Return to Transcripts main page
Connect the World
Rocket Fire Streaks Across Israeli Skies; Lionel Messi Leaving Barcelona Football; Blazes Scorch Greece; COVID Infections in the U.S. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 06, 2021 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN, more people get their news from CNN than any other news source.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Rocket fire streaks across the Israeli skies and Hezbollah admits responsibility. So what's behind this attack. We're
live near the Lebanese/Israeli border and in Beirut for you.
Lionel Messi is parting ways with Barcelona. Why the football superstar is leaving the only club he's every played for.
And the worst is yet to come, says the Greek Prime Minister, as dozens of blazes scorch the country. And new threaten Athens.
It is 3:00 p.m. in London, 5:00 p.m. Jerusalem. Hello and welcome. You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.
The United Nations urging all sides to stand down after days of attacks and counterattacks along the Israeli/Lebanon border. With Hezbollah, the
militant group backed by Iran, making a rare admission of responsibility for rockets fired towards Israel today; calling it a response to Israeli
air raids inside Lebanon. No serious injuries or damage are reported.
No Israel defends forces, tweeting it's airstrikes are a response to the rocket fire from Lebanon and important to point out, Israel does not
believe Iran is directly involved or that Hezbollah wants further escalation. Hezbollah seeming to also want to avoid escalation by aiming at
Well these tensions brewing just as Iran inaugurate its new hard line President, Ebrahim Raisi. We should note, a top Hezbollah official among
those attending the ceremony yesterday in Tehran.
Well there's a lot to get into here. We're connecting you to every angle of what is a very complex, very important story in the Middle East. Hadas
Gold, who's close to the Israeli/Lebanese border for you today. And Ben Wedeman is in Beirut where just days ago people marched in anger and paused
in sorrow of course to mark the anniversary of the devastating port explosion.
Let me start with you, Hadas. What are you seeing along that border now?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, at around 11:00 a.m. local, 19 rockets were fired from Lebanon towards Israel. Ten of them were
interceptor by Israel's Iron Dome defense system. Three of them the Israeli defense forces say landed short (ph) in Lebanon and six of them landed in
open areas in this - on this mountain behind known as Har Dov to the Israelis and Shebaa Farms to the United Nations and Lebanon.
But the fact that Hezbollah has taken responsibility for these attacks is a very serious and sharp escalation. One of the sharpest we have seen in
recent years. Because although there have been rocket attacks from Lebanon toward Israel recently, including just a couple of day ago, this is the
first time that Hezbollah is taking responsibility for any sort of attack in a couple years and for rocket attacks, specifically.
According to the Israeli military they don't think that such responsibility has been claimed since 2006. Now the Israeli military said they do not want
this to escalate into a full war but that they are prepared. They also noted they don't think Hezbollah necessarily wants this to escalate into
something further because they did not aim these rockets towards very populated civilian areas.
But the Israeli military says that they are prepared for this. They do not think that Iran, which of course backs Hezbollah, was specifically
directing Hezbollah to do this; but clearly a very sharp escalation coming at a very tense moment. Of course yesterday the Israeli Ministry - Minister
of Defense, Benny Gantz, said in an interview, that Israel was ready to militarily strike Iran when asked whether Israel was ready to do so.
He did hedge a little bit saying that Israel and the rest of the world needs to work on both the diplomatic and the strategic arena in order to
thwart Iran, but saying that Iran is clearly not just an Israeli problem. All of these tensions though coming to a head. These rockets being fired,
the issues, of course, in the ocean with the attack on the Mercer ship that Israel and the United Kingdom are attributing to Iran, a very volatile and
a very sensitive situation at this moment, Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben, the IDF believes Hezbollah claimed this attack because it wants to show it's in control of Southern Lebanon. Let's just step back
here. Does that make sense? And if so, why? What do you make of what we are seeing?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's no question that Hezbollah is very strong in Southern Lebanon. And it's
important to point out that Hezbollah, when it does something it claims responsibility.
What we've had going back to the - to May during the war before Gaza and Israel was that there were scattered incidents, occasional incidents of
fire - rockets being fired from Lebanon in toward Israel. But they were fired, by the most part, by Palestinian factions that operate in the area.
Now clearly they had a wink of approval from Hezbollah in these instances.
But Hezbollah - nobody doubts that, you know, when they say they did it, they did it. And they usually don't hide this sort of thing. But what's -
we need to keep in mind here is that certainly for - if you look at the Lebanese context, if doesn't make much sense to get involved in tensions
with Israel at the moment given, of course, the financial and economic collapse of the country.
The U.N. has come out to say that 78 percent of the Lebanese population now lives in poverty. But if you look beyond the Lebanese context itself and
the fact that there are attempts to resume the nuclear negotiations between the United States and its partners and Iran, that perhaps this is a moment
where it's useful for Iran to remind Israel that it has pressure points that it can put on Israel given that there is this shadow war going back
and forth between Israel and Iran around the Middle East.
Now there was one incident that I must point out that is significant, is that today as truck, which Hezbollah came out and said had gone to fire
missiles at Israel and it was coming back, got stopped in a village in Southern Lebanon. Stopped by Drues (ph) villagers and they commandeered
that truck that had a missile launcher on top. And it was only when the Army intervened, detained four members of Hezbollah and confiscated the
truck that the - that the showdown was averted.
So clearly many Lebanese do not want this country, given all its suffering from at the moment to be dragged into a war with Israel.
WEDEMAN: Thank you.
ANDERSON: And it's been a really difficult week hasn't it in Lebanon. Ben, thank you. Hadas, finally the IDF spokesman has stressed that Israel is not
looking to escalate into a full war but said it was prepared to do so if necessary. And this is, as we have heard similar statements from the
Israeli Defense Minister earlier this week with regard Iran, Hezbollah's pay master, to all intents and purposes.
Are there concerns on the ground in Israel that things are ratcheting up at this point?
GOLD: Well of course especially when you have Hezbollah taking responsibility for such an attack, such an escalation, such taking
responsibility that Israel has not seen for several years. That is very concerning to Israel and Israel has been responding to these rocket attacks
including with airstrikes, including with artillery.
And I have to say that on the way up we did see several tanks and armored personnel carriers that were parked. They weren't necessarily on the move
but it's a clear indication that near the Golan Heights, before the Golan Heights that the Israeli military is at the ready to respond. That things
are very sensitive and very volatile at the northern border.
Now as the Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson said, they do not want a full escalation into a war. But they are very prepared to do so. And for
them it's a very delicate balance between wanting to respond to these rocket attacks but also trying to prevent it from escalating into anything
further. Because they don't want this is escalate into a war.
And from what we're hearing, Hezbollah might not necessarily want it to escalate any further as well. But any sort of wrong move on any side could
cause this to really turn into something even more than what it stands right now. It's a very, very sensitive moment, almost on a precipitous, you
ANDERSON: Yes. A difficult calculation for what is still a relatively new administration. The coalition government there in Israel and the Prime
Minister, Naftali Bennett. Thank you, both, very much indeed for joining us.
Well the U.S. is monitoring the situation in the Middle East whilst also watching its number of COVID infections climb. According to Johns Hopkins
University, the U.S. averaging over 98,000 cases every day. That is almost a 50 percent increase from the week before. And the director for the
Centers for Disease Control, the CDC, tells CNN if someone is vaccinated and gets a breakthrough infection, the vaccine does nothing to prevent them
from spreading the virus to others.
While on the other side of the globe, Tokyo reporting over 4,500 new cases on Friday, that follows a daily high of more than 5,000 on Thursday. But
the Japanese Prime Minister doesn't believe the Olympic Games cause the surge as there hasn't been anymore flow of people downtown.
Well Japan's neighbor to the south, the Philippines, is putting Manila under lockdown for two weeks. People there rushing to get vaccines starting
Friday. They are not allowed out of their homes except for essential shopping. And reportedly, no one is allowed out past 8:00 p.m.
Well this kind of lockdown is what many across China fear may happen to their cities and communities. That's where we find our David Culver. He
joins me now from Beijing. We are, once again, talking about a country that has detected dozens of new locally transmitted symptomatic cases today. But
we are talking about dozens, we're not talking about hundreds or thousands at this point. What do we know?
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And put that in context, you just said that the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins is doing 98,000 new cases a
day. Here they had roughly 101 locally transmitted confirmed cases. So you say, why this reaction then? They the extreme measures, Becky?
Well you compare it to Tokyo, you say folks are not able to get out of their homes but for essential goods, that's a generous lockdown compared to
what we see even in neighborhoods here. You are sealed in and goods will come into you. You cannot go out. And that's tens of thousands of people.
That's if one individual is even testing positive within your community. And it's something that's playing out in multiple cities.
Now the case numbers are going up. And we could have expected that because we mass testing has ramped up. In cities like Nanjing where this Delta
variant was first detected, believe to have come in from a flight from Russia. Well they are testing all nine million residents not once, not
twice but three times. That's their plan.
Wuhan, likewise, going through a mass testing of its 11 plus million people. Here in Beijing a different approach. They have not yet rolled out
the citywide testing instead they decided to create the fortress around what is the Capital city trying to protect it as best as possible. Doing
that through extreme travel measures and stopping people essentially from coming in if they've been to medium or high risk areas.
By the way, China now has the most high risk and medium risk areas since April 2020, that was shortly after the Wuhan outbreak. So if you're coming
in from one of those locations and think you're going to travel into Beijing, well they're going to put you in quarantine. That's the plan that
they've rolled out and they will enforce it.
And it's interesting how they do that, it's through tracking most of the time self reporting. But if the self reporting isn't honest, Becky, they've
got your cell phone record that they can then check with the contact tracing apps, the health code apps that we use, and it will flag you and
you will then go into quarantine.
ANDERSON: David Culver on the story. Thank you, David. It's (ph) a pandemic of the unvaccinated, that is how Australia's Chief Medical Officer
describes the current spread there. Australia's - because of Australia's sluggish vaccine rollout only about 21 percent of the population is fully
Paula Hancocks keeping an eye on the tension and monitoring Australia's vaccination progress for you. The Chief Medical Officer, Paula, calling
these new outbreaks a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Australia is ramping up their vaccine campaign. Why have they been so slow off the mark, is it
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a number of reasons for this, Becky, they started back in February with their vaccination program.
And one of the simplest ways of looking at it is that in February things were looking extremely good in Australia. There were minimal cases, people
just weren't wearing masks, there was no need to. And there wasn't the desperation that you see in some of the other countries needing the
vaccinations to try and keep the pandemic under control.
It was simply like an alternate universe in Australia at that point. They managed to do that because they had effectively shut themselves off from
the rest of the world. There was also some changing medical advise when it came to the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine which did not help and
there was some resistance from people to come forward.
That is starting to change. Probably not unsurprisingly given the fact that Sydney's now in its sixth week of lockdown, Melbourne, itself, is now going
into number six lockdown. It's certainly been hit hard over recent months. So people are starting to realize they need to get vaccinated. And we heard
from officials that some 1.2 million shots were administered in the last week alone.
So certainly it's starting to pick up pace but you've still got just 21 percent under the age - over the age 16 that are fully vaccinated.
Officials also saying that even if they had had more vaccinated the Delta variant would have scuttered that.
ANDERSON: Yes. More than 60 percent of the Australia population is under some sort of lockdown at present.
We've just been watching - looking at images of some of the beaches which would normally, I'm sure, be packed at this time, absolutely empty. Do we
know if anymore protests are planned?
HANCOCKS: Well there certainly could well be. It would be a surprise not to see anymore protests given the fact that there have been a number - there
are have been thousands of people coming out onto the streets, most recently in Sydney as well. We saw protestors - I have to point out these -
this is not the main stream opinion for people to come out in Australia and protest against these lock downs. Many of the people that we did see on the
streets in Sydney, for example, were not wearing masks. They had banners - anti-vaccination banners and that's simply not the overall feeling within
But it has been slammed and condemned by police saying that this could well turn into a super spreader events, that these protestors coming out onto
the streets are undoing exactly what they are trying to achieve with the lockdowns. In fact, Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister, called it reckless
and selfish with these protestors.
But there is a lot of frustration that these lockdowns are now continuing to happen because Australians, for the most part, are simply not used to
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. All right, well as the world (inaudible) grapples with the Delta variant a conspiracy theory about the origin of
COVID is gaining traction once again in China. And western scientists are now questioning the thoroughness of the World Health Organization's
original report. Read all about those stories at cnn.com. More when we come back.
One of the greatest football players on the planet, if not the greatest, if looking for a new club. What F.C. Barcelona is saying about why it will not
resign Lionel Messi.
Plus two coaches allegedly involved in the Belarus sprinter drama in trouble now with the IOC themselves. A live report from Tokyo is just
And later, the Taliban say they've killed another Afghan official. The second one this week as they continue to push on provincial capitals. More
on that after this.
You're watching Connect the World, I'm Becky Anderson, do stay with us.
ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World, I'm Becky Anderson before you. The President of F. C. Barcelona says no one person is more important than
his club even one of if not the best football player in the world. And with that Barcelona announced that if cannot resign long time superstar, Lionel
Messi. The club says it will not be able to fit (ph) a new contract for Messi into the Spanish league's financial fair play rules.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAN LAPORTA; PRESIDENT, FC BARCELONA: (Translated) Leo wanted to stay at Barca and we wanted him to stay.
Of course, he's the best player in the world and has other offers. After all this process there comes a moment in a negotiation where you have to
say, enough. You have to analyze it, you must leave emotions out and look at the numbers. In La Liga we have abide by the rules. We think they could
be more flexible but that's not an excuse. We knew this rule and we couldn't abide by it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well Messi is now a free agent able to sign with anyone. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City could be big bidders for the six time
Ballon d'Or winner. My colleague, World Sport, Amanda Davies, following this story.
And it is hard to imagine, and this (ph) sport story pushing the Olympics aside. But many argue Messi, of course, is the greatest footballer of all
time. And this is a really interesting situation that the - that the player and the club have got themselves into here. Just explain how one of the
richest teams in football cannot afford to resign its best player.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes, it is pretty incredible isn't it. You know, the simple answer is the sums just don't add up. From the outside
it's pretty difficult to understand how if a player wants to stay at the club and Barcelona wants to keep its greatest player of all time. Why do we
not make that work?
Well the issue is that even with Lionel Messi, as we understand happy to take a pay cut, because of the Spanish League Financial Fair Play Rules put
in place to protect the leagues and the clubs to make is sustainable, Barcelona just don't have the funds to be able to do that. Barcelona's
player's salaries make up 110 percent of their income. As you know, that isn't sustainable.
So they need to sell players before they can buy new players. They've actually got a current - a couple of current players they already got on
their books. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Depay (ph) that they're not able to register until they ship out a couple of other players. That is the
situation that Barcelona are in. And as you said, the club President, Joan Laporta, said for all the will, the want to give - to give Lionel Messi a
new deal at Barcelona, they cannot sign a deal with a player that could put the club at risk for the next 50, 60 years.
It's too important for that. The word coming out from Lionel Messi is that he's really unset by this situation. He's always said he wanted to complete
his career at this club. But for all the naysayers who might be saying, is this a game, is this the club trying to be La Liga to bend the rules. What
we're hearing is, no. There's an understanding that for the good of the game, for the good of the club, the good of the league, these rule need to
be stuck by so it does seem, after Messi's contract run out on July the 1st, one of the greatest partnerships in football of all time, 21-years of
Lionel Messi with Barcelona, seems to be coming to an end.
ANDERSON: And where he goes next, the big open question. We're going to have to take a short break. We can do that though next hour. Thank you.
Amanda Davies, in the house.
Two coaches allegedly involved in trying to force an Olympic sprinter to return to home to Belarus against her will. Will now, themselves be put
back on a plane to Minsk. They've already been shown the door at the Tokyo games by the International Olympic Committee, which has stripped them of
But Olympic Chiefs (ph) say the pair, quote, "Will be offered an opportunity to be heard. They'll be asked about sprinter, Krystsina
Tsimanouskaya." She defected to Poland this week igniting a political firestorm after alleging that team officials took her to Tokyo airport and
tried to force her onto a plane back home where she feared she would be arrested.
Well CNN's, Selina Wang has been tracking this story for us from the Olympics in Tokyo. I mean this is remarkable. Is this has the echoes of
sort of Cold War defections. The original move was of course to force the sprinter onto a plane to get home. And then we've seen what happened off
the back of that.
Just fill us in on this very latest leg of what is a remarkable story.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Becky. And the IOC says it has launched a formal investigation, they set up this disciplinary committee to
try and get to the bottom of the alleged role of these two coaches from Belarus. They also say that they have taken quote, "immediate action"
against this quote, "deplorable case" and that they've offered assistance to Poland to allow Tsimanouskaya to continue her sporting career. Now she
has safely arrived in Warsaw.
Poland gave her a humanitarian visa. And from a press conference in Warsaw she said she was saddened that she was not given the chance to finish here
opportunity here at the Olympics. But she's hoping that this was not her last chance. Now Tsimanouskaya says that after she criticized team
officials for putting her in a race that she did not consent to that Belarus team officials then went to the Olympic Village, they threatened
her, forced her to go to the airport. She feared retaliation. She feared arrest if she went back to Belarus so she refused to get on the airplane.
And, Becky, a key point here is that some of the target of Aleksandr Lukashenko's brutal crackdown on decent have included some athletes and the
OIC has emphasized that Lukashenko and his son are barred from the Tokyo games and that the IOC does not recognize Lukashenko's son as the head of
the Belarus National Olympic Committee. Becky.
ANDERSON: Selina, let's get back to Olympic competition before you go. You met the youngest medalist, a Japanese girl who is just 12-years old. Tell
us about her extraordinary story.
WANG: Becky, this was a really special interview. Kokona Hiraki, is only 12-years old and she took home the silver medal in the first time
skateboarding has ever been at the Olympics. And what's incredible, Becky, is that she stood on the medal podium with two teenage girls. Now these
young women are changing the face of skateboarding, not just in Japan but around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANG: You are the youngest Olympic medalist in Japan and you are the youngest in the world in more than 80 years. What does that mean to you?
How does it feel to know that?
KOKONA HIRAKI, OLYMPIC SILVER MEDAL WINNER: (Translated) I don't think about being the youngest. I didn't think I could get a medal. I was really
happy to get it. My mom probably didn't even imagine it.
WANG: How do you stay calm under so much pressure?
HIRAKI: (Translated) I think it was because I wasn't nervous at all and just enjoyed the Olympics.
WANG: And you've already accomplished so much in just 12 years. But what is next for you? What are your next plans?
HIRAKI: (Translated) I want to be the coolest skater in the world and produce my own signature skateboard model. Also I want to participate in
the Paris Olympics.
WANG: I think you're already - you're already close to getting there. Maybe you already are there. I think that it's incredible that Japan has done so
well at these Olympics and the debut of skateboarding at the Olympic Games. What do you think the world should know about skateboarding in this
HIRAKI: (Translated) There are not many people into skateboarding in Japan. But because it was in the Tokyo Olympics, I think skateboarding will become
more popular in Japan.
WANG: And what are you going to do with that medal?
HIRAKI: (Translated) I will keep this medal as a treasure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WANG: Now, Becky, we're going to be seeing a lot of Hiraki in the future. While she may be the youngest Olympian right now, she says she wants to
skateboard for the rest of her life and she could one day also be the oldest skateboarder at the Olympics. Becky.
ANDERSON: Amazing. I do love these stories. Selina, thank you. Well two Afghan officials assassinated by the Taliban in just a span of days. We've
got reaction for you and the latest on the militants drive to seize provincial Afghan capitals. A live report is just ahead. And parts of
Greece being called a powder keg due to the worst heat wave there in decades. Wildfires now burning near the Capital. We'll take a look at
whether there is any relief in-site.
You're watching Connect the World, stay with us.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London. You're watching Connect the World's. The UN's Afghanistan envoy pleading with the
international community today to help prevent Afghanistan from descending into all out catastrophe. Those strong words coming after the killing of a
top media official in Afghanistan. The second assassination by the Taliban this week.
Plus, the militants deadly push to seize provincial capitals across the country killing hundreds of civilians along the way after taking control of
dozens of rural districts.
The crisis is developing by the hour. CNN's international security editor Nick Paton Walsh joining me out of London. And, Nick, there are so many
strands here, and I'm going to let you just sort of just go, tell us. How close are the Taliban to seizing their first provincial capital, for
example, what are you hearing at this point?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Initial indications is around the capital of Nimroz Province near the border with Iran, not one of
the better known provinces, frankly, not enormously populated, but it seems according to a government source of multiple videos from inside that city
to have been the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban.
Some reports they're suggesting that, in fact, essentially security forces there found themselves lacking in reinforcements and had to essentially cut
a deal with the Taliban. That's according to reporting from Reuters.
But there's a key moment here because so much of the hopes pinned on government security forces was that like they had seen over the past years
in rural, lesser populated parts of Afghanistan. Yes, they would lose to an insurgency that often hails from there to but still be able to hold on to
provincial capital, to the key cities where so much of the money is where so much of the American and NATO presence over the years there and the
government's resources have landed.
This case, it appears in Nimroz as the first time in which around a major provincial capital has indeed fallen. It will raise many questions as to
whether other provincial capitals could now follow afterwards. It will raise questions as to whether the Taliban's tactics have been to try and
frankly overstretch government security forces by pressing Kandahar, in the south Lashkar Gah, in the south two very important provincial capitals
under a kind of siege right now. And then also farther flung more vulnerable places like Sarang and Nimroz too.
So it is a key moment certainly, not because Sarang is in itself of extraordinary strategic importance, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar are, but
because it marks possibly a watermark in what the insurgency has been capable of. Over the past year they've always pushed into big cities and
then being pushed out to --
WALSH: -- guided by a combination of us airstrikes and Afghan security forces, Becky.
ANDERSON: The UN Afghanistan envoy Deborah Lyons just spoken in front of the UN Security Council and said amongst other things, that she questions
the Taliban's desire for peace even as peace talks are scheduled for next week. Condemnations aside, what will the EU and the US need to do to stop
the Taliban's momentum at this point?
WALSH: There's nothing to be honest that they can do unless the US is prepared to use greater airpower, possibly spotters for those aircrafts in
evidence more on the ground and put back the security assistance and the military firepower that they've had in place that have essentially stopped
this from happening over the past fighting season summers, as a summer unknown (ph) in Afghanistan.
So the rhetoric, frankly, the time for that is in the past. There has been a long held idea in part of Western circles that the Taliban learned
lessons in the 90s about international isolation and sanctions and don't want to come back to power or share power with the Afghan government as an
international pariah and therefore they will somehow seek a negotiated settlement.
But as we see them advanced on the battlefield too, as we see harsher signs of the kind of society they want to impose on Afghanistan, some horrifying
stories emerging of late. That idea of essentially a negotiated settlement being inevitable has become many critics say a fraud.
We've also seen too Becky, importantly, in Kabul itself this week signs that security there is lapsing. It's been kind of left alone by the
insurgency for a number of months, while this negotiation carried out, while the Americans got themselves out of the country sped up their
withdrawal. Today, Dawa Khan Menapal, the head of the government -- Media and Information Center was assassinated in the Capitol on Tuesday. A key
district governor was assassinated on that same day as well. There was an attempt I'd seen in the life of the acting defense minister, that's key
government officials being hit.
That is certainly a sign of Taliban can get in what used to be called the ring of steel of Kabul. And it's a sign that that capital city, the bedrock
of the government of Afghanistan may also be under threat in the months ahead. It's going very bad. Very fast, Becky, in ways I think many people
thought were less likely a matter of months ago, Becky?
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you.
Well, extreme heat turning grease into a powder keg. That is according to the Prime Minister there that dozens of wildfires are burning, including
some on the outskirts of the capital. Communities have been evacuated as a precaution and 20 people are in hospital.
This heatwave also blamed for fires in Turkey. Let's get more on these extreme temperatures with our meteorologist Allison Chinchar. What have you
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right, Becky. So we're looking at the current temperatures right now. And you can see they're still very warm.
Athens sitting at 38 degrees, Kalamata 32. Istanbul still sitting at right about 29 degrees.
Now I want to point out that yesterday, on Thursday, it was a little bit warmer. Athens topping out at 41, their average is 32. So today, not quite
as bad as yesterday, but still well above the average.
Now one bit of good news, we've got a cold front that will be sliding through this area bringing temporary relief. Those temperatures will
slightly cool back down at least a little bit. But then notice by the time we get to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, those temperatures
jump right back up.
So here's a look at Saturday and Sunday. Again, Athens 33 and 34, Istanbul 28 and 30. So again, a little bit cooler than we have been the last couple
of days, but still above the average.
Now one thing to note, we talked about that cold front, that's what's bringing relief in terms of temperatures. That's good news. Now for the bad
news, as that cold front slides through, it's also going to kick the winds up a little bit, especially across Greece, as we finish out Friday and
early Saturday, by the latter half of Saturday, now the focus becomes across Turkey.
The concern here is as those winds kick up, it makes it very easy to spread the ongoing wildfires across both of these countries. So really the next 24
to 36 hours are really going to be critical in terms of those winds. Can they keep everything contained? Can they prevent these fires from really
spreading much farther than they already have? Especially knowing once we get into next week, we're going to start to see another tick up again yet
again for the temperatures.
For Athens, for example, again, temperatures not too bad for Saturday dropping back to 33. But then gradually, you start to see that tick back up
again, Becky, what we're seeing those temperatures once again, getting well above average and staying that way for the rest of the upcoming week.
ANDERSON: Tough times. Thank you. We'll still add a new sport makes its Olympics debut the first ever gold medal in climbing. When Connect the
ANDERSON: There are all new calls for pregnant women to get the Coronavirus vaccine, a large number of avoided the shot fearing what could happen to
their unborn child. But British health officials at least now say that the Delta variant puts these women in more at risk than ever. Salma Abdelaziz
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ready, so that tummy has got to come in.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pregnancy in the time of pandemic comes with a big question whether or not to get vaccinated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, two, one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Staying up at night and researching. It became slightly like an obsession being told woman not to have it the next minute
to have it. It was a little bit confusing.
ABDELAZIZ: Guidance keeps changing. British officials first advise expectant mothers against vaccination, but since July, strongly urging. In
the US, the CDC does not directly recommend it for pregnant people, but say they are eligible. While two leading obstetric groups say expectant mothers
should be immunized. Unable to find clear answers, Christine Coffman and Maryland decided not to get vaccinated.
CHRISTINE COFFMAN, CONTRACTED CORONAVIRUS WHILE PREGNANT: I was definitely worried about it being so new and us not having a lot of research on it.
ABDELAZIZ: One week before her due date, she tested positive for COVID-19.
COFFMAN: At that time, I thought that I was going to die. IT was terrifying knowing that I had this infection coursing through my body.
ABDELAZIZ: As mom and baby got sicker, doctors performed an emergency C section.
COFFMAN: It took her to the (INAUDIBLE) and I didn't see my baby for two days, because I had COVID.
ABDELAZIZ: Both are now back home happy and healthy.
(on camera): Hello.
COFFMAN: Hi. I just really want my story to be an advice if you're thinking about getting the vaccine, get it.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): 98 percent of expectant mothers admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in England since May were on vaccinated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The balance is very much in favor of the benefits of vaccination versus the risks of the infection.
ABDELAZIZ: Initial vaccine trials did not include pregnant women. But experts point to the nearly 200,000 pregnant people now safely vaccinated
across the US and UK.
Back in the park, we asked if the real world evidence is enough.
(on camera): Raise your hand if you've gotten the vaccine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, there's not enough data there. Personally from what I've researched to make me feel comfortable getting it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just felt more comfortable and safer knowing that I had some protection than no protection at all.
ABDELAZIZ: A majority of pregnant people in the US and the UK remain unvaccinated with many still waiting for answers. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN,
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: One of the most unique sporting events has its Olympic debut. Alberto Gines Lopez of Spain won the first ever gold medal in sport
climbing, which includes a speed climb. Gines Lopez is just 18 years old and is the youngest man to ever win a gold for Spain.
Amanda Davies of World Sport has been following the action. And once again, we talk about a new sport, young says relatively -- young since winning
goals and fantastic stuff. And for those who don't understand this sport, just explain what's going on as we look at the action here.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS: It is one of the three climbing disciplines and you have to get up basically a 15 meter high wall as quick as possible.
DAVIES: And the world record is 5.4 seconds. It's ridiculous. But it's fantastic. It's absolutely compelling to watch. It's like watching real
life spider man. He said that he wants to use it to inspire the next generation. He was inspired by his sister, interestingly, that become yes,
Spain's youngest ever gold medal winner and historic first ever gold in one of the Olympics most new events which has certainly made one of the biggest
ANDERSON: Yes, super star. More on that in the World Sport. Amanda is back after this break. I'll be back top of the hour for you.
DAVIES: Hi, thanks for joining us. Welcome along to World Sport live from London with me Amanda Davis. So America's Allyson Felix has become the most
decorated female track and field athlete of all time after taking bronze in the 400 meters in Tokyo. She finished behind Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the
Bahamas who took gold with my Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic taking silver.
The bronze for 35-year-old Felix has her 10th Olympic medal in all seeing her past the record of Jamaica's Merlene Ottey. Incredibly, Tokyo her fifth
Olympic Games. Her first Athens back in 2004. She has now won six golds, three silvers and one bronze with the chance of an 11th medal on Saturday
when the United States seek to defend their four by 400 relay title.
But away from the Olympics, there is another huge story playing out, it's hard to believe but we really could be facing the end of the Lionel Messi
era at Barcelona. The club president Joan Laporta has been speaking on Friday morning, he said they can't afford to give him a new contract or do
a deal that would put the club at risk.
Barcelona is above everything he said even the best player in the world. Laporta (ph) released a statement on Thursday saying that the 34-year-old
won't be staying at the club because of what they described as financial and structural obstacles. He's been a free agent since July the 1st when
his contract expired.
And an interestingly worded statement the club said both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be
Well, Messi said nothing publicly as yet. He's Barcelona's record top scorer and appearance maker scoring 672 goals, winning 35 trophies
including 10 La Ligas, and four Champions Leagues. He's won the prestigious Ballon d'Or six times more than any other player in history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAN LAPORTA, FC BARCELONA PRESIDENT (via translator): Leo wanted to stay at Barca and we wanted him to stay. Of course, he's the best player in the
world, and has other offers. After all this process, there comes a moment in a negotiation where you have to say enough. You have to analyze it. You
must leave emotions out and look at the numbers
In La Liga we have to abide by the rules. We think there could be more flexible, but that's not an excuse. We knew this rule and we couldn't abide
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: Well, earlier on I got the thoughts of MARCA sports journalist Juan Castro from Spain. For more, I asked him is this posturing or is Messi
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN CASTRO, SPANISH FOOTBALL JOURNALIST: Yes, absolutely 100 percent. I mean, isn't not myself who is saying that, is not the MARCA, my newspaper,
who is saying that.
He's Joan Laporta, the Barca president who is saying that Messi won't play anymore in Barcelona, so there is no regret solution for that. So we will
see Messi playing but not in La Liga anymore.
DAVIES: All the statements, all the wording from Barcelona, and from Laporta, there's been a lot of focus on La Liga and the role of their
financial regulations. Is it just a play to get them to step in and make an exception for Messi? Is that what Barcelona we're looking forward do you
CASTRO: No, I don't think so. I mean, I don't think so. I was hearing the Joan Laporta words and he was really sincere. I mean, he said that right
now in the financial situation that Barcelona is they cannot afford with the new Messi salary so they cannot pay him is that is so clear.
And I think La Liga in the other part, in La Liga part, I think they will make an exception with Messi. So, La La Liga was also very clear in the
past, and they won't make any exception with anybody. Messi and Barcelona include. So that means that Messi won't play La Liga anymore.
DAVIES: Messi we had been hearing had been prepared to take to take a pay cut. You know, he's a player that has been at Barcelona for over 20 years.
He'd said this is the place he wanted to see out his career having grown up there won everything there is to win. What do you know of his feelings? And
what he wants? Because he doesn't need the money, does he?
CASTRO: No, he doesn't need the money. That is true. But, of course, he's not playing for free. He's not going to play for free. That's also for
sure. So both things are sure. But what do we think inside the Messi's house is that he is so, so, so sad. He was expecting to travel to Spain
these days, he travel this week and he expect to spec to sign his new contract because the agreement between Barcelona and Messi was almost
quite, quite sure.
But La Liga rules are there and inside. I mean, in these rules, the new mess salary of Messi cannot be fixed. So bad, Messi is quite sad. That is
sure. And where is he going to play now? I mean, I think the question is another. Is which clubs in the world can pay now his salary? This is the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: Well, indeed that is the question. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have been the two sides being talked about most as
potential destinations for Messi but interestingly, the city boss Pep Guardiola told at a press conference in the last hour or so, that while he
does have interest in Harry Kane, Messi isn't in his thoughts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see this as an opportunity? Is it possible for you to --
PEP GUARDIOLA, MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER: We spend in 14 million pounds with Jack Grealish. You know, 100 we pay in 60 we won in the last year. So then
he will bring the number 10. So because we were incredible compete for Jack Grealish, we were convinced to that Leo will continue to Barcelona. So --
but right now is not in our thoughts. Absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIES: Absolutely not. But was that a little wry smile from Pep Guardiola. We should wait and see. Stay with us though. Up next, we've got news of a
heart stopping gold medal match in women's football in Tokyo.
DAVIES: Congratulations to Canada and Christy Sinclair. They finally got their hands on Olympic football gold. Their women's team getting past
Sweden after a hard stopping gold medal match winning on penalties. As you can see, finished one-one of the extra time. Six missed penalties and all
sudden death it went Julia Grosso scoring the winner. It's Canada's first ever major trophy men or women. For Sweden, a second straight Olympic
Well, there was a Canadian first in the decathlon as well thanks to Damian Warner on a steamy hot night in Tokyo. He was as cool as can be as he took
gold, setting a new games record of 9,018 points in one of the Olympics toughest events. It's Canada's first ever gold in the decathlon. And at 31
years of age, one of the oldest ever Olympic champion in the event.
Well, from 10 events to seven is Belgium's Nafi Thiam celebrating success in the heptathlon. Again, the 26-year-old third actually after the first
day of competition, but she dominated the javelin and the long jump on Thursday to become the first woman since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1992 to
win back to back Olympic heptathlon titles.
Well that's it for myself and the team for this edition of World Sport. Time to hand you back to Beck. I think we've slightly caught Becky out
there. But Becky, I bet you are watching the football penalties because it was an epic penalty shootout in the women's football final between Canada
and Sweden. I am definitely going to head off and watch that one now.
ANDERSON: Well done. Well done for sweeping up that messy hand. Sorry about it.
DAVIES: It's Friday afternoon, Becky. It's Friday afternoon.
ANDERSON: It's Friday afternoon and I was plugging myself back in. I have now connected and ready to do what I'm paid to do, which is this next show
which is Connect the World. Thank you, Amanda. Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson, is next.