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White House Announces 500 Plus New Sanctions against Russia; Israeli Negotiators Joining Hostage-Ceasefire Talks in Paris; U.S. Spacecraft Lands on the Moon; Traffic Through Egypt's Suez Canal Shrinks; Google Pauses AI Tool's Image-Generating Feature. Aired 9-9:45a ET

Aired February 23, 2024 - 09:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: And two major breaking stories this hour, the United States imposes its biggest single day round of

sanctions on Russia since the Ukraine war began. And for the first time, we are hearing the Israeli Prime Minister's post war plan for Gaza. It's 9 am

in D.C., it's 4 pm in Jerusalem, 6 pm here in Abu Dhabi; I'm Becky Anderson. This is "Connect the World".

The markets in New York will open 30 minutes from now. Futures pointing to a somewhat subdued start to the trading day, investors pausing for breath

after a cracking day for tech stocks on Thursday that was fueled by blockbuster results from AI start NVIDIA which helped the NASDAQ and the

S&P pose their best sessions since early last year.

Well Breaking News this hour, the White House holding Vladimir Putin directly responsible for the death of his longtime critic Alexei Navalny.

Today U.S. President Joe Biden announcing further measures against his Russian counterpart in what he called Moscow's war machine.

The new sanctions going after more than 500 targets they come nearly two years to the day since Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. What team

coverage for you, CNN's White House Reporter, Camila DeChalus is in Washington and our Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour is in

Kyiv. Camilla, let's start with you there. What is in this latest round? What's the detail here?

CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, tensions are definitely rising between the U.S. and Russia now that Biden has announced

this huge economic package that is meant to really aim at Russia as a direct response to the death of Alexei Navalny.

Now, what we know at this time about the sanctions is that the Department of Commerce announced trade restrictions against more than 90 entities.

We're also learning that the Treasury Department is announcing that hundreds of entities involved in the Russia's military industrial base will

also be impacted by these sanctions.

And the U.S. Department is imposing sanctions on those helping support Russia's energy sectors. So this is going to be a huge blow to Russia, and

as Biden has mentioned before, is that they really are trying to set this remark set this president saying that this is not okay, what Russia is

doing, and really, for them to kind of feel the economic impact of these sanctions that the U.S. is trying to impose at this time, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, thank you, a huge blow Christiane, to Russia and certainly what the White House hopes with these new Treasury measures to end of

course, as they are with sanctions from Europe, this is clearly meant to send a message of big one. Will it though, will these measures make a

difference is the question?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Becky that is a huge question. And the answer is not clear, frankly. Because yes, these are said

to be the biggest tranche of sanctions since the war began in the world imposed their first round of sanctions on Putin.

But what we've seen over the two years, according to economists and others, who are studying this very carefully, is that Vladimir Putin has been able

to reorient his economy. Now, it's not great, they say in the long run for him, but he has reoriented to the domestic defense production.

And that is ramped up significantly. And it makes up for a pretty robust Russian economy right now. Also, he has managed to figure out a way round,

like many countries under sanctions take Iran, for instance, under decades of sanctions. They've managed to figure their way around that by making

trade deals around other countries, people who are not particularly keen on joining U.S. sanctions.

And so we understand that, you know, for instance, with all these former stands, let's say all the countries around Russia, doing a lot of business,

and then sort of funneling it back between them and Russia, so that it's not making a huge amount of difference in that regard.

So yes, it sends a message, but does it actually do anything that will change Vladimir Putin's behavior, and that's the point sanctions are

leveled, because governments tried to change the behavior of those who are being sanctioned. But we've seen over the past two years, that it has not

changed the behavior of Vladimir Putin with regard to the war in Ukraine.


It has not changed his behavior with regard to domestic politics. You've seen what happened to Alexei Navalny, you've seen which the President of

the United States holds, Putin and Moscow directly responsible for you've seen that he's about to go to an election. As you know, normally, election

monitors would say unopposed, although there is a token opposition in Russia.

And it hasn't changed. And worse than that, for Ukraine, is that General Petraeus, the Former CENTCOM Commander has just written for CNN, his

analysis, that Russia is gaining momentum on the battlefield. And there's a little wobble in Ukraine's ability to at least even hold the line.

So this is a very, very difficult moment. And to be frank, it seems that very, you know, whether any sanctions can actually do what Ukraine needs,

rather than the weapons and money pipeline that it's owed by the United States and its allies or other was promised by the United States and its

allies. That is what the big issue is here.

ANDERSON: That's right, because Joe Biden himself to a certain extent, working around his own Congress in showing support for Ukraine through

these Treasury Department sanctions, at a time when getting any further aid, agreed on by lawmakers is becoming increasingly difficult, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Yeah, I mean, Becky, you know, it's been torpedoed, let's face it, Donald Trump and his MAGA win, have torpedoed any further aid at the

moment to Ukraine. And it's showing up on the battlefield in really, really terrible and dangerous ways. If the United States still stands by its

original policy, which was to defend Ukraine, to support Ukraine for quote, as long as it took to make sure that Ukraine won this battle between

democracy and autocracy.

Ukraine is standing right in the middle, they tell me here, right in the middle of the democratic and the autocratic worlds. They are fighting the

fight, they are on the front lines, and they have shown that they've been able to use the influx of NATO weapons and ammunition over the past two


And now they're left on the front lines on a two year mark of this anniversary slightly further on the back foot than they were a few months

ago. And this is not what the West had promised, not what the West had intended. Certainly, it's doesn't seem to be a good return on their

investment, which they've made over the last two years to suddenly stop and then what happens.

So there are a huge number of questions on this, you know, in this country and around the idea of defending Ukraine. Huge number of questions as

tomorrow marks the gruesome second year, actually going into the third year of this full scale invention.

And let me just say that for Ukrainians and I'm hearing to Dnipro, which had an attack on one of its apartment buildings early this morning. For

Ukrainians, this is the 10th year of war, not second, 10th year of war. Obviously, the last two have been the most catastrophic.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. The invasion of Crimea back in 2014, being the clear date that Ukrainians are remembers. Thank you, Christiane. Christiane is in

Dnipro in Ukraine, while the country vowing to prepare a new counter offensive against Russia and admitting its current one was not as

successful as it hoped.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Fox News that his forces are fighting and I quote him here an unfair war and that they need the support of allies

like the United States to successfully push back against Moscow. Right now after two years of brutal fighting Ukraine's military is running out of

weapons, out of money, and as Christiane said out of time. CNN's, Clare Sebastian with this report.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was once FDA because main hospital filmed in the final days before Ukraine's withdrawals. People

used to get medical treatment here say this Ukrainian journalist now a total ruin. Satellite imagery, taken the day Ukraine pulled out revealing

the extent of the damage to the hospital and surrounding area. Compare that to just a few months before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

SEBASTIAN: Well, in the context of this 1000 kilometer front line Avdiivka doesn't actually change much. In fact, the whole second year of the war

barely changed this picture. Russia, of course, captured Bakhmut up in May in Ukraine. You can see here in yellow, that string of villages that it

managed to take in Western Zaporizhzhia as part of this counter offensive, but this was ultimately a year when neither side was able to gain an



SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Russia now might be this video posted on February 12th, which CNN has geo located to the area around that Avdiivka hospital

purportedly shows Russian strikes using massive halftime glide bombs. These are known to be increasingly in use on the battlefield and capable of

evading Ukrainian air defenses.

The satellite image shows several very large craters near the hospital unlikely to be the result of artillery strikes weapons experts say. F-16

fighter jets would help combat these bombs. But Ukraine's pilots are not yet ready to fly them.

OLEKSANDRA USTINOVA, UKRAINIAN LAWMAKER: There is no political will I would say it in the United States to train more pilots. It seems right now that

we're going to have more chats than actually the train pilots.

SEBASTIAN: Russia is seizing the moment and is now on the offensive in multiple locations up here around Bakhmut again up north in Kharkiv region

in the town of Kupiansk and down in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. And these are mostly it should be said not new battlefields, but areas it previously


And the last is Ukraine counterattacked. Case in point, if we zoom in on the southern front is the town of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Ukraine raised the flag here last August. Now its forces are on alert again as Russia ramps up attacks.

USTINOVA: So unfortunately, we're paid a lot of lives was the counter offensive last year to get those territories, we basically have to pray for

the United States Congress to understand how important it is to pass the bill. No matter what happens. If you're not passionate in March, Ukraine is

going to be screwed.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Ukraine's resistance is fierce. It's continuing to wreak havoc on Russia's Black Sea Fleet. And on the front lines, it's

digging in the Ministry of Defense publishing new images this week of extensive construction of fortifications. The only hope now is to hold on.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: We may be getting an idea of what comes next for Gaza after the war between Hamas and Israel. CNN has obtained a copy of a plan by Israeli

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for after the country achieves as he sees its goals or the plan will give Israel security control and responsibility

for making sure that Gaza is quote, demilitarized.

This comes as Israeli negotiators head for talks in Paris on a potential ceasefire, temporary truce and hostage release. We're going to get you to

Tel Aviv on both of those strands in a moment, meantime, a fifth day of hearings at the International Criminal Court on the legal consequences of

Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Amongst those speaking today Qatar, which is particularly relevant given its hugely important role in mediating those hostage talks currently

underway in Paris, while at the ICJ, Qatar's Ambassador called Israel's occupation the biggest threat to international peace and security.


MUTLAQ AL-QAHTANI, QATARI AMBASSADOR TO NETHERLANDS: Indeed, Israel's genocidal war on the people of Gaza has shown that the situation in

Palestine is the most depressing the threat to international peace and security. As Secretary General Guterres synthesized, recent events did not

occur in a vacuum. Rather, they grew out of Israel's illegal 57 year occupation of the Palestinian territories.


ANDERSON: Well, more than 50 countries are making their case at the World Court. This week on Wednesday, the UAE said Israel's occupation is illegal.

And that "International law cannot be an a la carte menu. It must apply equally to all." Israel is filed a written statement but will not present

arguments in person at the court.

And advisory ruling is expected by the end of the year, this would not be legally binding, it would though be hugely symbolic. Well, let's get you to

Tel Aviv, CNN, Jeremy Diamond standing by. Let's start with the latest on the potential for a breakthrough in both the hostage deals.

And that would bring of course, a temporary truce. These are talks going on in Paris. What do we know at this point?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it appears that progress is being made and the presence of an Israeli delegation at that

key meeting in Paris alongside the intelligence chiefs from the United States, Egypt and Qatar indicates the possibility of real progress.

And that's because last week, it seemed like we were at an impasse here, both Israel and Hamas taking a very hard line in these negotiations.


The last time Israel attended talks they basically were they're only in listen only mode not really engaging in active negotiations in particular

they say because Hamas hadn't moved from its counterproposal, which the Israelis had called delusional.

But something appears to have changed this week because we heard some optimism from a Benny Gantz, a key member of the Israeli war cabinet saying

that he was seeing initial signs that progress was being made that came after a day of negotiations in Cairo, between Hamas officials and the

Egyptians and the Qataris.

And then last night, Israeli war cabinet voting to send this delegation headed by the head of the Mossad, David Barnea to Paris for these talks,

not only to go but actually to actively engage in negotiations to really try and strike a deal. So that it certainly does seem like there's some

progress being made.

Whether or not this meeting will actually unlock a deal is something else entirely. But we do know that time is ticking down. They do need to reach a

deal before the beginning of Ramadan, which starts in the second week of March.

ANDERSON: That's right around about March the 10th. Look, this is ultimately an effort to find an end to this war. CNN has seen Israel's

first official plan for a post conflict Gaza lay out the detail if you will, and the reaction to it.

DIAMOND: Yeah, that's right. The Israeli Prime Minister for the first time actually putting on paper many of the principles that we've heard him talk

about for weeks, if not months now, but he's actually now putting it on paper. He has submitted it to the cabinet and the Israeli Prime Minister's

Office says this will serve as a basis for discussion going forward.

It would see Israel maintain full security control of the Gaza Strip, including the border between Gaza and Israel as well as Gaza and Egypt. It

would also allow the Israeli military to basically go in and out of Gaza at will to conduct raids. On the civilian side, though, this envisions local

Palestinian officials being in control of the Gaza Strip, the civilian administration of the Gaza Strip.

And in terms of rebuilding Gaza, the Israeli Prime Minister saying that would only happen once the full demilitarization of the Gaza Strip is

complete, which means removing Hamas from power, removing their weapons from them to the extent that that's possible. And that would only happen

once that demilitarization is complete.

Now all of this is sounds quite at odds with what the United States is pushing for in a day after Gaza scenario, in part because a lot of these

principles would make it nearly impossible, at least in the short term to establish a sovereign Palestinian state. And that's exactly what the

Palestinian Authority is saying this morning.

They say that this lays out a plan for Israel to reoccupy Gaza, and to prolong the war, saying that this is a "blatant maneuver to block and

thwart the American and international efforts to link arrangements to stop the war and release prisoners and hostages to resolving the conflict and

establishing the Palestinian state on the ground."

Now, there's no question that this is just an initial kind of set of principles that the Israeli Prime Minister is laying out, but it's notable

that he's doing it. It's also notable because it's going to set off a lot of debate within the Israeli Prime Minister's own government, you know, for

the international community for the Palestinians.

This is going too far going too far to the right. But for many of those far right Ministers like Itamar Ben-Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich, this doesn't go far

enough. And that's because they have been advocating for establishing Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, which this plan does not do.

So this is the beginning of a process certainly, but one that quite a lot of people have been waiting to see where that process is going to begin.

The question now is where it will end, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, good to have you Jeremy, important to context for what our breaking stories today. Thank you. You're watching "Connect the World" with

me Becky Anderson live from our Middle East Broadcasting headquarters here in Abu Dhabi. Up next, it is the eve of the Republican presidential primary

in South Carolina what Nikki Haley is saying about the overcoming the long odds to defeat front runner Donald Trump.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're with CNN voters in South Carolina. Go to the polls on Saturday in the state's Republican primary. Will this be the last

stand for Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley? Republican front runner Donald Trump has a big lead in pre vote polling.

But Haley says no matter what happens tomorrow, she is not going to drop out of the race. Well, Kylie Atwood is in Charleston, South Carolina for

us. Kylie, Haley has deep roots in this state. What is she telling voters there?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well listen, her message over the last few weeks here in South Carolina, as you said her home state has been very

consistent. She has repeatedly told voters here that she believes that America can do better than an eight year old President going after

President Biden.

Former President Trump and really narrowing in on Former President Trump on a number of fronts, saying that the fact that he is using campaign

donations to pay for his own legal bills is not normal, calling him out for playing the victim card when it comes to all of his legal drama.

And also reminding voters here of what she did when she was Governor to try and bring folks together when they face challenges in the state. Now she

has also been telling voters that if they typically only vote in a general election, she needs them to show up in the primary this year.

She really is looking to voters to show up in large numbers on Saturday, because right now the polls show her behind Former President Trump in this

state by 30 to 35 points. But she's making the case that this isn't just about her that this campaign, her campaign is about something bigger.

Listen to what she said at an event yesterday.


NIKI HALEY, U. S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't care about a political future. If I did, I would have been out by now. I'm doing this

for my kids. I'm doing this for your kids and your grandkids.


ATWOOD: Now Nikki Haley said after the New Hampshire primary that she would like to here in South Carolina narrowed the gap with Former President Trump

that means coming in closer to him than she did in New Hampshire where she was 11 points behind him.

But that certainly seems like a lofty goal right now, just given what I have said about the polls here in the state, one faction of the party that

Nikki Haley's team is looking to hoping to turn out, our folks who have moved to the state in recent years, you know, to retire or to relocate

during COVID.

They're hoping that they show up but right now she's saying that she is going to remain in this race, no matter what the results here are for the

primary. We'll have to see what that looks like on Sunday, Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Kylie. Well, a few shaky moments to overcome for NASA engineers. But the first time since the Apollo era, a U.S. spacecraft

touched down on the moon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're then standing effort. I know this was a nail biter, but we are on the sit on the surface and we are transmitting and

welcome to the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston, Odysseus has found his new home.


ANDERSON: Well, after the successful landing, NASA says the Ody lander is upright and starting to send back data. NASA plans to return a crewed

mission there in late 2026.


So just what's on board this first commercial spacecraft to land on the Maine, CNN's Tom Foreman gives you a closer look.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We really know what this point is that this is on the surface of the moon, what shape it's in what it's capable of

doing. Those are the questions that still have to be answered. We know that it had certain devices on board for example, these is called a laser retro

reflector array. The point of this was to install these basically on the moon so that when other crafts came down, they had reference points to

guide themselves in.

There was also equipment on board to record the lunar surface reaction to this craft coming down, so they have a better idea of how it would react in

that area to landings to observe radio frequencies that might naturally occur, that could interfere with future equipment, and the Embry-Riddle

EagleCam, this could prove very important.

This was thrust off about 100 feet 30 meters above the surface. It was a camera designed to take a bunch of pictures in about six seconds of the

craft landing on the moon designed by the students and faculty at Embry- Riddle, those pictures could be very, very important if there is any damage to this craft.

What about the science that they're hoping to do? Well, of course, if it will work, they still want to find out about water in the regolith, which

is the surface of the moon, all that -- in the gray, sand and rock all those things. They want to be able to see how much water might be there.

Can you convert it into liquid oxygen for rocket fuel or into regular oxygen for breathing? Can you drink it? Is there enough of it?

They want to look at the sunlight there. They get a lot of sunlight and some of the high areas down here that could generate a lot of power. That's

why this area is so interesting to exploration right now. And because of all this might be the area where you could have sustained human presence

and why does that matter?

Because some believe that maybe a permanent base here could be an important link to traveling on to Mars sometime in the next couple of decades. We'll

just have to see how well this lander can actually perform. Now that we know it is on the moon.

ANDERSON: There was a lot riding on this that report from Tom Foreman. Coming up traffic in Egypt's vital Suez Canal has nosedived, new data

paints a worrying picture for the economy there, we'll have a live report on that up next.



ANDERSON: And that is the opening bell on Friday and we will get a lot more from "Wall Street" in just a moment. First, two stories that we are

following breaking this hour and I want to get you an update on those first. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi; you're watching

"Connect the World". Well the U.S. announcing the largest wave of sanctions against Russia since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

What date is tomorrow? In fact, they're also in response to the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the Middle East. Meantime, Palestinian

Authority says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan for right after the war is a re-occupation of the Gaza Strip according to the PA. The

plan calls for Israel to maintain security control over a completely demilitarized Gaza.

Those are your two headlines breaking this hour. Well, traffic using the Suez Canal has shrunk to a fraction of its normal level as attacks by

Houthis from Yemen have driven ships to avoid the Red Sea. These are UN figures for the first half of February ships passing through the canal were

down by 42 percent. While container tonnage fell by a whopping 82 percent, all of which means revenue generated by the canal has sunk 40 percent.

Now the Houthis and Iran backed militants group have launched repeated attacks on commercial and military ships in the Red Sea and in the Gulf of

Aden. CNN's Scott McLean on the story for you joining me now and Scott, let's just dive into these numbers a little in, and tell us what you've

learned from speaking to those who are inside the shipping industry.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, so first off, I'll tell you what we know from the Houthi leader, Becky, and that is that there have been around

50 ships in his word that have been targeted, and we know many of them have been hit. Typically the damage is minor enough for the ships to continue on

their way. But in the case of the Envy route in March, just this week, it actually took on water; the crew had to be rescued.

The Pentagon says that the Houthi still have a large sophisticated arsenal of weapons at their disposal despite U.S. strikes. And of course, there is

still obviously the risk of hijacking. As we saw with the Galaxy leader now, little more than three months ago, there's 25 crew members, by the

way, are still being held hostage in Yemen.

And so this, the shipping industry obviously has security at top of mind right now. And I spoke to the head of security for a large shipping

industry association BIMCO, who said that it is remarkable, given the volume of attacks that we have seen that no one has been seriously hurt or

killed yet.


JAKOB LARSEN, HEAD OF SECURITY, BIMCO: Yes, it does surprise me. And don't be mistaken. I mean, what is happening in the Red Sea is really dangerous

to the seafarers. And I regarded as a case of pure luck that no one has been hurt or killed yet. When weapons of war like any ship missiles hit

most in ships, there's a huge risk that someone will get hurt. So -- and again, I'm just saying it's just pure luck that no one has been hurt yet.


MCLEAN: So Larsen said that before this all started, Becky, you had about 20 or 25 percent of ships transiting through the Red Sea that had armed

guards on board. These are typically small teams of armed people who will get on board in central Red Sea and then carry on, on board until they get

to Sri Lanka and then get off.

But this is not necessarily a silver bullet, because obviously having armed guards, having people firing back at potential attackers carries its own

unique sets of risks. Ships are also able to turn off their tracking devices that transmit to publicly available databases. But Larson also says

that that can sometimes make them a target themselves.

And if you look at some of these, these tracking databases like, you will see that some ships I took some screenshots

earlier today are already trying to make clear that they have no links to Israel.

So some state very clearly that they have armed guards on board or that the crew is all Syrian, or it's Chinese owned, or they have no links to Israel

at all, anything to convince the Houthis who are obviously monitoring these types of websites that they have no links to their state of enemies, the

U.S. the UK and obviously Israel as well.

Crew lists in theory should be confidential Becky, and so they shouldn't have to do this. But obviously there is a risk of these leaking. If you're

wondering why the ships are still transiting through this area at all still given the risks that they carry, their carrying is as simple as market

economics supply and demand.


The fewer ships that are going drives up the prices, making these routes more lucrative, it is also more lucrative for the crew as well. Typically,

they are paid double to go through these dangerous areas, though, as we saw, again, with the crew of the galaxy leader, those risks are very, very

real, Becky.

ANDERSON: Just briefly explain how vital this canal is to the Egyptian economy?

MCLEAN: Yeah, it's hard to understate it. So when we're talking about Egypt's GDP, Becky it is 2.3 percent. This is the fees and the revenue they

make from the ships transiting through the Suez Canal that equals about $9.4 billion per year. So cut that by 40 percent. We're talking about

around $4 billion or so.

It is also adding cost more broadly to shipping to go the long way around underneath Africa adds about eight to 10 days to the trip. Some estimates

suggest that it's about $1 million per ship in extra costs when we're talking about fuel, insurance, other costs, things like that.

Container shipping, the rates right now have more than doubled since all of this started though, it's also important to point out that it could be much

worse. They are still less than half they were at the peak of the crunch during the pandemic, Becky.

ANDERSON: Scott McLean on the story. Thank you, Scott. Well, global markets maintaining this week's rally, this is the story on Wall Street. NVIDIA's -

- bumper earnings drove the S&P 500 and DOW Jones to new records Thursday. And that has -- well, its continued today, that's despite the Federal

Reserve again dampening prospects of a rate cut as inflation remains red hot in January.

The big news on Wall Street is that Reddit filing to go public. It's the first social media IPO in years. And another stock to watch today intuitive

machines that is on a clip that's after the U.S. firm made an historic touchdown on the lunar South Pole. You can see just what that's done to the

stock. It's good news for investors today but the stock still well off its highs, I have to say of early 2023.

Well, it seems the digital media revolution has come to a crashing halt; two of its leaders, Vice Media and BuzzFeed are in grave trouble. Vice

Media says hundreds of its staffers will be laid off as it sees his publishing its own website. BuzzFeed already slimmed down after several

waves of layoffs announced this week that it will slash 16 percent of its staff at one point.

These two high profile pioneers inspired fear and legacy media competitors with each valued at billions of dollars. But digital publishers have

struggled in recent years in what is a softer advertising market that is now dominated by the big tech Titans. You're watching "Connect the World"

with me Becky Anderson, we will be right back after this short break.



ANDERSON: Tech giant Google says it is temporarily pulling the plug on a feature known as Gemini, which is part of its AI, its Artificial

Intelligence tool. Now, some people on social media have criticized the image generator. One issue being when Gemini is asked to produce an image

it often creates historically inaccurate images in which white people are replaced by people of color.

Well, the controversy shines a spotlight on how AI struggles with the concept of race. But Google's attempt to make sure that Gemini didn't

perpetuate harmful stereotypes seems to have backfired. The company says it is working to improve Gemini which Google admits his quote, missing the


Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal is so generous he gave one fan the shirt off his back and his supersized shoes to boot. Just asked this 16-year-old

from the Kansas City area who desperately needed a size 23 shoe. Jor'el Bolden's family had been struggling to find him a pair that fit. They said

shoe manufacturers just don't make his size and he needs a custom pair that cost $1,500.

And that is when his mom started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money, when the retired NBA superstar heard about Jor'el. He sent the team 20

pairs of shoes, new clothes and other items from his own closet, and the young man's reaction.


JOR'EL BOLDEN, RECIPIENT OF SHAQ'S GIFT: Thank you for taking the time and the money that you have earned to give it to me when I needed it. So I

would like to thank you for all the things that will come from it and we have.


ANDERSON: Check out this comparison. On the left is a shoe from Shaq. On the right is a woman's sneaker. "World Sport" with Amanda Davies is coming

up after this short break. We are back top of the hour for you.