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Connect the World

WeChat Deletes Dozens of LGBTQ & Feminist Accounts; Blast & Fire in Dubai at One of World's Biggest Port; Tokyo Olympic Events to be Held Without Spectators; Virgin Galactic Founder to fly to Edge of Space This Sunday; Richard Branson Will Attempt to Beat Jeff Bezos to Space. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired July 08, 2021 - 11:00   ET



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

us. A deadly shootout. Suspects assassinated -- a president assassinated and, of course, now in Haiti, martial law is in effect.

Now it comes a day after that assassination and we know the gunman burst into Jovenel Moise's house in Port-au-Prince early Wednesday, killing him

and wounding his wife. Well, police say they killed four of the attackers during a hostage situation. Two others were apprehended. More are on the


Well, authorities describe them as foreign mercenaries posing as U.S. drug enforcement agents while Haiti remains under a, quote, state of siege with

the interim prime minister declaring that he is in charge. So more turmoil and uncertainty for a country already dealing with enormous challenges.

I want to go to our Matt Rivers who's in Miami. And Matt, you, of course, are at the hospital where the First Lady is being treated. She was also

injured in that attack when the president was assassinated. Give us a sense of her condition and what you're learning about the suspects.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Lynda, just to start with the First Lady, she was medevac'd here yesterday, here to this hospital behind me in

Miami. And we're told that her condition at the moment is serious -- is critical, rather, but stable at the moment.

A critical but stable at the moment. Turning to the investigation into exactly what happened here, with this assassination. As you mentioned, the

latest information that we're getting from the Haitian ambassador here to the United States who has really taken the lead role in providing updates

into all of this is that there's been four suspects, allegedly involved with this assassination that have been killed according to the ambassador.

Two others that have been detained. All six of those people, we're told by the ambassador, are foreign nationals. Though we don't know what

nationality they are at this point. That hasn't been officially said. He also said that the manhunt for other suspects continues because there are

likely more than six people involved in all of this.

But that's all we know at this moment. And there are myriad questions that remain. Who exactly are these assailants that carried out this

assassination? What were their motivations? Who paid them? What country are they from? How did they manage to get past what should have been robust

security outside the presidential residence?

We've not had answers to any of those questions yet. And as a result, and I've got several colleagues or mine who are speaking to people inside of

Haiti right now and there is a lot of mistrust in the government there that's existed well before this and as a result, there's plenty of people

in Haiti who are not buying this official version of events.

The only way that we get more information is if it comes from the government, at least at this point in the early stages here. And the

information we're getting so far is relatively limited, which leads to all of these outstanding questions that still remain.

KINKADE: Yes, as you say, Matt, a lot of distrust (INAUDIBLE). And certainly a political vacuum, if you will. So the prime minister, of

course, was meant to be replaced by another person who had been selected by the president before he was assassinated. Who exactly is in charge right


RIVERS: And that -- that's the question, Lynda. I think there are two different people who want to be running the country at this point. You have

Ariel Henry, appointed by the president to be prime minister shortly before he was killed.

He has said or told a Haitian newspaper that while he believes that Claude Joseph, the acting prime minister right now, is a part of the government,

he says he is not his prime minister. Meanwhile on the other side you have Claude Joseph who is acting prime minister at the moment but in order for

him to be installed as the leader of the country he would have to be approved by parliament.

And parliament, in that country, is essentially defunct since last year because free and fair elections have not taken place. That is part of the

reason you saw all this political unrest in Haiti over the last year. The clear line of succession would have led to the president of Haiti's Supreme

Court, but that man recently died of COVID-19.

So all of that is to say that we're not really sure who is actually in charge in Haiti right now, both at this moment and also in the coming days

and weeks. That is going to be a big question.



RIVERS: By the time security forces responded in the early hours of Wednesday morning, it was too late. Haitian President Jovenel Moise was

dead. Assassinated in his private residence. His wife, the First Lady of Haiti, gravely wounded. Medevac'd to the U.S. for potential life-saving


As daylight dawned on the aftermath of bullet holes and spent shell casings, the scope of the brazen attack was more clear.

CLAUDE JOSEPH, INTERIM HATIAN PRIME MINISTER (Translated): The information we have is that the attackers were a group of English and Spanish-speaking

persons. They were carrying huge caliber weapons and killed the president.

RIVERS: This audio circulating on social media purporting to be at the time of the assassination, though CNN cannot confirm its authenticity.

Claiming that they are U.S. drug enforcement agents. Providing clues of how the attackers may have been able to penetrate the security perimeter

surrounding the presidential residence seemingly with ease.

The Haitian ambassador to the U.S. saying at a news conference Wednesday those responsible are believed to be highly trained mercenaries posing as

U.S. agents.

UNKNOWN: You said they identified themselves as DEA agents?

JOSEPH: Yes, that's why -- that's why they presented -- that's how they presented themselves as DEA agents. (INAUDIBLE).

UNKNOWN: Do you believe they were actually DEA?

JOSEPHE: No, there was no way -- there is no way DEA would have come in the country like this. We would have been informed, and everything.

(INAUDIBLE) the U.S. embassy (INAUDIBLE).

RIVERS: The U.S. State Department also dismissing as preposterous that those responsible could be DEA agents.

NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: These reports are absolutely false. The United States condemns this heinous act. These false reports are nothing

more than that. Just false reports.

RIVERS: As a manhunt for suspects involved continues, Haiti's ambassador to the U.S. said late Wednesday that four suspects allegedly connected to

the assassination were killed by Haitian national police while two others had been detained.

The ambassador said all six were foreigners, but that their nationalities were not yet determined. The rest of states acting prime minister who has

assumed leadership of the country trying to assure a stunned population as well as world leaders, that the government of Haiti is still functioning

declaring a, quote, state of siege which allows for the closing of national borders and temporarily invokes martial law.

JOSEPH: We want to assure you that we will bring the killers of the president to justice. Please stay calm and let the authorities do their

work. We don't want the country to plunge into chaos. This is a very sad day for our nation and for our people.

RIVERS: In life, Haitian President Jovenel Moise was a polarizing figure with many protesting his rule and demanding he resign. He presided over a

country on the precipice of chaos. The question now, though, will his death push the nation past its breaking point?


RIVERS: And Like I was saying, Lynda, that's the open question right now. What happens in Haiti over the next few days will really have a huge impact

on the near and perhaps long-term future of that country.

KINKADE: And I want to ask you a bit about the future of the country because already we've discussed how Haiti was already dealing with pretty

difficult circumstances given that it has seen a surge in gang violence and rising inflation and also rising number of COVID cases.

And according to UNICEF, it says it's the only nation in the western hemisphere to not have received a single dose of vaccine. It sounds like

it's a country that's been forgotten.

RIVERS: In a lot of ways, it has. And I think that even before this situation with the assassination of the president, there are a lot of

people who could argue that Haiti was basically a failed state. And now you have this leadership vacuum, you've got this political crisis, in addition

to the fact that you've got a COVID crisis.

In addition to the poverty and the violence and the corruption. It just is adding fuel to a fire that was already raging in that country. And so where

this goes from here, I mean we saw a devastating protests earlier this year against the rule of President Moise. And -- and now that he is -- is gone,

well, where does the country go now politically?

Who takes over? What government can he form? Can that government function and does -- do the people of Haiti accept that government as legitimate?

These are all open questions right now that we simply can't answer at this point. But it certainly doesn't bode well for the near and long-term

stability of a country that's already gone through so much, so far.


KINKADE: Yes, exactly. Well, we'll stay on this story no doubt and we will speak to you hopefully in Haiti tomorrow. Thanks so much. And Matt rivers

for us.

Well, there could be yet another twist coming in the long-running corruption saga surrounding former South African President Jacob Zuma.

On Friday, a high court judge will rule on whether police should have waited to take him into custody until after a court hearing next week.

Well, minutes before a police deadline Wednesday, Zuma handed himself in and was driven from his compound to start serving a 15-month sentence for

contempt of court on corruption allegations.

Well, I want to get the latest now from Sunday's David McKenzie who is in Johannesburg, South Africa. So, David, Zuma handing himself in to start

what's meant to be a 15-month sentence. But he has condemned this charge.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, they've all condemned it, him and his supporters. And for several days, in fact, he said he would

never go to prison on these terms.

It is important, though, I mean I know with so many years of legal wranglings and false endings or beginnings to the Zuma story, it's

sometimes easy to forget what a significant figure he is in South Africa for many decades. I want us to take a look at the rise and spectacular fall

of Jacob Zuma.


MCKENZIE: A charismatic traditionalist with a common touch. Jacob Zuma was also a deeply divisive and flawed president. He would never have the

gravitas of Mandela or the intellectual rigor of Thabo Mbeki, his predecessors.

But he too was a key member of the ANC during apartheid, spending a decade in Robin Island Prison. Lacking a formal education, Zuma was always the

savvy politician and brutal tactician.

He helped to bring peace to his troubled (INAUDIBLE) region in the lead-up to the first democratic elections. He is credited with an aggressive

expansion of HIV/AIDS treatment that saved thousands.

UNKOWN: And this trophy shall remain in Africa.

MCKENZIE: And presided over hugely successful World Cup.

JACOB ZUMA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: Why should I be jailed if I'm innocent?

MCKENZIE: But it was the scandals, seemingly one after another, that would define Jacob Zuma. An acquittal after a rape trial that would have sunk

most politicians followed by hundreds of allegations of corruption. Too numerous to list.

Yet, Zuma would firmly hold onto his power and always denied the allegations. A low point being ordered to pay back some of the millions of

public funds he used to upgrade his lavish private homestead at Nkandla. Including a chicken run and swimming pool.

UNKNOWN: The president thus failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

MCKENZIE: The country's highest court ruled that the president contravened the Constitution but still, Zuma remained. He presided over ratings

downgrades, a flailing economy and a widening wealth gap.

He saw the ANC lose significant ground in elections, local and national. Through multiple no-confidence votes and street demonstrations, he survived

it all. In the end, though, it was his own party that turned on him. His chosen successor narrowly beat him at an ANC leadership conference.

Zuma was forced to resign on Valentine's Day. By the party that he helped make in his own image.

ZUMA: I, therefore, come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect.

MCKENZIE: Still, Zuma never strayed far from the public eye and public influence, fighting his numerous legal battles until contempt of court

landed him finally in custody, moments before midnight.


MCKENZIE: I mean, Lynda, for all the years I've been covering Jacob Zuma, always in the back of my mind, I was skeptical that he would, in fact,

spend even a night in prison, despite all those wrath of allegations against him.

Well, he spent one night. He's going to spend another night tonight. And no matter how long he spends in that prison cell, it's a truly significant

moment for South Africa and many here feel hopefully it's the start of a concerted effort to root out corruption and allegations of grat (ph) in

this country. Of course, allegations Zuma continues to deny. continues to deny. Lynda?

KINKADE: Continues to deny, continues to face. And as you say, unclear exactly how long Zuma could spend behind bars.


He is eligible for parole on this charge in four months' time. Already, though, he's asking the court to cancel the sentence, right?

MCKENZIE: Well, that's right. On Monday, he will have a hearing at the constitutional court from an application they brought. It's called a

rescission application. Basically they're going to argue that Zuma's age and his health and also the nature of the charges, the direct sending to

prison without the trial because it was of his continuing thumbing the noses at the court, including the highest court of the land, that he should

be let out or at least given a lesser sentence.

Again, I think it's important not to forget the big picture here. The fact that he's even spending one minute in prison as someone who spent time with

Nelson Mandela on Robin Island is hugely significant. Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, incredible time in South Africa. Good to have you with us on the story, David McKenzie, thanks so much.

Well, now to a stunning find. What's believed to be the third largest diamond has been unearthed in Botswana. The Canadian mining company

announced it's discovered a palm sized 1,174 carat diamond in June. This found days after another huge stone weighing in at 1,098 carats was

discovered. The country's president said it is a welcome moment for Africa's top diamond producer.


MOKGWEETSI MASISI, PRESIDENT OF BOTSWANA: For me, this is a riveting moment. Botswana is not only producing the best diamonds. It's effecting

(ph) the best in diamonds.


KINKADE: Well, the biggest diamond ever discovered was the 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond in South Africa. Well, still ahead on "Connect the World,"

gun violence in America. The numbers were already staggering, but why is it getting worse, and what will be done to change this trend?

And activists via safe spaces for LGBTQ people in China are shrinking. We'll tell you why dozens of community support groups got deleted.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Turning to the surge in gun violence across the United States. So far this year, there are more deaths compared to the same

period last year, and, of course, last year was one of the worst years in recent decades. That's according to the nonprofit research organization the

gun violence archive. More than 200 people were shot and killed during the Independence Day weekend holiday alone.

And one contributing factor may be the rise in gun ownership. The other, the global pandemic. According to the small arms survey, the U.S. far

exceeds other countries when it comes to civilian-held firearms per capita.

In their most recent report, they estimate that there are 120 guns for every 100 Americans.


Well, joining us to talk gun violence in the U.S. and possible ways to reduce that is Jonathan Jay. He's an assistant professor at Boston

University and a gun violence researcher. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So it's clear when you look at the available data, over the past 20 years, violence in the U.S. is getting worse. But talk to us about what

happened last year. The pandemic hit. We saw this record spike in violence.

JAY: That's right. Starting early in the pandemic, we saw an increase in violence and it appears since the beginning of the pandemic there's been an

unprecedented increase in gun violence, likely greater than 25 percent and closer to 40 percent in bigger cities.

KINKADE: And -- and that data we got from the FBI shows that 25 percent more murders were recorded in 2020 than the previous year. And when you

look at state by state figures, it seemed that every major city had an increase in violence. What do you make of that?

JAY: Well, we saw an increase in many of the underlying social conditions that are associated with community violence. So that includes poverty, food

insecurity, unemployment. We also had the trauma associated with COVID- related deaths of loved ones, family and friends, and high profile incidents of police violence and other violence against people of color.

All of that creates, as some of my colleagues have called, the perfect storm for community violence. And particularly violence that

disproportionately affects the communities that are most disadvantaged by racial segregation and many years of disinvestment.

KINKADE: Yes, it's certainly -- certainly was a really rough year and a year where there were major lockdowns. A lot of businesses closed. Other

companies working from home. Things are starting to open up, certainly this year in the United States. But it looks like the trend is continuing. What

are you noticing in the data so far?

JAY: That's right. The trend does seem to be continuing. And we wouldn't expect it necessarily to go away just because of changes in businesses

opening or other sort of lockdowns lifting.

One part of that is that the communities most affected by gun violence and by COVID didn't necessarily experience the biggest changes in their daily

lives during the pandemic compared to the most privileged neighborhoods where everyone started working from home.

And also one thing that we know about community violence is that it's often driven by interpersonal disputes and retaliation, so it creates these

cycles at the interpersonal level and community level that won't quickly resolve just because the economy has reopened.

KINKADE: And I just want to bring up a graphic we were just showing there that was looking at the increasing violence from 2019 to 2020. And you can

see there in major U.S. cities like New York City, it was up 44 percent last year.

In Austin, Texas, up 50 percent. In Los Angeles, up 38 percent. It was right across the board. Do you expect other major wealthy cities around the

world to have had such incredible increases in violence as a result of the pandemic?

JAY: Well, it's true that we've seen it in many U.S. cities, but it's also important to remember that within those cities the changes haven't been

equally distributed. They've been concentrated in those most deprived neighborhoods. And so, yes, I think that around the world, whenever you

increase it on a large scale you're creating the conditions for more violence but also, when you address those problems you need to focus on the

communities most impacted.

KINKADE: And I want to ask you, Jay, about what is being done to tackle this surge in violence here in the U.S. because U.S. President Biden has

promised to improve regulations, especially when it comes to gun regulation. What can actually be done? What can actually be achieved here

in the United States, a country that is very divided on this issue?

JAY: Right, it's not just about gun regulation, it's also about investing in communities. So the president has proposed large increases in community-

based programs that intervene with the people most likely to be impacted by gun violence.

There's also changes that we can make to neighborhood, physical and social infrastructure to make them safer. And we need long-term investment in

education, employment and addressing all of those root causes.


So in addition to that -- so we have these proposals at the federal level. We also have action at the local level and most importantly, at the

grassroots level there have been people who have long been working to make their community safer and who just need more resources to scale up.

KINKADE: And we are talking about resources. During last year, at the height of the black lives matter protest here in the U.S., many, obviously,

protesting about police brutality at -- targeting minorities here in the United States, which led to a call to defund the police.

What sort of impact did that -- that discussion, which, obviously, is ongoing, is what impact are you noticing that having given that some cities

are reporting that police morale is very low and police officers are retiring much higher rates than in the past?

JAY: You're right that that conversation continues to emerge and we're still working to tease apart the certain pieces of it, how it might relate

to the changes in violence we've seen. But one of the most important things that communities are seeing and saying is that this isn't a problem that

can be solved by an influx of aggressive policing in the communities most impacted by violence.

KINKADE: Exactly. All right. Jonathan Jay, we could continue this discussion. We have to leave it there for now. But we appreciate your

expertise on the issue. Thank you very much.

JAY: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, COVID is causing some major changes in Tokyo ahead of the Olympic Games. Fans now being told to stay home as the city goes into a

full (ph) state of emergency.

Plus, WeChat, the social media site deleting dozens of LGBTQ and feminist accounts. Why activists say the groups were deleted and why they believe

its part of a wider crackdown in China.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Outrage is ringing out across Chinese social media. WeChat deleted dozens of LGBTQ and feminist accounts. Many were registered

as student clubs at universities. And there are fears that safe spaces for the LGBTQ community could shrink even further.

WeChat's parent company, Tencent has not yet responded to CNN's request for a comment.

Well, there are fears this could be part of a wider crackdown. Our David Culver is in Shanghai. David, just take us through what you know about why

these accounts were potentially deleted and how widespread this could be.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think that's the most frustrating part Lynda for those who are activists and who those accounts were targeted in

particular. There is not a lot of detail.

It's a bit vague as to the reason why they were shut down. Nonetheless, it happened and it was widespread. We're talking dozens of accounts, and it

happened overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

So essentially, these groups have worked to realize that all their followers, likewise no longer had a public page to follow. And most of

them, as you pointed out are young people.


CULVER (voice over): A sweeping crackdown on China's popular social media and messaging app WeChat. The target, LGBTQ and feminist college groups,

dozens of organizations say their public pages were banned Tuesday, now labeled as untitled accounts and outcry online from some of those impacted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Am I living in 2021?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm LGBT. I just want to know whom have I bothered for just living my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am shaking? Why did they do this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody is free until everybody is free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll be lying if I said I wasn't sad.

CULVER (voice over): CNN connected with one LGBTQ group member from Beijing University, whose organization's WeChat page got banned all its past

content erased.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In recent years, our goal is to simply survive, to continue to be able to serve LGBT students and provide them with warm, we

basically don't engage in any radical advocating anymore.

CULVER (voice over): She asked we call her Kathy and not use her real name, fearful of facing retaliation for adding her voice to this story online, a

nationalistic narrative and backlash already surfacing. Some baselessly is claiming that the group's pages got shut down because they were infiltrated

by foreign forces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The LGBT community has long existed in China, not because of any influence from so called foreign forces. It's completely

ridiculous. Those saying that do not understand the LGBT community at all. They have no intention to know about it.

CULVER (voice over): Publically China has portrayed a tolerant image of LGBTQ rights expressing to the United Nations in opposition to

discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But at home a different story.

DARIUS LONGARINO, SR. FELLOW, PAUL TSAI CHINA CENTER, YALE LAW SCHOOL: What we have instead is an increasing tightening of the space for the LGBT

community and LGBT advocates.

CULVER (voice over): CNN has reported on China's crackdown on LGBTQ rights in recent years, from censoring gay content seen as abnormal sexual

relationships and behaviors on streaming platforms and TV shows, to bringing an abrupt end last year to the longest running annual celebration

of sexual minorities, Shanghai Pride, and now a closing of this social safe space in China's cyberspace.

LONGARINO: It was sad to see them de-platformed in that way, because they often can be a real lifeline to other LGBT students.

CULVER (voice over): WeChat sent this message to those pages shut down. After receiving relevant complaints, all content has been blocked and the

account has been put out of service. But those impacted wanted more clarity on the exact violation.

CNN reached out to Tencent, WeChat's parent company we've not yet heard back. Kathy still hopeful her organization's work can find a new way to

reach young people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the future LGBT movement in colleges is very important. Many people may suffer depression because of their gender

identity confusion. So I always think to educate a multi gender identities in college is important.


CULVER: While same sex marriage is not legal here in China, we should point out, Lynda that there are no explicit laws against homosexuality. In fact,

in 2001, Chinese authorities removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.

That's how it was characterized up until then. We should also put in context, the timing of all this, especially as activists and experts

suggests that LGBTQ members are facing continued discrimination and prejudice is here.

Next year all the eyes are going to turn to Beijing once again for 2022 winter Olympics. They now face what is possibly another human rights

related issue that could put more pressure on that major event, Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, certainly appears that may very well happen. David Culver for us in Shanghai, thank you.

Well, the ninth largest port in the world, the biggest by far in the Middle East rocked by a blast that was felt right across Dubai. It happened like

Wednesday on a container ship docked in the Jebel Ali Port.

And when the explosion erupted, witnesses said buildings were jolted as far as 15 kilometers away. With the good news the fire set off by the explosion

is now under control and authorities tell us there were no deaths, nor any injuries.

But keep in mind this is a significant part for the movement of goods in the region, and of course elsewhere. CNN's Eleni Giokos felt the blast

herself. She joins me now from Dubai, pretty incredible how powerful this blast was. What did you feel?


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was pretty incredible. When I was getting ready for bed and I, I felt a tremor in my building on the 25th

floor, around 15 kilometers away from the port and I felt a tremor. And it was an intense sound.

I went out on my balcony to see what was going on. I couldn't see anything. And then a few minutes later, we heard the news that there was a huge

explosion at Jebel Ali port. Now we had exclusive access to the port today to see the aftermath.

And then I have to tell you was incredible, the ship is pretty much still intact. And then what we were told was there was a leak from a container at

the top of the ship. And because it was situated quite high up it then it created an explosion into the air.

And that's why reverberated across Dubai in terms of the wreckage around the ship itself. You saw containers that were damaged. But what was

incredible here, no fatalities and no injuries.

And the reason why is because the site manager saw smoke and he took action, I want you to take a listen to him.


MARWAN AL DABOOS, DP WORLD TERMINAL 1 SITE MANAGER: We are lucky to take the decision within something like 10 minutes to evacuate the whole area

when the fumes start coming out from that container, the blast - it happened like a mushroom cloud that the higher it go. So the explosion

happened very high.

And as you can see, the crane was on the ship. The crane operator he is lucky to be evacuated otherwise he would be incinerated over there.


GIOKOS: I mean incredible, literally 10 minutes to spare. The team had basically at the crew and the people in the surrounding areas had basically

ran around 300 meters away from the ship and just got away in the nick of time and look at that blast.

I mean that is not only plume of smoke, but basically what people had described was that was a fireball in the air. Now question of course what

went wrong? Why did this blast occur? I want you to take a listen to the DP World Chairman, Sultan Bin Sulayem, who explains what the investigation now

is looking into.


SULTAN BIN SULAYEM, DP WORLD CHAIRMAN: We have no idea what caused this to leak. We have no idea why it caught fire. These are being investigated. As

far as the ship was safe to say it's an accident. It is not intention accident. We know that for sure because you watch our cameras. Nobody came

here this year. So something happened.

Either a container that was stored in it, you mean the drums, maybe they weren't leaking, or whatever we find out is going to help us in our entire

terminal to avoid something like this.


GIOKOS: So Lynda, this is significant. Firstly, as you say absolutely a very important hub operation still on the burn. As you can see the visuals

from where we were today. They store using water, ocean water to try and ensure it doesn't reignite and then to try and cool it down, a lot of smoke

billowing out of terminal one.

But it's such a huge lesson learned here because it was the decisive action of the site manager to evacuate the team. Of course, a big investigation

now is going on in terms of where this ship came from.

Chemical engineers tell us that it's all about the packing and the stacking and then how you move containers and the goods inside these containers.

Remember flammable goods are transported constantly by sea. It's just unfortunate that this of course happened. But it just kind of goes to show

the risks that are involved in ports like this.

KINKADE: All right, yes, certainly remarkable, as you say no deaths, no injuries there and good to hear from those on the ship. Eleni Giokos thanks

so much.

We are two weeks away from an Olympics like none we've ever seen due to COVID-19. Earlier organizers made a tough decision to ban spectators at 25

Olympic venues in Tokyo. They say they're still considering allowing fans at more than a dozen other venues in different areas.

All this after Japan's Prime Minister plays Tokyo on a fourth state of emergency that will last throughout the games. Well, I want to go straight

to our Selina Wang, who joins us now from Tokyo. Certainly not the news fans that probably had tickets looking forward to go to the games in Tokyo

wanted to hear that something that had to be done.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right Lynda, obviously disappointment for people who were waiting for a lottery to get into these venues. But it is a

major relief for much of the public here and for health experts who for months have been saying that if these games do go ahead in the middle of

the pandemic, they should not have spectators.


WANG: This is as Tokyo is dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases reaching the highest level in month more cases being driven by the Delta variant. At

the same time Japan has a low vaccination rate this 16 percent of its population has been fully vaccinated.

Now, this decision to ban spectators here in Tokyo reverses an earlier decision that organizers may think that they've allowed up to 10,000

spectators per venue. But as you say, it is unclear what the other prefectures are going to decide for Olympic events happening in those other


Now, this also is a big blow to the organizers and Japan. Japan has spent more than $15 billion on these games; more than $1 billion alone just to

rebuild that national stadium. It is going to be striking to see that opening ceremony with so many empty seats and unprecedented games in so

many ways, Lynda.

KINKADE: It really is and as you say Selina, the vaccination rate is so low there. Explain what the major issues are, because I understand all the

athletes coming in have had a vaccine or yes would have been fully vaccinated by now, right?

WANG: Well Lynda, official say that more than 80 percent of the athletes of the Olympic village are going to arrive fully vaccinated. But we still see

that despite that and the long list of COVID-19 rules, there are gaps.

Several Olympic delegation members have arrived fully vaccinated and still tested positive for COVID upon arrival in Japan.

Now when it comes to that low vaccination rate, there are a whole host of reasons why a key reason is a very slow vaccine approval process in Japan,

which really set the country back a lot of logistic bureaucratic hurdles as well.

Japan is finally picking up steam in its vaccination rollout. But municipalities are again complaining that they are dealing with logistical

problems that they're dealing with supply issues, so just 15 percent of the population fully vaccinated at this point and a lot of public anxiety


There was an anti-Olympics protest here in Shinjuku, Tokyo just a few hours ago, I spoke to a protester and advice ban standard. Take a listen to what

they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should not hold the Olympics with increasing COVID cases.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Infections will definitely spread if the Olympics are held. And overseas visitors will bring the virus back to their home

country. It will be a disaster. My poster says go home.


WANG: Now this woman I spoke to said they're still waiting to get vaccinated. IOC officials say they can still hold these games safely and

securely but the public your Lynda is just not convinced.

KINKADE: No, it certainly sounds that way Selina Wang for us in Tokyo. We will speak again soon. Thank you. Well still ahead on "Connect the World"

the couple's mate for live dance for each other in the mornings and only the male gets pregnant and we're going to hear why seahorses are worth




KINKADE: Welcome back and today's "Call to Earth" report we've spoiled the extraordinary world of seahorses. Amanda Vincent is on a lifelong mission

to protect these tiny creatures from the many threats they currently face. Take a look.



seahorse you're fascinated by them. They're almost mythical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Fabled fish of the ancient gods and now an aquarium favorite meat, the tiger tail, the hedgehog, and the pygmy.

Some of the 46 nine species of seahorse that scientists have struggled to identify due to their expertise in camouflage, which helps them avoid


VINCENT: They change color when they caught those formed permanent pair bonds, the male and female come together and dance every morning. I mean,

these animals are the coolest fish they really are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): One predator that seahorses haven't been able to avoid is humans, their habitats in coral reefs, sea grasses and

mangroves across the world are increasingly under threat.

VINCENT: The biggest single threat to sea horses is bottom trawling every day.

Hundreds of thousands of trawlers scrape the ocean bottom and they remove everything in their path, leaving devastation behind and its annihilation

fishing pure and simple and that has to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Amanda Vincent is a marine conservationist and one of the world's leading experts on seahorses.

VINCENT: I think I love sea horses, the moment that discovered that only the male gets pregnant. There's just something about that that grabs you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): She has spent over 30 years studying these tiny creatures with big personalities.

VINCENT: We usually tell people not to touch the seahorse if you see it, but I've had to touch them in my professional work. And it's riveting.

You tickle their little tails and they let go of whatever they're holding and they grasp your hand instead. I mean, when did you last have a fish

hold your hand it's just to feel an instant surge of connection with this animal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Vincent Co-Founded Project Seahorse in 1996, a conservation and research organization, which campaigns for

stronger regulations on fishing practices and wildlife trade. They have succeeded in changing national and international legislation to help

protect sea horses.

And established 35 marine protected areas in the Philippines, home to 10 species of seahorse. During her research, Vincent uncovered a huge global

trade in seahorses, a popular ingredient in Chinese medicine worldwide, including in her native Canada.

VINCENT: We tally that up to be 20, 30 million animals a year among about 80 countries it was huge. In terms of number of individual animals traded

it's one of the biggest wildlife trades by far, so it was really important to take action.

We then generated the first ever export controls on marine fishes that led to a lot of countries actually closing down their sea horse trade legally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): After a lifelong crusade against harmful fishing methods, Vincent is always on the lookout for sustainable

alternatives. And she finds it here in the Village of Steveston in Vancouver.

VINCENT: Hey, that's about prawns. They're caught by traps, no habitat destruction, no by-catch of other animals. They're the only shrimp I ever

eat. So where are these guys fished?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Questioning where your seafood comes from is one way to help protect marine life, Vincent says.

VINCENT: If you can avoid eating anything connected with bottom trawling, you will have done a great service to the ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): And for Vincent, serving the ocean means making us fall in love with these mysterious mythical creatures.

VINCENT: I find that when you talk to seahorses, everybody cares. Essentially we're using sea horses to help save the seas. If we get it

right for these funky little fishes, we will have done a lot for the ocean.


KINKADE: Absolutely beautiful images there. Well, let us know what you are doing to answer the "Call to Earth" using the #calltoearth. We're going to

be right back.



KINKADE: Well, it is the battle of the billionaires in space who can get their first Amazon's Jeff Bezos, or virgin galactic is it Richard Branson,

the British billionaire looks like the one to beat for instance, says he's excited about flying with his team and virgins rocket powered plane this


That's nine days before the Amazon founders planned launch on July 20. Well Branson could wind up being the first billionaire to travel to space aboard

a spacecraft which he helped fund. He is calling it his "Pinch-me Moment".

Well, someone who knows that sort of a moment is Chris Hadfield; he is a Former Commander of the International Space Station, and also a novelist.

And he joins me now from Ontario, Canada.

You of course, were the first astronauts for Canada up in space; just give us a sense of what this all means as Branson is set to take off this


CHRIS HADFIELD, FORMER COMMANDER OF INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: But it's a pretty amazing sequence of events that are happening this summer, Lynda. As

you say, Richard's launching on Sunday, Jeff is launching on the 20th Anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing.

And then there are - those are two different types of spaceships and then on a third type of spaceship for private citizens are launching in

September. So this is finally after 10,000 years of dreaming.

This is where truly private commercial spaceflight is actually beginning to happen this summer. So it's kind of a big threshold.

KINKADE: It certainly is really exciting. And I understand with Brandon's team, he plans to rock it to the edge of space. But not all, but. Can you

explain what's going to happen?

HADFIELD: Sure, you know, where does earth end and space begin, it's kind of arbitrary, because our atmosphere just gets thinner and thinner and

thinner, but if you get up around 50 or 60 miles, that's kind of everybody's accepted edge of space.

So if you can build something that will take you - that'll get you 50 miles from the surface of the earth, then you actually qualify by, you know, the

people that know as an astronaut.

And that's what's happening, not fast enough to truly get all the way in the speed into orbit, like the people will be doing in September. But this

is sort of like maybe the difference between, you know, ballooning and skydiving and gliding and powered airplanes.

And you know there's a whole spectrum of ways to fly. This is likely on tray level to fly into space.

KINKADE: It really is amazing. I want to ask you about the risks, because Richard Branson has joked that his wife is not too pleased with the idea,

she's a bit worried by the sounds of things.

Because when he gets into space, if you're like at the edge of space, he is going to accelerate on this spaceship to from the rocket, as I understand

it, at three times the speed of sound.

HADFIELD: Yes, maybe probably three and a half times the speed of sound and get up to you know, almost 300,000 feet. But everything worth doing in life

has risk. And I know my parents and my family, my wife; they were all quite concerned when I flew in space three times.

But I mean that's how different things happen if everyone just hides under their pillows all the time, you know, we'll be - we'll be done in one

lifetime. We have to push the edges of our capability orbiting the world is how we truly understand our world.


HADFIELD: That's how we measure it and look at the changes and understand how we fit in, in the solar system. So you kind of need to make a personal

decision, is this risk worth it for me? And then you need to work with your family and friends.

Is it worth it for us? Is this something that should happen in our lifetimes? And then look at all the impacts of that, that come afterwards,

the opening of doors, someone has to both be driven enough and brave enough to go do it for the first time like Yuri Gagarin, or Alan Shepard or Neil

Armstrong. And this for commercial spaceflight is that moment.

KINKADE: It really is a new frontier. And I have to ask you, so Jeff Bezos, the Amazon Founder, he said to launch July 28, about a week and a half

after Branson. He's taking an auction winner, his brother and also a remarkable woman by the name of Wally Funk, who you probably know quite a

lot about an 82 year old and said to be the oldest person to go into space.

HADFIELD: Wally is a tremendous human being. She's one of the great aviators. She's been a pilot, a professional pilot, an instructor, she's

taught 1000s of people to fly. She's just a great spark of a human being. And you're right, she's 82.

But there are people who are 22, who couldn't pass an astronaut physical, what really matters is, are you healthy enough? Not how many years have you

been on the earth? I think it's great that Jeff is giving Wally a chance.

You know, she if she'd been, you know, the right gender in the early 60s, you know, the rules were different back then and had been a test pilot.

She's obviously got the right stuff that she could have qualified as an astronaut back then. But the rules have changed.

And Jeff has given that wonderful human being a chance to fly in space here on the 20th. So there are people flying with Richard, people flying with

Jeff and the folks in September too. So I think it's showing just peeking through the door of where we're headed in commercial spaceflight.

KINKADE: Chris Hadfield, the Former Commander of the International Space Station, absolute pleasure to speak to you. I hope we can speak again soon

and we will watch with interest over the coming weeks as these flights takeoff. Thanks so much.

HADFIELD: Thanks, Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, I'm Lynda Kinkade. That was "Connect the World". "One World" with Eleni Giokos is up next. Stick around. You're watching CNN.