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Connect the World

Belgorod Governor: Dozens of Strikes in Single Day; Austin Spoke "Briefly" with his Chinese Counterpart Pentagon "Did not have a Substantive Exchange"; Mexico Police Finds 45 Bags with Body Parts; Talks Suspended Over Repeated Ceasefire Violations; Mystery Illness Devastating Sea Urchins & Coral; Children were Invited to World Cup by Generation Amazing and Visit Qatar. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 11:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hi, welcome back to the second hour of "Connect the World". I'm Christina MacFarlane live in

London. This hour Ukrainian official's say war has reached Russia while they deny involvement in attacks inside Russian territory.

The Russian president is calling on his country to prevent destabilization from its enemies. The cult leader accused of encouraging his followers to

starve themselves is in court in Kenya today, investigators have so far found nearly 250 bodies in a forest area.

The United States and South Korea are holding their largest ever live fire drills near the border with North Korea. CNN is on the ground. The gates of

war have opened in Russia, those words from a Ukrainian official. Ukraine, however, insists increasing attacks inside Russia's Belgrade region are the

work of dissident Russians. We are hearing about more of those attacks today. Listen to what the Russian president had to say.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Taking into account the efforts that our foes are still making and intensifying in order to stir up the situation

inside Russia. And together, we must do everything possible not to allow them to do this under any circumstances.


MACFARLANE: Well, across the border in Kyiv these people sought safety in a subway station after another night of Russian strikes. Ukraine says it

destroyed all 36 missiles and drones. Let's go back to Sam Kiley in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. And Sam, given what we just heard from the

President of Russia there, how much would you say that the shelling in the Belgorod region is beginning to have a psychological impact here?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it kind of be underestimated how important the campaign being waged from Ukraine inside

Russia is. Now there may be elements within Russia itself that are also involved, but they're all on the side of Ukraine. It's a moot point really

as to whether or not the Ukrainians are directly involved; the effect is exactly the same.

And the effect has been felt in the Kremlin with that very important statement coming from Vladimir Putin trying to study the troops

politically, amid very serious unease about the apparent failure of Russia to protect its own territory. But of course, Christina amidst all this,

it's very important to remember that on both sides, it's very often civilians that are bearing some of the heaviest prices.


KILEY (voice over): Grief has struck again in Kyiv overwhelming grief when a loved one is taken. Three people killed here at 3 a.m. civilians ran for

cover. The bunker was inexplicably locked. Debris from a downed missile killed two women and a child, a fatal accident in an all to deliberate

attack. Such events are driving support for Ukraine from NATO, Europe and beyond.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: That is why every European country that borders Russia, and that does not want Russia to theory their

-- should be a full member of the EU and NATO. And there are only two alternatives to this, either an open war or creeping Russian occupation.

KILEY (voice over): NATO's weapons are already in use in Ukraine's east. And now Ukraine has launched a campaign inside Russian territory. At least

eight people have been injured and hundreds evacuated from what are now frontline villages in Russia.

KILEY (on camera): The original sin of Russia's invasion of Ukraine compounded as it is by their continued targeting of civilians, the absolute

brutality of their occupation has ceded Ukraine an unassailable position on the moral high ground. But they've got to hold on to that, even as they

prosecute their own campaigns inside Russian territory.

VYACHESLAV GLADKOV, BELGOROD GOVERNOR: A massive attack is ongoing. The lives of local people, primarily in Shebekino and nearby villages are in


KILEY (voice over): Anti-Putin Russians in Ukraine's forces claimed to have raided his province a second time and broadcast these warnings. Stay in

your homes, don't worry. Soldiers of the Russian volunteer corps are not at war with civilians. They claim to have hit Russian ammunition dumps and

other military targets. But Russia says the raiders were driven out with heavy casualties.


Still, Ukraine now holds the initiative on this front. Russia continues to rein misery from the sky. Yaroslav lost his wife and nine year old daughter

in this raid on Kyiv, nothing matters anymore, he says, there are no more people left.


KILEY: And now, Christina, what we're seeing in Kyiv, we've seen sadly for many months, but or indeed more than a year now, although there has been a

greater focus on the Ukrainian capital itself over the last month or so. But I think really the new development has to be these cross border

attacks, which various Ukrainian officials have said are going to escalate.

MACFARLANE: Sam Kiley there live from Kharkiv, thanks very much, Sam. Now a new court appearance Friday for the Kenyan religious leader accused of

running a doomsday cult that led to at least 249 deaths. Prosecutors are asking that bail be denied for Paul Nthenge Mackenzie.

They also want him to stay in custody for at least 60 more days. Well, CNN's David McKenzie is joining us now live from Kenya. And David, this is

a horrendous, heartbreaking case. Just walk us through these jaw dropping allegations.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christina, you have to really go back to January and even before that, when this

pastor managed to convince a great number of people to join him in a forest near where I'm standing. And set up a cult like community that then

descended into a full blown doomsday cult.

He was telling his followers that the world was ending right about now in fact, and started the allegation say telling them to start fasting; he said

the children should stop eating first. They're more than 70 bodies of young and older children in a morgue close to where I'm standing as well that

show the impact, more than 240 remains have been already exhumed from this cult following in the Shakahola forest.

You know, the Kenyan press is calling it the Shakahola massacre, but really the indications point that this was an orchestrated suicide and possible

multiple murder cult that has broken families in this and many parts of Kenya.

And this was a wide spectrum of people who believed this pastor, and that the world was ending, including professionals, flight attendants. There

were policemen there, according to survivors and their families and social workers, all who believe that the world was coming to an end. And 10 more

mass graves according to an affidavit we have seen still exist in a forest.

They will start exclamations again in the coming days. And really this could be the worst tragedy of its kind globally, in recent memory,


MACFARLANE: And David, the pastor, as we say, was in court today, you managed to speak to him, what did he say?

MCKENZIE: Well, yes, that's right. Pastor Mackenzie was in court. This was a procedural matter. He's been held on terror on terror laws to allow the

prosecution and the investigators to continue piecing together the evidence so they can try and successfully prosecuted him.

He was there behind iron bars, waiting for several hours, they've managed to hold him in detention for several more days, while his side mounts a

defense to try and get him out. But if you consider the awfulness of these allegations, he was sat there and passively. I went up to him and I asked

them, what are these allegations that he was directly involved in these people's suicide and possibly murder?


PAUL NTHEGE MACKENZIE, LEADER, GOOD NEWS INTERNATIONAL CHURCH: This is just a matter of intimidation and the wasting of other's time for nothing.

MCKENZIE: What happened in the forest with your followers?

MACKENZIE: I can tell nothing about that because I've been in custody for two months. So I don't know what is going outside there. Have you been


MCKENZIE: People before you were in custody, people were starving, and the allegations that people weren't killing their children.

MACKENZIE: But I've never seen anybody starting even killing -- .


MCKENZIE: We met a grandfather who was the first person to really manage to get into that forest along with people who said there and the local

charity. They complain that the police ignored pleas for many weeks, say that something terrible was happening in that forest.

And now still there are bodies being brought out and still they're looking for survivors for people who might still believe that the world is ending.

It's a horrible story and it's really rocked this nation, Christina.


MACFARLANE: And David, it is kind of disturbing really to see Pastor Mackenzie's absolute denial there or even knowledge of what has taken

place. We will of course continue to follow this very closely. David McKenzie, appreciate your reporting. Thank you.

Now CNN has done extensive reporting, reporting on the horrifying details of this story, go to our website for more on this evolving tragedy in

Kenya, that's at Now we're watching for response from Pyongyang, as the U.S. and South Korea hold large military exercises near the North

Korean border.

These are massive live fire military drills. And as CNN's Paula Hancocks explains, they could amp up already heightened tensions.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Norio of these military drills is very clear, and that is that North Korea has staged what's been described as an

illegal armed invasion in the scenario. And this is the joint counter attack by the U.S. and South Korean militaries.

There's no doubt it is more blatant than usual.

North Korea is the enemy and the U.S. and South Korea are training together to defeat that threat. Now we're told that this is the biggest joint lie

fire drill ever, a reflection of the perceived threat posed by North Korea around 30 kilometers or 18 miles north of here.

We have seen a year and a half of unprecedented missile launches and weapons tests from Pyongyang. So this today is a coordinated military drill

from the air and on land. 2500 soldiers from the U.S. and South Korea 610 pieces of military equipment. It is a clear message to North Korea. The

official line is it is to demonstrate, "Peace through overwhelming strength".


COL. BRANDON ANDERSON, DEPUTY COMMANDING OFFICER, U.S. 2ND INFANTRY DIVISION: I think the message is that we're prepared that the training that

we do is efficient, it's working.

CAPTAIN ANTHONY LOPEZ, U.S. 2ND INFANTRY DIVISION: Takeaways just having confidence in the credibility of the alliance and our ability to execute

kind of that extended and integrated deterrence together.


HANCOCKS: Then North Korea says that these drills are a large part of the reason why it has conducted so many tests saying that the failed military

satellite launch this week was in response to what it called the dangerous military acts of the U.S. another reason for these bigger joint exercises.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S. South Korea alliance and also the 75th anniversary of the founding of South Korea's military. And

these drills are being staged on five separate days each with around 2000 spectators some of them regular citizens who volunteer to come and watch,

so a fun day out for some a show of force for others Paula Hancocks, CNN Pocheon, South Korea.

MACFARLANE: And as the U.S. flexes its muscle in the region, there's another complication, its current relations with superpower China. U.S.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Singapore for an Asian Security Summit. China declined an invitation earlier this month to meet formally,

but Secretary Austin actually spoke briefly with his Chinese counterpart.

The two defense chiefs shook hands, but did not have a substantial exchange, the Pentagon said. Our CNN's Ivan Watson reports the strange

relations involved big global issues.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the biggest developments in the run up to this annual defense summit in Asia was the

fact that the Chinese government turned down a U.S. invitation for face to face talks here in Singapore, between the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd

Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu.

Well, moments before Australia's Prime Minister delivered an opening keynote address here. Lloyd Austin was filmed walking over to Li and the

two men shook hands smiling. This was all caught on camera by Wall Street Journal Reporter, Yaroslav Trofimov, when it underscores the fact that this

annual gathering provides the opportunity for the top military officers and defense chiefs around the world to rub shoulders and exchange views even

those who come from rival governments.

Now the Chinese government it had accused Washington of being insincere when it talks of wanting dialogue with Beijing, and it singled out what it

described as illegal unilateral sanctions. In 2018, the U.S. government put sanctions on Li Shangfu at that time; he was the director of the equipment

development department in the Chinese military.

The Biden Administration insists that those sanctions should not be an obstacle to meetings with him now that he is a defense chief in China.


Of course the rivalry between the U.S. and China that is one of the issues that is being discussed here, but also Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine

looms large. The Ukrainian defense minister is here with a delegation is expected to address delegates. A notable absence is any representative from

the Russian government. The organizers say they were not invited to attend. Ivan Watson, CNN, Singapore.

MACFARLANE: Thanks to Ivan. Now, just ahead, it was touch and go for a while that a U.S. default has been averted, while President Biden says he

looks forward to signing the debt ceiling bill.


MACFARLANE: A risk of a U.S. economic meltdown which would have been felt around the world has been averted. The U.S. Senate passed a bill late

Thursday to suspend the nation's debt limit through early 2025, just days ahead of a looming deadline.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are this vote the yeas are 63, the nays are 36. The 60 vote threshold haven't been achieved. The bill is passed.


MACFARLANE: U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the deal. And after that the U.S. Treasury can resume borrowing money to meet its

obligations. Let's go live to Washington and CNN's Jeremy Diamond joining us. So Jeremy not only was this bill passed with pretty decent support on

both sides, but it was passed extremely quickly. When do we expect this to hit President Biden's desk and what is the mood in Washington today

following this?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is a collective exhale here that is the best way that I can describe the mood here. And certainly

here at the White House, those negotiators, who have been working around the clock for several weeks on end shuttling back and forth, both ends of

Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Capitol Hill, sometimes multiple times a day.

They are all certainly breathing a sigh of relief, and perhaps some of that exhaustion also letting out today now that the Senate and the House have

both passed this agreement. I'm told that President Biden will sign this bill as soon as it reaches him that could happen as early as today.

But we don't know exactly how long it's going to take for that bill to be enrolled and then passed over here to the White House. But this certainly

marks the culmination of a process that is averting that potential economic catastrophe at defaults very much at the 11th hour very much in keeping

with Washington's a traditions, but it's also the culmination of a process that really didn't have a certain outcome.

Remember, for months, the White House said that they would not negotiate over the debt ceiling. They ultimately ended up engaging in negotiations

that they said we're overspending but we're clearly tied to this debt ceiling increase.

And ultimately the White House feels pretty good about the deal that they were able to achieve. We heard President Biden and his statements saying

that look this is compromise neither side got everything that they wanted.


But in my conversations with White House officials, I think they're pretty, they feel pretty good about this, given the fact that Republicans, you

know, they were looking for 10 years of spending caps bring spending back to fiscal year 2022 instead of 23.

Instead, this agreement after several side deals and adjustments brings funding just $1 billion shy of the funding levels for this current fiscal

year and only two years of spending caps at that. So this is something that I think we're going to hear a bit more from the White House now that this

has passed the house in the Senate.

We're going to hear them talking a little bit more about why they feel like this was a good deal. And that will begin in earnest with President Biden

delivering an Oval Office address at 7 p.m. Eastern time from right here at the White House.

MACFARLANE: Yes, we'll be looking towards that and seeing what he has to say on this, so historic deal, really. Jeremy thanks very much there live

from the White House. Now meantime, the U.S. labor market is still hot to the touch. The latest government report shows job growth in May far

exceeded expectations.

Employers added nearly 150,000 more positions than analysts had forecast. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent as more people enter the

workforce looking for jobs. The numbers also suggest is taking longer for people to find work.

All right, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. A prominent human rights lawyer and activist has been

abducted in Pakistan after criticizing authorities for enforced disappearances. Jibran Nasir was last seen on Thursday night in the

southern city of Karachi. According to his wife, he had been speaking out against disappearances targeting former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party.

Violence over and opposition leaders jail sentence has left at least nine people dead in Senegal. Former tax inspector Ousmane Sonko was given a two

year prison term Thursday for corrupting use. His party says the verdict is politically motivated and is urging supporters to take to the streets.

Dramatic video out of Egypt shows large sandstorms hitting across the country on Thursday at least one person was killed and several injured of

the powerful winds down trees and ripped billboards in the capital Cairo. While sandstorms are common in Egypt, storms of such magnitude as this are


Now police in Mexico have made a gruesome discovery, dozens of bags filled with body parts. Investigators say they found them in a ravine in the

suburb of Guadalajara. An initial investigation suggests the remains may be connected to a nearby Call Center. Let's bring in CNN's Patrick Oppmann for

more on this. Patrick particularly gruesome this, what more are you learning?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really horrible news for the family and members of these missing Call Center employees and just a backup a little

bit. About 10 days ago, a number of family members went to police to say that their family members some seven people who work at this one call

center in Guadalajara that their phones are all gone dead on the same day that they were just disappeared from the face of the earth.

And they were desperate because they know that this could indicate a sort of mass kidnapping or massacre or something that is all too common in

Mexico and particularly in parts of that country where drug cartels are the ultimate authority there.

And so they went to police and began holding marches calling for authorities to do more. And then in just the last several days, this grim

discovery and let's hear now, one of the investigators describe this crime scene, or where they found dozens of body parts.


LUIS JOAQUIN MENDEZ RUIZ, JALISCO STATE PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE: All the bags that we found are closed, and obviously tape packed. We found some segments

on the precipice ravine that we believe that when they were placed or thrown there, some bags must have torn. And that's how we found some

segments. In a preliminary manner, we can say that there are female and male bodies. But we need to wait for the Institute to confirm.


OPPMANN: And of course, as the authorities begin, continue removing these bags full of body parts. They have said though, that appears that they

resemble the missing call center workers at the two cases are connected, which is just terrible news for the family members, of course, hoping

imploring for a different outcome here.

But now the question becomes will be able, will police be able to bring justice here that all too often in Mexico even though bodies are found even

though it's very clear that drug cartels have been behind this kind of mass killings and nothing happens.

And authorities are not able to bring them to justice or simply often are not willing because of a widespread corruption. So this is a very high

profile and horrifying instance of something that is unfortunately all too common.


MACFARLANE: Yes and devastating for those families as they wait for those identities to be confirmed. Patrick Oppmann there live, thank you. Now

Nigeria's new president in damage control mode after setting off a fuel crisis his first day on the job. Where does his controversial promise stand


And in Sudan, some of the most vulnerable people are trapped in Darfur as fighting rages on. We'll look at the latest situation on the ground.


MACFARLANE: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Christina MacFarlane in London, your headlines this hour. Ukrainian official says the gates of

war have opened on Russian territory. There were more strikes inside Russia's Belgrade region just across the border from Ukraine.

Ukraine blames distant Russian volunteers. The drumbeat of strikes is also continuing in the Ukrainian capital residence of Kyiv seeking shelter here

in a subway station. At the same time President Vladimir Putin says he wants to prevent enemies from destabilizing Russia.

He's urging his Security Council to be aware of what he calls efforts to stir up the situation within the Russian Federation. His remarks follow

those reports of shelling just inside Russia across the border with Ukraine. The Christian cult leader in Kenya accused of urging followers to

starve themselves appeared in court Friday.

Prosecutors are asking that Paul Nthenge Mackenzie be denied bail and held in custody for at least 60 more days. He tells CNN he's never seen anyone

starving despite nearly 250 bodies being found in mass graves on the land where he preached.

And Nigeria's government is terrifying its plans to end fuel subsidies. This after the country's new president made an apparent off the cuff remark

that triggered panic buying which nearly tripled the price. During his inauguration speech on Monday, the president declared the fuel subsidy


Now the government says that won't happen until the end of this month. Let's bring in our Senior Africa Editor Stephanie Busari with the details.

And Stephanie, perhaps safe to say the president did not think through the impact of his words when he made them.

And as I said, now the fuel prices nearly tripled there. In abruptly ending these fuel subsidies in this way, how much hardship is this going to spell

for average Nigerians?

STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, AFRICA: Hi, Christina, it's hard to really and overstate how hard this is going to be for people here. Many

things depend on petrol or gas as some of our viewers may call it.


And, you know, people power their generators because of the lack of constant electricity supply, transport, public transport, which depends,

many people here depend on. And that's going to have a ripple effect on food prices and essential commodities. Now, Nigerians are already grappling

with record high inflation of around 20 percent.

And at the same time, as the rest of the world is grappling with a very high cost of living. So these things are going to create a bit of a perfect

storm, if you like, and compound the hardship on Nigerians. We've been talking to people on the streets of Lagos here. Take a listen to what some

had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Its affecting me personally, because I'm a single parent. I mean, we do have three kids, and a hole in the university so I'm

just wondering, how I am going to cope with three kids, all in the university? I pay rent, I take care of the upkeep, I pay their school fees,

I need to fuel my car, I need to buy fuel in my generator, there is no light. So I don't really understand what the government is up to. They

don't think about the promises at all.


BUSARI: So Christina, this was actually President Tinubu's, one of his campaign promises. But so what analysts are telling me is that they didn't

quite expect this abrupt ending. And it was an ad-lib moment, if you like, from his speech, because we, we were, we had -- preview of the actual

speech he was meant to deliver.

And that line was not there. So you know, some people may say that it's a bit of a strategic move on his part, to just rip the band aid off if you

like. But what many agree is that the fuel subsidy is untenable. It's very expensive.

It costs Nigeria, around $867 million every month, and the country is in massive debt, debt about $100 billion in debt and using a large part of its

revenue just to service debt, so many agree that the subsidy has to go. But they weren't quite expecting that it will be done in this way, with no

cushions or measures to help the poorest Nigeria. And so once you're going to suffer the most, without any announcement about how they will be helpful

this time, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yes, the situation is untenable, as you say, Stephanie. But they clearly haven't helped themselves in the way that they've done this.

And we have seen protests in the past over attempts to end the subsidy. I think back in 2012, there was a similar situation. What is the feeling

there? Do you assess that we may see those kinds of protests arising again, but before the end of the month?

BUSARI: So I remember those protests. Well, Christina, I covered them at the time in 2012. And it was known as occupy Nigeria, and it brought the

country to a standstill for about two weeks more than two weeks. And but there's not a sense that Nigerians are going to take to the streets on mass

in that way. Now, people have an understanding about why the subsidy needs to go. And also the issues of under subsidy, it's prone to abuse people

have embezzled funds; people have falsified documents or claim subsidies when they haven't been entitled to them.

So we're not seeing that sense of that people are going to take to the streets. The labor union, the largest labor union has said that the

president should immediately cancel this and promised a showdown. But we're watching to see what citizens will do themselves, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Well, it's good context. Stephanie Busari there live from a capital. Thanks very much, Stephanie. We're turning now to the worsening

situation in Sudan. A mother and her five children are among more than 50 people killed in fighting in the western Darfur region in the past week.

Fighting is also intensifying in Khartoum.

And there's little hope of a truce in sight. Talks between the countries rival factions have been suspended after repeated ceasefire violations. The

U.S. and Saudi Arabia say the violations have hindered the delivery of humanitarian aid and essential services, which was the main purpose of the


Well, the founder and executive director of Darfur network for human rights Mohammed Adam Hassan joins me now live. Thank you for your time. I really

want to talk about the situation specifically in Darfur, because we know it is dire.


The fighting has been intense and the people there are on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. You have been reporting in recent days that the RSF

have actually been pulling back from the capital of Nordstar 4. What is the latest that you are hearing from your teams about that?

MOHAMMED ADAM HASSAN, FOUNDER, DARFUR NETWORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Thank you so much for -- pleasure situation in Darfur region, the situation is very

critical by revelations. Civilians, their life is very dangerous since the war started in Sudan. Civilian in the four regions there seagulls by

militia group and RSF, so, and this is effective then because now from a Korean crisis, because the civilian suffering is creating by their life is


They know the humanitarian aid, the suffering by the water or lack of water, lack of the food, lack of the medicine, so no movement, all

civilian. Now, they live very dangerous, because they need the protection. And also from the specific in what's the -- now, every day, people die by

the lack of food and lack of medicines and lack of water. So the situation --

MACFARLANE: Sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to ask. How particularly bad is the situation for women there as well? You talk about the lack of

humanitarian aid but for women in Darfur, how much worse is this for them?

HASSAN: The -- for their suffering because the targeting by militia and RSF the everyday they left them sexual violence, especially in Norsdar 4 before

three days, more than 100 women they're targeting rapes and abusing and also in -- in today I have a report from my murderous underground in Salam

comes in North -- .

So this area now women's, the militia and RSF they close the road between Salam and -- because if any human come in the side of the body, the border

the RSF, they can look at the property and reps. Situation really in about human in Darfur region now it's very worrying.

MACFARLANE: And we know that there have been local militias who've been active in the area who have been drawn into this. But who has been

responsible for the majority of the shelling in Darfur?

HASSAN: Sorry again?

MACFARLANE: Who has been responsible for the shelling or the majority of shelling in Darfur?

HASSAN: So no responsibility. This is just for the international community because the life in Sudan, in Darfur region your life is ridiculous because

the leader of the Sudan are safe and on Sudan armed forces, they're fighting together.

The victim is who the civilian. Now this is responsibility for the international community, who was this Sudan, we need peacekeeping, because

this model is never stopped this nobody stopped one. And the question yesterday, I said the good news and also all civilian Sudans are happy

about selection for -- .

This is very good things. Also, we need more, most election. Of course we need more accountability for justice, this need more investigation,

admittedly, these violations, it is humbling, it is very dangerous. This is more than 2003, because now the Sudan was out of control. Because people

die, people leave the house, people sell the house, people don't have any protection. So this is the very dangerous situation.

MACFARLANE: Do you think that the U.S. sanctions that we've heard about in the last 24 hours that are now being handed down to companies and

individuals who are accused of fueling funding this war? Do you think that is going to make a difference in the fighting?

HASSAN: Yes, yes, this is really, this is for me, according to my monitoring this is the lead, but now it's very good because you know the

most of the results of the RSF you know, they have the company in -- and also the Sudanese armed forces.


Also this all have the company. This is, they bring gun from the outside from the Central Africa, and also the -- supporting and partner --

supporting. So this, I think this is, this election is very important and also can reduce the abolition of the human rights in Sudan.

MACFARLANE: Mohammed Adam Hassan, we'll have to leave it there, but we appreciate you coming on and giving us your perspective. And we will of

course continue to follow this as it develops in Darfur and other places across the country. Thank you.

HASSAN: Thank you so much.

MACFARLANE: Now according to the United Nations, more than 378,000 refugees have fled the country in recent weeks, mainly to Egypt, Chad, and South

Sudan. The clock is ticking in the Red Sea, these spiky sea creatures are dying at an alarming rate.

And without them the call reef will die too. What's behind this mystery epidemic when we come back?


MACFARLANE: Welcome back. One of the world's most delicate ecosystems is in danger. Scientists say the coral reefs of the Red Sea are under threat. A

populace of the population of sea urchins crucial to the coral survival was decimated in just a matter of days. CNN's Hadas Gold has the story.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The pristine waters of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea, reefs teeming with colorful fish. But something is

missing. And it's threatening this entire ecosystem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a very short time, we experience a massive catastrophe of failure, talking about losing a species, which is to live --

there forever.

GOLD (voice over): In January, Black Sea Urchins here started dying in mass. Within days entire populations of thousands are getting sick and

literally disappearing.

OMRI BRONSTEIN, FACULTY OF LIFE SCINCE, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: We've never seen any fluctuations on that magnitude and now to say that sea urchins

were completely gone, that whatever is giving them is still defined as a waterborne pathogen. We know that it is transmitted through the water.

There you don't need direct contact that it takes 48 hours for an individual to go from a live healthy individual to basically bare skeleton.

GOLD (voice over): Vital to keep the delicate balance of life here, these Urchins consume the algae that can choke reefs already stressed by human

activity and the effects of climate change. Dr. Bronstein and his team of researchers from Tel Aviv University, show us how the beauty and health of

the reefs are under attack, we do not spot a single black sea urchin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thought that we might be seeing something that is going to be radically changed is simply a very sad thought. And it is

probably the most unique coral reef in the world; it is our responsibility to make sure that there will remain here for future generations.

GOLD (on camera): This coral reef is unique in the world, because of its ability to withstand high temperatures, making it more resistant to the

effects of climate change. And that's why this week is so ecologically important to the globe.

GOLD (on camera): These tanks at the Inter University Institute for marine sciences in a lot Israel were once filled with the jet black urchins.

Now, they are covered in algae. A small scale example of what scientists say is happening in the sea.

BRONSTEIN: Without external regulation that the sea urchins provide, corals do not really stand the chance in this competition with algae because the

great the growth rate of algae is order of magnitudes higher than those of corals.

GOLD (voice over): Only a few have survived this epidemic like this young juvenile, he seems rather lonely.

BRONSTEIN: Oh, yes, a few individuals, even when they survive, that's not enough to sustain a population.

GOLD (voice over): A similar pathogen wiped the urchins out of the Caribbean in the 1980s and reared its head again last year. Dr. Bronstein

said it's likely spread by ships and possibly helped along by climate change and it's spreading. Researchers are using DNA technology to make a


LISA-MARIA-SCHMIDT, RESEARCHER, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: To basically just establishing a new monitoring method, a high throughput and non-invasive

one, it's allowing us to follow processes in the water of different species. So in a way you're trying to predict the future, more or less

there without going through the water, yes.

GOLD (voice over): But the time to save these black sea urchins is running out. Dr. Bronstein says governments need to move within weeks.

BRONSTEIN: And decisions makers need to understand that the window of opportunity to take action is very, very narrow and it's closing rapidly.

If we don't move quickly to create the brood stock populations based on the Mediterranean population, the remaining population if we don't take extra

care about what we pump into this environment, we may find ourselves in a huge problem in a huge situation.

GOLD (on camera): It's all shares this gulf and this problem with Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which you can see just behind me. And with which

Israel has no official relations. But under the water there are no boundaries and no politics and international cooperation will be a key to

fixing this problem.

GOLD (voice over): These fragile reefs where everything plays its part in the cycle, desperately waiting for help. Hadas Gold CNN, Eilat Israel.


MACFARLANE: Well, earlier, I spoke to Dr. Ian Hewson. He's the Director of Undergraduate Studies for marine biology at Cornell University. I asked him

what we know about the spread of this mystery pathogen and what can be done to slow it down.


IAN HEWSON, DIRECTOR OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES FOR MARINE BIOLOGY, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: So just at the moment, we're trying to map out exactly where

this disease is. And so this relies upon a network of national organizations, governments, citizens or community scientists around the

region. We've been working a little bit with people in the Arabian Peninsula as well to try and understand how far it is a way.

And then you know, if it does so happen to be something that is moved around by boating transport, perhaps coming up with better practices for

mitigating that, for example, releasing your ballast water, well off shore, not nowhere near ports, which I believe is current practice.

But perhaps there's other ways that has been introduced into these regions. We do see this disease manifests predominantly around ports and harbors at

the moment. So that gives us a little bit of a clue as to one potential mechanism by which is moving around.


MACFARLANE: The epidemic killing sea urchins in the Red Sea is the subject of our latest newsletter, meanwhile in the Middle East. To subscribe, just

scan the QR code at the bottom of your screen. Alright, coming up the tough way to the finals, we hear the long journey before the stage for the latest

finalists in Britain's Got Talent, the incredibly talented ghetto kids and their story up next.



MACFARLANE: From slums to stages social media dancing sensations Ghetto kids made it to the finals of Britain's Got Talent. The group is set to

perform its final dance in the competition on Sunday after rocking the stage during Wednesday's semi-finals.

The talented kids there made their name at last year's FIFA World Cup in Doha. And as you can see there, my colleague Becky Anderson caught up with

him during the tournament to hear their story and learn a few moves from the pros themselves.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dance means to me a lot because I lost my mother and.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're strong, OK, everything will be fine.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): King lost his mother when he was just nine years old, left to fend for himself on the streets of

Kampala, with his younger siblings, but after the heartache of early tragedy, an opportunity to find joy.

Meet the ghetto kids. Each of these children has a different story. But they have one thing in common, a love of dance.

PRISCILLA KISAKYE ZAWEDDE, GHETTO MEMBER: I have a father, I have a mother, but they are jobless. I come from a disadvantaged family. Sometimes we eat

once in a while. Now, because of dance I eat every day. I go to school. And sometimes I send money to my family because of dance.

ANDERSON (on camera): That's amazing.

ANDERSON (voice over): Dauda started the group in 2013 when a homemade video went viral.

DAUDA KAVUMA, GHETTO KIDS FOUNDER: So it went out. And then people were saying the video is going viral sequence viral. Videos on YouTube what is

YouTube? I didn't know YouTube.

ANDERSON (voice over): Himself homeless at a young age, he says he was taken in by a Good Samaritan. Something he has never forgotten.

KAVUMA: That's what inspired me. So right now I have 30 children. So we're using music, dance syndrome to help the kids to for this education, health

care. Then medication and other needs that children have.

ANDERSON (voice over): The dance troop have been invited to the World Cup by Qatar's generation amazing and visit Qatar.

KAVUMA: The -- is amazing, they promise us to help us, build our foundation because we have our home. We are now trying to build it is on a starting

level. So they premise us to complete our home for the kids because we're planning to have like 100 kids and more.

ANDERSON (on camera): What do you think of Qatar? Tell me what you've done since you've been here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I made the mother of a -- and I made a -- .


ANDERSON (on camera): You made a ground? Are you joking? No. You're going to be dancing performing a little bit later on. Can you just give me a few

moves? Wow, amazing. OK, am I coming in? Oh please don't do this to me.

ANDERSON (voice over): A timely reminder of the power of sport in changing our world, Becky Anderson, CNN, Doha.


MACFARLANE: Well done, Becky. Not bad at all. What a great uplifting story to end this Friday with. Best of luck to them in the final on Sunday that

was "Connect the World". I am Christina MacFarlane, stay with us for "One World" with Zain Asher up next.