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Moscow willing to Talk Prisoner Swap after Griner Sentencing; Leaders of Russia & Turkey meet Following Grain Deal; Nearly 27,000 Confirmed Monkeypox Cases Worldwide; Will Kenya meet its Gender Quota for Elected Office. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired August 05, 2022 - 11:00   ET



ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Eleni Giokos in for Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to "Connect the World" live from Abu Dhabi.

A very dangerous game is being played right now in the Taiwan Strait; Chinese military exercises involving dozens of warplanes crossing into what

Taiwan considers its defensive zone. Taiwan says it's scrambled its air defenses. In response China also says it is cutting off important lines of

communications with the U.S. refusing to take phone calls from the U.S. military and pulling out of talks on climate change.

It is all part of China's angry response to this week's visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The White House summoned the Chinese

Ambassador to express its frustration with Beijing and the U.S. Secretary of State saying China is choosing to over react.

Pelosi is wrapping up her trip through Asia in Japan today. She said China does not have the right to dictate her travel schedule. CNN's Selina Wang

is in Beijing. Selina we've been talking to you since before this trip and people are trying to weigh up this trip versus the reaction that we're

seeing right now and even how it's affecting things regionally that Japan has said that missiles landed up in the exclusive economic zone.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is putting the entire Asian region on edge. As you mentioned, especially Japan, this has been condemned at all

levels of the Japanese government saying that they do not accept these missile launchers because they say that several of the missiles actually

landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

The concern here is that with this ramped up military activity; it increases the risk of a miscalculation and accident that could spiral into

an actual crisis. We've seen China continue to fly war planes into Taiwan self-declared air defense zones. They had a missile according to state

media yesterday that actually went over Taiwan Island, not around it, but over it for the first time in what amounts to a major escalation.

In addition to this, we're seeing the diplomatic blowback from China as well. U.S. China relations are sinking to new lows now. China has said that

it is suspending talks with the United States on a wide range of issues. This includes on anti-drugs on illegal immigration, its includes on

military discussions, and most importantly, on climate change.

It's a big deal that they're cutting off cooperation here because this was one of the only areas where the U.S. and China were still talking to each

other. Despite the increased tensions over the last few years. These are the world's two biggest contributors to climate change. So it's critical

for the entire world that those communication lines do not be cut off.

Meanwhile, China has also sanctioned U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her immediate family over what they're calling a provocative trip that they

think instigated all of this. They're saying that Pelosi selfishly decided to take this trip and a challenge to China's sovereignty.

But China has not given any details about what the sanctions would actually entail. This is much more of a symbolic move. But meanwhile, we're also

continuing to hear this war of words between the U.S. and China as well. Both sides are talking past each other.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that China is the one that caused this crisis. They're using the Pelosi visit as a pretext to carry out these

ramped up military activities. Whereas China is saying the U.S. instigated all of this and that they are justified in responding in this way. Both are

trying to paint the other one as the bad guy and now the communication is just getting less and less.

GIOKOS: Alright Selina, thank you so much for breaking that down for us. Moscow says it's willing to discuss a potential prisoner swap with the

United States and it comes less than 24 hours after a Russian court sentenced American Basketball Star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison

at whose drug smuggling trial on Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says 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. Meanwhile, Griner's lawyers say they plan to appeal the verdict. And we've got the team coverage from

both sides.

We've got U.S. Security Correspondent Kylie Atwood, standing by the State Department and we also have Fred Pleitgen as well. Kylie, I want to start

with you. You know, because this - what's really important here we've been talking about for quite some time is the potential prisoner swap.

And what's interesting about the fact that now we are seeing a bit of movement that the Russians are willing to talk. The names for the prisoner

swap haven't really been put out by the Russians as yet should we be reading into this?


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRSPONDENT: I don't think that we should at this point. The critical issue here is that whatever the United States

thought may have gotten some momentum last month in July didn't get a whole lot of momentum.

And now there appears to be a bit of renewed momentum here, with both sides saying that they are ready to pursue these talks. That is a substantial

commitment. Now, what exactly that looks like, is yet to be determined. But we do have a model for prisoner swap and how that prisoner swap came about

that we could reflect on earlier this year, U.S. citizen Trevor Reed was part of a prisoner swap that successfully took place between the U.S. and


So we can sort of look back at that model in terms of where they meet may be headed here. And traditionally, when those conversations are ongoing, we

really don't know what the details of the back and forth look like.

Now, we were able to - out some reporting last month about what the initial offer the Biden Administration put on the table for Brittney Griner and

Paul Whelan looks like we were also able to learn a little bit about the counter offer that Russia came back to the table with the Biden

Administration called it not serious.

But that is altogether not normal, right? The Biden Administration, the U.S. government usually keeps its cards very close to its chest when

they're having these conversations. So the expectation is that if both sides are saying they're going to return to this framework that President

Biden and President Putin had established would be the framework for discussions about a deal about prisoner swaps. We may in fact, see them

head back towards a little bit more secrecy than we saw in the last few weeks on this.

GIOKOS: Kylie Atwood thank you so very much. I want to go to Fred Pleitgen who is standing by, for us. You know, listening to the verdict yesterday

was really illuminating, in understanding how, you know, they came to a guilty verdict with criminal intent, because it seems that they were really

taking into strong consideration the prosecutors side of things as opposed to the defense. The question now is, is there an opportunity an open door

for a potential to appeal this decision?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there certainly is, and Brittney Griner's legal team - legal defense team have

told me unequivocally that yes, they are going to file an appeal. And they say they have 10 days to do that.

They certainly are going to do that. And they are going to do that in a court in the Moscow region so not the city of Moscow itself but in the

Moscow region. We also know that her legal defense team already visited Brittany Griner today in the detention facility that she is still in just

outside of Moscow.

They only told me a little bit. They said she's doing a little bit better than she was doing yesterday, obviously yesterday, absolutely devastated by

that very tough verdict. And that sentence of nine years in a penal colony, and also the legal defense team, obviously telling me they are vowing to

fight on through the courts as well even though of course, they too hope that a prisoner swap could take place. Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (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.

SKYLAR DIGGINS-SMITH & DIAMOND DESHIELDS, PHOENIX MERCURY PLAYER: Obviously, it's devastating. It's devastating. You can't really say

anything other than that. It's just heartbreaking. And you know we know that this verdict is unacceptable.

PLEITGEN (voice over): In a Russian courtroom on Thursday, WNBA Star Brittney Griner apologized to the court and to a Russian team and asked for


BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA IMPRISONED IN RUSSIA: I want to apologize to my teammates, my club and the fans in the city of VCAT my mistake that I made

and the embarrassment that I'm brought to them.

PLEITGEN (voice over): It was almost six months ago when the 31-year-old two times USA 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 grilling that it doesn't end my life here.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Despite her impassioned plea the judge was unmoved, ruling that Greiner acted with criminal intent. Delivering a sentence of

nine years in jail and a fine of 1 million Rubles which is about $16,000 and emotional Greiner was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs seeing only

this. Outside the courtroom for 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 the



PLEITGEN (voice over): They plan on filing an appeal. The White House condemned the verdict with President Joe Biden saying in a statement,

"Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittany 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 (voice over): 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 (voice over): 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.


PLEITGEN: And it has been very interesting Eleni to see all of this play out. And you know, one of the things that I think can't be overstated, is

how irritated the Russians were when the U.S. came out publicly and said that they had that substantial offer on the table?

And we're waiting for the Russians to respond to that the Russians unequivocally saying that if these negotiations are going to move forward,

they have to move forward in complete secrecy.

In fact, the Kremlin came out a little earlier today and said if even some of the details of such negotiations are made public, then these kinds of

exchanges simply cannot happen.

So think Kylie's absolutely right to say that all this most probably going to move behind closed doors, we're not going to hear very much until a deal

possibly if it happens. We'll be made Eleni.

GIOKOS: And yes, exactly, if it happens, right. And that's what are we waiting to hear. In the meantime, I want you to take me through the

probabilities here, because we knew there was a 99 percent conviction rates in Russia. So you know, and while the verdict was shocking, it was

disappointing. Is there a chance that could possibly win an appeal when overturn this verdict?

PLEITGEN: It would - it's definitely, to say the least a very much an uphill battle. And I think that the legal team certainly knew that it was

an uphill battle in the first trial anyway, but they are willing to try this appeal.

And one of the things that we have to keep in mind and that first of all, the conviction rates here in Russia are massive anyway, around 99 percent.

And of course, Russian courts certainly aren't known for leniency. But now you already have a verdict in place.

That means there would have to be a lot of new evidence presented or weigh differently than maybe before existing evidence before courts to actually

overturn that verdict. Again, the courts here do have a lot of leeway when it comes to verdicts.

But an appeal overturning this verdict would definitely be something that would be very difficult to achieve for the defense team. But they do say

that they definitely wants to try and make it happen. They are going to go through the process while at the same time of course, saying that if a

prisoner exchange does materialize, they certainly wouldn't be against it again.

The goal for Brittany's legal team, they say I have always said unequivocally is to get Brittney Griner out and get her home as fast as


GIOKOS: Yes, Fred Pleitgen in Moscow for us. Thank you so much. Now we don't know where Brittney Griner will be sent but former detainee Trevor

Reed knows about the conditions she will likely face. And he described them earlier to my colleague Brianna Keilar take a listen.


TREVOR REED, RELEASED IN APRIL AFTER SERVING NEARLY 3-YEARS IN RUSSIAN PRISON: Food there is terrible sometimes that could be just some fish bones

are broth of fish bones. You know potato soup with it's mostly water. You know, there are feral cats that wander around there. On the prison, prison

grounds on the prison compound to lap dilapidated buildings. Solitary confinement there's basically consists of just a concrete room with a hole

in the floor for a toilet just really middle age looking stuff.


GIOKOS: Horrific. Vladimir Putin is giving a pat on the back to his Turkish counterpart. The Russian President is praising Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his

role in the deal to unblock Ukrainian grain exports. Putin is hosting the Turkish Leader in the Black Sea Resort of Sochi, and grain is one of the

big topics for the two leaders.

Their talks come just hours after three ships left Ukraine's Black Sea Ports carrying 57,000 tons of corn and there's word out of Moscow that its

combat plans in the meantime in Syria have eliminated what it calls militants backed by the United States.


GIOKOS: Video released by the Russian Defense Ministry shows missiles exploding in a desert.

The exact location is not immediately clear. Moscow claims the U.S. instructors in Southern Syria train the rebels said to be targeted in this

video but the U.S. says its relationship with the Syrian fighters ended in 2017.

Right we're following fast moving developments in the Middle East after the Israeli military announced it launched strikes on targets in Gaza.

Statements from militant leaders say a senior leader of Islamic Jihad has been killed along with three other people. The Palestinian Health Ministry

says a five-year-old girl is among the dead. Journalists Neri Zilber now joins us from Jerusalem. Neri, what is the latest? What do we know?

NERI ZILBER, JOURNALIST: Well, that's right. About two hours ago, Israel launched airstrikes into the Gaza Strip targeting the Palestinian Islamic

Jihad faction. As you mentioned, the Gaza Health Ministry is reporting eight people were killed, including that five year old child and about 40


What is not without doubt, the Senior Islamic Jihad Commander Tayseer Al- Jabari was one of those fatalities. He's believed to be a Head of the Northern Branch in the Gaza Strip for the Islamic Jihad.

Israel military rather claims that he was in the process of planning, immediate and imminent cross border anti-tank missile attacks against

Israeli civilian targets. And the Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister said they were taking concrete action to preempt those types of


We also know that the Israeli military has bolstered its forces in Southern Israel near the Gaza border region with another Armored Division as well as

anti-missile anti-rocket aerial defense, not only in southern Israel, but up to an including Tel Aviv, which was about 80 kilometers away from the

Gaza Strip so out of doubt, Eleni. This is without doubt the worst escalation in I guess, Israel Gaza conflict since last May's 11 day war.

GIOKOS: And as you say, they were pre-empting what they say are attacks but could you give me a bit more detail on this? What is the Intel tell us

right now?

ZILBER: Well, according to the Israeli military for the past few days, approximately four days, there was high alert and concrete intelligence

about potential Islamic Jihad cross border attack from Gaza into Southern Israel, targeting either civilians or military personnel.

And so the past four days, the southern border region near Gaza was on high alert. Although we should mention no bullet or shot or rocket was fired.

This came after an IDF arrest operation on Sunday night targeting a senior Islamic Jihad Leader in the Northern West Bank.

And so Islamic Jihad vowed retaliation for that hence the high alert in southern Israel. And so Israel wanted to I suppose preempt that cross

border attack. But things now seem to be escalating and Islamic Jihad Primary Leader - in Beirut is vowing revenge. And he said there would be no

red lines in terms of Islamic Jihad response against Israel.

GIOKOS: Yes, and we're dealing with civilian deaths as well. Neri Zilber thank you so much. And of course, we'll be catching up with you as the

story develops. Now coming up, why incredible job growth might be bad for news in the United States? I'll discuss with our Business Correspondent

Rahel Solomon, plus, see what measures the U.S. and the UK are taking to contain the spread of Monkeypox. We'll have more on that after the break.



GIOKOS: In the United States, there is fresh evidence today that the economy is still solid, but the stock market is not happy about us. U.S.

stocks open lower but have recovered a bit after surprise reports on the jobs market.

As you can see Dow Jones is down two tenths of a percent NASDAQ losing 1 percent right now. The theory is that the strong economy may force the

Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again.

As for that jobs report, the U.S. added 528,000 jobs last month for more than double what economists had expected. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5

percent matching 50 year low. CNN Business Correspondent Rahel Solomon joins me now live from New York.

You know, as someone who covers business, I'm going to allow you to come in and tell me why this insanity is prevailing at a time where you see

fantastic jobs growth, you've got unemployment coming down. And everyone is really worried about a recession. What is going on?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are so many conflicting factors out there, but allow me to provide a bit of clarity if I might. So yes, the

U.S. economy, certainly the labor market continuing to just read hot continuing to just show a no signs of any weakness, Eleni, we have

essentially gained all of the jobs lost at the beginning of the pandemic.

So this is certainly good news for job seekers, good news, perhaps for the White House. Not however, good news for policymakers not however, good news

for the markets, which is perhaps one reason why you're seeing markets lower today.

This, of course, complicates the job for the Fed, right? I mean, when you have demand for workers, as hot as it is, there are 1.8 open jobs for every

one person looking that increases wage pressures, right.

And we know as wages increase, that tends to trickle down into prices, and the Fed is trying to lower prices, it's trying to lower inflation. So this

complicates the job for the Fed. But there are so many conflicting factors.

I mean, we've now seen two quarters of negative GDP, we've seen other signs of some weakening and the economy. Imagine now getting this jobs report. I

talked to a senior economist from LinkedIn a short time ago, about an hour ago.

And he put it to me this way Eleni. He said, when you have mixed signals like this, it makes it very difficult to make decisions, especially for

policymakers and the private sector, later adding it is not a great environment to be doing business in. Is the economy very strong or


I mean, these are the type of things that everyone is trying to figure out. And when you get conflicting signals like this, it makes it even harder.

GIOKOS: Yes, markets like certainty, I think I'm going to create a meme with emerging markets rolling their eyes at the United States with this

kind of jobs growth and unemployment dropping like this, because I have never seen this type of anomaly occurring before.

SOLOMON: Right, which is exactly why the White House would say you don't have a recession with job growth of 500,000 per month. It really is


GIOKOS: Exactly interesting times. Thank you so much. Good to see you. All right, the U.S. has declared its growing monkey pox outbreak, a public

health emergency.

The move will allow the Biden Administration to devote more resources to fighting the virus. There are more than 7000 reported monkey pox cases in

the U.S. more than any other nation.

Health officials say the majority of reported cases are in men who have sex with men, but they caution that anyone can get this disease. Salma

Abdelaziz spoke to some of the men who are affected.


SILVER STEELE, ADULT FILM ENTERTAINER: Hey guys, day 15 of monkey pox.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice over): After adult film entertainer Silver Steele tested positive for monkey pox. He started to document his

painful struggle from isolation in Texas.

STEELE: I don't want anybody to have to go through this. So if my story will help people possibly change their behaviors or attempt to get

vaccinated, then it'll be worth it.


ABDELAZIZ (voice over): It's a trend social media is key to raising awareness at ground zero of this health crisis, the gay community. 98

percent of cases so far are among men who have sex with men, according to the World Health Organization, but sex is not required to transmit the

virus. It's passed on primarily through close skin on skin physical contact.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): Do you feel that there is a stigma?

STEELE: 100 percent. First of all, it's easy to label it as a gay disease. But this virus doesn't go oh; I'm going to find a gay person though. Look,

here's another gay person, it's just going to find a human.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): From a sexual health clinic in East London. Dr. Lain Reeves says he witnessed the early days of the outbreak.

DR. LAIN REEVES, SEXUAL HEALTH CONSULTANT: To start off with all of us were a little bit in the dark, to be honest with you know, kind of it's not an

infection that I was familiar with at all.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): Now health care workers are playing catch up trying to vaccinate those most at risk faster than the virus can spread.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): Clinics like this one had to react quickly to the outbreak training their staff preparing tests, giving out dozens of

vaccinations a day, it's put a strain on health services. And there's no sign that demand is letting up.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): Word of mouth and public messaging are driving more and more to come forward for their shots.

JONNY DILLON, MONKEYPOX VACCINE RECIPIENT: People are I think taking this seriously and making sure that they're protecting themselves and protecting

each other and the rest of the community.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): But monkey pox cases are still on the rise. And we've limited vaccine supply containment still presents a challenge.

ALIESKY ROMERO, MONKEYPOX VACCINE RECIPIENT: Seen that some friends of mine had it and they had it quite bad. So I thought better.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): And healthcare workers are scrambling to access a historically marginalized population.

DR. REEVES: One of the concerns I have is that the people that will get into the vaccine clinics are going to be kind of the best connected, so

that can leave people who, you know historically are less well served by health services behind a little bit.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): And that's why alongside public health messaging, grassroots voices are making an impact. So far more than a million people

around the world have viewed Steele's video.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): How does that make you feel to know that your message is being heard?

STEELE: Still fulfill, that what I'm going through other people are going through isn't for nothing. Because I'm telling you if you don't want this

it's painful.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): A community rallying to prevent a new disease from taking hold, Salma Abdelaziz, CNN London.


GIOKOS: And ahead on the show a woman 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 some of the leading female candidates.



GIOKOS: Welcome back, I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. A reminder of one of our top stories the fate of American basketball star Brittney Griner. The

U.S. and Moscow have both suggested they are ready to discuss a proposed prisoner swap. It comes just a day after Griner was convicted of drug

smuggling and sentenced to nine years in prison for carrying a small amount of cannabis oil into Russia earlier this year.

Griner's lawyers say they plan to appeal the verdict. Meanwhile, her WNBA team at the Phoenix Mercury played their first game since Griner sentencing

which they call devastating.

The world is now in the meantime watching for woman to make political gains in Kenya as candidates for next Tuesday's general election make their final


Plenty of women are on the ballots this year including Martha Karua, who would like to become the country's first female Deputy President. She is a

close ally of former President or Prime Minister rather Raila Odinga yet historically Kenya has had the lowest number of elected women in East


That's despite a gender quota that was set for parliament 12 years ago. Our Larry Madowo spoke with some of the top candidates and he joins me now from

Nairobi. And Kenya really has been falling behind the rest of its counterparts in East Africa. If I take a look at what Rwanda has been able

to achieve, and even the likes of Uganda, I guess the question is why?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a complicated question that there is no simple answer for Eleni, because Kenya has always been a progressive

society. The first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize that was Wangari Muta Maathai, the environmentalist and conservationists.

She did actually ran for president back in 1992, she withdrew, she ran again into 1997, didn't get really far. In fact, since that in the 25 years

since a woman first ran for president, there's been many more, but they hardly ever get really far.

That's not just been at the presidential level. It's been across all of the political seats. That is why Kenya's 2010 constitution set out a mandate to

require that in any elective or appointed position, there shouldn't be a super majority of anyone gender, but 12 years on is still not been


And in this election, this is a glimmer of hope there might be a possibility that finally there could be a Deputy President and Martha

Karua, who's running alongside Raila Odinga. But also across the spectrum, there could be more women elected.


MADOWO (voice over): When Martha Karua ran for president 90 years ago, she got less than 1 percent of the vote. Now she's running for deputy president

on one of the two major tickets.

MADOWO (on camera): Do you think Kenya is ready for a female president?

MARTHA KARUA, KEYAN DEPUTY PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: That question suggests that women ought not to be on the ballot, because I have never had 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 (voice over): Women held only 23 percent of seats in Kenya's last parliament, the fewest in East Africa. This election is believed to have

the most women running for office ever.

Umra Omar is breaking new ground in the historic Lamu --- as the first woman to run for governor. It's a long shot campaign in a conservative

coastal region where women struggled to get elected.

UMRA OMAR, LAMU GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: If --to address the challenges that we're facing as women as people as indigenous communities then will

have to be taking up the political battle.

MADOWO (voice over): 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: That we're getting like jobs from both the big old dudes almost kind of pissed off like how dare you.

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

Why do you think that is?

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

MADOWO (on camera): There is no single explanation why women are a key part of Kenyan society, but remain underrepresented in electoral politics. Some

key reasons socio economic barriers, culture and religion.

MADOWO (voice over): Kenya's 2010 constitution even set out a gender quota for elected office, but it has never been implemented.

MARILYN KAMURU, LAWYER AND WRITER: They actually asked supermajority male institutions. Hey, we need you to make sure that you're no longer super

majority male and the men said no thanks. We won't do it. You have to make us.

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 (voice over): Before she became opposition leader Raila Odinga is running mate. Martha had already earned a no nonsense reputation during her

three decades in Kenyan politics, and a nickname, The Iron Lady.

MADOWO (on camera): How do you feel about that nickname?

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

MADOWO (voice over): Though expensive campaigns, violence and sexism are used to deter women from Kenyan politics. They keep running anyway.


MADOWO: Women make up 49 percent of registered voters in this election; women also make up exactly 50 percent of the population of Kenya. So why

don't more women traditionally get elected in the country is because, as Umra Omar calls them, the big old dudes have hang on to the power and they

don't want to see that because that dilutes their influence in society.

But the way Kenyan women have approached this is to systematically organize and advocate. That is why for the first time, you're seeing a record number

of women running in this election.

And as one activist dollar, they're trying to make sure that there are no negotiate, but that they're an indispensable part of this society, that he

can't ignore them, even at the ballot box. So we'll see how many get elected when Kenyans go to the polls on Tuesday next week, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Absolutely. And here's the thing, it is a boys club, and it is very much a patriarchal and sexist society across many parts of the continent.

And it's not so much as you say about one wanting to be included, it's about whether they'll get voted in, do you?

And here's the question, you know that are men going to vote for women? Are they ready for it? And it was still a viable question, even though she

flipped that question, and rightly so we shouldn't be having these conversations at this in this day and age.

MADOWO: So we'll have to wait and see because some men feel that women shouldn't be running for super powerful positions. For instance, we were in

love with the coast. And they know that Umra Omar, the former CNN Hero, she's running there, but they say no, she should run for something less

like the woman representative position.

The governor is too much for her. And that's the expectation for many men in a patriarchal society that don't think women should be running for the

most powerful positions.

GIOKOS: Larry Madowo, always good to see you my friend. Thank you so much. All right, let's get you now up to speed on some other stories that are on

our radar. Police in Thailand say 13 people have been killed in a nightclub fire.

All of the victims were Thai nationals. 35 other people were injured mainly from burns. And 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. Iraq is already known for being hot but on Thursday, the country recorded a high of 52.6 degrees

Celsius. That was in the Basra area. Baghdad wasn't much cooler at 49 and half degrees.

It's raising concern for those in the country without adequate access to water or proper shelter. Now the French Prime Minister says France is

experiencing the most serious drought that it has ever seen.

A Mediterranean heat wave is not expected to let up for several more days. More than 100 French municipalities have to track and drinking water as

their regular supply has run dry.

And Iran and the U.S, I'm speaking directly, but the nuclear talks continue. Will the EU be able to broker another deal between the two sides

and we'll take a look plus.


AAMIR KHAN, STAR OF "LAAL SINGH CHADDHA": You said what's your favorite film and I said Forrest Gump. And I forgot about it.


GIOKOS: How Bollywood came to take on America's beloved tale of Forrest Gump, my conversation with the lead actor Aamir Khan, stay with us.



GIOKOS: A Russian envoy taking part in talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal describes the atmosphere as serious. The talks resumed

Thursday in Vienna after a pause.

The EU is serving as mediators since Iran and the U.S. won't deal directly with each other. The mediator is shuttling between these two men Iran's top

negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani on the left and U.S. envoy, Rob Malley.

The major points of contentions include the U.S. gradually lifting sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Iran wants the UN's nuclear

watchdog to drop its claim that Tehran has unexplained traces of uranium at undeclared sites.

And Iran demands a guarantee that no other president will abandon this new deal like Donald Trump did in 2018. Ali Vaez, from the International Crisis

Group weighed in on the talks.

And he says we've seen the alternative to talks, more sanctions, more nuclear escalation and uncertain ends. And he admits in person negotiations

are no guarantee of success. But without them failure is certain.

Ali Vaez worked on the original Iran nuclear deal. So he has experience. He joins me now live really good to see you, sir. Last week, the EU foreign

affairs chief wrote in an Op-ed for the Financial Times.

And I want to quote this, after 15 months of intense constructive negotiations in Vienna and countless interactions; I've concluded that the

space for additional significant compromises has been exhausted.

The U.S. is going to say that they have to check in on these expectations. Has it been a sufficient progress in your mind? Or are the two positions

between the U.S. and Iran not reconcilable at this point in time?

ALI VAEZ, IRAN PROJECT DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: I think it's too soon to tell from what I'm hearing from Vienna. Things are pretty

uncertain at this point. One of the key criteria in these negotiations is that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

So even if they make progress on one issue, but not another's, it really doesn't mean much. And it's not sufficient for them to be able to declare

that they've reached the finish line.

GIOKOS: And we've established that you were part of the previous deal. And of course it was it took a lot of time it took a lot of negotiating. What

is your perception right now in terms of the way that this is being handled?

And Iran of course, making it very clear that there needs to be commitment that no other president would then be able to, you know, uplift any deal or

reverse any deal that is currently being worked on?

VAEZ: Look, Iran says - is understandable because they were complying with all of their commitments under the deal when President Trump without any

reason really in a completely unwarranted manner withdrew from the agreement.

And as a result of it unleashed Iran's nuclear program, if he had done literally nothing, Iran's nuclear program would now still be in a box and

under the most rigorous monitoring mechanism ever implemented anywhere in the world.

So Iran's lack of faith in U.S. reliability as a negotiating partner is not out of place. What is out of place is its demand that President Biden

guarantee what the next president will do.

There's simply no legal or political or economic mechanism for President Biden to be able to tie the hands of his successor.

GIOKOS: There has been in the meantime, some concerning movement from the Iranian side in recent weeks. And the Atomic Energy Agency at this point

says that they have no visibility into what is happening with Iran's nuclear program. What do you make of Iran's actions recently?

VAEZ: Look, Iran has never been closer to the verge of nuclear weapons than it is today. In fact it can for the first time since the beginning of this

crisis in 2003 break out and produce enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon without the International Atomic Energy Agency learning

about it.


VAEZ: And that's a serious threat to peace and stability in the region. The reason Iranians have done this is in order to accumulate leverage in the


But my fear is that if that doesn't pay off, and if they don't get the concessions that they want, they're so close now to the finish line to

getting nuclear weapons, that they might decide to cross the Rubicon take the last step and become a nuclear weapon state.

And that, of course, would be highly destabilizing for the entire region and increases the risk of military confrontation between Iran and U.S. and


GIOKOS: One of the things that Iran is demanding and asking for and as you said, at once to see the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency

made concessions is the investigation into the undeclared nuclear sites known as the safeguards probe to be closed? You know, is that likely to

happen would you say? VAEZ: No, not at all. I mean, look, there is no way that the U.S. or the Europeans can dictate to an independent UN agency to

draw up an investigation that is doing based on the mandate that it has.

The IAEA was created, basically to do nuclear accountancy for all the countries that are members of the Non Proliferation Treaty. And so it's

just simply impossible for the agency to decide that it wants to look the other way.

It is really up to Iran to shed light on what has happened with the nuclear material in those undeclared sites. And once it does that, the fire will be

closed, as was the case in a previous disagreement between Iran and the IAEA in 2015. And that was close to.

So it's really up to Iran to resolve this issue with the agencies not a subject that can be discussed at the nuclear negotiating table with the


GIOKOS: Yes, Ali Vaez, thank you so much. Good to see you.

VAEZ: My pleasure.

GIOKOS: Don't forget that you can get all the latest Iran and Middle East News delivered straight into your inbox. Just subscribe to our daily

meanwhile, in the Middle East newsletter, and you can do that on our website east newsletter, it's definitely worth a read.

And coming up what do Forrest Gump and these tasty Indian treats have in common? Stick around to find out.


GIOKOS: Run low run and Indian adaptation of classic American film Forrest Gump will hit theaters next week. Aamir Khan, stars in the Bollywood remake

of the movie called Laal Singh Chadha.

I caught up with Khan yesterday and asked him how the idea came together. Take a listen.


KHAN: It's a film that's so deeply rooted in American culture that I couldn't have imagined it as an Indian film. So it's only when my friend

Atul who wrote the adaptation. He and I were speaking one night and he said, what's your favorite film? And I said Forrest Gump.

And I forgot about it in two weeks. Later he calls me and says I have a script for you and I said but, you don't write, he says well I've given it

a shot. And I said so what have you written? He said I've written an adaptation of Forrest Gump.


KHAN: I was like, whoa. And I said how many days did you take? He said, two weeks. So I had a laugh and I said, you know, this doesn't sound exciting.

So I didn't have any hopes from you know what he written. But, but when I heard it--

I was just blown away by how beautifully he had adapted it to the Indian context, and how beautifully it in fact, when I was listening to it, I

thought I was listening to an Indian story. That's how beautifully he had kind of placed it in India.

GIOKOS: Exactly.

KHAN: And I just fell in love with it. And that's when I decided that you know, I have to, I have to be a part of this film. And it's such a

beautiful story and, and audiences in the West America, Europe have seen the film and loved it. But Indians haven't because very few Indians have

seen the original.

And so I thought, here's a great opportunity to have Indians experience, the character of Forrest.

GIOKOS: When I was watching Laal, I wanted to be a little bit like him. He's optimistic. Nothing stands in his way. He's got great, he's got

resolved. And everything is rosy, you know, his outlook is positive. So how did you prepare for this character that is simple, but yet so complex.

KHAN: My biggest challenge was to try and get the innocence of an 18 year old, which is a little difficult. I mean, I'm in my 50s now and I've

experienced so many things in life.

I'm probably carrying so many memories and baggage, but, you know, I need to let go follow that, kind of various age and you know, be simple and just

pure and innocent.

Like all of us are when you're 18 and especially Laal, whose most remarkable characteristic is that, you know, he's just innocent and pure.

GIOKOS: I want you to tell me about what parts of the movie you know, Forrest Gump you wanted to preserve, because there are twists and turns

that perhaps I loved.

And I don't want to give it away to people that haven't seen it. But there are beautiful changes, but also you've been able to assimilate some of what

actually makes Forrest Gump so special.

KHAN: What we really wanted to preserve was the heart of the spirit of Forrest Gump and what it really stands for. And the kind of beauty that the

characters have the mother, the, you know, the character of Forrest, and the relationships that he has with people around him. I think we wanted to

keep the essence of that.

And in the adaptation, there were some changes that came quite naturally by with Atul, the writer. And we then they felt natural to, so we felt this

was a great progression into a different culture where we were still trying to preserve what was the heart of the film.

GIOKOS: I want to talk about Jenny or Rupa, they're quite interesting differences because there's still some form of abuse or domestic violence.

And she is not as controversial in some ways.

I mean, you know, it's really hard to compare, why take that approach with Jamie or with Rupa.

KHAN: The character of Jenny is, for an Indian context, the kind of life she leaves in the kind of culture she lives in, where, you know, the hippie

culture, all of that doesn't exist in India. So we had to look at Jenny afresh.

And one of the things that we really wanted to do is that in the original there are some scenes which, which are for an adult audience. And I didn't

want kids in India to lose out on experiencing a character like Laal.

So we the one thing that we did consciously from the original is that we wanted to remove scenes, remove moments, which were for adult consumption.

So that we make the film, you know, approachable for families and kids to watch because I think Laal is such an inspirational character.

GIOKOS: Firstly, I really want to come to India after watching this movie. The music, the soundtrack is amazing, the culture, the history, I love the

fact that you brought in socio political history around this.

But also importantly, from the moment the movie started these special things, gold covers, you switched over from the chocolates, the box of

chocolates to this. And I have to say we ordered them, our entire crew enjoyed them and you've got me switched over from chocolates to this. So


KHAN: I love you. Thank you so much. It's so lovely talking to you. And I'm so happy that you've liked the film, it's really encouraging for all of us.



GIOKOS: Here's my suggestion. You're going to go get yourself some gold covers and immerse yourself in Indian culture and enjoy the wonders of love

thing, Chaddha, what a fantastic way to relive Forrest Gump. Thank you so very much for joining us, from me Eleni Giokos here in Abu Dhabi. I hope

you have a fantastic weekend and take good care.