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Evidence of Wagner Group Arming Militia in Sudan; The Wagner Group's Influence in Sudan's Conflict; Dozens of Women, Children among 186 Villagers Killed in Airstrikes by Ruling Military Junta Forces; Iranian Officials Threaten Activists Abroad; Prosecutors Plan to Drop Charges against Alec Baldwin; Muslims Around the World Celebrate Eid Al-Fitr Holiday. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 21, 2023 - 11:00:00   ET



ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This hour CNN finds evidence of Wagner Group's involvement in the conflict in Sudan exclusive reports. But

first on the ground in the conflict the death toll is now more than 400 a new 72-hour ceasefire has been announced. But so far nothing has stopped

the violence.

A huge blast rocked the Russian City of Belgorod leaving 20 meter crater in the city center. Moscow says the explosion was caused by an emergency drop

of munitions from a Russian Air Force jet.

From Tehran to Paris, CNN finds evidence that the Iranian regime is trying to silence voices of dissent far beyond its borders. And in the United

States sources tell CNN that President Joe Biden is ready to officially launch his 2024 campaign next week.

Welcome to our second hour of "Connect the World"! I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for Becky Anderson live in Abu Dhabi. A CNN investigation has found

evidence that the Russian Mercenary Group Wagner has been supplying Sudan's Rapid Support Forces with weapons.

The RSF militia has been battling Sudan's army for six days now hundreds have been killed in the fighting last year. A separate investigation found

that Wagner was deepening ties with Sudan's military to gain access to the country's vast gold riches.

So tonight we ask how much influence Wagner has in Sudan. CNN's Chief International Investigative Correspondent Nima Elbagir has covered both of

these stories for us and she has exclusive reporting on evidence that Russia's Wagner Group is helping arm Sudan's paramilitary group in this

latest conflict.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Sudanese and the Libyan army celebrated a successful joint operation

Wednesday, April 19th. Near the remote there's a border between Libya and Sudan having captured the Chevrolet Garrison belonging to the rival

Sudanese paramilitary rapid support forces the RSF.

But why is this military base so important given how far it is from the existential fight in Sudan's Capital Khartoum? Because CNN can reveal that

the fight in Khartoum is being influenced by what was happening at that Garrison.

A Russian resupply campaign, backed by a key regional player aimed at turning the tide in Sudan's war in favor of the RSF who have been a key

recipient of Russian training and military aid. In collaboration with all eyes on Wagner, a research group focusing on Russian proxy Wagner CNN

investigated the group's current presence in Libya.

You can see here on April 16th, one day after the fighting began in Khartoum, a Russian illusion 76 transport plane at the Al Jufra Air base in

Libya, previously identified by American intelligence as a Wagner base.

Three days later, this same plane is spotted by flight tracker aviation expert Gourgeon, coming back from the Russian airbase in Latakia, Syria

before returning to the Libyan airbase in Khadim. Images of that same plane began circulating online April 17th heading in the direction of Sudan.

Sudanese and regional sources tell CNN that weaponry was Airdrop to the RSF within that timeframe, April 15th, to April 18th, to the Chevrolet Garrison

during a period of fierce fighting, boosting the RSF.

ELBAGIR (on camera): The Al-Khadim and Al-Jufra Air bases where the Wagner plains departed from in Libya are under the control of Field Marshal

Khalifa Haftar, who commands territory in the East of Libya. Haftar and the Commander of the Rapid Support Forces Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo AKA Hemetti

have in common strategic alliances.

One with Wagner, who have that is hosting in his territory in Libya, and whom a previous CNN investigation exposed as working with Hemetti to

extract Sudanese gold. A second with the United Arab Emirates who tapped Hemetti to send forces to the conflict in Yemen, and backed Haftar in the

fighting in Libya. What does it all mean for the ongoing misery and Conflict in Sudan?


It means that both a regional Libyan General Haftar and a global player Russia are putting their thumbs on the scale, which raises the stakes for

the region for the global balance of power, and for the people of Sudan, caught in the crossfire Nima Elbagir CNN, London.


GIOKOS: Well, CNN reached out to both the Libyan General and the Wagner Group about our investigation, but did not receive a response; the RSF in a

segment to CNN denied receiving aid from Russia, or Libya. My next guest writes in Sudan then it appears we have yet another conflict sparked by a

struggle for a nation's wealth and weapons. But if that were the spark, the Wagner Group was the match.

And new Cold War is playing out in Africa and Africa seems unlikely to win. I want to welcome Martin Plaut, who joins us, now live from London. He's a

Senior Research Fellow at the University of London. And he's also the Former Africa Editor for BBC World Service News.

Great to have you on the show! It is a complex story. And one that is creating a lot of concern and to your point, that we've got this conflict

sparked by a struggle for wealth and weapons. But if that were the spark, the Wagner Group was the match. I want you to take me through what you've

learned, as this now renewed conflict is playing out?

MARTIN PLAUT, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, I don't think it's as complicated as it looks. I mean, I'm sure that some of

your guests are holding their head trying to work out what's going on by this time, because there are so many people involved. But really, it's

quite a simple issue.

If you look at Vladimir Putin, he's been working through the Wagner Group in Ukraine. But he also works through the Wagner Group in Africa. And the

Wagner Group is a perfect system, because it's a mercenary group, they send in Russian mercenaries. And they pay for it by extracting minerals.

Now, Sudan, and the area around here has been the source of wealth and gold for many, many years. I mean, like hundreds of years, if not thousands. And

that is the source of the wealth. So you have the money available through the gold and you have a keenness by the Russians to get involved. Now their

regional players then our Hemetti or -- who is fighting the Sudanese army, and he is in league with Haftar, as you say, who is in Eastern Libya.

So you put together Haftar, who has the base in Libya, you put the weapons in the hands of Hemetti, who's fighting the Sudanese army, and you pay for

it by the gold, which is extracted by various companies airlifted then, to Russia. It's a simple reaction. Now, they are also regional players that I

can talk about, but that is the triangle that's taking place.

GIOKOS: Yes. I mean, it's just simple as just following the money trail, right, because that's what you have to do.

PLAUT: Absolutely.

GIOKOS: What is interesting is we've got evidence that the Wagner Group is working with the RSF. We had another investigation that Nima Elbagir had

conducted that the Wagner Group was also working with Sudan's military, right? So they've worked for -- they've worked with both sides. So what are

Wagner Groups then endgame here? What is the endgame of all this external interference into Sudan?

PLAUT: I don't think we should talk about the Wagner Group, I think we should talk about Vladimir Putin because really, if he didn't allow it to

happen, it wouldn't take place. And what Putin wants is a base on the Red Sea.

Now, don't forget that the United States has a base in Djibouti, which is not flying troops into so that you can try and organize an extraction of

your foreign nationals, the embassy staff from Khartoum, it's going to be extremely difficult, but that's what they organizing.

Now, the Russians would like to have a similar base. And that has been offered to them along the Sudanese along the Sudanese coast, but the

problem is that this has been blocked partly by the Sudanese and partly by the Egyptians who don't really want to see another influence in the area.

The other two countries, which are involved the United Arab Emirates, who are pretty close to the RSF, and Hemetti, and Eritrea, because Eritreans

are close to the Russians, and have had lots of discussions about with them about also possibly having a base on the Red Sea?

So you get this kind of involvement of people who are sort of pro-Russia, and you get the involvement of people who are more skeptical of them, which

includes the Saudis and the Egyptians and of course the United States. And that is really how the thing is lining up but the perfect thing for Putin

is that it costs him nothing in fact he gets gold in return


GIOKOS: He does. And you know, look, there are other resources at play here as well. Wagner Group or, you know, you're saying we should focus on

Vladimir Putin involved in diamond mining in the Central African Republic. We've seen and as you say, international policy, specifically Russia,

having a very strong footing in various parts of the African continent.

And that mustn't be taken lightly. But I want you to take a listen to some of the work that our International Correspondent Clarissa Ward had

conducted in 2019, just showing us and giving us sort of insight into what the Wagner Group was doing in 2019. Take a listen.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We asked the workers if they have seen any Russians. So he's saying that earlier this year,

there were a lot of Russians here, looking for diamonds. Rodriguez says the Russians now employ hundreds of workers on artisanal mines like this across

the area.

In the pit, a group of teenagers pan through the sand in the search for a precious fragment, whatever they find, they say must be handed over to the

Russians agent. For Russia is a straightforward bargain. They provide the weapons and in return, they get access to the country's natural resources,

and in the process hope to reassert themselves as a major player in this region.


GIOKOS: Well, Clarissa found evidence mining exploration rights. They had been given to a company owned by Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. That was

four years ago. And Martin this is now the question, look.

We know that the Wagner Group has tentacles in various parts of Africa, I think where there are resources, and we need to look deeper. But tell me a

little bit about sort of the influence that the Wagner Group has, you know, clearly under the shadow of Vladimir Putin?

PLAUT: Well, they basically are trying to extend their influence, right across the Sahel. That's the region that covers the, shall we say, the Arab

African link between, in the Sahara, east to west, now, they already have operations in Mali, the Central African Republic in Libya, and now they'd

like to extend it into Sudan.

And this would give Vladimir Putin and the Wagner Group a huge influence in the region. The French used to have a strong influence in West Africa that

they've gradually reduced their influence and have pulled their troops out or pull their troops back.

And you can now see demonstrations, which may be organized because I mean, the Wagner Group is extremely good at publicity. But they've organized what

you see Africans going around with flags, I mean, literally Russian or even old Soviet flags, to show their allegiance.

And that is how things are developing. And I just don't think one should underestimate the Wagner Group. They and Hemetti, that's the Rapid Support

Forces RSF, they have hired PR people who are also putting out information, tweets, Facebook and all the others push their line on issues. So it is a

really sophisticated, complex story, which isn't just a reduced to money, but money at the end is what it's all about, and influence in Africa.

GIOKOS: So Martin, we're seeing failed ceasefires. You know, the AU says they shouldn't be external interference, as African leaders are trying to

in some way get these two leaders to get to the negotiating table. What is your view in terms of how this is going to play out?

PLAUT: You know, I don't think that we're going to see a resolution to this and until one side or the other really shows that they have supremacy

because until they have exhausted their capacity to fight, I think they are going to go on fighting.

I mean, the two men involved the army and the RSF have basically said, you know, we are going to fight this to the finish. And whether it is you know,

Eid, or it is Ramadan they have broken all the ceasefire and the ceasefires really mean nothing.

Now the populations are suffering enormously. There's no water, there's no -- there's no electricity, and the hospitals are out. It's atrocious

situation. And even the Europeans or Americans who are trapped in Khartoum can't get out.

This is an absolute tragedy in the making. And I think that the only way frankly, that they're going to get out is if somebody and I'm afraid

somebody is probably the United States puts their troops on the ground to airlift people out. I can't see any other way of this happening. But the

problem is Khartoum airport is under attack from both sides.


I don't know how they're going to get in. It's a real. It's a really difficult one to resolve.

GIOKOS: It absolutely is. And, you know, I say there's just so much uncertainty. We just don't have visibility of how this is going to play

out. Martin Plaut thank you so much for your insights, and your knowledge.

PLAUT: It's my pleasure.

GIOKOS: Great to have you on the show thank you! Well, residents in Sudan were meant to wake up this morning excited to celebrate the Muslim holiday

Eid-Al-Fitr. Instead, many woke up terrified as gunfire ripped through residential neighborhoods of Khartoum and beyond. Fear prevented many

people from leaving their homes, separating families on a day they should be spending together. I want you to have a listen to this.


MOHAMMED SABER TURBY, SUDANESE RESIDENT: This is the worst I have experienced because I am away from my mother and father and I feel there's

no reason for that. So there's a feeling of helplessness that the circumstances are bigger than you that you cannot bypass them. You feel


KHADIJA MANSOUR, EGYPTIAN IN SUDAN: I don't know if you can hear it or not. But there's a sound of gunfire. Simultaneous -- aid first, a good morning.


GIOKOS: A huge blast in the Russian City of Belgorod left behind a 20 meter crater in the city center. That's according to the Regional Governor. Now

Moscow says the explosion in Belgorod, which is close to Ukraine was caused by an accidental or emergency drop of munitions from a Russian warplane.

Two people were injured and there are reports that several apartment buildings were damaged across the border in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Air

Force says at least 12 drones were launched over the capital earlier was today interrupting more than three weeks of calm according to one city


CNN's Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is live in Kyiv with the latest. That munition clearly destined for Ukraine. But accidentally an

emergency move to drop that in Belgorod takes us through what happened?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it happened at 15 minutes past 10 pm last night. It was an SU-34 twin engine fighter bomber

from the Russian Air Force that dropped this bomb in the middle of Belgorod, which is a city of 400,000 people about 40 kilometers from the

Ukrainian border.

Now it fell on a sidewalk next to a very busy road in the middle of the city. Could the explosion cause the car to fly up and land on an adjacent

buildings roof? According to the mayor, two women were injured in that incident.

Now it's very odd that they would release these weapons if there's some sort of malfunction of the plane that they would release it right over a

populated city. Normally, in instances like that, if they're -- if a pilot is having trouble, he will try to drop it on an unpopulated area.

Now, this came just hours before there was a drone strike on Kyiv. We actually heard it from this position. We heard some large distance

explosions and according to the Ukrainians this was they were able to shoot down all of those drones, although we don't have actual evidence of that.

And significantly, that drone attack came just a few hours after the Secretary General of NATO made his first official public visit to the

Ukrainian Capital, underscoring the determination of the organization to speed through the membership application of Ukraine into NATO, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Right, Ben Wedeman thank you. The U.S. says it will begin training Ukrainian troops on Abrams tanks within weeks that are much sooner than

expected. The U.S. Defense Secretary says the training will take place in Germany. Lloyd Austin also says the tanks will not be a magic bullet but he

hopes they will help put Ukraine's forces in a position to succeed on the battlefield.

Well still ahead on "Connect the World", when U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to make his announcement for a second term in the White House.

Plus, new information is coming to light in the case of actor Alec Baldwin over a fatal shooting on a movie set we'll have that in just a few moments.



GIOKOS: Let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. North Korea's foreign minister said the regime status as a

global nuclear power is final and irreversible. She was responding to a joint statement by g7 foreign ministers on Tuesday that condemned

Pyongyang's weapons testing and nuclear programs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed oil production with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a call on Friday. That is

according to the Kremlin. The two leaders also spoke about cooperation on trade and energy, as well as efforts to resolve conflicts in the Middle


A lawyer for jailed Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza says he fled Russia and the threats of prosecution. Vadim Prokhorov says he left the country a

few days before his client's verdict was announced on Monday. Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison and multiple charges including high


Myanmar's military junta says it was targeting terrorists when its helicopter gunships and fighter jets rained fire on a village celebration

last week. But dozens of women and children were among those killed and it was the deadliest attack on civilians since the junta seize power two years

ago. CNN's Anna Coren has the story for us. And we must warn you this report contains details and images many viewers may find disturbing.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On this dusty mound near a grove of banana trees, villagers don't know where to walk. Everywhere they

turn is another dismembered body. Legs, arms severed heads, human flesh littering the earth. We can't recognize who they are, says the man filming

this video. There are so many.

Hundreds of people had gathered for a community celebration last Tuesday in --part of a self-govern district in Sagaing state northern Myanmar. They

come for breakfast on the eve of --, a Buddhist New Year festival, families the elderly and dozens and dozens of children.

This man, what did these kids do wrong? At 7:45 am a military jet dropped a bomb on the building where they'd gathered according to witnesses. Minutes

later, an MI 35 attack helicopter move down survivors and continue to circle for the next 15 minutes firing at anyone who moved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard a boom, I hit the ground and there was a huge cloud of smoke. I got up and realize my daughter was missing.

COREN (voice over): As the wounded screamed for help, this man searched among the dead and injured for his three-year-old daughter and his parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a killing field where people scattered everywhere. A woman with breast intestines died in front of me, I was

shaking why they would kill their own civilians.


COREN (voice over): And then after several hours, he found them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father was cut in half from the waist. My mother's body unrecognizable my daughter was headless.

COREN (voice over): He says he lost seven family members, others lost their entire family. For those who miraculously survived the injured were taken

to makeshift medical clinics and staff treated their catastrophic wounds. Others fled to the safety of the forest coming to terms with the horror

they just witnessed. I cannot comfort myself cries this woman, everyone is suffering.

With fears of more aerial attacks, villages quickly gathered the bodies and place the countless remains in piles for cremation. Burn, burn, burn, the

wood is not enough. Please add the tires pleads this man, we are trying to burn the flesh of the dead. Sure enough, a military helicopter did return

just before sunset, firing more missiles at those who'd come to cremate the dead.

The day's final death toll according to the national unity government, 186 people killed the deadliest attack since the junta seized power in a coup

more than two years ago. The military confirmed the bombings saying they were targeting rebel forces that've been fighting Myanmar's military


But CNN has interviewed over half a dozen eyewitnesses of last week's attack, who say the target was civilians. This man lost 30 relatives,

including young nieces and nephews.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know why they targeted a place full of pregnant women, children and the elderly. The military are not human. They are more

savage than animals. During our interview, a jet fly over the threat ever present.

The day before these Sagaing attack, the military bombed a school and church in neighboring Chin state according to Myanmar's national unity

government. Nine people were killed including the principal, his wife and their son. And last month in Chin state, 22 people were executed outside of

monetary including three months, a resistance group said.

CNN obtained this footage from the opposition defense forces and spoke to the coroner who carried out the post mortems. He confirmed all victims were

tortured and had been shot in the head. While the latest massacre sparked international condemnation of the junta and the countries that support

them, such as China and Russia, the families of the victims say it's just more empty words.

How many more children have to die before the world's leaders take action, pleads this man grieving the loss of his baby niece. He says this is

genocide. Anna Coren, CNN.


GIOKOS: Tragic story. You can read more about this on More of the survivors' stories how the world is condemning the junta's daily attacks on

Myanmar's civilians and the plea from survivor. Please don't abandon us. Well, coming up next on "Connect the World".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whatever actions you take against the Islamic Republic there in France is a crime, the man says and your family will answer for



GIOKOS: Well, Iranian activists abroad face threats from the Iranian regime seeking to clamp down on the protest movements. That is coming up after




GIOKOS: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I am Eleni Giokos; I'm in for Becky Anderson. Your headlines this hour; more fighting is reported between

Sudan's warring factions as the paramilitary rapid support forces declared another temporary ceasefire for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Sudan's military later said it would abide by the truth if the RSF does. This video shows Sudanese soldiers marching near Khartoum. Moscow says an

accidental or emergency drop of munition from a Russian warplane caused a huge blast in Belgorod, a Russian city of 400,000 people which is close to

Ukraine, two people were injured.

The city's mayor says several apartment buildings were damaged in the explosion. Well, the U.S. will begin training Ukrainian forces on American

Abrams tanks next month as it works to get them on the battlefield before the end of summer U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announcing this hour

that the tanks would be delivered to Germany in the next few weeks.

Olson and Joint Chief Chairman Mark Milley are at Ramstein Air Base for a meeting with other Western allies of Ukraine. Now fear and repression that

Iranian activists abroad say Tehran's strong-armed tactics extends far beyond the country's borders. Last year, a popular uprising rocked Iran

ignited by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, while those protests have fizzled out.

Activists abroad have played a key role in keeping the movement alive and organizing rallies. But many activists say authorities in Iran are

threatening their family members inside Iran in order to crush the movements. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz reports.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Women and girls here flowing, dancing and a gathering in Paris for women life freedom, the

slogan of Iran's anti-government movement. But even here firmly within the borders of Europe, activists say to Tehran's tentacles can reach and crush

voices of dissent. Activist Massi Kamari fled here to France about four years ago as a political refugee.

MASSI KAMARI, IRANIAN ACTIVIST: Since I'm here, I can freely explain my feelings. I try to be the voice of my people in Iran that are suffering.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): But Kamari says she soon found herself under threat again. She says Iran's intelligence service was harassing her parents back

home, demanding to speak to her.

KAMARI: They take in my mother's phone and they push me and they forced me to call my mother's phone and then there was a guy who answered.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): So, this man answered your mother's phone?

KAMARI: Yes, exactly.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): Kamari says she recorded the chilling call with a man she believes is a member of Iranian intelligence, though CNN cannot

verify that. Whatever actions you take against the Islamic Republic there in France is a crime, the man says and your family will answer for it.

No, sir, she responds. Nowhere in the world is that the law. Listen, he says, your mother will be taken to Evin Prison, at her age. Your sister and

your father will also be taken to Evin Prison. They will be interrogated.

KAMARI: I mean, it was so hard -- I mean, because I don't understand how far these people can go.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): The Islamic Republic is brutally cracking down on a popular uprising that has rocked the country for months. Dissidents abroad

play a crucial role in this movement carrying protesters demands from the streets of Iran into the halls of western governments.


That's exactly why Iran is expanding its repression campaign says this activist of three decades.

NAZILA GOLESTAN, FOUNDER, HAMAVA: It is a fact that the regime of Iran they have the power, but we are the opposition. But we are I think, numerous we

have a bridge where today the people inside and people outside.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): And nowhere is safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could have been killed.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): In January, the U.S. Justice Department uncovered a plot to assassinate prominent Iranian dissident Masih Alinejad near her

home in Brooklyn. The State Department has warned that Tehran is engaged in other acts of transnational repression to intimidate or exact reprisal

against individuals outside of the country's sovereign borders, according to a 2022 report. CNN's requests for comment to Iran's authorities have

gone unanswered. For now, Kamari says her parents are safe, but she barely speaks to them as a precaution.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): How do you still come out and do your work and do you --?

KAMARI: Because I'm not going to stop my activities because they are threatening me.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): A critical community in exile, under threat and under pressure, but unbowed and unafraid. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN Paris.


GIOKOS: Well, you can read more of Massi's story on our Meanwhile in the Middle East newsletter, it drops three times a week and has all the latest

news and analysis right here from this region and you can access the newsletter on your computer or you can use the QR code that you see right

now on the bottom of your screen.

U.S. President Joe Biden has hinted that he'll run for a second term. But soon, it will finally be official. Mr. Biden's advisers are preparing for a

video announcement in Tuesday exactly four years after he launched his last bid. It's hoped that it will ignite an aggressive fundraising effort to

help Democrats hold the White House.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is standing by at the White House in Washington. Great to have you on! Look, what more do we know about the plans here the

strategy for the 2024 election?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Eleni the waiting game may soon be over. President Biden has repeatedly said that he intends on

running for president and it appears that the plans to formally launch that are beginning to take shape.

His advisors and team are eyeing next week as a possible launched venue for his re-election bid, specifically looking at Tuesday, which is the four-

year anniversary of when he entered the race back in 2019 a race that he had billed as a battle for the soul of the nation.

Now, advisors have cautions that the timing for this could slide, but it does signal and signs are all pointing towards the president in fact,

launching that campaign in the very near future. Now advisors had been working behind the scenes for quite some times trying to sketch out what

this campaign apparatus looks like.

One source telling us that they've settled on Wilmington, Delaware, the president's hometown is the site for his campaign headquarters. But we're

still waiting to hear what some of the other details of how exactly this campaign will be run and what it will look like to come as soon as next


Now, this possible announcement, if it comes next week, would come in the middle of a very jam-packed week for the president. One of the items that

he has on his agenda is hosting the South Korean president for a state visit here at the White House. But we also know that his advisors have been

keeping an eye on what fundraising would look like for a next campaign.

We're told that top Democrat, just top Democratic donors from Biden's 2020 campaign have been invited to Washington next Friday for a meeting with

him, as his advisors recognize that they will need to mobilize those big dollar donors and also grassroots supporters heading into an election.

So, all eyes will be on next week with kind of a circle around that Tuesday date as a possible launch as the president is trying to seek a second term

for the White House.

GIOKOS: Yes. And you rightly say you know what is the campaign going to look like? What is the strategy? And importantly, what is the messaging? So

how is it believed right now that this is going to be received by Democrats around the country?

SAENZ: Well, it's really interesting right now. President Biden really believes that his legislative accomplishments are things that will sit well

with Democratic voter's things like the infrastructure bill, his movement on health care, and also climate change.

But if you take a look at some of the polling, there does appear to be some hesitance about having President Biden even on the ballot, heading into

2024. A recent Associated Press poll found that only 47 percent of Democrats think he should run for re-election in 2024.

Now that number is slightly up from January. And it's higher than the overall public which says only 26 percent think that the president should

run for re-election. Now some of this speaks to some of the concerns and issues with Democratic voters towards this president.


One of those issues have been about his age. He is 80 years old right now, if he were to be inaugurated, he would be 82 on Inauguration Day. So, these

are all things President Biden will have to wade through. Now ultimately, these Democratic voters that same poll show that 81 percent of them say

that they would probably support President Biden, where he to actually run.

So, these are all things that the campaign will have to navigate. But of course, Biden's not only going to have to energize those Democratic voters

once again, but he'll have to reach out to those moderate Republicans and independents, especially if he is heading into a possible rematch with his

former rival former President Donald Trump.

GIOKOS: Yes, that's a way to end the conversation. Thank you so much. Arlette Saenz, great to have you on the show! After years of scandals,

Downing Street is once again being rocked by political drama. Only hours ago, Dominic Raab, a top ally of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak,

resigned as deputy prime minister and justice secretary.

Both of those posts have now been filled. Rob headed for the exits after a long-awaited report upheld to bullying claims against him. In a resignation

letter posted on Twitter, Rob slammed what he calls a big saga. And he said that the second Sunak ally to step down over bullying claims is less than

six months. Right, just ahead new developments for Hollywood Actor Alec Baldwin in connection with a deadly shooting on a movie set, that is coming

up next.


GIOKOS: In the coming hours, prosecutors in New Mexico are expected to officially drop in voluntary manslaughter charges against actor Alec

Baldwin. He was charged earlier this year in the deadly shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Prosecutors are citing new facts and time constraints for the decision and they say it does not absolve Baldwin of criminal culpability, and that

charges may be refilled as the investigation remains active and ongoing. CNN's Chloe Melas has been on the story from the very start. She joins us

now live from New York. We're constantly getting new lines. It does not absolve Alec Baldwin, charges may be refilled, and that's the messaging.

What more do you know?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Look, we are just a few hours away from this status hearing. And we are all hoping that the New Mexico

district attorney is going to give us more information as to what led to their decision to dismiss these charges. They say it's pending further

investigation, but there's a lot of talk today.


And we've spoken to two sources at CNN who say that the DA got information about potential modifications to the gun which fired that live bullet. So,

it raises a lot of questions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My only question is am I being charged with something?

MELAS (voice over): Alec Baldwin no longer accused after New Mexico prosecutors made a stunning announcement Thursday, "New facts were revealed

that demand further investigation and forensic analysis. We therefore will be dismissing the involuntary manslaughter charges against Mr. Baldwin to

conduct further investigation".

Baldwin reacted on Instagram posting a photo of his wife saying "I owe everything I have to this woman. And to you Luke, his attorney" Baldwin

admitted to holding the gun that fired a bullet killing Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer on Baldwin's film Rust, but told police he did not know

he was handed unloaded gun. Baldwin resumes filming on Rust this week with production move to Montana. This was Baldwin last year.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR AND PRODUCER, "RUST": If someone is responsible for what happened and I can't say who that is. But I know it's not me.

MELAS (voice over): The dismissal is a win for Baldwin's legal team, which challenged the motives and politics of one of the original prosecutors.

ANDREA REEB, FORMER NEW MEXICO SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: It doesn't matter if he's a liberal Democrat and I'm a conservative Republican. My job has

always been to prosecute crime.

MELAS (voice over): In February Baldwin's lawyers filed a motion to remove special prosecutor Andrea Reeb, who at the time of the investigation was

running for state representative in New Mexico. In an email later revealed in The New York Times, Reeb suggested being involved in the case "Might

help in my campaign".

Both Reeb and the district attorney who hired her ultimately recused themselves; their replacements dropped the charges against Baldwin. His

attorneys saying, they "Encourage a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances of this tragic accident".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there live ammo that's kept on set?


MELAS (voice over): The film's weapons handler Hannah Gutierrez Reed is now the sole defendant in the case, facing 18 months for involuntary

manslaughter. Her attorney says she will plead not guilty. And that "We fully expect at the end of this process that Hannah will also be


MATTHEW HUTCHINS, HALYNA HUTCHIN'S HUSBAND: Are we really supposed to feel bad about you, Mr. Baldwin?

MELAS (voice over): Halyna Hutchins's husband has been a vocal critic of Baldwin saying he should face charges.

HUTCHINS: The idea that the person holding the gun causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me.

MELAS (voice over): But now justice for Halyna Hutchins moves forward without a star defendant.

BALDWIN: And she was great at her job and she died. And she died and that's, that hurts me every day.


MELAS: So, like I said, we are just hours away from potentially hearing more from the New Mexico district attorney's office. And when they have

that status hearing, Alec Baldwin is currently shooting Rust in Montana. They are back filming the movie more than 18 months after the tragic death

of Halyna Hutchins on the set.

And we know that Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the film's armor she is not going to be there. But we did hear from her attorney who said that they too hope

that her charges are dismissed and that she will be exonerated.

GIOKOS: Chloe Melas, thank you so much. Well, if day is tomorrow and a new report is out on climate change. Just ahead, look at the issues facing the

planets and some innovative solutions, that's coming up.



GIOKOS: The World Meteorological Organization released its annual State of the Global Climate report. Not surprisingly, the report found that climate

change continued its advance in 2022. I want you to take a look. Now the report showed that droughts, floods and heat waves are affecting large

parts of the world and the costs are rising.

Global mean temperatures for the past eight years have been the highest on record, sea level and ocean heats are now at record levels. This trend is

expected to continue for centuries to come, right. And Antarctic sea ice has fallen into its lowest level ever and the melting of some European

glaciers shattered records. Earth Day is tomorrow.

And while the Global Climate report isn't good, there may be hope on the horizon. CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir takes a look at some

of those proposed solutions as part of CNN's new program the whole story.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: You're part of the movement to basically build the oil industry in reverse.


WEIR (voice over): After making a killing in software and becoming frustrated with carbon offsets, Peter Reinhardt help found Charm.

REINHARDT: So, this over here is the paralyzer.

WEIR (voice over): A startup that scoops up the organic waste usually left to rot and farm fields, heats it into biochar, which improves soil health

and bio-oil, which injects down into old oil wells.

WEIR (on camera): How much have you injected to date?

REINHARDT: We've sequestered about 5450 tons of co2 equivalents that is a drop in the bucket right compared to the 50 billion tons a year that we're

emitting as a civilization.

WEIR (voice over): Confirming Peter's claim independently is tough, because carbon removal verification is also brand new. But if he's right, his teeny

drop in the bucket would be about half of all the carbon ever removed.

WEIR (on camera): No offense is awesome. But it's a couple of containers in a parking lot in San Francisco. And we were in Iceland and saw what's there

and that's it and the whole world. Should I be depressed by that or?

REINHARDT: Or you could view it as an opportunity.

WEIR (on camera): I guess.

REINHARDT: You want to start covering -- business?


GIOKOS: Well, you can tune in to see Bill Weir's reports, how to unscrew planets, it's airing on the whole story with Anderson Cooper. That is on

Sunday night in the U.S. Monday morning in Asia and here in the UAE. All right well, the U.N.'s next Climate Change Conference is gearing up for its

big kick-off here in the United Arab Emirates in late autumn.

Ahead of that the UAE wants to give young people a platform for global climate dialogue at Expo city Dubai. And covering it all on the ground was

a very own CNN Academy Alumna, Abby McPherson. CNN Academy for those who might be familiar with us is a training program born right here in Abu

Dhabi that teaches the art of storytelling. Abby used what she learned in this program to put this story together, I want you to take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): The role to COP28 event is buzzing with excitement. As participants listen to keynote speeches, visit vendor booths

at Meijer recycle costumes and participate in hands on activities. The youth led event is raising awareness for climate control action and is a

preview of COP28 in Dubai later this year. Fatima is one of the vendors taking a colorful approach to sustainability.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our business is trying to implement sustainability into the world and starting from a young age with children. So, we are

presenting our product which is recyclable and plan table crayons and colored pencils.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Fatima is pursuing her education degree and believes children can develop a better understanding of sustainability

when they can actively participate from a young age.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Children can start coloring and make the idea of coloring fun to them. When they finished coloring, we can just pick up the

crayons and flip them upside down into the plant and grow something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): From coloring pages to gardens, this colorful initiative will lead to a delicious harvest, education and action

for many children and adults to take part in for a lifetime. From Road to COP28, this is Abby McPherson.


GIOKOS: Well in our parting shots tonight, hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world celebrating one of the most important events in the

Islamic calendar Eid al-Fitr. Here you can see worshippers performed the Eid prayer marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan where Muslims fast

from dawn until sunset.


Since Eid this year fell on a Friday, a sacred day in Islam, many mosques hosted two sermons one for Friday prayer, and one for Eid. It is a joyous

time for many Muslims who feel fulfilled after completing an entire month of fasting. And on this holiday, Muslims get together with their loved

ones, prepare loads of food, buy new clothes and give back to their community.

So, to all those celebrating, it's very Happy Eid from the "Connect the World" family. And thanks so very much for joining us. I'm Eleni Giokos in

Abu Dhabi; I'll be back with Quest Means Business a little later. For now, though, "One World" with Christina Macfarlane is next, take care.