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Blinken in the Middle East for the Sixth Time since October 7; IDF Pressing on with Raid at Al-Shifa Hospital; Israeli Settler Organization Eyes Move into Gaza; Irish Prime Minister Announces Resignation; Hospital Staffer Tried to View Kate's Private Records; Controversial Texas Immigration Law on Hold; Florida Trying to Evacuate U.S. Citizens from Haiti; Turkish Inflation Rate above 67 Percent in February; Argentina's President Vows Reforms amid Economic Uncertainty; E-Waste Grows to Record Levels; Winter Warming Damaging U.S. Crops. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 20, 2024 - 10:00   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND U.S. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to our second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Erica Hill in New York, in today for

Becky Anderson. Our headlines this hour.

Antony Blinken, returning to the Middle East for more desperate diplomacy efforts, his sixth trip.

The Irish prime minister resigning for personal and political reasons.

More wrangling around the contentious Texas immigration law as a federal appeals court puts a fresh block on it, going ahead.

Plus new royal drama, U.K.'s data watchdog says, it is now assessing claims. A hospital staff member tried to access the Princess of Wales'

private medical files.

That and much more ahead.


HILL: We begin this hour with the Israeli military raid on Gaza's largest hospital, now in its third day. Thousands of Palestinian civilians are

sheltering inside Al-Shifa compound. Doctors, they're issuing urgent warnings on worsening conditions.

Israel's military says Hamas militants are also inside and that 90 have been killed. So far, hundreds more suspects have been questioned. Well, the

fighting continues. America's top diplomat is on another tour of the Middle East.

Secretary of state Antony Blinken, arriving in Saudi Arabia moments ago and will later head to Egypt. He is said to meet with senior leaders to discuss

what he calls the, quote, "right, architecture" for lasting regional peace. And he's also expected to visit Israel this week. The stop was not

initially on his schedule.

Our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward is following all these developments from London. Kylie Atwood is at the State Department tracking

these latest efforts at diplomacy by the secretary of state.

Kylie, I'm going to bring you in first on this.

What more are we expecting out of these discussions on this?

Again, the sixth trip for secretary Blinken it since the start of the war.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. And this was a late add to his schedule, as you said. He is traveling today and

tomorrow in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

And the State Department now confirming that he will be going to Israel on Friday to discuss a number of issues that we have seen him discuss with

Israelis over the course of this war. Of course, the ongoing efforts to release those hostages.

And also to discuss the defeat of Hamas and, of course, lasting peace in the region. That is the focal point for the secretary in his conversations

in Saudi Arabia and Egypt and he will, of course, bring those conversations, what he learned in those conversations, developments from

those conversations with him to Israel.

But notably, he's also stopping in Israel just a few days before a group of Israeli officials are expected to come to Washington. And that is the

result of an invitation for President Biden in a conversation with Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, earlier this week, because they are

going to be discussing a potential operation in Rafah.

Of course, Israel has been saying for some time now that they're going to go ahead with that operation. But the national security advisor, Jake

Sullivan, said very clearly this week that there should not be a ground operation in Rafah. The Israelis should not put civilians at risk.

And what they want to do in this meeting with Israelis next week is discuss what the options could look like for carrying out an operation that the

U.S. would effectively sign off on.

Now, the problem here is that it doesn't seem like the Israelis are walking into this meeting, ready to actually look at a whole host of options,

because we heard from prime minister Netanyahu after that phone call with President Biden, saying that an operation in Rafah would require a ground


So will have to watch and see how those conversations go. But secretary Blinken sort of laying the foundation for continued engagement with Israel

next week in this visit on Friday.

HILL: Which is important as we move forward.

Clarissa, I want to bring you in here. You're just back from Israel and part of what we're seeing -- there was so much focus and there's so many

questions about how this may impact some of the discussions that secretary Blinken will be having.

Is, as we monitor this raid on Al-Shifa Hospital, on that hospital complex and how that is playing out, as we noted, now in its third day, thousands

are inside that complex.

What more do we know at this hour about that that effort?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I should say, Erica, it's really hard for us to know exactly what's going on, because

we're not on the ground. International journalists do not have access to Gaza.

And we're hearing two very different stories from the doctors on the ground, who say that this is rapidly escalating into an emergency

situation, that they are suffering injuries and casualties, that people have been suffocated as a result of fires in the complex.

And then what we're also hearing from the IDF, which is that it has been fired upon by terrorist entities, that it is engaged in trying to put out

those entities who are still, in their words, "operational" inside the Al- Shifa complex and from Hamas' militant wing al-Qassam.


We did hear that they also acknowledged that there had been heavy fighting between the IDF and al-Qassam forces all around the Al-Shifa complex. But

what we don't know yet exactly is this IDF claim that Hamas is once again using Al-Shifa Hospital as a command center.

You may remember, of course, Erica, that had been the thrust of their argument back in November or December when they had gone in at that point.

But all of this is happening at a really crucial moment because only 12 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are even functional at the moment.

So this is a health care system in collapse and every day that you see fighting continue in a place like Al-Shifa is everyday that ordinary people

just do not have access to health care or emergency medical care, particularly.

HILL: Such, such an important point, I do also want to get to, as part of your time again on this latest reporting trip when you were just in Israel,

I was struck by some of the conversations that you had specifically in the West Bank and the ideas that a number of settlers have as they now look at


WARD: It's really interesting, Erica, because there are a lot of conversations starting to happen now in Israel about the day after, right?

What happens the day after the war ends and what happens to Gaza?

Something that I had always considered to be a very extreme fringe position, which is this idea that Israelis would resettle Gaza, has

actually now been gaining a lot of traction. And even though it's coming from a political minority, that minority is very powerful. Take a look.


WARD (voice-over): High in the hills of the occupied West Bank, flag flies in the face of a Palestinian village. "God is king," it says. Two young

settlers guard this illegal outpost. Construction hasn't even begun. But we are not welcome.

WARD: So they are asking us to leave. They don't want to talk to us. They said they had been here for about nine months.

WARD (voice-over): Dotted across the landscape more signs of the fight to assert Israeli control over Palestinian land. The Arabic names on signposts

crudely erased. Under international law, the Beit (INAUDIBLE) settlement is illegal.

But last February, the Israeli government officially recognized it along with eight others, a move the U.S. strongly opposed.

"We are here because God promised us this land," Azreal Bacar (ph). tells us.

Now, these settlers have set their sights on a new prize, one that seemed utterly impossible before October 7th. "Returning to Gaza," they cheer.

That is the goal of Zionist settler organization Nachala, one of more than a dozen groups now advocating for the reestablishment of Israeli

settlements in Gaza.

A recent promotional video even boasts that Gaza will become the next Riviera.

Daniella Weiss is the godmother of the movement and she's already started recruiting from the 700,000 strong settler community of Israel.

WARD: We're just arriving now at a settlement in the occupied West Bank and we're heading to a talk that Daniella Weiss is giving to a group

people, who are potentially interested in resettling Gaza.

"We're for the land of Israel and Ben-Gvir," she says.

About 20 people gather in the living room of a family home. Weiss knows that for many in this community, there is deep nostalgia, for Gush Katif, a

block of 21 Israeli settlements that were forcibly evacuated by the IDF in 2005 when Israel left the Gaza Strip.

"This is the vision of Gaza," she says. "You see all the nucleus groups."

A map has already been drawn up, six groups laying claim to different parts of the enclave.

WARD: So they've just been handing out these little booklets that say, "People of Israel, return home."

And then under, "A call to return to the settlements of Gaza."

WARD (voice-over): One of the organizers tells the group they have a representative flying to Florida to raise money.

Nachala gets support from a number of groups in the U.S., including AFSI, Americans for a Safe Israel, which cosponsors a recent webinar on the

return to Gush Katif, even as the Biden administration has cracked down on settlements in the West Bank.

DANIELLA WEISS, DIRECTOR, NACHALA: There is a very strong support from very prominent, from very, I would say, wealthy people, wealthy Jews in the

U.S. --



WARD: Support?

WEISS: -- in the U.S.

WARD: Can you name any names?

WEISS: No, I cannot. No.

WARD (voice-over): Back at her home in Kedumim settlement, Weise tells us she's already enrolled 500 families.

WEISS: I even have, on my -- on my cell phone, names of people who say, enlist me, enroll me. I want to join.


WEISS: I want to join the groups that are going to settle Gaza.

WARD: I have to ask you because we're sitting here talking and we're listening --


WEISS: Yes, I'm listening --


WEISS: I hope you are listening to it.

WARD: It is a reminder I think of the people who live here but also the people who live in Gaza.

What happens to them in this vision of this new settlement with Jewish settlers, even in Gaza City?

WEISS: What I think about Gaza, the Arabs of Gaza lost the right to be in Gaza on the 7th of October. Yes. I do hear the mosque. I do hear the

prayer. Things were different until the 7th October. No Arab -- I'm speaking about more than 2 million Arabs. They will not stay there.

We, Jews will be in Gaza.

WARD: That sounds like ethnic cleansing.

WEISS: OK. The Arabs want to annihilate the State of Israel. So you can call them monsters. You can call -- you can call their -- call them

cleansing of Jews.

We are not doing to them. They are doing to us. I couldn't make it clearer when I said that myself, as a person, who is preoccupied with settling the

land, until the 7th of October, I didn't have plans of returning to Gaza. It's clear. I'm not interested in cleansing.

WARD (voice-over): What is clear is that Weiss' views, traditionally seen as extreme in Israel, have become more popular since October 7th. In Late

January, jubilant crowds packed an auditorium in Jerusalem for the Victory of Israel Conference, calling for the resettlement of Gaza.

A poll that month from the Jewish People Policy Institute found that 26 percent of Israelis advocate the reconstruction of the Gush Katif

settlements after the war is over. Among supporters of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government, that number jumps to

51 percent.

Several ministers were present at the conference, including far-right heritage minister Amihal Eliyahu. In a rare interview with Western media,

he tells us his political decisions are guided by the Torah.

WARD: Is there anything about Gush Katif in here?


WARD (voice-over): Settlements in Gaza are needed to prevent another October 7th.

ELIYAHU (through translator): The language of the land says that, wherever there is a Jewish settlement, there'll be more security. Doesn't mean

there'll be absolute security but there'll be more security.

WARD: Why would you advocate for something that many would say is illegal, is immoral, is not supported by the majority of Israelis and is also very

harmful to Israel in terms of its international standing?

ELIYAHU (through translator): Why do you think it's immoral to take land from someone who wants to kill me?

Why is it immoral to take my land, which my ancestors live there, which I've even given up to someone who slaughters, rapes and murders me?

What is more immoral than that?

WARD (voice-over): Netanyahu has called resettling Gaza, quote, "an unrealistic goal." Most Israelis agree. But that has (INAUDIBLE). IDF

soldiers fighting there from hosting videos, calling for a return to Gush Katif.

For many supporters of the settler movement, what was once a distant fantasy is now a fervent dream.


WARD: Now Erica, we did also spend some time at anti-government protests in Tel Aviv during our time there. And certainly no one there among those

protests was talking about resettling Gaza.

So we should not, in any way give the impression that this is the vast majority of Israelis who agree with this. But it is relevant because, A,

it's a larger number than it was before and it seems to be gaining more traction and, B, it may be a political minority.

But as I said before, its very powerful minority because prime minister Netanyahu relies on that right-wing coalition to remain in power.

HILL: Yes, very powerful and increasingly vocal. Clarissa, really appreciate it. Incredible reporting as always, thank you.

A shock move from Ireland's prime minister announcing his resignation in just the last couple of hours.


Leo Varadkar says he will -- when, rather -- he'll say he'll step down as prime minister. When it comes to why, he says those reasons are both

personal and political. Important to note this move does not necessarily trigger a general election in Ireland.

Varadkar will also relinquish leadership of Ireland's governing party, Fine Gael. He explained what will happen now.


LEO VARADKAR, IRISH PRIME MINISTER: One day party leader and taoiseach back in June 2017, I knew that one part of leadership is knowing when the

time has come to pass on the baton to somebody else and then having the courage to do it.

That time is now. So I am resigning as president and leader of Fine Gael effective today. I will resign as taoiseach as soon as my successor is able

to take up that office. I've asked our party general secretary and executive council to provide for the new leader to be elected in advance of

the ardagh (ph) on Saturday, April 16.

Thus allowing a new taoiseach to be elected when it all resumes after the Easter break. I know this will come as a surprise to many people and a

disappointment to some. And I hope at least you will understand my decision.

I know that others (INAUDIBLE) cope with the news just fine. That is the great thing about living in a democracy. There's never a right time to

resign high office. However, this is as good a time as any.


HILL: On Capitol Hill today, congressional Republicans are holding a second public impeachment inquiry against -- hearing, rather -- against

President Joe Biden. Now the president's son, Hunter, declined an invitation to attend but maintains his father was never involved in his

business dealings.

Two witnesses who have made serious allegations against the Bidens are expected to testify. A source says Democrats invited -- indicted Giuliani

associate Lev Parnas to be one of their witnesses. CNN's Annie Grayer is following all of this from Capitol Hill.

You're watching my pictures there, I believe opening statements just getting underway.

What is the goal here of this hearing, which, as I understand it, has fewer folks testifying the Republicans would like?

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Republicans are hoping with this hearing that they can get their inquiry back on track.

They're hoping that they can ultimately uncover wrongdoing by the president and his family.

That, of course, has not happened up until this point. They had wanted the president's son, Hunter Biden, to come and testify publicly. But after

Hunter appeared for a closed-door interview last month, where he sat for nearly six hours, he answered tons of questions, he didn't want to come

back publicly.

The Republicans had to plow forward with this hearing. They invited two individuals who have made some serious allegations about the president and

his family but which other witnesses have undercut.

One of them is Tony Bobulinski. He is going to be appearing in person. The other is Jason Galanis, who is currently serving a federal prison sentence

in Alabama, is going to be appearing remotely.

And then Democrats, meanwhile, are bringing in Lev Parnas, who, if you remember from the first impeachment of Donald Trump, was a big player

there. He was Rudy Giuliani's former associate, who was also indicted on separate charges. And Democrats hope that he can help undercut Republicans'

allegations here today.

So it's going to be a lot of back-and-forth but not necessarily what Republicans were hoping we now get out of this hearing.

HILL: Not what they were hoping to get. Yes, I am anticipating that back- and-forth, too.

What is next here for this impeachment inquiry?

GRAYER: Well, the inquiry is kind of stalled right now and that's because they don't have the evidence or the votes to impeach the president.

So the question is, what's next?

How do you land this plane?

Some Republicans want this investigations just be wrapped up at this point, focus on the election in November; whereas others wanted drag this out as

long as possible and try to create political fodder that can potentially damage President Joe Biden's reelection campaign.

So there's a lot of ongoing debate right now. This is only the second hearing of Republicans' impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. So we'll see

what comes out of it today. But they're really hoping to get some new momentum here.

HILL: All right. Annie, appreciate it, we know you'll keep us posted.

Donald Trump, meantime, has a message for the U.S. Supreme Court. In a new brief on Tuesday, Trump's lawyers said, if the court rejects his claim of

immunity from prosecution in the election interference case, it would quote, "incapacitate every future president."

Going on to say, "if immunity is not recognized, every future president will be forced to grapple with the prospect of possibly being criminally

prosecuted after leaving office every time he or she makes a politically controversial decision."

This is part of his defense against special counsel Jack Smith's charges of election subversion.

Just ahead here, new developments involving the Princess of Wales and a potential privacy breach in the U.K. We have those full details just ahead.

Plus a new hardline immigration law that's at the heart of a legal back- and-forth.


Critics warn it could lead to racial profiling.




HILL: An alarming new report involving the Princess of Wales, U.K.'s data watchdog says it is now assessing claims from the "Daily Mirror" that a

staff member at a London hospital tried to access Catherine's private medical files.

The princess, of course, spent nearly two weeks at the renowned London clinic, following abdominal surgery in January. Max Foster is live for us

in London.

Very serious allegations here that they tried to access her medical records.

What more do we know about that attempt and where things stand?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, an investigation by "The Mirror" and what they found is that a member of staff tried to access

private medical information whilst the princess was in hospital in January.

Of course, medics do have access to medical records. But based on your role in the hospital -- and this was clearly someone that didn't have a role

that allowed them full access, certainly not in terms of what they were looking for -- it was reported to the information commissioner's office,

which is the watchdog for data privacy.

They're now looking into it. And we have had just a statement from the hospital itself as well, not going into any details about this breach but

saying they take any breach very seriously indeed. And patient privacy is very important indeed.

This is something that was reflected by everyone (INAUDIBLE) to the health minister today.


MARIA CAULFIELD, U.K. HEALTH MINISTER: There are very strict rules about which patient notes you can access. You are only allowed to access the

patient notes you're caring for with their permission.

And there's really strict rules. The information commissioner will take enforcement action against trust or primary care practices but also as

individual practitioners, your regulatory body. So for me, it would be the NMC would take action as well. So it's pretty severe. And it's pretty

serious stuff to be accessing notes you don't have permission to.



FOSTER: No word from Kate's team. They are leaving it all to the hospital. They're not getting involved.

HILL: It is just the latest here. Right? To hit --to hit the palace, to hit the royal family.

Is there any further update?

They may not be commenting on that.

But any further update today, Max, on how she's doing?

FOSTER: No, they're just trying to -- well, they realize that any update they give sort of turns into this huge frenzy. And then there are other

updates like the one we got from the hospital, that are also playing into a much wider, obviously, debate around the disappearing princess, is what it

has been called online and how well she is.

They are basically just sticking to their plan of giving updates when there is one to give. So if there's a major progression in how she is or when

she's due to appear out in public. So at the moment we're still looking ahead to Easter.

That's where they told us several weeks ago we'll probably see her next. Probably the church service, as you can go in and out without too much



And then after that, I imagined she'll start proper engagements where there'll be much more media attention, I think.

But we did see Prince William yesterday; not a lot of comment, though, on this front, huh?

FOSTER: Well, it says a lot, doesn't it about their strategy that they hope will only give updates when they're there. He still wants to carry on

with his diary, a really important homelessness project for him in Sheffield.

The cameras were there. He was -- he wasn't asked by anyone really about it. And he didn't want to talk about it. But the message there was keep

calm and carry on and hope all of this blows over, I think.

HILL: Yes, sort of remarkable too that no one asked.

It is a frenzy here in the United States. Max, as I'm sure, you know, sort of nonstop, appreciate it as always. Thank you.

Still to come here, Florida officials attempting to evacuate a number of U.S. citizens from Haiti today as that gang violence continues to escalate

in the capital. We have a live report for you ahead.




HILL: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Erica Hill in for Becky Anderson today.

A U.S. appeals court is due to hear arguments over whether Texas can enforce a hardline immigration law, which critics say could lead to racial

profiling. This comes after the appeals court put the law on hold, going against the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which just hours prior had actually

given the green light.

The law itself would grant local and state law enforcement the power to arrest and deport migrants. Now keep in mind this is controversial because

that is normally the responsible of the federal government in the United States.

The White House says it could sow chaos and confusion at the southern border. CNN senior U.S. national correspondent Ed Lavandera joining us now

from El Paso, Texas.

So as this is on hold, the controversy remains and, frankly, at the questions remain at this hour.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And exactly what will this look like if this law is allowed to go into effect here in the

state of Texas, we got a glimpse of it yesterday.

That confusion and chaos that critics have been saying, as we reached out to a number of law enforcement agencies across the state, to determine

whether or not and how they would be enforcing this law.


And we got -- we got a wide array of responses but essentially what it boils down to is that we haven't really come across any law enforcement

agencies who are saying that they are going to be going out and specifically trying to enforce this law.

Which gives local law enforcement officers the ability to arrest migrants that they believe entered the state of Texas illegally and also gives

judges the ability to deport those migrants to Mexico.

So there's real questions as to whether or not exactly what this law would look like, even if it is allowed to go into effect.

Most of the law enforcement agencies are saying that if they come across a migrant who is here illegally and another crime is committed in that

immigration status comes up in the course of that other criminal investigation then, yes, it would be enforced.

But the idea that law enforcement agencies will be going around, asking people for immigration documents doesn't seem like something law

enforcement agencies are terribly keen on doing directly, either -- for a number of reasons.

Either they don't have the manpower or they're concerned about jail space and they also -- and some have said that that is the job of Border Patrol

officers here in Texas. So that is the interesting tension that exists as Texas officials continue touting the need for this law and celebrating this

law here.

That was signed by the Republican governor Greg Abbott, back in December. But as these court hearings continue and this law continues to be tied up

in the federal court system, there's some real questions as to what it will look like if it were allowed to go into effect here in the days or weeks


HILL: And that sets up, of course, some of the questions of, was it needed or not?

Is this the best way to deal with it?

Which brings us back to one of the larger questions, which is this battle between the state of Texas and the federal government and how things, of

course, are going to be enforced. So those are -- those arguments we will begin hearing later today, Ed?

LAVANDERA: Yes, there's a hearing at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is just below the U.S. Supreme Court. There's oral arguments and it's

not exactly clear what that panel of judges could determine here today.

We could get another change or they could keep the law blocked for now. It's, at this point, given the legal whiplash that we've endured over the

last few days and weeks, I'm not going to venture a guess on what exactly is going to happen.

But there is movement in the courts today and there's also a hearing scheduled for early next month as well. Remember, this is -- this is all

because of a lawsuit that was brought by a number of migrant advocate organizations and the Biden administration, the Department of Justice.

And those are the legal challenges that this Texas law is facing. So that legal process continues as we bounce back and forth between this legal

whiplash, of the lobbying on and off again several times.

HILL: Yes. The whiplash, the limbo is a fluid situation, to put it mildly, Ed, good to see you as always. Thank you.

The U.N. said the situation in Haiti remains tense and volatile, calling now on the international community to provide more funding for humanitarian

efforts as the gang violence continues to escalate.

Right now, there is some aid still getting through to Haitians, including food and water. The U.N. says, though, many schools, hospitals and

government buildings have had to shut down due to the recent gang violence.

Some patients are also without electricity after several substations in Port-au-Prince were destroyed. Meantime, Florida officials are attempting

to evacuate a number of U.S. citizens from the country. They've been working to coordinate flights from Haiti to Orlando in the hopes of

successful removing some of those Americans later today.


KEVIN GUTHRIE, DIRECTOR, FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: You can imagine that what you've seen on national news work outlets, that we are

facing a very, very volatile situation in Haiti. We have been working all day long to remove a number of individuals, which I'm not going to talk

about the specific numbers there.

But we've been working all day long to remove a number of individuals on two separate flights out of Haiti to the Sanford Orlando International



HILL: We have also learned that Haitian airline Sunrise Airways, will operate special flights from Haiti to Miami on Monday. That's according to

their post on social media. Earlier this month, the airline suspended all of its flights from Haiti due to safety concerns. CNN's Carlos Suarez is

joining us now, live from Miami.

Good to see you this morning. So a lot of anticipation about when some folks could in fact make it into Florida.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Erica. Good morning.

So the Florida Division of Emergency Management says that they hope to rescue 348 Americans that are stranded in Haiti. We're told that more than

half of that number are citizens that live in Florida. Now state emergency officials said they hope to get these two flights into central Florida at

some point today.


Yesterday, officials said that these flights were not able to take off from Haiti because of the security situation on the ground. Now the flights are

taking -- or are scheduled, rather, to take off from Cap-Haitien. That is a port city in the northern part of Haiti.

That's about a seven-hour drive from Port-au-Prince, which is where a good amount of this violence and unrest is taking place.

You are taking a look at video from this past weekend out of Miami International Airport, where the State Department said they evacuated more

than 30 Americans, flying them from Cap-Haitien here to Miami.

Now State Department officials have left open the possibility that they are going to have additional flights to get other Americans that are stranded

in Haiti. But so far, they have only had that one flight over the weekend.

As you noted, Erica, we expect the first commercial flight out of Cap- Haitien, out of the country of Haiti really, to take place on Monday. The country's main airport in Port-au-Prince closed late last month as the

violence broke out.

Again, though, at this hour, we are still waiting for word from state emergency officials on just when these flights may be able to take off from

Haiti en route to central Florida with some of the 248 Americans that the state of Florida have said they've reached out to officials and said that

they would like to get back to the U.S.

HILL: Yes, certainly a delicate situation. We know you'll stay on top of it for us, Carlos. Thank you.


HILL (voice-over): Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories on our radar right now.

Overnight, Ukraine's drones attacking the Russian town of Engels, the area which is in the Saratov region. It's home to a key aviation base for the

Russian armed forces. No casualties have been reported.

Seven crew members rescued from a capsized South Korean flagged tanker have now died. Two others were rescued from the stricken vessel. One is alive.

The condition of the other remains unknown. A search for two missing crew members continues off the coast of Japan's Matsuri (ph) Island.

A new study is predicting the global fertility rate will decline in the decades ahead and that will make the population shift dramatically. The new

study in the journal, "The Lancet," predicts that, by 2050, more than three-quarters of countries just won't be able to keep a population over

size and over time.

In the year 2100, they say 97 percent of countries will face this drop in population. Researchers say it is because of better access to

contraceptives and also female education to reduce the birth rates.

Just ahead, CNN's Scott McLean with an inside look at Turkiye's economy as inflation there continues its skyrocketing rise.

Plus the world facing a new and growing challenge in the battle against climate change. We will explain. Just ahead.




HILL: In Turkiye, the annual inflation rate has now topped 67 percent. That happened last month.


That's up from January when it rose to 64 percent. Turkiye's finance minister says the high inflation is due to temporary effects, adding than

inflation is expected to be back on trend in March. Annual inflation is expected to fall well below 50 percent by the end of 2024. Still, as Scott

McLean reports, it is difficult on a daily basis.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Ottoman arches and domes of Istanbul's grand bazaar are a good reminder that empires rise and fall.

When it comes he's to the value of the Turkish lira lately, it only falls.

In a dimly lit alley of the market, exchange traders buy and sell foreign currency and gold for their shops, responding to the slightest of price


MCLEAN: It's a little hard to figure out what's going on right now. Everybody is shouting.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Today, gold and U.S. dollars are in high demand. The Turkish lira is not.

"Right now, our money is almost worthless," he says, "because people haven't seen inflation fall. They don't trust the Turkish lira anymore."

But this ancient city never lost faith in a currency that's endured through the ages. Gold, coins, bars, even tiny 1-gram chips.

"People used to buy real estate or land," says this dealer. "But right now, because the interest rates are so high, they'd rather put money in the bank

or buy gold."

Just outside the gates of the bazaar, it's all about the Benjamins. There is so much demand that exchange offices are paying even more than the

market rate.

"Because so many people are buying the dollar, we have to buy them at a higher price and we sell them at a higher price," he tells me.

MCLEAN: It sounds like you think that the lira is only going in one direction.

MCLEAN (voice-over): "Right now, that's how it is."

MCLEAN: The Turkish central bank has hiked the interest rate now to 45 percent in an effort to tame inflation. But so far it hasn't. The official

inflation rate is now 67 percent and unofficial estimates suggest it is much higher.

MCLEAN (voice-over): In January, to help the poorest Turks cope, the government doubled the minimum wage from a year ago, just ahead of the

coming local elections. But some economists believe that has only made inflation worse.

KERIM ROTA, ECONOMIST: In order to break that cycle, you have to do something. So we will see after the elections if the government is serious

about fighting inflation or not.

Central bank increase the credit card rates last week, is this monthly 5 percent. Monthly 5 percent means 80 percent on an annualized rate. And if

you add up the taxes, it is around 113 percent.

MCLEAN: Who can afford that?

ROTA: Nobody can afford that.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Across the Bosphorus on Istanbul's Asian side, people are stocking up on iftar essentials this Ramadan. Freshly baked pita (ph),

fish and meat.

"Prices are crazy. This year, it's too much," this woman says.

"You can say, you're young, you can work. but I do work and I still can't make a living and I have two jobs," this man tells me.

MCLEAN: Do you keep your money in Turkish lira or do you keep it in --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't keep anything.


I can't pay you (ph). MCLEAN (voice-over): Preschool teacher Melek al-Qez (ph) also has credit card debt at sky-high interest rates.

MCLEAN: How do you dig yourself out of that hole?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see. She's asking for the money for bread.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Scott McLean, CNN, Istanbul.


HILL: Argentina's new president has been in office for just over 100 days now. Javier Milei was expected -- was elected, rather, on a promise to

forge a new political era. A new report, however, shows that, for the third month in a row, the Argentinian economy is suffering the highest inflation

rate in the world.

CNN's Stefano Pozzebon reports.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's still the afternoon when the soup kitchen in Buenos Aires opens for dinner. And for many,

including children, this is their only meal of the day.

Walter Torres (ph) is a regular. He comes here every night, he says, since he lost his unemployment benefit last year. Look how many we are. These

people had a job or some plan and now they're queuing for food. Our salary is worth nothing.

This charity was born as a shelter for the homeless with the capacity for 50 people but most of the over 200 meals handed out today are taken away

and eaten at home. Volunteers are asking for IDs to make sure nobody hoards on food which is scarce for everyone. Inside the kitchen is in full motion.


Some of the guests are our own neighbors who would have never imagined they would need a charity, says this volunteer.

And next to the kitchen, a clothing bank.

POZZEBON: This is another aspect of the new poverty crisis here in Argentina. When this service was started, it was mostly for homeless

people, adults, while instead here, you see the sizes of four years old, four, five, six, seven, eight years old, meaning that the families can no

longer afford to buy the clothes for the little ones.

POZZEBON (voice-over): Argentina's poverty rate was already rising before President Javier Milei took office in December.

JAVIER MILEI, ARGENTINIAN PRESIDENT (from captions): There is no money.

POZZEBON (voice-over): Since then, his focus has been on an austerity drive, to bring inflation down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Argentine economy --

POZZEBON (voice-over): His reforms, like devaluing the Argentinian peso, over 50 percent, were applauded abroad but punished many in Argentina, who

have seen their salaries collapse and can no longer afford to pay for food. Getting today's fare at the supermarket out of the question for these


While the analysts' verdict is still open --

MACARENA MICHIENZI, LEAD SPECIALIST, CEFEIDAS GROUP: I think we have to see how much the people is winning to -- to, like, give him the benefit of

the doubt and to -- and to maybe adjust their budget.

POZZEBON (voice-over): Milei's interior minister pleading for patience in an interview with CNN.

GUILLERMO FRANCOS, ARGENTINE INTERIOR MINISTER (voice-over): What we want is for people to receive their benefits themselves and stop relying on food

kitchens. But changing the system takes time.

POZZEBON (voice-over): Who doesn't have time is Torres (ph), who was able to eat today but he's not sure about tomorrow. For him, change couldn't

come soon enough -- Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Buenos Aires.


HILL: Just ahead here, as the world becomes more reliant on electronics, that means we are also producing a new hazardous challenge as a result. The

impact on the battle against climate change -- next.




HILL: Electronic waste has grown to record levels. That's what we're hearing from the U.N. We're talking about everything from old cell phones

to discarded e-cigarettes. New analysis says global e-waste is now growing five times faster than the recycling rates.

And that brings with it a whole host of health problems and climate issues. To help put this in perspective, the U.N.'s global e-waste monitor says the

world generated enough electronic waste in 2022 to wrap around the equator. That's sobering. I want to bring in our chief climate correspondent, Bill


So Bill, as we hear those numbers, it sort of makes you think, oh, wow. Another thing that is going wrong. Walk us through, walk us through this


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And just to put a finer point on that last statistic, that would be circling the globe around the

equator with 40-ton dump trucks full of e-waste. That's how many are produced, just mountains worth of anything that comes with a battery or a

plug is how we designate these things.

And the demand for these devices, as much of the developing world comes into the middle class, is just skyrocketing. They estimate it is outpacing

the recycling rates at a rate of about 5:1. Right now over 80 percent, not recycled of these enormous tons of new electronics that are being produced

every year.


And some watchdogs are really calling on manufacturers to not really address this problem that, by planned obsolescence, by building products

that are designed to be tossed after a few years and can't be replaced recycled, reused, it just creates more demand, more of a huge problem here

that has to be addressed.

A lot of times it's dumped off on developing countries to deal with this. And the metals in these can leach into the soils, can be a health hazard in

the near term.

HILL: So that is all the bad news here, right?

And the things that we are focusing on that feel sobering, to put it mildly. But you and I were talking briefly in the break. There is

potentially an upside here in all that waste.

What is it?

WEIR: Well, there's a huge, untapped fortune in all of this. If you consider just in 2022 there were $91 billion worth of metals in these

electronics that instead of being recycled and resold and reuse, were just being thrown away -- $91 billion. And that includes $15 billion worth of


So if proper recycling regulations were put in place -- they do not exist in the United States; only about 80 countries or so have e-waste recycling

regulations. India and the European Union are among those as well.

But just giving people an incentive to tap into these things, realizing the value that's being tossed into the waste bin as these devices, everything

from e-cigarettes to laptops to cell phones, to vacuum cleaners. There's value in these.

And it takes just a mindset shift among consumers and manufacturers. But unlike, say, single-use plastics, which there's no real market for and it's

going to take a global treaty to really crack down on, this is a place where it can make sense and get us closer to a circular economy where less

mining is needed.

And just by reusing and recycling the minerals that have already been mined and thrown away.

HILL: Seems like a no brainer but, you know, that's me. I don't have to make -- I don't have to make all that legislation. I appreciate it.

WEIR: If only you were in charge, yes.

HILL: If only I was in charge, I've said that a lot, especially to my children. Bill, thank you.

WEIR: You bet.

HILL: Well, with all these changing, unstable weather patterns, we're really seeing an impact on fruit and trees in parts of the United States.

They're blooming earlier. That could have potentially devastating consequences for the health of the crops overall. CNN's Elisa Raffa has

more now on how farmers are working to fight the freeze.


ELISA RAFFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fans cranking, blanketed fields, Georgia farmers are scrambling on this first day of spring to

protect their crops from freezing after a record warm winter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have 18 acres of strawberries and they're tucked in up under some pretty heavy blankets. And what that does is it keeps the

frost off the top of the plants and keeps the blooms from freezing but it also traps that ground heat.

RAFFA (voice-over): Drew Echols is a fifth generation farmer. His family has been farming since 1912 with nearly 600 acres full of peaches,

strawberries and pumpkins. But in the last 100 years, climate change has been shifting seasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Biggest thing is, it seems more erratic. It's kind of all over the place. And then you get four or five days of warm weather in

February. There's nothing consistent about it

RAFFA (voice-over): Jaymore Farms (ph) now grows about 30 different types of peaches to hedge their bets against the uncertain weather.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all about the varieties, like we're trying to find these varieties that are going to be sustainable long-term.

PAM KNOX, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA WEATHER NETWORK: There are a number of crops like peaches and blueberries that require a certain amount

of cold weather to really bloom effectively.

RAFFA (voice-over): Pam Knox is an agricultural climatologist at the University of Georgia, who works closely with farmers like Echols.

KNOX: If you don't get enough chill hours, the plants don't really know when to come out of dormancy. And they had a bloom sporadically.

RAFFA (voice-over): As winters warm in the Peach State, pitted fruits have been losing chilling hours below 45 degrees since 1970, a key ingredient

for a healthy bloom. Warmer winters like this past year means spring is springing sooner.

Much of the lower 48 has spring fever, of two degrees warmer since 1970. This adds two to four weeks to the growing season, putting budding crops at

risk to seasonal freezes. Last year Echols lost 70 percent of his peach crop to a warm winter.

ECHOLS: We've had a 10 percent crop in '21, we've had a 60 percent crop in '22 and then a 30 percent crop last year. So fingers crossed, hoping for a

good one this season.

RAFFA (voice-over): And shoppers here are ringing up at the register.

ECHOLS: It absolutely trickles down to the consumer. And again, weather that big factor, is the big factor when that determines the size of the

crop. But it's all those supplies. It can affect the consumer's wallet in a hurry.

RAFFA (voice-over): Reacting just as fast was Echols' attack on this latest cold snap.


ECHOLS: Farmers are the first true environmentalists. We've got to take care of this land. We've got to take care of this air and we've got to take

care of the water. That's kind of my priority here on my farm to do a little part.

RAFFA (voice-over): In alto, Georgia, Elisa Raffa, CNN.



HILL: I do want to bring you some breaking news now we're just getting out of New York, where the state attorney general, Letitia James, is responding

to claims that Donald Trump is unable to come up with the roughly $500 million needed to secure his bond by Monday's deadline.

Telling an appeals court to ignore that argument, saying it's all connected to his civil fraud case -- this, of course, all connected to that civil

fraud case in New York. Trump's team says they've gone to 30 different entities to finance the bond. None would take that deal.

If he is unable to come up with the money, James can begin seizing properties and then selling them off to pay what he owes. We're going to

continue to follow that story as it's developing in the next hour.

But that does it for this hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Erica Hill. Thanks for joining me, stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.