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Connect the World
96 Confirmed Dead in Hawaii Wildfires; Fourth Possible Indictment Looms for Former President; Ukraine Slams Russia for Boarding Cargo Ship; Nigerian Delegation: Situation is "Redeemable"; Saudi Ambassador in Jordan Named Envoy to the Palestinians; Perseid Meteor Shower Lights Up Skies. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 14, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNNI HOST: A very warm welcome to our second hour of "Connect the World". I'm Christina Macfarlane live from London. This hour
outrage is growing over the government's response to the disaster on Maui. The wildfires are the deadliest in the United States in more than 100 years
and only a small percentage of devastated area has been searched.
Plus Russia launches a wave of attacks across Ukraine for Kherson region alone reported at least 17 attacks including a strike that killed an entire
family. And Donald Trump is lashing out at the district attorney who is expected to hand down a fourth indictment to the former president.
A Grand Jury is meeting in Atlanta today. And later this hour big move in the world of football with Brazilian superstar Neymar is reportedly making
the switch from Paris to Saudi Arabia. We are starting in Hawaii where 96 people have now been confirmed killed in last week's wildfires on Maui.
It's now the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than 100 years. And the death toll may rise even further. Cadaver dogs have been brought in to find
the remains of victims in burned out neighborhoods. The Maui Chief of Police says 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, and as of this weekend, just 3 percent of the fire zone had
been searched. It's estimated around 2200 buildings in western Maui have been destroyed or damaged, most of them residential. And the government's
response to this disaster is taking some criticism.
But the Hawaiian community has come together in an extraordinary way to help those most impacted. Here's CNN's Bill Weir with a closer look.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the line at the fire department on this part of Lahaina Hell; they decided we're
going to keep it here this particular neighborhood, most of it survived as a result. But let me show you the contrast right here. This is the home of
Archie Kalepa. He is a legendary surfer, lifeguard, a water man Hall of Famer on Maui, ninth generation, Hawaiian family from the Lahaina area
And you can see what the spirit of Ohana, a family in the islands means as everybody on Maui and from around the islands began flooding donations
here. So they've set up a command post improvised first responders here all volunteers, all people from the community. And they've created several of
these pods around the burned area of the fire zone.
You can see all the diapers and critical supplies, the water and food and people just coming in here and it's sort of a self-organizing system.
Archie has great leadership experience as a lifeguard extraordinaire, and it's all coming to play right now, people trust him. He does say that the
state and federal response is getting a bad rap.
Let me ask you about the immediate response right now. There's a perception as we've been outside of the perimeter, that there's no federal or real
official state response and most of the work on the front lines being done by people like you, grassroots just improvised first responders.
ARCHIE KALEPA, MAUI RESIDENT: Yep.
WEIR (on camera): Is that fair? What's really happening? What do you need?
KALEPA: I don't think that's fair. I don't think that's fair, because this is a crime scene. But this right here is a crime scene. And so, what people
don't understand is the government has to do due diligence before they start moving in. So they're at 30,000 feet. They're looking evaluating
about how they need to come in, to begin to facilitate this operation.
At the same time, they have to figure out how to take care of this operation. And so, you know, that is not easy.
WEIR (on camera): So it's a humanitarian response in the middle of a working crime scene.
KALEPA: Exactly. The truth of the matter is, when you look at the overall devastation, we are not going to be ready to allow people to see what we're
living through in six months.
MACFARLANE: Bill, we're just mentioning there the criticism the government is getting in response to the fire and another focus of complaints is the
power lines on the island. A lawsuit has just been filed against Hawaiian Electric. Well joining us from Maui with more on that is CNN's Mike
And, Mike, we've been hearing that this fire spread at the rate of a mile a minute. In that package there from Bill, we were just hearing from a
resident who said the criticism against the authorities is not necessarily fair. What are the authorities themselves saying in response to this
MIKE VALERIO, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think Christina, they've largely been singing from the same hymn no, in the sense that they've
replied to that criticism that what we witnessed here on Maui was not within the realm of possibility. So they blame if anything, a failure of
their own imagination. But I think that a whole chorus of people would respond to that by saying that Hawaii in recent years has been having brush
fires that have certainly caused alarm.
And our terrific team with CNN investigation and the CNN investigative unit has been able to find, you know, government documents that show hazards in
terms of tsunamis, earthquakes. And the government of Hawaii, the state of Hawaii, looking at the threat of wildfires and rating that threat low.
And also to the point of the power company, I think that's probably the most dramatic escalation of the criticism that you mentioned a few seconds
ago. What we have here is a lawsuit filed on behalf of a couple who lives in Lahaina representing everybody else who has been injured or died from
And it is submitting that it was the responsibility of the utility of the power company Hawaiian Electric to turn off the power lines when it knew
that it had wind gusts of up to 130 kilometers an hour, hurricane force winds at the height of this weather event, and the power company failed to
So the company, the company is accused of failing to shut off power during those dangerous conditions. And the suit claims that the company's failure
helped cause the fire that led to deaths, injuries and property loss. So after we reviewed the suit, these plaintiffs want the judge to certify this
as a class action suit, certainly making it much more severe heightening the penalties that the utility could face and is asking for unspecified
And, Christina, this is important in the context of what other states within America have done, because in California, where so many of us call
home after 2018 the fire that destroyed the community of paradise, leaving 85 people dead. The main utility there was sued and actually pled guilty to
manslaughter charges, inadvertent manslaughter and was held responsible for billions of dollars. So this is the first escalation on the part of the
people searching for accountability, after the unthinkable struck this island.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN SLOBODNJAK, MAUI RESIDENT: When I drove through on Friday, I had no clue what I was going through. I got so, everything's gone. I lost friends
in there, you know, they were going back to get their animals, you know, when she died. So I mean, you know, it's really sad because people come
over here, you know, I heard there was a snorkeling boat looking at behind a town. Give them respect, you know, it's so bad. This is, you know, people
died here. You know, people, I mean, it's not just a vacation. It's not just a place for vacation. We live here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIO: So what you heard, Christina is a sample of the anguish that we hear this checkpoint, the only place to get into the disaster zone. And
furthermore, I think what that clip illustrates are people wanting to convey to our viewers who are watching right now in Europe, the rest of
North America, Africa, that this is not just a Hollywood backdrop, the idea of the island of Maui, it's not just a setting for a TV show.
This is an idyllic place where people claim to it's the soul of thousands of people who live here it is cherished, and part of it has been crushed,
obliterated forever. And I think that that realization is still sinking in nearly a week after the crescendo of this crisis.
And furthermore, the process of finding remains that have been melted at temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius. The delicate operation is to find
out what happened to hundreds of people who are still classified as missing. Or they either unable a few kilometers behind us, not able to
communicate on their cell phones because mobile phone service is still bad, or has the worst happened to them. That is just a sample of everything
unfolding in the week ahead, Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes, that anguish is so understandable Mike, when you as you say, you know loved ones just still unaccounted for at this point. Mike
Valerio there live in Maui. Thank you very much.
If you'd like to help those in Hawaii or if you're trying to find loved ones on the island, do go to cnn.com/impact your world. There you will find
resources on how to help those in need, where to go if you're looking for people on the island and even how to tell which charities to donate to that
cnn.com/impact your world.
Georgia prosecutors may have damning new evidence ahead of a potential indictment for former President Donald Trump. Security is being ramped up
in Atlanta ahead of potential charges. And from exclusive CNN reporting sources tell us, U.S. prosecutors have text messages and emails linking
members of the Trump team to a breach of the voting system in South Georgia. CNN's Sara Murray has the details.
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Security precautions are already underway at the courthouse in Atlanta, as Fulton County District
Attorney Fani Willis is expected to begin her grand jury presentation this week. Our former President Donald Trump and his allies alleged attempts to
overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been working for two and a half years, we're ready to go.
MURRAY (voice over): It's the clearest sign she intends to seek charges this week. As the widespread investigation into election interference comes
to a head. Geoff Duncan, George's former Lieutenant Governor and CNN Contributor confirming he's been summoned to appear before the grand jury.
GEOFF DUNCAN, FORMER GEORGE'S LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: I did just receive notification to appear on Tuesday morning. I'll certainly answer whatever
questions put in front of me.
MURRAY (voice over): 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, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: They all bought fraud marks me out of the room, and then they posted somebody out front to make sure nobody else
MURRAY (voice over): In addition to putting forward fake electors and the infamous phone call from President Trump to Georgia Secretary of State.
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I just want to find 11,780 votes.
MURRAY (voice over): The breach of voting systems and rural Republican Coffee County as 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 emails that directly connect members of Trump's legal team to that breach.
MURRAY (on camera): 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 their allegations. And then as you dig down deep more has revealed and then you
realize that that wasn't truthful.
MURRAY (voice over): Surveillance video previously obtained by CNN shows the local election official escorting a team of pro-Trump operatives into
examine the machines on January 7, 2021. The group included Scott Hall, an Atlanta bail bondsman in Fulton County Republican poll watcher.
SCOTT HALL, ATLANTA BAIL BONDSMAN & FULTON COUNTY REPUBLICAN POLL WATCHER: 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 (voice over): According to text messages obtained by CNN, former county elections official, Mr. Hampton authored a quote, "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 DC 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.
MACFARLANE: Sara Murray reporting there. For more let's head out to CNN's Zachary Cohen, who's live for us in Atlanta. And Zachary, this week marks
the culmination of two and a half years work for Fani Willis. So as she prepares to present her case, I mean, how significant is this new reporting
that prosecutors have these texts and emails connecting Trump's legal team to a voting breach?
ZACHARY COHEN, CNN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, these texts are really part of a growing body of evidence that we're learning prosecutors
have in this investigation into efforts to overturn the election results here in Georgia. And the breaching Coffee County and the connection to
Trump's lawyers is a significant part of the investigation overall.
We know that the Fulton County DA Fani Willis is beginning to present her case today to the grand jury of witnesses are in the courthouse behind me
talking to the grand jury. So that is underway in the queer sign that indictments could be coming in the near future. We know that witnesses are
also expected to come in tomorrow as well. So time will tell when potential charges come.
But we do expect Fani Willis to bring at least, charges at least against a dozen people in this investigation, including some that were involved in
that Coffee County breach that we're talking about earlier.
MACFARLANE: Yes, and it sounds like a very noisy scene behind you there. I'm sure there will be, security will be tight as this case comes to the
county there. Thanks very much for now. Well, charges in Georgia would be criminal indictment. Number four for Donald Trump, just if you're not
He's been lashing out today, denying he played a role in election interference and attacking a judge and prosecutor. Former president used
his truth social platform to slam Judge Tanya Chutkan, who's overseeing as federal election interference case in Washington. He called her highly
partisan and biased after she issued a protective order barring Trump from publicly disclosing sensitive information in the case.
She also warned him against making statements on social media that could be used to intimidate witnesses and officials. Well, Trump also blasted
Atlanta area District Attorney Fani Willis. He wrote in all caps, no, I didn't tamper with the election those who rigged and stole the election
were the ones doing the tampering.
Well, for more CNN's Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein is live for us in Los Angeles. And Ron, if the former president does face fresh charges
here, as we were saying this will follow three previous indictments, all of which he has claimed he's not guilty, too. So just walk us through how this
indictment could differ from those previous indictments.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think there are two big differences here. One is the breadth as we were saying, as many as a
dozen people possibly more could be indicted, the federal special counsel chose so far to focus his indictments solely on Donald Trump and list the
others in effect as unindicted co-conspirators. That may change later.
But this this will be the broadest net. But even more significant is that this is a state charge. And as such, it is not within the capacity of
Trump, even if he is reelected as president to have it simply go away, he can pardon himself as question whether they can do that even on the federal
But certainly you cannot pardon federal, the president cannot pardon someone against state charges. And he cannot order the, you know, the
county attorney, the District Attorney in Fulton County to drop the case. So this is out of everything that is the most significant case that has the
potential to extend beyond an election no matter what happens in November of 24.
MACFARLANE: And I guess this would indicate why Trump's team are pushing to move this to a federal court away from a state court because, you know, if
it were to remain in Georgia will be far harder for Donald Trump to meddle in this case.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, you know, they are, you know, delay has been an integral element of Donald Trump's legal strategy long before he
came down the escalator and entered the political arena in 2015. So part of this is simply just filing motions, that push the events back, but he's
also, you know, essentially made the case.
And there have been a striking number of Republican officeholders who have made the case that no Republican in effect can receive a fair trial in a
jurisdiction that leans predominantly toward Democrats. I mean, that's, that's an extraordinarily corrosive argument that really underscores the
extent to which we are experiencing strains on the fundamental cohesion of America.
In a way we probably have not since the 20 years before, before the Civil War. I mean, you've had Republican senators basically saying that it is a
joke that a Trump could be tried in places like Manhattan, or the District of Columbia, or Atlanta. And you know that where that thinking goes, is a
pretty scary place.
MACFARLANE: Indeed, and we've seen so far that these indictments against Trump have only really worked to boost his standing among Republican
voters. And we know that Trump was in action in Iowa this weekend. And he sounded pretty confident there. Let's just take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have not taken any chances. We're way up in the polls in Iowa and all over the country. We're up by over 50 points. That's a lot, but we
don't want to take any chances. We'll be back. We love you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Ron, I mean, are there going to be any real challenges in this Republican field? I mean, what a fourth indictment really help Donald, help
Donald Trump at all at this point?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I mean, first of all, you have to differentiate between the Republican primary and the general election. In the general election,
the polling I think is sending some pretty clear warning lights to Republicans about how the broader public is responding to this in
particular if he is convicted of something before the election.
Really a polling that 75 percent of independents say he should not be president again if he is convicted of a crime. Now you know, in a
Republican primary it has been a very different story.
I mean, Trump has convinced the majority of Republicans to see all of this through his lens, which is that they are going after me, because they are
really going after you. And that plays into Christina, the kind of the broader glue. I mean the kind of the belief system that that binds the
Republican Party at this point.
It's very powerful, but the belief that whites men, Christians and conservatives are the real victims of bias in a diversifying society. Those
are, those are overwhelming convictions among Republican voters, and Trump has simply transferred that to you know, personalize it to him. This is a
manifestation of all the ways in which society is being rigged against you.
And look, unless the other Republican candidates are willing to go at this more directly than they have. So far, what they have, what has happened is
they have been turned into basically supporting actors in Trump's drama, echoing his claim that he is the victim of the deep state. He's kind of the
Joan of Arc for the Maga constituency.
MACFARLANE: Yes, I think Trump's rivals at this point, somewhat confused as to how they should be approaching all of this. Ron Brownstein, we
appreciate you know, being on and giving us your insights on this. Thank you.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you for having me.
MACFARLANE: All right, you're watching "Connect the World". Still ahead, what Ukraine is saying about a Russian folding a cargo ship in the Black
Sea, and where that ship is now?
MACFARLANE: Ukraine's presidential office is slamming Russia for what it calls an act of piracy in the Black Sea. On Sunday, a Russian warship fire
warning shots and boarded a Palau flagged cargo ship that it says was headed to Ukraine. This video shows the ship being boarded.
We've just learned it's now in Romanian waters waiting to move to a Ukrainian port. Well, Russia stage multiple attacks on Ukraine over the
past day including one in Odessa that injured three supermarket employees. Ukraine's president says an entire family including an infant was killed in
an attack Sunday in the Kherson region.
Well, Nick Paton Walsh is in Dnipro and is joining us now. And Nick on this attack on this cargo ship, we know that ports exporting grain have been
targeted before. But I think this is the first time a civilian cargo ship has been targeted. What more are you learning about the nature of the
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean this essentially more of a boarding more of an interruption by the
Russian Navy than a full throttle military assault, although the military were used as was a Ka-29 helicopter this Palau- flagged vessel known as the
Sukru Okan, which appears to be in and currently is in Salina, a Romanian port.
Now the confusion really seems to be the discrepancy between the Russian statement about it being born for Izmail up the Danube River on the
Ukrainian side. And where it now is in Salina on the Romanian side remain a NATO member.
And be in no doubt at all Christina, the Russians here wasting no time to be this demonstrative to have filmed their interception of this vessel. The
crew being asked to sit in a line, the helicopter hovering above it, it's a definite bid to the Moscow to show that after they pulled out of the Grain
Deal that they may perhaps use the stop ships that don't like the maybe moving grain at will.
Now, there is possibly from a statement we've received from the shipping company in question and explanation, they suggest that one of the crew
members may have changed destination of that ship to Ismail on the Ukrainian side, while they were traveling overnight.
But still, regardless, Russia doesn't have the authority to integrate shipping in that particular area. And so, this bid with this very
flamboyant display of a helicopter, not perhaps something you think a Russian military this under pressure could do to every ship. They have
suspicions over, but perhaps a bit to show to commercial and civilian shipping there, that maybe Russia is imposing new rules.
But still, I think perhaps I'm also suggesting that even though Russia is pulled out of that Grain Deal, some ships are simply continuing about their
businesses before because of the urgent need to maintain food supplies at their current level, Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes. And meantime, Nick, we are continuing to see Russian shelling and the civilian toll is really hard to swallow, especially in
this case. What are you learning of an entire family who were killed over the weekend?
WALSH: Yes, it's particularly sickening attack and we've spoken multiple times about the toll which is taking on the very youngest. And just to
remind viewers, Friday, children's play area at a hotel in Zaporizhzhia was hit by two -- ballistic missiles. The Russians claiming they were soldiers
there were really actually a children's play area being close just an hour earlier.
One dead, and about a dozen or so injured during that almost miraculously that toll so small. But continued shelling of Kherson, Ukrainian health
side on the western banks of the Dnipro River, a village to the south near the Black Sea hit over the weekend, seven died in that shelling.
But most horrifyingly, a 23 day old baby girl named Sofia, a 12-year-old brother -- and then mother and father, four of those seven dead. And so
this just a consistent reminder and these awful horrifying details of exactly who the victims are about how indiscriminate Russia shelling indeed
is and how constant, we talk about this really every day at this point.
And it seems to be Moscow's were exacting a toll on Ukraine as Ukraine tries slowly to prosecute his counter offensive, Christina?
MACFARLANE: Yes, it is relentless. Nick Paton Walsh there live from Dnipro, thanks, Nick. Well, two Russians have been arrested in Poland accused of
spying and spreading propaganda for Wagner. Of course the private military company has played a significant role in Russia's war on Ukraine.
The Polish interior minister tweeted that the country's Internal Security Agency took the alleged spies into custody according to AFP. They are
accused of handing out propaganda leaflets with links to the mercenary group's recruitment websites. Poland says it's concerned about Wagner's
mercenaries based in Belarus.
Now still ahead on "Connect the World" who was behind a deadly attack on a Shiite shrine in Iran. We're finding out more about the suspects that
ahead. Plus why Niger's ousted president could soon face high treason charges.
MACFARLANE: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Christina MacFarlane in London. Your headlines this hour, 96 people are now confirmed dead on
the Hawaiian island of Maui from the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century. That number will likely keep rising as cadaver dogs search
hundreds of burned out homes.
Authorities are asking anyone with missing family members to give DNA samples. It's been nearly a week since the blaze ravaged Maui and the
historic town of Lahaina. A Georgia grand jury will hear evidence today from prosecutors building a criminal case against Donald Trump. The former
president could be facing his fourth indictment and his second for election meddling.
From exclusive CNN reporting sources tell us prosecutors have text messages and emails linking members of the Trump team to a breach of voting systems
in Georgia. And an official from a Turkish shipping company says a cargo vessel it owns is now in Romanian waters and waiting to head to Ukraine a
day after it's was boarded by Russian forces.
It happened in the Black Sea during what the official calls a routine journey. Ukraine blasted the Russian move as an act of piracy and a
violation of the UN Charter and other norms of international law. We're hearing mixed messages from Niger's military leaders in the wake of the
The Nigerian delegation who met with General Abdourahamane Tiani on Sunday says 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 had gathered evidence to prosecute ousted President Mohamed
Bazoum for high treason, and for undermining Niger's security.
For more on this let's turn to CNN's Larry Madowo in Nairobi, he has been following this. And Larry, understand the intention to prosecute President
Bazoum came just hours after coup leaders had indicated they were open to diplomacy talks. So how, how do you read this? I mean, is this a genuine
move towards diplomacy on the part of coup leaders?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to say this is a genuine move. If you meet with these religious leaders from Nigeria sent by ECOWAS, and
you say, we are open to dialogue, we're happy to talk to ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States.
And then hours after that announced that you intend to prosecute the democratically elected president of the country for high treason for
allegedly conspiring with local and international actors to undermine the security of Niger. So these are two very different messages here.
This is why you see the African Union Peace and Security Council meeting on the situation in Niger, which haven't had a statement from that meeting.
But we remember that the last attempt that the African Union made jointly with ECOWAS in the UN to come into Niger was rejected by the military
They blamed the sanctions that ECOWAS applied on them for poisoning the -- essentially that the environment was not right. So the junta now speaking
out of both ends of their mouth, on one hand, saying we're happy to talk to you, on the other hand, taking a move that could likely escalate these
tensions even more.
But here's what one of the clerics that met with General Tiani, the self- declared leader of Niger said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEIKH ABDULLAHI BALA LAU, ISLAMIC SCHOLAR AND DELEGATION MEMBER: The war is an eel wind that blows no one, no good. It is a matter of the last
resort. And from what we have seen, we think the situation is redeemable because the Nigerian government is ready and open to dialogue and peaceful
resolution of these.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: So, so far these coup leaders in Niger have mostly been open to speaking to religious leaders, because there's a lot of common cultural and
religious similarities between the Niger -- and Nigerians, especially the north of Nigeria. But will this then translate into an actual political
team coming in from ECOWAS, they allow some other emissaries that are not religious leaders sent by ECOWAS to actually talk and discuss the situation
at hand. So far, this is no sign from them beyond this kind of signaling. They're open to talks, Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes, we will wait to see where this leads. Well, Larry Madowo there live in Nairobi. Thanks, Larry. Now 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 threatened, treated dozens of others in recent days
since fighting between government forces and the local militia known as Fano erupted earlier this month. Authorities in Iran are rounding up
suspects after a deadly attack at one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam.
A gunman opened fire Sunday at a shrine in the southern city of Shiraz, one person was killed and several wounded. State media says the main suspect is
from Tajikistan. That person is in custody along with seven other foreign nationals. Now, this shrine has been targeted before. It was the scene of a
mass shooting just last year.
Well, Sunday shooting was captured on video. Let's go to our CNN's Salma Abdelaziz for those just a moment. So Salma, just explain to us exactly
what happened during the shooting.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and to explain this, I'm just going to pull up this very graphic surveillance footage. I do have to warn
our viewers, but it shows a single gunman with an assault rifle. In this surveillance footage you can see him entering what appears to be the
courtyard or the main entrance of this holy site.
It is the sheer shrine that is a site of pilgrimage for many that is among the holiest sites in Shia Islam entering that building with that assault
rifle in hand beginning to shoot at people. You can see, at one point a gentleman pick up a small child scoop him up and try to rush him to safety.
As you mentioned, this horrifying attack on Sunday left one person dead and several others wounded. It is not the first time that this shrine has been
targeted in just under a year in October of last year. Gunman also opened fire in this shrine, killing at least a dozen people in wounding several
others. In the case of the October attack, ISIS claimed responsibility, ISIS of course claiming several attacks across Iran in recent years.
It sees Shia Muslims as heretics and is angered by Iran's presence in places like Syria and Iraq. Now in the case of Sunday's attack, yesterday's
attack we have no claim of responsibility, but Iran's foreign minister has declared it a terrorist incident. And said that Iran's people are paying
and I'm paraphrasing here, but Iran's people are paying the price for Iran's crackdown on the evils of terrorism.
But this is an attack that I will absolutely shake a sense of security in the city of Shiraz again a wholly in religious area, an area where many
pilgrims flocked to from across Iran. And you're going to see Iranian security forces, of course the Tehran government trying to scramble to
restore that sense of security and to crack down on anyone involved in this attack again, eight people detained so far, the main suspect apparently
MACFARLANE: All right, Salma Abdelaziz there. Thanks for your reporting. OK, still ahead on "Connect the World" Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Jordan
is now the envoy to the Palestinians. How his expanded job duties play into ongoing efforts to normalize Saudi Israeli relations.
And Saudi Arabia is making another big acquisition in the world of sports. Brazilian superstar Neymar is set to play football there. We'll be
unpacking the deal, coming up.
MACFARLANE: Now to what was sometimes referred to as a time bomb in the Red Sea. UN crews have removed more than one million barrels of oil from a
tanker decaying off Yemen. The FSO Safer was abandoned after Yemen civil war started in 2015. All that time, it's been in danger of breaking up or
exploding with the oil on board.
The UN warned a spill would have been a "Monumental environmental catastrophe". That threat has now been averted but the work isn't over, the
next phase is to get the tanker ready to be towed and scrapped. Well, new duties for Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Jordan are giving the world window
into the complex efforts to normalize Saudi Israeli relations.
Over the weekend Naif Al-Sudairi was named as non-resident envoy to the Palestinians. The ceremony took place in Oman; this embassy describes him
as Consul General in Jerusalem. But he will not be working out of that city, which is -- claims as its indivisible Capitol. Al-Sudairi will remain
in Jordan's Capital.
Our International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is back this hour to give us more insight on the story. So Nic, Saudi seems to be putting the
spotlight back on the Palestinian issue. How important a move is this, talk to us about significance?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there's been discussion over the past week about how the sort of broad outlines of a
Saudi U.S. deal as part of the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel could work. But of course, another part of this triangle, if you
will, is the Palestinian part of it.
So this gives an opportunity for the Palestinians to maybe be able to voice their concerns to the Saudis about how Saudi may be shaping the contours of
what its new relationship with Israel could be. I think this is sort of very early stages. But it's sort of what you would expect if, if Israel and
the Saudis and the Saudis and the United States are making progress.
It would seem necessary that you need to have this diplomatic outreach in connection with the Palestinian authority, but I don't think the
Palestinian authority will be under any illusions here. Their relationship with MBS is not a particularly good one. And also, the fact that the envoy
in Jordan is the ambassador to Saudi's Ambassador Jordan is picking up this role.
Again, I think it shows the importance to the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because he's as a trusted, a very trusted ambassador and envoy. But
at the same time, the MBS the Crown Prince has relationship with the Jordanians is also a difficult one, particularly on this issue. So it
doesn't resolve anything but opens the door for a pathway for better understanding and then perhaps resolution.
MACFARLANE: Yes and there's still questions as to whether this would actually be a positive move, as you're saying, for the Palestinians.
Because any move towards normalization between Israel, Saudi Arabia is potentially not necessarily a good thing for Palestine. How are Israel
responding to this?
ROBERTSON: Well, Israel, Israel has been very clear. This representative cannot be based in Jerusalem. This is not something that they would
tolerate. Of course, there are other consular representatives of other countries in Jerusalem, but they all have embassies in Tel Aviv. From an
Israeli perspective, we know that the national security adviser said, look, the discussions that the Saudis are having with the United States are
We believe that they're both committed to a process, but no agreement. The Israelis will not reach an agreement with the Saudis about the prospects of
any kind of peace about the prospects for the Palestinians that will cut across Israel's security interest, so they've been very clear on that.
But you know, looking at the very big picture, the Saudis are not necessarily convinced that Netanyahu is the right leader that can deliver
on what they want in terms of the Palestinians because he's the leader of a such a right wing Nationalist government at the moment.
And there's also a school of thought that says while the Saudis are negotiating with the U.S. to further get some of the things that the
concessions they want for the United States in terms of security, for themselves, to improve their relations with Israel. That perhaps were
President Biden, in leadership, they may not want that.
The Saudis typically prefer Republicans, whether they found Trump problematic. And President Biden has been so outspoken about Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman, there are so many sort of thresholds and hurdles that can bring this process down. But I think what we are witnessing here is a
small step in what could be a positive direction.
MACFARLANE: So many different dynamics within all of these relationships aren't there. Nic, thanks very much for breaking that down for us. And you
can follow this story online go to cnn.com to learn more about the moves towards Saudi Israeli normalization and the Saudi peace initiative for more
than two decades ago that Israel rejected.
Alright, coming up, Saudi Arabia has made another big summer signing. We'll have the latest on the deal after the break.
MACFARLANE: True somber soccer is coming to Saudi Arabia. Reports say Brazilian footballer Neymar is leaving Paris Saint-Germain to join Saudi
Pro League side Al Hilal. The 31-year-olds flamboyant style is sure to delight fans in the Middle East.
He is the latest in a string of big names heading to the kingdom to ply their trade have been tempted by the promise of huge pay packets. One
player who rejected those overtures is another Paris -- Kylian Mbappe. Al Halal was reportedly ready to smash the world record transfer -- pay $332
million for the French striker.
But he refused the offer and has now been reinstated in PSGs first team curiously. And of course, PSG has had strong links to another Gulf state
Qatar, meaning these football negotiations could reflect wider diplomatic forces that play across the region. Well, to break this all down for us is
Middle Eastern and Asian Football expert Liam Weeks is joining us now live from Abu Dhabi, Liam, great to see you.
As I was saying there, we have seen some big names go to Saudi Arabia already this summer, the likes of Jordan Henderson, Riyad Mahrez, but this
though is assigning perhaps on a par with Cristiano Ronaldo. Just explain the significance of this move for us.
LIAM WEEKS, MIDDLE EASTERN AND ASIAN FOOTBALL EXPERT: This is a massive, massive finding for Al Hilal and Saudi Arabian football in hole. Obviously,
Al Hilal failed in their bids to bring in Lionel Messi. And then Kylian Mbappe didn't join a few weeks back. But now they've tempted Neymar with a
monster pay package again, rumored to be about 150 million euros per year contract and paying Barcelona in the region of 90 million euro.
It's another massive signing, the thing that Saudi Arabia are craving for their football league. And you're right he joined some absolute world stars
in Saudi Arabia for the coming season which has just kicked off this weekend.
MACFARLANE: Yes, and it does seem with this signing that Mbappe's transfer fiasco seems to be over now as well. And that he will be staying at PSG,
which I think has football fans kind of scratching their heads because how does he go back to training in Paris after publicly trying so hard to leave
WEEKS: Well, he only has his last year -- to go and join them, so we'll be looking to see where he goes this season. Does he stay in PSG? Does he move
to another club on loan for a season?
MACFARLANE: And unfortunately, Liam, we've lost your audio there as you can hear, so we will have to bring them back at a later stage when his
connection is a bit better. Apologies, Liam.
All right, let's have a quick look at the Women's World Cup then, because we are down to four, Sweden, Spain, Australia and England are all gearing
up for their semifinal matches this week at the Women's World Cup and a chance for a spot in the final. CNN's World Sports Amanda Davies has the
details for us from Auckland, New Zealand.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORTS (voice over): If you weigh in any doubts what it means for the players to reach the semifinals of this tournament?
Just cast your eyes across some of their social media feeds. This is a case of Instagram showing the reality. Well, it's over in Sydney; the hype
around Australia semifinal against England has reached new heights.
Here in New Zealand singing notwithstanding Sweden are relatively quietly yet confidently focusing on the job in hand without getting too carried
away. Despite all those celebrations after victory over Japan there's a real sense of unfinished business after reaching the semifinals in the last
three major tournaments, but not yet getting their hands on that silverware.
NETHALIE BJORN, SWEDEN DEFENDER: We haven't been speaking about it that much actually, we watched the quarterfinals and of course, the semifinal,
we speak about the semifinals, but we really are like not a boring team. But we're like, OK, one game at a time. So first Spain, then we would see.
DAVIES (voice over): Given the atmosphere and the mood that we saw in Sydney, what would it mean to you to make it there?
BJORN: I mean, everything, everything I feel like we are not done yet. And we don't want to go home. We want to, we want to win this game against
Spain and we want to go to the finals. So it's all about that now. And I think our mentality has been great throughout the whole tournament, so we
just keep on working with that.
DAVIES (voice over): Spain have traveled back from Wellington here to Auckland for their first ever Women's World Cup semifinal. It's a city and
a venue that has treated them well so far in this tournament. They've scored 10 goals in the two games. They've played at Eden Park.
But this time, Sweden will very much be hoping to rain on their parade, Amanda Davies, CNN, Auckland, New Zealand.
MACFARLANE: Now a much hype battle of the billionaires might not happen after all. Posting on his platform threads, Mark Zuckerberg says Elon Musk
isn't serious about a proposed cage fright. The Meta founder claims he offered a date, but Musk mentioned needing surgery and wouldn't confirm.
Zuckerberg says simply if Elon ever gets serious, he knows how to reach me. And the summer dance party is far from over for Barbie and all her friends.
The blockbuster film is now nearly $1.2 billion in global ticket sales. And it's still going strong on track to become the highest grossing U.S.
domestic film of the year.
Barbie is distributed by Warner Brothers which is the parent company of CNN. And in tonight's parting shots, we look back at what was the perfect
weekend to look up. Stargazers on the Earth's northern hemisphere have more than their eyes could feast on as the Perseid meteor shower reached its
The streaks of light you're seeing here are fragments of the larger comet called Swift-Tuttle. The star lovers across the hemisphere had their pick
of 50 to 100 shooting stars every hour to make a wish on, including countries like Turkey, where these pictures are shot from.
Now if you didn't catch the streaks of light on the sky already, don't worry, the meteor shower will continue till September first. But you won't
be seeing as many celestial visitors after last weekend's peak. So make sure there is no light pollution around to catch everyone that passes.
Now regardless of how dark it gets on your stargazing journey, this is one object you won't be able to see with the naked eye. The question mark in
the red circle is actually much more epic than you think.
Captured by NASA's James Webb telescope, scientists believe this could be two galaxies merging billions of light years away and as amazing as it
looks is not as rare, as you think. Researchers say galaxies across space frequently merge and have even formed a mark like this in the past, but
that does not make it any less fun to watch, absolutely no.
That is it for this edition of "Connect the World". I'll be back with more of our top stories after this short break, stay with us.