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Evacuees Describe Struggle to Escape Amid Fighting; French People Use Water Cannons to Disperse Protesters; U.S. House Speaker gives Historic Speech in Jerusalem; Saving One of the World's Most Trafficked Birds; Fuel Crisis in Cuba Changes Plan for National Festivities. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 01, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: This hour people across France are taking to the streets once again using May Day as a fresh opportunity to protest
against pension reforms. Sudan's warring sides have agreed to another 72 hour extension of a ceasefire more than 500 people have been killed and
thousands injured since fighting erupted in mid-April.
Kevin McCarthy makes a major speech to the Israeli Knesset on his first trip abroad as U.S. House Speaker. And First Republic Bank has become the
second largest bank failure in U.S. history. Regulators have struck a deal with JPMorgan Chase to buy most of the bank's assets for the sum of $10.6
And in Cuba, severe fuel shortages have forced the government to cancel the traditional May Day parade today. Now scenes of chaos are unfolding right
now in France, police firing tear gas and charging at protesters crowd turning fireworks and other projectiles at the authorities. The clashes
breaking out as huge crowds take to the streets on International Workers Day.
Union leaders who call for nationwide protests are tapping into broader anger this year against the French President and his decision to raise the
retirement age. Our Melissa Bell is in amongst it all standing by in Paris. And Melissa tells us the scene that you are -- that you're there in and how
it has been the last couple of hours, it seems like it's getting increasingly aggravated.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: It has been remarkably chaotic and almost to suit this march setup from ABB has now arrived here at National
Marauder the elements that preceded the march that is the black bloc, those far left extremists that we've seen over the course of the last few weeks,
the ones that seek direct confrontation with the police, many more of them out on the street today.
They've now arrived here at -- and you can see, the police are now using water cannon. We've seen a lot of scuffles between these protesters
throughout the march along that route that I mentioned a moment ago. And now that they've arrived, a lot more direct confrontation as well.
So here water cannon are being used to try to disperse them, there's a lot of tear gas still in the air. And all around this place there are hundreds
and hundreds of riot police there to try and keep these protests as calm as they can. As you can see, that is not what's happened so far today.
Because those more extremist elements have been out, it seems to us in far greater numbers. And the confrontations have been far more direct, and have
now gone on for several hours. Of course, a lot of the anger that you're seeing beyond what's happening here at -- now the reason that the unions
are out in such great number and that people are so determined to show their anger because he was of course, because this pension reform has now
This May 1st first traditionally day of protests, an opportunity to show just how angry the unions but the wider public is as well, what you're
seeing here, then, the more extreme elements, you've made it already but the march is really made up of all the trade unions, and many protesters
who have come out to try and make their case peacefully today, it as much as that's going to be possible, Christine.
MACFARLANE: Yes. And Melissa, as you point out, this is -- this protest has coincided with International Workers Day, have you had a chance to speak to
protesters about how much longer they are intending to continue this type of protest. So given as you say that the pension reform is now law, they
can't change it.
BELL: I think that's explains a lot of the anger that's out on the street. There's not much they can do about this, in fact, is going to kick off in
September, people are actually going to start to have to work incrementally a few more months, a year to get their retirement that then rises to 64 by
So it's a very gradual process, but people are going to take a very real sense from September. There's no going back from this now. That's behind a
lot of the anger out here today. But I think the more important question this stage is what this demonstration of anger means for what follows?
Emmanuel Macron remembers he was only elected last year. This was the first of a reform, amongst many others that he hoped would be his legacy. And I
think the point of the protesters out here today is to say that beyond the question of pension reform, they intend to make the rest of his four years
in governments as difficult as they possibly can and across a broad range of issues.
It's become about much more than pension reform. There is of course, you'll remember all of those grievances Christina, that so drove the yellow vest
movement of 2019, 2020. A lot of that seething resentment has only worsened the cost of living inflation as the anger against the policies and the
manner of governing of Emmanuel Macron has hardened as well.
Certainly what we're hearing for the people out here today is they intend to continue making their anger known on the part of the authorities you can
be sure, they're hoping that this may be one last burst of anger.
And that this then subsides in the face of the inevitability of this reform now becoming law Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes. And Melissa, we have seen in recent weeks President Macron out and about trying to talk to people trying to win back support, it's
questionable as to whether or not that has been working. But how much you mentioned he's got another four years in office. I mean, how much is this
going to affect his political aspirations moving forward? Is he going to be you know, they're going to encounter blocks at every turn here, it's going
to impact the rest of the time he has?
BELL: I think that's an excellent question. And it goes to the heart of what we're seeing Christina, because so much political capital has now been
expended on this particular reform. Remember that when he announced at the beginning of this year that 2023, would be the year of pension reform,
pushing through Parliament without a vote showed all that determination, he was probably counting on the fact that it would then pass and he could
crack on with the rest.
On the contrary, there is the anger about the reform itself, the French feel very strongly about their pension system, as generous as it is, looks
to the outside world. They feel very attached to it. And that's driven a lot of the protests. And then there's been the manner of it.
The fact that it's been pushed through without a vote, I think really speaks to what people have begun, had begun to protest even before it in
the yellow vest, the manner of Emmanuel Macron's reforming agenda, the way he pushes it through the way he governs.
And that's something that's really increased over the course of the last few weeks over this particular pension reform. So trade union saying that
the reason they're out here again, and despite the fact that this law now goes ahead is that the government essentially has refused to negotiate and
to debate with them.
And I think it's very difficult to see beyond that, given the anger of the trade unions, given the broad support for this protest movements across the
population is very difficult to see how Emmanuel Macron moves on from this in order to push through the other reforms that he took clearly marked out
as being the legacy that he hoped to leave behind Christina.
MACFARLANE: Melissa Bell, there live from Paris and Melissa, stay safe, pretty volatile situation behind you there. We appreciate your reporting.
Now, Sudan's warring sides have agreed to another 72 hour ceasefire extension. But more smokers rising over Khartoum today and residents of the
capital report more sporadic clashes as has been the case through every announced truce over the past two weeks.
More than 500 people have been killed and thousands injured since fighting erupted in mid-April. Many Sudanese who are able to evacuate are heading to
Egypt, Chad, South Sudan and Ethiopia. Others along with foreign nationals take a long, dangerous ride from Khartoum to Port Sudan where they bought
ships headed for Saudi Arabia. CNN's Larry Madowo and his crew traveled on one of those ships and heard stories of both relief and despair.
MADOWO (voice over): 2 am and they're finally getting out of Sudan after many anxious days. Saudi soldiers check documents and lead them through a
nightmare almost over.
MADOWO (on camera): Thousands of people have made them over 500-mile journey from the Capital Khartoum, to here in Port Sudan. One person told
us it took them 36 hours but finally on a boat and eventually it was shipped to Jeddah.
MADOWO (voice over): Asad final goodbye to Sudan, victims of the stormy waters in Africa's third largest nation.
HAMZA NAVID, PAKISTANI EVACUEE: It's very, very hard for me and very deep, very hard and very painful for me because this like a second home my home.
MADOWO (voice over): CNN joined Saudi forces on an evacuation voyage from Jeddah to Port Sudan and back, bringing more people one step closer to save
shores. But the demand is high, and the military ships can only take so many people at a time. Our round trip was more than 24 hours, but brought
back only 52 people across the Red Sea.
Sudanese-American businessman Adil Bashir can finally sleep undisturbed for the first time in two weeks. He says his car dealership in Khartoum was
trashed, burnt, and some vehicles stolen. So he took the risky drive to Port Sudan.
MADOWO (voice over): Lot of human body, dead body on the street.
MADOWO (on camera): You say you were detained by men in rapid support forces uniform after you told them you're a U.S. citizen.
ADIL BASHIR, SUDANESE-AMERICAN EVACUEE: Maybe you are a U.S. citizen, you are a spy. I believe they want us to be like a human shield because they
were 13 ahead of me.
MADOWO (voice over): As more people escaped from Sudan, another ceasefire was broken over the weekend with fighting in the country. And during the
third week, the Saudi port city of Jeddah has become the main landing point for thousands. fleeing the conflict. The Saudis are throwing everything at
this rescue operation.
GENERAL TURKI AL-MALKI, ROYAL SAUDI AIR FORCE: The assets the capability military civilian in Saudi is taking the civilian from Sudan.
So as long as it's safe, we will keep doing our role.
MADOWO (voice over): This large commercial ship brought nearly 2000 evacuees from Port Sudan, one of the largest arrivals in Jeddah so far.
Hanadi Ahmed and her Sudanese-American family were among those in the vessel received by U.S. Embassy staff. They're relieved to be safe, but
heartbroken for those who couldn't get out.
HANADI AHMED, SUDANESE-AMERICAN EVACUEE: Very bad. It's very bad because all my family I had my mom, my dad--
MADOWO (on camera): You are scared for them.
MADOWO (on camera): I am so sorry.
AHMED: It's OK, alhamdhulillah we are --.
MADOWO (voice over): As if you'd like it, dual nationals and foreigners can leave. But most Sudanese people are trapped in a deadly conflict with no
end in sight. Larry Madowo, CNN Jeddah Saudi Arabia.
MACFARLANE: Well, the International Committee of the Red Cross says its first international shipment of humanitarian aid has reached Port Sudan.
Director General Robert Mardini tweeted this saying the cargo will help save many lives. But he added much more is needed.
Support for hospitals is an urgent priority and it's vital that parties in the conflict respect international humanitarian law. For more on what's
being done to provide relief the ICRC's Robert Mardini joins me now live from Geneva. Thank you for your time. First of all, can you tell us about
what is in this first shipment some eight tonnes of medical aid and talk about the process it took for you to get this to Port Sudan.
ROBERT MARDINI, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: Well, it's indeed a tons of emergency medical supplies that are much needed
for hospitals in Sudan, in particular, the capital Khartoum, and also for the vital work of the volunteers from the Sudanese Red Crescent Society,
our close partners who have been actually the first responders and doing a fantastic job on the on the ground.
And this first international shipment is really the first critical step in scaling up our response in Sudan. And let me just insist on one thing, they
will only be life-saving ones in the hands of doctors and nurses who are desperately waiting for them in the very few remaining hospitals that are
operational in Sudan. Just a figure, only 16 percent of hospitals are functional in Khartoum today.
MACFARLANE: Yes. So on that point, one of the concerns here is that the aid is still a long way from Khartoum, from areas that need it the most, I
think, some 800 kilometers, how confident are you that you can deliver this a without interference?
MARDINI: Well, this is precisely what our teams in Port Sudan and currently in Khartoum are working on right now is to facilitate the transfer of those
most needed supplies to reach the hospitals that need them. So what is really needed is to get from parties to the conflict, credible and robust
security guarantees for our teams to be able to safely transfer those critical medical and surgical supplies to where they are needed.
MACFARLANE: So have you had any talks with both sides about, you know, the facilitation of this aid getting through? Have they given you any
MARDINI: Well, we are in touch with both parties to this conflict. The first step and the first encouraging step is the fact that this shipment
was allowed to land in Port Sudan. That's the first step now we are doing everything we can to ensure credible security guarantees so that our teams
can really transfer those supplies to the hospitals where they are needed most.
MACFARLANE: And on the hospitals I mean, have you had any assurances that the aid will not be touched when it reaches there? Because we've heard
that, you know, we know that medical facilities are being targeted. There have been reports of widespread looting, how much of a concern is that that
when it gets to the hospitals, that that you know, the two warring sides might encroach on that?
MARDINI: Well, this is precisely where, why the ICRC has people on the ground. We have today, a team in Khartoum, we are working hand in hand with
our colleagues from the Sudanese Red Crescent, who are on the ground, taking considerable risks to ensure that those supplies not only reach
where they need to reach but also are being used to save lives and to stabilize wounded people, civilians and all those who need to be stabilized
and to be treated urgently.
MACFARLANE: Where are you right now in negotiations for more aids to come in? Obviously this is a great first step, but are you planning for the
second shipment of aid and more to follow?
MARDINI: While there is a second plane that is planned to also land in Port Sudan, I cannot speculate now on the exact date because things are very
fluid. But we are also doing everything we can to send in additional emergency personnel to be able to support our teams on the ground to carry
out lifesaving activities.
MACFARLANE: All right, Robert Mardini, we appreciate your time and obviously we wish you the very best of luck with those shipments getting to
where they are urgently needed. Thank you.
MARDINI: Thank you for having me.
MACFARLANE: All right. Iranian citizens are among those who've been evacuated by Saudi Arabia in its operations from Port Sudan. Take a look at
this, Iran's charged affaires expressing his thanks alongside Saudi officials in Jeddah. Scenes like this would have been unimaginable just
But Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to normalize relations in March after years of regional rivalry. On Saturday, the UAE evacuated more than 120
people on a flight from Sudan. It was the first evacuation plan operated by the UAE since fighting broke. It started two weeks ago. And some of the
evacuees spoke to CNN after they arrived.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAGHAM, SYRIAN-SUDANESE EVACUEE: It was horrible. My one and a half year old, Annie, whatever she hears the shootings, she lies on the ground by
herself. And she's just one and a half year old.
NOUR, SUDANESE EVACUEE: I can't express my feelings, really. But it was a really tough 15 days we've ever had in our whole life. Yes, it was a
nightmare. It was terrible. We haven't slept even for 15 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: All right, coming up, another U.S. Bank collapses. This time JP Morgan is coming to the rescue, we'll have the latest. And U.S. House
Speaker addresses Israel's parliament in his first trip abroad. What it means for the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, next.
MACFARLANE: We're back with live pictures from Paris now; I was monitoring clashes between crowds and the police at the front of a May Day protest.
These protests of course over France has pension reform bill, some of them turning pretty violent in the last few hours.
This on International Workers Day as protesters and unions continue to voice their discontent at the bill that has now passed into law. And there
have been some heightened scenes and heightened tension there in the streets of Paris in the last hour. We will continue to monitor this for you
as the situation continues.
But now we are turning to U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy who addressed Israel's parliament in Jerusalem earlier on Monday, something that hasn't
happened in about 25 years. And McCarthy met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has been under political strains as of late due to
his proposed overhaul of Israel's judicial system.
Netanyahu has since moved to delay that plan and insisted in an interview to CNN that despite the challenges, Israel will remain a robust democracy.
Well CNN's Hadas Gold joins me live from inside the Knesset in Jerusalem, where U.S. House Speaker McCarthy has just spoken.
Hadas, we were talking last hour about how the speaker's address to the Knesset was a very pro-Israel stance. In the last half an hour ago, he has
been taking questions at a press conference, what does he have to say?
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, the pro-Israel stance definitely continued during this press conference. But what we did
hear from him was a specific question about what's been going on internally here in Israel.
There was actually question specifically about the judicial overhaul plan that is currently on pause. Because actually, a video was released earlier
today that showed the Justice Minister trying to claim that the U.S. administration was supporting and cooperating with the protest against the
judicial reform. And Kevin McCarthy essentially said, you know, Israel's own democracy, they can make their own decisions, it's something for them
to figure out within themselves.
But he continued, he was also asked about the invitation, potentially to Washington, DC, because if you remember in an interview yesterday, he said
that if President Biden doesn't invite Benjamin Netanyahu to walk through the White House soon, he will instead invite Netanyahu to speak to the U.S.
Congress, which would be a rather unique moment to have the prime minister coming to Washington without invitation from the White House.
But he seemed to soften that position just a little bit during the press conference saying that while that statement still stands, he does expect an
invitation from the White House to be coming very soon. I specifically asked the speaker about some of the more extreme statements that we've seen
coming out of the ministers in this Israeli government, some of which have been heavily criticized, including by the U.S. administration, Kevin
McCarthy, saying that again, you know, democracies have a difference of opinions within them, and they can work it out between them.
And that's why democracies exist, so people can disagree with one another. I also asked him whether he believed that Netanyahu has a true grip on this
government considering some of these more extremist elements. And he said that he believes that he is in full control of this government. It was, I
should note, a very bipartisan delegation.
They were Democrats or Republicans, more than a dozen members of Congress were in attendance. Steny Hoyer also spoke. And he actually said that he
completely agreed with Speaker McCarthy's speech talking about the bipartisan support for Israel, and that they believe it will continue
speaker McCarthy in his speech, also saying that as long as he is Speaker of the House, the U.S. security assistance that billions of dollars of
security assistance that the U.S. gives to Israel will continue no matter what.
The only slight element of potential criticisms, if you could even call it in the speech was a warning from McCarthy about investments from China. It
was just really one line out of what was essentially a very laudatory pro- Israel stump speech; you could really feel the adoration between both the Israelis there as well as the Americans.
And I should say it was also bipartisan, from the side of the Israelis, even though there's been a deep division within Israeli politics. Members
of the opposition were also giving very loud applause to Kevin McCarthy's speech.
MACFARLANE: Yes, this pro-Israeli stance something of course, we were expecting. But as you've been saying earlier, Hadas, a very different tone,
struck in the last few days from the Biden Administration. Hadas Gold there live from the Knesset. Thank you.
Now a major developing story from the banking industry overnight, first Republic Bank has become the second largest bank failure in U.S. history.
Regulators have struck a deal with JP Morgan Chase to buy most of the bank's assets for the sum of $10.6 billion.
It's the third major bank failure since March and the move represents the latest effort by federal regulators to boost waning confidence in the U.S.
banking system. Here's how markets on Wall Street have reacted to the news Dow Jones up just over a quarter of a percent, NASDAQ down and the S&P 500
CNN Business and Politics Correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich is joining us live from outside the First Republic Bank in New York City. Vanessa, what
is the latest on this and just talk to us about how this deal actually got done?
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is business as usual at this first republic branch here in New York City
despite having new ownership and we are learning new details this morning about how this deal went down.
We heard from CEO Jamie Dimon in a call earlier this morning with media and he said that he wasn't looking to do this deal. But the financials
essentially made sense. You had a lot of competition during an auction yesterday that the FDIC held and ultimately JP Morgan was the winner.
Then overnight, it took 800 JP Morgan employees and other employees of the FDIC and the Treasury to get this deal done. And I think what a lot of U.S.
customers want to know is, is my money safe? The answer is yes. Because part of this deal was that JP Morgan was going to assume the deposits 92
billion in deposits of first Republic Bank.
They're also assuming $173 billion in loans. And as you mentioned, part of this deal involves paying the FDIC $10.6 billion but Jamie Dimon also
saying its business as usual, at first Republic Banks around the country right now, just new ownership, Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes, and Vanessa, you're talking about Jamie Dimon. Our Poppy Harlow actually interviewed him after the other banking collapses last
month. And I just want to show our viewers his take on the wider sector, his opinion on the wider sector here, have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: This is not 2008. OK, this is much more limited. There only a handful of banks that had this particular problem,
they'll eventually be resolved one way or another. And I think then people should take a deep breath. In a week or two, a lot of these banks can be
reporting earnings; I think they're probably pretty good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: So as you were saying, Vanessa, he's been out and about today saying that, you know, it hasn't changed anything about the odds of
recession. This is nothing like 2008, 2009 for a lot of different reasons. Is he just trying to calm the markets here as this a stable banking sector?
YURKEVICH: I think it's a little bit of both. We heard Jamie Dimon earlier this morning say that he does not believe this deal will impact a
recession. Nor did he do this deal to stave off a recession. We have seen some bank earnings that look really good. He says that we need both
Community Banks and Regional Banks here in the United States.
And we need big banks as well, just like JP Morgan. This is really, JP Morgan flexing its power showing that the banking sector is safe. We're
seeing the markets react; they seem to like this deal. And on the other hand, we see that there is power in the banking system here in the U.S.
where JP Morgan can come in and do this deal for what Jamie Dimon says is the good of the entire banking sector, Christina.
MACFARLANE: All right, Vanessa Yurkevich there. Thank you very much breaking that down. All right, up next on "Connect the World" people hobble
underground to try to stay safe as Russia unleashes a new wave of missile attacks of Ukraine. And at the same time, some Gulf nations like the look
of cheap Russian oil despite Western sanctions and U.S. objections, we're covering all of that next.
MACFARLANE: Welcome back to "Connect the World" with me Christina Macfarlane, your headlines this hour. Just a short while ago U.S. Speaker
of the House Kevin McCarthy made history in Jerusalem. He became the second U.S. Speaker of the House to address the Knesset Israel's parliament that
wraps up a three day visit.
McCarthy's first overseas trip as speaker during which he vowed to invite Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington himself if President Joe Biden doesn't
issue an invite. Humanitarian aid is starting to arrive in Sudan as the warring sides agree to further extend a 72 hour ceasefire, a first Red
Cross aid shipment landed on Sunday.
Smoke was seen rising over Khartoum today and residents again are reporting sporadic outbreaks of violence. Sudanese citizens and foreign nationals are
evacuating to neighboring countries including by boat to Saudi Arabia after a long journey from Khartoum to Port Sudan.
And for the third time in just six weeks, another American bank has collapsed. First Republic is now the second largest bank failure in
American history. JP Morgan Chase will now buy most of the bank's assets and assume its deposits. The news follows the government takeover Silicon
Valley and Signature Banks last month.
Now a new wave of Russian bombardment is targeting Ukraine. Officials say Moscow has launched its latest missile strike on several eastern Ukrainian
regions injuring at least 34 people. Right now you're looking at video of what military officials say is Ukraine's air defense system above the
capital Kyiv intercepting 15 out of 18 cruise missiles fired by Moscow.
On Sunday, Ukraine mourned a deadly strike in Uman, south of Kyiv. CNN's Nic Robertson has been speaking with residents of that community who've
been paying their respects.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): In the shadow of death, there is love, floral tributes and toys for victims of
Russia strike in Uman Friday. Anya 15 years old is paying respects to her near neighbors. So many innocent children died, she says, I'm so sorry.
They're not alive anymore. More than a day after the apartments destroyed, recovery winding, down, 25 dead, six of them children. Victoria points to
where her father lived. Fit this one with a blue wall here.
She lists all the neighbors who are now dead. On the ninth floor a grandma, her daughter and two great grandchildren on the eighth floor, a father and
son. On the seventh floor, a mother and daughter, my best friend. And on the sixth floor, a young couple both 30.
Her father survived. It was a miracle, he says, they rescued me with a ladder and people gave me clothes. Victoria shows us documents, a letter to
her now dead friend, the photo of another neighbor. She tells us she found them blowing in the wind. They're so important, she says, they're all
ROBERTSON (on camera): The recovery is painstakingly slow, the wait for answers about the missing just as painful. But in all the grief there is
humanity. And there is anger.
ROBERTSON (voice over): In a nearby school, neighbor's sought clothes, a gift for survivors who lost everything.
NATALIE ALEPIKHOVA, VOLUNTEER: We saw all this family of the children they were crying. And I don't know we just felt that something we need to do to
help them. Some hate for our Russian neighbors if we can call him like that. But most we are focused on helping just only happen.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Police already documenting the scale of the loss. - -Boris Bob telling them his vehicle destroyed. It's not what's been destroyed that matters, he tells us, it's the lost lives. We sent photos of
the destruction to our distant relatives in Russia so they can see what their army is doing. They didn't reply, he says.
All around life is being put back in some sort of order. The broken patched up, but ask anyone about repairing relations with Russia.
ROBERTSON (on camera): What do you think about Russia now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Animals.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Imagine that for the next generation, Russia's attack, a life shaping memory Nic Robertson, CNN, Uman, Ukraine.
MACFARLANE: Well, Russia, as you know has been hit with Western sanctions intended to put a dent in the oil revenue that's funding its war. But some
Gulf countries still like the look of cheap Russian oil. CNN's Eleni Giokos explains why.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have been playing nice on the diplomatic front as Russia's war in Ukraine
rages on. While Moscow is under a plethora of sanctions due to its invasion, Russian oil is not banned and is still on the market and up for
sale. And it's business as usual in the region.
Russia is part of OPEC plus and one of the world's largest exporters of crude. In December 2022, the G7 imposed a price cap on Russian crude oil at
$60 a barrel in an attempt to curb government revenue that would ultimately help fund its war.
ROBIN MILLS, CEO, QAMAR ENERGY: The intent of the sanctions on Russia was not to take Russian oil off the market unlike the sanctions on Iran. It was
to allow Russia to keep selling to avoid shortages and spikes in prices, but to try to cut the revenues going to Russia. So in that sense, it's
entirely legitimate to buy discounted Russian oil.
GIOKOS: That means Russian oil is in the market at an attractive and discounted price. The question is who is buying it? China boosted imports
of Russian oil to an average of 1.9 million barrels per day in 2022, up 19 percent from 2021 according to the International Energy Agency.
India two is taking advantage of low prices buying up cheap crude, but that comes at a price, reputation of helping keep Russia's watches full. And the
U.S. has made it clear, it's not happy. It doesn't want anyone to buy Russian oil refined or not. But the U.S. knows completely removing Russian
oil from the market would tamper with inflation and prices at the pump.
Now according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, countries in the Gulf who would not normally purchase Russian oil are taking advantage of
MILLS: Fujairah which is a port on the East Coast of the UAE is a very important oil bunkering port. So it stores oil, it supplies oil for ship
fuel. And there's a lot of Russian oil, and often many other countries being stored there, traded there, and then sent off to other locations,
whether in Asia or Africa or elsewhere.
And we've certainly seen more and more Russian oil turning up there, because it's a very important transshipment point. And the shipper can then
sell on the oil to someone else. And it's important for managing these complicated logistics that the price cap imposes.
GIOKOS: According to Mills, the UAE and other Gulf nations can use the products domestically, while other outputs is freed up for exports selling
at higher market prices. That means Russian oil is ending up on the global markets. In a statement to CNN, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said
the UAE strictly abides by U.N. sanctions and has clear and robust processes in place to deal with sanctioned entities.
Adding that the UAE will continue to trade openly and honestly with its international partners, and apply the applicable laws and regulations of
the geographies in which it seeks to do business. And while no rules are being broken, the question now becomes how these bold move impact relations
with the West does. Eleni Giokos, CNN, Dubai.
MACFARLANE: Alright, let's get you up to speed with some other stories that are on our radar right now. Uzbekistan passed a package of constitutional
reforms in a referendum allowing the president to run for two more seven year terms. Preliminary data shows the referendum passed with an
overwhelming 90 percent of the vote. The package also includes greater social and legal protections.
Voters in Paraguay have elected Santiago Pena, to the ruling conservative Colorado party as their new president. Pollsters have predicted a tight
race since persistent corruption allegations had eroded support for Pena's party, but he won easily with about 43 percent of the vote. The Palestinian
health ministry reports a 17 year old boy was fatally shot by Israeli forces in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jericho.
Israel's military says its soldiers returned fire after they were shot at during an operation to apprehend suspects. Turkey says its forces have
killed the Head of ISIS in Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkish intelligence was tracking the man known as Abu al-Hasan al-Hashmi
al-Qurayshi for "A long time".
The news comes ahead of Turkish elections later this month. And in just under two weeks, people in Turkey will head to the polls for the country's
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where you can get updates straight to your inbox about some of the biggest stories in the region.
All right, coming up on "Connect the World" there's hardly anyone in Cuba who isn't touched by the fuel crisis. So it's even affecting May Day
celebrations, we'll have a live report from Havana.
Plus, in our "Call to Earth" series, see how conservationists are helping to save one of the world's most trafficked birds.
MACFARLANE: Welcome back. Now according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, wildlife trafficking, which includes both plants and animals is the second
largest direct threat to species after habitat destruction. While much of the trade is legal, a substantial portion of it is not and can especially
threaten the survival of endangered species.
Today on "Call to Earth" we visit a rescue center in Cameroon where caretakers are giving an animal coveted as a household pet, another shot at
life in the wild.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Parrots are one of the most intelligent species of birds on the planet with some capable of doing math, using tools
and of course, mimicking human speech. And the African grey parrot, the largest parrot in Africa, is known to be the greatest imitator among the
species. That skill is one reason that one of the most trafficked birds in the world.
JERRY AYLMER, DIRECTOR, THE LIMBE WILDLIFE CENTRE: They're really popular as pets; I think the most popular parrot to have as a pet certainly in some
parts of the world sadly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): According to the National Audubon Society, more than 1.3 million were exported from West African nations
between 1975 and 2013. But despite being declared endangered in 2016, and their global trade since outlawed, there remain a trendy pet even as their
wild populations continue to dwindle. The Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon takes in African Greys recovered from illegal traders with the aim of
reintroducing them to the wild.
AYLMER: Often we rescue them in terrible conditions so they're dehydrated, starving, have injuries, so we have an excellent vet team here on site that
looks after the parrots when they come in. And then they have injuries, their wings have ever been clipped and then maybe glue traps that have been
used to catch them, so they're often a very bad state, so a big challenge to saving their lives to start with.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): The rehabilitation process involves medical care, special diets and socialization. Because many were confined
to small spaces, they also have to learn to fly again.
PIERRE EMMANUEL ALIGUENA, ZOOKEEPER, THE LIMBE WILDLIFE CENTRE: After the rehabilitation in the quarantine area where we receive them, they spend 90
days. After the health check, we can bring them to our aviary cage. When they are able to fly, we can send them back to the forest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): A successful reintroduction not only benefits the bird population but also the environment.
AYLMER: It's a really important conservation action. Because -- the great parrots themselves, they form a crucial part of the ecosystem. For example,
seed dispersal, early fruits and then they excrete the seeds at a different spot that remove seeds in that way help the forest health and grow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): To assess survival rates, migration patterns and possible recaptures, the center also plans to start fitting
trackers on to the birds they released.
AYLMER: Hopefully we can keep expanding that program and maybe track some of the parents as well in the future. And find more data; expand our
scientific knowledge of what's happening out there and what's happening to the poultry we release.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Since 1993, the Limbe Wildlife Center says they released over 3000 African gray parrots from black market
poachers. In addition to rehabilitation, their education initiatives and community outreach are helping to raise awareness about the illegal
AYLMER: On the one hand, it's very sad that that's happening. But it makes me quite excited and proud that we're, we can be involved in such a key
way. And it is such an important program to just make that bit of difference to get some parrots that have been poached, give them a second
chance, hopefully get them back out into the world.
MACFARLANE: And let us know what you're doing to answer the "Call to Earth" with a #calltoearth. Right, more on "Connect the world" coming up after
this short break. Stay with us.
MACFARLANE: Some news just in to us. We're hearing that the former U.S. Marine has been killed in Ukraine. 26 year old Cooper Andrews also known as
Harris was hit by moors on the outskirts of Bakhmut last week according to his mother and colleagues in Ukraine.
Andrew has worked for an activist group known as the Resistance Committee according to their social media statements. Now in Cuba officials canceled
the traditional May Day March because of the country's ongoing fuel crisis. For weeks, Cubans have waited for hours even days in long fuel lines.
And Cuban officials say regular fuel supplies Russia and Venezuela haven't been sending any shipments and they don't know why. May Day is usually a
holiday where the Cuban government stages a massive show of support. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is joining us live from Havana, Cuba. And Patrick, this is
the worst disruption in years really. I mean, how desperate is the situation becoming there for average citizens?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You feel across the entire island, you know it'll be before I go anywhere, I checked to see how much fuel I have
left in the tank and you have to make those decisions, sometimes tough decisions. And you know, certainly lines and shortages are nothing new
here. But the economic impacts of this disruption of the shortages are being felt by everyone on this island right now.
OPPMANN (voice over): It's a country running on empty. Across Cuba right now more cars seemingly wait online to fill up the drive on the road. Even
at stations when there is no gas people line up for when or if it finally arrives. For drivers like Elien, the sudden Island wide shortage of fuel
means they spend their days trying to fill up rather than working.
It ain't easy. They sell too little, he says only 40 liters. That only gives me enough for one day; they won't give me more than that. Some people
immediately siphon the gas they managed to pump either to resell or to hoard it as they get back in line all over again.
Increasingly, Cubans complain that police are letting too many of what they call indiscipline's, undisciplined behavior take place.
OPPMANN (on camera): What many people do is they save several spots per car, which multiplies many times over how many people are actually in this
line, waiting for gas. Once the guys actually arrived, so people come rushing back, they cut the line and that's when all hell breaks loose.
OPPMANN (voice over): As the lines get longer, tempers get shorter. Certain privileged groups like foreign diplomats have their own gas stations
assigned to them. But it makes little difference when there's no gas to pump. The Cuban government has said little about the crisis, the worst in
years, but acknowledges that there has been a disruption of shipments from suppliers like Venezuela, Cuba's socialist ally, who they receive oil from
in exchange for medical workers.
JORGE PINON, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN ENERGY INSTITUTE: The first domino piece that falls out of this is Venezuela that it's selling its
better quality crew to those customers that can pay cash. So the good quality crews that Cuba used to get are no longer there because Cuba
doesn't pay cash for crude oil.
OPPMANN (voice over): The ripple effects of the gas crunch impact nearly everyone on this island, university classes have been canceled. Farmers
don't have fuel for tractors. There's not enough diesel for garbage trucks to empty dumpsters that overflow with trash.
And the Cuban government was forced to cancel the massive parade held every May Day in Cuba's Revolution Square. Usually the island's top leadership
looks on as hundreds of thousands of workers filed by. This May Day, officials are encouraging Cubans to march in their own neighborhoods. There
simply isn't enough fuel for anything on a large scale.
We will still commemorate May Day, he says, but rationally and with maximum austerity. Then on Sunday, the government announced the celebrations would
be pushed back to Friday because of weather conditions. Cuban officials have said the gas shortages will last at least through the end of May. And
as frustrating and punishing as this crisis is for Cubans, all people can do is hope and endure their long waits.
OPPMANN: And for the Cuban government to announce that May Day will be on a much smaller scale and then to push it back to Friday because of weather
conditions. And as you see behind me it's a beautiful day in Havana is hugely significant. This is the most important holiday of the year, unlike
in other countries, where you see protests; the government organizes these massive marches in support of the government. The fact they don't have
enough fuel to carry this out, the most important holiday that celebrated here every year is an ominous sign to say the least.
MACFARLANE: Absolutely, Patrick. And obviously, as you say, this is affecting events, the ability to fill up at the pump right now. But if this
situation persists, I mean, how long before you see a hit here on food supply on food prices? Or is that already happening?
OPPMANN: Well, it's already happening because of course, farmers have to bring in the food they grow from outside the city outside of the urban
centers, and they're not able to right now. So I'm hearing from farmers who say that their crops are literally rotting, just several miles from the
markets that they're trying to deliver them to. And the problem is, is it may not be a temporary problem if the government says this could go on for
some time. And that has many Cubans worried.
MACFARLANE: All right. CNN's Patrick Oppmann there live from Havana. Thanks very much, Patrick. And we want to take you back now to Paris. And more
live pictures from the May Day protests where we've seen scuffles breaking out throughout the day. These protests continuing on International Workers
Day over the pension reform bill that was recently turned into law.
And today we have seen, as you can see there on your screen, quite violent scenes, really, of protesters and unions continuing to voice their
discontent over the bill that, as I say, has now passed into law. And we will of course, be keeping across this story for you in the coming hours
here on CNN and up next on "One World".
But do stay with CNN. That was "Connect the World". I'm Christina McFarlane, thank you for joining us.