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Israeli Prime Minister: Ground Incursion Into Rafah Will Happen, Israeli Officials Say Ground Operation Is Not Imminent; Netanyahu: Israel Will Move Forward With Rafah Incursion; Sweden's Flag Raised At NATO Headquarters; CNN Rides Along With Ukraine's Medics; Mediators Fail To Reach Ceasefire Deal Before Ramadan. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 11, 2024 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome to our second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Doha. It is the first full day of

Ramadan in much of the Arab world, and we are here in Qatar, where mediators are keenly focused on trying to secure another ceasefire in Gaza

and the release, of course, of hostages. That's coming up.

First, your other headlines this hour. Sweden has officially acceded to NATO, after months of negotiation between member states. The Nordic country

felt spurred to do so after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Sources tell CNN that Russia is pumping out nearly three times more ammunition for the war in Ukraine than the U.S. and Europe combined. Russia

reportedly putting everything they have in the game.

The U.S. and European Union have evacuated embassy staff from Haiti as a situation in the Caribbean nation deteriorates. Gangs there continue to

carry out highly coordinated attacks that threatened to topple the government.

And Hollywood's biggest night Oppenheimer cleans up at the Academy Awards with war close to the forefront throughout.

Well, as we start this hour, hopes remain, but are dwindling for negotiations leading to another truce in Gaza. So far, there are no

concrete talks happening either here or in Egypt.

And Ramadan has now started in much of the Arab world, raising fears of an Israeli ground incursion into Rafah. Because remember, the Israeli

government had warned that if a deal to release hostages wasn't reached by Ramadan, a ground operation would happen. But today, Israeli officials say

an incursion is not imminent.

So, why hasn't another ceasefire been reached? Well, the biggest reasons, failure to agree on the conditions. Hamas is demanding a full ceasefire, a

pullback of Israel's military, leading to an eventual complete withdrawal from all of Gaza. The return of Palestinians that have been displaced from

the north back to their homes, more aid to get in, and the release of hundreds of Palestinian detainees stuck in Israeli prisons.

Israel is demanding a list of hostages held by Hamas and other groups that are still alive ahead of their eventual release. Well, in the meantime, we

wait for more talks here in Qatar or in Egypt, while the people of Gaza already past the point of desperation, face even more uncertainty and fear

in the days ahead.

Jeremy Diamond is with us this hour from Jerusalem. Jeremy, while I'm here in Qatar, as we pursue information on any further talks and mediation

efforts. What are you hearing there about what is holding back a ceasefire right now?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's clear that there are still several major stumbling blocks to these negotiations. And while there had

been some hope that the two sides could potentially agree to a ceasefire before the start of Ramadan, that hope clearly began to fade at the end of

last week and is now gone as that holiday of Ramadan has now begun.

We heard yesterday from Ismail Haniyeh, the political head of Hamas, who said that Hamas is still demanding a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal

of all Israeli forces from Gaza. Those are major no goes for the Israeli leadership. In these negotiations, Israeli officials for their part, have

said that they were still waiting for a list of the hostages who could be released under these terms.

Now, the question is what will follow instead of a deal? And could those negotiations be kickstarted? Once again, there is no date according to

Hamas to resume those ceasefire negotiations.

But that a military offensive in Rafah, which Israeli leaders have been promising, including some saying that it would start if the hostages were

not returned by the start of Ramadan, it clearly is not imminent.

I've spoken to multiple Israeli officials who indicated that look, the Israeli military has yet to build up the forces necessary in Gaza to carry

out that a major offensive, that could happen within a matter of days. But what hasn't -- what also hasn't happened is the civilian evacuation from

Rafah and I'm told that, that will take, at least, two weeks.

Now, Israeli officials haven't ruled out carrying out that offensive during the month of Ramadan. But certainly, it does not appear to be imminent at

this stage.

And amid all of this we've heard from President Biden, directly referring to an offensive in Rafah as a red line, those comments are slightly

confusing, because American officials in the past have not expressed outright opposition to that offensive.


But they have said that it cannot go forward unless there is a civilian evacuation, which Israeli officials have said will come. The Israeli prime

minister for his part responding, or seeming to respond to President Biden saying that the Israeli military will go into Rafah, although, he did not

say when.

And he said that his red line is ensuring that October 7th that terrorist attack cannot happen again on Israel.

ANDERSON: Well, as Ramadan begins, Jeremy, you are in Jerusalem, what's the mood there?

DIAMOND: Well, I spent some time in the Old City last night, and it's clear that there are tensions. That there is also a lot of sadness among the

Palestinians who are in Jerusalem who feel very much impacted by what is happening to other Palestinians in Gaza at this moment as this war

continues on.

We also saw that the Israeli government, even though they've indicated that there will be no additional restrictions on Palestinians being allowed to

worship at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the Israeli government has indicated it will allow similar numbers of worshippers as it did last year

during Ramadan.

But last night, we did see at least two dozen young Palestinian men being refused entry to that al-Aqsa mosque compound. And we also saw a video of

scuffles breaking out as Israeli police officers armed with batons began forcefully pushing back a crowd of would-be worshipers at the entrance to

that compound.

So, it's clear that there are tensions. And now, the question is how will the Israeli police, the Israeli border police handle this coming Friday,

which will be the first Friday of Ramadan, which can often be a flashpoint during this holy month of Ramadan?

And so, there are a lot of questions about how the Israeli police will actually handle that, whether they will seek to impose additional

restrictions, despite the statements from the Israeli government.

And of course, how Palestinians, young Palestinians in particular will respond if indeed, they are denied entry to that mosque. Becky?

ANDERSON: Jeremy Diamond is in Jerusalem there, where the time is nine minutes past 4:00.

Well, keeping up with all the latest from the region, particularly what is going on in Gaza. Do that now, MEANWHILE IN THE MIDDLE EAST newsletter. It

drops three times a week to read that you can scan the Q.R. code on the bottom of the screen, or you can find it at and a jolly good read

that is.

Well, history is made as a new flag waves outside NATO headquarters in Brussels.


ANDERSON (voice over): After a long and contentious process sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Sweden has been officially welcomed as the

32nd member of the world's largest military alliance.


ANDERSON: Let's break down the significance of this moment with our senior international correspondent Melissa Bell. Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think, Becky, as we watched that flag being raised outside NATO headquarters, it's important to

remember, Becky, that it's not just the strengthening in the enlargement of NATO that we're talking about, but Sweden, setting aside what had been a

more than 200-year-old policy of neutrality, which had seen -- which had weathered, rather, than Napoleonic-era, two world wars. And it took in the

end, Russia's invasion of Ukraine to change that.

I think it's remarkable to think of it in those terms. This is the second country to join in as many years last year. Of course, it was Finland's

turn, with its more than 800-mile border with Russia, of course, hugely significant, strategically that -- strategically that it had chosen, as

well to set aside its history of neutrality throughout the Cold War.

This time, the turn of Sweden. And, of course, that's important from Sweden's point of view, and what it means within its history, but it is of

course important for NATO, as Jens Stoltenberg pointed out.


JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY GENERAL, NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION: That demonstrates also that NATO's door is open. It's for NATO allies, and

the applicant country to decide, it's not for Russia to decide which path different European countries wants to choose.

And now, Sweden and Finland has chosen to be a member of NATO and I very much welcome that.


BELL: And when you listen there to Jens Stoltenberg words, I think it's important to remember the context of what he's speaking about. It was,

you'll remember, when Russia invaded that whole build up to the war in Ukraine, Becky, one of the arguments that Vladimir Putin had made

repeatedly was that the reason for Russians -- Russia's invasion was the encroaching eastward expansion of NATO that this had been some sort of

betrayal of what had been a policy between the West and Russia for a long time, that the eastern flank of what is now NATO would stay out.


And, in fact, I think it's interesting that we've been hearing as well from Poland these last few days, which marked its 25th anniversary of its

accession to NATO, with the speech by its foreign minister speaking as well of the fact reflecting what Jens Stoltenberg just said there that it isn't

for NATO to be scared, it is for Russia to be worried.

And backing up, what we'd heard from Emmanuel Macron, just last month, Becky, when he'd suggested that it could be time for some countries, not as

a whole, not as a bloc, not the NATO alliance, not the European Union, but individual countries who supported Ukraine to begin, consider how much

further they could go.

And we heard Poland's foreign minister on the occasion of that 25th anniversary, speaking -- welcoming those remarks. So, yes, it is time for

allies to begin thinking about everything they can do to lend support.

And, of course, again, this moment of Swedish succession reminds us Becky, I think, of the fact that this war has galvanized, and strengthened, and

united NATO.

But it has also exposed the very grave difficulty there is now in trying to help Ukraine to not just stabilize its French like front lines, but

hopefully, push them back.

So, an important moment for NATO, but also a moment, I think, of great fragility that I think the western world is appreciating. When you consider

what the Russian economy has managed to do to get itself up to war footing without exclusive CNN reporting, by the way, about the number of artillery

munitions being produced by Russia each year -- 3 million. Nowhere near as many as Europe and the United States are able to provide Ukraine with.


ANDERSON: Yes, important reporting. Good to have you, Melissa. Always a pleasure. Thank you.

Well, Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has rejected the pope's appeal to make peace with Ukraine. During an interview, Pope Francis said

that Kyiv should have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate with Russia, sparking outrage in Ukraine.

In a CNN exclusive, sources say Russia's war machine, as Melissa rightly pointed out is in full gear producing nearly three times more ammunition

than the US and Europe combined for Ukraine.

Well, officials also tell CNN, Ukraine fires around 2,000 shells a day, whereas, Russia fires 10,000 with heavy shelling comes greater risk of


CNNs Nick Paton Walsh, rides along with Ukraine's medics as they use the disguise of night to treat the wounded.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Night is also their enemy here. Daylight brings the threat of attack

drones, so it's hard to collect casualties from the frontline. Dark is when they bring most wounded out -- to medics, hiding in the tree line.

The other light flashes from enormous bombs hitting the village of Orlivka and around, a tiny place of outsized consequence. It's Ukraine's defensive

line, but Russia is raging hard for a breakthrough. The flashes constant a seven-mile slog from there to here for the wounded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): There was a lot this morning. Six or four.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (text): But they are heavily injured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text) It depends on the day. Right now, it's relatively few. The Russians have more vehicles, more weapons, more men. And that's

the biggest problem.

WALSH (voice over): They wait underground for the radio to say who, when, where. It feels almost mundane, often hours of silence.

The thump of shelling hidden by T.V. series.

MAKSIM, COMBAT MEDIC, 59TH INFANTRY BRIGADE (text): Drones are a huge problem. We rarely evacuate during daylight. Mostly at night. We try to

extract the heavily injured during the day too.

WALSH (voice over): Then, it is time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text) One wounded to pick up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): What's the condition? When and who delivers?

WALSH (voice over): They never really know what they'll find until they get there.

And they too are targets. But along this eastern front, the slick routines carry on. Minus one key thing, hope.

WALSH: Because of the intensity of the fighting here, this happens all night -- every night. The desperate race to use dark to cover up night to

get the wounded to hospital as fast as possible.


Here come some more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): Put the camera away! Put it away!

WALSH (voice over): From one Humvee to another, the wounded of a war they are losing, because the U.S. is dropping out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): I don't see blood. Roll the sleeve, brother.

WALSH (voice over): The force of a blast appears to have broken his upper arm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text) It's my bone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text) Yes, I can see it.

WALSH (voice over): It's going to be a painful drive until the drugs kick in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). Drive slowly, no potholes please!

WALSH: He says he only had stitches out four days ago from another injury. A Russian attack drone ripping into their armored vehicle two weeks ago.

WALSH (voice over): One of the five men hid inside then is still in hospital. Tonight, it was also drones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): We were running for kilometers. Under the drones, under everything. They were waiting for us as soon as we arrived. Our two

groups were pinned down by drones. The medivac was coming, but we can't see it. It's also being shelled with everything they have. I just heard a bang.

I fell down inside the Humvee, couldn't feel my hand, couldn't move the fingers. So, the arm is still there, it its place. Can they fix it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): Yes, there is nothing serious. You are very lucky the artery isn't damaged.

WALSH (voice over): When they get to the hospital, all is blacked out and we cannot even film doors. Russia is scouring the front lines for any part

of the medical chain to hit, to make help harder and further away, just like American money.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, near Orlivka, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, still to come Haiti is teetering on the bridge of collapse. We're going to bring you the very latest on the escalating gang violence

there, forcing diplomats to leave.


ANDERSON: Well, as gang violence escalates in Haiti, the U.S. and European Union evacuated embassy staff over the weekend. Gangs there have been

carrying out highly coordinated attacks that threatened to topple Haiti's government.

Well, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to Jamaica today for what is an emergency meeting.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann, following this story for us. As I understand it, Antony Blinken will be meeting other Caribbean leaders in Jamaica. What's

he hoping to achieve?


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's pushing as are others in the region and within Haiti for a political solution to this ongoing crisis,

which would essentially be the formation of a transitional government with the ultimate goal of holding elections in 2025, something that Haiti has

not had for about eight years now.

That is something that Prime Minister Ariel Henry of Haiti has resistant, saying that conditions in the country simply do not allow for elections to

be held. It's not known if Henry will be traveling to Jamaica, to meet with Blinken to talk about the future of his country.

Of course, Henry has been stuck in Puerto Rico for the last week because the violence in Haiti simply will not allow him to be able to travel back

home. The gangs have tried to take the airport, there have been shootings outside the airport and planes have been damaged.

So, essentially, the airport in Port-au-Prince is closed. And that is why you saw over the weekend, this sort of dramatic mission, military mission

that the U.S. sending a helicopter to take out in the dead of night non- essential U.S. personnel from the U.S. embassy, all U.S. diplomats, no Haitians we're told. And they brought in additional security to shore up

the security at the embassy for the remaining diplomats.

Other diplomatic missions. As you mentioned, Becky, have pulled out entirely that it's simply become too dangerous to operate there. That their

diplomats, are essentially sequestered and they're running low on food and water is what we have been told.

And as well, we are told that there are more diplomats trying to leave, then our helicopters are able to go and rescue them. Because, of course,

with so many different gangs fighting, the police, trying to topple the government, of course, these helicopters are a target. Driving out were

told to the to the border with the Dominican Republic is also quite dangerous at this point.

So, for many of the diplomats and aid workers serving in Haiti trying to leave, there is no way out at this moment, of course, for the Haitians

caught in the crossfire. It is a much more serious scenario, and no sign of any break in the violence of any solution to this ongoing crisis.

And there is an increased fear that the gangs could essentially take over the presidential palace. The airport, or one of these symbolic places, you

know, and embassy, something like that. And that would just be a further sign of collapse of the government in Haiti.

ANDERSON: Patrick Oppmann, on the story for you out of Havana, Cuba today.

Well, let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.

And in Indonesia, at least 26 people have died, nearly 80,000 are displaced after flash floods tore through the island of Sumatra. That's according to

the disaster agency there. Rescuers officials say are racing against time, looking for survivors through the debris and mud. Agency officials say more

rain is expected in the next few days, which could bring more devastation.

You're watching a developing story out of New Zealand, where 50 passengers from a LATAM Airlines flight have received medical treatment. And speakers

there, playing experience what the airline calls a technical event in the air.

It happened on a flight from Sydney Australia to Auckland, New Zealand. We're hearing most of the injuries are minor to moderate with one patient

in serious condition.

Princess of Wales, speaking out about a photo which picture agencies polled on Sunday. She is offering an apology after newsgroup said this picture

appear to have been manipulated.

In a release from Kensington Palace, the princess says she "occasionally" experiments with editing. She Chad -- she is sorry for the confusion.

Well, ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, with the prospect of an Israeli ground incursion into Rafah looming, I talked to a former Israeli government

official about why he thinks Israel's prime minister is avoiding reaching a deal with Hamas.

And exploitation fear and injuries, CNN's Freedom Project looks at the world of illegal child labor in the United States.



ANDERSON: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Well, I'm coming to you from Doha today where hopes are alive but fading for a

resumption of talks to forge a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Talks broke off in Egypt last week after what are being called very difficult negotiations. Now, the stakes are huge with Ramadan now underway

much of the Muslim world and a vow by Israel's prime minister to go ahead with the ground incursion into Russia, important to point out, Israeli

officials say such a ground operation is not imminent. Not at this point.

Well, this uncertainty playing out amid the backdrop of unusually blunt criticism directed Israel's prime minister from his American counterpart.

President Joe Biden says and Israeli incursion into Rafah will be "a red line". Benjamin Netanyahu, says he has his own red line, ensuring the

October 7 terror attacks never happen again.

And he pushed back at Mr. Biden, in an interview on Sunday. Have a listen?


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): Well, I don't know exactly what the president meant. But if he meant by that, then

I'm pursuing private policies against the majority of the wishes of the majority of Israelis and that this is hurting the interests of Israel, and

he's wrong on both counts.


ANDERSON: My next guests here on -- at CNN is a former Israeli deputy national security adviser and founder and CEO of the online side, Raise It.

He said in a recent conversation with Israel's channel 13 News. Mr. Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to present a proposal compelling enough for Hamas

to accept.

And that after significant interventions to reach a deal, the prime minister intervened, and the war Cabinet chose not to proceed. And Eran

Etzion joins me now live from Tel Aviv.

You've directed some very blunt criticism at the Israeli prime minister. Just explain a little more on your thinking.

ERAN ETZION, FORMER ISRAELI DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Hi, OK, good to be here. First of all, it's not only my thinking. It's not a consensus

in Israel, but you could hear many voices, including many former officials like myself, and some respected -- highly respected journalists, who share

very similar opinions.

We have been following obviously since October 7th all the maneuvers that Netanyahu has been performing in the context of the negotiations, in the

context of Israeli politics, in the context of American U.S. relations.

And it's pretty clear that he is motivated by his political interests, essentially, to perpetuate the war, to prevent a successful conclusion of a

wide hostage deal, accompanied obviously by an extended ceasefire which will surface to the Israeli -- public discourse and political scene,

adamant demands for his resignation and termination of office.


And he's pursuing his narrow personal political interests at the expense of hostages and the wider Israeli interest. And more specifically, to the

point, we know that the first hostage deal that was negotiated a few weeks after the initiation of the war, we know that this very same deal was

already on the table. And Netanyahu stormed for two weeks before we actually signed it. We know this from people that were directly involved.

And we know ever since then that the dynamic between Netanyahu and at certain points, other ministers in the so-called war cabinet which is a

smaller, non-statutory forum that Netanyahu created in order to -- for him to be able to play between the statutory so-called wider cabinet, and

informal smaller cabinet. So, we know that in this war cabinet that are -- there are different opinions on that and specifically, ministers without

portfolio such as Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot who were both formerly chief of staff for the IDF are more -- shall we say, forthcoming in terms

of the negotiations.

And this is more or less been the case throughout the negotiations. And we know specifically, that in recent days, there was a direct ask by the

negotiators themselves that are obviously high-level officials, the head of Mossad and other two free high-level Israeli officers who asked for a wider

mandate around the negotiating table and were refused by Netanyahu. While other members of the war cabinet were in favor of actually widening the

mandate. So, these are not speculations. These are known facts.

ANDERSON: So, what is the prospects of Netanyahu agreeing to a deal at this point? A deal that would allow for the implementation of a truce period,

phase one, as long as 45 days would allow at least for the release of women, the elderly, and the injured Israelis or dual citizens who are being

held in Gaza and the release of Palestinians in exchange who are held in Israeli jails. Do you see at this point, any prospect of that deal being

signed off on by Israel, by Prime Minister Netanyahu? And if not, what happens next.

ETZION: These are very good questions and it will take a lot of time to give proper answers. I'll try to make it as succinct as possible. First of

all, what is on the table is not only this first phase that you described, an exchange of hostages for prisoners and ceasefire for allegedly around

six weeks. This is only phase one, because as you know, the American, Egyptian, Qatari negotiations -- negotiators are striving for a much wider

deal that is supposed to bring about a new administration in Gaza linked to the Palestinian authority, the so-called revised or reformed Palestinian

authority that it will gradually take control of Gaza.

With an international regional coalition. And then to go directly to negotiations on the final resolution for the conflict with the so-called

Saudi deal between the U.S., Saudi and Israel. So, all of this is on the table. And this is just stage one. Now, what are the chances for a

Netanyahu-led government to actually embark on this path? They're next to nil. What are the chances of a different Israeli government embarking on

this very same path?

I would say they are much bigger. So essentially, we're looking at a situation where both on the Israeli side and on the Palestinian side, we

have a very serious leadership failure and an urgent need to replace the leaderships and that's what's going on here. And I think this is what the

American ministration already understands. Perhaps belatedly. This is what other key actors understand. This is what 80 percent according to multiple

opinion polls, 80 percent of Israelis want to see happen. But this is not where we are right now.


And as long as Netanyahu is calling the shots unfortunately unless he is -- he is exposed to unprecedented levels of pressure both from the outside and

from the inside, he -- I don't see him agreeing to the -- to the deal that is currently being done.

ANDERSON: Well, it's good to have you. We'll have you back. There's a lot more to discuss, and we'll do that. I'm here in Doha in Qatar. Where of

course, the only truce has been negotiated to date, that was back in November. The efforts are still, of course ongoing. Thank you.

Still to come. The CNN Freedom Project is shining a light on illegal child labor. We look at how it is surging in the United States.


ANDERSON: Well, the CNN Freedom Project is shining a light on illegal child labor. It's often considered a problem mainly in developing countries. But

it is -- it has surged 88 percent in the United States. Over the past five years. CNN's David Culver shows us what is happening and what is being done

to fight it.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): For many migrants coming to the United States is less about searching for a dream than it is escaping a


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I came fleeing the violence in Mexico. Coming here and my eyes were shut and they came blindly to try and

build a new life for my family.

CULVER (voice-over): Often they wind up working in places like this. And now shuttered chicken processing plant just outside Los Angeles,

California. In September, the Department of Labor rated two poultry plants owned by exclusive poultry. Finding the company had employed children as

young as 14 years old to deboning chickens, wield sharp knives and operate power driven forklifts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The knives, yes. One time I actually poked at myself. Just my finger went through the metal glove.

CULVER (voice-over): Eighteen-year-old Alandra was one of them. She started working the graveyard shift that exclusive poultry when she was just 16.

Sitting beside her mother Alandra asked us to protect her identity, she fears retribution from their former boss, whom she called scary.

ODILIA ROMERO, CO-FOUNDER, CIELO: There's this narrative that we come for the American dream, but we come here to survive. We risk our lives to have

a possibility to live.

CULVER (voice-over): Odilia Romero is co-founder of Cielo. A nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that provides interpretation services and

works with indigenous migrants who've been abused or exploited by their employers. She says increasingly that work involves children.

ROMERO: If we go to the agricultural area of California, there's hundreds of children working there or in the restaurant in the garment industry we

have to change that mindset that it only happens outside the U.S. Now there's labor exploitation on children here in the United States. And it

happens every day, everywhere.


CULVER (voice-over): The Department of Labor says it has seen an 88 percent spike in children being illegally employed across all industries since

2019. In 2023, alone, the Department of Labor discovered nearly 6000 kids are working illegally across the U.S.

RUBEN ROSALEZ, REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR: They're taking advantage of workers that adults probably don't want to do these jobs, in some cases.

CULVER (voice-over): Ruben Gonzalez leads the Western region's Wage and Hour Division inside the Department of Labor.

ROSALEZ: We confirmed with a minimum of 13 miners were vetting more so there could be more that come out of the case. But they were doing deboning

of chicken, working with forklifts and lifts hoists that lift up big pieces, putting them into machinery, so a lot of different dangerous jobs

that they were working on.

CULVER (voice-over): CNN reached out to the owner of exclusive poultry which agreed to pay nearly $3.8 million in fines and back wages. They did

not respond to our request for comment. For Alandra and her mother Carmen, what the experience is something they'd like to put behind them, it's also

showed them the causes for hope and their adopted country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): And I felt bad because it was dangerous work for a minor, but necessity make us do these things. I stay

silent for a long time. I didn't know there were opportunities in people who need help. They open our eyes to the idea there are people who will

support us in this country.


ANDERSON: And do be sure to join us this coming Thursday for my Freedom Day which is a yearly day long student driven event to raise awareness of

modern day slavery and please do get involved.

Well, the smash hit Oppenheimer sweeps the Oscars taking home seven awards, including Best Picture. More on Hollywood's biggest night is just ahead.

Plus, changing stereotypes, changing lives and even protecting the planet. You're going to hear from famed actor Idris Elba on his DJ career on

raising a family and his campaigns against knife crime all while he plans to create an eco city in Africa. Yes. That is coming up.


ANDERSON: Well, it's awards season folks. And last night was the biggest on the film world calendar. The 96 Academy Awards taking place with

Oppenheimer, the big winner. Much more on that in a moment.

First, though our home base of Abu Dhabi had its own sprinkle of Hollywood starred us this month. Idris Elba was in town, star of Luther and The Wire.

He's most famous as an actor, but he's also a world class DJ, a campaigner, a loving father and now, well, he wants to build the Singapore of Africa.

This is Sherbro Island off the coast of Sierra Leone. Elba sees it as having the potential to become a modern eco city.

Well, Elba was in Abu Dhabi looking to raise funds for the project amongst other things at Investopedia which is a global platform connecting

investors to new opportunities. And I caught up with him.


We talked about his early days on the why, he's polish on for spitting tracks that his daughter's -- well, viral TikToks. First though, I asked

him what Sherbro Island is all about and what he hopes to achieve there. Have a listen.


IDRIS ELBA, BRITISH ACTOR: It's a beautiful little island off the coast of Sierra Leone, OK? It's about the same size as Chicago, it's about 40,000

inhabitants on it. In different regions across the island, there's -- you might have heard turd of turtle islands, very beautiful part of the world.

And Sherbro Island used to historically be the point of no return. OK? In the slave trade. It's where England had their capital city of Sierra Leone.

It was on this island on this -- on the island in a city called Bunce, which is still there.

We partnered with the government to sort of figure out a plan of how we can bring tourism and build essentially -- well, it started as tourism. And now

we're building a smart, eco dynamic city. And obviously, this is Sierra Leone. This is one of the poorest countries in the world. You know,

investment isn't rushing through the door. OK? So, what we needed to do is understand how to package an investment opportunity around this beautiful

island without destroying it.

Being climate conscious, being eco conscious and being conscious that there is a youth culture across Africa of the average age of about 20 that wants

something. And that's what Sherbro Island is. That's a very long-winded way of saying, it's my retirement plan.

ANDERSON (on camera): Good for you.

ANDERSON (voiceover): Idris Elba started acting in the early 1990s.

ELBA: No, man. We don't worry about territory, man. What corner we got, what project, came in about that normal. It's about product.

ANDERSON (voiceover): And he hit the big time in 2002 with his starring role in the HBO series, The Wire.

ELBA: No, it's just business.

I auditioned extensively over four weeks. I auditioned in New York. It was a tough, tough gig to do. Alexa Fogel, an amazing casting director. She

always had an eye for an amazing talent. And she gave me an opportunity to audition for it. But she told me don't -- whatever you do, don't walk in

there with your English accent.

ANDERSON (on camera): I mean, did you have to work on that American accent big time?

ELBA: Oh, yes.

ASHER (voiceover): Yes?

ELBA: Yes. I arrived in New York, probably '96.


ELBA: Didn't get The Wire until 2000 or 1999 in that cast. And during that time, I'd auditioned for so many different things. Yes. Didn't get any of

them. Because my accent wasn't convincing enough. I think I was trying to do an American accent then rather than be American.

ANDERSON (on camera): Right.

ELBA: You know what I mean?

ANDERSON (on camera): Yes.

ELBA: I was trying to do an accent rather than be part of the culture. And then, you know, when I sort of ran out of money, I was -- work doing DJ and

being a doorman, getting my driver's license at DMV. I started talking with an American accent very quickly.

ANDERSON (on camera): What was your experience of living in the States?

ELBA: For the most part, when I got there, it was really tough, really tough. That was a struggle. But it was a positive. I grew in confidence.

You know, I went through a very tough time. I mean, in one point, I was homeless. You know, it was a really tough time in America. In my early

years, The Wire changed my life completely and my daughter was born at the same time. And so, that really changed my life. And I'm always in and out

of America.

ANDERSON (on camera): You're talking about your daughter? You recently went viral.



ANDERSON (on camera): About eight million views on TikTok reacting to your Calvin Klein.

ELBA: Reacting?

ANDERSON (on camera): Advert.

ELBA: Throwing shade is like to describe that reaction.

ANDERSON (on camera): As multitalented father, how do you -- what do you wish for them? Are you looking for them to follow in your footsteps?

ELBA: I like my kids to just really live their biggest dreams wherever that is. Not necessarily what I do. But I like them to sort of live as I think,

I think because I think which is everything's possible. Nothing's too much. Go for it. Be good at it. Don't do it if you're not good at it. Do it

because you enjoy it, don't do it if you don't enjoy it. That's the thinking I'd like -- I don't necessarily want them to be in the film


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please make some noise for Danny Howard and the legend, that is Idris Elba.

ANDERSON (on camera): Big drift. Big dry drifts.

ELBA: How did you come from that to that? Ask my D.J. now, how did you get --

ANDERSON (on camera): It is your D.J.

ELBA: It was.


ANDERSON (on camera): Was? Why? Why? You've given up or is it you changed name?

ELBA: Just Idris. Idris.

ANDERSON (on camera): What's wrong with (INAUDIBLE)

ELBA: It's right. Looked weird on the flyers (INAUDIBLE)

ANDERSON (on camera): Well, you're reinventing yourself.

ELBA: No bet,

ANDERSON (on camera): You already do.

ELBA: I'm (INAUDIBLE) I'm the best.

ANDERSON (on camera): Do you have made -- have you -- have you done some big nights, for example in IBD?

ELBA: I mean, I've been D.J. since I was 14.

ANDERSON (on camera): Yes.

ELBA: OK? And in the arena that I get to D.J., I've, you know, I've worked with Pete Tong, a friend and he's very harsh critic of D.J.s. I've worked

with him. I worked to Danny Howard, I've worked with M.K., I have worked with the best D.J.s in the world at a level that is supposed to -- so

wherever you have, I'm doing that English thing where we can't just say yes, man, I'm the best.


ELBA: I'm so good. No. I am -- I work harder.

ASHER (voiceover): Yes.

ELBA: I love it.

ANDERSON (on camera): Had it not been for, you know, some opportunities, some luck down the acting path. Is it something you'd like to have done

professionally full time?

ELBA: If I wasn't an actor, the answer is probably no. I would have done it as I've done -- I did Pirate Radio or Community Radio as they say. I did

that for a while. I'll probably would have done that. You know what, I would have been doing that. I would have been a teacher.

ANDERSON (on camera): Really?

ELBA: Yes. I would have been a teacher.

ANDERSON (on camera): Teaching what?

ELBA: It wouldn't have been Math, I can tell you that. I would have been a teacher of life skills. I think dramas probably well it ended up but I

think drama has a really interesting life coaching, you know, cusp. Yes. Teaching because I just -- again, the intervention moment for me was a




ASHER (voiceover): This is Knives Down. A single by Elba, featuring rapper D.B. Maz. It's part of a new campaign titled, Don't Stop Your Future, which

calls on the U.K. Government to tackle knife crime.

ANDERSON (on camera): You have been so noisy about this issue. Tell us why and what sort of progress you think you've made at this point?

ELBA: Yes. Well, the why is, you know, been someone again, you know, a young man at the age of 15 who had an intervention moment. If someone said

don't go that way, go this way. Right? That's the why, OK? The pandemic in England at the minute where young people were sort of finding themselves in

groups and carrying knives and literally killing each other is just gone crisis. And I see myself and every one of these young kids because I guess

I come from a community that, you know, I could have gone that way.


ANDERSON: A multitalented award-winning Idris Elba. Well, it was a big night the Oscars for Oppenheimer. The blockbuster about the race to build

the first atomic bomb. It dominated winning seven Oscars out of 13 nominations including Cillian Murphy taking the best actor award. Not far

behind was the genre defying comedy Poor Things earning Emma Stone her second Oscar for Best Actress in a leading role.

Well, called for peace in Gaza made their way to the red carpet. Number of celebrities wore a red pin with a hand and a black heart symbolizing their

support for a ceasefire. And while accepting the Academy Award for Best International Film zone of interest, director Jonathan Glazer condemned the

Israel-Hamas war.


JONATHAN GLAZER, WRITER AND DIRECTOR, ZONE OF INTEREST: Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by

an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October the -- whether the victims of October the

7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?


ANDERSON: Well as the crescent moon made its appearance on Monday night, the Muslim world readied to mark this the first day of the holy month of

Ramadan. A time of dawn to dusk, fasting, increased prayers, gatherings with your community at the mosque. But the holy month begins amid a

persistent food security crisis throughout much of the Middle East and North Africa.


According to the World Food Program, conflict and economic crises are transforming the religious practice of fasting into a harsh reality for

more than 40 million people. But the suffering faced by Palestinian Muslims almost every day in recent times is not far from anyone's mind in this

region. Starvation and near famine conditions in Gaza are casting a dark shadow over Ramadan.

Who are people in Gaza supposed to break their fast with them many of their loved ones have been killed? What are people in Gaza supposed to break

their fast with when there is barely any foods? Which mosques are they supposed to pray in?


ANDERSON: Well, in the ruins of the Dawah (ph) Mosque near Central Gaza that was destroyed in January, the call to prayer rings out. And if there

is any one way to describe what Ramadan will be like in Gaza, this 10-year- old sums it up.



ANDERSON: That's it for CONNECT THE WORLD this evening. Stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.