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Connect the World

Russians try to Put Their Stamp on Mariupol; Police: At Least Three Killed, Four Injured; W.H.O.: COVID Health Toll Tree Times Higher than Reported; Sinn Fein Aiming for Historic Election Victory; Maternal Mental Health Awareness; Explosion Destroys Hotel in Havana. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 06, 2022 - 11:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in my colleague Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to "Connect the World".

The latest stage of evacuations reportedly is underway from the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. About 200 people, including women and children are

believed to be there. But Ukraine's Azov Battalion says Russian forces have fired on a car trying to help get people out.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls Mariupol an example of torture by starvation. Meanwhile, Sources tell CNN that U.S. intelligence help doom

Russia's vaunted Moskva warship it sank last month in the Black Sea after Ukrainian missile strike. But the Pentagon is downplaying the extent of

American involvement.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Did not provide specific targeting information about the Moskva to the Ukrainians, we weren't involved in

their decision to conduct that strike. And we certainly weren't involved in the actual execution of that strike. And again, I want to just stress that

in order for us to be able to help Ukraine defend itself, it's not just about the weapons.

It's not just about the training. It is about some of the information. And we want to be able to protect that information and rightly so. And so leaks

like this and stories like this they are unhelpful to the effort to help Ukraine defend itself.


GIOKOS: Alright, Scott McLean is in Lviv for us. Scott, I want to start with this evacuation out of Mariupol. On one hand, you're hearing that

evacuation is making progress, or at least it's starting in some way. And we know that could be riddled with so many challenges. And then on the

other side, you're hearing from the inside of Azovstal Steel Plant that they're still being bombarded. And they're running out of food and water.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's really difficult to get an accurate sense of what is happening on the ground from a distance, of

course, Eleni. But I think in this case, no news is good news. And that is because Ukrainian officials, including President Zelenskyy, have long said

that they're not going to say anything about the status of the evacuation efforts until there's something to report that's hopefully some good news.

President Zelenskyy called it radio silence mode. They don't want to do anything that might jeopardize the eventual success of this operation. So

the bottom line is we don't know exactly where this UN led evacuation convoy is? We don't know if it's arrived at the plant.

We don't even know the terms of the deal that's been arranged with the Russians assuming that there is one of the Russians are going to abide by

because if you ask the Ukrainians on the ground, they will tell you that the Russians are very good at keeping their word case in point today.

They say that the Russians have been holding the perimeter of the plant, but they've also been firing on it. And the Azov Regiment leading the

fighting from that plan has said that one car, as you mentioned, carrying some soldiers there to help with the evacuation of those civilians was

fired on by shelling or an anti-tank missile, as they say, one person was killed. Six people were injured.

That Azov regiment has released some pictures and some video that, frankly, are too gruesome to show you many of them so we won't. But we're not in a

position to confirm right now whether or not there even is an actual ceasefire that's in effect, let alone a ceasefire that's holding.

The other part of this Eleni is that there is a broader evacuation effort taking place today from the wider city outside of the steel plant. It was

supposed to go a couple of hours several hours ago. It's not clear the status but these types of evacuations tend to be kind of touch and go.

GIOKOS: Yes, absolutely. And they are. They're very difficult and we've experienced this before over the past couple of months. Scott, really good

to see you, thank you so much! So Russia is trying to mark a victory in Mariupol, the Leader of Russian backed Donetsk People's Republic handed out

awards this week for the liberation of Mariupol.

The southern city has been under siege for weeks an advisor to Mariupol's Elected Mayor says more Russian officials have been visiting as a show of

force. Meanwhile, Russia is also restoring Soviet era monuments like this one of an elderly woman holding a Soviet flag. At the entrance to Mariupol

signs have been changed from Ukrainian to Russian and parts of the region have introduced the Ruble. Nick Paton Walsh joins us now live from Kryvyi.

Nick, to be honest, I'm hearing the resumption of the Soviet eras symbols that are coming through of a past that perhaps has been forgotten for quite

some time.


GIOKOS: And then we've got Victory Day that's coming up on Monday while evacuation efforts are still on the go. Should we be reading into this as

Putin wants to declare victory in Mariupol and he's going to work hard to make that happen over the next two days?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I mean, to some degree, the Kremlin did over a week ago suggest that they had won in

Mariupol. It's just the - for them inconvenient fact that the Azovstal Steel Plant still, as Ukrainian soldiers fighting for it, and hundreds of

civilians trapped inside of it, it's important to point out the savage disparity between the tens possibly certainly thousands of Ukrainian

civilians who have died during the violence in Mariupol.

Violence that was initiated and delivered upon that peaceful city by the Russians and this curious bid, it seems to even contemplate holding some

kind of parade there on Monday on Victory Day, a day that marks the Soviet victory over the Nazis.

And put into that the context that the Russian government is suggesting that it's totally unprovoked war in Ukraine is against what it considers

incorrectly being a Nazi presence there. It's all too surreal, frankly, to be almost being worth speaking of.

But when you have medals being handed out, and you have this, it seems surreal bid to essentially glorify Russia's conduct there, then that is a

dark I think suggestion of the parallel universe they expect these areas to live in.

We've seen monuments put up there according to some images. We know that the Ruble is being pushed in as a currency and the City of Kherson, which

is the first place that Russia took. But this I think, speaks to the psychology of what we're seeing here, the restoration of what a very small

number, I think of people in Russia considered to be the grandeur of the Soviet empire, it collapsed under the weight of its own incompetence,

frankly, to some degree.

And so what we're seeing here is a bid to restore that to justify the violence has been delivered upon the Ukrainian people. And we will see, I

think, more haunting relics of that Soviet era put out on display again, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, we know that Putin will take power by force. So when I think about the fate of the Azovstal Steel Plant, I shudder to think what

will occur over the next few days. But you've been speaking to Ukrainian prisoners who were wounded last month in Mariupol. And just recently

released tell us about his story.

WALSH: Not a Ukrainian prisoner, but a Ukrainian Marine who was fighting for the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. Not Azovstal but - were fierce

fighting also occurred yet this marine was injured during that fighting, taken prisoner by the Russians and then delivered back to Ukraine in an


And when we met him in his hospital bed, he was severely injured, still recovering and able to tell us what he saw on the pitch battlefields there?

What he experienced in captivity? And also his hopes for what may come next.


WALSH (voice over): This is how Hlib war ends. But if you told him he was lucky, he probably agree, he fought for Mariupol in the Azov Steel factory

- since the war began. But turn a case on friends, felt the heat of Russian tanks blasting his building from just meters away. He survived but only

just here, after 17 days as a wounded prisoner in Russia.

HILB STRYZHKO, WOUNDED UKRAINIAN MARINE: Very often when I close my eyes, I see that moment when the tank was firing at me and my side getting injured.

On the day of my injury one of my boys, a machine gunner was killed every time it's personal. Every time I heard it over the walkie-talkie, or in

person that someone was dead, it would conjure memories of him.

WALSH (voice over): His mind also in pieces left grappling with fragments of the worst fighting in Europe for decades.

STRYZHKO: You know there's a point when the brain accepts it, seeing the phosphorus missiles, seeing aviation flying in. When this became normal,

that was scary. We learned how to fall asleep with this accompaniment. Instead, it became scary to fall asleep in the silence.

WALSH (voice over): Two moments though, haunt him here.

STRYZHKO: The first time I use tourniquets on my friend, and the second scene is this. We saw aviation destroying whole hangars, watching a huge

hangar to have nothing left in just seconds. This has really been engraved on my memory.

WALSH (voice over): Wounded on April the 10th when he regained consciousness he was not where he thought he was.

STRYZHKO: First time I found out I was held captive was when we were inside an ambulance me and another guy with similar injuries.


STRYZHKO: He asked, are you ours? And they replied. It is unclear now who you mean by ours now, they said I was under the guard of the Ministry of

State Security of the separatists DPR. But it was scarier when I got to the separatist hospital. I was told by a Russian soldier, you'll have to forget

Ukrainian now. You will only get help if you're asking Russian.

WALSH (voice over): The Russians kept him alive, he says so they could exchange him for their own.

STRYZHKO: There were two of us bedridden. So we had to be fed by nurses. So they would say, because of you, my son got killed. I tried to be

understanding that they were accusing us of things we never did. And we had Russia news read to us all the time in the morning and evening. That was a

lot of pressure on the mind, a distortion of reality.

WALSH (voice over): On April the 27th, the exchange happened and he was put on a plane. His pelvis crushed his lower jaw broken brain concussed but he

can still feel his legs.

STRYZHKO: And I also have problems with my eyes, because of constant bright flashes and dust. So at first they were glazed. Then they opened. For now I

still can't see with my left and my right only silhouettes. My body was broken, but not my spirit. My doctor says that I would be able to pick any

new balance sneakers by Autumn. That makes me happy.


WALSH: He was, I think keen to point out what many Ukrainians talk about which is Ukraine's desire to get its soldiers back and pointing out they

say the contrast between how we've often seen Russian soldiers' bodies abandoned on the battlefield here often certainly not brought back to

Russia for burial.

And this fits in; I think his experiences to the ferocity of violence that we've seen around Mariupol. That is persisting to this day with the Russian

final onslaught against the Azovstal Steel Plant, despite their contradictory by now commonplace statements that are entirely misleading

that they wish to see some sort of humanitarian corridor back to you.

GIOKOS: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. Israel says the Russian President has apologized for anti-Semitic remarks made by the Russian

Foreign Minister and that's according to an Israeli summary of the phone call between Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

But the Kremlin Spokesperson ducked questions from journalists twice about that apology.

Hadas Gold joins me now live from Jerusalem with more. What more did Naftali Bennett have to say about this phone call?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so let's back up a little bit. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister on Sunday, in an interview with an

Italian news station made these sorts of absurd claims, trying to justify Russia's goal of you know, de-Nazifying Ukraine despite the fact that

Ukraine has a Jewish President by saying things like Hitler had Jewish blood and that the worst anti-Semites are often Jews.

That elicited a really angry condemnation from Israeli officials. But after their initial condemnations a day after that interview, Israeli officials

were largely quiet despite the fact that the Russian Foreign Ministry continued to amp-up their rhetoric even saying at one point that Israel was

supporting Neo-Nazis in Kyiv the Jewish state created in the aftermath of World War II somehow supporting Neo-Nazis.

Then yesterday, which were Israel's Independence Day, Naftali Bennett and Vladimir Putin had a phone call. And in the initial readout from the

Russians, it was just a general sort of congratulations. They discussed the situation in Ukraine discussed humanitarian corridors.

And then we got the readout from the Israelis and the Israeli said that the Prime Minister accepted President Putin's apology for Lavrov's remarks and

thanked him for clarifying the President's attitudes towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust.

Now, as I noted, the Kremlin's readout made no mention of any sort of apology. And when the Kremlin Spokesperson was specifically asked about it,

he ducked it twice and all he said it he didn't confirm or deny that there was an apology. All he said is at the moment; we have nothing to add to

what was said in the readout Eleni.

GIOKOS: Alright, so Hadas I also want to turn our attention to the suspected terror attack yesterday that killed three people in the town of

Elad what more do we know?

GOLD: Well Eleni, this happened again on Israel Independence Day around 8:30 pm. The town of Elad is this tiny town mostly religious people live

there. It is near the West Bank. It's in central kind of not far from the airport around 8:30 pm. Two suspected attackers began seemingly attacking

people randomly on the street near a park.

Police say that they use potentially a rifle and either an axe and or a knife. Three people were killed three or four more people were injured

three of them were critically injured. I do want to note that the three people who were killed were all men in their 40s and between them they had

16 children that they now leave behind.


GOLD: All of those three men were buried today. Now the attackers fled in a vehicle and there was a massive manhunt still underway for these attackers.

They have been identified as a 19 and 20 year old man from the West Bank town. Not far from Jeanine.

This is the sixth attack targeting Israeli since late March the death toll now at 18 people having been killed in these attacks. It's been a tense and

violent few months in Israel and across the West Bank as in response to these attacks. The Israeli military has stepped up their raids and

counterterrorism operations.

They say in the West Bank, more than two dozen Palestinians have been killed there. And then at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound also known as the

Temple Mount this very holy place in Jerusalem. Place that so holy to both Muslims and Jews have seen pretty regular clashes between Palestinians and

Israeli forces throughout the Ramadan holiday.

And despite the fact that people were hoping that things would calm down as Ramadan has now come to a close, Israeli officials I've been speaking to

said that they are still expecting more tension, more violence because of days like Israel Independence Day. And keep in mind Eleni that next week is

the one year anniversary of that 11 day war between Hamas militants in Gaza and the Israeli army Eleni.

GIOKOS: Hadas Gold thank you so much for those insights! And coming up the far reaches the war in Ukraine it's impacting a small Irish town and the

children who live there that's coming up.


GIOKOS: Well, it may be far from their native home but thousands of Ukrainians are settling into Ireland. They are being welcomed across the

small country CNN's Donie O'Sullivan returned to his Irish hometown to see how some of these families are adjusting to their new life. Let's take a



DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It may be thousands of miles away Cahersiveen my hometown is just one part of rural Ireland being

transformed by the war in Ukraine.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Hello, how are you? What's going on? How are you? I remember because he I was over on the bicycle.

TREASA NI CHROININS, SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Six weeks ago we were a school of - an enrollment of 103 pupils 7 teachers we arrived back after St. Patrick's

weekend to a 50 percent increase in our school population. We're today six weeks later; we have an enrollment of 155 pupils and 10 teachers.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): With a population of only 5 million people Ireland has taken in more than 25,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war. Hundreds have

come to Cahersiveen and everyone is involved in making them feel welcome.


HUGH HORGAN, SCHOOL JANITOR: I come in here mostly when the classes are finished. And there's a beautiful young girl here. She's a classical

pianist, and she comes in and plays the piano when the school is closed, so she's selling it as me for maybe an hour tour in the evenings.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Hello, Mr. O'Sullivan. How are you? Where's everybody here from? Where are you from?


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): You're from Kyiv?


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): And how long have you been in Cahersiveen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two months, maybe.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): two months?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Margerette is actually an exceptionally talented piano player.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Are you the piano player? Is that you?


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Do you play in here?


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): As well as using translation apps, - has hired teachers to help the new students learn English.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other general knowledge is really good. It's just that their English is of a low level, but they're like sponges, they learn

really quickly. And they're all really lovely children. They're always smiling.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): As for the Irish students--

SOPHIE WANG, STUDENT: I think it's a very nice experience to have Ukrainian people in our class, and that they can learn from us and we can learn from


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): And you're happy to have so many new people in the school.

ALEX NASAR, STUDENT: Yes, it's different. And it's a lot busier people have new friends now. It's very nice. I like it.

CHROININ: It's just so lovely despite language barrier to see pupils engaging, learning, happy and laughing and adjusting are a huge success and

just totally because of the whole community.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Across Ireland Ukrainian refugees have been placed in hotels and emergency accommodation and granted the right to work despite

stretched resources, many local communities are happy to have them.

COLMAN QUIRKE, LOCAL NEWSAGENT: The lovely thing happening the shop about four or five days ago, Ukrainian family, they were buying the stuff in the

shop, and they were just about to pay the bill when the local guy just stepped in and he said no. And he hands me his currently says I'm getting

that. And I mean, they were in tears.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Lilia came here with her two children and has been overwhelmed by the Irish welcome. But of course still yearns for home.

LILIA OREVCHUK, FLED FROM UKRAINE: You know every Irish people ask us are you happy? And we are trying to be happy. Because so we have everything

that we need now here, but we don't have previous life.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Back at - you come in here. Who's this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ---This is my daughter Margarita.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): margaritas mom came by to watch her daughter perform for some of her new Irish and Ukrainian friends. Donie O'Sullivan,

CNN, Paris IV Ireland.


GIOKOS: Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. At least one person was killed and thousands of others

treated in the hospital after a severe Sandstorm swept through Iraq on Thursday, Baghdad and the holy city of Najaf were shrouded in a thick layer

of orange dust.

It's the seventh dust storm and a month to hit Iraq. Chinese officials are convening a committee to investigate last week's building collapse in the

capital of China's sovereign Hunan province. 53 people would kill 10 others made it out alive.

The committee will look into why the building collapsed and who is responsible. On Thursday, meantime, Chinese President Xi Jinping issued his

strongest warning yet to anyone who criticizes China's zero COVID policy.

The nation's strict crackdown on recent outbreaks has left at least 30 Chinese cities under some form of lockdown affecting hundreds of millions

of residents around the country.

Now we're beginning to get a fuller picture of the true devastation caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. In the new reports, the W. H. O says the world's

real death toll from COVID is almost 15 million lost lives.

And that's nearly three times what has officially been reported. This new number accounts for people who died directly or indirectly from the virus.

Earlier we asked the W.H.O.'s Dr. Samira Asma whether she was surprised by this number.


DR. SAMIRA ASMA, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR-GENERAL, W.H.O. DATA, ANALYTICS & DELIVERY: It is both a shock as well as expected shock because this is

truly a tragic and a staggering number, almost 15 million excess deaths direct and or indirectly associated with COVID 19 pandemic just over a

period of 24 months.


GIOKOS: India says it rejects the W. H. O's estimate for the number of deaths in the country from COVID-19.


GIOKOS: You'll remember a year ago India was suffering through a peak of COVID death with crematoriums full of funeral pyres. The W. H. O report

estimates 4.7 million people died in the country in 2020 and 2021.

But the Indian government says that the death toll was much lower around 480,000. And it questioned the methods used by the W.H.O. Well, the W.H.O

says that it will continue to engage with India to come to a mutual consensus with regards to the different estimates.

Now Russia's war on Ukraine is being felt far from Ukraine's borders. Several European countries that are not part of NATO are becoming much more

vocal about joining the alliance.

Finland shares a long border with Russia, and it's watching the Ukraine conflict with alarm. CNN's Nic Robertson says the Finnish Military is

already preparing for any potential Russian aggression.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): In Finland's forests, the nation's military is readying should Russia

threatened war. Arrow 22 joint military exercises Finnish troops alongside British American Latvian and Estonian forces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't know what happens. It depends on the commanders of each site, let's see. And if the main target is up, upwards,

that means the tank is destroyed.

ROBERTSON (voice over): These annual exercises now with added urgency, Russia's war in Ukraine, causing Finland to consider joining NATO.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to develop and if you're in our own bubble, you don't develop.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Our 22 is all about preparing Finland for potentially joining NATO, in the words of the organizers for the purposes

of national defense, to create and sustain international operability.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Finland's defense chief and his UK counterpart, visiting the battle training, success in the forests, speeding Finland's

path to NATO membership.

ANTTI KAIKKONEN, FINNISH DEFENSE MINISTER: We have a very good interoperability with NATO and I believe that Finland would fulfill the

criteria needed to be a NATO member. I believe that possible negotiations with NATO wouldn't take so much time because of that.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Until then, the UK pledging military support and clearly signaling political backing to help hasten Finland's membership.

BEN WALLACE, BRITISH DEFENCE SECRETARY: Exercises like this today show that our forces are professionally matched or professionally able to

interoperate. And that's a really important sort of strength that Finland would definitely add to NATO.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I like the rails, like you can really hold it.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Meanwhile at the back of one of the tanks, camaraderie, the talk not about NATO, troops of different nations trading

tips about each other's weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys came up pretty heavier.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Joint battlefield exercise experiences, bonding all.

CAPT. DENIS MAJEWSKI, U.S. ARMY: You get to hear the experiences of, of the Finns, the way they grew up so close to Russia. It's definitely an

interesting experience, and I think it helps us all grow together.

ROBERTSON (voice over): After a day shooting tank shells at each other, some Finnish troops pumped about their prospects. Should Putin pick a fight

with them?

JAAKKO INKINEN, FINNISH ARMY: It doesn't seem logical. Because if they have already troops in Ukraine, and then they decide to attack us, get that--

ROBERTSON (voice over): Finland just days away from deciding if it will join NATO, Nic Robertson, CNN, - Finland.


GIOKOS: Just ahead the UK's party gate scandal has engulfed number 10. But did it sink Boris Johnson's Conservative Party at the polls, we're

unpacking the latest local election results next.

And we're watching for the results in Northern Ireland Assembly votes. I'll be asking an Irish Time's journalist why he thinks the United Ireland is

inevitable, that's all just ahead.



GIOKOS: The United Kingdom went to the polls Thursday to vote in local elections and early results are not looking good for Boris Johnson. The

Prime Minister's party has suffered big losses in traditional strongholds as voter's vent their frustration with the scandal prone leader Bianca

Nobilo, Anchor of the Global Brief on CNN joins me now from Downing Street and has been covering all the scandals quite extensively.

And you've actually in your reporting been asking the question, you know, can he survive all these scandals? And what is the electorate going to do

if they had a chance? Interesting to see what's happening in London, but outside of London, we're seeing a very mixed picture, aren't we?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is mix. So in terms of answering that question about whether or not Johnson can survive this, I'd

say what we're seeing today is very unhelpful for the Prime Minister but definitely not terminal, especially with the absence of an obvious


We have seen the conservatives taking a very strong hit in traditional Tory Heartlands in the South and the beneficiaries of that have been the Liberal

Democrats who picked up nearly 70 seats in these council elections.

The Greens have also been doing better. The Conservative Party did manage expectations about these local elections. As in we've had scandal after

scandal since Partygate really began in last winter.

There was an expectation that this election yesterday would go very badly for the Conservative Party. And indeed it has, especially in London, but

perhaps not as badly and hasn't been as much of a catastrophe as some might have imagined, which is putting more pressure perhaps on Labor Party leader

Kier Starmer as to why he's not able to capitalize on the scale of scandal that the Conservative Party have been battered with over recent months.

Also, he's now it's now been announced by Durham constabulary that he will be investigated for so called beer gate his equivalent, if you like of

Partygate for breaking COVID regulations last year.

So that's more difficulties for the Labor Party to endure. But they have picked up some seats in some areas, but as you said, very much a mixed

picture is what we're seeing at the moment, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes, I want to talk about Northern Ireland because we might be seeing an incredible shift. That would break something we've seen for 20

years and majority by the DUP.

Sinn Fein seems to be gaining so much momentum, the polls are closed, votes are being canceled. Do we have any idea where you know what kind of numbers

we'll be seeing there?

NOBILO: Well, the expectation is that this will be a historic victory for Sinn Fein and perhaps bring Northern Ireland a little bit closer to

breaking away from the United Kingdom and unifying with the Republic of Ireland.

Obviously, all that is very far down the line, but what we might see is Sinn Fein is the largest party in Northern Ireland for the first time. And

that would mean that Michelle O'Neill would take the position of First Minister.

They've held the position of Deputy First Minister, which is what she is now, but it would be hugely significant even though it is symbolic because

of the power sharing agreement.

You would see typically the first minister as being a unionist and the Deputy First Minister, would be held by a nationalist a member of Sinn

Fein. So it would be a really big step forward for the party to see this and obviously raises the prospect of a border poll about the unification on

the island of Ireland.


GIOKOS: Yes, and that's of course if the DUP go for a power sharing agreement, so lots happening in Northern Ireland. Thank you so much,

Bianca. And you'll be hosting your show tonight the Global Brief from Downing Street tonight.

And Bianca will also be unpacking the election results and what they mean for Boris Johnson's future she will also be speaking to the leader of Sinn

Fein regarding the results in Northern Ireland, that's coming up 10 pm London or if you're in Abu Dhabi, you can stay up really late at 1 am.

It's worth staying up for. Alright, so let's take a step back now and it's worth reminding ourselves why the selection in Northern Ireland is just so

important Unionist or nationalist.

This has been the crux of politics in Northern Ireland for over a century, when Ireland became independent. Northern Ireland remained parts of the

United Kingdom.

Unionists who are mostly protestant believe Northern Ireland should say parts of the UK nationalists who are mainly Catholics want to unite with

the Republic of Ireland.

This question of identity caused decades of unrest and violence between the two sides until a peace accord in 1998, called the Good Friday Agreement

established a power sharing government in Northern Ireland.

There are two top positions at a first minister and Deputy First Minister that are - by a unionist and nationalist. Unionists have long held the top

position, but popular support for the largest Unionist Party, the Democratic Unionist Party or the DUP is slipping.

And if Sinn Fein wins, the DUP is threatening to decline the secondary role of the power sharing agreements, another big question arising from a

possible Sinn Fein victory. Does this make a united Ireland more likely?

Irish Journalist and Author Fintan O'Toole believes this outcome in some form is not just an entirely legitimate aspiration, but an eventuality for

which we should all prepare, even if we don't particularly want it.

Fintan O'Toole joins me now from Princeton, New Jersey, really good to see you. I mean, you're saying it's inevitability that we'll see a united

Ireland. Do you think that should Sinn Fein win or at least, you know, get the majority that they're hoping for that this is going to act as a


FINTAN O'TOOLE, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: A catalyst I think is a very good word, because the catalyst really produces a reaction that may take quite a

long time. So we have to try to keep two things in our heads.

One is that it is very likely that today will be a momentous day, when, as you said, Northern Ireland, it's not just that it's always had a Protestant

Unionist majority politically, it's that it was established precisely to have that majority.

That was the whole point of establishing Northern Ireland over 100 years ago. So the likelihood and it does seem to be playing out, which is that

Sinn Fein, the radical nationalist party is going to be the biggest party and that its leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle O'Neill, will be the

First Minister.

That genuinely is seismic. I mean, you know, we can use that kind of word about it. However, there are two qualifications, I think. One is that is

very notable that Sinn Fein itself during the election campaign played down the idea of an immediate border poll to trigger a united Ireland.

You know, it went very softly election campaign, because I think it knows that well, actually, that's not going to happen very quickly. And secondly,

the other big factor we may be seeing today is the expansion and sustaining really, of a middle ground.

So the Alliance Party, which is the non-sectarian party, that's what none of the above looks like its doing very, very well. And of course, what that

means is that in any potential referendum border poll about a united Ireland, it's that middle ground that both sides are going to have to

persuade, neither nationalists nor unionists are likely to have a majority.


O'TOOLE: And so there's a big conversation to be had.

GIOKOS: Yes, very good points there because you spoke about the ideology of you know, them being the, you know, the party that could possibly trigger a

referendum, but they saying that's not really on the cards right now.

We want to talk bread and butter, but interestingly, you have specifically said that you would never vote for Sinn Fein because you remember too much

right. And they were basically regarded as the political arm of the IRA.

And even though they haven't right out said it, you as well as many others associated with dark times. Could you explain that for us?

O'TOOLE: Yes, so Sinn Fein was elderly and explicitly really the political weighing of the IRA which carried out what it called the armed struggle for

30 years up to 1998.


O'TOOLE: People of my age, you know, have very, very vivid memories of what that meant. I mean, it meant putting bombs in cafes. It meant putting bombs

in pubs, you know, it meant putting bombs, you know, when protestants were mourning their dead at memorial - some of this stuff was really pretty,

pretty horrific.

And for me, that memory lingers too much. However, for someone who's maybe 30, 35 years younger than I am, that all seems like ancient history. You

know, the IRAs campaign, really, you know, ended up at the end of the 20th century, and for a lot of younger voters.

That's the way they see it. So it is a generational division, I think in terms of how people see the relevance or importance of all of that.

GIOKOS: And that's such an important point because you know, the younger generation say they really are worried about the current situation and

their economic prosperity. Fintan O'Toole, thank you so very much, I hope to speak to you again when the results are out, great to have you on the


And just ahead, we're focusing on gender inequality and how it impacts people's lives around the globe. Today, our special series as equals looks

at ending the stigma of postpartum depression.


GIOKOS: Gender inequality CNN is taking a long hard look at what that means in people's daily lives in our ongoing series as equals. This week we've

been highlighting maternal mental health awareness with a story about the dangers of depression after giving birth. It's caught the attention of

nearly 2 million CNN digital viewers, take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HAMISH MAGOFFIN, HUSBAND TO LATE PRANAIYA OULAPATHORN: (voice over): After Pranaiya gave birth to Arthur everything was fine. Two of them together was

great. Pranaiya was great with kids. Unfortunately, one morning and I woke up and she I guess decided that she could no longer bear the pain and so

took her life and Arthur prematurely.


MAGOFFIN (on camera): My name is Hamish Magoffin. And last year I lost my wife Pranaiya and son Arthur to postpartum depression. And so now, I'm

doing a run from John O'Groats at the top of Scotland to Land's End, the corner of England to raise awareness about PPD and other postpartum and

mental health issues.

After Pranaiya gave birth, she was happy afterwards happy, everything was fine. The anxiety levels sort of started to creep up with breastfeeding.

And I guess that's one aspect of being a new mom.

It's like, do you have enough milk and the whole concept of breast is best. And even though we were very flexible, saying to ourselves, if she doesn't

have enough milk, then that's fine. We'll switch the formula.

But I guess there's the pressure that she put on herself to want to do the best for Arthur. And then, Pranaiya one day said, I just want things back

the way they were before, which for a new mother is not that uncommon, or new parents.

After Pranaiya said that asking her like, what do you mean? --I don't want Arthur around anymore. And so she's very open about how strong those

feelings were. And I asked her, would you be willing to talk to a psychiatrist?

And she said, no, I think everything's OK. But then a couple of days later, as things progressed, she said, I think, I should.

LIZ WISE, POSTNATAL DEPRESSION COUNSELLOR: I've had cancer twice in my life. And my own personal experience of having postnatal depression, to me

was 100 times worse than having cancer. Before I have my two episodes of postnatal depression, I couldn't understand anybody that said they were

suffering from depression or anxiety, particularly after having a baby. Because in fact, I thought, well, how could you because it's a happy


So why would you feel like that.

Typically, there's sort of three post natal postpartum illnesses, the first being baby blues, typically between day three and day seven when the milk

comes in. Secondly is postnatal depression, which typically presents itself usually between the first year postnatal - and quite often, pre six months,

and then postnatal psychosis are sometimes called purple. So places typically present itself within the first two months after birth.

MAGOFFIN (on camera): When private institute says first consultation, the diagnosis was high anxiety, mild depression. And as things progressed over

the next month and a half, the thoughts got worse and we change doctors.

WISE: The majority of women with postnatal depression will experience at some stage, low mood, and sort of dark thoughts and feelings, you may have

a sense of failure or failure of being a bad mother.

You may experience sleep disorders, you may experience physical symptoms like headaches, chest pains, panic attacks, due to your high anxiety

levels. Some women will experience a lot of intrusive thoughts, which they can't sort of get out of their mind.

And for some women, they'll actually experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors as well.

MAGOFFIN (on camera): She got the tinnitus and couldn't sleep. And there's just a lot of little things that stacked up. This is in the middle of the

COVID lock down and so not being able to do what she wanted to do and just, there's no escape, and just built up and pushed over.

WISE: I think the stigma around postnatal depression can have a huge impact on women.


GIOKOS: Sorry for interrupting. Our coverage there to bring you some breaking news and we're getting word of an explosion in Cuba in the old

parts of Havana. It has destroyed a hotel there.

We've got Patrick Altman, who's on the ground for us. Patrick, could you give us more detail of what you're seeing? Patrick, are you there? OK, it

seems that we do not have Patrick; we're trying to establish connection with him.


GIOKOS: OK, the explosion from what we understand is directly across from Cuba's Capitol. It's at the hotel Saratoga. It's in the old section of the

city. This is one photograph that we're able to show you.

We don't have more details on what caused the explosion, but we're trying to establish connection with our correspondent on the ground to bring you

that information. Patrick, are you there? Can you hear me?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, I can. It is something that I've never seen here. Just extraordinary explosion is ripped through a popular and

high end tourist hotel in the center of Havana. Its common here that you have buildings that collapse collapsed.

This is not that this is clearly some kind of explosion that has moved out several floors has demolished buses and cars in front of this popular

hotel, the hotel Saratoga. And right now there's no word on what could have caused this explosion.

Witnesses described it as sounding like a bomb. But of course, we don't have any confirmation from the Cuban government on what did cause this

explosion, but just a scene of desperation as rescue workers are literally clawing through rubble with their hands looking for any survivors.

There are more fire and police, I've ever seen in Havana, we got streets closed off in every direction. And there, several thousand people gathered

around this hotel what was really beautiful, modern hotel in the center of Old Havana.

And now it's been gutted by an explosion that again, we just don't have any, any indication of what causes certainly anybody was in the hotel at

the time. And, and luckily, hotels are still somewhat empty because of the pandemic at the moment. The tourists have been coming back.

And if anybody had been inside that hotel, when this explosion took place, it seems very likely they would have been injured or worse because just a

devastating scene of destruction of a hotel in a city that does not see this kind of disruption.

Regularly, a hotel that has completely been absolutely destroyed gutted, and now the desperate work of a few Fire Rescue workers - through this very

heavy rubble.

GIOKOS: Yes, I'm looking at we've got a couple of photographs that we're looking. So we were seeing the extent of the damage, and it looks horrific.

And as you just said, they're searching for survivors right now.

I'm also looking at one photograph where I can see the Capitol Building not too far from this hotel. Could you talk to me about the proximity of the

Capitol building?

OPPMANN: Sure, and this is a building that sometimes use the legislators but not all the time. But you know, it gives you an idea of how central

this hotel is, it is in the heart of the city, the area where tourists are most likely to frequent.

Sincerely the fact that the President of Mexico was - will visit Cuba tomorrow. It makes you wonder and a tiny bit, of course, it could just be

some sort of horrific action, we don't know.

But the damage is beyond what we sometimes see here were a building will collapse and fall because of the years of neglect. This is very clearly you

can see the rubbles thrown a great force from the hotel that a Boston front of the hotel.

A large tourist bus was completely flattened other cars that was buried under rubble, you can see that this is not a collapse of the building. But

there was a great force here that ripped out several floors that is smoking and completely vacant.

And you just hope no one was in the hotel at the time this explosion took place. And Cuban authorities say they will be getting details on what

caused it but of course, they don't even know now either.

They're just responding to the mini crisis of seeing - people underneath all that rubble.

GIOKOS: Yes, we're seeing the rubble and we can see the extent of the damage and also the smoke Patrick. You know, you're saying that, you know,

they're trying to ascertain if there are any people that are trapped.

But can you describe the extent of the damage of the hotel itself? Is it partially destroyed? Are we seeing extensive damage? And is there concern

that it might collapse further?

OPPMANN: We're seeing complete damage to this hotel, it'll have to be taken down. I mean, you know, when I arrived, it reminded me my first impression

was of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi after that terror attack.

Of course, we just don't know what cause this explosion, but the pictures which I took on my iPhone don't do justice. This is a hotel that has been

gutted. It's amazing that it's still standing.


OPPMANN (voice over): And you know, it being an older building, it had a lot of heavy cement granite in this hotel to hotel I know very well. We've

put scene and staff there over the years - stayed here when she visited Cuba. It's a high end hotel.

It's one of the higher end hotels and what could have caused this explosion. That's what witnesses describing me that just something that's

this huge explosion, something very atypical for Cuba, a country that has high government control, a very effective police to stop any kind of

anything like this from taking place.

It's just so unusual. And perhaps it will turn out to be something that was not intentional. But certainly when you see the force that caused the

damage to this hotel, it was really something quite extraordinary.

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, to be honest, are you making that correlation with what we saw in Kenya is sticking with me. Thank you so much, Patrick

Oppmann in Havana for us. Breaking news and explosion at the Saratoga hotel, partially destroying the building, we'll be bringing you more news

as it happens out of Havana.

Patrick Oppmann is on the ground for us. Thank you so much for watching. That was "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi, Zain Asher is

up next. Have a fantastic weekend. Stay safe.