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96 Confirmed Dead In Hawaii Wildfires; Nigerian Junta Leader Agrees To Meet With ECOWAS; Provincial Officials: One Killed At Prominent Shiite Site. Aired 10-10:45a ET

Aired August 14, 2023 - 10:00   ET




BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: I'm Bianca Nobilo. Live from London filling in my irreplaceable colleague Becky Anderson. This is CONNECT THE


Coming up this hour. Wildfires on Maui have killed nearly 100 people and authorities don't know how many are still missing.

Niger's coup leader say that they have evidence of treason to prosecute the ousted president and gunman target a prominent Shiite shrine in Iran.

And another big win for the Saudi Arabian Football League.

We begin in Hawaii when 96 people have now been confirmed killed in last week's wildfire on Maui. It's now the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in

more than 100 years and the death toll may still rise further. Cadaver dogs had been brought in to find remains of victims in burned out neighborhoods.

The Maui Chief of Police said rapid DNA tests will be needed to identify everyone. The number of people still missing is believed to be in the

hundreds if not higher than that. As of this weekend, just three percent of the first sewn had been searched. The governor says around 2700 buildings

in western Maui have been destroyed or damaged. Most of them are residential. The hardest hit being the historic town of Lahaina.

A firefighter on Maui spoke to CNN a short while ago and she described what it was like to be in the middle of it.


TASHA PAGDILAO, MAUI FIREFIGHTER: It seems surreal. Seemed like an apocalypse and everything seemed to be on fire. And yes, I'm not going to

lie. It was really hard to focus at times, but we had a job to do and stood by people that watched their houses burn and they kept continuing the

fight. And yes, it's still surreal. And I think no matter how many times we see it every day going back to help clean up and help with fires out or it

just -- it's still seems like a nightmare that we're trying to wake up from.


NOBILO: Many survivors on Maui have described how quickly the wildfire spread in the confusion over a safe escape path. Many in Lahaina recounted

stories of being forced into the ocean, waiting for hours for health and flames to subside. And we're learning more about just how quickly this fire



GOV. JOSH GREEN (D-HI): When the winds rose up, winds gusting as high as 81 miles per hour. Fires spread rapidly. We believe between 60 miles per hour

and 81 miles per hour across that part of the island. And that meant that fire traveled one mile every minute.


NOBILO: For more now I'm joined by CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Derek, can you describe the part of this wildfire and how it was able to jump

across the western portion of Maui so quickly.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Well, what the governor was just saying, translate that for our international viewers. That's 1-1/2

kilometers every minute. That's how fast the wildfire travel. That's faster than the speed limit on many of our roads and highways across the United

States. So, the -- that really just shows you it's impossible to outrun something like that, especially when you have power lines that have come

down from the strong winds.

So to get to your point, Bianca, this was a compounding list of factors that led to this tragedy that unfolded. It was a compounding impacts from

drought that rapidly onset. The passing of a major hurricane south of the Hawaiian Islands that put strong gusty -- northeasterly winds gusting

across the county of Maui. And it also has to speak to what happens when humans expand into areas that's called the wildland urban interface.

So, we seek to live in these areas that often edge on the boundaries of these wildland areas. So we're encroaching on these natural habitats and of

course, population growth has a factor in that. Look at this, 80 percent of Hawaii abnormally dry. But let's focus in on Maui.


This is the western side of Maui and that is called the leeward side of the islands. And this is very typical to see this time of year. The drying out.

This is the dry summer months of this area, but it's the severity of the drought index that has increased over the past week. And this is

interesting too, we dug a little bit deeper because since 2006, there have been no rainy seasons in Hawaii with above average precipitation.

And 10 seasons since 2006 have been below average. So this has been a compounding factor as well, not to mention what has just happened in the

past couple of months. This is interesting because like I mentioned on the leeward side of the islands with the trade winds that come up and over the

mountain ranges here on Maui, Lahaina, where that is located on the western side of the island, that is the leeward side, the air is typically dry. It

is typically warmer with these types of trade winds that come up in over the mountain ranges.

And that can allow along with the drought conditions for the spot fires to spread rapidly. Let me explain. In the upcountry, the higher elevations of

Maui, we get the fire sparks, right? And then you get the strong north easterly trade winds that just were exacerbated by the passing hurricane to

the south. It takes these little embers. These little spots of fire and creates new additional fires making and complicating the firefighting


You heard the firefighter on the video just a few minutes before I got aired talking about how quickly they were trying to put out new additional

Spotfire. So what does the future hold? Well, we have yet another tropical system that's going to pass out of Hawaii. So we needed a monitor this.

Latest information, it doesn't show that the winds will get as strong but the trade winds expected to become gusty here in the next couple of days.

I could complicate some of the firefighting efforts that are still ongoing. Bianca?

NOBILO: Derek Van Dam, thank you so much. Always good to get your perspective. Now I want to take you to the Island of Maui and CNN's Mike

Valerio. We've been hearing from survivors that their emotional trauma at this event is being worsened by the fact that they see some people and

tourists as being insensitive to the travesty that's unfolded.

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, that's right. And for so many, a whole multitude of people who we've met as the grief and the gravity begins

to set in. They've wanted, you know, so many of our viewers across Africa, Europe, the rest of North America to realize that this for them is not a

movie backdrop. It's not the setting of a show. This is their soul. This is an integral part of their identity.

And there was part of it, a section, you know, that has been the seat of the royalty of Hawaii when it was a kingdom in the 19th century and earlier

that may not be ever able to be rebuilt. Something, you know, intangible elements in addition to all the lives that have been lost. And they just

want that to come through to all of our international viewers and even to viewers in the mainland, that -- just these intangible elements that the

pictures cannot convey that these are human lives that are wrecked.

That are absolutely unmoored from this disaster that was never within the realm of possibility before.

NOBILO: Mike Valerio for us. Thank you. Now we're turning to the war in Ukraine and another Russian attack reported in the southern port city of

Odesa. Ukraine's military says a dormitory and supermarket were hit injuring three people. Ukraine's president says at least seven people were

killed in the Kherson region Sunday including an infant only weeks old. Several others reported injured in shelling that early today.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowing that Russia is getting "completely fair retaliation for these ongoing attacks."

Niger's junta appears open to exploring diplomacy in the wake of last month's coup. A Nigerian delegation who met with Niger's military leader on

Sunday said that the junta has agreed to hold talks with the West African bloc, ECOWAS, to "amicably resolve the standoff." However, Niger's junta

also claimed Sunday, it has gathered evidence to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum for high treason and for undermining measures security.

Niger has been engulfed in political chaos since Mr. Bazoum was detained in a coup last month. More on this. Let's go to CNN's Larry Maduro who's live

for us in Nairobi, Kenya. Larry, we're obviously hearing a potential diplomatic olive branch and openness from the leader of the junta to engage

in talks with the Nigerian delegation ECOWAS. However, the backdrop of this is the treatment of the ousted president. So, how much of a breakthrough is

this potential meeting or dialogue?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to tell because like you mentioned, there's some mixed signals here between saying to these

religious leaders from Niger that yes, we're open to talking to ECOWAS, the Economic Committee West African States. And then a short while after that

meeting announcing that they intend to charge the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum with high treason for undermining the security of Niger alongside

local and external accomplices.


So, you cannot say you're open to dialogue while at the same time using fighting words and for the escalating the situation. They made a big show

of announcing that President Bazoum's doctor had seen him, had seen his son, had seen his wife and had brought them medicine and supplies. So --

that he's fine, but they have made no mention of releasing him or agreeing to any of the international demands and the situation.

At the same time, these religious leaders from Nigeria said they were warmly received, they met with the self-declared leader of Niger general

Abdourahamane Tiani and they had fruitful discussions they will be going back to report to President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria who chairs ECOWAS. I

want you to hear one of these clerics.


SHEIKH ABDULLAHI BALA LAU, ISLAMIC SCHOLAR AND DELEGATION MEMBER: War is an ill wind that blows no one no good. It is a marker of the last resort. And

from what we have seen and think the situation is redeemable because the Nigerian government is ready and open to dialogue and peaceful resolution

of these.


MADOWO: So they said the situation appears redeemable based on their conversations with a man who's now leading Niger. But the question you

might have here is why are religious leaders from Nigeria mediating in a conflict in Niger? They share 1500 kilometers of a border. There's a lot of

cultural and religious similarities between northern Nigeria and Niger. So, Bianca, that's a short explanation why.

NOBILO: Larry Madowo, thank you so much. In Ethiopia, at least 26 people were killed and over 50 injured in an explosion in the town of Finote Selam

according to a hospital official. That same official says it's not clear what kind of attack it was, but his hospital has already treated dozens of

others in recent days since fighting between government forces and the local militia erupted earlier this month.

Now, a revered holy site in Iran the scene of a brazen attack for the second time in less than a year. We're now learning about the suspects just



NOBILO: Welcome back. A prominent Shiite Muslim shrine in southern Iran is targeted in the second audacious attack in less than a year. The shooting

happened at a shrine in the city of Shiraz. One person was killed and several wounded in Sunday's attack. State media reports eight suspects are

in custody all our foreign nationals. The main suspect is a citizen of Tajikistan.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is tracking these developments on the story for us. Salma, what do we know so far about the events that unfolded on the



SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, we do know as you mentioned there, Bianca, that several of the suspects, several people are now in

detention, several of them, or all of them are foreign nationals. And this comes after this horrific attack on Sunday. We actually have surveillance

footage to show you and I do have to warn our viewers here that this is graphic. But you can see a single gunman with an assault rifle entering the

courtyard, entering a part of this shrine.

People fleeing for their lives. You can see at one point a man scoop up a young child and run as fast as he can. This is a really important shrine in

Shiraz. The shocks of shrine which is the site of pilgrimage for many Shia Muslims, one of the most important holy sites in Shia Islam. And as you

mentioned, it's the second time in under a year that it's been targeted. In October of 22, a gunman opened fire in the shrine, killing over a dozen

people and wounding several others.

In that October attack, Bianca it was ISIS that claimed responsibility. Now, we have no claim of responsibility here in yesterday's attack, but

Iran's foreign minister indicated that there were concerns that it could be yet again, Sunni extremists describing this attack as a terrorist incident

in saying that Iran's people were paying a heavy price for Iran's hits on the evil lines of terrorism.

I'm just paraphrasing what he said there. But yet again, a strike in a religious city in a religious area, potentially by Sunni extremists that

really begins to shake the sense of security and confidence of Shia worshippers.

NOBILO: Salma, returning to another story out of Iran that you've been monitoring. So, Iran has begun debating its controversial hijab law says

obviously almost a year after the death of Mahsa Amini ignited protests across the country. What's contained within it and what's the significance

of this step?

ABDELAZIZ: Yes. So, Iran's lawmakers are in the process of finalizing, writing the text of a bill, a hijab bill and then voting on that bill. Now

there was already a hijab bill in place. Of course, it had some 70 articles in it, Bianca, but they're tacking on potentially dozens of more articles.

All to sort of tighten the screws. Ramp up the consequences. Just to give you an idea of how much stricter, how much tougher this new bill could be.

It could potentially carry fines of up to $20,000, it could carry potentially up to 10 years in prison. There's a clause specific --

specifically rather for celebrities and influencers ramping up the cost on them for violating the hijab law. There's even a portion that says that

Iran's police should create and use A.I. technology to target and find offenders of this law. Now, the key thing that happened on Sunday is that

Iran's M.P. has voted to hold the debate over this bill behind closed doors.

That means there's going to be no public debate about this and no public reaction. You remember, of course, it's the hijab law that last year

sparked angry demonstrations across the country after the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran's -- in the custody of Iran's morality police. Now

potentially we're looking at a morality police back on the streets and with more power than ever to crack down on women.

NOBILO: Salma Abdelaziz for us, thank you. New duties for Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Jordan are giving the world a window into the complex efforts

to normalize Saudi-Israeli relations. Over the weekend, Nayef al-Sudairi was named as non-resident envoy to the Palestinians. The ceremony took

place in Amman. His embassy describes him as consul general in Jerusalem. But he will not be working out of that city which Israel claims as its

indivisible capital.

Al-Sudari will remain in Jordan's capital. Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is here with me in the studio to discuss some of this.

Nic, what can we read into this move and what Mohammed bin Salman might be thinking?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Opening a line of formal communication with the Palestinians as he progresses or not, but

discusses the parameters of what a new Saudi-Israel relationship might look like. Of course, the Palestinian issue is going to be a key issue for him.

I think, certainly the Palestinian authority leadership who now sort of have this direct connection to Riyadh will not overestimate its value

because they will also appreciate that MBS does not appreciate them and the role that they've played.

And I think as well, there'll be a sense of that in Jordan as well, that well MBS is improving a channel of communications with the Palestinians

which is a big issue for the Jordanians. There's a level of -- if you would say anxiety or perhaps a lack of trust about what Mohammed bin Salman is

doing. But all of this gives a channel for that to be expressed and have conversations about.


So on the one hand it tells us perhaps there is progress or parameters are being laid out on this new Israel-Saudi relationship. But the Palestinians

will want to have some kind of understanding of voice in that and the Saudis for their part want to communicate that. But the lack of trust that

exists between these particular parties, I think we shouldn't overestimate the significance at this stage until we see how it develops.

NOBILO: What reaction has there been in Israel to this announcement and the ceremony?

ROBERTSON: Where the Israeli is very clearly would not allow a Saudi ambassador to the -- to the -- to the Palestinian Authority to base

themselves have a physical presence in in Jerusalem. They say, that's not going to happen. And most, you know, most international representative's

consulates in Jerusalem have embassies, all have embassies in Tel Aviv in Israel. So, there's that line. But I think the Saudis and the -- and the

Israelis are having an understanding that the conversations that the Saudis are having with the Americans about how the relationship might be with

Israel and what the Saudis want from the Americans before that relationship can become real.

There's an understanding in Israel that that this is probably an outgrowth of that. That this is a necessary thing. And as we heard from the foreign

minister today, he said, we don't necessarily -- the Saudis don't need to ask us permission to do what they've done. We didn't know it was going to

happen. They don't need to ask permission. But we also know from Israel's national security adviser last week saying that the discussions -- the

unite -- the discussions the United States and the Saudis are having about that part of the relationship is transparent and open.

But from Israel's perspective, they're not going to allow that then to transgress into a discussion or a situation whereby Israel's security

interests would then be at stake over whatever discussions the Saudis and the Palestinians had. So, you can see how difficult this is. Overall, I

think you just have to say, at the moment, it looks like a slow process where there's a lack of trust.

NOBILO: It's really good to get your insights, Nic, an analysis of what is it a very complex situation, of course, thank you so much.

U.N. says it's averted an environmental catastrophe in the Red Sea. It's removed more than one million barrels of oil from a tanker that's been

rotting off Yemen. The FSO Safer what was abandoned after Yemen Civil War started in 2015. Officials warned it's at risk of breaking up or exploding

which would have caused a major oil spill.

Ecuador's build party has chosen a new candidate to run in upcoming presidential elections. The Party announced journalist Christian Zurita

will be on the ballot in place of Fernando Villavicencio who was gunned down last week. The two men have reportedly worked together in the past.

A presidential debate was also held on Sunday, which began with a moment of silence and an empty podium to honor the slain candidate. Villavicencio's

former running mate Andrea Gonzalez Nader will stay on as the party's vice presidential candidate. She says the assassination is not only a threat to

democracy in Ecuador, but in the rest of Latin America as well.

CNN's Rafael Romo has this exclusive interview with Gonzalez Nader who tells him just how close she was to being there when the shooting started.


ANDREA GONZALEZ NADER, ECUADORIAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think any other Ecuadorian is at the risk of getting shot right now in the street.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voiceover): She was supposed to be there as his running mate Andrea Gonzalez Nader should have

been right next to Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio when he was shot last Wednesday, as he was leaving a rally in Quito, the


NADER: Fernando was shot three times in the head.

ROMO: Has it sunk in that you could have died because you were supposed to be right next to Fernando that night when he was shot dead?

NADER: Yes. Yes. I was supposed to be there next to him getting inside the car that had no protection against bullets. And we wear no bulletproof

vests because we were trying to get people this message that we had to be brave.

ROMO (Voiceover): In an exclusive CNN interview at a location we're not disclosing for her safety, Gonzalez said Villavicencio's murder is yet

another gruesome and shocking example of how fragile democracy is in Latin America as a region. But living in fear, she says it's not an option.

NADER: I want to change this country. I want this country to be a place of peace, a productive country. We're known around the world for our

incredible chocolate, our bananas, our shrimps, our coffee, I love -- I love Ecuador deeply. I believe Ecuador is a paradise and they've turned it

into hell.

ROMO (voiceover): Villavicencio was a 59-year-old lawmaker in the National Assembly, known for being outspoken about corruption and violence caused by

drug trafficking in the country.


On May he told CNN in Espanol that Ecuador had become a narco state. His political platform was centered on leading a fight against what he called,

a political mafia.

NADER: We knew it was -- there was a high risk of him getting attacked by the same mafia, the same organized crime and the same politicians that are

linked with this organized international crime.

ROMO: After the assassination, current Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso declare the state of emergency for 60 days on Saturday. 4000 members of the

Ecuadorian police and military raided a notorious prison in Guayas province and transferred an alleged leader of a local drug gang to another facility.

ROMO (voiceover): Gonzalez's organized crime is a regional problem that requires a regional solution.

ROMO: How does Ecuador solve its security problem? Is it something that Ecuador can do by itself or does it need help from the international


NADER: We need team work from international intelligence to find out how to stop this. Cocaine is done in Colombia and got -- gets through Ecuador,

through our coasts where it goes back to Mexico and then it's delivered to United States and Europe.

ROMO (voiceover): Ecuadorians go to the polls on August 20 for the first round of an election to choose a new president. But even something as

simple as voting is an act of courage in this country and many may decide to stay home.

Rafael Romo CNN, Quito, Ecuador.


NOBILO: We could now be days away from a fourth indictment for Donald Trump.

Coming up. We have details on newly revealed evidence Georgia. Why sources say it links the former president's team to election interference.


NOBILO: Welcome back. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London and you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Here are your headlines this hour. 96 people have been

confirmed killed in last week's wildfire on Maui. Making it the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than 100 years. Cadaver dogs have now been

brought in to find the remains of victims in burnt out neighborhoods. Around 2200 buildings in western Mauwi have now been destroyed or damaged.

And Nigerian delegation who met with Niger's military leader on Sunday says the junta has agreed to hold tour with the West African bloc. ECOWAS to

amicably resolve the standoff. Niger has been engulfed in political chaos since Mohamed Bazoum was ousted as president in a coup last month.


And authorities in southern Iran now say that eight people are being held in an attack at a prominent Shiite shrine. That's according to state media.

One person was killed and several wounded when a gunman opened fire on Sunday. All of the suspects are said to be foreign nationals.

Donald Trump campaigned in Iowa over the weekend as prosecutors ready what could be his fourth criminal indictment. We should know this week if the

former president faces charges for alleged election interference in Georgia. A grand jury will hear the elections diversion case today. And

from exclusive CNN reporting sources tell us that prosecutors have text messages and e-mails linking members of the Trump team to the breach of a

voting system in a county in South Georgia.

CNN, Sara Murray filed this report earlier.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Security precautions already underway at the courthouse in Atlanta, as Fulton County District

Attorney Fani Willis is expected to begin her grand jury presentation this week. And former President Donald Trump and his allies alleged attempts to

overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.


FANI WILLIS, DISTTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: We've been working for two and a half years. We're ready to go.


MURRAY (voiceover): It's the clearest sign she intends to see charges this week. As the widespread investigation into election interference comes to a

head. Geoff Duncan, Georgia's former Lieutenant Governor and CNN contributor confirming he's been summoned to appear before the grand jury.


GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I did just receive notification to appear on Tuesday morning. I'll certainly answer whatever questions put in front of


MURRAY (voiceover): Independent journalist George Chidi posted on social media. He's also been called to testify Tuesday. Chidi said he walked in on

a group of shadow electors, gathered to sign an illegitimate certification for then President Trump in December 2020.

GEORGE CHIDI, JOURNALIST: They all but frog marched me out of the room, and then they posted somebody out front to make sure nobody else went in.

MURRAY (voiceover): In addition to putting forward fake electors and the infamous phone call from President Trump to Georgia Secretary of State.

DONALD TRUMP (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just want to find 11,780 votes.

MURRAY (voiceover): The breach of voting systems in rural Republican coffee county is part of the probe. Sources tell CNN investigators have long

suspected the breach was a top-down effort by Trump's team rather than an organic effort by Trump backers. And sources say they have text messages

and e-mails that directly connect members of Trump's legal team to that breach.

MURRAY: Did you have any sense that this was sort of tied to other operatives in the Trump campaign that it was anything beyond sort of lower-

level people in Coffee County?

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Not initially, but there were allegations and then as you dig down deep more has revealed and then

you realize that that wasn't truthful.

MURRAY (voiceover): Surveillance video previously obtained by CNN shows the local election official escorting a team of pro Trump operatives into

examine the machines on January 7th, 2021. The group included Scott Hall, an Atlanta bail bondsman in Fulton County Republican poll watcher.

SCOTT HALL, ATLANTA BAIL BONDSMAN: I'm the guy that chartered the jet to go down to Coffee County to have them inspect all of those computers. They

scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot.

MURRAY (voiceover): According to text messages obtained by CNN, former county elections official, Misty Hampton authored a "written invitation"

six days prior to examine machines. That invitation shared with attorneys working with Trump and others. Hunting for election fraud on behalf of

Trump's then lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Just landed back in D.C. with the mayor, huge things starting to come together.

An employee for the firm hired to access voting machines wrote in one text in an apparent reference to former New York Mayor Giuliani. We were just

granted access by written invitation to Coffee County systems. Yay. Another message reads.


NOBILO: Sara Murray reporting that. For more now, CNN Zachary Cohen is live for us in Atlanta. Zachary, Fulton County grand jury has to hear the Trump

election subversion case today. What does that mean about when we could see charges?

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes. We know that there are witnesses inside the Fulton County Courthouse behind me today. And that

means the grand jury will hear the Trump case as well from these witnesses. Now, there's also witnesses that are expected to come in tomorrow as well.

So, timing as to when we could see an indictment is a little bit up in the air. But the fact that this case is being heard today is significant.

It really kicks off and accelerates this timeline for when Fani Willis and the district attorney here is going to present the details of her

investigation to the grand jury that will ultimately decide or give a thumbs up whether or not she should bring indictments. And we're told from

our sources that Fani Willis could seek indictments. It's expected to seek indictments from up to a dozen people including the former president.


So, you know, really things getting kicking off here today at the Fulton County Courthouse. And we could see an indictment potentially as early as

today. But we know there are more witnesses there expect to come in tomorrow as well.

NOBILO: Zachary Cohen for us. Thank you so much.

Coming up. Samba soccer comes to the Saudi Pro League. A Brazilian superstar looks to be the latest big name player to move to the Middle



NOBILO: In the heart of Compton, California, a new company called Plenty has just opened up what it says is the most technologically advanced

vertical farm in the world. Take a look at this episode of CNN's Going Green series.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voiceover): Since the dawn of civilization, humans have used farms to feed themselves. Agriculture led to cities which led to

population expansion and an ever-increasing demand for more food. But today's farming practices aren't without drawbacks. Pesticides and

foodborne illnesses are rife among many plants and vegetables, creating health problems for consumers.

But now farming the revolutionary innovation that helped bring today's cities into existence may soon exist within them.

ARAMA KUKUTAI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, PLENTY: We're saying industry and science come up with new ways to make food for consumers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voiceover): Arama Kukutai is the CEO of a San Francisco-based startup called Plenty. Taking a stroll around this

glistening new $100-million factory in Compton California, you might be surprised to find the cutting-edge product they're creating is actually

well, produce.

KUKUTAI: We're standing here today, our first commercial farm for Plenty and arguably the most advanced vertical farm in the world from a technology


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voiceover): Plenty's vertical farming operation opened in Compton in May. Once it's fully up and running, the farm expects to

produce up to 4.5 million pounds of food a year on about one percent of the land a regular outdoor farm would need. Similar to the way skyscrapers can

pack in many extra apartments or offices. The secret to vertical farming is all about growing up, not out. And being indoors allows Plenty's plants to

grow in optimal conditions.

KUKUTAI: High quality fresh tasty produce is almost table stakes. I think the other thing we're hearing as the fact we don't use pesticides is also

very advantageous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voiceover): Still, vertical farming isn't without its drawbacks. Getting a vertical farm up and running can be quite expensive

and it requires a lot of electricity to keep the lights on. Also, there are only a certain number of plants like herbs and leafy greens considered

profitable enough to grow and even that remains in question. So, as the population continues to swell and threat of climate change looms on the

horizon, bold solutions like vertical farming could provide hope that no matter what happens outside the future looks bright with plenty of sunny

days ahead.



NOBILO: For this and more stories about the innovative solutions to our climate challenges, you can visit Green.

China is condemning the transit of Taiwan's vice president through the U.S. calling William Lai quote, a troublemaker through and through. Lai is the

front runner in Taiwan's presidential elections next year, and he's making a stopover in the U.S. enroute to Paraguay to attend the inauguration of

its new president. At a banquet in New York Sunday, Lai said Taiwan would never back down to China's threats.


WILLIAM LAI, TAIWANESE VICE PRESIDENT (through translator): No matter how great the threat of totalitarianism is to Taiwan, we will never be afraid

or back down. We will always uphold the values of democracy and freedom.


NOBILO: North Korea's leader is calling for a drastic boost in the nation's missile production capacity. Kim Jong-un visited major weapons factories on

Friday and Saturday according to state media. They produce a variety of munitions including strategic missiles. Kim says North Korea's military

should be ready to respond to war at any time.

NASA's Webb Telescope has spotted a literal cosmic question mark deep within the galaxy. The glowing object in the shape of a question mark was

captured last month. You can see it there. Scientists are not sure about its origin, but they think it's what happens when two galaxies collide. In

fact, they say that the merging of galaxies into a question mark like shape has happened before.

But a physics professor compared it to someone who finds a chicken tender that looks like George Washington (INAUDIBLE)

Another big coup for the Saudi Arabian Pro league. Brazilian superstar Neymar has reportedly signed on with the Saudi Club Al Hilal. The 31-year-

old making the move from Paris-Saint Germain.

Coy Wire joins me now with more. Coy, tell us more about what we know of this latest signing for the league.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, Bianca, it means that the great migration continues, right? And this time with the most expensive player in

history in Neymar, Junior. We're talking about the Pro League here that has already wooed the likes of Ronaldo, Benzema, Firmino, Kante and to get

Neymar now look out, making some waves. Absolutely, we'll have an expert on to analyze.

And also, one other story for you. Imagine us trying to do the show here and this song just starts blasting in our ear in the middle of our attempt

to work. Well, that happened to a tennis star on her way to try and to win on tour. We'll have that and more coming up.

NOBILO: Lots of reasons to stay tuned. Coy Wire, we'll have you right after this short break and to everybody else. Thank you so much for watching.

There will be more CONNECT THE WORLD at the top of the next hour too. Good bye.