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Japan's SLIM Robotic Explorer Approaches The Moon; Gaza Cemeteries Damaged Amid Conflict; Reports Of Deadly Attacks Inside Israeli-Occupied West Bank; Japan Lands Unmanned Robotic Spacecraft On The Moon; Saudi Arabia Calls For Ceasefire In Gaza; Nile Rodgers, Writer And Producer To Soundtrack Of Our Times. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 19, 2024 - 10:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Japan on the verge of making history. Will they pull it off?

Welcome to the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for my colleague Becky Anderson. Welcome to the show.

Right now Japan's so-called Moon Sniper mission is beginning its lunar descent. This is the rendering of the mission right here. It's expected to

land in just under 20 minutes time. If all goes to plan Japan will become the fifth country ever to successfully execute a controlled landing on the


I want to now bring in CNN's Hanako Montgomery. She's monitoring this from Tokyo. Very exciting. To be clear what we're seeing is a CGI rendering of

the data that it's collecting right now from the SLIM, so-called SLIM. Give me a sense of what we're expecting in the next 20 minutes.

HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So this is a very critical moment for Japan right now. We're seeing that SLIM is trying to descend onto the moon.

And within the next 20 minutes, it could be landing on the moon. A very exciting time. And, you know, this is very significant because if it does

successfully land, it will be the first time that Japan has ever landed on the moon. And so far only four countries have been able to pull this off.

India, China, the former Soviet Union, and the United States.

So Japan would be joining a very elite club. And it will be marking a new chapter for Japan's space history. Now were also going to be seeing

unprecedented technology being put to the test here. JAXA will be trying to demonstrate something called a pinpoint landing, which is essentially a

very accurate landing. It hopes to land where it wants to rather than where it can. Now conventionally speaking, most lunar landers land within several

kilometers of their targets.

But with SLIM, JAXA wants land within 100 meters of its targets. Now in order to do this, it'll be using something called smart eyes. It's a very

fun name, but essentially their cameras on board SLIM that take photographs of the lunar service and then compares them to a map of the lunar surface

so that it can ascertain where it exactly is in the atmosphere in space. So that it can avoid any rocky terrain that might, you know, sort of detriment

its landing attempt.

Now all of this would be very exciting for Japan. It would be a very momentous time for its history and really boost its morale. Japan has been

facing a number of setbacks in recent years, most recently in March. Its flagship rocket failed to launch. And we're also seeing, you know, a

renewed international race into space. India just last year landed on the moon very successfully. China, also one of Japan's rivals when it comes to

space, has a very robust program.

So Japan really is looking to interest and kind of achieve a better and far stronger space program -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. And it's late where you are. It is midnight right now. How people feeling about this? Are they excited? You say this is going to be a

morale boost. Is there lots of discussion, especially on social media about this?

MONTGOMERY: Yes, absolutely. In Japan, I mean, it's a very exciting time. There are people watching the live stream as it happens, right? People are

just tuning in to see whether JAXA and Japan will be able to pull this off. You know, as I mentioned, Japan has been facing setbacks essentially in its

space exploration. Japan would love to be the fifth country to really land that landing on the moon.

And in order to do this, of course, a lot of its technology is being put to the test. If it also achieved this tonight, hopefully within the next 20

minutes or so, it also means that its technology that it's employing for the very first time is successful and it could open the door for lots more

lunar exploration in the future for Japan -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Indeed, and of course we are seeing a live stream right now coming through from Japan to explain a lot of what we've been seeing, this CGI,

and it is from data that it is collecting from SLIM. We will only get the real footage in a couple of hours' time. There is a delay, but we very much

looking forward to this.

Hanako, great to have you with us. Thank you so much for that updates.

All right, moving on now and fresh signs of division in Israel. Israeli War Cabinet Minister Gadi Eisenkot is calling for elections after an explosive

speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he says absolute defeat of Hamas is unrealistic and that the government has failed to achieve what

should be its highest priority, securing the hostages' release.


In an op-ed Thursday, Israels former prime minister, Ehud Barak, also called for elections, writing this, "If the IDF cannot optimize the

probability of winning when there is no defined political goal and the absence of a realistic goal, we will end up mired in the Gaza quagmire,

fighting simultaneously in Lebanon and in the West Bank eroding the American backing and endangering the Abraham Accords and the peace

agreements with Egypt and with Jordan."

It comes as Mr. Netanyahu publicly argued against a Palestinian state saying it would be at odds with Israel security. Take a listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Any agreements, with or without agreements the state of Israel must control

security between the Jordan River to the sea, and the clashes of the sovereignty idea, I'm telling our American friends I stopped at a reality

which would have hurt the security of Israel, the prime minister of Israel should have the ability to say no even too outrageous friends when he has



GIOKOS: His comments fly in the face of international efforts, including by the U.S., to encourage a two-state solution. But U.S. officials say they

will not stop pressing the matter with their Israeli counterparts.


MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE SPOKESPERSON: There is no way to solve their long-term challenges. To provide lasting security. And there is

no way to solve the short-term challenges of rebuilding Gaza and establishing governance in Gaza and providing security for Gaza without the

establishment of a Palestinian state.


GIOKOS: Meantime, the spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority says there can be no security and stability in the region without establishing a

Palestinian state.

Now earlier this week Israel Defense Forces exhumed graves and removed bodies from a cemetery in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Officials told CNN

it was part of an effort to find the bodies of Israeli hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th. But it's not the only cemetery in Gaza

damaged during the conflicts.

CNN correspondent Jeremy Diamond has more, but we must warn you that you might find some of the following images disturbing.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Gaza, even the dead cannot escape the indignities of war. More than a dozen cemeteries like

this one in Jabalia desecrated by the Israeli military. Gravestones destroyed, soil upturned, tread marks leaving little left for the living to

honor their dead.

This is that same graveyard before the war. One month later, a series of tread marks can be seen on the northwestern edge. It is no exception. A CNN

analysis of videos and satellite imagery found that 16 cemeteries have been damaged or destroyed by the Israeli military since it launched its ground

offensive. As Israeli forces pushed deeper into Gaza, they crushed the graves of thousands of Palestinians between November and January.

Janina Dill, co-director of Oxford University's Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, says destroying graveyards violates international law,

except under very limited circumstances.


what international law would consider an object that is normally dedicated to civilian purposes, like places of worship generally. So this is

protected from intentional attack. It can only be intentionally attacked or destroyed if it becomes a military objective.

DIAMOND (voice-over): In some cases, like this cemetery in the Shajaiye refugee camp, Israeli bulldozers turned cemeteries into military outposts,

parking armored vehicles behind freshly raised berms. The damage is often deliberate and progressive. Over two weeks in December, the military

bulldozed more and more of this cemetery east of Khan Younis, building defensive fortifications.

CNN witnessed firsthand the results of Israel's bulldozing of graveyards while embedded with Israeli forces last week. The armored personnel carrier

CNN was traveling in drove right through this cemetery in Al-Bureij on a freshly bulldozed dirt road.

And then there's this. Tombs opened at a cemetery in Khan Younis this week and bodies removed from their graves. In a statement, the Israeli military

acknowledged exhuming bodies from the cemetery as part of its search for the bodies of Israeli hostages.

An IDF spokesman could not account for the damage to the 16 cemeteries identified by CNN. But said that in some cases, there is no other choice,

providing this photo of what it says is a Hamas rocket launcher at a cemetery in Gaza. CNN could not independently verify where it was taken.


The spokesman could not account for the military posts over graveyards, but said, "We have a serious obligation to the respect of the dead, and there

is no policy to create military posts out of graveyards."

In at least one case, the Israeli military appears to have taken pains to maneuver around a graveyard. The Deir El Belah War Cemetery, which holds

the remains of many Christian and Jewish soldiers from World War I, left intact despite devastation all around.

At the El Toufah Cemetery, a very different picture. Residents say bodies were uprooted by Israeli bulldozers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We're currently retrieving the corpses of the martyrs that are present in the cemetery. The occupation

forces have run over most of them with their bulldozers, and we've only identified a small number of corpses and masses. As for the rest, their

identities remain unknown.

DIAMOND (voice-over): South Africa cited Israel's destruction of cemeteries as part of its case, arguing Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. Israel

denies the allegation but experts say cemetery destruction could be evidence of Israel's intent.

DILL: There is huge symbolic meaning to the notion that not even the dead are left in peace. It suggests that disrespect towards the kind of

spiritual life of your enemy, their cultural property and heritage, it's an evidence of an animus against your enemy that is unhelpful in this context.

DIAMOND (voice-over): The Israeli military is still desecrating graves in Gaza.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): They dug up the graves, these are the graves.

DIAMOND (voice-over): At the Khan Younis Cemetery where the military dug up bodies this week, the damage is extensive and all too familiar. Tombs

destroyed, shrouded bodies sticking out of the soil, the dead roused from their final rest.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Tel-Aviv.


GIOKOS: Well, the Committee to Protect Journalists says Israel now ranks six among the world's nations in jailing journalists. That ranking ties

with Iran. The CPJ says the 17 journalists known to be held by Israel as of its last count in December were arrested in the West Bank after the start

of the Israel-Hamas war. And it says most are in administrative detention allowing the government to hold them without public charge. The Israeli

government has not responded to CNN's request for comments on the report.

Now we're finding more attacks inside the Israeli occupied West Bank. Palestinian officials say Israeli Security Forces killed 11 Palestinians

during operations there on Thursday. The IDF meantime says its forces killed at least eight terrorists during a counter-terrorism operation in

the Tulkarem refugee camp. In addition to the casualties, the Palestinian News Agency reports that Israeli forces left behind this destruction after

its attack in the occupied city of Tulkarem.

I want to bring in now CNN's Nada Bashir in Beirut, in Lebanon.

Nada, we are watching what is playing out in the West Bank. I think all eyes are very much focused on Gaza. But we're seeing so much happening in

the West Bank as well. Give me a sense of what this means in terms of what Israel is thinking and importantly, how this plays into the wider conflict.

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Eleni. From the outset of the war in Gaza, what we have seen in the occupied West Bank is the frequency

and intensity of these raids carried out by the Israeli Security Forces intensifying with each passing day, particularly around these flashpoint

areas like the Tulkarem refugee camp, where we have seen an increase in the number of raids, violent raids it has to be said, and of course,

destruction of local infrastructure.

Now according to Palestinian authorities, at least 11 Palestinians were killed in that raid, which carried out overnight Wednesday into Thursday.

Palestinian media reporting that a large contingency of Israeli Security Forces entered the camp. Snipers were positioned on rooftops and that local

roads were closed off to local residents. And that also we saw drone strikes being carried out, which is something that we have begun to see

with more frequency now in the occupied West Bank during these raids.

Now, according to the Israeli Security Forces and authorities, this is part of a counter-terrorism operation. That is how they frequently term and

characterize these raids that are carried out in the occupied territories. They say at least eight of those killed were identified as terror suspects.

And that other 21 individuals were arrested. Important to note, of course, that the Palestine Prisoners Society, which keeps a close watch and tally

of the number of Palestinians in the occupied territories that are detained, says at least 60 Palestinians were in fact arrested.

And we have heard from the Palestine Red Crescent Society which says among those at least five of their paramedics were also detained and that a

further two were injured in a drone strike, which took place near the Nur Shams Camp which is near Tulkarem. That drone strike, they say, took place

around where their ambulances had been stationed.


Now, as you mentioned, Eleni, there is a huge concern when we do see these large numbers of Palestinians detained, particularly in the occupied

territories because of course, as we know in the occupied West Bank there is a clear track record of those being detained or being held under

administrative detention, meaning no charges, no ongoing legal process. And of course limited if any access to legal representation.

So that is a point of concern. It's unclear at this stage how where in that legal process they stand, whether or not those charges have been laid

against them. And then, of course, from October 7th, we have seen the number of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank rising sharply.

That is something that has been raised as a point of concern by numerous U.N. agencies. We heard a little earlier today from the commissioner

general for the U.N. Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees.

He issued a statement saying that since October 7th, the number, duration and intensity of operations, why the Israeli Security Forces have

significantly increased, especially in refugee camps, like Tulkarem, the number of Palestinians killed last yet tripled in comparison to 2022 when

we thought we had seen the worst. Among those killed, at least 90 children in just the past 100 days.

Now, of course, when it comes to at the issue of Palestinians being detained, also important to underscore the fact that this has been a key

sticking point in negotiations around the possible release and exchange of Israeli hostages held in captivity in Gaza by Hamas. So there will be

concern as to how this plays into ongoing negotiations around that issue as well. And of course, we have been hearing now more and more from Israeli

officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, about the Israeli government's looking towards entrenching Israel's security oversight over

all territories, west of Jordan, not just the occupied West Bank, but also Gaza. That is a huge point of concern.

GIOKOS: Yes. All right, Nada Bashir, thank you very much for that update. Good to have you on the show.

All right. We are monitoring what is going on in space. I want to take you back to our story out of Japan. Japan's robotic explorer attempting to land

on the moon. This is computer generated footage, live streamed from the Japanese Space Agency. It's depicting what is happening up there based on

real-time data. We are expecting to see actual video a little bit later. We have to be patient. A successful landing would make Japan the third country

this century and the fifth ever to put a spacecraft safely on the lunar surface. So this is very exciting.

I also want to bring in Masaki Fujimoto, the deputy director general from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who's I'm sure monitoring this very

closely as well.

Good to see you, sir. Thank you so much for joining us. How are you feeling? I think it's five kilometers away from my last understanding of



vertical descend mode. So it's really the last leg of the mission. And yes, I'm having my heart beating like crazy, of course.

GIOKOS: Well, I'm glad that we can share this moment together while it's starting its descent. This is so exciting. Look, we've really said how

important this is in terms of sort of the global effort to try and get some kind of moon landing. But this is also so very important for Japan. You've

tried this before with a previous lander that was lost just after launch in 2022. You're so close right now. How important is this for you?

FUJIMOTO: Yes. The previous one was by a commercial company and this time it's by the national space agency, but either way, we're trying to

establish a scheme of landing on the moon with a small mission. Nowadays many people wants to go to the surface of the moon or the surface of mars.

But bigger mission is not as frequent or as flexible. So we want to establish the way that that will bring people to the surface of the moon


GIOKOS: Yes, very exciting. OK. Could you please explain what we're seeing right now? We're live streaming some of the data, which is CGI

representation of what is happening in real time. Could you explain?

FUJIMOTO: Yes. Yes, so, what -- on the left top, you see the letters, it says VDM, that shows that we are now in the vertical descending mode and

that is clearly shown on the right part of the screen. Now you can see the spacecraft approaching the surface with the right altitude. So you can now

clearly see that the spacecraft is going down at the altitude of 50 meters. And that means that it should be looking -- it should be performing

collision avoidance scheme, looking for the safe place on the surface to land.


So it's now adjusting the location of the spacecraft so that it can land on the surface safely.

GIOKOS: All right, let's listen in. There is a live feed coming through. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Now it's looking for the safe place to land.

Around the two meters it will leave the lift. And it will land. Two-step landing is expected.

Now you see on the left-hand side MLM. That means it has landed. From the telemetry it shows the sign MLM.

From the telemetry what we see is the SLIM has landed on the slope.

GIOKOS: Masaki, it has landed. It's done. From what we just heard.

FUJIMOTO: I think I cannot make -- I cannot make an official statement. We have to have a meeting which I will attend right after this. And then we

will confirm the success. But as far as I can tell, yes, everything went smooth and, yes. Yes, it seems that my personal -- yes, my personal

understanding is that we did it.

GIOKOS: I know. You're a science man so you want to verify the data. But how trustworthy is this data and this CGI representation of what you are

doing. How much do you trust what we're seeing?

FUJIMOTO: The screen is just what the operators watch in the operation room so this is really genuine data. This is -- well, this is all we know about

the mission. And we're not hiding anything. We're sharing everything with you. And I hope you are excited now.

GIOKOS: I'm very excited. I'm telling I feel like it's actually happened. So, yes, we have 100 percent verify. But this is very important to go to

specific place and you've got a very small margin that you're looking at in terms of error because you need to go to specific spot. How important is

this? Because usually with previous landings, we've been seeing sort of 100-kilometer range. And here we're seeing 100-meter range that you're


FUJIMOTO: True. But I have to say that right at this moment, if this landing was successful, we can only say that we will. Number five, we are

the fifth nation in the world to make the soft landing on the moon. That is all I can say at this moment. But when it comes to pinpoint landing, we

really need -- it may take like weeks. Yes. So, yes, that's somethings I cannot tell but, you know.

GIOKOS: OK, so what does this mean -- yes, go ahead. Go ahead.

FUJIMOTO: Yes, but (INAUDIBLE) landing. It means that, you know, they have a way to bring you to the spot that you want to land. And the new

technology we're demonstrating here is not just pinpoint landing, it's also two-stage land thing that enables you to land even in the slope region. So,

yes, this new technology demonstrated by a small mission likes SLIM. This is really opening up a new horizon in moon to mars exploration.

GIOKOS: Absolutely. I mean, and you've got a smaller lunar probe. It's got very smart eyes. You've got all this new technology that comes through. So

what does this mean for Japan space program? We know that you've been efforting various projects. Some of them haven't been successful, but this

would be incredibly important going forward.

FUJIMOTO: Yes, like we are a partner in the Artemis program and the core part of Artemis is about human mission.


But in order to maximize the success of human mission, I think we need multiple small missions that will explore that the surface of the moon

frequently. So, you know, smart and small missions performed frequently together with human mission, I think that's the way to go. And I hope Japan

is really -- is constructing the way of enabling smart and small missions of moon and mars exploration.

GIOKOS: Absolutely. OK. And now in terms of what we'll learn from this mission, in particular, give me a sense of what you're hoping to discover,

to understand the source of the moon, to understand a little bit more about the rocks and its makeup, the minerals?

FUJIMOTO: Sure. Yes. Thank you. Thank you for the question. I think we did manage this land successfully on the moon, and landing will enable us to

land right next to the rocks that we are interested in. The rocks we will be investigating -- that will be investigated by SLIM, have some

information about the deep interior of the moon because the rocks we think must have come from the deep interior of the moon.

So we specify a rock that seems to originate from the deep interior of the moon happens to be on the spot, on the surface. So we land next to it. And

then we can inspect that specific rock in detail and then we can learn about the deep interior of the moon. So the SLIM mission really, that, you

know, mission scenario clearly tells you how important it is to land smartly on the surface of the moon, to make an efficient exploration of the


GIOKOS: Fantastic. It was such a pleasure to have you on and share this moment with you. I'm sure you're very excited. What is going on around you?

I see everyone is waving at you. What's going on?

FUJIMOTO: Yes. True. True.

GIOKOS: Do you have confirmation? Something you want to share?

FUJIMOTO: OK, so I think I need to go now. Yes.

GIOKOS: So you need to go to your meeting. Listen, Masaki, I'd love to have you back on at some point. Once you get everything confirmed, check out the

science. Such a pleasure to speak to you. I wish you and your team all the very best.

All right. Masaki there for us. He's the deputy director general for Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. We just saw an incredible moment of the SLIM

landing on the moon. We are waiting for the final pictures to come through. That is going to be delayed and perhaps in the next couple of hours. But

from what we just saw it's very promising.

All right. Don't go away. We've got much more news ahead. Stay with us.



GIOKOS: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos, I'm in for Becky Anderson. Great to have you with us.

History is being made right now hundreds of thousands of kilometers above the earth. The Japanese Space Agency says it has just landed a robotic

explorer craft on the moon and you're looking at a computer-generated rendering of the Moon Sniper mission right here.

Landings like this one have only been achieved a handful of times before. And what you can see actually on the bottom on your right-hand side of your

screen is that this sort of little green picture on the moon. It landed a short time ago.

I've got CNN space correspondent Kristin Fisher joining me now.

Kristin, fantastic moments. We see this -- and we've got to be very clear. This is a CGI rendering of data that is being sent back to earth. So the

hope is the science adds up and that the SLIM made a successful landing.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no live images, unfortunately, but, hey, well take the telemetry in the data that we're

seeing on the right-hand side of your screen. So just to give you the latest update, and I love the interview that you just did and the gentleman

with the Japan Space Agency that had to leave, I'm dying to know why he had to leave and who we needed to talk to because we're really at this critical


We know that the spacecraft, a robotic spacecraft built and operated by Japan Space Agency, has landed on the surface of the moon. But we just

don't know what kind of condition it's in. Did it crash land? Is it in several pieces or was it successful? And did Japan just indeed become the

fifth country in the history of the world to do that, the third country this century? I mean, it has been within 50 years since the United States

has landed any kind of spacecraft on the surface of the moon manned or unmanned, crude, or uncrewed. So this would be a huge deal for Japan Space

Agency and the entire country to become one of the very few nations to be able to do that.

But as of now, Eleni, the very latest from Japan Space Agency is they're still checking the status of that spacecraft. So the telemetry seems to be

still coming in. There seems to be some kind of communication ongoing with the spacecraft, which is an excellent sign. But again, we just don't quite

know the condition of the SLIM lunar lander.

And just for those that haven't been following all of your coverage, this SLIM lunar lander and it stands for the Smart Lander for Investigating the

Moon. It's got a great nickname. It's called the Moon Sniper because it's designed to demonstrate this really high-tech technology and landed within

essentially something the size of an American football field, right. Previous lunar landings, you know, their target areas span several


So if they're able to successfully do that with the help of these smart eyes that essentially take rapid photographs of the surface of the moon and

then communicate that to a computer onboard the spacecraft to help it find a safe area to land that would be a huge, huge development, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Absolutely. I mean, as you say, this is a huge feat. If indeed the signs does add up, we know as you say, the CGI rendering, we're seeing it,

looks successful. We know that my guest had to run off to go to a meeting to figure out what exactly is going on. And then the states of this lander.

You know, there are so many questions. But if this is successful in the hope that it is, I'm remaining very hopeful right now, it's firstly to

pinpoint the position in terms of where it wanted to land, in terms of figuring out what the rock make-up is on the moon, the origins of the moon.

I mean, there's so much that can be discovered.

FISHER: That, and also, you know, one of the other really neat things about this mission is the actual location of where it's trying to land. If you

think about previous lunar missions they've all tried to land in relatively safe, bolder, free spaces away from these craters, right?


Because think about it when a meteorite or a comet were to hit the hit the moon, it would then send out chunks of rock from that impact site. So

previous lunar missions have tried to avoid craters, but not Japan. Japan believes that with these smart eyes and this precision technology, they

believe that they have the technology to do a more risky landing near a crater. And so that's what they're trying to do.

They're trying to touch down near the Sea of Nectar. That's what it's called. It's just south of the Sea of Tranquility where Apollo 11 landed

famously back in 1969 and it's an area that was created by ancient volcanic activity. So, yes, to your point, Eleni, if this SLIM lander can land

successfully and continue to function, and operate, it would be able to study those rocks in that area of ancient volcanic activity, which should

be hugely beneficial to science.

GIOKOS: Indeed it will. Kristin Fisher, great to have you on. Thank you so much for your analysis. Brilliant as always.

FISHER: Thank you.

GIOKOS: Well, we're going to other news now that we are tracking.

A U.S. cargo jet was forced to make an emergency landing Thursday after an engine malfunction, according to Atlas Air. A woman in Miami captured the

video of the damaged aircraft flying overhead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god, it's on fire. Oh, my god.


GIOKOS: Well, the plane landed safely in Miami and according to FlightAware, trouble started at about three minutes into the flight with

faulty engine shooting sparks into the air. Atlas Air says it's investigating what went wrong.

And still to come, you may recognize him from being an outstanding music writer and producer. But do you know his creative intelligence help change

the world, making it a better place. Coming up, Becky Anderson had a chance to speak to Nile Rodgers.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. And supporters of Yemen's Houthi movement are protesting. A move by the U.S. to designate that Iran-backed rebels as a

global terrorist organization. Thousands of people took to the streets of Sanaa today with banners and flags in support of the Houthis. The U.S. has

struck five targets in Yemen in the past week in the hope of stopping Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.


The White House says the U.S. strikes are degrading the rebels' capability to inflict damage. But President Joe Biden admits the Houthis remain



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are the airstrikes in Yemen working?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, when you say working, are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes.


GIOKOS: Well, the U.S. says the Houthis have fired missiles at several American owned ships this week. A Houthi spokesperson said vessels linked

to Israel will continue to be attacked while ships from other countries like China and Russia will not be threatened.

Arab countries and the region are constantly calling for Israel to stop its bombardment of Gaza. Many saying it's time for a ceasefire. Even Saudi

Arabia who in the period leading up to October 7th was actively advancing a new security architecture in the Middle East that made normalization with

Israel a key focus. But since October 7th, the kingdom has been engaged regionally and globally in efforts to address the immediate humanitarian

crisis in Gaza, as well as supporting and trying to find a long-term viable path forward for Palestinians.

The question of normalization, though, seemingly on pause at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

CNN's Becky Anderson had a discussion with the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Princess Reema, about normalization with Israel, a focus of

course of the Biden administration's Middle East policy, and Saudi Arabia's overall position on the war. Have a watch.


PRINCESS REEMA BINT BANDAR AL-SAUD, SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: The most important thing to realize is the kingdom has not put normalization at the

heart of its policy. It's put peace and prosperity at the heart of its policy. So that looks at resolving the finite cause of the Palestinian

people who deserve a state. They deserve sovereignty. They deserve a pathway that is irrevocable to their situation.

Today you're talking about 30,000 people who died. Let's talk about those who are living. The children who are limbs are amputated, the people who

are hiding in churches. That is not OK in any society to have sewage running around. This is not a solution to peace. This is not a solution to

sovereignty. It's also not a path to safety. And while the kingdom fully recognizes the need for Israel to feel safe, it cannot be at the expense of

the Palestinian people.

So in our plight, in our journey over the past, and not since October 7th, it's horrible and vile and disgusting as what happened that day was, we

have to go to the root cause of the instability in the region. 75 years of occupation. Those 75 years led to a plethora and an outpour and the

spilling of violence across our region.

To your point, it's not complicated. The solution is obvious and the solution is now. And the solution is a two-state solution. The kingdom

since the time of King Fahad has put forward that policy. Since the Arab proposal of peace, we've pushed King Abdullah for that policy. And you

heard the Crown Prince say in his own voice, we've never been closer than we were before. But today, cooler heads must prevail.

There's trauma and pain on both sides. I can't take that back. But what we can do is ceasefire now because how many more children need to die? How

many more limbs need to be lost? How many more parents need to lose their livelihood? It can't happen anymore. And the kingdom has condemned violence

on both sides. We do not condemn civilian violence in any capacity. It doesn't matter in which country, which people, which faith, at the end of

the day we are human beings and human beings today must say ceasefire now.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR, CONNECT THE WORLD: Ceasefire now. A term I -- a message I hear echoed around the region. We also now hear much talk once

again of normalization. And what can you tell us about the prospects for normalizing relations with Israel in the short term? When am I asking? This

is the question. This part of this session is about the near term, is about the short term, but we can't wait.

AL-SAUD: Correct.

ANDERSON: To talk about a long term before we talk about normalization.

AL-SAUD: So the kingdom has been quite clear. While there is violence on the ground and the killing persists, we cannot talk about the next day or

the day after because we have to solve the immediate, but what I can tell you is the kingdom has continuously extended a hand for peace but when we

look at the other hand that carries the Palestinian people in statehood for them. And that is a responsibility that we have. And it's a responsibility

that we take seriously.


And peace means we have, as I said, the kingdom's policy is a finite irrevocable path that is today for the Palestinian people. That is how we

get security. We carry peace, we carry prosperity, we carry safety and we deliver it through the Palestinian statehood.

ANDERSON: How concerned are you about the wider spillover at this point?

AL-SAUD: I'm profoundly concerned, Becky. I am profoundly concerned because today the whole Middle East has been united in its call for peace and de-

escalation. But the longer that this goes on, it is inevitable that either a rogue entity or a mistake will happen that will take us back. And I hate

to say it, but back to the Stone Age. It is a hot and volatile area, my part of the world. And we do not want the burden for our great

grandchildren to say we could have had a solution, we could have resolved this.

We didn't need to be in the state that we are in. And today leadership says I feel pain, but I will still do the right thing. My people are hurting,

but I will still do the right thing because the future demands it of us. And so we recognize the shock to the Israeli people of what happened on

October 7th, but we have to recognize the daily constant shock that is happening to the men and women of Gaza. And it is spilling over to the West

Bank. And it is not something that we can turn a blind eye to.

ANDERSON: And Ambassador, the spilling into the region. We are seeing a wider regional conflict.

AL-SAUD: Correct.

ANDERSON: And you worry.

AL-SAUD: I absolutely worry, because it's not what we need today. In 2030 is very clear, the only path to prosperity for the Middle East is unity.

It's economic prosperity. It is a balanced, stable region where we, for once and for all, can stop being the headline because of trauma and death

and violence. But we can be a headline on prosperity. Weve shown it can happen. You've seen the turnaround of the kingdom.

It is impossible to say that it's not possible anywhere else. And we are here ready to take a leadership position. But it is also impossible to move

in and lead, when you have a population of people who are starving, when you have aid on borders that can't come in. We want better for our world

and we are taking a leadership position. But it's impossible when thousands of bombs are being dropped.


GIOKOS: Let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now.

Iran has conducted large-scale military exercises after Pakistani missile and drone strikes inside Iran that Tehran says killed at least 10 people.

Those attacks followed deadly Iranian attacks on targets in Pakistan. Both sides say they were attacking strongholds used by militants inside other's


Mexico and Chile are asking the International Criminal Court to investigate whether crimes have been committed in the Palestinian territories. Their

request does not directly mention or accused Israel or Hamas. Israel has repeatedly stated it's targeting Hamas and not civilians in Gaza.

North Korea claims to have tested an underwater nuclear capable drone. It says it was in response to joint naval drills conducted by the U.S. South

Korea, and Japan earlier this week, according to state-run media. Pyongyang said the drills were a serious threat to its security.

There are many people who've done things to change the world and make it better and then there are some who make music to achieve the same thing.

After the break, Becky speaks with legendary musician, writer and producer, Nile Rodgers.



GIOKOS: Guitarist, writer and producer Nile Rodgers is best known for his music. It's won him Grammy Awards and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame. Now he can add to all that a 2024 Crystal Award for years of work promoting young people and overcoming inequality as well as racism.

Our Becky Anderson had a chance to speak with him as he accepted the award in Davos.


ANDERSON (voice-over): From co-founding Chic and writing songs for the likes of Madonna and David Bowie, to producing beats for Daft Punk, Nile

Rodgers has written and produced these soundtracks of our times.

How important is music to you?


walking down the street, you know, in my head, I was -- yes, I can hear the music, you know, telling me how this scene plays out.

ANDERSON: What did you enjoy writing and producing most?

RODGERS: Probably my first song called "Everybody Dance."


RODGERS: Because I didn't know that I was a producer.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Perhaps his most famous hit, "We are Family" by Sister Sledge spread some message of global unity.


ANDERSON: And it's also the name of his foundation. Founded in the traumatic aftermath of 9/11 its goal is to promote cultural diversity

through funding for schools and empowering young people to change the world by giving them access to events such as this, the World Economic Forum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The value with young people bring is they bring energy, passion, and drive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These things should be passed on not just through dialogue, but also action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Helping young leaders or having them in decision- making spaces isn't just the smart thing to do, it's the urgent thing to do.

ANDERSON (voice-over): A new global study conducted by his foundation highlights the power of bringing generations together to take on

environmental, social, and economic problems.

RODGERS: Most people believe inter-generational collaboration is of great value. Most people believe that youth have powerful ideas and solutions to

global problems. Most believe organizations do not empower young people to contribute to those ideas.

ANDERSON (voice-over): His philanthropic work earning him one of the 2024 Crystal Awards at the World Economic Forum here in Davos.

RODGERS: Over the last 20 years, our We are Family Foundation has powerfully illustrated my belief that young people are the thinkers and the

innovators who are critical to both the present and the future of our planet.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Something that's being close to his heart since he was a teen in New York City, where he was a member of the Black Panthers

alongside the likes of Bobby Seale, Kathleen Cleaver, and Jamal Joseph.

RODGERS: Jamal and I have been friends because we were in the same branch of the Black Panthers. There was a Harlem branch here in New York.

I wanted to how the community. I wanted to join the organization that was that at that time seemed like the most effective. So when I joined the

Black Panther Party you have no idea how amazing it was from my life because the Black Panther Party taught us about business.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Using that formative experience to spread peace and reach charts all over the world.

RODGERS: I realized a long time ago that I've been given a priceless gift. When I give that gift to others, I get back more than the wealthiest person

on earth.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Becky Anderson, CNN, Davos.


GIOKOS: What a legend. Well, thanks so much for joining us for this history-making hour of CONNECT THE WORLD and we've been watching as Japan

landed its first ever robotic explorer on the moon surface. Japan Space Agency says the Moon Sniper touched down on the lunar surface and now it's

checking on the condition of that lander. We're hoping for the best. Japan has does joined an exclusive club of only five other nations that have

managed to put -- safely put a spacecraft on the lunar surface. And we're expecting to get footage from that landing in a few hours. We will bring

you that as soon as we have it.

Well, from the CONNECT THE WORLD family here in Abu Dhabi, thanks so much for joining us. Have a fantastic weekend. And the "STATE OF THE RACE" with

Kasie Hunt is up next.