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Police: Children among Wounded in Knife Attack; U.S. Cities Blanketed with Smoke; 280 Children Rescued from Khartoum Orphanage; Biden Host UK PM Sunak in Oval Office; Saving Patagonia One Jaguar at a Time; Football Star Lionel Messi to Join Inter Miami. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 08, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This hour a knife attack in Southeast France leaves a city and the nation in shock. I'll be speaking to

the Deputy Mayor for the very latest.

Also in your headlines is President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visiting the Kherson region the area was hit by serious flooding from that dam collapse

earlier this week. Ukraine says it could lose millions of tons of crops leading to another humanitarian catastrophe.

U.S. Secretary of State and rethinking continues his visit to Saudi Arabia trying to forge a new path for both countries. The Kingdom's Crown Prince

Mohammed Bin Salman held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the time that Blinken was in the Kingdom.

Wildfires burning across Canada have sent smoke billowing towards the east coast, Washington and New York both have been covered in thick smoke.

Millions of people have been warned about going outside and they've been told to wear masks. And later this hour Argentina Superstar makes the move

across the pond Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami we'll have the details of that deal coming up.

Well, you are back with us for the second hour of "Connect the World" it's just after seven o'clock in the evening here. A shocking story from France

now which has rocked a small city six people, including four young children wounded in a knife attack. Now the man pictured here the sole suspect taken

into custody shortly after the incident.

Authorities say he is a Syrian Asylum seekers but as his motive, as of yet is unclear. This violence has perhaps understandably left a nation in

shock. CNN's Melissa Bell joining us from Paris with more and what do we know at this point, Melissa?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Becky a lot more sadly about the ages and nationalities of the very young victims of todays frenzied

attacks. We're talking about one British one Dutch child.

The ages of the four children who've been critically wounded in that stabbing attack are 22 months to two year olds Becky and a three year old.

And what the video the amateur videos that emerged from that scene this morning suggest is that this man very deliberately walked through this park

attacking with his knife as many children as he could.

In fact, you can see him on the images, very deliberately pushing the adults away. It was the children he was seeking very methodically as he

went through that park extremely shocking scenes again Becky in a country where you simply don't see these sorts of attacks targeting children very


We wait to hear more about the fate of the children. We understand that several of the victims and today's attacks are now between life and death.

And much more of course, we await to learn about precisely what motivated this man is Syrian refugee he had sought asylum in Sweden, 2013, come to

France and sought asylum here had it rejected, Becky, on account of his already having it in another European country.

What is emerging from the French press, which is as you can imagine following this story very closely, as rare as this kind of incident in this

country. It is a picture of a man who is in fact a Christian Syrian and who used that, as part of his asylum claim when he came to Europe.

What precisely he was hoping to achieve as he set out with his knife in the park next to D'Annecy Lake, we have yet to better understand but a clearer

image emerging of precisely what went on about 9:45 am in France.

It's a really hot day people went out in the park and a lot of people are being referred to as victims who were not just wounded with the knife,

Becky but who happened to be in the park watching what a particularly gruesome attack, Becky.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Melissa, thank you. Let me bring in Chantale Farmer who is the Deputy Mayor of d'Annecy where this attack happened. This is

shocking and our hearts go out to not just those who've been injured but the entire community. But four children, young children have been injured

in this attack how are they?


CHANTAL FARMER, VILLE D'ANNECY DEPUTY MAYOR: Well, we don't have any news for now they have been transported to the hospitals, different hospitals to

take them in charge. And we pray that they all good now, but we know that they were seriously injured. So you really hope everything's going to be


ANDERSON: What happened?

FARMER: Well, a man that was just walking around the park just stabbed children and two adults. We don't know now why he did it. Why he was there?

What was it mean to do it? He's still at the police station. He's been interviewed, and we're waiting to have the exact facts why he has done


ANDERSON: What do we know about the suspect and as he mentioned himself? Do you know anything about his motives?

FARMER: No motive at all for now. He is still with the police. So there's nothing going out now. So we hope to have more news tomorrow.

ANDERSON: The Prime Minister of course, is visited. What did she say? What did she talk about?

FARMER: Well, she said that the country was devastated by this news. And when it touches to children, everyone is touched by what happened. Everyone

is shocked, devastated. And it's a terrible fact. And we should all be praying for those children and the people that and the families also.

ANDERSON: Thankfully, this sort of incident is very rare in France, which makes it of course all the more shocking. How is the community coping?

FARMER: I'm sorry, I didn't hear the question.

ANDERSON: How is the community coping the community of d'Annecy?

FARMER: There's a connection problem. I'm so sorry. It's all or I don't hear you clearly --

ANDERSON: Listen, it's -- we obviously having technical difficulties, but it is very good. If you can hear me it's very good to have you on. Thank

you very much indeed, for joining us. And of course, as we get more information on this story, we will bring it to you.

Ukrainian officials reporting that at least nine people have been injured as Russian forces target evacuations in Kherson both Moscow and Kyiv accuse

each other of shelling as rescuers rush to help people escape the flooding from a dam collapse, earlier this week. One apparent attack erupting as

Ukraine's Chief Rabbi was talking about the evacuation efforts.

The Rabbi hitting the ground to take cover soldiers are heard yelling to get down as they move to a safer spot. Well, Ukrainian President Volodymyr

Zelenskyy, visiting the region and meeting with aid workers today.

Meantime, Kremlin officials say Russian forces have repelled for Ukrainian attacks in the Southern Zaporizhzhia area. CNN cannot independently verify

those claims. Meantime, two U.S. Senior U.S. officials tell CNN that Ukrainian forces are taking significant losses on both sides of this.

Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister reporting battle games around the Eastern City of Bakhmut she says it's still the epicenter of hostilities, but CNN

has learned that the Russians have put up stiff resistance with minefields that have taken a heavy toll on Ukrainian armored vehicles. CNN's Sam Kiley

has more.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ukraine's Third Assault Brigade is in action near Bakhmut. And they claim they're

making advances around the city. But their attack is dependent on Soviet era weapons. Modern equipment from the USA and NATO is apparently being

held in reserve for a Ukrainian offensive.

KILEY (on camera): Do you have a name for your grad?


KILEY (on camera): Is it good enough for this fight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This fight now likes --

KILEY (voice over): Ukraine gets no help at all with aircraft not so far. This Soviet era helicopter is ancient, but in combats almost every day

flying dangerously low to avoid missiles and Russian jet hunter killers.


These aircraft will fly more sorties as fighting intensifies in a relentless cycle of war. Ukraine has now got added rage at what it's

calling a Russian Ecocide. This part of Kherson has suffered Russian bombardment across the river for month's now near total destruction from up


Russia is widely blamed for the collapse of the dam at -- which has been under its control since March last year; civilians who survived the Russian

occupation of their town and an offensive to free it are now facing down a new horror. Thousands have no drinking water. Here a drone delivers help,

an adaptation of a system originally designed not to save life, but to take it. Sam Kiley, CNN in Eastern Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, in whole of this and despite sanctions, Russia's trade with China just saw a huge increase according to Chinese customs data that's

just been released. Trade between the two countries in the first five months of the year jumped more than 40 percent compared to last year

hitting that big number $94 billion.

China's relationship of course with Russia has been an economic lifeline for Moscow under heavy sanctions but the Asian powerhouse's trade, with

several other countries taking a hit with Taiwan, South Korea and the United States experiencing the biggest dips.

Well, air quality warnings for millions in Canada and the United States. Just ahead, a look at the impact hundreds of wildfires is having right now.

And hundreds of children have been rescued from an orphanage in Sudan. I'll speak to the International Red Cross on how they completed that operation

amidst the ongoing conflict in Khartoum.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson, 14 minutes past seven from your Middle East Programming Hub here

in Abu Dhabi. Millions of people across Canada and the Eastern Seaboard of the United States are being warned about going outside.

Why? Well, this is as thick smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to blanket the region. Take a look at this. This is a time lapse of New York

City yesterday's over a three hour period the skyline as you can see disappears into an orange haze of smoke.


Well, that smoke is from more than 430 wildfires burning across Canada and forecasts indicate this may take days for the smoky air to clear. Joining

us now is CNN's Bill Weir who is live in New York. And as I understand it, things are improving slightly but the quality of the air still particularly

bad. Just explain what it's like right now?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Well, on a scale of zero to 500 on the air quality index. Yesterday, we hit 448. That is a record

off the charts made it the dirtiest city in the world. Right now we're at about 200, which is the border line between what is air that's considered

unhealthy or very unhealthy.

It is improved. It's now headed south down toward Philadelphia right now. But there's other plumes headed toward Toronto over the weekend, right now.

But this is a novelty for East Coasteners who long thought that sort of smoke and drought and these kinds of fires was the price they paid on the

West Coast maybe not anymore.


WEIR (voice over): Canadian wildfires have burned an area 15 times above average for this time a year. And in a world connected by climate crisis

fire and wind are now creating other worldly scenes across the American Northeast and on the streets of New York, a mixture of amazement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been living in New York for the most part of 35 years, and I've never experienced anything like this before.

WEIR (voice over): And concern?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For years, we've been wearing masks indoors and taking them off outdoors. And now it's the reverse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we're from Australia, and we have a lot of bushfires in Australia. So we're used to this, and this season hasn't been

as bad but it did shock me how quickly it came in last night. And the air quality was bad later in the evening.

WEIR (voice over): The sky over Lower Manhattan turned from dirty yellow, to a frightening orange in just a few midday hours. The smoke forcing

ground stops at LaGuardia, and the streetlights in Central Park to come on in the middle of the day.

WEIR (on camera): If you get any glimpse of the sun at all on these surreal days, it's this apocalyptic glowing ball in the sky the air quality index

today on par with New Delhi, India, a city four times larger, which much lower air quality standards of course.

And just today the American Lung Association dropped a new report where they examined how many lives will be saved if the U.S. could electrify its

vehicle fleet by 2050? It would be almost 90,000 live saves and that doesn't account for the prevalence of wildfires smoke now more common on a

planet heated up by fossil fuels.

WILLIAM BARRETT, NATIONAL SENIOR DIRECTOR, AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION: Yes, the study is really only focused on emissions from those power plants and

the vehicle tailpipe so we really need to take a comprehensive view. And that new study really illustrates that making these changes today can help

bring out major, major public health benefits over time.

WEIR (voice over): Any number above 300 on the air quality index is considered dangerous for everyone regardless of health. And since parts of

New York topped 400 today, doctors are bracing for what comes next.

DANIEL STERMAN, DIRECTOR OF PULMONARY MEDICINE, NYU LANGONE: Short term, I can say that I'm very worried as a pulmonologist who takes care of patients

with COPD and lung cancer, asthma, that I'm very worried about all of my patients.

Patients who've had COVID -- who had COVID injuries who may not have had other lung injuries but survived COVID only to have this exposure and the

risk to them of re exacerbation of their underlying lung disease, many, many health problems that I'm worried about for all of my patients.


WEIR: There is no kind of wildfire smoke regulation from the EPA in the United States. The science is just revealing that the little PM 2.5

particulate matter that gets deep into your lungs into your bloodstream could be 10 times more hazardous than sort of the pollution that comes out

of a tailpipe and there's no real escaping it these days of the smoke of wildfire smoke read by Americans Becky, 60 percent of it comes from another


ANDERSON: Bill, pleasure having you on. Stay safe out there. Let's get you up to speed on some of those stories that are on our radar right now. And

you're on Van Der Sloot prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalie Holloway is on its way to the United States from Peru in

an FBI plane. He had been imprisoned in prison in Peru for the murder of another woman.

Israeli forces staged a rare incursion into the West Bank City of Ramallah overnight that is the seat of the Palestinian Authority and they were blown

up the home of bombing suspect. The raid prompted clashes in which the Palestinians say six people were wounded.


The Eurozone the 20 countries that use the Euro are in a recession. Officially according to revise figures, its economy contracted for a second

straight quarter. Eurozone was hit by inflation, of course, especially soaring energy prices due to the war in Ukraine.

I want to get you to Sudan now. Aid organizations, they're facilitating a lifesaving mission to get hundreds of babies and children out of an

orphanage in Khartoum. That orphanage is located, where some of the most intense fighting has been happening.

The kids some with special needs were transferred 200 kilometers south to a city where they will be placed in caretaking facilities. Well, the head of

the mission spoke after the operation was completed.


JEAN-CHRISTOPHE SANDOZ, HEAD, ICRC DELEGATION IN SUDAN: It was really heartbreaking to see all these children, some of them having mental health

conditions and other health conditions to be there in the midst really of conflict. So during the operation, there were some activities which we

heard, also, and these children had been there for the past six weeks. So it was really, for us really a relief to see that that we could bring them

to safety now.


ANDERSON: Well, Patrick Youssef served as the International Red Cross's Regional Director for Africa, and he joins us now live. And I know that

you've been in touch with your colleagues who were successful in their efforts to get these kids to safety. What state were these children in when

they were rescued?

PATRICK YOUSSEF, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA, ICRC: First, thanks for having me. The state of these children but also the nannies that cared for

these children was extremely critical. We heard we learned of so many deaths before the successful operation happened yesterday.

And seeing these children now in a safe zone away from harm's way from the bombardment and the shooting is truly an extremely rewarding. And indeed,

in this particular situation, it's extremely important to see that they are now in a better position to have medical care and safety in their new


ANDERSON: What did the teams have to deal with? I mean, what was their showing ongoing at the time, I just want to get a sense of just how

difficult this operation was. We've seen some images taken at the time, what do you understand to have been the situation on the ground?

YOUSSEF: Well, when the team arrived to the, on Wednesday morning to the orphanage where the situation was quite calm. Now, we also learned that

there were a lot of bombardments in the area, which made the whole operation quite complicated. The situation indeed was still ripe and

conducive for us to carry this operation.

With the endorsement, the green light and the blessing of both parties have facilitated the axis of the teams of the International Committee of the Red

Cross to perform such an operation.

ANDERSON: There are reports that dozens of children had died at that orphanage due to malnutrition and dehydration as a result of the ongoing

conflict as we understand it. Can you confirm that? Do you, do you know just what happened at that orphanage ahead of this rescue?

YOUSSEF: Very sad. Indeed we have, we have received reports about the number of deaths more than, more than two, three dozens of children died in

this orphanage according to the officials there according to Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Social Development, which asked us indeed to

facilitate such an operation.

This, in fact, made it so critical to move as quickly as possible to cross trunk lines on several occasions, and get to these kids and their nannies

and now bring them and get them out of harm's way into a safe location.

ANDERSON: This conflict continues how important is it that this is stopped?

YOUSSEF: Well, in every armed conflict, the essence indeed of humanitarianism is to be able to care for those who require our support and

the support of humanitarian actors. Obviously, with silencing the guns and the ceasefire, that I hoped would be renegotiated and reinstalled to allow

humanitarian actors to act quickly and save lives because we are in a situation of saving lives or losing lives.


And hence, indeed, it's extremely important to see that such operations are multiplied, are allowed for humanitarian actors, as we were doing it, not

in the same, not the same type of operation, but the dead bodies that were retrieved with the support and help of the Sudanese Red Crescent was

extremely important.

So obviously, stopping the war, silencing the guns will allow for a short period of time for the humanitarians to intervene as quickly as they can.

ANDERSON: I have to ask you, I mean, are you, do you have any optimism, that that indeed will be the case? I mean, there's little evidence to

suggest that the warring parties are prepared to do any sort of deal at the moment.

YOUSSEF: I'm really hopeful. I mean, we're, we're not part of the mediation happening agenda. And I truly hope that the parties really think, think

about the consequences of this war and the impact it has on the civilian population.

And those categories of people who, like the 280 plus children that we managed to rescue are in a difficult position. This is just the tip of the

iceberg of the needs that are increasingly apparent in a capital of five to 6 million people like Khartoum.

ANDERSON: Yes, I mean, these kids are lucky. Relatively speaking, you absolutely right to point out that the consequences and impact of this

conflict are swinging horrific on a city like Khartoum, of course and outside in the, in the more rural areas. Thank you very much indeed for

joining us tonight.

A sad story with a relatively happy ending, I guess. Let's, let's hope those children are safe and are being well looked after. Still ahead the

top U.S. and Saudi diplomats speak to reporters near the end of Antony Blinken's visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

What they are saying about the possibility of the kingdom normalizing ties with Israel and two world leaders who speak the same language and don't do

drama. Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden sitting down in the Oval Office this hour, that means for the, "Special relationship". And indeed, the current British

Prime Minister will explain what we're talking about here just ahead.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. It is just before half past seven in the evening here in Abu

Dhabi. Your headlines this hour, six people, including four children who have been wounded in a knife attack in a playground in south eastern France

according to police.

The male suspect was taken into custody shortly after the incident. Earlier today they say he is a Syrian asylum seeker and his motive for this attack

is unclear at this point. Well, two senior U.S. officials tell CNN that Ukrainian forces are taking significant losses in both equipment and

personnel as they try to breach Russian lines in the east.

The kremlin claims it repels four Ukrainian attacks overnight in the southern Zaporizhzhia region. CNN cannot independently verify those claims.

75 million people across Canada and the eastern United States under air quality warnings as we speak, it's due to the more than 430 wildfires that

continue to burn across Canada.

Is smoky haze blanketing New York City expected to stretch to the southern U.S. 600 firefighters have been sent from the U.S. north to help fight the

fires and President Joe Biden has pledged to provide additional resources.

All right, let's get you to the White House and to some live images. Rishi Sunak, he is the British Prime Minister, of course, current British Prime

Minister arriving at the White House as we speak that is him. And he is on his way in to see President Joe Biden.

On the agenda and economic cooperation, the special relationship, of course, AI high on the agenda. We've been told the UK and the U.S. looking

to really align themselves and where they see what is this crucial regulation around the AI industry going next.

And then of course, top of the agenda, the Ukraine conflict, the U.S. and the UK will be discussing where they are at and what happens next. Rishi

Sunak, the British prime minister there at the White House just arrived in to the Oval Office to meet U.S. President.

Let's get you to Kevin Liptak, who is standing by. Just describe what you know we understand to be sort of top of the agenda, Ukraine, the economic

cooperation, of course, AI. Just how would we describe this relationship today in June of 2023?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right, well, I think you hear from American officials, British officials, they describe it as warm, they've

gotten to know each other over the past six months or so, they've actually met each of the last four consecutive months. But I think at the same time,

there's no doubt that these are two very politically different men.

They're obviously very different generations, Sunak 43, President Biden at 80. I think, from a White House perspective, from an American perspective,

they do view Sunak as this voice of stability in Downing Street after that tumultuous, you know, a couple of months over the summer, when the Brits

are going through Prime Minister's every, you know, month or so.

They do view that as you know, a welcome partner in Downing Street, this level of pragmatism that you are seeing. But at the same time, this is not

you know, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, this is not even President Obama and David Cameron.

These are two men who are still getting to know each other in some regards. Certainly President Biden has been very eager to partner with Rishi Sunak

on Ukraine, and that is at the top of their agenda today. But you know Sunak is coming into this meeting with some pretty major economic

initiatives that he wants to discuss. There is not talk at this moment of reestablishing negotiations on a trade deal.

But he is certainly interested in bolstering American investment in the United Kingdom. And as you mentioned, he just wants to talk about

artificial intelligence. He is proposing this idea of a summit in the fall of world leaders really trying to raise Britain's profile in that regard,

as they try and look for ways to regulate develop this emerging technology.

And so, those will be among the items that they're discussing. But really, this is the most formal of their meetings that they've had so far. It's

taken a while for President Biden to invite him here to the White House. He is staying across the street at Blair House.

And you know I was talking to a senior British official this week. They did sort of make the point that President Biden doesn't often hold press

conferences with his foreign visitors and they will hold a press conference later today.

So certainly not you know, the most elaborate of visits, but certainly an important visit that the two will really want to discuss all of these

important topics that are happening between these two countries, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, the British prime minister will face that election in the coming months. At some point it could be as early as May next year, he will

want to look smart in the eyes of the British general public in his relationship with Joe Biden.


They certainly, the Conservative government in the UK looking for that free trade agreement post Brexit, of course, very famously, the then President

Barack Obama said if Britain were to leave the EU, they will be at the back of the queue when it came to trade, not something that this conservative

party wanted to hear.

They have Brexit and now they do need that deal. As you say, though, unfortunately for Rishi Sunak, not likely to be coming away from Washington

this week with a free trade agreement. Well, the top U.S. diplomat says human rights in Saudi Arabia remain firmly fixed on the agenda between the

two nations.

That was coming from Antony Blinken, his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan talked to reporters last hour and at the end of Blinken's visit to

the kingdom. A visit aimed at mending relations or rehabilitating the relationship, which has been strained over major policy differences. Bin

Farhan says Saudi Arabia won't be pressured on human rights.

We're early at a meeting of the International anti-ISIS coalition Blinken announced the U.S. has given nearly $150 million in aid to help areas in

Syria and Iraq that were liberated from the group, while Blinken attended meetings. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a phone call with the

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Alex Marquardt is back with us this hour. What's it clear going into this trip? What Antony Blinken hoped to achieve


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. I think the ultimate goal really the overarching theme for this trip was to

as you say, rehabilitate these strain ties. President Biden coming into office very aggressively saying that he intended to marginalize or treat

Saudi Arabia like the pariah that it was. Those were his words on the campaign trail.

And it quickly became clear to the Biden Administration if that wasn't possible. But it really did set the tone for this relationship,

particularly in the wake of the very warm relationship that the kingdom had with the Trump Administration. So that is the overarching theme of this

trip that Secretary Blinken was trying to get this strange relationship back to a much more positive place.

Of course, there were individual things that the U.S. has said they were trying to accomplish on this trip, a meeting with GCC ministers talk about

the D-ISIS campaign have bilateral meetings, including that meeting that Blinken had with the Crown Prince.

And certainly one of the top agenda items for the United States was to try to make progress on the normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi

Arabia. Of course, Israel has normalized their relationship with four different Arab countries.

But given the importance of Saudi Arabia in the region that is a top priority for Blinken and the rest of the Biden Administration that is

something that Biden, that Blinken spoke to just a short time ago, take a listen.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We fully support -- direction in the Middle East. And they want. We have been working both to deepen some of

these disagreements and also expand it. But that includes -- . I think it'd be a very important step forward. And it's certainly a priority for us --

for our concern. And we will continue to pursue it.


MARQUARDT: Not the best audio there Becky on that press conference. But clearly Blinken making clear there that this is a priority for the U.S.

before leaving Saudi Arabia. He said that it was a national security of national security importance for the United States.

Another thing, of course, that Blinken was asked about was human rights because every time the Biden Administration talks about engaging with the

Saudis, critics say the point to the abysmal human rights record of the Saudi regime.

And of course, that is something that Biden Administration themselves has pointed out the very beginning of the Biden Administration, the

intelligence community accused the Crown Prince of orchestrating the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Now there are several American citizens who are under travel bans in the kingdom. Blinken said that he was able to raise specific cases, but he

didn't want to get into details. One more thing I would note Becky is on Assad, the President of Syria who just attended the Arab League meeting.

And Blinken said that while the United States does not want to normalize ties with the Assad regime that U.S. is certainly in alignment with Arab

allies in terms of the priorities that they see in bringing Assad back into the fold confronting Iran for example working on ISIS issues as well as

letting a Syrian refugee return home, Becky.


ANDERSON: Regional solutions to regional problems, the kingdom sees itself as a, as the significant regional power broker, if not one of the most

significant brokers in the world at this stage, thank you. Blinken's trip comes just days after Saudi funded LIV golf on the PGA tour in the U.S.

announced the stunning partnership, again, the latest example of Saudi Arabia exerting its influence on the world stage. Nic Robertson reports.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Whether it's gobbling up Gulf rights or signing yet another global soccer star, or

setting oil price trends, Saudi cutting production by 1 million barrels a day or in diplomacy. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's three day visit,

many, many roads now seem to lead to Riyadh.

U.S. relations with the desert Kingdom have been rocky. President Biden making democracy and human rights a core issue. But increasingly Saudis

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, setting his own agenda.

Blinken hoping to thought U.S. Saudi tensions and build on recent cooperation, helping both Yemen and Sudan and internal conflicts. Ahead of

his arrival, Blinken is putting Israel on his agenda too.

BLINKEN: The United States has a real national security interest in promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. We believe that we

can and indeed we must play an integral role in advancing it.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Blinken's days long visit meeting not just Saudi officials, but regional and other diplomats to discussing ISIS in Africa

and Asia, unlikely Iran's nuclear enrichment program as well as Russia's war in Ukraine will point to Saudis growing influence.

Monday, the Crown Prince hosted Venezuela's president. Tuesday, Iran reopened its diplomatic mission in Riyadh. Thanks in part to bin Salman's

strengthening ties with China. Last month he hosted Ukraine's President Zelenskyy hopes to help broke a piece there one day, whether diplomacy or

sport MBS is thinking big eye poppingly big.

Listen to the Saudi private investment fund governor who bankrolled Saudis LIV golf tour. Explain Saudis growing influence in the world of golf.

YASIR AL-RUMAYYAN, SAUDI PIF GOVERNOR: The potential there is really big. I mean, if you look at the, the size of golf of monetary wise, it's about 100

billion today. And I think the golf is, is there.

ROBERTSON (voice over): From Formula One to foxing to music festivals. MBS is reimagining his kingdom. As strange as it seems to many outside the

region outraged at the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, bin Salman is offering as population entertainment, unimaginable a decade ago.

For religious conservatives he banished held sway. At home, his rebranding of Saudi Arabia has gained traction albeit detractors reach jail if they

speak out. Significantly, however, he has yet to persuade the world. He can be trusted. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Football legend, Lionel Messi will not be heading to Saudi after all; we'll discuss where he is off to up next. Plus, a look at our two

former fashion and adventure brand CEOs are helping to save South America's wilderness, that is after this short break.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. In the early 1990s two well known, outdoor brand moguls fell in love with each other. And with saving the wilderness or

cashing in on lucrative careers, they decided to funnel their earnings into conservation. Well, in the latest in our series "Call to Earth" we look at

how Kristine and Douglas Tompkins re-wilding projects in South America supported by Rolex's perpetual planet initiative abroad depleted eco

systems back from the brink, have a look at this.


WEIR: In the upper right corner of Argentina, you will find a lush land brimming with life. A park called Ibera, a home to 4000 species of plants

and animals. Near the very top of that intricate food chain and vital to keeping it balanced is the majestic Jaguar. But until 2021, the biggest cat

in South America had not been seen in the wild here for 70 years.

KRISTINE TOMPKINS, PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER, TOMPKINS CONSERVATION: When we decided to try to reintroduce Jaguars back into the Ibera ecosystem, we had

to first understand what happened to them in the first place. So we went back in, it's not hard to find and you see why there are no Jaguars left in

this 2 million acre territory.

WEIR (voice over): Kris and Doug Tompkins made a fortune, an adventure gear and fashion, but now hold the legacy of launching what Chris calls a world

first breeding program aimed at reintroducing keystone species back into the region.

TOMPKINS: Almost 11 years later, now we have between 14 and 18 Jaguars living in the wild. And we have seven individuals who are sort of on deck

to be released.

WEIR (voice over): It's the fruit of a labor Kris and Doug began decades ago, when they traded in high powered lives and fashion for a cabin off the

grid, deep in Patagonia.

TOMPKINS: The roots of Tompkins conservation sprouted when Doug after a really successful business career went back to Chile and Argentina in the

early 90s. Looking for a way to give back to the two countries he loved so much, and to help nature begin to heal itself.

WEIR (voice over): Doug's vision involved a re-wilding approach to conservation. Then he began by buying up millions of acres, turning ranches

back into grassland and forest, and then giving it all away with the creation of new national parks.

TOMPKINS: To create the system where species that have gone missing, have the space and the safety to come back and not be extinct it again.

WEIR (voice over): Along with its offshoots, re-wilding Argentina and re- wilding Chile, Tompkins conservation has conserved around 15 million acres over the last three decades and after tragically losing her husband Doug,

to a kayaking accident in 2015, Kris Tompkins carries on the dream.

TOMPKINS: This photograph is a picture of Doug and me flying in the little plane which we did nearly every day and really understanding the

territories that were becoming interested in and would eventually develop as national parks.

WEIR (voice over): Today, their donated land has inspired the creation or expansion of 15 National Parks. And in addition to the Jaguar they've

successfully reintroduced 13 other species like the giant anteater, collared peccary and pompous deer.


TOMPKINS: So here's an example of community members, a species that had gone extinct and is back now and a team member that tells the whole story

rescuing an orphaned and teacher cub. Come on, boy, let's go. I feel extraordinary pride for what we've done so far.

But I'm definitely not satisfied. I'm happy about the past, but I'm completely focused on the future. What will we be talking about in 10

years? So we can elevate ourselves because of what's been done in the past. What can we do now? What are we doing now?


ANDERSON: Kristine Tompkins answering the call. And you can use the #calltoearth; let me know how you are answering that call, what you're

doing. You can find me @beckycnn. You're watching "Connect the World". There is more news just ahead, do please stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, we will have to add one more version of Lionel Messi to this now famous add as the Argentina's World Cup Hero is on his way to the

States. Many consider Messi to be the best footballer in history, the goat and he's leaving Paris to take his talents to South Florida and join inter

Miami historic coup for a star Hungary, MLS.

We'll CNN World Sports Patrick Snell is following this massive move. We knew he was on the move. We just didn't know where he was off to. Patrick,

tell us how this deal came together.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: You're quite extraordinary, Becky. You know, those in the know told us he was going to Saudi Arabia. They told us

he might be going back to Barcelona for one emotional swan song there where he enjoyed so much success.

But while it had been reported last year, in fact that he might possibly there might be a link with Major League Soccer's' Inter Miami, there were

those who scoffed at it would you believe. People scoffed at it, but now it has happened.

When I look back at the history of football or soccer, if you prefer in this country, I go back to the 1970s I think of the great Pele coming to

play for the cosmos in New York City. I think of David Beckham himself coming to the LA Galaxy in 2007.

Now we have the iconic Lionel Messi still for the record on the contract at Paris Saint-Germain. But he has confirmed that he wants to go to into

Miami. Now we're learning new reporting from us here how it's all going to be financed, because that is one of the big questions here.

According to reports, Becky, this financial deal would see the option for Messi to become a part owner of the club or the franchise as they say over

here. And also a cut of revenue from new subscribers to Apple TVS, MLS season pass streaming services. Well, that's highly significant because how

much do certain Major League Soccer franchises cost these days?


Well they can run into literally hundreds of millions of dollars. How do we find out this was going to happen in the first place? Messi telling

journalists that he wanted the move, take a quick listen.


LIONEL MESSI, 2022 WORLD CUP WINNER: I made the decision that I am going to Miami, I still haven't closed at 100 percent. I'm missing some things. But

we decided to continue my journey there.


SNELL: Messi does not speak often Becky, but when he does, we hang on his every word, back to you.

ANDERSON: Though we just, what a commercial machine he has around him. He's also clearly very astute as a businessman himself. The Americans will

absolutely love this move given of course that they are the hosts of the next World Cup is going to be good for the MLS, this good stuff, thank you.

In tonight's explosive parting shots, the eruption of a volcano in Hawaii after hours of earthquake activity, Lava from the Kilauea Volcano went

through the surface of the Earth early on Wednesday. This eruption which woke people up in their beds produced glowing red as he would expect

fountains of lava about 60 meters high, the biggest stir islands Volcanoes National Park.

Now as scary as this looks, Emergency Management Agency says the eruption poses no threat to local area and they have even shared the list of best

locations to witness what is a spectacular show. That's it from us. From the teams working with me here and safe side, it's a very good evening.

"One World" with Zain Asher is up next, stay with CNN.