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Blinken Visits Saudis Amid Plan to cut Oil Output; U.S. Official: Blinken & Crown Prince Affirmed Commitment to Stability, Security & Prosperity; Head of Saudi Public Investment Fund to become Chairman of New Golf Partnership; Artificial Intelligence in the West; CNN Gets Google's View of AI and Regulation. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 07, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: What a stunning development in the world of golf which is left many both inside and outside the sport

reeling. Blindsided is how many have described learning the news that Saudi back to LIV Golf and the PGA Tour. Until now fears foes are getting into

partnership together.

We'll take a closer look at the Gulf Kingdoms, increasing influence in global sports and the people leading that charge show also in your

headlines this hour. Hundreds flee Ukraine's Kherson region after the collapse of a critical dam, raising fears of an environmental catastrophe.

Questions aren't answered over what caused the collapse as the scope of the disaster gets clearer. Pope Francis has been admitted to a hospital in Rome

where he will undergo surgery in the coming hours we'll have to he'll have to stay there for the next several days as he recuperates from abdominal


More on that is coming up. Prince Harry is back at the High Court in London today being cross examined in his second and final day on the witness

stand. He showed some emotion and choked up when asked about how the past day and a half had been for him.

Well, welcome to our second hour of Connect the World, its 11 am in New York, 7 pm in Abu Dhabi, and its 6 pm in Riyadh, where the Kingdom of Saudi

Arabia is charting an ambitious new course in global politics and sports literally, through the golf course. Right now, the top American diplomat is

in Riyadh that is for a second day of meetings as the U.S. tries to re- engage rehabilitates its relations with the Saudis.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arriving in the capital a day after his nearly two hour meeting after midnight in Jeddah with the Kingdom's de

facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and they have touched we are told on sensitive issues including human rights.

The conflict in Yemen and the potential normalization of Saudi-Israeli relations for Blinken's visit coming as the PGA Golf Tour. The U.S. tour

unveiled a new partnership with Saudi Arabia's public investment fund the sovereign wealth fund, the financier of its sworn rival, LIV Golf.

Well, CNN's Nic Robertson covering this from London. Alex Marquardt is standing by in Washington. I start with you, Nic. Antony Blinken's trip

coinciding perhaps, coincidentally, perhaps not with a huge announcement from the Kingdom, about a massive investment and coming together with the

PGA Tour and where Saudis LIV Golf organization.

This has been a real bone of contention for golf for golfers, and it's really hit the headlines over the past year. Group litigation, between the

two tours, which we are told is now over. We don't have much more detail on this deal of yet, but it sort of speaks to and I'd like you to just discuss

this, if you will, with us.

It speaks to, you know, a wider sort of relationship with the U.S. through the prism of goals, at a time when Washington and the Biden administration,

quite frankly, is trying to rehabilitate what has been a pretty fractured relationship with the Kingdom. There's a lot going on here. And Alex will,

you know, get involved in this conversation as well. What are your thoughts about what we are seeing at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, look, I think the Saudis always thought that when President Biden was candidate Biden and he

spoke out very negatively about Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, they kind of thought, well, that's the campaign that's the

candidate but when it becomes President, it'll be different.

And they found actually, the relationship got worse than they anticipated. Now, it's they've got common ground. They both work together on peace

building in Yemen. They both work together and on sort of peace and extracting folks out of Sudan. So there's some recent commonality to build

positive progress on.


But there are so many deep and big differences and I think you know, what we're seeing on the sport stage here and it really burst into everyone's

arena here when it comes out and through the prism of golf that this LIV tour basically through deep pockets, it appears being able to muscle its

way into the global golf scene.

It is really indicative of the way that a Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is shaping himself as a regional power broker as a global diplomat, as

somebody wants to be involved in the big issues of the world, be it in helping, in his way, in his view, to perhaps bring peace between Ukraine

and Russia.

By the way, he's given $410 million to support humanitarian aid inside Ukraine, as well as sort of appearing to be on the side of Russia when just

a couple of days ago, he said Saudi Arabia was cutting the price of its oil, because when he cuts rather the production of oil, that puts the price


And that puts more Russia more money in Russia's pocket to fight the war in Ukraine. So there are all these contrary issues between Saudi Arabia and

the United States, but the way that NBS handles things on all these stages, we can see writ large in this golf deal, because he has got his way he

wanted it. He got it fast, and he's done whatever it took, it appears financially to get there.

ANDERSON: This is a controversial deal, Alex, as we understand it, certainly from other media organizations. So reporting, the Department of

Justice will look at this deal. I mean, I don't know whether we've actually specifically stood that up on CNN or not, perhaps you can tell me but the

wider story here is one that I really want you to provide some analysis and thought on, if you will.

Nic, talking to the fact that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to be seen as a regional, a global power broker. He certainly is a regional

power broker. I'm sitting here in the UAE and neighboring UAE. I mean, there is no doubt about it. I mean, this is a Mohammed bin Salman is a

force to be reckoned with in this region.

He's a man with a vision and in a rush to totally transform his country. And he wants respect and support for that from Washington. And to be frank,

it is clear, he is not convinced that he is getting that certainly not of late by this Biden administration enter Antony Blinken in Jeddah, and in

Riyadh today.

But in Jeddah last night, on a tour as it were, on a visit to continue to and this isn't his first visit by any stretch of the imagination of like,

he's continuing to try and rehabilitate relations with the Kingdom. How do you assess what you are seeing happening here?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the relationship got off to a bad start. I mean, the tone is really set by what

Nic just mentioned, with President Biden, then candidate Biden on the campaign trail, saying that he would make Saudi Arabia the pariah that it

is and there may have been a perception that that was just candidate Biden.

But as soon as President Biden took office in early 2021, his intelligence community came right out and said that the Crown Prince, the de facto ruler

of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, was directly responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the murder and dismemberment that it was his

team at his order that carried that out.

So that really did set the tone of the relationship. Now, the United States certainly is able to do, it hasn't had a need necessarily to engage as much

with Saudi Arabia because of oil production here in the United States. But at the same time, what the United States does very much acknowledge is that

they are, key to the National Security of the United States and to the security infrastructure of the Middle East.

There was when President Biden went to Saudi Arabia last summer, to kind of try to get this relationship back on track. He was much criticized here in

the United States, for that fist bump with MBS, fist bumping the man that his intelligence community Sid had carried out this murder.

And then had very little to show for it, critics said, because when he got back, Saudi Arabia very quickly announced that they and OPEC + would be

cutting off oil production rather significantly. And that was just ahead of the midterm elections, in which Democrats were in a very precarious


They ended up losing the House of Representatives. So here we are in the middle of 2023, just a year before the next presidential election, Antony

Blinken very much again, trying to, you know, set to get this relationship upright. Again, there are a number of issues where they can work together,

whether it's Yemen, Sudan, the ISIS campaign.


But Becky, in the wake of that meeting with MBS last night the State Department did acknowledge that there are differences on a number of

different issues and they did mention that human rights were discussed and the two countries are still very much at odds when it comes to human


There are a number of U.S. citizens who are in Saudi Arabia who cannot leave, they're under travel bans. So this is the first step, I think, for

Washington to try to make it look like this relationship is getting back on track working towards productive things, like the normalization of the

relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

But, you know, next month, Saudi Arabia is again, going to cut oil production, one of the biggest cuts in years, and that will eventually lead

to higher gas prices here in the United States. So it is we're a long way off from this relationship, fully being back on track and being warm,


ANDERSON: Nic, you and I know, because you're out here a lot. And I live out here, I work out here. And I cover this region, sort of on a minute by

minute basis and speak to people locally and work the sources here. We know that the Kingdom certainly believes at this point that it has the upper

hand in this relationship.

It certainly feels like it's got a lot of levers to pull when it comes to its relationship with the Biden administration. It knows that the Biden

administration has put normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel at the heart of its Middle East policy as it tries to sort of remove itself from

the sort of machinations of sort of erstwhile military conflict in this region.

And Saudis have a list of wants at this point. And they are sort of going through them systematically. They also know that they can look east. Their

biggest customer these days, of course, is China. And incidentally, I think it's important to point out Blinken is in Riyadh and Jeddah today and


The Saudis are holding an enormous China-Saudi business event next week. And again, I'm not sure that that's necessarily, you know, a coincidence. I

mean, there is a lot of noise out of Saudi Arabia in this region about how important the Chinese are, the Russians are, and various others?

They've been very vocal about being interested in joining the BRICS grouping, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which sees itself

as sort of competing with the G7. So going forward, where do you see things or how do you see things playing out?

ROBERTSON: You know, I think the deal that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made with President Xi, when he visited last year are many economic

deals are of huge value and significance because they've sort of translated into even better coordination between the countries and a diplomatic level,

China helping Saudi and Iran, longtime nemesis of Saudi.

I mean, just a couple of years ago, the Iranians were believed to be responsible for blowing up a couple of Saudi oil refineries. Yet here,

China is entering what Saudis would see as a vacuum in the Gulf, a diplomatic vacuum left by the United States, and helping broker some kind

of rapprochement.

One of the things you were mentioning just there was a fact that the Iranian diplomatic mission was reopened in Riyadh, just the same day that

Secretary Blinken was landing in Jeddah. That's also, you know, is that part of the message is that coincidence? I think it just shows us the

momentum that the Saudis have at the moment in terms of diplomatic contacts in terms of their heft in the region.

But where does it all go over time? Look, the global diplomatic shift, and I hear it from contacts here from other nations further east of Saudi

Arabia. And we certainly understand that the sort of southern hemisphere, if you will the Global South, is not as supportive of United States and its

allies supporting Ukraine to the hilt in the war in Ukraine.

That they want to see this war in Ukraine ended and they're not as critical, as many other nations as Ukraine's western partners are not as

critical as Russia. So I think part of this is the tipping of the balance, the global balance and scales, whereby the global south that has important

players that can come aboard like Saudi Arabia, that have influence.

That will listen to Russia that will listen to China. There's a shift, there's a global shift here and part of the rebalance is part of what

Secretary Blinken is doing in Saudi Arabia right now.


Trying to hold that balance together trying to keep it tilted the way the United States wants get the normalization with Israel, for example. It's

all this, I think, is that is the direction we're headed in.

ANDERSON: Yes. I mean, let's be quite clear and the Saudis have made no bones about this. They, they their focus is vision 2030, the total

transformation of their economy and society and everything. The Saudis diplomacy, its business transactions is geopolitics is squarely focused on

their economic interests at the moment.

And much of what we've been discussing tonight, very much plays to that file to both of you. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. So Saudi

Arabia, set to become a preeminent force in global professional golf, this partnership between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

The old European tour comes after LIV poured millions of dollars into signing away some of the PGA Tour's top players last year and started

running events in September. It sparked a mixture of surprise and anger, both in and outside the PGA Tour. Rory Mcllroy, one of golf's top stars and

big voice on the PGA Tour says today he still hates LIV but ultimately, it is going to be good for the sport. Have a listen.

OK, I haven't got that sound for you for the time being. But you get my drift. One of the key players in this deal is the Head of the Saudi Public

Investment Fund or PIF. And of course, the man who runs that is Yasir Al- Rumayyan in recent profile piece about him for the athletic.

My next guest writes, and "Some within PIF have expressed fears that the wealth fund is finding it difficult to fulfill Bin Salman's briefs. Al-

Rumayyan has previously explained his philosophy in Saudi interviews, it is better to have 100 goals and succeed in 70 than to have 10 targets and

complete them perfectly".

And Jacob Whitehead who wrote that piece and it's a jolly good piece, so joins me from Newcastle in England. And how timely this piece you couldn't

have made this up. Jacob, I have to ask you, first and foremost, because it's not just golf, I want to talk about the kind of plethora of Saudi

sports investment, which is really sort of, you know, providing, you know, a real sort of thought, as it were in many people's eyes in the world of


But it's certainly a disrupter. Let me put it that way. But were you as blindsided as everybody else was yesterday when this partnership was


JACOB WHITEHEAD, NEWCASTLE UNITED WRITER, THE ATHLETIC: I think so. I mean, they managed to almost completely overshadow the massive Saudi pro leak

news, which had happened the day before, which is quite an unusual comms strategy. I suppose it's interesting, because you can see both of them as

massive steps in vision 2030, and each one building on each other.

And I guess you can see both of them in terms of a form of legitimacy for golf for getting Saudi a seat at the table and in football at signing some

of the world's biggest stars in of the world's biggest game. And I suppose by doing that, it gets more eyes on Saudi sports Hill moves towards a

potential World Cup beds in 2030, 2034, which, I guess is the end goal of this quest for legitimacy.

ANDERSON: And you're absolutely right to point out that these announcements yesterday at this time on you know I covered it is breaking news on my

show, has overshadowed what actually I think conceivably is an even bigger announcement the day before on soccer and sort of wider sports stories.

So just explain, you know, what's going on there. What's the wider Saudi sports investment story at this point?

WHITEHEAD: So by saying by PIF buying the four largest clubs in Saudi Arabia, and the resolution investments in the fervor for. It's kind of

almost carte blanche to try and get the investment to try and sign some of the world's best players by doing that.

They want to improve the standard of Saudi sport but not just sport, itself or whatever is a public health benefit, which we've been talking about, but

by association, Saudis reputation globally at the moment for football. I think Saudi League ranked 58 for the world we want it to be in the top 10

by 2030.


That's a rapid growth and one which is pretty unprecedented across World Sports. I suppose this wider sporting in terms of questions of the wider

sporting landscape by investing in all of these becoming so sensual in the landscape of World Sports is really an imprint and culture.

There's also I suppose, an element from Mohammed bin Salman wanting to keep. It's not just him wanting to impress Saudi Arabia's interest on the

world impress Saudi Arabia's interest on a young and burgeoning population who are sport mad, so obsessed and offering them -- .

ANDERSON: Yes, and you're right. And we only have to remember, let me just set button here because we only have to remember the fervor of support for

the Saudi team at the Qatar World Cup, but late last year, and they beat the Argentinians and Messi, for example, in their first game, and it was,

you know, you could feel the buzz in Qatar.

And I know back in Saudi, you know, there was no more important story, let's be quite frank, doesn't matter where you're from, you know, your

national football team can really unite. So you're right to point out that, you know, we talk a lot about Saudis vision 2030 and how it's transforming

the country and what that means outside of Saudi. We also have to remember there's a really, really important story of societal change inside of

Saudi. I do want to talk about Yasir, who the man is behind PIF.

Before I do that, I just want to bring up a tweet from the athletics sports writer, Adam Crafton you know, Adam, of course, he writes that, the thing

was Saudi is there is a balanced story to tell, there are societal changes, there is opening up, there is diversification of investment, but there is

also Khashoggi, the 9/11 families, the continued repression of women's rights, LGBT rights.

He goes on to say those who benefit from Saudi cash only want to celebrate the good and ignore the bad. Before we talk about Yasir Al-Rumayyan, let me

just bring up as I promised our viewers that we would hear from Rory Mcllroy, who has been very much against the LIV Golf organization to date.

Let's just hear from him in response to this latest news.


RORY MCLLROY, PGA TOUR GOLFER: Hit LIV. Like I hit LIV, I hope it goes away and I would fully expect that it does. And I think that's where the

distinction here is, this is the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour under PIF, very different from LIV, all I've tried to do is protect what the PGA Tour

is and what the PGA Tour stands for? And I think it will continue to do that. It's hard for me to not sit up here and feels somewhat like a

sacrificial lamb and you know feeling like I've put myself out there and this is what happens.


ANDERSON: It may take some time for the man behind PIF, Yasir Al-Rumayyan to get Rory Mcllroy on side. You wrote, as I introduce you, you wrote a

super profile piece on the man behind LIV. Just tell us what you learned in brief. Who is he?

WHITEHEAD: I think the thing which first fascinated me is this is a guy who holds dozens, literally dozens of jobs, which are all pretty, integral

within Saudi Arabia. He's part of royal court. He's Chairman of Aramco for state oil company he runs PIF for sovereign wealth funds.

He's the Chairman of Newcastle United, which is how I first came across him he runs LIV Golf almost as his personal hobby which means that we're a

records point of kind of LIV been separate to PIF is a questionable one.

And so, bearing in mind all of these kinds of difficult, not difficult, all of these kinds of societal change in transformational times which Saudi

Arabia is experiencing. How this one man who's had all of this different power vested in him by a ruler who has been known to be capricious? How is

he dealing with that?

ANDERSON: Fascinating. I have to say it is not unfamiliar, in this region for significant businessman, men to hold a number of files. The list can be

incredibly long, but you're making a very good point and we will get to know yes, I'll remain on the global stage and a lot more in the years to

come. I have to ask you, you are in Newcastle. Are you a Newcastle fan? Are you from the other side of town?

WHITEHEAD: I'm nice. I support neither of them, which may be -- no Sunderland, so maybe it gives me a little bit more.


I suppose it makes it more interesting never mind -- Newcastle --

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating well listen I like I say the pieces are very good read and you know really gets to the heart of who the Governor of PIF

is and indeed you know, really flushes out some of the issues. Some of the benefits some of the challenges you know, it's a fascinating week.

Good to have you on sir. Thank you. Water from a destroyed dam in Southern Ukraine has now flooded some 2000 homes evacuation ongoing. And we are

hearing new warnings about the long term effects of that disaster more on that after this.


ANDERSON: Thousands of people in Southern Ukraine are in the midst of a flood emergency more than 1500 have been evacuated from Ukrainian

controlled territory so far trying to save as many belongings as they can carry as well as their pets. Unfortunately, 10 people have been reported


And Ukraine's Agriculture Ministry is warning huge swathes of farmland are being wiped out by the floods. My colleague Fred Pleitgen has been spending

time in that flood zone. Have a look at this report that he filed earlier.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After the catastrophic destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, as you can see, there's

still a lot of water here in the City of Kherson. And one of the things that we've been really surprised about is how fast that water has been


In fact, just yesterday, when we were here we were I'd say about 100, maybe 150 yards in that direction, that entire area is inundated you can't go

there anymore. At the same time the rescue efforts are ongoing to free people from their houses, people where the water rose so quickly that they

couldn't get out.

And you can see police here, the Army's here they have some boats here, and they've been trying to get some people out. Now, this isn't an operation

that was ongoing throughout the entire night. That's what the authorities were telling us that they would not rest but it's also one that was ongoing

under nearly constant shelling.

We were hearing that the entire night. We've been doing it throughout the entire day is up there. Shelling seems to be coming from multiple rocket

launching systems, but also from artillery as well. And as you can see, if you go over here, it's not only people that are being saved from the

buildings here from a lot of animals as well.

There are a lot of cats here in these cages and -- rescuers coming here and then -- to greet them and they picked up from maybe a fence or maybe a

rooftop obviously a lot of those animals also very much in danger as are the people who are still caught in that area. Fred Pleitgen CNN, Kherson,



ANDERSON: Well, I'll just add Elon Musk, Rishi Sunak, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Big names are saying much the same thing. Artificial Intelligence

needs a watchdog and it needs it.


Our top minded Google tells me what that company is thinking and what he is thinking personally, that is up next.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World" with me, Becky Anderson. It's just after half past seven. You are getting this programming

from our broadcasting hub here in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi.

Well, there is a scramble on in the West to place regulation around artificial intelligence. Europe is considered to be at the forefront of

trying to do just that working as we speak on an AI Act. The British prime minister is also wasting no time highlighting the importance of some kind

of watchdog.

Rishi Sunak is in Washington for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday. And it is no surprise that AI is high on their agenda. This all

comes amid the rapid growth of AI products for you and me, the general consumer, including from tech giants, like Google.

And Google's CEO wrote this in an op-ed for the FT recently, "With the technology now at an inflection point. And as I returned to Europe this

week, I still believe AI is too important not to regulate, and too important not to regulate well."

He was in Europe, talking to regulators and policymakers. Well, Google's global Head of Government Affairs and Public Policy Karan Bhatia were here

in the UAE at the same time, and I chaired a panel with him and the UAE's AI Minister recently. After that, I started by asking Karan Bhatia in a sit

down interview if like his CEO, he believes AI is simply too important not to regulate. Have a listen to what he told me.

KARAN BHATIA, GLOBAL HEAD OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC POLICY, GOOGLE: Artificial Intelligence may be the most profound technology that we've seen

emerge in a generation. And anytime you introduce technology that is that powerful. You do need guardrails, you need regulation and you need it not

just to deal with the risks, but you actually need it to incentivize investment because its promises are so great, but it also comes with real


And we have to have rules of the road to address that. And that's I think what Sundar is talking about when he says we need to regulate, but we need

to regulate well.

ANDERSON: What should AI regulation then be designed to deal with?

BHATIA: But we think three things really come to the fore when you're thinking about the role that government should be playing, so regulation at



You know, the first is opportunity to make sure that the incredible opportunities they are being realized in each individual country, but

globally as well. Secondly, look, this is a technology that has security implications, particularly certainly, in certain applications.

So there does need to be thought about regulating around security, national security, export controls and other areas. But the third and the one that I

know a lot of people are thinking about is this question of responsibility with respect to how products are intersecting particularly generative AI

products intersecting with individuals.

So we have questions like privacy, questions like disinformation, and misinformation, online bias, which can sometimes be, you know, inserted in

through artificial intelligence.

ANDERSON: It is the introduction of generative AI to the masses, the democratization of generative AI, which has the Europeans rewriting what it

is that their regulation of AI was designed to do. They are extending the remit of regulation outside of what we're highly regulated and totally

understandable in areas like healthcare and, and danger alongside the financial services. For example, outside of that, is the EU going to faster

with respect?

BHATIA: Well, look, I think Europe is still trying to figure out what the right balance is, as regulators all over the world are trying to figure out

what is the right balance between allowing the evolution of the technology while dealing with risks?

ANDERSON: Google is asking its consumers and the general public to trust them with regard to the development of AI tools, AGI which is a new and

potentially very risky environment. Trust us. We will work with regulators, we understand the risks, but we also want to continue to take advantage of

the benefits. How do you balance that as a profit making organization?

BHATIA: Trust is absolutely core to what Google brings every day. If consumers don't trust what they are getting from a Google search or using

Google Maps, we are losing our value proposition. We think that AGI generative AI brings enormous potential value to our products. But we do

recognize that this is an evolving technology.

And you are going to get answers from some of these chat bots, including bars that are not accurate. And that's why we're working to utilize it by

integrating it in with trusted products like Google Search in ways that are going to allow the consumer to feel that ongoing sense of trust.

ANDERSON: One of Google's most senior engineers recently left the organization so that he could be more honest about his concerns about where

we are, both with the generative AI world and its development and where artificial intelligence goes next. That's worrying.

BHATIA: Surely, well, I mean, Google prides itself on an environment where our employees will speak freely and continue to do so. And we encourage

that. We are the first ones to admit that we think this is a space that requires dialogue.

We put out a set of AI principles as early as 2018, to be able to guard our own actions. And there are a variety of innovations and products that we

have not brought to the market because we are worried about those implications.

ANDERSON: How quickly do we need to nail this regulation, whatever it looks like?

BHATIA: I'm not going to put a deadline on today or tomorrow, we have been on a journey with artificial intelligence as a company that didn't just

start in January of this year, we've been working on this for six, seven years.

AI is already integrated into many of our products, you know, you will when you type in a Google Search, and it starts auto completing that's AI. When

you utilize Google Translate, and its helping you communicate in languages around the world, that's AI. So we're quite familiar with AI is an

evolution and it's going to continue to evolve.

ANDERSON: Is the world fit for purpose at this point, given the speed of the development of AI, and its implementation?

BHATIA: The reality is we're a very different world than we were 80 years ago when nuclear energy came onto the floor. We have many more governments

who rightfully are asking for a place at the table in determining what the future of this technology is.

The technology isn't in the hands of just a few it is you know many companies, many countries; many institutions are going to be involved in



So it is a more diverse, complicated policy and regulatory world than has ever before existed.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. That's Karan Bhatia there with Google's perspective on AI. Don't forget the tech titans of this world warning us of the

potential for global annihilation if this AI world the future of this AI world is left on regulated.

Well, big news today is involving this network of CNN. Its chairman and CEO, Chris Licht is leaving this company just a year after being hired for

the top job. CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy joining me now, Oliver, we never want to be the news. We want to report the news.

And in fact, in his defense, Chris Licht said the same thing about the fact that he has been hitting the headlines of late, what do we know at this


OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, some tough news over here at CNN. Chris Licht, the embattled leader of the network whose tenure had

really been stained by threes of severe missteps. He is departing CNN effective immediately. That's what David Zaslav, who is the Chief Executive

of CNN parent company told staffers on the daily morning editorial call.

Zaslav said that in the interim three seasoned CNN veterans are going to take the helm of the network that includes Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley

and Eric Sherling and they'll be working alongside newly installed Chief Operating Officer David Leavy, to really write this ship. I mean, CNN has

taken a lot of gut punches over the past 18 months or so. And so their goal is to write the ship and get back to the news.

ANDERSON: And we will, they will, and we will help them do it. Oliver, always a pleasure, thank you very much indeed. And thank you for joining

us; wherever you are watching in the world, you are more than welcome. I hope you got some value out of the last couple of hours here on "Connect

the World". "Marketplace Middle East" is up next, we will see you same time, same place tomorrow.




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, MARKETPLACE MIDDLEEAST (voice over): From billion dollar mega projects to enticing travel destinations Saudi Arabia is

pushing through with ambitious development plans. Global trade is high on that agenda.

GIOKOS (on camera): I'm here to discover what makes this port one of the most efficient in the world. And then I hit to a university that's cracking

the code on creating more sustainable fuel. I'm Eleni Giokos, coming to you this month from King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia.

GIOKOS (voice over): More than 80 percent of global trade is carried by sea and around a third of that is shipped in containers. Located just north of

Saudi's second largest city, Jeddah, King Abdullah Port is positioned strategically in one of the world's busiest shipping legs, the Red Sea, the

shipping lane accounts for more than 10 percent of global trade.

The port started its operations in 2013, handling a million containers a year. Nearly a decade later, it's processing almost 15 million containers,

despite the supply chain disruptions in maritime.

GIOKOS (on camera): I was just thinking back on the pandemic and how trade routes were up ended, you know, some routes were completely shut down and

reachable. Did that change things for you over the pandemic and how COVID really changed the way we trade?

JAY NEW, CEO, KING ABDULLAH PORT: Oh, absolutely. And remember, that was a period of time where the shipping lanes didn't know which ports they could

go to, which were operating fully or at capacity.

GIOKOS (on camera): You didn't shut down?

NEW: We didn't shut down at all. So credit to the teams here the terminal operators, the government entities, the regulators, who actually sat down

and had live workshops on how the operations could keep going, going on throughout the pandemic.

GIOKOS (voice over): During the pandemic, the port ramped up operations in the latest World Bank reports, the port made it into the top 20 along with

other five ports in the region. Jay New, the CEO is today embarking on an ambitious strategy to grow even further.

NEW: Everybody wants to be the best, so Eleni, you can see out of the window here that the Red Sea. So it's a major shipping trade lane for the

global economy. And the first point being the most efficient, it takes only 15 to 20 minutes to get from the Red Sea, into the berth in the port. So

that's very efficient. So when the ship eventually comes into the port, it's handled extremely efficient.

GIOKOS (on camera): So logistically, and geographically, it's working for you, you know, from that aspect, but then you still have to make the

numbers work from that point on. So tell me about how you did that.

NEW: So when you travel to a destination, often you will go to a hub port, sit in the transit lounge, and then get a connecting flight to the final

destination. And global shipping works a little bit like that. So the big shipping lines and the biggest ships in the world, which will carry

something, like 23,000 containers.

These vessels are 400 meters long, the size of the Empire State Building; they're huge vessels that come in here. And they come into the port and

they offload containers that are then loaded onto another vessel for a final destination.


So, shipping lines would bring containers into the port here that might be destined for Africa, other countries in the Middle East, Indian Ocean

islands, this is an area where there are about 400 million consumers in that region.

GIOKOS (voice over): The world's busiest ports in China, Singapore and South Korea handle between 22 and 47 million containers a year, making them

the largest by value. But for Jay, it's more about efficiency.

NEW: Size is important, but scalability is even more important. 75 percent of our containers destined for Saudi Arabia are cleared for importation

within 24 hours. So I think we have extremely good terminal operators here. They have good systems, they have good planning.

We have extremely good relationships with the customs. And we actually designed what we call a port community system which is a digital and IT

interface between all the different entities together, so the processing will happens online and all happens extremely efficiently.

GIOKOS (on camera): Well Jay I think it's enough sitting down. I want to go check out the port.

NEW: Let's go.

GIOKOS (on camera): Are you going to show me around?

NEW: Yes, I'll do that.

GIOKOS (on camera): Let's do that. Jay are you feeling OK?

NEW: It's amazing, very natural.


NEW: I love taking people out here. This is one of the best parts of my day because I mean, look at this ship. She's now on her way to the east coast

of the United States. So picked up cargo from India, from Saudi Arabia and is now moving back to the U.S.

GIOKOS (on camera): So it cost $2.7 billion to build this port. Are you making money?

NEW: It's a good and successful enterprise. And I think we want to continue doing this, we want to continue expanding.

GIOKOS (on camera): So Jay let me ask you this. Are you planning to become the biggest port in the region, is that your target?

NEW: 47 percent of all the transshipment traffic that happens in the Red Sea.

GIOKOS (on camera): Yes.

NEW: And I think to become bigger than that is definitely possible and definitely possible within the next decade, we're going to see significant





GIOKOS (voice over): Shipping accounts for around more than 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

VICKY CHEMUTAI, ECONOMIST, WORLD BANK: But in 2021, for example, shipping emitted about 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is about a

third of India's domestic emissions. And if we were to sort of make global shipping a country right in the list of global top emitters, it would take

up the sixth position. So that shows you how significant it is.

GIOKOS (voice over): That's why the International Maritime Organization or IMO set new rules for the shipping industry to lower its carbon footprints

and reduce air pollution. While volcanoes can release some of the chemicals that cause acid rain, most come from human activity and burning fossil

fuels, which release nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide into the air. So in 2020, the IMO introduced a rule that cuts the acceptable level of sulfur in

marine oil from three and a half percent to 0.5 percent.

GIOKOS (on camera): To help meet these green goals, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has come up with a solution and it's

all about creating clean and sustainable fuel for shipping. And I've got Professor William Roberts with me. And I can smell fuel it is permeating

the air.



GIOKOS (on camera): Have you cracked the code?

ROBERTS: We are working on a process to remove sulfur from heavy fuel oil for marine transport.

GIOKOS (on camera): Yes.

ROBERTS: So the objective is to be able to get down to this International Maritime Organization 2020 regulation that puts a cap on the sulfur

emissions. And so you can either pull it out of the exhaust the flue gas or pull it out of the fuel.

GIOKOS (voice over): This project started four years ago. It's a partnership with Saudi Aramco base oil company Luberef. For Professor

Robert and his team, it is about finding a sustainable solution to using scrubbers and also making it cost friendly. Scrubbers are a cleaning system

that is placed on ships to remove the polluting sulfur oxides from the ship's exhaust.

GIOKOS (on camera): So Professor, the whole point is to try removing the sulfur.

ROBERTS: Correct.

GIOKOS (on camera): From the fuel and not use filters.

ROBERTS: And not use scrubbers on the ship. GIOKOS (on camera): Yes.

ROBERTS: So you use a land based low cost, high efficiency approach, right with this green.

GIOKOS (on camera): So you're using sulfur for something you know the -- , right.

ROBERTS: Yes, right. So it doesn't wind up in the atmosphere or in the ocean if you're using scrubbers.

GIOKOS (on camera): So let me ask you this, what percentage of sulfur you're actually able to reduce and remove from the fuel that you're working


ROBERTS: So the high sulfur fuel oil is about 3.5 percent. And we can get it to less than 0.5 percent. And this is the IMO regulation.

GIOKOS (on camera): This method of desulfurization is not new; it has been around for several years. Professor Robert and his team are trying to

remove the sulfur on a lighter, more cost effective scale.

ROBERTS: There are 55,000 ships right now, right on the ocean. 800 of them are liquefied natural gas. So the infrastructure is enormous that you're

not going to be able to replace it because that's at a tremendous cost and energy penalties. So you're much better off modifying what you have, in

trying to replace completely.

CHEMUTAI: It is innovative solutions. What do they entail right? Key on that list is introducing more sustainable fuels. We already know shipping

is sort of relatively more carbon efficient, in terms of moving goods across the planet. And this could be through lowering vessel speed, but

also developing this carbon neutral fuel.

GIOKOS (voice over): Just like many heavy industries, shipping is navigating its way through an energy transition. But Professor Robert says

fossil fuels will still have a part to play at least for some time.

GIOKOS (on camera): You're a scientist; you know how important fuel is? Do you believe that our energy portfolio on the world will always have to

include crude?

ROBERTS: For the next 50 years, for sure.

GIOKOS (on camera): So we have to find ways to minimize your missions?

ROBERTS: Exactly. But it's is exactly our mission. Combustion is essential right; it will be a major part of this solution. We've got trillions of

dollars in infrastructure in engines and turbines and power generation and transportation sector. We need to change the fuel or change how we clean up

the exhaust. We're not going to be able to replicate this entire infrastructure in the next three decades.


GIOKOS: Well, that's it for this edition of Marketplace Middle East. If you want to take a look at more of the stories that we cover on the program,

you can check out our website. From me Eleni Giokos at King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia, I'm going to get back to work and I'll see you next time.