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Connect the World

Ukraine and Russia Carry Out Major Prisoner Exchange; U.S. House Republicans Advance Effort to Impeach Mayorkas; Texas has Spent Billions on U.S. Border Security; Top Tech CEOs Face Capitol Hill Grilling over Child Safety; AFCON Quarterfinals set another Round of Upsets. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired January 31, 2024 - 09:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, it is 6 pm here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson from our Middle East programming hub. This is

"Connect the World" happening this hour. Thousands of displaced Palestinians in Gaza seek shelter at a hospital in Khan Yunis as the IDF

conducts large operations nearby. Well, that coming up.

Plus U.S. President Joe Biden says he has decided how to respond to what was a deadly attack in Jordan. And Ukraine and Russia exchange hundreds of

prisoners one week after a Russian military plane crashed. And there's more thrills at the Africa Cup of South Africa oust Morocco in the latest shock


And the markets in New York, at least will open it in about 30 minutes from now midway of course through the European market. And this is the situation

the Dow futures slightly higher, NASDAQ for the tech stocks of course off by some 1 percent. The S&P future is down by some half of 1 percent. More

on that why the markets are doing what they are doing what we can expect at the bottom of the hour on the Opening Bell.

We're living in constant fear and anxiety. That is how the Palestine Red Crescent is describing what it calls the precarious situation around a

hospital in the Khan Yunis. Thousands of displaced Gazan residents, mostly women and children have been sheltering on the grounds of Al Amal Hospital,

which the Red Crescent says is now occupied by Israeli tanks.

Well, the group reports intense ongoing Israeli military activity in the area. You can see on the map here where that is. Israel's military says its

forces are not operating inside the hospital and are working with its staff to make sure it has adequate fuel and electricity.

Well, the World Health Organization says the team was able to deliver essential supplies to NASA Hospital in Khan Yunis, which you see here. But

the W.H.O. director says that delays are only adding to the misery with people in during what he calls hellish conditions, including severe hunger.

Jeremy Diamond is with me this hour from Tel Aviv. And Jeremy, I think it is important to establish what we know about the situation around these

hospitals. Is it clear at this point?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, what is certainly clear is that the situation is very precarious, regardless of whether or not

Israeli tanks actually entered the hospital directly. It is clear that the Israeli military has been carrying out this major offensive in the western

part of Khan Yunis for about a week now. And that those operations have been happening in very close proximity to several of that city's hospitals.

Palestine Red Crescent Society and hospital officials do say that Israeli tanks entered the hospital's front yard last night. And they say that those

Israeli forces fired live ammunition as well as smoke grenades. One hospital official is telling CNN that people were being directed to

evacuate at gunpoint.

The Israeli military for its part says that it quote, did not operate inside Al Amal Hospital or request its evacuation. And as you mentioned,

they have said that they have been closely coordinating with the hospital to ensure that it has sufficient fuel and electricity to continue its

operations. But the Israeli military has been surrounding that hospital for days already.

And we know that in addition to the patients and staffs there, about 8000 people are estimated to be sheltering displaced Palestinians, estimated to

be sheltering on the grounds of that hospital. And today the Palestine Red Crescent Society says that those individuals are living in constant fear

and anxiety from that Israeli military activity.

Now at Al Nasr Hospital which has also seen airstrikes and shelling in it's very near vicinity. The World Health Organization was finally able to

deliver essential medical supplies they say for about thousand patients. The World Health Organization has issued several warnings about the

fighting nearby.

Now a lot of these areas the Israeli military has urged people to evacuate, but with Israeli military vehicles and firing nearby as well as the reports

of the Israeli military firing upon several people over the last month who were carrying white flags evacuating these situations can be much, much

harder than it actually may appear. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yeah, Jeremy Diamond is on the ground with what we understand to be the very latest on the ground in Gaza, while Israel continues its

operation in and around Khan Yunis.


We have seen clear evidence that this conflict is slipping outside of Gaza is widening. The latest on that in a surprise move, the most powerful Iran

backed militia in Iraq. Hattab Hezbollah says it will suspend military operations against U.S. forces in the region. Now this comes as U.S.

President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, he had decided on a response to what was a recent drone attack that killed three U.S. troops near Jordan's

border with Syria.

Mr. Biden hasn't yet said what that response will be. But American officials blame Iran backed militants for that attack. Iran, for its part

denies any involvement. So there's a lot going on, a lot going on across the region. And there are regional players here state and non-state in

Play, let's put it all into context.

Natasha Bertrand joins us from the Pentagon. Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, let's be quite clear, says that threats from the United States will

not go unanswered. Now, it isn't clear is it at this point what Joe Biden has decided to do in terms of action in response to the drone attack on a

U.S. base, which killed American servicemen. But just explain what we understand to be the thinking here.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: We don't know yet what course of action President Biden has decided on. But we do know from

several U.S. officials, including John Kirby, who is the Spokesperson for the National Security Council, as well as Secretary of State Antony

Blinken, that this is likely to be a multi-level or multifaceted and potentially multi-day response.

John Kirby said yesterday, quote, not a single action, but multiple actions over time, is what the U.S. is anticipating at this point as a response.

And this is important because they need to figure out a way to deter these Iran backed militant groups from continuing their attacks on U.S. forces

without actually sparking that broader regional war.

And particularly a direct war with Iran that President Biden and other officials have said. The U.S. just does not want to get embroiled in at

this point. And so the question now is, what is this response going to look like? It could be, you know, strikes on Iran backed militias in Iraq and

Syria, as the U.S. has done in the past.

It could be an offensive cyberattack that tries to cripple Iranian and Iran backed militia's infrastructure. It could be a combination of those that

could also involve the striking of U.S. of Iranian naval assets in the Red Sea. There are many options that President Biden has at this moment. But

you know, the big question here is, what is that line that perhaps the U.S. should not, cannot cross to avoid sparking this broader war with Iran

itself, Becky?

ANDERSON: Yeah, and this is a real dilemma for this Biden Administration, not just, you know, thinking about its consequences around this region, of

course, and I'm in the Gulf. So this is the wider Middle East region, there's so much going on. But also at home domestically, a very tough

decision for that Biden Administration to take. And it goes all the way to the top or to the U.S. president amid concerns. Thank you, Natasha.

Amid concerns about this sort of widening conflict, the families of the six remaining American hostages in Gaza met with White House officials on

Tuesday night who updated them on the ongoing negotiations. It comes as Hamas says that it is studying, studying another new proposal for a pause

in fighting in Gaza and the return of the more than 100 hostages still being held there.

But on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel will not release thousands of terrorists as part of that deal, have a listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I may hear talk about all kinds of deals. I would like to make it clear; we will not conclude this war

without achieving all of its goals. We will not withdraw the IDF from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists. None of this

will happen.


ANDERSON: Well, of course, he is speaking to what is proposed in the framework of this new deal being studied at present by Hamas, which is the

exchange of Palestinian prisoners, of course for hostages held in Gaza. Well, the system for getting aid to Gaza could collapse if the U.N.'s main

relief agency there keeps losing funds.

That is a warning from a U.N. Committee. And it comes as Sweden is one of the latest countries to suspend funding over Israel's allegations that the

UNRWA agency, the UNRWA agency staff were involved in the October 7th Hamas attacks.


U.N. Secretary General met with donor nations on Tuesday; he is due to address the conflict next hour. More than that, of course as we get it.

Well, here is an example of how the turmoil in the region is causing an impact affecting commerce in the Red Sea. Thousands of sheep and cattle is

stranded on a ship of Western Australia. The vessel is owned by Israel; it was headed for Jordan and ordered to turn around over fears that it could

be targeted by Houthi rebels.

The animals have to be quarantined before they can return to land. Officials are racing against the clock as right now there is a sweltering

heat wave. Well, Russia and Ukraine exchanged hundreds of prisoners of war earlier today. The Ukrainian government called it quote the second major

exchange after a long break. And that move comes as Russia and Ukraine approached the two year anniversary of the start of this war.

CNN Fred Pleitgen joins us now from Kyiv. Fred, what more do we know and how many prisons in the end were released? And what are the details of this


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Becky. They're actually quite interesting. And you're absolutely right. It is a

pretty remarkable prisoner exchange that's taken place earlier today the Ukrainians say. The Ukrainians are saying that for their side 207 Ukrainian

prisoners were released. There's already some video that has come out of some of these Ukrainians now on Ukrainian territory, obviously very, very

happy to be back home.

The Ukrainians are also offering a bit of a breakdown saying that 95 of them were representatives of the Armed Forces, 56 National Guardsmen, also

border guards, members and soldiers of the territorial defense. And one of the things that are really remarkable is some of the defenders or some of

the soldiers that were released today; they were taken captive in the very early stages of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Some of them were defending Mariupol; some of them were on Snake Island, which of course, was taken very early on by the Russians. The Russians, for

their part have not put up anything official yet. But we are hearing from some channels in Russia though, is that apparently around 200 possibly 196

Russian troops were also released.

But of course, the other thing that's very remarkable, Becky about this exchange that took place is that it's happening only a week after an Il-76

transport plane of the Russian Federation crashed in or approaching the City of Belgrade. And of course, the Russians had a blame that on the

Ukrainian saying the Ukrainian shot down the plane.

And the Russians had also said that onboard that plane were actually 65 Ukrainian POWs who were killed. Now the Ukrainians of course, have cast

doubt on that. They said that so far, the Russians have not produced any evidence that there were actually POWs on that plane. They certainly

haven't showed any bodies in that crash site or anywhere afterwards.

So the Ukrainians are saying they want an international investigation. But the Russians had said that the future of prisoner exchanges was very much

in doubt that it was unclear. But today, we've obviously seen that these prisoner exchanges are continuing. The Ukrainian saying this was the 50th

exchange of prisoners, obviously very important for them to get these 270 back on Ukrainian soil, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, this is fascinating. Just you know, just shy of the two year anniversary, what, if anything, does this tell us about where these

two sides are at, at this point?

PLEITGEN: Well, you know, what, I think one of the things that it tells us that despite the fact that on the battlefield, things certainly are very

tough and they certainly are very going at it in a tough way. And despite the fact that you just had that massive controversy going on about that

plane crash that took place, certainly the Russians were very angry about that, that the behind the scenes negotiations do continue.

And it was quite interesting, because the head of hostage negotiations for the Ukrainians, he came out, and he congratulated some top members of

Ukraine's military and political apparatus. Among them, the Chief of the Military Intelligence Service, Kyrylo Budanov, who, of course, is one of

the arch nemeses that have the Russians in all that.

And the Russians believe behind some of the attacks that have been happening on Russian territory. Also Andriy Yermak, of course, one of the

top officials here close to President Zelenskyy as well. So it certainly seems as though behind the scenes, those negotiations are still continuing,

even though things are ramping up on the battlefield.

And the Russians, certainly right now trying to gain territory, especially in the east of the country. At the same time, these exchanges are still

taking place. And those exchanges are extremely important for the Ukrainians to get some of their service members back home, very important

here in Ukrainian society. And one of the things that President Zelenskyy is also measured by, Becky.

ANDERSON: That is fascinating. Thank you. Anti-war Russian Politician Boris Nadezhdin says that he has turned in 105,000 signatures more than what is

required to get on the presidential ballot in March. He turned them in by today's deadline.


And if the Central Election Commission accepts the signatures submitted, he'll be allowed on the Presidential Ballot against Vladimir Putin. And Mr.

Putin has already announced his bid for re-election. Nadezhdin is campaigning against the war with Ukraine describing Putin's decision to

invade at a fatal mistake.

Well, it's been 150 years since a U.S. cabinet secretary was last impeached. But House Republicans are trying to do just that, claiming that

the Homeland Security Secretary committed high crimes and misdemeanors. So what is the evidence? What happens next? That is after this.


ANDERSON: A political feud on Capitol Hill between House Republicans and the Biden Administration is intensifying. Earlier today U.S. House

Committee voted to advance articles of impeachment against Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of U.S. border security.

Now Republicans in the Homeland Security Committee accused Mayorkas of failing to enforce U.S. immigration policies at their southern border

though they have offered little evidence of wrongdoing. Now this is a controversial move and could make Mayorkas the first Cabinet Secretary to

be impeached in nearly 150 years.

CNN's Lauren Fox joins us from Capitol Hill. I mean, there is, I think it's fair to say no doubt that there is enormous politics at play here. It was

ever thus, perhaps when it comes to issues of impeachment. But what do we know about this? Where are the -- where's the Republicans argument here?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, House Republicans are arguing that Mayorkas did not enforce current immigration laws on the

books. And that his willful defiance to expand his parole authorities to not follow detention mandates. And to, in their view mislead Congress when

he said earlier during the administration that the Biden Administration had operational control of the border. They argued that those are grounds for


Now constitutional experts have cast doubt on that, Democrats also spent most of yesterday in this hours long markup, making their case why these

are not high crimes and misdemeanors that of course, the bar for impeachment. They argue that these are really policy disagreements which

are normal and fine to have in Congress.

They say these do not rise to the level of impeachable crimes. The next challenge for House Republicans is going to be to try and get the votes

that they need in order to pass this on the floor. They have a narrow two seat majority. There's already one Republican Ken Buck, who's publicly

saying he's leaning no, that means that they don't have much room for err here, if they can pass this out of the House though.


It's going nowhere fast in the Senate, you would typically have to have a trial in the United States Senate. But Democrats control that body. And

there's a question, obviously, of how long that trial would be. And then, of course, there is no expectation that Democrats would vote to impeach a

democratic president's cabinet secretary, especially given the fact that Democrats are arguing that these are not impeachable offenses.

So this is really an exercise in futility for House Republicans, but it's one that the Chairman of the committee Mark Green told me yesterday, he

feels like is his duty to pursue at this moment. Meanwhile, there are those ongoing negotiations over an emerging Senate border deal that still has not

been released.

Republicans in the House rejecting it out of hand, saying that it's not enough, despite the fact they haven't actually seen the text at this point.

That is setting a dynamic where basically House Republicans are pursuing impeachment, when there is a legislative option on the table, Becky?

ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, and their critics will argue that this is political posturing. This is some theater, effectively, whether or not there is any

evidence that is substantive for impeachment here you've explained. I think it's just really important to provide some context here. The border, the

southern border couldn't be a more important political issue in what is this incredibly consequential election year, correct?

FOX: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, our colleague Priscilla Alvarez and I have reported out a story that posted this morning, they're really laid out

how Democrats are now planning to go on offense on the border, because their argument is that they are presenting a bipartisan moderate solution.

They're going much further than many of their democratic predecessors when it comes to being willing to negotiate on the border and some of the

policies that they're willing to accept. And it's still not enough for Republicans. In fact, one Democrat that I talked to Tom Suozzi, who's

running for a special reelection to replace George Santos, the ousted Congressman from New York, he made the argument that he's been talking

about this on the campaign trail.

He's not afraid to talk about it, because he said, look, Democrats have a solution. Republicans don't want to take it. Now this is our issue to run

on a really interesting political dynamic that's shaping up ahead of the 2024 election.

ANDERSON: Yeah, absolutely. Good stuff. Thank you very much indeed. While Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas then faces the threat of

impeachment, many Republican officials in Washington and across the United States are rallying around Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his border

standoff with the Biden Administration as that continues.

Texas has spent billions of dollars on an aggressive campaign to take more control over border security. My colleague, Ed Lavandera reports the

state's efforts appear to have done little to deter migrants from crossing into the United States, have a look at this.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gaston Santander fled Venezuela and crossed into Texas in the summer of 2021, just

a few months after Governor Greg Abbott launched the state funded border security plan called Operation Lone Star.

GASTON SANTANDER, MIGRANT: I crossed the river there was the Texas police.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Instead of being detained by border patrol agents, he was arrested by Texas State Troopers. Part of Operation Lone Star

involves arresting migrants for trespassing onto private property. Governor Abbott has argued these arrests would deter migrants.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): And when people start learning about this, they're going to stop coming across the Texas border.

LAVANDERA: I thought you were handcuffed arrested charged with criminal trespassing. You spent more than a month in jail in Texas.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Santander says the experience was held. He spent his life working as a human rights lawyer now was seen as a criminal. The

trespassing charge was dismissed by a judge. And almost three years later Santander is now in Colorado awaiting his asylum hearing. The state arrest

did nothing to derail that.

Kristin Etter is a lawyer who's worked with groups that have defended thousands of migrants snagged into the net of Operation Lone Star.

KRISTIN ETTER, ATTORNEY: It's really just a political stunt and has no real effect on immigration.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The state says they've made nearly 10,000 trespassing arrests since 2021. Etter says many of those misdemeanor cases

are simply dismissed.

ETTER: Operation Lone Star it's essentially been a $10.5 billion temporary and harsh detour to the asylum system. It doesn't actually prevent a person

from being able to request and receive asylum in the United States.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Since Operation Lone Star started almost three years ago, Governor Abbott has continued to escalate the number of state

troopers and National Guard soldiers deployed to the border. State officials say Operation Lone Star has turned over nearly 500,000 migrants

to border patrol and has led to over 35,000 more serious felony charges.

ABBOTT: We have deployed more National Guard, thousands of National Guard than ever before in the history of the state.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): But according to federal immigration data, the number of migrant encounters along the Texas Mexico border has increased

overall since Operation Lone Star launched in March of 2021.

But the Texas governor's office points out that other states on their southern border like Arizona and California have seen much sharper

increases in migrant encounters than Texas. Democratic State Representative Eddie Morales once supported Operation Lone Star now says the $11 billion

price tag hasn't been worth it.

REP. EDDIE MORALES (D-TX): The numbers have just continued to increase. We have to answer to our Texas taxpayers. I don't think that it's enough what

we're doing as a matter of fact, it's only gotten worse.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Morales represents Eagle Pass, the border city that's become the epicenter of the ongoing fight between state and federal

authorities over immigration. State authorities have taken over a public park and are limiting border patrol access to the area. The state has also

installed miles of razor wire along the Rio Grande.

Texas sued the Biden Administration to prevent border patrol agents from cutting the wire to apprehend or rescue migrants. But the Supreme Court has

ruled that border agents can remove the wire while the case plays out in court.

MORALES: This is all political theater, you walk you know a mile down that way or a mile down that way and it's completely open.


ANDERSON: Ed Lavandera with that report. Excuse me. Just ahead on "Connect the World" you are looking at images of some of the most powerful tech

leaders on the planet. They are about to face cross examination, its call it maybe a grilling in Washington. We are going to take you there live.

Find out why they are back on Capitol Hill.

Plus a new commitment between the United States and China to thwart the production of chemicals used to make what is the deadly drug fentanyl, more

on that after this.



ANDERSON: Well, that is the Opening Bell on Wall Street. Investors are certainly intent on keeping an eye on rates. The Federal Reserve widely

expected to hold interest rates steady later today, but investors will be listening for the U.S. Central Bank's policy statement. That is because

they are searching for clues on whether a rate cut could come as early as March.

And when you look at these markets, I think it's important to suggest. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi; you're watching "Connect the World", that a

lot of inaction I think is what we are looking at here. That's how we can read these markets today. The NASDAQ is frankly suffering a slight slide

after a pretty robust run.

The Dow trading slightly higher, those investors who are on rate watch will may have taken that latest employment cost index, which is out today, which

was slower than expected as an indication, the Fed might just be ready to slicer the top of those interest rates. So we will wait for that decision.

And indeed, what the Fed actually says about where it's at.

You can bet investors will be listening to every word from U.S. Fed Chief Jerome Powell later today. Then when he holds a news conference, after the

Fed announcement, they are going to try and get any sort of sense about rate cuts that might come in the spring. It's important to note that the

U.S. economy is in good shape. So fed watchers figure there might not be any urgency for trimming rates.

It's one of these decisions, which is a tough one. Nobody wants to be a central banker. In this market plenty of urgency today for parents though

waiting to hear what five of the biggest tech CEOs could say about online child exploitation. A U.S. Senate hearing on Capitol Hill is set to kick

off at the top of this hour. And the Heads of Meta, TikTok, Discord, Snapchat and X formerly known as Twitter are expected to be in the hot seat

coming for a grilling possibly.

They are facing growing criticism about social media potential to harm young users. Well, Meta's Chief Mark Zuckerberg could come in for extra

scrutiny since his company owns Instagram and Facebook. We're keeping an eye on this with CNN's Clare Duffy, who is live in Washington. What are you

expecting today Clare?

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Right. So Becky, I mean, these lawmakers have spent the past two plus years doing a lot of talking but taking very

little action in terms of holding these big tech platforms accountable for what many say are real risks to young users. And so I think the big

question going into today is, will we see more of the same these splashy sound bites especially in an election year? Or will there be real pushes

for real change?

There are reasons to believe that today's hearing will be different among them. You have a few more serious legislative proposals on the table. You

have the Kids Online Safety Act, which Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has already said he plans to endorse. And I think we'll see these other CEOs facing

pressure to endorse that bill as well.

There's also a new proposal that would crack down on AI generated non- consensual sexual imagery, which of course we know Popstar Taylor Swift was the latest victim of just last week. And so, I think we'll see a lot of

discussion of these potential legislative proposals that could hold these platforms accountable.

Many people say these platforms should no longer be trusted to self- regulate. From the CEOs, I think we'll hear them touting a lot of these existing youth safety measures that they have, including parental oversight

tools that give parents some ways to monitor their young people's use of social media.

But a lot of critics of these platforms say that those measures don't go far enough and that they put too much onus on parents, and in some cases on

teens themselves to be really monitoring their own experience on these platforms. And so I think it'll be interesting to see if these CEOs can

reassure lawmakers that they're doing enough on this front, Becky.

ANDERSON: It's really interesting, as we've watched these congressional hearings over the years, since the sort of birth, as it were of online

behavior, you get the sense that, that Congress is sort of playing catch up to a certain extent and its own knowledge about what goes on. Is Congress

fit for purpose at this point, do you think? This is very, I mean, I'm asking you, you know, sort of a colleague to colleague here, as it were.

DUFFY: I mean, it has been a big question and it has been something that's come up in these past hearings where you can just tell these lawmakers

don't really understand what they're talking about. But I think two years on from this really bursting onto the public consciousness; lawmakers do

have a much better grasp of the issues here and where? They could take real action to hold these platforms accountable. I will be watching to see

especially the Discord CEO, the Snap CEO and X CEO, Linda Yaccarino.


It'll be their first time testifying in Congress here today. Their platforms are smaller. They're a bit different than the meadows of the

world. And so, I think for them especially, it'll be interesting to watch their interactions with lawmakers, how they sort of engage in this grilling

and help lawmakers understand how their platforms really work.

ANDERSON: Yeah, you're right. It's -- I'm interested to see how they perform and what we get out of this. Thank you, Clare, always good to have

you. Well, the United States and China have launched their first Counter Narcotics group to curb the production and sale of chemicals that make

fentanyl. Now those chemicals have fueled a drug crisis in the United States.

CNN's Beijing Bureau Chief Steven Jiang report, it is a vital link in the fight against drug trafficking, have a look at this.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Both sides on Wednesday highlighting the symbolic importance of the resumption of these Counter

Narcotics talks. And saying this was a direct result of that summit between President Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in San Francisco

last November. Now, these talks were suspended by Beijing unilaterally in the summer of 2022, following that controversial visit to Taiwan by then

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

So after this gap of a year and a half, both sides were finally sitting down again, each sending an interagency delegation to discuss this issue

that is near and dear to the heart of many U.S. officials and politicians. Because of that tremendous human toll, the opioid crisis has taken on

American society with hundreds of thousands of Americans killed by opioid overdose in the past few years.

I remember talking to members of the first Senate delegation to visit China. And years just a few months ago, almost every senator had a personal

tragedy to share when it comes to fentanyl deaths, not only involving their constituents, but sometimes their family friends.

One senator told me she actually personally clear her case with President Xi Jinping, and asking for his help to stem the flow of this potent and

deadly synthetic drug to the U.S. from China, which the U.S. has long said is the primary source. Now Beijing, of course, has long denied that and

often are pointing finger at Washington blaming the U.S. drugs culture and lacks law enforcement and of course, years of geopolitical tensions didn't


But despite all these disagreements, both sides seem to agree. This is something now they can work together. And according to the U.S. Embassy,

both sides discussed the need to further coordinating law enforcement actions targeting the misuse of precursor chemicals, but also the financing

of transporter criminal organizations and also discussing the importance of regularly sharing information on multiple fronts.

And of course, they have daunting tasks ahead of them. Our own investigations have revealed how sophisticated and nimbo some Chinese

operators are when it comes to tweaking the chemical formulas to evade the law, but also popping up under different names after being shut down. But

still, both the U.S. and China seem to agree this is an important first step in the right direction. Steven Jiang, CNN, Beijing.

ANDERSON: Well, a Thai court has dashed the hopes of millions of voters who backed reform of the powerful monarchy. Thailand's Constitutional Court

says the country's election winning party must end its campaign to change the country's notoriously strict royal defamation law. Now, judges say that

such a bit violates the Constitution declaring the actions of the move forward party sought to damage the monarchy.

Human Rights Organizations and free speech campaigners say that the law has long been used as a political tool to silence critics of the Thai

government. Analysts say the ruling opens the door to further prosecutions. Right, you're up to date on your news headlines. Ahead in sport the latest

stunning upset of the African Cup of Nations who sent the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists out to defeat.



ANDERSON: Well, more thrills that the African Cup of Nations say tournament full of stunning upsets just logged another with one of the favorites going

down to defeat. Amanda Davies joins me. What's going on?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORS ANCHOR: Yeah. I mean Becky it is literally every day of action. The Africa Cup of Nations another big name exit after

Egypt's exit the defending champions Senegal. On Tuesday, it was the top ranked side in Africa, the side who cause so many headlines and

celebrations with that history making run at the Qatar World Cup in 2022, Morocco many people's pre-tournament favorites knocked out by South Africa.

This arguably is the biggest shock of the competition. And what we have now at the tournament in the Ivory Coast is a quarterfinal lineup with eight

entirely different quarterfinal. So the last edition of the tournament a couple of years ago, it says so much about the strength and depth of

African football.

We are at the same stage with the Asian Cup as well. That one going slightly more to form, I have to say, but a fantastic week of football to

come on both continents as we reach the real tilt for the trophy.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and I can't wait for both of these tournaments to get into these late stages. But you're absolutely right to point out strength and

depth of those African teams for there to be that many new names for our viewers sort of taken is brilliant. I know you're going to fill us in more

on how that victory came about in "World Sport", that's coming up after this short break with Amanda. I'm back top of the hour.