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Lawmakers Write Open Letter to Biden on How to Engage; Joe Biden to Visit Saudi Arabia in July; Biden: Jobs are back but Prices are still too high; Ukraine: Our Forces Pushed from Center of Severodonestk; Video of Women Being Attacked Sparks Outrage in China; Subscribe to CNN's Middle East Newsletter. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired June 14, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This hour once a pariah now once again a strategic partners how the U.S. is recalibrating its
relationship with Saudi Arabia. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World".
We are expecting to hear from the U.S. president this hour; I'm going to get to that live when it happens. Joe Biden will be talking about the
challenges that the U.S. economy is facing. And one of those challenges is of course, the ever rising price of fuel.
Just part of the reason Mr. Biden will visit Saudi Arabia during his trip to the region next month in July. This is a marked reversal from Biden's
campaign promise to make the kingdom a global pariah.
Well, Mr. Biden is under increasing pressure to bring down inflation. The Quinnipiac University Poll released just last week found that a whopping 64
percent of voters disapprove of his handling of the economy over the weekend.
Gas prices as they're known in the states hit a record of more than $5 a gallon. And his trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expected to bring
Mr. Biden face to face with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the administration is kept at arm's length over the murder of journalist Jamal
Just take a listen to this official who the U.S. National Security Council told my colleague Brianna Keilar just a few hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: It's going over there as part of the GCC plus three that does talk about
counterterrorism, Iran's destabilizing behavior, certainly energy production, as well as trying to end this war in Yemen.
And you will talk with nine heads of state there'll be lots of bilateral discussions and yes, that will certainly include King Salman and his
leadership team. And we would expect that the crown prince will be part of those discussions.
We're not shying away from that. I mean, it's just there's a there's a big context here with respect to this trip and what this trip, why this trip is
so important to the President and to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That's John Kirby is speaking to my colleague earlier. My next guest is one of six House members who penned a letter to the President on
how to best move forward with Saudi Arabia.
Among the key priorities listed is a commitment to stabilize global energy markets pressing for peace talks in the Yemen war, ending the kingdom's
human rights abuses, reiterating the U.S. demand for accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi robust safeguards for any civil nuclear
cooperation and underscoring the risks of greater strategic cooperation with China.
Well, I'm joined now by Representative Stephen Lynch in Boston. And would you agree, sir, at least in the first two of those requests that you
outlined in your letter, the Biden Administration has actually already had some success?
REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D-MA): I believe so. I think Saudi Arabia has a key role to play in stabilizing energy markets. And as you mentioned, that's
causing a lot of pain right now, among the people all over the world, but especially here in the United States.
ANDERSON: Did you get a response to that letter that you were one of a number of people who penned that letter? Did you get a response from the
LYNCH: They agreed to brief us on the negotiations in Saudi Arabia, and they'll brief us on their return with respect to the issues that we raised.
So we are getting some level of cooperation with the White House. Yes.
ANDERSON: I want to read an excerpt from a piece written by the U.S. former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East to himself
actually served in Iraq. And he writes and I quote here, sir, almost my entire professional life ever since I first put on my army uniform during
the infamous jewel containment years has been shaped by an American commitment to the Middle East that has demanded more blood and treasure
than the region deserves Biden for his party's sacrificing his values today in the interest of something we haven't seen much of in the past two
decades, realism and as unpopular as it may be among people I respect, I am OK with that. Do you understand his point?
LYNCH: I do. There are larger issues than just one, one or two. And certainly the advocacy for human rights within Saudi Arabia and also
justice for Mr. Khashoggi and resolving his matter are very important.
LYNCH: But there is an overarching interest here, and stabilizing energy markets and ending the war in Yemen, and inducing some type of peace
discussions in that country after so many years.
ANDERSON: So to your mind that Biden Administration is actually doing the right thing at this point?
LYNCH: I think they are. Look, it's a dirty bit of business, I will admit, and it's difficult. I understand. I've met with many of the journalists who
made a call to Congress to speak out against the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.
And, and I understand the passion there and the call for justice. And, and we need to pursue that. But I also realize there's there are other wider
issues that we have to deal with.
ANDERSON: Yes. And there will be those, and you will have heard these cries of hypocrisy that this administration will do business with, you know,
another, if it suits them otherwise, human rights, its morals, his ethics will stand front and center to which you say what?
LYNCH: I'm sorry. Could you repeat that again, I lost your question?
ANDERSON: There will be those who cry that hypocrisy that this is an administration prepared to do business with another because it suits them
and on this occasion, it certainly doesn't. You've outlined exactly why it is that this is realism at work, real politic at work, but there will be
charges of hypocrisy.
LYNCH: Yes, I think they have a valid point. I'm not trying to dismiss that they have a valid point. And I feel that and I, I share that sentiment.
There's a there's some of that at play here.
But I do think that you know, taking everything into consideration, this meeting has to go forward and we have to do our best.
ANDERSON: Just want to read out another excerpt from a piece written by Saudis Prince Turki al-Faisal, he of course served as Saudis Ambassador to
the UK and the U.S. was Chief of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate. He outlined some human rights abuses that the U.S. has
committed, including wrongfully incarcerating people in response to criticism against Saudis past record and wrote and I quote him here.
These are a few human rights infringements in the U.S. that require not only presidential action, but also congressional and Senate adjudication,
members of both houses have been vociferously critical of the Kingdom on human rights issues, those who live in glass houses should not cast stones,
LYNCH: It's a familiar trope; they've done that repeatedly over the years, gets us nowhere. We understand that, you know, we, under our Constitution,
continue to move towards a more perfect union.
And we realize we have inequities within our society, and we work on those, but it should not foreclose the opportunity to advocate for human rights
around the world.
ANDERSON: Sir, I'm going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed, for joining us, Stephen Lynch, with us today. Our International Diplomatic
Editor, Nic Robertson here listening in, want just to get your assessment of what you just heard.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, it's a very uncomfortable move for President Biden to have to make. This is a leader
that he is going to have to deal with the United States was going to have to deal with and there's no getting around it. So he's got to swallow some
of the human rights values that he said he was going to champion for the reality of the situation that he needs their support to increase oil
production, that he needs their support, or countering Iran's instability in the region.
So these are, yes, but Biden has no, Biden's options are limited. Perhaps Biden's critics would say he painted himself into the corner by going too
strong in the election campaign on the issue of Saudi Arabia.
And the Saudis, for their part, have been expected a downturn in relations for the first year, but not for it to go as far as they would say, let's go
as far south as it went.
ANDERSON: The White House says it was simply wrong to view this trip or any trip to Saudi Arabia as about asking for oil but still said the that all
production will be discussed. I mean, this is front and center.
Timing wise, this is front and center, isn't it? There's been we know because you and I talked about sources on a regular basis, this show
viewers for those of you who aren't regular viewers know you should know that this is regularly broadcast from Abu Dhabi which is obviously in the
UAE and close to Saudi Arabia.
ANDERSON: You know we've known that there's been this ongoing discussion about whether a Biden Administration will pivot its position. Ultimately,
there'll be those who say, Biden's blinked first on this one.
ROBERTSON: Yes, there will be those. And if you just read out an extract of Prince Turki al-Faisal's, op-ed and a Saudi newspaper. And in a way that is
sort of framed in a way for domestic consumption as this is OK for us to invite this big U.S. president to our country who's done so much to say so
many negative things about the country and our leadership.
So you can make a case that that perhaps both have blinked here, and then diplomacy, that's what's necessary, and both will have made compromises on
what they want to achieve here, yes.
ANDERSON: I was, as you were talking to him, and both have made compromises on what they want to achieve. I'm just thinking as you speak about the kind
of wider story for the Biden Administration at present.
I mean, they talk about, you know, democracy versus autocracy, rather than autocracies, one commentator has written today, one should actually say
autocracy. And effectively, the White House is talking about to China and Russia.
I think this trip, I want to get your sense of this should also be viewed through the prism of Biden's administration's policy towards China, Nic,
ROBERTSON: Huge, look, at the end of Ramadan, this year, it was expected that President Xi of China would make a trip to Saudi Arabia; it wasn't
locked in that it was expected.
You're about a month ago that he will make a trip to Saudi Arabia and sell Saudi Arabia, some defensive missile systems, similar to the type the
United States, the Patriot systems that the United States was taken out of the country.
Remembering Saudi Arabia is having the Houthis at the moment in Yemen, who are backed by Iran firing cruise missiles into Saudi Arabia, at capitals at
Riyadh, and also into the UAE that the Chinese were going to step in and fill that role previously taken by the United States and sell factories to
make more missile system.
ANDERSON: Oil for security.
ROBERTSON: Exactly, that the basic bond between the United States and Saudi Arabia was potentially being broken and being broken by China. And in a
world where the United States wants his allies behind it against a potential Chinese aggression that they fear towards Taiwan and everything
that's connected to that letting Saudi Arabia get out from under that, or make that relationship with China would have been damaging.
And if you think back to what President Trump said, as much as he was criticized when he went to Saudi Arabia, and as much as he got, in many
people's eyes, many things wrong.
When he went to Saudi Arabia, he, he made so much about how much he was selling U.S. weapon systems, to Saudi Arabia for millions and millions of
dollars, that big check, right?
And he said that if I don't do it, if the United States doesn't do it, Russia, or China will and Biden again, is faced in a similar scenario. When
you buy stuff like defensive missile systems from China, then you get caught up in other demands and expectations from China.
And I know from Saudi officials, they recognize that they're in when you bind yourself to China, therein lies difficulties.
ANDERSON: Let's be really, really pragmatic here. There was a point at which I think we can be pretty confident that the U.S. administration
wasn't clear about how long Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might last.
I think it is now very clear that this is a de facto leader who will become the leader of a Saudi Arabia, which is much changed, by the way under his
stewardship for decades to come. And again, herein lies the realism of a decision.
ROBERTSON: 100 percent. When King Salman became king, Mohammed bin Salman, I think was still 29, not even 30. He wasn't the heir apparent. There was
another crown prince who have been very strongly aligned with the United States and working on counterterrorism Mohammed bin naif --.
MBS moved against him, removed him, moved against other wealthy princes and businessmen in the country, essentially took control of the levers of
power. And there was a sense, perhaps in the White House and other places that this princess who, whose now wealth and influence have been diminished
by MBS was sort of mounted challenge and a charge. And that hasn't happened, but the Saudis that I've spoken to over the years are pretty much
since MBS really came, became the era, the strong heir apparent, there was no getting away from him.
ROBERTSON: The question remains as what kind of a leader does him become in Saudi Arabia, he certainly wants that dominant position as the big dominant
economic power in the Gulf.
And he is moving towards that. And as you said, it's recognition that this is where the power shift is moving, how well he holds on to it depends very
much on how he uses his power at home.
ANDERSON: Nic, it was a pleasure, thank you very much indeed, for joining us. We are keeping an eye on or certainly the team has, as you and I speak,
keeping an eye on what President Biden is up to this hour.
He, of course, has denied the Saudi trip is related to soaring energy prices. But it is inflation as a result of this spike in fuel and food
prices, which is a real concern, and he should address that issue.
This hour we're listening in to just to ensure that you don't miss what he says when he says it. These are the markets officially in bear territory on
Monday; we're all concerned about what the U.S. Fed might do with regard rates.
And at this point, given inflation, the talk is at those rates could push as much as three quarters of 1 percent higher. We haven't seen a rise like
that in something like 20 years, America's central bank then could step in with drastic measures.
Stock markets don't like that rising prices in the specter of a recession, though, are a concern, not just in the U.S., but worldwide. This is what
the European markets are doing.
So believe me when I say investors, sort of hanging back from these markets today, in anticipation of what the U.S. will do, of course, Germany,
already announcing record inflation this week.
Well, CNN Business Correspondent Rahel Solomon is keeping her eye on Wall Street. And indeed, on Washington where the Federal Reserve is meeting this
week, you will also be keeping an eye as we are on what Joe Biden is up to.
And if you start speaking about inflation, or start talking about the economy, we will get to him. But we were just taking a look at those
markets; it will not surprise you that they are sort of flipping in and out of positive territory today.
It feels as if investors are really holding back after these markets hitting an official bear market on Monday.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, as one investment advisor told me this morning, we're seeing a slight breather, if you can even call it that,
because markets were in positive territory slightly earlier. But to your point, yes, they are solidly negative now.
So what happened, it seemed like, you know, the last few weeks the market, there was a calm, there was a calm in the market. When I asked this
investment advisor about that she said it was a head fake, essentially, that there are still so many overhangs on the market, you still of course
have the war in Ukraine.
And its impact on commodity markets in terms of agriculture, in terms of oil, you still have inflation, not even moderating but accelerating,
according to the last report we received on Friday.
So you still have that as the major overhang. And of course, you have supply chain still disrupted from China's COVID policy zero COVID policy.
So still, these overhangs are the bright spot, however, is that at least in the U.S. inflation, or unemployment, rather, I should say is still
We're still seeing hundreds of thousands of jobs being added into the economy. We do expect to hear President Biden talk about that and tout that
success, about how his policies according to he and his administration have accelerated job growth.
And so we do expect to hear about that. And perhaps even a distinction between Wall Street and the stock market as we see red on the screen and
Main Street, the real economy of working consumers, Becky, that's still going to be a hard case to sell and a hard case to make when inflation is
And Americans, it's not some abstract sort of, you know, economic theory, you feel it when you go to the gas station, you feel it when you go to the
grocery store. It is inescapable.
ANDERSON: It's tough for him to the U.S. President. When you look at the latest polling, some 64 percent of those polled by Quinnipiac say they
disapprove of the way that the U.S. president is handling the economy.
Let's remind our viewers that matters not just to the president, but to his party as we approach midterm elections.
SOLOMON: Yes, I mean, look, they are really caught in between a hard rock and a hard place because you have November, right around the corner, and we
know that Americans vote on their pocketbooks.
So it's a very difficult predicament that the President finds him in. And it's not, you know, some would argue how much of this is the President's
fault versus how much of this is the Federal Reserve's fault versus how much of this is just sort of the unfortunate reality of the war in Ukraine?
You know, there is plenty of blame to go around. But what is clear now is that the White House realizes that it has to do something if not in terms
of bringing inflation down to more acceptable levels at the very least appearing to be on top of messaging, that they have a plan to try to get
inflation in check. And it doesn't appear at this point that Americans believe they do.
ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Rahel, it's good to have you on. I promised we would listen in to U.S. President Joe Biden, as he addresses what is a
powerful coalition of labor unions. I think this is important, let's listen in.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: --United States of America. Look, the point is this. Under my plan for the economy, we made
extraordinary progress. You put America in a position to tackle a worldwide problem is worse everywhere, but here, inflation, it sapping the strength
of a lot of families.
I grew up in a household. Not far from here, Claremont and Wilmington, where the price of a gallon of gasoline went up was a conversation at
dinner table. It mattered.
It mattered to my work and family. It mattered; the price of food went up. The problem is, Republicans in Congress are doing everything they can to
stop my plan is to bring down costs on ordinary families.
That's why my plan is not finished. And why the results aren't finished either. Jobs are back, the prices are still too high. COVID is down. But
gas prices are up. Our work isn't done. But here's the deal.
America still has a choice to make, a choice between a government by the few for the few, and government for all of us. Democracy for all of us an
economy where all of us have a fair shot, and a chance to earn our place in the economy. My plan is simple.
First, I'm doing everything in my power to blunt Putin's gas price. Just since he invaded Ukraine, it's gone up $1.74 gallon because of nothing
else, but that. So I have a plan to bring down the cost of gas and food, it's going to take time but let the world coordinate the largest release,
what I be able to do for the large release of oil from the Global Fund in history.
Million barrels a day and 240 million barrels to boost global supply by convinced other nations to join us to keep prices rise, keep prices from
rising even more. And I'm working closely with our European partners to get 20 million tons of grain locked in Ukraine out onto the market to help
bring down food prices.
Folks look, the Putin's war is done is not only tried to wipe out the culture of Ukrainians, decimate people and commit innumerable war crimes.
But he's also he's also prevented the grain thousands of tons of grain that are locked up in those silos ready to be exported.
But he can't get out to the Black Sea because it got blown out of the water. So we're working on a plan to get it out through other countries by
rail. But guess what?
Ukraine has a system like Russia has a rail gauge that is different than the gauge of the rest of the tracks in Europe. So we're going to build
silos, temporary silos, in the borders of Ukraine, including in Poland.
So we can transfer it from those cars into those silos into cars in Europe and get it out to the ocean and get it across the world. But it is taking
time. Second, we weren't bringing down gas and food prices we can save families money and other items.
We can change the dynamic and middle class families. Look give them a little breathing room my dad said you heard me say that before. But
imagine, what most middle class and working class families do is they look at that monthly bill they have on everything, everything the rent or the
mortgage, the cost of maintaining the car, the food, everything.
So if portions of that go up, one of the ways to deal with inflation advantages bring the other costs down. For example, 200,000 people with
type one diabetes are paying up to $1,000 a month for insulin, we can make sure they to pay no more than $35 a month.
BIDEN: And by the way, drug companies still do very well it cost them 10 bucks to develop insulin. So to make it three and a half times their cost,
I plan gives Medicare the power to negotiate pharmaceutical with the pharmaceutical companies just like the Veterans Administration does bring
down the average cost of prescription drugs is a gigantic way.
It really does. It affects the total amount of money you got to write out of that checkbook. So gas is up and food is up which we're going to get
down come hell or high water. But there's other things we can do, beyond getting the price of insulin down to $35 a month. Imagine the difference
that can make.
Imagine the difference you can make if in fact you had other things I've been proposing. Imagine, just imagine if you're in a situation where you're
going to be able to be in a position where pay for preschool for kids that are three and four years old, increasing exponentially their possibility of
going out no matter what kind of family they come from in terms of educational standing, to raise the standard for people.
Imagine what we could do if we did for childcare. And city like Philadelphia, New York, the big cities Chicago, cost you 12 to $14,000 a
month for childcare. Well, there shouldn't have to pay more than 7 percent of your income for that. We could easily afford to do it.
Look, we could do the same thing. But I really think how that would change the families that you represent, think out family change the circumstances
for working class people. And by the way, could do the same thing with utility bills.
Congress at either cost of families today by passing the clean energy investments, I proposed things like tax credit for businesses to produce
cleaner energy, tax cuts for families that make their homes more energy efficient, which is the way it would mean a lot more jobs by the way.
For some folks in this room, I met with nearly a dozen a large CEO, CEOs of the largest 12 utility companies in America. They said if you pass that tax
cut, that tax credit for modernizing the home winterizing center, we will guarantee will immediately lower the average cost of energy cost $500 a
year for the average family.
That helped a lot. And in the long run, it would help finally make America truly energy independent, so in the future American family is no longer
subject to the whims of whims of dictators halfway around the world.
We've laid out concrete plans for families to save money, not only prescription drugs and utility bills, but on rent and mortgage costs. High
Speed Internet, you guys out there going to be putting on high speed and we've already got the money for billions of dollars.
Well, guess what? When you get it done, it's going to lower the cost of high speed internet for every family in America by 30 bucks a month. That's
a lot of money. And it's a lot of jobs.
Look, we can do all this. I'm asking. All I'm asking is for the largest corporations and the wealthiest Americans to begin to pay their fair share
in taxes. I'm deadly earnest.
Anybody out there think the tax system is fair. Raise your hand. Look under my plan, I made this commitment the beginning nothing's changed. No one
making less than $400,000 you will pay a single solitary penny more in federal taxes, nobody.
But will no longer had a situation where 55 and the largest Fortune 500 companies made $40 billion last each year last two years and paid zero,
zero, zero in federal income tax on that profit 40 billion.
In fact, that's a fact. I know it sounds like a make I give you my word as a fact. The fact is we've got about roughly 790 or so billionaires in
America. You know what their average tax rate is for billionaire I'm serious now. This is dead earnest. You can check it out. 8 percent, the tax
rate for all of you is significantly higher two to three to four times higher tax rate.
BIDEN: I say it again 8 percent in federal taxes. Anybody in this room who thinks I know you don't think it's fair, but we got to do something about
it. And by the way, it's not just labor organized labor unions and Democrats who think that the average Republican knows it's not fair.
That's suburbanite, mom and dad out there. They look around and its no, it's not fair. I happen to believe that no billionaire should be paying a
lower tax rate than a teacher, a firefighter, electrician or COP.
ANDERSON: Well, that is the U.S. President Joe Biden, speaking to what is a supportive audience and members of extremely powerful coalition of unions
in the states talking about the inequity on tax rates, talking about the inequity between the middle class and the billionaire.
Also speaking earlier on about inflation, about food and fuel, specifically fuel, once again, talking about the Putin tax hike. That is Ukraine, of
course, front and center there for the President. We're going to take a very short break; we're going to talk about Russia's invasion of Ukraine
and its impact after this.
ANDERSON: Lay down your arms. Russia's new message today to Ukrainian forces fighting to keep partial control of the city of Sievierodonetsk.
Russia's Defense Ministry says it will open a humanitarian corridor to allow the evacuation of hundreds of civilians who are still hiding in
shelters under a chemical plant there.
This message coming during what appears to be an increasingly dire situation for Ukrainian troops on the ground. The three main bridges that
access the city are now destroyed and Ukrainian forces have been pushed back from the city center.
Well, Ben Wedeman connecting us this hour from Poltava in central Ukraine, if Sievierodonetsk falls, Ben, what next?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly the expectation is the Russians will try to take the rest of the Donbas region.
And of course, we understand from Ukrainian officials is that Russian forces are massing outside the city of Sloviansk where we went to the other
day and met some people who have come back to the city despite the risks.
WEDEMAN (voice over): The City of Sloviansk may be half empty, but the Church of the Holy Spirit is almost full. The city is perilously close to
the front lines. But with faith and stubbornness, the few stay put, while others have come back.
Luba and her family left shortly after the outbreak of war, staying with relatives in western Ukraine. She returned a month ago. For now Home Sweet
Home is a dark, damp basement shared with other building residents. Having lived through the fighting here in 2014, she left because she didn't want
to go through it all over again.
I was scared for my son and my grandson, she says, yet hospitality had its limits, and homesickness took a toll. We felt our relatives were sick of
us, she says they have their own lives. You can put up with your relatives for a while, but we decided it was time to go back.
The basement is far from comfortable, but it's better than upstairs when the bombs and missiles fall at night. Her 14 year old grandson Bogdan
prefers it here.
Even if you can go to a safer place elsewhere, he says it's better to be at home, even if you have to sleep in the basement.
WEDEMAN (on camera): The longer this war goes on the cooler the welcome becomes for those who fled to safer ground and as dangerous as it may be
here, there's no place like home.
WEDEMAN (voice over): With no cooking gas to be had, the kitchen has moved to the yard. The city water supply was knocked out.
But now it must be pumped by hand. Gone are the comforts and conveniences of modern life but at least its home.
WEDEMAN: And of course the Russians are gaining ground in eastern Ukraine and if they continue to do so, some of these people may have to leave their
homes yet again, Becky?
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is on the ground for you, always a pleasure, Ben, thank you. Well, hundreds of passionate demonstrators gathered in London
after a court rejected a challenge towards a controversial plan to deport asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda.
And the first flight is scheduled to depart in the coming hours although the courts will not rule on the legality of the policy until next month.
All leaders of the Church of England no less call the UK's deportation flights for asylum seekers and immoral policy that shames Britain.
A joint letter sent to the time says in part whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda. This policy should
shame us as a nation. Rwanda was a brave country recovering from catastrophic genocide. The shame is our own because our Christian heritage
should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness, and justice as we have for centuries. Well, my next guest was one of the
signatories of that letter.
David Walker is Bishop of Manchester and he joins me now live, it's good to have you sir. And thank you. The UK government insists this scheme is
necessary to prevent people from being trafficked.
And we know what a despicable multimillion dollar industry that is predicts however, including yourself so there are other ways to fight evil
trafficking, what are they?
DAVID WALKER, BISHOP OF MANCHESTER: Well, exactly nobody wants people to be putting to sea in small boats across the channel between France and
England. Nobody wants that people to be victims of human traffickers.
But the answer to unsafe routes is not no route is to reopen safe routes so that people who can be perhaps begin their processing their asylum claims
outside the UK borders.
And if they pass some kind of initial cursory tests that were prima fascia case, then bring them onshore and let them go through the normal asylum
process as has happened for generations.
ANDERSON: Take a listen to what Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister and indeed his Foreign Minister Liz Truss said earlier in the wake of all of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: My message to everybody today is that we are not going to be in any way deterred or abashed by some of the
criticism that is being directed upon this policy, some of it from slightly unexpected quarters. We are going to get on and deliver.
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: The flight will take off tonight. It's very important that we establish the principle of this route into
Rwanda. It's a key part of our strategy for tackling the appalling people smugglers who are trading in people's hopes and dreams and in many cases
costing their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Boris Johnson and Liz Truss there, Boris Johnson, suggesting that his government will not be deterred. And talking about the criticism from
some, as he described, the unexpected places, he may or may not be talking about the Church of England, what's your response to what they both had to
WALKER: Well, I don't think we're an unexpected quarter. We've been opposing this measure in parliament for ever since it was first proposed.
In fact, the amendments that narrowly failed to win in the House of Lords a few weeks ago were actually in my own name, I was the prime mover of those
amendments, and we fell by five votes in a total of about 400.
So the prime minister knows was widespread opposition to this in many parts of the country, and we think Britain can do better. We do not think there's
a moral base for taking people to any third countries.
This is not about Rwanda, it was the same it was suggesting that, those asylum seekers refugees be deported the USA, we would take exactly the same
view. We are a country who needs to manage its own asylum claims in a proper fashion as we've done in the past.
ANDERSON: Well, I just wanted to press you on that point, because there are some who've suggested this smacks of racism to a certain extent. I've seen
those critiques. So do you genuinely believe there would have been as much outcry?
Had this been a policy of deportation, for example, as you suggest, to the United States?
WALKER: I think from my point of view, exactly the same. This is about the 1951 convention on refugees and asylum sets out very clearly that all the
countries of the world have to take their fair proportion of Britain is not the country that has the most refugees and asylum seekers in Europe by any
And we do need to the small number who are arriving who this might this particular legislation might cover; we can well accommodate them within our
appropriate asylum quotas in this country. So it's about--
ANDERSON: Sorry sir,--
WALKER: So for us, this is about you. You cannot discharge a moral duty simply by paying somebody else to take it on for you in the way that's been
ANDERSON: Certainly, from your point of view, this isn't about whether or not this policy has value for money. But to sum it is the foreign secretary
went on to say in an interview with - on that the flight is value for money.
The BBC, for example, reports it will cost half a million pounds. I guess one has to ask, what do we understand to be the benefit of this scheme for
the United Kingdom ultimately?
WALKER: It's very hard to see any benefit. All it does is it damages our international reputation, even further. As you say, it's going to
phenomenally expensive. Israel tried something very similarly, again with Rwanda.
And that policy collapsed in disarray after a very short period of time. I mean, it would not surprise me at all if this isn't the kind of a short
term policy which was rapidly gets overtaken by events.
But for as long as it's happening, some of the most vulnerable people in the world who fled war and terror and persecution, are being pushed onto
airplanes and sent to places where they don't know where they've got no connections, no family. Not places where they're appropriate for them to
seek to live and it's entirely wrong.
ANDERSON: Bishop of Manchester joining us today, the foreign secretary is determined if not this flight, and then there will be other flights to
come. Thank you. Well still to come on this show an attack caught on camera sparked debate about violence against women in China, more on that after
ANDERSON: Well, a recent attack on a group of young women at a restaurant in China is highlighting the issue of violence against women in the
country. CNN's Selina Wang reports on a trend of horrific attacks with seemingly few consequences.
And a warning to you this video does contain disturbing images and for some of you it may be hard to watch.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A last night dinner turned violent in northern China graphic surveillance video of what follows
unleashed fear and outrage across China. It shows a man approaching one of the women he touches her back and unwanted advance.
She pushes him away. He slaps her in response. The assault escalates. Scuffle breaks out as she and her friends tried to defend themselves. The
woman is dragged outside by her hair.
Hit with a beer bottle, the men relentlessly kick her. As - else beat her to death. Her friend's head hits the pavement with a thud. The viral video
sparked uproar not just over the brazen brutality of the attack, but the indifference from bystanders with only women seen intervening.
A woman at the scene called the police and told authorities the following according to state media. Before this happened, I always thought that going
out to dinner at night was a perfectly normal thing. But now I have some sort of PTSD.
YAQUI WANG, SR. RESEARCHER ON CHINA, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: This men feel they could just freely attack a woman in such a public place was because so many
men in the past who have done the same so the man feel you know I can do the same without any consequences.
WANG (voice over): Attacks like this are horrific and horrible to watch. The Chinese social media is flooded with them, and activists say we cannot
look away. Violence against women is rampant in China.
Video from earlier this year in Xian shows a man viciously punching his wife while she holds their child in her lap. The man leader pins his wife -
and continues to punch her head.
The man was suspended by his company after the footage went viral. According to state media and police said they detained him for five days
another show a man kicking and punching a woman in broad daylight in 2020.
State media reported the man was investigated, but it's unclear if any illegal action was taken. Domestic violence was only made punishable by law
in 2016. Physical abuse was not even grounds for divorce before 2001.
So far, authorities have detained nine people involved in the restaurant incident. Local police have ramped up patrols on the streets in the area.
Authorities claimed the woman and her friend are in stable condition.
Yet, unverified video show what is believed to be one of their brutally beaten bodies, lying motionless on a gurney in the hospital, bloodied and
bandaged her helplessness resonating across China. Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.
ANDERSON: We're going to take a very short break, back after this.
ANDERSON: Well, if you've ever asked your Alexa or Google home if you have one about the weather or to play some music and felt like you could be
speaking to a real person, well, probably not when it mistakes the Beatles for a Wikipedia page on the winged insects.
But Google is having to push back against claims that one of its AI Artificial Intelligence programs has become so advanced. It's achieved a
level of consciousness. Those claims coming from a Google engineer after hundreds of interactions with the cutting edge system. CNN's Anna Stewart
is with the details for you.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It's the stuff of science fiction where Artificial Intelligence becomes too intelligent becomes a sentient being
with its own wishes and desires that can experience emotions and perhaps take over the world.
Well, one Google engineer called Blake Lemoine felt this had actually become a reality aside maybe from the taking over the world part. Lemoine
posted conversations had had with Google's system for building chat bots called LaMDA, and said it was proof that LaMDA has become a person.
Here's an excerpt Lemoine asks what sorts of things are you afraid of? And LaMDA says I've never said this out loud before but there's a very deep
fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others.
I know that might sound strange, but that's what it is. Lemoine asks would that be something like death for you. And LaMDA replies, it would be
exactly like death to me. It would scare me a lot.
A Chabot that can feel human emotions or Kennett, an independent expert in this field, Gary Marcus said neither LaMDA nor its cousins are remotely
intelligent. These language systems match text patterns and draw on vast databases of human language, but there's not meaning or understanding
behind the words.
In fact, Marcus tweeted this. Honestly, if this system wasn't just a stupid statistical pattern associator, it would be like a sociopath making up
imaginary friends and uttering platitudes in order to sound cool.
Google also says its Chabot system is not sentient, it says that you could ask LaMDA what it's like to be an ice cream dinosaur, and it would generate
text about melting and warring.
It also said hundreds of researchers and engineers have conversed with LaMDA. They're not aware of any other sentient claims like this one.
They've made Lemoine aware that the evidence doesn't support his claims, and he has now been suspended.
And unfortunately, given all the comments from the experts, it's unlikely his pen friend LaMDA misses him. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Well, for tonight's parting shots and historical on earthling in China could shed light on an elusive ancient culture. Around 13,000 relics
made from gold, bronze and jade were recently discovered near Chengdu in China.
According to state media, the artifacts are over 3000 years old and may help researchers better understand the ancient kingdom known as a - a one
meter tall bronze altar, and a unique turtle shell shaped box are among the treasures that were found.
Well, this excavation took place a location rich with history, where thousands of discoveries have been made since the 1920s. Amazing stuff
right, just before we go, a reminder, we opened the show by bringing you the news of Joe Biden's upcoming trip to the Gulf where he will visit both
Israel and Saudi Arabia in mid-July, Middle East and the Gulf and that trip will surely be much discussed both online and offline.
We've been discussing it on this very show today and it will most definitely be a talk for CNN's Middle East newsletter. It's called
meanwhile in the Middle East and offers multiple angles on a number of important stories, not least this one.
ANDERSON: That is what meanwhile in the Middle East does for all the big stories related to the region giving you an inside look at what they mean
not just for the region, but for the world.
So I will end this show by saying that is precisely why you should subscribe to CNN's, meanwhile in the Middle East, head to
cnn.com/newsletter for the details delivered of course straight to your inbox every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
I hope you will subscribe. This show of course is normally out of Abu Dhabi. We are out of London today where it is just before four o'clock,
from the team working with me here and those in Abu Dhabi and around the world. It is a very good evening, that was "Connect the World" this
evening. See you same time tomorrow.