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Connect the World

One Dead after Alec Baldwin Fires Prop Firearm on Film Set; Russian President Putin's Strategy Under Scrutiny; Regional Realignment in the Middle East; Fragile Economic Recovery in Middle East & Central Asia; Gang Leader Threatens to Kill U.S., Canadian Hostages; Baldwin on Set Death: There are no Words to Convey my Shock. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired October 22, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Wherever you are watching you are more than welcome. This hour authorities in New Mexico are

investigating a terrible accident on the set of an Alec Baldwin movie. One crew member has died after the actor fired a prop firearm.

The film's director was also wounded. This happened Thursday on the set of a Western called rust which is being filmed in New Mexico. Baldwin appears

to be in distress in these images taken after he was questioned by law enforcement.

Company behind the film says it has stopped production indefinitely and is providing counseling to the staff. Investigator say the director of

photography, Halyna Hutchins was pronounced dead at the hospital. An investigation is underway no charges have been filed as of yet. Well,

deaths by prop guns are not unheard of I'm afraid.

Brandon Lee pictured on the left was the son of martial arts icon Bruce Lee in 1993. He was killed by a prop gun while filming "The Crow". He was 28

years old. In 1984 Actor John Eric Hexon, pictured right died on the side of the TV show "Cover Up" after putting a gun to his head and pulling the


Well, on a post on Brandon Lee's official Twitter page his relatives express their condolences about this incident. Our hearts go out to the

family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and to all those involved in the incident on rust read the message from the account, which is run by his

sister Shannon Lee. No one should ever be killed by a kind of a film set period they said.

Let's take a deeper look at this latest onset tragedy with Benjamin Leonides, he's a Firearms Trainer for film, and TV, and he's joining us now

live from Cardiff in South Wales. Look, we - this is an open investigation and we will get to that momentarily.

But just tell us what are the protocols in handling these prop guns on set. And it's probably important to point out to our viewers what prop guns

actually are?

BENJAMIN LEONIDES, FIREARM TRAINER FOR FILM AND TV: OK, so let's start with what are prop guns? This could be plastic, because when we look at the

behind the scenes of television normally shocked, and we don't believe our normal is. And what shocked me when I was on screen is I was using plastic

toys all the time.

And the majority of time, that's what it is, when you see a pop gun, it could just be a bit of plastic, a bit of rubber, almost like a BB gun. So

from there, it could go to maybe a blank - pistol, which in terms of blank pistol that we have over here in the UK, is the front is totally blocked


So if you fire a blank cartridge that gives that explosion and that loud bang, nothing will come out the front of that pistol. And that's a lot of

the time what we use.

ANDERSON: So if there were to have been a bullet in this gun, what wouldn't have surprised you? I'm not talking about live ammo, although, I guess that

could have been the case we don't know. But the fact that there might have been a bullet at all in this gun would surprise you?

LEONIDES: Oh, I think it surprised me. It surprised the whole industry. There's no way in a million years should there ever be live rounds on set

and with the professional armors whose job is to bring the firearms on set and be there and coordinate everything as far as the firearms would

definitely make sure that that wouldn't happen.

The only thing I could imagine could happen is a bit like you said the intro in Brandon Lee, where they had a dummy round in the pistol, the end

of the dummy round, which is the bullet part and fallen off into the bowel. They finished for the day they thought let's carry on. Let's get this scene


And without the armor there, they loaded the blanks into the pistol. Fire in the blanks cause explosion, which went down the bowel pushing any debris

in this case was that dummy round which then becomes a projectile which was of course lethal.

And that's the only thing I could think would happen. But what's even happen with the professionalism of the armors. And remember this is a large

production. You know, it really is surprised and I think we're all kind of shocked and waiting to see what actually happened because we are talking to

people being injured.

Isn't just one person passed away but anything - how can this happen? So I think we're all very shocked with this one.

ANDERSON: I was listening to somebody earlier who said and I quote blanks help to contribute to the authenticity of a scene in ways that cannot be

achieved in any other manner.


ANDERSON: If the cinematographer is there to paint a story with lightened framing, firearms experts are there to enhance a story with drama and

excitement does that resonate with you?

LEONIDES: Well, it is and that's my job. So I go on set as the technical adviser and I advise how everything worked. But we are as industry moving

away from blanks. The whole of job of - is with airsoft. So when they're fighting in close proximity, they're using airsoft pistols.

Because if I was calling a fight scene, and we had blank rounds that we were using, there's no way I'd have anyone within three feet. So a lot of

times they're moving away from blank ammunition. But it's still used widely.

And again, it's been used without problems, because this is not standard. This is not something that happens all the time.

ANDERSON: But you would still - would you as a firearms expert, advice anyone working on a set to treat it as if it were a real gun? I mean is

there ever a time when an actor points a gun at another actor, and fires?


ANDERSON: I mean there must be times because that's part of the scene, right?

LEONIDES: What you would do is one of the rules is never point to anything you don't intend to destroy. OK, that's a safety rule that we use. And

onset, you don't need to be pointed at somebody, because you can point just to one side, you can trick it with a camera.

A lot of the time, you might turn it around so the cameras based use and no one needs to be in front of you. So there's no reason why you need to be

pointing blank pistols at people. And as you said, we can come away from that in post-production and CGI, you can use an airsoft pistol, where the

gas moves the slide on top of the pistol.

So then, in post-production, you can add a bit of a muzzle flash, a bit of sound effects, and no one would know any different. So you would not point

it to anybody if you can get away with that.

ANDERSON: Can you imagine a reason why Alec Baldwin might have been given a prop fire arm that had a live bullet?

LEONIDES: I don't think anyone can imagine the reason why that would happen. Because I don't think it would happen unless something bad was

going on unless something was done on purpose to happen because the armor most certainly would never do this.

And so unless there's foul play involved, I then that would be the only reason you'd ever be given a live round inside his pistol. I think as armor

on sets and I've done this job for a while I know many armors that work on set all over the world.

And you're so focused and just on what you're doing? Live ammunition would not even exist as part of your kit, you know, for your production

fulfillment TV, so I can't imagine it happening and for that to happen as a mistake it's going to be very rare, and it'll be very surprising.

ANDERSON: With that, sir, we thank you for joining us and of course, we will monitor the reports from this investigation and of course we will get

you more as indeed, we get. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office said the investigation into what happened on the set of "Rust" is open and active

and as yet no charges have been filed. More on that as we get it.

Well, across Europe COVID-19 infections and deaths have been rising ominously for the past several weeks. Despite lockdowns, restrictions, and

mass mandates public health experts fear cooler weather will lead to dramatically more cases.

The UK Prime Minister says the country is "Sticking with its current plan, despite a recent case surge and heavy criticism from public health

experts". New data cases they're reached almost 52,000 on Thursday, Latvia has imposed restrictions on schools and workplaces its COVID incidences up

almost 50 percent in the last week.

And China is in another fresh outbreak with the Olympics just four months away. 35 new local cases have been reported this Friday. Meanwhile, New

Zealand says restrictions will be lifted but only when 90 percent of eligible people are fully vaccinated.

Well, there's something different on the streets of Melbourne, Australia to date, people the city relaxing its COVID restrictions after a very long

lockdown. Angus Watson looks at day one of freedom.



ANGUS WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One of the most locked down cities in the world, Melbourne, Australia, emerging from its latest COVID-

19 shut down. On Friday people out and about celebrating freedom from sixth lockdown some 262 days spent in lockdown cumulatively, since the pandemic


Melbourne, a cultural capital for Australia, a restaurant capital people there now able to enjoy those things once again and now we're out on a

beautiful Friday afternoon down in Melbourne, celebrating today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Visiting family and friends it's just fantastic. It's been such a long time since we've been able to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brain sort of separated from what I do for so long. It's super nice to be back today. And it's a sunny day, so it's perfect.

WATSON (voice over): Now it is a cautious opening that the State of Victoria has put in place for Melbourne and it's possible because of the

state's high vaccination rates. 70 percent of the adult population is double vaccinated against COVID-19 90 percent of that adult population has

had at least one shot so some good news today more good news announced by the State Premier Daniel Andrews.

He says this as of the 1st of November, the states' international border will open through its airport in Melbourne joining Sydney in welcoming

Australians residents and their families from across the world back into those cities without having to quarantine if you're double vaccinated.

But we're seeing this very strange situation in Australia right now, where states that have had COVID-19 in the community that still do have COVID-19

in the community, but have high vaccination rates, living with the virus and beginning to talk about opening up to the rest of the world, whereas

other states won't up - won't open up to one another.

Those states like Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia with lower vaccination rates wanting to hold on to give their populations a

chance to up that vaccination rates before deciding to live with the virus. Angus Watson, CNN, Sydney.


ANDERSON: Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is wishing Queen Elizabeth every possible good wish after her very brief hospital stay

earlier this week. Today - tells CNN she is home at Windsor Castle resting and undertaking light duties. Buckingham Palace is the 95 year old Queen

spent Wednesday night in hospital for what it calls preliminary investigations.

Well, that follows Tuesday's reception at Windsor Castle for international business leaders including Bill Gates. The Queen also welcome U.S. Climate

Chief John Kerry ahead of next month's COP26 Climate Conference in Scotland. Palace says Queen Elizabeth remains in good spirits. You're with

"Connect the World".

I'm Becky Anderson it's 12 minutes past 7 here in Abu Dhabi. Ahead, a series of bold moves by the Russian President see fueling tension abroad to

distract from a crisis at home. Plus what the gang leader behind the kidnapping of 17 mysteries in Haiti is demanding in exchange for their


And dusting off their boots Japan is holding its first military drill in decades why the security environment there is the worst that it's been

since World War II?



ANDERSON: Russia has a warning to NATO; Kremlin official told state media that if Ukraine is allowed to join the alliance, Russia will retaliate. He

called such a step extremely dangerous. President Vladimir Putin added the military aid that Ukraine is getting from Western powers already poses a

threat to Moscow.

Mr. Putin just days ago cutting off ties with NATO and he has said he will not appear in person the high profile G-20 and COP26 conferences. So Mr.

Putin barely taking a step back from the international community. Is it? Or is this all part of a larger strategy?

CNN's Sam Kiley joining us from the Russian capital, there have been a number of moves by the Russian President of late which have some reading

into this that he is stepping away taking a position as far as the international community is concerned. There are others who say there is

nothing new in this.

Certainly from the Middle East perspective, when you look at where President Putin pitches themselves - can be quite an opportunist in this

region and doesn't follow by the kind of normal rules of Western leaders as it were. What do you make of what's going on Sam?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, I think you put your finger on one of the most important issues when trying to

interpret what the Russian President is up to what his agenda might be? This is a man who has been in power through the reins, if you like of many

U.S. Presidents, many British Prime Ministers, and not that many German Chancellor's it has to be said.

But he is a man of great experience and very, very difficult to assess from a Western perspective what he is up to? And I think they're very often is

because people only see things through Western eyes. It's very important not quite often to see things through Putin eyes, Putin's eyes and Russian

eyes. And very often they might appear a little inconsistent as this report might examine.


KILEY (voice over): He's refused to attend the Global Climate Conference; he's cut communication with NATO. He's accused of strangling Europe's

natural gas supplies and of snubbing the G-20 Summit. Is Vladimir Putin and Russian bear lashing out or a wily arctic fox spreading the blame?

Skyrocketing European gas prices are up over 500 percent this year. Putin says that's not Russia's fault. And it's easily fixed if Europe allowed gas

to flow to Germany down Russia's new pipeline Nord Stream II.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Of course, if we could increase deliveries through this route this would substantially ease tension on the

European energy market.

KILEY (voice over): The Europeans have been slow to adopt the pipeline fearing dependence on Russian gas. Russia closed its diplomatic mission to

NATO on Monday, officially in response to NATO's expulsion of eight of its diplomats who NATO accused of spying earlier this month.

But Putin's also reacting to tensions in the Black Sea and NATO muscling into alliances in Eastern Europe, which he sees as Russia's back garden.

PUTIN: We did not come to the suburbs of Washington or New York to conduct drills. They came to us and conducted them at our borders. How should we

react to this?

KILEY (voice over): Russian troops illegally occupied territory in neighboring Georgia and Ukraine.

LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: United States will continue to provide assistance to enhance the maritime capacities of not only Ukraine,

but also Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria. We have long understood the importance of cooperation and unity among allies and partners to deter

Russian aggression.

KILEY (voice over): Not perhaps an incentive for Putin to play nice at the G-20 and the global COP26 Climate Summits.

DMITRI TRENIN, DIRECTOR, CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER: This is a positive message to those who are inviting him if he decides that he would rather have a

video conference with a certain group of people that also tells you something.

KILEY (voice over): Raising tensions abroad may be a useful way for Putin to distract attention from the critical COVID crisis at home with death

tolls are breaking records daily. Putin has ordered all rations of work for a week at the end of this month and Moscow will face tight restrictions on

movements next week.

Russia's vaccination program still hasn't reached about two thirds of the Russian population that it seems is the fault of Russians.


PUTIN: Unfortunately we see the dangerous consequences of the low level of vaccination in our country.

KILEY (voice over): But as winter approaches and Russia suffers international isolation, many Russians may begin to tire of their leaders



KILEY: Becky, so far, there's no sign that Vladimir Putin is on the back foot domestically, internationally, he remains very skilled at seizing

opportunities wherever and whenever they present themselves.

And above all, he sees victory as chaos in the ranks of the enemy or on the chaos in the ranks of his rivals. And he's certainly been stirring that up

over recent decades Becky?

ANDERSON: Sam Kiley on the story. Sam, thank you, sir! President Putin owes that the Israeli Prime Minister today in their first meeting since Naftali

Bennett took office, Iran, part of their discussions. This meeting comes amid a flurry of recent diplomatic activity across the Middle East that

"AXIOS" reports is focused on Iran.

U.S. President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan recently met with the officials in Egypt here in the UAE, and indeed in Saudi Arabia

and we are seeing the revolving doors of diplomacy throughout this region.

My next guest says that Sullivan raised the prospect of normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. During his meeting with the

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Barak Ravid, reported in actual Saudi Arabia will be the biggest regional player to sign on to the Abraham

Accords Peace Agreement with Israel and such a major breakthrough would likely convinced other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

None of that is new. But we've got Barak Ravid with us who is a Diplomatic Correspondent at Walla News and an "AXIOS" Contributor, joining me now from

Tel Aviv. To report on exactly what we understand those discussions to be and whether Saudi Arabia is any closer to normalizing relations, because

that would be new, sir.

BARAK RAVID, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, WALLA NEWS: Hi Becky yes. So I think that what was - the two most interesting things in that meeting between

Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Adviser, and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was first the fact that Sullivan raised

the issue of possible normalization with Israel, which shows I think that the Biden Administration is starting to actually take action, and not only

talk about the its willingness to continue on pursuing the Abrahamic Accords that were signed during the Trump Administration.

And the second thing was that when Sullivan raised this issue, bin Salman did not reject it out of hand. He did not push back he said, it could take

time. He hinted that he was open to such a thing. But and this is the most interesting thing.

He gave Sullivan, a list of Saudi demands of what needs to happen in order for Saudi to be able to take such a step. And, you know, not very

surprisingly, most of those steps that the Saudis want to see happen, have nothing to do with Israel have nothing to do with the Middle East have

nothing to do with the Palestinian issue.

They're all about Saudi U.S. bilateral relations. And in a way the road for Saudi Israeli normalization goes through Saudi U.S. normalization.

ANDERSON: That's fascinating. And I'm sure many of our viewers in around the world will be perhaps surprised by that. For many in this region there

has been a sense for some time that perhaps there was more to this potential normalization with Saudi and Israel than had been previously


Look, there was a lot of shuttle diplomacy going on in this region in recent weeks. And let's just discuss what we believe is actually happening

on the ground here. We know that the Iran talks are likely to be back on at some point soon. Where does this region stand with regard those talks? What

are the Saudis willing to accept when it comes to new regional alignments and indeed, the potential for new talks and an agreement with Iran?

RAVID: Yes, so I think we see two trends in the region right now.


RAVID: One trend is a lot of the countries in the region, Israel and many of the Sunni States, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia,

Egypt, they're all telling the U.S. that it needs to take some more steps and action against Iran's provocations, even if it wants Iran to go back to

the deal.

They're telling the Americans look, even if you know, you say what you want Iran to go back to the deal, they will not go back to the deal, if you're

going to just let them make more and more provocation without reacting.

And the second trend, which is even more interesting, is that many countries in the region are reaching out to Iran. Saudi Arabia has been

engaged in four rounds of secret diplomacy with Iran through Iraqi mediation in Baghdad.

This is I think, something that was very surprising when it was exposed, exposed recently now the Saudis and the Iranians are talking about this

openly about the possibility that the Saudis, for example, will reopen their Embassy in Iran.

This is something that I think nobody could have seen happening. And I think that this new trend comes also from the fact that there's a lot of

uncertainty about what's the Biden Administration's policy in the region, countries in the region saw the - from Afghanistan, they see that the

nuclear talks are stuck, and that the Biden Administration doesn't have a plan B.

So they are starting to in some way, cut their losses and see if they can engage Iran to de-escalate tensions.

ANDERSON: It's always a pleasure having you on. Don't be a stranger; we'll have you back very soon. The new alignments, the realignments, the

emergence of these new trends, the emergence of what looked like mini lateral arrangements, and these bilateral arrangements that are going on

around this region are absolutely fascinating. And what goes on here does not stay here. And it is important that we look at the nuance and the layer

on this thank you very much indeed for joining us.

You're watching "Connect the World" live from our Middle East Programming Hub in Abu Dhabi. Still ahead, the challenges ahead for the region's

economies as they emerge from the pandemic, I want to talk live with the Director of the International Monetary fund's Middle East and Central Asia

Department. Plus, shipping giant UPS is not a low carbon corporation, but he says he hopes to be one day. We'll find out just how a little later?



ANDERSON: Political corruption, direct economy and severe shortages of food and medicine all part of life in Lebanon where many face a daily struggle

just to feed their families. An in-depth investigation by CNN's Tamara Qiblawi shows us how those crippling shortages are made worse because of


TAMARA QIBLAWI, CNN SENIOR DIGITAL MIDEAST PRODUCER: It's no secret that Lebanon has suffered from severe shortages this year. Pharmacies are

basically window addressing, finding the medicine that you want is rare. Infant formula is nearly impossible to find. But the big question is what

caused this and it's not just Lebanon's dwindling public finances.

Our findings show that in fact, when the shortages became rampant in the first half of this year, essential goods were still flowing into the

country at normal levels. In some cases, they actually increased.

In an interview with you last month Becky, Lebanon's new Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the traders have withheld the majority of these essential

goods from the public, and they haven't turned wasted around $7 billion in public funds. Why is this happening?

Well, it's because Lebanon's catastrophe has created new profit making avenues. It's because many traders are profiting from the misery of their

population. Here's how it works. Most of these goods are subsidized.

This lets traders import at a cost much lower than the global market rates. By stockpiling these goods and waiting for the subsidies to lift, traders

stand to net a tidy profit. In many cases, there is evidence that traders are re exporting these goods, selling them at a much higher price than the

subsidized cost.

The worse the catastrophe gets and the more the local currency depreciates the greater those potential profit margins.

ANDERSON: Well, New International Monetary Fund report painting a mixed picture of post pandemic economic recovery in and around the Middle East.

There are some positive signs of growth projection topping 4 percent due to largely rapid vaccine rollout in some areas, but the region also faces new

challenges from new pandemic waves to rising inflation to weak employment recovery.

Not all countries growing at the same speed with lower income nations facing delayed and uneven vaccine deliveries. There are some significant

challenges. There are also some opportunities outlined by the IMF's latest report.

My next guest says recoveries though remain uncertain. Jihad Azour joining me via Skype from Washington. He is the Director of the IMF, Middle East

and Central Asia Department and former Lebanese Finance Minister.

And that is where I do want to begin, Sir tonight. An IMF program scene is absolutely critical to unlocking international financial help. The country

has a new prime minister who is bent on getting that help. Now tools to the IMF broke down last year since then the economy has been in free fall, and

the country is frankly on the abyss. So are these IMF talks back on?

JIHAD AZOUR, DIRECTOR, IMF MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA DEPARTMENT: Becky, thank you very much for having me. As you know, the Prime Minister of

Lebanon has requested funds assistance he sent a letter a few weeks ago.

Currently technical discussions are underway between the team that in charge of Lebanon at the fund and the economic team of Lebanon.

Those discussions are aimed to update the numbers and have a new baseline of where the economic, financial and social situation is. What are the

priorities that are contemplated by the Lebanese government? And what would Lebanon need in terms of reforms in order to recover?

ANDERSON: Is there agreement on the extent of the financial losses? You've talked about changing the baselines here, since those last talks broke

down. And as I said, things have got significantly worse. So is there agreement even on those financial losses between politicians, businessmen,

the central bank and indeed the IMF, and if so, what are those losses?

AZOUR: Well, you said that, Becky, the situation has deteriorated further and dramatically last year since August and the explosion in Beirut,

inflation has skyrocketed. We expect the economy to shrink into 2020 by 25 percent. And we don't know what will be the outlook for this year.

As you know the fund has provided assistance this year with special - rights $1.2 billion and we expect and we hope that those funds will be used

to elevate the pressure. Our low income people accelerate vaccination and extend additional social support to those who are suffering most.


AZOUR: Imperative to that, Lebanon needs a comprehensive reform package that addresses the issue of the losses in the financial sector, but also

addresses long term structural issues like electricity, public services.

And also, I think it's becoming more and more important to widen the net of social protection, focused assistance to those who need it and also fight

corruption. And that requires that the stakeholders in Lebanon will be supporting and behind this reform journey.

ANDERSON: Jihad, I have to pick you up on something you just said you said you hope those special - rights will be used correctly that will be you

know, that the funds will be used properly. What are the mechanisms to ensure that any funds are used correctly?

And are you seeing any evidence at all of reforms to governance and cleaning up the system and end to corruption and into the hoarding reported

by my colleague tomorrow just before you and I started speaking? These were demands made by the international community before any help was supposed to

be provided.

AZOUR: Well, any help to them, has to have the revenues economy to recover. And the Lebanese economy needs to reform and needs to address through

strong policies. It's a process that would need that important measures and rely on the capacity of the current government to introduce those reforms.

With that the funds as well as also international community are ready to provide assistance and to provide financial support. Of course, Lebanon

needs more than what the fund can provide.

Friendly countries partners of Lebanon also need to chip in especially that Lebanon is also facing the pressure of more issues than other countries

with the refugees and other problems in addition to the need to reconstruct after the explosion of last year.

ANDERSON: You talked about a 25 percent contraction in GDP that is the number three four years ago that nobody could have even believed would be a

possibility for Lebanon. You talk about there being no forecast going forward because of the mess that there is a big red flag.

Also, in your report about Afghanistan, we talked about a 25 percent contraction in GDP in Lebanon, which is unfathomable. We're talking about

what a 30 percent contraction in GDP for Afghanistan, in the wake of the Taliban takeover; just explain what sort of challenges you see there.

AZOUR: Well Becky, Afghanistan was faced with COVID-19 shock before the recent developments, as well as also the impact of the drugs. Recently,

there are three additional shocks that are facing the Afghan economy.

One is the halt on non-humanitarian assistance, which usually constitute a large portion of the budget and sizable portion of GDP. Second, is the

freeze of assets of the Central Bank and the capacity of the financial system to have access to its correspondent banking relationship?

Those three developments will have an impact and severe impact on economic and social stability. And if things are, are maintained in the strength,

this could push millions of people into poverty and therefore there is a need to address some of the immediate issues.

And there is a need to at least alleviate the pressure on those who are suffering most, i.e. woman use and providing to those the basic social

services, particularly health and education.

ANDERSON: Yet we know that there are significant risks across what is a very uneven picture across the manor region. We see risks of inflation of

mounting debt, we see an uneven vaccine rollout. And these are issues that the IMF report highlights.

It does also highlight some opportunities that the IMF sees as crucial that countries consider as we move towards what we hope will be a post pandemic

recovery. Can you just outline where you see those opportunities, at least going forward?

AZOUR: Well, the first one is that we're seeing progress since the beginning of the year and the economy in the region is going to recover. We

project 4.1 percent this year 4.1 percent next year. Those are positive developments.


AZOUR: This recovery is driven by accelerating vaccinations and also by the various measures that were introduced in several countries in the region. A

good example of the GCC, the non-oil sector is driving the recovery.

What we saw as silver linings during this crisis is technology has played an important role in providing access to services and protecting the lives

of people and technology, whether tech savvy youth is a potential of double digit growth in the region.

The second is, we saw that certain number of countries were able to provide more assistance to those who are informality. In the case of Morocco, they

were able to provide to 5 million families additional assistance, broadening the social protection system, investing in education will help

increase productivity and address the issue of unemployment that went up last year.

The third one as an example is the change in the global value chain and the region can reposition itself to benefit from that and also to accelerate

investment in green economy, where the region also has a potential to grow.

Therefore, there are potentials, there are certain positive developments. What we need to do is address the low growth, low productivity and for

countries where the lead is high, address this issue too.

And ultimately, hopefully this will improve the inclusion for women use and address the issue of unemployment that is relatively high. Therefore we are

at a turning point, and the region can take the course of fast and strong recovery, if reforms are implemented.

ANDERSON: Jihad, it's always a pleasure to speak to your insight and analysis is extremely important to our viewers. Thank you very much indeed

for joining us today Jihad Azour, of the IMF. We are connecting you now to Haiti where a gang leader is threatening to kill 17 U.S. and Canadian

missionaries unless his demands are met.

A video released Thursday shows this man William Joseph speaking at a funeral for gang members, he says were killed by Police. Now this is

according to a source within the Haitian security force. Haiti's Justice Minister says the kidnappers are demanding $1 million per hostage.

The captives include three young children; one of them is just eight months old. CNN's Joe Johns is reporting for us from the Haitian capital of Port-

au-Prince, the city racked by gang activity.

And as I was just quoting the patient Justice Ministry there it sort of feels like an oxymoron, doesn't it? When you talk about the justice

ministry in Haiti these days, what more can you tell us about that video and indeed about this gang leader, Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the gang leader is pretty well known here, quite frankly, Becky and Haiti, because they've been involved in some

other kidnappings. And as you know, there have been hundreds of kidnappings in this country.

He is at a funeral of a group of individuals; he said were killed by the Police forces, as you noted. And he says that he is going to kill the

hostages if he doesn't get what he wants.

And as you know what he's said publicly, or at least he said to other individuals, that he wants his $17 million $1 million each for every man,

woman and child, they have kidnapped, of course, those numbers can go down, we're told and they have gone down.

We did talk to an individual who's negotiated with this group 400 Mawozo before, who says they tend to be businesslike and says they tend to be the

type of people who are good on their word. If you give them money, they will give you the hostages back as opposed to some of the groups in this

country who are fairly sadistic and tend to want to do harm. So that's where we stand.

We know also, that for whatever reason, and it may not be connected at all to the threat or the kidnapping. But the national interim Police Chief here

in Haiti did abruptly resign just yesterday and he's being replaced.

It's not clear why but we do know the Prime Minister here in Haiti was under extreme political pressure to get rid of the Police Chief simply

because of the security problems, as well as the kidnapping problems that continued to be very serious in this country, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, meantime 16 Americans including those children and the baby and one Canadian, still are held on hostage somewhere there. Thank you,

Joe. You're watching two hours of "Connect the World" live from Abu Dhabi. It's quarter to eight here. Coming up on the show the benefits of

breadfruit for farmers and the soil, that is coming up.



ANDERSON: Well, that's growing concern that modern agricultural practice with its monocultures water use fertilizers, pesticides, is the enemy of

biodiversity and soil health which is why on our serious "Call to Earth" this week.

We're assessing the return to traditional farming that we are seeing in parts of the world and today a story from Hawaii, about breadfruit.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): I love breadfruit because it's a beautiful long live tropical tree. Once you put it into the ground and care

for it, you will have fruit in three to five years. It got its name because when the first European voyagers came upon this green brownish thing

roasting in the fire to them it smelled like Brad.

Locally known as Oulu breadfruit was eaten in the Pacific Islands for centuries. Until plantation crops and monocultures took over the menu and

the landscape. Diane Ragone wants to bring it back to Agra forests on Hawaii's Kauai Island with the breadfruit Institute; she has worked for

since 2003.

DIANE RAGONE, DIRECTOR, BREADFRUIT INSTITUTE, HAWAII: Diversity is an important part of the Agra forests. So we've included a lot of ornamental.

So when you walk through this area in addition to the food, the fiber plants, the plants that feed the soil we all have planted feed our soul.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Her motivation is to feed communities in a way that not only sustains but regenerates the land.

RAGONE: The environmental benefits of a breadfruit tree are many. As a tree it provides a canopy. When there rains the canopy will slow down the

raindrop, so protect the soil erosion. They're also important sources of food for other organisms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Regenerative agriculture protects local food producers as well as the landscape.


NOEL DICKINSON, AGRONOMIST, NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS, HAWAII: It's hard too, especially in Hawaii, been a farmer and make enough money to pay your

bills. Trust me, and a lot of times, it's because you need tools, or extra inputs like fertilizers, you can potentially cut those costs and

diversifies and utilize all of your land, using Hulu as the backbone of your agro forest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): But breadfruit is an acquired taste. Chefs on the island are experimenting with the best ways to cook it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it's small and green, and in mature, it can be cooked and then marinated like artichoke. The right breadfruit is used to

make a delicious two thirds gluten free pies on Maui. There's a baker here on --, who makes bagels. So it's very, very versatile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Well, versatile in the kitchen, breadfruit grows best in the tropics. But in San Francisco, one company is

determined to package it for international consumption.

BIRGIT CAMERON, CO-FOUNDER, PATAGONIA PROVISIONS: We saw how this could really solve a big problem from a climate and people point of view. And we

wanted to put something to market to be able to tell that story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Patagonia Provisions an offshoot of the clothing brand has created three flavors of crackers using breadfruit


CAMERON: My hopes for the future of breadfruit are that we are bringing value to these Agra forests so they don't get cut down. There's a reason

why it was this they called it the tree of life that every child in Hawaii that was born received a breadfruit tree as a representation for food for


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so important for humanity to have sustainable food crops that they can grow that are suitable for their growing

conditions. And breadfruit is one example.


ANDERSON: And regular viewers of this show will know that we are absolutely dedicated to bringing you inspirational environmental stories like this

one. So tell us what you are doing to answer the call? And as ever, you can use the hash tag on social "Call to Earth" back after this.


ANDERSON: Well, Actor Alec Baldwin is expressing shock after he discharged a prop gun on the set of a movie. He wrote on Twitter and I quote here,

"There are new words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of how Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and

deeply admired colleague of ours.

I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred. I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to

him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna".

And we will have the very latest on what is a developing story on "One World" which follows this show here on CNN. Well, we are closing out a week

when climate continues to dominate.


ANDERSON: And here's a story for you shipping giant UPS says it is ready to deliver on reducing its carbon footprint. CNN's Scott McLean shows us the

company's fleet of new ideas from his vantage point at Expo 2020 in Dubai.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The United Parcel Service is not a low carbon corporation; the job of shipping freight and packages

around the world takes a huge carbon footprint. But UPS says it hopes to change that over the next three decades.

Part of their answer is in these small electric and pedal powered vehicles already in use in some European cities, and plans to use thousands of these

electric delivery vans that are so new, they won't even show us how the doors open.

MCLEAN (on camera): I can't tell if you're joking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm dead serious.

MCLEAN (on camera): Really?


MCLEAN (on camera): I mean if you think about our vehicles around the world, we don't want people knowing how to get easy access to a package.

MCLEAN (voice over): But electric cars are only as green as the electrical grid that powers them and in many places, burning coal and fossil fuels,

they're not green at all. The real innovation is on this Dubai rooftop, a small solar farm that stores its electricity in a giant battery that

charges a small fleet of vehicles entirely off the grid.

The eventual goal is to take thousands of delivery vans off the grid, if it works as well as they hope.

SCOTT PRICE, PRESIDENT, UPS INTERNATIONAL: To pilot we've got to see how it works. We're on day three. So give us a little bit of time, right? So from

here on out, we've got 10,000 of these vehicles that we've acquired. I'd love to be able to see us move this beyond just say the UAE wherever the

sun is shining.

MCLEAN (on camera): Will it help bring down the cost of sending a --?

PRICE: Yes, absolutely we have to continue to bring down our overall costs.

MCLEAN (on camera): By how much do you think?

PRICE: Don't know the percent's, yes; it's a pilot of two vehicles out of a fleet of hundreds of thousands around the world.

MCLEAN (voice over): Drop in the bucket for a global corporation, but it's a start. Scott McLean, CNN Dubai.


ANDERSON: Well, Dubai is a big wheel in anybody's book the city famous for a long list of biggest and tallest and now it's got a record breaking

observation will the Dubai Eye open Thursday and stands more than 250 meters high making it the world's tallest Ferris wheel.

Incredibly it is almost twice the size of the London Eye which is going to be set absolutely towers over the River Thames. It is a good night from Abu

Dhabi. "One World" with Lynda Kinkade is next live from Atlanta for you. Stay with us.