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Turkey Prepares For The Next Big Earthquake; Reports: ICC To Open War Crimes Cases Against China; Shares In Embattled Swiss Bank Credit Suisse In Focus; Chinese Foreign Minister: U.S. China Strategy & A "Reckless Gamble"; CEO Of Telecom Giant E & Speaks To CNN; Israeli Venture Capitalist Opposes Judicial Overhaul. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 14, 2023 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, another blow for Turkey's President two months out from elections the current account

deficit widens to a record level. We will analyze the issues on the minds of voters.

But first, the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank continues. U.S. markets are up on government reassurances, but many regional banks are

struggling to stay afloat. Australia signed a deal to buy U.S. nuclear powered submarines as part of a deal with the United Kingdom to counter

China's growing influence in the Pacific.

Cyclone Freddy wreaks havoc in Malawi and Mozambique the death toll reaching 200 and prosecutors from the International Criminal Court are

reportedly ready to charge several Russians with war crimes over the invasion of Ukraine.

Well, you are back with us for the second hour of the show. Southeast Turkey still coming to terms with the destruction wrought by the

devastating earthquake last month; the country's finances already in a fragile state close to Jeopardy its Central Bank announcing the current

account deficit has risen to a record level.

And exactly two months from now Turkey goes to the polls to elect a new government and President it is not a rosy outlook for incumbent Recep

Tayyip Erdogan who trails in polls. Our question tonight then what's next for Turkey?

Well, CNN's Nada Bashir has been following developments in Turkey closely. She joins me now from Istanbul with the very latest. The latest record

deficit numbers underscoring how big a challenge the President faces in improving the economy Nada?

How are the struggling economy the cost of living crisis associated with that never mind the devastating effects of the recent earthquake impacting

his chances on May the 14th?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, they're certainly building pressure on President Erdogan. This is going to be a close race, according to analysts

and of course high on the agenda for many voters as they head to the ballot box will be the economy.

We're talking about a financial crisis which has pushed not only those less disadvantaged here in tech, but also the middle class into a real state of

struggle, that cost of living crisis impacting the vast majority of Turkey's population across the country.

We're seeing now in Turkey yearly inflation and more than 55 percent, the currency weakening against the dollar. So this is a significant concern for

voters. And of course, following the earthquake on February 6th that, of course, is said to have a huge impact on Turkey's economy we're talking

about damages worth more than $34 billion in the construction cost as well, to rebuild Southeast Turkey.

That is, of course, the key pledge of President Erdogan is going to cost more than that. So this is a huge challenge ahead for President Erdogan.

And we're talking about a President who has made these large scale construction drives the hallmark of his presidency over the last two


And of course, construction and building safety is now high on the minds of voters, particularly here in Istanbul where there are serious concerns

around a potential earthquake which could strike the city at any time, according to experts.

Now, of course, as questions mount over negligence of allegations of corruption within Turkey's construction industry, there are real concerns

for the safety of this country's most populous city. Take a look.


BASHIR (voice over): The sound of concrete crumbling into rubbles. This time by design, this demolition part of a grand regeneration project, the

City of Istanbul preparing for what experts warn is an inevitable earthquake. Tens of thousands of homes are currently in the process of

being evaluated for their safety as residents grow increasingly concerned.

Honestly, I'm afraid Moosdah (ph) tells me. I think residents would feel more relieved if precautions were taken immediately. This is one of what

officials say is more than 800,000 buildings in Istanbul built before earthquake regulations were brought into force in the year 2000.

And authority's say at least half of all buildings assessed so far have been placed under high risk categories. According to the damage estimation

studies we held we foresee that approximately 90,000 structures will be subject to heavy and very heavy damage. Ozlem (ph) tells me.

BASHIR (on camera): Well, in this vast city of around 16 million people, the threat of a major earthquake looms large. A fault line beneath the Sea

of Marmara, just 20 kilometers from the city at its closest point winds could cause untold damage if it were to break.


(voice over): And while experts predict the magnitude of such an earthquake could be anywhere between 7.2 and 7.8, there is no telling when the

earthquake might strike.

PROFESSOR CELAL SENGOR, ISTANBUL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY: If a major earthquake doesn't happen in the next 20 years, we'd be really surprised.

So it took, it's that close, there is no way to predict it, the sensible thing is to get prepared for it.

BASHIR (voice over): But it's not just about ensuring the buildings are able to withstand a major earthquake but also preparing for what is said to

be an enormous humanitarian response effort, with experts estimating the loss of tens of thousands of lives and potentially millions of residents

left homeless.

It is an immense challenge for this metropolis, particularly when it comes to communities like this one, with many homes here built without

permissions and without structural guarantees. Those who say that they trust their buildings are just consoling themselves, she tells me. Most

buildings here are more than 30 years old, and most of them have had levels added to them.

I don't think they're sturdy buildings. I want to move. But in Turkey, rent prices are just too high. And with some of Turkey's most disadvantaged now

struggling to even buy bread, many are left with no choice, but to continue living in high risk buildings.

Same what happened over in the Southeast we became very afraid over here Shukria (ph) tells me. What will happen to our house? What will happen to

our children? What will happen to us? Questions many Istanbul residents are now asking themselves as concerns mount over how much time is left for this

historic city to prepare for the unimaginable?


BASHIR: And look at recent remarks, President Erdogan conceded that there are some 6.5 million buildings across Turkey, which now need to be

reconstructed not only as a result of the earthquake damage, but also because they are unsafe, and could face damage if there were to be another


And that is a huge concern here in Istanbul, as you saw there in that report. But of course, there has been criticism now against President

Erdogan and his government over those construction amnesties provided and offered to buildings that have been built in the past without planning

permission without following those legal guidelines.

And in particular without following earthquake guidelines brought into force in the year 2000. And there is mounting pressure over these

allegations of negligence and corruption. There is an investigation already underway by the government looking in to those allegations. But this will

be a key topic high on the minds of voters when it comes to that election on May 14th.

And here in Istanbul the Mayor who is a key member of the National Alliance, the main opposition here in Turkey has said that this isn't just

an issue for Istanbul. This isn't just a concern for the Marmara region but this is a threat to Turkey's national security and could be a huge threat

to Turkey's economy and its place in the world, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nada thank you for that! Nada Bashir is in Istanbul. Well, one month following that massive earthquake, Turkey and Syria still struggling

to pick up the pieces and will be for an awfully long time to come.

Huge needs remain for everything from physical and mental health support to temporary housing and reconstruction as Nada has been reporting. And many

charities are calling for the international community to show up for the long haul.

Francesco Rocca is President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He's joining me tonight from Dubai. It's good

to have you, sir! Our big question tonight what's next for Turkey? What's your assessment through your lens as the wide Federation of societies

working on the ground in the heart of what is some of the worst of the earthquakes impact?


have few - unfortunately, we have few in the past situation like the one that we are living in the Turkish communities living and also the Syrian

communities living in this moment.

So far only in Turkey, we distributed more than 100 million of hot meals and we are providing psychological support to 47,000 affected people that

needs a long term support because this is not about only few weeks but must be accompanied for years to come.

I have a personal experience because I'm also Italian India as recently as I personally led the response in - of the main earthquakes that were not so

big like the one that happened in Turkey but still after a decade for example in L'Aquila, we are still accompanying the families in --.


That happened seven years ago. We are still working on there. So we must be prepared. And we are prepared to accompany the Turkish and the Syrian

community for the years to come on these aspects.

ANDERSON: Yes, and I remember your work there on those earthquakes in Italy. And it's fascinating that you bring that up. And it really provides

some context for us. Before we talk about the mental health crisis that I know is squarely in your focus and so important, just how difficult is it

today, getting aid into Syria?

We've been concentrating our efforts tonight on this show on Turkey, because there's a wider picture with the election coming up and the recent

economic figures out. But I do want to ensure that we tackle Syria as well. What are the challenges in getting aid into Syria from your perspective?

ROCCA: Syria is one of the most difficult situations in the world because the people of Syria is coming from a very difficult period is one of the

most important protracted crises that we have now in the world.

So during a moment like this, although the area the affected areas are also very cold. We are passing through harsh winter and so these are creating

more pain and more suffering to the affected community.

The lack of electricity, lack of fuel, is something that is creating an added pain and suffering to the communities. And this lack of fuel was one

of our concerns is the beginning because to reach the affected areas where we needed to start with the convoys it was difficult to because in Syria,

there is this difficulty, but also for the families to provide assistance for the families without fuel that has been very, very difficult for them.

So it's like.

ANDERSON: Well, yes, I hear what you're saying. I do want to press you and I know what you're saying is incredibly important. And we will continue to

report on that. Let me just press you on the concerns that you have for mental health issues, both in Turkey and in Syria.

You have highlighted that in your most recent narrative. You know, what's your message here to the international community? What can be done to help?

Where are the greatest needs? And with whom and what can we do to help?

ROCCA: Oh, to continue to support appeal, and not only, of course, the appeal of the Red Cross of the appeal of the big agencies that can grant

today to the international community, their highest level of transparency and integrity.

And that's led them to work on the grounds of the mental health. Mental health is something that is devastating the communities. Starting from

children that now are living without their parents, the mother that lost their sons and daughters they must be accompanied.

They deserve this attention from the international community and this is happening in Syria and Turkey, at the same time, and this is what must last

for years. We are ready to do. We only need to be accompanied by the support of our donors in the international community our professionals, and

not only the professionals but of course the volunteer mostly the professionals are working around the clock to listen to the pain of the


Look when an earthquake strikes and destroy like happened in Turkey, Syria, what is touched that is the soul of the community, because they have

nothing around them that can support their past their history they - so it's really an important aspect of their life.

ANDERSON: Francesco, it's good to have you on and stay in touch. The work that your societies do is obviously incredibly important. It's crucial for

those who have been devastated not only by this earthquake, but as you say in Syria. This is just catastrophe layered on catastrophe. Thank you, sir.

Just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD why could be a tricky time for the Fed amid the fallout from the collapse of a number of banks rates, banks and teen

coverage are coming up? And we are on the ground in Eastern Ukraine where Russian forces are trying to strangle the resistance in one key city by

completely surrounding it that is after this.



ANDERSON: For the first time since the invasion of Ukraine began more than a year ago Russian officials could be facing war crimes charges. Reuters

and The New York Times reporting that the ICC International Criminal Court is now planning to open two cases and issue arrest warrants for several


Well, more will focus on Russia's unrelenting attacks on civilian infrastructure including power stations and water supplies. The ICC's Chief

Prosecutor recently visited Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and take a look at the damage.

The second case will focus on the alleged abduction of Ukrainian children by Russia. CNN's Matthew Chance has details on the accusations in both

cases and a warning his report does contain some graphic images.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Its horrific attacks like this one on a Ukrainian train station last year now

reported to be prompting a first prosecution against Russia at the International Criminal Court.

Deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure, like this residential building and car park in the city of Kharkiv is a war crime under

international law. Russia says it only hits military targets. Russia also insists it does not abduct Ukrainian children by the so-called evacuees

from war torn Eastern Ukraine, shown at a Crimean summer camp.

But latest reports suggest the International Criminal Court is set to prosecute Russia for this too. Ukraine says thousands of kids are being

held some separated from living parents and indoctrinated with Russian propaganda. Many then adopted by Russian families effectively stolen

Ukraine says by the state.

But inside Russia the scandal is cast as a humanitarian mission. With the National Children's Rights Commissioner, a person named Maria Lvova-Belova

discussing with President Putin their personal involvement. Did you adopt a child from Mariupol yourself? Putin asks on state television, yes, she

responds, thanks to you.

But Putin and his subordinates have far more immediate worries than any eventual prosecution. Not least growing grassroots opposition, if not to

the war in Ukraine itself, then at least to how it's being fought? Like these women from the Moscow region standing up for their men sent to fight.

Their sons and husbands were trained to use artillery the speaker says.


But were sent to the front lines and used as Storm Troopers instead, like lambs to the slaughter she complains. It is that kind of allegation of

wrongdoing against Russians in this war. Not Ukrainians, to which the Kremlin may be far more sensitive. Matthew Chance CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, on the ground in Ukraine, there is fierce fighting and shelling in the eastern part of the city. At least three civilians dead

Tuesday in the Donetsk region from Russian attacks. Ukraine's president insists his forces must win the battle for Bakhmut even though the Russian

military is attempting to encircle that city. Ivan Watson is in eastern Ukraine and joins us live. What have you witnessed there since you've been

on the ground in that part of the country?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for instance, this morning, Becky, I heard a loud boom at about 8.30 in the morning in

the distance. And it turned out to have been likely the impact of what Ukrainian police say was a Kh-58 cruise missile, slamming into a four story

apartment building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk.

So we arrived on the scene of that. And I just want to stress that that kind of impact is something that Ukrainian towns or cities are seeing day

after day in different locations with deadly results, again, on a daily basis.

So we arrive on the scene of just one of these incidents and see that, you know, the firefighters who put the fire out already, the rescue workers

have worked through at least one victim, one civilian, their body was taken away, several other people wounded.

I spoke with a 76-year-old man who had been with his wife cleaning rubble from their kitchen, he was taking a break, sitting outside, and I was

struck by how stoic he was, as well as the others in that area. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't blame anyone. It's just a stupid time now. I just wished this could have happened earlier or later by 30 years. It's

enough. Do I need this in my old age, all of this?


WATSON: And, you know, just about 100 meters from where that man was sitting was kindergarten number 49. And that's where all the glass in the

building pretty much all of it was shattered. There you had a bunch of teachers and volunteers sweeping up glass, they'd received plywood from the


Something's flying. Anyway, and mercifully, there were no children in that school, when the impact happened at 8.30 in the morning. The director of

the school told me that the children have not been going to that school for some six months, that they are all they've been evacuated from that area.

So basically, all of this is a reminder of the hazards and the dangers that people are living with in cities and towns close to the front lines that

run for hundreds of miles, a result of Russia's invasion of this country more than a year ago. Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan, we'll let you go sir. Thank you for your reporting and for the update on the ground from that part of the country. We've got two huge

banking stories for you this week. First, investor fear does appear to be receding somewhat after the dramatic collapse of two U.S. banks Silicon

Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Right now investors getting a bit of a breather on Wall Street as the market there rallies on the latest U.S. inflation report. Here's how stocks

are faring as we speak. This is the Dow Jones industrial average up one and a half percent. You can see that tech lead NASDAQ up nearly two and a half

and the S&P 500 up 2 percent.

So, some relief on these latest figures, I'm going to get an update on those momentarily. And in Europe fresh fears about Credit Suisse amid new

accounting problems with that banking has been in battled, it's a Swiss bank which is just unveiled its delayed annual report pointing to what he

calls material weaknesses and its financial reporting.

So, let's start there. I want to bring in CNN's Anna Stewart live from London. The bank warning of material weaknesses in its financial reporting,

what does that even mean, Anna?


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, that is an extremely good question. And this came with the annual report, which was delayed last week, because the

SEC flagged concerns over some of the financial reporting from previous years 2019 and 2020. So, within the report we got today, we also got this.

This is a statement from Credit Suisse, essentially saying that they failed to adequately identify potential risks when it came to financial


And they said, they've concluded that this material weakness could result in misstatements of account balances, or disclosures that would result in a

material misstatement to the annual financial statements of the bank. Now, in actual fact, it now says that the full year results are unaffected.

And it also says that the years that the SEC had question 2019 and 2020, they say, fairly present, the financial conditions. So really, it's very

hard to know what to make of this report other than the fact that it's surprising that there were any kind of weaknesses in financial reporting

from a bank. However, this is a bank that has undergone scandal after scandal, failures of risk management, failures of corporate governance. So,

in that sense, it isn't surprising.

Now shareholders of this bank are up possibly not very happy and haven't been for some time, the share price OK, this morning, it was down 5 percent

is paired some of those losses, but you know what, it was down 9 percent yesterday, on also all the contagion that you mentioned from SVB. And

actually, in the last year, it's lost about 70 percent of its value so really a cratering of the share price, Becky?

ANDERSON: Anna, good to have you. This against the backdrop of the current nervousness in the banking sector following the collapse, of course of SVP

and signature not conflating the two but given that we've got this kind of this backdrop to this latest news on Credit Suisse, you can understand why

the market is a little nervous.

CNN's Rahel Solomon is with us live from New York. What we want to talk about, of course, are the latest inflation figures. Rahel, SVB was a huge

shock to the system this week, we are seeing the Fed, clearly, you know, about to act again, on interest rates.

And that interest rate story has very much been at the heart of what was the systemic breakdown of investment decisions by these two banks. How's

the CPI, the latest numbers from the U.S. on inflation changed, if at all, they're thinking about where the Fed might go next?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, as you alluded to, I mean, the Federal Reserve has a lot to think about next week when the Fed meets.

And when we hear from the Fed, because, as you pointed out there SVB and the failure of these regional banks, SVB and Signature are really

complicates what the Fed does next, with many in the investment community saying, maybe they should take a pause before they break anything else.

But yes, to your point, we did get new inflation data today, which actually came in matching economist expectations, which is something that we have

not been able to say the last year or so inflation is almost always surprised to the upside.

So, headline CPI Consumer Price Index, inflation prices rising about 6 percent on an annual basis that matched economist expectations and core

inflation, which surely strips away more volatile categories Becky, like energy and food that also match expectations five and a half percent on an

annual basis.

What is however more concerning on the inflation front is in categories that are considered essentials than necessities; we are still seeing really

significant prices there? So food prices are up nine and a half percent from last year shelter prices or accommodations, if you want to think about

it that way, those prices are up 8.1 percent.

And Becky was actually those shelter prices, those accommodation prices that was the largest contributor for headline inflation. So still a lot of

work to do, and a lot for the Federal Reserve to consider when they meet next week.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating times, important times for depositors of those banks. It looks as if the crisis is averted. But there is clearly some real

concern around not just these, these Silicon Valley Banks or even these Regional Banks but there's been a real sense of concern here in the UAE and

around this region about what happens next with regard to financial, the financial sector.

All right, thank you for that. The sudden meltdown of these banks, also holding up a mirror to the U.S. relationship between money and politics CNN

offering more analysis on what observers are calling me hyper politicized reaction to the drama in Washington and on the Republican 2024 campaign

trail we'll find that on your CNN app well worth a read.

This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson live from our Middle East Broadcasting headquarters here in Abu Dhabi. Still ahead, closing a multi-

national deal, what Australia is buying from the U.S. and getting from the UK and why that is sparking outrage in China.


ANDERSON: And as feared the death toll in Malawi rises after a relentless and record breaking cyclone devastates parts of southern Africa.


ANDERSON: China is leveling scathing criticism at a nuclear submarine deal revealed at what is known as the AUKUS meeting in California. AUKUS, the

Australian, U.S. and British leaders announcing Australia or buy new U.S. nuclear powered submarines to counter China's growing influence in the Indo

Pacific region.

Beijing today accused those countries of going down to "wrong and dangerous road". The deal calls for American subs to arrive in Australia in the early

2030s. Australia will eventually build its own submarines using American technology and British design.

Well, it's been a busy week also with regard Beijing, there a big political gathering of Communist Party officials wrapped up. China has played the

role of Middle East mediator while building stronger ties with international prior Russia. And taking some swipes at the U.S. CNN's Selina

Wang takes a look at what has been a very busy time for Beijing.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Chinese leader Xi Jinping vows to build the country's military into a great wall of steel. In his first

speech of his unprecedented third term as president, with the biggest applause from the rubber-stamp Parliament came after Xi repeated the pledge

to reunite Taiwan with the Motherland.

It marks the end of a week-long political meeting that saw Xi further consolidate his power and drive home how China needs to fortify itself

against America's campaign to contain the country. Less than a day after his speech, U.S. President Joe Biden hosting British and Australian leaders

to discuss details of the new ARCUS Defense Pact that seen as a bid to counter China in the Pacific.

China's new Foreign Minister Qin Gang has accused Washington of plotting an Asia Pacific version of NATO and called America's China's strategy a

reckless gamble. But Li Qiang tried striking a more conciliatory tone in his first press conference as Premier, China's number two official.

Li said U.S. and China decoupling is hype, pointing out that trade between the two countries reached a record high last year. One of Xi's most trusted

proteges Li is the former Shanghai party boss that oversaw the city's brutal two-month COVID lockdown last spring.


He tried downplaying Beijing's crackdown on tech and private businesses, calling on officials to support private sector growth. But Li steps into

premiership with a tough road ahead. The economy still battered after three years of tough COVID restrictions, U.S. sanctions and deteriorating

diplomatic relations with the West.

But China's economic and political powers are growing elsewhere. Beijing hosted talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran that led to a break through, the

two nations agreed to bury the hatchet and restore ties. It's a geopolitical wind amid growing concerns about Beijing's deepening ties with

Russia and refusal to call the conflict in Ukraine an invasion.

ALFRED WU, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY: Xi Jinping make it very clear that he wants to restore China's position; China

will play a leadership law in the international arena. I will say that Xi Jinping tried to learn from Putin to consolidate his power. So, he sees

Russia and also Putin leadership as a lower model. Their relationship is too deep.

WANG (voice over): But Beijing is trying to use that relationship to build the narrative that Xi Jinping is a global problem solver, one who calls the

shots at home and abroad. Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


ANDERSON: Well, let's get you up to speed on some of the stories that are on our radar right now. And Facebook's parent company Meta planning to lay

off another 10,000 employees, it will mark the second round of significant job cuts full company in the last four months. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said

the company needs to improve its efficiency.

U.S. President Joe Biden says he intends to visit Northern Ireland next month for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The U.S.

helped broker that deal that brought an end to decades of sectarian violence. Mr. Biden invited to those celebrations by British Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak.

Video shows police using tear gas inside and around the residence of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. They have taken control of the area

and are trying to disperse crowds in order to arrest him. We are working to get more information about that arrest.

Well, this waterspout you see behind me popped up on Lake Malawi yesterday as Cyclone Freddy wreaked havoc on the country's southern region. Malawi

confirming at least 190 people dead in that storm more than 500 others are injured and dozens more have been reported missing.

And that is in addition to at least 10 killed in Mozambique. Larry Madowo is monitoring the situation; he joins us out of Nairobi, Kenya. I mean,

firstly, what is the forecast at this point?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The warning from the meteorological department in Malawi is that the potential for torrential rain and strong

winds is still high, that still could happen. Because even though Cyclone Freddy has made landfall towards Southern Africa, the worst is still not

behind them so that they're still encouraging people to move to higher ground to be anywhere.

That's the likelihood the path of the storm to move away from there because right now, there are people who remain trapped in their homes or in schools

in places where they thought they could shelter. And then the storm sides, the flash flooding and the extreme rainfall have just locked them in.

Since the second time that Cyclone Freddie made landfall in Mozambique, it's spread as far as some parts of Zambia Zimbabwe, but the worst affected

is Southern Malawi, where more than 190 people have died, that number will likely increase sadly, because that was at 10 a.m. local time in Malawi.

It's been about seven hours.

So, when the disaster authority they updated the numbers at the end of the day, unfortunately, the very likelihood is that that number could be much

higher. Some health hospitals, some health facilities are overwhelmed in one facility where the health minister was speaking. They were receiving

patients as frequently as every five minutes.

And the only silver lining is that because they built some tents and some extra capacity to deal with COVID patients, this was not being repurposed

to deal with the victims of Cyclone Freddy in seven, seven Malawi, where 10 districts have been worst hit, roads have been sometimes cut off or

impassable. And in places where there were households where their homesteads, it's all turned into Rubble, watch this one eyewitness.


STEVE PANGANANI MATERA, RESIDENT: There are plenty of houses, plenty of houses, but there are of course, plenty of forests down in the mud, flood

of forests.



MADOWO: So, there's still some ground to cover here until the Cyclone Freddy clears this southern African region where it's been traveling almost

8000 kilometers has been in this region for about a month. It's on track to be the longest tropical cyclone ever. And this is on top of a severe

cholera crisis that Malawi has been facing. 1500 people have died, so this will just exacerbate an already poor situation.

ANDERSON: Larry Madowo on the story for you. Larry, thank you. And some news just coming into CNN a magnitude 4.6 aftershock has hit the central

Turkish province of Kahramanmaras. This comes of course a month or just over a month after that massive earthquake destroyed parts of Turkey and

Syria and left more than 54,000 people dead.

That's a 4.6 aftershock hitting the central Turkish province of Kahramanmaras, an area that has been devastated in what were the, what was

the first earthquake and then the enormous aftershock that hit that area back at the beginning of February taking a very short break, back after



ANDERSON: Here in the UAE the biggest telecom company in the country is undergoing a makeover. e& formerly known as Etisalat rebranded last year as

it tries to evolve in line with the industry from a legacy telecom company to a tech company when is a Telco not a Telco when it calls itself a Tetco

these days.

And this one had a bumpy year with over 7 percent growth in net profit. Its key market is here in the Emirates, but it operates in 16 countries across

the Middle East Africa and Asia while it is now expanding into entertainment into artificial intelligence, and even the metaverse. Well, I

sat down with the CEO Hatem Dowidar earlier, and asked him where the opportunities are in evolving into this world of tech. Have a listen to our


HATEM DOWIDAR, CEO, E&: We'll see the growth in digital services. So, we have been investing in digital services recently. And this is part of our

transformation from just being a Telco to a Tetco.

We see there are lots of underserved customers across these markets, in entertainment, in FinTech, also in the areas of things like super apps,

where some of the big players globally have thoughts of these markets, and we see an opportunity there and we see that as an opportunity for growth.

ANDERSON: Many of your 163 million customers around this region and beyond are in countries that are frankly, quite challenged. I mean markets that

are quite challenged. And I'm thinking them at, for example, Pakistan and Egypt. Where you're biggest challenges do you believe and what are your

forecasts for growth?

DOWIDAR: We've been operating these two markets for over two 15 years. We've got cycles where we've seen currency devaluations. This is not the

first time that we see weak economies and weak currencies in these markets.


But the growth in these markets is always double digits. So always in a matter of years, what you lose in terms of revenues in dollar terms, you

substitute again, by the foster growth in these markets.

ANDERSON: One of your major acquisitions last year was the stake in Vodafone. Now at 14 percent as I understand it, making you the largest

shareholder in that company, what are your plans to expand that international portfolio?

DOWIDAR: Look, Europe, it's very hard. Now Europe is saturated, it's very hard to go and acquire, for example, a new license. In Europe and the

continent, there are almost 200 operators. So, if you want exposure to European markets, and that's what we wanted, we wanted to look at who are

the big players there. And Vodafone of course, is one of the very prominent players in Europe.

And it's a listed company with high liquidity which allows then a significant investment to happen. Investing in Vodafone for us gave us

several advantages. One is exposure to the European market. Second one is currency diversification. So, we have exposure to the Dirham here in the

UAE. We have exposure to the Saudi Riyal to the Moroccan Dirham as well. And we wanted exposure to other also stable currencies and Vodafone of

course, is highly euro and Sterling Pound based.

ANDERSON: Etisalat as it was known in the past now e& is partnered with Huawei to roll out 5G. The U.S. has put pressure on the UAE to distance

itself from China and specifically from that organization's technology. How are you as a company navigating that sort of geopolitical pressure?

DOWIDAR: Look for us as a business we follow what regulators in different markets say. So, if a regulator in a market where we operate would say,

this supplier should not be used, then we will not use--

ANDERSON: And the UAE hasn't said that, Huawei is a business--

DOWIDAR: They are an approved supplier. They exist here. And their technology is good.

ANDERSON: There is a new world of integrating the use of satellite into 5g being billed as one of the solutions to bridging the digital divide. What

impact do you believe this will have on your business and for the consumer?

DOWIDAR: We're testing a lot of different approaches in order to be able to get 5g everywhere. And I think in parallel, there is a world of technology

there that's working on low orbit satellites, which also will provide eventually solutions for areas that are hard to cover very remote villages,

for example, desert areas, seas and so on. So, I think there is a convergence that that happens between 5g also some of the technologies like

satellite, and we will see a lot of that coming over the next five to 10 years.

ANDERSON: What is it that we should expect to see that you know is going to be a game changer that we don't know about yet?

DOWIDAR: I think the metaverse is going to be a game changer. I think it will change.

ANDERSON: You hope or you think it will?

DOWIDAR: No, I think it will, I think it will. And I think the metaverse will be a game changer because the way the Internet came in the last decade

and became part of everyday life. And the Internet has become a kind of a two-dimensional thing that you see in the screen. I think things from

shopping experience to education to entertainment will become significantly different in the Metaverse--

ANDERSON: Have you made a big bet on the metaverse as an organization?

DOWIDAR: We have, we have invested in Metaverse, and we've actually two services that are live today still mostly entertainment. But I think we're

going to go a lot more into business solutions for the Metaverse.

There will be a lot of education where we're working also with several partners to develop solutions. So, I think the Metaverse is the thing that

will be significantly different over the next decade than what we have today.

ANDERSON: Your business and focus today e& here in the UAE. Well still ahead new protests in Israel after Parliament push it's - at controversial

judicial overhaul plan, that is after this.



ANDERSON: Israel's parliament the Knesset has moved to another step closer to passing what is an extremely controversial judicial overhaul bill.

Protests against that plan have been going on across Israel now for weeks. If you've been watching the show, you will be well aware.

And today, demonstrators in Jerusalem chained themselves together to block the road to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office. Now that followed a

heated overnight vote in the Knesset to advance the plan. Hadas Gold joining me from Jerusalem! Hadas just bring us up to date where do we stand

on this plan and remind us why it is so controversial?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, the Israeli parliament the Knesset, which is run by a Benjamin Netanyahu's party and his coalition

allies are trying to push this, this massive judicial overhaul through in record lightning speed. They want this all done actually wrapped up,

signed, sealed, and delivered within the next few weeks. And for the reforms as massive as this that is incredibly speedy.

Now, what happened last night overnight, was essentially two key elements of this massive reform package pass their first votes. All of these bills,

which there are several of them that make up this big overhaul, require three readings before they go into law.

But this is considered significant because two of the most significant elements of this massive reform. Now what they are, the first one is the

override bill; this is what we've been talking about. This is the ability for the Israeli parliament, which essentially would mean whatever party is

in power to essentially overturn Supreme Court rulings.

It would also require if the Supreme Court wants to overturn certain laws; it needs to have essentially a supermajority 12 out of the 15 sitting

judges, in order to be able to overturn a law. Right now, it's just a simple majority of the Supreme Court.

They're also adding within this amendment, that the Parliament could essentially add a clause into a bill saying, and by the way, Supreme Court,

you cannot overturn this, if a simple majority of the Israeli parliament passes this bill on all three of its readings.

The other element that was passed last night is essentially saying that a sitting Prime Minister cannot be declared unfit for office only for reasons

of mental, mental or physical reasons, and can only be done so by him or with a 75 percent majority of the cabinet.

This is being seen as by the opposition as a direct amendment to help Benjamin Netanyahu. Keep in mind; he faces a still ongoing corruption

trial. And there are already petitions in front of the Supreme Court to essentially deem him unfit for office because of the issues surrounding

this corruption trial.

So those two elements of this big reform, there's I would say, at least a dozen sort of bills connected to this reform, they all still need to pass

they all are at different levels. But the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, they want to push these through over in the next few


Now, supporters of these reforms, they say that they are sorely needed to essentially they say rebalance the branches of government. They say the

Supreme Court is essentially meddling in what the voters have voted for that by overturning laws that that the politicians have passed their

overturning the will of the voters.

And they want these passed. And the opponents say that the judiciary - that this will destroy the independence of the judiciary, and it will

potentially harm minority rights. And they fear that it is essentially the beginning of the end of Israeli democracy. And as you know that there have

been now more than two months of regular massive protests and they're expecting to have more massive protests later this week. Becky?

ANDERSON: Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem for you. Well, ahead of Israel's largest venture capital firm is weighing in on that judicial overhaul plan.

Shlomo Dovrat sat down with my colleague Richard Quest before last month; he hadn't granted media interviews in 20 years. Well, Richard asked him,

what compelled him to speak out now, have a listen.


SHLOMO DOVRAT, CO-FOUNDER & GENERAL PARTNER, VIOLA GROUP: I'm worried about what is going on in Israel right now. I'm worried about the consequences of

what will happen if this reform, this legal reform is passing. And I thought my voice needs to be heard. I do hope to go back to my - for

another two decades of silence after this will pass.

RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: What is the fundamental fear that you have?

DOVRAT: My biggest concern is that if this reform passes, the independence of the judicial branch, the courts in Israel which are very important

element of democracy will be hurt. And the unintended consequences but real consequences will be that Israel will lose its status and its core values

as a democracy. And I think that has huge consequences both economically because foreign investors will not feel as safe to invest in the country.


I think it has a huge impact on the cohesiveness and the lack of social cohesiveness in the country. This country is now torn apart; you can see

hundreds of thousands of people in the streets. I think both sides have patriots.

I don't think the people that have presented this reform really mean to abolish democracy or to hurt human rights. But there are unintended

consequences and economic research and historical research shows that when you heard the courts, you heard democracy.


ANDERSON: Important words from one of Israel's biggest and Richard Quest reporting this week from Israel be sure to watch Quest Means Business

later, on CNN airing at 8 pm in London, that is midnight here in Abu Dhabi. More coming up on CNN, stay tune from my team here in the UAE and those

working with us around the world, it is a very good evening.