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Blinken Shuttles Around Middle East In Diplomatic Push; Lebanese Security Source: Senior Hezbollah Commander Killed In Israel Strike On Southern Lebanon; Al Jazeera: Two Journalists Killed In Gaza Sunday; Missing Section Of Plane That Blew Off Mid-Flight Is Found; Blinken Visits Middle East In Effort To Stop A Wider War; Death Toll Rises To 160+, More than 300 Missing Since Quake. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 08, 2024 - 10:00   ET





BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Second hour for you.

The head of the World Health Organization says Gaza's Al-Aqsa Hospital which he calls the most important hospital remaining in central Gaza must

stay functional and protected.

It comes as multiple aid groups say they have been forced to withdraw from the facility, saying increased Israeli military activities made it too

dangerous to stay.

We're going to show you some pictures, which I warn you are graphic, taken yesterday.

CNN cannot independently verify conditions inside the hospital. But the WHO chief says when the group's representatives made a visit, they saw dead and

injured lying on the floor as well as blood street floors in chaotic corridors, and I quote him there.

Meantime, America's top diplomat is aiming to prevent a wider conflict from erupting. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has just touched down in

from the UAE and he set to meet with Israeli officials on Tuesday.

At a news conference in Doha on Sunday, Blinken criticize, what he called, irresponsible and inflammatory statements by Israeli government ministers

who have called for Palestinians to be resettled outside Gaza.

Well, that was just one of the big moments to note so far on the top American diplomat's latest trip to the region.

Have a look at this.


ANDERSON (voice over): U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, shuttling around the region on his fourth trip as Israel's war in Gaza escalates

tension around the Middle East.

Jordan's King Abdullah warning on Sunday of catastrophic consequences of the continuing war in Gaza. From Jordan, Blinken went to Qatar, which has

been instrumental in negotiating for the release of hostages held in Gaza.

Qatar's prime minister, saying the recent killing of the senior Hamas official by Israel could impact hostage negotiations.

MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL THANI, PRIME MINISTER OF QATAR: Of course, having one of the senior leader of Hamas being killed is something

that can affect such a complicated process. Yet we are not giving up. We are moving forward.

ANDERSON: Well, that killing of a senior Hamas official inside Beirut in Lebanon, just one of the flashpoints escalating tensions since Blinken's

last visit.

ANDERSON (voice over): The Americans also killing an Iran-backed militia leader in Iraq after an attack on a U.S. air base.

ANDERSON: And the Iranian-backed Houthi is continuing to interrupt international shipping in the Red Sea.

Last month, the U.S. announcing an international effort to deter Houthi attacks. But in this region where I am, very few countries willing to join

that coalition to counter those threats.

ANDERSON (voice over): From Qatar, Blinken came here to Abu Dhabi, meeting with the UAE president, Mohammed bin Zayed. The trip also includes Saudi

Arabia, Egypt, Israel and the West Bank, where officials say there will be tough conversations.

But if Blinken's past visits are any indication, and with no sign of an end to Israel's assault on Gaza, his presence may not be enough to calm the



ANDERSON (on camera): And just today, further indication that this conflict is spreading, is slipping. Nic Robertson joins us from Tel Aviv, where Mr.

Blinken will be landing in just a few hours' time.

And in the past couple of hours, we have heard of an Hizballah militants targeted by Israel in South Lebanon. This follows, of course, the

assassination as the U.S. has described it by Israel of a Hamas -- senior Hamas figure in Beirut, in Lebanon.

Secretary Blinken is walking into a region which is on an escalation at this point. And this will be a real concern to him, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It will, because the event today, and Israel hasn't claimed responsibility for the death of

Wissam Tawil, who his military unit are claiming, was a commander, and the photographs they've produced of him with some very senior, well a top

Hezbollah figures, and even a top Iranian general. Qasem Soleimani who the United States killed in a drone strike four years ago, which gives us an

indication that He wasn't a nobody. He was a somebody. How high, we don't really know.


Israel hasn't taken responsibility for that, but the fact that he has been killed does in a -- in a strike that has the hallmarks of an Israeli

military strike targeted precise, is going to certainly raise the temperature in Hezbollah, and they will consider their response to this.

Now, of course, they did say that they would respond for the killing of that senior Hamas official in Beirut last week. And they responded at the

weekend. They said it was their response when they fire 62 missiles, which are apparently quite accurate. They fired onto an Israeli military base in

the north of Israel.

Israel said they targeted what they described as a terror cell responsible for that attack. I think here we draw our own conclusions, Israel, today

was targeting other Hezbollah, anti-tank missile launched sites today with drones, fighter jets, and helicopters inside the South of Lebanon.

So, I think we draw our own conclusions, does this look like the potential pathway for an escalation? It does look like that potential pathway. The

ball seems to be in Hezbollah's court now. What do they do next?

ANDERSON: And no sign, meantime, as Secretary Blinken is headed for Israel, of what Israel is described as, or certainly, the U.S. is described as a

change in intensity in its assault on Gaza.

Just explain what we are seeing and hearing on the ground.

ROBERTSON: The situation as you were just describing in your report there, Becky, about the hospital, one of the last principal hospitals in the

Center of Gaza. The WHO saying, Gaza cannot afford to lose that hospital. Losing some of its medical experts, only five doctors left were now.

The medical teams -- NGO medical teams leaving because they felt it was too unsafe because as the artillery strikes close there. On Saturday, Khan

Younis, further south, more IDF -- heavy IDF activity around there, and deaths and injuries associated with that Save the Children, just to paint

this picture out of what it's like in Gaza.

Save the Children saying that one -- that 10 children a day either lose a leg or both legs in incidence, in strikes. So, it paints a very grim

picture 90 percent of the population displaced from their homes.

And one of the things Secretary Blinken will push for is for people to be allowed to go back home, when as the state department has said, and when he

said when the conditions are right, but it's going to push to get those conditions right for Israel to allow those people to get home, to get

enough humanitarian supplies and enough tents and enough shelter, because so many homes are destroyed.

To get food, to get water, to get -- to get medical supplies and it is a desperate situation and the military activity is continuing. The IDF

talking about going to a new phase where there's a lower level of operation and to a degree that's what we -- that's what we've witnessed over the past

number of weeks. A slight changing and the north, they say they have more or less control over the north above ground the south, they are still

chasing Hezbollah commanders there as well as hostages.

ANDERSON: Doesn't really matter how you dress it up as far as the words are concerned. I mean, maybe being described as low intensity by -- or lower

intensity by the United States. But civilians are still being killed in huge numbers.

Nic, thank you.

Secretary Blinken says he is deeply sorry for the deaths of two Al Jazeera journalists killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Israel's military

admitted to the strike saying it was targeting a terrorist. One of those killed was the son of Al Jazeera as Gaza bureau chief who has already

suffered immense personal loss in this war.

My colleague, Nada Bashir has more, and I have to say, a warning, once again, her report contains graphic images that some of you may find



NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER (voice over): A final painful goodbye. Not the first for revered Palestinian reporter Wael Al-Dahdouh.

His eldest son, Hamza, a fellow Al Jazeera journalist, killed in an Israeli airstrike in the southern region of Khan Younis on Sunday.

Laid to rest just a few short months after his mother, brother, sister and nephew were killed in a strike on Gaza's Nuseirat refugee camp. This

family's utter despair seems impossible. have to put into words.


And yet, day after day through so much loss. It is Wael al-Dahdouh's words that have given a crucial testimony to the reality faced by all in Gaza.

WAEL AL-DAHDOUH, AL JAZEERA GAZA BUREAU CHIEF (through translator): The world should see through its own two eyes what is happening to the

Palestinian people, not through Israel's eyes.

What did Hamza do to the Israelis? What did my family do to them? What did the civilians do to them? They did nothing. But world has closed its eyes

to what is happening in the Gaza Strip.

BASHIR (voice over): On: Monday, the Israeli military confirmed that it had carried out the air strike, which killed Hamza and fellow Al Jazeera

journalist, Mustafa Thuraya, saying they had, "struck a terrorist." They are declining to provide further details.

Israel says categorically that it does not target journalists, maintaining that the IDF is targeting Hamas in retaliation for the October 7 attack.

But it is hard to reconcile Israel's expressed intentions with the overwhelming number of civilians killed in its militaries, airstrikes.

In Jabalia, bodies lay tangled in the rubble of this residential building. At least 70 were killed here survivor say. Struck overnight as many were


EYAD ABU EILLBEH (PH), AIRSTRIKE SURVIVOR (through translator): My mother, my father, my brothers, and sisters, all of them. My whole family has been

wiped off the civil register. There was nothing here. No fighters.

BASHIR (voice over): Such grief is felt across Gaza. In the central region of Deir al-Balah, there is little hope left as men dig with their bare

hands in a desperate search for survivors.

At the nearby Al-Aqsa Hospital, the only emergency care center left functioning in the area, medical teams are dangerously overwhelmed.

Now, fresh warnings from the Israeli military have forced doctors from several international NGOs to evacuate. Their patients left with nowhere

else to turn.

GEMMA CONNELL, OCHA GAZA TEAM LEADER: What I'm seeing today inside of the hospital is an absolute shame on humanity. I've seen children lying in

their own blood I've seen a child who was hit by shrapnel and doesn't know where his family is. I've seen a woman who was hit in the face by a strike,

for has waited six days, six whole days to access health care because the fighting around her was so Ferocious. So, what I've seen inside this

hospital has to end. The war has to end.

BASHIR (voice over): As calls for a ceasefire continue to go on heated, the humanitarian situation in Gaza grows more desperate.

It is a reality painstakingly documented by Gaza's journalist Wael Al- Dahdouh, back on air, just hours after his son, Hamza was buried. A symbol of resilience for many, but also one of determination for the world to see

and acknowledge exactly what is happening inside Gaza.

Nadar Bashir, CNN, in Beirut.


ANDERSON: With Israel's bombing campaign, come the destruction of history Gaza's cultural treasures and priceless landmarks dating back 1000s of

years of being destroyed.

Nada also has reporting on that story and you can watch that or on your CNN app.

Well, the U.S. defense secretary is facing sharp criticism for keeping President Biden, lawmakers, and even his own deputy in the dark about a

hospital stay.

The Pentagon says Lloyd Austin remains at Walter Reed Medical Center and is recovering well as they describe it. He was hospitalized on New Year's Day,

following complications from an elective surgery. But the White House wasn't told of his whereabouts until three days later,

Austin issued a statement saying he could have done a better job notifying the public.

CNN national security reporter Natasha Bertrand is live at the Pentagon. He could have done a better job, he says, in notifying the public.

I mean, a better job indeed. This goes really against all protocol, correct? I mean, just explain what we understand to have happened here.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah, it's pretty unprecedented, according to current and former officials that we've spoken

to for the secretary of defense to be hospitalized, and no senior national security officials, no one at the White House to be aware of it, until well

after he has been in the intensive care unit for several days.

There is a lot of frustration here at the Pentagon about the fact that this was shrouded in such secrecy. And what we know at this point is that Austin

had an elective surgery on December 22nd, he returned home, and then, on January 1st, he began experiencing severe pain and he was transported to

Walter Reed Medical Center in an ambulance.


He then was transferred into the intensive care unit where he spent several days, and he has since been recovering.

But questions remain about why no one in kind of the national security apparatus was informed of his whereabouts, until well after he was admitted

to the hospital, not even his deputy.

The Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks knew why she was asked to assume some of his responsibilities, until a few days later, she was told

that she would be taking over some of his responsibilities on January 2nd, the day after he entered the hospital.

And then, on January 4, is when she actually learned that he had been hospitalized. And so, there are a lot of questions about why this was

shrouded in such secrecy. The defense secretary is an intensely private person, but you know, current and former officials are telling us that,

that is really not an excuse for him to keep really the whole national security team surrounding President Biden out of the loop on this.

ANDERSON: Natasha Bertrand is on the story. Natasha, thank you.

Coming up, the latest on a terrifying, terrifying midair emergency that left this gaping hole in the side of an Alaska Airlines' Boeing.

Plus, it's just one state out of 50. But when Republicans in Iowa head for their caucuses in a few days from now, America and the world will be

watching. Why? Well, we'll explain coming up.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. We are following new developments from what was a horrific and

horrifying midflight incident in the U.S.

This section of Alaska airplanes plane -- or Airlines' plane that ripped off the jet on Friday is now being found in the yard of a man in Oregon.

Investigators are trying to find out and figure out why the so-called door plug detached from the plane, leaving a gaping hole on the side of the jet

as it flew 16,000 feet in the air.

The airline says several passengers were injured. Friday's incident led to the nationwide grounding of certain Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, and a slew

of flight cancellations.

Let's bring in CNN's aviation correspondent Pete Muntean who is in Washington. How much more have we learned about, one, why this happened?

How this happened? Whether there was any indication that this might happen and what happens next?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've gotten so many incredible new details, Becky. Finding that part that came off the plane

has been really key. It's called a door plug, and that will help investigators really determine the type of failure here. Why is this a

mechanical failure? Or was it a manufacturing defect by Boeing or its contractors?


Just yesterday, the head of the NTSB told me, if this door was in somebody's backyard, she wanted to see it and that is exactly what

happened. Found by a Portland school teacher named Bob, a crucial finding in this investigation that's only just beginning.


JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: It was very violent when the rapid decompression and the door was expelled out of the


MUNTEAN (voice over): New images from the National Transportation Safety Board showed the force of the failure onboard Alaska Airlines Flight 1282,

damaged and contorted seats from a 400 mile per hour rush of air, through a refrigerator sized hole ripped in the side of the plane.

HOMENDY: The head rests on 25 A and 26 A were gone. The extra oxygen mask was sheared off.

MUNTEAN (voice over): NTSB chair, Jennifer Homendy, now says even the cockpit door flew open.

HOMENDY: The time there is a bang, the door flies open. As It did eventually shut, but it did blow open during the explosive decompression.

MUNTEAN (voice over): Amazingly, no passengers were seriously hurt.

EMMA VU, PASSENGER ON ALASKA AIR FLIGHT 1282: I woke up to the plane just falling. And I knew it was not just normal turbulence because the masks

came down. And that's when the panic definitely started to set in.

MUNTEAN (voice over): The flight departed Portland International Airport at 5:07 p.m. on Friday. Six minutes in, climbing through 16,000 feet,

passengers described multiple bangs and the loud rush of air, audible as pilots radioed air traffic control to make an emergency landing back in


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alaska 1282, need to declare an emergency, descending down to 10,000, just depressurized.

MUNTEAN (voice over): The plane, a Boeing 737 Max 9, only months old. It took its first flight on October 15th, and flew only 150 flights for Alaska

Airlines. Investigators say, a pressurization warning light came on three previous times, including the day before this incident and prompting Alaska

Airlines to restrict the plane from overwater flights

HOMENDY: It's certainly a concern, and it's one that we want to dig into.

MUNTEAN (voice over): The Federal Aviation Administration has now grounded Max nines until airlines can make

new inspections. But the incident has once again thrust Boeing under the microscope. Two fatal crashes grounded the 737 Max for 20 months in the



MUNTEAN (on camera): The NTSB also said the pilot's checklists and headsets were thrown off by the force of the depressurization. There is one thing

missing from this investigation. The audio from the cockpit voice recorder. That was overwritten automatically.

The NTSB says it's not nefarious, but it's very disappointing. Some critical clues on there, like the sound of the explosion of his

depressurization. Alaska Airlines and American -- or United Airlines, excuse me, are the only two U.S. airlines operating the Max 9s. They are

waiting on new guidance from the FAA on inspections. Becky?

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

Well, this year might as well be called the year of elections for all. According to research done by The Economist newspaper, 4 billion people or

more in 60 countries get the chance to vote this year in either national or local ballots.

Now, in the United States, there are seven days to go until the Iowa caucuses. That is, of course, the beginning of the election sort of process


An hour from now, Nikki Haley is hosting a countdown to caucus event in Sioux City. Haley and arrival the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are both

being turning their fire on front runner Donald Trump.

A third candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy is having his own rally, called, Commit to Caucus, later today. So, how big a deal is Iowa and its voters? Well,

for more on the race for the White House, let's get you to CNN's Kylie Atwood, she joins us from Sioux City.

You know, Welcome back. Kylie, as one of our esteemed colleagues definitely put it in a -- in a piece today. Donald Trump is turning the dash

to Iowa into a showcase for his claims of persecution as he seeks to suck the oxygen from his trailing Republican opponents, as 2024 voting

effectively begins. Kylie, what do we need to know at this point?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, it's been a flurry of activity here in Iowa over the weekend. And actually, you know,

just this morning, one thing that I want to tell you we're experiencing is the effects that weather is going to potentially have on the Iowa caucus.

Nikki Haley was supposed to have an event here in Sioux City this morning. It was is canceled because she couldn't get here from Des Moines because of

the snowstorm that we're experiencing.


It's supposed to be cold next week. So, that's one thing that we're going to watch for. What kind of impact does it have on caucus voters going out

here in Iowa a week from today.

And Becky, one of the things that we saw over the weekend, when you talk about former President Trump is he's actually focused his criticisms on

Nikki Haley. We have seen him over the course of the last few months really aggressively, go after Ron DeSantis. But it's clear now that he's trying to

blunt any momentum that Nikki Haley could have here in Iowa if she does, well, she does better than expected in the state.

He told voters here to pretend like he is up by only one percentage point. Not by 35 points, so they actually show up and vote for him. Now, Nikki

Haley, for her part, telling voters here over the weekend that she hears people who are telling her to hit Trump harder, saying that she's just

simply not going to do it.

She'll defend herself against his critiques when it comes to policy matters. But she has steered clear so far and appears to be staying the

path in terms of avoiding going after him for questions about his capability to defend American democracy or questions about the legal

jeopardy that he finds himself in right now.

Of course, DeSantis was also in the state over the weekend. He is back in Florida today, but he told Iowan voters that he's in it for the long haul,

even if he, you know, doesn't do necessarily Well, here in Iowa, he's promising to them that he is going to stay in the race, that he is not

going to drop out. Of course, we'll watch to see how that actually turns out.

And it -- when it comes to advertising dollars here, Becky, just since January, that's only a month here. We have seen Nikki Haley and her allies

spend more than $7 million on advertising. That is more than both Trump and DeSantis. Their campaigns and their allies combined. So, that is a factor

that we'll continue to watch as she and all the other candidates continue to make their case to the island voters just one week out from the caucus.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Good to have you. Thank you.

Well, the new year is already bringing fierce new attacks on Ukraine and claims of big Russian losses on the battlefield. We'll get you a look at

where things stand in Ukraine, after this.

And an elderly woman saved five days after what was a major earthquake. An update ahead on the mounting challenges that rescuers in Japan face and the

scarcity of available resources. That is after this?



ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're watching connect the world with me, Becky Anderson. 7:30. Here in Abu Dhabi. You are watching this show broadcast

from our programming hub here in the UAE. A grim sign today of the human toll of the Israel Hamas war. Statistics from the Palestinian Ministry of

Health in Ramallah, show nearly 23,000 people or about one out of every 100 people in Gaza have been killed in this conflict.

Israel says more than 8,000 of those killed are militants. Well, those numbers coming as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is back in the

region, trying to keep the conflict from spreading into a wider war. He is now as we speak in Saudi Arabia. In Qatar Sunday, Blinken said Palestinian

civilians who fled the violence in Gaza must be allowed to return home.

CNN's Jennifer Hansler joins me from the state department.

Jennifer, is it clear, specifically, what it is that Antony Blinken hopes to achieve in region while he is here. Once again, this is the fourth time,

of course, and you've travelled with him on a -- on a number of these trips. A fourth time in region since October the 7th.

Is it clear what he is trying to achieve this time?

JENNIFER HANSLER, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: Well, Becky, the through lines for this trip are pretty consistent with what we've seen from the

past three trips. He is trying to stop this regional conflagration, he is trying to push the Israelis to protect more civilians, to allow more aid

into Gaza.

But in terms of these specific asks, the state department has been pretty cagey on these. We have not heard what specific demands or requests they

are going to be making of the Israelis tomorrow in Tel Aviv. We know they expect it to discuss with the regional leaders in the Arab world, this idea

of the day after how Gaza will be governed once this offensive comes to an end.

And we do know there are still a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns on that front, Becky. We know a lot of the Arab leaders have been hesitant to

commit to any ideas without there being a very clear sign of progress towards a two-state solution.

We know he is in Saudi Arabia right now. There is likely to be the discussion of normalization, which was a key factor of discussion before

October 7th. And of course, as you mentioned, Blinken did call out the Israelis yesterday, some of these far-right extremists for voicing this

idea that Palestinians in Gaza should be resettled outside of this strip. He said that would be unacceptable. So, he is -- he is pushing for them to

be able to return home.

However, the question of when and how and if they are actually able to do so looms large given the amount of destruction we have seen there in Gaza.

Martin Griffiths from the U.N. said it is inhospitable now. So, to be a lot of work to do before that can actually happen.

And then, Becky, of course, this idea of preventing a larger conflict from spreading, he arrived in Saudi Arabia just minutes, hours after we heard

that this top Hezbollah official had been taken out, reportedly in an Israeli strike.

So, a lot is at stake here. This is something Blinken said could combust at any moment. So, we will be watching to see. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, good to have you.

One thing he will hear, and Jennifer and I have been reporting on this now for what, you know, four months he will hear from this region, that pretty

much everybody in this region wants to see a ceasefire.

Well, as we mentioned at the start of the show, two Al Jazeera journalists were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Sunday. One of them was Hamza al-

Dahdouh. He is the son of the network's Gaza bureau chief and correspondent Wael al-Dahdouh, whose name many of you will be familiar with.

Well as time goes on, al-Dahdouh, becomes set evermore notable for his ceaseless reporting of Israel's bombardment of Gaza. He never stops even

when his own tragedies dominate the story.

He has endured more tragedies in the last few months and most people could either imagine or endure.

At the end of October, he lost his wife, two children, and a grandchild in an Israeli air strike that he himself reported on before he learned of

their deaths.


You can see him here with loved ones and members of their community, digging graves for his family, on unimaginable tragedy. And then, while the

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was on his trip to Qatar, he was asked about Al-Dahdouh, by an Al Jazeera colleague. Here is how he



ANTONY BLINKEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I am deeply, deeply sorry for the almost unimaginable loss suffered by your colleague, al-Dahdouh. I

am -- I'm a parent myself. I can't begin to imagine the horror that he's experienced not once, but now, not twice.


ANDERSON: That is truly horrifying. Just look at the pain and all of their faces. It is so visceral; it is almost palpable. You can see, well, Al-

Dahdouh consoling his grieving daughter while he keeps a brave face.

Despite that, his passion and dedication to his craft carry on even as he buries another child.


AL-DAHDOUH: The world must see with their eyes and not with Israel's eyes. It must listen and watch all that is happening to the Palestinian people.

What has Hamza done to them? And what has my family done to them? What have civilians in the Gaza Strip done to them? They have not done anything? The

world is blinded by what is going on in Gaza.


ANDERSON: Well, Al Jazeera has accused Israel of targeting Hamza al- Dahdouh, and its journalists reporting from Gaza over the course of this bloody war.

On Monday, the Israel defense forces admitting to carrying out the airstrike that killed them, saying, they were targeting a terrorist, but

did not provide any further evidence.

That has often been the case in instances where journalists were killed. So far, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the CPJ, at least

79 have been killed in Gaza, Israel, and Lebanon since October the 7th. The U.N. has expressed deep concern over the killing of media workers and said

that the strike that killed Hamza must be investigated.

Well, journalists around the world have been calling on the United States to apply pressure on Israel to ensure that journalists are protected as

they work in Gaza. Take a listen to this exchange between an Al Jazeera journalist in D.C. and John Kirby, back when Al-Dahdouh's family was killed

in October.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you concerned that Israel is trying to silence journalists who are trying to tell both sides of the story, including our

Al Jazeera Arabic bureau chief?


Israel is going after journalists, you know, in particular, because of them trying to tell the story. I've seen absolutely zero evidence of that. And

that is -- that's an unfounded allegation.


Well, and the families of more than 70 others may suggest otherwise. The Al-Dahdouh story is extremely painful, and it has resonated across the

world. But it is sadly not unique.

Antony Blinken said It is unthinkable that our dark blue should experience this horror not once, but twice. But in reality, he and all of the

courageous journalists in Gaza have experienced endurable horrors over the past three months. Horrors that truly cannot be measured.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Ukraine seeing a new wave of strikes from Russia. Officials say four people have been

killed, and nearly 40 wounded across the country this Monday. Several children were among those hurt.

Ukraine says it shot down nearly half of the 59 missiles and drones launched by Russia. And the Russia says it evacuated some 300 people from

the Belgorod region near the border after a new spate of Ukrainian attacks there.

Well, the latest strikes on Ukraine are part of a fear surge of Russian attacks. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more on the war as it is about to move

into its third year.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the new year begins, Russia's aerial assault on Ukraine continues. At least

11 civilians including five children killed by missile strikes around Pokrovsk in the east of the country, authorities say. The buildings they

were in reduced to nothing more than rubble.

Two houses have been destroyed to the ground, this official says. 134 private houses and 15 apartment buildings have been damaged. Search

operations are ongoing.

Ukraine says Russia has stepped up attacks both on the ground and in the air in the past weeks, killing nearly 120 civilians and wounding almost 500

more since December 29th, according to the U.N.

The U.S. claims Russia has even used missiles procured from North Korea to attack Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine.

Moscow hasn't commented so far and Ukrainian authorities investigating the wreckage say they haven't yet come to a final conclusion about the

missile's origin.

Most likely, this missile was either supplied by North Korea or was produced recently using blueprints and technology supplied by Russia to

third countries or to North Korea, this official says.

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrating Orthodox Christmas as he escalates his assault against Ukraine, meeting with families of Russian

soldiers killed on the battlefield and vowing to support the loved ones of all those he sends to the war zone.

You know that many of our men, our courageous, heroic guys, Russian warriors, even now on this holiday, defend the interests of our country

with arms in hand, he says. I want to assure you we will always have your back.

But Kyiv says the Russian army is suffering catastrophic losses as it tries to push forward in several sectors along the frontlines.

Ukraine's ground forces releasing this video purporting to show Russian troops retreating after losing several tanks and armored vehicles in a

failed assault. CNN cannot independently verify the date and location of the video.

An angry Ukrainian president condemning Putin's renewed onslaught.

ZELENSKYY: In a new year, Russia tried again to bring Ukraine to its knees with air strikes, large scale attacks, special combined attacks aimed at

overloading our air defense and striking critical infrastructure.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): And Russia's leadership shows no signs of backing off as Ukrainians gear up to defend their land in what could be another

year of tough, protracted warfare.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.



ANDERSON: Well, the death toll rising from that New Year's Day earthquake in Japan. Officials say at least 168 people died in the quake, more than

300 are still missing. This comes as rescuers face mounting challenges as they search for more survivors.

CNN's Marc Stewart, with the story for you.


MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Under the night sky and pounding rain, a moment of hope in the Japanese earthquake zone.

A woman in her 90s is put into an ambulance, rescued from a two-story home in the rubble. She was stuck under furniture in a narrow space injured, yet

able to speak according to Japan's NHK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Really though, it was a team effort; the police department, fire department, and emergency medical team.

We were determined. We were saying almost there together.

STEWART: But the optimism may be short lived. One week after the 7.5 magnitude quake struck, there are signs of desperation in central Japan.

With so many homes destroyed, people are trying to find a place to live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We will have to stay the shelter with everyone else for about three months or so. And then, for two to three

years, we will live in temporary accommodation because the whole of Ishikawa prefecture is suffering from that disaster. Sooner or later, we

will die before resettling in one place, we're over 80 already.

STEWART: The local supermarket is busy having just reopened. Demand is so high, there is a limit on rice. Just getting the basics is a struggle.

Supplies are running out day by day, every day I talk with my family about how we will survive for the day. And the next day. Worrying about life like

this is terrible.

The biggest problem is that we have no water. Nobody has any water for daily use. We cannot take a shower and we cannot even wash our hands. We

can only collect rainwater for emergency use.

STEWART: The damage to Japan's infrastructure is tremendous. Electric crews work to restore power, roads are cracked, getting in the way of bringing

help to hard hit areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The self-defense forces and people repairing the roads are doing their all to establish a lifeline and get the

roads reopened. But if they can't do this work, the assistance supplies won't arrive.

STEWART: Supplies that residents in these disaster zones desperately need to survive and rebuild their homes from this massive quake. One that has

shaken the ground and Japan sense of security.

Marc Stewart, CNN, Seoul.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson, back after a quick break. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood award season is back with us. Stars and celebrities returned to the red carpet on Sunday after a

rocky 2023 that saw months of strikes in actors -- as actors and unions fought for better pay and benefits with major studios.

Now, look, the Golden Globes kicked off the season with plenty of firsts to go around.


Starting with actors Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, who made history after winning Best Actor and Best Actress in a limited series for their roles in

the Netflix series "Beef".

They are the first actors of Asian descent to win in their respective categories.

And Lily Gladstone became the first indigenous person to win the award for Best Actress in the film drama "Killers of the Flower Moon" as -- for last

year's biggest box office smash.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you guys ever think about dying?


ANDERSON: Pause for effect, of course.

"Barbie" said hello to an entirely new category as it took home the award for cinematic and box office achievement, and that is dedicated to films

that perform -- well, at the Box Office, but may not be recognized during awards season. All the film was made by Warner Brothers', part of CNN's

parent company.

And the Christopher Nolan movie, "Oppenheimer" had an explosive run winning five trophies for best male actor, male supporting actor, director,

original score of the top prize, Best Motion Picture Drama.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Golden Glove goes to "Succession".



ANDERSON: And after wrapping up its fourth and final season last year, HBO's "Succession", scored the award for Best T.V. drama series.

And look, this one confirms what Brian Cox who plays Logan Roy on the show told me almost a year ago, when we sat down ahead of the final season

airing. That's just remind ourselves.


BRIAN COX, ACTOR: Let's face it. I'm playing a leading role in the best series in television. I mean, it doesn't get better than that. I mean, why,

what's there not to love? You know, I mean, it's been a great opportunity for me. On my age. You know, I mean, I've been -- and when people used to

say, you know, Brian, it will be the long haul for you. They used to say that, to me. That was the older attitude. Oh, It's going to be the long

haul. I didn't know it's going to be this long.


ANDERSON: He loved every minute of it. He told me. Elizabeth Wagmeister, joining us now from Los Angeles with the golden details from last night's

awards ceremony. What were the key takeouts for you?

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: First of all, I love that interview with Brian Cox and I already missed succession on the air.

So, it was great to see them walk away as the big winner of the T.V. front. But on the TV categories, Beef, as you said did very well. So, did The

Bear. A big win there for Jeremy Allen White, also winning in the comedy series category.

Now, there were some surprises last night, particularly in the film categories. We saw two big wins for "The Holdovers". One for Da'Vine Joy

Randolph and one for Paul Giamatti.

Also, Poor Things really coming out ahead of "Barbie" in two categories that many experts predicted would go to Barbie. Barbie came in with the

most nominations last night, and only walked away with two awards. Obviously, biggest movie of the year. Made over $1.4 billion. Who needs

awards anyway?

But I spoke to Helen Mirren on the red carpet, Helen Mirren was the narrator of Barbie. Let's take a look at what she told me about the film's



WAGMEISTER: What does it mean that "Barbie" is getting so much recognition tonight?

HELEN MIRREN. Oh, it's the greatest thing. It's fabulous.

Great, great for Greta, great for women. Great filmmaking in general, it broke so many rules.

WAGMEISTER: And when she says great for women, Greta Gerwig became the first female director to helm a billion-dollar film.

So, whether or not Barbie one big last night or not, they won the first Box Office in Cinematic Achievement Award, making history there. And this is

just the kickoff to award season. So, we still have the Oscars ahead of us. Many more shows to come. "Barbie" is not going anywhere.

ANDERSON: How good does Helen Mirren look?

WAGMEISTER: She -- let me tell you, she looks even better in person. And she has everything that you want and more. She is a true icon, and it was

really incredible to speak with her. We spoke to so many stars on the carpet also. Oprah, I mean, it was just a star-studded night.

And for the kickoff of award season, and as you said, Becky --



WAGMEISTER: Coming off of two Hollywood strikes, award season is back. All of the stars were out. They were ready to party. They were having a good



ANDERSON: This is brilliant. Now, it's great to see it. Look, I mean, there is a -- you know, so many -- so much of what we do is reporting on some

really sort of, you know, dark times. It is -- it is -- it is good to have the award season back.

Let me just to -- let me just talk about "Oppenheimer" for a moment. Because obviously, the big sort of contest last summer was "Oppenheimer"

versus "Barbie" "Oppenheimer" taking in just shy of a billion dollars, of course, as you rightly point out, "Barbie" making more or nearly a billion

and a half. You're going to -- we're going to see those who go head-to-head in these award ceremonies, aren't we? What do you expect to see with

Oppenheimer ultimately,

WAGMEISTER: Absolutely. But, you know, these two films, when they came out on the same weekend, this was a theatre going event. And both films really

helped each other succeed at the Box Office, because there was so much buzz around them. Now, last night, we had Oppenheimer getting five awards,

including Best Drama Picture. But also, the first Golden Globe ever for Christopher Nolan. Right?

The first award in his entire career when he had been nominated six times.

So, I expect that we will see big things coming from "Oppenheimer" and "Barbie" as well.

ANDERSON: You know, I did not know that. That's unbelievable. That's one of those pop quiz. How many is he won? None until now. That's amazing. Thank

you. It's good to have you.



WAGMEISTER: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Stay with CNN.