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Connect the World

Intel Energy Agency: End New Fossil Fuel Development to Meet Climate Commitments; U.S. Marines' Message to Iran; Turkey: 15,000 Tons of Grain Damaged in Blast; Women Still Defiant Nearly a Year after Amini's Death; Flurry of Diplomacy after Niger Military Coup; Irish Icon Sinead O'Connor Laid to Rest in Muslim-Led Funeral Service. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired August 08, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Well, the world is just beginning to get a reality check on what planet Earth will look like beyond 1.5 degrees of

warming. This hour I'll speak to our Chief Climate Correspondent about what is the very latest report.

First up though, back to back Russian strikes in Ukraine's Donetsk region killed seven people and Ukraine says the second attack appeared to be

targeting those responding to the initial strike on a residential building.

Meanwhile, Western officials tell CNN they are receiving worrying updates about Ukraine's counter offensive. One senior diplomat says he believes

making significant progress is "Extremely unlikely". Plus, United States sending thousands of troops to the Middle East to counter Iran, their

arrival comes out as an Iranian official threatens to seize U.S. vessels if instigated.

Welcome back. You're watching the second hour of "Connect the World". July was the hottest month on record based on the global average. Temperatures

went beyond that key 1.5 threshold considered by scientists as tipping points. Beyond that threshold, the chances of extreme weather events and

water shortages increased to a level unfavorable to life, as we know it now.

And we are literally watching it happen. These are scenes overnight in Portugal, for example, where more than thousand firefighters are being

deployed to try to tame these wildfires. Now look this report does not mean that we have surpassed 1.5 degrees in the long term.

But it does mean that we are getting dangerously close. The reality is our actions are not meeting the challenge. Fossil fuels are still being burned

at a rate that is incompatible with limited warming. So tonight, we ask should we still be talking about 1.5 degrees.

Well, for more than this let's bring in CNN Climate Correspondent Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir, who is in New York. I just want to caveat

this conversation for those who may still be climate deniers out there we are not catastrophizing here.

And we are not doom mongers or certainly not wanting to be so but Bill, we are talking about reality here. The International Energy Agency said in

2021 that no new fossil fuel projects could go ahead from 2022 if we are to meet that 1.5 degree threshold.

That isn't happening, this graphic shows how some of the plans of some of the biggest companies are blowing past what is compatible. So what's your

take is 11.5 degrees warming as a threshold as something to stay below realistic at this point?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: I don't think so sadly, Becky, and I don't think a lot of climate scientists would think so as well,

because you know, the humanity has shown no signs of pulling back from fossil fuel use, it's ramped up.

The world is burning more coal, for example than ever before. We haven't hit peak coal yet even which is the dirtiest of the fuels. And as you can

see there, Exxon Mobil's business plans, these are just the short term extraction plans is 51 percent above what 1.5 limits would call for right


Conoco Phillips, much higher than the Petro China is in the 80s. And that doesn't count for the billions that are spent every year finding new gas

and oil fields finding new coal deposits, as well. So right now, if you look at the pledges for 2030, the best estimates for those targets take us

about 2.4 degrees Celsius.

The high emission scenario like the worst case is now just shy of 3 degrees 2.9. Now there's good news. You know, five years ago, we were talking about

four and five degrees Celsius warming which is makes much of Earth unlivable as we know it right now.

The fact that that's been halved, should give us some hope. But we don't know where the tipping points are. Say for example, for the glacier in

Antarctic to break loose or for methane to be released from permafrost once it gets to a certain point.

We don't know does that happen at 2.1? Does it happen at 2.3? And once it does happen what happens after that? You hear more and more from experts in

this field who have spent decades studying this saying, I don't know. We don't know what comes next, because we're really in uncharted territory.

ANDERSON: Look, and I'm really pleased that you brought up the fact that although it does feel like we're blowing through this 1.5. We are doing

better than we might have been had we not got on this kind of net zero path this climate crisis kind of path.


And certainly some of the big oil companies, oil and gas companies will say, look, you know, part of that kind of gas expansion is about getting

more LNG into the mix, because they see that as to a certain extent, what's known as a bridging fuel.

But that still isn't good enough. We're also hearing from the likes of the UAE where I am based on a regular basis that, you know, there is an

absolute intention for energy transition and for energy diversification it's just how you go about that, and how?

You know, the world keeps the pressure on those who are polluting to ensure that they have plans in place. Officials have told me that they don't want

to start talking about beyond one and a half 1.5 because it will make people lose hope. And you just use that term, that word hope, do you

believe that that narrative is warranted?

WEIR: This is such a psychological experiment, Becky. We don't know, you know, and everybody around the world is almost a billion of us are in

different stages of acceptance, or denial or bargaining, the five stages of grief, you go through and realize the planet we grew up on, as passed away.

Christiana Figueres, who ran the negotiation for the Paris Accords at the UN, and she was really the voice of the climate movement there. For years,

she said big oil producers need to have a seat at the table, because without their cooperation, we don't get there. She just wrote an Op-Ed a

few weeks ago. So she doesn't believe that anymore.

When she looks at the business plans of just endless extraction for quarters well into the future, at the same time, we're seeing the

temperatures jump up in ways that are putting jaws on the floor, she doesn't believe they have a table, and now they have to be forced into

changing their business models.

You know, we still live in a world where people do not pick it or protest gas stations, they may go after pipelines. But the consumption of fossil

fuels is so ingrained in every part of our lives, it's the biggest challenge will ever face as a species right now.

But, if you just do the math on where we're headed for the temperatures, how much carbon fuel has been found is already on the books of these oil

companies are in big trouble. And the conversation needs to get more pointed and intense and more intense from that.

ANDERSON: Yes, conversation needs to be had as much if not more so in the developed world than, you know, in the least developed in the global south.

Let's talk about the developed world as it were. The U.S. President traveling today to tout his inflation Reduction Act that's the IRA, which

despite the name, which is terribly confusing, I think it's fundamentally a climate bill.

Now, what have been the effects of this so far? And what are we expecting to hear from him later? Because let's be quite frank, the U.S. stands

squarely as one of the, you know, the great culprits in all of this.

WEIR: Absolutely. Yes historically, the biggest emitter of China now, right now is emitting more, but historically, the United States is putting more

carbon or planet cooking pollution into the sea and sky. He will tout, setting aside about a million acres to preserve no uranium mining around

the Grand Canyon.

He's on his way to New Mexico, where there's a big wind energy factory being built there as well. The United States lags far behind the rest of

the world when it comes to both onshore and offshore wind that's changing.

There's so much potential. The IRA has uncorked billions in pent up, clean technology spending and adaptation in many places. It is the first big step

it looked like it wasn't going to happen at all, it looked like it was all but dead. But a lot of people were energized by that.

It's taking us into a new cleaner economy. But it's all about the speed. And it's all the different special interests. Now for example, he's setting

aside Landon in around the Grand Canyon to keep uranium mining away.

Meanwhile, tribes are fighting with the administration over a proposed lithium mine up in Nevada and a copper mine in Arizona. These are materials

we need for an electric future, but they're insensitive places both culturally and environmentally.

But we are beyond the place where we can choose anymore. Now sort of people are saying it has to be all hands on deck. We need wind and solar as far as

the -- I can see if there happens to be on federal lands. So be it beats the alternative of mining and frocking in this places.

These are delicate conversations have been put in communities that have been burned by energy companies in years past. But here we are right now.

And you're absolutely right, that the United States has been a laggard on this for a long time.

And even as we speak, as Joe Biden is now running for reelection, all these hot temperatures are not melting away climate denialism or delayism. There

is a something called Project 2025 which American conservatives are already putting together the plan on how they will dismantle all of Biden's climate

initiatives as well?


And in States like Florida, they're now going to approve videos. They're just outright science denial, trying to teach kids that climate change is

not actually a big deal or happening. So it's still a real sticking point in the biggest economy in the world right now. Small steps towards a

cleaner future right now, but really, really difficult politically.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. It's always good to have you Bill. Thank you, our Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir for you. And I want to keep

talking about solutions when we can and at every opportunity because, look, it may seem like the only climate news we get is bad news.

And there's no doubt that the planet is under dire threat. But there are policies being put in place to try to push the needle in the other

direction. One of those, for example, involves a concerted effort to protect the Amazon described as the heart and lungs of our planet.

Environmentalists warn deforestation is pushing the Amazon's eco system to the point of irreversible damage. Rafael Romo tells us a summit starting

today looks to head off a looming environmental disaster. Have a look at this.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice over): They move slowly through the jungle. Their weapons are cocked and loaded. These

environmental agents are searching for signs of illegal logging.

It doesn't take long before they find what they're looking for. Illegal logging has been a challenge in Brazil for decades. But experts say it grew

worse over the last four years, when Former President Jair Bolsonaro was in power.

The commander in charge of the unit conducting this rate says the previous government only cared about solving emergency situations but lacks

strategic planning to really combat the first station. He steamed later makes an arrest.

In his first speech after taking office on January 1st, current President Inacio Lula da Silva, said one of his government's goals is to reach zero

deforestation in the Amazon, adding that Brazil doesn't need to get rid of its trees to remain an agricultural powerhouse.

ROMO (on camera): And now Lula is about to spearhead what he hopes will be an international effort to save the Amazon with the cooperation of all the

countries that host the world's largest rainforest, although almost 60 percent of the Amazon is in Brazil. It also extends through Bolivia,

Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

ROMO (voice over): Last month, President Lula met with Gustavo Petro, his Colombian counterpart -- a city in southern Colombia on the Amazon River

and just across the Brazilian border. Last week, the Brazilian government said preliminary data from the country's Space Research Agency show

deforestation in the Amazon has fallen by 66 percent since July of last year to its lowest point in six years.

And this week, the Brazilian President is hosting heads of state of Amazon countries at a summit to be held in the Brazilian City of Berlin at the

mouth of the Amazon River. Lula said he's going to try to convince the other heads of state to work together in a cohesive way to fight organized

crime to take care of the Amazon and the people who live in it.

According to the Brazilian government the meeting intends to start a new stage in cooperation among the countries that host the biome through the

adoption of a shared policy for the sustainable development of the region. Efforts to save the Amazon are nothing new.

The Brazilian government has raided illegal mining and logging operations over the decades, but the results have been disappointing. A study by

Purdue University showed that deforestation drove the massive Amazon rainforest fires of 2019, which destroyed thousands of square miles of

Amazon rainforest, roughly the size of New Jersey

And according to an analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations published last year, it's estimated that between 17 and 20 percent of the Amazon has

been destroyed over the past 50 years. And some scientists believe that the tipping point for the buyback is between 20 and 25 percent deforestation,

Rafael Romo CNN, Atlanta.


ANDERSON: Still to come, updates from the battlefield paints a very worrying picture of Ukraine's ability to retake territory from Russia. Our

reporting highlights growing concerns from Kyiv's allies. Plus Iran watches more U.S. troops sail into the Middle East what we know about that mission

and a live report from the Pentagon is up next.



ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. Well the Government of Pokrovsk in Ukraine's Donetsk region is asking residents

to dress the city's flag in mourning ribbons after a deadly Russian missile attack.

Two missiles hit targets in the city center on Monday night killing at least seven people most of them civilians more than 80 are wounded as Clare

Sebastian tells us Ukraine is again accusing Russia of deliberately timing strikes to target first responders.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Even for a town that spent most of the last decade on the edge of conflict these are startling images,

daylight revealing a wide area of destruction in Pokrovsk as rescue efforts resumed. The head of the town some 30 miles from the Eastern Front says two

Iskander Ballistic missiles struck 37 minutes apart Monday evening.

SERHIL DOBRIAK, HEAD OF POKROVSK CITY MILITARY ADMINISTRATION: This is a standard -- fascist scenario 30 to 40 minutes between missiles on the state

emergency service and rescuers arrived to save people the second missile hit and so the number of victims increases.

SEBASTIAN (voice over): Here is the moment of that second hit captured on a paramedic's body camera. Not surprising then dozens of police officers and

rescuers were among the injured as well as children. The Deputy Head of the State Emergency Service in the Donetsk region killed, having witnessed the

first strike this 75-year-old woman fell victim to the second in her own apartment.

LIDIA, POKROVSK RESIDENT: There was a first impact we were not hit all was OK here. I was talking on the phone setting and then suddenly this flew out

and it fell around me. Then the window fell on me. My back has cuts.

SEBASTIAN (voice over): A hotel now closed an Italian restaurant once frequented by foreign journalists who also hit. Russia has denied targeting

civilian areas saying Tuesday in his Ukrainian military command post in Pokrovsk.

But nearly 18 months into this war attacks like this are commonplace. And Ukraine says Russia is not letting up on the frontlines either. Footage

released this weekend showing Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu apparently visiting rear positions inside Ukraine capping a week in which

Ukraine says Russia fired almost half a million munitions in the east.

This as Western officials tell CNN two months in briefings on the state of Ukraine's counter offensive are growing more and more pessimistic, as

Ukrainian troops still face layers of Russian defenses in the south with mounting casualties.

One chink of light, the first batch of U.S. Abrams battle tanks is now ready for shipment and set to arrive by early fall likely not soon enough

to turn the tide in the counter offensive but a boost for Ukrainian morale again under attack, Clare Sebastian CNN, London.



ANDERSON: As we just heard, Ukraine's allies are getting sobering updates from the battleground about Ukrainian forces ability to retake significant

territory. One senior U.S. official says that the counter offensive is proving harder and moving slower than they had hoped.

Well, Chief U.S. Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto has been across that reporting for CNN and he joins us now. And this is worrying, frankly, Jim,

what are your officials telling you?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's a marked change, certainly from the optimism at the early stages of the counter offensive,

or even the held out hope, if you want to call it that a few weeks ago, as the offensive started slowly. I spoke to officials here in the U.S. but

also in Europe, in multiple agencies.

And the assessments are fairly consistent, and that is that the counter offensive is largely stalled, certainly not moving at the pace that even

the Ukrainians wanted. And the concern being the time is running out to change that essential dynamic with the approach, for instance, of foul

weather, when the fighting will become more difficult.

And this is for a few reasons. One and we've spoken about this before. Russian defensive lines are proving extremely difficult to breach. And

that's a product of the tens of thousands of mines that have been laid their complex networks of trenches and other defenses against tanks and

armored personnel carriers.

But in addition to that, there's a longer term issue here that I've heard consistently. And that is that the amount of training Ukrainian units were

able to get in advance of this was simply not long enough, perhaps eight weeks on some systems such as the German lay apart tanks. And the intent,

the goal of trying to create, in effect, experienced mechanized units to do this assault in the east was too tall in order to then expect success.

So you have short term problems, you have the problems of Russian defenses, but you also have a problem of Ukrainian capabilities here. And while

officials do hold out hope that it could change in the coming weeks. What I've noticed in these assessments is that that hope is growing, growing

much dimmer, Becky.

ANDERSON: And Jim, what do they say about how they are mapping out a more potentially more optimistic scenario at this point? And on the flip side of

this, do you get a growing sense amongst Western allies, that they will just not be able to sustain the same level of support for Ukraine going

forward, support that is clearly needed, in what is going to be a very long grinding, counter offensive at this point?

SCUITTO: Listen, there is that worry that this provides an opportunity for some who perhaps lost confidence in Ukrainian chances some time ago, to put

pressure, increased pressure on Ukraine to in effect, sue for peace. To concede territory to accept what it has now and make peace or find a path

to peace with Russia, which by the way, as we've discussed as well.

But it's not clear that Russia is interested in that at all, regardless, that this will lead to pressure like that, but also to some divisions,

which we haven't seen yet within the alliance about OK, we tried with the counter offensive. What do we do now, in effect?

Another point I hear consistently is that there is no single weapon system. That is a magic bullet here that if you were to send, say those Abrams

tanks tomorrow, or even F-16s, both of which require lead time that one of those is going to significantly change things. It's a combination of


And it's a hard effort regardless. That said, when you speak to Ukrainians, they have certainly been frustrated by the pace of some of that support and

the time it took to get there. So you have something of an emerging blame game as well. It's natural as one U.S. lawmaker described it to me; this is

the most difficult period of the war.

ANDERSON: Jim it's good to have you, your analysis and source reporting, of course, hugely important for us. Thank you.

SCUITTO: Thanks so much.

ANDERSON: Well, Turkey's government says around 15,000 tons of grains were damaged in a silo explosion and this happened at a port in western Turkey.

This video is showing you the exact moment of that blast. It injured 12 people, three of them seriously 13 of 16 silos sustained damage.

Now the explosion apparently was caused by wheat dust compression during transfer from a ship to these silos Turkey of course a key player in the

recently ended Black Sea Grain Deal. Well, the U.S. is flexing its military muscles near the Persian Gulf and Iran not happy about that. More than 3000

U.S. Marines and Sailors and their ships and aircraft sailed into the Middle East over the weekend.


This is a Marine Expeditionary Unit or Mew. And it's meant to deter Iran from seizing commercial vessels here. As you can see on the map near the

Strait of Hormuz, the Iranian general one says his forces can counter the U.S and he warns Iran will seize U.S. vessels of its own ships are


Let's get you the latest from CNN's Natasha Bertrand, who is live at the Pentagon for you. I just wonder what this tells us about how seriously the

U.S. sees the threats from Iran at this point.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, they see it as a major concern, Becky, and this is a significant show of force by the

United States sending all of these assets and marines into the region, of course, to respond to the fact that Iran has been harassing and seizing

commercial vessels and oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz pretty regularly since 2021.

And the U.S. Navy has had to intervene in many instances where these commercial vessels have called for help. Well, now the U.S. has flowed 3000

marines into the region, as well as F-16s, F35s and a guided missile destroyer all in an attempt to try to deter Iran from doing this again.

And we should note that just today, the U.S. Central Command released a statement saying that the Head of Central Command actually transited the

Strait of Hormuz on that guided missile destroyer as kind of another show of force against the Iranians really demonstrating the strong U.S. presence

in the region.

Now, all of this comes as the U.S. is actually considering placing U.S. marines on these commercial vessels in what could potentially create a

situation where U.S. forces and Iranian forces are in direct confrontation with each other. All of that really depends on whether these commercial

vessels will actually ask for that kind of additional protection from the U.S military.

But the fact that the U.S. is even considering placing roughly 20 marines on these commercial ships is really unprecedented. And it shows just how

seriously the U.S. is taking the situation, as demonstrated by the major show of force here that we are seeing by the implementation of this mew, as

you said, into the region, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Natasha, thank you, still ahead on "Connect the World" this evening.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being a woman in Iran is now harder than ever.


ANDERSON: And it's likely to get even harder. There's new pressure on those who dare to defy the regimes harsh rules, more on that ahead. And a flurry

of diplomatic meetings with coup leaders in Niger including with a high level U.S. official what Washington hoped to achieve and what the military

junta refused to concede.



ANDERSON: Welcome back, half past four in London, you're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. Weeks ahead of the one year mark since a

woman, a young woman died in custody in Iran, the government there cracking down on women who defy it. The death of Mahsa Amini while being held by

morality police triggered huge protests as you I'm sure will be well aware.

Now authorities are using harsher tactics and considering tougher penalties against women who go unveiled. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh found that despite

these latest moves, Iran's women are undeterred.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Iran's brave women are fighting for their freedom with everyday acts of defiance like this out on

the streets without the mandatory hijab. This recent video appeared to show a woman harassed and called a criminal for refusing to cover up. At the

days of being afraid of you are over, she says.

Nearly a year after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini in the custody of the so-called morality police, the uprising sparked by her death

may have been crushed by a bloody crackdown, but not the will of those standing up for their most basic of rights.

Countless women have been defying the clerical establishment, choosing not to wear the compulsory hijab. And now the regime is lashing out with a

campaign of renewed repression announcing the return of morality police patrols.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being a woman in Iran is now harder than ever, because of all the attention our privacy and safety is a wish. You should always be

worried and careful about police.

KARADSHEH (voice over): This young woman we're not identifying for her safety spoke to us from inside Iran. The morality police are mostly in

metro stations and sometimes on the streets. They warn you if you're disobey they take video or photos. And normal people who are still on the

government side work like paparazzi.

And that's not all authorities are considering a draconian new bill that would make failure to abide by the strict Islamic dress code and more

severe offense with unprecedented harsh penalties including five to 10 year jail sentences and fines of more than $1,000. This may be just a warning to

intimidate those who dare to dissent.

But an intensified crackdown has been well underway. This chilling video released by a group affiliated with the security apparatus captures some of

their terrifying tactics. Facial recognition technology purportedly is being used to identify and threaten unveiled women.

Cameras are everywhere. Thousands have had their cars confiscated according to Amnesty International, and women without a veil are being denied access

to education and public services. Perhaps even more disturbing is courts have been imposing degrading punishments on women, including counseling

sessions for "Anti-social behavior, cleaning government buildings and washing corpses in morgues".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn't believe the mortuary punishment until I saw some judgment papers with my own eyes, which was washing corpses for a


KARADSHEH (on camera): Are you and other women around you scared when you're out in public?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first days were scary. But with time the courage inside everyone grows. And now no one is scared. People were just waiting

for a spark. And that happened last year. We keep going for the kids who were murdered during the protests.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Many like her say this is not just about the hijab. This is about standing up to tyranny, and they're not backing down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most people believe in freedom now because they've tasted it. We know about the punishments. But we know everything has a cost

and if this is the cost of freedom, we're ready to pay for that. I'm sure we will see Iran breathing again one day.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Jomana Karadsheh, CNN London.


ANDERSON: And Jomana is back with us this hour. Is it worse for Iranian women now than it was before the death of Mahsa Amini? Is it clear at this



KARADSHEH: Well, look, I mean, as we heard there from this young woman that we spoke to, and we hear from a lot of other Iranian women's, it is a very,

very tough time for them right now. They feel that they are being watched constantly, there's always this threat. So you heard there are these

degrading punishment that women face just for making their own decisions for choosing not to wear the hijab.

I mean, what we've seen Becky, and you've seen it as well, covering this over the past year, is it seems that barrier of fear that was there in

Islamic republic, that was gone. And you've seen so many people rising up and defying the regime, so publicly. And a lot of them have obviously been

the women's.

What you've got now the regime, trying to reassert its authority, and they are doing this, you know, through these tactics that they've used in the

past, trying to intimidate women and trying to spread fear and all indications are it is going to get much, much harder for the Iran's.

ANDERSON: Yes. And it's interesting, isn't it? Because, you know, this was a demonstration of, of, you know, rights for females. And this is

demonstration by both men and women so often, and then it became a demonstration against the regime. I mean, you know, let's be quite clear,

there were those who are calling for the, for the end of this regime.

That is that's gone nowhere. The demonstrations we've seen around the world have -- somewhat. I would expect to see more as we approach this, you know,

commemoration I mean, of not just Mahsa Amini's death, but of course, so many others. And yet, the frustration for so many Iran that I speak to is

what happens next.

KARADSHEH: I mean, look, I mean, you talk to people inside Iran, and their grievances are still there, the anger is still there. But when you have a

regime that unleashed so much brutality to suppress those protests, they have no choice. But people will tell you it's not over.

There will be no more protests, as we have seen year after a year you have these, this constant cycle of protests because people are so unhappy. And

people I've spoken to inside Iran say that for them, this is not over. It's a matter of not if, it's when these protests will happen, and what that

spark is going to be per se they have nothing left to lose, Becky.

ANDERSON: I thought it was very, very telling that the use of the term, as you describe it, that, you know, we've seen the end of this barrier behind

which people you know, were so fearful. And this sense that they have tasted freedom and there is no going back, but it is very, very difficult

and traumatic situation for so many. Thank you very much indeed, Jomana Karadsheh with me here in London, of course.

Well 98 people have been arrested in the U.S. and Australia in connection with child sex abuse. These arrests come after two FBI agents were shot and

killed while conducting an investigation into child pornography in 2021.

Australian authorities say the suspects were involved in a peer to peer network and some of them have been committing crimes for more than 10



HELEN SCHNEIDER, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE COMMANDER: I think that this outcome should definitely serve as a warning to those who are preying on

our most vulnerable that we are looking for you, we will find you and we will arrest you.


ANDERSON: Well, 13 children were rescued from home during the joint U.S. and Australian operation. Well, 38 minutes past four in London, you're

watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson.

Coming up, a deadline was set for Niger's coup leaders to cede power or face potential war, the deadline has passed. But the junta is not backing

down. I'll discuss where that leaves the country's future and indeed, its people with a panel of experts that is coming up next.



ANDERSON: It's been nearly two weeks since a military junta in Niger detained President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power. Now much of the

international community has since condemned the coup and imposed sanctions, certainly the western international community. Its architects were given a

deadline releasing reinstate Bazoum by Sunday two days ago or fatal intervention from the regional bloc ECOWAS.

Well, as of today the president has not been reinstated. There are no signs yet of a military intervention, regional military intervention. But there

has been a flurry of diplomatic activity in the Capitol Niamey. The acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland has met with members of the

military junta on Monday, that was to push for a resolution.

And while she said their conversations were frank, no progress was made in restoring constitutional audit, she said. Instead, the junta has been

trying to strengthen its own authority. It has hosted allies from Mali and Burkina Faso and brought in more troops to the Capitol to prepare for any

potential military intervention.

Well, the military junta has have thus far resisted any efforts to back down leaving the fate of Niger and its people hanging in the balance. Well,

I want to discuss all of this with my next guest who is with me in the studio here.

Aoife McCullough is a Doctoral Researcher at the London School of Economics, good to have you. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. And

Dr. Sahidi Bilan is a Nigerian political analyst, both with a wealth of knowledge and experience of the country and of the region that we've been


We've been talking about why what goes on in Niger, of course, doesn't stay in Niger and why this story has such impact beyond its own borders. The

military junta refused to meet with a joint delegation from ECOWAS, the region, the UN and African Union for talks earlier today, as we understand


They cited security reasons so we can discuss what we believe that those might be to their mind. What do you make of that? That's where we stand at

present, sir.

DR. SAHIDI BILAN, NIGERIAN POLITICAL ANALYST: We understand the behavior or the attitude of the military regime, because after ECOWAS has threatened to

intervene military, they have imposed on the country, no economic sanctions, which people are rarely suffering, which start having effect. So

I think that reasons why they don't want to meet them up.


AOIFE MCCULLOUGH, DOCTORAL RESEARCHER, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Yes, so as Sahidi says, emotions are high, so there are certain risks with an

ECOWAS convention arriving in Niamey. But at the same time, we have to ask, OK, why, why doesn't -- want to meet? Why did he not meet with Victoria


And are there negotiations going on between different parts of the junta in the background, while they figure out their position and before they can

actually move forward the negotiations with.

ANDERSON: So you, my sense is that you believe that there is room for negotiation at this point is just when and with whom, correct?

DR. BILAN: Absolutely.

MCCULLOUGH: Absolutely.


MCCULLOUGH: So the generals who led this coup are much more senior than what happened in Burkina Faso and in Mali. There have been coups in the

past in Niger, for example, in 2010, and there was a coup which toppled Tanja. But then the leader of the coup took power and then transitioned to


So there is a precedent for transitioning, but it takes time to negotiate these. There's a lot of disagreement within the different parts of the

security forces about how to conduct counterterrorism operations, about how to move forward, about the position of the French.


ANDERSON: We said at the start of this segment that the military junta met with their counterparts from Mali and Burkina Faso to neighboring countries

who've also experienced coups, of course, in the last couple of years. Have a listen to what Mali's government spokesman said during that meeting.


ABDOULAYE MAIGA, MALIAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON: I would like to remind you that Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger has been dealing with for over 10 years

with the negative social, economic, security, political and humanitarian consequences of nature's hazardous adventure in Libya. Of course, we ask

ourselves, if it took us 10 years, how many years would it take us to get over another adventure of the same nature immediately?


ANDERSON: How important has it been to hear from these leaders out of Mali and Burkina Faso? And you know, these are, their support for these coup

leaders shows that there are cracks in ECOWAS. And its ECOWAS that certainly the West is sort of relying on is that you know, as the body that

might be able to broker properly broker some sort of breakthrough here.

DR. BILAN: Not displeased and sure how splitted ECOWAS has become. And this translates also the unfairness of treatment. Because there were, you know a

coup d'etat in -- Guinea, coup d'etat in Mali, in Burkina Faso. And the way they proceed was completely different when they come to Niger.

Instead of trying to, you know, to negotiate the threatened to intervene military, I think that's a problem. So that has contributed to, you know,

to bring together Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

ANDERSON: Yes. Something he said at the beginning is true; this idea that Niger has been a bastion of democracy and stability is not exactly accurate

isn't it? Yes, it's improved. And yes, it may be the best in its neighborhood. But that doesn't mean it's people have been living good

lives, in fact, quite the opposite.

And I just want our viewers to get a sense here of what's going on 12 and a half million or more people do not have access to clean water, that's

almost half the population. Only one in seven have access to electricity, and over 50 percent of kids aged seven to 16 are not in school.

Let's just if you will just describe, you know, off the back of what I've just -- those facts that I've just delivered there. Just describe what kind

of state this country is in at this point.

MCCULLOUGH: I mean it is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been fighting terrorism on its western borders, and on its sides, eastern

borders. And what has been happening is that a lot of the foreign support for the security forces has focused on special operation forces, which has

targeted the jihadist groups, but it hasn't backed up the -- gendarmerie, which is mandated to protect the population.

So when the attacks have happened, the gendarmerie, they still take a long time to respond, so that the population is not experiencing an increase in

security as a result of foreign presence.

ANDERSON: So the stability and security for those who live in Niger is doesn't seem as if it's the priority for the sort of western counter terror

efforts that are, you know, that are at risk at present. And what so many people have a concern about here. If the coup succeeds, Niger will be the

last domino to fall in a list of neighboring countries, as we've been discussing, ruled by military junta. What would that mean for the wider

Sahel region, sir?

DR. BILAN: If you look at what's going on right now, there, it's important to find a solution negotiated solution. Why, because of the geographical

position of Niger. You know, who has access to Niger can easily you know, get in touch with North Africa, East Africa, -- Algeria and also West


So it's essential that a solution negotiated solution, you know, can be worked out, otherwise, the whole region, the wholesale will be inflamed,

and it will affect also the west because through the desert, so many immigrants can easily come to Europe. So --

ANDERSON: We so often talk about counter-terror efforts there. The counter migration efforts, of course, is something that will be that will be

exercising the minds of so many politicians, as you rightly point out in North Africa, particularly in Europe.

DR. BILAN: And I think also, that the west should change the attitude, especially the NATO why, because right now we have four military, American

military bases in Niger, three military bases from France and Italy, Germany.


So the impression was that the presence of all these forces, Niger should be secured. People should be live better off. Unfortunately, that's not the



MCCULLOUGH: So, what this means so if the junta stays in power, I think it will be very difficult for French forces to stay in Niger. But also I think

that if they do negotiate or transition to elections, I think it will also be very difficult for the French to stay. Because I think any candidate

will have to promise the Nigerian population that they will negotiate withdrawal of French troops.

So that's a huge shift in the region. And there may be a possibility for American, German and Italian forces to remain in the country. These are

very delicate negotiations. Care has to be taken by diplomats to understand the situation and to say the right things.

ANDERSON: Having you both on is hugely important. Thank you very much indeed. I'm afraid I'm going to have to take a break at this moment. Really

run out of time on this show, but we'll have you back. Let's hope that we are, the people are listening that they understand that these conversations

this track was diplomatic track needs to be delicate and it's terrific. Terrific having you on, thank you. We're going to take a very short break,

back after this.


ANDERSON: Well, we started this hour talking about the heating planet and people around the world finding ways to adapt. Well, have a look at this.

Artists in Basra in Iraq are switching to night shifts to cope with the heat there as the country experiences temperatures as high as 53 degrees


Muralists are avoiding the heat wave by painting at night. Not only does the country's heat and humidity cause physical and psychological fatigue it

also drives the artist's paint faster hardening their brushes when they are in direct sunlight. Well, night shifts illuminated by large lamps allow

artists in Basra to continue working in the summer months.


AHMED MAGED, IRAQI ARTIST: Painting is our source of livelihood. For me personally, this is how I make a living. I've postponed many orders for

paintings and continue to postpone, because I cannot work in these high temperatures.


ANDERSON: Well, according to the United Nations, Iraq is the world's fifth most vulnerable country to climate crisis. Well, the filmmaker behind what

many consider the most famous car chase in movie history. The French Connection Director William Friedkin, Friedkin has died.

Among Friedkin's other credits during his long career are the exorcist and to live and die in LA. His death was announced by his wife for Paramount

Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing. Friedkin won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Director for that epic, The French Connection.

Director William Friedkin dead at the age of 87 and Ireland saying goodbye to one of its own fans line the streets for today's funeral procession for

singer Sinead O'Connor. He was poignant and exceptionally notable as the service for the Irish icon was led by the Islamic centers chief Imam.


O'Connor converted to Islam in 2018. She was known for taking on -- institutions like the Catholic Church. But at the heart of it all, was the

music. Just can't get enough of that song, that's a hit nothing compares to you.

Sinead O'Connor was found unresponsive in her London home last month. She was 56. Well, you've been watching "Connect the World" with me Becky

Anderson. From the team working with me here in London this week, and those working with us around the world, it is a very good evening. We'll see you

same time, same place tomorrow. "One World" with Zain Asher is up next here on CNN.