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Ukraine's Army Commander Writes Op-Ed For CNN; Gas Explosion In Kenya Kills At Least 3 People, Injures 280; U.S. Imposes Sanctions On 4 Israelis Over Violence In The West Bank; School Shooter's Mother Returns To Stand To Face Prosecutors; Girl Trapped In Car Since Monday In Gaza; President Biden Honors U.S. Service Members Killed In Jordan Drone Strike; Migrants Accused Of Attacking Two NYPD Officers; Migrant Influx Pushes Denver Near Breaking Point; Saving Sierra Leone's Chimpanzees. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 02, 2024 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: live from CNN London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London in for Becky Anderson.
Ukraine's army commander pens an exclusive op-ed for CNN laying out a new vision for the war against Russia. Why he may not have the opportunity,
though, to implement it?
A massive gas explosion in Nairobi, what investigators are learning about the blast that's killed at least three.
In the coming hours, President Biden will take part in a dignified transfer as the remains of three U.S. service members arrive back on American soil.
And the U.S. migrant crisis expands well beyond the border. We'll explain the new incident involving the NYPD has had made New Yorkers pretty angry.
In an exclusive op-ed for CNN, the embattled leader of Ukraine's army has laid out his strategy to win the war with Russia. Valerii Zaluzhnyi writes
that Ukraine must be less dependent on foreign aid and focus more on technology. He says the number one priority must be the mastery of unmanned
drones and other technologies to gain an advantage over Russia. He adds that the challenge is to create a completely new state system of
technological rearmament. He says such a change could be achieved in five months.
The general's op-ed make no reference to report some sources that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is preparing to fire him.
Let's bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Kyiv.
It's making a lot of impact, isn't it, this piece? Just explain what he's suggesting.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, you're absolutely right. It is having a huge impact. I know that here
in Kyiv a lot of people that have been talking about and of course when we look online around the world, people have been taking note of it as well.
And it certainly is I think quite a remarkable essay that was written by the commander in chief of Ukraine's armed forces, especially for those of
us, Max, who have been covering this war since it started almost two years ago, and we could really see how modern technology, which many people
thought were simply consumer products when all this started, had become absolutely key on the battlefield and it seems as far as Valerii Zaluzhnyi
is concerned could become something of a game changer that the Ukrainians are hoping for.
Now, one of the things that all this is based upon is a realization by Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commanding general, that the Ukrainians are
currently badly outmanned and outgunned and probably will continue to be outmanned and outgunned. One of the things as you've noted that he says is
that the Ukrainians will probably have to deal with less aid coming from their partners as he put it as they deal with their own internal political
issues, possibly speaking about some of the things that are currently going on in the United States, where of course continued military aid for the
Ukrainians hangs in the balance.
Now, in light of that, Valerii Zaluzhnyi writes that he believes the way to try and mitigate that to level the playing field or in this case the
battlefield is to rely on modern technology, unmanned systems as he put it in the air, on land, and at sea as well. He thinks that on the one hand it
will allow the Ukrainians to continue to strike the Russians and hurt them, but also to mitigate some of your own losses.
I want to read one quote from Valerii Zaluzhnyi. This is quote, he says, "Attack operations can have psychological objectives," as he put it, "and
here, technology boasts undoubted superiority over tradition. The remote control of these assets means fewer soldiers in harm's way, thus reducing
the level of human losses." Of course, what he's referring to is the fact that, for instance, soldiers who operate drones away from enemy lines are
less likely to be hurt or killed than soldiers who are sitting on the frontlines and possibly defending there.
So Ukrainians, obviously, noting also the fact that they have far fewer soldiers on the front right now than the Russians do. He also urges for
this transformation to take place as fast as possible. He says quote, "In 2024," so obviously this year, "we must focus our main efforts in these
areas, introducing a new philosophy of training and warfare, which takes account of restrictions and assets and how they can be deployed and
mastering new combat capabilities as soon as possible."
So I think, on the one hand, he is saying that obviously the Ukrainians need to rely on more on these technologies, develop these technologies, but
in general also integrate these technologies into their form of warfare -- Max.
FOSTER: OK. Thank you so much, Fred.
Tymofiy Mylovanov is the president of the Kyiv School of Economics and the former minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine.
He responded on X to that exclusive op-ed by the command of the Ukrainian Army on CNN. He writes that the timing of the article is intriguing given
the rumors about Valerii Zaluzhnyi's pending dismissal.
Mr. Mylovanov joins us now from Kyiv via Skype.
And what you're suggesting there is that he is about to be fired so he's come out with it. The other suggestion is that there's been a tension there
for a while and he wants to just call out the current strategy.
TYMOFIY MYLOVANOV, PRESIDENT, KYIV SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, that's true. The tension has been out there for a while and it's a bit of a domestic
issue. But this week, the social network, social media in Ukraine, went haywire with rumors and multiple anonymous sources in the government
confirming that of Valerii Zaluzhnyi, in fact, was dismissed. Later it turned out that he wasn't.
And so, you know, it's just a mess. You know how hysterical social networks could be, especially during war time. And Zaluzhnyi coming out with his
positioning of what should be the way forward with limited resources, both human and financial, it's really a timing where it appears to many
observers that he's trying to set the record straight and maybe push back a little bit, defend his position. But even if he has to go, it will be that
he's going out with a very clear strategy.
FOSTER: Suggestion that he has political ambitions. What do we know about that?
MYLOVANOV: Yes, that's not a secret. I think a lot of people politically support them. A lot of people support President Zelenskyy. He has been
polling so, you know, the political campaign companies have been in polling Zaluzhnyi and at times he's rivaling Zelenskyy already. This is peculiar,
too, because in fact there are no elections, you know, coming and elections have been postponed until after the war.
So, you know, I'm not quite sure. And actually not just me many, many people are not quite sure what it is that's going on. Why are we even
polling generals? But yes, there's something some political infighting. I mean, it's easy to explain what the fundamental reason for this is. As
Ukraine is getting an (INAUDIBLE) and there are fewer resources and the international support is delayed, conflicts are inevitable. Disagreements
about policy side inevitable.
So that's, in part, it's a normal process and it's interesting to see how it's unraveling or playing out in real time in social media and in just
FOSTER: You're saying, you know, debates about, you know, a political challenge is academic, but it might not be if Zaluzhnyi comes out and
pushes for election saying there is a basis for elections perhaps using Russia as an example. I mean, they're involved in the war obviously and
they're having elections.
MYLOVANOV: Absolutely. Yes. Zaluzhnyi or the people who support him politically are going to come out and who's for elections? That's going to
be a game changer, but it also going to raise the question of the civilian oversight of military during the war. That's a little bit in the
background. Even people who support Zaluzhnyi, they worry that, you know, OK, maybe that's not the right timing for political ambition.
Maybe post-war when people retire from the military and run and campaign as civilians, that's fine. But right now, a general who's going to push for
that -- so you know, there's this undertone that we are a democracy and civilian oversight even during the war is more important. So, yes, it's a
complex situation. It's fascinating. But on the substance, Zaluzhnyi is correct. I think he's arguing that technology is the key to maintain in
resilience of Ukraine and to move forward and he's correct here.
FOSTER: Is he really correct to say it could be one or reorganized at least five months without any U.S. support?
MYLOVANOV: Oh, yes, that's a little bit more dramatic to my taste that deserves to be because in fact the industry has already adjusted. You know,
there are hundreds of thousands FPV drones being produced. There are even courses now online where you can -- why do it yourself? You know, you
basically go to a shop, buy things, and create a drone. Of course, you won't have a military or lethal payload, but you can give it to the
military. Military will check for quality controls and then we'll put deadly weapon or munition to it and we'll deploy it.
So, you know, the entire country is doing something related to who weapons production, specifically unmanned vehicles, but also sea drones and now
that's maybe less known, walking, crawling, and the driving robots.
So basically ground unmanned vehicles. So all of that is booming. Innovation is crazy. It's like, you know, innovations cycle is hundred
times faster than what I have seen in developed countries for obvious reasons because the moment you have an idea, you put a Robert forward. You
put it together even if it's kind of, you know, a prototype, everyone is eager to deploy it and try it and you get the feedback immediately and you
save human lives. So, yes, so that's the space in which we are right now.
FOSTER: OK. Tymofiy Mylovanov, really appreciate your insight today. Thank you for joining us from Kyiv.
We are following a developing story out of Nairobi in Kenya about a gas explosion that's left at least three people dead and 280 others wounded.
According to the Kenyan government, a huge ball of fire was caused by gas that a truck was carrying and apparently exploded at a gas plant.
For more on the story and a look at the scene of destruction, we are joined by Larry. Hello.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Max. We don't know the cause of this explosion, but we know that this should not be here. This is a liquefied
petroleum gas store and failing plant. Cooking gas is very commonly used across not just Kenya but across East Africa, but this place was unlicensed
and therefore illegal. The regulator here in Kenya says they applied for licenses in March, in June and in July, and they were denied all three
times for safety reasons.
They're too close to residential area and therefore in the event of a blast, like what happened last night, it would affect so many people that
live around here because this is a densely populated area. And in fact, that is what happened. So the question for so many in this community is why
was this allowed to be here so long even after the place is demolished at least twice, according to Petroleum Institute of East Africa.
And the owner of this place was even convicted and jailed. Should have gone to jail for five years, only have the one-year sentence, and then came
right back to doing it again. And this is the impact of that.
MADOWO (voice-over): A huge ball of fire ignited over Nairobi's night sky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god.
MADOWO: The screams of onlookers piercing to the sound of flames. Emergency workers racing to the scene after a gas truck exploded at what officials
are calling an unlicensed plans late Thursday evening, burning down a warehouse and damaging surrounding homes. The tears of this woman falling
onto a lost loved one. Multiple dead, with hundreds of others wounded.
EDWIN MACHIO, SURVIVOR (through translator): The fire caught up with me from almost one kilometer as I was escaping. The flames from the explosion
knocked me down and burnt me on my neck and back as you can see.
MADOWO: Nairobi police are calling it a crime scene and opened an investigation on Friday. Nearby residents watching in silent shock, as
crime investigators dig through the ash that less than 24 hours ago where their homes. Businesses hollowed out. This caused the flames burned in
these shop walls. The extent of the damage spreading for miles.
The gas explosion burns down everything in its wake. These trucks, several structures, several hundred yards in every direction. One of the sixth-
floor rooftop almost 200 yards away broke down this wall and most dramatic of all a car that was blasted all this way, a part of the car here, the
rest of its strewn all across this area. And we're just a mile away from Kenya's main airport as we see a plane landing there.
(Voice-over): The residents of that building telling me of their frantic escape.
JEREMIAH NGESA, SURVIVOR: We downed and the fire on top of us so the gate was closed but we there was a stampede. We hurriedly try to get out. I
think very many people were actually injured at that moment.
MADOWO: Government officials already dubbing the incident as a consequence of corruption, vowing to shut down the unlicensed company who was operating
inside the cooking gas filling plant.
ISAAC MWAURA, KENYAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON: It is totally immoral for one to risk life of fellow Kenyans just for profit. Mere profiteer. It is not
acceptable for such facilities to be resident, within residential areas because these are innocent hustlers, who are going through their business
on daily basis.
MADOWO: Rebuilding the damage could take months or even years but in the hours ahead, families now having to face the reality of grief.
MADOWO (on-camera): So back on the street, look at the damage in this car. There's so many of them across this neighborhood. And this is just the
impact of that gas explosion that you see in this area.
The building you saw in that piece, by the way, that's all the way back there. You see the damage on the wall. And the most extraordinary thing
haven't been in this scene because it's a densely populated area, this explosion, if it happened in the middle of the day there could have been
hundreds of casualties. All that we see here around these are people that live here. So if they were out in the streets going about their business
and this happened, the devastation could have been unspeakable -- Max.
FOSTER: Yes, it's one blessing, isn't it? Larry, thank you so much for joining us from Nairobi.
The mother of a school shooter who killed four of his classmates when he was 15 years old is facing charges herself. The latest from the courtroom
and the highly irregular request that prosecutors are making today. And the Biden administration announces sanctions against four Israeli settlers for
violent acts against Palestinians. That's next.
FOSTER: The Biden administration has issued sanctions against four Israeli men. It says it carried out violent acts or they say they carried out
violent acts in the West Bank. The State Department says one of the men named initiated a riot with cars and buildings set on fire resulting in the
death of a Palestinian civilian. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has disputed the need for sanctions, saying Israel
already acts against all law breakers.
Jeremy Diamond is in Tel Aviv for a bit more reaction to today's sanctions or the impact they might have, Jeremy.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, the Israeli prime minister's office is basically saying that they think that
this is wholly unnecessary from the Biden administration, saying in a statement, quote, "The overwhelming majority of residents in Judea and
Samaria, also known as the West Bank, are law-abiding citizens, many of whom are currently fighting to defend Israel. Israel acts against all
Israelis who break the law everywhere. Therefore exceptional measures are unnecessary."
But the reality is that one of the reasons that the Biden administration is actually taking these actions is because they feel like there has been
insufficient accountability for the actions of some of these violent settlers, and that's because when you look at the four individual Israeli
settlers who are targeted in this initial round of sanctions only one of them has actually ever been convicted of a crime, according to Israeli
databases that we've been able to search.
And that is the individual who was involved in inciting that riot, but in fact he was held in an administrative detention for that, for inciting that
riot, but he was never actually convicted in a court of law for that matter. He was convicted in a prior assault case back in 2017. The three
other individuals here have been charged with various crimes, but they have not actually, it appears, been convicted.
Those individuals are accused of assaulting Palestinians in the West Bank as well as Israeli activists working to defend the rights of those
Palestinians in the West Bank. And so the United States basically saying that they feel like these actions by these settlers, the lack of
accountability by the Israeli government is actually a threat to stability in the Middle East. Secretary of State Tony Blinken saying that Israel must
do more to stop violence against civilians in the West Bank and hold them accountable.
The Israel's finance minister, a settler himself, also weighing in. He says that this is -- he also agrees that this is basically unnecessary and he's
also vowing to continue to fearlessly strengthen and develop Jewish settlements in all areas of the land of Israel, as he sees it. And he also
says that if the price of that is that he is sanctioned next by the U.S. government then so be it -- Max.
FOSTER: What's the latest situation about Khan Younis or around Khan Younis?
DIAMOND: Well, there is still very much ongoing fighting in Khan Younis. The Israeli military has been engaged in a major offensive there over the
last week plus now and we know of course that this is occurring in an area where there are thousands of displaced Palestinians who have been
sheltering at some of these hospitals as well as the Palestine Red Crescent Society. Just yesterday, the Israeli military once again entered the
headquarters of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, a very precarious situation for all of those who are living there -- Max.
FOSTER: Yes. OK. Jeremy, thank you so much.
Now the United Nations deems Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law. To better understand the status, the risks
associated with them, and how the world reacts to them as well just sign up for our "Meanwhile in the Middle East" newsletter. It drops three times a
week. To read it scan the QR code on the bottom of your screen right now.
Now to our developing story in the U.S. state of Michigan. The mother of convicted school shooter, Ethan Crumbley, is back in the stand. He killed
four classmates in 2021. His mother Jennifer Crumbley and her husband are both charged with involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors have just begun
Jean Casarez is following this for us in New York.
I mean, yesterday was pretty rough, but today is going to be even tougher.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's going to be very, very tough. Prosecution began that cross-examination by saying, all right, you just
took an oath. Do you really understand what that means? And she said I do, I do. And so he's talking to her now. And remember the whole point of the
prosecution's case is gross negligence, that Jennifer Crumbley exhibited gross negligence to her son.
Such gross negligence that she, Jennifer Crumbley, actually caused the death of the four students at Oxford High School that were killed that day
when that mass shooting took place. Defense of course saying the son alone pulled the trigger on that gun. But what is -- the prosecution is focusing
on the digital footprint. The text just standing alone, what it signifies, the state of mind. And Ethan had written some text to his friend.
He's written in his journal about that he was scared because he felt the house was haunted and the demons are here. The balls are falling in. The
toilet is flushing. And I believe we have this soundbite here of what Jennifer said yesterday, of what she says was the full picture of those
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, MOTHER OF SCHOOL SHOOTER ETHAN CRUMBLEY: He's been convinced our house has been haunted since 2015. Those built in 1920.
Around that timeframe him and his friend would go down to the basement and play Quija board, so they thought we had a house ghost. So it was around
that time when he would mess with us that things are going on in the house. Silver was flying across the room, doors were slamming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: So she even said that her -- that Ethan had named the ghost Boris Johnson, and that her husband had named it Victoria. But it's trying to
sanctify this or to, you know, really show that it's not what that text standing alone meant. There was much more to it than all that. And so I'm
sure the prosecutor will go into that on cross-examination, that because Ethan says he scared in some of those texts.
FOSTER: Yes, it is a profound cases, isn't it? I mean, it's, you know, very difficult to watch. But also could change potentially how courts look at
who's culpable in these situations because I think a lot of parents will be looking at this thinking, how can a parent ever be responsible for what
their child has done if they weren't directly involved? I mean, what's the debates around here?
CASAREZ: Absolutely. You know, I'm hearing mean that because I'm talking to people that he see, you know, the pulse of how they feel and parents are
saying, you know, you can try with your child, but you don't know everything and you might miss something. And that's really what the defense
is here because I will say the facts are that in his bedroom he had a journal and he wrote about this mass shooting.
He was going to carry out what he was going to do. He wanted to kill the prettiest girl first, the girl that had the future. He texted a friend and
we're not hearing from that friend in trial about this is what I'm going to do. I think I want to be a serial killer, but maybe I want to be a mass
murder. I think I'll go with mass murder. He researched the death penalty in Michigan because he said I want to live. So if they have the death
penalty, I'm not going to do this. There's no evidence that his parents knew any of that.
CASAREZ: But, nonetheless, prosecutor says there was gross negligence and how they treated him, and how they disregarded some of his concerns.
FOSTER: Yes, it's interesting. Jean, thank you so much for joining us with that update.
Ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, this Palestinian girl was trapped in a car that came under fire as her family tried to flee the fighting in Gaza. Now the
question is, where is she? We'll search for answers, next.
FOSTER: Welcome back. The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry says more than 27,000 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. The figures that
distinguish between combatant militants. Meanwhile, the United Nations main relief agency in Gaza UNRWA says funding cats will most likely force it to
suspend its work there and across the entire Middle East by the end this month.
In Central Gaza relatives of a 6-year-old Palestinian girl are desperate to know what's happened to her. She was trapped in a car on Monday after she
and her family came under Israeli fire. That's according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has details, and a warning you may find parts of her report disturbing.
HIND, 6-YEAR-OLD TRAPPED IN CAR (through text translation): Come take me. Will you come and take me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Do you want me to come and take you?
HIND (through text translation): I'm so scared, please come.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A desperate call for help from 6-year-old Hind, terrified, trapped in a car. Everyone around her is
dead. Hind was in the car with her uncle, his wife, and their four children, trying to flee fighting from this part of Northern Gaza. The
horror in that car captured in this call for help from her cousin recorded by the Palestine Red Crescent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): They are shooting at us. The tank is next to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Are you hiding?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Yes, in the car. The tank is next to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Are you in the car? Hello? Hello?
KARADSHEH: Relatives on Monday morning received a call from the family saying they'd come under Israeli military fire.
SAMIR HAMADA, HIND'S UNCLE (through translation): Rahad (PH) called me. She said uncle, my dad, my mom, my sister and brother were killed. I'm
bleeding. Help me. I'm dying. I told her, tie yourself with anything. At 4:00 p.m., she died. The only one left was a little girl, Hind. She said,
please, I'm little. I'm injured. I peed myself.
KARADSHEH: Hind stayed on the phone with the Red Crescent for hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): What time is it? She said it's getting dark. I'm afraid of the dark.
KARADSHEH: The area was too dangerous, hard to reach. They have to keep Hind on the phone as they scramble to try and get a team to her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Is there gunfire around you?
HIND (through text translation): Yes, come and get me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): I want to, my dear, but I can't right now.
KARADSHEH: As a team was finally dispatched, a psychologist was now on the phone with Hind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): We are all with you.
KARADSHEH: But days later, they're still waiting. The Red Crescent lost all contact with Hind and its two volunteers who were dispatched to find her.
CNN gave the Israeli military three details about the incident including coordinates provided by the Palestine Red Crescent. The IDF says, quote,
"We are unfamiliar with the incident described."
NEBAL FARSAKH, PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY SPOKESPERSON: We are extremely worried. We need to know what happened that they managed to save
Hind, are they arrested, that they survive? We need answers.
KARADSHEH: No one more desperate for answers than Hind's distraught mother.
WISSAM HAMADA, HIND'S MOTHER (through translator): If my daughter didn't die from the bullets, she's going to die from the cold, from the hunger. My
daughter said, Mama, I am hungry. She said, Mama, I'm thirsty. I'm cold. I call on the whole world to bring me back my daughter. I want anyone to call
the army. We want our innocent little girl. Hind is too young to be going through this. She is too young.
KARADSHEH: So many, so young gone in this war, but one family holds onto the hope that it's not too late to save their little Hind.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.
FOSTER: An Iran-backed militia in Iraq says it's sticking by its demand that U.S. troops withdraw from the country. The proxy group Al-Nujaba says
it will keep targeting U.S. troops until they leave Iraq. The Iraqi government has also expressed a desire for the U.S. military to withdraw.
Those calls come in response to the U.S. military airstrikes from Iraqi territory targeting Iran-backed militants who attacked U.S. personnel
Now somber acts of remembrance today in the U.S. In a few hours, President Biden and the first lady will take part in a dignified transfer, as it's
called, the remains of three U.S. service members arrived back on American soil. The soldiers were killed last Saturday in a drone attack on a U.S.
military post in Jordan.
CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz has more on the significance of today's events.
Arlette, presidents don't always attend rituals like this. But this is such a profound event and it comes at a very important year.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It really is, and this really marks one of the most solemn duties of a president as commander-in-chief,
and President Biden will participate in this once again, as he is on hand at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware later this afternoon for the dignified
transfer of the remains of those three U.S. service members who were killed in that attack in Jordan.
President Biden will arrive there a little later this morning, and he has about an hour scheduled to meet with the families of these fallen soldiers.
That includes Sergeant William Rivers, also two Army specialists, who were posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant, including Kennedy Sanders
and Breonna Moffett. All three of those service members are from the state of Georgia.
President Biden actually spoke by phone with each of the families on Tuesday and the White House said that in those calls he gauged their
interest about having him attend and be on hand for the dignified transfer. That is something all of the families agreed to.
We also got some very rare video and footage of President Biden speaking by phone with the families of Kennedy Sanders, one of those sergeants who was
killed, and he informed them personally about the fact that they were posthumously promoting her to that rank of sergeant. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're promoting her posthumously to sergeant.
ONEIDA OLIVER-SANDERS, MOTHER OF SGT. KENNEDY SANDERS: Oh, wow, that is the best news I've heard today. Thank you so much. You don't know how much that
means to us.
BIDEN: Well, I tell you what, it means a lot to me. Look, I know the day will come, the day will come when you walk by a park where Kennedy played
in, or you open the closet and you smell the fragrance of her clothing or something like that, and you'll smile before you cry. That's when you know
you're going to make it. It takes a hell of a long time to get there. But I promise you, you'll get there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: So an emotional phone call there. Certainly it's expected there will be some emotional moments behind closed doors when the president meets with
these families privately. The president often uses these types of meetings to talk about his own experience with grief discussing the death of his
son, Beau Biden, who had served in Iraq but later died of brain cancer once he was back in the United States.
Also, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff CQ Brown will also be on hand for the dignified transfer which is
expected to take place around 1:30 this afternoon. This is the second time that President Biden has been attending a dignified transfer. You'll
remember back in 2021, he was on hand when the remains of those 13 service members returned to the U.S. after those service members died in
Afghanistan. So it certainly is a very grave, a very somber moment for President Biden as he is there in his role as commander in chief.
FOSTER: OK. Arlette, thank you so much.
The battle between the state of Texas and the federal government over the border continues to brew as the two sides standoff at Eagle Pass. We'll
have details for you just ahead.
FOSTER: Eagle Pass, the U.S. border town, has become a battleground between the state of Texas and the federal government. 14 Republican governors will
visit this weekend. And Florida is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to help erect more barriers on the border, like the razor wire that the
federal government once removed.
Border chaos not just a national security issue, it's a serious political problem for President Biden. 70 percent of voters disapprove of the job
that he's doing on immigration in just one poll. The U.S. southern border is the focal point, but as that poll shows much of the country is feeling
uneasy about the immigration crisis.
In New York five people identified as migrants have been arrested for allegedly taking part in an attack on two NYPD officers outside a migrant
shelter just last weekend near Times Square, this was. The attack has led to a public outcry from people including the Governor Kathy Hochul on
protecting New York's finest at all costs.
Let's go to John Miller, CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst. He joins us from New York.
Thank you so much for joining us. I mean, how did you feel the dynamics of this immigration issue changing currently with this political backdrop?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, Max, the incident in New York over the last few days has been a flashpoint. So
here is a city that has received over the last year-and-a-half what the mayor estimates to be 100 and migrants that the city has provided either
shelter, food services to they believe that somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 of them are still here and there are still some coming.
But the flashpoint between the city and the federal government has been the mayor has said the federal government hasn't really given the city enough
aid to really render all of this help. That of course then is underscored by this incident where the police were assaulted outside a shelter for
Now, footnote here. The migrants who come to New York City and other cities, these are people in search of hope, in search of work, in search of
new lives. But a very small percentage of them in New York have presented themselves as small cliques of criminal organizations. Among those suspects
in the attack on the police are people who are suspected in multiple robberies, patterns of crimes, shoplifting organizations, and so on.
One of the things that came up yesterday, Max, was New York City police detectives believe that the four who were released without bail may have
boarded a bus headed for the Mexican border and police say there's not much they can do to stop that since they were released without bail and they're
expected back in court on March 13th, which, if that's really them on that bus, is probably doubtful.
FOSTER: So much of this comes down to cost, doesn't it? Resolving that crisis on the southern border hugely expensive, but so this can become more
expensive to resolve as it spreads around the country.
MILLER: Well, it is, Max, and, you know, the great debate here is, you know, in the battle between two political parties, Republicans say this is
the White House and the president failing to act and the president and Democrats say this is Congress failing to do its job. For more than a
decade the United States has been without a clearly defined policy on what to do with the border and people coming across.
And there is a bill pending now that would put in much of what the Republicans are asking for, things that Democrats had opposed that they're
willing to compromise on. But now Donald Trump has said let's not vote for that bill before the election or it will look like a win for President
Biden. So you have a practical problem and a crisis situation with human beings caught in the middle and cities under the gun in terms of resources
that is being once again scuttled in terms of any progress by politics.
FOSTER: Yes. OK. John Miller, it's going to be a big topic this year, continue to be. Thank you so much.
MILLER: Thank you.
FOSTER: Hundreds of miles from both New York and the southern border, the city of Denver, Colorado, says its capacity to deal with migrants is near
breaking point. Really shows how big this problem would come as one bus after another rolls into the Mile High City, carrying even more new
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has more on that.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER (voice-over): If we could work, none of us would be living like this, he says. Denver facing a
record number of migrants, straining resources leaving many on the streets.
Where are -- are you hoping -- wow, that wind. You could just see the wind here, again tents blowing. Wow.
(Voice-over): Alexander from Venezuela complains of the freezing conditions. He shows us how he's been living.
He says this foam protects the tent from the wind.
This is your bed? This is where you sleep.
(Voice-over): This is how he looks for work, he says.
That's your sign?
But it's just getting too cold here in Denver and they need to start moving the people out inside into shelters. There's not a lot of space here, but
the city is doing its best.
YOLI CASAS, DIRECTOR OF NONPROFIT HELPING MIGRANTS: They're just worried about what's going to happen with their stuff.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Migrant advocate Yoli Casas urgently tries to help move families.
CASAS: My broken heart is like Denver is officially full, no one should come. There's no room. They're going to be outside freezing to death.
PROKUPECZ: The city has 40,000 migrants with about 4,000 in shelters, which are now at capacity.
Denver's mayor, Mike Johnston, visits a shelter. He's immediately surrounded by migrants asking for help.
It's good for him to see what's happening, she says. Worried she'll end up in the streets with her son. She's thankful, she says, but sorry she came
Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott has sent thousands of migrants to Denver on buses which continue to arrive.
You've had conversations with Greg Abbott?
MAYOR MIKE JOHNSTON (D), DENVER, COLORADO: I have not talked to Governor Abbott. I reached out to him, but we hear --
PROKUPECZ: He's not called you back.
JOHNSTON: He's not called me back.
PROKUPECZ: So if you've -- what do you want to talk to him about it? If you were -- if you could speak to him?
JOHNSTON: Yes. I mean, what I would say to him is I understand. You know, they feel like they have a huge influx of people that they can't handle in
Texas alone. I agree with him, that no one state or no one city should need to solve this entire challenge. But I think there's a way for us to work
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Migrants could cost the city $180 million this year, the mayor says, and it's on the verge of cutting essential services.
JOHNSTON: We don't want to take police officers off the street. We don't want to take firefighters off the street. We don't want to know not to
trash pickup or not have our parks and recreation centers open.
PROKUPECZ: The strain on resources frustrating others in need.
ROBERT EVERETT THOMPSON, JR., VETERAN EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS: They're using a bend or break approach, but I think you need the help, are the
American side first is -- you know, before you help, you know, the influx of migrants before us, yes.
PROKUPECZ: Seeking relief, mayors like Johnson pleading for more federal help, allowing migrants to work.
What is your name?
Wilfred. So he's telling us he needs a warm place to stay, it's about 20 degrees or so.
(Voice-over): There's no place to go, he says.
You can die from the cold here. You can. It's going to get much colder. You have to go inside, sir. OK?
(Voice-over): At night, we learn of a group sheltering under a bridge.
There's a group of people coming here now to try and take them inside, but it's just too cold to be outside. But this is how they've been living.
KEITH REESER, PASTOR, DENVER FRIENDS CHURCH: If they could pack up a suitcase that is as much as they can bring.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): With limited city resources, residents are stepping in, like Pastor Keith Reeser, who's opening up his church.
REESER: As far as we know, are we ready to walk or do we need to stay for a little bit? OK.
PROKUPECZ: So what's your goal here now?
REESER: We've got some friends, grabbed a couple of my buddies and I said, let's go get them and let's get them out of this situation. So we're
offering them shelter for the night. Seven in my vehicle, so I can take seven.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Another resident is using her motel as a sanctuary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I come?
PROKUPECZ: Housing about 300 migrants.
So how many stay here? All of these mattresses?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
PROKUPECZ: One, two, three --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Around 20?
PROKUPECZ: Around 20 just in this one room?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): She is like a mother to us, he says. Seriously, she gets up at 5:00 in the morning and cooks us breakfast.
Yong Prince was planning to leave Denver to retire. But when migrants started showing up at her hotel, she found a reason to stay.
YONG PRINCE, MOTEL OWNER HOUSING MIGRANTS: My parents come from North Korea.
PROKUPECZ: Your parents?
PRINCE: I was hungry when I was a kid. We don't have any meal for a long time. I was born in '52 right after the war. So yes, I feel them.
PROKUPECZ: They've touched a certain part of you.
PROKUPECZ: And it's almost like they've become your family.
PRINCE: Yes, yes. I want to make sure they're eating.
PROKUPECZ: You want to make sure they're eating, taken care of.
FOSTER: Shimon there. Coming up, CNN visits a chimp school in the forest of Sierra Leone. We've got exclusive look at the work being done there to save
humanity's closest cousins.
FOSTER: Their habitat is dwindling fast as human settlements encroach on forest land. But right now there are still hope for Sierra Leone's
CNN's David McKenzie with some of the youngest members of the chimp school, and he brings us this report.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's playtime in the forest, but these orphaned primates aren't monkeying
This is Skippy nibbling on my arm. You know what's happening here is they are in chimp school. Basically learning how to be chimps.
(Voice-over): Skippy is much braver than the two boys. They try their best. But like their human cousins, they sometimes just need a cuddle. Their
carer wears a mask. So the chimps don't catch a human cold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you get in here, you have several groups.
MCKENZIE: We're in Sierra Leone with Bala Amarasekaran, the founder of Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary. He rescued his first chimp more than 30 years
BALA AMARASEKARAN, FOUNDER, TACUGAMA CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY: I think he started to showing us the way in terms of it's not about just the chimp,
it's about the species. So I started looking, rescue another chimp, another chimp.
Mac, you're good boy. Mac, what's up?
MCKENZIE: Now Tacugama has more than 100 rescued chimps and they manage wild chimp habitats across the country. With just 5,500 Western chimpanzees
left in Sierra Leone, each one is precious like six months old Siama.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that was a bullet wound from when he was gotten.
MCKENZIE: They rescued him just weeks ago after a hunter killed his mother.
So it still has shocked on pellets inside him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. So he was really, really weak. As I said, he couldn't even control his head movements.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): If you run the edge of Freetown, humans are the biggest threat to chimps. But perhaps not how you may think.
In the last few years, have you lost a lot of forest?
AMARASEKARAN: A lot it. If you came here like two years ago not a single building or any of these makeshift shelters you're seeing. Nothing was
Yes. Very sad. That is all going right before our eyes. I've been fighting this thing for 30 years, not 30 days.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): And time is running out. Rampant, often illegal development is destroying the forests. Sierra Leone has lost 55 percent of
its tree cover since 2000. That's about 7,500 square miles, or the size of New Jersey. That's bad for chimps and it's terrible for us. Africa's
forests are critical to fighting climate change.
AMARASEKARAN: There is no more about preserving forest or wild life. It's about preserving humans. We are trying to leave a better place for our
MCKENZIE: At Tacugama, they're doing everything they can to document and protect the extraordinary diversity of these forests. And the wild chimps
that roam here. They believe if they can save their home, it might just help save ours.
David McKenzie, CNN, western area forest, Sierra Leone.
FOSTER: Well, this sanctuary that we've been showing you, another shelters orphaned chimpanzees. It also serves, as conservation leader in Sierra
For more on what's being done to save the chimps and their vital habitat be sure to head to CNN online or use the CNN app on your smartphone. It's a
really great piece there.
Earlier this week, we told you about the tremendous response that "Sesame Street's" Elmo got online when he asked a question we asked each other all
the time. He posted, "Elmo is just checking in. How is everybody doing?"
Well, on Thursday, the furry red Muppet told CNN how he felt about the experience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELMO, SESAME STREET MUPPET: Elmo is not really sure. Elmo was surprised. Because Elmo didn't realize that when you ask someone how they're doing,
you have to be ready because maybe someone is not doing well, or maybe somebody is. But that it's an important question to ask. And Elmo has
learned a lot about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Great script there. Elmo had some advice about what you can do when you're not feeling great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELMO: You know, one of the things that you were just talking about was belly breathing which is an important strategy. That's a bit word that Elmo
just learned. A strategy and its belly breathing. So what you do is you put your hands on your belly and you breathe in through your mouth like this,
and then you breathe out through your mouth slowly like this. And that really helps can make you feel calm and sort of gets centered and relax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Your turn. Great advice.
That's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. "STATE OF THE RACE" with Kasie Hunt is up next.