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Connect the World
A Look at Counteroffensive on Ukraine's Southern Front; Destructive Wildfires on Island of Maui Kill 36; Anti-Corruption Presidential Candidate Gunned Down; Israel Doesn't Expect Saudi Normalization before end of Year; FBI Shoots Utah Man who Allegedly Threatened Biden, Harris; Yoga Class Combines Relaxation & Pet Adoption in India. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 10, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: A very warm welcome to the second hour of "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live from London. Four in the
afternoon here this hour Ukraine orders thousands of civilians to evacuate from a city on the Eastern Front Lines amid intense Russian attacks. We're
also watching the southern front and we have a CNN exclusive report from there you won't want to miss that.
At least 36 people are dead on the Hawaiian Island of Maui after devastating wildfires local officials worry that number could grow. An
outspoken presidential candidate in Ecuador is assassinated days before the vote their official say the August 20th election will still go ahead as
planned. And we'll take a look at how Israel's controversial judicial overhaul is having a chilling effect on the country's vital tech startup
sector. That's coming up this hour.
Well, first up in this 18th month of Russia's war on Ukraine another stark example today of the impact on ordinary civilians. More than 10,000 of the
men Kupyansk answered in the Kharkiv region have been ordered to leave their homes this area around Kupyansk now described by Ukraine as the
epicenter of hostilities.
Now that city, you may remember was liberated almost a year ago. Officials say it has endured intense Russian shelling since late July and a similar
narrative in Southern Ukraine with both sides reporting intense fighting but little change in territory.
Well, our Chief International Security Editor, Nick Paton Walsh got exclusive up close access to Ukrainian troops fighting along the southern
front lines and the daily struggles and the traumas that they face. No reporters witnessed scenes like this until now and I must warn you that
Nick's report contains some graphic images. Here it is.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice over): The brutal work here the world hasn't seen but once its results from the West,
they have words and weapons of support. But out here it's them alone in searing heat, cloaked in dust in the southern counter offensive near
Kharkiv, Ukraine has the initiative.
Yet they have to shoot their way forward round by round. The Russians are just past the building on the horizon.
WALSH: Keep moving guys they're very anxious we leave.
WALSH (voice over): We're the first journalist to reach this path of Ukraine's counter offensive push south towards -- .
WALSH: The tank was spotted by the Russians and so now we're moving fast out of here because they're expecting return fire.
WALSH (voice over): The losses from their earliest assault evidence, this destroyed U.S. supplied Bradley armored vehicle.
WALSH: Right in this thick dust these tankers moving forwards to fire Russian positions which they say are beginning to look in peril as Ukraine
southern counter offensive pushes forward.
WALSH (voice over): The 15th National Guard have lost many friends here, but also gained ground. It has been incredibly tough. But some faces we saw
over the past week have brightened Robertina (ph) has got closer.
Some of the assessment of their fight and the tools given towards it great to hear, they're being expected to do things no NATO army would attempt
with equipment they'd scoff at, the Humvees we travel in with tires so threadbare no American soldier would be expected to drive it.
They have no time for armchair assessments that they're failing. And that underestimation is visible here in the nearest town of Kharkiv pummeled by
the main problem, Russian air superiority and the half ton bombs they drop, at any moment it may not matter how much cover you have.
We take cover in a basement. One day 20 rockets hit in as many minutes.
WALSH Right now is for what they think is another missile to come in the land.
WALSH (voice over): The smell of death horns the rubble where entire lives have been torn through.
WALSH: Now this was the main humanitarian aid point of the town. And weeks ago, this was where the remaining locals would be hiding out getting
sheltered from air strikes, but it's taken direct hit, and quite a few people lost their lives when this explosion happened. You can still smell
the explosive in the air.
WALSH (voice over): In Moscow's warped world of targeting it is these men, the military medics, who feel hunted the underground world in which they
live is hidden as their last two triage points have been bombed and in the three hours a day they spend above ground this is what happens. This is
rare footage of their frontline rescues.
The painkillers clearly not enough, the treatments given at up to hundred miles an hour over bumpy shelled road, it seems miraculous anyone makes it
in the back of this armored vehicle, not everyone has.
These transfers perilous, their vehicles bunched together; perhaps visible to Russian jets, sometimes they don't all come back. On Friday, fellow
medic Andre age 33 was hit by artillery they buried him Monday. Down here death is far too close. And they seem to shut it out. They need the wall to
end in months though not years before nothing but dust is left Nick Paton Walsh CNN Kharkiv Ukraine.
ANDERSON: Well, Polish defense official say some troops are moving to its eastern border with Belarus. Poland's troop movement involves up to 10,000
soldiers. Now the Defense Ministry says 4000 of those will directly support Poland's Border Guard, the remaining 6000 will be in reserve.
Polish Belarusian border is several 100 kilometers long. CNN's Fred Pleitgen joining us from Berlin, it's important that we understand why
Poland is increasing its military presence along the border with Belarus and whether this is an indication that NATO frankly could be pulled into
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Why would say Becky that at that point to the Polish Belarusian border that probably is
one of the places where the threat of that happening is definitely one of the largest and the Polls are saying that it is for several reasons.
They certainly acknowledged that that border has been a flashpoint it really has been so even before the war in Ukraine started in 2021. You'll
recall that there was a wave of migrants that the Belarusians were trying to essentially push across that border with the Poles fortifying that
And already back then there were scuffles between Polish border guards and Belarusian border guards. Now of course all that has escalated since the
war in Ukraine started and of course we know that Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko is firmly on the side of Russia.
And you have several things that have happened. The Poles are saying that there has been airspace violation by Belarusian helicopters over the past
couple of weeks, the Poles saying they take that extremely seriously, especially on that border.
But of course the main or one of the main reasons for the Poles as well is now the presence of the Wagner Private Military Company on Belarusian
territory. Now officially those Wagner mercenaries are training the Belarusian Military.
However, there are voices from inside Wagner who say that look if they are called on to do so they would watch on Warsaw as well. And the polls
certainly are taking that very seriously. It's something that Lukashenko has said that Wagner wanted to do.
He told that to Vladimir Putin, although it's not clear how serious that threat really is. Nevertheless, the Poles understand that those Wagner
mercenaries, even though it may only be a couple of thousands of them.
They are some of the most battle hardened fighters that were fighting on the side of the Russian Armed Forces, especially in the battle for Bakhmut
which was one of the toughest and continues to be so inside of Ukraine. And that these people have huge combat experience.
They're trained the Ukrainian Armed Forces, some of that training has taken place very close to the Polish border. So the Poles are saying, look,
they're not going to take any chances with all this and continue to beef up their presence there.
The Russians, though, Becky, for their part in the face of Vladimir Putin, have called these moves aggressive on the part of Poland. So you can see
how that plays. That border between Poland and Belarus continuing to be a flashpoint. Certainly right now very tense area, Becky.
ANDERSON: You've pointed out the presence of Wagner troops in Belarus, which is just such an important point. And before that you go the sense
from Poland that whilst being front and center in support for Ukraine, in this war.
We have not necessarily heard dissenting voices from officials there, but certainly an appeal to be perhaps more grateful to Warsaw in the support
that it's been providing. This was sort of shot across the bows, specifically at President Zelenskyy of late what did you make of that out
PLEITGEN: Well look, I think that the Poles certainly are saying that they have done a lot for the Ukrainians. And then I'm not necessarily sure that
they expect much in the way of gratefulness, but they certainly do believe that the Ukrainians are quite indebted to them.
And I think for Poland, it really has been on the part of the entire Poland society that they have been aiding Ukraine. You know, there have been
drives for donations for Ukrainians, millions of Ukrainians who have found refuge inside of Poland who have found work there extremely quickly and who
quite frankly, have been accepted with open arms by the Poles.
We know that in general, over the years, there have been great relations between those two countries between Ukraine and Poland in 2012, for
instance, the Euro was held in both Poland and in Ukraine. But the Poles also saying look, this is also a burden on them; the weapons aid that
they've been giving has been substantial.
Certainly also, if you look at the size of the Polish Military, they were also some of the first countries to come out and say yes, they want to
give, for instance Leopard main battle tanks to the Ukrainian, so they really have been a driving factor.
And quite frankly, also Becky, they are the main logistical hub as well for Western military gear to go into Ukraine. And that itself, of course, is a
security risk for Poland as well. So it certainly is a country.
I would say Poland that almost like none other in Europe has become a focal point has gained in importance within the NATO alliance, and certainly has
done an extreme amount to help the Ukrainians in this fight against Russia, Becky.
ANDERSON: And hence President Biden's visit there some months ago, squarely and sort of showing up in support of Poland and to show their gratitude,
and thanks for what's been done. So it's very fascinating time.
But they interesting to really be able to sort of put a picture around Poland and see the impact of this war in the country as a neighbor, of
course, and as you say so impacted with regard. Those who have fled Ukraine, thank you.
And you can always stay up to date with CNN's extensive coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine, just head to cnn.com and click on our live blog of
this story, for example, to get the very latest from our team on the ground.
Well, devastating wildfires on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. Just ahead, the latest on the destruction and the popular town that was destroyed there
plus, a presidential candidate who dared to take on drug trafficking and corruption is shot dead in Ecuador more on what was a brazen assassination
is just ahead.
ANDERSON: Devastating wildfires on the Hawaiian Island of Maui have killed 36 people. Local officials worry that number could go up with many people
hospitalized due to smoking burns. The popular town of Lahaina where 12,000 people lived has been virtually destroyed. Here's Veronica Miracle from
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The view from above is of shock and heartbreak.
RICHARD OLSTEN, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, AIR MAULI HELICOPTER TOURS: We were not prepared for what we saw. It looked like an area that had been bombed
in the war.
MIRACLE (voice over): Wildfires rampaging across the island of Maui.
DUSTIN KALEIOPU, LOST HOUSE IN MAUI WILDFIRE: Our entire street was burned to the ground.
MIRACLE (voice over): Decimating homes and businesses.
JAMES TOKLOKO, DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM: Local people have lost everything. They've lost their house. They've lost
their animals and it's devastating.
MIRACLE (voice over): The historic Town of Lahaina, a popular tourist and economic hub on the Islands West Side, particularly affected with hundreds
of structures impacted.
CLAIRE KENT, HOUSE BURNED IN LAHAINA ON MAUI: It happened so fast, people stuck in traffic trying to get out and they're slain on both sides of the
road like something out of a horror movie.
MIRACLE (voice over): Most of the fires on Maui fueled in part by violent winds caused by Hurricane Dora churning more than 800 miles away. Those
winds now subsiding as the storm pushes away.
MAJOR GENERAL KENNETH S.HARA, ADJUTANT GENERAL, HAWAII STATE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: The primary focus is to save lives and to prevent human suffering
and mitigate great property loss.
MIRACLE (voice over): State Department crews assisting in efforts to restore communication across the islands and distribute water, with
military helicopters aiding and extinguishing the fires.
KENNETH S.HARA: To -- 47 supporting Maui County, they flew 13 hours did 58 drops and about 150,000 gallons of water to assist with suppression of the
MIRACLE (voice over): Recovery will be a long road ahead, according to Hawaii's Lieutenant Governor, Silvia Luke.
SYLVIA LUKE, HAWAII, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: The damage to the infrastructure. It's not just buildings. I mean, these were small businesses that invested
in Maui, these were local residents. And, you know, we need to figure out a way to help a lot of people in the next several years.
ANDERSON: CNN's Veronica Miracle reporting there from Maui. Joining us for the latest on conditions then in Maui and Big Island is CNN Meteorologist
Derek Van Dam. What have you got Derek?
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Becky, you know, we saw some reporting from the Maui Emergency Management individuals. And what they're
saying is that the fires on the Island of Maui are not yet contained.
So there are still hotspots there are still flare ups ongoing. So what do we need to help extinguish the flames? Well, we need the winds to relax and
we need rainfall desperately. So will we get those? Try to walk you through it? Here's an Island of Maui.
The winds are starting to die down. That's a bit of glimmer of good hope. But now the winds have become more northeasterly. So they're kind of the
trade winds very typical this time of year and what that's doing is that northeasterly wind is coming up and over of the mountain ranges.
So it's going to help produce rainfall on the windward side of the islands unfortunately where Lahaina is located on the leeward side of the island.
So opposite this mountain range, that is where the air dries out, it heats up and we still have our hotspots.
So we don't anticipate any significant rainfall for the greater Lahaina region. The rain will be located across the highest elevations and on the
eastern facing shorelines. This proves that point. Here's the forecast radar, you can see the intermittent rain showers that will move in typical
pattern with the trade winds that are setting up across the area.
This is also new information to the CNN weather center. The U.S. government releases every week and analysis of the drought conditions across the
entire United States. This number has increased from 30 percent last week to 80 percent of all of Hawaii abnormally dry. Now we focus in on Maui
County, specifically the severe index that severe drought conditions that has increased by over 10 percent since this time last week as well.
So that really just kind of solidifies the dry timber box conditions that are impacting the western side of the island. And that is right where
Lahaina is located. And unfortunately, we don't see any major relief in sight in terms of rainfall that will be focused on the eastern side of the
Here's a look at the wind forecast for today, 15 to 20 kilometers per hour. That's a far cry from the 100 kph winds we had, about 24 to 36 hours ago,
so definitely some relief there, but again, in terms of precipitation, none in sight. This is the latest flare ups the hotspots from a satellite image.
This is Lahaina and you can see three hotspots. Now let's go back in time by 24 hours. Look at the difference. This wildfire this brush fire
basically ran out of room as it approached the ocean, it extinguished itself more or less because it simply had no more terrain to burn. This is
again the current situation so improvements there, but not yet contained. So we still see the hotspots, aerial photographs showing exactly how much
devastation was brought to this Hawaiian island, Becky.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. Derek, appreciate it. Thank you. And if you would like information on how you can help those impacted by the Hawaii
wildfires, you can find that at cnn.com/impact. That is cnn.com/impact. Well days before people in Ecuador go to the polls a presidential candidate
who denounced corruption in his country has been gunned down.
Fernando Villavicencio was fatally shot just after this rally in Quito on Wednesday night. This exclusive video was taken shortly before he was
killed. Nine others were hurt, the alleged government also killed. -- Villavicencio was known for being unafraid to take on drug traffickers and
criminal gangs, the election still on for August the 20th.
Well, Rafael Romo has been hacking imbalance for you from CNN center. He's back with us with the very latest. So what do we understand what actually
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, as shocking as the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio is, we've been covering acts of
violence in Ecuador for years now. In late July, we're seeing -- the mayor of Montreux, Ecuador sixth largest city was shot dead alongside a young
athlete he was talking with on the street.
There's also been violent riots at prisons that have left hundreds of inmates dead over the last few years and now a major presidential candidate
is dead less than two weeks before a crucial election.
ROMO (voice over): Cheers for Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio as he's ushered into a car. But gunfire rings out at least 12
shots as those around them die for cover.
This was a targeted attack killing the man who once described his country as a Narco state run by a political mafia a 40 say nine people were
injured, a blood splatter floor inside the school gymnasium where emergency service workers treated them at the scene Fernando Villavicencio and anti-
corruption campaigner was targeted moments after attending this campaign event at a school in northern Quito.
we are going to write on August 20 the final story of the rebellion of democracy of the struggle against corruption, against the mafia that have
subjugated our homeland for 20 years he told the crowd. The 59-year-old centrist was one of eight candidates in the first round of Ecuador's
presidential election scheduled for August 20.
The South American country historically relatively safe and stable is facing a deadly escalation of violence and organized crime. Seven of the
eight candidates in the election were under police protection, local media reported this week.
In a recent interview Villavicencio said he had received threats to break him from drug trafficking brutal looks Tornadoes. And in a video film that
a rally August 5, he said he had been told to wear a bulletproof vest.
But told the crowd, here I am wearing a sweaty shirt dammit, you are my bulletproof vest. I don't need it. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian President
Guillermo Lasso vowed the killing would not go unpunished and announced that 60 day state of emergency.
GUILLERMO LASSO, ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT: The armed forces from this moment on will mobilize in all the national territory to guarantee the security of
our citizens, the tranquility of the country and the free and democratic elections of August 20.
ROMO (voice over): The suspected gunman died in police custody while six people have been arrested following the assassination, the prosecutor's
office says. Question is now for a shot changing nation, days ahead of a presidential election.
ROMO: And Becky, what's at stake here is governance and stability. The government says the August 20 election will go on ahead as planned. But as
you can imagine, there's the potential that many voters will stay away from the polls out of fear, especially given what just happened. Now back to
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Thank you for that. Well, Nigerian coup leaders say they formed a new government comprising of 21 ministers. That was
announced on state TV just a short time ago. Niger's military junta named its own prime minister earlier in the week.
Now these rapid changes come as leaders of the West African bloc, ECOWAS are gathering for an emergency summit. Right now to discuss the coup, the
chairman of that grouping, ECOWAS is pushing for a diplomatic solution with all parties involved. He wants to restore constitutional governance and
reinstate Mohamed Bazoum as Nigeria's president.
You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. Time here in London just before half past four. Coming up, as Israelis from all
industries continue to voice their anger against the government's judicial overhaul, tech leaders are wondering if it's time to take their money and
their business elsewhere. I'll speak to one CEO about that up next.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson for you. Time here in London half past four, your headlines this
hour. Devastating wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui have killed 36 people. Officials worry that number could go up with many people
hospitalized due to smoking burns.
Now the popular town of Lahaina with 12,000 people lived has virtually been destroyed. Thousands of tourists have been forced to evacuate from the
island. Ecuador's president is blaming organized crime for killing a popular candidate to succeed him. Fernando Villavicencio was shot dead
after a campaign rally on Wednesday night. His alleged attacker was also killed.
Villavicencio was so poorly decried drug related to corruption and violence in his country. The presidential election is still set for August 20, as
planned. In the world of football, Tottenham Hotspur football club have reportedly accepted an offer worth $110 million from Bayern Munich for
their superstar striker Harry Kane.
The England striker must now decide whether he actually wants to leave the North London club or finish out the final year of his contract with spurs.
Well, for quite some time there have been murmurs about Israel normalizing relations with arguably the most important Arab State, Saudi Arabia.
You'll remember the Israelis reached deals with several Arab nations in the Trump brokered Abraham accords back in 2020. But a Saudi deal could, would
be a massive game changer and the region's biggest diplomatic agreement in a generation.
Now, the U.S. and Riyadh have agreed on the broad contours of a prospective deal, or at least that is according to reporting in the Wall Street
Journal. In response to a question about that report, the state department spokesperson told CNN while discussions have been productive; they are not
quite there not yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: I will say that we've had productive conversations; there are a number of issues that we have
discussed both with the Israeli government and with the Saudi government. Those conversations continue I expect there will be more happening in
coming weeks; we've made progress on a number of issues. I'm not going to get into what the progress is. But it is still a long road to go with an
uncertain future. But it is an important initiative that we think we should continue to pursue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, a similar sentiment was echoed by Israel's national security adviser. He told CNN that the U.S. is keeping Israel very
intimately updated on the discussions with Riyadh. But that not much is happening and the deal likely won't materialize, he says before the end of
He was no better person to break all of this down with then our very own International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson, he joins me now in the
studio. So we know in this sort of triangulation that's going on that each side actually, you know, all sources tell us certainly the U.S. and Israel
are very keen on normalization, we know that.
And certainly behind the scenes we hear, there's certainly an appeal to the Saudis. But there are red lines. And it's a question of how one negotiates
around this. So I guess the first question is how close are they to normalizing at this point?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: From a Saudi, from a Saudi U.S. perspective, there are some things that seem to have those broad
contours that they're moving along. And that is that the United States could help Saudi Arabia develop a domestic energy nuclear power system for
the country. That seems to be from what we hear going along, that the Saudis want F-35 fighter jets from the United States.
Well, so there's pretty much every other country and ally in the world. But that's also something that seems to have a level of traction. And certainly
the Saudis have bought a huge amount of armaments from the United States in the past. Interestingly, one of the other part that that is sort of out
there circulating around that we hear about is, is Saudi wanting sort of, in a way, the old paradigm, the old security for energy paradigm, but I
think their own paradigm has also moved so that's context.
There's a part that they want from the Israelis, and that from my Saudi sources, they say they're not sure that the Israelis can deliver on which
will be certain guarantees for the Palestinian.
ANDERSON: Well, and that's what you don't hear an awful lot about, of course, it's certainly where the Saudis say they've got a red line. But
ultimately, we hear about what is Saudi wants from the U.S. on the back of what would be a real result for the Biden Administration normalization with
the biggest and most influential Arab power, and certainly the Israelis want this.
I mean, so the idea that Joe Biden is prepared to get, you know, get a win for Netanyahu at a time when quite frankly, the Netanyahu government is a
real thorn in the side of this Biden Administration, isn't it?
ROBERTSON: Yes, look when Antony Blinken the U.S Secretary of State went to Israel earlier in the year, he stood side by side. But with Prime Minister
Netanyahu and Prime Minister, when Blinken said look tamped down all the tensions with the Palestinians right now, Netanyahu's answers essentially
was, well, let's widen that circle of peace.
Let's go for the big one here, which was meaning make that rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. So yes, he would like it. And perhaps the Israelis are
most sort of skeptical of the timeline here. But I just want to say two things about the timeline for the Biden Administration. Look, he had gone
off to a very poor foreign policy start with Afghanistan.
Ukraine may not go the way he wants, it is into an election year next year, a foreign policy success here would be good for him. Now, many U.S. leaders
have tried for that before. For MBS's point of view, look, no secret the Saudis do like Republican presidents in the United States. The reality was
when Trump was in power, things got very tense with Iran and the Saudis were worried that that would escalate tensions in the region.
So you know, there, the clock is ticking for both Biden and the Saudis, the U.S. presidential elections clock is ticking for both of them.
ANDERSON: Let's just remind people why this will be such a big deal, Nic.
ROBERTSON: It would be a big deal, because Saudi Arabia is so influential and in the Arab and Muslim world, the custodian of the two holy sites, and
that's what they say, look, that's what's on the line for us. If we miss -- , do a deal with the Israelis that disadvantages the Palestinians doesn't
give them a better situation, then our standing in the Muslim world is going to be eroded.
And that's not something that they feel prepared to do. However, they have many other legs to stand up one of the things MBS wants, he believes that
that better economic ties in the region lead to better stability. I think everyone buys that argument.
So one of the big things here would be if there was a rapprochement here that would improve economic ties at a time when Saudi is improving
relations with Iran, that what has been a tinderbox for conflict, that region, for generations might look wholly different.
ANDERSON: It's fascinating. We are, of course, normally based at your regular visitor to our golfer, programming hub in the UAE and this story,
we will continue to watch as it develops. Thank you, Nic, very much. In the meanwhile, domestically Israel has been experiencing well, a lot of
upheaval and mid months of mass protests set off by the government's judicial overhaul planet slumping currency and credit downgrade.
And reservists refusing to serve, there are growing fears that the country's fabled tech sector may be the hardest hit. Journalist Elliott
Gotkine has this story from Tel Aviv.
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST (voice over): Tel Aviv last Saturday night, and nearly every Saturday night for the past 30 plus weeks, tens of thousands
of Israelis protesting against the government's judicial overhaul. Among them is Chen Amit along with his family.
CHEN AMIT, FOUNDER AND CEO, TIPALTI: We derive for democracy and we fight for democracy.
GOTKINE (voice over): When he's not protesting, Amit runs an $8 billion financial technology startup. The judicial overhaul he says and the
uncertainty disruption and risks that come with it has forced him to shift money and talent overseas.
AMIT: But we're holding all our funds outside of Israel outside of payroll in Israel for a few months. That's actually a contractual obligation. One
of our banks enforced on us, there was a business continuity risk. So we applied for and received the blanket L-1 visa in the U.S. visa that allows
us with a few days' notice to relocate as many employees as we need.
GOTKINE (voice over): Within the next 18 months, Amit expects 15 percent of his Israeli staff to move. He's not alone. A recent poll from the non-
profit startup nation central found almost 70 percent of startups are taking steps like shifting money workers, and even their headquarters
outside of Israel. At the same time, money going into Israeli startups is plunging.
ARI STRASBERG, VP STRATEGY AND CHIEF OF STAFF, START-UP NATION CENTRAL: That's 70 percent reduction from last year to this year. But the trend is
also worrisome because when you see in the U.S. where it's starting to ease off and actually start to climb, we've seen an additional decline of 30
percent in the last quarter.
GOTKINE (voice over): Adding to the gloom, a declining shekel and warnings from Morgan Stanley Moody's and even officials from Israel's own finance
ministry that the judicial overhaul could do serious damage to the economy. The government's response, keep calm and carry on. This is a momentary
When the dust settles, it will become clear that Israel's economy is very strong. With a smaller or shrinking tech ecosystem, it may not grow as fast
as it could.
GOTKINE (on camera): Outside the reserve is refusing to sell the possibility of Israel's stable tech startups rushing for the exits,
represents perhaps the biggest threat to Israel's future. Technology accounts for half of all exports and if companies start to leave Israel's
best and brightest may not be far behind.
GOTKINE (voice over): Protesters still hope the government will reverse course, or that laws designed to weaken and reduce the independence of the
Supreme Court could be struck down. If neither of those happens, the so called startup nation may soon need to find a new nickname. Elliott
Gotkine, CNN, Tel Aviv.
ANDERSON: Well, as Elliott mentioned, a number of Israel's tech startups are pulling money and shifting parts of their business outside the country,
and many are heading to the UAE. Now, two years ago, the CEO of FinTech firm Liquidity became the first Israeli entrepreneur to set up shop in the
UAE, following the signing, of course of the Abraham accords.
And in a recent interview, he said, and I "I wanted to establish a genuine network of relations with the Emiratis. And I understood that to do that, I
needed to invest in their local echo system. Since then, what was done as a tactical step turned out to be the smartest business move that I've made"?
Well, Ron Daniel, Co-Founder and CEO of Liquidity Group joins me now live from Tel Aviv. And so, just explain a little further why moving to the UAE
was the as to quote you, the smartest business move that you've ever made?
RON DANIEL, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, LIQUIDITY GROUP: Sure, of course, so good evening first of all. It was a very smart move for many different reasons.
I think, first and foremost, it was enabling us to diverse, what is considered to be like the diamond rubies, where we discover it's not the
only diamond in the region discovered that -- center in Emirates enable us to attract talent from all of over the -- really outstanding -- innovation,
that we couldn't relocate to the United States or to Israel earlier.
And -- by itself transform the entire company from Silicon Valley Center, offices around the world to do all R&D centers that gives us a lot of
mobility and agility development. That was the first reason we did it. And it was a huge success. -- So the Emirates is, I think, extremely important
that's related -- in their job that we -- do tech business with nation --
ANDERSON: Ron, I'm going to have to stop you. The sound is absolutely dreadful. I'll tell you what, this story isn't going away. I want the
viewers to hear your story. And I want the viewers to understand whether, you know, two years ago, you made that decision whether given what's going
on in Israel, and the sort of, you know, the move of many Israeli businesses out of Israel at the moment whether you would have been one of
those, but I can't rely on the sound.
So I'm going to have you back on I promise. And we'll sort the sound out and we'll, we'll have you back, sir. Thank you. Well, let's get you up to
speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. And authorities in Lebanon and Kuwait have banned the Barbie movie for what
they call offending moral values.
That's according to state run media. The movie had been slated to release in Lebanon and Kuwait later this month. The company that produced the movie
Warner Brothers is owned by CNN's parent company.
Iraq's official media regulator is attempting to ban the term homosexuality in the country. The order covers all media and social media companies
operating in the Arab state. Instead the document says to use the term sexual deviance. Well, decisions still requires final approval.
Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian militant during an operation in Nablus in the occupied West Bank. The Al Aqsa martyrs brigade identified
the 27-year-old man who was killed. The IDF says he shot at Israeli soldiers who returned fire.
And the FBI says it's reviewing the shooting that happened on Wednesday when its special agents killed a man in Utah, who allegedly made threats
against President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and others. CNN's Josh Campbell has the details.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: FBI agents in the U.S. state of Utah fatally shooting a man Wednesday morning while attempting to take him
into custody. According to federal court records, Craig Robertson had been under investigation for allegedly making online threats against U.S.
President Joe Biden who was set to be in the state of Utah on Wednesday. Now I'll read you one of these alleged online posts from the suspect.
He wrote, I hear Biden is coming to Utah, digging out my old ghillie suit that refers to camouflage worn by snipers and cleaning the dust off the M24
sniper rifle. That post is obviously very concerning to the U.S. Secret Service as well as the FBI. A law enforcement source tells me that as FBI
tactical agents try to arrest the suspect that were giving him commands when the suspect pointed a gun at the agents, one FBI agent opening fire
fatally shooting that suspect.
Now this entire investigation began back in March when a social media company contacted the FBI regarding concerning material that they were
seeing on their platform allegedly tied to this suspect. One particular threat was against the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, I'll read
you part of that post.
The suspect is allegedly writing heading to New York to fulfill my dream of eradicating another George Soros two bit political hack DA. I'll be waiting
in the courthouse parking garage with my suppress nine millimeter to smoke a radical full prosecutor that should never have been elected.
The suspect then went on to allegedly write in graphic detail how he would kill Manhattan's district attorney. Now back in March, the FBI confronted
the suspect, he was under surveillance. But agents eventually approached him brought up this online material, the suspect allegedly according to a
federal criminal complaint telling the FBI that this was all a dream.
He told them to come back when you have a warrant. That they did showing up at his residence Wednesday morning again, that suspect fatally shot after a
law enforcement source says he pointed a gun at those agents. The FBI says it is investigating the circumstances surrounding that shooting has no
further comment at this time. Josh Campbell CNN, Los Angeles.
ANDERSON: Virgin Galactic has launched its first tourists into space. The launch of Galactic 02 is taking place at the company's Spaceport America in
New Mexico. The crew is safely back on earth now; two of those passengers were a mother daughter duo who won the seats in a charity raffle.
This is Virgin Galactic's second commercial flight and the first to carry paying customers instead of professional astronauts or at least winners of
a raffle. You're watching "Connect the World". Coming up, Call to Earth, how scientists are working to protect a European river and the wildlife
that depends on it from hydro power projects, that is after this.
ANDERSON: Known as the blue heart of Europe, the Balkans is renowned for its exquisite natural river systems. But a boom of hydroelectric power
projects in the region could threaten wildlife. Today on Call to Earth, we meet the scientists working to protect these waterways from
ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the dense forest of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a strip of blue green water carves its way from the
Dinaric Alps to the Adriatic Sea.
ULRICH EICHELMANN, CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR, SAVE THE BLUE HEART OF EUROPE: The Neretva is probably one of the most exceptional rivers in Europe. It's one
of the few places where you have big and large, intact ecosystems. There is no road in between. There are no logging fields, there are not even trails,
it looks like pure wilderness.
ASHER (voice over): But this is changing. According to the Center of environment, a Bosnian NGO, more than 50 hydropower plants are proposed
along the rivers 140 mile length. If built environmentalists fear these would alter the rivers course and character forever.
EICHELMANN: Dams destroy rivers completely. Because the impact is not only where the dam actually is, you impact everything upstream and everything
ASHER (voice over): This is why Ulrich Eichelmann together with more than 60 scientists converged on the banks of the Neretva in June as part of the
Save the Blue Heart of Europe campaign. They're on a mission to collect data on the rivers unique biodiversity and to build a case for why it
should be preserved.
EICHELMANN: We need to do more than ever before to save the last remnants of European beauty.
ASHER (voice over): For some scientists like Kurt Pinter, saving the river means waiting out into the crystal waters and discovering who lives in it.
KURT PINTER, FRESHWATER ECOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND LIFE SCIENCES, VIENNA: One of the main problems that we're facing with
hydropower plants with severe blocking the migration, which is a very important part in the lifecycle of most of those fish species here.
ASHER (voice over): But there is one species in particular he's searching for.
PINTER: What we try to find here is the soft mouth trout. It's a very special and endemic trout which can only be found in the few rivers in this
area. The mayor advice one of the last rivers is holding a vital stock of the species.
ASHER (voice over): Already endangered, he fears the proposed dams could drive it to extinction. This could cause ripple effects across the
surrounding ecosystems. It's a delicate balance between providing energy and protecting the environment. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, hydropower is a
key source of electricity, and it could help the country transition away from fossil fuels.
The campaign says it's not against hydropower altogether. But it wants to implement No Go Zones in areas of key biodiversity.
EICHELMANN: There is a reason for dams, there's a purpose for hydropower. But like in the medicine, when a small doses might be correct and healthy,
if you take too much of it, it's deadly.
ASHER (voice over): Recent history shows that nature can win. In March 2023 after several years of campaigning, the Vjosa, a river in the nearby Balkan
country of Albania was granted protection.
EICHELMANN: Eventually, we convinced the government to not build dams, but to create a Wild River National Park instead that is a very new model of
river protection that we inaugurated created. And this created a little flush of waves across the Balkans.
ASHER (voice over): The Balkans is one of the few areas of Europe where free flowing natural river systems still exist. For scientists and
conservationists alike, that is reason enough to preserve them.
EICHELMANN: This we call it the blue heart, because it's the last large area where we have this jewel, it's like a gift to Europe, that these
rivers survive the decades of destruction. And on the Balkans, we have this one chance to keep this blue heart beating.
ANDERSON: Well, let us know what you're doing to answer the call, with the #calltoearth.
ANDERSON: Well a Yoga Studio in India's capital, New Delhi has found a new way to help people de-stress, they are joined during class by cats during
what they call the poor hour. The furry friends wander between mats as patrons unwind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SURBHI SACHDEVA, YOGA TRAINER: You'll see a class full of people smiling throughout. They see playfulness, which is missing in our lives generally.
So it's good to just unwind and have like a de-stressing session with these kittens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the initiative also promotes pet adoption. According to organizers adoption requests actually do follow every class. Well, that is
it from us. From the team working with me in London, those working with us around the world, it's very good evening. Thank you for watching. "One
World" with Zain Asher is up next.