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Connect the World

Djokovic Hours Away from Being Detained Again in Visa Saga; British PM Johnson Faces New Pandemic Parties Scandal; Source: Possible Plea Deal Discussed for Israel's Netanyahu; Russian FM: Resolving Crisis Resets on United States; Zero-COVID Puts Breaks on Air Cargo into Hong Kong; Palestine and Israeli Rappers Use Rhyme to Fight Hate. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired January 14, 2022 - 11:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I am Hala Gorani, hello and welcome to "Connect the World". A dramatic back and forth over Novak

Djokovic's stay in Australia means that tennis star is just hours away from going back into detention for the second time.

Djokovic who is unvaccinated against COVID has now had his visa cancelled, reinstated and then canceled again. He'll be allowed to go out to his

lawyer's office to prepare for yet more court hearings Saturday and Sunday. Well, with or without him the Australian Open kicks off on Monday.

There are major concerns though not only about his unvaccinated status, but also about possible inconsistencies in his documents. There is a chance the

Serb could even be deported. Joining me now is Tracey Holmes International Sports commentator and host of the ticket podcast on ABC Radio. She's in


Thanks for being with us. So this saga has really dragged down and there's dragged on and there's another appeal that Djokovic's team is going to

lodge. What's your expectation here?

TRACEY HOLMES, INTERNATIONAL SPORTS COMMENTATOR: Well, the expectation is that this is going to be over very quickly. As far as the legal hearing is

concerned, there is an endeavor from both sides to have it heard by Sunday afternoon, which means if Djokovic wins in his appeal, he'll be able to

play the Australian Open.

If he loses, of course, he'll be deported from the country and not allow him back for a period of about three years coming at a huge cost both

reputationally. And career wise because three years in tennis players life, especially at his age means the end, he may never come back to Australia

again should he lose.

GORANI: But also it's not just the Australian Open. I mean, you have - and other big tournaments in countries where vaccination is required of people

in order to participate in public life. Is he potentially trashing the end of his career over this?

HOLMES: I'm not sure about that. Because the moment Australia first decided that they would cancel no that Djokovic's visa, the French Open, the French

Sports Minister, in fact, came out and said he would give an exemption for Novak Djokovic to compete in the French Open.

And it didn't seem like at that point there was going to be any problem with the U.S. or Wimbledon because exemptions could also be requested, if

needed. But a lot of that was political as well; Australia and the French government had been at odds over a separate issue.

And so it was probably no surprise that the French Sports Minister came out to say that. But the interesting thing about this particular case and this

particular appeal is that it has nothing to do with the original quashing of the visa.

So we heard all of those situations about documents not being filled out correctly, him not being given enough time to answer the questions or

address the issues that his exemptions weren't in order.

Well, apparently, according to the minister who was cancelled his visa this time it has nothing to do with any of those scenarios. What it has to do

with is that his mere presence here in Australia could incite the anti-Vax movement. And it has been made on that decision to cancel his visa a second


GORANI: And that is a very, I mean, it isn't, there's no real anti-Vax movement in Australia. I believe in Melbourne 93 percent of people there

are vaccinated, it's not like Eastern Europe, for instance, we're really you could have some issues where there was this huge march in Bulgaria, for

instance, in Sofia against mandatory vaccines.

So I guess the question is, what about the other issues? The fact that potentially there was an error in his immigration documents where he said

he hadn't traveled for the two in the two weeks prior to his arrival to Australia? Could that also be looked at again?

HOLMES: No, none of that is being considered at all. That's according to what we heard in the early hearing yesterday, before they decided how they

were going to go ahead with this. And when it was going to go ahead and whether they could have it rushed through the courts.

In fact, the court that it has been lodged with was the Federal Circuit Court in Victoria. And the presiding judge there said he is referring to

the Federal Court of Australia. So a different court will be hearing it but it will be expedited, and it is expected to be heard on Sunday.

But none of those issues with regard to ticking the wrong box over whether he'd been in another country before flying to Australia. None of that is

being considered in this, it is merely the anti-Vax movement.

And as you rightly say, there is a very small movement here most of the country is overwhelmingly the country is vaccinated. But there is this

passion that there have been protests in Melbourne for many weekends from the anti-Vax movement and this is what the government says they won't

tolerate and won't give oxygen to.


HOLMES: And so Novak Djokovic almost becomes ID fault, a bit of a standout for them. And so the lawyers for Novak Djokovic have said that, that, you

know, it's the words they use to describe the decision of the minister was that it was patiently irrational.

And so that is what they are going to argue when this hearing is done on Sunday, Australian time.

GORANI: All right and Paula Hancocks can join us now live from Melbourne. I wonder what ordinary Australians telling you about this because we've just

with Tracy, they're gone over the timeline of what to expect over the next 48 hours.

Are they largely they must be they must want a decision made one way or the other right because this saga has been going on for a while now?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They just want this resolved one way or the other because as many people have said many players have said this is

not good for anyone no one comes out of this well, not Novak Djokovic nor the Tennis Australia who the organizers of the Melbourne couple, the

Australian Government.

And so many people just would like to see a resolution. Now we've been looking at many different polls. And for the most parts and also people

we've spoken to, there is a sense that they don't want to see Novak Djokovic being treated differently to other people that if he did not have

the correct medical exemption that they would like to see the visa canceled.

Now, of course, that the government is not fighting it on those grounds and is not that's not the reason that they are canceling the visa as we've just

been hearing. But certainly there is a sense that they would like a resolution for this and the vast majority of those we've spoken to believe

that the defy - is unvaccinated.

If it is not for medical reasons that he has this medical exemption, then probably best for him to leave. But of course you do still have this

Serbian population here in Melbourne. They certainly don't want to see him go. And you do see others saying just let him play. So it is a mixed bag.

But I would say for the majority of those that have spoken publicly, they don't think that he should be allowed to stay.

GORANI: Alright, thanks very much, Paula Hancocks in Melbourne. One last question to you, Tracey on the circuit, what are other players saying? Are

they are they saying, look, no exception should be made for Djokovic, just because he's the world's number one player? Or do they think that this is

just that he's being victimized in some way? What are you hearing?

HOLMES: I think most of them aren't framing it in the way that you first put but most of them are obviously feeling incredibly frustrated. People on

the circuit are feeling like that their tournament has been hijacked because they just constantly have to answer questions about Novak Djokovic.

And it is that element that they want to get rid of. And they personally since they've had the vaccination, so why shouldn't Novak Djokovic and many

people around the world also asked the same question. But in the end, it is a personal choice.

And Novak Djokovic has his reasons for not being vaccinated. And it's up to him to explain those in more depth.

GORANI: And what are his I mean, following obviously, tennis and sports the sports world so closely? This distraction historically with Djokovic, when

he's when he's not able to concentrate when he's not able to train can - does he very easily overcome these types of distractions or it's somebody -

or is he somebody who gets frazzled?

HOLMES: Well, there's one reason why he's the world number one, and there's one reason why he's standing on the doorstep of becoming the greatest ever

in terms of majors one, and that is his ability to click in and to drive himself and to fight.

And let's put it this way many other people, not just tennis players, but many people put in the same situation as Novak Djokovic would not be

fighting even this particular case. They probably would have thrown their hands in the air or considered at the first instance, that maybe their

documentation wasn't in order and they would pack up and turn around and leave.

But that is certainly not Novak Djokovic; he is up for the fight. He's taken on the Australian Government twice now. And at the other end of that

is the Australian Open.

GORANI: Alright, Tracey Holmes thanks very much. We'll see what happens.

HOLMES: Thanks, Hala.

GORANI: We'll know now finally in the next couple of days. Thank you so much, more developments now involving the Queen's second son. A source

tells CNN that Prince Andrew will "continue to defend himself against the civil sex abuse lawsuit in the United States".

Andrew has consistently denied any wrongdoing nonetheless the British Royal Family is further distancing itself from the Duke of York.


GORANI: As we reported yesterday, he's losing all of his Military titles all of his charities, and a royal source confirms to CNN that the Duke will

no longer use HRH His Royal Highness in any official capacity. Let's go to our Royal Correspondent Max Foster.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Prince Andrew, the Duke of York will no longer be called His Royal Highness, according to a royal

source, and all his Military titles and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen and he won't get them back, the source says.

He's still part of the family. But he's out of the firm. He'll focus instead on defending himself as a private citizen in a U.S. lawsuit. If the

decision followed a U.S. judge's ruling this week that a civil sex abuse case against Prince Andrew can proceed.

Virginia Giuffre says she was only 17 when she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to the royal who she alleges sexually abused

her in three different locations.

Prince Andrew denies her allegations and says he never even met her. Giuffre's lawyer told the BBC he didn't think his client was interested in

a purely financial settlement. A source close to Andrew says, "This is a marathon, not a sprint and the Duke will continue to defend himself against

these claims".

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR VIRGINIA GIUFFRE: Not comfortable to have to sit there and answer questions in this lawsuit. He's not going to be able

to evade and dodge. He's going to have to step up now and answer.

FOSTER (voice over): Andrew has been under scrutiny for years for his relationship with the late Epstein and his associate Glenn Maxwell. Though

the relationships have damaged his reputation, the prince hasn't been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

Maxwell was also found guilty last month on five federal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To News night for about six months --

FOSTER (voice over): After a disastrous UKTV appearance in 2019, where he tried and failed to clear his name. The Duke temporarily stepped back from

public duties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can absolutely categorically tell you, it never happened.

FOSTER (voice over): The lawsuit is another blow to the 95 year old queen, who in the past year, has endured the death of her husband, Prince Philip,

and been leveled with allegations of institutional racism against the palace by her grandson Harry, the Duke of Sussex and wife Megan, in an

interview with Oprah Winfrey.

At the time the palace described the claims as concerning and said they'd be dealt with privately. Who knows how she feels as a mother and

grandmother about the family's trials and tribulations.

But as a Monique, she's known to put duty first and casting Andrew out was the only way she could protect the family firm from further reputational



GORANI: And that was CNN's Royal Correspondent Max Foster. Well, speaking of Buckingham Palace Downing Street has to apologize to the Queen over

fresh revelations about some COVID rule breaking parties.

Yet more COVID rule breaking parties, Britain's Telegraph newspaper is reporting that two Downing Street parties were held the night before Prince

Philip's funeral last April. And you'll remember the now iconic image of the Queen sticking to the rules sitting alone as she mourned her husband

with a mask on her face.

All of this putting more pressure on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is following the story for us from London and joins

me now live. So what parties are we talking about here? Because there are reports that it was such a boozy one, one of them that someone was sent

with an empty suitcase to the supermarket to stock up.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Yes to parties actually Hala, two parties at 10 Downing Street the night before Prince Philip's funeral. Apparently, the

departure of the top communications chief for Prime Minister Boris Johnson warranted a get together warranted a do a very boozy one.

That this of course has now forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to apologize to the Queen to apologize to the palace. I want to bring up that

apology for you here. Just read it out so that you have an idea.

It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning. And number 10 has apologized to the palace. You heard from the

Prime Minister this week. He's recognized number 10 should be held to the highest standards and takes responsibility for the things we did not get


The highest standards Hala, that's what that quote, says. Downing Street should be held to the highest standards.

Look, we're now painting a picture of an administration that has had parties in May of 2020 during the warm weather in the summer months,

outside in the garden in the Christmas period when the country was under lockdown. There were apparently Christmas parties. Now there are parties in

the spring of 2021.


ABDELAZIZ: This is not what you expect of the government at a time of pandemic. This is not how you expect leadership to act. This is not the

somber you know, adult mature government that you want in place, quite frankly, when you have a deadly virus, killing tens of thousands of people

in this country.

It is extremely difficult to imagine how Prime Minister Boris Johnson can be taken seriously, at this point when you have headlines across the

country talking about suitcases full of booze, and it's not over yet for the Prime Minister.

There is an investigation in place right now Hala, to go through all of these alleged incidences now spanning multiple lockdowns, multiple years,

multiple periods. And the fear for Prime Minister Boris Johnson is that somewhere in there, there could be something that implicates him directly.

But regardless, I think the damage is done, there is an overwhelming sense that the reputation of this government is one of a party government.

GORANI: Alright, so we've analyzed the ad nauseum whether or not this is the end for the Prime Minister. But I have another question. These parties

took place a while back, the pictures, the information, the emails; they're all being leaked now. Why is that?

ABDELAZIZ: It's a very good question Hala. Look, this started with a seed. And I think that seed is growing and building and the curiosity and

interest of the media in the press is growing and building.

And I can only imagine that within certain halls, there's fear over your own job over whether or not you could keep your position with this growing

scandal. This all started with just simple reports in the media that there was parties taking place Christmas parties taking place.

These reports first surfaced a few weeks ago, and then there was that famous video of 10 Downing Street staff laughing and joking about being at

one of those Christmas parties. And that's when the floodgates opened taller, because now you have journalist of course, hounds looking for every

single detail they can find.

And you're going to have officials; you're going to have other sources within 10 Downing Street. Look, it's not a locked circle now. There are

cracks in the system; you have to wonder why Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to apologize after weeks and weeks of denial.

Clearly, there's pressure internally, for him to come forward with this. Clearly he is fighting for his political career. And then externally, the

pressure that he has with the public lowest approval rating since he took office just at 20 percent about according to the latest approval rating


So you can imagine that all of that pressure is just building and building and more and more will come because those journalists are just going to

keep knocking on the door trying to find out more, Hala.

GORANI: All right, thank you very much, Salma. Denmark's former defense minister has been charged with leaking state secrets. - Kurt Fredriksson

made a defiant statement through his party.

He says he's been charged for "violating the limits" of his "freedom of speech". He also said he would never do anything to harm his country,

Melissa Bell as you might have during the details, and joins us now live. What exactly what secrets is here accused of leaking?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know very little about the specifics of what he's been accused of doing, as you say, apart from what we've

received, within that statement from the Danish Liberal Party, of which he is a member of with Frederickson saying that strenuously denying those

accusations against him saying that he would never do anything he just said to harm his country.

But also saying that he had spoken as a member of parliament on a political matter that is just about the extent of what we know.

What we also know is that the article of penal law under which he's been charged, Hala, is the very same one article 109 of the Danish penal code,

under which the head of the country's foreign intelligence service was arrested last month.

Now, we only found this out on Monday, there is nothing for the time being to link the two cases, apart from the fact that the two men were charged

under that same, that same section of the penal code and, of course, the timing.

And what we learned on Monday as a result of the Head of that Foreign Intelligence Service, wanting his name to be released, otherwise, we

wouldn't have heard about this tool is that - had been arrested with four other - three other people in December.

He's the last one to remain in custody. There was a preliminary hearing on Monday, and he was arrested on the basis of that same part of the penal

code that leaking of state secrets. So a lot of questions right now about what are going on specifically, although, as I say, we know very little

about the specifics of those charges, or what they relate to Hala.

GORANI: All right. Melissa Bell thanks very much. Is a plea deal in the works for Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli Prime Minister in a fight

for his freedom, and also for his political life? We'll go live to Jerusalem.

Plus a battle of words or should I say rhymes the unlikely collaboration between these two rappers one Palestinian, one Israeli talking to each

other and rap. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Sources tell us that the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in talks for a possible plea deal. Netanyahu is facing three

separate corruption cases.

The key to a deal could be the length of a possible sentence and whether the 72 year old would be able to return to public life and return to

politics. Hadas Gold joins us with more now from Jerusalem Hadas?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, this all comes down to an interesting legal term moral turpitude, essentially, will as part of this

plea bargain that we understand according to two sources close in the negotiations is going on. Will as part of it, will Benjamin Netanyahu be

labeled as having moral turpitude?

Essentially, is he morally ethically disgraced and that would prevent him from potentially running for public office. Of course, Netanyahu has been

fighting these corruption charges saying that they are a witch hunt thing that he will fight it to the end.

But now we have confirmed that he is negotiating with the attorney general for a plea bargain. Netanyahu was first indicted in 2019 on three cases; he

faces charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

The trial has been ongoing; the prosecution has been calling up witnesses. But now we understand that as part of a possible deal between Netanyahu's

team and the attorney general, they might see the most serious charge of bribery dropped.

Another charge of fraud and breach of trust watered down and one of the three cases just completely shelled. But what we're being told is the main

hang up here is actually related to the length of the sentence.

Because if the sentence is more than three months long, and it will likely not necessarily be prison, it'll be community service or something like

that. If it's more than three months long, the prosecution can try to get that moral turpitude label put on it.

And that will prevent Benjamin Netanyahu from running for public office for seven years. If it's less than three years, and all Netanyahu has to do is

resign from his seat in Parliament and face the charge as a private citizen and then he can run again.

Seven years is a long time because Netanyahu is 72 years old and seven years is a long time in politics. Then there's also the question of why is

Benjamin Netanyahu and his team doing this now they've been bound to fight this he's been calling it a witch hunt saying that it's fake.

Now, the reason is because the current Attorney General was actually appointed while Netanyahu is still Prime Minister doesn't necessarily mean

that they're best friends. But his term is ending at the end of this month.

So time is running out for Benjamin Netanyahu. This attorney general is seen as somebody who is likely to offer a better deal for him as whoever

will be the next attorney general who will be appointed by this new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, this new government who

was partly brought together because of their dislike of Benjamin Netanyahu.

There is a question though about whether these negotiations are real. Whether Benjamin Netanyahu and his team will actually see them through or

whether it's some sort of part of legal or political tactic.


GOLD: We'll have to wait to see if in the next few weeks how this plays out. But what the details of this plea deal could spill out that could let

us know whether we will see another run by Benjamin Netanyahu in the next few years Hala.

GORANI: All right. Hadas Gold thanks very much. Still ahead, Russia points the finger at the United States saying that the ball is in their court if

they want to reach an agreement. We're live in Moscow for more.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the message from Kiev is clear. Europe must not turn a blind eye to what is happening to them. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Welcome back. I'm Hala Gorani in London. This is "Connect the World". U.S. Intelligence says that it has information that Russia is

preparing what's known as a false flag operation to create a pretext for another invasion of Ukraine.

A U.S. official says there's evidence that operatives trained in urban warfare will carry out acts of sabotage against Russia's own forces in

eastern Ukraine proxy forces.

The U.S. National Security Adviser says more details will be revealed within the next 24 hours. This U.S. announcement comes after a cyber-attack

disabled several Ukrainian government websites. Ukrainian officials say no personal data was compromised.

Both the U.S. and EU are offering to help Ukraine in this investigation. And all of this is happening as Russian officials engaged in some very

direct finger pointing at the United States.

In the wake of talks this week aimed at ending the Russia Ukraine standoff, recovering all of these many, many angles with Sam Kiley in Kiev. So this

false flag allegation we're hearing it from U.S. intelligence.

But Ukrainians are saying the same that Russia will, you know, sort of mounted a certain act of self-sabotage with its own people to make it look

as though Ukrainians are attacking Russian forces as a pretext to go into Ukraine. What are they telling you?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So Hala, on the Ukrainian false flag allegation, the intelligence people here have released

through the government's quoting their own intelligence people saying that in Moldova they believe or claiming that Russian troops have been warned

off of an impending attack by some kind of Ukrainian unit.

They're saying that this is clearly a warning. This is mould - based Russian troops. This is a sign that the Russians are organizing a false

flag operation in order to justify some kind of incurs further incursion into Ukraine.


KILEY: Of course, we're hearing a similar allegation coming from the United States, this time relating, according to American intelligence to a

potential false flag attack inside the Donbas area.

Of course, Russia has formed in this; they've used the excuse of protecting Russian speaking nationals of Ukraine as the original invasion or

supporting the original rebellion in the east of the country.

And further back, there have always been strong allegations against the Kremlin for organizing false flags, false flag attacks, blamed on Chechens

inside Russian territory.

So there is form and it's all against this backdrop, Hala that the Russian Prime deputy prime minister who is in charge of the NATO and European Union

file is calling for more help from Europe. This is what she told CNN.


KILEY (on camera): Do you want to see now more Military hardware coming in as a deterrence? Do you want to see some serious deliveries of some serious


OLGA STEFANISHYNA, UKRAINIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Let's make it clear that we as Ukrainians, we understand that no other nation would fight for

Ukraine on its territory. But what we understand also clearly that if Europe wants to sleep well, and to feel that their democracy is safe, they

should invest in Ukraine's defense.

They should make sure that our army is twice as capable as it can be to deter and to fight against Russian aggression.

KILEY (on camera): Why do you think he's doing this?

STEFANISHYNA: Well, I think first of all, it's very much positively serves to his internal narrative, because, look, this was the leader who has been

known in his country as the one ignored by the democratic world by somebody who has not been seen as a counterpart for the dialect.

And now immediately he's the leader presenting, presenting the big country, showing that he's trying to establish new spheres of influence.

KILEY (on camera): So do you think he's bluffing? He's bluffed his way to international multilateral prominence, is that really his end game, he

doesn't really have any intent to send tanks into Kiev?

STEFANISHYNA: Well, I don't think that it's of his interest. Because basically, sending tanks to Kiev would be the end of his game, of course,

that we could have a fully-fledged war on in the center of Europe and Ukraine will fight against this aggression.

But that would be his end; nothing would follow after this Military aggression. But before this Military aggression, he has huge room for

maneuver to raise the stakes and to play in the spheres when he's allowed to play.


KILEY: Now playing in the fields where he's allowed to play if the recent today's cyber-attack overnight cyber-attack on some 70 different websites

controlled by the government here in Ukraine, is going to be found to be behind been caused by Russia or encouraged to finance by Russia.

That would be yet another example. In addition to the allegations of false flag attacks, of the stirring of the party ahead of what clearly, certainly

in the view of Russian, sorry, in the view of American intelligence, that could be an impending attack of some kind on Ukrainian territory. Hala.

GORANI: All right - Sam thanks very much. Lots of pots are getting stirred. I understand Matthew Chance is in Moscow, any reaction to these allegations

that Russia is preparing some sort of false flag attack on its own forces to justify an invasion of Ukraine?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I mean, there hasn't been a direct response to that. But I mean, you know, from

throughout the course of the day, there's been a long running press conference underway with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister.

And he's been sort of adding to the general sort of sense of pessimism about the outcome of the week long negotiations in Geneva, in Brussels and

in Vienna, to try and address security issues in Europe, particularly those core Russian demands about an end to NATO expansion.

And the withdrawal of Military forces and NATO countries that joined the Military alliance after the fall of the Soviet Union. What Lavrov is saying

is that he wants now a written response in detail, identifying what works for the Western United States, what doesn't work possible ways forward as


He said that, even though there were a number of compromises that were floated by U.S. officials, and by NATO and the OSC in terms of, for

instance, reviving a missile treaty in Europe or, you know, clawing back, rolling back on, you know the extent of NATO maneuvers near Russia's

border, that wasn't going to be acceptable for Russia.

They said they were serious. He says that Russia is serious about those core demands, circulating around NATO expansion. And making sure Ukraine

never joins that Military line.


CHANCE: In terms of that claim that allegation that Russia is preparing a false flag attack, well, I mean, this wasn't a reaction to it. But you

know, Russia is also saying that this whole crisis in Ukraine is being used as a pretext by the United States by NATO, in order to build up its

strength in the regions. Well take a listen to what Sergey Lavrov had to say about that issue.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We have reason to believe that those statements made with great pomp in the West that if Russia does not

submit to the west, to the Western demands about what it should do with its own troops in its own territory, which is absurd.

Then in the next two or three months, the West will step up its rapid response force and its operations next to our border.


CHANCE: All right, so both sides now are accusing each other of playing a double game and using this crisis as a fig leaf for their own military

intentions. I mean, when it comes to deciding which next steps the Russians are going to take, we've heard these very pessimistic lines coming from not

just Sergey Lavrov, but other Russian officials have spoken on the issue as well over the course of the past 24 hours.

The truth is, though, we haven't heard anything from Vladimir Putin yet the Russian president. And he is the one individual that will decide whether

there is enough there in terms of compromises to pursue more talks in the weeks and in the months ahead with the Western with the United States.

Or whether he pulls an end to this pulls, pulls Russia out of these talks, and potentially goes for Military technical response, as he's characterized

it Hala.

GORANI: Why would it be in Russia's interest right now to invade Ukraine further? I mean, they're the country suffering from sanctions and Vladimir

Putin's own popularity is down, what would the strategic reason be?

CHANCE: I mean, I mean, I don't know except for you know, Russia has set out that it has these national security concerns. It is worried it says

that it is being encircled by the Western Military alliance.

That the countries that were up until very recently a part of what it regarded as its sphere of influence have been absorbed into Western

institutions. So we're talking about former Eastern Bloc countries.

And over the many years since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Russia has seen its global power eroded. It has seen clients States

around the region overthrown like Iraq, like Libya, places like that, that the pro-Russian government's toppled.

And it wants to draw a line in the sand it already did that with Syria, and it's doing it now when it comes to Ukraine.

GORANI: OK, Matthew Chance. Thanks very much live in Moscow and Sam Kiley in Kiev. Well, Russian led forces are on their way out of Kazakhstan, about

2000 troops from Russia and other nearby countries are in the process of packing up and leaving.

They say they've been carrying out a "peacekeeping mission" following last week's violent protests. More than 160 people were killed in the chaos and

thousands detained, maybe calm again, but it's going to take a long time to get some things back in order. CNN's Fred Pleitgen got the first look at

some of the damage in the city of Almaty.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Inside the charred carcass of the Almaty Mayor's office, a massive cleanup

is now underway. By hand and by machine work has started to repair the damage caused by violent protests that gripped Kazakhstan. DNM is the first

media outlet allowed inside to survey the extent of the damage.

PLEITGEN (on camera): The authorities have brought in dozens if not hundreds of workers to clean up the aftermath of what were those street

battles here in Kazakhstan's largest city of Almaty.

And it's really remarkable to see the full scale of the destruction here in the mayor's office. As the authorities here say rioters entered this

building and set fire to all of it.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Kazakhstan's officials say they were dangerously close to losing control, not just here Almaty, but other places across the

country. Kazakhstan's president said protests that were originally against high fuel prices were hijacked by what he calls "terrorists". He issued a

shoot to kill order and summon an international Military force led by Russia.

KASSYM-JOMART TOKEV, KAZAKHSTANI PRESIDENT: We prevented dangerous threats for our country security as part of the counter terrorist mission. We are

trying to identify people who committed those crimes.

PLEITGEN (voice over): The government says things are now largely under control and there is evidence of that across the city life he's almost back

to normal. The Russian led Military force has started its withdrawal although that process is set to take another nine days. But authorities say

their crackdown will continue.


PLEITGEN (voice over): Around 10,000 people have been detained and more than 160 killed. Opposition activist Zhanbolat Mamay was at the protests.

He says things started peacefully, but then he too was beaten by what he called provocateurs.

He provided us with this video seeming to show what happened. And these photos of what he looked like after the attack. Mamay says he believes the

rioting was a pretext for a violent crackdown.

ZHANBOLAT MAMAY, OPPOSITION ACTIVIST: As the government decided to slaughter their own people and then one greater problem, I think that it

was done not only with the help of Kazakhstani security forces but with the interference of Russian troops.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Kazakhstan's leadership denies attacking peaceful protesters and says they've launched a full investigation into who was

behind the violence that erupted. Meanwhile, the country's president has vowed to improve people's living conditions and rebuild the sites damaged

as fast as possible Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Almaty, Kazakhstan.


GORANI: And let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. North Korea has launched what appear to be two ballistic

missiles into the sea off of its east coast. It's North Korea's third missile test within the past two weeks, one of which we're seeing here. It

happened just hours after Pyongyang called U.S. sanctions over recent launches provocation.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister says he is taking up the "special responsibility of ending the Tigray conflict. His spokesman responding to criticism by the

Nobel Committee, it awarded - met the Peace Prize two years ago.

And the U.N. says airstrikes have reportedly killed more than 100 civilians and Tigray in just the past two weeks. And this just into CNN, Tunisia's

state run TIP reports that Police have used tear gas to disperse crowds in the Capitol, protesting the President and to mark the 11th anniversary of

the revolution that triggered the Arab Spring.

This video shows water cannon used to stop people from passing through parts of the city center in Tunis. 11 years, time sure has flown by. You're

watching "Connect the World". One of the most expensive cities in the world becomes even more unaffordable to all of us basically, will tell you why

when we return.


GORANI: There's been a lot of discussion about how long you have to isolate after having a caught COVID-19. Well a new study suggests that COVID may

still be transmissible even 10 days after a positive test result.


GORANI: Researchers in the UK found one in 10 people infected with COVID still had clinically relevant levels of the virus that could spread on day

10. The U.S. and UK have both reduced the recommended isolation period for those sick with COVID to just five days.

So it could be an issue for some people still able to spread the disease. COVID cases are spreading further in Mainland China. The country reported

143 new local infections on Thursday, mostly in the central province of Henan.

Multiple cities there are under strict lockdown as they battle local outbreaks. Shanghai is also on alert the city reported five COVID cases

linked to an overseas traveler from the U.S.

Officials say the traveler violated quarantine by visiting a tea shop, which has been shut down. And speaking of COVID in Europe, Germany is

recommending COVID booster shots for adolescents between 12 to 17 years old.

And this comes as the country reports a daily case record for a third day in a row with more than 92,000 new infections today. And France has relaxed

the entry requirements for vaccinated travelers who are coming from the UK.

They will not have to quarantine on arrival, but they'll still need a negative test 24 hours before departure. Hong Kong's strict COVID policy is

taking a toll on the city's economy. It is impacting air cargo and imports and therefore raising prices on much needed consumer goods. CNNs Kristie Lu

Stout has that report.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Empty terminals, Board staff and flight displays with cancellation after cancellation. Two years

of pandemic have empty what was once one of the busiest airports in the world.

STOUT (on camera): As the city tightens restrictions amid an Omicron outbreak, flagship carrier Cathay Pacific is slashing flights with air

cargo capacity cut to 20 percent of pre pandemic levels is putting pressure on supplies of fresh produce and a plethora of goods not made in Hong Kong.

STOUT (voice over): The Hong Kong Transport & Housing Bureau tells CNN it has been closely communicating with the aviation industry with a view to

maintaining smooth air cargo services into and out of Hong Kong and addressing the basic daily needs of society while safeguarding public


The city's economy is highly dependent on trade relying on imports for food and consumer goods. And with the squeeze on cargo, industry experts have

warned of a sharp rise in prices.

And what was already one of the most expensive cities in the world. Hong Kong logistics trade body cheap says shipping costs is expected to go up 20

to 30 percent. And such increases will be passed on to Hong Kong consumers.

Kathy says the sharp cargo reductions will likely remain in place until March. The announcement follows temporary flight bans on several countries

including the U.S. and UK and new quarantine requirements for air crew.

Hong Kong is holding firm to a zero COVID policy with strict quarantines and border restrictions. And while the tough policy has saved lives, it is

also isolated the ones thriving business and logistics hub.

In November, FedEx said it would close its crew base in the city. Even air mail to countries like the UK has been suspended. International trade

groups have warned Hong Kong could lose talent and investment unless it relaxes its restrictions.

BRENDAN SOBIE, INDEPENDENT AVIATION ANALYST: I remain concerned about Hong Kong's position as a hub long term because of the very strict policies and

strict euro COVID strategy of Hong Kong and its lack of a recovery so far. Basically the gap between Hong Kong and other hub airports in Asia Pacific

is widening.

STOUT (voice over): The Hong Kong government maintains the curbs are essential for public health and to allow the city to reopen to Mainland


CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Well, there's nothing we can do because we have to fight the epidemic.

STOUT (voice over): A once glittering International Finance Center is now locked in a zero COVID bubble. So residents make do with what they have.

Like Richard Ekkebus, a two star Michelin Chef at one of the most celebrated restaurants in Hong Kong, working with a more limited and

pricier supply of fresh produce.

RICHARD EKKEBUS, CULINARY DIRECTOR, LANDMARK MANDARIN ORIENTAL HOTEL: Pricing has gone up significantly up to 35 percent due to shortage of

supplies, shipping crates that went up tenfold. So yes, that definitely has significantly impacted price structure in everything we get in Hong Kong.

STOUT (voice over): He now uses spiny lobster from Hong Kong instead of French blue from Brittany.

STOUT (on camera): So locally sourced Hong Kong lobster is still worth to - force?

EKKEBUS: Absolutely, absolutely.

STOUT (voice over): Kristie Lu Stout, CNN Hong Kong.


GORANI: Well, some people are afraid of spiders, but this is a valuable one still to come. Why Spider Man artwork is proving more valuable than you can

believe or probably afford then.



GORANI: Welcome back. Attempting the impossible, those are the words of two rappers, Mideast rappers who are trying to start a new conversation between

Israelis and Palestinians. Their battle of words and music against hate has gone viral. Take a look.


SAMEH ZAKOUT, PALESTINIAN RAPPER: I wanted to meet my friend Uriya Rosenman an Israeli educator and creator 31 years old - raised but lives--

URIYA ROSENMAN, ISRAELI RAPPER: Sameh - Sameh is a cool 37 years old, born and raised in - today live lives in Jaffa Palestinian with an Israeli

citizenship musician and actor.

Three years ago, June 2018 i was sitting at home; I heard the rap song by an American artist called Joyner Lucas. The song was called "I'm Not

Racist". It presents the racism between blacks and whites in the U.S. I was overwhelmed by the video. It got me inspired like crazy.

I grew up in a very Zionist family meaning that I got education about the righteousness of the Jewish people in the homeland and the necessity to

defend our people. You know never again I obviously served as a combat soldier and an officer in the IDF. You know, that's what good people do

that they defend their country. But something changed when I discovered spirituality.

Why are we in such a conflict between the Jews and the Arabs between Israelis and Palestinians that a lot of the way things are being decided

and done within this region are you know, not OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it took us a while to start this relationship or this trust between us. And after three months, we decided I decided that I'm in

for --


ROSENMAN: I said all the time we have a complicated life. I especially think the Palestinians who live in Israel because when I met Uriya, he

comes from the other narrative the other side of the history speaking about his grandfather.

What he went through, what he did in 66 and 67. And when I heard his story, of course, it was the negative of my story was the other side because my

history is different. My grandfather and my family were exiled and excited from - and most of them are exiled in Gaza and all around the world.

For me seeing that Uriya understanding what my family and our people went through and the word - doesn't have to say, oh, you're not exist, or we're

going to kill you, no, it's our side of history. This is us.

We can't neglect it. And saying and using these terms and kind of making new discussion, new conversation between Israelis and Palestinians. But

yes, I want justice, I want existence I want, I want peace. I want things that me and my family, our people really miss. But at the same time, both

sides have to wake up and understand that both of those are not going tomorrow, nobody's leaving right now.

This personal journey that I went through, there was no budget, there was no public interest. There was no supporting organization that gave me the

platform to do what I did.

I just went and met people through social media. And by meeting those people, I was able also to reach Sameh if we don't feel like we are

obligated to answer questions, you know, that people rose to us. We are not the solution makers.

And we are not the decision makers. But we started in some sort of movement, some sort of friendship and acknowledgement of each other that

can be an example for people. And that's why we don't bring solutions, we bring awareness. We are trying to bring something new to the table. If it

works, we'll be happy if not, at least we tried.


GORANI: That's very, very powerful. Now the latest Spider Man film is breaking records at the box office. And now a single page of a Spider Man

comic book has brought in big money at auction someone paid can you guess, look at it, $3.36 million for this artwork, which shows spider man with a

black costume for the first time.

The Vice President of heritage auctions says it's one of a kind I sure hope so for that price. And he tells an important part of the story that Spidey

would subsequently turn into the alien villain, villain venom. I don't know who that is. But thank you for watching. "One World" with Zain Asher is