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Biden Hoping for Cease-Fire "By Next Monday"; Voting Underway in Battleground Michigan Primary; Conflict with Russia "Inevitable" if West Sends Troops into Ukraine; Up to 10,000 Farmers Protest in Warsaw; Jordan and France Execute Largest Aid Airdrop to Gaza; Cristiano Ronaldo under Investigation by Saudi Football Officials; Moon Mission to Come to Early End; Harry Potter Proof Copy Sells for $13K. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 27, 2024 - 10:00   ET




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

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to our second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos, I'm in for Becky


Israel is surprised after the U.S. president told reporters he was optimistic for a ceasefire deal by early next week.

This as another aid organization halts operations in Gaza. And the desperation is growing more dire by the hour.

Polls are open in the Michigan primaries.

What will the results tell us about how Joe Biden and Donald Trump will fare in the general election.

NATO members are running damage control after the French president says he can't rule out sending troops to Ukraine.


GIOKOS: Well, if you believe certain leaders, the question is not if Israel and Hamas could pause their fighting but when. Qatar, which is

playing a key role in talks, says it's hoping for a deal on a temporary ceasefire by Ramadan next month. U.S. President Joe Biden, however, says



QUESTION: Are you going to (INAUDIBLE), sir?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I hope by the beginning of the weekend -- I mean the end of the weekend. At least my

national security advisor tells me that we're close. We're close, it's not done yet. And my hope is, by next Monday, we'll have a ceasefire.


GIOKOS: All right. So very optimistic then. Israel was surprised by that remark, according to an official. No matter who you ask, it is clear there

are still a lot of issues to be ironed out. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is with us from Tel Aviv.

Look, we know the conversations and negotiations currently underway. There is, of course, a lot at stake and, of course, a very important deadline

from Israel that they want to see something concluded before Ramadan or else they will head into Rafah.

But just how seriously should we take what President Biden believes could be a deal at the end of this weekend, essentially?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's certainly an important data point. But when you compare it to the reactions from Israel,

from Hamas, even from the Qataris, nobody seems to be quite as optimistic as President Biden is.

In his statement about believing that a ceasefire could be in place as soon as the beginning of next week, an Israeli official telling us that they

were, quote, "surprised" by President Biden's rosy prognostics here about a potential deal, saying that they didn't know what he was basing his

assessment on.

And Hamas has also pouring cold water on some of the reports of progress that we have been seeing coming out of these negotiations. But also just

take a look at what the Qatari foreign ministry spokesman said when asked about the trajectory of these negotiations.


MAJED AL-ANSARI, SPOKESPERSON, QATARI FOREIGN MINISTRY: We have seen a positive trajectory by the sheer fact that the meetings are taking place.

But we have yet to reach a final agreement where we can hopefully announce before the beginning of Ramadan a humanitarian pause that would ease the

tensions and would allow us to bring in more aid into Gaza and would allow us to deescalate (INAUDIBLE).


DIAMOND: And so you can hear there that there is some optimism coming from the Qataris.

But they are being very cautious because, even as there are reports of progress, even as it's clear that Hamas has come down from some of its

demands about totally ending the war in this first phase of the agreement, in terms of the numbers of Palestinian prisoners that they are demanding be

released in exchange for these Israeli hostages.

Despite all of that, it's clear that there are still other issues to resolve. And sometimes even minor issues can ultimately hold up a final

agreement. So the caution is important here as we head into what will be a critical, less than two weeks until the start of Ramadan.

That is a very short timeline, given the number of issues that still need to be resolved. But it's clear that both parties at least seemed to be

engaging in these negotiations. We know that the head of Hamas was in Qatar yesterday.

An Israeli delegation over the last couple of days has been there as well and that there are still ongoing talks about this. But whether or not they

can get to a deal is now the key question -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes, absolutely. Jeremy Diamond in Tel Aviv for us, thank you.

The U.S. president could face some backlash from voters over Gaza today. The U.S. state of Michigan is holding its presidential primaries.


And many Democrats who are upset about Joe Biden's handling of the Israel Hamas war are planning a protest vote. Dianne Gallagher has the story for



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Free, free, free Palestine.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A pivotal November battleground.

LAVORA BARNES, CHAIR, MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY: The road to the White House runs through Michigan. You don't win without Michigan.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): But some Democrats are using Tuesday's primary to put President Joe Biden on notice.

LEXI ZEIDAN, PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN ACTIVIST: A warning to Biden and his administration that they need to hear our calls and heed our demands and

respond to what it is that we're asking for, which is an immediate and a permanent ceasefire.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Using their ballots to protest the president's handling the war in Gaza by voting uncommitted in the Democratic primary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a humanitarian vote. It's a protest vote.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The grassroots Listen to Michigan campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vote uncommitted.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Launched by members of the state's large Arab American community just three weeks ago has expanded to count progressives

and young voters among its supporters like Pontiac City councilman, Mikal Goodman.

MIKAL GOODMAN, PONTIAC CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Because we are often told many times that the power that we have as citizens in the U.S. is through the

power of the ballot. And this is us using that power.

No one who is voting uncommitted wants Trump. They want what is happening in Gaza to stop.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): More than 30 state and local elected officials endorsed the campaign, as did Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-

American woman to serve in Congress.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): If you want us to be louder, then come here and vote uncommitted.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Organizers say for most, today's message is about the primary but there's a lingering warning.

ABBAS ALAWIEH, SPOKESPERSON, LISTEN TO MICHIGAN: You need to call for a ceasefire, because it will save lives and because it's the necessary thing

to do politically. Otherwise, you, President Biden, will be handing the White House to Donald Trump.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The Biden campaign has acknowledged Michigan's importance in this election but allies of the president aren't quite

sounding alarms over the uncommitted primary strategy. Yet.

BARNES: I'm hoping and expecting that these folks will come vote for Joe Biden in November. But right now they have an issue they want to brought

attention to and it's working. That's why we have an early presidential primary.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The uncommitted campaign's goal is modest.

LAYLA ELABED, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, LISTEN TO MICHIGAN: Our threshold is 10,000 uncommitted votes. Because that strategy is based off of the numbers

that Trump won in 2016 against Hillary Clinton.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): In 2020, Biden won Michigan by more than 150,000 votes. But some Biden supporters, like former congressman Andy Levin, say

the president's prospects this November are uncertain.

ANDY LEVIN, FORMER U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: I mean, I'm going to do everything I can to get him elected in November. All I'm saying is I don't know if we

can succeed unless we change course. And by the way, it's the right thing to do.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): He says he voted uncommitted in the primary, not because his support for the president is wavering.

LEVIN: Well, I think the great danger for Joe Biden here in the Michigan primary is that he would win with no indication that he has a problem, with

no visibility of how angry people are.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Dearborn, Michigan.


GIOKOS: Michigan Republicans are also choosing their candidate for president today, partially anyway. The party is holding multiple nominating

contests, including today's primary and at least one caucus.

And even though Donald Trump is expected to trounce Nikki Haley again, we could get some insight into how things will go in November. Senior

political analyst Mark Preston joins us now, live from Washington.

I want to start off with the issue with President Biden and this uncommitted vote and whether this will cost him a win in Michigan or at

least we're talking about a tighter margin here.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: This is such a fascinating time we're in right now because we're all going to be looking for a, you know, looking

through the tea leaves and seeing how this is going to affect the November election.

I think we can look right now and say how it's affected policy here in the United States and around the world. You have President Joe Biden, just a

few hours ago on a late night show here in New York, say that he expects a cease-fire or thinks a ceasefire could happen by Monday.

Now the fact that he said this right before the Michigan primary, where we're seeing the uncommitted vote really take hold, says something about

the pressure that he is feeling about getting Israel to stop bombing in Gaza and really go forward with a ceasefire.

So I do think that the White House, Joe Biden, is very upset and certainly concerned about what's going to happen tonight. We will be looking to see

what happens with this. However, I do think that there were success in the fact that they were able to get the White House to move. So we're looking

right now.

But down the road, will these folks come and support him?

I think they probably will in November but the fact is the progressive wing of the Democratic Party very upset right now with Joe Biden.


GIOKOS: Yes, and it's very clear in terms of a lot of the narrative that we've been hearing out of Michigan in particular. I want to talk about

Nikki Haley. And here's the reality.

We talk about what is her magic number and what does it mean for Donald Trump. Well, Nikki Haley did speak to CNN last hour and talked about her

goals for the Michigan primary. I want you to take a listen.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will continue to say our goal is to be competitive. It's always been to be competitive. And if you're

getting 40 percent in all the early states, that's making a point.

That's making a point that, look, we are telling you, for all the Republican Party, we're in a ship with a hole in it. You can either ignore

the hole and go down with the ship or you can acknowledge that we've got to look for a life raft.

I am telling you there will be a female President of the United States. It will either be me or it will be Kamala Harris. If Donald Trump is the

Republican nominee, we will see a president Kamala Harris.


GIOKOS: All right, Nikki Haley remaining defiant essentially.

But what do you make of her strategy?

PRESTON: Well, she's kind of put herself into this corner where she has become the anti-Trump candidate. For her to leave the race right now and,

let's say, endorse Donald Trump, would go against everything that she has done so far in the primary.

In many ways, she's become the voice, not necessarily for Never Trumpers, although they are latching onto her, the Republicans here in the United

States who don't want Donald Trump to be president.

But more so for the old guard Republican Party, the Reagan Republicans. You go back about 20-25 years, that's who she's speaking for right now.

Two numbers to think about, though. First number is she got 40 percent of the vote in South Carolina. That means Donald Trump didn't get 40 percent

of that primary vote in South Carolina. That is troubling for Trump.

Question is, can she repeat that in Michigan?

That's still to be seen. Of course, we'll see that over the next week starting tonight.

Second number is not necessarily a number but it's how much money she can raise. And we are still seeing people donating to Nikki Haley. We saw the

Koch brothers, a very large international conglomerate that had been funding her through a super PAC here.

But the fact of the matter is people are still donating to her, even though that super PAC has stepped down. So look, she's going to be around for the

next 2-3 weeks at minimum. Be interesting if she's still tries to keep the fight on even after Donald Trump secures the nomination, which could happen

in about three weeks.


I'm just -- I'm curious, from your perspective, what is driving the U.S. voter right now?

Is -- are reproductive issues top of mind, in terms of what we saw in Alabama?

Is it the economy?

Is it what we're seeing in Gaza?

I mean it seems like there's a plethora of issues.

But which candidate is really striking a nerve for the voters right now?

PRESTON: Well, you know, two different issues. And you said both of them, that each party is hoping to capitalize, going into November.

For the Democrats, they're hoping that all this legal work that has happened around abortion here in the United States is going to work in

their favor. We just saw a ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that weighed in on IVF treatments that many Republicans do not agree with.

But still it's a political problem for Republicans, specifically with women voters and specifically women voters who live in the suburbs right outside

of the big cities.

For Donald Trump, it's all about immigration. I mean, you just see the pictures of what's happening at the border, on the southern border

specifically. And then you hear these horrific stories about how, you know, some of these folks who have come over here have created horrific crimes

and they're being amplified.

So those are the two hot button issues. But look, going into the election, understand this: there's a huge segment of Republicans, they're going to

stay with Donald Trump no matter what.

And there's a huge segment of Democrats are going to stay with Joe Biden no matter what.

The question is, can they get those folks who were kind of teetering on the edge vote, either going for Donald Trump or going for Joe Biden?

And those two electrifying issues, the immigration issue here in the U.S. and abortion here in the U.S. could be the driving factor.

GIOKOS: Mark Preston, great to have you on the story with us. Thank you.

And still to come, Europe's leaders scramble to emphasize that there will be no Western troops sent to Ukraine after comments from the French


And Ukraine's secret weapon against Russia isn't a secret anymore.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): So it begins, the first strike on the window. One drone, watching the other, flies into the target.

GIOKOS (voice-over): What CNN saw while observing one Ukrainian drone unit. That's coming up just ahead.





GIOKOS: "Keep your troops out of Ukraine or expect a direct fight."

That is the message for the West straight from the Kremlin. On Tuesday, its spokesman said, "Sending in Western troops would make conflict with Russia


It comes after comments from France's president Monday at the E.U. conference in support of Ukraine. Listen to Emmanuel Macron talk about the

possibility of sending troops.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): There is no consensus today to send ground troops in an official, endorsed or

sanctioned manner. But in dynamic terms, nothing should be ruled out. We would do whatever it takes to ensure that Russia cannot win this war.


GIOKOS: CNN's Clare Sebastian is following all of it for us.

Clare, good to see you. Look, this is the first time we've actually seen the conversation, the discussion of sending troops to Ukraine openly

discussed. This big reaction from E.U. states as well as NATO members, give me a sense of what we're hearing.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Eleni, you really get the sense that Macron set the cat among the pigeons really with this.

We've seen a collective effort by a number of NATO and European countries - - the U.K., Hungary, Poland, Italy, Spain, to name a few -- collectively walk this back to say that they have no plans to send troops to Ukraine.

But of course, in many cases reiterating that they remain engaged and will continue to supply weapons and humanitarian aid. Germany in particular,

this is in Europe, but least Ukraine's biggest military backer, second only globally to the U.S.

They are also saying that there are no plans on the table. Take a listen to Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaking today.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We obviously discussed ways how to arrange for the support. And here, once again, in a

very good debate, it was discussed that what was agreed from the outset among ourselves and with each other also applies to the future.

Namely that there will be no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil sent there by European countries or NATO states.


SEBASTIAN: So Scholz, essentially making the point that there was really no way this was going to happen to begin with. And no one agreed on this.

And if you look at what Macron said, he did couch it quite heavily to begin with. He said it has been invoked as part of options. There's no consensus.

He said he wants to maintain strategic ambiguity around the issue.

But the fact that he put it on the table is significant. I think it shows the level of urgency, the situation that Ukraine is in with Russia

continuing to advance. And Europe's -- the necessity and perhaps it's also desire of Europe to lead on this issue as the U.S. and U.S. aid remains

mired in partisan politics.

The Kremlin reaction, I think to be expected. They saying that this makes a confrontation with Russia inevitable if Western countries put troops on the

ground. But I think certainly coming on the same day that Sweden's path to NATO accession was cleared, this is certainly a very sensitive issue for



GIOKOS: It is indeed. We know that Putin did not want to see NATO expanding and it has expanded. Sweden has now joined. I wanted you to take

a listen to what the Swedish prime minister had to say.


ULF KRISTERSSON, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): As far as Russia is concerned, the only thing we can safely expect is that they do

not like Sweden becoming a NATO member. They didn't like Finland becoming a NATO member, either.

The whole purpose was to emphasize that a country like Ukraine would not be allowed to choose its own path.


GIOKOS: From a long history of neutrality to now being a NATO member, what do they bring to the alliance?

SEBASTIAN: Yes, they bring a fair amount; in particular, in two regions, in the Baltic region, where, once Sweden does become officially a NATO

member, there will be only one piece of territory along the border of that body of water that is not a NATO member.

And that's the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. And of course, Russia itself up in the north and then also in the Arctic region of the eight Arctic

countries of which Sweden is one, there will be only one left that isn't a member of NATO and that's Russia.

So this will give a NATO much greater capabilities in those regions, will allow it to project force much more effectively. Unlike Finland, of course,

which massively increased NATO's border with Russia, Sweden brings more of its influence over those two specific regions.

And, of course, also the message to Russia, that its effort to essentially halt NATO expansion has backfired.

GIOKOS: Yes, indeed it has. Clare Sebastian, great to see you.

Now on the battlefield in Ukraine, the military has been relying more on drones to try and level the playing field with Russia. But the Russians are

well aware of the threat and doing all they can to make things tougher on the soldiers operating those drones. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports.


WALSH (voice-over): They flit around fast, hiding each week in a new abandoned shell.

Drone operators have been Ukraine's secret weapon for months. But now but it is getting harder we saw this unit in December but their base back then

has been bombed, yet still, they hunt every day for a single mistake: a Russian who gets himself spotted.

They say the Russians are better at hiding themselves. Although sometimes obviously not yet.

WALSH: They've just spotted a Russian soldier carrying groceries and the dog came out to greet him. So I think it's quite possible that's where some

Russians are hiding.

WALSH (voice-over): So it begins, the first strike on the window. One drone, watching the other, flies into the target.

And quickly, they prepare another. The hunt is no game but has the tools of one. They lose about a quarter of their drones to Russian jamming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): It's affecting us more. But we won't give up. We have to evade like snakes. Invent things. Experiment.

WALSH (voice-over): They see the Russians running into the blue house, its roof clearly hit before, a while ago. It becomes their next target.

They go in again. It could be a mortar position, they think. Watch how smaller explosion send fragments flying out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Nice one. Not sure it's a kill. We'll see.

WALSH (voice-over): The Russians often have to stay injured inside the damaged building to not draw in more drones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): They usually wait. They don't run out immediately.

WALSH (voice-over): They go in again. It could be a mortar position, they think. Then suddenly, the power goes out. The Internet's down and screen's

black but remarkably, they barely miss a beat.

The commander sparks up his cell phone, 5-G, with the drone feed in a chat group, directing the entire attack just from an iPhone.

The smoke grows in intensity. They think they might have hit a weapons store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): There's something inside. Should be ammo.

WALSH (voice-over): They never see Russian faces or taste the smoke. The blast noise takes a few seconds to travel to them. But this is still

killing, up close, yet far away. Strike, launch, repeat all day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Nice! Nice!

WALSH (voice-over): Sometimes it's cheers here, screams there. Other times, the other way around -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kherson, Ukraine.



GIOKOS (voice-over): Let's get you up to speed. Some other stories that are on our radar right now.

Japan's birth rate has fallen to a record low, falling eight years of decline. Just over 750,000 babies were born in 2023, down 5 percent on the

previous year. The government is trying to halt the decline, which experts say is partly down to the high cost of living and lack of child care in


Japan's prime minister had said he fears the country is on the brink of failing to maintain social functions.

A police complaint has been filed against Taylor Swift's father in Australia. A photographer says Scott Swift punched him after the Swifts got

off a yacht in Sydney Harbor. Taylor Swift's spokesperson claims threats had been made against a member of her staff.

Nearly 10,000 farmers are protesting today in Warsaw, Poland, marching against Ukrainian imports and the European Union's Green Deal. Protests

have been going on since February 9th and they're expected to last until the end of the month.

Protest organizers claim they will remain, quote, "peaceful and on foot," as farmers are not allowed to take vehicles into Warsaw. Senior news

reporter for TVN24, Yan Petrovsky, has more on the protests from Warsaw.

YAN PETROVSKY, SENIOR NEWS REPORTER, TVN24: Thousands of angry Polish farmers have gathered here in front of the parliament to protest against

mainly the E.U. Green Deal but also against uncontrolled grain and other agricultural imports from Ukraine.

They were blocking, blocking the streets of capital city of Warsaw for several hours. And they all say the same, that their business is in

trouble. It brings less and less income each month. So they are very unsure and uncertain what tomorrow will bring.

They have met with the speaker of Polish same (ph), (INAUDIBLE). But they also demand to speak to Mr. Donald Tusk, the prime minister. And this will

be hard to achieve as the head of the government is meeting his counterparts today in Czech Republic.

Nevertheless, they demand action from politicians and they demand it now -- for CNN, Yan Petrovsky, TVN24, Warsaw, Poland.


GIOKOS: Coming up, the desperation in Gaza, as residents paddle out to sea after an aid drop lands offshore. We will speak to a humanitarian worker

about the dire conditions in the besieged Strip.





GIOKOS: Welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos, I'm in for Becky Anderson.

Now as a supply of humanitarian aid dwindles in Gaza, gets another gut punch. The Palestine Red Crescent Society is suspending its work on

coordinated medical missions in Gaza for 48 hours over a lack of safety for its staff, the wounded and the sick.

The aid group says their teams have been repeatedly targeted by Israel's military, despite prior coordination. And they are, quote, "completely

denied access" to areas where Israel's military is present. CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment. Jeremy Diamond has the report on Gaza's

desperate need for aid.


DIAMOND (voice-over): Today, Gaza's humanitarian crisis looks like this: Palestinians desperate for food, paddling and swimming out to sea after at

least one plane airdropping aid appeared to miss its target, sending pallets of food crashing into the sea.

In central and southern Gaza, hundreds crowding the beaches, to try and secure their piece of the rations.

But this is the other side of desperation, groups of men wielding whips and bats, steering crowds away from their precious cargo. Months of hunger and

war triggering fights for survival, when there is not enough for everyone.

This is what they are fighting over, ration packs, a lifeline for the lucky few.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was lucky and able to get one of these aids.

But what about all those other people who were not able to get this aid?

Look, this one didn't get any and this one didn't get any.

DIAMOND (voice-over): But so much more is needed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm asking from the Arab nations. We are thankful for the aid through the parachutes. But we need more and we

need it distributed in a better way.

This will not stop our hunger. We don't need a capsule. Because when we eat this, we will eat it. And that's it. It's finished.

DIAMOND (voice-over): But nowhere are people more desperate for food aid than in northern Gaza, where women and children wait in long lines for what

now passes for food, a cloudy soup mixture made with dirty water and whatever grains can be found.

AMAL MOHAMMAD NASEER, GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): There is no food or drinking water, no flour or anything. There was no cooking oil, not even

drinking water. Death is better than this.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Humanitarian aid deliveries this month dropped by half compared to January, according to a United Nations relief agency,

which blamed Israeli military operations and the collapse of civil order in Gaza.

In northern Gaza, aid groups suspending aid delivery amid looting and attacks on aid trucks, leaving many with few options to stay alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Look, we are eating animal feed against our will but have to eat it.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Without food or clean water, their voices are all they have left.

AHMAD ATEF SAFI, GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): The suffering of Gaza is extremely difficult.

Where are the authorities?

Where is the government?

Israel made us hungry and our government made us hungry. And people are stealing. Shame on you, Arabs.

Where are you?

DIAMOND (voice-over): But after nearly five months of war, is the world listening?

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Tel Aviv.


GIOKOS: Humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza have declined by 50 percent in February alone. Aid workers have described the challenges they face in

terms of both access as well as security.

So let's bring in Sarah Davies, the spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, a group that has been on the ground in Gaza

since the start of this war. And she joins us now live from Jerusalem.

Sarah, great to have you with us. It's really important time to be having this conversation. We've just seen some of the catastrophic images, the

face of desperation, essentially, of people, specifically in northern Gaza.

We know the World Food Programme had to suspend its operations there. We know the Palestinian Red Crescent also suspending for 48 hours.

So what are your teams facing right now?


First, on the ground in Gaza, it is increasingly challenging to be able to provide the support, the aid to civilians, who really desperately need



Of course, in southern Gaza, there is a huge influx of people in a very small area. The needs there are increasing. The risks that are increasing

of things like infectious diseases.

And in the north, we know that there are people, civilians, who have not been able to receive any aid or support in weeks, if not months.

GIOKOS: So Sarah, I mean, we also saw the aid deliveries, right. Those airdrops by Jordan and France, I mean, some of those falling into the

Mediterranean Sea. We saw people getting violent because they're just so desperate as well.

What is your understanding of trying to get more aid into Gaza right now?

What are you hearing about there being any good news at this point?

DAVIES: We have been being consistently calling for more aid to enter Gaza. What is coming in right now is a trickle compared to the needs that

exist. And these needs are very far ranging, from things like diapers and formula to medical equipment to construction equipment for basic things

like sanitation facilities.

Not just the entry of aid into Gaza but the ability to safely distribute this aid to the people who are severely impacted is an ongoing challenge in

the face of armed hostilities, active hostilities, as well as logistical things like destroyed roads.

There's unexploded ordnances and weapons that are always a risk. And unfortunately, the reality on the ground is that international

organizations are really facing a situation where the conditions don't exist to be able to reach everyone in need.

GIOKOS: The images we're seeing pretty much showing evidence of this. President Joe Biden showed a lot of optimism about a potential ceasefire by

as early as Monday. Israel says that's not a probability.

We've just heard from Hamas saying, there is nothing there. That potential ceasefire by Monday, that's not a probability. But I'm sure you guys are

waiting and watching because you're so integral in getting hostages out, in facilitating so much of what is needed when a deal does actually come


DAVIES: Yes, as you say, when the deal has been agreed upon, we don't take part in these political negotiations.

But when and if an agreement is put in place, we are absolutely ready to step in as that organization that can facilitate the release and transfer

of those people who are currently held hostage, as well as distribute the aid that is usually included in these agreements.

And this is sorely (ph), desperately needed. As we've heard, people are being forced to eat animal product. Parents are having to make the choice

between how many days they can survive without food, so that their children can eat even one meal a day.

The situation is horrific. It's only getting worse. I'd say it was catastrophic for civilians right now who are living in Gaza. It is not

sustainable. They cannot continue to live this way.

It is -- it's the obligation of the highest (INAUDIBLE).

GIOKOS: You're right and look, the fear of famine, I mean, those warnings, by the way, have been going on for so long in terms of the probability of

famine playing out.

I want to talk about Rafah because there might be a ground incursion there depending on whether a deal is concluded before Ramadan. There's a lot of

talk about relocating people from Rafah, which are about 1.5 million Palestinians right now.

Have you seen any plans to evacuate?

Would you be involved in that?

DAVIES: We are, of course, gravely concerned about reports of any impending military operation in Rafah because, to be very frank, it would

create carnage. There is no more south in Gaza for people to evacuate to. There is nowhere left for people to go.

We already have more than 1.5 million people on 20 percent of the Gaza Strip, on a very small area. All of these people are individual human

beings, who are scared, who have lost family members, who are hungry, who are thirsty, who don't know what's going to happen next.

And we have consistently reiterated and we'll continue to reiterate that, if any evacuation orders are given in a conflict, it is the responsibility

and obligation of the party giving those orders to ensure that civilians have access to adequate food, safe water and adequate shelter.

Families cannot be separated. There are obligations that must be abided by. And this is not negotiable.


This is essential for civilian survival.

GIOKOS: Sarah Davies, I appreciate you taking the time. I know that you and your team are working relentlessly on the ground there. Thank you very

much for joining us today.

Well, mourners gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Washington on Monday to remember the Air Force member who lit himself on fire there in protest

on Sunday. The Air Force says he was 25-year-old airman Aaron Bushnell.

In a video from just before the incident, Bushnell said he, quote, "would no longer be complicit in genocide" and that his suffering was minimal

compared to the plight of Palestinians in Gaza.

Bushnell then lit himself on fire and later died from his injuries. At the Pentagon, reporters asked if there could be more members of the U.S.

military with similar feelings.


QUESTION: Is the secretary concerned that this might indicate that there's a deeper issue, maybe U.S. military being -- military personnel being

concerned about how weapons and support for Israel has been used on civilians in Gaza?

BRIG. GEN. PATRICK RYDER, PRESS SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Well, look from a Department of Defense standpoint, since Hamas' brutal attacks

on October 7th, we've been focused on the four key areas that the secretary set out from the onset.

That's protecting U.S. forces an citizens in the region, supporting Israel's inherent right to defend itself from terrorist attacks, working

closely with Israel to support and secure the release of hostages from Hamas and ensuring that the crisis, the conflict between Hamas and Israel,

doesn't escalate.


GIOKOS: Well, the Pentagon says Bushnell was a cyber defense operations specialist and worked in military intelligence.

Now at the top of the hour, top congressional leaders are to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden. They will try and hammer out a plan to avoid a partial

government shutdown this weekend. Details on that story just ahead.

And likely problems can lead to a big decision that concerns the Odysseus moon mission. We will have the latest right after this.




GIOKOS: Hi, welcome back.

And we've got some sports news just in to CNN. Football star Cristiano Ronaldo is under investigation by Saudi football officials for a gesture he

made toward fans following an Al-Nasr 3-2 win against Al-Shabab on Sunday.

In the footage -- and you can hear fans taunting Ronaldo -- he appears to make a thrusting gesture with his hands toward his groin in the direction

of spectators in the stands.

Saudi earned media outlet Asharq Al Awsat reports that the move is now being investigated by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation. And he could

face a two-game ban as well as a fine. CNN has reached out to Ronaldo's representatives.


The two football clubs and the SAFF for comment. And we're still waiting for a response.

Now, in just about 15 minutes from now, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to meet with congressional leaders to discuss to urgent two funding issues,

Ukraine aid and U.S. budget.

Without a budget deal, the U.S. government could go into a partial shutdown by this weekend. The House hasn't reconvened and won't do so until

Wednesday, leaving very little time to spare.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and Democratic Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, will be attending the meeting. Let's go to

Washington and we've got CNN's Camila joining us now at the White House.

Camila, great to see you, look, we want to talk about the consequences. We know a lot is at stake right now.

But in terms of the overall outcome and what we can expect in the next few days, what, what, what can we anticipate?

CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this meeting, at this point in time, we can anticipate that Biden really wants to use this

opportunity to meet with top congressional leaders to really have this be a direct appeal to talk about a wide array of issues.

But the two that are top of mind is how lawmakers are going to come together to try to avert a government shutdown and also how they're going

to pass the national security supplemental package that would provide the necessary aid for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Now we know that Biden usually finds that these meetings that he has with congressional leaders, he finds them to be productive and that they can

really get down to the heart of the issue and try to come together in somewhat of a bipartisan fashion.

But there is a lot at stake here. We know that funding is running out when it comes to certain entities within the government. And so that is a top

priority. And Biden has been very adamant about lawmakers passing more funding for Ukraine.

Now at this time, House Speaker Mike Johnson has said that he's not interested in taking up this bill if they don't address border security and

finding provisions and fundings to address some of the issues alongside the border.

And we know that Biden is actually going to the border at the later end of this week. So these are things that come to top of mind. The White House --

House officials are saying it's a top priority and that they're expecting to see in the days ahead.

GIOKOS: All right, Camila DeChalus at the White House. Thank you so much.

Now the historic U.S. moon mission may soon be ending. We have the latest reports on the problems flight controllers are facing.




GIOKOS: News into CNN, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in Saudi Arabia. In a post on social media, he says, it's for talks on his

country's peace formula with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Ukrainian president also said he would lean on Saudi Arabia to help broker the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war. More on this, as we get


The historic U.S. moon mission that made landing on the lunar surface last Thursday will come to an early end. Flight controllers expect they will

lose contact with the Odysseus lander. Communicating with it has become challenging. Intuitive Machines, the private company that created Odysseus,

says the lander is expected to run out of power soon.


The end of the mission could mean that great pictures and very important data won't ever reach Earth. For the latest on this, I want to bring in CNN

space correspondent Kristin Fisher, she joins us now live from Washington.

So much excitement around this and actually making the land, a successful landing. But of course, it comes with just so many probabilities for


KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: It does. And you know, Eleni, I think it's important to point out that this Odysseus spacecraft,

this little lunar lander, has accomplished its primary objective.

Which was to prove that this brand new type of 3D printed engine that breathed (ph) liquid methane and liquid oxygen actually worked and could

take it all the way to the moon and bring it down to the surface.

Now, yes, it did tip over at the end; yes, it likely will not be alive and transmitting data for as long as Intuitive Machines would have liked. But

the primary goal of having a spacecraft launched from Earth and land on the moon was achieved.

And so Intuitive Machines and NASA are going to continue to believe that this mission was a success. But as you said, this little lander is running

out of juice. It is running out of battery.

The company just put out an update about an hour ago that said flight controllers are working on final determination of battery life on the

lander, which may continue up to an additional 10 or 20 hours.

So because of the fact that Odysseus tipped over after landing, some of its solar panels aren't positioned in the right way. That is why it's running

out of juice a little bit earlier than anticipated.

But the real gut punch for people like you and me, Eleni, is the fact that we likely aren't going to get to see these pictures now from the surface of

the moon. It's running out of time to send these photos back. We don't even know if they've been able to take them yet.

And then that EagleCam, which was supposed to pop off the lander and take a photo from a third person perspective, it's clearly running out of time for

that to happen too. So it's looking less and less likely that we're going to get those images that we've all been hoping for.

But it is transmitting scientific data back. And then, as I said, the primary objective of actually landing on the moon was a success.

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, look, what an odyssey it was for Odysseus, right, though perhaps the secrets will remain just that. But it's still a -- such

an incredible feat. It's just the fact that it just slightly tipped over, the sun not being in the right place, the solar panels not working. I mean,

I'm sure they're going to be thinking about a new design.

Because they haven't given up right. The first attempt, not too long ago, failed. This is the second attempt.

We can assume there'll be spending more money on this, right?

FISHER: So actually that first attempt was a different private company called Astrobotic. This is Intuitive Machines' first attempt and they

already have two other lunar landers in development. They built the potential for failure into their business model.

And so as we speak, there are two other lunar landers in production. They are gearing up for its next flight.

And so is that other company, Eleni, Astrobotic. They're also attempting to go again. So this is, this is space travel. This is what it takes to try to

do something as crazy as landing on the surface of the moon.

And yes, it was done by the United States more than half a century ago. But these are new people in the control room, new hardware. And for each

company, they have to get these growing pains out for themselves. So I think that's what we're seeing here.

GIOKOS: Yes, what's $120 million a pop?

So hopefully there'll still be appetite to spend this kind of money down the line. But it is exciting as always to speak to you, Kristin. Great to

have you on the show. Thank you.

All right. Well dynamic pricing has become a regular fixture for concerts and sporting events along with airline tickets and ride-sharing apps.

But fast food, Wendy's says it's going to fluctuate the price of its Frosty drink, starting next year. It is part of a $20 million investment in new

digital menu boards at Wendy's U.S. restaurants that will allow them to change prices, get those depending on demand.

And industry experts say, if the idea works other fast food chains could follow suit.


GIOKOS (voice-over): And tonight, for our "Parting Shots"


GIOKOS (voice-over): The magic of Harry Potter live on for a lucky Londoner who lives in Italy. She has sold a rare, uncorrected proof of copy

of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" for 11,000 pounds or nearly $14,000.


The unnamed seller picked up the manuscript 27 years ago along with two other books, all for a mere 50 cents. And she says she never actually read

it but saw a story on the internet about the value of early Harry Potter books.

And you can see the copy's inside title page, mistakenly states the author's name is J.A. Rowling instead of J.K. Rowling. What incredible

find, 50 cents, and then selling it for thousands of dollars.

A private U.K. buyer purchased it at auction and, clearly, a really good buy there. It's a pity we don't come across these rare artifacts or sort of

vintage books. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for any of these incredible finds.

All right, well that is it for CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos here in Abu Dhabi. Stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.