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Connect the World

Israeli PM Insists Pause is Temporary & Judicial Reforms are Necessary; Netanyahu Delays Judicial Overhaul after Protests & Strikes; Search for Answers after Nashville School Shooting; 10th Day of Nationwide Protests over Pension Reforms; Aramco to Acquire 10 Percent Stake in Chinese Petrochemical Company; Plans for "50 Percent Female" F1 Team. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 28, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: This hour Israel's far right National Security Minister gets the power to form a National Guard. Why some are calling that

a private militia and what this could mean for Israelis and Palestinians?

First up though, police say the school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee happened over the course of 14 minutes. Three adults and three children

were killed. The shooter had assault style weapons.

Protesters have taken to the streets of France for the 10th day of major protests there. Unions are calling on President Macron to put his pension

reform on hold. Well, on the frontlines Ukraine's top land commander says Kyiv is aiming to deplete Russian forces in Bakhmut to get ready for an


And the Saudi Crown Prince today shared a call with China's President reaffirming his commitment to mending ties with Iran. That conversation

taken place just a day off the Saudis Oil Giant Aramco bought a significant stake in a Chinese Petrochemical Company.

Welcome back to the second hour of "Connect the World" wherever you are watching you're more than welcome. After a dramatic day in Israel on

Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu's plans to overhaul the judicial system have been postponed.

Mr. Netanyahu struck a deal with his far right National Security Minister Ben-Gvir in order to push the vote down the road kick the can down the road

after until after Passover in April. On an exchange, Ben-Gvir will oversee a new National Guard. Keep in mind this is a man that has been convicted

for supporting terrorism and inciting anti-Arab racism. And it is yet to be seen whether the delay in this judicial reform will change anything in the

plans to overhaul the judiciary?

So tonight we ask how much power does this give Ben-Gvir. Well, my next guest was Israel's Deputy National Security Adviser and he now specializes

in Israeli Security Strategy Chuck Freilich joins us now live. And I will put that question directly to you, sir. It's good to have you! How much

power is this putting in the hands of the ultra-nationalists en-Gvir?

CHUCK FREILICH, FORMER ISRAEL'S DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: First of all, let me just say Former Deputy National Security Adviser. I think first

of all, we have to wait and see if this really happens. Israel in general and Mr. Netanyahu specifically are famous for coalition agreements that

never actually materialized.

And I think there will be great pressure on the Prime Minister both from within Israel and from the international community, not to really give Ben-

Gvir very much power here. I imagine he will have to do something just to at least to make it look good, because he wants to keep the coalition


I imagine he won't want to go too far on this. If he does, it would be very dangerous as you correctly noted, Mr. Ben-Gvir has been convicted of

charges of terrorism and racism. And he's been indicted many other times.

ANDERSON: I spoke to somebody that you will know well, yesterday as the news was breaking of the pause in this reform sir. Former Prime Minister

Ehud Barak, who described the decision as such have a listen.


EHUD BARAK, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: National Guard is not a stupid idea. It's totally needed. But if someone who wants it is a formal senior

police person or politician with background in security on this, that's OK.

But this guy Ben-Gvir was indicted 53 times and convicted eight times one of them was about connection to tell - within the Jewish community. So

that's a lunatic step of Netanyahu, which shows to what extent he cannot make it - judgments.


ANDERSON: That was Ehud Barak yesterday, immediately after the decision was made. I hear what you say about the potential for this possibly not

happening. Benjamin Netanyahu and these coalition governments have formed but were for this to happen and I want to pursue this.

This year - past year has been one of the most violent on record between Israelis and Palestinians and we are well aware of the significant concerns

about a further ratcheting up in violence. How concerned are you given that backdrop that this power would be in the hands of Ben-Gvir this National



FREILICH: Yes, so I'm very concerned about it. He is who he is, and for the Former Prime Minister described it very precisely, and it was basically

what I had said previously. Look, we have to see what happens.

It will take time; this is not something that's going to happen overnight, at least in any significant way. And what's happened in Israel in recent

weeks, I would say both one of the worst moments in its history. This is certainly the worst domestic crisis we have ever faced something that shake

the pillars of Israel's democracy.

In many ways, it was also Israeli democracy's finest hour because we saw mass numbers of people turning out to protest, and they forced an end to

this. And if Ben-Gvir is given the kind of powers that he certainly hopes he will be given, well, but people get - demonstrations aren't over.

This is going to continue in any event. And if that happens, we will see the numbers coming out again. In the last few days there have been 500,000,

600,000 people turning out to put that in American terms, multiply that by 40. And I think then you can understand the overwhelming political power of

public opinion that has come to play here.

ANDERSON: Palestinians from the occupied territories will say, you know, raise an eyebrow about whether democracy as many on the streets have been

describing it has been restored, sir. And I know that you will understand that argument.

Under what sort of pressure do you believe Israel's national security is at this point? And how concerned are you about the fracturing of Israel over

these last 12 weeks since this coalition government has come to power? And the challenges that Israel may face going forward?

FREILICH: Well, first of all, the Palestinians will perceive the situation as they wish, but I repeat what I said. I think we saw a very, very strong

demonstration of democracy in Israel. I am very concerned about the security situation.

We see a situation in which if I was, let's say, the Supreme Leader of Iran, or the Head of Hezbollah I would be sitting back and gloating and

saying why should we invest billions? What do we need this nuclear program for? Israel's destroying itself from within. And it is not just the two of

them, its Hamas.

It's terrorist in the West Bank. And there's a potential convergence now for all of these fronts together. It can be almost a perfect storm from

Israel's point of view at a time when we are in the midst of the worst domestic crisis and the IDF Israel Defense Forces was in serious danger of

unraveling. It's not over yet, either.

ANDERSON: And Benjamin Netanyahu, his critics will say what has brought this on Israel himself, has he?

FREILICH: Excuse me, I lost contact. How did it?

ANDERSON: Benjamin Netanyahu's critics will argue that this breakdown, this concern that you have just described about Israel's national security is a

direct result of the decisions or lack of decisions until yesterday that Benjamin Netanyahu has taken.

FREILICH: I couldn't agree more. I think the Prime Minister's decision making process in recent months, is questionable at best irresponsible in

point of fact. And the truly remarkable thing is that Sunday night, he fired his Defense Minister who came out and said I fully support the

reforms, but we have to slow it down a bit and do it more conceptually.

And then 24 hours later, Netanyahu comes in says exactly that. We'll get to slow it down and do it more conceptually. It's quite unclear what's - how

he's making his decisions now?

ANDERSON: Is Benjamin Netanyahu just trying to buy himself some time. Clearly he has been leant on heavily by Washington as he is being leant on

by the Gulf States, certainly those who have normalized relations with the Israelis, who are condemning action against Palestinians and the settler

moves in the settler rhetoric. Is he just trying to buy some time here and get himself I get a trip to Washington?


FREILICH: Well, he seems to have gotten his trip to Washington. But I think what's really motivating this and let me get there. I'll step back for a

second. The Israeli judicial system is an extraordinary system and it was widely respected, it was considered one of the best ones in the world until

three months ago.

Now, any governmental system can be improved, including this one, which really motivating this, it's not just a matter of biding time, is I think

the Prime Minister is trying to subvert the judicial process and in the process, Israeli democracy to keep himself out of jail.

Now, of course, innocent until proven guilty, but his behavior indicates that he is very, very concerned that at the end of his current trial, which

is underway as we speak, he may be going to jail.

ANDERSON: As he done enough to mend one have been very, much fractured relations with the Biden Administration in Washington?

FREILICH: No. First of all, you're writing - previously when you were saying that there's been heavy pressure from the U.S. from the Gulf States,

and there is severe domestic pressure. I think that U.S. Israeli relations were headed for a very difficult patch in any event.

And what we've seen in the last couple of months is people beginning to doubt Israel's fundamental democratic character because what was at stake

here and in the end still is. We have a brief respite now, but the issue is still ahead of us. And the pressure from the U.S. will continue.

ANDERSON: Chuck, good to have you on. Thank you very much indeed! Chuck Freilich with us. We did discuss the argument that this movement can't

really be pro-democracy because Palestinian population is living under an occupation that is illegal under international law.

Let's bring in my next guest, who is a Human Rights Lawyer and a Former Adviser to the Negotiating Team of the Palestinian Authority Diana Buttu

has been tweeting and I quote "It is amazing how Israel's protests are being labeled by many as democracy protests while conveniently ignoring

Israel's apartheid rule over Palestinians" she says.

Diana Buttu joins me now via Skype from Haifa, in Israel! Netanyahu's decision to delay this judicial overhaul has certainly restored some calm

to the streets of Israel. Let's just start there. If he manages to keep this calm and keep his coalition secure, he will likely and already has

made some serious concessions to his ultra nationalist partners.

And is likely to make more which I think you will agree with me are likely to be to the detriment of the Palestinians. Can you just explain what your

perspective is here and how concerned you are?

DIANA BUTTU, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER AND A FORMER ADVISER: Yes, certainly, Becky thanks for having me. Look, when Netanyahu formed a government with

this coalition with these individuals, he was forming a government with people who are fascists, who are people who have made it that their party

platform is only about attacking Palestinians.

If you look at the party platform of Ben-Gvir, the man you just mentioned, he talks very openly about building and expanding settlements. He's a man

who has praised Baruch Goldstein, a man who massacred 29 Palestinians in the City of Hebron as they were praying.

He also entered into a coalition with a man named Smotrich who has been at the forefront of calling for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns, and

who himself has indicated that Palestinians only remain as citizens of Israel, the 20 percent who are citizens by accident, because Ben-Gvir

didn't finish off the job in 1948.

So what Netanyahu has done is he has entered into a coalition, not just with right wing but with fascists and right wing is a mild term. And it's

because he's entered into this coalition, that we see that Palestinians once again, are paying the price for Israel's electoral choices.

So yes, there may be calm in the streets of Tel Aviv, when it comes to these protests, they may eventually die down. But for Palestinians, the

reality remains the same, which is that we are living under an apartheid regime where people who are Jewish are afforded supreme rights and those

who are Palestinian are not afforded rights at all. And this is only going to get worse as time passes because of this government and because of

international inaction.

ANDERSON: Diana Buttu you wrote this very narrative in a piece for "The New York Times" back in December when this coalition government came to being

at the time you said Israelis have put Benjamin Netanyahu back in power. Palestinians will likely pay the price. You may not have expected to see

what we've seen necessarily play out although perhaps you will.


The question we are posing tonight is a very simple one. Does the power to run a National Guard being in the hands of Israel's National Security

Adviser Ben-Gvir worry you I mean big time? We've been asking whether he - this is too much power. Let's be quite clear he may not get that power. But

what's your perspective?

BUTTU: Absolutely, this is worrisome, and it's the equivalent of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. This is a man who has not only been

indicted for incitement and for terrorism, but he's been convicted of it as well.

He's made it no secret that he doesn't want to see Palestinians around. And just last night, even after Netanyahu indicated that he was going to back

off from this judicial overhaul process, we saw that his supporters took to the streets and attacked Palestinians in Jerusalem.

So this is obviously very troublesome and very worrisome, and I don't believe that we should be downplaying it or saying that somehow this won't

come to pass, it will come to pass. And even if it doesn't come to pass, the mere fact that he has given such a green light to Ben-Gvir indicates

that Netanyahu supports the actions of Ben-Gvir.

He supports these statements, these actions that he's taken in the past and that he's going to take in the future. Again, this is a man who was praised

a mass murderer and called him his hero.

ANDERSON: Diana earlier this month, the Israeli government scrapped a law that basically opens the doors for settlers to return to areas in the West

Bank, they were previously barred from. That has received widespread condemnation from the international community, including the U.S. and the

region where I am including a number of countries.

The UAE, being one of them, others normalized relations with Israel. Is that condemnation, enough while sort of internationalize have been on these

judicial protests by sorry protests by Israelis on the streets of Israel? Is that condemnation on this sort of twin track enough?

BUTTU: No, absolutely not. Look Becky, just since the start of the year, Israel has already killed 80 Palestinians, including children, since the

start of the year; they've already announced tens of thousands of settlement housing units. And they've already proceeded at a pace when it

comes to demolishing and destroying Palestinian homes.

So everything that they have done is worthy of condemnation, but condemnation isn't enough. We've lived with these condemnations now for

decades upon decades, but now is the time for actual action.

This is why I and others have been saying that it's the time for Israel to be facing economic sanctions, to not be treated as though it's somehow a

normal country, and to not have normalized relations with any country around the world.

This is a government that is based on ethnic cleansing it is a country that's based on it. And it's now time in the year 2023 for the world to

take action rather than just sit by issue yet another condemnation which Israel will ignore the time for action is now.

ANDERSON: Diana Buttu, your analysis and insight is important. It's good to have you on the show. And to note we have invited members of Israel's

government onto this show "Connect the World". You're welcome to take up our invitation that invitation is open we are yet to hear back. I'm going

to take a very short break, back after this.




SHARON HURT, METROPOLITAN NASHVILLE COUNCIL MEMBER: When is enough, enough? I mean we have a legislature who is doing the opposite of providing

protection and safety for our children.


ANDERSON: Well, Nashville is grieving after a school shooting to the lives of three adults and three children. Look at this photo a more heart rending

and quintessentially American scene hard to imagine. These are the victims, three students each only nine years old and three adults. Well, here's what

we know about the shooter.

Audrey Hale was 28 years old and a former student at the school. Hale contacted a former classmate via Instagram minutes before the attack saying

they were planning to die by suicide and it will be on the news. CNN's Amara Walker has more unhealed the attack and how that community is now



AVERY MYRICK, COVENANT SCHOOL TEACHER'S DAUGHTER: I don't know how somebody could go through with doing something like that and especially children

like just it are disgusting. And yes, I just I have no words.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This morning another community is in mourning after what police are calling a targeted attack by

a 28-year-old Audrey Hale, a former student who showed up on campus to execute a pre-written plan.

JOHN DRAKE, NASHVILLE POLICE CHIEF: And it indicates that there was going to be shootings at multiple locations. And, and the school was one of them.

There was actually a map of the school detailing surveillance entry points and how this was going to be carried out on this day.

WALKER (voice over): Metro Nashville police releasing more than two minutes of surveillance video showing the moment Hale arrived on campus. In the

video Hale is seen driving through the parking lot of the Covenant school and a Silver Honda Fit. The security camera footage then cuts to video of

Hale opening fire on glass double doors at an entrance of the school before climbing in.

As the video continues, you see Hale start roaming the hallways. Police say Hale had three weapons and AR style rifle, an AR style pistol and a handgun

along with significant ammunition. Police say they believe two of those weapons may have been obtained legally. Officers say when they arrived on

scene; Hale fired on them from a second story window one patrol car taking a bullet to the windshield.

Police say two officers confronted Hale on the second floor and Hale was killed. During the shooting, Avery Myrick was texting with her mother, a

teacher at the school.

MYRICK: I texted her and I said just like what was going on. She said she was hiding in the closet and that there was shooting all over.

WALKER (voice over): She later spoke to her mother by phone and learned she was safe. This morning we're learning more about the victims.

DON AARON, METRO NASHVILLE POLICE SPOKESPERSON: The three nine-year-olds who were killed, Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs.

WALKER (voice over): Also killed 60-year-old Catherine Coons, who according to the school's website was the head of the school. Police also identifying

61-year-old Mike Hill, a custodian and 61-year-old Cynthia Peak, a substitute teacher police continue to investigate a motive, but say they

have a theory.

DRAKE: There's some belief that there was some resentment to having to go to that school. I don't have all the details to that just yet. And that's

why this incident occurred.


ANDERSON: Well, a short time ago, police released body camera footage from Monday's shooting. CNN is reviewing that footage and we will update with

more information. Mass shootings and outrage over them are certainly not new in America. We define a mass shooting as one in which at least four

people are shot.


And you can see here, the gun violence archive lists 2021 as the most violent year in the past decade. So far this year, 129 mass shootings and

its only march. One woman who survived a mass shooting in Illinois last year was in Nashville yesterday and confronted reporters with questions.


ASHBEY BEASLEY, SURVIVED MASS SHOOTING LAST YEAR: Aren't you guys tired of covering this. Aren't you guys tired of being here and having to cover all

of these mass shootings? How is this still happening? How are our children still dying? And why are we failing them?


ANDERSON: Well, that woman is Ashbey Beasley and she later spoke with CNN. She said she's now meeting families who have gone through multiple mass

shootings in their lifetimes.


BEASLEY: You know, I was in town to visit my sister-in-law and I had made a plan to have lunch with a girlfriend who I met through the GVP space, the

Gun Violence Prevention space. She was introduced to me by a mother who lost her son and has a law called Ethan's law, but she's trying to pass.

And the friend's name is Shaundelle Brooks.

She lost her son in a mass shooting in the Waffle House in Antioch, Illinois, in Antioch, Tennessee five years ago. He was with her other son.

And we were about to have lunch when she called me and she was very upset telling me that her son, her living son, was on lockdown at his school

because there was a mass shooting at another school right down the street.

And my heart broke. And this is where we're at. We have children living through multiple mass shooting incidences. What are we doing?


ANDERSON: Well, let's discuss this with CNN Politics Congressional Reporter, Lauren Fox, who is live in Washington. It's very simple question,

what are lawmakers doing, Lauren?

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, right now the reaction from many Republicans, and remember they are in control of the

House of Representatives. So, they would be needed to pass any legislation. Their argument is that it's too soon to really be prescriptive about what

law changes need to happen. I talked to several Republicans today, who said they'd simply need more information before they understand what happened.

But you are also hearing from other Republicans saying that something like an assault weapons ban, which President Biden called for, once again

yesterday, is simply not going to work to stop these shootings. That's despite the fact that many of these shootings one of the weapons or the

weapon used is an AR-15 style rifle.

So that is where things stand right now. There was legislation that passed last summer with bipartisan support in the House and in the Senate. But it

doesn't appear that lawmakers even those involved in that negotiation, really have any solutions of how to move forward. Senator John Cornyn, he

said that they did all they can do last year. You also have Republicans like Steve Scalise saying that Democrats are trying to politicize this in

the wake of the shooting.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): There are some people unfortunately, that want to try to exploit a tragedy for their own political gain. And that's not,

that's not something that people should be first thinking about when you have a tragic. In this country, there are threats every day, crime is out

of control. And law-abiding citizens are buying guns at record rates to protect themselves from violent criminals. And you've got to balance that.


FOX: And we're also getting new reporting that there does not seem to be a new push from the White House to try to pass legislation on Capitol Hill.

That's not because they don't want to see new legislation. It's simply because they know the realities on the ground. They know the realities down

Pennsylvania Avenue, and that is the fact that there is not an appetite in the Republican controlled House of Representatives to do anything on this

issue, Becky.

ANDERSON: It is. I have to just say it is quite remarkable that lawmaker. His objection was that Democrats are exploiting a tragedy for their own

political game. I'm just slightly confused as to how we got to that sentence, but he did. And you heard it here on CNN, thank you very much

indeed for joining us.

Right, we've got instant updates on the shooting and the fallout from it that is at CNN digital. Please use that site as new developments happen.

You will find them there. When "Connect the World" continues, demonstrators in France fill the streets of Paris and elsewhere, why their protests

against pension reform show no sign of easing, that after this.



ANDERSON: Well, this is Paris as we speak. These are live images coming to us from the streets of Paris. These fires are lit by the protesters who are

out on the streets of Paris and other parts of France in their tens of thousands and this view, as protests heat up this video just coming into

CNN moments ago, massive number of French citizens marching through the streets.

It's the 10th major day of strikes and protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his move to rise the retirement age from 62 to 64. French police

say they are worried that radicals could use the protests as an excuse for vandalism. I want to bring in Sam Kiley. CNN's Sam Kylie is out in the

streets of Paris, with the protesters and indeed with the police. Just describe what's going on where you are, Sam.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, well, there you go. There's a beer bottle has just come in onto the police line. So, we're just

off the main route of the protest. The police have been putting in several charges tried to disperse some of the more violent elements. So, you can

see there were rocks being thrown at us now. They're also using stun grenades to try to push some of the demonstrators away.

And of course, the demonstrators have been responding frequently with fireworks. So, it's quite noisy, Becky, that goes another stun grenade. And

essentially what - and that was a bird I was ducking from. The reality here is though, that this is been the pattern throughout a lot of the

spontaneous demonstrations here.

Last Thursday one of the organized demonstrations. This is a demonstration part of the national lockdown attempted essentially or widespread strikes

called by the main unions across the country to protest this legislation which is almost finished going through its final processes to go on to the

statute book to raise the pensionable age from 62 to 64.

But it is also if you like touched off Becky, a lot more anger on the streets of Paris and elsewhere in the country, where you've seen the

occupation of recently the - Guardian Leon earlier on today. In Paris you've seen the burning in Bordeaux of the City Hall last week and running

battles with some of these more extreme groups on the streets of Paris.


And last weekend, it was an unconnected but very violent environmental demonstration. The police forces here, the interior ministry have deployed

an extra 13,000 police and - John DOM around the country, there's an extra five and a half thousand here in Paris.

This is to getting towards the end of the demonstration in the protest. The unions are worried about the increasing levels and potential for violence

here. They call for dialogue with the government, the government has agreed on dialogue, but no dialogue over changing the direction in terms of their


But they are I think both sides, trying to deescalate. Now you go, you've got a charge now of the French police going in trying to attempt to clear

the more problematic of some of these troublemakers. The government said, Becky, that they were expecting about 1000 extremists to join these


And clearly, they're hell bent on trying to make sure that they don't gain the upper hand in what they're getting to turn into, albeit relatively

small scale, but pitch battles here on the streets of Paris. Now there's quite a lot of tear gas around. So, if I lose the ability to communicate

properly, you'll understand Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. I'm going to stay with you, though, because you've been discussing the possibility or not. I think you were making the

point of whether Emmanuel Macron is likely to step away from this decision that's been made to increase the pensionable age that's going into effect

at the end of the year.

I mean, what's the sense of how long these protests will go on? If indeed there is, maybe dialogue, but if there's no obvious U-turn by the

government, and the president at this stage I mean, how long does this go on?

KILEY: Well, I think that is the critical question both for the unions and indeed, for the government, Becky. And the reason for that is that the in

terms of the legislation, it's a done deal. So that the only thing that can happen is a U-turn is forced on the Macron Administration that they've been

absolutely adamant about, won't and cannot happen.

And as a result, the only option really, potentially, for those who are bitterly opposed to this kind of reform is to continue to maintain pressure

on the streets. But the problem there for the unions is two-fold. They don't want to see this kind of violence back and forth, destroying the

French economy. This is the tourist season that's coming towards France is very bad, ultimately, for the reputation of the French economy.

But also, the prolonged strikes that have been conducted in this country since middle of January this year mean that people are suffering people on

strike and not earning any money. And indeed, on Wednesday, the garbage collectors who've been on strike, you're going to go back, they're

suspending their strike here in Paris.

Because they simply people, poor people, people's families already struggling due to austerity measures due to rising inflation and so on,

they can't afford to stay on strike. So, there isn't the energy might go out of these protests and demonstrations. And then, of course, remember

that, actually, the numbers on this demonstration, we don't know the official figures yet.

But even the union's think that they're down on what they were like last Thursday, there is widespread anger against this policy. But isn't

necessarily going to be able to galvanize a government into doing a massive U-turn, the more of this that happens it in all probability, the less

likely indeed, that the Macron Administration will do a vote fast.

And that is because they don't want to be seen to be buckling in the face of street violence. There are some extremists on the group Ultras; they're

called the Black Bloc as they've known in the past.

ANDERSON: And just close this out, looks as if they're just sort of moving somebody away just behind you whether the guy is injured or whether they

are moving away, because he's a troublemaker, there's a guy just behind you there with the police.

So just to be quite clear, the concern it seems from the Macron government I mean, given that we are broadcasting the scenes on international TV, is

that they won't want to see a summer of discontent, will they. You know, we seem waves of protests now. We know we've seen strikes in the UK, we've

seen strikes in Germany. And this for Paris and for France, you know these images just don't do the place any favors whatsoever. Do they Sam?

KILEY: No, they don't, they are damaging. They are damaging to the French economy because they have strikes which slows the economy down. It's not

very good obviously public relations, the visit of King Charles the third.


The British King would have to be canceled for this week, he was due to be in the country today, this would have been a very awkward thing to be

confronted with, so that was canceled. So, it is undermining if you like in the shorter term, but from Macron's position, he's saying I do not want to

be facing a pension file deficit of 12.5 billion euros in three years' time rising to much higher than that by the end of the decade.

In an economy that simply cannot sustain it. That's his position. The counter position, of course, is represented perhaps by elements that have

been chucking the rocks and provoking these charges by the police. But I have to say that is a small element, it is an element very frequently

referred to here as the Black Bloc of Ultras. People who basically for whom this is somewhere between political activism and sports, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Sam, thank you. Stay safe, of course. Sam Kiley is on the streets of Paris for you as the police and protesters there push

themselves around somewhat. Thank you, Sam. All right, we're going to take a very short break, back after this.


ANDERSON: Saudi prince, let me start that again. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called China's President Xi Jinping today to reaffirm

his commitment to restoring diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Prince Salman told Mr. Xi he and I quote him here "Supports efforts to

develop neighborly relations with Iran".

Well, President Xi said Beijing is ready to continue to support talks. The surprise agreement announced earlier this month, we'll see the arch rivals

and seven years of hostility and was a major diplomatic victory for China, in the region. Well, China and Saudis relationship going beyond political


Of course, this number behind me here is a big part of the burgeoning economic ties 480,000. That is, for example, how many barrels of oil per

day Saudis Aramco will be supplying. An affiliate of Chinese company Rongsheng petrochemical, that is after the oil giant said it will be

acquiring a 10 percent stake in one of China's most important refiners in a deal worth $3.6 billion.

Let me break this down for you. This deal is a big one. Energy Intelligence's Chief OPEC Correspondent, Dubai Deputy Bureau Chief, Amena

Bakr joining me now. That is a big deal. We know the relationship between the Saudis and the Chinese is transactional.


We just spoke about the volume of oil involved in this deal alone, almost half a million barrels a day. What do you make of this?

AMENA BAKR, CHIEF OPEC CORRESPONDENT, ENERGY INTELLIGENCE: Well, actually, it's a little bit more than that, Becky between the two deals; it's around

790,000 barrels that Aramco will be supplying. It's a big dealer for sure. And it shows us the shift that's happening. You mentioned on a political

level, we're seeing China brokering deals between Iran and Saudi Arabia. And this is unprecedented.

But also on the economic side of it, we understand that Aramco has been given the mandate to make sure that all the MOU's that it signed with China

throughout the years, and especially during President Xi's visit in Riyadh last year, materialize. And this is just a portion of it; I'm expecting

more deals to be signed.

And for Aramco, really and for Saudi Arabia, it's about locking in demand. They want to make sure that their oil ends up in the market with the

largest demand. So investing in these refineries is really smart and increasingly expanding their footprint in Asia and in particular, China,

they make sure that their oil has a market.

ANDERSON: Right in 2021, bilateral trade between Saudi and China hit about I want to say $7.3 billion, that's up 30 percent from the year before, and

that's only going to grow at this point. Biden promising to tether his Saudi policy to human rights Trump before him a lot more transactional.

And as I've suggested, that is now what they are getting ultimately from the Chinese right, economic ties with a superpower not linked to universal

rights necessarily, very much a transactional relationship this one.

BAKR: Absolutely. And you reminded me of something that during President Xi's visit last year; he wrote an op-ed in one of the Arabic newspapers.

And he made it very clear that China's policy is not one of interference, and that bode really well in, in Saudi Arabia and in the Gulf in general.

They don't like a policy that interferes with their internal affairs. They want to look after their own interests. And at this point, their interest

is the least.

ANDERSON: Very quickly, another major energy deal possibly in the cards, this is the UAE's oil company ADNOC and BP making an offer to take Israeli

gas producer, NewMed private. Fill us in on the details there and the implications of this. There's an awful lot going on, of course, in this


BAKR: Yes, of course. It's a very busy Ramadan. I thought Ramadan would be slower, but we have these mega deals happening. And that's right, Becky.

Basically, ADNOC and BP announced today that they will be acquiring 50 percent of NewMed, which is the Israeli company, and which owns a major

stake in an offshore gas field, in the med.

So, this is a huge deal for ADNOC, which is seeking to expand its gas production beyond the UAE's borders. And it also shows us I mean we saw

that in 2020, the UAE normalized relations with Israel, and at the time and it said that it's going to be strengthening its ties. And we're seeing the

results of this now through these deals.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Always good to have you! Thank you for keeping us buying up to date on a couple of big moving stories from and on this

region. Thank you. Let's take a break at this point. You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson, back after this.



ANDERSON: The race for equality on the F1 track is on it seems. At least that's what one team is trying to do. Formula Equal aims to become the

first F1 team with an even 50-50 split of men and women from the paddock to the pit lane to the driver's seat and my colleague Don Riddell spoke

exclusively with the Head of Formula Equal about how they intend to pull this off, have a listen.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT (voice over): Everyone wants to be first in Formula One, but one new team would prefer to be equal. A startup venture

called Formula Equal has been quietly preparing an application to join the sport.

And they say their goal is total gender equality from the cockpit to the paddock and the boardroom. In an exclusive interview with CNN, the team's

CEO and Co-Founder Craig Pollock explained that it's been years in the making.

CRAIG POLLOCK, FORMULA EQUAL CEO AND CO-FOUNDER: So, this has been going on for close on four years, building up of a brand-new Formula One team. But

taking into our ambition to deliver and build opportunities and pathways for women to get to the very top level inside motorsports.

The concept and the idea was, of course, to try and build a Formula One team 50 percent male, 50 percent female, which is extremely hard to do if

you have an existing Formula One team, is a lot easier with a clean sheet of paper.

RIDDELL (on camera): Would you expect to have a female driver in the cockpit for the first race?

POLLOCK: I think it'd be absolutely fantastic. But the reality is to be able to get into the cockpit of a Formula One car; you've got to have a

certain number of points on your super license. I can't put my hand on my heart and say yes, but we are keeping a very close eye on it.

I just hope for the women that this is the case. But please make it very, very clear done. This is not just about women driving Formula One cars.

This is about throughout the team. We want even up to the board level, if we can do that, we would like to have a gender equal Formula One team going


RIDDELL (voice over): Currently there are 10 teams in Formula One, but it's believed there could be room for two more and proposals for four potential

teams are at various stages of development. Craig Pollock is one of the most experienced figures in the sport; he wants manage the board champion

Jacques Villeneuve. He's been a principal for two teams, including the outfit that is now Mercedes and he's worked alongside former F1 Chief

Bernie Eccleston.

As he prepares to re-enter the sport, he's assembled a coalition of partners, including the United Nations, trying to figure out how to build

and launch a team that would change the landscape of the sport.

RIDDELL (on camera): Have you managed to keep it a secret all this time, I'm amazed that none of this leaked out until now.

POLLOCK: Formula One is a little bit like a sieve. And you've got to be very careful who you talk to. So, we hadn't spoken to anybody inside

Formula One that I thought we'd leak anything out.

RIDDELL (voice over): An estimated cost for a new F1 team is more than a billion dollars and it has been heavily rumored that Saudi Arabia will be

the main backers. The third Saudi Grand Prix was recently held in Jeddah. And the kingdom has made no secret of his desire to become a key motorsport


RIDDELL (on camera): There are rumors that the Saudis are involved already, what can you say about that?

POLLOCK: We are in intense discussions with like, I would just say, a Gulf area country. I am not really in a position to talk about that. And be

open, fully open about it at this present time. That will come out in the very near future. This has to be built from the bottom up in a Gulf state.

And this is what we are aiming to do. This will be if this is pulled off, Don. This will be the first Formula One team that is truly outside of


RIDDELL (on camera): So, this really would be a new era, wouldn't it?

POLLOCK: When you go into these areas and you take a look at the top people inside the Formula One teams, they are not all English. And trust me on

this one, they should not be, if you're going to set up a Formula One team, you want the best people that you can possibly get.


And I do not care if they're Japanese, Chinese, German, had the CFO calculate, nautical miles and air miles, et cetera from one place to

another. You're actually not badly placed being placed out of the Gulf States. You fly to Australia, you fly to Singapore, you fly to Japan, very

often you're stopping in one of the Gulf States to take the next flight out.

RIDDELL (voice over): Formula Equal's intention is to race in the 2026 season and they're hoping to receive official clearance within the next few

months. And that's when the serious work will begin, leading the charge for equality and then trying to become the first among Equals. Don Riddell,



ANDERSON: From Abu Dhabi in the Gulf area, I'm Becky Anderson. You've been watching "Connect the World". "One World" with Zain Asher is up next.