Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

U.S. Set to Support Gaza Resolution at U.N.; Czech Republic Reels from Deadliest Mass Shooting in Decades; Detroit News: Recordings Reveal Trump Pressured Two Michigan Election Officials to not Certify 2020 Results; Record-Breaking Travels as Millions Head Home for the Holidays; View from above as Volcanic Eruption Begins to Slow. Aired 9-9:45a ET

Aired December 22, 2023 - 09:00   ET




MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: It's 2 pm here in London. I'm Max Foster. This is "Connect the World". This hour a CNN analysis explores the

impact of Israeli bombs on Gaza in just the first month of the war, a scale that military experts say hasn't been seen since Vietnam.

The normally quiet city of Prague wakes up in shock and horror after a deadly and rare shooting attack left 14 dead. New details and information

from the police is just ahead. U.S. airlines are preparing to fly close to 3 million passengers a day over the long holiday weekend. But is the travel

industry prepared?

The entire population of Gaza is hungry and there's an increasing risk of famine. A new U.N. report on food security says that is a brutal reality in

the besieged enclave 2.5 months into Israel's war with Hamas. It says virtually all households are skipping meals, sometimes for days at a time

and adults are giving their children what little food they can get hold of.

A CNN analysis shows the Israeli military has struck at least three locations this month, where it told people to seek shelter. And as the

casualties mount Gaza's overwhelmed hospitals and malls can't keep up with the crash of victims. Nima Elbagir has more on that. And I have to warn you

there are disturbing scenes in this report.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Air strike after air strike after air strike, in the daily bombardment Gazans rarely find a reprieve.

When the smoke clears, it's back to the daily routine searching the rubble, hoping for miracles, hoping to find survivors, a journey that leads many to

the overflowing morgues.

At the European Hospital in Southern Gaza, there is no relief in identifying the dead. Roughly 20,000 people killed in Gaza after 11 weeks

of Israeli bombardment according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah. A number CNN can't verify but U.N. officials say they found the

ministry's figures from past complex to be accurate. A grim landmark with every lost life the pain is inconsolable.

RIDAAN ABU MA'MAR, GAZA RESIDENT: There is nowhere safe in the whole of the Gaza Strip. My whole family has gone. We are only four people left out a

family of eight.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): In Southern Gaza the bombs don't stop nor does the flow of the injured to overwhelmed hospitals, disrupting the rare moments

of respite where children can play.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was at my aunt's house and we were playing. We saw a big and fast airplane flying over and suddenly it bombed our place. And

stones fell on me and then people remove me from the rubble.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Israel's ground offensive continues across Gaza despite the U.S. raising concerns about civilian casualties it continues to

back Israel's war. The U.N. warns of a toxic mix of disease, hunger and lack of hygiene and sanitation. Outbreaks of infectious disease add to the

impossible task of survival.

Most of the 2.2 million population is displaced and struggling to find food and clean water. The World Health Organization says there are no

functioning hospitals left in Northern Gaza. The one sprawling Al-Ahli Hospital Complex is barely providing relief.

SEAN CASEY, W.H.O. EMERGENCY MEDICAL TEAM: What we found here is a hospital that's really almost completely stopped functioning. Two days ago a number

of staff was detained.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Instead of preparing for Christmas, this church has become a hospital ward.

CASEY: But they're not able to perform surgery. They're able to only provide pain management, some wound care, some trauma stabilization.

They're doing their best with a very small team of only about 10 clinical staff left at this hospital.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Hours after posting this video of the first aid center at the battered Jabalia Camp, the Palestinian Red Crescent said the

center was raided and communication was cut off. And yet the dead and dying just keep coming. Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


FOSTER: The U.N. Security Council is finally expected to vote today on a resolution calling for a halt the fight in Gaza and an increase in

desperately needed humanitarian aid. The vote was delayed multiple times over the past week while negotiators worked on language acceptable to the


The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. says that's been worked out now. The U.S. is ready to support the resolution. A group in Israel that monitors

hostages says a 73-year-old hostage with dual Israeli American citizenship has died. Gadi Haggai and his family were kidnapped on October 7th whilst

walking in their kibbutz.


The hostages and missing family's forum says, he was shot and critically injured at the time and his wife is still being held captive by Hamas. Will

Ripley is getting more information on that. Natasha is looking things from the U.S. side as well. Will, first of all to you, what can you tell us

about this, this apparently awful story?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Awful is, is one of many words that you could use to describe what is happening every single

day in this conflict. And this is a tragedy that began back on the morning of October 7th when Gadi Haggai and his wife Judy, were out taking their

morning walk like they did every day in the vineyards and fields near their kibbutz near --

And they saw the rockets in the skies, and then came under attack from Hamas militants. Judy was apparently able to get a hold of somebody to let

them know that her husband had been shot, that's when they lost contact. Presumably, that's when they were taken into Gaza. Now we don't know

details surrounding the circumstances of their detainment.

But previous detainees have described conditions of just total isolation being first of all separated from their loved ones. They didn't keep

brothers and sisters or husbands and wives together, they were on their own. A total information blackout, sometimes sitting in these dark tunnels

hungry, exhausted hearing every single airstrike wondering if people even remembered them amidst all the chaos happening around them.

But of course, they were very much remembered Israel has been fighting to get these hostages back. But striking a deal with Hamas has proven

incredibly difficult. One, just disagreements over how long the fighting should stop, which prisoners on the Palestinian side, meaning, you know,

they're wanting high level militants essentially released in exchange for these women and elderly and critical care patients that Israel is trying to

secure the release of several dozen of them remaining in Gaza, it is believed, Max.

And so we know that Judy still remains in custody as her family will mourn the loss even if she might not be aware of it yet, of her husband, who was

a musician, someone who played the flute. And loved living a quiet life, just a few miles from the Gaza border, or at least it was a quiet life

until those horrific attacks on October 7th Max.

FOSTER: OK, back with you in a minute. But Natasha, some glimmer of hope that the intensity of this fighting may die down, if I can call it that,

because of this U.N. resolution. But it's not really the U.N. that would sway Israel, am I right it's more the U.S. position?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: That's exactly right, Max. And look, the U.N. vote has been delayed four times already to try to

get to some kind of formulation that the U.S. would actually accept for this vote on what would basically be a pause in the hostilities to allow

more humanitarian aid to get into Gaza.

As well as some kind of monitoring mechanism that would allow it to flow in more quickly. An original text of this resolution called for the U.N. to

establish its own mechanism using their own inspectors to inspect the aid that is going into Gaza. Because of course, a key concern among the

Israelis has been the smuggling, potential smuggling of equipments and weaponry into Gaza that Hamas could then use.

And so the resolution calls for an independent investigator that would allow the aid to be monitored flowing in and allow everything to kind of

move more quickly so that Israel wouldn't be holding it up every time. The aid flowed in from Rafah into Gaza. But there were some key sticking points

with exactly what that monitoring mechanism would look like.

It was unclear whether the Israelis would be OK with the U.N. doing it, for example, which is what Egypt had proposed. And so, now it seems like in

addition to that, in addition to some softening of that language around that monitoring mechanism, there's also a softening of the language around

cessation of hostilities and what that actually would look like.

Because if you'll recall, of course, the U.S. and Israel they do not support a ceasefire at this moment. And the original text of the language

said that it called for an urgent cessation of hostilities. Well, now, we are told that language has been changed to a sustainable cessation of

hostilities as this aid flows in. So a number of key tweaks here that would allow the U.S. to feel more comfortable supporting it.

It does appear now like the U.S. is going to vote in favor of this resolution. What that would mean would be a couple of days, perhaps of a

pause in the fighting and new monitoring mechanism to allow that aid to go in. But we'll have to see, of course, what the final text looks like, that

allowed the U.S. to finally be able to support it, Max.

FOSTER: Just explain what's happening here because this is the U.S. wanting to sign up to this agreement. And that's the only real authority that has

any sort of control over Israel from what you know, we can all tell. So is this a gateway for the U.S. to go to Israel with a very clear message,

which has international support that you know, they you know, will be determined that Israel signs up to?


BERTRAND: I think so; I think that the U.S. obviously has been inching closer and closer towards telling the Israelis flat out that they need to

be changing the way that they're conducting their operations in Gaza. And supporting this resolution, which they have not done previously is a way

for them to say, look, we need a mechanism here that actually enforces the flow of aid into Gaza in a way that has been really hindered in recent

weeks, because of all of the concerns that the Israelis had over the possibility that's again, some of that aid might include things that could

go to Hamas.

And so, the pause in hostilities that would allow that humanitarian assistance to go into the Gaza Strip, that is something that the U.S. has

been extremely focused on. It's why they asked the Israelis to open another border crossing into Gaza so that they could allow more aid to go in,

because we are seeing, of course, the huge humanitarian crisis that is unfolding there.

But the key sticking point, of course, remains that the U.S. and Israel they are not at this point supporting a longer term ceasefire. And so this

is kind of a middle ground that allows the U.S. to support something without going all the way and saying that Israel should completely stop its

hostilities, Max.

FOSTER: Thank you so much for joining us with that analysis.


FOSTER: And we await that vote. Now next hour we'll speak with Bob Kitchen as well from the International Rescue Committee. His organization is

calling on the U.N. Security Council to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and to open up more entry points for aid to get inside the besieged


Meanwhile, analysis by CNN and an AI Company suggests that in the first months of its war in Gaza, Israel drops hundreds of 2000 pound bombs. Those

are four times heavier than the largest bombs the U.S. dropped in Iraq during the war against ISIS. Our analysis suggests that such massive bombs

are capable of killing or wounding people more than 300 meters away.

And don't forget the population of Gaza has packed together more tightly than almost anywhere else on the planet. Weapons and warfare experts blame

the extensive use of heavy munitions for the soaring death toll. You can read more about this analysis on where we break down what led us to

these findings including satellite imagery and expert interviews.

Now to the search for answers in Thursday's mass shooting at Charles University in Prague, Czech Police are still looking for a motive as to why

the 24-year-old philosophy student opened fire, killing 14 fellow students and staff and ruining 25 others. The government's father was also found

dead and authorities are now linking the shooter to a double murder in Prague last week.

We now have video from police vests as they walk through the schools corridors. Authorities confirmed the killer later shot himself. The horror

of the bloodshed was still sinking in at a vigil last night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really can't even come to understand what's happened here today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks like it's something totally unprecedented in the Czech Republic. And I think everybody is completely shaken.


FOSTER: Police are bolstering security across the Czech Republic even though there are no specific threats. They had received a tip about the

shooter and tried to stop him just before the Rampage, details now from CNN's Melissa Bell.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Terror on the streets of Prague, students risking their lives to escape a gunman's bullets that

killed more than a dozen on Thursday afternoon. More than 20 were injured, 10 severely in the shooting at Prague's Charles University before the

gunman, an enrolled philosophy student were eliminated, police said. It's an attack that has rocked the Czech Republic.

PETR FIALA, CZECH PRIME MINISTER: There is absolutely no explanation, no justification for this. Like many of you, I am feeling a deep sorrow in

disgust over this incomprehensible and brutal violence.

BELL (voice-over): As night fell on Prague details emerged about the 24- year-old suspect. Before the deadly shooting in the Capitol, police said the shooter left his home village where his father was found dead. Intent

on further bloodshed, he made his way to the check Capitol. Tipped off, police forces rushed to evacuate the building where the shooter was due to

attend a lecture.

But he struck elsewhere, forcing students to barricade themselves inside classrooms later evacuated on us. Their preparation for end-of-year exams

is brutally shattered by the country's deadliest shooting in decades. No indication of a link to international terrorism. The Czech Interior

Minister confirmed as city in shock on a continent where mass shootings are few and far between.



FOSTER: Melissa joins us now. I mean, they're few and far between, aren't they across the continent, as you say, but you know, extremely rare in the

Czech Republic.

BELL: Extremely this was the first time in fact in the country's history Max, that there was a mass shooting inside of school or a college, but they

are pretty rare across Europe. Anyway, if you look at the figures of the mass shootings this year defined as mass shootings in which four or more

people were either injured or killed, there have been 630 in the United States, just five in the European Union.

They simply don't happen on the same scale. And yet at their heart, of course, as ever, the same sense of shock, the senselessness of the killing.

These are words that have come back over and over again, in the words of Czech police and Czech leaders. And as you say, those body cam images

released just a short while ago, the press conference really give a better idea of the kind of chaos that you see.

At these times the sort of things the first responders are faced with, including the images of the mostly students, a couple of staff members

strewn on the ground, as they carried out the triage, trying to save who they could, failing to save in the end, 14 people. There are we now know 25

people who were injured. They are said to be in a stable condition by Czech authorities.

But we've also been hearing from the police chief at their press conference, Max that it was the swift response of those first responders

that prevented there being further bloodshed since when you looked at the young man's weaponry, his ammunitions. The ammunition he brought with him

clearly this is a massacre that could have gone much further still.

Chilling details as well of course about his linking according to the police, and after they raided his home, found evidence they say they're

linking him to a double homicide last week. A man and his young child described as a baby by Czech officials were found in a forest in a suburb

of Prague, and there had been no leads in that case until now, he's not being linked to that.

And yet, here's a young man who had no criminal record, he had legal access to his guns. He had the permits, he needed to have them. And so even if the

scale is different, the same questions posed themselves on both sides of the Atlantic how these kinds of events, tragedies can be prevented, when

there was nothing to suggest to authorities that he was about to act, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Melissa, thank you. Still to come, we're getting a heartbreaking look at the crisis in the on the U.S. southern border.

There's an overwhelming surge of migrants continues to arrive seeking asylum. A U.S. newspaper in Michigan says there is a recorded phone call of

then President Donald Trump putting pressure on election officials. Hear from the reporter who broke that story next.



FOSTER: Now the Texas National Guard denies claims from an immigration activist ignored a migrant calling out for help as she struggled to cross

the Rio Grande River with a child in her arms. Here's look at that purported video.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, help me. Help me. Don't abandon me here


FOSTER: Immigration Activist Priscilla Lugo says she shot this video 10 days ago and was distressed by what she saw. In a statement the National

Guard said it determined there were no signs of medical distress in this situation, and the woman and a child had the ability to return to the

Mexican shore. For more on this let's bring in CNN's Priscilla Alvarez in Washington. The problem with the video is it sort of works gets so many

people's natural instincts when they see it, they was trying to help.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, and these are exactly the incidents that the White House has been alarmed by. Texas has been

operating its own border security mission for some time. And in that video, you saw Texas National Guardsmen who were watching this unfold on two

nearby boats but did not intervene. Now this occurred on December 12th again, filmed by that immigration activist who was on the river working on

a public safety digital project.

And the Texas National Guard has since responded denying any wrongdoing and saying in a statement, "The Texas National Guard soldiers approached by

boat and determined that there were no signs of medical distress, injury or incapacitation and they had the ability to return the short distance back

to the Mexican shore. The soldiers were made on site to monitor the situation".

But Max, what this demonstrates is also just how untenable the situation on the U.S. Mexico border has become. Current and Former Homeland Security

officials telling me that the border is at a breaking point as they see consecutive days of 10,000 people crossing the U.S. Mexico border on a

daily basis stretching what has already been an overwhelmed immigration system.

The situation is becoming so dire that yesterday President Biden spoke by phone with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to place pressure

on Mexico to do more to stem the flow of migrants. And they both agreed that more enforcement is urgently needed.

And they also agreed that senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro

Mayorkas will all be going down to Mexico in the coming days to continue these discussions with Mexico. But all of this, logistical challenges,

political challenges here in the U.S. converging in this moment for what is making out to be a very difficult situation for the White House to


FOSTER: OK and thank you so much for that. Well, we're asking the different questions. Well, did Donald Trump pressure U.S. election officials in 2020?

One Michigan Newspaper says yes, and that they have heard the recordings as well to prove it. According to "The Detroit News", then President Donald

Trump can be heard on a phone call pressuring to local election officials in Michigan to not certify the 2020 vote.

Craig Mauger is the Michigan Reporter at "The Detroit News" who broke this story. And here's what he told CNN a short while ago.


CRAIG MAUGER, STATE POLITICS REPORTER, THE DETROIT NEWS: There is a whistleblower that possesses the audio of these recordings and the timing

of the release and their ultimate decision on whether to release these recordings publicly is up to that person. Their investigator at multiple

levels is looking into the pressure and the effort by Donald Trump and his supporters to overturn the election in Michigan. And this, these recordings

seem to fit with a lot of other information that we have already.


FOSTER: For further analysis on the report from "Detroit News" CNN's Jessica Schneider has been looking through it and she joins us live from

Washington. There are two things here, aren't there? There is what we see in the tapes and hearing the tapes or that or what the newspaper did rather

and then the timing of its release as well.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, right. The timing right on the eve of Jack Smith, going to the Supreme Court asking for a review of

an issue in that election subversion case. You know, if Jack Smith ends up having this tape if he hasn't already, it could play a part in that case.

You know, we previously reported we knew that Trump had called these two Michigan officials.

But now what we're seeing from what the "Detroit News" is reporting is that Trump was pressuring these county canvassers not to sign the certification.

And that was crucial, because that eventually certified the vote for Joe Biden in Wayne County, home to Detroit, and then ended up certifying the

vote for Joe Biden in all of Michigan.

So the way the timeline played out is these two canvassers. They initially said, no, we don't want to certify the vote. Then there was some outrage by

their fellow canvassers who said, there's no voting fraud. There's no election fraud. And so the canvassers then said yes, they later said that

they were sort of cohorts and they're saying yes. So it was after that part of the meeting that they got this call from Trump and the RNC Chairwoman

Ronna McDaniel urging them not to sign the certification.


You know, Trump apparently referenced alleged fraud in Detroit saying, you know, how can you sign something when you have more votes than people? That

was a false statement. There was not election fraud in Detroit, which is what Trump was referring to. But nonetheless, this is further proof that

Donald Trump was trying to influence the way the election was actually unfolding in the certification.

So Max, "The Detroit News" has heard this phone call. They say they've heard about four minutes of this phone call, but they're not releasing it,

because as you heard the whistleblower doesn't want it released. The question is, does Jack Smith have this recording? Will it be used in this

federal criminal case against Donald Trump that right now is scheduled to go to trial as soon as March 4th although that could get pushed back a

little bit because of the appeals that are playing out. Max?

FOSTER: You've obviously followed Donald Trump for many years, you know, how you react to these situations? How do you expect him to respond?

SCHNEIDER: Yeah. He sort of seizes on these opportunities as ways to get him into the press and he always has a way of spinning these. I mean, we

heard from Ronna McDaniel sort of saying that, you know, what you're hearing now is exactly what she had said in 2020. She believed that an

audit needed to be done, and that needed to be looked into.

I mean, Donald Trump for all these years has continued to insist that the vote was rigged that there was fraud in the election when we know

repeatedly, courts have said there's no proof of that, and there is no proof of it. But Donald Trump will probably continue to seize on this as we

move into his 2024 campaign, Max.

FOSTER: Your prediction for 2024, thank you so much, indeed for joining us today. Now following the 2020 election, two women who worked on the count

in Georgia were accused of vote rigging by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Last week a jury ruled that for defaming the women, Giuliani should pay nearly

$150 million in damages.

But on Thursday, Giuliani filed for bankruptcy in federal court. Lawyers for the election workers have indicated they will soon ask for the right to

seize Giuliani's properties. The U.S. Air Force says it will resume using the Pacific airfield that launched the atomic bombings of Japan during

World War Two.

The Air Force's Top Commander in the Pacific says, the airfield on Tinian in Northern Mariana Islands will be reclaimed from the jungle that's grown

up since it was last used in 1946. The U.S. wants to have a wider range of Pacific bases in case of any hostilities with China. Still to come across

the U.S. record numbers of people are expected to take to the skies as the holiday travel. The rush at least gets underway, that's next.



FOSTER: I'm Max Foster in London. You are watching "Connect the World". In the U.S. the holiday travel rush is getting well underway. The American

Automobile Association predicting record levels of air travel through the Christmas and New Year's travel period. And American Airlines the nation's

largest carrier expects today to be the busiest day of the travel season.

Not everyone will be flying though. Roads may be extra busy too; overall 115 million Americans are expected to travel 80 kilometers or more from

home this holiday season. Our CNN's Pete Muntean joins me now live from Ronald Reagan International Airport. Polo Sandoval is at New York's

LaGuardia. How's it looking today then, Pete?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Max, it's pretty interesting in that the cancellations that are the highest right now or

internationally out of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. You know, here in the U.S. though, things are relatively smooth right now. The TSA line behind

me, it's only taking folks about four or seven minutes right now to get through standard security here.

Yesterday was a really big day; it actually exceeded the initial projection from the Transportation Security Administration. They thought two and a

half million people would be traveling through airports nationwide, really turned out to be closer to 2.64 million and today will be even bigger. The

TSA anticipating 2.7 million people will be screened at airport security nationwide on 44,000 flights.

I just took flight aware the cancellations and delays here in the U.S. only in the double digits when it comes to cancellations, about 50 so far in the

U.S. about 500 delays. Although the Federal Aviation Administration is warning of ground stops today in places like LA and Phoenix, because of a

big weather system there and they are warning of delays in places like Minneapolis and across Texas because of low cloud ceilings.

The big message from the airline industry is make sure that you have their app downloaded and that you're ready for anything, especially after the

Southwest meltdown of last year. 16,000 flights canceled, 2 million people left in the lurch over that 10 day meltdown. And Transportation Secretary

Pete Buttigieg says, the agency will be watching to make sure that airlines perform with the threat of some weather off in the distance over the

weekend. Listen.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: I would say we know that weather is coming our way. It's why you want to make sure that you're keeping in

touch with your airline. The big thing that we can control though, that airlines need to control is, how resilient the system is to that weather.


MUNTEAN: AAA says, 115 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more over the next few days. 111 million people will drive. And what is interesting

is that because of the Christmas holiday falls on a Monday and New Year's falls on a Monday, there may be some bad days for traffic in the middle of

the week, when folks really meet with normal traffic for driving to work and normal commuters with the holiday traffic.

And then also you may be able to get a bit of a window on Saturday and Sunday although Saturday is supposed to be the biggest. It's usually best

to drive on Christmas day itself. The good news here is that the average price for a gallon of gas is down a little bit it's $3.12. That is down

from where we were a month ago but up a little bit from where we were a year ago, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Pete, thank you. Polo, there's a lot to worry about, isn't it for travelers? But they're determined to go ahead if they've reached where

you are? Are they in good humor?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They certainly are Max. And standing here in New York's LaGuardia, you wouldn't really know that this is supposed to

be one of the busiest holiday travel seasons in recent years. That's because here in New York, what we've been seeing throughout the day is this

sort of steady flow of passengers some even with their pets making their way here to check in.

That's compared to what we've seen in previous years, which are usually those large crowds, gathering at ticket counters and of course long lines

for at security checkpoints. Instead, though, again that gradual number of outbound passengers. One woman is telling us describing her passenger

experience today as in her words smooth. And that is largely the case, checking the board here at New York's LaGuardia, no cancellations at this

point, no delays.


So it does look promising. Those certainly have to hold the applause to see what happens the rest of today. And as Pete just mentioned, and especially

on the return trips, look, the reality is, there's so much that's out of the control of airlines. One of those, of course, being weather that we

have seen the federal government really increasing the pressure on these airlines to at least maintain a certain level of resiliency in those

systems to try to limit any potential impacts.

But again, at this point, at least here in New York's LaGuardia, things running relatively smooth, we'll see what happens to the rest of the day


FOSTER: Yeah, good news for now. Thank you so much Polo. Just ahead on "Connect the World" we'll preview the FIFA Club World Cup final. Stakes are

high as U.S. Manchester City faces South America's big team as well in this year's tournament. And in the Land of Fire and Ice will take you to the

sky. CNN takes a ride over the eruption zone in Iceland.


FOSTER: One of eruptions from Iceland volcano appears to be slowing. Authorities warn the area remains dangerous. Iceland's coastguard flu

scientists over the eruption zone on Thursday, they say no volcanic activity was visible was too soon to declare the eruption is over. The

decrease in activity allowed residents of Grindavik to briefly check on their homes. The 4000 residents have been allowed back occasionally since

being evacuated in early November, but they are worried about the future of their community.


GUTHJON EMIL GARTHARSSON, GRINDAVIK RESIDENT: How this is, it's I don't think not soon. But maybe in the future hopefully, but we'll just have to

see because the crack goes through the town. So we'll just have to see if it's going to survive.


FOSTER: CNN's Fred Pleitgen took a ride with Iceland's Coast Guard as they monitored the eruption from the sky.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iceland's Coast Guard flying into the eruption zone in the Arctic night.

PLEITGEN: These flights are extremely important for the Icelandic Coast Guard. On the one hand, they have to survey the area, but they also have to

practice in case they need to do mass evacuations at night.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Iceland was prepared for the massive eruption that started early this week, more than two mile long fissure spewing magma

hundreds of feet into the air. But while residents have been evacuated, authorities are still working in the area.

JENS POR SIGUROARSON, COMMANDER, ICELAND COAST GUARD: So this is highly important for us to do this during the night, and so there's a lot of

hassle involved.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The crew even spots a person walking close to the lava and say they notified police to check it out. The eruption has

weakened considerably, but magma is still bubbling below us. The crew strapped me in for closer look.


PLEITGEN: This is an amazing thing to be witnessing from up here. We can see active volcanic lava (ph) still there. We can see the lava. We can

smell the magma. We can feel the power and our planet --

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The chopper drops us off right by the lava field to train evacuations.

PLEITGEN: This is extremely challenging flying for these aviators. Right now they're practicing hoist operations in case they have to medically

evacuate a casualty from this area in the dark.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): As furious as the eruption was initially it also seems to be subsiding fast, Seismologist Kristin Jonsdottir tells me.

KRISTIN JONSDOTTIR, ICELANDIC METEOROLOGICAL OFFICE: It was very active in the beginning four kilometers long fissure that opened and very high rates

of magma flow. So it's a bit of a surprise that it has all culminated.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Those evacuated cannot return home yet, as the magma tunnel here remains active and authorities say further eruptions are still

possible. Fred Pleitgen CNN, Grindavik, Iceland.


FOSTER: Manchester City faces Fluminense later today at the FIFA World Cup Final in Saudi Arabia. This will be the 13th time that the final match will

feature a European and a South American Club. Teams from Europe have dominated winning the last 10. But that does not guarantee how today match

will plays out especially without one of the biggest stars of Man City. Carolyn Manno joins us live from New York. What you're looking for,


CAROLYN MANNO, CNN WORLD SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Max. Well, Manchester City trying to join fellow English Clubs Manchester United Liverpool and

Chelsea's Premier League teams who have won this competition. But you're right. This is not going to be an easy task. Man City Manager Pep Guardiola

has compared Fluminense's style of football with some of the great Brazilian teams of the 20th century and was just full of praise saying that

they've never faced a team who play quite the way that they do.

Manchester City could hold five major trophies at the same time with victory on Friday Max, there'll be with outstared striker Erling Haaland.

But despite that fact, the last couple of years have shown that it is certainly hard to bet against him. So it should be a very fun, magical.

We'll have more on that coming up on "World Sport".

FOSTER: Very much looking forward to that. "World Sport" then coming up next with Carolyn, thanks for watching.