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WNBA Star Brittney Griner Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison by Moscow Court; Leaders of Russia and Turkey Meet Following Grain Deal; China Suspends Cooperation with U.S. Over Pelosi's Taiwan Visit; U.S. Declares Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 05, 2022 - 10:00   ET




ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: Foreign Minister Lavrov said this morning, and said publicly, is that they are prepared to engage through

channels with established to do just that and we'll be pursuing that.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The calls to free Brittney Griner are growing louder as Russia says it is ready to discuss a prisoner swap

with the U.S.

And tensions are high in the Taiwan Strait. Chinese warplanes are busy in the waters around Taiwan of the Beijing escalated its response to Nancy

Pelosi's visit to Taipei. Plus.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think Kenya is ready for a female president?

MARTHA KARUA, KENYAN DEPUTY PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: That question suggests that women ought not to be on the ballots, because I've never heard anybody

question whether Kenyans are ready for yet another man.


GIOKOS: Kenya has the lowest number of elected woman in East Africa, but in the upcoming elections, a number of women are determined to change that.

CNN's Larry Madowo speaks to them.

Hello, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for Becky Anderson this week. And we begin with the fate of detained American

basketball star Brittney Griner.

Moscow is saying it is ready to discuss a potential prisoner swap with the United States, after a Russian court handed down a nine-year prison

sentence to Griner at her drug smuggling trial on Thursday. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that the U.S. will pursue the Kremlin's offer

to talk, but also condemned Griner's conviction, accusing Russia of using individuals as political pawns.

Griner's defense teams says they have 10 days from the verdict to appeal the court's decision, which they say they plan to do.

Back on U.S. soil, Griner's team, the Phoenix Mercury, played their first game since her guilty verdict. And as CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports, emotions

on the court were running high.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A moment of silence between the WNBA's Connecticut Sun and Phoenix Mercury.

42 seconds of silence, to be exact. The number that Brittney Griner wears for the Phoenix Mercury.



DESHIELDS: Yes, you can't even really say nothing other than that.

VANESSA NYGAARD, PHOENIX MERCURY COACH: It's just heartbreaking and, you know, we know that this verdict is unacceptable.

PLEITGEN: In the Russian courtroom on Thursday, WNBA star Brittney Griner apologized to the court and to her Russian team, and asked for leniency.

BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA PLAYER IMPRISONED IN RUSSIA: I want to apologize to my teammates, my club in UMMC, the fans and the city of Ekat for my mistake

that I made and the embarrassment that I brought onto them.

PLEITGEN: It was almost six months ago when the 31-year-old, two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist was arrested at a Moscow airport for carrying less

than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage. She pleaded guilty to drug charges last month, saying she accidentally packed vaping cartridges while

in a hurry.

GRINER: I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling, that it doesn't end my life here.

PLEITGEN: Despite her impassioned plea, the judge was unmoved, ruling that Griner acted with criminal intent, delivering a sentence of nine years in

jail and a fine of $1 million rubles, which is about $16,000. An emotional Griner was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, saying only this.

GRINER: I love my family.

PLEITGEN: Outside the courtroom, her attorneys called the verdict unfair.

ALEXANDER BOYKOV, BRITTNEY GRINER'S LAWYER: The average is five years or around five years. And almost a third of the people convicted get parole.

PLEITGEN: They plan on filing an appeal. The White House condemned the verdict with President Joe Biden saying in a statement, quote, "Russia is

wrongfully detaining Brittney. It's unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately, so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends

and teammates."


PLEITGEN: On whether the conviction opens new doors for negotiations for a prisoner swap, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby saying --


KIRBY: We're still open to having our proposal seriously and positively considered. And if on the Russian side that means that they feel like

they're more empowered to do that, then so be it.

PLEITGEN: It was in June that the Biden administration made a proposal to the Kremlin to get Griner and fellow American citizen Paul Whelan home.

Whelan has been held in Russia since 2018 for alleged espionage, which he denies. In exchange, the U.S. would offer to release Viktor Bout, a

convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year sentence in the United States. So far Russia has not agreed.


GIOKOS: All right. So we have Fred joining us now live from Moscow. And we also have U.S. security correspondent Kylie Atwood with us from the State


Fred, I want to start with you. And just to reiterate, she was found guilty with criminal intent. Nine-year sentence. I want you to tell me what

happens next because she is now facing time in a penal colony and this is while her defense works on an appeal.

PLEITGEN: They work on an appeal and they said they're going to file that appeal as fast as possible. I've already been in touch with her legal

defense team and they obviously say they were also completely shocked by this verdict. Brittney Griner herself of course also shocked by this

verdict. Shortly after the verdict came down the legal defense team also said that they believe that none of the things that they had put forward at

that trial, the fact that Brittney Griner obviously showed remorse, that she had pleaded guilty, that they had called into question some of the

forensics that were connected in the early stages of that investigation specifically when Brittney Griner was detained at that airport north of

Moscow, Sheremetyevo Airport.

They believe that none of that was taken into consideration by the judge, and therefore they want to file an appeal and they will file an appeal.

They say they have 10 days to do that, and they certainly are going to do that in a court in the Moscow region.

I can also tell you, Eleni, that as we speak right now Brittney Griner's legal team says that they are trying to visit Brittney Griner in the

detention center that she is in right now. She is still in the correctional center, and has not been moved to a penal colony. That would only happen

after an appeals process. If an appeal is rejected, then she would be moved to a penal colony very far away from Moscow most probably. Until that time

however, she will remain in the detention facility that she's been in so far -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: I want to go to Kylie Atwood. You know, as Brittney Griner's defense team works on this appeal, in the meantime we've been discussing

the potential for a prisoner swap. And, you know, there was worry about what kind of negotiations were happening behind closed doors. Things seem

to be moving right now especially after President Biden came on very quickly, after this verdict, with an announcement, calling on Russia to

free Griner.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. There does appear to be some momentum towards productive diplomatic discussions

here to try and secure a deal to free Griner. And of course, Paul Whelan, another American wrongfully detained in Russia. That's significant because

as far as our reporting shows, the back and forth between the Biden administration and Russia that started in June when the Biden

administration put forth a proposed deal hasn't really been all that productive at all.

The Russians came back to the table with a counter proposal that the Biden ministration said wasn't mysterious. So now it appears that they are

starting in a bit of a new place here with Foreign Minister Lavrov saying that they are prepared to have discussions on this topic, through the

framework that President Biden and President Putin agreed to when they had that summit last year. And then following his comments, the secretary of

State said that the Biden administration will be pursuing that.

So perhaps the back and forth that we saw over the last few weeks since June wasn't going through that exact framework. The Russians are saying

they're ready to hop on board and have these discussions if it goes through that framework.

And just to give viewers a sense of what that probably looks like, we know that the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, we know that the Special

Envoy for Hostage Affairs here at the State Department, those were the two top officials on the U.S. side that were leading efforts to free Trevor

Reed in a prisoner swap that was secured earlier this year. So all expectations are that they are going to move back to those officials on the

U.S. side taking the reins. We will just have to wait and see, you know, how this all plays out at this very tense and critical moment.

GIOKOS: Yes, Fred, and as we wait to see what happens on the prisoner swap side of things, what is the success of appeals in terms of overturning


PLEITGEN: Well, it's not very high. And one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that in general, Russian courts obviously are very tough.

The judges have a lot of leeway.


And, you know, if we look at this case specifically, one of the things that we also have to look at is the fact that obviously a court outside of

Moscow had Brittney Griner there and she's been convicted of a crime. It's very difficult unless there is overwhelming evidence that hasn't been

presented yet for another court to overturn that verdict, and certainly not necessarily something that is likely here in the Russian legal system

because, you know, a lot of the evidence, or all of the evidence by now, has already been heard.

So it certainly is an uphill battle, but it is an uphill battle that Brittney Griner's legal team says it is willing and wants to undertake.


PLEITGEN: And they are clearly behind her. I mean, they immediately today went out and are visiting Brittney Griner, and there's two sides to that.

On the one hand, of course, it's the legal support but it's also the massive emotional support that Brittney Griner gets through her attorneys

as well. That's how she finds out that so many people around the world are supporting her.

GIOKOS: Yes. Yes. I mean, they absolutely visibly emotional yesterday when she was in that cage, to put it bluntly.

Fred Pleitgen and Kylie Atwood, thank you so much for the insight. Good to see you both.

Now this is just into CNN. The Israeli military says it has launched strikes on o targets in Gaza. The army says the targets belong Islamic

jihad. The smaller of two main militant groups in Gaza. A local hospital has confirmed that two people were killed, and at least 20 people, 20

people are injured. And we'll be sure to bring you the latest developments as we get them. This is just into CNN.

Now Moscow is also part of a face-to-face meeting that the world is watching closely. Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting his Turkish

counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. One of the big topics between the two leaders, of course, is grain. Their talks

come a few hours after three ships left Ukraine's Black Sea ports, carrying 57,000 tons of corn. Turkey helped broker an agreement which allowed that

to happen.

CNN's Nada Bashir is standing by live in Turkey with reaction from Istanbul.

And Nada, firstly, it is encouraging we had one success -- a successful shipment. We've got three more ships which are carrying significant tonnage

of grain. And of course, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been integral in these discussions with Putin.

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Eleni. We actually heard from President Putin and President Erdogan, making a few remarks ahead of

those close-door talks that are ongoing right now. President Putin actually thanking and praising President Erdogan for his work and efforts in

mediating and brokering that deal between Russia and Ukraine, with the United Nations, to secure the resumption of those grain exports.

And as you mentioned, there we are now seeing three ships transporting thousands of tons of corn to the U.K. Island and Turkey, from Ukraine's

southern Black Sea ports. That's happening as we speak today. And we've heard from Turkish officials saying that these have so far been successful.

They are fine-tuning the procedure as it continues to see more ships passing through these safe corridors in the Black Sea.

And that is going to be a key focus of these talks today between President Putin and President Erdogan. This is the first time they have met for a

bilateral meeting since this Black Sea grain initiative was put to the test. But in addition to these talks around the grain exports from both

Ukraine and Russia, they will also be focusing significantly on the economic ties between Russia and Turkey.

And of course Russia are now really feeling those economic sanctions put in place on Moscow by Western countries. Turkey, just by being a NATO member,

hasn't chosen to join in imposing sanctions on Moscow. And it does appear as though Russia may be returning to Turkey to lean on them for economic

ties and strengthening corporations on that front.

Take a listen to what President Putin have to say just ahead of those talks today.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I hope that today we will be able to sign a relevant memorandum on the development of our

trade and economic ties, given the arrangements are delegation made when they were in Turkey just one or two days ago.


BASHIR: Now also on the agenda for these talks today another key issue for President Erdogan, a potential fourth incursion in northern Syria.

President Erdogan has been trying to get the greenlight from Moscow to go ahead with plans to launch an incursion to establish a safe buffer zone, in

his words, on the southern border between Turkey and northern Syria. Russia, of course, has a significant military presence in Norther Zurich,

controlled much of the airspace there.

And although Moscow has previously said it doesn't believe this would go anyway in the direction of stabilizing the situation in Syria, we heard

from the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov this morning saying that it actually does have legitimate concerns in northern Syria. So we are waiting

to hear more from these talks today as to whether President Erdogan has been able to move the needle a little bit with regards to Russia's backing

of a potential fourth incursion by the Turkish military in northern Syria - - Eleni.


GIOKOS: All right. Nada Bashir, thank you so much.

And when we come back, new fallout from Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China is angry and is letting the U.S. know about it in a number of

different ways. Plus the U.S. tries to contain its growing monkeypox outbreak. What declaring it a national emergency will do to help the

government's response?


GIOKOS: It is becoming increasingly clear that Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan this week has caused a major rift in U.S.-China relations. And China

is expressing its anger on both the military as well as diplomatic front. China conducted more live fire military exercises close to Taiwan today.

Taiwan is reporting a record number of incursions into its airspace by Chinese airplanes.

And China says it will stop cooperating with the U.S. on a range of issues, and that's including a suspension of talks on climate change. China has

also slapped sanctions on the U.S. House speaker and her family as punishment for the Taiwan visit. The U.S. secretary of State is urging

China to pull back from its angry response.


BLINKEN: China has chosen to overreact and use Speaker Pelosi's visit as a pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan

Strait. We anticipated that China might take steps like this. In fact we described this exact scenario. The fact is, the speaker's visit was

peaceful. There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response.


GIOKOS: Pelosi has been visiting with officials in Tokyo today, including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Japan has been drawn into all of

this because Chinese missiles flew into Japanese airspace on Thursday and Mr. Kishida had this message for Beijing.


FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): With regards to China's ballistic missiles falling into waters near our country,

including our exclusive economic zone, I've told Pelosi that it is a serious issue for our security and for the safety of Japanese people. We

strongly condemn China and have protested. The recent actions of China creates serious concerns for the region and to the peace and stability to

the international community, and that we urge China to stop military drills immediately.


GIOKOS: Well, let's dive deeper into this growing rift, we got CNN's Selina Wang in Beijing for us and Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill in Washington.


Selina, I want to start with you because now the Japanese have been drawn into this. When you hear missiles, you know dropping into their exclusive

economic zone, it shows just the ramifications of this and it could be regional.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Eleni, it is putting the entire region on edge, as you mentioned specially Japan because some of those missiles

landed in its exclusive economic zone, we are seeing this escalating inflammatory behavior from China and it's also now sinking U.S.-China

relations to a new low. They are suspending discussions on a wide-ranging array of issues including on military defense, on illegal immigration, on

anti-drugs and perhaps most critically, on climate change, because despite the rising tensions over the past few years, climate cooperation has been

one of the only areas where the U.S. and China have maintained dialogue, and now even that one ray of hope is being cut off.

They have also sanctioned in a highly symbolic move U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her immediate family but they've given no details on what

those sanctions would entail. This comes on top of these several days long military drills that continue to go past what military experts have been

expecting. There were a record number of daily incursions into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone.

We learned on Friday from Taiwanese officials that 68 warplanes flew into this self-declared space. Airspace around Taiwan, China frequently flies

warplanes into that area, but 68, that is a record number. It follows the news from state media yesterday that Chinese warplanes had actually flown

over Taiwan. Not around it, but over it for the first time in what also amounts to a major escalation. These military drills essentially surround

Taiwan in what China is calling a simulation blockade.

The message China is sending to the rest of the world here, Eleni, is that our rapidly modernizing, very powerful military has the capabilities to

bombard Taiwan, to choke Taiwan off from the rest of the world, to close off the Taiwan Straits, cut off the sea and air access to the rest of the

world. But look, when I talk to military experts about this they also say these military drills are large in scale and they could not have been

suddenly prepared just in response to how Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit.

That they were months in the making, perhaps even a year or more. However, pegging it to the visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is whipping up a lot

of nationalism and patriotism at home. For Chinese President Xi Jinping, this is a welcome distraction for the home audience for all of the

struggles economic and zero COVID at home here in China.

GIOKOS: Thank you so much for that, Selina.

I want to go to Manu Raju standing by for us. And you know, everyone now is asking the question, does a visit from Nancy Pelosi equal this, you know,

kind of military force? And listening to the Chinese ambassador to the United States in an op-ed, this is what he had to say. "If an American

state were to secede from the United States and declare independence, and then some of other nation provided weapons and political support for that

state, would the U.S. government or the American people allow this to happen?"

Firstly, it gives you incredible insight into what the Chinese are thinking right now. And I don't know if you can compare life like in terms of this

example because Taiwan has been independent for so many decades. But what does this tell you about the endgame for China at this point?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, this is just going to show the tensions just ratcheting up between the U.S. and China.

Just this morning the White House summoning the Chinese ambassador to the White House to condemn what they are calling provocative actions in the

aftermath of Speaker Pelosi's travel to Taiwan. Now still, there is a bit of a balancing act that the White House is trying to perform here that

relates to China and Taiwan.

Initially, the president and his team had concerns with Pelosi going to Taiwan, concerns it would lead to the situation that we are seeing now. But

ultimately, they decided to get behind that. Also separately there is action moving here on Capitol Hill to designate Taiwan as a major non-NATO

ally, as well as providing $4 billion in security assistance to Taiwan. That is something that undoubtedly the Chinese will see as a provocative


But the White House has yet to embrace that proposal. In fact they are essentially told senators to put the brakes on it while they give their

input, while they provide information as they shape this legislation, knowing full well that it could lead to the kind of backlash that they have

seen after Pelosi's trip. Perhaps escalating even further, if this piece of legislation moves ahead. But the president as well as members of -- on

Capitol Hill are trying to not show any sort of weakness towards China.

So undoubtedly, they will side with Taiwan. Even if it means some provocative actions as we've seen in recent days -- Eleni.


GIOKOS: Manu Raju, Selina Wang, thank you so very much for that analysis. Thank you.

All right. So the U.S. has declared monkeypox a public health emergency as cases rise above 7,000. The Biden administration made the announcement

Thursday, allowing more resources to go towards fighting the virus. And that's including a new national monkeypox coordinator to handle the

government's response to the growing outbreak. And the U.S. is also considering changing how monkeypox vaccines are given. The White House

press secretary explains why smaller doses could help extend the vaccine supply.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What that's going to do is going to help accelerate the vaccine production and distribution. This

includes new dosing strategies that have the potential to increase the number of available doses by five folds.


GIOKOS: CNN's senior and medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is keeping an eye on this from our world headquarters in Atlanta.

Elizabeth, really good to see you. I mean, look, I think the world is completely shocked, taken by surprise when it comes to the monkeypox

outbreak. But calling this now a national emergency, what does that mean? We're talking about a coordinator, as we just heard, and a smaller vaccine

doses. Is this because of a supply issue or because it makes sense medically?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So the smaller vaccine doses actually aren't technically part of the public health emergency. It's

a strategy to increase the vaccine that we have. And I'll get to that in a minute but let's talk about the public health emergency and what it does.

When you declare a public health emergency in the U.S., it actually brings in more money, it triggers certain measures so that you get more money.

And also require states to send data to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that they didn't have to send previously. And so that's really

helpful, it's a big country, it's good to know what's happening in every part of it so you can send resources to the right place. It also means more


Now let's take a look at a map of the United States, so you can see which states have higher case counts for monkeypox. So it's places that you would

expect, California, Texas, New York, Florida, a few other states. The number of cases nationwide has been growing. It is now at about 7100. That

is a 47 percent increase in just one week.

Now to get to the vaccines issue, we just don't have enough vaccine here in the United States. The numbers are pretty stark. So the CDC estimates that

they need about three million doses to cover the eligible population. So that's just who's considered eligible now. And so that eligible population

would be three million doses, but only 602,000 have been delivered and another 150,000 are expected in September.

So you do that math, you see that we really don't have enough. So this strategy is if you change the way you deliver the vaccine, like literally

delivered it into a person's body, then you can stretch it out more. So instead of giving a shot, the kind that all of us have had, like for

example, have a vaccine works, you know, the COVID vaccine, it goes like straight into your arm. It goes into the muscle. This instead would be

delivered into the skin. It's a much more shallow shot, it's a little trickier to do. Doctors and nurses aren't as used to giving it but when you

do it that way, you can give a lower dose -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: All, right, Elizabeth, good to see you. Thank you so much for breaking that down for us.

COHEN: Thanks.

GIOKOS: All, right, ahead on the show, women break political ground in Kenya ahead of its general elections. But will the country actually meet

its long-standing gender quota for elected office? We'll meet some of the leading women candidates.



GIOKOS: Women are making political gains in Kenya as candidates for next Tuesday's general election make their final campaigns. Plenty of women are

on the ballot this year, including Martha Karua who would be likely to become the country's first female deputy presidents. She is a close ally of

former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, yet historically Kenya has had the lowest number of elected women in East Africa, despite a gender quota that

was set for parliament 12 years ago.

Larry Madowo spoke with some of the candidates, and he joins me now from Nairobi.

Jumbo, Larry. Good to see you. I have to say, you know, this is a big, you know, question in East Africa. Rwanda is miles ahead in terms of women in

parliament, for example. And Kenya is really falling behind. Do you think now we'll finally see a change?

MADOWO: Good to see you, too, Eleni. It's not just Rwanda, it's even Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania even has a female president. And Kenya, the

first time a woman ran for president was back 25 years ago, yet they never come close to the presidency or any of the seats in the political setup.

That is why there is some excitement here in the country about Martha (INAUDIBLE). She's the running mate of veteran politician Raila Odinga, and

they are one of the two likely people to be president when Kenya goes to the election next year. This is the closest Kenyan women have been to the



MADOWO (voice-over): When Martha Karua ran for president nine years ago, she got less than 1 percent of the vote. Now she is running for deputy

president on one of the two major tickets.

(On-camera): Do you think Kenya is ready for a female president?

KARUA: That question suggests that women ought not to be on the ballot because I have never heard anybody question whether Kenyans are ready for

yet another male. So that question in itself is discriminatory. Kenya is ready for women at all levels.

MADOWO: Women held only 23 percent of seats in Kenya's last parliament, the fewest in East Africa. This election is believed to have the m Lamu

Archipelago as the first woman to run for governor. It's a long shot campaign in a conservative coastal region where women struggle to get


UMRA OMAR, LAMU GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: It's meant to address the challenges that we're facing as women, as young people, as indigenous

communities, and we have to be taking up the political battle.

MADOWO: A former CNN Hero for her work providing free medical care, Omar is a respected member of this community. But even that didn't insulate her

from political attacks.

OMAR: We are getting like jobs from both the big oil dudes, almost kind of pissed off, like how dare you?

MADOWO (on-camera): If you were to win the city, you'll be one of the very few female governors of Kenya. Kenya right now only has three female

governors. Why do you think that is?

OMAR: I feel like think we have accepted mediocrity way too much.

MADOWO: There is no single explanation why women are kept out of Kenyan society but remained under represented in elected politics. Some key

reasons, social economic barriers, culture, and religion.

(Voice-over): Kenya's 2010 constitution even set out agenda quota for elected office but it has never been implemented.

MARILYN KAMUNU, LAWYER AND WRITER: They actually asked super majority male institutions, hey, we need you to make sure that you are no longer a super

majority male. And the man said, no thanks, we won't doing it. You have to make pass. It has never been a problem about women wanting to participate

in politics. It continues to be a problem about the systematic exclusion of women.

MADOWO: Before she became opposition leader, Raila Odinga's running mate, Martha had already earned a no nonsense reputation during her three decades

in Kenyan politics, and a nickname, the Iron Lady.


(On-camera): How do you feel about a nickname?

KARUA: I think that name in a way speaks to the misogyny within society. Strength does not perceived as a female. Strength is perceived as a male.

MADOWO: Though expensive campaigns, violence and sexism are used to deter women from Kenyan politics, they keep running anyway.


MADOWO: Martha Karua said that same nickname, the Iron Lady was used for Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister. But she questions,

why is a strong man has never called Ironman, except of course in the movie? But she just released a new campaign video today, drawing on her

experience as a woman, as a homemaker, and the entire gist of that campaign video is a woman takes care of everybody else in the home. The kids, the

husband, everybody else, and that's what she intends to do if she and her captain, as she calls him, Raila Odinga, are elected president. When

Kenyans go to the polls on Tuesday. It's expected to be a very tight race - - Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. Larry, brilliant piece, brilliant messaging, hearing all those candidates. I'm sure we'll be keeping up with this one. Great to have you

on the show.

All right, let's go you up to speed now on some other stories that are on our radar. Two people are dead and two others are in critical condition

after a terrifying lightning strike near the U.S. White House. The strike came at the end of an unusually hot and humid day, which led to explosive

thunderstorms that ripped through Washington.

Police in Thailand say 30 people have been killed in a nightclub fire, all of the victims were Thai nationals. 35 other people were injured, mainly

from burns. It happened around one in the morning in a town about 170 kilometers south of Bangkok. Police are still investigating the cause of

the fire.

More than 600 migrants who were rescued in the Mediterranean have begun disembarking at a court in southern Italy. The migrants were struck on a

rescue ship in sweltering heat for nine days. The NGO Doctors Without Borders tweeted that vulnerable people should not be stranded at sea for so

long and it must not happen again.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, Brittney Griner's fate may be playing out on the diplomatic stage. But the sports world is also weighing in. That

story, straight ahead. Plus Europe roast under extreme heat with record droughts in France. How the region is grappling with the very real, very

immediate effects of climate change.


GIOKOS: The French prime minister says France is experiencing the most serious drought it has ever seen.


A heatwave is gripping the entire Mediterranean region and is not expected to let up for several more days. More than 100 municipalities are having

trucks bring in drinking water, as the regular supply has run dry. There are fears that things could get worse.

Our Barbie Nadeau is in region, she joins us now live from Rome.

Barbie, it is striking to hear the 170 municipalities are basically -- have basically run out of water. Take us through the impact of this heat wave.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, it impacts people in so many different ways. You've got obviously, if you've got to limit water when

you've got a heat wave, it's a very difficult thing on humans, on animals, on agriculture and all of those sorts of things. What is leading to this,

though, is the incessant heat coupled with the lack of rain. There is no reserve. It did not slow enough in the alps during the winter. So there is

not enough water flow in the river and the lakes here in Italy.

We've got the River Po, a 70-year low. All of these things compound. And to limit water in time when there is such extreme heat and no end in sight, is

really, really difficult on the population, on the administrators of the cities, on the small towns. All these people are to try to cope and when

you look at the forecast and it's just not going to get better anytime soon. It makes it even worse for so many people.

GIOKOS: Barbie, I'm curious. I mean, we were talking about how reserves are drying up because of lack of rain as well. When has this heat wave going to

start subsiding. I know that from a weather perspective that this has happened in numerous times over the past few months.

NADEAU: That's right. And you know, you look at Italy for example, southern Italy, northern Italy there are three cities across Italy today that have

the red alert. Tomorrow, there'll be 16. And, you know, we don't have a forecast for some sort of break in the weather here. Summers are hot here.

So even if it gets down to the place it's supposed to be, to the average, it's still going to be hot and it's going to cause a lot of stress,

especially on the elderly, especially on the vulnerable.

And so much so on livestock. And, you know, it's really difficult for agriculture, it's really difficult for the crops and things like that

because irrigation has had to be curtailed in some areas. And with no end in sight, you know, you've just got a problem compounding itself,

compounding itself over and over again. We are -- it is hot here. I can tell you firsthand. And it has been hot for a long time, and I suspect we

are going to keep suffering this.

GIOKOS: Yes, and it's regional, it's not just in France. Like you, said where you are. Thank you very much, Barbie. Good to see you.

Now earlier we were live in Moscow with the latest on the lengthy Russian prison sentence handed down Thursday to U.S. basketball star Brittney

Griner. And just a few hours later, her team, back in the U.S., had to take a court.

"WORLD SPORTS" Andy Scholes is here with us.

Andy, good to see you. Her team responding. 42 seconds of silence. And I know that they must be emotional as well as angry at this nine-year

sentence that was handed down yesterday.

ANDY SCHOLES, WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, Eleni. You know, it was an unexpected sentence, but one that, you know, emotionally they couldn't be

prepared for. You know, the team actually watching the verdict come down, as they were getting ready to take the court for practice. Then later in

the night, the Phoenix Mercury had to play a game. We were there in Connecticut with the team, we'll hear what they had to say about learning

of Griner's verdict, coming up here on "WORLD SPORT."

GIOKOS: Yes. I'm sure they're watching just like we have all been around the world.

Andy, thank you so very much. We'll see you right after the break and more CONNECT THE WORLD at the top of the hour.