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U.N. Security Council Rejects Gaza Ceasefire Resolution; Thousands Flee Israeli Operations Around Al-Shifa Hospital; Talks on Ceasefire and Hostages Expected to Resume Today; Kyiv Reels from First Russian Strikes in Weeks; Trump Could Get $3.4 Billion in Stock from Truth Social Merger; Conditions Worsen in Haiti Amid Gang Violence; Secretary Antony Blinken Meets with Netanyahu, Israeli War Cabinet; Hundreds Arrested After Rushing Border in Texas; Climate Change, Conflict Denying Clean Water to Billions. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 22, 2024 - 10:00   ET



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

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos. It is 6:00 p.m. here in Abu Dhabi,

10:00 a.m. in New York, where the United Nations Security Council has once again failed to pass a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in


A short time ago, Russia as well as China vetoed the U.S.-backed resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and sustained ceasefire in Gaza. Here's

what U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield had to say about the veto.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Russia and China still could not bring itself to condemn Hamas' terrorist attacks on

October 7th. Can we just pause on that for a moment? Russia and China refuses to condemn Hamas from burning people alive, for gunning down

innocent civilians at a concert, for raping women and girls, for taking hundreds of people hostage.

This was the deadliest single attack on Jews since the Holocaust. And a permanent member of this council can't even condemn it. I'm sorry. It's

really outrageous.


GIOKOS: I want to go straight down to CNN senior United Nations correspondent Richard Roth, who is live from New York.

You know, Richard I was looking at the numbers in terms of voting in favor and abstaining, as well as voting against. Very similar resolutions. Russia

has abstained once, voted twice in favor of similar resolutions with regards to a ceasefire in Gaza. China has voted in favor of all of the

resolutions but for it. Algeria was another one that voted against this resolution that actually interestingly brought the previous resolution to

the table.

I mean, one sort of now needs to ask the question whether politics comes in the way of the draft resolutions that are put on the U.N. Security

Council's table?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm sure anyone here would say politics does play a huge part. The Russian

ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of using this vote to throw people a bone in the United States that -- they said that the United

States was in effect playing politics. And you heard the U.S. ambassador there. The most pointed words came from the Russian ambassador when dealing

with the facts of this resolution in which he vetoed.


VASSILY NEBENZIA, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: If you do this, you will cover yourselves in disgrace. Consider once again how will you look before

the population at the Middle East in front of your own populations if you support this hypocritical initiative, which is designed to disorient the

international community and essentially to undermine the authority of the council, making sure that it cannot have an impact on the situation on the

ground, that this council will not be able to have an impact of the situation on the ground to ensure that it not get in the way of the White

House. Are you willing to play into their hands when it comes to this unsavory spectacle?


ROTH: With the state of relations between Moscow and Washington, I wouldn't have been surprised if Russia had vetoed a resolution filled with nursery

rhymes. And the other side, the United States has vetoed many of these Gaza resolutions. The countries s fighting over words, which is what these

resolutions are made up of, how strong a condemnation of Hamas, is there a mention of Hamas in the resolution?

These things have been going on for weeks. People thought this was going to pass, so they had a feeling Russia might want to veto. The French say they

have another initiative. It's unclear if that's going to be a resolution or some type of getting together with these countries. But it didn't happen

today here at the U.N.

GIOKOS: Yes. And it hasn't happened since the start of the war frankly.

Thank you so much, Richard. Great to see you.

Well, the votes happened at the U.N., as the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Tel-Aviv was underway today where he met with Prime

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli war cabinet to push for a ceasefire. The U.S. is also trying to deter an offensive in Rafah in

southern Gaza, where more than one million Palestinian civilians are sheltering.

Now Blinken's visit coincides with the resumption of talks in Doha. Negotiators are trying to reach a deal for a ceasefire in exchange for the

release of hostages.


Now amid the diplomatic flurry, Israel's siege of Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza has entered its fifth day.

We've got CNN's Jeremy Diamond following the developments around Al-Shifa.

Jeremy, this isn't the first time we've heard of, you know, just dramatic incidents in and around Al-Shifa. Tell us why this is significant, and what

we're seeing on the ground.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is day five now of the Israeli military's operation at Al-Shifa Hospital. They claim that they have

detained the largest number of militants since the beginning of this war in this single operation. Hundreds of terror suspects they say have been

detained. But what we also know, of course, is that civilians, including medical personnel, have also been among those detained. So it's difficult

for us, of course, to independently verify the Israeli military's claims.

The Israeli military says it is continuing to operate at the hospital and it says that there are still militants hiding out inside the hospital's

buildings. But what we also know of course is that there are civilians, hundreds, perhaps even thousands still sheltering inside.


DIAMOND (voice-over): A crowded stairwell at Al-Shifa Hospital. Dozens of women and children await Israeli military instructions. For four days,

thousands of civilians have been trapped here as the Israeli military raids the hospital, targeting Palestinian militants allegedly operating inside

the medical complex.

Soldiers are everywhere, the voice on the loudspeaker warns. If you leave the premises, the soldiers will shoot you. We have warned you. We have come

here in order to get the Israeli hostages. Then we will let you go.

Soon word of evacuations begins to spread. Now they are forcing out the women, the voice behind the camera says. We don't know where they're going

to take us.

The Israeli military says they have killed more than 140 militants in and around the hospital and detained these five men described as senior terror

operatives among more than 600 suspects the Israeli military says they've detained. Eyewitnesses say medical personnel and other civilians have also

been rounded up.

Outside the hospital, the fighting continues, as seen through the lens of Hamas militants, who have been targeting Israeli tanks and troops around

the hospital complex.

Israeli airstrikes reducing parts of the surrounding al-Ramal neighborhood to rubble, sending thousands fleeing south. It's a journey marked by the

sights and smells of death.

We walked over the martyrs who are dead in the street. People are reduced to body parts, this woman cries. Where is the humanity?

The newly displaced arrived on foot in central Gaza, carrying only backpacks and plastic bags, children clutching dolls and stuffed animals.

Others, like this mother and her triplets, arrived with nothing at all.

Tanks and artillery were firing at the buildings around Al-Shifa and forcing people to leave the building, she says. They make them leave with

nothing on them, nothing. No pillow, no blanket, not even water.

Nuzha isn't just fleeing the fighting. But the starvation that has left her eight-month-old babies thin and frail.

You can see them, she says. Each of them is not even two kilos. Eight months old and not even two kilos. Anyone who sees them would think they

are only two months old. And they are eight months. It's a catastrophe. No water, no food, and siege and gunfire.

But her journey is not over yet. She is heading further south in search of food and shelter, no longer taken for granted in Gaza.


DIAMOND (on-camera): And the Israeli military yesterday published photos of 358 men who had identified as terrorist suspects who are arrested at Al-

Shifa Hospital. But today the Israeli military acknowledged that it erroneously identified some of those individuals as terror suspects who had

been arrested when in fact an unspecified number of them have not yet been arrested. The Israeli military attributed that to human error -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: All right, Jeremy, powerful reporting there, and of course highlighting the need for more humanitarian assistance to get into Gaza.

Look, Antony Blinken is meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu. The U.S. has made a significant shift. We've seen what happened at the U.N. Security Council

meeting with a draft resolution.


But the U.S. is now trying to push for some kind of ceasefire. I mean, what sway does the U.S. have with Netanyahu at this point in time?

DIAMOND: Well, look, the United States remains Israel's most important ally and it has significant leverage. The question we've been asking for months

now is how much of that leverage is the United States actually willing to use. So far the key leverage we've seen the U.S. use is its voice, its

rhetoric, that we've seen from top U.S. officials growing increasingly critical of Israel.

But we know that the U.S. is pushing on multiple fronts today to try and reach a ceasefire agreement. The secretary of state, of course, was meeting

today with the Israeli prime minister and the Israeli war cabinet in Tel Aviv. And we also know that CIA director Bill Burns is in Doha, Qatar

meeting with the Israeli intelligence chief as well as the Egyptians and the Qataris as well.

But today as part of those discussions that Secretary Blinken was having was also about this potential major Israeli military offensive in Rafah,

where the U.S. is trying to prevent the Israeli government from ordering a major offensive into that city were about one-and-a-half million

Palestinians are currently living.

The Israelis have expressed an openness to listening to American ideas, but they have repeatedly indicated that they are not going to be swayed and

today the Israeli prime minister after meeting with Secretary Blinken once again saying that there is, quote, "No way for us to defeat Hamas without

going into Rafah and eliminating the rest of the battalions there."

And he said that he told Secretary of State Blinken we will do it with the support of the USA but if we have to we will do it alone -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: All right, Jeremy Diamond. Thank you so much.

Well, as America's top diplomat meets Israeli officials in Tel Aviv, CIA director Bill Burns, as Jeremy just said, is in Doha, Qatar where he's

expected to join hostage talks and meet with his regional counterparts.

We have team coverage on all of the diplomatic developments. CNN's Oren Liebermann is in Washington. Paula Hancocks joins us from Doha.

Oren, I'd like to start off with you. This is I guess it feels like a pivotal moment in terms of these negotiations and in terms of the direction

where this could go. You've got a show of force from the United States and of course Bill Burns being in Doha meeting with Israeli intelligence as

well as Egyptian. In terms of how this could go and what leverage they have in terms of getting some kind of deal that is workable going forward, I

mean, that's the big question at this stage.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Of course. And the U.S. has been pushing for this, trying to push forward negotiations. But it's also

clear, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged this, that it's not quite there yet. And there are gaps, even if there are statements

coming from Blinken or the Biden administration that those gaps are narrowing, they still remain there.

Of course, Bill Burns is the key player here, head of the CIA. He'll meet his counterparts in Doha, Egyptian, Qatari, Israeli, to see if he can find

a way forward here. If he can find a way to close those gaps, there is clearly a sense of urgency on the part of the United States not only

because of a need for more humanitarian aid to get in, that's a massive effort of the United States. But also because of concerns over what an

Israeli ground offensive in Rafah could look like, what the results of that could be for the Palestinian population there.

So this is where Bill Burns is trying to go in and see if it's possible to make significant progress to get towards a ceasefire, a hostage release

that would allow the flow of more humanitarian aid in. The question of course is, will he be able to? And it's not just the meetings today. There

are senior Israeli officials in Washington next week to discuss the future of the war here, at least certain aspects of it. The question of what might

an operation in Rafah look like, how does more humanitarian aid get in.

So this moment in time is the convergence of a number of meetings and that's one of the reasons it is so critical and why we'll watch very

carefully what comes out of the CIA director in Doha with his meetings.

GIOKOS: Yes, absolutely. We've got Paula standing by as well.

Paula, I mean, we know that Hamas' stance generally has not changed and, you know, Oren was talking about the gaps that exist and whether those, you

know, can be in some way negotiated, that there needs to be some kind of consensus so that we move forward. I mean, frankly, these negotiations have

been going on for quite some time and no real resolution.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we heard from Hamas, Eleni, when they came out with a counterproposal last week was that

they believed that they would be in flexible. They believed that they had moved. We heard from one senior Hamas leader say that they believed it was

a logical kind of proposal that they had come up with. Now whether that's the case and whether the Israelis agree, we will have to wait and see. But

the fact is David Barnea, who's the Mossad director, was only here in Doha just three days ago.


He is now back again with Bill Burns, the CIA director, also with Egypt's intelligence chief, with the Qatari prime minister. So there are more

people being involved in this stage at this point. So you might have to ask yourself, there must have been a reason for David Barnea to come back at

this point.

We do know he had certain parameters, those certain restraints put on him by the Israeli war cabinet and security cabinet before he came last time.

We don't know whether that's the case this time, whether he has been told there's only a certain distance he can go, and then that is a red line and

he must walk away. But certainly we are seeing a very concerted effort by the United States, a three-pronged attack, if you like.

Diplomatically to try and push this process forward. What is happening here in Doha, expected this Friday, what just happened at the United Nations

Security Council, and of course, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Israel. Now, Secretary Blinken did say over the past couple of days that

the gaps are narrowing, but acknowledged that the gaps still remain. And so this is really what the focus now is, whether the phase one of this deal

can be nailed down.

There is an agreement that it has to be done in phases because there are some key differences between what Hamas wants and what Israel wants. Hamas

wants Israel out of the Gaza Strip militarily, and they want a permanent ceasefire. Israel does not want that. They have been very clear that they

do still want this major ground offensive in Rafah and they are not going to pull their soldiers out of Gaza.

So that is a key difference. And even if the gaps between that are narrowing, they are still going to be significant. So this is really the

push at this point to try and secure phase one, which would be potentially a six-week ceasefire, a certain amount of hostages being released for a

certain amount of Palestinian prisoners. And then the hope between the players here today in Doha is that if you have that space, if you have that

ceasefire, then there is a chance to try and push forward to a next phase, possibly a third phase and then eventually a permanent ceasefire. And the

resolution of the conflict -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Paula Hancocks, Oren Liebermann, great to see you. Thank you.

And still to come, millions without power. Ukrainian official says Russia's latest strikes could be the largest attack ever on the country's power

system. Plus a Haitian gang leader who escaped from prison has reportedly been killed by police. More details coming up just ahead.


GIOKOS: More than a million people in Ukraine were without power Friday morning after a massive Russian missile strike targeted energy

infrastructure sites across the country.


Ukraine's energy executive says it is likely the largest attack ever on the country's power system. The attack came 24 hours after Kyiv was also struck

with a missile barrage.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more for us.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After more than a month of relative calm, Ukraine's capital once again

under sustained Russian missile fire. More than a dozen injured, mostly from falling debris, as the Ukrainians shot the missiles down.

This is a ruthless extermination of the Ukrainians and an attack on the civilian population that was just sleeping, this man says.

We feel hatred, terrible hatred, he says. This is not fear, this is hatred towards Russia generally and everyone in particular.

Russia's new missile blitz on Ukraine's capital coming just as Vladimir Putin was officially announced as the winner of the Russian presidential

election, which was never in doubt.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The elections have shown that Russia today is one big, friendly family. We walk together on

the historical path chosen by us, confident in ourselves, in our strengths, and in our future. Thank you.

PLEITGEN: But some Russians fear their path after Putin's victory could lead them straight into military service and the battlefields in Ukraine.

As Russia burns through soldiers while achieving only minor gains and the Russian Defense Ministry says they will drastically increase the size of

the Russian military by tens of thousands of troops.

SERGEI SHOIGU, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The plan is to form, by the end of year, two combined armed armies and 30 units

including 14 divisions and 16 brigades.

PLEITGEN: All this as the Ukrainians are already drastically outmanned and outgunned, ammunition stocks running dangerously low, Kyiv says. The E.U.

now wants to step up and use profits from Russian assets frozen in Europe to pay for arming Ukraine. While the Kremlin is threatening to retaliate,

the Ukrainian say they welcome the measure, with the U.S. funding still held up by House Republican leadership, even though National Security

Adviser Jake Sullivan, on a visit to Ukraine, said he remains hopeful.

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: From our perspective, we are confident we will get this done. We will get this aid to the Ukraine.

PLEITGEN: Just hours after Sullivan's remarks, Putin's missiles came raining down on Kyiv, a reminder that when it comes to getting weapons

stocks replenished, the Ukrainians don't have a moment to lose.


GIOKOS: With that Monday deadline looming to secure a $464 million bond, Donald Trump could soon be billions of dollars richer or at least on paper.

The former president's struggling Truth Social media platform is on the verge of merging with a shell company and going public. A shareholders'

vote is set for today. If approved, the merger could give Trump a stock valuation of almost $3.5 billion. Turning that into actual cash is another


We have Matt Egan following the story for us, to tell us a little bit more about this looming merger.

Matt, listen, this is a capital raising exercise in essence, going public. But how would that translate into actual cash for Donald Trump?

MATT EGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's the key question. I think that's the problem here because on the one hand this will be a major financial

windfall for Donald Trump. On the other, though, it doesn't look like he's going to be able to quickly monetize it. So here's what's going on. Trump's

social media baby, Truth Social, appears to be after years finally about to go public. Right now shareholders have been holding a special meeting as we


And it looks like from the preliminary vote totals that are going on right now, it does look like this deal is going to be approved by shareholders.

And that was expected and this is a merger of Trump Media with a blank check company called Digital World. Now once this vote total is finalized

and the deal closes likely early next week, Donald Trump is going to own a massive stake in his company, 79 million shares. At current prices that's

worth well over $3 billion.

But I think the bad news for Trump is that it's not like this money in a stock is just going to be sitting in, you know, a Robin Hood account that

he can hit a couple of buttons and send it over to the New York authorities. It doesn't work like that. In fact, some experts are telling

me that this stake in Trump Media is actually less liquid than some of his real estate holdings for a couple of reasons. One of them is deals like

this they have what's known as lock-up restrictions.


Basically insiders, they promise not to immediately exit their stake as soon as the ink is dry on the deal. And in this case, that makes a lot of

sense because Donald Trump is not just the face of the company, he's really basically the product. So experts say there's a lot of restrictions here

that would make it very hard for Trump to sell immediately or even borrow against the value of the stock.

Another issue here is that it's not clear that anyone would really take the valuation here at face value. A lot of experts are saying that this company

appears to be overvalued because it has very little revenue. Truth Social is actually shrinking. One professor told me that this stock looks like a

bubble. Another said it looks like a meme stock. So, listen, this does look like a win for Donald Trump, but it's not necessarily going to be the

immediate cash influx that he really needs right now.

GIOKOS: Yes. Yes. And you mentioned something really interesting, right, that he's got more liquid assets, that this doesn't, you know, amount to

any kind of liquidity that he would need, but there must be some reason that he would be after something like this. Given that he has a Monday

deadline, he needs to come up with the cash and the big question is, you know, what happens then? Because what we do know is that there are already

plans underway to try and, you know, find a way to get Donald Trump to pay this big fine and time is running up frankly.

EGAN: Yes. You know, and it's so interesting. So I've been covering this Trump Media IPO for the last two-and-a-half years. And it's really a

coincidence that that vote is going on on the Friday before he owes, you know, half a billion dollars in terms of this bond in New York. This has

been something that's been in the works for years. It's been delayed by legal and regulatory obstacles that have been thrown up.

And it was only last month that the SEC, the securities regulators here in the United States, gave this deal -- finally give it a green light. And so

it's interesting how all of this timing has worked out where he's getting this big financial windfall on paper at a time when he really needs a

financial windfall. But it really is pretty much a coincidence as far as how all the timing worked out.

And, you know, in a lot of ways, this company, this deal, this proposed merger that looks like it's about to be finalized, this is really a bet on

the Trump brand, right? I mean, he had this vision for an alternative social media company, something that would be a counter to Facebook and

what was then Twitter. Of course, then Elon Musk bought Twitter and sort of change the direction there. But a lot of investors appear to be buying what

Donald Trump is selling in terms of his brand here. And this company could be publicly traded as soon as early next week.

GIOKOS: Right. The markets, of course, will give us a sense if they're interested in and of course this IPO, it's always very telling when things

go public.

Matt Egan, great to see you. Thank you so much.

EGAN: Thank you.

GIOKOS: And still to come we'll speak with a journalist who has spent years covering Haiti. She has a warning for foreign governments that might try to

intervene to quell the unrest. Plus, after a failed U.S. resolution at the United Nations Security Council last hour, can diplomacy ease the

desperation in Gaza? There's a flurry of talks at what could be a critical juncture in efforts to reach a humanitarian ceasefire.

Stay with CNN.



GIOKOS: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Eleni Giokos.

Now police in Haiti appear to have scored a victory in their battle against armed gangs. A source tells CNN that a recognized gang leader was killed in

a gunfight with police in Port-au-Prince on Thursday. The police said on X that Ernst Julme whose alias was Ti Greg has recently escaped from prison.

However, the U.N. says the violence in Haiti has gone from very worrying to extremely alarming. The humanitarian corridor for Haiti says more than 2500

people have been killed, injured, or kidnapped since the spate of gang activity escalated. And more than five million Haitians need immediate


Our CNN's David Culver is in Port-au-Prince with a closer look at a city that's been plunged into terror, and we want to warn you, you may find some

of the images in his report disturbing.


DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, my god. It's a body just sitting right in the middle of the street there. People are

trying to figure out the best way to get around it.

(Voice-over): Across the street, this family rushes into a truck shielding their little one's eyes, an effort to preserve what innocence is left here

in Haiti. The gruesome sights slowing but not stopping the morning rush hour.

And you can even see here, look at this, a police car is just going right past and it will continue on. Doesn't even stop.

(Voice-over): A neighbor explains how an overnight gang attack ended in vigilante killings.

This is gunfire. Shooting here.

(Voice-over): This man says he and more than 50 others immediately set out to find those terrorizing their neighborhood. They surrounded a man they

didn't recognize.

And you believe he was a gang member?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. Gang, yes.

CULVER (voice-over): Carrying machetes he tells me they carried out justice as he sees it. The only way they know to defend themselves.

When they come in shooting all around, trying to scare us to flee, we won't just let them kill us. They have to die, he tells me.

The way you see this is kill or be killed?


CULVER (voice-over): Police don't condone the killings, but they are overwhelmed and overrun, that they don't have time to stop them. There are

daily gun battles in the capital as police struggled to push the gangs back. The officers have willpower, but little else. We see that firsthand

as we patrol with Haiti's national police.

There are no frontlines in this war. The boundaries are blurred and they're constantly shifting. And these officers know driving around in an armored

vehicle like this. Well, they expect to be shot at. They're moving targets.

(Voice-over): They cruise through gang territory, revealing a city in ruins and on fire. At this intersection, we find another gruesome scene. Three

bodies have eaten by dogs and still smoldering.

People desperate for food and for shelter. Even if it is in the shell of what was once a government building.

I mean, this is just a symbol of state collapse here. More than 1500 have now occupied this building and made it their home. Mostly children from

what we see.


(Voice-over): And there were those who line up for hours trying to get visas to go anywhere but here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no security, there's no jobs. You know. And not only there's no jobs, they're running after us wherever we are.

CULVER: The gangs now targeting more affluent areas.

What's left of an ATM is still in there.

CHRISTOPHE ALPHONSE, VICTIM OF GANG THEFT: They're trying to show themselves as Robin Hoods or stud, but they're thieves. They're just

thieves, they're criminals.

CULVER: For street vendors like this woman who still have fruits to sell, no customers to buy them.

Because folks can't afford most of these items.

(Voice-over): More troubling for her the horrors she witnesses on these streets. Many people have died, she tells me. And they have to make trips

to pick them up. We see that for ourselves as we head back just before curfew. Medics clearing the remains of that suspected gang member. They

hurry not to save a life but to pick up two more bodies on the same street. Here in Haiti, humanity has disintegrated into a brutal fight for survival.

Late Thursday, a Haitian security source confirming to us that police killed a gang leader and an operation that played out in the downtown area,

that same area in which we were embedded with police. Police also, according to the source, killed several gang members. However, for

officers, it's always a question as to how long they can hold the line.

David Culver, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


GIOKOS: All right, our next guest has covered Haiti as a freelance journalist for years. This is one of Jess DiPierro Obert's latest reports

and in her piece she writes in part, "The United States is driving forward plans for an international mission to help rein in Haiti's rampant gangs.

But many Haitians are wary of foreign interventions and already leading their own efforts to help their communities rebuilt their country."

All right, Jess DiPierro Obert joins us now from New York.

Jess, it's great to have you with us. You know, just watching David Culver's report there, it is pretty shocking to see the state of things in

Port-au-Prince. You have spent years on the ground and seeing this level of lawlessness, this level of fear, this level of poverty, how would you

describe what you're seeing in Haiti as a whole right now?

JESS DIPIERRO OBERT, INVESTIGATIVE VISUAL JOURNALIST: Right. Thank you for having me. Yes. I've been working -- I've been living and working in Haiti

since 2016, and I would say it is, you know, the worst what I've seen it in recent years, but I would say that the problems that we are seeing play out

now have been happening and have been building over several years.

And I mean, this is dating back to 2018, 2019. I lived through several lockdowns in the country around, you know, PetroCaribe protests and, you

know, the allegations of, you know, dozens of politicians been implicated in corruption, and, you know, since the assassination of the president, you

know, the problems that were already happening with, you know, growing, you know, armed groups around the capital are just worsening now.

GIOKOS: Yes, I want to talk about the gang violence. We've seen the reports of sexual violence. The way that the police have described it being

overwhelmed, and there was just an interesting quotes within your story. It says, we don't have a government. It is absent. So every person has to take

care of themselves, their families, their community, and environment. And yet there's a big question mark around whether international intervention

can help alleviate these dire realities.

OBERT: Right. And I mean, in that story where I interviewed many Haitians still, you know, staying in Haiti, working in Haiti, trying to find a

solution as well as a faction of Haitians who are, you know, acting out in war vigilante means. I was, you know, at, you know, our barricades that

they were putting up around, you know, dark and then taking down in the morning. And the main takeaway from speaking to people is that they're wary

of another intervention because past interventions have failed.

The problem in the country is so endemic to the lack of economic prospects. The last U.N., you know, peacekeeping mission introduced cholera that

killed more than 10,000 people so people are wary about another disease being introduced to the country, as well as, you know, sexual abuse cases

that came out of that intervention as well.


GIOKOS: Yes, So, Jess, here's the question. The assassination of the prime minister Jovenel Moise in 2021. His acting PM Ariel Henry, you've got a

government that actually does not exist and is in disarray. You know, what is the next step in terms of creating a system for Haiti right now and how

would you say that should play out to the kind of timeline realistically we should be looking at?

OBERT: Right. Well, I mean, it's very complicated issue. I think like, you know, when speaking with again Haitian leaders in the country and civil

society leaders, activists, it's really you have to have security in the country and, you know, the promise of a Kenyan force coming in is just

further delayed, but also the police are like very ill-equipped and underfunded. And so like having some sort of backup at least for the

Haitian police is super key, but it's also very key to have clean politicians at the helm of Haiti.

And so this transitional council that they're talking about could be, you know, a way to a solution but, you also, you know, there's talks about two

seats on the council being given to, you know, a former political parties affiliated with former president Michel Martelly and former prime minister

Claude Joseph, both accused of government corruption, the assassination of the former president Moise.

So, again, that's not a real solution if you still are getting, you know, a seat to people who have put Haiti in the current place that it is. But also

you have to provide jobs. So a lot of these kids who are going into armed groups, the reason why there are now 200 armed groups in the country are --

it's because there's, you know, there's no economic opportunity. They're growing up, they're seeing gang leaders have access to money, have access

to new clothes, have access to food. And many of them can't feed themselves. And so they're like --

GIOKOS: And those inequalities is very evident.


GIOKOS: Yes. Jess, we're out of time. I'm so sorry. So much happening today on the news front.

Jess, great to have you on and thank you for your insights. Much appreciated.

OBERT: Thanks.

GIOKOS: All right, we're going to a very short break. I'll be back right after this.


GIOKOS: The Israeli military operation at Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital is now in its fifth day with hundreds believed trapped inside. This as getting

hostages out of Gaza and getting aid in is the focus of a lot of attention today around the world.


At the U.N. Security Council it failed to pass a U.S. resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, including a hostage release. China vetoed it

along with Russia. Just moments ago, Moscow's ambassador had harsh words for those who supported it.


NEBENZIA (through translator): To see it's not at all complicated. Your U.S. lord beyond the ringing the hands of your leaders in capital, they

told you that you should not be worried because the Russian federation would veto this in any way. But you would not go against the U.S. text.

That is it. That's the whole scenario. So don't try to hypocritically tell us that you are now disappointed that Russia and China vetoed the


Once again today you have covered yourselves with disgrace, voting for a text, which yourselves do not support and did not support.


GIOKOS: Well, in Israel we're waiting to hear from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he heads home after meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, as

well as his war cabinet.

CNN's Jennifer Hansler is following this for us from the U.S. State Department.

A lot of meetings on the go today and of course expected over the next few days as negotiations continue in Doha. We know the story out of the United

Nations Security Council, that U.S. resolution not passed. But how important is this meeting with Blinken and Netanyahu because the U.S. does

have a lot of demands? It is requesting for more leeway from the Israeli side.

JENNIFER HANSLER, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Eleni, we have heard from the very get-go of this conflict that the only way that Israel

has shifted its position at all is in these face-to-face meetings, by putting that in-person pressure on the Netanyahu government. So we will

wait to see whether that pressure has actually yielded results. But it looks like at this point that these were very difficult conversations.

Blinken was going into this meeting with Netanyahu with the war cabinet calling on them to increase the number of crossings to allow humanitarian

aid into Gaza, into the millions of people who are on the brink of famine. He was also going to press them to hold off on any military incursion into

Rafah, where more than a million people have fled the violence. At this point, we don't see any indication that there has been any change in the

position from the Israeli government.

Netanyahu has continued to vow to carry out that offensive with or without U.S. support. And we also, of course this morning saw that diplomatic blow

coming from the U.N. Security Council, where the U.S. had put forward this resolution that they hoped would bolster these on-the-ground efforts to get

this immediate and sustained ceasefire as they call it, in exchange for hostages. They said this would show a strong signal of support that the

United Nations Security Council was behind this effort, and as we saw that effort did in fact fail.

Now I want you to know, Eleni, we just saw the secretary emerge from his days of meetings and greet some protesters outside his hotel. So we'll wait

to hear what he has to say -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: All right. Good to see you. Thank you so much for that update.

Well, in the meantime, Texas authorities are asking why hundreds of migrants pushed past a border fence of razor wire at the Mexico border in

El Paso on Thursday.

All right, as you can see, up to 600 people were arrested from illegally crossing the border by overcoming members of the National Guard. Meanwhile,

an appeals court is deciding whether to allow Texas to enforce a new law which allows state law enforcement to arrest people they suspect of

entering the U.S. illegally.

I want to go to Ed Lavandera, who's on the ground.

What else have we learned about this border breach, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're still trying to determine exactly what the circumstances that led to this incident, and

it's been described this as an isolated incident. Not something that has happened a lot to this effect, but -- and especially in this stretch of the

U.S. southern border.

But just so people understand what they're looking at and the dynamic of what's at play there on the ground is that that razor wire and fencing area

that you saw there that are -- those are barricades that have been put in place in the last few months by the state of Texas under this program

called Operation Lone Star. And that is what has brought Texas National Guard soldiers, as well as state troopers there to the area.

And then beyond that to further north into El Paso, you see the massive border wall that has been in place there for years and years now. And it is

at that razor wire point where the National Guard soldiers were standing. That's where this conflict erupted yesterday. The exact circumstances of

what led up to it is not clear at this point.


We've been told that it was a large group, several hundred migrants that bust through that razor wire and then ran up to the fence, essentially

trying to turn themselves into federal Border Patrol officers there on the scene. Customs and Border Protection, which is the agency that runs Border

Patrol, says that all of those people there were taken into custody and are in the process of being processed by Border Patrol officials here on the


GIOKOS: All right. Ed Lavandera for us, thank you so much.

We're going to very short break. I'll be back right after this.


GIOKOS: It is World Water Day, observed every year on March 22nd with a focus on access to clean water for all. This year, a stark new report is

bringing attention to a global water crisis. UNESCO says there are around 2.2 billion people who don't have access to clean drinking water and while

climate change is global its effects are not equal. And now more than one- third of Africa is considered water insecure.

Well, in an effort to make a better situation and a little sweeter, CNN's Bill Weir spoke with students at MIT who see a potential solution in our



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a planet of nearly eight billion people, as aquifers are drained, reservoirs evaporate

and sea levels rise, earth's freshwater supply is getting dirtier, saltier, and scarcer. And while desalination keeps some wealthy nations alive,

making saltwater sweet demands the kind of energy and infrastructure that's just out of reach for the most desperate societies.

YANG ZHONG, GRADUATE STUDENT, MIT: I really had a chance to teach in a rural area in China. I was really shocked to see that how struggling they

were to get some clean water. They really need to like really climbed over a mountain to another mountain to get those fresh water spring, and that

journey was like two hours every day.

WEIR: So it's no wonder that some of the most promising breakthroughs in water tech are coming from the melting pot laboratories of Boston, where

MIT's Yang Zhong and Lenan Zhang invented a machine the size of a suitcase that mimics the circulation power of the ocean. Powered only by sunlight

they say their prototype can desalinate six liters an hour at a cost cheaper than tap water.

ZHONG: So for a device that has the footprint of a solar panel, this will cause around like $150 to $200.

WEIR: Wow, that's cheap. And you don't have to plug it in. It doesn't need get any external power source? It's just the sun above it?

LENAN ZHANG, RESEARCH SCIENTIST, MIT: Yes. Just sun. It needs sunlight. Sea water is the most abundant resource probably in the earth. And solar

accessible everywhere and then like, why not let make them, you know, like combined. And then it can be a very powerful tool. It's more like you put a

water resource to anyone, anywhere and anytime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the Carson Beach. Solar panel, desalination unit.

WEIR (voice-over): Meanwhile, another team from MIT came up with another potential game changer.


JUNGHYO YOON, FORMER RESEARCH SCIENTIST, MIT: We just sent our most recent prototype to the U.S. Army that can produce 10 liter per hour of the

drinking water with a direct feed of the seawater.


WEIR: Junghyo tells me his startup ICP Water Tech is just getting its first millions in investment. And after two students from India met as MIT lab

partners and set out to clean and recycle the dirtiest of industrial waste, their company Gradiant is the first in the sector to be valued at $1

billion. A clean water unicorn.

It just strikes me that these ideas are the result of immigrants coming from developing places who see the problem in a much more acute way than

Americans do. Then mingling these ideas in a place like Boston at MIT, where the dreamers and the doers meet. It's exciting to think about the

possibilities of that combination.

ZHONG: Yes, we are really fortunate to be here at MIT and in Boston because we are surrounded by a lot of resources. And right now just like sponge

learning all these things and then kind of equipped my mind with this entrepreneurial mindset. That's I think one of the reason why I'm excited

about water research, making desalination or make fresh water, clean water more accessible. So I would say yes, really, I think we want to make when

making it closer and we want to make it happen.


GIOKOS: Incredibly innovation there.

Well, that is it for CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos. Stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.


RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, or good evening depending on where you're watching. I'm Rahel Solomon live in --