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Gathering Comes Amid Rising Concerns about China and North Korea; Biden Hosts Japanese, South Korean Leaders at Summit; Russia: Ukraine Launched Drone Attack on Moscow; Biden Hosts Historic South Korea-Japan Summit at Camp David; Health Officials Track new Variant Found in Four Countries; Chess Federation Limits how Transgender Players Compete. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 18, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to "Connect the World", I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Coming up this hour,
for the first time in years the U.S. President is hosting a summit at Camp David, this one with the leaders of Japan and South Korea, in what is meant
to be a show of force amid growing threats from North Korea and China.
The U.S. commits to approving the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine as soon as pilot training is complete. We'll discuss the impact that might
have on the battlefield. Russia is blaming Ukraine for an attempted drone strike on Moscow. City's man says Russian air defenses shot down a drone
overnight following a series of attacks on Russian territory.
And finally hundreds of wildfires are burning across Canada. The newest area of concern is in the Northwest Territories where thousands of people
are evacuating. Well, the U.S. is hailing a new era of cooperation between Washington, South Korea and Japan. President Joe Biden is greeting the
leaders of South Korea and Japan this hour at Camp David.
The first time he has hosted Foreign Leaders at the Presidential retreat. The two Asian countries are setting aside years of animosity in the face of
growing concerns of China and North Korea. And against the backdrop of this summit there is the specter of North Korea and its nuclear program.
Pyongyang reportedly has condemned the three way partnership as an Asian version of NATO. CNN's Will Ripley tells us it's expected to make a
military show of force in protest.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All eyes on the skies over North Korea. South Korea's spy agency telling lawmakers
in Seoul, Pyongyang is planning a provocative show of force, including an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
The military is detecting signs of possible ICBM launch preparations, monitoring active movement of ICBM launch related vehicles in Pyongyang
expecting drills including tactical nuclear capable missile launches in the coming days. The latest intelligence as North Korea faces growing
U.S. and South Korean military exercises begin next week. North Korea considers the annual drills a dress rehearsal for war. Those drills coming
as President Joe Biden prepares to host the leaders of Japan and South Korea on Friday at Camp David, China and North Korea high on the agenda. At
the U.N. Security Council, the first meeting and more than five years on North Korean human rights.
ILHYEOK KIM, NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR: Good morning. My name is Ilhyeok Kim.
RIPLEY (voice-over): And North Korean Defector telling the council, the government turns our blood and sweat into a luxurious life for the
leadership and missiles that blast our hard work into the sky.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says many North Koreans face extreme hunger acute medicine shortages, claiming the U.N. and NGOs remain
barred from the country. Two nations not barred from North Korea, Russia and China, two patrons with power to veto biting Security Council
Both sent high level delegations to Pyongyang last month. Leader Kim Jong- Un's showing off his latest ICBMs and drones, analysts says bear striking resemblance to U.S. military models. Suspicion is growing North Korea may
have plans to secretly provide weapons for Russia's war and Ukraine.
So far no hard evidence, but South Korea's spy agency expects growing military co-operation warning of the possible transfer of Russia's core
nuclear and missile technology to North Korea. For nations trying to contain the North Korean nuclear threat, analysts say the worst may be yet
to come. We'll Ripley, CNN.
KINKADE: We want to go back to our team following this historic summit. Our Ivan Watson is with us from Hong Kong. And CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is at
the White House. She'll join us shortly. We're going to start with you first, Ivan, and just historically what this means given that Japan and
South Korea haven't been allies.
I mean, they've had this long standing dispute over Japan's wartime practices. What does this mean for the region and for the relationship
between those countries?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's been an unusual situation where the U.S. is such close allies on a bilateral front with
South Korea and with Japan, but had a difficult time getting these two countries to overcome their historical grievances, to unite to face some
real threats in the region.
And that is something that has been a process throughout the year that the bilateral relationship between Tokyo and Seoul has improved dramatically,
partially due to the personalities of the leaders in charge and willingness to compromise on some issues. Neither the Japanese Prime Minister, nor the
South Korean President is particularly popular at home, which is something that they share with President Biden.
But clearly the international landscape has helped push these two leaders together into the American embrace. And that was alluded to by the Japanese
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. In a number of tweets that he put out specifically saying that the security environment was increasingly severe.
And that's why these three leaders have to get under, one roof to talk about this to enhance security cooperation. And as a testament to that,
Japan says that it scrambled fighter jets in response to Russian reconnaissance planes that were flying between the Korean Peninsula and
Japanese islands in the strait between them this morning.
And earlier this week, the Japanese Ministry of Defense saying that it had grave concerns about a flotilla of 11 warships from Russia and China that
were steaming in international waters to the southwest of the island of Okinawa saying that was a clear show of force against Japan, China saying
this is absolutely normal.
But all of this is basically indicating that countries in the region, longtime U.S. allies are feeling increasingly insecure, and are recognizing
they need to band together to feel more safe in this increasingly, again, insecure international environment.
KINKADE: Yes, certainly it is all coming at a time when tensions are especially high in the region. Thanks to you, Ivan. I want to bring in,
Priscilla, outside the White House, because we know Priscilla that Camp David has often been used, especially in the past as a place to bring
leaders together to discuss peace in the Middle East.
What is the main aim today as Mr. Biden hosts this first ever try lot with Japan and South Korea? What are the goals?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, and the location alone underscores the significance of this. And we should also note that this is
the first convening that President Biden has hosted at Camp David with foreign leader. So all of that, again, just to show how important of a
trilateral summit this is.
And the big picture when it comes to goals ranges from addressing those regional security challenges, discussing economic prosperity as well as
technological advancements. Now, when you get into the details of that, what senior administration officials have outlined is that it will include
annual military exercises.
Discussing intelligence sharing agreements, as well as setting up a three way hotline and in making this trilateral summit an annual event. Now
President Biden has sought to foster individual relationships with these two countries over the course of his presidency.
But this is an opportunity for the three of them to be in a room and to talk about their shared interests, like you heard there from, Ivan, about
those mounting security concerns. But what senior administration officials have noted that this is not, there's no expectation of a formal Alliance
commitment or a collective defense agreement.
This is a conversation about what their shared interests are and how they can work together moving forward? Of course, the big question over all of
this is how is that maintained moving forward not only in the near future under this administration, but moving forward under future administration?
So, all of that is expected to be part of the conversation today among these three leaders.
KINKADE: Priscilla Alvarez outside the White House, Ivan Watson in Hong Kong, good to have you both on the show. Thanks so much. Well, the
significance of this summit and where it's being held can't be overstated. My next guest writes, "Mending ties as fraught as those between South Korea
and Japan will require more than a single summit, no matter how successful.
That's why it is so important that these three leaders are committing to regular engagements and the establishment of a trilateral hotline. Biden's
hope is that by institutionalizing the trilateral process he will make irreversible, despite the vagaries of South Korea, Japanese or U.S.
Well, Sue Mi Terry is the Director of the Wilson Center's Asia Program and a Former CIA Analyst on Korea. Good to have you on the program.
SUE MI TERRY, DIRECTOR OF THE WILSON CENTER'S ASIA PROGRAM: Thank you for having me.
KINKADE: So I want to get some historical context from you because you wrote in The Washington Post that just two years ago this meeting would
have been unthinkable, just explain how significant this is?
TERRY: This is so significant because from USS perspective, we've been working so many years to bring our closest allies in the region, Korea and
Japan together to work on, you know, coordinate on whole host of issues. But this was almost an impossible thing to accomplish.
I will say even more difficult than North Korea, I jokingly say that but seriously, it was such a difficult thing to do to get these leaders
together, Korean leader and Japanese leader. So it really took courage, first by President Yoon, to really resolve the issue or work time labor
issue, forced labor issue that has been a stumbling block and to really have this forward vision of moving forward with Japan.
So first, it took courage by President Yoon, and then also from Prime Minister Kishida to accept that approach, and be pragmatic about it and to
really improves relationship with South Korea. But also the Biden administration really deserves a credit because again, all the previous
U.S. administrations and Presidents have tried to do this and was such a, it was very hard thing to accomplish.
But, you know, the Biden administration was very deep prioritize this, trying to strengthen the trilateral relationship. And now we have this very
symbolic and important summit today. So I think all three leaders deserve credit here.
KINKADE: Yes. So just getting these three leaders together is as successful thing to have happened. But in terms of the goals, the ambitions going
forward, how effective can these leaders be together when working against perceived threats from the likes of North Korea and China?
TERRY: Well, there are so many issues to be able to co-ordinate on. But I think every leader, all three leaders understand that domestic politics and
there are challenges to really having this institutionalized that again, you know, not one, just having one successful summit, doesn't mean that
This is the foundation laying you know, you have to lay the foundation so that this relationship, the trilateral relationship can be strengthened and
expanded. So in this regard, that's why they are establishing our hotline, they are institutionalizing. So every year they will meet, they are going
to it's going to be a multi-year commitment to exercises and so on.
So no matter what happens domestically in South Korea, in Japan, and in the United States, that this relationship is will be strengthened. And this is
not something that will go away just because we have a different President unless the President Trump gets re-elected. Or you know, as in South Korea,
it turns over to the progressives in a couple of years, and so on. So again, institutionalizing this trilateral relationship is the point.
KINKADE: And in terms of Biden's credentials, and his experience in foreign diplomacy. What does this meeting say about those two things in the fact
that he could bring these leaders together for this summit?
TERRY: I think he says a lot. I know that President Biden's agent's seniority is sometimes an issue with Americans. And you know, but it I
think the fact that he's been dealing with these issues for so many years, and he's a seasoned diplomat, he understands the value of diplomacy, value
of having strengthened relationships with allies bring allies together.
You know, this is why I say, you know, President Trump, for example, tried to do something that was impossible just kind of meet with Kim Jong Un and
try to get denuclearization, which is highly unrealistic thing to happen, right? But President Biden understands that, you know, to accomplish big
things, to deal with challenges that we all face.
We need to have our allies on board and all of us are on the same page. So I think he understands that and his long experience on working on these
issues, I think really helped here in bringing these two leaders together.
KINKADE: And according to the President's advisor for Indo-Asia Affairs, Indo-Pacific Affairs, there is an ambitious set of initiatives that they
want to get through during the summit not just dealing with threats from the likes of China or North Korea, but also things like working together
and technology and education.
But by the end of the summit, they say we're going to get some sort of commitment to consult. What does that mean?
TERRY: So they do have a very ambitious agenda here that from technology to supply chains, to AI, to again trade issues, to security, but commitment to
console, I think refers to security issues in particular. So if one of the countries is facing a threat, there is a commitment to now consult one
So it's not quite NATO style kind of alliance, where attack on one country means they will go into defend their country, but they will consult each
other, if one of the country is facing a threat.
So there's recognition there that security of each country is linked to the other and I think this is very important symbolic statement to come out of
KINKADE: And as this summit takes place, we've got Russia and China carrying out military drills in the region and North Korea, giving some
sort of indication that they may launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. How do you think those sorts of threats are weighing on the
TERRY: Oh, very much. It is weighing I think security threats are, you know, this is in a way why these three leaders are together. This is why
President Yoon and Kishida have put aside their historical grievances to come together because of change strategic landscape with Russia's invasion
of Ukraine, which is hugely psychologically important to both President Yoon and Prime Minister Kishida with ongoing U.S.-China conflict.
And North Korea, which have been expanding modernizing their nuclear missile Arsenal last several years. All of this is very much in the minds
of President Yoon and Prime Minister Kishida and the very reason why they finally decided to put aside their past for now to come together and have
this trilateral meeting.
KINKADE: It's so good to get your perspective on all of this. So thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate it.
TERRY: Thank you for having me.
KINKADE: Well, in addition to Chinese drills, the country's Leader Xi Jinping is planning to attend a high profile conference and make a state
visit to South Africa. Mr. Xi is scheduled to attend the BRICS summit in Johannesburg next week. It's the 15th summit of major emerging economies,
including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
But dozens of so called friends of the block have also been invited for one of the days. And this is the first in person summit since the COVID
pandemic. You are watching "Connect the World" live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, still ahead, a breakthrough on Ukraine's hopeful delivery
of American fighter jets.
While the U.S. is telling allies about getting those F-16 jets back onto Ukrainian soil. And another drone shot down over Moscow. We'll have details
about what Russia is calling this Ukrainian attack. We'll go live to the Russian capital.
KINKADE: Welcome back the Dutch Foreign Minister is calling it a major milestone. He's talking about the decision by the United States to approve
the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. A timetable for the training is not yet clear. Ukraine says it needs the jets to defend against Russian
missile and drone attacks.
Meantime Ukraine says Russian shelling in the Donetsk region hit a power plant leaving 14,000 people there without electricity. Nick Paton Walsh is
covering the developments for us from Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine and joins us live. Good to have you with us, Nick.
So just yesterday, we were discussing the fact that Ukraine was lamenting that they would not have these F-16 fighter jets by the end of the year,
the U.S. now saying that they'll approve them to send them there as soon as the pilots are trained. We know that some pilots are in the U.K. training
to fly these jets. What's the status of all of that? When could these pilots be ready? When could Ukraine get the jets?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: We are hearing from Denmark, along with the Netherlands, one of the European
nations willing to undertake this training that in Denmark, the training will start later this month. And it's potentially just 13 days away. So it
was remarkable how this timetable keeps shifting.
Now the public discussion of it has got slightly more pointed. But let me just explain to you how this whole very, very complicated process is going
to work essentially, to train Ukrainian pilots to fly and also service these jets. That's something that European allies of Ukraine will
Now they need the Americans who essentially these F-16s technology belongs to sign off on that training because it involves simulators, all sorts of
different things. Now, we could be looking at about six months training potentially, that's one of the documents suggesting out that timeline that
could possibly be sped up.
But then once that training is complete, the U.S. have said as they have for a while that they will supply the jet, this is always going to be them
way more complex part of the arm supply from NATO to Ukraine, because of the huge strategic advantage it gives Ukraine because potentially how
closer it might get to Russian Air Space with these jets.
And because fundamentally F-16s are so complex, they're going to need an awful lot more hand holding from NATO to keep these jets running. And so
yes, Ukraine yesterday said that we're not expecting to see the jets this year. That's probably just a realistic reflection of where we are right
But you got to remember Lynda, you know, these timetables keep shifting. When NATO wants something to happen, it is able to speed it up. But we are
now just hearing I think some more concrete proposals as to when this will all get off the ground. But it's a very complex, ambitious project and the
best of times, Lynda.
KINKADE: Yes, it really is. And you and your team have been doing some incredible reporting on the frontlines in Ukraine. Speaking to those on the
front lines, just what difference with this sort of fighter jets make to them?
WALSH: A lot, frankly, look, I mean, just bear in mind, the major threat to Ukrainian forces advancing at the moment is Russian artillery, but also
Russian missile strikes and airpower. And it's those jets that come as close as they can to Ukrainian positions on the southern front line.
And then release half metric ton guided bombs and slow roar into Ukrainian positions and the towns where they try and get some kind of shelter. As
they begin to move forwards. They're doing enormous damage, particularly we saw ourselves around -- and the idea that Ukraine could put in the high
tech American jets that could potentially counter that Russian threat.
Or at least make it much more challenging for Russia and reduce Russia's sense of air superiority that will be a phenomenal change potentially, to
their ability to prosecute. This counter offensive won't necessarily get rid of the risk of the missiles, or the indiscriminate, intense shelling
that we've seen from the Russians.
But it will certainly reduce some of the risks and to it will make Ukraine skies generally a bit safer. And that might deter some of the bombing runs
we've seen against civilian areas by Russian jets too. So potentially a significant change, I think the issue now is it's going to be too late for
an impact this summer, this fall.
And then when you start heading into winter, the counter offensives ability to push forward may simply get reduced by the climate they're dealing with,
KINKADE: Yes, good to get all of that perspective from you. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, thanks so much. Well, Russia says
its air defenses. I'll just before I go to the next story I just want to alert you to the fact that we are awaiting live pictures of the U.S.
President holding his first trilateral meeting at Camp David with the leaders of Japan and South Korea.
We will see those leaders very shortly and we will bring you those pictures live when they happen. Well, Russia says its air defenses shot down a drone
today of a Moscow. It's blaming Ukraine for an attempted drone strike calling it a terrorist attack. The Moscow Mayor says debris from the drone
fell near the city's Expo Center.
This video shows the aftermath of this particular district of Moscow has been struck by drone debris three times in the past month. Matthew Chance
is joining us live from Moscow. Good to have you with us, Matthew.
So give us some updates on what this latest drone data, we know it was shot down in Moscow it hit a building in the financial district. Was there much
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We saw a bit of it there. But I mean, the damage isn't significant militarily, and nobody was
injured according to the Russian authorities. But you know, you take it in isolation, this attack, it doesn't add up to very much, although it did
cause some significant disruption.
Apparently, airports were kind of diverting flights from landing in Moscow, in the immediate aftermath of the strike, some of them had to go to sort of
neighboring countries to land. Earlier today, there was an evacuation of the office buildings around there as well, with hundreds of people being
sort of ordered out of their workspaces because there'd been a false alarm that another drone strike was coming in.
And so yes, individually, it didn't cause much damage, it caused some disruption. But when you take them all together, there's been an almost
daily kind of barrage of these kinds of small scale drone attacks over the course of the past several weeks, and they're all adding up to, you know, a
sense of uncertainty on the streets of the Russian capital elsewhere, as well.
And of course, they are showing Muscovites it specifically in Russians in general, that there are consequences for the war that's being conducted
across the border in Ukraine. I think that's one of the reasons why they're so important symbolically.
KINKADE: And there was another in the same location. What can you tell us about that?
CHANCE: So yes, there have been other drone strikes in the same location as well. I mean, this is an important set of office buildings and apartments
as well, on the banks of the Moscow River, and a short distance from here, at some of the offices are government offices in that building, as well.
And they're very modern, sort of architectural, you know, kind of buildings as well. And so in some ways, this symbolically representative of a modern
Russia, a Russia that when these buildings were commissioned, saw itself as a financial center for the region, at the very least.
And so these drone attacks, again, are symbolically important when it comes to striking this kind of this financial center, this kind of modern symbol
of Russia in the heart of the Russian capital. They also sort of underlying I think, symbolically the weakness of the Russian government, it can't
defend its own airspace.
And with every one of these drone strikes, it sends the message again, that the Kremlin is not as fully in control as it likes to portray itself as.
KINKADE: Yes, it certainly doesn't look good for the Kremlin. Matthew Chance, great to have you there for us in Moscow, thanks very much. Well,
still to come on "Connect the World", no and inside for Canada's wildfires and what has already been the worst season on record. I'll speak to a fire
research scientist about why this year has been so devastating?
KINKADE: Welcome back to "Connect the World" with me Lynda Kinkade. These are your headlines this hour. Just moments ago, U.S. President Joe Biden
welcomed the leaders of Japan and South Korea to his presidential retreat at Camp David, the two Asian nations that are setting aside decades of
hostility amid growing concerns about China and North Korea. I believe the leaders are speaking now, let's listen in.
YOON SUK YEOL, SOUTH KOREA PRESIDENT: This symbolic venue of Camp David in the history of modern diplomacy. Our trilateral partnership is opening a
new chapter, which carries great significance in my view. President Roosevelt once stated, freedom is not a given but something you'll fight to
win to make sure that each of our freedoms is neither threatened nor damaged.
Our three nations must tighten our solidarity. Such is also our promise and mandate towards our future generations. A stronger coordination between
Korea, the U.S. and Japan requires more robust institutional foundations. Moreover, challenges that threaten regional security must be addressed by
us building up stronger commitment to working together.
Today will be remembered as a historic day where we establish the firm institutional basis and commitment to the trilateral partnership. Today, I
hope we will explore together ways to elevate cooperation between Korea, the U.S. and Japan to a new plane through in depth discussions.
FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: First of all, I would like to express my sympathy once again for the devastating damages caused by the
wildfires in Maui Hawaii. In order to provide relief to the affected people, Japan has decided to offer a total of around $2 million of support.
I offer my heartfelt prayer for the earliest possible recovery of the affected areas. May I also once again convey my heartfelt condolences for
the passing away of President Yoon's father?
And now I would like to thank Joe, for your kind invitation to the tour of us to Camp David a place with history. President Yoon, I have been meeting
you almost on a monthly basis since March of this year. But the fact that we are the three leaders have got together in this way, I believe, means
that we are indeed making a new history as of today.
The international community is at a turning point in history in order to allow the potential of a lateral strategic collaboration to bloom and to
blossom. I wish to take this moment to raise the security coordination between Japan, ROK and the U.S. to new heights while strengthening the
coordination between the Japan, U.S. and the U.S. ROK alliances as we deepen our cooperation and the response to North Korea.
I wish to expand and deepen our collaboration and extensive areas including economic security such as critical and emerging technology cooperation and
supply chains resilience. Today I look forward to engaging in a frank discussion amongst ourselves in order to declare a new era of Japan, U.S.,
ROK partnership. I once again express my gratitude for Joe's initiative. Thank you.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Why don't we ask the press to leave? Thank you for coming in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right guys, thank you so much.
KINKADE: You're just listening to the leaders of Japan and South Korea speaking at a historic summit at Camp David hosted by the U.S. president
bringing those countries together. Former foes are now working together on issues of security threats from the likes of China and North Korea, as well
as technology, artificial intelligence and education.
We also heard from the Japanese Prime Minister there offering $2 million to support the people of Maui after those devastating wildfires. We will
continue to cover that summit throughout the show. Well, for now, I want to move on to Canada where thousands of people there are fleeing their homes
so preparing to get out as wildfires race across northern western regions of the country.
Now the images we're getting in from the Northwest Territories where the flames have come within 17 kilometers of the capital city Yellowknife.
Evacuations are underway as the entire population 20,000 people have been ordered out of the city by noon today local time that's in just over two
And the scramble to get out isn't confined to Canada's north with a heat wave hitting the Western Province of British Columbia. Evacuation alerts
are also in place for thousands of properties there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLIFF CHAPMAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA DIRECTOR OF WILDFIRE OPERATIONS: This weather event has the potential to be the most challenging 24 to 48 hours
of the summer, from a fire perspective. We are expecting significant growth and we are expecting our resources to be challenged from north to south in
the province over the next 48 hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, the worst fire season on record in Canada. That's what it is right now. My next guest is a Research Scientist, Daniel Perrakis. He's
joining us from British Columbia. Good to have you with us.
DANIEL PERRAKIS, FIRE RESEARCH SCIENTIST: Hello.
KINKADE: So Daniel, the deadline to evacuate is midday today. 20,000 people told to get out of Yellowknife. Most have left as I understand it, but how
likely are they to be in limbo as these fires burn?
PERRAKIS: Well, that's a good question. Yellowknife of course, is, you know, the territorial capital, it's remote, there aren't very many nearby
communities. So people are having to drive lonely, there's a lot of air, there's a lot of people flying as well, to places like Calgary, you know,
many, many hours.
And they're not going to know, really, probably for several days what fires are going to do and when they can go home.
KINKADE: And Daniel, we know that there are about 1000 active fires. Talk to us about the international effort to get them under control.
PERRAKIS: It's just been a challenging fire season from the start certain Perth to Canada, we had severe drought last fall, which held over winter.
There was freeze up before the rain that could sort of reduce the drought and then that was still present in the spring and contributed to a very
active spring fire season.
And so regardless, the first part is in April and really hasn't led up. And what's unusual is that it really involved the whole country. You know,
every province and territory has had, you know, active fires and most provinces and territories have had severe and record breaking fire activity
And yes, Canada does not, you know, have the firefighting capacity to deal with, the sort of event and we've had to lean heavily on any international
partners. So we've had firefighters and incident command teams from many countries, Mexico, Costa Rica, Australia, France, South Africa and others,
in addition to the U.S., and we're very grateful for the assistance.
KINKADE: And we know that the effects of these fires are being felt around the world in terms of poor air quality. The estimation of emissions from
these fires accounted for over 25 percent of the global total for 2023. I mean, it's just extraordinary to get your head around.
PERRAKIS: Yes, for sure. And so, you know right now it's still fire season, fighting fire, it's day to day, and fire season is not over yet.
You just heard the report from British Columbia talking about these last night today, tomorrow being an incredibly challenging, challenging period
for firefighters and for residents. Eventually, the fire season will stop the days get shorter, you know, the weather cools down. It's not that it's
inevitably sometimes in late August, sometimes September, sometimes as last year, much of October or even into November.
And then we start to take stock of, you know, the short term and long term effects. And we start to talk about how could we prevent this? You know,
what could we do, you know, to be better prepared from a community point of view, from a firefighting point of view, from a fourth management point of
And then get the bigger questions to such as you know, what does this mean for the climate? What does this mean for communities and things like
infrastructure? We've done heaps of evacuations this year; I think close to 200,000 Canadians do evacuate their homes. So these long term questions are
-- common, and of course, they're starting already.
So from a planning point of view, you know, it goes both ways. Of course, climate and weather, this sort of shorter term version of climate that we
see every day, has the largest influence on fire behavior. And so basically, good fire weather, in a nutshell is hot, dry, and windy.
And those are, you know, hot, dry, windy conditions are all bad all summer. And so, as you know, we have observed, it's been well documented in
scientific reports that, you know, we're seeing longer fire seasons. We're seeing longer fire conducive weather, such as longer blocking ridges that
really bring these clear days and fuel drying, intense drought.
This clear summer weather that you tended to be punctuated by rain after a couple weeks now can go on for, you know, a month or longer. And this leads
to drier forest, more fires, more easy ignition and larger fires. And it's not totally clear why exactly this is happening. I'm not a climatologist.
But there's a discussion about whether it has to do with, you know, Arctic warming and the weakening of jet streams, or perhaps just increasing
variability in the jet stream, leading to these, these longer growth periods. And then, of course, the other side of it is that, like you
mentioned, fires cause carbon emissions and pollution which millions of people have had to deal with severe health effects.
But the emissions, like fencing get worse the anthropogenic emissions in years like this, and there's also, there's a co2 and then there's also
black carbon deposition. The problem which is when -- start from fires, lands on ice caps and leads to more rapid melting.
KINKADE: Yes, Daniel its certainly.
PERRAKIS: Well, all these are serious concern.
KINKADE: Oh, they are huge concerns, and we will continue to follow these fires, as you say, they will continue to burn and this issue is not going
to go away as you know, climate crisis continues. Daniel Perrakis, good to have you with us. Thank you. Still to come on "Connect the World" a summer
wind winds down COVID-19 cases are winding up. We're going to look at what might be behind that uptake when we return.
KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us. Global health officials are keeping an eye on a new variant of the virus that
causes COVID-19. So far has been found in four countries, Denmark, Israel, the UK and the U.S.
Health officials say there's been an uptick of COVID cases over the past few months as people travel and stay indoors to beat the heat. The new
variant doesn't seem to be spreading widely, thankfully. But there are concerns about what this might mean for the upcoming cold, RSV and flu
Well, I want to bring in our CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, always good to see you.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You too, you too.
KINKADE: So is this something we need to worry about right now?
DR. GUPTA: I think this is something we need to monitor right now not necessarily worry about. In fact, the World Health Organization calls this
a variant under monitoring. Couple things to point out, you mentioned the four countries. But if you take a country like Denmark, for example, the
three patients over there where they found this this new variant, they were in different parts of the country, they didn't seem to have a relationship
to each other.
So that gives you some idea that this may be more widespread than we're just seeing initially. It's also very different Lynda than the previous
variants. So there are a lot of mutations here. And that's relevant because you can sort of count on some immunity from either having been previously
infected or vaccinated. If a variant is very different, you may not have that same protection again, we don't know for sure.
So the open questions are how contagious is this? How sick might it make people? And will your previous immunity provide you that protection? And so
far at this point, we just can't say so it's being monitored.
KINKADE: Yes. And sort of, it's hard to ascertain those answers if fewer people are getting COVID tests compared to back at the height of the
pandemic. But what does this all mean for the upcoming cold and flu season?
DR. GUPTA: Well, the point that you're making, I think is a really important one. I mean that we don't have as much testing. So it's a little
harder to get a sense of just where we are in the United States, for example. They're doing a lot of wastewater surveillance. So looking at
wastewater, trying to get an idea of how much COVID is out there.
If you look at the United States, as an example of a country, we see some places in the country, that's those are the places in red and orange, where
the numbers have gone up in terms of hospital admissions, yellow, it's sort of flat, and in some a few states, it's actually gone down.
But you can expect as we go into cooler and drier weather that these viruses will spread more. Let me just give you a little bit of context
quickly, Lynda. If you look over the last two years, for example, in the United States, at all the various trends of COVID transmission and
hospitalization, you find, for example, this August, which is the far right of the screen there.
We're about a quarter of last August a year ago, that huge spike in the middle that was Omicron, the spike right before that was delta. So you
know, right now the numbers are going up, but they're starting from a much lower level.
KINKADE: That is a positive sign. And Sanjay, we talk to you almost every day, during the pandemic. Can you just remind us what the latest guidance
is if you do get sick, especially if you get COVID-19?
DR. GUPTA: You know, I think that one piece of guidance that has been true even before the pandemic is that if you are sick, you should stay home. We
know that you can, you know, be contagious spread the virus to others. With COVID, in particular, it's the first five days after symptoms where people
tend to be the most contagious, we can say that now.
So as a general rule, after you test positive, it's basically five days of isolation. One caveat there, let's say you didn't test right away, you test
it on day two or three, isolation period should begin when you are sick. So your days of isolation start from your first day of symptoms, not
necessarily your first day of testing.
You don't need to test to get out of isolation. But if you have two tests in a row that are negative, that means you don't need to mask, you're not
really, you're not going to be contagious anymore, so you can sort of move on with your life. Of course again, Lynda, that all means that you're not
sick. If you're sick, obviously you stay in isolation.
KINKADE: Well, it is good to talk to you as always, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. We haven't spoken for a while, which is generally a good sign when it comes to
DR. GUPTA: We should talk more often then.
KINKADE: We should, we should. Great to see you, thanks so much. And we are going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, the chess organization is under fire for bidding transgender players from taking part in women's events. The
International Chess Federation or FIDE says players who have transitioned from male to female have, "No right to participate in women's events.
That's until the organization can analyze the situation further".
Well joining me now is Woman Grandmaster and two time U.S. Women's Champion, Jennifer Shahade. Good to have you with us.
JENNIFER SHAHADE, WOMAN GRANDMASTER: So excited to be here.
KINKADE: So trans-women won't be able to compete for the next two years or more while this governing body conducts what they call further analysis. I
would think chess is one of those games where gender doesn't matter at all. You're a pro, what's your take?
SHAHADE: Well, I'm not happy at all about these restrictive policies, because I feel that transgender women are a really important part of our
community. So we should be making it more straightforward, more seamless for them to play in women's events but as your question as why gender
matters, well, women are very outnumbered in the chess world, it's something like eight to one.
So eight men for every woman who play so we have these special events, women's events, open to transgender women, who are an important part of the
community but the events, the idea is to provide a safe space for women and to have some fun, meet some other women who play the game. They're really
important to me.
And I feel that people who play them often have a fantastic experience. And we really want to open those up to anyone who identifies with a woman as or
identifies as a woman or who feels that they're harassed. And that certainly includes transgender women.
KINKADE: And do you have any indication as to how many transgender women this ban would impact?
SHAHADE: Well, I think that it impacts definitely, there's a really strong transgender female player from France. He's one of the top players in the
country, her name is Yosha Iglesias. And that's the type of person that should have been looped in to these regulations. You know, what do you
think about this? He's extremely active, both as a player and as a thinker in the game about gender and about policy.
So I think that's really where we need to start. We need to ask the people who are affected by these policies, what do you think? How can we make this
make more sense, so that it's not abused, but it welcomes the people that we want to welcome.
KINKADE: And I want to bring up a quote from that play you mention, Yosha Iglesias. She said this policy would lead to unnecessary harm for Tran's
players and women even mentioning suicide and depression. She says Trans players weren't properly consulted or consulted at all. Why do you think
SHAHADE: You know all I can think of is that there's this fantasy. I mean, this nightmare that they think that a man who doesn't identify as a woman
and doesn't identify as non-binary is going to pretend that they're a woman so that they can win a woman's event and win prize money.
But you know what, I've been hearing about this for a decade, and it's never happened. So why are we not focusing on the real people who need our
support? And instead, we're looking at something that somebody dreamed up its fiction. It's fiction for now. And you know what, if it does happen,
we're test players who deal with it.
KINKADE: All right, you are of course the Grandmaster two time U.S. Women's Champion, Jennifer Shahade, always good to have you on the program. Thanks
so much for joining us.
SHAHADE: Thank you so much for having me.
KINKADE: All the best. Well tomatoes are officially off the menu at Burger King in India. The global fast food franchise dropped them because of the
quality of the crop and supply.
It follows a similar move last month by competitive McDonald's. India's Central Bank raised the country's inflation forecasts for the financial
year to 5.4 percent citing the rising prices of certain foods. Both McDonald's and Burger King said they hope this shortage is just temporary.
Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Lynda Kinkade. CNN continues in just a short break.