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World Awaits Next Move by Iran's New Hardline President; Belarusian Olympic Sprinter Defects; Global Coronavirus Case Count Tops 200 Million; China Authorizes Sinovac for 3-17 Year Olds; Tokyo Posting Record Daily COVID-19 Case Counts; U.K. Adding New Nations to Travel Green List; Brazil's High Court Orders Investigation into Bolsonaro's Voter Fraud Claims; Business Booming for Wedding Planners, Dating Apps. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 05, 2021 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Iran's new president officially takes the helm.

What does Ebrahim Raisi's leadership mean for the country's relations with the rest of the world?

Plus, a CNN exclusive report this hour: videos reveal Belarus may be building prison camps for dissidents.

And a ring of fire surrounds Athens, smoke blankets the sky as a summer of extreme weather scorches Southern Europe.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. It is 3:00 pm in London. It is 6:30 pm in Tehran. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

A remarkable scene of change unfolding right now in Iran. Just moments ago, hardliner Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as president before the Iranian

parliament. He denounced sanctions against Iran and said he'd support any diplomatic plan to do away with them.

Now the world is watching to see what he'll do regarding those sanctions and in other areas, both at home and abroad. Well, who better to talk about

that than our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen? He's covered Iran extensively. He joins us from Tehran.

Today is all about ceremony.

What can we expect once he gets down to business, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, first of all, I think, Becky, you're absolutely right. Today is about the big

ceremony. I think we heard from Ebrahim Raisi, he just spoke a few minutes ago. It was a very forceful speech and one that showed Iranian Republic at

its power structure, the clergy, the military and the presidency seem to be confident in the power they have.

He said one of the main things he wants to achieve is obviously move the country further in a conservative direction. He also said, as far as the

economy is concerned, he wants to focus more on domestic production.

He also had a large part of his speech devoted to foreign policy and there you could really feel that he is a very confident leader at this point in

time, really trying to exude that confidence.

He basically said, praised the Islamic revolution, praised Qasem Soleimani, the IRGC general who was killed by the Americans. And he said the Islamic -

- the ideals of the Islamic revolution should be carried out into the world. He even mentioned the United States.

He said that Iranian ideology would be good there as well. So that's certainly something the Iranians are saying that they want to be a force

globally. However he also said, as far as foreign policy is concerned, I think this is one of the most important things, right now, what the

Iranians want to do is focus less on mending ties with countries like the United States.

He criticized the United States -- and focus more really on this region. He said Iran wanted to extend its hand out to countries in the region, spoke

specifically about neighboring countries.

That's really something, Becky, where we have seen that in action throughout this entire day, as the power transfer was taking place. Ebrahim

Raisi talking about better relations with Turkey, good relations with Pakistan, good relations with African countries. So you can already feel

that shift in Iranian politics taking hold, Becky.

ANDERSON: With regard these nuclear talks, which are stalled at present in anticipation of a new team announced by Ebrahim Raisi, what is the current

state of play?

Is there a sense that Iran could overplay its hand at this point?

PLEITGEN: Well, first of all, I think there absolutely is. One of the things we've seen over the past couple weeks, especially as those talks in

Vienna have stalled, the two sides came together a couple times. Doesn't seem much headway has been made in those talks recently.

We've heard from the United States, Secretary of State Blinken saying, yes, the U.S. wants to get back into the nuclear agreement, wants Iran to come

back into full compliance. They also say, the Americans, that negotiations cannot go on forever.

One of the things Ebrahim Raisi said in a speech he just finished, he said he believes obviously the sanctions against Iran must go away. He was

forceful about that. He also said Iran would do anything to ensure that those sanctions do go away.

And so, therefore, it certainly seems as Iran, under Ebrahim Raisi, and also the supreme leader being the final authority in this country, is still

very much committed to those negotiations, wants those negotiations to succeed.

But at the same time it doesn't look as though they are committed to those negotiations at all costs. Iranians obviously want the deal to come back in

a form that is good for them and that they believe is beneficial to them -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating times. Fred Pleitgen is on the ground for you in Tehran. Fred, always a pleasure, thank you.


ANDERSON: The Belarusian Olympic sprinter who defected to Poland says her grandmother called her in Tokyo and warned her not to come home.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, speaking to reporters in Wausau today, it follows a whirlwind few days, that saw her removed from her Olympic team after

criticizing Belarusian Olympic officials on her Instagram page, asking for police help at the Tokyo airport to prevent a forced return to Belarus and

then seeking asylum.

She described that call from her grandmother. Have a listen.


KRYSTSINA TSIMANOUSKAYA, BELARUSIAN OLYMPIC SPRINTER: When I -- the government (INAUDIBLE) go to the car, my grandmother, she called me and she

say, you can't come back to home because, on the TV, they say a lot of bad words about you, that you have some mental problems and maybe you can go to

the hospital in Belarus or maybe to jail. I don't know.


ANDERSON: In the meantime, troubling evidence emerging in Belarus of what may be a prison camp for political dissidents. This is exclusive reporting

from our Nick Paton Walsh, connecting us here in London today with more on the Belarusian sprinter.

And this reporting, Nick, if you will, on these possible prison camps.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, we heard, Krystsina Tsimanouskaya express her fears at the airport as she was

escorted, it seemed, on a plane back to her homeland, it was not always clear to people precisely what she was concerned about.

A lot of the repression inside Belarus didn't really hit the spotlight until the Ryanair flight's forced landing in May and again in this Olympic

scandal. But during this time, too, we've been looking at a series of images and witness statements we have received that do suggest that, in one

case, it's likely Belarus is preparing a prison camp for political dissidents.

Briefly, there have been reports people were held in similar facilities before. There have been leaked recordings from police officers, suggesting

they wanted to construct such things. But we think this is some of the first evidence that such construction may be underway.


WALSH (voice-over): A chilling sight not from the last century but last month, a possible prison camp built inside Belarus for political prisoners.

CNN obtained this footage of what witnesses said looked like a newly refurbished camp about an hour's drive from the capital, Minsk. A new sign,

saying, forbidden border and entry.

A three-layer fence, electrified, they said; new moving surveillance cameras, bars and reflective screens on the windows of newly rebuilt

barracks. No prisoners yet; what looked like a soldier inside and regular military patrols, who told our witnesses outside to leave.

One local talked to them anonymously.

"My friend, Sasha, a builder, told me they refurbished this place. He says there are three levels of barbed wire and it's electrified. I was picking

mushrooms here when a military man came up to me and said I can't walk here."

The building sits on the vast site of a former Soviet missile storage facility, surrounded by forest. The repairs came not long after defecting

police officers released secret recordings of senior police, discussing the need for prison camps at several sites.

The assignment: to develop and build a camp -- but not for prisoners of war or even the interned but a camp for the especially sharp-holed -- for

resettlement and surround it with barbed wire along the perimeter.

WALSH: Not surprisingly, CNN hasn't gained access to the interior of the site. So we can't definitively say that it is intended for use as a prison

camp. But a Western intelligence official I spoke to said that use was "possible" or that they didn't have direct evidence.

WALSH (voice-over): In the current climate. It's tough to imagine what else the camp could be for. Opposition leaders fear its possible use by

President Alexander Lukashenko's forces during future protests.

FRANAK VIACORKA, ADVISOR TO SVIATLANA TSIKHANOUSKAYA: It's not surprising that he's trying to build something like a regular prison camp because the

new wave of protests will come up with anyway. It can be triggered by his statement; it can be triggered by economic situation. But it will come.

And he understand and he also want to be prepare more than last year in 2020. Now this is why I will love the surprise of such camps are being


WALSH: Belarusian officials declined to comment and have called the recording about camp's "fake news" when it was released, saying they

followed the law. These images emerged after a week's long crackdown against remaining independent media inside Belarus and dozens of arrests.

Inside Belarus, the protest movement's being persecuted so hard, it now holds remote flash mob demonstrations like these, filmed by drones. But

some of it is finding ways to hit back, CNN has learned.

These are railway saboteurs, apparently in action.


WALSH (voice-over): They say their operations, the details of which we aren't disclosing, just trigger alarms that stop trains on the tracks,

risking nobody's safety and causing traffic to slow down, they say.

We spoke to one organizer.

"When our skies are blocked," he said, "we should block the land as well. The main goal is to cause economic damage for the regime because all the

delays caused them to pay huge fines."

This action was carried out, they said, on a key route from Russia to the European Union. CNN can't independently confirm it was effective.

WALSH: If there is an impact on rail traffic, it could have great significance outside of Belarus and here in Lithuania because so many goods

from the East rely on this network to get to Europe.

WALSH (voice-over): Signs both sides could be adopting new, harsher tactics and what may await fresh protests as the screws tighten.


WALSH: I think it's important to pause, Becky, and realize how bad things have gotten inside Belarus. The violence against peaceful protesters was

quite extraordinary. And that moved to another level, where people were frankly afraid to protest, persecuted in their homes. We've seen activists

die in custody as well. And now we have the appearance of these images, suggesting a possible prison camp, because there are likely to be protests

in the months ahead.

And it seems opposition activists feeling they need to express their discontent through acts of, they say, harmless sabotage. We just heard a

press conference in Warsaw from Krystsina Tsimanouskaya and I think the key takeaway from that, seeing her speaking in freedom, so to speak, in Poland,

where she'll now live with a humanitarian visa along with her husband, is that none of this was something she expected.

She simply wanted to go to the Olympics and race. She was not politically active. Her comments were about the mismanagement of her team, her being

not consulted and asked to run a relay race.

Now she's talking there about how she had plans to go to university in Minsk, when she returned, to race elsewhere. Now it's all thrown in the

air. She's looking for asylum and wondering who she can race for in the future.

Is that going to be for Poland?

Talked, too, about the brief phone call from her grandmother, made to her at the airport, saying, whatever you do, don't come home.

It's been an extraordinary week in which the world I think has learned quite how close to North Korean repression Belarus is drifting. It's on the

edge of the European Union. It is Russia's key ally. They cannot possibly conceive of the idea of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko falling.

But it is quite extraordinary to have the spotlight put on simply what a sports person an do if they speak incorrectly. But you saw, in those images

there, exactly what people inside Belarus might need to expect if they're arrested in any future crackdowns. So many still inside there -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Absolutely, Nick, terrific reporting. Thank you very much indeed. Nick Paton Walsh on the story for you.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Up ahead on the show today --


ANDERSON (voice-over): China using strict local lockdowns to clamp down on COVID-19. We'll tell you why people in this apartment building are shouting

for help.


ANDERSON: And the U.K. changes its COVID travel rules. We'll tell you which countries are on the safe list and which ones have at least been

moved into amber and those that have gone into red.

And later, extreme dry heat fanning wildfire flames, polluting the air across Greece. We are live in Athens for you.





ANDERSON: Since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11 last year, it took an entire year for global cases to reach 100 million. But it

took about half that time to double that number. The case count has now surpassed 200 million. That is according to data from Johns Hopkins


Well over 4 million people have died. Three countries account for more than a third of cases, the United States, India and Brazil. You can see those

marked here in red and in orange.

Only about 15 percent of the world's population is fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. China has administered more than 1.7

billion doses of vaccine. That is about 40 percent of doses administered globally.

But only about 16 percent of its population is fully vaccinated and, still, China's latest outbreak continues to trigger lockdowns across the country.


ANDERSON (voice-over): This video clip went viral in Chinese social media this week. CCTV reports this building has been under lockdown for almost a

week after someone tested positive. You can hear people shouting for help.


ANDERSON: A local newspaper affiliated with state-run media said the residents have been unable to get supplies and COVID tests. But a community

official told another local newspaper that that claim simply isn't true. But that's exactly the sort of lockdowns people are afraid will become more

and more common.


CNN's David Culver is in Beijing.

What do we know at this point?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The way you described that video was perfect, Becky. You said someone tested positive in that building

-- one person. They shutdown the entire building.

Here in Beijing you have a handful of cases that are confirmed. You have tens of thousands of people in similar lockdowns, sealed off from leaving

their homes. A lot of them, though, are dealing with the volunteers. And it is actually rather efficient.

We passed here in Beijing yesterday, they are able to get supplies and necessities for the most part. That one case, the extreme case you pointed

out that's making the rounds on social media, it's getting a lot of attention for criticism towards those local officials.

But they're extreme measures and that's what China has been known for since the start of the outbreak. Go back to Wuhan and the 76-day lockdown that

sealed off an entire city of more than 11 million people.

What's making this outbreak a bit more disturbing is it's linked to the Delta variant and it's one that's rapidly spreading across the country. So

it's not just in one concentrated area. This is moving pretty quickly.

For example, the video of that one apartment building is in central China; here in Beijing, here you have cases; Shanghai, you have cases. So you're

starting to see different localities and different provinces react with different measures.

Beijing, we've described it before, Becky, it's a fortress. They do not want it penetrated. So what they have instituted just in the past few hours

is a restriction for anyone coming from medium or high-risk areas.

If those individuals are here, they will have to go into either a home quarantine or a centralized government quarantine, Becky. All too familiar

to what we experienced last year.

ANDERSON: This is fascinating. Meantime, the country has approved, as I understand it, its homegrown Sinovac vaccine for children as young as 3.

What do we know at this point?

CULVER: Yes, 3 to 17, kids, toddlers getting that. That's the approval from Sinovac. That's one of the few Chinese homegrown vaccines. The other

one, Sinopharm, has been approved in the UAE actually. That's been approved for 3- to 17-year olds as well.

So China is confident this is going to be effective for that age group.

But the question is now put, with the Delta variant in particular, how effective are these vaccines at all?


CULVER: We've done recent reporting, looking at the overall role of Chinese vaccines. Experts say it's important to characterize it that way.

It is playing a role; certainly reducing hospitalizations, perhaps easing the severity of some of the illnesses.

But it is not seeming to stop the cases altogether. And proof of that is what we're seeing break out right now. China overall was a bit slow with

their rollout in vaccines. They like to push it as vaccine diplomacy, as though they were helping the world first before really focusing on building

up their domestic immunizations.

They have switched now and mobilized into rapid speed. They have, as you pointed out, some 1.7 billion doses that have been handed out. And that,

though, doesn't translate to more than roughly 15 percent of the population. So they still have a long way to go.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. David, thank you.

In Australia, a strict lockdown has not defeated the Delta variant in its largest city. The state of New South Wales reported 262 new cases, mostly

in Sydney, which has been under lockdown for almost six weeks.

The restrictions are being expanded north to the Hunter Valley (ph) region. Paula Hancocks reports.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A nurse talks a patient through his COVID-19 vaccine with the help of a translator.

At a makeshift clinic in the immigrant-rich Sydney suburb of Bankstown, this was a sports club six weeks ago when COVID-19 was almost forgotten in

Sydney, when months would go by without a single locally contracted case.

But now the Delta variant is spreading quickly, an unequal disease, hurting working class neighborhoods like Bankstown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a hot spot in terms of the COVID disease. And it is because it's a diverse community, we needed to do our bit to

encourage people to come and get vaccinated because really that is the only way out for us.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Here, many work paycheck to paycheck. It's a younger population, home to the essential workers keeping the city alive

through lockdown.

But despite cases rising fast in this part of Sydney, the government's messages are hard to accept. Soldiers patrol the streets, a confronting

sight for many.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A high percentage of people don't believe in the coronavirus. And the lower percentage obviously, you know, they prefer for

the lockdown to occur.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Sydney never expected to suffer a second COVID wave. The federal government had a huge head start when it began its

vaccine rollout in February. They said "few cases," meaning time was on their side. But six months later...

SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I'm certainly sorry that we haven't been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the

beginning of this year.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): The vaccination rate lags at just 20 percent of those 16 and older.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there's been some issues along the way. There's no doubt we're in a bit of a pickle now in terms of the lockdown. But if we

all encourage our fellow friends, our fellow citizens, our fellow community to come and get vaccinated, well, then I think we'll get back to some

normality, hopefully pretty soon.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Business owners, like bookseller Jane Turner (ph), have been told they must survive lockdowns until the national vaccination

rate is quadrupled.

JANE TURNER (PH), BOOKSELLER: It feels endless and that's hard. That's hard to swallow.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): The Gertrude and Alice Cafe (ph)is an institution in beachside Bondi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I feel very buoyed by the -- our customer base after 20 years and people that have a relationship with this store and with

us, who want us to be here at the end of it.

Do other stores have that?

I don't know.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Few in Sydney can predict the end to an outbreak the city never expected -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


ANDERSON: As the Olympic Games continue to deliver medals to athletes, it also continues to deliver high numbers of COVID infections to Tokyo. The

city has set yet another record for daily cases today. And we get more on that from CNN's Blake Essig, who is in Tokyo.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shunsuke Shirakawa has been bringing the funk for more than 20 years. On a normal night at Brown Sugar,

the beer is pouring. The bubbles are flowing. There's not an empty seat in the house. But tonight's not normal. In fact, this bar hasn't had it sold

for more than a year.

SHUNSUKE SHIRAKAWA, OWNER, BROWN SUGAR (through translator): It was a really hard year and I didn't have work. I didn't know what to do.

ESSIG (voice-over): That's because each of the first three times the government declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and ask bars and

restaurants like Brown Sugar to close early and not serve alcohol after 7:00 pm, Shirakawa complied.

SHIRAKAWA (through translator): I was listening to what the government was saying. I only worked for a month this year.

ESSIG (voice-over): By the fourth time a state of emergency was declared, Shirakawa had had enough.


ESSIG (voice-over): He said holding the Olympics while cracking down on bars and restaurants is confusing.

Since the latest state of emergency was declared last month, cases in Tokyo have skyrocketed. In fact, record high case counts were reported four

different times just last week.

While Dr. Hideaki Oka, an infectious disease specialist says the current surge has been fueled by the Delta variant, counting for about 90 percent

of confirmed cases in the capital, he says the Olympics are indirectly related to the rise of COVID-19.

DR. HIDEAKI OKA, SAITAMA MEDICAL UNIVERSITY (through translator): The government's decision to push ahead with the Olympics doesn't reflect what

the people wanted. People are ignoring the state of emergency, the government is requesting their stay at home. But in holding the Olympics,

they sent out a confusing message.

ESSIG (voice-over): Inside the Olympic bubble, cases have remained relatively low. In Tokyo 2020 officials say, the Olympics is not behind the

recent surge in host city cases, denying that the games have created a flow of people.

But as you walk the streets of Tokyo and attend various Olympic events, it's clear that's not completely true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There probably won't be another Olympics in Japan in my lifetime. So I wanted to come here to the rings and

experience the atmosphere.

ESSIG (voice-over): Despite a ban on spectators in Tokyo, crowds gathered to witness history at the first triathlon mixed relay at the BMX freestyle

event. The bridge hundreds of meters away from the venue was packed with people trying to catch a glimpse of Olympic action.

And every day, a large number of people are outside of the National Stadium to take a picture with the Olympic rings. And that according to Dr. Naoto

Ueyama, the chairman of Japan Doctors Union, is a big problem. Unless things change, he says cases could triple here in Tokyo within the next two


DR. NAOTO UEYAMA, CHAIRMAN, JAPAN DOCTORS UNION (through translator): It's often said that there is a time lag of about one or two weeks between the

peak of infection and movement of people. The infection is still going to rise.

ESSIG (voice-over): A rise in cases with no end in sight. A crisis that will continue to strain a medical system that doctors say is already on the

verge of collapse -- Blake Essig, CNN, Tokyo.


ANDERSON: Anger and injuries on the streets of Beirut as the people of Lebanon demand answers, a year after that devastating port explosion. We're

in Beirut for you this next hour.

And I'll talk to an Afghan women's rights activist about the Taliban's advances. Violence escalates and the E.U. issues an urgent call for a






ANDERSON: Past 3:00 in London, welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

One sign that some nations are winning the battle with COVID, the British government has added more nations to its travel green list. Travelers to

the U.K. from countries on the green list do not need to quarantine unless their required COVID-19 test comes back positive, of course.

Among the nations being added are Germany, Austria and Norway; also travelers coming from France will no longer need to quarantine if they are

fully vaccinated. Phil Black following this story.

Of course, the Delta variant raging in many nations, so there will be questions about whether this is the right time to ease up on travel


What are you hearing?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I think the government would say here that it is trying to achieve a balanced situation, where it

studies the risks that are emerging, the trends emerging from respective countries, while also, where possible, reasonable, giving people the

opportunity to travel and take holidays and be reunited with loved ones as they clearly desire to do, all while doing so in a structure that has some

chance of detecting any of its slowing down the arrival of any new variants of concern, perhaps something new that develops that's even more

transmissible than the Delta variant, for example.

And that's part of the logic that kept France until recently in its own category, so-called amber plus. The practical difference there was that if

you arrived from a designated amber list country and you are fully vaccinated, you don't need to quarantine at home.

For people traveling from France, regardless of vaccination status, they have had to do that. But the rules are changing. So France is now rejoining

the amber list and people will no longer have to spend time at home quarantining, which is great news for the many people who like to get to

France over summer.

Other countries are also joining the amber list; notably the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and India. These are countries moving from the red list to amber, red

being the strictest designation. Designated coronavirus hot spots, travel from a red list country and well, you can only do it if you're a resident

or a citizen and you then have to spend time in mandatory hotel quarantine.

There are new countries falling onto the red list as a result of these changes, including notably Mexico, which is a popular tourist destination.

And we're already hearing reports here about British travelers in Mexico on holiday, desperate to get back here before these new rules kick in on the

early hours of Sunday morning so they can avoid that expensive, timely mandated hotel quarantine.

The good news, I guess, is the green list is expanding. So this will include Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Norway, among others. These

are countries you can travel to and from without quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.

Now all of this is big news here, big front page headline news in the U.K. because, well, people are desperate to take holidays and the travel

industry is desperate to get moving again.

So for these reasons, the government has been under considerable pressure recently, perhaps more so than any other aspect of its pandemic policy in

coming up with a system that works and isn't, according to its critics, too cautious and too complicated.

The critics are unlikely to be satisfied entirely by the changes that have been announced today but the government would say that caution is still

necessary because the pandemic is still out there. And the gains that have been made here in the U.K. need to be protected. Becky, back to you.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Thank you, Phil, well explained.

COVID vaccine requirements could be coming for foreign travelers wanting to visit the U.S. A White House official says the Biden administration is

developed a plan to mandate most foreign visitors be fully vaccinated.

Now that would be part of a phased approach to ease current travel restrictions. The timeline has not been given but the official said there

will be no imminent changes to current restrictions because of the highly contagious Delta variant.

I want to get you up to speed on some of the other stories on our radar right now.

The European Union calling for an urgent, comprehensive and permanent cease-fire in Afghanistan. This comes after a car bomb killed eight

civilians near Kabul's Green Zone. The E.U. says senseless violence is inflicting immense suffering upon Afghan citizens. It blames the Taliban

for not following through on their commitment to a truce made at talks in Doha.

China is livid about a proposed U.S. weapons deal with Taiwan. The $750 million sale includes artillery systems that would boost Taiwan's defenses

against a Chinese invasion. Beijing considers the island, of course, part of its territory. It is accusing the Biden administration of interfering.

Brazil's supreme court has ordered an investigation into president Jair Bolsonaro's claims that the country's electronic voting system is rigged.


ANDERSON: Bolsonaro has repeatedly pushed voter fraud allegations but he has yet to provide proof. Bolsonaro is expected to seek reelection next


Well, 11 people are under arrest in the United Kingdom, accused of online hate crimes after last month's Euro football final. The racist abuse

targeted Black England football players on social media following the team's loss to Italy.

U.K. police say people who think they can hide behind social media accounts, quote, "need to think again."

Forest fires, heavy smoke and urgent evacuations in Southern Europe. Up next, a live update from Greece, where firefighters have been dealing with

hundreds of fires this week.

And coming up in "WORLD SPORT," 13 years old and an Olympic medal winner. A conversation with one of those teenaged skateboarding superstars is just





ANDERSON: Thanks to the vaccine, business is booming and love is blooming this summer in cities across the U.S. Wedding planners, jewelers and dating

apps all getting a piece of the action. CNN's Clare Sebastian with this report from New York.



CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Shane Williams, months of COVID restrictions had been leading to this moment. And it didn't


SHANE WILLIAMS, LAWYER AND NEW FIANCE: I originally had it planned for actually December of 2020 in Quebec.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): When the pandemic prevented them from traveling, the lawyer from New Jersey used that setback to save up. He hired a

proposal planning company and even added a few more diamonds to the ring.

WILLIAMS: COVID, that was such a rough year. It was just -- we were locked in the apartment the whole time and I really wanted to spend some time and

make it special. So I decided to wait until we could come to New York.

SEBASTIAN: Did he exceed your expectations?


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): For professional proposal planner Tatiana Caicedo (ph) it's been a busy summer and an emotional one.

TATIANA CAICEDO, PROFESSIONAL PROPOSAL PLANNER: Very often clients saying that his partner went through a lot this year and they want to do something

nice for them. So that's...



SEBASTIAN (voice-over): After months of fear and isolation, love, it seems, is back. Jewelers report engagement ring sales are soaring. And

Google says such interest in dating hit a five-year high in July. Here in New York, around two-thirds of adults are now fully vaccinated.

So despite concerns about new variants, sunset brings daters flocking to Manhattan's waterfront.

Many who we spoke to, couples who got together during the pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like we're just starting to date because we're just now getting to get out and get to know each other in other



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we still have not seen our first movie together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We met on Hinge, in the middle of or beginning of May last year, so right in the middle of it all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She swiped left, I swiped right. We've been locked up for so many -- or so many months now, I said, now we can actually enjoy


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): For the dating apps that made this possible, the summer brings new marketing opportunities. Dating app BLACK: , which caters

to the Black community --


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): -- producing this remake of previous hit from rapper Juvenile.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will say since the release of that thing up we've definitely seen a spike in registrations, like 30 percent more

registrations than like four-week prior trend.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Like many dating apps, BLK now lets you filter for vaccination status with its vaccified badge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To date we've had over 180,000 BLK users add the badge to their profile. They kind of -- well, what happened to our users, they

want to know if their match is vaccinated or not.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): So while it's clear COVID changed the way people date, it also helped many realize what really matters is the people you

love -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


ANDERSON: The Duchess of Sussex is celebrating her 40th birthday with a little help from her friends.


MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: My 40th birthday and I've got an idea.

MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTOR: I know what it is.

MARKLE: Really?

MCCARTHY: My first guess, is it another photo shoot under a tree, where you're looking very peaceful?

MARKLE: Peaceful under a tree is me every day.


MARKLE: No, we're finally getting matching tattoos. I mean --

Well, you know I have something similar across my back. Because I'm turning 40, I'm asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor

a woman who's mobilizing back into the workforce.

Over 2 million women in the --

ANDERSON (voice-over): Well, actor Melissa McCarthy helping Meghan Markle with her birthday announcement in a video released on Wednesday. The

Duchess is asking 40 activists, athletes, artists and world leaders to participate in a mentor program for women getting back into the workforce

after the pandemic.

Along with McCarthy, pop star Adele and poet Amanda Gorman are among those pledging to give 40 minutes of their time for the initiative.


ANDERSON: Well, just when you think you have seen it all at the Olympics, the skateboarding competition turns dangerous, at least for a camera man.

An Australian veered off course and ran into a camera man during Thursday's qualifying. No one was hurt. And get this, he still ended up finishing

second in his heat and qualified for the final.


ANDERSON: That's in "WORLD SPORT." We're back after that with the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. Do stay with us.