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U.S. FDA Considering Whether to Approve Booster Shots; Italy Mandates Green Pass for All Workers; Cuba Vaccinates Children as Young as 2 Years Old; Biden Authorizes New Ethiopia Sanctions After CNN Report; Humanitarian Crisis Feared in Afghanistan; Afghan Female Judges Fear Reprisal Attacks; President Xi Jinping Slams Submarine Deal; New Lebanese Prime Minister Faces Nation on the Verge of Economic Crash; Aired 10-11a ET
Aired September 17, 2021 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: If you want to go to work in Italy, you'll have to follow new COVID rules, and they are among the
toughest in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NABILA, AFGHAN JUDGE (through translator): Because of this threat from the prisoners, I change my house once every four days. I hide there and I try
to never go out.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Female judges in Afghanistan in hiding. Fearing the Taliban are seeking revenge. This is a CNN exclusive.
And external forces should not be allowed to interfere in internal affairs. President Xi Jinping hitting back after Australia's nuclear-powered sub
deal ruffles China's composure.
All right. It's 6:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD from our Middle East programming hub.
We have a jampacked two hours ahead for you including my interview with Lebanon's new prime minister, Najib Mikati, officially took office last
week after a year of political gridlock. Now he is moving forward with a new cabinet and a plan he says to bring the country out of financial ruin.
That discussion coming up.
First, we are the first international media organization to speak to Mr. Mikati since he became prime minister. That interview in the next hour.
Well, to boost or not to boost? That is the question U.S. health officials are considering at this hour. Health experts say there are probably will
not be a straight yes or no answer whether to give a COVID booster shot but rather a recommendation for certain at-risk groups and that is because
there doesn't seem to be unanimous thinking on the issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: With the boosters, are we trying only to prevent severe disease? Or what about
people who just get pretty darn sick with a breakthrough and who then infect other people, or maybe they get long COVID which we just had a big
announcement about today? There's a lot of things to think about here beyond whether people are actually really sick in the hospital.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That's the story on boosters. Italy meanwhile is mandating the COVID green pass for all of its workers. Starting next month, workers must
show proof of vaccination and negative COVID test or a recent recovery from an infection.
France also getting tough with workers there. Some 3,000 health care staff have been suspended for not being vaccinated against the virus. They were
given until the 15th of this month to get the shot.
Cuba meanwhile wants its students back in school so children there as young as two are being vaccinated against the virus.
We're across the globe on the persistence of the coronavirus. Ben Wedeman is in Rome on what is known as the green pass there. Patrick Oppmann is in
Havana. First want to get you, though, to Elizabeth Cohen who joins us with the very latest.
Elizabeth, on this booster debate, have we got a sense of which way the FDA is leaning at this point?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, we're not really sure because, as we speak, there is an all-important meeting going
on, Becky. These are outside advisers to the FDA. These are vaccine experts. And they're going to go through all the data. This is a public
meeting. And they will advise the FDA on what they think basically the law of the land should be.
A question that is going to be addressed is, do we even need boosters? If you've gotten two shots, is that enough? So let's look at some of the data
on that. And this is data from all over the world. So in the U.S., the data suggests that we do not need boosters, that two shots work well, to prevent
severe COVID-19. Israeli data on people over 60 suggest that we do need boosters, and that boosters have been successful.
So that's looking at boosters to prevent severe COVID-19. But some people are saying, why are we just thinking that boosters are going to prevent
severe COVID-19? Maybe we need boosters just to prevent infection? It's very clear that antibodies wane over a period of time. We don't want people
to get infected, even if they're just infected and a little bit sick that's possibly problematic. We heard Dr. Collins address that point just a few
So let's take a look about the -- look at the debate over whether COVID-19 infections, do they matter? Some say no, vaccines protect against illness,
not infected, we don't really care if people get infected, as long as they're not terribly sick, and then other people say, yes, fewer infections
mean fewer illnesses.
It would be better to have fewer infections. So there's really two camps on this. One camp says the Israeli data is right and we ought to go with
boosters. Another camp says there's data from the U.S. and all sorts of other places that say boosters aren't necessary -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes. Well, as the U.S. considers the debate, of course, boosters are available in some other countries including here in the UAE. Thank you.
Ben, Italy has been so hard hit by the virus. And certainly it was that first Petri dish as it were in Europe. How effective then do authorities
think this new green pass will be?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're hoping it will be effective. Certainly it's coming with a bit of a bite. If, for instance,
workers show up to work without a green pass, they can be dismissed or rather suspended from their jobs without pay. If they refuse to get
vaccinated and still go to work, they can be hit with a hefty fine, and employers who do not make sure that their employees are vaccinated, or
otherwise complied with the green pass, they will be fined as well.
Now, at the moment, 75 percent of the Italian population over the age of 12 has been fully vaccinated, according to the Italian government which has a
goal by the end of September to vaccinate 80 percent of the population. So far, there hasn't been much pushback to these fairly strict measures, other
measures which have been going into effect over the last few months. Keeping in mind that 130,000 Italians died from the COVID pandemic, and for
many people here, it's a no-brainer.
The only way to end this crisis will not be through magical thinking, the use of things like horse dewormers or gargling iodine, it's the vaccines
which will bring this pandemic to an end and will allow the Italian economy, which hasn't grown essentially in the last 20 years, and which
actually shrunk by 9 percent last year because of the pandemic, if everybody gets vaccinated, perhaps life can get back to normal, the country
can get moving again, so the government is trying to do as much as possible to convince people to sign on to this idea, and get back to life -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedemann is in Italy for you, in Rome.
Patrick, let me get to you, our man in Havana. Has there been any pushback to vaccinating kids as young as 2? And explain why the government there
believes that is necessary.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was not originally the plan to vaccinate children this early and there was some hesitancy talking to
parents just a few weeks ago, but now that we've seen a surge of new cases in children and in deaths in children, a lot of the hesitancy has vanished.
And many parents now are eager to vaccinate their children here. You know, they're talking about it in and the U.S. studying it. You hear about
parents debating it around the world. Here they are already moving ahead with vaccinating children. They said there isn't a moment to waste.
OPPMANN (voice-over): First comes the jab and then the tears. In this one clinic in Havana, the day we visited, over 230 children between the ages of
2 and 5 were vaccinated, hospital administrators tell us. Several countries around the world have begun to vaccinate children. But Cuba is believed to
be the first to vaccinate toddlers on a large scale.
Even though COVID vaccinations aren't mandatory here, Laura tells me she didn't hesitate to bring her 4-year-old daughter Anisole to get the shot. I
am relieved, she says, because a lot of people are still getting sick. And with the vaccine, we are more protected.
Rather than rely on importing vaccines from abroad, Cuba has produced its own homegrown anti-COVID drugs. The island's government says studies show
they are safe even in children and have begun sending data to the World Health Organization for its approval. With the Delta variant, cases in
children are soaring in Cuba.
In just since in August, 10 children have died, according to government statistics, something doctors here tell us they didn't expect would happen.
It's more gratifying to vaccinate a child, she says. You put the vaccine and know they're going to be immunized and won't have serious complications
or even die from COVID.
The pandemic has hit Cuba hard with food and medicine shortages, and in- person schooling canceled indefinitely.
(On-camera): Cuban officials had said that they will reopen schools in early September but with a surge of new cases and deaths, those plans are
on hold. Now officials say that before they can safely reopen schools, they have to complete an island-wide vaccination campaign that includes
(Voice-over): Aneet Micel (PH) and her daughter Paula right before the 3- year-old gets her vaccine. I'm very happy, she says. More than when I got vaccinated. Vaccinating her is the biggest comfort yet.
Cuba's vaccines require three doses. So there are more jabs to come for these kids. But parents say, if it means that life could begin to return to
normal for their children, then all the tears will have been worth it.
OPPMANN: And you can't talk about life returning to normal, Becky, of course, if kids can't go back to school. School has been out for much of
the pandemic. Most Cubans do not have internet in their homes. It is considered a luxury still here. So kids watch TV every day, education
channels, and that's where they get their lessons from, and talking to Cuban teachers they realize that is just not good enough. The kids are
being left behind, already over a year now of no in-person schooling so they have to get those kids back into the classrooms.
They have to do it safely and the only way Cuban officials say to do that is vaccinate them now. They are hoping to have 90 percent of this island
vaccinated by mid-November. That includes children, they say there's not a moment to waste. And they have changed tact and decided to start
prioritizing children now. Even though they're not the most at-risk group, they say it's just too important and they cannot have kids exposed as they
are. It's unthinkable to think that children are now dying but that's what's happening nearly every day here.
ANDERSON: Patrick Oppmann is in Cuba for you. And that rounds out our COVID coverage this hour. Thank you.
Well, the Biden administration is putting pressures on all sides in the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia. The U.S. president has signed an
executive order authorizing sanctions as reports of atrocities continue to emerge from war-scarred Tigray. To put this into context, the U.S. is still
waiting to see what kind of steps the parties take before enacting any sanctions but the administration says it's, quote, "prepared to take
aggressive action against those who continue to fuel the conflict instead of negotiating a cease-fire." They include members of the Ethiopian and
Eritrea government as well as the Tigray People's Liberation Front.
Well, sanctions are being informed by CNN's extensive reporting in the region. Just last week, we brought you a CNN exclusive investigation that
uncovered evidence of mass detentions and executions in the town of Humera in the Tigray region.
Well, CNN's Nima Elbagir has been a major part of that reporting and she joins me now with more on President Biden's sanctions.
Nima, for much of this conflict, the United States, along with the U.N., frankly had failed to hold high level Ethiopian officials to account for
their role in atrocities committed in the region. The White House is now taking action. How much of a difference will that make?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're seeing them do this time, which had been missing frankly, in many of the
statements they released in the past, is that they're also putting a time frame down. For the first time, this comes with an ultimatum that they are
seeking to see action on these issues both the negotiation cease-fire and humanitarian access, unhindered humanitarian access within weeks. And if
that action is not forthcoming they have done two things here.
They've broadened the scope of the sanctions so these sanctions can be far more targeted and far more impactful and wide reaching. But they also,
through this executive order, are declaring that, as they put, the gender- based violence, the rape, the ethnically motivated violence in Tigray is now a matter of national emergency for the United States. So they've
elevated the status of it. But this comes, as you rightly pointed out, after months of merely telegraphing concern without backing it up with all
of that much, frankly, and congressional contacts that we've been speaking to, U.S. lawmakers have said that this urgency has come because of our
reporting and the pressure that it's put on the government -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Nima, the Biden administration says it's, quote, "prepared to take aggressive action," and they're talking about both sides here.
They are talking about sanctions against the Ethiopian government and also sanctions against the Tigray People's Liberation Front. Is there anything
more in this? And what could this aggressive action as it were entail?
ELBAGIR: So what lawmakers are hoping to see is a naming and shaming. You know, they've said that they put in place visa restrictions but they're not
going to share the visa restrictions. And I think it's important when we're talking about these sanctions to really remind our viewers why the scope of
this is so important.
I want to warn our viewers that this is very graphic. But this is the evidence that we shared with viewers on your show, the evidence of torture,
of execution, and of what we found to be a methodical campaign that bore the hallmarks of genocide. And so because of those stakes and this urgency
that we have communicated, and U.S. lawmakers tell us, they have heard that message loud and clear, they're now asking questions like the ones that you
just asked, Becky.
Why does this make the difference? And how are you going to make sure that this sticks? And we are seeking answers to those questions. We're reaching
out to the White House and the secretary of State, and anything we get, we will come back to you -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes. And just briefly, it is clear, and the U.S. has said, this is, members of the Ethiopian, Eritrean government, as well as the TPLF,
ELBAGIR: Yes, yes, they said all parties to the conflict which does complicate things somewhat because in terms of the humanitarian access, the
TPLF or the Tigrayan forces are not the ones who are turning off the tap on that. It's been almost six weeks with limited humanitarian resources and
hundreds of thousands of people falling into famine conditions, so there's also a concern that the U.S. is seeking to placate Ethiopia somewhat and in
doing that is creating a moral equivalency -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Nima, thank you.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live today from our Middle East programming hub in Abu Dhabi.
Still ahead, a new warning about Afghanistan's future on the Taliban rule and a new call for inclusivity from the country's largest neighbor.
And Afghan women who served as judges now fearing for their lives. That is all ahead.
ANDERSON: Well, there's yet another urgent warning today on Afghanistan's future, from a global organization. The International Monetary Fund says,
and I quote here, "A looming humanitarian crisis is in store unless the flow of aid resumes."
Well, a spokesman says IMF engagement with Afghanistan remains suspended, quote, "until there is clarity within the international community on the
recognition of the Taliban government."
Well, China's Foreign Ministry is calling on the Taliban to form an inclusive government. Speaking today at the regional summit in Tajikistan,
he called on the Taliban to moderate its policies, including respecting the rights of women.
CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson again connecting us from Kabul today, and this of course is a conversation that I had with
another person who was at that meeting with the Chinese today, and that is Imam Khan of Pakistan and we'll just hear a little bit about that interview
that I conducted this week momentarily, but there are fears of a humanitarian crisis, Nic. You visited a camp for displaced Afghans. What
did you find?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Desperate. Becky, absolutely desperate. You know, on the one side of the road you have the
Taliban driving off to go to the front lines or wherever it is they're going or armed up. In the median, in the sort of large median in the middle
of the road, you have thousands of Afghans huddled in tents. We went in and spoke to them. The conditions are absolutely horrible.
They have no toilets there. They're literally going to the toilet very close to where they're cooking their food. No one they say is giving them
food or water or shelter or any kind of help so the humanitarian situation here if the economy doesn't improve is absolutely set to get worse and I
think to your point about, you know, what the -- about the inclusivity that we heard from the Chinese foreign minister at that summit, today, here, the
Ministry for Women's Affairs has now been changed to the Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. There is no Ministry of Women's
Affairs now -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic, stay with us. I just want to get our viewers aligned on what is happening today in neighboring Pakistan because this is important. New
Zealand's cricket team is pulling out of its first tour of Pakistan in 18 years, citing a security threat. Now New Zealand was set to play Friday in
the first of three one-day international matches. The team is now trying to leave the country.
And England's cricket board will make a decision in the next 48 hours over whether its teams will proceed with their planned tour was country.
Pakistan's Interior Ministry says there is no threat alert calling all of this a conspiracy.
Well, earlier this week, I had an exclusive interview with the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. He spoke to me about his fears over security
given what is unfolding in neighboring Afghanistan. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: The second worry is terrorism. We had three sets of terrorism, terrorists in Pakistan, using the soil to attack
us. ISIS, Pakistani Taliban, and the (INAUDIBLE) terrorists. So if there is chaos in Afghanistan, if there's not stability there, then we have these
two major problems looming in front of us. We are the country that is going to suffer the most.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Just how concerned should Pakistan be at this point? Clearly, Imran Khan, making it absolutely clear that he has a real concern about
security in his own country. I mean, you've spoken to, for example, the Pakistan Taliban. You have spoken to them. That's the TTP. What's your
ROBERTSON: Well, the TTP leader vowed that if the Taliban won in Afghanistan, which they have, he would essentially see that as -- that they
would get a greater measure of support, as support he wanted is taking control, having sharia law in the border region with Pakistan, essentially
taking control of some of Pakistan, and that is leading, it would seem, to a spike in attacks against Pakistani forces along the border and inside the
Undoubtedly, this is a worry for Pakistani indeed. We've seen the TTP align themselves and get support from other groups along the border. So the
situation undoubtedly has become more dangerous. I would emphasize at the border, not in the cities of the cricket grounds but at the border at the
moment -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Nic, thank you.
Well, one alarming impact of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is the danger facing women who served as Afghan judges. They are now in hiding and
on the run, living in fear of what will happen to them if the Taliban or former prisoners they incarcerated find them.
In a CNN exclusive, Anna Coren has more on the judges left behind and others who managed to escape.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Childhood laughter shared by two young sisters who have no idea about the dangers they now face. Their
mother Nabila was a judge in Afghanistan, a profession now made impossible for women. The Taliban has told them not to return to work. And now the
whole family has a target on their heads.
NABILA (through translator): A day or two after the Taliban arrived in Kabul, my personal number was called, and I was threatened with revenge,
threatened with murder, and I had to cancel my phone numbers.
COREN: The family is currently in hiding, in fear of being hunted down by men she put behind bars. Some of whom have now been freed by the Taliban.
NABILA (through translator): Because of this threat from the prisoners, I change my house once every four days. I hide there and I try to never go
COREN: Her fear compounded after a policewoman eight months pregnant was murdered by the Taliban according to her family. A claim the Taliban
Nabila is one of around 200 women judges left stranded in Afghanistan. Many of them presided over the worst cases of violence against women, including
rape, murder, and domestic abuse. Some of them had even traveled to the U.S. for a judicial education program.
Under the cover of darkness and gunfire, a few dozen others have managed to get out. One experienced high court judge risked her life to flee the
country after the Taliban came looking for her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Five members of the Taliban came to my area asking my neighbors about me. I relocated again because I was so
scared they could find me.
COREN: This judge managed to escape with her nieces and nephews on a flight from Kabul after days of waiting at the airport. She wants to keep their
identity hidden as she fears the family members back home. They landed safely in Poland and are now trying to get to the U.S. but the judge can't
forget the life she left behind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Now I feel like I lost everything. Imagine you have a personality, a career, respect, a home, a
car, a life and everything, and suddenly, you leave everything.
COREN: As chaos and uncertainty unfold inside Afghanistan, the U.S.-based International Association of Women Judges is trying to help more of their
Afghan members to leave. But they say Western countries need to do more.
VANESSA RUIZ, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN JUDGES: Governments need to be better, more agile, more generous, frankly, in giving admission to
people who are in danger in Afghanistan. We're not going to abandon them. We're not going to forget them. And we're not going to let the world ignore
COREN: For those left behind like Nabila escape is their only hope, as they see no future in their homeland under Taliban rule. But she hopes one day
she will be allowed to return to the bench.
NABILA (through translator): We've been working for many years to combat violence, oppression and injustice, and I want to continue with my work.
COREN: Her bravely in protecting Afghanistan's women, despite the dangers, was to create a better future for her daughters, a generation that now
faces a dark reality under the new regime.
Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.
ANDERSON: Well, more fallout from a trilateral pact that as the U.S. and U.K. helped Australia get nuclear-powered submarines, China's president
lashing out at the deal. A live report on that after this.
And new signs North Korea is ramping up its weapons program. See how actions at a research site could affect the country's production of weapons
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. We are broadcasting to you from our Middle East programming hub here in Abu Dhabi. It is half past 6:00.
International condemnation pouring in over the new security deal between the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Indonesia, the latest expressing concern
about an arms race in the region while China is ramping up pressure. Speaking virtually to a meeting in Tajikistan, President Xi Jinping said
external forces should never be allowed to interfere in internal affairs this.
Well, this pact unveiled on Wednesday has the U.S. and the U.K. helping Australia acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. Now this is widely
seen as a move to counter China's rising influence.
Senior international correspondent Ivan Watson has the latest from Hong Kong.
Let's just start if we can about what China has been saying about this deal. What's been their response?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Heaping criticism and fury on these countries, and the tripartite agreement having to do with
producing nuclear-powered submarines for Australia. Chinse government officials arguing that this would be a violation of the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty and China's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna made that case to the board of governors there
Thursday night saying that they should step forward and basically criticize the agreement.
Xi Jinping was addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and in the comments published there, he didn't directly address the agreement. He did,
however, have some pretty clear criticism of China's American rival. In one quote, he said, "We must never allow any external interference in the
domestic affairs of countries in our region under whatever pretext." Went on to say, "Acting from a so-called position of strength is not the way to
handle international affairs and hegemonic, domineering and bullying acts should be firmly rejected."
As you mentioned, Becky, Indonesia's Foreign Ministry put out a statement warning against, warning against an arms race in the region, and projecting
power. New Zealand has said that any future nuclear-powered submarines would not be allowed in its waters. Interestingly, Japan has welcomed the
statement, and Japan has been moving closely militarily to Australia and to India, and the U.S. as part of the Quad, this four-sided partnership that's
conducted joint naval exercises in recent years. And the leaders of these four countries will be holding a summit in the U.S. just next week --
ANDERSON: What do we know about these nuclear-powered subs, Ivan?
WATSON: OK. Well, there are a couple little details about this. Nuclear- powered submarines are more stealthy, they can stay under water almost indefinitely, as long as there's food supplies for the crew, and they're
harder to detect. They are powered by nuclear reactors. And there are about 150 of these nuclear-powered subs worldwide. Only a handful of countries
have them. China being one of them.
Under this agreement, the Americans and the Brits and the Australians have indicated that it would take -- for the next 18 months, they basically have
to study the proposals to figure out what is the best pathway forward.
Australia's prime minister has indicated that this project will create jobs for Australia, building submarines. But they have also indicated, the
Australians, that they probably won't have these subs ready for use until potentially 2040. So it's quite a long process to try to put these all
together, and Australia doesn't have its own nuclear industry. It will rely on countries like the U.S. for the reactors and the fuel to run these
ANDERSON: Ivan Watson on the story for us. Ivan, thank you.
Well, we began this forecast with Lebanon, the country in free-fall, political turmoil, a shot economy, vast poverty, lasting trauma from that
port explosion a year ago. And the health care system very near collapse. And I could go on, by the way. That's the situation the country's new prime
minister is walking into, and you will hear my exclusive interview with him next hour.
First up, CNN's Nada Bashir shows us just how critically unstable the situation in Lebanon really is.
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After more than a year of political gridlock, Lebanon finally has a new government. Now his third
time in the role of prime minister, Najib Mikati says he hopes his newly brokered cabinet will bring an end to the country's crippling financial
NAJIB MIKATI, LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER: I will not spare a moment without contacting all the international committees so we can provide the basic
needs of life.
BASHIR: It's these basic needs that have proven near impossible to fulfill over the last two years, particularly for the country's health care sector.
Power outages, lack of fuel for generators and drug shortages have become a daily fixture.
FIRASS ABIAD, CEO, RAFIK HARIRI UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: If you run out of diesel, it will be a catastrophe for the entire country, not just the
hospital, because if there is not petrol, there is no electricity.
BASHIR: It's a risk that is already becoming a reality for some parts of the country. NGO Doctors Without Borders says a 44-hour power cut over
three days forced one of its hospitals to reduce surgical operations by 50 percent. And other hospitals have been left unable to offer non-emergency
services including psychiatric care.
Here, at the Embrace Mental Health Center in Beirut, the struggle to keep services running is all too familiar. Since the devastating port blast of
August, 2020, the center has seen a rise in the number of patients seeking health, both in person, and by the organization's suicide prevention
hotline. But limited power and fuel for generators have forced Embrace to reduce operating hours and even hold their sessions in the dark.
HIBA DANDACHLI, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, EMBRACE: We don't have electricity, we don't have clean water, we don't have gas. We lack the
basic social and economic determinants that allow you even to thrive, in any aspect of your life. And that's where I tell you, our job has become
BASHIR: More than 80 percent of Lebanon's population now living in multidimensional poverty. Many patients struggle to cover the cost of
medication, but with drug supplies running dangerously low, finding medication needed is a struggle in itself.
DR. PIA ZEINOUN, DIRECTOR, EMBRACE: We have people coming in where we tell them, you know, there is only two boxes of medication in the pharmacy, hey,
maybe taper off your meds a little bit so they can last you because we don't know when the next boxes are coming in.
When you reach a stage where our medical doctors are telling the patients to save the medications, and they know they're not giving the optimal dose
because of that, or they know they're prescribing a different medication because the other one is not available, this is like trauma surgery in a
war zone where you just get whatever you can, patch the person up, and hope they make it.
BASHIR: Hope here in Lebanon is hard to come by and skepticism remains high, as both the Lebanese people and the international community wait to
see whether Mikati's new administration will undertake the reforms so desperately needed to pull the country and its health care sector from the
brink of collapse.
Nada Bashir, CNN, Beirut.
ANDERSON: Well, we are the first international media organization to speak to Mr. Najib Mikati since he became prime minister and we'll get you that
interview in the next hour. Do stay with us for that.
ANDERSON: Right. We're going to end this part of the show with this noteworthy, or rather cringeworthy moment. Keep your eyes on the ball.
Well, for football fans, this own goal is a bit of a doozy. You can only imagine how it felt for the Lazio keeper during Thursday's Europa League
Match. He was left essentially, well, put the ball into his own net for the decisive goal that gave the Galatasaray the win.
"WORLD SPORT" anchor Amanda Davis joining us now. That's just going to be a horrible moment for that keeper to remember. I mean that's a fumble and a
half, isn't it?
AMANDA DAVIS, WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Becky, you don't know whether he was trying to put the ball over the bar or catch, and honestly you've got that
sense if you're like --
ANDERSON: He doesn't know what he was trying to do.
DAVIS: No. Like a toddler trying to cover their faces, if I can't see you, you can't see me. I really -- I really hope he hasn't Google this morning.
Let me read some of the headlines. The own goal of the year. The biggest goalkeeping howler of all time. Is it the worst own goal ever? One video
titled "Stupid, Terrible, Unbelievable Goal Keeping Howler."
Some people have billed it the worst own goal of all time. And it's just so incredibly painful to watch, isn't it?
ANDERSON: No. It's painful to watch. Yes. I don't know how long it took him to turn around. He was looking at the net for some time, wasn't he?
You've got "WORLD SPORT" after this short break. We'll be back after that.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. We're taking a very short break. Back after this.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back to this show. I am Becky Anderson coming to you live from Abu Dhabi, where it is 7:00 p.m.