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Thousands Protest as Knesset Passes Controversial Bill; Firefighters Stretched Thin as new Blazes Break Out; Japan: North Korea Fires Suspected Ballistic Missile; Israeli Parliament Passes Reasonableness Bill; U.N. Command: Conversation has Started with North Korea over U.S. Soldier; "Barbie" Dominates Box Office Opening Weekend. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired July 24, 2023 - 11:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: Welcome to our second hour of "Connect the World". I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Protests in Israel are

ratcheting up after the Israeli Knesset passed a key component of the government's package aimed at weakening the power of the courts.

The bill strips the Supreme Court's ability to declare government actions unreasonable. Well, demonstrators are again taking to the streets to show

their opposition, including many military reservists who have said they would refuse to serve if the package goes through.

There have been increasingly urgent pleas from Washington, Israel's most important ally to rethink this legislation. And for the second time this

week, President Joe Biden warned Israel's government against moving ahead with Benjamin Netanyahu's plan. So tonight we asked will the government's

judicial overhaul succeed.

Well, CNN's, Hadas Gold has been in the middle of the protests and joins us now from Jerusalem on the phone. Hadas just give us a sense of what you're

hearing from the protesters on the streets, these people who have been protesting for over six months now.

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes well, I mean, there are so many protests here just up by the Supreme Court and on the way to the

parliament that our video signal, it's hard to get even a cell phone signal here just because of the amount of people they've been milling outside of

the Supreme Court where their agents that speakers are seeking.

And they're also making their way down towards the parliament. The message we're hearing from these protesters and the message we're hearing from the

speakers is saying we will not give up. This is actually a new chant that they have.

They're saying we will not give up. We will not give up and tell us better here. They say they're not leaving. They're calling on everybody to take to

the streets. And we are seeing protesters also take to the highways around here some trying to block them with the protesters take to the streets.

In Tel Aviv, they say that they are going to continue fighting even though this bill has now passed because there are other bills in the pipeline for

the judicial overhaul as well. There are more actions planned to be taken.

And also this bill is already facing legal challenges legislation is trying to strip the Supreme Court's ability from declaring government actions

unreasonable it's one of -- of the only checks on power on the Israel's government, because of the way the parliamentary system is set up here.

And already we know there's a legal challenge being sufficient for the supreme court to issue an injunction to stop this legislation to being put

into effect, that could lead to a very interesting legal battle where the Supreme Court could end up ruling that this new bill that strips their

ability to declare things unreasonable is unreasonable in and of itself.

But that's for the longer term. In the shorter term the stock market has fallen just a bit here, the -- has weakened a little bit against the

dollar. And there are talks about a larger labor strike potentially going forward.

Now there is also the question of the military reserve and thousands of military reservists had pledged not to heed the call to serve if this

legislation passed. And so now the question is will they refuse to show will they refuse the call to serve if the conflict happens?

And also what will happen will they be arrested for refusing? We have heard from Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and Former Prime Minister calling in

those reservists to still serve until the legal challenges are done with the Supreme Court.

He is asking them to please continue serving the country until those legal challenges are done. Now, there are some reports that Benjamin Netanyahu

may be making payments. There's also of course, the question of how this could affect relations with the United States?

President Joe Biden had made two statements in just the past week calling on Israeli leaders to slow them down to come to some sort of consensus

negotiations before rushing through we heard from President Biden just last night. Obviously those calls were not heated and they pushed forward.

Anyway, of course this was all happening also at the same time as Benjamin Netanyahu himself was just in the hospital. He was only released from

hospital this morning after receiving a pacemaker -- from hospital to the - - so right on government lines and zero from the opposition because they left to the floor in protest.

KINKADE: We are just looking at these pictures coming up from the streets Hadas of protesters being arrested. Last we spoke you were saying about 19

people have been arrested it looks like more arrests are underway right now. U.S. President Biden of course has warned against these changes.

What's it the impact is always having on international relations?


GOLD: I mean, I think Israel's standing in international relations has already been affected just by the proposals. And, of course, by the massive

protests we're seeing throughout now, I should also note that the proponents of this, the government, and also their supporters, who we have

seen taking to the streets occasionally say that this is necessary.

They believe that, you know, without a written constitution, they believe that the Supreme Court has overstepped and move on things that they

shouldn't be able to rule on. But it's democratically elected politicians, democratically elected laws, and that they don't think that this

legislation actually goes too far.

They believe its fine, except parts of the overhaul happened soften in recent months. But for a lot of these protesters here, it's more of a

question of just the whole idea of the overhaul and the government that is pushing it forward, because this is the most right wing government in

Israeli history.

And so for a lot of them, it's not just about the judicial role. That's obviously the main reasoning for them taking the streets, but it's also to

the about the government itself and the people who are in power.

KINKADE: And talk to us about the threat to national security, because we've already heard from those 10,000 military reservists who threatened to

resign if this goes through. We've heard also from our Former Army Chiefs, Intelligence Agency Directors and Police Commissioners all warning against

this. What does this all mean for national security?

GOLD: Well, I mean for national security -- thousands of military reservists do not choose to serve that can have major implications because

one of the biggest issues there is the Air Force officers who have said they will not serve because Israel really does rely on those air force

pilots who officer to come and serve for them if needed in times of conflict and if they choose not to, that could directly impact Israel

security implications.

KINKADE: Hadas Gold joining us on the phone from Jerusalem, good to have you on the story thanks very much. Well, Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing

government has caused his relationship with Israel's most important ally that of course being the United States becomes increasingly challenged as

we've been discussing. The U.S. Congress is divided over support for Israel given the judicial overhaul. Two Former U.S. Ambassador's Martin Indyk and Daniel Kurtzer said

it's time for Washington to reconsider its military assistance to Israel.

Well, Martin Indyk, who served twice as America's Ambassador to Israel, told "The New York Times" that if the U.S. ended its aid, "Israel can

afford it, and it would be healthier for the relationship if Israel stood on its own two feet".

Well, Martin Indyk is a Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, as I mentioned, as well as the Former U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli and Palestinian

Negotiations. He joins us now from Cannes in France. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: Sir firstly, just gives us your reaction to what you've seen play out in Israel today.

INDYK: Well, it's a very dark day for Israel in its 75 year history; it hasn't faced this kind of threat to its unity, caused by an extremist

government that's pushing an anti-democratic legislative agenda that's generating huge opposition, not just in the streets. But from reservists in

the army and senior -- former senior Israeli security officials across the board who are supporting them.

And this is very dangerous for Israel, not only for its internal cohesion, but for the message it sends to its enemies. We'll see that Israel's

divisions reduce its ability to deal with the threats from abroad, particularly from Iran. So I think it's a very worrying development. I have

to help they would find a way to pull it back from the brink. But it seems this evening, but they're going over it.

KINKADE: And of course, you and another Former Ambassador to Israel have called on the U.S. to rethink its military assistance of $3.8 billion,

which goes to Israel annually. It's a huge sum of money going to another wealthy country, has the U.S. ever considered withdrawing that aid before?

INDYK: Now and to be accurate, my call was not on the United States to consider cutting aid to Israel. My call was on Israel to consider standing

on its own two feet and weaning itself off its dependence on U.S. military assistance.

And wow, $3.8 billion is a lot of money in terms of the security assistance budget if you put Ukraine aside it's the largest and has been for one time

largest Israel's largest recipient of American military security assistance.


But in terms of Israel, which now has a GDP of $520 billion; it's less than 1 percent of GDP. Israel could afford to win itself off that security

assistance. There are lots of dimensions to the security relationship that are important to be preserved for Israel and for the United States.

But I think that it's long time, this is not in the context of what's happening in Israel tonight. But rather, the overall relationship between

the United States and Israel, Israel would be better off in my view if it weren't not dependent on this security assistance handout from the United

States, and could turn the relationship into a model relationship of equals then our relationship with dependency.

KINKADE: Well, what's the likelihood you'll see that happen? Because it's not, obviously in the past, we've seen from U.S. lawmakers calling for this

aid to come with restrictions. Now, you and this other Ambassador are saying we should rethink it entirely. What's the likelihood that would

happen? And if so how would it look for Israel?

INDYK: Between zero and none, when it comes to American lawmakers, this is a sacred cow enjoys strong bipartisan support. And don't expect that

anything that fringe elements would seek to cut aid to Israel or to use it as a lever to punish Israel.

And I want to make clear, that's not what I'm calling for. I'm not calling on -- I don't expect them not calling on U.S. legislators to cut aid to

Israel on the country. I am calling on Israel to do what a new prime minister in 1996 did, when he came to Washington, and told the U.S.


That Israel would wean itself off American economic assistance at that time is the United States was also providing something like $500 million in

economic assistance to Israel. That Prime Minister was one Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israel weaned itself off that economic assistance over a few

years, is what I'm proposing here.

And Israel, the U.S. is better off for it. And that money is going to places which require it more than Israel does with its strong economy and

high standard of living. So this is again, it's a separate issue from what's happening with Israel's judicial revolution today. It's about the

health of the U.S. Israel relationship and a supporter of Israel I just believe that Israel would be better off being able to stand on its own two


KINKADE: Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, good to have your perspective. Thanks for joining us on the show.

INDYK: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, the entire legal vernacular may be a bit confusing. The so called reasonableness doctrine, however, is not unique to Israel. It is

used in a number of other countries including the UK, Canada and Australia.

And to help you get your head wrapped around the judicial changes and what could come next Israeli politics and those opposing this move. Go to CNN's

"Meanwhile in the Middle East Newsletter". It's got a robust wrap up for you just head to

Well, as wildfires burned throughout the Greek Isles, the EU is faced with another reminder of the mountain climate crisis. We'll talk to the bloc's

Commissioner for crisis management when we return. And later excessive heat warnings across the U.S. how many are invited and what's being done to help

farmers in the heat?



KINKADE: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Firefighters in the Greek Isles are now battling blazes on three fronts struggling to

control wildfires driven by dry, windy conditions. The blazon roads are still burning leaving Evia ash and landscapes in its wake.

And two more fires broke out Sunday on the islands of Evia and -- forcing new rounds of evacuations from both. Well, the multiple fires are nothing

out what is usually high season for Greek tourism as our Sam Kiley reports.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's a regular visitor wildfire, and no one knows where or when it will strike.

This is tourism in the 21st century the latest Maelstrom in southern Europe roads an island of ancient ruins facing modern Apocalypse.

Intense heat waves of turn forest into desiccated tinder yearning for a spark to roar into flame and anything that fails to flee the inferno has

little chance of survival. Greek authorities have evacuated tens of thousands from popular resorts at peak season. And the government says it's

the largest such operation in the country's history.

KEVIN SALES, BRITISH TOURIST: All their money, passports, clothing, we have to lend a woman some of my wife's clothes because she had nothing to wear.

KILEY (voice over): British tour operators are flying empty planes here to bring desperate tourists home.

KILEY (on camera): Powerful winds have made life just about unbearable for people on these islands living through this way for those self-safe wins of

fanning the flames of these infernos.

KILEY (voice over): And the problem is spreading the latest overnight the island of Corfu where thousands have now been evacuated and police are

bolstering their ranks in anticipation of more to come.

The Greek government has been battling wildfires across the country for a week during what's expected to be the longest heat wave this country has

ever seen. As temperature records are shattered across Europe and the world every day our planet has become slightly more unlivable.

POPE FRANCIS: We are experiencing here and in many countries extreme climatic events, please I renew my appeal to the leaders of the nations to

do something more concrete to limit polluting emissions. It is an urgent challenge and cannot be put off it concerns everyone. Let us protect our

common home.

KILEY (voice over): As heat waves and fires are escalating yearly in Southern Europe. The threat is now even perhaps to the pontiffs own home.

Sam Kiley, CNN in Leros.


KINKADE: Well, the European Union's Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic had this to say about the situation in Greece. We are

experiencing a heat wave across Southern Europe already causing devastating consequences in Greece with thousands of hectares burned in a short period

of time.

The EU's fast response is essential in this situation, and I think these five countries that are solidarity degrees. However, it's important to

continue to invest in prevention and to enhance the wildfire risk awareness of the population. Commissioner Lenarcic joins us now from Brussels. Good

to have you on the program.


KINKADE: Sir, we heard from the great Prime Minister, short time ago who spoke about the three difficult days ahead before the temperatures drop and

he's described how you are at war with fire?


How would you describe what you're dealing with?

LENARCIC: Well, first of all, these wildfires do not come as a surprise. The trends over the last couple of years have been clear. There have been

increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in Europe. For instance, already last year, we had the worst fire season in years. And of course,

what is happening this year is not unexpected, or entirely.

What is necessary is that when a country like Greece finds itself in this kind of situation, that we can show solidarity and help. It is now six days

since this requested assistance in European Civil Protection. And over the six days we have deployed almost 500 firefighters with more than 100

vehicles and seven firefighting airplanes from 10 European countries.

KINKADE: Given that you say this is no surprise this was expected, do you think enough has been done to prevent just how damaging this has been?

LENARCIC: Well, first of all, we need to prevent even worse things from happening. And this is, this means that we need to accelerate the reduction

in greenhouse gas emissions -- global warming. Second, we need to prepare for what is a new reality, a new normal. And these heat waves just stay

with us, we need to prepare for them, we need to anticipate and of course, we need to raise awareness of people.

The fact is that 90 or more percent of wildfires are caused by human activity in arson or negligence, no campfire for extinguished barbecue

fires. So it is important that we raise awareness about the risky behavior. This is also very important prevention strength.

But the fact is that every year we record a larger area surface burns due to the wildfires every year, there are longer and more intense heat waves.

So this is the reality that we have to live with. And we have to anticipate, we have to prepare for this.

KINKADE: So talk to us about the international reaction, the help you've had from other countries. And if you could explain more broadly how the

current heat wave is contributing to this crisis?

LENARCIC: Well, we are in Europe, having various levels of solidarity is a spontaneous solidarity when no one country asked for assistance to the

civil protection mechanism and the rest -- assistance. The second level is that we already defined in advance what capacity there would be available

in case of needs.

This is the so called civil protection pool in which we have firefighters; we have the airplanes and so on. But there is also the third level, which

is a strategic last resort level of preparedness. It's called a rescue. These are air planes, firefighting airplanes that are purchased -- by

military and deployed as a set as a last resort.

When I say that these wildfires do not come as a surprise, I can also say that we have been preparing for that. Since last year, we have doubled the

capacity in firefighting airplanes. We have also pre-positioned hundreds of firefighters in some Mediterranean countries, including in Greece. So we

have worked a lot on preparedness.

But of course, the measures of these disasters are such that it's a very difficult situation. When you have standard drought, when you have extended

heat wave, and we do have such strong winds as we know see inroads and some other islands. Of course, it's very difficult, very difficult things such

fires control.

KINKADE: Commissioner, Lenarcic, we appreciate your time today. We have had a little bit of problems with your audio, but we got the message pretty

clear. Europe, of course is the fastest warming continent on the planet, so all prevention efforts are needed. Thanks very much for your time.

LENARCIC: Thank you.

KINKADE: Got some news just in to CNN. North Korea has launched a suspected ballistic missile. That's according to the Japanese Prime Minister's

Office. South Korea's Yonhap News Agency says the missile was fired off North Korea's east coast. This is the latest in a series of launches over

the past week as tensions with the U.S. and South Korea rise.


Pyongyang fired several cruise missiles over the weekend and ballistic missiles last Wednesday. Well, the summer heat wave continues to millions

across the United States. Take a look at the triple digit temperatures in the desert southwest and South Texas.

Places like Phoenix and El Paso are hitting record streaks for temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for over 35 million people. And of course,

California is one of the largest growing regions in the world. And that ongoing excessive heat is having a big impact on farmers. CNN's Camila

Bernal takes a look at what's being done to help them.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This shade under the grape vines is deceiving. Not enough air and a feeling of suffocation say 22-

year-old Alexandra Corona. She's been working in the fields in the Coachella Valley since she was a teenager and is one of the more than 2

million agricultural workers in the U.S. But it's impossible to get used to temperatures close to 115 degrees.

LUZ GALLEGOS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TODEC: We understand that's because of our environmental impact and the change. But also what that translates to

community is not only working with heat in these high heat conditions, but also in their pocket. That they have many of them had shorter working hours

because of the heat conditions.

BERNAL (voice over): Already more than 2300 heat records have been set in the U.S. in the recent heat waves, causing dozens of deaths and filling

some hospitals to pandemic levels. Something Luz Gallegos is trying to prevent.

Through the nonprofit she leads, agricultural workers are reminded to drink water, take breaks and speak up because no matter how high the temperatures

are. The work here continues. Agriculture is one of the largest industry sectors in California. And the state says its performance is vital to its

economic health. And in turn provides produce for tables all over the country.

GALLEGOS: They're still working you know they're still working because they know that they need to make their end goal to make their money to bring

home to pay the rent, to bring to make sure their kids are taking care of. Alexandra agrees, she says there are days when even walking is hard. But

she takes the necessary precautions because it's a job she depends on Camila Bernal, CNN, Coachella Valley, California.


KINKADE: Well still ahead, anger and uncertainty in Israel after parliament passes a controversial bill that was stripped the Supreme Court some hours.

We'll look at what could happen next. And CNN tours the cathedral severely damaged in a Russian missile strike. What Ukraine apparently did today in




KINKADE: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Our top story this hour, a legal challenge was quickly

filed after Israel's parliament approved a controversial bill that will weaken the power of the Supreme Court. These are live pictures of

protesters out on the streets of Jerusalem.

The vote in the Knesset was 64 to zero with opposition members walking out of the chamber. The legislation strips the Supreme Court have the power to

declare government actions unreasonable. In the lead up to the void -- demonstrators surrounded the Knesset and blocked roads around the building.

At least 19 arrests have been reported so far.

Israel's umbrella Labor Union announced preparations to declare a labor dispute which could lead to a further strike. Hadas Gold is back with us

from Jerusalem. Good to have you with us, Hadas. So just give us a sense of what you've been seeing on the streets because we have seen those images of

water cannons being deployed protesters being arrested. What sort of reaction are you seeing?

GOLD: Well, Lynda, these protesters are angry and what we're hearing from the speakers behind me on the stage. We're just outside of the Supreme

Court down this road behind me that leads to the Israeli parliament. And that's where these protesters have really been sort of marching back and

forth milling about.

Right now what they're shouting is actually what they're chanting is shame. They're shouting shame on the government, shame on the coalition for

passing this legislation. And now the other chances they're chanting are things like we will not give up. Because despite the fact that this has

passed, this is the first legislation of this judicial overhaul due pass, they say that they will continue to take to the streets, they will continue


And we're going to see that through legal challenges as you know, the legal challenges have already been filed in the Supreme Court. They're seeking an

immediate and injunction that the Supreme Court has stopped this legislation that could lead to a very interesting legal battle. Well, the

Supreme Court will be ruling on legislation that, of course, directly affects its power and -- can they rule on.

And we're also hearing from the labor union saying they may be calling a general strike. Keep in mind, the last time that labor union, which is

Israel's largest, declared a general strike back in March, essentially shut the country down everything from the ports to McDonald's was shut down.

So if this labor union declares a strike, we're going to see that once again, the shekel has fallen against the dollar. The Israeli stock market

has also been taking a hit as a result of this legislation passing not only Government and for Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition.

This is finally a victory after months of saying that this overhaul needed to start the process. They've been celebrating; they've been hugging one

another. And they say this is just the beginning of what will really be a complete reshaping of the Israeli judiciary because they say the judiciary

desperately needs reform, it needs rebalancing.

But for these, for these protesters, they fear what taking away those powers from the Supreme Court will mean, they fear will mean government

having unfettered power to make decisions without any sort of check on it. Because the way the system works here, the Supreme Court is essentially the

only check on government power. And that's why these protesters say that they will continue coming out to protest, Lynda.

KINKADE: And Hadas, of course, there is a lot at stake here, just give us a sense of the implications for the economy and sort of the economic reaction

we're already seeing.

GOLD: Yes, we've already heard from some major companies, tech companies who have either sort of frozen or slow down some of their investment in

Israel because of fears of what this legislation will do to the economy, will do to the power of the shekel. And will also do just to, you know,

employees to people who will want to leave here to live here who may want to leave.

One of the other major, major implications more potentially immediate implication is what this could mean for Israel's military. Because

thousands of Israeli military reservists these people who have already left the military are now essentially required to check in once a month for duty

of some kind.

Some of them are volunteers, some of them are not volunteers have said that they will not serve if this legislation has passed. They've -- pledges

thousands of them that are actually what the speaker is speaking about just now about these military reservists saying they will not serve.


But none of those who have signed those pledges are really senior important Air Force officers. These are pilots. These are the fighter jet pilots that

Israel would be relying on if a major conflict breaks out. And that's the major concern right now.

And that's what we're hearing from even opposition leaders from people like former Prime Minister Yair Lapid who was actually called on those military

reservists to he says, hold off your protests just yet wait for this process to go through the courts before you fully and really refused to

serve, because that's how serious of an implication that could have for Israeli military preparedness.

KINKADE: Hadas Gold, good to have you on the story. You have been covering these protests for over six months. We will continue to stay on this story.

Thanks very much, Hadas Gold there from Jerusalem. What are the wars in Ukraine now in a rare admission and official from Ukraine's Defense

Intelligence arm tell CNN that give launched a drone attack on Moscow earlier today.

The Russian Defense Ministry says two drones were "Suppressed by electronic warfare means". A Moscow resident tells us what she experienced.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was asleep and was woken up by an explosion. Everything started to shake. It felt like the whole building had come down.

But it sounded worse than it looked as it seemed like the whole mall had exploded.


KINKADE: Well the strikes come a day after Russia missile severely damaged and historic Cathedral in Odessa. Our Alex Marquardt is in Odessa and

surveyed this site, take a look.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: President Zelenskyy had said that Russia would feel the retaliation for all the

strikes that we've seen here in Odessa. And now Ukraine's Defense Intelligence Directorate is claiming responsibility for that overnight

drone strike in Moscow, which did do less damage far less damage than we've seen here in Odessa for the past few days.

We are in the transfiguration cathedral, Church officials have asked us to put these helmets on because of all the work that's going on, all the

debris that is falling from the roof. I want to show you this corner of the church; this is where there is the most destruction.

This is where we are told that the missile or rocket came plunging through the roof going down at least two stories that daylight that sun coming

through the roof, and really brightening up this otherwise dark cathedral. Over here is the altar. You can see up there those pillars now off to the

side, that altar just leaning over.

And I'm really only staying upright because it's leaning up against a wall. And then farther up is the beautiful dome of this cathedral. All of its

windows have been blown out below that the frescoes have also been knocked down. We've seen large sections of the roof also coming down as these

workers seek to clear it.

They say that will take several weeks, but it could be months or years before this, this cathedral is fully repaired. The nave goes all the way

back there. And in the corner, there was a fire we're told that a shockwave started an electrical fire. Now this church was destroyed in 1936 when

Stalin was in power.

It was rebuilt when Ukraine got independence and now of course in a significant state of disrepair. It is attacks like these on civilian

infrastructure on buildings that frankly have nothing to do with this conflict that now has President Zelenskyy calling for more air defense

support from Western allies for what he calls a full-fledged air shield for Ukraine. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Odessa.

KINKADE: And we have more now and Alex Marquardt interview with the Ukrainian defense minister we told you about. Alex sat down with -- -- and

started by asking if you've surprised by Russia's ferocious strikes on Odessa?


OLEKSII REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: Honestly, not, because after the February of last year, it's very difficult to surprise me.

MARQUARDT: But it was night after night of drones and missiles, all kinds of different targets. They say it was in response to the attack on the

Kirche Bridge.

REZNIKOV: They every time trying to find the reason for the behavior, the reason how to explain the massive attacks. They tried to explain that it's

response for some explosives in their territories, but they are fighting with the civilians. That's why I call them looters, rapists and murderers.


MARQUARDT: You have also issued a threat saying that you will turn other Russian ships into the Moskva which was the flagship of the Black Sea

Fleet, which you famously sank last April. Are you planning to escalate attacks against Russian ships in the Black Sea?

REZNIKOV: We have capacity. We have weaponry as we did with the cruiser Moskva. And if they were threatening us in the Black Sea, we'll have to




KINKADE: Thanks to Alex Marquardt, for that interview. We have much more news in just a moment. Stay with us, you're watching "Connect the World".


KINKADE: Welcome back. In Spain, no clear winner emerged from Sunday's general election leaving the country with an uncertain future for

potentially weeks to come. All parties fell short of the 176 parliamentary seats needed to form government on their own.

The center right People's Party won 136 seats, while Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is ruling center left Socialist Party, 122. Now the tough task of

trying to build a coalition begins. Journalist Al Goodman knows the ins and outs of Spanish politics and joins us now from Madrid, Al, good to have you

with us.

So no clear winner, so now the task is either forming some sort of coalition or failing that's going to another vote, take us through what


AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Hi, Lynda. Well, the still socialist Prime Minister said today that he thinks there will be some sort of governing deal. He

doesn't think there'll be another set of elections; Spain has been plagued by those.

But while that is uncertain, the coalition building how long it will take. One result seems pretty clear from this election, which is the Spaniards

voted not to allow the far right Vox party into the government, the main Conservative Party issue said didn't get enough seats for the majority.

And even with the added seats of the far right party, which used to be part of the main Conservative Party, they didn't get to the majority. So the far

right has been advancing across Europe. It's governing in Italy with hard right Prime Minister Meloni, it's in the government in Finland, but the

Spaniards on Sunday seem to be saying not here, not now.

The coalition building, according to analysts, could be easier for the socialist prime minister, because he's already got one on the left. He's

got the experience and the context. But a senior Socialist Party official told CNN this day, that this time for Sanchez this second attempt at a

coalition could be a lot tougher for him.

Because the nationalist parties in Catalonia, which are the area around Barcelona, and the northern Basque region, could try to extract a much

higher price this time. In fact, one of the Catalan Nationalist Party leaders said on Sunday, they're not going to make Sanchez, Prime Minister

again, if it comes to that, with nothing in exchange, she said their priority is Catalonia. They're not concerned about governing the state of

Spain, Lynda.

KINKADE: All right. Al Goodman, we will be following these negotiations and horse trading closely. Good to have you with us. Thank you. Well, I want to

get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar right now.

A conversation over the welfare of a U.S. soldier in North Korean custody has begun that is according to the United Nations Command. And official did

not say who was talking or if there was any news. Private Travis King was on a tour of the demilitarized zone when it crossed into North Korea.


The death toll is rising after the roof of a school gym collapsed in northeastern China. State media reporting at least 11 people die when the

roof fell in on Sunday, possibly from misplaced construction material. A female volleyball team was training at the time of the -- that's according

to the father of a team member.

Authorities in western India have ended rescue operations four days after a deadly landslide. 86 people were killed. That number includes 57 people

missing and presumed dead. More rain is forecast for the region. A blowout Box Office Weekend, thanks largely to a plastic doll with a thing for pink.

Is the post pandemic a cinema really bad, we'll ask Mattel's Global Head of Barbies, when we come back. And Morocco makes history of the women's world

cup; we'll show you how, just ahead.


KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. And atomic blonde ignites the Hollywood box office. Barbie is exploding movie expectations with $155

million in North American ticket sales alone. That's according to Warner Brothers, the parent of CNN.

Oppenheimer also doing its bit on what was billed as the Barbenheimer blockbuster opening weekend. It's been called the biggest collective box

office turnout of the post pandemic era. So is this big bounce back Hollywood has been hoping for and from a film with a woman at the helm.

I want to go live to Los Angeles and welcome Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel. Good to have you

with us.


KINKADE: So you of course are the Head of Barbie, the brand. You and your global team were transformative in transforming really the image of the

Barbie brand, of Barbie mania, of Barbie core. What has been your reaction to the film?

MCKNIGHT: I couldn't be more thrilled. I mean, I've always known the Barbie has been a trailblazer. But the fact that she is breaking records, the fact

that the world is celebrating the brand, Barbie the color pink like never before is really a spectacle. We are beyond thrilled and just can't wait to

see what else happens. The response has been tremendous. It's a giant party and everyone is showing up.

KINKADE: And give us some background Lisa on how this film came about. Because as far as branding goes, I can't imagine it gets better than this.

But from those involved even the main actress Margot Robbie, she read the screenplay for this film and didn't think it would ever see the light of


MCKNIGHT: Well, we knew that we wanted to do something that was groundbreaking. We've certainly throughout the years received many creative

treatments for a Barbie movie. But it really wasn't until we were introduced to Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig that we knew we had something

incredibly compelling.


The movie is smart, it's unexpected. It pushes boundaries. It creates, you know, fun, comedic moments, but also emotional moments. And there's really

something for everyone in this film.

KINKADE: And we're just showing some graphics there. Obviously, it's doing well for the theater chains. And obviously, it's the biggest box office

weekend in a post pandemic world. One of the biggest weekends in the last decade, as you can see there since the Avengers endgame also up there, but

this is unique in that this is it's not a sequel to another film, its original. How do you see this translating into sales for Barbie, the doll?

MCKNIGHT: Well, again, everybody wants to express themselves through the brand right now. And certainly the brand is synonymous with the color pink.

And so, we've all seen that the pink tsunami washed around the world. Pink is the hottest color in fashion, home design beauty. The world is really

embracing the color.

It's a time where people I think are looking for some levity, looking for positivity, joyfulness and the spirit behind Barbie. And certainly her

connection to the color pink is creating some really great sales opportunities for us.

We have an amazing toy line naturally, celebrating key moments in the film across dolls and vehicles and construction, but then lifestyle product,

Crocs and you know wonderful footwear, luggage, beauty cosmetic programs. Everybody wants a piece of this brand and we couldn't be more thrilled.

KINKADE: I want to play some sound from the author of "The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie", Tanya Lee Stone who spoke about Barbies legacy, let's just

take a listen.


TANYA LEE STONE, AUTHOR , "THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE BARBIE: There were just as many people sending me stories about how Barbie made them feel less

than or inferior or gave them body image issues, as there were people who felt that she was empowering to them.


KINKADE: I have a discussion with her many times over the last few decades as to whether Barbie represents a healthy image to young girls. What's your

response to that?

MCKNIGHT: Well, its interesting Barbies body has certainly been a topic of conversation throughout her; you know, 60, almost 65 years. We made real

efforts over 10 years ago to modernize and evolve the actual doll and Barbie's body. We introduced new body types for the first time, which was a

real breakthrough for the brand.

Barbie now comes as a curvy Barbie tall petite. We've got dolls with disabilities, dolls and wheelchairs, dolls with prosthetic limbs; we've

incredibly evolved the line. And today there are over 175 different types of Barbies to be a better reflection of the world that kids see around

them. So we are embracing inclusivity. We are again evolving, and there's always still more work to do.

KINKADE: It's interesting. The film's had so much praise for it being very inclusive, but also some criticism. I want to bring up a tweet from a

conservative commentator, Ben Shapiro who went on a 45 minute rant about the film, saying he was dragged to see the film, it was one of the most

woke movies I've ever seen. Then he obviously posted his review. I imagine he is not the target audience for this film, a middle aged far right

conservative male.

MCKNIGHT: Well, again, the film was intended for a broad audience. And I think the overall response has been wildly positive. Everybody, again, I

think is ready for an event. People are using Barbie to gather and connect with friends and people are buying tickets as groups. So it really is a

galvanizing moment.

And I think again, for the most part, it's reaching women, it's reaching men, it's reaching families, it's reaching kids. And the majority of the

world is enjoying this film.

KINKADE: And over the past five or six years as far as I was reading, there were several iterations of a film that made its way to Mattel, is that

correct? And for whatever reason, things didn't happen didn't come to fruition. And then this one somehow hit the Mach. Why did this one work in

terms of the screenplay and the team behind it?

MCKNIGHT: Absolutely. We again, you know, for as long as I've been at Mattel for which is almost, you know, over two decades, we've always wanted

to take Barbie to the big screen. And we've received a lot of treatments along the way and a lot of approaches. We knew we didn't want to create a

toy commercial.

We knew we wanted to do something unexpected and to create conversation and to create is a cultural event. And again it wasn't until we were introduced

to Margot Robbie and the lucky chap production team.


And of course, Greta Gerwig and her writing partner and partner, Noah Baumbach with this incredible script that made us uncomfortable. I will

share there have been moments where I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable. But again, that's what's made this such a breakthrough film.

And we also of course, had incredible partnership with Warner Brothers along the way that also pushed us in a really good way.

KINKADE: Well, congratulations making history. I'm looking forward to see the film. Appreciate your time, Lisa McKnight, the Executive Vice President

and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel. Thank you.

MCKNIGHT: Thank you so much.

KINKADE: Well, Morocco is making all sorts of history at the World Cup these last few years. And after a magical run to the quarterfinals in the

men's tournament last year, the Moroccan women are making their first appearance in the tournament. The Atlas lionesses are the first Arab team

ever to qualify.

And they also feature the tournament's first player to wear a hijab. But their first taste of the World Cup ended in disappointment as Germany

dominated the match on route to a six nil wins. The second ranked team in the world is a tough draw for Morocco currently ranked at number 72. The

lionesses get two more shots at a historic victory over the next few weeks.

Well, stick around for "One World" with my colleague, Eleni Giokos coming up next. You've been watching "Connect the world", I'm Lynda Kinkade,

thanks for your time.