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Connect the World
Health Minister Warns UK Could See 100,000 Cases a Day; Health Minister: Isolation Rules Ending for Fully Vaccinated; England to End Restrictions on July 19; Khan: Supports Mandatory Face Masks on Public Transport; UK Official: Vaccines Weakening But Not Breaking Link Between COVID and Death; Israel: Vaccine May Be Less Effective Against Mild COVID; Palestinians Angry at Their Government; Complex Operation in South Florida as Storm Approaches; Israeli Government Fails to Extend Controversial Law; No Date Currently Set for Palestinian Elections; Anti-Palestinian Authority Spike After Activist's Death; Younger Palestinians Calling for Government Change; Protests Fade in Nation Wracked By Poverty; Caretaker PM to World: Help Rescue Lebanon From It's Demise; U.N.: 77% of Household Don't Have Enough Food; More Bodies Recovered as Tropical Storm Approaches; Four Years Later, Families Want Accountability; India Under Fire After Jailed Human Rights Activity Dies; Women's Rights Under Threat as U.S. Troops Withdraw; Yousafzai: Protecting Women and Girls Should be a Priority; Heavy Rain and Strong Winds as Elsa Slams Cuba; TikTok Lion Returned to Owner After Authorities Backtrack. Aired 11a-12p ET.
Aired July 06, 2021 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Atlanta, this is Connect the World.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Connect the World. I'm Lynda Kinkade filling in for my colleague Becky Anderson. Good to have you with us.
Well even as Britain warns of a new spike in coronavirus cases it is moving forward with lifting its restrictions. The U.K. Health Secretary says it
could see as many as 100,000 new cases a day in the weeks ahead.
Well meantime he has announced that fully vaccinated people who come into contact with some who tested positive will not have to self-isolate
starting from August 19.
Well England is also scrapping its bubble system for schools and on Monday the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England was on track to end its
social distancing rules from July 19.
That means yes to night clubs, yes to unlimited crowds at concerns and sporting events and no to masks being mandatory. So Freedom Day as some are
calling it, July 19, or foolishness, CNN's Nina dos Santos is gauging the reaction to Mr. Johnson's announcement on London.
Take us through it because we are seeing, obviously, the rise in COVID cases there as a result of this Delta variant, but we aren't seeing the
same sort of rise in deaths and hospitalizations.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: That's the crucial point and that's the reason why the government lend (ph) (inaudible) so they can roll
the dice if you like and take this sort of calculated gamble with a risk that, yes, this could be a third wave and that they could be loosening
restrictions right in the middle of it.
You pointed out that figure of 100,000 COVID cases by probably mid-summer, cited by the health secretary in his speech to Parliament earlier today. I
should point out that's double the 50,000 cases per day that the prime minister predicted just this time yesterday when he announced that target
to ease the last vestitures of the COVID restrictions in a couple of week's time. And the current -- when it comes to the current infection rate that
is currently on track for about 25,000 per day.
So as you can see all of this is pointing towards a potential third wave, but the difference now is that they feel there's so many more people who
have had two doses of a COVID vaccines, yes they might get COVID, but they might not necessarily get very, very sick from it and they might not
necessarily end up in hospital overwhelming the healthcare system.
So, as you said, all of these restrictions are going to end pretty soon if things stay on track. But there is one thing that continues to be
politically toxic and that is the issue of wearing masks.
I spoke to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan about this very subject and he seems to be all in favor of maintaining masks at least on public transport.
Have a listen Lynda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: So we have seen the vaccines weaken the link between the virus and hospitalization and the virus leading to deaths
thankfully. But, it's still the case that we have the virus amongst us. And that's why I was keen for their to be a continuation of face masks being
mandatory in public transport where you can't keep your social distance.
But also we know wearing a face mask in public transport gives commuters more confidence.
And so, we're in discussions with the government and with the Rail Delivery Group across the country about what happens post July 19. Because what we
wouldn't want to do is to have people nervous about using public transport because the requirement to wear face masks has gone.
DOS SANTOS: So will you make masks mandatory on public transport (inaudible)?
KHAN: The science tells us wearing a face mask reduces the chances of you passing the virus on, if particularly if you're not showing symptoms. And
so, me wearing a face masks keeps other safe, others wearing a face mask keeps me safe. So, we need to have enough people wearing the face mask for
it to make a difference.
So, I'm hopeful the government will work with us to understand that actually making it a requirement to wear a face mask on public transport
not just makes people safer, but encourages public confidence, which means people will return to the heart of our city which supports our economy.
DOS SANTOS: What will you personally do?
KHAN: When I leave home now I leave home not just with my wallet and my keys but a face mask. I suspect for the foreseeable future that would be
the case. If I'm on public transport I wear a face mask. If I'm in a place where I think I can't keep my social distance I always wear mask. I think
it's one of the most unselfish things you can do.
DOS SANTOS: Wimbledon, the Euro Semi-Finals are coming up this week in London. That's going to bring tens of thousands of people into various
venues at full capacity. Does that not look reckless?
KHAN: In the games we've had up until now there's no evidence of people coming to the games leading to an increase in the virus. And so, we're
confident both semi-finals on Tuesday and Wednesday and the final on Sunday as well can be safe. And hopefully, in our -- from my point of view is
successful with England winning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: Well Lynda remember that a lot of the 60,000 people who are going to be packing into Wembley Stadium will be from the U.K. which, of
course, has high vaccination rates. Just take London for instance, two- thirds of Londoners according to the Mayor of London have been offered two doses of a COVID vaccine, so it's for this reason that he thinks that at
least domestically these kind of events can go ahead in a safe manner.
When it comes back to the contentious issue of mask wearing, this is not just an important health, public health and moral argument, he says it's
also important for finances as well.
Because the mayor has oversight over transport for London, the main body that runs the big, expensive subway system in the U.K. He needs people to
get on those trains to keep paying for that system. And if people aren't wearing masks he's very, very worried that people will not use these types
of public transport.
He's backed up by various figures and polls on this. A recent survey showed that about 65 percent Londoners asked said that they would feel far more
comfortable if people continued to wear masks in the cube, the subway system, underground system in the U.K. in London and also in shops and
various indoor areas.
So the issue of mask wearing is just -- not just a political one, but it's also a highly felt personal one across the capital and beyond as well at
this point. Lynda?
KINKADE: Yes, certainly a controversial issue here, the mask wearing and, you know, obviously governments -- the authorities here saying you don't
have to wear a mask. Businesses making different rules. We will see how this plays out over the coming weeks.
Nina dos Santos for us in London. Thank you very much.
Well, England's top scientific advisor says vaccines are weakening but not breaking the link between virus and death. Well, Israeli officials suggest
that the Pfizer vaccine may be less effective than it was earlier at preventing mild forms of the virus.
They say the vaccine is still very effective in keeping people from getting seriously ill. And this has coincided with the rise of the more
transmissible Delta variant.
Well our Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now for more perspective on these numbers.
Elizabeth good to have you with us. So, this data out of Israel clearly shows that this Delta variant is spreading. The vaccine is somewhat
effective at slowing it down. Certainly effective when it comes to preventing serious illness.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, this Israeli data is so important because, of course, this is a nation that
has a very high vaccination rate. All of it with Pfizer or nearly all of it with Pfizer. And so the lesson here is that this vaccine has really saved a
lot of lives as the Delta variant becomes the predominant virus, becomes the predominant strain as it is right now in Israel.
So one caveat this data, there's no study behind it. There's -- it hasn't been published anywhere so we have no way to show it to experts to verify
whether or not it makes sense. But given that caveat let's take a look at the data coming out of Israel right now.
They say that the vaccine is now only 64 percent effective at preventing infection and that's because of the Delta variant. British data is sort of
more optimistic, it's more like around 80 percent. It's unclear why it appears to be worse in Israel or why the data's worse in Israel.
But, and Lynda this is the more important number, it is 93 percent effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization. There's an
international -- internationally known vaccine researcher Dr. Paul Offit says, if a vaccines keeps you out of the morgue and out of the hospital
that's a win. That's what vaccines are supposed to do. If you still get infected and you do just get a little bit sick or you don't get sick at
all, that is a win for the vaccine.
So this shows that the vaccine does work but it also shows that, you know, this coronavirus does know how to mutate. It's smart, it does know how to
KINKADE: Yes, I want to ask you a bit more about the mutations and the variants that have developed. Given that people who are vaccinated can
still contract the virus, even in a mild form, does it suggest that the coronavirus is learning how to outsmart vaccines?
COHEN: A little bit, yes. It is showing that it knows how to change, that it's widely -- that it kind of knows what its doing. This is the important
part, this is why vaccination is so important.
Viruses get smarter as they spread. The more they spread the more they learn. It's kind of like playing a sport. The more you or I play a sport
the better we're going to get at it. So this virus, it spreads from person to person to person and it learns how to out-wit, you know, anything that
comes in its path.
When people are vaccinated it slows the spread and the virus doesn't have that chance to learn. It doesn't have that same chance to learn person to
person to person to person, that's why it's so important that people get vaccinated.
It's a supply issue in many parts of the world, really in most parts of the world and the United States there is plenty of vaccine. But unfortunately a
third of the country has chosen not to get a COVID-19 shot.
KINKADE: And I want to look at the data here in the U.S., Elizabeth. Because it is clear now that over 99 percent of COVID deaths here in the
United States are people who were never vaccinated, who haven't been vaccinated. So, it seems very clear that if you don't want to get
vaccinated you do carry a serious risk.
COHEN: Absolutely. More than 99 percent of people who died in the U.S. in June of COVID-19 were not vaccinated. You would think that number would be,
you know, information enough to make people roll up their sleeves. Unfortunately this not the case.
If you chose not to get vaccinated you're putting your life at risk and you're putting other people's lives at risk because maybe you'll get
infected and you'll be fine, but you'll pass it on to someone and it could kill that other person. And thirdly, when you're not vaccinated you're
giving the virus a chance, as we discussed earlier, to become smart and to learn how to out-wit the vaccine.
So far the virus has not out-witted the vaccine but we're giving it more and more chances if we don't get vaccinated.
KINKADE: Exactly. Elizabeth Cohen, as always good to have you on the program breaking it down for us.
KINKADE: Thank you.
Well still ahead on Connect the World, the Palestinian government facing backlash from the Palestinian people. Why many in the West Bank are angry
at the Palestinian authority and the changes they want to see happen.
Also, we're going to get some insight from an Israeli search and rescue expert on the complicated effort in Surfside, Florida.
Stay with us.
KINKADE: A new setback for the new Israeli government today in its effort to extend a controversial citizenship law. It failed to pass in a 59 to 59
vote. Since 2003 the law has effectively barred citizenship to Palestinians from the West Bank in Gaza who are married to Israelis.
Our correspondent Hadas Gold is tracking developments for us from Jerusalem and joins us now live. So Hadas, this is the first real major setback for
the -- of the new government failing to extend this controversial citizenship law. Just explain the law and how this vote played out.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Lynda, this law was enacted about 20 years ago during the second intifada on national security grounds. And as
you noted, essentially bars Palestinians as well as people from other countries like Iran, Lebanon and Syria from becoming full Israeli citizens
via their Israeli spouses.
Now critics of the law have long deemed it discriminatory but has often the passed the Israeli Parliament without much fuss. Now this year, this new
coalition government had tried to put forth new amendments to the law to keep their broad coalition on board to support it, but it failed after a
single member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's party voted against the law.
Now I should note the opposition parties led by now former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also voted against the law, essentially seen though as a
move to embarrass this new government, because these opposition parties have supported the original version of this bill.
Now as it stands the law will expire tonight at midnight and the interior minister will now have to consider every single one of these citizenship
requests that are effected on a case-by-case basis. So, while this is a major setback for this new government it doesn't indicate its immanent
KINKADE: And Hadas on another issue, the Palestinian authority, President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled Palestinian elections earlier this year. Is there
any indication Palestinian elections will be rescheduled anytime soon? And what are people telling you?
GOLD: Well Lynda, as of right now we've seen no indication that the Palestinian elections will be rescheduled. And what we're seeing amongst
Palestinians is increased protest, especially after the death of a well- known outspoken critic of the Palestinian authority Nizar Banat.
We've seen thousands of people protesting across the West Bank and I've been speaking with activists who are calling for more accountability and
important reforms, they say, internally to how the political system works in the Palestinian authority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD (voice-over): By the thousands they chant, Get out Abbas, what a shame. Another chant, the Palestinian people want their authority out.
For more than a week demonstrations have rocked the West Bank from Hebron to Ramallah. Some met with violence from Palestinian security forces.
GOLD (voice-over): The protestors calling for accountability after the death of activist Nizar Banat while in Palestinian authority custody.
Banat, a well-known outspoken critic of top Palestinian officials often took to social media with accusations of alleged corruption and
NIZAR BANAT, PALESTINIAN POLITICAL ACTIVIST (through translator): Rethink your beliefs because otherwise you will become slaves of Attorney General
Akram Al-Khateeb and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh just as your parents became slaves of this stupid leadership.
GOLD (voice-over): The Palestinian authority and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh have vowed to investigate how Banat died. But for many
Palestinians it's too late. The activist's death and recent arrests of others like him, just he latest symptom of a long-running disease.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What investigation committee are they talking about? Everything is clear, we don't have one occupation, we
have two occupations, Israel and the P.A.
GOLD (voice-over): Across the West Bank younger voices working to upend the Palestinian political status quo like Salem Barahmeh from the group
Generation for Democratic Renewal admit they are afraid.
SALEM BARAHMEH, GENERATION FOR DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL: We live in a very scary time. I think speaking out, just demanding the basic things of
accountability or democracy or representation or the fact that we need to change can have very severe consequences.
GOLD (voice-over): But Barahmeh says Banat's death has also emboldened people and may be a tipping point after the past few months as the
postponement of Palestinian elections clashes with Israeli forces at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The possible evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have helped unify
Palestinians who are hungry for representation among their leadership.
BARAHMEH: Something has changed. I think we realize within society that we need to speak out. We can't be silent anymore. I think people have been
frustrated for a very long time, but this has switched something in people's minds. And hopefully we can see that change come soon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign language).
GOLD (voice-over): Barahmeh's group believes that in order to make any progress toward their ultimate goals of national self-determination they
need internal reforms and to leave behind old agreements like the Oslo Accords signed in the 1990s. But have failed to deliver on any progress
toward a two-state solution.
BARAHMEH: We live under one-state reality. Israel controls every human being from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and that's the reality
we need to confront, not the wishful thinking that we're in 1991 not 2021.
GOLD: So it's your political vision then forward? Moving forward for a Palestinian state?
BARAHMEH: Well it must start with a democracy. It must start with a political system. But we need to ask ourselves what is a social contract
that we can build where every human being regardless of who they are and what their international identity is, that they are equal and they have
free -- freedom and justice. That's the world I want to live in. that's the world I want to see my children live in.
GOLD (voice-over): But with no date set for Palestinian elections there's no immanent process of an electoral test for the current Palestinian
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: And Lynda, Barahmeh had said to me that he doesn't expect these changes to happen overnight. In fact, just over the weekend more activists
were arrested, including a lawyer for the Banat family.
KINKADE: All right, good reporting there for us, Hadas Gold in Jerusalem. Thank you.
While the protest movement grows in the West Bank, in Lebanon demonstrations have largely faded. There are the occasional street protests
unlike this one, but nothing like the massive ant-government rallies from a few years ago. And that's because many Lebanese people are now struggling
to survive day-by-day in an economy with massive poverty.
It's so bad the caretaker prime minister has warned that Lebanon will soon face what he calls a social explosion without international help.
Now International Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman joins us now from Beirut. Ben, this certainly is a dyer warning from the caretaker
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a dyer warning and a desperate appeal for help from the Lebanon's traditional
donors who don't seem eager to actually respond to that appeal because they're frustrated.
Keep in mind that Hassan Diab the Caretaker Prime Minister resigned from his position 330 days ago, but in that time, in 330 days Lebanon's
traditional politicians have just squabbled over the deck chairs on the Titanic as this country is literally going down the drain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Protestors block a main road into Beirut, angry over Lebanon's deepening economic crisis. Angry at a political elite doing
nothing as the country falls apart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): At the breaking point says Zachary Abdulah (ph), we'll go to their homes and their palaces and throw them in
WEDEMAN (voice-over): And with angry comes despair.
Dori Nassar hosts a radio call-in show, a chance for a proud people to pour out their sorrows.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I can't get medicine, I can't get milk for my son, I can't get anything. We're completely ruined says
caller to Sawt (ph), overcome by emotion. We're dying day-by-day.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Dori initiated the show in early 2020.
DORI NASSAR, SAWT EL-GHAD RADIO HOST: WE start this because Lebanon is finished. Lebanon, like we said, bye-bye. No Beirut and no Lebanon. No
food. No diapers. No milk. No school. And no gas, no petrol. Nothing in Lebanon.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): For the past two years the economy has shriveled. The lira (ph), the local currency has lost more than 90 percent of its
value. Inflation is ramped. According to the United Nations 77 percent of households don't have enough food.
Yet, the politicians appear indifferent to the crisis, paralyzed by infighting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): After the show Dori and his staff hand out bags of food donated by listeners to those who called in.
Two years ago Marina Nakashian earned the equivalent of more than $800 a month. Now it's worth just over $70.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): If I could immigrate I'd go she says. I've told my children if you can go, go.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): In October 2019, hundreds of thousands of people joined an uprising against a ruling class accused of corruption and
incompetence. Yet today, apart from scattered small protests the streets are calm.
Survival is now the top priority says student leader and activist Karim Safieddine.
KARIM SAFIEDDINE, STUDENT LEADER ACTIVIST: In an economic crisis the vast majority of the people on the -- who were on the streets are now looking
for minimal jobs, a minimal wage, a minimal capacity to feed their children.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): In the southern city of Sidon butcher Saad Hashun (ph) says he sells in a week what he once sold in a day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They, the rulers he means, will rule this country for 100 years. We must be patient.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Patient while the politicians squabble and Lebanon dies little-by-little, day-by-day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEDEMAN: And what's really frustrating for people here is that it's apparent that the political elite, who are also the super rich here in
Lebanon have not really been impacted by this economic crisis. You still see a lot of luxury vehicles driving around in Zaituna Bay. There are still
multi-million dollar yachts moored there. You see them going out on the weekends while other people are queued up for hours for -- to fill their
The feeling is that the people who are really paying for this crisis are ordinary Lebanese, while the rich and powerful have gotten off Scot-free.
KINKADE: Yes. A tail of just a divided country. Ben Wedeman for us in Beirut. Thanks so much for that report.
Well just as the victims of that Florida building collapse are from any parts of the world, so are those who have come to help.
Ahead, we're going to speak with an Israeli search and rescue expert on the scene. And as on community searches for answers, another is still asking
for accountability. Four years on from the Grenfell Tower fire we're going to look at what lessons have truly been learned.
KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, now to the latest, on day 13 of the search and rescue operation in south Florida first responders have been able to
reach all sections of the grid at that building site since a portion of the structure left standing was demolished on Sunday.
Several more bodies have been recovered. The official death toll now standing at 32.
There have been some pauses for bad weather and crews are now bracing for heavy rain and wind as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches.
Well, while the focus is still on the wreckage at Chaplain Towers, investigators are taking a wider view. More than 40 buildings in Miami-Dade
have been identified as potentially at risk.
Colonel Golan Vach has been working at the site of the high-rise collapse. He is the commander of the Israeli National Rescue Unit and joins me now
from Surfside, Florida. Good to have you with us. We saw, as I just mentioned, that the rest of the building was demolished Sunday. How has
that impacted your efforts there at the site?
COL. GOLAN VACH, COMMANDER OF ISRAELI NATIONAL RESCUE UNIT: When the building got down we could be able to reach all these perimeters, all these
apartments, to reach all these people that we couldn't when the building was exist.
KINKADE: At this point in time this effort remains a search and rescue operation. Have you speaking to any families of those still missing? Are
they still holding out hope that someone will be found alive?
VACH: We are hoping all the time. We hope to find someone alive, but it would be a miracle. Right now we are finding only people that are not
alive. It's been 12 days since the disaster and I can say that we work quickly, we work accurately and we work with a lot of dignity and respect
to all the people that we find.
KINKADE: So when -- at which stage Colonel does this mission become a recovery mission?
VACH: I said yesterday in one of my interviews that recovery is not a good word to use because people, by mistake, think that somebody will enter to
the site heavy machines and grab a hold (ph) to one of the warehouses here in the area and they will find their loved ones sometime. It's not the
The teams are working very, very accurately with heavy machines. It's a period between search and rescue and what, by mistake, call recovery. We
use heavy machines to uncover the apartment and the room that we know exactly where they are. We know today exactly the amount, the number, the
position, the names of each one of the missing people.
We uncover all the layers that interrupt us to reach them. And when we arrive the perimeter we start working very, very delicately. Very, very
professionally to unharm those people.
KINKADE: It really is an incredible effort from you there and the rescue - - all the rescuers on site. Just give us a sense though of what you expect as this Tropical Storm Elsa approaches the Florida coast. What sort of
concerns are there and how will you navigate those?
VACH: I want to say to the families that on site there are -- there are -- there is a group of tough people, your (ph) teams are the best I've ever
seen. Unless there is a critical danger on site they are working in wind, in rain, in sun. We are with you guys. We appreciate that the opportunity
that you gave us to fight for these people, for your loved ones. But the tropical weather does not affect the working on site.
KINKADE: Well that is -- that is good to hear. In terms of the days ahead, the weeks ahead, how long could this take to get through layer after layer,
as you say, you're working very professionally and very diligently to try to track down those missing. How long could it take? What are you and the
other rescuers discussing? What's coming up?
VACH: I would say it could take weeks. I don't know how many. I prefer not to use months. But between days and weeks.
KINKADE: And in terms of the number, the search and rescue team on site now, how many people are working around the clock?
VACH: Right now there are seven task forces from federal and other local teams. And we as the amount of people that we are here right now, enough
hands on deck right now and I think that no more hands needed right now.
KINKADE: I can only imagine how exhausting it is, as we see the pictures of people constantly using their hands to literally carry away buckets of
debris. How exhausting is this work?
VACH: It's very difficult.
KINKADE: Pretty difficult.
VACH: It's pretty difficult.
KINKADE: And do doubt pretty emotional?
VACH: Yes, it's emotional. It's difficult. It make us proud. Some moments make us sad. But I think that the spirit of the units on site is very high
and I think -- I say again, I'm proud to work side-by-side with these people.
KINKADE: Well you're all doing a remarkable effort. Colonel Golan Vach, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much for your time.
VACH: Thank you.
KINKADE: Well as investigators in Florida try to get answers a community in London wants accountability. Four years on since the Grenfell Tower fire
killed 72 people. Survivors are still fighting for justice as well as making sure changes are implemented across similar buildings to ensure the
same thing never happens again.
Salma Abdelaziz is at the Grenfell Tower and joins us now live. Salma, while the rescue and recovery effort continues in Surfside, Florida, there
are some parallels with this tragedy that happened in London four years ago. Particularly when you look at the fact they're obviously both high
rises, they're both question marks over government regulation and also building maintenance.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely Lynda. And I've been speaking to victim's bereaved family members who told me they watch those scenes play
out in Miami with a sense of sickening familiarity.
Yes, there are obvious differences. It was a building collapse in Florida. Here it was a fire that consumed that tower. It played out in this
neighborhood for hours. People literally watched those flames climbing up that building, taking human lives.
So yes there are significant differences here. But, what the victims told me is they see one obvious similarity and that is that government,
corporations, housing rules and regulations failed them. They turned their homes, the place which should be safe, where you should feel protected into
And they say in those victims they also see phase one, chapter one, of what could be a life-long journey. Not just to get accountability and justice
for their own, but to change legislation to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): The early hours of June 14, 2017, a fire sparked by a kitchen appliance engulfs Grenfell Tower in a matter of minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Families wake up to find themselves trapped inside an inferno. From her apartment on the 22nd floor a terrified Nadia Choucair
calls her brother. He quickly rushes to the scene.
NABIL CHOUCAIR, NADIA CHOUCAIR'S BEREAVED BROTHER: You could see and feel it from that distance so far away, you know. You could literally feel the
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): For hours the blaze burned on. Nadia was spotted desperately waving a makeshift flag from her window.
CHOUCAIR: And we still had hope that they've made it out, you know. But then when you get told one-by-one that, you know, they've been found and,
you know, they're deceased it kind of cuts you up and then cuts you up again and --
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Nadia Choucair, her mother, her husband and their three daughters died in their home. They are among the 72 lost to the fire.
Nabil's life is now consumed by the fight for justice.
CHOUCAIR: Every day I'm thinking about Grenfell. Every day I'm doing things about Grenfell. Every day it's all done for Grenfell.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): A public inquiry into what happened that night drags on. There is hearings scheduled into next year. And until it reaches
it conclusion the police say no criminal prosecutions can take place. That means it could take years before justice or accountability is reached.
A highly flammable cladding wrapped around the social housing block made the tower a tender box experts said. Tiago Alves told us his childhood home
was a death trap. He and his family fled from the 13th floor.
TIAGO ALVES, GRENFELL FIRE SURVIVOR: I was trying to understand how this could happen. So a country which is one of the richest countries in the
world allows for the building industry to place flammable material on the outside of a building which is then allowed to go up in flames.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Numerous other problems with the building have come to light during the public inquiry. There was no centralized fire
alarm, no sprinkler system, limited exits. Firefighters also ordered people to stay in their apartments for almost two hours before calling for an
Now Alves is one of many demanding wide-ranging reforms, from a ban on combustible cladding to tougher safety rules.
ALVES: There is probably some 20-year-old out there just like I was when the fire happened, and until I can make sure that someone like that doesn't
have to experience what I did that night I don't think I could ever stop.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): The shrouded remains of Grenfell still loom over London's skyline. A reminder of a tragedy that could have been avoided and
must never happen again.
Now in terms of the investigation and the process after the disaster, the country here is still in the public inquiry phase. Essentially they're
still gathering evidence, still gathering testimony, still speaking to experts. It has yet to enter the criminal phase if that even takes place.
This is going to take years Lynda and that was the first thing that victims of Grenfell recognized, that this is going to be a very long process for
those families in Miami as well.
And you have to imagine the grief, Mr. Choucair, six members of his family lost in that night and now he has to be a leader in his community to make
big and key changes to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.
You think across all of those list of failures. The London Fire Brigade, OK, you need to speak to the firefighters to make sure that there's better
regulations there. Housing regulations, how do you change those? City council regulations, all of these things that he now feels he has to become
an expert on to get justice for his family and to make the legislative changes that are needed, Lynda.
KINKADE: Really compelling reporting. And it seems like there is so much that needs to be done to ensure this does not happen again.
In the interim, I mean what does justice look like for the victims? What do they want?
ABDELAZIZ: That's a very tough question, Lynda. You have 72 victims of that tower, 72 people who lost their lives. And for every family justice
might look a little bit differently. But here is what they have in common.
First of all, they want recognition, they want acknowledgment for the failures that caused that fire to take place. Everything from how the
firefighters conducted themselves to the cladding material that was around that building that caused it to go up in flames so quickly.
To the regulations inside the social housing block. Grenfell is a social housing block, so the city council, local authorities here are in charge of
making sure that those regulations keep people safe in their homes. They want those changed as well.
They want this site to become a memorial that acknowledges the loss of life. And most of all Lynda, they never ant to see this happen again. They
want to ensure that everyone can live in a place that is safe and free from the possibility of disasters like building collapses and fires, Lynda.
KINKADE: Certainly a lot of change needed. Selma Abdelaziz in London for us. Thank you very much.
Well still to come a wave of protests across India as a human rights activist dies in jail. I'm going to tell you about the controversial lows
that put him in prison in the first place.
KINKADE: Welcome back. The deaths of a human rights activist in an Indian jail is raising new questions about the country's controversial anti-
Eighty four-year-old Stan Swamy dies on Monday. He was arrested in October under anti-terrorism laws that critics call a tool for the government to
put down decent. Swamy's health had steadily deteriorated while he was in prison and he was never allowed to post bail.
Vedika Sud is following the story for us and joins us now live. So he's 83- years-old, his health was deteriorating, he contracted COVID-19 and yet still he was denied bail.
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely Lynda. And he was suffering from Parkinson's disease as well and he did contract COVID-19 while in prison.
He was moved finally to a hospital on the order of the court, but he breathed his last and he was 84 when he died, which has led to a lot of
criticism of India's anti-terrorism law, not only inside the country but abroad as well.
You've had a lot of people come out and support Stan Swamy. You've had a lot of people question the anti-terror law. Some have called him being
arrested and not being granted bail cruel. You've also had international reactions to the story.
But very quickly, let me just tell you that the Minister of External Affairs here in India has just put out a statement about 45 minutes ago,
where they said that the anti-terror organization has followed the due process of law.
And India also has an independent judiciary which makes decisions. And that Stan Swamy was taken to a hospital where he was being treated. And this is
all a reaction to the comments coming in from activists as well.
Stan Swamy was arrested in a case of violence that took place in 2018. He was arrested last year. That violent incident took place in a place near
Mumbai, in a village, and he was charged under the anti-terror laws, which a lot of critics call draconian. He was also charged along with 15 others
and there was this allegation that he links to Maoist insurgents, which is known as India's biggest internal threat, the Maoist insurgents here in
Also it was said that he had links to a banned terror organization. Now Stan Swamy, like I said, was suffering from Parkinson's disease and there
was this urgent hearing going on while he was on his death bed as well for, you know, moving out and getting interim bail, which had not been granted
in the past.
And what the anti-terror agency had been saying repeatedly was that Stan Swamy has a lot of severe allegations against him because of which he
should not be granted bail. And eventually he died while he was pleading for bail, which was still then not granted to him in that.
KINKADE: Vedika Sud for us in Nu Deli. Thank you.
Well as U.S. troops finalize their withdrawal from Afghanistan it could be leaving behind a bleak future for Afghan women. Since May the Taliban has
been ramping up attacks and now claiming to have taken control of about 150 districts.
And it's not clear when long-stored peace talks with the central government will resume. CNN's Zain Asher spoke with activist Malala Yousafzai about
what it all means for the future of women and girls in the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALALA YOUSAFZAI, EDUCATION ACTIVIST: I think one of the most important thing in the Afghan peace talks is the safety and protection of women, of
girls, their rights, their right to education, their right to safety, their right to equality, their right to participation in politics. And that
should be the priority of all the political leaders who are involved in the pace talks.
And I think -- you know, I know that there's the U.S. and they have their own interests. There is Pakistan, and Pakistan had its own interest. And
each and every country that gets involved in these peace talks often have their interests.
But what should be prioritized are the interest of the people of Afghanistan who have suffered the most from the violence, from this
insurgency, from this decade's long extremism and terrorism and war.
So, I think what we need to do is, is ensure that it is -- that these peace talks about the safety and protection of the people of Afghanistan. And
that -- and that we do not make any compromise on the rights of women and girls.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: But does the withdrawal of U.S. troops, is that a particular cause for concern for you?
YOUSAFZAI: What I will say is that I hope that the U.S. and all the -- you know, all the states involved in the peace negotiations ensure that they --
that they protect the people of Afghanistan, the civilians of Afghanistan.
And, you know, I hope that they know best of that. And they make no compromises on the safety of the -- of the women and girls, their access to
education, their access to equal opportunities.
I think for me personally it's always important that we invest in the -- in the people of a country and we, you know, help their businesses, we help
their local communities in, you know, getting stronger economies. We help their people get quality education. We help their women and girls get
quality education and equal opportunities. And I think that is what makes a stronger democracy.
So, I think it -- this should not be the end. Like a withdrawal should not be the end to sustaining peace in Afghanistan. I think a lot more needs to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: That was my colleague CNN's Zain Asher speaking with activist Malala Yousafzai. You can hear more of their discussion on Wednesday on One
World which follows directly after Connect the World in about 10 minutes.
When we come back Tropical Storm Elsa produces flooding in the Caribbean. We're going to tell you where its headed next. We're going to have a live
report. Stay with us.
KINKADE: Welcome back. Tropical storm Elsa is churning through the Gulf of Mexico right now and could again reach hurricane strength before crashing
Officials are warning about a dangerous storm surge and possible tornadoes from the storm. Elsa swept across Cuba on Monday and continues to dump rain
on the island. Parts of Cuba could see as much as 38 centimeters of rainfall triggering floods and mudslides.
CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam is tracking the storm's path. He is in Fort Myers, Florida right now. And Derek, I guess quite a bit of concern for
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, western Florida, that's where I'm located. In Lee County, one of the dozens of counties in the state of
Florida under a state of emergency. We are just between Sanibel Island, a popular tourist area and Fort Myers, Florida. This area is under tropical
storm warning and storm surge warning. We'll get to the details about that.
But just in the past couple of hours we have seen a marked difference in the wind and the rain that is starting to come through this area. Nothing
like what they've experience so far in the Florida Keys, which is in the southern portion of Florida. They've had winds gusting to 94 kilometers per
hour at the International Airport in Key West. That was earlier this morning.
You see the storm is actually moving from the south to the north. And if you just look at the geography of the Florida Peninsula, that north to
south shape of it, it means that the storm with the worse impacts of Tropical Storm Elsa on the eastern side, the eastern corridor of the storm,
that means it will have maximum impacts to the west coast of the U.S. with the center of the storm just off of the coastal area.
So it's going to be a long duration rain event, a long duration wind event and the potential for tornadoes as well. We talked about this tropical
storm potentially strengthening into a hurricane. There are some concerning signs. I just looked at the latest radar. We're starting to see almost an
eye starting to close off within the center of that. Not what we want to experience, because a strengthening storm, especially this early in the
Of course, tropical storms don't know or have a calendar to work with, but the water temperatures here are very warm, we're talking about 28 degrees
Celsius at the minimum. That is like jet fuel for hurricane and tropical storm development.
Lynda, this threat her of tornadoes is real. Water spouts, the Weather Prediction Center likely to issue a tornado watch within the coming hours.
Rainfall totals here anywhere from 100 to 150 millimeters. That will lead to localized flooding. And then we can't forget about the storm surge
potential, two to four feet or roughly one to one and half meters of storm surge, especially if the strongest part of the storm coincides with the
passage of -- and high tide within this particular area.
Lynda, I'll leave you with this. You're a mother of daughters, I'm a father of a daughter. There are a lot of memes that are floating around the
internet right now with Tropical Storm Elsa being named after a popular Disney character.
I think many people here, residents in Florida, just want to let it go.
KINKADE: I'm glad you squeezed that one in there. My daughters will be very happy to hear it. They're very excited about Elsa approaching.
Good to have you with us Derek. Good to have --
VAN DAM: Mine are too. Thanks Lynda.
KINKADE: Well as England's three lions wonder if football is coming home in the Euros, one actual lion is already home over Asia. The big cat had a
initially been seized from a villa in Cambodia after videos of him appeared on TikTok.
But he's back in the house after authorities made a special exemption for the owner because he had raised the lion as a cub. The owner had removed
the cat's K-9 teeth, which a wildlife charity says would drastically reduce his quality of life. The lion was returned on the condition that the owner
keep the big cat in a proper cage.
Well thanks so much for joining us for this edition of Connect the World. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us. I'll see you back here same
time tomorrow. Good night.