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Connect the World

Biden: U.S. Devoting Resources to Tackle World's Challenges; Biden Makes Call for Unity in "Decisive Decade"; U.S., European Stocks Higher After Monday's Heavy Losses; Taliban Commander Wages Public Relations Offensive; Haitians Travel to U.S.-Mexico Border in Hopes of Asylum; K-Pop Star BTS Talks COVID and Climate Crisis at U.N. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 21, 2021 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, this hour after a year of virtual meetings the world's leaders gather once again inside the halls

of United Nations. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to "Connect the World".

Well, at the time of great pain and possibility that is what the U.S. President Joe Biden told the General Assembly. The world is facing right

now in a sharp departure from his American first predecessor, Mr. Biden stressed countries must work together on crises like COVID and climate

change. The UN Secretary General says that unity is needed more than ever. Take a listen.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I'm here to sound the alarm. The world must wake up. We are on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong

direction. Our world has never been more threatened or more divided. We face the greatest cascade of crisis in our lifetimes.


ANDERSON: Well, Brazil's President and unvaccinated Jair Bolsonaro also took to the stage this morning. Well, the leader had a rather tough act to

follow it has to be said look at who showed up at the General Assembly on Monday.

Well, this is the popular South Korean Boy Band BTS invited by President Moon Jae-In as Special Envoys they play this video filmed at the UN and

talked about the threats of COVID and climate change to their generation.

Well, CNN's Senior UN Correspondent Richard Roth is there listening into what is going on, on that assembly floor. Shasta Darlington watching from

Sao Paulo in Brazil and CNN's Steven Collinson taking it all in from Washington. Thanks to all of you for being with us. Richard, let's start

with you. Quite the opening, if you will, from BTS set the scene for us there in New York.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a hybrid UN General Assembly high level of wheat. Nobody was here last year they played

video tapes then kind of went over as well as blockbuster video stores. But this time, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN sent letter sayings don't come but

yet President Biden came so that's sort of a moth to flame tube --.

A lot of foreign ministers here who will introduce their heads of state, but the pandemic are certainly not far away. So every speaker after the

person has done they clean the roster of the General Assembly in the hall there. They are trying to sanitize people and furniture as much as


The assembly hall has limited access to three people for each delegation. Some people came with more numbers, but they have to stay at nearby hotels.

But the act of the UN is law staff members here in New York, there's lost people around the world. It's a serious matter and the Secretary General is

trying to navigate it.

But what people think the UN, the UN, the man driving the motorized vehicle bringing me to the UN navigating the traffic this morning said those big

mouth idiots over there. Well, they are in control of by the big country. So if somebody wants to come they come.

The Brazilian President walked in, unmasked today but then put - then he was masked at the General Assembly Hall, but took it off to give his

speech. He's proud of it. And he told the hall backing off label products to fight COVID. He said I had COVID earlier. All of this is highly

controversial in a country which lost hundreds of thousands of people.

ANDERSON: That's right. Shasta, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was indeed the first to speak. Let's just have a listen to part of what he had

to say.


JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT: Brazil has changed a great deal after we took office in January 2019. For two years and eight months, we have had

no concrete case of corruption. Brazil has a president who believes in God respects the Constitution, values family principles and is loyal to her

people. And this is a lot. It is a solid foundation if we take into account that we were at the brink of socialism.


ANDERSON: Right that was Bolsonaro first speaker followed by of course, Stephen, Joe Biden. He had this to say to the UN General Assembly.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Instead of continuing to fight the wars of the past, we are fixing our eyes on devoting our

resources, the challenges that hold the keys to our collective future. And in this pandemic, addressing the climate crisis, managing the shifts in

global power dynamics, shaping the rules of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber and emerging technologies and facing the threat of terrorism,

as it stands today.



ANDERSON: He described his worldview as A, and I quote him here, Stephen, a new era of relentless diplomacy. How will what he said go down do you think

with those others gathered in the hall and watching around the world? And what's the White House's aim at this point?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think there have been in recent weeks following the Afghan withdrawal and the spat with France real

questions about whether President Biden will follow up on what he says.

I think this is a speech that does create a distinction between this president who has perhaps a rather narrow view of U.S. interests in the

world, and President Trump. Former President Trump used his UN speeches to advance your vision of national sovereignty of big countries pursuing their

own interests on their own, allowing big countries to dominate.

Biden is talking about a more internationalist view, using alliances coming together to tackle common challenges, like climate change and like the

pandemic. I think that is a welcome promise from the President of the United States and one that a lot of the rest of the world has been waiting

to hear.

I think the question is can Biden provide a perhaps more stable and less ham handed international leadership than he has already? And will the

United States' own internal in cohesion and political turmoil allow it to provide consistent, stable, predictable, strong leadership?

Or are we going to go through this next decade of swaying backwards and forwards between internationalism and Trumpism? And the U.S. is not a

stable, predictable, coherent presence on the world stage.

ANDERSON: You're meanwhile in America newsletter, which is, which is a jolly good read today in part suggesting this and I just want our viewers

to hear this. It's not exactly been smooth sailing from the U.S. since Trump left. The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and what France see as

a betrayal over us submarine deal with Australia have raised questions about Biden's foreign policy now, just explain what you mean?

COLLINSON: Well, Biden put this at the center of his election campaign that he had been on the world stage for 50 years. He knew all the world leaders

very well. He was familiar with all the issues. Clearly, that was a domestic comparison, intended there with President Trump's erratic volcanic

personality that did much to alienate U.S. allies.

I think, though, that Biden is clearly making a big distinction. He has put the U.S. challenge from a rising China at the center of his foreign policy.

That's what the Australian submarine deal was. And he's sending a message that the U.S. for all its willingness to work with allies, is going to

pursue its own interests very vigorously.

And it's possible that, you know, European allies and others could get in the way. They're going to have to adapt to that adapt to this president's

style of leadership. But at the end of the day, on the pandemic, on climate change, the world is waiting to see what Biden does and to see if he will

lead? And if the United States doesn't lead, where is the rest of the West going to go?

So it could be a disruptive period. But in the end, I think we're still looking for U.S. leadership, and the question is whether Biden can deliver


ANDERSON: Shasta, Steven writing in that same newsletter that I've just referenced meanwhile in America, the populist Brazilian President recently

foresaw only three possibilities for his future as he seeks reelection next year, being arrested, killed or victory.

And Steven alluding to this big UN moment, being his best hope for fireworks amongst connoisseurs of past stem windows by vintage strongmen

like those that we you know that we all remember. You listen to his speech what did you make of it?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, I think it was really more aimed at his base here in Brazil. A lot of people had talked to

analysts ahead of the speech that said we might hear a more conciliatory tone from Bolsonaro now that he is more isolated on the global stage.

But from the very beginning, I mean, he went in there proudly unvaccinated despite the rules requiring participants to be vaccinated in order to even

be in the assembly hall and while the main topics of the whole assembly are COVID-19 in the environment, and he did stick to those.


DARLINGTON: He was very defiant, telling world leaders that he was there to show them how Brazil isn't is different from what's published in newspapers

or seen on television? He said Brazil's environmental legislation should serve as a model for the world and claimed that deforestation in the Amazon

had declined in August due to his policies.

And probably more important was his stance on the pandemic. He's - he was very proud of what his government has done. He pointed out that close to 90

percent of the adult population here in Brazil has received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, really playing up how accepting they are of


But ironically, then he went on to criticize vaccine mandates, and defended what in Brazil is called early treatment for the virus and has frequently

meant the use of Hydroxychloroquine this malaria medicine, that has not been proven effective for the vaccine that he himself used when he had


And he went on to say that he didn't know why other countries were opposed to this early treatment, and, "History and science will know who to blame".

So again, what we didn't hear from Bolsonaro, was that conciliatory tone that people had expected with him being on the on the global stage, but he

did speak to his base. He said, a lot of what they like to hear so it seems to me that's who he was talking, Becky.

ANDERSON: Briefly, Steven, how important is the domestic audience for Joe Biden as he made this speech? On what is as we consider the sort of world

stage these are these opportunities that the UN GA to speak to the world to sort of sell your to sell your wares? Shasta just pointing out that she

felt that Bolsonaro's speech was very much skewed for a domestic audience. How about Joe Biden?

COLLINSON: It's very important, not least because the president had a really rough month, the entire domestic rationale of his presidency is on

the line right now, in Congress, his big infrastructure bills and his big spending bills are very vulnerable right now, not least because of massive

splits in his own Democratic Party between liberals and more conservative Democrats.

So the president needed to put a strong face on at the United Nations as he spoke very much to a U.S. domestic audience and internationally and

domestically, President Biden's role in history and the way he will eventually be judged is on the line in the coming weeks.

ANDERSON: Finally, Richard, you've probably forgotten more about UN General Assembly, some most of us would probably care to know you have been doing

this job for years. You've seen them all come and go, what you weren't seen --

ROTH: After they went ahead for lunch yesterday.

ANDERSON: What you won't have seen in the past is the wiping of this podium. These meetings have never happened in the era of a pandemic. You

alluded to this earlier on; this is what happens in between every one of these speakers.

You will also not have seen a pop band the likes of BTS, opening this event before. Just reflect on, on the years that you've spent covering these

events and what you expect going forward? We've obviously heard from Joe Biden at this point, but there's a very long roster of other leaders and

their colleagues to hear from this week.

ROTH: I've seen scenes that would break both men and women. Basically, mother's hair used to be dark. There's history in the building. It's not

often observed and honored. But if you told me of course, to sound a little cliche is that we would be talking to each other in masks at the United

Nations, the House of Peace. That would be another thing coming.

Even the presence of Donald Trump and all his controversy you never thought the real estate developer would be addressing the world as President. And

you remember the drama and waiting what would he say and the challenge to Rocket Man?

I mean, there can't end Kaddafi ripping up the UN Charter and did Yasser Arafat have a gun in the holster? You know, there have been there's a lot

of history. It's just that, sadly, whether it's social media or the pressures, it's just beaten down some of these diplomats and to everyone is

scared to really say something.

Look, it's good that we didn't go as long as Castro did. I think it was four hours there might have been eight, I think four. That's the record. So

the cleaning of the, you know, with everybody, I could use a little cleanliness around here.

They increased the airflow, which keeps people more awake during the hours of speeches. We don't know where this is going, though. Will this be

something for years to come? I think they're going to try to have more people here in future UN General Assemblies, and then we'll have to watch?

Is there a variant getting into the hall, hopefully not.


ROTH: But we will see. I mean, I want to give you that Bolsonaro quote here, which he told the General Assembly history and science will be wise

enough to hold everyone accountable. Let's see what happens?

ANDERSON: Absolutely. So it was a pleasure. Richard, Stephen and Shasta, thank you so much! Well, French President Emmanuel Macron won't be at the

UN GA this week. He won't even be sending a pre-recorded message. France still livid over the U.S. and UK making a submarine deal with Australia

deal France thought was sewn up.

A French government spokesman says the botched deal had nothing to do with Macron's absence. U.S. President Joe Biden we are told is hoping to speak

with him soon in an effort to mend fences. Well, today a French defense official claimed Australia never said during negotiations that it needed

nuclear subs.

Canberra and Washington deny the French were blindsided the spat raising feelings in Europe that something is broken among Western allies the French

Foreign Minister addressing what he called a breach of trust.


JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: What matters now is first of all, the breach of trust between partners because trust, partners and

alliance means transparency, predictability. It requires explanation. It is about talking to one another, not hiding from one another in particular on

matters of importance.


ANDERSON: Well, another French official says EU leaders have expressed their complete support. Germany, now calling the whole episode a wake-up

call for the EU to strengthen its sovereignty CNN's Cyril Vanier is in Paris.

I mean, something is broken amongst allies. There are a number of quite specific quotes here, which suggests at least, that there is some

disconnect now between Europe and the U.S. There are others who say this is uniquely at a Paris/Washington moment, which is it?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now I think it goes beyond at this stage. It goes beyond just France. Becky, it's true that in the initial moments of

this diplomatic crisis, when it was born, the EU response and the EU backing of France was slow and it was tepid, but that is no longer the


The European Union Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, telling CNN yesterday that they cannot continue, they being the European Union, they cannot

continue with business as usual with the U.S. after one of its members, France being dealt with the way it was dealt with.

So there really is now a coalescing around France of the European institutions. Now, of course, with the EU, you know, there are 27 voices,

so you can always make the case and it was always be fair to say that they're not speaking with one voice that is true.

Nonetheless, what we are seeing is that the EU appears to be siding with France in this very important regard, that they are seeing their strategic

interests will not always be protected by the U.S. far from it. We have seen two instances of that recently.

We have seen the U.S. not communicating with the EU on its withdrawal of Afghanistan. And we have seen the U.S. of course, not communicating with

friends or with the EU on this new three way alliance between Australia, the UK and the U.S. So the EU is in Frances' camp at the moment, Becky on

this one.

ANDERSON: What's behind Macron's decision not to speak at the UN? I mean, it is much speculation that that has something to do with this spat with

the U.S., does it? Do we do we know whether he was scheduled at any point to speak to send a virtual message? What's behind this?

VANIER: We do not have certainty. I my educated guess is that the French are it is working in France's favor that there isn't a definite answer to

that question at this point in time. Now, the mission the French mission in New York has told CNN in the last 90 minutes or so that their plans have

not changed and that none of this is influenced by the submarine crisis.

The fact is that a month ago there was a question mark, Mr. Macron was never going to attend the UN GA in person Becky, he may or may not be

having been scheduled to record a message. We don't know for sure whether that was the case. Therefore we can't tell you for sure if that's been


As it stands, the French Foreign Minister is going to be speaking in his place. Becky, one last thing I think what really matters here. The next

chapter in this story will come when French President Macron speaks with U.S. President Biden.

Note that Macron has not said a word about this since the crisis broke out. I believe that he is waiting to speak to the U.S. President to make his

feelings known on the matter.


ANDERSON: Cyril Vanier is in Paris. Cyril, thank you! Just ahead on "Connect the World", one of China's biggest company is in trouble. Why that

matters to the global economy is up next? And --


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (on camera): How does it feel to be policing the streets rather than fighting to take control of the



ANDERSON: CNN speaks directly with the Taliban Commander policing the streets of Kabul, hear about the public relations campaign that he is

waging. Plus, a crisis for thousands of people at the U.S./Mexico border what's being done to help migrants they're in desperate limbo? You're

watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. It is 20 past 7 here in Abu Dhabi. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: The DOW has been gyrating a bit in today's session after opening in positive territory. Wall Street's suffering its biggest one day drop in

four months on Monday. Here's how the DOW and the other main U.S. Indices are faring right now.

Let's bring them up for you actually just popped into positive territory. But it's been - it's pretty wild old ride these last sort of 36 hours. On

Monday, U.S. stocks added to the global sell off after China's biggest property developers shook investors across Asia and Europe.

Evergrande risks defaulting on about $300 billion of debt now it was supposed to pay the interest on some of those bank loans yesterday. That's

according to Bloomberg release. Reports also say it still has to pay interest on two of its outstanding bonds. Some investors turned up at the

company's headquarters in Shenzhen last week, demanding answers. CNN's Clare Sebastian joins me live from New York.

For those who don't know anything about this company just explain what it does, why it's significant and what is going on now?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is something that Wall Street investors who are now laser focused on this company may not have even heard

of Becky a few months ago. But this crisis that Evergrande has been rumbling on for a fair while now. It's really only this week that global

investors have woken up to it.

They are a huge Chinese property developer. They are about 25 years old, participated in the boom of property that we've seen in China and in the

process racked up about $300 billion in debt that is now at risk of default. The company warned last week, that they might not be able to raise

cash to pay their bills.

And we're hearing according to Bloomberg, that they weren't able to make those payments to banks that were due yesterday that is according to source

says that they are citing familiar with the matter. We have not been able to independently confirm this.


SEBASTIAN: It's not clear if that would immediately trigger a default it might lead to an extension at the banks, perhaps a grace period. But it

clearly shows that the crisis within this company is deepening. And it could have fallout, as we see in the global markets. It could also have

fallout for the global economy, not so much like you saw with Lehman Brothers because of financial interconnectedness.

But because of the Chinese economy we're seeing today that stocks like Nucor Steel down sharply that's lost about 10 percent of its value. So far

this week, Caterpillar as well, major construction stock has benefited from China's property boom, also the biggest follower on the DOW today.

There's concern that this will spread to the rest of the Chinese property sector. And that could lead to sort of issues for that economy. It's about

14 percent of GDP, according to - and for the global economy, Becky.

ANDERSON: What - I'm interested in what has gone wrong here? Is this a case of one company surely overextending itself or is there more to this? Why is

it in an era of low interest rates it's got to be said, why is it that this company's in such a mess?

SEBASTIAN: Well, I would look at that as the size of the debt pile, the 300 billion is clearly, you know, become unmanageable for the company. Couple

that with the fact that for the past few years, really China has been trying to rein in the debt of its property sector, it's been trying to sort

of to keep property prices lower.

That's part of the shared prosperity vision that Xi Jinping has talked about officials reaffirming this year, the philosophy that property should

be lived in not to be speculated on. So all that has sort of come to a head for Evergrande.

And it's worth noting that one of the causes of contagion at the moment, Becky is uncertainty. We don't know what Tyner is going to do next, whether

they would let this company fail, whether there's going to be sort of some kind of partial bailout, that will help homeowners who are still waiting

for their properties to be finished.

But sort of leave investors and bondholders on the hook. It's not clear yet that uncertainty analysts some have suggested maybe on purpose from Beijing

to sort of bring in a bit of moral hazard, you know, sort of set an example for other companies so that's part of what is plaguing Wall Street at the


ANDERSON: Yes, uncertainty, a total lack of clarity. And for that reason, as you rightly point out, the company getting knocked on the markets as it

reveals that enormous debt pile, thank you. Economic woes also in focus in Afghanistan, ahead, CNN speaks with men and women on the streets of Kabul,

we'll hear what they think of the Taliban's governance so far?

Plus Sudan says, loyalists, so the former president tried to overthrow the government earlier today. We'll tell you how it turned out after this?



ANDERSON: Well, the first day of general debate; as it's known that the United Nations General Assembly is underway with climate change COVID-19

and the future of Afghanistan under the Taliban in full focus.

A short time ago, U.S. President Joe Biden gave his first anger speech since taking office. He defended the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from

Afghanistan as a way of moving forward, have a listen.


BIDEN: We've ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan. And as we close this period of relentless war, we're opening a new era of relentless

diplomacy. The U.S. military power must be our tool of last resort, not our first; it should not be used as an answer to every problem we see around

the world.


ANDERSON: Well, Afghanistan a recurrent theme at high level meetings this year. Next hour for example, the Italian mission is scheduled to host a

virtual side event titled safeguarding the achievements of 20 years of international engagement in Afghanistan, how to continue supporting future

of Afghan women and girls and their access to education.

Well, our International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson joining me now from the Afghan capital, you listen to that speech. Let's start with your

thoughts on Biden's comments with regard to Afghanistan.

ROBERTSON: Yes, the pivot to diplomacy, I think, is beneficial. This is how it will be interpreted by Afghans, will be beneficial for Afghans if they

see that that diplomacy is focused on making sure that the Taliban are held to the account that President Biden says he wants to.

And he was very clear in the speech about human rights, dignity and the rights for women in particular, their economic rights, their rights to

work, their political rights, their social rights are very clear there.

But I think, aside from that, the idea that the United States has ended, its 20, it's sort of longest war and it is now out of the business of war

and into the business of diplomacy. I think many Afghans feel they've been left high and dry.

The benefits of U.S. intervention here can be seen on the streets, but that it's less than whether a Taliban government and a lot of people are very

afraid about that. They don't know what's going to happen in the coming days. So I think President Biden's message, certainly it's going to

resonate on the international stage.

Obviously, there are problems with some partners and allies right now. But for Afghans, yes, that really will be hoping that his diplomacy, his

version of diplomacy can make a difference in their lives. Becky.

ANDERSON: He described his worldview as a new era of relentless diplomacy. Let's see, Nic, you've been speaking to Taliban leaders patrolling the

streets of Kabul. What have they told you?

ROBERTSON: They are putting on a show and they say it's a real show of real intent that this is Taliban 2.0 despite how they're changing and rolling

back the rights of women as we've seen closing minute closing women's Affairs Ministry is telling some women to stay at home, but on the streets,

their message to the population is we're here to help you.


ROBERTSON (voice over): Taliban Commander Mansour Akhtar Haqqani is on a public relations offensive. Winning he hopes hearts and minds in the Kabul

police district he now runs. He doesn't carry a weapon. But his backup does. Taliban fighter's fresh from the front lines toting American weapons

wearing U.S. combat gear.

ROBERTSON (on camera): This is one of the most important neighborhoods in the center of Kabul, the financial district. Its security is a priority for

the Taliban.

ROBERTSON (voice over): With the Taliban's well justified reputation for brutality, it should be an easy job for the 17 year veteran Haqqani to get

control. But it's not.

ROBERTSON (on camera): How does it feel to be policing the streets rather than fighting to take control of the country?

ROBERTSON (voice over): He says he's happy to serve the nation just as before to bring Sharia religious law to the city. But there are lots of

people a lot of corruption and a lot of thieving to get rid of, he says. Haqqani's posting used to be the city's plum police job, lots of money,

lots of shakedowns.

ROBERTSON (on camera): You get the feeling walking along here that people are still being a little bit cautious about the Taliban. But at the same

time they're out on the streets. They're trading they're doing business. So it feels like it's settling down. But it's that kind of uneasy feeling

which where they're going to go.


ROBERTSON (voice over): So we are having this gold trader tells me no corruption so far. I can leave work after dark, it's safer.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So how is the situation here now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the situation is very good. If you see one year ago, two years ago, we see thieves and robbery here and no safety here. Now

with the Taliban, I hope, God willing, life is very good.

ROBERTSON (voice over): With the Taliban within earshot, it's hard to know for sure how people really feel. But despite their presence, several brave

women approaches.

This woman close to tears tells me she is a widow with six children. The Taliban fired her from a government job, sent her home without pay. As we

talk, another woman comes forward. Also out of work, she says, because the Taliban stopped girl she taught from going to school. She has been paid for

next month, but has no idea what happens after that.

It's up to Haqqani to choose whether he'll be firm and respected or forceful and feared by the Taliban before. He says for now, no plans to cut

thieves hands off like before, which way he'll tip a bellwether for the country.


ROBERTSON: Yes, the capital Kabul really is a sort of the crucible for the Taliban at the moment. I mean, this is the place where they are going to

convince Afghans and convince potentially the international community that they are different or not different.

And that of course is the key to unlocking the finance international financial funds that are frozen that they need to run the country. They

know that but the verdict is really out at the moment how much they'll move towards it.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Kabul. Nic, thank you! Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. And

Sudanese officials say remnants of ousted President Omar al-Bashir's regime tried to overthrow the government today, but the attempt was - and more

than 20 military officers and soldiers have been arrested.

The government which is run by council of both civilians and the military says the situation is now under control. A Rwandan court has sentenced Paul

Rusesabagina to 25 years in prison. He's the hero who saved hundreds of people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and inspired the film Hotel Rwanda.

He was convicted of terrorism charges and denied all of these charges. The Clooney Foundation for Justice called it a show trial, which lacked

fairness. Well, British police are naming and charging a third suspect in connection with the 2018 poisoning of a former Russian spy and his


The pair survived the Novichok poisoning and - but spent more than a month in hospital. Authorities say the suspect he's a Russian Intelligence agent.

And this comes the same day that Russia is back in the spotlight for another high profile poisoning.

The European Court of Human Rights is ruled that Russia was behind the 2006 assassination of the Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko in London. Next

up, the Biden Administration says it wants to increase the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. next year. But for many people the need is

far more pressing the latest on the crisis at America's southern border.



ANDERSON: You're with "Connect the World", I'm Becky Anderson. The Biden Administration says it is planning a major increase in the number of

refugees allowed into America. A report to Congress will recommend the cap be set at 125,000 people by next year.

That is twice as many people as this ship. The administration says the change is needed to address the impact of humanitarian crises around the

globe. Well, one of those crises is unfolding right now as thousands have fled Haiti, leaving behind poverty and natural disaster.

The White House says it's seeking more information about what it called terrific videos which appeared to show U.S. border agents on a horseback

aggressively confronting some of those migrants near the border with Mexico.

U.S. Homeland Security Department calls the footage extremely troubling. But that is not deterring Haitians from attempting the long and difficult

journey to seek asylum at the U.S. border. CNN's Matt Rivers reports from Southern Mexico.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many of the thousands and thousands of Haitian migrants that are currently at the U.S. Mexico border made part of

their journey through where we are right now in Southern Mexico. Many of these migrants crossing through a city called Tapachula in Southern Mexico

on their way to see it at - and Del Rio in the United States, which is where many of them are now.

And when you speak to people as we have here in Southern Mexico immigration activists they tell you that what we are seeing specifically with Haitian

migrants is something they have never seen before.


RIVERS (voice over): A patch street in Southern Mexico resembling something out of Port-au-Prince, hundreds of Haitian migrants fill the sidewalks of

Tapachula. This city is often a stop for those traveling north to the U.S.


RIVERS (voice over): But the amount of Haitians making that journey right now both government officials and activists say is unprecedented. We've

seen lots of migration before says --.

But we have never seen this many people from Haiti. It's unbelievable. Nearly 19,000 Haitians and counting have applied for asylum in Mexico this

year, already three times higher than all of 2020.

But for many asylum claims won't keep them here. They will head north arriving by any and all means. Here a few days ago, dozens of migrants many

of them Haitian take a ferry to cross a river, the only way to get across. Most will then pay a few dollars to a motorcycle taxi to take them along

the next leg of the journey.

RIVERS (on camera): So he's basically saying that he's never seen this amount of Haitian migrants come through here before.

RIVERS (voice over): The goal for many is to make it to a place like here seven hours away in the town of - where there is fierce competition to get

on the buses headed north. Tensions are boiling over at times, arguments erupting outside of ticketing stations.

These buses will eventually take them to the U.S., which is how recent scenes of thousands of patients trying to get into the U.S. came to be. The

U.S. says it will deport these people by the thousands. But there are more coming.

RIVERS (on camera): So this base in Southern Mexico up until just a few days ago was actually a place where hundreds of Haitian migrants were

staying on a temporary basis. Every single day this community actually set up this shelter because of this recent influx. As you can see now though,

it's empty. All the Haitians that were here left, they're headed north to the United States.

RIVERS (voice over): And this surging migration has every chance to continue after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti six weeks ago,

hundreds of thousands were displaced and immigration activists say many could leave the island soon and eventually end up right back here in

Southern Mexico, U.S. bound.


RIVERS: And Mexican government officials are telling us that the vast majority of the Haitians that pass through here in Southern Mexico and then

have made their way to the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

These are Haitians that actually left their home some time ago after previous natural disasters, like the earthquake in 2010 or hurricane that

struck Haiti in 2016. Or they've left for other reasons like poverty; many of them had made their way to South America, places like Brazil and


And ultimately, according to the Mexican government, many of these Haitians due to pandemic induced hardships, economically speaking decided to make

the trek all the way up here, a very complicated situation right now. In Mexico, we're seeing the end of a very long journey for many of these

migrants. Matt Rivers, CNN in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico.

ANDERSON: Well, as Matt's reporting, as we've been saying, the White House is demanding some answers over some of those images that you saw just

before Matt's report there which appear to show American border agents on horseback.

Confronting migrants, the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says it's hard to imagine a context in which the footage would illustrate appropriate



JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE SECRETARY: I've seen some of the footage. I don't have the full context. I can't imagine what context would make that

appropriate. But I don't have additional details. And certainly, I don't have additional context April. I don't think anyone seeing that footage

would think it was acceptable or appropriate.


ANDERSON: Well a dangerous journey north to the U.S. isn't deterring the parade of migrants trying to make it, people from as far as West Africa

tracking through South America, hoping for success. Stefano Pozzebon caught up with some of them in Colombia.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice over): It's barely dawn when a group of migrants start lining up for a seat on the boats that travel from the

coastal Colombian town of Necocli towards Panama.

These pristine Caribbean beaches, usually packed with tourists from around the world, have recently become a passageway for thousands of migrants from

all over South America and even Africa, looking for better opportunities thousands of miles away in the United States.

People from Haiti, Venezuela, Brazil and even as far as Ghana across the Gulf of --, and then set on a treacherous and violent journey through a 37

mile stretch of jungle between Colombia and Panama, joining the thousands of other migrants heading to Mexico and then to the United States and

ignoring the Biden Administration's don't come message to migrants.

Here we met Edem Agbanzo, a chef from Togo who migrated to Chile to work as a gardener. And then and then the pandemic happened

EDEM AGBANZO, TOGOLESE MIGRANT: I wonder the pandemic happened is like our - I don't know who was suffering.


POZZEBON (voice over): Edem says this is his third journey seeking a better future. In 2018, he left his parents behind in his native toggle to move to

Ghana to work in the kitchens. Then in 2018, he left Ghana and flew to the other side of the world to Chile. Now at 30, his hopes are sent on another

country. Where in the United States you want to go?

AGBANZO: Georgia, because I have some family in Georgia. And I hope that because the problem is the fact that if you went to the border of the USA,

the authority is going to ask you some question. And you have to --they have to know if you have somebody in USA or no.

POZZEBON (voice over): But the road to the United States is perilous. Minutes before recording this interview, Adam and his friend Victor -

discovered that they had been robbed. They had spent the night in a boat on the beach and found their belongings scattered and searched through, they

have their passports and money with them.

But some of their foods are stolen. Adam and Victor are waiting for the next boat ride and like many others had no other choice than spending the

night on the beach.

Some were able to stay in hotels, a safer Choice, but a more expensive one. Waiting here cost a lot when you cannot work and don't know when you will

leave, says Georgina --, a Haitian mother who lived in Brazil for six years before the pandemic and is now traveling with her two children.

In these remote small town transports are limited. There is just one Boat Company crossing the Gulf from Nicaragua to the port of Capurgana and they

are completely sold out. Other boat companies are hours away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard. We tried to transport like 800, 900 people for day, you know.

POZZEBON (voice over): The fare costs 20 U.S. dollars and the company says it has a backlog of more than 8000 migrants who have already paid their

trip and are waiting for their turn. Some fear it might take up to 10 days to leave.

Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano visited Necocli pledging the Navy will provide a temporary pyre to allow more boats to take the migrants to

the other side of the Gulf.

POZZEBON (on camera): But the governments have four might be too little. And it'll be too late as more migrants continue to arrive here in Necocli

on a daily basis, putting a heavy load on the small community.

POZZEBON (voice over): The few who have made it on the boats feel relief, but for all of them, this is just one part of the journey.

AGBANZO: I think we got to join Costa Rica, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Nicaragua, the other country.

POZZEBON: It's just a feeble flame at the end of the road. Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Necocli, Columbia.


ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World". We will be right back.


ANDERSON: Have a look at this some powerful images to show you once again tonight from Spain's La Palma Island. Buildings in the popular tourist

destination are slowly being engulfed in molten lava and ash.


ANDERSON: Since Sunday, the eruption is destroyed more than 100 houses like this one, forcing at least 6000 people to flee their homes. The lava has

been spewing into the air and burning forests to the ground as it creeps towards the sea. So far thankfully, no reports of deaths or injuries, but

this footage are a reminder of the ferocity of Mother Nature.

Well, we started this program showing you a very different side of the U.N. General Assembly going on as we speak. And K-Pop superstars BTS and we

thought it only fitting to give you a bit more of that. They are drawing attention to the climate crisis and admit finding solutions isn't easy.


KIM NAM-JOON, SOUTH KOREAN MUSICIAN: Yes, it is a tough discussion. But I learned while preparing for today that there are many young people who have

an interest in environmental issues and choose it as their field of study. The future is unexplored territory.

And that's where we more than anyone will spend our time. So these young people were searching for the answers to the question of how we must live

that future.


ANDERSON: We'd see youngsters planning for the future there. So while you think about that, we're going to end tonight shows with a bit more of their

hit song "Permission to Dance". Have a very good evening, "One World" up next.