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Sen. Menendez To Make First Comments Since Bribery Charges; Writers And Studios Reach Tentative Deal To End Strike; U.S. And Mexico Agree To Depressurize Border Cities. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 25, 2023 - 10:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Well, welcome back to the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD.

Coming up this hour U.S. Senator Bob Menendez expected to address bribery charges as he faces growing calls to resign. He's accused of accepting

hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit the Egyptian government in his role as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman.

Writers in Hollywood could be back to work as early as this week after a tentative deal was reached with major film studios. The WGA is nearly five-

month walkout froze almost all studio production.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy says U.S. Abrahams tanks have arrived in Ukraine. That announcement coming as an overnight attack in Odesa results in two deaths

and a heavy damage to port infrastructure.

And a new deal between the U.S. and Mexico. The aim is in the migrant crisis that is overwhelming American border towns.

First up, Ukraine's president says U.S. Abrams tanks have arrived in his country. Meantime, we're learning that Ukraine's strike on the headquarters

of Russia's Black Sea Fleet Friday may have dealt the Kremlin a bigger blow then we had thought.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has more.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a pretty big claim that the Ukrainians are putting forward, claiming that they have

killed the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in that strike on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet that happened this past Friday. Now in

total, the Ukrainian say when they hit the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, which what -- with what appear to have been cruise missiles that

they killed 34 officers in total and that one of those senior officers was in fact the commander of the Black Sea Fleet Admiral Viktor Sokolov.

Now we do have to say that so far, the Ukrainians have not put forward any evidence to confirm that they've actually killed the commander of the Black

Sea Fleet. And the Russians so far have not commented on all of this at all. So right now, very difficult to ascertain the extent to which all this

is really true. At the same time, though, we do know that there was a massive attack by the Russians on the poor town of Odesa.

That happened in the overnight hours. The Ukrainians are saying it was a very complex attack using drones, but also using a lot of cruise missiles

of various types. They say that at least 12 caliber cruise missiles were used. Those are subsonic cruise missiles, but ones that can maneuver and

the Ukrainians say they shot most of those down. But the Ukrainians also say that the Russians used supersonic Onyx cruise missiles, and some of

those appear to have managed to reach some of the targets.

Now the Ukrainians say that some grain installations were hit by these strikes, but also a massive hotel complex. And the Ukrainians for their

part are saying that this hotel has not been in use for years and so therefore was empty. The Russians for their part had been suggesting that

possible -- possibly there was Ukrainian military inside that compound. All we know from the Ukrainian side so far is they say two people were killed

in this attack.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN in eastern Ukraine.

ANDERSON: Was the new agreement between Mexico and the United States to cope with the massive surge in illegal crossings in recent weeks. Mexico

will deport migrants at border communities back to their home countries. This comes as some Texas border cities are already feeling the weight of

the crisis with another influx of migrants expected over the next few days.

CNN's Rosa Flores covering the story for us from Houston in Texas. Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Well, the latest here from Texas is this agreement between Mexico and the United States. Now this is

significant because Mexico could be rerouting migration practically before migrants get to the U.S. So, here's what Mexican officials have agreed to

do. They agreed to co-depressurize the northern cities in Mexico by deporting migrants back to their home countries.

Now this is something that has been done in the past. It was done in 2015 and 2019. On a strategy that the United States have used before.


But it's important to note the human rights organizations and immigration advocacy groups have condemned this type of attack.


FLORES (voiceover): From Mexico to the riverbanks of Eagle Pass, thousands of migrants have crossed the border, wading across the Rio Grande, crawling

under the razor wire and overwhelming Eagle Pass and other southern Texas cities.

ROLANDO SALINAS JR., EAGLE PASS, TEXAS MAYOR: We're here abandoned. We're on the border. We're asking for help. This is unacceptable. Please, just

enforce the laws that are on the books.

FLORES (voiceover): In an effort to "depressurized northern Mexico border cities," the United States and Mexico have brokered a new agreement.

Meeting in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on Friday, the countries agreed to a 15- action plan which includes Mexico deporting migrants to their home countries by land and air. U.S. Border Patrol agents will be able to expel

migrants to the bridge that connects El Paso to Ciudad Juarez see that Juarez.

Mexico has also agreed to carry out negotiations with Venezuela, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia and Cuba to determine their willingness to accept

citizens deported from the U.S.-Mexico border. The agreement also includes Mexico submitting a daily report of the number of migrants on its train

system, establishing checkpoints along the rail route and conducting interventions on railways and highways, according to Mexican officials.

REP. HENRY CUELLAR (D-TX): Look, you know, what we need to do is to do this. One, we need to have repercussions at the border. What does that

mean? You got to deport people and you got to show those images of people being deported. What was the last time we saw people going the other way

instead of just seeing people flow in?

FLORES (voiceover): On the ground and Eagle Pass, CNN witness the reality for migrants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: HE said we faint, we passed out. This is crazy but thank God we are here.

FLORES (voiceover): Just like Jorge Caruyo (ph) of Venezuela and his three- year-old child. According to a federal law enforcement source, border patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley are encountering about 1000 migrants

per day. This reality leaves Texas border towns like El Paso at their breaking point with thousands of migrants in custody.

OSCAR LEESER, EX PASO, TEXAS MAYOR: You know, we seem to be doing the same thing over and over again. They keep sending us money. We keep trying to

find shelter and we try make sure people off the street, make sure our community is safe, make sure they're safe. But then the day the immigration

system has not changed.


FLORES (on camera): Now in that story, we learned a lot about what Mexico is doing as part of this agreement. And we also just learned from Customs

and Border Protection on the U.S. side what the U.S. we'll also be doing and what they call this, Becky, is mirrored patrol. So mirrored enforcement

on both sides of the border where law enforcement agencies on the Mexican side and law enforcement agents on the U.S. side conduct patrols at the

same time.

They maintain communication and as migrants either flow south or north. There's a law enforcement agency there to respond. I should also add that

Mexico's top diplomat announced on Friday that Mexico's president would like to meet with President Joe Biden in November in Washington, D.C. And

Becky one of the topics that Mexico's president wants to talk to President Biden about is of course, migration. Becky?

ANDERSON: Rosa, communities say that misinformation may just be leading to this influx. What do we know about that? I mean, is it clear whether that

is indeed what is happening here and how it spreads?

FLORES: You know, I've talked to contacts and sources on both sides of the border from the tip of South Texas all the way to Tijuana to San Diego. And

what I've learned from these individuals, some of these are community leaders. These are individuals who work with migrants all the time we talk

to migrants all the time on both sides of the border. And they do say that indeed there is a layer of misinformation that is driving this latest


The way that they explained it to me is a lot of the times what happens is migrants whether they're single adults or family units across the -- into

the U.S. They get processed by U.S. immigration authorities and then they get released into the country with an immigration court date. Those

individuals send videos or tax or have phone calls with migrants. We're waiting on the southern border in Mexico and they explain their experience.

And a lot of the times they use loose words by saying for example, we were allowed into the country. We crossed the river and then we were allowed in

by Mexican authorities. Well, the reason why that is misinformation is because technically anyone who enters the United States in between ports of

entry is entered the country illegally but by law, U.S. border authorities have to process them and then apply U.S law, U.S immigration law.


And so, I've heard it from multiple individuals who say that that has been driving this recent surge. And also, Becky, and increasing kidnapping in

Mexico. As you know, this is something we've discussed in the past. There's a lot of violence in the northern Mexican cities on the border. But most

recently, what I've learned from contacts, that there has been an increase in kidnappings in Matamoros and Reynosa.

This is an area that is in northern Mexico across the border from South Texas. And they say that this is another reason that this latest surge has

occurred because migrants are having to decide, do they stay waiting in Mexico for a CBP one appointment to enter into the U.S. legally through a

port of entry while they are exposed to kidnapping, extortion, or being hurt by the cartels. Or do they just take a chance and cross the river more

than anything to make sure that they survive their hope and dream to get to the United States?

And if you ask U.S. Customs and Border Protection, what they'll tell you is that a lot of the drivers for this data surge are the criminal

organizations. The cartels that are there to make a buck, regardless of transporting humans, arms or drugs. What they want to do and what they use

is misinformation. Whether they spread it through Facebook or other social media networks to move groups of migrants through one area, use them as a

decoy to then transport drugs and firearms in another location on the southern border. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes. Fascinating, really important story. Rosa, thank you.

Well, to U.S. politics and an embattled U.S. senator who is refusing to step down after a stinging indictment. Veteran U.S. Senate Democrat Bob

Menendez says that he has no intention of resigning after federal prosecutors laid out an array of bribery and corruption charges against him

and his wife seen here. It's a case that prosecutors say stretches all the way to Egypt. They allege the couple received gold bars, cash and a luxury

car in a scheme that secretly aided the Egyptian government and benefited or protected three others also indicted.

Here's what Menendez told CNN back in April during the investigation.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But to any New Jersey voters watching right now, who may have concerns that again, you're facing scrutiny over corruption.

What is your response to them?

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): The response to that is simply that, number one, this inquiry will end up, I believe, in absolutely nothing.

And if anyone looks at my history on Egypt, they would know that by both denying aid to Egypt, denying arms sales to Egypt, criticizing its human

rights record, I'm not in a position to be helpful to anyone as it relates to Egypt.


ANDERSON: While Menendez is expected to speak to reporters today, we're keeping a close eye on that. Sara Murray back with us this hour. What more

do we know about these charges? This is a 39-page indictment unsealed on Friday. And it speaks to Menendez's a leadership position on the Senate

Foreign Affairs Committee, of course and his power, which makes this story so important.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right. I mean, essentially what prosecutors are saying is that Mendez used his role as a

U.S. senator and then the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as part of this corruption and bribery scheme. And as you pointed

out, prosecutors are saying that he, his wife, accepted bribes and include these gold bars and include piles full of cash, even home mortgage


And that this was part of a scheme to benefit them as well as a couple of New Jersey businessman as well as the country of Egypt. Now, again,

Menendez has been defiant in the face of these charges. You played the sound back in April, he was defiant then when this investigation was going

on. He said in a statement after this indictment was unveiled, I'm not going anywhere.

He has had to pay a small political price already under the Senate rules because of this indictment. He did have to give up his gavel as chair of

the -- of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as you pointed out. A very influential, very important post, but he's still there as a member of

the U.S. Senate. And so, we're waiting to see at this press conference next hour, what he's has to say about the charges that he and his wife are

facing, what he has to say about his political future.

ANDERSON: Yes. And a number of key democratic voices calling on him to resign at this point. We wait to hear from him. Is there any sense that

these are only allegations and as you rightly point out, he refutes of any sense at this point that that is likely what will happen, that he will

resign his position?


MURRAY: I think at this point we don't have an indication that he is going to come out there today and announce some kind of a resignation. As you

said, we're seeing the drumbeat grow louder from Democrats. We're seeing people like the Democratic governor of New Jersey, a close ally of Menendez

call for him to resign. We've seen people like Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, Colin has had him to resign. We've also seen a Democratic member

of Congress, Andy Kim say that he is going to run against Menendez, who's up for reelection next year.

But we -- what we have not seen is this drumbeat of other Democratic senators calling on Menendez to step down. Chuck Schumer, the Senate

Majority Leader has said it's the right thing for Menendez to temporarily step aside from leading the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and there

has been some criticism from what folks have seen in this indictment. But again, we haven't seen the sort of full pressure campaign yet on Menendez

to step aside.

I suspect we're going to see more defiant language from him today. But again, we'll see how he tries to walk this political tightrope in about an


ANDERSON: Good to have you, Sara. Thank you.

MURRAY: Thanks.

ANDERSON: Hollywood writers saw now off the picket line. Now union says there is a tentative deal with the major studios to end their strike.

Here's some of their early reaction.


ANDERSON: Writers Guild of America, the WGA hasn't released the details of this deal. Apparently, there is some fine tuning going on. But a source

tells us that writers could be back on the job as soon as this week. The WGA is nearly five-month-old walkout froze almost all studio production.

And that has been hugely impactful on the studio's bottom lines. And indeed, on those who have been striking their livelihoods on hold.

Let's go live to Los Angeles and CNN's CAMILA BERNAL. And the strike ends a tentative deal has been reached, as we understand it. What happens next?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we still have to wait because everyone here wants to see the actual deal. Wants to see what they

came to an agreement about. And so yes, people are very excited. They're celebrating as you saw there. I talked to one writer who told me, look, I'm

ready to go back to make magic. I'm ready to go back to telling stories. But the union is telling them not yet.

First, what needs to happen here is they need to go over the legal language. That's expected to continue throughout the day. And tomorrow,

there is this possibility of a leadership vote. After the leadership vote, what happens is it then gets made public or a lot of the points will get

made public to the union members. And they'll be able to ask those questions and decide whether or not they want to vote to ratify this


Once that is agreed on, then you're going to start to see some of those changes. So, the first thing you're going to likely see is things like

daytime television. So, the talk shows and the late night shows, those will likely go back on air very soon, if there is this deal. The question here

is what happens to the rest of the T.V. shows this year. And really the movies next summer, we're running out of time which is part of the reason

why both sides really wanted to come to an agreement as soon as possible.

But with the actors still in questions, still on strike, then that really leaves a huge question as to what happens next. And even more waiting time.

But look, so many people that I've talked to have told me they were willing to wait it out as long as it took. And so, the actors have only been on

strike since July. I say only because the other -- the writers were on strike for five months.

So really, it's a long time no matter what but we'll have to wait and see how long they're willing to stick it out for. They're also having similar

demands when it comes to higher wages and artificial intelligence. That we were told was sort of the last sticking point for the writers. But the

actors are also very concerned about artificial intelligence. So, we'll see if this deal with the writers will actually speed up the process for the

actors as well, Becky.

ANDERSON: That's a developing story. A few more than that as we get it. Thank you. Well, light at the end of the tunnel for striking writers but

still no resolution in sight and the U.S. auto workers walk out. The strike targeting all of the big three carmakers has now entered its 11th day. All

this always after the auto workers expanded that walk out on Friday against G.M. and Stellantis, the owner of Chrysler. Progress has been reported in

talks with Ford.

And Canadian Auto Workers narrowly approved a new contract with Ford over the weekend.


Well, just ahead. Report say the man they called the last Godfather has died in Italy. A look back at the terrible legacy of violence that he

leaves behind. That is coming up.


ANDERSON: Back with CONNECT THE WORLD. 20 minutes past 6:00 here. 20 past 10:00 on the East Coast of the United States. And it is the U.S. that is

hurtling dangerously close to the brink of a fiscal cliff. In just five days, the federal government will run out of money and right now, there is

no deal in sight. It's a defining moment for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy who either risks are shut down by appeasing the extreme right or risks his

job by working with Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer taking steps to broker a bipartisan budget deal. So just what does a shutdown mean? And how likely is it at

this point? CNN's Lauren Fox joining me now live on Capitol Hill. Lauren?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. What you can believe right now is that House Republicans do not have a plan to avert a

government shutdown. Instead, what they're going to do this week is put a series of individual spending bills on the floor. Four of the 11 they would

need to pass in order to fund the government. But one thing to keep in mind is those bills are all dead-on arrival in the United States Senate.

Behind closed doors, leaders have been trying to rally their members behind a short-term spending bill to give them more time to negotiate with the

Senate and find a path forward to avert the shutdown. But so far, he -- there are a number of Republican hardliners who are not willing to get to

yes on that short-term solution. So, the Senate is trying to work forward with a bipartisan compromise.

They are trying to find a negotiation led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. But even if they send that

over to the House of Representatives, it will ultimately be up to Kevin McCarthy to decide whether or not to put it on the House floor. And as you

noted, this is really a decision for McCarthy between avoiding a shutdown and putting that Senate passed bill on the floor if it can get out of that

chamber or potentially doing nothing and letting the government shutdown which he has repeatedly warned his members would be a catastrophe for


He's argued that this does not help them in a negotiation on the border. He's argued this is not going to help them in a negotiation on spending

levels. His guidance to his members has been let's rally around something that all the Republicans can agree to. So we can have a stronger

negotiating position with the Senate. But so far, you have hardliners like Matt Gaetz, Matt Rosendale, Tim Burchett all warning that they are not

going to get to yes on that short-term deal. Becky?


ANDERSON: And the deadline is getting closer. Thank you. Well, Italian media reports say that man known as the last godfather of the Sicilian

Mafia has died. Matteo Messina Denaro eluded police for 30 years before being arrested in January while seeking treatment for cancer. He was once

one of the most wanted men in Europe and was accused of ordering dozens of mafia-related murders for the Costa Nostra crime group.

Barbie Nadeau joins me now from Rome. And just remind us who he was and what he did.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. You know, this man has his legacy really written in blood. He had, you know, died with at least 20 life

sentences that had been handed down to him over the years for either murdering himself or ordering the murder of two very, very influential

anti-mafia judges in Sicily. He ordered the murder which was carried out by dissolving the body and acid of a 12-year-old boy who was the son of a


You know, these are just horrific, horrific crimes. And the fact that he was in hiding for so long, you know, really, is a statement about how

strong and influential the mafia still is all across the country. Now, he was part of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, which is, you know, one of the most -

- still one of the strongest and most influential mafia organizations and the one tied to the American crime syndicates.

But his legacy really is one of a dying breed, now a dead breed I guess you could say. You know, he was one of the last real godfathers, you know, Matt

now, mafia bosses are more likely to carry out vendettas by ruining someone financially or ruining their reputation of their businesses or destroying

their businesses burning them down. We're not seeing the kinds of murders that were carried out by Messina Denaro.

So, his legacy, obviously when he was captured was very important last January. But it's much more important now that he's dead because now and

only now will they be able to anoint his replacement which of course won't be announced. It's not a very transparent organization, but you know,

whoever's next won't quite be as deadly but we can be sure they will be as bad.

ANDERSON: Barbie, good to have you. Thank you. Sophia Loren recovering after surgery due to a fall. The 89-year-old Italian filmmaker was rushed

to the hospital on Sunday after a bad fall in her flat in -- her home in Geneva in Switzerland. Her representatives say the hip surgery was

successful. And in their words, the seniora will be back with us very soon.

Well, the drinking water situation in New Orleans is in a dire situation. So much so that the U.S. Army is getting involved. That's coming up.

Plus, the Exodus out of Nagorno Karabakh by ethnic Armenians after Azerbaijan's quick military victory in the breakaway region. Why they say

they had no choice but to leave.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Ethnic Armenians living in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region

streaming into Armenia. More than 6000 people have reportedly entered the country so far. Last week, Azerbaijan launched a military operation and

reclaim the disputed territory and a short-lived but bloody battle killing at least 200.

This recent bout of fighting ended after Russia, a longtime ally of Armenia, with growing ties to Azerbaijan negotiated a ceasefire, but

Armenia's Prime Minister says his country's interests weren't protected and haven't been for quite some time.


NIKOL PASHINYAN, PRIME MINISTER OF ARMENIA (through translator): Azerbaijan's attacks on Armenia in the last years clearly show that the

external security structures are immediate as a part of are not affected from the perspective of Armenia security and state interests.


ANDERSON: While the fighting has stopped, for now, there are fears that it may resume again.

A mass exodus raising fears for Armenia of ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan. A charge (INAUDIBLE) staunchly denies. So far, thousands of ethnic

Armenians have fled the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia. A tragic journey they've become all too familiar with.


SVETLANA HARAPETYAN, NAGORNO-KARABAKH RESIDENT (through translator): We had three wars, three times we left and came back and now we, I don't know.


ANDERSON: Last week, Azerbaijan forced the surrender of ethnic Armenian fighters in the breakaway disputed region. Closing a major chapter in a

conflict that has simmered for decades. But like every walk, the horrors don't stop when the fighting abates. Although internationally recognized as

part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is home to about 120,000 ethnic Armenians who make up the majority of the population.

Over the last three decades, the two countries have fought intense wars over the enclave with a larger, more powerful Azerbaijani military seizing

increased territory. Russia, the traditional power broker says it's been delivering aid to the region's capital Stepanakert and then it's

peacekeepers on the ground will help escort civilians fleeing to Armenia. But despite Moscow's presence, Nagorno-Karabakh has been under a blockade

for nine months.

Azerbaijan-backed forces blockading the lashing corridor, the only road connecting Armenia to the region, preventing the import of food need and

separating families and loved ones.

On Saturday, just days after the ceasefire was signed, the first convoy of humanitarian aid into the region from the International Red Cross. Its

members also carrying out medical evacuations. But there are still fears aid isn't reaching those who need it most. With thousands here having been

surviving with little to no food and fuel for close to a year. And that is why many of those fleeing seem to prefer an uncertain future in Armenia

over a bloody and vicious past in their homeland.

Well, tensions between Kosovo and Serbia high following a deadly clash and standoff near their border on Sunday. A police officer from Kosovo and

three Serbian attackers were killed. Serbia's President denies his country has anything to do with it. Two border crossings between the countries

reportedly remain closed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in a desperate fight to protect the drinking water there are areas around New Orleans and the southern state of



It's planning to drop 163 million liters of fresh water in the Mississippi River treatment centers daily using barges. The mayor of New Orleans is

declaring a state of emergency as the U.S. government tries to delay or avoid a climate disaster that would threaten the area's drinking water.

Ocean water is pushing inland and threatening to get into drinking water systems, says Governor John Bel Edwards is hoping Mother Nature can help

them out.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): I happen to be one who believes in the power of prayer. I'm going to ask for people to pray for rain. But we're going to

-- we're going to do everything we can to make sure that we bring every resource to bear that is reasonably necessary to help us deal with this



ANDERSON: Well, joining us now is our chief climate correspondent Bill Weir. Good to have you, Bill. And how does this work?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the mouth of the Mississippi River is lower than where it enters the Gulf of Mexico. And

because saltwater is denser, this sort of wedge of heavier water pushes up depending on the strength of the mighty Mississippi, which is not so mighty

in the age of climate change alas. Back in 1988, it actually got into the water system of New Orleans for a couple of days.

Now the river is so low and dry. They worry could encroach and stay in that system for weeks or months and thus the emergency measures that are be

taking place now preparing for this. You can actually watch this wedge move upstream here. The officials say in order to beat it back into the sea

where it belongs, the entire Mississippi Valley would need about 25 centimeters of rain. That's how the drought is right now.

And it's not just drinking water Becky, for folks in Louisiana and Mississippi. It's food for everybody, so much food comes in barges down the

Mississippi from the grain belts. Last year when this happened, the price of shipping a bushel of soybeans went up 300 percent. And there's worries

that that could be repeated as well. But there you can see the timing as the saltwater wedge moves winds its way up north up the Mississippi there

as well.

And already a couple thousand people's drinking water supplies are affected. Another 20,000 will be affected if it reaches Belle Chasse, which

you see there on October 13th. And then the big worry, of course is all the folks who live up New Orleans.

ANDERSON: You can see the short-term gain here but long term, this can't be a solution. And it does suggest that this is an extremely expensive way

about going -- ensuring that people have got water so long term. What's the solution here?

WEIR: You know, that's a fantastic question. This is what climate adaptation looks like in real time. The Army Corps of Engineers knew this

had happened in the past, they knew it was going to get worse, they built with sand, this sort of acyl to block that saltwater as it intrudes but it

jumped the sill. And so, they're frantically fighting against time and tide. Man has been trying to tame waterways like the Mississippi for the

past 100 years but that was a different climate system.

And the dikes and dams and pipes that were built for that system may not work anymore. And so, New Orleans is one of those most vulnerable places.

It sits below sea level. It's, you know, protected by levees. It depends on this relationship with salt and freshwater that is breaking down and yes,

it will be really costly.

ANDERSON: Bill Weir on the story for you. Thank you, sir. Bill's our chief climate correspondent.

Well, U.S. Secretary of Defense is in Africa meeting with senior officials in several countries. Coming up. What America is looking for in terms of

relations and security. That is up next.



ANDERSON: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Kenya meeting with his counterpart to strengthen the security partnership between America and the

East African country. Here you see him meeting with his counterpart in Nairobi and is now meeting with Kenya's President William Ruto.

Larry Madowo is in the capital of Nairobi. Larry, this is a trip with a heavy focus on security. First and foremost, explain.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a trip with a heavy focus on security because the U.S. is involved in counterterrorism operations in different

parts of the continent and most notably in the Sahel. And in the Horn of Africa and East Africa, let's start here in East Africa, where Secretary

Austin was in Djibouti meeting with the President of Djibouti and Somalia, because they are key partners in the fight against al Shabaab in Somalia.

This is the main branch of al Qaeda. And he's moved on here to Kenya to meet with the Secretary of Defense here, as well as later with President

William Ruto of Kenya to talk about their security cooperation, their defends cooperation and sign a new agreement that will govern their five-

year relationship. There are some U.S. troops stationed here in the coast of the country at Manda Bay.

They carry some operations into Somalia as well where the U.S. has been training, Somali troops has been involved in supporting a joint African

Union troop deployments in the country and where the expected drawdown but the president of Somalia like a longer period. But Secretary Austin also

made some news while here, reacting to the decision by the French to withdraw the troops out of Niger after the military coup A few months ago.

The French decided that he -- accorded the President Emmanuel Macron, the military of junta in Niger is no longer interested in fighting terrorism,

which is why the 1500 or so troops were there. This is Secretary Austin reacting to what the U.S. will do in that situation.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: When it comes to our force posture in Niger we've not made any significant changes to our force posture. And as I

have mentioned a number of times before, we really want to see a diplomatic solution of all. We want to see a peaceful end to the crisis. And most

important, we want to see the preservation of Niger's diplomatically elected government.


MADOWO: That diplomatic solution looks more and more unlikely. The U.S. has still not declared Niger is a coup which is something that baffled a lot of

people here. The Nigerian military junta celebrated the withdrawal of French troops saying that no new colonial or imperialist troops are welcome

in the country. And that makes it complicated for the 1100 or so U.S. troops to remain in the country.

They're no longer involved actively in day-to-day counterterrorism operations, but they're in country, Becky, and how they handle that will

have to be -- do they agree to work or some kind of deal with Niger military junta? Does that mean they recognize the junta? It's a very

delicate balance. After the meeting with President Ruto here, Secretary Austin goes to Angola for the third and final trip leg of his first African


ANDERSON: Yes. And we know that there is a wider story here. It's how the United States ensures its relations with key partners are solid,

particularly as we see the growing influence of, for example, the Wagner Group and Russia on the Niger fallen and the growing influence, of course,

of China across the kind of wider continent. Look, France ending its true presence in Niger and withdrawing its ambassador. What more do we know at

this point?

MADOWO: That wasn't necessary because a few days ago, President Emmanuel Macron said that the ambassador to Niger was essentially being held hostage

at the embassy there. And so, in the coming days, he and some French military personnel will begin to leave the country. It is necessary because

the junta has said they do not want the French ambassador there. They expelled him but initially the France said he's going to stay.


But if he cannot carry out his operations, how can he remain in the country? About the withdrawal of French troops, the French president said

this will start to come together in a matter of weeks and they expect to have withdrawn all troops by the end of the year. This could be a win for

the Wagner Group which has made some into Niger. It's already active in Mali and in Burkina Faso after again, the withdrawal of French troops


So, this provides an opening for them. It might be a little rudderless now after the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin. So will the Russians take advantage

of that? Could the Nigerians look for support elsewhere? Like you mentioned for China? We just don't know at this point. It's speculative. But

certainly, there's an opening there.

ANDERSON: Larry, always good to have you, sir. Thank you. Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.

And Western intelligence led the Canadian Prime Minister to link the assassination of a Sikh activist India. That's what the U.S. ambassador to

Canada told CTV News. David Cohen said the information came through five Eyes. An intel sharing pack between U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New


Football legend Megan Rapinoe had her swan song with her national team in Chicago on Sunday. After nearly two decades, the two-time Women's World Cup

champion got a standing ovation in a final game in an international shirt. And she got a win as the U.S. beat South Africa two-nil.

The Philippines says it will remove a floating barrier in a disputed area of the South China Sea. Barrier was installed by China's Coast Guard.

Philippine claims it is illegally blocking Filipino fishing boats. China claims the area as its own.

You're watching connect the world with me Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi. Time here just after quarter to 7:00 in the evening. California

bringing in a new tool to try to stop wildfires before they become infernos. What is it? It's artificial intelligence and we will show you how

it works and how well it works after this.

Plus, an asteroid sample is landed on Earth. Why this first time feat for NASA is furthering space research. All that coming up.


ANDERSON: Chinese tech giant Huawei held a full season product launch on Monday. That executive so it will keep the momentum going. After

groundbreaking few months for the firm. Huawei announcing a number of new products including electric cars, earbuds and a gold smartwatch. While the

event was watched by millions online. The company however, said virtually nothing about its new Meet 60 smartphone line which appears to offer

superfast 5G connectivity.

Well, the U.S. slapped sanctions against the firm intended to keep that kind of highly advanced technology out of Chinese hands. Huawei is also

hoping to fuel growth in the Middle East and Africa with new investments to help make up for its lack of access to U.S. and some European markets. It

also says it wants to be a leader in artificial intelligence.


Well, California's wildfire season is winding down but the threat seems to grow more ominous every year. So, fire officials are always looking for

ways to gain advantage and the latest may come in a network of cameras linked to A.I. CNN's Stephanie Elam takes a closer look at what is the

remarkable technology.


STEPHANI ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): In California where wildfires are a constant threat, firefighters want every advantage they can get on a

blaze before it becomes an inferno.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While I was asleep in bed my phone dings.

ELAM (voiceover): Cal Fire got slump, got that leg up while testing new technology in July when he got a text message with a link to this. Video of

a fire that started in the middle of the night deep in the California wilderness

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dispatch center there was not aware of the fire.

ELAM (voiceover): But something else was, Artificial Intelligence. Cal Fire in partnership with U.C. San Diego's alert California Program and its

network of more than 1000 cameras across the state. It's using the technology to recognize a fire early on.

STAFF CHIEF PHILIP SELEGUE: The next morning that fire would have been a fire of significance.

ELAM (voiceover): Instead, firefighters were dispatched immediately knocking the blaze down before it did major damage.

SELEGUE: So, the fires that you don't hear about in the news is the greatest success of this.

ELAM (on camera): These cameras are the new eyes for firefighters. These two position more than 5000 feet above sea level can see across this

massive Southern California Valley. And they're really adding precision to the spotting of wildfires compared to more traditional ways like this

lookout station where I'm standing. With this new A.I. technology, they can often spot wildfires more quickly than the human eye can.

ELAM (voiceover): Here's how it works. Look at this image. Could you spot a fire? Probably not. But notice that red box on the right side. That's where

artificial intelligence has detected a faint column of smoke.

BRIAN NORTON, ALERT CALIFORNIA FIRE LIAISON: There's nothing on that horizon. Then something appears on that horizon that wasn't there before.

That could be smoke. The camera will pick that up and go, that does not look normal.

SELEGUE: We have multiple successes of fires at night that had gone undetected that were able to suppress before a none one phone call had even

come into the command centers.

ELAM (voiceover): The pilot program works so well that CalFire recently expanded it to all 21 of its dispatch centers, where an official will

validate the imagery to make sure it is not just dust or clouds.

SELEGUE: Our goal as an agency is to keep 95 percent of our fires at 10 acres or less. So, this tool increases our ability to ensure that we're

keeping those fires small.

ELAM (voiceover): And the A.I. is constantly learning. Each time a human confirms or corrects what it detects, the technology adapts.

ELAM (on camera): Do you think that it's making a difference and how you're able to protect the population?


ELAM (voiceover): This technology won't replace people, CAROL LEONNIG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Fire says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: nothing can take the place of the boots on the ground.

ELAM (voiceover): But can help first responders stop fires before they explode?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my opinion, save lives and property.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Riverside County, California.


ANDERSON: Seven years ago, a spacecraft from NASA set out to extract a sample from an asteroid named Bennu. That sample began its journey back to

Earth in 2021. And on Sunday, touchdown in the Utah desert. Researchers and recovery teams have been preparing for the sample's arrival for months.

Scientists will take the next two years to examine the sample of rock and soil.

The research we are told will help NASA understand an asteroid that would collide or could collide with Earth in the future. Kristin Fisher with


KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft left Earth back in 2016. Since then, it has traveled more than

four billion miles to the asteroid Bennu and back before finally releasing a capsule over the United States on Sunday morning.

Inside that capsule is about half a pound worth of rocks, dust from the asteroid itself. And this is really the first time that NASA has ever done

anything like this. This capsule reenter the Earth's atmosphere traveling about 27,000 miles per hour, it hit temperatures of about 5000 degrees

Fahrenheit before finally touching down at a very gentle 11 miles per hour in a remote stretch of the desert in Utah with the help of some very big


From there, the recovery team swooped in to make sure that the capsule was intact and safe and not leaking any toxic fumes. It was deemed to be intact

and safe. And so, from there, they moved it to a cleanroom and from there, they're going to be transporting it to the Johnson Space Center in Houston

Texas where they will open up the capsule for the public to see.


And it's also where scientists are going to be spending the next few years studying what is inside. And this is important because scientists believe

that ancient asteroids like Bennu contained the seeds of life that this asteroid in a way perhaps might have acted like a seed when it -- or an

asteroid like it, hit the Earth and had molecules like, you know, water, carbon, things like that, which then seeded the Earth and then proved to be

the genesis for life as we know it.

So, there's a very important scientific component to this. But there's also the planetary defense component because Bennu was an asteroid that has a

very small chance of actually hitting Planet Earth in the year 2182. But that is about more than 150 years from now. So, scientists have time but

again very small chance but it's enough to where NASA wanted to get an up close and personal look at the asteroid itself.

Kristen Fisher, CNN, Washington.

ANDERSON: Well, the sample has landed and that is it for this edition of CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson. Thank you for watching wherever

you are watching in the world, CNN News Central is up next.


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- is set to make his first remarks since being indicted on bribery charges. The nation watching as

members of his own party are calling on him to step down.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And with the clock ticking to zero on a government shutdown and maybe his own job. What are House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's

latest plans?


SIDNER: Three writers in Hollywood reaching a tentative deal with major studios and potentially ending a months-long strike