to point out that even after the week's

unilateral ceasefire, the situation in Northern Ethiopia remains "Extremely fluid and unpredictable".

It's the catastrophic situation for the people of Tigray, hundreds of thousands now facing famine conditions. CNN's Larry Madowo is tracking the

story for us from Nairobi in neighboring Kenya, and joins us now live. Just bring us up to speed Larry, without what we are expecting from the UN

Security Council and what's been said so far?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, it will be remarkable if anything substantive comes out of this public UN Security Council meeting because

this only happened after some sustained pressure from the U.S. from the UK and from Ireland and with support from other countries like France.

It's also expected that Russia and China and possibly African countries will be opposed to any sort of public statement any strong indictment of

the Ethiopian government or indeed of any of the other actors involved in this conflict.

So while those in Tigray are hoping that this really helps put the pressure on all the partners or the parties, rather to the conference to come to a

table, little elves may come out of it beyond a statement if the past is anything to go by, because this conflict has been raging for eight months,

and all we have seen is rounds and rounds of condemnation from all international actors.

In the meantime, thousands of people have died in Tigray in the North of Ethiopia, more than 1.7 million people are displaced and the World Food

Programme saying today that there are catastrophic food conditions there. More than 250,000 people are in famine conditions. And this could be

getting worse, as long as humanitarian actors don't have access to Tigray?

Where right now since Monday, the European military declared a unilateral ceasefire and pulled out but there is still no internet connectivity, there

is no phone connectivity, there is no electricity, and most roads are still closed to the humanitarian actors that need to get to the people that need


KINKADE: And yet, Larry, the Ethiopian government continues to defend its actions take us through its reaction and response today.

MADOWO: The European government considers the Tigrayan fighters to be terrorists, and that they've been so declared by the national government.

And they've been waging this operation in Tigray that they call a law enforcement operation even though the government of Ethiopia and its

Eritrean partners have been accused of atrocities, including ethnic cleansing.

There have been accusations of atrocities to be fair on all sides of rape, and starvation as weapons of war. And it's remarkable that this is

happening for the government of Prime Minister Abby Ahmad, who only two years ago won the Nobel Peace Prize because he's a reformist, he ended the

war with Eritrea.

And now the Eritrean army is supporting his operation in Tigray and when he wins the election that is likely to be that he won last week's election and

is declared president and has that is declared prime minister rather and has that popular mandate, then he really has to deal with conflict, which

is so far has considered a law enforcement operation that will be quickly done, and he's essentially declared victory.

KINKADE: Larry Madowo for us in Nairobi, thank you. Well, almost a year after an explosion devastated Beirut's port judge will begin questioning

high profile Lebanese officials for their possible role in the tragedy. The explosion left hundreds dead and thousands injured crippling much of the


Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diaz is among those who is expected to be interrogated, along with the General Chief, Security Chief and the Former

Head of the Army. The explosion happened in a warehouse where more than 2700 metric tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored since 2013. It's not

known what triggered the explosion?

Well, still to come half the building fell the other half needs to come down. We'll show you how rescue operations in Florida are being affected by

the portions of the condo that is still standing.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Rescue operations have resumed at the side of that building collapse in Florida. Work was temporarily halted Thursday amid

concerns that the site was unsafe, and that portions of the building that had not fallen might be in danger of falling.

The officials are trying to figure out how to bring the rest of the building down without damaging the rescue area. There are still 145 people

unaccounted for after Thursday's collapse. Well, our Brian Todd is in Surfside, Florida for more on all of this. Brian, talk to us about the

fears that the building that still stands could actually collapse.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, I'm going to show you exactly what is kind of fueling those fears. We have basically really good access here, the

building next door to this area that collapse here. And we have a view of the rubble of the collapse building over here over my right shoulder.

Our photojournalists - is going to kind of take you in, in a little bit closer here. And Jose can come out and kind of just zoom in to look at that

you can see where the building was sheared off in the collapse.

And you know I can illustrate for you Lynda, kind of what the concerns are. This is part of the reason why they did a pause in the rescue operation

yesterday because they said, there were shifts in the rubble, some columns, or at least one column shifted several inches.

And they said that column was a hanging column. Now, I just spoke to a structural engineer who has been hired to investigate this whole thing he

got up here on the balcony with me, and he looked at this, he is not sure if that column that you see there, you see that large column hanging.

He's not sure if that hanging column is the one that they described. But it certainly looks like it. That's a large column. And they don't know how

stable that is. They think that it could pose a danger or it may not.

It really depends on what it's hanging from how many bars are supporting it, you know, at the point where it's kind of attached there. But that

could be something that pose - is posing a danger because they did speak yesterday about a hanging column that had shifted.

And that was one of the reasons that they called off the rescue operation for several hours, and then resumed it. So there you see that's a potential

danger there. One of the things that the structural engineer told me a short time ago, he is concerned about the tropical storm that is coming, it

could hit Sunday, it could hit Monday, tropical storm, Elsa is coming this way.

He says it all depends on the wind strength in what way the direct - what direction the wind is coming from, whether it's going to kind of come

straight in and affect this building and maybe just toss some debris and some other things off that building and onto the rescuers.

That's a key concern right now, it really could complicate this. It could even bring down that column that we just showed you, depending on the wind

strength, depending on how strongly that column is kind of more to the building at this point.

So this tropical storm coming in the next couple of days Lynda is a big complication. Jose can maybe train you in here on the rescuers; we just

talked about the rescuers with a structural engineer.

He said, look, if you look at what they're doing down there, they're taking buckets, little by little just buckets, they're just kind of digging and

then tossing the buckets into a larger cart. Each of those buckets could have some clues, some evidence.


TODD: But this is part of the process of trying to find people underneath this rubble looking how painstaking it is. They have several people working

there, some clues, some evidence, but this is part of the process of trying to find people underneath this rubble, looking how painstaking it is.

They have several people working there. He even pointed out to me, he goes, these guys could be in some danger now, because we just don't know at this

point how much of this other structure that is remaining here is stable. So this is something, Lynda that they are really monitoring now. And you can

see what can cause their concern.

KINKADE: Yes, absolutely incredible position you and the cameraman there right now to give us that sort of perspective. I want to ask you also Brian

about the integrity of the building in the lead up to this collapse, because it seems every single day, we hear about some of the thing with the

building that was overlooked or dismissed.

And most recently, we're hearing about some repairs that the pool needed in 2020. Last year that weren't done. What more can you tell us?

TODD: Well, Lynda, you know, CNN and we have a great team of people digging up some of these documents and letters and your minutes for meetings, which

illustrate that clearly, at least as far back as 2018, the fall of 2018, when a structural engineer Frank Morabito consultants came here and did an

assessment of this building, and said that there was significant structural damage.

There were opportunities to address it then, there were opportunities to address it, you know, for the next couple of years. And the problems were

pointed out in 2019 and in 2020.

And you had members of the Board of Directors of this condo association resigned, because these things were not being addressed. That's kind of the

some of what we have been able to put together here.

Now, the key question is those structural problems that were cited in Frank Morabito's report and in subsequent reports, and problems reported by

residents, cracks in the garage, water leaking into the garage, were those that trigger possible triggers for this?

That's the key question that we still don't know the answer to. All those problems that were outlined in those reports, the problems reported by

residents, the pictures that you've been seeing, were those the trigger? That's what we don't know.

And the structural engineer who I just talked to said, everybody wants that - right now. We don't know, we may not know this for many, many months,

because it's going to take them.

Look, he said, once they get this cleared off and they find the bodies that they're going to find and everything else that they need to try to find

immediately, then they've got to go in and do a more thorough excavation, and then really kind of look at it with that microscope to see other points

of possible failure. So people have to be patient. We're not going to get answers to this right away.

KINKADE: No, it certainly are, but as you say, the great scene and team behind this. We are getting more and more information every single day.

Thanks so much, Brian Todd, we'll leave it there for now. I appreciate it.

Whether it's more intense Harkins in coastal communities or deadly heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, the climate crisis is now affecting global

weather in dangerous ways. And we are seeing this in western parts of the United States as well as Canada with temperatures that are literally off

the charts.

One village in British Columbia, Canada hit 49 degrees Celsius this week, the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada, more than 200 people have

died from scorching temperatures. And that heat is also fueling wildfires and causing extreme drought conditions.

Elizabeth Wolkovich is in the midst of those searing temperatures. She is a Professor of Conservation and Forestry at the University of British

Columbia and joins us now from Vancouver. Thanks for being with us.


KINKADE: I want to ask you about the temperatures you're seeing right now where you are because before Sunday, temperatures in Canada had never

passed 45 degrees Celsius.

And for the last few days, we've been seeing that record break day after day where you are in British Columbia, reaching 49.6 degree Celsius. What's

going on?

WOLKOVICH: Yes, well, these are astonishing temperatures in many ways. 49.64 people in the U.S. that's 120 Fahrenheit, just really high

temperatures and they're part of a little bit of a natural climate.

We do have heat waves off and on. But they are exacerbated and made much higher and much warmer by human caused climate change. So this is a

predicted outcome that we expected to see as scientists with continued global warming.

And we're seeing it today it is just catastrophic in person compared to a prediction that you may have heard at a conference or decades ago. We're

seeing it now.

KINKADE: And just take us through what you and people in that region are experiencing right now as a result of these unexpected extreme conditions?


WOLKOVICH: Yes, well, it's starting to abate in the last day or two. But what we've had is what we would call a heat dome. So a large area of

pressurized air that's quite hot, sort of centered on Oregon and Washington, also affecting British Columbia, where we're just getting

extremely high temperatures.

So 49.6 in my province, that's 120 and up in Fahrenheit. And that is going to be something we continue to see in the future, because we've contributed

a lot of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. And we haven't even felt the full effects of that.

So high temperatures and of course, with that comes extreme drought in parts of the Western North American continent.

KINKADE: And I want to ask you about that Professor, because we are seeing, obviously, the extreme heat also in the United States in the West, and is

really, historically bad drought.


KINKADE: How does this latest multi year drought compared to years gone by?

WOLKOVICH: Oh, well, that's a good question. And we actually have new evidence that the drought we're seeing in the U.S. West, which has been

going on for approximately 20 years now and apologize for the background noise.

And multi year drought is one of the most extreme in the last 1200 years on record. So we can compose tree ring data, look back at the climate that

this area has seen for the past over 1000 years. And this is likely the second worst on record.

And that is caused by human climate change. We estimate that if this hadn't been a period where humans had increased global temperatures, it would be

maybe the 11th worst drought. So it would be a bad drought. But we've made it much, much worse by increasing temperatures through greenhouse gas


KINKADE: So we always want to know about solutions. What can be done about these conditions? What can be done in terms of living with drought? Talk to

us, short term and long term. Let's start with short term solutions. What can people do?

WOLKOVICH: Sure. Short term people are already doing the most obvious thing, which are water conservation methods. So lots of cities and counties

and other regional or statewide districts have put in measures to try to limit the amount of water that people use.

So stop watering your lawn, and certainly for the West Coast, that means real impacts on agriculture. 80 to 90 percent of all the water that the

U.S. West is using goes directly to agriculture. We have a lot of areas that are effectively desert where we add enough water to grow water hungry


So a lot of those farmers are hearing that they might not get the water they expect. That's the short term solution is just do what we can for the

next several months, because we won't be seeing rain in California until September, October, November to try to make do with the low amount of water

that they have.

KINKADE: And in terms of long term solutions, especially for climate skeptics, what's your advice, Professor? What do we need to be looking at

right now?

WOLKOVICH: I mean, for a long term solution, I think we know that the greenhouse gas emissions that humans have put into the atmosphere have

exacerbated this drought.

We know they've caused the warming that we're seeing that's causing the heat waves, the heat waves increase the drought, the drought actually

increases the heat in the atmosphere.

So we get these feedback cycles. We well understand that science; we predicted what we're seeing today 30 to 40 years ago, quite accurately. And

the question is now how do we create a pathway forward.

And so I think one of the most difficult parts of being a scientist right now and climate change is that I spend a lot of my time guessing what the

future emissions will be to try to come up with multiple scenarios.

And as soon as we could limit emissions and have a path forward, we can start to actually plan for the future.

The warming, the drought we see today is not going away, it is definitely part of a new normal. And so we really need to come together to figure out

how to manage that. We certainly are - to think about infrastructure. So much of the water in the U.S. West comes from snowpack.

It's not going in as snow anymore. And that means we'll probably need to be major infrastructure products to think about how we use water when it's

coming in mainly as rainfall when it's coming in high amounts when it's just coming in a totally different way.

And then additionally, I think going back to the question of how do we use the water and conserve the water will come back, so, so much of the water

does go to agriculture. All across North America, we eat the fruits and the vegetables that California and other areas produce through using massive

amounts of water.

And there's certainly a question going on about whether that will be sustainable given the new normal that we have with climate change.

KINKADE: Yes, the new normal indeed Professor Elizabeth Wolkovich, good to get your expertise and analysis on this important situation that we are

dealing with right now. Thanks so much.

WOLKOVICH: Thank you.

KINKADE: Anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise across Europe. So what is behind this wave of violence and how is the Jewish community working to

stop it? We're going to have more on that on "Connect the World" when we come back.



KINKADE: Welcome back in the age of COVID-19 conspiracy theories have thrived online and in a concerning trend. Many of them are specifically

aimed at Jewish people. Europe has seen a measurable rise in anti-Semitism.

And a survey showed nearly half of Europeans now believe anti-Semitism is a problem in a country. And Human Rights Watch recorded a spike in hate

crimes. Melissa Bell has been looking into this for us and has this in depth report from Paris.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is nine out of 10 European Jews who say that anti-Semitism is rising in their country. That's according to European

Commission survey. And when we decided to look into that what we found was not the usual cyclical outburst of anti-Semitism linked to what was

happening in the Middle East, but something far older and far more European.


BELL (voice over): Elie Rosen knows all about where heat can lead. His grandparents survived the Holocaust. They always warned him to keep his

head down because there might be more to come.

Last August, they were proved right. Rosen was targeted along with his synagogue in the Austrian city of grants. Its walls made from the bricks of

the synagogue destroyed in 1938 defaced.

ELIE ROSEN, ATTACK VICTIM: After this attack those warnings of my grandparents had kind of flashback. And this made me very, very sorry and

brought tears into my heart.

BELL (voice over): A few days later, just outside the synagogue Rosen was chased by a man wielding a baseball bat, but managed to get back into his

car just in time.

ROSEN: Certainly I was scared of being physically attacked, or is a dimension that's different than being verbal attack, which I'm used to

because anti-Semitism has risen within the last year.

BELL (voice over): In 2020 anti-Semitic incidents in Austria reached their highest level since the country began keeping records 19 years ago and in

Germany incidents rose as much as 30 percent according to a German watchdog.

Much of the rise in both countries is being blamed on harsh COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Protesters demonstrating against the restrictions

held signs depicting forced vaccination by Jews. And two people in Berlin were shouted out by a man who they believed blamed Jews for the pandemic.

KATHARINA VON SCHNURBEIN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION ANTISEMITISM COORDINATOR: I think that anti-Semitic conspiracy myths have been there for centuries. And

in fact, whenever there is a pandemic, they have come to the fore again.


BELL (voice over): Across Europe, anti-Semitism attacks have been rising for years. From a deadly standoff in 2015, at a kosher supermarket in Paris

to Vienna, where four people were killed in a rampage outside the star temple synagogue last year.

And then there is the desecration of Jewish graves, like these in eastern France. In Brussels, Rabbi Albert Guigui now wears a baseball cap when he

goes out to hide his very identity.

ALBERT GUIGUI, CHIEF RABBI, BRUSSELS: Of course, I wear a yarmulke at home, he says, but outside I prefer to cover my head less conspicuously. It's not

healthy, he explains, to live in an atmosphere of fear and where you feel hunted. I think that as well as being vigilant, we must tackle the evil at

the root of the problem. And that is about being different.

BELL (voice over): The Holocaust killed an estimated 6 million Jews in Europe, but as living memory gives way to feeding footage. So denial grows

and hate speech returns.

As well as the tension around COVID lockdowns, the violence between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East may also drove hate towards Jews across

Europe, like here in Berlin or in Brussels, where the chants spoke of ancient battles between Jews and Muslims.

BENJAMIN WARD, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH'S EUROPE: Do you see a cyclical increase in expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence

linked to events in the Middle East. But if we look more broadly at the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in Europe, we see that it's much older and also

much wider, and it's really a European issue.

BELL (voice over): The hate is also spreading online according to Human Rights Watch. Horrific cartoons like this one, depicting Jews with a big

hook nose or this one in France of a conspiracy theory blaming Jews for the pandemic, and shared he says mistakenly by a candidate in recent regional

elections. The European Commission has a deal with tech companies to remove offensive content within 24 hours, but only once it's been alerted.

BELL (on camera): This is the memorial in the very heart of Vienna to the 65,000 Austrian Jews who were deported during World War II, most did not

survive. It's a reminder of where words and conspiracy theories can lead. But it's also a reminder of Europe's own very violent, homegrown history of

anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism that has never quite disappeared.

BELL (voice over): Prayers continue to be heard all over Europe from the center of Paris to the old star temple synagogue in Vienna. Elie Rosen says

that his grandparent's approach of keeping a low profile after the Holocaust was understandable, but ultimately misguided. European Jews

keeping their heads down, he says, has not prevented anti-Semitism from rearing its head once again.

ROSEN: Contrary to my grandparents, I will tell my son or I will tell young Jewish people to be proud of being Jewish.


BELL: The pandemic has fueled the return of hate speech to Europe; 80 years after the Holocaust began just a lifetime before Europe begins to forget

precisely what the world had vowed it never would. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

KINKADE: We're going to take a very short break. We'll be right back after this.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Travel may be slowly getting back on track. But the pandemic isn't the only thing that keeps us from having far flung

adventures. Most of us are limited by distance or cost.

But there's a new virtual experience that takes you to exotic destinations that you might not otherwise see. They call it "Illuminarium" and as a

camera's got a look at the very first one here in Atlanta.


ALAN GREENBERG, CEO, ILLUMINARIUM EXPERIENCES: Our first spectacle is wild safari experience. And you're going to feel like you're in Africa.

BRIAN ALLEN, EVP OF TECHNOLOGY AND COTENT, ILLUMINARIUM EXPERIENCES: We project on 22 feet high walls and the entirety of the floor. So the entire

room as you step into Illuminarium is all media in itself.

GREENBERG: We filled all of that originally in Africa. And none of that is CGI; the species themselves are all actually in the wild. You're going to

feel them when they walk by you through the haptic low frequency systems in our floors. You're going to smell them through our scent systems.

And you're actually going to be able to affect the experience through our interactivity where if you're walking down the dirt path on the floors of

the Illuminarium you might kick up dust or leave footprints on the path.

ALLEN: Right now we're walking into the Illuminarium lab facility. Here we're testing our next production called Spacewalk. The most satisfying

moment for me is when people come in and experience it for the first time, the first time they see an elephant projected 22 feet high, or footprints

on the moon.

GREENBERG: People who've been kind of cooped up are going to look at this as an opportunity to do something so special, together with people that

they care about, with their family with their friends. So in many ways, I think our time and he was absolutely perfect.


KINKADE: As Safari close to home and a Spacewalk next year. Well, there are plans in the works to open some 40 Illuminariums right around the world.

I'm looking forward to checking out the one here in Atlanta.

Well, that does it for "Connect the World". Thanks to our team and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Lynda Kinkade, have a good weekend.