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Connect the World
UK PM: Can Keep England's "Plan B" Measures in Place; A Record-High Number of Kids Hospitalized with COVID-19; French Superstar Hungry for more World Cup Success; Desperation Takes Toll on Lebanon's Children; PM Mikati to Convene Cabinet Meeting Soon; North Korea Fires Unidentified Projectile. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired January 05, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back! And we start with mixed messages out of Europe today on the response the Omicron surge,
cases soaring to new daily records across the continent and some governments willing to wait out the latest wave including the UK where
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says England's Plan B restrictions which avoid lock downs are enough, he says and defends what he calls a balanced
approach during Prime Minister's questions in Parliament last hour.
Well in France, a decidedly different tone coming from President Emmanuel Macron saying in a newspaper interview he "Really wants to piss off
unvaccinated people". Those comments sparked anger from opposition lawmakers who were able to suspend debate on what is a as far as they're
concerned, very restrictive vaccine pass law for a second time.
Cyril Vanier connecting us tonight from Paris on these words from the French President but I want to start Scott, with you in London. We've just
been keeping an eye on Prime Ministers' questions today in the British Parliament and one person who wasn't there today was the opposition leader
who as I understand it has tested positive himself, correct?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right tested positive for the virus for the second time in just the past few months, Becky. Perhaps that's not
surprising what we know about it, though. The latest government estimates just published today show that in the last week of December alone, one in
every 15 people in England was positive for the virus. That number was one in 10 here in London.
We also know that about 10 to 15 percent of Omicron infections are re infections as was the case with Kier Starmer. What was really interesting,
though, in watching the Prime Minister's questions was that Coronavirus restrictions didn't come up all that much. There were a lot of questions
about other domestic issues.
But perhaps this is a sign that opposition party leaders are not all that upset with the decision making that the Prime Minister has had to make over
the past few days to decide to stay the course not institute, new restrictions, at least in England.
And the reason why he says that is because A, the Omicron variant is not nearly as severe as past variants of the virus. And second, the success of
the booster program 60 percent of the eligible population has already had a booster shot the vast majority of people who are in hospital are
And the Prime Minister's point is that look, the economy has to keep moving education has to keep moving for people. And so while there is going to be
issues with staff shortages, and there are any issues there are going to be not nearly as bad as what we would have if we went back to full lockdown
ANDERSON: Yes. And Scott no questions in Parliament today on restrictions or not an awful lot of narrative on restrictions but some changes, as I
understand it in testing in an attempt to get people back into the workplace, not least back into hospitals and for example, teachers back
MCLEAN: Yes, so actually, there are two updates today to tell you about. One just we just confirmed in the last few minutes that the pre departure
test for people who are overseas that was brought in hastily, just at the end of this year is being scrapped altogether.
So you can fly into England take a test on day two, you don't have to take a test overseas, obviously, a lot of people concerned that if they go to
somewhere in Europe, on vacation or elsewhere, and then they take a test over there, well, they're going to be stuck if they end up testing
The other one has to do with these lateral flow tests that the government has over the past year have been really handing out like candy in these big
boxes of seven, quite easy to get your hands on before now they're quite difficult.
The government now says that if you test positive on one of those lateral flow tests, and if you have no symptoms, isolate as per normal, you don't
have to go and then get a PCR test to confirm it. There is enormous pressure on the system right now for PCR tests.
They're taking a long time to get people booked a long time in many cases to get sent out to people and then returned and actually get a result to
the government saying look, if you're asymptomatic, you can just simply take a test.
When it comes to the staff shortages question Becky the Prime Minister is offering help to the hardest hit hospitals with testing shortages in the
form of the military perhaps even.
MCLEAN: And he's also designating for 100,000 frontline essential workers, people who work in transport, food processing border, things like that.
They're going to be prioritized for these lateral flow tests to make sure that they can keep working and not transmit the virus.
ANDERSON: Well, we're keeping an eye on what's going on in the Houses of Parliament. Thank you, Scott. That's a story in England at present. Cyril
and President Macron wants to restrict anyone who isn't vaccinated from getting about certainly getting into public places, for example, and he is
making no bones about how he feels about those who haven't yet been vaccinated. What is he said?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, he's used to very strong language in the past against the unvaccinated. But yesterday, he certainly
made a new headline and a big splash, saying that he wants to piss off the unvaccinated he really feels like pissing them off, and sorry for the
But those are the words used by the president; no great translation for the real word that he used in French, Becky, you could argue is even more
vulgar than that. But that's what the French President said. And he gave an interview to the French daily --.
He knew this would be read by many, many, many people. And of course, this has caused an-uproar within the ranks of the opposition. And the timing of
this is really quite, quite peculiar. Because as we speak, the government is trying to pass a bill into law that would transform the health pass that
we have here in France into a vaccine pass.
And that means that the unvaccinated would no longer be able to access bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, et cetera simply by presenting a
negative COVID test something which they've been able to do the last six months or so which they probably will no longer be able to do starting mid-
January when this bill comes into law. That is still expected to happen, Becky.
So the president probably playing politics here we're at about 100 days away from the presidential election. The president knows that he is saying
out loud what many already think. And let's just think about this Becky.
90 percent of the people who are eligible to be vaccinated in France have accepted to be vaccinated. That means there's a very small minority of
people 10 percent who are refusing it, those people more than likely already disagree with Mr. Macron's policy of the health pass.
So it's very likely that this language he's using is not going to make him enemies that he doesn't already have, Becky.
ANDERSON: Good point. Thank you. Well, as we were discussing contrasting stories in Europe, a similar case in Asia where cases are high and
governments are cracking down on restrictions. India sees a sharp rise in COVID cases as another state imposes weekend curfews, nearly a dozen
neighborhoods locked down in one Chinese city as well.
Well, in China, nearly a dozen neighborhoods in the City of Zhengzhou have been put under lockdown after a number of COVID cases there were reported.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong is tightening its already strict COVID guidelines as officials warn a fifth wave is now imminent, the city announced a two week
ban on incoming flights from eight different countries including the U.S. the UK, and Canada.
The government is also banning in person dining at restaurants effective this Friday. All entertainment venues like gyms and cinemas will also be
shut down and more than 3000 people are being held on a cruise ship in Hong Kong for testing the Royal Caribbean Ship Spectrum of the Seas was ordered
to return to port after nine people on board were identified as close contact so have a preliminary positive COVID case.
Well, Hong Kong has prided itself on being one of the safest cities so during the COVID pandemic, but at what costs? Well, many visitors are
required to spend 21 days in a hotel or government facility after arriving. Will Ripley now looks at the impact of those long tightly controlled
quarantines indoors have a look at this.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In zero COVID Hong Kong pandemic protocols have paralyzed this once busy travel hub. The arrival
process that used to take minutes now drags on for hours. Mandatory testing at the airport, waiting hours for the results but the lucky ones test
negative and spend up to 21 days in self-paid hotel quarantine. Darryl Chan is not one of the lucky ones.
DARRYL CHAN, TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 IN HONG KONG: I've had both of my jobs I've been boosted I didn't think - didn't have to think - didn't ever
think that I'll be actually test positive on arrival.
RIPLEY (voice over): 13 hours after landing in Hong Kong, Chan was in an ambulance, his luggage left at the airport. He tested positive for the
Omicron variant. Even without symptoms, his minimum hospital stay is nearly a month.
RIPLEY (on camera): Do you worry about your mental health as these days turn into weeks?
CHAN: Yes, absolutely because I've never been in a situation like this before.
DR. ELISABETH WONG, PSYCHIATRIST: In general, there is increased sense of isolation, anxiety, and in some severe cases even post-traumatic stress.
RIPLEY (voice over): Hong Kong Psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Wong says longer quarantines can be more traumatic.
DR. WONG: And then - then we have a lot of changes between the seven days and the 14 days and 21 days and that was when people reported more stress
especially with them longer period of quarantine.
RIPLEY (voice over): Darryl's day begins with a wake up jingle. He takes his own vitals, calls and messages with friends and family help pass the
CHAN: Social media has really helped actually. Definitely makes you feel less alone.
RIPLEY (voice over): One of his greatest struggles sharing the room have bathroom with two strangers.
CHAN: But I think what has definitely impacted me so far is the feeling of just you know, not having the freedom and regressing into almost feeling
like you're back at school. You know, with some controlled wake up and bedtimes not being able to control what you can eat.
RIPLEY (voice over): Hospital meals often consist of mystery meet the bigger mystery, Chan's release date. He's supposed to start a new job, a
new life in Hong Kong.
RIPLEY (on camera): What's the worst part of this?
CHAN: I think the worst part does not know when I'll be able to get out.
RIPLEY (voice over): For now all he can do is waiting from his hospital bed, freedom feels like a lifetime away. Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.
ANDERSON: As we move in towards the third year of this pandemic, many of us are still wondering, what is the right way to deal with COVID? Well, in the
U.S., CDC advisors will meet later today to discuss expanding COVID booster shots to younger teens. This follows new guidance from or for people who
have COVID, the CDC now says that they should isolate for five days, but there's no requirement for a test to end that isolation.
If they choose to take a COVID test and it is positive, then they do need to continue isolation for five additional days. If the test is negative,
they can then wear masks that they have no symptoms. CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen joining us now live to help us better
understand it's important what's going on in the U.S. because we are seeing governments around the world struggling to really get to grips with how
often people should test?
What should happen if one gets a positive test? What should happen if one is in direct contact with somebody and just how long people should be
quarantined or isolated in order to protect others? This is a - this is a big struggle. Walk us through the CDC's new guidance and importantly the
thinking behind it if you will.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, sure. So Becky, as you can tell different countries are doing different rules about how to
get out of isolation when you're recovering from COVID-19. And the fact that everyone's doing something different tells you that we don't quite
know what the right thing is to do.
So let's look at what the new rules are in the United States. So in the United States, if you have COVID, you're told to stay home for at least
five days. If you're feeling better, you can end that isolation after five days and then mask for another five days.
Now if you want to towards the end of that isolation, you can get a rapid test if you want to. It's an unusual piece of public health advice to say
if you want to, but that's what the CDC has done. If that test is positive, then you should isolate for 10 days.
So many people have asked how the CDC can feel confident telling people after five days if you're feeling better, don't do a test if you don't want
to, you can just get out. And I think that this graphic will really explain why they feel comfortable?
If you look on the left hand side, when you have just tested positive for COVID-19 you are quite contagious. You are at the highest level of being
contagious and it goes down, down, down and down. Once you're past those five days the chances of you transmitting COVID-19 to someone else as long
as you're not actively ill you're feeling fine.
COHEN: The chances of you are getting someone else sick are really very small. So in the West, the decision has been made. Look, we need essential
workers; we can't keep people at home forever. We want to cut in half the amount of time that they should stay home because at the end of that time
period, they're not all that contagious. So that's the decision that's been made in the United States.
ANDERSON: Meantime, an alarming new developmental is with is the rise in hospitalizations for kids. What's going on here because the headline at
least, will be very worrying for many people who are watching?
COHEN: Right. And so here's something that I think can make people feel better, which is that you know, the United States is a gigantic country,
and we are counting childhood hospitalizations in the hundreds, do we want even one child to end up in the hospital with COVID, of course not.
But it is still a very unusual circumstance that the first child to end up in the hospital with COVID. What's concerning is that the numbers are going
up. So let's take a look at those numbers.
So the peak of new hospital admissions for children prior to Omicron was 340 per day, 342 per day, and that was in early September. But now with 672
admissions per day, for the weekend in January 2, that is a big leap. Now some of these are children who actually went to the hospital for something
And then they found that they had COVID. But still, that is a huge leap. So the concern is, is that as more and more people get Omicron, more and more
children will get it. And even if it's just a small percentage that ended up in the hospital, a small percentage of a huge number can still be a very
And that number is sure to go up. So we've been talking about children. And one of the issues with children, of course has been do we allow them to go
back to school in the United States for the most part, the decision has been yes, they should go back to school.
But I've been talking with parents and with guidance counselors, this transition back to school since last fall has not always gone very
COHEN (voice over): Like other families, the Kitley is in Chicago were thrilled when last fall, their four children could finally go back to
school. But halfway through the school year, there have been bumps in the road, leaving home going back to school.
KELLEY KITLEY, MOTHER: That transition back to school has been difficult mostly for my youngest child who felt this sense of safety and security
from the age of seven until eight and a half and then needing to go back to school.
COHEN (on camera): So it sounds like your daughter got used to having the comfort of having mom and dad around all the time.
KITLEY: Absolutely. And then that is expected to just go back to school from zero to 100. There wasn't a gradual transition.
COHEN (voice over): Kitley, a therapist herself sees the tension and her patients.
KITLEY: They are feeling increased anxiety around just how to be and communicate with people and build friendships and being able to feel
comfortable in their environment.
COHEN (on camera): Have you seen children hit crisis points?
KITLEY: Low self-esteem and low confidence and feeling depressed. And as a coping mechanism, turning to eating disorder behavior or cutting behavior
and really not being able to manage the intensity of being back in a school environment.
COHEN (voice over): Last month, the U.S. Surgeon General issued this 53 page advisory outlining how the pandemic has had an unprecedented negative
impact on the mental health of children. One global study finding symptoms of youth depression and anxiety doubled.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, SURGEON GENERAL: I'm so concerned about our children because there is an epidemic, if you will mental health challenges that
they've been facing.
COHEN (voice over): Kitley says an empowerment group for girls that she started has helped. Atlanta area counselor Teshia Stovall Dula says when
children feel overwhelmed by the transition back to school; she offers them a safe place.
TESHIA STOVALL DULA, 7TH GRADE COUNSELOR, HULL MIDDLE SCHOOL: They'll often come to my office just to get a break from the noise. And I was very
surprised by that, that they needed to come and get a break from the noise.
COHEN (voice over): Her advice to parents, remember that if your children seem immature for their age, there's a reason they missed out on more than
a year of development with their peers.
DULA: I mean, my 12 year old they still act so young, they're more like elementary school kids.
COHEN (on camera): Missing a year to a year and a half of social interaction for middle school students, that's a lot.
DULA: It was a lot.
COHEN (voice over): And be patient with your child as they transition from one way of life to another.
DULA: Their world was turned upside down. As adults, we are able to bounce back quicker usually faster. But for them you know it's going to take a
little more time.
ANDERSON: Elizabeth Cohen reporting there. Well, coming up the Lebanese lira trades at 30,000 to the U.S. dollar on the black market right now. And
that is significantly lower than where it has even been of late. Will there be any relief anytime soon; I'll speak to the economy minister a little
later this hour.
First up there it's a World Cup year one of the main protagonists of the 2018 final sat down with me. He told me he is hungry for another France
ANDERSON: Well, I can't believe I'm saying this already. But we are in a World Cup year. Qatar will host the 2022 edition this December, November
and December and it promises to be an event likes no other, 32 teams battling it out for glory in glimmering new stadiums.
If you drive around Qatar, which I have, they are absolutely impossible to miss. Theatres of football are rising out of the desert, each design
representing elements of traditional culture. Critics those say they have come at a cost built by the hands of an army of migrant workers.
Several reports allege mistreatment and abuse. Here's what FIFA President Gianni Infantino had to say on that recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIANNI INFANTINO, PRESIDENT OF FIFA: Whenever we go around the world, we are, of course, highlighting the need for protecting human rights. When it
comes to the situation in Qatar, in particular, I think we need to be fair there as well and admit that a lot of progress has happened and other
progress in the conditions of the workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: There certainly has been progress in December though; the country's labor ministry reported more than 2000 complaints against
companies employing these workers. And on top of that athletes across different sports have expressed concern about Qatari laws which prohibit
Organizers insist that the country is welcoming it is tolerant and it is hospitable. We're on the field reigning champions France will hope to
repeat their 2018 success. They beat Croatia for two in the final in Moscow and hoping to become just the third team to retain the title.
Well, a certain 19 year old became the first teenager to score in the final since Brazilian legend Pele, take a look at this.
ANDERSON (voice over): What a strike! Well, I caught up with Kylian Mbappe, just before the New Year. And at the age now of 23 he is as hungry as ever
to win on the biggest stage of all.
KYLIAN MBAPPE, FRENCH FOOTBALL PLAYER: We're exciting; really, I feel this atmosphere in the group. We are really exciting. We're ready to do
something great. We can make history and we have to try we have to try to do the back to back.
Of course, there is so many teams in and it's really hard to win the World Cup because it's just one game if you lose you go home, but we already we
already to try because we have the team for. We have a big country with us, everybody with us and every all the people are on the team. So that's the
most important thing.
ANDERSON (on camera): The fact that the World Cup is here is huge for this region, has been some controversy around human rights and around LGBT
rights for example, what do you hope the message will be?
MBAPPE: The messages will be it's always the same, the same messages football is for everybody. For - is just something with the ball to give
pleasure to everybody? And nobody can say you can play football, you cannot play football.
That's the most important thing is always the same message is to give pleasure to people to take time to take pleasure, to be together to be with
all the guys from different culture with different things with, with all the difference and that's the body of the football as that to be all
together and to share this patient. So for me, the message is always the same.
ANDERSON (on camera): You've had truly awesome 2021 France they did crash out of the Euros after winning the world cup of course in 2018. What
happened in the summer?
MBAPPE: Oh, we missed. We missed. We missed all competition. I think everybody was disappointed. We were like, super strong, ready, ready to do
something great in this game against fiddle and happen. We won 3-1, 10 minutes to go. We can see two goals.
After we go to the panel, I miss my penalty. If something can happen, we were disappointed. But I think we learn we learn a lot from this and we
want to do something better in the World Cup. That's really important for us.
We won the last World Cup everybody know, everybody is waiting for us again. But I think we are preparing now. We have the experience of the hero
and we want to do something great in Qatar.
ANDERSON (on camera): The Euros were marred by horrific racist abuse directed at some English players who missed penalties in what was the
decisive penalty shootout against Italy. You also suffered some online abuse, just walk me through that. Just how bad is that as a player?
MBAPPE: It's hard. It's hard because it's like I said, after that it's not about the penalty the penalty was disappointing. And really it was my fault
is my foot is me I shoot I miss, it's like this is the football. But to have this type of thing for country or you give, you give your best, I give
my best for my country I give.
All I have to make the people in France happy to make everybody proud and to have this type of message really is hard. And that's hurting me.
ANDERSON (on camera): What sort of action do you want to see? Do social media companies have a responsibility?
MBAPPE: Of course, of course, we have to start with social media. But even before the social media, even as the player we have to, to be implicated to
be implicated. Because when it's not you, in general, people say OK, it's not me, but we don't have to wait that come to you.
You have to, to be active and to help people does the things and because for me, it's that's not possible in 2022 to have this type of attitude,
ANDERSON (on camera): I want to talk about your foundation, inspired by --. This is your initiative to help people; young people in France achieve
their dreams. Tell me a little bit about that.
MBAPPE: I wanted to do something, because when I was young, I think I was a lucky guy because all the time people give me the opportunity to go to the
next step. And I want to give the - to give it back.
We have a next relation in next generation, like I said, and I want to give the best role to give them the possibility to start in the real life
because when I was young I had a dream. And I did everything to have this dream. But people love me, and that's what I want to help the children to
achieve their dream.
MBAPPE (voice over): I guess everybody's story starts when they're born. Mine started 22 years ago.
ANDERSON (on camera): And you find unique ways to inspire the kids through cartoons through graphic novels as well. Where did the idea for that
approach come from because it's really inspired?
MBAPPE: Not for me, not for me. The idea comes from me for my family to do this type of thing. I say why not? We're going to work. We're going to see
the results and after I'm going to see if that'd be good to produce.
And, of course for the children for all that is good for them, I think and I'm so happy from the results --. I have a good success and I'm happy of
ANDERSON (on camera): If you've got one message to all viewers out there particularly the youngsters, who will be watching you, we can, we cannot
waiting for the World Cup this year. What's that one message?
MBAPPE: My message is always the same in that simple to follow the dream. Follow your dream. Follow your dream. There will be difficult step,
difficult moments, but you have to believe in yourself is just to follow your dream and be happy.
ANDERSON: And what do you know? Kylian Mbappe has started 2022 with a hat- trick against - in the French cup. What a lovely bloke. Up next the desperation of Lebanon's crisis is showing up in its kids. Our Senior
International Correspondent, Arwa Damon will talk to us about what she saw on her latest trip there.
ANDERSON: Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati says he will convene his cabinet soon. It will be the first meeting to take place in months due to a
deadlock over the Beirut port blast investigation.
Now the Cabinet meeting will focus on the 2022 budget a key requirement to begin talks with the IMF for some financial relief and the situation could
hardly be direr. The Lebanese lira traded at 30,000 against $1 on the black market on Tuesday, its lowest recorded rate.
The currency has lost 90 percent of its value since country plunged into a financial free-fall in 2019. My colleague, CNN Senior International
Correspondent, Arwa Damon has been reporting on Lebanon since 2003. She was based there from 2012 to 2014.
And she just returned from Beirut where she witnessed the depths of despair in an editorial piece for CNN. She wrote and I quote, "the despair of
adults has seeped into the children". The car that I was in rolls slowly past a small playground, I look out of the window.
The children they seem to be moving in slow motion, like they're on the sidelines of childhood. Kids don't want to play anymore. Arwa Damon joins
me now live from Istanbul. This was your first trip back to Lebanon in over a year.
You were going to catch up on some of the work that your fantastic charity in IRA does with kids. Just describe what you saw, what you witnessed and
how those kids are getting on?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Becky, a lot of my friends, my Lebanese friends told me that I would be shocked when I
would go back to Beirut. And I wasn't quite sure what they meant, until I got there that is.
And the thing about the situation right now is, it's not that it necessarily hits you in the face, when you arrive to Beirut, there are
still people in the streets, you know, some businesses are open, the motions of life are happening.
But what is so shocking and is really this very unsettling emotion is that you feel as if you are despite the activity in the streets, looking at a
dead city. People no matter what part of the city you're in that spark of life, that energy we exude because we are alive, that has ceased to exist.
And when it comes to the children, at Inada, we're treating both Lebanese and Syrian children medically and for mental health problems that they
might be having. And it was really there that one begins to start to understand the depths of the trauma all of this is having on the children.
We were having this holiday decorations activity. And one of the little boys wasn't engaging. He sat on the couch, he looked down, he wasn't making
eye contact. And I was asking him, you know, what, do you want to do, nothing. What do you like to do, nothing.
What will make you smile, nothing. And then he just started to cry. And his father pulled him in and hugged him and looked over and said he's always
like this. His other children are also like this. The father doesn't know what to do.
We took another group of children to a bowling alley, Becky, you know, any kid going into a bowling alley with the arcade there, they'll just go
crazy. Here it's not the case, because these children have been trapped by this economic meltdown trapped in their homes, because their parents quite
literally cannot afford to take them anywhere.
And one of these kids, this young girl at the bowling alley was so traumatized that we actually had to take her outside, it was too much
stimulus for her in there, it was too much emotion. And it took her a while to even be able to begin to engage with the other kids.
And you see examples of this throughout the city, this sense that the parents, parents don't know what to do anymore. They don't know how to
explain this to their children. I was talking to a cab driver, who was basically saying that it broke his heart to not be able to buy something as
basic as a chocolate bar for his little girl Becky.
ANDERSON: Just repeat the phrase that you used in that Op-ed. They seem to be moving in slow motion like they are on the sidelines of childhood.
Folks, please read this editorial piece by Arwa.
Thank you Arwa, it is in full on cnn.com where you can learn more about just how much has been lost in Lebanon. I want to get you the Lebanese
Minister for Economy and Trade, Amin Salam to discuss what is going on.
Sir, you will have heard my conversation with Arwa, it is so sad to hear how the very most vulnerable are coping or not coping in Lebanon at the
moment. You are the Minister of Economy. How do you plan to fix Lebanon's economy?
AMIN SALAM, LEBANESE MINISTER OF ECONOMY AND TRADE: Hello, Becky, and thanks for having me on today. First, let me start by saying Arwa story is
really near and dear to my heart. Because 40 years ago, I used to be one of those kids in Beirut. I was born in the late 70s when Lebanon was war torn
situation was very difficult.
I grew up throughout the war with a much, much, much more intense war situation. I have lived that life. And I emigrated out of Lebanon for 18
years, looking for a better future expecting to find a better path.
And then I returned to Lebanon about a year and a half two years ago to find that Lebanon is still in a very difficult place 40 years later that
still even more complicated.
SALAM: And the war left after 40 years, a torn country with a completely destroyed economy based on decades of mismanagement, and none taking any
serious government decision in the past three decades or four decades, to really fix this country and put it on the right track.
ANDERSON: OK. And I hear where you're at; let's talk about how you do that. Because notwithstanding that, there will be those watching this who will
consider you part of the elite, I hear what you're saying.
I want to go and drill down a little deeper here. The Prime Minister announcing today that his Cabinet will soon convene no specific date given
to focus on improving Lebanon's budget, which is the main condition set by the IMF. So what does that budget look like?
SALAM: So as we know, the IMF now is really the most serious structural and financial economic platform we are looking on. Lebanon needs that platform;
it needs that structure to be put in place.
SALAM: And now the IMF is looking at all the updated data. As you know, the first stage that the IMF works on is what is called the prior actions. Part
of the prior actions was for us as an IMF team. And I am a member of that team, including the Minister of Finance, Central Bank Governor, and the
Deputy Prime Minister.
And we have been working on compiling all the updated data; we did announce that this financial gap is about $70 billion. The more serious step now is
for us to work on dividing those losses between the government, the banking sector, the central bank, and the depositors.
The IMF has accepted all the most updated data that we have compiled and shared. And we are expecting a team from the IMF to visit within the next
few weeks, pending some final approvals on all the numbers and the division that we are considering.
And moving forward after their visit, we will be really in the serious negotiations looking more into the growth, the recovery plan and the
economic development piece, which is as important for the IMF as the prerequisites or the prior actions.
ANDERSON: Well, I want to talk to you again, then, because if the IMF has this plan, and it sounds to me as if you're suggesting it is sufficient to
convince the IMF that you are serious about getting on top of this.
I mean, you're talking about 70 billion were once I'm talking two and a half years ago, we were talking about sums of 11 billion. And so clearly,
that, that widening of the gap in what is needed is a cruel number at this point.
I must ask you both Hezbollah and Amal parties have been boycotting cabinet sessions until a resolution is found for the investigation of the Beirut
port explosion. If the Prime Minister says that he's hoping to convene, again within the next couple of days, does that mean the investigation will
be completed soon?
SALAM: I hope Becky that we will get to the completion to the investigation because there are a lot of people. There are a lot of victims and families
of victims that are awaiting this relief. That is first and foremost.
Second, yes. We have heard that today. Prime Minister McCarthy sent a very optimistic message that we are expecting the government to reconvene in the
next, hopefully a week. We are waiting for a few things.
I think there has been some political work done in the past few days to move the ball forward. And it's been optimistic as of today, specifically
that the prime minister just announced.
SALAM: So I'm hoping they are getting.
ANDERSON: OK. Let me ask you in a recent interview with the National you said and I have to quote you here, "if the government collapses, the
negotiations with the IMF will be over, the negotiations over the maritime borders with Israel will be over. It will jeopardize everything that
Lebanon needs as oxygen. It will be catastrophic." How likely is it that the government could collapse again sir?
SALAM: It will be catastrophic indeed, Becky. This government has been pushed by the international community to stand strong to hold strong
because it is really the final straw. This government holds all the hope that is left for Lebanon.
Without this government moving forward with all the work that we have been doing, despite the political tensions the past few months, and no one will
be able really to take the torch from where we are today and continue. We need to continue if the government collapses, I hope that will not happen.
Today's news was positive. I think we are getting towards the resolution. I'm hoping next week, we will see the results of this resolution because if
this government is to collapse, Lebanon will be going into a very difficult place.
And yes, the IMF work, the IMF expectations will be blown away. And God knows when that will come back. And the opportunity that we have now with
the international community and the full support will vanish. The elections will be jeopardized, if not completely pushed away as well.
So we need this government to stay strong. We are doing our best to find the resolution to get things going next week.
SALAM: And I am - that we will be able to do that.
ANDERSON: And how would you describe relations with Washington at present and with the Gulf, specifically with Saudi Arabia? Are you hoping, do you
know do you have confidence that there will be help forthcoming, for example, from the Gulf?
SALAM: I was in Washington, DC a few weeks ago, Becky and I have conducted a number of meetings within the U.S. administration and within that
national community, along with some of the diplomatic core that connects us with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
I have received very, very positive support that Lebanon will not be left alone. Yes, there are some structural reforms. There are some very fair
requests that have been asked by the government to comply with in order to create more confidence and trust, whether it's with the Arab countries, the
GCC Council specifically, or the international community.
And that message was related back to the government to the prime minister, and everybody is on board. And they know that if there is no other path
that has to be done this way, we will have to show seriousness and reform and recovery and very fast.
And I believe if we are to meet those expectations, we will soon see that the Arab countries will bring back the support to Lebanon. We've heard some
news the past few days not long ago, that the prime minister or the minister of foreign affairs from Kuwait is planning a visit to Lebanon
that's a very positive indicator.
SALAM: Those visits will then create a relief specially that Kuwait cares a lot about Lebanon - should.
ANDERSON: With that, I'm going to - I have to take a short break at this point. But we thank you very much indeed for joining us. As I say, you have
a standing invitation onto this show; we really need to know what's going on in Lebanon. You're in a position to tell us you've let us know where you
stand with the IMF at present.
Please come back and let us know how those how those discussions continue. Thank you, sir. We're going to take a very short break back after this.
ANDERSON: Well, there's a flurry of diplomatic activity this week aimed at discouraging Russia from invading Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony
Blinken has discussed this with Saudi and UAE diplomats on Tuesday.
He is meeting with Germany's Foreign Minister today in Washington and they are planning to hold a joint news conference next hour. Meanwhile, the EU's
top diplomat Joseph Burrow is in Ukraine right now. He was shown getting on a helicopter so that he could tour a border area at the forefront of
fighting with Russian backed separatists.
Well, all of this is happening ahead of a special virtual NATO meeting Friday on Ukraine. We're going to do a little bit more on that shortly.
First up though, all over the world women are breaking down barriers but in Japan professional sumo remains a male dominated sport.
CNN's Don Riddell finds change is on the way as more young women and girls try to wrestle their way in, have a look at this.
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR (voice over): This is Sumo, the national sport of Japan. Their wrestlers are hard to miss with their top knots and
iconic loincloths, their hulking bodies and high impact bouts. It's an ancient sport dating back more than 1000 years and through all that time,
very little has changed.
As a professional sport women have always been bad. But changing attitudes in Japan mean there might now be a future for girls and women in Sumo.
Senna Kajiwara has been learning sumo since she was eight years old. She's also ready to topple the barriers to entry of a male dominated sport.
SENNA KAJIWARA, AMATEUR SUMO WRESTLER: People tend to think that Sumo is just for boys and men. I think that's why they're usually surprised and
even shocked when they find out I do it. If we get more girls and women in Sumo, then we'll be able to level the playing field and make a living from
RIDDELL (voice over): A number of scandals in recent years have tarnished the reputation of Japan's national sport. In 2018 when a city mayor
collapsed in the ring, the women who were trying to save his life were asked to leave.
According to tradition, the supposedly impure women would pollute the sacred space of the Dohyo. The man's life was saved but the incident
sparked a backlash in Japan, prompting the Japan sumo association to apologize.
The following year, the inaugural Wanpaku Girls National Sumo Championship was held in Tokyo. The event has been open to boys since 1984. But only now
girls aged between eight and 12 getting their shot.
KAJIWARA: I do hurt myself sometimes. But I don't get scared at all when I'm in the ring.
RIDDELL (voice over): Senna Kajiwara is the defending champion. Sumo is Japan's national sport. Senna can be quite taciturn earnest, the tournament
can be determined in an instant. I think sumo suits her character.
The 12 year old made it to the final of Wanpaku in 2021, but looked as though she was on the brink of defeat. However, she turned it around and
successfully defended her title.
KAJIWARA: I was so nervous before the tournament. I won the championship when I was in fourth grade, so I felt a lot of pressure and expectations
this time. In the future I want to keep up Sumo and go as far as I can relate.
RIDDELL (voice over): Don Riddell, CNN.
ANDERSON: We're taking a short break, back after this.
ANDERSON: Well, just before we go, let's get you back up to speed on some of the stories that are also on our radar tonight. And South Korea says the
North has fired an identified projectile into the waters off its east coast. In a tweet Japan claims it may have been a ballistic missile which
would violate international law. Both South Korea and the U.S. are calling for dialogue with Pyongyang.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been discharged from the hospital after being admitted Monday for a blockage in his in testing issue is
connected to his being stabbed on the campaign trail back in 2018.
And the United States has arrested a Colombian man and charged him with conspiracy to commit murder for the assassination of Haiti's President. Now
the 43 year old was one of the few suspects who succeeded in fleeing Haiti after the July assassination.
And finally before I go tonight, the bittersweet end of a love story for millions or perhaps an obsession for millions, the Blackberry phone is now
an official part of history. They used to be so popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s that we called them crack berries.
President Obama loved his and so did Kim Kardashian, Wall Street financiers and journalists like myself were addicted to those little black devices, so
Blackberry had more than 80 million uses doesn't sound like an awful lot. But that was a lot back in the day. But now it's over.
The company is stopped running support for its older devices, so all non- Android blackberries are now well paperweights. If you rummage in your draws --, I'm sure you'll find one. Thanks for joining us. "One World with
Zain Asher is next.